Dr. Biyotkesh Tripathy

Teller: Srikanta Biswal 

[M 30. Tribe: Bathudi. Village: Debrajpur, Udala, Mayurbhanj. Date: April 14, 2000. Interviewer: Fani B. Puthal. Cassette No. 224, Side B. O. Tr. Pp.: 10,565-10,603. F.N: Mbj 4. Transcriber: Fanibhusan Puthal. Status: As told (minor editing & emendations; editorial explanations and additions in square brackets). Type: Tale]
Translator: Biswabandita Guru.


    A king had five sons. Once he suffered from a long disease. He did not get well even after seeing doctors. He called all his sons one day and asked them to get a Mallibati flower, a very potent medicine, without which he couldn’t get well. All of them decided, to bring the medicinal flower on smelling which their father would get cured.
    They arranged money and all of them went together to collect the medicine. When the king would smell the medicine, he would be all right. They took money and left their house, but did not return; even after 5-10 years, they did not return. At home the youngest son was there.
    The youngest son then said to his father, ‘All my brothers went, but I could not as I was very young. My brothers went but did not return. I’m grown up now. I’m going. After bringing the medicine, you will be all right.’
    Then he left. He borrowed money from his mother. His mother sold out all her ornaments and gave him money. Then he went. He got a flying horse prepared for him by their carpenter. He asked the carpenter how much money he’d take. The carpenter said, ‘Five thousand.’ He gave him five thousand rupees and took the flying horse from him. By twisting its right ear, it could be made to fly up, and by twisting the left ear it could be made to come down to land.

    Then he got on the horse and twisted its right ear. The horse started flying then. It landed in a kingdom. That kingdom was of the wild boar. He made the horse stand there and he himself sat down. The daughter of the king of that wild boar kingdom came and saw a very handsome young man. She thought he must be a prince. She decided to marry him. She reached her home and slept on her bed turning her head down. When she did like this her mother came and asked her, ‘Why are you sleeping dear? Get up and dry your clothes. You have taken your bath, but you haven’t dried your clothes yet. Why are you sleeping with your face down? Get up.’

    The daughter said, ‘You promise first that you will give me in marriage to the young man sitting by the side of the river. Then I’ll get up and eat. Otherwise I won’t touch the food nor water.’

    ‘Ok, you get up,’ said the mother.

    Then the princess said, ‘I won’t get up till you promise.’ Then her mother promised to tell her father about her marriage to that young man.

    Then the king sent the minister along with other servants to fetch the young man and got him married to his daughter. After the marriage was over, he stayed there.

    Then, one day, he told the princess to stay there, as he had to bring the "Mallibati" medicine for his father. His father would be cured on smelling the flower. After saying like this he took his horse and flew away. This time he reached the pigeon king’s kingdom. Just as he landed there [by the side of a river], the princess of that kingdom arrived there to take bath. She saw the prince and decided to marry him. She went back to her house. She also slept with her face down. At that time her mother came and said, ‘Get up and have your food dear. You took bath, why are you not drying the clothes?’

    She replied, ‘I won’t dry my clothes, won’t get up and won’t touch even water. I’ll sleep and die, but never touch food or water. You first promise to do what I tell you, after that we’ll talk.’

    The mother said, ‘What promise between mother and daughter?’

    The daughter said, ‘Solemnize my marriage with the young man sitting on the road by the river. After that only I’ll touch the food or water.’

    The mother said, ‘Of which caste he might be? Will you marry such a man?’

    She replied, ‘He is a prince. If you won’t perform my marriage with him, I’ll die like this without touching food or water.’

    Then the king was forced to order his soldiers to go and bring that young man. His soldiers caught him and brought him to the king. The prince refused to marry her as he had left home to get medicine for his father. But forcibly they solemnized his marriage to the princess. He stayed there for some days.

    Then, one day, he said he had to bring medicine for his father so that he’d be cured. Saying this he took his flying horse and flew away. This time he reached the tiger king’s kingdom. The tiger king’s daughter then saw him and thought, ‘What a handsome young man. I must marry him.’

    She also came home buried her face in the bed and slept on. Her mother said, ‘What has happened dear? Everyday you used to take bath and eat. Why are you sleeping like this sulking today? Get up and eat.’

    She replied, ‘I won’t eat, till I marry that young man. I’ll die like this.’

    The king sent his soldiers to find that young man. Then all his bodyguards and watchmen brought him to the king. Then they solemnized the marriage. Then again he remained there for 2-3 days like this.

    Then, one day, he said, ‘I’m going to Mallipur to bring medicines. Oh princess, you remain here. While returning I’ll take you with me.’

