THE " TIGER " OF SAMOS.




The animal which you see in the photograph and which you can see for yourself in the Natural History Museum of Mytilinii is the skin of a savage feline, related to the tiger, known as a " kaplani " ( wildcat ), with its habitat in Asia Minor.







The Kaplani of Samos.





At the beginning of the present century, this animal was forced, either by the flooding of the River Meander or by fire, to swim over to Samos, where its established itself on the hills around Mavratzaii and became the scourge of the domestic animals and flocks of the district.

Farmers and shepherds drove it out and forced it to take refuge in a cave, which from then on was known as the " kaplani - hole ". Its pursuers, not daring to go inside the cave, built a wall of large stones across the entrance. In this way, they left it shut in for about three months, expecting it to die of hunger and thirst. But by eating the remains of its old prey and drinking the water which drop by drop gathered in a hollow in the cave, it remained in fine form. After this length of time, the villagers, wishing to assure themselves that the beast was dead, opened up a hole in the top of the cave - not risking opening the entrance which they had built over - and tied one end of a rope to a pine tree, dangling the other down into the cave. By means of this, Gerasimos Gliarmis, unarmed and wearing a cape, descended into the cave. Imprisoned in the cave, man and beast were instantly engaged in mortal combat. The man grasped the wildcat in a headlock in an attempt to strangle it, while it tried to tear his cape so that it could rip his chest with its claws and crush his arm with its teeth. Gliarmis called for help, but no one had the courage to approach.

In a little while, the brother of Gerasimos, Nikolaos Gliarmis, who because he was one - eyed and powerfully built, with superhuman strength, was known as the " Cyclops ", arrived on the scene. When he discovered what was happening, he grabbed the rope and went down into the cave. The animal left its exhausted opponent and throw itself upon the newcomer. But he seized the wildcat by the throat with his left hand, while with his right he attempted to draw his knife from his belt. But by the time he managed this, the animal had already choked to death.

Gerasimos Gliarmis had been injured in his chest by the wildcat's claws and died from the resulting infection a short time later.



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