Folklore of the Santal Parganas


Part II

To a people living in the jungles the wild animals are much more than animals are to us. To the man who makes a clearing in the forest, life is largely a struggle against the beasts of prey and the animals who graze down the crops. It is but natural that he should credit them with feelings and intelligence similar to those of human beings, and that they should seem to him suitable characters around which to weave stories.

These stories are likely to be particularly current among a people occupying a forest country, and for this reason are less likely to appear in collections made among the inhabitants of towns. It is a strange coincidence and presumably only a coincidence that Story 118, 'The Hyena outwitted' is known in a precisely similar form among the Kaffirs of South Africa.

CX. The Jackal and the Crow.

Once upon a time a crow and a jackal became bosom friends and they agreed that the crow should support the jackal in the hot weather and the jackal support the crow in the rainy season. By-and-bye the jackal got discontented with the arrangement, and vowed that it would not go on supporting an animal of another species, but would take some opportunity of eating it up. But he did not let this appear, and one day he invited the crow to a feast and gave him as many frogs and grasshoppers as he could eat and treated him well and they parted very affectionately.

Then a few days later the crow invited the jackal to dinner in return; and when the jackal arrived the crow led him to an ant-hill and showed him a hollow gourd which he had filled with live mice and said "Here is your dinner." The jackal could not get his nose into the hole of the gourd so, to get at the mice, he had to break it. And the mice ran all over the place and the jackal jumped about here and there trying to catch them. At this sight the crow stood and laughed; and the jackal said to himself "Very well, my friend, you invited me here to have a laugh at me; wait till I have finished with the mice; then it will be your turn."

So when he had caught all the mice he could, he declared that he had had as much as he could eat and would like to go and sleep off his meal. As they said farewell and were salaaming to each other, the jackal pounced on the crow and ate him up; not a bone or a claw was left. Then the jackal began to skip with joy and sang:--

"I ate a gourdful of mice And by the side of the ant-hill I ate the crow: Hurrah!"

And singing thus he went skipping homewards; and on the way he met a fowl and called to it to get out of the way or he would eat it,--singing:--

"I ate a gourdful of mice And by the side of the ant-hill I ate the crow:--Hurrah!"

And as the fowl did not move he ate it up; then he skipped on and came to a goat and he sang his verse and told it to get out of the way and as it did not, he ate it; and in the same way he met and killed a sheep and a cow and he ate the liver and lungs of the cow; and then he killed a buffalo and ate its liver and lungs; and by this time he was as full as he could hold. Then he came to a pool of water and he called to it to get out of the way or he would drink it up and as it did not move, he drank it dry. Then he came to a post and said "Get out of my way or I will jump over you"--

"I ate a gourdful of mice And by the side of the ant-hill I ate the crow--Hurrah!"

And so saying he tried to jump over it; but he was so full of what he had eaten and drunk that he leaped short and fell on the point of the stake and was transfixed, so that he died.

CXI. The Tiger Cub and the Calf.

A Tigress and a Cow used to graze in a dense jungle, and they were both with young. They became great friends and agreed that they would marry their children to each other. In the course of time the tigress gave birth to a she-cub and the cow to a bull-calf. They kept the young ones in the same place and used to go and graze together, and then return at the same time to suckle their young. On their way back they used to drink at a certain river, the tigress up the stream and the cow lower down. One day it happened that the cow got first to the river and drank at the upper drinking place, and the tigress drank lower down. And the froth from the cow's mouth floated down the stream and the tigress tasted it and found it nice, and this made her think that the flesh of the cow must also be good; so she resolved to eat the cow one day. The cow saw what was in the mind of the tigress and she left some of her milk in a bowl, and said to her calf: "The tigress has resolved to eat me; watch this milk and when you see it turn red like blood, you will know that I have been killed;" then she went off to graze with the tigress.

