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The Panther

The man gave them a scorpion and said: “Put it behind the hearth in the kitchen.” The girls thanked him and went on crying.

Then an egg-seller came by and asked them why they were crying. “A panther has devoured our mother and our brother,” said the girls. “He has gone now, but he is sure to return and devour us as well.”

So he gave them an egg and said: “Lay it beneath the ashes in the hearth.” The girls thanked him and went on crying.

Then a dealer in turtles came by, and they told him their tale. He gave them a turtle and said: “Put it in the water-barrel in the yard.” And then a man came by who sold wooden clubs. He asked them why they were crying. And they told him the whole story. Then he gave them two wooden clubs and said: “Hang them up over the door to the street.” The girls thanked him and did as the men had told them.

In the evening the panther came home. He sat down in the armchair in the room. Then the needles in the cushion stuck into him. So he ran into the kitchen to light the fire and see what had jabbed him so; and then it was that the scorpion hooked his sting into his hand. And when at last the fire was burning, the egg burst and spurted into one of his eyes, which was blinded. So he ran out into the yard and dipped his hand into the water-barrel, in order to cool it; and then the turtle bit it off. And when in his pain he ran out through the door into the street, the wooden clubs fell on his head and that was the end of him.

Note: “The Panther” in this tale is in reality the same beast as “the talking silver fox” in No. 49, and the fairy-tale is made up of motives to be found in “Little Red Riding-Hood,” “The Wolf and the Seven Kids,” and “The Vagabonds.”

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