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Full text of "Bengali household tales"



& .1' ' 




BOUGHT WITH THE INCOME 
FROM THE 

SAGE ENDOWMENT FUND 

THE GIFT OF 

Henvg W. Sage 

1891 



/SAn.s:.^M. ^r-jjvrjf.^ 

5931 



Cornell University Library 
GR 305.M13 1912 



Bengali household tales 





3 1924 024 159 638 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of tliis book is in 
tlie Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924024159638 



BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 



BENGALI HOUSEHOLD 
TALES 



COLLECTED AND TRANSLATED 
BY THE REV. 

WILLIAM Mcculloch 

FORMERLY MISSIONARY OF THE UNITED FREE CHURCH IN 
LOWER BENGAL 



HODDER AND STOUGHTON 

LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO 
t.V. 



pointed in 1912 



PREFACE 

The Tales, forming this book, have been selected 
from amongst a large number which I collected 
upwards of twenty-five years ago. Nos. IV., VII., 
XXI., and XXII., and, possibly, one or two others, 
have appeared in the Calcutta Englishman, to the 
proprietors of which I am indebted for permission 
to republish them, and Nos. I., II., and V. were 
included in an article on " Fate " I contributed to 
the Madras Christian College Magazine. None of 
the rest, so far as I know, have as yet been published 
in English. Nearly all those in Mr. Day's collec- 
tion were narrated to me in one form or another, 
but I have excluded from this selection any of my 
own gathering which seemed to be mere variants of 
stories in his book. 

The Narrator of the greater part of the Tales I 
gathered, was a very intelligent young Brahman, 
an orthodox Hindu, whose home was in an extremely 
out-of-the-way village, and who, when I first became 
acquainted with him, had been little in contact 
with Eiiropeans. He possessed fine gifts, both as 
a talker and a raconteur. Yet I found no reason to 
doubt his often-repeated assertion that he told me 
the stories exactly as he had heard them. For one 



vi PREFACE 

thing, his stories varied widely in quality, some of 
them being both coarse and dull, whereas he, him- 
self, was of a decidedly refined and distinguished 
type of mind, and was, besides, quite competent, 
when he let himself go, to make a good story of 
almost anything by his way of telling it. Moreover, 
I was able to ascertain that he did not improvise 
but narrated his Tales in stereotyped form, by getting 
him to re-tell many of them in Sanskrit, which he 
spoke fluently, a considerable time after he had first 
told them in Bengali. The two versions, in every 
case, corresponded as closely as possible. 

All the stories in my collection were written down 
in shorthand verbatim as narrated to me. In trans- 
lating them, I have made no attempt to improve 
them into literature, but have tried simply to re- 
produce the sense of the originals in ordinary 
conversational English. In one or two instances, 
where Western taste necessitated some slight modi- 
fication, literal renderings have been appended below 
in Latin. 

The Notes are intended for the general reader, 
not for experts in matters Indian or in iFolk-lore, for 
whom I do not profess to be qualified to write. 

W. McCuLLOCH. 
Tmnity, Edinbitboh. 



CONTENTS 



Karmasutra 1 



II. 

The Brahman and the Kayastha 



III. 

The Brahman's Luce . 



IV. 
The Brahman who Swallowed a God . 23 

V. 

The Brahman's Verse .... 30 

VI. 
The Stolen Wife ... . . 86 



viii CONTENTS 



VII. 

PAGE 

Nephew Kanai 66 



VIII. 
The Goddess Itu ..... 73 

IX. 

The Pundits' Disputation ... 90 

X. 

The Four Poets 102 

XI. 

The Two-footed Cattle .... 106 

XII. 
Kangala ....... Ill 

XIII. 

What will Co-operation not Effect ? .119 



CONTENTS ix 

XIV. 
The Silenck-Wager 125 

XV. 

Master and Man 131 

XVI. 
The Foolish King and His Foolish Minister 138 

xyii. 

Kanai, the Gardener . . . .143 

XVIII. 

,-A The Wily Jackal 148 

lit- 

'^. > 

XIX. 

The Lucky Rascal 152 

XX. 

The Triple Theft 175 



^^'li:'^ XXI. 

The Witch's Dinner 206 



\ 



CONTENTS 



XXII. 

The Raja's Son and the Kotwal's Son . 212 



XXIII. 

TiLBHUSHKI AND ChALBHUSHKI, OR THE TwO 

Brides 218 



XXIV. 

The Two Bridegrooms .... 229 

XXV. 

King Vikramaditya and His Bride . . 240 

XXVI. 

Learning and Motherwit .... 255 

XXVII. 
The Kotwal's Daughter . . . .283 

XXVIII. 

The Goat, the Tiger, and the Monkey . 305 

Appendix ....... 312 



ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE NOTES 



V CAS 
V/ CLER 

>/cLP 

y GHT 
J GOS 

/ HGA 

J HSF 
/ KKT 



J 



KRS 



/ KSS 
y/LDB 
MBH 
MCF 
/ MWR 



•V ] 

7 



/ 



RRT 



SIF 
Sk. 
y STT 



\\ TYT 



• Santal Folk-Tales,' by A. Campbell, D.D. 

' Eastern Romances and Stories,' by W. A. 
Clouston. 

' Fopvilar Tales and Fictions,' by W. A. Clouston. 

'Old Deccaa Dajrs,' by M. Frere. 

' Grimm's Household Tales,' tr. by Mrs. Hunt. 

' Sicilianische Marchen,' gesammelt von L. Gon- 
zenbach. 

' Griechische und Albanesische Marchen,' gesam- 
melt von J. G. V. Hahn. 

• The Science of Fairy Tales,' by S. Hartland. 

' Folk-Tales of Kashmir,' by the Rev. J. Hinton 
Knowles. 

' Sagen und Marchen der Sudslaven,' von 
F. S. Krauss. 

' Kathd-sarit-sagara,' tr. by C. H. Tavraey. 

' Folk-Tales of Bengal,' by the Rev. L. B. Day. 

' Mahabhaiata.' 

' The Childhood of Fiction,' by J. A. MaccuUoeh. 

' Religious Thought and Life in India,' by Monier 
Williams. 

' Russian Folk-Tales,' by W. R. S. Ralston. 

' Indian Fairy Tales,' by M. Stokes. 

Sanskrit. 

'Tibetan Tales,' by F. Anton v. Schiefner, tr. 
by W. R. S. Ralston. 

' Yule-tide Stories,' by Benjamin Thorpe. 



I. 

KARMASUTRA." 

Once upon a time, in a certain village, there lived 
a Bhattacharya ' Bralmian. He possessed a son, a 
daughter, a wife, and a cow, and was a very learned 
man. One night, he was lying awake, when every- 
body else in the house was sound asleep. All at 
once, he happened to notice a thread hanging down 
from one of the rafters. While he looked at it, it 
grew longer and thicker, till, at length, he saw that 
it was not a thread, but a huge snake.' Immediately 
on his seeing the snake, he sprang up in alarm, but, 
while he was in the very act of rousing his wife and 
children, the snake bit all three of them, and they 
died the same moment that they were bitten. Then 
the snake glided quickly away. 

In great grief and agitation, the Brahman said 

^ See Appendix, Note 1. On the irresistible power of Karma, 
i.e., the inevitableness of fate, of. KKT, 326 S.. 

' Lit. a revered teacher. The students of the «6!»— pative 
institutions for the study of Sk. literature — address their teachers 
as Bh. The word is used as their family surname by the highest 
of the Kulin Brahman sects in Bengal. The proper occupation 
of a Bh. is thg.t of pundit or of family priest to high-caste people. 

' Cf. LDB, p. 101. In the dead of night, an almost invisible 
thread comes out of Swet Basanta's wife's left nostril and thickens 
into a huge snake. Also, KKT, pp. 421 fl. A deadly black snake 
descende {rem the sky to slay the sleeping king. 

1. 



2 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

to himself : " What shall I gain by remaining here 
any longer ? " So saying, he went off in the same 
direction as the snake had gone. As soon as he was 
outside of the house, he saw the snake making for 
the cow-shed. The Brahman hurried after it. When 
he got to the shed, no snake was to be seen, but a 
huge tiger bounded past him, carrying off the cow. 

In great fear, the Brahman now left his house al- 
together, and set out to go to the forest.* Just as 
he was coming near the skirts of it, day dawned. 
The Brahman, worn out with«grief and with walking 
most of the night, now lay down to sleep at the foot 
of a tree. A little while after, he awoke, and saw, 
standing before him, a Brahman. Looking up at 
him, he asked, " Who are you ? " The old man, in 
turn, asked him, " Who are you ? " The Brahman 
answered, " I am so-and-so. Being in great grief 
because, last night, my wife and children were killed 
by a snake and my cow carried off by a tiger, I have 
left my house and wandered hither. But who are 
you ? " The aged Brahman answered, " I am that 
snake and that tiger." Hearing this, the Brahman 
started up and said, " Then, how are you now a Brah- 
man ? What is your name ? " The stranger an- 
swered, " My name is Karmasutra. I appear in 
various shapes, and roam about all over the world. 
Whatever kind of death is to befal each man, I 
bring it about." Then the Brahman said, " My son, 
daughter, wife, and cow — ^you killed them all. Why 
did you not kill me too ? " Karmasutra answered, 
" Your death is not to be in that way. In the water 
of the Ganges, where it is deep enough to reach your 

• Viz., to abandon the world and lead the life of an aseetio. 



KARMASUTRA 3 

neck, your death will take place. There, an alligator 
will carry you off." Saying this, the aged Brahman 
disappeared. The other determined to set out at 
once, and not to stop travelling till he should come 
to a country where there was no lake or river at all. 
For two or three months, he journeyed on, and, at 
length, arrived at a great city. There a powerful 
Raja dwelt. It happened that, on the very day the 
Brahman arrived, a great festival was being held 
in that Raja's house. Now, from the time he com- 
menced his travels, the Brahman had never enjoyed 
even one good meal.'' In the hope that, here, at 
last, he would get one, the Brahman went to the 
Raja's palace, and stayed there as a guest. The 
Raja paid him all due respect, and ordered his 
servants to make ready food for him. The com- 
mand was no sooner given than everything was 
ready, and the Brahman, having bathed and per- 
formed his daily devotions, went away to cook his 
food.' 

It happened that, at that time, a great many very 
holy pundits were gathered together in the palace. 
In their assembly, various scriptures were being 
discussed. The newly-come Brahman, being, himself, 
a very learned man and hearing a scriptural dis- 
cussion going on, left his cooking, and began to 

^ A serious matter for a professional Bhattaoharya, with whom 
attendance at feasts — where a big feed of dainties as well as a 
daksJiina or donation is obtained — is one of the chief businesses 
of life. ' 

" Viz., his rice. Sweetmeats, etc., prepared by a modSk or moira 
he could eat, but not rice, cooked by a person of low caste. Now- 
a-days, well-to-do Bengalis often keep Brahman cooks, so as to be 
able to show hospitality to people of any caste, however highi 
i. 



4 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

take part in it. In a very short time, he vanquished 
all the others in argument, and gained the first 
place in the assembly. So greatly was the Raja 
delighted with his learning that he appointed him 
to be his own court-pundit.' 

For a time, the Brahman lived there in the greatest 
happiness. Not very long after he came, a son was 
born to the Raja. The Raja put the boy under 
the care of the court-pundit, and, within a short 
time, the pundit had instructed him in many sciences.' 
When the prince reached the age of thirteen or four- 
teen, the Raja took it into his head to remove with 
his court to the banks of the Ganges. On hearing 
this, the Brahman came to him, and said, " Moharaj, 
if you are going to live on the banks of the Ganges, 
then allow me to depart. For I am resolved not 
to go near the banks of the Ganges." The Raja, 
much surprised, asked, " What is your reason ? " 
Then the Brahman said, " Moharaj, I am sure to 
lose my life if I go to the banks of the Ganges, there- 
fore I will not go there." When the Raja heard this, 
he began to hesitate a little, but the prince cried, 
" If the Brahman does not go, then I will not go ; 
he must be taken along with us." So the Raja 
said to the Brahman, " Do come, reverend sir ; 

' A somewhat satirical aooouat of the King of Gaur's oourt- 
pundit will be found in B. C. Chatterji'a ' Mjiijalini,' pp. 42 fi. 
See also, No; IX, p. 92. 

^ In the Introduction to the ' HitopadeSa,' Vishijuterman 
undertakes to teach the princes Policy in six months. Twelve 
years is the period allotted by rule to Grammar, " the gate to 
aU knowledge." Sarvavarman ofiers to make King Satavahaaa 
master of it in six months, and, by the grace of the god K4rttikeya, 
is enabled to keep his word — KSS, I, pp. 39 f. 



KARMASUTRA 5 

there, I will do whatever you wish." The Brahman, 
seeing there was no help for it, agreed to go along 
with the Raja and his court. 

When they arrived at the Ganges, the Raja caused 
a splendid palace to be built on the river-bank. 
There he lived for some time in great happiness along 
with all his family and court. The young prince 
was passionately fond of his Brahman tutor. Where- 
ever he went, he woUld have the Brahman to accom- 
pany him ; otherwise, he could in no way be persuaded 
to go anywhere. One day, he said to the Raja, 
" Father, I wish to bathe in the Ganges." " Very 
well," replied his father, " you may do so " ; and, 
at once, he gave orders to his servants to conduct 
the prince to the Ganges that he might bathe. 
Everything was got ready, and the company was 
just about to set off, when the prince saw that the 
Brahman was not among his attendants. He at 
once went to the Raja and said, " Unless the Brah- 
man goes with me, I will not bathe in the Ganges." 
The Raja sent to call the Brahman, and, when he 
came, told him to go along with his son to bathe 
in the Ganges. The Brahman answered, " Moharaj, 
I have already said that I will not go into the water 
of the Ganges, for, if I do so, an alligator will devour 
me." The Raja then said to the prince, " Go you 
and bathe alone." But the boy would not hear 
of going, unless the Brahman went with him. Still 
the latter was unwilling to go, and still the prince 
insisted that he should. At length, the Raja said, 
" Reverend sir, pray go ; I will provide against 
all danger." Saying this, he gave orders to his 
servants to surround with a net the place where 



6 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

his son and the Brahman were to bathe, and to 
stand ready with their weapons, in great numbers, 
both on the land and in the water. He commanded 
them, also, to form a ring all round the Brahman, 
when he went down into the river.' 

The Raja's orders were at once carried out, and 
then the prince and the Brahman went down to the 
water, and entered it where it was very shallow. 
The attendants stood all around, as the Raja had 
commanded. Gradually, the Brahman's fear passed 
off," and, at length, little by little, he went farther 
and farther in, till the water reached up to his neck. 
Instantly upon this, the boy said to him, " Thakur, 
I am no prince ; I am Karmasutra ! " Still saying 
this, he took the form of an alligator, and, seizing 
the Brahman, went off with him in a moment. 

^ But all in vain. For, " however well guarded, what is smitten 
by Fate, perishes " — ' Hitop.' II, 18. 

*° He forgot the need of caution. For, " when disaster has 
drawn nigh, the minds of men often become obscured " — ' Hitop.' 
I, 27. But no care would have availed now. For " when Fate 
descends, caution is in vain" — ' Anwari Suhaili,' I, 19, quoted in 
CLSBi, p. 566. " Niyatih kena badhyate " — who (or what) can 
resist Fate 7 — is a. very common expression of condolence with a 
friend in Bengal, when a dear relative has died. It is the ending 
of a Sk. sloka : 

"Matulo yasya Oovindah, pita yasya Dhananjayah, 
So' bhimanyu raije &ete, niyatih kena badliyate." 

" Though Kjishija was his uncle, and Arjuna, his father, 
Yet Abhimanyu lies low on the battlefield. Who can resist 
Fate ? " 



II. 

THE BRAHMAN AND THE KAYASTHA.' 

In a certain village, there once lived a Brahman 
and a ICayastha. The Brahman was very religious, 
truthful, and just. He would never do any work 
whatever, without, first of all, offering the daily 
worship enjoined by the Sastras. The Kayastha, on 
the other hand, was a most impious and wicked 
man. He was always in some way or other mocking 
at the Brahman. He would say to him, " You do 
pious works, and yet can get nothing to eat. But, 
look here ; I drink and do all kinds of wicked deeds, 
and yet I want for nothing." The Brahman bore 
all his taunts, without answering him one word. 

One day, the Brahman liiappened to go to bathe 
in the Ganges. While he was bathing, a sharp stake 
ran into his foot, and much blood began to flow. 
He would have fallen down, but many people, 
crowding round, held him up, and led him out of 
the water. Then the poor Brahman, with great 

^ Kayastbas, variousljr described in the Sastras as Kshatriyas 
and as Sudras, appear to have been originally the clerk and accoun- 
tant class. In the Bengal of to-day, they form a nvunerous, highly 
respectable and advanced conuniuiity, able to admit themselves 
to be Sudras without much disadvantage, dince, except in point 
of formal caste, they are quite abreast of the Brahmans. See 
J. K. Bhattaoharjee, 'Hindu Castes and Sects,' pp. 176 ff, 

7 



8 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

pain and difficulty, began to try to make his way 
home. At that very time, the Kayastha chanced 
to pass along that way, and met with the Brahman. 
When he heard of his misfortune, he said, " See here ; 
your life is most holy and pious ; you diligently 
perform all religious ceremonies ; and yet, to-day, 
you have all but met your death ; while I, this same 
day, have fouiid this bag of gold coins. Which way 
of life is the more profitable, then, yours or mine ? " 
They were still talking, when an astrologer chanced 
to come up. They both asked him what was the 
cause of their strange fates. Then the astrologer, 
having by careful reckoning ascertained the truth, 
said : " Brahman, in a former life, you were a great 
sinner. You were guilty of Brahman-murder, cow- 
murder, and many suchlike awful crimes. Accord- 
ingly, it was ordained in your destiny that, to-day, 
you should be impaled. But, in this life, you have 
done, and are always doing many holy deeds ; 
therefore, instead of impalement, you have suffered 
only this punishment to-day. And you, Kayastha, 
in a former life, were exceedingly pious. You did 
many holy and righteous deeds ; and, as a reward 
for all those, you were to have been made a Raja 
to-day. But, in this life, you have done, and are 
still doing wicked deeds without number ; there- 
fore, instead of being made a Raja, you have got 
only that bag of gold pieces which you found to- 
day." " The Brahman and the Kayastha, having 
heard the words of the astrologer, returned to their 
homes. 

' See Appendix, Note 2. 



Ill, 

THE BRAHMAN'S LUCK. 

Once on a time, there was a very poor but uncom- 
monly learned Brahman. He had studied all the 
Sastras, till he was profoundly versed in them, but 
had no means whatever of earning a livelihood. 
His wife was constantly saying to him, " Bamon,' 
your books of astrology and suchlike rubbish are 
never out of your hands, day or night ; but you 
never once consider how people's stomachs are to 
be kept going." " Bramhoni," * he used to reply, 
" what good will my considering do ? If the Giver 
does not give, all my efforts will be in vain. And, 
more than that. At present, I'm under the influence 
of Shoni.' So there's not the slightest possibility 

^ Vulgar colloquial for Brdmhon, as Bengalis pronounce the 
Sk. Brdhmana. 

' So Bengalis pronounce Sk. Brahmani. Hindu husband and 
wife never address each other by name. The wife wiU, on no 
account, even speak of her husband by name. 

' The planet, Saturn, Sk., Sani. He is called Krura-dria and 
Krura-lochana, " the malignant-eyed," because his influence is 
more disastrous than that of any other planet. See LDB, p. 108 fi., 
' The Evil Eye of Sani ' ; he oasts his eye on Sribatsa for three 
years, and, dining that time, Lakshmi, the goddess of good fortune, 
with all the will in the world, is almost powerless to help him. 
Cf. CLER, p. 231 : " The entrance of Saturn into the Brahman's 
horoscope turned everything upside-down." It has to be remem- 

9 



10 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

of my securing an income anywhere. On the con- 
trary, whatever I take in hand, bad luck is sure to 
dog my steps." " Don't speak to me about your 
books of astrology and your Shonis," his wife would 
retort. "You're too lazy to be willing to stir out 
of the house. That's why you can earn nothing." 
Then the Brahman would say, " You're only a 
foolish woman. So it's natural for you to think in 
that way. You don't look to the future. If only 
you can be comfortable for the present, you think 
nothing more is needful. So it's useless to argue 
with you about such things. Of course, as you're 
my wife, it's my duty to support ypu, and, naturally, 
you can't help feeling aggrieved, when you have to 
suffer want ; I don't blame you for that. But what 
can I do ? " " What can you do ? " rejoined the 
Brahmani on one occasion. " Surely there's no 
lack of Rajas in this country, and many of them 
are open-handed enough. Can't you go to some 
of them, and see what's to be got ? " "It won't 
be of the slightest use," said the Brahman. " Even 
if they treat me with all due respect — ^nay, lay them- 
selves out to show quite exceptional regard for me — 
I shan't be a single pice the better off for all that. 
I've made a reckoning by the stars, and know for 
certain that there's another six months' poverty 
and hardship before me." * " Confound your reckon- 

bered that the planets are regarded as personal beings — " mSohtige 
Herraoher," as Ounkel calls them. See CLEB, p. 264, Note ; 
also, p. 374. 

* Cf. Shah Manssur, who is persistently iinluoky till his luck 
changes once for all. CLER, pp. 12-45. Also, Sadullah, to 
whom Kasharkasha gives only trifling help again and again, until 
what befalls him in connection with that, shows that his luck 



THE BRAHMAN'S LUCK 11 

ings and you too," cried his wife. " Believing those 
astrological books of yours, you'll sit still for another 
six months, will you ? And then, I daresay, you'll 
just have to go out and fetch home a shipful of 
riches to the ghat ! " • This was rather more than 
the Brahman could stand. He got up in a huff and 
said, " Very well. I'll go at once. You'll see how 
much'U come of it." 

So he got his old, shabby clothes well washed, 
and started off for the nearest Raja's palace. He was 
an old man, and there was a long way to go. It 
took him some four days to reach the place. The 
Raja was just going out to bathe, when the Brahman 
appeared, and gave him his blessing. He received 
the old man with the utmost respect, requested 
him to be, seated, and asked, " Thakur, to what do 
I owe the honour of this visit ? " The Brahman 
answered in verse to this effect : " Your Majesty, 
I am come to lay a complaint before you. Con- 
strained by your mighty power, poverty and distress 
have fled from your city, hotly pursued by your 
munificence, which has followed close at their heels, 
like an officer of justice. In mortal terror of him, 
and finding no other refuge, the criminals have 
hidden themselves in my humble cottage. I have, 

has turned — *., pp. 94 ff. Cf. i6., pp. 109, 112, and 480 ft., specially 
481 f. " Misfortunes are contagious," says the king. " I had 
heard of your ill-luck and dared not receive you into my palace 
again, fearing that your ill-luck should affect me and put it out 
of my power to assist you when your star should look more favour- 
ably on you." See, sJso, the story of Shoayb ; ib., p. 129. That 
is the case of a man whose iU-luok persists to the end. With it, 
of. RRT, pp. 197 ff. 
* Landing-place, or steps down to a river or tank for bathers. 



12 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

therefore, come to-day to inform your Majesty." 
The Brahman's words surprised and dehghted the 
Raja beyond measure. " Thakur," said he, " many 
Brahman pundits visit me, but not one of them 
have I ever heard recite such beautiful verses'. I'm 
filled with admiration of your learning and clever- 
ness. What sort of present is fit to be given to 
such a man as you ?" Now, the Raja happened, as 
has been said, to be on the point of going to bathe, 
and so was holding in his hands the big and little 
copper pots for making libations of water to the 
spirits of his dead parents." A happy thought 
struck him. He held out the two pots to the Brah- 
man, and said, " Thakur, take these. They're the 
things I, myself, use. I can't think of any other 
gift befitting such talents and accomplishments as 
yours." The Brahman was dumbfounded. " Hori- 
bol Hori ! " ' said he to himself. " Didn't I tell 
the Bramhoni over and over again that, do what 

' This is the kind of Srdddha — rite performed for the benefit 
of a deceased parent or ancestor after he has become invested with 
his intermediate body — called nitya, i.e., daily or regular. See 
MWR, pp. 274 ff., 303 S. 

' " Say, Hari, Hari I " Sk, Hari is one of the names of Vishciu, 
popularly etymologized to mean " the remover of sin " — and, 
therefore, of calamity. " Hdribol Hdri !" is a very common 
ejaculation when anything disastrous or disappointing happens. 
The bearers keep repeating it, when taking a corpse to the burning- 
ghat. So a man says, " Badhe-Madhob ! " or " Earn t Bam ! " 
when anything he disapproves is proposed to him, and on similar 
occasions. Such " repetitions " of a divine name are by no means 
" vain." The mere sound possesses a wonderful efficacy. Thus a 
robber-captain is said to have attained salvation at death, because, 
when professionally employed, he used constantly to shout " Mar 
mar ! " — i.e., " Strike, strike ! " — to his men — mar being only 
Bam inverted. 



THE BRAHMAN'S LUCK 13 

I might just now, I should only haye my labour 
for my pains ? But the hussy wouldn't listen to 
me. ^nd, now, how's an old man like me to make 
that four days' journey home ? How am I to get 
food on the way ? " Revolving all this in his mind, 
he gave the Raja his blessing, and took his departure. 

With no small difficulty and hardship, the Brahman 
managed to make his way back to his home, where 
his wife was looking out for him in a state of high 
hope and expectation. What splendid gifts would 
he not bring ? " Well, how did you get on ? What 
have you got ? " was her greeting to her husband, 
as soon as he appeared. " What have I got ? " he 
retorted. " I've got more than enough. You'll 
not need to want any more for food and clothing." 
" Why, what has happened ? " she asked. " What 
else should happen ? " said he. " I've got such a 
grand gift as the Raja would give to no other man. 
I've received the very highest honour he could 
confer on me. And "—holding out the pots^-" this 
is what it all amounts to." It was too much. For 
once in her life, even the Brahmani could find nothing 
tb say adequate to the occasion. 

Some weeks passed. The Brahmani's spirit gra- 
dually revived, and she began again, " Though you 
didn't get anything the very first place you went 
to, that is no sort of reason why you shouldn't try 
somewhere else. People have got to make one 
effort after a,nother, dear knows how often. If, 
positively, everything possible has been done, yet 
nothing has come of it all, then, of course, it's plain 
that Fate's against them." ' "There you are at 

8 " Laksbmi comes to the lion-like man who exerts himself ; it 



14 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

your nagging again," said the Brahman. " How 
often am I to explain to you that, for the present, 
my destiny contains nothing good — nothing but 
fruitless labour ? " " Oh," she replied, " you go 
just once again — just once. I hear that, in yonder 
country, there's a Raja whose generosity is un- 
bounded, and there's nobody he shows such favour 
to as Brahman pundits. You pay him a visit. 
Something good is sure to come of it, and we shall 
be relieved of our poverty once for all." Her hus- 
band said, " Bramhoni, you're an incorrigible fool. 
But, as your one aim in life is to make me take 
fruitless trouble, there's nothing for me but to go." 
Once more, the Brahman's old dhuti and chhador ' 
got a good washing ; then, taking a palmyra-leaf 
umbrella and a bamboo staff, he began his journey. 
After several days' severe toil and hardship, he 
arrived at the palace. It was a building of huge 
size, with a lofty lion-gateway," before which many 

is poltroons who say 'Fate must give.' Striking down Fate, act 
manfully in thine own strength. When an eSort has been made, 
if success does not follow, there is, then, no blame" — 'Hitop.,' 
Introd., 31. " Works are accomplished by exertion, not by wishes ; 
deer, assuredly, do not enter the mouth of the lion when he is 
asleep" — i5., Introd., 36. Cf. ib., II, 4; also, CLER, pp. 121 fi. 
and 137. The king declares his view that good fortune depends 
on character, wisdom, and diligence ; but, what happens in the case 
of Shoayb, convinces him that he has been mistaken. 

' A Bengali's usual dress consists of the dhuti — a long strip of 
muslin, wound round the limbs and waist — the piryan — a white 
cotton shirt — and the chhaddr — an oblong piece of muslin, which 
may be worn scarf-wise over the shoulders or wrapped round the 
upper part of the body. Old-fashioned villagers wear only the 
first and the Icist. 

^0 Sk.,ainhadBara. Ci. sinhasana = thione. Formerly, the main 
entrance to a palace and the king's seat in his darbar hall were 
always adorned with figures of lions. 



THE BRAHMAN'S LUCK 15 

armed sepoys were standing on guard. Nobody 
could enter but by their leave. When the Brahman 
tried to do so, he got such a pui^ back that he fell 
sprawling on the ground." He painfully picked 
himself up again, and said to the man that had 
pushed him, " Sir Sepoy, please let me pass ; I 
must get audience of the Raja." " A seedy old 
dotard like you get admission to the Raja ! " was 
the reply. " You just clear out, and look sharp 
about it." The Brahman said, " I'm a Brahman, 
and, though I'm poor, I'm not a dotard. Have 
the kindness to let me pass." But the sepoys would 
not listen, and only made fun of him. He was sitting 
there in great distress, quite at a loss what to do, 
when an old durwan " chanced to come out of the 
palace. The Brahman told him all his story. Feeling 
rather sorry for him, the old durwan said, " Well, 
Thakur, you wait here. I'll go and tell the Raja. 
He has given strict orders that nobody is to be 
admitted to his presence without being announced." 
" Very good," was the reply. " You go and tell the 
Raja. I'll wait here till you come back." The 
old durwan went inside and said to the Raja, " Your 
Majesty, a Brahman is seeking admission to your 
presence." " A Brahman ? Then fetch him in 
at once," answered the Raja. " And take good care 
that not the slightest disrespect is shown him." 

'^ The story seems to assume that the sepoys were Musalmans. 
They are represented as speaking Musalmani Bengali. Hence, 
their disrespectful treatment of the Brahman. Contrast the 
Hindu king's behaviotir. 

u Durwans — gatekeepers — in Bengal, are often up-country 
Brahmans. Such are, of course, regarded as much lower in caste 
than Bhattacharjis and the like. 



16 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

In obedience to the Raja's command, the old durwan 
went to the lion-gate, and called to the Brahman, 
" Come along, Thakur, come along." The Brahman, 
gathering up his umbrella and staff, was on the 
point of entering, when one of the sepoys called 
out, " You mustn't take all that trash with you." 
The poor Brahman, shaking with fear, set do^wn 
his umbrella and staff at the gate, and then followed 
the durwan into the Raja's presence. 

As soon as he saw the Brahman enter his hall 
of audience, the Raja jumped up from his throne, 
and, when he approached, prostrated himself before 
him," and then gave him a seat in an honourable 
place. When the Brahman was seated, the Raja 
asked him, " Thakur, do you carry on any busi- 
ness ?" " Yes," he replied. " Though I'm a Brah- 
man, I carry on the trade of a potter." " What ? " 
said the astonished Raja. " You, a Brahman, carry 
on the trade of a potter ! ^* What on earth do 
you mean ? " " Listen, your Majesty," answered 
the Brahman in verse. " My soul is like clay. 
That clay is moistened with the tears of my starving 
wife and children. With that moist clay, I frame 
many, many vessels, namely, hopes. And my des- 
tiny is ever shattering these vessels. Therefore I 
say that, though I am a Brahman, I have had to 
take up the trade of a potter." The Raja was 
greatly charmed with such a beautiful verse. Never 
in all his life, had he heard anything equal to it. 

" He made what is known as a aashtdnga obeisance — a prostration 
such that all eight {ashp.) members of the body (anga), the hands 
breast, forehead, knees, and feet, touch the ground. ' 

" The trade of potter was and is an impossibly low-caste occupa- 
tion for a Bhattaoharji Brahman. 



THE BRAHMAN'S LUCK 17 

"Thakur," said he, "thanks to your blessing," 
many pundits are in the habit of visiting me, but 
none of them has ever recited such a wonderful 
verse as this. Never once have I met a man of such 
amazing ability as you. I can't tell you how pleased 
I am with you ! I wonder what I should give you 
as a reward. It won't do to insult you by offering 
the sort of things I give to the common ruck of 
pundits. Really, I can't think of anything in my 
possession that is fit to be presented to you." Saying 
this, he sat in silence, thinking for a while. Then, 
suddenly getting up from his throne, he embraced 
the Brahman with great fervour, and said, " Thakur, 
I can think of nothing else fit to be given to such 
a scholar as you, so I give you my own bosom." 
The gift of the Raja's bosom quite took away the 
Brahman's breath. Fairly flabbergasted as he was, 
however, he somehow managed to give the Raja 
his blessing in due form, and made his exit. When 
he reached the gateway, his umbrella and stick were 
nowhere to be seen. He asked the sepoys about 
them, but they told him roughly to shut up. Were 
they set there to look after his rubbish ? At this, 
the poor Brahman could no longer keep back his 
tears. How was he to make the journey home ? 
His umbrella and staff, the only things he had to 
help him, even these were now gone. Thinking 

^ A very common formula of politeness. You ask a man, who 
never saw you before, some question about himself or his family. 
" By your blessing, such-and-such is the case," he replies. When 
a European visits an out-of-the-way village, the people come to 
him with all sorts of petitions. E.g., " Shaheb, the water we get 
to drink by your blessing isn't very good. Couldn't you graciously 
induce the Sarkar to dig us another tank ? " 

2 



18 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

sadly on his evil luck, he took the road home, and, 
begging his way, after much suffering, arrived in 
sight of his house. The Brahmani had no fears 
that her husband would return empty-handed this 
time. So, as soon as she saw him coming, she 
ran to meet him, and eagerly asked, " Well, Thakur, 
what have you brought ? " " Oh, I've brought 
plenty," was the reply. " Come away inside, and 
I'll let you see." Hearing this, the Brahmani felt 
surer than ever that he must have brought some- 
thing very fine. She hurried back into the house, 
followed by her husband. The moment he got inside 
the door, he clasped his wife to his bosom so vigor- 
ously that she screamed, " Oh ! oh ! What are you 
doing ? Let me go ! Let me go ! " Her husband 
said, " Why, what are you going on about ? I'm 
giving you what I got." " What do you mean ? " 
said she. " Just what I say," was the reply. " Now 
you see all I got. Didn't I tell you that, for the 
present, my destiny holds nothing of any use for 
me ? The Raja did honour enough to my learning. 
He gave me what no other pundit ever got — his 
own bosom, as he said. I mean, he embraced me, 
as if I were his dearest friend. But, as for cash, 
not a single pice did he give me." " The Brahmani 
was terribly put out. She hadn't a word to say. 

" Cf. CLEE, 489 ff. An unfortunate merchant, urged by his 
wife, resorts unwUliugly to the king for help. The king gives him 
a large quantity of gold coins, but, by way of sparing his dignity, 
puts them inside a melon. The merchant, supposing what he 
has got to be only a melon, gives it away, and is thus not a penny 
the better by his visit to the court. Incited by his wife, he goes 
again, and the king gives him another melon full of money, which 
he bestows upon a beggar, and, thus, a second time, gets, no pecu- 



THE BRAHMAN'S LUCK 19 

At length, the six months came to an end, much 
to the Brahmani's joy. " Now, Thakur," said she, 
" those confounded six months are past. You're 
no longer under Shoni's evil eye. Now's the time 
for another visit to the Raja." " You're quite 
right, my dear," was the reply. " I'm certain to gain 
something worth while by going now." The Brah- 
man! was overjoyed. " Well, Thakur," said she, 
" now that the planets are favourable to you, no 
matter what you do, it'll turn out well. You used 
often to say, yourself, that, when one's stars are 
favourable, even if he does wicked deeds, they 
bring him good.'' So, this time, when you go to 
the Raja, don't try to please him with flattery and 
the like. Rather abuse him well, and let's see what 
your planets will bring out of that for you." " That's 

niary benefit from the royal kindaess. In KRT, p. 157, an unlucky 
man twice receives ten roubles, which his wife gives away, not 
knowing what she is doing. His luck turns with the gift of two 
faxthings, which he gives to a fishennan. Cf. the story of Hassan 
Alhabbal, the rope-maker, in the ' Thousand and One Nights,' and 
the variant of it in TYT, pp. 460 ff. In KSS, I, pp. 615 fE., thrice 
over, the king Lakshadatta presents a citron filled with jewels 
to his needy dependent, Labdhadatta, who gives it away, supposing 
it to be merely a citron, and, thus, it comes back to the king. But, 
when the same gift is again bestowed on Labdhadatta on the 
fourth day, it slips from his hand and breaks as he is receiving it. 
The Hindu explanation of such a course of events is that, " until 
a suitor's guilt, which stands in his way, is removed, a king, even 
though disposed to give, cannot give ; but, when a man's guUt 
is effaced, a king gives, though strenuously dissuaded from doing 
so ; this depends upon works in a previous state of existence." 
For, mighty as they are, even the planets are absolutely subservient 
to Karma. Cf. KSS, I, p. 259. 

" So, the attempts of enemies to injure him are said to turn to 
the advantage of the man fated to be fortunate — CLER, Note on 
p. 147. 



20 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

the very thing to do," he replied. " Nay, let me once 
get admitted to the Raja's presence, and not only will 
I not flatter him, I'll thrash him with my stick." 

Saying this, he proceeded to get his clothes and 
so forth ready, just as on the previous occasions. 
Then, having determined by astrological reckoning 
an auspicious day and hour " for visiting the Raja, 
he started on his journey. When he reached the 
palace gateway, the old durwan who had introduced 
him before, was sitting there. He had seen with 
his own eyes with how great deference the Raja 
had received the old Brahman. So, this time, as 
soon as he asked for an audience, he at once most 
respectfully led him into the royal presence. As 
before, the Raja, on seeing a Brahman enter, very 
courteously advanced to meet him, when the Brah- 
man, without a word, rushing up to him, struck 
him such a blow on the chest with his stick that 
the Raja staggered backward four or five paces, 
and fell all his length on the floor. The courtiers 
were furious with rage at the Brahman's strange 
behaviour. The guards drew their swords — another 
moment, and it would have been all up with the 
Brahman. But the planets were now exceedingly 
favourable to him. Seeing what would naturally 
result from the Brahman's mad action, they caused 
the roof of the hall, exactly over the spot where the 
Raja had stood when the Brahman struck him, to 
fall in with a tremendous crash." Thereupon the 

1^ A most important precaution. See No. VI, Note 24, So 
when Somadatta resolves to start cultivation, he is careful to 
ascertain a lucky day on which to go to the jungle to look out a 
plot to clear— KSS, I, p. 153. 

^ Cf. FOD, p. 83 ; also, LDB, pp. 41 and 43— the minister's son 



THE BRAHMAN'S LUCK 21 

Raja, overjoyed at his miraculous escape, with all 

haste ordered the guards to sheathe their swords, 

and cried out to the Brahman, " Thakur, never, 

so long as I live, will I forget the service you have 

done me to-day. I owe my life to you." Then, 

turning to the bystanders, he said, " Don't you see, 

if the Brahman hadn't given me such a j^ush the 

very moment he came in, the roof would have fallen 

on me and killed me ? If, instead of shoving me, he 

had only warned me, that would have been of no 

use. I mightn't have believed him, or, even if I had, 

I mightn't have got quickly enough out of the way of 

the falling roof. Thus, you see, the Brahman did the 

very wisest thing that he could." The Raja's words 

made them feel rather ashamed, and they all begged 

the Brahman's pardon for the disrespect they had 

shown him. The Brahman accepted their excuses 

with great amiability, and gave the Raja his blessing. 

The latter had not till now recognized him. When 

he knew that his benefactor was the same pundit 

whose learning and poetical ability had made such 

an impression on him, his joy was redoubled. " I 

never met a pundit anything like so clever and 

learned as you," said he. " Besides, I shall be in 

your debt as long as I live. This kingdom is as 

much yours as mine. You must remain at my 

court." " The Brahman was only too glad to agree 

saves the prince and his wife from a similar danger. In the ' Ma- 
danakamarajankadai,' a minister's son, warned by the conversation 
of two birds, carries his master asleep out of his tent, just before 
a huge branch falls upon it and crushes it. Cited in CLP, I, p. 246, 
Cf., also, CLEB, pp. 431 f. 

="> Cf. the catastrophic suddenness and completeness with which 
the luck of Nassar changes— CLEB, pp. }41 ff. 



22 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

to this proposal. Forthwith, the Raja made every 
sort of provision for him on the most magnificent 
scale. Materials were collected and workmen sum- 
moned to build him a splendid mansion. Whole 
potfuls of rupees were sent off to his house. And 
the Raja in person, surrounded by his retinue, 
escorted the Brahman home in the grandest style. 
This sudden change of fortune far surpassed even 
the Brahmanl's wildest expectations. Seeing her 
husband return with such pomp and state, she was 
almost beside herself with joy, and listened with 
wondering delight to the Brahman's account of his 
adventure. And the favour of the Raja enabled 
the old couple to pass the rest of their lives in perfect 
comfort and happiness. 



IV. 

THE BRAHMAN WHO SWALLOWED A GOD. 

There lived in a certain place, so the story goes, 
a Brahman and his wife. The Brahman was very 
poor, and was doomed by a singular fate to this 
perpetual trouble, that, when he had eaten half his 
rice, something or other always occurred to interrupt 
him, so that he could eat no more.' 

One day, an invitation to the Raja's house came 
to the Brahman. He thereupon said to his wife : 
" Half my rice is all I can ever eat : never once in 
my whole life has my hunger been satisfied. To-day, 
I've chanced to get this invitation to the Raja's 
house ; but how am I to go ? My clothes are dirty, 
and, if I go a shabby-looking sight, most likely the 
durwan will turn me out." Hearing this, his wife 
said, " I will clean your clothes ; then you shall put 
them on and go." So she took and rubbed his 
clothes with ^ar,* and, having thoroughly cleaned 
them, gave them back to him. The Brahman put 
them on, and started for the Raja's house. As he 

* " stopped when one's rice is onfy half -eaten" ia a proveibial 
expression in common use. Of. " Ashes in one's rice, when it is 
served up," a saying employed in much the same way as our " Many 
a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip." 

» Sk., kshara = any alkali, such as soda or potash. 

23 



24 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

was an old and feeble man, it was almost evening 
before he arrived. When he did get there, he saw 
that the Brahmans' feast was over. But the Raja, 
seeing the Brahman come, saluted him very respect- 
fully, and ordered his servants to give him a good 
dinner. Immediately a great many people set about 
attending to the Brahman, and he, having found a 
convenient place, soon cooked and served up his 
dinner.' 

As he viewed the dishes of various dainties spread 
out before him, the Brahman was greatly delighted. 
He thought to himself, " To-day, at any rate, I will 
eat my fill." He then sat down and began eating. 
Now, it happened that, on a beam of the roof, there 
was a little earthen pot hanging. Just as the Brahman 
had half finished his dinner, that pot broke, and some 
of the pieces fell into his food.* He immediately 



» See No. I, Note 6. 

* The narrator stated that very strictly living Brahmans may 
eat rice only onoe in the day. This seems to be at varianoe with 
Medhatithi's comment on Manu, II, 56, according to which two 
" regular meals " are allowed — one in the morning and one in the 
evening. Such, at any rate, is present-day custom. Probably, 
the falling of the fragments of the pot into the food would be held 
to pollute it. In any case, for a strict Hindu to resume eating 
after an interruption is out of the question. That would involve 
the eating of leavings. Speaking on the part of the eater is enough 
to constitute an interruption. See B. C. Chatterji's ' Duigesh- 
uandini,' pp. 50 fi. A mischievous woman tricks a simpleton of 
a Brahman into speaJdng and afterwards beginning to eat again 
and then threatens to tell people. Similar instances of "provi- 
dential " baulking of people when wishing to eat, may be found 
in SIF, pp. 227 fi. In ' Raja Hariohaixd's Punishment,' the plums 
on a tree move out of his reach ; a fish leaps out of a pot into the 
river j pigeons fly away out of the pot, and maggots fill their 



THE SWALLOWED GOD 25 

drank a little water," got up and washed his hands 
and mouth, and went to the Raja. Seeing the Brah- 
man come, the Raja did him much reverence, and 
said, " Thakur, are you fully satisfied ? " The 
Brahman answered: " Moharaj, there has been no 
want of respect and attention to me. My own 
destiny is to blame that I have not fared well." 
" Why," said the Raja, " what has happened ? " The 
Brahman replied : " Moharaj, in the room where I 
was sitting at food, a little earthen pot was hung up. 
Suddenly, it chanced to break and spoiled my rice." 
On hearing this, the Raja became very angry, and 
gave his servants a scolding. Then he said to the 
Brahman, " Sir, wait you here to-night ; to-morrow, 
I will give you food with my own hands." The 
Brahman consented, and remained that night in the 
Raja's house. Next day, the Raja, having himself 
made all the preparations, told the Brahman to eat. 
In the place where he went for his dinner this time, 
there was nothing by which his rice could possibly 
be spoiled. To-day, therefore, the Brahman sat 
down to eat, greatly rejoicing. But, when he had got 
half through his dinner, Bidhata ' saw that he must 
be stopped, and yet he could not see any means of 
interfering. At last he, himself, took the form of a 

" Sk., gandusha. The drinking of a little water out of the hand 
before and Wter a meal, by way of rinsing the mouth, ia a prescribed 
ceremony, which must on no account be omitted. 

*In Sk. Uterature, Vidhata is a name of Brahma, as Creator, 
or of ViSvakarman. But, popularly, by Vidhata Furusha — 
Bengali, Bidhata Furush — is understood the divinity that fixes 
beforehand a person's lot in life. See No. XXIV, Note 9. In 
'Life's Secret' — LDB, pp. 9 ff, — » sister ftjid niece pf Vidhata's 
pgure. 



26 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

golden frog ' and, coming to the edge of the Brah- 
man's plantain leaf,' tumbled into his food. 

The Brahman, being too busy to notice anything, 
ate up his rice, frog and all." Dinner over, the Raja 
asked him, " How now, Thakur ? Have you been 
satisfied to-day ? " The Brahman answered : " M6- 
haraj, never since I was born have I dined so 
well," Saying this, he prepared to take his leave. 
The Raja gave him, also, some rupees," which the 
Brahman joyfully accepted, and set off at once for 
home. After a while, evening came on, as the Brah- 
man was walking through the midst of a jungle. 
Suddenly, he became aware of a voice saying, 
" Brahman, let me go ! Brahman, let me go ! " 
The Brahman looked all round about, but could see 
nobody. Again the voice was heard, " Brahman, 
let me go." Then he said, " Who are you ? " The 
answer came, " I am Bidhata Purush, Bidhata 
Purush ! " The Brahman replied, " Where are you ? " 
Bidhata answered, " You have swallowed me." 
" Impossible ! " said the Brahman. " Yes," said 
Bidhata. " In the form of a frog, I tumbled into your 
food, and you ate me up." " Nothing could be 
better," replied the Brahman ; " you've bothered me 
all my life, you rascal, I'll not let you go ! I'll close 
up my throat rather ! " " Bidhata, in great fear, 

' Said by the narrator to be so called from the colour of its 
back. 

8 See No. XIV, Note 6. 

» On " Swallow " stories, see MCF, pp. 47 ff. The subject of 
" Der versohlungene Gott " is very fully treated in Hans Schmidt's 
' Jona.' 

"> The donation — Sk., dakahitfd — which all the Brahmans invited 
to such a feast receive. 

11 Brahmani in alvo demersus deus, per aliam viam deacendena 



THE SWALLOWED GOD 27 

said again, " Brahman, let me go ! I'm being 
stifled ! " But the Brahman hurried home as quickly 
as he could, and, when he arrived, he said to his 
wife : " Give me a seat and a hookah, and you hold 
a stout stick ready in your hand." His wife did so 
at once, and the Brahman, sitting down, smoked 
straight on, taking care at the same time not to set 
Bidhata free. The god was nearly stifled, but the 
Brahman quite disregarded all his entreaties. 

Meanwhile, in Heaven and Earth and the infernal 
world, there was a terrible commotion. All living 
things were on the point of dying for want of food. 
The universe was on the eve of collapsing.'' Then all 
the gods, having assembled in council, resolved that 
one of them must be sent to the Brahman. But who 
was to go ? After a second deliberation, they all 
besought Loqhi " to go. She said, " If I go to that 
Brahman, I shall never come back." But, alas ! what 
could she do ? So she yielded to their prayer, and 
departed to the Brahman's house. Arriving there, 
she stood at the door, and called loudly on the Brah- 
man, who, on learning that it was Loqhi who called, 
put his cloth round his neck." He invited her to be 
seated, and asked her what, in the name of wonder, 
had brought her to a poor man's house. " Thakur," 

evadere conatus est. Decoiris causa, in hoc looo fabulam paululmu 
mutavi. 

'' Cf. the difflonlties which arose when Death got " treed " by 
" Gambling Hansel " — 6HT, I, p. 323 — and shut up in a sack, in 
the Bohemian Tale— CLP, I, pp. 387 f. 

" Sk., Lakahmi, wife of Vishpu, the goddess of good fortune, 
and the ideal of beauty. The last syllable of Loqhi is nasalized. 

" The chhaddr — No. Ill, Note 9 — is put over the back of the 
neck, with the ends hanging down over the shoulders in front, 
in sign of reverence or supplication. 



28 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

said Loqhi, " you have taken Bidhata a prisoner, and 
are keeping him. Let him go, or the universe will 
be ruined." " Give me the stick," said the Brahman 
to his wife, " and I'll show you what sort of a goddess 
of good fortune this Loqhi is. From the day I was 
born, I have enjoyed nothing but bad luck, and now 
Loqhi comes to my house, forsooth ! " Hearing this, 
the goddess vanished, trembling with fear. She told 
the gods what had happened, and, after another 
consultation, they sent Shorosh'oti.^^ 

When Shorosh'oti reached the Brahman's house, 
she called out loudly, " Brahman, are you in ? 
Brahman, are you in ? " The Brahman saluted 
Shorosh'oti with great respect, and said, " Mother, 
what do you want in a poor man's house ? " " Tha- 
kur, the universe is fast going to destruction ; let 
Bidhata go." The Brahman burst into a great 
passion, and cried, " Wife, give me the stick ! I will 
teach this goddess of learning. Even the first letters 
of the alphabet are oxflesh '" to me. Shorosh'oti 
comes to my house, does she ? " Hearing this, the 
goddess at once made off, stumbling and getting up 
again in her hurry. 

Finally, Sib himself undertook the mission. Now 
the Brahman was a Soibo," so zealous, too, that, with- 

'^ Sk., Saraavati, -wife of Brahma, goddess of speech and learning. 

1° The most impossible of all foods for a Brahman, the merest 
external contact with which would be a terrible disaster. The 
popular story is that the great Tagore family of Calcutta owes 
its present condition of PiraU-hood to its high-caste Brahman 
ancestors' having been made to smell roast beet in the time of 
the Nawabs. The Brahman means to say with all possible empha- 
sis that he possesses no learning whatever. 

" Sk. Saiva, an adjective formed from the noun Siva, denotine 
the segt which regards Siva as the Supreme Being, 



THE SWALLOWED GOD 29 

out doing pujd to Sib, he would not touch even 
water. As soon, therefore, as the god came, he and 
his wife, having given him water to wash his feet, 
and presented an offering of bel " leaves, holy grass," 
flowers, sun-dried rice, and sandal wood,^° did pujd 
to him. Sib then sat down, and said to the Brah- 
man, " Brahman, let Bidhata go." The Brahman 
answered, " As you have come, of coiu'se I must let 
him go, but what am I to do, myself ? I have suffered 
affliction from the day of my birth, and this Bidhata 
here is the cause of it all." Then Mohadeb*^ said: 
" You need not trouble yourself on that account ; 
you will go with your body " to heaven." Having 
got this promise, the Brahman relaxed his throat 
and opened his mouth, and Bidhata came out." 
Thereafter, Mohadeb, taking the Brahman and his 
wife along with him, went away back to heaven. 

^ Sk., vilva, the tree Aegle Marmelos, the leaves of which are an 
essential in the pujd — ritual worship — of Siva. 

^ Sk., diirva. 

"' The water, etc., formed the arghya, a reverential oblation made 
to gods and venerable men. 

'1 Sk., Mahadeva = great god, Siva's most usual designation. 

*' Viz., without dying. Such " translation " is a most signal 
mark of divine favour. Cf. end of No. VII, Note 14. 

23 Deo permisstim est ut per anum Brahmani ex alvo evaderet. 
Cf. Note 11. 

A person's being swallowed and afterwards emerging little or 
none the worse from inside the swallower, is a favourite Folk-tale 
motif all over the world. Mjigankavati is swallowed by a Bak- 
shasa and emerges uninjiu'ed four times a m.onth- — KSS, II, p. 
291. A beautiful maiden comes out of an elephant — ib., II, p. 
488. See also ib., II, p. 605, and II, pp. 597 f. A great ship, 
full of people, is found in a huge fish when it is cut up — ib., II, 
p. 699. In ' Pride Abased,' a fish swaUows the king, who is after- 
wards out out alive, but in rather poor condition — KKT, p. 158. 
See also, CLP, I, pp. 403l£E. 



THE BRAHMAN'S VERSE.' 

In a certain village, there lived a very poor and 
ignorant Brahman. He had the greatest difficulty 
in getting a living. Indeed, so completely from 
hand to mouth did he live, that, any day he failed 
to obtain alms, he had to fast altogether, and, as 
if such a fortune were not sufficiently hard to bear, 
he had a wife whose tongue made him dread even to 
enter his house. What with this trial and his poverty 
together, the poor man was quite at a loss what to 
do or where to turn. Day and night, the virago 
kept harping, " Just see how many Brahman pundits 
go to the Raja's house, recite a verse or two, and are 
rewarded with money enough to keep their wives 
and children in comfort, while you, like the utter 
good-for-nothing that you are, sit idling in the house, 
or, when you do go begging, bring in the most wretched 
pittance. There are hundreds of ways of mending 
our fortunes, but you can't see them because you 
don't wish to." " What ways ? " answered the Brah- 
man. " I'm quite illiterate, myself. How, then, am 
I to compose a verse ? And I'm not well acquainted 
with any pundit. So, how am I to get a verse from 

1 Cf. Nob. Ill and X. 
30 



THE BRAHMAN'S VERSE 31 

somebody else, which I may pass off as my own ? " 
" Very well," cried his wife, snatching up her broom, 
" if you can do nothing, clear out ! " 

The poor Brahman made off, but, once out, where 
was he to go ? He could think of no place of refuge, 
so, for a while, he walked on, without caring whither. 
At length he came to a large garden, and there sat 
down at a tree-foot. As he sat, he kept racking 
his brains how to improve his condition, but no 
possible way could he think of. In the midst of his 
ponderings, a pig happened to come to that place, 
and, as pigs usually do, began to flounder in the 
tank and then come up and rub her body against a 
tree, time about. For a while, the Brahman watched 
her in silence. Suddenly, a brilliant idea struck 
him, and he cried out, " I have it ! I've made a 
verse at last." So saying, he rose up, got a palm- 
leaf,' and wrote: 

" Rubbing, rubbing, dipping, then rubbing with might and main ; 
What your rubbing's all for, is easy enough to explain ! " 

When he had written this, the Brahman said to 
himself, " Now, shall I go to the Raja and recite my 
verse, and see what Destiny has in store for me ? 
Why not ? Who knows what he mayn't give me as 
a reward ? " Having come to this resolution, he set 
off at once. 

It was evening when he reached the palace ; the 
time of audience was over for that day, and the Raja 
had retired to the Rdni's apartments. His attend- 
ants, too, had all gone off to their own quarters, 

' Children still learn to write on pahnyra leaves, in out-of-the- 
way villages in Bengal. The " infants " carry, each, a quantity of 
them wrapped in the little square grass mat they take to school 
to sit on. 



32 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

so the Brahman could find nobody to tell his errand. 
As he waited about, he began to get rather nervous. 
" Likely enough, when he hears my verse, the Raja 
will order me a beating instead of giving me a present," 
he thought to himself. "I'll run no such risks 
I'll not read the verse, but just leave it about some- 
where, and see what comes of it." Accordingly, he 
sought out the place where the Raja was in the habit 
of sitting when he was getting shaved, and, there hang- 
ing up the palm-leaf with his verse on it, hurried away 
home ; but it was very late when he arrived. His 
wife began abusing him as usual, but he said, " What 
are you scolding about now ? I've written a verse 
and left it at the palace. Just wait and see. To- 
morrow you'll be made a Rani." " You may stop 
your jokes," she retorted, " nobody here wants 
them. But this is just like you, — an empty stomach, 
and a head stuffed with nonsense." " I'm perfectly 
serious," said he. " I did write a verse, and left it 
at the Raja's. The court had been dismissed, so I 
could not see him to-day ; but, to-morrow, he can't 
fail to notice my verse. And won't he be delighted 
with it ? We shall have no more trouble after that. 
Why, you shall be made a Rdni at the very least." 

Next morning came, and the Raja, getting up, 
washed his hands and face, and then went and sat 
down in the place where he used to be shaved. The 
barber was already there, busy stropping his razor. 

Now, the Rdni and the Kotwal ' had plotted to- 
gether to murder the Raja, but nobody had courage 
to attack him openly. So, at length, the Rdni sent 
secretly for the barber and said to him, " To-morrow, 
= The Chief of the police. 



THE BRAHMAN'S VERSE 33 

when you shave ' the Raja, cut his throat with your 
razor. You shall receive an immense reward, and 
incur no danger whatever." The hope of the reward 
was too much for the barber's fidelity : he promised 
the Rdni to do as she bade, and, consequently, this 
morning was making his razor very sharp, rubbing 
it on the whetstone again and again. The Raja 
sat silently waiting, when suddenly his eye chanced 
to light upon the Brahman's verse, and, quite un- 
thinkingly, he read it out : 

"Rubbing, rubbing, dipping, then rubbing with might and main ; 
What your rubbing's all for, is easy enough to explain ! " 

Hearing these words, the barber was thunder- 
struck. He stood staring for a moment, then, 
throwing away the razor, strop and all, he clasped 
the Raja's feet, and cried, weeping bitterly, " Moharaj, 
pardon me ! I know nothing about it. It was the 
Rani and the Kotwal bade me. Moharaj, you would 
not kill a poor man like me ! " He was in too great 
a fright to say any more. The Raja was astounded. 
He said sternly to the barber, " What is the matter ? 
Tell the truth, and no harm shall happen to you." 
The barber answered, " Moharaj, this is all I know. 
Yesterday, Her Majesty sent for me and said, ' To- 
morrow, when you are shaving the Raja, if you can 
manage to cut his throat, I will give you an immense 
reward, and I promise that no harm shall happen to 
you.' The Kotwal, too, said the same, for he was 
standing there at the time. I was enticed by the 
bribe, and intended to commit the crime. But you 

* Shaving, with a Hindu, is an important religious duty. See 
MWB, pp. 374 f. 
3 



34 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 



I 



have detected all.' Pardon me. Your Majesty. 
The Raja sent away the barber, and then made pro- 
clamation throughout the city by beat of drum, that 
the maker of the verse should be seized and brought 
before him. The Brahman, on hearing this, was 
terribly alarmed. " It's all up with me now," he 
thought. " What I feared has come to pass. The 
Raja will have my head, to a certainty. That con- 
founded verse ! " Presently, the Raja's messengers 
came and laid hold of him. The Brahman, beside 
himself with terror, began to say to his wife, " Now 
you've got what you wanted. What with the alms 
I brought in and suchlike, we were getting along not 
so badly. But nothing would satisfy you short of 
my going to the palace, and see now what's come of 
it ! " His wife replied, " What are you weeping 
for ? You've done no crime, that the Raja should 
cut your head off. Go along to the palace. Let us 

= Cf. KSS, I, pp. 273 ff. The poor and foolish Brahman, Hari- 
Sarman, pretends to possess supernatural knowledge. When some 
gold and jewels are carried oS from the palace, he is summoned 
to detect the thief. Now, the theft had been committed by a 
maid-servant called Jihva ( = Tongue) with the help of her brother. 
Hariiarman, being quite at a loss and much afraid, apostrophizes 
his own tongue about the trouble its boasting has brought upon 
hibi. This leads to Jihva's confession. The Baja, advised by 
I 8 envious minister, in order to put HariSarman to a further test, 
places a frog in a pitcher, and, covering it, asks him what it con- 
tains. How, HariSarman's father had called him by the pet name, 
' Frog," when he was a child. In his perplexity and despair, 
he says to himself, " This is a fine pitcher for you. Frog ! It has 
destroyed you." Cf., also, the story of ' Dr. Knowall,' GHT, 
II, pp. 66 f. 

It is just in such oases of what a European would call curious 
coincidence that an Oriental sees, not chance, but the most striking 
evidence of Fate's sovereign ordering of events. See KSS, I, p. 
402, and U, p. 382. 



THE BRAHMAN'S VERSE 35 

see what Fate has in store for us." The Brahman 
again said, " I don't need to go. I know very well 
already. The Raja will take you and make you his 
Rdni, and will have me impaled. What more 
would you have ? " So saying, and weeping bitterly, 
the Brahman was brought to the palace. When he 
saw him, the Raja asked, " Thakur, did you write 
this verse ? " The Brahman, still weeping, answered 
" Yes, Moharaj." The Raja then said, " You have 
saved my life.' How can I reward you as you 
deserve ? The half of my kingdom is yours." On 
hearing such words, the Brahman was overjoyed, 
and the Raja's attendants proceeded at once to 
make him a Raja too, with all due ceremony. Mean- 
while, the Raja had departed to the Rdni's residence, 
where he ordered her and the Kotwal to be beheaded. 
Thereafter he, with the Brahman and his wife, con- 
tinued to live together in the greatest happiness and 
splendour. 

° Cf. CLP, II, pp. 317 ff. ; abo, the preservation of the Raja's life 
through the blow of the Brahman's stick in No. III. 



VI. 

THE STOLEN WIFE. 

In a certain village lived a Brahman and a Kayastha, 
who were very great friends. The Brahman was 
wretchedly poor, and his old mother and himself 
made up his entire household. The Kayastha's 
circumstances were a little better, and several of 
his relatives were still living. Both were unmarried. 
One day, the Brahman said to his friend, " Brother, 
I positively must get married. I can't stand this 
sort of life any longer. But how am I to raise the 
money to defray all the expenses of a marriage ? 
And, even if I could, who would be willing to give 
his daughter to a man so poor as I am ? ^ All the 

'■ The Brahman could not have belonged to a high class in his 
caste, otherwise his poverty woiild have been no obstacle to his 
procuring a wife, both beautiful and wealthy. Nor would bad 
character either, for that matter. Dinabandhu Mitra, in his 
' Lilavati,' describes the Brahman Zemindar as anxious to wed 
his beautiful, virtuous, and accomplished daughter to an utter 
wastrel, without one redeeming trait, either outward or inward. 
Now-a-days, of course, character, education, and the probable 
ability of the bridegroom to support a wife are looked to, as well 
as caste, which, however, still remains the supreme consideration. 
The members of the great Pirali house of the Tagores, which claims 
to be Radriya Brahman and will intermarry only with that class 
when bridegrooms are wanted for their daughters, are willing 
to pay heavy premitmis for them to their families as compensation 
for the detriment to caste which alliance with a Pirali entails. 

36 



THE STOLEN WIFE 37 

same, get a wife I must and will." " You're quite 
right, brother," replied the Kayastha. " And I'm 
of the very same mind, myself. But there's no 
chance of our getting wives in this neighbourhood. 
Let's go and try our luck in some distant village. 
By hook or by crook, we'll get hold of a couple of 
girls, and, when we've fetched them home, it'll be 
easy enough to say we've married them." " But, 
brother," objected the Brahman, " I see a lot of 
difficulties about that plan. Whose girls are we 
to get hold of, and are any likely to be willing to 
come with us ? No, that won't work." " Don't you 
trouble your head about the business," was the reply. 
" Just come along with me, and I'll bring you back 
a married man." " You're promising a deal more 
than you can perform," said the Brahman. " I'm 
much more likely to lose my life than to gain a bride 
by any such adventure." " Look here, brother," 
answered the Kayastha, " I'll do all the thinking. 
You'll have only to act as I bid you. And you'll 
see how soon I'll get you married. But one thing you 
must promise. After I have spared no pains to find 
a wife for you, you must in turn do all you can to help 
me to procure one for myself." ' "Of course ; that 
goes without saying," replied the Brahman, 

This compact made, the two friends waited for 
an auspicious day,' and then set out on their quest. 

