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The Raja's Advice

Category: Part I.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once upon a time an aged Raja lay dying. Before he breathed his
last he sent for his only son and gave him the following advice. "My
son," he said, "never go on a journey alone; do not associate with
low people, for if you do no one will respect you; never confide a
secret to your wife; do not tell outsiders the affairs of your house;
do not let village affairs go beyond the village street, and never
get into a rage."

The son succeeded to the Raja and shortly afterwards set out to pay
a visit to his wife's relations. He started alone and after going
some distance he remembered his father's injunctions never to go on
a journey alone. He had gone too far to go back and he saw no one
within call, so he looked about and presently found a crab hole. He
set to work and dug out the crab and fixing it in his pagri continued
his journey.

By-and-bye he came to a river. Now in this river lived a crocodile,
which had leagued with a crow to destroy travellers crossing the
river. Whenever the crow saw anyone coming, it gave warning to the
crocodile, and the crocodile then seized the traveller as he entered
the river, while the crow pecked out his eyes. In this way they had
been the death of many travellers. So when the crow saw the young
Raja coming, it cawed to the crocodile, which hastened to the ford
and seized the Raja as he stepped into the water, while the crow flew
at his head. But the crab caught the crow by the leg and nipped it so
hard that the crow, in agony, called out to the crocodile to let the
man go, as it was being killed. So the crocodile released its hold
and the Raja struggled to the bank, and then caught the crow which
was held fast by the crab and wrung its neck. Then he went back home
with the crab, reflecting on the wisdom of his father's advice.

Later on, the Raja thought that he would put another of his father's
maxims to the proof and see what would happen if he told his wife
a secret. So he took a spade and buried an old earthen pot in the
corner of his garden. He let his wife see him and she promptly asked
what he was burying; he put her off, but that night she insisted so
much on knowing, that, after swearing her to secrecy, he told her
that a child had come straying to his house and he had killed it to
obtain good luck and had buried the body.

Time passed, and one day the Raja had a quarrel with his wife, he began
to beat her and she in return abused him and kept on calling out that
he was a murderer, who had buried a child in his garden. Their next
door neighbour heard all this and, directly she found the Raja's
wife alone, asked whether what she said was true. The Raja's wife,
being still in a passion, asserted that it was quite true. The story
was soon all over the town, and the townspeople rose and seized the
Raja and charged him with the murder. Then he took them to the garden
and made them dig up what he had buried and they found only an old pot.

So they had to pay him compensation for making a false charge, and
the Raja valued more than ever the advice given him by his father.

Next: The Four Jogis

Previous: The Strong Man

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