Keeping up with the conniving spider… Nanzi fools Cha Tiger

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Many years ago, Cha* Tiger did not live in the mondi*, but among civil society. Back then, he was feared by everyone. When he walked past in a halfway, everyone around would make room immediately, that’s how ferocious he was.

One night a group of friends was hanging out and they were talking about Cha Tiger. “You know, that tiger sure is incredibly strong and I don’t trust him one bit. He probably eats a lot too. Oh, I’m so scared of him!” one person said.

“Oh, don’t be stupid! What can Cha Tiger do? He’s all bark and no bite, that’s it. I certainly am not afraid of him. I bet you guys that I could even sit on his back like I would any donkey.” It was Nanzi who said this. The people around him laughed at his remarks, thinking how silly it was for him to say such things.

“You, Nanzi? You are such a liar! He’ll stomp you into next Tuesday, stop saying such nonsense.”

“I’m not lying!” Nanzi defended himself. “He’ll take me all the way to Shon Arei*.”

The next morning, Shon Arei already knew of what Nanzi had been saying about Cha Tiger. He was really curious to see if Nanzi was brave enough to put his money where his mouth is. Cha Tiger walked past.

“Hey, Cha Tiger!” someone called to him. He growled at the person. “Hey, Cha Tiger! Listen!”

“Nanzi made fun of you, said he wasn’t afraid of you at all! Said he could sit on your back and that you weren’t as strong as we think you are.”

Cha Tiger stopped dead in his tracks, furious. “Well, I’ll set him straight!” Cha Tiger ran toward Nanzi’s house, prepared to teach Nanzi a painful lesson. The entire way there he was growling and yelling, making everyone around aware what was going to happen. They all ran inside and peaked through the blinds to see the fight that was going to unfold.

Nanzi also heard Cha Tiger’s screams, slowly getting closer and closer. He was terrified. His face turned pale, and his teeth started chattering like someone with a high fever. Sweat was dripping down his forehead.

When Cha Tiger arrived at Nanzi’s place, he stormed in and saw Nanzi’s frail body lying face down in the corner. “Hey, how are you, Cha Tiger?” Nanzi asked, his voice trembling. “I Heard you were making fun of me in front of your little friends, so I came to hear from your own mouth what you have to say to me,” Cha Tiger retorted, still fuming.

“Me? Talk bad about you?” Nanzi chuckled nervously. “People are such liars, I swear. Can’t you see how sick I am here?” Nanzi took a pause, like someone who couldn’t breathe properly. In his case of course, it was probably from extreme fear. “Shi Maria* wanted to take me to Shon Arei, where someone can heal me from my illness.” Still wrapped up in his act, Nanzi turned back face down. “Me, a father of nine little children…”

Cha Tiger was shocked. Nanzi looked absolutely terrible, God knows he was dying.

“Cha Tiger, you’re strong. Could you put me on your back and take me to Shon Arei, I can barely walk,” Nanzi pleaded. Cha Tiger took pity on the spider and agreed to do this favor. Nanzi climbed on the tiger’s back, letting his body fall down and grabbing on to Cha Tiger’s neck. “Would you mind putting a rope in your mouth so I can hold on? That way I can sit up straight,” Nanzi asked. Cha Tiger growled in reluctance but said OK. And so they made their way to Shon Arei.

Once they started traveling through the mondi, Nanzi turned to Cha Tiger and said: “These mosquitos are so annoying! Cha Tiger, do you mind if I cut a piece of branch so I can keep these mosquitos away?” Cha Tiger let him take his branch.

Eventually they made it out the mondi to where everyone else was. Nanzi immediately perked up and whacked Cha Tiger with his branch, making the tiger jump. He ran all the way to Shon Arei’s castle. Exhausted, he plumped down in front of His Majesty.

“See, Shon Arei? Cha Tiger ain’t nothing but a big donkey!” Nanzi said proudly. Everyone around cheered: “Hurray, Nanzi!” Poor Cha Tiger was so embarrassed that he was fooled by the conniving spider, and so he ran into the mondi to hide. To this day, it’s said that the tiger still hides away in the mondi.

Cha: Nickname placed in front of someone’s name and can mean anything, like friend. However, it often has negative connotations first.

Mondi: dry wooded areas found on the ABC islands.

Shon Arei: The King

Shi Maria: Nanzi’s wife.

Story and pictures taken from: Kon Nanzi a Nek Shon Arei (i otro kuentanan di e araña sabi) by