14. The Alan and the Hunters
Two men once went to hunt wild pig in the mountains, and after some time they speared and killed one, but they had no fire over which to singe it.
One man climbed a tree to see if there was a fire nearby, and discovering smoke at some distance, he started toward it. When he reached the place, he found that the fire was in the house of an Alan, and he was very much afraid; but creeping up into the house, he found that the Alan and her baby were fast asleep.
He stepped on tip-toe, but nevertheless the Alan was awakened and called out, “What do you want?”
“I should like to get some fire,” said the man, “for we have killed a wild pig.”
The Alan gave him the fire, and then taking her basket she went with him to the place where the pig was.
After they had singed the animal, the Alan cut it up with her long nails and handed the liver to the man, telling him to take it to her house to feed the baby.
The man started, and on the way he ate the liver. When he reached the Alan’s house he did not know what to do. For some time he looked around, and then seeing a large caldron of hot water on the fire, he threw the baby into it and went back.
“Did the baby eat well?” asked the Alan.
“Very well,” said the man.
Then she put most of the meat into her basket and started home. As soon as she had gone, the man told his companion what he had done, and they were so frightened that they ran to hide.
When the Alan reached home and found the baby dead in the hot water, she was very angry and started back immediately to find the men, who, in the meantime, had climbed a high tree that stood near the water.
The Alan looked down into the water, and seeing the reflection of the men, she reached in her long hand with the fingers that pointed backward, but when she could not touch them, she looked up and saw them in the tall tree.
“How did you get up there?” she cried angrily.
“We climbed up feet first,” called down the men.
The Alan, determined to get them, caught hold of a vine and started up the tree feet first, but before she quite reached them, they cut the vine and she fell to the ground and was killed.
Then the men came down and went to the Alan’s house, where they found a jar full of beads and another of gold, and these they brought with them when they returned home.