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Gwal, The "tiger Man."

Gwal, The "tiger Man." image
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Wlu-ii at Bombay in 1%'J, makinjr preparatioiis to go up the country mul lili su order forsixtigeis for .Amsterdam, a very singular person crossed my path. I had been In India for two years as the a#ent of the great Germán anlniHl house, and had sub-ageuts in a do.en districls. We were constantly forwarding serpents, jackals, hyenas, wol vea, buffaloes, tigers and such curiosities as feil into our trapa, and now and then receired an extra order. The order for " six wild, f ull-grown tiger, males prcferred,"caine trom Ejfypt. Messajjes were sent to sub-agent?, and I git redy lor u trip to the northeast among the tiger jungles. One evening a stranger wa nimoiitircd under the name of Gwal. HewaataJl, stillappearing iipuie, movinsr witli all the dignity of n prince, bul his face was so horribly dtsfisrured that I couldn't repress a start of surprise. He had been boni wkh a single eye and that al most in the center of bis lace. His nose was like that of a dojr, and bli mootb was wlde, almost without lips, and full otUngi. He was more of h freak than Jo .Io, the do{-faced, and would have been a Kreat crd in a museum. He gave me plenty of time and then, bowinji very low, be said: "I am told the saliib is a liunter of beasts." "Ves." "Yon capture them alive?" "Yes." "I should like to ro witli yon. I am cal led the Tf,'er Man. I am not atrnid of nny wild beast. No animal dares attaok me." . „ He Infonned me that he bad come trom n village cal led Johpur, on the Oadavcry rivt-r. 200 miles away, and that scores of people wonld vouch for tlie truth of his slateinents. Twlce within tlie year I had heard of this man and his wonderful dojiis bot had put n falth in the stories. That he potMMed wonderful magnetita) over the animal creation hc soon i?avc me proofr. The neit bunjfalow on the righl wa occupled by Capt. Hichard Taylor, of the 5tli na tl ve infantry. He had a savage dog chained up in the Mal of the house. The brute was dansrerous, and had not heen fret froni his chain for tvvo months. The servants tisú to throw him his fbod, and even the captain dared not go wilhin reaeh. " If yon are a Üger man you are not af raid of a Bavage dogrí1 I queried, a lie ffnished a statement of liis wonderful 1()IVCI. "Leadme to the boa-t," lic cuitly reIilie.l. The captain was at home, and I went over and told him of the uative's pre9ence. Then we ealled the man over, and atter the captain liitil saüslied bit curlosity lu; said to him : "Yon muy be a lira ve man, hut do not i'xp'i jourlt'. My hog will Mil yon if yoi; 0) iiear him. I IhftU have him shot Ihis week." " Your dog will cower and wlnne," soherly auswercd Gwal. Well, the risk be 011 your own head " We pnssed around the bungalow and through a gate, nnd the dog, who was ahout óO feet away, at once gpfaDK up and tugged avagely at hls chitin. There emild be no doubt oí bis taYdge fuiy. Hls ejes blitzed, he frothed at the mouth, and h clVorls lo breuk the stout chain fliled me with tflarm. The native waited a minute brfoie showlog himsclf. As soon as he stepped in tronl of us there was a change u tlie dog's ileineanor. Indeed he keemed to dodge, as if a missile had passed close to his ear. The native llowly npproarhed, and bcl'orc he was within 10 teet of him the dog was down on his bi-lly uttering whine.s tor ineni. (íwal uiifasti'iieil t rollar bil his neck, spoke three nr tour worda in a low Viice aml then walked ahont, and thu (log foltowed at his heels. BucTl a chsnge trom savajte fuiy to ulter servility was astounding. It was plain tbat the dog was cowed and afraid, and that (wal had wonderful poweis. He approficbed us, and as lie camc close up the dog never raised his eyes to give us a look. Ile kept his eyes on the grouttd, and we could see that he was in a tiemble of fear. " Is the sahib sattatied f quietly asked Qwal at the end rt 10 minutes. ' ' Yl'N." He readjuted the collar and the dog slunk hito hts box, so cowed and over. ome that a child nlffht have used a wliip on him. While this adventure with the dog did not prove that Gwal would have equai success with wild beasts, I saw that he was a valuable m au forour party, and at once engagod him. He stated that the