Part 4 out of 8
Just as they reached the edge of the forest they saw a leopard and this
also the madcap threatened to chase. "Then go and chase it," said his
wife, who now felt safe. So he went in pursuit of the leopard, but
after going a little way he lost sight of it and went back to where
his wife was. "What has become of all your boasting?" said she. "You
have not chased it till to-morrow morning." "No," said the madcap
"I have killed it; if you don't believe me, come and see." But she
did not want to go back into the jungle and said no more about it. As
his wife had broken her silence the madcap saw no use in going further
and they turned homewards; all the way his wife went on chatting and
singing along with him. When he reached home he sacrificed a number of
goats to his grandfather, and lived happily with his wife ever after.
LXIV. The Dumb Shepherd.
There was once a very rich and powerful Raja and in his heart he
thought that there was no one so powerful in the world as himself;
thus he thought but he told no one of his thought. One day he made
up his mind to see whether others could guess what he was thinking,
so he called together his officers and servants and dependants and
bade them tell him what thought was in his heart. Many of them made
guesses, but not one gave an answer which satisfied the Raja.
Then the Raja told his dewan that he must without fail find some
one who would, guess his thought, and he gave the dewan exactly one
month's time in which to search. The dewan searched high and low but
all in vain, and as the time drew near he grew more and more anxious,
for he feared that he would fall into disgrace. But he had a daughter
and she consoled him and told him to cheer up, as she would find a
man on the day fixed to read the Raja's thoughts. The dewan had to
take what comfort he could from this promise, and when the appointed
day arrived, his daughter brought a dumb shepherd whom they employed
and bade her father take him to the Raja. The dewan thought it very
unlikely that the dumb shepherd would succeed where others had failed,
but he saw no alternative to following his daughter's advice.
So the dewan presented himself before the Raja with the dumb shepherd
and found a large company assembled to see what happened. The two
stood before the Raja and the dumb man looked at the Raja. Then
the Raja held up one finger, at this the dumb shepherd held up two
fingers. Then the Raja held up three fingers, but at this the dumb
man made signs of dissent and ran away as fast as he could. Then the
Raja laughed and seemed very pleased and praised the dewan for having
brought him such a clever man, and gave the dewan a rich reward.
The dewan was still at a loss to know what had happened, and begged the
Raja to explain what had passed between him and the shepherd. "When
I held up one finger," said the Raja "I asked him whether I alone
was Raja, and he by holding up two reminded me that there was God,
who was as powerful as I am. Then I asked him whether there was any
third, and he vehemently denied that there was. Thus he has read my
thoughts, for I have always been thinking that I alone am powerful,
but he has reminded me that there is God as well, but no third."
Then they all went their ways, and that night the dewan questioned
the dumb shepherd as to how he had been able to understand the Raja:
and the dumb man explained "I have only three sheep of my own, and
when I appeared before the Raja he held up one finger, meaning that
he wanted me to give him one of my sheep, and as he is a great Raja
I offered to give him two; but when he held up three ringers to show
that he wanted to take all three from me, I thought that he was going
too far and so I ran away."
By this lucky chance the dewan earned his reward from the Raja.
LXV. The Good Daughter-in-Law.
There was once a very rich man who had seven sons and the sons were
all married and lived with their father. The father was a miser: he
lived in the poorest manner in spite of all his wealth and hoarded
all his money. His eldest daughter-in-law managed the household and
she alone of the family did not approve of the miserly way in which
the family affairs were conducted.
One day a Jugi came to the house and asked for alms. The eldest
daughter-in-law happened to be away at the time, fetching water from
the stream. Those of the family who were at home flatly declined to
give the poor beggar anything and turned him away from the house. So
the Jugi went away, cursing them for their miserliness. On his way
he met the eldest daughter-in-law coming back with her jar of water
and she asked the Jugi why he seemed so angry. When she heard how he
had been treated, she at once besought him to return to the house and
explained that she was the housekeeper and that that was the reason
why none of the others had ventured to give him alms.
The Jugi returned with her and she gave him a _seer_ of rice to put
in his bag. At first the Jugi refused to take it, on the ground that
she was only giving it for fear of his curses but she assured him
that she never refused alms to anyone who begged. So the Jugi took
the rice and then asked what boon she would accept in return. The
woman at first said that she was in want of nothing, but, on the Jugi
pressing her, she said that she would like to be able to understand
the language of birds and beasts and to see the disembodied souls of
men. Then the Jugi took a feather from his bag and drew it across her
eyes and blew into her eyes and ears and she found herself possessed
of the powers for which she had asked. But before he left, the Jugi
told her that she must never reveal to any human being the boon he
had conferred on her, for if she did she would die.
Years passed and nothing happened but then it chanced that a Chamar
who lived at the end of the village died, and as he had been a good
and kind man his family wept bitterly at their loss. The woman saw the
spirit of the Chamar being taken away in a grand chariot and she also
wept for the death of so good a man. Her family became very suspicious
at her showing sorrow for the death of a stranger of another caste.
A few days later the miserly father-in-law died and the woman saw
three beings dragging him out of the house by his heels, and she
laughed to see him treated so for his sins. But the family were
shocked by her laughter and concluded that she was a witch and had
killed her father-in-law by her witchcraft; so after the funeral
they held a family council and called on the woman to explain why
she had laughed. She assured them that if she told she would die,
but they insisted and at last she told them of the boon conferred on
her by the Jugi, and what she had seen, and then she lay down upon
her bed and died.
LXVI. The Raja's Dream.
Once upon a time there was a Raja who had no children. So he and his
wife agreed that he should marry again. His second wife bore him two
sons, and they were very pleased that the Raja should have heirs and
all lived happily together. But after the two sons had been born,
the elder Rani also gave birth to a son. This caused discord in the
family, for the younger Rani had counted on her sons succeeding to
the Raja, but now she feared that the son of the elder Rani would be
preferred. So she went to the Raja and besought him to send away the
elder Rani and her son. The Raja listened to her and gave the first
wife a separate estate and a separate house and sent them away.
Time passed and one night the Raja had a dream, the meaning of which
he could not understand; he dreamt that he saw a golden leopard
and a golden snake and a golden monkey dancing together. The Raja
could not rest until he had found out the meaning of the dream,
so he sent for his younger wife and her two sons and consulted
them. They could give no explanation, but the younger son said that
he had a presentiment that his brother, the son of the elder Rani,
could interpret the dream. So that son was sent for, and when he
appeared before his father and heard the story of the dream, he said
"This is the interpretation: the three golden animals represent us
three brothers, for we are like gold to you. Thakur has sent this
dream in order that we may not fight hereafter; we cannot all three
succeed to the Raj and we shall assuredly fight if one is not chosen
as the heir. It is intended that whichever of us can find a golden
leopard, and a golden snake and a golden monkey and make them dance
before the people, he is your principal son and shall be your heir,"
The Raja was pleased with this interpretation and told his three sons
that he would give the Raj to whichever of them could find the three
animals by that day year.
The sons of the younger Rani went away, feeling that it was useless
for them to make any attempt to fulfil the conditions; even if they
got a goldsmith to make the animals, they would never be able to make
But the other brother went to his mother and told her all that had
happened, and she bade him be of good courage and he would find the
animals; if he went to a Gosain who lived in the jungle, he would be
told what to do.
So the Raja's son set out, and after travelling for some days he found
himself benighted in a dense jungle. Wandering about, he at last saw
a fire burning in the distance, so he went to it and sat down by it
and began to smoke. Now the Gosain was sleeping near by and the smell
of the smoke awoke him, and he rose and asked who was there.
"O uncle, it is I."
"Really, is it you my nephew? Where have you come from so late
"From home, uncle."
"What has brought me to your memory now? You have never paid me a
visit before. I am afraid that something has happened."
"You need not fear that, I have come to you because my mother tells
me that you can help me to find the golden leopard and the golden
snake and the golden monkey."
At this the Gosain promised to help the Raja's son to find the animals
and then put the cooking-pot on the fire to boil; and in it he put
only three grains of rice, but when it was cooked, they found that
there was enough to make a meal of. When they had eaten, the Gosain
said "Nephew, I cannot tell you what you have to do; but further in
the jungle lives my younger brother: go to him and he will tell you."
So when it was morning the Raja's son set out, and in two days he
reached the second Gosain and told him of his quest. The Gosain
listened to his story and put the cooking-pot on to boil and in it
threw two grains of rice, and this, when cooked, was sufficient for
a good meal. After they had eaten, the Gosain said that he could
not tell how the animals were to be found, but that he had a still
younger brother who could tell. So the next morning the Raja's son
continued his journey, and in two or three days he came to the third
Gosain and there he learnt what was to be done. This Gosain also put
the pot on to boil but in the pot he only put one grain of rice and
a bit of a grain, yet when cooked it was enough for a meal.
In the morning the Gosain told the Raja's son to go to a blacksmith
and have a shield made of twelve maunds of iron and with its edge so
sharp that a leaf falling on it would be cut in two. So he went to
the blacksmith and had a shield made, and took it to the Gosain. The
Gosain said that they must test it, and he set it edgewise in the
ground under a tree and told the Raja's son to climb the tree and
shake some leaves down. The Raja's son climbed the tree and shook
the branches, but not a leaf fell. Then the Gosain climbed up and
gave the tree a shake and the leaves fell in showers and every leaf
that touched the edge of the shield was cut in two. Then the Gosain
was satisfied that the shield was rightly made.
Then the Gosain told the Raja's son, that further on in the jungle
he would find a pair of snakes living in a bamboo house; and they
had a daughter whom they never allowed to come out of the house; he
must fix the sharp shield in the door of the house and hide himself
in a tree, and when the snakes came out they would be cut to pieces;
then, when the snakes were dead, he was to go to their daughter and
she would show him where to find the golden animals. So the Raja's
son set out and about noon he came to the home of the snakes, and he
set the shield in the doorway as the Gosain had said, and at evening,
when the snakes tried to come out of the house, they were cut to
pieces. When her father and mother were dead, the daughter came out
to see what had happened, and the Raja's son saw that she was very
beautiful. He went to her and began to talk and it did not take them
long to fall in love with each other. The snake maiden soon forgot
her father and mother, and she and the Raja's son lived together in
the bamboo house many days.
The snake maiden strictly forebade him to go anywhere to the west or
south of the house, but one day he disobeyed her and wandered away
to the west. After going a short distance he saw golden leopards
dancing, and directly he set eyes on them, he himself was changed
into a golden leopard and began to dance with the others. The snake
maiden soon knew what had happened, and she followed him and led him
back and restored him to his own shape.
