Reprinted with permission from One Hand Clapping: Zen Stories for All Ages. A zoo once had a famous tiger. One day the tiger died. Since it was very expensive to replace the tiger, the zoo hired a beggar to dress up in a tiger skin during zoo hours, sit in the cage, and pretend to be a tiger. This actually worked quite well. The people believed the famous tiger was still there, and the beggar had a home. One day two men began arguing in front of the tiger cage."The tiger is the strongest of animals," said one of the men. "Its roar is the mightiest. It's the most ferocious of beasts, and this one is a terrific specimen.""Nonsense," replied the other man. He pointed to the lion in the next cage. "Everyone knows that the lion is the king of the beasts. When he roars, everyone trembles! And just look at this one here - he's magnificent!"The men continued to quarrel until finally they persuaded the zookeeper to let the two animals fight each other to see which was actually the mightiest. They promised to pay the zookeeper if either animal was killed.Hearing this, the "tiger" was terrified, but before he could do anything, the cage door opened and in bounded the lion.A crowd gathered as the roaring lion furiously chased the tiger all around the cage, finally pouncing on him. The tiger trembled with fear."This is the end," thought the poor tiger. "I am about to be eaten by a lion."
But then the lion whispered softly in his ear, " Not to worry. "I'm the same as you!"