So the next morning they made ready for the journey; their father only allowed them to take one meal of rice tied up in their cloths and he gave each of them one pice, which he said was their inheritance. They set off and after travelling some way they sat down and ate up their rice and then went on again. By the middle of the afternoon they began to feel hungry, so the father proposed their going to a bazar which was in sight; but between them and the bazar was a channel of stagnant water, very deep, and with its surface covered by a coating of weeds. They tried to cross, but directly they set foot on it they sank through the weeds, and it was too deep for wading. So their father said they would all camp on the bank and he would see whether they were clever enough to get across the channel and bring food for a meal; if they could do that he would believe that they could support their families in time of famine.
So the old man spread his cloth on the ground and set down and watched them try their luck one by one. The eldest brother first jumped up to try but he could not cross the channel; everytime he tried, he sank through the weeds, at last he gave up in despair and admitted that he could not feed the party. Then the other brothers all tried in turn and failed. At last it came to the turn of the youngest; he modestly said that he was not likely to succeed where his elders had failed but he would have a try, so he went to the edge of the water and spreading out his cloth on the weeds lay down on it so that his weight was distributed; in this position the weeds supported him and he managed to wriggle himself across on his face to the other side.
Once across, he went to the bazar, and going to a shop began to talk with the shopkeeper; after a little he asked for the loan of an anna; the shopkeeper said that he could not lend to a stranger; the blacksmith's son gave the name of some village as his home and pressed for the loan, promising to pay him one anna as interest within a week and pulling out his pice he said "See here, I will pay you this pice as part of the interest in advance." At this the shopkeeper suffered himself to be persuaded and lent him the anna.
With this the blacksmith's son went off to a second shop and begged for the loan of four annas, as he had pressing need of it; he promised to pay an anna a week interest, and to pay down at once the interest for the first week. After some hesitation the shopkeeper was deceived into lending the four annas. Then he went off to another shop and borrowed a rupee by promising to pay eight annas a month as interest and putting down four annas as advance.
Then he went to a Marwari's shop and asked for the loan of ten rupees; the Marwari asked for interest at the rate of one rupee a day; the blacksmith's son protested that that was too high but offered to pay one rupee every two days and to pay one rupee of interest in advance; the Marwari hesitated, but after being given a name and address—which were however false—he gave way and took his signature to a bond and lent him the ten rupees. At this the blacksmith's son set off in triumph to rejoin his brothers; he crossed the water in the same way as before and took the ten rupees to his father.
Then they all went on to another bazar and bought dried rice and sweetmeats and curds and had a grand feast. Then their father proceeded to point out to his sons how, except the youngest, they were all useless; they had been unable to cross the channel or to make anything of their own pice of capital; they had nothing to answer, and all went home and from that day nothing was heard of any proposal to divide the family until the old father and mother died.
L. Kora and His Sister.
There were once seven brothers and they had one sister who was the youngest of the family. The six eldest brothers were married but no wife had been found for the youngest; for three years enquiries were made to try and find a suitable bride for him, but all in vain. At last the young man, whose name was Kora, told his parents and brothers not to trouble any more, as he would find a wife for himself; he intended to bring a flowering plant from the forest and plant it by the stand on which the watering pots were kept, and then he would marry any maiden who picked one of the flowers and put it in her hair.
His father and mother approved of this proposal, so the next day he brought some sort of flowering plant and planted it by the water-pot stand. He charged all his family to be most careful that no one of his own relations picked the flower and also to warn any of the village girls who wanted to pick it, that if she did so and put it in her hair, she would thereby become his wife; but if, knowing this, anyone wished to do so, they were not to prevent her.
The neighbours soon got to hear what the plant meant and used often to come and look at it, and Kora watched it growing, till after a time it produced a bud and then a beautiful and sweet-scented flower. All the village girls came to see the beautiful flower; and one day Kora's sister when she went to the water-stand to get some water to drink, caught hold of it and longed to pick it, it looked so pretty. Her mother saw what she was doing and scolded her for touching the forbidden flower, but the girl begged to see what it would look like in her hair; there could be no harm done if she pulled the whole plant up by its roots and put it in her hair and then replanted it; no one would know what had happened. In spite of her mother's remonstrances she insisted on doing this and having seen how the flower looked in her hair carefully replanted it.
Soon afterwards Kora came home and went to see his flower; he knew at once that some one had worn it and called to his mother and asked who it was. She protested that she knew nothing about the matter, but Kora said that he could tell by the smell that it had been worn and then he showed that there was also a hair sticking to the flower. Then his mother admitted that in spite of all she could say, his sister had worn the flower and planted it again in the ground.
When she saw that she was found out, the girl began to cry, but her father said that it was clearly fated that she and Kora should marry and this was the reason why they had been unable to find any other bride; so they must now arrange for the wedding. Accordingly rice was got ready and all the usual preparations made for a marriage. The unfortunate girl saw that flight was her only means of escape from such a fate, so one day she ran away; all she took with her was a pet parrot.
For many days she travelled on and one day she stopped by a pool to bathe and as she rubbed her limbs she collected the scurf that she rubbed off her skin and put in on the ground in one place; then she went on with her bathing; but at the place where she had put the scurf of her skin, a palm tree sprang up and grew so rapidly, that, by the time she came out of the water, it had become a large tree.
The girl was struck by this strange sight and at once thought that the tree would afford her a safe refuge; so she climbed up it with her parrot in her hand and when safely seated among the leaves she begged the palm tree to grow so tall that no one would be able to find her, and the tree grew till it reached an unusual height. So the girl stayed in the tree top and the parrot used to go every day and bring her food. Meanwhile her parents and brothers searched high and low for her for two or three days, for the wedding day was close at hand, but their search was of course in vain; and they concluded that the girl must have drowned herself in some river.
Time passed and one day at noon, a Mahuli girl, who was taking her basket-ware to market, stopped to rest in the shade of the palm tree: and as she sat there, Kora's sister called to her from the top of the tree and asked her to give her a small winnowing fan in exchange for a bracelet The Mahuli girl told her to throw the bracelet down first. Kora's sister made no objection to this, and when she had got the bracelet, the Mahuli girl threw up a winnowing fan which soared right up to where Kora's sister was sitting. Before the Mahuli girl went on her way, Kora's sister made her promise never to let anyone see the bracelet whew she went about selling her baskets as otherwise it would be stolen from her; and secondly on no account to let it be known that there was anyone in the palm tree, on pain of death. The Mahuli girl kept her promise and whenever she went out selling baskets she used to keep her bracelet covered with her cloth.
One day it chanced that she went to the house where Kora lived to sell her wares and they asked her why it was that she kept her arm covered; she told them that she had a sore on it; they wanted to see how big the sore was, but she refused to show it, saying that if she showed it she would die. They laughed at such a ridiculous story and at last forced her to show her arm, which of course was quite well; but they at once recognised the bracelet and asked where she had got it from. The Mahuli girl refused to tell them and said that if she did, she would die. "What a foolish girl you are" they objected "first you say you will die if you show us your arm and then if you tell us where you got this bracelet from; it belonged to our daughter whom we have lost, and so you must tell us! Come, we will give you a basket full of rice if you tell us." The Mahuli girl could not resist this offer, and when the basket of rice was produced, she told them where the palm tree was, in which Kora's sister was hiding. In all haste the father and mother went to the tree and found that it was much too high for them to climb: so they begged their daughter to come down and promised not to marry her to her brother; but she would not come down: then they sang:—
"You have made a palm tree from the scrapings of your skin And have climbed up into it, daughter! Come daughter, come down."
But she only answered:—
"Father and mother, why do you cry? I must spend my life here: "Do you return home."
So they went home in despair.
Then her sisters-in-law came in their turn and sang:—
"Palm tree, palm tree, give us back our sister: The brother and sister have got to be married."
But she would not answer them nor come down from the tree, so they had to go home without her.
Then all her other relations came and besought her to come down, but she would not listen to them. So they went away and invoked a storm to come to their aid. And a storm arose and cold rain fell, till the girl in the palm tree was soaked and shivering, and the wind blew and swayed the palm tree so that its top kept touching the ground. At last she could bear the cold and wet no more and, seizing an opportunity when the tree touched the ground, she slipped off. Her relations had made all the villagers promise on no account to let her into their houses; so when she went into the village and called out at house after house no one answered her or opened to her. Then she went to her own home and there also they refused to open to her.
But Kora had lit a big fire in the cow house and sat by it warming himself, knowing that the girl would have to come to him; and as she could find no shelter elsewhere she had to go to his fire, and then she sat and warmed herself and thought "I fled for fear of this man and now I have come back to him; this is the end, I can no longer stay in this world; the people will not even let me into their houses. I have no wish to see them again."
So she sat and thought, and when she was warmed, she lay down by the side of Kora; and he wore tied to his waist a nail-cutter; she unfastened this and cut her throat with it as she lay. Her death struggles aroused Kora, and he got up and saw the ground covered with her blood and he saw that she had killed herself with his nail-cutter; then he took counsel with himself and also cut his throat in the same way. In the morning the two corpses were found lying side by side, and it was seen that their blood refused to mingle but had flowed in opposite directions.
