Indian Fairy Tales
Author: Anonymous
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[All Rights reserved.]

To my dear Grannie, Susan Bazely.



The first twenty-five stories in this book were told me at Calcutta and Simla by two Ayahs, Dunkni and Muniya, and by Karim, a Khidmatgar. The last five were told Mother by Muniya. At first the servants would only tell their stories to me, because I was a child and would not laugh at them, but afterwards the Ayahs lost their shyness and told almost all their stories over again to Mother when they were passing through the press. Karim would never tell his to her or before her. The stories were all told in Hindustani, which is the only language that these servants know.

Dunkni is a young woman, and was born and brought up in Calcutta. She got the stories, she told me, from her husband, Mochi, who was born in Calcutta and brought up at Benares.

Muniya is a very old, white-haired woman. She has great-grandchildren. She was born at Patna, but when she was seven years old she was taken to Calcutta, where she was brought up and married. She and Dunkni are both Hindus.

Karim is a Muhammadan and was born at Lucknow. He says that "The Mouse" and "The Wonderful Story" are both Lucknow tales.

The notes to this book were written by Mother, and Father helped her to spell the Native names and words. He also made the Index.

Dr. George King helped us in the Botany; Mr. Tawney and Mr. Campbell of Islay, who saw many of the stories in manuscript, have given us several remarks. So has my uncle, John Boxwell.


CALCUTTA, March 24th, 1879.



In almost every part of Europe the tales current among the common people have been of late years diligently sought out, and carefully collected. Variants of them pour in profusely every year. But it does not seem probable that any entirely new stories will be discovered in any European land. Nor is it likely that in fresh variants of the longer and apparently more artificial tales, any quite new incidents, or even any unquestionably novel features, will be found. The harvest has been abundant, its chief fruits are now stored, and the work which is still going on among the gleaners, although in itself good and praiseworthy, may be regarded without the excitement of eager hope. The task of the present seems to be, not so much the garnering of European folk-tales, as their comparison and elucidation, and, so far as possible, their explanation. But in many cases they do not appear to contain in themselves the ingredients which are necessary for their resolution into their primary elements. Nor do the records of the lands in which they exist always supply what is wanted. The "fairy tales" of Europe throw very little light upon, are but slightly illuminated by, the histories of the widely differing lands in which they so closely resemble each other. And the most interesting among them, those which appear most clearly to bear witness to their being embodiments of mythological ideas, or expansions of moral precepts, seem to be but little in keeping with what we know of the sentiments and beliefs of the heathen ancestors of the villagers in whose memories they have been for so many centuries retained. Among such tales of this kind, for instance, as linger on in our own islands, there is but little to be found which can be looked upon as a specially characteristic deposit left by the waves of Iberian, Celtic, and Teutonic population which have successively passed over the face of the land. This statement does not, of course, hold good in the case of such legends about national heroes as Mr. J. F. Campbell has found thriving in Ireland and the West Highlands of Scotland, and which he justly believes to be "bardic recitations, fast disappearing, and changing into prose." They belong to a different section of popular fiction from that to which reference is now made. It is often difficult to draw the line between these two classes of folk-tales. But there is a striking difference between the typical representatives of the two divisions, between cosmopolitan novelettes like Cinderella or the Sleeping Beauty, on the one hand, and pseudo-historic legends about local heroes on the other. It is unfortunate that we do not possess a sufficiency of accurate designations for the numerous species of the genus folk-tale. Their existence would prevent much misapprehension. But in their absence, a discusser of popular tales should take pains to define precisely to what tribe, family, or group of stories his remarks are intended to apply.

There are to be found, in all European lands, certain tales which are of a more complex structure than the rest, which appear to have been constructed by a skilled workman, to be artificial productions rather than natural growths. It is only with such stories as these that we have at present to deal. These novelettes or comediettas, as they may be called, of the European common people, differ but little in their essential parts, whether they are recited in the cold north or the balmy south, the rude east or the cultured west. Their openings, it is true, vary with their localities; but in the main body of the tale, not only does the same leading idea pervade all the variants, but also the same sequence of events leads up in almost every case to the same termination. To this class of stories belong nearly all the tales which, under considerably modified forms, have naturalized themselves in the nurseries of Europe. In it are comprised many popular fictions, on the obscurer parts of which a quite insufficient light is thrown by researches among the manners and mythologies of old European heathenism.

It is upon such stories as these that a kindly light beams with the greatest advantage from Asia. Very similar stories have been preserved in the memories of the common people in many parts of Asia, but especially in India. And their leading ideas are perfectly in accordance with the mythology or the moral teaching of the Asiatics who, age after age, have delighted in telling or hearing them. In such cases as these it seems to be not very unreasonable to suppose that the story was originally, if not created, at all events shaped and trimmed in Asia, and thence was afterwards conveyed from lip to lip into Europe. Such universal favourites as Beauty and the Beast and Puss in Boots may be confidently cited as oriental fictions which have taken possession of European minds. There is a rich store of other popular fictions, which may be left to be accounted for according to the two principal methods of interpretation in vogue. They may be explained as independent developments of mythological germs common to the ancestors of the various Aryan peoples of Europe. Or they may be regarded as embodiments of certain ideas common to savages of all races. It will be sufficient to deal at present with the more limited, but better known class, to which special attention has been called.

Among the Asiatic folk-tales which seem likely to assist in their explanation, none are more copious or more useful than those of India. There the old religion has maintained itself with which so many of these stories are linked, and there the moral teaching still prevails which made its voice heard in other tales of the far-off time when they first became current. Any collection of genuine Indian Fairy Tales is therefore certain to be, not only of interest to the general reader, but also of real value to the specialist who devotes himself to the comparison of folk-tales. The collection now before us has great merits of its own. The stories have been told in Hindustani to the very young collector by two ayahs, who are both Hindus, and by a Muhammadan man-servant. In this respect Miss Stokes's contribution to our knowledge of India differs from the very similar, and very charming, work by Miss Frere, "Old Deccan Days," the stories in which were told by an ayah who was, as her father and grandfather had been, a native Christian. The two books ought to be compared with each other. No possessor of the one ought to be without the other. All the stories contained in the present volume, as we learn from the notes, have been read back by the young collector to the tellers in Hindustani after they were told, and a second time by the annotator before they were printed. "I never saw people more anxious to have their tales retold exactly, than are Dunkni and Muniya," the two story-telling ayahs. Not till each tale was pronounced by them to be exact was it sent to the press. The stories may be taken then as faithful transcripts of Indian thought. The merits of the copious Notes contributed by the late Mrs. Whitley Stokes, bearing witness to a very wide range of reading, and to a most intelligent use of the authorities referred to, will be fully acknowledged by all who have had occasion to explore the regions from which she has gathered so much valuable information. Throughout the whole of the work thus conscientiously compiled and intelligently annotated, there will be found scattered, in addition to its other merits, many a parallel with our own popular tales, many an illustration or explanation of their meaning—a ray of light shot here or there which illumines their dark places, and may enable the explorers of their mystic domains to avoid stumbles which are often somewhat mortifying. It remains only to point out a few of the most important passages.

* * * * *

Some of the stories in this volume are so thoroughly oriental, so little in accordance with western thought or feeling, that they have not found an echo among ourselves; their counterparts are not to be found naturalized in European lands. Of such a kind are the legends, taken from literary sources, of "The Upright King," and of "Raja Harichand's Punishment," in which the patience of a religious monarch is tried as was that of Job, and comes out from the trial equally victorious. The sorrows of Patient Grissel have met with sympathy in many lands, for meekness has ever been considered a womanly virtue. But the heroism of a husband and father who sells his wife to a merchant, and his son to a cowherd, in order that he may be able to keep his promise to a holy mendicant, and bestow upon him two pounds and a half of gold, can scarcely be expected to invest itself, to western eyes, with the air of a manly virtue. In the same way, the great sitting powers displayed by King Burtal, who never once moves from his seat in the jungle for twelve whole years, during which space of time he neither eats nor drinks, and thereby elevates himself to the dignity of a fakir, are not of a kind to elicit the sympathies or command the admiration of nations addicted to active exercise.