The two youngsters always used to play together very happily but that day the calf would not play but kept going to look at the bowl of milk; and the tigress cub asked the reason. The calf told her what his mother had said; then the tigress cub said that if this happened she would never suck from her mother again and it would be better for them both to run away. So the two kept going to look at the bowl of milk, and about midday they saw that it had changed to blood and they both began to weep. Shortly after, the tigress came back, and flies were clustered round her mouth because of the blood on it. The tigress told her daughter to come and suck, but she said that she would wait till the cow came and then she and the calf could have their meal together as usual; at this the tigress frowned terribly and the cub was frightened, so she said, "Very well, mother, I will suck, but first go and wash your mouth; why are the flies clustered round it?" So the tigress went off but she did not wash, she only ate some more of the cow. While she was away, the calf and the cub ran off to another jungle, and when the tigress came back, she searched for them with horrid roarings and could not find them, and if she had found them she would have killed them.

CXII. The Jackal and the Chickens.

Once upon a time a jackal and a hen were great friends and regarded each other as brother and sister; and they agreed to have a feast to celebrate their friendship; so they both brewed rice beer and they first drank at the jackal's house and then went to the hen's house; and there they drank so much that the hen got blind drunk, and while she lay intoxicated the jackal ate her up. The jackal found the flesh so nice that he made up his mind to eat the hen's chickens too; so the next day he went to their house and found them all crying "Cheep, cheep," and he asked what was the matter; they said that they had lost their mother; he told them to cheer up and asked where they slept; they told him 'on the shelf in the wall'.

Then he went away; but the chickens saw that he meant to come and eat them at night, so they did not go to sleep on the shelf but filled it with razors and knives and when the jackal came at night and felt about the shelf he got badly cut and ran away screaming.

But a few day later he paid another visit to the chickens, and condoled with them on the loss of their mother and again asked where they slept, and they told him, 'in the fireplace.' Directly the jackal was gone, they filled the stove with live embers and covered them up with ashes; and went to sleep themselves inside a drum. At night the jackal came and put his paws into the fireplace; but he only scraped the hot embers up against his belly and got burnt; this made him scream and the chickens burst out laughing. The jackal heard them and said "You have got me burnt; now I am going to eat you." They said, "Yes, uncle, but please eat us outside the house; you did not eat our mother in her own house; take us to yonder flat rock."

So the jackal took up the drum but when he got to the rock he accidentally let it fall and it broke and the chickens ran away in all directions; but the chicken that had been at the bottom of the drum had got covered with the droppings of the others and could not fly away; so the jackal thought "Well it is the will of heaven that I should have only one chicken; it is doubtless for the best!" The chicken said to the jackal, "I see that you will eat me, but you cannot eat me in this state; wash me clean first."

So the jackal took the chicken to a pool and washed it; then the chicken asked to be allowed to get a little dry; but the jackal said that if it got dry it would fly away. "Then," said the chicken, "rub me dry with your snout and I will myself tell you when I am ready to be eaten;" so the jackal rubbed it dry and then proceeded to eat it; but directly the jackal got it in his mouth it voided there, so the jackal spat it out and it flew away.

The jackal thought that it had gone into a hole in a white ant-hill, but really it had hidden elsewhere; however the jackal felt for it in the hole and then tried in vain to scrape the hole larger; as he could not get into the hole he determined to sit and wait till hunger or suffocation forced the chicken to come out. So he sat and watched, and he sat so long that the white ants ate off his hind quarters; at last he gave up and went off to the rice fields to look for fish and crabs. There he saw an old woman catching fish, and he asked to be allowed to help her. So the old woman sat on the bank and the jackal jumped and twisted about in the water and presently he caught a potha fish which he ate; but as the jackal had no hind quarters the fish passed through him none the worse. Soon the jackal caught the same fish over again, and he laughed at the old woman because she had caught none. She told him that he was catching the same fish over and over again, and when he would not believe her she told him to mark with a thorn the next one which he caught; he did so and then found that he really was catching and eating the same fish over and over again.

At this he was much upset and asked what he should do. The old woman advised him to go to a cobbler and get patched up; so he went and killed a fowl and took it to a cobbler and offered it to him if he would put him to rights; so the cobbler sewed on a leather patch with a long leather tail which rapped on the ground as the jackal went along. Then the jackal went to a village to steal fowls and he danced along with his tail tapping, and sang:

"Now the Moghul cavalry are coming And the Koenda Rajas. Run away or they will utterly destroy you."

And when the villagers heard this they all ran away and the jackal entered the village and killed as many fowls as he wanted.

