Folk-Lore/Volume 3/Balochi Tales, 1
|←The Bodleian Dinnshenchas|| Folk-Lore, Volume 3
Balochi Tales, I.
by Mansel Longworth Dames
|Recent Greek Archeology in its relation to Folk-lore→|
The Tiger and the Fox.
IN a certain wood, where dwelt many jackals and foxes, a tiger came and took up his abode. And what did he do? This is what he used to do. Every day he would kill a jackal or two. So the jackals and foxes gathered together, and said: "If he goes on this way he will destroy us all, so, as we are now assembled here, let us agree that each one will take his turn to be devoured. And so they did: every day they used to give to the tiger the one whose turn it was. One day it was a fox's turn. At first he hid himself, but then he thought, "Now I have to go, for I am hemmed in on both sides. I'll go, but I'll try by some trick to keep my breath in me," So on he went, shivering as he went, till he came to the tiger's presence. "Ah!" says the tiger, "you fox, why have you been so long?" "Sire," said the fox, "another tiger has come to live in your country." "Where is that tiger?" said the tiger. "Come with me," said the fox, "and I will show him to you." So the fox went in front and the tiger went behind, and they went on till they came to a well. They came and stood at the mouth of the well, and then the fox said: "Oh, my lord Tiger! that other tiger has just come home after feeding on a jackal, and he is now sitting inside this well." Then the tiger said: "What kind of tiger can he be to come to my country! Either I must stay here alone or he can stay alone, but we cannot live together." Then he went up to the well and looked in, and saw a tiger sitting there. But really it was only his own shadow, and no tiger. With that he leapt into the well, and there was drowned and perished.
Then the fox went back to his home, jumping for joy as he went. He called out to his brethren: "Come here! foxes and jackals!" They came up at his call, and were very angry, and said: "You fox! it was your turn to be eaten by the tiger; why have you come back? Now the tiger will be in a rage, and will come and kill two or three jackals and two or three foxes." But the fox answered them: "Don't you be afraid. I have killed that tiger." They all said: "You are a fox and he is a tiger; how then could you kill him?" He said: "Come, and I'll show him to you." They set out in great fear after the fox, and, trembling with fright, they came and stood at the mouth of the well. The fox gave a shout and said: "Come and see how I have slain the tiger and cast him into this well." They peeped in, and said that it was the truth, and that the tiger was lying dead in the well; and they all rejoiced exceedingly.
The King who had a Boil on his Face.
There was once a king who had a boil on his face, and many doctors physicked him, but it would not heal. One day a physician came to him, and said: "Buy a lad and kill him, take out his liver and tie it on the boil, and it will be healed." So the king had a proclamation made in the land. A starving man brought his son and sold him to the king, took his money, and went his way. The king ordered that the lad should be taken away and shut up in a room. The king's men took him away and shut him up in a room. Then the king considered in his heart that the lad was now old enough to understand, and "most likely", he thought, "he is now weeping because I am going to kill him." So he said to one of his men, "Go and see what the lad is doing." Then the man came back, and made this report to the king: "The lad does not weep at all, but he draws three lines on the ground; two he wipes out and one he leaves there." Then the king arose, and came and asked the lad why he drew these lines. The lad answered: "My lord, I am playing a game." But the king said: "Tell me the truth straight out." Then the lad said: "One line is for my parents who brought me here and sold me to thee, and took their money and went their way. One line is for thee, for thou art king of the land, yet didst not fear to shed my blood, and thou hast bought me to slay me. One line is for my God. There was no help for me in my parents, nor was there help for me in thee, king; my God's help only is left me, there is no other." Then the king was moved with compassion towards him and let him go, saying: "I give up also the money paid to your parents." That night the king lay down to rest, and when he arose in the morning, by God's mercy, his boil was healed.
The Man who stood all Night in the River.
