Little Brown Sabu and the Tigers

  • SabuFrontWeb-3SabuBackWeb-2
  • A Story-Coloring Book for kids 
  • ANNOUNCING A NEW BOOK BY CRAIG GOSLING Little Black Sambo and the Tigers was a popular book written and Illustrated in 1899 by Helen Bannerman while she lived in India. It was widely popular and was republished many times. Many versions of it, including variations of story and illustrations were printed. Racial sensitivity eventually doomed further publications of the book, and today’s children no longer are familiar with the story. Past versions of the book depicted dark skinned people as being stupid reminiscent of the popular conception of black people of the old American South. As a child in the forties, I read the book without perceiving it was prejudicial to blacks. But now, after reviewing the illustrations and story again, I have the distinct impression that this little black kid, Sambo and his parents, Jumbo and Mumbo, were a black African family. Another problem for my growing intellect was, tigers are found in India and Asia, not Africa. Silly? Sure, but it always bothered me that an obviously black African kid lived where tigers were indigenous. Thinking back, I always believed I could write a better story on the same theme. Seventy years later, here I am publishing an improved, racially correct story, chuck full of information about geography, animal behavior, racial conflict, environmental concerns, and personal and family values. The story has a surprise ending, reminding readers to that the wild tiger is on the verge of extinction in India, Asia and Russia. Little brown Sabu and his parents are conscientious citizens of India, faced with the destruction of their environment. The story is a hopeful one, warning of environment disaster looming on the horizon, and recommending sane and scientific remedies.
  • “Sabu and the Tigers” will leave you and your children, entertained and educated. It’s a story that parents and grandparents will never tire of reading to children, and children will want to read over and over again themselves.In addition, the book is a coloring book with delightful line drawings ready for crayons or colored pencils. Kids will better remember the lessons taught while their busy hands render each picture. It’s a book that parents will cherish and want to save in family archives. It is the perfect “stocking stuffer” for Christmas, and gift for that upcoming grandchild’s birthday. Order copies for each child. Herein, is the whole story of Little Brown Sabu and the Tigers for your preview reading pleasure.
    • The Story of Little Brown Sabu and the Tigers – By Craig Gosling
    • A Story-Coloring Book for Kids
    • Once upon a time, not so very long ago in India, a little brown boy named Sabu lived on the edge of a forest with his family. India is a far away country in Asia, where tigers still survive in the wild.
    • One beautiful, but very hot summer day, Sabu’s mother bought new clothes for her son to protect him from the hot sun. (In that part of the world, just like in near-by Africa, the sun gets so hot that chickens sometimes lay hard boiled eggs, at least that was what little brown Sabu was told when he was younger. But now, he knew better than to believe everything he was told.)
    • Sabu’s mother wanted to make sure her son was well protected from the sun so she bought him a broad-brimmed hat, a pretty shirt, comfortable pants, and also a brand new pair of sandals. Needless to say, Sabu loved his new clothes and wanted to show them off to his friends in the nearby village. He asked his mother if he could take the short cut though the forest to the village. She gave him permission, but warned, “Stay on the trail and don’t get lost.” Sabu agreed, and off he went on his way to the village.
    • Little brown Sabu walked along the path through the forest for almost a mile when he came to a meadow filled with tall grass. In fact, it was as high as his head. It was then he thought he saw something move up ahead in the grass. It was so well camouflaged that he could barely make it out, but it was big… and it was coming toward him.
  •  (Camouflage means an animal blends in with its background habitat and is difficult to see.)
    • In less than a heartbeat, a ferocious tiger leaped out of the grass and landed right in front of Sabu. The tiger’s tail lashed back and forth and the tiger growled, “Grrrrrrr! I’m so hungry I’m going to have to eat you little brown boy.”
