Long ago, in a hermitage, there lived a great sage. One day, as he sat down to have his lunch, a mouse fell from the beak of a crow, on the ground near him. He picked the mouse up, took him inside the ashram and fed him some rice.
One day, the sage saw a cat chasing the mouse around the ashram. He was afraid that his pet mouse would be killed by the cat. By the power of his penance, he turned the mouse into a cat so that it could defend itself against other cats.
Soon a dog appeared on the scene and started barking at and chasing the cat. When the sage saw this, he changed the cat into a dog.
One day his dog was frightened by a tiger. The sage immediately changed his dog into a tiger, again by the power of his penance.
However, the sage always treated the tiger as if it was still his little mouse. Whenever the villagers who passed by the sage’s ashram saw the tiger, they would say, “Ha! That’s not a tiger! It’s just a mouse that the sage changed into a tiger. He won’t eat us or even scare us.”
When the tiger heard this, he was furious. “As long as the sage is alive,” he thought, “the truth about my real nature will never die. I must get rid of him for good.” The tiger decided to kill the sage.
But as soon as the sage saw him coming towards him, he knew what was going on in the tiger’s mind. He shouted, “Get back into your form of a mouse.” No sooner had he uttered these words than the tiger shrank and became a little mouse once again. The sage looked at him with pity and said, “Whatever one is, large or small, it’s good to be humble.”
(- A story from The Hitopadesha)