The explanation of Nanaksa's thrice repeated laugh, also, could retain its vitality only in an atmosphere pervaded by a belief in the transmigration of souls. Buddhistic apologues have sometimes passed into legends of Christian Saints. But it would be difficult to perform the operation in the case of an account of how a woman, who had tormented to death her husband's sister, was justly punished by the reappearance in the world of the ill-used sister-in-law, in the form of that unkind woman's exceedingly peevish baby daughter. Numerous, also, as are European stories about ogres, vampires, and other demoniacal cannibals, we shall not readily find a western counterpart of the terrible tale, in No. 24, of the "Rakshas" which sometimes appears as a goat, and sometimes as a most beautiful young girl, dressed in grand clothes and rich jewels, but at midnight turns into a devouring demon with a craving for human flesh.

Just as some of the themes of these stories do not seem to have European counterparts, so portions of their machinery appear to be without exact western equivalents. The stupendous transformations which now and then take place (see pp. 5, 148, 244) can reconcile themselves only to an oriental imagination. However much the occidental mind may attempt to "make believe," it cannot credit such a statement as that when the Bel-Princess died, her eyes turned into two birds, her heart into "a great tank," and her body into "a splendid palace and garden," her arms and legs becoming "the pillars that supported the verandah roof," and her head "the dome on the top of the palace." In almost all countries, when a fairy hero has been slain by a demoniacal or otherwise villainous personage, he is recalled to life by magic means. In European folk-lore the resuscitating remedy is usually a Water of Life, or a Balsam, or some similar fluid. In these Indian tales, it is blood streaming from the resuscitator's little finger. Thus when Loving Laili (p. 83) found her husband dead and headless, she put his head back on his shoulders, and smeared his neck with the blood which flowed "like healing medicine," when "she cut her little finger inside her hand straight down from the top of her nail to her palm." A power of becoming at will invisible is everywhere often attributed to heroes of romance. But it is generally connected with "a cap of darkness," or some similar magic article. But the Prince of No. 21, when he seeks the Bel-Princess, becomes invisible to the "demons and fairies" who surround her, when he blows from the palm of his hand, "all along his fingers," the earth which a friendly fakir has given him for that purpose. A "sleep-thorn," or other somniferous piece of wood, is commonly employed in our fairy tales, in order to throw a hero or heroine into a magic slumber. In these Indian stories a state of catalepsy, or of death, is produced or relieved by a peculiar application of a magic stick. Thus the Princess who was called the Golden Rani, "because her teeth and her hair were made of gold," and who was stolen by a demon, informed the Prince who found her, motionless but not sleeping, that "the Rakshas who had carried her off, and whom she called papa, had a great thick stick, and when he laid this stick at her feet she could not stir, but when he laid it at her head she could move again." In "The Demon and the King's Son" (No. 24), the hero opens a "forbidden chamber," and there finds the demon's daughter lying on a bed, apparently lifeless; for "every day, before her father went out he used to make the girl lie on her bed, and cover her with a sheet, and he placed a thick stick at her head, and another at her feet; then she died, till he came home in the evening and changed the sticks, putting the one at her head at her feet, and the one at her feet at her head. This brought her to life again." An interesting parallel to the "sleep-thorn" is afforded by the pin which, while it remains in the head of the bird which had been the wife of the Pomegranate King (No. 2), prevents her from resuming her human shape. When the Raja pulled out the pin, "his own dear wife, the Pomegranate Rani, stood before him." Magic boxes are common in fairy land. But there is something new in at least the name of the "sun-jewel box," which was sent by the "Red Fairy," who lived at the bottom of the well, to "The Princess who loved her father like salt" (No. 23), and which contained "seven little dolls, who were all little fairies."

* * * * *

Of more general interest than the few peculiarities of these tales are the many points in which they resemble and illustrate some of the familiar features of European folk-lore. As an example of the latter may be taken a "husk-myth," which is a valuable contribution to the literature of the "Beauty and the Beast" cycle. In all the stories belonging to that group, the action turns upon the union of the human hero or heroine with a spouse who is really or apparently an inferior animal. In the modified version of the story with which our nurseries have become acquainted through a French literary medium, the species of Beast to which the Beauty is wedded is not stated, and its transformation into a princely husband is attributed to her unaided love. But in by far the greater part of the variants of the folk-tale on which it seems to have been founded, as well as of the other stories in which a similar transformation is the principal feature—variants which have been gathered in abundance from all parts of Europe, not to speak of Asia—the animal nature of the mysterious spouse is clearly defined. In them the husband whom the Beauty is induced by filial affection, fear, or compassion to wed, is an unmistakable Beast—a pig in Sicily, a bear in Norway, a hedgehog in Germany, a goat in Russia. Sometimes he is even of a lower type, often a frog or a snake. And once, in Wallachia, he has been transferred from the animal to the vegetable world, and figures as a pumpkin. In every instance he is represented as being able to change at times his repulsive appearance for one of beauty, and this he generally does by doffing a kind of husk which when donned conceals his real form, and invests him with that of an inferior being. If this husk be destroyed during the temporary absence of its owner, he loses his transforming power. The destruction of the husk is generally the work of the wife, who is sometimes rewarded, her husband remaining with her constant to his true nature; at other times she is punished, he being lost to her for a time or for ever. These stories about a monster husband have their exact counterparts in tales about a monster wife, the leading idea being the same in both groups; the only difference being that it is the wife who appears at times as a frog or other inferior creature, and who continues to do so until her transforming power terminates with the destruction of her disguising husk.

Now these temporary transformations, though common to the folk-tales of all parts of Europe, are not in accordance with the European superstitions of the present day, nor with those, so far as we are acquainted with them, of old European heathenism. The nearest approach to them is afforded by the wehr-wolf superstition, but that is an isolated belief, and appears to be based upon altogether different ideas. As to the metamorphoses of classical literature, they are of a nature quite alien to that of the voluntary eclipse, under a degrading form, of a Frog Princess or a Pig Prince. It may be said with confidence that European "husk-myths" do not explain themselves; the peasants among whom they are current, cannot explain them; and the knowledge we have of ancient European paganism throws no light on their meaning. But in India, where countless variants of such tales exist—many of them preserved in ancient as well as in modern literature, but by far the greater part still current among the common people—the transformations in question are frequently, if not generally, explained in the stories themselves, and explained in a manner perfectly in accordance with the Indian thought of the present as well as of the past. To Indian minds there is nothing monstrous in the belief that a celestial being may have been condemned, in consequence of the wrath of a superior divinity, or even of the magic words pronounced by an offended sage, to assume for a time the inferior form of a mere man or woman, or even to wear the shape of an inferior animal—a monkey or a frog; and that this transformation is to continue chronic, though not constant, until the destruction of the disguising skin or husk, by the donning of which it is from time to time brought about, deprives the curse of its power, and enables earth's celestial visitor to return to heaven. The whole story is closely connected with Indian religious beliefs, and may fairly be looked upon, when found in India, as an expansion of a Hindu myth. Its existence in other parts of Asia may, at least frequently, be attributed to the natural spread of Hindu tales among the various tribes and nations which accepted Buddhism from India.

If all this be true, and the "husk-myth" stories which are current all over Europe may justly be supposed to have drifted westwards from India, then all Indian variants of these tales naturally become invested with special importance. The specimen in the present volume, the "Monkey Prince" (No. 10), belongs to a remarkably interesting class—that in which the story-teller gives an explanation of the hero's transformation. A childless king is told by a fakir to give some mangoes to his seven wives. Six of them eat up the fruit, and each of the six gives birth to a prince of the usual kind. But the seventh wife, who has been able to obtain as her share only the stone of one of the mangoes, "had a monkey, who was called in consequence Bandarsabasa, or Prince Monkey." In reality, the story-teller goes on to explain, "he was a boy, but no one knew it, for he had a monkey-skin covering him." And this monkey-skin he takes off when he wishes to appear in true princely form, as when he woos and wins the Princess Jahuran. Finding out what his real nature is, she insists upon marrying him, in spite of her vexed father's natural question: "Who ever heard of any one marrying a nasty monkey?" When he is alone with his wife he takes off his monkey-skin, and reveals himself in all his beauty, replying to her questions as to its use, "I wear it as a protection, because my brothers are naughty, and would kill me if they knew what I really am." On one occasion, when he has gone in state to a nautch, after taking off his monkey skin, folding it up, and laying it under his wife's pillow, she reveals her husband's secret to his mother, who, "though she was very glad her monkey-son had such a wife, could never understand how it was that her daughter-in-law was so happy with him." Taking the monkey-skin from under her pillow, "See," she says, "when your son puts this on, then he is a monkey; when he takes it off he is a beautiful man. And now I think I will burn this skin, and then he must always be a man." So she throws it into the fire. Prince Monkey's heart instantly tells him his wife has burnt his skin, and he returns home in a rage. It passes off, however, and all goes well. He now appears always as a beautiful prince, "with his hair all gold." "Why did you wear that monkey-skin?" naturally asks his father. "Because," he replies, "my mother ate the mango-stone instead of eating the mango, and so I was born with this skin, and God ordered me to wear it till I had found a wife." The story has evidently been considerably altered in the course of time from its original form, but it still keeps true to its ancient lines. In it, as in many other specimens of the same class, the idea of the degradation of a divine or semi-divine being has been lost, and the sufferer is merely a human being cased in a disfiguring hide. It is noteworthy that, as we are informed at p. 259, Dunkni, the narrator of the tale, "in telling this husk-story, just as often called the monkey-skin a husk, as she called it a skin."

