At last the girl got tired of having only fruit to eat; and demanded rice. So the monkey took her to a bazar, and leaving her on the outskirts of the village under a tree, he went and stole some pots from a potter and rice and salt and turmeric and pulse and sweetmeats from other shops, and brought them to the girl. Then she collected sticks and lit a fire and cooked a meal; and the monkey liked the cooked food, and asked her to cook for him every day. So they stayed there several days. Then the girl asked for more clothes and the monkey tried to steal them too, but the shopkeepers were on the watch and drove him away.
The girl soon got tired of sleeping under a tree so they went back to the cave and the monkey gathered mangoes and jackfruit and told her to go and sell them in the market and then she would be able to buy cloth. But when she had sold the fruit, she stayed in the village and took service with a well-to-do shopkeeper, and never returned to the monkey. The monkey watched for her and searched for her in vain, and returned sorrowfully to his hill; but the girl stayed on in the village and eventually married one of the villagers.
LXXI. Lakhan and the Wild Buffaloes.
Once upon a time there was the only son of a widow, who used to tend the sheep and goats of a Raja and his name was Lakhan. One day he harnessed one of the goats to a plough and ploughed up a piece of high land and sowed hemp there. The crop grew finely, but one night a herd of wild buffaloes came and ate it all up; at this Lakhan resolved to pursue the buffaloes and shoot them.
His mother did all she could to dissuade him but he made up a bundle of provisions, and set off on his journey with a stick, and a bow and arrows, and a flute made of the castor oil plant. He tracked the buffaloes for some days and one evening he came to the house of an old witch (hutibudhi) and he went up to it and asked the witch if he might sleep there. She answered "My house is rough and dirty, but you can choose a corner to sleep in; I can give you nothing more, as I have not a morsel of food in the house." "Then," said he, "I must go to bed hungry" and he lay down supperless.
In the middle of the night the witch began to gnaw at Lakhan's bow and he heard her gnawing and called out "What are you munching? Give me at bit," but she answered that it was only a little pulse which she had gleaned from the fields and she had finished it. So Lakhan said no more; but during the night the witch bit his bow to pieces and when he saw this in the morning, he was very unhappy; for it was useless to find the bison, if he had nothing to shoot them with.
So he went home and had an iron bow and arrows made by a blacksmith, and then started off again. As before he came to the witch's house and arranged to sleep there; and in the night the witch tried to bite the bow to pieces, and Lakhan heard her crunching it and asked her what she was eating: she said it was only a little grain which she had gleaned. In the morning he found the bow all right, but the witch's jaws were badly swollen. Lakhan laughed at her and asked what was the matter and she said that she had toothache.
So Lakhan went on his way rejoicing and at last reached the place where the wild buffaloes rested at night; he waited there and while he waited he swept away all the droppings and made the place clean, and then climbed up into a tree. At evening great herds of buffaloes came to the place and they were so many that Lakhan was afraid to shoot. So he stayed there, and every day he used to sweep the place clean, while the buffaloes were away, and at night time hid himself in the tree.
The buffaloes determined to find out who their benefactor was, and they chose an old cow to stay behind and watch. The next day the old cow pretended that she was too weak to rise, and was left behind when the herd went out to graze. Lakhan thought that she was too old to do him any harm, so, although she was there, he got down from the tree and cleaned up the place as usual, and even swept quite close up to the old cow buffalo. In the evening the other buffaloes came back and the old cow told them that it was a human being who swept their resting place clean; and when they promised not to hurt him, she pointed out the tree where Lakhan was. Then the buffaloes told him to come down and swore not to kill him but to support him and keep him as their servant. They told him to make a leaf bowl and they filled this with their milk, as much as he could drink, and they arranged that he should stay at the sleeping place and keep it clean, and when he wanted milk he was to play on his flute and they would come at the sound.
So every noon he used to blow the flute and the cows came, running and gave him more milk than he wanted so that he used even to bathe himself in milk, and this made his hair grow very long.
One day a parrot belonging to a Raja saw him drying his long hair in the sun and the parrot went to the Raja and told him that he had found a husband for the Raja's daughter, with beautiful long hair; but that no one could go near where he lived because of the wild buffaloes; however the parrot undertook to bring him with the help of a tame crow of the Raja's: so the crow and the parrot flew off to the jungle, and they decided that the best way to entice Lakhan away, was to carry off his flute. So when the cows gave him milk at noon and he put down his flute, the crow seized it in his beak and flew away to the top of a tree. When Lakhan missed the flute and saw the crow with it, he began to throw stones but the crow flew off with it, keeping just out of range; the crow flew from tree to tree and seemed to be always just about to drop the flute and in this way enticed Lakhan on, till they came to the Raja's palace and Lakhan followed the crow right inside and they shut the door on him and made him marry the princess.
After some time his wife's brothers began to talk rudely about him saying "I suppose this fellow is some poor orphan, without any relations" and when Lakhan heard this he said that if they wanted to see his cattle and buffaloes they must make a yard for them. So the Raja gave orders for a large cattle yard to be made, and when it was ready Lakhan took his flute and put his wife on the roof of the palace and he himself climbed a tree and blew on the flute. Then the wild buffaloes came running at the sound and gored to death every one they met, and Lakhan and his wife became Raja and Rani.
LXXII. The Boy with the Stag.
Once all the men of a village went out to hunt in the hills and a certain orphan boy wanted to go with them, and although they told him that there was no water in the hills and he would die of thirst, he insisted on starting. The first day they found no water, but the orphan boy managed to endure it; but the second day he suffered so much, that he begged the hunters to take him to water; they told him that there was no water and they could not take him to any. So he set off alone in the direction in which he understood there might be water, but he soon lost his way in the jungle; so in despair he climbed a meral tree and picked the fruit and threw it in all directions and to his joy he heard one fruit splash as it fell into water; so he climbed down and sure enough close to the tree he found a pool and drank his fill.
And then he saw a fawn stuck fast in the mud at the edge of the pool, so he fixed an arrow to his bow and crept towards it, resolved to catch it alive if he could, but if it ran away, to shoot it. The fawn did not move and he managed to seize it and pulling it out of the mud, he rubbed it clean and put his bow string round its neck and took it home. The fawn grew up into a stag and he trained it to fight and one day he matched it to fight with a goat. The agreement was that the owner of the winner should take both the animals; in the fight the stag was victorious, so the boy won the goat. Then he matched his stag with a ram and a bullock and even with a buffalo, and the stag was always victorious and in this way he soon grew rich. Seeing him so rich one of the villagers gave him his daughter in marriage and took him to live in his house, and so he lived happily ever afterwards.
LXXIII. The Seven Brothers and the Bonga Girl.
Once upon a time there were seven brothers who lived all alone in the jungle, far from human habitations. None of them was married and they lived on the game they killed. It chanced that a bonga maiden saw the youngest brother and fell deeply in love with him. So one day when all the brothers were away hunting, she placed in their house seven nicely cooked plates of rice.
When the brothers returned in the evening from the chase, they were astonished to find the rice waiting for them; all but the youngest said that it must be some plot to kill them and refused to touch the food, but the youngest wished to eat it. His brothers would not let him and told him to throw the rice away; so he took it outside the house, but instead of throwing it away, he ate up the whole seven plates full, without letting his brothers know. But when they went to bed that night, the youngest brother snored loudly, because he had eaten so much, and thereby his brothers guessed that he had eaten the rice, and they were very unhappy for they were sure that he was about to die. However in the morning he was none the worse; so they went out hunting as usual but the youngest brother suffered continually from thirst, the result of overeating, and this convinced his brothers that he had eaten the rice, though he denied it.
When they reached home that evening, they again found seven dishes of rice placed ready for them. And that day the youngest brother and the youngest but one ate; and the day after there was the rice again, and the three youngest ate it. Then the eldest brother said: "To-morrow I will stay behind and watch, and see who it is who brings the rice; we have no servant, if I can catch the person who is so kind to us, I will engage him as a cook for us, and we need have no more of this mystery. Do you bring back my share of the game you shoot."
So the next morning the eldest brother stayed behind and hid himself and watched. But he could not see the bonga, though she brought the rice as usual; and when he told his brothers this, it was decided that the second brother should stay behind the next day, and see if he had better luck; and that day they all ate the rice, except the eldest brother, who said that he would never eat it, until he knew who brought it; so the next day the second brother watched but he also could not see the bonga.
