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Folklore of the Santal Parganas by Cecil Henry Bompas

Part 8 out of 8

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_More Turuiko_. Lit.: The five or six--certain Santal godlings.

_Mowah_. A tree, Bassia latifolia, the fleshy flower is eaten and
spirit is distilled from it.

_Musahar_. A semi-aboriginal caste which catches and eats rats.

_Nala_. A water course with steep banks.

_Narta_. The namegiving ceremony observed three or five days after
birth, by which the child is formally admitted into the tribe.

_Ninda Chando_. The moon godess, wife of Singchando the Sun god.

_Kat_. A dry measure used for grain.

_Kisar Bonga_. A spirit which takes up its abode in the house,
frolicsome and mischievous.

_Kisku_. One of the twelve exogamous septs of Santals, by tradition
it was formerly the royal sept.

_Koeri_. A cultivating caste of Hindus.

_Kora_. A youth or young man, the hero of a story is often called so
throughout, and I have for convenience adopted it as a proper name.

_Kos_. A measure of distance, two miles.

_Ojha_. An exorcist, a charm doctor, one who counteracts the effects
of witchcraft.

_Pachet_. A place in the Manbhum district which the Santals occupied
in the course of their immigrations.

_Panchayat_. A council primarily of five which meets to decide
a dispute.

_Pagri_. A cloth worn round the head, a turban.

_Paharia_. A hill man; the Saurias or Male of the Rajmahal hills.

_Pai_. A wooden or metal measure containing half a seer.

_Pan_. Betel used for chewing.

_Parganna_. A Santal chief having jurisdiction over a number of

_Paranic_. The assistant headman of a village.

_Parrab_. A festival.

_Peepul_ or _pipal_. A tree, ficus religiosa.

_Pilchu Haram_ and _Pilchu Budhi_. The first man and woman.

_Rahar_. A cultivated crop, a kind of pulse.

_Raibar_. A marriage go-between, a man employed to arrange a marriage.

_Rakas_. An ogre. Sanskrit Rakhshya.

_Rum_. To be possessed, to fall into a cataleptic state.

_Sabai_. A kind of grass used for making rope.

_Sal_. A forest tree. Shorea robusta.

_Seer_. A weight, about two pounds.

_Sid atang_. To take the final step, to be completely initiated.

_Sing bonga_. The Sun god.

_Sipahi_. An armed guard, a soldier, armed messenger.

_Sohrai_. The great winter festival of the Santals.

_Taluq_. A revenue division of the country.

_Tarop tree_. A small tree, Buchanania latifolia.

_Thakur_. The supreme Being.

_Tika_. A mark on the forehead, the giving of which corresponds
to coronation.

_Tola_. A hamlet, a detached quarter of a village.



The Kolhan forms the western half of the district of Singhbhum in
Chota Nagpur. The Hos or Larka Hos who form the bulk of the inhabitants
are a branch of the Mundas of the Chota Nagpur Plateau. They are one
of those Kolarian tribes of which the Santals are perhaps the best
known. I have collected some of the Folklore stories current among
them, the recollection of which would, however, appear to be dying out.

The Rev. A. Campbell of the Free Church of Scotland, Santal Mission,
has printed a volume of Santal Folk Tales collected by him in Manbhum,
a neighbouring district to Singhbhum. As might be expected there is
considerable resemblance between those Santal Tales and the ones now
reproduced. I have heard some of Mr. Campbell's Santal stories told by
Hos precisely as he relates them, and there are many incidents common
to both collections. On the other hand there is no resemblance between
these Kolarian tales, and the Bengal stories published by Rev. Lal
Behari De. In the latter I only notice one incident which appears in
the Kolhan stories, the bringing together of two lovers through a long
hair floating down a stream, but in Bengal it is the lady's hair that
floats to her lover, while in the Kolhan it is always the long hair
of the hero which inspires love in the heart of the Raja's daughter.

The stories may be divided into two groups, the animal stories
in which the principal characters are animals, for the most part
denizens of the jungles, and the stories which deal with a settled
state of Society with Rajas, priests and members of the different
Hindu castes following their usual occupations. It is interesting,
but perhaps scarcely profitable, to try and deduce from the latter some
hints of the previous history of the Hos, who, as we know them, are a
strongly democratic race, with a well developed tribal system. They
look on themselves as the owners, of the soil and are unwilling to
admit the claims of any overlord.

I have made no attempt to put the following stories into a literary
dress; I merely bring them as a few stones to the hands of the builders
who build the structure of comparative mythology.

(1)--The River Snake.

Once upon a time a certain woman had been on a visit to a distant
village. As she was going home she reached the bank of a flooded
river. She tried to wade across but soon found that the water was too
deep and the current too strong. She looked about but could see no
signs of a boat or any means of crossing. It began to grow dark and
the woman was in great distress at the thought that she would not be
able to reach her home.

While she thus stood in doubt, suddenly out of the river came a
great snake an said to her: "Woman, what will you give me if I ferry
you across the river?" She answered: "Snake, I have nothing to give
you." The snake said I cannot take you across the river unless you
promise to give me something. Now the woman at the time was pregnant
and not knowing what else to do, she promised that when her child was
born, if it were a daughter she would marry her to the river snake
and if it were a son that, when the boy grew up he should become the
"_juri_" or "name friend" of the snake. The woman swore to do this with
an oath and then the snake took her on his back and bore her safely
across the flooded stream. The woman safely reached her home and in a
little time a daughter was born to her. Years passed away and the woman
forgot all about the snake and her oath. One day she went to the river
to fetch water and the snake came out of the stream and said to her:
"Woman, where is the wife whom you promised to me?" The woman then
remembered her oath and going back to her house she returned to the
river with her daughter. When the girl came to the bank of the river
the snake seized her and drew her underneath the water and her mother
saw her no more. The girl lived with the snake at the bottom of the
river and in the course of years bore him four snake sons.

Afterwards the girl remembered her home and one day she went to
visit her mother. Her brothers when they came home were astonished
to see her and said: "Sister, we thought that you were drowned in
the river." She answered: "No, I was not drowned, but I am married
and have children." The brothers said: "Where is this brother-in-law
of ours?" Their sister said: "Go to the river and call him." So they
went to the river and called and the snake came up out of the water
and went to their house with them. Then they welcomed the snake and
gave him great quantities of rice beer to drink. After drinking this
the snake became sleepy and coiling himself in great coils went to
sleep. Then the brothers who did not like a snake brother-in-law
took their axes and cut off the head of the snake while he slept,
and afterwards their sister lived in their house.

(2)--The Sons of the Tigress.

Once upon a time a cow and a tigress lived in a jungle and were great
friends, they were never separated. Now in those days tigers did not
eat flesh, but grazed like cattle, so the tigress never thought of
doing any harm to her friend the cow. The tigress had given birth
to two men children who were growing up fine and sturdy lads. One
afternoon the cow and the tigress went down to a stream to drink,
the cow went into the stream and drank and the tigress drank lower
down. The cow fouled the water of the stream and the tigress tasting
the water found it sweet and thought if the cow can make the water so
sweet how sweet the flesh of the cow must be. So on the way back from
the stream the tigress suddenly sprang on the cow and killed her and
ate her up, leaving nothing but the bones. When she got home her sons
asked her where the cow was, but the tigress said that she did not know
and that the cow must have deserted them, but afterwards the boys found
the bones of the cow and they guessed what had happened. Then they
thought, if our mother has killed her friend the cow, she will surely
kill and eat us next. So when the tigress was asleep they killed her
with axes. Then they ran away and after going for many days through
the jungle they reached a city and they found all the people in great
distress because a tiger was devastating the kingdom and killing all
the inhabitants and no one could kill the tiger. The Raja of the city
made a a proclamation that any one who could kill the tiger should
have half the kingdom and his daughter in marriage. The two boys being
the sons of a tigress were able by their knowledge of tiger ways to
kill the tiger. So they were given half the kingdom and the elder of
them married the king's daughter and they lived happily ever after.

(3)--The Tiger's Marriage.

