In beast fables, the animals are very fixed in character to convey the meaning -- foxes and ravens are crafty, bears are strong but stupid, wolves are fierce, and lions are commanding frequently to the point of being tyrannical.

In regions where tigers are common, what sort of character are they depicted as in fables?

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In Indian folklore, a popular tale is "The Brahman, the Tiger, and the Six Judges". Another popular one is "The tiger, the fox and the hunters".

Here's a few more tales from Malaya & Pakistan.

In most, the tiger is deceitful and not too bright.


According to Charles D. Roberts, writing in The Kindred of the Wild, he gives a little history of the fable. He says of the (unnamed) tiger:

These earliest observers of animal life were compelled by the necessities of the case to observe truly, if not deeply. Pitting their wits against those of their four-foot rivals, they had to know their antagonists, and respect them, in order to overcome them. But it was only the most salient characteristics of each species that concerned the practical observer. It was simple to remember that the tiger was cruel, the fox cunning, the wolf rapacious.

He mentions several by name (Reynard the Fox, Isengrim the Wolf, etc), but does not name the tiger. I've not been able to find a name for the tiger in my research either, though, that doesn't mean there isn't one. Just that I've not found it!

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