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Folklore of the Santal Parganas by Cecil Henry Bompas

Part 2 out of 8

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have animals of all kinds; one by one they shall be offered and you
shall sing and dedicate them." So first an elephant was led down into
the bed of the tank and the people sang

"Tank, we will sacrifice to you an elephant
Let clear water bubble up, O tank,"

but no water came.

Then they led down a horse and sang a similar song, but no water came;
and then in succession a camel, a donkey, a cow, a buffalo, a goat and
a sheep were offered but no water came; and so they stopped. Then
the Raja asked why they stopped and they said that they had no
more animals. Then the Raja bade them sing a song dedicating a man,
to see if that would bring the water; so they sang and as they sang
water bubbled up everywhere from the bottom of the tank and then the
coolies were stricken with fear for they did not know which of them
would be sacrificed.

But the Raja sent his soldiers and they seized Kuwar and bound him
to the post in the middle of the tank; and then a song was sung
dedicating him to the tank and as the water rose around him the
princess wept bitterly; but the Raja said "Do not cry I will arrange
for your support and will give you part of my kingdom and you shall
live in my palace." The princess said "Yes: hereafter I may stay with
you, but let me now watch Kuwar till he is drowned;" so Kuwar fixed
his eyes on the princess and tears streamed down his face until the
waters rose and covered him; and the princess also gazed at him till
he was drowned. Then the Raja's soldiers told her to come with them
and she said "Yes, I am coming, but let me first offer a libation
of water to my dead husband;" and on this pretext she went into the
water and then she darted to the place where Kuwar had been bound and
sank beneath the surface. The Raja bade men rescue her but all were
afraid to enter the water and she was seen no more. Then the Raja
gave all the coolies a feast and scattered money among the crowd and
dismissed them. And this is the end of the story.

XVIII. The Laughing Fish.

There was once a merchant who prospered in his business and in the
course of time became very rich. He had five sons but none of them
was married. In the village where he lived was an old tank which was
half silted up and he resolved to clean it out and deepen it, if the
Raja would give it to him; so he went to the Raja and the Raja said
that he could have the tank if he paid forty rupees. The merchant paid
the money and then went home and called his family together and said
that they would first improve the tank and then find wives for all
his sons. The sons agreed and they collected coolies and drained
off the water and began to dig out the silt. When they had drained
off the water they found in the bed of the tank a number of big fish
of unknown age: which they caught and two of them they sent to the
Raja as a present. When the fish were carried into the presence of the
Raja they both began to laugh: then the Raja said "What is the meaning
of this? Here are two dead fish, why are they laughing?" And he told
the men who brought the fish to explain what was the matter or else
to take them away again. But they could give no explanation. Then the
Raja called all his officers and astrologers and asked them what they
thought it meant: but no one could give him any answer. Then the Raja
told the men to take the fish away again, and to tell the merchant
that, if he could not explain why the fish laughed, he would kill him
and all his descendants; and he wrote a letter to the same effect,
and fixed a day by which the merchant was to explain the matter. When
the merchant read the letter he fell into the greatest distress and
for two or three days he could not make up his mind whether to go on
with the work on the tank or no; but in the end he resolved to finish
it so that his name might be held in remembrance. So they finished the
work and then the merchant said to his sons: "My sons I cannot arrange
for your marriages, for the Raja has threatened to kill us all, if I
cannot explain why the fish laughed; you must all escape from here so
that our family may not die out;" but the younger sons all answered
"We are not able to take care of ourselves, either you come with us
to protect us or we will stay here." Then the merchant told his eldest
son to escape alone so that their family might not become extinct.

So the eldest son took a supply of money and went away into a far
country. After travelling a long time he came to a town where a
Raja lived and decided to stay there; so he first went to a tank and
bathed and sat down on the bank to eat some refreshment; and as he
sat the daughter of the Raja came down to the tank to bathe and she
saw the merchant's son and their eyes met. Then the princess sent
her maid-servants to ask him where he came from; and he told them
where he came from and that he meant to make a stay in that town,
and he promised them a rupee if they could persuade the princess to
uncover her face. They went and told their mistress all this and she
answered "Go and get your rupee from him, I will uncover my face;
and ask him what he wants." And when they went, she drew aside the
cloth from her face; then he gave them the rupee, and they asked him
whether he had seen her and what his intention was; then he said that
his wish was to marry the princess and live with her in her father's
house! When the princess heard this she said "Yes, my heart has gone
out to him also;" so then she bathed and went home and lay down in
her room and would not get up, and when her father asked her what
was the matter, she made no answer. Then they asked her maidens what
was the matter and they said that she had seen a stranger by the
tank and wished to marry him. The Rani asked whether the stranger
was still there and they said that they had left him by the tank. So
two men were sent to fetch the stranger or to find out where he had
gone. The two servants went and found the merchant's son just ready
to continue his journey, and they asked him who he was and what he
wanted. He said that he was looking for employment but would like
best to marry and live in the house of his father-in-law. Then they
told him not go away and they would arrange such a marriage for him,
so they took him to a house in the town and left him there and went
back to the Raja. They told the Raja that the stranger had gone away
but that they could follow him and bring him back if he gave them some
money for their journey. So the Raja gave them two rupees; then they
went off but only ate their dinner at home, and then they brought
the merchant's son to the Raja, pretending that they had overtaken
him a long way off. He was questioned about himself and he told his
whole history except that the Raja had threatened to cut off his
family, and his account being satisfactory it was arranged that he
should marry the princess. Musicians were sent for and the marriage
took place at once. After his marriage the merchant's son was much
depressed at the thought of his brothers' fate and in the middle of
the night he used to rise up and weep till the bed was soaked with
his tears; the princess noticed this and one night she pretended to
go to sleep but really lay awake and watched her husband; and in the
middle of the night saw him rise quietly and begin to sob. She was
filled with sympathy and went to him and begged him to tell her what
was the matter and whether he was sorry that he had married her; and
he answered "I cry because I am in despair; in the daytime I restrain
my tears before others with difficulty but in the night they cannot
be kept back; but I am ashamed for you to see me and I wait till you
are asleep before I give way to my feelings."

Then she asked what was the cause of his sorrow and he answered "My
father and mother and brothers and sisters are all doomed to die;
for our Raja has sworn to kill them by a certain day if he is not
told why two fish, which my father sent to him as a present, laughed
when they were brought before him. In consequence of this threat
my father sent me from home that one of the family might survive
and although I may be safe here the thought of them and their fate
makes me weep." The princess asked him what was the day fixed for
the mystery to be explained; and he told her that it was at the
full moon of a certain month. Then the princess said "Come take me
to your father's house: I shall be able to explain why the fishes
laughed." The merchant's son joyfully agreed to start off the next
day; so in the morning they told the Raja why they wished to go, and
he said to his daughter "Go and do not be afraid; go in confidence,
I promise you that you will be able to explain why the fishes laughed."

So they made ready and journeyed to the merchant's house; and when
they arrived they told the merchant to go to the Raja and ask him
to collect all the citizens on a certain day to hear the reason why
the fishes laughed. The merchant went to the Raja and the Raja gave
him a letter fixing the day and all the citizens were assembled in
an open plain; and the princess dressed herself as a man and went to
the assembly and stood before the Raja.

Then the Raja bade her explain why the fishes laughed, and the princess
answered "If you wish to know the reason order all your Ranis to be
brought here;" so the Ranis were summoned; then the princess said
"The reason why the fishes laughed was because among all your wives
it is only the eldest Rani who is a woman and all the others are
men. What will you give me if this is not proved to be true?" Then
the Raja wrote a bond promising to give the merchant half his kingdom
if this were proved to be true. When enquiry was made it was found
that the wives had really become men, and the Raja was put to shame
before all his people. Then the assembly broke up and the merchant
received half the Raja's kingdom.

XIX. How the Cowherd Found a Bride.

There was once a Goala who was in charge of a herd of cattle and
every day he used to bring the herd for their midday rest to the
foot of a peepul tree. One day the peepul tree spoke and said to him
"If you pour milk every day at my roots I will grant you a boon." So
thenceforward the Goala every day poured milk at the roots of the tree
and after some days he saw a crack in the ground; he thought that
the roots of the tree were cracking the earth but the fact was that
a snake was buried there, and as it increased in size from drinking
the milk it cracked the ground and one day it issued forth; at the
sight of it the Goala was filled with fear and made sure that the
snake would devour him. But the snake said "Do not fear: I was shut
up in the nether world, and you by your kindness have rescued me,
I wish to show gratitude to you and will confer on you any boon for
which you ask." The Goala answered that the snake should choose what
he would give him; then the snake called him near, and breathed on
his hair which was very long and it became glistening as gold, and the
snake said that his hair would obtain for him a wife and that he would
be very powerful; and that whatever he said would come to pass. The
Goala asked what sort of things would come to pass. The snake answered
"If you say a man shall die he will die and if you say he shall come
to life, he will come to life. But you must not tell this to anyone;
not even to your wife when you marry; if you do the power will vanish."

Some time afterwards it happened that the Goala was bathing in the
river; and as he bathed one of his hairs came out and the fancy took
him to wrap it in a leaf and set it to float down the stream. Lower
down the river a princess was bathing with her attendants and they
saw the packet come floating down and tried to stop it but it floated
straight to the princess and she caught it and opened it and found
the hair inside. It shone like gold and when they measured it, it was
twelve fathoms long. So the princess tied it up in her cloth and went
home and shut herself up in her room, and would neither eat nor drink
nor speak. Her mother sent two of her companions to question her,
and at last she told them that she would not rise and eat until they
found the person to whom the golden hair belonged; if it were the
hair of a man he should be her husband and if it came from a girl
she would have that girl come and live with her.

