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Folklore of the Santal Parganas by Cecil Henry Bompas

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Folklore of the Santal Parganas

Translated by
Cecil Henry Bompas
of the Indian Civil Service



The Santals are a Munda tribe, a branch of that aboriginal element
which probably entered India from the North East. At the present day
they inhabit the Eastern outskirts of the Chutia Nagpore plateau.

Originally hunters and dwellers in the jungle they are still but
indifferent agriculturists. Like the Mundas and Hos and other
representatives of the race, they are jovial in character, fond of
their rice beer, and ready to take a joke.

Their social organization is very complete; each village has its
headman or manjhi, with his assistant the paranik; the jogmanghi
is charged with the supervision of the morals of the young men and
women; the naeke is the village priest, the godet is the village
constable. Over a group of villages is the pargana or tribal chief. The
Santals are divided into exogamous septs--originally twelve in number,
and their social observances are complex, e.g. while some relations
treat each other with the greatest reserve, between others the utmost
freedom of intercourse is allowed.

Their religion is animistic, spirits (_bongas_) are everywhere around
them: the spirits of their ancestors, the spirit of the house, the
spirit dwelling in the patch of primeval forest preserved in each
village. Every hill tree and rock may have its spirit. These spirits
are propitiated by elaborate ceremonies and sacrifices which generally
terminate in dances, and the drinking of rice beer.

The Santal Parganas is a district 4800 sq. miles in area, lying
about 150 miles north of Calcutta, and was formed into a separate
administration after the Santals had risen in rebellion in 1856. The
Santals at present form about one-third of the population.

The stories and legends which are here translated have been collected
by the Rev. O. Bodding, D.D. of the Scandinavian Mission to the
Santals. To be perfectly sure that neither language nor ideas should in
any way be influenced by contact with a European mind he arranged for
most of them to be written out in Santali, principally by a Christian
convert named Sagram Murmu, at present living at Mohulpahari in the
Santal Parganas.

Santali is an agglutinative language of great regularity and complexity
but when the Santals come in contact with races speaking an Aryan
language it is apt to become corrupted with foreign idioms. The
language in which these stories have been written is beautifully
pure, and the purity of language may be accepted as an index that
the ideas have not been affected, as is often the case, by contact
with Europeans.

My translation though somewhat condensed is very literal, and the
stories have perhaps thereby an added interest as shewing the way in
which a very primitive people look at things. The Santals are great
story tellers; the old folk of the village gather the young people
round them in the evening and tell them stories, and the men when
watching the crops on the threshing floor will often sit up all night
telling stories.

There is however, no doubt that at the present time the knowledge of
these stories tends to die out. Under the peace which British rule
brings there is more intercourse between the different communities
and castes, a considerable, degree of assimilation takes place,
and old customs and traditions tend to be obliterated.

Several collections of Indian stories have been made, _e.g._ Stokes,
Indian Fairy Tales; Frere, Old Deccan Days; Day, Folk Tales of
Bengal; and Knowles' Folk Tales of Kashmir, and it will be seen
that all the stories in the present collection are by no means of
pure Santal origin. Incidents which form part of the common stock of
Indian folklore abound, and many of the stories professedly relate
to characters of various Hindu castes, others again deal with such
essentially Santal beliefs as the dealings of men and _bongas_.

The Rev. Dr. Campbell of Gobindpore published in 1891 a collection
of Santal Folk Tales. He gathered his material in the District of
Manbhum, and many of the stories are identical with those included in
the present volume. I have added as an appendix some stories which I
collected among the Hos of Singhbhum, a tribe closely related to the
Santals, and which the Asiatic Society of Bengal has kindly permitted
me to reprint here.

My task has been merely one of translation; it is due solely to Mr
Bodding's influence with, and intimate knowledge of, the people that
the stories have been committed to writing, and I have to thank him
for assistance and advice throughout my work of translation.

I have roughly classified the stories: in part 1 are stories of a
general character; part 2, stories relating to animals; in part 3,
stories which are scarcely folklore but are anecdotes relating to
Santal life; in Part 4, stories relating to the dealings of _bongas_
and men. In part 5, are some legends and traditions, and a few notes
relating to tribal customs. Part 6 contains illustrations of the
belief in witchcraft. I have had to omit a certain number of stories
as unsuited for publication.

C. H. Bompas.

Table of Contents


I. Bajun and Jhore
II. Anuwa and His Mother
III. Ledha and the Leopard
IV. The Cruel Stepmother
V. Karmu and Dharmu
VI. The Jealous Stepmother
VII. The Pious Woman
VIII. The Wise Daughter-in-Law
IX. The Oilman and His Sons
X. The Girl Who Found Helpers
XI. How to Grow Rich
XII. The Changed Calf
XIII. The Koeri and the Barber
XIV. The Prince Who Acquired Wisdom
XV. The Monkey Boy
XVI. The Miser's Servant
XVII. Kuwar and the Rajahs Daughter
XVIII. The Laughing Fish
XIX. How the Cowherd Found a Bride
XX. Kara and Guja
XXI. The Magic Cow
XXII. Lita and His Animals
XXIII. The Boy Who Found His Father
XXIV. The Oilman's Bullock
XXV. How Sabai Grass Grew
XXVI. The Merchant's Son and the Rajah's Daughter
XXVII. The Flycatcher's Egg
XXVIII. The Wife Who Would Not Be Beaten
XXIX. Sahde Goala
XXX. The Rajah's Son and the Merchant's Son
XXXI. The Poor Widow
XXXII. The Monkey and the Girl
XXXIII. Ramai and the Animals
XXXIV. The Magic Bedstead
XXXV. The Ghormuhas
XXXVI. The Boy Who Learnt Magic
XXXVII. The Charitable Jogi
XXXVIII. Chote and Mote
XXXIX. The Daydreamer
XL. The Extortionate Sentry
XLI. The Broken Friendship
XLII. A Story Told By a Hindoo
XLIII. The Raibar and the Leopard
XLIV. The Ungrateful Snake
XLV. The Tiger's Bride
XLVI. The Killing of the Tiger
XLVII. The Dream
XLVIII. The King of the Bhuyans
XLIX. The Foolish Sons
L. Kora and His Sister
LI. A Story on Caste
LII. Tipi and Tepa
LIII. The Child With the Ears of the Ox
LIV. The Child Who Knew His Father
LV. Jogeshwar's Marriage
LVI. The Strong Man
LVII. The Rajah's Advice
LVIII. The Four Jogis
LIX. The Charitable Rajah
LX. A Variant.--The Wandering Raja
LXI. The Two Wives
LXII. Spanling and His Uncles
LXIII. The Silent Wife
LXIV. The Dumb Shepherd
LXV. The Good Daughter-in-Law
LXVI. The Rajah's Dream
LXVII. The Mongoose Boy
LXVIII. The Stolen Treasure
LXIX. Dukhu and His Bonga Wife
LXX. The Monkey Husband
LXXI. Lakhan and the Wild Buffaloes
LXXII. The Boy with the Stag
LXXIII. The Seven Brothers and the Bonga Girl
LXXIV. The Tiger's Foster Child
LXXV. The Caterpillar Boy
LXXVI. The Monkey Nursemaid
LXXVII. The Wife Who Could Not Keep a Secret
LXXVIII. Sit and Lakhan
LXXIX. The Rajah Who went to Heaven
LXXX. Seven Tricks and Single Trick
LXXXI. Fuljhari Rajah
LXXXII. The Corpse of the Rajah's Son
LXXXIII. The Sham Child
LXXXIV. The Sons of the Kherohuri-Rajah
LXXXV. The Dog Bride
LXXXVI. Wealth or Wisdom
LXXXVII. A Goala and the Cow
LXXXVIII. The Telltale Wife
LXXXIX. The Bridegroom Who Spoke in Riddles
XC. The Lazy Man
XCI. Another Lazy Man
XCII. The Widow's Son
XCIII. The Boy Who Was Changed Into a Dog
XCIV. Birluri and Birbanta
XCV. The Killing of the Rakhas
XCVI. The Children of the Vultures
XCVII. The Ferryman
XCVIII. Catching a Thief
XCIX. The Grasping Rajah
C. The Prince Who Would Not Marry
CI. The Prince Who Found Two Wives
CII. The Unfaithful Wife
CIII. The Industrious Bride
CIV. The Boy and His Fate
CV. The Messengers of Death
CVI. The Speaking Crab
CVII. The Leopard Outwitted
CVIII. The Wind and the Sun
CIX. The Coldest Season


CX. The Jackal and the Crow
CXI. The Tiger Cub and the Calf
CXII. The Jackal and the Chickens
CXIII. The Jackal Punished
CXIV. The Tigers and the Cat
CXV. The Elephants and the Ants
CXVI. A Fox and His Wife
CXVII. The Jackal and the Crocodiles
CXVIII. The Bullfrog and the Crab
CXIX. The Hyena Outwitted
CXX. The Crow and the Egret
CXXI. The Jackal and the Hare
CXXII. The Brave Jackal
CXXIII. The Jackal and the Leopards


CXXIV. The Fool and His Dinner
CXXV. The Stingy Daughter
CXXVI. The Backwards and Forwards Dance
CXXVII. The Deaf Family
CXXVIII. The Father-in-Law's Visit
CXXIX. Ramai and Somai
CXXX. The Two Brothers
CXXXI. The Three Fools
CXXXII. The Cure For Laziness
CXXXIII. The Brahmin's Powers
CXXXIV. Ram's Wife
CXXXVI. The Women's Sacrifice
CXXXVII. The Thief's Son
CXXXVIII. The Divorce
CXXXIX. The Father and the Father-in-Law
CXL. The Reproof
CXLI. Enigmas
CXLII. The Too Particular Wife
CXLIII. The Paharia Socialists
CXLIV. How A Tiger Was Killed
CXLV. The Goala's Daughter
CXLVI. The Brahmin's Clothes
CXLVII. The Winning of the Bride


CXLVIII. Marriage With Bongas
CXLIX. The Bonga Heaven
CL. Lakhan and the Bonga
CLI. The House Bonga
CLII. The Sarsagun-Maiden
CLIII. The Schoolboy and the Bonga
CLIV. The Bonga's Cave
CLV. The Bonga's Victim
CLVI. Baijal and the Bonga
CLVII. Ramai and the Bonga
CLVIII. The Boundary Bonga
CLIX. The Bonga Exorcised


CLX. The Beginning of Things
CLXI. Chando and His Wife
CLXII. The Sikhar Rajah
CLXIII. The Origin of Tobacco
CLXIV. The Transmigration of Souls
CLXV. The Next World
CLXVI. After Death
CLXVII. Hares and Men
CLXIX. Pregnant Women
CLXX. The Influence of the Moon
CLXXI. Illegitimate Children
CLXXII. The Dead
CLXXIII. A Hunting Custom

Part VI

CLXXIV. Witchcraft
CLXXV. Of Dains and Ojhas
CLXXVI. Initiation Into Witchcraft
CLXXVII. Witch Craft
CLXXVIII. Witch Stories
CLXXIX. Witch Stories
CLXXX. Witch Stories
CLXXXI. The Two Witches
CLXXXII. The Sister-in-Law Who Was a Witch
CLXXXIII. Ramjit Bonga
CLXXXIV. The Herd Boy and the Witches
CLXXXV. The Man-Tiger



Folklore of the Kolhan

Part I.

