The Raja of Lutia was walking on the roof of his palace and he saw the cavalcade approaching, and he sent a sipahi to meet the prince and ask him this question, "Have you the secret of prosperity for ever or of prosperity for a day?" When this question was put to the prince he answered that he had the secret of prosperity for ever. When the Lutia Raja was told of this answer, he ordered his men to stop the prince's train; so they surrounded them and seized all the merchandise and the prince's retainers fled on their horses and elephants and left him alone and penniless. In his distress the prince was forced to take service with a rich Hindu, and he had nothing to live on but what his master chose to give him, and all he had to wear was a loin cloth like the poorest labourer.
The only man who did not desert him was the servant whom the Princess had sent; and one day he saw that the prince had thrown away an old loin cloth while bathing; this he picked up and took home to his mistress, who put it away. When she heard all that had happened to her husband, she set out in her turn to the Lutia country and all she took with her was a mouse and a shawl. When she reached the Lutia country the Raja as before sent a messenger to ask whether she knew the secret of prosperity for ever or of prosperity for a day.
She answered "prosperity for a day." Thereupon the Raja had her sent for and also all the retainers who had deserted the Prince and who had collected together in the neighbourhood. When they had all come the Raja said that he would now decide who should have all the wealth which had been taken from the prince: he produced a cat and said that the person towards whom the cat jumped should have all the wealth. So they all sat round the Raja and the Princess had her mouse hidden under her shawl and every now and then she kept uncovering its head and covering it up again. The cat soon caught sight of the mouse and, when the Raja let it go, it jumped straight to the Princess in hopes of catching the mouse. The Raja at once adjudged all the merchandise to her, and she loaded it on the horses and elephants and took it home accompanied by her husband's retainers.
A few days afterwards her husband came home, having got tired of working as a servant, and, putting a bold face on it, he went up to her and said that now he was going to beat her; all the retainers who had accompanied him when he set out to trade and also the servant whom the princess had sent with him were present. Then, before them all, the princess took up the old loin cloth and asked him if he knew to whom it had belonged; at this reminder of his poverty the prince was dumb with shame. "Ask your retainers" continued the princess "to whom all the merchandise with which you set out now rightfully belongs, ask them whether it is yours or mine, and then say whether you will beat me."
The prince had no answer to give her and after this lesson gave up all idea of beating his bride.
XXIX. Sahde Goala.
Once a marriage was arranged between Sahde Goala and Princess Chandaini and on the wedding day when it began to get dusk Sahde Goala ordered the sun to stand still. "How," said he, "can the people see the wedding of a mighty man like myself in the dark?" So at his behest the sun delayed its setting for an hour, and the great crowd which had assembled saw all the grand ceremonies.
The next day Sahde and his bride set off home and it took them three days to reach the place where he lived. Before they left they had invited the princess's father to come and see them; accordingly a day or two later he set out, but it took him three months to accomplish the distance which Sahde Goala had traversed in three days. When the old Raja reached his son-in-law's house they welcomed him and washed his feet and offered him refreshments; and when he had eaten, he asked his son-in-law to take him out for a stroll. So they went out, Sahde Goala in front and the old Raja following behind him and as they walked Sahde Goala struck his foot against a stone, and the stone was shattered to pieces. When the Raja saw this proof of his son-in-law's superhuman strength, he became alarmed for his daughter's safety. If Sahde ever lost his temper with her he might clearly smash her to atoms, so he made up his mind that he could not leave her in such keeping. When he told his daughter what he had seen she was as frightened as her father and begged him to take her home, so they agreed to escape together some time when Sahde Goala was out of the way.
One morning Sahde Goala went out to watch his men working in the fields and the old Raja and his daughter seized this opportunity to escape. Sahde Goala had a sister named Lorokini and she ran to the field to tell her brother that his wife was running away. "Let her go" said Sahde Goala. The old Raja travelled faster than his daughter and left her behind and as she travelled along alone Sahde Goala made a flooded river flow across her path. It was quite unfordable so the Princess stood on the bank and sang:—
"My mother gave me birth, My father gave me in marriage: If the water upstream would stand still And the water downstream would flow away Then I could go and live in my own home."
But no such thing happened and she had to go back to her husband's house.
When she arrived her mother-in-law gave her a large basket of cooked rice and a pot of relish and told her to take them to the labourers in the field. Her mother-in-law helped her to lift the basket on to her head and she set off. When she reached the field she called to her sister-in-law:—
"Come Lorokini, Lift down from my head The basket of rice And the pot of relish."
But Lorokini was angry with her for trying to run away and refused to help, singing:—
"I will not come I will not lift down the basket: Prop it against a murup tree: I will not lift it down."
Then Chandaini Rani propped it against the trunk of a murup tree, and so set it on the ground.
Then she sang to her husband:—
"Here, husband, is the lota of water: Here, husband, is the tooth stick; Come, and wash your hands: If you are angry with me Take me back to my father and mother."
But Sahde Goala was ploughing at the head of his men and paid no attention to her: then she sang again:—
"Seven hundred labourers And twenty hundred women labourers, You are causing to die of thirst."
But still Sahde Goala paid no attention. Then Chandaini Rani got angry and by leaning the basket against the murup tree managed to get it on to her head again and carried it home, and from that time murup trees grow slanting. Directly she had taken the rice and relish to the house she set off again to run away to her mother. As before Sahde Goala caused a flooded river to flow across her path and as before she sang:—
"My mother gave me birth, My father gave me in marriage: If the water upstream would stand still And the water downstream would flow away Then I could go and live in my own home,"
And this time the water did stand still and the water below all flowed away and she crossed over. As she crossed she said "If I am really chaste no one will be able to touch me." And as she reached the opposite bank she saw a young man sitting waiting for her; his name was Bosomunda, he had been sitting waiting for her on the bank for days without moving. When he saw Chandaini Rani mount the bank he rose and said "Come: I have been waiting for you, you are to be my mistress." "Fie, fie!" answered she "Am I to belong to any Dome or Hari?" Bosomunda swore that she should be his. "If so, then follow a little behind me so as not to tread on my shadow." So they went on, the Rani in front and Bosomunda behind. Presently they came to a tamarind tree on which grew two enormous fruits; the Rani pointed to them saying "If I am to belong to you, you must pick me those fruits." So Bosomunda began to climb the tree, and as he climbed she prayed that the tree might grow and touch the sky; and in fact as fast as Bosomunda climbed so the tree grew and he got no nearer to the fruit.
Then the Chandaini Rani picked up the weapons which he had laid on the ground and threw them away one to the north and one to the south, one to the east and one to the west, and ran off as fast as she could. Bosomunda at first did not see her because his eyes were fixed on the tamarind fruit, but after she had gone a long way he caught sight of her and came down as fast as he could and, gathering up his weapons, went in pursuit. But Chandaini Rani had got a long start, and as she hurried along she passed a thorn tree standing by the side of the road and she called to it "Thorn tree, Bosomunda is coming after me, do your best to detain him for a little." As she spoke it seemed as if a weight descended on the tree and swayed it to and fro so that its branches swept the ground, and it answered her "I will do like this to him." Then she went on and met a goat on the road, and she asked it to do its best to delay Bosomunda, and the goat pawed the ground and dug its horns into the earth and said that it would do the same to Bosomunda. Then she went on and met a ram and made the same request; the ram charged a tree and butted it right over and promised to treat Bosomunda in the same way. Afterwards she came to a bull and the bull drove its horns into a bank and brought down a quantity of earth and said that that was the way he would treat Bosomunda. Next she came to a buffalo and the buffalo charged a bank of earth to show what he would do to Bosomunda. Then she came to an elephant and the elephant trampled a clod of earth to dust and said that he would treat Bosomunda so. Then she went on and saw a paddy bird feeding by the roadside and she asked it to do its best to delay Bosomunda; the paddy bird drove its bill into the earth and said that it would treat Bosomunda in the same way.