A few days later he went again to the village and frightened away the villagers as before; but one old woman was too feeble to run away and she hid in a pig sty, and one fowl that the jackal chased, ran into this sty and the jackal followed it, and when he saw the old woman, he told her to catch the fowl for him or he would knock her teeth out; but she told him to catch it himself; so he caught and ate it. Then he said to the old woman. Say "Toyo" (jackal) and she said "Toyo;" then he took a currypounder and knocked all her teeth out and told her again to say "Toyo;" but as she had no teeth she said "Hoyo;" this amused the jackal immensely and he went away laughing.

When the villagers returned, the old woman told them that it was only a jackal who had attacked the village, so they decided to kill him; but one man said "You won't be able to catch him; let us make an image of this old woman and cover it with birdlime and set it up at the end of the village street; he will stop and abuse her, and we shall know where he is." So they did this, and the next morning, when the jackal came singing along the road, they hid inside their houses. When the jackal reached the village, he saw the figure of the old woman with its arms stretched out, and he said to it, "What are you blocking my road for? get out of the way; I knocked your teeth out yesterday: arn't you afraid? Get out of the way or I will kick you out."

As the figure did not move he gave it a kick and his leg was caught in the birdlime; then he said, "Let me go, you old hag, or I will give you a slap." Then he gave it a slap and his front paw was stuck fast; then he slapped at it with his other paw and that stuck; then he tried to bite the figure and his jaws got caught also; and when he was thus helpless the villagers came out and beat him to death and that was the end of the jackal.

CXIII. The Jackal Punished.

Once a hen and a jackal were great friends, and they decided to have a feast and each brewed beer for the occasion; the hen brewed with rice, and maize and millet and the jackal brewed with lizards, locusts, frogs and fish. And when the brew was ready, they first went to the jackal's house, but the hen could not touch his beer, it smelt so bad and the jackal drank it all; then they went to the hen's house and her beer was very nice and they both drank till the hen got very drunk and began to stagger about; and the jackal made up his mind that the hen must be very nice to eat, as her beer was so good to drink and when he saw her drunk he was delighted and sang:

"Fowl, do not graze in the field! The jackal laughs to see you. Paddy bird, do not fish in the pond! You pecked a piece of sedge thinking it was a frog's leg! Do not drink rice beer, O fowl! The jackal laughs to see you.

And so saying he gobbled her up; and her chickens cried at the sight. Then the jackal resolved to eat the chickens also, so he came back the next day, and asked them where they slept and they said "In the hearth." But when the jackal had gone, the chickens planned how they should save their lives.

Their mother had laid an egg and as there was no one to hatch it now, they said, "Egg, you must lie in the fireplace and blind the jackal;" and they said to the paddy husker, "You must stand by the door and when the jackal runs out you must knock him down;" and they told the paddy mortar to wait on the roof over the door and fall and crush the jackal. So they put the egg among the hot ashes in the fireplace and they themselves sat in a cupboard with axes ready; and when the jackal came he went to the fireplace and scratched out the ashes; and the egg burst and spirted into his eyes and blinded him and as he ran out of the door the paddy husker knocked him over; and as he crawled away the paddy mortar fell on him from the roof and crushed him; then the chickens ran out and chopped him to pieces with their axes and revenged the death of their mother.

CXIV. The Tigers and the Cat.

In former days tigers and cats were friends and used to hunt together and share the game they caught; and they did not eat the game raw but used to cook it as men do.

One day some tigers and a cat had killed a deer and they had no fire with which to cook it; then the tigers said to the cat "You are small, go and beg a light from yonder village." But the cat said that he was afraid to go; however they urged him saying "You have a thin tail and plump feet; you can bring it in a trice." So, as they all insisted on his going, he at last consented; and said "Well, I will go; but don't expect me to be very quick; if I get a good opportunity for fetching the fire, I will come back soon." They said "All right, go and run off with a small fire-brand and we will meet you outside the village."

