How a Tiger Was Killed
A Santhal Pargana Tale
translated by Cecil Henry Bompas
In the days when the Santals lived in the jungle country there was
once a man who had a patch of maize by the bank of a stream; and to
watch his crop he had put up a platform in his field. Now one day he
stole a goat and killed it; he did not take it home nor
tell his family; he took it to the maize patch with some firewood and
fire and a knife and a hatchet; and he hoisted all these on to his
platform and lit a fire in the bottom of an earthen pot and cut up the
goat and began to cook and eat the flesh. And a tiger smelt the flesh
and came and sat down under the platform.
As the man ate he threw down the bones and as he threw them the
tiger caught them in its mouth; and after a time the man noticed that
he did not hear the bones strike the ground; so he looked down quietly
and saw the tiger; then he was very frightened for he thought that when
he could no longer keep the tiger quiet by throwing down bits of meat,
the tiger would spring up unto the platform and eat him.
At last a thought struck him and he drew the head of his hatchet off
the handle and put it in the fire till it became red-hot; and meanwhile
he kept the tiger quiet by throwing down pieces of meat. Then when the
axe head was ready he picked it out of the fire and threw it down; the
tiger caught it as it fell and roared aloud with pain; its tongue and
palate and throat were so burnt that it died.
Thus the man saved himself from the tiger and whether the story be
true or no, it is known to all Santals.