One by one all the brothers watched in vain, until only the youngest one was left. Then they said to the youngest brother: "Now it is your turn and if our friend does not show himself to you, we will eat no more of his rice." So the next day the other brothers went off to hunt and the youngest stayed at home; he did not trouble to hide himself, but sat in the house making a bow. At noon he saw the bonga girl coming with the rice on her head, but he took no notice and pretended to be looking down at something. Then the bonga came into the courtyard and put down the rice and looked about and said: "I saw something like a man here, where has he got to?" and she looked into the house and still the youngest brother kept silent; then she spoke to him and asked whether he was ill, that he had not gone hunting. He answered her that he was not ill, but had been left to watch for the person who brought them rice every day. Thereupon the bonga went outside and brought in the rice and putting it down, said: "It is I who do it. Come, wash your hands and I will give you your dinner," but he said: "First tell me what all this means," and she said: "It means that I want to live with you." He objected. "How can I marry you when my brothers are not married?" She answered that if he married her, they would soon find wives for his brothers. Then she urged him to eat, but he said that if he ate one plateful, his brothers would question him, so the bonga girl went and brought an extra dish and he ate that. And as they talked together, he soon fell deeply in love with her, and promised to consult his brothers about her living with them; but he saw a difficulty which would arise if she married him, for his elder brothers would not care even to ask her for water, and thus she would be really of very little use in the house; so with some hesitation he proposed that she should marry the eldest brother and then they could all talk freely to her; but the girl would not agree to this and said that there would be no harm at all in their talking to her, provided that they did not touch her, and she would not mind giving his elder brothers water.
So they plighted their troth to each other, subject to the consent of the brothers, and towards evening the bonga girl left, promising to return on the morrow. When the brothers returned they discussed the matter and agreed that the youngest should marry the girl, provided that she promised to keep house for them. So the next day the girl came back and stayed with them; and they found wives for the other brothers, and got cattle and buffaloes and broke up land for cultivation and though the brothers did not altogether give up hunting, they became rich.
A certain jogi found out where they lived and once every year he came to ask for alms; one year he came just after the bonga girl had borne a child, so as she was doing no work, it was her sisters-in-law who brought out food for the jogi. But at this he was displeased, and said that he would only eat at the hands of the girl, who had given him food the year before. They told him that she was in child-bed and could not come out. Then he said: "Go and tell her that the Jhades Jogi has come and wants her arm tassel." So she sent out her arm tassel to him and he put it in his bag and got up and went away. Thereupon the bonga girl arose and left her baby, and followed him, and never came back. At evening the brothers returned from hunting, and heard what had happened. They were very distressed and told their wives to look after the baby while they went in pursuit. They followed as hard as they could and caught up the Jogi on the banks of a river; then they tried to shoot him, but their arrows were powerless against him, and he by magic turned the seven brothers into stones.
So the Jogi carried off the woman to his home. He was a Raja in his own country and he had a big garden; and an old woman who looked after it used to make garlands every day and bring them to the Rani, and the Rani used to pay their weight in silver for them. In the course of time the child who was left behind grew up and when he used to play with his fellows at pitch and toss and there was any dispute about the game his playmates would say "Fatherless boy, you want to cheat!" So he asked his aunts whether it was true that he had no father and they told him that the Jhades jogi had carried off his mother, and how his father and uncles had gone in pursuit and had never returned. So the boy decided to go in search of his mother and he set off, and first he met some goatherds and he sang to them:—
"Ho, Ho, goatherds Have you seen the Jhades Jogi On this road?"
But they could tell him nothing. And then he met some shepherd boys, and he sang to them:—
"Ho, Ho, shepherds, Have you seen the Jhades jogi On this road?"
But they could tell him nothing. Then he met some boys tending buffaloes and he sang;—
"Ho, ho, buffalo herds, Have you seen the Jhades jogi On this road?"
But they could tell him nothing. Then he came to a thorn bush, with a number of rags fluttering on it, and he sang:—
"Ho, ho, plum bush, Have you seen the Jhades jogi On this road?"
And the plum tree said "The Jhades jogi brought your mother this way, and I did my best to stop them. If you don't believe me see the rags as a proof." And he put his hand on the tree and went on. And then he came to a squirrel which was chattering in a banyan tree, and he sang:—
"Ho, ho, squirrel, Have you seen the Jhades jogi On this road?"
And the squirrel said "I have been calling you since yesterday. The jogi brought your mother this way, go on and you will overtake them. And your father and uncles also came this road." The boy was cheered by this news and he put his hand on the squirrel's back and said "You are a fine fellow to give me this clue" and the marks of his fingers were imprinted on the squirrel and that is why squirrels have striped backs to the present day.
Then he went on and came to a river and he decided to sit and have his lunch there; he did not know that his father and uncles had been turned into stones in that very place, but as he sat and ate, his eyes were opened and he saw the stones weeping, and he recognised them, and he dropt a little food on each that they might eat, and pursued his way, until he came to the Jhades jogi's kingdom, and he went to the old woman who kept the Jogi's garden and asked to be allowed to stay with her and help her to make the garlands.
One day when he had made a garland, he tied to it a ring which had belonged to his mother. So when the old woman took the garland to the Rani, the Rani wondered why it weighed so heavy, and when she examined it she saw her own ring. Then she asked the old woman who had tied the ring there, and when she heard that a strange boy had come, she at once ran to him and recognised her own son.
Then they planned how they could kill the Jhades jogi and escape! The mother agreed to find out in what lay the life of the Jogi. So she questioned him and worried him till he told her that his life lay in a certain pumpkin vine. Then the boy went and cut down the pumpkin vine, but the Jogi did not die; then the Rani worried and worried the Jogi till he told her that his life lay in his sword; then the boy stole the sword and burnt it in a fire of cowdung, but still the Jogi did not die; then his mother again worried and plagued the Jogi till at last he told her the truth and said "In the middle of the sea is a cotton tree, and on the tree are two Bohmae birds; if they are killed I shall die."
So the boy set off to the sea and on the road he met three old women and one had a stool stuck to her back, and one had a bundle of thatching grass stuck on her head, and the third had her foot stuck fast to a rice-pounder, and they asked him where he was going, and he told them, "to visit the shrine of the Bohmae bird": then they asked him to consult the oracle and find out how they could be freed from the things which were stuck fast to them, and he promised to do so.
By-and-bye he came to the sea and was puzzled as to how he was to cross it. As he walked up and down the shore he saw an alligator rolling about in pain with a swollen stomach; and when it saw the boy it said "I am like to die with this pain in my stomach, how can I be cured?" and the boy proposed that it should take him to the cotton tree in the midst of the sea and there they might learn a remedy from the Bohmae birds. The alligator agreed, so the boy got on its back and was taken across the water. Then the boy sat at the foot of the cotton tree and sang:—
"Come down, Bohmae birds, I wish to consult the oracle."
But the birds were frightened and flew to the top of the tree. But as he went on singing, they became curious and came down and asked what was the matter, and he said "There are three old woman and one has a stool stuck to her and one a bundle of grass and one a rice pounder; how are they to be freed?" And they said "The first old woman never asked visitors to her house to take a seat; if she does so in future she will get rid of the stool,"—and as they said this they came nearer—"and the second old woman, if she saw anyone with straws sticking in their hair never offered to take them out. If she does so in future she will be freed," and as they said this they came nearer still—"and the third old woman would not allow widows and orphans to use her rice pounder: if she does so she will be freed:" and as they said this they came quite near, and the boy seized them and broke their wings, and as he did so the Jogi's arms were broken; then he snapped off their legs, and as he did so the Jogi's legs were broken; and the birds screamed and the Jogi howled.
Then the alligator carried the boy back, and by the time it reached the shore it was cured of its pain. On his way back the boy told the three old women of what the birds had said; and when he got to the Jogi's palace he twisted off the heads of the Bohmae birds and then the Jogi's head fell to the ground.
Then he started homewards with his mother, carrying the birds and their heads; and the Jogi's head came rolling after them. But he saw a blacksmith's fire burning by the side of the road and he threw the birds into the fire and the Jogi's head rolled into the fire and was burnt, and that was the end of him. When they came to the river where his father and uncles were turned into stones, he bathed in the river, and then put a cloth over the stones and they were restored to human shape; and they rubbed their eyes and said "We must have slept a long time" and were astonished when they heard how the Jogi had turned them into stones. Then they all went home and lived happily ever after.
LXXIV. The Tiger's Foster Child.
Once upon a time a Potter woman went to dig earth for making pots, and while she was working she was prematurely delivered of a boy. And she considered whether she should carry the child home, or the basket of clay, but in the end decided to take the clay which was urgently wanted, while she would doubtless have plenty more children in the course of time. So she went away, leaving the baby in the pit. At evening a tiger came by and heard the child crying and he took pity on it and carried it away and he and his wife reared it.
