Santal: The Bullfrog and the Crab

Story source: Folklore of the Santal Parganas by Cecil Henry Bompas (1909).

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.”

(300 words)

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