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Fuljhari Raja

Category: Part I.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

There was once a Raja named Fuljhari and he was childless; he and his
wife made pilgrimages to many shrines but all in vain, the wished-for
son never arrived. One day a Jugi came to the palace begging and
the Raja asked the holy man to tell him how he could have a son;
then the Jugi examined the palms of their hands but having done
so remained silent. The Raja urged him to speak but the Jugi said
that he feared that the reply would be distasteful to the Raja and
make him angry. But the Raja and his wife begged for his advice,
and promised to do him no harm whatever he said. At last the Jugi
explained that they could never have a child unless they separated,
and the Raja went right away and the Rani lived with another man;
with this he took his departure.

Then the Raja and his wife consulted together and the Raja proposed to
take the Jugi's advice, as he felt that he could not leave his kingdom
without an heir; so he said that he would go away to a far country,
on pretence of visiting a distant shrine; but the Rani feared that
if, on his return, he found that she had borne a child, he would
kill her or at least turn her and the child out to beg their bread;
but the Raja assured her that he would never treat her in that way
and after making his final arrangements he went off to a far country.

There he stayed some years and in the meanwhile the Rani had five sons;
at last she wrote to her husband to come home and directly he reached
the palace he bade the Rani to bring the boys to him, that he might
embrace and acknowledge them; so they were brought and he took them
one by one in his arms and kissed them, and he saw that they were
all the images of himself. But when he kissed the youngest child he
was suddenly struck with blindness. Then he rose in wrath and ordered
the child to be taken away and killed; but the mother had pity on it
and persuaded the soldiers not to kill it but to convey it away to
a far country.

The child's name was Lita and he grew up and was married to the
daughter of the Raja of the land and lived in his father-in-law's
house. But Lita was always tormented by the thought that he had been
the cause of his father's blindness; although he would not tell anyone
of his sorrow, he used to get up when every one was asleep and spend
the night in tears. One night his wife surprised him weeping and
begged him to tell her what was the matter. She pressed him until he
told her how, immediately his father kissed him, he had gone blind
and how his mother had smuggled him out of the country and saved his
life, but how the recollection of the harm he had done tormented him
and how he longed to be able to return to his own country and restore
his father's sight. His wife on hearing this at once began to comfort
him and assured him that she would help him to obtain a medicine which
would restore his father's sight. In a range of mountains was a Rakhas
who had a daughter who was buried in a heap of Fuljhari flowers; if
Lita went and could persuade the Rakhas to let him marry his daughter,
he could then get a Fuljhari flower and if that were rubbed on his
father's eyes his sight would be restored.

So Lita set out towards the mountains and sat down by the road side
at their foot. Presently the Rakhas and his wife came by; the wife
asked him what he was sitting there for; he said that he was looking
out for some one who would have him to come and live in his house as
a son-in-law. The Rakhas paid no heed to this and proposed to eat up
Lita at once, but his wife begged him to spare the young man and take
him home and marry him to their daughter, who was very lonely. The
Rakhas gave way and they took Lita to the cavern in which they lived
and there was their daughter buried under a heap of flowers. They
made her get up, and told her that they had brought a husband for her.

Lita and his bride lived happily together and were soon deeply
in love with each other, and after a time he told her about his
father's blindness and how he wished to try to cure it with one of
her flowers. She readily agreed to help him; so the next day she
went to her father and said that she wished to pay a short visit to
her husband's home; the Rakhas consented and she and Lita took their
leave. She told Lita that when the Rakhas offered him a farewell gift,
he should take nothing but a hair from the Rakhas' head; this he did
and they tied the flower and the hair up carefully and set off to the
home, where Lita's first wife was awaiting them. She told her parents
that Lita had come back with one of his sisters, and that she now
wished to go back with them on a visit to their home. Her parents
assented and the three of them set out and one evening reached the
outskirts of the village in which Lita had been born. They camped
under a roadside tree, but in the middle of the night they took out
the Rakhas' hair and said to it "Make us a golden palace" and at
once a golden palace sprang up. Next morning all the residents of
the village collected to see the wonderful new palace, and Lita told
them to bring their Raja and he would cure him of his blindness. So
they went and fetched the old blind Raja and directly Lita touched
his eyes with the flower his sight was restored. Then they wept over
each other and told all that had happened. And the old Raja and his
wife came and lived with Lita and his wives and the other brothers
stayed on at their old home; and they all lived happily ever after.

Next: The Corpse Of The Raja's Son

Previous: Seven-tricks And Single-trick

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