The Story Of Lelha

: Santal Folk Tales


There once lived a certain raja, who had three wives. The two elder had

two sons each, and the younger only one, whose name was Lelha. [12]

The four sons of the first two wives were very friendly with each

other, being seldom separate, but they despised Lelha, and never

permitted him to join them in any of their pastimes or sports.

The raja had a plot of ground set apart for a flower gard
n, but

there was nothing in it. One day a certain Jugi came to him, and said,

"Oh! raja, if you fill your garden with all kinds of flowering plants,

your whole city will appear enchanting." Having said this, the Jugi

went to his home. The raja was greatly affected by what the Jugi had

said, and was immediately seized with a fit of the sulks. There was

an apartment in the palace set apart for the exclusive use of those

who happened to be in that state of mind. Such an one shut himself

up in this chamber until the fit wore off, or until he was persuaded

to be himself again.

The raja refused his evening meal, and as was his wont, when in this

frame of mind, retired to the sulking apartment, and lay down. The

two elder ranis having been informed of what had occurred, hasted

to the raja, and said, "Oh! raja, why are you sulking?" He replied,

"This morning a Jugi came to me and said, that if I planted flowering

shrubs in my garden the whole city would appear enchanting. If any

one will do this work for me, I will rise, if not, I shall remain

here." The ranis then addressed him thus, "Oh! raja, rise up, and eat

and drink." The raja replied, "Let the young men come to me, I will do

as you desire." The two ranis then left, and calling their sons, sent

them to their father. Coming into the presence of the raja they said,

"Wherefore father are you sulking?" The raja replied, "If you plant

flowers in my flower garden I shall be comforted, and shall leave

my couch." They said, "Is it on this account you are distressed? We

shall cause the garden to be filled with flowers in a short time." On

receiving this assurance the raja left his bed, and partook of food,

and was refreshed. Lelha's mother now appeared on the scene, and

addressing the raja, said, "Wherefore, raja are you sulky?" He replied,

"Who told you I was sulky?" She replied, "A shopkeeper gave me the

information." Then the raja got angry, and ordered her to leave,

but she said, "If you do not tell me why you are sulking I will not

depart, am not I also your humble maidservant? Unless you tell me,

I will not go, I will die here rather than leave." The raja relented,

and related to her all the words of the Jugi. She then returned home.

Her son Lelha entered the house soon after her arrival. He had been

engaged in some field sports, and being wearied and hungry, said to

his mother, "Give me some cooked rice." She was annoyed with him

and said, "Although the raja is ill, your first cry is for boiled

rice." Lelha on hearing this went to his father, and enquired what

was wrong. But the raja flying into a rage scolded him, saying, "Go

away Lelha. What do you want here? Never come near me again. Did not I

build a house for your mother and you at the extreme end of the street,

away from here? Be off, or I shall beat you." To which Lelha replied,

"Oh! father raja, am not I also a son of yours? Let me be foolish

or otherwise, still, I am your son, and unless you inform me of what

has grieved you, I shall die rather than leave this." Then the raja

told him also. He said, "It is because I do not see flowers in the

garden." "Oh!" said Lelha, "Is that what distresses you?" He then left.

The raja's four elder sons caused all manner of flowering shrubs and

trees to be planted in the garden, and in a short time it was in a

blaze of colour, so much so, that the whole city was as if lighted


Just at this time, when every tree, shrub and plant was covered with

blossom another Jugi, named Koema Jugi, came to the city and said

to one and another, "You, the citizens of this city, are covering

yourselves with renown, but if you attach hiras [13] and manis [14] to

the branches, you will add renown to renown." The Jugi's words reached

the raja, and he was so much affected by them, that he immediately

began to sulk, and on being questioned by his two ranis, he replied,

"Do you not remember the words of the Koema Jugi?" They said, "Yes,

we remember. He said, 'if you place hiras and manis in this garden

the whole country will be resplendent'." "On that account then, I am

sulking, and if I do not see hiras and manis, I shall not partake of

any food." At the raja's words the two ranis returned sorrowfully to

their apartments.

At that moment their four sons entered the house and asked for

food. The ranis were annoyed, and said, "The raja, your father,

is sulking, and you must have food and drink." On learning their

father's state the youths were distressed on his account, and went

to him weeping, and enquired why he was sulking. He related to them

the words of Koema Jugi, and added, "Unless I see hiras and manis

attached to the branches of the trees in my flower garden, I shall

not rise from my couch." His four sons replied, "Is it for this reason

you are grieving? We will search for, and bring them, and if we fail,

then sulk again, and refuse your food, and die of hunger, and we will

not prevent you, only listen to us this time and get up." The raja

was persuaded to rise, and having partaken of food he was refreshed.