In these stories there are many incidents which appear in stories
collected in other parts of India, though it is rather surprising
that so few of them appear elsewhere in their entirety. We have
however, instances of the husk myth, the youngest son who surpasses
his brother, the life of the ogre placed in some external object, the
jealous stepmother, the selection of a king by an elephant, the queen
whose husband is invariably killed on his wedding night, etc. etc.

Few of the old Indian stories found in the Katha Sarit Sagara or the
Buddhist Birth stories appear in recognizable form in the present

I. Bajun and Jhore.

Once upon a time there were two brothers named Bajun and Jhore. Bajun
was married and one day his wife fell ill of fever. So, as he was
going ploughing, Bajun told Jhore to stay at home and cook the dinner
and he bade him put into the pot three measures of rice. Jhore stayed
at home and filled the pot with water and put it on to boil; then he
went to look for rice measures; there was only one in the house and
Jhore thought "My brother told me to put in three measures and if I
only put in one I shall get into trouble." So he went to a neighbour's
house and borrowed two more measures, and put them into the pot and
left them to boil. At noon Bajun came back from ploughing and found
Jhore stirring the pot and asked him whether the rice was ready. Jhore
made no answer, so Bajun took the spoon from him, saying "Let me feel
how it is getting on", but when he stirred with the spoon he heard a
rattling noise and when he looked into the pot he found no rice but
only three wooden measures floating about; then he turned and abused
Jhore for his folly, but Jhore said "You yourself told me to put in
three measures and I have done so." So Bajun had to set to work and
cook the rice himself and got his dinner very late.

Next day Bajun said to Jhore, "You don't know how to cook the dinner;
I will stay at home to-day, you go to plough, and take a hatchet
with you and if the plough catches in a root or anything, give a
cut with the hatchet." So Jhore went ploughing and when the plough
caught in anything and stopped, he gave a cut with his hatchet at
the legs of the bullocks; they backed and plunged with the pain and
then he only chopped at them the more until he lamed them both. At
noon Bajun saw the bullocks come limping back and asked what was
the matter with them. "O," said Jhore, "that is because I cut at
them as you told me." "You idiot," said Bajun, "I meant you to give
a cut at the roots in which the plough got caught, not at the legs
of the bullocks; how will you live if you do such silly things? You
cannot plough, you must stay at home and cook the rice. I will show
you this evening how it is done." So after that Jhore stayed at home
and cooked. Bajun's wife grew no better, so one day Bajun, before he
went to the fields, told Jhore to warm some water in order that his
wife might wash with it. But Jhore made the water boiling hot and
then took it and began to pour it over his sister-in-law as she lay
on her bed; she was scalded and shrieked out "Don't pour it over me,"
but Jhore only laughed and went on pouring until he had scalded her
to death. Then he wrapped her up in a cloth and brought her dinner to
her and offered it her to eat, but she was dead and made no answer to
him, so he left it by her and went and ate his own rice. When Bajun
came back and found his wife scalded to death he was very angry and
went to get an axe to kill Jhore with; thereupon Jhore ran away into
the jungle and Bajun pursued him with the axe.

In the jungle Jhore found a dead sheep and he took out its stomach and
called out "Where are you, brother, I have found some meat." But Bajun
answered, "I will not leave you till I have killed you." So Jhore ran
on and climbed up inside a hollow tree, where Bajun could not follow,
Bajun got a long stick and poked at him with it and as he poked, Jhore
let fall the sheep's stomach, and when Bajun saw it he concluded that
he had killed his brother. So he went home and burned the body of
his wife and a few days later he performed the funeral ceremonies to
the memory of his wife and brother; he smeared the floor of the house
with cowdung and sacrificed goats and fowls. Now Jhore had come back
that day and climbed up on to the rafters of the house, and he sat
there watching all that his brother did. Bajun cooked a great basket
of rice and stewed the flesh of the animals he had sacrified and
offered it to the spirits of the dead and he recited the dedication
"My wife I offer this rice, this food, for your purification," and
so saying he scattered some rice on the ground; and he also offered
to Jhore, saying, "Jhore, my brother, I offer this rice, this food,
for your purification," and then Jhore called out from the roof "Well,
as you offer it to me I will take it." Bajun had not bargained to get
any answer, so he was astounded and went to ask the villagers whether
their spirits made answer when sacrificed to: and the villagers told
him that they had never heard of such a thing. While Bajun was away
on this errand, Jhore took up the unguarded basket of rice and ran
away with it; after going some way he sat down by the road and ate
as much as he wanted, then he sat and called out "Is there anyone on
the road or in the jungle who wants a feast?" A gang of thieves who
were on a thieving expedition heard him and went to see what he meant;
he offered to let them eat the rice if they would admit him to their
company; they agreed and he went on with them to steal; they broke
into a rich man's house and the thieves began to collect the pots
and pans but Jhore felt about in the dark and got hold of a drum and
began to beat on it. This woke up the people of the house and they
drove away the thieves. Then the thieves abused Jhore and said that
they could not let him stay with them: "Very well", said he, "then
give me back the rice you ate." Of course they could not do this. So
they had to let him stay with them. Then they went to the house of a
rich Hindu who had a stable full of horses and they planned to steal
the horses and ride away with them; so each thief picked out a horse,
but Jhore got hold of a tiger which had come to the back of the stable
to kill one of the horses; and when the thieves mounted their horses,
Jhore mounted on the tiger, and the tiger ran off with him towards the
jungle. Jhore kept on calling out "Keep to the road, you Hindu horse,
keep to the road, you Hindu horse." But it dragged him through the
briars and bushes till he was dead and that was the end of Jhore.

II. Anuwa and His Mother.

Once there was a young fellow named Anuwa who lived with his old
mother, and when he was out ploughing his mother used to take him
his breakfast. One day a jackal met her on her way to the field with
her son's breakfast and told her to put down the food which she was
carrying or he would knock her down and bite her; so she put it down
in a fright and the jackal ate most of it and then went away and
the old woman took what was left to her son and told him nothing
about what had happened. This happened several days in succession;
at last one day Anuwa asked her why she brought so little rice and
that so untidily arranged; so she told him how she was attacked every
day by the jackal. Then they made a plan that the next day the mother
should take the plough afield, while Anuwa should dress up as an old
woman and carry the breakfast. This they did and the jackal met Anuwa
as usual and made him put down the breakfast basket, but while the
jackal was eating, Anuwa knocked him head over heels with his stick;
and the jackal got up and fled, threatening and cursing Anuwa. Among
other things the jackal as he ran away, had threatened to eat Anuwa's
_malhan_ plants, so Anuwa put a fence of thorns round them and when
the jackal came at night and tried to eat the pods he only got his
nose pricked.

Foiled in this the jackal called out "Well, I will eat your fowls
to-morrow;" but Anuwa the next night sat by the fowl house with a
sickle and when the jackal came and poked in his head, Anuwa gave him a
rap on the snout with the sickle, so the jackal made off crying "Well,
Anuwa, your fowls have pecked me on the head, you shall die." So the
next day Anuwa pretended to be dead and his mother went about crying;
she took her way to the jungle and there she met the jackal and she
told him that Anuwa had died in consequence of his curse and she
invited him to the funeral feast, saying that he used to eat the
rice which she had cooked and he had become like a son to her. The
jackal gladly promised to attend, and he collected a number of his
friends and at evening they went to Anuwa's house and sat down in
the courtyard. Then the old woman came out and began to bewail her
son: but the jackal said "Stop crying, grannie, you cannot get back
the dead: let us get on to the feast." So she said that she would
fry some cakes first, as it would take some time before the rice was
ready. The jackals approved of this but they asked her to tie them up
with a rope first lest they should get to fighting over the food, so
the old woman brought a thick rope and tied them all up and tightest
of all she tied up the jackal which had cursed Anuwa; then she went
inside and put an iron pan on the fire and from time to time she
sprinkled water on it and when the jackals heard the water hissing
they thought that it was the cakes frying and jumped about with
joy. Suddenly Anuwa came out with a thick stick and set to beating
the jackals till they bit through the ropes and ran away howling;
but the first jackal was tied so tightly that he could not escape,
and Anuwa beat him till he was senseless and lay without moving all
night. The next morning Anuwa took the jackal and tied him to a stake
near the place where the village women drew water and he put a thick
stick beside it and every woman who went for water would give the
jackal one blow with the stick. After a few days beating the body
of the jackal became all swollen and one night some other jackals
came there and asked him what he ate that he had got so fat and he
said that every one who came to draw water gave him a handful of rice
and that was why he was so fat; and if they did not believe him they
could take his place and try for themselves.

So one jackal agreed to try and untied the first jackal and let himself
be tied in his place, but in the morning five women came down and
each gave him a blow with the stick till he jumped about for pain,
and seeing him jumping other women came and beat him till he died.

III. Ledha and the Leopard.

Once upon a time a boy named Ledha was tending cattle with other
boys at the foot of a hill, and these boys in fun used to call out
"Ho, leopard: Ho, leopard," and the echo used to answer from the hill
"Ho, leopard." Now there really was a leopard who lived in the hill
and one day he was playing hide and seek with a lizard which also
lived there. The lizard hid and the leopard looked every where for
it in vain. At last the leopard sat down to rest and it chanced that
he sat right on top of the lizard which was hiding in a hole. The
lizard thought that the leopard meant to hurt it and in revenge bit
him and fastened on to his rump so that he could not get it off,
so that day when the boys came calling out "Ho, leopard," he ran
towards them to get their help: but when they saw the leopard they
all fled for their lives. Ledha however could not run fast because
he was lame, and the leopard headed him off and begged him to remove
the lizard. This he did after the leopard had sworn not to eat him,
and before they parted the leopard made him promise to tell no one
that the lizard had bitten him, and said that if he told then he would
be carried off and eaten. So Ledha rejoined his companions and told
them nothing of what had passed between him and the leopard. But that
night when they had all gone to bed, Ledha's sister-in-law began to
worry him to tell her what the leopard had said to him, when it had
caught him. He told her that the leopard would eat him if he told,
but she coaxed him and said that no one could hear them inside the
house; so at last he told her that he had taken off a lizard which
was hanging on to its rump. Then they went to sleep; but the leopard
was hiding at the back of the house and heard all that they said;
and when they were all asleep, he crept in and carried off Ledha's bed
with Ledha in it on his head. When Ledha woke up towards morning, he
found himself being carried through dense jungle and he quietly pulled
himself up into one of the trees which overhung the path. Thus when
the leopard put down the bed and was going to eat Ledha, he found it
empty. So he went back on his track and by and bye came to the tree
in which Ledha was hiding. The leopard begged Ledha to come down,
as he had something to say to him, and promised not to eat him; but
directly Ledha reached the ground the leopard said "Now I am going to
eat you." Ledha was powerless, so he only asked to be allowed to have
one chew of tobacco before he died; the leopard assented and Ledha
felt in his cloth for his tobacco, but the tobacco did not come out
easily and as Ledha felt about for it the dry tobacco leaves crackled;
the leopard asked what the crackling sound was, and Ledha said "That
is the lizard which bit you yesterday;" then the leopard got into a
terrible fright and ran away as hard as he could, calling out "Don't
let it loose: Don't let it loose."

