The tiger and the strawberry

My version of a historic Buddhist koan.


A traveller once took a long journey. In a forest on the way, a tiger emerges from the trees. The traveller flees the path but the tiger immediately pursues.

Running fast through the underbrush, the traveller comes to a precipice. The tiger is right behind—there is no turning back.

So the traveller grabs a wild vine and swings quickly over the edge. Feet dangling into air, it is a fall to death. The tiger claws and bats from above.

Just then, two mice appear. One black. One white. They start to gnaw at the vine.

The traveller looks around. A ripe strawberry is growing on the cliff face. Stretching, the traveller plucks the wild fruit and eats it. Oh, how sweet.