So the cat went off and coming to a house, went inside to pull a firebrand from the hearth. On the fire some milk was boiling; and the cat thought "This smells very nice, I will have a taste of it" and he found it so nice that he made up his mind to drink it all, before he took away the fire-brand. But in order to lap the milk he had to put his feet on the fireplace, and it was so hot that he burnt his feet and had to get down; so then he sat down and waited till the fire went out and the hearth grew cool, and then he lapped up the milk and ran off with a piece of smouldering wood.

Meanwhile the tigers had got tired of waiting and had eaten the deer raw; and they were very angry at being made to eat raw flesh and swore that they would eat the cat too. When they saw the cat bringing the fire they ran to meet him and abused him and cried out "You have made us eat raw flesh; we will eat you too, dung and all" On hearing this threat the cat ran back to the village in fear of his life; and the tigers followed in pursuit; but when they got near the village, the village dogs all ran out barking and the tigers were frightened and turned back and the cat was saved. From that day tigers and leopards have eaten raw flesh; and cats bury their excrement, because of what the tigers had said.

Every day the tigers went to the village in search of the cat; but when the dogs barked they slunk away; for the tigers were very frightened at the sight of the dogs' curly tails; they thought that the tails were nooses and that they would be strangled by them. One day one of the tigers met a jackal and called to him "Nephew, listen to me; a cat made us eat raw flesh and has escaped into this village and I want to catch it, but the dogs come barking at me. I don't mind that, but I am very frightened of their nooses. Now, you are very like a dog, cannot you go and tell them not to use their nooses." The jackal answered, "Uncle, you are quite mistaken; what you see are their tails, not nooses; they will not strangle you with them." So the tiger took courage and the next day went to the village to hunt for the cat, but he could not find it. And when the dogs barked he got angry and caught and killed one of them; and from that time tigers and leopards eat dogs.

CXV. The Elephant and the Ants.

In the days of old there was a great deal more jungle than there is now, and wild elephants were very numerous; once upon a time a red ant and a black ant were burrowing in the ground, when a wild elephant appeared and said "Why are you burrowing here; I will trample all your work to pieces;" the ants answered "Why do you talk like this; do not despise us because we are small; perhaps we are better than you in some ways;" The elephant said "Do not talk nonsense: there is nothing at which you could beat me; I am in all ways the largest and most powerful animal on the face of the earth." Then the ants said "Well, let us run a race and see who will win, unless you win we will not admit that you are supreme." At this the elephant got into a rage and shouted; "Well, come we will start at once," and it set off to run with all its might and when it got tired it looked down at the ground and there were two ants. So it started off again and when it stopped and looked down, there on the ground were two ants; so it ran on again, but wherever it stopped it saw the ants, and at last it ran so far that it dropped down dead from exhaustion.

Now it is a saying that ants are more numerous in this world than any other kind of living creature; and what happened was that the two ants never ran at all, but stayed where they were; but whenever the elephant looked at the ground, it saw some ants running about and thought that they were the first two, and so ran itself to death.

This story teaches us not to despise the poor man, because one day he may have an opportunity to put us to shame.

From this story of the elephant we should learn this lesson; the Creator knows why He made some animals big and some small and why He made some men fools; so we should neither bully nor cheat men who happen to be born stupid.

CXVI. A Fox and His Wife.

Once upon a time there were a fox and his wife who lived in a hole with their five little ones. Every evening the two foxes used to make their way to a bazar to feed on the scraps thrown away by the bazar people; and every night on their way home the following conversation passed between them. The fox would say to his wife, "Come tell me how much wit you have," and she would answer him by, "Only so much as would fill a small vegetable basket." Then she in her turn would ask "And how much wit have you?" "As much as would load twelve buffaloes."

One night as they were on their way home as usual, the two suddenly found themselves face to face with a tiger, who greeted them by saying "At last my friends, I have got you."

At this the fox for all his wit, could not utter a word but crouched down and shook with fright. Mrs Fox however was not at all inclined to give way to despair. She saluted the tiger and said "Ah, uncle, do not eat us up just now; I and my husband have a dispute and we want you to settle it for us." The tiger was mollified by being addressed by so respectful a name as uncle, and answered in a gentler voice "Well, my niece, tell me what is the point and I will decide it for you."

