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Story No. 537

The Extortionate Sentry

Book Name:

Folklore of the Santal Parganas

Tradition: India

There was once a sentry outside a Raja’s palace who would let no one go in to sell anything to the Raja until they first promised to give him half the price they received from the Raja, and the poor traders had to promise, for their livelihood depended on selling their goods. One day a fisherman caught an enormous fish and he thought that if he took it to the Raja he would get a big price for it.

So he went off to the palace, but when he came to the gate the sentry stopped him and would not let him go in, until he promised to give him half of what he got, and after some argument he had to promise. So he was admitted to the Raja’s presence and when the Raja asked what was the price of the fish, the fisherman said “A hundred blows with a stick.”

The Raja was very astonished and asked the meaning of such a request. Then the fisherman said that the sentry had extorted a promise that he should get half the price and he wanted him to get fifty blows. At this the Raja was very angry and he had the sentry beaten with one hundred stripes and dismissed him.



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