    Saying like this he left. Then he reached the pig king’s kingdom. The princess of that kingdom saw him, went back home and slept burying her face in her pillow. She had seen the prince by the side of the pond and thought in her heart, ‘Such a handsome prince he is? I must marry him.’ She did not take bath, came home, turned her face down and slept.

    Her mother asked her, ‘You went to take bath, why are you sleeping here turning your face down?’

    She said to her mother, ‘Till you promise to do what I ask you to do for me, I won’t take bath, won’t take food. I’ll die, but won’t touch food.’

    ‘What is this promise business between mother and daughter?’

    The princess said, ‘By the side of the pond I saw a young man when I went for taking bath. I saw him sitting there. If you solemnize my marriage with him, then only I’ll take bath and eat, otherwise not.’

    They then went to call that young man. The king also went there himself. He called his ministers and soldiers also there. They performed their marriage. He stayed there for some days.

    Then, one day, he told the princess, ‘Oh princess, you stay here. I’m leaving this place for some work. At the time of coming back, I’ll take you home with me.’ Saying this he got ready to go to the Mallibati kingdom.

    Then the princess asked him, ‘Will you go to Mallibati kingdom?’

    He said, ‘Yes, I’m going there. After I come back, I’ll take you with me.’

    Then the prince went to the elephant king’s kingdom. When he reached there, the princess of that kingdom also saw that he was a handsome young man. She had come to take bath. She thought, ‘So nice this young man is.’ She decided to marry that prince. She went and lay down on her bed with her face down.

    Then her father and mother said, ‘Why are you sleeping with your face down?’

    She replied, ‘I won’t accept food or water till you get me married to that young man.’ The king again sent his soldiers to him. They brought him. They solemnized her marriage with that prince. Then he stayed there for a few days.

    Then he said, ‘I’m going to bring the Malli flower. On my way back I’ll take you home.’ Then he twisted the ear of the flying horse and started off.

    Then he flew on and reached the kingdom of king Yama, the god of death. When he reached that kingdom, the daughter of the king saw him.

    She said to herself, ‘Bloody hell, what a handsome man! I must surely marry him.’ Then she asked him, ‘Why have you come here?’

    ‘I have come to take the Malli flower.’

    ‘You marry me. Then I’ll tell you how to get that flower and you can go get it. Otherwise you cannot bring it.’

    Then he agreed to marry her. Yamaraja did not know all this. His daughter told him, ‘Father! I’ve chosen this young man to marry.’ Then she got married to him. They remained there after marrying. One day the princess said, ‘you are supposed to bring the Malli flower? Okay, I’m showing you the path.’

    Then the prince followed the directions and reached the giant’s kingdom. When he reached there, he thought, ‘These giants would kill me if they see me.’ Then the princess of that giant kingdom could see him. Giants rarely saw human beings [in their kingdom]. She looked at the young man and said, ‘He is really very handsome.’ She developed greed for him then. When her father and mother went for grazing, [as that was the giants’ kingdom and they might eat this prince if they saw him], she transformed him into a housefly and kept him.

    When her father and mother came after grazing, they asked their daughter, ‘What’s it daughter, today it is smelling like human beings? Where from had come a human being?’

    She said, ‘No mother! Look, there is nothing here in this house.’ Then they went for grazing. Then the two of them talked to each other, the king’s youngest son and the giant’s youngest daughter.

    Then again her mother asked another day, ‘Dear daughter, tell me the truth, why it is smelling like human beings?’

    The daughter said, ‘If I’ll tell you, you’ll eat him.’ She said, they would not kill him if she told them. They would rather solemnize her marriage with him. Then the princess showed them. They then asked the prince why he had come. He replied that had had come to take Malli flower.

    Then the daughter of the giant said, ‘You can’t go to the Mallibati kingdom like this. What I say, you do accordingly. What you should do first is that you bring a goat.’ Then he brought a goat. Then she instructed him to cut off the head of the goat. Then the prince said that he was the king’s son and that he had never cut a goat. He again asked how he could do that as he had never done it before. Then the princess said, ‘No anyhow you have to do it.’ Then he butchered the goat. Then she instructed him to milk the cow. The prince replied again that he had never milked before, so what could he do? Then he milked the cow anyway. Then the princess instructed him to catch a cat. He replied that he couldn’t catch a cat. Anyway he managed to catch a black cat. The cat mewed. Then the princess instructed him to tie that up in a bag. She told him to keep the milk in an earthen pot. She tied the meat [of the goat in a bag]. Then she sent him to Mallibati kingdom.

