How Eagle, Dog, and Otter Wooed a Maiden

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Eagle, Dog and Otter fell in love with the same maiden, and begged her mother to decide which one of them should have her. Soon after this the father of the girl disappeared while hunting in the forest; he did not return. The mother of the girl said to the three animals:

“Go find my husband, and bring him back to me. The one of you who does this shall wed my daughter.”

So Eagle, Dog and Otter set off to the hunter’s aid, and although no one knew where he might be Dog’s clever nose followed his trail until they all came to a forest pool. The hunter’s footsteps led into the pool, but did not come out again.

“He has been captured by the Water People,” Otter said. “I will see what I can do.” He dived into the pool, and underwater among the reeds he found the Water People, who held the hunter prisoner.

“What will you do with the hunter?” Otter asked.

“We are about to eat him,” the Water people said.

“Hunters are not good to eat,” Otter said rather firmly.

“Isn’t there something else you would rather have?”

“Well, monkeys are quite nice, but we can never catch them.”

“Why?”

“Because the hunter is a friend of mine. I would prefer you to eat something else.”

The Water People talked among themselves, and then said:

“If you bring us a hundred monkeys, we will give you the hunter.”

Otter knew he could never catch a hundred monkeys. He doubted if he could even catch one.

“Would a hundred fish do?” he asked hopefully.

“We’re tired of eating fish. We want monkeys. A hundred.”

Otter sadly climbed out of the pool and told the news to Dog and Eagle. Dog gazed up into the trees and wondered how anyone could catch a hundred bounding, bouncing monkeys. If it had been lizards, or rats, or even cats. . . But Eagle, a powerful bird, took flight and with the aid of his clan hovered about snatching monkeys from the treetops. This caused quite a disturbance in the forest; groups of monkeys fled chattering excitedly from tree to tree while eagles soared and swooped above them, and one by one a hundred protesting monkeys were dropped.

Splash! Splash! into the pool to the water People. The hunter was rescued, and of course agreed that the person who had rescued him could wed his daughter.

Clever Dog had followed his trail far into the forest to the pool.Otter had found him and arranged his ransom with the Water People.Eagle had arranged the capture of a hundred monkeys.Which of these three animals deserved the hunter’s daughter most?

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