A few days later, the Raja's son went away to the south and there he
found golden snakes dancing on the bank of a tank and directly he saw
them, he too became a golden snake and joined the dance. Again the
snake maiden fetched him back and restored him to his own form. But
again the Raja's son went out to the south-west and there he saw
golden monkeys dancing under a banyan tree, and when he saw them he
became a golden monkey; again the snake maiden brought him back and
restored him to human shape.
After this the Raja's son said that it was time for him to go back
home. The snake maiden asked why he had come there at all, and then
he told her all about the Raja's dream and said that as he had found
the animals he would now go home.
"Kill me first" said the snake maiden; "you have killed my parents
and I cannot live alone here." "No, I will not kill you, I will take
you with me" answered the Raja's son, and the snake maiden gladly
agreed. Then the Raja's son asked how he was to take the golden animals
with him, for so far he had only seen where they were. The snake
maiden said that if he faithfully promised never to desert her, nor
take another wife, she would produce the animals for him when the time
came. So he swore never to leave her and they set out for his home.
When they reached the place where the third Gosain lived, the Raja's
son said that he had promised to visit the Gosain on his homeward
journey and show him the golden animals; but he did not know what
to do, as he had not got the animals with him. Then the snake maiden
tied three knots in his cloth and bade him untie them when the Gosain
asked to see the animals. So the Raja's son went to see the Gosain,
and the Gosain asked whether he had brought the golden leopard and
snake and monkey.
"I am not sure" answered the other, "but I have something tied up in
my cloth," and he untied the three knots and found in them a clod of
earth, a potsherd and a piece of charcoal. He threw them away and went
back to the snake maiden, and asked why she had put worthless rubbish
in his cloth. "You had no faith" said she "if you had believed, the
animals would not have turned into the clod and the potsherd and the
charcoal." So they journeyed on, till they came to the second Gosain,
and he also asked to see the golden animals and this time the Raja's
son set his mind hard to believe and, when he untied the knots, there
were a golden leopard and a golden snake and a golden monkey. Then
they went on and showed the animals to the first Gosain, and then
went to the house where his mother lived.
When the appointed day came, the Raja's son sent word to his father
to have a number of booths and shelters erected in a spacious plain,
and to have a covered way made from his mother's house to the plain,
and then he would show the dancing animals. So the Raja gave the
necessary orders, and on the day fixed all the people assembled
to see the fun. Then the Raja's son set the three animals on the
ground and his wife remained hidden in the covered way and caused
the animals to dance. The people stayed watching all day till evening
and then dispersed, That night all the booths and shelters which had
been erected were changed into houses of gold; and when he saw this,
the Raja left his younger wife and her children and went and lived
with his first wife.
LXVII. The Mongoose Boy.
Once upon a time there was a Raja who had two wives. By his first
wife he had six sons, but the second wife bore only one son and he
was born as a mongoose. When the six sons of the elder wife grew up,
they used to jeer at their mongoose brother and his mother, so the
Raja sent his second wife to live in a separate house. The Mongoose
boy could talk like any man but he never grew bigger than an ordinary
mongoose and his name was Lelsing.
One day the Raja called all his sons to him and said that he wished,
before he died, to divide his property among them. But the sons said
that they had rather he did not do so then; they wished to go abroad
and see the world, and if he would give each of them some capital to
start, with, they would go abroad and trade and even if they did not
make much profit they would have the advantage of seeing the world.
So the Raja gave his six sons twenty rupees each to start business
with; but when Lelsing also asked for some money, his brothers jeered
at him and declared that he certainly could not go with them, for
he would only get eaten up by some dog. Lelsing made no answer at
the time but afterwards he went to his father alone and begged again
for some money. At last the Raja, though he scarcely believed that
Lelsing would really go out trading, gave him ten rupees.
The six brothers made everything ready and one morning set out on
their travels, without saying anything to Lelsing. But Lelsing saw them
start and followed after them, and as the brothers were resting in the
middle of the day they looked back and saw Lelsing galloping along to
overtake them. So they all travelled together for three or four days,
till they came to a great jungle and camped on its outskirts. There
they debated how long they should stay away from home and they decided
that they would trade for six months and then go back.
The next morning they entered the jungle, and as they travelled through
it, the six brothers managed to give Lelsing the slip, so that when
they came out of the forest they found themselves at Nilam bazar, but
Lelsing after wandering about for some time came out at Sujan bazar.
The six brothers bought sun-horses at Nilam bazar, and began to
trade. But Lelsing at Sujan bazar looked about for someone who would
engage him as a servant. No one would employ a mongoose, and Lelsing
was in despair, for he had very little money. At last he began to
enquire whether anyone would sell him a cheap horse, and learnt that
the horse market was at Nilam bazar; so he went to Nilam bazar and
there found his brothers trading, but he did not make himself known
to them. He tried to buy a horse but they were all too highly priced
for him, so at last he had to be content with buying a donkey for
three rupees and some articles to trade with.
When the six months expired, the brothers went home; and a little after
them came Lelsing, leading his donkey, his brothers laughed at him
but the Raja did not laugh; and Lelsing showed his father and mother
what profits he had made by his trading, which his brothers declined
to do. The Raja was pleased with Lelsing for this and declared that,
in spite of his shape, he was a man and a Raja. It only made his
brothers more angry with him to hear Lelsing praised.
Two or three years later there was a famine in the land. Lelsing
foresaw it and he dug a large hole in the floor of his house and buried
in it all the grain on which he could lay his hand. The famine grew
severe, but Lelsing and his mother always had enough to eat from their
private store. But his brothers were starving and their children cried
from want of food. Lelsing had pity on them and sent his mother with
some rice for them to eat. The Raja and his sons were amazed that
Lelsing should have rice to give away, and they went to his house
to see how much he had; but they found the house apparently empty,
for they did not know of the store buried in the ground. Puzzled
and jealous the brothers made up their minds to burn down Lelsing's
house. So one night they set fire to it, and it was burnt to ashes:
the store buried in the ground was however uninjured.
Lelsing put the ashes of his house into sacks and, loading them on
his donkey, set out to sell them. As he found no buyers, he rested for
the night under a tree by the road side. Presently a band of merchants
with well loaded pack-bullocks came to the place. "You must not camp
here" called out Lelsing to them "I have two sacks of gold coin here
and you may take an opportunity to steal them. If you are honest men,
you will go to a distance." So the merchants camped a little way off,
but in the middle of the night they came and carried off Lelsing's
sacks, leaving two of their own in their place, and hurried on their
way. In the morning Lelsing made haste to carry home the sacks which
had been changed, and when he came to open them he found them full
of rice and rupees. He sent his mother to borrow a measure from his
brothers with which to measure the rupees; and when he returned it,
he sent it to them full of rupees.
His brothers came running to know where he had found so much money. "I
got it by selling the ashes of my house" said Lelsing "and it is a
pity that I had only one house; if I had had more houses, I should
have had more ashes, and should have got more money still." On hearing
this the brothers at once made up their mind to burn their own houses,
and take the ashes for sale. But when they did so and took the ashes
for sale from village to village they were only laughed at for their
pains, and in the end had to throw away the ashes and come back empty
handed. They were very angry at the trick which Lelsing had played
on them and decided to kill him and his mother; but when they went
to the house to do the murder, Lelsing happened to be away from home
and so they were only able to kill his mother.
When Lelsing came home he found his mother lying dead. He placed the
body on his donkey and carried it off to burn it on the banks of the
Ganges. As he went, he saw a large herd of paek bullocks coming along
the road. He quickly propped the body of his mother against a tree
which grew by the road and himself climbed into its branches, and when
the bullocks came up he began to call out "Take care, take care: you
will have my sick mother trampled to death." But the drivers were too
far behind to hear what he said. When they came up, he climbed down
from the tree and charged them with having allowed their bullocks to
kill his mother. The drivers had no wish to face a charge of murder;
and in the end, to secure their release, they made over to Lelsing
all their bullocks, with the merchandize which they were carrying.
Lelsing threw his mother's corpse into some bushes, and drove the
laden bullocks home. Naturally his brothers wanted to know where he
had got such wealth from, and he explained that it was by selling
the dead body of his mother and he was sorry that he had only one
to dispose of. At once his brothers went and killed all their wives,
and took the corpses away to sell; but no one would buy and they had
to return disappointed.
Another trick that Lelsing played his brothers was this: he used to
mix rupees in the food he gave his donkey, and these passed out in
the droppings; and Lelsing took care that his brothers should know of
it. They found no rupees in the dung of their horses, and consulted
Lelsing as to the reason why. He told them that if they gave their
horses a blow with an axe while they ate their grain, they would
find rupees in the dung. The brothers did as they were advised,
but the only result was that they killed all their horses.
More and more angry, the brothers resolved to kill Lelsing by guile. So
they went to him and said that they had found a wife for him, and
would take him to be married. When the procession was ready, Lelsing
got into a palki. His brothers made the doors of the palki fast and
carried him off towards a deep river, into which they meant to throw
him, palki and all.
When they reached the river, they put the palki down and went to
look for a suitably deep pool. Lelsing found that he was outwitted,
and began to weep and wail. Just then a shepherd came by, driving a
flock of sheep and asked what was the matter. Lelsing cried out that
they were going to marry him against his will, but that anyone who
would take his place in the palki could marry his bride. The shepherd
thought that this would be a great opportunity to get a wife without
spending any money on the marriage, and readily changed places with
Lelsing, who drove away the flock of sheep. The brothers soon came
back and, picking up the paiki, threw it into the river and went home,
thinking that they had at last got rid of Lelsing.
But four or five days later Lelsing appeared, driving a large flock of
sheep. His brothers asked him, in amazement where he had come from,
"You threw me" said Lelsing "into a shallow pool of the river where
there were only sheep, but in the deeper parts there are cattle
and buffaloes as well. I can take you to fetch some of them if you
like. You take your palkis to the bank of the river,--for I cannot
carry you all--and then shut yourselves inside and I will push you
into the water." So the brothers took their palkis to the river side
and shut themselves in, and each called out "Let me have the deepest
place, brother." Then Lelsing pushed them in one by one and they were
all drowned. Then he went home rejoicing at the revenge which he had
taken for their ill treatment of him.
LXVIII. The Stolen Treasure.
Once upon a time three jars full of money were stolen from a Raja's
palace. As all search was fruitless the Raja at last gave notice that,
whoever could find them, should receive one half of the money. The
offer brought all the _jans_ and _ojhas_ in the country to try their
hand, but not one of them could find the treasure.
The fact was that the money had been stolen by two of the Raja's own
servants and it fell to the duty of these same two men to entertain
the _ojhas_ who came to try and find the money. Thus they were able
to keep watch and see whether any of them got on the right track.