So they took the bodies away to burn them and laid them on one pyre; and when the fire was lit, it was seen that the smoke from the two bodies rose separately into the air. Then all who saw it, said "We wished to marry brother and sister but Chando would not approve of it; see how their blood would not mingle though spilt on the same floor, and how the smoke from the pyre rises in two separate columns; it is plain that the marriage of brother and sister is wrong." From that time such manages have been discontinued.
LI. A Story on Caste.
There was once a village inhabited only by Musahars. Among them was one girl who was so beautiful that she seemed more than human. Her father and mother were so proud of her looks that they determined not to marry her to a man of their own caste. They were constantly discussing whom they should choose as a son-in-law; one day they began to consider who were the greatest persons in the world. The old woman was of opinion that there was no one greater than Chando, the Sun God, and suggested that they should marry the girl to him. Her husband agreed and off they set and presented themselves before Chando. Chando asked why they had come. "O Chando, we understand that you are the greatest being in the world and we have come to marry our daughter to you," Chando answered "I fancy there is some one greater than I," "Who is he?" asked the parents. "The cloud is greater than I, for it can hide my face and quench my rays."
At this the father and mother hurried off with their daughter in search of the Cloud, and when they found him, told him that they had brought their daughter to give him to wife, as he was the greatest being in the world. "I may be great," said the Cloud, "but there is a greater than I, the Wind. The Wind rises and blows me away in a minute." So they went in search of the Wind and when they found him, explained to him why they had brought him their daughter. The Wind said "I am strong but there are stronger than I: the Mountains are stronger. I can blow things down or whirl them away, but I cannot move the mountains."
So on they went to the Mountain and explained their errand. The Mountain said "I am great but there are more powerful than I. The ground-rat is more powerful, for however high I may be the ground-rats burrow holes in me and I cannot resist them."
The poor parents by this time began to feel rather discouraged, but still they made up their minds to persevere and went on to look for the ground-rat. They found him and offered him their daughter in marriage, but the ground-rat denied that he was the most powerful being on earth, the Musahars were more powerful for they lived by digging out ground-rats and eating them.
The hapless couple went home very dejectedly, reflecting that they had begun by despising their own caste and had gone in search of something greater and had ended where they begun. So they arranged to marry their daughter to a man of their own caste after all.
Moral You should not despise your own caste or race; you cannot help what caste you are born into. A Santal may learn to read and write and associate with men of good position and thereby his mind may be perverted. He may wish to change his caste become a Sadhu, or a Kherwar, or a Boistab, or a Mussulman, or a Christian or anything else; but people will still know him for a beef-eating Santal. If he becomes a Christian, no one will think him the equal of a Saheb or a Brahman; no Saheb will marry his daughter or give him his daughter in marriage. Remember what happened to the Musahar, who despised his own caste. God caused you to be born in a certain caste. He and not we made the different castes and He knows what is good and bad for us.
LII. Tipi and Tepa.
Tipi and Tepa dwelt together and lived on baked cakes. One day they met a bear in the jungle. "Now I will eat you" growled the bear. "Spare us," said Tipi and Tepa "and to-morrow we will beg some food and bake it into cakes and give it to you," So the bear let them go away to beg; but when they came back they ate the food which they had procured and then hid themselves inside a hollow gourd. The bear came and looked about for them but could not find them and went away.
The next day Tipi and Tepa again went out begging and as luck would have it again met the bear. "Now I will eat you" said the bear. "No" said they "let us go and beg some food for you." So they went off begging and came back and baked cakes and ate them and then hid inside the gourd. The bear came and carried off the gourd on its shoulder and began to pick plums and other fruit and put them into the gourd. As fast as the fruit was put in Tipi and Tepa ate it up. "It is a very funny thing that the gourd does not become full" thought the bear. But Tepa ate so much that at last he burst, with such a noise that the bear threw down the gourd and ran away.
LIII. The Child with the Ears of an Ox.
Once upon a time a son was born to a certain Raja and the child had the ears of an ox. The Raja was very much ashamed and let no one know. But the secret could not be kept from the barber who had to perform the ceremony of shaving the child's head. However the Raja made the barber vow not to tell anyone of what he had seen.
So the barber went away, but the secret which he might not tell had an unfortunate effect; it made his stomach swell to an enormous size. As the barber went along in this unhappy condition he met a Dom who asked why his stomach was so swollen. The barber said that it was because he had shaved the Raja's child and had seen that it had the ears of an ox. Directly he had broken his vow and blurted out the secret, his stomach returned to its usual size.
The Dom went his way and cut down a tree and made a drum out of the wood, and went about playing on the drum and begging. He came to the Raja's palace and there he drummed and sang:—
"The son of the Raja Has the ears of an ox."
When the Raja heard this, he was very angry, and swore to punish the barber who must have broken his vow. But the Dom assured the Raja that he knew nothing about the matter; that it was the drum that sang the words and not he and that he had no idea what they meant. So the Raja was pacified and gave the Dom a present and sent him away and the barber was not punished.
LIV. The Child Who Knew His Father.
Once upon a time there was a girl whose parents took the greatest care that she should not be familiar with any of the young men of the village. But in spite of their precautions she formed an intimacy with a young man and was presently found to be with child. When this became known the villagers held a panchayat to enquire into the matter, but the girl flatly declined to give any information and her father and brothers were unable to point out the offender. So the village elders decided to let the matter stand over till the child was born.
When the birth took place the question arose in whose name its head should be shaved; as its father was still unknown, the villagers decided that this should be settled when the child was old enough to talk. So when the child was two or three years old and could prattle a little, the girl's father went to the headman and paranic and asked them what was to be done. They said that he must pay a fine to them and another to the villagers, because he had made the village unclean for so long, and give a feast to the villagers and then they would find out the father of the child and make him marry the girl; and if he refused to do this, he would be outcasted. The unfortunate man agreed and then the jog manjhi and godet were sent to call all the men of the neighbourhood to a meeting.
They assembled in their best clothes and pagris and sat down in rows, and in the middle a circle was drawn on the ground; then prayers were offered to Chando and the child was set in the circle and told to find its father. The child began to walk slowly along the lines of men but it did not stop till it came to its real father, who was sitting a little apart, and then it threw itself into his arms. Thus the truth was discovered and the man married the girl and, as he was very poor, went to live in his father-in-law's house.
LV. Jogeshwar's Marriage.
Once upon a time there was a young man of the weaver caste, named Jogeshwar. He was an orphan and lived all alone. One summer he planted a field of pumpkins on the sandy bed of a river. The plants grew well and bore plenty of fruit: but when the pumpkins were ripe, a jackal found them out and went every night and feasted on them. Jogeshwar soon found out from the foot-marks who was doing the damage; so he set a snare and a few days later found the jackal caught in it. He took a stick to beat its life out, but the jackal cried: "Spare me and I will find you a wife." So Jogeshwar stayed his hand and released the jackal who promised at once to set off about the business.
The jackal kept his word and went to a city where a Raja lived. There he sat down on the bank of one of the Raja's tanks. To this tank the servants from the palace brought the pots and dishes to be washed, and to this tank also came the Rani and princesses to bathe. Whenever the servants came to wash their dishes, the jackal kept on repeating: "What sort of a Raja is this whose plates are washed in water in which people have bathed? there is no Raja like Raja Jogeshwar: he eats of golden plates and yet he never uses them a second time but throws them away directly he has eaten off them once."
The servants soon carried word to the Raja of the jackal who sat by the tank and of his story of Raja Jogeshwar. Then the Raja sent for the jackal and asked why he had come: the jackal answered that he was looking for a bride for Raja Jogeshwar. Now the Raja had three or four daughters and he thought that he saw his way to a fine match for one of them. So he sent for the young women and asked the jackal to say whether one of them would be a suitable bride for Raja Jogeshwar. The jackal chose the second sister and said that he would go and get the consent of Raja Jogeshwar.
The jackal hurried back and told the astonished weaver that he had found a Raja's daughter for him to marry. Jogeshwar had nothing to delay him and only asked that an early day might be fixed for the wedding. So the jackal went back to the Raja and received from him the knotted string that fixed the date of the wedding.
The jackal had now to devise some means by which Jogeshwar could go through the wedding ceremonies without his poverty being found out. He first went to the Raja and asked how many attendants Raja Jogeshwar should bring with him, as he did not want to bring more than the bride's father could entertain. The Raja was too proud to fix any number and said they could bring as many as they liked.
