Part 3 out of 8
XXXIV. The Magic Bedstead.
Once upon a time a carpenter made a bedstead, and when it was ready he
put it in his verandah. At night he heard the four legs of the bedstead
talking together and saying: "We will save the life of anyone who
sleeps on this bedstead and protect him from his enemies." When the
carpenter heard this, he decided not to part with the bed for less
than a hundred rupees. So next day he went out to try and get this
price for the bed, but people laughed at him and said that no one
could pay such a price but the Raja; so he went to the Raja and the
Raja asked why he wanted one hundred rupees for a bedstead that was
apparently worth only five or six annas. The carpenter answered that
the bed would protect its owner from all enemies; the Raja doubted at
first but as the man persisted in his story, he agreed to buy the bed,
but he stipulated that if he found the story about it not to be true,
he should take back his money.
One night the king lay awake on the bed and he heard the legs of the
bed talking, so he lay still and listened: and they said that the
Raja was in danger and that they must try to save him. So one leg
loosened itself from the bed and went away outside and it found a
tiger which had come to eat the Raja, and it beat the tiger to death,
and then came back and fixed itself into its place again. Soon a
second leg said that it would go outside; so it went and that leg met
a leopard and a bear and it beat them to death and returned. Then the
third leg said that it was its turn, and it went outside and it found
four burglars digging a hole through the wall of the palace, and it
set upon them and broke their legs and left them lying there. When
this one returned, the fourth leg went out and it heard a voice in
the sky saying: "The Raja is very cunning, I will send a snake which
shall hide in his shoe and when he puts the shoe on in the morning,
it will bite him and he will die." When this leg came back, each one
told the others what it had seen and done, and the Raja heard them and
lay awake till morning, and at dawn he called his servants and sent
them outside the palace and there they found the tiger and leopard
and bear lying dead, and the four thieves with their legs broken. Then
the Raja believed what the legs had said and he would not get up but
first ordered his servants to make a fire in the courtyard and he
had all his shoes thrown into the fire and then he got up.
After this the Raja ordered that great care was to be taken of the
bedstead and that anyone who sat on it should be put to death; and he
himself used not to sleep in it anymore but he kept it in his bedroom
that it might protect him.
XXXV. The Ghormuhas.
Ghormuhas have heads like horses and bodies and arms like men and
their legs are shaped like men's but they have only one leg each,
and they eat human beings.
One day a young man named Somai was hunting a deer and the deer ran
away to the country of the Ghormuhas and Somai pursued it, and the
Ghormuhas caught him and took him home to eat. First they smoked him
for two or three days so that all the vermin were driven out of his
body and clothes and then they proceeded to fatten him; they fed him
well every day on rice cooked with turmeric.
Somai saw how they dealt with their other victims: they tied them hand
and foot and threw them alive into a pot of boiling oil and when they
were cooked they hung the bodies up in the doorway and would take a
bite as they passed in and out; the liver and heart and brains they
cooked separately. They used to eat their own parents also: for when
a father or mother grew old they would throw them on to the roof of
the house and when they rolled down and were killed they would say to
their friends, "The pumpkin growing on our roof has got ripe and fallen
off and burst, let us come and eat it;" and then they had a feast.
Somai saw all this and was very frightened. The Ghormuhas could run
very fast and they made Somai run a race with them every day and
their plan was that they would eat him when he was strong enough to
beat them in the race. In the course of time he came to beat them in
running on the road; then they said that they would make him run in
the fields and, if he beat them there, they meant to eat him.
Somai found out their plan and he decided to try and run away; if he
stayed he would be eaten, so if they caught him when he tried to run
away he would be no worse off. So the first day they raced in the
fields Somai was winning but he remembered and stopped himself and
let himself be beaten that day. But he resolved to try and escape the
next day and the Ghorarahas had decided to eat him that day whatever
happened. So when the race began, Somai set off towards the lower lands
where the rice fields were embanked and he jumped the embankments, but
the Ghormuhas who pursued him could not jump well and tumbled and fell;
and thus he ran away to his own country and made good his escape. And
it was he who told men what Ghormuhas are like and how they live.
XXXVI. The Boy Who Learnt Magic.
Once upon a time there was a Raja who had seven wives and they were
all childless, and he was very unhappy at having no heir. One day a
Jogi came to the palace begging, and the Raja and his Ranis asked him
whether he could say what should be done in order that they might
have children; the Jogi asked what they would give him if he told
them and they said that they would give him anything that he asked
for and gave him a written bond to this effect. Then the Jogi said
"I will not take elephants or horses or money, but you shall give me
the child which is born first and any born afterwards shall be yours,
do you agree?" And the Ranis consulted together and agreed. "Then,"
said the Jogi, "this is what you must do: you must all go and bathe,
and after bathing you must go to a mango orchard and the Raja must
choose a bunch of seven mangoes and knock it down with his left
hand and catch it in a cloth, without letting it touch the ground;
then you must go home and the Ranis must sit in a row according to
their seniority and the Raja must give them each one of the mangoes
to eat, and he must himself eat the rinds which the Ranis throw away;
and then you will have children." And so saying the Jogi went away
promising to return the next year.
A few days later the Raja decided to give a trial to the Jogi's
prescription and he and the Ranis did as they had been told; but the
Raja did not eat the rind of the youngest Rani's mango; he did not love
her very much. However five or six months after it was seen that the
youngest Rani was with child and then she became the Raja's favourite;
but the other Ranis were jealous of her and reminded the Raja that he
would not be able to keep her child. But when her time was full she
gave birth to twin sons, and the Raja was delighted to think that he
would be able to keep the younger of the two and he loved it much.
When the year was up the Jogi came and saw the boys and he said that
he would return when they could walk; and when they could run about,
he came again, and asked whether the Raja would fulfil his promise.
The Raja said that he would not break his bond. Then the Jogi said
that he would take the two boys and when the Raja objected that he was
only entitled to one, he said that he claimed both as they were born
at the same time; but he promised that if he took both he would teach
them magic and then let one come back; and he promised also that all
the Ranis should have children. So the Raja agreed and sent away the
boys with the Jogi and with them he sent goats and sheep and donkeys
and horses and camels and elephants and furniture of all sorts.
The Jogi was called Sitari Jogi and he was a Raja in his own
country. But before they reached his country all the animals died,
first the goats, then the sheep and the donkeys and the horses and the
camels and the elephants. And when the goats died the boys lamented:
"The goats have died, father,
How far, father,
Is it to the country of the Sitari Jogi?"
and so they sang when the other animals died.
At last they reached the Jogi's palace and every day he taught them
incantations and spells. He bought them each a water pot and sent
them every morning to fill it with dew, but before they collected
enough, the sun came out and dried up the dew; one day they got a
cupful, another day half a cupful, but they never were able to fill
the pots. In the course of time they learnt all the spells the Jogi
knew and one day when they went out to gather dew, the younger boy
secretly took with him a rag and he soaked this in the dew and then
squeezed it into the pot and so he soon filled it; and the elder
boy seeing his brother's pot full, filled his pot at a pool of water
and they took them to the Jogi; but the Jogi was not deceived by the
elder boy and told him that he would never learn magic thoroughly;
but the younger boy having learned all that the Jogi knew, learnt more
still from his friends, for all the people of that country knew magic.
Then one day the Jogi took the two boys back to their home and he told
the Raja that he would leave the elder boy at home. The Raja wanted
to keep the younger one, but the Jogi insisted and the younger boy
whispered to his mother not to mind as he would soon come back by
himself; so they let him go.
The Jogi and the boy used to practise magic: the Jogi would take the
form of a young man and the boy would turn into a bullock and the
Jogi would go to a village and sell the bullock for a good price;
but he would not give up the tethering rope and then he would go away
and do something with the tethering rope and the boy would resume his
shape again and run off to the Jogi and when the purchasers looked
for their bullock they found nothing, and when they went to look for
the seller the Jogi would change his shape again so that he could
not be recognised; and in this way they deceived many people and
Then the Jogi taught the boy the spell he used with the rope, and
when he had learnt this, he asked to be taught the spell by which he
could change his own shape without having a second person to work the
spell with the rope. The Jogi said that he would teach him that later
but he must wait. Then the boy reproached the Jogi and said that he
did not love him; and he went away to his friends in the town and
learnt the spell he wanted from them, so that he was able to change
his shape at will.
Two or three days after the boy again went to the Jogi and said
"Teach me the spell about which I spoke to you the other day," and
the Jogi refused. "Then," said the boy, "I shall go back to my father,
for I see that you do not love me."
At this the Jogi grew wrathful and said that if the away he would
kill him, so the boy at this ran away in terror, and the Jogi became
a leopard and pursued him: then the boy turned himself into a pigeon
and the Jogi became a hawk and pursued him; so the boy turned himself
into a fly and the Jogi became a paddy bird and pursued him; the fly
alighted on the plate of a Rani who was eating rice, and the Jogi took
on his natural shape and told the Rani to scatter the rice which she
was eating on the ground and she did so; but the boy turned himself
into a bead of coral on the necklace which the Rani was wearing; and
the Jogi did not notice this but became a pigeon and ate up the rice
which the Rani had thrown down. When he did not find the boy among the
rice he turned himself into a Jogi again and saw him in the necklace;
then he told the Rani to break her necklace and scatter the beads on
the ground and she did so; then the Jogi again became a pigeon and
began to pick up the beads, but the boy turned himself into a cat
and hid under the verandah and when the pigeon came near, he pounced
on it and killed it, and ran outside with it. Then he became a boy
again and twisted off the bird's head and wrapped it in his cloth and
went off home; and looking behind he saw the Jogi's head come rolling
after him, so when he came to a blacksmith's fire by the side of the
road he threw the pigeon's head into it, and then the Jogi's head
also ran into the fire and was consumed.
And the boy went home to his parents.
XXXVII. The Charitable Jogi.
Once there was a very poor man with a large family; and when his eldest
son grew up he tried to arrange a marriage for him. He selected a bride
and arranged matters with her relations but then he found that he had
no money to pay for the performance of the marriage ceremonies. So he
tried to borrow from his friends and from money lenders, but no one
would lend him anything. So he proposed to the bride's relatives to
only have the betrothal that year and the marriage the year after, but
they would not agree and said that the marriage must be then or never.
Just then a Jogi came to his house to beg and he told the Jogi all
about his difficulties and asked for help; the Jogi took pity on
him and gave him twenty rupees which was all that he had collected
Now this Jogi had two wives at home and he thought that he would get
a poor reception from them if he returned empty handed, so he picked
up two stones and wrapped them up in two pieces of cloth. And when he
reached home his wives welcomed him and brought out a bed for him to
sit on and asked about his adventures and when they saw the bundles
they wished to know what was inside and they opened them before him
and behold the stones had turned into gold. When the Jogi saw this
he wished that he had picked up three or four stones instead of only
two and he understood that Chando had given him the gold because he
helped the poor man.
