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BedTime Stories For Kids
The Girl and the Puma
This is a Legend told and retold among the people of Argentina about powerful friendship between a girl and the puma.
Five hundred years ago when the Spanish entered South America, Native American tribes often fought back against the invaders. One way tribes could put pressure on the Spanish was to surround their settlements. This is what happened in the early 1500’s when Maldonado, a Spanish girl, was 15 years old.
Hostile Native Americans of the Querandí tribe had encircled the Spanish settlement where Maldonado lived. Before long, their food supplies were depleted. The people faced starvation. They begged their captain to allow them to take their chances and leave the settlement in search of food – but this the captain would not allow.
Famished, Maldonado escaped the settlement and fled into the jungle. As night fell, she heard with alarm the calls of wild animals. Where could she safely sleep for the night? But there was one call that drew her closer. It was a cry of pain. She followed the sound to a cave where she found a puma that had just given birth.
Maldonado helped the mother puma clean the cubs. Later, she watched the babies while the mother went out to hunt. And so days went by.
One day, while Maldonado was gathering food and the mother puma was inside the cave with her cubs, the girl was surprised by Querandí warriors. They captured her and brought her to their village. Fearing the worst, Maldonado braced herself for the death she felt certain was to come.
But the Querandís were kind to the girl. They taught her tasks to help in their village, and she gladly took part.
One day, a band of Spaniards attacked the Querandí village. Recognizing a Spanish girl, they grabbed Maldonado and forced her to return home.
The Spanish captain was furious that she had disobeyed him by escaping to the jungle. To make an example of her, he commanded that she be tied to a tree and left there for wild animals to devour.
After several days, the sad villagers ventured where Maldonado had been tied to the tree, fearing the worst. Much to their surprise they found her still tied to the tree and very much alive. Much more surprised were they to learn that it was a mother puma who had fed and protected the girl all that time.
There once was an emperor named Akbar. He went hunting in the woods, but when it started to get dark, he became lost. A young boy, Mahesh, heard the emperor calling for help, went into the jungle, and led him back to the palace.
As a reward, the emperor took a ring from his finger and gave it to Mahesh.
“Bring this ring back to the palace in the morning, show it to the guards, and tell them to let you in,” said the emperor, “Then I can reward you for your kindness.”
The next day Mahesh came back to the palace, showed the ring to the guard, and asked to see the emperor. However, the guard was a greedy man and told Mahesh, “I will only let you in if you give me half of your reward.”
Mahesh agreed and went to see the emperor.
“I would like 50 lashes as my reward,” said Mahesh.
The emperor tried to talk him out of it, but Maresh insisted. After the 25th lash, Mahesh stopped the emperor and explained about the guard.
The emperor was very angry with the guard. He went out and gave the guard the remaining 25 lashes and fired him on the spot.
Then the emperor asked Maresh again what he would like as a reward.
“I promised the guard half of everything,” Maresh said, “So I do not want any further reward.”
So, instead, the emperor gave Mahesh’s family a new home and all they needed to enjoy a happy life.
What Makes a Good Bedtime Story?
Most of the best bedtime stories have a moral or character who overcomes some kind of adversity. Your child will learn they shouldn’t give up.