It had to happen. No sooner had the news broken of the ladle-wielding wife who beat off a tiger, saving her husband's life, than the stories came pouring in.
"Tiger? Huh! That's nothing!" was the general gist, as we sifted through the 113,965 messages emailed to us from darkest Peru, from the top of Ayres Rock in Oz, and all places between and beyond.
Having verified these amazing stories, we are proud to share with you the most outlandish, not to say bizarre.
From India comes this moving tale, related breathlessly by telephone link.
"My wife saved me from being crushed by an ELEPHANT!" claimed Mahendran Goophal, of Kerala. "It was years ago now, when we lived in northern India, and I was foolishly out hunting with our ten year old son. Oh yes, my wife beat me soundly for that! Oh yes."
And how did the elephant attack?
"No, no, it was not attacking me," explained Mr. Goophal. "It was old, and unsteady on its poor legs, and it keeled right over beside me."
Goodness! And your wife?
"She was champion runner in her school when she was a girl. She heard our son cry out that I was about to be squished to a pulped banana and she flew out of our house, and down the two mile long track to the open clearing where I was so endangered, and just TWO SECONDS, I tell you, two mere seconds before the great beast crashed to earth she pulled me out of harm's way. Oh, I rewarded her that night, I can tell you! All my manly vigour returned. It was like our wedding night all over again, I tell you. We - "
Yes, quite, Mr. Ghoopal. But she didn't actually attack or beat the elephant?
"No-ooo. She beat ME for being so stupid. With an iron cooking pot. But she was very, very brave. It could have fallen on her, isn't it?"
That is true. Full marks to Mrs. Goophal, who applied her casserole generously to her husband's idiotic head.
Then from the unlikely location of the North Pole comes this astounding account. Mr. Yakkaxtuk and his wife were out fishing one fine spring day, when the temperature was a balmy -18 C, and of course, the warmth attracted the polar bears as they lay basking in the sun. So, Mr. Yakkaxtuk was savaged by a bear, then?
"Ah, no. The bears left us alone. They are wise. They know we have spear guns. No, this was a sea bird. A pukequittak."
"This is a very very very large bird that swooops low and suddenly, and will peck out eyes. They like eyes. Very very juicy. Squelch."
"This bird had wings wider than the height of our igloo. It was so fast. I could do nothing. I had taken off my dark glasses for one moment to wipe the sweat off my forehead - it was so hot - and it saw my eyes. I was done for. If not killed, I would have been blinded."
What did his wife do? we asked.
"My wife is a very clever woman. Very resourceful. She took out her mascara wand."
Her what? we queried.
"Mascara. You know, what ladies put on their eyelashes. She likes to carry it with her in case her makeup runs."
Right. And next, Mr. Yakkaxtuk?
"She stood her ground, didn't flinch one centimetre. I was going to say inch, but that would sound silly. We do not like banal rhyme in Eskimo. Well, she put out her arm, with the wand in her hand (that's half rhyme, I think, and is allowable). And right in the open beak she shoved this thing, right down its evil throat. Naturally, the creature simply choked to death in the last moments of its dive."
Goodness. What an exciting story. What happened then? You were very shaken up?
"A little. But that bird - it was an ill wind, as I think you say. It made a very very tasty supper. That night, and several more. But we did not eat its eyes. Those we kept to decorate the inside of our home. I am writing an epic poem to celebrate the valour of my wife, whom I will glady lend to any visitor who cares to see us."
Thank you, Mr. Yakkaxtuk. We'll surely take you up on that.
One last, shorter tale comes from the good old UK. Mrs. Yella Lotte, of West Yorkshire, tells us her own story - "My dear husband being now deceased, of natural causes, when he might have died fifty years ago," she said.
Apparently Mr. and Mrs. Lotte were out walking in the beautiful Bronte country when they decided to have a picnic. Opening the sandwiches Mrs. Lotte had prepared, they were suddenly overrun by a plague of ants. "Them large, red buggers," explained Mrs. Lotte, shuddering at the memory. "We must've sat on a nest." Why didn't they just jump up, brush off the creatures, and get away? "Well, my hubby was allergic to ant stings. Went into anaphalwotsit shock if he was stung. I daren't risk that - I mean, we was young then and he hadn't paid much into his life insurance policy, know what I mean? I couldn't risk losing him!"
So what did you do, Yella?
"I lay down, and let them pesky things run all over me. Smeared meself with the jam from the sandwiches and crumbled bread all round me. Oooh, there was a stampede then! They left Stan alone, every one of 'em, and they went for me like there was no tomorrow. But I'm hardy, and my skin's thick. When they'd had their fill, I jumped up, right as rain, and took poor, shivering Stan home. He was in shock just from seeing the blighters. Or mebbe it was t'sight of me with me knickers on view."
A noble sacrifice indeed. Full marks to Yella! Who would willingly lie down and let ten thousand stinging ants invade their most intimate parts? Mrs. Lotte admitted that it was 'some time after that that they could think about starting a family', but said that it had all been worth it. "T'insurance payout when he was dead at 78 was great!"
We could regale you with many more such accounts, but we think Mrs. Lotte's story wins the Heroine of the Month award from this paper. After all, she didn't even have a ladle to hand!