EXCAVATING GRAVES AMONG THE RUINS OF TILCARA
IN NORTH - WESTERN ARGENTINA
several burros, and as we discussed the relative sense of the different domestic animals, my
host, who was an ardent supporter of the donkeys, told me that no puma could kill a burro
born in that region. In that particular neighbourhood there were many pumas, and in order to
entertain me, and at the same time to prove his statement, the man led a donkey away to a
hollow, where he tied him to a solitary bush with a rope. This done we went away some 150
yards and lay down to wait to see what would happen. It was just growing dark, and after a
wait of some two hours I began to think there were no pumas in the district.
It was a bright night, and with the help of my field-glasses I could see the burro quite well.
Presently he doubled his legs and rolled over on his side, and then my host touched my arm
and pointed towards the animal, and, sure enough, there I could see the puma, like a shadow,
slowly creeping towards the poor burro, who then rolled right over on his back and started to
kickwildlywithallfours,atthesametime makingnoisesthatwereterrible tohear.Thepuma
made a large circle around him and then slowly slunk away and disappeared. The man then
told me that the burros there seem to know that a puma will only attack by jumping on the
neck of his prey, and I had to admit that I had never suspected burros to have as much sense
and cold blood under such trying circumstances as his shaggy little animal had just proved
himself to possess. Good for donkey sense!