THE ROVER OF THE PLAIN 195
out from the wood and ate a few beans here and a few there, as his mistress had bidden him. And when at last his hunger was satisfied, he crept back to his lair. But a buffalo is not a fairy, and the next morning, when the women arrived to work in the fields, they stood still with astonishment, and said to each other:
'Just look at this; a savage beast has been destroying our crops, and we can see traces of his feet!' And they hurried to their homes to tell their tale.
In the evening the girl crept out to the buffalo's hiding-place, and said to him:
'They perceived what happened, of course; so to-night you had better seek your supper further off.' And the buffalo nodded his head and followed her counsel; but in the morning, when these women also went out to work, the traces of hoofs were plainly to be seen, and they hastened to tell their husbands, and begged them to bring their guns, and to watch for the robber.
It happened that the stranger girl's husband was the best marksman in all the village, and he hid himself behind the trunk of a tree and waited.
The buffalo, thinking that they would probably make a search for him in the fields he had laid waste the evening before, returned to the bean patch belonging to his mistress.
The young man saw him coming with amazement.
'Why, it is a buffalo!' cried he; 'I never have beheld one in this country before!' And raising his gun, he aimed just behind the ear.
The buffalo gave a leap into the air, and then fell dead.
'It was a good shot,' said the young man. And he ran to the village to tell them that the thief was punished.
When he entered his hut he found his wife, who had somehow heard the news, twisting herself to and fro and shedding tears.