Meanwhile Bosomunda was in hot pursuit. When he came to the thorn tree, the tree swayed its branches and caught him with its thorns, but he cut down the tree and freed himself; he went on a little way and met the goat which ran at him with its horns, but Bosomunda sang:—
"Do not fight with me, goat, I will cut off your legs and cut off your head And take them to the shrine of Mahadeo."
So saying, he killed the goat and cut off its head and tied it to his waist and went on. Next the ram charged him but he sang:
"Do not fight with me, Ram, I will cut off your legs and cut off your head And take them to the shrine of Mahadeo."
So saying he killed the Ram and took its head. Then in succession he was attacked by the bull and the buffalo and the elephant, but he killed them all and cut off their heads. Then he came to the paddy bird, which pretended to be busily engaged in picking up insects and gradually worked its way nearer and nearer. Bosomunda let it get quite close and then suddenly seized it and gave its neck a pull which lengthened it out considerably; "Thank you" said the paddy bird, as he put it down "now I shall be able to catch all the fish in a pool without moving." Thereupon Bosomunda caught it again and gave its neck a jerk and that is why paddy birds have necks shaped like a letter S.
Bosomunda continued his pursuit and caught up Chandaini Rani just as she was entering her father's house; he seized her by her hair and managed to cut off the edge of her cloth and pull off one of her golden anklets, and then had to let her go.
He took up his abode at the ghat of a tank and began to kill every one who came down to the water. The citizens complained to the Raja of the destruction he was causing and the Raja ordered some valiant man to be searched for, fit to do battle with the murderer; so they sent for a Birbanta (giant) and the Raja promised to give him half his kingdom and his daughter in marriage if he could slay Bosomunda. So the Birbanta made ready for the fight and advanced brandishing his weapons against Bosomunda. Three days and three nights they fought, and in the end the Birbanta was defeated and killed.
Then the Raja ordered his subjects to find another champion and a Birburi was found willing to undertake the fight in hope of the promised reward; and as he was being taken to the field of battle his mother met him with a ladle full of curds and told him to do a war dance, and as he was dancing round she threw the curds at him; he caught the whole of it on his shield except one drop which fell on his thigh; from this his mother foresaw that he would bleed to death In the fight, so she took some rice and ran on ahead and again met her son and told him to do the war dance and show how he was going to fight; and as he danced his sword shivered to atoms. His mother said, "Is this the way in which you intended to fight, of a surety you would have met your death." Then she made him gather together the pieces of his sword and cover them with a wet cloth, and in a few minutes the pieces joined together; then she allowed him to go to the fight.
When the battle began the Birburi's mother kept calling out "Well, Bosomunda, have you killed my son?" This enraged Bosomunda and he kept running after the old woman to drive her away, and this gave the opportunity to the Birburi to get in a good blow; in this way they fought for seven days and nights and at the end Bosomunda was defeated and killed. Then the Raja gave half his kingdom to the Birburi and married him to his daughter Chandaini Rani.
After their marriage they set out for their new home and on the way they met Sahde Goala who had come in search of his missing wife. "Hulloa" cried Sahde Goala "where are you taking my wife to?" "I know nothing about your wife" said the Birburi "this is the Raja's daughter whom I have married as a reward for killing Bosomunda; he has given me half his kingdom from Sir Sikar to the field of the cotton tree." Then Sahde Goala told him to go his way, so the Birburi and the Rani went on and Sahde Goala caused a flooded river with the water flowing bank high to cross their path. As they waited on the bank Sahde Goala made the Birburi an offer that, if he could carry the woman across the river without getting the sole of her foot wet, then she should belong to him and if not Sahde Goala should take her. The Birburi agreed and tried and tried again to get the Rani across without wetting her, but the flood was too strong, so at last he gave in and Sahde Goala took her back with him to their former home. There they lived and in the course of time Chandaini Rani bore a son and she named him Dhonontori, and after the birth of their son the family became so wealthy (dhon) that the Hindus revered Dhonontori as a god. And so ends the story.
XXX. The Raja's Son and the Merchant's Son.
Once upon a time the son of a Raja and the son of a merchant were great friends; they neither of them had any taste for lessons but would play truant from school and waste their time running about the town. The Raja was much vexed at his son's behaviour; he wished him to grow up a worthy successor to himself, and with this object did all he could to break off his friendship with the merchant's son, as the two boys only led each other into mischief; but all his efforts failed and at last he offered a reward of one hundred rupees to any one who could separate them. One of the Raja's concubines made up her mind to earn the reward, and one day she met the two boys as they were going out to bathe. The Raja's son was walking ahead and the merchant's son a little way behind; the woman ran after the merchant's son and threw her arms round him and putting her lips to his ear pretended to whisper to him and then ran away. When they met at the river the Prince asked the merchant's son what the woman had told him, his friend denied that she had said anything but for all his protestations the Prince would not believe this. They quarrelled about it for a long time and at last the Prince went home in a rage and shut himself up in his room and refused to eat or be comforted. His father sent to enquire what was the matter with him and the Prince replied that food should not pass his lips until the merchant's son had been put to death.
Thereupon the Raja sent for some soldiers and told them to devise some means of killing the merchant's son. So they bound the youth and showed him to the Prince and said that they would take him to the jungle and kill and bury him there. They then led him off, but on the road they caught a lamb and when they got to the jungle they killed the lamb and steeped the clothes of the merchant's son in the blood that they might have something to show to the Prince and then went back leaving the boy in the jungle. They took the bloody cloth to the Prince and told him to rise and eat, but when he saw the blood, all his old friendship revived and he was filled with remorse and could not eat for sorrow. Then the Raja told his soldiers to find out some friend to comfort the Prince, and they told him that they would soon set things straight and going off to the jungle brought back the merchant's son and took him to the Prince; and the two youths forgot their differences and were as friendly as before.
Time passed and one day the Prince proposed to his friend that they should run away and seek their fortunes in the world. So they fixed a day and stole away without telling anyone, and, as they had not taken any money, they soon had to look about for employment. They found work and the arrangement their masters made with them was this: their wages were to be as much rice each day as would go on a leaf; and if they threw up their work they were to forfeit one hand and one ear; on the other hand if their masters discharged them so long as they were willing to work for this wage the master was to lose one hand and one ear. The merchant's son was cunning enough to turn this agreement to his advantage, for every day he brought a large lotus leaf to be filled with rice; this gave him more than he could eat and he soon grew fat and flourishing, but the Raja's son only took an ordinary sal leaf to his master and the rice that he got on this was not enough to keep him alive, so he soon wasted away and died.
Now the merchant's son had told his master that his name was Ujar: one day his master said "Ujar, go and hoe that sugar cane and look sharp about it." So Ujar went and instead of hoeing the ground dug up all the sugar cane and piled it in a heap. When the master saw his fine crop destroyed he was very angry and called the villagers to punish Ujar, but when they questioned him, Ujar protested that he was bound to obey his master's orders; he had been ordered to hoe the sugar cane, not the ground, and he had done as he was told, and so they had to let him off.
Another day a Hindu neighbour came to Ujar's master and asked him to lend him his servant for a day. So Ujar went to the Hindu's house and there was told to scrape and spin some hemp, but Ujar did not understand the Hindu language and when he got the knife to scrape the hemp with, he proceeded to chop it all up into little pieces; when the Hindu saw what had happened he was very angry and called in the neighbours, but Ujar protested that he had been told to cut the hemp and had done so; and so he got off.
Ujar's master had an only child and one day he told Ujar to take the child to a tank and give him a good washing, so Ujar took the child to a tank and there proceeded to dash the child against a stone in the way that washermen wash clothes; he knocked the child about until he knocked the life out of him and then carefully washed him in the tank and brought the body home and put it on the bed. Next morning the father was surprised not to hear the child running about and, going to look, found the dead body. The villagers assembled but Ujar protested that his master had told him to wash the child thoroughly and he had only obeyed orders; so they had to let him off again.
