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Story No. 550

The Child with the Ears of an Ox

Book Name:

Folklore of the Santal Parganas

Tradition: India

Once upon a time a son was born to a certain Raja and the child had the ears of an ox. The Raja was very much ashamed and let no one know. But the secret could not be kept from the barber who had to perform the ceremony of shaving the child’s head. However the Raja made the barber vow not to tell anyone of what he had seen.

So the barber went away, but the secret which he might not tell had an unfortunate effect; it made his stomach swell to an enormous size. As the barber went along in this unhappy condition he met a Dom who asked why his stomach was so swollen. The barber said that it was because he had shaved the Raja’s child and had seen that it had the ears of an ox. Directly he had broken his vow and blurted out the secret, his stomach returned to its usual size.

The Dom went his way and cut down a tree and made a drum out of the wood, and went about playing on the drum and begging. He came to the Raja’s palace and there he drummed and sang: –

                  “The son of the Raja

                  Has the ears of an ox.”

When the Raja heard this, he was very angry, and swore to punish the barber who must have broken his vow. But the Dom assured the Raja that he knew nothing about the matter; that it was the drum that sang the words and not he and that he had no idea what they meant. So the Raja was pacified and gave the Dom a present and sent him away and the barber was not punished.



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