Another of the apparently mythological European folk-tales, instructive parallels to which are contained in the present volume, is that which may be designated as the Golden-locks myth. It relates the fortunes of a brilliant being, usually a radiant prince, who, often without any apparent reason, submits himself to a voluntary eclipse, hides from sight his grandeur and his good looks, and assumes an appearance of squalor and misery. Like Cinderella, whose male counterpart he is, he at times arises from his low estate, becomes again a brilliant prince, but always capriciously eludes those who wish to retain him in that shape. At last he is always detected, and then he has to remain constant to his true and magnificent form. His temporary eclipse is somewhat similar to that of the hero of a husk-myth; but no special power is attached to the wrappings under which his brilliance is concealed, nor is his change of form imposed upon him against his will. The meaning of the Golden-locks story, in its original form, still remains to be discovered, as also does that of the sister tale of Cinderella. That they both refer to the temporary eclipse, seclusion, or obscuration of a brilliant being, is evident. But what that brilliant being represents is a problem of which several solutions have been confidently offered, but which does not seem to have been as yet certainly solved. In the story of "The Boy who had a Moon on his forehead and a Star on his chin" (No. 20), the self-eclipsing process is brought about by a twist of his right ear; "when the boy had twisted it, he was no longer a handsome prince, but a poor, common-looking, ugly man; and his moon and star were hidden." And so, after he has been chosen out of a number of suitors by a princess whose heart he has won by the beauty of his singing, he restores himself to his true form by twisting his left ear; after which operation "he stood no longer a poor, common, ugly man, but a grand young prince, with a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin."

A third class of stories for which an Asiatic origin may fairly be claimed, contains those in which figures a monster or demon who cannot be killed until some external object with which his life is mysteriously linked has been destroyed. Such a being occurs at times in European folk-tales, especially in those of the east and north of Europe. The most familiar instance is that of "The Giant who had no Heart in his body" of the "Tales from the Norse." Some of the best specimens of this kind of monster are to be found in the Russian tales about Koshchei the Deathless. But these remarkably abnormal beings scarcely seem at home in western folk-lore. They are but little in keeping with their European surroundings, and never seem to divest themselves of their alien air. In oriental stories, on the other hand, they figure frequently, and they seem to occupy a familiar and an appropriate place. The oldest of the world's tales of wonder, the Egyptian story of the Two Brothers, contains an heroic being whose life comes to an end when his heart falls to the ground from the tree upon which he has hung it. And in the modern folk-tales of India, demons of this kind play their part without exciting any more than usual surprise. Miss Frere's Deccan stories make us well acquainted with one of these personages, "a wicked magician named Punchkin," whose name serves as a convenient designation for the long-lived monsters in question. The present collection contains several specimens. In "Brave Hiralalbasa" (No. 11) we meet with a Rakshas, who is induced, as usual by female wiles, to reveal the secret of his life. "Sixteen miles away from this place," he says, "is a tree. Round the tree are tigers, and bears, and scorpions, and snakes; on the top of the tree is a very great flat snake; on his head is a little cage; in the cage is a bird; and my soul is in that bird." When the bird is seized by the hero of the story, the Rakshas feels that something terrible has occurred. When the bird's legs and wings are pulled off, the Rakshas becomes a mere head and torso; and when the bird's neck is wrung, down falls the Rakshas dead. In like manner, in the tale of "The Demon and the King's Son" (No. 24), the demon dies when the prince has killed a certain bird, the lives of the bird and of the demon being conterminable. According to the narrator Dunkni, "all Rakshases keep their souls in birds;" but another authority asserts (p. 261) that "a whole tribe of Rakshases, dwelling in Ceylon, kept theirs in one and the same lemon."

The tale of "The Voracious Frog" (No. 6) is a valuable contribution to the store we already possess of what appear to be myths relating to apparent destruction, but ultimate resuscitation. To this class seem to belong the stories on which Little Red Riding Hood was probably based, describing how a wolf or other monster swallowed various innocent beings, but was at last forced to restore them uninjured to the light of day. In its original form the tale may have been a nature myth, illustrating the apparent annihilation brought about by the darkness of night or the cold of winter, and the revival which accompanies the return of the day or of spring; or, perhaps, a moral apologue, intended to suggest that death may not be a lasting annihilation. In its modern forms, whether in the east or the west, it often assumes a grotesque air. A good illustration of this fact is afforded by the well-known Norse tale of "The Greedy Cat," of which "The Voracious Frog" (No. 6) is an Indian counterpart. The cat, after devouring all that comes in its way, is at last split in half by a goat, whereupon all its victims come forth unhurt. The frog, after similar feats of gluttony, is cut open by a barber, who, while shaving it, thinks that it looks very fat; and its victims also emerge uninjured.

There are many tales now current in different parts of Europe, but chiefly in the south and east, which turn upon the relations existing between human beings and their fates: each person being supposed to have a special fate or fortune, a species of guardian demon, upon whose good will all his or her success in life depends. It is very doubtful whether such stories are products of European fancy, their leading ideas seeming to be little in keeping with the religious beliefs—whether of classic times, or of Teutonic, Slavic, or Celtic antiquity—respecting either an overruling destiny, or a triad of Fates or Norns. But in India a belief in a personal "luck" has prevailed from very early times; and such stories as "The Man who went to seek his Fate" (No. 12), appear there to be as indigenous as in Europe they seem to be exotic. The Servian story, for instance, of the man who sets out to look for his fate, and the Sicilian account of how the unfortunate Caterina is persecuted by hers until she discovers its hiding-place, and propitiates it by cakes (see Notes, p. 263), have a foreign air about them, which does not manifest itself in the Indian tale. The likeness between the Servian and the Indian variants of the narrative, especially as regards the questions which the fate-seeker is requested by the beings he meets on the way to ask when he arrives at his destination, is too great to allow it to be supposed that they have been independently developed from a common germ. They are manifestly, so far as the journey is concerned, copies of the same model, differing but slightly from each other. But the embodiment of the wayfarer's destiny is quite differently represented in the two stories. The Servian pilgrim first discovers his fortune, or rather misfortune, in the person of a hag, who tells him she has been given to him as his luck by Fate. Then he seeks out Fate, who appears in human form. But in the Indian tale, "the fates are stones, some standing, and others lying on the ground." One of the prostrate stones, the traveller felt sure, must belong to him. "This must be mine," he said; "it is lying on the ground, that's why I am so poor." Whereupon he took to beating it, and continued to do so all day. When night came, "God sent a soul into the poor man's fate, and it became a man," who satisfied the wanderer's own wishes, and also answered the questions which he had been requested to ask. Then "God withdrew the soul, and the fate became a stone again, which stood up on the ground."

There are two stories which enjoy a world-wide popularity in peasant circles, but which have not been made familiar by modern literature to cultured children. One of them may for the sake of convenience be known by the name of the Substituted Bride, and the other by that of the Calumniated Wife. The first relates the sorrows of a maiden who is compelled to see an impostor seated in the place which she was intended to fill, by the side of the princely husband whom she was meant to wed. The second describes the sufferings long undergone by a faithful wife and tender mother, who is falsely accused of some crime by an envious rival, and is hastily punished by her angry lord. In both of them the supernatural usually plays a part, but their main interests are always human, and it is easier to sympathize with their heroines than with most of the similar characters of popular fiction. Yet those ill-used but patient princesses are but little known to the thousands of story-readers who are familiar with the adventures of Cinderella and the Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, and the wives of Bluebeard and of the Beast. They have at various times entered into literature, but not into that section of it which has supplied our nursery fiction. They figure in most of the now so numerous collections of folk-tales, but they have not been introduced into society by the novelists or playwrights who have made their sister-sufferers undying favourites. They are essentially moral tales, their good characters bearing their unmerited misfortunes with unvarying meekness and patience, and being ultimately rewarded, while the envious and malicious rivals who have supplanted or slandered them are punished in the end. But they have not taken a firm hold on the west, where they are probably destined to become forgotten when the progress of education has replaced folk-lore by literature, while they are likely to go on living for ages in the east, which seems to have been their original home.

