There's a quiet, gentle tiger
In the woods below the hill,
And he dances on his tiptoes,
When the world is dreaming, still.
So you only ever hear him
In the silence of the night.
And you only ever see him
When the full moon's shining bright.
One summer night I saw him first,
Twirling, whirling round.
And then I heard him gasp in fright–
He knew that he'd been found.
As he turned to me and whispered,
'Please, don't mention that I'm here'.
The laughter in his lightning eyes
Swept away my fear.
'If you will keep me secret,
And never tell a sound,
Then you may come and dance with me
On nights the moon is whole.'
So once a month, from then till now,
I've tiptoed to the wood.
We've swirled and swayed among the trees,
As Tiger said we could.
We've skipped in spring through bluebells,
In summer circled slow,
We've high-kicked in the autumn leaves,
And waltzed in winter snow.
But now that I am old and grey,
My dancing nights are done.
I've chosen you, great-grandchild,
To take my place, so come...
Let me give you Tiger's hand—
The moon is rising high.
I'll sit and watch you dancing both,
Beneath the starbright sky.
The dancing tiger
London: Simon & Schuster2005