So Ledha was saved from the leopard, but he did not know his way out
of the jungle. He wandered about, till he came to the place where the
wild buffaloes used to sleep at night, and he swept up the place and
made it clean and then took refuge in a hollow tree; he stayed there
some days, sweeping up the place daily and supporting himself on the
fruit of a fig-tree. At last one day the buffaloes left one cow behind
to watch and see who it was who swept up their sleeping place. The cow
pretended to be too ill to rise, and Ledha after watching for some
time came out and swept the ground as usual, and then tried to pull
the sick cow up by the tail; but she would not move so he went back to
his hollow tree. When the buffaloes returned they heard that it was a
kindhearted man who cleaned their sleeping place; so they called Ledha
out and said that they would keep him as their servant to clean their
sleeping place and to scrub them when they bathed in the river; they
made him taste the milk of all the cows and appointed the cow whose
milk he liked best to supply him. Thenceforward he used to wander
about with the buffaloes and he made a flute and used to play on it.

One day after scrubbing the buffaloes he washed his head in the river
and some of his hairs came out; so he wrapped them up in a leaf and
set the packet to float down the stream. Lower down the stream two
princesses were bathing with their attendants, and when they saw
the packet they tried who could fish it out and it was the younger
princess who caught it. Then they measured the hairs and found them
twelve cubits long. The princess who had taken the packet from the
water went home and took to her bed and said that she would not
eat until the man was found to whom the hairs belonged. Her father,
the Raja, sent messengers in all directions to search for the man
but they could not find him. Then he sent a parrot and the parrot
flew up high and looking down saw Ledha with the buffaloes in the
forest; but it did not dare to go near, so the parrot returned and
told the Raja that the man was in the forest but that no messenger
could approach for fear of the wild buffaloes. However a crow said,
"I can bring him if any one can," so they sent the crow and it went
and perched on the backs of the buffaloes and began to peck them;
then Ledha threw stones at it, but it would not go away; then he threw
a stick at it and last of all he threw his flute. The crow caught up
the flute and flew up to a tree with it. Ledha ran after it, but the
crow kept flying on a short distance and Ledha still pursued until he
came to the Raja's city. The crow flew on till it entered the room
where the princess lay, and dropped the flute into the hands of the
princess. Ledha followed right into the room and they shut him in
and the princess gave him his flute after he had promised to marry her.

So he stayed there a long time, but meanwhile the buffaloes all got
weak and ill for want of some one to look after them. One day Ledha
set off to the jungle with his wife to see them and when he saw how
ill the buffaloes were, he decided to build a house in the jungle
and live there. And the Raja sent them money and horses and cattle
and elephants and servants and they built a palace and Ledha subdued
all the jungle and became a great Raja; and he made a highway to his
father-in-law's home and used to go to and fro on it.

IV. The Cruel Stepmother.

There was once a Raja whose wife died leaving him with one young
child. He reared it with great care and when it could toddle about
it took a great fancy to a cat; the child was always playing with it
and carrying it about.

All his friends begged the Raja to marry again, but he said that he
was sure that a stepmother would be cruel to his child; at last they
persuaded him to promise to marry again, if a bride could be found
who would promise to care for the child as her own, so his friends
looked out for a bride; but though they found plenty of girls who
were anxious to marry the Raja, not one would promise to care for
his child as her own. There was a young widow in a certain village
who heard of what was going on, and one day she asked whether a
bride had been found for the Raja and she was told that no one was
willing to take charge of the child. "Why don't they agree," said she,
"I would agree fast enough. If I were Rani I should have nothing to
do but look after the child and I would care for it more than its own
mother could." This came to the ears of the Raja and he sent for the
widow and was pleased with her looks, and when she promised to love
his child as her own, he married her.

At first no one could be kinder to the child than she was, but in the
course of time she had a child of her own and then she began to be
jealous of the elder child; and she thought daily how she could get
rid of him. He was still devoted to his cat and one day when he came
back to the house, he asked his stepmother where the cat was. She
answered angrily, "The cat has bewitched the boy! It is 'cat, cat,'
all day long." At this the child began to cry; so she found the cat
and threw it to him, saying, "Here is your cat: you are mad about
your cat." But the boy hugged it in his arms and kept on crying at his
stepmother's cross words. As he would not keep quiet his stepmother got
more angry still; and catching hold of the cat she scratched her own
arms and legs with the cat's claws until the blood flowed; then she
began to cry and scold and when the neighbours came to see what was
the matter, she told them that the boy had let his cat scratch her;
and the neighbours saw that she was not loving the boy as she promised.

Presently the Raja came in and asked what was the matter; she turned
and scolded him saying: "You have reared the accursed cat and it has
scratched me finely; look, it has taken all the skin off; this is the
way the boy repays me for all my trouble. I will not stay with you; if
I stay the boy will injure me like this again." The Raja said, "Don't
cry like a baby; how can a simple child like that know better? when
he grows up I will scold him." But the woman persisted and declared
that she would go away with her own child unless the Raja promised
to kill his elder son. The Raja refused to do this, so the Rani took
up her baby and went out of the house with it in a rage. Now the Raja
was deeply in love with her and he followed and stopped her, and said
that he could not let her take away his younger child; she answered,
"Why trouble about the child? it is mine; I have left you your boy,
if you don't kill him, when he grows up, he will tell you some lie
about me and make you have me beaten to death." At last the Raja
said "Well, come back and if the boy does you any harm I will kill
him." But the Rani said. "Either kill him now or let me go." So at
last the Raja promised and brought her back to the palace. Then the
Raja called the boy and gave him his dinner and told him that they
were going on a visit to his uncle's: and the child was delighted
and fetched his shoes and umbrella, and off they set, and a dog came
running after them. When they came to a jungle the Raja told his son
to sit under a tree and wait for him, and he went away and killed the
dog that had followed them and smeared the blood on his axe and went
home, leaving the child.

When his father did not return, the child began to cry, and Thakur
heard him and came down, and to frighten the boy and make him leave
the jungle he came in the guise of a leopard; but the child would not
move from where he was; then Thakur appeared as a bear, and as a snake
and an elephant and in many other forms but the child would not move;
so at last Thakur took the form of an old woman, who lifted him in
her arms and soothed him and carried him to the edge of the jungle
and left him on the outskirts of a village.

In the morning a rich Brahman found him and took him home, and as no
one claimed the child he brought him up and made him his goat-herd,
and they gave him the name of Lela. The Brahman's sons and daughters
used to go school, and before he took his goats out to graze Lela
used to carry their books to the school. And going to the school every
day Lela got to know one or two letters and used to draw them in the
sand while minding his goats; later he got the children to give him
an old book saying that he wanted to pretend to the other boys that
he could read and out of this book he taught himself to read: and as
he grew up he became quite a scholar. One day he picked up a letter
and found that it was from one of the village girls arranging to elope
that very evening with a young man. At the appointed time Lela went to
the rendez-vous and hid himself in a tree; soon he saw the Brahman's
daughter come to the place, but as her letter had not been delivered
her lover did not appear. The girl got tired of waiting and then she
began to call to her lover, thinking that perhaps he was hiding for
a joke. When she called, Lela answered from the tree and she thought
that it was her lover and said "Come down and let us be off." So
Lela came down and they started off together; when day dawned she saw
that it was Lela who was with her and she sat down and upbraided him
for deceiving her. Lela said that they had met by chance; he had not
enticed her away, no harm had been done and she could go home if she
liked or come away with him if she liked. The girl considered but she
saw that if she went home now she would be disgraced and her family
would be outcasted, so in the end she agreed to run away with Lela.

They went on and after travelling some days they came to a great
city, where they took up their quarters in a tumble-down house and
the next morning Lela went into the city to look for work. He went to
the cutcherry and enrolled himself as a _muktear_ (attorney) and soon
the litigants and the magistrates found out how clever he was and he
acquired a big practice. One day the Raja said, "This fellow is very
handsome, I wonder what his wife is like?" And he sent an old woman
to see; so the old woman went and got into conversation with Lela's
wife and returned to the Raja and told him that none of his wives was
so beautiful as Lela's wife; so the Raja determined to go and see
her himself, and as the old woman said that she would hide herself
in the house if she saw the Raja coming, he disguised himself as a
poor man and went and saw her; he found that the old woman had not
exaggerated and he determined to possess himself of Lela's wife. He
had first to get Lela out of the way, so he sent for him and said,
"You are a fine fellow and have given me satisfaction. I have one
more commission for you, if you perform it I will give you half my
kingdom and my sister in marriage." Lela said that he must hear what
it was before he made any promise. The Raja said "It is this: in a
certain mountain grows the Chandmoni Kusum flower; bring it to me
and I will give you what I have promised:"--but the Raja felt sure
that if Lela went to the mountain he would be eaten by the Rakhas
(ogress) who dwelt there. Lela said that he would go if the Raja
gave him a written bond In the presence of witnesses; and this the
Raja willingly did. Then Lela went and told his wife and she said,
"This is excellent: I have a younger sister in the mountain, her name
is Chandmoni and it was she who planted the Chandmoni Kusum flower;
when you get there call her by her name and she will certainly give
you the flower."

So Lela started off and when he was gone his wife fell ill, and
her body became a mass of sores. Directly Lela was out of the way,
the Raja sent the old woman to see what his wife was doing and she
brought back word that she was afflicted with illness; so the Raja
sent medicines and told the old woman to nurse her. Lela went off and
came to the cave in the mountain where Chandmoni lived with the Rakhas;
and the Rakhas was away hunting men, so Lela called out Chandmoni and
told her who he was and begged her to hide him; then they planned how
they should kill the Rakhas, and she hid him in the cave; presently
the Rakhas returned and said to Chandmoni "I smell a man: where is
he?" But Chandmoni said that there was no one there but herself;
and that the smell was probably due to the Rakhas having been eating
human flesh and recommended her to anoint herself with hot ghee. The
Rakhas agreed: so Chandmoni put a great iron pan of ghee on to boil,
and when it was boiling she called the Rakhas, and as the Rakhas was
leaning over the pan, Lela ran out and pushed her into the boiling
ghee and she died. Then Chandmoni asked Lela why he had come, and
he told her, "to fetch the flower." She promised to give it to him
but asked what was to become of her now that the ogress with whom she
lived was dead. Lela promised to take her with him, so they cut off the
tongue and ears and claws of the Rakhas and returned to the city. And
directly Lela returned, his first wife recovered from her illness.

