Friday, December 16, 2016

Kachari Tale: BROTHER AND SISTER (Elementary- Intermediate level)

A certain king died, and soon after his death his wife bared him a daughter, as she had heretofore borne him a son. And then she too died. But before she died, she bade her son "Strike hard, but once only!" And she committed her daughter to his care. And, though they lost their kingdom and were forced to beg their bread, the brother was a good brother, and took care of his sister until they came to a certain kingdom, the king of which took pity on them and kept them in his own palace.
Now, in that kingdom dwelt seven thieves, who oppressed the king, so that he was compelled to send them fowls, pigs, cattle, and pigeons every day. And when the brother heard of this, he begged the king to let him go and kill the thieves. And when the king was unwilling to let him undertake the enterprise, the brother insisted, and, borrowing a horse and a sword from the king, went to the thieves' house, and there tied up his horse and waited with drawn sword at the door. And when the eldest thief came out, he cut him down, and so in turn he cut down each of them. But the youngest of all was suspicious and came out cautiously, so that the brother was not able to kill him at one blow. So, mindful of his mother's saying, he shut him up in one of the thieves' houses, and put a lock upon the door. And then he went and told all that had happened to the king; who, as a reward made the brother and sister custodians of the thieves' houses. And so they went and stayed there, and the brother said to his sister "You can go into and examine all the houses except the one that is locked." And the brother was a mighty hunter. But before he went out hunting, he mixed pulse and grain, and, filling a plate with the mixture, bade his sister separate the seeds while he was away. And this occupied her a whole day. And then she went and examined all the rooms in the thieves' houses. And in some were cattle, and in some fowls, and in some horses, and so forth. But her mind was ill at ease, because she might not examine the house that was locked. "For," she said to herself, "if I do not see what is in that house, I cannot be happy." So she went and saw, and there she found a man half dead with his wound; and when he besought her, she pitied him, and fetched him such medicines as he required of her. So that at the end of some days he was healed, and in course of time they two fell in love with one another. And the wicked thief began to teach the girl how she should bring about the destruction of her brother. And he bade her, when her brother returned, to pretend to be ill, and to say that nothing would cure her save a drink of tigress' milk. And when her brother heard this, he set out in search of a she-tiger. And, as luck would have it, he found a she-tiger with a bone stuck in her teeth. So, after binding her with a vow, he extracted the bone from her teeth, and then he told her what he required. So she gave him of her milk, and also one of her whelps. And then he returned home. And at dawn the thief asked the sister "Did he bring you the tigress's milk?" And she replied "That he did, and he brought a tiger's whelp also." On which the thief was much discomfited. Then he bade her ask her brother fetch some water from a certain tank, well knowing that to fetch water from that tank, was certain death. On which she said to her brother "If you can only get me water from that tank, I shall certainly be well." So the brother took his horse and a sword, and a hound, and also the tiger's whelp, and set out. And on the way he came to a great tree and stopped to rest in the shade; and while he was resting, a huge snake came and began climbing up the tree. And, seeing it, the brother cut the snake in two with his sword; and when a second snake came, he slew that, too. And while he was still resting, a bird came flying to the tree with food for her nestlings. But they refused to eat. And when their mother asked them why they would not eat, they said "Unless you take pity on the man who is resting under the tree, we cannot eat." So the mother bird promised; and, having fed her nestlings, flew down to the brother and asked him what he desired. And he said that he desired water from a certain tank. But the bird knew all about the properties of the tank, and told the brother. Now, near the tank dwelt a maiden, the guardian of the tank; and he entered into her house, and told her his heart's desire. But she said to him "You must not go near the tank, for you will die. You must marry me. And as for your sister, she has disobeyed your word, and has married the thief you nearly killed, and their desire is only to be rid of you." So they two were married, and, going to the thief's house, slew the thief and the wicked sister. And then they lived happily ever afterwards. And that's all!

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