district trom which he carne was infested wilh many large ser pen ts and wild beasts, and his suggestlons as to uur proctjedlnea were very business like and vaHiable. l.esides the six of us rêgolarly engaged In the trafüc, Maj. Lawrence, of the etghth light cuvalry, dol. Sliaw, of the uineteeuth reximeut, and Oapt. Smith, commandiiig a battery attached to the native regiment, were all o wed to accompany us, tlicy havlng permits of absence and desiring to po on a hunt. We occupied 12 days on the journey, which were without ttartllng inriih'iit, and onc al'ternoon arrived in good shape at the village of Johpur. Without a hint to me, in sume marnier yet uuknown, the Tiger Man had sei word on ahead, and the Úrtlthluffwa saw on entering the vilhige vf ='x "tout cages, which the natí'tí "a conatructed to hok) the six tigeis wc had come for. it was a case of providinsr Cafre before the bird waacaught, and it settletl my belief that Gwal was what he claimed to be. We received a warm welcome at the vill ige, aml after n little tho head man tokl me further about theTler Man. He had been fouod in the forest when onlya ouple ot weeks old, and had ever since been regarded as only half human. He [iosscociI H strange iower over wild or iuinestic amimals, and had several times coinpelled maneating tigers to follow him into aml about the rillage like a dog. When 1 asked why he had not used this power to clear the district of its many laiijterous pests, heexplained that Gsval, wben thus maguetizing a beast, was derirlved of hls physical strength to f uch an ixtent that he could do them no injury. l'hat evening just at sundown we hada fair example of his wouderful poweis. One of the lurgest and liercest liyenas I had ever seen suddenly appeared on the edge of the thieket, about :00 feet away, and btood and at in and bristled up wlth anger. Gwal w is caüed for, and he starled lor the bent at an ordinary gate. At lust the beast acted as if it. nicau to attack him. Tben it showed signs of running away. Then, as he drew nearer, itcrawled upon ts belly and beffan to wblne, and we saw that it was terrilied. The man uttered ëome words that we did not catch and started to return, andlo! thchyena crept at his heels, tail draggiug on the ground, and its whole demeanor that of abject fear. (wal walked past us and a round U9, between the hut8 and around them, and the beast gave ns no attention w hutever. It panted, as if after a hard run, and one could see that It was actually suffe ring. When Gwhl had sitiefled us, he led the hyena to the outskirts of the village, pointing to the thieket, and exclaimed: " dof' and the beast slunk off as if in te ir of its Hfe. Wonderful ! wonderful !" g isped each one of us In turn. It was more like a miníele. Gwal stood nearus, leaning up against a tree as if greatly worn out, and when we went over to him we t'ound him covercd with perspiratlon. The old woman with whoin he made his home led him awayuftera llttle, and we saw no more of him until next morning. Uefore we turned In for the nigbt the head tnan tolil IM that at least four maii-eatlug Hiiers had thelr haunts within a radius of 10 miles, and that we should depend upou Gwal, anJ let him manage the campaign against them as he thought best. Tliere was no n eed of lire aruis, and Gwal would sooncr or later liml an occupant for each cage. He talked of caging up ftill-grown Ugers as carelessly as another man would of trapping house ra's, but he knew the Tiger Man belter than we did. At sunrise next morning Gwal was all ritjlit. 1 had agreed to pay him $15 per nionth and his keep when he set out wlth us. Tuis was a inarr.iticeut aiun In the evi'S of nstive, but I uow told him thst if he preferred I would give him 100 for six tigers. Hejumped at the ofler, and his very lirst move wa to run to the bank of theriver and bargaln wlth the owncr of a rude but seaworthy barge to floatthe gix cage8 down to t'ule water on the eitsteru side of the peniD.sula for us. Thedietance by river was all of 400 miles, and there would bu eight of us in the party. The owner of the craft agreed to take us and the tigers, feed ui well, and employ two extra helpers forasum equal to about 13 American dollars. When I told him I would niakc it $50 he carne near tioking down in hi9 astonishment, and for an hour or two moved ubout like one In