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C. F. F
HOW RAJA RASÂLU
KILLED THE GIANTS
NOW, after a time, Raja
Rasâlu arrived at Nîlâ city, and as he entered the
town he saw an old woman making unleavened bread, and as she made it she
sometimes wept, and sometimes laughed; so Rasâlu asked her why she wept
and laughed, but she answered sadly, as she kneaded her cakes, 'Why do you ask?
What will you gain by it?'
'Nay, mother!' replied
Rasâlu, 'if you tell me the truth, one of us must benefit by it.'
And when the old woman
looked in Rasâlu's face she saw that it was kind, so she opened her heart
to him, saying, with tears, 'O stranger, I had seven fair sons, and now I have
but one left, for six of them have been killed by a dreadful giant who comes
every day to this city to receive tribute from us,–every day a fair young man,
a buffalo, and a basket of cakes! Six of my sons have gone, and now to-day it
has once more fallen to my lot to provide the tribute; and my boy, my darling,
my youngest, must meet the fate of his brothers. Therefore I weep!'
'Fond, foolish mother!
cease these tears–
Keep thou thy son. I fear
nor death nor life,
Seeking my fortune
everywhere in strife.
My head for his I
give!–so calm your fears.'
Still the old woman shook
her head doubtfully, saying, 'Fair words, fair words! but who will really risk
his life for another?'
Then Rasâlu smiled
at her, and dismounting from his gallant steed, Bhaunr Irâqi, he sat down
carelessly to rest, as if indeed he were a son of the house, and said, 'Fear
not, mother! I give you my word of honour that I will risk my life to save your
Just then the high
officials of the city, whose duty it was to claim the giant's tribute, appeared
in sight, and the old woman fell a-weeping once more, saying–
'O Prince, with the
gallant gray steed and the turban bound high
O'er thy fair bearded
face; keep thy word, my oppressor draws nigh!'
Then Raja Rasâlu
rose in his shining armour, and haughtily bade the guards stand aside.
'Fair words!' replied the
chief officer; 'but if this woman does not send the tribute at once, the giants
will come and disturb the whole city. Her son must go!'
'I go in his stead!'
quoth Rasâlu more haughtily still. 'Stand back, and let me pass!'
Then, despite their
denials, he mounted his horse, and taking the basket of cakes and the buffalo,
he set off to find the giant, bidding the buffalo show him the shortest road.
Now, as he came near the
giants' house, he met one of them carrying a huge skinful of water. No sooner
did the water-carrier giant see Raja Rasâlu riding along on his horse
Bhaunr Irâqi and leading the buffalo, than he said to himself, 'Oho! we
have a horse extra to-day! I think I will eat it myself, before my brothers see
Then he reached out his
hand, but Rasâlu drew his sharp sword and smote the giant's hand off at a
blow, so that he fled from him in great fear.
Now, as he fled, he met
his sister the giantess, who called out to him, 'Brother, whither away so
And the giant answered in
haste, 'Raja Rasâlu has come at last, and see!–he has cut off my hand
with one blow of his sword!'
'Fly! brethren, fly!
Take the path that is
The fire burns high
That will scorch up our
Life's joys we have seen:
East and west we must
What has been, has been;
Quick! some remedy ponder.'
Then all the giants
turned and fled to their astrologer brother, and bade him look in his books to
see if Raja Rasâlu were really born into the world. And when they heard
that he was, they prepared to fly east and west; but even as they turned, Raja
Rasâlu rode up on Bhaunr Irâqi, and challenged them to fight,
saying, 'Come forth, for I am Rasâlu, son of Raja Sâlbâhan,
and born enemy of the giants!'
Then one of the giants
tried to brazen it out, saying, 'I have eaten many Rasâlu like you! When
the real man comes, his horse's heel-ropes will bind us and his sword cut us up
of their own accord!'
Then Raja Rasâlu
loosed his heel-ropes, and dropped his sword upon the ground, and, lo! the
heel-ropes bound the giants, and the sword cut them in pieces.
Still, seven giants who
were left tried to brazen it out, saying, 'Aha! We have eaten many
Rasâlus like you! When the real man comes, his arrow will pierce seven
girdles placed one behind the other.'
So they took seven iron
girdles for baking bread, and placed them one behind the other as a shield, and
behind them stood the seven giants, who were own brothers, and, lo! when Raja
Rasâlu twanged his mighty bow, the arrow pierced through the seven
girdles, and spitted the seven giants in a row!
But the giantess, their
sister, escaped, and fled to a cave in the Gandgari mountains. Then Raja Rasâlu
had a statue made in his likeness, and clad it in shining armour, with sword
and spear and shield. And he placed it as a sentinel at the entrance of the
cave, so that the giantess dared not come forth, but starved to death inside.
So this is how he killed
 Râkshasa, for which see previous notes: In genuine
Indian folk-tales the character ascribed to the Jinn, has been borrowed from the
Râkshasa, which is Hindu in origin, and an ogre in every sense of the
 Most probably Bâgh Nîlâb
on the Indus to the south of Atak.
 In the original these are–
ro, mata bholîe: na aswân dhalkâe:
Tere bete ki 'îvaz main sir desân châe.
Nîle-ghorewâliâ Râjâ, munh dhârî, sir pag,
Woh jo dekhte âunde, jin khâiâ sârâ jag.
foolish mother, drop no tears:
I will give my head for thy son.
Gray-horsed Râjâ: bearded face and turban on head,
He whom you see coming is he who has destroyed my life!
 In original–
bhajo, bhâîo! Dekho koî galî!
Tehrî agg dhonkdî, so sir te ân balî!
Sûjhanhârî sûjh gae; hun laihndî charhdî jâe!
Jithe sânûn sûkh mile, so jhatpat kare upâe!
fly brethren! look out for some road!
Such a fire is burning that it will come and burn our heads!
Our fate has come, we shall now be destroyed!
Make some plan at once for our relief.
 Gandgarh Hills, to the north of Atak: for
a detailed account of this legend see Journal Asiatic Society of Bengal
for 1854, p. 150 ff.