I am looking for the title to a sci-fi short story about a man who receives a box on his door step one day. Inside is a mechanical tiger with red glowing eyes. A note on the box explains that the tiger will bring great good luck, but in return the tiger must be walked every day to keep it in good shape.

The man walks the tiger every day, and his luck just gets better and better, and he gets busier and busier until one day he is too busy to walk the tiger and he misses. This goes on for a long while, and at some point he wakes up to the fact that he has not walked the tiger for several months.

The story is only maybe 5 pages long and was in a sci-fi anthology magazine.

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    Do you know when your read it? What did the magazine look like? Was there any illustrations? What country was this based in? May 18, 2020 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


This sounds like "Automatic Tiger" by Kit Reed. It was first published in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1964, but you can probably find it more easily in the anthology "The Story Until Now: A Great Big Book of Stories". As you say, it deals with a shy man, Edward Benedict, whose life was changed by a mechanical tiger. He bought it as a birthday present for a relative, so this differs from your memory, but he became so enraptured by it that he kept it for himself. While he walked it everyday his luck steadily improved, but eventually he neglected it, and everything started to go wrong.

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    This is why I love story id questions! I've got this in the Merril collection and now I get to read it. May 18, 2020 at 19:40
  • @Clara Diaz Sanchez I think it wasn't just his luck that changed: he was more confident, and less deferential to more powerful people--in short he behaved like a man who owned a tiger--so those people deferred to him, until, as you said, he neglected his tiger (Never do that). Jul 17, 2023 at 3:38

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