Jogeshwar having no relations and no money, was quite unable to arrange for a grand procession to escort him; he could only just afford to hire a palki in which to be carried to the bride's house; so the jackal sent word to all the jackals and paddy birds of the neighbourhood to come to a feast at the palace of the bride, an invitation which was eagerly accepted. At the time fixed they started off, with all the paddy birds riding on the backs of the jackals. When they came within sight of the palace, the jackal ran on ahead and invited the Raja to come out and look at the procession as there was still time to send them back, if they were too many, but it would be a great disgrace if they were allowed to arrive and find no entertainment. The Raja went out to look and when he saw the procession stretching away for a distance of two miles or more with all the paddy birds looking like white horsemen as they rode on the backs of the jackals, his heart failed him and he begged the jackal to send them away, as he could not entertain such a host.
So then the jackal hurried back and turned them all away and Jogeshwar reached the palace, accompanied only by his palki bearers.
Before the wedding feast, the jackal gave Jogeshwar some hints as to his behaviour. He warned him that three of four kinds of meat and vegetables would be handed round with the rice, and bade him to be sure to help himself from each dish—of course in his own house the poor weaver had never had more than one dish to eat with his rice—and when pan was handed to him after the feast he was not to take any until he had a handful of money given him; by such behaviour he would lead every one to think that he was really a prince. Jogeshwar did exactly as he was told and was thought a very grand personage.
The next evening Jogeshwar set off homewards with his bride, the bride's brothers and attendants accompanying them. They travelled on and on till the bride's party began to grow tired and kept asking the jackal how much further they had to go. The jackal kept on putting them off, till at last they came in sight of a grove of palm trees, and he told them that Raja Jogeshwar's palace stood among the palm trees but was so old and weather worn that it could not be seen from a distance.
When they reached the palm grove and found nothing but Jogeshwar's humble hut, the bride's brothers turned on the jackal and asked what he meant by deceiving them. The jackal protested that he had told no lies: the weaver ate every day off plates made of dry leaves and threw them away when done with and that was all he meant when he talked of golden plates. At this excuse they turned on him and wanted to beat him, but he ran away and escaped.
The bride's friends went back and told the Raja how things had turned out and as divorce was not lawful for them, the Raja could only send for his daughter and her husband and give them an estate to live on.
LVI. The Strong Man.
There was once a Strong man but no one knew of his strength. He was in the service of a farmer who made him headman over all his labourers. In those days much of the country was still covered with jungle. One day the farmer chose a piece of forest land which he thought suitable for cultivation and told his labourers to set to work and clear it, and as usual after giving his orders he troubled himself no more about the matter, as he could fully rely on the Strong man.
The next morning, the Strong man set the other labourers to work ploughing a field and then said that he would go and have a look at the jungle which his master wanted cleared. So he went off alone with only a stick in his hand. When he reached the place, he walked all round it, and saw how much could be made into good arable land, and then he began to clear it. He pulled up the trees by the roots and piled them into a heap and he took the rocks and threw them to one side and made the ground quite clear and smooth, and then went back to the house. On being asked why he had been so long away, he answered that he had been pulling up a few bushes at the place which was to be cleared.
The following morning the Strong man told the farm labourers to take their ploughs to the clearing and begin to plough it. When the farmer heard this, he was puzzled to think how the land could be ready for ploughing so soon, and went to see it and to his amazement found the whole land cleared, every tree pulled up by the roots and all the rocks removed.
Then he asked the Strong man whether he had done the work by himself. The Strong man answered "no," a number of people had volunteered to help him and so the work had been finished in a day.
The farmer said nothing but he did not believe the story and saw that his servant must really be a man of marvellous strength. Neither he nor the farm labourers let any one else know what had happened, they kept it to themselves.
Now the Strong man's wages were twelve measures of rice a year. After working for four years he made up his mind to leave his master and start farming on his own account. So he told the farmer that he wished to leave but offered to finish any work there was to do before he went, that no one might be able to say that he had gone away, leaving his work half done. The farmer assured him that there was nothing for him to do and gave him rice equal to his four years' wages. The rice made two big bandis, each more than an ordinary man could lift, but the Strong man slung them on to a bamboo and carried them off over his shoulder.
After he had gone a little way, it struck the farmer that it would not do to let him display his strength in this way and that it would be better if he took the rice away at night. So he had the Strong man called back and told him that there was one job which he had forgotten to finish; he had put two bundles of sahai grass into the trough to steep and had forgotten to twist it into string. Without a word the Strong man wait and picked the sabai out of the water and began to twist it, but he could tell at once by the feel that the sabai had only just been placed in the water and he charged the farmer with playing a trick on him. The farmer swore that there was no trick and, rather than quarrel, the Strong man went on with the work.
While he was so engaged the farmer offered him some tobacco, and the Strong man took it without washing and wiping his hands. Now no one should prepare or chew tobacco while twisting sabai; if one does not first wash and dry one's hands one's strength will go. The Strong man knew this, but he was so angry at being called back on false pretences that he forgot all about it.
But when he had finished the string and the farmer said that he might go, he essayed to take up the two bandis of rice as before. To his sorrow he found that he could not lift them. Then he saw the mistake that he had made. He had to leave one bandi behind and divide the other into two halves and sling them on the bamboo and carry them off with him.
The Strong man's cultivation did not prosper, and after three or four years he found himself at the end of his means and had again to take service with a farmer.
One day when field work was in full swing the Strong man had a quarrel with his new master. So when he had finished the morning's ploughing he pulled the iron point of the ploughshare out of its socket and snapped it in two. Then he took the pieces to his master and explained that it had caught on the stump of a tree and got broken. The master took the broken share to the blacksmith and had it mended. The next day the Strong man went through the same performance and his master had again to go the blacksmith. The same thing happened several days running, till at last the farmer decided to keep watch and see what really happened. So he hid himself and saw the Strong man snap the ploughshare in two; but in view of such a display of strength he was much too frightened to let his servant know that he had found out the trick that was being played on him. He took the pieces to the blacksmith as usual and at the smithy he found some of his friends and told them what had happened. They advised him to set the Strong man to twisting sabai string and then by some pretext induce him to take tobacco. The farmer did as they advised and in about a fortnight the Strong man lost all his strength and became as other men. Then his master dismissed him and he had to go back to his house and his strength never returned to him.
LVII. The Raja's Advice.
Once upon a time an aged Raja lay dying. Before he breathed his last he sent for his only son and gave him the following advice. "My son," he said, "never go on a journey alone; do not associate with low people, for if you do no one will respect you; never confide a secret to your wife; do not tell outsiders the affairs of your house; do not let village affairs go beyond the village street, and never get into a rage."
The son succeeded to the Raja and shortly afterwards set out to pay a visit to his wife's relations. He started alone and after going some distance he remembered his father's injunctions never to go on a journey alone. He had gone too far to go back and he saw no one within call, so he looked about and presently found a crab hole. He set to work and dug out the crab and fixing it in his pagri continued his journey.
By-and-bye he came to a river. Now in this river lived a crocodile, which had leagued with a crow to destroy travellers crossing the river. Whenever the crow saw anyone coming, it gave warning to the crocodile, and the crocodile then seized the traveller as he entered the river, while the crow pecked out his eyes. In this way they had been the death of many travellers. So when the crow saw the young Raja coming, it cawed to the crocodile, which hastened to the ford and seized the Raja as he stepped into the water, while the crow flew at his head. But the crab caught the crow by the leg and nipped it so hard that the crow, in agony, called out to the crocodile to let the man go, as it was being killed. So the crocodile released its hold and the Raja struggled to the bank, and then caught the crow which was held fast by the crab and wrung its neck. Then he went back home with the crab, reflecting on the wisdom of his father's advice.
Later on, the Raja thought that he would put another of his father's maxims to the proof and see what would happen if he told his wife a secret. So he took a spade and buried an old earthen pot in the corner of his garden. He let his wife see him and she promptly asked what he was burying; he put her off, but that night she insisted so much on knowing, that, after swearing her to secrecy, he told her that a child had come straying to his house and he had killed it to obtain good luck and had buried the body.
Time passed, and one day the Raja had a quarrel with his wife, he began to beat her and she in return abused him and kept on calling out that he was a murderer, who had buried a child in his garden. Their next door neighbour heard all this and, directly she found the Raja's wife alone, asked whether what she said was true. The Raja's wife, being still in a passion, asserted that it was quite true. The story was soon all over the town, and the townspeople rose and seized the Raja and charged him with the murder. Then he took them to the garden and made them dig up what he had buried and they found only an old pot.
So they had to pay him compensation for making a false charge, and the Raja valued more than ever the advice given him by his father.
LVIII. The Four Jogis.
Once four Jogis were out on a begging expedition and came to a city were a Raja lived. As they went along they discussed how they should beg of the Raja; and while they were discussing the point, they saw a field rat and one of them exclaimed "I know how I shall beg of him! I shall say 'See, he throws up the earth, scrapety scrape!'" This did not help the other three, but, further on, some frogs jumped into a pond as they passed by, and one of the others at once said "I know what I shall say! I shall say 'plumpety plump! down he has sat.'" A little later, they saw a pig wallowing in the mud, and the third Jogi called out "I have it! I shall say 'Rub away, rub away! Now some more water! Rub away, rub away! I know, my boys, what you are going to do.'" The fourth Jogi was still in perplexity but, when they came in sight of the Raja's city, he exclaimed "I know what I shall say 'Highways and byeways, what a big city! The kotwal is going his rounds, his rounds.'"