After this the master made up his mind to get rid of Ujar, but he was in a fix: he could not dismiss him because of the agreement that if he did not continue to employ him so long as he was willing to serve for one leaf full of rice a day he was to lose a hand and an ear. So he decided to kill him, but he was afraid to do so himself for fear of being found out; so he decided to send Ujar to his father-in-law's house and get them to do the job. He wrote a letter to his father-in-law asking him to kill the bearer directly he arrived before many people knew of his coming and this letter he gave to Ujar to deliver.
On the way however Ujar had some misgivings and he opened the letter and read it; thereupon he tore it in pieces and instead of it wrote a letter to his master's father-in-law in which his master was made to say that Ujar was a most valuable servant and they should give him their youngest daughter in marriage as soon as possible. The fraud was not found out and directly Ujar arrived he was married to the youngest daughter of his master's father-in-law. A few days later the master went to see how his plan had worked and was disgusted to find Ujar not only alive but happily married.
So he thought that he would entice him into the jungle and kill him there; with this object he one day invited Ujar to come out hunting with him, but Ujar suspected what was up and took a hatchet with him; and directly they got to the jungle he fell behind his master and cut him down with his hatchet and then went home and told his wife's relations that his master had got tired of hunting and had gone back to his own home; no doubts were raised about his story and he lived on happily with his wife till he died at a ripe old age.
XXXI. The Poor Widow.
Once there was a poor widow who had two children; she lived by daily labour and if she got no work any day, then that day they had to go without food. One morning she went out to look for work and a rich woman called her and asked if she wanted a job; she said "Yes, that is what I am looking for," then the rich woman said "Stay here and pick the lice out of my hair, and I will pay you your usual wages and give you your dinner as well." So the poor widow agreed and spent the day picking out the lice and at evening the rich woman brought out a measure of rice to give her as her wages and, as she was measuring it, she felt her head itch and she put up her hand and scratched and pulled out a large louse.
Then she got very angry and scolded the widow and said that she would pay her nothing as she had not done her work properly and she turned her out. Then the widow was very unhappy for she had nothing to give her starving children and she wished that she had stuck to her usual work. When she got home and her children began to cry for food, she remembered that she had seen some wild saru (vegetable) growing in a certain place; so she took a basket and a sickle and telling her children not to cry went out to gather it. It was dark and lonely and she felt frightened but then she thought of her children and went on and gathered the saru, and returned home crying because she had nothing better to give her offspring. On the way she met an old man who asked her why she was crying and she told him all her story. Then he told her to take the herbs home and chop them all up and to put some in every basket and pot she had and to cook the rest for supper. So when she got home she did as she had been directed and when she came to take the herbs which she had cooked out of the pot, she found that they had turned into rice, and she and her children ate it with joy. The next morning she found that every pot and basket into which she had put the herbs was full of rice; and from that time she prospered and bought goats and pigs and cattle and lived happily ever after.
But no one knew where the old man came from, as she had forgotten to ask him.
XXXII. The Monkey and the Girl.
Once upon a time the boys and girls of a village used to watch the crops of but growing by a river, and there was a Hanuman monkey who wished to eat the but, but they drove him away. So he made a plan: he used to make a garland of flowers and go with it to the field and, when he was driven away, he would leave the flowers behind; and the children were pleased with the flowers and ended by making friends with the monkey and did not drive him away. There was one of the young girls who was fascinated by the monkey and promised to marry him. Some of the other children told this in the village and the girl's father and mother came to hear of it and were angry and the father took some of the villagers and went and shot the monkey. Then they decided not to throw away the body, but to burn it like the corpse of a man. So they made a pyre and put the body on it and set fire to it; just then the girl came and they told her to go away, but she said that she wished to see whether they really burned him like a man. So she stood by and when the pyre was in full blaze, she called out "Oh look, what is happening to the stars in the sky!" at this every one looked up at the sky; then she took some sand which she had in the fold of her cloth and threw it into the air and it fell into their eyes and blinded them.
While they were rubbing the sand out of their eyes the girl leapt on to the pyre, and was burned along with the monkey and died a sati. Her father and brothers were very angry at this and said that the girl must have had a monkey's soul and so she was fascinated by him; and so saying they bathed and went home.
XXXIII. Ramai and the Animals.
Once there was a blacksmith who had five sons and the sons were always quarrelling. Their father used to scold them, but they paid no heed; so he got angry and one day he sent for them and said: "You waste your time quarrelling. I have brought you up and have amassed wealth; I should like to see what you are worth. I will put it to the test: I will give you each one hundred rupees, and I will see how you employ the money; if any of you puts it to profitable use, I will call him my son; but if any of you squander it, I shall call him a girl." So they went forth with the money and one bought buffaloes and one bought horses and another cattle, each according to his judgement, and brought them home. But the youngest son, who was named Ramai, soon after he started, found some men killing a cat and he begged them not to kill the cat, but let him have it and he bought it of them, and going on he found some men killing a dog which they had caught stealing and he bought it of them to save its life. By and bye he came to some men hunting an otter and he asked what they were doing, and they said that the otter ate the fish in a Raja's tank and so they were going to kill it; and he asked them to catch it and sell it to him, and promised to take it away where it could do no harm; and they did so. Then he went on and came to some men who were killing a young black snake and he saved that also, and then returned home with his four animals, and he tethered the cat and the dog and the otter in the yard and he put the snake into a pot with a lid on and hung it in the cow shed.
When his father saw Ramai's animals, he was very angry and jeered at him and said that he had no more mind than a woman; and especially he told him to throw away the snake at once, if he did not want it killed. So Ramai took down the pot with the snake in it, and the snake said: "Take me to my father and mother and they will reward you, and when they ask what you would like, take nothing but the ring which is on my father's hand: it is a magic ring and has the property that it will give you whatever you ask."
So Ramai took the young snake to its home and its father and mother were very grateful and asked what reward he would accept: and he said he would take nothing but the ring, so they gave it to him. On the way home he thought that he would test its virtues: so he bathed and spread out a cloth and then prayed: "Oh ring, give me some luncheon," and behold he saw a nice lunch heaped up in the middle of the cloth. He ate it joyfully and went back home, and there he found that his father had killed the other animals and he reproached him; but his father said: "They were useless and were only eating their heads off, why should not I kill them?" Ramai answered: "These were not useless, they were most valuable animals, much better than those my brothers bought; if you asked my brothers for a gold palace they could not make you one, but I could do so at once, thanks to the snake, and I could marry a princess and get anything else I want."
His father said that he would like to see him try: so Ramai asked the ring for a gold palace and immediately one appeared in their garden. Then his father was very repentant about having killed the other animals. But Ramai's boast that he could marry a princess got abroad and the Raja heard of it and as he was glad to have so rich a son-in-law, he gave him his daughter in marriage. And with his daughter the Raja sent elephants and horses, but Ramai sent them back again, lest it should be said that he had become rich through the bounty of the Raja; and by virtue of the ring they lived in wealthy and prosperity.
XXXIV. The Magic Bedstead.
Once upon a time a carpenter made a bedstead, and when it was ready he put it in his verandah. At night he heard the four legs of the bedstead talking together and saying: "We will save the life of anyone who sleeps on this bedstead and protect him from his enemies." When the carpenter heard this, he decided not to part with the bed for less than a hundred rupees. So next day he went out to try and get this price for the bed, but people laughed at him and said that no one could pay such a price but the Raja; so he went to the Raja and the Raja asked why he wanted one hundred rupees for a bedstead that was apparently worth only five or six annas. The carpenter answered that the bed would protect its owner from all enemies; the Raja doubted at first but as the man persisted in his story, he agreed to buy the bed, but he stipulated that if he found the story about it not to be true, he should take back his money.
