The Daydreamer

: Part I.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once an oil man was going to market with his pots of oil arranged on a

flat basket and he engaged a Santal for two annas to carry the basket;

and as he went along, the Santal thought "With one anna I will buy

food and with the other I will buy chickens, and the chickens will

grow up and multiply and then I will sell some of the fowls and eggs

and with the money I will buy goats; and when the goats increase,

I will sell
some and buy cows, and then I will exchange some of the

calves for she-buffaloes, and when the buffaloes breed, I will sell

some and buy land and start cultivation and then I will marry and

have children and I will hurry back from my work in the fields and

my wife will bring me water and I will have a rest and my children

will say to me 'Father, be quick and wash your hands for dinner,' but

I will shake my head and say 'No, no, not yet!'"--and as he thought

about it he really shook his head and the basket fell to the ground

and all the pots of oil were smashed.

Then the oilman abused him and said that he must pay two rupees for

the oil and one anna for the pots: but the Santal said that he had

lost much more than that and the oilman asked him how that could be:

and the Santal explained how with his wages he was going to get fowls

and then goats and then oxen and buffaloes and land and how he came to

spill the basket and at that the oilman roared with laughter and said

"Well I have made up the account and I find that our losses are equal,

so we will cry quits;" and so saying they went their ways laughing.