Santal Folk Tales by of the Santal Mission | Annotated Tale

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Two Brothers, Jhorea and Jhore, The

THERE were two brothers, whose parents died, leaving them orphans when very young. The name of the elder was Jhorea, and of the younger Jhore. On the death of their parents, the two brothers went to seek employment, which they found in a certain village, far from where their home had been. The elder, Jhorea, was engaged as a farm servant, and the younger, Jhore, as village goat-herd.

               After some time, it so happened that one day the brothers had no rice for their dinner, and Jhorea said to his brother, "Go to the owners of the goats you herd, and ask them for the hire they promised you. One will give you a pai, another a pawa, and a third a paila, and so on, according to the number of animals they have in your charge; some will give you more and others less, bring what you get, and cook some for dinner." The boy went as he was ordered, and entering the first house he came to, said, "Give me a pai." They said: "What do you want with a pai?" "Never mind what I want with it, give it," he replied. So they gave him a pai. Then he went to another house and said, "Give me a pawa." "What do you want with a pawa?" they said. "Never you mind, give it to me," and they gave him a pawa. He then went to a third house and asked for a paila. "What do you want with a paila?" they enquired. "Never you mind, give it to me," he replied. Instead of bringing rice he brought the wooden measures, and breaking them into small pieces, put them into the pot to cook. The elder brother was ploughing, and being very hungry, he kept calling out, "Cook the rice quickly, cook the rice quickly." His brother being impatient, he stirred the contents of the pot with all his might, at the same time exclaiming, "What can be the matter brother? it is very hard." The elder brother came to see what was wrong, and on looking into the pot saw only pieces of wood. He became very angry, and said, "I sent you to bring rice, why did you bring measures?" To which he replied, "You told me to ask a pai from one, a pawa from another, and a paila from a third, and I did so."

               The elder then said to the younger, "You go and plough, and if the plough catch in a root on the right hand, cut the root on the left hand, and if it catch in a root on the left side, cut the root on the right side, and in the meantime I will cook." He went and began to plough, and in a short time the plough caught in a root on the right, and not understanding the directions given to him, he struck the left hand bullock a blow on the leg with his axe. The bullock limped along a short distance. When the plough caught in a root on the left, he smote the bullock on the right, wounding it as he had done the other. Both of the bullocks then lay down, and although he beat them they did not get up. He therefore called to his brother, "These bullocks have lain down, and will not get up, what shall I do?" "Beat them," was the reply. Again he beat them, but with no better result. The elder brother then came, and found that the oxen had been maimed, and were unable to stand, at which he became greatly alarmed, and said, "Why did you maim the oxen? The owners will beat us to death to-day." He then gave him some parched grain to eat, and sent him to look after his goats. The sun being hot, the goats were lying in the shade chewing their cud. He sat down near them, and began to eat the parched grain. Seeing the goats moving their jaws as if eating, he said, "These goats are eating nothing, they are lying there mocking me," and becoming enraged, he killed them all with his axe. Then going to his brother, he said, "Oh! brother, I have killed all the goats." His brother asked, "Why did you kill them?" He replied, "While I was watching them and eating the parched grain which you gave me, I saw them chewing, and as they were eating nothing I knew they were mocking me, and so I killed them all." The elder brother became greatly alarmed, and calling to the younger to come, they quickly ate their dinner, and then went to where the goats were lying dead. From among them they chose the fattest, and carried it off to the jungle, where they flayed, and cut it into pieces.

               Jhore then said, "I shall take the stomach as my share," but his brother said, "No, let us take the flesh." Jhore, however, would not agree to that, and at length his brother said, "Well you take the stomach, I shall take the flesh." So each took what he fancied most, and they set off. After travelling a long distance, they came to a large tree growing on the side of the road, into which they climbed for safety. After they had been some time on the tree, a raja on his way to be married, lay down to rest in its shade, and when he and his attendants had fallen asleep, Jhore let the goat's stomach fall down on the raja. The raja having his rest thus rudely disturbed, sprang to his feet, and calling out, awoke his servants, who seeing the goat's stomach, and not knowing what had happened, thought the raja himself had burst. They fled in terror followed by the raja, and did not halt till they were many miles away from the scene of the raja's discomfiture.