Not far from the Raja's city lived a certain tricky fellow. From his
boyhood he had always been up to strange pranks, and he had married
the daughter of a rich village headman. At the time that the Raja's
money was stolen his wife was on a visit to her father, and after
she had been some time away, he went to fetch her home. However, on
his way, he stopped to have a flirtation with a girl he knew in the
village and the result was that he did not get to his father-in-law's
house till long after dark. As he stood outside he heard his wife's
relations talking inside, and from their conversation he learnt that
they had killed a capon for supper, and that there was enough for
each of them to have three slices of capon and five pieces of the
vegetable which was cooked with it.
Having learnt this he opened the door and went in. The household
was amazed at his arriving so late at night but he explained that he
had dreamt that they had killed a capon and were having a feast: and
that there was enough for them each to have three slices of capon and
five pieces of vegetable, so he had come to have a share. At this his
father-in-law could do nothing but have another fowl killed and give
him supper; he was naturally astonished at the Trickster's powers of
dreaming and insisted that he must certainly go and try his luck at
finding the Raja's stolen money.
The Trickster was taken aback at this, but there was no getting
out of it; so the next morning he set out with his father-in-law to
the Raja's palace. When they arrived they were placed in charge of
the two guilty servants, who offered them refreshments of curds and
parched rice. As he was washing his hands after eating, the Trickster
ejaculated, "Find or fail I have at any rate had a square meal,"
Now the two servants were named Find and Fail and when they heard
what the Trickster said, they thought he was speaking of them, and
had by some magic already found out that they were the thieves.
This threw them into consternation, and they took the Trickster aside
and begged him not to tell the Raja that they were the thieves. He
asked where they had put the money, and they told him that they had
hidden it in the sand by the river. Then he promised not to reveal
their guilt, if they would show him where to find the money when
the time came. They gladly promised and took him to the Raja. The
Trickster pretended to read an incantation over some mustard seed,
and then taking a bamboo went along tapping the ground with it. He
refused to have a crowd with him, because they would spoil the spell,
but Find and Fail followed behind him and showed him where to go. So he
soon found the jars of money and took them to the Raja, who according
to his promise gave him half their contents.
LXIX. Dukhu and His Bonga Wife.
Once upon a time there was a man named Bhagrit who had two sons named
Lukhu and Dukhu; and Lukhu used to work in the fields, while Dukhu
herded the buffaloes. In summer Dukhu used to take his buffaloes to
drink and rest at a pool in the bed of a dry river.
Now in the pool lived a _bonga_ girl and she fell in love with
Dukhu. So one day as he was sitting on the bank she appeared to
him in the guise of a human maiden. She went up to him and began to
talk, and soon they became great friends and agreed to meet at the
same place every day. As the girl was beautiful Dukhu fell deeply in
love with her and resolved to marry her, not knowing that she was a
_bonga_. One day the _bonga_-girl asked Dukhu to come home with her to
dinner, as he had stayed too late to go to his own house; but he said
he was too shy to do so, as her parents knew nothing about him. The
_bonga_-girl said "Oh no, I have told my people all about our love,
but if you won't come with me, stay here till I fetch you some rice;
it is too late for you to go home now; by the time you come back, the
buffaloes will have wandered off for their afternoon grazing." So Dukhu
agreed to wait while she brought the rice, and she got up and moved
away and disappeared behind some bushes, but a minute later Dukhu saw
her come smiling towards him with a pot of rice on her head; though
how she had fetched it so quickly he could not make out. She came to
him and put it down and told him to wash his hands and come and eat
his dinner. Dukhu asked her whether she had had her own dinner and she
said that she would go back and have that later. Then he proposed that
she should eat part of what she had brought; and she said that she
would do so, if he did not want it all. Dukhu resolved to test her,
for it would be a proof of true love, if she ate what he left over. So
after eating half the rice he said that he was satisfied and when she
found that Dukhu would eat no more she took what was left; then he was
satisfied that she really loved him and they began to talk of getting
married, and he told her that there would be no difficulty about it,
as his elder brother Lukhu was already married.
Then Dukhu asked the _bonga_ to take him to her house to see her
parents, so one day she led him into the pool and as he went in, the
water never came above his ankles; and somehow they passed along a
broad road until they came to the _bonga_ girl's house, and this was
full of tigers and leopards and snakes. At the sight of them Dukhu was
too frightened to speak; the _bonga_ said that she would not let them
touch him and offered him a large coiled-up snake to sit on; but he
would not sit down till she came and sat by his side. Then the _bonga_
father and mother asked their daughter whether this was her husband,
and when she said "yes" they came and made obeisance to him.
After they had had their dinner she took him back and he knew that
she was a _bonga_; but still he could not give her up. After this
the _bonga_ girl brought Dukhu his dinner every day on the bank of
the river, and he never went home for his midday-meal at all. His
brother's wife asked him why he did not come home and he said that
he did not get hungry and was content with some buffalo's milk; but
she did not believe him and resolved to watch and see who brought
him his dinner, but though she went and watched every day she only
saw him sitting alone, and the _bonga_ girl was invisible to her. But
one day she saw him disappear into the pool, and come out again.
When she told this at home, Dukhu's father, Bhagrit, got very angry
and decided to find out who made Dukhu disappear into the pool. He
resolved to bale out the water and find out what was at the bottom. So
he sent for men with baling baskets and began to divide off the water
with dams, but out of the water a voice was heard, singing;--
"Do not dam the water, father,
Do not dam the water, father,
Your daughter-in-law, the Ginduri fish is dying."
At this sound the workmen were frightened and stopped; but Bhagrit
made them go on, saying that whatever happened should be on his
head. And when the dams were finished, they began to bale out the
water; thereupon a voice sang:--
"Do not bale the water, father,
Do not bale the water, father.
Your daughter-in-law, the Ginduri fish is dying."
But they paid no attention and baled the water dry, and at the bottom
of the pool they found an enormous fish, for the _bonga_ girl had
turned into a fish. And they went to kill it, but the fish sang:--
"Do not hit me, father,
Do not hit me, father,
Your daughter-in-law, the Ginduri fish is dying."
Nevertheless they killed it and dragged it on to the bank. Then they
began to cut it up, and as they did so, it sang:--
"Do not cut me, father,
Do not cut me, father,
Your daughter-in-law, the Ginduri fish, is dying."
Nevertheless they cut it up, and Bhagrit divided the pieces among the
workmen, but they were too frightened to take any and preferred to
take the smaller fishes as their share. So he told Lukhu's wife to take
up the pieces and wash them: and as she did so the song was heard:--
"Do not wash me, sister,
Do not wash me, sister,
The Ginduri fish is dying."
And she was very frightened, but her father made her wash them and
then they took home the pieces and lit a fire and ground spices and
turmeric and heated oil and made ready to cook the fish. Then the
fish sang again:--
"Do not cook me, sister,
Do not cook me, sister,
The Ginduri fish, sister, is dying.'
But she nevertheless put the pieces into the pot to boil, when lo and
behold, out of the pot jumped the pretty _bonga_ girl. Then Bhagrit
said to his neighbours.--"You see by my persistence I have got a
daughter-in-law"--and she was duly married to Dukhu. At the wedding
the _bonga_ girl said "Listen, Father and all of you: I tell you and
I tell my husband--however much we quarrel let not my husband strike
me on the head, let him beat me on the body, I shall not mind; but
on the day that he hits me on the head: I shall depart for good."
After the marriage the family became very prosperous and their
crops flourished and every one liked the _bonga_ girl; but between
her and her husband there were constant quarrels and their friends
could not stop them. One day it happened that Dukhu smacked her
on the head. Then the _bonga_ girl began to cry and called her
father-in-law and mother-in-law and said "Father, listen, the father
of your grandson has turned me out, you must do your work yourselves
to-day;" then she took her child on her hip and left the house; and
they ran after her and begged her to return, but she would not heed;
and they tried to snatch the child from her but she would not give
it up, and went away and was seen no more.
LXX. The Monkey Husband.
One very hot day some children were bathing in a pool, when a Hanuman
monkey snatched up the cloth which one of the girls had left on the
bank and ran up a tree with it. When the children came out of the water
and went to take up their clothes, they found one missing, and looking
about, they saw the monkey in the tree with it. They begged the Hanuman
to give it back, but the monkey only said--"I will not give it unless
its owner consents to marry me."--Then they began to throw sticks
and stones at him but he climbed to the top of the tree out of the way.
Then they ran and told the parents of the girl whose cloth had been
stolen; and they called their neighbours and went with bows and arrows
and threatened to shoot the monkey if he did not give up the cloth,
but he still said that he would not, unless the girl would marry
him. Then they shot all their arrows at him but not one of them hit
him; then the neighbours said. "This child is fated to belong to the
monkey and that is why we cannot hit him." Then the girl's father
and mother began to cry and sang:--
"Give the girl her cloth,
Her silk cloth, monkey boy,"
and he answered
"If she consents to marry me I will give it:
If she consents I will put it in her hand."
And as he did not listen to the father and mother, her father's
younger brother and his wife sang the same song, but in vain; and
then the girl herself begged for it, and thereupon the monkey let
down one end of the cloth to her; and when she caught hold of it,
he pulled her up into the tree, and there made her put on her cloth
and ran off with her on his back.
The girl was quite willing to go with him and called out as she was
carried away: "Never mind, father and mother, I am going away." The
Hanuman took her to a cave in the mountains and they lived on
fruit,--mangoes or jack or whatever fruit was in season. The monkey
climbed the trees and shook the fruit down; but if the girl saw by
the marks of teeth that the monkey had bitten off any fruit, instead
of only shaking it down, she would not eat it, and pretended that
she had had enough; for she would not eat the leavings of the monkey.
At last the girl got tired of having only fruit to eat; and demanded
rice. So the monkey took her to a bazar, and leaving her on the
outskirts of the village under a tree, he went and stole some pots from
a potter and rice and salt and turmeric and pulse and sweetmeats from
other shops, and brought them to the girl. Then she collected sticks
and lit a fire and cooked a meal; and the monkey liked the cooked
food, and asked her to cook for him every day. So they stayed there
several days. Then the girl asked for more clothes and the monkey
tried to steal them too, but the shopkeepers were on the watch and
drove him away.
The girl soon got tired of sleeping under a tree so they went back
to the cave and the monkey gathered mangoes and jackfruit and told
her to go and sell them in the market and then she would be able to
buy cloth. But when she had sold the fruit, she stayed in the village
and took service with a well-to-do shopkeeper, and never returned to
the monkey. The monkey watched for her and searched for her in vain,
and returned sorrowfully to his hill; but the girl stayed on in the
village and eventually married one of the villagers.