This is why no money lender will refuse a loan if one is asked for
for the performance of a marriage and money so borrowed is always
paid back punctually. When the Jogi came back the next year the poor
man paid him the twenty rupees.
XXXVIII. Chote and Mote.
Once upon a time there were two brothers Chote and Mote; they were
poor but very industrious and they got tired of working as hired
labourers in their own village so they decided to try their luck
elsewhere. They went to a distant village and Chote took service
with an oilman and Mote with a potter on a yearly agreement. Chote
had to drive the oil mill in the morning and then after having his
dinner to feed the mill bullock and take it out to graze. But the
bullock having had a good meal of oilcake would not settle down to
graze alone but kept running after all the herds of cattle it saw,
and Chote had to spend his whole time running after it till he was
worn out and he was very soon sorry that he had taken up such hard
service; and was quite resolved not to stay on after his year was up.
Mote was no better off; the potter overworked him, making him carry
water and dig earth from morn to night and for all he did he got
nothing but abuse.
One day the brothers, met and Mote asked Chote how he was getting
on. Chote answered "Oh I have got a capital place; all the morning
I sit at my ease on the oil mill, then I have a good dinner and take
the bullock out to graze and as it has had a good meal of oilcake it
lies down without giving any trouble and I sit in the shade and enjoy
myself." Then Mote said "I am pretty lucky too. I have to fetch three
or four pots of water, then I have my dinner and a rest and then I
have to dig earth and knead it. Still I cannot say that I have so
little work as you; will you change with me for three or four days,
so that I may have a rest?"
Chote gladly agreed and each brother thought that he had got the better
of the other. In the morning while Mote was driving the oil mill he
was very pleased with his new job and when he had to take the bullock
out to graze he took a bedstead with him to lie on. But directly the
bullock got outside the village it rushed off bellowing towards some
other cattle and Mote had to run after it with his bedstead on his
head, and all the afternoon the bullock kept him running about till
he was worn out.
Meanwhile Chote was no better off; his unaccustomed shoulders were
quite bruised with constantly carrying water. At the potter's house
was a custard apple tree and it was believed that there was money
buried at the foot of the tree; so as Chote was a stranger, the
potter told him to water the earth by the tree to soften it, as it
was to be used for pottery. Chote softened the earth and dug it and
as he dug he uncovered pots of rupees; so he covered them up again
and dug the earth elsewhere. And at evening he went and proposed to
Mote to run away with the money. So at midnight, they went and dug it
up and ran off home. As they were not pursued, they felt safe after
a month or two, so they spent the money in buying land and cattle,
and their cultivation prospered, and they became quickly rich.
XXXIX. The Daydreamer.
Once an oil man was going to market with his pots of oil arranged on a
flat basket and he engaged a Santal for two annas to carry the basket;
and as he went along, the Santal thought "With one anna I will buy
food and with the other I will buy chickens, and the chickens will
grow up and multiply and then I will sell some of the fowls and eggs
and with the money I will buy goats; and when the goats increase,
I will sell some and buy cows, and then I will exchange some of the
calves for she-buffaloes, and when the buffaloes breed, I will sell
some and buy land and start cultivation and then I will marry and
have children and I will hurry back from my work in the fields and
my wife will bring me water and I will have a rest and my children
will say to me 'Father, be quick and wash your hands for dinner,' but
I will shake my head and say 'No, no, not yet!'"--and as he thought
about it he really shook his head and the basket fell to the ground
and all the pots of oil were smashed.
Then the oilman abused him and said that he must pay two rupees for
the oil and one anna for the pots: but the Santal said that he had
lost much more than that and the oilman asked him how that could be:
and the Santal explained how with his wages he was going to get fowls
and then goats and then oxen and buffaloes and land and how he came to
spill the basket and at that the oilman roared with laughter and said
"Well I have made up the account and I find that our losses are equal,
so we will cry quits;" and so saying they went their ways laughing.
XL. The Extortionate Sentry.
There was once a sentry outside a Raja's palace who would let no one go
in to sell anything to the Raja until they first promised to give him
half the price they received from the Raja, and the poor traders had
to promise, for their livelihood depended on selling their goods. One
day a fisherman caught an enormous fish and he thought that if he
took it to the Raja he would get a big price for it.
So he went off to the palace, but when he came to the gate the sentry
stopped him and would not let him go in, until he promised to give him
half of what he got, and after some argument he had to promise. So
he was admitted to the Raja's presence and when the Raja asked what
was the price of the fish, the fisherman said "A hundred blows with
The Raja was very astonished and asked the meaning of such a
request. Then the fisherman said that the sentry had extorted a
promise that he should get half the price and he wanted him to get
fifty blows. At this the Raja was very angry and he had the sentry
beaten with one hundred stripes and dismissed him.
XLI. The Broken Friendship.
Once upon a time there was a Raja and his Dewan and they each had
one son, and the two boys were great friends, and, when they grew old
enough, they took to hunting and when they became young men they were
so devoted to the sport that they spent their whole time in pursuit of
game; they followed every animal they could find until they killed it,
and they shot every bird in the town.
Their parents were much distressed at this, for they thought that
if their boys spent all their time together hunting they would grow
up unruly and ignorant; so they made up their minds that they must
separate the young men so that they would not be tempted to spend so
much time in sport, but would be able to learn something useful; they
scolded the youths and told them to give up their friendship and their
hunting, but this had no effect. Then the Raja told the villagers
that he would reward any one who would break up the friendship,
and the villagers tried their best but effected nothing.
There was however an old woman in the village who one day said,
"If the Raja gave me ten rupees I would soon put a stop to their
friendship." This came to the ears of the Raja and he exclaimed "What
is ten rupees to me! bring the old woman to me and I will give her
ten rupees, if she can put an end to this friendship." So the old
woman was brought trembling before the Raja and on being questioned
undertook to break up the friendship if she were properly rewarded;
and when this was promised she asked for two men to be given to her
and she took them to her house and there she made them sling a bed
on a pole, such as is used for carrying a man on a journey and she
hung curtains all round it and drew them close and inside, on an old
winnowing fan, they put some rotten manure from a dung hill.
Then she made the two men take up the bed and she fetched a drum
and she paraded all through the bazar beating the drum with the
bed following behind her. She told the two carriers not to answer
any questions as to what was in the bed. Thus they passed out of
the town and went in the direction in which the two young men had
gone hunting. When these heard the sound of the drum and saw the
two men carrying the bed they ran up to see what it was and told
the carriers to put It down that they might look inside; so the bed
was put on the ground and the Raja's son peeped inside the curtain,
but as he caught the smell he jumped back and the Dewan's son asked
what was the matter and he said "it stinks: it is dung." The Dewan's
son would not believe him and also looked to convince himself; then
they both asked what the meaning of this was: the old woman said
that she would explain the meaning of it but only to one of them,
and the one who had heard could tell the other.
So she made the carriers take away the bed and she called the Raja's
son aside saying "Come I will tell you what it means" then she put
her arms round the neck of the Raja's son and put her lips to his
ear and pretended to whisper to him, but really she said nothing;
then she let him go and followed the carriers. The Dewan's son at
once ran to his friend and asked what the old woman had told him; the
Raja's son answered "She told me nothing at all, she only pretended
to whisper." The Dewan's son would not believe this and pressed him
to tell, saying "We have been friends for so long and have had no
secrets from each other, why won't you tell me this? if you refuse
to tell me there is an end of our friendship," but the Raja's son
persisted that he had been told nothing and proposed that they should
go and ask the old woman if it were not so; but the Dewan's son said
that that was no good because the old woman and the Raja's son had
plainly made a plot to keep him in the dark. The quarrel grew hotter
and hotter, till at last they parted in anger and each went to his
own home and from that time their friendship was broken off.
And being separated they gave up hunting and took to useful
pursuits. Thus the old woman earned her reward from the Raja.
XLII. A Story Told by a Hindu.
Once upon a time there was a Raja who had two sons and after their
father's death they divided the kingdom between them. The two brothers
were inveterate gamblers and spent their time playing cards with
each other; for a long time fortune was equal, but one day it turned
against the elder brother and he lost and lost until his money and his
jewelry, his horses and his elephants and every thing that he had,
had been won by his younger brother. Then in desperation he staked
his share in the kingdom and that too he lost.
Then the younger brother sent drummers through the city to proclaim
that the whole kingdom was his; the shame of this was more than the
elder prince could bear, so he resolved to quit the country and he
told his wife of his intention and bade her stay behind. But his
faithful wife refused to be parted from him; she vowed that he had
married her not for one day nor for two but for good and all, and
that where he went, there she would go, and whatever troubles he met,
she would share. So he allowed her to come with him and the two set
off to foreign parts. After sometime their path led them through an
extensive jungle and after travelling through it for two days they
at last lost their way completely; their food gave out, they were
faint with starvation and torn with briars.
The prince urged his wife to return but she would not hear of it, so
they pushed on, supporting life on jungle fruits; sometimes the prince
would go far ahead, for his faithful wife could only travel slowly,
and then he would return and wait for her; at last he got tired of
leading her on and made up his mind to abandon her. At night they lay
down at the foot of a tree and the prince thought "If wild animals
would come and eat us it would be the best that could happen. I cannot
bear to see my wife suffer any more; although her flesh is torn with
thorns, she will not leave me. I will leave her here; may wild beasts
kill both her and me, but I cannot see her die before my eyes." So
thinking he got up quietly and went off as quickly as he could.
When the princess woke and found that she had been abandoned, she began
to weep and wept from dawn to noon without ceasing; at noon a being,
in the guise of an old woman appeared and asked her why she wept,
and comforted her and promised to lead her out of the wood and told
her that Chando had had compassion on her and would allow her to find
her husband again if they both lived.
So saying the old woman led the princess from the forest and showed
her the way to a great city where a Raja lived. The princess went
begging her way through the city to the Raja's palace and there they
engaged her as a servant.
Now her husband had also escaped from the jungle and sought employment
as a labourer but no one would give him work for more than a day
or two, and at last his search for work brought him to the city in
which the princess was; and there he was engaged as a groom in the
palace stables. The prince had changed his name and he had no chance
of knowing that his wife was in the palace, because she was confined
to the women's appartments; so some years passed without their having
news of each other.
