The Stolen Treasure
Category: Part I.
Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas
Once upon a time three jars full of money were stolen from a Raja's
palace. As all search was fruitless the Raja at last gave notice that,
whoever could find them, should receive one half of the money. The
offer brought all the jans and ojhas in the country to try their
hand, but not one of them could find the treasure.
The fact was that the money had been stolen by two of the Raja's own
servants and it fell to the duty of these same two men to entertain
the ojhas who came to try and find the money. Thus they were able
to keep watch and see whether any of them got on the right track.
Not far from the Raja's city lived a certain tricky fellow. From his
boyhood he had always been up to strange pranks, and he had married
the daughter of a rich village headman. At the time that the Raja's
money was stolen his wife was on a visit to her father, and after
she had been some time away, he went to fetch her home. However, on
his way, he stopped to have a flirtation with a girl he knew in the
village and the result was that he did not get to his father-in-law's
house till long after dark. As he stood outside he heard his wife's
relations talking inside, and from their conversation he learnt that
they had killed a capon for supper, and that there was enough for
each of them to have three slices of capon and five pieces of the
vegetable which was cooked with it.
Having learnt this he opened the door and went in. The household
was amazed at his arriving so late at night but he explained that he
had dreamt that they had killed a capon and were having a feast: and
that there was enough for them each to have three slices of capon and
five pieces of vegetable, so he had come to have a share. At this his
father-in-law could do nothing but have another fowl killed and give
him supper; he was naturally astonished at the Trickster's powers of
dreaming and insisted that he must certainly go and try his luck at
finding the Raja's stolen money.
The Trickster was taken aback at this, but there was no getting
out of it; so the next morning he set out with his father-in-law to
the Raja's palace. When they arrived they were placed in charge of
the two guilty servants, who offered them refreshments of curds and
parched rice. As he was washing his hands after eating, the Trickster
ejaculated, "Find or fail I have at any rate had a square meal,"
Now the two servants were named Find and Fail and when they heard
what the Trickster said, they thought he was speaking of them, and
had by some magic already found out that they were the thieves.
This threw them into consternation, and they took the Trickster aside
and begged him not to tell the Raja that they were the thieves. He
asked where they had put the money, and they told him that they had
hidden it in the sand by the river. Then he promised not to reveal
their guilt, if they would show him where to find the money when
the time came. They gladly promised and took him to the Raja. The
Trickster pretended to read an incantation over some mustard seed,
and then taking a bamboo went along tapping the ground with it. He
refused to have a crowd with him, because they would spoil the spell,
but Find and Fail followed behind him and showed him where to go. So he
soon found the jars of money and took them to the Raja, who according
to his promise gave him half their contents.
Next: Dukhu And His Bonga Wife
Previous: The Mongoose Boy