LXXI. Lakhan and the Wild Buffaloes.
Once upon a time there was the only son of a widow, who used to tend
the sheep and goats of a Raja and his name was Lakhan. One day he
harnessed one of the goats to a plough and ploughed up a piece of high
land and sowed hemp there. The crop grew finely, but one night a herd
of wild buffaloes came and ate it all up; at this Lakhan resolved to
pursue the buffaloes and shoot them.
His mother did all she could to dissuade him but he made up a bundle
of provisions, and set off on his journey with a stick, and a bow
and arrows, and a flute made of the castor oil plant. He tracked the
buffaloes for some days and one evening he came to the house of an
old witch (hutibudhi) and he went up to it and asked the witch if he
might sleep there. She answered "My house is rough and dirty, but
you can choose a corner to sleep in; I can give you nothing more,
as I have not a morsel of food in the house." "Then," said he,
"I must go to bed hungry" and he lay down supperless.
In the middle of the night the witch began to gnaw at Lakhan's bow
and he heard her gnawing and called out "What are you munching? Give
me at bit," but she answered that it was only a little pulse which
she had gleaned from the fields and she had finished it. So Lakhan
said no more; but during the night the witch bit his bow to pieces
and when he saw this in the morning, he was very unhappy; for it was
useless to find the bison, if he had nothing to shoot them with.
So he went home and had an iron bow and arrows made by a blacksmith,
and then started off again. As before he came to the witch's house
and arranged to sleep there; and in the night the witch tried to
bite the bow to pieces, and Lakhan heard her crunching it and asked
her what she was eating: she said it was only a little grain which
she had gleaned. In the morning he found the bow all right, but the
witch's jaws were badly swollen. Lakhan laughed at her and asked what
was the matter and she said that she had toothache.
So Lakhan went on his way rejoicing and at last reached the place
where the wild buffaloes rested at night; he waited there and while he
waited he swept away all the droppings and made the place clean, and
then climbed up into a tree. At evening great herds of buffaloes came
to the place and they were so many that Lakhan was afraid to shoot. So
he stayed there, and every day he used to sweep the place clean, while
the buffaloes were away, and at night time hid himself in the tree.
The buffaloes determined to find out who their benefactor was, and they
chose an old cow to stay behind and watch. The next day the old cow
pretended that she was too weak to rise, and was left behind when the
herd went out to graze. Lakhan thought that she was too old to do him
any harm, so, although she was there, he got down from the tree and
cleaned up the place as usual, and even swept quite close up to the
old cow buffalo. In the evening the other buffaloes came back and the
old cow told them that it was a human being who swept their resting
place clean; and when they promised not to hurt him, she pointed out
the tree where Lakhan was. Then the buffaloes told him to come down
and swore not to kill him but to support him and keep him as their
servant. They told him to make a leaf bowl and they filled this with
their milk, as much as he could drink, and they arranged that he should
stay at the sleeping place and keep it clean, and when he wanted milk
he was to play on his flute and they would come at the sound.
So every noon he used to blow the flute and the cows came, running
and gave him more milk than he wanted so that he used even to bathe
himself in milk, and this made his hair grow very long.
One day a parrot belonging to a Raja saw him drying his long hair
in the sun and the parrot went to the Raja and told him that he had
found a husband for the Raja's daughter, with beautiful long hair;
but that no one could go near where he lived because of the wild
buffaloes; however the parrot undertook to bring him with the help
of a tame crow of the Raja's: so the crow and the parrot flew off to
the jungle, and they decided that the best way to entice Lakhan away,
was to carry off his flute. So when the cows gave him milk at noon and
he put down his flute, the crow seized it in his beak and flew away to
the top of a tree. When Lakhan missed the flute and saw the crow with
it, he began to throw stones but the crow flew off with it, keeping
just out of range; the crow flew from tree to tree and seemed to be
always just about to drop the flute and in this way enticed Lakhan on,
till they came to the Raja's palace and Lakhan followed the crow right
inside and they shut the door on him and made him marry the princess.
After some time his wife's brothers began to talk rudely about
him saying "I suppose this fellow is some poor orphan, without any
relations" and when Lakhan heard this he said that if they wanted
to see his cattle and buffaloes they must make a yard for them. So
the Raja gave orders for a large cattle yard to be made, and when it
was ready Lakhan took his flute and put his wife on the roof of the
palace and he himself climbed a tree and blew on the flute. Then the
wild buffaloes came running at the sound and gored to death every
one they met, and Lakhan and his wife became Raja and Rani.
LXXII. The Boy with the Stag.
Once all the men of a village went out to hunt in the hills and a
certain orphan boy wanted to go with them, and although they told him
that there was no water in the hills and he would die of thirst, he
insisted on starting. The first day they found no water, but the orphan
boy managed to endure it; but the second day he suffered so much, that
he begged the hunters to take him to water; they told him that there
was no water and they could not take him to any. So he set off alone
in the direction in which he understood there might be water, but he
soon lost his way in the jungle; so in despair he climbed a _meral_
tree and picked the fruit and threw it in all directions and to his
joy he heard one fruit splash as it fell into water; so he climbed down
and sure enough close to the tree he found a pool and drank his fill.
And then he saw a fawn stuck fast in the mud at the edge of the pool,
so he fixed an arrow to his bow and crept towards it, resolved to
catch it alive if he could, but if it ran away, to shoot it. The fawn
did not move and he managed to seize it and pulling it out of the mud,
he rubbed it clean and put his bow string round its neck and took it
home. The fawn grew up into a stag and he trained it to fight and
one day he matched it to fight with a goat. The agreement was that
the owner of the winner should take both the animals; in the fight
the stag was victorious, so the boy won the goat. Then he matched his
stag with a ram and a bullock and even with a buffalo, and the stag
was always victorious and in this way he soon grew rich. Seeing him
so rich one of the villagers gave him his daughter in marriage and
took him to live in his house, and so he lived happily ever afterwards.
LXXIII. The Seven Brothers and the Bonga Girl.
Once upon a time there were seven brothers who lived all alone in
the jungle, far from human habitations. None of them was married
and they lived on the game they killed. It chanced that a _bonga_
maiden saw the youngest brother and fell deeply in love with him. So
one day when all the brothers were away hunting, she placed in their
house seven nicely cooked plates of rice.
When the brothers returned in the evening from the chase, they were
astonished to find the rice waiting for them; all but the youngest said
that it must be some plot to kill them and refused to touch the food,
but the youngest wished to eat it. His brothers would not let him and
told him to throw the rice away; so he took it outside the house, but
instead of throwing it away, he ate up the whole seven plates full,
without letting his brothers know. But when they went to bed that
night, the youngest brother snored loudly, because he had eaten so
much, and thereby his brothers guessed that he had eaten the rice,
and they were very unhappy for they were sure that he was about to
die. However in the morning he was none the worse; so they went out
hunting as usual but the youngest brother suffered continually from
thirst, the result of overeating, and this convinced his brothers
that he had eaten the rice, though he denied it.
When they reached home that evening, they again found seven dishes of
rice placed ready for them. And that day the youngest brother and the
youngest but one ate; and the day after there was the rice again, and
the three youngest ate it. Then the eldest brother said: "To-morrow
I will stay behind and watch, and see who it is who brings the rice;
we have no servant, if I can catch the person who is so kind to us,
I will engage him as a cook for us, and we need have no more of this
mystery. Do you bring back my share of the game you shoot."
So the next morning the eldest brother stayed behind and hid himself
and watched. But he could not see the _bonga_, though she brought
the rice as usual; and when he told his brothers this, it was decided
that the second brother should stay behind the next day, and see if
he had better luck; and that day they all ate the rice, except the
eldest brother, who said that he would never eat it, until he knew
who brought it; so the next day the second brother watched but he
also could not see the _bonga_.
One by one all the brothers watched in vain, until only the youngest
one was left. Then they said to the youngest brother: "Now it is
your turn and if our friend does not show himself to you, we will
eat no more of his rice." So the next day the other brothers went
off to hunt and the youngest stayed at home; he did not trouble to
hide himself, but sat in the house making a bow. At noon he saw the
_bonga_ girl coming with the rice on her head, but he took no notice
and pretended to be looking down at something. Then the _bonga_ came
into the courtyard and put down the rice and looked about and said:
"I saw something like a man here, where has he got to?" and she
looked into the house and still the youngest brother kept silent;
then she spoke to him and asked whether he was ill, that he had not
gone hunting. He answered her that he was not ill, but had been left
to watch for the person who brought them rice every day. Thereupon
the _bonga_ went outside and brought in the rice and putting it down,
said: "It is I who do it. Come, wash your hands and I will give you
your dinner," but he said: "First tell me what all this means," and
she said: "It means that I want to live with you." He objected. "How
can I marry you when my brothers are not married?" She answered that
if he married her, they would soon find wives for his brothers. Then
she urged him to eat, but he said that if he ate one plateful, his
brothers would question him, so the _bonga_ girl went and brought an
extra dish and he ate that. And as they talked together, he soon fell
deeply in love with her, and promised to consult his brothers about
her living with them; but he saw a difficulty which would arise if
she married him, for his elder brothers would not care even to ask
her for water, and thus she would be really of very little use in the
house; so with some hesitation he proposed that she should marry the
eldest brother and then they could all talk freely to her; but the
girl would not agree to this and said that there would be no harm at
all in their talking to her, provided that they did not touch her,
and she would not mind giving his elder brothers water.
So they plighted their troth to each other, subject to the consent of
the brothers, and towards evening the _bonga_ girl left, promising
to return on the morrow. When the brothers returned they discussed
the matter and agreed that the youngest should marry the girl,
provided that she promised to keep house for them. So the next day
the girl came back and stayed with them; and they found wives for
the other brothers, and got cattle and buffaloes and broke up land
for cultivation and though the brothers did not altogether give up
hunting, they became rich.
A certain jogi found out where they lived and once every year he came
to ask for alms; one year he came just after the _bonga_ girl had
borne a child, so as she was doing no work, it was her sisters-in-law
who brought out food for the jogi. But at this he was displeased, and
said that he would only eat at the hands of the girl, who had given
him food the year before. They told him that she was in child-bed and
could not come out. Then he said: "Go and tell her that the Jhades Jogi
has come and wants her arm tassel." So she sent out her arm tassel
to him and he put it in his bag and got up and went away. Thereupon
the _bonga_ girl arose and left her baby, and followed him, and never
came back. At evening the brothers returned from hunting, and heard
what had happened. They were very distressed and told their wives
to look after the baby while they went in pursuit. They followed as
hard as they could and caught up the Jogi on the banks of a river;
then they tried to shoot him, but their arrows were powerless against
him, and he by magic turned the seven brothers into stones.
