Folklore of the Santal Parganas | Annotated Tale

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Stolen Treasure, The

ONCE upon a time three jars full of money were stolen from a Raja's palace. As all search was fruitless the Raja at last gave notice that, whoever could find them, should receive one half of the money. The offer brought all the jans and ojhas in the country to try their hand, but not one of them could find the treasure.

               The fact was that the money had been stolen by two of the Raja's own servants and it fell to the duty of these same two men to entertain the ojhas who came to try and find the money. Thus they were able to keep watch and see whether any of them got on the right track.

               Not far from the Raja's city lived a certain tricky fellow. From his boyhood he had always been up to strange pranks, and he had married the daughter of a rich village headman. At the time that the Raja's money was stolen his wife was on a visit to her father, and after she had been some time away, he went to fetch her home. However, on his way, he stopped to have a flirtation with a girl he knew in the village and the result was that he did not get to his father-in-law's house till long after dark. As he stood outside he heard his wife's relations talking inside, and from their conversation he learnt that they had killed a capon for supper, and that there was enough for each of them to have three slices of capon and five pieces of the vegetable which was cooked with it.

               Having learnt this he opened the door and went in. The household was amazed at his arriving so late at night but he explained that he had dreamt that they had killed a capon and were having a feast: and that there was enough for them each to have three slices of capon and five pieces of vegetable, so he had come to have a share. At this his father-in-law could do nothing but have another fowl killed and give him supper; he was naturally astonished at the Trickster's powers of dreaming and insisted that he must certainly go and try his luck at finding the Raja's stolen money.

               The Trickster was taken aback at this, but there was no getting out of it; so the next morning he set out with his father-in-law to the Raja's palace. When they arrived they were placed in charge of the two guilty servants, who offered them refreshments of curds and parched rice. As he was washing his hands after eating, the Trickster ejaculated, "Find or fail I have at any rate had a square meal," Now the two servants were named Find and Fail and when they heard what the Trickster said, they thought he was speaking of them, and had by some magic already found out that they were the thieves.

               This threw them into consternation, and they took the Trickster aside and begged him not to tell the Raja that they were the thieves. He asked where they had put the money, and they told him that they had hidden it in the sand by the river. Then he promised not to reveal their guilt, if they would show him where to find the money when the time came. They gladly promised and took him to the Raja. The Trickster pretended to read an incantation over some mustard seed, and then taking a bamboo went along tapping the ground with it. He refused to have a crowd with him, because they would spoil the spell, but Find and Fail followed behind him and showed him where to go. So he soon found the jars of money and took them to the Raja, who according to his promise gave him half their contents.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Stolen Treasure, The
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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