Once upon a time there lived a Raja who had one son and many
daughters. One day the Raja went into the jungle to cut grass. He
cut a great deal of grass and tied it up in a big bundle and then
he found that he had cut so much that it was more than he could
carry. As he was wondering what he should do a tiger came by that
way and seeing the Raja in difficulties asked what he could do
to help him. The Raja explained that he had cut a bundle of grass
which was too heavy to carry. The tiger said that he would carry the
grass if he were rewarded for it: the Raja asked him what reward he
wanted. The tiger said that he wished for one of the Raja's daughters
in marriage. The Raja reflected that he had many daughters and agreed
to the proposition. Thereupon the grass was placed on the tiger's back
and he carried it to the Raja's palace. Now the Raja was ashamed to
give his daughter openly to the tiger so he told the tiger to wait
by the water hole, and sending for one of his daughters bade her go
and fetch water; the girl went to the water hole where the tiger was
waiting and was carried off by the tiger. But the Raja's son missed
his sister and went in search of her. After searching some time he
came to a cave in the jungle and looking in he was the tiger finishing
the remains of the girl whom he had killed. Then the Raja's son ran
home as quickly as he could, and told the Raja what he had seen.

The next day the tiger came openly to the Raja's palace and asked to
see the Raja. He was taken to the Raja and treated politely. Then the
tiger said to the Raja: "I am sorry to say that the wife whom you gave
me has died, so you must give me another." [4] The Raja said he would
think about the matter and invited the tiger to stay at the palace. So
the tiger was given a good bed, and quickly went to sleep. In the
night the Raja's son boiled some large vessels of water and poured
the scalding water over the sleeping tiger and killed him. And in
this way the tiger died.

(4)--The Jackal and His Neighbours.

Once upon a time a jackal killed a kid in a village and taking it to a
little distance began to enjoy a good meal. But the crows who always
make a noise about other people's business, gathered in a tree over
his head and made a great cawing, so the villagers went to see what
was the matter and beat the jackal severely and deprived him of his
feast. On this account the jackal was very angry with the crows and
determined to be revenged.

Shortly afterwards a great storm came on with wind and heavy rain
and all the birds and animals were in danger of being drowned. Then
the jackal pretended to be sorry for the crows and invited them all
to come and take shelter in his house. But when the jackal had got
them safely into his house he killed and ate them all; all except
one _nilkanth_ bird which he decided to keep for his breakfast the
next day, so he tied the _nilkanth_ bird, on to his tail and went
away from that part of the country. But the _nilkanth_ bird pecked
and pecked at the jackal's tail until it not only pecked itself loose
but hurt the tail so much that it became festered and swollen.

As the jackal went along with his swollen tail he met a potter going to
market with earthern pots for sale. Then the jackal put on a bullying
air and said that he was a sipahi of the Raja, and one pot of those
being taken to market must be given to him; at first the potter
refused, but being frightened he in the end gave one to the jackal.

Into this the jackal pressed the matter which had accumulated in his
swollen tail and covered it over with leaves. Going on, the jackal met
a boy tending goats, he told the boy that he had arranged with the
boy's father to buy one of the goats in exchange for a pot of ghee,
the boy believed this and took the chatty with its contents from the
jackal and gave him a fine goat.

The jackal went off to his home in triumph with the goat.

His friends and neighbours were very jealous when they saw that he
had so fine a goat and waiting till his back was turned, they killed
and ate the goat, and then they filled the skin with stones and gravel
so that it might seem that the whole goat was still there. The jackal
found out what his neighbours had done, and he took the goat skin to
a _muchi_ and got the _muchi_ to make it into a drum. Then he went to
the banks of a deep river and began to play the drum. All the other
jackals collected round and were lost in admiration of the tone of
the drum. They wanted to know where so beautiful a drum was got, the
first jackal said that there were many drums as good at the bottom of
the river, and if they tied stones round their necks and jumped in
they would find them. So the other jackals in their anxiety to get
such drums jumped into the river and were drowned, and the jackal
was revenged on all his enemies.

(5)--The Jackal and the Tigers.

Once upon a time a pair of tigers lived in a jungle with their two
cubs, and every day the two tigers used to go out hunting deer and
other animals that they might bring home food for the cubs. Near the
jungle lived a jackal, and he found it very hard to get enough to live
upon; however, one day he came upon the tiger's den when the father
and mother tiger were out hunting, and there he saw the two tiger
cubs with a large piece of venison which their parents had brought
them. Then the jackal put on a swaggering air and began to abuse
the tiger cubs for having so much venison, saying: "I am the sipahi
of the Raja and the Raja has demanded venison and none can be found,
while low people like you have a fine piece like this: give it at once
or I will take it and report against you to the Raja." Then the tiger
cubs were frightened and gave up the venison and the jackal went off
gleefully and ate it. The next day the jackal came again and in the
same way took off more meat. The jackal continued taking their meal
from the tiger cubs every day till the cubs became very thin: the
father tiger determined to find out why this was, so he hid himself
in the bushes and watched: he saw the jackal come and take away the
meat from the cubs. Then he was very angry and ran after the jackal
to kill him and the jackal ran away very fast and the tiger ran after
as fast as he could: at last the jackal ran into a cleft between two
rocks and the tiger running after him stuck fast between the two
rocks and could not come out and so was starved to death. But the
jackal being smaller ran out on the other side.

Then the jackal went back to the tiger's den and told the tigress that
her husband had been caught by the Raja and thrown into prison for
interfering with his sipahi. The tigress and her cubs were very unhappy
at this news for they thought that they would starve. Then the jackal
comforted them and told them not to be afraid as he would stay with
them and protect them, and help them with their hunting. So the next
day they all four went hunting. They arranged that the jackal should
wait at a certain place, while the tigers beat the jungle and drove
the game towards him. The jackal had boasted about the amount of game
that he could catch and when a herd of deer broke by him he tried to
seize one but they easily escaped: then the jackal was ashamed but
in order not to be detected he lay down and pretended that he had
been suddenly taken very ill. And when the tigers came up they were
sorry for him and forgave him for catching no game. The next day it
was arranged that the tigress should be in wait and the jackal and
the two young tigers should beat: the tigress soon killed a fine
deer. When the others came up the tigers wanted to eat it at once,
but the jackal would not let them and said that they must go to a
little distance while he did puja to make the food wholesome. The
tigers obeyed and under pretence of doing puja the jackal ate up
all the tit bits and then allowed the tigers to come and eat the
rest. This happened daily and the jackal lived in comfort all his days.

(6)--The Wild Buffaloes.

There was once a man so poor that he had no land, no plough and no
plough cattle: all that he had was a pair of fine goats. This man
determined to plough with the goats, so he made a little plough and
yoked the goats to it, and with it he ploughed a piece of barren
upland. Having ploughed he had no seed paddy to sow; he went to try
and borrow some paddy from the neighbours, but they would lend him
nothing. Then he went and begged some paddy chaff, and a neighbour
readily gave him some. The man took the chaff and sowed it as if it
had been seed. Wonderful to relate from this chaff grew up the finest
crop of paddy that ever was seen. Day by day the man went and watched
with joy his paddy grow and ripen. One morning when he went to see
it he was horrified to find that in the night wild buffaloes had come
and eaten and destroyed the whole crop. Having now no other resource
the man determined to follow the wild buffaloes into the jungle:
he readily tracked them and came to a large open space where every
night the wild buffaloes used to sleep. As it was very dirty he made
a broom of twigs and brushed the place clean. At nightfall he heard
the buffaloes coming back and he went and hid in a hollow tree. When
the buffaloes saw how clean their sleeping place had been made they
were very pleased and wondered who had done it. The next morning the
buffaloes all went away into the jungle to graze, and the man came
out of his hollow tree and again swept up the place: the buffaloes on
their return saw that the place had again been swept and decided to
leave one of their number to watch and see who did this. They left a
buffalo who was lame to watch: when the day got hot however the lame
buffalo went to sleep, and the man then came out of his tree and swept
up the place and hid himself again without being discovered. So the
next day the buffaloes left a blind one behind.

The blind buffalo was of very acute hearing and he heard the man come
out and sweep the place and return to the tree: so when the other
buffaloes came back he told them of the man's hiding place. The
buffaloes made him come out and arranged that they would provide
for him if he would stay with them and sweep their sleeping place
daily. The next day the buffaloes lay in wait for a band of merchants
who were travelling through the forest and suddenly charging down
upon them put the merchants to flight: they fled leaving behind
them all their goods and provisions: these the buffaloes took on
their horns and carried to the man, and in this way they from time
to time supplied him with all he needed. As he was alone all day
they gave him a pair of horns, and said that wherever he was if he
blew on the horns all the buffaloes in the forest would come to his
assistance. But one day when he was bathing he put the horns down on
the bank of the stream and crows flew away with them and he did not
care to tell the buffaloes that he had lost them.

