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Sahde Goala






Category: Part I.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once a marriage was arranged between Sahde Goala and Princess Chandaini
and on the wedding day when it began to get dusk Sahde Goala ordered
the sun to stand still. "How," said he, "can the people see the
wedding of a mighty man like myself in the dark?" So at his behest
the sun delayed its setting for an hour, and the great crowd which
had assembled saw all the grand ceremonies.

The next day Sahde and his bride set off home and it took them three
days to reach the place where he lived. Before they left they had
invited the princess's father to come and see them; accordingly a day
or two later he set out, but it took him three months to accomplish the
distance which Sahde Goala had traversed in three days. When the old
Raja reached his son-in-law's house they welcomed him and washed his
feet and offered him refreshments; and when he had eaten, he asked his
son-in-law to take him out for a stroll. So they went out, Sahde Goala
in front and the old Raja following behind him and as they walked Sahde
Goala struck his foot against a stone, and the stone was shattered to
pieces. When the Raja saw this proof of his son-in-law's superhuman
strength, he became alarmed for his daughter's safety. If Sahde ever
lost his temper with her he might clearly smash her to atoms, so he
made up his mind that he could not leave her in such keeping. When
he told his daughter what he had seen she was as frightened as her
father and begged him to take her home, so they agreed to escape
together some time when Sahde Goala was out of the way.

One morning Sahde Goala went out to watch his men working in the
fields and the old Raja and his daughter seized this opportunity to
escape. Sahde Goala had a sister named Lorokini and she ran to the
field to tell her brother that his wife was running away. "Let her go"
said Sahde Goala. The old Raja travelled faster than his daughter and
left her behind and as she travelled along alone Sahde Goala made a
flooded river flow across her path. It was quite unfordable so the
Princess stood on the bank and sang:--


"My mother gave me birth,
My father gave me in marriage:
If the water upstream would stand still
And the water downstream would flow away
Then I could go and live in my own home."


But no such thing happened and she had to go back to her husband's
house.

When she arrived her mother-in-law gave her a large basket of cooked
rice and a pot of relish and told her to take them to the labourers
in the field. Her mother-in-law helped her to lift the basket on to
her head and she set off. When she reached the field she called to
her sister-in-law:--


"Come Lorokini,
Lift down from my head
The basket of rice
And the pot of relish."


But Lorokini was angry with her for trying to run
away and refused to help, singing:--


"I will not come
I will not lift down the basket:
Prop it against a murup tree:
I will not lift it down."


Then Chandaini Rani propped it against the trunk of a murup tree,
and so set it on the ground.

Then she sang to her husband:--


"Here, husband, is the lota of water:
Here, husband, is the tooth stick;
Come, and wash your hands:
If you are angry with me
Take me back to my father and mother."


But Sahde Goala was ploughing at the head of his men and paid no
attention to her: then she sang again:--


"Seven hundred labourers
And twenty hundred women labourers,
You are causing to die of thirst."


But still Sahde Goala paid no attention. Then Chandaini Rani got
angry and by leaning the basket against the murup tree managed to
get it on to her head again and carried it home, and from that time
murup trees grow slanting. Directly she had taken the rice and relish
to the house she set off again to run away to her mother. As before
Sahde Goala caused a flooded river to flow across her path and as
before she sang:--


"My mother gave me birth,
My father gave me in marriage:
If the water upstream would stand still
And the water downstream would flow away
Then I could go and live in my own home,"


And this time the water did stand still and the water below all
flowed away and she crossed over. As she crossed she said "If I am
really chaste no one will be able to touch me." And as she reached
the opposite bank she saw a young man sitting waiting for her; his
name was Bosomunda, he had been sitting waiting for her on the bank
for days without moving. When he saw Chandaini Rani mount the bank
he rose and said "Come: I have been waiting for you, you are to be
my mistress." "Fie, fie!" answered she "Am I to belong to any Dome or
Hari?" Bosomunda swore that she should be his. "If so, then follow a
little behind me so as not to tread on my shadow." So they went on, the
Rani in front and Bosomunda behind. Presently they came to a tamarind
tree on which grew two enormous fruits; the Rani pointed to them saying
"If I am to belong to you, you must pick me those fruits." So Bosomunda
began to climb the tree, and as he climbed she prayed that the tree
might grow and touch the sky; and in fact as fast as Bosomunda climbed
so the tree grew and he got no nearer to the fruit.

