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Kara And Guja

Category: Part I.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once upon a time there were two brothers named Kara and Guja who
were first class shots with the bow and arrow. In the country
where they lived, a pair of kites were doing great damage: they
had young ones in a nest in a tree and used to carry off children
to feed their nestlings until the whole country was desolated. So
the whole population went in a body to the Raja and told him that
they would have to leave the country if he could not have the kites
killed. Then the Raja made proclamation that any one who could kill
the two kites should receive a large tract of land as a reward, and
thereupon many men tried to kill them; but the kites had made their
nest of ploughs and clod-crushers so that the arrows could not hit
them, and the shooters had to give up the attempt. At last Kara and
Guja thought that they would try, so they made an ambush and waited
till the birds came to the nest to feed their young and then shot them
both through the hole in a clod-crusher into which the pole fits, and
the two kites fell down dead, at the source of the Ganges and Jumna,
and where they fell they made a great depression in the ground. Then
Kara and Guja carried the bodies to the Raja and he gave them a grant
of land; and their grateful neighbours made a large rice field of the
depression which the kites had made in the earth and this was given
to Kara and Guja as service land to their great delight.

Kara and Guja used to spend their time in the forest, living on what
they could find there; they slept in a cave and at evening would
cook their rice there or roast jungle roots. One day a tiger spied
them out as they were roasting tubers and came up to them suddenly
and said. "What are you cooking? Give me some or I will eat you." So
while they went on eating the roasted tubers, they threw the coals
from the fire to the tiger at the mouth of the cave and he crunched
them up and every now and then they threw him a bit of something good
to eat; the tiger would not go away but lay there expecting to be fed,
and Kara and Guja debated how to get rid of him. Then Guja suddenly
jumped up and dashed at the tiger and caught him by the tail and began
to twist the tail and he went on twisting until he twisted it right
off and the tiger ran roaring away. Kara and Guja roasted the tail
and ate it, and they found it so nice that they decided to hunt the
tiger and eat the rest of him. So the two brothers searched for him
everywhere and when they found him they chased him until they ran
him down and killed him; then they lit a fire and singed the hair
off and roasted the flesh and made a grand meal: but they did not
eat the paunch. Kara wanted to eat it but Guja would not let him,
so Kara carried it away on his shoulder.

Presently they sat down in the shade of a banyan tree by the side of a
road and along the road came a Raja's wedding procession; when Kara and
Guja saw this they climbed into the tree and took the tiger's paunch up
with them. The wedding party came to a halt at the foot of the tree and
some of them lay down to eat and the Raja got out of his palki and lay
down to sleep in the shade. After a time Kara got tired of holding the
tiger's paunch in his arms and whispered to Guja that he could hold it
no longer, Guja told him on no account to let it go but at last Kara
got so tired that he let it fall right on the top of the Raja; then
all the Raja's attendants raised a shout that the Raja's stomach had
burst and all ran away in a panic leaving everything they had under
the tree; but after they had gone a little distance they thought of
the goods they had left behind and how they could not continue the
journey without them, so they made their way back to the banyan tree.

But meanwhile Kara and Guja had climbed down and gathered together all
the fine clothes and everything valuable and taken them up into the
tree. And Kara took up a large drum which he found and in one end of
the drum he made a number of little holes: and he caught a number of
wild bees which had a nest in the tree and put them one by one into
the drum. When the Raja's attendants came back and saw that there
were two men in the tree, they called out: "Why have you dishonoured
our Raja? We will kill you." Kara and Guja answered "Come and see who
will do the killing." So they began to fight and the Raja's men fired
their guns at Kara and Guja till they were tired of shooting, and had
used up all their powder and shot, but they never hit them. Then Kara
and Guja called out "Now it is our turn!" And when the Raja's men saw
that Kara and Guja had nothing but a drum they said "Yes, it is your
turn." So Kara and Guja beat the drum and called "At them, my dears:
at them my dears." And the wild bees flew out of the drum and stung
the Raja's men and drove them right away. Then Kara and Guja took
all their belongings and went home and ever after were esteemed as
great Rajas because of the wealth which they had acquired.

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