' Apart altogether from the somewhat tinusual character of 
matrimonial enterprise in the case of these two worthies, a friend's 
help was a neoessity, as, in the matter of marriage, no Hindu can, 
himself, take any sort of overt action. 

' Cf. No. Ill, Note 18. So, Suryaprabha marches out to war 
at a, moment on the seventh day fixed by the astrologers — KSS, 
I, p. 434. See, also. Note 24 in this story. 



38 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

All day, they walked on, and, towards evening, 
reached a village neither of them had ever visited 
before. Just outside of it was a fine big tank, to 
which all the women and girls in the village used to 
come after sunset to draw water, and bathe, and 
wash their clothes. Beside it stood a banyan tree, 
at the foot of which the two friends sat down, and 
began to view the women going to or coming from 
the tank. Just then, a very pretty young woman 
appeared — as pretty as she was young. Taking a 
good look at her, the Kayastha asked his companion, 
" Brother, how does that young woman please you ? " 
" Very much indeed," was the reply. " But what 
does that matter? There's no chance of her be- 
coming my wife." " Just wait and see whether I 
shan't manage it," answered the Kayastha. 

While this consultation was taking place, the 
young woman, after washing herself and her sdri,^ 
went away back the way she came. Seeing this, the 
two friends got up and followed her at some distance. 
On entering the village, she turned off by a side-path, 
and they sat down in a shop close by, and got into 
conversation with the shopkeeper. After talking 
for a while about this and that, while they sat smoking, 
the Kayastha, in a casual sort of way, asked the 
shopkeeper, " By the way, who was the young woman 
that turned along the lane over there ? " The shop- 

* A long piece of cloth — in Bengal, usually, thin white cotton 
— which Hindu women wind round the body, the one poition 
forming a petticoat, the other covering the upper part of the per- 
son, and, when necessary, the head as well. Even without a 
bodice, the aari discharges the primary function of dress much 
more efficiently than European " full " evening costume. Cf. 
CLER, p. 460. See, also, MWR, p. 396. 



THE STOLEN WIFE 89 

keeper was a talkative old fellow. If you asked 
him one thing, he would tell you half-a-dozen, " Oh, 
she's a Brahman's daughter," said he. " She's the 
best-looking girl in the village. But much good 
that does her. She's been very unfortunate. Im- 
mediately after her marriage, her husband went away 
back to his home, and has never been here since, 
nor sent any word about himself. We hear that he 
has got a situation in Ranigunje, and has married 
and set up house there. To all intents and purposes, 
he has abandoned his wife here. That's why I said 
the girl has been very unfortunate." The KSyastha 
pretended to be very sorry for the poor thing, and 
inquired, " What relatives has she here ? " " Her 
father and mother live here," answered the shop- 
keeper. "Her father's name is Ramesh'or Ch6kr6b6rti. 
He stays quite near here. That's his house, just 
over yonder. And where are you two gentlemen 
going ? " " Ah, we've a long journey before us," 
replied the Kayastha. " We intend to stay only the 
one night here. But, speaking about that young 
woman, you might tell us her husband's name, and 
what sort of employment he's in. Likely enough, we 
shall be passing Ranigunje, and we might take the 
opportunity of looking him up and trying to persuade 
him to come and visit his wife here. "Ah, it's easy 
to see you are born gentlemen," said the shopkeeper. 
" It's very kind, indeed, of you to think of taking 
so much trouble. The Babu's name is Ramlochon 
Mukherji. People say he's a clerk in such-and-such 
a firm's office." 

Having learned this much, after taking another 
pull at the hookah and thanking the old shopkeeper 



40 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

profusely for his hospitality, the two friends rose 
and bade him good-evening. As soon as they 
were outside in the road, the Kayastha said, " The 
business is as good as done. Come along, let us go 
to her house." " How can we do that ? " asked 
the Brahman. " It's simple enough," was the reply. 
" You pass yourself off as Ramesh'or Babu's ' son- 
in-law, and I'll be your servant. Now, attend well 
to what I say. As soon as we enter the house, you 
must bow respectfully to your father-in-law and 
mother-in-law. Then, when they ask why you 
have been so long in visiting them, you must say 
that you suffered from a long and very severe ill- 
ness — so severe that you were actually carried down 
to the Ganges ; " that, as Fate would have it, you 
were fortunate enough to recover, contrary to all 
expectation ; but that the effect of the illness has 
been completely to change your appearance and your 
voice, so that nobody, seeing you or hearing you 
speak, would recognize you to be the same person. 
Further, you must say, that your mother is dan- 
gerously ill — ^is, in fact, dying ; that, as she was 
living all alone, with nobody in the house to give 
her even a drink of water, the moment you got news 
of her being ill, you asked some weeks' leave from 

' Sabu denotes any man whose social position is such that he 
would be addressed or spoken of as " Mr." So-and-so. It is used 
with the personal, not with the family, name. A European would 
say, "Mr. Chokroborti ; " a Bengali says, "Ramesh'or Babu." 

' No member of a strict Hindu family is allowed to die inside 
the house. When death seems imminent, the bed is carried out- 
side, and, very often, a start for the Ganges is made at once. If 
it is reached in time for the patient to die beside or in the sacred 
stream, so much the better. Cases of apparently dying people 
recovering after arriving there, do, of course, sometimes occur. 



THE STOLEN WIFE 4l 

your employers, and hurried home ; and that, as 
soon as you arrived, your mother expressed a strong 
desire to see your wife, who is here. You have, 
therefore, come at once to fetch her, and must start 
for home again this very night." The Brahman, 
with much trepidation, agreed to follow his friend's 
instructions. 

The two walked up to the door of the house, and 
the Kayastha began to call, " Oh, Chokkotti Moshay,' 
are you in ? " The old Brahman had lain down to 
rest, but, hearing the call, he got up and, opening 
the door, asked, " Who are you, good people ? " 
" Why, sir," answered the Kayastha, " that's your 
son-in-law. Don't you recognise him ? " The moment 
he heard the word, " son-in-law," the old man, quite 
overjoyed, cried, " What ! Is it you, my dear 
RamlochSn ? Come in, my dear, come in ! " The 
supposed son-in-law, making a respectful bow to 
his father-in-law, followed him into the house. The 
old man called to his wife, ■«rho was in the women's 
part of the house, " Come ! Quick ! Quick ! Our 
Ramlochon is come." The old lady came hurrying 
out, and the Brahman bowed to her very respect- 
fully, son-in-law fashion. She shed tears of joy. 
" Oh, my dear ! " said she. " Have you at length 
remembered us after so long ? What had we done 
to displease you that, year after year, you never 
came near us ? And we have no other sons. You 
are our all." As she spoke, her tears streamed down 
more and more profusely. " Don't weep, mother," 

^ A more respeotfvd mode of address than "Ramesh'or Babu." 
" Chokkotti Moshay " is the vulgar pronunciation of Chokroborti 
Mohashoy. The Kayastha has to speak like a servant. 



42 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

said the impostor. " It's not my fault that I've had 
to stay away so long. I've been so ill. For months, 
I was at death's door. Don't you see how sickness 
has altered me? I'm quite a different man. My 
very voice is no longer the same." Hearing this, 
the mother-in-law began very affectionately to condole 
with him. " May you live long, my dear," said she, 
by way of comforting him. " In time, you'll get 
back your good looks. Where there are the bones, 
the flesh will come of itself." With these words, 
she went away to cook supper for him, and, in order 
that he might have some refreshment at once, the 
old Brahman hurried to the nearest milkman's and 
confectioner's, and, knocking them up, got a quan- 
tity of milk and shotidesh." On his way back, he 
called at a fisherman's, too, and procured a fine big 
fish, which he gave to his wife to cook, and then set 
the milk and sweetmeats before his son-in-law and 
his servant. While they were eating, the daughter 
was preparing betel for them in the next room. She, 
too, was overjoyed at the arrival of her husband 
after so long an absence that she had given up all 
hope of ever seeing him again. But, taking a peep 
at him through the Venetian door between the two 
rooms, she at once became very suspicious. " That 
my husband ! " said she to herself. " Not a bit of 
it ! Well ; let me see what Fate has in store for 
me." 

Presently, the old Brahman returned, and told 
them that supper had been set out on the clay 
verandah of the house. Thither they repaired, and 

8 Made with sugar and fresh curd ; the most popular of all 
BengaU sweets. 



THE STOLEN WIFE 43 

when, first, the master with his father-in-law, and, 
after them, the servant ' had eaten their fill, the 
supposed son-in-law, turning to their host, said, 
"Mohdshoy, I haven't yet told you all my misfor- 
tunes. My venerable mother is most dangerously ill. 
It was this news that made me take leave from the 
office and hurry home. The first words my mother 
said to me on my arrival, were, ' Fetch her ' " {viz., 
his wife) ' at once, else I shall never see her again.' 
So I hurried off here. I can't wait. You must let 
your daughter go with me this very night." " What 
are you saying, my dear fellow ? " cried the old man. 
" You have just arrived, and after all these years, 
too ! " You must stay a few days, and let us have 
a good time together. The neighbours must have a 
chance of coming to see you, too. After that, I 
won't, of course, object to your going and taking your 
property " (viz., his wife) " with you. But, first, 

^ Being of diSerent castes, the Brahman and his man could not, 
of course, eat rice together. 

*" Observe, not merely the personal name but even the word 
meaning " wife " is avoided. A BengaU usually speaks of his 
wife as his " pdribar," i.e., " family," although referring to her 
individually. 

^1 A son-in-law's visit is regarded as a very joyful event not 
only for his wife — see the first ch. of Sivanath Sastri's exquisite 
story, ' Mejo Bou ' = ' The Second Daughter-in-law ' — but for her 
whole family. This must certainly have been the case when 
Kulinism flourished in full vigour. An angel's visits could hardly 
be " in it," so far as rarity is concerned, with those of some Kulin 
husbands, who could hardly make the rotind of all their wives 
in the course of a Ufetime. "A Kulin of a high class might then 
marry more than a hundred wives without any difficulty, and 
there are still some who have such large numbers of wives as to 
necessitate their keeping regular registers for refreshing their 
memory about the names and residences of their spouses " — J. N. 
Bhattacharjee, ' Hindu Castes and Sects,' p. 41, 



44 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

give us time fully to realize our good fortune. Ah, 
my daughter, who was for so long to all intents and 
purposes a widow, is now going to keep her husband's 
house ! " " That's all very true," was the reply, " but, 
in present circumstances, it's absolutely impossible for 
me to stay. Any minute, my mother may breathe 
her last, and there's positively no one in the house 
to do anything for her. You must let your daughter 
go at once." The old Brahman, though greatly 
disappointed, had perforce to consent, and went 
away to hire palki-bearers, whom he brought back 
along with him," so that his son-in-law might be 
able to start the moment day broke. 

Meanwhile, the supposed son-in-law had gone to 
his wife's (?) room to rest. The young woman, too, 
repaired thither, after she had supped. If any doubt 
that he might be her husband after all had lingered 
in her mind, it was quite dispelled the moment she 
got a good look at him close at hand. What was 
she to do ? She had to lie down, but she turned 
her back to the Brahman, without saying a single 
word to him. He coaxed and entreated. It was 
of no use. Then he began to say, "Is it because 
my appearance and voice are so altered that you 
can't bear me ? See, I brought a beautiful set of 
gold ornaments " for you from Ranigunje. As soon 
as we reach home, you'll get them to wear. What's 
the use of making us both miserable by going on 

12 This is a quite usual precaution in the Mofussil — the country, 
as opposed to the town. 

1' This is believed by Bengali men — not without reason — to be 
the moat effective, nay, an absolutely infallible means of pleasing 
a Bengali woman. 



THE STOLEN WIFE 45 

like that ? " Not a word could he get out of her. 
She lay, weeping silently. 

When it was near daybreak, the Kayastha, who 
had slept in the verandah, got up and began loudly 
to call, " Babu, Babu ! " The Brahman rose and 
went out, and, seeing there was no time to lose, he 
and his companion began at once to prepare for 
their departure. Their host was already up and 
seated on the verandah, and the bearers were sitting 
beside the palki, smoking and talking noisily. " So 
you're quite set on going at once ? " said the old 
man to his guest. " Yes, Mohashoy," was the reply. 
" There's no help for it." The old man rose with a 
sigh, and called to his daughter to dress quickly, 
and come away. When she came out, he helped 
her into the palki. The girl was weeping bitterly. 
So, too, was her mother. But not much time could 
be allowed them for leave-taking. The bearers 
lifted the palki. The Brahman bowed humbly to 
his father-in-law and mother-in-law, and took up 
the dust from their feet to his head." Then the palki 
moved off, the Brahman, followed by his servant, 
walking alongside. 

Once outside the village, the bearers smartened 
their pace, and it took the two friends all their time 
not to be left behind. Still, a good deal of whispering 
went on between them. The Kayastha said to the 
Brahman, " Well, brother, thanks to me, your business 
has been satisfactorily accomplished. Now it's your 
turn to help me. You must promise that, until 
I've been provided for, you won't live with this girl 

1* The ©beisanoe in question symbolizes this. I never saw a 
man actually take up some dust and put it on his head, 



46 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

as your wife. When we get home, you must leave 
her with your mother, and we'll go off together on a 
second hunt, till we've secured another young woman. 
I'll take her, and you'll keep this one. Or, if this 
proposal does not please you, this one must belong 
to us both." " No, no," said the Brahman. " That's 
not to be thought of. I'll help you to find a wife 
for yourself, as we agreed at the first." The young 
woman in the palki was listening sharply. Now and 
again, she managed to catch a word or two of their 
conversation, and easily divined the rest. Plainly, 
they were a pair of swindlers. She began fervently 
to take the name of Bhogoban," for she felt she had 
no other resource. 

Presently, they arrived at a river. The village, 
to which the Brahman and the Kayastha belonged, 
was not very far from this spot. The Kayastha 
said to his companion, " We must send away the 
palki-bearers here. If we take them to our village 
with us, they'll get to know all about us, and our 
game'U be up." Then he called to the bearers, 
" Listen, you fellows. At our house, everything's in 
confusion with the mistress's being ill. There'll be 
nobody to cook food for you and make you comfort- 
able till you can start for home again. So, if you go 
on with us, you'll have no end of trouble and dis- 
comfort. Here we can easily get a boat or a carriage 
to take us home. So we'll give you your full pay 
and food-money besides, and let you go." The 
bearers, of course, had no objection to this proposal, 

^ Sk. , bhagavan = adorable, denoting the supreme God, as in 
' Bhagavadgita ' = the song of the Adorable. On the taking of 
the Divine Name, see No. Ill, Note 7. Cf. CLEE, p. 163, Fote, 
and p. S42. 



\ 

THE STbjiEN WIFE 47 

and, receiving their money, went oft with the palki, 
leaving the young woman with the two men. She 
had been coming to see through things more and 
more clearly in the course of the journey ; now, she 
fully understood the situation and had made up 
her mind how to act. So, when the two friends 
said her, " It will be better for you to do just as we 
wish ; you'll only make things worse for yourself 
by trying to thwart us," she replied at once, "I 
will do whatever you tell me to ; for, sinc^ you have 
brought me away here, now I am yours." Address- 
ing the Brahman, she said, " Though you're not really 
my husband, I've got to accept you as such, and will 
obey you in everything." Hearing this, they were 
greatly delighted, and began to say to one another, 
" What a Loqhi ^' of a girl ! She's as good as she's 
beautiful. Merely to hear her speak is delightful." 
All the time they were talking, they kept walking 
on towards their village, where they arrived before 
long. The Brahman at once went into his house, 
and said to his mother, " Mother, I've got married 
and have brought my wife home." Greatly excited 
at this news, the old Brahmani cried out joyfully, 
" Where is she, my dear ? Where is she ? " The 
supposed bride at once came forward and bowed 
humbly to her mother-in-law, who, lifting up her 
hands, began to bless her fervently. " Come, my 
dear," she said, " my Loqhi, my golden moon ! " 
Long may you live ! May your bracelet have plenty 
of time to wear out. When your head is hoary, 
may it still bear the vermilion mark. May you 

i» See No. IV, Note 13. 

" A very common expression of endearment. 



48 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

have a husband all your hfe, " " and so forth. One 
by one, the other women of that part of the village 
came dropping in to jsee the new wife, and the old 
Brahmani showed h^off with great pride and delight. 
All admired her /beauty, and congratulated her 
mother-in-law on ner good fortune in being gladdened 
at her time of Jlfe with the sight of such a daughter. 
" Bride's no ^ame for her," they said. " She's a 
statue of piire gold." The bride bowed humbly to 
them all, s^hd spoke to them in the most mannerly 
fashion. /And the old woman begged them to give 
her sori,>and his wife their blessing,^' wishing the latter 
a long life as mistress of her husband's house. She, 
herself, she said, didn't care how soon she died, now 
that she had seen her son happily married. After 
much talk of this kind, the visitors departed to their 
own homes. But they were hardly outside the old 
Brahmani's door before they began to whisper to 
one another, " What sort of a wedding is this ? People 
turning up all of a sudden, married ! She's none that 
young either. Why wasn't she married long ago 1 
And how's he to support her when he hasn't the 
means of keeping his own stomach going ? Who 
can have been fools enough to give their daughter 
to the like of him ? " 

Anyhow, one thing soon became plain, and that 
was that the new bride was a model daughter-in-law. 
She rose early in the morning, and cleaned and tidied 
up the house. Then she awakened her mother-in- 

1^ The iron bracelet, put on at marriage, is broken ofE when a 
woman becomes a widow, and she ceases to mark her brow where 
the hair parts, with the round scarlet spot, the sign that a woman 
is married and her husband still living. 

« See No. Ill, Note 16. 



THE STOLEN WIFE 49 

law, rubbed her with oil, helped her to bathe, and 
washed for her the sari she put off. She brought 
her dainties from the confectioner's.'" She did all 
the cooking, and would not touch food, herself, till 
she had given her mother-in-law her breakfast. The 
latter never tired of congratulating herself and praising 
her daughter-in-law. 

In this way, a week or two passed — not very plea- 
santly for the Brahman. According to the compact 
made with his friend, he was debarred from even so 
much as speaking to his wife, until one had been 
got for him too. And, night and day, the Kayastha 
kept urging him, " Come away, brother, and get a 
marriage for me fixed up. Till then, you might as 
well be unmarried, yourself." The Brahman was 
very unwilling to go, but, knowing that the other 
had him in his power, and at any moment could 
ruin him by disclosing his secret, ,at length, one day, 
he said, " Well, then, come away. Though it's so 
long since I brought my wife home, all this time, on 
your account, I haven't been able to say a single 
Word to her. I'm sick of this sort of thing." " Then 
the sooner we start, the better," was the reply. 

*" To serve as light refreshments to sustain fainting nature till 
regular meal-time, i.e., the time when she got her rice. According 
to Medhatithi's explanation of Manu, II, 56, such eating " between- 
times " is forbidden. This seems rather hard, as nothing could 
be more irregular than the " regular meals " in an old-fashioned 
Bengali household. School-hours generally begin at 10.30 a.m., 
yet boys have often to be allowed to go home after the first or 
second period to take breakfaist, which was not ready when they 
bad to leave in the morning. A mother will awake small children 
between 10 and 11 p.m., to give them their evening meal. A man 
may be invited to an evening-meal party, and, if it is a very big 
affair, it may be 1 or 2 a.m. next morning before the dishes are 
served- up. 

4 



50 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

" Very good," rejoined the Brahman, " Let us 
start this very day.' So it was arranged they should 
leave as soon as they had breakfasted. 

The Brahman had now full confidence in his wife. 
Besides, he couldn't see what she had to gain by 
trying to escape. Where was she to go ? So, hand- 
ing over to her the keys of all his chests, he said to 
her, " See ; until I've arranged a marriage for my 
friend, I can have no sort of intimacy with you. 
So I'm going off to-day to attend to that business. 
I don't know how long I may be in returning. I 
leave my mother in your care. I know you'll be 
as good to her as you can. I need say no more." 
" No," said she, " you may trust me to do all you 
would wish. She's now as much my mother as yours. 
So I'm not likely to show her any neglect. You can 
see for yourself whether I've been in any way wanting 
in my duty to her since I came here. And it's your 
duty to do all you can to get your friend married. 
You would be guilty of a great sin if you didn't. 
Remember how much trouble he took in connexion 
with your marriage. It would be a shame for you to 
delay an hour longer. And don't be anxious about 
your household affairs. I'll keep everything right." 
Hearing her speak in this way, the Brahman was 
quitte overcome. If any doubt as to her fidelity still 
lingered in his breast, it was now completely dis- 
pelled. So, leaving everything in her charge, with a 
perfectly easy mind, he took his departure along with 
his friend. 

For two or three days, the young woman continued 
to show the old Brahma^! every possible attention, 
and contrived, without rousing any suspicions, to 



THE STOLEN WIFE 51 

find out from her what valuables there were in the 
house, and where they were kept. Indeed, this was 
easy enough, as the old woman talked quite freely 
about everything. Then, one night, having given her 
the light meal she took in the evening," she put her 
to bed. Waiting till she was sound asleep, the young 
woman proceeded to gather together all the things 
that were worth taking away, and tied them up in 
a bundle. Then, locking the door from the outside, 
she set fire to the house and made off as fast as ever 
she could. In a very few minutes, she had left the 
village behind, and found herself in the midst of a 
wide plain. In what direction was she to go now ? 
" What I had to do, I've done," she said to herself. 
" Bhogoban has graciously preserved my honour 
this time, but, if I'm caught again, it'll be all up 
with me. If I only knew what way to go ! But it 
won't do to stand still here." So thinking, she fer- 
vently called Bhogoban to mind,'^ and then walked 
straight on in one direction all that night. At day- 
break, suddenly she saw that she was close to the tank 
where she used to come to bathe and wash her clothes. 
Her joy at the sight was unbounded. Tired as she 
was, she ran all the rest of the way home. Her 
parents were greatly astonished to see her — above all, 
to see her alone. " Where is our son-in-law ? " asked 
her mother. " How in the world could he let you 
come by yourself ? " " Oh, I haven't come alone," 
she answered. " Yesterday my mother-in-law died, 

""' Being a widow, she could take only one " square " meal of 
rice, etc., in the day. 

*' Hindus regard " remembering " — Sk., amarana — as a means 
of positively compelling the saving presence of a god. 



52 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

and my husband has to go with her body to the 
Ganges. Rather than leave me all by myself in his 
house, he came round this way and left me here. 
Seeing he was conveying a corpse, he would not come 
to the house with me or wait to see you." " The 
old Brahman and his wife were greatly concerned to 
hear such bad news. " Ah," said her mother, " to 
think that your mother-in-law should have died so 
soon after you went home with your husband ! Dear 
knows what people will say about you. And she was 
the only relative our son-in-law had with him in his 
house. Anyhow, you're our daughter, and it was 
better to bring you here than leave you in an empty 
house. It's a joy to us to have you with us." Never 
for a moment doubting the truth of their daughter's 
explanations, the old people made no further in- 
quiries, and their daughter stayed on with them just 
as before her supposed husband's visit. 

Meanwhile, the Brahman and the Kayastha had 
been wandering from village to village, but not the 
smallest success attended their efforts. At last, 
the Kayastha said, " It was at an auspicious moment 
that we set out the first time. This time, we must 
have started at a most inauspicious one." We're 
doing no good anywhere. Everywhere, something 

" To avoid bringing ceremonial defilement upon them. See 
MWR, p. 285. 

'* Cf. the following. The five confederate kings march against 
Chamarabala, in spite of the astrologers' declaration that there 
would be no favourable moment that year for commencing a cam- 
paign, and are routed by an army not more than a quarter as 
large aa their own — KSS, I, pp. 532, 535. By starting on a journey 
in spite of bad omens, the Brahman youth, Vishijudatta's, seven com- 
panions nearly lose their lives — ib., I, pp. 283 ft. The result of 



THE STOLEN WIFE 53 

turns up to baulk us. I'm sick of this. Let's go 
home, and make a fresh start when we've ascertained 
a lucky day and hour for doing so." The Brahman 
was only too glad to assent. 

The morning after the young woman fled, when 
the villagers rose, they saw that the Brahman's 
house had been burned to the ground during the 
night. The women, supposing she and her mother- 
in-law had perished together,^' began to lament the 
bride. " Alas ! " said they, " where in all the village 
was there another young wife like her ? To think 
of her coming to such an end, and so soon ! Why, 
it was just the other day her husband brought her 
home ; and for this ! What will he say when he 
returns ? " They were standing, gazing at the ruins 
and talking in this strain, when the two friends 
arrived on the scene. When the Brahman saw the 
blackened remains of his house and realized what 
had befallen him, he was almost beside himself with 
grief and remorse. " Ah," said he to himself, " I've 
reaped what I sowed. This is that accursed creature's 
doing. Well, robbery has been perpetrated on the 
robber." "' The Kayastha, who was standing by, 
said, " Brother, I'm for no more work of this kind. 
I've got my eyes opened." Saying this, he went 
away. 

King Katnadhipati's marrying Bajadatta at a time declared in- 
auspicious by the astrologers, is that she proves unfaithful to him, 
precisely as they forewarn him — KSS, I, pp. 330 fi. 

25 With the success of the " stolen wife's " artifice, cf. KSS I, p. 
61. Sridatta conveys a woman and her daughter into the palace, 
makes them drunk, fires the palace, and carries o0 the Princess 
Mjigankavati and her companion. Everybody supposes that it 
is they that have perished. 

*" A favourite Bengali proverb. 



54 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

The Brahman thought to himself, " What's the 
use of my staying here ? Rather let me see whether 
I can't give that wretch of a woman a lesson." So, 
tying a short cloth round his neck," he took the road 
to her village. All day, he walked straight on, not 
stopping even once to rest, and, towards evening, 
arrived at Ramesh'or Babu's house. Stopping at 
the gate, he called out, " Oh, Chokroborti Mohashoy, 
Chokroborti Mohashoy ! are you in ? " The old 
Brahman was sitting in his verandah. He at once 
ran to the gate, and, seeing his supposed son-in-law, 
cried, " Oh, is it you, my dear Ramlochon ? Come 
away in ! Come away in ! I've heard all, and am 
greatly grieved to know that your mother is gone. 
You did very right to send your wife here ; very 
right ! " Saying this, he grasped his son-in-law's 
hand and led him into the house. The old Brahmani 
wept when she saw him, and then went on to say, 
" But don't grieve, my dear ! Who can have his 
mother and father with him all his life ? Her time 
had come," and she's gone. Grieving won't do any 
good. She was very fortunate to leave a son like 
you behind her. I'm sure my husband and I shall 
be glad to die, leaving you and our daughter behind 
us." After talking in this strain for a while, the 
old Brahmani went away to see about some re- 
freshment for him, and her husband, just as on the 
former occasion, hurried to this and the other shop 
to fetch things. Their guest thought to himself, 
" So far good. She seems to have revealed nothing 
when she got home. The two old folks are still 

^ This is done by a son when father or mother dies, 
'^ See Appendix, Note 1. 



THE STOLEN WIFE 55 

quite in the dark. Well, only let me manage to get 
her away with me again, and I'll let her see." 

Meanwhile, the daughter was saying to herself, " It's 
all up with me ! The villain has come back ! He'll 
be wishing to take me away at once, and my parents 
will insist on my going. What on earth am I to do ? " 
Suddenly an idea struck her, and, going quickly 
to the back of the house, she called an old woman, 
who stayed there. " Grannie," said she, " you'd be 
doing me a great kindness, if you'd get me some 
poison." " Poison, child ! " replied the old woman, 
" what can you want poison for ? " " Oh," said she, 
" our house is overrun with mice. They're spoiling 
everything we have. I'll mix the poison with some 
food, and put it down in my room. In that way, 
some of the vermin at least will be got rid of." " Yes, 
that's quite true," answered the old woman, and, 
going to the bazar, she presently came back with 
some poison, which, she handed to the young woman. 
The refreshments had by this time been got ready, 
and the old Brahmani, sending a maid-servant with 
them to her daughter's room, said to her son-in-law, 
"You won't, of course, wish to take rice to-night," 
but I've sent some food for you to your wife's room. 
You'd better eat something, and then go early to 
bed, as you must be very tired after such a busy and 
trying day." He thanked her, and then, turning 
to her husband, said, " Mohashoy, will you be so 
good as to make an arrangement with some palki- 
bearers to-night. I must set out with my wife at 

*> In consequence of his mother's death, he could take only one 
proper meal in the day until the sraddha should be celebrated, and 
she assumed that he had breakfasted somewhere. 



56 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

daybreak. As you know, there's nobody at all in 
my house now." " Certainly I will," was the reply. 
"Leave all that to me. Now, do you go and rest, 
my dear fellow." 

Bidding the old couple good-night, the Brahman 
betook himself to the daughter's room, where he 
found her sitting waiting for him. Almost paralyzed 
with terror as she was, she had pulled herself to- 
gether sufficiently to mix the poison with the glass 
of milk which had been set ready for him. The 
Brahman had had nothing to eat or drink all day. 
Being parched with thirst, he took up the glass of 
milk and drank it off at one draught. He had hardly 
set down the empty glass, when he began to foam 
at the mouth, and fell writhing on the floor. In a 
few seconds he was dead. 

" That's one thing accomplished," thought the 
young woman to herself. " But what am I to do 
with the corpse ? If it's found here in the morning, 
I shall be dragged straight off to jail. I can't tell 
my parents. Yet how am I to dispose of it by 
myself ? Well, let me see once more what Bhogoban 
will do for me ? " She sat, thinking hard, and, before 
long, what seemed a feasible plan occurred to her. 
She rose, and put on all her ornaments ; then, from 
amongst her saris, picking out a splendid scarlet 
silk one, she wrapped it about her. Also, she ate 
some betel," and unfastened her hair, which hung 

'" Bengali, pan-ahv/pari. Pan is the leaf of the Piper Betel, 
ihupari, the Areoa nut. A little piece of the latter, pounded small, 
is wrapped up along with moist lime and various spices inside the 
leaf, the whole being pinned together in triangle shape with a 
clove. This forms " a pan." On great occasions, it is covered 
with gold leaf. The iiamediate effect of eating •pan is to dye the 



THE STOLEN WIFE 57 

down past her waist. The corpse she tied up firmly 
in one of her old saris. Then, waiting till everybody 
in the house was certain to be sound asleep, by 
exerting all her strength, she succeeded in lifting 
the corpse upon her head, and, taking in her hand 
an old scimitar, which happened to be lying in her 
room, she made her way out. Not very far off, there 
was a cemetery." Thither she wended her way as 
fast as she could. When she reached the place, it 
was the very dead of night. The chirping of the 
crickets seemed piercingly loud. The sky was over- 
clouded, but, now and again, a flash of lightning lit 
up the inky darkness and a big drop of rain fell. 
Now, a band of robbers happened to be sitting in 
the cemetery, planning together their next expedition." 
The woman would have walked straight in among 
them, but, luckily, when she was still some little way 

saliva blood-red. The lips, guius, tongue, etc., of habitual eaters 
of large quantities of pan, are always of a very bright scarlet hue. 
See No. XIX, p. 157. 

^^ Place where corpses are cremated, generally beside a stream 
oi tank. 

'* Such places figure in Indian Tales as a favourite night-haunt 
of robbers. Cf. No. XIV, Note 3, and LDB, p. 170; CLER, p. 
133. If they chanced to see a corpse on the left hand, when enter- 
ing, that was a good omen. And, in such a place during the night, 
they were safe from disturbance by human beings. One has to 
remember how a cemetery appeared to the Hindu imagination. 
" It was obscured by a dense and terrible pall of darkness, and 
its aspect was rendered awful by the ghastly flames from the 
burning of the fimeral pyres, and it produced horror by the bones, 
skeletons, and skulls of men that appeared in it. In it were present 
formidable Bhiitas and Vetalas, joyfully engaged in their horrible 
activity (of devouring corpses), and it was alive with the loud yells 
of jackals — KSS, II, p. 233 of. p. 387 ; also, the Introduction 
to the Vetaiapanchavinsati or ' Vikram and the Vampire.' Robbers, 
as special favourites of KaJS, would, of course, feel quite secure. 



58 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

off, a flash of lightning revealed them to her. They, 
of course, were too busily occupied to notice her. 
She stopped short, shaking with sudden terror. 
" Ah," she thought to herself, " after committing so 
many crimes to preserve my honour " and my life, 
I'm doomed to lose both at the hand of those robbers. 
Well, I must do my best to save myself." Calling 
to mind Bhogoban, and, quickly adapting her original 
plan to these unforeseen circumstances, she walked 
on straight towards the robbers. The tinkle of her 
anklets, suddenly falling on their ears, made them 
aware that a woman was approaching. But what 
woman could be coming to such a place on such a 
night — and at the very dead of night too ? And 
what could bring her ? They were consulting to- 
gether thus in whispers, when she came close up to 
them, stood stock-still, put out her bloody-looking 
tongue," and held up the scimitar. The robbers 

^' Excepting the theft from the impostor-husband's house, 
with which the story seems to blemish the character of the heroine 
quite unnecessarily, the exceptional means she used to preserve 
her chastity, and, with it, her caste and the honour of the real 
husband, who had treated her so badly, would be all but condoned 
by strict, old-fashioned Hinduism; just as a very ancient Israelite, 
no doubt, regarded as proofs of heroic self-devotion the extra- 
ordinary steps taken by Tamar and the daughters of Lot to secure 
the supremely important end of the perpetuation of their families. 

The Hindu estimate of the preoiousnesa and power of chastity 
is illustrated in such stories as that of the Water-Genius, KSS, 
II, p. 82. On his wife's praying and appealing by her chastity 
that her husband may no longer have to dwell in the water, an 
aerial chariot appears and carries them both to heaven. Cf. No. 
VIII, p. 77. Damayanti, when abandoned in the forest by Nala, is in 
danger of suffering violence at the hands of a hunter. Appealing 
to her chastity, she successfully imprecates instant death upon 
him— MBH, Vana P., LXIII. 

^* The effect of the betel. Whan Kali was slaughtering the 



THE STOLEN WIFE 59 

hurriedly lit a torch, and, the moment they were 
able to see the strange apparition plainly, they con- 
cluded for certain it was Mother Kali, herself. All 
robbers, as is well known, are devout worshippers 
of the goddess." So the whole band, making the 
most humble obeisance, began to worship the young 
woman. Their captain, falling at her feet again and 
again, said to her, " Mother, if we gain much booty 
on to-night's expedition, I'll get a tongue of gold 
made, and dedicate it to you, and I'll have your 
pujd celebrated with great splendour." And all of 
them, shouting " Victory to the Mother ! Victory 
to the Mother ! " began to walk round and round her." 

demons, she waxed ao furious that the earth was like to give way 
under her tread. The goda having failed to stop her by any other 
means, Siva went and lay down in her path on the battlefield. 
Before she was aware, she trod upon her husband, and, when she 
discovered it, protruded her tongue through shame. She is com- 
monly represented in this attitude. See MWR, p. 189, with Note. 
Cf. the votive ofiering the captain promises below. It was cer- 
tainly an article more in character than the small gold boy the 
merchant vows to St. Joseph in GOS, I, p. 103. 

^° Thuggee was a notable illustration of this. Essentially, it was 
a cult of Kali. The plunder was merely the reward bestowed 
by the goddess upon her votaries in acknowledgment of their zeal 
in providing human sacrifices for her. The sex of their tutelary 
deity made it contrary to Thuggee principles to murder women. 

On what pleases a deity like Kali, see FOD, p. 325, Note on p. 
106. Also, Burke's remarks anent the alleged erection of a temple 
to Eastings at Benares. 

^ See MWR, p. 334, and Art., " Circumambulation," in Hastings' 
' Eno. of Rel. and Eth.' Circumambulation of the sacred fire is 
part of the Hindu marriage ceremony. MWR, p. 380. Cf. KSS, I, 
pp. 95 and 98 f . The Brahman, Phalabhiiti, by circumambu- 
lating a peepul-tree, and making offerings to it, obtains prosperity 
through the Yaksha that presides over it— ^J6., I, p. 248. The 
celestial nymiph, Tilottamd, circumambulated Siva, and so beautiful 
was she that the god became four-faced in order to see her all the 



60 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

When they stopped, she said to them, " Children, I 
am much pleased with you, and have, therefore, 
brought you this gift. But you must wait a little 
before you open it." Saying this, she threw down 
before them the burden she was carrying on her head, 
and departed. Once clear of the cemetery, she ran 
home with all the speed she could. 

The robbers sat gazing at the bundle she had left, 
and said to one another, " Now we shall be able to 
give up this toilsome and dangerous business of 
robbery. With the reward the Lady of the unbound 
tresses " has bestowed upon us, we shall live at ease 
for the rest of our lives." Again and again, the 
captain, his voice trembling with devout emotion, 
made the sky and the infernal world, itself, resound 
with his shouts of " Victory to Kali ! Victory to 
Kali ! " All the band were wild with joy, picturing 
to themselves the gold and priceless gems which the 
bundle, no doubt, contained. After a while, the 
captain gave them leave to open it. When the corpse 
was revealed to their eager gaze, their anger and 
disgust knew no bounds." The captain fairly shook 
with rage. " Who can have dared to play such a 
trick upon me of all people ? " he cried. " No doubt, 
she's some abandoned slut ! We must seek her out 
at once. Cutting her in pieces'U be too light a pun- 
ishment for actually making fools of us ! " Saying 

time — ib., I, p. 108. Cf. ib., II, pp. 365, 447 and 442. According 
to the Pseudo-Matth., oh. xii, Maxy circumambulated the altar 
seven times, when subjected to the ordeal of jealousy. 

2' Sk., Muhtakesi — one of the names of Kali. 

^8 Seeing a corpse in certain circumstances might be a good omen 
— Note 32 — but getting the present of one instead of what they 
expected, was another matter. 



THE STOLEN WIFE 61 

this, he ordered his men to take up their weapons 
and follow him, and they, no less eager than himself, 
seizing their swords, scimitars, spears, and what-not, 
hurried after him on the road to the village. There, 
they carefully examined house after house, but could 
see nothing that looked in any way suspicious. 
Coming at length to Ramesh'or Babu's house, they 
sprang one by one over the wall of the courtyard, 
and found the house-door standing open. The young 
woman, flurried and worn out with her exertions, 
had forgotten to close and fasten it. Reaching her 
own room, she had thrown herself down on her bed 
and fallen asleep, just as she was. The robbers, enter- 
ing the house, found their way to her room, and 
there she lay, still attired in the red sari and golden 
ornaments, with the scimitar, which had slipped from 
her fingers, on the bed beside her. " Ah," said the 
captain softly, " we've caught our bird." Then he 
ordered four of his men to take her up, bed and all," 
and carry her oft as gently and quietly as possible, 
forbidding them on any account to stop and set her 
down, till they reached the cemetery. The four 
ruffians, seizing the legs of the bed, carried it noise- 
lessly through the house, and were soon outside the 
village and well upon their way. So soundly was 
the young woman sleeping, that it was some time 
before the jolting of her bed awoke her. When she 
did awake, and realized that she was being borne 
rapidly along, she was at a loss to make out what 
had happened, till, hearing the harsh voices of the 
robbers on all sides, she became aware that she had 

3' So, in the story of ' The Bed,' the tliieves carry off the King's 
daughter^ SIF, p. 206. 



62 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

fallen into their hands. " It's all up with me now," 
thought she to herself. " Unless Bhogoban himself 
delivers me, I'm done for." Just then, the bearers 
passed under a huge peepul tree, and she felt the 
twigs brush violently against her body. Straight- 
way, picking up the scimitar, she seized a stout 
branch and swung herself as gently as possible into 
the tree. The bed was too heavy of itself for the 
bearers to notice the difference in its weight, and 
the darkness hid her movements from the others. 
Feeling about in the tree, she came upon a big 
hollow in the trunk, which she at once got into. 

The robbers soon reached the cemetery, and, setting 
down the bed, saw to their amazement that its occu- 
pant was gone. The captain gnashed his teeth with 
rage. " Where is the woman ? " he fiercely demanded 
of the bearers. " Master, how can we tell ? " an- 
swered they. " We took up the bed on our shoulders 
in the house, and we've set it down here. All the 
time between, we noticed nothing whatever. " Per- 
dition ! " raved the captain. "To be tricked again 
and again by one wretched woman ! But tell me : 
did you pass below any trees on your way here ? " 
" Yes," was the reply. " Plenty of them." " Ah, 
but I mean any very big tree ? " said he. " Yes," 
they answered, " there was one huge tree." " Then, 
sure enough, she's climbed up there," cried the 
captain. " There's nothing she's not fit to do. Do 
you think you could find your way back to the 
village by the very same road as you took, coming 
here ? " " Certainly," answered the bearers. " Then 
carry me back by that road," said the captain. With 
these words, he lay down on the bed, which the 



THE STOLEN WIFE 63 

bearers at once took up, and set off towards the 
village. Presently, the captain felt twigs and leaves 
brushing against him, and at once called out, " Set 
me down, set me down ! This is the tree. She's 
bound tp be here." Standing at the foot of it, he 
made his men climb up. They searched all over it, 
but in vain. No trace of the woman was to be found. 
Meanwhile, she was crouching in the hollow, almost 
dead with fear, as she listened to the noise made by 
the robbers moving hither and thither among the 
branches. " I can't hope to escape a third time," 
she thought. " Another minute, and they'll have me. 
Well, what Bhogoban wills, must be." One by one, 
the robbers descended, unsuccessful, to where the 
captain was standing, and, furious at being dis- 
appointed, began loudly to complain that he had 
misled them. The last one of all happened to thrust 
his hand into the hollow, and, feeling the woman's 
body, was on the point of joyfully proclaiming his 
discovery, when she clapped her hand over his mouth, 
and said, " Don't call ! What'U you gain by be- 
traying me ? Whereas it'll be to your very great 
profit to do as I tell you." " What do you mean ? " 
asked the robber wonderingly. " Why," was the 
reply, " if you betray me, the captain, himself, will 
take possession of me, and you'll have your labour 
for your pains. But, if you keep quiet, I'll marry 
you, and we'll live happily together." " Bah ! " 
replied the robber. "Who, do you think, is going 
to put so much confidence in a wicked woman like 
you ? Besides, I'm not of your caste. How could 
you marry me, even if you wished it ? " " You're 
a great fool," she rejoined. " What has caste to do 



64 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

with marriage ? Here have I put myself in your 
hands, and you begin gabbling about caste ! How- 
ever; if you won't believe me, you may break my 
caste here and now. Lean towards me and put out 
your tongue."" Now quite convinced that she 
really meant to keep her promise, the robber gladly 
did as she told him, whereupon, as quick as thought, 
she seized hold of his tongue with her left hand, and 
cut off the bigger half of it with the scimitar she 
held in her right. " The robber fell with a crash to 
the ground, and rolled over and over in agony, choking 
and groaning. The rest of the band, convinced that 
the tree must be inhabited by some terrible bhiU," 

*" Giving him to understand that she would touch his tongue 
with her own and thereby break her oaste. 

*i With this incident, of. KSS, I, p. 88 and Note. The cunning 
Siddhikari steals her master's hoarded gold and flees to the jungle. 
When she sees the merchant and his servants arrive in pursuit 
of her, she climbs a banyan tree. One of the servants ascends to 
see if she is there. She makes love to him, and, pretending to 
wish to kiss him, bites ofE his tongue with the same result as here. 
Cf., also, the curious story how the Christian virgin saved her 
honour, when delivered to the Koman soldier — Liebreoht, ' Zur 
Volkskunde,' p. 83. 

*^ Demon or goblin ; strictly, the ghost of a dead person. 

On the subject of haunted trees, see MWR, p. 331, MCF, 
p. 115, and, for some examples, LDB, pp. 201, 203, and 258 ; also, 
KSS, II, p. 365. On the special likelihood that the peepul — 
Sk., aSvattha, Ficua Beligioaa — might be haunted, see MWR, pp. 
335 f ; also, KSS, I, p. 153 f. I once preached and showed Bible 
pictures with the magio-lantem under a peepul, affirmed by the 
villagers to be the abode of a Bhiit. The audience complained that 
one big branch obstructed their view badly. " Cut it off then," 
I replied. " We daren't," said they. " You may, if you like." 
A bUl-hook was brought, and one of my people lopped the branch. 
When leaving, I asked the villagers whether they weren't afraid the 
Bhiit might pay them out. " Oh, no !" was the reply. "He knows 
very well that, if you wished to out his tree, people like us couldn't 



THE STOLEN WIFE 65 

which had done their comrade a deadly hurt, fled 
in wild panic in all directions. The young woman 
waited till the sound of their footsteps had died 
away in the distance, then quietly descended from 
the tree, and made her way home. Arrived there, 
she went and lay down in her own room. Before 
long, day broke. Everybody in the house rose 
and began to move about. Seeing their daughter 
all alone, the old people asked, " Where is our son- 
in-law ? He gave us to believe that he was re- 
solved to take you away with him. AVhat's become 
of him ? " " Oh," said she, " I managed to persuade 
him to let me remain this time. So he went off very 
early, promising soon to return for me." Her parents 
were quite satisfied with this explanation, and their 
daughter continued to live happily with them as 
before. 

hinder you. And he won't meddle with you, as he doesn't know 
what might happen." The leaves of the peepul quiver — like 
those of the aspen — with the slightest breath of air, hence often 
move and rustle, when those of all other trees are still. This is 
irrefragable, palpable evidence that a Bhut is there. Op still 
days, little sporadic puffs of wind seem often to travel about, 
A whirling column of dust scurries along the road, or the lofty 
top of a palmyra gives a sudden rattle. Bhiits, to a certainty ! I 
have known oases of a. man's turning back instead of going on to 
do his work, because a tree-top suddenly stirred on a quiet evening. 
Some idea of how the robbers pictured to themselves the tenant 
of the peepul, may be got fromi KSS, II, p. 338. " At that moment, 
there suddenly came there a Brahman demon, black as soot, with 
hair yellow as the lightning, looking like a thunder-cloud. He 
had made himself a wreath of entrails ; he wore a sacrificial cord 
of hair ; he was gnawing the flesh of a man's head, and drinking 
blood out of a skull. The monster, terrible with projecting fusks, 
uttered a horrible, loud laugh, and, vomiting fire with rage, menaced 
the king in the following words, ' Villain ! Know that this aSvattha 
(peepul) tree, my dwelling, is not trespassed upon even by gods.' " 

5 



VII. 

NEPHEW KANAI.' 

In a certain country, there lived a Brahman and his 
wife. The Brahman had some little landed property, 
and, by laboriously spending his days from morning 
to night in watching his servants at work in the 
fields, had scraped together a little money. But 
his wife was a very wicked woman, who had a lover, 
and, whatever earnings of her husband she could 
lay hands on, she spent in buying dainties for her 
lover. She gave the poor Brahman no end of trouble. 
At noon, when he came in from the fields, she gave 
him the very poorest food to eat, and, very often, a 
volley of abuse along with it. The Brahman was 
old and had no relatives staying with him, so he had 
to put up with his wife's tantrums as best he could. 
Now the Brahman was a very devout worshipper 
of Vishnu, and, in spite of all his afflictions, his zeal 
never abated. He continually invoked him, calling 
" NaraySn, Narayon ! " ' Narayon loves his de- 
votees. He could not bear to see the pious Brahman's 
misery. So, taking the form of his nephew, he came 

' Colloquial corruption of the name Krishna. 

' Sk., Nardyana. Now, one of the names of Vishjjiu. Cf. LDB, 
p. 53 f. — the ' Indigent Brahman ' constantly repeated the name of 
Durga. 

66 



NEPHEW KANAI 67 

to his house. Seeing him come, the Brahman said, 
" Welcome, my dear ! I'm an old man, I'm past 
working. If you won't take a little trouble to look 
after me, who will ? " The nephew answered, " It is 
just for that I've come, uncle. I'll stay a long time. 
You shall have no more trouble." From that day, 
the nephew would not allow the Brahman to do any 
work ; if his uncle needed to go to the fields, he would 
go, himself, and let the Brahman remain sitting 
comfortably at home. 

One day, when he came in, he saw that his uncle 
had not yet bathed. He asked, in surprise, what 
had hindered him. The Brahman said, " Child, I 
could get no oil. I asked your aunt for it, but 
she said there was none." The nephew answered, 
" What ? " and, going straight into the house, he 
brought out the fine oil which the Brahman's wife 
had put away to keep for her lover, and anointed and 
bathed the old man. This done, the nephew called 
to his aunt, " Aunt, bring my uncle's rice." She 
brought some coarse rice and sorry vegetables in a 
common plate, and set them before the Brahman. 
But the nephew, as soon as he saw this, cried, " Why 
bring such rice as that, aunt ? My uncle can't eat 
that stuff. I'll eat it, myself." And, going quickly 
to her room, he found some fine rice, which he 
brought to his uncle. 

The old Brahman that day dined to his heart's 
content. But his wife, who had been keeping that 
rice for her lover, gnashed her teeth with rage when 
she saw her husband eating it. However, it could not 
be helped, and, indeed, she could not well say anything. 
Things went on in this way for some time, when, one 



68 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

day, the nephew brought home some rare dainties for 
his uncle. His aunt saw them, and determined that, 
by hook or crook, her lover should get some to eat. 
So she sent for him and said, " In our house, there is 
a large clothes' basket. Remain you inside of it," 
and, at night, I shall give you some delicious food." 
He agreed, and, that night, the Brahman's wife fed 
him as she had promised, but so watchful was the 
nephew that she could not get her lover out of the 
house. In the morning, the nephew said to her : 
" Aunt, there must be a very big mouse in that 
clothes' basket. It kept moving about the whole 
night. I will kill it." Saying this, he brought the 
basket, and, lifting it high up, dashed it violently 
upon the ground. The man fell out, and slunk away 
home, badly bruised. The Brahman's wife had to 
look on and say nothing, though choking with 
rage. 

Another day, the nephew again brought home some 
good things for his uncle. As before, his aunt sent 
to her lover, siaying, " Come to-day. I'll wrap you 
up out of sight in a mat." But he refused. She sent 
again, assuring him there was no danger, and, at last, 
he consented, and duly turned up at nightfall, when 
she wrapped him up in a mat. During the night, she 
gave him food ; but the nephew was aware of all 
that went on. In the morning, he took up the mat, 
threw it down in the court, and began beating it 
with a stick with all his might. The man inside got a 
terrible mauling, but did not dare to show himself. 
At last, when the nephew went away, he managed to 

' Cf. KSS, I, 18 fi. UpakoSa stows away her four would-be 
lovers in a trunk. See, also, GHT, I, pp. 266 1, and II, pp. 42 9. 



NEPHEW KANAI 69 

sneak off. The Brahman's wife saw all this, but sl;ie 
was helpless. All she could do was to abuse the 
nephew in her heart. 

Some time after, he again brought home some 
great dainties, and the Brahman's wife, as before, 
sent for her lover, that she might give them to him. 
He came, but refused to stay. She said : " Don't be 
afraid. Remain you to-day where I keep the fire- 
wood. I'll put some pieces of wood on the top of 
you, and, in that way, you'll be perfectly safe from 
him. The burnt-faced scoundrel won't come into 
the kitchen. There I'll feed you, and then let you 
go, safe and sound." At length he yielded, and the 
Brahman's wife concealed him as she had promised. 
The nephew knew it all. Was he not Krishna,* the 
heart-knower ? So he came to the kitchen, and said 
to his aunt : " Aunt, how is there no wood in your 
scullery ? Let me fetch you some." His aunt an- 
swered : " No, no, child, I don't need wood. Go to 
your own work. There's plenty of wood in my 
scullery." But the nephew, never heeding her, 
brought a huge load of wood, and, flinging it into 
the scullery upon the man's shoulders, went away. 
Seeing this, the Brahman's wife extricated him as 
fast as she could, but he was almost crushed to death 
by the wood. She did her best to revive him ; and, 
after a while, he was able to slink away home. 

Another time, the nephew came in with a great 
big fish. Again his aunt called her lover, and said, 
" Remain you to-day in the ditch at the back of my 

* K]ishQa is by far the most important avatara or incarnation 
of Vishnu, practically equivalent, indeed, to Vishiju himself, i.e., 
for a Vaish^ava, to the Supreme Being who is the All. 



70 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

kitchen, and I will pour out the fish along with the 
rice-water through the drain-hole, so that you may- 
get it all." He agreed, and went and took his seat 
where she told him. The Brahman's wife, having 
boiled her rice, set it to cool. But Krishna, of course, 
knew what she was after. Coming into the kitchen, 
he said, " Aunt, why is your pot full of dirty water ? " 
and forthwith poured out the boiling water off the 
rice through the drain-hole. The man, who was 
sitting below, got the whole of it upon his face and 
body, and was horribly scalded. He ran away home, 
almost beside himself with pain. The Brahman's 
wife looked on, furious with rage. Thereafter, she 
did everything in her power to get the nephew sent 
home. But he put off his departure from day to 
day, saying, " I'll go to-morrow, I'll go to-morrow." 
One day, the old Brahman said to his nephew, 
" Child, ever since yoi^came, I've been very happy. 
I've had no trouble at all. But it's long since I 
celebrated my dead father's feast-ceremony.^ If 
you were to make the preparations, I would do so 
now." The nephew answered, " Don't let that 
matter trouble you, uncle. I'll make all the arrange- 
ments, and you shall celebrate the feast-ceremony." 
The old Brahman, greatly pleased, lifted up both 
his hands and blessed his nephew. Thereafter, an 
auspicious day having been ascertainec^, Krishna 
made everything ready. Twelve * Brahmans were 
invited — among them, the lover of the Brahman's 

s Srdddha. See MWR, pp. 303 S. 

° Twelve is what is called a " sacred number." Its special im- 
portance is probably derived from the number of the Zodiacal 
sigus, as that of seven is from the number of the principal planets. 



NEPHEW KANAI 71 

wife. They all sat down to eat, he with the rest. 
Krishna carried round the dishes. When he was 
about to take round something specially nice, the 
Brahman's wife called him, and, pointing out her 
lover, said, " See, child, that Brahman sitting there 
is a very poor man ; give him this little bit extra." 
The nephew said, " Very good," and, passing through 
the midst of the others till he was close to that Brah- 
man, he said, " Were you inside the clothes' basket ? " 
He answered, " Not I," whereupon Krishna came 
back and said, " Aunt, he won't take any." Hearing 
this, the old Brahman's wife said, " Go again ; make 
him take this titbit." Krishna went up to him as 
before, and asked, " Were you inside the mat ? " 
He answered, " No, no, not I." Krishna, coming 
back, said, " Aunt, he won't eat this either." The 
Brahman's wife began to shake with rage. She said, 
"If he won't eat this piece willingly, thrust it down 
his throat." Krishna, as before, went up to him and 
asked, " Were you among the wood ? " He answered 
" No, no, no, not I." Krishna, coming back to his 
aunt, said, " He won't eat ; what can I do ? Whenever 
I ask whether he'll take anything, just hear how he 
keeps saying, ' No, no, no, not I.'" ' The Brahman's 
wife could say no more, and that Brahman got a 
very poor dinner. 

When all the guests were gone, Krishna called the 
Brahman, and said, " Uncle, further concealment is 
needless ; look well now who I am." Saying this, 
he manifested himself to the Brahman, in his four- 

^ Literally translated, the Bengali = Not I, not I, not I. Such 
threefold asseveration is equivalent to the most solemn possible 
oath. See No. XXV, Note 5. 



72 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

armed form,' holding his shell,' and discus,'" and 
club," and lotus. '* The Brahman, beholding the 
theophany of Narayon, putting his upper garment 
round his neck," began to chant a hymn of adora- 
tion. Then Narayon, having burnt up the woman, 
house and all, took the Brahman by the hand, and 
led him away to heaven.'^ 

^ Sk., Ghatur-bhuja. 

° Sk., Sankha = a conch. 

'° Sk., Chahra = a sort of quoit, used as a weapon. 

" Sk., Gada. 

^' Sk., Padma. These four are the best known of Vishuu's 
insignia. Brahma is the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Siva 
the destroyer. But, for a Vaishijava, all three are simply forms 
or states of Vishiju himself, just as, for a Saiva, they are forms or 
states of Siva. 

" See No. Ill, Note 9, and No. IV, Note 14. 

». See No. IV, Note 22. Cf. KSS, II, p. 483. 

[Nephew Kanai, the name of the hero of this story, is the current 
designation for a very clever, unscrupulous fellow — one who is able, 
if offended, to give, in Bengali phrase, " a good lesson," and who 
has no conscience to keep him from doing so.] 



VIII. 

THE GODDESS ITU. 

[AccouDiNG to the narrator of the story, on every 
Sunday of the month Agrahayana — latter part of 
November and former part of December, at one 
time, the first month of the year — Bengali women 
perform pujd — ritual worship — ^to Itu, who is repre- 
sented by five or six small earthen pots, containing 
water strewn with durvvd grass, and, above the latter, 
sun-dried rice.' The mistress of the house takes the 
lead in the celebration, and, in connection with it, 
relates to the other women of the household the 
following :] * 

Once on a time, in a certain village, dwelt a Brah- 
man, who had a wife and two daughters. The 
daughters' names were Umro and Jumro. One 
day, the Brahman felt a strong desire to eat cakes. 
So he said to his wife, " BramhonT, I must have 
cakes to eat to-day." " Where am I to get all the 
things to make cakes with ? " answered she ; " you 

' Suoh is the account of the ritual, given me by the Brahman 
narrator. Others describe it somewhat differently. 

' The connection with religious festivals of tales designed to 
reoonmiend their celebration as highly beneficial or, for other 
reasons, specially incumbent on pious people, is very common. 
A weU-known instance is that of the story of Esther with the Feast 
of Purim. 

73 



74 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

must procure them for me. If you do so, I shall 
prepare the cakes." Accordingly, the Brahman 
went and begged at a number of houses, and thus 
got a quantity of husked rice, milk, and date-palm 
sugar, which he brought home and gave to his wife. 
She at once began preparing the cakes. 

Now the Brahman was a very great glutton.' 
So he determined to keep count of how many cakes 
were prepared. With this end in view, he sat down 
at the back of the kitchen, outside, and listened 
attentively. Every time a cake was dropped into 
the frying-pan, a loud crackling noise was made. 
By counting these noises, the Brahman was able 
to know exactly the number of the cakes. 

When all was ready, he went and sat down in the 
verandah to enjoy his feast. But, while their mother 
was making the cakes, the two little girls had been 
sitting in the kitchen, looking on. Of course, they 
wished to get some to eat. Their mother was afraid 
to let them have any, but, when she saw them weeping 

' Many of those Brahmans who subsist entirely on the gifts 
bestowed by the religious, are said to be great eaters. Certain 
devotees at Benares are declared to be in the habit of eating in- 
credible quantities. Such a capacity is regarded as an evidence, 
if not of sanctity, at least of some peculiarly efficacious virtue 
possessed by their religion. More than once, a Bengali — illiterate, 
of course — has told me of those men, and proudly asked what 
Christian could do anything like that. I have, myself, seen an 
old man eat at one sitting some thirty pastry-cakes of somewhat 
less bulk than penny tarts, along with a corresponding amount 
of he-goat's flesh — say, upwards of 2 lb. — followed by sweets — 
about 1 J lb., perhaps — and a small Brahman boy negotiate with 
ease a mass of rice quite as big aa his own head. One man told 
me that he found 2 lb. of rice, boiled, a very fair meal, but he 
preferred 2 J lb. As a Bengali would say — where they put it, 
they know. 



THE GODDESS ITU 75 

bitterly, she could not help giving them one each. 
Well, the Brahman being seated, his wife brought 
him all the cakes that there were. The Brahman 
began to eat, keeping count all the time. At last, 
he saw that the number was two short. He at once 
called his wife, and asked, " Why is the number of 
cakes short ? " She repUed, " I've given you all I 
had. I haven't kept a single one." The Brahman 
said, " AH the time you were making them, I was 
sitting behind the kitchen, keeping count. You 
made a hundred. But you've given me only ninety- 
eight. Where are the other two ? " The poor 
woman saw she had better at once make a clean 
breast of it. If the Brahman fell into a rage, there 
was no saying what might happen. So she said, 
trembling, " Your two daughters ate two of the 
cakes." The Brahman said nothing. He finished 
his meal, and then got up and went away out. But 
a bitter grudge at his two little girls kept rankling 
in his mind. 

Some time after, pretending to his wife that he 
wished to take the girls to visit their uncle, her 
brother, he went off with them. After they had 
gone a very long way, they found themselves in a 
dense forest. Then the girls said, " Father, we 
aren't able to walk any farther. Let us lie down 
here and rest a while." " Very well," said the 
Brahman, " do so." Then he sat down on the ground, 
with the children's heads on his two thighs, and put 
them to sleep. Once he saw they were sleeping 
soundly, he took two clods of earth, placed them 
under the girls' heads, and then, gently slipping his own 
legs from below them, said, " Stay where>';jypu. are. 



76 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

I banish you to the forest. As you ate my cakes, 
so may the tigers and bears eat you." * With these 
words, he hurried away. When he got home, he 
told his wife a tiger had devoured them. She 
began to mourn and lament wildly, for she under- 
stood quite well that, in his anger at the eating of 
the cakes, he had somehow made away with them. 
But what could she do ? She had just to bear all 
quietly, as best she could. 

Meanwhile, as evening drew on, the two girls 
aivoke, and found themselves alone ; their father 
was nowhere to be seen. At first, they supposed 
he had only gone a little way off for some reason 
or other, and would soon come back. But, when a 
good while had passed and he did not return, they 

* Desertion of children is a not altogether unusual incident in 
Folk-tales. Generally, it is done more or less unwillingly, as, in 
the story of ' Punchkin,' the Raja abandons his seven sleeping 
daughters in the jungle in order to save them from their stepmother — 
— FOD, p. 12. Maria is abandoned by her father at the instance 
of her stepmother, which is quite in order in a Folk-tale — GOS, 
I, p. 5 — Maruzzedda, because she will not be a party to his spending 
part of his earnings on food for himself and her before he goes home 
— ib., I, p. 9. But he requires to be worked up to this by her jealous 
sisters. , In the story of ' Hansel and Grethel,' it is the mother who 
insists on the desertion of the children — GHT, I, pp. 62 f . It is curioijs 
that the curse should remain ineffective. Not to speak of Brah- 
mans', parents' curses are almost always efficacious in Folk- 
tales, -however causeless — of. RRT, pp. 358 ff. The reason of the 
father's deadly anger strikes a Western as trifling, for the latter 
finds it difficult to sympathize with susceptibilities in the matter 
of eating, so very hvely. But, in KSS, II, p. 291, we read that the 
Vidyadhari, Mf igankavati, was cursed by her father to be swallowed 
four times a month by a Rakshasa untU her marriage, the sole 
reason being that, in her devotion to the worship of Gauri, she, one 
day, kept her parent, who was so fond of her that he would not 
eat without her, waiting till night for his breakfast, and then he 
was in too bad a temper to eat at all. 



THE GODDESS ITU 77 

concluded a tiger had devoured him. So they 
looked about for traces of blood. None were to be 
seen. Thereupon the younger " girl said, " No, 
sister, that's not what has happened. We ate father's 
cakes. So he has gone away, leaving us in the 
forest as a punishment. What are we to do now ? 
What a dreadful forest ! Night is falling. The 
tigers and bears are growling all around. Any minute, 
they may , come and devour us. Oh, why did we 
eat the cakes ! We've brought about our own 
deaths by doing so. However, come along ; per- 
haps we may find some sort of shelter somewhere." 
As they walked on, suddenly they saw in front of 
them a very big tree. So, going close up tb it, they 
put their cloths round their necks in suppliant 
fashion and said, " Oh, Tree, if we are the virtuous 
daughters of a virtuous mother, ° then do you be 
divided in two, so that we may come inside of you." 
Forthwith the tree-trunk divided itself in two,' and 
the girls stepped inside of it. Then they said again, 

^ Almost invaxiably, in Folk-tales, it is the younger sister who is 
the wiser and more virtuous. 

° On the subject of the girls' basing their appeal upon their 
chastity, see No. VI, Note 33. Of. SJta's appeal by her wifely 
devotion, to the Earth — when her chastity was questioned and she 
was under ordeal at the lake, Tithibhasaras. In response to it, 
the Earth-goddess appeared and bore her across the lake — KSS, 
I, p. 487. In KSS, I, p. 556, a hermit, whose angry glance at a 
crow for dropping dirt on him had instantaneously consumed it 
to ashes, tries it on a chaste wife who attended to her husband 
before getting food for him, but with the sole result that she laughed 
and said, " I am not a crow." Her chastity bestowed on her both 
supernatural protection and supernatural knowledge. 