"It is this," went on Mrs. Fox, "we have five children and we wish to divide them between us but we cannot decide how to do so; I say that I will take three and leave him two; while he wants to take three and leave me two. We came out to look for some man to settle the dispute but have not met one: and now providentially you have appeared before us like a god; no doubt you will be able to make the division for us." The tiger reflected that if he managed things well, he would be able to eat not only the two foxes but their young ones as well, so he graciously agreed to make the division.

The foxes then invited him to come back with them to the hole in which they lived, and when they reached it, Mr. Fox bolted into it saying that he was going to bring out the children. As however he did not come out again, Mrs. Fox said that it was clear that he could not manage the children by himself, and she would go and help; and thereupon proceeded to back into the hole, keeping her face turned towards the tiger.

Seeing her disappearing the tiger thought to seize her, but as she kept her eyes on him he could only say "Hullo, what is the matter? Why are you going in backwards?" "Oh, uncle," replied Mrs. Fox, "how could I turn my back on so great a personage as you?" and with that she disappeared. Presently the tiger heard the two foxes calling out from inside "Goodbye, uncle, you can go away now; we have arranged how to divide the children ourselves." Then he saw how he had been fooled and flew into a terrible rage and tried to squeeze his way into the hole; but it was much too small and at last he had to go away baffled: and so the foxes were saved by Mrs. Fox's wit.

CXVII. The Jackal and the Crocodiles.

Once upon a time there was a Raja who had an only son. As the boy grew up his father sent him to a school to learn to read and write. One day on his way back from school, the boy sat down by the road side to rest, and placed his school books on the ground by his side. Suddenly a jackal came along and snatched up the bundle of books and ran away with it; and though the boy ran after it, he failed to catch the jackal and had to go and tell his father how he had lost his school books. The Raja told him not to mind, as it was a very good omen and meant that he would grow up as clever as a jackal; and so the matter ended as far as the boy was concerned; and his father bought him a new set of books.

But the jackal ran off to the side of a tank and taking a book from the bundle sat down and began to read it aloud. He kept on saying over and over again "Ibor, obor, iakoro sotro" "Ibor obor iakoro sotro."

Hearing the noise a crocodile who lived in the tank poked his head out of the water and began "Well, nephew, what is that you are repeating?" "I am only reading a book, uncle."

"What, nephew, do you know how to read and write?"

"Yes, certainly I do," answered the jackal.

"In that case," returned the crocodile "would you mind teaching my five children?" The jackal was quite willing to be their master, but a difficulty struck the crocodile; the jackal lived on high land, and the little crocodiles could not go so far from the water. The jackal at once suggested a way out of the difficulty: "Let the crocodile dig a little pool near where the jackal lived and put the children into it. Then the jackal could take the little crocodiles out of it when he was giving them their lessons and put them back again when they had finished." So it was arranged, and in two or three days the crocodile dug the pool and the jackal began the lessons.

Each morning the jackal took the five little crocodiles out of the water and told them to repeat after him what he said, and then he began "Ibor obor iakoro sotro" "Ibor obor iakoro sotro." But try as they might the little crocodiles could not pronounce the words properly; then the jackal lost his temper and cuffed them soundly. In spite of this they still showed no signs of improvement, till at last the jackal made up his mind that he could not go on with such unsatisfactory pupils, and that the best thing he could do would be to eat them up one at a time. So the next morning he addressed the little crocodiles, "I see that you can't learn, when I take you in class all together: in future I will have you up one at a time and teach you like that." So he took one out of the water and began to teach it; but the little crocodile could not pronounce its words properly, so in a very short time the jackal got angry and gobbled it up. The next day he took out another, which soon met the same fate as its brother; and so things went on till the jackal had eaten four out of the five.

When there was only one left, the crocodile came to see how the lessons were getting on. The sight of him put the jackal in a terrible fright; but he answered the crocodile that the children were making very fair progress. "Well, I want to see them. Come along and let us have a look at them."

This was awkward for the jackal, but his wits did not desert him; he ran on ahead to the pool and going into the water, caught the one little crocodile which remained, and held it up, saying "See here is one." Then he popped it under the water and brought it up again and said "See, here's another" and this he did five times and persuaded the crocodile that he had seen his five children.