At last one day the princess happened to go on to the roof and looking
down at the stables saw and thought she recognised her husband;
then she leaned over and listened till she heard his voice and at
that she was sure that it was he, so she hastened to the Raja and
begged to be allowed to meet her husband, and the Raja sent to call
the syce with the name which the princess had given but no one came,
for the prince would not reveal himself. Then the princess told their
story and how her husband had gambled away his half of the kingdom. The
Raja ordered any one with such a history to come forward, as his wife
was in the palace; but the prince did not reveal himself.
Then the princess said "Let all the syces cook rice and bring me a
bit of each man's cooking to taste." They did so, and when she tasted
the rice cooked by her husband, she at once said that it was his; her
husband was unable to deny it and admitted everything. Then they took
him away from his work in the stables and let him live with his wife.
After a time the Raja wrote to the younger brother asking whether
he would restore the half of the kingdom which he had won; and the
younger brother answered that he would gladly do so, if his brother
would sign an agreement never to gamble any more; it was with this
object in view and to teach him the folly of his ways that he had
dispossessed him. The elder brother gladly gave the required promise
and returned to his kingdom with his faithful wife and lived happily
XLIII. The Raibar and the Leopard.
Once upon a time a _Raibar_ was going backwards and forwards between
two families arranging a marriage and part of the road which he used
to travel ran through a forest.
One day as he was going to the bride's house he took a sack with
him intending to try and get the loan of some Indian corn from the
bride's relations; but as he was passing through the piece of jungle
he suddenly met a leopard; he was terribly frightened but collecting
his wits he addressed the animal thus "Leopard; I beg you not to eat
me; I am engaged on a work of great merit, I am making two men out
of one." This address amazed the leopard and he at once asked the
_raibar_ whether he could make him into two, and promised that if
he could his life should be spared. The _raibar_ answered readily
"Seeing that in pursuit of my profession I have made two men out of
one all over the country, of course I can make you into two leopards
if I try; all you have to do is to get into this sack and keep quiet;
if you utter a sound you will spoil the charm."
"Well," said the leopard, "I will try and see; I undertake to keep
quite quiet, and if you are successful I promise to tell the whole race
of leopards to spare the lives of _raibars_." So saying the leopard
jumped into the sack and allowed the man to tie him up tightly in
it. No sooner was this done than the _raibar_ took the sack on his
head and carried it to the bank of a river and having given it two
or three hearty whacks with his stick threw it into the water. The
sack went floating down the stream and it happened that lower down a
leopardess sat watching the water and when she saw the sack coming
along she thought that it was a dead cow floating down. So when it
came near she jumped into the water and pulled it ashore.
She then proceeded to tear open the sack, when out jumped the first
leopard; he soon explained how he came to be in the sack, and declared
that the _raibar's_ promise had been fulfilled and that she was his
destined mate. The leopardess agreed and the two set to work to tell
all the other leopards what had happened and what a kindness the
_raibar_ had done them; and so it came to pass that to the present
day leopards never interfere with _raibars_ when they are going about
arranging a marriage; no one ever heard of one being injured.
Meanwhile the _raibar_ went on his way rejoicing at having rid himself
of the leopard. But the next year, while engaged on the business of
another marriage, the _raibar_ was passing through the same jungle
when he came face to face with the very leopard that he thought he
had safely disposed of; he at once took to his heels, but the leopard
called out to him not to be afraid and to wait, as he had something
to say to him. So the _raibar_ stopped and the leopard asked whether
he did not recognise him; the _raibar_ stoutly denied all knowledge
of him. "Well," said the leopard "I am the leopard of whom you made
two out of one, and to show my gratitude I will give you any reward
you like; would you like a cow or a deer or any other animal? I will
kill you one and bring it to you."
When the _raibar_ saw the turn that things had taken he thought that
he had better take advantage of it, so he asked for a good large
nilgai. The leopard told him to come to a certain tree at noon the
next day and he would find the animal there. So they separated and the
next day at noon the _raibar_ went to the tree and found a fine nilgai
waiting for him, which he and his friends took home and ate with joy.
XLIV. The Ungrateful Snake.
There was once a Raja and his dewan and they each had one son;
these sons were married in infancy but as they grew up they never
heard anything about their having been married. When the boys reached
manhood and found no arrangements being made for their weddings they
began to wonder at the delay and often talked about it, and in the end
they agreed to run away to another country. Soon after this resolve
of theirs some horse dealers came to their home with horses to sell;
the two youths at once saw that if they could each have a horse and
learn to ride it, it would be easy for them to run away from home. So
they hurried to their fathers and begged them to buy them each one of
the beautiful horses which the dealers had brought. The Raja and the
dewan did not like to disappoint their sons so they bought the horses,
to the great delight of the boys, who used to ride them every day.
One day the Raja's son was out riding by himself and he passed by
a tank where a number of women and girls were bathing and drawing
water; as he came galloping along the women ran back in a fright;
and as they could not draw their water while he was there, an old
woman came up to him and told him to go away and not stay making eyes
at the girls as if he had no wife of his own: "What wife have I?",
said the prince, "I know nothing of having been married." "You were
married sure enough when you were an infant," replied the old woman:
"your wife is still in her father's house, but now that you have
grown up they will probably bring her home to you this year."
Then the prince asked where his wife lived and having learnt the name
of the village he galloped off home and at once began to question his
mother about his marriage; his mother told him that they intended to
have the bride brought home that year, but the prince was impatient
and proposed that he should go off at once to his father-in-law's and
see his wife, and try to persuade them to let her come back with him
without any ceremony; his mother made no objection, so he got ready
for the journey and started off on horseback. He had not gone far
when he saw a field of thatching grass on fire, and in the middle,
surrounded by the flames, was a huge poisonous snake, unable to escape.
As the prince rode by, the snake called out to him "Prince, you are
going joyously to bring home your bride, and here am I in danger of
being burned alive; will you not have pity on me and save me? If you do
I will confer a boon on you." "But if I save you," objected the prince,
"you will only eat me: snakes do not know what gratitude is." "I am
not of that kind," answered the snake: "here I am in danger of death,
I beseech you to have pity on me." These pleadings prevailed and the
prince got off his horse and beat out the fire and then spread a cloth
over the embers so that the snake could crawl out. When the snake was
safe the prince asked for the boon that had been promised him: "No boon
will you get" said the snake: "you did a foolhardy thing in saving me,
for now I am going to eat you, and you cannot escape from me."
The prince saw that there was little hope for him but he begged the
snake to allow two or three judges to decide whether it was fair that
he should be killed, after what he had done. The snake agreed to this
provided that the judges were not human beings; he was willing to be
bound by the opinions of any one else.
They set out together to look for judges and soon saw a herd of cattle
resting under a banyan tree by a pool of water, so they agreed to
make these their judges; then the prince explained to one of the
cows and the banyan tree and the water what they were to decide,
whether it was fair for the snake, whose life he had saved, now to
want to kill him. The banyan tree was the first to answer: it said
"You did good to the snake and your wages for doing good are evil;
you saved his life and he will now kill you, this is fair, this is
the justice we have learnt from human beings; you enjoy the shade of
us trees and in return you lop off our branches and sit on them, and
do us all manner of injury; it is right that the snake should eat you."
Then the prince turned to the cow: "He may eat you," answered the
cow: "the tree is right, see how men treat cattle; you drive away our
calves from us and take our milk and you beat us and make us work hard;
for all this ill treatment the snake shall eat you."
Then the prince asked the water what it had to say: "I agree with the
other two" said the water: "to return evil for good is the justice of
mankind, it is by drinking water that your very lives are preserved;
yet you spit into it and wash dirty things in it; shall not the snake
return you evil for good?" So judgment was delivered, and the snake
wanted to eat the prince; but the prince asked the tree and the cow
and the water to listen while he made one prayer; he told them how
he had been married when he was too young to know anything about it,
and how he was going for the first time to see his wife, when this
misfortune befell him; so he begged that he might be allowed to go and
see his bride and then be eaten on his way back; the banyan tree asked
what the snake thought about this proposal and the snake said that it
would make no objection if the tree and the cow and the water would be
sureties for the return of the prince within three days. So the prince
promised them faithfully that he would return and they let him go.
The prince rode on to his father-in-law's house, and when he arrived,
a bed was brought out for him to sit on and he was asked where he
came from. When he explained who he was, they at once brought water
and washed his feet and then gave him oil and a tooth stick and took
him to bathe; then they brought him curds and dried rice to eat and
afterwards killed a goat and made a feast and showed him every honour.
That evening as his wife was rubbing his arms and legs, the
prince remained silent and downcast and showed none of the joy of
a bridegroom; and when his bride asked what was the matter, he told
her that he had only come to see her for one day and that afterwards
she must try and forget all about him. At first he would not tell
her more, but when she urged him, he told her how he had to go and
surrender himself to the snake on the next day. When she heard this
she vowed that she would go with him and die with him.
The next morning came and the prince said that he must return, and
his wife said that she was going with him; so they made everything
ready and set out on their way. When they came within sight of the
banyan tree where the prince was to be killed, he tried to turn his
wife back but though he used force she refused to leave him and said
that she would first see him killed and then go home; so at last he
let her accompany him.
When they reached the tree she asked to be allowed to go in front and
be the first to meet the snake; to this the prince assented. They
had not gone far when they saw the snake awaiting them in the path
with its crest raised, and when they drew near, the prince's bride
begged the snake to eat her first, as she had nowhere to live if she
survived her husband. The snake refused and bade her go home to her
parents; she said that that was impossible; they had sold her and the
prince had bought her, in life and in death, bones and ashes. But
the snake would not listen and made for the prince to eat him. His
wife however kept in front of the snake and would not let it pass;
she called the banyan tree to witness that the snake should not eat
her husband without first killing her; without her husband she would
have no one to support her.
Then the snake promised to teach her an incantation by means of which
she could support herself, so saying, the snake conferred some magic
power upon and taught her an incantation; and promised her that if she
took some dust in her hand and repeated the incantation and then blew
on the dust, any person on whom she sprinkled the dust would at once
be burnt to ashes. Then the prince's wife asked how she should restore
the people to life and the snake taught her that also, but she was not
satisfied and said that she must try at once to see whether the snake
was deceiving her or no; so the snake bade her experiment on a _tarop_
tree which grew near. Thereupon she gathered up some dust and repeated
the incantation and blew on it and suddenly threw it over the snake,
which at once turned to ashes, and that was the end of the snake.
Then the prince and his wife went on their way rejoicing, and he was
filled with wonder at the way in which his bride had saved him by
persisting in going with him.
XLV. The Tiger's Bride.
One day a woman went to cut thatching grass and she cut such a quantity
that when she tied it up, the bundle was too big for her to lift on
to her head; so she stood and called for some one to help her, but
no one was within hearing and no one came. She called and called and
at last began to promise that she would give her daughter in marriage
to any one who would help her.
