Folk-Tales of the Angami Nagas of Assam, II.
(Continued from Vol. XXV. p. 498.)
XXII. The Man who turned Ashes into Rupees.
A man was riding along a road, and he had put a lot of ashes under his saddle. He came up with a man and his mother. The man said to him : "We are very tired, please let my mother ride home on your horse." " All right," said the horseman, " but if your mother rides this horse all my rupees will turn into ashes. "^ " If they do we will pay you back even if we have to sell our rice field and our house." " On this condition I will lend you my horse." The old woman rode home, and when she dismounted the ashes fell from under the saddle. So she and her son had to sell their land and their house to repay him. When the rogue got home he told the people of his village how he had changed ashes for rupees. They forthwith burned down their houses, but no one would buy the ashes. Now, the way he got the ashes was this. His elder brother was a Chief, and he himself had a large herd of cattle. One day the whole herd fell down a precipice and were killed. So he skinned them and hung the hides on a tree with a fire beneath to dry them. It was a very cold night, and some travellers who had a lot of money -halted beside the fire to warm themselves. Suddenly a branch broke and several hides fell on their heads, which frightened them so much that they ran away and left their money behind them. The rogue ran away with it, and when he came to his village he told the people that he had made a large sum by killing the cattle and selling the hides. The foolish people went and killed their cattle, but no one would buy their skins. So in their anger they burned down the rogue's