Folk-Lore/Volume 4/Balochi Tales, 2



The Three Fools.

THREE foolish Baloches went out one day to rob. When they came to a distant land, they met a rider. The rider stopped some way off and made a salaam. He thought in his heart: "They are three, and I am one; may be they'll attack me." Then those three men went on their way, and the rider went on his way. The three men on foot began to talk together, and each of them said: "The horseman salaamed to me," and they began to quarrel about it. Then one of them said: "Come on! let us ask the horseman himself to which of us he salaamed." So they started off after the horseman, and he thought they were coming to attack him. So he spurred on ahead, and they followed behind, till he came to a village, and, as soon as he stopped there to exchange greetings, up came the foot-men behind him, and said: "We want only to ask you one question: to which of us did you salaam?" The horseman said: "I salaamed to the biggest fool of you." Then they said: "Let us tell stories of our foolishness, and see who is the biggest fool." The first one said:


One night I was sleeping in my house with my wife. I told her to get up and shut the door, and she said: "Get up and shut the door yourself" At last we settled it that the one who spoke first should have to shut the door. Now there was a thief listening to what we said, who had made his way into the house. First he robbed our house, and I see him, and my wife sees him; but neither of us says a word, lest we should have to shut the door. Then the thief tied our things up in a bundle, and carried it out, and put it down outside. Then he came back and rubbed his hand on the bottom of the griddle, and came and rubbed it over the faces of both of us, man and wife, and made both our faces black, and then went out and walked off with our things. But we did not say a word. In the morning, when it was day, my wife called out: "Man, your face is black!" and I called out: "Well done, wife! Now you get up and shut the door." This is the story of my foolishness.


Then the next one said: My foolishness is as follows! I had two wives. One day one of my wives, who was searching my head for vermin, noticed a white hair in my head, and she pulled out that white hair. Then my other wife said: "I saw that white hair, that you have pulled out, every day; now, what have you pulled it out for?" Then I said: "Wife, don't quarrel; you pull out a black hair." So she pulled out a black hair. On this the first wife said: "I only pulled out a white one, why have you gone and pulled out a black one?" I said: "Don't quarrel; you pull out a black one, too." So she also pulled out a black one. Then the second said: I have only pulled out one, and she has pulled out two!" I said to her: "You can pull out another." Then the first wife complained, saying: "Hers are both black, but mine are one black and one white." I said: "Don't be vexed; pull out another black one." So they went on quarrelling till they pulled out all my hair, and my beard, and my love-locks; they rooted out everything. This was my foolishness, that I would not vex my wives, and have lost all my hair, and am left quite bald.


Then the third said: My foolishness is as follows. I had a herd of cattle, and one day I was grazing my herd, when a man passed by me. I called out to this man: "Look for a wife for me." One day, as fate would have it, this man came back again while I was grazing my herd, and said: "I have just come from performing your betrothal." So I divided my cattle into shares, and gave him one-third. After a year had passed the man came back again, and said: "I have now celebrated your wedding." On this I gave him another third part of my herd. Another year passed, and again he came back, and said: "A son has been born to you." I then gave him the third that was left, and said: "Take them away. Now show me my wife and show me my son." He went in front, and I went behind, till we came to a village, A woman was sitting there, rocking a child in a swinging cradle. The man said: "Go on, that's your wife, and that's your son." So I went up close to the woman. Just then the child began to cry. I said to the woman: "Rock the child!" She said nothing, but went on rocking. The child cried again, and again I called out: "Woman! why aren't you rocking the child?" She said: "My curse upon you! who are you, to come chattering to me?" I said: "Woman! you are my wife, this is my child; I have given a whole herd of cattle for you! Why do you make a disturbance?" On this she called out to her husband and brother, and when they came up she said: "This coward has been calling me names!" They seized me by the arm, and said: "Who are you?" I said: "I am the master here; that's my wife and child." On this these two men bound me and dragged me before the king, and accused me of being a thief I was condemned, and lay in prison for a year, and after a year I was let out. This is the story of my foolishness. Now which of these three was the biggest fool? The horseman said: "The biggest fool was the cowherd, for he gave up all he had without ever seeing wife or child. It was to him that I salaamed."


The Goatherd who became King.

