Saturday, December 31, 2016

THE STORY OF THE SIMPLETON (Elementary- Intermediate level)

There was once an aged couple, who had a foolish son, who one day begged them to give him money to buy an ox with. And, owing to his persistence, though they knew him to be simple, they gave him sixteen rupees and let him go. And, as he went, he found a fine ox grazing where three roads meet; and, putting his rupees down on the road, he bound the ox and drove it away. Presently, he stopped to rest, and while he was dozing, his ox ran away. So he began searching all through the jungle for the missing animal.
At last he found a fine stag, and thinking that to be his ox, chased it through the forest till by chance its horns got caught in a thicket. So he tied a rope round its horns, and to that tied another rope, and so on till he got home. And when his old mother asked him if he had bought his ox "Haven't I, just," said he, "just help me to pull and see!" On this, the three of them pulled at the rope, hand over hand, and presently the stag made his appearance kicking and struggling, at which they were mightily afraid. However, they killed the stag, and gave of its flesh to the neighbours to eat.
On which the simpleton went about and told the villagers that they had eaten of cow's flesh. But, fortunately, knowing he was a simpleton, no one believed a word he said.
Another time, when the simpleton was grown a bit bigger, he again begged money of his parents: this time that he might get him a wife. And since he would not take a refusal, he got his sixteen rupees and set out afresh in search of a wife. Finally, he went and sat at a place where the village women drew water. And when a pretty maiden came down with her vessel on her hip to draw water, he seized her and carried her off.
And when he got tired, he stopped to rest under a tree. And it happened that a man driving a plough ox was also resting there, and the maiden sat there crying her very eyes out for grief at having been carried off. So the man with the ox asked the simpleton "Where did you get that girl? Did you have a look at her before you took her, or didn't you?" To which the simpleton replied "She seemed a pretty girl, so I put down sixteen rupees at the bathing place and carried her off." On which the wise man said: "You must be blind. The girl's pretty enough, but don't you see that both her eyes are burst. You clearly don't see straight. Just see how the water is flowing from both her eyes." On hearing this, the simpleton offered to exchange the girl for the ox. But the other pretended to be unwilling, till, after much persistence on the part of the simpleton, he cried:
"There, take it, take it!" So the exchange was affected, and each went on his way mightily satisfied.
And, as the simpleton went his ways, he found a man seated under a tree having a goat with him. So he too stayed to rest. And when they stopped to rest, the ox lay down to rest. On this, the man with the goat said:
"That ox is not a good bargain. It will die in a day or two." And the simpleton, believing this, exchanged the ox for the goat. And when he set forth again, he met a man carrying a big bunch of plantains. So the two sat down. And as the goat was restless and gave him no peace, the simpleton began beating it, so that it cried Ba! ba! (Now Ba in the Kachári speech means "carry"). So he said "Do you suppose a tired man like me is going to carry you?" And he was so angry that in disgust he exchanged the goat for the bunch of plantains; and went on. And as he went, he met a man cracking his fingers, and, thinking he did it in scorn of his plantains, explained at what price he had got them.
However, he offered to give him the plantains if he would teach him the art of  cracking his fingers. So the two stayed there a long time till the simpleton had more or less acquired the art he coveted. Then as he went on, he suddenly forgot what he had learned. And because he forgot it in a paddy field, he thought he must have lost it in the paddy, and began examining the ears of paddy as a woman searches another woman's hair for lice. And when the owner of the field came up and asked what he was about, he said: "I have lost a thing which cost me sixteen rupees. Come and help me to look." So the two looked together, and when, after much search, they found nothing, the other man, in pure vexation, cracked his fingers. On which the simpleton, crying "I've found it! I've found it!" went dancing away.
Presently, he stopped by a tank, and again forgot his new acquisition. So he plunged into the mud to look for it. And a man came up and asked what he was searching for? To which he replied "My friend, my friend! I have lost something very valuable. Do come and help me to look." On which, the two searched until they were covered with mud; and when they found nothing, the new-comer cracked his fingers in vexation, and the simpleton, crying "I've found it! I've found it!" went gaily cracking his fingers all the way home. And when his father and mother saw him, they smiled at his state, and till they spoke to him did not know who he was. And then they asked him what he had done with his money. "Oh!" said he, "first of all I bought a lovely maiden, and, because her eyes were bad, I exchanged her for an ox; and because there was something wrong with the ox, I got a goat in exchange; and because the goat wanted me to carry him, I got angry and changed him for plantains. And the plantains I gave to a man who taught me to crack my fingers, and what else would you have me do?" And that's all!

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