Then they got a man to write down these four forms of address on a sheet of paper and presented it to the Raja. The Raja took it, and read it, and could not make head or tail of it. And when the four Jogis saw him looking so puzzled, they got frightened and took to their heels, for they could not read themselves and were not sure of what the paper really contained.
Now the Raja's chief officer was a Tehsildar, and he had also a Barber, who shaved him every day, And that evening after the Jogis had run away, the Tehsildar proposed to the Barber that, when shaving the Raja the next morning, he should cut the Raja's throat and they could then divide the kingdom between them, and the Barber consented. Not content with this, the Tehsildar and the palace chowkidar that same night tried to break into the Raja's palace and steal his money and jewellery. They began to cut a hole through the mud wall of the Raja's room, but it chanced that the Raja was so puzzled by the paper which the Jogis had put into his hand, that he kept on reading it over and over again, and just as the Tehsildar and chowkidar had half cut their way through the wall, they heard the Raja saying "See, he throws up the earth, scrapety, scrape!" At once they concluded that they had been heard and they crouched down; the Raja went on "Plumpety, plump! down he has sat." This made them think that they had been seen and the chowkidar crept to the door to listen: he heard the Raja saying "Highways and byeways, what a big city! The kotwal is going his rounds, his rounds!" Then the chowkidar felt sure that he was discovered and he ran off with the Tehsildar, without completing their burglary.
The next morning the Barber went to shave the Raja, and, while he was sharpening the razor, the Raja again began to study the mysterious paper, murmuring "Rub away, rub away, now some more water: Rub away, rub away! I know my boy what you are going to do." The Barber thought that the Raja referred to his rubbing water over his face for shaving, and concluded that the Tehsildar had revealed the plot; so he threw himself at the Raja's feet and confessed everything, swearing that the Tehsildar and not he was to blame. The Raja at once sent for the chowkidar to take the Tehsildar and Barber to prison. When the chowkidar came in he found the Raja repeating "See he throws up the earth, scrapety, scrape!" He at once concluded that the Raja was referring to the burglary and he fell on his knees and confessed all that had happened. This was news to the Raja, but he went and saw the place where the wall had been partly cut through, and then he sent all the guilty men to prison and despatched messengers to look for the Jogis who had been the means of saving his life and property; but the Jogis had been so frightened and had run away so far, that they were never found.
LIX. The Charitable Raja.
There was once a Raja who was very charitable; he used to give a new cloth and a good meal to every one who came and begged of him. But one day a Jogi came and refused to take what was offered to him: he demanded that the Raja should give him his kingdom and everything that he had. The Raja thought it wrong to refuse the request, and went out into the world with his wife and his two young children, a beggar. For a long time they wandered about living on charity, till their clothes were worn to rags, and then they chanced to hear of a rich merchant who gave a cloth to any beggar who asked it of him; so they resolved to go to him for help. When they reached the village where the merchant lived, the Rani left the Raja with the two children to cook some dinner and went to the merchant's house to beg for some clothes; but when the merchant saw her he fell in love with her and shut her up and would not let her go. To be saved from the merchant's designs the Rani prayed that she might be smitten with disease and at once she became very ill.
After waiting in vain for her return the Raja set off with his two sons to look for her and presently came to a flooded river. He carried one child across first but, as he was returning for the other, he was swept away by the current and the children were left alone. A Goala woman, going to the river for water, found them, and as she was childless took them home with her and brought them up.
Meanwhile the Raja was carried down stream by the flood and was washed ashore, bruised and wounded, a long way down. At the place where he landed a large crowd was collected; for the Raja of the country had lately died leaving no heir, and the widow had ordered all the people to assemble in order that two elephants, belonging to the late Raja, might choose his successor. The half-drowned Raja joined the crowd and as he sat looking on, one elephant, passing by all its own people, came to him and put the golden necklace on his neck and the other elephant lifted him on to its back and carried him off and seated him on the Raja's throne; and as he sat on the throne all his wounds and bruises were healed. Years passed and the Raja's two sons grew up, and as the Goala woman who had adopted them was very poor, they went out into the world to earn their living. As it chanced, they took service as sipahis with the Raja their father, whom of course they did not recognise. Just after their arrival the Raja arranged a great festival at which people from all parts assembled; and among others the merchant went there with the Raja's wife, in hopes that among the crowd he might find some physician able to cure the woman. When he arrived, he went to the Raja and asked that two sipahis might be deputed to keep watch over the woman he had brought. The Raja sent his two newly enlisted sipahis, and thus the sons were set to guard their own mother, and it was not long before they found out their relationship. The Rani was delighted to recover her long lost children, but when she heard that her husband had been washed away by the river and drowned, she began to weep and wail. The merchant went to the Raja and complained that the sipahis who had been sent, had thrown the woman into great distress and the Raja thereupon sent for all the parties in order that he might enquire into the matter. When he heard their story, he at once recognised that it was his own wife and sons who stood before him and thus the whole family was happily united. Then his wife prayed to Thakur that if she were really the wife he had lost and had been faithful to him, she might be restored to health; water was poured over her and she was at once cured of her disease, and they all lived happily ever afterwards.
LX. A Variant.—The Wandering Raja.
Once there was a Raja who was very prosperous; but his wife found their life of wealth and ease monotonous, and she continually urged him to travel into other countries and to see whether other modes of life were pleasant or distressful; she pestered her husband so much that at last he gave way. He put his kingdom in charge of his father's sister and her husband and set off with his wife and his two sons as an ordinary traveller.
After travelling some days they got tired of eating the parched rice which they had brought with them and thought they would boil some rice for their dinner. So the Rani went into a bazar to get cooking pots, and a light for the fire. She went to the house of a rich merchant for these, but he was attracted by her beauty and seized her and shut her up and would not let her go back, but kept her as his wife. The Raja and his sons soon got tired of waiting for her; he concluded that the journey was merely a pretext of his wife's to escape from him, as she had disappeared the first time that he let her out of his sight.
So he turned to go home and soon came to a river which had to be crossed, he left his sons on the bank and went into the water to see how deep it was and as he was wading in, a large fish came and swallowed him. The fish swam away down stream and was caught in the net of some fishermen. When they saw how big a fish they had caught, they decided to take it to the Raja of that country. The Raja bought it at a high price, but when it was cut open at the palace the man it had swallowed was found alive inside; so the Raja of the country appointed him one of his retainers.
Meanwhile the two boys had been found abandoned on the bank of the river by a cowherd, who was too poor to bring them up, so he took them also to the Raja; and they rejoiced to meet their father and when they grew up, were also appointed retainers.
They had to travel all over the country on the Raja's business and it happened that they one day came to the village where their mother was and they met and recognised her; she told them how she had been seized and confined and begged them to bring her husband to her. So the sons fetched their father and the Rani told her husband how unhappy she was and begged him to get her released, and he promised to ask the help of his master. When the Raja of the country heard the story he took pity on them and went with a body of soldiers and seized the wicked merchant and ordered him to give up all his wealth and as the merchant tried to conceal where some of his money was buried, the Raja cut him down with his sword. He also laid a heavy fine on the villagers, because they had not sent word to him of the capture of the Rani.
Then he took home the Raja who had been swallowed by the fish and his wife and sons, and entertained them for some days, and then gave them elephants and horses and men and all the merchant's property and sent them to their own country. The uncle and aunt who had been appointed Regents came out to meet them and escorted them home.
Two or three days after the aunt asked the Raja how he had got his elephants and horses and money, and he said "They are the profits of my wife's sin; I will not tell you the whole story for if you heard it you also might be led astray; my wife induced me to travel by false pretences. It is not good to follow the advice of a woman; it is by mere chance that you see me alive to-day." His wife heard what he said, and she went out and cut her throat from remorse; and they went and burned her body.
LXI. The Two Wives.
There were once a Raja and his Dewan who had each one son, and the two boys were great friends. Both had been married in their infancy and when they grew up and heard that they had wives, they agreed to go together and visit them. So they set out, and they arranged that on account of the superior rank of the Raja's son they would go first and visit his wife; and they also agreed that, as they were going to a strange place, they would keep together day and night.
When they reached the house of the Prince's father-in-law they were received with great honour and when night came they lay down with their beds side by side. Presently the Prince's wife came to him and began to rub his arms and legs, until she had soothed him off to sleep. The Dewan's son pretended also to go fast asleep, but really he was careful to keep awake, for he thought it safer to be on the watch in a strange place.
His prudence was rewarded, for after a time he saw the Prince's wife leave her sleeping husband and go out of the house.
