Santal: The Jackal Punished

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

The Jackal Punished

Once a hen and a jackal were great friends, and they decided to have a feast and each brewed beer for the occasion; the hen brewed with rice and maize and millet, and the jackal brewed with lizards, locusts, frogs, and fish. And when the brew was ready, they first went to the jackal’s house, but the hen could not touch his beer; it smelt so bad and the jackal drank it all.  Then they went to the hen’s house, and her beer was very nice, and they both drank till the hen got very drunk and began to stagger about, and the jackal made up his mind that the hen must be very nice to eat as her beer was so good to drink, and when he saw her drunk, he was delighted and sang:

“Fowl, do not graze in the field!
The jackal laughs to see you.
Paddy bird, do not fish in the pond!
You pecked a piece of sedge thinking it was a frog’s leg!
Do not drink rice beer, O fowl!
The jackal laughs to see you.

And so saying, he gobbled her up, and her chickens cried at the sight. Then the jackal resolved to eat the chickens also, so he came back the next day and asked them where they slept, and they said, “In the hearth.” But when the jackal had gone, the chickens planned how they should save their lives.

Their mother had laid an egg and, as there was no one to hatch it now, they said, “Egg, you must lie in the fireplace and blind the jackal,” and they said to the paddy husker, “You must stand by the door, and when the jackal runs out, you must knock him down,” and they told the paddy mortar to wait on the roof over the door and fall and crush the jackal.

So they put the egg among the hot ashes in the fireplace, and they themselves sat in a cupboard with axes ready, and when the jackal came, he went to the fireplace and scratched out the ashes, and the egg burst and spurted into his eyes and blinded him, and as he ran out of the door, the paddy husker knocked him over, and as he crawled away, the paddy mortar fell on him from the roof and crushed him; then the chickens ran out and chopped him to pieces with their axes and revenged the death of their mother.


(400 words)










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