A certain king went out to hunt with his followers, and when they came to a certain place the king gave this order: "When any hunter puts up any game he must pursue it alone: no one else must go with him." By God's order it so happened that the king put up a buck. The buck went off and the king after it; no one else came. But the king's wazir followed a long way behind, thinking to keep himself informed of what the king did. As the buck bounded on he alighted in the midst of a flock of goats. The goatherd shouted to the king: "Who are you, scattering my herd?" The king said nothing. Then the goatherd struck at him with his hatchet, and hit him on the head; the king fell off his mare dead. Up came the wazir on his track. "You have killed the king," said he to the goatherd, "I didn't know he was the king," said the goatherd; "he scattered my herd and so I struck him, and he fell down dead. You can do whatever you think proper," "Dig a hole," said the wazir, "and let us bury him." So the goatherd dug a hole. The wazir then took off the king's clothes, and he took off his weapons, and gave them to the goatherd. They buried the king there, and then the wazir said: "Now you are king, come now and take the king's place." So the goatherd hid his face from the army, and the wazir said to the army: "The king is not well; he has caught a fever. You are dismissed; I will take the king home myself" So all the king's followers returned, each man to his own house, and the wazir brought the king home. Now the king had two wives, and the wazir said to them: "Your former husband is dead, now this man is your husband." They said: "If this is the man, we accept him." Then the wazir said to the goatherd: "You must stay in the house, and not go out. You are king, but I will administer justice myself." So for some days he stayed in the house and did not go out. till one day he said to himself: "I have now become a king, let me go to the court-house and see what law and justice are." When he came there he sees the wazir sitting on a throne; so he came up, thinking he would sit on the throne with the wazir, but the wazir said: "Keep off! You are a goatherd, and have a goatherd's wit!" He turned back and went home. Next day he went again while the wazir was seated on the throne, and again the wazir told him to get away, and that day also he went home. The third day he came again, and the wazir again spoke as before. Then the goatherd struck the wazir, and drove him away, and threw him off the throne, and cast him forth out of the town. The wazir fled away, and the goat-herd exercised the royal sway, and sat upon the throne. The wazir became poor and hungry, and one day he went out and sat on the river-bank. He sees a flower come floating down on the water, and he put out his hand and pulled it out. He saw it was a flower of heavenly beauty, and thought he would take it to the king, and perchance he would show him some favour. So he took it to the king, and the king took it into his house and gave it to his wives. The two wives began to quarrel about the flower, each one saying, "I will have it." The king came back to the wazir, and said: "Bring me another flower like this by to-morrow morning, or I will rip you up." The wazir returned, and sat down on the river-bank, thinking, "Where can I find another such flower?" He sat there all day, and passed the night there too. When the sun rose in the morning, he said to himself: "Now there is no way back for me; if 1 go back the king will rip me up; rather than go back to die, I will here and now jump into the river." With that he threw himself into the river. When he got to the bottom he sees a heavenly garden laid out, and, going on, he sees a lordly fort built there. He went in, and there, God be praised! the Holy Prophet was holding his court, and the goatherd who had become the new king was standing before him, and fanning him to keep off flies! When the wazir turned back he filled a basketful of the flowers and took it with him. Then he closed his eyes, and opening them again, he sees that he is still standing on the river-bank. The wazir took up the basket of flowers, and went and presented them to the king. The king asked him whence he had brought them, and the wazir told him how it had happened. The king said: "Did you recognise anyone there?" "Yes, my lord," said the wazir, "I recognised thee!" "Where was I?" said he. "Thou wast waving a fan before the Prophet," said the wazir. "Then do not call me Goatherd," said the king, "for God has given me the kingdom. Now you can return to your own place as wazir, and I will rule as king myself."

So the king ruled as king, and the wazir served as wazir.


Balach and the Bulethis.