One day he went to bathe in the river and after bathing he sat and
combed his hair on the bank. Now his hair was so long that it reached
to his knees. One of his long hairs came out and so he took it and
splitting open a _loa_ fruit he coiled the hair inside and closed the
fruit up and then set it to float down the river. A long way down
the stream a Raja's daughter happened to be bathing and the _loa_
fruit floated past her: she caught hold of it and when she opened it
she found the long hair inside. At once she went to her father and
vowed that she would marry no one except the man to whom the long
hair belonged. As nothing would alter her determination the Raja sent
men up the river to search for the owner of the long hair. One of
them found the man at the home of the buffaloes and brought him to
the Raja. He was at once married with great grandeur to the princess
and promised the succession to the kingdom. So our hero began to live
in great luxury. One day as he was standing in the courtyard of the
palace some crows flew overhead and dropped the pair of horns that he
had lost. He picked them up and boasted that if he blew on them the
whole town would be at once destroyed. The bystanders laughed at him,
whereupon he got angry and blew on the horns. Then there was a great
noise and an enormous herd of wild buff aloes was seen rushing down
to destroy the town. However before they could do any damage he ran
out and assured them that he was unhurt; at this the buffaloes were
pacified; then all the straw and grain in the palace was brought out
and given to the buffaloes to eat: after eating all they wanted they
went back into the jungle, all except one pair which stayed behind in
the palace; and from this pair are descended all the tame buffaloes
which we see to-day.

(7)--The Grateful Cow.

Once upon a time there were two brothers who were very poor and lived
only by begging and gleaning. One day at harvest time they went out
to glean. On their way they came to a stream with muddy banks and
in the mud a cow had stuck fast and was unable to get out. The young
brother proposed that they should help it out, but the elder brother
objected saying that they might be accused of theft: the younger
brother persisted and so they pulled the cow out of the mud. The cow
followed them home and shortly afterwards produced a calf. In a few
years the cow and her descendants multiplied in a marvellous manner
so that the brothers became rich by selling the milk and _ghi_. They
became so rich that the elder brother was able to marry; he lived
at home with his wife and the younger brother lived in the jungle
grazing the cattle. The elder brother's son used every day to take out
his uncle's dinner to the jungle. This was not really necessary for
the cow used to supply her master with all sorts of dainties to eat,
so the younger brother, when his nephew brought out the rice used to
give the boy some of the sweetmeats with which the cow supplied him,
but he charged him not to tell his parents about this nor to take any
home. But one day the boy hid some of the sweetmeats in his cloth and
took them home and showed them to his mother. His mother had never
seen such sweetmeats before and was convinced that her brother-in-law
wished to poison her son. So she took the sweetmeats away and the
next day she herself took out the dinner to her brother-in-law and
after he had eaten it she said that she would comb his hair and pick
out the lice from it; so he put his head on her lap and as she combed
his hair in a soothing way he went off to sleep. When he was asleep
the woman took out a knife and cut off his head. Then she got up and
leaving the head and body lying at the place went home. But the cow
had seen what occurred and with her horns she pushed the head along
until it joined the neck: whereupon the man immediately came to life
again and learned what had happened to him. So he drove off all the
cattle to a distant part of the jungle and began to live there.

Every day he milked his large herd of cows and got a great quantity
of milk; he asked his friend the cow what he was to do with it and
she told him to pour it into a hole in the ground at the foot of a
pipal tree Every day he poured the milk into the hole and one day as
he was doing so out of the hole came a large snake and thanked him
for his kindness in supplying the milk and asked him what reward he
would wish to receive in return. Acting on a hint from the cow the
man said that he would like to have all the milk back again. Whereupon
the snake vomited up all the milk which it had drunk and died on the
spot. But the milk mingled with poison fell over the man and imported
to his body a glorious and shining appearance, so that he seemed to
be made of fire.

After this the man used every day to go and bathe in a river, and each
day when he bathed he threw one of his hairs into the water: and his
hairs were very long. Lower down the river a princess used to bathe
and one day she saw one of the hairs come floating down and vowed that
she would marry no one but the owner of the hair. So the father of the
princess sent a Brahman up the river to look for the man with the long
hair. The Brahman was a very thin man with his ribs showing through
his skin. After some days he found our hero and was amazed at his
shining appearance. He told him that a princess wished to marry him:
he was invited to stay some days; he did so, living on the milk from
the herd of cows and in a short time became very fat. The cow told the
man to take a basket and creep into the hole from which the snake had
come he did so and at the bottom he found a heap of gold and silver:
he filled his basket with this and came back and gave it all to the
Brahman, and told him to go home and inform his master that he would
come in a few days and marry his daughter. When the Raja saw the gold
and silver and how fat the Brahman had got he was very pleased to
think what a son-in-law he was getting. In a few days the cow said
that it was time to start and as he had no other conveyance he set
out riding on the cow. When they reached the boundary of the Raja's
kingdom the man woke up one morning and found that a great retinue of
elephants and horses and _palkis_ and _sipahis_ had appeared during the
night. This was owing to the magic of the cow. So the man mounted an
elephant and went in state to the Raja and married his daughter with
great ceremony. After staying some days he decided to return home
and started off with his wife and grand retinue. When they reached
the boundary of the kingdom all the elephants and horses and _palkis_
and _sipahis_ vanished into air, and the princess found that she and
her husband had nothing but an old cow to ride upon. At this she was
very unhappy but she was ashamed to go back to her father, so she
went on with her husband and helped to tend the cows in the jungle.

One morning they woke up and found that in the night a grand palace
had sprung up fitted with wealth of every kind, this was the last gift
of the cow which soon afterwards died. Thus the man became a Raja and
founded a kingdom and he gave a rupee to every one who would come and
settle in his kingdom. Many people came and among others his brother
and sister-in-law who had fallen into great proverty. When they saw
their brother they were afraid and thought that they would be killed,
but he forgave them and gave them clothes and land and they all lived
happily ever after.

(8)--The Belbati Princess.

Once upon a time there were seven brothers the youngest of whom bore
the name of Lita. The six elder brothers were all married but Lita
refused to marry and when questioned he said that he would not marry
any one but the Belbati Princess. His sisters-in-law laughed very much
at the idea that he would marry a princess and worried him so much that
at length he decided to set out in search of the Belbati princess. So
one day he started off and after some time came to a jungle in which
was sitting a holy _muni_. Lita went to him and asked if he knew
where he would find the Belbati-princess. The _muni_ said that he did
not know but that a day's journey farther on was another _muni_ who
might be able to tell him. So Lita travelled on for a day and found
another _muni_ who was in the midst of performing a three month's
spell of fasting and meditation. Lita had to wait till the _muni_
returned to thoughts of this world and then made his enquiry. The
_muni_ said that he did not know but that three days' journey farther
on was another _muni_ who might be able to help him. So Lita went
on and found the third _muni_ who was in the midst of a six months'
fast. When this _muni_ came to himself and heard what Lita wanted he
said that he would be very glad to help him. The Belbati princess
was at the time imprisoned in the biggest _bel_ fruit growing on a
_bel_ tree which was guarded by Rakshasas. If he went and plucked
this fruit he would secure the princess, but if he took any but the
biggest fruit he would be ruined.

Lita promised to bear this in mind and then the _muni_ changed him
into a _biti_ bird and told him the direction in which to fly. Lita
flew off and soon came to the tree, which was covered with fruit;
he was very frightened when he saw the Rakshasas there, so in a great
hurry he went and bit off the first fruit that he came to; but this
was not the biggest on the tree and the Rakshasas immediately fell
upon him and ate him up. The _muni_, when Lita did not come back,
knew that something must have happened to him so he sent a crow to
see what was the matter. The crow came back and said that one _bel_
fruit had been picked but that he could not see Lita. Then the _muni_
sent the crow to bring him the droppings of the Rakshasas. The crow
did so and from the droppings the _muni_ restored Lita to life. The
_muni_ reproved Lita for his failure and told him that if he wished
to make a second attempt he must remember his behest to pick only the
biggest _bel_ fruit. Lita promised and the _muni_ turned him into a
parroquet. In this form Lita again flew to the _bel_ tree and picked
the biggest fruit on the tree. When the Rakshasas saw the parrot
making off with the fruit they pursued him in fury; but the _muni_
turned the parrot into a fly so small that the Rakshasas could not
see it, so they had to give up the chase.