The raja had planted flowering shrubs in his garden, but the Indarpuri

Sadoms [15] ate up all the flowers as they appeared, and so he again

began to sulk. He said, "I planted bushes, but I see no flowers. What

reason is there for my remaining alive?" And going to the sulking

chamber he lay down, and as usual refused to eat. Then there was

confusion in the household, and running hither and thither. The two

ranis went to him, but he was annoyed, and ordered them to leave,

saying, "I will not rise, by your telling me," so they returned

weeping, each to her own apartment.

Just then their four sons returned from hunting, and demanded

food. Their mothers were annoyed, and said, "You young gentlemen

are hungry, and must have food, that the raja is sulking is nothing

to you, if you are fasting." On hearing this the sons went to their

father, and enquired, "Oh! father, wherefore are you sulking?" The

raja replied, "Oh! my sons, I am sulking because I see no flowers in

my garden. Unless I see flowers in my garden, I shall not remain in

this world." His sons replied, "Give us three days, and if at the end

of that time you see no flowers, then you may sulk." He was persuaded

to rise, and having bathed, and partaken of food, he was refreshed.

Just then Lelha arrived, and addressing the raja said, "Oh! raja,

what ails you?" The raja on seeing Lelha was angry, and scolded him

severely. He said, "Has Lelha come here? Drive him away at once." Lelha

left without uttering another word.

After three days the raja began again to sulk, because there were still

no flowers to be seen in his garden. The Indarpuri Sadoms came about

mid-night and ate up all the buds. The raja's four elder sons when

watching could not remain awake for one hour, and so the Indarpuri

Sadoms came nightly and devoured all the buds that should have burst

into flower in the morning, so that not one solitary blossom was to

be seen. For this reason the raja again began to sulk, and no one

dared to say anything to him.

At this juncture Lelha's mother went from her own house to a shop

to buy rice. The shopkeeper refused to supply her. He said, "The

raja is sulking, and she comes here to buy rice. I will not weigh

it, so go." Lelha's mother went hastily home, and encountered Lelha

returning from a stroll. Lelha asked for food. He said, "Oh! mother,

give me cooked rice quickly." She rebuked him, and said, "The raja is

sulking. The shopkeeper refused to give me rice, how can I give you

food? I am a prey to grief, and here my young gentleman is hungry. Go

to the raja."

Lelha did as his mother ordered him, and went to the apartment where

the raja was, and called several times, "Oh! father, get up." At

length the raja asked, "Who are you? Do not irritate me. Go away at

once." Lelha replied, "I am your humble slave and son, Lelha." His

father said, "Wherefore have you come here? Lelha, Go home, or else

I shall beat you. What do you want here? If you go, go at once,

if not, I shall have you chastised." Lelha replied, "Because you,

Oh! raja, are sulking. The shopkeeper in the bazaar refused to

sell to my mother rice, saying, 'something is amiss with the raja,

I cannot let you have it.'" The raja then said, "Go, and bring the

shopkeeper here." To which Lelha replied, "Why are you sulking? If

you do not tell me, it were better for me to die here. I cannot leave

you. I have come here fasting, not having eaten anything to-day." The

raja said, "Your four brothers have not been able to do anything,

and what can I hope from telling you about it, Lelha?" Lelha replied,

"It is still possible that I may accomplish something, but although I

should not, yet I am a son of yours. Do tell me. If you die, I shall

die also. We will depart this life together. I cannot return home." The

raja then thought within himself, I will tell him, and let him go. If

I do not do so, Lelha may die along with me. Then addressing Lelha,

he said, "It is nothing child, only I see no flowers in my garden,

and therefore I am sulking. Although your four brothers watched

three nights, still I see no flowers." Lelha then said, "If my

brothers watched three nights, see me watch one." The raja replied,

"Very good my son, let us leave this apartment."

The raja went to bathe, and Lelha going to the shopkeeper bought

several kinds of grain, which he carried home and gave to his mother,

saying, "Roast a seer of each, and cook some rice for me. I have

succeeded in persuading my father to rise. He has bathed and dined,

and is refreshed. He was sulking because he can see no flowers in

his garden. It was with great difficulty that I prevailed upon him

to get up." His mother said, "What does my Lord want with roasted

grain?" Lelha replied, "Let me do with it as I chose, you prepare

it. I will take it with me at night when I go to watch in the flower

garden." His mother said, "Have you forgotten your brothers' threats

to beat you?" Lelha replied, "My brothers may beat me, but no other

person. What help is there for it?"

At nightfall, Lelha, having supped, tied up in the four corners of

his plaid four kinds of roasted grain, and entering the garden climbed

up on a raised platform, and began his vigil.