In the present collection the story of the Substituted Princess occurs several times. In "Phulmati Rani" the heroine is a wife instead of a bride, which makes the substitution more than usually improbable. As she and her husband are resting beside a tank, a shoemaker's wife comes up, and pushes her into the water, in which she is drowned. The shoemaker's wife takes her place, though she is "very black and ugly," one-eyed, and exceedingly wicked. It may be remarked that the substitution in question generally takes place by the side of water. In the "Bel-Princess," the beautiful maiden who has come out of the fruit which the prince opened by the side of a well, is pushed into the water, while the prince is asleep, by a wicked woman, very ugly, and with "something wrong with one of her eyes," who then assumes her place. In tales like the story of "The Princess who loved her Father like Salt," the transformation scene is of a different nature, though the leading idea of the change is the same. It is not an ordinary bride or wife who is supplanted, and the substitution need not take place beside water. The heroine is a stranger who, generally after long wanderings, finds a prince really or apparently dead, by patient watching all but effects his cure, but is at the last moment supplanted by a servant, who gives the final touch to the work, claims its entire merit, and is made the wife of the grateful patient. In the Indian tale the prince lies motionless, his body "stuck full of needles." The heroine sits down by the side of his couch, and there remains for a whole week "without eating, or drinking, or sleeping, pulling out the needles." At the end of two weeks more the needles are all extracted, except those in the eyes. She then goes away to bathe; and while she is absent, a servant maid whom she has left in charge of the body pulls out the remaining needles. The prince opens his eyes, thanks God for bringing him to life again, and makes the servant maid his wife. The substitution is similar to that which takes place in such stories as the Norse "Bushy Bride;" but closer parallels are supplied by some of the stories of southern Europe. Mrs. Stokes refers in her Notes to the dead prince in one of Gonzenbach's Sicilian tales, who is brought to life by a wandering princess, who for more than seven years rubs his body with grass from Mount Calvary. Pitre's great collection of Sicilian Fiabe also offers several variants of the substitution story, in some of which occurs the singular incident, known also to Swedish and Finnish folk-tales, of the imprisonment of the heroine, after she has been flung into the sea, by a submarine supernatural being. In some instances it is not water which the heroine has to dread, but light. The true bride must be conveyed to the bridegroom's palace in a darkened vehicle. Her supplanter draws aside a curtain. The sunlight shines in. The princess turns into a lizard or some other animal, and the false bride takes her place.

The Calumniated Wife story which occurs in No. 20 of the present collection, closely resembles many European variants. A king hears a girl say that when she is married she will have a son with a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin. So he marries her. She gives birth to a boy who really is thus decorated. But the king's other wives, naturally jealous of her, put a stone in her bed, and pretend that it is the object which she has brought into the world, upon which she is disgraced and turned into a servant maid. In other variants of the story she is often accused of having murdered her children, and even eaten them. In one instance her mortified husband is represented as twice forgiving her, after remonstrating with her on her inordinate appetite, but as thinking it necessary to take some precautions when the possibility of her committing the crime for the third time makes itself manifest. Sometimes all the innocent wives of a king are accused of murderous habits by a guilty wife, who is in reality a destroying and devouring demon. Such is the case in No. 20 of the present collection, which ends with the restoration of the seven calumniated wives, and the death by burning of the demon spouse.

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Besides illustrating the themes or leading ideas of many groups of European tales, these Indian stories frequently serve to throw light upon some of their obscurer features, or at least to offer such parallels to them as are useful contributions to our stock of materials for a systematic classification. Among the strange characters who figure in European folk tales, there are few more puzzling than the fair maidens who are at times discovered inside fruits, and who must be provided with water to drink the moment they emerge into the light, or else they will die. They seem properly to belong to the south and east of Europe, to such countries, for instance, as Greece, Sicily, and Wallachia. When they are found elsewhere, as in the Norse tale of "The Three Lemons," the very name of which speaks of the sunny south, they seem out of keeping with their surroundings. In these Indian stories, the enclosure of a heroine in a fruit is an incident which does not appear to be more than usually amazing. The need of immediate water drinking is not referred to. But the hero is warned (p. 81) that he must not open the fruit in public, because the enclosed maiden will be quite destitute of clothes. In another story which is widely spread over Europe—but which we know best in the form of the tale of "The Blue Bird," founded upon the theme of "The Lay of Ywonec," by Marie de France—the murderous means by which the bird-lover is all but done to death by jealous hands, which set sharp knives in the narrow opening through which he has to fly, or beset his path with some other instruments of ill, find their counterpart in the powdered glass employed to injure the hero of the "The Fan Prince" (No. 25). His wife's six sisters, who "were angry at their youngest sister being married, while they who were older were not married," insist upon making his bed, and cover the spot on which he is to lie with the powder into which they have ground a glass bottle. Whereupon the prince becomes very ill, from the glass powder going into his flesh.

The ordinary opening of many familiar folk-tales, including the "Beauty and the Beast" story, finds a parallel in the same Indian tale (p. 195). In all of them a man, when starting on a journey, promises his youngest daughter that he will bring her back some object. This he forgets to obtain. On his homeward journey, his ship refuses to move until he has acquired the object in question. The Indian parent promised to bring home Sabr to his daughter, having no idea what Sabr meant. Not having obtained it, he set out on his homeward journey. "But the boat would not move, because he had forgotten one thing—the thing his youngest daughter had asked for." Sabr turns out to be a fairy prince. It is a common incident in Indian tales for a hero or heroine to demand a spouse, generally of a more or less supernatural nature, whose name is known but nothing more. Just as the Fan Prince was demanded, under the apparently meaningless name of Sabr, so is the hand of the Princess Labam longed for by the Raja's son in No. 22, although her existence was unknown to him till he heard a parrot pronounce her name one day; and so is the acquisition of a Bel-Princess resolved upon by the prince in No. 21, because his sisters-in-law say to him, in a disagreeable manner, "We think that you will marry a Bel-Princess." Muniya, the narrator of the story, "says that telling the prince he would marry a Bel-Princess was equivalent to saying he would not marry at all; for these brothers' wives knew she lived in the fairy country, and that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for the prince to find her, and take her from it." But this seems to be merely a rationalistic view of the matter. Some mystery seems to underlie these suggestions of, or desires for, unions with unfamiliar beings. They occur not unfrequently in Russian tales. In one of Afanasief's skazkas (vol. vii., No. 6) a baby prince cries, and refuses to go to sleep, till his royal father rocks his cradle, crooning the while, "Sleep, beloved one! When you grow up you shall marry Never-enough-to-be-gazed-at Beauty, daughter of three mothers, sister of nine brothers." Having slept vigorously, the baby awakes, asks for the king's blessing, and sets out in search of the unknown Beauty in question. In another (vol. i., No. 14), Prince Ivan, having married his three sisters to the Wind, the Hail, and the Thunder, wanders forth in search of a bride. Finding the remains of two slaughtered armies, and discovering that their slaughterer was named Anastasia the Fair, he resolves, though knowing nothing else about her, to make her his wife. Among the numerous minor incidents which are common to eastern and western folk-tales, may be mentioned the aid lent to heroes in difficulties by Magic Instruments, as in No. 22, or by Grateful Beasts, as in No. 24. A belief in magic is of course world-wide, but the particular instruments referred to seem to have good reasons for claiming an oriental extraction. The stories in which stress is laid upon the gratitude of the inferior animals are almost always derivable from the east; especially if, as in the correct versions of the tale on which Puss in Boots is founded, their gratitude is contrasted with the ingratitude of that superior animal, man. When we meet with so close a resemblance as exists between the miracle wrought by Shekh Farid (p. 97), who turns the lying carter's sugar into ashes, and that attributed to St. Brigit, who turns the liar's salt into stones, we need have little scruple about referring both stories to the same source and, considering how much monastic legend-writers were indebted to oriental fancy, in locating that source in the east.