When they had departed Lita recovered his own form and went to the
_muni_ with the _bel_ fruit and asked what more was to be done in order
to find the princess. The _muni_ said that the princess was inside the
fruit; that Lita was to take it to a certain well and very gently break
it open against the edge of the well. Lita hurried off to the well and
in his anxiety to see the princess he knocked the fruit with all his
force and split it suddenly in two. The result of this was that the
princess burst out of the fruit in such a blaze of light that Lita
fell down dead. When the princess saw that her brightness had killed
her lover she was very distressed and taking his body on her lap she
wept over him. While she was doing so a girl of the Kamar caste came by
and asked what was the matter. The princess said: "My lover is dead,
if you will draw water from the well I will revive him by giving
him to drink," but the Kamar girl at once formed a wicked plan. She
said that she could not reach the water in the well. Then said the
princess: "Do you hold this dead body while I draw the water." "No,"
said the Kamar girl, "I see you mean to run away leaving me with
the dead body and I shall get into trouble." Then said the princess:
"If you do not believe me take off my fine clothes and keep them as
a pledge." Then the princess let the Kamar girl take off all her
jewellery and her beautiful dress and went to draw water from the
well. But the Kamar girl followed her and as the princess leant over
the edge she pushed her in, so that she was drowned. Then the Kamar
girl drew water from the well and went back to Lita and poured some
into his mouth, and directly the water touched his lips he came back
to life, and as the Kamar girl had put on the dress and jewellery of
the Belbati princess he thought that she was the bride for whom he
had sought. So he took her home to his brothers' house and married her.

After a time Lita and his brothers went to hunt in the jungle;
it was very hot and Lita grew very thirsty; he found himself near
the well at which he had broken the _bel_ fruit and went to it for
water. Looking down he saw floating on the water a beautiful flower;
he was so pleased with it that he picked it and took it home to his
Kamar wife; but when she saw it she was very displeased and cut it up
into pieces and threw the pieces out of the house. Lita was sorry and
noticed shortly afterwards that at the place where the pieces of the
flower had been thrown a small _bel_ tree was sprouting. He had this
planted in his garden and carefully watered. It grew well and after
a time it produced ripe fruit. One day Lita ordered his horse, and
as it was being brought it broke loose and run away into the garden:
as it ran under the _bel_ tree one of the _bel_ fruits fell on to the
saddle and stayed there. When the syce caught the horse he saw this
and took the fruit home with him. When he went to cut open the fruit he
found inside it a beautiful woman; he kept the woman in his house. At
this time the Kamar woman fell ill and was like to die. Lita was very
distressed at the thought of losing his Belbati princess. At last the
Kamarin said that she was being bewitched by the girl who was living
in the syce's house and that one or other of them must die. Lita at
once ordered the girl to be taken into the jungle and killed. Four
Ghasis took her away and put her to death. Her last request to them
was that they should cut off her hands and feet and put them at the
four sides of her grave. This they did. After the death of the girl
the Kamar wife recovered her health.

After a time Lita again went hunting and at nightfall came to the
place where the girl had been put to death. There he found standing
a fine palace. He went in but the only living creatures he saw were
two birds who seemed to live there; he lay down on a bed and went to
sleep. While he slept the birds sat by him and began talking. One told
the other the story of the search for the Belbati princess and how
the Kamar girl had thrown her into the well and taken her place. When
Lita heard this he awoke and was very unhappy. The birds told him
that once a year the Belbati princess visited the palace in which
he was; her next visit would be in six months. So Lita stayed there
and at the end of the six months he hid behind the door to await the
princess. She came and as she passed through the door he caught her
by the hand, but she wrenched herself away and fled. Lita was very
depressed but the birds told him to be more careful the next time. So
he waited a year and when the princess was expected he hid himself:
the princess came and seeing no one entered the palace and went to
sleep. While she slept Lita secured her. They were married and lived
happily ever after, and the wicked Kamar girl was put to death.

(9)--The Bread Tree.

There once was a boy who lived with his mother and was engaged all day
in tending cattle. Every morning when he started his mother gave him
two pieces of bread called "hunger bread" and "stuffing bread,"--one to
satisfy hunger with and the other to over-eat oneself on. One day the
boy could not eat all his bread and he left the piece that remained
over on a rock. When he went back the next day he was surprised to
see that from the piece of bread a tree had grown which bore loaves
of bread instead of fruit. After that the boy no longer took bread
from his mother, but lived on the fruit of his tree.

One day he had climbed his tree to pick a loaf when an old woman came
by with a bag over her shoulder and saying that she was very poor
begged for a piece of bread. The old woman was really a Rakshasi. The
boy was kindhearted and told her that he would throw her down a loaf,
but the old woman objected that it would get dirty if it fell on the
ground. Then he told her to hold out her cloth and he would throw it
into that: but she said that she could not see well enough to catch
the loaf: he must come down and give it to her: so the boy came down
to give her the loaf and when the Rakshasi had him on the ground,
she seized him and put him in her bag and went off with him.

After going some way she came to a pool of water and as she was rather
thirsty from carrying such a burden, she put down her bag and went to
drink. Opportunely some travellers came by and hearing the boy's shouts
let him out of the bag. The boy filled the bag with stones and tied
it up as before and made the best of his way home. The old Rakshasi
went off with the heavy bag and when she got to her abode told her
daughter with whom she lived that she had captured a fine dinner but
when the daughter opened the bag she found in it nothing but stones:
at this she was very angry and abused her mother: then the old woman
said that the boy had escaped on the road: so the next day she went
back to the place where the boy was tending cattle and by the same
trick she caught him and put him in her bag and this time went straight
home. She made him over to her daughter and went out to collect fire
wood with which to cook him. The boy being left alone with the daughter
began to ask how he was to be killed; she said that his head was to
be pounded in a _Dhenki_. He pretended not to understand and asked
how that was to be done. The girl not understanding such stupidity
put her head under the striker of the _Dhenki_ to show him what would
happen. Then the boy at once pounded her head in the _Dhenki_ and
killed her: he then put on her clothes and cut her body up in pieces
ready for cooking. When the old woman came back with the fire wood she
was pleased to find that her daughter, as she thought, had got every
thing ready; and the meal was soon cooked and eaten. After the old
woman had thus made a hearty meal off the remains of her own daughter
she felt sleepy and took a nap. While she slept the boy struck her on
the head with a large stone and killed her; thus he saved his life and
took all the property of the old Rakshasi and lived happily ever after.

(10)--The Origin of _Sabai_ Grass (Ischaemum Angustifolium).

Once upon a time there were six brothers who lived with their
sister. The brothers used to spend their days in the jungle hunting
while the sister minded the house and cooked the dinner against
their return.

One day while the brothers were hunting the girl went to cut herbs
to cook with the dinner: as she was doing so she chanced to cut her
finger and some drops of blood fell on the herbs, which were put in
the pot. When the brothers came home to dinner they noticed how very
sweet the food was and asked the reason. The girl said that she was
afraid that it must be because some drops of her blood had fallen
on it. Then the brothers took counsel together and agreed that if
a few drops of her blood were so sweet, she must be very nice to
eat. So they agreed to murder her and eat her. But the youngest
brother named Lita, though he did not dare to oppose his elders,
was sorry for the decision. The next day when the brothers came
from the jungle they brought with them a beautiful flower of seven
colours and gave it to their sister. She was delighted with it:
she had never seen so beautiful a flower before and wanted to know
where it grew and whether were others like it. They said that if she
liked to come with them they would take her to the tree on which the
flowers grew and she could pick as many as she liked. So the next
morning she gladly went with them and they took her to the tree with
the seven-coloured flowers. She climbed the tree to pick the flowers
and when she was up in the tree they shot arrows at her to kill her;
but though they shot many arrows they could not kill her. Then they
compelled Lita to shoot and he with his first arrow killed his sister.

