The Story Of Two Princesses

: Santal Folk Tales

A certain raja had two daughters, who were in the habit of amusing

themselves out side of the palace walls. One day they saw a crow

flying towards them with a ripe Terel [21] fruit in his beak. They then

said to each other, "What fruit is it? It looks nice and sweet." The

crow let the fruit fall in front of them. They ran and picked it

up, and ate it. It tasted deliciously sweet. Then they said, "From

whence did the cr
w bring such a good fruit?" Then they remembered

the direction from which they had seen it coming, and said, "If we

go this way we shall find it." So they went, but it was only after

they had travelled a great distance from home that they found the

Terel tree with the ripe luscious fruit.

The elder of the two girls climbed up into the tree, and shook down

a large quantity of the fruit. They then feasted to their heart's

content. Presently they began to feel thirsty, and the elder said to

the younger, "You remain here while I go to drink, and I will also

bring you water in a leaf cup." Having said this she went away to

the tank, and her sister remained under the Terel tree. The day was

extremely hot, and they were very thirsty.

The elder having quenched her thirst was returning carrying water for

her sister in a cup made of the leaves of a Terel tree, when a bhut

came flying along, and fell into the cup of water. Presently she became

aware that there was a hole in the bottom of her cup through which

all the water had run out. What could she do now? There was no help

for it but to return to the tank, make another leaf cup, and filling

it with water return to her sister. As she was returning with the cup

full of water the bhut again came flying up, and entering the water

passed through the leaf, making a hole by which all the water escaped.

Again she made a leaf cup, and having filled it with water was

returning when the bhut again came, and destroyed her cup, and caused

her to lose the water. In this way she was detained till very late.

A raja who happened to be in the vicinity saw a beautiful girl carrying

water in a leaf cup, and a bhut come and make a hole in the cup, so

that it soon became empty. Having seen this several times repeated,

he drew near, and feasted his eyes on her beauty. Then he carried

her away to his palace, where they were joined in wedlock, and the

princess, now the rani, cooked the food for herself and her husband.

The younger princess remained near the Terel tree, and although she

had given up hope of again meeting her sister, still she continued

to wait. At length a herd of Hanuman monkeys came to feed upon the

Terel fruit. When the girl saw them coming she was terrified and crept

into the hollow of the tree. The monkeys with the exception of an old

frail one, climbed into the tree and began to eat the fruit. The old

monkey remained below and picked up the fruit shells which the others

threw down.

The old monkey having noticed the girl hiding in the hollow of the

tree called to the others, "Throw me down some. If you do not I shall

not share the Setke chopot I have found." The monkeys in the tree

said, "Do not give him any. He is deceiving us. When his hunger is

satisfied he will run and leave us." So no fruit was thrown down to

him, and he was forced to be content with the shells. The monkeys in

the tree having fared sumptuously, left. The old monkey waited till

they were out of sight, and then entered the hollow of the tree,

where the girl was, and ate her up. He then went to the tank to

drink, and afterwards went in the direction of the raja's garden,

on reaching which he lay down and died. One of the gardeners finding

him dead threw him on the dunghill.

From the place where the monkey decayed a gourd sprang, and grew, and

bore a fruit which ripened. One day a jugi, when on his rounds begging,

saw this fruit and plucking it took it away with him. Out of the shell

he made a banjo, which when played upon emitted wonderful music. The

words which seemed to proceed from the banjo were as follows:

Ripe terels, ripe terels, Oh! Sister mine.

Went in search of water, Oh! Sister mine.

Raja and Rani they became.

Seven hundred monkeys old,

Ate me up, ate me up. Oh! Sister mine.

The jugi was greatly pleased with the music of his new banjo, and

determined to take it with him when he went a begging. So one day

he set out with his banjo the music of which so pleased the people

that they gave him large gifts of money and clothes. In course of

time he arrived at the palace where the elder sister was now rani,

and, being admitted, began to play on his banjo. The instrument again

produced most wonderful music. It seemed to wail as follows:

Ripe terels, ripe terels, Oh! Sister mine.

Went in search of water, Oh! Sister mine.

Raja and Rani they became.

Seven hundred monkeys old,

Ate me up, ate me up. Oh! Sister mine.

Having listened to the music the rani said, "It is wonderfully

sweet," and she fancied she heard her sister's voice in every

note. She thought it possible that it was she who sang in the banjo,

and she desired to obtain possession of it. So she invited the jugi

to pass the night in the palace, saying, I would hear more of this

entrancing music." The jugi listened to the words of the rani and

agreed to remain till morning. So the rani made much of him with the

intention of at length obtaining possession of his banjo. She caused

a goat to be killed, and she cooked a splendid supper for the jugi,

who finding the food so toothsome ate heartily. Wine was not withheld,

and the jugi being in a festive frame of mind drank deeply, so that he

soon lay as one dead. The rani took the banjo, and placed another in

its stead. She then threw filth over the unconscious jugi and retired

to her own apartment.

The jugi on awaking before sunrise found himself in a pitiable

plight. He felt so thoroughly disgusted with himself that, hastily

picking up his staff, cloth, and banjo, he fled with the utmost

possible speed from the palace. When dawn broke he saw that the banjo

he had was not his own, and although he felt keenly its loss he was

too much ashamed of the condition he had been in to go back to seek it.

The rani hid the jugi's banjo in her own room, because she knew her

sister to be in it. Whenever the raja and rani went out to walk the

girl left the banjo and having bathed and dressed her hair, cooked

the family meal, and then returned to the banjo. This happened so

often that at last, it came to the knowledge of the raja that a fairy

lived in the banjo, and when the way was clear used to come out and

prepare food for the rani and himself. So he determined to lie in wait

for the fairy cook. He then sent the rani somewhere on an errand,

and hid himself in a corner of the room from whence he could see

the banjo. In a short time the princess emerged from the banjo, and

began to dress her hair, and anoint herself with oil, after which she

cooked rice. She divided the food into three portions, one of which

she ate. As she was about to re-enter the banjo the raja sprang out

and caught hold of her. She exclaimed, "Chi! Chi! you may be a Hadi,

or you may be a Dom." The raja replied, "Chi! Chi! whether I be a Dom,

or a Hadi, from to-day you and I are one."