As the child grew up they used to take him to the tigers' assembly. He was not at all afraid of the tigers and understood all they said and one day he heard them saying that the Pargana (tribal chief) tiger was a great man-eater. At this he was very angry and set off to look for the man-eater, without telling his foster parents. When the Pargana tiger saw the boy coming he had just finished cleaning his teeth, and he thought "This is lucky, here is my breakfast coming;" but just as he was about to spring on the boy, the boy caught hold of him and tore him to pieces.
The news of this exploit soon spread, and the tigers called a meeting to consider the matter, and they told the foster father that he must take steps to prevent the boy doing any such thing again. So the tiger and tigress went home and told the boy that it was time that he went back to his own people, as he had brought shame upon them; the boy objected that men would not receive him, but they told him to go as an orphan boy and beg in the villages till he found his mother.
So he went away and when he came to a village he sang:—
"My mother went to dig earth And left me in the pit; The tiger and the tigress of the jungle Reared me—give me alms,"
And thus he went begging from village to village and one day he came to the village where his father and mother lived. His mother heard him a long way off and running to him knew him for her son. Then she brought water and oil and turmeric and bathed him and anointed him, and gave him new clothes and fed him on curds and parched rice. And the villagers collected, and when they heard the stories of the mother and son, they believed them and gave a feast in honour of the boy, and took him into the village.
LXXV. The Caterpillar Boy.
Once there was an old woman who lived on the grain she could collect from other people's threshing floors. One day as she swept up a threshing floor she found a caterpillar among the paddy; she threw it away but it came crawling back again; she threw it away again, but it said "Do not throw me away, take me home with you and you will prosper." So she let it stay and that day she found that she collected a whole basketful of rice; at this she was delighted, and put the caterpillar on the top of her basket and took it home. There she asked the caterpillar what work it would do, and it said that it would watch the paddy, when it was spread out to dry after being boiled, and prevent the fowls and pigs from eating it.
So the caterpillar used to watch the paddy while the old woman went out looking for food; and every day she brought back a full basket of rice, and so she soon became rich. It got whispered about that the old woman was so prosperous, because she had a caterpillar boy in her house.
One day the caterpillar said that he wanted to go and bathe, so he went to the river and took off his caterpillar skin, and bathed, and as he rubbed his head, one or two hairs came out, and these he wrapped up in a leaf and set the packet to float down the stream. Lower down the stream a princess was bathing and when she saw the packet come floating down, she had it fished out, and when she opened it she saw the hairs inside and she measured them and found them to be twelve fathoms long; then the princess vowed that she would not eat rice, till she found the man to whom the hairs belonged. And she went home and shut herself in her room and refused to eat.
At this her father and mother were much distressed, and when they heard what had happened the Raja said "Well she wants a husband, I will find him for her." And he sent a notice throughout his kingdom saying that he would give his daughter and half his kingdom to the man who had hair twelve fathoms long. Everyone who heard this came with his sons and the princess was told to look at them and choose whom she liked; but none had hair twelve fathoms long, and she would take none of them. Then the Raja asked whether everyone in the kingdom had come, and he was told that there was a caterpillar boy, who lived with an old woman, who had not come, so the Raja sent to fetch him, but he said that he had no arms or legs and could not go; so they sent a palki for him and he was brought in that. And when the palki was set on the ground, the caterpillar boy rolled out and the princess said that he should be her husband.
At this her father and mother were much ashamed and remonstrated with her, but she persisted in her fancy, so the marriage took place. They sent the newly married pair to live in a house at the outskirts of the village and only one maidservant accompanied the princess. Every night the caterpillar boy used to take off his skin and go out to dance, and one night the maidservant saw him and told her mistress. And they agreed to watch him, so the next night they pretended to go to sleep, but when the caterpillar boy went out, they took his skin and burnt it on the fire; and when he came back, he looked for it, but could not find it. Then the princess got up and caught him in her arms, and he retained his human form, and he was as handsome as a god.
In the morning the caterpillar boy and his wife stayed inside the house, and the Raja sent some children to see what had happened, and the children brought back word that there was a being in the house, but whether human or divine they could not say. Then the Raja went and fetched his son-in-law to the palace, but the caterpillar was not pleased and said to his wife; "They treat me very well now that they see that I am a man, but what did they do before?" However he stayed in his father-in-law's palace.
Presently the Raja said that his kingdom was too small to give half of it to his son-in-law, so he proposed that they should go and conquer fresh territory, and carve out a kingdom for the caterpillar boy. So they went to war and attacked another Raja, but they were defeated and their army cut to pieces. Then the son-in-law said that he would fight himself; so he drew his sword and brandished it and it flashed like lightning and dazzled the eyes of the enemy and his shield clanged on his thigh with a noise like thunder; and he defeated the other Raja and took his kingdom and carried off all his wealth.
But the Raja thought that as his son-in-law was so strong, he would one day kill him also and take his kingdom: so he resolved to find a means to kill him. On their way back from the war they found no water on the road and were distressed with thirst. One day they came to a large tank and found it dry. So they made a sacrifice in the hopes that water would flow. First they sacrificed goats and sang:—
"Tank, we are giving goats Trickle out water! Tank, we are giving goats Flow, water!"
But no water came. Then in succession they sacrificed sheep, and oxen and buffaloes, and horses and elephants, but all in vain: and after each failure the Raja said "Son-in-law, it is your turn," and at last his son-in-law said "Well, let it be me;" and he armed himself and mounted his horse and went and stood in the middle of the tank, and he sang:—
"Up to my knees the water, father, The water, father, has oozed out."
And the Raja answered:—
"Do you, my son, remain standing there,"
And as he sang the water welled out up to his horse's knee and then to its belly; and he still sang and the water rose to the horse's back and then to his own waist, and to his chest, and he still sang, and it reached his mouth and then he was completely submerged and the tank was full. Then they all drank their fill and the Raja said to his men "We have sacrificed this Saru prince. I will kill any of you who tells my daughter what has happened" and they promised not to tell, but they forgot that there were two dogs with them. And when they got home each man's wife brought out water and welcomed him and the princess asked where her husband, the Saru prince, was, and no one answered; then she sang:—
"Oh Father, my father; How far away Is the Saru Prince, the Gindu Raja?"
and the Raja answered
"My daughter, my darling, the Saru Prince, the Gindu Raja Is very far away, amusing himself with hunting."
And she sang to them all, but no one told her anything, and then she sang to the two dogs, who were named Chaura and Bhaura:—
"Oh Chaura, oh Bhaura, How far away Is the Saru Prince, the Gindu Raja?"
and they answered
"Oh sister, oh Rani! Your father has sacrificed him In the big tank."
Thereupon she began to cry, and every day she sat and cried on the bank of the tank.
Now the two daughters of the Snake King and Queen had received the Saru Prince as he disappeared under the water, and when they heard the princess crying every day they had pity on her; she used to sing:—
"Oh husband! Oh Raja! My father has sacrificed you In the big tank. Oh husband! Oh Raja, Take me with you too."
So the daughters of the Snake King and Queen took pity on her and told their frog chowkidar to restore the Saru Prince to his wife; and the Prince and his wife went home together. When the Raja and his wife saw their son-in-law again, they were terrified, but he said nothing to reproach them. The princess however could not forgive them for trying to kill her husband and always looked angrily at them; then the Raja and the Rani took counsel together and agreed that they had done wrong to the prince, and that he must be a magician; and they thought that their daughter must also be a magician, as she had recognised the prince when he was a caterpillar, and she could not even see his long hair; so they were afraid and thought it best to make over the kingdom to their son-in-law, and they abdicated in his favour, and he took the kingdom.
LXXVI. The Monkey Nursemaid.
Once upon a time there were seven brothers who were all married and each had one child and the brothers arranged to engage a boy to carry the children about; so they sent for a boy and to see if he was strong enough, they made a loaf as big as a door and they told the boy to take it away and eat it; but he was not strong enough to lift it; so they told him that he could not carry their children. Now a Hanuman monkey was looking on from the top of a tree, and he came down and carried off the loaf and ate it. Thereupon the mothers engaged him to carry the children, and he used to carry the whole seven about on his back.
One day the children were running about the house and kept interfering with their mothers' work, and the mothers scolded the monkey for not keeping them out of the way. Then the monkey got sulky and carried off the children to a distant hill and did not bring them back at evening. So the mothers got very anxious, but the villagers laughed at them for engaging a monkey, instead of a human being, to look after the children.