After a short time he untied one of his parcels of roasted grain,

and began leisurely to eat it, one grain at a time. Just as he had

consumed the last one, an Indarpuri Sadom descended from the East and

alighted in the garden to browse upon the flowers. Lelha seeing it,

crept noiselessly up, and laid hold of it, and at the same instant its

rider, an Indarpuri Kuri, [16] exclaimed, "Hands off! Lelha. Hands

off! Lelha. Touch me not." Lelha replied, to the Indarpuri Kuri,

"Besides touching you, I will bind and detain you till morning. You

have become bold. You have caused my father to fast; but I have

captured you to-night. Where will you go?" "Let me go," she said,

"I will bless you." Lelha rejoined, "You are deceiving me." The

Indarpuri Kuri made answer, "I am not deceiving you. I shall give

you whatever blessing you may desire. Place your hand upon my head,

Lelha." He did so, and a lock of hair adhered to his hand, when he

withdrew it. The Indarpuri Kuri then said, "When you desire anything,

take that lock of hair into your hand, and say, Oh! Indarpuri Kuri,

give me this or that, and instantly you shall receive it. Of a

truth it shall be so. I shall never fail you." Lelha then released

the Indarpuri Sadom, and it mounted up into the air, and he and his

Indarpuri Rider vanished into space.

By the time Lelha had eaten all the roasted grain from another

corner of his plaid, another Indarpuri Sadom with his Indarpuri Kuri

rider descended from the West. Lelha caught these as he had done the

first. This Kuri was a younger sister of the other, and she gave a

like blessing to Lelha before he released her horse.

Lelha now began to eat his third parcel of roasted grain, and just as

he had finished it he saw another Indarpuri Sadom with an Indarpuri

Kuri rider descend from the North, and alight in the garden. Lelha

also captured these. The rider was a younger sister of the last. She

also gave Lelha a blessing, and was allowed to go.

At cockcrow, Lelha, having eaten the last grain of his fourth parcel,

looked up and beheld an Indarpuri Sadom with an Indarpuri Kuri rider

descend into the garden from the North. She was the youngest of the

sisters. Lelha crept stealthily up, and laid hold of the horse's

mane. The Indarpuri Kuri then exclaimed, "Hands off! Lelha. Hands

off! Lelha." Then Lelha replied, "You Lelha greatly this morning. It

is almost dawn, where can you go to escape punishment?" Then the

Indarpuri Kuri said, "Oh! Lelha, We are four sisters, daughters of one

mother, I will give you a blessing." Lelha replied, "In this way three

persons have fled. You also appear the same." The Indarpuri Kuri said,

"We four sisters have one blessing. Place your hand upon my head, and

release me." Lelha did so, and the Indarpuri Sadom on being liberated

sailed off into the sky with his Indarpuri rider. Lelha tied the four

locks of hair of the Indarpuri Kuris each in a corner of his plaid,

as he had before done with the roasted grain. When the day fully

dawned he returned to his home weeping, for his four brothers seeing

the bushes laden with blossom were envious of him, and had hurled him

headlong to the ground from off the raised platform on which he sat.

On reaching home his mother said to him, "You see your brothers have

beaten you. I warned you against going." Lelha replied, "What help

is there for it? My brothers beat me. No one else did. I must bear

it." His mother said, "Then, why do you let others know?"

In the morning the raja said, "Last night Lelha was watching. I will

go and take a look at the garden." He went and found a perfect sea

of blossom, the sight of which almost overcame him.

It so happened that as the raja gazed upon the fairy scene around him,

Koema Jugi turned up, and addressing the raja said, "You are lost

in wonder, but if you hang hiras and manis on the branches the whole

country will be resplendent. Then your wonder and amazement will be

increased twentyfold."


The raja's garden was without an equal in the world, but the words of

Koema Jugi had caused him to become discontented with it, and because

there were neither hiras nor manis hanging from the branches he, as

before, began to sulk. They reasoned with him saying, "Do not grieve

over it. We will bring hiras and manis." So he rose, and having bathed

partook of some refreshment.

About this time Lelha's mother went to a shop to purchase food. On

seeing her the shopkeeper said, "Something is amiss with the raja,

and she is hungry, and comes here giving annoyance. Go away. I will

not weigh anything for you." So she returned home empty-handed. As she

entered the house she encountered Lelha just returned from hunting,

who said, "Oh! mother, give me cooked rice." His mother replied,

"Something is wrong with the raja, and here my young lord is fasting,

and cries for food. He is greatly concerned about his own affairs."

