Jogeshwar's Marriage

: Part I.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once upon a time there was a young man of the weaver caste, named

Jogeshwar. He was an orphan and lived all alone. One summer he planted

a field of pumpkins on the sandy bed of a river. The plants grew well

and bore plenty of fruit: but when the pumpkins were ripe, a jackal

found them out and went every night and feasted on them. Jogeshwar

soon found out from the foot-marks who was doing the damage; so he set

a snare a
d a few days later found the jackal caught in it. He took

a stick to beat its life out, but the jackal cried: "Spare me and I

will find you a wife." So Jogeshwar stayed his hand and released the

jackal who promised at once to set off about the business.

The jackal kept his word and went to a city where a Raja lived. There

he sat down on the bank of one of the Raja's tanks. To this tank the

servants from the palace brought the pots and dishes to be washed,

and to this tank also came the Rani and princesses to bathe. Whenever

the servants came to wash their dishes, the jackal kept on repeating:

"What sort of a Raja is this whose plates are washed in water in

which people have bathed? there is no Raja like Raja Jogeshwar: he

eats of golden plates and yet he never uses them a second time but

throws them away directly he has eaten off them once."

The servants soon carried word to the Raja of the jackal who sat by

the tank and of his story of Raja Jogeshwar. Then the Raja sent for

the jackal and asked why he had come: the jackal answered that he was

looking for a bride for Raja Jogeshwar. Now the Raja had three or four

daughters and he thought that he saw his way to a fine match for one

of them. So he sent for the young women and asked the jackal to say

whether one of them would be a suitable bride for Raja Jogeshwar. The

jackal chose the second sister and said that he would go and get the

consent of Raja Jogeshwar.

The jackal hurried back and told the astonished weaver that he had

found a Raja's daughter for him to marry. Jogeshwar had nothing to

delay him and only asked that an early day might be fixed for the

wedding. So the jackal went back to the Raja and received from him

the knotted string that fixed the date of the wedding.

The jackal had now to devise some means by which Jogeshwar could

go through the wedding ceremonies without his poverty being found

out. He first went to the Raja and asked how many attendants Raja

Jogeshwar should bring with him, as he did not want to bring more

than the bride's father could entertain. The Raja was too proud to

fix any number and said they could bring as many as they liked.

Jogeshwar having no relations and no money, was quite unable to arrange

for a grand procession to escort him; he could only just afford to hire

a palki in which to be carried to the bride's house; so the jackal

sent word to all the jackals and paddy birds of the neighbourhood to

come to a feast at the palace of the bride, an invitation which was

eagerly accepted. At the time fixed they started off, with all the

paddy birds riding on the backs of the jackals. When they came within

sight of the palace, the jackal ran on ahead and invited the Raja to

come out and look at the procession as there was still time to send

them back, if they were too many, but it would be a great disgrace

if they were allowed to arrive and find no entertainment. The Raja

went out to look and when he saw the procession stretching away for a

distance of two miles or more with all the paddy birds looking like

white horsemen as they rode on the backs of the jackals, his heart

failed him and he begged the jackal to send them away, as he could

not entertain such a host.

So then the jackal hurried back and turned them all away and Jogeshwar

reached the palace, accompanied only by his palki bearers.

Before the wedding feast, the jackal gave Jogeshwar some hints as to

his behaviour. He warned him that three of four kinds of meat and

vegetables would be handed round with the rice, and bade him to be

sure to help himself from each dish--of course in his own house the

poor weaver had never had more than one dish to eat with his rice--and

when pan was handed to him after the feast he was not to take any

until he had a handful of money given him; by such behaviour he would

lead every one to think that he was really a prince. Jogeshwar did

exactly as he was told and was thought a very grand personage.

The next evening Jogeshwar set off homewards with his bride, the

bride's brothers and attendants accompanying them. They travelled on

and on till the bride's party began to grow tired and kept asking the

jackal how much further they had to go. The jackal kept on putting them

off, till at last they came in sight of a grove of palm trees, and he

told them that Raja Jogeshwar's palace stood among the palm trees but

was so old and weather worn that it could not be seen from a distance.

When they reached the palm grove and found nothing but Jogeshwar's

humble hut, the bride's brothers turned on the jackal and asked what

he meant by deceiving them. The jackal protested that he had told no

lies: the weaver ate every day off plates made of dry leaves and threw

them away when done with and that was all he meant when he talked of

golden plates. At this excuse they turned on him and wanted to beat

him, but he ran away and escaped.

The bride's friends went back and told the Raja how things had turned

out and as divorce was not lawful for them, the Raja could only send

for his daughter and her husband and give them an estate to live on.