The Tigers and the Strawberry

gratitude-tigerThis story came my way, and I wanted to share it with you:

There was a man walking across an open field, when suddenly a tiger appeared and began to give chase.

The man began to run, but the tiger was closing in.

As he approached a cliff at the edge of the field, the man grabbed a vine and jumped over the cliff. Holding on as tight as he could, he looked up and saw the angry tiger prowling out of range ten feet above him. He looked down. In the gully below, there were two tigers also angry and prowling.

He had to wait it out.

He looked up again and saw that two mice, one white, the other black, had come out of the bushes and had begun gnawing on the vine, his lifeline. As they chewed the vine thinner and thinner, he knew that he could break at any time.

Then, he saw a single strawberry growing just an arms length away. Holding the vine with one hand, he reached out, picked the strawberry, and put it in his mouth.

It was delicious.


There is often a desire to complete the story, to find a way out of this predicament or that dilemma. It is easy to forget that within the limitations of the moment, there is freedom. In this story, it’s the experience of the fresh taste of the strawberry. It is different in each case. Not every day can be an easy day for anyone. The freedom of the moment is always available, even when circumstances are grim.

Be Well.
The Gratitude Guru


  1. Nicki Eve on June 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I liked this story for it’s simplicity. For me it says we have choices. We can either freak out and add stress to our lives or notice what is in front of us to enjoy even in the darkest moments. Thank you for sharing Paul.

  2. Margaret Wesner on May 15, 2013 at 11:38 am

    This story reveals the beauty of the present moment, and the possibilities of a newly opened door of freedom.
    Who knows but that the noticing of the strawberry might reveal also a new intact vine to grab and hold.

    • Paul on May 20, 2013 at 7:27 am

      Great point, Margaret! If we just ‘open our eyes’ and allow ourselves to see, we may find a lot of other alternatives that ‘didn’t exist before.’

  3. Garret on May 15, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    I wonder if mice like strawberries?

    • Paul on May 20, 2013 at 7:25 am

      Good question, Garret! They maybe so focused on the vine that they do not see the strawberries! I have certainly been narrow-minded like that – I miss the great because I am constantly focusing on the good.

  4. jim on May 15, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Yes, he could break @ any time & so could the vine. In another version of the story, she had to let go of the vine in order to reach the strawberry … one must take their foot off first in order to steal second …

    • Paul on May 20, 2013 at 7:24 am

      There will always be a Risk / Reward factor. Sometimes we cannot see that the risk is actually something for our own good! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jim!

  5. Altered Visions on May 16, 2013 at 7:49 am

    If the man had given the strawberry to the mice instead, they would have helped him out of his situation and he’d still be here today! The message I got out of it is to always think to help others even in your own perilous situations.

    • Paul on May 20, 2013 at 7:23 am

      There are many ways to interpret this message – I like yours! Thanks.

Leave a Comment