A long time ago, man only hunted for what he needed, never more. Life was easy for the animal world. There lived a man name Caleb. Like all other men in his village, he was a hunter. Every morning, he said goodbye to his family and took his bow and spear and went to the forest.
During the summer, he only hunted the smaller animals. During the winter, he hunted the larger animals because he also needed their fur for his family. Caleb was a very good hunter. He never missed his mark. People in the village praised him for his skillfulness. This made Caleb very proud. No one could out hunt him; he was the best!
One day his friend, Tonar, became ill and could not hunt for his family. So Caleb decided to hunt for extra food for himself and Tonar. Tonar was grateful for his friend’s help. After Tonar became well, Caleb no longer needed to hunt for more food. But he was used to hunting for extra food. He decided to sell his extra animal meat and skins. Soon, Caleb became rich from selling his extra meat and skins.
After some time, there were very few smaller animals to hunt because he had killed most of them. So he began hunting the larger, winter animals until they began to disappear also. Caleb’s wife and the other villagers became very worried about the future of their village. If there were no animals to hunt, then they would either starve or have to leave their homeland. The elders tried to talk to Caleb but he refused to listen. He continued to hunt unnecessarily.
One day, he went out hunting. He had to go further into the forest than usual. He came across a lush green opening. He found a large beautiful tigress feeding her cubs. Caleb marveled at the color of her fur. “With that fur I would look like a king,” he thought to himself, “or I could fetch a high price in the market.” He quietly took out his spear and aimed at the beautiful tigress.
Suddenly the tigress looked at him and spoke softly to him. “Please sir, spare me. I have two young cubs that need me to feed and protect them. If you kill me, they will not survive the coming winter. Besides, you have plenty of meat and skins already, you do not need to kill me.” Caleb thought for a moment, but his greed won over his compassion. He raised his spear and killed the tigress. He placed her with the rest of his kill and returned home.
Just as the sun began to set he arrived at his village. He waved to his wife and children as they approached him. Suddenly, the ground began to shake and the sky became black. A voice came from the forest and spoke to Caleb. “Caleb, you have wronged the forest by killing beyond your needs. You wrongfully killed the mother tigress and now you will be punished for your crimes. You, the hunter will now become the hunted. And you will be hunted for the rest of your life, not for food, not for clothing, but out of hate.”
Suddenly, Caleb felt himself rising from the ground. He began to shake violently. His hands and feet turned into claws. His skin was covered with ugly black and brown fur. His face was no longer handsome, but now tiny orange eyes, two pudgy ears, a long snout and ugly protruding fangs. When the sky cleared, he was no longer Caleb the hunter, but he was Caleb the hideous creature. He looked at his family who now only stared in terror. His wife and children screamed and ran into the village. Soon, men came with spears and torches and chased him back into the forest.
Caleb spent the rest of his life running from hunters because they feared and hated him.