Then they cut up the body of the girl ready for cooking and sent
Lita to a well to fetch water in which to cook the flesh. Lita went
to the well and overcome with sorrow sat down and wept. As he wept a
large frog came to the surface of the water and asked him what was
the matter; he said that he had been made to kill his sister and
that now they were going to cook her flesh. The frog told him to be
comforted and gave him a large _rohu_ fish. Lita took this back and
when his brothers told him to cook the food, he hid the pieces of
his sister's body and cooked the _rohu_ fish. The brothers ate this
thinking that it was their sister. Then they went on into the jungle
hunting. After going a short way Lita said that he had forgotten to
recover his arrow and that he must go back and fetch it. He went back
to the place, and taking his sister's body buried it and building
a hut near, spent the days in weeping over the grave. After he had
spent some time thus the girl appeared alive out of the ground. Lita
was overjoyed and he and his sister remained happily in the jungle.

One day a Raja hunting in the jungle passed that way and seeing the
girl at once fell in love with her and took her away and married
her. Lita he also took with him and made him ruler of half the kingdom.

In honour of his marriage the Raja resolved to construct an enormous
tank: and people came from far and near to work at it. Among others
came Lita's five elder brothers, who had fallen into great poverty,
owing to their wickedness. When their sister saw them she forgave
them and sending for them bestowed on them food and clothing. But
they were so ashamed and repentent that they could only kneel on the
ground and beat the earth with their hands. As they continued to do
so the earth opened and swallowed them up: only their hair stuck out
of the ground and that became _sabai_ grass, and this was the origin
of all the _sabai_ grass which exists.

(11)--The Faithless Sister.

Once upon a time there was a man who had a son and daughter: he used
to cultivate his land and his son and daughter used to take his dinner
to him. One day the man went to plough and while ploughing he stuck
the spear which he had brought with him into the ground. As the man
ploughed a tiger came and waited an opportunity to spring upon the
man: but from whichever side the tiger approached, the spear which was
stuck in the ground bent its point towards the tiger and so protected
its master. Just then the boy and girl came along with their father's
dinner. The baffled tiger was hiding in some bushes by the field. As
the children went along they saw a paddy bird on the ground. The
boy of course had his bow and bird arrows with him and he shot an
arrow at the paddy bird: he missed the bird, but it happened that
the tiger was just in the line of fire; the arrow pierced the eye
of the tiger and killed it instantaneously. When the girl saw the
tiger lying dead she said that it was clear that their father had
enticed them there in order that the tiger might kill them when they
brought him his dinner: clearly the only way for them to save their
lives was to leave their home at once. The boy agreed; drawing his
arrow from the tiger's head and taking the tiger's eyes with him, he
went away with his sister as fast as they could run. After going some
little distance they met in the way two tigers. The boy threw at the
tiger the eyes of the first tiger which he had brought with him. The
tigers at once fell down dead, but from the body of one proceeded,
a hare, and from the body of the other, two dogs which peaceably
followed the boy and his sister. Having escaped to a distance they
lived in the jungle happily for some time with their three animal
friends. One day the hare said that he would like to have a spear,
so the boy went with him to a blacksmith and got a spear made. As
they were returning they met in the way a giant _Rakshasa_ who
wished to devour them, but the hare holding the spear kept jumping
in and out of the giant's mouth with such speed that the _Rakshasa_
was dumbfounded and surrendered at discretion, promising to be a
faithful servant to them henceforth. With the help of the _Rakshasa_
they had great success in hunting. The boy with the hare and the two
dogs used to beat the jungle and drive the game towards the _Rakshasa_
who caught it in his mouth. One day they thus caught a monkey, whose
life they spared and who joined their band. The monkey took a large
drum and caught in it a nest of wild bees, which he preserved.

One day while the others were away a Raja who was hunting in the
jungle found the girl sitting alone and at once fell in love with her
and wanted to marry her. The girl said that she was willing but that
she was sure that her brother would never consent. The only thing was
to kill her brother and the Raja could never do that as the faithful
animals would protect him. At last the girl consented to try and
compass her brother's death. To this end she became very melancholy and
seemed to pine away: her brother asked what was the matter and she said
that she would never recover unless he could fetch her a certain flower
which grew in the midst of a certain lake. Now this lake swarmed with
gigantic fish and poisonous snakes. But the brother, never daunted,
went to the lake and began to swim out to the centre where the flower
grew. Before he got half way there one of the gigantic fish swallowed
him up. The Rakshasa however saw this and set to work to drink the lake
up: he soon drank the lake dry and not only caught the big fish but
also was able to gather the flower that had grown in the lake. They
then cut open the fish and took the boy unharmed from its belly. The
Rakshasa then vomited up the water he had swallowed and filled up
the lake again. Meanwhile the Raja thinking that the boy had died,
carried off his sister. But the boy setting out with the hare and the
dogs and the Rakshasa and the monkey proceeded to attack the Raja's
capital and recover his sister. The monkey opened his drum and the
bees issued forth and attacked the Raja's army so that it fled. The
Raja had to capitulate and give the boy half his kingdom and his own
daughter in marriage, then peace was declared and the animals all
disappeared into the jungle and our hero lived happily ever after.

(12)--The Cruel Sisters-in-Law.

Once upon a time there lived six brothers who had one sister. The
brothers were all married and their wives hated their sister-in-law. It
happened that the brothers all went away to trade in a far country and
her sisters-in-law took the opportunity to illtreat the girl. They
said "If you do not obey us and do what we tell you we will kill
you." The girl said that she would obey their behests to the best of
her ability. They said "Then go to the well and bring this earthen pot
back full of water." The khalsi had a large hole in the bottom so that
as fast as it was filled the water ran out. The girl took the pot to
the well and sitting down began to weep over her fate. As she wept a
large frog rose out of the water and asked her what was the matter. She
said "My last hour has come. If I cannot fill this pot with water
I shall be killed and it has a hole in the bottom." The frog said,
"Be comforted, I will cure that: I will sit on the hole and stop it
up with my body and you will be able to fill it." This it did and
the girl took the water back to the house. The sisters-in-law were
very angry but could say nothing so they set her another task. They
told her to go the jungle and bring home a full bundle of sticks:
but she was not to take any rope with which to tie them. The girl
collected a large quantity of sticks and then sat down and cried
because she was unable to carry them home: as she cried a large snake
came up and asked what was the matter. The girl told him, whereupon
the snake said that he would curl himself round the sticks and serve
as a rope. This he did and the girl was able to carry the sticks home
on her head. Defeated in this attempt the sisters-in-law the next day
told the girl to go to a field of pulse which had been sown the day
before and bring back all the grain by the evening. The girl went to
the field and picked up a few grains but it had been sown broadcast
and the girl soon saw that the task was hopeless: she sat down and
cried and as she cried a flock of pigeons flew to her and asked her
what was the matter: she said that she could not pick up all the
grain in the field. They said that that was easily managed, and the
pigeons spreading over the field soon picked up all the grain and
put it into the girl's basket, so that by evening she returned with
the basket full. The sisters-in-law were more than ever enraged. They
gave her a pot and told her that she must go to the jungle and bring
it back full of bear's milk. The girl went to the jungle and being
very frightened sat down and began to cry: a large she bear came by
and asked what was the matter. The girl explained and the she bear,
sorry for her distress willingly allowed herself to be milked without
doing the girl any harm. The sisters-in-law then resolved to make a
more direct attempt on the girl's life. They took her into the jungle
and told her to climb a certain tree and pick them the fruit. The
tree had a tall smooth trunk and the girl had to climb the tree
by driving pegs into the trunk. When she reached the branches the
sisters-in-law pulled the pegs out of the tree and went home leaving
the girl to starve. Night came on and the girl stayed in the tree:
it so happened that that day the six brothers were returning home
and being benighted stopped to sleep under that very tree. The girl
thought that they were dacoits and stayed still. She could not help
crying in her despair and a warm tear fell on the face of one the
brothers sleeping below and woke him up. He looked, up and recognized
his sister. The brothers soon rescued her and when they heard of the
cruelty of their wives they went home and put them all to death.

(13)--The False Rani.

