A Tiger in the House is a short story written by Ruskin Bond.
Timothy, the tiger cub, was discovered by Grandfather in the Terai jungle. One day he was going with the hunting party. He noticed a little tiger hiding under a banyan tree. He brought it home.
At first, the cub was brought up only on milk. But it couldn’t digest it. So it was given a diet of meat, pigeons, and rabbits.
Timothy had two companions in the house. Toto, the monkey, and a puppy, who was mischievous. It pulled the cub’s tail. Timothy was at first quite afraid of the puppy. Finally, it allowed the dog to sit on its back. One of its favorite sport was to move silently and closer towards the narrator. It soon grew to the size of a hunting dog. People on the road kept a safe distance from it. It had clean habits like a cat. It slept at night in the cook’s quarters.
As Timothy grew up, it became less friendly and rather dangerous. Grandmother declared that one day it would kill the cook, Mahmoud. It started going after a cat or a pet dog. It had to be chained up more often. Grandfather decided it was time to transfer it to the zoo at Lucknow. The zoo authorities received the gift of a well-fed tiger gladly.
Six months passed. Grandparents went to Lucknow to meet some relatives. Grandfather decided to see Timothy. He made straight for the cage in which it had been kept. He said ‘hello’ to the beast and even put his both hands around its head. He patted it and tickled its ears. He hit it lightly whenever it growled. But the leopard in the next cage growled at it and terrified it.
A keeper asked grandfather what he was doing. Grandfather told him that he had gifted that tiger to the zoo six months ago. Now it was time to say goodbye to it. He had been striking and slapping it lovingly. Another keeper watched this with alarm. He remembered that Grandfather had brought a tiger to the zoo some time back. But he told him that Timothy had died two months ago of pneumonia. The tiger in that cage was very dangerous and had been trapped only the previous month.
The tiger was still licking Grandfather’s arm with relish. Grandfather withdrew his hand slowly from the cage and left the zoo silently.