Then the Chandaini Rani picked up the weapons which he had laid
on the ground and threw them away one to the north and one to the
south, one to the east and one to the west, and ran off as fast as
she could. Bosomunda at first did not see her because his eyes were
fixed on the tamarind fruit, but after she had gone a long way he
caught sight of her and came down as fast as he could and, gathering
up his weapons, went in pursuit. But Chandaini Rani had got a long
start, and as she hurried along she passed a thorn tree standing by
the side of the road and she called to it "Thorn tree, Bosomunda is
coming after me, do your best to detain him for a little." As she
spoke it seemed as if a weight descended on the tree and swayed it
to and fro so that its branches swept the ground, and it answered her
"I will do like this to him." Then she went on and met a goat on the
road, and she asked it to do its best to delay Bosomunda, and the
goat pawed the ground and dug its horns into the earth and said that
it would do the same to Bosomunda. Then she went on and met a ram and
made the same request; the ram charged a tree and butted it right over
and promised to treat Bosomunda in the same way. Afterwards she came
to a bull and the bull drove its horns into a bank and brought down
a quantity of earth and said that that was the way he would treat
Bosomunda. Next she came to a buffalo and the buffalo charged a bank
of earth to show what he would do to Bosomunda. Then she came to an
elephant and the elephant trampled a clod of earth to dust and said
that he would treat Bosomunda so. Then she went on and saw a paddy
bird feeding by the roadside and she asked it to do its best to delay
Bosomunda; the paddy bird drove its bill into the earth and said that
it would treat Bosomunda in the same way.

Meanwhile Bosomunda was in hot pursuit. When he came to the thorn
tree, the tree swayed its branches and caught him with its thorns,
but he cut down the tree and freed himself; he went on a little way
and met the goat which ran at him with its horns, but Bosomunda sang:--


"Do not fight with me, goat,
I will cut off your legs and cut off your head
And take them to the shrine of Mahadeo."


So saying, he killed the goat and cut off its head and tied it to
his waist and went on. Next the ram charged him but he sang:


"Do not fight with me, Ram,
I will cut off your legs and cut off your head
And take them to the shrine of Mahadeo."


So saying he killed the Ram and took its head. Then in succession he
was attacked by the bull and the buffalo and the elephant, but he
killed them all and cut off their heads. Then he came to the paddy
bird, which pretended to be busily engaged in picking up insects
and gradually worked its way nearer and nearer. Bosomunda let it get
quite close and then suddenly seized it and gave its neck a pull which
lengthened it out considerably; "Thank you" said the paddy bird, as
he put it down "now I shall be able to catch all the fish in a pool
without moving." Thereupon Bosomunda caught it again and gave its neck
a jerk and that is why paddy birds have necks shaped like a letter S.

Bosomunda continued his pursuit and caught up Chandaini Rani just
as she was entering her father's house; he seized her by her hair
and managed to cut off the edge of her cloth and pull off one of her
golden anklets, and then had to let her go.

He took up his abode at the ghat of a tank and began to kill every
one who came down to the water. The citizens complained to the Raja
of the destruction he was causing and the Raja ordered some valiant
man to be searched for, fit to do battle with the murderer; so they
sent for a Birbanta (giant) and the Raja promised to give him half his
kingdom and his daughter in marriage if he could slay Bosomunda. So
the Birbanta made ready for the fight and advanced brandishing his
weapons against Bosomunda. Three days and three nights they fought,
and in the end the Birbanta was defeated and killed.

Then the Raja ordered his subjects to find another champion and
a Birburi was found willing to undertake the fight in hope of the
promised reward; and as he was being taken to the field of battle
his mother met him with a ladle full of curds and told him to do a
war dance, and as he was dancing round she threw the curds at him;
he caught the whole of it on his shield except one drop which fell on
his thigh; from this his mother foresaw that he would bleed to death
In the fight, so she took some rice and ran on ahead and again met
her son and told him to do the war dance and show how he was going to
fight; and as he danced his sword shivered to atoms. His mother said,
"Is this the way in which you intended to fight, of a surety you would
have met your death." Then she made him gather together the pieces
of his sword and cover them with a wet cloth, and in a few minutes
the pieces joined together; then she allowed him to go to the fight.

When the battle began the Birburi's mother kept calling out "Well,
Bosomunda, have you killed my son?" This enraged Bosomunda and he
kept running after the old woman to drive her away, and this gave
the opportunity to the Birburi to get in a good blow; in this way
they fought for seven days and nights and at the end Bosomunda was
defeated and killed. Then the Raja gave half his kingdom to the
Birburi and married him to his daughter Chandaini Rani.

After their marriage they set out for their new home and on the
way they met Sahde Goala who had come in search of his missing
wife. "Hulloa" cried Sahde Goala "where are you taking my wife
to?" "I know nothing about your wife" said the Birburi "this is
the Raja's daughter whom I have married as a reward for killing
Bosomunda; he has given me half his kingdom from Sir Sikar to the
field of the cotton tree." Then Sahde Goala told him to go his way,
so the Birburi and the Rani went on and Sahde Goala caused a flooded
river with the water flowing bank high to cross their path. As they
waited on the bank Sahde Goala made the Birburi an offer that, if he
could carry the woman across the river without getting the sole of
her foot wet, then she should belong to him and if not Sahde Goala
should take her. The Birburi agreed and tried and tried again to get
the Rani across without wetting her, but the flood was too strong,
so at last he gave in and Sahde Goala took her back with him to their
former home. There they lived and in the course of time Chandaini
Rani bore a son and she named him Dhonontori, and after the birth of
their son the family became so wealthy (dhon) that the Hindus revered
Dhonontori as a god. And so ends the story.





Next: The Raja's Son And The Merchants Son

Previous: The Wife Who Would Not Be Beaten



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