The comic elements of eastern and western folk-lore are closely akin, and the Lie-stories, or Luegenmaerchen, in Nos. 4, 8, and 17 of these Indian Tales find their parallels in most European collections. As an example of the close kinship which prevails among the jests which make merry the hearts of men far apart from each other, we may take the Indian story of "Foolish Sachuli," and compare it with the Russian tale of "The Fool and the Birch Tree" (Afanasief, vol. v., No. 22). Sachuli kills a woman; his Russian counterpart kills a man. The corpse of the woman is hidden away in a well, that of the man in a cellar. In each case the fool's sensible relatives, knowing that he will be sure to tell the truth if he is asked, withdraw the body during his absence, and substitute for it that of an animal killed for the purpose. When the seekers after the victim arrive at Sachuli's home, he at once conducts them to the well. Being let down into it, he asks, "Has she got eyes?" "Of course, every one has eyes," is the reply. "Has she a nose?" "Yes, she has a nose." But at last he inquires if she has four feet; and the seekers after the dead woman find that the body in the well is that of a sheep. In the same way, when the Russian fool has confessed his guilt, and has gone into the cellar to look for his victim's remains, he finds there the body of a goat. So he calls out to the anxious inquirers, "Was your man dark-haired?" "He was." "And had he a beard?" "Yes, he had a beard." "And had he horns?" "What horns are you talking about, fool?" they reply. So he hands up the goat's head, and the Russian tale comes to the same conclusion as the Indian. The likeness here is too strong to be attributed to an accidental coincidence.

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It does not, of course, follow that, because a story is found both in Europe and Asia, therefore the western version has been borrowed from the east. Europe has, doubtless, sometimes lent a fancy to Asia. Greek fables are supposed to have exercised an influence upon the Indian mind. European missionaries may have sometimes rendered a Christian legend current among Hindus. Professor Monier Williams was assured by an intelligent native that the spread of railways had materially diminished the number of malignant ghosts in India. Still, as a general rule, the east is stubbornly conservative. The Japanese, it is true, are abandoning their own costume and art for ours, not entirely to their advantage. But the various peoples of India have never shown any such tendencies towards change. In their popular fiction, at all events, they have never shown an inclination to import foreign manufactures in order to replace their home products. In their thoughts and feelings they are now very much what they have been for periods of time which it would be difficult to define. When we find stories now current in all parts of India, which we know from their occurrence in Sanskrit literature must have existed there very long ago, and we see that the mythological element in those stories is in accordance with religious ideas that have prevailed there for countless centuries, we can have no doubt that these stories were framed there at a very early period. Then if we find almost identical stories current in all parts of Europe, many of their at least apparently mythological features offering difficulties which cannot be removed by a reference to the mythologies of the heathen ancestors of the peasants who now repeat them, it seems not unreasonable to come to the conclusion that such stories have been borrowed by the west from the east. From mythological germs common to European and Asiatic Aryans, it is quite true that legends might arise in Europe and in Asia, independent of each other, but similar in their general tenor. But it is not likely that out of any common germ could be independently developed in several different countries as many variants of the same tale, in each of which there is a similar sequence of scenes or acts, and the dramatic action is brought to a close by a termination that scarcely ever varies. Far more difficult is it to believe in such a triumph of independent development, than to place reliance upon a statement to the effect that the wave of story-telling, as well as of empire, has wended its way westward.












































There were once a Raja and a Rani who had an only daughter called the Phulmati Rani, or the Pink-rose Queen. She was so beautiful that if she went into a very dark room it was all lighted up by her beauty. On her head was the sun; on her hands, moons; and her face was covered with stars. She had hair that reached to the ground, and it was made of pure gold.

Every day after she had had her bath, her father and mother used to weigh her in a pair of scales. She only weighed one flower. She ate very, very little food. This made her father most unhappy, and he said, "I cannot let my daughter marry any one who weighs more than one flower." Now, God loved this girl dearly, so he went down under the ground to see if any of the fairy Rajas was fit to be the Phulmati Rani's husband, and he thought none of them good enough. So he went in the form of a Fakir to see the great Indrasan Raja who ruled over all the other fairy Rajas. This Raja was exceedingly beautiful. On his head was the sun; and on his hands, moons; and on his face, stars. God made him weigh very little. Then he said to the Raja, "Come up with me, and we will go to the palace of the Phulmati Rani." God had told the Raja that he was God and not a Fakir, for he loved the Indrasan Raja. "Very well," said the Indrasan Raja. So they travelled on until they came to the Phulmati Rani's palace. When they arrived there they pitched a tent in her compound, and they used to walk about, and whenever they saw the Phulmati Rani they looked at her. One day they saw her having her hair combed, so God said to the Indrasan Raja, "Get a horse and ride where the Phulmati Rani can see you, and if any one asks you who you are, say, 'Oh, it's only a poor Fakir, and I am his son. We have come to stay here a little while just to see the country. We will go away very soon.'" Well, he got a horse and rode about, and Phulmati Rani, who was having her hair combed in the verandah, said, "I am sure that must be some Raja; only see how beautiful he is." And she sent one of her servants to ask him who he was. So the servant said to the Indrasan Raja, "Who are you? why are you here? what do you want?" "Oh, it's only a poor Fakir, and I am his son. We have just come here for a little while to see the country. We will go away very soon." So the servants returned to the Phulmati Rani and told her what the Indrasan Raja had said. The Phulmati Rani told her father about this. The next day, when the Phulmati Rani and her father were standing in the verandah, God took a pair of scales and weighed the Indrasan Raja in them. His weight was only that of one flower! "Oh," said the Raja, when he saw that, "here is the husband for the Phulmati Rani!" The next day, after the Phulmati Rani had had her bath, her father took her and weighed her, and he also weighed the Indrasan Raja. And they were each the same weight. Each weighed one flower, although the Indrasan Raja was fat and the Phulmati Rani thin. The next day they were married, and there was a grand wedding. God said he was too poor-looking to appear, so he bought a quantity of elephants, and camels, and horses, and cows, and sheep, and goats, and made a procession, and came to the wedding. Then he went back to heaven, but before he went he said to the Indrasan Raja "You must stay here one whole year; then go back to your father and to your kingdom. As long as you put flowers on your ears no danger will come near you." (This was in order that the fairies might know that he was a very great Raja and not hurt him.) "All right," said the Indrasan Raja. And God went back to heaven.

So the Indrasan Raja stayed for a whole year. Then he told the Raja, the Phulmati Rani's father, that he wished to go back to his own kingdom. "All right," said the Raja, and he wanted to give him horses, and camels, and elephants. But the Indrasan Raja and the Phulmati Rani said they wanted nothing but a tent and a cooly. Well, they set out; but the Indrasan Raja forgot to put flowers on his ears, and after some days the Indrasan Raja was very, very tired, so he said, "We will sit down under these big trees and rest awhile. Our baggage will soon be here; it is only a little way behind." So they sat down, and the Raja said he felt so tired he must sleep. "Very well," said the Rani; "lay your head in my lap and sleep." After a while a shoemaker's wife came by to get some water from a tank which was close to the spot where the Raja and Rani were resting. Now, the shoemaker's wife was very black and ugly, and she had only one eye, and she was exceedingly wicked. The Rani was very thirsty and she said to the woman, "Please give me some water, I am so thirsty." "If you want any," said the shoemaker's wife, "come to the tank and get it yourself." "But I cannot," said the Rani, "for the Raja is sleeping in my lap." At last the poor Rani got so very, very thirsty, she said she must have some water; so laying the Raja's head very gently on the ground she went to the tank. Then the wicked shoemaker's wife, instead of giving her to drink, gave her a push and sent the beautiful Rani into the water, where she was drowned. The shoemaker's wife then went back to the Raja, and, taking his head on her knee, sat still until he woke. When the Raja woke he was much frightened, and he said, "This is not my wife. My wife was not black, and she had two eyes." The poor Raja felt very unhappy. He said, "I am sure something has happened to my wife." He went to the tank, and he saw flowers floating on the water and he caught them, and as he caught them his own true wife stood before him.