So the Jogi carried off the woman to his home. He was a Raja in his
own country and he had a big garden; and an old woman who looked
after it used to make garlands every day and bring them to the Rani,
and the Rani used to pay their weight in silver for them. In the
course of time the child who was left behind grew up and when he
used to play with his fellows at pitch and toss and there was any
dispute about the game his playmates would say "Fatherless boy,
you want to cheat!" So he asked his aunts whether it was true that
he had no father and they told him that the Jhades jogi had carried
off his mother, and how his father and uncles had gone in pursuit and
had never returned. So the boy decided to go in search of his mother
and he set off, and first he met some goatherds and he sang to them:--
"Ho, Ho, goatherds
Have you seen the Jhades Jogi
On this road?"
But they could tell him nothing. And then he met some shepherd boys,
and he sang to them:--
"Ho, Ho, shepherds,
Have you seen the Jhades jogi
On this road?"
But they could tell him nothing. Then he met some boys tending
buffaloes and he sang;--
"Ho, ho, buffalo herds,
Have you seen the Jhades jogi
On this road?"
But they could tell him nothing. Then he came to a thorn bush, with
a number of rags fluttering on it, and he sang:--
"Ho, ho, plum bush,
Have you seen the Jhades jogi
On this road?"
And the plum tree said "The Jhades jogi brought your mother this way,
and I did my best to stop them. If you don't believe me see the rags as
a proof." And he put his hand on the tree and went on. And then he came
to a squirrel which was chattering in a banyan tree, and he sang:--
"Ho, ho, squirrel,
Have you seen the Jhades jogi
On this road?"
And the squirrel said "I have been calling you since yesterday. The
jogi brought your mother this way, go on and you will overtake
them. And your father and uncles also came this road." The boy was
cheered by this news and he put his hand on the squirrel's back and
said "You are a fine fellow to give me this clue" and the marks of
his fingers were imprinted on the squirrel and that is why squirrels
have striped backs to the present day.
Then he went on and came to a river and he decided to sit and have
his lunch there; he did not know that his father and uncles had been
turned into stones in that very place, but as he sat and ate, his eyes
were opened and he saw the stones weeping, and he recognised them,
and he dropt a little food on each that they might eat, and pursued
his way, until he came to the Jhades jogi's kingdom, and he went to
the old woman who kept the Jogi's garden and asked to be allowed to
stay with her and help her to make the garlands.
One day when he had made a garland, he tied to it a ring which had
belonged to his mother. So when the old woman took the garland to the
Rani, the Rani wondered why it weighed so heavy, and when she examined
it she saw her own ring. Then she asked the old woman who had tied the
ring there, and when she heard that a strange boy had come, she at
once ran to him and recognised her own son.
Then they planned how they could kill the Jhades jogi and escape! The
mother agreed to find out in what lay the life of the Jogi. So she
questioned him and worried him till he told her that his life lay in a
certain pumpkin vine. Then the boy went and cut down the pumpkin vine,
but the Jogi did not die; then the Rani worried and worried the Jogi
till he told her that his life lay in his sword; then the boy stole
the sword and burnt it in a fire of cowdung, but still the Jogi did not
die; then his mother again worried and plagued the Jogi till at last he
told her the truth and said "In the middle of the sea is a cotton tree,
and on the tree are two Bohmae birds; if they are killed I shall die."
So the boy set off to the sea and on the road he met three old
women and one had a stool stuck to her back, and one had a bundle of
thatching grass stuck on her head, and the third had her foot stuck
fast to a rice-pounder, and they asked him where he was going, and he
told them, "to visit the shrine of the Bohmae bird": then they asked
him to consult the oracle and find out how they could be freed from
the things which were stuck fast to them, and he promised to do so.
By-and-bye he came to the sea and was puzzled as to how he was to
cross it. As he walked up and down the shore he saw an alligator
rolling about in pain with a swollen stomach; and when it saw the boy
it said "I am like to die with this pain in my stomach, how can I be
cured?" and the boy proposed that it should take him to the cotton
tree in the midst of the sea and there they might learn a remedy from
the Bohmae birds. The alligator agreed, so the boy got on its back
and was taken across the water. Then the boy sat at the foot of the
cotton tree and sang:--
"Come down, Bohmae birds,
I wish to consult the oracle."
But the birds were frightened and flew to the top of the tree. But as
he went on singing, they became curious and came down and asked what
was the matter, and he said "There are three old woman and one has a
stool stuck to her and one a bundle of grass and one a rice pounder;
how are they to be freed?" And they said "The first old woman never
asked visitors to her house to take a seat; if she does so in future
she will get rid of the stool,"--and as they said this they came
nearer--"and the second old woman, if she saw anyone with straws
sticking in their hair never offered to take them out. If she does
so in future she will be freed," and as they said this they came
nearer still--"and the third old woman would not allow widows and
orphans to use her rice pounder: if she does so she will be freed:"
and as they said this they came quite near, and the boy seized them
and broke their wings, and as he did so the Jogi's arms were broken;
then he snapped off their legs, and as he did so the Jogi's legs were
broken; and the birds screamed and the Jogi howled.
Then the alligator carried the boy back, and by the time it reached
the shore it was cured of its pain. On his way back the boy told the
three old women of what the birds had said; and when he got to the
Jogi's palace he twisted off the heads of the Bohmae birds and then
the Jogi's head fell to the ground.
Then he started homewards with his mother, carrying the birds and
their heads; and the Jogi's head came rolling after them. But he saw
a blacksmith's fire burning by the side of the road and he threw the
birds into the fire and the Jogi's head rolled into the fire and was
burnt, and that was the end of him. When they came to the river where
his father and uncles were turned into stones, he bathed in the river,
and then put a cloth over the stones and they were restored to human
shape; and they rubbed their eyes and said "We must have slept a long
time" and were astonished when they heard how the Jogi had turned
them into stones. Then they all went home and lived happily ever after.
LXXIV. The Tiger's Foster Child.
Once upon a time a Potter woman went to dig earth for making pots,
and while she was working she was prematurely delivered of a boy. And
she considered whether she should carry the child home, or the basket
of clay, but in the end decided to take the clay which was urgently
wanted, while she would doubtless have plenty more children in the
course of time. So she went away, leaving the baby in the pit. At
evening a tiger came by and heard the child crying and he took pity
on it and carried it away and he and his wife reared it.
As the child grew up they used to take him to the tigers' assembly. He
was not at all afraid of the tigers and understood all they said
and one day he heard them saying that the Pargana (tribal chief)
tiger was a great man-eater. At this he was very angry and set off to
look for the man-eater, without telling his foster parents. When the
Pargana tiger saw the boy coming he had just finished cleaning his
teeth, and he thought "This is lucky, here is my breakfast coming;"
but just as he was about to spring on the boy, the boy caught hold
of him and tore him to pieces.
The news of this exploit soon spread, and the tigers called a meeting
to consider the matter, and they told the foster father that he must
take steps to prevent the boy doing any such thing again. So the
tiger and tigress went home and told the boy that it was time that
he went back to his own people, as he had brought shame upon them;
the boy objected that men would not receive him, but they told him to
go as an orphan boy and beg in the villages till he found his mother.
So he went away and when he came to a village he sang:--
"My mother went to dig earth
And left me in the pit;
The tiger and the tigress of the jungle
Reared me--give me alms,"
And thus he went begging from village to village and one day he came
to the village where his father and mother lived. His mother heard
him a long way off and running to him knew him for her son. Then she
brought water and oil and turmeric and bathed him and anointed him,
and gave him new clothes and fed him on curds and parched rice. And
the villagers collected, and when they heard the stories of the mother
and son, they believed them and gave a feast in honour of the boy,
and took him into the village.
LXXV. The Caterpillar Boy.
Once there was an old woman who lived on the grain she could collect
from other people's threshing floors. One day as she swept up a
threshing floor she found a caterpillar among the paddy; she threw
it away but it came crawling back again; she threw it away again,
but it said "Do not throw me away, take me home with you and you
will prosper." So she let it stay and that day she found that she
collected a whole basketful of rice; at this she was delighted, and
put the caterpillar on the top of her basket and took it home. There
she asked the caterpillar what work it would do, and it said that
it would watch the paddy, when it was spread out to dry after being
boiled, and prevent the fowls and pigs from eating it.
So the caterpillar used to watch the paddy while the old woman went out
looking for food; and every day she brought back a full basket of rice,
and so she soon became rich. It got whispered about that the old woman
was so prosperous, because she had a caterpillar boy in her house.
One day the caterpillar said that he wanted to go and bathe, so he
went to the river and took off his caterpillar skin, and bathed, and
as he rubbed his head, one or two hairs came out, and these he wrapped
up in a leaf and set the packet to float down the stream. Lower down
the stream a princess was bathing and when she saw the packet come
floating down, she had it fished out, and when she opened it she saw
the hairs inside and she measured them and found them to be twelve
fathoms long; then the princess vowed that she would not eat rice,
till she found the man to whom the hairs belonged. And she went home
and shut herself in her room and refused to eat.
At this her father and mother were much distressed, and when they heard
what had happened the Raja said "Well she wants a husband, I will find
him for her." And he sent a notice throughout his kingdom saying that
he would give his daughter and half his kingdom to the man who had
hair twelve fathoms long. Everyone who heard this came with his sons
and the princess was told to look at them and choose whom she liked;
but none had hair twelve fathoms long, and she would take none of
them. Then the Raja asked whether everyone in the kingdom had come,
and he was told that there was a caterpillar boy, who lived with an
old woman, who had not come, so the Raja sent to fetch him, but he
said that he had no arms or legs and could not go; so they sent a
palki for him and he was brought in that. And when the palki was set
on the ground, the caterpiller boy rolled out and the princess said
that he should be her husband.
At this her father and mother were much ashamed and remonstrated with
her, but she persisted in her fancy, so the marriage took place. They
sent the newly married pair to live in a house at the outskirts of the
village and only one maidservant accompanied the princess. Every night
the caterpillar boy used to take off his skin and go out to dance,
and one night the maidservant saw him and told her mistress. And they
agreed to watch him, so the next night they pretended to go to sleep,
but when the caterpillar boy went out, they took his skin and burnt
it on the fire; and when he came back, he looked for it, but could
not find it. Then the princess got up and caught him in her arms,
and he retained his human form, and he was as handsome as a god.
In the morning the caterpillar boy and his wife stayed inside the
house, and the Raja sent some children to see what had happened, and
the children brought back word that there was a being in the house,
but whether human or divine they could not say. Then the Raja went
and fetched his son-in-law to the palace, but the caterpillar was not
pleased and said to his wife; "They treat me very well now that they
see that I am a man, but what did they do before?" However he stayed
in his father-in-law's palace.