After she had called out this a few times, a tiger suddenly appeared
and asked what she wanted; she explained her difficulty and the tiger
undertook to lift the load on to her head, if she would really give
him her daughter in marriage. She promised and with the help of the
tiger took up the bundle and went home.
Two or three days after, the tiger presented himself at her house and
was duly married to the daughter. After the wedding the couple started
for the tiger's home; all the way the unhappy bride wept and sang:--
"How far off is our home, big head?"
"You can just see the mouth of the cave" answered the tiger and in a
short time they came to a large cave. Then the tiger told her to set
to work and cook a feast while he went off and invited his friends
to come and share it. But the bride when left alone caught a cat and
killed it and hung it over the fire, so that its blood dropped slowly
into the pan and made a fizzling noise, as if cooking were going on;
and then she ran off to her mother's house and climbed a tree which
grew near it and began to sing:--
"You married me to a ti-ti-tiger:
You threw me to a bear:
Take back the necklace you gave me
Take back the bracelet and the diamonds and the coral."
Meanwhile the tiger returned with his friends and sat down outside the
cave and told his wife to be quick with the cooking of the cakes for he
heard the hissing over the fire and thought that she was cooking. At
last as she did not come out, he got tired of waiting and went in to
fetch her: then he saw that she had disappeared and had to go and tell
his friends. They were very angry at being cheated out of a feast,
and fell upon the tiger and beat him, till he ran away and was seen
no more: but his bride was left to flit from tree to tree singing:--
"You married me to a ti-ti-tiger:
You threw me to a bear:
Take back the necklace you gave me
Take back the bracelet and the diamonds and the coral."
XLVI. The Killing of the Tiger.
They say that there was a time when all living things had a common
speech and animals and men could understand each other, and in those
days there was a man-eating tiger which infested a jungle through
which a highroad ran; it preyed on people passing along the road
till no one ventured to travel, and as the country was so unsafe, the
people went in a body to the Raja and told him of the ravages of the
tiger and asked him to send a force of soldiers to hunt and shoot it.
So the Raja called together all his soldiers and promised to give half
his kingdom to any one of them who would kill the tiger, but not one
of them was brave enough to make the attempt; they said that their
business was to fight men and not tigers and leopards; then the Raja
extended his offer to all his subjects and the petitioners went home
to consult about it; and the news was published that the Raja would
give half his kingdom to the slayer of the tiger.
Now there was a poor man who was a very brave shikari of big game,
and cunning into the bargain, and he offered to go and kill the
tiger. They questioned him carefully, and when they saw that he was in
earnest they took him to the Raja to hear from the Raja's lips what
his reward should be; and the Raja promised him half his kingdom,
and wrote a bond to that effect, for he thought that the tiger would
surely kill the man. Then the shikari said that he would start the
next morning and return the next day either with the dead tiger or
with bits of its ears and claws to show that he had killed it. The
Raja told the people to watch carefully and see that the shikari did
not cheat by taking the claws and ears of a tiger with him.
The next morning the shikari started off and all he took with him was
a looking-glass and three pictures of a tiger drawn on three pieces
of paper and a hatchet; he went to the road which the tiger frequented
and climbed a banyan tree and spent the night in it. The tiger did not
pass by at all that night but in the morning it appeared and called
out "Who is up in the tree?" The shikari said "It is I." "Come down
quickly," said the tiger, "I have been looking for you." "Wait a
minute," answered the shikari, "I have been looking for you also."
"What for?" said the tiger: "Tell me first why you are looking for me,"
said the man: "To eat you," answered the tiger; then the man said,
"Well I have been hunting for you to catch you and take you away. I
have caught three or four like you and if you don't believe me, let me
get down and I will show you". The tiger got into a fright and said:
"Come down and show me." So the shikari climbed down and uncovered
his looking glass and told the tiger to look and he reflected in the
glass the pictures of the tigers which he had brought and said, "Now
I am going to catch you and put you in here also." The tiger asked
why he was to be caught and the shikari said that it was because he
had made the road unsafe by killing travellers; then the tiger begged
and prayed to be let off and promised that he would never kill any
travellers again. At last the shikari said that he would let him go,
if he would allow him to cut off his claws and the tips of his ears
and the tip of his tongue as a pledge of his good faith. The tiger
said, "Well, you may cut off one claw from each foot and the very
tip of my ears and tongue." So the shikari cut them off with his
hatchet and, after again warning the tiger, went back home; and then
presented himself with all his friends before the Raja and the Raja
gave him the promised reward, But the tiger's tongue festered and,
after roaring with pain for a whole day, it died.
XLVII. The Dream.
One night as a man and his wife lay talking in bed, the woman told
her husband that she had dreamt that in a certain place she had dug
up a pot full of rupees, and she proposed that they should go and
look for it and see whether the dream was true. While they talked, it
chanced that some thieves, who had climbed on to the roof, overheard
the conversation and at once decided to forestall the others. So they
went off to the place which the woman had described and began to dig,
and after digging a little they were delighted to come on a pot with
a lid on. But when they took off the lid an enormous snake raised
its head and hissed at them. At this the thieves cursed the woman
who had misled them and agreed to take the snake and drop it through
the roof on to the man and his wife as they lay in bed. So they shut
the snake up again and carried it off to the house and, making a hole
in the thatch, dropped it through. But as it fell the snake changed
into a stream of money, which came rattling down on the couple below;
the thieves found a snake, but it was not a real snake, it was Thakur;
and it was his will to give the money to the man and his wife. When
these two had recovered from their astonishment, they gathered up
the money, and lived in wealth ever afterwards.
XLVIII. The King of the Bhuyans.
There was once a king of the Bhuyans and near his palace was a village
of Santals; he was a kind ruler and both Santals and Bhuyans were very
happy under his sway. But when he died, he was succeeded by his son,
who was a very severe master and soon fell out with the Santals. If
he found any cattle or buffaloes grazing anywhere near his crops,
he had the cowherds beaten severely: so that no one dared to take
the cattle in that direction.
The Santals were very angry at this and longed to get even with the
Raja; they planned to turn the cattle into the Raja's crops at night
when no one could see them or catch them, but in the end their courage
One year after the rice had been cut, but before the millet crop was
gathered, the youths and maidens of the Santal village had a dance
and danced all night till nearly morning; then they agreed that it
was not worth while to go to bed and they had better take the cattle
out to graze at once.
After grazing their fill, the cattle all collected at the midday
resting place and the cowherds were so sleepy after their night's
dancing, that they fell fast asleep on the bare ground. After a time
the buffaloes began to move again and seeing a nice field of millet
belonging to the Raja soon made their way to it and grazed the whole
field down. The Raja happened to pass that way and was filled with
wrath at the sight; he at once ordered his _sipahis_ to go and beat
the cowherds within an inch of their lives and so the _sipahis_
ran to the place with sticks. Their approach roused the sleeping
cowherds who jumped up and ran off home as hard as they could;
all but the servant of the village _paramanik_ (assistant headman)
he did not run away but went to drive the cattle out of the field;
he knew that this was his duty to his master and he was resolved to
do his duty even at the cost of his life.
As all the other boys had got away the sipahis turned their attention
to him, but as they aimed blows at him with the sticks, he caught the
blows on his arms and the sticks shivered to atoms without harming him;
so then they went to kick him but a great _cibei_ snake came rustling
up behind them; so they saw it was no use to contend with him and
desisted: whereupon he drove all the village cattle home in triumph.
The sipahis reported to the Raja how the cowherds had all made good
their escape, and how the paramanik's herd boy had driven off the
cattle. Then the Raja told them to go that afternoon at the time
the cattle were brought home for the night and wait at the end of
the village street and then give the cowherds the thrashing they
deserved; The sipahis did as they were ordered and that evening waited
for the returning herd boys; and caught them as they came home and
thrashed them within an inch of their lives. The others were all
left senseless on the ground: but the sipahis did not dare to lay
hands on the paramanik's herd boy, he drove the cattle back into the
village, and told the villagers what had been done to their sons. So
the villagers went out with beds and carried the wounded boys home;
then they assembled and resolved to go and punish the Raja, so they
went to him and asked what he meant by killing their children. "Dear
me," said the Raja, "are they really dead?" "Well, if not not quite
dead, they are very ill," was the answer. "I am sorry," said the Raja:
"I admit that I have done wrong, but if you will forgive me this time,
I will undertake to cure them in a minute and make them as well as
ever; go and fetch them here."
So the Santals went off to fetch the wounded cowherds and carried
them to the Raja, all lying senseless on beds and put them down before
him. While they were away the Raja had told his sipahis to grind some
good hot _chilis_; and when the cowherds were brought to him he told
the sipahis to thrust the chili paste up their noses; this was done
and the smarting soon made the cowherds jump up and run away in a
very lively fashion, and that was the way the Raja kept his word and
XLIX. The Foolish Sons.
There was once a man of the blacksmith caste who had six sons; the
sons were all married and the whole family lived together. But the
sons' wives took to quarrelling and at last the sons went to their
parents and proposed that they should set up separate households,
as the women folk could not live in peace.
The blacksmith and his wife did not like the idea at all and pointed
out that it would be most inadvisable; while, so far, there was plenty
of food and clothing for all, they would find it much more expensive
to have seven separate households and split up what was quite enough
so long as they lived together, and what was to become of their old
parents who were now too old to work? The sons protested that they
would support their father and mother as long as they lived, even
though the family separated.
At last the old man said that he would put them to the test and see
whether they were clever enough to manage their own affairs and smart
enough to cheat people into giving them what they wanted. "I will
see," said he, "how you would manage to support the family in time
of famine or if we fell into poverty. I and your mother have managed
to bring up a large family, and you know nothing of the anxiety that
it has cost us; you have merely had to enjoy yourselves and eat your
meals; if you insist on it, I will let you separate, but don't blame
me afterwards. However to-morrow I will take you on a journey and
find some means of testing your cleverness."
So the next morning they made ready for the journey; their father only
allowed them to take one meal of rice tied up in their cloths and he
gave each of them one pice, which he said was their inheritance. They
set off and after travelling some way they sat down and ate up their
rice and then went on again. By the middle of the afternoon they
began to feel hungry, so the father proposed their going to a bazar
which was in sight; but between them and the bazar was a channel of
stagnant water, very deep, and with its surface covered by a coating
of weeds. They tried to cross, but directly they set foot on it they
sank through the weeds, and it was too deep for wading. So their father
said they would all camp on the bank and he would see whether they were
clever enough to get across the channel and bring food for a meal;
if they could do that he would believe that they could support their
families in time of famine.