Then the Raja saw that it was useless to contend with Lela, and he
gave him half his kingdom and married him to his sister according
to his bond. So Lela lived with his three Ranis and they bore him
children and after some years he told them that he was the son of a
Raja and he wished to visit his own country and see whether his father
was alive. So they set out in great style with horses and elephants
and came to the town where Lela's father lived. Now five or six days
after abandoning Lela, his father had become blind and, he made over
the management of his kingdom to a Dewan, and the Dewan and the Rani
managed everything. When the Dewan heard that Lela had come with a
great force he thought that he would loot the country and he ran away
in fear. Then Lela sent word to his father to come to him, as he was
the son who had been abandoned in the jungle, so the Raja set forth
joyfully and after he had gone a few paces he began to see dimly,
and by the time that he came to Lela's camp he had quite recovered
his eyesight. When they met, father and son embraced and wept over
each other; and Lela ordered a feast to be prepared and while this
was being done a maidservant came running to say that the wicked
Rani had hanged herself, so they went and burned the body and then
returned and enjoyed the feast. Then the Raja resigned his kingdom
to Lela and the ryots begged him to stay and rule over them; so he
remained there and lived happily ever after.

V. Karmu and Dharmu.

There were once two brothers Karmu and Dharmu. Karmu was a farmer and
Dharmu was a trader; once when Dharmu was away from home Karmu gave
a religious feast and did not invite Dharmu's household; when Dharmu
returned and learnt this, he told his wife that he also would perform
the ceremonies in his house, so they set to work and were employed
in cooking rice and vegetables far into the night; and Karam Gosain
came down to see what preparations Dharmu was making in his honour,
and he watched from the back of the house.

Just then Dharmu strained off the water from the cooked rice and threw
it out of the window, and it fell on Karam Gosain and scalded him, and
as the flies and insects worried the wound, Karam Gosain went off to
the Ganges and buried himself in the middle of the stream. As he had
thus offended Karam Gosain, all Dharmu's undertakings failed and he
fell into deep poverty, and had not even enough to eat, so he had to
take service with his brother Karmu. When the time for transplanting
the rice came, Dharmu used to plough and dig the ditches and mend the
gaps along with the day labourers. Karmu told him not to work himself
but act as overseer of the other labourers, and the labourers also told
him that it was not suitable for him to work as a labourer himself,
but Dharmu said that he must earn his wages and insisted on working;
and in the same way Dharmu's wife might have acted as overseer of
the women, but she was ashamed not to work too.

One day they were transplanting the rice and Karmu brought out
breakfast for the labourers; he told Dharmu and his wife to wash their
hands and come and eat; but they answered that they belonged to the
household and that the hired labourers should be fed first, so the
labourers ate and they ate up all the rice and there was nothing left
for Dharmu and his wife. When the midday meal was brought the same
thing happened, Dharmu and his wife got nothing; but they hoped that
it would be made up to them when the wages were paid, and worked
on fasting. At evening when they came to pay the wages in kind,
Dharmu's name was called out first, but he told his brother to pay
the labourers first, and in doing this the paddy was all used up and
there was nothing left for Dharmu and his wife; so they went home
sorrowfully and their children cried for food and they had nothing
to give them. In the night Dharmu's wife said "They promised to pay
us for merely looking after the work and instead, we worked hard
and have still got nothing. We will not work for them anymore; come,
let us undo the work we did to-day, you cut down the embankments you
repaired, and I will uproot the seedlings which I planted." So they
went out into the night to do this. But whenever Dharmu raised his
spade a voice called out "Hold, hold!" And whenever his wife put out
her hand to pull up the rice a voice called out "Hold, hold!" Then they
said "Who are you who stop us?" And the voice answered "You have done
evil and offended Karam Gosain by scalding him; this is why you have
become poor and to-day have worked without food and without wages;
he has gone to the Ganges and you must go and propitiate him." And
they asked how they should propitiate him, and the voice said "Grind
turmeric and put it on a plate, and buy new cloth and dye it with
turmeric and make ready oil and take these things to the Ganges and
call on Karam Gosain." And they believed the voice and the next day
did as it commanded, and set off, leaving their children in charge
of Karmu. On the way they came to a fig-tree full of figs and they
went to eat the fruit; but when they got near they found that all
the figs were full of grubs, and they sang:--

"Exhausted by hunger we came to a fig-tree,
And found it full of grubs,
O Karam Gosain, how far off are you?"

Then they came to a mango tree and the same thing happened. And they
went on and saw a cow with a calf; and they thought that they would
milk the cow and drink the milk, but when they went to catch it it
ran away from them and would not let itself be caught; and they sang:--

"We go to catch the cow and it runs away,
We go to catch the calf and it runs away,
O Karam Gosain how far off are you?"

But the cow said to them--"Go to the banks of the Ganges." Then
they came to a buffalo and went to milk it, but it lowered its head
and charged them; and Dharam cried but his wife said "Don't cry"
and sang:--

"If you go to catch the buffalo, Dharmu,
It will kill you.
How shall we drink milk? How shall we drink milk?
How far off are you, O our Karam Gosain?"

And the buffalo said "Go on to the bank of the Ganges." Then they came
to a horse and they thought that they would catch it and mount it,
but it kicked and snorted; and they sang:--

"Dharmu tries to catch the horse:
But it kicks and runs away.
How shall we reach the Ganges?
O Karam Gosain, how far off are you?"

And the horse said "Go to the banks of the Ganges." Then they saw an
elephant but it would not let them approach, so they decided to push
on straight for the river; and they saw under a banyan tree a large
pot full of rupees, but they were so disheartened that they made no
attempt to touch it; then they met a woman who asked where they were
going and when she heard, she said "For twelve years I have had a _pai_
measure stuck on my throat; ask Karam Gosain for me how I am to get
rid of it," and they promised; and going on they met a woman with a
bundle of thatching grass stuck to her head; and she made them promise
to ask Karam Gosain how she could be freed; then they met a woman with
both her feet burning in a fire and another with a stool stuck fast
to her back and they promised to enquire how these might be delivered.

So at last they came to the Ganges and they stood on the bank and
called to Karam Gosain; and when he came they caught hold of him and
he said "Fie, what low caste person is touching me?" But they said. "It
is no low caste person, but Dharmu." Then they bathed him and anointed
him with oil and turmeric and wrapped him in the new cloth which they
had brought, and thus they persuaded him to return; so they rose up
to go back, and Dharmu asked about the women whom they had met, and
Karam Gosain said: "The woman has a stool stuck to her back because
when visitors came she never offered them a seat; let her do so in
future, and she will be freed; and the woman has her feet burning in
the fire because she pushed the fuel into the fire with her foot; let
her not do so in future, and she will be freed; and the woman has the
thatching grass stuck to her head because when she saw a friend with
straw sticking in her hair she did not tell her about it; let her do
so in future and she will be freed; and the woman has the pai measure
stuck to her throat because, when her neighbour wanted to borrow her
measure, she would not lend it; let her do so in future and she will
be freed." And Karam Gosain asked whether they had seen an elephant
and a horse and a buffalo and a cow and money and mangoes and figs and
Dharmu said "Yes," but that he had not been able to catch the animals
and the fruit was bad. Karam Gosain promised them that on their way
back they should take possession of all; and they did so and mounted
on the elephant and returned to their home with great wealth. On their
way they met the four women and told them how they could be saved from
their troubles. The villagers welcomed Dharmu and he arranged a great
feast and gave paddy to all the villagers to husk; but when they had
boiled it the weather became cloudy so that they could not dry it,
so they prayed to the sun and he at once shone out and dried the paddy.

Then a day was fixed and they prepared rice beer, and worshipped
Karam Gosain and they danced all night and got very drunk and enjoyed

VI. The Jealous Stepmother.

There was once a man whose wife died leaving him with one son and
after a year he married again. The second wife was very jealous of the
son and she told her husband that she would not stay with him unless
he killed the boy; at first he refused but she insisted and then he
said that he was frightened to do the deed, but she might kill the
boy herself if she liked. She said, "No: he is your son and you must
kill him; if he were mine I would do it. You need not be frightened;
when you take him out ploughing make him drive the front plough, and
you sharpen your plough pole to a point and drive it into him from
behind and kill him and then it will seem to be an accident." So the
man promised and made a sharp point to his plough pole but whenever
they ploughed, the son drove his plough so fast that the father could
not catch him up and so the boy was not killed; then the woman abused
her husband and said that he was deceiving her. So he promised to
finish the business the next day and told her to give the boy a good
hot breakfast before they started, so that he might receive one last
kindness, and he said that they must find some other way of killing
him because all the ploughing was finished; but his wife told him he
could plough down their crop of _goondli_, the bullocks would stop
to eat the _goondli_ as they went along and so he would easily catch
up his son. Accordingly the next morning father and son took out the
ploughs and the boy asked where they should plough, and the father said
that they would plough down the field of _goondli_. But the boy said
"Why should we do that? it is a good crop and will be ripe in a day
or two; it is too late to sow again, we shall lose this crop and who
knows whether we shall get anything in its place?"

And the father thought 'What the boy says is true; the first crop
is like the first child, if I kill him who will support me in my
old age? Who knows whether my second wife will have children. I will
not kill him however angry she be;' so they unyoked their ploughs and
went home. He told his wife that he would not kill the boy and scolded
her and ended by giving her a beating. Then she ran away in a passion
but he did not trouble to go and look for her and in a few days her
father and brothers brought her back, and her husband told them what
had happened and they also scolded her and told her to mend her ways.