The Dewan's son followed her and saw her enter the house of a Gosain who lived on the outskirts of the village. He went near and listened at the door. He heard the Gosain ask the young woman why she was so late in coming, and her answer that she had been detained by the visit of her husband. The Gosain reproached her for not having told him that she was married, and she protested that she had known nothing about it until her husband appeared. The Gosain said that she must choose between him and her husband, and she answered that she would never give him up. "Then" said the Gosain "if you really mean it, go and bring me your husband's head." At this the Dewan's son hurried back and lay down on his bed. Presently he saw the woman come with a sword and cut off her husband's head. But when she took it to the Gosain, he rose and beat her with his iron pincers and drove her out, swearing that he would have nothing more to do with a woman who was so heartless as to kill her own husband. Then the woman returned and placed the severed head by her husband's body and raised a great outcry, that her husband had been murdered. The people of the house came and at first they charged the Dewan's son with the crime and were about to put him to death; but he called the Gosain as a witness and the real facts were proved by his evidence, and the murderess was hanged.
The Dewan's son would not allow the Prince's body to be burnt but insisted on taking it with him, that it might be cremated at his own home. So he took it on his back and carried it off.
He thought that, as he had come so far, it would be better to visit his own wife before going home. So, when he reached the village where his wife lived, he hid the Prince's body in a hollow tree and went to his father-in-law's house.
That night when they had gone to bed, the Dewan's son saw that his wife had something on her mind, so he resolved to watch her.
When she thought that he was asleep, he saw her rise and go out of the house. He followed her to a shrine of Mahadeb; there she smeared the ground with cowdung and worshipped the god and said "O Siva! I have worshipped you for many days; now my husband has come to take me to his house, and you must find another worshipper." The Mahadeb answered "You have served me for many days; call hither your husband; as you have worshipped me for so long, I will confer a boon on you." So she went and called her husband and as he knew what had happened, he had no hesitation in going with her to the shrine. There the Siv bade him ask a boon, and he prayed that the Raja's son might be restored to life, The Siv bade them bring the body and cover it with a wet cloth; and when they had done so, the body began to breathe and presently the Prince rose up alive and well. The Dewan's son told him all that had happened and the next day they went home, taking with them the wife of the Dewan's son, through whose virtue and piety the Prince had been restored to life.
LXII. Spanling and His Uncles.
There was once a little man named Spanling (Bita) because he was only a span (Bita) high; and he had a beard one span and four finger-breadths long. His father was dead, and he lived alone with his mother and he was as cunning as anyone in the world. He had one cow-buffalo and this he always grazed at night, for fear that the sun might melt it. Once it happened that as he was following his buffalo, he got buried in its droppings and he was so small that he could not get out.
However, next morning, some girls, who were gathering cowdung for fuel, found him and set him free. Spanling decided to get rid of the buffalo after this; so he killed it and flayed it and when the skin was dry, took it away to sell. Before he found a purchaser night came on, so he climbed a tree with his hide to be out of danger. During the night a gang of thieves came to the tree, and began to divide their booty. While there were busy over this, Spanling let the hide fall with a clatter into their midst, and they all ran away in a fright, leaving all their stolen goods behind.
When day dawned, Spanling climbed down and found piles of gold waiting for him. He took it home and sent his mother to borrow a wooden measure from his uncles to measure it with. When he returned the measure, one of the gold pieces was left sticking in a crack. His uncles at once hastened to enquire how he came to be measuring gold. Spanling told them that he had sold his buffalo skin at a town which he named, for an enormous price and no doubt they could find the same market, if they chose to kill their buffaloes. The uncles hurried home and killed all their buffaloes and took the hides to the city, which Spanling had named, but they were only laughed at when they asked more than the price which was paid every day for hides. The uncles came home very angry at the way in which they had been tricked by Spanling, and in revenge they burnt his house down. Finding himself homeless, Spanling gathered the ashes of his house into sacks, loaded them on a cart and drove away. When evening came he camped by the roadside in company with some other carters and, in the middle of the night, he quietly changed his sacks of ashes for some of the sacks in the other carts. When he got home he found that the sacks which he had stolen were full of gold coins. He again sent to his uncles for a measure and when the measure was returned a gold coin was again left sticking in a crack. The uncles at once came to enquire how Spanling had got the money. He told them that he had sold the ashes of his house for gold and, as their houses were bigger than his, they would doubtless make their fortunes if they burnt them down and sold the ashes. The uncles took his advice but when they tried to sell the ashes they were only laughed at for their pains.
LXIII. The Silent Wife.
There was once a madcap of a fellow, whose wife got on very well with him and did all the house work very nicely, but she would never speak a single word to him. As nothing he tried would make her speak, the madcap at last hit on a plan of taking her on a long journey. But even when he told his wife that she must come with him to a far country, she did not utter a word. When all was ready for a start the madcap bathed his feet and took a lota of water into the house and pouring it out, prayed to the spirit of his grandfather thus "Grandfather, grant that my wife may speak; if you do not fail me in this, I will make offerings to you on my return; grant that we may come back together happily; teach her to speak to me soon."
Then he set out with his wife and they travelled on until they entered a dense forest, where there was no sign of human habitation. As they went on, the tailor birds and babblers began to chatter and scream at them. The madcap got angry at this and called out to the birds that if they did not stop, he would chase them and go on chasing them for a day and a night. Then he sat down and watched them. His wife stood waiting by his side, and soon she began to wonder what she would do and where she would go, if her husband really went in chase of the birds. So at last she spoke to him and said "Come, get up; we must make haste out of this jungle." Directly the words were out of her mouth, the madcap knelt down and bowing to the ground said "I thank you, Grandfather". Then he rose and went on with his wife.
Presently they met a bear; the madcap called out "You brute of a bear, what do you mean by coming to meet us like this? I will chase you and go on chasing you till to-morrow morning." But his wife besought him to come along and not leave her. Directly she spoke, the madcap cried "Bravo" and kneeling down thanked his grandfather. They went on and presently a jackal crossed their path; the madcap cursed it and vowed that he would chase it all the night. Again his wife urged him to come on and again the madcap knelt down and thanked his grandfather; but his wife did not know why he did so, nor did she trouble to ask.
Just as they reached the edge of the forest they saw a leopard and this also the madcap threatened to chase. "Then go and chase it," said his wife, who now felt safe. So he went in pursuit of the leopard, but after going a little way he lost sight of it and went back to where his wife was. "What has become of all your boasting?" said she. "You have not chased it till to-morrow morning." "No," said the madcap "I have killed it; if you don't believe me, come and see." But she did not want to go back into the jungle and said no more about it. As his wife had broken her silence the madcap saw no use in going further and they turned homewards; all the way his wife went on chatting and singing along with him. When he reached home he sacrificed a number of goats to his grandfather, and lived happily with his wife ever after.
LXIV. The Dumb Shepherd.
There was once a very rich and powerful Raja and in his heart he thought that there was no one so powerful in the world as himself; thus he thought but he told no one of his thought. One day he made up his mind to see whether others could guess what he was thinking, so he called together his officers and servants and dependants and bade them tell him what thought was in his heart. Many of them made guesses, but not one gave an answer which satisfied the Raja.
Then the Raja told his dewan that he must without fail find some one who would, guess his thought, and he gave the dewan exactly one month's time in which to search. The dewan searched high and low but all in vain, and as the time drew near he grew more and more anxious, for he feared that he would fall into disgrace. But he had a daughter and she consoled him and told him to cheer up, as she would find a man on the day fixed to read the Raja's thoughts. The dewan had to take what comfort he could from this promise, and when the appointed day arrived, his daughter brought a dumb shepherd whom they employed and bade her father take him to the Raja. The dewan thought it very unlikely that the dumb shepherd would succeed where others had failed, but he saw no alternative to following his daughter's advice.
So the dewan presented himself before the Raja with the dumb shepherd and found a large company assembled to see what happened. The two stood before the Raja and the dumb man looked at the Raja. Then the Raja held up one finger, at this the dumb shepherd held up two fingers. Then the Raja held up three fingers, but at this the dumb man made signs of dissent and ran away as fast as he could. Then the Raja laughed and seemed very pleased and praised the dewan for having brought him such a clever man, and gave the dewan a rich reward.
The dewan was still at a loss to know what had happened, and begged the Raja to explain what had passed between him and the shepherd. "When I held up one finger," said the Raja "I asked him whether I alone was Raja, and he by holding up two reminded me that there was God, who was as powerful as I am. Then I asked him whether there was any third, and he vehemently denied that there was. Thus he has read my thoughts, for I have always been thinking that I alone am powerful, but he has reminded me that there is God as well, but no third."
Then they all went their ways, and that night the dewan questioned the dumb shepherd as to how he had been able to understand the Raja: and the dumb man explained "I have only three sheep of my own, and when I appeared before the Raja he held up one finger, meaning that he wanted me to give him one of my sheep, and as he is a great Raja I offered to give him two; but when he held up three ringers to show that he wanted to take all three from me, I thought that he was going too far and so I ran away."