When the mothers heard that the monkey had taken the children to the hill, they were still more unhappy, for in the hill lived a rakhas (ogre) but it was too late to go in search of them that night. Meanwhile the monkey for fear of the rakhas had carried the children up to the top of a palm tree and when the rakhas spied them out he tried to climb the tree, but the monkey drove him away by throwing the palm fruit at him.
However the monkey was really in a fix, for he was sure that the Rakhas would return, and he knew that if he let the children be eaten, their parents would make him pay for it with his life. So he went off to a blacksmith and bought sharp knives and tied them on to the trunk of the palm tree: and when the Rakhas came back and tried to climb the tree, he was so badly cut by the knives, that he fell down to the ground with a thud and lay there groaning. Then the monkey cautiously descended and the Rakhas begged him to cure his wounds; the monkey answered that he would cure him if he gave him complete outfits for the children. The Rakhas said that he would give them directly he was cured. So the monkey applied some medicines and recited the following spells:—
"Rustling, rustling sesamum, Slender sesamum: Tell your grandfather, Tell him of seven waist strings.
Rustling, rustling sesamum, Slender sesamum: Tell your grandfather, Tell him of seven dhotis."
And in succeeding verses, he mentioned seven coats, seven pair of shoes, seven hats, seven swords, seven horses, and seven hogs; and as he repeated the incantation he blew on the Rakhas, and he was healed.
The Rakhas was to give the things mentioned in the incantation, but when seven hogs were mentioned he objected and wished only to give one, and in the end the monkey agreed to be content with two; so the Rakhas departed and the next day appeared with seven waist strings, seven dhoties, seven coats, seven hats, seven pairs of shoes, seven swords, seven horses and two hogs. Then the monkey rigged the children out in this apparel and mounted them on the horses; and the monkey and the Rakhas mounted on the two hogs,—the Rakhas having faithfully promised not to eat the children or their parents,—and they all set out for the children's home. When the mothers saw the cavalcade come jingling along, they were frightened at first; but when they recognised their children they were delighted, and they gave the monkey and Rakhas a good dinner. Then the monkey made over the children to their parents and gave up his post as nurse, and left amid the good wishes of all.
LXXVII. The Wife Who Could Not Keep a Secret.
Once there was a man of the Goala caste, who looked after the cattle of a rich farmer. One day a cow dropped a calf in the jungle without the Goala knowing, and at evening the cow came running to join the others, without the calf. When they got home the cow kept on lowing and the master asked whether she had had a calf; the Goala had to confess that the calf had been left in the jungle; the master scolded him well, so he took a rope and stick and went out into the night.
But when he got to the jungle he could not hear the calf, so he decided to wait where he was till the morning; he was too frightened of wild animals to stay on the ground, so he climbed a tree leaving the stick and rope at the foot of it. Soon a tiger smelt him out and came to the place. Then the stick and the rope took council together as to how they could save their master; the stick saw that it could not see in the dark and so was powerless; so the rope agreed to fight first, and it whirled itself round in the air with a whistling noise, and the tiger hearing the noise and seeing no one, got frightened, and thought that there was an evil spirit there; so it did not dare to come very near and in the morning it took itself off.
Then the Goala saw the cow come to look for her calf, so he took up the stick and rope and followed her. The cow soon found her calf and asked it whether it had not been very cold and uncomfortable all night; but the calf said "No mother, I put my foot in these four pots of rupees and they kept me warm," The Goala heard this and resolved to see if it were true; so he dug up the earth where the calf had been lying and soon uncovered the rims of four pots full of money. But the Goala did not care to take the money home for fear his wife should talk about it; he resolved to see first whether his wife could keep a secret.
So he went home and told her to cook him some food quickly; she asked why, and he said "The Raja has a tortoise inside him and I am going to look at him." Then his wife said that she must fetch some water, and she went off with the water pot. On the way she met several women of the village, who asked her why she was fetching water so early, and she said, "Because the Raja has a tortoise inside him and my husband is going off to see it." In less than an hour the village was full of the news, and the rumour spread until it reached the ears of the Raja. The Raja was very angry and said that he would kill the man who started the report, unless he could prove it to be true. So he sent messengers throughout the country to trace back the rumour to its source.
One messenger found out that it was the Goala who had started the story and told him that the Raja wanted to give him a present; so he gladly put on his best clothes and went off to the Raja's palace. But the Raja had him bound with ropes, and then questioned him as to why he had told a false story. The Goala admitted that his story was false, but explained that he had only told it to his wife, in order to see whether she could keep a secret, because he had found four pots of money. The Raja asked where the money was and the Goala said that he would show it, but he wanted to know first how much of it he was to have, for himself. The Raja promised him half; so the Goala led men to the place and they dug up the money, and the Goala kept half and became a rich man.
Moral. However friendly you are with a man do not tell him what is in your heart, and never tell your wife the real truth, for one day she will lose her temper and let the matter out.
LXXVIII. Sit and Lakhan.
Once upon a time there was a Raja who had two wives and a concubine, but after giving birth to her second son, the first Rani died, and the name of her elder boy was Sit and that of the younger was Lakhan. The two children used to cry for their mother but the second Rani never comforted them, for she hated them; it was the concubine who used to bathe them and care for them, and their father loved them much. They used to go to the place where their father sat administering justice and Sit would sit behind his father and Lakhan in front. The second Rani hated to see them with their father and would tell the concubine to drive them away; but she refused and said that it was natural for a father to love his motherless children; so the Rani kept silent, but anger remained in her heart.
At last the Rani feigned to be ill and kept her bed; the Raja sent for doctors and ojhas, and they came and saw that she could not rise and they wanted to feel her pulse, but she would not let them touch her; all she would do was to make the concubine tie a string to her wrist and let the doctors hold the other end of the string; so the doctors diagnosed the disease as best they could in this way and gave her medicines, but she got no better.
After some days the Rani sent for the Raja and said "I am dying and you don't care; these doctors' medicines do me no good; there is one medicine only which will cure me." The Raja asked "What is it? I will get it for you." Then the Rani made him swear by Kali that he would give her the medicine she wanted, and he swore blindly. Then the Rani said "If I eat the livers of Sit and Lakhan I shall get well, and if not I shall die." At this request the Raja was struck dumb.
Now the concubine and a sipahi had overheard the conversation, and when they heard what the Rani said, they withdrew and the concubine went and told Sit and Lakhan of what was in store for them, and Sit began to cry:—but Lakhan said "Do not cry brother, our father gave us life, and it is for him to take it away if he will." So the Raja came out from the Rani's room and when he saw the boys he wept and he went to them and told them to eat their rice quickly, but they would not eat; then he had their best clothes brought for them and told them to put them on, but they refused. Then the Raja called for sipahis and the sipahi who had been with the concubine, and two others, came and the Raja told them with tears in his voice to take the two boys away and let him never see them again, and he added so that the boys should not hear "Bring me their livers." So the sipahis took away the boys, and as they passed through the bazar they bought them some sweetmeats. After walking for a time they came to a jungle; then Sit said to the sipahis "How far are we to go? Do here what is in your minds."
But the sipahis went on further; then Sit again told them to do what they had to do. But the sipahis said "Do not be frightened, we shall not kill you; we shall not obey your father; you must go away and never come back here."
Now two dogs had followed them, attracted by the smell of the sweetmeats, and the sipahis caught and killed them and cut out their livers, and they put them on a plate and took them to the Raja. The Rani was delighted and had the livers cooked, and ate them and the next day she rose from her bed.
Meanwhile Sit and Lakhan travelled on, and in a few days they had eaten all their food and were very tired, and one evening they sat down at the foot of a tree in the jungle intending to spend the night there. In that tree a pair of birds had their nest. Every year they hatched their eggs and reared the young: but every year when the young were half grown, a snake came and devoured them. That year also there were two young in the nest, and on the day that the boys rested at the foot of the tree the snake had resolved to eat them. But when it came, the boys heard it moving in the leaves and killed it.
At evening the old birds returned and the nestlings said that the boys had saved their lives, and asked the old birds to give them some of the food that they had brought. So they threw down two bits of food, and it was ordained that whoever ate the first piece, should marry the daughter of a Raja, and whoever ate the second piece, should spit gold; and it chanced that Sit ate the first piece, and Lakhan the second. The next morning the boys went on their way, and the Raja of the country was looking for a husband for his daughter and he had sent an elephant out with a flower in its trunk and it was arranged that the princess should marry the man to whom the elephant gave the flower. The elephant came upon Sit sitting by the side of the road, while Lakhan was at a distance; and when the elephant saw Sit, it went up and gave him the flower and the attendants mounted him on the elephant and took him to the Raja and he married the princess.