               After waiting a little while, the brothers descended, and began to help themselves to the raja's property. Jhore said, "I shall take the drum." His brother said, "No, let us take the brass vessels and the clothes." Jhore, however, insisted, and after considerable wrangling, his brother said, "Well, take the drum if you will have it, I shall take the brass vessels and the clothes." So each took what pleased him best, and then they went away and hid in the jungle.

               While walking about in the jungle, they collected bees, wasps, and other stinging insects, and put them into the drum. Having filled the drum, they emerged from the forest at a place where a washerman was washing clothes. Jhore tore all his clothes into strips, and scattered them about. The washerman went and told the raja that two persons had come out from the jungle, and had destroyed all his clothes. On hearing this, the raja said to his servants, "Come, and let us fight with these two men." So arming themselves with guns, they went to the tank where Jhorea and Jhore were sitting, and began to shoot at them, but the bullets did them no harm. When their ammunition was exhausted, they said, "Will you still fight?" The brothers answered, "Yes, we will fight." So they began to fire their guns, and beat their drum, and the bees and wasps issued from it like a rope, and began to sting the raja and his soldiers, who to save themselves, lay down and rolled on the ground. The raja, in anguish from the stings of the bees, exclaimed, "I will give you my daughter, and half of my kingdom, if you will call off the bees." Hearing this they beat the drum, and calling to the bees and wasps, ordered them all to enter the drum again, and the raja and his people went to their homes. The brothers however, could not agree as to who should marry the princess. One said, "You marry her." The other said, "No, you marry her." The younger at length said to the elder, "You are the elder, you should take her, as it is not fitting that you should beg. If I were to marry her, I could no longer go about begging." So the elder brother married the princess, and became the raja's son-in-law.

               The two settled down there, and cultivated all kinds of crops. One day the elder brother sent his younger brother to bring a certain kind of grain. Taking a sickle and a rope to tie his sheaves with, he went to the field. Arrived there, he found that the grain was covered with insects. So he set fire to it, and while it was burning he kept calling out, "Whoever desires to feast on roasted insects, let him come here." When his brother knew what he had done, he reprimanded him severely.

               Some time afterwards, when the black rice was ripe, he again ordered him to go and reap some, so getting a sickle, and rope to bind his sheaves with, he went to the rice field. On looking about to see where he would begin, he discovered that each stalk of rice was covered with flies. "There is nothing here but flies. How can I reap this?" Saying this, he set fire to the growing rice and burnt it all to the ground. His brother, when he knew what had happened, was very much displeased and threatened to beat him.

               On another day he was sent to cut jari [1] to make ropes, so taking his sickle, he set off to the field of jari. As soon as he began to cut the stalks, the seeds rattled in the pods, hearing which he stopped and called out, "Who is calling me?" After listening awhile and hearing nothing he began again, and the same noise issuing from the plant he was cutting, he said, "These plants are remonstrating with me for cutting them." So being offended, he set fire to and burnt down the whole crop of jari.

