The Red Book Of Animal Stories - online children's book

Stories of Animals, Fantastic and Mundane, Edited By Andrew Lang

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

At last, most of the few who were left declared they could bear this state of things no longer. It was a choice of evils, and they made up their minds that they would prefer to fall into the power of beasts rather than of men. So, when the darkness had fallen, a little company crept out from the palisade, and stole away to the woods.
How they fared we are not told; but one girl, called Maldonada, after wandering about till dawn, fell in with some Indians, who carried her off to their village in the heart of the forest, and treated her with great kindness.
Some months later, Euiz, the deputy-governor of Buenos Ayres, heard where she was, and—being by this time free from his enemies—sent to the friendly tribe to beg of them to give Maldonada up to him. When the poor girl was brought back to the city she found that it was only to be accused as a traitor to her own people, and to be condemned to be fastened to a tree in the forest, so that savage beasts might devour her.
So Maldonada, who had passed unhurt amidst the hungry animals, whose midnight wars she had heard when flying from the besieged city, was now to be delivered over to a fate from which no escape was possible. How a girl living quietly, in an Indian village could have betrayed her people, Sefior Euiz did not say, and it is not clear why he was so anxious for her destruction ; but sentence was given, and the soldiers called in. They led Maldonada three miles into the heart of the forest, and there tying her tight to a tree, according to their orders, left her to her death.
For two nights and a day no one troubled their heads about her ; either she had no friends, or they were poor people who were powerless against the governor; but on the third day, soldiers were again sent out, to collect her bones. To their immense surprise, they found Maldonada quite unhurt, but very hungry, and awaiting, as bravely as she could, the death that could not be far off, whether it came to her by starvation, or by the jaws of wild beasts. During the terrible hours she had spent there savage
Previous Contents Next