When the Raja and Rani heard this and that the hair had come floating
down the river they went to their daughter and told her that they
would at once send messengers up the stream to find the owner of the
hair. Then she was comforted and rose up and ate her rice. That very
day the Raja ordered messengers to follow up the banks of the stream
and enquire in all the villages and question every one they met to
find trace of the owner of the golden hair; so the messengers set out
on both banks of the stream and followed it to its source but their
search was vain and they returned without news; then holy mendicants
were sent out to search and they also returned unsuccessful. Then the
princess said "If you cannot find the owner of the golden hair I will
hang myself!" At this a tame crow and a parrot which were chained to
a perch, said "You will never be able to find the man with the golden
hair; he is in the depths of the forest; if he had lived in a village
you would have found him, but as it is we alone can fetch him; unfasten
our chains and we will go in search of him." So the Raja ordered them
to be unfastened and gave them a good meal before starting, for they
could not carry a bag of provisions with them like a man. Then the
crow and the parrot mounted into the air and flew away up the river,
and after long search they spied the Goala in the jungle resting his
cattle under the peepul tree; so they flew down and perched on the
peepul tree and consulted how they could lure him away. The parrot
said that he was afraid to go near the cattle and proposed that the
crow should fly down and carry off the Goala's flute, from where it
was lying with his stick and wrapper at the foot of the tree. So the
crow went flitting from one cow to another till it suddenly pounced
on the flute and carried it off in its beak; when the Goala saw this
he ran after the crow to recover his flute and the crow tempted him
on by just fluttering from tree to tree and the Goala kept following;
and when the crow was tired the parrot took the flute from him and
so between them they drew the Goala on right to the Raja's city,
and they flew into the palace and the Goala followed them in, and
they flew to the room in which the princess was and dropped the
flute into the hand of the princess and the Goala followed and the
door was shut upon him. The Goala asked the princess to give him the
flute and she said that she would give it to him if he promised to
marry her and not otherwise. He asked how he could marry her all of
a sudden when they had never been betrothed; but the princess said
"We have been betrothed for a long time; do you remember one day
tying a hair up in a leaf and setting it to float downstream; well
that hair has been the go-between which arranged our betrothal." Then
the Goala remembered how the snake had told him that his hair would
find him a wife and he asked to see the hair which the princess had
found, so she brought it out and they found that it was like his,
as long and as bright; then he said "We belong to each other" and
the princess called for the door to be opened and brought the Goala
to her father and mother and told them that her heart's desire was
fulfilled and that if they did not allow the wedding to take place in
the palace she would run away with the Goala. So a day was fixed for
the wedding and invitations were issued and it duly took place. The
Goala soon became so much in love with his bride that he forgot all
about his herd of cattle which he had left behind, without any one
to look after them; but after some time he bethought himself of them
and he told his bride that he must return to his cattle, whether
she came with him or no. She said that she would take leave of her
parents and go with him; then the Raja gave them a farewell feast and
he made over to the Goala half his kingdom, and gave him a son's share
of his elephants and horses and flocks and herds and said to him "You
are free to do as you like: you can stay here or go to your own home;
but if you elect to stay here, I shall never turn you out." The Goala
considered and said that he would live with his father-in-law but that
he must anyhow go and see the cattle which he had abandoned without
any one to look after them. So the next day he and his wife set off
and when they got to the jungle they found that all the cattle were
lying dead. At this the Goala was filled with grief and began to weep;
then he remembered the promise of the snake that he should be able
to restore the dead to life and he resolved to put it to the test.

So he told his wife that he would give the dead cows medicine and he
got some jungle roots as a blind and held them to the noses of the dead
animals and as he did so, he said "Come to life" and, behold, one by
one the cows all got up and began lowing to their calves. Having thus
proved the promises of the snake the Goala was loud in his gratitude
and he filled a large vessel with milk and poured it all out at the
foot of the peepul tree and the snake came and breathed on the hair
of the princess and it too became bright as gold.

The next day they collected all the cows and drove them back to the
princess' home and there the Goala and his wife lived happily, ruling
half the kingdom. And some years after the Goala reflected that the
snake was to him as his father and mother and yet he had come away in
a hurry without taking a proper farewell, so he went to see whether
it was still there; but he could not find it and he asked the peepul
tree and no answer came so he had to return home disappointed.

XX. Kara and Guja.

Once upon a time there were two brothers named Kara and Guja who
were first class shots with the bow and arrow. In the country
where they lived, a pair of kites were doing great damage: they
had young ones in a nest in a tree and used to carry off children
to feed their nestlings until the whole country was desolated. So
the whole population went in a body to the Raja and told him that
they would have to leave the country if he could not have the kites
killed. Then the Raja made proclamation that any one who could kill
the two kites should receive a large tract of land as a reward, and
thereupon many men tried to kill them; but the kites had made their
nest of ploughs and clod-crushers so that the arrows could not hit
them, and the shooters had to give up the attempt. At last Kara and
Guja thought that they would try, so they made an ambush and waited
till the birds came to the nest to feed their young and then shot them
both through the hole in a clod-crusher into which the pole fits, and
the two kites fell down dead, at the source of the Ganges and Jumna,
and where they fell they made a great depression in the ground. Then
Kara and Guja carried the bodies to the Raja and he gave them a grant
of land; and their grateful neighbours made a large rice field of the
depression which the kites had made in the earth and this was given
to Kara and Guja as service land to their great delight.

Kara and Guja used to spend their time in the forest, living on what
they could find there; they slept in a cave and at evening would
cook their rice there or roast jungle roots. One day a tiger spied
them out as they were roasting tubers and came up to them suddenly
and said. "What are you cooking? Give me some or I will eat you." So
while they went on eating the roasted tubers, they threw the coals
from the fire to the tiger at the mouth of the cave and he crunched
them up and every now and then they threw him a bit of something good
to eat; the tiger would not go away but lay there expecting to be fed,
and Kara and Guja debated how to get rid of him. Then Guja suddenly
jumped up and dashed at the tiger and caught him by the tail and began
to twist the tail and he went on twisting until he twisted it right
off and the tiger ran roaring away. Kara and Guja roasted the tail
and ate it, and they found it so nice that they decided to hunt the
tiger and eat the rest of him. So the two brothers searched for him
everywhere and when they found him they chased him until they ran
him down and killed him; then they lit a fire and singed the hair
off and roasted the flesh and made a grand meal: but they did not
eat the paunch. Kara wanted to eat it but Guja would not let him,
so Kara carried it away on his shoulder.

Presently they sat down in the shade of a banyan tree by the side of a
road and along the road came a Raja's wedding procession; when Kara and
Guja saw this they climbed into the tree and took the tiger's paunch up
with them. The wedding party came to a halt at the foot of the tree and
some of them lay down to eat and the Raja got out of his palki and lay
down to sleep in the shade. After a time Kara got tired of holding the
tiger's paunch in his arms and whispered to Guja that he could hold it
no longer, Guja told him on no account to let it go but at last Kara
got so tired that he let it fall right on the top of the Raja; then
all the Raja's attendants raised a shout that the Raja's stomach had
burst and all ran away in a panic leaving everything they had under
the tree; but after they had gone a little distance they thought of
the goods they had left behind and how they could not continue the
journey without them, so they made their way back to the banyan tree.

But meanwhile Kara and Guja had climbed down and gathered together all
the fine clothes and everything valuable and taken them up into the
tree. And Kara took up a large drum which he found and in one end of
the drum he made a number of little holes: and he caught a number of
wild bees which had a nest in the tree and put them one by one into
the drum. When the Raja's attendants came back and saw that there
were two men in the tree, they called out: "Why have you dishonoured
our Raja? We will kill you." Kara and Guja answered "Come and see who
will do the killing." So they began to fight and the Raja's men fired
their guns at Kara and Guja till they were tired of shooting, and had
used up all their powder and shot, but they never hit them. Then Kara
and Guja called out "Now it is our turn!" And when the Raja's men saw
that Kara and Guja had nothing but a drum they said "Yes, it is your
turn." So Kara and Guja beat the drum and called "At them, my dears:
at them my dears." And the wild bees flew out of the drum and stung
the Raja's men and drove them right away. Then Kara and Guja took
all their belongings and went home and ever after were esteemed as
great Rajas because of the wealth which they had acquired.

XXI. The Magic Cow.

There was once a Raja who had an only son named Kara and in the
course of time the Raja fell into poverty and was little better than
a beggar. One day when Kara was old enough to work as a cowherd his
father called him and said "My son, I am now poor but once I was
rich. I had a fine estate and herds of cattle and fine clothes; now
that is all gone and you have scarcely enough to eat. I am old and
like to die and before I leave you I wish to give you this advice:
there are many Rajas in the world, Raja above Raja; when I am dead
do you seek the protection of some powerful Raja." As there was not
enough to eat at home Kara had to take service as goat-herd under a
neighbouring Raja; by which he earned his food and clothes and two
rupees a year. Some time afterwards his father died and Kara went
to his master and asked for a loan of money with which to perform
his father's funeral ceremonies, and promised to continue in his
service until he had worked off the loan. So the Raja advanced him
five rupees and five rupees worth of rice, and with this money Kara
gave the funeral feast. Five or six days later his mother died, and
he again went to the Raja and asked for ten rupees more; at first the
Raja refused but Kara besought him and promised to serve him for his
whole life if he could not repay the loan. So at last the Raja lent
him ten rupees more, and he gave the funeral feast. But the Raja's
seven sons were very angry with their father because he had lent twenty
rupees to a man who had no chance of paying, and they used to threaten
and worry Kara because he had taken the money. Then Kara remembered
how his father had said that there were many Rajas in the world,
Raja above Raja, and he resolved to run away and seek service with
the greatest Raja in the world. So he ran away and after travelling
some distance he met a Raja being carried in a palki and going with a
large party to fetch a bride for his son; and when he heard who it was
he decided to follow the Raja; so he went along behind the palki and
at one place a she-jackal ran across the road; then the Raja got out
of his palki and made a salaam to the jackal. When Kara saw this he
thought "This cannot be the greatest Raja in the world or why should
he salaam to the jackal. The jackal must be more powerful than the
Raja; I will follow the jackal." So he left the wedding party and
went after the jackal; now the jackal was hunting for food for her
young ones, and as Kara followed her wherever she went she could
find no opportunity of killing a goat or sheep; so at last she went
back to the cave in which she lived. Then her cubs came whining to
meet her and she told her husband that she had been able to catch
nothing that day because a man had followed her wherever she went,
and had come right up to their cave and was waiting outside.

Then the he-jackal told her to ask what the man wanted. So she went
out to Kara and asked him and Kara said "I have come to place myself
under your protection;" then she called the he-jackal and they said
to him, "We are jackals and you are a man. How can you stay with us;
what could we give you to eat and what work could we find for you to
do?" Kara said that he would not leave them as all his hopes lay in
them; and at last the jackals took pity on him and consulted together
and agreed to make him a gift as he had come to them so full of
hope; so they gave him a cow which was in the cave, and said to him:
"As you have believed in us we have made up our minds to benefit
you; take this cow, she will supply you with everything you want;
if you address her as mother she will give you whatever you ask,
but do not ask her before people for they would take her from you;
and do not give her away whatever inducements are offered you."

Then Kara thanked them and called down blessings on their heads
and took the cow and led it away homewards. When he came to a tank
he thought he would bathe and eat; while he bathed he saw a woman
washing clothes at the other side of the tank but he thought that
she would not notice him, so he went up to the cow and said "Mother,
give me a change of clothes." Thereupon the cow vomited up some nice
new clothes and he put them on and looked very fine. Then he asked
the cow for some plates and dishes and she gave them; then he asked
for some bread and some dried rice, and he ate all he wanted and
then asked the cow to keep the plates and dishes for him; and the
cow swallowed them up again.

Now the woman by the tank had seen all that had happened and ran
home and told her husband what she had seen and begged him to get
hold of the wonderful cow by some means or other. Her husband could
not believe her but agreed to put it to the test, so they both went
to Kara and asked where he was going and offered to give him supper,
and put him up for the night and give grass for his cow. He accepted
this invitation and went with them to their house and they gave him
the guest-room to sleep in and asked what he would have to eat, but he
said that he did not want any supper,--for he intended to get a meal
from the cow after every one was asleep. Then the man and his wife
made a plot and pretended to have a violent quarrel and after abusing
each other for some time the man flung out of the house in a passion
and pretended to run away; but after going a short distance he crept
back quietly to the guest-room. Hanging from the roof was the body of a
cart and he climbed up into that and hid himself, without Kara knowing
anything about it. When Kara thought that every one was asleep, he
asked his cow for some food and having made a good meal went to sleep.