One night the king lay awake on the bed and he heard the legs of the bed talking, so he lay still and listened: and they said that the Raja was in danger and that they must try to save him. So one leg loosened itself from the bed and went away outside and it found a tiger which had come to eat the Raja, and it beat the tiger to death, and then came back and fixed itself into its place again. Soon a second leg said that it would go outside; so it went and that leg met a leopard and a bear and it beat them to death and returned. Then the third leg said that it was its turn, and it went outside and it found four burglars digging a hole through the wall of the palace, and it set upon them and broke their legs and left them lying there. When this one returned, the fourth leg went out and it heard a voice in the sky saying: "The Raja is very cunning, I will send a snake which shall hide in his shoe and when he puts the shoe on in the morning, it will bite him and he will die." When this leg came back, each one told the others what it had seen and done, and the Raja heard them and lay awake till morning, and at dawn he called his servants and sent them outside the palace and there they found the tiger and leopard and bear lying dead, and the four thieves with their legs broken. Then the Raja believed what the legs had said and he would not get up but first ordered his servants to make a fire in the courtyard and he had all his shoes thrown into the fire and then he got up.
After this the Raja ordered that great care was to be taken of the bedstead and that anyone who sat on it should be put to death; and he himself used not to sleep in it anymore but he kept it in his bedroom that it might protect him.
XXXV. The Ghormuhas.
Ghormuhas have heads like horses and bodies and arms like men and their legs are shaped like men's but they have only one leg each, and they eat human beings.
One day a young man named Somai was hunting a deer and the deer ran away to the country of the Ghormuhas and Somai pursued it, and the Ghormuhas caught him and took him home to eat. First they smoked him for two or three days so that all the vermin were driven out of his body and clothes and then they proceeded to fatten him; they fed him well every day on rice cooked with turmeric.
Somai saw how they dealt with their other victims: they tied them hand and foot and threw them alive into a pot of boiling oil and when they were cooked they hung the bodies up in the doorway and would take a bite as they passed in and out; the liver and heart and brains they cooked separately. They used to eat their own parents also: for when a father or mother grew old they would throw them on to the roof of the house and when they rolled down and were killed they would say to their friends, "The pumpkin growing on our roof has got ripe and fallen off and burst, let us come and eat it;" and then they had a feast.
Somai saw all this and was very frightened. The Ghormuhas could run very fast and they made Somai run a race with them every day and their plan was that they would eat him when he was strong enough to beat them in the race. In the course of time he came to beat them in running on the road; then they said that they would make him run in the fields and, if he beat them there, they meant to eat him.
Somai found out their plan and he decided to try and run away; if he stayed he would be eaten, so if they caught him when he tried to run away he would be no worse off. So the first day they raced in the fields Somai was winning but he remembered and stopped himself and let himself be beaten that day. But he resolved to try and escape the next day and the Ghorarahas had decided to eat him that day whatever happened. So when the race began, Somai set off towards the lower lands where the rice fields were embanked and he jumped the embankments, but the Ghormuhas who pursued him could not jump well and tumbled and fell; and thus he ran away to his own country and made good his escape. And it was he who told men what Ghormuhas are like and how they live.
XXXVI. The Boy Who Learnt Magic.
Once upon a time there was a Raja who had seven wives and they were all childless, and he was very unhappy at having no heir. One day a Jogi came to the palace begging, and the Raja and his Ranis asked him whether he could say what should be done in order that they might have children; the Jogi asked what they would give him if he told them and they said that they would give him anything that he asked for and gave him a written bond to this effect. Then the Jogi said "I will not take elephants or horses or money, but you shall give me the child which is born first and any born afterwards shall be yours, do you agree?" And the Ranis consulted together and agreed. "Then," said the Jogi, "this is what you must do: you must all go and bathe, and after bathing you must go to a mango orchard and the Raja must choose a bunch of seven mangoes and knock it down with his left hand and catch it in a cloth, without letting it touch the ground; then you must go home and the Ranis must sit in a row according to their seniority and the Raja must give them each one of the mangoes to eat, and he must himself eat the rinds which the Ranis throw away; and then you will have children." And so saying the Jogi went away promising to return the next year.
A few days later the Raja decided to give a trial to the Jogi's prescription and he and the Ranis did as they had been told; but the Raja did not eat the rind of the youngest Rani's mango; he did not love her very much. However five or six months after it was seen that the youngest Rani was with child and then she became the Raja's favourite; but the other Ranis were jealous of her and reminded the Raja that he would not be able to keep her child. But when her time was full she gave birth to twin sons, and the Raja was delighted to think that he would be able to keep the younger of the two and he loved it much.
When the year was up the Jogi came and saw the boys and he said that he would return when they could walk; and when they could run about, he came again, and asked whether the Raja would fulfil his promise.
The Raja said that he would not break his bond. Then the Jogi said that he would take the two boys and when the Raja objected that he was only entitled to one, he said that he claimed both as they were born at the same time; but he promised that if he took both he would teach them magic and then let one come back; and he promised also that all the Ranis should have children. So the Raja agreed and sent away the boys with the Jogi and with them he sent goats and sheep and donkeys and horses and camels and elephants and furniture of all sorts.
The Jogi was called Sitari Jogi and he was a Raja in his own country. But before they reached his country all the animals died, first the goats, then the sheep and the donkeys and the horses and the camels and the elephants. And when the goats died the boys lamented:
"The goats have died, father, How far, father, Is it to the country of the Sitari Jogi?"
and so they sang when the other animals died.
At last they reached the Jogi's palace and every day he taught them incantations and spells. He bought them each a water pot and sent them every morning to fill it with dew, but before they collected enough, the sun came out and dried up the dew; one day they got a cupful, another day half a cupful, but they never were able to fill the pots. In the course of time they learnt all the spells the Jogi knew and one day when they went out to gather dew, the younger boy secretly took with him a rag and he soaked this in the dew and then squeezed it into the pot and so he soon filled it; and the elder boy seeing his brother's pot full, filled his pot at a pool of water and they took them to the Jogi; but the Jogi was not deceived by the elder boy and told him that he would never learn magic thoroughly; but the younger boy having learned all that the Jogi knew, learnt more still from his friends, for all the people of that country knew magic.
Then one day the Jogi took the two boys back to their home and he told the Raja that he would leave the elder boy at home. The Raja wanted to keep the younger one, but the Jogi insisted and the younger boy whispered to his mother not to mind as he would soon come back by himself; so they let him go.
The Jogi and the boy used to practise magic: the Jogi would take the form of a young man and the boy would turn into a bullock and the Jogi would go to a village and sell the bullock for a good price; but he would not give up the tethering rope and then he would go away and do something with the tethering rope and the boy would resume his shape again and run off to the Jogi and when the purchasers looked for their bullock they found nothing, and when they went to look for the seller the Jogi would change his shape again so that he could not be recognised; and in this way they deceived many people and amassed wealth.
Then the Jogi taught the boy the spell he used with the rope, and when he had learnt this, he asked to be taught the spell by which he could change his own shape without having a second person to work the spell with the rope. The Jogi said that he would teach him that later but he must wait. Then the boy reproached the Jogi and said that he did not love him; and he went away to his friends in the town and learnt the spell he wanted from them, so that he was able to change his shape at will.
Two or three days after the boy again went to the Jogi and said "Teach me the spell about which I spoke to you the other day," and the Jogi refused. "Then," said the boy, "I shall go back to my father, for I see that you do not love me."