By this lucky chance the dewan earned his reward from the Raja.
LXV. The Good Daughter-in-Law.
There was once a very rich man who had seven sons and the sons were all married and lived with their father. The father was a miser: he lived in the poorest manner in spite of all his wealth and hoarded all his money. His eldest daughter-in-law managed the household and she alone of the family did not approve of the miserly way in which the family affairs were conducted.
One day a Jugi came to the house and asked for alms. The eldest daughter-in-law happened to be away at the time, fetching water from the stream. Those of the family who were at home flatly declined to give the poor beggar anything and turned him away from the house. So the Jugi went away, cursing them for their miserliness. On his way he met the eldest daughter-in-law coming back with her jar of water and she asked the Jugi why he seemed so angry. When she heard how he had been treated, she at once besought him to return to the house and explained that she was the housekeeper and that that was the reason why none of the others had ventured to give him alms.
The Jugi returned with her and she gave him a seer of rice to put in his bag. At first the Jugi refused to take it, on the ground that she was only giving it for fear of his curses but she assured him that she never refused alms to anyone who begged. So the Jugi took the rice and then asked what boon she would accept in return. The woman at first said that she was in want of nothing, but, on the Jugi pressing her, she said that she would like to be able to understand the language of birds and beasts and to see the disembodied souls of men. Then the Jugi took a feather from his bag and drew it across her eyes and blew into her eyes and ears and she found herself possessed of the powers for which she had asked. But before he left, the Jugi told her that she must never reveal to any human being the boon he had conferred on her, for if she did she would die.
Years passed and nothing happened but then it chanced that a Chamar who lived at the end of the village died, and as he had been a good and kind man his family wept bitterly at their loss. The woman saw the spirit of the Chamar being taken away in a grand chariot and she also wept for the death of so good a man. Her family became very suspicious at her showing sorrow for the death of a stranger of another caste.
A few days later the miserly father-in-law died and the woman saw three beings dragging him out of the house by his heels, and she laughed to see him treated so for his sins. But the family were shocked by her laughter and concluded that she was a witch and had killed her father-in-law by her witchcraft; so after the funeral they held a family council and called on the woman to explain why she had laughed. She assured them that if she told she would die, but they insisted and at last she told them of the boon conferred on her by the Jugi, and what she had seen, and then she lay down upon her bed and died.
LXVI. The Raja's Dream.
Once upon a time there was a Raja who had no children. So he and his wife agreed that he should marry again. His second wife bore him two sons, and they were very pleased that the Raja should have heirs and all lived happily together. But after the two sons had been born, the elder Rani also gave birth to a son. This caused discord in the family, for the younger Rani had counted on her sons succeeding to the Raja, but now she feared that the son of the elder Rani would be preferred. So she went to the Raja and besought him to send away the elder Rani and her son. The Raja listened to her and gave the first wife a separate estate and a separate house and sent them away.
Time passed and one night the Raja had a dream, the meaning of which he could not understand; he dreamt that he saw a golden leopard and a golden snake and a golden monkey dancing together. The Raja could not rest until he had found out the meaning of the dream, so he sent for his younger wife and her two sons and consulted them. They could give no explanation, but the younger son said that he had a presentiment that his brother, the son of the elder Rani, could interpret the dream. So that son was sent for, and when he appeared before his father and heard the story of the dream, he said "This is the interpretation: the three golden animals represent us three brothers, for we are like gold to you. Thakur has sent this dream in order that we may not fight hereafter; we cannot all three succeed to the Raj and we shall assuredly fight if one is not chosen as the heir. It is intended that whichever of us can find a golden leopard, and a golden snake and a golden monkey and make them dance before the people, he is your principal son and shall be your heir," The Raja was pleased with this interpretation and told his three sons that he would give the Raj to whichever of them could find the three animals by that day year.
The sons of the younger Rani went away, feeling that it was useless for them to make any attempt to fulfil the conditions; even if they got a goldsmith to make the animals, they would never be able to make them dance.
But the other brother went to his mother and told her all that had happened, and she bade him be of good courage and he would find the animals; if he went to a Gosain who lived in the jungle, he would be told what to do.
So the Raja's son set out, and after travelling for some days he found himself benighted in a dense jungle. Wandering about, he at last saw a fire burning in the distance, so he went to it and sat down by it and began to smoke. Now the Gosain was sleeping near by and the smell of the smoke awoke him, and he rose and asked who was there.
"O uncle, it is I."
"Really, is it you my nephew? Where have you come from so late at night?"
"From home, uncle."
"What has brought me to your memory now? You have never paid me a visit before. I am afraid that something has happened."
"You need not fear that, I have come to you because my mother tells me that you can help me to find the golden leopard and the golden snake and the golden monkey."
At this the Gosain promised to help the Raja's son to find the animals and then put the cooking-pot on the fire to boil; and in it he put only three grains of rice, but when it was cooked, they found that there was enough to make a meal of. When they had eaten, the Gosain said "Nephew, I cannot tell you what you have to do; but further in the jungle lives my younger brother: go to him and he will tell you."
So when it was morning the Raja's son set out, and in two days he reached the second Gosain and told him of his quest. The Gosain listened to his story and put the cooking-pot on to boil and in it threw two grains of rice, and this, when cooked, was sufficient for a good meal. After they had eaten, the Gosain said that he could not tell how the animals were to be found, but that he had a still younger brother who could tell. So the next morning the Raja's son continued his journey, and in two or three days he came to the third Gosain and there he learnt what was to be done. This Gosain also put the pot on to boil but in the pot he only put one grain of rice and a bit of a grain, yet when cooked it was enough for a meal.
In the morning the Gosain told the Raja's son to go to a blacksmith and have a shield made of twelve maunds of iron and with its edge so sharp that a leaf falling on it would be cut in two. So he went to the blacksmith and had a shield made, and took it to the Gosain. The Gosain said that they must test it, and he set it edgewise in the ground under a tree and told the Raja's son to climb the tree and shake some leaves down. The Raja's son climbed the tree and shook the branches, but not a leaf fell. Then the Gosain climbed up and gave the tree a shake and the leaves fell in showers and every leaf that touched the edge of the shield was cut in two. Then the Gosain was satisfied that the shield was rightly made.
Then the Gosain told the Raja's son, that further on in the jungle he would find a pair of snakes living in a bamboo house; and they had a daughter whom they never allowed to come out of the house; he must fix the sharp shield in the door of the house and hide himself in a tree, and when the snakes came out they would be cut to pieces; then, when the snakes were dead, he was to go to their daughter and she would show him where to find the golden animals. So the Raja's son set out and about noon he came to the home of the snakes, and he set the shield in the doorway as the Gosain had said, and at evening, when the snakes tried to come out of the house, they were cut to pieces. When her father and mother were dead, the daughter came out to see what had happened, and the Raja's son saw that she was very beautiful. He went to her and began to talk and it did not take them long to fall in love with each other. The snake maiden soon forgot her father and mother, and she and the Raja's son lived together in the bamboo house many days.
The snake maiden strictly forebade him to go anywhere to the west or south of the house, but one day he disobeyed her and wandered away to the west. After going a short distance he saw golden leopards dancing, and directly he set eyes on them, he himself was changed into a golden leopard and began to dance with the others. The snake maiden soon knew what had happened, and she followed him and led him back and restored him to his own shape.
A few days later, the Raja's son went away to the south and there he found golden snakes dancing on the bank of a tank and directly he saw them, he too became a golden snake and joined the dance. Again the snake maiden fetched him back and restored him to his own form. But again the Raja's son went out to the south-west and there he saw golden monkeys dancing under a banyan tree, and when he saw them he became a golden monkey; again the snake maiden brought him back and restored him to human shape.
After this the Raja's son said that it was time for him to go back home. The snake maiden asked why he had come there at all, and then he told her all about the Raja's dream and said that as he had found the animals he would now go home.
"Kill me first" said the snake maiden; "you have killed my parents and I cannot live alone here." "No, I will not kill you, I will take you with me" answered the Raja's son, and the snake maiden gladly agreed. Then the Raja's son asked how he was to take the golden animals with him, for so far he had only seen where they were. The snake maiden said that if he faithfully promised never to desert her, nor take another wife, she would produce the animals for him when the time came. So he swore never to leave her and they set out for his home.
When they reached the place where the third Gosain lived, the Raja's son said that he had promised to visit the Gosain on his homeward journey and show him the golden animals; but he did not know what to do, as he had not got the animals with him. Then the snake maiden tied three knots in his cloth and bade him untie them when the Gosain asked to see the animals. So the Raja's son went to see the Gosain, and the Gosain asked whether he had brought the golden leopard and snake and monkey.
