British Guiana - Bravery Rewarded With A Wife
Some men were out hunting, when they came across a dead mora tree that had a daiha creeper growing over it. So soon as they reached home they told their wives, who were very glad to hear of the find, and arranged among themselves to go next day to gather the bark. They took a little boy with them for company, and, having reached the spot indicated, started removing the bark. Each pounded a piece to make it pliable, and while they were thus engaged, the child amused himself by climbing into a manicole tree. The noise made by their wooden staves drowned the roar of an immense Tiger, which, before they were aware of its presence, suddenly appeared among them, and without giving them a chance of escape killed every one—all except the little boy, who, like a watchman, could see everything that took place. He saw the Tiger eat a piece out of this body and a bit out of that, finally dragging the bodies into the bush. As soon as the coast was clear, the child slid down the tree, ran fast down to the landing, jumped into the corial, and loosening it from its moorings shoved off. He was only just in time, because Tiger was after him, but unable to catch up with him, on account of being gorged with human flesh. The boy reached home all in a tremble, and could not speak, but next morning told the men about everything that had taken place, and how all their women had been killed. The men then went off to kill the Tiger, but when they reached the spot they saw only blood: they went farther, and one of them, Tobe-akuba, recognized the body of his wife, whose breasts had been eaten away: still farther on they found another body, also mutilated, and so on, one after the other. At last they came across the Tiger, but what with the ghastly scenes that they had just witnessed, all except two of the search party turned cowards, and climbed for safety up the neighboring trees. The two exceptions were Tobe-akuba and Sika-waka [lit. jigger-plenty], the latter being half-lame owing to the number of jiggers that infested his feet. These two men alone fought that tiger and ultimately managed to destroy it. When he was stone dead, Tobe-akuba called on the remainder of the search party to come down from under cover of the trees which they had climbed during the progress of the fight. He then taunted them, "You have no jiggers in your feet as this man has, and yet none of you dared come help me as he did." After leaving all their dogs behind to eat Tiger's carcass, they returned home, where Tobe-akuba picked out the jiggers from Sika-waka's feet, and then gave him his daughter to wife. When ten days were finished, they went to fetch their dogs, but the latter had not yet devoured all the flesh, and did not want to return; so they went for them again after another ten days had passed, by which time all Tiger's flesh had been consumed. You can easily learn from this what a big brute he must have been.
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 ]