British Guiana - The Man Who Interfered With His Brother's Wife
There were once two brothers. The elder went one morning to the field to clean up, leaving his wife at home to grate cassava. The younger, who lived at a distance, had a habit of visiting his brother's house always at a time when he knew full well that he would not be at home. So it happened on this very occasion. He asked his sister-in-law where her husband was, and she told him quite truly that he had just gone to the field. "And when is he coming back?" to which she replied, "In the evening." He thereupon asked her whether she would like him to take liberties with her, an offer which she indignantly refused. So he tried to obtain his desires by force: she repelled him: they wrestled with one another: she ran away into the bush, he following her closely. She only got back home again late in the p. 382 afternoon just before her husband arrived. When he saw the grated cassava lying in the trough he asked her what she had been about; surely she had not taken all day to grate that little bit of cassava! She was forced then to tell him, how his brother had come to visit her during his absence, how he had chased her into the bush, and what had happened there. The husband said, "All right! I will wait for him tomorrow, when he will be sure to visit you again." the next day, sure enough, the brother came once more. "Where is your husband?" He inquired. "Yonder in the maraka-bakruru," she told him.1 The husband purposely made a noise with his massi [club] to attract the attention of the visitor: the latter heard it, and thinking that drink must be the cause of the row, went over to see if that really were the case. But as soon as he got inside, the aggrieved man gave him a good beating, told him what he had heard from his wife's own lips, chased him into the bush, still beating him, and ran on until he could run no farther. When the husband finally got home again, he told his wife to sling up their hammock close to the roof, on the runner (to which the thatch was tied), because his brother would certainly return that night to kill the pair of them. There, close to the roof, they went to sleep, and in the middle of the night the brother came. They heard him say, "I will show you what I will do for your trying to kill me." They saw him take a stick and strike in all directions. They saw the cudgel knock against the beam and break, part rebounding on the would-be murderer's head. Half dazed with the blow, the latter thought it was the injured husband who had struck him, because they heard him scream out, "Oh! instead of me killing you as I had intended, you have killed me." The husband now descended from his hammock and chased the worthless fellow out into the bush, saying, "I will indeed kill you if you dare come here again." But the scoundrel never returned to molest his sister-in-law.
An Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-Lore of the Guiana Indians, Walter E. Roth, from the Thirtieth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1908-1909, pp. 103-386, Washington D.C., 1915, and is now in the public domain.[ British Guiana ][ South America ]