A few days after the wedding Sit sat outside the palace with his wife, and did not come in though it was evening, and the Raja asked him why he was sitting outside in the dew. Then Sit began to cry and lament his brother, singing—
"O Brother Lakhan, where have you gone? O younger brother, where have you gone?"
Then the Raja heard how he had been separated from his brother, and he promised to send men in search of Lakhan, and they found him in the house of a potter; but the potter refused to give him up until he had been paid for the days that he had entertained him; but really the Potter had become wealthy, because whenever Lakhan opened his mouth he spat gold, and he did not wish to lose such a valuable guest. Then Sit mounted his horse and took five rupees and gave them to the Potter in payment for his entertainment, and brought Lakhan home with him. When they found that Lakhan spat gold they were very glad to keep him and the Raja gave him his second daughter in marriage; and Lakhan made the whole family rich.
Meanwhile Sit and Lakhan's father had fallen into poverty; his country had been conquered and his army destroyed and he and his wife wandered about begging; when the boys heard this, they sent for the concubine who had been good to them, and she came and lived with them, but they did not forgive their father and step-mother.
Moral. There is no controlling a second wife and they are hard to get on with. First wives are the best, they are obedient and agree with the opinions of their husband.
LXXIX. The Raja Who Went To Heaven.
Once upon a time there was a Raja, who had many water reservoirs and tanks, and round the edges he planted trees, mangoes, pipals, palms and banyans; and the banyan trees were bigger than any. Every day after bathing the Raja used to walk about and look at his trees, and one morning, as he did so, he saw a maiden go up to a banyan tree and climb it, and the tree was then carried up to the sky, but when he went in the evening he saw the tree in its place again; the same thing happened three or four days running. The Raja told no one, but one morning he climbed the banyan tree before the maiden appeared, and when she came, he was carried up to the sky along with the tree. Then he saw the maiden descend and go and dance with a crowd of Gupinis (Divine milk maids) and the Raja also got down and joined in the dance.
He was so absorbed in the dance that he took no note of time; so when at last he tore himself away, he found that the banyan tree had disappeared. There was nothing to be done, but stay where he was; so he began to wander about and he soon came to some men building a palace as hard as they could. He asked them for whom the palace was being built, and they named his own name. He asked why it was being built for him, and they said that Thakur intended to bring him there, because he was a good ruler, who did not oppress his subjects and gave alms to the poor and to widows and orphans.
There was no difference between night and day up in the sky, but when the Raja came back, he found that the banyan tree was there, and he climbed up it and was carried back to earth by it. Then he went home and told his people that he had been on a visit to a friend. After that the Raja used to visit the banyan tree every day, and when he found that it did not wither although it had been taken up by the roots, he concluded that what he had seen was true and he began to prepare for death. So he distributed all his wealth among his friends and among the poor; and when his officers remonstrated he made them no answer. A few days later he died, and was taken to the palace which he had seen being built.
It is said that what you give away in this world, you will get back in the next; there you will get good wages for what you have done in this life.
LXXX. Seven-Tricks and Single-Trick.
Seven-Tricks and Single-Trick were great friends, but some one told Seven-Tricks that Single-Trick was the cleverer man of the two. Seven-Tricks pondered over this but felt sure that his very name showed that he was the cleverer; so one day he went to pay a visit to Single-Trick, and put the matter to the test When Single-Trick saw him coming, he called a pretty girl and hid her inside the house and told his wife to put the rice on to boil. Seven-Tricks arrived and was pressed to stay for the midday meal; he accepted and Single-Trick's wife brought them water to wash their hands and when they sat down, helped them to the rice.
As they ate, Single-Trick pretended to get very angry and began to abuse his wife "You lazy slattern, why have you put no salt in the rice? I will beat you for this, I will beat you into a girl again." So saying he caught up a club and gave her a blow with it, and pushed her into the house and pretended to continue the beating inside; and then came out dragging with him the pretty girl whom he had hidden. When Seven-Tricks saw this transformation he made up his mind to steal the club, and try whether he could beat his own wife into a girl again. So when he went home he secretly took away the club, and the next day when his wife was giving him his dinner he pretended to get angry with her for not putting salt in the rice, and snatching up the club gave her a good pounding with it, and drove her into the house and then pulled her forth again; but to his dismay she did not look a day younger than before. Seven-Tricks was puzzled but could only opine that he had not beaten the woman hard enough, so he beat her till her bones cracked; but still there was no result and he had to give up in despair.
After a time Seven-Tricks paid another visit to Single-Trick, and Single-Trick invited him to come hunting in the forest; before they started Single-Trick told his wife to go and buy a hare and keep it in the house. The two friends set off, and after a time they put up a hare; Single-Trick had brought with him his dog, which was a shocking coward and no good at hunting; when they saw the hare Single-Trick loosed the dog calling "After it, after it, drive it right home." And the coward of a dog, directly it was free, put its tail between its legs and ran straight home. "Come along home now; that is a splendid sporting dog, it is sure to have taken the hare home;" so saying Single-Trick set off back, and when they arrived he asked his wife whether the dog had brought home a hare. "Yes", said she, "I have put it in that room" and promptly produced the hare that she had bought. Seven-Tricks at once resolved to possess himself of a dog that brought the game home by itself, and the next night he came and stole it, and in the morning took it out hunting. He soon started a hare and loosed the dog after it; the dog ran straight away in the direction of the house, and Seven-Tricks followed at his leisure, and asked his wife where the dog had put the hare. "Hare," said she "there is no hare, the dog came running back alone." "Perhaps I was too slow and gave him time to eat the hare," thought Seven-Tricks; so he took it out again and when he loosed it after a hare, he ran after it as fast as he could to see what it did. Everyone laughed to see the hunter chasing his dog, instead of his game. When he got to the house of course there was no hare, and so he gave up trying to hunt.
Another day he paid a visit to Single-Trick and Single-Trick asked him to come out fishing. Before they started Single-Trick told his wife to buy some live codgo fish and keep them ready in the house. When they came to a pool, Single-Trick at once let down his line and soon got a bite from a codgo fish; as he pulled it out he threw it, rod and all, behind him in the direction of his home and said to Seven-Tricks "Come along home, I expect that all the fish in the pool will have reached home by now," Directly they got to the house Single-Trick asked his wife whether the fish had come. "Yes", said she, "I have put them all in this basket" and brought out a basket of live codgo fish. Seven-Tricks at once made up his mind to steal the wonderful fishingrod, so he came back that evening and managed to abstract it, and next morning went fishing with it. Directly he had caught a codgo fish, he threw it over his shoulder and went off home and asked whether the fish had arrived, but he only got laughed at for his folly. Then he was convinced that Single-Trick was more than a match for him, and he would have nothing more to do with him.
LXXXI. Fuljhari Raja.
There was once a Raja named Fuljhari and he was childless; he and his wife made pilgrimages to many shrines but all in vain, the wished-for son never arrived. One day a Jugi came to the palace begging and the Raja asked the holy man to tell him how he could have a son; then the Jugi examined the palms of their hands but having done so remained silent. The Raja urged him to speak but the Jugi said that he feared that the reply would be distasteful to the Raja and make him angry. But the Raja and his wife begged for his advice, and promised to do him no harm whatever he said. At last the Jugi explained that they could never have a child unless they separated, and the Raja went right away and the Rani lived with another man; with this he took his departure.
Then the Raja and his wife consulted together and the Raja proposed to take the Jugi's advice, as he felt that he could not leave his kingdom without an heir; so he said that he would go away to a far country, on pretence of visiting a distant shrine; but the Rani feared that if, on his return, he found that she had borne a child, he would kill her or at least turn her and the child out to beg their bread; but the Raja assured her that he would never treat her in that way and after making his final arrangements he went off to a far country.
There he stayed some years and in the meanwhile the Rani had five sons; at last she wrote to her husband to come home and directly he reached the palace he bade the Rani to bring the boys to him, that he might embrace and acknowledge them; so they were brought and he took them one by one in his arms and kissed them, and he saw that they were all the images of himself. But when he kissed the youngest child he was suddenly struck with blindness. Then he rose in wrath and ordered the child to be taken away and killed; but the mother had pity on it and persuaded the soldiers not to kill it but to convey it away to a far country.