VII. The Pious Woman.

There was once a very pious woman and her special virtue was that she
would not eat or drink on any day until she had first given alms to a
beggar. One day no beggar came to her house, so by noon she got tired
of waiting, and, tying in her cloth some parched rice, she went to the
place where the women drew water. When she got there she saw a Jugi
coming towards her, she greeted him and said that she had brought
dried rice for him. He said that omens had bidden him come to her
and that he came to grant her a boon: she might ask one favour and
it would be given her. The woman said: "Grant me this boon--to know
where our souls go after death, and to see at the time of death how
they escape, whether through the nose or the mouth, and where they
go to; and tell me when I shall die and where my soul will go to;
this I ask and no more." Then the Jugi answered, "Your prayer is
granted, but you must tell no one; if you do, the power will depart
from you." So saying he took from his bag something like a feather and
brushed her eyes with it and washed them with water. Then the woman's
eyes were opened and she saw spirits--_bongas, bhuts, dains, churins_,
and the souls of dead men; and the Jugi told her not to be afraid,
but not to speak to them lest men should think her mad; then he took
his leave, and she returned home. Now in the village lived a poor man
and his wife and they were much liked because they were industrious
and obedient; shortly afterwards this poor man died and the pious
woman saw men come with a palankin and take away the poor man's soul
with great ceremony. She was pleased at the sight and thought that
the souls of all men were taken away like this. But shortly afterwards
her father-in-law died. He had been a rich man, but harsh, and while
the family were mourning the pious woman saw four sipahis armed with
iron-shod staves and of fierce countenance come to the house and two
entered and took the father-in-law by the neck and thrust him forth;
they bound him and beat him, they knocked him down and as he could
not walk they dragged him away by his legs. The woman followed him to
the end of the garden and when she saw him being dragged away, she
screamed. When her husband's relatives saw her screaming and crying
they were angry and said that she must have killed her father-in-law
by witchcraft, for she did not sit by the corpse and cry but went to
the end of the garden. So after the body had been burnt they held
a council and questioned her and told her that they would hold her
to be a witch, if she could not explain. So she told them of the
power which the Jugi had conferred on her and of what she had seen,
and they believed her and acquitted her of the charge of witchcraft;
but from that time she lost her power and saw no more spirits.

VIII. The Wise Daughter-in-Law.

There was once a rich man who had seven sons, but one day his wife
died and after this the family fell into poverty. All their property
was sold and they lived by selling firewood in the bazar. At last the
wife of the eldest son said to her father-in-law. "I have a proposal
to make: Do you choose one of us to be head of the family whom all
shall obey; we cannot all be our own masters as at present." The old
man said "Well, I choose you," and he assembled the whole family and
made them promise to obey the wife of his eldest son.

Thereupon she told them that they must all go out into the fields
and bring her whatever they found. So the next day they went out
in different directions and the old man found some human excrement
and he thought "Well, my daughter-in-law told me to bring whatever
I found" so he wrapped it up in leaves and took it home; and his
daughter-in-law told him that he had done well and bade him hang
up the packet at the back of the house. A few days later he found
the slough of a snake and he took that home and his daughter-in-law
told to tie a clod of earth to it to prevent its being blown away,
and to throw it on to the roof of the house.

Some years after the Raja of the country was ill with cancer of the
face and none of the _ojhas_ could cure him. At last one _ojha_ said
that there was only one medicine which could effect a cure, but he
saw no chance of obtaining it and that was human excrement 12 years
old. Then the Raja sent messengers throughout the kingdom offering a
reward of 200 Rupees to any one who could supply excrement twelve years
old; and when a messenger came to the village where this family lived
the daughter-in-law produced the packet which the old man had brought
home and received the reward of 200 Rupees; and they were all delighted
at making so much money by what the old man had brought home in jest.

And again it happened that the son of a Raja was bathing and he left
his gold belt on the bank and a kite thought it was a snake and flew
off with it. The prince was much distressed at the loss but the Raja
told him not to grieve as the kite must have dropped it somewhere and
he would offer a reward of a thousand rupees for it. Now the kite had
soon found that the belt was not good to eat and seeing the snake's
skin which the old man had thrown on to the roof of the house, it
dropped the belt and flew off with the skin; and the daughter-in-law
picked up the belt and when criers came round offering a reward she
produced it and received the money. And they praised her wisdom and
by this means the family became rich again.

IX. The Oilman and His Sons.

There was once an oilman with five sons and they were all married
and lived jointly with their father. But the daughters-in-law were
discontented with this arrangement and urged their husbands to ask
their father to divide the family property. At first the old man
refused, but when his sons persisted, he told them to bring him a
log two cubits long and so thick that two hands could just span it,
and he said that if they could break the log in two, he would divide
the property; so they brought the log and then asked for axes, but he
told them that they must break it themselves by snapping it or twisting
it or standing on it; so they tried and failed. Then the old man said,
"You are five and I make six; split the log into six," So they split it
and he gave each a piece and told them to break them, and each easily
snapped his stick; then the old man said "We are like the whole log: we
have plenty of property and are strong and can overcome attack; but if
we separate we shall be like the split sticks and easily broken." They
admitted that this was true and proposed that the property should not
be divided but that they should all become separate in mess. But the
father would not agree to this for he thought that people would call
him a miser if he let his sons live separately without his giving
them their share in the property as their own, So as they persisted
in their folly he partitioned the property.

But in a few years they all fell into poverty and had not enough to
eat nor clothes to wear, and the father and mother were no better off;
then the old man called all his sons and their wives and said "You see
what trouble you have fallen into; I have a riddle for you, explain
it to me. There are four wells, three empty and one full of water;
if you draw water from the full one and pour it into the three empty
ones they will become full; but when they are full and the first one
is empty, if you pour water from the three full ones into the empty
one it will not be filled; what does this mean?" And they could not
answer and he said, "The four wells mean that a man had three sons,
and while they were little he filled their stomachs as the wells were
filled with water; but when they separated they would not fill the
old man's stomach."

And it was true, that the sons had done nothing to help their father
and they were filled with shame and they agreed that as long as their
father lived they would be joint with him and would not separate
again until he died.

X. The Girl Who Found Helpers.

Once upon a time there were seven brothers, and they were all married,
and they had one sister who was not married. The brothers went away
to a far country for a whole year, leaving their wives at home. Now
the wives hated their sister-in-law and did their best to torment
her. So one day they gave her a pot full of holes and told her to
bring it back full of water; and threatened that if she failed she
should have no food. So she took the pot to the spring and there sat
down and cried and sang:--

"I am fetching water in a pot full of holes,
I am fetching water in a pot full of holes,
How far away have my brothers gone to trade."

After she had cried a long time, a number of frogs came up out of
the water and asked her what was the matter, and she told them that
she must fill the pot with water, and was not allowed to stop the
holes with clay or lac. Then they told her not to cry, and said, that
they would sit on the holes and then the water would not run out;
they did this and the girl dried her eyes and filled the pot with
water and took it home. Her sisters-in-law were much disappointed at
her success, but the next day they told her to go to the jungle and
bring back a bundle of leaves, but she was to use no rope for tying
them up. So she went to the jungle and collected the leaves and then
sat down and cried and sang:--

"I am to fetch leaves without a rope
I am to fetch leaves without a rope
How far have my brothers gone to trade?"

and as she cried a _buka sobo_ snake came out and asked why she was
crying, and when she told it, it said that it would coil itself round
the leaves in place of a rope. So it stretched itself out straight
and she piled the leaves on the top of it and the snake coiled itself
tightly round them and so she was able to carry the bundle home on her
head. Her sisters-in-law ran to see how she managed it, but she put
the bundle down gently and the snake slipped away unperceived. Still
they resolved to try again; so the next day they sent her to fetch
a bundle of fire wood, but told her that she was to use no rope to
tie it with. So she went to the jungle and collected the sticks and
then sat down and cried:--

"I am to bring wood without tying it,
I am to bring wood without tying it,
How far have my brothers gone to trade?"

and as she cried a python came out and asked what was the matter,
and when it heard, it told her not to cry and said that it would act
as a rope to bind up the sticks; so it stretched itself out and she
laid the sticks on it and then it coiled itself round them and she
carried the bundle home.

As the sisters-in-law had been baffled thus, they resolved on another
plan and proposed that they should all go and gather sticks in the
jungle; and on the way they came to a _machunda_ tree in full flower
and they wanted to pick some of the flowers. The wicked sisters-in-law
at first began to climb the tree, but they pretended that they could
not and kept slipping down; then they hoisted their sister-in-law into
the branches and told her to throw down the flowers to them. But while
she was in the tree, they tied thorns round the trunk so that she could
not descend and then left her to starve. After she had been in the tree
a long time, her brothers passed that way on their return journey,
and sat down under the tree to rest; the girl was too weak to speak
but she cried and her tears fell on the back of her eldest brother,
and he looked up and saw her; then they rescued her and revived her
and listened to her story; and they were very angry and vowed to
have revenge. So they gave their sister some needles and put her in a
sack and put the sack on one of the pack-bullocks. And when they got
home, they took the sack off gently and told their wives to carry it
carefully inside the house, and on no account to put it down. But when
the wives took it up, the girl inside pricked them with the needles so
that they screamed and let the sack fall. Their husbands scolded them
and made them take it up again, and they had to carry it in, though
they were pricked till the blood ran down. Then the brothers enquired
about all that had happened in their absence, and at last asked after
their sister, and their wives said that she had gone to the jungle
with some friends to get firewood. But the brothers turned on them and
told how they had found her in the _machunda_ tree and had brought her
home in the sack, and their wives were dumbfounded. Then the brothers
said that they had made a vow to dig a well and consecrate it; so they
set to work to dig a well two fathoms across and three fathoms deep;
and when they reached water, they fixed a day for the consecration;
and they told their wives to put on their best clothes and do the
_cumaura_ (betrothal) ceremony at the well. So the wives went to the
well, escorted by drummers, and as they stood in a row round the well,
each man pushed his own wife into it and then they covered the well
with a wooden grating and kept them in it for a whole year and at
the end of the year they pulled them out again.

* * * * *

Another version of this story gives three other tasks preliminary to
those given above and begins as follows:--

Once upon a time there was a girl named Hira who had seven
brothers. The brothers went away to a far country to trade leaving
her alone in the house with their wives; these seven sisters-in-law
hated Hira and did what they could to torment her; one day they sowed
a basketful of mustard seed in a field and then told her to go and
pick it all up; she went to the field and began to lament, singing:--

"They have sown a basket of mustard seed!
Oh, how far away have my brothers gone to trade."

As she cried a flock of pigeons came rustling down and asked her what
was the matter, and when they heard, they told her to be comforted;
they at once set to work picking up the mustard grain by grain and
putting it into her basket; soon the basket was quite full and she
joyfully took it home and showed it to her sisters-in-law. Then they
set her another task and told her to bring them some bear's hair that
they might weave it into a hair armlet for her wedding. So she went off
to the jungle and sat down to cry; as she wept two bear cubs came up
and asked what was the matter; when she told her story they bade her
be of good cheer and took her into their cave and hid her. Presently
the mother bear came back and suckled her cubs, and when they had
finished they asked their mother to leave them some of her hair that
they might amuse themselves by plaiting it while she was away. She
did so and directly she had gone off to look for food, the cubs gave
the girl the hair and sent her home rejoicing. The sisters-in-law
were only made more angry by her success and plotted how to kill her,
so they ordered her to bring them some tiger's milk that they might
make it into curds for her wedding. Then she went off to the jungle
and began to weep, singing:--

"I brought the hair of a bear:
How far away have my brothers gone to trade."

