The Tiger's Claw
excerpt from Malgudi Days, by R. K. Narayan
However, he woke up to a real tiger pushing it's way into the room. The Talkative Man used pieces of furniture to defend himself as well as a knife, and every time the tiger came close to him, he chopped off a digit. He continued fighting with the tiger until about five in the morning, when the station-master and the porter arrived, and the two ran as fast as they could away from the tiger until a goods train passed by and the tiger ran back to the jungle. He says that even though the hunters killed the tiger, the people of the village could at least give a little credit to the man who faced the same animal barehanded and still survived.
The people who have been told the story asked to see the right forepaw of the tiger, and sure enough, three toes were missing. When they ask about it, the hunters reply that when some forest tribes catch a tiger cub, they usually only cut off it's claws as a talisman, and then let it go.
Meaning of the story
"It's said that some forest tribes, if they catch a tiger cub, cut off its claws for some talisman and let it go." This is a part of the culture of some Indian forest tribes, and it leads the reader to question whether the Talkative Man's story was true, or whether the tiger had three toes cut off for another reason, highlights the art of traditional Indian storytelling.
"'The men who had laid it low were the heroes of the day. They were garlanded with chrysanthemum flowers and seated in the arch of the highest bullock cart and were paraded in the streets." This quote demonstrates culture through the celebration that happens and the great importance of a tiger, tying in with the quote above, and putting on display the high value of a tiger, especially its claw.