Presently the Raja said that his kingdom was too small to give half of
it to his son-in-law, so he proposed that they should go and conquer
fresh territory, and carve out a kingdom for the caterpillar boy. So
they went to war and attacked another Raja, but they were defeated and
their army cut to pieces. Then the son-in-law said that he would fight
himself; so he drew his sword and brandished it and it flashed like
lightning and dazzled the eyes of the enemy and his shield clanged
on his thigh with a noise like thunder; and he defeated the other
Raja and took his kingdom and carried off all his wealth.
But the Raja thought that as his son-in-law was so strong, he would
one day kill him also and take his kingdom: so he resolved to find a
means to kill him. On their way back from the war they found no water
on the road and were distressed with thirst. One day they came to a
large tank and found it dry. So they made a sacrifice in the hopes
that water would flow. First they sacrificed goats and sang:--
"Tank, we are giving goats
Trickle out water!
Tank, we are giving goats
But no water came. Then in succession they sacrificed sheep, and oxen
and buffaloes, and horses and elephants, but all in vain: and after
each failure the Raja said "Son-in-law, it is your turn," and at
last his son-in-law said "Well, let it be me;" and he armed himself
and mounted his horse and went and stood in the middle of the tank,
and he sang:--
"Up to my knees the water, father,
The water, father, has oozed out."
And the Raja answered:--
"Do you, my son, remain standing there,"
And as he sang the water welled out up to his horse's knee and then
to its belly; and he still sang and the water rose to the horse's
back and then to his own waist, and to his chest, and he still sang,
and it reached his mouth and then he was completely submerged and
the tank was full. Then they all drank their fill and the Raja said
to his men "We have sacrificed this Saru prince. I will kill any of
you who tells my daughter what has happened" and they promised not
to tell, but they forgot that there were two dogs with them. And
when they got home each man's wife brought out water and welcomed
him and the princess asked where her husband, the Saru prince, was,
and no one answered; then she sang:--
"Oh Father, my father; How far away
Is the Saru Prince, the Gindu Raja?"
and the Raja answered
"My daughter, my darling, the Saru Prince, the Gindu Raja
Is very far away, amusing himself with hunting."
And she sang to them all, but no one told her anything, and then she
sang to the two dogs, who were named Chaura and Bhaura:--
"Oh Chaura, oh Bhaura,
How far away
Is the Saru Prince, the Gindu Raja?"
and they answered
"Oh sister, oh Rani!
Your father has sacrificed him
In the big tank."
Thereupon she began to cry, and every day she sat and cried on the
bank of the tank.
Now the two daughters of the Snake King and Queen had received the
Saru Prince as he disappeared under the water, and when they heard
the princess crying every day they had pity on her; she used to sing:--
"Oh husband! Oh Raja!
My father has sacrificed you
In the big tank.
Oh husband! Oh Raja,
Take me with you too."
So the daughters of the Snake King and Queen took pity on her and
told their frog chowkidar to restore the Saru Prince to his wife;
and the Prince and his wife went home together. When the Raja and
his wife saw their son-in-law again, they were terrified, but he said
nothing to reproach them. The princess however could not forgive them
for trying to kill her husband and always looked angrily at them;
then the Raja and the Rani took counsel together and agreed that
they had done wrong to the prince, and that he must be a magician;
and they thought that their daughter must also be a magician, as she
had recognised the prince when he was a caterpillar, and she could
not even see his long hair; so they were afraid and thought it best
to make over the kingdom to their son-in-law, and they abdicated in
his favour, and he took the kingdom.
LXXVI. The Monkey Nursemaid.
Once upon a time there were seven brothers who were all married and
each had one child and the brothers arranged to engage a boy to carry
the children about; so they sent for a boy and to see if he was strong
enough, they made a loaf as big as a door and they told the boy to take
it away and eat it; but he was not strong enough to lift it; so they
told him that he could not carry their children. Now a Hanuman monkey
was looking on from the top of a tree, and he came down and carried
off the loaf and ate it. Thereupon the mothers engaged him to carry
the children, and he used to carry the whole seven about on his back.
One day the children were running about the house and kept interfering
with their mothers' work, and the mothers scolded the monkey for not
keeping them out of the way. Then the monkey got sulky and carried
off the children to a distant hill and did not bring them back at
evening. So the mothers got very anxious, but the villagers laughed
at them for engaging a monkey, instead of a human being, to look
after the children.
When the mothers heard that the monkey had taken the children to
the hill, they were still more unhappy, for in the hill lived a
_rakhas_ (ogre) but it was too late to go in search of them that
night. Meanwhile the monkey for fear of the _rakhas_ had carried the
children up to the top of a palm tree and when the _rakhas_ spied
them out he tried to climb the tree, but the monkey drove him away
by throwing the palm fruit at him.
However the monkey was really in a fix, for he was sure that the Rakhas
would return, and he knew that if he let the children be eaten, their
parents would make him pay for it with his life. So he went off to a
blacksmith and bought sharp knives and tied them on to the trunk of the
palm tree: and when the Rakhas came back and tried to climb the tree,
he was so badly cut by the knives, that he fell down to the ground with
a thud and lay there groaning. Then the monkey cautiously descended and
the Rakhas begged him to cure his wounds; the monkey answered that he
would cure him if he gave him complete outfits for the children. The
Rakhas said that he would give them directly he was cured. So the
monkey applied some medicines and recited the following spells:--
"Rustling, rustling sesamum,
Tell your grandfather,
Tell him of seven waist strings.
Rustling, rustling sesamum,
Tell your grandfather,
Tell him of seven dhotis."
And in succeeding verses, he mentioned seven coats, seven pair of
shoes, seven hats, seven swords, seven horses, and seven hogs; and as
he repeated the incantation he blew on the Rakhas, and he was healed.
The Rakhas was to give the things mentioned in the incantation, but
when seven hogs were mentioned he objected and wished only to give one,
and in the end the monkey agreed to be content with two; so the Rakhas
departed and the next day appeared with seven waist strings, seven
dhoties, seven coats, seven hats, seven pairs of shoes, seven swords,
seven horses and two hogs. Then the monkey rigged the children out in
this apparel and mounted them on the horses; and the monkey and the
Rakhas mounted on the two hogs,--the Rakhas having faithfully promised
not to eat the children or their parents,--and they all set out for
the children's home. When the mothers saw the cavalcade come jingling
along, they were frightened at first; but when they recognised their
children they were delighted, and they gave the monkey and Rakhas a
good dinner. Then the monkey made over the children to their parents
and gave up his post as nurse, and left amid the good wishes of all.
LXXVII. The Wife Who Could Not Keep a Secret.
Once there was a man of the Goala caste, who looked after the cattle
of a rich farmer. One day a cow dropped a calf in the jungle without
the Goala knowing, and at evening the cow came running to join the
others, without the calf. When they got home the cow kept on lowing
and the master asked whether she had had a calf; the Goala had to
confess that the calf had been left in the jungle; the master scolded
him well, so he took a rope and stick and went out into the night.
But when he got to the jungle he could not hear the calf, so he
decided to wait where he was till the morning; he was too frightened
of wild animals to stay on the ground, so he climbed a tree leaving
the stick and rope at the foot of it. Soon a tiger smelt him out and
came to the place. Then the stick and the rope took council together
as to how they could save their master; the stick saw that it could
not see in the dark and so was powerless; so the rope agreed to fight
first, and it whirled itself round in the air with a whistling noise,
and the tiger hearing the noise and seeing no one, got frightened,
and thought that there was an evil spirit there; so it did not dare
to come very near and in the morning it took itself off.
Then the Goala saw the cow come to look for her calf, so he took up the
stick and rope and followed her. The cow soon found her calf and asked
it whether it had not been very cold and uncomfortable all night; but
the calf said "No mother, I put my foot in these four pots of rupees
and they kept me warm," The Goala heard this and resolved to see if
it were true; so he dug up the earth where the calf had been lying and
soon uncovered the rims of four pots full of money. But the Goala did
not care to take the money home for fear his wife should talk about
it; he resolved to see first whether his wife could keep a secret.
So he went home and told her to cook him some food quickly; she asked
why, and he said "The Raja has a tortoise inside him and I am going
to look at him." Then his wife said that she must fetch some water,
and she went off with the water pot. On the way she met several women
of the village, who asked her why she was fetching water so early, and
she said, "Because the Raja has a tortoise inside him and my husband is
going off to see it." In less than an hour the village was full of the
news, and the rumour spread until it reached the ears of the Raja. The
Raja was very angry and said that he would kill the man who started
the report, unless he could prove it to be true. So he sent messengers
throughout the country to trace back the rumour to its source.
One messenger found out that it was the Goala who had started the story
and told him that the Raja wanted to give him a present; so he gladly
put on his best clothes and went off to the Raja's palace. But the
Raja had him bound with ropes, and then questioned him as to why he
had told a false story. The Goala admitted that his story was false,
but explained that he had only told it to his wife, in order to see
whether she could keep a secret, because he had found four pots of
money. The Raja asked where the money was and the Goala said that he
would show it, but he wanted to know first how much of it he was to
have, for himself. The Raja promised him half; so the Goala led men
to the place and they dug up the money, and the Goala kept half and
became a rich man.
_Moral_. However friendly you are with a man do not tell him what is
in your heart, and never tell your wife the real truth, for one day
she will lose her temper and let the matter out.
LXXVIII. Sit and Lakhan.
Once upon a time there was a Raja who had two wives and a concubine,
but after giving birth to her second son, the first Rani died, and the
name of her elder boy was Sit and that of the younger was Lakhan. The
two children used to cry for their mother but the second Rani never
comforted them, for she hated them; it was the concubine who used to
bathe them and care for them, and their father loved them much. They
used to go to the place where their father sat administering justice
and Sit would sit behind his father and Lakhan in front. The second
Rani hated to see them with their father and would tell the concubine
to drive them away; but she refused and said that it was natural for
a father to love his motherless children; so the Rani kept silent,
but anger remained in her heart.
At last the Rani feigned to be ill and kept her bed; the Raja sent
for doctors and _ojhas_, and they came and saw that she could not
rise and they wanted to feel her pulse, but she would not let them
touch her; all she would do was to make the concubine tie a string
to her wrist and let the doctors hold the other end of the string;
so the doctors diagnosed the disease as best they could in this way
and gave her medicines, but she got no better.
After some days the Rani sent for the Raja and said "I am dying and
you don't care; these doctors' medicines do me no good; there is one
medicine only which will cure me." The Raja asked "What is it? I will
get it for you." Then the Rani made him swear by Kali that he would
give her the medicine she wanted, and he swore blindly. Then the
Rani said "If I eat the livers of Sit and Lakhan I shall get well,
and if not I shall die." At this request the Raja was struck dumb.