Once upon a time there was a king who had a daughter, and he said he would give his daughter in marriage to the man who would take off his clothes and stand a whole winter's night in the river. "If he come out alive", he said, "I will marry my daughter to him, and if he dies, why, he is gone." Many men tried, and died, till one day a man went in and came out alive. The king said to him, "A great many others have died, how have you come out alive?" The man replied, "A fire was burning on the hillside, I kept my heart fixed on that fire, and so I came out alive." The king said, "You warmed yourself at the fire!" The man replied, "King! I was in the river, and the fire was on the hill; how then could I warm myself? Thou art king, thou art mighty, let God do me justice." The king turned him away and came back to his home. He called to his daughter to bring him some food. She replied, "Your food is not ready yet." After a while the king again asked for his food, and again his daughter said, "Your food is not ready yet." Then a third time he demanded his food, and his daughter said: "My Lord the King! the griddle is on the house-top, and the fire is in the yard; as soon as the griddle heats I will cook your food." The king said: "The griddle is on the housetop, and the fire down below? How, then, can the griddle get hot?" Then his daughter said: "That man was in the river, and the fire was on the hill: how then could he warm himself at the fire? Thou art king, and kings should keep their word. Thou madest a promise with thy mouth and with thy tongue. Do not do such injustice, but have fear of God." Then the king said: "Thou, my daughter, hast proved me to be false!" and thereupon he eave his daughter in marriage to the man.
The Two Wrestlers.
There were once two wrestlers: one lived at Shikàrpur, and the other at Dera Ghàzi Khan. The Shikàrpur wrestler started off to pay a visit to the Dera wrestler. When he arrived at Dera he asked where that wrestler lived, and someone told him that he lived in such-and-such a ward of the town. So he went to the house, and asked the wrestler's wife where her husband was. She replied: "My man's gone for wood; he will gather it, and carry it off and bring it home." Then the good wife called out to her daughter: "Stick a needle into that rat that's lying dead in there, and bring it out, or it will stink!" The daughter went and stuck a spear into it, and when she brought it out the Shikàrpur wrestler saw a young elephant on the point of the spear! Then he said to himself: "If his daughter is so strong, what must he be himself! I will go out and see him in the jungle; let me wrestle with him where there is no one else to look on." Then he asked the daughter in what direction her father had gone to get wood. She told him that he had gone towards the rising sun. Then the wrestler set out and looked for him, and saw him dragging along a cart laden with wood. The Shikàrpur wrestler, without showing himself, got behind the cart and caught hold of it and stopped it. The Dera wrestler called out, "Who are you, stopping my cart?" Then the Shikarpur wrestler said: "I am a wrestler from Shikàrpur come to wrestle with you." He replied: "Come along; let us go and wrestle in the town." But the Shikàrpur wrestler said "No; let us wrestle here." "But", said the Dera wrestler, "there is no witness here." Just then, an old woman came up, carrying a basket of bread on her head for her son, who was grazing a herd of camels hard by. The wrestlers both called out to her, "Come and be our witness; we are going to wrestle here." The old woman said: "If I stay here, my son's food will be late for him. Dig up that clod and lay it on the palm of my hand, so that you can go on wrestling on the clod, and I will be your witness." So they dug up the clod, and put it on the old woman's palm, and went on wrestling on it. A little way on the camel-herd, the old woman's son, saw them coming, and said to himself: "My mother always comes alone, but to-day there is a band of men coming with her, fighting." He was afraid that they would rob him of his herd of camels and drive them off, so he took off the blanket from his shoulders and spread it on the ground, and then picking up the camels, began putting them into the blanket. When he had put in the whole herd he tied it into a bundle, put it on his head, and ran off. But the ear of one of the young camels was sticking out of the bundle. Seeing it, a hawk overhead made a swoop and carried off the bundle. The king's daughter was sitting on the roof of her palace; she happened to glance upwards, and just then the bundle slipped out of the hawk's talons and fell into her eye. The king's daughter called out to her nurse, "Come here» a string of camels has fallen into my eye!" The nurse came, and, half-closing her eye, looked into the king's daughter's eye, and saw a herd of camels wandering about and grazing there. The nurse began to pick them out, hiding them in the knot of her pyjama string, and when she got to the last young camel she pulled it out, saying, "This young camel is what was in your eye." The king's daughter said, "I make you a present of it," and so the nurse carried off the whole herd!
The Husbandman and his Wife, the Tiger, and the Jackal.
