The Princess and the Puma (Henry)

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The Princess and the Puma
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «Heart of the West»
Microsummary: A man tried to impress a rancher's daughter by pretending to save her from a supposedly tame Mexican lion, which she had already shot, turning a potentially embarrassing situation into a romantic encounter.

There was once a king named Ben O'Donnell, who was known as the Cattle King, and his queen, a Mexican girl from Laredo. They had a daughter named Josefa, who was a fearless and skilled rider and shooter.

Josefa O'Donnell — rancher's daughter; skilled shooter, brave, and compassionate.

One day, a man named Ripley Givens, who worked on a nearby ranch, decided he wanted to marry Josefa.

Ripley Givens — cattle ranch foreman; resourceful, quick-thinking, and good with animals.

One evening, Givens was on his way back to his camp when he decided to spend the night at the White Horse Crossing. As he was preparing his camp, he heard a Mexican lion's cry nearby. He spotted Josefa, who had been drinking water from a nearby hole, and saw the lion preparing to attack her. Givens yelled and ran between the lion and Josefa, but the lion pounced on him instead.

Josefa quickly shot the lion dead, and Givens emerged from under the lion's body, unharmed but embarrassed. He tried to save face by claiming that the lion was actually a pet named Bill, who had run away from their camp. Josefa, feeling guilty for killing the supposed pet, apologized and thanked Givens for his bravery.

You risked your life to save your pet! That was fine, Mr. Givens. I like a man who is kind to animals.

Givens escorted Josefa back to her home, and they rode together, holding hands. When they arrived, Josefa's father, the Cattle King, thanked Givens and invited him to stay the night, but Givens declined, saying he had work to do in the morning.

Later that night, Josefa told her father that she had killed the notorious Mexican lion known as the "Gotch-eared Devil," which had been responsible for the deaths of many people and animals in the area. Her father was proud of her accomplishment, and they celebrated her victory.