At this the Jogi grew wrathful and said that if the away he would kill him, so the boy at this ran away in terror, and the Jogi became a leopard and pursued him: then the boy turned himself into a pigeon and the Jogi became a hawk and pursued him; so the boy turned himself into a fly and the Jogi became a paddy bird and pursued him; the fly alighted on the plate of a Rani who was eating rice, and the Jogi took on his natural shape and told the Rani to scatter the rice which she was eating on the ground and she did so; but the boy turned himself into a bead of coral on the necklace which the Rani was wearing; and the Jogi did not notice this but became a pigeon and ate up the rice which the Rani had thrown down. When he did not find the boy among the rice he turned himself into a Jogi again and saw him in the necklace; then he told the Rani to break her necklace and scatter the beads on the ground and she did so; then the Jogi again became a pigeon and began to pick up the beads, but the boy turned himself into a cat and hid under the verandah and when the pigeon came near, he pounced on it and killed it, and ran outside with it. Then he became a boy again and twisted off the bird's head and wrapped it in his cloth and went off home; and looking behind he saw the Jogi's head come rolling after him, so when he came to a blacksmith's fire by the side of the road he threw the pigeon's head into it, and then the Jogi's head also ran into the fire and was consumed.
And the boy went home to his parents.
XXXVII. The Charitable Jogi.
Once there was a very poor man with a large family; and when his eldest son grew up he tried to arrange a marriage for him. He selected a bride and arranged matters with her relations but then he found that he had no money to pay for the performance of the marriage ceremonies. So he tried to borrow from his friends and from money lenders, but no one would lend him anything. So he proposed to the bride's relatives to only have the betrothal that year and the marriage the year after, but they would not agree and said that the marriage must be then or never.
Just then a Jogi came to his house to beg and he told the Jogi all about his difficulties and asked for help; the Jogi took pity on him and gave him twenty rupees which was all that he had collected by begging.
Now this Jogi had two wives at home and he thought that he would get a poor reception from them if he returned empty handed, so he picked up two stones and wrapped them up in two pieces of cloth. And when he reached home his wives welcomed him and brought out a bed for him to sit on and asked about his adventures and when they saw the bundles they wished to know what was inside and they opened them before him and behold the stones had turned into gold. When the Jogi saw this he wished that he had picked up three or four stones instead of only two and he understood that Chando had given him the gold because he helped the poor man.
This is why no money lender will refuse a loan if one is asked for for the performance of a marriage and money so borrowed is always paid back punctually. When the Jogi came back the next year the poor man paid him the twenty rupees.
XXXVIII. Chote and Mote.
Once upon a time there were two brothers Chote and Mote; they were poor but very industrious and they got tired of working as hired labourers in their own village so they decided to try their luck elsewhere. They went to a distant village and Chote took service with an oilman and Mote with a potter on a yearly agreement. Chote had to drive the oil mill in the morning and then after having his dinner to feed the mill bullock and take it out to graze. But the bullock having had a good meal of oilcake would not settle down to graze alone but kept running after all the herds of cattle it saw, and Chote had to spend his whole time running after it till he was worn out and he was very soon sorry that he had taken up such hard service; and was quite resolved not to stay on after his year was up.
Mote was no better off; the potter overworked him, making him carry water and dig earth from morn to night and for all he did he got nothing but abuse.
One day the brothers, met and Mote asked Chote how he was getting on. Chote answered "Oh I have got a capital place; all the morning I sit at my ease on the oil mill, then I have a good dinner and take the bullock out to graze and as it has had a good meal of oilcake it lies down without giving any trouble and I sit in the shade and enjoy myself." Then Mote said "I am pretty lucky too. I have to fetch three or four pots of water, then I have my dinner and a rest and then I have to dig earth and knead it. Still I cannot say that I have so little work as you; will you change with me for three or four days, so that I may have a rest?"
Chote gladly agreed and each brother thought that he had got the better of the other. In the morning while Mote was driving the oil mill he was very pleased with his new job and when he had to take the bullock out to graze he took a bedstead with him to lie on. But directly the bullock got outside the village it rushed off bellowing towards some other cattle and Mote had to run after it with his bedstead on his head, and all the afternoon the bullock kept him running about till he was worn out.
Meanwhile Chote was no better off; his unaccustomed shoulders were quite bruised with constantly carrying water. At the potter's house was a custard apple tree and it was believed that there was money buried at the foot of the tree; so as Chote was a stranger, the potter told him to water the earth by the tree to soften it, as it was to be used for pottery. Chote softened the earth and dug it and as he dug he uncovered pots of rupees; so he covered them up again and dug the earth elsewhere. And at evening he went and proposed to Mote to run away with the money. So at midnight, they went and dug it up and ran off home. As they were not pursued, they felt safe after a month or two, so they spent the money in buying land and cattle, and their cultivation prospered, and they became quickly rich.
XXXIX. The Daydreamer.
Once an oil man was going to market with his pots of oil arranged on a flat basket and he engaged a Santal for two annas to carry the basket; and as he went along, the Santal thought "With one anna I will buy food and with the other I will buy chickens, and the chickens will grow up and multiply and then I will sell some of the fowls and eggs and with the money I will buy goats; and when the goats increase, I will sell some and buy cows, and then I will exchange some of the calves for she-buffaloes, and when the buffaloes breed, I will sell some and buy land and start cultivation and then I will marry and have children and I will hurry back from my work in the fields and my wife will bring me water and I will have a rest and my children will say to me 'Father, be quick and wash your hands for dinner,' but I will shake my head and say 'No, no, not yet!'"—and as he thought about it he really shook his head and the basket fell to the ground and all the pots of oil were smashed.
Then the oilman abused him and said that he must pay two rupees for the oil and one anna for the pots: but the Santal said that he had lost much more than that and the oilman asked him how that could be: and the Santal explained how with his wages he was going to get fowls and then goats and then oxen and buffaloes and land and how he came to spill the basket and at that the oilman roared with laughter and said "Well I have made up the account and I find that our losses are equal, so we will cry quits;" and so saying they went their ways laughing.
XL. The Extortionate Sentry.
There was once a sentry outside a Raja's palace who would let no one go in to sell anything to the Raja until they first promised to give him half the price they received from the Raja, and the poor traders had to promise, for their livelihood depended on selling their goods. One day a fisherman caught an enormous fish and he thought that if he took it to the Raja he would get a big price for it.
So he went off to the palace, but when he came to the gate the sentry stopped him and would not let him go in, until he promised to give him half of what he got, and after some argument he had to promise. So he was admitted to the Raja's presence and when the Raja asked what was the price of the fish, the fisherman said "A hundred blows with a stick."
The Raja was very astonished and asked the meaning of such a request. Then the fisherman said that the sentry had extorted a promise that he should get half the price and he wanted him to get fifty blows. At this the Raja was very angry and he had the sentry beaten with one hundred stripes and dismissed him.
XLI. The Broken Friendship.
Once upon a time there was a Raja and his Dewan and they each had one son, and the two boys were great friends, and, when they grew old enough, they took to hunting and when they became young men they were so devoted to the sport that they spent their whole time in pursuit of game; they followed every animal they could find until they killed it, and they shot every bird in the town.
Their parents were much distressed at this, for they thought that if their boys spent all their time together hunting they would grow up unruly and ignorant; so they made up their minds that they must separate the young men so that they would not be tempted to spend so much time in sport, but would be able to learn something useful; they scolded the youths and told them to give up their friendship and their hunting, but this had no effect. Then the Raja told the villagers that he would reward any one who would break up the friendship, and the villagers tried their best but effected nothing.
There was however an old woman in the village who one day said, "If the Raja gave me ten rupees I would soon put a stop to their friendship." This came to the ears of the Raja and he exclaimed "What is ten rupees to me! bring the old woman to me and I will give her ten rupees, if she can put an end to this friendship." So the old woman was brought trembling before the Raja and on being questioned undertook to break up the friendship if she were properly rewarded; and when this was promised she asked for two men to be given to her and she took them to her house and there she made them sling a bed on a pole, such as is used for carrying a man on a journey and she hung curtains all round it and drew them close and inside, on an old winnowing fan, they put some rotten manure from a dung hill.