Lelha went at once to the raja, and enquired "What ails you,

father?" The raja replied, "Is there anything ailing me? Has Lelha

come here? I will beat him shortly." Lelha said, "Do with me what you

please. Why are you sulking? If you do not tell me, although it should

cost me my life, I will not leave, rather slay me here at once." The

raja thought within himself, "He annoys me, I will tell him to get

rid of him." So he said, "Your brothers have gone in search of hiras

and manis, and it is because I do not see the trees in my garden

adorned with these precious stones that I am sulking. Lelha said,

"I will also go." His father said, "Do not go child." But Lelha was

determined, and disregarded his father's command.

Lelha went to the bazaar and purchased rice and dal, and his mother

when she saw him bringing them home with him, said, "What is wrong? You

are completely out of breath." Lelha replied, "My brothers have gone

to search for hiras and manis, and I also am busy preparing to follow

them." She tried to dissuade him saying, "Although the mean fellows

beat you, still you will not keep away from them." Lelha quickly

replied, "What help is there for it, mother? Let my brothers beat

me or not, what is that to me? I must bear it all." So his mother

prepared food, and Lelha, having partaken of it, set out.

He went to the stable, and saddled the lame horse, as his brothers

had taken away the good ones, and mounting rode to the outskirts

of the city. He then dismounted, and turned the lame horse loose,

and went into the raja's flower garden, and said, "Oh! Indarpuri

Kuri, give me a horse instantly. My brothers have left me behind,

and gone I know not where. Give me such a horse as will enable me

to reach them at once." Immediately a horse was at his side, and

in a few seconds he was in sight of his brothers. He then alighted

from his horse, and said "Oh! Indarpuri Kuri, I return your horse,"

and instantly it disappeared, and he overtook his brothers on foot.

When his brothers saw him, they said, "He has overtaken us." Some of

them said, "Catch him and beat him," others said, "No, let him alone,

he will do our cooking. We can go in search of hiras and manis,

and leave him to guard our camp. Come let us push on, we have now

got a good guard for our camp." This pleased all, and they said,

"It is now evening, let us pitch our camp for the night." They did

so, and Lelha soon had supper ready, of which having partaken they

all retired to rest.

In the morning Lelha again acted as cook, and while it was yet early

set breakfast before his brothers, and they having eaten, mounted

their horses, and went in search of hiras and manis. They were now

a month's journey distant from their own home, and the raja of the

country in which they were, had just opened a new bazaar. It was a

large and beautiful bazaar, and an Indarpuri Kuri had a stall it. This

Indarpuri Kuri had given out, that whoever would go and come twelve

kos seven times within an hour should be her husband.

The four sons of the raja, who had come in search of hiras and manis

hearing this said, "Some one from amongst us four brothers must marry

this girl. Let us exercise our horses, it is possible that some one

of them may do the distance in the specified time." They had left

home in search of hiras and manis, and now were scheming to secure

the Indarpuri Kuri as the wife of one of them. So they returned

to camp, and sitting down began to discuss the subject. They said,

"If our horses are well exercised, no doubt, but that they will be

able to run the distance in the time. Therefore, let us diligently

train our horses, so that they may be able to accomplish the task."

While they were thus engaged, Lelha said, "What is it, brothers,

that you are discussing?" His brothers rebuked him, saying, "Why are

you eavesdropping? We will beat you." They did not, however, beat him,

as they feared he would return home, and leave them without a cook. So

he cooked the supper and set it before them, and when they had eaten,

they retired to rest.

In the morning Lelha again prepared the food, and his four brothers

having breakfasted, mounted and rode off to the bazaar, and there

exercised their horses. After they had left Lelha collected all the

brass vessels, and what other property there was, and carefully hid

them away. Then he called to the Indarpuri Kuri, "Oh! Indarpuri Kuri,

give me a horse," and instantly, just such a horse as he desired

stood beside him. He mounted and galloping away soon overtook his

brothers. He saluted them, but they did not recognize him. He said

to them, "Wherefore, brothers, have you brought your horses to

a standstill? Make them race." They replied, "We were waiting for

you. We are tired. It is your turn now." Lelha immediately switched

up his horse, and away it flew at such a pace, that it could scarcely

be seen. That day his horse ran twelve kos there and back three times

within an hour. At the end of the race soldiers tried to lay hold

of Lelha's horse, but he called out, "Do not touch him. He will not

allow you to lay a finger on me." The soldiers said, "The raja has

given orders, that the horse that ran three, or five, or seven times

is to be brought before him." Lelha replied, "Go, and tell the raja,

that the horse bites, so we could not stop him. The raja will not

be displeased with you." He then rode away to the camp, and having

returned the horse to the Indarpuri Kuri he began to prepare the

evening meal, which was ready by the time his four brothers arrived.

After supper they began to talk over the events of the day, wondering

who owned the horse that had run so well. Lelha drew near, and said,

"What is it, brothers, that you are talking about?" Some said, "Beat

him, what has he got to do listening?" Others said, "Do not beat him,

he cooks for us." So the matter ended, and all lay down for the night.