^ Similarly, in LDB, pp. 125 ff, a tree speaks to, and opens to 
receive the banished maiden and her nurse. Cf. ib., pp. 250 £E. 
In Indian Tales, it is usually because some such being as a Yaksha 



78 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

" Oh, Tree, if we are the virtuous daughters of a 
virtuous mother, then do you become as you were " ; 
and the tree immediately closed up round about 
them. Thus they passed the night safely inside it. 
When day dawned, they got out of the tree again 
in the same way as they had got in, and, after bowing 
respectfully to it, they began to walk on. They had 
not gone very far, when they heard the sound of conchs 
being blown, and women shouting, " Ulu, ulu .' " ' 
Proceeding in the direction of the place the sounds 
seemed to come from, it was not long before they 
lighted upon a great crowd of women, old, middle- 
aged, and young, as well as girls like themselves. 
They asked the women, " What is this you are 
doing ? " They, on their part, astonished at the 
sight of the new-comers, began to say to one another, 
" Who may these be ? Where in the world have 
they come from ? " Presently, a very old woman, 
coming forward from among them, said kindly to 
the two girls, " Who are you, my dears ? " " We 
are the daughters of a Brahman," they replied, and 
again inquired what it was that was going on. The 
old woman said with a smile, " Ah, poor girls, don't 
you know what this is ? " " No, we have no idea," 
was the reply. Then the old woman said, " This is 
called ItUrpujd." " What is the use of it ? " they 

lives in it that a tree is able to behave as the one in ova story does 
E.g., in KSS, II, pp. 82 f., h. tree offers hospitality to two Brahman 
youths, and, forthwith, a tank with a sumptuous repast set out 
on its bank appears, and, after a while, the presiding Yaksha mani- 
fests himself. Cf. ib., I, p. 153, II, pp. 116, with Note, and 460. 
A tree hears and delivers Zuhra Khotan's message to Haya Band — 
KKT, pp. 182 and 184. See also, RRT, p. 206; MCF, p. 115. 
' The cry uttered by women on festive occasions. 



THE GODDESS ITU 79 

asked. "The use of it?" said she. "Why, by 
celebrating this worship, one's heart is made good 
and happy ; good luck, wealth, marriage into a 
Raja's family are attained ; a pot of lime is destroyed 
and a pot of ghee is increased ; " enemies perish and 
friends are multiplied. My dears, won't you also 
perform this holy service ? " The girls answered, 
"Yes, we will." "Well, then," said the old 
woman, " go and bathe in the tank that is close 
by there, and come back to me." 

The girls went off to bathe in the tank, as they 

were told, but, when they got there, they found 

there was no water in it. So they came back, and 

said to the old woman, " How's this. Mother ? 

We found no water." Much surprised at this, the old 

woman at once went along with them to the tank. 

Sure enough, it was quite dry. Turning to them, 

she said, " Oh, girls, have your father and mother 

never done any good works at all ? " ^° Then she 

offered a great many prayers to the gods on their 

behalf. Presently, the tank filled with water. The 

two girls then bathed, and returned with the old 

woman to the place where the other women were. 

Seeing that they wished to do pujd, one gave them 

an earthen pot ; another, some flowers ; a third, some 

diirvvd grass; a fourth, some sun-dried rice, and 

so on ; every one contributing something or other. 

' Ghee — Sk., ghrita — i.e., clarified butter, is one of the most 
valued articles of food and a sine qua non for most sacrifices. The 
narrator could not explain to me why the destruction of lime 
should symbolize prosperity. 

"• Merit — pw}ya — being transferable, the daughters might have 
benefited, had their parents accumulated any such. See JTote 
17, and No. XXVIII, Note 5. 



80 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

Thus the two girls were enabled to perform the rites 
of Itu-worship, following the old woman's directions, 
after which they went with her to her house. There 
they lived with her for some time, and continued 
doing piijd. 

One day, the two girls had gone to the ghat of the 
tank to bathe. As soon as they stepped into the 
water, the elder one suddenly called out, " Oh, 
sister, my foot has struck against something." 
" Well, look what it is," replied the younger. " No, 
I can't," said she. " You look." The younger sister 
came, and, feeling about with her ^and in the water, 
drew up what turned out to be a big lump of gold. 
They were both greatly delighted when they saw it. 
They took the gold home, and got it made into a pot 
for the goddess Itu. Very soon, everybody was able 
to see that they were now the best and happiest 
people in the village. 

Meanwhile, in their home, when their father was 
asleep one night, the goddess Itu appeared to him 
in a dream, and said, " If you don't bring back your 
two daughters, I will kill you by making you vomit 
blood. You will find them in such-and-such a place." 
The Brahman rose very early in the morning, and 
related his dream to his wife. In great joy, she 
exclaimed, " Then my Umro and Jumro are still 
alive. Go and fetch them without delay." The 
Brahman was only too glad to set off at once, and, 
before very ^long, reached the village in the forest 
where his daughters were. As soon as they saw 
him, they threw their arms round his neck and cried, 
" Oh, why did you go away ? Was it right to leave 
us all alone in the forest ? Let us go home," The 



THE GODDESS ITU 81 

Brahman replied, " My dears, it is to fetch you that 
I am come. Let us start at once." 

So, bidding farewell to the kind people of that 
village, they went away home with their father, 
not forgetting to take Itu's golden pot with them. 
Their mother was overjoyed at seeing them again. 
Exclaiming again and again, " You have come back, 
my Umro and my Jumro ! " she took them up in 
her lap and began to weep. Then the girls made 
obeisance to her and said, " Oh, mother, it is by the 
blessing of this goddess Itu that your daughters 
have been restored to your arms." Thus the mother 
and the two girls talked together for a long time. 

From the day that Umro and Jumyo returned 
home, the Brahman began to be very prosperous. 
Everything he had to do with, flourished. After 
some time, one day, the Raja of that country came 
to hunt in the neighbouring forest. As the sun 
grew hot, he became very thirsty; indeed, he was 
like to die with thirst. He said to his Chief Minister, 
who was with him, " Minister, I must get some water 
to drink ; my very life depends on it." " There is 
a village not very far off," answered the Minister, 
"let us go there." So they rode on slowly through 
the forest, and presently reached the Brahman's 
house. He at once recognized the Raja, and, putting 
his upper cloth over his neck and shoulders, saluted 
him respectfully and welcomed him to his house. 
The Raja was much pleased at being so respectfully 
treated, and said to the Brahman, " I am frightfully 
thirsty ; give me some water." The Brahman at 
once went away and saw to water being got for the 
Raja and his Minister. And, on the two cups which 
6 



82 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

were to be given them to drink from, he fastened two 
hairs from the heads of his two daughters. When 
the Raja and his Minister saw the hairs, they asked 
the Brahman who was the father of the girls to whom 
they belonged. " I am," replied the Brahman. The 
Raja said, " Brahman, I will marry the girl to whom 
this hair on my cup belongs." And the Minister said, 
" I will marry the girl to whom this hair belongs." " 
The Brahman joyfully consented, saying, " Your 
Majesty, what greater good fortune could befal me 
than the taking of my daughters in marriage to-day 
by you and your Chief Minister ? " Then he went at 
once into the inner part of the house, and, bringing 
out the girls, gave the elder, whose hair had been 
tied upon the Raja's cup, to him, and the younger 
to the Minister. The Raja forthwith summoned 

" SimUarly, Sahasra Dal falls in love with Keshavati, Champa 
Dai's -wife, through seeing one of her hairs floating down the river 
while he is bathing — LDB, pp. 41 and 43. In CAS, p. 16, the 
princess finds one of the youth's hairs. In the very ancient Egyp- 
tian tale of ' The Two Brothers,' a tress of the perfumed hair of 
Bata's wife floats down the river, and comes into the hands of the 
king, who determines to make the woman to whom it belongs 
his wife. Cited in BRT, p. 112, and MCF, pp. 127 f. In the story 
of ' The Charmed Bing,' another prince falls in love with the 
hero's wife on seeing some of her hairs, which she had thrown in 
a bit of hoUow reed into the stream — KKT, p. 23. Cf. CLP, I, 
p. 341. In 'The Godchild of St. Francis of Paula,' the lover 
has at least more reason for his passion, as he sees aU Pauline's 
beautiful plaits let down from the top of the tower — GOS, I, p. 125. 
Other cases of men's falling in love at sight — of a small sample — 
of the lady are the following. Cha^i^B'sinha and his son choose 
wives from seeing their footprints, in accordance with their size 
— the result being that the father gets the daughter, and the son, 
the mother— KSS, II, p. 355. Cf. ih., II, p. 434. A king falls 
in love when he sees a girl's nose-ring, found inside a fish — KKT 
pp. 128 f, Cf. ih., p. 135, 



THE GODDESS ITU 83 

his servants, and they soon brought elephants, 
horses, palanquins, and so forth. Then he and his 
Minister respectfully bowed to the Brahman, and he 
gave them his blessing ; thereupon they placed their 
wives ih their palanquins, and, mounting their 
elephants, took their departure. 

Now, the Brahman's elder daughter was so elated 
at becoming the Baja's chief Rdni that she forgot 
to bring away with her from home any pot for doing 
pujd to the goddess Itu. But her younger sister " 
was careful to fetch along with her all the Itu pots. 
The consequence was that, as the cavalcade passed 
along, on that side of the highway on which the Raja 
and his wife rode, fiery rain fell, meteors darted 
about, and the howling of jackals, the wailing of 
mourners, and the harsh screeching of kites and 
vultures " were heard continually, while, on the 
Minister and his wife's side of the road, showers of 
flowers fell, and the sweet songs of birds and joyful 
shouts, as of people holding high festival, were heard 

'* The names of the sisters are abnost never mentioned. They 
must be a late excrescence, proper names being comparatively 
rare in Folk-tales. 

*' The unwisdom of the King in continuing his journey in spite 
of such warnings is proved by the sequel. Especially, the falling 
of meteors was the premonition of some great disaster. Here are 
a few other references to omens. When GupaSarman is on his way 
to the court, not knowing that the queen has slandered him to 
the King, a crow appears on his left hand, a dog runs from the left 
to the right, a snake is seen on his right, and his left arm and 
shoulder throb — KSS, I, p. 465. When the Asura, Vidyuddhvaja, 
is marching out to defeat and death, lightning-flashes strike his 
banners, vultures circle above his head, his state-umbrellas are 
broken, and jackals utter boding howls — ib,, I, pp. 522 ff., with 
Note on p. 523. Cf, pp. 435, 636, and 617. See also MWR, pp. 
397 f. 



84 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

unceasingly. The Raja was greatly amazed, and 
said to himself, " What can be the meaning of this ? 
Why is all this going on on my side of the road, 
and all that on the Minister's side ? " He could not 
make it out at all, and, in great wonderment, arrived 
at the city where his palace was. 

There he and the Minister parted, each taking 
the way to his own abode. As soon as the Raja 
reached his, the great front gateway fell down in 
ruins." When he saw all those signs of bad luck 
befalling him, he was terribly frightened. But what 
was he to do ? There was nothing for it but to 
bear all in silence. Gradually, he became more and 
more unfortunate, while the Minister, on the other 
hand, grew more and more prosperous. At length, 
when the Raja had as good as lost his kingdom, when 
his servants had all run away, and his palace and 
grounds become a jungle, it was revealed to him in 
a dream that his wife was a Raqhoshi," and he was 
commanded to banish her to the forest. Next day, 
he called his Chief Minister and said to him, "Minister, 
I've lost everything, and it is this wife of mine 
that is the cause of all my misfortunes. She must 

" Cf. LDB, pp. 41 and 43. The " lion-gate " is to fall when 
the prince returns with hia bride. 

15 Fern, of Raqh6sh — ^^Sk., rdkahasa and rakahasl. These are 
ogres that " haunt cemeteries, disturb sacrifices, harass devout 
men . . . devour hxrtnan beings, and vex and afflict manlcind in all 
sorts of ways" — Dowson, 'Class. Diet, of Hindu Mythology.' 
Their proper form is hideous and terrifying, but they transform 
themselves at wiU, and the females often appear as beautiful women. 
See LDB, pp. 64 ff. and 270 ff. Instances of Raqhoshis " having 
actually secured men as their husbands and of human wives " being 
falsely accused of being Raqhoshis, will be found in LDB, pp. 65 ff., 
117 ff., and KKT, pp. 42 ff. 



THE GODDESS ITU 85 

be banished to the fo;rest." What could the Minister 
do ? It was the Raja's order. So, leading the 
Rani away far into the forest, he left her there weep- 
ing bitterly. 

When the Minister got home, he told his wife 
all that had happened. When the younger sister 
heard the story, she said to her husband, "You must 
go and fetch my sister to me." " Impossible," replied 
her husband. "To do that is as much as my life 
is worth. Should the Raja come to know of it, he 
would certainly have me put to death." " No 
fear of that," said his wife. " What power has the 
Raja now to do any such thing ? And, even if he had, 
I'll keep her too well hidden for him to know any- 
thing about it. You fetch her to me." Of course, 
the Minister had to agree to do as his wife wished. 
So, next day, he went back to the forest, and, 
finding the Rdni where he had left her, he brought 
her to his wife. She received her sister very kindly, 
and then said to her, " See, sister, all this has be- 
fallen you through your own fault. Come now, 
begin doing pujd to Itu again." The elder sister 
answered, " Yes, I will." But her nature and dis- 
position had become very bad, and she had lost all 
her beauty. Anybody who saw her could tell at 
once that Loqhi had forsaken her. It was only with 
her lips that she consented to do puja to Itu. Really, 
she did nothing at all. 

The month of Ogrohayoij again came round, and 
again the younger sister said to the elder, " This 
time, you must do pujd." Just as before, she an- 
swered, " Very good, I will." Soon after, the two 
sisters were sleeping together, when, suddenly, at 



86 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

midnight, the elder awoke and cried, " I've had 
such a frightful dream. It seemed as if some one 
slew me, cut off my head, and rubbed my face in 
heaps of ashes." When the younger sister heard 
this, she said, " Now I understand it all. Did you 
eat anything yesterday, before doing pujd ? " " 
The elder confessed she had. " Why did you 
do so ? " the younger sister asked reproachfully. 
" Didn't I tell you not to ? " "I didn't wish to," 
answered the other, " but your little boy came to 
me, and saying, 'Auntie, eat; auntie, eat,' pushed 
his sweetmeat into my mouth before I knew what he 
was doing." " Oh, I quite understand," replied 
her sister. " Wait till next Sunday comes, and I'll 
look after your eating, myself." She said no more 
at the time, but, when Sunday came round, as soon 
as she and her sister rose in the morning, she knotted 
the ends of their saris together. Wherever she went, 
the elder sister had to go with her, and the latter 
could go nowhere without the other accompanying 
her. Thus the elder sister could get no chance of 
eating anything that day. The two did pujd to 
the goddess Itu's pots, and then begged the goddess 
to be gracious to them. 

After this, the disposition of the elder sister gradu- 
ally began to improve. She now took care to do 
pujd regularly. The consequence was that the 
Raja again became very prosperous. His kingdom 
became as great and wealthy as it had been before, 
and all his servants returned to him. Then, one day, 
he said to his Chief Minister, " Minister, bring me 

1' Pujd must be performed fasting, otherwise it is fruitless or 
worse. 



THE GODDESS ITU 87 

back my wife." He answered, " Why, your Majesty, 
you banished her to the forest. How am I to get her ? " 
" No matter," said the Raja, " you've just got to 
fetch her." Then, seeing there was now no danger, 
the Minister confessed that the Rdni was with her 
sister. 

A day was now fixed for the Rdni's return to 
the palace. Magnificent preparations were made 
there for her reception, and the road from the Minis- 
ter's house to the Raja's was all curtained over, so 
that it was like one long tent. Through it, the RAnii 
walked back to the palace. As she went along, her 
foot struck against something that had been left 
lying on the road, and was badly bruised. The Raja 
got furiously angry when he saw this, and asked, 
" What sweeper cleaned this path to-day ? " The 
words were hardly out of his mouth, before his ser- 
vants seized and brought the sweeper. Forthwith, the 
Raja ordered his head to be cut off. That day, there 
were great rejoicings and feasting in the palace, 
and, with one thing and another, the Rani forgot all 
about doing pujd to Itu till after she had eaten. 
Then she suddenly remembered, and, in great con- 
cern, sent her servants here, there, and everywhere, 
to find, if possible, somebody who had not yet eaten. 
One by one, they all came back and said, " Your 
Majesty, everybody has eaten." The Rani was in 
despair. But one maid-servant, suddenly recollect- 
ing, said, " The sweeper's mother has eaten nothing 
to-day. She was too much grieved at her son's death 
to do so." " Fetch her at once," said the Rani. 
The servants went off, all in a body, to the sweeper's 
mother, and said, " The Rani has called you. Come 



88 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

to her at once." But the old woman answered, 
" Never again will I look upon the Rdni's face. It 
is her fault that this calamity has come upon me." 
The servants returned, and told the Rdni that the 
old woman would not come. The Rani said, " Go 
to her again ; tell her she has nothing to fear ; only 
good will befal her, if she comes." They went, and, 
after many entreaties, succeeded in persuading the 
old woman to come. The Rani received her very 
kindly, made a great to-do about her, and said, 
" Mother, do pujd to Itu, as my substitute." After 
a great deal of such coaxing, the old woman was in- 
duced to perform the Itu-pujd on the queen's behalf." 
Afterwards, the Rani presented herself as a sac- 
rifice to Itu for the sake of the sweeper." As she 
lay before the goddess, this revelation was made to 
her : " Take the water of my pot, put together the 
sweeper's head and trunk, and sprinkle the water 
upon them ; thus the sweeper will come to life 

" Religious merit being transferable. I knew of a case in which 
a Brahman who lived beside the Ganges, was paid a, very fair 
monthly salary by an old lady that lived far inland, on condition 
that he should bathe daily in the Ganges, making over the super- 
sensual efficacy of the ablution in the sacred stream to her. 

'8 That is, she performed what, in Bengali, is called hdtyd dewd, 
and, in Hindustani, dharnd dend or haithnd. In order to compel 
the granting of a request, a person sits down at the door of the man 
or lies down before the image of the deity, from whom the boon — 
or, it may be, payment of a debt — is demanded, with the declared 
resolve to stay there and starve to death, unless the request be 
granted. See KSS, I, p. 73. The citizens of Ujjayinl, appre- 
hensive that their king may kill his prisoner, the King of Vatsa, sit in 
dharnd before the palace till he agrees to spare his life. Cf. GHT, 
I, p. 247. The ' Two Brothers ' assure their foster-father that 
they will not eat till he grants their request. See also KSS, II, 
p. 466 ; II, p. 532 ; and II, p. 553. 



THE GODDESS ITU 89 

again." " Forthwith the Rani, taking the water 
from Itu's pot, hurried to the sweeper's house, and 
said to his mother, " Where is your sweeper ? " 
The old woman replied, weeping, " My sweeper is in 
the house of Jom." " " Oh, I don't mean that," 
said the Rani. "Where is his body?" "It's 
lying in that field," was the answer. The Rani 
ordered it to be brought, and, putting together the 
head and the trunk, she sprinkled the water upon it. 
The moment she did so, the sweeper came to life 
again. At this sight, his old mother fell down and, 
clasping the Rami's feet, began to weep, saying, 
" Mother, who are you ? " She replied, " I am your 
Rani. Who else should I be, mother ? " Then, ad- 
vising all those present to observe the worship of Itu, 
the Rani returned home, and ever afterwards lived 
in peace and comfort, performing all her duties. 

" On " Magical Eesusoitation " see MCF, pp. 52 fE., 80 fE. 

'" Sk., Yama, originally the first of luen who died and " found out 
the way for the rest to the home that cannot be taken away," and, 
later, the god of the dead and of death. Like Indra, he is a deity 
of whom a good deal of fun is made. See, e.g., Dinabandhu Mitra's 
" Jomaloye jvyonto manush" — " a living man in the abode of Jom." 



IX. 

THE PUNDITS' DISPUTATION. 

In a certain village, there lived a Brahman, who was 
very stupid and ignorant. But he gave himself 
such airs that the simple villagers believed him to 
be quite a dungeon of learning. They were fisher- 
men by caste, and he acted as their family -priest.* 
Whenever they wished to know what day of the 
moon or of the week it was, and the like, they used 
to come to consult him. So utterly illiterate was he 
that he found it very difficult to answer even simple 
questions like these, without exposing his own 
stupidity and ignorance. His plan was to put down 
on the floor of his house a piece of brick every 
morning after full moon up to new moon.^ Thus 
he got a series of fifteen. He did the same from new 
moon to full moon. If any of his flock came in the 
course of the half-month to ask what day of the 
moon it was, he had only to count how many bits of 
brick he had put down and answer accordingly. 
In this way, he was able to maintain his reputation. 

' Every one of the now almost innumerable castes or sub-castes 
has its own special class of Brahmans to minister to it, just as it 
has its own barbers and washermen. When a man is out-casted, 
his barber, etc., are stopped. 

^ The lunar calendar is used for all purposes connected with 
religion. 

90 



.J 

/ 

THE PUNDITS' DISPUTATION 91 

One day, howev^, ^wo cats fell a-flghting in his 
house, and, as they tubibled over one another, they 
knocked the pieces of brick about so that some of 
them got lost. Whep the Brahman came in, he saw 
that his calculator was in hopeless disorder (= ghovji- 
mongol). And, as Fsite would have it, that very day, 
some of the fishermeV came to inquire what day of 
the moon it was. TJie Brahman was in a most 
awkward fix. He gaz^d despairingly at his ready- 
reckoner — part of it here, part of it there, part of it 
nowhere. What answer was he to give ? At length, 
he came out and said to them, " Look here, you 
fellows, this is Ghontmongol^ day." " Gho^tmon- 
gol^ day ? " they replied wonderingly. " We never 
in our lives heard of such a day. And you never 
before spoke of it, yourself." \" It's likely enough you 
never heard of it," said the pur^dit. " There must be 
a good many things you have never heard of. For 
that matter, barring one or two^ profoundly learned 
men like myself, very few pundits know about this 
day, not to speak of fellows \i^e you." " Very 
good, Thakur Moshay," answered the fishermen. 
" What have we got to do, then, on GhoiLtmong616 
day ? " " Oh, a great many things," said the 
pundit, warming to his subject, when he saw how it 
had caught on. " This is a great festival. Special 
pujd ' has to be performed, and the priest, of course, 
properly rewarded ; then there's a big feast and 
so forth. Ghontmongole Debi * instituted this day 
with its festival. The pujd is performed in her 
honour." " What like is the goddess to look at ? " 
asked the villagers. " How are we to represent 
' Bitual worabip. * 8k., devi = goddess. 



92 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

her ? " = " Oh, there's no difi^culty about that," was 
the reply. " She has the form of a cat. Every 
family must get two clay cats imade and set them up. 
Then the pujd can be performeid." 

The fishermen went away hotae in great glee, and 
soon the whole village was in a bustle of preparation 
for the festival. Then, everytj)liing having been got 
ready, the celebration of the Jpujd with all possible 
pomp and show commenced. /The noise of the drums 
and other instruments was positively deafening. It 
could be heard miles awav. Now, it so happened 
that a certain Raja's coiju't-pundit ' who was on a 
journey, was passing aV no great distance from 
the village, just when the festivities were at their 
height. " How's this ?" said he to himself. " No 
festival falls on this , day. Then, what's all this 
to-do here f or ? " S^ he told his palki-bearers to 
carry him right thrpugh the middle of the village, 
instead of past one end of it. They did so, and, once 
inside the village, /the stranger-pundit was able to 
see that everywhere some festival was being cele- 
brated with tjje utmost enthusiasm, and that in 
every house were set up two clay images in the form 
of cats, with heaps of flowers and bel ' leaves before 
them. Very curious to know what it all meant, he 

° Images of olay and straw are made on ocoasioa of each pUja, 
as its time comes round. They are dressed and adorned and, by 
a, ceremony called prdnapratishthd, the spirit of the divinity to 
be worshipped is caused to enter them. The pujd over, by another 
ceremony, the divine spirit is dismissed from them. They are 
then stripped of their fine clothes and jewellery, and thrown away 
into a river or tank. 

« See No. I, Note 7. 

' See MWR, pp. 336 f., and No. IV, Note 18. 



THE PUNDITS' DISPUTATION 93 

asked some of the villagers what festival it was, 
and what divinity they were worshipping. " Ah, 
Thakur," ' answered one of them with a smile, " I'm 
thinking you can't possess much learning. That's 
why you have to ask such a question. Though, in 
truth, it's only exceptionally learned men like our 
Thakur Moshay" who know about such things. 
It is he who has told us to celebrate this pitja." The 
stranger-pundit, smiling in his turn, said, " Indeed, 
I must confess that I'm not learned enough to know 
about this festival. What is it called ? " The 
villager answered, " This is Ghontmongole day, on 
which Gh6ntm6ng616 Debi's pujd ought to be cele- 
brated. That's what we're busy with." The pundit 
asked, " What like is her image ? " " Don't you 
see them all about ? " was the reply. " Those cats 
are Gh6ntm6ng616 Debi's images." Hearing this, 
the stranger said, " Good people, in all my life, I've 
never met with nor heard of such a pundit as 
yours. I've a strong desire to make his acquain- 
tance and have an argument with him on some sub- 
ject." " You had much better not," answered the 
spokesman of the villagers. " It's no ordinary pun- 
dit that'll be fit to argue with our Thakur Moshay." 
" That's, no doubt, the case," said the stranger. " All 
the same, be so good as to go and give him my 
message." 

The villagers, accordingly, went off to their Brah- 
man's house at the other end of the village, and, 
calling him, said, " Thakur Moshay, whilst we were 
celebrating Ghontmongold Debi's piijd, as you di- 
rected us, another pundit, just like you, with sandal- 
s' » See No. XV, Note 2. 



94 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

wood marks on his forehead " and a little pigtail on 
the back of his head," suddenly came into the village. 
He was in a palki, and had a whole crowd of bearers 
with him. He made them stop, and asked us what 
we were doing. He seemed to be an ignorant fellow, 
not a learned pundit such as you are. However, we 
explained to him about Ghontmongol^ Debi's pujd, 
but he didn't seem able to understand. However, 
he said, ' Go and call your Thakur Moshay. Tell 
him I should like to have an argument in public 
with him.' We advised him not to think of such a 
thing, but he seemed bent upon it. So we've come 
to inform you. It's a rare joke, isn't it ? " The 
village pundit, hearing this, thought to himself, 
" Horibol Hori ! " It looks as if my game were up. 
However, it won't do to let people see I'm in a fix. 
In that case, even the louts I do pujd for, will lose 
all respect for me." Aloud, to the villagers, he 
said, "Yes, indeed, it's a good joke. Little does 
the fellow know what he's doing. However, take 
him this answer from me : — It's not my business to 
take the trouble to go to him. As it's he that wishes 
to argue, let him come here to me." The villagers 
returned and said to the stranger: "Our pundit 
says, ' Does he take me for a mere nobody, that he 
asks me to be at the bother of going to meet him ? 
Let him come to me, if he desires to see me.' " Hear- 
ing this, the stranger civilly replied, " Your Thakur 
Mohashoy is quite right. Why should he trouble to 

" See MWR, pp. 66 f., and 400. 

" See MWR, pp. 359, 374. Even when the head is not shaved, 
some hairs are twisted together to form the little tail, 
» See No, III, Note 7. 



THE PUNDITS' DISPUTATION 95 

come all the way here ? But I'll tell you what to do. 
Choose a place half-way between here and his house, 
and we'll both go there. In that way, your Thakur 
Mohashoy will suffer no indignity." " Very good," 
was the reply. "That seems quite fair." And 
away they went back to their own pundit, and told 
him what the stranger had proposed. " Very well," 
said he with an air of indifference. " You and he 
fix on the place, and let me know when everything is 
ready." The villagers again hurried away to the 
stranger, and said to him joyfully, " Our Thakur 
Moshay has agreed, and says you are to choose a 
spot along with us. When all is arranged, he will 
come." " Very good," replied he. " But I know 
nothing about your village. You fellows choose 
any place you think fit. I won't make any objec- 
tion to it. This is a great day for you. You'll soon 
see what a remarkable pundit you have among 
you." The villagers accordingly fixed on a spot in 
the middle of the main street, spread out mats and 
quilts, and then went and invited the stranger to 
follow them there. This he did at once, and, getting 
down from his palki, seated himself on a quilt. They 
next ran to their own pundit's house, and said to 
him, " Everything is ready, and the stranger-pundit 
is sitting waiting for you. The spot is midway, if 
anything, rather nearer your house than the place 
where he met us." The pundit was at a loss what 
further objection to raise. But a happy thought 
struck him at the last moment, and he asked, " How 
did he come to the place ? " " In a palki," was the 
reply. " You rascals ! " roared the pundit. " Am 
I then to go on foot?" "Thakur Moshay," they 



96 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

answered humbly, " how can a palki and bearers 
be procured in a poor village like this ? " " Well, 
then, I won't go, and there's an end of it," said the 
pundit. " You may go and tell him that." 

Away they went again, and informed the stranger 
about the new difficulty. " What a stupid lot of 
rascals you are ! " was his reply. " What though 
you can't get a palki ? Why not carry him here on 
your shoulders ? Shoulders, did I say ? To carry 
such a pundit on your heads " would be too great an 
honour for such ruck as you." They rushed back 
to their own pundit, and cried, " Thakur Moshay ! 
Never mind about the want of a palki ! We'll carry 
you on our own shoulders ! You're a Brahman, our 
Guru ; " and we, for whom you graciously per- 
form pujd, what are we but your servants ? It 
would be worth while being born, to have the honour 
of carrying you on our heads, let alone our shoulders ! 
In this way, you will suffer no indignity, aijd we shall 
feel quite uplifted. Come away ; what's the use of 
putting off any more time ? " The Brahman thought 
to himself, " Here's a nice mess. If I go, I shall 
be shamed, and, if I don't go, I shall be shamed. 
To think how many shifts I've tried in order to get 
out of this business, and all to no purpose ! It's 
impossible to make out what God is after to-day. 
All these years, I've got my livelihood by gulling 
those rascals, and now it looks as if all my tricks 
were certain to be exposed. However, there's 
nothing for it but to go. The contest must be 

^ Like an ordinary coolie or a woman. Carrying on the shoulder 
may be a man's regular occupation; carrying on the head, an im- 
possible indignity for him. i* Religious preceptor. 



THE PUNDITS' DISPUTATION 97 

decided on the battlefield." " So he said to them, 
" Wait a minute : I must dress." He then went 
into his house, made great sandal-wood marks over 
his whole forehead, wrapt a cloth inscribed with the 
divine names about his body, and hung a rosary of 
Rudrdksha berries round his neck. Thus attired, 
he sallied forth, and said peremptorily, " Take me 
up on your shoulders." Some of the strongest at 
once obeyed, and the procession started. 

When the stranger-pundit saw them approaching, 
he rose politely from his seat, and stood, awaiting 
them. They came up close to the place, and the 
village pundit got down from the shoulders of his 
bearers. The stranger greeted him with the words, 
" Agaccha, dgaccha." " The other, who knew no 
Sanskrit, didn't understand what he was saying. 
But, afraid of what the people might think, if he 
made no reply, he shouted in Hindustani," " You're 
an agoccho yourself, you blackguard ! " " What on 
earth does this mean ? " thought the stranger to 
himself. Then he said quietly, " Tishtha, tishtha." " 
" You're a tishthol " was the retort, " Your father 
was a tishtho ! All the members of your family 
for fourteen generations back have been tishthos, 
you scoundrel ! " " The stranger was utterly dumb- 

" Sk., Kahetre harmma vidhiyate. Common proverbial saying. 

^° Sk., = Come. He, of course, expected the discussion to be 
conducted in Sk. 

*^ By way of being specially insulting — as if he were speaking to 
a servant. 

^8 Sk., = stop or stay, 

1' Literally, wife's brother. Reckoned a very abusive epithet. 
I have heard a man bring a complaint before the magistrate, 
because he had been called a " ayala," 

7 



98 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

founded — ^all but speechless. " Sihiro bhava, sthiro 
bhava," " he faltered out. " You're a sthirobhobo 
yourself, you good-for-nothing ! " roared his oppo- 
nent. The stranger was unequal to continuing 
this novel kind of disputation any longer. He 
stood silent, looking down at the ground. The 
ignorant village audience, understanding not a single 
syllable that either disputant had uttered, imme- 
diately inferred from the bearing of the stranger that 
he had been worsted in the argument by their own 
pundit. That worthy, for his part, swaggered about, 
rolling his eyes, stroking his beard, and twisting 
the ends of his moustache. It was impossible to 
doubt that he had completely got the better of 
the stranger, and shouts of " Our Brahman's vic- 
torious ! Our Brahman's victorious ! " rose on all 
sides, till the whole village was in an uproar. 

" What a confounded nuisance ! " said the stranger 
to himself. " I've quite gratuitously exposed myself 
to a lot of vile abuse. Like enough, they'll end by 
giving me a hammering. It's high time for me to 
quit. Still, I should like to give the rascal a lesson 
before I go. I wonder how it could be done." Turn- 
ing this over in his mind, he called his palki-bearers. 
They brought the palki, and he was on the point of 
getting in, when he caught sight of a hair from the 
village Brahman's beard, lying on the ground. In-, 
stantaneously, quite a brilliant idea occurred to 
him. He picked up the hair, wiped the dust from 
it, and then carefully wrapped it up in the end of 
his shoulder-cloth," and tied it firmly. The villagers 
watched this proceeding with great interest and 

*• Sk., = calm yourself. *• See Appendix, Note 3. 



THE PUNDITS' DISPUTATION 99 

curiosity. Why had the stranger taken so much 
trouble to preserve a single hair from their own 
pundit's, beard ? For no other reason, assuredly, 
but that the hair possessed some remarkable virtue, 
which he knew about, although they did not. 

Meanwhile, the stranger had got into his palki, 
the bearers had lifted it, and they were just about 
to start, when the villagers surrounded it in a body. 
"Well, what is it now?" he asked. " Thakur 
Moshay," replied their spokesman, " you got beaten 
in the argument, did you not ? " " So it would 
seem," answered the pundit. " Ah," said the 
villager, " now you understand how clever and learned 
a man our Thakur Moshay is. However, what we 
wished to ask, is the reason why you are taking away 
that hair from our pundit's beard." " Oh, I have 
a very special reason for doing that," replied the 
pundit. " You noticed, I daresay, how glad I was 
to find it, and what care I'm taking of it. That's 
because that hair possesses wonderful virtue." 
"What sort of virtue?" they asked. "Do tell 
us, Moshay." " What's the use of my doing that ? " 
was the reply. " You can't get any more like it. 
I got the opportunity of picking up one hair by a 
lucky chance, because it had fallen out. So long as 
it was in his beard, it couldn't be got at." " You 
tell us the virtue of the hairs," they persisted. 
" There's no saying how we may manage to get 
them.'? " Well," answered the pundit, " what's re- 
markable about the hairs is this : all your pundit's 
cleverness and learning, which you rightly admire 
so much, lies in them. Whoever can obtain a single 
one of those hairs, will become as great a pundit as 



100 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

your Thakur Mohashoy is, himself, he'll never want for 
anything, the Raja will pay him all honour, and 
everybody will talk about him as a nonsuch. Nor 
is that all. Those hairs possess many other virtues 
— more than I've time to tell about. If ever you're 
lucky enough to obtain the hairs, you'll come to 
know all about them, yourselves. Ah ! if you could 
only get one each ! If you don't believe me, ask him 
for one. I bet he won't give it. He knows too well 
how precious those hairs are, and doesn't wish you 
all to become as great men as himself." 

Hearing all this, the villagers at once rushed across 
the road to their own pundit, who was just about to 
return to his house, and cried, " Thakur Moshay, be 
kind enough to give each of us a hair from your 
beard ! " " What good will that do you ? " was the 
reply. " Who ever heard of such a thing ? " This 
answer convinced them that the stranger had spoken 
the truth. " Oh, but you must give us them," 
said they. " Pluck out the hairs from my beard and 
give them to you ! " he retorted. " Confound your 
impudence ; I'll do no such thing." But, the more 
unwilling he showed himself to give away the hairs, 
the more assured became the applicants of their 
extraordinary virtues, and the more determined, 
by hook or by crook, to obtain them. Soon they 
could no longer restrain themselves. They seized 
him, and began to tear out the hairs from his beard. 
The news of their magical qualities reached the rest 
of the crowd that had already dispersed to their 
homes, and they came trooping back, eager not to 
miss the great opportunity of their lives. Jumping 
on the poor Brahman's back, they, too, began to 



THE PUNDITS' DISPUTATION 101 

tug at his beard. " Help ! Help ! Murder ! Mur- 
der ! " he shrieked, frantic with pain. " See you 
don't miss your chance, good people ! " cried the 
stranger. " You'll never get another like it again. 
And, by the way, I had quite forgotten ; the hairs 
of the moustache are even better than those of the 
beard. So nobody needs to go without." By this 
time, there wasn't much beard left for the last comers. 
These now turned their attention to the moustache. 
Before long, the pundit was lying half -dead on the 
road. Chuckling gleefully to himself, the stranger 
gave his bearers the word, and, in a minute or two, 
the palki had disappeared. 



X. 

THE FOUR POETS. 

In a certain village lived four brothers. Though 
they were Brahmans, they could neither read nor 
write, and were quite unable to earn a pice in any 
way whatever. They were all married, and their 
wives, who, far from getting fine clothes and ornaments, 
often had next to nothing to eat, were constantly 
grumbling. " See how many Brahmans go to the 
Raja's darbar," they used to say, " and, for simply 
reciting a verse or two, receive splendid presents. 
Why don't you do the same ? " " We aren't clever 
or learned enough to compose verses," they would 
answer. " So how can we go to the court ? And 
what would be the use of it, if we did ? " But their 
wives were not to be put oft with any excuses what- 
ever. So, at last, one day, the four brothers had to 
promise they would go to the Raja's, each recite a 
verse, and bring home a lot of rupees. 

Accordingly, theyset off for the palace, and, reaching 
it, made their way into the hall of audience. Seeing 
what appeared to be four Brahman pundits enter, 
the Raja welcomed them with great courtesy, and 
inquired the cause of their honouring him with 
a visit. " We have come to recite verses. Your 
Majesty," was the reply. "Ah," said the Raja, 

102 



THE FOUR POETS 103 

" I'm sorry that the darbar is just on the point of 
breaking up for to-day. Come back to-morrow, and 
I shall be delighted to hear your verses." The four 
departed, and, procuring a lodging near the palace, 
they passed the night there. Early in the morning, 
they rose and went to a neighbouring tank to wash 
their faces and hands. Then they said to one 
another, " We've got to recite verses before the Raja 
to-day. But we haven't yet composed any." This 
was a serious consideration, so they sat down beside 
the tank, and proceeded to rack their brains. Pre- 
sently, the sun rose, in colour a brilliant red. Seeing 
it, the eldest brother suddenly exclaimed, " I have 
it ! My verse is ready." " What ? What ? " cried 
the others. " Let us hear it." He pompously recited 
the following : 

" In the east, the rising sun I see. 
As like a copper pan as can be." 

The others listened with admiring envy, and then 
resumed their meditations. After a while, as the 
second brother gazed all round, his glance lighted on 
the garden from which flowers were supplied to the 
royal household. It was full of beautiful white 
blossoms. All at once he called out, " I have it ! My 
verse is ready, too ! " " Let's hear it ! Let's hear 
it ! " said the others. With a great air, he recited : 

"The flowers that in this pretty garden spring, 
Are just as white as a paddy-bird's wing." 

Just then, the third brother noticed a bit of sola ' 

• Mschynomene pahidosa, a water-plant, called by some the 
Indian cork, the stems of which, being very Ught, are used for 
making net-floats, sun-hats, toys, etc. Sola can absorb an enormous 
quantity of water. 



104 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

floating in the tank. He rose, and, picking it up, gave 
it a twist. Being saturated with water, it had swollen 
very thick. When the water was squeezed out, it 
becaine quite thin again. Seeing this, the third 
brother, too, got an inspiration, and called out, " I 
have it. My verse, too, is ready." " Oh, let's hear 
it," said the others, and he, in the most dignified 
manner possible, recited : 

" This sola, so thick when the water was in. 
The moment I wrmig it, became very thin." 

They sat on a while longer, waiting for an in- 
spiration to come to the youngest brother, but in 
vain. Time was passing. So they got up, bathed 
and breakfasted, and set oft for the palace. The 
three eldest were in high spirits. Already, they 
saw in fancy the surprised and delighted Raja ordering 
hundreds of rupees to be given them as rewards, and 
heard the cries of joy with which their wives would 
welcome them on their return home. The youngest 
was in the lowest depths of despair. The Raja re- 
ceived them as politely as he had done the day before, 
and, after he had seated them in places reserved for 
persons of distinction, invited them to recite their 
verses. The eldest got up, and, with the utmost 
assurance, delivered himself of his sloke. The Raja, 
in great disgust, ordered him to be turned out of 
the hall. The second brother then rose. Notwith- 
standing the reception his brother's verse had met 
With, he had no doubt his own was the right thing. 
But it was no sooner out of his mouth than the Raja 
signed to one of his attendants, and he, too, was 
bundled out. The self-complacency of the third was 



THE FOUR POETS 105 

still unshaken. He rose, and solemnly gave forth 
his verse, but had scarcely finished, when he felt a 
hand on the back of his neck, and, almost before he 
knew what was happening, he found himself outside 
the door. 

As he sat, watching proceedings, an inspiration had 
come to the youngest brother. He rose and said, 
" Your Majesty, shall I recite my verse ? " " Please 
yourself," answered the Raja, who was by this time 
thoroughly annoyed. " You see what your brothers 
have received for reciting theirs. If you're not afraid 
of getting the same, say away." " Oh, I may as well 
risk it," said he, and recited the following : 

" lu truth, we stupid brothers four 
Are as many bullocks * and nothing more." 

" You've hit it," said the Raja, with a hearty 
laugh. " You really deserve a reward." Then he 
ordered a hundred rupees to be paid him at once, 
and promised to see that he shouldn't want iii the 
future.' With this, he dismissed him, and the four 
brothers returned to their homes. 

' Bengalis use the word for " bullock" as we do " donkey." 
' We have here, no doubt, an instance of the successful, but the 
hero, himself, would hardly call it one of the " clever," youngest son. 



XI. 

THE TWO-FOOTED CATTLE. 

The Raja of a certain country asked one of his friends, 
who was Raja of another country, to send him three 
two-footed cattle. This Raja said to his Chief Minister, 
" Where in the world am I to find two-footed cattle ? " 
The Minister answered : " Moharaj, you need have no 
anxiety on that score. There are plenty to be found 
in your own kingdom." The Raja said : " What do 
you mean ? " The Minister answered : " I shall 
bring some and let you see." With these words, 
the Minister went away, and soon returned from the 
neighbouring village with three pundits, who pos- 
sessed profound knowledge of the ^astras. Seeing 
them, the Raja said to the Minister, with a smile : 
" Minister, these are what you mean ? " " Yes, 
Moharaj, these," answered the Minister. The Raja, 
though somewhat astonished, then said to the learned 
Brahmans : " Such and such a Raja desires to see 
you. He is a great friend of mine. Do me the favour 
of visiting him." With these words, the Raja gave 
them some money for the expenses of their journey. 
The Brahmans took the money, gave the Raja their 
blessing, and returned, each one to his own house. 
Then, after ascertaining a fortunate day and fortu- 

106 



THE TWO-FOOTED CATTLE 107 

nate moment for beginning their journey, they started 
to visit the other Raja. 

They had travelled some distance, when, on reach- 
ing a certain village, they observed that it was getting 
rather late, so they resolved to have something to 
eat before going further. Sitting down at the foot 
of a tree not far from the bazar, they deliberated which 
of them should go to buy what, they wanted. At 
last, choosing the pundit who was learned in the 
medical Sastras, they gave him a rupee, and sent 
him off to make the bazar. When he reached the 
shops, he began to look carefully at everything that 
was for sale. At length, after much pondering and 
hesitating, he bought three vegetables, for which he 
paid the whole of the rupee. He returned with his 
purchases to his companions. They, after having 
had nothing to eat the whole day, were very angry 
when they saw him coming back with nothing but 
three vegetables. But the pundit said : " There was 
nothing else I could bring." Then he quoted to them 
this verse from the medical Sastras : " Fish induces 
two of the three unhealthy states ; potol dispels all 
three." ' Having recited the verse, he said, " Do you 
think I study the Sastras all day, and don't know 
what things would make a man ill, if he eats them ? 
I knew what I was doing when I bought the vegetables. 
Come, let us eat — ^there are three of us, and there are 
three vegetables, one for each. There's no fear of 
their doing us any harm." What could they do ? 
As he could get nothing else, each took a vegetable, 
and ate it. 

Having thus rested and refreshed themselves, they 

^ Sk., " Kaphapittakaro matsyah, pafolani tridosham haret." 



108 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

began their journey again. They had not gone very 
far before they came to a httle river. They could 
see no way of getting across. However, they hap- 
pened to have one servant with them, so they sent 
him away to look for a boat. He went about search- 
ing in every direction, but could find none. After 
a while, he returned and told them so. For a long time, 
they sat deliberating on the bank of the stream. 
While they sat, suddenly they observed a banyan 
leaf come floating along. Then one of the pundits, 
who was learned in the ancient religious Sastras, 
said : " When the earth was overwhelmed by the 
deluge, then the Supreme God himself reposed upon 
a banyan leaf.^ This banyan leaf, then, may well 
take us across. Come, let us embark upon it I " 
Following his advice, all three, along with the 
servant, stepped on to the banyan leaf. In an in- 
stant, they had all tumbled into the water, but, 
with great difficulty, the three pundits managed to 
get across by swimming. The servant, poor fellow, 
having a heavy bundle upon his head, was unable to 
swim. Floundering about, he began to sink. Then 
one of the pundits, who was learned in the astro- 
logical Sastras, said, " It's all up with him. I made 
a calculation, and found that he had come under 
the power of Saturn." Hearing this, another of the 
pundits quoted the verse from the Sastras, " In time 
of greatdanger,thewise man lets go half his property.'" 
He added, " We must, therefore, be content to save 

* The banyan is very appropriately sacred to Kola or Time. 
See MWB, p. 331. Lakshmi appeared at the Creation, floating on 
the expanded petals of a lotus. Cf. SIF, Note 7 on p. 290. 

° Sk., " Sarvvana^e samutpanne arddhvam tyajati panditalj." 



THE TWO-FOOTED CATTLE 109 

half of this fellow." So saying, he took a knife 
and cut off the poor man's head, which he kept, while 
the river carried the body away down. 

They now hurried on as fast as they could, but it 
was evening when they arrived at the palace. Late 
though it was, they did not enter at once, for they 
reflected that all times are not auspicious for having 
audience of a Raja. Accordingly, they bade the 
astrologer calculate and ascertain a fortunate moment. 
He did so, and then said, " Shortly after midnight, 
there will be an auspicious time." So they all sat 
down in a secret place to wait till the lucky moment 
should arrive. Midnight came, and they rose up to 
go to meet the Raja. Then, as they went along, 
one said, " We ought to approach the royal presence 
by some hidden way." They, therefore, betook them- 
selves to the back of the scullery,* and got into the 
palace by the drain." Once inside, they went straight 
upstairs, and found, of course, that the Raja had 
retired to rest. They sought out his room, where 
they saw him lying upon one couch, and his Rapi 
upon another. 

All at once, something seemed to strike one of the 
pundits, and he said : " We have defiled ourselves 
by contact with the scullery-drain. Before we pre- 
sent ourselves to the Raja, we must bathe. But where 
are we to get water ? " Hearing this, another said, 
" Let us see whether there is no scriptural precept to 
guide us." The third pundit at once ran down and, 
opening his book, searched through it for a long 
time. Then, returning, he cried : " Yes, yes ! There 

* Bengalensis verbi proprius eensus = latrina. 
6 Cf, Bhogoban's procedure in No. XIII. 



110 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

is ! There is ! The ^astra is a mine of gems. 
Whatever one seeks there, he finds. In my book, it 
is written that a woman is like a river. Then, here is 
this Rani, she is the same as a river. Come, let us 
go to the Rdni and bathe." Forthwith, the three 
began jumping and tumbling over the Rdni's couch. 
The noise awoke her with a great start, and the Raja 
also awoke. He was astonished to see three men in 
his room. He asked them, " Who are you ? " Then 
they, having addressed the Raja in the hymn of 
salutation from the ^astras, told him all about them- 
selves and the reason of their coming. The Raja 
laughed heartily at their story, and said, " In very 
truth, my friend has sent me what I asked for.' But 
do you, venerable sirs, go and rest now. To-morrow, 
when the court assembles, I shall dismiss you with all 
due form." With these words, the Raja gave them 
leave to go for the present. 

• Similaxly, the chanter of the Sama Veda, who makes a great 
fool of himself when he tries " fast " life, is oaUed a two-legged 
cow— KSS, I, p. 35. In KSS, II, pp. 91 f., a boy is scratched 
by monkeys in a forest, and tells his father that some hairy creatures 
that live on fruits, have injured him. The father goes and finds 
some Brahman ascetics with long matted hair, picking fruit, and 
is about to kill them, when a stranger comes up and stops him. 
This, however, was no joke, but a case of bona-fide mistake. 



XII. 
KANGALA. 

Once on a time, in a certain village, there lived a 
Brahman and his wife. One day, the Brahman! felt 
a very strong desire to get some rui ^ fish to eat. So 
she said to her husband, " Thakur, if only you could 
bring me a rui fish, I would eat it and satisfy the 
longing of my heart. Oh, I would give anything 
for a bit of rui." Seeing his wife had taken such a 
fancy for rui fish, the Brahman had, of course, to 
promise to do his best to get her some. So he begged 
from house to house till he had collected as much 
as two rupees, with which he went to a fish-shop 
in the bazar. There he picked out a huge rui fish, 
which he bought, and, going to some other shops, 
he procured suitable vegetables and other things to 
be eaten along with it. All the articles together made 
up a rather heavy load, so he had to look about for 

1 Sk., rohita = red, a fresh- water fish, which — especially, the 
head — is considered very good eating by Bengalis. It grows to 
a large size, and, in an orally current Sk. sloke, figures as a model 
of modest dignity : 

" Agddhajalasan6&ri na garvaih y&ti rohitah, 
Angushthodakam&tre^a sapharl pharphar&yate." 

" The rui, moving about in the deepest water, never becomes 
proud ; the sapharl (which is no bigger than a minnow) makes 
a great splashing in water only a finger's breadth deep." 

Ill 



112 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

a coolie to carry them home for him. He had great 
difficulty in finding anybody. One coolie after 
another refused to go. At last, a man who was 
standing by, said to him, "Thakur, if you promise 
to give me one meal of that rui fish to eat, I'll 
carry home your bazar for you." " Very good," said 
the Brahman. " Come along, then. What's your 
name ? " " Kangala," said he ; and, taking up the 
load on his head, he set oft after the Brahman. 

When they got to the house and the Brahman dis- 
played his purchases, his wife was overjoyed at the 
sight of the rui fish, and at once was seized by an irre- 
pressible desire to go and boast about it to her neigh- 
bours. So, off she went to her nearest acquaintance 
and began calling out, " Sister, sister, can you lend 
me your cutter ? My Brahman has brought home a 
huge rui fish. It's such a size that our own cutter 
is of no use for cutting it up. So I've had to come 
to you." " There's my cutter," said her neighbour, 
pointing to it. " Take it by all means." The Brah- 
manl looked at the cutter and said, " Ah, that won't 
do. It's scarcely any bigger than our own." Saying 
this, she went away to another of her acquaintances, 
and, telling her the same story about the rui, asked 
for the loan of her cutter. But, as soon as the woman 
offered it, she refused to take it, saying it wasn't 
anything like big enough. In this way, she went 
round a good many houses, then, returning home, 
she cut up the fish with her own cutter, boiled a large 
quantity of rice, fried the fish and the vegetables, 
and served up supper. First the Brahman, then 
she, herself, made a most hearty n?eal. Afterwards, 
she put aside what remained gf the various eatables, 



KANGALA 113 

tidied up, and, going inside along with the Brahman, 
lay down to rest. 

Kangala felt grievously disappointed, but he tried 
to comfort himself, thinking, " After the Brahmani 
has rested for a little, she will get up and give me 
food." Presently, they both fell asleep. Still Kan- 
gala said to himself, " She must have been very 
tired, with all that cooking to do and nobody to help 
her. When she awakes and feels refreshed, she'll 
no doubt come and give me something to eat." 
After a while, the Brahman awoke, and called out, 
" Kangala, tell me a story." " Well, I never ! " 
thought "Kangala to himself, and he began to say, 
as if speaking to himself, " The deer goes on three 
legs. Who can catch his tail ? " " What's that 
you're saying ? " asked the Brahman. " Where is 
the deer ? " " Oh," replied Kangala, " it's one that 
I saw pass along the road this very minute." The 
Brahman jumped up, seized a stick and hurried out, 
hoping to catch the deer. A little later, his wife 
awoke, and cried, " Kangala, where in the world has 
the Brahman gone ? " " Oh," he replied, " how 
should I know ? A pretty girl came here, and the 
Brahman got up to speak to her. Then they went 
off, talking to one another, in that direction," pointing 
with his hand. " The burnt-face ! The big fool ! 
It's just like him. But I'll let him see whether he'll 
play such tricks on me for nothing ! " screamed 
the Brahmani ; and, snatching up her broom, she 
hurried off in pursuit of him. 

Finding the coast clear, Kangala at once proceeded 
to the kitchen, and, taking a good supply of rice from 
the pot, and fish and vegetables from the frying-pan, 
8 



114 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

began to eat, making the very most of his time. After 
a while, the Brahman and his wife returned. Seeing 
a light burning in the kitchen, they came straight 
to the door and found Kangala busUy employed on 
the rice and the fish. " You rascal ! What are you 
doing here ? " cried the Brahman in a great rage. 
" You've spoilt all the food I had here." ' " Why, 
Moshay," answered Kangala, " all this time, I've 
been looking at your face, expecting you would give 
me something to eat, but in vain. So, getting a 
good opportunity, I've made bold to help myself." 
" Well, you'll have to go to court and answer for this, 
you blackguard ! " cried the Brahman. " Come along 
with you ! " " Come along," replied Kangala, quite 
cheerfully. The Brahman tied a rope to one of his 
hands, and they set off. 

They hadn't gone very far, when Kangala, seeing 
a shop where cooked food was sold, near at hand, said 
to the Brahman, " Thakur Moshay, please let me go 
for a little. I wish to buy something at that shop." 
" Very well," said the Brahman, and he released 
him. Going up to the shopkeeper, Kangala asked the 
price of some little baskets of parched rice. " Eighty 
cowries ' each," was the reply. " I've only seventy- 
nine," said Kangala. " I won't sell for seventy- 
nine," replied the shopkeeper. " I'd rather get my 
eighty cowries with a slap on the face into the bargain 
than let one go for a single cowrie under the proper 
price." Kangala went away, and soon got another 

^ Kangala was, of course, a man of very low caste. I have 
heard his like abused most heartily for polluting a Brahman's 
pot of water with his shadow. 

' On cowries, see No, XX, Note 12. 



KANGALA 115 

cowrie by begging ; with which he came back, and, 
paying the shopkeeper his eighty cowries, he took one 
of the baskets, and then, with all his force, hit the 
man a slap on the cheek. " What's that for, you 
rascal ? " he cried. " How dare you strike me ? " 
" Why," replied Kangala, " didn't you say that, if 
you were paid eighty cowries, you would be contented 
to take a slap into the bargain, but you wouldn't sell 
the baskets of rice for a single cowrie less than the 
proper price ? Well, I've given you eighty cowries 
for a basket and a slap into the bargain. What have 
you got to complain about ? " " Confound your im- 
pudence ! " cried the man, ruefully rubbing his in- 
jured cheek. " You'll have to answer few this in the 
Raja's court. Come along, you scoundrel ! " " All 
right, come along," said Kangala, quite happily. 
The Brahman had already fastened a rope to one of 
his arms ; the shopkeeper now tied one to his' other 
arm, and the two led him away between them. 

Presently, Kangala again said to the Brahman, 
" Thakur Moshay, please let me go for a minute. 
I should like to soak some of my rice in water and 
eat it." The Brahman and the shopkeeper con- 
sented, and let go the ropes by which they were 
leading him. Close by stood a house. Kangala went 
up to it, and saw a Brahman sitting at the door. 
" Thakur Moshay," said he to him, " would you be 
so good as to give me a plantain leaf ? " Now the 
Brahman had just come out of his house after having 
a violent quarrel with his wife. So he said to Kan- 
gala, "jGo and ask for one from that daughter of a 
dung-eater inside." * Kangala went into the house 

• " Son or daughter of such-and-such " is one of the most common 



116 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

and began to shout, " Oh, daughter of a dung-eater ! 
Oh, daughter of a dung-eater, come and give me 
a plantain leaf." Hearing this, the Brahman at once 
came into the house and said angrily to Kangala, 
" You rascal ! What do you mean by using bad 
language to my wife?" "Why," replied Kangala, 
as if greatly surprised, " didn't you say to me your- 
self, ' Go and ask a plantain leaf from that daughter 
of a dung-eater inside ? ' Of course, I supposed that 
was my venerable mother's name and, therefore, 
called her by it." " All very fine," said the Brahman. 
" You'll see whether that kind of excuse will go down 
with the Raja. Come along to the court." " All 
right, come along," replied Kangala, showing not 
the slightest concern. The Brahman was about to 
tie a rope to his arm, but Kangala said, " You mustn't 
do that. Two men have already fastened ropes to 
my two arms. You had better put your rope on 
one of my legs." The Brahman did so. Then all 
three took hold of their ropes, and the march to 
the court began again. 

By and by, they fell in with an oil-dealer. " Brother 
oil-dealer," said Kangala, "how far is it to the 
palace ? " "If you go on as you're doing now," replied 
the oil-dealer, " it'll take you all your time to get there 
before the court rises, but, if you go quarrelling, you 
may arrive a little sooner." " Well," said Kangala, 
" my quarrel with these fellows has grown stale by 
this time. I'd better pick a fresh one with you." 

formulse of abuse in the East. A European newly-arrived in 
India is rather puzzled when one of his servants complains that 
another has been abusing his mother. He means he has called him 
" Son of a pig," or the like. 



KANGALA 117 

Saying this, he hit the oil-merchant a blow on the 
cheek as hard as ever he could. " What are you 
doing, you scoundrel ! " roared the man, furious with 
pain. " Come along with you to the court." " Come 
along," said Kangala, holding up his free foot. The 
man angrily tied a rope to it, and the procession 
moved on again. 

Before they reached the palace, the assembly in 
the hall of audience had broken up. So the four 
complainants with the ciilprit had to find quarters 
in the neighbourhood for the night. Next morning, 
after the officials had assembled and the Raja had 
taken his seat, they appeared in court. The Raja 
told his Chief Minister to hear and decide their cases. 
He called upon the Brahman whose fish Kangala 
had carried, to state his complaint. The Brahman 
related his whole story with full particulars from 
beginning to end. The Minister heard him out, 
then said, " Brahman, in this matter, you are in the 
wrong. You did not fulfil your bargain with him." 
Turning to the shopkeeper, he asked, " What have 
you got to say against the accused ? " The shop- 
keeper told his story. The Minister said, " Shop- 
keeper, in this matter, you are in the wrong. You 
invited him to strike you and he did so." The other 
Brahman was then called upon to state his case. 
Having heard all he had to say, the Minister pro- 
nounced his decision : " Brahman, in this matter, 
you are in the wrong. He only followed the example 
which you set him." The oil-merchant was now 
asked what complaint he had to bring against 
Kangala. He related in detail what had occurred. 
Having heard him out, the Minister said, " Kangala, 



118 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

in this matter, you are in the wrong. You must pay 
a fine of eight annas." Kangala had one rupee in 
his possession and no other money whatever. He 
threw it down before the Minister and gave him a 
sounding slap on the cheek. " You villain ! " roared 
the insulted grandee. " What do you mean by 
striking me ? " " Incarnation of Justice," • Kangala 
answered humbly, " I had no money but that one 
rupee. How was I to get change for it here ? So 
I gave you a slap. That makes things square — 
for one slap, a fine of eight annas ; for two slaps, a 
fine of one rupee." The Raja laughed heartily, and 
dismissed Kangala and his accusers." 

' Hindu equivalent for " Your Worship." Still in common use 
in British courts in India. 

6 Cf. the story of Dan(Jin in STT, pp. 31 ff. E.g., Danglin is asked 
to stop a runaway mare. " How ? " he asks. " Anyhow," is 
the answer, whereupon he throws a stone at its head and kills it. 



XIII. 

WHAT WILL CO-OPERATION NOT EFFECT? 

Once there was a Raja who had a minister called 
Bhogoban. He was a great favourite with the Raja 
— indeed, the Raja had a far greater regard for him 
than for any other of his officials. Bhogoban had 
originally been appointed to a very humble post in 
the royal service, and owed his unusually quick pro- 
motion solely to his great abilities and incorruptible 
fidelity to his master. Naturally, the high favour in 
which he stood with the Raja, and, still more, the 
extraordinary rapidity of his rise to power and 
dignity, made Bh5gdban anything but popular with 
his colleagues, not to speak of those who, only a 
short time since, were his superiors, but now were 
his subordinates. Above all, the Minister who used 
to be the Raja's chief confidant, but, since Bhogoban's 
rise, was rarely consulted by him on matters of first- 
rate importance and, consequently, found his influ- 
ence and consideration dwindling day by day, simply 
could not bear the sight of the rival who had sup- 
planted him.* 

At last, when he could endure his position no 
longer, he secretly called together a number of his 

^ With the intrigue agaiuat Bhogoban and its motive, cf. Daniel, 
Ch. VI, and 'Bakhtyar-Nama,' Ch. I. 

119 



120 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

colleagues whose grievances were only less than 
his own, to consider what was to be done. All were 
clear upon one point — namely, that there was no 
possibility, of their regaining their old power and 
opportunities, so long as Bhogoban remained in the 
Raja's service. But how were they to bring about 
his downfall ? There never was any opportunity of 
getting at the Raja alone. Except when he with- 
drew to the Rani's apartments, he and Bhogoban 
were constantly together. 

After much debating, they hit on a plan which 
promised to be successful. A letter was despatched 
through the post to Bhogoban, purporting to come 
from his native village and informing him that his 
aged mother was dangerously ill, in fact, not expected 
to recover. On receipt of this letter, Bhogoban 
immediately hurried to the Raja and begged leave 
of absence that he might go at once to his home. 
The leave was, of course, granted, and he took his 
departure at once. The confederates then went to 
the Raja's durwan, and, offering him a huge bribe, 
said, " The next time Bhogoban comes and seeks 
admission to the royal presence, you must say to 
him, ' The Raja is very angry with you and has 
strictly forbidden me to allow you to enter the 
palace. Not only that ; he has given orders that, as 
soon as you appear, you are to be expelled from the 
city ? ' " The durwan, to whom the bribe they 
offered seemed quite a fortune, and who, moreover, 
remembered with great soreness the time, not so long 
ago, when Bhogoban was no better than a durwan, 
himself, was easily enough persuaded to do what the 
plotters asked. 



THE EFFECT OF CO-OPERATION 121 

A day or two later, some of them went to the 
Raja, and, putting on the appearance of very grave 
concern, said to him, " Your Majesty, Bhogoban, 
himself, has fallen ill in his vOlage home, and the 
doctors have given him up." This news distressed 
the Raja beyond measure, and he at once sent oft 
messengers to bring him the latest information about 
the condition of his beloved Minister. The messen- 
gers, however, were got hold of by the confederates, 
and, being speedily persuaded in the same way as 
the durwan had been, returned in a day or two to the 
palace, and reported to the Raja that the news of 
Bhogoban's illness was correct, and that he was 
now at the point of death. The Raja was so grieved 
that he declared he would go himself to see his 
favourite, and ordered preparations to be made for 
his journey without a moment's delay. His atten- 
dants began rushing hither and thither to execute 
his orders, when another messenger — sent by the 
plotters — arrived, as if come in hot haste from 
Bhogoban's village, and said, " Your Majesty, it's 
all over. Bhogoban is dead." At this news, the 
Raja was overwhelmed with grief, and gave orders 
that an ample allowance should be made from his 
treasury for the maintenance of the deceased Chief 
Minister's family. 