Now the concubine and a sipahi had overheard the conversation, and
when they heard what the Rani said, they withdrew and the concubine
went and told Sit and Lakhan of what was in store for them, and Sit
began to cry:--but Lakhan said "Do not cry brother, our father gave
us life, and it is for him to take it away if he will." So the Raja
came out from the Rani's room and when he saw the boys he wept and
he went to them and told them to eat their rice quickly, but they
would not eat; then he had their best clothes brought for them and
told them to put them on, but they refused. Then the Raja called for
_sipahis_ and the _sipahi_ who had been with the concubine, and two
others, came and the Raja told them with tears in his voice to take
the two boys away and let him never see them again, and he added so
that the boys should not hear "Bring me their livers." So the sipahis
took away the boys, and as they passed through the bazar they bought
them some sweetmeats. After walking for a time they came to a jungle;
then Sit said to the sipahis "How far are we to go? Do here what is
in your minds."
But the sipahis went on further; then Sit again told them to do what
they had to do. But the sipahis said "Do not be frightened, we shall
not kill you; we shall not obey your father; you must go away and
never come back here."
Now two dogs had followed them, attracted by the smell of the
sweetmeats, and the _sipahis_ caught and killed them and cut out their
livers, and they put them on a plate and took them to the Raja. The
Rani was delighted and had the livers cooked, and ate them and the
next day she rose from her bed.
Meanwhile Sit and Lakhan travelled on, and in a few days they had
eaten all their food and were very tired, and one evening they sat
down at the foot of a tree in the jungle intending to spend the night
there. In that tree a pair of birds had their nest. Every year they
hatched their eggs and reared the young: but every year when the young
were half grown, a snake came and devoured them. That year also there
were two young in the nest, and on the day that the boys rested at the
foot of the tree the snake had resolved to eat them. But when it came,
the boys heard it moving in the leaves and killed it.
At evening the old birds returned and the nestlings said that the boys
had saved their lives, and asked the old birds to give them some of
the food that they had brought. So they threw down two bits of food,
and it was ordained that whoever ate the first piece, should marry
the daughter of a Raja, and whoever ate the second piece, should
spit gold; and it chanced that Sit ate the first piece, and Lakhan
the second. The next morning the boys went on their way, and the Raja
of the country was looking for a husband for his daughter and he had
sent an elephant out with a flower in its trunk and it was arranged
that the princess should marry the man to whom the elephant gave the
flower. The elephant came upon Sit sitting by the side of the road,
while Lakhan was at a distance; and when the elephant saw Sit, it
went up and gave him the flower and the attendants mounted him on
the elephant and took him to the Raja and he married the princess.
A few days after the wedding Sit sat outside the palace with his wife,
and did not come in though it was evening, and the Raja asked him why
he was sitting outside in the dew. Then Sit began to cry and lament
his brother, singing--
"O Brother Lakhan, where have you gone?
O younger brother, where have you gone?"
Then the Raja heard how he had been separated from his brother,
and he promised to send men in search of Lakhan, and they found
him in the house of a potter; but the potter refused to give him up
until he had been paid for the days that he had entertained him; but
really the Potter had become wealthy, because whenever Lakhan opened
his mouth he spat gold, and he did not wish to lose such a valuable
guest. Then Sit mounted his horse and took five rupees and gave them to
the Potter in payment for his entertainment, and brought Lakhan home
with him. When they found that Lakhan spat gold they were very glad
to keep him and the Raja gave him his second daughter in marriage;
and Lakhan made the whole family rich.
Meanwhile Sit and Lakhan's father had fallen into poverty; his country
had been conquered and his army destroyed and he and his wife wandered
about begging; when the boys heard this, they sent for the concubine
who had been good to them, and she came and lived with them, but they
did not forgive their father and step-mother.
_Moral_. There is no controlling a second wife and they are hard to
get on with. First wives are the best, they are obedient and agree
with the opinions of their husband.
LXXIX. The Raja Who Went To Heaven.
Once upon a time there was a Raja, who had many water reservoirs
and tanks, and round the edges he planted trees, mangoes, pipals,
palms and banyans; and the banyan trees were bigger than any. Every
day after bathing the Raja used to walk about and look at his trees,
and one morning, as he did so, he saw a maiden go up to a banyan tree
and climb it, and the tree was then carried up to the sky, but when
he went in the evening he saw the tree in its place again; the same
thing happened three or four days running. The Raja told no one, but
one morning he climbed the banyan tree before the maiden appeared, and
when she came, he was carried up to the sky along with the tree. Then
he saw the maiden descend and go and dance with a crowd of Gupinis
(Divine milk maids) and the Raja also got down and joined in the dance.
He was so absorbed in the dance that he took no note of time; so
when at last he tore himself away, he found that the banyan tree had
disappeared. There was nothing to be done, but stay where he was;
so he began to wander about and he soon came to some men building a
palace as hard as they could. He asked them for whom the palace was
being built, and they named his own name. He asked why it was being
built for him, and they said that Thakur intended to bring him there,
because he was a good ruler, who did not oppress his subjects and
gave alms to the poor and to widows and orphans.
There was no difference between night and day up in the sky, but
when the Raja came back, he found that the banyan tree was there,
and he climbed up it and was carried back to earth by it. Then
he went home and told his people that he had been on a visit to a
friend. After that the Raja used to visit the banyan tree every day,
and when he found that it did not wither although it had been taken
up by the roots, he concluded that what he had seen was true and he
began to prepare for death. So he distributed all his wealth among
his friends and among the poor; and when his officers remonstrated
he made them no answer. A few days later he died, and was taken to
the palace which he had seen being built.
It is said that what you give away in this world, you will get back
in the next; there you will get good wages for what you have done in
LXXX. Seven-Tricks and Single-Trick.
Seven-Tricks and Single-Trick were great friends, but some one
told Seven-Tricks that Single-Trick was the cleverer man of the
two. Seven-Tricks pondered over this but felt sure that his very name
showed that he was the cleverer; so one day he went to pay a visit
to Single-Trick, and put the matter to the test When Single-Trick saw
him coming, he called a pretty girl and hid her inside the house and
told his wife to put the rice on to boil. Seven-Tricks arrived and was
pressed to stay for the midday meal; he accepted and Single-Trick's
wife brought them water to wash their hands and when they sat down,
helped them to the rice.
As they ate, Single-Trick pretended to get very angry and began to
abuse his wife "You lazy slattern, why have you put no salt in the
rice? I will beat you for this, I will beat you into a girl again." So
saying he caught up a club and gave her a blow with it, and pushed her
into the house and pretended to continue the beating inside; and then
came out dragging with him the pretty girl whom he had hidden. When
Seven-Tricks saw this transformation he made up his mind to steal the
club, and try whether he could beat his own wife into a girl again. So
when he went home he secretly took away the club, and the next day when
his wife was giving him his dinner he pretended to get angry with her
for not putting salt in the rice, and snatching up the club gave her
a good pounding with it, and drove her into the house and then pulled
her forth again; but to his dismay she did not look a day younger than
before. Seven-Tricks was puzzled but could only opine that he had not
beaten the woman hard enough, so he beat her till her bones cracked;
but still there was no result and he had to give up in despair.
After a time Seven-Tricks paid another visit to Single-Trick, and
Single-Trick invited him to come hunting in the forest; before they
started Single-Trick told his wife to go and buy a hare and keep
it in the house. The two friends set off, and after a time they
put up a hare; Single-Trick had brought with him his dog, which
was a shocking coward and no good at hunting; when they saw the hare
Single-Trick loosed the dog calling "After it, after it, drive it right
home." And the coward of a dog, directly it was free, put its tail
between its legs and ran straight home. "Come along home now; that
is a splendid sporting dog, it is sure to have taken the hare home;"
so saying Single-Trick set off back, and when they arrived he asked
his wife whether the dog had brought home a hare. "Yes", said she,
"I have put it in that room" and promptly produced the hare that she
had bought. Seven-Tricks at once resolved to possess himself of a dog
that brought the game home by itself, and the next night he came and
stole it, and in the morning took it out hunting. He soon started a
hare and loosed the dog after it; the dog ran straight away in the
direction of the house, and Seven-Tricks followed at his leisure,
and asked his wife where the dog had put the hare. "Hare," said she
"there is no hare, the dog came running back alone." "Perhaps I was
too slow and gave him time to eat the hare," thought Seven-Tricks;
so he took it out again and when he loosed it after a hare, he ran
after it as fast as he could to see what it did. Everyone laughed to
see the hunter chasing his dog, instead of his game. When he got to the
house of course there was no hare, and so he gave up trying to hunt.
Another day he paid a visit to Single-Trick and Single-Trick asked him
to come out fishing. Before they started Single-Trick told his wife to
buy some live _codgo_ fish and keep them ready in the house. When they
came to a pool, Single-Trick at once let down his line and soon got
a bite from a _codgo_ fish; as he pulled it out he threw it, rod and
all, behind him in the direction of his home and said to Seven-Tricks
"_Come_ along home, I expect that all the fish in the pool will have
reached home by now," Directly they got to the house Single-Trick
asked his wife whether the fish had come. "Yes", said she, "I have
put them all in this basket" and brought out a basket of live _codgo_
fish. Seven-Tricks at once made up his mind to steal the wonderful
fishingrod, so he came back that evening and managed to abstract it,
and next morning went fishing with it. Directly he had caught a _codgo_
fish, he threw it over his shoulder and went off home and asked whether
the fish had arrived, but he only got laughed at for his folly. Then
he was convinced that Single-Trick was more than a match for him,
and he would have nothing more to do with him.
LXXXI. Fuljhari Raja.
There was once a Raja named Fuljhari and he was childless; he and his
wife made pilgrimages to many shrines but all in vain, the wished-for
son never arrived. One day a Jugi came to the palace begging and
the Raja asked the holy man to tell him how he could have a son;
then the Jugi examined the palms of their hands but having done
so remained silent. The Raja urged him to speak but the Jugi said
that he feared that the reply would be distasteful to the Raja and
make him angry. But the Raja and his wife begged for his advice,
and promised to do him no harm whatever he said. At last the Jugi
explained that they could never have a child unless they separated,
and the Raja went right away and the Rani lived with another man;
with this he took his departure.
Then the Raja and his wife consulted together and the Raja proposed to
take the Jugi's advice, as he felt that he could not leave his kingdom
without an heir; so he said that he would go away to a far country,
on pretence of visiting a distant shrine; but the Rani feared that
if, on his return, he found that she had borne a child, he would
kill her or at least turn her and the child out to beg their bread;
but the Raja assured her that he would never treat her in that way
and after making his final arrangements he went off to a far country.