In the morning Lelha again prepared the food, and his brothers having

breakfasted, mounted their horses, and rode off to the bazaar, where

they raced as usual. After they had gone, Lelha gathered all their

property together, and hid it as he had done on the day previous. Then,

mounting an Indarpuri Sadom, he followed his brothers, and on coming

up with them saluted them, but they did not recognize him as their

brother. Then a conversation similar to that of the previous day

passed between Lelha and his brothers. This time Lelha's horse ran

the distance, there and back, five times within the hour. The raja's

soldiers again attempted to stop Lelha's horse, but he told them that

it was in the habit of biting, so they allowed him to pass, and he

galloped off to the camp, and returning the horse to the Indarpuri

Kuri began to prepare the evening meal. When his brothers arrived

Lelha set food before them, and they ate and drank. After they had

supped they sat and talked about the wonderful horse, and its feat

that day. Lelha again enquired what they were talking about, but they

rebuked him saying, "Do not listen. It is not necessary for you to

know what we are speaking about." They all then retired for the night.

Early next morning Lelha set about preparing breakfast, and his

brothers, having partaken of it, set out for the bazaar. After their

departure Lelha gathered everything together, and hid them as before,

and then called upon Indarpuri Kuri for a horse. The horse came, and

Lelha mounted and galloped after his brothers. On overtaking them he

saluted, and then said, "Wherefore, brothers, do you stand still? Race

your horses." They replied, "It is your turn now. We have run, and our

horses are tired." Lelha then started his horse, and it ran twelve kos

there, and twelve kos back, seven times within the hour. The raja's

soldiers again attempted to capture Lelha's horse, but he prevented

them, and so returned to the camp. When he had returned the horse

to the Indarpuri Kuri he resumed his office of cook, and had supper

ready by the time his brothers returned. They sat down together, and

began to discuss the wonderful performance of the horse which had that

day done the distance seven times in one hour. Lelha again enquired,

"What is it that you are talking about, brothers?" Some one said,

"Beat him. He has no right to be listening," but another said,

"Do not beat him, he cooks our food." When the four brothers were

tired talking Lelha set supper before them, and having supped, they

lay down to sleep.

Next morning Lelha cooked the breakfast as usual, and his brothers

having partaken of it, mounted their horses, and rode off to the

bazaar. After they had left Lelha put everything out of sight, as

usual. Then he desired the Indarpuri Kuri to give him a horse, and

having mounted, he followed his brothers, and on coming near saluted

them as before, but again they failed to recognize him.


On the seventh day Lelha again followed his brothers to the

bazaar. He begged the Indarpuri Kuri to give him a horse that

would do the distance there and back seven times within the hour,

and at the end would fall down dead, and also to have another horse

ready for him to mount. The Indarpuri Kuri gave him his desire and

he rode off to the bazaar, and again saluted his brothers, and at

the same time pushed his horse close up to them. They called out,

"Keep your horse back, he will crush us." Lelha then enquired why

they were standing still. They replied, "We were waiting for you." So

Lelha put his horse to the gallop, and did the distance there and

back seven times within an hour. On his return the last time the

soldiers attempted to lay hold of the horse, but Lelha said, "Let

him alone, I will go myself." At the same instant his horse fell,

and he leapt from it, and having returned it to the Indarpuri Kuri,

he mounted the other, and rode from the race course to the bazaar,

and was united in wedlock to the Indarpuri Kuri.

After the marriage he informed his bride that he was in search of

hiras and manis for his father's flower garden. She informed him,

that lying on the breast of her elder sister, who had been sleeping

for twelve years, was a large quantity of hiras. "To obtain them you

must first," she said, "buy two bundles of grass, two goats, and a

pair of shoes, and make two ropes each two hundred cubits long. My

sister is guarded by an elephant, a tiger, and a dog. On entering you

will first encounter the elephant, and you must throw him a bundle of

grass. A little farther on you will meet the tiger, you must give him

a goat. Then you will see the dog, and you must throw him a shoe. When

you are returning you must do the same. Throw a shoe to the dog, a goat

to the tiger, and a sheaf of grass to the elephant. You must lose no

time in possessing yourself of the hiras you will find on my sister's

breast. If you delay, her army may take you prisoner." She also said,

"My sister's house is situated on an island in a large lake, and you

can only reach it by hiring a boat. The door of her house is a large

heavy stone, which you must remove before gaining an entrance. On the

island there is a Sinjo tree, [17] with branches on the North side,

and on the South. On the branches of the South side there are the

young of hiras and manis, but on those of the North side there is

nothing. On the South side there are five branches, and within the

fruit there are manis. Do not forget this. The large hira, which

glitters on my sister's breast, is the mother hira." Just as she

concluded the foregoing instructions the cock crew, and she added,

"See that you remember all I have told you."