They travelled on till they came to a little house. The shoemaker's wife went with them. They went into the house and laid themselves down to sleep, and the Raja laid beside him the flowers he had found floating in the tank. The Rani's life was in the flowers. As soon as the Raja and Rani were asleep, the shoemaker's wife took the flowers, broke them into little bits, and burnt them. The Rani died immediately, for the second time. Then the poor Raja, feeling very lonely and unhappy, travelled on to his kingdom, and the shoemaker's wife went after him. God brought the Phulmati Rani to life a second time, and led her to the Indrasan Raja's gardener.

One day as the Indrasan Raja was going out hunting, he passed by the gardener's house, and saw a beautiful girl sitting in it. He thought she looked very like his wife, the Phulmati Rani. So he went home to his father and said, "Father, I should like to be married to the girl who lives in our gardener's house." "All right," said the father; "you can be married at once." So they were married the next day.

One night the shoemaker's wife took a ram, killed it, and put some of its blood on the Phulmati Rani's mouth while the Rani slept. The next morning she went to the Indrasan Raja and said, "Whom have you married? You have married a Rakshas. Just see. She has been eating cows, and sheep, and chickens. Just come and see." The Raja went, and when he saw the blood on his wife's mouth he was frightened, and he thought she was really a Rakshas. The shoemaker's wife said to him, "If you do not cut this woman in pieces, some harm will happen to you." So the Raja took a knife and cut his beautiful wife into pieces. He then went away very sorrowful. The Phulmati Rani's arms and legs grew into four houses; her chest became a tank, and her head a house in the middle of the tank; her eyes turned into two little doves; and these five houses, the tank and the doves, were transported to the jungle. No one knew this. The little doves lived in the house that stood in the middle of the tank. The other four houses stood round the tank.

One day when the Indrasan Raja was hunting by himself in the jungle he was very tired, and he saw the house in the tank. So he said, "I will go into that house to rest a little while, and to-morrow I will return home to my father." So, tying his horse outside, he went into the house and lay down to sleep. By and by, the two little birds came and perched on the roof above his head. They began to talk, and the Raja listened. The little husband-dove said to his wife, "This is the man who cut his wife to pieces." And then he told her how the Indrasan Raja had married the beautiful Phulmati Rani, who weighed only one flower, and how the shoemaker's wife had drowned her; how God had brought her to life again; how the shoemaker's wife had burned her; and last of all, how the Raja himself had cut her to pieces. "And cannot the Raja find her again?" said the little wife-dove. "Oh, yes, he can," said her husband, "but he does not know how to do so." "But do tell me how he can find her," said the little wife-dove. "Well," said her husband, "every night, at twelve o'clock, the Rani and her servants come to bathe in the tank. Her servants wear yellow dresses, but she wears a red one. Now, if the Raja could get all their dresses, every one, when they lay them down and go into the tank to bathe, and throw away all the yellow dresses one by one, keeping only the red one, he would recover his wife."

The Raja heard all these things, and at midnight the Rani and her servants came to bathe. The Raja lay very quiet, and after they all had taken off their dresses and gone into the tank, he jumped up and seized every one of the dresses,—he did not leave one of them,—and ran away as hard as he could. Then each of the servants, who were only fairies, screamed out, "Give me my dress! What are you doing? why do you take it away?" Then the Raja dropped one by one the yellow dresses and kept the red one. The fairy servants picked up the dresses, and forsook the Phulmati Rani and ran away. The Raja came back to her with her dress in his hand, and she said, "Oh, give me back my dress. If you keep it I shall die. Three times has God brought me to life, but he will bring me to life no more." The Raja fell at her feet and begged her pardon, and they were reconciled. And he gave her back her dress. Then they went home, and Indrasan Raja had the shoemaker's wife cut to pieces, and buried in the jungle. And they lived happily ever after.

Told by Dunkni at Simla, July 25th, 1876.





There was once a Maharaja, called the Anarbasa, or Pomegranate King; and a Maharani called the Gulianar, or Pomegranate-flower. The Maharani died leaving two children: a little girl of four or five years old, and a little boy of three. The Maharaja was very sorry when she died, for he loved her dearly. He was exceedingly fond of his two children, and got for them two servants: a man to cook their dinner, and an ayah to take care of them. He also had them taught to read and write. Soon after his wife's death the neighbouring Raja's daughter's husband died, and she said if any other Raja would marry her, she would be quite willing to marry him, and she also said she would like very much to marry the Pomegranate Raja. So her father went to see the Pomegranate Raja, and told him that his daughter wished to marry him. "Oh," said the Pomegranate Raja, "I do not want to marry again, for if I do, the woman I marry will be sure to be unkind to my two children. She will not take care of them. She will not pet them and comfort them when they are unhappy." "Oh," said the other Raja, "my daughter will be very good to them, I assure you." "Very well," said the Maharaja, "I will marry her." So they were married.

For two or three months everything went on well, but then the new Rani, who was called the Sunkasi Maharani, began to beat the poor children, and to scold their servants. One day she gave the boy such a hard blow on his cheek that it swelled. When the Maharaja came out of his office to get his tiffin, he saw the boy's swollen face, and, calling the two servants, he said, "Who did this? how did my boy get hurt?" They said, "The Rani gave him such a hard blow on his cheek that it swelled, and she gets very angry with us if we say anything about her ill-treatment of the children, or how she scolds us." The Maharaja was exceedingly angry with his wife for this, and said to her, "I never beat my children. Why should you beat them? If you beat them I will send you away." And he went off to his office in a great rage. The Rani was very angry. So she told the little girl to go with the ayah to the bazar. The ayah and the little girl set off, never suspecting any evil. As soon as they had gone, the Rani took the little boy and told him she would kill him. The boy went down on his knees and begged her to spare his life. But she said, "No; your father is always quarrelling with me, beating me, and scolding me, all through your fault." The boy begged and prayed again, saying he would never be naughty any more. The Rani shook her head, and taking a large knife she cut off his head. She then cut him up and made him into a curry. She then buried his head, and his nails, and his feet in the ground, and she covered them well with earth, and stamped the ground well down so that no one should notice it had been disturbed. When the Pomegranate Raja came home to his dinner, she put the curry and some rice on the table before him; but the Raja, seeing his boy was not there, would not eat. He went and looked everywhere for his son, crying very much, and the little girl cried very much too, for she loved her brother dearly. After they had hunted for him for some time, the little boy appeared. His father embraced him. "Where have you been?" said he. "I cannot eat my dinner without you." The little boy said, "Oh, I was in the jungle playing with other boys." They then sat down to dinner, and the curry changed into a kid curry. The Rani was greatly astonished when she saw the boy. She said to herself, "I cut his head off; I cut him into little pieces, and I made him into a curry, and yet he is alive!" She then went into the garden to see if his head, and nails, and feet were in the hole where she had buried them. But they were not there; it was quite empty. She then called a sepoy, and said to him, "If you will take two children into the jungle and kill them, I will give you as much money as you like." "All right," said the sepoy. She then brought the children, and told him to take them to the jungle. So he took them away to the jungle, but he had not the heart to kill them, for they were exceedingly beautiful, and he left them in the jungle near their dead mother's grave. Then he returned to the Rani, saying he had done as she wished, and she gave him as much money as he wanted.

The poor Pomegranate Raja was very unhappy when he saw his children were not in the palace, and that they could not be found. He asked his Rani where they were, but she said she did not know; they had gone out to play and had never returned. From the day he lost his children the Pomegranate Raja became melancholy. He did not love the Rani any more; he hated her.