Once upon a time a Raja who had just married was returning with his
bride to his kingdom. It was hot weather and a long journey and as they
passed through a jungle the Raja and all his men went down to a stream
to drink leaving the bride sitting in her _palki_. As the bride thus
sat all alone she was frightened at seeing a she-bear come up. The
bear asked the bride who she was and where she was going. When she
heard, she thought that she would like to share so agreeable a fate,
so by threats she made the Rani get out of her _palki_ and give her
all her fine clothes and jewellery and go away into the jungle. The
bear dressing herself in the Rani's clothes, got into the _palki_,
and when the men came back they took up the _palki_ and went on their
way without noticing any change, nor did the Raja detect the fraud:
he took the bear to his palace and installed her as his wife. Meanwhile
the real bride had picked up the walking stick of the Raja and a cloth
which he had left on the road when he went to the stream, and ran into
the jungle. She made her way to the house of a Ghasi woman who lived
by the Raja's palace with her daughters. The daughters earned a living
by selling flowers and one day one daughter, as she sold the Raja a
garland, told him that his real bride was living in their house. The
Raja was very distressed and at once went to see his bride and was
satisfied of her identity when she produced his stick and cloth. The
real Rani refused to go to his palace until the she bear had been put
to death. Thereupon the Raja gave instructions to his followers and
sent word to the palace that he was dead. The officers and servants
at the palace then prepared a big pit and lit a large fire in it:
they then sent for the she bear and told her that she must perform
the funeral ceremonies of her husband. They made her take off her
fine clothes and told her to kneel down by the burning pit and make
salaam to it. As she was doing so they pushed her into the pit and
she was burned to death. Then the Raja brought home his real bride in
triumph. But from that time bears attack men when they get the chance.

(14)--The Jackal and the Kite.

Once upon a time a jackal and a kite agreed to join forces and get
their food together. In pursuance of their plan they sent word to a
prosperous village that a Raja with his army was marching that way and
intended the next day to loot the village. The next morning the jackal
took an empty _kalsi_ and marched towards the village drumming on the
_kalsi_ with all his might, and the kite flew along overhead screaming
as loud as he could. The villagers thought that the Raja's army was
approaching and fled into the jungle. The jackal and the kite began to
feast on all the good things that had been left in the houses. There
was however one old woman who was too infirm to run away with the
other inhabitants: and had hid herself inside her house. When she saw
that no army came but only a jackal and a kite she crawled away into
the jungle and told her friends. They came back, and surrounding the
village, caught the jackal: they began to beat the jackal with sticks
to kill it: the jackal uttered no sound and pretended that it did not
mind being beaten: after a time it began to jeer at its captors and
told them that they could never kill it by beating. The asked how it
could be killed and it said by burning. So they tied a bunch of old
cloths on to its tail and poured oil over them and set them on fire:
the jackal ran off with the burning bundle at the end of its tail
and jumping on to the nearest house set fire to the thatch: the fire
spread and the whole village was burnt down. The jackal then ran to
a tank and jumping into the water extinguished its blazing tail. But
if you look you will see that all jackals have a burnt tip to their
tail to this day.

(15)--The Sons of the Raban Raja.

There was a Raja who used to bathe daily at a certain tank. In the
tank was a great fish: as the Raja washed his mouth this fish used
daily to swallow the rinsings of his mouth. In consequence of this
the fish after a time gave birth to two human children. As the two
boys grew up they used to go into the village near the tank and play
with the other children. One day however, a man beat them and drove
them away from the other children jeering at them because they had
no father. Much disturbed at this they went to the fish and asked
whether it was true that they had no father. The fish told them
that their father was the Raban Raja. The two boys resolved to go in
search of the Raban Raja: they set out and after a time met a man and
asked him if he knew the Raban Raja. The man asked why they wished to
know. They said that they were his sons. Then the man at once killed
them because the Raban Raja was an enemy of his country. From the
place where the bodies of the dead boys lay, two large bamboos grew
up. When the bamboos had grown very big, a Jogi came by that way and
cut them down, making from them two flutes. These flutes produced such
beautiful music that every one was charmed and the fame of the Jogi
spread far and wide: so when in his wanderings the Jogi reached the
kingdom of the Raban Raja the Raja sent for him and the Jogi came to
the palace with his two bamboo flutes. When the flutes were brought
into the presence of the Raja they burst open and from them appeared
the two boys. When the Raja heard their history he recognized them
as his sons, and sent the Jogi away with large rewards.

(16)--The Potter's Son.

Once upon a time there was a Kumhar whose wife was about to have a
child. As they were very poor the pair resolved that if the child
should prove to be a boy they would abandon it, but if it were a girl
they would bring it up. When the child was born it was found to be a
son, so the Kumhar took it into the jungle and left it there. There
it was found by a tiger and tigress whose cubs had just died and who
determined to bring up the man-child as their own. They accordingly
fed it and looked after it; the boy grew up strong and healthy. When
he got big, the tiger went to a blacksmith and had made for him a bow
and arrows of iron with which he used to hunt. When the boy became a
young man the tiger decided that his marriage must be arranged for. So
he went to the capital of a neighbouring Raja, and when the Raja's
daughter came to a tank to bathe, the tiger seized her and carried her
off into the jungle, where she was married to the Kumhar's son. The
princess was very pleased with her new husband, but found the life
with the tigers in the jungle very irksome. She constantly begged her
husband to run away, until at last he agreed. One day when the tigers
were at a distance they started off and soon arrived at the palace
of the princess' father. Leaving her husband by the palace tank, the
princess went ahead to see how matters stood and to prepare a welcome
for her husband. He being left alone decided to bathe in the tank. Now
a dhoba was there washing the palace clothes, and seeing a stranger he
concluded that it was a thief come to steal the clothes. He accordingly
killed him and then in fear threw the body into the water. When the
princess returned she was distressed to find no sign of her husband
but his iron bow and arrows. Search was made everywhere and the tank
was netted but no trace could be discovered of her missing spouse.

Shortly afterwards a Ghasi girl came to catch _chingris_ in the tank,
and while doing so suddenly laid hold of a large fish. In great delight
she took it home. When she came to cut it up she found inside the belly
of the fish a living child. Pleased with its appearance she decided
to adopt it. She put it in a basket, and tying the basket under her
cloth pretended to be pregnant, and shortly afterwards announced that
she had given birth to a child. The boy grew with marvellous rapidity.

Meanwhile the father of the widowed princess insisted that she should
marry again. But she was faithful to the memory of her husband and
declared that she would only marry the man who could draw the iron
bow. Many suitors came but they all failed to draw the bow. At length
the reputed son of the Ghasi woman came and pulling the bow with ease
announced himself as the true husband of the princess with whom he
lived happily ever after.

(17)--The Wonderful Cowherd.

Once upon a time there was a Raja who had seven daughters. The seven
princesses used to bathe daily in a tank and when they bathed they used
to put the scrapings from their bodies in a hole in the ground. From
this hole there grew a tree, and the eldest princess announced that
she would marry the man who could tell her what had caused the tree to
grow; many suitors came and made guesses but none divined the truth;
heir father was anxious that she should be married, and insisted
on every one in the kingdom being questioned. At last a miserable,
poverty stricken and sickly cowherd was asked; he had always grazed
his cattle on the banks of the tank and had often seen the princesses
bathing so he knew from what the tree had spring. The princess being
bound by her oath had to marry the miserable cowherd and go and live
with him in his hut.

All day long the cowherd used to be groaning in sickness and misery;
but at night he used to come out of his skin and appear as a beautiful
and shining man; in this form he used to go and play and dance in
the moonlight in the court yard of the Raja's palace. One night the
princess's maid-servant saw her master return and creep into his ugly
skin; she told her mistress who resolved to keep watch the next night;
when she saw her husband assume his shining form and go out of the
house leaving his ugly skin lying on the ground, she took the skin
and burnt it in the fire. Immediately her husband came rushing back
declaring that he was suffering the agonies of burning; but the skin
was burnt and the former cowherd retained his glorious and shining
appearance; and on the application of oil the pain of the burning
ceased. The princess then began to live with pleasure in the company
of so glorious a husband, who however only went out of the house at
night as his body was too bright for ordinary eyes to look upon.

It began however to be whispered about among the neighbours that a
shining being was to be seen at the princess's house and the rumour
eventually reached the ears of the Raja. The Raja sent a messenger
to see who the being was, but when the messenger saw the shining man
he was blinded and driven out of his senses and returned to the Raja
in a state of madness. Two or three other messengers successively
met the same fate. At length the Raja resolved to go himself; when
he saw the shining form of his son-in-law he fell down in a faint;
the princess's husband ran and lifted up the Raja in his arms and
revived him. After this the former cowherd became only bearably bright,
and being recognized as the heir to the kingdom went to live with
his wife in the Raja palace.