Then Lelha left his bride to return to his brothers. As he went he

remembered that they would be sure to abuse him for having been

absent, so he collected a large number of shells, and stringing

them together, hung them round his neck, and went dancing to the

camp. When his brothers saw him, in the dress of a merryandrew they

rebuked him severely.


Lelha's excuse for his absence was as follows. He said, "You,

my brothers, always leave me here alone in the camp. Yesterday

several shepherds came, and forcibly carried me away. They kept me

awake all night. They tied these shells round my neck and made me

dance. They also made me drive cattle round and round. I had no rest

all night. They also shewed me hiras and manis."

Lelha's brothers eagerly enquired, "Where did you see the hiras and

manis? Come, show us the place at once." Lelha replied, "We must first

buy food for the hiras and manis." So they went to the bazaar to buy

food for the hiras and manis. Lelha first bought two goats, and his

brothers abused him, and said, "Will hiras and manis eat these?" Some

one of them said, "Slap him." Another said, "Do not slap him, they

may perhaps eat them." Then he bought a pair of shoes, at which again

they reviled him. Then he bought two ropes, when they again reviled

him. Lastly he purchased two bundles of grass, and having provided

these necessary articles, they went and hired a boat. The horses of

the four brothers were dead, so they had to proceed on foot to where

the boat lay.

After sailing for some time they reached an island, and landed. They

quickly found the house of the Indarpuri Kuri. It was closed by a large

stone lying over the entrance. Lelha ordered his brothers to remove

it, but they were displeased and said, "How do you expect to find

hiras and manis under this stone." Lelha said, "Truly, my brothers,

they are under the stone." He pressed them to attempt the removal

of the stone, so they, and others to the number of fifty tried their

strength but the stone seemed immovable. Then Lelha said, "Stand by,

and allow me to try." So putting to his hand, he easily removed it,

and revealed the entrance to the mansion of the Indarpuri Kuri. His

brothers were so astounded at the strength he displayed that they

lost the power of speech.

Lelha then said to his brothers, "Take one of these ropes, and bind it

round me, and lower me down, and when you feel me shaking the rope,

then quickly pull me up. I go to find hiras." His brothers quickly

bound the rope round his body, and he, taking the goats, the pair of

shoes, and the bundles of grass, descended.

A short distance from where he reached the ground, he found a door,

which was guarded by an elephant bound by the foot to a stake. To

him he threw a bundle of grass and passed on. At the next door he

found a tiger, likewise chained, and as he approached, it opened its

jaws as if to devour him. To it, he gave a goat, and was allowed to

pass. At the third door was a dog. He threw a shoe to it, and when

the dog was engaged biting it, he passed through. Then he saw the hira

sparkling upon the bosom of the sleeping Indarpuri Kuri. Going near,

he snatched it up, and fled. The dog, however, barred his exit but

he threw the other shoe to it, and passed on. The tiger had devoured

the goat he had given to it, and was now alert. To it he gave the

other goat, and hurried on. The elephant then opposed him, but the

remaining bundle of grass was sufficient to divert his attention,

and he passed through the last door. Then violently shaking the rope

his brothers speedily hauled him up.

Then they went to their boat, and rowed to another part of the island,

where the Sinjo tree grew. They all climbed the tree, but Lelha plucked

the five fruits on the branch to the South, while his brothers plucked

a large number from the North side.

They then returned to their boat and rowed back to the place from

which they had started. From there they went to the house of Lelha's

bride. When she heard of their arrival she ordered refreshments to be

prepared for them. Her servants also all came, and gave Lelha and his

brothers oil, and sent them to bathe. On their return from bathing,

their feet were washed by servants, and they were then taken into

the house.

After they were seated Lelha's brothers began to whisper to each

other, saying, "We do not know of what caste these people are, to

whose house he has brought us to eat food. He will cause us to lose

caste." Lelha heard what they were saying, and in explanation said,

"Not so, brothers. This is my wife's house." They replied, "It is all

right then." So they ate and drank heartily, and afterwards prepared

to return home.


The journey was to be by boat. Lelha sent his brothers on ahead in one

boat, and he and his wife followed in another. There was a distance

of two or three kos between the boats.

