The Tigress and the Dragon

The Tigress and the Dragon

An Assembly Story for Primary Schools

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Children are taught about the importance of being balanced and level-headed in this Chinese folklore stylised primary school assembly story. Tigress Yin and Dragon Yang are diametrically opposed in nature: she is vigilant, and fiercely protective, yet apprehensive, whereas he is completely nonchalant, luxuriating, and self-assured. When Laotzi arrives, it becomes clear that both types of character are needed in the world, moreover that something can be learnt from both. On Laotzi, it is by coincidence that both Tigress Yin and Dragon Yang find themselves in the same little rural village- much to the terror of the villagers. Yin hides, lying in wait for a villager to take back to her cubs as food.  Yang- perplexed as to the source of the villagers’ havoc- notices Yin and assumes that she has frightened the villagers and so attempts to intimidate her into leaving. Unfortunately his tactics multiply the pandemonium, for his fire-breathing at the Tigress has started an immense fire. Further, the villagers decide that Yang is at fault and so try to shoot him down. He gathers himself and manages to flee the devastation. Yin, has by now missed her opportunity and is obliterated in the flames- concern for her little cubs being her final thoughts. The Tigress pays the ultimate price in this story- we see that her permanent irascibility does her no good. Her violently protective nature has morphed into desperate, base immorality with her wishing to take a person to feed her cubs- she is punished for her cruel thoughts. Dragon is oppositely punished for his callousness- his lack of worry means that he is naïve, uninhibited and bullish. This results in his being seen as fearsome, and thus being attacked. From this tale he learns that he must be more considerate to and careful of others to avoid danger. Whilst the ‘positive’ in the form of Yang outweighs the ‘negative’ Yin, it can be seen that one cannot truly exist without the other. Ultimately, children can learn from this assembly story that the Yin and Yang balance needs to be regulated for everybody to exist in harmony. Here, Tigress Yin needed to adopt the bright, sanguine nature Yang has, and to ask for help. Yang, on the other hand, should have been far more thoughtful, and concerned- deriving from Yin’s attitude. If both characters had been less set in their way and more readily able to control their feelings, then all tumult could have been avoided. Children listening to this story will be able to recognise this, and importantly- to realise that sometimes pride needs to be put aside and balance struck. This assembly story derives from Chinese folklore relating to the Tao as an intrinsic concept for Buddhists, meaning that it is a great support for the primary school Religious Education curriculum. 

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