How To Grow Rich

: Part I.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once upon a time there was a woman whose husband died while she was

pregnant, and she was very unhappy and used to pray daily to Singh

Chando to give her a man child in place of her husband; she was left

well off and among her property were three gold coins, and as she was

afraid of these being stolen she decided to place them in the care

of the village headman. So she took them to him and asked him to keep

them till h
r child was born; and no one was present at the time but

the headman's wife. In due time her child was born and by the mercy

of Singh Chando it was a son; and when the boy had grown a bit and

could run alone his mother decided to take back the gold coins, so she

went to the headman and asked him for them; but he and his wife said:

"We do not understand what you are talking about? We know of no gold

coins: where are your witnesses? You must have had witnesses in such

a business." And they drove her out. She went away crying and called

the villagers together and asked them to decide the matter. So they

questioned her and the headman but as it was word against word they

could come to no decision; so they settled to put the parties on

oath, but the headman and the woman both swore that they had spoken

the truth, saying, "May we die if we have spoken falsely." Then

the villagers made them swear by their children and the woman and

the headman laid their hands on the heads of their sons and swore;

and when the woman swore her son fell down dead and she took up the

dead body in her arms and ran away with it.

The villagers were very sorry for what had happened but the headman

and his wife abused them for not having believed their word. The

woman had not gone very far before she met a stranger who asked why

she was crying and when she told him, he said: "Do not cry: you told

one falsehood and so your son has died. Take your child back to the

villagers and tell them that it was five gold coins and not three

that you gave to the headman and if you do this the child will come

to life again."

So the woman hastened back and found the villagers still assembled

and she told them as the stranger had directed; and she agreed to be

sworn again on the body of the child, and the headman promised to pay

five gold pieces if the child were restored to life. So the woman

laid her hands on the dead child and swore, and it was restored to

life. Then the headman was dumbfounded and reluctantly brought out

five gold pieces and gave them to the woman. She gave five rupees

to the villagers and they made the headman give them ten rupees for

having deceived them, and they bought pigs and had a feast.

In the course of time the boy grew up and his mother urged him to

marry. He asked her if she knew how to choose a wife and also what

sort of cattle to buy, and she said that she did not know; her husband

had not told her this. So the youth said that he would go to Singh

Chando and ask.

His mother washed his clothes for him and gave him food for the

journey and he set out. On the way he met a man who asked him where

he was going and he answered that he was going to make a petition to

Singh Chando. "Then," said the man, "make a petition for me also. I

have so much wealth that I cannot look after it all; ask him to take

away half from me." The youth promised and went on and he met another

man who said that he had so many cattle that he could not build enough

cow-houses for them and asked him to petition Singh Chando to diminish

their number; and he promised, and went on and came to Singh Chando,

and there he asked how to choose a wife and how to buy cattle. And

Singh Chando said, "When you buy a bullock first put your hand on

its quarter and if it shrinks and tries to get free, buy it; and when

you want a wife enquire first as to the character of her father and

mother; good parents make good children." Then the youth asked about

the two men he had met; Singh Chando said;--"Tell the first man when

he is ploughing to plough two or three furrows beyond the boundary

of his field and his wealth will diminish and tell the second man to

drive away three or four of his cattle every day and their number

will decrease." So the youth returned and met the man who had too

many cattle and told him what Chando had said, and the man thought

"If I drive away three or four head of cattle every day I shall soon

become poor" so from that time he looked out for any straying cattle

and would drive them home with his own; if the owner claimed them,

he gave them up, but if no claimant appeared, he kept them and so

he became richer than ever. And the youth went on and met the man

who was too rich, and when he heard what Chando had said he thought

"If I plough over the boundary on to my neighbour's land it will

be a great sin and I shall soon become poor;" and he went to his

ploughmen and told them never to plough right up to the edge of the

field but to leave two of three furrows space, and they obeyed and

from that time he grew richer than ever. And the youth returned to

his mother and told her all that had happened and they understood

the meaning of the advice which Chando had given to the two men and

acted accordingly. And it is true that we see that avaricious men

who trespass across boundaries become poor.