Lelha's brothers as they sailed along came to a certain ghat at which

a raja was bathing. He was raja of the country through which they

were passing. He demanded from Lelha's brothers to know what they had

in their boat. They replied, "We have hiras and manis with us." Then

the raja said, "Shew them to me. You may be thieves." They replied,

"No, they are inside these Sinjo fruits." The raja said, "Break one, I

wish to see what they are like." So the brothers broke one, but nothing

was found in it. Then the raja called his soldiers, and ordered them

to bind the four brothers. So the soldiers seized and bound them, and

carried them off to prison. Just then Lelha's boat arrived. He was in

time to see his brothers pass within the prison doors. Having seen the

four brothers in safe custody the raja returned to the bathing ghat,

and seeing Lelha he demanded to know what he had in his boat. Lelha

answered, "We have hiras and manis as our cargo." The raja then said,

"Shew them to me, I would fain look upon them." Lelha said, "You wish

to see hiras and manis without any trouble to yourself. If I show

you them, what will you give me in return? There are hiras and manis

in this Sinjo fruit." The raja replied, "Those who came before you

deceived me. I have no doubt, but that you will do so also." Lelha

said, "What will you give me? Make an offer, and I shall shew you

them at once." The raja replied, "I have one daughter, her I will

give to you, and along with her an estate, if there are hiras and

manis in that Sinjo fruit, and if there are none in it, I will keep

you prisoner all your lifetime." Lelha immediately broke one of the

Sinjo fruits, and five hiras and manis rolled out. When the raja saw

it he was confounded, but what could he do? According to his promise,

he gave him his daughter and an estate.

The marriage ceremony being over, Lelha was invited to partake of the

raja's hospitality, but he refused, saying, "If you set my brothers

at liberty I shall eat, but not unless you do so." So the brothers

were released, and taken to the bath. After they had bathed, their

feet were washed, and they were led into the palace to the feast.

The brothers, after they were seated, began to whisper to each other,

saying, "Whose house is this? Of what caste are the people? Does he

wish to make us lose our caste?" But Lelha reassured them by saying,

"Not so, my brothers. I have espoused the raja's daughter." Hearing

this they were relieved, and all enjoyed the marriage feast.


Then they made preparations to continue their journey. Lelha again

sent his four brothers first, and he followed with his two wives.

After a sail of a few hours they entered the territory of another

raja, and came upon his bathing ghat. The raja was bathing there at

the time, and the boat passing, he enquired what her cargo was. The

brothers answered, "We have hiras and manis on board." The raja said,

"I would see them." They replied, "They are in the boat following

us." The raja was displeased with their answer, and ordered them to

be seized as vagrants.

Lelha's boat came alongside the bathing ghat just as his four brothers

were led off to prison, and the raja seeing it, asked Lelha what

cargo he carried. Lelha replied, "Our cargo is hiras and manis." The

raja begged Lelha to shew them to him, but he refused saying, "What

will you give for a sight of them? Promise something, and you can

see them." The raja said, "Of a truth, if you can shew me hiras and

manis I will give you my daughter. I have one, a virgin, her I will

give you, and I will also confer upon you an estate."

Then Lelha, seizing a Sinjo fruit, broke it, and out rolled five

hiras and manis, which when the raja saw he marvelled greatly. He

honourably fulfilled his engagement, and Lelha's marriage with his

daughter was celebrated forthwith.

The wedding over Lelha was conducted to the bath, and afterwards

invited to a banquet; but he declined saying, "So long as you detain

my brothers in confinement, I cannot partake of your hospitality." So

they were brought to the palace, and their feet bathed, and then

ushered into the banqueting room. After they were seated they began

to whisper to each other, "What caste do these people belong to,

with whom he expects us to eat? Does he intend to make us break our

caste?" Lelha hearing them, said, "Not so, my brothers. This is my

father-in-law's house." Thus were their doubts removed, and they ate

and drank with much pleasure.


The journey homewards was resumed in the morning, the boats in the

same order as previously.

Lelha's four brothers were envious of his good fortune, and on the way

they talked about him, and decided that he must be put to death. They

said, "How can we put him out of the way? If we do not make away with

him, on our return home, he will be sure to secure the succession to

our father's kingdom." Having come to this conclusion the next thing

was, how could it be accomplished, for Lelha was far more powerful than

they were. It was only by stratagem that they could hope to accomplish

their purpose, so they said, "We will invite him to a feast and when

he stands with a foot on either boat, before stepping into ours,

we will push the boats apart and he will fall into the river and

be drowned. We must get his wives to join in the plot, for without

their aid we cannot carry it into execution." During the day they

found means to communicate with Lelha's wives. They said to them,

"We will make a feast on our boat. Make him come on board first,

and when he has a foot on each boat you push yours back, and we

will do the same to ours, and he will fall into the water, and be

drowned. We are the sons of a raja, and our country is very large. We

will take you with us and make you ranis." Lelha's wives pretended to

agree to their proposal; but they afterwards told him all. They said,

"Do as they wish, but you will not be drowned. We will remain faithful

to you, and you will reach home before us."