               On being informed of his brother's action, Jhorea seized a stick, and ran after him to beat him, but could not overtake him. In the direction Jhore was running, there were some men flaying an ox, and Jhorea called to them to lay hold of his brother. They could not, however, accomplish this, but as he passed, they threw the stomach of the ox at him, which he caught in his arms and carried away with him. Finding a drain that was open at both ends, he crept in at one end, and passed out at the other, but left the ox's stomach behind him. His brother soon arrived at the drain, and thinking he was still there, tried to drive him out by pushing in a stick, the sharp point of which perforated the ox's stomach. On withdrawing the stick, and seeing the contents of the ox's stomach adhering to it, he thought he had pierced and killed his brother, but he having passed out at the other end had run swiftly home, and hid himself among the rafters of the house. Jhorea returned home weeping, and immediately began to make the preparations necessary for Jhore's funeral ceremonies. He caused a sumptuous feast to be got ready, and invited all his relations and friends. When they were all assembled, he went into the house to offer Jhore his portion. Presenting it, he said: "Oh! my brother Jhore, I offer this to you, take it, and eat it." Jhore, from among the rafters said, "Give it to me brother, and I shall eat it." His brother, not expecting an answer, was alarmed, and fled to his friends without, exclaiming, "Do the spirits of dead men speak? Jhore's speaks."

               It now being dark, Jhore descended from his perch, and taking up the food which had been cooked for his funeral feast, left the house by another door. Passing on to the high way, he kept calling out, "Travellers by the road, or dwellers in the jungle, if you require food, come here." Some thieves hearing him, said, "Come, let us go and ask some." So going to him they said, "Give us some too, Jhore." But he replied, "It is for me alone." On their asking a second time, he give it to them. After they had eaten it all, they said to him, "Come, let us go a thieving." So they went to a house, and while the thieves were searching for money, Jhore went and picked up small pieces of pottery, and tied them up in his cloth. When they met afterwards, seeing Jhore's bundle of what appeared like rupees, they said, "You were not with us, where did you get the money?" Opening his parcel, he shewed them the pieces of pottery, seeing which they said, "We will not have you as our comrade." He replied, "Then return the food which you ate." As they could not comply, they agreed to take him with them. Jhore then said, "Where shall we go now?" They replied, "To steal cloth." So they went to a house, and while the robbers were searching for cloth, Jhore began to pull the clothes from off the sleeping inmates. This awoke them, and starting up, they began to call loudly for help. The thieves made off, and Jhore with them. Seeing Jhore had spoiled their game, they said to him, "We will not allow you to go with us again." He said, "Then give me back the food you ate." Not being able to do so, they said, "Well, we will allow you to accompany us this once." Jhore then said, "What shall we steal now?" The thieves answered, "We shall now go to steal horses." So they went to a stable, and each of the thieves helped himself to a horse; but Jhore going behind the house, found a large tiger which he saddled and mounted. The thieves also mounted each on the horse he had stolen. As they rode along, Jhore's tiger sometimes went first, and sometimes the thieves' horses. When the thieves were in front, Jhore's tiger bit and scratched their horses, so they said to him, "You ride first, we shall follow." But Jhore said, "No, my horse is a Hindu horse, he cannot run in front, your horses are Santal horses, they run well and straight, so you ride ahead." When day began to dawn, Jhore's tiger evinced a tendency to leave the road and take to the jungle, but Jhore holding him in, exclaimed, "Ha! ha! my Hindu steed, ha! ha! my Hindu steed." When it was fully light, the tiger ran into the jungle, and Jhore got caught in the branch of a tree, and continued dangling there for some days.

               It so happened that one morning a demon passing that way spied Jhore dangling from the tree, and seizing him, put him in a bag and carried him away. Being thirsty, he laid the bag down, and went to a spring to drink. While he was absent, Jhore got out of the bag, and putting a stone in instead, ran away. The demon having quenched his thirst, returned, and lifting the bag carried it home. His daughter came to welcome him, and he said to her, "Jhore is in the bag, cook him, and we shall have a feast." He then went to invite his friends to share it with him. When the demon's daughter had opened the bag, she found the stone, and was angry, because her father had deceived her. In a short time her father returned, bringing a large number of jackals with him. He said to her, "Have you cooked Jhore?" She replied, "Tush! tush! you brought me a stone."