So the old man spread his cloth on the ground and set down and watched
them try their luck one by one. The eldest brother first jumped up
to try but he could not cross the channel; everytime he tried, he
sank through the weeds, at last he gave up in despair and admitted
that he could not feed the party. Then the other brothers all tried
in turn and failed. At last it came to the turn of the youngest; he
modestly said that he was not likely to succeed where his elders had
failed but he would have a try, so he went to the edge of the water
and spreading out his cloth on the weeds lay down on it so that his
weight was distributed; in this position the weeds supported him and
he managed to wriggle himself across on his face to the other side.
Once across, he went to the bazar, and going to a shop began to
talk with the shopkeeper; after a little he asked for the loan of an
anna; the shopkeeper said that he could not lend to a stranger; the
blacksmith's son gave the name of some village as his home and pressed
for the loan, promising to pay him one anna as interest within a week
and pulling out his pice he said "See here, I will pay you this pice
as part of the interest in advance." At this the shopkeeper suffered
himself to be persuaded and lent him the anna.
With this the blacksmith's son went off to a second shop and begged
for the loan of four annas, as he had pressing need of it; he promised
to pay an anna a week interest, and to pay down at once the interest
for the first week. After some hesitation the shopkeeper was deceived
into lending the four annas. Then he went off to another shop and
borrowed a rupee by promising to pay eight annas a month as interest
and putting down four annas as advance.
Then he went to a Marwari's shop and asked for the loan of ten rupees;
the Marwari asked for interest at the rate of one rupee a day; the
blacksmith's son protested that that was too high but offered to pay
one rupee every two days and to pay one rupee of interest in advance;
the Marwari hesitated, but after being given a name and address--which
were however false--he gave way and took his signature to a bond
and lent him the ten rupees. At this the blacksmith's son set off in
triumph to rejoin his brothers; he crossed the water in the same way
as before and took the ten rupees to his father.
Then they all went on to another bazar and bought dried rice
and sweetmeats and curds and had a grand feast. Then their father
proceeded to point out to his sons how, except the youngest, they were
all useless; they had been unable to cross the channel or to make
anything of their own pice of capital; they had nothing to answer,
and all went home and from that day nothing was heard of any proposal
to divide the family until the old father and mother died.
L. Kora and His Sister.
There were once seven brothers and they had one sister who was the
youngest of the family. The six eldest brothers were married but no
wife had been found for the youngest; for three years enquiries were
made to try and find a suitable bride for him, but all in vain. At last
the young man, whose name was Kora, told his parents and brothers not
to trouble any more, as he would find a wife for himself; he intended
to bring a flowering plant from the forest and plant it by the stand
on which the watering pots were kept, and then he would marry any
maiden who picked one of the flowers and put it in her hair.
His father and mother approved of this proposal, so the next day he
brought some sort of flowering plant and planted it by the water-pot
stand. He charged all his family to be most careful that no one
of his own relations picked the flower and also to warn any of the
village girls who wanted to pick it, that if she did so and put it
in her hair, she would thereby become his wife; but if, knowing this,
anyone wished to do so, they were not to prevent her.
The neighbours soon got to hear what the plant meant and used often
to come and look at it, and Kora watched it growing, till after
a time it produced a bud and then a beautiful and sweet-scented
flower. All the village girls came to see the beautiful flower;
and one day Kora's sister when she went to the water-stand to get
some water to drink, caught hold of it and longed to pick it, it
looked so pretty. Her mother saw what she was doing and scolded her
for touching the forbidden flower, but the girl begged to see what
it would look like in her hair; there could be no harm done if she
pulled the whole plant up by its roots and put it in her hair and
then replanted it; no one would know what had happened. In spite of
her mother's remonstrances she insisted on doing this and having seen
how the flower looked in her hair carefully replarited it.
Soon afterwards Kora came home and went to see his flower; he knew
at once that some one had worn it and called to his mother and asked
who it was. She protested that she knew nothing about the matter,
but Kora said that he could tell by the smell that it had been
worn and then he showed that there was also a hair sticking to the
flower. Then his mother admitted that in spite of all she could say,
his sister had worn the flower and planted it again in the ground.
When she saw that she was found out, the girl began to cry, but her
father said that it was clearly fated that she and Kora should matry
and this was the reason why they had been unable to find any other
bride; so they must now arrange for the wedding. Accordingly rice was
got ready and all the usual preparations made for a marriage. The
unfortunate girl saw that flight was her only means of escape from
such a fate, so one day she ran away; all she took with her was a
For many days she travelled on and one day she stopped by a pool
to bathe and as she rubbed her limbs she collected the scurf that
she rubbed off her skin and put in on the ground in one place; then
she went on with her bathing; but at the place where she had put the
scurf of her skin, a palm tree sprang up and grew so rapidly, that,
by the time she came out of the water, it had become a large tree.
The girl was struck by this strange sight and at once thought that
the tree would afford her a safe refuge; so she climbed up it with
her parrot in her hand and when safely seated among the leaves she
begged the palm tree to grow so tall that no one would be able to find
her, and the tree grew till it reached an unusual height. So the girl
stayed in the tree top and the parrot used to go every day and bring
her food. Meanwhile her parents and brothers searched high and low
for her for two or three days, for the wedding day was close at hand,
but their search was of course in vain; and they concluded that the
girl must have drowned herself in some river.
Time passed and one day at noon, a Mahuli girl, who was taking her
basket-ware to market, stopped to rest in the shade of the palm tree:
and as she sat there, Kora's sister called to her from the top of
the tree and asked her to give her a small winnowing fan in exchange
for a bracelet The Mahuli girl told her to throw the bracelet down
first. Kora's sister made no objection to this, and when she had got
the bracelet, the Mahuli girl threw up a winnowing fan which soared
right up to where Kora's sister was sitting. Before the Mahuli girl
went on her way, Kora's sister made her promise never to let anyone
see the bracelet whew she went about selling her baskets as otherwise
it would be stolen from her; and secondly on no account to let it be
known that there was anyone in the palm tree, on pain of death. The
Mahuli girl kept her promise and whenever she went out selling baskets
she used to keep her bracelet covered with her cloth.
One day it chanced that she went to the house where Kora lived to sell
her wares and they asked her why it was that she kept her arm covered;
she told them that she had a sore on it; they wanted to see how big
the sore was, but she refused to show it, saying that if she showed
it she would die. They laughed at such a ridiculous story and at last
forced her to show her arm, which of course was quite well; but they at
once recognised the bracelet and asked where she had got it from. The
Mahuli girl refused to tell them and said that if she did, she would
die. "What a foolish girl you are" they objected "first you say you
will die if you show us your arm and then if you tell us where you
got this bracelet from; it belonged to our daughter whom we have lost,
and so you must tell us! Come, we will give you a basket full of rice
if you tell us." The Mahuli girl could not resist this offer, and when
the basket of rice was produced, she told them where the palm tree was,
in which Kora's sister was hiding. In all haste the father and mother
went to the tree and found that it was much too high for them to climb:
so they begged their daughter to come down and promised not to marry
her to her brother; but she would not come down: then they sang:--
"You have made a palm tree from the scrapings of your skin
And have climbed up into it, daughter!
Come daughter, come down."
But she only answered:--
"Father and mother, why do you cry?
I must spend my life here:
"Do you return home."
So they went home in despair.
Then her sisters-in-law came in their turn and sang:--
"Palm tree, palm tree, give us back our sister:
The brother and sister have got to be married."
But she would not answer them nor come down from the tree, so they
had to go home without her.
Then all her other relations came and besought her to come down,
but she would not listen to them. So they went away and invoked a
storm to come to their aid. And a storm arose and cold rain fell,
till the girl in the palm tree was soaked and shivering, and the
wind blew and swayed the palm tree so that its top kept touching the
ground. At last she could bear the cold and wet no more and, seizing
an opportunity when the tree touched the ground, she slipped off. Her
relations had made all the villagers promise on no account to let
her into their houses; so when she went into the village and called
out at house after house no one answered her or opened to her. Then
she went to her own home and there also they refused to open to her.
But Kora had lit a big fire in the cow house and sat by it warming
himself, knowing that the girl would have to come to him; and as she
could find no shelter elsewhere she had to go to his fire, and then
she sat and warmed herself and thought "I fled for fear of this man
and now I have come back to him; this is the end, I can no longer stay
in this world; the people will not even let me into their houses. I
have no wish to see them again."
So she sat and thought, and when she was warmed, she lay down by
the side of Kora; and he wore tied to his waist a nail-cutter; she
unfastened this and cut her throat with it as she lay. Her death
struggles aroused Kora, and he got up and saw the ground covered with
her blood and he saw that she had killed herself with his nail-cutter;
then he took counsel with himself and also cut his throat in the same
way. In the morning the two corpses were found lying side by side,
and it was seen that their blood refused to mingle but had flowed in
So they took the bodies away to burn them and laid them on one pyre;
and when the fire was lit, it was seen that the smoke from the two
bodies rose separately into the air. Then all who saw it, said "We
wished to marry brother and sister but Chando would not approve of it;
see how their blood would not mingle though spilt on the same floor,
and how the smoke from the pyre rises in two separate columns; it is
plain that the marriage of brother and sister is wrong." From that
time such manages have been discontinued.
LI. A Story on Caste.
There was once a village inhabited only by Musahars. Among them was
one girl who was so beautiful that she seemed more than human. Her
father and mother were so proud of her looks that they determined
not to marry her to a man of their own caste. They were constantly
discussing whom they should choose as a son-in-law; one day they began
to consider who were the greatest persons in the world. The old woman
was of opinion that there was no one greater than Chando, the Sun God,
and suggested that they should marry the girl to him. Her husband
agreed and off they set and presented themselves before Chando. Chando
asked why they had come. "O Chando, we understand that you are the
greatest being in the world and we have come to marry our daughter
to you," Chando answered "I fancy there is some one greater than I,"
"Who is he?" asked the parents. "The cloud is greater than I, for it
can hide my face and quench my rays."
At this the father and mother hurried off with their daughter in search
of the Cloud, and when they found him, told him that they had brought
their daughter to give him to wife, as he was the greatest being in
the world. "I may be great," said the Cloud, "but there is a greater
than I, the Wind. The Wind rises and blows me away in a minute." So
they went in search of the Wind and when they found him, explained
to him why they had brought him their daughter. The Wind said "I am
strong but there are stronger than I: the Mountains are stronger. I can
blow things down or whirl them away, but I cannot move the mountains."
So on they went to the Mountain and explained their errand. The
Mountain said "I am great but there are more powerful than I. The
ground-rat is more powerful, for however high I may be the ground-rats
burrow holes in me and I cannot resist them."