"I am not sure" answered the other, "but I have something tied up in my cloth," and he untied the three knots and found in them a clod of earth, a potsherd and a piece of charcoal. He threw them away and went back to the snake maiden, and asked why she had put worthless rubbish in his cloth. "You had no faith" said she "if you had believed, the animals would not have turned into the clod and the potsherd and the charcoal." So they journeyed on, till they came to the second Gosain, and he also asked to see the golden animals and this time the Raja's son set his mind hard to believe and, when he untied the knots, there were a golden leopard and a golden snake and a golden monkey. Then they went on and showed the animals to the first Gosain, and then went to the house where his mother lived.
When the appointed day came, the Raja's son sent word to his father to have a number of booths and shelters erected in a spacious plain, and to have a covered way made from his mother's house to the plain, and then he would show the dancing animals. So the Raja gave the necessary orders, and on the day fixed all the people assembled to see the fun. Then the Raja's son set the three animals on the ground and his wife remained hidden in the covered way and caused the animals to dance. The people stayed watching all day till evening and then dispersed, That night all the booths and shelters which had been erected were changed into houses of gold; and when he saw this, the Raja left his younger wife and her children and went and lived with his first wife.
LXVII. The Mongoose Boy.
Once upon a time there was a Raja who had two wives. By his first wife he had six sons, but the second wife bore only one son and he was born as a mongoose. When the six sons of the elder wife grew up, they used to jeer at their mongoose brother and his mother, so the Raja sent his second wife to live in a separate house. The Mongoose boy could talk like any man but he never grew bigger than an ordinary mongoose and his name was Lelsing.
One day the Raja called all his sons to him and said that he wished, before he died, to divide his property among them. But the sons said that they had rather he did not do so then; they wished to go abroad and see the world, and if he would give each of them some capital to start, with, they would go abroad and trade and even if they did not make much profit they would have the advantage of seeing the world.
So the Raja gave his six sons twenty rupees each to start business with; but when Lelsing also asked for some money, his brothers jeered at him and declared that he certainly could not go with them, for he would only get eaten up by some dog. Lelsing made no answer at the time but afterwards he went to his father alone and begged again for some money. At last the Raja, though he scarcely believed that Lelsing would really go out trading, gave him ten rupees.
The six brothers made everything ready and one morning set out on their travels, without saying anything to Lelsing. But Lelsing saw them start and followed after them, and as the brothers were resting in the middle of the day they looked back and saw Lelsing galloping along to overtake them. So they all travelled together for three or four days, till they came to a great jungle and camped on its outskirts. There they debated how long they should stay away from home and they decided that they would trade for six months and then go back.
The next morning they entered the jungle, and as they travelled through it, the six brothers managed to give Lelsing the slip, so that when they came out of the forest they found themselves at Nilam bazar, but Lelsing after wandering about for some time came out at Sujan bazar.
The six brothers bought sun-horses at Nilam bazar, and began to trade. But Lelsing at Sujan bazar looked about for someone who would engage him as a servant. No one would employ a mongoose, and Lelsing was in despair, for he had very little money. At last he began to enquire whether anyone would sell him a cheap horse, and learnt that the horse market was at Nilam bazar; so he went to Nilam bazar and there found his brothers trading, but he did not make himself known to them. He tried to buy a horse but they were all too highly priced for him, so at last he had to be content with buying a donkey for three rupees and some articles to trade with.
When the six months expired, the brothers went home; and a little after them came Lelsing, leading his donkey, his brothers laughed at him but the Raja did not laugh; and Lelsing showed his father and mother what profits he had made by his trading, which his brothers declined to do. The Raja was pleased with Lelsing for this and declared that, in spite of his shape, he was a man and a Raja. It only made his brothers more angry with him to hear Lelsing praised.
Two or three years later there was a famine in the land. Lelsing foresaw it and he dug a large hole in the floor of his house and buried in it all the grain on which he could lay his hand. The famine grew severe, but Lelsing and his mother always had enough to eat from their private store. But his brothers were starving and their children cried from want of food. Lelsing had pity on them and sent his mother with some rice for them to eat. The Raja and his sons were amazed that Lelsing should have rice to give away, and they went to his house to see how much he had; but they found the house apparently empty, for they did not know of the store buried in the ground. Puzzled and jealous the brothers made up their minds to burn down Lelsing's house. So one night they set fire to it, and it was burnt to ashes: the store buried in the ground was however uninjured.
Lelsing put the ashes of his house into sacks and, loading them on his donkey, set out to sell them. As he found no buyers, he rested for the night under a tree by the road side. Presently a band of merchants with well loaded pack-bullocks came to the place. "You must not camp here" called out Lelsing to them "I have two sacks of gold coin here and you may take an opportunity to steal them. If you are honest men, you will go to a distance." So the merchants camped a little way off, but in the middle of the night they came and carried off Lelsing's sacks, leaving two of their own in their place, and hurried on their way. In the morning Lelsing made haste to carry home the sacks which had been changed, and when he came to open them he found them full of rice and rupees. He sent his mother to borrow a measure from his brothers with which to measure the rupees; and when he returned it, he sent it to them full of rupees.
His brothers came running to know where he had found so much money. "I got it by selling the ashes of my house" said Lelsing "and it is a pity that I had only one house; if I had had more houses, I should have had more ashes, and should have got more money still." On hearing this the brothers at once made up their mind to burn their own houses, and take the ashes for sale. But when they did so and took the ashes for sale from village to village they were only laughed at for their pains, and in the end had to throw away the ashes and come back empty handed. They were very angry at the trick which Lelsing had played on them and decided to kill him and his mother; but when they went to the house to do the murder, Lelsing happened to be away from home and so they were only able to kill his mother.
When Lelsing came home he found his mother lying dead. He placed the body on his donkey and carried it off to burn it on the banks of the Ganges. As he went, he saw a large herd of pack bullocks coming along the road. He quickly propped the body of his mother against a tree which grew by the road and himself climbed into its branches, and when the bullocks came up he began to call out "Take care, take care: you will have my sick mother trampled to death." But the drivers were too far behind to hear what he said. When they came up, he climbed down from the tree and charged them with having allowed their bullocks to kill his mother. The drivers had no wish to face a charge of murder; and in the end, to secure their release, they made over to Lelsing all their bullocks, with the merchandise which they were carrying.
Lelsing threw his mother's corpse into some bushes, and drove the laden bullocks home. Naturally his brothers wanted to know where he had got such wealth from, and he explained that it was by selling the dead body of his mother and he was sorry that he had only one to dispose of. At once his brothers went and killed all their wives, and took the corpses away to sell; but no one would buy and they had to return disappointed.
Another trick that Lelsing played his brothers was this: he used to mix rupees in the food he gave his donkey, and these passed out in the droppings; and Lelsing took care that his brothers should know of it. They found no rupees in the dung of their horses, and consulted Lelsing as to the reason why. He told them that if they gave their horses a blow with an axe while they ate their grain, they would find rupees in the dung. The brothers did as they were advised, but the only result was that they killed all their horses.
More and more angry, the brothers resolved to kill Lelsing by guile. So they went to him and said that they had found a wife for him, and would take him to be married. When the procession was ready, Lelsing got into a palki. His brothers made the doors of the palki fast and carried him off towards a deep river, into which they meant to throw him, palki and all.
When they reached the river, they put the palki down and went to look for a suitably deep pool. Lelsing found that he was outwitted, and began to weep and wail. Just then a shepherd came by, driving a flock of sheep and asked what was the matter. Lelsing cried out that they were going to marry him against his will, but that anyone who would take his place in the palki could marry his bride. The shepherd thought that this would be a great opportunity to get a wife without spending any money on the marriage, and readily changed places with Lelsing, who drove away the flock of sheep. The brothers soon came back and, picking up the paiki, threw it into the river and went home, thinking that they had at last got rid of Lelsing.
But four or five days later Lelsing appeared, driving a large flock of sheep. His brothers asked him, in amazement where he had come from, "You threw me" said Lelsing "into a shallow pool of the river where there were only sheep, but in the deeper parts there are cattle and buffaloes as well. I can take you to fetch some of them if you like. You take your palkis to the bank of the river,—for I cannot carry you all—and then shut yourselves inside and I will push you into the water." So the brothers took their palkis to the river side and shut themselves in, and each called out "Let me have the deepest place, brother." Then Lelsing pushed them in one by one and they were all drowned. Then he went home rejoicing at the revenge which he had taken for their ill treatment of him.
LXVIII. The Stolen Treasure.
Once upon a time three jars full of money were stolen from a Raja's palace. As all search was fruitless the Raja at last gave notice that, whoever could find them, should receive one half of the money. The offer brought all the jans and ojhas in the country to try their hand, but not one of them could find the treasure.
The fact was that the money had been stolen by two of the Raja's own servants and it fell to the duty of these same two men to entertain the ojhas who came to try and find the money. Thus they were able to keep watch and see whether any of them got on the right track.
Not far from the Raja's city lived a certain tricky fellow. From his boyhood he had always been up to strange pranks, and he had married the daughter of a rich village headman. At the time that the Raja's money was stolen his wife was on a visit to her father, and after she had been some time away, he went to fetch her home. However, on his way, he stopped to have a flirtation with a girl he knew in the village and the result was that he did not get to his father-in-law's house till long after dark. As he stood outside he heard his wife's relations talking inside, and from their conversation he learnt that they had killed a capon for supper, and that there was enough for each of them to have three slices of capon and five pieces of the vegetable which was cooked with it.