The man watching up above saw everything and found that his wife had
spoken the truth; so in the middle of the night he climbed down and
led away Kara's magic cow and put in its place one of his own cows of
the same colour. Early the next morning Kara got up and unfastened the
cow and began to lead it away, but the cow would not follow him; then
he saw that it had been changed and he called his host and charged him
with the theft. The man denied it and told him to call any villagers
who had seen him bring his cow the day before; now no one had seen
him come but Kara insisted that the cow had been changed and went to
summon the village headman and the villagers to decide the matter:
but the thief managed to give a bribe of one hundred rupees to the
headman and one hundred rupees to the villagers and made them promise
to decide in his favour; so when they met together they told Kara
that he must take the cow which he had found tied up in the morning.

Kara protested and said that he would fetch the person from whom he
had got the cow and take whichever cow he pointed out. Telling them
that they were responsible for his cow while he was away, he hastened
off to the cave where the jackals lived. The jackals somehow knew
that he had been swindled out of the cow, and they met him saying
"Well, man, have you lost your cow?" And he answered that he had
come to fetch them to judge between himself and the villagers: so
the jackals went with him and he went straight to the headman and
told him to collect all the villagers; meanwhile the jackals spread
a mat under a peepul tree and sat on it chewing _pan_ and when the
villagers had assembled the jackal began to speak, and said: "If a
judge takes a bribe his descendants for several generations shall eat
filth, in this world and the next; but if he make public confession,
then he shall escape this punishment. This is what our forefathers have
said; and the man who defrauds another shall be thrust down into hell;
this also they have said. Now all of you make honest enquiry into this
matter; we will swear before God to do justice and the complainant and
the accused shall also take oath and we will decide fairly." Then the
village headman was conscience stricken and admitted that he had taken
a bribe of one hundred rupees, and the villagers also confessed that
they had been bribed; then the jackal asked the accused what he had
to say to this: but he persisted that he had not changed the cow;
the jackal asked him what penalty he would pay if he were proved
guilty and he said that he would pay double. Then the jackal called
the villagers to witness that the man had fixed his punishment, and
he proposed that he and his wife should go to the herd of cattle,
and if they could pick out the cow that Kara claimed it would be
sure proof that it was his. So the jackals went and at once picked
out the cow, and the villagers were astonished and cried. "This is
a just judgment! They have come from a distance and have recognised
the cow at once." The man who had stolen it had no answer to give;
then the jackal said: "You yourself promised to pay double; you gave
a bribe of one hundred rupees to the headman and one hundred rupees
to the villagers and the cow you stole is worth two hundred rupees
that is four hundred rupees, therefore you must pay a fine of eight
hundred rupees;" and the man was made to produce eight hundred rupees
and the jackal gave all the money to the villagers except ten rupees
which he gave to Kara; and he kept nothing for himself.

Then Kara and the jackals went away with the cow, and after getting
outside the village the jackals again warned Kara not to ask the cow
for anything when anyone was by and took their leave of him and went
home. Kara continued his journey and at evening arrived at a large
mango orchard in which a number of carters were camping for the
night. So Kara stopped under a tree at a little distance from the
carters and tied his cow to the root. Soon a storm came up and the
carters all took shelter underneath their carts and Kara asked his
cow for a tent and he and the cow took shelter in it. It rained hard
all night and in the morning the carters saw the tent and wondered
where it came from, and came to the conclusion that the cow must have
produced it; so they resolved to steal the cow.

Kara did not dare to make the cow swallow the tent in the day time
while the carters were about, so he stayed there all the next day and
at night the cow put away the tent. Then when Kara was asleep some
carters came and took away the cow and put in its place a cow with
a calf, and they hid the magic cow within a wall of packs from their
pack bullocks. In the morning Kara at once saw what had happened and
went to the carters and charged them with the theft; they denied all
knowledge of the matter and told him he might look for his cow if he
liked; so he searched the encampment but could not see it.

Then he called the village headman and chowkidar and they searched
and could not find the cow and they advised Kara to keep the cow and
calf as it must be better than his own barren cow; but he refused and
said that he would complain to the magistrate and he made the headman
promise not to let the carters go until he came back. So he went to
a Mahommedan magistrate and it chanced that he was an honest man who
gave just judgments and took no bribes, and made no distinction between
the rich and the poor; he always listened to both sides carefully,
not like some rascally magistrates who always believe the story
that is first told them and pay no attention to what the other side
say. So when Kara made his complaint this magistrate at once sent for
the carters and the carters swore that they had not stolen the cow:
and offered to forfeit all the property they had with them, if the
cow were found in their possession.

Then the magistrate sent police to search the encampment and the police
pulled down the pile of packs that had been put round the cow, and
found the cow inside and took it to the magistrate. Then the magistrate
ordered the carters to fulfil their promise and put them all in prison
and gave all their property to Kara. So Kara loaded all the merchandise
on the carts and pack bullocks and went home rejoicing. At first the
villagers did not recognise who it was who had come with so much wealth
but Kara made himself known to them and they were very astonished and
helped him to build a grand house. Then Kara went to the Raja from
whom he had borrowed the money for his parents' funerals and paid back
what he owed. The Raja was so pleased with him that he gave him his
daughter in marriage and afterwards Kara claimed his father-in-law's
kingdom and got possession of it and lived prosperously ever after.

And the seven sons of his first master who used to scold him were
excited by his success and thought that if they went to foreign parts
they also could gain great wealth; so they took some money from their
father and went off. But all they did was to squander their capital
and in the end they had to come back penniless to their father.

XXII. Lita and His Animals.

Once upon a time there was a man who had four sons: two of them were
married and two were unmarried and the youngest was named Lita. One
day Lita went to his father and asked for fifty or sixty rupees that
he might go on a trading expedition and he promised that if he lost
the money he would not ask for any share in the paternal property. As
he was very urgent his father at last gave him sixty rupees and he
set out on his travels. After going some way he came to a village in
which all the inhabitants were chasing a cat; he asked them what was
the matter and they told him that the cat was always stealing their
Raja's milk and the Raja had offered a reward of twenty rupees to
anyone who would kill it. Then Lita said to them "Do not kill the cat;
catch it alive and give it to me and I will pay you twenty rupees for
it; then you can go to the Raja and say that you have killed it and ask
for the reward; and if the Raja asks to see the body tell him that a
stranger came and asked for the body, for he thought that a cat which
had fed on milk should be good eating and so you gave it to him." The
villagers thought that this would be an excellent plan and promised to
bring him the cat alive. They soon managed to catch it hiding under
a heap of firewood and brought it to Lita and he paid them twenty
rupees and then they went to the Raja and got twenty rupees from him.

Then Lita went on, and by-and-bye came to a village where the villagers
were hunting an otter in a tank; they had made a cut in the bank and
had let out all the water. Lita went to them and asked what they were
doing; they said that they were hunting for an otter which had been
destroying the Raja's fish and the Raja had promised them a reward if
they killed it, and they had driven it into the tank and were draining
off the water in order to catch it. Then Lita offered to buy it of them
if they brought it to him alive; so when they caught it they brought
it to him and he gave them money for it and continued his journey
with the cat and the otter. Presently he saw a crowd of men and he
went up to them and asked what they were doing: and they told him that
they were hunting a rat which was always gnawing the Raja's pens and
papers and the Raja had offered a reward for it, and they had driven
it out of the palace, but it had taken refuge in a hole and they were
going to dig it out Then Lita offered to buy it from them as he had
bought the other two animals and they dug it out and sold it to him.

He went on and in the same way found a crowd of men hunting a snake
which had bitten many people: and he offered to buy it for twenty
rupees and when they had chased it till it was exhausted, they
caught it alive and sold it to Lita. As his money was all spent,
he then set off homewards; and on the way the snake began to speak
and said: "Lita, you have saved my life; had you not come by, those
men would certainly have had my life; come with me to my home, where
my father and mother are, and I will give you anything you ask for;
we have great possessions." But Lita was afraid and said: "When you
get me there you will eat me, or if you don't, your father and mother
will." But the snake protested that it could not be guilty of such
ingratitude and at last Lita agreed to accompany it when he had left
the other animals at his home.

This he did and set off alone with the snake, and after some days they
reached the snake's home. The snake told Lita to wait outside while he
went and apprized his parents and he told Lita that when he was asked
to choose his reward he should name nothing but the ring which was on
the father-snake's finger, for the ring had this property that if it
were placed in a _seer_ of milk and then asked to produce anything
whatever, that thing would immediately appear. Then the snake went
on to his home and when the father and mother saw him they fell on
his neck and kissed him and wept over him saying that they had never
expected to see him again; the snake told them how he had gone to
the country of men and how a reward had been set on his head and he
had been hunted, and how Lita had bought him from the men who would
have killed him. The father snake asked why he had not brought Lita
to be rewarded and the snake said that he was afraid that when they
saw him they would eat him.

But the father and mother swore that they could not be guilty of
such ingratitude, and when he heard this the snake went and brought
in Lita, and they entertained him handsomely for two days; and on
the third day the father snake asked Lita what he would take as his
reward. Lita looked round at the shining palace in which they lived
and at first was afraid to speak but at last he said: "I do not want
money or anything but the ring on your finger: if you will not give
me that, I will take nothing; I saved your son from peril and that
you will remember all your lives, and if you give me the ring I will
honour you for it as long as I live." Then the father and mother snake
consulted together and the mother said "Give it to him as he asks for
it" so the father snake drew it from his finger and gave it to Lita
and they gave him also some money for his journey back; and he went
home and found the other three animals safe and sound waiting for him.

After a time his father said that Lita must marry; so marriage
go-betweens were sent out to look for a bride and they found a very
rich and beautiful girl whose parents were agreeable to the match. But
the girl herself said that she would only marry a man who would build
a covered passage from her house to his, so that she could walk to her
new home in the shade. The go-betweens reported this, and Lita's father
and brothers consulted and agreed that they could never make such a
passage, but Lita said to his father: "Arrange the match; it shall
be my charge to arrange for making the covered passage; I will not
let you be put to shame over it." For Lita had already put the ring
to the test: he had dropped it into a _seer_ of milk and said "Let
five _bharias_ of parched rice and two _bharias_ of curds appear" and
immediately the parched rice and curds were before him; and thereupon
he had called out "The snake has worthily rewarded me for saving his
life;" and the cat and the otter and the rat overheard what he said.

So the go-between was told to arrange for the wedding to take place
that very month, as Lita's birthday fell in the next month, which
therefore was not suitable for his wedding. Then the bride's family
sent him back to say that they were prepared to send a string of nine
knots; and the next day the go-between told this to Lita's family
and they said that they were willing to accept it; so the go-between
brought a string of nine knots to signify that the wedding would take
place in nine days. The days passed by and Lita's father and brothers
became very anxious because they saw no sign of the covered passage;
but on the very night before the wedding, Lita took his ring and
ordered a covered passage to be made from the one house to the other
with a good path down the middle; and the next morning they found
it made; and the bridegroom's party passed along it to the bride's
house and the bride was escorted home along it.

