Arawak Woman in Love with a Sloth

A woman had a sloth for a sweetheart. Every time that she went into the field or into the bush she used to carry food and drink for him. She would call Hau! Hau! and the Sloth would clamber down the tree: and they caressed each other just like lovers. Other people began to talk, and wondered what she did with the food and drink that she was continually taking out of the house.

Among these was a young man who watched her next day, and saw her call her Sloth lover and caress him. But instead of reciprocating her caresses, the Sloth scratched her, and pulled down her hair, conduct which made her remark, “Are you jealous of me, or vexed?”


As a matter of fact, the Sloth was very much vexed as well as jealous, because he could see the young man watching all their movements from behind a tree. The woman did not know this, and turned her steps homeward.

As soon as she was gone, the man came from where he was hiding, and killed the Sloth. And when the woman returned next day, and saw the animal lying dead, she fell into a great grief and wept bitter tears, saying, “What has killed you, my sweetheart?”

But the young man, who had been following her, came up close behind, and consoled her. “Don’t be so foolish,” he remarked. “A fast fellow is preferable to a slow Sloth. Take me for a sweetheart.” And she did


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