A short folktale from Sinsinarta


There was once a man named Ligo who left his village due to the incessant teasing from the local people. He was an ugly man and his brown skin was striped because of a rare skin condition. He had a large flat nose and his eyes were sunken into his head. The young people called him ‘tiger’ because of his appearance.

He went into the jungle, down where the river runs thick and hot. He hoped to be found by the tigers who lived down there and eaten.

After a few days following tracks he discovered a tiger living in a den by the river. Ligo hid in the rocks over looking the tigers den and after a few hours the tiger emerged. Ligo was struck with terror and regretted his decision. He did not want to be killed now and in his fear he began to cry. The tiger halted and looked about, smelling the air with deep breaths. He saw Ligo and stared at him a long time. Ligo, still crying, closed his eyes and waited his fate. The tiger however laughed and said,

“Man, why have you come to my den? Are you sick of life or are you hunting me or perhaps both? Speak.”
Having never seen a talking tiger before. Ligo gasped.
“Speak!” the tiger demanded in a voice so awful, Ligo was half dead with fear already.
“I have come to be killed,” he stammered.

The tiger laughed.
“It is easily done, but first tell me why you want to die?”
Logo stood up slowly and lifted his shirt and showed the tiger his striped skin. “My village have disowned me and call me ugly. They say my father was a tiger,”

The tiger nodded and leaped upon the rocks, landing next to Ligo who fell to his knees and raised his hands.

The tiger sniffed him and looked at his skin closely. “Are you ready to die?” the tiger asked.

“No, I thought I was but I had not considered how terrible it is.”
“Then I can give you a second chance. I want you to guard my den. I will be away until sunset, stay here and admit no one until I return and I will spare your life. Inside my den there is a hunters spear. Take it and use it in your duty.”
Ligo agreed and climbed down the rocks. He found the spear and took a position outside the den. The tiger nodded goodbye and left him.

After only a short time a huge black monster, shaped like a giant dog but with huge red eyes and teeth like whale bones came up the path, it was dragging the tiger along by it’s head. The tiger was limp and appeared to be dead. The monster came close to the den and dropped the large cat, who moved a little and looked about.

“So is this your den?” the monster growled.

“Yes,” the tiger moaned.

“And you have three fresh deer carcasses inside?”
“I have, they are yours.”
Ligo moved behind a tree, he was terrified of being discovered.

“You were foolish to think you could beat me,” the monster continued. “I will not spare your life.” the monster raised it’s paw and was about to deliver a dreadful blow upon the cat when Ligo, possessed by an unknown vigor, rushed from his hiding place and stabbed the spear deep into the monster’s chest.

The monster screamed and fell over, dead.

The tiger looked at Ligo in surprise.

“Thank you,” the tiger said. “You have killed a very terrible demon.”

The monster lay dead at Ligo’s feet. It’s bright red eyes began to fade to black.

“If you will nurse me to health, I will grant you a wish.”

Ligo took care of the huge beast until it was again in perfect health.

The tiger turned to him. “what do you wish?” he asked.

“I would like to popular and accepted in my village.”
“I cannot control the people in your village, but I can offer you a better life. Take the demons skin for armor and make a dagger of one of his teeth. Cut off his tale and turn it into a club. You will be invincible with these weapons. I will come to the village and I will allow you to drive me away. They will see this and reveal themselves to you.”

Ligo, although confused by the tiger’s words, did as he was told and returned home dressed in the demon’s fur carrying his weapons. For a moment the people were silent, but soon one of the bolder boys began to taunt him and throw stones at him.

“You’re the bastard son of a tiger’s whore!” the boy screamed.

Ligo saw the faces of the village turn to mock him.

A roar, like thunder ripped through the trees and the tiger landed upon the boy who had been throwing stones and ripped him in two. The villages were struck with terror, they began to scream and run about.

Ligo raised his club and rushed at the tiger, the tiger seeing the terrible weapon turned and fled.

The villagers were silent, a look of fear had replaced the looks of disgust. They were too terrified to speak to him and they fainted or ran into the trees when he approached them. Ligo felt as alone as he ever had. Taking a supply of food he set out into the jungle, deciding to see what else the world could offer him.


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