A certain Bulethi dwelt in the land of Sangsila; he had much cattle but no son. And in that place he grew a crop of millet. One day he went to stroll round the field, and saw that a herd of cattle had been eating the millet. So he looked for their tracks all round the field to see which side they had come from. But he could find no track outside the banks, although the herd had grazed down the millet inside. The next day when he came he found the millet again grazed down, and again he searched for the tracks, but no track went outside the bank. Then he made a smoky fire, and left it burning at the millet-field that the cattle might come to it, for it is the custom of cattle to collect round a fire. When he came the third day he sees that the cattle, after grazing on the millet, had come and lain down by the fire. Then he knew in his heart that this herd had come from heaven. There were nineteen cows in the herd; he drove them off and brought them home. His wife's name was Sammi. He gave the herd to Sammi, saying: "This herd is yours; for when I die the heir will not give you the rest of my cattle." After this he moved away and went to live under the protection of Doda Gorgezh, and he said to Doda: "When I die, let my heirs carry off all the rest of my cattle, but this herd is Sammi's; do not then give them up to anyone, for they are under your guardianship." One day Sammi's husband died, and the heirs came and demanded his cattle. Doda gave them all the rest of the cattle, but did not give up Sammi's herd. One day soon after, the Bulethis came and carried off that herd. Doda went in pursuit, and came up with them at Garmaf, and there they fought. Doda was slain by the Bulethis, and his tomb is still there. After this the Bulethis came again, and drove off a herd of camels belonging to Rāis, Doda's cousin. Rāis, with his brethren Kāuri, Chandrām, Tota, Murid, and Summen, pursued them, overtook them, and gave them battle, but they were all slain there by the Bulethis, together with Rais. Only one brother was left, named Balach, who was a man of no spirit. Then Balach went to the shrine of Sakhi-Sarwar, and for three years he fetched water for the visitors at the shrine. After three years were passed, one night he saw a dream: Sakhi-Sarwar came to Balach, and roused him, saying, "Go and fight with the Bulethis." Getting up, he went and bought a bow, and at night he took it and unstrung it. When he arose next morning he finds the bow strung. Then Sakhi-Sarwar gave him his dismissal,—"Now thy bow is strung, go and fight thy enemies." So Balach went and waged war on the Bulethis; he had only one companion, Nakhifo by name (they were half-brothers, their father being Hassan, but Nakhifo's mother was a slave). No one else was with him. They fought in the Sham and Nesao plains, in Barkhan, and Syahaf, and Kahan, for in those days all that country belonged to the Bulethis. When men lay down to rest at night they would discharge their arrows at them; threescore-and-one men they slew. Then the Bulethis left the hill country, and marched down into the Indus plains. When Balach grew old he made his dwelling at Sangsila, and there a band of Bulethi horsemen fell upon him, and slew him, and lost one of their own men too. This was how it happened. The Bulethis, as they came up, called out to Balach: "Balach! give up that money you carried off!" Balach said: "Come nearer; I am deaf in my ears." So they came close up, and again demanded it. Then Balach said: "In byegone days, when I had the money by me, you never asked for it; but now, when it has all melted away from me, now you come asking for it." He had a razor in his hand, and he plunged it into the belly of the Bulethi, saying, "There's your money for you." The Bulethi fell dead, and then they fell upon Balach and slew him. 'Twas thus the Bulethis and the Gorgezhes fought.


The Prince, the Wazir, the Kotwal, and the Slave.

There was once a king, and he had no son, till, as it fell out, a fakir prayed that a son might be born to him. After this a son was born. When the king's son grew up, they made him a bow and clay pellets to play with, and one day, when a woman came to fetch a pot of water, he let fly a pellet at her, and broke her water-pot. So he went on breaking them, till the whole tribe assembled and complained to the king, saying: "Thy son fires pellets at us and breaks our water-pots." Then the king issued orders to the coppersmiths to make copper waterpots for all whose vessels were broken. So they made them copper water-pots. On this the king's son made him steel bullets, and when the women carried forth their water-pots to fetch water he discharged these steel bullets at them, and broke their water-pots. Again the tribe gathered together and came to the king, and said: "Either be a friend to your people, or a friend to your son!" The king said: "Come back to-morrow; I will think it over to-night, and to-morrow I will give you an answer." On the morrow the people came back, and the king answered and said to them: "I will drive away my son, but not my people." Then he said to a maidservant: "When you take my son his food, turn both his shoes upside down and leave them so." So, when the maidservant carried the prince his food she turned his shoes upside down. When he had eaten his food, and got up, he saw that both his shoes were turned upside down, and he said in his heart: "My father has given me my dismissal."

There was a great friendship between the prince and the wazir's son, so, having taken his leave, he went to the wazir's son, and said to him: "My father has turned me out, and, as you are my friend, I am come to take leave of you." The wazir's son said, "I'll go with you," and prepared himself to depart. Then he said: "The kotwal's son is a friend of mine; let us go and say farewell to him." So they went to him, and told him what had happened, and he said: "I'm with you, too." Then he said that he had a friend, a slave's son, to whom he wished to say good-bye; so they went and told the slave's son, and he also came with them. So these four set out, and determined that they would go and seek service in another kingdom. They started off, and at nightfall they halted on the bank of a river. They said to the slave: "Fetch some water, and we will eat something." But when the slave went down to fill a pot with water, a crocodile made a snap at him and carried him off and ate him. Next day the three others went on, and camped at nightfall in a desert place. They told the kotwal to gather some wood to cook their food. He went out to gather wood, when a tiger fell upon him and slew him.

