Folklore of the Santal Parganas | Annotated Tale

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Kara and Guja

ONCE upon a time there were two brothers named Kara and Guja who were first class shots with the bow and arrow. In the country where they lived, a pair of kites were doing great damage: they had young ones in a nest in a tree and used to carry off children to feed their nestlings until the whole country was desolated. So the whole population went in a body to the Raja and told him that they would have to leave the country if he could not have the kites killed. Then the Raja made proclamation that any one who could kill the two kites should receive a large tract of land as a reward, and thereupon many men tried to kill them; but the kites had made their nest of ploughs and clod-crushers so that the arrows could not hit them, and the shooters had to give up the attempt. At last Kara and Guja thought that they would try, so they made an ambush and waited till the birds came to the nest to feed their young and then shot them both through the hole in a clod-crusher into which the pole fits, and the two kites fell down dead, at the source of the Ganges and Jumna, and where they fell they made a great depression in the ground. Then Kara and Guja carried the bodies to the Raja and he gave them a grant of land; and their grateful neighbours made a large rice field of the depression which the kites had made in the earth and this was given to Kara and Guja as service land to their great delight.

               Kara and Guja used to spend their time in the forest, living on what they could find there; they slept in a cave and at evening would cook their rice there or roast jungle roots. One day a tiger spied them out as they were roasting tubers and came up to them suddenly and said. "What are you cooking? Give me some or I will eat you." So while they went on eating the roasted tubers, they threw the coals from the fire to the tiger at the mouth of the cave and he crunched them up and every now and then they threw him a bit of something good to eat; the tiger would not go away but lay there expecting to be fed, and Kara and Guja debated how to get rid of him. Then Guja suddenly jumped up and dashed at the tiger and caught him by the tail and began to twist the tail and he went on twisting until he twisted it right off and the tiger ran roaring away. Kara and Guja roasted the tail and ate it, and they found it so nice that they decided to hunt the tiger and eat the rest of him. So the two brothers searched for him everywhere and when they found him they chased him until they ran him down and killed him; then they lit a fire and singed the hair off and roasted the flesh and made a grand meal: but they did not eat the paunch. Kara wanted to eat it but Guja would not let him, so Kara carried it away on his shoulder.

               Presently they sat down in the shade of a banyan tree by the side of a road and along the road came a Raja's wedding procession; when Kara and Guja saw this they climbed into the tree and took the tiger's paunch up with them. The wedding party came to a halt at the foot of the tree and some of them lay down to eat and the Raja got out of his palki and lay down to sleep in the shade. After a time Kara got tired of holding the tiger's paunch in his arms and whispered to Guja that he could hold it no longer, Guja told him on no account to let it go but at last Kara got so tired that he let it fall right on the top of the Raja; then all the Raja's attendants raised a shout that the Raja's stomach had burst and all ran away in a panic leaving everything they had under the tree; but after they had gone a little distance they thought of the goods they had left behind and how they could not continue the journey without them, so they made their way back to the banyan tree.

               But meanwhile Kara and Guja had climbed down and gathered together all the fine clothes and everything valuable and taken them up into the tree. And Kara took up a large drum which he found and in one end of the drum he made a number of little holes: and he caught a number of wild bees which had a nest in the tree and put them one by one into the drum. When the Raja's attendants came back and saw that there were two men in the tree, they called out: "Why have you dishonoured our Raja? We will kill you." Kara and Guja answered "Come and see who will do the killing." So they began to fight and the Raja's men fired their guns at Kara and Guja till they were tired of shooting, and had used up all their powder and shot, but they never hit them. Then Kara and Guja called out "Now it is our turn!" And when the Raja's men saw that Kara and Guja had nothing but a drum they said "Yes, it is your turn." So Kara and Guja beat the drum and called "At them, my dears: at them my dears." And the wild bees flew out of the drum and stung the Raja's men and drove them right away. Then Kara and Guja took all their belongings and went home and ever after were esteemed as great Rajas because of the wealth which they had acquired.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Kara and Guja
Tale Author/Editor: Bompas, Cecil Henry
Book Title: Folklore of the Santal Parganas
Book Author/Editor: Bompas, Cecil Henry
Publisher: David Nutt
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1909
Country of Origin: India
Classification: unclassified

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