There he stayed some years and in the meanwhile the Rani had five sons;
at last she wrote to her husband to come home and directly he reached
the palace he bade the Rani to bring the boys to him, that he might
embrace and acknowledge them; so they were brought and he took them
one by one in his arms and kissed them, and he saw that they were
all the images of himself. But when he kissed the youngest child he
was suddenly struck with blindness. Then he rose in wrath and ordered
the child to be taken away and killed; but the mother had pity on it
and persuaded the soldiers not to kill it but to convey it away to
a far country.
The child's name was Lita and he grew up and was married to the
daughter of the Raja of the land and lived in his father-in-law's
house. But Lita was always tormented by the thought that he had been
the cause of his father's blindness; although he would not tell anyone
of his sorrow, he used to get up when every one was asleep and spend
the night in tears. One night his wife surprised him weeping and
begged him to tell her what was the matter. She pressed him until he
told her how, immediately his father kissed him, he had gone blind
and how his mother had smuggled him out of the country and saved his
life, but how the recollection of the harm he had done tormented him
and how he longed to be able to return to his own country and restore
his father's sight. His wife on hearing this at once began to comfort
him and assured him that she would help him to obtain a medicine which
would restore his father's sight. In a range of mountains was a Rakhas
who had a daughter who was buried in a heap of Fuljhari flowers; if
Lita went and could persuade the Rakhas to let him marry his daughter,
he could then get a Fuljhari flower and if that were rubbed on his
father's eyes his sight would be restored.
So Lita set out towards the mountains and sat down by the road side
at their foot. Presently the Rakhas and his wife came by; the wife
asked him what he was sitting there for; he said that he was looking
out for some one who would have him to come and live in his house as
a son-in-law. The Rakhas paid no heed to this and proposed to eat up
Lita at once, but his wife begged him to spare the young man and take
him home and marry him to their daughter, who was very lonely. The
Rakhas gave way and they took Lita to the cavern in which they lived
and there was their daughter buried under a heap of flowers. They
made her get up, and told her that they had brought a husband for her.
Lita and his bride lived happily together and were soon deeply
in love with each other, and after a time he told her about his
father's blindness and how he wished to try to cure it with one of
her flowers. She readily agreed to help him; so the next day she
went to her father and said that she wished to pay a short visit to
her husband's home; the Rakhas consented and she and Lita took their
leave. She told Lita that when the Rakhas offered him a farewell gift,
he should take nothing but a hair from the Rakhas' head; this he did
and they tied the flower and the hair up carefully and set off to the
home, where Lita's first wife was awaiting them. She told her parents
that Lita had come back with one of his sisters, and that she now
wished to go back with them on a visit to their home. Her parents
assented and the three of them set out and one evening reached the
outskirts of the village in which Lita had been born. They camped
under a roadside tree, but in the middle of the night they took out
the Rakhas' hair and said to it "Make us a golden palace" and at
once a golden palace sprang up. Next morning all the residents of
the village collected to see the wonderful new palace, and Lita told
them to bring their Raja and he would cure him of his blindness. So
they went and fetched the old blind Raja and directly Lita touched
his eyes with the flower his sight was restored. Then they wept over
each other and told all that had happened. And the old Raja and his
wife came and lived with Lita and his wives and the other brothers
stayed on at their old home; and they all lived happily ever after.
LXXXII. The Corpse of the Raja's Son.
There was once a blacksmith named Chitru who had a very pretty
wife; and the woman attracted the attention of the son of the
Raja. Chitru suspected that his wife was unfaithful to him, and one
night he pretended to go away from home, but really he lay in wait
and surprised the prince visiting his wife; then he sprang out upon
him and strangled him.
But when he found himself with the corpse of the prince on his hands,
he began to wonder what he should do to avoid being convicted of the
murder. At last he took up the corpse and carried it to the house
of two dancing girls who lived in the village, and laid it down
inside. Soon after the dancing girls woke up and saw the corpse
lying in their room; they at once aroused their parents, and when
they found that it was the corpse of the Prince, they were filled
Now Chitru had a reputation for cunning, so they decided to send
for him quietly and take his advice. When he came they begged him to
save them; he pretended to be much surprised and puzzled and at last
undertook to get them out of their difficulty, if they paid him one
hundred rupees; they gladly paid him the money, and then he took up
the corpse and carried it off and laid it down on the verandah of the
house of a _mahajan_ who lived near. Soon after some one came out of
the house and found the corpse; at once they were all in consternation
and sent for the clever Chitru to help them out of their difficulty.
Chitru refused to lift a finger unless he were paid two hundred rupees,
and when he had got the money he took up the corpse and put it in a
sitting position in a little patch of _brinjals_ which a Koeri had
planted by his front door. At dawn the Koeri came out and saw what
he thought was a thief stealing his brinjals, and promptly threw
a stone at the man. The corpse fell over, and when the Koeri went
to see who it was he found the dead body of the Raja's son. As it
was daylight, he had no opportunity of making away with the body,
so he was arrested and sent for trial. He was acquitted, because he
had acted unwittingly, but he was too frightened of the Raja to stay
any longer in the village and absconded as soon as he could.
Chitru, who was the real murderer, made his wife promise to keep
silence by threats and was three hundred rupees the better for the
LXXXIII. The Sham Child.
There was once a Raja who had two wives and each Rani had a maidservant
who was the Raja's concubine; but none of them had any children. In
the course of time the ladies began to quarrel and when they appealed
to the Raja, he found that the elder Rani was to blame and turned
her out of the palace, and sent her to live in a palm leaf hut on
the outskirts of the town. Her faithful maidservant followed her,
and the two supported themselves by begging. But they barely got
enough to keep body and soul together.
After a few days the maidservant asked permission of her mistress to
play a trick on the Raja, by which they should at least get sufficient
food. The Rani assented and the maidservant went off to the Raja
and told him that the wife whom he had turned out was five months
with child, and that it was a disgrace that one who was to be the
mother of his heir should have to beg her bread. On hearing this the
Raja somewhat relented towards the Rani, and he ordered money to be
sent her sufficient to provide her with food, and had a proper house
prepared for her. When the proper time arrived, the maidservant went
to the Raja and told him that a son had been born; at this joyful
news the Raja became still more generous and told the maidservant
that she was free to take whatever was wanted for the child.
This suited the maid and her mistress excellently; so long as they
could keep up the deception they lived in comfort; when the child
was supposed to have grown old enough to run about, they asked for
the price of some anklets with bells on them and bought a pair,
and whenever the Raja passed by the house in which the Rani lived,
the maidservant made her mistress rattle the anklets, and then went
outside and told the Raja to listen to the anklets tinkling as his son
ran about the house. The Raja would tell the maidservant not to let the
boy run about too much, lest he should fall and hurt himself; then she
would hurry inside and tell the Rani to stop the jingling, and then
come and tell the Raja that the boy was resting in his mother's lap;
but for all this the Raja was never given an opportunity of seeing
However as time went on the Raja chose a bride and arranged for
his son's wedding; the bride's friends did not come to inspect the
bridegroom; a day was fixed right off for the wedding. As this day drew
near, the Rani became more and more frightened, for it seemed that her
deception must at last be discovered, and she would probably be put
to death. But the maidservant encouraged her and promised to devise
a plan; so when the day came for them to start for the bride's house
she made a paste of ground mowah flowers and out of this fashioned
an image of a child; and when the procession started off, with the
Raja in a palki, and drummers, and palki-bearers, the maidservant
was also carried in a palki and pretended that she was holding the
child. Off they started and as it was too far to go in one day,
they stopped for the night at a bazar, where there was the shrine
of a saint. At midnight the maidservant arose and went to the shrine
and called to the spirit (bonga) which dwelt there, and said that he
must grant her a boon, and if not it would be the worse for him; the
spirit asked what she wanted and she showed the paste image and said
that she was going with the procession to marry her son, and somehow
on the way he had been turned into paste; if the spirit would not
give her another son, she would spit on him and curse him. The spirit
saw that she meant what she said, and for fear of being spat upon,
he produced a boy from somewhere and gave him to her. The maidservant
was delighted at her success and bowed down three times in reverence
to the spirit and took away the boy and put him in her palki.
The next morning they rose and reached the bride's house and
the wedding took place in due form. As they were returning, the
maidservant sent on two men to warn her mistress of what had happened
and to tell her to get ready a feast. So when they reached home there
was a feast ready and the bride's friends were duly entertained and
dismissed. Afterwards the Raja fell out with his second wife and left
the palace where she lived and came and stayed with the elder Rani,
whom he had formerly turned out.
LXXXIV. The Sons of the Kherohuri Raja.
The Kherohuri Raja had five sons, and he made up his mind that he would
only marry them to five sisters. So he sent out Brahmans and Jugis to
search the world to find a Raja with five unmarried daughters. And
at the same time the Chandmuni Raja had five marriagable daughters,
and he made up his mind that he would marry them to five brothers;
he did not care what their rank in life was, but he was determined
to find a family of five brothers to marry his daughters. And he
also told all the Brahmans and Jugis who wandered about begging,
to look out for a family of five unmarried brothers.
One day it chanced that the emissaries of the Kherohuri Raja and
those of the Chandmuni Raja met at a river; both parties were resting
after taking their midday meal and as they smoked they fell into
conversation, and soon found that their meeting was most fortunate;
each party had found the Tery thing they wanted, so they all set off
to the palace of the Kherohuri Raja in order that the Chandmuni Raja's
messengers might see the young men.
The Kherohuri Raja ordered them to be hospitably entertained and food
to be set before them; they however refused to eat anything till they
had seen the five bridegrooms. The five young men were then introduced
and as they appeared to be sound in wind and limb and in all respects
satisfactory, there was no further obstacle to the entertainment. The
next day the Kherohuri Raja sent out officials to visit and inspect the
daughters of the Chandmuni Raja, and as their report was satisfactory,
nothing remained but to fix the day for the wedding.
When the time came for the bridegrooms and their retinue to set off
to the country of the Chandmuni Raja, they and their servants and
followers all started, so that no one was left at home but their
mother. After they had gone a little way the eldest prince stopped
them and said "that they could not leave their mother all alone, what
would she do supposing some sudden danger arose?" The others agreed
that this was so, but the difficulty was to decide who should stay;
not one of the other brothers would consent to do so. So at last the
eldest brother said that he would stay, and he gave them his shield
and sword and told them to perform his marriage for him by putting
the vermilion on the bride's forehead with his sword.
When they reached the home of the Chandmuni Raja they proceeded at
once to perform the vermilion ceremony, beginning with the eldest