At the sound two tiger cubs came running up and asked what was the
matter; they told her to be comforted and they would manage to give
her what she wanted; and they took her and hid her near where they
were lying. Presently the tigress came back and suckled her cubs and
as she did so she declared that she smelt a human being, but the
cubs laughed at her and said that it must be they whom she smelt;
so she was satisfied, and as she was leaving them they asked her to
leave some of her milk in an earthern pot so that they might have
something to drink if she were long in coming back. The tigress did
so and directly she was gone the cubs gave the milk to the girl who
took it home.--The story then continues as before.

XI. How to Grow Rich.

Once upon a time there was a woman whose husband died while she was
pregnant, and she was very unhappy and used to pray daily to Singh
Chando to give her a man child in place of her husband; she was left
well off and among her property were three gold coins, and as she was
afraid of these being stolen she decided to place them in the care
of the village headman. So she took them to him and asked him to keep
them till her child was born; and no one was present at the time but
the headman's wife. In due time her child was born and by the mercy
of Singh Chando it was a son; and when the boy had grown a bit and
could run alone his mother decided to take back the gold coins, so she
went to the headman and asked him for them; but he and his wife said:
"We do not understand what you are talking about? We know of no gold
coins: where are your witnesses? You must have had witnesses in such
a business." And they drove her out. She went away crying and called
the villagers together and asked them to decide the matter. So they
questioned her and the headman but as it was word against word they
could come to no decision; so they settled to put the parties on
oath, but the headman and the woman both swore that they had spoken
the truth, saying, "May we die if we have spoken falsely." Then
the villagers made them swear by their children and the woman and
the headman laid their hands on the heads of their sons and swore;
and when the woman swore her son fell down dead and she took up the
dead body in her arms and ran away with it.

The villagers were very sorry for what had happened but the headman
and his wife abused them for not having believed their word. The
woman had not gone very far before she met a stranger who asked why
she was crying and when she told him, he said: "Do not cry: you told
one falsehood and so your son has died. Take your child back to the
villagers and tell them that it was five gold coins and not three
that you gave to the headman and if you do this the child will come
to life again."

So the woman hastened back and found the villagers still assembled
and she told them as the stranger had directed; and she agreed to be
sworn again on the body of the child, and the headman promised to pay
five gold pieces if the child were restored to life. So the woman
laid her hands on the dead child and swore, and it was restored to
life. Then the headman was dumbfounded and reluctantly brought out
five gold pieces and gave them to the woman. She gave five rupees
to the villagers and they made the headman give them ten rupees for
having deceived them, and they bought pigs and had a feast.

In the course of time the boy grew up and his mother urged him to
marry. He asked her if she knew how to choose a wife and also what
sort of cattle to buy, and she said that she did not know; her husband
had not told her this. So the youth said that he would go to Singh
Chando and ask.

His mother washed his clothes for him and gave him food for the
journey and he set out. On the way he met a man who asked him where
he was going and he answered that he was going to make a petition to
Singh Chando. "Then," said the man, "make a petition for me also. I
have so much wealth that I cannot look after it all; ask him to take
away half from me." The youth promised and went on and he met another
man who said that he had so many cattle that he could not build enough
cow-houses for them and asked him to petition Singh Chando to diminish
their number; and he promised, and went on and came to Singh Chando,
and there he asked how to choose a wife and how to buy cattle. And
Singh Chando said, "When you buy a bullock first put your hand on
its quarter and if it shrinks and tries to get free, buy it; and when
you want a wife enquire first as to the character of her father and
mother; good parents make good children." Then the youth asked about
the two men he had met; Singh Chando said;--"Tell the first man when
he is ploughing to plough two or three furrows beyond the boundary
of his field and his wealth will diminish and tell the second man to
drive away three or four of his cattle every day and their number
will decrease." So the youth returned and met the man who had too
many cattle and told him what Chando had said, and the man thought
"If I drive away three or four head of cattle every day I shall soon
become poor" so from that time he looked out for any straying cattle
and would drive them home with his own; if the owner claimed them,
he gave them up, but if no claimant appeared, he kept them and so
he became richer than ever. And the youth went on and met the man
who was too rich, and when he heard what Chando had said he thought
"If I plough over the boundary on to my neighbour's land it will
be a great sin and I shall soon become poor;" and he went to his
ploughmen and told them never to plough right up to the edge of the
field but to leave two of three furrows space, and they obeyed and
from that time he grew richer than ever. And the youth returned to
his mother and told her all that had happened and they understood
the meaning of the advice which Chando had given to the two men and
acted accordingly. And it is true that we see that avaricious men
who trespass across boundaries become poor.

XII. The Changed Calf.

There was once a cowherd named Sona who saved a few rupees and he
decided to buy a calf so as to have something to show for his labours;
and he went to a distant village and bought a bull calf and on the way
home he was benighted. So he turned into a Hindu village and went to an
oilman's house and asked to be allowed to sleep there. When the oilman
saw such a fine calf he coveted it and he told Sona to put it in the
stable along with his own bullock and he gave him some supper and let
him sleep in the verandah. But in the middle of the night the oilman
got up and moistened some oil cake and plastered it over the calf;
he then untied his own bullock and made it lick the oil cake off the
calf, and as the bullock was accustomed to eat oil cake it licked it
greedily; then the oilman raised a cry, "The bullock that turns the
oil mill has given birth to a calf." And all the villagers collected,
and saw the bullock licking the calf and they believed the oilman. Sona
did not wake up and knew nothing of all this, the next morning he
got up and went to untie his calf and drive it away, but the oilman
would not let him and claimed the calf as his own. Then Sona called
the villagers to come and decide the matter: but they said that they
had seen him bring no calf to the village and he had not called any of
them to witness it, but they _had_ seen the bullock licking the calf;
why should the bullock lick any but its own calf? No one ever saw a
bullock lick a strange bullock or cow and so they awarded the calf
to the oilman. Then Sona said that he would call someone to argue the
matter and he went away meaning to get some men from the next village:
but he lost his way in the jungle and as he went along a night-jar
flew up from under his feet; he called out to it to stay as he was in
great distress, and the bird alighted and asked what was the matter,
and Sona told it his trouble. Then the night-jar said that it would
argue the matter for him but it must have a colleague and it told Sona
to go on and ask the first living being he met to help; so he went on
and met a jackal and the jackal agreed to help the night-jar, and they
told him to call the villagers to the edge of the jungle and not to
let them bring any dogs with them. So Sona brought all the villagers
to the jungle and the night-jar and jackal sat side by side on a stone.

Then Sona asked the villagers whether they would let him take away
the calf or no, and they persisted in their previous opinion. At last
one man said, "What are your advocates doing? it seems to me that they
are asleep." And at this the two woke up with a start and looked about
them, and the night-jar said "I have been asleep and dreamed a dream:
will you men please hear it and explain its meaning?"

And the jackal said, "I too have had a dream, please explain it for
me. If you can explain the meaning you shall keep the calf and, if
not, the boy shall have it." The villagers told them to speak and the
night-jar said, "I saw two night-jar's eggs and one egg was sitting
on the other; no mother bird was sitting on them, tell me what this
means." And the jackal said, "I saw that the sea was on fire and the
fishes were all being burnt up, and I was busy eating them and that
was why I did not wake up, what is the meaning of this dream?" And
the villagers said. "The two dreams are both alike: neither has
any meaning; an egg cannot sit on an egg, and the sea cannot catch
fire." The jackal said, "Why cannot it be? If you won't believe that
water can catch fire why do you say that a bullock gave birth to
a calf? Have you ever seen such a thing? Speak," And they admitted
that they had never seen a bullock have a calf, but only cows. "Then,"
said the jackal, "explain why you have given the oilman a decree." And
they admitted that they were wrong and awarded the calf to Sona and
fined the oilman five rupees for having deceived them.

XIII. The Koeri and the Barber.

There was a well-to-do man of the Koeri (cultivating) caste and
opposite his house lived a barber who was very poor; and the barber
thought that if he carried on his cultivation just as the Koeri did he
might get better results; so every day he made some pretext to visit
the Koeri's house and hear what work he was going to do the next day,
and with the same object he would listen outside his house at night;
and he exactly imitated the Koeri: he yoked his cattle and unyoked
them, he ploughed and sowed and transplanted just when the Koeri did
and the result was good, for that year he got a very fine crop. But he
was not content with this and resolved to continue to copy the Koeri;
the Koeri suspected what the barber was doing and did not like it. So
he resolved to put the matter to the test and at the same time teach
the barber to mind his own business. In January they both planted
sugar cane, and one day when the crop was half grown the barber
was sitting at the Koeri's house and the Koeri gave orders to his
servants to put the leveller over the crop the next day and break it
down; this was only a pretence of the Koeri's, but the barber went
away and the next day crushed his sugar cane crop with the leveller,
the whole village laughed to see what he had done; but it turned out
that each root of the barber's sugar cane sent up a number of shoots
and in the end he had a much heavier crop than the Koeri.

Another day the Koeri announced that he was going to sow _but_ (pulse)
and therefore ordered his servants to bring out the seed and roast
it well, that it might germinate quickly; and the barber hearing this
went off and had his seed _but_ roasted and the next day he sowed it,
but only a very few seeds germinated, while the crop of the Koeri
which had not really been roasted sprouted finely. The barber asked
the Koeri why his crop had not come up well, and the Koeri told him
that it must be because he had not roasted the seed enough; the few
seeds that had come up must have been those which had been roasted
most. But in the end the laugh was against the Koeri, for the few
seeds of the barber's which germinated, produced such fine plants
that when he came to thresh them out he had more grain than the Koeri,
and so in 3 or 4 years the barber became the richer man of the two.

XIV. The Prince Who Acquired Wisdom.

There was once a Raja who had an only son and the Raja was always
urging his son to learn to read and write in order that when he came
to his kingdom he might manage well and be able to decide disputes
that were brought to him for judgment; but the boy paid no heed to
his father's advice and continued to neglect his lessons. At last
when he was grown up, the Prince saw that his father was right and
he resolved to go away to foreign countries to acquire wisdom; so he
set off without telling anyone but his wife, and he took with him
a purse of money and three pieces of gold. After travelling a long
time, he one day saw a man ploughing in a field and he went and got
some tobacco from him and asked him whether there were any wise men
living in that neighbourhood. "What do you want with wise men?",
asked the ploughman. The Prince said that he was travelling to get
wisdom. The ploughman said that he would give him instruction if
he were paid. Then the Prince promised to give him one gold piece
for each piece of wisdom. The ploughman agreed and said. "Listen
attentively! My first maxim is this: You are the son of a Raja;
whenever you go to visit a friend or one of your subjects and they
offer you a bedstead, or stool, or mat to sit on, do not sit down
at once but move the stool or mat a little to one side; this is
one maxim: give me my gold coin." So the Prince paid him. Then the
ploughman said. "The second maxim is this: You are the son of a Raja;
whenever you go to bathe, do not bathe at the common bathing place,
but at a place by yourself; give me my coin," and the Prince did
so. Then he continued, "My third maxim is this: You are the son of a
Raja; when men come to you for advice or to have a dispute decided,
listen to what the majority of those present say and do not follow
your own fancy, now pay me;" and the Prince gave him his last gold
coin, and said that he had no more. "Well," said the ploughman, "your
lesson is finished but still I will give you one more piece of advice
free and it is this: You are the son of a Raja; Restrain your anger,
if anything you see or hear makes you angry, still do not at once take
action; hear the explanation and weigh it well, then if you find cause
you can give rein to your anger and if not, let the offender off."

