Another Lazy Man

: Part I.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once upon a time there was a man named Kora who was so lazy that his

brothers turned him out of the house and he had to go out into the

world to seek his fortune. At first he tried to get some other young

man of the village to keep him company on his travels but they all

refused to have anything to do with such a lazy fellow, so he had to

set out alone. However, he was resolved to have a companion of some

sort, so when
he came to a place where a crab had been burrowing he

set to work and dug it out of the ground and took it along with him,

tied up in his cloth.

He travelled on for days and weeks until he came to a country which

was being devastated by a Rakhas who preyed on human beings, and the

Raja of the country had proclaimed that any one who could kill the

Rakhas should have one of his sisters in marriage and a large grant of

land. Kora however knew nothing of all this and that evening he camped

for the night under a tree on the outskirts of a village. Presently

the villagers came out and begged him to come and spend the night

in one of their houses, as it was impossible for a man to sleep

safely in the open by himself. "Do not trouble about me," said Kora,

"I am not alone: I have a companion and we two shall be quite safe

together." The villagers saw no one with him and could not understand

what he was talking about, but as he would not listen to them they

had to leave him to his fate.

Night came on and as usual Kora untied the crab from his cloth and

soon fell asleep. About midnight the Rakhas came prowling along and

seeing Kora sleeping alone made towards him. But the crab rushed at

the Rakhas and climbing up his body seized his neck with its claws

and slit the windpipe. Down fell the Rakhas and lay kicking on the

ground. The noise awoke Kora, who seized a big stone and dashed out

the brains of the Rakhas. He then cut off the tips of the ears and

tongue and claws and wrapped them up in his cloth and lay down to

sleep again with the crab in his bosom.

At dawn the chowkidar of the village, who was a Dome, came on his

rounds and found the Rakhas lying dead. He thought that it would be

easy for him to obtain the credit of having killed it: so he cut off

one of the legs and hurrying home told his wife and children to clear

out of the house at once: he had nothing more to do with them, as he

was going to marry the Raja's sister and become a great landowner. Then

he rushed out into the village, shouting out that he had killed the

Rakhas. The villagers all went to see the dead body and found it lying

near the tree under which they had left Kora to spend the night. They

were not quite convinced that the Dome's story was true and asked

Kora who had really killed the Rakhas. He declined to answer but asked

that he and the Dome might both be taken to the Raja, and then proof

would be forthcoming as to who was really entitled to the Reward.

So the villagers took up the dead body and carried it off to the Raja,

taking Kora and the Dome with them. The Raja asked what proof there

was as to who had killed the Rakhas: and first the Dome produced the

leg which he had cut off; but Kora unrolled his cloth and showed the

ears and tongue and claws of the Rakhas. It was at once seen that

the leg which the Dome had brought wanted the claws, so his fraud was

clearly proved and he was driven from the assembly with derision and

had to go and humbly make his peace with the wife whom he had turned

out of his house. But the nuptials of Kora and the Raja's sister

took place at once and they were given a fine palace to live in and

a large tract of country for their own.

Kora never allowed himself to be separated from his faithful crab and

this led to his life being saved a second time. A few nights after

he was married, Kora was lying asleep with the crab upon his breast,

when two snakes began to issue from the nostrils of his bride: their

purpose was to kill Kora but when they saw the watchful crab they

drew in their heads again. A few minutes later they again looked out:

then the crab went and hid under the chin of the Princess and when

the snakes put out their heads far enough it seized both of them with

its claws: the snakes wriggled and struggled until they came entirely

out of the nose of the princess and were dragged to the floor where

the crab strangled them. In the morning Kora awoke and saw what the

crab had done: he asked what he could do to show his gratitude to

his faithful friend, and the crab asked to be set free in some pond

which never dried up and that Kora would rescue it if any one ever

succeeded in catching it. So Kora chose a tank and set the crab free

and every day he used to go and bathe in that tank and the crab used

to come and meet him.

After living in luxury for a time Kora went with a grand procession

of horses and elephants to visit his industrious brothers who had

turned him out of their home for laziness, and he showed them that

he had chosen the better part, for they would never be able to keep

horses and elephants for all their industry: so he invited them to

come and live with him on his estate and when they had reaped that

year's crops they went with him.