There was once a husbandman who had grown a crop of millet. When the millet was ripe a tiger appeared in the middle of the crop. The husbandman was sitting on a scaffolding in the middle of the field. The tiger said to him: "Get off and come down here; I am going to eat you." The husbandman replied: "I am very thin just now; give me time to feed myself upon green corn and sugarcane, and get fat, and then eat me." So every day the tiger used to come and say: "I am going to eat you," and the husbandman kept getting thinner and thinner through fear. His wife said to him: "What is the matter with you; you eat green corn and you eat sugarcane, and yet you keep getting thinner?" The man replied: "Every day a tiger comes and threatens to eat me. That is why I am getting thin, for fear that one day the tiger will eat me." His wife said: "What time does he come?" He replied: "He comes at midday." On this the wife dressed herself like a man, and mounted a mare, and girt herself with weapons, and came to the millet-field. She saw the tiger standing beneath the scaffolding, and her husband on the top. She called out: "Oh, farmer!" The man replied: "Life to my lord!" The wife said: "The king is out tiger-hunting. Have seen any tiger's tracks about here two or three days old?" Then the husbandman said to the tiger: "Now, what shall I do? shall I tell or not?" The tiger said: "For God's sake hide me. Who is it that is making inquiries from you?" He said: "It is the king's wazir." The tiger said: "Now hide me." The man said: "Lie down, and I'll throw a blanket over you." The tiger lay down, and the husbandman spread a blanket over him. Then he replied to the horseman: "I have not seen any tiger's tracks." The horseman said: "What is that black thing lying there under the blanket?" He replied: "It is a log of Kahír-wood which I am burning for charcoal to light my hookah with." The horseman said: "Break off a bit and give it to me to take to the king to light his hookah with." Then the husbandman said to the tiger: "Now what shall I do?" "Cut off my ear at once," said the tiger. So he cut off the tiger's ear, and presented it to his wife, who said: "Cut me off a bigger bit." Then the tiger said: "Now cut off my other ear." So he cut off the other ear and gave it her. The woman then gave him a kick, saying: "Why don't you cut more off that Kahír-log?" On this the tiger said: "Now cut off my tail." So he cut off the tail and gave it her. Then the woman said: "You are cutting too little, I am going to cut for myself I intend to cut off and take half of it." On that the tiger bolted. As he went he met a jackal, and the jackal said: "Your ears are cut off, and your tail is cut off, and you are streaming with blood as you go; what has happened to you?" The tiger answered: "The king's army fell upon me, and cut off my ears, and cut off my tail, and God only has saved my bare life!" But the jackal said: "You coward! 'tis a woman has frightened you; there is neither king nor army. Both your ears and your tail have been cut off by a woman!" The tiger replied: "Why, I saw the wazir of the army with my own eyes!" The jackal said: "That was a woman. Come, and I'll show her to you." The tiger said: "I'll go with you, but first tie a rope round my neck and then tie it round your neck." So the jackal fastened a rope to his own neck and to the tiger's, and they went to the millet-field. The horseman perceived that the jackal was leading the tiger back, so she called out to the jackal: "O you jackal! you promised the king when you went away that you would bring him fourteen tigers, but you have brought only one, and that one earless and tailless!" On this the tiger went off as hard as he could go, dragging the jackal after him. The jackal got his head broken and his legs broken, and perished. The tiger went off earless and tailless to his own place, and the man and his wife lived happily in their millet-field.
The Four Men who made the Figure of a Woman.
Four of a king's servants were on guard one night. The first watch was a carpenter's. The carpenter thought to himself: "The night is very long; let me do something to pass the time." So he began to carve a piece of wood, and fashioned it into a woman. He made the wood into a very beautiful shape. Then his watch came to an end. The next watch fell to a Darzi. The Darzi saw the figure of a woman already made, and said to himself: "Now I shall make some clothes and put them on her." So he sewed the clothes and clothed her. When the Darzi's watch ended, the next watch was a goldsmith's. The goldsmith made jewels and dressed her in them. The next watch was a Saiyid's. The Saiyid prayed to God to give her breath, and thereupon she began to breathe. Then day dawned, and these four men began to dispute, each one claiming the woman as his own. They went before the king to have their case decided, saying: "To which of us does the woman belong?" The king said: "She is not the Saiyid's for saying prayers; for everyone who is ill gets a Saiyid to say prayers for him, and if the Saiyid gets this woman the Saiyids will be claiming possession of everyone who gets well when they say prayers! The carpenter and the goldsmith were only practising their trades, and have no rights; but the Darzi, who clothed her, he has won the woman, for it is the bridegroom who gives clothes to the bride. I award her to him."
The Clever Lad.
