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The Koeri And The Barber

Category: Part I.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

There was a well-to-do man of the Koeri (cultivating) caste and
opposite his house lived a barber who was very poor; and the barber
thought that if he carried on his cultivation just as the Koeri did he
might get better results; so every day he made some pretext to visit
the Koeri's house and hear what work he was going to do the next day,
and with the same object he would listen outside his house at night;
and he exactly imitated the Koeri: he yoked his cattle and unyoked
them, he ploughed and sowed and transplanted just when the Koeri did
and the result was good, for that year he got a very fine crop. But he
was not content with this and resolved to continue to copy the Koeri;
the Koeri suspected what the barber was doing and did not like it. So
he resolved to put the matter to the test and at the same time teach
the barber to mind his own business. In January they both planted
sugar cane, and one day when the crop was half grown the barber
was sitting at the Koeri's house and the Koeri gave orders to his
servants to put the leveller over the crop the next day and break it
down; this was only a pretence of the Koeri's, but the barber went
away and the next day crushed his sugar cane crop with the leveller,
the whole village laughed to see what he had done; but it turned out
that each root of the barber's sugar cane sent up a number of shoots
and in the end he had a much heavier crop than the Koeri.

Another day the Koeri announced that he was going to sow but (pulse)
and therefore ordered his servants to bring out the seed and roast
it well, that it might germinate quickly; and the barber hearing this
went off and had his seed but roasted and the next day he sowed it,
but only a very few seeds germinated, while the crop of the Koeri
which had not really been roasted sprouted finely. The barber asked
the Koeri why his crop had not come up well, and the Koeri told him
that it must be because he had not roasted the seed enough; the few
seeds that had come up must have been those which had been roasted
most. But in the end the laugh was against the Koeri, for the few
seeds of the barber's which germinated, produced such fine plants
that when he came to thresh them out he had more grain than the Koeri,
and so in 3 or 4 years the barber became the richer man of the two.

Next: The Prince Who Acquired Wisdom

Previous: The Changed Calf

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