The poor parents by this time began to feel rather discouraged,
but still they made up their minds to persevere and went on to look
for the ground-rat. They found him and offered him their daughter in
marriage, but the ground-rat denied that he was the most powerful
being on earth, the Musahars were more powerful for they lived by
digging out ground-rats and eating them.
The hapless couple went home very dejectedly, reflecting that they
had begun by despising their own caste and had gone in search of
something greater and had ended where they begun. So they arranged
to marry their daughter to a man of their own caste after all.
_Moral_ You should not despise your own caste or race; you cannot
help what caste you are born into. A Santal may learn to read and
write and associate with men of good position and thereby his mind
may be perverted. He may wish to change his caste become a Sadhu, or
a Kherwar, or a Boistab, or a Mussulman, or a Christian or anything
else; but people will still know him for a beef-eating Santal. If he
becomes a Christian, no one will think him the equal of a Saheb or
a Brahman; no Saheb will marry his daughter or give him his daughter
in marriage. Remember what happened to the Musahar, who despised his
own caste. God caused you to be born in a certain caste. He and not
we made the different castes and He knows what is good and bad for us.
LII. Tipi and Tepa.
Tipi and Tepa dwelt together and lived on baked cakes. One day they
met a bear in the jungle. "Now I will eat you" growled the bear. "Spare
us," said Tipi and Tepa "and to-morrow we will beg some food and bake
it into cakes and give it to you," So the bear let them go away to beg;
but when they came back they ate the food which they had procured and
then hid themselves inside a hollow gourd. The bear came and looked
about for them but could not find them and went away.
The next day Tipi and Tepa again went out begging and as luck would
have it again met the bear. "Now I will eat you" said the bear. "No"
said they "let us go and beg some food for you." So they went off
begging and came back and baked cakes and ate them and then hid
inside the gourd. The bear came and carried off the gourd on its
shoulder and began to pick plums and other fruit and put them into
the gourd. As fast as the fruit was put in Tipi and Tepa ate it
up. "It is a very funny thing that the gourd does not become full"
thought the bear. But Tepa ate so much that at last he burst, with
such a noise that the bear threw down the gourd and ran away.
LIII. The Child with the Ears of an Ox.
Once upon a time a son was born to a certain Raja and the child had
the ears of an ox. The Raja was very much ashamed and let no one
know. But the secret could not be kept from the barber who had to
perform the ceremony of shaving the child's head. However the Raja
made the barber vow not to tell anyone of what he had seen.
So the barber went away, but the secret which he might not tell had an
unfortunate effect; it made his stomach swell to an enormous size. As
the barber went along in this unhappy condition he met a Dom who asked
why his stomach was so swollen. The barber said that it was because
he had shaved the Raja's child and had seen that it had the ears of
an ox. Directly he had broken his vow and blurted out the secret,
his stomach returned to its usual size.
The Dom went his way and cut down a tree and made a drum out of the
wood, and went about playing on the drum and begging. He came to the
Raja's palace and there he drummed and sang:--
"The son of the Raja
Has the ears of an ox."
When the Raja heard this, he was very angry, and swore to punish the
barber who must have broken his vow. But the Dom assured the Raja
that he knew nothing about the matter; that it was the drum that sang
the words and not he and that he had no idea what they meant. So the
Raja was pacified and gave the Dom a present and sent him away and
the barber was not punished.
LIV. The Child Who Knew His Father.
Once upon a time there was a girl whose parents took the greatest
care that she should not be familiar with any of the young men of
the village. But in spite of their precautions she formed an intimacy
with a young man and was presently found to be with child. When this
became known the villagers held a panchayat to enquire into the matter,
but the girl flatly declined to give any information and her father
and brothers were unable to point out the offender. So the village
elders decided to let the matter stand over till the child was born.
When the birth took place the question arose in whose name its head
should be shaved; as its father was still unknown, the villagers
decided that this should be settled when the child was old enough to
talk. So when the child was two or three years old and could prattle
a little, the girl's father went to the headman and _paranic_ and
asked them what was to be done. They said that he must pay a fine to
them and another to the villagers, because he had made the village
unclean for so long, and give a feast to the villagers and then they
would find out the father of the child and make him marry the girl;
and if he refused to do this, he would be outcasted. The unfortunate
man agreed and then the _jog manjhi_ and _godet_ were sent to call
all the men of the neighbourhood to a meeting.
They assembled in their best clothes and pagris and sat down in rows,
and in the middle a circle was drawn on the ground; then prayers were
offered to Chando and the child was set in the circle and told to find
its father. The child began to walk slowly along the lines of men but
it did not stop till it came to its real father, who was sitting a
little apart, and then it threw itself into his arms. Thus the truth
was discovered and the man married the girl and, as he was very poor,
went to live in his father-in-law's house.
LV. Jogeshwar's Marriage.
Once upon a time there was a young man of the weaver caste, named
Jogeshwar. He was an orphan and lived all alone. One summer he planted
a field of pumpkins on the sandy bed of a river. The plants grew well
and bore plenty of fruit: but when the pumpkins were ripe, a jackal
found them out and went every night and feasted on them. Jogeshwar
soon found out from the foot-marks who was doing the damage; so he set
a snare and a few days later found the jackal caught in it. He took
a stick to beat its life out, but the jackal cried: "Spare me and I
will find you a wife." So Jogeshwar stayed his hand and released the
jackal who promised at once to set off about the business.
The jackal kept his word and went to a city where a Raja lived. There
he sat down on the bank of one of the Raja's tanks. To this tank the
servants from the palace brought the pots and dishes to be washed,
and to this tank also came the Rani and princesses to bathe. Whenever
the servants came to wash their dishes, the jackal kept on repeating:
"What sort of a Raja is this whose plates are washed in water in
which people have bathed? there is no Raja like Raja Jogeshwar: he
eats of golden plates and yet he never uses them a second time but
throws them away directly he has eaten off them once."
The servants soon carried word to the Raja of the jackal who sat by
the tank and of his story of Raja Jogeshwar. Then the Raja sent for
the jackal and asked why he had come: the jackal answered that he was
looking for a bride for Raja Jogeshwar. Now the Raja had three or four
daughters and he thought that he saw his way to a fine match for one
of them. So he sent for the young women and asked the jackal to say
whether one of them would be a suitable bride for Raja Jogeshwar. The
jackal chose the second sister and said that he would go and get the
consent of Raja Jogeshwar.
The jackal hurried back and told the astonished weaver that he had
found a Raja's daughter for him to marry. Jogeshwar had nothing to
delay him and only asked that an early day might be fixed for the
wedding. So the jackal went back to the Raja and received from him
the knotted string that fixed the date of the wedding.
The jackal had now to devise some means by which Jogeshwar could
go through the wedding ceremonies without his poverty being found
out. He first went to the Raja and asked how many attendants Raja
Jogeshwar should bring with him, as he did not want to bring more
than the bride's father could entertain. The Raja was too proud to
fix any number and said they could bring as many as they liked.
Jogeshwar having no relations and no money, was quite unable to arrange
for a grand procession to escort him; he could only just afford to hire
a palki in which to be carried to the bride's house; so the jackal
sent word to all the jackals and paddy birds of the neighbourhood to
come to a feast at the palace of the bride, an invitation which was
eagerly accepted. At the time fixed they started off, with all the
paddy birds riding on the backs of the jackals. When they came within
sight of the palace, the jackal ran on ahead and invited the Raja to
come out and look at the procession as there was still time to send
them back, if they were too many, but it would be a great disgrace
if they were allowed to arrive and find no entertainment. The Raja
went out to look and when he saw the procession stretching away for a
distance of two miles or more with all the paddy birds looking like
white horsemen as they rode on the backs of the jackals, his heart
failed him and he begged the jackal to send them away, as he could
not entertain such a host.
So then the jackal hurried back and turned them all away and Jogeshwar
reached the palace, accompanied only by his palki bearers.
Before the wedding feast, the jackal gave Jogeshwar some hints as to
his behaviour. He warned him that three of four kinds of meat and
vegetables would be handed round with the rice, and bade him to be
sure to help himself from each dish--of course in his own house the
poor weaver had never had more than one dish to eat with his rice--and
when _pan_ was handed to him after the feast he was not to take any
until he had a handful of money given him; by such behaviour he would
lead every one to think that he was really a prince. Jogeshwar did
exactly as he was told and was thought a very grand personage.
The next evening Jogeshwar set off homewards with his bride, the
bride's brothers and attendants accompanying them. They travelled on
and on till the bride's party began to grow tired and kept asking the
jackal how much further they had to go. The jackal kept on putting them
off, till at last they came in sight of a grove of palm trees, and he
told them that Raja Jogeshwar's palace stood among the palm trees but
was so old and weather worn that it could not be seen from a distance.
When they reached the palm grove and found nothing but Jogeshwar's
humble hut, the bride's brothers turned on the jackal and asked what
he meant by deceiving them. The jackal protested that he had told no
lies: the weaver ate every day off plates made of dry leaves and threw
them away when done with and that was all he meant when he talked of
golden plates. At this excuse they turned on him and wanted to beat
him, but he ran away and escaped.
The bride's friends went back and told the Raja how things had turned
out and as divorce was not lawful for them, the Raja could only send
for his daughter and her husband and give them an estate to live on.
LVI. The Strong Man.
There was once a Strong man but no one knew of his strength. He was in
the service of a farmer who made him headman over all his labourers. In
those days much of the country was still covered with jungle. One
day the farmer chose a piece of forest land which he thought suitable
for cultivation and told his labourers to set to work and clear it,
and as usual after giving his orders he troubled himself no more
about the matter, as he could fully rely on the Strong man.
The next morning, the Strong man set the other labourers to work
ploughing a field and then said that he would go and have a look
at the jungle which his master wanted cleared. So he went off alone
with only a stick in his hand. When he reached the place, he walked
all round it, and saw how much could be made into good arable land,
and then he began to clear it. He pulled up the trees by the roots and
piled them into a heap and he took the rocks and threw them to one side
and made the ground quite clear and smooth, and then went back to the
house. On being asked why he had been so long away, he answered that he
had been pulling up a few bushes at the place which was to be cleared.
The following morning the Strong man told the farm labourers to take
their ploughs to the clearing and begin to plough it. When the farmer
heard this, he was puzzled to think how the land could be ready for
ploughing so soon, and went to see it and to his amazement found the
whole land cleared, every tree pulled up by the roots and all the
Then he asked the Strong man whether he had done the work by
himself. The Strong man answered "no," a number of people had
volunteered to help him and so the work had been finished in a day.
The farmer said nothing but he did not believe the story and saw that
his servant must really be a man of marvellous strength. Neither
he nor the farm labourers let any one else know what had happened,
they kept it to themselves.