The crocodile pretended to be satisfied but he was not quite easy in his mind and would have preferred to see all the five little ones at once. However, he said nothing, but made up his mind to watch the jackal; so the next day he hid himself and waited to see what happened. He saw the jackal take the little crocodile out of the water and begin the lesson--"Ibor obor iakoro." Then when the unfortunate pupil still failed to pronounce the words, the jackal began to give it cuffs and blows. At this sight the crocodile ran forward and caught the jackal, crying out "Show me my other four little ones; is this the way you treat my children?" The jackal had no answer to give and the crocodile soon put an end to his life and took back his one remaining child to the tank where he lived.

CXVIII. The Bullfrog and the Crab.

There was a Raja who had no head and there was a Tiger who had no tail. One day they met in a nullah. "Here's a fine dinner for me" said the Tiger. "Here's a fine dinner for me!" said the Raja. At this retort the Tiger's courage oozed away; and he did not dare to go any nearer; but he called out "Well, if I am to be your dinner, come and catch me:" and the Raja called out "If I am to be your dinner, come and catch me." So they stood challenging each other, but neither took a step forward. Then the Tiger became abusive and called out, "What have you done with your head?" the Raja retorted "What is a tiger without a tail? You also are short of a member. I may have no head but I have more legs than you." The Tiger could think of no retort to make to this and so said "Come, don't let us quarrel any more; let us be friends; I live near here, where do you live?"

"My home is also near here."

"Then we are neighbours: there is no reason why we should be enemies."

"Who knows what you are at?" answered the Raja: "for you are pretending that you cannot see aright, but it is quite true that we are neighbours." "You are right," said the other, "I admit that I did wrong, and I bow down before you." So they saluted each other and the Tiger said "Let's have a song to show what good friends we are: and he sang (to the rice planting tune):

"The Frog King and the Frog Queen Sat at their front door. The Frog King's marriage is going on: Look, my master! The Frog King and the Frog Queen! The Frog King's marriage is going on."

CXIX. The Hyaena Outwitted.

Once upon a time there was a great tiger who lived in a forest; and all the other animals that lived in the forest treated him as their Raja, down to the very birds. They all felt safe under his protection, because he was so much feared that no men dared hunt in that forest. One day it happened that this Raja tiger killed a man and made such a enormous meal on the flesh, that he got very bad indigestion. The pain grew worse and worse, till he felt sure that his last hour was come.

In his agony he sent for a hyaena and offered to make him his dewan, if only he would call all the other animals of the forest to come and pay a farewell visit to their lord. The hyaena readily agreed but thought it would be better to send another messenger, while he stayed by the tiger to see that all the animals duly presented themselves. Just then a crow flew overhead; so they called him and deputed him to summon all the animals.

The crow flew off and in a short time all the animals assembled before the tiger and paid their respects to him and expressed wishes for his speedy recovery;--all except the jackals. They had been summoned along with the others; but somehow they paid no attention and only remembered about it in the afternoon. Then they were very frightened as to what would be the consequence of their remissness; but one chief jackal stood up and told them not to fear, as he would contrive a way of getting the better of the hyaena. There was nothing else to be done, so they had to put what trust they could in their chief and follow him to the Tiger.

On his way the chief jackal picked up a few roots, and took them with him. When they reached the place where the suffering monarch lay, the hyaena at once began to abuse them for being late, and the Tiger also angrily asked why they had not come before; then the chief jackal began humbly "O Maharaja, we were duly summoned; your messenger is not to blame; but we reflected that it was useless merely to go and look at you when you were so ill: that could do you no good; so we bestirred ourselves to try and find some medicine that would cure you. We have searched the length and breadth of the jungle and have found all that is necessary, except one thing and that we have failed to find." "Tell me what it is," said the hyaena, "and I will at once despatch all these animals to look for it and it will surely be found." "Yes," echoed the tiger, "what is it?" "Maharaja," said the jackal, "when you take these medicines, you must lie down on the fresh skin of a hyaena, which has been flayed alive; but the only hyaena we can find in the forest is your dewan" "The world can well bear the loss of one hyaena," said the Tiger: "take him and skin him." At these words all the animals set upon the hyaena and flayed him alive; and the tiger lay down on the skin and took the medicines brought by the jackal; and as he was not seriously ill, his pain soon began to pass away.

