ONCE upon a time there was a large handsome stag with great branching horns. One day he said to himself, “I am tired of having no home of my own, and of just living anywhere. I shall build me a house.” He searched on every hill, in every valley, by every stream, and under all the trees for a suitable place.
At last he found one that was just right. It was not too high, nor too low, not too near a stream and not too far away from one, not under too thick trees and not away from the trees out under the hot sun. “I am going to build my house here,” he said, and he began to clear a place for it at once. He worked all day and did not go away until night.
Now in that same country there lived a large handsome tiger, with sharp, sharp teeth and bright, cruel eyes. One day the tiger said to himself, “I am tired of having no home of my own,—of just living around anywhere! I shall build me a house.” Accordingly the tiger searched for a place to build his house. He searched on every hill, in every valley, by every stream, and under all the trees. At last he found a place which was just right. It was not too high nor too low, not too near a stream and not too far away from one, not under too thick trees and yet not away from the trees out in the hot sun. The tiger said to himself, “I am going to build my house here. The place is all ready for me for there isn’t very much underbrush here.” He began at once and finished clearing the place. Then it became daylight and he went away.
At daylight the stag came back to do more work on his new house. “H’m,” he said when he looked at the clearing. “Somebody is helping me. The place is cleared and ready for me to build the foundation.”
He began to work at once and worked all day. At night when the foundation was laid, he went away.
At night the tiger came to work at his new house. “H’m,” he said when he looked at it. “Somebody is helping me. The foundations of my house are all laid.” He began to work at once and built the sides of the house. He worked all night and went away at daybreak, leaving the house with the sides completed. There was a big door and a funny little window in the side.
At daybreak the stag came back to work on his house. When he saw it he rubbed his eyes for he thought that he must be dreaming. The sides of the house were completed with a big door and a funny little window. “Somebody must surely be helping me,” he said to himself as he began to work to put on the roof. He worked hard all day and when the sun went down, there was a roof of dried grass on the house. “I can sleep in my own house to-night,” he said. He made his bed in the corner and soon was sound asleep.
At night the tiger came back to work on his new house. When he saw it he rubbed his eyes for he thought that he must be dreaming. There was a roof of dried grass on the house.
“Somebody must surely be helping me,” he said to himself as he entered the door. The first thing he saw when he entered the door was the stag sound asleep in his bed in the corner. “Who are you and what are you doing in my house?” he said in his deepest voice.
The stag woke up with a start. “Who are you and what are you doing in my house?” said the stag in his deepest voice.
“It is not your house. It is mine. I built it myself,” said the tiger.
“It is my house,” said the stag. “I built it myself.”
“I made the clearing for the house,” said the tiger, “I built the sides and made the door and window.”
“I started the clearing,” said the stag. “I laid the foundations and put on the roof of dried grass.”
The stag and the tiger quarrelled all night about whose house it was. At daybreak they decided that they would live together there.
The next night the tiger said to the stag, “I’m going hunting. Get the water and have the wood ready for the fire. I shall be almost famished when I return.”
The stag got the wood and water ready. After a while the tiger came back. He brought home for dinner a great handsome stag. The stag had no appetite at all and he didn’t sleep a wink that night.
The next day the stag said that he was going hunting. He told the tiger to have the wood and water ready when he got back. The tiger got the wood and water ready. By and by the stag came back bringing with him the body of a great tiger.
“I am nearly famished,” said the stag. “Let’s have dinner right away.” The tiger hadn’t any appetite at all and he could not eat a mouthful.
That night neither the tiger nor the stag could sleep a wink. The tiger was afraid the stag would kill him if he shut his eyes for a minute, and the stag was afraid the tiger would kill him if he slept or even pretended to be asleep. Accordingly he kept wide awake too.
Toward morning the stag got very cramped from keeping in one position so long. He moved his head slightly. In doing this his horns struck against the roof of the house. It made a terrible noise. The tiger thought that the stag was about to spring upon him and kill him. He made a leap for the door and ran out of it as fast as he could. He ran and ran until he was far, far away from the house with the roof of dried grass.
The stag thought that the tiger was about to spring upon him and kill him. He, too, made a leap for the door and ran and ran until he was far, far away from the house with the roof of dried grass. The tiger and the stag are still running away from each other until this very day.
The house with the roof of dried grass waited and waited there in the place which was neither too high nor too low, too near the river nor too far away, not under too thick trees nor out in the hot sun. It waited and waited until it go so tired it fell down in a heap.
Original text from the book
Fairy Tales from Brazil – How and Why Tales from Brazilian Folk-Lore
Author: Elsie Spicer Eells
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY HELEN M. BARTON
E. M. HALE AND COMPANY CHICAGO
COPYRIGHT, 1917, By DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY, Inc.