And Kora said "Well, listen to me: I hear that your servants run away in the middle of the year because you give them so little to eat, all I ask for my wages is that you give me once a year one grain of rice and I will sow it and you must give me low land to plant all the seed that I get from it; and give me one seed of maize and I will sow it for seed, and you must give me upland to sow all the seed I get from it; and give me the customary quantity of clothes, and for food give me one leaf full of rice three times a day. I only want what will go on a single leaf, you need not sew several leaves together into a plate. I will ask for no second helping but if you do not fill the leaf full I shall have the right to abuse you, and if I do not do all the work you give me properly, then you can abuse me and beat me. If I run away from fear of hard work you may cut off the little finger of my right hand, and if you do not give me the wages we have agreed upon then I shall have the right to cut off the little finger of your hand. What do you say to this proposal: consult your friends and give me your answer." Then the miser answered "I engage you on these terms and if I turn you off without reason you may cut off my little finger." Then Kora turned to the man who had fetched him and said "Listen to all this: if there is any dispute hereafter you will be my witness."
So Kora began to work and the first day they gave him rice on a single sal leaf and he ate it up in one mouthful: but the next day he brought a plantain leaf (which is some three feet long) and said "Give me my rice on this and mind you fill it full." And they refused: but he said "Why not? it is only a single leaf" and they had to give in because he was within his rights; so he ate as much as he wanted, and every day he brought a plantain leaf till his master's wife got tired and said to her husband "Why have you got a servant like this—he takes a whole pot of rice to himself every day," but he answered "Never mind: his wages are nothing, he is working for his keep alone;" so the whole year Kora got his plantain leaf filled and he was never lazy over his work so they could find no fault with him on that score, and when the year was up they gave him one grain of rice and one seed of maize for his wages for the year. Kora kept them carefully, and his master's sons laughed at him and said "Mind you don't drop them or let a mouse eat them."
Kora said nothing but when the time for sowing maize came he took his grain of maize and sowed it by the dung heap, and he called them to see where he sowed it; and at the time of sowing rice he sowed his grain separately, and when the time for transplanting came he planted his rice seedling in a hollow and bade them note it. When the maize ripened it was found that his plant had two big cobs and one small one on it, and his rice seedling sent up a number of ears; and when it ripened he cut it and threshed it and got one pai of rice, and he kept the maize and rice for seed. And the next year also he sowed this seed separately and it produced a big basket of rice and another one of maize, and he kept this also for seed; and in the course of five or six years he had taken all their high lands to sow his seed in and in a few years more he had taken all their rice lands too. Then his master was very miserable but he saw that it was useless to make any complaint and the master became so poor that he had to work as a servant to Kora. At last the miser called the heads of the village together and wept before them, and they had pity on him and interceded for him; but Kora said "It is God who has punished him and not I; he made poor men work for nothing for so long and now he has to suffer;" but they asked him to be merciful and give him some land, and he agreed and said "Cut off his little finger and I will let him off his bargain; and call all the servants whom he has defrauded and I will pay them" but the miser would not have his finger cut off; then Kora said "Let him keep his finger and I will give him back half his land." The miser agreed to this and promised to treat his servants well in future, and in order to lessen his shame he married his daughter to Kora; and he had to admit that it was by his own folly that this trouble had befallen him.
XVII. Kuwar and the Raja's Daughter.
There was once a rich merchant who lived in a Raja's city; and the Raja founded a school in order that his own children might have some education, and the boys and the girls of the town used to go to the school as well as the Raja's sons and daughters and among them the rich merchant's son, whose name Was Kuwar. In the course of time the children all learned to read and write. In the evenings all the boys used to mount their horses and go for a ride.
Now it happened that Kuwar and the Raja's daughter fell in love with each other and she wrote him a letter saying that if he did not marry her she would forcibly install herself in his house. He wrote back and begged her not to come to his house as this would be the ruin of his family; but he said that he would willingly run away with her to a distant country, and spend his whole life with her, if she would overlook the fact that they were of different castes; and if she agreed to this they must settle to what country to go. Somehow news of their intention got about, and the Raja was told that his daughter was in love with the merchant's son. Then the Raja gave orders that his daughter was not to be allowed to go outside the palace, and the merchant spoke severely to Kuwar and neither of them was allowed to go to the school any more. But one day the princess went to the place where the Raja's horses were tied up and among them was a mare named Piyari and she went up to the mare and said "You have eaten our salt for a long time, will you now requite me?" And Piyari said "Certainly I will!". Then the princess asked "If I mount you, will you jump over all these horses and this wall and escape?" And the mare said "Yes, but you will have to hold on very tight." The princess said "That is my look-out: it is settled that on the day I want you you will jump over the wall and escape." Then she wrote a letter to Kuwar and gave it to her maid-servant to deliver into Kuwar's own hands, without letting anyone know: and in the letter she fixed a day for their elopement and told Kuwar to wait for her by a certain tree. So on the day fixed after everyone was asleep Kuwar went to the tree and almost at once the princess came to him riding on Piyari; he asked her how she had escaped and whether she had been seen and she told him how the mare had jumped over the wall without anyone knowing; then they both mounted Piyari and drove her like the wind and in one night they passed through the territory of two or three Rajas and in the morning were in a far country.
