Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Brahmin and His Servant (To be continued...) (Elementary-Intermediate level)

Good morning, my dear English learners! Can you continue the story?
There was once a Brahmin who had a servant. And one day when they were going to the house of the Brahmin's mother-in-law, the Brahmin gave his servant a bunch of plantains and other things to carry, and said to him "Now, mind you don't eat those plantains, for I can see just as well behind as I can in front." And, so saying, he marched ahead. And presently the servant, getting hungry, plucked one of the plantains from the bunch, and, holding it out to his master's back, ate it. And this he did again and again till all the plantains were gone. And when the Brahmin presently asked what had become of the load, the servant said "You told me you could see behind as well as in front. So I showed you each plantain before I ate it. And you never said anything."
So the Brahmin went his ways speechless. Presently they stopped to cook their midday meal, and they had got with them a few khawai fish. But the Brahmin gave only one to his servant, and kept the rest himself. And when he was about to eat, the servant asked innocently: "Oh! Brahmin, do khawai fish swim about singly or in shoals?" To which the Brahmin said: "Why, in shoals, of course." So the servant said "Then my fish had better go with yours." And, so saying, he threw his fish on the Brahmin's mess, which was defiled. So the Brahmin got no dinner, and the servant ate the whole.
A little later they came across a number of simul trees. Seeing them, the servant asked his master "And what do they call these trees, master?" And the Brahmin (being an educated man) said "These are sirmolu." But the servant said "Not so, not so! These are himulu," and offered to bet five blows that it was so. And, meeting some cowherd boys, he asked them what the trees were. And when they said "himulu" he gave the Brahmin five blows without further question.
Next they met a drove of goats. "And what may these be, Brahmin, these animals that are grazing?" And the Brahmin said "These are called châg." But the servant cried "Not so, not so! These are châgali." And the result, as before, was that the Brahmin was worsted and got five blows.  And next they came across a flock of paddy-birds, which the Brahmin called "Bog," but the servant "Boguli." And again he was worsted and got his five blows. On which he consoled himself by reciting an Assamese saying, to the effect that it is ill arguing with a fool. And when they were now come near the Brahmin's mother-in-law's house, and the Brahmin was become very hungry, he sent his servant on ahead to beg them to get supper ready. So the servant went on ahead and bade the Brahmin's mother-in-law cook a duck and put lots of plantain ashes, which the Kacháris use for salt, well knowing that his master disliked its acrid taste. So the duck was cooked with plenty of alkali.
And when the Brahmin arrived, his meal was set before him, and he was so hungry that he had to eat it whether he liked its savour or no.
And so in various ways the Brahmin was put to shame by his servant. So he wrote a long letter to his brother, and, putting it in his servant's hand, bade him deliver it. But he went a little way, until he met a man who could read and write, and he bade him tell him what was written in the letter. And the man read him the letter, which was to the effect that the brother was to kill the servant. On this, the servant tore up the letter and bade his friend write another one, saying "Dear brother, on receipt of this letter marry my servant to my niece without delay. I shall not be able to come to the wedding."
Taking this letter, the servant went to his master's brother, who was much vexed, but dared not disobey. Accordingly, though reluctantly, he married the servant to his daughter.
And, when the master came to see if his servant had been disposed of, and heard what had happened, he set about to kill him. But his niece got to know of the matter and told her husband, who got a calf, and, binding it hand and foot, put it by her in her bed. And in the night the Brahmin came, and thinking the calf was his niece's husband sleeping by her side, killed it. And when he found out his mistake in the morning, and learned that he was guilty of cow-killing, he bade his niece's husband go and bury the calf in all haste. And the servant dragged the calf into the garden and buried it with its tail sticking out of the ground. Meanwhile, the Brahmin set to work to get himself purged of the offence of cow-killing, and summoned the villagers to a feast without telling them why. And when they were all seated, the servant ran out into the garden and hauling at the calf's tail, called out "The Brahmin didn't kill a cow, Oh, no! and …

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