Now the bride had been deeply in love with another young man who lived
in her village and had much wished to marry him but her wishes of
course were not consulted in the matter. Some time after the marriage
she one day in the course of conversation asked her husband Lita how
much he had spent on making the covered passage to her house and how
he had built it so quickly. He told her that he knew nothing about it;
that his father and mother had arranged for it and no doubt had spent a
large sum of money. So the next day she took an opportunity of asking
her mother-in-law about it, but Lita's mother said that nothing had
been spent at all; somehow the passage had been made in one night,
she knew not how.

Then Lita's wife saw that Lita was keeping a secret from her, and
she began to reproach him for having any secrets from his wife: and
at last when she had faithfully promised never to reveal the matter
to anyone, he told her the secret of the ring. Now her former lover
used still to visit her and one day she sent for him and said that she
would no longer live with Lita, but wished to run away with him. The
lover at first objected that they would be pursued and killed while if
they escaped to a distance he would have nothing to support her with;
but the faithless woman said that there need be no anxiety about that
and she told him about the magic ring and how by means of it they
could provide themselves with a house and everything they wanted. So
they fixed a night for the elopement and on that night when Lita
was asleep his wife quietly drew the ring off his finger and went
out to her lover who was waiting outside and told him to get a goat
from the pen; then they beheaded the goat and went inside and poured
all its blood on the ground under the bed on which Lita was sleeping,
and then having hid the body and head of the goat, they ran away.

Towards morning Lita woke up and missed his wife, so he lit a lamp to
look for her and then saw the pool of blood under the bed. At this
sight he was terror stricken. Some enemy had killed and carried off
his wife and he would be charged with the murder. So he lay there
wondering what would happen to him. At last his mother came into the
room to see why he and his wife had not got up as usual and when she
saw the blood she raised a cry; the village headman and chowkidar
were sent for and they questioned Lita, but he could only say that
he knew nothing of what had happened; he did not know what the blood
was, he did not know where his wife was. Thereupon they sent two men
to the house of the wife's parents to see if by any chance she had
run away there and in any case to bring her relations to be present
at the enquiry into her disappearance. When her father and brothers
heard what had happened they at once went to Lita's house in wrath
and abused him as a murderer. They asked why, if his wife had not done
her duty to him, he had not sent her back to them to be chastised and
taught better, instead of murdering her and they went straight to the
magistrate and complained: the magistrate sent police who arrested
Lita and took him before the magistrate.

Meanwhile it had become known that not only was Lita's wife missing
but also her lover; and Lita's father presented a petition to the
magistrate bringing this to notice and asserting that the two must
have run away together. Then the magistrate ordered every search to be
made for the missing couple but said that Lita must remain in custody
till they were found, so he was shut up in prison. From prison he made
an application to the magistrate that his three tame animals, the cat
and the otter and the rat might be brought to the place where he was;
the magistrate kindly consented but the animals were not allowed
into the prison. However at night the rat being small made its way
inside and found out Lita, and asked what was to be done. Lita said
that he wanted the three animals to save him from his great danger
as he had saved them; he wanted them to trace his wife and her lover
and recover the ring; they would doubtless find them living in some
gorgeous palace, the gift of the ring.

The rat went out and gave the other two Lita's message and they
readily undertook to do their best; so the next morning the three
animals set off. In vain they hunted all over the country, till one
day they came to the bank of the Ganges and there on the other side
they saw a palace shining like gold. At this their hopes revived,
for this might be a palace made by the magic ring. But the cat and
the rat objected that they could not cross the river. The otter said
that he would easily manage that and he took the cat on his back and
the rat climbed on to the back of the cat and so the otter ferried
them both across the river; then they consulted and decided that
it would be safest to wait till the evening before they went to the
palace to see who lived in it. When they looked in in the evening,
they at once recognised Lita's wife and her lover; but these two were
in constant terror of being pursued and when they had had their evening
meal they fastened and bolted every entrance so securely that no one
could gain admittance. Then the cat and the otter told the rat that
he must collect all the rats of the neighbourhood and they must burrow
through the wall and find some way of abstracting the magic ring.

So the rat collected a crowd of his friends and in no time they bored
a hole through the wall; then they all began to look for the ring;
they hunted high and low but could not find it; however the cat sat
at the entrance of the hole which they had made and vowed that they
should not come out, unless they got the ring. Then the first rat
climbed on to the bed in which the couple were sleeping and searched
their clothes and examined their fingers and toes but in vain; then
he thought that the woman might have it in her mouth so he climbed
on to her chest and tickled her nose with the tip of his tail; this
made her sneeze and behold she sneezed out the ring which she had
hidden in her mouth. The rat seized it and ran off with it and when
the cat was satisfied that he had really got it, she let him out and
the three friends set off rejoicing on their homeward journey. They
crossed the river in the same way as when they came with the cat
riding on the otter and the rat on the cat: and the rat held the
ring in its mouth. Unfortunately when they were halfway across,
a kite swooped down to try and carry off the rat. Twice it swooped
and missed its grasp but the second time it struck the rat with its
wing and the rat in terror let the ring fall into the river.

When they reached the bank the three friends consulted what they
were to do in this fresh misfortune. As the otter was the only one
who could swim it volunteered to look for the ring, so it plunged
into the water and searched the bottom of the river in vain; then it
guessed that a fish must have swallowed the ring and it set to work
to catch every fish it saw and tore them open; at last in the stomach
of a big fish it found the ring, so it brought the fish to the bank
and while they were all rejoicing and eating a little of the fish a
kite swooped down and carried off the fish, ring and all.

The three animals watched the kite flying away with the fish; but some
women who were gathering firewood ran after the kite and took the fish
from it and putting it in their basket went home. Then the otter and
the rat said to the cat "Now it is your turn: we have both recovered
the ring once, but we cannot go into the house of these humans. They
will let you go near them easily enough; the ring is in the fish's
stomach, you must watch whether they throw away the stomach or clean
it, and find an opportunity for carrying off the ring."

So the cat ran after the women and when they began to cut up the
fish, it kept mewing round them. They threw one or two scraps to it,
but it only sniffed at them and would not eat them; then they began
to wonder what on earth the cat wanted, and at last they threw the
stomach to it. This it seized on gladly and carried it off and tore
it open and found the ring and ran off with it to where the otter
and the rat were waiting. Then the three friends travelled hard for
a day and a night and reached the prison in which Lita was confined.

When Lita got the ring he begged his jailer to get him a _seer_
of milk and when it was brought he dropped the ring in it, and said
"I wish the bed on which my faithless wife and her lover are sleeping
to be brought here with them in it this very night" and before morning
the bed was brought to the prison. Then the magistrate was called and
when he saw that the wife was alive he released Lita, and the lover
who had run away with her had to pay Lita double the expenditure
which had been incurred on his marriage, and was fined beside.

But Lita married another wife and lived happily with her. And some
time afterwards he called the otter and the cat and the rat to him
and said that he purposed to let them go and before they parted he
would give them anything they wished for. They said that he owed them
nothing, and they made Lita promise to let them know if ever he lost
the ring or fell into trouble, and he promised to help them if ever
their lives were in danger, and one morning he took them to a bazar,
near which was a tank full of fish, and he turned the otter into
the tank and left the cat and the rat to support themselves in the
bazar. The next day he went to see them and the otter came out of
the tank and gave him a fish which it had caught, and the cat brought
him some milk it had stolen, and that was the last he saw of them.

XXIII. The Boy Who Found His Father.

There was once a boy who used always to cheat when playing _Kati_
(pitch and toss) and for this the village boys with whom he played used
to quarrel with him, saying "Fatherless orphan, why do you cheat?" So
one day he asked his mother why they called him that name and whether
his father was really dead. "He is alive" said she "but a long time
ago a rhinoceros carried him off on its horn." Then the boy vowed
that he would go in search of his father and made his mother put him
up provisions for the journey; and he started off taking with him an
iron bow and a big bundle of arrows.

He journeyed on all day and at nightfall he came to a village; there he
went up to the house of an old woman to ask for a bed. He stood at the
threshhold and called out to her "Grannie, grannie, open the door." "I
have no son, and no grandchildren to call me grannie," grumbled the
old woman and went to open the door to see who was there, and when she
opened the door and saw him, she said "Ho, you are my grandson." "Yes,"
answered he, "I am your grandchild." So she called him inside and gave
him a bed to sleep on. The old woman was called Hutibudi; and she and
the boy sat up late talking together and then they lay down to sleep;
but in the middle of the night he heard the old woman crunching away
trying to bite his bow to pieces. He asked her what she was eating:
"Some pulse I got from the village headman," "Give me a little to
try" he begged. "I am sorry my child, I have finished it all." But
really she had none to give, however she only hurt her jaws biting
so that she began to groan with pain: "What are you groaning for,
Grannie?" said the boy; "Because I have toothache" she answered: and
in truth her cheeks were badly swollen. Then he told her that a good
cure for toothache was to bite on a white stone and she believed him
and the next morning got a piece of white quartz and began to bite on
it; but this only broke her teeth and made her mouth bleed so that the
pain was worse than before: then the boy jeered at her and said. "Did
you think, Grannie, that you could bite my iron bow and arrows?"

So saying he left her and continued the search for his father and
his road led him to a dense jungle which seemed to have no end, and
in the middle of the jungle he came to a lake and he sat down by it
to eat what was left of the provisions he had brought: as he sat,
he suddenly saw some cow-bison coming down to the lake: at this he
caught up his bow and arrows in a hurry and climbed up a tall _sal_
tree: from the tree he watched the bison go down to the water to drink
and then go back into the jungle. And after them tigers and bears
came down to the water: the sight of them frightened him and he sang:--

"Drink your fill, tiger,
I shall not shoot you.
I shall shoot the giant rhinceros."

and they drank and went away. Then various kinds of birds came and
after them a great herd of rhinceroses and among them was one which
had the dried up body of the boy's father stuck on its horn. The boy
was rather frightened and sang

"Drink your fill, rhinceroses,
I shall not shoot you
I shall shoot the giant rhinceros."

and when the giant rhinceros with the body of his father stooped its
head to drink from the lake, he put an arrow through it and it turned
a somersault and fell over dead: while all the other rhinceroses
turned tail and ran away. Then the boy climbed down from the tree and
pulled the dead body of his father off the horn of the dead animal and
laid it down at the foot of a tree and began to weep over it. As he
wept a man suddenly stood before him and asked what was the matter,
and when he heard, said "Cry no more: take a cloth and wet it in the
lake and cover your father's body with it: and then whip the body
with a _meral_ twig and he will come to life." So saying the stranger
suddenly disappeared; and the boy obeyed his instructions and behold
his father sat up alive and rubbing his eyes said "I must have been
asleep a very long time." Then his son explained to him all that had
happened and gave him some food and took him home.

