357. the tortoise and the tyger

the tyger emerged from the shadows of the woods and stared at the guru and the tortoise. he was strong and terrible.

the guru said, “tyger, thank the Goddess you’re here.”

the tyger said, “why should you be thankful?”

the guru replied, “because of the tortoise.”

now the tortoise was confused.

the guru continued, “the tortoise, the most feared of all beasts, was stalking me through the darkness of the woods. with each step i took, he took a step, too, and though his steps were much smaller than mine, i could never get away. and just now, he caught up with me, and he was about to rip me limb from limb with his powerful jaws!”

now the tortoise understood, and he added, “yeah!”

the tyger said, “i know the tortoise. he is not fearsome.”

the tortoise replied, “prove it.

so the tyger stared at the tortoise and the tortoise stared back. and the tyger saw that the tortoise was unafraid of him. this was because he knew he could crawl inside his shell. but even the Goddess feared the tyger, and the tyger now knew that the only thing he feared was that which did not fear him, and he saw this, and trembled.

and he slunk away into the night.