Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Missionary Kid: Tiger cub

By Vic Midyett

[Editor’s Mea Culpa: The author submitted today’s Missionary Kid story last year sometime, along with another story that together had lain forgotten until they came to our attention recently as a direct result of Bob Boldt’s “Happy Mother’s Day” post of May 9, which prompted Vic Midyett to submit a piece about his mother. In the course of looking for a photograph of Vic’s mother, which we thought could be found among his Missionary Kid stories, we came across the two forgotten stories. Vic’s tribute to his mother, “Mom’s last good-bye,” will be published on Sunday, and his other Missionary Kid story a week from today.]

From possibly unreliable memory: I was about five years old when a villager brought us a tiger cub whose mother had been killed. I’m sure we named him, but I don’t recall the naming, or what the name was. As you will see in a moment, I’m certain Mom had a few names for him!
>    We fed him and loved him and very quickly he became a playful cat on steroids. Soon he was large enough to knock me flying when we ran towards each other. It was at this point that discussions began as to what to do with him. The two options available to Mom and Dad were to give him to either a zoo or a circus.
    This was only a topic of conversation until he began sharpening his claws on Mom’s cane furniture and his claws became large and destructive enough to do damage. A lot of damage. Urgency for a decision was suddenly paramount.
    Mom and Dad concluded that giving the tiger to a zoo was a better option, because circus operators were not always kind to their animals. So that is what happened, and so ended another exotic chapter in my young life. (The realization that my life had been “exotic” came with hindsight, because at the time I thought that everyone had a tiger cub at some point!)
    At another point there was Bambie, a very young fawn that would sleep behind our kerosene refrigerator – for the warmth, we surmised. But alas, Bambie was too young to survive when she came to us and passed away in less than two weeks –to the dinner table, I think.

Copyright © 2016 by Vic Midyett


  1. Vic did you ever find out what happened to the tiger latter in life

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  3. Sadly, no Bear. Dad had chosen a large well known zoo hoping it's care would be more easily maintained. It was based a good distance away in a city and we 'let go' in hope. When we lived in the Indian country (or outback), there was no reason to visit zoo's. We had our own! ha!

  4. I also remember us all deciding to never visit our cub in the zoo for fear it was not being taken good care of. We chose to imagine it was living the high life always.