Saturday, June 28, 2014

Santal: The Jackal and the Hare

This story is part of the Santal Folklore unit. Story source: Folklore of the Santal Parganas by Cecil Henry Bompas (1909).

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.


(500 words)










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