As a child, I thought "Little Black Sambo" was a great story -- mean old tigers taking a kid's clothes to wear, little kid outwitting villains, blah blah blah... and the tigers turning into butter at the end was a big plus for me. Even now, I consider it one of the better pieces of fantasy imagery: fierce tigers racing around a tree, faster and faster, turning into a blur, and eventually melting into butter, which the valiant young hero and his family use to make pancakes.

But now the mere mention of the story sends people into a frenzy. I understand why, now that I'm an adult. But I still think it's too bad. I still think it's a nice story.

There used to be this great pancake restaurant called Sambo's. They served an extremely delicious topping called "tiger butter" with their pancakes. When I was a kid, my parents would take us kids down there for a special treat, and we'd eat pancakes with tiger butter 'til we'd just about bust, thinking about tigers stealing Sambo's pants and shoes and umbrella, and about Sambo tricking the tigers, and about Sambo getting all that delicious tiger butter. But like the story, the restaurant died off, too. Again, I understand why -- "Sambo" became an anti-black racial epithet, despite the story originally being set in India, and something like that is hard for a modern restaurant to live down. Nevertheless, sometimes I wish I had something like that great butter for my pancakes...

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