After this the prince set his face homewards as he had spent all
his money; and he began to repent of having spent his gold pieces
on advice that seemed worthless. However on his way he turned into
a bazar to buy some food and the shopkeepers on all sides called out
"Buy, buy," so he went to a shop and the shopkeeper invited him to sit
on a rug; he was just about to do so when he remembered the maxim of
his instructor and pulled the rug to one side; and when he did so he
saw that it had been spread over the mouth of a well and that if he
had sat on it he would have been killed [1]; so he began to believe
in the wisdom of his teacher. Then he went on his way and on the
road he turned aside to a tank to bathe, and remembering the maxim
of his teacher he did not bathe at the common place but went to a
place apart; then having eaten his lunch he continued his journey,
but he had not gone far when he found that he had left his purse
behind, so he turned back and found it lying at the place where he
had put down his things when he bathed; thereupon he applauded the
wisdom of his teacher, for if he had bathed at the common bathing
place someone would have seen the purse and have taken it away. When
evening came on he turned into a village and asked the headman to let
him sleep in his verandah, and there was already one other traveller
sleeping there and in the morning it was found that the traveller had
died in his sleep. Then the headman consulted the villagers and they
decided that there was nothing to be done but to throw away the body,
and that as the Prince was also a traveller he should do it. At first
he refused to touch the corpse as he was the son of a Raja, but the
villagers insisted and then he bethought himself of the maxim that
he should not act contrary to the general opinion; so he yielded and
dragged away the body, and threw it into a ravine.

Before leaving it he remembered that it was proper to remove the
clothes, and when he began to do so he found round the waist of the
body a roll of coin; so he took this and was glad that he had followed
the advice of his teacher.

That evening he reached the boundary of his own territory and decided
to press on home although it was dark; at midnight he reached the
palace and without arousing anyone went to the door of his wife's
room. Outside the door he saw a pair of shoes and a sword; at the
sight he became wild with rage and drawing the sword he called out:
"Who is in my room?"

As a matter of fact the Prince's wife had got the Prince's little
sister to sleep with her, and when the girl heard the Prince's voice
she got up to leave; but when she opened the door and saw the Prince
standing with the drawn sword she drew back in fear; she told him
who she was and explained that they had put the shoes and sword at
the door to prevent anyone else from entering; but in his wrath the
Prince would not listen and called to her to come out and be killed.

Then she took off her cloth and showed it to him through the crack of
the door and at the sight of this he was convinced; then he reflected
on the advice of his teacher and repented, because he had nearly
killed his sister through not restraining his wrath.

XV. The Monkey Boy.

There was once a man who had six sons and two daughters and he died
leaving his wife pregnant of a ninth child.

And when the child was born it proved to be a monkey.

The villagers and relations advised the mother to make away with it,
but she refused saying "Chando knows why he has given me such a child,
but as he has done so I will rear it."

All her relations said that if she chose to rear a monkey they would
turn her out of the family. However she persisted that she would do
so at all costs. So they sent her to live with her child in a hut
outside the village, and the monkey boy grew up and learned to talk
like a human being.

One day his elder brothers began to clear the jungle for cultivation
and the monkey boy took a hatchet and went with them; he asked where
he could clear land for himself and in fun they showed him the place
where the jungle was thickest. So he went there and drove his hatchet
into the trunk of a tree and then returned and watched his brothers
working hard clearing the scrub, and when they had finished their work
he went and fetched his hatchet and returned home with them. Every
day he did the same--and one day his brothers asked why he spent all
his time with them, but he said that he only came to them when he was
tired of cutting down trees; they laughed at this and said that they
would like to see his clearing, so he took them to the place and to
their astonishment they saw a large clearing, bigger than they had
been able to make for themselves. Then the brothers burnt the jungle
they had cut down and began to plough the land.

But the monkey boy's mother had no plough or cattle nor any seed rice;
the only thing in the house was a pumpkin, so he took the seed out
of the pumpkin and sowed it in his clearing. His brothers asked what
he had sown and he told them--Rice.

The brothers ploughed and sowed and used to go daily to watch the
growing crop, and one day they went to have a look at the monkey boy's
crop and they saw that it was pumpkins and not rice and they laughed
at him. When their crop was ripe the brothers prepared to offer the
first fruits and the monkey boy watched them that he might observe the
same ceremonies as they. One day they brought home the first fruits
and offered them to the _bongas_, and they invited the monkey boy
and his mother to come to the feast which followed the offering.

They both went and enjoyed themselves; and two or three days later
the monkey boy said that he would also have a feast of first fruits,
so he told his mother to clear the courtyard and invited his brothers
and he purified himself and went to his clearing and brought home the
biggest pumpkin that had grown there; this he offered to the spirits;
he sliced off the top of it as if it were the head of a fowl, and
as he did so he saw that the inside was full of rice; he called his
mother and they filled a winnowing fan with the rice and there was
enough besides to nearly fill a basket; they were delighted at this
windfall but kept the matter secret lest they should be robbed. The
monkey boy told his mother to be sure and cook enough rice so that
his brothers and their wives might have as much as ever they could
eat, and not merely a small helping such as they had given him,
and if necessary he would go and fetch another pumpkin; so his
mother boiled the rice. When the time fixed for the feast came,
nothing was to be seen of the brothers because they did not expect
that there would really be anything for them to eat; so the monkey
boy went and fetched them, and when they came to the feast they
were astonished to have as much rice as they could eat. When the
crop was quite ripe the monkey boy gathered all the pumpkins and
got sufficient rice from them to last for the whole year. After
this the brothers went out to buy horses, and the monkey boy went
with them and as he had no money he took nothing but a coil of rope;
his brothers were ashamed to have him with them and drove him away,
so he went on ahead and got first to the place where the horsedealer
lived. The brothers arrived late in the evening and decided to make
their purchases the following morning and ride their horses home, so
they camped for the night. The monkey boy spent the night hiding on
the rafters of the stable; and in the night the horses began to talk
to each other and discussed which could gallop farthest, and one mare
said "I can gallop twelve _kos_ on the ground and then twelve _kos_
in the air." When the monkey boy heard this he got down and lamed
the mare by running a splinter into her hoof. The next morning the
brothers bought the horses which pleased them and rode off. Then the
monkey boy went to the horsedealer and asked why the mare was lame
and advised him to apply remedies. But the dealer said that that
was useless: when horses got ill they always died; then the monkey
boy asked if he would sell the mare and offered to give the coil of
rope in exchange; the dealer, thinking that the animal was useless,
agreed, so the monkey boy led it away, but when he was out of sight
he took out the splinter and the lameness at once ceased. Then he
mounted the mare and rode after his brothers, and when he had nearly
overtaken them he rose into the air and flew past his brothers and
arrived first at home. There he tied up the mare outside his house
and went and bathed and had his dinner and waited for his brothers.

They did not arrive for a full hour afterwards and when they saw
the monkey boy and his mount they wanted to know how he had got home
first. He boasted of how swift his mare was and so they arranged to
have a race and match their horses against his. The race took place
two or three days later and the monkey boy's mare easily beat all the
other horses, she gallopped twelve _kos_ on the ground and twelve
_kos_ in the air. Then they wanted to change their horses for his,
but he said they had had first choice and he was not going to change.

In two or three years the monkey boy became rich and then he announced
that he wanted to marry; this puzzled his mother for she thought that
no human girl would marry him while a monkey would not be able to talk;
so she told him that he must find a bride for himself. One day he set
off to look for a wife and came to a tank in which some girls were
bathing, and he took up the cloth belonging to one of them and ran
up a tree with it, and when the girl missed it and saw it hanging
down from the tree she borrowed a cloth from her friends and went
and asked the monkey boy for her own; he told her that she could only
have it back if she consented to marry him; she was surprised to find
that he could talk and as he conversed she was bewitched by him and
let him pull her up into the tree by her hair, and she called out to
her friends to go home and leave her where she was. Then he took her
on his back and ran off home with her.

The girl's father and relations turned out with bows and arrows to
look for the monkey who had carried her off but he had gone so far
away that they never found him. When the monkey boy appeared with his
bride all the villagers were astonished that he had found anyone to
marry him, but everything was made ready for the marriage as quickly
as possible and all the relations were invited and the wedding took
place and the monkey boy and his wife lived happily ever after.

XVI. The Miser's Servant.

Once there was a rich man who was a miser. Although he kept farm
servants they would never stay out the year with him; but ran away in
the middle. When the villagers asked why they ran away and so lost
their year's wages the servants answered. "You would do the same in
our place: at the busy time of the year he speaks us fair and feeds
us well, but directly the crops are gathered he begins to starve us;
this year we have had nothing to eat since September."

And the villagers said "Well, that is a good reason, a man can
stand scolding but not starvation; we all work to fill our bellies,
hunger is the worst disease of all." The news that the miser made his
servants work for nothing spread throughout the neighbourhood so he
could get no servants near by and when he brought them from a distance
they soon heard of his character and ran away. Men would only work
for him on daily wages and because of his miserliness they demanded
higher wages than usual from him and would not work without. Now
there was a young fellow named Kora who heard all this and he said
"If I were that man's servant I would not run away. I would get the
better of him; ask him if he wants a servant and if he says, yes,
take me to him." The man to whom Kora told this went to the miser
and informed him that Kora was willing to engage himself to him;
so Kora was fetched and they had a drink of rice beer and then the
miser asked Kora whether he would work for the full year and not run
away in the middle. Kora said that he would stay if he were satisfied
with the wages. The master said "I will fix your wages when I see
your work; if you are handy at every thing I will give you 12 _Kats_
of rice and if you are only a moderate worker then 9 or 10 _Kats_
besides your clothes. How much do you ask for?"

And Kora said "Well, listen to me: I hear that your servants run away
in the middle of the year because you give them so little to eat, all
I ask for my wages is that you give me once a year one grain of rice
and I will sow it and you must give me low land to plant all the seed
that I get from it; and give me one seed of maize and I will sow it for
seed, and you must give me upland to sow all the seed I get from it;
and give me the customary quantity of clothes, and for food give me
one leaf full of rice three times a day. I only want what will go on a
single leaf, you need not sew several leaves together into a plate. I
will ask for no second helping but if you do not fill the leaf full
I shall have the right to abuse you, and if I do not do all the work
you give me properly, then you can abuse me and beat me. If I run away
from fear of hard work you may cut off the little finger of my right
hand, and if you do not give me the wages we have agreed upon then I
shall have the right to cut off the little finger of your hand. What
do you say to this proposal: consult your friends and give me your
answer." Then the miser answered "I engage you on these terms and if
I turn you off without reason you may cut off my little finger." Then
Kora turned to the man who had fetched him and said "Listen to all
this: if there is any dispute hereafter you will be my witness."

