The Sons Of The Kherohuri Raja

: Part I.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

The Kherohuri Raja had five sons, and he made up his mind that he would

only marry them to five sisters. So he sent out Brahmans and Jugis to

search the world to find a Raja with five unmarried daughters. And

at the same time the Chandmuni Raja had five marriagable daughters,

and he made up his mind that he would marry them to five brothers;

he did not care what their rank in life was, but he was determined

to find a f
mily of five brothers to marry his daughters. And he

also told all the Brahmans and Jugis who wandered about begging,

to look out for a family of five unmarried brothers.

One day it chanced that the emissaries of the Kherohuri Raja and

those of the Chandmuni Raja met at a river; both parties were resting

after taking their midday meal and as they smoked they fell into

conversation, and soon found that their meeting was most fortunate;

each party had found the Tery thing they wanted, so they all set off

to the palace of the Kherohuri Raja in order that the Chandmuni Raja's

messengers might see the young men.

The Kherohuri Raja ordered them to be hospitably entertained and food

to be set before them; they however refused to eat anything till they

had seen the five bridegrooms. The five young men were then introduced

and as they appeared to be sound in wind and limb and in all respects

satisfactory, there was no further obstacle to the entertainment. The

next day the Kherohuri Raja sent out officials to visit and inspect the

daughters of the Chandmuni Raja, and as their report was satisfactory,

nothing remained but to fix the day for the wedding.

When the time came for the bridegrooms and their retinue to set off

to the country of the Chandmuni Raja, they and their servants and

followers all started, so that no one was left at home but their

mother. After they had gone a little way the eldest prince stopped

them and said "that they could not leave their mother all alone, what

would she do supposing some sudden danger arose?" The others agreed

that this was so, but the difficulty was to decide who should stay;

not one of the other brothers would consent to do so. So at last the

eldest brother said that he would stay, and he gave them his shield

and sword and told them to perform his marriage for him by putting

the vermilion on the bride's forehead with his sword.

When they reached the home of the Chandmuni Raja they proceeded at

once to perform the vermilion ceremony, beginning with the eldest

daughter; but when the sword was produced and she was told that she

must go through the ceremony with the sword, as her bridegroom had not

come, she began to cry and make a great to-do. Nothing would induce

her to consent. "Why was her husband the only one who had not come

in person? he must be blind or lame or married;" this resistance put

all the others into a difficulty, for the younger sisters could not

be married before the elder. At last after much talking her father

and mother persuaded the eldest daughter to go through the ceremony;

the women put vermilion on the sword and with the sword the mark

was made on the bride's forehead; and then the younger sisters were

married and after a grand feast the whole party set out for the palace

of the Kherohuri Raja.

On the way they were benighted in the midst of a great jungle twelve

kos wide, and the palki bearers declined to go any further in

the dark, so they had all to camp where they were. In the middle of

the night, suddenly sixteen hundred Rakhases descended on them and

swallowed up the whole cavalcade, elephants and horses and palkis and

men. In this danger the eldest princess who had been married to the

sword prayed to Chando saying "O Chando! I have never yet set eyes

on my husband; he is not with me here. I pray thee carry my palki in

safety up into the sky." And Chando heard her prayer and lifted her

palki up into the air and preserved her, but all those who were left

on the ground were swallowed up by the Rakhases; when the day dawned

not one was to be seen.

As the princess from mid air gazed on this melancholy spectacle, a

parrot came flying over and she called to it and begged it to take a

letter for her to her husband in the palace of the Kherohuri Raja. The

parrot obeyed her behest, and when the eldest prince read the letter

and learned what had happened, he made a hasty meal and saddled his

horse and was ready to start; but as it was nearly evening he thought

it better to wait till the next day.

Very early the following morning he set out and when his bride saw

him come riding along she prayed to Chando that if it were really her

husband the palki might descend to the ground; it immediately sank, and

the bride and bridegroom met; then she told him all that had happened

and gave him the shield and sword that he had sent to represent him at

the marriage; with these in his hands he waited and when at nightfall

the Rakhases returned, the Prince slew everyone of them with his

sword; and as he killed them the Rakhases vomited up the elephants,

horses and men that they had eaten. Then his wife told the prince to

dip a cloth in water and wring it out over the dead and as the water

fell on them they all became alive again, elephants, horses and men.

But his brothers far from being grateful to him for having restored

them to life, took counsel together saying. "Now that he has delivered

us from this danger, he will think that he has a claim on us and will

treat us as his servants; let us cut open his stomach and then the

Rakhas will eat him." So they turned on him, cut open his stomach,

and went their ways. Then the wounded prince told the palki-bearers

to carry his bride back to her father's house.

When they appeared before the Chandmuni Raja, he upbraided them for

not having brought the prince too, to try if he could not have been

healed. Meanwhile the prince lay in the jungle groaning for a whole

day and night; then Chando and his wife heard his cries and came

down and told him to push in his entrails and when he had done so,

they gave him a slap on his stomach and he became whole again. Then as

he was afraid to return to his home where his brothers were, he went

begging to his father-in-law's house; as he came to it, his wife said

to her sister-in-law that the beggar seemed to be like her husband,

so she went to him and they recognised each other and he was taken in

and well treated and lived there many years. In the end he was seized

with a desire to go and see his old mother, and, his wife consenting

to go with him, they set off to his father's home; when his brothers

saw him come, they were filled with fear and made him Raja over them

and they became his servants and he lived in prosperity for the rest

of his life.