The Brâhmiṇ Girl that Married a Tiger
The old woman spent the whole day in preparing cakes and sweetmeats for her daughter, and when the time for the journey arrived, she took care to place in her bundles and on her head one or two margosa leaves to keep off demons. The relatives of the bride requested her husband to allow her to rest wherever she found shade, and to eat wherever she found water, and to this he agreed, and so they began their journey.
The boy tiger and his human wife pursued their journey for two or three ghaṭikâs(an Indian hour = 24 min.) in free and pleasant conversation, when the girl happened to see a fine pond, round which the birds were warbling their sweet notes. She requested her husband to follow her to the water’s edge and to partake of some of the cakes and sweetmeats with her.
But he replied, “Be quiet, or I shall show you my original shape.”
This made her afraid, so she pursued her journey in silence until she saw another pond, when she asked the same question of her husband, who replied in the same tone.
Now she was very hungry, and not liking her husband’s tone, which she found had greatly changed ever since they had entered the woods, said to him,
“Show me your original shape.”
No sooner were these words uttered than her husband’s form changed from that of a man. Four legs, striped skin, a long tail, and a tiger’s face came over him suddenly and, horror of horrors! a tiger and not a man stood before her! Nor were her fears stilled when the tiger in human voice began as follows:—
“Know henceforth that I, your husband, am a tiger—this very tiger that now speaks to you. If you have any regard for your life you must obey all my orders implicitly, for I can speak to you in human voice, and understand what you say. In a couple of ghaṭikâs we shall reach my home, of which you will become the mistress. In the front of my house you will see half-a-dozen tubs, each of which you must fill up daily with some dish or other, cooked in your own way. I shall take care to supply you with all the provisions you want.
Concerning the Fate of Essido and his Evil Companions
Category: Nigerian folktales
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