XXIV. The Oilman's Bullock.

There was once a poor but industrious oilman; he got a log of wood
and carved out an oil mill and, borrowing some money as capital,
he bought mustard and sesame seed and set to work to press it; as he
had no bullock he had to turn the mill himself. He was so industrious
that he soon began to prosper and was able to buy a bullock for his
mill. By and bye he got so rich that he was able to buy some land and
a cart and pair of bullocks and was quite a considerable man in the
village. One day one of his cart bullocks died and this loss was a
sad blow to the oilman. However he tied up the surviving bullock in
the stable along with the old oil mill bullock and fed them well. One
night it chanced that one of the villagers passed by the stable and
hear the two animals talking and this is what he heard.

The young bullock said "You came to this house first, friend; what
sort of treatment does one get here?"

"Why do you ask me?" said the other. "Oh, I see your shoulder is
galled and your neck shows mark of the yoke." The old bullock answered
"Whether my master treats me well or ill I owe him money and have to
stay here until I have paid him off. When I have paid him five hundred
rupees I shall go." "How will you ever pay back such a sum?" "If
my master would only match me to fight the Raja's elephant for five
hundred rupees I should win the fight and my debt would be cleared;
and if he does not do that I shall probably have to work for him all
my life. How long do you intend to stay?" "My debt will be cleared
if I work for him two years" answered the new comer.

The man who overheard this conversation was much astonished and
went off to the oilman and told him all about it. Next day the whole
village had heard of it and they were all anxious for the oilman to
match his bullock against the Raja's elephant; but the oilman was
very frightened, for he feared that if he sent such a challenge, the
Raja would be angry with him and drive him out of the country. But
the leading villagers urged him and undertook to find the money if he
lost, and to persuade the Raja that the oilman was mad, if he became
angry with him. At last the oilman consented, provided that some of
the villagers went to the Raja and proposed the match; he was too
frightened to go himself. So two of the village elders went to the
Raja and asked him to match his elephant against the oilman's bullock
for five hundred rupees; the Raja was very much amused and at once
fixed a day for the fight. So they returned and told the oilman to
be ready and raised a subscription of five hundred rupees.

The evening before the contest the oilman gave the bullock a big feed
of meal and oilcake; and on the eventful morning the villagers all
collected and watched him oiling its horns and tying a bell round its
neck. Then the oilman gave the bullock a slap on its back and said
"Take care: you are going to fight an elephant; if you owe me so much
money you will win, and if not, then you will be defeated." When
he said this the bullock pawed the ground and snorted and put down
its head.

Then they all set out with the five hundred rupees to a level field
near the Raja's palace; a great crowd collected to see the fun and
the Raja went there expecting easily to win five hundred rupees. The
elephant was brought forward with vermilion on its cheeks, and a
pad on its back, and a big bell round its neck, and a mahout riding
it. The crowd called out "Put down the stakes:" so each side produced
the money and publicly announced that the owner of the animal which
should be victorious should take all the stakes. But the oilman
objected to the mahout's riding the elephant; no one was going to ride
his bullock. This was seen to be fair and the mahout had to get off;
then the fight began. The bullock snorted and blew through its nose,
and ran at the elephant with its head lowered. Then the elephant also
rushed forward but the bullock stood its ground and stamped; at this
the elephant turned tail and ran away; the bullock ran after it and
gored it from behind until it trumpeted with pain. The crowd shouted
"The Raja's elephant is beaten." And the oilman took the five hundred
rupees and they all went home. From that day the oilman no longer put
the bullock to work the oil mill but fed it well and left it free to
go where it liked. But the bullock only stayed on with him for one
month and then died.

XXV. How Sabai Grass Grew.

Once upon a time there were seven brothers who had an only
sister. These brothers undertook the excavation of a large tank;
but although they spent large sums and dug very deep they could not
reach water and the tank remained dry.

One day as they were consulting what to do to get the tank to fill,
they saw a Jogi corning towards them with a lota in his hand; they at
once called to him to come and advise them, for they thought that,
as he spent his time wandering from country to country, he might
somewhere have learned some thing which would be of use to them. All
the Jogi said to them was "You have a sister: if you sacrifice her,
the tank will fill with water." The brothers were fond of the girl,
but in their despair at seeing their labour wasted they agreed to give
the advice of the Jogi a trial. So they told their mother the next day
that, when their sister brought them out their midday meal, she was
to be dressed in her best and carry the rice in a new basket and must
bring a new water pot to draw their water in. At midday the girl went
down to her brothers with her best cloth and all her jewellry on; and
when they saw their victim coming they could not keep from tears. She
asked them what they were grieving for; they told her that nothing was
the matter and sent her to draw water in her new water-pot from the
dry tank. Directly the girl drew near to the bank the water began to
bubble up from the bottom; and when she went down to the water's edge
it rose to her instep. She bent down to fill her pot but the pot would
not fill though the water rose higher and higher; then she sang:--

"The water has risen, brother,
And wetted my ankle, brother,
But still the _lota_ in my hand
Will not sink below the surface."

But the water rose to her knees and the pot would not fill, and
she sang:--

"The water has risen, brother,
And wetted my knees, brother,
But still the lota in my hand
Will not sink below the surface."

Then the water rose to her waist and the pot would not fill, and
she sang:--

"The water has risen, brother,
And wetted my waist, brother,
But still the lota in my hand
Will not sink below the surface."

Then the water reached her neck and the pot would not fill; and
she sang:--

The water has risen, brother,
And wetted my neck, brother,
But still the lota in my hand
Will not sink below the surface."

At last it flowed over her head and the water-pot was filled, but the
girl was drowned. The tank however remained brimful of sparkling water.

Now the unhappy girl had been betrothed and her wedding day was just
at hand. On the day fixed the marriage broker came to announce the
approach of the bridegroom; who shortly afterwards arrived at the
outskirts of the village in his palki. The seven brothers met him,
and the usual dancing began.

The bridegroom's party however wished to know why the bride did not
appear. The brothers put them off with various excuses, saying that
the girl had gone with her friends to gather firewood or to the river
to draw water. At last the bridegroom's party got tired of waiting
and turned to go home in great wrath at the way in which they had
been treated. On their way they passed by the tank in which the girl
had been sacrificed and, growing in the middle of it, they saw a most
beautiful flower. The bridegroom at once determined to possess this,
and he told his drummers to pick it for him; but whenever one of them
tried to pick it, the flower moved out of his reach and a voice came
from the flower saying:--

"Take the flower, drummer,
But the branch you must not break."

and when they told him what the flower sang the bridegroom said that
he would try and pick it himself; no sooner had he reached the bank
than the flower of its own accord floated towards him and he pulled it
up by the roots and took it with him into the palki. After they had
gone a little way the palki bearers felt the palki strangely heavy:
and when they looked in they found the bride also sitting in it,
dressed in yellow garments; for the flower was really the girl who
had been drowned.

So they joyfully took the happy couple with drumming and music to
the bridegroom's house.

In a short time misfortune befel the seven brothers; they fell into
the deepest poverty and were forced to earn what they could by selling
leaves and sticks which they gathered in the jungle. As they went about
selling these, they one day came to the village where their sister
was living and as they cried their wares through the streets they were
told to go to the house where the marriage had taken place. They went
there, and as they were selling their leaf plates their sister saw
and recognised them; they had only ragged loincloths on, and their
skins were black and cracked like a crocodile's.

At the sight their sister began to cry. Her friends asked what was
the matter and she said a straw from the thatch had run into her eye,
so they pulled down some of the thatch; she still went on crying and
they again asked what was wrong; she said that she had knocked her
foot against a stone in the ground; so they dug up the stone and threw
it away. But she still went on weeping and at last confessed that the
miserable-looking leaf-sellers were her brothers. Then her husband's
parents told her to be comforted, and they gave the brothers oil and
bade them go and bathe and oil their bodies: but the brothers were
so hungry that when they got to the bathing place they drank the oil
and ate the oil cake that had been given to them; and came back with
their skins as rough as when they went. So then they were given more
oil and some of the household went with them and made them bathe and
oil themselves properly and then brought them to the house and gave
them new clothes and made them a feast of meat and rice. According to
the custom of the country they were made to sit down in order of age
and were helped in that order; when they had all been helped and had
eaten, their sister said to them "Now brothers you come running to
me for food, and yet you sacrificed me in the tank." Then they were
overwhelmed with shame: they looked up at the sky but there was no
escape there; they looked down at the earth; and the earth split open
and they all ran into the chasm. The sister tried to catch the youngest
brother by the hair and pull him out, calling "Come back, brother,
come back brother, you shall carry my baby about for me!" but his
hair came off in her hand and the earth swallowed them all up. Their
sister planted the hair in a corner of the garden and it is said that
from that human hair, _sabai_ grass originated.

XXVI. The Merchant's Son and the Raja's Daughter.

Once a merchant's wife and a Raja's wife were both with child and one
day as they bathed together they fell into conversation, and they
agreed that if they both bore daughters then the girls should be
"flower friends" while if one had a son and one a daughter then the
children should marry: and they committed the agreement to writing. A
month or two later the Raja's wife bore a daughter and the merchant's
wife a son. When the children grew up a bit they were sent to school,
and as they were both very intelligent they soon learnt to read and
write. At the school the boys used to be taught in an upstairs room
and the girls on the ground floor. One day the boy wrote out a copy
of the agreement which their mothers had made and threw It down to
the girl who was below.

She read it and from that day they began to correspond with each other;
love soon followed and they decided to elope. They fixed a day and
they arranged that the boy should wait for the girl under a _turu_
tree outside the town. When the evening came the girl made haste to
cook her parents' supper and then, when they went to bed, she had
as usual to soothe them to sleep by rubbing their limbs; all this
took a long time and the merchant's son soon got tired of waiting,
so he sang to the tree:--

"Be witness be witness for me 'Turu tree'
When the Raja's daughter comes."

and so singing he tied his horse to the roots of the tree and himself
climbed up into the branches, and sitting in the tree he pulled off
and threw down a number of twigs. Late at night the Raja's daughter
came; she saw the horse tied and the twigs scattered on the ground,
but no other sign of her lover. And at last she got tired of waiting
and called the _Turu_ tree to witness, singing:--

"Be witness be witness for me 'Turu tree'
When the merchant's son comes."

As she finished her song the merchant's son threw down a large branch
to her, so she looked up and saw him sitting in the tree. Then she
climbed up to him and began to scold him for putting her to the pain
of waiting so long. He retorted "It was you who made me anxious by
keeping me waiting." "That was not my fault: you know how much work
a woman has to do. I had to cook the supper and put my parents to
bed and rub them to sleep. Climb down and let us be off." So they
climbed down from the tree and mounted the horse and rode off to
a far country. On the road the girl became very thirsty but in the
dense jungle they could find no water, at last the merchant's son
threw a stone at hazard and they heard it splash in a pool; so they
went in the direction of the sound and there they found water but it
was foul and full of worms and the girl refused to drink it. She said
that she would only drink water "which had a father and mother."

