Mrs. Packletide was an English lady who was overcome with a strong desire to shoot a tiger. Basically she was not adventurous or brave but she was smitten with jealousy when her friend, Loona Bimberton, had recently been carried in an airplane by an Algerian pilot. Mrs. Packletide wanted to outshine her and longed to prove that she was no less. Her ultimate desire was to obtain a tiger skin and display it on the wall of her house. If she succeeded in killing a tiger, her photograph would appear in the press and she would host a party in Curzon Street in Loona Bimberton’s honor, but the talk would be of her hunting expedition. She also planned to present a tiger claw brooch on Loona’s next birthday. All her motives were largely dominated by her dislike of Loona.
Circumstances proved to be favorable. An old and weak tiger was visiting a neighboring village in search of food. Mrs. Packletide offered to pay one thousand rupees to anyone who would help her in shooting a tiger. The villagers got very tempted as one thousand rupees was a lot of money in those days. They made all the efforts to confine the tiger within the village. Children were posted day and night on the outskirts of the local jungle to drive the tiger back to the village. Cheaper kind of goats was scattered here and there, to keep the tiger there. Mothers were told not to sing lullabies to their children loudly, lest the tiger’s sleep should be disturbed. The only anxiety was lest the tiger should die of old age before the day of hunting.
On a fateful night, Mrs. Packletide came along with a paid companion Miss Mebbin. A platform had already been constructed in a comfortable and conveniently placed tree by the villagers. Both the ladies sat on the platform. A goat with a loud bleat was tied at the proper distance from the tiger. Meanwhile the tiger appeared on the scene and slowly walked towards the goat. Mrs. Packletide fired a shot with her rifle. The tiger fell down to one side. The excited villagers celebrated by beating drums and singing. Mrs. Packletide was also too happy.
Miss Mebbin was very clever and alert. She drew Mrs. Packletide’s attention to the fact that the bullet had actually hit the goat and the tiger had died due to a heart attack, caused by the loud report of the rifle. Miss Mebbin pointed out that the tiger bore no wounds. Mrs. Packletide was disappointed but she consoled herself with the thought that she possessed the tiger-skin. The villagers agreed to keep the secret for they were happy to receive the money. Mrs. Packletide wasn’t insecure about Miss Mebbin for she was a paid companion.
Mrs. Packletide’s picture appeared in two weeklies. Loona refused to attend the lunch-party but coldly accepted the tiger-claw brooch. Miss Mebbin was very money-minded and cunning. She thought of exploiting this weak point of Mrs. Packletide. She blackmailed Mrs. Packletide by saying what would happen if Loona learned that Mrs. Packletide had shot the goat and not the tiger. Shrewd and clever, Miss Mebbin hinted that she wanted money to buy a weekend cottage near Dorking. To keep her mouth shut, Mrs. Packletide was forced to pay for that cottage. Miss Mebbin named the cottage, “The Wild Beasts.” Since then Mrs. Packletide never indulged in big game shooting. She confided to her friends that “incidental expenses were too heavy for such kind of hunting”.