    • You can well imagine how frightened Sabu was as he faced the fierce tiger, but somehow he summoned up his courage and replied, “Oh please Mr. Tiger, don’t eat me.” Out of the corner of his eye Sabu noticed a nearby lemon tree, “Why don’t you eat some of the lemons from that tree over there, or some vegetables from my mother’s garden in stead of little scrawny me?”
    • The tiger looked down at Sabu in surprise, and then laughed out loud, as he growled. “Ha, ha, ha, growlllllll! Peeeee-U! Fruits and vegetables may be healthy food for you, little brown boy, but not for me. I have to eat other animals in order to live. I’m carnivorous by nature and only eat meat. Did you know that I have been hunting all day long and have not found a deer, or a monkey, or even a mouse to eat? I’m starving!”
    • In spite of his fear of being eaten, Sabu felt very sorry for the tiger. He knew the tiger’s forest home and hunting grounds had gradually been taken over by farms and villages, and there were very few prey animals left for the tiger to eat. Sabu could not help but notice the tiger’s prominent ribs, and he could hear its stomach making rumbling sounds. Furthermore, Sabu knew tigers were hunted for their beautiful skins and this tiger was in great danger of being shot by poachers.
  • (Poachers shoot and trap tigers so they can sell their beautiful skins and body parts. Some uneducated people believe tiger bones and organs are effective medicines against disease.)Little brown Sabu had to think fast or this hungry tiger would most certainly eat him. Suddenly, he got a great idea!
    • He said to the tiger, “Mr. Tiger, if you don’t eat me, I’ll go into town, sell my new hat, and with the money I get for it, I’ll buy you a nice, big, hot, juicy, chicken sandwich.”
    • Well, you may find this hard to believe, but the thought of a hot juicy chicken sandwich tempted the hungry tiger, who had always wanted to taste one but never had the opportunity. The tiger scratched his chin while he thought, and then replied, “Ok, it’s a deal little brown boy, but only on the condition you put curry sauce on it.”
    • (The tiger had often smelled the delicious odor of chicken and curry coming from the near by village but, of course, never had a chance to taste this traditional Indian spice.)
    • Little brown Sabu thought it was a very strange request, but he immediately agreed to it. With the tiger’s permission, Sabu hurried off down the trail as fast as he could run. The tiger stood scratching his tail, and watched the little brown boy disappear down the path. He wondered if the little brown boy had tricked him. Would the boy return with the chicken sandwich and curry as he had promised? What would you have done?
    • Little brown Sabu ran on toward the village through a thick part of the forest thinking how fortunate he was to escape the hungry tiger, when he heard a rustle in the bushes up ahead. He stopped in his tracks, and then cautiously continued down the trail toward the bushes. All of a sudden, another big tiger bounded out of the bushes and landed right in front of him, almost knocking him over. This was obviously not little brown Sabu’s lucky day.
    • The tiger growled, “Little brown boy, I’m so hungry that I am going to have to eat you.” Sabu was frightened once again, especially when he noticed that this tiger was every bit as thin as the first tiger.
    • Little brown Sabu remembered what he had said to the first tiger and thought he would try it again. “Please Mr. Tiger, don’t eat me! If you spare me, I’ll go into town, sell my pretty new shirt and buy you a nice, big, hot, juicy, chicken sandwich.”
    • For one brief moment, Sabu thought that he saw a faint smile on the tiger’s face, but he knew that tigers can’t smile, or at least he had never seen a tiger smile before. Have you ever seen a cat smile?
    • The tiger growled back, “Grrrr, I’ll spare you little brown boy for a big, hot, juicy, chicken sandwich, but only if you slather curry sauce on it. I love curry sauce and I’ve heard it goes well with chicken.”
    • Sabu thought to himself, “How strange it is that this second tiger also wants curry sauce on his chicken sandwich, just like the first tiger.” Nevertheless, Sabu agreed to the tiger’s request and then hurried off down the trail toward the village as fast as he could go.
