OVERVIEW: While the ‘tiger of war’ rages across the Pacific during WWII, eccentric, elderly Agnes Odboddy, ‘fights the war from the home front’. Then she finds a rat-filled shoebox on her porch, her house is trashed and she is implicated in the Wilkey’s Market burglary! In her own bumbling, hysterical manner, Agnes is determined to get to the bottom of things.
Then a traveling carnival with a live tiger joins the parishioners’ Harvest Fair at The First Church of the Evening Star and Everlasting Light. Agnes bears some of the responsibility when counterfeit bills are discovered at the carnival, and the war bond money goes missing. She’s in trouble again. Her attempts to restore the war bond money lead her into harm’s way. A friend’s betrayal results in a harrowing experience as Agnes learns more about carnival life and tigers than she bargained for.
(Excerpt from Mrs. Odboddy – And Then there was a Tiger)
(At the tiger's performance at the carnival)
For the next ten minutes, the trainer put the tiger through his paces. Probably declawed, and totally dependent on a human to provide his meat on the end of a stick, the tiger was as tame as a housecat. “Does anyone want to pet Shere Khan? He’s very friendly,” the trainer said.
Agnes touched Maddie’s cheek. “What do you think?”
“I…I…think so. Yes!” Maddie stepped closer. She ran one finger over Shere Khan’s head. “He’s so soft.” She stroked the tiger’s neck and scratched behind his ear.
Shere Khan turned into the caress, opened his mouth and yawned, showing long sharp teeth. His eyes sought Maddie’s face and their eyes locked in a gaze that seemed to connect their souls. At last, Shere Khan stood and ambled back toward the door of his caravan,
“Well, guess the show is over, folks. Our star has had enough public adulation.” The trainer chuckled and turned away.
Agnes reached for Maddie’s hand and gave it a shake. “Are you ready to go back now?”
Not responding, Maddie stared at the caravan door.
“Maddie? It’s time to go back.”
Maddie had not moved. She rubbed her fingers together, seeming unable to relinquish the sensation of the tiger’s ear, reluctant to forget the rumble in his throat as she stroked his face.
“Maddie?” Agnes searched Maddie’s face. The child seemed lost in the memory of a special shared moment, reluctant to return to her everyday life. “Shall we go, sweetheart?”
The child blinked. “I remember when we played together with baby lambs and goats in a meadow in Heaven…before I was born. Do you think he remembered, too?”
“What strange ideas you have, child. Where do you come up with such things?” Agnes grasped Maddie’s hand and hurried her away.
Played together in Heaven? What could have put such a thought into her head? Agnes glanced at Maddie’s face. Her eyes were aglow, her smile as innocent as an angel. Her face looked as though she truly remembered a day in Heaven when she played in a meadow with lambs and a tiger.
Goosebumps crept up Agnes’s arms. Hadn’t Pastor Lickleiter just preached on this text last Sunday? The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6 KJV)
Wolves? Leopards? Lions? Who’s to say there wasn’t a tiger among them.
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