Meanwhile the children lived in a little house built close to their mother's grave. God had given her life again that she might take care of them. But they did not know she was their mother; they thought she was another woman sent to take care of them. God sent also a man to teach them. Somehow or other the Rani Sunkasi heard they were still alive in the jungle. She did not know how she could kill them. So at last she pretended she was very ill, and she said to the Raja, "The doctor says that in the jungle there are two children, and he says if you will have them killed, and will bring their livers for me to stand on when I bathe, then I shall get well." The Raja sent a second sepoy to kill the children, and this man killed them and brought their livers to the Rani. She stood on them while bathing, and then said she was quite well. She then threw the livers into the garden, and during the night a tree grew up there with two large beautiful flowers on it. Next morning the Rani looked out and said, "I will gather those flowers to-day." Every day she said she would gather them, and every day she forgot. At last one day she said, "Every day I forget to gather those flowers, but to-day I really will do so," and she sent her servant to pluck them. So he went out, and, just as he was going to gather them, the flowers flew up just out of his reach. Then the Rani went down, and when she was going to pick them they flew up so high that they could not be seen. Every day she tried to gather them, and every day they went high up, and came back again to the tree as soon as she had gone. Then the flowers disappeared and two large fruits came in their stead. The Rani looked out of her window: "Oh, what delicious fruits! I'll eat them all myself. I won't give a bit to anybody, and I'll eat them by myself quite quietly." She went down to the garden, but they flew high up into the sky, and then they came down again. So this went on, day after day, until she got so cross she ordered the tree to be cut down. But it was of no use. The tree was cut down, but the fruits flew high up into the sky, and in the night the tree grew up again and the fruits came back again to it. And so this went on for many days. Every day she cut down the tree, and every night it grew up again, but she could never get the fruits. At last she became very angry, and had the tree hewn into tiny bits and all the bits thrown away, but still the tree grew again in the night, and in the morning the fruits were hanging on it. So she went to the Raja and told him that in the garden was a tree with two fruits, and every time she tried to get them, the fruits went up into the air. She had had the tree cut down ever so many times, and it always grew up again in the night and the fruits returned to it. "Why cannot you leave the tree alone?" said the Raja. "But I should like to see if what you say is true." So the Raja and the Rani went down to the garden, and the Rani tried to get the fruits, but she could not, for they went right up into the air.

That evening the Raja went alone to the garden to gather the fruits, and the fruits of themselves fell into his hand. He took them into his room, and putting them on a little table close to his bed, he lay down to sleep. As soon as he was in bed a little voice inside one of the fruits said, "Brother;" and a little voice in the other fruit said, "Sister, speak more gently. To-morrow the Raja will break open the fruits, and if the Rani finds us she will kill us. Three times has God made us alive again, but if we die a fourth time he will bring us to life no more." The Raja listened and said, "I will break them open in a little while." Then he went to sleep, and after a little he woke and said, "A little while longer," and went to sleep again. Several times he woke up and said, "I will break the fruits open in a little while," and went to sleep. At last he took a knife and began cutting the fruits open very fast, and the little boy cried, "Gently, gently, father; you hurt us!" So then the Raja cut more gently, and he stopped to ask, "Are you hurt?" and they said, "No." And then he cut again and asked, "Are you hurt?" and they said, "No." And a third time he asked, "Are you hurt?" and they answered, "No." Then the fruits broke open and his two children jumped out. They rushed into their father's arms, and he clasped them tight, and they cried softly, that the Rani might not hear.

He shut his room up close, and fed and dressed his children, and then went out of the room, locking the door behind him. He had a little wooden house built that could easily catch fire, and as soon as it was ready he went to the Rani and said, "Will you go into a little house I have made ready for you while your room is getting repaired?" "All right," said the Rani; so she went into the little house, and that night a man set it on fire, and the Rani and everything in it was burnt up. Then the Pomegranate Raja took her bones, put them into a tin box, and sent them as a present to her mother. "Oh," said the mother, "my daughter has married the Pomegranate Maharaja, and so she sends me some delicious food." When she opened the box, to her horror she found only bones! Then she wrote to the Maharaja, "Of what use are bones?" The Maharaja wrote back, "They are your bones; they belong to you, for they are your daughter's bones. She ill-treated and killed my children, and so I had her burnt."

The Pomegranate Raja and his children lived very happily for some time, and their dead mother, the Gulianar Rani, having a wish to see her husband and her children, prayed to God to let her go and visit them. God said she could go, but not in her human shape, so he changed her into a beautiful bird, and put a pin in her head, and said, "As soon as the pin is pulled out you will become a woman again." She flew to the palace where the Maharaja lived, and there were great trees about the palace. On one of these she perched at night. The doorkeeper was lying near it. She called out, "Doorkeeper! doorkeeper!" and he answered, "What is it? Who is it?" And she asked, "Is the Raja well?" and the doorkeeper said, "Yes." "Are the children well?" and he said, "Yes." "And all the servants, and camels, and horses?" "Yes." "Are you well?" "Yes." "Have you had plenty of food?" "Yes." "What a great donkey your Maharaja is!" And then she began to cry very much, and pearls fell from her eyes as she cried. Then she began to laugh very much, and great big rubies fell from her beak as she laughed. The next morning the doorkeeper got up and felt about, and said, "What is all this?" meaning the pearls and the rubies, for he did not know what they were. "I will keep them." So he picked them all up and put them into a corner of his house. Every night the bird came and asked after the Maharaja and the children and the servants, and left a great many pearls and rubies behind her. At last the doorkeeper had a whole heap of pearls and rubies.

One day a Fakir came and begged, and as the doorkeeper had no pice, or flour, or rice to give, he gave him a handful of pearls and rubies. "Well," said the Fakir to himself, "I am sure these are pearls and rubies." So he tied them up in his cloth. Then he went to the Raja to beg, and the Raja gave him a handful of rice. "What!" said the Fakir, "the great Maharaja only gives me a handful of rice when his doorkeeper gives me pearls and rubies!" and he turned to walk away. But the Maharaja stopped him. "What did you say?" said he, "that my doorkeeper gave you pearls and rubies?" "Yes," said the Fakir, "your doorkeeper gave me pearls and rubies." So the Maharaja went to the doorkeeper's house, and when he saw all the pearls and rubies that were there, he thought the man had stolen them from his treasury. The Maharaja had not as many pearls and rubies as his doorkeeper had. Then turning to the doorkeeper he asked him to tell him truly where and how he had got them. "Yes, I will," said the doorkeeper. "Every night a beautiful bird comes and asks after you, after your children, after all your elephants, horses, and servants; and then it cries, and when it cries pearls drop from its eyes; and then it laughs, and rubies fall from its beak. If you come to-night I dare say you will see it." "All right," said the Pomegranate Raja.

So that night the Maharaja pulled his bed out under the tree on which the bird always perched. At night the bird came and called out, "Doorkeeper! doorkeeper!" and the doorkeeper answered, "Yes, lord." And the bird said, "Is your Maharaja well?" "Yes." "Are the children well?" "Yes." "And all his servants, horses, and camels and elephants—are they well?" "Yes." "Are you well?" "Yes." "Have you had plenty of food?" "Yes." "What a fool your Maharaja is!" And then she cried, and the pearls came tumbling down on the Maharaja's eyes, and the Maharaja opened one eye and saw what a beautiful bird it was. And then it laughed, and rubies fell from its beak on to the Maharaja.

Next morning the Maharaja said he would give any one who would catch the bird as much money as he wanted. So he called a fisherman, and asked him to bring his net and catch the bird when it came that night. The fisherman said he would for one thousand rupees. That night the fisherman, the Maharaja, and the doorkeeper, all waited under the tree. Soon the bird came, and asked after the Maharaja, after his children, and all his servants and elephants, and camels and horses, and then after the doorkeeper, and then it called the Maharaja a fool. Then it cried, and then it laughed, and just as it laughed the fisherman threw the net over the bird and caught it. Then they shut it up in an iron cage, and the next morning the Maharaja took it out and stroked it, and said, "What a sweet little bird! what a lovely little bird!" And the Maharaja felt something like a pin in its head, and he gave a pull, and out came the pin, and then his own dear wife, the Pomegranate-flower Rani, stood before him. The Raja was exceedingly glad, and so were his two children. And there were great rejoicings, and they lived happily ever after.

Told by Dunkni at Simla, 26th July, 1876.





Now all cats are aunts to the tigers, and the cat in this story was the aunt of the tiger in this story. She was his mother's sister. When the tiger's mother was dying, she called the cat to her, and taking her paw she said, "When I am dead you must take care of my child." The cat answered, "Very well," and then the tiger's mother died. The tiger said to the cat, "Aunt, I am very hungry. Go and fetch some fire. When I go to ask men for fire they are afraid of me, and run away from me, and won't give me any. But you are such a little creature that men are not afraid of you, and so they will give you fire, and then you must bring it to me." So the cat said, "Very good," and off she started, and went into a house where some men were eating their dinner: they had thrown away the bones, and the cat began to eat them. This house was very near the place where the tiger lived, and on peeping round the corner he saw his aunt eating the bones. "Oh," said he, "I sent my aunt to fetch fire that I might cook my dinner as I am very hungry, and there she sits eating the bones, and never thinks of me." So the tiger called out, "Aunt, I sent you to fetch fire, and there you sit eating bones and leave me hungry! If ever you come near me again, I will kill you at once." So the cat ran away screaming, "I will never go near the tiger again, for he will kill me!" This is why all cats are so afraid of tigers, or of anything like a tiger. And this is why, when the cat in the story saw the tiger, her nephew, fighting with the man, she ran away as hard as she could.