So they went on their way, and after a time they came to a number
of crows holding a meeting and in the midst was an owl with its head
nodding drowsily; it was seeing dreams for them; every now and then
a crow would give it a shove and ask what it had dreamt, but the owl
only murmured that it had not finished and went off to sleep again. At
last it said "I have seen a gander and a goose go down into a river
and swim about in it."

The merchant's son and his companion went on and presently came to
a river in full flood, which was quite uncrossable; on the far bank
was a cow lowing to a calf which had been left on the bank where they
were. When she saw them the girl began to sing:--

"The cow lows for its calf
The calf bleats for its mother:
My father and mother
Are weeping for me at home."

When he heard her lament like this the merchant's son exclaimed

"You women are all alike, come let us go back."

"How can we go back now?" answered the girl "You of course can pretend
that you have been hunting; but we women lose our character if we
are hidden by a bush for a minute."

So as they could not cross the river by themselves, a goose and gander
carried them across on their backs. As they went on the merchant's
son asked the girl how far she would like to go, a six days' journey
or a six months' journey. He told her that in the six months' journey
they would only have fruits and roots and such like to eat and water
to drink, but the six days' journey was easy and free from hardship.

The girl chose the six days' journey, so they went on for six days
and came to a stream on the banks of which stood a cottage in which
lived an old woman. Before they went up to it the girl told her lover
not to eat any rice given to him by the old woman but to throw it
to the fowls; then they went and asked to be allowed to cook their
food there; now the old woman had seven unmarried sons, who were away
hunting at the time, and when she saw the Raja's daughter she wished
to detain her and marry her to one of her sons. So in order to delay
them she gave them a damp stove and green firewood to cook with;
she also offered the merchant's son some poisoned rice but he threw
it to the fowls, and when they ate it they fell down dead.

The girl could not make the fire burn with the green wood, so
they hurried away as fast as they could without waiting to cook any
food. Before they started however the old woman managed to tie up some
mustard seed in a cloth and fasten it to their horse's tail, so that
as they rode, the seed was spilt along the road they took. When the
old woman's sons came back from hunting she greeted them by saying:
"Why did you not come back sooner? I have just found a pretty wife
for you; but I have tied mustard seed to their horse's tail and it is
being scattered along the road: in one place it is sprouting in another
it is flowering; in another it is seeding and in another it is ripe;
when you get to the place where it is ripe you will catch them." So
the seven brothers pursued the two lovers and caught them up, but
the merchant's son cut down six of them with his sword; the seventh
however hid under the horse's belly and begged for mercy and offered to
serve them as groom to their horse. This man's name was Damagurguria;
they spared his life and he followed them running behind the horse;
but he watched his opportunity and caught the merchant's son unawares
and killed him with his sword.

Then he told the girl that she belonged to him and she admitted it and
asked that she might ride behind him on the horse, so Damagurguria
mounted and took her up behind him and turned homewards. He could
not see what the girl was doing and they had not gone far when she
drew his sword and killed him with it.

Then she rode back to where the body of her lover lay and began to weep
over it. As she sat there a man in shining white clothing appeared and
asked what was the matter; she told him Damagurguria had killed her
lover. Then he bade her stop crying and go and wet a _gamcha_ he gave
her and come straight back with it without looking behind her and then
pick a _meral_ twig and beat the corpse with it. So the girl took the
_gamcha_ and went and dipped it in a pool but, as she was bringing it
back, she heard a loud roaring behind her and she looked back to see
what it was; so the stranger sent her back again to the pool and this
time she did not look round though she heard the same roaring. Then
the stranger told her to join the severed head to the body and cover
it with the wet _gamcha_; and then, after waiting a little, to beat
the body with the _meral_ twig. So saying he disappeared. The girl
carefully complied with these instructions and to her joy saw the
merchant's son sit up and rub his eyes, remarking that he must have
been asleep for a long time. Great was his astonishment when he heard
how Damagurguria had killed him and how he had been restored to life
by the help of the stranger in white. This was the end of the lovers'
troubles and they lived happily ever after.

XXVII. The Flycatcher's Egg.

One day a herd boy found a flycatcher's egg and he brought it home
and asked his mother to cook it for him, but she put it on a shelf
and forgot about it. His mother was a poor woman and had to go out all
day to work; so before she started she used always to cook her son's
dinner and leave it covered up all ready for him. No sooner had she
gone to work than a _bonga_ girl used to come out of the flycatcher's
egg and first eat up the rice that had been left for the herd boy
and then quickly put water on to boil and cook some rice with pulse;
and, having eaten part of it, cover up the rest, ready for the herd
boy on his return. Then she used to comb and dress her hair and go
back into the egg. This happened every day and at last the boy asked
his mother why she gave him rice cooked with pulse every day, as he
was tired of it. His mother was much astonished and said that some
one must have been changing his food, because she always cooked his
rice with vegetables. At this the boy resolved to watch and see who
was touching his food; so one day he climbed up on to the rafters
and lay in wait. Presently out of the egg came the _bonga_ girl and
cooked the food and combed her hair as usual. Just as she was going
back into the egg, the herd boy sprang down and caught her. "Fi, Fi,"
cried she "is it a _Dome_ or a _Hadi_ who is clasping me?" "No _Dome_
or _Hadi_," said he: "we are husband and wife:" so he took her to
wife and they lived happily together.

He strictly forbade her ever to go outside the house and he said
incantations over some mustard seed and gave it to her, and told
her that, if any beggars came, she was to give them alms through the
window and, if they refused to take them in that way, then she was
to throw the mustard seed at them; but on no account to go outside
the house. One day when her husband was away a jugi came begging;
the _bonga_ girl offered him alms through the window but the jugi
flatly refused to take them; he insisted on her coming out of the
house and giving them. Then she threw the mustard seed at him and he
turned into ashes. By superior magic however he at once recovered his
own form and again insisted on her coming outside to give him alms,
so she went out to him and he saw how beautiful she was.

The jugi went away and one day he went to beg at the Raja's palace and,
talking to the Raja, he told him how he had seen a girl of more than
human beauty. The Raja resolved to possess her, and one day he took
the form of a fly and flew to the house and saw the beautiful _bonga_;
a second day he came back in the same form and suddenly caught her
up and flew off with her on his back to his palace, and in spite of
her weeping shut her up in a beautifully furnished room on the roof
of his palace. There she had to stay and her food was brought to her
there. When the herd boy came home and found that his beautiful wife
was missing he filled the air with lamentations and leaving his home
he put on the garb of a jugi and went about begging. One day he came
to the palace of the Raja who had carried off his wife; as he begged
he heard his wife's voice, so he sang:--

"Give me, oh give me, my flycatcher wife,
Give me my many-coloured wife."

Then they offered him a jar full of money to pacify him, but he threw
the rupees away one by one and continued his lament. Then the Raja
called for his two dogs Rauta and Paika and set them on the man and
they tore him to death. At this his wife wept grievously and begged
them to let her out since there was no one to carry her away, now
that her husband was dead.

They prepared to take away the corpse to burn it and the _bonga_
girl asked to be allowed to go with them as she had never seen the
funeral rites of a jugi: so they let her go.

Before starting she tied a little salt in the corner of her cloth. When
she reached the burning place, she sang to the two dogs:--

"Build the pyre, Rauta and Paika!
Alas! The dogs have bitten the jugi,
Alas! They have chased and killed the jugi."

So the two dogs built the pyre and lay the body on it. Then she
ordered them to split more wood, singing:--

"Cut the wood, Rauta and Paika!
Alas! The dogs have bitten the Jugi,
Alas! They have chased and killed the jugi."

So they split more wood and then she told them to apply the fire,

"Light the fire, Rauta and Paika!
Alas! The dogs have bitten the Jugi,
Alas! they have chased and killed the jugi."

When the pyre was in full blaze she suddenly said to the dogs "Look up,
Rauta and Paika, see the stars are shining in the day time." When the
two dogs looked up, she threw the salt into their eyes, and, while
they were blinded, she sprang into the flames and died as a _sati_
on the body of her husband.

XXVIII. The Wife Who Would Not Be Beaten.

There was once a Raja's son who announced that he would marry no woman
who would not allow him to beat her every morning and evening. The
Raja's servants hunted high and low in vain for a bride who would
consent to these terms, at long last, they found a maiden who agreed
to be beaten morning and evening if the prince would marry her. So
the wedding took place and for two or three days the prince hesitated
to begin the beating; but one morning he got up and, taking a stick
from the corner, went to his bride and told her that she must have
her beating. "Wait a minute" said she "there is one thing I want to
point out to you before you beat me. It is only on the strength of
your father's position that you play the fine gentleman like this:
your wealth is all your father's and it is on his wealth that you
are relying. When you have earned something for yourself, and made
a position for yourself, then I am willing that you should beat me
and not before."

The prince saw that what his bride said was true and held his
hand. Then, in order to earn wealth for himself, he set out on a
trading expedition, taking quantities of merchandise loaded in sacks;
and he had a large band of retainers with him, mounted on horses and
elephants, and altogether made a fine show. The princess sent one of
her own servants with the prince and gave him secret instructions
to watch his opportunity and if ever, when the prince was bathing,
he should throw away a loin cloth, to take possession of it without
the prince knowing anything about it and bring it to her. The prince
journeyed on till he came to the country called Lutia.

The Raja of Lutia was walking on the roof of his palace and he saw
the cavalcade approaching, and he sent a _sipahi_ to meet the prince
and ask him this question, "Have you the secret of prosperity for ever
or of prosperity for a day?" When this question was put to the prince
he answered that he had the secret of prosperity for ever. When the
Lutia Raja was told of this answer, he ordered his men to stop the
prince's train; so they surrounded them and seized all the merchandise
and the prince's retainers fled on their horses and elephants and
left him alone and penniless. In his distress the prince was forced
to take service with a rich Hindu, and he had nothing to live on but
what his master chose to give him, and all he had to wear was a loin
cloth like the poorest labourer.

The only man who did not desert him was the servant whom the Princess
had sent; and one day he saw that the prince had thrown away an old
loin cloth while bathing; this he picked up and took home to his
mistress, who put it away. When she heard all that had happened to
her husband, she set out in her turn to the Lutia country and all
she took with her was a mouse and a shawl. When she reached the Lutia
country the Raja as before sent a messenger to ask whether she knew
the secret of prosperity for ever or of prosperity for a day.

She answered "prosperity for a day." Thereupon the Raja had her sent
for and also all the retainers who had deserted the Prince and who
had collected together in the neighbourhood. When they had all come
the Raja said that he would now decide who should have all the wealth
which had been taken from the prince: he produced a cat and said that
the person towards whom the cat jumped should have all the wealth. So
they all sat round the Raja and the Princess had her mouse hidden
under her shawl and every now and then she kept uncovering its head
and covering it up again. The cat soon caught sight of the mouse and,
when the Raja let it go, it jumped straight to the Princess in hopes
of catching the mouse. The Raja at once adjudged all the merchandise
to her, and she loaded it on the horses and elephants and took it
home accompanied by her husband's retainers.

