Dirty Pig

A Folk Tale From Meghalaya

The tiger had had a good day at hunting and had eaten to his heart's content. Now he wanted to drink water so made his way to a pool.

A young pig was drinking at the pool and when he saw the tiger approaching, froze in terror. But as the tiger had just eaten to his heart’s content, he only wanted to drink water now. He ignored him and bent to drink, only to recoil in disgust the water smelt foul.

He decided to go to another pool. The pig, puzzled by his behaviour, jumped to the conclusion that the tiger was going away without drinking, out of fear of him.

Suddenly feeling as strong as an elephant, he ran after the tiger and challenged him to a fight. "Not today," said the tiger, looking over his shoulder. "Meet me here tomorrow and we'll fight." The pig took his reluctance to fight as further evidence of his fear of him and his spirits soared. He rushed home and began to boast that soon he would be king of the jungle instead of the tiger. When his family and friends heard he had challenged the tiger, they were appalled. They guessed why the tiger had turned away from the pool, and took the pig to task for his foolish action.

The pig soon realized that he had made a terrible mistake and was seized by a cold panic. Seeing his distress, his aged grandfather hastily worked out a plan to save him.

"Keep your appointment with the tiger," he advised his grandson, "otherwise he will come here looking for you and slaughter us all. But before going to meet him, roll in the dirt and mud so that you stink to high heaven."

Came the day of the big fight. The pig rolled in the mud and in elephant's dung and in all the other rubbish he could find and then went to meet the tiger.

The tiger was waiting impatiently for him, but when the pig drew near, stepped back in disgust.

"What have you done to yourself?" he snarled. " stink! Yeecch!"

He had come with the thought of feasting on delicious pig meat, but now he felt nauseated and his appetite vanished.

"I've come to fight," squeaked the pig, stepping forward.

"Get away from me!" growled the tiger. "Go!"

The pig turned and ran.

The pig and his family and friends realised that being dirty was good for them, so they began to wallow in mud every day before going out.

They continue to do so to this day!