So Kora began to work and the first day they gave him rice on a
single _sal_ leaf and he ate it up in one mouthful: but the next
day he brought a plantain leaf (_which is some three feet long_)
and said "Give me my rice on this and mind you fill it full." And
they refused: but he said "Why not? it is only a single leaf" and
they had to give in because he was within his rights; so he ate as
much as he wanted, and every day he brought a plantain leaf till his
master's wife got tired and said to her husband "Why have you got a
servant like this--he takes a whole pot of rice to himself every day,"
but he answered "Never mind: his wages are nothing, he is working for
his keep alone;" so the whole year Kora got his plantain leaf filled
and he was never lazy over his work so they could find no fault with
him on that score, and when the year was up they gave him one grain
of rice and one seed of maize for his wages for the year. Kora kept
them carefully, and his master's sons laughed at him and said "Mind
you don't drop them or let a mouse eat them."

Kora said nothing but when the time for sowing maize came he took his
grain of maize and sowed it by the dung heap, and he called them to
see where he sowed it; and at the time of sowing rice he sowed his
grain separately, and when the time for transplanting came he planted
his rice seedling in a hollow and bade them note it. When the maize
ripened it was found that his plant had two big cobs and one small
one on it, and his rice seedling sent up a number of ears; and when
it ripened he cut it and threshed it and got one _pai_ of rice, and he
kept the maize and rice for seed. And the next year also he sowed this
seed separately and it produced a big basket of rice and another one
of maize, and he kept this also for seed; and in the course of five
or six years he had taken all their high lands to sow his seed in
and in a few years more he had taken all their rice lands too. Then
his master was very miserable but he saw that it was useless to make
any complaint and the master became so poor that he had to work as
a servant to Kora. At last the miser called the heads of the village
together and wept before them, and they had pity on him and interceded
for him; but Kora said "It is God who has punished him and not I; he
made poor men work for nothing for so long and now he has to suffer;"
but they asked him to be merciful and give him some land, and he agreed
and said "Cut off his little finger and I will let him off his bargain;
and call all the servants whom he has defrauded and I will pay them"
but the miser would not have his finger cut off; then Kora said "Let
him keep his finger and I will give him back half his land." The miser
agreed to this and promised to treat his servants well in future,
and in order to lessen his shame he married his daughter to Kora;
and he had to admit that it was by his own folly that this trouble
had befallen him.

XVII. Kuwar and the Rajah's Daughter.

There was once a rich merchant who lived in a Raja's city; and the
Raja founded a school in order that his own children might have some
education, and the boys and the girls of the town used to go to the
school as well as the Raja's sons and daughters and among them the
rich merchant's son, whose name Was Kuwar. In the course of time the
children all learned to read and write. In the evenings all the boys
used to mount their horses and go for a ride.

Now it happened that Kuwar and the Raja's daughter fell in love with
each other and she wrote him a letter saying that if he did not marry
her she would forcibly install herself in his house. He wrote back
and begged her not to come to his house as this would be the ruin of
his family; but he said that he would willingly run away with her to
a distant country, and spend his whole life with her, if she would
overlook the fact that they were of different castes; and if she
agreed to this they must settle to what country to go. Somehow news
of their intention got about, and the Raja was told that his daughter
was in love with the merchant's son. Then the Raja gave orders that
his daughter was not to be allowed to go outside the palace, and the
merchant spoke severely to Kuwar and neither of them was allowed to
go to the school any more. But one day the princess went to the place
where the Raja's horses were tied up and among them was a mare named
Piyari and she went up to the mare and said "You have eaten our salt
for a long time, will you now requite me?" And Piyari said "Certainly
I will!". Then the princess asked "If I mount you, will you jump
over all these horses and this wall and escape?" And the mare said
"Yes, but you will have to hold on very tight." The princess said
"That is my look-out: it is settled that on the day I want you you
will jump over the wall and escape." Then she wrote a letter to Kuwar
and gave it to her maid-servant to deliver into Kuwar's own hands,
without letting anyone know: and in the letter she fixed a day for
their elopement and told Kuwar to wait for her by a certain tree. So
on the day fixed after everyone was asleep Kuwar went to the tree and
almost at once the princess came to him riding on Piyari; he asked
her how she had escaped and whether she had been seen and she told
him how the mare had jumped over the wall without anyone knowing;
then they both mounted Piyari and drove her like the wind and in one
night they passed through the territory of two or three Rajas and in
the morning were in a far country.

Then they dismounted to cook their rice, and went to the house of an
old woman to ask for a light with which to light their fire. Now this
old woman had seven sons and they were all robbers and murderers;
and six of them had killed travellers and carried off their wives
and married them. When Kuwar and the princess came asking for a
light the seven sons were away hunting and when the old woman saw
the princess she resolved to marry her to her youngest son, and made
a plan to delay them; so she asked them to cook their rice at her
house and offered them cooking pots and water pots and firewood and
everything necessary; they did not know that she meant to kill Kuwar
and unsuspiciously accepted her offer. When they had finished cooking
Kuwar asked the old woman whether she lived alone and she told him
that she was a widow but had seven sons and they were all away on a
trading expedition. The old woman kept on looking out to see if her
sons were returning, and she had made an arrangement with them that if
she ever wanted them she would set fire to a small hut and they would
come home at once when they saw the smoke rising. But before her sons
came back Kuwar and the princess finished their meal and paid the old
woman and mounted Piyari and gallopped off. Then the old woman set fire
to the hut and her sons, seeing the smoke hurried home. She told them
that a beautiful girl had just left who would make a suitable wife for
the youngest of the brothers. Then the brothers tied on their swords
and mounted their horses and went in pursuit. Kuwar and the princess
knew nothing of their danger and rode on happily, but presently they
heard horses neighing behind them and looking round, saw men riding
after them with drawn swords. Then the princess said to Kuwar "Our
enemies are upon us; do you sit in front and let me sit behind you,
then they will kill us both together. If I am in front they may kill
you alone and carry me off alive." But while they were thinking of
this the seven brothers caught them up, and began to abuse them and
charge them with having set fire to the house in which they had eaten
their rice, and told them to come back with them at once. Kuwar and
the princess were too frightened to answer and they had no sword with
which to defend themselves. Then the robbers surrounded them and killed
Kuwar, and they said to the princess "You cannot stay here all alone;
we will take you back and you shall marry one of us." The princess
answered "Kill me here at once, never will I go with you." They said
"We shall take away your horse and all your food, will not that make
you go?" But the princess threw herself on the dead body of Kuwar
and for all they could do they could not drag her off it. Then the
murderers said to the youngest brother "She is to be your wife: you
must pull her away." But he refused saying "No, if I take her away she
will not stay with me, she will probably hang herself or drown herself;
I do not want a wife like that, if any of you want her, you can have
her." But they said that it would not be right for one of them to take
a second wife while their youngest brother was unmarried, and that
their mother intended him to marry this girl; if he would not they
would kill her there and then. But the youngest brother had pity on
her and asked them to spare her life, so they took away her horse and
her food and everything that she had and went away and left her there.

For a day and a night the princess lay there weeping and lamenting
her dead Kuwar and never ceased for a moment. Then Chando said "who
is this who is weeping and what has happened to her?" And he sent
Bidhi and Bidha to see what was the matter; they came and told him
that a princess was weeping over the body of her dead husband and
would not leave him though she had been robbed of everything she had.

Then Chando told them to go and frighten her, and if they could
frighten her away from her husband's dead body he would do nothing, but
if she would not leave him then they were to restore him to life. So
they went and found her holding the dead body of her husband In her
lap and weeping; and they first assumed the form of tigers and began
to circle round her roaring, but she only went on weeping and sang--

"You have come roaring, tigress:
First eat me, tigress:
Then only will I let you eat the body of my lord."

She would not quit the body nor run away from fear of the tigers,
so they slunk away and came back in the form of two leopards, and
prowled round her growling; but she only sang

"You have come roaring, leopardess
First eat me, leopardess
Then only will I let you eat the body of my lord."

and as she would not fly from them they slunk away and came back
in the form of two bears, but the princess only sang the same song;
then they appeared as two elephants; and then as two huge snakes which
hissed terribly but still she only wept; and in many forms they tried
to frighten her away but she would not move nor leave the corpse of
Kuwar, so in the end they saw that all the heart of the princess was
with Kuwar and that even in death they could not be separated, so at
last they drew near to her in the form of human beings and asked her
why she was crying, as they had heard her weeping from a long way off,
and had been filled with pity for her lamentations. Then the princess
said "Alas, this youth and I are from such and such a country and
as we loved and our lives were bound up in each other we ran away
together hither, and here on the road he has been killed and the
murderers have left me without my horse or food; and this is why I
weep." Then Bidhi and Bidha said "Daughter, rise up and we will take
you to your home, or we will find you another husband; this one is
dead and cannot be restored to you; you will find another; come arise,
you have but one life," But the princess answered "No I will not go
and leave him here. I will not leave him while my life lasts; but I
pray you if you know of any medicine that might restore him to life,
to try it." Then they answered "We know something of medicine and
if you wish we will try to cure him;" so saying, they ground up some
simples and told the princess to spread out a cloth and lay the dead
body on it and to put the head which had been cut off into position,
and then to cover it with the cloth and hold the head in position;
so she did as they bade, and they rubbed the medicine on the body
and then they suddenly disappeared from her sight.

Then in a few moments she saw Kuwar's chest heave as if he were
breathing; thereupon she shook him violently and he rose up and said
"Oh, what a long time I have slept," but the princess said "Do not
talk of sleep; you were killed and two men appeared from somewhere
and applied medicine and brought you to life again;" then Kuwar asked
where they were and she told him how they had disappeared without
her knowledge.

Then they rose up and went in search of food to a village where
there was a bazar, and they tried to get employment as servants;
but the people advised them to go to the capital city where the Raja
lived, and there if no one would take them as servants they could get
employment as coolies on a big tank which the Raja was excavating. So
they went there, and as they could not get employment as servants they
went to work at the tank with the common coolies and were paid their
wages at the end of the week and so managed to live. Kuwar's desire
was to somehow save five or six rupees and then build a little house
for themselves.

Now although the tank had been dug very deep there were no signs of
any water. Then the Raja ordered the centre post to be planted in
hopes that this would make the water rise; and he told the coolies
not to run away as he would make a feast to celebrate the making of
the tank and would distribute presents among them, and at this the
labourers were very pleased.

Now Kuwar's wife was very fair to see and the Raja saw her and fell
in love with her and made a plot to get possession of her. So when
the centre post had been planted and still no water came he said
"We must see what sacrifice is required to make the water come. I

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