    • On the edge of the forest, with the village in sight up ahead, another strange thing happened. From behind a large tree a third tiger suddenly appeared, blocked the trail and growled, “Grrrr! Little brown boy, I am so hungry I am going to have to eat you.”
    • As he had done before, Sabu pleaded with the tiger. “Oh please, Mr. Tiger, wouldn’t you rather enjoy a nice big, hot, juicy, chicken sandwich instead of little me? I’ll sell my sandals, and with the money I’ll buy a chicken sandwich for you.”
    • The tiger’s eyes narrowed as he intently watched the little boy, and then his reply rumbled from deep down in his shaggy throat. “Yes indeed I would, little brown boy, but be sure to add…”
    • Sabu interrupted him, “Curry sauce? Sorry to interrupt.” he added. Sabu was sure that this tiger really did grin even as he growled back. “Grrrr, that’s right, be sure not to forget the curry sauce, lots of it”
    • Again, Sabu thought it was very, very strange that all three tigers liked curry sauce on their chicken sandwiches. He could hardly believe it. Nevertheless, away he ran down the trail, as fast as his little legs would go, until he was safe in the village. Sabu had no trouble selling his beautiful hat, shirt, and sandals in the marketplace. He hoped his mother would understand that he really had no other choice because he had given his word to the three hungry tigers that had spared his life.
    • Sabu went directly to the chicken sandwich shop with his money and ordered three big, hot, juicy, chicken, sandwiches with lots and lots and lots of curry sauce slathered on them. He put each one in a separate bag, and then without wasting any time, he ran back along the trail to the forest, where he knew the tigers would be waiting for him.
    • When Sabu got to the edge of the forest, he found the tiger patiently waiting. The tiger seemed very pleased that little brown boy had kept his word and returned with the sandwich. Sabu gave one of the sandwich bags to the hungry tiger while he hid the other two bags behind his back so the tiger would not see them.
    • The tiger was ravenous and quickly devoured the sandwich splashing curry sauce all over his furry face. “Mmmmmmburp, that was good!” he said, “Now, little brown boy, what else are you hiding behind your back? They smell like big, hot, juicy, chicken sandwiches to me.”
    • Little Sabu was frightened, but he bravely spoke up and told the tiger, “Mr. Tiger. I cannot give you these sandwiches because I promised them to two other hungry tigers if they would not eat me.”
    • When the tiger heard this, he replied with an unusually gentle growl, almost a purr, “GrrrrPurrr, little brown boy, there are no other tigers. It was I who stopped you each time.” As he spoke, the tiger’s face grew sad and a tear rolled out of a fierce, but sad eye, down onto a whisker and then dripped off onto the ground, kerplunk! He said, “I am the only surviving tiger left in this whole forest, and I live a very lonely life.”
    • Sabu felt so very sorry for the poor tiger. He had no idea that this tiger was the last tiger in the forest. He immediately gave the tiger the other two sandwiches and watched them disappear into the tiger’s ferocious mouth with huge white teeth.
    • “Thank you little brown boy,” the tiger said as he burped again from eating too fast, “You have been kind to me. Burp! I wish more humans were like you. Burp.”
    • Sabu thanked the tiger for not eating him, and then watched as the tiger turned around and slowly padded off into the thick forest facing a lonely, hungry, and uncertain future. As Sabu watched, a large tear rolled down his own cheek and plopped “kerplunk!” onto the ground next to where the tiger’s tear had fallen. He felt so very sad for the tiger, as he wiped another tear from his cheek.
    • While little brown Sabu gathered up the sandwich bags and napkins from the ground so he could throw them away in the trash once he got home, he wondered what the future would hold for the tiger. Would tigers become extinct in the wild and only be found in zoos?
    • Back home, when Sabu’s mother saw him, she cried out, “Sabu, what happened to all of your nice new clothes?”
    • Little brown Sabu told his mother the truth, as he always did, and hoped that she would understand. When he finished telling her the whole story, not leaving out a detail, he noticed that his mother was crying. Sabu felt very sad that he had made his mother cry.
