Jewish Bedtime Story Co-op

Razby and The Tiger King
A Lag B'Omer tale based on the stories of from the Jewish community of Upper Mongolia

Once upon a time, there lived in the Steppes near Ulanbaatar a husband and wife who had no children. Then one day around Passover, suddenly, a baby boy was born to the family. The couple milked their goats and cows to feed the boy kumiss, or sweet milk. The boy drank the kumiss bowl with both hands, and never turned his cup over. So his parents kept refilling it. They named the boy Razby.

Lying in the family's Ger, Razby grew larger by the day, and then he grew bigger by the hour.

By his first Shabbat, he was as large as an adult.
By his second Shabbat, he ate an entire goat.
After Shabbat, he ate the family's second goat.
The next day, seeing that his parents were very very poor, he told his parents that he would leave in order to find a job and some income to support them.

His parents told Razby to head for the city where work would be plentiful.

Halfway to Ulanbaatar, a crazed cow attacked Razby. Both Razby and the crazy cow were hungry, and Razby won the fight. Razby built a bonfire, gobbled up the cow, and continued on his way to the city the next morning.

The next day, Razby arrived in the city and went to the Khan's yurt. The Khan was the governor of the entire area. Seeing how large and strong Razby was, the Khan hired Razby to be his bodyguard and assistant.

A few weeks passed. One morning, the Khan, his staff, and Razby went on a hike in the surrounding fields. Suddenly a huge tiger leapt upon them.
The Khan was so frightened, he fled back to his yurt.
The Khan's staff were so scared that they ran away in all directions.
But Razby stood his ground and stared at the tiger. When the tiger attacked Razby, Razby stepped aside, grabbed the tiger by its tail, swung it around, and bounced it against a large tree. There was a big crash, and the tiger was killed.

Razby returned to the Khan's yurt with the dead tiger on his shoulders.

When the Khan saw the dead tiger, he desired it greatly for its fur. He wanted a coat made from the tiger skin. The Khan therefore ordered Razby to travel to the Northern caves, seek out the Tiger-King, return it to Ulanbaatar, and make a coat from its fur.

Razby was upset, but he knew that he would have to carry out the Khan's orders. He therefore went to his parents home, visited with them for a day, gave them his accumulated earnings. Razby's parents could not guarantee that Razby would be safe from the Tiger King's powers. The told Razby to remember his village, and his people and thus he might be able to overcome the Tiger Kings powers.

Razby's father gave Razby a 3 year old speckled pony, a bow, and several arrows, and thus Razby was off and on his way to the Northern caves.

Razby's speckled pony galloped off at a swift speed; and they headed for the land of the Tiger King. After many hours of travel, the pony slowed its pace, and Razby noticed a wolf that was just about to attack a young girl. Razby placed an arrow in his bow, pulled back, and let the arrow fly. The arrow hit the wolf just in time and the girl was saved.

As a reward for saving the girl, her grandparents provided Razby and his pony with tea and bread. The girl's grandmother also gave Razby some carob fruit, saying, "Take this carob. It may come in handy in the future."

Razby, his pony, and the gift of the carob continued on their way, until they approached a wide and raging river, filled with foamy waves.

As Razby approached the river's banks, a large green turtle popped its head from the waters and said, "Go away, the waters are too swift. You will be unable to cross the river here."

Razby replied, " I do not fear the raging waters"

"So be it," replied the turtle. "But before you try to cross the river, can you help me? I have something stuck in my eye, and it is causing me great discomfort."

" I would be happy to help you," Razby replied. Razby knelt down and pulled the irritating rock from the turtle's eye. The rock was actually a precious pearl. Razby glanced at the pearl, and then looked deeply into it. Looking up from pearl, he found that his eyesight had become sharpened. It was as if he could see for miles in the distance.

Razby mounted his pony, plunged into the river's waters, and strove to cross the river. When the waters of the river touched Razby's saddle, they immediately parted. Was it a miracle? I can't say for sure. But all I know is that Razby and his pony were able to cross the river with ease.

As the Sun moved toward the Western horizon, Razby reached a village of yurts. There he saw some people tending to their flocks and planting some trees. At the edge of the village, Razby met an old shepherd who sat outside his yurt, weeping.

"Why do weep?" asked Razby. "Is there anything I can do to help you?"

The exasperated old shepherd stopped his weeping, looked up and said, :I am afraid there is nothing you can do to help me. Yesterday, the Tiger King attacked our village and stole my daughter."

"Do not lose hope, sir," Razby replied. "For I am in search of the Tiger King. I shall rescue your daughter and bring her safely back to you."

The old shepherd invited Razby into his tent for some milk and tea. After this Razby thanked the shepherd and continued his search for the Tiger King.

Before the setting of the Sun, Razby came to the place of caves, and there he saw ten, maybe 12, tigers guarding the entrance to the Tiger Kings cave palace.

Razby approached the cave. From his pocket he pulled out the carob fruit that the old woman had given to him as a reward for saving her granddaughter. He threw the carob to the tigers. They pounced on the fruit, and began to eat the sweet delight.

Razby thus entered the cave, and there he found the shepherd's daughter. He rescued the shepherd's daughter; they hopped onto his pony and rode away at a furious speed.

When the Tiger King had noticed that his hostage was gone, he roared loudly; he was enraged, and gave chase. Razby armed his bow with an arrow and let the arrow sail towards the Tiger King. The arrow hit the Tiger King, but it made him only angrier. With an outstretched paw and an anger filled swipe, the Tiger King knocked Razby and the girl off their pony. The Tiger King then leapt upon Razby. Razby quickly rolled over, avoided the Tiger King, grabbed him by his tail, and swung him around into a large tree. That is how he vanquished the Tiger King.

Razby dragged the Tiger King back to the village, and returned the girl he rescued to her father. The old shepherd was so happy that he allowed Razby to marry his daughter.

The next day, Razby and his new wife left the village on their pony. They dragged the Tiger King behind them.

They were only a few steps from the village when a dozen tigers from the cave attacked them. A battle started between Razby and the tigers. With his arrows, he was able to vanquish most of them, and with his fists he was able to fight the others. But exhaustion was about to overcome Razby, when out from the village came the old shepherd, his neighbors, and several students. Together they were able to slay the remaining tigers.

Razby thanked the shepherds and the students for their help. He and his wife remounted the pony and headed home.

Returning to Ulanbaatar, Razby gave the Khan the pelt from the slain Tiger King. But the Khan was not satisfied. He was no longer envious of the pelt, but was now envious of Razby's new wife.

Just then, the Tiger Kings pelt came alive, devoured the Khan, and then returned to being a pelt.

There was nothing Razby could do. He and his wife mounted their speckled pony and returned to Razby's parents' village. Razby became a farmer and shared his barley, wheat, and crop harvests with his neighbors. They lived happily ever after, and Razby shared his precious pearl with his neighbors so that they too could see things clearly. -- Revised: July 1999
Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 Acquired in August 1999.

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