Having learnt this he opened the door and went in. The household was amazed at his arriving so late at night but he explained that he had dreamt that they had killed a capon and were having a feast: and that there was enough for them each to have three slices of capon and five pieces of vegetable, so he had come to have a share. At this his father-in-law could do nothing but have another fowl killed and give him supper; he was naturally astonished at the Trickster's powers of dreaming and insisted that he must certainly go and try his luck at finding the Raja's stolen money.
The Trickster was taken aback at this, but there was no getting out of it; so the next morning he set out with his father-in-law to the Raja's palace. When they arrived they were placed in charge of the two guilty servants, who offered them refreshments of curds and parched rice. As he was washing his hands after eating, the Trickster ejaculated, "Find or fail I have at any rate had a square meal," Now the two servants were named Find and Fail and when they heard what the Trickster said, they thought he was speaking of them, and had by some magic already found out that they were the thieves.
This threw them into consternation, and they took the Trickster aside and begged him not to tell the Raja that they were the thieves. He asked where they had put the money, and they told him that they had hidden it in the sand by the river. Then he promised not to reveal their guilt, if they would show him where to find the money when the time came. They gladly promised and took him to the Raja. The Trickster pretended to read an incantation over some mustard seed, and then taking a bamboo went along tapping the ground with it. He refused to have a crowd with him, because they would spoil the spell, but Find and Fail followed behind him and showed him where to go. So he soon found the jars of money and took them to the Raja, who according to his promise gave him half their contents.
LXIX. Dukhu and His Bonga Wife.
Once upon a time there was a man named Bhagrit who had two sons named Lukhu and Dukhu; and Lukhu used to work in the fields, while Dukhu herded the buffaloes. In summer Dukhu used to take his buffaloes to drink and rest at a pool in the bed of a dry river.
Now in the pool lived a bonga girl and she fell in love with Dukhu. So one day as he was sitting on the bank she appeared to him in the guise of a human maiden. She went up to him and began to talk, and soon they became great friends and agreed to meet at the same place every day. As the girl was beautiful Dukhu fell deeply in love with her and resolved to marry her, not knowing that she was a bonga. One day the bonga-girl asked Dukhu to come home with her to dinner, as he had stayed too late to go to his own house; but he said he was too shy to do so, as her parents knew nothing about him. The bonga-girl said "Oh no, I have told my people all about our love, but if you won't come with me, stay here till I fetch you some rice; it is too late for you to go home now; by the time you come back, the buffaloes will have wandered off for their afternoon grazing." So Dukhu agreed to wait while she brought the rice, and she got up and moved away and disappeared behind some bushes, but a minute later Dukhu saw her come smiling towards him with a pot of rice on her head; though how she had fetched it so quickly he could not make out. She came to him and put it down and told him to wash his hands and come and eat his dinner. Dukhu asked her whether she had had her own dinner and she said that she would go back and have that later. Then he proposed that she should eat part of what she had brought; and she said that she would do so, if he did not want it all. Dukhu resolved to test her, for it would be a proof of true love, if she ate what he left over. So after eating half the rice he said that he was satisfied and when she found that Dukhu would eat no more she took what was left; then he was satisfied that she really loved him and they began to talk of getting married, and he told her that there would be no difficulty about it, as his elder brother Lukhu was already married.
Then Dukhu asked the bonga to take him to her house to see her parents, so one day she led him into the pool and as he went in, the water never came above his ankles; and somehow they passed along a broad road until they came to the bonga girl's house, and this was full of tigers and leopards and snakes. At the sight of them Dukhu was too frightened to speak; the bonga said that she would not let them touch him and offered him a large coiled-up snake to sit on; but he would not sit down till she came and sat by his side. Then the bonga father and mother asked their daughter whether this was her husband, and when she said "yes" they came and made obeisance to him.
After they had had their dinner she took him back and he knew that she was a bonga; but still he could not give her up. After this the bonga girl brought Dukhu his dinner every day on the bank of the river, and he never went home for his midday-meal at all. His brother's wife asked him why he did not come home and he said that he did not get hungry and was content with some buffalo's milk; but she did not believe him and resolved to watch and see who brought him his dinner, but though she went and watched every day she only saw him sitting alone, and the bonga girl was invisible to her. But one day she saw him disappear into the pool, and come out again.
When she told this at home, Dukhu's father, Bhagrit, got very angry and decided to find out who made Dukhu disappear into the pool. He resolved to bale out the water and find out what was at the bottom. So he sent for men with baling baskets and began to divide off the water with dams, but out of the water a voice was heard, singing;—
"Do not dam the water, father, Do not dam the water, father, Your daughter-in-law, the Ginduri fish is dying."
At this sound the workmen were frightened and stopped; but Bhagrit made them go on, saying that whatever happened should be on his head. And when the dams were finished, they began to bale out the water; thereupon a voice sang:—
"Do not bale the water, father, Do not bale the water, father. Your daughter-in-law, the Ginduri fish is dying."
But they paid no attention and baled the water dry, and at the bottom of the pool they found an enormous fish, for the bonga girl had turned into a fish. And they went to kill it, but the fish sang:—
"Do not hit me, father, Do not hit me, father, Your daughter-in-law, the Ginduri fish is dying."
Nevertheless they killed it and dragged it on to the bank. Then they began to cut it up, and as they did so, it sang:—
"Do not cut me, father, Do not cut me, father, Your daughter-in-law, the Ginduri fish, is dying."
Nevertheless they cut it up, and Bhagrit divided the pieces among the workmen, but they were too frightened to take any and preferred to take the smaller fishes as their share. So he told Lukhu's wife to take up the pieces and wash them: and as she did so the song was heard:—
"Do not wash me, sister, Do not wash me, sister, The Ginduri fish is dying."
And she was very frightened, but her father made her wash them and then they took home the pieces and lit a fire and ground spices and turmeric and heated oil and made ready to cook the fish. Then the fish sang again:—
"Do not cook me, sister, Do not cook me, sister, The Ginduri fish, sister, is dying.'
But she nevertheless put the pieces into the pot to boil, when lo and behold, out of the pot jumped the pretty bonga girl. Then Bhagrit said to his neighbours.—"You see by my persistence I have got a daughter-in-law"—and she was duly married to Dukhu. At the wedding the bonga girl said "Listen, Father and all of you: I tell you and I tell my husband—however much we quarrel let not my husband strike me on the head, let him beat me on the body, I shall not mind; but on the day that he hits me on the head: I shall depart for good."
After the marriage the family became very prosperous and their crops flourished and every one liked the bonga girl; but between her and her husband there were constant quarrels and their friends could not stop them. One day it happened that Dukhu smacked her on the head. Then the bonga girl began to cry and called her father-in-law and mother-in-law and said "Father, listen, the father of your grandson has turned me out, you must do your work yourselves to-day;" then she took her child on her hip and left the house; and they ran after her and begged her to return, but she would not heed; and they tried to snatch the child from her but she would not give it up, and went away and was seen no more.
LXX. The Monkey Husband.
One very hot day some children were bathing in a pool, when a Hanuman monkey snatched up the cloth which one of the girls had left on the bank and ran up a tree with it. When the children came out of the water and went to take up their clothes, they found one missing, and looking about, they saw the monkey in the tree with it. They begged the Hanuman to give it back, but the monkey only said—"I will not give it unless its owner consents to marry me."—Then they began to throw sticks and stones at him but he climbed to the top of the tree out of the way.
Then they ran and told the parents of the girl whose cloth had been stolen; and they called their neighbours and went with bows and arrows and threatened to shoot the monkey if he did not give up the cloth, but he still said that he would not, unless the girl would marry him. Then they shot all their arrows at him but not one of them hit him; then the neighbours said. "This child is fated to belong to the monkey and that is why we cannot hit him." Then the girl's father and mother began to cry and sang:—
"Give the girl her cloth, Her silk cloth, monkey boy,"
and he answered
"If she consents to marry me I will give it: If she consents I will put it in her hand."
And as he did not listen to the father and mother, her father's younger brother and his wife sang the same song, but in vain; and then the girl herself begged for it, and thereupon the monkey let down one end of the cloth to her; and when she caught hold of it, he pulled her up into the tree, and there made her put on her cloth and ran off with her on his back.
The girl was quite willing to go with him and called out as she was carried away: "Never mind, father and mother, I am going away." The Hanuman took her to a cave in the mountains and they lived on fruit,—mangoes or jack or whatever fruit was in season. The monkey climbed the trees and shook the fruit down; but if the girl saw by the marks of teeth that the monkey had bitten off any fruit, instead of only shaking it down, she would not eat it, and pretended that she had had enough; for she would not eat the leavings of the monkey.