The confederates waited a few days, then another 
messenger appeared before the Raja and said in great 
excitement, " Your Majesty, Bhogoban has become a 
Bhiit ' and is working terrible mischief to the people 

' " Bhut " is a somewhat loosely used popular term. Here, 
obviously, it denotes a demoniacal being personally identical 
■with the deceased — like the Brahnhdaitya, LDB, pp. 201 fi. — 



122 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

of his village and the neighbourhood. Your Majesty 
will have to be very cautious, especially towards 
nightfall, as the Bhiit is sure to come on here before 
long." This report threw the Raja into a perfect 
fever of alarm, and he made up his mind to take 
the greatest care of himself.' 

Meanwhile, Bhogoban had reached his home and 
found that the intelligence contained in the letter 
was all a fiction. "Aha!" he thought to himself, 
" this is my enemies' doing. They must be up to 
some game." He spent some days with his relatives, 
and then returned to the city. Next morning, he 
went as usual to the palace, and was passing in, 
when, to his great surprise, the durwan stopped him 
rudely and said, " His Majesty has strictly forbidden 
me to admit you to his presence. Not only that, 
he's given orders to the police that you're to be turned 
out of the city. Just take yourself off, and be quick 
about it." " Horibol, Hori ! " thought Bhogoban 
to himself. " This is something worse than I looked 
for. It looks as if it were all up with me. But I've 
done no wrong whatever. What in the world can 
be the meaning of the Raja's having given such cruel 
and unjust orders about me ? " He tried to find 
out what had happened, by questioning one courtier 
after another, but every one simply confirmed what 
the durwan had said. 

Bhogoban now saw plainly that his only hope lay 
in securing a private interview with the Raja. He 

not one personally distinct from him, animating his corpse, which 
the King, of course, would believe to have been burnt. 

' The Raja, though well-meaning, is a good deal of an imbecile, 
as the kings in Eastern tales often are. Cf. CLER, p. 123, Note. 



THE EFFECT OF CO-OPERATION 123 

knew that, if he could only meet him face to face, 
he would have no difficulty in convincing him that 
he had no real cause for being displeased with him. 
But how was an interview to be obtained ? It would 
be possible only by his availing himself of some secret 
means of access to the Raja, as all the usual avenues 
were absolutely closed. Now, he was intimately 
acquainted with the Raja's personal habits, and knew 
that he was accustomed to go alone, about the same 
time every evening, to a certain place within the 
precincts of the palace. Accordingly, he determined 
somehow to make his way to the place, unobserved, 
and thus get a few words in private with the Raja. 

He carried out this plan at the very earliest oppor- 
tunity. Unfortunately, the way he had to take in 
order to reach the place without anybody's seeing 
and stopping him, was such that his dress got all 
soiled and disarranged. Hence, when he reached it, 
his appearance was terribly dirty and dishevelled.* 
The Raja was startled when he heard somebody 
approaching him in circumstances in which his pri- 
vacy had never been disturbed before. " Who's 
there ? " he called out sharply. " It is I, Bhogoban," 
replied the Minister, coming up to him. 

As we know, the Raja had heard that Bhogoban 
after his death had become a Bhut. So, when he 
beheld a fearsome-looking figure appear before him — 
and at dusk, too — calling himself Bhogoban, he didn't 
for a moment doubt that this was the Bhut. Shriek- 
ing, "Help! Help! Bhogoban's jBMi has seized me ! " 

« See No. XI, Note 5. Cf. ' Bibaho-Bibhrat,' Act II, So. 3, where 
the missing bridegroom's father speculates as to whether his son 
may not have disappeared by some such way. 



124 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

he rushed from the spot, frantic with terror, while his 
attendants, hearing his cries, came running from all 
quarters. Bh6g6ban saw that, if they caught him, 
he would be a dead man within a few seconds, and 
so his only course was to make himself scarce as 
quickly and stealthily as possible. Accordingly, he 
made off at once, leaving the Raja firmly convinced 
that he had become a Bhut, and no mistake about it.^ 

^ " The united machinations of a number of people made a 
Bhiit of Bhogoban," is a common Bengali proverb, which means, 
according to the narrator, that union can effect even the apparently 
impossible. Cf. the co-operative fraud in the third story of 
' Panohatantra,' Bk. III. A Brahman is carrying away a fine 
fat goat to sacrifice it. Three rogues, one after another, meet him 
and assure him it is a dog, a dead child, and an ass, with the result 
that he at last throws it down, declaring it must be a Rakshasa 
in goat-form. For parallels, see Benfey, ' Pantschatantra,' I, 
pp. 355 ff. In the form in which Macaulay cites the story in the 
beginning of his critique of Montgomery's poems, the three con- 
federates induce the Brahman to believe that a blind, mangey dog 
is an excellent sheep. 



XIV. 
THE SILENCE WAGER. 

A. — The Fish Supper. 

In a certain village dwelt a Brahman and his wife. 
One day, the Brahmani felt a very strong desire for 
koi ' fish. So she said to her husband, " Do get me 
some ko'i fish to eat." " Very good, I will," he 
replied, and, going to the bazar, he bought three, 
which he fetched home and gave to his wife. She 
cut them up, cleaned them, and cooked them. When 
supper-time came, the Brahman said, " I will eat 
two of the three fish." " No, you shan't," replied 
his wife. " I'll eat two." " What ? " cried her hus- 
band. "Am I not your lord and master, a person 
to be regarded with the greatest reverence ? It is 
only fit and proper that I should eat the two." 
" Fudge ! " retorted the Brahmani, " I'm only a ser- 
vant, am I, that I should be content to get one ? " 
" Who went to the bazar for them, I should like to 
know ? " asked the Brahman. " And who cooked 
them, / should like to know ? " rejoined his wife. 
" I am your husband, whom you are bound to treat 
with deference and respect," said he. " Moreover, 

V 

^ Sk., Kavayi, the Ooj'ua Cdbojua, a cheap and common fresh- 
water fish, said to travel by land from one place to another. 

125 



126 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

I took a deal of trouble to fetch these fish. So I 
must get the two." " And I'm your wife," she 
answered, " to whom you're bound to be as kind as 
you can. Moreover, I took no end of trouble to cook 
these fish nicely. I must get the two." 

Neither would give way, and the quarrel between 
them grew hotter and hotter. At length, the Brah- 
mani said, " Let us go to bed and see who speaks 
first. Whichever of us does, will have to take the 
one km fish." " That's a very good idea," replied 
the husband. Accordingly, they lay down, leaving 
their supper — rice, fish, and what not — ^untouched. 
They passed the night in absolute silence ; neither 
the one nor the other would utter a syllable. Day 
dawned ; the morning passed ; it was getting on to 
noon : but they continued to lie perfectly still ; 
neither of them would so much as get up and open 
the house-door. 

The neighbours began to wonder what had hap- 
pened. One after another came and called the 
Brahman and his wife, but in vain. Again and 
again, they shouted as loudly as they could, but 
nobody answered. At length, the people came to 
the conclusion that both of them must have died 
suddenly during the night. So they broke open 
the door, and, entering the house, began calling to 
them again. Still neither answered. They shook 
them and pulled them about ; neither made the 
slightest sound. The neighbours, being now quite 
sure that they were dead, carried them away to the 
burning-ghat, and, leaving three of their number to 
perform the funeral rites, returned to their homes,* 

« In KSS, 11, 209 f., a miserly Takka, for whom a milk-pudding 



THE SILENCE WAGER 127 

The three who remained, made up the pyre, placed the 
Brahman upon it, and applied the torch. They then 
lifted up the Brahmani to lay her beside her 
husband. Just at that moment, the flames reached 
the body of the Brahman. Unable to lie still or 
keep quiet any longer, he jumped up, crying, " Bram- 
honi, I'll eat the one ! " " Then I'll eat the other 
two," she promptly replied.' 

Instantly, the three villagers, convinced that they 
had become Bhuts,* and were speaking of devouring 

is being prepared, goes to bed meanwhile, to avoid seeing any 
visitor who might stay to share it. When one does come, he pre- 
tends to be dead, and makes his wife mourn for him. The guest, 
who sees through the " plant," mischievously joins in the lamen- 
tation. The relatives come next, and the supposed corpse is carried 
off and bv^nt, aa the miser will rather die than share his pudding. 

» Cf. LDB, 'The Adventures of Two Thieves,' pp. 169 fE. To 
avoid sharing some money with his companion, one of the two 
pretends to be dead, and the other takes away his body to burn 
it. But before he can do so, a band of dacoits turns up. The 
sight of a corpse being a good omen for them, they resolve to come 
back and bum it, if the night's enterprise is successful. They 
do this. When the thief feels the fire — as the story was told to 
me — he springs up, calling, " Brother, I'll take half ! " The other, 
who is sitting concealed in a tree, jumps down, saying, " And I'll 
take half." The dacoits at once bolt, leaving all their spoil, as 
they think the thieves are two Vetalas who are about to devour 
them between them. Cf. KKT, p. 301, and RRT, pp. 47 ff. In 
the story of ' Foolish Sachlili,' he goes to the jungle with his five 
flour-cakes, sa3ang, "I'll eat one, and I'll eat two," and so on, 
and the five fairies suppose that he means them — SIF, p. 33. 
' Clever Grethel ' tells the guest that her master intends to cut off 
his ears, whereupon he makes off ; and she tells her master that 
he is bolting with the two roast fowls she herself has eaten, hearing 
which he pursues him with the knife he was sharpening, in his hand, 
calling " Just one ! Just one ! " — meaning one fowl, but imder- 
stood by the guest to mean one ear — GHT, I, p. 309. 

For variants of this story and the next, see CLP, II, pp. 15ff. 

* See Appendix, Note 4. 



128 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

the three of them between them, dropped the Brah- 
man! and ran for their Hves. The Brahman and his 
wife followed them, he repeating, " I will eat the one," 
and she saying, " I will eat the other two." When 
they got to their own house, they had their supper 
for breakfast, the husband taking the one hoi fish, 
and the wife, the other two. 

B. — The Ganja-Smokers." 

Three well-seasoned ganja-smokers were travelling 
together to a certain place. They had started early 
in the morning and, towards midday, began to feel 
very tired and hungry, so, seeing a tank with some 
trees round it near the road, they agreed to rest there 
and have breakfast before going any farther. They 
sat down at the foot of one of the trees, and, having 
refreshed themselves with a smoke, went to a roadside 
shop and procured rice and what-not else they needed 
for a meal. Then they made a fire and cooked. 
Everything was ready, and they were just about 
to dish up their food, when it occurred to them that 
they had no plantain leaves ° from which to eat. 
One of them held out the cutter to another and 
said, " Brother, go and cut us some plantain leaves." 
He, in turn, passed on both cutter and request 
to the third, and he recommended the first to go, 

° Ganja is an intfexioant, prepared from the tops 'of the Indian 
hemp-plant. One effect of ganja-smoking is to make men un- 
conscionable liars. "A ganjarsmoker's tale" is Bengali for a 
"cock-and-bull" story. See 'Horidasher Gupto Kotha,' II, pp. 
17 ff. 

' At home, a Bengali eats his rice from a large metallic thala. 
On Hi journey, or when several guests have to be provided for, 
plantain leaves are used as dishes. 



THE SILENCE WAGER 129 

himself. For a while, they went on, each telling the 
others to go and nobody actually going, till at length 
they resolved to hold their tongues and sit down — 
first man who spoke, to go and cut the leaves. 

Hour after hour passed, but nobody broke the 
silence. The pariah dogs came and ate up the 
food. No one would utter a sound to scare them 
away. Night fell ; still they sat on, perfectly mute. 
It was getting on towards midnight — and a very 
dark one, too — without any change in this state of 
affairs taking place, when the village watchman on 
his rounds came up to where they were sitting. 
" Who are you ? And what's your business here ? " 
he asked. Getting no answer, he at once concluded 
they were thieves, and began to hammer them. 
Still there was no getting a word out of them, so he 
marched them oft to the nearest Thana. 

They were kept in the lock-up till morning, 
and then taken to the Deputy-Magistrate's court. 
Presently, that officer arrived and took his seat, and 
the police-sergeant pushed one of the three worthies 
into the dock. The Magistrate began to question 
him, but he wouldn't open his mouth. One of the 
constables gave him a good hammering, but it had 
no effect whatever. At last, the Magistrate said, 
" The rascal's a lunatic. Turn him out of the 
court." Forthwith, the sergeant took him by the 
scruff of the neck and gave him a shove which all 
but sent him sprawling. Involuntarily, he cried, 
" Get out, you rascal ! Whom are you shoving ? " 
The words were scarcely out of his mouth, when his 
two comrades, who were sitting awaiting their turns, 
rushed up to him, and, thrusting the cutter into 
9 



130 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

his hand, shouted triumphantly, " Cut, you rascal 1 
Cut the plantain leaves ! " Everybody in the court 
was astonished, and the Magistrate asked them what 
on earth they meant by their queer behaviour. They 
now told him the whole story, with which he was 
greatly amused, and dismissed them, laughing 
heartily. 



XV. 
MASTER AND MAN.' 

There were once two brothers who were so very poor 
that the younger had to leave home and seek service. 
As he wandered about, hunting for a job, he came 
one day to a well-to-do Brahman's house. Having 
got an opportunity of speaking to the master, he 
said, " Thakur Moshay,^ do you want a servant ? " 
" Yes," he replied, " and I've no objection to en- 
gaging you. But I make it a rule to take anybody 
as my servant only on certain conditions. If you 
agree to be bound by these, you may have the place." 
" What are the conditions, sir ? " asked the man. 
" They are these," said the Brahman. " You must 
eat your rice off tamarind leaves ; ' when you're up 

1 This story is a variant of ' The Cruel Merchant,' KKT, pp. 
98 fi. Cf. HGA, I, pp. 118 fi., ' The Wager of the Three Brothers 
with the Beardless ,Man.' There the stake is flesh from oS the 
backbone, to be lost by the person who flies into a rage. The two 
elder brothers successively lose the wager. The youngest wins, by 
wasting bis master's sheep and cattle tiU he can stand it no longer. 

' Thakiir — Sk. thakkura — properly means an idol or deity. The 
image in a temple is commonly so designated, and Brahmans, being 
divinities on earth, are so addressed. "Moshay," vulgar for "M6- 
hAshoy" — Sk. mahasaya, lit. = magnanimoiis, of noble disposition 
— is used as we use " Sir " or " Mr.," but implies greater deference. 

> Tamarind leaves are very minute. To speak of eating from 
them is an intentionally preposterous exaggeration. On ' plantain 
leaves,' commonly used for eating from, see No. XIV, Note 6, 

131 



132 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

and moving about, you must carry my boy ; and, 
when you sit down, you must prepare jute twine ; 
lastly, you must on no account throw up your place. 
If you do so, I shall have the right to cut off your 
nose. On the other hand, if I dismiss you, you shall 
have the right to cut off mine." " Very well, Thakur 
Moshay," answered the man, " I agree to the con- 
ditions." The Brahman, then, engaged him as his 
servant on these terms. 

A few weeks passed. What with gei;ting next to 
nothing to eat and no end of work to do, the servant 
soon became as lean as a skeleton and as weak as a 
baby. Only think : hard work from early in the 
morning till late at night, and dinner and supper 
off a tamarind leaf ! Yet, for fear of losing his nose, 
he daren't as much as mention giving up his place. 
At last, however, he could stand it no longer. " If 
my nose must go, it must go ! " he said to himself, 
and, going to the Brahman, he told him he would 
stay in his service no longer. " Then I'll have your 
nose," answered his master. " Take it, then," he 
replied. The Brahman seized him, cut oft his nose, 
and sent him about his business. The man went 
away back to his home, weeping bitterly, and said 
to his elder brother, " See what I've earned in ser- 
vice." Then he told him the whole story. " Just 
so," said the other. " Well, wait and see whether 
I don't bring you that Bamon rascal's nose to replace 
your own." 

Saying this, he set off for his brother's former 
master's house. Having got admittance, he asked 
him whether he needed a servant. " Yes," was the 
reply, " and you may have the place if you agree to 



MASTER AND MAN 133 

my conditions." He asked what these were, and 
the Brahman stated them precisely as he had done 
before. The man agreed to them without demur, and 
the Brahman at once engaged him. 

Some days passed without anything special occur- 
ring. Then it chanced that the Brahman had to 
go somewhere on business. In the morning, before 
he started, he said to his servant, " Clean out " 
(or, make big and high, heap up) " the byre, while 
I'm away, and take that jute and twist it into rope " 
(or, cut it). " Very good, sir," was the reply. As 
soon as the Brahman's back was turned, the servant 
set to, and, turning the cow out of the byre, gathered 
all the cow-dung and piled it up in a great heap on 
the thatch. Then, taking the lengths of jute, he 
hacked them into as little pieces as possible, and 
stuffed them into a sack. 

When his master came back in the evening, he called 
his man and asked, " Have you cleaned out " (or, 
piled up) " the byre ? " " Yes, sir," said he, and, 
following his master to the spot, pointed complacently 
to his work. The Brahman saw to his amazement 
a great heap of cow-dung on the thatch. " What- 
ever is that ? " said he. " Why," replied the ser- 
vant, " you told me to pile up the byre. And I've 
piled it up as high as ever I could. What more 
would you have ? " " You've played the very 
mischief with the byre ! " cried the Brahman. " The 
thatch'U rot in no time. Did anybody ever see such 
a stupid rascal ? Well, that can't be helped now. 
What about the jute ? Have you twisted " (or cut) 
" it ? " " Yes, sir," said the servant. " Where is 
it ? " asked the master. " Inside that sack," was 



134 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

the reply. " Inside a sack ? " said the puzzled 
Brahman. " Let me see it." The servant tumbled 
out the contents of the sack. " You've ruined me, 
you good-for-nothing blackguard ! " roared the Brah- 
man, when he saw the tiny snippings. " All that 
jute, worth ever so much good money ! And you've 
completely spoilt it." " Why, what's wrong now ? " 
said the servant in an injured tone. " Didn't you 
tell me to cut it up ? ' And I've done so as thoroughly 
as I could. There's no, pleasing you." The Brah- 
man called him and his ancestors all the bad names 
he could lay his tongue to, for there was nothing else 
he could do. 

Some days later, he happened to say to his ser- 
vant, " Give the cow some water," (or, pour water on). 
" Yes, sir," he replied, and, taking the poor beast, 
he tied its feet together, then, having hauled it up a 
foot or two from the ground by means of a rope thrown 
over the branch of a tree, he proceeded to pour pail- 
ful after pailful of water over it. After a while, the 
Brahman came to the spot and found him busily 
employed in this way, and the cow more than half- 
dead. As quickly as he could, he let it down from 
the tree and cut the cord with which its feet were 
fastened. Then he asked his servant, " What in the 
world were you trying to do ? " " Why, I was 
watering the cow as you told me to do," he replied. 
" She wouldn't stand still to be watered, so I had to 
hang her up to the tree." " You'll bring us all 
to perdition yet, you rascal ! " said the Brahman. 

' Here and below, the servant deliberately misvuiderstands words 
of double meaning, taking them in the literal sense instead of the 
ordinary one, fixed by usage. Cf. CAS, pp. 6 fl. 



MASTER AND MAN 135 

" If I hadn't come in the nick of time, you'd have 
committed cow-murder." ? " If you please, sir, how 
else should I have done the job ? " asked the man 
quite innocently. Again the Brahman had to be 
content with abusing his servant heartily, for he 
dared not dismiss him. 

Another time, before going off for the day on some 
business or other, the Brahman told the servant to 
tidy up (or, to clear out) the garden. As soon as 
he had gone, the man went to the garden, cut down 
all the good trees and plants, and left them lying 
about. On his return in the evening, the master 
asked, " Well, have you tidied up " (or, cleared out) 
" the garden ? " " Not quite altogether," he replied. 
" But I did as much as I had time for." " As much 
as you had time for ? " said the Brahman. " What 
do you mean, you rascal ? Let me see what you've 
done." With these words, he hurried off to the 
garden, and found that every tree and plant that 
was of any use, had been cut down. " You scoun- 
drel ! " he roared, " you've completely spoilt the 
garden. Who told you to cut down all these ? " 

" Bhagavati — Durga — is specially incarnated in the cow, but, 
according to a common picture, practically every deity of any 
standing has hia place in some portion or other of the sacred 
animal's anatomy. It would be hard to say whether Brahman- 
murder or cow-murder is the more heinous crime according to 
popular ideas. Woman-murder comes next. A very unforttmate 
man will often express his wonder as to how many Brahmans, 
cows, and women he m\ist have murdered in previous births to 
deserve all the ill-luck of the present one. By wandering about 
along with his wife after Nandini, the calf of the divine cow, Surabhi, 
solicitously ministering to her wants, and offering himself in her 
pla«e to be devoured by the lion of Siva, King Dibpa of the Solar 
race demonstrated his exemplary piety and delivered himself 
from a curse — BaghuvanSa, I, 81 ff. See MWR, pp, '317 S, 



136 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

" Sir," said the man humbly, " you told me to clear 
out the place. So I had first of all to cut the tre6S 
and plants down. All that remains to be done/ is 
to carry away the rubbish. Then the garden'U be 
completely cleared out." " So it will," retorted the 
Brahman grimly. "I see plain enough now why 
you took service with me. It was with the design 
of doing me all the harm you could. Well, carry 
away the wood you've cut, to the house." Saying 
this, he wailked off, fuming with anger. 

The servant proceeded to carry in the wood. 
He had stowed away the most of it, when, coming 
back from the garden with a very heavy tree, he 
met the Brahman's old mother. " Where shall I put 
this wood ? " he asked her. " Oh, put it where 
you've put the rest," was the reply. " There's no 
more room there," said he. " Then put it somewhere 
else," she answered testily. " But every place is 
full," said he. The old woman quite lost her temper 
at being bothered. " Then put it on my head ! " ' 
she cried. Forthwith, he heaved the massive tree- 
trunk on to her head with such force that the old 
woman tumbled down dead on the spot. He then 
carried in the rest of the wood and piled it on the 
top of her.' 

' An expression of impatience. 

' With this incident, of. SIF, p. 112. The Nabha Raja tells the 
strong woman, Ajit, in reply to her inquiry, to throw three elephants 
on to the roof of his palace, and is more than surprised when she 
aqtually does so, and they fall through it. 

With the servant's — of course, pretended — stupidity here and 
above, of. KSS, II, pp. 76 f. A servant is told to keep some trunks 
from getting wetted with rain. He does so by taking out the fine 
clothes they contain and wrapping them round the trunks. 



MASTER AND MAN 137 

Presently, the Brahman came back and asked him, 
" Well, have you brought in all the wood ? " " Yes, 
sir," said he. The master, -wishing to speak to his 
mother about some household matter, began calling 
" Mother ! mother ! " Getting no answer, he said 
to the man, " Where's my mother gone ? " " She's 
under that wood, sir," he replied, pointing to the 
heap. " What do you say ? " asked the Brahman, 
greatly puzzled. "How in the world did she get 
under the wood ? " " Sir," answered the servant, 
" I had filled up every place I could think of with 
wood, so I asked my venerable mother where I was to 
put what still remained. She told me to put it on 
her head, and I did so." 

The Brahman rushed to the pile, and, pushing aside 
the wood, pulled his mother out. He saw that she 
was dead. Overpowered with grief, he said to the 
servant, "I've had enough of you. I don't want 
your services any longer. Make yourself scarce." 
"Very well," he replied; "I don't mind. But, 
according to our agreement, you must give me your 
nose." " Take it," said the Brahman. " Anything 
to get rid of you ! " The man cut off his master's 
nose and went away home with it to his brother.' 

' It is contrary to all Folk-tale analogy that the elder brother 
should be the clever and fortunate one. Cf. variant in HGA, 
Note 1 above, and see MCF, pp. 365 £E. 



XVI. 

THE FOOLISH KING AND HIS FOOLISH 
MINISTER. 

Once on a time, there was a Raja, called Hobachon- 
dro. His Chief Minister's name was Gobachondro. 
In his kingdom, day was regarded as night, and night, 
as day. Fried rice and candy-sugar sold for the 
same price.' In short, everything in that kingdom 
was extraordinary. 

Now, in that country, there lived a Brahman, who 
had a servant, called Horidash, who, through daily 
eating a large quantity of candy-sugar, had grown 
very fat. One day, a traveller arrived about noon 
in the bazar of the chief city of that kingdom, 
who was quite ignorant of the manners and customs 
prevailing there. He began to dig a fireplace in the 
bazar, in order to cook his food. Then he cooked 
his food and sat down to eat it. Presently, two 
policemen came along and saw that a fireplace had 
been dug. Forthwith, they said to the traveller, 
" You are a thief : you have cut a hole with a view to 
commit burglary." ' " What ? " said the astonished 

* A common proverbial expression, denoting absolute want of 
discrimination. 

* " Diggingjthrough '' — Matt. vi. 19 — is still the regular method 
of effecting a bm-glarious entry into houses with mud walls. 

138 



THE KING AND HIS MINISTER 139 

traveller, " isn't this the daytime ? Who would ever 
think of cutting a hole to commit burglary in broad 
daylight ? Besides, I haven't made a hole in the 
wall of a house, but only in the ground, in order to 
cook my food." " Don't you know," replied the 
policemen, " that, in our Raja's country, this is 
night-time ? " Saying this, they bound him and 
dragged him away. 

Next day — ^that is, during the night that followed 
— Raja Hobachondro was sitting with his Minister on 
his right hand and all his court assembled round him, 
when the policemen brought in the alleged thief and 
placed him before the Raja, charging him with bur- 
glary. Forthwith, the Raja, without giving the poor 
man a chance of saying a word in his own defence, 
ordered him to be impaled. Thereupon, the Minister, 
Gobachondro, said, " Moharaj,' a new stake has just 
been made. It is a very thick one. It would be well 
to try it first on a very fat man. After that, this 
thief may be impaled." " That's a very sensible 
suggestion," said the Raja, " and ought certainly to 
be carried out." Accordingly, he gave orders that 
the so-called thief should be kept in custody in the 
meantime, and the fattest man in the city sought out 
and brought before him. 

Hundreds of officers at once rushed oft in all direc- 
tions, and, amongst all the fat people of the place, 
there was the greatest consternation. But none of 
them seemed to the officers to be fat enough for 
the purpose, till, at length, some, going to the candy- 
sugar bazar, caught sight of Horidash, who, as has 
been said, had grown immensely stout through con- 

' Sk., Maharaja = great king, Your Majesty. 



140 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

stantly eating candy-sugar. Overjoyed at having 
found so fat a man, they at once seized him and 
dragged him off to court. The Raja, too, was greatly 
dehghted when he saw Horidash, and cried, " That's 
the very man we want ! He and the stake will suit 
each other to perfection. Let him be impaled at 
once ! " * " Moharaj," said Horidash, " I haven't 
the slightest objection to being impaled. But the 
moment I saw that stake, somehow I felt sure that 
there's some mystery connected with it. Before 
I'm impaled, I should like to know where it came 
from and all about it. If you aren't inclined to heed 
what I say, there's a Brahman in the city who'll 
be able to give you full information on the point. 
Send for him and ask about it." " What Brahman ? " 
inquired the Raja. Horidash gave his master's name 
and address, and an officer was forthwith dispatched 
to fetch him. 

The Brahman, learning from the officers all that 
had been said and done at court, set out immediately 
in obedience to the Raja's summons. But, as soon 
as he came in sight of the stake, though it was still 

* Cf. KSS, II, p. 61. A king saw a man stealing flesh from his 
kitchen and ordered an equal quantity to be out from his body 
as a punishment. Then, moved to compassion by the poor wretch's 
suffering, he tried to compensate him by directing a much larger 
quantity of flesh to be given to him. Also, KSS, II, pp. 180 f. 
A washerman's donkey was eating the vegetables in a Brahman's 
garden. The Brahman chased it with a stick, and it fell into a pit 
and broke its hoof. So its master came and beat the Brahmai;ii, 
with the result that she had a miscarriage. The case came before 
the Chief Magistrate, whose judgment was that the Brahman should 
carry the washerman's bundles till the donkey was again fit for 
work, and that the washerman should effect the restoration of the 
Brahmarii to her former condition. See, also, STT, pp. 33 ff., 
and CLP, I, pp. 61 if. 



THE KING AND HIS MINISTER 141 

a long way off, he prostrated himself, and continued 
doing so, time after time, till he reached it, when 
he rose and began walking round and round it, 
reciting hymns all the while. The Raja, seeing the 
Brahman act in this strange way, was curious to 
know the reason of it. The moment the Brahman 
finished walking round the stake, he asked, " Why do 
you do that ? " But the Brahman, taking no notice 
of the question, cried, " Oh, Moharaj, I wish to be 
impaled on that stake. Do you graciously give 
orders that I be impaled at once upon it ! " " What 
do you wish that for ? " asked the Raja. " Moharaj," 
answered he, " it is the result of all the holy deeds 
I have ever done that I have obtained so much as 
the mere sight of that stake ! It was made in a most 
auspicious moment. All the three hundred and thirty 
millions " of gods are present in it. Whoever is 
impaled upon it, will go at once to heaven, to abide 
there for ever.' Formerly, that stake stood in the 
heaven of Vishnu. It is owing to your incomparable 
religious merit that it has descended into this world." 
Hearing this, the Raja said, "Thakur, I'll be im- 
paled on that stake myself." " Moharaj," replied the 
Brahman, " the stake is yours. You can get yourself 
impaled on it whenever you please. But graciously 

' The number of Hindu gods and goddesses is stated to be 
thirty-three crores. 

' Cf . the artifice by which the ' Little Peasant ' induces the Mayor 
and the rest of the villagers to jump into the river — GHT, I, p. 
269. Similarly, the ' Master Thief ' persuades the parson and his 
clerk to get into his sack, pretending he is Peter and will take 
them to heaven — GHT, II, pp. 330 f. Of the same kind is the 
trick by which Parrukhrflz gets his enemies sent off to Paradise 
via a, pile of burning wood — CLER, pp. 183 f. See also, ib., Note 
on pp. 500 ff., and No. XIX, Note 7. 



142 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

let me have the privilege of being impaled to-day." 
" No, no," cried the Raja. " I, myself, must have 
the first turn ! " " Very well, Moharaj," said the 
Brahman. " Be it as you please. Whatever you 
command, must be done. If you are impaled on that 
stake, you will not only go to heaven, but will be 
a Raja there. In that case, you will require a 
Chief Minister." " Oh, I have a Minister here," re- 
plied the Raja, pointing to Gobachondro. " If I am 
to be a Raja in heaven, as you say, then he must 
go with me to be my Minister there. Let him be 
impaled too." 

The Brahman then did pujd to the stake, and, 
directing the Raja and his Minister to dress themselves 
in red clothes with garlands of red flowers on their 
heads, he caused them to be impaled, one after 
the other. They both died immediately. All the 
people were filled with admiration at the cleverness 
of the Brahman, and chose him to be their Raja on 
the spot. He reigned long and wisely, and, under 
him, the country enjoyed great prosperity. 



XVII. 
KANAI, THE GARDENER. 

Once on a time, there was a gardener called K3iiai. 
He was employed in the Raja's garden, which was a 
very beautifiil one, full of all sorts of flowering plants 
and fruit-trees, and with many fine tanks, studded 
with lotuses. A lovelier sight was nowhere to be 
found. Kanai used to spend the whole day in the 
garden, going home at night. 

One night, however, for some reason or other, in- 
stead of getting away to his own house, he had to 
remain in the garden. It was bright moonlight, and, 
till very late, he strolled about beside one of the 
tanks. All at once, he heard a tremendous noise. 
It seemed to come from the east. The trees and 
shrubs strained and groaned and crashed. Kanai, 
in great fear, hid himself behind a huge tree. Pres- 
ently, he saw an enormous elephant descend from 
the sky,' and go roaming about through the garden. 
After a while, plucking up courage a little, he left 
his hiding-place, and went and sat down on the 
edge of the tank. As he sat there, he thought to 

1 Cf. KSS, II, p. 502 — Lakshmi descends from heaven on an ele- 
phant with four tusks ; i6., II, p. 540 — Indra gives King Memdhvaja 
two air-going elephants ; ib., I, p. 328 — King Batnadhipati obtains 
a white elephant, Svetara&mi, which is possessed of supematuial 
wisdom, and flies through the sky. 

U3 



144 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

himself, " What in the world can this be ? In all 
my life, I never saw such an immense elephant.' But 
I remember hearing of a heavenly elephant, called 
Oirabot,' which is said to be of vast size. No doubt, 
this is it. Anyhow, I must watch to-night, and see 
where this elephant goes." Having come to this 
resolution, he got up, and began to walk quietly 
after the elephant. It ate its fill of various fruits 
and roots that grew in the garden, and was just about 
to ascend to the sky again, when Kanai seized its 
tail, and managed to seat himself firmly. 

Thus, when it went up into the sky, Kanai went 
up along with it. That celestial elephant, Oirabot, 
was in the habit of coming every night into that 
garden in that same fashion, to eat the fruits and 
the roots, and then going away back to heaven again. 

When they arrived in heaven, Kanai let go the 
elephant's tail. Oirabot departed to Indra's palace, 
and Kanai began to walk about through heaven in 
all directions. Seeing and hearing what he had never 
seen or heard before, and, indeed, had never expected 
to see or hear at any time, he was unspeakably de- 
lighted. He was especially astonished at the mar- 
vellously low prices of things. And yet everything 

^ Sk., Airdvata, the elephant of Indra. Indra, in the later Hindu 
mythology, has fallen to the second rank, and much that is discredi- 
table and ludicrous — e.g., his intrigue with Ahalya, the wife of the 
sage Gautama, and its result — is related of him. This degradation 
of Indra is doubtless due to the fact that, in the Veda, while many 
passages express grand and lofty ideas of him, in others he is 
described as a big-bellied, sensual Soma-swiUer. Brunnhofer 
accounts for the latter by the hypothesis that Mongolian tribes 
were absorbed by the Sanskrit-speaking, full-blood Aryans, and 
to them the representation of Indra "ala tiirkiseheif Schlemmer " 
is due—' Arisohe Urzeit,' pp. 289 ff. 



KANAI, THE GARDENER 145 

was of such huge size that the sight filled him with 
amazement.' He first of all ate his fill of celestial 
sweetmeats and various other dainties, and then he 
bought some pan-leaf, and some betel-nut. Both 
the pan and the betel-nut were enormously big, like 
everything else in heaven ; for, there, everything 
is on a vast scale. This done, he came and sat down 
beside the elephant. 

Next night, Oirabot went down to the garden as 
usual, but with Kanai hanging on to his tail. As soon 
as they got there, Kanai let go the tail, and hurried 
straight home. His wife was looking out for him 
along the road. He had never before failed to come 
home every evening, but now, for two whole days, 
she had seen nothing of him. Of course, she had 
become very anxious about her husband. As soon 
as she saw him coming, she ran to meet him, and 
cried, " Where have you been ? Where have you 
been ? " Kanai, without answering a word, brought 
out the big pan-leaf and betel-nut. At the sight of 
them, his wife fairly danced with joy. " Wherfe did 
you get these ? Where did you get these ? " she 
cried. Kanai then told his wife all his adventures. 
When he had done, she said, " I'll go too." " Very 
well," answered her husband, " but see you don't 

" With the size of the celestial oommodities, of. that of the fleas 
of Java, which were said to be big enough to steal potatoes, and 
of the Fenian drinking-cans, which were too big for a man to Uft 
— SIF, pp. 274 ff., Note XVIII, 6. The account of the heaven of 
Indra given here, reminds one of the land of CockEiigne with its 
rivers of wine, houses built of dainties and roofed with oake-shingles, 
showers of buttered larks, roast geese walking about and offering 
themselves to be eaten, etc., etc. In RBT, p. 296, an old man QD.6a 
in heaven and carries off a. mill which grinds pies and pancakes. 
Cf. the variants of the story on that and the next page. 

10 



146 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

tell anybody else about this." " Oh, no," said she, 
" I'll not say a word about it." However, when she 
went to the ghat a little while after to fetch water, 
she met there her own particular friend, and told 
her the whole story. She, in turn, told it as a great 
secret to her particular friend, and so on. Then 
the wives went home and told their husbands, and, 
in this way, everybody in the village very soon knew 
all about it. They all came flocking to Kanai the 
gardener, and said, " Brother, you must take us to 
heaven, too I Brother, you must take us to heaven, 
too ! " What could the poor man do ? There was 
nothing for it but to agree to what they asked. 

That night, accordingly, after taking supper, they 
all came together to Kanai's house. He led them away 
to the garden, and, when they found the elephant, 
Oirabot, he said, " First of all, I shall take hold of 
the tail, then my wife will take hold of me. Next, 
her particular friend will take hold of my wife, and 
her husband, again, will take hold of my wife's friend, 
and so on. In this way, we shall make the journey." 
They all approved of the plan. So, when the elephant 
had done feeding, and was on the point of departing, 
Kanai quickly got behind him, and seized his tail. 
And then, as agreed, they all laid hold of one another 
in turn. Up went the elephant, higher and higher. 
He had mounted a long, long way, when the particular 
friend of Kanai's wife said to her, " How big was 
the betel-nut that your husband brought home, and 
how big are the sweetmeats up there ? " His wife 
repeated the question to Kanai, who answered, " Wait 
a bit, and I'll tell you." She answered, " No, no. 
That won't do. My friend will be angry, if I don't 



KANAI, THE GARDENER 147 

give her an answer. Tell us at once." Being thus 
dunned, Kanai lost patience and said, " So big." As 
he spoke, he let go the elephant's tail to stretch out 
his arms by way of indicating the size, and, in a 
moment, they were all tumbling head over heels 
through the air.* 

* For parallels to this tale, see Appendix, Note 5. 

[" At midnight, don't let your hand slip," the moral of the above 
story, is a current saying among Bengalis, a sort of exhortation to 
perseverance and, especially, to undivided attention to the matter 
in hand. A good many similar tales were related to me, their aim 
being to show that it doesn't pay to try to sit on two stools at 
onoe, nor, if a man has two strings to his bow, to pull both at the 
same time.] 



XVIII. 

THE WILY JACKAL.^ 

Once on a time, in a certain forest, a lion, a tiger, a 
mungoose, a mouse, and a jackal were living together 
on very friendly terms. One day, the lion saw an 
elephant feeding. Thereupon, he said to himself, 
" We must contrive to get that elephant to eat," 
and, calling the jackal, he told him he must manage 
somehow to have the elephant killed. " As Your 
Majesty commands," replied the jackal, and he went 
off in search of the mouse. When he found him, he 
said, " Brother, you've got to kill that elephant." 
" I kill the elephant ! " answered the mouse. 
" The elephant's a huge brute. How's a tiny crea- 
ture like me to kill him ? " " You can manage it 

^ This story is simply a variant of the tenth in Book IV of 
the ' Panohatantra.' Benfey, ' Pantsohatantra,' I, p. 472, II, pp. 
316 ff. Weber considers that the jackal is really not a very cunning 
animal, and that, therefore, stories in which it figures as such, 
must be originally borrowed by the Indians from the West, where 
the fox quite appropriately appears in Folk-tales as the em- 
bodiment of craft. See Benfey, I, pp. 102 f. Balston — p. 22, 
Note — points out, on the other hand, that, in such Western tales 
as the Russian ' Fox-Wailer,' the plot turns on the animal's howling 
powers, and, not the fox, but the jackal is a great howler. Such 
tales must, therefore, originally have been narrated of the jackal. 
Bengalis, certainly, now-a-days regard the jackal as cunning; it 
is constantly spoken of as " dhurttd." 

U8 



THE WILY JACKAL 149 

this way," said the jackal. " Burrow a tunnel under 
the ground from where you are standing to the 
place where the elephant is feeding. When he sets 
his foot on the spot where the ground is hollowed out 
below, it'll give way. Then do you gnaw through 
the tendon of his foot with your teeth, and he'll fall 
down and soon die." The mouse burrowed a tunnel 
as the jackal bade him, and, when the ground gave 
way under the elephant's foot, and it sank down into 
the hole, he bit through the tendon of the heel, and 
the elephant cattie down bodily with a great- crash, 
and, in no long time, died. 

The jackal now went back to the lion and said, 
" Master, your orders have been carried out. The 
elephant's dead." The lion was highly delighted at 
the news, and thought to himself,- what a fine feast all 
five of them would have. The jackal, for his part, 
thought to himself, " I've been clever enough to com- 
pass the death of the elephant. Now, I must show 
myself clever enough to get the whole of him for 
myself to eat." So he said to the lion, " Master, this 
is a most auspicious day. First bathe and perform the 
stated rites for the benefit of your deceased father 
and grandfather," and then come and regale yourself 
with the fiesh of the elephant." The lion quite ap- 
proved of this suggestion, and went off, presently 
followed by the other three friends, to a neighbouring 
tank to bathe, while the jackal remained on guard 
beside the carcass of the elephant. 

' The Nitya or regular §raddha, consisting of libations of water, 
made when the daily prayers are repeated. MWR, p. 305. See 
No. VII, Note 7. According to popular belief, even the Bhiits 
would fain celebrate Sraddha. One of the stories narrated tg me 
was called ' The Bhiit'a Father's SrwMha' 



150 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

The lion returned the first from his bath. When 
he came up, the jackal said to him, " Master, I've 
something to say to you. Will it be safe for me 
to speak quite frankly ? " " By all means, speak 
frankly," was the reply. "Well, Master," said the 
jackal, " the mouse has been saying to me, ' The 
lion is the king of all the animals. He's in the 
habit of killing for himself and us, too. Will he 
actually condescend to eat an animal that we have 
killed ? ' " When he heard this, the lion said, 
" That's quite true. I eat what I've killed, myself. 
It's altogether beneath my dignity to eat an animal 
that the mouse has killed." So saying, he walked 
off, feeling more dignified than pleased. He had 
just gone, when the tiger turned up. The jackal said 
to him, " For some reason or other, the lion's in a 
great rage at you. He gave me orders to let him know 
as soon as you appeared. I thought it only friendly 
to tell you about this. You will, of course, do as you 
think fit." The tiger thought to himself, " What's 
the use of quarrelling with the lion ? He?s a very 
powerful animal. It's wiser to forego the chance of 
a feed of elephant-flesh than to risk a fight with him. 
I'll just take myself off for a while." The mungoose 
came next. " What have you done to anger the 
tiger ? " the jackal asked him forthwith. " I'm to 
inform him the moment you put in an appearance. 
And it is only fair to tell you that he looked as if he 
meant business, when he gave me t^ie order. You'd 
better consider well what you ought to do in the 
circumstances." ".It's out of the question for me to 
think of quarrelling with the tiger," replied the mun- 
goose. " He's a thousand times as big and strong 



THE WILY JACKAL 151 

as I am. The only course for me is to clear out." 
Which he did. Last of all, the mouse appeared. As 
soon as he saw him, the jackal said, " How have you 
fallen out with the mungoose ? I'm to tell him the 
moment I see you. He seems to have some score 
to pay off, Anyway, I've told you. You know, 
yourself, what you had better do." " I mustn't 
quarrel with him, whatever I do," answered the 
mouse. " Like enough he would prefer me to ele- 
phant. I had better be going." And he, too, went 
off. Much elated by the success of his plan, the 
jackal now proceeded to discuss the elephant.' 

* The jackal incurs no penalty for his greed in this story, such 
as befals him in ' Panchatantra,' Bk. II, Story 3. See Benfey, 
' Pantsohatantra,' I, pp. 319 f., II, pp. 174 f. 



XIX. 

THE LUCKY RASCAL. 

In a certain village lived a Brahman who had a wife 
and two or three children. He was very poor, and 
had to' support himself and his family by incessant 
hard work. When the eldest boy was six or seven 
years old, he was sent to the village school. But 
he made no attempt to learn anything. Most days, 
he played the truant, and rambled about, working 
all sorts of mischief. As he got bigger, his father 
did everything in his power to make him attend 
school regularly and learn his lessons properly. But 
it was of no use. Seeing this, his father said, " I'll 
set him to learn astrology." The youth, for a while, 
was interested by the new study, and so acquired 
some proficiency in it. But, once the novelty wore off, 
he went back to his old ways. At this, his father lost 
patience. " You're a thorough-paced rascal," said 
he to the lad. " I'll feed you no longer. Here am I, 
an old man, wearing myself to skin and bone that I 
may be able to support you and your brothers, whilst 
you — ^from morning to night, you do nothing but 
mischief. I'll toil no longer for the likes of you. 
Take yourself off. I don't care where you go. You'll 
get nothing here any longer." With these words, 

1S2 



THE LUCKY RASCAL 158 

he chased him out of the house. The lad went off 
at once, without offering any objection. 

He had never in his life before been outside of his 
native village, and knew nothing about the way to 
this place or that. So he walked on and on, without 
heeding much in what direction he went. By mid- 
day, he had travelled a considerable distance, and 
began to feel very tired as well as hungry and thirsty. 
So he made up his mind to seek hospitality at the 
first house he came to. Before long, he arrived at 
one, and halted before the door. The master of the 
house, seeing a Brahman present himself as a guest 
about midday, received him very kindly and respect- 
fully. He gave him a seat, brought him water to 
wash his feet, filled and lighted the hookah for him, 
then went away to see about getting the various 
things he needed for breakfast.'' The Brahman lad, 
after' washing his feet and enjoying a smoke, got up 
and went to bathe. Presently, he returned, and, 
when he had finished his morning prayers,' he began 
to sing a song, as he sat waiting for his breakfast. 
He was a rather good singer. An old woman, who 
belonged to the house, hearing him, came out and 
asked, " What are you singing, my dear ? " " I'm 
chanting a bit of the RAmAyon," was the reply. 
" Oh," said she, " I've a copy of the Lonka-Kandd. 
You might kindly chant a bit of it to me." " Cer- 
tainly," answered the Brahman. " But which would 
you prefer — ^to hear the Lonka-Kandd,* or to see it ? " 

1 The young Brahman could not, of course, eat the cooked 
food of a man of lower caste. So his host would give him rice, etc., 
to prepare for himself. ^ gge MWR, pp. 393 and 401 ff. 

s Sk. Xanda means ghapter or wptipu. Lanha-Kanda ov YyMJwr 



154 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

" To see it, of course," said the old woman. " But 
is a poor creature like me likely to have had such 
a destiny allotted to her that she should actually 
see with her eyes the Lonka-Kandd." " Oh, you've 
only to say the word," was the reply, " and I'll show 
you it." " Then pray do so," said she. " What 
a vast amount of merit I must have acquired in my 
previous births, to have been so lucky as to meet with 
you to-day, and so get an opportunity of seeing the 
Lonka-Kando ! But what things do you need for 
the purpose ? " " Are there any monkeys in this 
village ? " he asked. " In the village ? " was the 
reply. " Why, we keep a tame one in the house." 
And she hurried away to fetch it. 

The Brahman, first of all, cooked breakfast for 
himself, and took a hearty meal. Then, laying hold 
of the monkey, he wrapped some rags firmly round 
its tail and soaked them thoroughly with oil. This 
done, he set fire to them. As soon as it felt the 
burning oil, the monkey, maddened with the pain, 
began to jump about all over the place. Away it 
went, bounding from one cottage-roof to another. 
The /dry thatch burned like tinder ; soon the whole 
village was in a blaze, and, in a very short time, 
nothing was left standing but the blackened earthen 
walls. The villagers, of course, now began to inquire 

KandOf is the sixth 6k. of the Bamayaoa, which gives an account 
of liam9.'s war with Bavai;La, the Bdkshaaa or demon King of Ceylon. 
But, in Bengali, Kanda (pronotinced Ka,i}dd) is almost synonymous 
with our " great to-do " or " sensation." Thtis, Lonka-Kandd means 
also " the great affair " of L., viz., the burning of the capital by 
the monkey-god, Hanuman, Bama's ally. The Bakshasas, in the 
course of a fight, greased his tail and set fire to it — to their own 
undoing. 



THE LUCKY RASCAL 155 

how the fire had originated, and, hearing the old 
woman's story, at once seized the Brahman. " What 
have / done ? " he asked indignantly. " What 
have you done ? " they retorted. " What worse 
could anybody do than burn down the whole vil- 
lage ? " " And is it my fault that your village has 
been burned down ? " rejoined he. " If people 
had not asked me to let them see the Lonka-Kando, 
this would never have happened." " There's no use 
talking," said they. " You've got to go to the Raja's 
court." " Come along, then," said he. " I'm sure 
I've no objection." So, keeping firm hold of him, 
they led him away. 

They had a long road to go, and the day got hotter 
and hotter. As they trudged along, the Brahman 
picked up a cowrie that was lying on the road, and 
when, presently, they came to a tank, he said to his 
captors, " Let me go for a minute or two. I should 
like to bathe in this tank." " Very well," they 
replied, and released him. An old woman was sitting 
there, selling oil. The Brahman went up to her, and 
asked for a cowrie's worth of oil. " Go and die, 
Bamon," said she. " Who ever heard of a cowrie's 
worth of oil ? " * " Please, give me just a little," 
he answered. " This is all the money I have." See- 
ing he was a Brahman, she gave him a little. While 
doing so^ she spilt a few drops. The Brahman said, 
" Through you've given me some, you've spilt the 
most of it." " So much the better," she replied. 

* One hundred and sixty cowrie shells (Cypraa Moneta) used 
to equal in value one pice, which, when the rupee was at par, was 
worth three-quarters of a halfpenny. With this part of the tale, 
of. No. XII. and CLP, I, pp. 18 f. 



156 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

" When oil gets spilt, people's lifetime is lengthened." ' 
" Oh, my lifetime will be lengthened, will it ? " he 
rejoined, and, forthwith, taking his stick, he struck 
the old woman's three oil-pots, one after another, 
and smashed every one of them, thus destroying her 
whole stock-in-trade, before anybody had time to 
interfere. In great anger and distress, the old woman 
cried, " Ah, go and die, you villain ! What do you 
mean by breaking my oil-pots ? " " Why do you 
abuse me ? " he asked, with an injured air. " And 
when I've done you so great a benefit, too." " Go 
and die, Bamon," she cried again. " You've broken 
all my oil-pots, and yet you've the impudence to say 
you've done me a benefit." " And why shouldn't 
I say so ? " was the reply. " If my lifetime was 
lengthened, when you spilt a few drops of oil — as you, 
yourself, said — just think how much yours must 
have been lengthened by my spilling three big pot- 
fuls. Moreover, as you're already very, very old, 
the benefit to you of getting your lifetime lengthened 
is all the greater." " Oh, shut up," said the old 
woman. " You've got to go before the Raja and 
answer for this. That's what you've got to do." 
" Very good ; come along," he replied. 

As the company, now increased by the addition of 
the old oil-woman, proceeded on its way, the Brah- 
man noticed two cowries lying in the road, which he 
picked up. Presently, he said to his guards, " Let 
me go for a minute. I should like to buy some betel." 
As before, they agreed, and released him. Close by, 

» Cf. such superstitions as the Western notion about the inau- 
BpiciouSQes^ of spilling salt, 



THE LUCKY RASCAL 157 

there was sitting a Hindustani betel-seller.' The 
Brahman, going up to him, held out his two cowries 
and said, " Brother, give me two cowries' worth of 
fragrant, savoury betel." At this, the Hindustani 
flew into a rage and said, " A precious cheek, you 
have ! To come expecting to get betel to eat for 
two cowries ! Get away ! When you see somebody 
whose lips are red with eating betel, rub your mouth 
on that person's. That'll be a good two cowries' 
worth. Clear out ! " The Brahman, looking about, 
saw the Hindustani's wife sitting in the shop. Her 
lips were quite scarlet with eating betel. He went 
straight up to her, and was on the point of rubbing 
his lips upon hers. Her husband, fairly infuriated, 
cried, " You impudent rascal, would you dare ? " 
" Haven't you just this moment told me to do so ? " 
said the Brahman. " I'm only doing what you 
advised." " You'll have to go to court for this, 
my fine fellow," replied the betel-seller. " Come 
along." " Verj^ good," said the Brahman. " Come 
along." 

The procession started again-*— the people from the 
burnt village, the old oil-woman, and the betel-seller 
all keeping a grip of the Brahman-^and, presently, 
they arrived at the court. It was just about to rise ; 
the Raja, however, sat down again, and, after hearing 
the statements of the several complainants in order, 
summarily condemned the Brahman to be impaled. 
But, as it was already evening, the sentence could 
not be executed that day. The Raja,, accordingly, 
ordered him to be tied up to the stake till next 

• In Bengal — especially in the cities — betel-sellers are usually 
up-oountry people. 



/ 



158 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

morning, and the officers of the court at once marched 
him off to the place of execution, and carried out 
their master's order. 

Left there to his own reflections, the Brahman began 
to reproach himself for his mad cantrips. " It's all 
up with me now," he said to himself. " After my 
father had turned me out, I was lucky enough to get 
a hospitable reception from the villager. Why did 
I bring about that Lonka-Kando, and why did I spill 
the oil, and why did I pick a quarrel with that Hin- 
dustani rascal ? Now, I'm likely to pay for my 
larks with my life. Well, let me see what Fate has 
in store for me." In the midst of his meditations, 
he suddenly noticed a hunchback passing along 
the road. Forthwith, he began to shout, " Brother 
hunchl:tp.ck ! Brother hunchback ! Come this way 
for a minute." Hearing him calling, the hunchback 
turned and came up to the stake. The Brahman 
said to him, " Brother hunchback, kindly feel my 
back and tell me whether you find any hump on it 
or not." The hunchback passed his hand over 
the Brahman's back, and said, " No, there's no hump 
that I can feel." " Feel again, brother hunchback," 
said the Brahman. The hunchback carefully passed 
his hand again and again, up and down and across 
the Brahman's back, and then said, " No, brothe^, 
there's not the slightest trace of a hump." The 
Brahman heaved a great sigh of relief. " Ah, brotherl" 
he said. " What a deliverance ! I had a huge humljp 
on my back, but, through my being bound to this 
stake, it has suddenly quite disappeared.' What 
wonderful virtue this stake must possess ! I nevei: 
' Of. the aitifioe by means of which the Brahman rescues Horidashi 



THE LUCKY RASCAL 159 

in my life saw or heard of the like." " Do you 
really mean to say so ? " answered the hunchback. 
" If that's the case, brother, then kindly tie me up 
to the stake. This hump's the plague of my life. 
I never feel at ease for even a moment, with it. Con- 
stantly having to carry it about is wearing my life 
away. And none of my friends can bear to look at 
me. If being tied up to this stake rids one of a hump, 
then do tie me up, brother." " How can I ? " said 
the Brahman. " Don't you see my hands and feet 
are bound fast ? But, if you can manage to loose me, 
then I'll tie you up, and you'll see how quickly your 
hump will disappear." It did not take the hunch- 
back long to untie the Brahman, and the latter, as 
soon as he was free, made the hunchback fast in his 
place, and ran off with all the speed he could. 

and gulls King Hobachondro and his Minister into getting them- 
selves impaled — No. XVI, p. 141, and Note 6. See, also, the 
story of RiipiQika, KSS, I, pp. 80 S, with Note on p. 81, Lohajangha 
fools his mother-in-law by pretending he wiU take her to heaven. 
Much better analogues are to be found in GHT; e.g., the dodge 
by which the ' Little Peasant ' gets the shepherd to take his place 
in the barrel and be rolled into the water — I, pp. 268 f. — and that 
by which the man in the robber's sack, in ' The Turnip,' induces 
the student to take his place, pretending that it is a sack of wisdom, 
inside which everything can be learned in a very short time — 
II, pp. 214 f. See also the story of ' Little Fairly ' — ' Lover's 
Legends and Tales of Ireland,' pp. 263 ff. He induces a farmer 
to release him and take his place in the sack, paying him a thou- 
sand guineas for the privilege, by averring that the person inside 
it is sure to go to heaven. Cf. CAS, pp. 31 f. A precisely sinular 
incident to that in our story is found in ' The Beautiful One and 
the Drakos.' The hero, who is another ' Lucky Bascal,' when 
tied up to a tree in the forest and abandoned to starve by his 
elder brother, gets a hunchbacked shepherd to take his place, by 
assuring him that being bound to the tree had rid him of his hump, 
and then goes ofiE with the gull's sheep — HGA, I, pp. 75 f. See also 
CLP, II. pp. 229 fE. and 490, and ' Sagas from the Far East,' p. 103. 



160 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

Presently, he came to a house where a garland- 
weaver ' lived. There he went in and said to the 
woman, " Garland- weaver, you are my aunt. I'll 
make you a grand lady. But you must do me 
one service. Let nobody find out that I'm here." 
" Very good," replied the garland-weaver, and she 
gladly allowed him to take up his abode in her house. 

Meanwhile, as soon as morning broke, the officers 
of the court proceeded to the place of execution to 
impale the Brahman. What was their astonishment 
to find the criminal gone, and a hunchback tied up 
in his place ! Away they went to the Raja, and re- 
ported the extraordinary occurrence. " What ? " 
said the Raja. " You say that the criminal has es- 
caped ? " " Yes, Your Majesty," was the reply. 
" And there's a hunchback tied up in his place." 
The Raja was dumbfounded. Without a moment's 
delay, he went straight to the spot, and asked the 
hunchback, " What's the meaning of this ? " " Your 
Majesty, I'm sure I can't tell," was the reply. " Yes- 
terday evening, I was walking along this road. There 
was a man tied to this stake here. He called to me, 
and, when I went up to him, he said to me, ' Brother, 
look and tell me whether there's any hump on my 
back ? ' I said, ' No, there isn't.' Hearing that he 
said, ' Oh, brother, this is a most extraordinary stake. 
The consequence of my being tied up to it, is that the 
hump I had on my back, has disappeared.' Your 

* Or, rather, flower-seller woman, a, personage whom we find re- 
peatedly figuring in Folk- tales. See LDB, p. 115; fOD, pp. 
11, 35, 78, 147, and 159 ; SIF, p. 277, latter part of Note 2 ; No. 
XXVI, Note 8. The Mdli'^ wife is usually very faithful to her 
guest. The last-oited case is the only one I remember in which 
she plays him false. 



THE LUCKY RASCAL 161 

Majesty, this hump of mine is an insufferable afflic- 
tion to me. So, hearing his wonderful story, I said 
to the fellow, ' If that's the case, kindly tie me up.' 
' I will, if you loose me,' he replied. So I untied him, 
and he made me fast to the stake, and then ran off, 
where, I can't tell. This is all I know." " Bah ! " said 
the Raja. "That fellow's no ordinary scoundrel"; 
and he charged the Kotwal to have him arrested 
without delay. The Kotwal said boastfully, " Where 
can he go ? I'll lay him by the heels this very day." 
The garland-weaver was in the habit of supplying 
flowers to the royal household. She had arranged 
with the Brahman to let him know all that went on 
in the palace and other public places. She was 
among the crowd beside the stake, and now went 
straight home and told the Brahman about the 
Raja's order to the Kotwal and the Kotwal's boast. 
The Brahman said to himself, " Oh, the rascal will 
catch me this very day, will he ? That remains to 
be seen." ° Questioning the garland-weaver about 
the Kotwal and his family, he learned that he had a 
son-in-law, who from time to time came to his house 
<to visit his wife. He then procured some very fine 
clothes, and, late at night, going to the Kotwal's 
botise, he sent in word by a maid-servant that the 
son-in-law had arrived. This news produced no end 
if excitement in the family." But, when the maid- 

• From this point, the tale belongs for the most part to the 
\ Master-Thief ' cycle. Cf . LDB, pp. 1 60 ff. ; KKT, pp. 104 fE., 297 ff., 
S38ff., 139 ff.; STT, pp. 37 ff.; GHT, II, pp. 166 ff., 320 ff.; 
Liebrecht, ' Zur Volkskunde,' pp. 33 f. ; ' Sagas from the Far East,' 

/pp. 131 f. ; CLP, II, pp. 115 ff. ; KRS, I, pp. 257ff. 

I 10 With the fooling of the Kotwal, of., specially, the tricks played 

Ion the three polioe-offioera— KKT, pp. 115ff, 

11 



162 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

servant returned to fetch him in, the sham son-in-law 
said, " Don't trouble to get supper for me. Just put 
a light in the bedroom. I shall come back imme- 
diately and go straight to bed." Saying this, he 
went away, then, returning after a little, made his 
way to the bedroom, without giving any of the 
family an opportunity of seeing him. Arrived there, 
he at once put out the light and lay down beside 
the Kotwal's daughter. He had hardly done so, 
when he began to complain that her gold ornaments 
scratched him, and told her to take them off, which 
she did, laying them beside her. The Brahman 
waited patiently till she was sound asleep, then, 
picking up her ornaments, he made his way out of 
the house, without disturbing any of the inmates." 
Once in the street, he ran his fastest straight to the 
garland-weaver's house, and, giving her the orna- 
ments, said, " The Kotwal is out hunting for me, 
but nobody has been quick enough to observe that 
a theft has been committed in his own house." 

In the morning, the Kotwal came home, and was 
fairly astounded when he learned from his family allj 
that had happened there during the past night. 
Going at once to the Raja, he said, " Your Majesty, 
just hear what a mischief that rascal has done me," 
and gave him the history of the night. The Raja 
listened in utter amazement, and, when the KotwaL 
finished, he said, " By hook or by crook, that fellowl 
must be got a hold of. Let everything else go, untill 

i» Cf. the theft from the palace in No. XX, the theft of the Queen's 
ornaments, LDB, pp. 175 fi., and GHT, II, p. 329— the 'Master 
Thief,' during the night, decoys the Count away, and, personating 
him, gets his wife's ring from her. 



THE LUCKY RASCAL 168 

you have him under lock and key." The Kotwal, 
summoning his brothers to help him, and sending 
his police in all directions, devoted himself so zealously 
to the task that he did not even go home for break- 
fast. The Brahman, sitting in his safe retreat, 
learned all this from the garland-weaver. He now 
got himself up like a devotee of Siva," with a rosary 
of Rudrdksha " berries round his neck, ashes rubbed 
all over his body," a wig of thick matted locks," the 
three horizontal finger-lines marked with sandal- 
wood on his forehead," tongs and trident " in his 
hands — altogether, a gruesome figure. Uttering the 
sound bom-bom " as he walked along, he piade his 
way to the Kotwal's house, where only the women 
were at home, all the men being away searching for 
the thief. Women always treat devotees of any 
kind with great reverence, get them to tell their for- 
tunes, procure infallible remedies from them, if any 
of the family happen to be ill, and so forth. Thus, 
thanks to his devotee's disguise, the Kotwal's 
womenkind, as a matter of course, gave the Brahman 

" On Siva, see MWR, pp. 75 ff. 

'' Elceocarpus Oanitrus- 

" Sk., bhaama-dhdrana. See MWR, pp. 399 f. 

" Worn by all ascetics — i.e., not, as in this case, a wig, but their 
own hair, which is never combed or cleaned, though often coiled 
up fantastically. 

" Sk., tripundraJca. See MWR, p. 400. 

" The trisiila is the specially characteristic weapon of Siva. 
With the account of the whole get-up, cf. LDB, p. 179. It — tiger - 
skin included — imitates that of ^iva, himself, the arch-asoetio. 

18 Vulgar pronunciation of the Sk. om — " the most sacred of all 
Hindu utterances, made up of the three letters A, U, M, and sym- 
bolical of the threefold manifestation of the one Supreme Being 
in the gods, Brahma, Vishciu, and (MahAdeva=) Siva." See 
MWR, pp. 402 f. 



