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YASHPEH
International Folktales Collection

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Story No. 578


Fuljhari Raja

Book Name:

Folklore of the Santal Parganas

Tradition: India

There was once a Raja named Fuljhari and he was childless; he and his wife made pilgrimages to many shrines but all in vain, the wished-for son never arrived. One day a Jugi came to the palace begging and the Raja asked the holy man to tell him how he could have a son; then the Jugi examined the palms of their hands but having done so remained silent. The Raja urged him to speak but the Jugi said that he feared that the reply would be distasteful to the Raja and make him angry. But the Raja and his wife begged for his advice, and promised to do him no harm whatever he said. At last the Jugi explained that they could never have a child unless they separated, and the Raja went right away and the Rani lived with another man; with this he took his departure.

Then the Raja and his wife consulted together and the Raja proposed to take the Jugi’s advice, as he felt that he could not leave his kingdom without an heir; so he said that he would go away to a far country, on pretence of visiting a distant shrine; but the Rani feared that if, on his return, he found that she had borne a child, he would kill her or at least turn her and the child out to beg their bread; but the Raja assured her that he would never treat her in that way and after making his final arrangements he went off to a far country.

There he stayed some years and in the meanwhile the Rani had five sons; at last she wrote to her husband to come home and directly he reached the palace he bade the Rani to bring the boys to him, that he might embrace and acknowledge them; so they were brought and he took them one by one in his arms and kissed them, and he saw that they were all the images of himself. But when he kissed the youngest child he was suddenly struck with blindness. Then he rose in wrath and ordered the child to be taken away and killed; but the mother had pity on it and persuaded the soldiers not to kill it but to convey it away to a far country.

The child’s name was Lita and he grew up and was married to the daughter of the Raja of the land and lived in his father-in-law’s house. But Lita was always tormented by the thought that he had been the cause of his father’s blindness; although he would not tell anyone of his sorrow, he used to get up when every one was asleep and spend the night in tears. One night his wife surprised him weeping and begged him to tell her what was the matter. She pressed him until he told her how, immediately his father kissed him, he had gone blind and how his mother had smuggled him out of the country and saved his life, but how the recollection of the harm he had done tormented him and how he longed to be able to return to his own country and restore his father’s sight. His wife on hearing this at once began to comfort him and assured him that she would help him to obtain a medicine which would restore his father’s sight. In a range of mountains was a Rakhas who had a daughter who was buried in a heap of Fuljhari flowers; if Lita went and could persuade the Rakhas to let him marry his daughter, he could then get a Fuljhari flower and if that were rubbed on his father’s eyes his sight would be restored.

So Lita set out towards the mountains and sat down by the road side at their foot. Presently the Rakhas and his wife came by; the wife asked him what he was sitting there for; he said that he was looking out for some one who would have him to come and live in his house as a son-in-law. The Rakhas paid no heed to this and proposed to eat up Lita at once, but his wife begged him to spare the young man and take him home and marry him to their daughter, who was very lonely. The Rakhas gave way and they took Lita to the cavern in which they lived and there was their daughter buried under a heap of flowers. They made her get up, and told her that they had brought a husband for her.

Lita and his bride lived happily together and were soon deeply in love with each other, and after a time he told her about his father’s blindness and how he wished to try to cure it with one of her flowers. She readily agreed to help him; so the next day she went to her father and said that she wished to pay a short visit to her husband’s home; the Rakhas consented and she and Lita took their leave. She told Lita that when the Rakhas offered him a farewell gift, he should take nothing but a hair from the Rakhas’ head; this he did and they tied the flower and the hair up carefully and set off to the home, where Lita’s first wife was awaiting them. She told her parents that Lita had come back with one of his sisters, and that she now wished to go back with them on a visit to their home. Her parents assented and the three of them set out and one evening reached the outskirts of the village in which Lita had been born. They camped under a roadside tree, but in the middle of the night they took out the Rakhas’ hair and said to it “Make us a golden palace” and at once a golden palace sprang up. Next morning all the residents of the village collected to see the wonderful new palace, and Lita told them to bring their Raja and he would cure him of his blindness. So they went and fetched the old blind Raja and directly Lita touched his eyes with the flower his sight was restored. Then they wept over each other and told all that had happened. And the old Raja and his wife came and lived with Lita and his wives and the other brothers stayed on at their old home; and they all lived happily ever after.

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