(18)--The Strong Prince.

There was once a king who, though he had two wives, had no son. He
was very anxious to have a son and heir and went away into the
midst of the hills and jungles and there began a course of worship
and sacrifices. His prayers were heard and while he was away it was
found that both his wives were pregnant. In due time the senior Rani
gave birth to a son and sent a Brahman to the king with the welcome
news. The Brahman was a very holy man and he had to pray and bathe so
often that he made very slow progress on his journey. A day or two
later the younger Rani also gave birth to a son and she sent a low
caste Ghasi to give the news to the Raja. The Ghasi travelled straight
ahead and reached the Raja some time before the holy Brahman. On
hearing the news that the younger Rani had given birth to a son the
Raja had at once declared that this boy should be his heir. He was
therefore much put out when the Brahman arrived with the news that
the senior Rani had given birth to a son first.

The Raja returned home and entering the palace saw the senior Rani
sleeping with her babe beside her. The boy had sore eyes and the Raja,
declaring that the child bore no resemblance to himself said that it
was not his son and that the Rani had been unfaithful to him.

The Rani indignantly denied the accusation and said that if the two
brothers fought her son would prove his parentage. Accordingly the
two boys were set to wrestle with each other. The struggle was an
even one. As they swayed to and fro it happened that the elder boy
caught hold of the Raja and pulled him to the ground. This incensed
the Raja more than ever and he ordered the senior Rani to leave the
kingdom with her child. On the road by which they had to pass the
Raja stationed a _mast_ elephant in order that they might be killed,
but when in due course the elephant attacked them the boy caught
hold of it and threw it to a distance of four _kos_. After this feat
the prince and his mother journeyed to another kingdom. There they
took up their quarters near the ground where the Raja's _palwans_
wrestled. The prince went to wrestle with them and easily overcame
the most renowned _palwans_. In many ways he showed his strength. One
day he went to a mahajan's shop and the Mahajan instead of serving
him promptly kept him waiting. In indignation the boy took up the
entire building and threw it to a distance; hearing of these feats
the Raja of the country sent for him and took him into his service;
but here also he caused trouble. He insisted on being treated with
deference. Going up to the highest officials he would tell them not
to twist their moustaches at him, and knock them down. On the throne
in the palace when the Raja was absent a pair of the Raja's shoes was
placed and every one who passed by had to salaam to these. This our
hero flatly refused to do. In fact he became such a nuisance that he
was promised that he would be given his pay regularly if he would only
stay away from the palace. After this he spent his days in idleness
and by night he used to go to the shore and disport himself in the sea.

One night the goddess Kali came to the Raja's palace and knocked at
the gate: but no one would come to open it. Just then the prince
came back from bathing in the sea. Seeing him, Kali Ma, said that
she was so hungry that she must eat him, though she had intended
to eat the people in the palace. She, however, promised him that
though eaten he should be born again. The boy agreed to form a meal
for the goddess on these terms and was accordingly eaten. Afterwards
gaining admission to the palace Kali Ma ate up everyone in it except
the Raja's daughter. Then our hero was born again and marrying the
Raja's daughter succeeded to the kingdom, and lived happily ever after.

(19)--The Prince Who Became King of the Jackals.

Once upon a time there lived a Raja whose son formed a great friendship
with a barber. For some reason the Raja quarrelled with his son and
ordered him to leave the kingdom. Accordingly the prince departed to a
far country in company with his friend, the barber. In order to earn
a living the barber opened a school and the prince took service with
a mahajan. They were in such straits that the prince had to submit
to very hard terms, it was arranged that his wages were to be one
leaf-plate full of rice a day: and that if he threw up the service he
was to lose a piece of his skin a span long. After a short time the
prince who had been brought up in luxury found the work so hard and
the food so scanty that he resolved to leave the mahajan: but before he
went he had to submit to a piece of skin being cut off, in terms of the
agreement. The prince then went to the barber and told him how ill he
had fared. The barber vowed that he should be avenged. So he went and
offered himself as a servant to the mahajan: he was engaged and it was
agreed that whichever party first proposed to terminate the contract
should lose a piece of skin a span long. The barber worked so badly
and ate so much that one day the mahajan in a fit of rage ordered him
to leave the place and in consequence forfeited a piece of his skin.

Having repaid the mahajan in his own coin the prince and the
barber left those parts and journeyed to the land of the king of
the jackals. They found the king of the jackals asleep in front of
his cave. While he still slept the barber shaved all the hair off
his tail. Then the two friends hid in the cave, drawing a cart in
front of the entrance. When the jackal awoke and found that he had
been shaved he concluded that there were _bongas_ (spirits) about;
and ran away in terror. After going a short distance he met a bear
who asked where he was going in such a hurry. The king of the jackals
said that some _bongas_ had taken possession of his cave and shaved
off his hair. The bear agreed to go back with the jackal and see if
he could exorcise the spirits. Going to the cave the bear climbed on
to the cart to offer a sacrifice. As he sat there the barber caught
hold of his tail and held on to it while the prince began to stab
the bear with a knife. The bear howled and groaned but could not
get away. The king of the jackals who was looking on was delighted,
for he concluded that the _bongas_ had taken possession of the bear
who would learn who they were and how they were to be exorcised. At
last the bear broke free and ran away: the jackal ran after him and
asked him what the _bongas_ had told him: but the bear only said 'ugh'
'ugh' and ran into the jungle. Then the jackal met a tiger and telling
his story persuaded the tiger also to try his hand at exorcising the
spirits. The tiger was treated in the same way as the bear had been
and ran off without giving the jackal any information.

Then the king of the jackals resolved to try himself and mounted
on to the cart. But the barber stabbed him through the bamboos and
killed him. Then the prince succeeded to the kingdom of the jackals,
and not only so, but replaced the piece of skin which he had forfeited
to the mahajan by a piece of the skin of the dead jackal.

(20)--The Mongoose Boy.

Once upon a time there was a Raja who had seven wives but no
children. In hope of issue he retired to the jungle and began a course
of prayers and sacrifices. While he was so engaged a Brahman came to
him and told him to take a stick and with it knock down seven mangoes
from a neighbouring tree, and catch them before they reached the
ground: he promised that if the Ranis ate these mangoes they would
bear children. The Raja did as he was directed and took the mangoes
home and gave one to each of his wives.

The youngest Rani happened at the time to be sweeping out a room and so
she put her mango in a niche in the wall. Just then a neighbour sent
a mongoose, who was her servant, to ask for a light. While the Rani
was fetching a firebrand from the hearth the mongoose saw the mango
and climbing up nibbled part of it without being seen. After this the
Rani ate the mango. In due time the seven Ranis each gave birth to
a son: but the son of the youngest Rani was the most beautiful with
a face like a mongoose. The eldest Rani was jealous of the beauty
of the youngest Rani's son so one day she sent the youngest Rani to
fetch some water: and during her absence took up the mongoose boy
and putting a stone and a broom in its place took the child away and
buried it in the pit from which the potters dig their earth. When
the Raja heard that his youngest wife had given birth to nothing but
a stone and a broom he was very angry and turned her out of the palace.

Meanwhile a potter had found the mongoose boy still alive and had
taken him to his home. There the child grew up and became a strong
boy. One day he asked the potter to make him an earthenware horse. On
this horse he used to ride about, for directly he mounted it, it
was endowed with life. One day the mongoose boy took his earthenware
horse to water it at a tank near the palace and there his six brothers
saw it and insisted that they also should have earthenware horses to
ride. Horses were accordingly made for them but when they mounted,
the horses would not budge an inch. Enraged at this the princes
complained to their mothers. The Ranis at once suspected the identity
of the potter's boy and told their sons to kill him.

So one day when the young princes met him at the tank they killed
the mongoose boy and buried his body. At the place where the body
was buried there grew up a bamboo of extraordinary size and a bush
with sweet and beautiful flowers: many people tried to cut down the
big bamboo and to pluck the beautiful flowers but every arm that was
raised to do so was restrained by some unseen power. Eventually the
news of this portent reached the ears of the Raja who went to see
what was happening. When the Raja trid to pluck a flower he succeeded
at the first attempt. The Raja then cut down the bamboo and out of
it stepped the mongoose boy who told of the illtreatment which he
had received at the hands of the six Ranis and their sons. The Raja
wished him to come to the palace but he insisted that his mother
should first be sent for. This was at once done.