So the four brothers prepared a sumptuous feast, and the boats were

brought close to each other to enable Lelha and his wives to go on

board. One of Lelha's wives tied a knot on his waist cloth, as a

token that they would remain true to him. He then preceded them in

going into the other boat, and just as he had a foot on each gunwale,

the boats were pushed asunder, and Lelha fell into the water. Having

thus got rid, as they thought, of Lelha, the brothers made all possible

speed homewards.


At the bottom of the river a bell sprang into existence, and Lelha was

found lying asleep in it. Then he awoke and sat up, and loosening the

knot which his wife had tied on his waist cloth, said, "Oh! Indarpuri

Kuri, give me at once food and drink, tobacco and fire," and on

the instant his wants were supplied. So he ate and drank, and was

refreshed. Then he prepared his pipe, and when he had lit it he said,

"Oh! Indarpuri Kuri, give me a fully equipped horse that will carry

me home before the tobacco in this pipe is consumed." The last word

had scarcely escaped his lips when a horse stood beside him. It was

a fierce animal, of a blue colour, and no fly could alight on its

skin. It was fully equipped, and impatient to start. Lelha, still

smoking his pipe, mounted, and his steed at one bound cleared the

river, although it was seven or eight kos broad, and flying like the

wind, landed him at home before the tobacco in his pipe was consumed.

The hiras and manis were in the possession of Lelha's wives. His

brothers wheedled them into giving them up, saying they will be safer

with us.

Lelha went to his mother's house and said to her, "Tell no one of my

being here." He had alighted from his horse on the outskirts of the

city, and returned it to the Indarpuri Kuri.

A period of ten days elapsed before Lelha's brothers and his wives

arrived. The latter declined to accompany the former at once to the

raja's palace. They said, "Let your mothers come, and conduct us,

as is usual when a bride enters her husband's house." The two elder

ranis then came, and the four sons went to the raja's flower garden

and hung the hiras and manis on the branches of the trees, and the

whole countryside was instantly lighted up by the sheen of the precious

stones. The saying of the Koema Jugi was fulfilled to the letter.

Lelha also sent his mother to welcome his wives, but when the elder

ranis saw her coming, they reviled her and drove her away. They would

not permit her to come near. She returned home weeping. "You told me,"

she said, "to go and welcome your wives, and I have been abused. When

will you learn wisdom?" Lelha ran into the house, and brought a ring,

and giving it to his mother, said, "Take this ring, and place it

in the lap of one of them." She took the ring, and gave it to one

of Lelha's wives, and immediately they all rose, and followed her

laughing, to their new home.

The elder ranis went and informed their sons of what had happened,

but they said, "They are Lelha's wives. What can we do?"


The Indarpuri Kuri whom Lelha had robbed of her hira now awoke, and

at once missed her precious jewel. She knew that Lelha had stolen it

from her, and summoning her army to her standard marched upon Lelha's

father's capital, to which she laid siege, and before many hours had

elapsed, the raja was a prisoner in her hands.

This Indarpuri Kuri said to him, "Will you give up the hiras and manis,

or will you fight?" The raja sent the following message to his four

sons, "Will you fight to retain possession of the hiras and manis,

or will you deliver them up?" They were afraid, so they gave answer,

"We will not. Lelha knows all about the hiras and manis. We do not."

The raja then sent and called Lelha, and enquired, "Will you shew

fight, Lelha, or will you give up the hiras and manis?" Lelha replied,

"I will fight. I will not part with the hiras and manis. I obtained

them only after much painful toil, so I cannot deliver them up. Ask

them to agree to delay hostilities for a short time, but inform them

that Lelha will fight."

Lelha hurried to the further end of the garden, and taking the hair of

the first Indarpuri Kuri in his hand said, "Oh! Indarpuri Kuri. Give me

an army four times stronger than the one brought against me, so that

I may make short work of my enemies." Immediately an army of 44,000

men stood in military array, awaiting his orders. The two armies

joined battle, and Lelha discomfited the host of the Indarpuri Kuri,

and she herself became his prize. She became his wife, and returned no

more to her cavernous home in the solitary island. Lelha thus became

the husband of four wives.

Then the raja called his five sons together and said, "In my estimation

Lelha is the one best qualified to became raja of this kingdom. I

therefore resign all power and authority into his hands." Lelha

replied, "Yes, father, you have judged righteously. My brothers have

caused me much distress. First, they pushed off the raised platform

in your flower garden, but of that I did not inform you. Then they

caused me, who was the finder of the hiras and manis, to fall into

the river. You saw how they refused to fight, and threw all the

responsibility upon me. They have used me spitefully. They have tried

to make a cat's paw of me."

So Lelha was raja of all the country, and his brothers were his

servants. One was in charge of Lelha's pipe and tobacco, another

ploughed his fields, and the other two had like menial offices assigned

to them.