a dreain. Here, then, we had preparecl our cages, co-itracted tur our passage, and none of ua had yet een so niucli as the tip end of a tiger' tail. After breakfast, when we were ready to move, Owal said to me : " I know the luir of a couple ot tigers. It is distant about au huur. I sball go ami bring in one. No one must uome wil li me, and you muit not llreyourguua or muke a noise. Let one of the cages be placed under that tree over there, and in a couple of hours it shall be occupied by a tint? tiger. The last time I saw hiui he had a sore ear. It should now be well." It made us stare hard at each otlier to bear a inan talking that way, but I had the c(te carried to the spot designated, and Gwal took his leave of us as il' siinply goinjf out to Hearch for a le tree. When he had disappearcd the head man advised that the villagersgo indoora and keep quiet, and our band was dlvided in hal f and placed in trees, wliere we could plainly see the cage. Stray rumors of Gwal's wondert ui magnetic powers had reached the ears of the tli ree HntUli otfleers, and they had seen the performance with the hyena with eye8 wlde open, but they were skeptical as to his powers over a tiger. All of us were, for that matter. The idea of a man, no matter wliat gifts he had, brlnginL a lince man eater to crawl on his belly, was too absurd for belief. But Owal settled It to our satUfactiou as well as chagrín. In two hours and twenty minutes after liis departure be reappeared, and rightat his lieels, and acting same as the hyena RCtet), was the largest tiger I ever saw. It was plain tliat the beast was terrorized. A wliipped puppy could not have shown more servility. Owal carne a long at a moderate galt, swinjiing his hands on eltlier side of him, and apparently paying uo heed to the tiger, but all those in our tree were uure we heard hl in murabling under his breath. The tiger never lookcd up, nor to the right nor left, but kept its liead down. As they lialted at the cage Gwal threw up his hands, as one does when he wants adog tojiinip, and the man-eater bounded Into tlie cage and cowered In a corner. The mu ve secured the door in a lelsurely manner and then approached us. We were now 011 the ground, and as he carne 11 p we noticed tliat he was in a tremble and very weak. " The other one was not at home, but I shall have him to-inorrow," he said. "I will now lie down for a little time." Could we believe our own eyes? Were we dreaming? Tllta was the living proof of Owal's wonderful powers, and wliat could we Bay? We moved down to the cage to get a close view of the beaat, and the sight of UI and our presence brokt; the strange spelL For the next half hour the tiger was wild with fury, and a dozen different times it seemed to us that he would regalo his hberty. Kvory bar held, however, and he finally tired liimselfo" aud become more quiet. Gwal slept until 3 Wck In the afternoon, whe u? came forth refreshed and full of talk. The tiger was then raving ;ii)uni 'iis cage, but the instant the man appeared he cowered and was us quiet as .1 lanili. The next forenoou lus mate was brought in as he had been, and within a week we had four tigers. We then moved o a spot about 18 miles away, and Owal brought In two otheru, both males. Hts performance was the same in each case, tiiil in each case his demeanor atid that of the beast was the same. It was magnetUm develoed to a wonderful degree. l'hat single eye of his was a blaze 0? lire wheu he starled out. We could all feel lis electricity. Protected as he was, the man had tio fear of any living thlng, and twice I saw him piek up polsonous serpents anti carry tlient along for half a mi te. Wheu the six tigers were stowed on the barge I paid Gwal his $100, and added $50 to it. He was not to go with us, but in case I wanted some tigers I was to come to tin. We went down the river safely, and twice in after years I heard froui the strange man. He once shlpped me four tigers 011 speculation, And made a neat gum by it, and then came the news of his Icath - torn to pieces by a tiger. The natlve who gave me the newsexplained: " Wheu asleep he has no power. It was he lire in his eye tliat cowed the beasts. [Ie feil asleep outside the hut one evenng and 11 tiger crept up and killed him and carried him off."


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