A Variant The Wandering Raja

: Part I.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once there was a Raja who was very prosperous; but his wife found

their life of wealth and ease monotonous, and she continually urged

him to travel into other countries and to see whether other modes

of life were pleasant or distressful; she pestered her husband so

much that at last he gave way. He put his kingdom in charge of his

father's sister and her husband and set off with his wife and his

two sons as an ordinary

After travelling some days they got tired of eating the parched rice

which they had brought with them and thought they would boil some rice

for their dinner. So the Rani went into a bazar to get cooking pots,

and a light for the fire. She went to the house of a rich merchant for

these, but he was attracted by her beauty and seized her and shut her

up and would not let her go back, but kept her as his wife. The Raja

and his sons soon got tired of waiting for her; he concluded that

the journey was merely a pretext of his wife's to escape from him,

as she had disappeared the first time that he let her out of his sight.

So he turned to go home and soon came to a river which had to be

crossed, he left his sons on the bank and went into the water to

see how deep it was and as he was wading in, a large fish came and

swallowed him. The fish swam away down stream and was caught in the

net of some fishermen. When they saw how big a fish they had caught,

they decided to take it to the Raja of that country. The Raja bought

it at a high price, but when it was cut open at the palace the man

it had swallowed was found alive inside; so the Raja of the country

appointed him one of his retainers.

Meanwhile the two boys had been found abandoned on the bank of the

river by a cowherd, who was too poor to bring them up, so he took

them also to the Raja; and they rejoiced to meet their father and

when they grew up, were also appointed retainers.

They had to travel all over the country on the Raja's business and it

happened that they one day came to the village where their mother was

and they met and recognised her; she told them how she had been seized

and confined and begged them to bring her husband to her. So the sons

fetched their father and the Rani told her husband how unhappy she was

and begged him to get her released, and he promised to ask the help

of his master. When the Raja of the country heard the story he took

pity on them and went with a body of soldiers and seized the wicked

merchant and ordered him to give up all his wealth and as the merchant

tried to conceal where some of his money was buried, the Raja cut

him down with his sword. He also laid a heavy fine on the villagers,

because they had not sent word to him of the capture of the Rani.

Then he took home the Raja who had been swallowed by the fish and his

wife and sons, and entertained them for some days, and then gave them

elephants and horses and men and all the merchant's property and sent

them to their own country. The uncle and aunt who had been appointed

Regents came out to meet them and escorted them home.

Two or three days after the aunt asked the Raja how he had got his

elephants and horses and money, and he said "They are the profits

of my wife's sin; I will not tell you the whole story for if you

heard it you also might be led astray; my wife induced me to travel

by false pretences. It is not good to follow the advice of a woman;

it is by mere chance that you see me alive to-day." His wife heard

what he said, and she went out and cut her throat from remorse;

and they went and burned her body.