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Another Lazy Man

Category: Part I.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once upon a time there was a man named Kora who was so lazy that his
brothers turned him out of the house and he had to go out into the
world to seek his fortune. At first he tried to get some other young
man of the village to keep him company on his travels but they all
refused to have anything to do with such a lazy fellow, so he had to
set out alone. However, he was resolved to have a companion of some
sort, so when he came to a place where a crab had been burrowing he
set to work and dug it out of the ground and took it along with him,
tied up in his cloth.

He travelled on for days and weeks until he came to a country which
was being devastated by a Rakhas who preyed on human beings, and the
Raja of the country had proclaimed that any one who could kill the
Rakhas should have one of his sisters in marriage and a large grant of
land. Kora however knew nothing of all this and that evening he camped
for the night under a tree on the outskirts of a village. Presently
the villagers came out and begged him to come and spend the night
in one of their houses, as it was impossible for a man to sleep
safely in the open by himself. "Do not trouble about me," said Kora,
"I am not alone: I have a companion and we two shall be quite safe
together." The villagers saw no one with him and could not understand
what he was talking about, but as he would not listen to them they
had to leave him to his fate.

Night came on and as usual Kora untied the crab from his cloth and
soon fell asleep. About midnight the Rakhas came prowling along and
seeing Kora sleeping alone made towards him. But the crab rushed at
the Rakhas and climbing up his body seized his neck with its claws
and slit the windpipe. Down fell the Rakhas and lay kicking on the
ground. The noise awoke Kora, who seized a big stone and dashed out
the brains of the Rakhas. He then cut off the tips of the ears and
tongue and claws and wrapped them up in his cloth and lay down to
sleep again with the crab in his bosom.

At dawn the chowkidar of the village, who was a Dome, came on his
rounds and found the Rakhas lying dead. He thought that it would be
easy for him to obtain the credit of having killed it: so he cut off
one of the legs and hurrying home told his wife and children to clear
out of the house at once: he had nothing more to do with them, as he
was going to marry the Raja's sister and become a great landowner. Then
he rushed out into the village, shouting out that he had killed the
Rakhas. The villagers all went to see the dead body and found it lying
near the tree under which they had left Kora to spend the night. They
were not quite convinced that the Dome's story was true and asked
Kora who had really killed the Rakhas. He declined to answer but asked
that he and the Dome might both be taken to the Raja, and then proof
would be forthcoming as to who was really entitled to the Reward.

So the villagers took up the dead body and carried it off to the Raja,
taking Kora and the Dome with them. The Raja asked what proof there
was as to who had killed the Rakhas: and first the Dome produced the
leg which he had cut off; but Kora unrolled his cloth and showed the
ears and tongue and claws of the Rakhas. It was at once seen that
the leg which the Dome had brought wanted the claws, so his fraud was
clearly proved and he was driven from the assembly with derision and
had to go and humbly make his peace with the wife whom he had turned
out of his house. But the nuptials of Kora and the Raja's sister
took place at once and they were given a fine palace to live in and
a large tract of country for their own.

Kora never allowed himself to be separated from his faithful crab and
this led to his life being saved a second time. A few nights after
he was married, Kora was lying asleep with the crab upon his breast,
when two snakes began to issue from the nostrils of his bride: their
purpose was to kill Kora but when they saw the watchful crab they
drew in their heads again. A few minutes later they again looked out:
then the crab went and hid under the chin of the Princess and when
the snakes put out their heads far enough it seized both of them with
its claws: the snakes wriggled and struggled until they came entirely
out of the nose of the princess and were dragged to the floor where
the crab strangled them. In the morning Kora awoke and saw what the
crab had done: he asked what he could do to show his gratitude to
his faithful friend, and the crab asked to be set free in some pond
which never dried up and that Kora would rescue it if any one ever
succeeded in catching it. So Kora chose a tank and set the crab free
and every day he used to go and bathe in that tank and the crab used
to come and meet him.

After living in luxury for a time Kora went with a grand procession
of horses and elephants to visit his industrious brothers who had
turned him out of their home for laziness, and he showed them that
he had chosen the better part, for they would never be able to keep
horses and elephants for all their industry: so he invited them to
come and live with him on his estate and when they had reaped that
year's crops they went with him.

Next: The Widow's Son

Previous: The Lazy Man

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