The Story.

There were once a dog and a cat. It was a very rainy day, and some men were eating their dinner inside their house. The cat sat inside too, eating her dinner, and the dog sat on the door-step. The cat called out to the dog, "I am a high-caste person, and you are a very low-caste person." "Oh," said the dog, "not at all. I am the high-caste person and you are of very low caste. You eat all the men's dinner up, and snatch the food from their hands just as they are putting it into their mouths. And you scratch them, and they beat you; while I sit away from them, and so they don't beat me. And if they give me any dinner I'll eat it; but if they don't, I won't." "Oh," says the cat, "not a bit of it. I eat nice clean food; but you eat nasty, dirty food, which the men have thrown away." "No," said the dog, "I am high caste and you are very low caste, for if I gave you a slap you would tumble down directly." "No, no!" said the cat. And they went on disputing and began to fight, till the dog said, "Very well, let us go to the wise jackal and ask him which of us is the better." "Good," said the cat. So they went to the jackal and asked him. Said the cat, "I am of the higher caste, and the dog is of the lower caste." "No," said the jackal, "the dog is of the higher caste." The cat said, "No," and the jackal said, "Yes," and they began to fight. Then the jackal and the dog proposed to go and ask a great big beast who lived in the jungle and was like a tiger. But the cat said, "I cannot go near a tiger or anything like one." So then they said, "When we come near the beast, you can remain behind, and we will go on and speak to him." So they ran into the jungle, where there was a tiger who had been lying on the ground with a great thorn sticking in his foot. When his aunt, the cat, saw him, she scampered off, for she was dreadfully frightened.

The thorn had given the tiger great pain; for a long while he could get no one to take it out, so had lain there for days. At last he had seen a man passing by, to whom he called and said, "Take out this thorn, and I promise I won't eat you." But the man refused through fear, saying, "No, I won't, for you will eat me." Three times the tiger had promised not to eat him; so at last the man took out the thorn. Then the tiger sprang up and said, "Now I will eat you, for I am very hungry." "Oh, no, no!" said the man. "What a liar you are! You promised not to eat me if I would take the thorn out of your foot, and now that I have done so you say you will eat me." And they began to fight, and the man said, "If you won't eat me, I will bring you a cow and a goat." But the tiger refused, saying, "No, I won't eat them; I will eat you."

At this moment the jackal and the dog came up. And the jackal asked, "What is the matter? why are you fighting?" So then the man told him why they were fighting; and the jackal said to the tiger, "I will tell you a good way of eating the man. Go and fetch a big bag." So the tiger went and fetched the bag, and brought it to the jackal. Then the jackal said, "Get inside the bag, and leave its mouth open and I'll throw the man in to you." So the tiger got inside the bag, and the jackal, the dog and the man quickly tied it up as tight as they could. Then they began to beat the tiger with all their might until at last they killed him. Then the man went home, and the jackal went home, and the dog went home.




There were once a dog and a cat, who were always quarrelling. The dog used to beat the cat, but he never could hurt her. She would only dance about and cry, "You never hurt me, you never hurt me! I had a pain in my shoulder, but now it is all gone away." So the dog went to a maina[1] and said, "What shall I do to hurt this cat? I beat her and I bite her, and yet I can't hurt her. I am such a big dog and she is rather a big cat, yet if I beat her I don't hurt her, but if she beats me she hurts me so much." The maina said, "Bite her mouth very, very hard, and then you'll hurt her." "Oh, no," said the cat, who had just come up, laughing; "you won't hurt me at all." The dog bit her mouth as hard as he could. "Oh, you don't hurt me," said the cat, dancing about. So the dog went again to the maina and said, "What shall I do?" "Bite her ears," said the maina. So the dog bit the cat's ears, but she danced about and said, "Oh, you did not hurt me; now I can put earrings in my ears." So she put in earrings.

The dog went to the elephant. "Can you kill this cat? she worries me so every day." "Oh, yes," said the elephant, "of course I can kill her. She is so little and I am so big." Then the elephant came and took her up with his trunk, and threw her a long way. Up she jumped at once and danced about, saying, "You did not hurt me one bit. I had a pain, but now I am quite well." Then the elephant got cross and said, "I'll teach you to dance in another way than that," and he took the cat and laid her on the ground and put his great foot on her. But she was not hurt at all. She danced about and said, "You did not hurt me one bit, not one bit," and she dug her claws into the elephant's trunk. The elephant ran away screaming, and he told the dog, "You had better beware of that cat. She belongs to the tiger tribe." The dog felt very angry with the cat. "What shall I do," said he, "to kill this cat?" And he bit her nose so hard that it bled. But she laughed at him. "Now I can put a ring in my nose," said she. He got furious. "I'll bite her tail in half," said he. So he bit her tail in half, and yet he did not hurt her.

He then went to a leopard. "If you can kill this cat I will give you anything you want." "Very well, I'll kill her," said the leopard. And they went together to the cat. "Stop," said the cat to the leopard; "I want to speak to you first. I'll give you something to eat, and then I'll tell you what I want to say." And then she ran off ever so far, and after she had run a mile she stopped and danced, calling out, "Oh! I'll give you nothing to eat; you could not kill me." The leopard went away very cross, and saying, "What a clever cat that is."

The dog next went to a man, and said, "Can you kill this cat, she worries me so?" "Of course I can," said the man; "I'll stick this knife into her stomach." And he stuck his knife into the cat's stomach, but the cat jumped up, and her stomach closed, and the man went home.

And the dog went to a bear. "Can you kill this cat? I can't." "I'll kill her," said the bear; so he stuck all his claws into the cat, but he didn't hurt her; and she stuck her claws into the bear's nose so deep that he died immediately.

Then the poor dog felt very unhappy, and went and threw himself into a hole, and there he died, while the cat went away to her friends.

Told by Dunkni at Simla, July 26th, 1876.


[1] A kind of starling.





There was once a she-jackal and a she-kite. They lived in the same tree; the jackal at the bottom of the tree, and the kite at the top. Neither had any children. One day the kite said to the jackal, "Let us go and worship God, and fast, and then he will give us children." So the jackal said, "Very good." That day the kite ate nothing, nor that night; but the jackal at night brought a dead animal, and was sitting eating it quietly under the tree. By-and-by the kite heard her crunching the bones, instead of fasting. "What have you got there," said the kite, "that you are making such a noise?" "Nothing," said the jackal; "it is only my own bones that rattle inside my body whenever I move." The kite went to sleep again, and took no more notice of the jackal. Next morning the kite ate some food in the name of God. That night again the jackal brought a dead animal. The kite called out, "What are you crunching there? Why are you making that noise? I am sure you have something to eat." The jackal said, "Oh, no! It is only my own bones rattling in my body." So the kite went to sleep again.

Some time after, the kite had seven little boys—real little boys—but the jackal had none, because she had not fasted. A year after that the kite went and worshipped God, asking Him to take care of her children. One day—it was their great day—the kite set out seven plates. On one she put cocoa-nuts, on another cucumbers, on a third rice, on a fourth plantains, and so on. Then she gave a plate to each of her seven sons, and told them to take the plates to their aunt the jackal. So they took the seven plates, and carried them to their aunt, crying out, "Aunty, aunty, look here! Mamma has sent you these things." The jackal took the plates, and cut off the heads of the seven boys, and their hands, and their feet, and their noses, and their ears, and took out their eyes. Then she laid their heads in one plate, and their eyes in another, and their noses in a third, and their ears in a fourth, and their hands in a fifth, and their feet in a sixth, and their trunks in the seventh, and then she covered all the plates over. Then she took the plates to the kite, and called out, "Here! I have brought you something in return. You sent me a present, and I bring you a present." Now the poor kite thought the jackal had killed all her seven children, so she cried out, "Oh, it's too dark now to see what you have brought. Put the plates down in my tree." The jackal put the plates down and went home. Then God made the boys alive again, and they came running to their mother, quite well. And instead of the heads and eyes, and noses and ears, and hands and feet, and trunks, there were again on the plates cocoa-nuts and cucumbers, and plantains and rice, and so on.

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