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YASHPEH
International Folktales Collection

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Story No. 555


The Four Jogis

Book Name:

Folklore of the Santal Parganas

Tradition: India

Once four Jogis were out on a begging expedition and came to a city were a Raja lived. As they went along they discussed how they should beg of the Raja; and while they were discussing the point, they saw a field rat and one of them exclaimed “I know how I shall beg of him! I shall say ‘See, he throws up the earth, scrapety scrape!’” This did not help the other three, but, further on, some frogs jumped into a pond as they passed by, and one of the others at once said “I know what I shall say! I shall say ‘plumpety plump! down he has sat.’” A little later, they saw a pig wallowing in the mud, and the third Jogi called out “I have it! I shall say ‘Rub away, rub away! Now some more water! Rub away, rub away! I know, my boys, what you are going to do.’” The fourth Jogi was still in perplexity but, when they came in sight of the Raja’s city, he exclaimed “I know what I shall say ‘Highways and byeways, what a big city! The kotwal is going his rounds, his rounds.’”

Then they got a man to write down these four forms of address on a sheet of paper and presented it to the Raja. The Raja took it, and read it, and could not make head or tail of it. And when the four Jogis saw him looking so puzzled, they got frightened and took to their heels, for they could not read themselves and were not sure of what the paper really contained.

Now the Raja’s chief officer was a Tehsildar, and he had also a Barber, who shaved him every day, And that evening after the Jogis had run away, the Tehsildar proposed to the Barber that, when shaving the Raja the next morning, he should cut the Raja’s throat and they could then divide the kingdom between them, and the Barber consented. Not content with this, the Tehsildar and the palace chowkidar that same night tried to break into the Raja’s palace and steal his money and jewellery. They began to cut a hole through the mud wall of the Raja’s room, but it chanced that the Raja was so puzzled by the paper which the Jogis had put into his hand, that he kept on reading it over and over again, and just as the Tehsildar and chowkidar had half cut their way through the wall, they heard the Raja saying “See, he throws up the earth, scrapety, scrape!” At once they concluded that they had been heard and they crouched down; the Raja went on “Plumpety, plump! down he has sat.” This made them think that they had been seen and the chowkidar crept to the door to listen: he heard the Raja saying “Highways and byeways, what a big city! The kotwal is going his rounds, his rounds!” Then the chowkidar felt sure that he was discovered and he ran off with the Tehsildar, without completing their burglary.

The next morning the Barber went to shave the Raja, and, while he was sharpening the razor, the Raja again began to study the mysterious paper, murmuring “Rub away, rub away, now some more water: Rub away, rub away! I know my boy what you are going to do.” The Barber thought that the Raja referred to his rubbing water over his face for shaving, and concluded that the Tehsildar had revealed the plot; so he threw himself at the Raja’s feet and confessed everything, swearing that the Tehsildar and not he was to blame. The Raja at once sent for the chowkidar to take the Tehsildar and Barber to prison. When the chowkidar came in he found the Raja repeating “See he throws up the earth, scrapety, scrape!” He at once concluded that the Raja was referring to the burglary and he fell on his knees and confessed all that had happened. This was news to the Raja, but he went and saw the place where the wall had been partly cut through, and then he sent all the guilty men to prison and despatched messengers to look for the Jogis who had been the means of saving his life and property; but the Jogis had been so frightened and had run away so far, that they were never found.

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