One of the most encouraging things happened last night. Ezra confirmed he’s still a kid. Of all my letters I’ve written to him and his sister, the letter that has upset him by far the most was yesterday’s “The Snow Tiger In The Jungle.” All the other stuff rolls off his back. “I forgive you, Dad” is quickly said.
Ezra: (with a very sad expression on his face) “Why don’t you write “The Snow Tiger In The Jungle” book?
Me: “Ezra, I told you in the letter. It would be a full time job. I already have 2 other full time jobs; one of them looking after you two. I don’t have time for a third.”
Ezra: “You would be famous if you did.”
A number of minutes pass by. Ezra reads the letter to himself again.
Ezra: “I forgive you. I know you still love us. Even though you’re not going to write “The Snow Tiger In The Jungle” book….for us.
Me: “Okay, okay. I will tell you the first chapter before we all go to sleep. Once upon a time. On mountain in Asia. There lived a boy. A boy named Ezra, but the same age as Lian. Read how it begins.”
Ezra: “The story begins with this 4 year old half Asian/half Caucasian boy playing with ice. (Ezra when you were 4, you loved doing that. Just like Lian does now at the same age.) The boy is outside of house and watching him is the Snow Tiger from the edge of the jungle. The Snow Tiger is so curious about the boy.”
Me: Why is the Snow Tiger there?
Ezra: “He’s lost. The trees are too tall so he can’t find his way back to the snow covered mountains.”
Me: “No. He was sent to save and protect the hilly people from rats and the famine. He’s come to scare away the King Rat and his army. During the real plague, there were these real rats the size of dogs.”
Me: “Yes. That’s the King Rat in my story.”
Me: “Ezra loves ice. In English, he says, “Ice. Cold.”
Ezra: “He is unlike any boy he has ever seen. He is also talking perfect Tiger language. (Though the Snow Tiger understands all languages of all creatures, he clearly and surprisingly hears his own tongue being spoken.)”
Me: “Ezra (speaking Tiger language) says he misses the cold and snow of his home in Canada. The Snow Tiger hears this and also misses the cold and snow of his home in the high mountains. The Snow Tiger thinks the boy looks delicious, but he is so curious to see ice so far away from his home in the snow covered mountains. Suddenly he jumps out in front of the boy and lets out a great roar. The boy is not frightened or even bothered. Instead, he gives the Snow Tiger some ice to lick.”
Me: “The boy gives his whole bowl of ice cubes to the Snow Tiger. What is the boy going to eat?”
Lian: “A watermelon!!!”
Ezra: “If you were the boy, he would. The boy’s name is Ezra.”
Me: “He gets a bowl of ice cream.”
“Thus begins a great friendship between the Snow Tiger and the boy. The boy and the Snow Tiger start talking with one another. The boy’s mother looks out the window of the house to see her son. She can’t see the Snow Tiger.” Okay why can’t the Mommy see the Snow Tiger?
Lian: “He’s hiding behind Ezra.”
Ezra: “He’s hiding in the jungle.”
Me: “Only those who have been roared at, can see him. She thinks to herself, “Ezra’s talking to the angels.” This is what the local tribe say babies and toddlers do when they are babbling to themselves. (It was said about Ezra when you appeared to be talking to someone in the corner of an empty room.)
Me: “What does the Snow Tiger eat?”
Lian: “Bunny rabbits.”
Me: “No. Let’s read; “There is a belief amongst many Mizos that tigers only kill evil people doing wicked things. The story assumes this myth to be true. Thus, the Snow Tiger is prevented from ever eating the boy because he has a pure heart.”
This morning arriving at daycare, Lian whispered to me with her hand over her mouth, “Tell (daycare person) about the Snow Tiger.”
I think tonight I will tell them chapter 2. I wonder what will happen.