The child's name was Lita and he grew up and was married to the daughter of the Raja of the land and lived in his father-in-law's house. But Lita was always tormented by the thought that he had been the cause of his father's blindness; although he would not tell anyone of his sorrow, he used to get up when every one was asleep and spend the night in tears. One night his wife surprised him weeping and begged him to tell her what was the matter. She pressed him until he told her how, immediately his father kissed him, he had gone blind and how his mother had smuggled him out of the country and saved his life, but how the recollection of the harm he had done tormented him and how he longed to be able to return to his own country and restore his father's sight. His wife on hearing this at once began to comfort him and assured him that she would help him to obtain a medicine which would restore his father's sight. In a range of mountains was a Rakhas who had a daughter who was buried in a heap of Fuljhari flowers; if Lita went and could persuade the Rakhas to let him marry his daughter, he could then get a Fuljhari flower and if that were rubbed on his father's eyes his sight would be restored.
So Lita set out towards the mountains and sat down by the road side at their foot. Presently the Rakhas and his wife came by; the wife asked him what he was sitting there for; he said that he was looking out for some one who would have him to come and live in his house as a son-in-law. The Rakhas paid no heed to this and proposed to eat up Lita at once, but his wife begged him to spare the young man and take him home and marry him to their daughter, who was very lonely. The Rakhas gave way and they took Lita to the cavern in which they lived and there was their daughter buried under a heap of flowers. They made her get up, and told her that they had brought a husband for her.
Lita and his bride lived happily together and were soon deeply in love with each other, and after a time he told her about his father's blindness and how he wished to try to cure it with one of her flowers. She readily agreed to help him; so the next day she went to her father and said that she wished to pay a short visit to her husband's home; the Rakhas consented and she and Lita took their leave. She told Lita that when the Rakhas offered him a farewell gift, he should take nothing but a hair from the Rakhas' head; this he did and they tied the flower and the hair up carefully and set off to the home, where Lita's first wife was awaiting them. She told her parents that Lita had come back with one of his sisters, and that she now wished to go back with them on a visit to their home. Her parents assented and the three of them set out and one evening reached the outskirts of the village in which Lita had been born. They camped under a roadside tree, but in the middle of the night they took out the Rakhas' hair and said to it "Make us a golden palace" and at once a golden palace sprang up. Next morning all the residents of the village collected to see the wonderful new palace, and Lita told them to bring their Raja and he would cure him of his blindness. So they went and fetched the old blind Raja and directly Lita touched his eyes with the flower his sight was restored. Then they wept over each other and told all that had happened. And the old Raja and his wife came and lived with Lita and his wives and the other brothers stayed on at their old home; and they all lived happily ever after.
LXXXII. The Corpse of the Raja's Son.
There was once a blacksmith named Chitru who had a very pretty wife; and the woman attracted the attention of the son of the Raja. Chitru suspected that his wife was unfaithful to him, and one night he pretended to go away from home, but really he lay in wait and surprised the prince visiting his wife; then he sprang out upon him and strangled him.
But when he found himself with the corpse of the prince on his hands, he began to wonder what he should do to avoid being convicted of the murder. At last he took up the corpse and carried it to the house of two dancing girls who lived in the village, and laid it down inside. Soon after the dancing girls woke up and saw the corpse lying in their room; they at once aroused their parents, and when they found that it was the corpse of the Prince, they were filled with consternation.
Now Chitru had a reputation for cunning, so they decided to send for him quietly and take his advice. When he came they begged him to save them; he pretended to be much surprised and puzzled and at last undertook to get them out of their difficulty, if they paid him one hundred rupees; they gladly paid him the money, and then he took up the corpse and carried it off and laid it down on the verandah of the house of a mahajan who lived near. Soon after some one came out of the house and found the corpse; at once they were all in consternation and sent for the clever Chitru to help them out of their difficulty.
Chitru refused to lift a finger unless he were paid two hundred rupees, and when he had got the money he took up the corpse and put it in a sitting position in a little patch of brinjals which a Koeri had planted by his front door. At dawn the Koeri came out and saw what he thought was a thief stealing his brinjals, and promptly threw a stone at the man. The corpse fell over, and when the Koeri went to see who it was he found the dead body of the Raja's son. As it was daylight, he had no opportunity of making away with the body, so he was arrested and sent for trial. He was acquitted, because he had acted unwittingly, but he was too frightened of the Raja to stay any longer in the village and absconded as soon as he could.
Chitru, who was the real murderer, made his wife promise to keep silence by threats and was three hundred rupees the better for the business.
LXXXIII. The Sham Child.
There was once a Raja who had two wives and each Rani had a maidservant who was the Raja's concubine; but none of them had any children. In the course of time the ladies began to quarrel and when they appealed to the Raja, he found that the elder Rani was to blame and turned her out of the palace, and sent her to live in a palm leaf hut on the outskirts of the town. Her faithful maidservant followed her, and the two supported themselves by begging. But they barely got enough to keep body and soul together.
After a few days the maidservant asked permission of her mistress to play a trick on the Raja, by which they should at least get sufficient food. The Rani assented and the maidservant went off to the Raja and told him that the wife whom he had turned out was five months with child, and that it was a disgrace that one who was to be the mother of his heir should have to beg her bread. On hearing this the Raja somewhat relented towards the Rani, and he ordered money to be sent her sufficient to provide her with food, and had a proper house prepared for her. When the proper time arrived, the maidservant went to the Raja and told him that a son had been born; at this joyful news the Raja became still more generous and told the maidservant that she was free to take whatever was wanted for the child.
This suited the maid and her mistress excellently; so long as they could keep up the deception they lived in comfort; when the child was supposed to have grown old enough to run about, they asked for the price of some anklets with bells on them and bought a pair, and whenever the Raja passed by the house in which the Rani lived, the maidservant made her mistress rattle the anklets, and then went outside and told the Raja to listen to the anklets tinkling as his son ran about the house. The Raja would tell the maidservant not to let the boy run about too much, lest he should fall and hurt himself; then she would hurry inside and tell the Rani to stop the jingling, and then come and tell the Raja that the boy was resting in his mother's lap; but for all this the Raja was never given an opportunity of seeing his son.
However as time went on the Raja chose a bride and arranged for his son's wedding; the bride's friends did not come to inspect the bridegroom; a day was fixed right off for the wedding. As this day drew near, the Rani became more and more frightened, for it seemed that her deception must at last be discovered, and she would probably be put to death. But the maidservant encouraged her and promised to devise a plan; so when the day came for them to start for the bride's house she made a paste of ground mowah flowers and out of this fashioned an image of a child; and when the procession started off, with the Raja in a palki, and drummers, and palki-bearers, the maidservant was also carried in a palki and pretended that she was holding the child. Off they started and as it was too far to go in one day, they stopped for the night at a bazar, where there was the shrine of a saint. At midnight the maidservant arose and went to the shrine and called to the spirit (bonga) which dwelt there, and said that he must grant her a boon, and if not it would be the worse for him; the spirit asked what she wanted and she showed the paste image and said that she was going with the procession to marry her son, and somehow on the way he had been turned into paste; if the spirit would not give her another son, she would spit on him and curse him. The spirit saw that she meant what she said, and for fear of being spat upon, he produced a boy from somewhere and gave him to her. The maidservant was delighted at her success and bowed down three times in reverence to the spirit and took away the boy and put him in her palki.
The next morning they rose and reached the bride's house and the wedding took place in due form. As they were returning, the maidservant sent on two men to warn her mistress of what had happened and to tell her to get ready a feast. So when they reached home there was a feast ready and the bride's friends were duly entertained and dismissed. Afterwards the Raja fell out with his second wife and left the palace where she lived and came and stayed with the elder Rani, whom he had formerly turned out.
LXXXIV. The Sons of the Kherohuri Raja.
The Kherohuri Raja had five sons, and he made up his mind that he would only marry them to five sisters. So he sent out Brahmans and Jugis to search the world to find a Raja with five unmarried daughters. And at the same time the Chandmuni Raja had five marriagable daughters, and he made up his mind that he would marry them to five brothers; he did not care what their rank in life was, but he was determined to find a family of five brothers to marry his daughters. And he also told all the Brahmans and Jugis who wandered about begging, to look out for a family of five unmarried brothers.
One day it chanced that the emissaries of the Kherohuri Raja and those of the Chandmuni Raja met at a river; both parties were resting after taking their midday meal and as they smoked they fell into conversation, and soon found that their meeting was most fortunate; each party had found the Tery thing they wanted, so they all set off to the palace of the Kherohuri Raja in order that the Chandmuni Raja's messengers might see the young men.
