The Monkey Husband
: Part I.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas
One very hot day some children were bathing in a pool, when a Hanuman
monkey snatched up the cloth which one of the girls had left on the
bank and ran up a tree with it. When the children came out of the water
and went to take up their clothes, they found one missing, and looking
about, they saw the monkey in the tree with it. They begged the Hanuman
to give it back, but the monkey only said--"I will not give it unless
its owner consents to marry me."--Then they began to throw sticks
and stones at him but he climbed to the top of the tree out of the way.
Then they ran and told the parents of the girl whose cloth had been
stolen; and they called their neighbours and went with bows and arrows
and threatened to shoot the monkey if he did not give up the cloth,
but he still said that he would not, unless the girl would marry
him. Then they shot all their arrows at him but not one of them hit
him; then the neighbours said. "This child is fated to belong to the
monkey and that is why we cannot hit him." Then the girl's father
and mother began to cry and sang:--
"Give the girl her cloth,
Her silk cloth, monkey boy,"
and he answered
"If she consents to marry me I will give it:
If she consents I will put it in her hand."
And as he did not listen to the father and mother, her father's
younger brother and his wife sang the same song, but in vain; and
then the girl herself begged for it, and thereupon the monkey let
down one end of the cloth to her; and when she caught hold of it,
he pulled her up into the tree, and there made her put on her cloth
and ran off with her on his back.
The girl was quite willing to go with him and called out as she was
carried away: "Never mind, father and mother, I am going away." The
Hanuman took her to a cave in the mountains and they lived on
fruit,--mangoes or jack or whatever fruit was in season. The monkey
climbed the trees and shook the fruit down; but if the girl saw by
the marks of teeth that the monkey had bitten off any fruit, instead
of only shaking it down, she would not eat it, and pretended that
she had had enough; for she would not eat the leavings of the monkey.
At last the girl got tired of having only fruit to eat; and demanded
rice. So the monkey took her to a bazar, and leaving her on the
outskirts of the village under a tree, he went and stole some pots from
a potter and rice and salt and turmeric and pulse and sweetmeats from
other shops, and brought them to the girl. Then she collected sticks
and lit a fire and cooked a meal; and the monkey liked the cooked
food, and asked her to cook for him every day. So they stayed there
several days. Then the girl asked for more clothes and the monkey
tried to steal them too, but the shopkeepers were on the watch and
drove him away.
The girl soon got tired of sleeping under a tree so they went back
to the cave and the monkey gathered mangoes and jackfruit and told
her to go and sell them in the market and then she would be able to
buy cloth. But when she had sold the fruit, she stayed in the village
and took service with a well-to-do shopkeeper, and never returned to
the monkey. The monkey watched for her and searched for her in vain,
and returned sorrowfully to his hill; but the girl stayed on in the
village and eventually married one of the villagers.