Now the Strong man's wages were twelve measures of rice a year. After
working for four years he made up his mind to leave his master and
start farming on his own account. So he told the farmer that he wished
to leave but offered to finish any work there was to do before he went,
that no one might be able to say that he had gone away, leaving his
work half done. The farmer assured him that there was nothing for
him to do and gave him rice equal to his four years' wages. The rice
made two big _bandis_, each more than an ordinary man could lift,
but the Strong man slung them on to a bamboo and carried them off
over his shoulder.
After he had gone a little way, it struck the farmer that it would
not do to let him display his strength in this way and that it would
be better if he took the rice away at night. So he had the Strong man
called back and told him that there was one job which he had forgotten
to finish; he had put two bundles of sahai grass into the trough to
steep and had forgotten to twist it into string. Without a word the
Strong man wait and picked the _sabai_ out of the water and began
to twist it, but he could tell at once by the feel that the _sabai_
had only just been placed in the water and he charged the farmer with
playing a trick on him. The farmer swore that there was no trick and,
rather than quarrel, the Strong man went on with the work.
While he was so engaged the farmer offered him some tobacco, and the
Strong man took it without washing and wiping his hands. Now no one
should prepare or chew tobacco while twisting sabai; if one does not
first wash and dry one's hands one's strength will go. The Strong
man knew this, but he was so angry at being called back on false
pretences that he forgot all about it.
But when he had finished the string and the farmer said that he might
go, he essayed to take up the two _bandis_ of rice as before. To his
sorrow he found that he could not lift them. Then he saw the mistake
that he had made. He had to leave one _bandi_ behind and divide the
other into two halves and sling them on the bamboo and carry them
off with him.
The Strong man's cultivation did not prosper, and after three or four
years he found himself at the end of his means and had again to take
service with a farmer.
One day when field work was in full swing the Strong man had a quarrel
with his new master. So when he had finished the morning's ploughing
he pulled the iron point of the ploughshare out of its socket and
snapped it in two. Then he took the pieces to his master and explained
that it had caught on the stump of a tree and got broken. The master
took the broken share to the blacksmith and had it mended. The next
day the Strong man went through the same performance and his master
had again to go the blacksmith. The same thing happened several days
running, till at last the farmer decided to keep watch and see what
really happened. So he hid himself and saw the Strong man snap the
ploughshare in two; but in view of such a display of strength he was
much too frightened to let his servant know that he had found out
the trick that was being played on him. He took the pieces to the
blacksmith as usual and at the smithy he found some of his friends
and told them what had happened. They advised him to set the Strong
man to twisting sabai string and then by some pretext induce him to
take tobacco. The farmer did as they advised and in about a fortnight
the Strong man lost all his strength and became as other men. Then
his master dismissed him and he had to go back to his house and his
strength never returned to him.
LVII. The Raja's Advice.
Once upon a time an aged Raja lay dying. Before he breathed his
last he sent for his only son and gave him the following advice. "My
son," he said, "never go on a journey alone; do not associate with
low people, for if you do no one will respect you; never confide a
secret to your wife; do not tell outsiders the affairs of your house;
do not let village affairs go beyond the village street, and never
get into a rage."
The son succeeded to the Raja and shortly afterwards set out to pay
a visit to his wife's relations. He started alone and after going
some distance he remembered his father's injunctions never to go on
a journey alone. He had gone too far to go back and he saw no one
within call, so he looked about and presently found a crab hole. He
set to work and dug out the crab and fixing it in his _pagri_ continued
By-and-bye he came to a river. Now in this river lived a crocodile,
which had leagued with a crow to destroy travellers crossing the
river. Whenever the crow saw anyone coming, it gave warning to the
crocodile, and the crocodile then seized the traveller as he entered
the river, while the crow pecked out his eyes. In this way they had
been the death of many travellers. So when the crow saw the young
Raja coming, it cawed to the crocodile, which hastened to the ford
and seized the Raja as he stepped into the water, while the crow flew
at his head. But the crab caught the crow by the leg and nipped it so
hard that the crow, in agony, called out to the crocodile to let the
man go, as it was being killed. So the crocodile released its hold
and the Raja struggled to the bank, and then caught the crow which
was held fast by the crab and wrung its neck. Then he went back home
with the crab, reflecting on the wisdom of his father's advice.
Later on, the Raja thought that he would put another of his father's
maxims to the proof and see what would happen if he told his wife
a secret. So he took a spade and buried an old earthen pot in the
corner of his garden. He let his wife see him and she promptly asked
what he was burying; he put her off, but that night she insisted so
much on knowing, that, after swearing her to secrecy, he told her
that a child had come straying to his house and he had killed it to
obtain good luck and had buried the body.
Time passed, and one day the Raja had a quarrel with his wife, he began
to beat her and she in return abused him and kept on calling out that
he was a murderer, who had buried a child in his garden. Their next
door neighbour heard all this and, directly she found the Raja's
wife alone, asked whether what she said was true. The Raja's wife,
being still in a passion, asserted that it was quite true. The story
was soon all over the town, and the townspeople rose and seized the
Raja and charged him with the murder. Then he took them to the garden
and made them dig up what he had buried and they found only an old pot.
So they had to pay him compensation for making a false charge, and
the Raja valued more than ever the advice given him by his father.
LVIII. The Four Jogis.
Once four Jogis were out on a begging expedition and came to a city
were a Raja lived. As they went along they discussed how they should
beg of the Raja; and while they were discussing the point, they saw a
field rat and one of them exclaimed "I know how I shall beg of him! I
shall say 'See, he throws up the earth, scrapety scrape!'" This did not
help the other three, but, further on, some frogs jumped into a pond as
they passed by, and one of the others at once said "I know what I shall
say! I shall say 'plumpety plump! down he has sat.'" A little later,
they saw a pig wallowing in the mud, and the third Jogi called out
"I have it! I shall say 'Rub away, rub away! Now some more water! Rub
away, rub away! I know, my boys, what you are going to do.'" The
fourth Jogi was still in perplexity but, when they came in sight of
the Raja's city, he exclaimed "I know what I shall say 'Highways and
byeways, what a big city! The kotwal is going his rounds, his rounds.'"
Then they got a man to write down these four forms of address on a
sheet of paper and presented it to the Raja. The Raja took it, and
read it, and could not make head or tail of it. And when the four
Jogis saw him looking so puzzled, they got frightened and took to
their heels, for they could not read themselves and were not sure of
what the paper really contained.
Now the Raja's chief officer was a Tehsildar, and he had also a Barber,
who shaved him every day, And that evening after the Jogis had run
away, the Tehsildar proposed to the Barber that, when shaving the
Raja the next morning, he should cut the Raja's throat and they could
then divide the kingdom between them, and the Barber consented. Not
content with this, the Tehsildar and the palace chowkidar that same
night tried to break into the Raja's palace and steal his money and
jewelry. They began to cut a hole through the mud wall of the Raja's
room, but it chanced that the Raja was so puzzled by the paper which
the Jogis had put into his hand, that he kept on reading it over and
over again, and just as the Tehsildar and chowkidar had half cut their
way through the wall, they heard the Raja saying "See, he throws
up the earth, scrapety, scrape!" At once they concluded that they
had been heard and they crouched down; the Raja went on "Plumpety,
plump! down he has sat." This made them think that they had been seen
and the chowkidar crept to the door to listen: he heard the Raja saying
"Highways and byeways, what a big city! The kotwal is going his rounds,
his rounds!" Then the chowkidar felt sure that he was discovered and
he ran off with the Tehsildar, without completing their burglary.
The next morning the Barber went to shave the Raja, and, while he was
sharpening the razor, the Raja again began to study the mysterious
paper, murmuring "Rub away, rub away, now some more water: Rub away,
rub away! I know my boy what you are going to do." The Barber thought
that the Raja referred to his rubbing water over his face for shaving,
and concluded that the Tehsildar had revealed the plot; so he threw
himself at the Raja's feet and confessed everything, swearing that
the Tehsildar and not he was to blame. The Raja at once sent for
the chowkidar to take the Tehsildar and Barber to prison. When the
chowkidar came in he found the Raja repeating "See he throws up the
earth, scrapety, scrape!" He at once concluded that the Raja was
referring to the burglary and he fell on his knees and confessed all
that had happened. This was news to the Raja, but he went and saw the
place where the wall had been partly cut through, and then he sent
all the guilty men to prison and despatched messengers to look for
the Jogis who had been the means of saving his life and property;
but the Jogis had been so frightened and had run away so far, that
they were never found.
LIX. The Charitable Raja.
There was once a Raja who was very charitable; he used to give a new
cloth and a good meal to every one who came and begged of him. But
one day a Jogi came and refused to take what was offered to him: he
demanded that the Raja should give him his kingdom and everything
that he had. The Raja thought it wrong to refuse the request, and
went out into the world with his wife and his two young children,
a beggar. For a long time they wandered about living on charity,
till their clothes were worn to rags, and then they chanced to hear
of a rich merchant who gave a cloth to any beggar who asked it of him;
so they resolved to go to him for help. When they reached the village
where the merchant lived, the Rani left the Raja with the two children
to cook some dinner and went to the merchant's house to beg for some
clothes; but when the merchant saw her he fell in love with her and
shut her up and would not let her go. To be saved from the merchant's
designs the Rani prayed that she might be smitten with disease and
at once she became very ill.
After waiting in vain for her return the Raja set off with his two sons
to look for her and presently came to a flooded river. He carried one
child across first but, as he was returning for the other, he was swept
away by the current and the children were left alone. A Goala woman,
going to the river for water, found them, and as she was childless
took them home with her and brought them up.
Meanwhile the Raja was carried down stream by the flood and was washed
ashore, bruised and wounded, a long way down. At the place where he
landed a large crowd was collected; for the Raja of the country had
lately died leaving no heir, and the widow had ordered all the people
to assemble in order that two elephants, belonging to the late Raja,
might choose his successor. The half-drowned Raja joined the crowd and
as he sat looking on, one elephant, passing by all its own people,
came to him and put the golden necklace on his neck and the other
elephant lifted him on to its back and carried him off and seated him
on the Raja's throne; and as he sat on the throne all his wounds and
bruises were healed. Years passed and the Raja's two sons grew up,
and as the Goala woman who had adopted them was very poor, they went
out into the world to earn their living. As it chanced, they took
service as sipahis with the Raja their father, whom of course they
did not recognise. Just after their arrival the Raja arranged a great
festival at which people from all parts assembled; and among others
the merchant went there with the Raja's wife, in hopes that among
the crowd he might find some physician able to cure the woman. When
he arrived, he went to the Raja and asked that two sipahis might be
deputed to keep watch over the woman he had brought. The Raja sent
his two newly enlisted sipahis, and thus the sons were set to guard
their own mother, and it was not long before they found out their
relationship. The Rani was delighted to recover her long lost children,
but when she heard that her husband had been washed away by the river
and drowned, she began to weep and wail. The merchant went to the Raja
and complained that the sipahis who had been sent, had thrown the woman
into great distress and the Raja thereupon sent for all the parties
in order that he might enquire into the matter. When he heard their
story, he at once recognised that it was his own wife and sons who
stood before him and thus the whole family was happily united. Then
his wife prayed to Thakur that if she were really the wife he had
lost and had been faithful to him, she might be restored to health;
water was poured over her and she was at once cured of her disease,
and they all lived happily ever afterwards.