    Again she told the prince, ‘Mallibati must be sleeping there. What you’ll do? You throw the cat directly into the palace. When the cat will mew, she’ll get up. You’ll also see a tiger while going there. You’ll throw these meat pieces to the tiger. He’ll keep busy in eating the meat. Then you proceed. Then again there will be a snake. Then you’ll keep the bowl full of milk there. The snake will drink the milk. You’ll proceed on your way.’

    Then he left taking all those things. He saw a tiger tied there. Who would feed him? There was no human being present in the Mallibati kingdom. So the tiger was growling. Then he threw the meat. The tiger pounced upon the meat. He had never tasted goat meat before. He started eating after getting the meat. Then the prince proceeded. He saw a snake there. The snake hissed. When it hissed, he kept the milk bowl near him. Then the snake had the milk. He then proceeded onward. Then he threw the cat. The cat mewed.

    Mallibati then woke up and said, ‘She’s broken my 12-year sleep. Where from came this cat?’ She was sleeping there for 12 years. She woke up on hearing the cat’s mew. Then the prince went there and called her name, ‘Mallibati, Mallibati, please get up.’

    She then said, ‘Who called me? I had been sleeping for last 12 years. Who called me today?’ She opened the door and saw that he was a prince. She called him inside. But the prince refused to enter inside. He said he would wait outside. Then princess Maalibati asked him why he had come. He started explaining why he had gone there. She called him inside, made him sit on her bed. He explained what really was the matter. He had gone there to bring the medicine. He asked the princess for the medicine and said that his father would be cured after smelling the medicine.

    Then he stayed in Mallibati’s house. Then he got married to her. After marrying, he brought the flower along with Mallibati. Both of them reached the giant’s kingdom. He brought the giant’s daughter from there. All three of them came walking from there to the Yamaraja’s kingdom. Then Yamaraja asked his daughter what she wanted. She replied that she would not take anything; she just wanted the cosmic calendar from her father. Then the four of them came to the elephant king’s house. After making the three of them stand on the road, the prince went to the elephant king’s daughter. He told her to accompany him.

    While departing her father asked her, ‘What do you want to take dear?’ He offered all her wealth and ornaments to take according to her wish. She told him that she would not take anything except an elephant calf. He told her, ‘Okay, then take that.’ Then she took an elephant calf along and came.

    They became five. Then the five members walked and reached the tiger king’s house. The prince took the tiger king’s daughter along with him. The tiger king’s daughter also brought a tiger cub as dowry. They became six in number. Then all of them came and reached the pigeon king’s kingdom. Like every king, the pigeon king asked his daughter to take whatever things she wanted according to her choice. She said she would not take anything and she would take only a baby pigeon. Then she took her baby pigeon along with her. Including her, they now became seven. Then they again reached the pig king’s kingdom. The pig king’s daughter also said that she would not take anything excepting a piglet. She took the piglet along with her.

    Like this they became eight in number. They came and reached the wild boar king’s kingdom. The wild boar’s daughter said that she would take a wild boar baby. Her parents told her to take that. Then all nine of them came from there walking. Eight queens had married a single young man. All of them came behind him. They addressed each other as sisters and came talking to one another happily. They came and reached the sea beach.

    On this side, the four brothers [who had gone for the flowers but had never returned], where they were before God knows, but they now met their younger brother and wives on the sea beach. The younger brother became very happy after meeting his elder brothers. He made all of them shave and made all of them presentable.

    Then the younger brother explained everything to his brothers. ‘Anyway, I got the Malli flower. So let’s all of us go back home together.’ Then they went together.

    While walking, the younger brother felt thirsty. All the wives were also with them. The elder brothers were their brothers-in-law and they were their sisters-in-law.

    While walking the four brothers decided among them, ‘We have come here for so many years, [all four of them decided], but could not bring the medicine. For that our father will surely kill us. Look at him [indicating the younger brother]; he has got the flower. Also he has also got so many wives. Whatever may happen, let’s marry them in spite of their being our sisters-in-law and let’s kill this younger brother.’

    They were walking. At that time the younger brother felt thirsty. He said, ‘I’m feeling thirsty.’

    Then the elder brothers said, ‘Dear sisters-in-law, please wait here for a while. We are going to make him drink some water.’

    The queens said, ‘We’ll also accompany you.’

    But they said, ‘You stay here. We’ll make him drink water in a short while and come back.’ Saying this they took the younger brother along with them. While he was drinking water, the four brothers rammed him in the mud, broke his legs and buried him under the mud. Then they came back.

    They came and told the sister-in-law, ‘Let’s go.’

    ‘And our husband?’

    ‘He’s gone away. [He’s no more]. You come with us.’

    They then said, ‘You are our brothers-in-law. How could you touch us?’