A few days afterwards her husband came home, having got tired of
working as a servant, and, putting a bold face on it, he went up to
her and said that now he was going to beat her; all the retainers who
had accompanied him when he set out to trade and also the servant whom
the princess had sent with him were present. Then, before them all,
the princess took up the old loin cloth and asked him if he knew to
whom it had belonged; at this reminder of his poverty the prince was
dumb with shame. "Ask your retainers" continued the princess "to whom
all the merchandise with which you set out now rightfully belongs,
ask them whether it is yours or mine, and then say whether you will
beat me."

The prince had no answer to give her and after this lesson gave up
all idea of beating his bride.

XXIX. Sahde Goala.

Once a marriage was arranged between Sahde Goala and Princess Chandaini
and on the wedding day when it began to get dusk Sahde Goala ordered
the sun to stand still. "How," said he, "can the people see the
wedding of a mighty man like myself in the dark?" So at his behest
the sun delayed its setting for an hour, and the great crowd which
had assembled saw all the grand ceremonies.

The next day Sahde and his bride set off home and it took them three
days to reach the place where he lived. Before they left they had
invited the princess's father to come and see them; accordingly a day
or two later he set out, but it took him three months to accomplish the
distance which Sahde Goala had traversed in three days. When the old
Raja reached his son-in-law's house they welcomed him and washed his
feet and offered him refreshments; and when he had eaten, he asked his
son-in-law to take him out for a stroll. So they went out, Sahde Goala
in front and the old Raja following behind him and as they walked Sahde
Goala struck his foot against a stone, and the stone was shattered to
pieces. When the Raja saw this proof of his son-in-law's superhuman
strength, he became alarmed for his daughter's safety. If Sahde ever
lost his temper with her he might clearly smash her to atoms, so he
made up his mind that he could not leave her in such keeping. When
he told his daughter what he had seen she was as frightened as her
father and begged him to take her home, so they agreed to escape
together some time when Sahde Goala was out of the way.

One morning Sahde Goala went out to watch his men working in the
fields and the old Raja and his daughter seized this opportunity to
escape. Sahde Goala had a sister named Lorokini and she ran to the
field to tell her brother that his wife was running away. "Let her go"
said Sahde Goala. The old Raja travelled faster than his daughter and
left her behind and as she travelled along alone Sahde Goala made a
flooded river flow across her path. It was quite unfordable so the
Princess stood on the bank and sang:--

"My mother gave me birth,
My father gave me in marriage:
If the water upstream would stand still
And the water downstream would flow away
Then I could go and live in my own home."

But no such thing happened and she had to go back to her husband's

When she arrived her mother-in-law gave her a large basket of cooked
rice and a pot of relish and told her to take them to the labourers
in the field. Her mother-in-law helped her to lift the basket on to
her head and she set off. When she reached the field she called to
her sister-in-law:--

"Come Lorokini,
Lift down from my head
The basket of rice
And the pot of relish."

But Lorokini was angry with her for trying to run
away and refused to help, singing:--

"I will not come
I will not lift down the basket:
Prop it against a _murup_ tree:
I will not lift it down."

Then Chandaini Rani propped it against the trunk of a _murup_ tree,
and so set it on the ground.

Then she sang to her husband:--

"Here, husband, is the lota of water:
Here, husband, is the tooth stick;
Come, and wash your hands:
If you are angry with me
Take me back to my father and mother."

But Sahde Goala was ploughing at the head of his men and paid no
attention to her: then she sang again:--

"Seven hundred labourers
And twenty hundred women labourers,
You are causing to die of thirst."

But still Sahde Goala paid no attention. Then Chandaini Rani got
angry and by leaning the basket against the _murup_ tree managed to
get it on to her head again and carried it home, and from that time
murup trees grow slanting. Directly she had taken the rice and relish
to the house she set off again to run away to her mother. As before
Sahde Goala caused a flooded river to flow across her path and as
before she sang:--

"My mother gave me birth,
My father gave me in marriage:
If the water upstream would stand still
And the water downstream would flow away
Then I could go and live in my own home,"

And this time the water did stand still and the water below all
flowed away and she crossed over. As she crossed she said "If I am
really chaste no one will be able to touch me." And as she reached
the opposite bank she saw a young man sitting waiting for her; his
name was Bosomunda, he had been sitting waiting for her on the bank
for days without moving. When he saw Chandaini Rani mount the bank
he rose and said "Come: I have been waiting for you, you are to be
my mistress." "Fie, fie!" answered she "Am I to belong to any Dome or
Hari?" Bosomunda swore that she should be his. "If so, then follow a
little behind me so as not to tread on my shadow." So they went on, the
Rani in front and Bosomunda behind. Presently they came to a tamarind
tree on which grew two enormous fruits; the Rani pointed to them saying
"If I am to belong to you, you must pick me those fruits." So Bosomunda
began to climb the tree, and as he climbed she prayed that the tree
might grow and touch the sky; and in fact as fast as Bosomunda climbed
so the tree grew and he got no nearer to the fruit.

Then the Chandaini Rani picked up the weapons which he had laid
on the ground and threw them away one to the north and one to the
south, one to the east and one to the west, and ran off as fast as
she could. Bosomunda at first did not see her because his eyes were
fixed on the tamarind fruit, but after she had gone a long way he
caught sight of her and came down as fast as he could and, gathering
up his weapons, went in pursuit. But Chandaini Rani had got a long
start, and as she hurried along she passed a thorn tree standing by
the side of the road and she called to it "Thorn tree, Bosomunda is
coming after me, do your best to detain him for a little." As she
spoke it seemed as if a weight descended on the tree and swayed it
to and fro so that its branches swept the ground, and it answered her
"I will do like this to him." Then she went on and met a goat on the
road, and she asked it to do its best to delay Bosomunda, and the
goat pawed the ground and dug its horns into the earth and said that
it would do the same to Bosomunda. Then she went on and met a ram and
made the same request; the ram charged a tree and butted it right over
and promised to treat Bosomunda in the same way. Afterwards she came
to a bull and the bull drove its horns into a bank and brought down
a quantity of earth and said that that was the way he would treat
Bosomunda. Next she came to a buffalo and the buffalo charged a bank
of earth to show what he would do to Bosomunda. Then she came to an
elephant and the elephant trampled a clod of earth to dust and said
that he would treat Bosomunda so. Then she went on and saw a paddy
bird feeding by the roadside and she asked it to do its best to delay
Bosomunda; the paddy bird drove its bill into the earth and said that
it would treat Bosomunda in the same way.

Meanwhile Bosomunda was in hot pursuit. When he came to the thorn
tree, the tree swayed its branches and caught him with its thorns,
but he cut down the tree and freed himself; he went on a little way
and met the goat which ran at him with its horns, but Bosomunda sang:--

"Do not fight with me, goat,
I will cut off your legs and cut off your head
And take them to the shrine of Mahadeo."

So saying, he killed the goat and cut off its head and tied it to
his waist and went on. Next the ram charged him but he sang:

"Do not fight with me, Ram,
I will cut off your legs and cut off your head
And take them to the shrine of Mahadeo."

So saying he killed the Ram and took its head. Then in succession he
was attacked by the bull and the buffalo and the elephant, but he
killed them all and cut off their heads. Then he came to the paddy
bird, which pretended to be busily engaged in picking up insects
and gradually worked its way nearer and nearer. Bosomunda let it get
quite close and then suddenly seized it and gave its neck a pull which
lengthened it out considerably; "Thank you" said the paddy bird, as
he put it down "now I shall be able to catch all the fish in a pool
without moving." Thereupon Bosomunda caught it again and gave its neck
a jerk and that is why paddy birds have necks shaped like a letter S.

Bosomunda continued his pursuit and caught up Chandaini Rani just
as she was entering her father's house; he seized her by her hair
and managed to cut off the edge of her cloth and pull off one of her
golden anklets, and then had to let her go.

He took up his abode at the _ghat_ of a tank and began to kill every
one who came down to the water. The citizens complained to the Raja
of the destruction he was causing and the Raja ordered some valiant
man to be searched for, fit to do battle with the murderer; so they
sent for a Birbanta (giant) and the Raja promised to give him half his
kingdom and his daughter in marriage if he could slay Bosomunda. So
the Birbanta made ready for the fight and advanced brandishing his
weapons against Bosomunda. Three days and three nights they fought,
and in the end the Birbanta was defeated and killed.

Then the Raja ordered his subjects to find another champion and
a Birburi was found willing to undertake the fight in hope of the
promised reward; and as he was being taken to the field of battle
his mother met him with a ladle full of curds and told him to do a
war dance, and as he was dancing round she threw the curds at him;
he caught the whole of it on his shield except one drop which fell on
his thigh; from this his mother foresaw that he would bleed to death
In the fight, so she took some rice and ran on ahead and again met
her son and told him to do the war dance and show how he was going to
fight; and as he danced his sword shivered to atoms. His mother said,
"Is this the way in which you intended to fight, of a surety you would
have met your death." Then she made him gather together the pieces
of his sword and cover them with a wet cloth, and in a few minutes
the pieces joined together; then she allowed him to go to the fight.

When the battle began the Birburi's mother kept calling out "Well,
Bosomunda, have you killed my son?" This enraged Bosomunda and he
kept running after the old woman to drive her away, and this gave
the opportunity to the Birburi to get in a good blow; in this way
they fought for seven days and nights and at the end Bosomunda was
defeated and killed. Then the Raja gave half his kingdom to the
Birburi and married him to his daughter Chandaini Rani.

After their marriage they set out for their new home and on the
way they met Sahde Goala who had come in search of his missing
wife. "Hulloa" cried Sahde Goala "where are you taking my wife
to?" "I know nothing about your wife" said the Birburi "this is
the Raja's daughter whom I have married as a reward for killing
Bosomunda; he has given me half his kingdom from Sir Sikar to the
field of the cotton tree." Then Sahde Goala told him to go his way,
so the Birburi and the Rani went on and Sahde Goala caused a flooded
river with the water flowing bank high to cross their path. As they
waited on the bank Sahde Goala made the Birburi an offer that, if he
could carry the woman across the river without getting the sole of
her foot wet, then she should belong to him and if not Sahde Goala
should take her. The Birburi agreed and tried and tried again to get
the Rani across without wetting her, but the flood was too strong,
so at last he gave in and Sahde Goala took her back with him to their
former home. There they lived and in the course of time Chandaini
Rani bore a son and she named him Dhonontori, and after the birth of
their son the family became so wealthy (dhon) that the Hindus revered
Dhonontori as a god. And so ends the story.

