Santal Folk Tales by of the Santal Mission | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in October 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Story of a Tiger, The

A CERTAIN man had charge of a number of cattle. One day he took them to graze near a quagmire, and leaving them there went in search of jungle fruits. It so happened that one of the bullocks was browsing on the edge of the quagmire when a tiger came creeping stealthily up, and sprang upon it, but somehow or other missed his mark, and fell into the quagmire and there stuck fast. When the herd come to drive his cattle home, he found the tiger fast in the mud, and called a large number of people to come and see him. The tiger addressed those who came to gaze upon him as follows, "Oh men, pull me out. I am in great straits." They replied, "We will not pull you out even to save your life. You are a ravenous animal." The tiger said, "I will not eat you." So they pulled him out. When he was again on dry land, he said, "I will devour you, for it is my nature to do so." They replied, "Will you really eat us?" "Yes, I will," said the tiger. "Well," they rejoined, "if you will devour us, what can we do to prevent you? But let us first ask the opinion of some others as to whether it is right for you to eat us or not." So they requested the opinion of all the trees in the forest, and each said, "Human beings are all bad." On asking the Mohwa tree, it replied, "Men are not good. Behold every year I give them my flowers to eat, and my fruit from which to make oil. In the hot weather I give them shade, and on leaving, when they have rested, they give me a parting slash with their axes, therefore it is right to eat these people, as they return evil for good." So said all the trees.

               From this forest they went to another in which they found a cow to whom they said, "We are come to ask your opinion on a certain matter about which we are at variance. This tiger was up to the neck in a quagmire, and we pulled him out. Now he wishes to return evil for good. Is it right for him to do so?" The cow replied, "Yes, yes, I have heard what you have got to say. You human beings are not the correct thing. Behold me, how much I have contributed to the health and comfort of my master, yet he does not recognize my merit. Now that I am old, he has turned me out, and should I improve a little in condition, he will say, 'I will take this cow to the market and sell it. I will at least get a few pence for it.' Behold, when a man is well to do, he has many friends, but when he is poor, no one knows him. Verily, you are worthy to be devoured." The tiger then said to the men, "Well, have you heard all this? Are you convinced?" They said, "Hold on, let us ask one person more." So as they walked along they saw a jackal and called to him, "Oh uncle, stand still." The jackal said, "No I cannot wait, my companions, who are on their way to see the swinging festival, are far ahead of me, and I am hurrying to overtake them." They said to him, "Wait a little and settle this matter for us. We pulled this tiger out of a quagmire, and now he wishes to devour us." The jackal then said to the tiger, "Is this true? I cannot believe that a famed individual like yourself would be fool enough to jump into a quagmire. Come, shew me the place, and how it happened." So the tiger led him to the quagmire, and said, "This is the place from which I sprang, and this is how I did it," and he leaped into the quagmire. The jackal turning to the men, said, "What are you staring at? Pelt him with stones." So they all set to and stoned the tiger to death.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Story of a Tiger, The
Tale Author/Editor: Campbell, A.
Book Title: Santal Folk Tales by of the Santal Mission
Book Author/Editor: Campbell, A.
Publisher: Santal Mission Press
Publication City: Pokhuria
Year of Publication: 1891
Country of Origin: India
Classification: unclassified

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