A man was running, stumbling, and gasping for breath as ferocious tiger chased him. Dashing for the edge of a cliff, he saw a vine. He desperately reached for the vine and in one last, bold leap swung himself over the cliff’s edge.
As he hung dangling down, he looked up and saw the growling tiger on the ledge above him. He felt a moment of relief as the tiger clawed the air but was unable to reach him. Then the man looked down. At the bottom of the cliff far below where he hung was another tiger! Tightening his hold on the vine, the man wondered what to do.
To his further dismay, he noticed two mice, one dark as night, one light as day, nibbling at the vine. He knew that it was only a matter of time before he would fall to the jaws of the tiger below. Just then, he noticed a wild strawberry growing on the face of the cliff.
Gripping the vine with one hand, he reached out with the other, plucked the strawberry from the cliff wall, and put it in his mouth. Never before had he realized how sweet a strawberry could taste.
Uit: Wisdom Tales from Around the World, Heather Forest, August House, 1996.
Afbeelding: Swallow and begonia and strawberry pie, Katsushika Hokusai, 1834.