A kind boy learns about a baby dragon who needs help. He goes on an adventure to save the dragon from Wild Island!
Chapter 5 – I Meet Some Tigers
The river was very wide and muddle and the jungle was very gloom and dense. The trees grew close to each other. The space in between the trees was completely filled with great high ferns with sticky leaves. I hated to leave the beach, but I decided to walk along the river bank where the jungle wasn’t quite so thick. I ate three tangerines, making sure to keep all the peels this time, and I put on my rubber boots.
I tried to follow the river bank but it was very swampy. As I went farther, the swamp became deeper. When the swamp was almost as deep as my boot tops, I got stuck in the oozy, mucky mud. I tugged and tugged, and I nearly pulled my foot out of my boots! But at last, I managed to get to a safer, drier place. Here the jungle was so thick that I could hardly see where the river was. I unpacked my compass and figured out the direction that I should walk in order to stay near the river. But up ahead, I didn’t know that the river made a very sharp curve away from me. So when I kept walking straight ahead, I was getting farther and farther away from the river.
It was very hard to walk in the jungle. The sticky leaves of the ferns caught in my hair. I kept tripping over roots and rotten logs. Sometimes, the trees were clumped so closely together that I couldn’t squeeze between them, and I had to circle around them.
I began to hear whispers and noises, but I couldn’t see any animals anywhere. The deeper into the jungle I went, the surer I was that something was following me. And then, I thought that I heard whispers on both sides of me, as well as behind me. I tried to run, but I tripped over more roots and the noises came closer. Once or twice, I thought I heard something laughing at me.
At last I came out into a cleaning and I ran right into the middle of it so that I could see anything that might try to come out and attack me. I was scared stiff when I looked and saw fourteen green eyes looking out of the jungle all around the clearing. Those green eyes turned into seven tigers! The tigers walked around me in a big circle, looking as hungry as can be, and then they sat down around him and spoke.
“I bet you thought we didn’t know you were trespassing in our jungle!”
Then the next tiger spoke. “I bet you’re going to say that you didn’t know it was our jungle!”
“Did you know that not one explorer has ever left this island alive?” said the third tiger.
I thought of the cat and I knew this wasn’t true. But of course, I had enough sense to keep quiet about that. It’s not a good idea to contradict a hungry tiger.
The tigers were talking in turns. “You’re our first little boy, you know. I’m curious to know if you are especially tender.”
“I bet you think we have regular meal times, but we don’t. We just eat whenever we’re feeling hungry,” said the fifth tiger.
“And we’re very hungry right now. In fact, I can hardly wait,” said the sixth.
“I can’t wait!” said the seventh tiger.
And then, all the tigers said together in a loud roar, “Let’s eat right now!” And they moved in closer.
I looked at those seven hungry tigers and I got an idea. I quickly opened my backpack and took out the chewing gum. The cat had told me that tigers were especially fond of chewing gum, which was scarce on the island. So he threw them each a piece.
Unfortunately, they only growled, “As fond as we are of chewing gum, we bet we’d like you even better!” And they moved so close that he could feel them breathing on his face.
“But this is very special chewing gum,” I said, keeping cool. “If you keep on chewing it long enough, it will turn green. And then, if you plant it, it will grow more chewing gum. The sooner you start chewing, the sooner you can grow more.”
The tigers said, “Oh! Is that right! Isn’t that great!” And because each one wanted to be the first to plant the chewing gum, they all unwrapped their pieces and began chewing as hard as they could.
Every once in a while, a tiger would look into another’s mouth and say, “Nope, it’s not ready yet,” until finally they were all so busy looking into each other’s mouths to make sure that no one was getting ahead that they forgot all about me.