               The demon was highly incensed at having been outwitted, and exclaimed, "I will track Jhore till I find him, and this time I shall bring him home without laying him down." He then left, and before long found Jhore swinging in the same branch as before. Catching hold of him, he put him into a bag, the mouth of which he tied. This time he brought him home without once laying him down. Calling to his daughter, he said, "Cook Jhore, while I go to invite my friends." She untied the bag, and took Jhore out, and seeing his long hair, she said, "How is it that your hair has grown so long?" "I pounded it in the dhenki," he replied, "Will you pound mine, so that it may become long like yours," said the demon's daughter. Jhore replied, "I shall do so with pleasure, put your head in the dhenki, and I shall pound it." So she put in her head, and he pounded it so that he killed her. He then possessed himself of all her jewellery, and dressing in her clothes, cooked her body.

               When the demon returned, accompanied by his friends, he said, "Well! daughter, have you cooked Jhore?" Jhore replied, "Yes, I have cooked him." On hearing this, the demon and the jackals who had come with him, were delighted, and setting to, they devoured the body of the demon's daughter.

               After some days, the demon went to visit a friend, and Jhore divesting himself of the demon girl's clothes, went to where the demon had at first found him, and began to swing as before. Presently a tigress approached him and said, "Oh! brother, the hair of my cubs has grown very long, I wish you to shave them to-day." Jhore replied, "Oh! sister, boil some water, and then go to the spring to bring more." The tigress having boiled the water, went to the spring. While she was away, Jhore poured the boiling water over the two cubs, and scalded them to death. He made them grin by fixing the lips apart, and propped them up at the door of the tigress' house. On her return as she drew near, she saw her cubs, as she fancied, laughing, and said to herself. "They are delighted because their uncle has shaved them." Setting down her water pot, she went to look at them, and found them dead. Just then the demon came up, and she asked him, "Whom are you seeking to-day uncle?" He replied "I am seeking Jhore, he has caused me to eat my own daughter. Whom are you seeking?" The tigress replied, "I also am seeking Jhore; he has scalded my cubs to death."

               The two then went in search of Jhore. They found him in a lonely part of the forest preparing birdlime, and said to him, "What are you doing, Jhore?" He replied, "I look high up, and then I look deep down." They said, "Teach us to do it too." He answered, "Only I can do it." They asked him a second time, and received the same reply. On their begging him a third time to teach them, he said, "Well, I shall do it." He then put some of the birdlime into their eyes, and fixed their eyelids together, so that they could not open them. While they were washing their eyes, he ran away. As soon as they had rid themselves of the birdlime, they followed him and found him distilling oil from the fruit of the marking-nut tree. They said to him, "What are you doing, Jhore?" He replied, "I look deep down, and then high up." They said, "Teach us also." He replied, "Only I can do it." They asked him again, and he said, "Well I will do it." He then poured some of the oil he had distilled into their eyes. It burned them so, that they became stone-blind.

               Jhore was next seen seated in a fig-tree eating the fruit. Some cattle merchants, passing under the tree with a large herd of cattle, saw him eating the figs, and asked him what it was he was eating. He replied, "Beat the bullock that is going last, and you shall find it." So they beat the bullock till it fell down. In the meantime, the herd had gone on ahead, and Jhore running after them drove them to his own house. His brother seeing the large herd of cattle, asked to whom they belonged. Jhore replied, "They are Jhore's property." Jhorea then said, "I killed my brother Jhore, what Jhore is it?" He made answer, "Your brother Jhore whom you thought you had killed." Jhorea was delighted to find his brother alive, and said to him, "Let us live together after this." So they lived peacefully together ever after.



[1] Jari is the Santali name for Crotalaria Juncea, a fibre yielding plant the seeds of which when ripe, rattle in the pods when the plant is shaken.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Two Brothers, Jhorea and Jhore, The
Tale Author/Editor: Campbell, A.
Book Title: Santal Folk Tales by of the Santal Mission
Book Author/Editor: Campbell, A.
Publisher: Santal Mission Press
Publication City: Pokhuria
Year of Publication: 1891
Country of Origin: India
Classification: unclassified

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