LX. A Variant.--The Wandering Raja.
Once there was a Raja who was very prosperous; but his wife found
their life of wealth and ease monotonous, and she continually urged
him to travel into other countries and to see whether other modes
of life were pleasant or distressful; she pestered her husband so
much that at last he gave way. He put his kingdom in charge of his
father's sister and her husband and set off with his wife and his
two sons as an ordinary traveller.
After travelling some days they got tired of eating the parched rice
which they had brought with them and thought they would boil some rice
for their dinner. So the Rani went into a bazar to get cooking pots,
and a light for the fire. She went to the house of a rich merchant for
these, but he was attracted by her beauty and seized her and shut her
up and would not let her go back, but kept her as his wife. The Raja
and his sons soon got tired of waiting for her; he concluded that
the journey was merely a pretext of his wife's to escape from him,
as she had disappeared the first time that he let her out of his sight.
So he turned to go home and soon came to a river which had to be
crossed, he left his sons on the bank and went into the water to
see how deep it was and as he was wading in, a large fish came and
swallowed him. The fish swam away down stream and was caught in the
net of some fishermen. When they saw how big a fish they had caught,
they decided to take it to the Raja of that country. The Raja bought
it at a high price, but when it was cut open at the palace the man
it had swallowed was found alive inside; so the Raja of the country
appointed him one of his retainers.
Meanwhile the two boys had been found abandoned on the bank of the
river by a cowherd, who was too poor to bring them up, so he took
them also to the Raja; and they rejoiced to meet their father and
when they grew up, were also appointed retainers.
They had to travel all over the country on the Raja's business and it
happened that they one day came to the village where their mother was
and they met and recognised her; she told them how she had been seized
and confined and begged them to bring her husband to her. So the sons
fetched their father and the Rani told her husband how unhappy she was
and begged him to get her released, and he promised to ask the help
of his master. When the Raja of the country heard the story he took
pity on them and went with a body of soldiers and seized the wicked
merchant and ordered him to give up all his wealth and as the merchant
tried to conceal where some of his money was buried, the Raja cut
him down with his sword. He also laid a heavy fine on the villagers,
because they had not sent word to him of the capture of the Rani.
Then he took home the Raja who had been swallowed by the fish and his
wife and sons, and entertained them for some days, and then gave them
elephants and horses and men and all the merchant's property and sent
them to their own country. The uncle and aunt who had been appointed
Regents came out to meet them and escorted them home.
Two or three days after the aunt asked the Raja how he had got his
elephants and horses and money, and he said "They are the profits
of my wife's sin; I will not tell you the whole story for if you
heard it you also might be led astray; my wife induced me to travel
by false pretences. It is not good to follow the advice of a woman;
it is by mere chance that you see me alive to-day." His wife heard
what he said, and she went out and cut her throat from remorse;
and they went and burned her body.
LXI. The Two Wives.
There were once a Raja and his Dewan who had each one son, and the
two boys were great friends. Both had been married in their infancy
and when they grew up and heard that they had wives, they agreed to
go together and visit them. So they set out, and they arranged that
on account of the superior rank of the Raja's son they would go first
and visit his wife; and they also agreed that, as they were going to
a strange place, they would keep together day and night.
When they reached the house of the Prince's father-in-law they were
received with great honour and when night came they lay down with
their beds side by side. Presently the Prince's wife came to him
and began to rub his arms and legs, until she had soothed him off to
sleep. The Dewan's son pretended also to go fast asleep, but really
he was careful to keep awake, for he thought it safer to be on the
watch in a strange place.
His prudence was rewarded, for after a time he saw the Prince's wife
leave her sleeping husband and go out of the house.
The Dewan's son followed her and saw her enter the house of a Gosain
who lived on the outskirts of the village. He went near and listened at
the door. He heard the Gosain ask the young woman why she was so late
in coming, and her answer that she had been detained by the visit of
her husband. The Gosain reproached her for not having told him that
she was married, and she protested that she had known nothing about
it until her husband appeared. The Gosain said that she must choose
between him and her husband, and she answered that she would never
give him up. "Then" said the Gosain "if you really mean it, go and
bring me your husband's head." At this the Dewan's son hurried back
and lay down on his bed. Presently he saw the woman come with a sword
and cut off her husband's head. But when she took it to the Gosain,
he rose and beat her with his iron pincers and drove her out, swearing
that he would have nothing more to do with a woman who was so heartless
as to kill her own husband. Then the woman returned and placed the
severed head by her husband's body and raised a great outcry, that
her husband had been murdered. The people of the house came and at
first they charged the Dewan's son with the crime and were about to
put him to death; but he called the Gosain as a witness and the real
facts were proved by his evidence, and the murderess was hanged.
The Dewan's son would not allow the Prince's body to be burnt but
insisted on taking it with him, that it might be cremated at his own
home. So he took it on his back and carried it off.
He thought that, as he had come so far, it would be better to visit
his own wife before going home. So, when he reached the village where
his wife lived, he hid the Prince's body in a hollow tree and went
to his father-in-law's house.
That night when they had gone to bed, the Dewan's son saw that his
wife had something on her mind, so he resolved to watch her.
When she thought that he was asleep, he saw her rise and go out of the
house. He followed her to a shrine of Mahadeb; there she smeared the
ground with cowdung and worshipped the god and said "O Siva! I have
worshipped you for many days; now my husband has come to take me to
his house, and you must find another worshipper." The Mahadeb answered
"You have served me for many days; call hither your husband; as you
have worshipped me for so long, I will confer a boon on you." So she
went and called her husband and as he knew what had happened, he had
no hesitation in going with her to the shrine. There the Siv bade him
ask a boon, and he prayed that the Raja's son might be restored to
life, The Siv bade them bring the body and cover it with a wet cloth;
and when they had done so, the body began to breathe and presently
the Prince rose up alive and well. The Dewan's son told him all that
had happened and the next day they went home, taking with them the
wife of the Dewan's son, through whose virtue and piety the Prince
had been restored to life.
LXII. Spanling and His Uncles.
There was once a little man named Spanling (Bita) because he was
only a span (_Bita_) high; and he had a beard one span and four
finger-breadths long. His father was dead, and he lived alone with
his mother and he was as cunning as anyone in the world. He had one
cow-buffalo and this he always grazed at night, for fear that the sun
might melt it. Once it happened that as he was following his buffalo,
he got buried in its droppings and he was so small that he could not
However, next morning, some girls, who were gathering cowdung for fuel,
found him and set him free. Spanling decided to get rid of the buffalo
after this; so he killed it and flayed it and when the skin was dry,
took it away to sell. Before he found a purchaser night came on,
so he climbed a tree with his hide to be out of danger. During the
night a gang of thieves came to the tree, and began to divide their
booty. While there were busy over this, Spanling let the hide fall
with a clatter into their midst, and they all ran away in a fright,
leaving all their stolen goods behind.
When day dawned, Spanling climbed down and found piles of gold waiting
for him. He took it home and sent his mother to borrow a wooden measure
from his uncles to measure it with. When he returned the measure,
one of the gold pieces was left sticking in a crack. His uncles at
once hastened to enquire how he came to be measuring gold. Spanling
told them that he had sold his buffalo skin at a town which he named,
for an enormous price and no doubt they could find the same market, if
they chose to kill their buffaloes. The uncles hurried home and killed
all their buffaloes and took the hides to the city, which Spanling
had named, but they were only laughed at when they asked more than
the price which was paid every day for hides. The uncles came home
very angry at the way in which they had been tricked by Spanling,
and in revenge they burnt his house down. Finding himself homeless,
Spanling gathered the ashes of his house into sacks, loaded them on
a cart and drove away. When evening came he camped by the roadside
in company with some other carters and, in the middle of the night,
he quietly changed his sacks of ashes for some of the sacks in the
other carts. When he got home he found that the sacks which he had
stolen were full of gold coins. He again sent to his uncles for a
measure and when the measure was returned a gold coin was again left
sticking in a crack. The uncles at once came to enquire how Spanling
had got the money. He told them that he had sold the ashes of his
house for gold and, as their houses were bigger than his, they would
doubtless make their fortunes if they burnt them down and sold the
ashes. The uncles took his advice but when they tried to sell the
ashes they were only laughed at for their pains.
LXIII. The Silent Wife.
There was once a madcap of a fellow, whose wife got on very well with
him and did all the house work very nicely, but she would never speak
a single word to him. As nothing he tried would make her speak, the
madcap at last hit on a plan of taking her on a long journey. But even
when he told his wife that she must come with him to a far country,
she did not utter a word. When all was ready for a start the madcap
bathed his feet and took a _lota_ of water into the house and pouring
it out, prayed to the spirit of his grandfather thus "Grandfather,
grant that my wife may speak; if you do not fail me in this, I will
make offerings to you on my return; grant that we may come back
together happily; teach her to speak to me soon."
Then he set out with his wife and they travelled on until they entered
a dense forest, where there was no sign of human habitation. As they
went on, the tailor birds and babblers began to chatter and scream
at them. The madcap got angry at this and called out to the birds
that if they did not stop, he would chase them and go on chasing
them for a day and a night. Then he sat down and watched them. His
wife stood waiting by his side, and soon she began to wonder what she
would do and where she would go, if her husband really went in chase
of the birds. So at last she spoke to him and said "Come, get up;
we must make haste out of this jungle." Directly the words were out
of her mouth, the madcap knelt down and bowing to the ground said
"I thank you, Grandfather". Then he rose and went on with his wife.
Presently they met a bear; the madcap called out "You brute of a bear,
what do you mean by coming to meet us like this? I will chase you and
go on chasing you till to-morrow morning." But his wife besought him
to come along and not leave her. Directly she spoke, the madcap cried
"Bravo" and kneeling down thanked his grandfather. They went on and
presently a jackal crossed their path; the madcap cursed it and vowed
that he would chase it all the night. Again his wife urged him to
come on and again the madcap knelt down and thanked his grandfather;
but his wife did not know why he did so, nor did she trouble to ask.