The Kherohuri Raja ordered them to be hospitably entertained and food to be set before them; they however refused to eat anything till they had seen the five bridegrooms. The five young men were then introduced and as they appeared to be sound in wind and limb and in all respects satisfactory, there was no further obstacle to the entertainment. The next day the Kherohuri Raja sent out officials to visit and inspect the daughters of the Chandmuni Raja, and as their report was satisfactory, nothing remained but to fix the day for the wedding.
When the time came for the bridegrooms and their retinue to set off to the country of the Chandmuni Raja, they and their servants and followers all started, so that no one was left at home but their mother. After they had gone a little way the eldest prince stopped them and said that they could not leave their mother all alone, what would she do supposing some sudden danger arose? The others agreed that this was so, but the difficulty was to decide who should stay; not one of the other brothers would consent to do so. So at last the eldest brother said that he would stay, and he gave them his shield and sword and told them to perform his marriage for him by putting the vermilion on the bride's forehead with his sword.
When they reached the home of the Chandmuni Raja they proceeded at once to perform the vermilion ceremony, beginning with the eldest daughter; but when the sword was produced and she was told that she must go through the ceremony with the sword, as her bridegroom had not come, she began to cry and make a great to-do. Nothing would induce her to consent. "Why was her husband the only one who had not come in person? he must be blind or lame or married;" this resistance put all the others into a difficulty, for the younger sisters could not be married before the elder. At last after much talking her father and mother persuaded the eldest daughter to go through the ceremony; the women put vermilion on the sword and with the sword the mark was made on the bride's forehead; and then the younger sisters were married and after a grand feast the whole party set out for the palace of the Kherohuri Raja.
On the way they were benighted in the midst of a great jungle twelve kos wide, and the palki bearers declined to go any further in the dark, so they had all to camp where they were. In the middle of the night, suddenly sixteen hundred Rakhases descended on them and swallowed up the whole cavalcade, elephants and horses and palkis and men. In this danger the eldest princess who had been married to the sword prayed to Chando saying "O Chando! I have never yet set eyes on my husband; he is not with me here. I pray thee carry my palki in safety up into the sky." And Chando heard her prayer and lifted her palki up into the air and preserved her, but all those who were left on the ground were swallowed up by the Rakhases; when the day dawned not one was to be seen.
As the princess from mid air gazed on this melancholy spectacle, a parrot came flying over and she called to it and begged it to take a letter for her to her husband in the palace of the Kherohuri Raja. The parrot obeyed her behest, and when the eldest prince read the letter and learned what had happened, he made a hasty meal and saddled his horse and was ready to start; but as it was nearly evening he thought it better to wait till the next day.
Very early the following morning he set out and when his bride saw him come riding along she prayed to Chando that if it were really her husband the palki might descend to the ground; it immediately sank, and the bride and bridegroom met; then she told him all that had happened and gave him the shield and sword that he had sent to represent him at the marriage; with these in his hands he waited and when at nightfall the Rakhases returned, the Prince slew everyone of them with his sword; and as he killed them the Rakhases vomited up the elephants, horses and men that they had eaten. Then his wife told the prince to dip a cloth in water and wring it out over the dead and as the water fell on them they all became alive again, elephants, horses and men.
But his brothers far from being grateful to him for having restored them to life, took counsel together saying. "Now that he has delivered us from this danger, he will think that he has a claim on us and will treat us as his servants; let us cut open his stomach and then the Rakhas will eat him." So they turned on him, cut open his stomach, and went their ways. Then the wounded prince told the palki-bearers to carry his bride back to her father's house.
When they appeared before the Chandmuni Raja, he upbraided them for not having brought the prince too, to try if he could not have been healed. Meanwhile the prince lay in the jungle groaning for a whole day and night; then Chando and his wife heard his cries and came down and told him to push in his entrails and when he had done so, they gave him a slap on his stomach and he became whole again. Then as he was afraid to return to his home where his brothers were, he went begging to his father-in-law's house; as he came to it, his wife said to her sister-in-law that the beggar seemed to be like her husband, so she went to him and they recognised each other and he was taken in and well treated and lived there many years. In the end he was seized with a desire to go and see his old mother, and, his wife consenting to go with him, they set off to his father's home; when his brothers saw him come, they were filled with fear and made him Raja over them and they became his servants and he lived in prosperity for the rest of his life.
LXXXV. The Dog Bride.
Once upon a time there was a youth who used to herd buffaloes; and as he watched his animals graze he noticed that exactly at noon every day a she-dog used to make its way to a ravine, in which there were some pools of water. This made him curious and he wondered to whom it belonged and what it did in the ravine; so he decided to watch, and one day when the dog came he hid himself and saw that when it got to the water, it shed its dog skin and out stepped a beautiful maiden, and began to bathe; and when she had finished bathing she put on the skin and became a dog again, and went off to the village; the herdboy followed her and watched into what house she entered, and he enquired to whom the house belonged. Having found out all about it, he went back to his work.
That year the herdboy's father and mother decided that it was time for him to marry and began to look about for a wife for him; but he announced that he had made up his mind to have a dog for his wife and he would never marry a human girl.
Everyone laughed at him for such an extraordinary idea, but he could not be moved; so at last they concluded that he must really have the soul of a dog in him, and that it was best to let him have his own way. So his father and mother asked him whether there was any particular dog he would like to have for his bride, and then he gave the name of the man into whose house he had tracked the dog that he had seen going to the ravine. The master of the dog laughed at the idea that anyone should wish to marry her, and gladly accepted a bride's price for her; so a day was fixed for the wedding and the booth built for the ceremony and the bridegroom's party went to the bride's house and the marriage took place in due form and the bride was escorted to her husband's house.
Every night when her husband was asleep, the bride used to come out of the dog's skin and go out of the house; and when her husband found out this, he one night only pretended to go to sleep and lay watching her, and when she was about to leave the room he jumped up and caught hold of her and seizing the dog skin, threw it into the fire, where it was burnt to ashes, so his bride remained a woman, but she was of more than human beauty. This soon became known in the village and everyone congratulated the herdboy on his wisdom in marrying a dog.
Now the herdboy had a friend named Jitu and when Jitu saw what a prize his friend had got, he thought that he could not do better than marry a dog himself. His relations made no objection and a bride was selected and the marriage took place, but when they were putting vermilion on the bride's forehead she began to growl; but in spite of her growling they dragged her to the bridegroom's house, and forcibly anointed her with oil and turmeric; but when the bride's party set off home, the dog broke loose and ran after them; then everyone shouted to Jitu to run after his bride and bring her back, but she only growled and bit at him, so that he had at last to give it up. Then everyone laughed at him so much that he was too ashamed to speak, and two or three days later he hanged himself.
LXXXVI. Wealth or Wisdom.
Once upon a time there were a Raja and a rich merchant, and they each had one son. The two boys went to the same school and in the course of time became great friends; they were always together out of school hours; the merchant's son would take his meals at the Raja's palace or the Raja's son would eat with his friend at the merchant's house. One day the two youths began a discussion as to whether wealth or wisdom were the more powerful: the Raja's son said that wealth was most important, while the merchant's son declared for wisdom; the discussion waxed hot and neither would yield his opinion. At last the merchant's son declared; "It is of no use for us to argue like this, let us put it to the test: let us both go to some far country and take service with some master for a year, and try whether wealth or wisdom is the more successful." The Prince agreed to this plan and they fixed a day for starting.
Then they both went home and collected what money they could lay hands on and, when the time arrived, started off early one morning. After they had travelled some distance the Prince began to think of how his parents must be searching for him, for he had said nothing about his going away; but the merchant's son comforted him by saying that he had left word of their intentions at his home, and his relations would tell the Raja; so they continued on their way, and after a time they came to a certain country where the merchant's son proposed that they should look for employment. But now that it had come to the point, the prince did not like the idea of becoming a servant and he said that he would live on the money which he had brought with him, and which would last for a year or two. "You may do as you like" answered his friend "but for my part I must look for work." So he went to a village and found employment as a teacher in a school; his pupils gave him his food and also some small wages, so that he had enough to live on, without spending any of the money he had brought with him.
Meanwhile the Raja's son hired a house in the village and began to lead a riotous life; in a very short time He had wasted all his money on his evil companions and was reduced to absolute starvation; for when his money came to an end, all his so-called friends deserted him. Thin and wretched, he went to the merchant's son and asked him either to take him back to his father's home or to find him work. His friend agreed to find him some employment, and after a little enquiry heard of a farmer who wanted a servant to take a bullock out to graze and to fill a trough with water once a day. The prince thought that he could easily manage that amount of work, so he went to the farmer and engaged himself as his servant.