164 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

a most cordial and respectful welcome, begging him 
to come in and sit down, as soon as they caught 
sight of him. He spread out his tiger-skin, and 
took his seat upon it with great dignity. One woman 
after another came dropping in, till soon he had 
quite a crowd about him. One consulted him about 
one thing, another about something else, and the 
devotee greatly impressed them all by his oracular 
answers. Among them were the wives of the Kotwal 
and one of his brothers. The state of their hair 
was a standing vexation to the two ladies " — ^it was 
so thin and short, and getting grey. So, availing 
themselves of the present opportunity, they asked 
the devotee whether he couldn't tell them of a good 
hair-restorer. " Of course I can," said he. " What 
do I not know ? Making hair grow is a mere trifle. 
You see that old muddy tank there, near your house ? 
Well, all you've got to do is to have your heads 
shaved, and then take a dip over the head in that 
tank, and you'll get magnificent crops of hair." 
" We'll do so at once," they joyfully answered. 
" What sort of hair will it be, Thakur ? " " Oh, 
finer than anything you can imagine," said he. 
" Ever so long — reaching down to your ankles — and 
jet-black." Hearing this, they went oft at once, and 
were back in no time with their heads shaved smooth. 
The devotee performed a brief pujd ; then, accom- 
panying them to the side of the tank, he pronounced 
a charm, and said, " Now plunge in. And, remember, 
the longer you keep your heads under water, the 

" On the preoiousnesa of her hair to a Hindu woman, see MWB 
pp. 375 f. With the incident, of. the Story of ' The Bald Wife ' 
LDB, pp. 280 ff. But nothing supernatural occurs in our tal§, 



THE LUCKY RASCAL 165 

better." The two women at once went down into 
the tank and ducked their heads under the water. 
The moment they did so, the sham devotee sneaked 
away, and made for the garland-weaver's house, as 
fast as ever he could. The two women, having kept 
their heads under water as long as was possible, at 
length stood up again, and, to their great dismay, 
found their heads covered, not with hair, but with 
leeches. Loudly complaining and bewailing them- 
selves, they went back to the house, where they set 
to work to detach the leeches — a most painful opera- 
tion, which made the blood run down from their 
heads to their very feet. 

A little after nightfall, the Kotwal came home, 
having had his labour for his pains that day, and 
was met by the news of the outrage wrought upon 
his wife and sister-in-law. " That villain's spite 
seems all directed against me," " said he to himself, 
and, feeling utterly nonplussed, he wended his way 
back to the Raja, and told him about his new mis- 
fortune. The Raja said, " It's plain that catching 
the fellow is too stiff a job for you. We must call 
in the aid of an astrologer." " The most skilful in 

^ Cf. the " dead set " made by the Minister's son against the 
astrologer in No. XX. 

*^ In many Hindu tales, the astrologer replaces the " Keen-eye " 
of stories which, as regards this particular point, are more primitive. 
E.g., Lynceus is said to have been able to look all over the Pelopon- 
nesus from the siimmit of Taygetus, and thus to have seen the 
Diosoxiri within the hollow oak-tree. Lang, ' Homer and the Epic,' 
p. 333. Cf. CLP, I, pp. 281 ff. Actual X phenomena were, doubt- 
less, the original source of the belief that certain persons were 
possessed of such powers. See MCF, pp. 208 fi., and the very 
interesting discussion of this whole subject in Lang's ' The Making 
of Beligion.' See also, No. XX, Note 10. 



166 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

the city was sent for, and, in a very short time, he 
appeared. The Raja requested him to let them know 
as quickly as possible where the formidable rascal 
then was. The astrologer made a reckoning, and 
said, " Your Majesty, he is in your garland-weaver's 
house, and, at this moment, is sitting playing cards." 
" How many persons are playing together ? " asked the 
Raja. " Four," was the reply. " Then how's one 
to know which is he ? " said the Raja rather testily. 
" Tell us exactly where he is sitting." The astrologer 
answered, " He's the one sitting in such-and-such a 
place." Hearing this, the Raja at once dispatched 
his officers, telling them to seize the man sitting in 
that particular spot in the garland-weaver's house. 
But, as we have seen, the Brahman, also, knew 
something about astrology. He, . too, had been 
making a reckoning at this very time, and so come 
to know that the Raja, in accordance with his astro- 
loger's advice, had sent to arrest him. Forthwith, 
he got another of the card-players to exchange seats 
with him. Presently, the officers turned up, and 
marched off the man they found sitting in the place 
indicated by the astrologer. The moment he saw 
him, the Raja recognized him as the son of one of 
the most highly-respected people in the town, and, 
knowing for certain that his being guilty of such 
devilry was out of the question, began to relieve his 
feelings by abusing the astrologer. " Your Majesty," 
humbly answered the latter, " I'll make another 
reckoning." " Very well," said the Raja, " and let's 
have no more of your humbug." Having made his 
reckoning, the astrologer said, " Your Majesty, I can 
say positively, he's sitting in such-and-such a spot." 



THE LUCKY RASCAL 167 

The officers made a bolt for the garland-weaver's 
house, and seized the man sitting in the pljace de- 
scribed. But the Brahman had again been before- 
hand with them, and changed his seat a second time. 
The man they brought was very well known to the 
Raja — was, indeed, a relative of his own. The Raja 
was furious. Turning to the unlucky astrologer, he 
said, " You know as much about divination as any 
bullock." The astrologer begged to be allowed to 
try just once again, and the Raja consented, but with 
a very bad grace. The Brahman, however, again 
succeeded in baffling his enemies as completely as 
on the two previous occasions. For this time, too, 
the man the officers fetched, turned out to be an 
intimate acquaintance of the Raja's. His Majesty, 
in great disgust, sent the astrologer packing, and then, 
in a very despondent mood, sat down to consider the 
situation. 

What on earth was he to do ? How was that 
mischievous scoundrel to be caught and punished ? 
After long reflection, he said to himself, " There's 
nothing for it but to make an effort to get a hold of 
him, myself.*^ Pretty well everybody else in the 
kingdom has tried his hand at the job, and nobody 
has been able to make anything of it. Let me see 
what luck I have, myself." Having come to this 
resolution, when night fell, he armed himself, mounted 
his horse, and rode forth on his difficult quest. 

Meanwhile the Brahman, ascertaining by divina- 
tion what was afoot, betook himself to an extensive 

'^ So, when everybody else has failed to oatch the thief who is 
robbing all the citizens. King Viraketu of Ayodhya, himself, xinder- 
takes the task ; KSS, II, pp. 298 ff —the 14th tale of the Vetala. 



168 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

plain outside the towa. There he roughly fenced 
in a space and made two or three fire-pits in it,^? and 
set up a few Siva-Kwgas," pihng up bel ^^ leaves before 
them. Then, getting himself up as a most fearsome- 
looking devotee, he sat down in the middle of the 
fire-pits, and began to mutter prayers in most awe- 
inspiring style. All this time, the Raja was riding 
about here, there, and everywhere. At last, he 
lighted on the devotee, and asked whether he had 
seen anybody pass that way that night, " Yes, Your 
Majesty," was the reply. " A man passed not long 
since. I'm well aware that, of late, somebody has 
been up to all sorts of mischief and theft in your 
kingdom, and that nobody has been able to catch 
him. Sitting still here, I'm nevertheless able to 
know all that he does." " Then you know him ? " 
said the Raja. " Well, no," was the reply. " That's 
to say, I've never seen him with my bodily eyes. 
I've only such knowledge of him as my magical power 
confers." " Then, is it impossible for him to be 
caught ? " asked the Raja. " No, Your Majesty," 
answered the devotee. " He'll be caught. Go' and 
try in that direction," pointing with his hand. The 
Raja galloped off in the direction indicated, but, 
finding no sign of anybody anywhere, after a while 

" Cf. the description of the hermitage of the Kdpdiik in B. C. 
Chatterji's ' Kapdlakundala,' p. 14. 

'* The phallus, Siva's chief symbol, to be seen everywhere in India. 
In Kalna, a small town of Burdwan District in Bengal, one sanc- 
tuary of Siva consists of 108 small temples buUt in two concentric 
oirclea, with black or white marble lingas placed in each alternately, 
to every one of which pujd is performed twice daily. 

'^ Sk., vilva, the wood-apple tree. The leaf is a sort of trefoil, 
hence, probably, its consecration to Siva, regarded as combining 
in his own person all three divine functions. 



THE LUCKY RASCAL 169 

came back, and said, "No, Thakur. That way, 
there's nobody to be seen." The devotee answered, 
" Your Majesty, you had barely mounted and ridden 
away, when that rascal passed this very spot, going 
in that direction," again pointing. The Raja was off 
once more, before the devotee had well done speakings 
but presently returned as unsuccessful as ever. In 
this way, he kept coming and going and never seeing 
anybody, till he was dead tired. Then, dismounting, 
he said to the devotee, " Thakur, I'm too exhausted 
to stir another step. But you say, that fellow's passed 
here ever so often to-night. I can't understand 
why you didn't lay hold of him, seeing you got so 
many fine chances of doing so." The devotee an- 
swered, " Your Majesty, how should I seize him ? 
Am I not a devotee, to whom honest man and thief. 
Raja and beggar, are all one ? ^° It's only in con- 
sideration of the fact that I'm living just now in your 
kingdom, that I've gone so far out of my way to 
help you as to show you again and again in what 
direction the fellow went. You couldn't catch him ? 
How could I catch him, I should like to know — ^all 
the more that I can't on any account leave what I'm 
doing just now ? If I once get up, all the fruit of my 
whole course of penance will be lost. All my toil 
and self-mortification will go for nothing And 
another thing is this that, if I go in this guise to seize 
a thief, the thief is much more likely to seize me. 
I don't look like a Raja's officer, do I ? Then, what's 

^' That all contraries — hot and cold, good and bad, etc. — are alike 
to him, is the mark of the " aiddha," the man who has " attained." 
See ' Bhagavadgita,' II, 38, 56 ff. ; V, 3, 12. Of course, in literature, 
indifference to moral distinctions is not much emphasized. 



170 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

the use of talking about my arresting a criminal ? " 
" Well, what's to be done ? " said the Raja. " I 
can think of only one plan," was the reply. " You 
put on my clothes and stay here for a while, taking 
care that no harm comes to my hermitage, and give 
me your clothes and your horse. Then I'll go, and 
I've no doubt I shall catch the fellow. Of course, 
this sort of thing is no part of my duty. Still, as 
I'm living in your kingdom, I'm in a sense your 
subject, and, since a subject should do all he can for 
his Raja, perhaps my penance won't be much the 
worse for my helping you. So, if you like to do as 
I suggest, take your seat here, and I'll see if I can 
find the rascal." " Very good," said the Raja. " I 
can hardly move ; I'm so knocked up with rushing 
about the whole night. I shall be very glad to sit 
down for a bit." So saying, he took oft his clothes 
and arms, and handed them to the devotee, receiving 
from him in return his tiger-skin and other para- 
phernalia. The devotee arrayed himself in the Raja's 
dress and arms, and, mounting his horse, rode off, 
leaving His Majesty in charge of his hermitage. 

Disguised now as the Raja, the Brahman made his 
way straight to the palace. The men on guard at 
the gateway, never doubting that it was their master 
himself, rose and saluted him respectfully. He 
didn't stop to speak to them, but passed straight 
on into the women's quarters. He found the Rani 
lying sound asleep, and, calling to her, said, " Take 
off all your gold ornaments and give them to me to 
keep." Who knows but what that rascal will be 

" Cf. LDB, pp. 177 f.— the theft of the Queen's gold chain— and 
KKT, p. 120 — the theft of jewels and money from the thanadar'syriie. 



THE LUCKY RASCAL 171 

impudent enough to try to steal from my house 
next ? " The Rani, only half-awaking, took off her 
ornaments, without very clearly knowing what she 
was doing. Picking them up, the Brahman went back 
at once to the gateway, and, calling the durwan, 
said, " Listen. Nobody whatever is to be allowed 
to enter the palace to-night. If anybody tries to 
enter, no matter who he may be, seize him and shut 
him up in the lime-dungeon." Be he devotee, family- 
priest, minister, or even Raja, let nobody go. Into 
the lime-dungeon with him, and to-morrow, at nine 
o'clock, fetch him before me into the audience-hall." 
" As Your Majesty commands," said the durwan. 
The Brahman mounted his, or, rather, the Raja's, 
horse again, and rode away. When he had gone 
some distance, he dismounted, threw off the Raja's 
clothes, and, leaving the horse to wander wherever 
it chose, he returned to the garland-weaver's house. 
" Here, auntie. Take these," said he, handing her 
the Rani's gold ornaments. The garland-weaver 
was overjoyed to receive such a splendid gift. 

For a long time, the Raja had sat patiently waiting 
for the devotee to return. Still, there was no sign 
of his coming. Peginning to get suspicious at last, 
he rose and wended his way back to the palace. 
Though the night was near an end, it was still dark 
when he reached the gateway. The durwan was 
awake and called, " What rascal's that ? " The Raja 
was dumbfounded. Going nearer, he said, " I'm the 
Raja." " Oh, you're the Raja, are you ? " replied 

" Why " iiroe-dungeon," the narrator could not satisfactorily 
explain. Cf. No. VIII, p. 79, and CLP, II, p. 453. With the 
tricking of the Baja, cf. ' Sagas from the Far East,' pp. 226 f. 



172 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

the durwan. " Here, guards ! Off to the lime- 
dungeon with the rascal ! " " What do you mean ? " 
cried the Raja. " Shut up ! " was the retort. " Get 
along to the dungeon, you rascal." The Raja was 
fairly flabbergasted, but he began again, " I'm your 

Raja " " None of your lies here," broke in the 

durwan. " The Raja was here a little ago, and, after 
visiting the Rani's apartments, rode out, dressed 
and armed. Get along with you at once, you 
rascal ! " And the guards, seizing him by the scruff 
of the neck, walked him off to the lime-dungeon 
and locked him up. The Raja sat down on the 
ground, feeling utterly bewildered and dismayed. 
" What terrible disaster can have happened ? " he 
said to himself. " What could the durwan mean by 
saying the Raja had been to the RAni's apartments ? 
Ah ! now I see it all ! That devotee — he's no devotee, 
he's the rascal that has perpetrated all this devilry 
and theft ! So clever a rascal I've never seen or 
heard of. And, to crown all, he's thrown dust in 
my own eyes, and so bamboozled me that he could 
make oft with my clothes and horse before my very 
eyes and with my own consent. And what the 
villain may have done afterwards, when he got into 
the palace, there's no saying. What an unheard-of 
rogue ! " 

The poor Raja was left to such meditations in the 
lime-dungeon till nine in the morning, when the 
durwan, in obedience to his supposed master's orders, 
came, and, unlocking the door, saw to his horror that 
the prisoner was in very truth the Raja himself. 
Almost senseless with fear, as he thought he had 
only a few minutes to live, he fell down and grovelled 



THE LUCKY RASCAL 173 

at the Raja's feet. But the Raja said, " Don't be 
afraid. Tell me all that has happened," " It's 
not much that I know," answered the durwan. 
" Late last night, a man, wearing your clothes and 
riding your horse, came to the gate. Never doubting 
that it was you, yourself, we let him pass without 
question. He went in, and, presently coming back, 
he said to us, ' If anybody comes to the gate to-night, 
seize him, and shut him up in the lime-dungeon. On 
no account, let anyone go ; no matter who he may 
be or what he may say.' Your Majesty, we always 
obey the royal commands. Last night, too, we did 
so. We had no idea you would come in that guise. 
Consequently, in spite of your asserting that you 
were the Raja, we would not believe you." " Oh, all 
that is no niatter now," said the Raja, and, hurrying 
into the palace, he quickly changed his dress and 
repaired to the Rani's apartments. When he ques- 
tioned her as to what had happened during the 
night, she said, " I'm sure I don't know. I was lying 
in my room. The lamp was burning very dimly. 
More asleep than awake, I saw some one, dressed 
exactly like you, and whom I took to be you, enter 
the room. He said, ' Give me your ornaments to 
keep ; there's great danger of thieves.' Still only 
half -awake, I gave him my ornaments, hardly know- 
ing what I was doing. Again cautioning me, he left 
the room. That's all I know." 

Hearing this, the Raja was more than ever 
astounded. For a long time he sat, thinking of one 
plan after another for catching the clever knave, 
but he could devise none that seemed at all likely 
to succeed. At last, he issued an ord§r that pro- 



174 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

clamation should be made by beat of drum in every 
quarter of the city, that whoever could catch the 
rogue, should be rewarded with half the kingdom 
and the princess's hand in marriage. When the 
Brahman youth heard of the proclamation, he went 
boldly to the Raja and said, "If Your Majesty 
gives me permission, I can bring about the arrest 
of the thief." " Haven't I made proclamation to 
that effect ? " answered the Raja. " What further 
permission is required ? " " Your Majesty," said 
the Brahman, " I am the man." " What proof 
can you give that your statement is true ? " asked 
the Raja. Then the Brahman told his whole 
story from first to last. Hearing it, the Raja was 
filled with such admiration of his extraordinary 
cleverness that he didn't hesitate to give him his 
daughter's hand along with half of the kingdom." 
Married to a beautiful wife and surrounded by luxury 
and splendour, the Brahman spent the rest of his 
life in perfect peace and happiness. 

•' Cf. the King's admiration and munificent rewarding of the 
thief's cleverness in STT, p. 43, and in No. XX, and the treatment 
of Shabrang, and the Day-Thief and the Night-Thief, on their con- 
fessions, in KKT, pp. 121 and 302. This accords with the ending of 
the story in its most ancient form — Herodotus, II, 121. In LBD, 
p. 181, the thieves are detected and executed. In KKT, p. 351, 
Sharaf is forced to plead guilty, and his hand is cut oS. But the 
stories of Sharaf profess to be narratives of facts. 



XX. 

THE TRIPLE THEFT. 

A Prince and his father's Chief Minister's son ' were 
very great friends. They sat together, they ate 
together, they went out to walk and play together — 
in fact, never for a moment in the day were they 
separate from one another, so fond were they of one 
another's company. But they were utterly idle — 
they would do no work whatever ; nor would they 
spend any time at home with their parents. From 
morning to night, they roamed about, amusing them- 
selves. By and by, they became very intimate with 
the Kotwal's son and the son of the Chief Merchant ' 
in the city. Thus they were now a band of four ' — 
each of them encouraging the rest to play all sorts 
of pranks. 

The Raja saw that his son was every day be- 
coming more and more of a good-for-nothing. He 
was making not the slightest attempt to learn any- 

1 See No. XXVI, Note 1. Cf. KSS, II, p. 566 and FOD, pp. 
103 ft. 

' Not merely the wealthiest, but the head of the community 
— a semi-official magnate. 

^ The same four friends start out together to seek adventures 
in LDB, p. 261. Cf. the quartette of maidens in No. XXV. Four 
is frequently the number of brothers who set out on a quest. E.g., 
• The Four Wicked Sons and their Luck ' — KKT, pp. 331 S. 

175 



176 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

thing about the duties of a ruler, and paid no heed 
to his father's orders and advice. The Raja began 
to lose patience. His Minister succeeded no better 
in his efforts to induce his son to mend his ways. 
The Kotwal and the Merchant, too, saw that their 
sons had got completely beyond their control. Thus 
they were all alike angry and well-nigh hopeless when 
they sat down together one day to consider what 
should be done with the four young scapegraces. The 
Raja said, " When I'm gone, my kingdom will fall 
into some other Raja's hands." The Minister said, 
" When I'm gone, that fdlow will bring our noble 
family to ruin and disgrace in less than no time." 
The Merchant said, "A big hole has already been 
made in the treasures I have amassed. Within my 
own lifetime, everything will have been squandered." 
The Kotwal said, " I daren't open my mouth to the 
young rascal. Being a Kotwal's son, he's of course 
got a desperately hot temper. If I find fault with 
him, no matter how gently, as like as not I shall 
get my head broken. So I've just to look on and 
say nothing." Seeing the others were quite at one 
with him, the Raja said, " Then there's only one 
thing we can do. When we go home, we must tell 
our wives to mix ashes with the rice before they serve 
up their sons' dinners.* I'll order my wife to do so, 
and do you all do the same. Perhaps that'll bring 
the young fellows to their senses." 

Having come to this understanding, they went away 
home, and each one said to his wife, " Look here. 
When your son comes in for dinner to-day, you must 

• Certain to be felt by the sons as one of the worst indignities 
thtvt pQuI4 be iaflioted uppij thenj, 



THE TRIPLE THEFT 177 

give him ashes mixed with his rice." The wife was 
at first speechless with indignation, then she broke 
out, " What ! Have I half-a-dozen sons ? Is he 
not my only one ? And I, with my own hand, am 
to put ashes in his rice ? " But the husband, for 
once, would not give way. " Yes," said he. " That's 
just what you've got to do. Only one son, forsooth ! 
Better an empty byre than a mischievous cow ! ' 
Better you had been barren than borne a son like 
that ! When a son brings his parents neither pleasure 
nor profit nor credit, but only loss and disgrace and 
sorrow, what food is fitter for him than ashes ? " 
" Oh," retorted the wife, " what can you know about 
love for children ? If you had carried them month 
after month below your heart as we have to do, you 
would have some idea how a mother feels for her 
son. And our son's a mere boy yet. Give him 
time to grow up and learn sense, and you'll see he'll 
attend to his duties. Don't use language like that 
to me about the poor darling." "Do you intend 
to obey or not ? " answered the husband. " If you 
don't, well . But, if you do look for your happi- 
ness from me, then you know what you've got to 
do." What could the poor wife do ? For once, she 
had to hold her tongue and submit. 

The Prince came home for his dinner. His mother 
as usual served up his rice to him, but, to-day, left 
him to eat alone. Not being able to help herself, 
she had, indeed, put a tiny piece of coal among the 
rice, though she first carefully washed it. But the 
Prince noticed it at once, and, calling, his mother, 
asked, " How's this ? Ashes in my rice ! What 
' Cpinmon proverb, 

13 



178 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

does it mean ? This is something new, and no 
mistake ! " The poor mother at first kept silence, 
but, the Prince insisting on getting an explanation, 
she said : " You know very well you're going to 
the mischief as fast as you can. You won't attend 
to your duties, and, let the Raja say what he likes, 
you never pay the slightest heed. So he's given 
orders that you should get ashes in your plate." 
Hearing this, the Prince immediately rose up, leaving 
his rice untouched, and went straight to the Minister's 
house. The Minister's son, too, finding ashes in his 
dish, had spat out the mouthful of rice he had taken, 
got up, and left the room. When the Prince arrived, 
he was sitting outside the house. " Friend," said 
the Prince, " to-day they gave me ashes to eat ! " 
" And me, too," was the reply. Together they 
hurried away to look up the Merchant's son and the 
Kotwal's. " Ashes have been our fate, too, to-day," 
said they, when the Prince and his companion had 
told their story. " Well, what's to be done now ? " 
said the Prince. " It's out of the question for us 
to remain in this country any longer," ' answered the 
Minister's son. " Let us go to some foreign land." 
" I quite agree with you," said the Prince. " Nor 
will we stay here ! " cried the other two. " What 

' The sensitiveness of Hindu — at least, Bengali — yoirng people to 
what they are pleased to consider insulting treatment, even from 
their parents, is something phenomenal. It is often satirized by 
plajrwrights. Apparently, it is nothing new. See KSS, II, p. 122 
— Batnarekha is so touchy that, when she gets a slap from her 
father for persistent disobedience, she goes off to the jungle and 
becomes a devotee of Siva — and ib,, II, p. 436 — a child dies of a 
broken heart, because his mother does not bring him his sweetmeat 
as usual. 



THE TRIPLE THEFT 179 

affection can we be expected to retain for parents 
who, with their own hands, give us ashes to eat ? 
Come, let us set out this very night." They all 
agreed to do so. The next question was, what should 
they take with them. " It must be things that are 
valuable, but easy to carry," said the Minister's son. 
All admitted the wisdom of this advice. During the 
day, they quietly made their preparations accordingly, 
and, when night fell, they started forth together. 

They travelled on for many days, passing through 
and leaving behind kingdom after kingdom, forest 
after forest. At length, one day, they came to a 
place where four roads met, and there they halted. 
Then the Prince said, " Let us part here, each taking 
one of these roads. We shall all come back to this 
place after a week or two, and whichever of us 
meets with any adventure worth while, will tell the 
rest about it." All four -.approved of this plan, and 
forthwith they parted, each taking his own road. 

After leaving his friends, the Prince travelled on 
for some days without seeing anything to interest him. 
But, at length, his road brought him to a very large 
city. Entering it, he rambled about in all directions, 
and was amazed at the magnificence of the bazars, 
ghats, and streets. Never in his life had he seen 
the like. So taken up was he with viewing the ever- 
new marvels which his eyes lighted on, that evening 
came on before he was aware it was much past midday. 
He now felt himself quite worn out, and sat down 
at the foot of a tree, in front of the Raja's palace. 
It began to get dark, but, nowhere he could see, did 
anybody light a lamp. Wondering greatly what 
the reason for this might be, he proceeded to question 



180 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

the passers-by about it. Most walked on without 
paying any attention. One or two turned and 
looked at him, but nobody thought it worth while 
to stop and give him an answer. At last, seeing an 
old man approaching very sjowly, he rose and went 
to meet him, and said, " Sir, in such a vast city as 
this, with such splendid bazars and ghats and man- 
sions, how is it that no lights are to be seen, although 
it is now dusk ? " " My dear fellow," was the reply. 
" You must be a stranger in this country, to ask 
such a question." " That's just what I am, sir," 
said the Prince. " It's only to-day I arrived here, 
and for the first time in my life." " It's easy to see 
that," answered the old man. " Nobody but a com- 
plete stranger could ask such a question as you 
have. You must know, then, the great house over 
there is the Raja's palace. Our Raja has one daughter, 
a girl of the most wonderful beauty. In a minute or 
two, you will see her appear on the terrace of the 
palace. So radiant is her beauty that, when she 
comes out upon the palace-roof, the whole city is 
brilliantly lighted up, and the people can carry on 
any kind of work as conveniently as during the 
day.' The Princess remains on the terrace till 

' Cf. the Princess LabAm — SIF, p. 158. The beauty of the 
Phulmati BdirLi lit up a dark room — ib., p. 1. The Panoh-Phul 
R&i;ii shone like a glorious star in the dark jungle — FOD, p, 154, 
In ' The R4kshas's Palace,' the Princess dazzles the Prince's eyes 
like a flash of golden lightning— i6., p. 224. When Kalingasend 
is bom, she eclipses and darkens the blazing lamps in the chamber. 
She gleams even in the day-time, when a maiden — KSS, I, pp. 246 
and 252. Hirdli— SIF, p. 69— the Princess in ' Chundan Raja' 
—FOD, p. 253— Somaprabhd— KSS, I, pp. 119 and 121— Bhadrfi 
— ib., I, p. 135 — TejasvatI — ib., I, p. 129 — SuryaprabhA — »6., I, 
p. 425— Chitravat— CLEB, p. 324— there-bom Bakawali— 16., p. 336 



THE TRIPLE THEFT 181 

after midnight. Wait a little, and you'll see for 
yourself." He had hardly finished speaking, when 
the Princess, arrayed in her jewels and with her long 
hair flowing loose, made her appearance on the 
terrace, attended by a few of her favourite com- 
panions, and, in a moment, the whole city was one 
blaze of light, and the citijsens went about their 

— are endowed with the same kind of luminous beauty. See 
also, KSS, II,- pp. 133, 377, 547. ' Helena the Fair ' is " fairer 
than the sun, brighter than the moon, and whiter than snow " — 
RRT, p. 253. When the beautiful Pulja is seated in the top of the 
cypress, the horses of the King's attendants take fright at her 
" rays," so wonderfully beautiful is she — HGA, I, p. 67. When 
the Prince's mother opens the door of the glass hall where the 
' Goat-Maiden ' is sitting, the radiance within terrifies her — ib., 
I, p. 130. The beauty of the ' Fair Lady with the Seven "Veils ' 
is so lustrous that it shines through them all — GOS, I, pp. 80 f. 
We meet, also, with Tesplendently beautiful heroes. The body 
of the Panoh-Phul B&qI's suitor, when transfixed on the hedge of 
spears, dazzles the eyes of her parents, shining with a glory like 
the moonUght — FOD, p. 1 50. The moment the ' Boy with the 
Moon on his Forehead ' enters the bazar, it is suddenly Ughted up 
— LDB, p. 246. TAj-ul-muhik's face surpasses the glory of the 
sun— CLER, p. 243. 

Originally, the possessors of such effulgent beauty may have 
been personifications of celestial luminaries, but, subsequently, 
it became a mere theatrical property with which any hero or heroine 
was invested, whom the story-tellers wished to describe as sur- 
passingly beautiful. Even the hermit, Kasyapa, is said to have 
been like pure molten gold in appearance, fuU of brightness — 
KSS, I, p. 431 — and the womb of the mother of the unborn Buddha 
is described as resembling a lustrous transparent gem, enclosing 
a white cord, while the Buddha, himself, is bom " strahlend in 
Glanz " — Kern, ' Buddhismus,' I, pp. 29 and 30. Spenser ascribes 
the same luminous beauty to Una : 

"Her angePs face. 
As the great eye of heaven, shyned bright. 
And made a sunshine in the shady place " — 

■Faerie Queene,' Bk. I, C. Ill, 4. 



182 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

business just as if it were the forenoon. The Prince 
was astounded. " What miracle is this ? " thought 
he to himself. " What beauty ! I've never in my 
life seen the like. Seen ? I've never heard of such 
wonderful loveliness. The world can contain nothing 
to match it ! I must get this Princess as my wife ! " 
So fascinated was he by her beauty, that, all night, 
he could think of nothing but how he might win her 
for himself. 

Next day, he began to make inquiries about her, 
in the hope of being able to devise some plan for 
effecting his purpose. But the information he 
obtained, showed that an even more difficult task 
than he had imagined, lay before him. The Raja, it 
seemed, had issued a proclamation that he would 
give his daughter in marriage to the man who should 
be able to commit three thefts — one at the ferry, 
one in the bazar, and one in the palace — and yet 
succeed in completely evading detection.' Now, 
there dwelt in the city a pundit, called Horekrishto,' 
who possessed unheard-of skill in astrology. What- 
ever sort of occurrence required to be investigated, 
Horekrishto would sit down and make his calcula- 
tions, and never failed in this way to find out all 
about it. Not to speak of the present, even the 
past and the future were within the scope of his 
powers of divination." He was a great man at 

» That the ' Master-Thief ' obtain the Princess's hand is un- 
doubtedly the correct denouement for stories of this cycle, but 
the prescribing by her father of a display of marvellous proficiency 
in theft as the "Marriage-Task" to be performed by the suitor, 
seems unusual. On " Marriage-Tasks," see MCF, pp. 17, 20, 25, 98. 
» Sk., Harakrishna. Hara = ^iva. Cf. names like 8ivanaraya9a. 
"> With the astrologer's knowledge, of. that of the Khelapari Ba^i, 



THE TRIPLE THEFT 183 

court, and stood in the highest favour with the Raja. 
For, thanks to him, not a single case had yet occurred 
of anybody's committing theft without being very 
soon detected. Consequently, the Princess was still 
unmarried, and there appeared to be little likelihood 
that anybody would ever succeed in fulfilling the con- 
ditions upon which her hand could be won. 

Learning all this, the Prince thought to himself, 
" This looks an impossibly difficult business. I'm 
afraid it isn't written in my destiny that I'm to marry 
the Princess. Anyhow, I'll away back to the cross- 
roads, and wait there for my friends. Let me hear 
what they say about it. If I succeed in winning the 
Princess, good and well. If not, I'll put an end to 
my life." Having come to this resolution, the Prince 
returned to the trysting-place, where, in the course 
of a few days, his three friends also turned up, 
one after another. The four were overjoyed at 

who knows at once what happens in any country — SIF, p. 9S — 
and that of the Fakir in 'The Bel-Princess,' who, sitting in the 
jungle, yet knows what happens in the Fairy country — ib., p. 140. 
See, also, KSS, I, pp. 380 f. and I, p. 105 ; GHT, II, pp. 166 £E. and 
183 if. ; HGA, I, p. 83. The belief that certain persons possessed 
such extraordinary powers of perception, probably owes its origin 
to the phenomena of Clairvoyance and the like — MCF, pp. 308 ff. 
and 3 IS, Note. The Indian account of such alleged omniscience 
as effected by astrological calculation or ascetic dhyana — profound 
meditation — seems to be a later semi-rationalistic explanation of 
it. Cf. the Arab belief in what can be done by "geomancy" — 
CLER, pp. 60 f. ; Lane's ' Modem Egyptians,' I, Ch. XII. See, also. 
No. XIX, Note 21. At the same time, Indian Folk- tale narrators 
are quite aware that some astrologers are swindlers. See KSS, 
II, p. 59. An astrologer, in order to gain a name, foretells the 
death of his own son in seven days. On the morning of the seventh 
day, he kills the boy, himself, and announces the fulfilment of his 
prediction, thus establishing his reputation among his credulous 
neighbours. 



184 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

meeting again, and proceeded to recount their adven- 
tures. When the Minister's son, the Kotwal's son, 
and the Merchant's son had told their stories, the 
Prince related his experiences. He expatiated at 
great length on the unearthly beauty of the Princess 
and his own fervent desire to win her, but added with 
a deep sigh, " The conditions imposed by the Raja 
are so extraordinarily difficult to fulfil that I haven't 
the slightest hope the Princess will ever be mine." 
" What are the conditions ? " asked the Minister's 
son. " I don't suppose they can be something quite 
beyond the power of man, like the breaking of diva's 
bow." What does the Raja require to be done ? " 
" Oh, it's something quite unheard-of," was the reply, 
"something absolutely impossible. It's useless to 
discuss it. " Tush ! " said the other. " Every 
day, how many impossible things are accomplished ! 
and yet what this Raja requires to be done, will 
never be ! Nonsense ! What is it ? Out with it ! 
I promise you to do all in my power to help you. 
And you'll see — somehow or other, I'll manage to 
bring about your marriage with the Princess." The 
Prince heaved another deep sigh. " You're holding 
out hopes to me that are utterly vain," said he. 
" Listen, however. The Raja has made the condi- 
dition that, if anyone can commit three thefts 
within the bounds of his kingdom and yet remain 
undetected, he shall obtain the Princess in marriage. 
But any sort of theft won't do. One must be com- 
mitted at the ferry, a second, in the bazar, and a 

11 The "Marriage-Task" set by King Janaka to the siiitors of 
his daughter Sita, was the bending of Siva's bow. Ramaohandra 
not only bent but bio^e it — to the great disgust of FaraSu-Bama. 



THE TRIPLE THEFT 185 

third, in the palace itself. In any other kingdom, 
indeed, one might do all that without being caught. 
But this Raja's court is attended by a Brahman 
pundit, called Horekrishto, who possesses an un- 
rivalled knowledge of astrology. Such are his 
powers of divination that nothing whatever can be 
kept hidden from him. Therefore I say that to hope 
to succeed in this business is mere foolishness." 
" Is that all ? " cried the Minister's son. " Then, 
believe me, you've no cause to despair. What is 
there in all this that's beyond the power of man to 
accomplish ? Cheer up ! Let's make for the city at 
once, and get to work to obtain your desire for you. 
You may be sure, no effort on my part will be wanting. 
Before I'm done, I'll have you married to the Prin- 
cess." The Prince was much encouraged by the 
hearty words of his friend, and the four comrades at 
once set about making preparations for their journey. 
By the advice of the Minister's son, they bought, 
amongst other things, a great many different suits 
of clothes. And, when everything was packed up, 
they set out on their journey. 

Just before one reached the Raja's capital, the 
road was crossed by a river, over which travellers 
had to pass in a ferry-boat. When the four friends 
arrived at the ferry-ghat, they found the boat tied 
up there, and at once got into it and sat down. That 
day, it happened, the boat was in charge of the 
ferryman's little son. Seeing they wished to cross, 
the boy said to them, " The fare is sixteen -pon 
cowries " a head." " All right," they replied. " We'll 

1^ Sk., pana = 80. 1280 cowries = two annas, which, at present 
exchange, would be twopence, and, when the rupee was at par, 



186 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

pay it." Thereupon, the boy rowed them across. 
The others then paid down the proper fare. But the 
Minister's son offered only sixteen bad cowries, which 
the ferryman's boy refused to accept. "You'd 
better take them," said the passenger, " they're all 
I've got." The ferryman, himself, happened to be 
engaged in some work a short way off. So the boy 
shouted to his father, " I say, father, here's a man 
wishes to give me sixteen bad cowries." The father 
understood him to mean that the fare was offering 
him sixteen pon cowriesj but that sixteen among 
them were bad. Accordingly, he shouted back, 
" Oh, take them and have done. I can't come just 
now to attend to the matter, myself." The boy was 
surprised ; however, he took the sixteen bad cowries, 
and the four friends proceeded on their way. Before 
entering the city, they changed their dress. They 
then rented one of the finest houses they could see 
in it, and took up their quarters there. 

When his work was done, the ferryman came and 
asked his boy to render an account of the day's 
earnings. Finding the sixteen bad cowries amongst 
the cash, he said, " Where's the rest of this fare ? " 
" Why, that's the whole," replied the boy. " Didn't 
I tell you he was offering sixteen bad cowries ? " 
" Oh, I didn't understand what you said in that 
way," said the ferryman. " I supposed he was 
offering the full sixteen pon, but that sixteen single 
cowries among them were bad." " Not at all," was 
the reply. " Altogether sixteen cowries, and every 

threepence. A decidedly high fare at a ferry. One or two pice 
are usually charged. Payments of such huge numbers of cowries 
are, of course, never made in real life. 



THE TRIPLE THEFT 187 

one of them useless ! " " What a swindle ! " cried 
the father. " It's plain that a thief has got into the 
town. I must go to court and inform the Raja of 
this." And he set off at once to do so. 

The four friends stayed only a few days in the 
house they had taken. Then they rented another 
in a different part of the city, and shifted their quarters 
to it. A day or two later, they moved to another 
house. And they made a point of never wearing the 
same suit of clothes two days running. When they 
had spent a week or two in this fashion, constantly 
changing their dwelling and their dress, at last the 
Minister's son said, " Well, the theft at the ferry 
has been accomplished. It's time now to see what 
we can do in that way in the bazar." So the four 
comrades sallied forth. They walked through street 
after street, till the Minister's son, noticing a shop 
where refreshments were sold, said, " Come, let us 
have something to eat." They went into the shop 
and sat down, and the shopkeeper, seeing they were 
gentlemen, attended to their wants with great zeal. 
When they had all regaled themselves heartily, the 
Minister's son said to the other three, " You fellows 
walk on. I'll square up with the shopkeeper, and 
follow you in a minute." After they had gone, he 
sat on for a while, gossiping most affably with the 
shopkeeper, who thought he had never fallen in with 
so jolly a gentleman. Their talk being ended, the 
Minister's son said, " I'm sorry I've no cash about 
me, but my budgerow's on the river, just over 
yonder. If you come along with me, I'll pay you." 
" Mohashoy," replied the man, " I'm too busy to leave 
the shop, myself. But here's my little boy. Take 



188 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

him with you, and pay the pice to him. He'll bring 
it to me all right." " Very good," said the gentle- 
man. " He hasn't far to go. He'll be back in a 
minute or two." 

Thereupon he got up and walked away, followed 
by the boy. On and on he went — ^through one street 
after another, through one lane after another, yet 
showing no sign of being any nearer his destination. 
The boy was quite a little fellow, and began to be 
fairly worn out with so long a walk. " How far 
have we got to go, sir ? " he asked. " Why, we're 
just at the place," was the reply, and on they went 
through a few more streets and lanes. At last, the 
boy was dead beat. " Please, sir," said he, " would 
you tell me your name ? I really can't go any 
farther." " My name's ' Baba,' " " answered the 
Minister's son, still walking on. The boy followed, 
crying, " Baba, give me pice. Baba, give me pice." 
After a while, the Minister's son sat down at a shop- 
door, and said to the shopkeeper, " Mohashoy, would 
you be so good as to let me have a smoke." The 
shopkeeper filled and lighted his hookah, and handed 
it to him. In the course of his wanderings, the 
Minister's son had seized the opportunity, when he 

^ The common word for " Papa " in Bengali. Such plays upon 
words are a favourite motif in Folk-tales. Cf. Odysseus's giving 
his name to Polyphemus as OBns — No-man — and the consequent 
refusal of the other Cyclopes to come to his help when he says 
that "No-man" is slaying him — Odyssey, IX, 364 ff. and 407 ff. 
— also, the numerous Sagas in which a man tells an elf or the like 
that his "name is "Nainsel" — Hartland, ' Science of Fairy Tales,' 
p. 173 — or some other word meaning "Myself" — e.g., 'Selberjedan' 
^Von Leyen, ' Deutsohes Sagenbuoh,' IV, p. 198 — and, afterwards, 
when he has done the elf some iajuryj the latter's companions dis- 
regard his cries for help, because he says, " 'Myself ' has hurt me." 



THE TRIPLE THEFT 189 

was passing through a deserted street, to throw 
away his fine dress, keeping only an old, torn dhuti, 
which he had put on below, before coming out. Now, 
without shoes or any covering for the upper part of 
his body, he had all the appearance of being miser- 
ably poor. While he sat smoking, the boy kept on 
whimpering from time to time, " Baba, give me pice ! 
Baba, give me pice ! " The Minister's son said to the 
shopkeeper, " Mohdshoy, see how wretchedly poor I 
am. It's become simply impossible for me to live. 
I've a wife and half-a-dozen children, and, though I 
labour my hardest, what I earn won't buy enough 
food for us, let alone other necessaries. Look ! 
This boy of mine has followed me about since early 
morning, crying, ' Baba, give me pice ! Baba, give 
me pice ! ' And no wonder either. He had no 
supper last night, and has had no breakfast to-day. 
And I haven't a single pice to give him to buy food, 
for, to-day, I've been able to find no work. So I've 
made up my mind that, if anybody will buy him, I 
shall sell him. Whoever buys him, will feed him, and, 
with what I get for him, I shall be able to support 
my wife and other children for a long time to come. 
Better sell one child than see my whole family starve. 
I can't think of any other means of saving them. 
Mohashoy, if you'd be so good as to buy him, you'd 
be doing me a very great kindness. Just think, 
Mohdshoy. It's now past three in the afternoon, and 
not one of us has had a bite yet, and last night, too, 
we had nothing to eat. I can't go about seeking for 
work any longer — I haven't the strength left to lift 
one foot after the other — and this child's dunning 
me for pice', when I have no pice to give him, is like 



190 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

to drive me mad." Thus he spoke, and, all the time 
he was speaking, the boy kept breaking in with, 
" Baba, give me pice ! Baba, give me pice ! " The 
shopkeeper's heart was touched by his pitiable 
story. " Truly, yours is a hard case," said he. 
" Well, how much do you want for the boy ? " 
" MohAshoy," the Minister's son replied, " you're 
a wealthy man. You must have bought boys times 
without number, whereas I've always been too poor 
to buy a slave, and it's only now I've been able 
to bring myself to the point of selling one of my own 
children. Who could endure to sell the very blood 
of his own body, if the direst necessity didn't compel 
him ? Give me what you like. I shall be glad to 
take it, whatever it is." The shopkeeper felt so 
sorry for the poor man that he said, " Well, I'll give 
you five thousand rupees." " Victory to you ! " 
cried the other. " May you become a raja ! I 
never in my life saw so many rupees. A sum like 
that will be more than enough to keep the whole of 
us all our lives. Mohdshoy, you're the poor man's 
father and mother." Saying this, he raised both his 
hands and began to bless the shopkeeper with great 
fervour. The latter then counted out the money, 
which the Minister's son gathered up, and at once 
made off. 

The boy was for following him, crying, " Baba, 
give me pice ! Baba, give me pice ! " more loudly 
than ever. But the shopkeeper, running after him, 
caught him and brought him back, saying, " Where 
are you going ? Your father (baba) has sold you." 
Hearing this, the boy began to weep still more 
bitterly. " What good'll weeping do ? " said the 



THE TRIPLE THEFT 191 

shopkeeper. " Cheer up, my little man. Just think ; 
at home, you got nothing to eat, and no nice clothes 
to wear. Here, you'll get plenty of food and be 
always well dressed. Your father has sold you, and 
you've got to stay with me. What's the use of 
making yourself unhappy." Of course, the little 
fellow was not to be comforted. The shopkeeper 
might say what he liked ; the child only wept more 
and more piteously. 

Meanwhile, a great to-do was going on in his home. 

His mother was weeping and wailing and making a 

terrible uproar. His father was utterly dumbfounded. 

" What on earth can have become of the boy ? " 

said he. " The Babu said his budgerow was lying in 

the river close by, and that the boy would be back 

with the money in a minute or two. Now, he's been 

away for hours, and there's no sign of his coming 

back. Did anybody ever hear of the like ? " The 

neighbours, learning what had happened, went out 

searching in all directions. The shopkeeper himself 

wandered on and on through the city, half -crazy with 

grief. At length, he came to the shop where the boy 

had been sold. As soon as he saw his father, the 

child rushed into his arms. The man who had 

bought him, followed, and seized hold of him. The 

father pulled one way, and he pulled the other. 

" What are you pulling at my child f or ? " said the 

father. " Just listen to his impudence ! " cried the 

shopkeeper. " I've bought him from his father and 

paid for him. Where have you turned up from, 

my man, and what have you to do with the boy ? 

Let go ! " " And who had any business to sell my 

boy ? That's what I should like to know," answered 



192 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

the father. " I sent him with a Babu who had 
dined at my shop, to his budgerow, to get the pay- 
ment. He didn't come back. I've turned the whole 
neighbourhood upside down, searching for him. Now 
I find him in your shop, and you say you bought 
him from his father. Are you drunk, or wrong in 
the head, or what ? " " You're a thorough rascal," 
retorted the other shopkeeper. " I counted down five 
thousand rupees for him to his father — ^the man he, 
himself, kept calling father all the time. Just ask 
the people who were standing by then, whether 
this is not the case." The neighbours all cried, " Yes, 
that's quite true. He did buy the boy from his 
father." But the eating-house-keeper's neighbours, 
who had come along with him, shouted back, " How 
can that be ? This is the father." The quarrel 
grew hotter and hotter. At last, they all betook 
themselves to the court, and begged the Raja to 
settle the matter. The Raja heard the statements 
of both parties, took a lot of evidence, and, seeing the 
case was quite clear, made the boy over to the eating- 
house-keeper. The other man said, " But, Your 
Majesty, what about the five thousand rupees I paid 
for him ? " " What more can be said about them 
except that you have been finely swindled ? " replied 
the Raja. 

The father went away rejoicing, and the other 
shopkeeper went away grumbling, leaving the Raja 
greatly disturbed in mind. He, of course, felt sure 
that this affair and that of the cheating at the ferry, 
which had been reported to him a week or two 
before, were somehow connected. " Sea here," said 
he to his Chief Minister; "two thefts have beexi 



THE TRIPLE THEFT 198 

committed about the same time at the ferry and in 
the bazar, and the thief is still at large. What's 
to be done ? " " Oh, send for Horekrishto," " was 
the reply. " Yes, that's the best thing to do," 
answered the Raja, and gave the order. The royal 
messenger hurried to the old pundit's house, and 
informed him of the Raja's summons. " You go 
back and say I'm coming immediately," replied 
Horekrishto in a great flurry, and, quickly marking 
his forehead with sandal-wood paste, and putting on 
a silk dhuti and chhador and a wrapper about his 
body, inscribed with the names of his patron god," 
and taking his staff in his hand and his astrological 
books under his arm, he repaired to the court as 
quickly as his age permitted. The Raja received him 
with all the honour due to the man whom everybody 
looked upon as unrivalled in his knowledge of the 
Sastras and by far the greatest diviner of the day. He 
rose from his throne and came forward to meet him, 
and led him to a seat among the principal grandees of 
the court. Horekrishto gave the Raja his blessing, 
and sat down. Then the latter said, " Mohashoy, a 
most remarkable thing has happened. You know, 
of course, how I have promised that, if anyone 
succeeds in committing thefts at the ferry, in the 
bazar, and in the palace, without being caught, he 
shall obtain my daughter in marriage, and that, 
hitherto, everybody who has tried to fulfil this con- 
dition has failed. But now, all of a sudden, a 
thief has turned up from nobody knows where, and 

" Cf. No. XIX, p. 165. Also, Lane's 'Modem Egyptians,' I, 
pp. 365 f. 

^ Sk., Namavall, '. 

13 



194 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

has committed two most remarkable thefts at the 
ferry and in the bazar. He paid the ferryman only 
sixteen cowries instead of sixteen 'pm — and every 
one of the sixteen bad, absolutely worthless ! And 
he not only paid an eating-house-keeper nothing at 
all for his dinner, but actually decoyed away and 
sold the man's boy for five thousand rupees ! Now, 
it only remains for him to steal something from the 
palace, and I shall have to give him my daughter ! 
What an intolerable disgrace that'll be to us all ! " 
" Oh," replied Horekrishto, " there's no reason for 
Your Majesty's being anxious. No matter where the 
thief may have hid himself — in heaven or earth or the 
world below — ^Horekrishto's divination will find him 
out, and you'll soon have him laid by the heels. 
It'll take me just a minute to make my calculations 
and let you know Avhere to lay hands on him." 
Saying this, he unwrapped " his books and began to 
reckon. 

Meanwhile, the Minister's son, who had rejoined 
his companions, was well aware that there would 
soon be a hue and cry after him. He, too, knew 
something about astrology," and, quickly making a 
calculation, divined that Horekrishto, in obedience 
to a summons from the Raja, had gone to the court, 
and would not be long in finding out where the 
thief was. So he said to his friends, " We must get 
away from here at once. At this very moment, that 
old rascal will be telling the king that we're in this 
house." Forthwith, the friends, changing their 

i« Books are carried about, wrapped in a sheet of cotton. The 
bundle is called a " daftar." 

" From this point, of. No. XIX, pp. 165fE. 



THE TRIPLE THEFT 195 

dress, hurried to another of the houses they had 
rented. Horekrishto had just then finished his cal- 
culations, and told the Raja the thief was sitting in 
such-and-such a house. The royal officers were im- 
mediately dispatched, and ran as fast as they could 
to the place. They found nothing but an empty 
house, apparently quite uninhabited. Much annoyed, 
they went back to the Raja, and said, " It's all hum- 
bug. Your Majesty. There's nobody staying in that 
house." Hearing this, the Raja turned upon the 
pundit, " How now, Mohashoy ? Is this the result 
of all your boasted divining ? " Horekrishto was 
badly put out. However, making another calcu- 
lation, he said, " Your Majesty, I can positively assure 
you, the thief's in such-and-such a house " — describ- 
ing the one the four friends had now gone to, as well 
as the dress they were wearing. Again, the officers 
were dispatched in hot haste. But, this time, too, 
the Minister's son had divined what was taking place. 
He told his companions to change their clothes at 
once, and, himself doing the same, hurried away from 
the house along with them. The officers, a second 
time finding nothing but an empty house, returned in 
high dudgeon. The Raja, on receiving their report, 
lost patience altogether, and said to Horekrishto, 
" Your divination's all a fraud, Mohashoy." The 
poor astrologer was utterly dumbfounded. " Your 
Majesty," he faltered out, " this is no ordinary thief." 
" D'ye think we need astrology to know that much ? " 
interrupted the Raja, whose temper was rising fast. 
" Your Majesty," humbly replied the pundit, " you 
know the like of this never happened before. How- 
ever, I'll go home and make very careful calculations. 



196 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

and shall let you know all about the thief to-morrow." 
" Very well," said the Raja, " but let's have no 
repetition of to-day's performance." 

The astrologer made his obeisance and departed. 
As he walked slowly along with bent head, he thought 
sadly to himself, " Ah, it looks as if now, in my old 
age, I'm to lose all the credit I've enjoyed so long. 
The calculations were right enough. I never before 
made a mistake, nor have I made any now. It's 
my star that's unfavourable to me. That's the 
cause of this disaster. Ah, to think how all the 
citizens looked up to me, and what honour was paid 
to me at court — for which of the grandees received 
as much attention from the Raja as I did ? And 
now I'm to lose it all over the affair of this wretched 
thief ! " Suddenly, his meditations were interrupted 
by a man who came up to him and said, " Thakur 
Mohashoy, somebody wishes to see you on very 
important and urgent business. It'll pay you well 
to go." The unsuspecting astrologer, without hesi- 
tation, turned and went along with the stranger. 

This was the Merchant's son. After quitting the 
second house, the four friends had begun to say to 
one another, " How long is this sort of thing to go 
on ? " After thinking for a minute, the Minister's 
son said, " We must give Horekrishto such a lesson 
as'U be more than enough for him. Till he's knocked 
out, we shall have to spend our time changing our 
house and our clothes. Day and night, I shall have 
to keep the chalk in my hand, calculating what he's 
up to. If I lay it down, long enough to rub the 
lime from some betel before putting it in my mouth, 
we shall be done for." Accordingly, the Merchant's 



THE TRIPLE THEFT 197 

son was sent to call the astrologer, and the other 
three friends sat, awaiting his return, in one of their 
houses. Presently, the messenger arrived with the 
pundit, but, instead of leading him in, took him to 
one of the windows, and there stood still outside. 
" What sort of a place is this you've brought me 
to ? " said Horekrishto. " And who is it that 
wishes to see me ? " Evidently, he was getting 
frightened and suspicious. The Merchant's son re- 
assured him, saying, " Wait. He'll be here in a 
minute." And, sure enough, while he was still 
speaking, his three comrades came up to the window 
from inside the room. " There he is, arid two of his 
friends with him," said the Merchant's son. " Then, 
let us go inside that I may find out what he wants 
with me," replied Horekrishto. " No," said the 
Minister's son from the inside, " you needn't trouble 
to come in. I've something to say to you, that's 
all." " Very well, say away, my man," answered 
the pundit. The young man said, " We know what 
a profoundly learned man you are, and how you never 
err in your divinations. No matter where a thief 
may hide, you can tell the police where to find him. 
Now, the fact is, we are thieves. But our line of 
business is a very humble one. We don't venture 
to steal valuable things, nor to burgle big people's 
houses. We take only plantains, radishes, and the 
like. Now, look here. We poor beggars have never 
done any great harm to anybody, and we don't wish 
to. So we beg of you, if any time, when you're 
divining in order to find a thief, the name of one of 
us should come out, you won't betray us. If you 
do, you'll gain no credit — surely it's beneath a man 



198 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

like you to help to catch poor fellows whb steal such 
trash as plantains and radishes — but, on the other 
hand, it'll be the ruin of us. Moreover, you'll get 
nothing from the Raja for betraying such insigni- 
ficant thieves, whereas, if you promise not to split 
on us, we'll give you as big a reward as we can." 
" Very good," replied the pundit with great hearti- 
ness. " I'm sure I have no objection to that ar- 
rangement. Steal as many plantains and radishes 
as ever you like. Much that'll matter to anybody. 
I won't let on I know anything about you. For that 
matter, if you pay me well, you may steal from the 
palace itself with a perfectly easy mind, so far as I 
am concerned. All the Raja can do is to pay me for 
giving information, and, if you pay me to keep 
quiet, that's equally satisfactory to me. Well, if 
that's all your business, I'll be going now." The 
Minister's son said, " Oh, we can't let you go without 
giving you a trifle, just to ratify our bargain. We 
wish it were more, but it's all we have at present. 
Reach youi* hand in through the window." The 
Brahman joyfully did as he was bidden, when the 
Minister's son seized his hand and cut off a joint 
from one of his fingers. And, immediately, all four 
disappeared. The astrologer hadn't the slightest 
idea who they were. It was darkening when the 
messenger met him, and, besides, all had muffled 
themselves up in their wrappers for protection from 
the evening chill. Almost beside himself with pain, 
and cruelly disappointed by losing a finger when he 
was hoping to receive a gift, he made his way home 
with great difficulty. There he shut himself up, and, 
for many days to come, absolutely refused to leave 



THE TRIPLE THEFT 199 

his house. He was wild with shame and anger. 
Moreover, his wound was slow in healing. 

Thus, for the present, a stop was put to all thief- 
catching by divination in the Raja's court. The 
four friends took another house, and went about as 
they liked,, with easy minds. The Minister's son daily 
bathed early, marked his forehead with sandal-wood 
paste, and put on a silk dhuti and chhador." Thus 
got up like a high-class Brahman pundit, he betook 
himself to the Raja's hall of audience. Soon the 
Prince again began to get impatient. " How long is 
this to go on ? " said he. " And how much nearer 
the accomplishment of our purpose is it bringing us ? '? 
" Brother," replied the Minister's son, " doing 
things in a hurry will spoil all. We must proceed 
with the utmost deliberation. And is it a small 
thing to have effected two thefts out of three without 
detection ? All that remains now, is to steal some- 
thing from the palace, and the whole business is 
finished. At present, I'm going every day to the 
court, and am picking up all the information I can 
about the royal household. To steal from the 
palace is no easy job. If we take any step without 
the greatest caution, we shall all be done for. Be 
patient, and, before long, you will obtain the desire 
of your heart." 

Having thus reassured his friend, he continued 
daily to attend court, till he had got to know all 
about the internal arrangements of the palace, without 
arousing the slightest suspicion. He even contrived 
one day to gain admission to the inner part of it and 
see the Raja's bed-chamber. The guards were his 
18 Cf, No, IX, p, 97, 



200 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

chief difficulty. Night and day, they were at their 
posts in front of the entrance. Not even a fly could 
enter, unobserved by them. For long, the Minister's 
son was quite at a loss what to do. At last, he pro- 
vided himself with a number of stout iron pegs. 
Then, one dark night, putting a number of woman's 
ornaments on one arm and leaving the other bare, 
he took the pegs and a hammer, also Horekrishto's 
finger-joint, and made his way, unnoticed, to the 
back of the palace. He found the wall quite suitable 
for fixing the pegs, but how was he to hammer them 
in without the noise awakening the inmates ? He 
was standing in great perplexity over this unforeseen 
difficulty, when the gong beside the guard-room began 
to sound." At once, it occurred to him that this noise 
was quite loud enough to drown that of his hammer, 
and, without a moment's delay, he began to fix his 
pegs. Ascending step by step, as he put in one peg 
after another, he succeeded in reaching the window 
of the Raja's bed-chamber. He opened it noise- 
lessly and entered the room. The beds of the Raja 
and the Rani were placed in the middle of the floor, 
a short distance apart. ^'' Seeing this, he softly lay 
down in the space between them. Both Raja and 
Rani were sound asleep. Then the Minister's son, 
raising his bare arm, began to take off the Rani's 
ornaments. This done, raising his other arm, which 
was covered with women's ornaments, he began 
very gently to remove the Raja's ring from his finger. 
The Raja stirred and half-awoke, but, feeling the 

" Cf. LDB, pp. 176 f. 

™ The arrangement of the furniture in No. XI, p. 109, was appar- 
ently the same. 



THE TRIPLE THEFT 201 

ornaments coming against his body, thought the 
hand touching him must be the Rani's, so he merely 
pushed it away, and fell asleep again. Having 
secured the ring, the thief fixed Horekrishto's finger- 
joint on a thin slip of bamboo, and began to move 
it up and down over the Raja's body." The skin of 
the old pundit's finger being hard and rough, the 
Raja awoke the moment it touched him, and, think- 
ing a thief must have entered his room, seized his 
sword, which lay on the bed beside him, and slashed 
out in the direction of the finger. It fell off the 
bamboo-splinter upon his body, and, instantly, the 
Minister's son rushed from the room. Feeling the 
finger fall upon him, the Raja said to himself, " Ah, 
the thief's as good as caught." He got up, lit the 
lamp, and awoke the Rdni. She was astounded 
to find her ornaments gone. The Raja said, " Oh, 
never mind. A thief has been here and taken them 
away. But, as soon as he touched me, I struck out 
at him. And, see, I've cut off his finger ! As soon 
as it's day, I'll have a search made, and whoever 
has lost a finger, will be arrested." As he spoke, he 
happened to glance at his own hand, and was dumb- 
founded to see no ring." 

The Raja waited in great impatience till daybreak. 
Then, proceeding at once to his hall of audience, he 
ordered his officers to go out without delay, and make 
a thorough search in all directions. Whoever was 

"' Present-day thieves are said to tickle sleepeus gently to make 
them roll about without awaking, and so allow their wrappers to 
be unwound from their bodies. Cf. KKT, p. 299. But here the 
intention was to rouse the King. 

" With the above incident, of. LDB, pp. 174 ff. 



202 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

found to have a finger cut off, was to be seized and 
brought before him. " Last night," said he, " a theft 
was committed in the palace. But I cut off the 
thief's finger. Now, we have only to find the 
hand the finger fits." The officers hurried away and 
began to turn the whole city upside-down in their 
search for a man with a cut-off finger. Not finding 
any such, they began to run in everybody who had 
a finger a little too short or even somewhat crooked. 
In this way, hundreds of people were produced in 
court. Of course, nobody's hand was found to fit 
the finger, and the Raja had just to release them again. 
This sort of fun went on for about a week. All the 
time, the Minister's son continued to attend court, 
disguised as a pundit, and, as he got many oppor- 
tunities of displaying his cleverness, he soon stood 
high in the royal favour. At length, one morning, 
he said to the Prince, " The time's come for you to go 
and declare yourself to the Raja as the thief. But 
it won't do for me to appear in the business. You 
must tell the whole story, yourself. Here are the 
Rani's ornaments and the Raja's ring, which you 
will produce to accredit your statements. Further- 
more, when I committed the theft in the palace, I 
left your armlet," inscribed with your name, in a 
hole in the floor under the Raja's own bed. So, by 
way of proving beyond all doubt that you are the 
thief, you will ask the Raja to direct a search to 
be made for it. When the Raja sees it, he'll be com- 
pletely convinced of the truth of your assertions, and, 

" Not a bracelet, but an arm-plate inscribed with a Mantra or 
the like, supposed to possess some magical virtue, and worn as an 
amulet. See 'Enc. of Rel, and Eth,,' III, p. 443 ; MWR, p, 204. 



THE TRIPLE THEFT^^^ I 203 

moreover, will learn to what family you belong." In 
this way, being thoroughly coached by his friend,TSje 
Prince, with his other two comrades, repaired to the 
court. The Minister's son went by himself, as usual, 
in pundit guise. They found the Raja sitting in 
deep dejection over his failure to catch the thief. 
Presently, the Minister's son rose and said, " Your 
Majesty, pretty well everybody in the city — ^young 
or old, man or woman, boy or girl — has been produced 
in court, and their fingers looked at. But what about 
Horekrishto ? And how is it he never attends now 
of his own accord ? " " You're quite right," replied 
the Raja. " It's an age since HSrekrishto put in an 
appearance here. Let him be summoned at once." 
A messenger hurried off to the astrologer's house, 
and told him the Raja required his presence in the 
darbar at once. He would fain have excused himself 
— ^his finger was not yet quite healed — but the Raja's 
command was peremptory. 

As soon as he appeared, the Minister's son cried, 
" Look ! Your Majesty, Horekrishto has lost a 
finger-joint." The Raja, greatly excited, immediately, 
with his own hand, applied the severed joint to 
Horekrishto's mutilated finger, and found that, in 
colour of skin and every other respect, the two 
exactly corresponded. Furious with rage, he roared, 
" You base villain ! All these years, you've eaten 
my rice and now you perpetrate this sort of treachery 
against me ; it's easy to see now why your calculations 
turned out all wrong. If it had been anybody else, 
I would have had him impaled this very minute. As 
it is," he went on, turning to his guards, " I can't 
have him put to death, seeing he's a Brahman. But 



204 B^^&ALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

takeJSm away, have his head shaved, and butter- 
^fcfcpoured over him, and turn him out of the city." 
fHorekrishto was too much amazed to stir or say a 
single word. But the cruel sense of humiliation and 
affront made his eyes fill with tears. The ofificers 
approached, and were on the point of laying hold of 
him, when, on a sign from the Minister's son, the 
Prince stepped forward and cried, " Your Majesty, 
the Brahman is innocent, I am the thief ! " " And 
who, pray, may you be ? " asked the astonished Raja. 
The Prince then told the whole story of the three 
thefts from beginning to end — representing himself 
as the thief — and, when he had finished, held out to 
the Raja his own ring and the Rani's ornaments, 
adding, " If Your Majesty desires further evidence 
that I speak the truth, let a search be made under 
your bed. My amulet, which I left concealed when 
I stole the ring and jewels, will be found there." 
Search was at once made, and the amulet found 
and brought to the Raja. The moment he saw it 
and learned from the inscription who the Prince was, 
he jumped down from his throne, and embraced him 
fervently. He then begged pardon of HorekrishtS, 

^ Brahmans often go with shaved heads, but the aikhd or tiki — 
little tuft or pigtail on the top of the head — is carefully excepted 
from tonsure. Complete shaving is the equivalent of decapitation 
in the case of a Brahman — Manu, VIII, 379 — banishment, of muti- 
lation—*., VIII, 124. Cf. CLP, II, p. 453. Drenching with butter- 
milk, as a penal indignity, was probably introduced into India 
by the Musalmans. It may be of Persian or Babylonian origin. 
Cf. the use of lime in CLP, loo. cit. The angry Raja was bent 
on inflicting as much in the way of punishment as he dared on 
Horekrishto, but is represented as scrupulously observing Hindu law. 
The Raja, in No. XIX, orders a Brahman to be impaled offhand — 
p. 157. 



