TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 339
joke. So they set their dogs at him, and he was obliged to run away as fast as he could.
' I hope your industry will be rewarded as it deserves,' said the puma as he passed along; and the men were pleased, and offered him some of their maize to eat.
By-and-by the puma saw a small snake with a beautiful shining skin, lying coiled up at the foot of a tree. ' What a lovely bracelet that would make for your daughter, friend stag !' said he. The stag stooped and picked up the snake, which bit him, and he turned angrily to the puma. ' Why did you not tell me it would bite ? ' he asked.
' Is it my fault if you are an idiot ? ' replied the puma.
At last they reached their journey's end, but by this time it was late, and the puma's comrade was ready for bed, so they slung their hammocks in convenient places, and went to sleep. But in the middle of the night the puma rose softly and stole out of the door to the sheep-fold, where he killed and ate the fattest sheep he could find, and taking a bowl full of its blood, he sprinkled the sleeping stag with it. This done, he returned to bed.
In the morning the shepherd went as usual to let the sheep out of the fold, and found one of them missing. He thought directly of the puma, and ran to accuse him of having eaten the sheep. ' I, my good man ? What has put it into your head to think of such a thing ? Have I got any blood about me ? If anyone has eaten a sheep it must be my friend the stag.' Then the shepherd went to examine the sleeping stag, and of course he saw the blood. ' Ah ! I will teach you how to steal! ' cried he, and he hit the stag such a blow on his skull that he died in a moment. The noise awakened the comrade above, and he came downstairs. The puma greeted him with joy, and begged he might have some of the famous milk as soon as possible, for he was very thirsty. A large bucket was set before the puma directly. He drank it to the last drop, and then took leave.