The Tale of Tilly the Tiger and the Painted Stripes
In the heart of the Jungle of Jamboree, where the trees danced to the songs of the wind and the rivers told tales of old, there lived Tilly the Tiger. Tilly was a young tiger, and unlike other tigers, she had no stripes. She was as orange as the setting sun, with not a single black line on her fur.
Every day, Tilly would watch the other tigers flaunt their beautiful stripes, and she felt left out. “Why don’t I have stripes like everyone else?” she often wondered.
One day, an idea popped into Tilly’s head. “If I don’t have stripes, I’ll paint them on!” And so, using berries and leaves, she painted stripes all over her body. Looking at her reflection in the river, she felt proud of her new look.
The next day, Tilly strutted into the jungle, showing off her stripes. The animals gasped in surprise. “Look at Tilly’s stripes! They’re so unique and vibrant!” they exclaimed.
Tilly basked in the attention, and for a while, everything seemed perfect. But as days turned into nights, the painted stripes started to fade and wash away. Tilly would hurriedly repaint them, fearing what the others would say if they found out.
One day, as Tilly was playing by the riverbank with her friends, a sudden downpour began. As the raindrops kissed the earth, Tilly’s painted stripes began to wash away, revealing her stripe-less fur.
The animals stared in shock. “Tilly, were your stripes painted on?” asked Momo the Monkey.
Tilly looked down, her heart heavy. “Yes,” she whispered, “I painted them because I wanted to fit in.”
Lana the Leopard stepped forward, her eyes kind. “Tilly, we loved your painted stripes, but we love the real you even more. Stripes or no stripes, you’re special in your own way.”
Tilly blinked back tears. “I thought I needed stripes to be accepted, but I realize now that I should’ve been true to myself.”
From that day on, Tilly wore her stripe-less fur with pride. And the animals of the Jungle of Jamboree learned an important lesson: It’s our differences that make us unique, and it’s always best to be true to who you are.