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Amoy tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis
Tigers are big cats, the biggest cats of all, only rivalled by lions.

The Tyger

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could fram thy fearful symmetry?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night.
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

- William Blake (1757-1827), "The Tyger" (1794) (Fergusson 1996:680-81).

What the Tiger Says

Bengali: gorgon
Finnish: grrrrrr
Thai: ai hhoun houn.

A. Tiger Proverbs

Oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger (Ap 263).

Newborn calves don't fear tigers (Ap 80).

The courage of the tiger is one, and of the horse, another (Ap 120).

Tigers and deer do not stroll together (Ap 142).

It might be better to be a live rabbit than a dead tiger. (Cf. Ap 382)

Tiger father begets tiger son (Chinese proverb).

When the tiger salaams, the end of the world arrives (Ap 596).

The courage of the tiger is one, and of the horse, another (American)

B. Tiger Sayings

He who plays with a tiger must expect to be scratched.

Fine tigers stroll about and whatever they do, they don't use many long words.

How can the tiger help it, if the maid be such a fool? (Cf. Dp 207-8)

Decent living is a good thing - and counts. But what is good living for a tiger may be dangerous to men, and the other way around.

Fine tigers like to play, perhaps not in human ways, but that matters nothing to the best of tigers, presumably.

The price of a tiger's victory is not so nice.

Those who help wild animals need to know more than wild animals to be able to help well.

Decent living requires space for more than mere survival. (Overpopulation is the problem)

Put the old tiger and the old wardrobe out of reach to be on the safe side - well done!

In nature a dangerous tiger deserves a good day.

Not all have the tigress for an overbearing friend, for she scratches.


Tiger Watching

Tigers teach in favourite tiger ways -

"If youth knew what age would crave, it would both get and save," says a British proverbs. If something similar is put in the mouth of a tiger, as in the caption to the left, a humorous effect results. So you can let a tiger say thingsm just for the fun of it.

Make do with a zoo, unless there is training and wisdom among you. It is possible to learn a whole lot by observing men and animals. Crystallised insights may be formed as sayings and as proverbs, but there are many other ways. There are books filled with sayings and proverbs where animals serve as focuses of attention for life-lessons of human beings.

To learn to observe in general, and learn to observe men and animals, there are many helps.

  • One is to learn to use a camera and learn to wait.
  • Another is to learn the art of observing animals and men as they are about.
  • A little study of biology, human faiths, conduct, and diversity of ways could help too.

Dennis Morris has published books of findings in the field of man-watching. Books by Konrad Lorenz books are around too, and there are many others in the field of anthropology and psychology. Many points from bird-watching can be applied as well.

And then there are scraggy-looking tales and proverbs that often do not portray animals matter-of-fact, but instead put them in roles fit for certain human beings. Some such tales and sayings may instruct you for your benefit, but other tales and sayings reveal prejudice and too little knowledge of biology and how things work in nature. Biology knowledge may work better than fairy tale lessons or old jokes and guesses, all in all.


The tiger is the national animal of India and very hard to see.

Just as a trees die without soil for their roots and space enough to catch light, tigers succumb if they lack terrain to hunt in. They are in trouble.

Many villagers around the globe think they assist higher-than-human realms by taking care of wild animals.

Tiger dilemmas today: from threatening to threatened! Human activity, including shooting of wild animals, deforestation and overcrowding, reduce and eliminate former tiger habitats.

Fine tigers like it spaceous.

The art of living is helped by retaining crucial or essential information so well that it is retained in what we call the long-term memory, and can be made use of with some ease. It applies to tigers and other wild animals too. They learn. And those who help, need to know more and better than the helped ones.

"To have a passage is a good thing" - the tigers lives up to it. - There is a need for corridors between many wild-life reserves.

Few can see how what they laugh violently at is what they cannot enjoy full well.

A touching scene needs at least one friendly spirit to be fully appreciated. (7)

The clear view and coverage enough is a lot, at times a really good thing.

Those who help, need to know more than an animal.

"Much science, much animal sorrow (cf. British proverb)" - A comment on how things really are. From lifting up sticks and using them as weapons to space rockets - man has already ruined much, assisted by infirm technological development. He needs schooling, proper schooling, in order to live well.

Sovereign care may not look like much in the open. - An old Chinese view, expressed in the Tao Te Ching, for example its ch. 17.

Stop hoping, make room for big tigers. - Research shows how many animals they need to feed on yearly, and how big a tract, accordingly.


Tigers, tiger proverbs, Literature  

de Boer, Sanne, ed. World of Animals' Book of Big Cats and African Wildlife. 2nd ed. Bournemouth, Dorset: Imagine Publishing, 2016. [◦Online]

EB: Encyclopædia Britannica, ie, Britannica Online.

Fergusson, Margaret, et al. The Norton Anthology of Poetry. 4th ed. New York: Norton, 1996.

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