THE TRIPLE THEFl" s 205 

V 

and ordered preparations for the celebrationNc^^Jiis 
daughter's marriage with the Prince to be made> 
without delay. Soon after it took place, the Prince, 
with his wife and his three friends, returned to his 
own country. In a few years his father died, and 
he became Raja, and appointed his three friends 
to the offices of their fathers, who were now very old 
men. Loyally assisted jby them, he reigned long and 
happily. 



XXI. 
THE WITCH'S' DINNER. 

One day, a certain herdsman felt a great longing for 
some cakes. So he went home and said to his 
mother, " I want some cakes to eat." The old 
woman answered, " Child, how is a poor woman like 
me to makes cakes for you ? Where am I to get 
rice, and where am I to get sugar, and where am I 
to get milk ? " The herdsman said, " Oh, I'll supply 
you with all these." Then his mother answered, 
" Very well, if you do that, I can prepare the cakes 
for you." Next day, the herdsman took his cows and 
drove them to the pastures. But, instead of grass, 
he made them eat the rice from the rice-fields, and 
then drove them home again. There, he got a stout 
bamboo and beat the poor cows, till they vomited 
all they had eaten. Then he picked up the grains 
of rice, and gave them to his mother, who dried them 
in the sun and cleaned them. After that, the herds- 
man went away to the high-road, and, pouring out 
a lot of water in one spot, made it so muddy and 
slippery that no one who passed there could keep 
his feet. He then hid himself behind some bushes, 
and waited. Presently, the milkmen began to pass 

^ Bengali, daini, Sk., ckifeim, a sort of superhuman cannibal 
witch. The dainis are satellites of K41i. 

206 



THE WITCH'S DINNER 207 

along, and one after another slipped his foot and 
fell, letting drop his milk-pots. The herdsman caught 
the milk as it flowed from the broken vessels, and 
soon had gathered a great deal, which he took home to 
his mother. In the same sort of way, he got as much 
sugar as he needed, and thus his mother was able 
to prepare cakes for him. The herdsman then ate 
up all the cakes but one, which he carried away and 
planted in the field where he grazed his cattle. 

After a while, that cake sprang up and grew into 
a tree.* The tree became bigger and bigger, and 
blossomed, and at length bore cakes.' Thus the 
herdsman had as many cakes to eat as he liked. 

One day, a witch happened to pass through that 
meadow, and was greatly surprised when she saw 
fine cakes growing on a tree. She came near to look, 
and, seeing the herdsman there, she said, " Herdsman, 
will you give me a cake ? " He answered, " What 
have you got to put it in ? " The old witch said, 
" Give it me in my hand." The herdsman answered, 
" It will burn your hand." For, of course, the cakes 
on the tree were piping hot. Then she said, " I'll 
take it in my mouth." The herdsman answered, 
" But it wi41 burn your mouth." " Well, put it into 
my wallet," she said. " Take one, yourself," he 
replied. " No, you give it," she said. The herds- 

' For some other cases of unlikely planting, see GHT, I, p. 333 ; 
II, p. 301 ; RRT, pp. 183 f. ; LDB, p. 145. In all these, miracu- 
lous results are obtained. But the cultivator who sows roasted 
sesame seed, in the hope of getting a roasted crop, has less luck 
than our hero, his sole harvest being the derision of his neighbours 
— KSS, II, p. 44. 

' Cf. the conveniences of the ' Land of Cockaigne.' See No, 
XVn, Note 3. 



208 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

man was about to do so, but, as he was going towards 
her with the cake, suddenly the old woman gripped 
him by the neck, and shoved him into her wallet.* 
He cried out : " What do you mean by shoving me 
into your bag ? " The witch answered, " It's an age 
since I've had flesh to eat, that's why I'm carrying 
you off." Hearing this, the herdsman remained 
quiet inside the wallet. 

After she had walked a long way, the witch began 
to feel very thirsty. So she set down her wallet, 
and went off some distance to a tank to take a drink. 
Meanwhile, some other herdsmen chanced to come 
along that road. Seeing a wallet lying in the midde 
of the path, they untied the mouth of it, for they 
were curious to know what might be inside. As soon 
as the wallet was opened, the man within cried out, 
" Brothers, save me." They at once pulled him out, 
and, putting in a lot of bricks and tiles instead, tied 
up the wallet and set it down in the middle of the 
road just as they had found it. Then they ran off 
as fast as ever they could. Presently, the witch, 
having quenched her thirst, came back, and, lifting 
up the wallet upon her shoulder, trudged away home. 

When she arrived, she called to her children and 
said, " Look, all of you, what a fine prey I've brought 
home to-day ! " They all crowded round her while 
she opened the mouth of the wallet. But, when it 
was opened, nobody was to be seen ; only some bits 
of brick and tile. Seeing these, her children were 

* Similarly, in ' Ivan Buikovioh,' the witch takes the oppor- 
tunity of seizing the hero's hand when he offers her a ducat — RRT, 
p. 72. Why it should be necessary for her to get a chance of this 
particular kind, is diiBcult to guess. 



THE WITCH'S DINNER 209 

furious, and abused the old woman to their hearts' 
content. What could she say ? Vowing vengeance 
in her heart on the herdsmen, she declared to them, 
" If I don't break his neck and eat him to-morrow, 
then you're welcome to believe my story's all a lie." • 
But it was too late to go back again for him that 
day, so she had to put oft her journey till morning. 
As soon as it was light, she set off for the meadow 
where she had seized him the day before. When 
she got there, she saw the herdsman sitting at the 
f&ot of the cake-tree. He looked up and said : " Oh, 
you're here again, are you ? " She answered, " You 
needn't be afraid: I won't do you any harm. All 
I want is another cake." The herdsman said, "I 
won't give you another cake." The old woman 
begged very hard, calling him, " My Loqhi, my golden 
moon." ' " Do give me another," she said again 
and again. At length, he was moved by her piteous 
entreaties. He picked a cake, and was in the act 
of taking it to her, when, suddenly, she again gripped 
him by the neck, shoved him into her wallet, and, 
fastening it up firmly, walked straight away home 
without ever once stopping. When she arrived, 
she cried, " Come, children, see what I've brought 
this time." They all came running, and were over- 
joyed at seeing the herdsman. Some time after, 
before the old woman went out to beg one day, she 
said to her daughter-in-law, " To-day, kill him and 
cut him up, and make him ready for us." 

Then she and her other children went away, each 
one to his or her own daily work. Nobody was left 

6 Cf. KSS, I, p. 25, with Note, and pp. 263 f., with Note on 263. 
" Common expressions of endearment in Bengali. 

14 



2ia BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

in the house but her daughter-in-law and the herds- 
man. The girl said to him, " Herdsman, you must 
die to-day. But, before I kill you, I should like you 
to tell me how it is your teeth are so beautiful." 
The herdsman answered, " Very well, I can tell you, 
and, if you like, I can make yours more beautiful still." 
She eagerly asked what he would need to do this. 
The herdsman said^ " Nothing out of the way — only 
a kettleful of oil and a skein of flax." She answered, 
" These I can get at once, but will you be able to have 
my teeth done before my husband comes back ? " 
He said, " I can do it all in a minute or two." Hearing 
this, she quickly brought the kettle of oil and the 
skein of flax. The herdsman put the kettle of oil 
on the fire, and, after it had become very hot, he said 
to the girl : " Lie you down there and put the flax 
over your teeth." She lay down and did so. Then 
the herdsman took up the kettle and poured the boil- 
ing oil upon her mouth. Thereupon, she threw her 
limbs wildly about for a little, and was (lead in a few 
moments. When he saw she was dead, the herds- 
man stripped off her clothes and ornaments, and put 
them on himself. Then he cut the girl in pieces and 
cooked her, and served her up all ready. Presently, 
the witch and her children all came home. The old 
woman said, " Well, daughter, is everything ready ? " 
The herdsman answered, " Hum," not daring to speak 
plainly. Then they all sat down and ate, but the 
herdsman took up a water-pot to go to the river, as 
if wishing to wash his clothes. The witch called out, 
" Wait a little, and I shall go with you." So, finishing 
her dinner, she got up and went along with her 
daughter-in-law, as she thought. When they came to 



THE WITCH'S DINNER 211 

the river, the daughter-in-law jumped in, and swam 
about till she was a good way off. The old woman 
began to cry, " Come back, daughter, night is coming 
on." Hearing this, the herdsman called back as 
loudly as he could, " What daughter are you talking 
about ? I've fed you with your daughter-in-law, 
you old witch ; and I've got off safe and sound." ' 

[The latter part of the herdsman's answer, which, literally trans- 
lated, runs thus, " I've given you your daughter-in-law to eat and 
shown you my plantain,' ' is a current proverb. The saying is used in 
the sense of hoisting a man with his own petard, and getting oS scot- 
free, oneself. Similarly, there is another saying, " I'll get you into a 
pretty fix, and you shall eat my plantain," mieaning, " I'U do what 
harm I like to you, but you will be able to do none to me." A way 
of being contemptuously impudent is to hold out the thumb towarda\ 
a person, this being the action described as " showing him a 
plantain."] 

^ Similarly, in the story of ' The Beardless One and the Brakos,' 
the former fools the latter into letting himself be boiled, by pre- 
tending he will dye him the same colour as himself, and so make 
hinx immortal — HGA, I, p. 155. Analogous oases of fooling will be 
found, ib., I, p. 77 ; GOS, I, p. 101 ; RRT, p. 148 ; CLER, p. 570 ; 
GHT, I, p. 224 ; CAS, pp. 12 ff. ; CLP, I, p. 139. With the 
'dinner,' of. RRT, p. 165, and KSS, I, p. 162. For references to 
many other variants of this story, see RRT, Note on p. 168. 



XXII. 
THE RAJA'S SON AND THE KOTWAL'S ' SON. 

Once upon a time, there lived a Raja's son and a 
Kotwal's son who were great friends. They stayed 
together, and sat together, and, in truth, were quite 
devoted to one another. One day, the Kotwal's son 
said to the Prince, " Come, brother Prince, let us 
go and visit our fathers-in-law." The other replied, 
" Most willingly." Then the Kotwal's son said 
again, " Let us both go to the house of each of our 
fathers-in-law, and introduce one another." " Very 
well," replied the Prince. " Let us start at once, 
then," said the Kotwal's son, " and, first, let us go 
to my father-in-law's." " Certainly, there's no harm 
in that," answered the Prince. Forthwith they took 
leave of their parents, and started to pay their visits. 
As agreed, they went first to the house of the 
father-in-law of the Kotwal's son. When they 
arrived there, the Kotwal's son went straight into 
the house, while the Prince stood waiting outside. 
His father-in-law was overjoyed at seeing the Kotwal's 
son, and welcomed him most heartily. Then the 
young man said to the people of the house, " Outside 
there I have a servant ; ' let some little attention be 

* More usually, the Chief Minister's son is the Prince's bosom- 
friend. See No. XX, Note 1, and No. XXVI, Note 1. 

* Such treachery is rare. 

212 



RAJA'S SON AND KOTWAL'S SON 213 

paid to him." The Prince was near enough to hear 
what he said. Thereupon he said, " I'm rightly served 
for my folly in doing as I have done. However, I'll 
wait and see what more is fated to befal me." 

Some time after, it happened that there was no 
grass for the Kotwal's son's horse. When this was 
told him, the Kotwal's son said : " Put a sickle into 
the hands of that man of mine there, and let him 
cut some grass and fetch it to the horse." The people 
of the house did as he said ; a sickle was put into the 
Prince's hands, and he was bidden go and cut grass. 
The Prince took the sickle, thinking, " What ai!n I 
to do now ? " But he could not help himself, so he 
set off to cut the grass. He had not been long at 
work before he cut his finger so badly that it streamed 
with blood. The Prince began to weep bitterly. Just 
at this moment, Bhagavati and Siva happened to 
pass along that road. Bhagavati said, " Thakur, let 
us see who that is that's weeping there." Mahadeva 
answered, " This is always the way with you. You 
can't walk along a road without asking questions 
without end. Who is weeping ? Why is he weeping ? 
and so forth — all such things have continually to be 
explained to you. Come on, never mind that just 
now." "No, no," said Bhagavati, "you must tell 
me." What could Mahadeva do ? ' There was 
nothing for it but to tell her the whole story. Then 
she said, " Let us go to the Prince." " Very well," 
answered Mahadeva, " come along." With these 
words, they both walked up to the Prince, and 

3 Hindu story-tellers seem to delight in representing Durga as 
both able and willing to give her husband "beans," if he shows 
any lack of promptitude ji) meeting her wjshe?, C{, KSS, I, p, 4, 



214 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

BhagavatI asked him, " Who are you ? " The 
Prince at once told her all about himself. Then the 
goddess said, " Don't be afraid. Touch with your 
hand the finger that has been cut and say : 

'Tis Siv * and Durga's order. Quick 
And firmly, both together stick." 

The Prince did so, and, forthwith, his finger was 
completely healed. He then sang praises to the god 
and goddess, while they, after granting him the boon, • 
departed on their way. Having finished cutting, 
the Prince lifted up the bundle of grass upon his head 
and returned to the house. 

Many days passed, and still the toils and sufferings 
of the Prince were as great and painful as ever. Ac- 
cordingly, he said to himself one day, " I'll teach 
these people a lesson." The night following, when 
the Kotwal's son and his wife went to their own room, 
he took his stand in a secret place so as to be able to 
.watch them. The Kotwal's son took up his hookah, 
and was just beginning to smoke. At that very 
moment, the Prince said : 

" 'Tis Siv and Durga's order. Quick 
And firmly, both together stick." 

Immediately, the Kotwal's son's mouth became 

inseparably joined to the mouthpiece of the hookah. 

Then his wife went to take the hookah from him, 

but, just as her fingers clasped the wooden stem, the 

Prince again repeated the spell : 

" 'Tis Siv and Durga's order. Quick 
And firmly, both together stick." 

* Siva is pronounced as a monosyllable in Bengali — Sheeb. 
' Viz., the above Mantra — see MWR, pp. 197 £E. — which he, of 
course, understood would be efficacious for all (tinds of purposes. 



RAJA'S SON AND KOTWAL'S SON 215 

In an instant, her fingers and the hookah stem were 
securely fastened together. She now called for help 
to the whole household, and everybody came running 
to the room. They all began to make great efforts 
to pull the hookah away. But, as soon as anybody 
touched it, the Prince recited the charm, and hands 
and hookah were at once glued together." They 
were all now in a terrible fix. They didn't know what 
to do. At length the master of the house said, " Let 
somebody go and tell the family-priest what has 
happened." But almost everyone but the Prince 
was fastened to the hookah ; so he had to be sent 
with the message. 

He was not long in reaching the priest, and told him 
that the master of the house wished him to come 
as quick as ever he could. The priest started up in 
a great hurry. His wife said, " I will come too." 
" How in the world can you come at this time of 
night ? " he answered. But she said, " I'm sure 
that some merriment must be going on at the master's 
house. That's why you have been sent for ; so I'll 
not stay here alone, let me tell you." In this way, 
his wife kept urging the priest for leave to accompany 
him, until, at length, he said, "Well, come along, then." 
They dismissed the messenger, and, forthwith,, started, 
themselves. It chanced that, at one place, a little 
stream flowed across the road. When they came 
to this stream, the jjriest's wife said to him, " At 
this time of night, it's quite impossible for me to 
cross on foot." Now the Prince had waited for them 
there, and was sitting by the side of the stream. 

* Cf. the way in which seven people, including the parson and 
the sexton, stick to Dununling's Golden Goose — GHT, I, pp. 275 f. 



216 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

Hearing the woman speak, he said to the priest, 
" Venerable sir, take up my venerable mother on your 
shoulders and so carry her over. The water here is 
very shallow." " That is a very good idea," said the 
priest's wife to her husband. "I'll get upon your back, 
and you'll take me across to the other side and set me 
down there." What could the poor Brahman do ? See- 
ing no help for it, he took his wife upon his back, and 
waded with her through the stream to the other side. 
But, while he was doing so, before he had got across, 
the Prince took care to repeat the spell again : 

" 'Tis Siv and Durga's order. Qmok 
And firmly, both together stick." 

The Brahman, having reached the bank, told his 
wife to get down, but she couldn't. As often as he 
said, " Get down, get down," she answered, " I can't 
get down ; I tell you, I can't get down." Here was 
another terrible fix. At last the Brahman, with his 
wife on his back, had to trudge on to his master's 
house.. When he arrived there, the people of the 
house, seeing the plight he was in, all began to laugh. 
They asked him, " Venerable sir, why have you 
our venerable mother on your back ? " The Brah- 
man answered angrily, " How should I know ? I 
never saw such a disobedient and unmanageable 
woman." Then they said, " Venerable mother, come 
down." She answered, " I can't come down." Hear- 
ing this, they said, " You're in the very same plight 
as ourselves. What was the good of our sending for 
you ? The exorcist we sent for to drive out the 
devils, turns out to be possessed, himself.' Where 
can we go for help now ? " 
T " The Ojhft is pg§9§gge4 by * Bhilt" js et osiotrqb Bengali proyer}}. 



RAJA'S SON AND KOTWAL'S SON 217 

Hereupon they all began to ask, " Where is that 
servant ? " The priest said, " It was he who came 
to call me." Hearing this, the master of the house 
ordered him to be brought at once. He soon appeared, 
and the master said to him, " Tell us what you 
know about this affair." He answered, " I'm only 
a servant, what should I know ? " But the master 
continued to urge and entreat him, till, at length, 
he said, " It is by your own son-in-law's fault that 
all this has happened. This is what has come of his 
making me cut grass for his horse." Then, taking 
pity upon them, the Prince recited this charm : 

'Tis Siv and Durga's order, ye 

That fast were bound, now loosened Ije." * 

As soon as he had spoken, they were all set free in 
a moment. And, now that the master of the house 
knew who the Prince was, he showed him all possible 
respect and attention, and begged him to pardon 
his having neglected him before. Soon after, the 
Prince returned home to his parents. 

" Mention of the receiving of this counter-oharm from the goddess 
has been inadvertently omitted by the narrator. Excogitated by 
the Prince himself, it would have had no eflBcaoy. The virtue of a 
Mantra seems to be something superadded to the — often, meaning- 
less — sounds of which it is composed, and may, in process of time, 
become dormant. Hence the need of the elaborate prqcess of 
'puraacharana, which a learned Tantrik explained to me as aiming 
at the " wakening up " of the Mantra. 



XXIII. 

TILBHUSHKI AND CHALBHUSHKI, OR 
THE TWO BRIDES. 

Once on a time, in a certain village, there lived a 
very wealthy Brahman land-owner, who was greatly 
respected by all the people of the neighbourhood. 
He had two wives ; for, his first having borne him no 
children, he had married a second/ The younger wife 
was an amiable woman, and devotedly attached to 
her husband, but the elder was a terror — ^a perfect 
embodiment of quarrelsomeness and malice — and she 
hated her husband bitterly. He, for his part, loved 
the younger of the two, and heartily detested the 
other, though he was prudent enough to make a great 
show of affection for her, and, in order to prevent his 
household from going to wreck, did all in his power 
to keep the peace between the two ladies. 

One day, a devotee came to the house to ask for 
alms. The younger wife, seeing him approaching, 
went to the door with rice and other things for him. 
Before accepting them, he asked, " Mother, have you 
any children ? " " Thakur," she answered, " I am 

' In the hope of obtaining a son who would celebrate his Srdddha 
after his death for the well-being of his soul. See MWR, p. 355. 
In Bengali novels of modem life, when any of the characters is re- 
presented as marrying again during the lifetime of his first wife, 
it is usually for this reason that the step is said to be taken. 

218 



TILBHUSHKI AND CHALBHUSHKI 219 

very unfortunate. Bhogoban has give me not even 
a single child." " Then I can't take your alms,' 
mother," said he. " The hand of a childless wife 
is unholy. To accept alms from her hand would 
bring about my fall from the state I've attained 
to by my austerities. Moreover, such a woman 
can never go to heaven." At these words, the poor 
woman began to weep bitterly, and, going to her 
husband, she said, " I can't endure to live any 
longer." " Why, what's wrong ? " he asked. " Has 
anybody insulted you ? ' Tell me who it is, and 
I'll make him smart for it." " No, no," said 
she. " It's nothing of that sort. But a devotee 
came to our door, and I went to give him alms. He 
refused to take anything from my hand, saying it 
was a sin to accept alms from the hand of a child- 
less wife — he would lose all the fruit of his penance, 
if he did so. Besides, he said that it's impossible 
for such a woman to go to heaven. So, what's the 
good of my living any longer ? " Hearing all this, 
the husband was greatly distressed. He said, " It's 
not right to grieve about a matter in which man 
is powerless, and all depends on God's will. However, 
I will get every kind of appropriate rite performed. 
Perhaps that will move God to be gracious to 
us." 

Some time passed. One day, when the gentleman 
was sitting in his verandah, the same devotee appeared 
again. When he saw him coming, the Zemindar 
at once got up from his seat, and received him with 

' Cf.' LDB, p. 1. See, also, CLER, Note on p. 412. 
3 Hindu sensitiveness to insult is exceedingly keen. Cf. No. 
XX, Note 6. 



220 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

the utmost respect. The devotee gave him his 
blessing, and, seating himself, said, " Mohashoy, 
I've heard that you have no children. I was very 
sorry to learn that, and have, therefore, brought you 
a drug, which you must make your wives take. 
Its effect will be that children will be born to 
you." * The Zemindar took the drug, and thanked 
the devotee again and again most warmly for his 
gift. The latter once more gave him his blessing, 
and took his departure. 

The elder wife had been in a room close by all 
the time, and had seen and heard everything that 
passed between the devotee and her husband. Now, 
she came to the latter and said, " Give me the drug, 
and I will eat it." "It is not for you alone, but 
for both of you. You must share it between you," 
was the reply. '^ Very good," said she. With these 
words, she went off with the drug, pounded it in a 
mortar, and ate up the whole of it. Presently, the 
younger wife came and said, " Sister, where is the 
drug ? I wish to eat my share of it." " I'm sorry 
there's none left," was the reply. " I had eaten the 
whole before I was aware of it." " What ? " said 
the younger wife. " Didn't the devotee say most 
expressly that we were to share it ? How could you 
eat it all by mistake ? " " What good will talking 
do you ? " answered the other. " I've eaten it all, 
and there's an end of the matter. Where am I to 
get any more for you ? " Thus cruelly disappointed, 
the younger wife began to weep bitterly. However, 
as a last resource, she went and rinsed the pestle 

* On the subject of magical cures for barrenness, see Appendix, 
Npte 6, 



TILBHUSHKI AND CHALBHUSHKI 221 

and mortar that had been used to pound up the 
drug, and drank oft the water.' 

Very soon after, she became pregnant, and, a little 
later, the same happy lot befel the elder wife also. 
The old Zemindar was overjoyed at the prospect of 
being blest with children, and spent money lavishly 
on all the celebrations customary at such a time.' 
In due course, both wives gave birth to daughters. 
The younger wife's was a most lovely child, the 
elder's was an uglier brat than anybody had ever 
seen ! The father, outwardly, displayed the same 
joyful affection for both, but other people, while they 
all loved the former, and were eager to get her to hold 
in their arms, simply couldn't bear to look at her 
sister, much less to fondle her. As the girls grew up, 
the heart of the elder wife was like to burst with 
spite, and night and day she thought of nothing but 
how she might destroy her rival's child.' When 
the girls reached marriageable age, the difference 
between them was more striking than ever : the one 
fairly brimmed over with beauty, the other, with 

^ Similarly, in 'The Monkey-Prince,' six of the Raja's seven 
wives eat up all the seven mangoes procured with the Fakir's help, 
and the youngest has to content herself with one of the thrown- 
away stones. Hence, she bears a son covered with a monkey's skin 
— SIF, p. 42. Cf. KSS, I, p. 320 and p. 382. 

» See MWR, pp. 355 fi. 

' The daughters of two co-wives of Indian tales appear usually 
in Western stories as the daughter of a deceased wife and the 
daughter or daughters of her stepmother. The former is beautiful 
and good, and is maltreated apd plotted against by the stepmother 
and her bad and ugly daughter or daughters. The stories that 
ring the changes upon this motif in Western collections are count- 
less. Their Indian counterparts are not quite so common. See 
MCF, Index, references under ' Cinderella.' 



222 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

hideousness. From all the great families of the 
country round about, matchmakers came with pro- 
posals of marriage for Tilbhushki — ^as the former 
was called — but a youth fit to stand beside her 
was nowhere to be found. But as for Chalbhushki 
— so the other was called — ^nobody ever thought of 
mentioning her name in connection with marriage. 
She was universally detested, and with good reason, 
for her heart was as evil as her face was hideous. All 
the neighbours were glad when Tilbhushki went to 
visit them, but, when they saw Chalbhushki coming, 
they caught up their brooms, and, crying, " Be off ! 
Be off ! " they chased her away. 

One day, the son of the Raja of that country came 
to hunt in the neighbouring forest. In the course 
of the day, eagerly following one wild beast after 
another, he got separated from his retinue, and, 
when evening fell, he found himself quite alone. Dark- 
ness was coming on, and, even in daylight, it would 
have been impossible for him to retrace his steps, as 
he had been too preoccupied to note by what way 
he came to the spot where he was now. Besides, 
he was hungry and thirsty and worn out with a whole 
day's hunting. Quite at a loss in what direction to 
go, he resolved to ride straight forward, in the hope 
of coming upon some village. So, moimting again, 
he urged on his weary horse, and presently found 
himself approaching a number of houses. They be- 
longed to Tilbhushki's father's village. Riding into 
it, the Prince drew rein before what seemed to be 
the Zemindar's house. The master came out, and, 
learning who the stranger was, welcomed him with 
great cordiality and respect. The Prince was regaled 



TILBHUSHKI AND CHALBHUSHKI 223 

with a sumptuous meal, and then shown to a splen- 
didly furnished room, where he passed the night. 

In the morning, when he rose and left his room, 
he happened to get a sight of Tilbhushki, and at once 
was completely fascinated by her beauty. He was, 
himself, handsome enough to be no unsuitable match 
for her. " Mohashoy, whose daughter is that ? " he 
inquired of his host. " Mine," was the reply. " Is she 
married ? " asked the Prince. " No," answered her 
father. " Then, if you will give your consent," said 
the young man with great eagerness, "I will marry 
her." " No greater good fortune could befall me," 
was the reply. " You are a Prince ; you will one 
day be Raja ; while I am only a petty Zemindar. 
What could be a higher honour for me than that 
you should marry my daughter ? " ' 

Preparations were at once made, and the marriage 
of Tilbhushki with the Prince was celebrated with all 
possible splendour. Both were overjoyed at having 
obtained partners who were all that their hearts 
could desire. The Prince, a few days later, took 
leave of his father-in-law, and, accompanied by his 
bride, returned to the chief city of the kingdom. 

The Zemindar's elder wife now felt like bursting 
with spite and jealousy, so much so that she couldn't 
bring herself to stay on in her home any longer. 
She said to her husband, " I can't bear to live in your 
house another day. My daughter and I will go and 

* Cf. No. VIII, p. 82. Quite contrary to Hindu social law ; 
see Manu, X, 11, 17, 24, 27. Cf. the uneasiness of Dushyanta, in 
' Sakuntali,' till he learns that 8. is not the daughter of the hermit 
— a Brahman — but of the Kshatriya, Viiv&mitra, and a celestial 
nymph. 



224 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

take up our abode somewhere else." Her husband 
was utterly disgusted with her, and was only too 
glad to let her have her way. She got a little house 
built for herself by the roadside, at some distance 
from the village, and there she and her daughter 
lived together by themselves. 

After a time, Tilbhushki, according to custom, 
was sent by her father-in-law to pay a visit to her 
old home. She spent a few days there, and then 
set out on her return to her father-in-law's. As her 
palki was passing her father's elder wife's cottage, 
the latter came running out, and called to her, 
" Wait a minute, and let us see what ornaments 
you have got at your father-in-law's." Tilbhushki 
at once told her bearers to set down the palki, and, 
getting out of it, followed her stepmother into her 
cottage. The old woman then, pretending she 
wished to examine them thoroughly, began to take 
oft all Tilbhushki's ornaments, and, while doing so, 
seized the opportunity of fastening a certain kind 
of root in her hair. This root had the effect of in- 
stantaneously changing the girl into a bird,* which at 
once flew away. The stepmother then rigged out 
her own daughter with Tilbhushki's beautiful dress 
and ornaments, and made her get into the palki, 
which the bearers took up, and started off again." 

' Cf. the charms sewn by the stepmother ioside the silk shirts, 
which changed the princes into swans — GHT, I, p. 193. See Note 16. 
1° Similarly, the first Rdiji gets the loan of Smya Bai's jewels, 
emd then piishes her into a tank — FOD, p. 94. The Muchie-Ratii's 
step-sister does the same to her, and tries to take her place — ib., 
pp. 243 ft. In ' The Goose-Girl,' the waiting-maid takes the 
Princess's clothes and supplants her — GHT, II, pp. 12 ff. For other 
instances of the ' Substituted Bride,' see Appendix, Note 7. 



TILBHUSHKI AND CHALBHUSHKI 225 

Evening had fallen when they reached the palace. 
Chalbhushki at once repaired to the Prince's room. 
He, overjoyed at seeing his wife back again after 
what seemed to him a long absence, embraced her 
fervently, and then sat down with her upon his knees, 
clasping his arms round her. Now, the bird into 
which Tilbhushki had been transformed, was sitting 
on the branch of a tree, overhanging the window. 
Seeing what was taking place inside, it uttered these 
words : 

" Tilbhushki's sitting on the tree ; 
Chalbhushki's on the Prince's knee ; 
Of sense he can't have got a scrap, 
Whose sist'r-in-law sits in his lap." " 

The Prince felt himself strangely affected by the 
sight of the bird. This unaccountable feeling, and the 
words the bird spoke, awakened in his mind the 
suspicion that, perhaps, it really was not Tilbhushki 
who was sitting with him. He had never yet 
had the opportunity of closely scanning his wife's 
features." He knew only this much, that she was 
very beautiful. He now took a good look at the face 
of the woman beside him, and, though it was almost 
dark, was able to make out that she was very far 

•* Cf ., in * The Pomegranate King,' the questions asked by Qulian&r 
'R&if.i in the form of a bird, ending with the exclamation, " What 
a fool your Maharaja is ! " — SIF, p. 12. See, also, GHT, I, pp. 
98 f., and II, pp. 49 f. 

1' A state of things — like much else in these tales — not to be 
accounted for by Hindu customs, present or recorded, indicating 
that the story must have originated in a prehistoric community, 
where the rule that the bridegroom must not see the bride till 
some time after the marriage — perhaps, till after the birth of the 
first child — was still in force. See MCF, pp. 26 and 336 ; Lang's 
Introd. to GHT, pp. LXXIVf., Note q, 

15 



226 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

from beautiful. He set her down, and, without say- 
ing anything to anybody, went out, and, hastening to 
the foot of the tree, tried to catch the bird. But 
it kept hopping about from branch to branch, all the 
time repeating the same verse over and over again, 
and then suddenly flew away. The Prince completely 
lost his wits with grief and disappointment, and 
continued wandering round and round the tree, con- 
stantly repeating the lines : 

" Tilbhushki's sitting on the tree ; 
Chalbhushki's on the Prince's knee ; 
Of sense he can't have got a scrap, 
Whose sist'r-in-law sits in his lap." " 

The Raja was soon informed about the strange 
behaviour of the Prince, who was his only son, and, 
in great concern, hurried to the spot. He tried to 
find out what was wrong, but, in answer to all ques- 
tions, the Prince simply repeated the same verse. 
By the Raja's orders, he was led away to his own 
room, and the best physicians in the kingdom were 
summoned to attend him. But none of the kinds 
of treatment they tried, did him any good. Famous 
physicians from the neighbouring kingdoms were 
next called in. But nothing they could do, was of 
any avail. The Prince was visibly wasting away, 
and the old Raja was overwhelmed with grief. 

One day, a fowler came to the palace with a bird, 
which he offered for sale. It had the remarkable 
quality of being able to talk like a human being. 
Hearing of this, the Raja ordered the man to be 

1^ So, in ' Phakir Chand,' when the Princess disappears in the 
tank, the Prince, who has seen her, goes mad with love, and keeps 
constantly muttering, "Now here, now gone!" — LDB, p. 24. 
Cf. ib., p. 91, and SIF, p. 74. 



TILBHUSHKI AND CHALBHUSHKI 227 

brought before him, and asked him what price he 
wanted for the bird. He asked a hundred gold 
mohurs.'* The Raja at once paid him the money, 
and told his servants to take the bird to the Prince's 
room, thinking it might perhaps divert his mind 
from the sad thoughts which had overwhelmed him. 
But the only change produced was that, now, the 
Prince sat gazing at the bird, and wept incessantly. 
At last, one day, the bird suddenly managed to 
break the chain which bound it to its perch, and 
flew down into his lap. " He began to stroke it gently. 
As he did so, he felt his hand come in contact with 
something hard. Scarcely knowing what he was 
doing, he pulled at the thing with his fingers. It 
was the rt)ot which her stepmother had fixed in Til- 
bhushki's hair. As the Prince kept on pulling, all 
at once its fastening gave way, and, in a moment, 
Tilbhushki regained her original form." The Prince 
soon recovered his wits and his health, when he 

" A now obsolete coin which was the equivalent of sixteen rupees 
when the rupee was worth two shillings. In LDB, p. 210, the fowler 
asks Rs. 10,000 for the hiraman bird. 

" So, the lotus into which the Bel-Princess has been changed, 
and the fruit that contains her, elude everybody else's grasp, but 
come to the hand of the Prince himself — SIF, p. 145. Cf. the 
" Upel " flower— CAS, p. 108. 

" Cases of transformation — or death — being caused by the 
afiSxing or insertion of some object, and of re-transformation — 
or resuscitation — ensuing upon its dislodgment, are very common. 
God (!) puts a pin in the head of the GuUandr B&q!, which changes 
her into a bird. The bird is caught by a fisherman for her husband. 
As he handles it, he feels something sticking in its head, pulls it 
out, and his wife stands before him — SIF, pp. 12 fC. A K^kshasa's 
finger-nail pierces Surya Bai's hand, and she dies instantly. When 
it is extrapted, she comes to life again — FOD, p. 92. The ' Fair 
Lady with the Seven Veils ' becomes a white doye when the slave- 



228 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

saw his lost wife beside him once more. Tilbhushki 
now related all that had happened to her, and so 
enraged was her father-in-law when he learned how 
she had been treated and how his son had been 
deceived, that he caused Chalbhushki to be cut into 
little pieces, which he sent as a present to her father, 
at the same time informing him fully about every- 
thing that had taken place. The Zemindar, when he 
came to know all, was as angry as the Raja had been. 
Sending at once for his elder wife, he showed her the 
pieces of her daughter's body, and said, " There is 
the fruit of your wickedness." He then had her 
put to death by being cut into little bits like her 
daughter. 

The old Raja soon after this made over his kingdom 
to his son, who lived and reigned long and happily 
with his beautiful and beloved wife, Tilbhushki. 

girl, who designs to supplant her, thrusts a needle into her head. 
On the King's removing it, she regains her proper form — 60S, I, 
pp. 82 a. Cf. SIF, pp. 245 ff., with Note 6 on p. 253 ; KSS, II, 
pp. 156 f. and 302, with Note ; KKT, pp. 71 and 74 ; CLER, pp. 
347 f. and 545; GHT, I, pp. 212 ff. ; GOS, I, pp. 6 f., 11 f., and 
18 f. ; HSF, p. 247 ; CLP, I, p. 444, Note. See, also, MCF, p. 155. 



XXIV. 
THE TWO BRIDEGROOMS. 

In Raja Vikramaditya's '■ hall of audience lived a 
Parrot," of which he was very fond and took the 
greatest care. This bird was able to give true infor- 
mation about everything, past, present, and future, 
and the Raja never undertook business of any im- 
portance without consulting it. Practically, it was 
his Chief Minister. 

One day, the Raja was sitting in his darbar, with 
the Parrot beside his throne. There being for the 
moment nothing else to do, he asked the Parrot, 
" What is Bhanumati Rani doing just now in her 

^ The famous King of Oujein — Sk., Ujjayini — after whom the 
gamvat era, which begins 79 B.C., is named. Little that is his- 
torical is known of him, but his position in Eastern legend and 
romance is not unlike that of Solomon or H&rdn-ar-Kashid. See 
No. XXV, Note 2, and ' Sagas from the Far East," pp. 230 fi. 

* The parrot is a very distinguished bird in Indian Folk-tales^ 
It is the narrator of the ' Suka^Saptati ' — ' Seventy Tales of a Parrot ' 
— and, in KSS, II, pp. 18 f. and 25 f., we meet with one which 
knows the four Vedas, and all the sciences and graceful arts. It 
had been a VidyAdhara — semi-divine being — in a previous birth. 
Cf. FOB, pp. Ill fE, and 145 ; KKT, pp. 65, 312 ff., 320, and 460 ff., 
with Note on 450 ; LDB, pp. 1 55 ft. — same story in KKT, pp. 
35 f. — LDB, pp. 209 ff. — story of the hiraman — and ' Sagas from 
the Far East,' references under " Parrots " in Index. With the 
omnisoienoe of our parrot, cf. that of the Lion-King in ' The Twelve 
Huntsmen '—GHT, I, pp. 284 ff. 

229 



230 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

own apartments ? " " She's making a garland," 
was the reply. " What's the garland for ? " inquired 
the Raja. " Oh," said the Parrot, " her youngest 
sister'll be married to-night. So she's making the 
garland as a present for the bridegroom." " What 
nonsense is that you're talking ? " replied the Raja. 
" Bhanumati is here. Her home is Raja Bhoja's ' 
country, on the other side of seven oceans and thirteen 
rivers.* How in the world is she to get there in time 
to present a garland to her brother-in-law to-night ? 
Besides, she's said nothing to me about this." " Your 
Majesty," said the Parrot, " all that's easily enough 
explained. Bhanumati hasn't told you, for she was 
afraid that, if you knew, you wouldn't let her go. 
As for her getting there, she'll have no difficulty 
about that. This evening, two witches will bring a 
certain tree from Raja Bhoja's country. Bhanumati 
will seat herself in that tree, and it will take her to 
her father's palace and bring her back here, all in 
one night." 

' The best known King of this name is Bhoja-deva, Baja ol 
Dhar, who flourished, probably, in the eleventh century a.d., 
and possessed a famous library. If he is meant here, then the 
anachronism in making him contemporary with Vikramaditya 
stretches even Folk-tale licence. King Bhoja is one of the friencb 
Harichand visits after his punishment begins — SIF, p. 228. He 
gives its name to the Mongolian form of the ' Sinhdsana-DvatrinSati ' 
— the thirty-two tales related by Vikramaditya's thrdne — Ardtht 
Bordshi being a corruption of RdjA Bhoja. See, also, ' Sagas from 
the Far East,' pp. 393 fE. 

* This expression strictly signifies beyond the bounds of earth 
altogether — as in No. XXVII — but, here, it means simply a con- 
siderable distance — say, a good many days' journey off. Bengalis 
use the phrase constantly in speaking of the journey between 
England and India. Cf. the " thrioe-nine lands" which the eagle 
flies over, in ' The Water-King and Vasilissa the Wise '— RRT, p. 122. 



THE TWO BRIDEGROOMS 231 

The Raja was greatly astonished. At th^ same 
time, he was very grateful to the Parrot for the in- 
formation it had given him. Stroking its feathers 
affectionately, he broke up the assembly, and retired, 
himself, to the Rani's apartments, much earlier than 
usual. Thus he entered Bhdnumati's room before 
he was expected, and in time to see that she was, 
indeed, twining a wreath, although she put it away 
out of sight as quickly as she could. He allowed 
her to suppose he hadn't seen what she was doing, 
and said, " Bhdnumati, I feel very much out of sorts 
and wish to go to bed at once." She hastened to 
make everything ready for him to lie down, and did 
all she could to relieve him by massaging his limbs 
and the like. As evening closed in, the Raja pre- 
tended to fall asleep. Presently, the witches arrived 
with the tree in the palace garden, and brought word 
to the Rani that it was there. Having satisfied 
herself that her husband was sleeping soundly, she 
went away to another room to put on her finest dress 
and ornaments. This gave the Raja the opportunity 
he was watching for. He rose at once, and, going 
out to the garden, climbed the tree and concealed 
himself where the branches were thickest. Her 
toilet finished, Bhdnumati took up the garland she 
had been making, and accompanied' the two witches 
to the tree. The three seated themselves in it, the 
witches cracked their fingers thrice,' and away it 
sped over the seven oceans and the thirteen rivers 

' Begarding such magical locomotion, see Appendix, Kote 8, 
and MCF, p. 218. Cf., also. No. XXVII, Note 10, and LDB, p. 88 
— the Bakshasi maid-servant's boat moves ofi with the speed of 
lightning, when she snaps her fingers thrice and utters a spell. 



232 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

to Raja Bhoja's country. Presently, it stopped 
beside a garden, and Bhanumati, with the two witches, 
got down and went away into the palace. 

Left alone in the tree, Vikramaditya thought to 
himself, " It's no use sitting here any longer. I'll 
have a look round." So he got down. Having 
nothing on but the shabby old cloth he had lain 
down to sleep in, he didn't care to go to any very 
public place, and made up his mind to walk about 
in the neighbourhood of the garden, which seemed 
quiet and retired. To lessen the chance of his being 
recognized by anybody, he began to rub dust upon 
his body. While he was doing this, he heard the 
sound of music not far off, and presently lights 
appeared. " There's the bridegroom coming," said 
he to himself. " I must keep out of sight." So he 
got behind a tree by the roadside, and went on 
rubbing dust on his body as quickly as he could. 

The bridegroom's palki soon arrived at that spot. 
Now, this Prince was a hunchback. Moreover, he was 
afflicted with a nasty chronic ailment. Feeling very 
uneasy just at the time his palki reached the tree- 
foot, he made his bearers stop, and, getting out, 
went away alone to a place some distance from the 
road. His attendants sat down beneath the tree 
to await his return. Presently, one of them caught 
sight of Vikramaditya, as he stood behind the tree, 
rubbing dust upon himself. Thinking he must be 
a madman, he and his companions laid hold of him 
and took him away to the bridegroom's father. 
Out of mischievousness, they complained that he 
had been throwing dust upon them. The Raja 
was greatly struck by Vikramaditya's appearance. 



THE TWO BRIDEGROOMS 233 

and a bright idea occurred to him. Pretending to 

be very angry, he said, " What do you mean, you 

rascal, by throwing dust on my servants ? " "I 

didn't throw dust on them," was the reply. " I 

was standing quietly behind the tree, minding my 

own business. That's all the fault I've committed." 

" Oh, don't tell me," said the Raja. " That sort of 

story won't go down. If you wish to escape being 

hanged as you deserve, you must do me a service I 

require." " As Your Majesty commands," replied 

Vikramaditya. " You've only to say what you 

wish." "Well, look here," said the Raja. "My 

son is hideously ugly, he's got a chronic disease, and, 

what's still worse, a huge hump on his back. If I 

take a creature like him to Raja Bhoja's court as a 

bridegroom for his daughter, God alone knows what 

the Raja may do. You see what a fix I'm in. Now, 

you're a very good-looking fellow. So, what you've 

got to do is this. Put on all this bridegroom's finery 

here, get into the palki, and, after you reach the 

palace, go through the ceremony of being married 

to the Princess." You will remain with her in the 

bridal chamber till the women and girls have done 

with their fun and leave you and her alone.' Then 

you must come away, and my son will go in and take 

your place." " Very gpod. Your Majesty," said 

Vikramaditya, and the attendants at once rigged 

8 Cf. KSS, II, pp. 602 f. and 609. An ojd Brahman substitutes 
the handsome KeSata for his own son at the latter's marriage, 
the son being " the prince of ugly men," having '' projecting teeth, 
a flat nose, squinting eyes, a big belly, crooked feet, and ears like 
winnowing baskets." The trick, however, succeeds no better than 
in Vikramaditya's case. Cf . CLER, pp. 487 S., and BRT, pp. 107 £E. 

"> On the night of a marriage, after the celebration of the cere- 



234 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

him out in the bridegroom's grand clothes. He was 
a very handsome man, and, with the fine dress to 
set off his beauty, he presented an appearance which 
filled the Raja and his attendants with admiration. 
He got into the palki, and the procession moved on 
towards the palace. A few minutes later, the real 
bridegroom came back. Finding everybody gone, he 
walked on till he came to the palace. There, some 
of his father's attendants told him all about the 
arrangement that had been made. Seeing the wis- 
dom of it at once, he raised no objection, and kept 
himself in the background till he should be wanted. 
Meanwhile, Vikramaditya in bridegroom's attire 
had arrived in the darbar and taken his seat. All 
the bride's friends were charmed with his appear- 
ance. Bhanumati herself— who did not recognize 
him — went so far as to declare that he was more 
handsome than even her own husband ! Raja Bhoja 
gazed at him, and thought himself a most fortunate 
father to gain such a husband for his daughter. The 
auspicious moment having arrived, the marriage- 
ceremony was duly performed. The bride and bride- 
groom then retired to the bridal chamber in the 
women's quarters of the palace, and Bhanumati 
affectionately presented the bridegroom with the 
garland she had made, laughed and joked with him, 
and, finally, pulled his ears ! Vikramaditya, as may 
be believed, was inwardly very much amused. After 
a while, she and her companions came away, and 
the bride and bridegroom were left alone. Vikrama- 

luony, the bride and bridegroom go to a chamber, and there the 
former is bantered and made fun of for an hour or two by a crowd 
of women and girls. This is a regular part of the proceedings. 



THE TWO BRIDEGROOMS 285 

ditya then said, " Look here. Princess. I'm not 
your husband. Your husband is an ugly, sickly 
hunchback. Finding me by the roadside, his people 
made me agree to come with them and play the 
part of bridegroom thus far. Now I must go, and 
the real bridegroom will come to you. So, good-bye." 
" What ? " said the Princess. " Was it not to you 
I was married ? You are my husband. I'll have 
no other ! " " I'm bound by my promise," was the 
reply. " I positively must go now, and he must 
come in." " I'll never let him come in ! " cried the 
Princess. " What do you take me for, that you 
suppose, after being married to you, I shall consent 
to live with somebody else ? If you insist on aban- 
doning me, I will cut my own throat. To think that 
I should have to give up a husband like you and 
take an ugly hunchback instead ! Shame upon me, 
if I do ! " Seeing the Princess was quite determined, 
Vikramaditya said, " Well, then, there's only one 
thing we can do. Go I must, and that, immediately. 
But give me your ring and keep mine.' It may be, 
if Vidhata ' is gracious, we shall meet again." Ac- 



* Similarly, Bearskin divides a ring, and writes his name on the 
half he gives the princess, and hers on the one he keeps, as a means 
of future mutual identification — GHT, II, pp. 68 f. Cf. ib., II, 
pp. 104 and 106 ; LDB, p. 136 ; KKT, p. 108, with Note, and 
p. 122 ; CLER, p. 267. See also Note 13. 

° Vidhata Purusha is the god of Fate, to whom is popularly 
ascribed that predestination of the events of each individual's 
life which Hindu philosophy and theology regard as Karmaphala, 
viz., the consequences of the person's actions in a previous birth, 
which their own inherent power works out. Vidhata is supposed 
to write a summary of the child's future destinies on its forehead, 
on the sixth day after its birth. Hence, " What is written on the 
forehead," or simply, " Forehead " — Sk., Kapdla, Beng., Kdpdl — 



236 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

cordingly, they exchanged rings, and Vikramaditya 
came away. 

As had been previously arranged, the real bride- 
groom was standing at the back of the door. The 
moment Vikramaditya left, he came in. Instantly, 
the Princess fell upon him with a stout stick, beat 
him soundly, shoved him out, and bolted the door. 
He began shrieking and howling for all he was worth, 
and the racket he made, soon brought his father with 
his attendants rushing to the spot. " What has 
happened ? What has happened ? " they cried in 
great excitement and alarm. " The Princess beat 
me cruelly with a stick and flung me out of the 
room," replied the hunchback. His father manifested 
the utmost horror and amazement. "What an 
unheard-of outrage ! " he cried. " What sort of a 
witches' country is this we've come to ? What sort 
of a wife is this I've got for my son ? What an 
enormity ! To think of her actually using a stick 
— a wife taking a stick to her husband ! And she's 
quite spoilt my golden moon's beauty.^" He's not 

are the commonest expressions for one's fate. Ask a Bengali 
how he has fallen into some misfortune. He answers in a word, 
" Kopdl ! " So, in the story of 'Hatim Tai and the Lady,' she 
says, " The destiny of every individual is traced out on his forehead 
by the hand of Divine Providence " — CLER, pp. 49 f. Strictly 
speaking, Vidhata hasn't it in his power to be gracious. He 
is absolutely bound by what he has once written, and that, of 
course, in the last resort, is determined by Karma. See Nos. I, 
II, and IV, Note 6, LDB, pp. 9ff., and Appendix, Note 1. 

'■'' With the attempt to lay the blame of the husband's ugliness 
and deformity upon the wife, cf. the cases in which an unfaithful 
wife, who has lost her nose in the pursuit of pleasure, tries to make 
out that she has been wantonly mutilated by her husband. E.g., 
KSS, II, pp. 249 f. and 617 f., with Note on p. 250, where many 
references are given. 



THE TWO BRIDEGROOMS 237 

fit to be seen now. But what in all the world is this ? 
A hump on his back ! This crowns all ! " The 
infernal jade ! " So he raged on ; his attendants 
followed suit, and the uproar grew louder and louder. 
It awoke Raja Bhoja himself, and he rose, wonder- 
ing what on earth was up, and hurried away in the 
direction of the noise. By this time, all the women 
in the palace had gathered at the bridal-chamber door. 
The old Raja was distressed beyond measure when 
he was informed of his daughter's misconduct. 
" What's this you've been up to ? " he called to her 
angrily. " Where did you learn behaviour of this 
sort ? " Her mother, too, began to scold her most 
severely, and all the other women chimed in. The 
Princess saw it wouldn't do to keep silence any 
longer. She opened her door and came out. " That's 
not my husband," said she, pointing with an expres- 
sion of disgust to the hunchback. " The man I was 
married to, left my room during the night, some time 
since." This declaration produced a new uproar. 
The Princess's friends began to take her part, the 
hunchback bridegroom's relatives insisted that her 
story was all lies. At last, both sides agreed that 
it would be best to appeal to Raja Vikramaditya to 
decide the dispute, and all started at once for his 
darbar. 

Meanwhile, he and Bhanumati had returned to 
their own palace in the same way as they had gone 
to Raja Bhoja's, Vikramaditya, as before, keeping 

1* Implying that a spell had been used as well as a stick. In 
KSS, I, p. 74, the minister, Yaugandharaya^a, by means of a charm, 
gives himself the appearance of a bunohbaoked, deformed old 



238 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

himself carefully concealed from his wife. Tn a few 
days, the two parties appeared in his darbar, and 
Raja Bhoja told the whole story. Vikramaditya 
could not help twitting his father-in-law with not 
having invited him to his daughter's wedding. How- 
ever, he appointed a day for the hearing of the case. 
When it arrived, both sides appeared in court, and 
the proceedings opened. Then the Princess, who 
was seated behind a screen,'' said, " The man who 
can give a correct account of what took place in my 
bridal chamber, will be proved thereby to be my 
husband." Vikramaditya, turning to the hunch- 
back, called upon him to state in detail what had 
occurred in the bridal chamber. He began to tell 
as good a story as he was able to make up on the 
spur of the moment. The Princess, from behind 
the screen, shook her head in denial of what he said. 
Then Vikramaditya said with a smile, " Well, Prin- 
cess, if I'm able to give the true account, you'll be 
mine, I suppose ? " And he went on to recount all 
that had happened from the time he met the hunch- 
back's father to the moment he left the bridal chamber. 
He finished by producing the Princess's ring and 
asking her to produce his own." She did so at once, 
and the whole assembly saw that it was inscribed 

*" The regular method of taking the evidence of a woman who 
is parda-niahm, i.e., never appears in public, as women of the lower 
grades of society freely do. Now-a-days, however, the former are 
usually examined by a commission from the court. 

" Similarly, the 'Boy with a Moon and a Star' gets a gold 
necklace, a ring, and a handkerchief from his bride on the wedding- 
day, while he is disguised, and, afterwards, when in his proper form, 
proves his identity by their means — SIF, p. 133. Cf. 46., p. 200. 
See, also, Note 8. 



THE TWO BRIDEGROOMS 289 

with the Raja Vikramaditya's name. All were 
amazed ; Bhdnumati, in particular, was utterly dumb- 
founded. The Raja then dismissed the darbar, 
and, retiring to the Rdni's apartments with Bhdnu- 
mati and her sister,'* had a merry time, laughing and 
jesting, and making fun of the elder Rdni." 

" See Appendix, Note 9. 

" 'MaidMaleen ' — GHT, II, pp. 350 H. — is an almost exact coun- 
terpart of the above story. The real, but ugly, bride of the Prince 
formerly betrothed to Maleen, substitutes the latter for herself 
at the wedding, and afterwards, when she takes her place, is ex- 
posed through not knowing what had been said when the pair were 
on their way to chiu^oh, and not being able to produce the neoldace 
the Prince had given his bride, just as the hunchback here could not 
relate what had happened in the bride-chamber, nor show any token 
of recognition. " Thou art the true bride, who went'st with me to 
church," says the Prince. Cf. the Princess's declaration on p. 236. 



XXV. 

KING VIKRAMADITYA AND HIS BRIDE.' 

Once on a time, Raja Vikramaditya * was wandering 
about from country to country in disguise and pre- 
tending to be crazy. This was one of his ways of 
making himself acquainted with the condition of 
his subjects. In the course of his wanderings through 
the kingdom of one of his tributary Rajas, he came 
one evening to a temple, and made up his mind to 
pass the night there. In the temple was an image 
of Kali. In the dead of night, the Raja's daughter, 
his Chief Minister's daughter, the Kotwal's daughter, 

• This tale and the latter part of ' The Boy with a Moon and 
a Star ' — SIF, pp. 127 ff. — are variants of the same original. 

' Vikramaditya appears in this story as endowed with somewhat 
less marvellous powers than in some other Indian tales. It is related 
of him in 'The Wanderings of Vikram Maharajah' — FOD, p. 110 
— that he obtained from Gmiputti — the god Oa^eSa — the power 
of transferring his soul into any kind of body he pleased, and in 
the KSS — I, p. 350 — Kuvera bestows on him the power of flying 
through the air. He is the hero of the VetalapanohaviiMati — 
'Vikram and the Vampire.' See KSS, Note on II, p. 232. 

According to the legend, he was incurably fond of wandering. 
Even after getting nearly fixed for good in the shape of a parrot, 
he did not desist from roaming about like Hariiu-ar-RaBldd, in his 
own proper form, but disguised — FOD, pp. 127 ff. He appears 
as a candidate for service at the palace of the courtesan, Madanamala 
— KSS, I, pp. 347 f . The habit seems to have been not imusual 
with Eastern Kings. See CLER, pp. 421 and 427 ; also, p. 428, 
with Note there, CLP, II, pp. 109 and 319, and KKT, p, 417, 

240 



VIKRAMADITYA AND HIS BRIDE 241 

and the Principal Merchant's daughter ' came to 
do pujd there, and found the disguised Vikrama- 
ditya lying right across the way to the shrine. 
Thereupon the Merchant's daughter said, " Who are 
you, fellow ? Get out of my road. " Without moving, 
he replied, " Jump over me, if you like." The girl 
forthwith did so, and her example was followed by 
the Minister's daughter and the Kotwal's daughter. 
The Princess said to the man, "Who are you? 
Kindly let me pass. I am going to do pujd." But 
he answered just as before, " If it's necessary for you 
to pass, then jump over me." " I can't do that," 
she said. " It's not right to jump over any person's 
body." * " Well, I can't move," was the reply. The 
Princess begged him to do so again and again, but 
he positively refused to stir out of her way. At 
last, however, he said, " On one condition, I can 
get out of your road and let you pass." " What 
condition ? " she asked. " Promise three times ' 
that you'll agree to it," he replied ; " then I'll tell 
you what it is." The Princess promised solemnly, 

' See No. XX, Note 2. 

' To do so is to inflict a great indignity on the person whose 
body is stepped over, which is immensely aggravated, should the 
foot touch him. In B. C. Chatterji's novel ' Sit4r4m,' one of the 
characters is condenmed to be buried alive for stepping over an 
apparently sleeping Fakir, who maliciously brings his body into 
contact with the man's foot. Bengali women strongly object to 
stepping over even such a trifle as a cord stretched an inch or two 
above the ground. The incident plays the part of the " Good and 
Bad " or " Kind and Unkind " motif in this story. See MCF, 
pp. 191 fi. The Princess's ultimate good fortune is the reward of 
her scrupulousness in this matter. 

^ This is still the equivalent of an inviolable path. E.g., Dina- 
bandhu Mitra's ' Lil&vati ' opens with the following dialogue 
between two of the characters : " Will you let me see her, (the wife 

16 



242 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

repeating her promise three times, and again asked, 
" What is the condition ? " " That you will many 
me," was the reply. The girl struck her hand 
upon her forehead and cried out sorrowfully, " I, a 
Raja's daughter, who by rights should marry a 
Prince, to think that I should have to marry a mad- 
man ! " • But what could she do ? She was bound 
by her promise. So she had to give her consent. The 
disguised Vikramaditya then moved aside and let 
her pass. When she came back, after duly doing 
pujd, she said to him, " To-morrow, my svayamvara ' 
will take place. You must attend the assembly, and 
I will throw the garland over your neck." " Very 
good," he replied, and the Princess returned to the 
palace, thinking sadly of her cruel fate all the way. 
Next day, the svayamvara assembly met.' It 
was a very grand affair, for many wealthy and power- 

of the person addressed) ?" "I'll let you see her." "Will you 
let me see her ? " "I'll let you see her." "Will you let me see 
her ? " "I'll let you see her." "You've promised three times! 
If you don't let me see her now, you'll rot in hell." Cf. SIF, p. 17. 

• Cf. KKT, pp. 480 a., where Gullala Shah gets the promise of 
his fourth wife, while disguised as a dirty, ragged beggar. Also 
the aooeptanoe by one Princess of Bearskin — GHT, II, pp. 68 f. — 
and by another of the ' Devil's Sooty Brother ' in his shabby smook- 
frook — ib., II, p. 65. 

' The choosing of a husband by the daughter of a Baja or other 
noble Kshatriya — man of the ancient military caste — at a public 
gathering of suitors held for the purpose. The most famous event 
of the kind is the svayamvara of DamayantI, when she chose King 
Nala, though even the gods were present as candidates — MBH, 
Vana Parva, 67 ; KSS, I, pp. 559 ff. 

' In ' The Boy with a Moon and a Star,' the assembly is held in 
a garden, round which the Princess rides on an elephant, and, 
twice over, puts her gold necklace on the neck of the common- 
looking man — who is the disguised Boy — and takes him up beside 
Ijer on the elephant — SIF, pp. 128 f., with Note 6 on pp. 280 (, 



VIKRAMADITYA AND HIS BRIDE 248 

ful Rajas and Princes had gathered together from 
many countries, far and near, every one hoping that 
the Princess's choice would fall upon him. The Raja 
was showing them every kind of courteous attention, 
when his daughter entered, attended by one of her 
companions, who carried a garland of flowers, a bowl 
of sandal-wood paste, and a metal vessel with a 
spout, full of water. The royal suitors were all quite 
fascinated by her wonderful beauty. But she, 
taking not the slightest notice of any of them, began 
to look about for the madman. It was a while before 
she descried him, for he was sitting on one side, apart 
from the gay throng altogether. The moment the 
Princess caught sight of him, however, she walked 
straight up to him, washed his feet with the water, 
threw the garland round his neck, and marked his 
forehead with the sandal-wood paste. 

Forthwith, there arose a terrible hullabaloo. All 
the disappointed royalties began to give vent to 
their disgust in the most unmeasured terms. " To 
think that such as we are to be passed over in favour 
of a low madman ! " they cried. " The father 
of a daughter impudent and base enough to make 
such a choice, is from this moment excluded from our 
society ! We'll have no more dealings with him 

Neither in this tale nor in ours do the formalities of a avayamvara 
appear to be oorreotly described, though my narrator was a Brah- 
man and fine Sk. scholar. In ' The Prince and his Colt,' the King 
orders all the men in his kingdom to defile past the palace, while 
his three daughters stand at the window, each with a golden apple 
in her hand, which she is to drop on the man of her choice. The 
youngest Princess, thrice over, lets hers fall on the Prince, who 
is disguised as a gardener — HGA, I, p. 94. Similarly, ' Princess 
Helena the Fair ' chooses Vanya, who is standing modestly aside 
from the throng of grandees in his plain caftan — KRT, pp. 258 f. 



244 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

whatever. It's a disgrace to us to stay a minute 
longer under his roof." So saying, they all imme- 
diately took their departure in high dudgeon. The 
poor Raja sat silent, hanging his head. " And 
this is the daughter I was so proud of ! " he said 
to himself. " A shameless slut, through whom I've 
lost caste, family honour, everything ! " His, sons 
rampaged about the hall, swearing they would have 
the life of the sister who had brought such shame on 
them all. They had drawn their swords, and, in 
spite of the tears and entreaties of the Princess, were 
on the very point of fulfilling their threats, when the 
old Rani interposed. " What good will killing her 
do ? " said she. " What was written on her fore- 
head, has come about. Turn her out of the house 
and let her shift for herself as best she can." The 
Raja, too, thought this the best course to follow. 
So he had a little hut built outside of the palace 
precincts, and there the Princess and her husband 
had to take up their abode.' 

The former showed herself a most devoted wife. 
Far from being discontented and resentful because 
she had been married to a madman, she did her 
utmost to make him comfortable and happy. Her 
husband designedly did all sorts of things by way of 
trying her love and patience, but her wifely devotion 
stood the test so well that he was filled with astonish- 
ment and admiration." 

° Of. FOD, pp. 131 ff. The Princess Buoooulee, after refusing 
many Princes, chooses Vikram, sitting in beggar's guise among the 
beggars at the palace-gate, and is turned out into the jungle with 
him by her parents. 

1° Cf . the resignation displayed by the Princess in ' The Six 
Servants,' when her husband pretends to be a swineherd — GHT, 



VIKRAMADITYA AND HIS BRIDE 245 

Some time passed in this way, till the day when 
the Raja's youngest son was to get rice to eat for 
the first time," drew near, and all his sonsrin-law 
came from their homes in various countries to be 
present at the ceremony. Meanwhile, the Princes, 
his sons, arranged that they and their guests should 
go out on a great hunting expedition. Hearing of 
this, the disguised Vikramaditya said to his wife, 
" If you could only get your father to let me have a 
horse, I, too, would go a-hunting." " " How can I 
go to make any such request ? " she replied. " My 
father can't bear the sight of me. My brothers are 
ready to kill me outright, if they get the chance. My 
sisters greet me with such showers of abuse that 
you would think they had a hundred mouths each 
instead of one ! Only my mother still shows some 
little kindness towards me. She sometimes gives me 
things I ask for you, but she has to do it on the 
sly. Once or twice, nly sisters have caught her 
giving me things, and then they've abused her as 
badly as they abuse me. If I go and ask my father 
for such a thing as a horse, I don't believe I shall 

II, pp. 197 f. It is a characteristically Hindu trait in our atory 
that, though compelled to accept a husband, the wife does not 
need any of the discipline which King Thrushbeard — GHT, I, 
pp. 203 ff. — and the Prince in ' The Humbled Princess '— GOS, I, 
pp. 118 if. — consider necessary for their wives. 

" Sk., annctprdiana. Quite an event in Hindu social life. See 
MWK, pp. 358 f. 