Then she made the two men take up the bed and she fetched a drum and she paraded all through the bazar beating the drum with the bed following behind her. She told the two carriers not to answer any questions as to what was in the bed. Thus they passed out of the town and went in the direction in which the two young men had gone hunting. When these heard the sound of the drum and saw the two men carrying the bed they ran up to see what it was and told the carriers to put It down that they might look inside; so the bed was put on the ground and the Raja's son peeped inside the curtain, but as he caught the smell he jumped back and the Dewan's son asked what was the matter and he said "it stinks: it is dung." The Dewan's son would not believe him and also looked to convince himself; then they both asked what the meaning of this was: the old woman said that she would explain the meaning of it but only to one of them, and the one who had heard could tell the other.
So she made the carriers take away the bed and she called the Raja's son aside saying "Come I will tell you what it means" then she put her arms round the neck of the Raja's son and put her lips to his ear and pretended to whisper to him, but really she said nothing; then she let him go and followed the carriers. The Dewan's son at once ran to his friend and asked what the old woman had told him; the Raja's son answered "She told me nothing at all, she only pretended to whisper." The Dewan's son would not believe this and pressed him to tell, saying "We have been friends for so long and have had no secrets from each other, why won't you tell me this? if you refuse to tell me there is an end of our friendship," but the Raja's son persisted that he had been told nothing and proposed that they should go and ask the old woman if it were not so; but the Dewan's son said that that was no good because the old woman and the Raja's son had plainly made a plot to keep him in the dark. The quarrel grew hotter and hotter, till at last they parted in anger and each went to his own home and from that time their friendship was broken off.
And being separated they gave up hunting and took to useful pursuits. Thus the old woman earned her reward from the Raja.
XLII. A Story Told by a Hindu.
Once upon a time there was a Raja who had two sons and after their father's death they divided the kingdom between them. The two brothers were inveterate gamblers and spent their time playing cards with each other; for a long time fortune was equal, but one day it turned against the elder brother and he lost and lost until his money and his jewellery, his horses and his elephants and every thing that he had, had been won by his younger brother. Then in desperation he staked his share in the kingdom and that too he lost.
Then the younger brother sent drummers through the city to proclaim that the whole kingdom was his; the shame of this was more than the elder prince could bear, so he resolved to quit the country and he told his wife of his intention and bade her stay behind. But his faithful wife refused to be parted from him; she vowed that he had married her not for one day nor for two but for good and all, and that where he went, there she would go, and whatever troubles he met, she would share. So he allowed her to come with him and the two set off to foreign parts. After sometime their path led them through an extensive jungle and after travelling through it for two days they at last lost their way completely; their food gave out, they were faint with starvation and torn with briars.
The prince urged his wife to return but she would not hear of it, so they pushed on, supporting life on jungle fruits; sometimes the prince would go far ahead, for his faithful wife could only travel slowly, and then he would return and wait for her; at last he got tired of leading her on and made up his mind to abandon her. At night they lay down at the foot of a tree and the prince thought "If wild animals would come and eat us it would be the best that could happen. I cannot bear to see my wife suffer any more; although her flesh is torn with thorns, she will not leave me. I will leave her here; may wild beasts kill both her and me, but I cannot see her die before my eyes." So thinking he got up quietly and went off as quickly as he could.
When the princess woke and found that she had been abandoned, she began to weep and wept from dawn to noon without ceasing; at noon a being, in the guise of an old woman appeared and asked her why she wept, and comforted her and promised to lead her out of the wood and told her that Chando had had compassion on her and would allow her to find her husband again if they both lived.
So saying the old woman led the princess from the forest and showed her the way to a great city where a Raja lived. The princess went begging her way through the city to the Raja's palace and there they engaged her as a servant.
Now her husband had also escaped from the jungle and sought employment as a labourer but no one would give him work for more than a day or two, and at last his search for work brought him to the city in which the princess was; and there he was engaged as a groom in the palace stables. The prince had changed his name and he had no chance of knowing that his wife was in the palace, because she was confined to the women's apartments; so some years passed without their having news of each other.
At last one day the princess happened to go on to the roof and looking down at the stables saw and thought she recognised her husband; then she leaned over and listened till she heard his voice and at that she was sure that it was he, so she hastened to the Raja and begged to be allowed to meet her husband, and the Raja sent to call the syce with the name which the princess had given but no one came, for the prince would not reveal himself. Then the princess told their story and how her husband had gambled away his half of the kingdom. The Raja ordered any one with such a history to come forward, as his wife was in the palace; but the prince did not reveal himself.
Then the princess said "Let all the syces cook rice and bring me a bit of each man's cooking to taste." They did so, and when she tasted the rice cooked by her husband, she at once said that it was his; her husband was unable to deny it and admitted everything. Then they took him away from his work in the stables and let him live with his wife.
After a time the Raja wrote to the younger brother asking whether he would restore the half of the kingdom which he had won; and the younger brother answered that he would gladly do so, if his brother would sign an agreement never to gamble any more; it was with this object in view and to teach him the folly of his ways that he had dispossessed him. The elder brother gladly gave the required promise and returned to his kingdom with his faithful wife and lived happily ever afterwards.
XLIII. The Raibar and the Leopard.
Once upon a time a Raibar was going backwards and forwards between two families arranging a marriage and part of the road which he used to travel ran through a forest.
One day as he was going to the bride's house he took a sack with him intending to try and get the loan of some Indian corn from the bride's relations; but as he was passing through the piece of jungle he suddenly met a leopard; he was terribly frightened but collecting his wits he addressed the animal thus "Leopard; I beg you not to eat me; I am engaged on a work of great merit, I am making two men out of one." This address amazed the leopard and he at once asked the raibar whether he could make him into two, and promised that if he could his life should be spared. The raibar answered readily "Seeing that in pursuit of my profession I have made two men out of one all over the country, of course I can make you into two leopards if I try; all you have to do is to get into this sack and keep quiet; if you utter a sound you will spoil the charm."
"Well," said the leopard, "I will try and see; I undertake to keep quite quiet, and if you are successful I promise to tell the whole race of leopards to spare the lives of raibars." So saying the leopard jumped into the sack and allowed the man to tie him up tightly in it. No sooner was this done than the raibar took the sack on his head and carried it to the bank of a river and having given it two or three hearty whacks with his stick threw it into the water. The sack went floating down the stream and it happened that lower down a leopardess sat watching the water and when she saw the sack coming along she thought that it was a dead cow floating down. So when it came near she jumped into the water and pulled it ashore.
She then proceeded to tear open the sack, when out jumped the first leopard; he soon explained how he came to be in the sack, and declared that the raibar's promise had been fulfilled and that she was his destined mate. The leopardess agreed and the two set to work to tell all the other leopards what had happened and what a kindness the raibar had done them; and so it came to pass that to the present day leopards never interfere with raibars when they are going about arranging a marriage; no one ever heard of one being injured.
Meanwhile the raibar went on his way rejoicing at having rid himself of the leopard. But the next year, while engaged on the business of another marriage, the raibar was passing through the same jungle when he came face to face with the very leopard that he thought he had safely disposed of; he at once took to his heels, but the leopard called out to him not to be afraid and to wait, as he had something to say to him. So the raibar stopped and the leopard asked whether he did not recognise him; the raibar stoutly denied all knowledge of him. "Well," said the leopard "I am the leopard of whom you made two out of one, and to show my gratitude I will give you any reward you like; would you like a cow or a deer or any other animal? I will kill you one and bring it to you."
When the raibar saw the turn that things had taken he thought that he had better take advantage of it, so he asked for a good large nilgai. The leopard told him to come to a certain tree at noon the next day and he would find the animal there. So they separated and the next day at noon the raibar went to the tree and found a fine nilgai waiting for him, which he and his friends took home and ate with joy.
XLIV. The Ungrateful Snake.
There was once a Raja and his dewan and they each had one son; these sons were married in infancy but as they grew up they never heard anything about their having been married. When the boys reached manhood and found no arrangements being made for their weddings they began to wonder at the delay and often talked about it, and in the end they agreed to run away to another country. Soon after this resolve of theirs some horse dealers came to their home with horses to sell; the two youths at once saw that if they could each have a horse and learn to ride it, it would be easy for them to run away from home. So they hurried to their fathers and begged them to buy them each one of the beautiful horses which the dealers had brought. The Raja and the dewan did not like to disappoint their sons so they bought the horses, to the great delight of the boys, who used to ride them every day.
