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YASHPEH
International Folktales Collection

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Story No. 595


Catching a Thief

Book Name:

Folklore of the Santal Parganas

Tradition: India

There was once a rich Raja; and in order to frighten away thieves whenever he woke up at night he used to call out –

                  “What are you people saying? I know all about it:

                  You are digging the earth and throwing the earth away:

                  I know all about it: you are skulking there scraping a hole.”

One night a gang of thieves really came and began to dig a hole through the mud wall of the Raja’s house. And while they were at work the Raja woke up and called out as usual. The thieves thought that they were discovered and bolted. The next morning the hole they had been making was found, and the Raja ordered his sipahies to catch the thieves. The head of all the thieves was a Bhuyan by caste and for five rupees he would catch any thief you wanted. So the sipahies were told to bring this Bhuyan and they went to a potter and asked. “Ho, maker of pots, he who makes whole paddy into china: where does he live?” And the potter answered. “He who heats pewter; his house is over there.” Following this direction they found the Bhuyan and he caught the thieves for them.

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