12 Cf. SIF, p. 130. There the wife urges the husband to go riding 
and hunting. He pretends to prefer to walk, because he has the 
horse, Kafar, hidden in the jungle. By twisting this horse's and 
his own light ears, he turns it into a donkey and himself into a 
conuuon-looking, i^ly man, and, by twisting the left, he restores 
it to the form of a horse and himself to that of " a grand young 
Prince "—pp. 126 f. and 130 f. 



246 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

ever come back alive." " Oh, no fear ! " said her 
husband. " You go and ask. Nothing worse than 
a refusal can come of that." 

The Princess had perforce to" consent, and betook 
herself slowly and apprehensively to her mother. 
Finding her alone in her room, she seized the oppor- 
tunity at once, and said to her, " Mother, your son-in- 
law wants a horse. He wishes to go a-hunting." 
The old Rdrii burst into tears at the sight of her 
daughter's evident distress. " Alas, my dear ! " 
said she. " To think that all this was fated to 
come upon you ! Well, I'll see what I can do." 
Saying this, she went away to the Raja, and told him 
of her daughter's request. He at once flew into a 
great rage. " What can her husband want with a 
horse ? " he cried. "A low imbecile of a fellow, who 
can hardly move about on his own legs ! Set him 
up with a horse ! And he'll go a-hunting, will he ? 
Whfet next, I should like to know." But the Rani 
wasn't to be put off. She kept on urging her request, 
till the Raja, to get rid of her and her importunities, 
ordered that the most sorry, lame, broken-winded 
old hack " in his stables should be sent to his son- 
in-law. 

The Princess wended her way back to her hut, 
leading the poor, shabby-looking brute, herself. 
But her husband was delighted to see it, though, 
strange to say, the animal shed tears when it saw 
him. He patted it kindly and comforted it, then 
said to his wife, " To-morrow you must cook some 

^' Cf . the condition of the horse selected by the hirmnan, though, 
like the one here, it is really a pakahiraja — LDB, p. 214. Cf., 
also, FOD, pp. 77 and 80 ; CAS, p. 74. 



VIKRAMADITYA AND HIS BRIDE 247 

breakfast for me as early as ever you can." Accord- 
ingly, the Princess got up before dawn and had 
breakfast ready in good time. After he had eaten, 
her husband mounted the horse and rode away. The 
Princess stood at the door of the hut, gazing after 
them. As long as she was able to see them, the 
horse limped along at a snail's pace, but, the moment 
it was out of her view, it assumed the form proper 
to it as a poqhirdj,^* and said to Vikramaditya, 
" How much longer will your Majesty remain in this 
condition ? " " Have patience, pdqhirdj," he replied. 
" The time is now almost at an end." Saying this, 
he struck it once with the whip, and, in an instant, 
it had carried him into the middle of a dense forest. 
Vikramaditya dismounted and called to mind Tal 
and Betal," who immediately appeared. " Listen, 
Tal and Betal," said he to them. "Build a palace 
here as quickly as possible, then collect all the deer 

" Sk., pakshirdja. See No. XXVI, Note 2. Begarding horses 
endowed with intelligence and the faculty of human speech, see 
Appendix, Note 10. Vikramaditya, also, presently reassumes his 
own proper appearance. Cf. SIF, p. 43. 

'° Sk., vetdla, which, strictly, means a demon that takes possession 
of a corpse. See KSS, I, p. 74, with Note, and pp. 132 f. Such 
was the being that narrated to Vikramaditya the twenty-five tales 
— Hindi, ' Baital-Pachlsi, ' Vikram and the Vampire ' — and en- 
abled him to get the better of the devotee who was seeking to 
compass his destruction. This Vetala is the Betal of our story. 
" Tal " is merely the last half of the word, out of which the popular 
imagination has fabricated the name of an additional demon. 
Before his birth, Vikramaditya was declared by Siva to be destined 
to hold supremacy over all Bakshasas, Yakshas, Vetalas, etc. — 
KSS, II, p. 565 — and his actual possession of this sovereignty was 
probably regarded as having conmienced with his worsting of the 
murderous devotee — KSS, II, pp. 359 f. In this respect, he occu- 
pies in the Hindu Folk-tale world the same position as Solomon 
in the Musahnan. See CLEB, pp. 20 and 163 f. 



248 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

from this forest and confine them within the pre- 
cincts of the palace. And make all the necessary 
arrangements for my staying here." Tal and Betal 
had the palace ready " almost as soon as the, Raja 
had finished giving his orders. And, in a very short 
time, they collected all the deer of the forest and 
confined them within the palace-grounds." Vikra- 
maditya, who had assumed the dress and appearance 
of a Raja, went inside and sat down, while Tal and 
Betal, transforming themselves into a couple of dur- 
wans, took up their position at the gate. 

This was the day the Princes had fixed for their 
great hunt. They arrived early in the forest, and 
roamed hither and thither through it the whole day, 
without seeing, a single deer. By evening, they were 
quite worn out. Their throats were parched with 
thirst, and they were so tired they could hardly 
move a step farther. Yet they felt ashamed to go 
home without having killed any game at all. Just 
then, they caught sight of a fine mansion quite near 
at hand, and made their way to it as well as they 
could. On approaching it, they saw, to their as- 
tonishment, that its enclosed grounds were crowded 
with deer. " Who in the world can have built a 
palace in such a place ? " said they, wonderingly, to 

^* Similarly, the Fairy, HammAla, builds a magnificent palace in 
the jungle for Tdj-ul-mullik — CLKR, p. 275 f. For other oases of 
instantaneous magical production of buildings, etc., see FOD, pp. 
22 f. and 69; GHT, I, p. 303; HGA, I, p. 105; RRT, p. 266; 
GOS, I, pp. 151, 214, and 218; CAS, p. 4. 

" The ' Prince with a Moon and a Star ' shoots all the game and 
then sits down beside delicious water and roaat-meat — SIF, p. 131. 
' Mtmtisiuri's Sister ' collects all the birds of the earth in one night 
within the garden which she has enabled her brother to produce 
—GOS, I, p. 224. 



VIKRAMADITYA AND HIS BRIDE 249 

each other. " And what can he want with so many 
deer ? Anyhow, if he'd only be good enough to give 
us a few to take home, we should be greatly obliged 
to him." Talking thus amoi^g themselves, they went 
up to the durwans at the gate, and asked them to 
make their request known to their master. They 
did so at once, and Vikramaditya said, " Tell them 
I've no objections to give them deer, if they agree 
to one condition." The durwans returned to the 
gate with this message. " Very good," the Princes 
replied, " we'll comply with the condition. Let 
him be so good as to inform us what it is." The dur- 
wans went back with this word to their master. He 
then said, " Each of them must submit to be branded 
with the heated tobacco-holder of a hookah." When 
that's done, they may have as many deer as they 
require." The Princes were rather taken aback 
when the durwans commimicated this message to 
them. Some would fain have backed out. But 
they had prom^ised, they wanted the deer badly, and 
these were not to be got, unless the whole company 
complied with the Raja's demand. So, at last, all 
signified assent, comforting themselves with the 
reflection that their clothes would hide the mark, 

^ In SIF, p. 131, the Princes are branded with red-hot pioe to 
mark them as thieves. See ib.. Notes 6 and 7 on pp. 281 ff. In ' The 
Bose of Bakawah,' Dilbar brands the four brothers of Tajrul-multik 
on the back, as being her slaves, and so shames them afterwards — 
CLER, pp. 268 f. and 287. Cf. *., p. 529 ', KSS, I, pp. 90 fi. • 
KKT, pp. 223 f. ; FOD, pp. 213 f. In 'The Prince and his Colt,' 
the hero ofiers to give his brothers-in-law some of the Water of 
Life, if they will each stand a kick from his horse " auf den Hintern," 
and afterwards claims them as his slaves, because so marked — HGA, I, 
pp. 95 fi. Most of this story is very similar to ours. The avayamvara, 
the hoise-and'Clothes-changing incidents, etc., all reappear in it. 



250 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

and that nobody was likely to look for it under them. 
Vikramaditya now came out to the gate, and the 
branding was done under his own supervision. The 
operation over, he gave each of them a deer, and they 
departed triumphantly for the palace, as if they 
had had a first-rate day's sport. Vikramaditya 
then ordered Tal and Betal to make the palace vanish, 
and, mounting his horse, set off on his way back to 
the hut. As soon as he came near enough for his 
wife to be able to see him, he assumed again the dress 
and appearance of a lunatic beggar, '' and the poqhirdj, 
that of a broken-down old hack. 

As it got later and later, and yet her husband did 
not return, the Princess had become quite appre- 
hensive, and was looking out anxiously for him. So 
she was overjoyed when she caught sight of him, 
and, running to meet him, helped him to dismount. 
He pretended to be quite exhausted, and said, " I've 
had a terribly hard day. You must help me into 
the house." The Princess did so at once, and then 
exerted herself to the utmost to refresh him and 
relieve his fatigue. Afterwards, they had supper, 
and then lay down to rest. But, instead of going to 
sleep, the Princess began to weep quietly. Observing 
this, her husband asked what was wrong. " What's 
the use of my telling ? " she replied. " Oh, tell 
me," said he, " use or no use." " Well," answered 
she, " to-morrow, my little brother will get rice to 
eat for the first time. All our other relatives who 
have come to be present at the ceremony, will be 

*° King Nala obtained a similar power of shape-shifting. A 
snake bit him, and he instantly became a black, deformed man. 
The snake then gave him a " fiare-bleaohed " pair of garments, the 
putting on of which restored him to his proper form — KSS, I, p. 565. 



VIKRAMAdITYA and his bride 251 

giving him beautiful presents. Only I shall have 
nothing to give. That's why I can't help weeping." 
After a pause, she added, " I was afraid of vexing 
you ; that's the reason I didn't wish to say anything 
to you about it." " Don't weep, Princess," said her 
husband. " A wife so virtuous and devoted to her 
husband as you are, can't fail to obtain her wish." 
He did his best to comfort her with many such 
kind words, and the Princess, reflecting that all this 
was her destiny and must just be borije patiently, 
presently fell asleep. Then Vikramaditya got up and 
mentally summoned " Tal and Betal, who instantly 
appeared. He ordered them to fetch at once a set 
of jewelled ornaments, a beautiful sari, and two 
trays of costly gems." They vanished, and almost 
immediately reappeared with all the things he had 
asked for. He told th,em to set the things down, 
and then gave them leave to depart. But, before 
they had done so, while the Raja was still talking 
with them, the Princess chanced to awake. Observ- 
ing this, he hastened to put on again the disguise he 
had laid aside, but she caught his hand and cried, 
" Tell me who you are. I can't let you deceive me 
any longer. I won't leave off asking, till you tell 
me the truth." And, snatching the disguise out of 
his hand, she threw it into the fire." Then he said, 
" Princess, I am Vikramaditya." The moment she 
heard the name, she gave a great start, and, drawing 

» See No. VI, Note 22. 

'1 Bengali, manik, Sk., manikya, often translated " ruby," fabulous 
precious stones, a single one of which was said to be worth the 
entire treasures of seven kings. See No. XXVI, Notes 10 and 11. 

" It seems to be implied that the disguise was a magical one 
which, when assumed- simultaneously changed the King's bodily 



25^ BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

back from him, she stood with her hands joined in 
suppUant attitude and said, " Your Majesty, forgive 
me. I've committed many faults." " " What non- 
sense is that you're talking ? " he replied, " I 
can't say how indebted to you I feel for the love 
and devotion you have shown." So saying, he seated 
her beside him, caressing her affectionately. Sud- 
denly her eyes lighted on the gems. " What are 
those. Your Majesty ? " she inquired. " Why, you 
said you wished to give a present to-morrow," he 
replied. " So I've had those brought for you." The 
Princess had never in all her life seen gems of that 
kind. She gazed at them in a transport of delight. 
Her heart was too full for her to speak. She coiild 
only silently bless her wonderful good fortune. 

In the morning, she arrayed herself in her husband's 
gifts, and, taking up the trays of gems, she repaired 
to the palace. Everybody was astonished at the 
splendour of her attire. The Raja, himself, was 

appearance ; consequently, its destruction put an end to his power 
of appearing in any but his own proper form. The incident, thus, 
represents here the frequently recurring motif of the destruction 
of the animal-skin of a — generally spell-bound — hero or heroine 
in more archaic 3Folk-tales. E.g., in ' The Jackal, the Barber, and 
the Brahman,' the Jackal, who is really a great Baja, takes o£E 
his jackal-skin, washes and brushes it, and hangs it up to dry, 
whereupon his little sister-in-law seizes it and bums it, thus putting 
an end to his wanderings about in that guise. FOX), pp. 1 83 if . 
Cf. ib., pp. 222 f. and 226; SIF. p. 49; GHT, II, pp. 96, 210 ff., 
and 288 S. ; HGA, I, pp. 129 f. ; CLER, p. 58. See MCP, pp. 
145, 166, 328, 341 ff. ; CLP, I, pp. 206 ff. 

^ When a King is unexpectedly recognized as such, a Hindu 
begs his pardon as a matter of course. In ' King Thrushbeard,' 
the Princess begs his forgiveness for her treatment of him, when he 
was supposed to be only a fiddler, but, unlike our heroine, with 
very good reason — GHT, I, p. 206. 



VIKRAMADITYA AND HIS BRIDE 253 

fairly bewildered. But, when she presented her gift 
to her brother, everyone's amazement was redoubled. 
The assembled royalties were utterly dumbfounded. 
The Princess then went away to the old Rani and 
said, " I've something to tell you, mother. Your 
son-in-law is nobody less than Raja Vikramaditya 
himself." " You don't say so ! " cried the startled 
Rani. " Yes, indeed, mother," was the reply, 
"He was wandering about in disguise. That's how 
nobody recognized him. Last night, I burned the 
disguise." Th6 old Rai^i fairly sobbed with joy. 
Hurrying to the Raja, she said, " Your Majesty, the 
daughter you couldn't say enough ill about, is the 
goddess Lakshmi " herself ! The man on whose neck 
she threw her bridal wreath, is the Raja Vikrama- 
ditya ! " The Raja was more than astounded at 
this news. Remembering the sort of treatment his 
daughter and her husband had received, he felt de- 
cidedly apprehensive as to what might happen next. 

Meanwhile, Vikramaditya had again summoned 
Tal and Betal, and told them to furnish him at 
once with palkis and bearers, elephants, horses, 
attendants, soldiers, and what not else, as he was 
about to go to the Raja's darbar. Everything ap- 
peared instantaneously. Arraying himself in magni- 
ficent royal robes, he got into a palki and proceeded 

^ See No. VI, Note 16. LHqht-Tneye — a Lakshmi of a girl — ia 
one of the oommonest expressions of endearment in Bengali. The 
mere name of Lakshmi has an auspicious effioaoy. Hence, it is 
usual to avert the possible evil consequences of even naming 
Vrihaapati-'bdr or Thursday — one of the most imluoky days of the 
week — by calling it Lakahmi-bar.' Merchants make a point of 
buying and selling largely on the day of Lakshml's annual puja, 
no matter what prices may be. 



254 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

with his retinue to the palace, Tal and Betal follow- 
ing. As soon as he appeared in the darbar, the 
Raja rose, and bowing in suppliant attitude before 
him with his upper garment over his shoulders, 
humbly begged his pardon. Vikramaditya took his 
hand kindly, and, raising him up, said, " What are 
you talking about, my dear sir ? You, my worshipful 
father-in-law ! How can you do anything to me for 
which you must beg my pardon ? But there are 
some servants of mine in your darbar here. I've 
come to take possession of them." Rather per- 
turbed at this, the Raja answered wonderingly, 
" Your Majesty, all the Rajas in the world are your 
servants. How can there be any who are your 
servants more than the rest ? " " Oh, that's another 
matter," was the reply. " It's some servants marked 
with my own brand I'mi in search of." So saying, 
he ordered Tal and Betal to pick out and bring 
forward the persons they had branded. Forthwith, 
they seized the Raja's sons and sons-in-law, and 
dragged them before him. Then, pulling aside their 
clothes, they displayed the brands, to the wonder- 
ment of the whole darbar, and Vikramaditya claimed 
them as his servants. There they stood, hanging 
their heads for shame. The old Raja entreated 
Vikramaditya to pardon their misconduct towards 
himself and his wife, praising his clemency, and 
urging it wasn't worth his while to inflict any further 
punishment upon them. Vikramaditya was easily 
enough persuaded, as he was quite satisfied with the 
amusement he had had at their expense. He spent 
a few days more with his father-in-law, and then 
returned with his bride to his own capital. 



XXVI. 

LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT. 

Once there were two friends, a Raja's son and his 
Minister's son.' From the time that they were 
very little boys, they ate together, slept together, 
rambled about together — in short, were quite in- 
separable. One day, as they were talking with one 
another, the Prince put this question to his friend, 
" Brother, which is best — ^learning or motherwit ? " 
" Motherwit, I should say," promptly replied the 
Minister's son. " I don't agree with you," rejoined 
the Prince. " In my opinion, learning is best." 
They argued the point for a long time, without either 
convincing the other. Now, the Prince was the more 
learned of the two, and, consequently, was a bit 
conceited. He, at length, said to his companion, 
" Why waste time in useless argument ? Let's settle 

1 The most common of all pairs of friends in Indian Folk-tales. 
Cf. No. XX, p. 175 ; also, SIF, p. 73 ; FOD, p. 72 f. ; LDB, p. 17 ; 
KKT, p. 131 and 213. The Minister's son is invariably the cleverer 
of the two, just as the Minister is cleverer than the King. E.g., 
in the frame-narrative of the KSS, the King of Vatsa is all but an 
imbecile, while his Minister, YaugandharayatLa, is an embodiment 
of ability and craft. See No. XIII, Note 3. As-, in ancient India, 
the Minister was usually a Brahman, one wonders whether the in- 
tellectual superiority to the King, regularly ascribed to him in 
Folk-tales, is due to Brahmans' having had a chief hand in shaping 
and preserving these. 

2^5 



256 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

the question by actual experiment." " Yes, that'll 
be the best way," answered the other. So they 
arranged that, on a certain day, they should both 
set out in different directions, and, after a time, 
jeturn and faithfully relate to each other their 
adventures and achievements. The day soon came ; 
they bade one another good-bye, and rode away on 
their swift and beautiful poqhirdj horses.' 

The Prince rode on a very long way, and, at last, 
entered a, vast forest. It was very dense. The trees 
had grown so close together that it was possible to 
see only a few yards ahead. Still, the Prince pushed 
on as best he could, and, at length, arrived before 
a little hut. Dismounting at the door, he looked in, 
and saw a Muni ' with closed eyes, absorbed in medi- 
tation. The Prince remained there till, after some 
days, the Muni's meditation came to an end, and he 
returned to ordinary consciousness. He then began 
to wait upon Kim, and performed any services 
he required.* The Muni was much gratified by the 
Prince's attentions, and, at last, said to him, " Prince, 
I am very highly pleased by your dutiful behaviour. 

' Sk., pakskiraja = king of birds, an epithet of the colossal half- 
man, haU-vulture creature on which Vishciu rides, and of Rama- 
ohandra's ally, the vultlire-king, Jatayu. Cf. the Persian smiurgh 
and rukh. In Folk-tales, it is the name of a kind of horse, which 
sometimes seems to be merely an ordinary horse, but of a very 
fine breed — as here and in LDB, p. 17 — sometimes, a supematurally 
gifted creature, which — though it is vmcertain whether it was be- 
Ueved to be winged or not — can travel through the air with the speed 
of lightning — cf. Pegasus — talk, etc. See LDB, pp. 214 ff.. No. 
XXV, Note 14, and MCF, pp. 173 and 236. Cf. the Indaxpuri 
horse, CAS, pp. 70 ff. 

' A holy sage, possessed of superhuman powers. 

* See No. XXVII, Note 6. So Ramachandra waited on the 
hermit, Agastya— KSS, II. 390, 



LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT 257 

As a reward, take this ring. Whatever you ask 
from it, you will obtain." ^ The Prince received the 
gift with many expressions of gratitude, and, making 
a humble obeisance to the Muni, mounted his horse 
and made his way out of the forest. 

He continued his journey some four or five days 
longer, and arrived in a kingdom that was altogether 
strange to him. There he learned that the Raja of 
that country had a daughter, who was the most 
beautiful woman in the whole world, and that she 
had proclaimed that she would marry the man 
who could give her whatever she asked, every day 
for a month." On the other hand, Whoever, after 
undertaking to do this, should fail to keep his en- 
gagement, should become her prisoner and slave, 
and be obliged to carry the water for her bath.' 
When he heard this, the Prince thought to himself, 
" The ring I got from the Muni will, no doubt, enable 
me to win the Princess." Many Princes had tried 

6 MCF, pp. 201 f. and 214 ff. The ring in this tale acts of itself, 
and on being simply spoken to, of. CLP, I, pp. 477 f. Often, the 
magical prooedxu^e is more elaborate. E.g., Gullala Shah receives 
from the Wazir's wife a ring which, on being shown to the fire, 
will summon two powerful jinns to do his bidding — KKT, pp. 
473 f. Similarly, in ' The Three Grateful Animals,' the hero re- 
ceives from the father of the snake he has rescued a signet-ring 
which, when licked, causes a black man to appear who executes 
any order— HGA, I, pp. 110 f. Cf. CLP, I, pp. 470 fi. Instances 
of other articles that act in the same way, will be found in KKT, 
p. 86 ; GOS, I, p. 22 ; CAS, pp. 2 ff. ; CLP, I, pp. 74, 80, 88 ff., 
102 fi., 322 ff., 460 f. 

' The Princess's, having the disposal of her own hand is decidedly 
un-Hindu. 

^ Cf. the risks run by those who played dice with the Rakshaai 

LDB, p. 191 — the disguised Princess — ib., p. 277 — and the 

courtesan— KKT, pp. 84 fi. 

17 



238 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

to accomplish the task and failed, and were now 
the Princess's captives, but, trusting in the power 
of the magical ring, the Prince felt certain that he 
was in no danger of meeting with any such misfortune. 

Accordingly, he procured a lodging in the house 
of a garland-weaver," and told her to take a message 
to the palace that he desired to marry the Princess, 
and was ready to furnish her for a month with any- 
thing she might ask for. The garland-weaver sup- 
plied the royal household daily with flowers. It was, 
therefore, easy for her to carry the Prince's message 
to the Princess.' She, in her turn, sent back word 
to him, by the same woman, that she was much 
gratified by the wish the Prince had expressed, and 
would begin from the next day to let him know 
what things she desired. The garland-weaver duly 
informed the Prince, who was greatly delighted, and 
set about providing himself with all such articles as 
he was likely to need for a lengthy stay in the city. 

Early next morning, he was sitting in the verandah 
of the house, when two of the maid-servants of the 
Princess appeared, and, bowing respectfully, said, 
" Your Highness, our Princess requests you to send 
her two sets of jewelled gold ornaments." Asking 
them to wait a little, the Prince went to his room, 
and, opening the box in which he kept the ring, he 

' See No. XIX, Note 8. " Garland-weaver " is the meaning of 
the word in Sk. In Bengali, it is used in the sense of gardener's 
wife or female flower-seller. The apparent importance of gardeners 
and their families in Indian tales — see KKT, Note on p. 361 — is, 
perhaps, due to the fact that flowers are indispensable for Hindu 
daily worship. 

* As the Princess's old nurse does in the first storjr in ' Vikram 
and the Vampire.' Cf. KKT, p. 219. 



LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT 259 

asked it, " Ring, whose are you now ? " The ring 
answered, " Formerly, I was the Muni's ; now, I'm 
yours." " Then give me two sets of jewelled gold 
ornaments," said the Prince, and, immediately, the 
articles appeared. The Prince took them up, and 
gave them to the Princess's maids, who were greatly 
astonished at their beauty, for they had never 
seen anything that could be compared with them. 
Humbly saluting the Prince, they went back with 
them to their mistress. She admired the exquisite 
jewels as much as they had done, and wondered much 
in her own mind where the Prince could have pro- 
cured anything so fine. 

Next day, she sent four maids to the Prince, with 
instructions to ask for four sets of ornaments of 
the same kind and, also, four large rubies." These 
the Prince procured from the ring as easily as the 
first sets of jewels, and delivered them to the maids 
to take to their mistress. When they were brought 
to the Princess, she was, of course, greatly pleased, 
but her curiosity as to how the Prince was able to 
obtain such things was even greater than her delight 
at getting them. Next day, she sent sixteen maids, 
whom she told to ask for sixteen platefuls of rubies, 
sixteen elephants, and sixteen horses. The Prince 
addressed the ring in the same words as before, and 
all the things demanded were immediately supplied. 
When her maids returned to her with them, the Prin- 

1" For an account of the submarine production of Indian Folk- 
tale rubies, which are infinitely superior to the ordinary atone, 
see LDB, pp. 223 ff. Cf. KKT, p. 205. Fishes bring rubies to the 
youngest of ' The Three Princes.' Also, SIF, p. 66. The man who 
went to seek his fate, gets from an aJligator the ruby which caused 
a burning in its stomach. See No. XXV, Note 21. 



260 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

cess was fairly astounded. " Did anyone ever hear 
of the like ? " said she to herself. " Each of these 
gems is worth all the treasures of seven kings, yet 
this Prince finds no difficulty in supplying great 
piles of them." " 

So it went on from day to day. No matter how 
costly were the things the Princess asked for, or how 
vast the quantities of them required, the Prince 
furnished them without the slightest difficulty. The 
month was now near an end, and the Princess became 
more and more uneasy. " This will never do," she 
thought to herself. " It's plain I shall never get 
the better of him merely by increasing my demands. 
I must try some other plan." So she called the 
garland-weaver, and said to her, " Where does the 
Prince get all the things he gives me ? " "I haven't 
the slightest idea," was the reply. " To judge by 
the style in which he's living in my house, the Prince 
doesn't seem to possess any treasures worth speaking 
of." " Well," said the Princess, " you must manage 
somehow or other to get to the bottom of the mystery. 
If you succeed in finding out the Prince's secret for 
me, I'll give you any reward you like to name." The 
garland-weaver promised to do her best. 

She went home, and, as soon as she got an oppor- 
tunity, she began a conversation with the Prince. 
After talking of this, that, and the other thing, she 
said to him, " Sir, there's one thing that completely 
puzzles me. No one, seeing how you live, would 
believe that you are even a petty Raja's son. And 
yet you are able, without any trouble, to supply the 

^^ Cf . the value of tha gems contained in the fruits given to the 
King by the ascetic, in the latrod. to ' Vikram and the Vampire.' 



LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT 261 

most costly treasures, and in any quantity. How 
is it you can do this ? " " My good woman," he 
replied, " that's a secret that you've no occasion to 
bother your head about." " Oh," said she, " that 
may be all very true. But I'm dying with curiosity 
to know. And why should you be afraid to tell 
me ? I solemnly promise you I won't let it go any 
farther." " What good will it do you to know ? " 
still objected the Prince. " See," she persisted, 
" here you are living in my house, and I look after 
you just as if you were my own son. Why have secrets 
from me ? Tell me ! Do ! " At last, the Prince, 
seeing there was no hope of getting peace in any 
other way, foolishly yielded to her importunity, and 
told her all about the ring." 

As soon as his back was turned, off she hied to 
the Princess, and reported to her all she had learned. 
The Princess was overjoyed, and quite overwhelmed 
the traitress with splendid gifts. Next day was the 
last of the month but one. That day, she sent only 
one maid-servant to the Prince, but she was instructed 
to ask for the ring. When this request was made, 
the Prince was utterly dumbfounded. He could 
hardly believe his ears. Now he saw what a fool 
he had been to confide in a woman like the gar- 
land-weaver. But what could he do ? He had no 

" The " Delila " motif is a favourite in Folk-tales, both Eastern 
and Western. See KSS, II, pp. 54 g. ; GHT, I, p. 54, and II, pp. 
120 f. ; GOS, I, pp. 195f. In the story of 'The Three Grateful 
Animals,' the hero weakly lets himself be wheedled by his unfaithful 
wife out of the secret of his all-powerful signet-ring, and she steals 
it and goes ofl with her paramour — HGA, I, pp. 112 f. This motif 
occurs very frequently in the ' Separable Life ' and kindred 
cycles— e.sr., LDB, pp. 84 f. and 251 f.; FOD, p. 14; GOS, I, pp. 
144 f. ; KKT, pp. 382 f. 



262 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

alternative but to deliver up the ring. " Next morning, 
the last of the month, the Princess sent one of her 
women to ask for a hundred rupees. The poor Prince 
was unable to produce even this trifling sum. The 
wager was lost. As soon as the Princess's messenger 
had returned to her empty-handed, the Raja's officers 
were dispatched to make the Prince their prisoner. 
He wept and entreated. But what good could that 
do ? He was at once marched off, and set to carry 
in the Princess's bath-water. 

Meanwhile, the Minister's son also, after riding on 
for several days, had arrived at the capital city of a 
foreign kingdom. Night was falling, so he was 
glad to become the guest of a hospitable Brahman, 
whose family consisted of himself, his wife and son, 
and the son's lately married wife. All treated their 
guest with great kindness and courtesy, but he was 
not long in becoming aware that they were in great 
distress." He heard them talking earnestly to one 
another in the next room, and weeping bitterly all 
the time. The son said, " Let me go. It would be 
a shame that my mother or father should go, when 
I'm here." His young wife said, " You all remain 
where you are. I will go. I'm a stranger's daughter. 
What will my death matter ? You will easily 
enough find another wife for your son." The old 
people could do nothing but weep. All this surprise^ 

1' With the Prince's — to Western ways of thinking, foolish — 
compliance, of. that of the Minister, Nagarjuna, whose habit it was, 
after his daily prayers, to grant petitioners whatever they asked 
for. His enemy, the Prince Jivahara, one day, asked him for liis 
head, and he gave it. He had bestowed the same gift ninety-nine 
times before in previous births — KSS, I, pp. 377 f. 

" Cf. LDB, pp. 73 fi. 



LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT 263 

the Minister's son very much. Curious to know 
■what was afoot, he called his host, and asked, " M6- 
hdshoy, what's wrong ? " The Brahman at first 
wotild not tell him. " What the better will you be 
for knowing ? " said he. " Do tell me," urged the 
other. " Who knows what may come of it ? " At 
last, the Brahman yielded, and said, " Well, then, 
Mohashoy, listen. Some time since, our Raja made 
a compact with a Raqhoshi " that he should send her 
daily for food one person from one or other house- 
hold in this city." Before that, she had been devas- 
tating the country, by devouring people without let 
or hindrance. To-day, it's our family's turn to send 

" Sk., Rdkahaii, fern, of Rakahaaa, Beng., Baqhoah. These are 
fiendish beings, akin to the Western goblins, ogres, trolls, and the 
like. They " haunt cemeteries, disturb saorifioes, harass devout 
men, animate dead bodies, devour human beings, and vex and 
afflict mankind in all sorts of ways." In their natural shape, they 
have " up-standing hair, yellow as the flames vomited forth from 
their mouths terrible with tusks, gigantic bodies black as smoke, 
and pendulous breasts and bellies " — KSS, II, p. 524., But they 
can assume any form they please, animal or other, and the females 
often appear as bea.utiful women in order to entrap men. See 
KKT, p. 42 ; LDB, pp. 65 fi., 117 fE., 270 fi. With the Rakshasas, 
may be compared the corpse-devouring fiend in ' The Story of 
Marusia ' — RRT, p. 17, with Note. But the former seem, as 
a rule, to prefer fresh meat which they have killed for themselves. 
Cf., also, the Greek Brakos and Lamia — Abbott, 'Macedonian 
Folklore,' pp. 264 f. and 265 f. See, also, SIF, Notes XI, 2, 3, 4 
on pp. 259 ff., and ' Cannibalism,' ' RAkshasa,' and ' RAkshasI ' in 
MCF, Index. 

" With this compact, cf. KSS, II, pp. 312 ff. and Note on p. 
318. Garu4a was davouring the Nagas — semi-divine snake-beings 
— wholesale. Vasuki — the divine snake-king — accordingly made 
an agreement with him to send him one daily to a certain spot. 
Jimiitavahana sacrifices himself in Sankhachiif a's place. Cf. 
KSS, I, pp. 183 fi., and 'Sagas from the Fftr East,' pp. 19, 286, 
»nd 292, 



264 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

somebody. That's why we're all weeping." "M6- 
hAshoy," replied the Minister's son, " don't you 
distress yourselves. I'll go." " The Brahman started. 
" That is out of the question," said he. " Shall 
we send you, who are our guest, into the jaws of the 
Raqhoshi in order to save ourselves ? Who ever 
heard of such a thing ? A crime like that would 
bring me to perdition." " "Keep your mind easy," 
was the reply. " There's not the slightest occasion 
for anxiety, if you do as I say. Only there are 
certain things you must supply me with, before I 
go." After a deal of persuasion, the Brahman was 
induced to yield a reluctant consent to his guest's 
proposal, and asked, " What are the things you 
require ? " " They are these," answered the young 
man : " a very thick rope, a pot of wet lime, a few 
spades, a pan of fire, and two sharp-pointed iron 
rods." The Brahman at once procured all these 
things, though wondering greatly in /his own mind 
what they could be wanted for. 

Taking them all along with him, the Minister's 
son proceeded to the abode of the Raqhoshi. There 
he put the iron rods in the fire to heat, and then sat 
down with his weapons ready to his hand to await 
her coming, having first shut the door of the house. 
Presently, the Raqhoshi arrived, and, surprised at 

" Similarly — KKT, p. 39 — the Prince takes the place of the 
potter's son, as husband to the Princess whose! bridegrooms always 
died on the bridal night. And, in ' The Witdh-Girl,' the Kossaok 
effects the deliverance of the family he fines mourning because 
their turn to be visited by Death has come — B.RT, pp. 269 f. Cf. 
CAS, p. 20; CLP, I, pp. 160 and 164. I 

^^ Being a breach of hospitality. Probablji too, the Minister's 
son is thought of as a Brahman. j 



LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT 265 

finding herself shut out of her own house, asked, 
" Who's inside ? " The young man, disguising his 
voice, in turn asked gruffly, " Who are you ? " " I'm 
a Raqhosh," was the reply. " And I," retorted he 
in the same harsh, strange-sounding voice, " am the 
Raqhoshes' Jom," Kaqhosh." '" That kind of voice 
was quite new to the Raqhoshi, and, as for Kaqhosh, 
she had never in her life either seen or heard of him. 
Much taken aback, she asked, " What do you want 
here ? " " What do you want here ? " he answered 
fiercely. The Raqhoshi began to feel a bit fright- 
ened. " Sir Kaqhosh," said she, " I've never, all my 
life, set eyes on you, and should like to know what 
like you are. Please, show me your hair." " First 
show me your hair," was the reply. The Raqhoshi 
plucked a hair from her head and passed it in through 
a crack in the window-shutter. Thereupon the 
Minister's son pushed the thick rope out through the 
crack. When she saw it, the Raqhoshi thought to 
herself, " I never saw such hair. What a monster 
he niust be to have hair like that ! " Then she said, 
" Sir Kaqhosh, let me see what sort of nails you 
have." " Show me your nails," he answered, just 
as before. The Raqhoshi tore off one of her finger- 
nails and passed it in through the crack, whereupon 

" Sk., Tama, the god of death, hence, a fatal enemy. 

»• In ' The Blind Man, the Deaf Man, and the Donkey '— FOD, 
pp. 230 ff. — the Rakshasa is bluffed in very similar fashion, though 
the details vary. The Blind Man calls himself the Rakshasas' 
father, Bakshas. Cf. the cowing of the Bear in OHT, I, pp. 118 f. ; 
of the giant and the King's servants by the ' Vahant Little Tailor,' 
— GHT, I, pp. 87 and 93 ; of the Drakos by the Bride— Abbott's 
'Macedonian Folklore,' pp. 261 f. ; also, LDB, pp. 76 f. and 258 ff.; 
CLP.I, pp. 136fE. See, too, No. XXVIII, Note 3. On the invariable 
stupidity of ogres, giants, and the like, see MCF, pp. 299 ff. 



266 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

the young man, in his turn, shoved out a couple of 
spades. The Raqhoshi was panic-stricken at the 
sight of them. " Good gracious ! " she thought 
to herself, " this Kaqhosh must be the Raqhoshes' 
Jom, and no mistake about it." Once again, she 
said, " Sir Kaqhosh, let me see some of your spittle." 
" Let me see some of yours," he replied as before. 
The Raqhoshi, spitting into a dish, passed it in 
through the opening in the window, and the Minis- 
ter's son threw out the pot of lime. This was too 
much for her. Trembling with terror, she cried, 
" Sir Kaqhosh, I promise to go away and never to 
come back. But let me have just one look at you 
before I depart for good." " Very well," said he. 
" Come and stand close up to the window, and I'll 
show myself to you." Saying this, he rose, and, 
taking up the iron rods, which were now red-hot at 
the points, he went to the window, and, the moment 
the Raqhoshi put her eyes to the opening to get 
a look at him, he thrust the glowing irons into them." 
Immediately, she fell down with a horrible shriek, 
and expired. The Minister's son then sallied forth, 
and, cutting out her tongue," went inside again and 
lay down to sleep. 

In the morning, when people began to pass by 

'* Cf. the blinding of Polyphemus. Similarly, the smith blinds 
' The One-eyed Likho ' with a red-hot awl— RRT, p. 180 ; cf. CLP, 
I, p. 445. 

" In LDB, pp. 73 ff., Sahasra Dal outs oS the Rakshasi's head 
holus-bolus. But, usually, only the tongue is taken. E.g., in 
' The Two Brothers,' the younger .outs out the tongues from the 
dragon's seven heads, and, with them, ultimately confounds the 
false claimants— GHT, I, pp. 251 and 259. Cf. ib., II, pp. 105 ff. ; 
KKT, pp. 369 and 371 ; CAS, pp. 20 f. 



LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT 26T 

the place, they were overjoyed to see the Raqhoshi 
lying dead. Now, the Raja had promised that 
whoever should slay the Raqhoshi, was to receive 
his daughter in marriage, along with half of the 
kingdom." So, in hope of obtaining these splendid 
rewards, almost every man who passed, cut oft 
a piece from one or other of the limbs of the corpse, 
and hurried with it to the palace. Thus, when the 
Raja rose and came forth from his room, he found 
his hall of audience already crammed with people, 
all claiming to have killed the Raqhoshi, and dis- 
playing a bit of her dead body in proof of the truth 
of their statements. The Raja found himself in a 
quandary. Summoning his Chief Minister, he asked 
him what was to be done by way of determining 
which of the host of claimants had really slain the 
monster. " Send for the person whose family had 
to send someone to be devoured by the Raqhoshi 

'^ Such an offer — common as it is in Folk-tales, both Indian 
and Western — is quite ^inexplioable by any Hindu law or custom. 
Stories in which half the kingdom is thus promised along with the 
Princess — as in GHT, I, p. 90 — or the husband becomes his royal 
father-in-law's successor — as in GHT, I, p. 249 and II, p. 65, and 
GOS, I, p. 211 — seem to preserve reminiscences of a primitive 
time when descent was reckoned and inheritance devolved by the 
female line and, probably, women were the sole legal owners of 
property — as they are now among the Khasis of Assam. Cf. 
the very curious commencement of the story of ' The Twelve 
Brothers ' — GHT, I, p. 38. When the Queen is with child the 
thirteenth time, the King declares that, if the thirteenth child is 
a girl, the twelve boys shall die, in order that her possessions may 
be great and the kingdom fall to her alone. The sons, therefore, 
flee to the forest. Indian narrators seem to have felt that there 
was something odd about such arrangements regarding royal mar- 
riage or inheritance as those referred to above, hence, the stories 
usually account for them by explaining that the Princess was an 
only child. 



268 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

last night," he suggested. " By examining him, we 
may be able to ascertain what has actually happened." 
The Brahman appeared at once in response to the 
Raja's summons, and the latter asked him, " Brah- 
man, who went to the Raqhoshi's house last night ? " 
The Brahman had been feeling very uneasy about 
having exposed his guest to danger. " Your Majesty," 
faltered he, " will it be safe for me to speak quite 
frankly ? " " " Tell me everything," answered the 
Raja. " You have nothing to fear." " Well, Your 
Majesty," he replied, " yesterday, as you know, it 
was our turn. We were sitting, looking at one 
another, weeping, and debating who should go, 
when a stranger came to the house, and asked for a 
night's lodging. Presently, seeing we were in great 
trouble, he asked, ' What's the matter ? ' I was 
unwilling to answer, but, at last, on his pressing me 
very hard, I told him the whole story. Forthwith, 
he said, 'Don't you distress yourselves. I'll go.' 
I protested that I couldn't think of permitting such 
a thing. The idea of saving one's own skin by send- 
ing one's guest to be devoured by a Raqhoshi ! But 
he would take no denial. He asked me for a big rope 
and some other things, and went oft with them. 
That'SN.positively all I know. This morning, I hear 
that the Raqhoshi's dead. Whether that story's 
true or not, I can't say." 

Hearing this, the Raja said, " Then there's nothing 
for it but to go ourselves, and inspect the Raqhoshi's 
house." With these words, he got up and set off at 
once, accompanied by the Chief Minister and the 
other officials of\the court. On entering the house, 
M See No.lXVm, p. 150. 



LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT, 269 

they found the young man lying fast asleep. The 
Raja had him awakened, and asked, " Who are you ? 
Is it you who have killed the Raqhoshi ? " " Yes, 
Your Majesty," he replied, " I have killed her," and 
produced the tongue. Then he told who he was 
and where he had come from. The Raja was im- 
mensely pleased. Embracing the young fellow most 
cordially, he said, " You've conferred an unspeakable 
benefit upon me. That Raqhoshi had all but com- 
pletely ruined my kingdom.*' You have saved it 
from utter destruction. Now, I had promised that 
the slayer of the Raqhoshi should be rewarded with 
my daughter's hand and the half of my kingdom. 
I'm delighted to bestow both upon you. You have 
well earned them." The Minister's son accepted His 
Majesty's gifts with many expressions of gratitude, 
and returned with him to the palace. There he was 
splendidly entertained, and preparations were at 
once set on foot for his marriage with the Princess, 
which was shortly celebrated with great magnificence. 
The Raja, who had no other children, looked upon 
his only daughter's husband as his own son, and, 
being now an old man, rejoiced to have found one so 
competent to relieve him of the burden of state affairs. 
The Minister's son spent some time very happily 
in the society of his lovely bride, but, as day after 
day went by without his getting any news of his 
friend, the Prince, he began to worry about him more 
and more, and often sat for hours by himself, wonder- 
ing anxiously what had become of him. One day, 

^ The second Raqhosh mentioned in this tale, is said to have 
cleared out a whole kingdom, excepting one girl. Cf. LDB, pp. 
81 f. and 271. Similar cases are mentioned in KSS, 



270 bengaLi household tales 

the Princess, coming into his room and finding him 
thus, asked him what was wrong. " Oh, nothing at 
all," said he, and did his best to put on an appearance 
of cheerfulness. But she was not to be put off. 
" There must be something," she said. " I'm your 
wife. Tell me what it is." "Well," he replied, 
" I've nothing to complain of here. Since my 
marriage with you, I've had every reason to be 
happy. But, consider. It's a long time since I 
left home. I don't know what may have befallen 
my old father and mother. And I'm still more un- 
easy about the Prince, the dearest friend I have. 
We set out on our adventures at the same time, but, 
from that day to this, I've not heard one word 
of news about him." " Oh, if that's all that troubles 
you," replied his wife, " it can soon be put right. 
I'll speak to my father to-morrow, and he'll send out 
messengers to your home and in quest of the Prince. 
We shall soon know all about them." " No," said 
he. " That'll be of no use. I must go myself." 
"Well," was the reply, "if you think so — and, of course, 
you know best — ^then take me along with you. In 
that case, you may go as soon as you like." " No," 
he said. " I'm sorry that's quite impossible. You 
must stay here, while I go to seek for the Prince. 
When I have found him, I will return and take 
you with me to my home." " What ! " replied the 
Princess, greatly surprised and grieved. ^' I re- 
main here alone, while you go wandering, nobody 
knows where ! That cannot be ! " "I shan't be 
long away," said her husband. " Have patience for 
just a short time. I'll soon be back for you." The 
Princess reluctantly gave her assent. " Well, do 



LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT 271 

as you think you must," she said, " but don't be long 
in returning." Her husband solemnly promised her 
he would not. Then, bidding her good-bye, he went 
to the old Raja, and begged his permission to be 
absent from the court for a while, explaining to him 
the necessity of his proposed journey in the same way 
as he had done to his wife. His aged father-in-law 
was greatly distressed, and, embracing him fer- 
vently, said with tears, " My dear fellow, you mustn't 
think of such a thing ! You know that I have no 
sons of my own; but I have been consoled for the 
want of such by your marriage with my daughter. 
Moreover, finding you so competent to act for me, 
I have obtained relief in my old age from the burden 
of state affairs. If you leave me now, how in the 
world am I to get on without you ? " The Minister's 
son, however, insisted that his going was absolutely 
necessary. The Raja reluctantly gave his consent, 
but urged him to wait a few days, till arrangements 
could be made for sending his wife along with him. 
The young man declared that he must leave his wife 
in her father's care while he went alone in search 
of the Prince, as her accompanying him on such a 
quest would only hamper him and endanger the 
lives of both. Finally, the Raja had to agree to this 
part of his plan also, and content himself with his 
son-in-law's promise that he would not be away 
an hour longer than he could help. 

The Minister's son now saluted his father-in-law 
respectfully, and rode away. ^Stopping only to rest 
at night, he traversed one kingdom after another, 
till, at length, late one afternoon, he found himself 
in a very dense forest. Hie saw there was no hope 



/ 



272 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

of his being able to reach the other side of it before 
nightfall. Yet he didn't like the thought of passing 
the night in it, as it seemed to be full of beasts of 
prey. He could hear quite plainly the growling of 
the tigers and bears. However, there being no 
help for it, he dismounted, tied his horse at the foot 
of a huge tree, and, climbing up, himself, settled to 
rest as comfortably as he could among some lofty 
branches. Towards midnight, he was aroused all 
at once by the rushing and roaring of a tremendous 
wind '' from the south, before which even the hugest 
trees bent and cracked, and seemed as if they might 
any moment be uprooted. He wasn't long left in 
doubt as to the cause of the hurricane, for, soon, 
an enormous Raqhosh appeared. He was so horrible 
to look at that even the Minister's son, brave though 
he was, felt frightened, and cowered among the 
branches of the tree in order to hide himself as com- 
pletely as possible. 

The Raqhosh sat down at the tree-foot and rested 
for a while, then, getting up, stamped twice with his 
foot upon the ground there. Instantaneously, a huge 
stone moved away, leaving open a passage under- 
ground," into which the Raqhosh descended. Pre- 
sently, he came up again, bringing with him a monkey. 

2= Of. LDB, pp. 82 and 252. Similarly, in ' The Demon and the 
King's Son,' a great rushing wind came blowing from the demon 
when he saw the Prince — SIF, p. 185, with Note 2 on pp. 290 f. 
In ' Vasilissa the Fair,' a terrible roaring in the forest, crackling of 
branches, and rustUng of leaves, heralds the approach of the Baba 
Yagar— RRT, p. 153. In 'The Soldier's Midnight Watch,' a great 
blast of wind comes before ttis dead witch's coffin opens and she rises 
— *., pp. 276 f. Cf. KSS, I, p. 411, and II, p. 446; RRT, pp. 88 
and 162. 

" Cf. GHT, II, p. 257. ' Strong Hans ' finds the chained Prin- 



LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT 273 

He then plucked a few leaves from the tree on which 
the Minister's son was sitting, drew some water from 
a well close by, threw the leaves into it, and poured 
it over the body of the monkey. The monkey was 
immediately transformed into a beautiful young 
woman," with whom the Raqhosh descended again 
by the underground passage. Towards dawn, the 
two came up again. This time, the Raqhosh plucked 
some leaves from another tree and threw them into 
some water from another well, and then poured it 
over the young woman. Instantaneously, she was 
changed into a monkey again, with which the Raqhosh 
descended once more underground, and, presently, 
returning alone, replaced the stone, and went away. 
The Minister's son had watched very carefully 

cess inside a door at the bottom of a hole in a rook. Also, ib., II, 
p. 240 — the Tailor enters through an iron door into a hole inside 
a rock, and steps on a stone which sinks down with him into another 
hole, where he finds the enchanted maiden in the glass coffin 

^ Transformation and re-transformation of a demon's captive 
in circumstances like the above, occur less frequently in Indian 
Folk-tales than the use of magic rods to attain the same ends. In 
' Brave Hiralalbasd,' the Bakshasa paralyses the Sonahrl Ildni by 
laying a stick at her feet, and restores to her the power of moving 
by putting it at her head— SIF, p. 54. Cf. KKT, p. 199. In 
' The Demon and the King's Son,' two sticks are used, and the 
different effects are produced by changing their places — SIF, p. 186, 
with Note 4 on pp. 261 f. Silver and gold sticks are used for 
withdrawing and restoring life in LDB, pp. 81 f. and 251 f. On 
pp. 224 f., they actually separate and rejoin the head and trunk 
of the captive. With the two kinds of leaves, of. the two kinds 
of cabbage — ' Donkey Cabbages,' GHT, II, pp. 143 S. — one of 
which transforms a man into an ass and the other reverses the 
enchantment, and, with the two kinds of water, the two lakes 
mentioned in the romance of Hatim Tai, the water of one of which 
turns things into silver and that of the other restores them to 
their original state — CLEB, p. 471 ; cf. CLP, I, p. 447. See also 
CLEB. p. 495; MCF, pp. 85 and 205 3. 

18 



274 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

everything that took place. As soon as it was day- 
light, he climbed down from the tree, gathered some 
leaves from the two trees, and then kicked the spot 
of ground at the tree-foot twice, in the same way 
as the Raqhosh had done. Immediately, the stone 
moved away, and the Minister's son saw that there 
was a well-built stairway, leading right down under 
the earth. He began to descend by it, and, presently, 
found himself in front of a magnificent palace, which 
he entered, and roamed about all through it, but 
could see no trace of any inhabitants. The only 
living thing he found, was the monkey he had seen 
the night before. This he came upon at last, chained 
up in one of the rooms. He immediately ascended 
above-ground again, and came back with some water 
from the first well. Throwing some of the leaves 
which the Raqhosh had first used, into the water, 
he poured it over the monkey, which, as before, was 
at once transformed into a beautiful woman. She 
started violently at sight of the young man, and 
asked, " Who are you, and how did you find your 
way here ? " " I'll tell you all that afterwards," he 
replied. " Do you first tell me about yourself." 
" Well," said she, " I'm the daughter of the Raja 
of this country. The forest above was formerly his 
kingdom. That Raqhosh has devoured my father 
and his household and all his subjects, sparing only 
me, whom he changed into a monkey and shut 
up in this house, which was a secret palace of my 
father's." Every night he visits me, when he trans- 
forms me again into a woman. Before he departs, 

" Probably, a later interpolation in the tale, by way of aooouiit- 
ing for the existence of a subterranean dwelling. Yet ancient 



LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT 275 

he changes me back into a monkey. If he finds you 
here, he is certain to devour you. Oh, why did you 
come here only to meet your death ? " " Don't be 
anxious on that account," he replied. " But tell me, 
why has the Raqhosh spared your life ? " " Oh, he 
wished to marry me," " answered she. " When I 
absolutely refused to consent, he was on the point 
of ravishing me by force. Seeing this, and having 
no other resource, I was compelled to deceive him by 
dissembling." ' Listen,' I said to him. ' Use no 

Indian kings may have had such secret houses, intended to be 
used as refuges in time of need. Cf. the robber's underground 
palace in KSS, II, p. 494, and the robber's underground chamber 
in the story of Shah Manssur, CLER, p. 37. Secret treasure- 
chambers, they, doubtless, did have. At least, B. C. Chatterji 
considered the existence of such probable enough to form the basis 
of his novel, ' Devi Choudhur^ni.' Big Hindu houses are said 
still to contain " chor-kamras " — thief-rooms — where the inmates 
may hide, should daooits noiake an attack — as Horidash, the hero 
of ' Gupto Kotha,' does — to escape being tortured till they reveal 
where their valuables are concealed. A " Sulking-ohamber," too, 
is a convenience which a European architect does not think of 
providing— though he might with advantage — but which certainly 
must have existed in old-fashioned Hindu houses. See No. XXVII, 
Note 2. 

Subterranean palaces frequently figure in both Eastern and 
Western tales, but they usually belong to other than ordinary 
human beings. E.g., King Cardiddu's is reaUy a prison in which 
he is confined by a sort of ogress, and Ohim6, who dwells in one 
inside a rock, is a half-demon Bluebeard — GOS, I, pp. 93 and 140. 
Those of the KSS are the abodes of Asuras, Rakshasas, and the 
like. But, in ' The Princess Hidden under the Ground,' an ordinary 
hiunan king builds a subterranean palace to, which he consigns 
his daughter, kills the architect to keep its situation a secret, and 
then offers his daughter to the finder — HGA, I, p. 124. 

'" The reason for which Punohkin spared Balna when he petri- 
fied her husband and his six brothers — FOD, pp. 13 ff. 

" Balna fools Punohkin with the same vain hope, and so gets 
him to reveal his life-secret — FOD, p. 14. 



276 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

violence to me. Who else is there but you whom I 
can hope ever to get as a husband ? My only reason 
for till now refusing your suit, was my desire to learn 
vour real feelings towards me. You are my all ! ' 
' Very good,' replied he, with a smile. ' I've certainly 
misunderstood you all this time. However, if, as 
you say, you love me, marry me now.' ' When you 
have waited so long,' I answered, ' be patient for just 
one year more." I'm in the middle of a course of 
religious austerities." Once I have completed it, I 
will marry you.' I succeeded, but with great diffi- 
culty, in persuading him to agree to this, and, since 
then, I have had to make a great show of love for 
him to keep him from losing patience. In this way, 
I've been able to throw dust in his eyes for so long. 
But the year is now near an end." The Princess 
could say no more. She began to weep bitterly. 
The young man was silent for a few minutes. Then 
he said, " Fair lady, I will destroy the Raqhosh. 
Have no fear about that." 
The two ate together and, afterwards, they married 

'* This is felt to be a really strong argument by a Hindu. It 
does not appeal so forcibly to a European. 

^^ The usual pretext put forward by a woman to get her marriage 
delayed, in Indian Folk-tales. Cf. LDB, pp. 29, 90, and 217. The 
Prince's wife in ' Phakir Chand,' Champa Dai's wife, and ' the lady 
of peerless beauty ' stave off marriages that are being forced on 
them — the first for twelve, the last two for six months — by alleging 
they have taken a vow — Sk., vrata — i.e., begun a course of religious 
observances which it will require a certain fixed time to complete, 
and which, when once begun, must, at all costs, be completed. Cf. 
KKT, p. 136 ; CLP, I, p. 344. The Queen in ' True Friendship ' 
demands two years' delay, a^id Zuhra Khotan, six months, simply 
alleging the true reason — viz., to give their actual husbands a chance 
to turn up. KKT, pp. 166 and 184. Manahsvamin, in his female 
form, agrees to marry on condition that the husband spend six 



LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT 277 

one another." Towards evening, the Princess said to 
the Minister's son, " It is not safe for you to remain 
here any longer. At the back of the house, there is a 
heap of flowers. Hide yourself under it." He agreed 
to do so, and asked, " When does the Raqhosh 
go to sleep ? " The Princess answered, " When he 
comes, he first converses with me for a while, and 
then goes to sleep." Having ascertained this, the 
Minister's son changed the Princess back into a 
monkey in the same way as the Raqhosh had done, 
and hid himself under the heap of flowers." 

At nightfall, the Raqhosh turned up as usual, 
re-transformed the monkey into a woman, and, after 
amusing himself with her for a while, fell asleep. 
Seeing this, the Princess let the Minister's son know 
by a pre-arranged signal. He crept out from under 
the flowers, took some of the leaves and water the 
Raqhosh used for changing the Princess into a 
monkey, and poured the mixture on the monster's 
own body. Instantaneously, he was transformed 
into a huge ape. The young man fastened up the 
ape securely with all the chains he could flnd in 
the palace, and then shut him inside a cage which 
he made for him." The Princess and he then 

montha in visiting holy bathing-places before treating him — or her 
— as a wife — KSS, II, p. 305. Keeping the impatient party em- 
ployed seems sensible. 

3* Presmnably, by the so-called Oandharva rite, viz., exchange of 
garlands, by which Dushyanta married Sakuntald. On Polygamy 
in Indian Folk-tales, see Appendix, Note 9. 

^^ In like oiroumsttinoes, Champa Dal hides under a heap of sacred 
trefoil, and the ' Boy with a Moon on his Forehead,' under a pile of 
Kataki flowers — LDB, pp. 82, 84, and 252. 'The Shipwrecked 
Prince ' is stowed away in a box — KKT, p. 379. 

38 Presumably, tl\e Rakshaaa had a " separable " life— see MCF. 



278 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

ascended above-ground, and, seating her with him 
on his own horse, he rode on till he got clear of the 
forest. 

The two continued their journey for several days, 
traversing one kingdom after another, till, at last, 
they arrived in a country, with the appearance 
of which the Princess was greatly delighted. Her 
husband, accordingly, hired a house, so that they 
might stay there for a while. He now began to 
spend a great part of his time in roaming about, 
looking for his lost friend, the Prince, but, for long, 
could find no trace of him. At last, one day, he saw 
a young man, not a bit like a coolie, carrying two pots 
of water, slung from a bamboo across his shoulder. 
On looking well at him, he saw that it was the 
Prince, himself. But he was scarcely recognizable. 
He had lost all his good looks, and was reduced to 
mere skin and bone. The Minister's son could 
hardly believe his eyes, but, when he went up to him, 
and inspected him closely, he could no longer doubt 
the miserable-looking creature was, indeed, his 
bosom friend. He asked him, " Do you recognize 
me ? What has brought you to this ? " At the 
sight of his comrade from whom he had been parted 
so long, the Prince at first could do nothing but 
weep. Then he told him the whole story of his 
adventure, which had ended so unhappily. As he 
listened, the Minister's son was so strongly affected 

pp. 120 ft., and CLP, I, pp. 347 S. — and, therefore, oould not be 
kiUed out of hand. Cf. LDB, pp. 85 f., 253 fi. ; KKT, pp. 383 f.; 
also, SIF, pp. 173 ff. The two men who find the demon in the 
shape of a goat, can only tie him up to a tree. His life is in a 
maina — jay — which has to be got a hold of, before the demon can 
be killed. 



LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT 279 

that he could not help shedding tears of sympathy 
with his unfortunate friend. When they had com- 
posed themselves, the Minister's son said, " Don't 
despair, brother. I'm sure I can put things right. 
Now, tell me ; do you know for certain that the 
water you carry in, is used for the Princess's bath ? " 
" Yes," replied the Prince, " there's no doubt of that." 
" Then meet me here to-morrow, when you go to 
draw water. I will be waiting for you, and will 
tell you what you must do," said his friend. The 
Prince was greatly encouraged by his words, and 
declared he would never be able to repay his kind- 
ness. " A week or two more of the kind of life I'm 
leading, would be the death of me," he added. The 
Minister's son, again urging him not to lose heart, 
and assuring him of speedy deliverance, bade him 
good-bye and, mounting his horse, rode away to the 
forest. There he picked some leaves from each of 
the two magical trees and drew some water from 
each of the two magical wells, and returned with all 
possible speed. 

Next morning, when the Prince went to draw water 
for the Princess's bath, his friend again met him, and, 
giving him some of the leaves from one of the trees 
and some of the water from one of the wells, said, 
" To-day, when the Princess is being bathed, you 
must somehow contrive that this water, with these 
leaves in it, be poured upon her body. Let me 
hear to-morrow what is the result. I shall know 
what to do next." The Prince took the water and 
the leaves, promising to do as his friend directed. 
And, when the Princess was getting her bath, he did 
manage stealthily to pour the magical water and 



280 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

leaves over her." Instantaneously, she was trans- 
formed into a monkey, and began jumping about 
all over the place. 

When the Raja was informed of this terrible 
calamity, he was overwhelmed with grief, for the 
iPrincess was his only child. All the most famous 
physicians of every kind were summoned from his 
own and the neighbouring kingdoms, but nothing 
they could do, was of the slightest use. At last, the 
Raja, in despair, issued a proclamation by beat of 
drum, that whoever should succeed in disenchanting 
his daughter, should receive her in marriage along 
with the half of his kingdom. 

Meanwhile, the Prince had sought out his friend 
and told him what had happened. After all the great 
physicians had failed to effect a cure, and the Raja's 
proclamation had been made in every quarter of 
the city, the Minister's son said to the Prince, " You 
go to the Raja and declare that you can restore the 
Princess to her proper shape." " But how shall I be 
able actually to do it ? " asked the Prince. " Oh, 
you needn't bother your head about that," replied 
his friend. " That's my affair. You go to the 
Raja, and offer to effect a cure. Then come and tell 
me what he says. I'll see to the rest." The Prince 
went off to the palace, and, having gained admission 

"^ Not at all inconceivable. Bathing does not imply nudity. 
Men and women bathe together in the present day at the public 
ghats. The narrative is true to common life, and to the life of 
times when the only king was the village headman. Of course, 
it is not true to the high life of historictil or modem times. With 
the menial occupation of the Prince, of. that in which the tutor, 
Katoma, in ' The Blind Man and the Cripple ' — K. plays the same 
role as the Minister's son^finds his Prince Ivan engaged, vin. 
herding Princess Anna the Fair's cows — RRT, p, 251, 



LEARNING AND MOTHERWIT 281 

to the royal presence, said, " Moharaj, I can cure the 
Princess." The Raja was overjoyed to know there 
was any hope of his daughter's deliverance, and 
asked, " Who are you ? " " I'm one of the Prin- 
cess's prisoners," was the reply. " Very well," said 
the Raja, " if you succeed in doing as you say, I will 
give you the Princess in marriage and half the king- 
dom besides." Having received this promise from 
the Raja, the Prince came back and told his friend. 
The latter then gave him some of the other water 
and leaves, and said, " Throw these leaves into this 
water, and pour it over the Princess. She will im- 
mediately regain her human form." " The Prince 
returned to the palace and asked the Raja to have 
the Princess brought, as he had made all his pre- 
parations for disenchanting her. The Raja gave 
the order. His attendants, with great difficulty, 
managed to catch the monkey, and, fastening a 
chain round its neck, dragged it away to the Raja. 
By the Prince's request, it was taken into a private 
chamber, and he was left alone with it. He then 
poured the water with the leaves over it, and it 
was instantly re-transformed into a beautiful maiden. 
He called in the attendants and sent word to the 
Raja, who came running to the spot, and could 
hardly contain himself for joy, when he saw that his 
daughter was herself again. The news that the 
Princess had been disenchanted, spread rapidly 

'' With the trick played here, of. the compact made between the 
snake and the prisoner, that the former should twine himself about 
the Raja and release him only by the man's command — KSS, II, 
pp. 103 ff. — and that made by the imp with the peasant, that he 
should obsess people and make them crazy and ill, and quit them 
only whejj the latter was eailhi in to treat them — RRT, pp. 40 f. 



282 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

through the whole kingdom, and everywhere there 
was great rejoicing. An auspicious day was at once 
ascertained, and the Raja celebrated the marriage of 
his daughter to the Prince with great magnificence. 
After a time, the Prince became anxious to return 
to his own country. At first, his father-in-law was 
most unwilling to let him go, but at last consented, 
and set about making preparations for sending his 
daughter to her husband's home in a style suitable 
to her rank. 

Meanwhile, the Minister's son, rejoicing that he 
had succeeded in rescuing his friend, returned, as he 
had promised, to his father-in-law's city to fetch his 
other wife. He soon came back with her, and then 
he and the Prince, with their wives, set off for their 
own country. When they reached it, they were 
welcomed with universal rejoicings. 

They continued to be as fast friends as ever, and 
as fond of each other's society. One day, when they 
were sitting together, the Minister's son said, with 
a smile, to the Prince, " Well, brother, what's your 
opinion now ? Which is best — ^learning or mother- 
wit ? " The Prince looked rather put out, and made 
no reply. 



XXVII. 

THE KOTWAL'S DAUGHTER. 