The other two, the prince and the wazir's son, went on to a town, and the wazir said: "King, do you stop here while I go on to get some food." He went to the bazaar and bought bread and ghee, and then he thought that he would buy some meat, too. So he went to a butcher named Hanūd, and asked for some meat. The butcher said, "Come along, I'll give you some meat," and he made him pass on into the inside of his house, and there he bound him and left him. Now the practice of this butcher Hanud was this: every day he used to kill a man, and mix up his flesh with the flesh of sheep and goats, and sell it.

Now, as the wazir was a long time away, the prince followed him, and came into the town. It so happened that the king of that town had just died, leaving no son. The palace door was shut, and on it this legend was written: "He whose hand shall open this door shall be king of this city." The prince came and read this, and then, saying "Bismi'llāh", he pushed the door, and the door opened. The prince entered, and seated himself on the throne, and became king of the land. The people heard the news that a new king had come, and the tidings reached the wazir, who had been imprisoned by Hanūd, and he said to Hanūd: "Get me an ell of cloth, and I will make a design of a handkerchief on it; take it and present it to the new king, and he will reward you." Hanud fetched the cloth for him, and he drew a design on it, and wrote these words in it:—

"A wondrous thing I have to tell,
Now list to what I say:
Four wanderers came unto a town
To beg upon a day.
And one was swallowed by a fish,
A tiger one did slay,
And one was seated on a throne,
And one in prison lay."

He took the kerchief and carried it to the king. The king rewarded Hanūd, and then he wrote as follows on the kerchief, and gave it back to him:—

"Four wanderers came unto a town,
I ween, upon a day:
Which one was swallowed by a fish?
The tiger which did slay?
And which was seated on a throne?
And which in prison lay?"

Hanūd, full of joy, came back to the wazir, who was lying in bonds. The wazir looked at the kerchief, and read what was on it, and then he wrote again on the back of it:—

"Four wanderers came unto a town
To beg, upon a day.
The slave was swallowed by a fish,
The kotwal did the tiger slay,
The king on the throne was seated,
The wazir in prison lay."

Hanūd took the kerchief back and gave it to the king. When he had read it, he knew that his wazir was in prison. He carried off Hanūd to the lock-up, and went to his house and loosed the wazir and the other twenty men who were tied up there. Hanūd and all his household he wrapped up in straw mats and set fire to them, and Hanud and all his family were burnt. Then the king made the wazir his own wazir.


The Three Wonderful Gifts.

There were once two brothers, one of whom had three sons, and the other one daughter. The one who had three sons died, and his sons said to their uncle: "Give us your daughter, betroth her to us." The uncle said: "My daughter is one and you are three; to which of you shall I give her? I will give you three hundred rupees: go and trade with it, and bring back your merchandise. Whichever one of you makes the greatest profit, he shall have my daughter." The first went and bought a bead with his hundred rupees. The next went and bought a flying-couch with his hundred rupees. The third went and bought a looking-glass with his hundred rupees. The three of them all came together in one place, and they asked the second what his flying-couch was good for. He said: "My flying-couch is good for this: if you get up and sit in it, it will fly off and carry you a hundred miles in a moment." Then they asked the first what good his bead was. He said: "If anyone dies, take this bead and wash it, and put the water it was washed in into his mouth, and he will come to life." Then they asked the third what his looking-glass was good for. He said: "It is good for this: if you look at any place a hundred miles off you will be able to see everything in that looking-glass, and all that is going on at your home," And with that he looked in his looking-glass, and said: "While we have been trading for the sake of our uncle's daughter, she is lying dead; nay, they have lifted her up and carried her away to bury her!" Then they said to the second: "Bring your flying-couch, and let us go and assist at the funeral." So the three of them mounted in it, and that moment they were present there. Then they took the bead, and washed it, and put the water in her mouth, and she came to life. Then they went to their uncle, and said: "Now give us your daughter." He said: "Go to the king, and get a decision between you. I will marry her to the one he awards her to." The king said: "According to the law I give her to him who first saw her while the women were washing her, as he saw her undressed, and she would be ashamed in his presence!" So he then married her to that brother who saw her in the looking-glass.