Then they dismounted to cook their rice, and went to the house of an old woman to ask for a light with which to light their fire. Now this old woman had seven sons and they were all robbers and murderers; and six of them had killed travellers and carried off their wives and married them. When Kuwar and the princess came asking for a light the seven sons were away hunting and when the old woman saw the princess she resolved to marry her to her youngest son, and made a plan to delay them; so she asked them to cook their rice at her house and offered them cooking pots and water pots and firewood and everything necessary; they did not know that she meant to kill Kuwar and unsuspiciously accepted her offer. When they had finished cooking Kuwar asked the old woman whether she lived alone and she told him that she was a widow but had seven sons and they were all away on a trading expedition. The old woman kept on looking out to see if her sons were returning, and she had made an arrangement with them that if she ever wanted them she would set fire to a small hut and they would come home at once when they saw the smoke rising. But before her sons came back Kuwar and the princess finished their meal and paid the old woman and mounted Piyari and gallopped off. Then the old woman set fire to the hut and her sons, seeing the smoke hurried home. She told them that a beautiful girl had just left who would make a suitable wife for the youngest of the brothers. Then the brothers tied on their swords and mounted their horses and went in pursuit. Kuwar and the princess knew nothing of their danger and rode on happily, but presently they heard horses neighing behind them and looking round, saw men riding after them with drawn swords. Then the princess said to Kuwar "Our enemies are upon us; do you sit in front and let me sit behind you, then they will kill us both together. If I am in front they may kill you alone and carry me off alive." But while they were thinking of this the seven brothers caught them up, and began to abuse them and charge them with having set fire to the house in which they had eaten their rice, and told them to come back with them at once. Kuwar and the princess were too frightened to answer and they had no sword with which to defend themselves. Then the robbers surrounded them and killed Kuwar, and they said to the princess "You cannot stay here all alone; we will take you back and you shall marry one of us." The princess answered "Kill me here at once, never will I go with you." They said "We shall take away your horse and all your food, will not that make you go?" But the princess threw herself on the dead body of Kuwar and for all they could do they could not drag her off it. Then the murderers said to the youngest brother "She is to be your wife: you must pull her away." But he refused saying "No, if I take her away she will not stay with me, she will probably hang herself or drown herself; I do not want a wife like that, if any of you want her, you can have her." But they said that it would not be right for one of them to take a second wife while their youngest brother was unmarried, and that their mother intended him to marry this girl; if he would not they would kill her there and then. But the youngest brother had pity on her and asked them to spare her life, so they took away her horse and her food and everything that she had and went away and left her there.
For a day and a night the princess lay there weeping and lamenting her dead Kuwar and never ceased for a moment. Then Chando said "who is this who is weeping and what has happened to her?" And he sent Bidhi and Bidha to see what was the matter; they came and told him that a princess was weeping over the body of her dead husband and would not leave him though she had been robbed of everything she had.
Then Chando told them to go and frighten her, and if they could frighten her away from her husband's dead body he would do nothing, but if she would not leave him then they were to restore him to life. So they went and found her holding the dead body of her husband In her lap and weeping; and they first assumed the form of tigers and began to circle round her roaring, but she only went on weeping and sang—
"You have come roaring, tigress: First eat me, tigress: Then only will I let you eat the body of my lord."
She would not quit the body nor run away from fear of the tigers, so they slunk away and came back in the form of two leopards, and prowled round her growling; but she only sang
"You have come roaring, leopardess First eat me, leopardess Then only will I let you eat the body of my lord."
and as she would not fly from them they slunk away and came back in the form of two bears, but the princess only sang the same song; then they appeared as two elephants; and then as two huge snakes which hissed terribly but still she only wept; and in many forms they tried to frighten her away but she would not move nor leave the corpse of Kuwar, so in the end they saw that all the heart of the princess was with Kuwar and that even in death they could not be separated, so at last they drew near to her in the form of human beings and asked her why she was crying, as they had heard her weeping from a long way off, and had been filled with pity for her lamentations. Then the princess said "Alas, this youth and I are from such and such a country and as we loved and our lives were bound up in each other we ran away together hither, and here on the road he has been killed and the murderers have left me without my horse or food; and this is why I weep." Then Bidhi and Bidha said "Daughter, rise up and we will take you to your home, or we will find you another husband; this one is dead and cannot be restored to you; you will find another; come arise, you have but one life," But the princess answered "No I will not go and leave him here. I will not leave him while my life lasts; but I pray you if you know of any medicine that might restore him to life, to try it." Then they answered "We know something of medicine and if you wish we will try to cure him;" so saying, they ground up some simples and told the princess to spread out a cloth and lay the dead body on it and to put the head which had been cut off into position, and then to cover it with the cloth and hold the head in position; so she did as they bade, and they rubbed the medicine on the body and then they suddenly disappeared from her sight.
Then in a few moments she saw Kuwar's chest heave as if he were breathing; thereupon she shook him violently and he rose up and said "Oh, what a long time I have slept," but the princess said "Do not talk of sleep; you were killed and two men appeared from somewhere and applied medicine and brought you to life again;" then Kuwar asked where they were and she told him how they had disappeared without her knowledge.
Then they rose up and went in search of food to a village where there was a bazar, and they tried to get employment as servants; but the people advised them to go to the capital city where the Raja lived, and there if no one would take them as servants they could get employment as coolies on a big tank which the Raja was excavating. So they went there, and as they could not get employment as servants they went to work at the tank with the common coolies and were paid their wages at the end of the week and so managed to live. Kuwar's desire was to somehow save five or six rupees and then build a little house for themselves.
Now although the tank had been dug very deep there were no signs of any water. Then the Raja ordered the centre post to be planted in hopes that this would make the water rise; and he told the coolies not to run away as he would make a feast to celebrate the making of the tank and would distribute presents among them, and at this the labourers were very pleased.
Now Kuwar's wife was very fair to see and the Raja saw her and fell in love with her and made a plot to get possession of her. So when the centre post had been planted and still no water came he said "We must see what sacrifice is required to make the water come. I 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 jewellery 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, singing:—
"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.