AT A CITY there is a certain king; a widow lives at a house near his palace. She subsists by going to this royal palace and pounding rice there; having handed it over, she takes away the rice powders and lives on it.
During the time while she was getting a living in this way, she bore a frog, which she reared there. When it was grown up, the king of that city caused this proclamation to be made by beat of tom-toms: "I will give half my kingdom, and goods amounting to an elephant's load to the person who brings the Jeweled Golden Cock that is at the house of the Rakshasi (Ogress).
The frog took the bundle of rice, and hanging it from his shoulder, went to an Indi (wild date) tree, scraped the leaf off a date spike (the mid-rib of the leaf), and strung the rice on it. While going away after stringing it, the frog then became like a very good-looking royal prince, and a horse and clothing for him made their appearance there. Putting on the clothes he mounted the horse, and making it bound along he went on till he came to a city.
Hearing that he had arrived, the king of that city prepared quarters for this prince to stay at, and having given him ample food and drink, asked, "Where art thou going?"
Then the Prince said: "The King of our city has made a proclamation by beat of tom-toms, that he will give half his kingdom and an elephant's load of gold to the person who brings him the Jeweled Golden Cock that is at the Rakshasi's house. Because of it I am going to fetch the Jeweled Golden Cock."
The King, being pleased with the prince on account of it, gave him a piece of charcoal. "Should you be unable to escape from the Rakshasi while returning after taking the Jeweled Golden Cock, tell this piece of charcoal to be created a fire-fence, and cast it down," he said. Taking it, he went to another city.
The king of that city in that very manner having prepared quarters, and made ready and given him food and drink, asked, "Where art thou going?" The prince replied in the same words, "I am going to bring the Jeweled Golden Cock that is at the house of the Rakshasi." That king also being pleased on account of it, gave him a stone, "Should you be unable to escape from the Rakshasi, tell this stone to be created a mountain, and cast it down," he said.
Taking the charcoal and the stone which those two kings gave him, he went to yet another city. The king also in that very
manner having given him quarters, and food and drink, asked, "Where art thou going?" The prince in that very way said, "I am
going to bring the Jeweled Golden Cock." That King also being greatly pleased gave him a thorn. "Should you be unable to
escape from the Rakshasi, tell a thorn fence to be created, and cast down this thorn," he said.
On the next day he went to the house of the Rakshasi. She was not at home; the Rakshasi's daughter was there. That girl having
seen the prince coming and not knowing him, asked "Elder brother, elder brother, where are you going?"
The prince said, "Younger sister, I am not going anywhere whatever. I came to beg at your hands the Jeweled Golden Cock
which you have got."
To that she replied, "Elder brother, today indeed I am unable to give it. Tomorrow I can. Should my mother come now she will
eat you; for that reason come and hide yourself."
Calling him into the house, she put him in a large trunk at the bottom of seven trunks, and shut him up in it.
After a little time had passed, the Rakshasi came back. Having come and seen that the prince's horse was there, she asked her
daughter, "Whose is this horse?"
Then the Rakshasi's daughter replied, "Nobody's whatever. It came out of the jungle, and I caught it to ride on."
The Rakshasi having said, "If so, it is good," came in. While lying down to sleep at night, the sweet odor of the prince having
reached the Rakshasi, she said to her daughter, "What is this, Bola (1)? A smell of a fresh human body is coming to me."
Then the Rakshasi's daughter said, "What, mother! Do you say so? You are constantly eating fresh bodies; how can there not
be an odor of them?"
After that, the Rakshasi, taking those words for the truth, went to sleep.
At dawn on the following day, as soon as she arose, the Rakshasi went to seek human flesh for food. After she had gone, the
Rakshasa-daughter, taking out the prince who was shut up in the box, told that prince a. device on going away with the Jeweled
Golden Cock: "Elder brother, if you. are going away with the cock, take some cords and fasten them round my shoulders. Having put them round me, take the cock, and having mounted the horse, go off, making him bound quickly. When you have gone, I shall cry out. Mother comes when I give three calls. After she has come, loosening me will occupy much time; then you will be able to get away."
In the way she said, the Prince tied the Rakshasa-daughter, and taking the Jeweled Golden Cock mounted the horse, and making it bound quickly came away.
As that Rakshasa-daughter said, while she was calling out, the Rakshasi came. Having come, after she looked about (she found
that) the Rakshasa-daughter was tied, and the Jeweled Golden Cock had been taken away. After she had asked, "Who was it?
Who took it?" the Rakshasa-daughter said, "I don't know who it was." After that, she very quickly unfastened the Rakshasa-daughter, and both of them came running to eat that Prince.
The Prince was unable to go quickly. While going, the Prince turned round, and on looking back saw that this Rakshasi and the
Rakshasa-daughter were coming running to eat that Prince.
After that, he cast down the thorn which the above-mentioned king of the third city gave him, having told a thorn fence to be
created. A thorn fence was created. Having jumped over it, they came on.
After that, when he had put down the piece of stone which the king of the second city gave him, and told a mountain to be
created a mountain was created. They sprang over that mountain also, and came on.
After that, he cast down the charcoal which the king of the first city gave him, having told a fire fence to be created. In that very
manner, a fire fence was created. Having come to it, while jumping over it, both of them were burnt and died.
From that place, the prince came along. While coming, he arrived at the Indi tree on which he had threaded the rice, and having
taken off it all that dried-up rice, he began to eat it. On coming to the end of it, the person who was like that prince again became a Frog.
After he became a frog, the clothes that he was wearing, and the horse, and the Jeweled Golden Cock vanished. Out of grief on
that account, that frog died at that very place.
Parker, H. Village Folk Tales of Ceylon, Volume 1. 1910.
"Bola" is a word without any special meaning in English, often used in addressing a person familiarly and somewhat disrespectfully. (Return to story)