"That is a lesson to the hyaena not to scold us and get us into trouble," said the jackal, as he went home.

CXX. The Crow and the Egret.

A crow and a white egret once made their nests in the same tree, and when the nestlings began to grow up the crow saw how pretty and white the young egrets were, and thought them much nicer than her own black young ones. So one day when the egret was away, the crow changed the nestlings and brought the little white egrets, to her own nest. When the mother egret returned and found the ugly little black crows in her own nest, it did not take her long to see what had happened and she at once taxed the crow with the theft. The crow denied all knowledge of the matter and a fine quarrel ensued.

Quarrelling led to nothing and they agreed to refer the dispute to the decision of a money-lender, whose house stood by the tree in which the two nests were. The crow, as the less shy of the two, flew down and asked the money-lender to come out and settle their dispute. The first question the money-lender asked was what they were going to give him. The egret promised to catch him a fine rohu fish, which was what she was accustomed to eat, but the crow said that she would give him a golden necklace. The money-lender said that the fees must be brought first before he heard the case, so the egret flew off and caught a big fish, but the crow went to where a Raja was bathing and carried off the gold chain which the Raja had left on the bank of the river. The money-lender then gave his decision, which was in favour of the party who had given him the most valuable present; he decided that the young birds must stay where they were. "But," protested the egret "how have my white nestlings become black?" "That is quite natural" answered the money-lender, "a white cow may have a black or brown calf: why should not you have black young ones?" And so saying he drove them away.

The poor egret was not at all content with this unjust decision, and was about to renew the quarrel, when a jackal came racing by; it had just made its escape from some hunters. "Where are you off to so fast, uncle?" called out the egret. "I am in arrears with my rent and am hurrying to pay it to the Raja," answered the jackal. "Stay and listen to my grievance," begged the egret, and she told the jackal all that had happened and how the money-lender had let himself be bribed by the gold necklace. The jackal was very indignant, "A man who could give a decision like that would call a buffalo, a bullock or a pig, a sheep. It is no decision at all; I cannot stop now, but I will come back to-morrow and decide the matter for you and before doing so, I will stuff the mouth of that unjust judge with filth." So saying the jackal hurried off.

The money-lender heard all that passed and was filled with shame at having earned the contempt of the jackal; he feared more disgrace on the morrow, so he at once called the crow and made her return the egret's nestlings, and the next morning when the jackal came back it found that everything had been settled to the satisfaction of the egret.

CXXI. The Jackal and the Hare.

A jackal and a hare were sworn friends. One day they planned to have a dinner of rice cooked with milk. So the hare crouched down under a bush which grew by the side of a road leading to a busy market; and the jackal stayed watching a little way off. Presently some men came along, taking rice to sell at the market. When they saw the hare by the side of the road, they put down their baskets of rice and ran to catch the hare. He led them a long chase, and then escaped. Meanwhile the jackal carried off as much of the unguarded rice as he wanted. By the same trick they got hold of milk, and firewood, and a cooking pot, and some leaf plates; Thus they had everything necessary for the meal except fire.

So the jackal ran off to a village and went to the house of a poor old woman who was pounding dried plum fruit into meal, and asked her for a light "Go into the house and take a brand from the fire yourself" said the old woman: "No" said the jackal "you go and get it; and I will pound your meal for you, while you are away." So the old woman went into the house; and while she was away the jackal put filth into the mortar and covered it up with meal. Then he took away the lighted brand, and after he had gone the old woman found that all her meal was spoilt.

Then the jackal cooked their rice and milk and when it was ready, they began to discuss which should first go and bathe, before they began to eat. At last the jackal went off; he hurried over his bath and came back as quickly as possible. Then the hare went, and he spent a long time having a thorough bath. While the hare was away, the jackal ate as much of the rice as he wanted and then filled the pot with filth and covered it over with rice. When the hare came back, they debated which should help the rice. At last they agreed that the hare should do so; but when the hare had taken out a little rice he found the pot full of filth. "So it is for this that I took all the trouble to get the provisions for our meal" cried the hare; and threw the contents of the pot over the jackal and drove him away.