Once upon a time there lived a king who had three wives. One day the king became very angry with one of his wives, and said, "I will not have you for my wife," and he ordered her to be turned out and abandoned. They carry her away, and left her there in the wilderness, and she had to work for her living. Shortly afterwards she gave birth there to a son. When this boy grew up, he asked his mother who his father was, and his mother told him that the king was his father, and everything that had happened. Then the lad said to his mother: "Let us build a dwelling-place by the side of the highway, and let us work for our living and make our home there."
At that time the king made a proclamation as follows: "Is there any man skilful enough to build a palace for me with the sky as a foundation?" The lad said to his mother: "The king has lost his wits; I will go and get some money out of him, and bring it to you." So he went to the king—"Give me the money, and I'll build you the palace." The king gave him some money. The lad said: "In one month have all your materials collected, and then I'll build your palace for you" The lad came home to his mother, and this is what he did. Whenever anyone passed along the high-road, he would go along with him and enter into conversation with him, and then come home again. This is what he used to do; he did nothing else. One day another king came walking along the road to take the air. The lad joined him, and walked a little way with him. Then the king turned to go home. The lad went a little way in his company, and then said: "Now I am going home." The king asked him to come home with him for the night, and the lad went with him. As they went on, night fell. The lad said to the king: "There are many mares grazing in the jungles; let us catch two mares and mount them, and ride home." But the king said: "There are no mares here." Then they went on walking a little way, and the lad said to the king: "You carry me a bit, and I'll carry you a bit," But the king said: "You can't carry me, nor can I carry you." When they had got on, and were near the king's house, the lad said to the king: "Is your guest-house far from your house, or near it?" The king said: "It is near it." When they were close to the house the lad said: "I will stand here, while you go to the guest-house. When you get there, call me, and I'll come." The king went on to the guest-house and called him, and then the lad came to the guest-house, and sat there while the king went to his private house.
Now this king had a grown-up daughter fit for marriage, and she had told her father that she would only marry the man she liked herself. When the king came into his house, his daughter asked him: "Who is that you were talking with?" The king said: "It is some mad youth." The daughter said: "How is he mad?" The king said: "He joined company with me on the road, and when we got to a certain place he said: 'Let us catch the mares that are in the jungle and ride them'; and I said: 'There are no mares here.' Then again he said: 'Either you carry me, or I will carry you'; and I said: 'Neither can you carry me, nor I carry you'; and when we had gone on, he said: 'I will stand here, and do you go on to your guest-house and call me'; so I went on and called him, and now he has come to the guest-house. It is with him I was talking." On this the daughter said to her father: "This man shall be my husband; I will marry him!" Her father said: "He is an idiot, I am a king; do not put me to shame by marrying him!" But she said: "'Tis him I will marry. When he said to you that there were mares grazing there, his meaning was, 'let us cut sticks to support ourselves'; for when a man has a stick in his hand, that man is on horseback. And, again, when he spoke of carrying, his meaning was, 'You tell a story for a while, and I'll tell a story for a while.' And when he told you to go ahead and call him from the guest-house, he also said, or meant, 'Let the people of the village know that the king has arrived,' for had you arrived in silence it had not been well; someone might have suspected you to have come with evil intent, and then, if you had killed him, the disgrace would have been yours, and if you had been killed, then, too, the disgrace would have been yours."
The next morning the king gave him his daughter in marriage. Thereupon the lad said that he would now return to his home, and the king gave a hawk to his daughter as a wedding-gift. The lad took his wife and started, and brought her home to his mother. That night he slept there, and in the morning he said to his mother, "I am now going to build the king's palace for him." So he went to the king and said: "Have you got everything ready?" The king said: "All is ready." Then he said: "And I have brought the architect," and with that he let his hawk fly. The hawk soared into the air,and there stopped and hovered. Then he said to the king: "Let a man who has never committed any fault, if there be such a man, take the first brick and give it to the hawk, and then I'll build the palace." The king made a proclamation among the people: "Let the man who has never committed a fault give the first brick." But they all said that they had committed faults. Then the lad said: "Lo! thou art king of this land! Perchance thou hast never committed a fault?" The king said: "Without doubt, I, too, have committed faults.” Then the lad said: “My mother committed but a little fault. Why, then, didst thou turn her out?” Then the king embraced the lad, and said: “Thou art my son! go and fetch thy mother.” Then he went and brought his mother to the king, and the king gave up his kingdom to his son.
- Translated from the original orally collected by Mr. Dames in Baluchistan.—Ed. F.-L.