The terms of service were these:—If the prince threw up his work one of his little fingers was to be cut off, but if the farmer dismissed him while he was working well then the farmer was to lose a little finger; and if the prince grazed the bullock and filled the trough with water regularly, he was to get as much cooked rice as would cover a plantain leaf, but if he did not do the work he was to get only what would go on a tamarind leaf. The prince readily agreed to these terms, for he thought that the work would not take him more than an hour or two. But unhappily for him, things did not turn out as he expected. On the first morning he took the bullock out to graze, but the animal would not eat; whenever it saw any other cattle passing, it would gallop off to join them, and when the prince had run after it and brought it back, nothing would make it graze quietly; it kept running away in one direction or another with the prince in pursuit. So at last he had to bring it home and shut it up in the cow-shed and even that he found difficult.
Then they set him to filling the trough, and he found that he could not do that either, for the trough had a hole in the bottom and had been set over the mouth of an old well; and as fast as the prince poured the water in, it ran away, but he was too stupid to see what was the matter and went on pouring till he was quite tired out; so as he had not completed the tasks set him, he only got a tamarind leaf full of rice for his supper; this went on every day and the prince began to starve, but he was afraid to run away and tell his troubles to the merchant's son, lest he should have his little finger cut off.
But the merchant's son had not forgotten his friend and began to wonder why the Prince kept away from him. So one day he went to pay him a visit and was horrified to find him looking so ill and starved; when he heard how the prince was only getting a tamarind leaf full of rice every day, because he could not perform the task set him, he offered to change places with the Prince and sent him off to teach in the school while he himself stayed with the farmer. The next morning the merchant's son took the bullock out to graze and he also found that the animal would not graze quietly but spent its time in chasing the other cattle, so at noon he brought it home and set to work to fill the trough; he soon found the hole in the bottom through which the water escaped and stopped it up with a lump of clay and then he easily filled the trough to the brim. Then in the afternoon he took the bullock out again to graze and when he brought it back at sunset he was given a plantain leaf full of rice; this meant more food than he could possibly eat in a day.
He was determined that the bullock should not give him any more trouble, so the next morning when he took it out to graze, he took with him a thick rope and tethered the animal to a tree; this saved him all the trouble of running after it, but it was clear that it would not get enough to eat in that way, so he made up his mind to get rid of it altogether, and when he took it out in the afternoon, he took with him a small axe and drove the bullock to a place where a herd of cattle were grazing and then knocked it on the head with the axe and threw the body into a ravine near by. Then he hid the axe and ran off to his master and told him that the bullock had started fighting with another animal in the herd and had been pushed over the edge of the ravine and killed by the fall. The farmer went out to see for himself and when he found the dead body lying in the ravine he could not but believe the story, and had no fault to find with his cunning servant.
A few days later, as the rice crop was ripe, the farmer told the merchant's son to go to the fields to reap the rice. "How shall I reap it?" asked he. "With a sickle," replied the farmer. "Then it will be the the sickle and not I, that reaps it" "As you like," said the farmer, "you go along with the sickle, no doubt it knows all about it;" so they got him a sickle and he went off to the fields. When he got there, he noticed how bright the sickle looked, and when he touched it, he found it quite hot from being carried in the sun. "Dear, dear," said he, "I cannot let this sickle reap the rice: it is so hot that it must have very bad fever; I will let it rest in the shade until it gets better," so he laid it down in a shady spot and began to stroll about. Presently up came the farmer, and was very angry to find no work going on. "Did I send you out to stroll about, or to start cutting the rice?" roared he. "To cut the rice," answered the merchant's son, "but the sickle has fallen ill with high fever and is resting in the shade; come and feel how hot it is." "You are nothing but an idiot," answered the farmer. "You are no good here; go back home and start a fire in the big house and boil some water by the time I get back." The merchant's son was only on the lookout for an excuse to annoy the farmer and the words used by the farmer were ambiguous; so he went straight back to the farm and set the biggest house on fire. The farmer saw the conflagration and came rushing home and asked the merchant's son what on earth he meant by doing such mischief. "I am only doing exactly what you told me; nothing would induce me to disobey any order of yours, my worthy master." The farmer had nothing more to say; his words would bear the construction put upon them by the merchant's son, and he was afraid to dismiss him lest he should have to lose his little finger; so he made up his mind to get rid of this inconvenient servant in another way, and the next day he called him and told him that he must send word to his father-in-law of the unfortunate burning of the house, and the merchant's son must carry the letter.
The latter accordingly set off with the letter, but on the road he thought that it would be just as well to see what the letter was really about; so he opened it and found that it contained a request from the farmer to his father-in-law to kill the bearer of the letter immediately on his arrival. The merchant's son at once tore this up and wrote another letter in the farmer's name: saying that the bearer of the letter was a most excellent servant and he wished him to marry into the family; but that as he himself had no daughters he hoped that his father-in-law would give him one of his daughters to wife. Armed with this he proceeded on his journey. The father-in-law was rather surprised at the contents of the letter and asked the merchant's son if he knew what it was about; he protested complete ignorance: the farmer had told him nothing, and as he was only a poor cowherd, of course he could not read. This set suspicion at rest; the wedding was at once arranged and duly took place, and the merchant's son settled down to live with his wife's family.
After a time the farmer got news of what had happened, and when he saw how the merchant's son had always been sharp enough to get the better of him, he began to fear that in the end he would be made to cut off his finger; so he sought safety in flight. He ran away from his house and home and was never heard of more.
When news of this came to the ears of the merchant's son, he set out to visit his old friend the Prince and found him still teaching in the little village school. "What do you think now," he asked him, "is wisdom or money the better. By my cleverness, I got the better of that farmer; he had to give me more rice than I could eat. I killed his bullock, I set fire to his house, and I got a wife without expending a pice on my marriage; while you—you have spent all the money you brought with you from home, and have met with nothing but starvation and trouble; what good has your money done you?" The Prince had not a word to answer.
Two or three days later the Prince proposed that they should go back to their parents; his friend agreed but said that he must first inform his wife's relations, so they went back to the village where the merchant's son had married, and while they were staying there the Prince caught sight of a Raja's daughter and fell violently in love with her.
Learning of the Prince's state of mind the merchant's son undertook to arrange the match; so he sent his wife to the Raja's daughter with orders to talk of nothing but the virtues and graces of the Prince who was staying at their house. Her words had their due effect and the Raja's daughter became so well disposed towards the Prince, that when one day she met him, she also fell violently in love with him and felt that she could not be happy unless she became his wife. So the wedding duly took place, and then the Prince and the merchant's son with their respective wives returned to their fathers' houses.
LXXXVII. The Goala and the Cow.
Once upon a time a young man of the Goala caste was going to his wedding; he was riding along in a palki, with all his friends, to the bride's house and as he was passing by a pool of water he heard a voice saying, "Stop you happy bridegroom; you are happy, going to fetch your bride; spare a thought for my misfortune and stay and pull me out of this quagmire." Looking out he saw a cow stuck fast in the mud at the edge of the pool, but he had no pity for it and harshly refused to go to its help, for fear lest he should make his clothes muddy.
Then the cow cursed the Goala, saying, "Because you have refused to help me in my extremity, this curse shall light on you, directly you touch your bride you shall turn into a donkey." At these words the Goala was filled with fear and telling the bearers to put down the palki he alighted and ran and pulled the cow out of the mud; this done, he begged her to withdraw the curse, but the cow declared that this was impossible, what she had said was bound to come to pass. At these words the Goala began to lament and threw himself at the feet of the cow, beseeching her; at length the cow relented, and promised that though the curse could not be withdrawn it should be mitigated and it would be possible for his wife to restore him to human shape. So the Goala had to take what comfort he could from this and returning to the palki he told his friends what had passed. Much downcast the procession continued its way, wondering what would be the upshot of this adventure.
Arrived at the bride's house, they proceeded to celebrate the wedding; but as the Goala touched the bride with his finger to apply the vermilion mark to her forehead, he suddenly became a donkey. The company were filled with dismay and the bride's parents declared that they would never let their daughter go away with such a husband, but the bride herself spoke up and said that as Thakur for some reason had given her such a husband she would cleave to him, and nothing that her relations said could shake her purpose; so when the bridal party set out homewards, she went with them to her husband's house. But there everyone laughed at her so much for having married a donkey that she made up her mind to run away to another country; so one day she packed up some provisions for the journey and set out, driving the donkey before her.