The Raja of a certain country had one son and no 
other children. As an only child and sole heir of 
his kingdom and wealth, the youth was greatly 
beloved by his father. One day, the Prince with 
his attendants went out to walk. On their way, 
they passed a house, upon the roof of which a maiden 
sat, drying her hair.' The Prince saw her, but said 
nothing to anybody at the time. As soon as he 
got home, however, he went off and shut himself 
up in the Sulking-chamber.' Not seeing his son 
anywhere, the Raja began to search for him in all 

* This is a favourite incident in Hindu- tales. The Indrasan 
Kaja gets his first view of the Phulmatl E.&ni when she is having 
her hair combed in her verandah — SIF, p. 2. Cf, ib., p. 110. 

* In ' The Origin of Rubies,' the Princess, when in a pet because 
she has not got a second large ruby, shuts herself up in the " grief- 
ohamber," as Mr. I)ay renders the word — LDB, p. 223. See, also, 
CAS, p. 68. In ' The Baja's Son and the Princess Labdm,' the 
Prince, after hearing about the Princess Lab&m, takes to his bed for 
four or five days-:-SIF, p. 154. On seeing the Pdnwpatti B.&ni, 
the Prince takes to his bed for a couple of days — his being a milder 
attack, apparently. Ib., p. 209. Cf. KSS, I, p. 119. Seclusion 
of women among Hindus must have been highly desirable in the 
interests of the public health. But even Western Folk-tale heroes 
are in the way of being " taken bad " when they first faU in love. 
E.g., after getting a glimpse of the ' Goat-Maiden,' without her de- 
tachable skin, the Prince refuses his victuals for five dajrs on end, 
much to his sensible old mother's oonoem^-HGA, I, pp. 127 f. 

283 



284 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

directions, but could find no sign of him. The Rdni, 
thinking he was lost, sat in her room, weeping bitterly. 
At last, one of the servants, noticing that the door 
of the Sulking-chamber was closed from within, 
came and reported this to the Raja. He at once 
hurried thither, and called again and again to his 
son to open the door. But neither commands nor 
entreaties could induce him to do so. Then the 
Rani came ; and, after she had called many times 
to her son and implored him to open the door, he, 
at last, did so, and came out. His mother took 
him in her lap, and asked, " Child, what ails you ? 
Why did you go and lie down in the Sulking-chamber ? 
If it was because you want something, tell us what 
it is, and it shall be got for you at once." The Prince 
told her the whole story. Having heard it, the 
Rani first of all made him eat something, and then 
went off to the Raja. As soon as she saw him, she 
cried out, " Moharaj, have you no sense at all ? 
Don't you see that our son is now old enough to 
be married ? And yet you never so much as mention 
such a thing. One would think he was a child of 
only five or six. Remember he's your only child ; 
so make up your mind what's best to be done." The 
Raja answered, " There's no need for your exciting 
yourself on that account. I'll send off messengers 
in all directions this moment. They'll soon find 
some beautiful girl, whom I'll cause to be brought 
here and marry her to our son without delay." The 
Rdni said, " No, no, Moharaj, that won't do. The 
Prince has just seen a beautiful maiden in this very 
village. He must marry her, and nobody else." 
The Raja answered, " That's easily enough done." 



THE KOTWAL'S DAUGHTER 285 

So saying, he came out, and asked his attendants, 
" Whose daughter was it that my son saw upon the 
roof ? " They went off to inquire, and very soon 
returned and said, " He is one of your own officers. 
The Kotwal's daughter was upon the roof of her house 
at the time the Prince was out walking. It must 
have been she that he saw." 

Hearing this, the Raja ordered the Kotwal to be 
summoned to his presence. Very soon, he appeared 
and made his obeisance to the Raja. The Raja said 
to him, " Kotwal, my son must marry your daughter." 
The Kotwal answered, " Moharaj, what better for- 
tune could I have than that my daughter should be 
the Prince's wife ? But I cannot promise without 
asking herself, for she is not subject to me." The 
Raja said, " Very well, go and ask her, but be quick 
about it, and come and tell me her answer." The 
Kotwal went home, and told his daughter the Raja's 
message. She answered, " What ! you know very 
well, father, that I never see the face of any man ; 
how then can I marry anyone ? " ' The Kotwal said, 

' That a, girl of marriageable age, as the Kotwal's daughter 
apparently was, should be unmarried, is, from the point of view of 
Hindu social rules, something quite abnormal, in fact, impossible. 
A Hindu girl must be married before she attains nubile age — in 
Bengal, from twelve to thirteen — otherwise it is very difficult to 
get anyone to take her on any terms, and her family is disgraced. 
But I never heard of her own choice of a husband being allowed 
to a girl who had reached the age of eight — CLEB, Note on p. 37 
— or, for that matter, any age. Hindu Folk-tales explain those 
abnormal cases by the fact that the girl is really not an ordinary 
human being. E.g., Somaprabha is unwilling to marry, and con- 
sents to do so only on practically the same condition as our heroine 
insists on, viz., that, her husband shall not treat her as a wife. She 
is a heavenly nymph— KSS, I. pp. 119 if. Cf. *., I, pp. 194 f., 
222, and 22S. Kanakareksha wiU marry only a Brahman or a 



286 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

" My dear, if you don't marry the Prince, the Raja 
is sure to be terribly angry. And, in his rage, he'll 
likely enough have us all put to death." Still she 
refused, saying, " No, father, I won't marry him." * 
Accordingly, the Kotwal had to go away back and 
say to the Raja, " Moharaj, my daughter does not 
wish to marry at all. She never sees the face of 
any other man but myself." The Raja answered, 
" I'll hear no such excuses. If you won't give 
your daughter in marriage to my son, then I will 
kill you, and your whole family along with you." 
In great alarm and astonishment, the Kotwal asked, 
" Moharaj, what crime have I committed ? " " Not 
another word ! " retorted the Raja. " Go and 
tell your daughter what I have said." The Kot- 
wal sorrowfully returned to his house and told 
his wife the whole story. Terror-stricken, she 
hurried to her daughter, and said to her reproachfully, 
" My dear child, you will be the ruin of us all. If 
you don't consent to marry the Prince, the Raja 
is to have the whole family of us put to death im- 
mediately." Her father, also, came, and, with many 

Kshatriya who has seen the Golden City. This is because she is 
really a Vidyadharl under a curse, which, by the agency of ^ak- 
tideva, is brought to an end. The Kotwal's daughter, as we shall 
see, was one of India's celestial dancers, and, probably, apprehended 
that her marrying a mortal would bring her into trouble with her 
master — as actually happened in BakawaK's case. See Note 18. 
Such marriages, however, between men and females of a higher 
order are very frequent in the KSS. 

* From the point of view of a Hindu, refractoriness on the part 
of either son or daughter with regard to matrimonial arrangements 
proposed by their parents, is simply not to be tolerated. A selec- 
tion of cases in which children are subjected to curses for such 
recalcitrance, will be found in KSS, I, pp. 497-514. 



THE KOTWAL'S DAUGHTER 287 

tears, begged her to yield. At length, unable to 
resist their entreaties any longer, she said, " Father, 
I will marry him, if his people will agree to cer- 
tain conditions." " What conditions ? " asked the 
Kotwal. " These," she replied : " during the cere- 
mony of my marriage, and after it, I must be blind- 
folded with a cloth wrapped seven times round my 
face and head. Moreover, I will stay in the palace 
only during the day-time, and must be allowed to 
return home every evening. If, after my marriage, 
they try to force me to do otherwise, I will forth- 
with kill myself by cutting my throat." 

The Kotwal returned to the palace and informed 
the Raja about what his daughter had said. The 
Prince, on his father's asking him, at once declared 
that he was willing to agree to the maiden's conditions. 
Soon after, an auspicious day having been ascertained, 
the marriage was celebrated with great splendour. 
The Raja feasted all and sundry, and, on all sides, 
from one end of the city to the other, the joyful 
sound of musical instruments and shouting crowds 
could be heard. When evening drew on, according 
to custom, a great assemblage gathered in the palace, 
and, presently, the Kotwal's daughter arrived, her 
face being bound with a seven-fold cloth. The 
marriage ceremony was now performed, and, when it 
was over, the bride returned to her father's house. 
Thus she continued to do every day. In the morning, 
she came in her palki to the palace, and, before night- 
fall, returned to her home. 

Although it was no more than he had agreed to, 
the Prince soon began to find this sort of thing very 
tiresome. His wife sat all day with the cloth over 



288 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

her eyes, nevei- for a moment removing it, and, during 
the night, would not remain with him at all. " What's 
the use of this marriage to me ? " '^ said he to himself. 
" However, let me see what I can do. Surely, it 
won't beat me to master one weak woman." Ex- 
horting himself thus not to lose hope, the Prince left 
the palace and travelled on till he came to a great 
forest. He continued making his way, though with 
great difficulty, through the thick jungle, when, 
presently, he caught sight of a little hut, near which 
a Muni was practising austerities. The Prince 
resolved to stay there. Every morning he rose very 
early, cleaned and tidied up the Muni's hut, and 
gathered from the forest and set before him the 
various things he needed for his ascetic observances.' 
But he stood in too great awe of the holy man to ven- 
ture to speak to him. Indeed, he carefully kept out 
of his sight. Thus the Muni found his hut cleaned 
daily, and all the requisites for his performance of 
"puja laid ready to his hand, but could not see who 
it was that did him all these services. At length, 
one day, he said aloud, " Whoever it is that has been 
ministering to me, let him present himself before me, 
and I will confer a boon upon him." When he heard 
the Muni say this, the Prince at once came forward, 

^ Guhaohandra's conclusion, in similar circumstances, was, 
" The goddess of death has entered my house as a wife." An aged 
Brahman, however, gave him a charm, which, applied along with 
an artifice which provoked the wife's jealousy, cured her aversion, 
very much as the grass — impregnated with arsenic — killed the 
sheep— KSS, I, pp. 120 and 122. 

' In ' The B61-Priucess,' the Prince gains the favour of the 
Fakir in the same way— SIF, p. 138. Cf. *., p. 167 ; CLEK, p. 155 ; 
GOS, I, pp. 23 f. See, also, XXVI, Note 4. Jhore makes friends 
of the buffaloes in much the same fashion — CAS, p. 112. 



THE KOTWAL'S DAUGHTER 289 

and, making a humble obeisance, stood before him, 
with his cloth over his neck and shoulders. The 
Muni, looking at him, said, " Prince, by my magic 
power, I have come to know all about you. It's 
because you can't master your wife that you've 
come here. Well, take these pills. When you swal- 
low one of them, you will become invisible,' yet will 
remain able, yourself, to see everything and every- 
body. In this way, you will be able to accomplish 
your purpose." Saying this, he handed some pills 
to the young man, who gratefully received them, 
bowed hunibly to the Muni, and made his way back 
to the palace. 

When he got home, he called one of his servants 
and said to him, " To-morrow, when the Kotwal's 
daughter comes, I shall be asleep in my room. You 
must awaken me. I will then abuse you heartily. 
Don't be vexed at this, but merely ask, ' Sir, why do 
you abuse me ? ' I shall then reply, ' I was having 
such an interesting dream. Why did you interrupt 
it by calling me ? ' Whereupon you will ask me to 
tell you the dream." The servant promised to 
carry out the Prince's orders carefully. 

Before nightfall, the Kotwal's daughter got into 
her palki to go home. The Prince, swallowing one 

' So the Sonahri Rani gives ' Brave HirAlalbdsa ' a feather which, 
when held straight, makes him invisible — SIF, p. 59. In 'The 
B61-Prinoess,' the Fakir gives the Prince some earth to be blown 
away from the palm of the hand, upon which the same result follows — 
ib., p. 139 f. Hera Bai gives Seventee Bai a ring which renders 
her invisible — FOD, p. 42. Cf. the ring of Gyges— Plato, 'Rep.' 
10. A cap or a cloak is the most usual means of attaining this 
end. See GET, II, pp. 32 and 38; HGA, I, p. 136; MCF, pp. 
221 f.; CLP, I, p. 109; Keightley's 'Fairy Mythology,' pasaim, 
and, specially, Von Leyen, ' Deutsohes Sagenbuch,' ly, p. 139, 

19 



290 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

of the pills, went on before her and her attendants 
and waited for them at the door of the house. As 
soon as she arrived, the girl got out of the palki 
and went straight upstairs to her own room. The 
Prince slipped up close behind her. Two maids then 
came, rubbed her with oil and bathed her, and she sat 
down to do pujd. The Prince was almost stupefied 
at the sight of her extraordinary beauty, which he 
now for the first time got a good view of. While 
she was busy doing piijd, he moved noiselessly about 
the room and carefully noted everything that was 
in it. Her pujd done, the girl sat down to have her 
supper. Having seen this much, the Prince returned 
to the palace and lay down to rest. 

Next morning, as soon as the Kotwal's daughter 
appeared, the Prince's servant awoke his master. 
He rose in a great passion and called the man every- 
thing that was bad, for disturbing him. " Sir," 
said the servant in an injured tone, " why do you 
abuse me ? What fault have I committed ? " " Oh," 
replied the Prince, " I was having such a curious 
dream. Why did you disturb me ? " " What did 
you see in your dream ? " inquired the servant. 
" Listen. I shall tell you," answered the Prince. 
" I saw in my dream that, yesterday, I went along 
with the Kotwal's daughter to her father's house. 
She got down from her palki at the door and 
went straight upstairs, I following. As soon as she 
entered her room, two maids came and rubbed her 
with oil and bathed her. She then sat down to do 
pujd. While she was so engaged, I looked all about 
the room and saw such-and-such a thing in one 
place and such-and-such a thing in another place " — 



THE KOTWAL'S DAUGHTER 291 

describing every article in the room and whereabout 
it stood. " When her pujd was finished, she sat 
down to eat. At this point you awoke me, confound 
you ! Otherwise, I don't know what all I might have 
seen." 

The Kotwal's daughter overheard the whole of 
this conversation, and thought to herself in great 
astonishment, " What's the meaning of this ? No- 
body belonging to the palace went home with me 
yesterday. Yet all he says, is perfectly correct. Can 
all this be merely a dream ? Perhaps. Anyhow, 
I shall keep a sharp look-out to-day." 

Towards nightfall, she went home as usual. But 
the Prince, having swallowed another pill, again 
hurried on before her. As soon as she got to the 
door — ^where, as before, the invisible Prince was 
waiting for her — she asked her attendants, " Was 
any stranger in my room last night ? " " What do 
you mean ? " they replied, greatly astonished. 
" How in the world coidd any stranger obtain ad- 
mittance to your room ? " " Well," said she, " be 
that as it may. To-night you must take the greatest 
possible care that nobody gets in." She then went 
upstairs, followed by the Prince, and, after her bath, 
sat down to do pujd. While she was thus employed, 
the Prince lifted the cover and ate some of the light 
repast set there for her to take before supper.' Her 
pujd finished, the girl sat down to partake of a little 
refreshment. As soon as she removed the cover, 

8 This light refreahment, partaken of some time before the 
"square meal," figures in several tales that were narrated to me. 
Its necessity in real life is due to the extreme irregularity, in point 
of time, of the "regular" meals in a Bengali household. 



292 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

she saw that someone had eaten part of the food. 
Immediately, she called her attendants, and asked, 
" Who has been eating my food ? " " How can 
we tell ? " was the reply. " We set everything for 
you to-day exactly as we do every day." The Kot- 
wal's daughter said nothing more, but, leaving 
untasted the things that had been meddled with, 
proceeded to eat her rice at once. Leaving her so 
engaged, the Prince returned to the palace. 

Next morning, the Kotwal's daughter went as 
usual to the Raja's, and the Prince's servant forth- 
with awoke his master as he had done the day before. 
Precisely the same scene was enacted over again. 
The Prince recounted to his man, as if seen in a dream, 
all that he had witnessed and done the night before, 
describing particularly how he saw himself eat some 
of the Princess's sweatmeats, and all that she said 
and did in consequence. Overhearing all this, the 
girl was utterly dumbfounded. " What mystery is 
this ? " said she to herself. " Assuredly, the sweet- 
meats were eaten yesterday, and I did caution my 
servants in the very words he has repeated. Does 
the Prince dream all this, or does he ascertain some- 
how what actually happens ? Anyhow, to-day, I 
will take care to be too vigilant for anything to 
escape me." 

Accordingly, when she reached home that evening, 
as soon as she entered the house, she ordered the 
door to be shut. But the Prince was already inside, 
and followed her upstairs. On this occasion, while 
the girl was busy with her pujd, he ate up not only 
all the sweetmeats, but the whole of the rice and 
curry, which had been served up in a golden plate 



THE KOTWAL'S DAUGHTER 293 

and bowl. Then he chewed all her betel, and, finally, 
taking up her hookah, sat down on the bed and 
began to smoke. Her worship over, the girl went to 
eat her sweets, but, on renaoving the cover, saw there 
was nothing. She at once called her servants and 
began to scold them. They declared they knew 
nothing about it ; indeed, couldn't understand what 
she was talking about. The sweetmeats were there 
as usual when she entered the room, and nobody but 
herself had been near the place since then. In a 
very bad temper, she sat down to have her rice and 
curry. But, when she lifted the cover, there was 
nothing to be seen but the empty dishes. At this, 
she became angrier than ever. But what could she 
do ? Having to go supperless, she thought she 
would have some betel at least, but, when she opened 
the betel-holder, it was empty. Not a single piece 
remained ! This was too much for the girl, and she 
broke out upon her servants again. The Prince came 
away, leaving her scolding them for all she was worth. 
Next morning, when the Kotwal's daughter came 
to the palace, his servant awoke the Prince, and the 
same sort of conversation as on the two previous 
mornings took place between master and man. The 
Prince described with the most minute accuracy — 
though calling it a dream — ^all that had taken place 
from the time the Kotwal's daughter arrived at her 
own door the night before, up to the time when he 
left her storming at her servants. He spoke in 
such tones that she could not help overhearing all 
that he said. She listened in utter bewilderment. 
" How is all this possible ? " she said to herself. 
" Is the Prince a man or is he a god ? He is no 



294 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

ordinary person, assuredly. Anyhow, I must not 
do anything till I know a little better what's what. 
Let me wait a day or two longer and see what 
happens." 

That day, again, the Prince went along with her 
when she returned home at nightfall, and followed 
her upstairs, unseen. This time the Prince did not 
eat quite all the sweetmeats, rice and curry, and 
betel. He left a little of each, which the girl was 
glad to eat rather than again go without any supper 
at all. Soon after she had finished, three young 
women came into the room, and said to her, " Nrit- 
'okali, will you not go with us to-night ? " " Yes," 
answered Nrit'okali, " I will go." Saying this, she 
dressed herself and went away out with them, the 
Prince following. Having reached the garden, they 
all four climbed up a tree, and then one of them 
snapped her fingers three times.' Instantly, the tree 
moved off through the air.^" Seeing this, the Prince 
went away back to the palace. 

Next morning, on Nrit'okdli's arriving at the 
palace, the Prince was awakened by his servant, and 
the usual dialogue took place between them. The 
Prince related, as if he had seen it in a dream, all 
that occurred from the moment the Kotwal's daughter 
reached home up to the time when the tree conveyed 
her and her three companions away, mentioning 
specially how, on that occasion, she actually ate his 
leavings, and did not scold the servants at all. The 
Kotwal's daughter overheard every word, and was 

» See No. XXIV, Note 5. 

" On magical means of locomotion, see Appendix, Note 8, and 
MCF, p. 218. 



THE KOTWAL'S DAUGHTER 295 

almost stupefied with amazement. " Assuredly, the 
Prince can be no mere man," said she to herself. 
" Hitherto, not a single human being has come to 
know what we do at night. How has he found out 
all that ? Well, there's nothing for me but to wait 
a little longer and see whether he learns anything 
more." 

Towards nightfall, she went home, and the Prince 
accompanied her invisibly. Again he ate most of 
the food, and she, after bathing and doing pujd, 
ate what he left. Presently, her three companions 
came to call her. The Prince slipped away before 
them to the tree and seated himself among the 
branches. They soon followed, and, when they had 
ascended it, one of them snapped her fingers thrice 
as before, when the tree moved away with extra- 
ordinary rapidity, away over the seven oceans and 
the thirteen rivers, till it reached a beautiful garden. 
There it stood still, and the four girls descended, the 
Prince following them. Presently, they came to 
the place where Indra's " Court was assembled. A 
great company of the celestials was gathered there, 
amongst whom the Prince sat down, without any 
one's being able to see him. In a little while, the 
dancing began, Nrit'okali and her three companions 
being the dancers. The musician who played their 
accompaniment, did his work very badly, so it was 
impossible for them to dance well. The spectators 
began to express their dissatisfaction. Now, the 
Prince was a very skilful musician. Seeing that 
ever5rthing was going wrong on account of the bad 
playing, he rose and, snatching away the drum 

" See No. XVII, Note 2. 



296 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

from the accompanist, began to play, himself. His 
playing Was excellent, hence the girls were enabled 
to dance most beautifully. Indra, himself, was greatly 
delighted, and bestowed garlands of Parijat " flowers 
upon them as a reward. They, in turn, proceeded to 
throw these round the neck of the Court musician, 
in acknowledgment of his fine playing. But, as 
they did so, the Prince, unseen, thrust forward his 
own neck and received all the garlands upon it. 
The assembly now broke up, and the four girls went 
back again to the tree and climbed into it, the 
Prince doing the same. All the way to the tree, 
Nrit'okali and her companions were loud in their 
praises of the Court musician's extraordinarily fine 
playing that night. The tree, being set in motion as 
before, passed rapidly back again over the seven 
oceans and the thirteen rivers till it reached its own 
place in the Kotwal's garden. The four girls des- 
cended from the tree and the Prince followed. The 
other three went to their homes, Nrit'okali returned 
to her own room, and the Prince, to the palace. 

Next morning, the girl went to her father-in- 
law's as usual, and the Prince's servant roused his 
master. The Prince got up in a downright fury of 
rage, abusing the man and all his relations for many 
generations back. " Will you never take a telling ? " 
he cried. " What do you mean by always rousing 

^^ Sk., Pdrijata, called also Kalpadruma, a tree produced at the 
churning of the ocean, which granted the wishes of those that 
propitiated it. It was placed in Svarga, the heaven of Indra, but 
was carried off by Kjislma, who planted it in his own city of 
Dvaraka. After his death, it returned to Svarga. See MWR, p. 
332. In KSS, I, p. 108, the hermit, Narada, gives the King of Vatsa 
a garland of Farijata flowers. 



THE KOTWAL'S DAUGHTER 297 

me at the very time 'I most wish to sleep ? Such a 
wonderful dream as I was having when you awoke 
me, like the blockhead you are ! What more might 
I not have seen, if you had only left me alone ! " 
" You seem to have remarkable dreams every night," 
replied the man, pretending to be rather sulky. 
" What might it be that you saw last night ? " The 
Prince, taking care to speak loud enough for the 
Kotwal's daughter to overhear every word, described, 
as if it had been a dream, all that took place the night 
before, till he and the four girls arrived in Indra's 
festive assembly. " Then," he proceeded, " the 
Kotwal's daughter and her three companions began 
to dance. But they were not able to dance well, 
because the accompanist played very badly. All 
the people in the assembly were beginning to show 
themselves much displeased, when I, whom nobody 
could see, snatched the drum from the Court musician's 
hand and commenced playing, myself. My playing 
was far better than his, so much so that the girls 
were able to dance much more beautifully than they 
usually did. Indra, himself, was so highly pleased 
with their dancing that he gave them garlands of 
Pdrijdt flowers as a reward. They, in turn, were 
about to throw these round the neck of the Court 
musician, when I thrust forward my head and received 
them on my own neck. If you don't believe me, see, 
here are the four Pdrijdt garlands to prove the truth 
of my story ; " and, suiting the action to the word, 
the Prince produced the garlands from under his 
pillow." 

'^ W^ith the above incidents, cf. the following. Sridarfiana is 
carried off by the Ga^a3 — semi-divine beings — to Hansadvipa, 



298 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

The Kotwal's daughter had overheard all, becoming 
more and more astonished every moment. When 
she saw the garlands, she could control herself no 
longer. Rushing across the room to the Prince, she 
fell at his feet and cried, " Forgive me. I have 
committed many faults against you. All this time 
I have not even spoken to you." " Oh," replied the 
Prince, " you are a celestial nymph, and I'm just 
an ordinary man. Why should you deign to have 
anything to do with the like of me, and how should 
I presume even to look at you, much less touch you ? " 

where he meets Anangamanjari, with whom he exchanges orna- 
ments. He is borne back to his own palace in his sleep, and would 
have thought the whole adventure a dream, but for the ornament 
on his wrist — KSS. II, pp. 209 f. In ' The Shoes that were danced 
to Pieces,' twelve princesses go every night to dance in an under- 
ground palace. A soldier, who has received from an old woman a 
cloak of invisibility, foUows them one night, and drinks the wine 
from the cup of one of them so that it reaches her mouth empty. 
Next night, he brings away the cup, and, with it and some twigs 
he has gathered in the subterranean region, accredits his story — 
GHT, II, p. I7pff. ' Beslea '— Veckenstedt's ' My then, Sagen und 
Legenden der Zamaiten,' I, pp. 196fi.-^seems to be a very curiovis 
variant of the same original. A Princess refuses to marry, alleging 
that she already has a husband. One night, her father, keeping 
stealthy watch, sees three men lead her away from her room and 
drive off with her in an iron chariot with four beautiful horses. 
After a time, a stranger — a fallen god — comes to the palace and 
offers to unravel the mystery. Eendering himself invisible, he takes 
his seat beside the Princess in the iron chariot, and, at three castles 
where they halt, drinlcs off the hquor which is brought for his com- 
panion. Finally they reach heU, where the Princess's husband, a 
Dragon who is a devil, welcomes her affectionately. Their offspring, 
a young devil, is standing by, and the stranger, unperceived, cuts 
off his tail, causing his death. He returns in the chariot with the 
Princess, as he had come, without her being aware of it, and, next 
day, convinces her father and the rest of the truth of his story 
by producing the amputated tail. In GHT, II, p. 108, the peasant 
brings back a flail from heaven, and ao proves that he has been 
there. 



THE KOTWAL'S DAUGHTER 299 

At this, the girl began to weep bitterly and entreat 
him piteously to be merciful to her. As the Prince's 
resentment was for the most part only assumed, he 
soon relented, and began to treat her as his 
wife. 

When evening came and the Kotwal's daughter 
went home as usual, the Prince followed her, but 
without taking one of the magical pills. He and 
his wife supped together, and were sitting talking 
pleasantly with one another, when her three com- 
panions appeared. Nrit'okdli introduced her hus- 
band to them, and told them all about him. They 
treated him with great courtesy and respect. Then 
the four girls, taking the Prince with them, went 
and climbed up the magical tree, which, being set 
in motion as before, travelled rapidly to the garden 
of Indra. All five repaired to the Court-assembly, 
and the four girls began to dance, the Prince playing 
their accompaniment. They danced very beautifully 
for a while, till, unluckily, Nrit'okali chanced to 
catch the Prince's eye, with the result that, through 
inattention to what she was doing, she danced a few 
steps out of time. Indra observed this, and at once 
became aware that a mortal man had been intro- 
duced into his assembly. In a fury of anger, he called 
Nrit'okali before him and said, " As a punishment 
for your impudent audacity in bringing a mortal 
into my assembly, you shall forthwith be born in 
the earth in the shape of a little bat." Nrit'okali 
began to weep bitterly, and entreated him to pardon 
her. At first, Indra was too angry to heed her 
prayers, but, at length, he relented and appointed 
a limit to the time she should be bound by the 



300 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

curse " he had pronounced. He said, " When someone 
will break down the temple where you must abide in 
the form of a bat, plough the land on which it is built, 
plant rice and vegetables there, and, with these, feed 

^* The degradation of a semi-divine being — male or female — to a 
lower form of existence by a curse, is a frequent incident in the 
KSS, and the cause is very often the same as in the case of Nrit'6- 
kdli. E.g., when Indra was in Brahma's court, one of his Apsara- 
ses — heavenly nymphs — Alambusha, and » Vasu — a kind of demi- 
god — Vidhuma, looked amorously at one another. Brahma, greatly 
shocked, looked significantly at Indra, who forthwith inflicted on 
the pair the curse that they should become human — KSS, I, 
p. 52. Brahma and Indra, in the rdle of Puritans, were Satan 
rebuking sin with a vengeance. The former must have forgotten 
about the- wife of Atri, and the latter, about the wife of Gautama. 
See, also, KSS, I, pp. 238 f., and II, pp. 508 f. 

The divine Mother, Narayam, shows herself more disposed to 
make allowances. She forgives Chandrasvamiu and one of her 
slaves who have presumed to fall in love with one another in her 
presence, because they own up — ib., I, p. 553. But, as a rule, the 
inflictor of the curse presently relents and fixes a limit to its dura- 
tion. Sometimes, in Western tales, the limitation or modification 
of a curse is efieoted by some well-disposed person other than the 
person who has inflicted it, as in ' Little Briar-Rose,' GHT, I, pp. 
197 f. 

A Western case closely resembling those Indian ones ofciirses 
with predetermined limits, is that in No. VI. of the ' Children's 
Legends ' — GHT, II, pp. 366 ff. The Lord condemns the un- 
charitable hermit to wander about begging, never staying longer 
than a night in any one place, till three green twigs sprout on a dry 
branch he carries with him. 

The hmit in Indian tales is often an, apparently, all but impos- 
sible coincidence of circumstances, as in the KSS case last cited, 
or the performance by somebody of some immensely difficult task 
— as in our story — but, at the fated time, everything comes about 
quite easily. That is just as well, as cursing is very rife and is 
equally unfailing of effect, whoever the cursor may be. In KSS, 
II, p. 535 f., a hermit's pupil inflicts a curse on Muktaphalaketu and 
his companion, and it has to work itself out, though the hermit, 
himself, declares that his pupil is a fool and had acted under a 
complete misapprehension. 



THE ^KOTWAL'S DAUGHTER 301 

ten thousand Brahmans " — all this in a single night — 
then you will obtain deliverance, and be permitted 
to enter heaven again." Saying this, he broke up 
the assembly. Nrit'okali bade the Prince a sorrowful 
farewell, and immediately was changed into a little 
bat, which flew away out of sight. 

The Prince was overwhelmed with grief, but what 
could he do ? Returning to earth as he had come, 
he resolved that, unless he could deliver his wife, 
he should never go back to his home any more. So, 
quitting the city, he wandered on and on, without 
knowing or caring where. He traversed and left 
behind kingdom after kingdom, forest after forest. 
At length, he came to a little hut in the midst of a 
very thick jungle. Beside it, a Muni was practising 
austerities. The Prince remained there, tidying the 
hut and fetching from the forest such things as the 
Muni was likely to need, but taking the greatest care 
not to disturb him, as he was rapt in profound 
meditation. After some days, he awoke to ordinary 
consciousness, whereupon the Prince, putting his 
upper cloth over his shoulders, approached and stood 
before him in suppliant attitude. Looking up at 
him, the Muni said, " By my magical power, I have 
come to know who you are and why you have come 
here. Do not despair ; your desire will be accom- 
plished. Take these two things. The name of the 
one is Fastening-Rope and that of the other is Thick- 
Stick. They will do whatever you command them." " 

" This seems a large order, but, in KSS, II, pp. 495 f., Matanga- 
deva will give his daughter only to the man who feeds eighteen 
thousand Brahmans ! 

"' In ' The Raja's Son and the Princess Labdm,' one of the four 
articles which the Prince finds the four Fakirs quarrelling about, 



302 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

The Prince joyfully received the gifts, made a humble 
obeisance to the Muni, and took his departure. 

After walking some distance, he halted, and, placing 
the rope and the stick before him, he said, " Fasten- 
ing-Rope and Thick-Stick, to whom do you now 
belong ? " They answered, " Prince, formerly we 
were the Muni's ; now we are yours." " " Then 
take me to the place where the Kotwal's daughter 
is," said he. Instantly, they transported him to the 
temple Indra had spoken of. When the Prince 
saw the temple, he began looking carefully all about 
it, but it was some days before he found that there 
was, indeed, one little bat living in it. As soon as 
he caught sight of it, he said to Fastening-Rope 
and Thick-Stick, " Whose are you now ? " " For- 
merly we were the Muni's ; now we are yours," they 
replied. " Then," said he, " break down this temple, 
plough up this tract of land, plant rice and vege- 
tables, and, with them, feed ten thousand Brahmans. 
And all must be done during this one night." He had 
hardly finished speaking, when Fastening-Rope and 
Thick-Stick demolished the temple, levelling it with 

is a Rope and Stick which bind and beat — FOD, p. 191. ' Foolish 
Sachuli ' gets the same as a gift fronx the five Fairies — SIF, p. 34. 
The Jackal gives a Binding-Rope and a Beating-Stick to the 
Brahman, which enables him to recover his magical jar — ib., p. 156. 
It is usually in this rdle that the two articles, or the cudgel alone— 
as in GHT, I, pp. 143 fi.- — or some other appliance which serves 
the same purpose — like the dance-compelling pipe, GOS, I, p. 207 
— figure. There is something decidedly incongruous in the first 
use which the Prince here makes of the rope and stick — they are 
employed in the same way in LDB, p. 121 — and, also, afterwards, 
and the incongruity is .all the more glaring that they are employed, 
too, in a strictly appropriate way. 

" This seems to have been li necessary magical formality. See 
No. XXVI^ p. 259. 



THE KOTWAL'S DAUGHTER 803 

the ground. And, in a very short time, they had 
collected there all the peasants in that country with 
their ploughs. For Fastening-Rope, going to the 
people's houses, bound them, and Thick-Stick beat 
them, till they were only too glad to come, and do 
what they were bid. There were no less than 
a hundred thousand of them. So it was not long 
before the whole of the land was ploughed. Then 
Fastening-Rope and Thick-Stick sowed rice and 
vegetables, which sprang up and ripened almost 
instantaneously. Ten thousand Brahmans were 
gathered as quickly as the ploughmen had been, and 
Fastening-Rope and Thick-Stick feasted them with 
the rice and vegetables. As soon as they had done 
eating, the little bat was instantly re-transformed 
into a beautiful girl, who rushed joyfully into the 
Prince's arms. The long-parted husband and wife 
could find no words to express their feelings at meeting 
again. Then the Prince told Fastening-Rope and 
Thick-Stick to take them both away and set them 
down in their own country. His command was 
executed in a moment. Before they were aware of 
what was happening, he found himself with his wife 
in his father's palace. There they lived together 
long and happily." 

^ The latter half of this tale very closely resembles part of the 
story of ' The Rose of Bakawali,' in CLER. Bakawali is in the habit 
of going to the court of Indra in an atrial chariot to dance — p. 
316. Indra is angry at her marriage with a mortal, and she has 
to be burned to ashes and resuscitated each night in order to lose 
the odour so contracted — pp. 316 f. At length, one night, her 
husband accompanies her unobserved — not, however, invisibly — 
and' plays the accompaniment — pp. 318 f. Bakawali, in conse- 
quence, dances so well that Indra presents her with his own collar, 
which she passes backwards to the musician — not Icnowing that 



304 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

her husband had taken the usual player's plaoe. Next morning, 
Taj-ul-muluk tells her about his having gone with her, and, in proof 
of his statement, shows her the collar. At night, he goes with her 
again. Indra, delighted with Bakawali's dancing, promises her 
any boon she chooses — p. 319. She asks to be allowed to depart- 
with Taj-ul-muliik. Indra grants this, as obliged by his promise, 
but inflicts on her the curse that, for twelve years, the lower half 
of her body should be of marble — p. 320. Fairies carry her away 
to Ceylon and plaoe her in a temple there — pp. 321 f. They trans- 
port Taj-ul-muluk, also, thither, and he finds Bakawali — p. 323. 



XXVIII. 
THE GOAT, THE TIGER, AND THE MONKEY.' 

Once on a time, some drovers were taking a herd of 
goats to the nearest city to sell them. On the way, 
a He-goat and a She-goat began to say to one 
another, " When they reach the town, they will sell 
us, and, whoever buys us, will kill and eat us. What 
are we to do ? If we could only somehow escape, 
our lives would be saved. But, supposing we did 
manage to escape, where could we go ? If we run 
back to the village, they'll catch us again, and it'll be 
all up with us. And, if we go to any other village, 
the people there will seize us, and either sell us, or, 
themselves, kill and eat us. It looks as if we were 
doomed, whatever we do." They thought the mat- 
ter over in silence for a while, then the She-goat 
said, " Look here, brother. It won't do to go to any 
place where men dwell. Let us rather go to some 
forest." " As if we should be any safer there ! " 
objected the He-goat. " Aren't the forests full of 
wild beasts ? If we do as you say, we're certain to 
end in a bear's or a tiger's stomach." " Not a bit," 
she replied. " If we go to the forest, then, when 
danger threatens, there's at least a possibility of 

1 For variants of this story, see SIF, pp. 35 fB., with Note VIII, 
2 on p. 258 ; FOD, pp. 303 ff. ; LDB, pp. 257 ff. ; CAS, pp. 45 ff. 
and 49 f£. ; ' Sagas from the Far East,' pp. 204 and 380. 

20 305 



306 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

saving one's life by flight. But, if we go where men 
live, then death before long is a certainty." Her 
companion allowed himself to be persuaded, and 
they agreed to flee together to the forest. 

Accordingly, that very night, whilst the drovers 
were asleep, the two slipped away from the herd, 
and stealthily made their way to the forest. Wan- 
dering on through it, they reached a place where it 
was very dense, and, seeing there a huge peepul- 
tree ' with a big hollow in its trunk, they took up their 
abode in it. There they lived very happily, and, 
after a time, two or three little Kids were born. 

One day, the two old Goats, with their Kids, were 
lying inside the hollow tree, when the young ones 
began to bleat loudly. Just then, a Tiger happened 
to be passing that way. Hearing the sound made 
by the Kids, he made straight for the tree. The 
Goats saw him approaching and were terribly alarmed. 
To escape by running away was impossible. It looked 
as if they and their Kids, too, were fated to end in a 
Tiger's stomach, after all, and that, within a very few 
minutes. No other resource being available, the 
He-goat resolved to try to bluff the Tiger. So, when 
he came within earshot, the Goat said loudly to 
the little Kids, " Why do you keep bothering me ? 
Will your stomachs never be full ? You've just had 
five tigers, three bears, two rhinoceroses, and six 
buffaloes. And yet you're still crying out for food. 
But hush ! There's a Tiger coming. I'll kill him 
and fetch him to you to finish up with." » Hearing 

* Sk., aavattha, the Ficus religioaa. See MWR, pp. 335 f. and 
No. VI, Note 42. 

» Cf. t}ie bluffing of the RskshasI in No. XXVI, p. 265 ; LDB, 



GOAT, TIGER, AND MONKEY 307 

this speech, the Tiger stopped short in the utmost 
consternation. " Well, I never ! " thought he to 
himself. " What kind of animals can those be, and 
where can they have come from ? The old one has 
just fed his children with five tigers, three bears, 
and I can't remember all what more, and now he'll 
give them myself to finish with, he says. Right- 
about's the word ! I've gone much too near that 
tree already." Thus thinking, he turned about and 
began slowly to retreat. Seeing this, the Goat 
shouted still more loudly, " Will you not keep quiet, 
you little brats ? Don't you see you're frightening 
the Tiger away ? Can't you shut up till I've caught 
him and brought him in ? " This was too much for 
the Tiger. In his panic, altogether forgetful of his 
dignity, he bounded away as fast as ever he could, 
never stopping till he could run no longer, and had 
to lie down, panting, at the foot of a tree. 

In that tree dwelt a Honuman Monkey.' Seeing 
the Tiger in such a bad way, he came down and said 
to him, " Brother Tiger, what makes you pant so ? " 

pp. 258 f. ; and CAS, p. 44. In the story of ' The Jackal, the 
Barber, and the Brahman,' the jackal inside the dead bullock gulls 
the Mahars by pretending to be a saint and the god of their village — 
FOB, pp. 179 f. 

* Sk., harmmam = big-jawed, the name of the divine monkey- 
king who was Bamaohandra's ally in his war with Bavana — see 
No. XIX, Note 3. He was possessed* of many remarkable en- 
dowments and attainments — among others, of a knowledge of the 
Sastras rivalling that of Brihaspati, the preceptor of the gods- 
being especially proficient as a granunarian ! In Bengal, hdnuman 
is used as a common noun to designate the very abundant big, grey, 
black-faced monkey, in the form of which the monkey-god is repre- 
sented there, although the Bamaya9a describes him as having been 
of the colour of molten gold, with » face as red as the brightest 
ruby. On Hindu monkey-worship, see MWR, pp. 326 ff. 



308 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

As soon as he could speak, the Tiger replied, " Don't 
ask me' about that, brother. Dear knows how much 
merit my father and grandfather must have accu- 
mulated.' Thanks to it, I've escaped from a most 
terrible danger." " Bless me ! What has happened ? " 
said the HSnuman. " Let me get my breath first, 
and I'll tell you all about it," was the reply. When 
he had somewhat recovered himself, the Tiger 
began his story. " Brother, some strange monster 
of an animal — I really don't know how to describe 
it — ^has come to this forest. At first, I thought it 
was only a goat, and, under that impression, was 
going up to it, to seize and eat it. Just then, its 
young ones had begun to whimper, and I heard it 
say to them, ' You brats 1 Will your stomachs never 
be full ? I've given you five tigers, three bears, 
rhinoceroses, buffaloes, elephants ' — I can't remember 
all what animals nor how many of them he men- 
tioned — ' and still you aren't satisfied. Is it stomachs 
or bottomless pits you've got inside of you ? ' Then, 
catching sight of me, he said, ' Ah ! the very thing ! 
Keep quiet for a minute, will you ? There's another 
tiger coming. I'll kill him and fetch him in to you.' 
Brother, I didn't wait to hear any more, or I shouldn't 
be here. I bolted as hard as I could. But just 
think of it, brother ! We tigers eat all other animals. 

' Merit and demerit being transferable. Cf. the often quoted 
saying that, if a worthy guest be treated inhospitably, he departs, 
taking with him all the fruit of the good deeds of the inhospitable 
man and leaving with the latter aU the guilt of his own sins. See, 
also, Manu, III, 100. In KSS, II, p. 83, a tree-YaJcsha asks two 
Brahmans to perform the Uposhaija vow for one night and bestow 
the fruit of so doing on him to supplement his own incomplete 
performance. 



GOAT, TIGER, AND MONKEY 809 

An animal that eats us 1 Did ever you hear of the 
like ? " " Bah ! " replied the Honuman scornfully, 
" what a blockhead you are ! The Goat was terrified 
at the sight of you. All his big talk was the merest 
bluff. Come along. I'll go back with you, and let 
you see the real state of the case." " Catch me go 
there again ! " said the Tiger. " But, if you're tired 
of your life, you're welcome to go by yourself." 
" Tut ! " answered the Honuman. " There's nothing 
to fear. Don't be a fool. Come away." But 
nothing he could say, would induce the Tiger to go. 
At last, the Honuman proposed that the Tiger should 
go to show him the place, but, himself, remain at 
a safe distance. " Oh, it's easy for you to speak 
about safety," retorted the Tiger. " At the first 
appearance of danger, you'll be up a tree with one 
jump — ^safe enough, I warrant you ; while I shall 
be left in the lurch at the mercy of the monster." 
" Well," said the Honuman, " I'll tell you what we'll 
do. We'll knot our tails together." " That's not 
such a bad idea," answered the Tiger. " In that 
case, it won't be so easy for you to bolt, leaving me 
behind." 

So they knotted their tails together and started 
towards the hollow peepul, the Tiger keeping as 
much in the rear as he could.' As soon as they came 
within sight of the tree, the Tiger said, " That's the 
place. I'm not going a step farther." The Goat, for 
its part, was greatly alarmed, when it saw not only 

8 Like the Cat in the story of ' The Cat and the Dog '— SIF, p. 
16 — or the first Bhut, when his uncle insists on his going back 
with him to tackle the Barber — LDB, p. 260. The unole-Bhut 
plays the part of the monkey, and lets himself in for worse than his 
nephew. 



310 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

the Tiger coming back, but a Honuman accom- 
panying it. " Now, it's all up with us," it thought 
to itself. " I managed to fool that blockhead of a 
Tiger, but a Monkey's too clever to be tricked in 
that fashion. Now that the Tiger has got the 
Honuman to help him, we're as good as dead already." 
By this time, the two companions were almost close 
up to the tree. Then the Goat, at its wit's end, 
began to shout, " Oh ! Hono ! You good-for-nothing 
rascal ! Was it only one tiger I told you to bring ? 
D'ye mean to say it's taken you the whole day to 
decoy that solitary one here ? ' You scoundrel, 
I'll eat you along with him." Hearing this, the Tiger 
concluded that the Honuman was nothing but the 
strange monster's purveyor, and had tricked him 
into accompanying him, in order to deliver him up 
to his master. With this conviction, he began to 
struggle with all his might to get away, while the 
Honuman tried his hardest to go on, that the Tiger 
might see for himself there was really no danger. 
The knot that bound their tails together, was too 
well tied to slip. So the one pulled forward and the 
other pulled back, till, at last, the Tiger's tail came 
away. Immediately, , he bounded off for all he 
was worth. The Honuman, looking behind him, 
and seeing the two tails, went jumping about in 

' Similarly, when the Tiger meets him, the Barber declares 
that he needs nineteen more, the King having ordered him to bring 
twenty — SIF, p. 35. And, when the Wrestler brings home the 
goat which is really a disguised demon, the Pundit, who perceives 
this, asks his friend why he has brought only one demon, when he 
himself daily eats twelve, his wife, three, and his children, one each 
— FOD, p. 303. Cf., aUo, GHT, II, pp. 70 ff., 302 and 333 j KKT, 
p. 333 ; CLP, I, p. 145 ff., with Note on p. 147 ; Abbott, ' Macedonian 
Folklore,' p. 263. 



GOAT, TIGER, AND MONKEY 311 

every direction, in the effort to get rid of the extra 
one, which made him feel desperately awkward. 
Wherever he went, the other animals, seeing what a 
guy he looked, began to make fun of him, till he was 
glad to hide himself in the very thickest part of the 
forest. The two Goats, though exulting in their 
deliverance, decided that it would be advisable to 
look out for a safer dwelling, and so departed with 
their Kids. 



APPENDIX. 

Note 1, see p. 1. — Karmasutra is, literally, the thread 
or cord of Karma. Karma, as a philosophical or theo- 
logical term, signifies Fate, conceived as the inevitable 
results of previous acts, more especially, the results ac- 
cruing in any given birth, i.e., life, from the acts done in 
a former birth, or the relation of cause and effect sub- 
sisting between the latter and the former. This is no 
mere relation of antecedent and consequent — a person's 
acts in a former birth effectively and irresistibly deter- 
mine his lot in a following one. 

In this Tale, Karma is understood more specially as the 
absolute efficacy of the acts of a former birth in deter- 
mining the kind, circumstances, and time of a person's 
death in the present one. Here above all — if there can 
be degrees of inevitableness — it is emphatically certain 
that " no man can escape his destiny." Aesch., ' Prom. 
Vinct.' 518. 

Note^ 2, see p. 8. — Undeniably, the remarks of the 
astrologer imply a modified doctrine of Karma. They 
assert plainly that man is, to a very considerable extent, 
" master of his fate," and can battle to good purpose 
" with his evil star " — or, if sufficiently perverse, with 
his good one. Cf. CLP, pp. 24 ff. This is quite a com- 
mon way of thinking among Hindus, and, consequently, 
it may be questioned whether the practical influence of 
Indian fatalism is bad. It interferes but little with a 
man's doing his own best within the limits of the possible, 
and it helps him, in the case of the inevitable and when 
the inevitable has become fact, to feel and display a 
resignation which Europeans might with advantage 
emulate. 

But, however popular thought may vacillate, the 
312 



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prthodox doctriniT- 
the fruit of Karma' 
avoid what is progi- 
lutely unfeasible. *V 

Indeed, it is a questic^ 
position does not actually ^ 
of our Tale, which was probaifN 
The Brahman's horoscope had shoWiT -_____. 

to be impaled; the Kayastha's, that he was to'uecbme 
a King, How, then, did it come about that the one was 
not impaled and the other did not become a King ? 
Answer : The Brahman was impaled — he was staked 
through the sole of the foot, and that, surely, was just 
as much a " getting up on a stake " as having one 
thrust through his chest or between his shoulder-blades. 
The Kayastha did become a King, i.e., a very wealthy 
man ; as we speak of a Silver King, a Cotton King, a 
Railway King, etc. In the same way, Monmouth did 
come to grief on the banks of " Rhine " — the Bussex 
rhine of Sedgemoor being as much a Rhine as the German 
one. 

Note 3, see p. 98. — In many Folk-tales, the hair 
figures as the seat of the life, strength, and the like, or 
possessed of other peculiar virtue. In FOD, p. 69, Ram- 
chundra, with two or three of the Rakshas's hairs, sets 
fire to the jungle and utterly consumes it along with 
the Rakshasi herself. Burning one of her hairs instan- 
taneously summons a fairy — CLER, ' Rose of Bakawall,' 
pp. 268 and 275. In ' The Seven-legged Beast,' the 
tiger gives the Prince a tuft of her fur, on which being 
shown to the sun, she will at once appear — KKT, p. 3, 
with Note. One hair from the young Prince's head, 
falling into ' Iron John's ' well, pollutes it — GHT, II, 
p. 195. Musalmans take a hair and, regarding it as one 
from the Prophet's beard, swear by it — KKT, p. 341, 
Note. In 'Sagas from the Far East,' p. 228, Gesser 
Khan produces a host of 100,000 men by pulUng out one 
hair from his head. Hence, the importance of getting 
possession of some of the hair of any being possessed of 
remarkable powers of any kind. In 'The Devil with 
Three Golden Hairs,' the King insists that the Luck- 



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.ALES 

..t, must bring him 
ead— GHT, I, p. 122. 
J, pp. 71 f . and 87 t. ; 
,tS, 343 ; Dibelius, ' Die 
''Pavdus,' pp. 18 ff. The 
,„-«, hair of the dog that bit me ' 
The Sexton's Nose,' cited in CLP, 
ler instance of the same superstition. 
This^iJ^posed virtue of the hair is variously accounted 
for — by some, from the primitive assumption that the 
essence of the whole being resides in every one of his 
members and every part of each; by others, from the 
apparently observed fact that the life and strength — 
viz., the heat — of the sun does actually reside in his 
hair — viz., his rays — and departs when he is shorn of 
them. See Stahn, ' Die Simson-Sage,' pp. 42 ff. ; Schmidt, 
'Jona,' pp. 2ff., 29, 35 f., 46 f., 49, 66 ff., 93 ff., 168; 
SIF, p. 240, Note 2. 

Note 4, see p. 127. — In strict accuracy, the apparent 
re-animation of the supposed corpses of the Brahman 
and his wife should have been described as their being 
entered by Vetalas, i.e., demons other than the deceased 
owners. See KSS, I, p. 74, Note. Properly speaking, 
a Bhut is a revenant — a deceased person, whose corpse has 
been disposed of, after a shorter or a longer interval, 
may become a Bhut and reappear as such, as Bh6g3ban 
— see No. XIII — was averred to have done. But, 
popularly, the term is very loosely used. Distinct, again, 
from Vetala-possession of a corpse — as when Devadatta 
summoned one into a dead body to help him, KSS, 
I, p. 231 — ^is the entrance of a corpse by a living person, 
who passes out of his own body into the other, as Indra- 
datta occupied the body of the dead King Nanda — 
KSS, I, p. 21 — ^and the aged Vamasoma, that of the 
youthful Devasoma — ib., II, p. 353 — an incident which 
Gautier has re-furbished in a novelette of modern life. 
Russian and Indian Folk-tales would appear to be pre- 
eminently distinguished by the rich variety of uncanny 
beings that figure in them. According to RRT, pp. 282 f ., 
the Vetala corresponds rather to the " homicidal corpse " 
than to the Vampire, the latter being rather a blood- 



APPENDIX 315 

thirsty Bhut. But Ralston's definition of Vampire on 
p. 309— cf. pp. 318 ff.— exactly fits the Vetala. See 
'The Shroud,' pp. 307 ff., and 'The Coffin-Lid,' pp. 
309 ff. The ' Warlock ' of p. 288 is a Bhut, the demon 
who enters the dead witch's skin — p. 21 — something 
very like a Vetala. 

Note 5, see p. 147. — ' Kanai the Gardener ' is the same 
story in all essentials as that which is to be found in KSS, 
II, pp. Ill f., except that, in the latter, the Bull of ^iva 
takes the place of Airavata, and Buddhist monks, that 
of the villagers. Cf. ib., p. 112 — ^A fool has climbed a tree 
till the branch bends under his weight over a river. 
Presently, an elephant with its driver comes along. The 
mahout, as requested, seizes the man by the feet to take 
him down, but the elephant moves on. Both being left 
hanging, the first man suggests that the mahout sing a 
song in order to attract attention and bring help. The 
mahout sings so well that the other lets go the branch 
in order to applaud him, and both are drowned. Cf. 
KSS, II, p. 37 Avith Note; ' Hitop.' IV, 2d story; 
Panchatantra, I, 13th story — see Benfey, Pantscha- 
tantra, I, pp. 239 ff., II, pp. 90 f. The tortoise, Kam- 
bugrlva, gets his two friends, the swans, Vikata and San- 
kata, to carry him with them to another tank, hanging 
on by his teeth to a stick, the ends of which they hold in 
their mouths as they fly. Irritated by people's remarks, 
he forgets the swans' caution that he must on no account 
speak, and so falls and is killed. This is the source — 
or, at least, the oldest form — of the other variants of the 
story. The motif reappears in many European tales 
of the ' Jack and the Beanstalk ' type. See RRT, pp. 
291 ff. ; CLP, I, pp. SOS, 324. 

Note 6, see p. 220. — ^Magical cures of barrenness are 
very frequently referred to in Folk-tales ; e.g., GHT, 
I, p. 333, where the Fisherman's wife is said to have 
given birth to the two Gold-Children, after eating two 
of the six pieces of the Gold-Fish. Some other Indian 
instances are the following.^ In the story of Udayana, 
King of Vatsa, the hermit SandUya gives King Satam'ka 
a mixture of rice, milk, sugar, and spice, consecrated 
with mystic verses, for his Queen, and she bears a son — :. 



316 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD^ TALES 

KSS, I, p. 52, In the story of Devasmitd, a King offers 
a sacrifice of his son, and the smell of it causes all his 
one hundred and five wives to bear sonsT— ifc., I, p. 85. 
In the story of Sringabhuja, the hermit, Srutavardhana, 
prepares an elixir from the flesh of a wild goat for King 
Virabhuja's hundred wives. When it is given to them, 
the favourite Queen, Gunavara, chances to be absent. 
For her, another elixir is prepared from the inside of the 
goat's horns. All the hundred bear sons — ib., I, p. 356. 
The chaplain of King Ugrabhata celebrates a certain sac- 
rifice and gives the oblation, purified with holy texts, 
to the two Queens to eat. Thereby, they become pregnant 
and bear two sons — ib., II, p. 216. In LDB, mangoes 
procured by the help of a fakir are mentioned as curing 
barrenness — p, 117 — also, drugs, likewise furnished by 
fakirs — ^pp. 1 and 187. In the last- mentioned case, 
the specific is for the production of twins, one of whom 
is to be given to the supplier of the cure — a condition 
often made in this connexion. See, also, KKT, pp. 130 
and 416, with Note ; SIF, pp. 41 and 91 f. ; ' Sagas from 
the Far East,' p. 268. In the ground where the temple 
with Bakawali in it has been rased, a farmer sows mustard- 
seed. His wife eats food prepared with the oil made 
from the crop, and Bakawali is reborn of her — CLER 
pp. 835 f. 

The furnishing of such cures is still a principal part 
of the business of wandering ascetics of a low class. I 
once visited a Mela — quasi-religious fair— held by a 
wealthy Zemindar family a few miles from Chandan- 
nagar. Its chief feature was an exhibition of a vast 
number of life-size clay figures representing the heroes at 
the svayamvara of Draupadf, groups of Rakshasas, etc., 
etc. Among them was the image of an ascetic, handing 
a specific of the kind referred to above to a woman who 
had brought her daughter to him. The girl was repre- 
sented as a widow — a touch of truly Oriental humour, 
which seemed to be highly a,ppreciated by the crowd. 
See MCF, pp. 410 ff., and, with respect to the theory that 
tales of magical birth derive their origin from a primeval 
myth about the fatherless creation of the Sun-God, 
Stahn, ' Simson-Sage,' pp. 49 ff. 



APPENDIX 317 

Note 7, see p. 224. — " Impostor " hero or heroine epi- 
sodes are very common in Folk-tales, especially the 
" Impostor " or " Substituted " bride figures with 
amazing frequency in Western stories. , Indian instances 
are comparatively rare, though by no means unknown. 
Here are a few. In ' The Bel-Princess,' an ugly woman 
gets the Princess to exchange clothes with her and give 
her her jewels. She then pushes her into the water 
and takes her place beside the Prince. The Princess is 
changed, first, into a pink lotus, and, lastly, into a palace 
and garden, her two eyes beco'ming a maina and a parrot; 
from whose conversation the Prince learns how to recover 
his wife— SIF, pp. 143 ff. See, also, ib., p. 165 ; KKT, 
pp. 445 ff. ; KSS, II, pp. 160 ff., with Notes on pp. 162 
and 165. Cf. a Western instance : In ' The White Bride 
and the Black One,' the King sends a carriage and a 
beautiful dress for the W.B., after seeing her portrait. 
As she is coming, her stepmother transfers the dress to 
her own daughter and pushes the W.B. into the river, 
where she becomes a duck, which goes swimming to the 
palace kitchen after the marriage of the King to the 
B.B., and asks about the latter. So she appears thrice. 
The third time, the King is on the watch and cuts her 
head off, when she instantly resumes her proper shape 
— GHT, II, pp. 189 ff. See also, ib., I, pp. 49 f. and 58 f. ; 
RRT, p. 184 ; and MCF, pp. 6, 114, 213, and 359 ff. The 
curious thing is that the origin of this very frequent inci- 
dent of the supplanted bride, seems to be an impenetrable 
mystery. 

Note 8, see p. 231. — It would really be hard to say 
what thing does not figure as a magical means of loco- 
motion in some tale or other. Boots — GHT, II, p. 32 
— shoes — KSS, I, p. 14 — a foot-ointment — ib., II, p. 594, 
with Note — a horse that can go anywhere — GHT, II, 

!). 38 — and, by a transition, easy for the fancy, at 
east, a saddle that carries the sitter wherever he pleases 
—ib., II, p. 334— rings-— i6.,"II,''pp. 31 and 838 ; FOD, 
p. 43— a cap— GHT, II,''p. 348— a^cloak— «&., II, p 410 
— are only a few samples from the multifarious list. 
It is curious that wings, such as those of Dasdalus and 
Icarus, figure so rarely in Folk-tales as a means of trans- 



318 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

port. I cannot recall a single Indian case of anybody's 
obtaining such appendages. In ' Panch-Phul Ranee,' 
the Raja seats himself on the outspread wings of two 
parrots, and so reaches the Ranee's country on the 
other side of the seven seas — FDD, p. 146. King Vikram 
translates his soul into the dead body of a parrot, and 
thus is enabled to fly about at will — ib., p. 110. Again 
— KSS, I, p. 159 — after slaying the treacherous ascetic, 
Prapanchabuddhi, he obtains the power of flying sim- 
plieiter. So, too, the witch, Hennana, transports herself 
like the wind, without the aid of any external means, 
even a broom-stick— CLER, p. 127. In KSS, I, p. 167, 
the companions of Queen KuvalayavaJi are said to have 
acquired this same faculty by the eating of human flesh. 
More nearly analogous to the performances of the 
flying tree in our stories, Nos. XXIV and XXVII, are 
those of the cow-house — ^KSS, I, p. 159 — which the witch 
Kalaratri, by means of spells, causes to fly up and 
through the air and to descend wherever she pleases, 
and those of the bed in the story of ' The Princess Labam ' 
— SIF, p. 156. Cf. the flying chariot— KSS, I, p. 386— 
— the box, provided by Queen Band for Farrukhniz, 
into which he enters and closes his eyes, and, next 
moment, opening them, finds himself at his destination 
— CLER, p. 161 — and Solomon's carpet, on which the 
winds waft him and his army wherever he wishes to 
go— 4b., Note on p. 164. See MCF, pp. 218 f. and 221 ft. ; 
CLP, I, pp. 75 ft. 

Note 9, see p. 239. — ^The heroes of Indian tales, as we 
have seen— No. XXIV, Note 14, and No. XXVI, Note 
34 — ^are usually very much married. Ramachandra is 
a remarkable exception. Taking a second wife — or, for 
that matter, any number of additional wives — ^implies 
no unfaithfulness to the first, or even inconstancy, on 
the part of an Indian Folk-tale husband — ^it would be 
hard to say what does — and it is expected that a virtuous 
and dutiful wife will welcome a new-comer. In the KSS, 
she almost always does so. Suryaprabha marries seven 
wives on just as many consecutive days. By his magical 
science, he divides Phis body and lives with all simul- 
taneously, but, in his real body, principally with the 



APPENDIX 319 

daughter of the Daitya King, Prahlada — KSS, I, pp. 429 f . 
Naravahanadatta possessed the same most convenient 
power of self-multiplication — ^KSS, II, p. 477. He must 
have needed it. On p. 459, we find lum marrying five 
Vidyadhari princesses all at once, and, on p. 471, other 
five. This sort of thing was quite in the day's work 
with him. In KSS, I, pp. 451 f., there is an account 
of an aniusing discussion of royal polygamy among the 
many wives of Suryaprabha. One of them explains it 
by the varying qualities of lovely women and the conse- 
quent desire of Kings to experience all kinds of fascina- 
tions. Folk-tale ladies are astonishingly amenable. 
GuUala Shah's co-wives live most amicably together. 
Indeed, Panj Phul helps him to obtain Number Four 
— KKT, pp. 466 with Note, and 483. 

In ' The Rose of Bakawali,' we read that Taj-ul-muluk's 
three wives " spent their time in peace and mutual 
love and never had the least jealousy or rivalry between 
themselves." Bakawali " cut up rather rough " when 
Chitravat joined the group, but allowed herself to 
be appeased — CLER, pp. 315 and 832 f. In B. C. 
Chatterji's ' Sitaram,' the hero's wives are on the best 
of terms. But novels like his ' Vishavriksha ' — ' Poison- 
Tree ' — and plays like ' Jamai-Barik ' — ' Barrack of 
Sons-in-law ' — show polygamy in another light. See, 
also, FOD, Note to p. 93 on p. 324. 

Note 10, see p. 247. — The most ancient recorded case 
of a horse gifted with human speech and able to aid its 
master with wise counsel is, of course, that of Achilles' 
Xanthus — II. XIX, 403 ff. I subjoin several others, 
selected at random. The horse, Katar, not only talks 
with the Prince, but possesses the power of changing 
himself into a donkey and his master into a poor, common- 
looking, ugly man— SIF, pp. 126 f. and 130 f. Not 
only does the horse, Falada, while alive, converse with 
its mistress, its head, after being cut off, still retains 
the same faculty— GHT, II, pp. 11 ff. 'Ferdinand 
the Faithful's ' little white horse also speaks — ib., II, 
pp. 155 ff. King Adityasena, when he does not know 
his way, prostrates himself to his horse, and, addressing 
it as a god, begs it to take him by a right and pleasant 



320 BENGALI HOUSEHOLD TALES 

road, which it does — KSS, I, p. 30, with supplementary 
Note on p. 574. In KKT, p. 363, the Zalgur — appar- 
ently,''another name for the pakshirdja — ^behaves almost 
precisely like Xanthus, weeping, and warning his master 
of the Minister's plot. Cf, ib., pp. 313 f. and 317 ff. 
Princess Anna the Fair's horse, which Katoma breaks 
in for the Prince, speaks and oljeys orders intelligently 
— RRT, pp. 243 ff. See, also, ib., pp. 75 and 90 ff. 
Vanya's horse not only speaks, but gloriously transforms 
his master when he creeps in by one of its ears and out 
by the other — ib., pp. 258 f. Cf. the horse, Katar, above. 
See, also, CLP, I, p. 441 ; MCF, pp. 173 and 236. 



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