The Raja Who Went To Heaven

: Part I.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once upon a time there was a Raja, who had many water reservoirs

and tanks, and round the edges he planted trees, mangoes, pipals,

palms and banyans; and the banyan trees were bigger than any. Every

day after bathing the Raja used to walk about and look at his trees,

and one morning, as he did so, he saw a maiden go up to a banyan tree

and climb it, and the tree was then carried up to the sky, but when

he went in the e
ening he saw the tree in its place again; the same

thing happened three or four days running. The Raja told no one, but

one morning he climbed the banyan tree before the maiden appeared, and

when she came, he was carried up to the sky along with the tree. Then

he saw the maiden descend and go and dance with a crowd of Gupinis

(Divine milk maids) and the Raja also got down and joined in the dance.

He was so absorbed in the dance that he took no note of time; so

when at last he tore himself away, he found that the banyan tree had

disappeared. There was nothing to be done, but stay where he was;

so he began to wander about and he soon came to some men building a

palace as hard as they could. He asked them for whom the palace was

being built, and they named his own name. He asked why it was being

built for him, and they said that Thakur intended to bring him there,

because he was a good ruler, who did not oppress his subjects and

gave alms to the poor and to widows and orphans.

There was no difference between night and day up in the sky, but

when the Raja came back, he found that the banyan tree was there,

and he climbed up it and was carried back to earth by it. Then

he went home and told his people that he had been on a visit to a

friend. After that the Raja used to visit the banyan tree every day,

and when he found that it did not wither although it had been taken

up by the roots, he concluded that what he had seen was true and he

began to prepare for death. So he distributed all his wealth among

his friends and among the poor; and when his officers remonstrated

he made them no answer. A few days later he died, and was taken to

the palace which he had seen being built.

It is said that what you give away in this world, you will get back

in the next; there you will get good wages for what you have done in

this life.