    • However, to his relief, she told him, “My dear son, I am crying because you are safe and that you cared about that poor, hungry tiger. You are a wonderful son and I am proud of you.” She scooped him up into her arms and gave him a big hug.
    • When Sabu’s father got home that evening and heard the whole story, he too was proud of his son. He promised his son that he would write a letter to the Prime Minister of India, asking him to make more wildlife sanctuaries for the tigers and their prey, and to protect those areas from expanding farms and villages.
    • Little brown Sabu fell asleep that night feeling both sad and happy. Sad for the poor tiger friend, but happy that, just maybe, tigers could be saved from extinction in the wild. He hoped that his father’s letter would help save the few remaining wild tigers in India. He hoped that some day, when he grew up, he too could help save the tigers, if any were left by then. As he drifted off to sleep, his thoughts were about his beautiful, but lonely, tiger friend.
    • Discussion topics:
    1. What do you think happened to the tiger?
    2. Did you know that tigers are the largest cats in the world, even larger than the lions in Africa?
    3. Can you name four other large wild cats?
    4. Can you name one striking anatomical difference between a tiger’s eye and a domestic cat’s eye?
    5. What can you do to help tigers and other large wild cats?
    6. Who is to blame for the loss of the tiger’s wild habitat?
    7. What do you call the offspring of a tiger and lioness, and a tigress and a lion?
  • AnswersTigers are protected in a few parks, but poachers still kill tigers, and each year there are fewer tigers left in the wild. It is estimated that they will be extinct in the wild, but will survive in zoos and protected animal parks.
    1. Male lions weigh in at 300 to 600 pounds, but male tigers grow to 700 to 800 pounds. Crosses between lions and tigers grow even larger, 900 to 1000 pounds.
    2. American mountain lions can weigh up to 300 pounds; African/Asian leopards can weigh in at 300 to 400 pounds; South and Central American Jaguars can weigh up to 500 pounds; African/Asian Cheetahs can weigh up to 200 pounds.
    3. Pupils of large wild cats such as the lion, tiger, mountain lion, jaguar, and cheetah grow small in bright light. Pupils of small cats become thin slits in bright light.
    4. Write letters and support wild life organizations.
    5. Governments and people, who think money and business are more important than wild life and habitats, are to blame. Everyone who does nothing to help is to blame.
    6. The offspring of a male tiger and lioness is called a tiglion. The offspring of a male lion and tigress is called a liger.  
  • Available from: Craig Gosling, Cost (including postage): $8.00   Other publications by Craig Gosling: The Adventures of Roy the Animal Boy Short stories about a boy with an amazing ability to communicate with animals. It is a semi-autobiographical series of warming animal stories based upon true-life adventures of the author. If you are having trouble getting active kids to bed each night? Here is the answer. Read to kids or have them read to you. The Roy stories make perfect stocking stuffers and birthday presents. Cost: $10 (including postage Available from: Darwin is My Hero (Poems about science and superstition) for little free-thinkers. Cost: $10.00 (including postage) Available from: cgosling@aol.comRhyme and Reason with Animals – (Illustrated poems) Clever poems and amusing illustrations about animals will delight and educate growing minds. Cost: $12.00 (including postage) Available from:

About cgosling

I am a retired medical/scientific illustrator and creator of patient teaching simulators, who has given up illustration to write about science, superstition, and secular humanism. I consider myself all of the following: atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, freethinker, skeptic, and nature lover. I have several published books but the mass of my writing is unpublished. I write children's fiction, poetry, essays, and several plays and radio theater shows, that are available as free downloads to be used on secular podcasts and meetings. They can be heard on Indy Freethought Radio or on YouTube “secularradiotheater”. I hope some of my writings will be of interest to like minded freethinkers who I cordially invite to respond. I am also a Darwin impersonator. I invite readers to listen to and use the Darwin script for secular purposes.
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