XXX. The Raja's Son and the Merchants Son.

Once upon a time the son of a Raja and the son of a merchant were great
friends; they neither of them had any taste for lessons but would play
truant from school and waste their time running about the town. The
Raja was much vexed at his son's behaviour; he wished him to grow up
a worthy successor to himself, and with this object did all he could
to break off his friendship with the merchant's son, as the two boys
only led each other into mischief; but all his efforts failed and at
last he offered a reward of one hundred rupees to any one who could
separate them. One of the Raja's concubines made up her mind to earn
the reward, and one day she met the two boys as they were going out to
bathe. The Raja's son was walking ahead and the merchant's son a little
way behind; the woman ran after the merchant's son and threw her arms
round him and putting her lips to his ear pretended to whisper to him
and then ran away. When they met at the river the Prince asked the
merchant's son what the woman had told him, his friend denied that
she had said anything but for all his protestations the Prince would
not believe this. They quarrelled about it for a long time and at
last the Prince went home in a rage and shut himself up in his room
and refused to eat or be comforted. His father sent to enquire what
was the matter with him and the Prince replied that food should not
pass his lips until the merchant's son had been put to death.

Thereupon the Raja sent for some soldiers and told them to devise
some means of killing the merchant's son. So they bound the youth
and showed him to the Prince and said that they would take him to the
jungle and kill and bury him there. They then led him off, but on the
road they caught a lamb and when they got to the jungle they killed
the lamb and steeped the clothes of the merchant's son in the blood
that they might have something to show to the Prince and then went
back leaving the boy in the jungle. They took the bloody cloth to
the Prince and told him to rise and eat, but when he saw the blood,
all his old friendship revived and he was filled with remorse and
could not eat for sorrow. Then the Raja told his soldiers to find out
some friend to comfort the Prince, and they told him that they would
soon set things straight and going off to the jungle brought back the
merchant's son and took him to the Prince; and the two youths forgot
their differences and were as friendly as before.

Time passed and one day the Prince proposed to his friend that they
should run away and seek their fortunes in the world. So they fixed
a day and stole away without telling anyone, and, as they had not
taken any money, they soon had to look about for employment. They
found work and the arrangement their masters made with them was this:
their wages were to be as much rice each day as would go on a leaf;
and if they threw up their work they were to forfeit one hand and
one ear; on the other hand if their masters discharged them so long
as they were willing to work for this wage the master was to lose one
hand and one ear. The merchant's son was cunning enough to turn this
agreement to his advantage, for every day he brought a large lotus
leaf to be rilled with rice; this gave him more than he could eat
and he soon grew fat and flourishing, but the Raja's son only took
an ordinary _sal_ leaf to his master and the rice that he got on this
was not enough to keep him alive, so he soon wasted away and died.

Now the merchant's son had told his master that his name was Ujar:
one day his master said "Ujar, go and hoe that sugar cane and look
sharp about it." So Ujar went and instead of hoeing the ground dug
up all the sugar cane and piled it in a heap. When the master saw
his fine crop destroyed he was very angry and called the villagers
to punish Ujar, but when they questioned him, Ujar protested that
he was bound to obey his master's orders; he had been ordered to
hoe the sugar cane, not the ground, and he had done as he was told,
and so they had to let him off.

Another day a Hindu neighbour came to Ujar's master and asked him to
lend him his servant for a day. So Ujar went to the Hindu's house
and there was told to scrape and spin some hemp, but Ujar did not
understand the Hindu language and when he got the knife to scrape
the hemp with, he proceeded to chop it all up into little pieces;
when the Hindu saw what had happened he was very angry and called in
the neighbours, but Ujar protested that he had been told to cut the
hemp and had done so; and so he got off.

Ujar's master had an only child and one day he told Ujar to take the
child to a tank and give him a good washing, so Ujar took the child
to a tank and there proceeded to dash the child against a stone in
the way that washermen wash clothes; he knocked the child about until
he knocked the life out of him and then carefully washed him in the
tank and brought the body home and put it on the bed. Next morning
the father was surprised not to hear the child running about and,
going to look, found the dead body. The villagers assembled but Ujar
protested that his master had told him to wash the child thoroughly
and he had only obeyed orders; so they had to let him off again.

After this the master made up his mind to get rid of Ujar, but he
was in a fix: he could not dismiss him because of the agreement that
if he did not continue to employ him so long as he was willing to
serve for one leaf full of rice a day he was to lose a hand and an
ear. So he decided to kill him, but he was afraid to do so himself
for fear of being found out; so he decided to send Ujar to his
father-in-law's house and get them to do the job. He wrote a letter
to his father-in-law asking him to kill the bearer directly he arrived
before many people knew of his coming and this letter he gave to Ujar
to deliver.

On the way however Ujar had some misgivings and he opened the letter
and read it; thereupon he tore it in pieces and instead of it wrote a
letter to his master's father-in-law in which his master was made to
say that Ujar was a most valuable servant and they should give him
their youngest daughter in marriage as soon as possible. The fraud
was not found out and directly Ujar arrived he was married to the
youngest daughter of his master's father-in-law. A few days later the
master went to see how his plan had worked and was disgusted to find
Ujar not only alive but happily married.

So he thought that he would entice him into the jungle and kill him
there; with this object he one day invited Ujar to come out hunting
with him, but Ujar suspected what was up and took a hatchet with him;
and directly they got to the jungle he fell behind his master and
cut him down with his hatchet and then went home and told his wife's
relations that his master had got tired of hunting and had gone back
to his own home; no doubts were raised about his story and he lived
on happily with his wife till he died at a ripe old age.

XXXI. The Poor Widow.

Once there was a poor widow who had two children; she lived by daily
labour and if she got no work any day, then that day they had to go
without food. One morning she went out to look for work and a rich
woman called her and asked if she wanted a job; she said "Yes, that
is what I am looking for," then the rich woman said "Stay here and
pick the lice out of my hair, and I will pay you your usual wages and
give you your dinner as well." So the poor widow agreed and spent the
day picking out the lice and at evening the rich woman brought out
a measure of rice to give her as her wages and, as she was measuring
it, she felt her head itch and she put up her hand and scratched and
pulled out a large louse.

Then she got very angry and scolded the widow and said that she would
pay her nothing as she had not done her work properly and she turned
her out. Then the widow was very unhappy for she had nothing to give
her starving children and she wished that she had stuck to her usual
work. When she got home and her children began to cry for food, she
remembered that she had seen some wild _saru_ (vegetable) growing in
a certain place; so she took a basket and a sickle and telling her
children not to cry went out to gather it. It was dark and lonely
and she felt frightened but then she thought of her children and
went on and gathered the _saru_, and returned home crying because
she had nothing better to give her offspring. On the way she met an
old man who asked her why she was crying and she told him all her
story. Then he told her to take the herbs home and chop them all up
and to put some in every basket and pot she had and to cook the rest
for supper. So when she got home she did as she had been directed and
when she came to take the herbs which she had cooked out of the pot,
she found that they had turned into rice, and she and her children
ate it with joy. The next morning she found that every pot and basket
into which she had put the herbs was full of rice; and from that time
she prospered and bought goats and pigs and cattle and lived happily
ever after.

But no one knew where the old man came from, as she had forgotten to
ask him.

XXXII. The Monkey and the Girl.

Once upon a time the boys and girls of a village used to watch the
crops of _but_ growing by a river, and there was a Hanuman monkey who
wished to eat the _but,_ but they drove him away. So he made a plan:
he used to make a garland of flowers and go with it to the field and,
when he was driven away, he would leave the flowers behind; and the
children were pleased with the flowers and ended by making friends with
the monkey and did not drive him away. There was one of the young girls
who was fascinated by the monkey and promised to marry him. Some of
the other children told this in the village and the girl's father and
mother came to hear of it and were angry and the father took some of
the villagers and went and shot the monkey. Then they decided not to
throw away the body, but to burn it like the corpse of a man. So they
made a pyre and put the body on it and set fire to it; just then the
girl came and they told her to go away, but she said that she wished
to see whether they really burned him like a man. So she stood by
and when the pyre was in full blaze, she called out "Oh look, what is
happening to the stars in the sky!" at this every one looked up at the
sky; then she took some sand which she had in the fold of her cloth
and threw it into the air and it fell into their eyes and blinded them.

While they were rubbing the sand out of their eyes the girl leapt on to
the pyre, and was burned along with the monkey and died a _sati_. Her
father and brothers were very angry at this and said that the girl
must have had a monkey's soul and so she was fascinated by him;
and so saying they bathed and went home.

XXXIII. Ramai and the Animals.

Once there was a blacksmith who had five sons and the sons were always
quarrelling. Their father used to scold them, but they paid no heed;
so he got angry and one day he sent for them and said: "You waste
your time quarrelling. I have brought you up and have amassed wealth;
I should like to see what you are worth. I will put it to the test:
I will give you each one hundred rupees, and I will see how you employ
the money; if any of you puts it to profitable use, I will call him
my son; but if any of you squander it, I shall call him a girl." So
they went forth with the money and one bought buffaloes and one bought
horses and another cattle, each according to his judgement, and brought
them home. But the youngest son, who was named Ramai, soon after he
started, found some men killing a cat and he begged them not to kill
the cat, but let him have it and he bought it of them, and going on
he found some men killing a dog which they had caught stealing and
he bought it of them to save its life. By and bye he came to some men
hunting an otter and he asked what they were doing, and they said that
the otter ate the fish in a Raja's tank and so they were going to kill
it; and he asked them to catch it and sell it to him, and promised
to take it away where it could do no harm; and they did so. Then he
went on and came to some men who were killing a young black snake
and he saved that also, and then returned home with his four animals,
and he tethered the cat and the dog and the otter in the yard and he
put the snake into a pot with a lid on and hung it in the cow shed.

When his father saw Ramai's animals, he was very angry and jeered at
him and said that he had no more mind than a woman; and especially
he told him to throw away the snake at once, if he did not want it
killed. So Ramai took down the pot with the snake in it, and the snake
said: "Take me to my father and mother and they will reward you, and
when they ask what you would like, take nothing but the ring which
is on my father's hand: it is a magic ring and has the property that
it will give you whatever you ask."

So Ramai took the young snake to its home and its father and mother
were very grateful and asked what reward he would accept: and he said
he would take nothing but the ring, so they gave it to him. On the way
home he thought that he would test its virtues: so he bathed and spread
out a cloth and then prayed: "Oh ring, give me some luncheon," and
behold he saw a nice lunch heaped up in the middle of the cloth. He ate
it joyfully and went back home, and there he found that his father had
killed the other animals and he reproached him; but his father said:
"They were useless and were only eating their heads off, why should
not I kill them?" Ramai answered: "These were not useless, they were
most valuable animals, much better than those my brothers bought; if
you asked my brothers for a gold palace they could not make you one,
but I could do so at once, thanks to the snake, and I could marry a
princess and get anything else I want."

His father said that he would like to see him try: so Ramai asked
the ring for a gold palace and immediately one appeared in their
garden. Then his father was very repentant about having killed the
other animals. But Ramai's boast that he could marry a princess got
abroad and the Raja heard of it and as he was glad to have so rich
a son-in-law, he gave him his daughter in marriage. And with his
daughter the Raja sent elephants and horses, but Ramai sent them back
again, lest it should be said that he had become rich through the
bounty of the Raja; and by virtue of the ring they lived in wealthy
and prosperity.

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