One day the Raja's son was out riding by himself and he passed by a tank where a number of women and girls were bathing and drawing water; as he came galloping along the women ran back in a fright; and as they could not draw their water while he was there, an old woman came up to him and told him to go away and not stay making eyes at the girls as if he had no wife of his own: "What wife have I?", said the prince, "I know nothing of having been married." "You were married sure enough when you were an infant," replied the old woman: "your wife is still in her father's house, but now that you have grown up they will probably bring her home to you this year."
Then the prince asked where his wife lived and having learnt the name of the village he galloped off home and at once began to question his mother about his marriage; his mother told him that they intended to have the bride brought home that year, but the prince was impatient and proposed that he should go off at once to his father-in-law's and see his wife, and try to persuade them to let her come back with him without any ceremony; his mother made no objection, so he got ready for the journey and started off on horseback. He had not gone far when he saw a field of thatching grass on fire, and in the middle, surrounded by the flames, was a huge poisonous snake, unable to escape.
As the prince rode by, the snake called out to him "Prince, you are going joyously to bring home your bride, and here am I in danger of being burned alive; will you not have pity on me and save me? If you do I will confer a boon on you." "But if I save you," objected the prince, "you will only eat me: snakes do not know what gratitude is." "I am not of that kind," answered the snake: "here I am in danger of death, I beseech you to have pity on me." These pleadings prevailed and the prince got off his horse and beat out the fire and then spread a cloth over the embers so that the snake could crawl out. When the snake was safe the prince asked for the boon that had been promised him: "No boon will you get" said the snake: "you did a foolhardy thing in saving me, for now I am going to eat you, and you cannot escape from me."
The prince saw that there was little hope for him but he begged the snake to allow two or three judges to decide whether it was fair that he should be killed, after what he had done. The snake agreed to this provided that the judges were not human beings; he was willing to be bound by the opinions of any one else.
They set out together to look for judges and soon saw a herd of cattle resting under a banyan tree by a pool of water, so they agreed to make these their judges; then the prince explained to one of the cows and the banyan tree and the water what they were to decide, whether it was fair for the snake, whose life he had saved, now to want to kill him. The banyan tree was the first to answer: it said "You did good to the snake and your wages for doing good are evil; you saved his life and he will now kill you, this is fair, this is the justice we have learnt from human beings; you enjoy the shade of us trees and in return you lop off our branches and sit on them, and do us all manner of injury; it is right that the snake should eat you."
Then the prince turned to the cow: "He may eat you," answered the cow: "the tree is right, see how men treat cattle; you drive away our calves from us and take our milk and you beat us and make us work hard; for all this ill treatment the snake shall eat you."
Then the prince asked the water what it had to say: "I agree with the other two" said the water: "to return evil for good is the justice of mankind, it is by drinking water that your very lives are preserved; yet you spit into it and wash dirty things in it; shall not the snake return you evil for good?" So judgment was delivered, and the snake wanted to eat the prince; but the prince asked the tree and the cow and the water to listen while he made one prayer; he told them how he had been married when he was too young to know anything about it, and how he was going for the first time to see his wife, when this misfortune befell him; so he begged that he might be allowed to go and see his bride and then be eaten on his way back; the banyan tree asked what the snake thought about this proposal and the snake said that it would make no objection if the tree and the cow and the water would be sureties for the return of the prince within three days. So the prince promised them faithfully that he would return and they let him go.
The prince rode on to his father-in-law's house, and when he arrived, a bed was brought out for him to sit on and he was asked where he came from. When he explained who he was, they at once brought water and washed his feet and then gave him oil and a tooth stick and took him to bathe; then they brought him curds and dried rice to eat and afterwards killed a goat and made a feast and showed him every honour.
That evening as his wife was rubbing his arms and legs, the prince remained silent and downcast and showed none of the joy of a bridegroom; and when his bride asked what was the matter, he told her that he had only come to see her for one day and that afterwards she must try and forget all about him. At first he would not tell her more, but when she urged him, he told her how he had to go and surrender himself to the snake on the next day. When she heard this she vowed that she would go with him and die with him.
The next morning came and the prince said that he must return, and his wife said that she was going with him; so they made everything ready and set out on their way. When they came within sight of the banyan tree where the prince was to be killed, he tried to turn his wife back but though he used force she refused to leave him and said that she would first see him killed and then go home; so at last he let her accompany him.
When they reached the tree she asked to be allowed to go in front and be the first to meet the snake; to this the prince assented. They had not gone far when they saw the snake awaiting them in the path with its crest raised, and when they drew near, the prince's bride begged the snake to eat her first, as she had nowhere to live if she survived her husband. The snake refused and bade her go home to her parents; she said that that was impossible; they had sold her and the prince had bought her, in life and in death, bones and ashes. But the snake would not listen and made for the prince to eat him. His wife however kept in front of the snake and would not let it pass; she called the banyan tree to witness that the snake should not eat her husband without first killing her; without her husband she would have no one to support her.
Then the snake promised to teach her an incantation by means of which she could support herself, so saying, the snake conferred some magic power upon and taught her an incantation; and promised her that if she took some dust in her hand and repeated the incantation and then blew on the dust, any person on whom she sprinkled the dust would at once be burnt to ashes. Then the prince's wife asked how she should restore the people to life and the snake taught her that also, but she was not satisfied and said that she must try at once to see whether the snake was deceiving her or no; so the snake bade her experiment on a tarop tree which grew near. Thereupon she gathered up some dust and repeated the incantation and blew on it and suddenly threw it over the snake, which at once turned to ashes, and that was the end of the snake.
Then the prince and his wife went on their way rejoicing, and he was filled with wonder at the way in which his bride had saved him by persisting in going with him.
XLV. The Tiger's Bride.
One day a woman went to cut thatching grass and she cut such a quantity that when she tied it up, the bundle was too big for her to lift on to her head; so she stood and called for some one to help her, but no one was within hearing and no one came. She called and called and at last began to promise that she would give her daughter in marriage to any one who would help her.
After she had called out this a few times, a tiger suddenly appeared and asked what she wanted; she explained her difficulty and the tiger undertook to lift the load on to her head, if she would really give him her daughter in marriage. She promised and with the help of the tiger took up the bundle and went home.
Two or three days after, the tiger presented himself at her house and was duly married to the daughter. After the wedding the couple started for the tiger's home; all the way the unhappy bride wept and sang:—
"How far off is our home, big head?"
"You can just see the mouth of the cave" answered the tiger and in a short time they came to a large cave. Then the tiger told her to set to work and cook a feast while he went off and invited his friends to come and share it. But the bride when left alone caught a cat and killed it and hung it over the fire, so that its blood dropped slowly into the pan and made a fizzling noise, as if cooking were going on; and then she ran off to her mother's house and climbed a tree which grew near it and began to sing:—
"You married me to a ti-ti-tiger: You threw me to a bear: Take back the necklace you gave me Take back the bracelet and the diamonds and the coral."
Meanwhile the tiger returned with his friends and sat down outside the cave and told his wife to be quick with the cooking of the cakes for he heard the hissing over the fire and thought that she was cooking. At last as she did not come out, he got tired of waiting and went in to fetch her: then he saw that she had disappeared and had to go and tell his friends. They were very angry at being cheated out of a feast, and fell upon the tiger and beat him, till he ran away and was seen no more: but his bride was left to flit from tree to tree singing:—
"You married me to a ti-ti-tiger: You threw me to a bear: Take back the necklace you gave me Take back the bracelet and the diamonds and the coral."