Then the Raja had a wide and deep well dug and announced that a
Puja was to be performed at the opening of the well. To the ceremony
came the six Ranis and their sons. As they all knelt at the edge of
the well doing puja the Raja had them pushed into it, so that they
were all drowned. Thus the wicked were punished and the mongoose boy
eventually succeeded to his father's kingdom.

(21)--The Prince and the Tigress.

Once upon a time there was a Raja who had seven sons. One day a tigress
came to the palace and asked the Raja to allow one of his sons to be
her servant and look after her cattle. The Raja consented and ordered
his eldest son to go with the tigress. The young man took his axe
and bow and arrows and went with the tigress to her cave. When he
got there he asked where were the cattle which he was to tend. The
tigress pointed out to him all the bears which were roaming in the
jungle and said that they were her cattle. By the cave stood a large
rock and the tigress told the prince to take his axe and cut it in
two. The prince tried, but the rock only turned the edge of his axe
and he quite failed to cut it. The tigress being thus satisfied that
the prince had no superhuman powers sprang upon him and killed him
and devoured his body. Then she went back to the Raja and said that
she had too much work to be done, that she wished him to give her
a second son. The Raja agreed, but this prince met the same fate as
the first; and in succession, all the sons of the Raja, except the
youngest, went with the tigress and were devoured by her. At last
the youngest son went with the tigress: when bidden to cut the rock
in two, he easily accomplished the task. Then the tigress knew that
she had met her master and ran into her cave. Looking into the cave,
the prince saw the bones of his dead brothers. Gathering the bones
together, he prayed for fire to burn them, and fire fell from above
and burned the bones.

Then he climbed a tree in order to be out of the reach of the tigress,
and the tigress came and sat at the foot of the tree so that he could
not descend. Then he prayed again and wind arose and wafted him away
and set him down by a house where lived an old man and his wife. The
tigress followed in pursuit, but the aged couple hid the prince and
assured the tigress that he had not been seen; so the tigress returned
disappointed. The prince stayed with the old people and worked on
their land. One day as he was ploughing, the tigress came and killed
one of the bullocks that were drawing the plough. The prince at once
ran to the house to fetch his bow and arrow that he might kill the
tigress. When he returned, he found that several tigers were sucking
the blood of the bullock and with them a wild boar. He shot an arrow
which wounded the boar. The boar maddened by the pain turned on the
tigers and killed them all; including the tigress which had killed
the Raja's sons.

The prince then being no longer in danger from the tigress returned
to his father's palace.

(22)--The Cunning Potter.

Once upon a time there lived at the gate of a Raja's palace a Potter
who had a pretty wife. The Raja fell in love with the Potter's wife
and schemed to get rid of the husband. He could not bring himself to
commit a cold blooded murder, but he tried to accomplish his object
indirectly by setting the Potter impossible tasks which he was to
accomplish on pain of death. The Raja accordingly sent for the Potter
and ordered him to bring him the heads of twenty-four jackals.

The Potter went away to the jungle and began to dig a large hole
in the side of a hill. A jackal presently came by and stopped to
ask why he was digging the hole. The Potter said that it was going
to rain fire from heaven, and that every one who had not such a
shelter would be burnt. At this the jackal became very frightened;
the Potter thereupon said that he was so sorry for them that he
would allow the jackal and his friends to share the hole which he was
digging. The jackal gratefully ran away and returned with a number
of other jackals. They all went into the hole and the Potter closed
the entrance. After a time the Potter looked out and said that the
fire was over; he then stationed himself at the mouth of the hole and
as the jackals came out he cut off their heads with a knife; in this
away he beheaded twenty-three jackals; but the last jackal saw what
was happening and dodged the knife and escaped. The Potter took the
twenty-three heads to the Raja; but the Raja pretended to be angry
and said that if the Potter did not at once procure a twenty-fourth
head, he would be beheaded himself. The Potter took a pot of _gur_
and went to a pool of water which lay in the direction in which the
twenty-fourth jackal had fled. Smearing his body all over with _gur_,
he lay down by the water and pretended to be dead. Presently the
jackal which had escaped passed that way with a friend. Seeing the
body the second jackal proposed at once to go and eat it; but the first
jackal warned the other that there was probably some plot and related
how twenty-three of his friends had lost their lives at the hands of
this very Potter. But the second jackal would not listen to advice
and going to the supposed corpse smelt it and then began to lick it;
finding the taste of the _gur_ very pleasant it set to work to lick
the body all over beginning at the feet; it licked the feet and then
the legs, when it reached his waist it was within reach of his hand
and the Potter stabbed it with his knife and took the head to the Raja.

Foiled in this design, the Raja next ordered the Potter to bring him
a jar of tiger's milk. Taking some loaves of bread, the Potter went
into the jungle and soon found a cave in which was a pair of tiger
cubs whose parents were away hunting. The Potter told the cubs that
he was their uncle and gave them the bread to eat; they liked the
taste of the bread very much. Then the Potter hid himself in a tree
near the cave. Presently the tigress came back but her cubs refused
to suck her milk as usual, the tigress asked the reason of this and
the cubs said that their uncle had come and fed them with something
nicer than milk and they were no longer hungry. They then pointed
out the Potter in the tree and the tigress wanted to know what he had
given her cubs to eat. He told her that it was bread: the tigress said
that she would like to try some herself, whereupon the potter replied
that he would give her some if she would first give him some of her
milk. The tigress agreed and also consented that her legs should be
tied while she was being milked in order that she might not be able
to harm the potter. The tigress having been milked, the Potter gave
her a loaf of bread and then ran away as fast as he could.

Finding that he would not be able to get rid of the Potter by any
such devices, the Raja then persuaded the faithless wife to put
the Potter to death. She accordingly set up an idol in her house
and prayed daily to this that her husband might become blind and
die. One day the Potter overheard her prayers: the next day he hid
behind the idol and when the woman came and prayed he answered from
behind the idol that her prayer was granted and that in two days her
husband would become blind. Accordingly, two days later the Potter
pretended to become blind. Then the woman sent word to the Raja that
her husband was blind and that they had nothing to fear from him. The
Raja accordingly came one night to visit the woman, and the Potter
killed them both with an axe. He buried the body of his wife, but he
was in great trouble as to how to dispose of the body of the Raja:
for he knew that there would be a hue and cry when the disappearance of
the Raja was discovered. At last he decided to put the body in a field
of _brinjals_ belonging to a neighbour. Towards morning, the owner of
the field came to see that his property was all right, and seeing some
one among the _brinjals_, thought that it was a thief. He accordingly
hit the supposed thief on the head; and when he came to examine the
body, he was shocked to find that he had, as he thought, killed the
Raja. In great distress he went to consult his friend, the Potter;
the Potter advised him to put the body among the buffaloes belonging
to a Goala. At dawn the Goala came to look at his buffaloes and seeing
the body of the Raja thought that it was a thief stealing the milk of
the buffaloes: catching up a club, he inflicted a blow which caused
the body to fall over. When the Goala, found that the body was that
of the Raja and that he had apparently killed him, he was in great
fear and went to his friend, the Potter, for advice. It was finally
decided to dispose of the body by putting it down a well. The next day
great search was made for the missing Raja and the body was found in
the well by a Brahman. Preparations were made for the obsequies and
a funeral pyre erected. The Potter saw his opportunity and digging
a hole in the ground under the pyre hid himself in it. When the body
had been cremated and the mourners were still collected at the spot,
the Potter began to speak from the hole in which he was concealed:
the bystanders thought that they heard the voice of the Raja declaring
that the Potter had always been his true friend and that he desired
that he should be given half the kingdom and the hand of his daughter
in marriage. The supposed wishes of the late Raja were obeyed and
the Potter lived in luxury for the rest of his life.


[1] This is why Santals when going to eat, move the stool that is
offered to them before they sit down on it.

[2] Jaituk is a bullock given to a girl by her parents at the time
of her marriage.

[3] Kisar bonga = brownie.

[4] This is quite in accordance with Ho notions. If a man buys a
wife there is an implied warranty that she is to last a reasonable
time. If she dies shortly after marriage a sister or cousin has to
be given to replace her.

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