The jackal went off and made a drum, and every day he sat in the sun beneath a bank and played the drum. The hare heard the sound and one day he went to the jackal and asked to be allowed to play the drum. The jackal handed it over but the hare beat it and shook it so vigorously that at last it was smashed to pieces. Then the hare ran away.

CXXII. The Brave Jackal.

Once upon a time a he-goat ran away for fear of being slaughtered and took refuge in a leopard's cave. When the leopard came back to the cave the goat called out "Hum Pakpak," and the leopard ran away in a fright. Presently it met a jackal and called out "Ah! my sister's son, some fearful animal has occupied my house!" "What is it like, uncle?" asked the jackal "It has a wisp of hemp tied to its chin," answered the leopard: "I am not afraid, uncle," boasted the jackal, "I have eaten many animals like that, bones and all." So they tied their tails together and went back to the leopard's cave. When the two drew near the goat stood up: and the leopard said "This morning he called out something dreadful at me." At this they both fled, and in their struggles to separate all the hair on the jackal's tail was scraped off and the jackal called out "Alas, alas! Uncle, you have scraped off all my skin!"

CXXIII. The Jackal and the Leopards.

Once upon a time a leopard and a leopardess were living with their cubs; and when the parents were away a jackal used to go to the cubs and say "If you won't pay up the paddy you owe, give me something on account." And the cubs gave him all the meat which their parents had brought; and as this happened every day the cubs began to starve. The leopard asked why they looked so thin although he brought them lots of game and the cubs explained that they had to give up all their food to the jackal from whom he had borrowed paddy. So the leopard lay in wait and when the jackal came again to beg of the cubs he chased him. The jackal ran away and hid in a crack in the ground; the leopard tried to follow and got stuck in the crack and was squeezed to death. The jackal came out and kicked the dead body, crying "I see you lying in wait for me."

Now the jackal wore silk shoes and a silk dhoti and he went back to the leopard's family and asked who would look after them now the leopard was dead. They said that they would live with him; so the jackal stayed there and they all went hunting deer. The jackal lay in wait and the leopards drove the game to him. But when the deer came out, the jackal was too frightened to attack them and climbed to the top of an ant-hill to be out of the way. So when the leopards came up they found that the jackal had killed nothing. But the jackal only complained that they had not driven the deer in the right direction. So the next day the leopardess lay in wait and the jackal and the cubs beat the jungle; when they came up they found that the leopardess had killed a fine deer. "Now," said the jackal "let me first offer the game as a sacrifice to the spirit of our dead leopard;" so saying he tried to bite a hole in the deer but the skin was too tough. So he made the leopardess tear the skin and then he pushed inside the carcase and ate up all the entrails. When he had had as much as he could eat he came out and let the leopards begin their meal.

Another day they wished to cross a flooded river. The young leopards offered to carry the jackal over on their shoulders but the jackal was too proud to allow this. So the leopards all jumped across the stream safely but when the jackal tried he fell into the middle of the water and was carried away down stream. Lower down a crocodile was lying on the bank sunning itself "Pull me out, pull me out!" called the jackal "and I will bring you some fat venison." So the crocodile pulled him out. "Now open your mouth and shut your eyes" said the jackal and when the crocodile obeyed he popped a large stone into its jaws and ran away. This made the crocodile very angry and it vowed to be revenged.

The jackal used to go every day to a certain tank to drink: and to reach the water he used to sit on the root of an arjun tree which projected from the bank. The crocodile observed this habit and one day lay in wait under the water by the arjun tree and when the jackal came to drink caught him by the leg. The jackal did not lose his presence of mind but called out "What a fool of a crocodile to catch hold of the root of the tree instead of my leg." On hearing this the crocodile let go its hold and the jackal laughed and ran away.

Every day the jackal used to lie in the sun on the top of a stack of straw. The crocodile found this out and buried itself in the straw and waited for the jackal. That day it happened that the jackal found a sheep-bell and tied it round his neck so that it tinkled as he ran. When it heard the bell the crocodile said "What a bother! I am waiting for the jackal and here comes a sheep tinkling its bell." The jackal heard the crocodile's exclamation and so detected the trick; he at once went and fetched a light and set fire to the heap of straw and the crocodile was burnt to death.