Santal Folk Tales by of the Santal Mission | Annotated Tale

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Story of Two Princesses, The

A CERTAIN raja had two daughters, who were in the habit of amusing themselves out side of the palace walls. One day they saw a crow flying towards them with a ripe Terel [1] fruit in his beak. They then said to each other, "What fruit is it? It looks nice and sweet." The crow let the fruit fall in front of them. They ran and picked it up, and ate it. It tasted deliciously sweet. Then they said, "From whence did the crow bring such a good fruit?" Then they remembered the direction from which they had seen it coming, and said, "If we go this way we shall find it." So they went, but it was only after they had travelled a great distance from home that they found the Terel tree with the ripe luscious fruit.

               The elder of the two girls climbed up into the tree, and shook down a large quantity of the fruit. They then feasted to their heart's content. Presently they began to feel thirsty, and the elder said to the younger, "You remain here while I go to drink, and I will also bring you water in a leaf cup." Having said this she went away to the tank, and her sister remained under the Terel tree. The day was extremely hot, and they were very thirsty.

               The elder having quenched her thirst was returning carrying water for her sister in a cup made of the leaves of a Terel tree, when a bhut came flying along, and fell into the cup of water. Presently she became aware that there was a hole in the bottom of her cup through which all the water had run out. What could she do now? There was no help for it but to return to the tank, make another leaf cup, and filling it with water return to her sister. As she was returning with the cup full of water the bhut again came flying up, and entering the water passed through the leaf, making a hole by which all the water escaped.

               Again she made a leaf cup, and having filled it with water was returning when the bhut again came, and destroyed her cup, and caused her to lose the water. In this way she was detained till very late.

               A raja who happened to be in the vicinity saw a beautiful girl carrying water in a leaf cup, and a bhut come and make a hole in the cup, so that it soon became empty. Having seen this several times repeated, he drew near, and feasted his eyes on her beauty. Then he carried her away to his palace, where they were joined in wedlock, and the princess, now the rani, cooked the food for herself and her husband.

               The younger princess remained near the Terel tree, and although she had given up hope of again meeting her sister, still she continued to wait. At length a herd of Hanuman monkeys came to feed upon the Terel fruit. When the girl saw them coming she was terrified and crept into the hollow of the tree. The monkeys with the exception of an old frail one, climbed into the tree and began to eat the fruit. The old monkey remained below and picked up the fruit shells which the others threw down.

               The old monkey having noticed the girl hiding in the hollow of the tree called to the others, "Throw me down some. If you do not I shall not share the Setke chopot I have found." The monkeys in the tree said, "Do not give him any. He is deceiving us. When his hunger is satisfied he will run and leave us." So no fruit was thrown down to him, and he was forced to be content with the shells. The monkeys in the tree having fared sumptuously, left. The old monkey waited till they were out of sight, and then entered the hollow of the tree, where the girl was, and ate her up. He then went to the tank to drink, and afterwards went in the direction of the raja's garden, on reaching which he lay down and died. One of the gardeners finding him dead threw him on the dunghill.

               From the place where the monkey decayed a gourd sprang, and grew, and bore a fruit which ripened. One day a jugi, when on his rounds begging, saw this fruit and plucking it took it away with him. Out of the shell he made a banjo, which when played upon emitted wonderful music. The words which seemed to proceed from the banjo were as follows:

Ripe terels, ripe terels, Oh! Sister mine.     
Went in search of water, Oh! Sister mine.    
Raja and Rani they became.     
Seven hundred monkeys old,    
Ate me up, ate me up. Oh! Sister mine.

                The jugi was greatly pleased with the music of his new banjo, and determined to take it with him when he went a begging. So one day he set out with his banjo the music of which so pleased the people that they gave him large gifts of money and clothes. In course of time he arrived at the palace where the elder sister was now rani, and, being admitted, began to play on his banjo. The instrument again produced most wonderful music. It seemed to wail as follows:

Ripe terels, ripe terels, Oh! Sister mine.     
Went in search of water, Oh! Sister mine.    
Raja and Rani they became.     
Seven hundred monkeys old,    
Ate me up, ate me up. Oh! Sister mine.

                Having listened to the music the rani said, "It is wonderfully sweet," and she fancied she heard her sister's voice in every note. She thought it possible that it was she who sang in the banjo, and she desired to obtain possession of it. So she invited the jugi to pass the night in the palace, saying, I would hear more of this entrancing music." The jugi listened to the words of the rani and agreed to remain till morning. So the rani made much of him with the intention of at length obtaining possession of his banjo. She caused a goat to be killed, and she cooked a splendid supper for the jugi, who finding the food so toothsome ate heartily. Wine was not withheld, and the jugi being in a festive frame of mind drank deeply, so that he soon lay as one dead. The rani took the banjo, and placed another in its stead. She then threw filth over the unconscious jugi and retired to her own apartment.

               The jugi on awaking before sunrise found himself in a pitiable plight. He felt so thoroughly disgusted with himself that, hastily picking up his staff, cloth, and banjo, he fled with the utmost possible speed from the palace. When dawn broke he saw that the banjo he had was not his own, and although he felt keenly its loss he was too much ashamed of the condition he had been in to go back to seek it.

               The rani hid the jugi's banjo in her own room, because she knew her sister to be in it. Whenever the raja and rani went out to walk the girl left the banjo and having bathed and dressed her hair, cooked the family meal, and then returned to the banjo. This happened so often that at last, it came to the knowledge of the raja that a fairy lived in the banjo, and when the way was clear used to come out and prepare food for the rani and himself. So he determined to lie in wait for the fairy cook. He then sent the rani somewhere on an errand, and hid himself in a corner of the room from whence he could see the banjo. In a short time the princess emerged from the banjo, and began to dress her hair, and anoint herself with oil, after which she cooked rice. She divided the food into three portions, one of which she ate. As she was about to re-enter the banjo the raja sprang out and caught hold of her. She exclaimed, "Chi! Chi! you may be a Hadi, or you may be a Dom." The raja replied, "Chi! Chi! whether I be a Dom, or a Hadi, from to-day you and I are one."



[1] Diospyros tomentosa.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Story of Two Princesses, 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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