XLVI. The Killing of the Tiger.
They say that there was a time when all living things had a common speech and animals and men could understand each other, and in those days there was a man-eating tiger which infested a jungle through which a highroad ran; it preyed on people passing along the road till no one ventured to travel, and as the country was so unsafe, the people went in a body to the Raja and told him of the ravages of the tiger and asked him to send a force of soldiers to hunt and shoot it.
So the Raja called together all his soldiers and promised to give half his kingdom to any one of them who would kill the tiger, but not one of them was brave enough to make the attempt; they said that their business was to fight men and not tigers and leopards; then the Raja extended his offer to all his subjects and the petitioners went home to consult about it; and the news was published that the Raja would give half his kingdom to the slayer of the tiger.
Now there was a poor man who was a very brave shikari of big game, and cunning into the bargain, and he offered to go and kill the tiger. They questioned him carefully, and when they saw that he was in earnest they took him to the Raja to hear from the Raja's lips what his reward should be; and the Raja promised him half his kingdom, and wrote a bond to that effect, for he thought that the tiger would surely kill the man. Then the shikari said that he would start the next morning and return the next day either with the dead tiger or with bits of its ears and claws to show that he had killed it. The Raja told the people to watch carefully and see that the shikari did not cheat by taking the claws and ears of a tiger with him.
The next morning the shikari started off and all he took with him was a looking-glass and three pictures of a tiger drawn on three pieces of paper and a hatchet; he went to the road which the tiger frequented and climbed a banyan tree and spent the night in it. The tiger did not pass by at all that night but in the morning it appeared and called out "Who is up in the tree?" The shikari said "It is I." "Come down quickly," said the tiger, "I have been looking for you." "Wait a minute," answered the shikari, "I have been looking for you also."
"What for?" said the tiger: "Tell me first why you are looking for me," said the man: "To eat you," answered the tiger; then the man said, "Well I have been hunting for you to catch you and take you away. I have caught three or four like you and if you don't believe me, let me get down and I will show you". The tiger got into a fright and said: "Come down and show me." So the shikari climbed down and uncovered his looking glass and told the tiger to look and he reflected in the glass the pictures of the tigers which he had brought and said, "Now I am going to catch you and put you in here also." The tiger asked why he was to be caught and the shikari said that it was because he had made the road unsafe by killing travellers; then the tiger begged and prayed to be let off and promised that he would never kill any travellers again. At last the shikari said that he would let him go, if he would allow him to cut off his claws and the tips of his ears and the tip of his tongue as a pledge of his good faith. The tiger said, "Well, you may cut off one claw from each foot and the very tip of my ears and tongue." So the shikari cut them off with his hatchet and, after again warning the tiger, went back home; and then presented himself with all his friends before the Raja and the Raja gave him the promised reward, But the tiger's tongue festered and, after roaring with pain for a whole day, it died.
XLVII. The Dream.
One night as a man and his wife lay talking in bed, the woman told her husband that she had dreamt that in a certain place she had dug up a pot full of rupees, and she proposed that they should go and look for it and see whether the dream was true. While they talked, it chanced that some thieves, who had climbed on to the roof, overheard the conversation and at once decided to forestall the others. So they went off to the place which the woman had described and began to dig, and after digging a little they were delighted to come on a pot with a lid on. But when they took off the lid an enormous snake raised its head and hissed at them. At this the thieves cursed the woman who had misled them and agreed to take the snake and drop it through the roof on to the man and his wife as they lay in bed. So they shut the snake up again and carried it off to the house and, making a hole in the thatch, dropped it through. But as it fell the snake changed into a stream of money, which came rattling down on the couple below; the thieves found a snake, but it was not a real snake, it was Thakur; and it was his will to give the money to the man and his wife. When these two had recovered from their astonishment, they gathered up the money, and lived in wealth ever afterwards.
XLVIII. The King of the Bhuyans.
There was once a king of the Bhuyans and near his palace was a village of Santals; he was a kind ruler and both Santals and Bhuyans were very happy under his sway. But when he died, he was succeeded by his son, who was a very severe master and soon fell out with the Santals. If he found any cattle or buffaloes grazing anywhere near his crops, he had the cowherds beaten severely: so that no one dared to take the cattle in that direction.
The Santals were very angry at this and longed to get even with the Raja; they planned to turn the cattle into the Raja's crops at night when no one could see them or catch them, but in the end their courage failed them.
One year after the rice had been cut, but before the millet crop was gathered, the youths and maidens of the Santal village had a dance and danced all night till nearly morning; then they agreed that it was not worth while to go to bed and they had better take the cattle out to graze at once.
After grazing their fill, the cattle all collected at the midday resting place and the cowherds were so sleepy after their night's dancing, that they fell fast asleep on the bare ground. After a time the buffaloes began to move again and seeing a nice field of millet belonging to the Raja soon made their way to it and grazed the whole field down. The Raja happened to pass that way and was filled with wrath at the sight; he at once ordered his sipahis to go and beat the cowherds within an inch of their lives and so the sipahis ran to the place with sticks. Their approach roused the sleeping cowherds who jumped up and ran off home as hard as they could; all but the servant of the village paramanik (assistant headman) he did not run away but went to drive the cattle out of the field; he knew that this was his duty to his master and he was resolved to do his duty even at the cost of his life.
As all the other boys had got away the sipahis turned their attention to him, but as they aimed blows at him with the sticks, he caught the blows on his arms and the sticks shivered to atoms without harming him; so then they went to kick him but a great cibei snake came rustling up behind them; so they saw it was no use to contend with him and desisted: whereupon he drove all the village cattle home in triumph.
The sipahis reported to the Raja how the cowherds had all made good their escape, and how the paramanik's herd boy had driven off the cattle. Then the Raja told them to go that afternoon at the time the cattle were brought home for the night and wait at the end of the village street and then give the cowherds the thrashing they deserved; The sipahis did as they were ordered and that evening waited for the returning herd boys; and caught them as they came home and thrashed them within an inch of their lives. The others were all left senseless on the ground: but the sipahis did not dare to lay hands on the paramanik's herd boy, he drove the cattle back into the village, and told the villagers what had been done to their sons. So the villagers went out with beds and carried the wounded boys home; then they assembled and resolved to go and punish the Raja, so they went to him and asked what he meant by killing their children. "Dear me," said the Raja, "are they really dead?" "Well, if not not quite dead, they are very ill," was the answer. "I am sorry," said the Raja: "I admit that I have done wrong, but if you will forgive me this time, I will undertake to cure them in a minute and make them as well as ever; go and fetch them here."
So the Santals went off to fetch the wounded cowherds and carried them to the Raja, all lying senseless on beds and put them down before him. While they were away the Raja had told his sipahis to grind some good hot chilis; and when the cowherds were brought to him he told the sipahis to thrust the chili paste up their noses; this was done and the smarting soon made the cowherds jump up and run away in a very lively fashion, and that was the way the Raja kept his word and cured them.
XLIX. The Foolish Sons.
There was once a man of the blacksmith caste who had six sons; the sons were all married and the whole family lived together. But the sons' wives took to quarrelling and at last the sons went to their parents and proposed that they should set up separate households, as the women folk could not live in peace.
The blacksmith and his wife did not like the idea at all and pointed out that it would be most inadvisable; while, so far, there was plenty of food and clothing for all, they would find it much more expensive to have seven separate households and split up what was quite enough so long as they lived together, and what was to become of their old parents who were now too old to work? The sons protested that they would support their father and mother as long as they lived, even though the family separated.
At last the old man said that he would put them to the test and see whether they were clever enough to manage their own affairs and smart enough to cheat people into giving them what they wanted. "I will see," said he, "how you would manage to support the family in time of famine or if we fell into poverty. I and your mother have managed to bring up a large family, and you know nothing of the anxiety that it has cost us; you have merely had to enjoy yourselves and eat your meals; if you insist on it, I will let you separate, but don't blame me afterwards. However to-morrow I will take you on a journey and find some means of testing your cleverness."