    ‘We’ll keep you, you come.’

    On their way they asked for the Malli flower from Mallibati. Mallibati reluctantly gave them the flower.

(Continued on C 225 A)

(O. Tr. Pp.: 10,604-630)

    Then all the queens said, ‘Sisters, let’s all go to the pond and search.’ Then all of them went there, stirred the mud and searched for him. When they stirred the mud, the daughter of the God of Death, Yamaraja, got the body. Then all of them took the body out. Then they washed him. The others were crying. The daughter of the Death God told them not to cry, as she would make him well. She consulted the cosmic calendar [she had brought from her father], and made him all right after applying some witchcraft. Then all of them came walking from there. After coming some distance, they said, ‘We’ll live in this jungle and won’t go anywhere else.’

    Then all the queens as well as the prince said, ‘If we are really daughters of kings, then within this night, there will be a palace constructed here.’ In reality, within a night a huge big palace was constructed there. Everybody lived there including the tiger, the boar, the elephant, the horse etc.

    From there led a road to another king’s fort. There was a barber in that kingdom who went to the king’s palace to shave the king everyday. That day, he was going to the fort. While passing by that way, he saw the palace and thought, ‘There was no house here before, who is the king who constructed a house here?’ He also started drooling when he saw the queens.

    He came to his king and said, ‘Oh king! In your kingdom some rascal king has constructed a palace and is living there. What to say about his queens! The face of your queen will not be comparable to their feet. Oh hell, so beautiful the ladies are! You should bloody hell take 3-4 of them and rest you should leave for me.’ He said like this.

    The prince had constructed his palace in the jungle and was living there. After some days he went to his father taking the medicine. He said, ‘Father! The matter is like this. My brothers beat me up and left me for dead. Now, I won’t live here any more.’

    ‘Those rascals beat you to death? They are of such type?’ said the king. The prince then told the king that he would not stay there.

    His father was all right then [after taking the medicine]. He told the prince to live there with him and to bring his wives along to the palace. But he told the king that he would stay there as he had constructed his own house. Then he went back and lived in his palace. The barber passed by that way daily.

    He told his king once, ‘What to do? In your kingdom, this person has constructed his house.’

    Then the king called the new king and said, ‘You have constructed your house inside my kingdom. So, you have to dig a pond here within tonight. If you can’t dig it, then you will be killed by driving the upper bolt and lower bolt through you.’ The prince returned from there after hearing that; his head reeled and he sat there. That day was the turn of pig king’s daughter. That day she was supposed to cook food and serve. She called him, ‘Come and have meal.’

    ‘No, I won’t. That king has told me to dig a pond overnight,’ he said. ‘Why is this rascal king giving us so much pain?’

    She said, ‘He has said that?’

    ‘It’s well and good if I dig the pond, otherwise he’ll kill me with the upper or lower bolts.’

    ‘You are worrying so much about this little matter,’ said the queen. She had a piglet; she sent that to here father. Then all the pigs from her kingdom came that night, dug seven ponds in one night and left the place in the same night.

    The king then came [in the morning] and got astonished after seeing the ponds. He said to the barber, ‘He has dug all this only in one night. We can’t compete with him, you tell me, what to do now?’

    Then the barber said, ‘Tell him to fill those ponds with milk, in one night.’

    That day was the turn of the elephant king’s daughter. She came and asked her husband to take rice. But the prince was sleeping with his back turned to her.

    He said, ‘No I won’t eat.’

    She asked, ‘Why? What happened?’

    ‘The king called me today. He said, if I won’t fill the ponds with milk tonight, then he’ll kill me using upper and lower bolts.’

     Then the elephant king’s daughter sent a letter to her father with the baby elephant she had brought. Elephants came in that night and filled the ponds with their milk.

     The next morning, the prince went to the king’s palace and told him to come and see. The king came and saw that the ponds were filled with milk. He then said, ‘I can’t handle this person any more.’ He told the barber that it was not possible to marry the queens. Again the barber said, ‘No, I should go. What I’ll do. I’ll throw seven baskets of mustard seeds in the fields.’

    Then he threw seven baskets of mustard seeds in the fields. Then they said, ‘If you don’t collect all the mustard seeds and put them in the baskets tonight, then you will be killed.’ The barber came and told him like this.

     What the prince would do then? He came and slept on the bed turning his face down. That day was the turn of pigeon king’s daughter. She said, ‘You eat in everybody’s turn; why don’t you eat during my turn? Come, get up and have your meal.’

    He replied that he wouldn’t take anything. ‘The king had set me an impossible task. If I can’t gather seven baskets of mustard seeds which have been strewn on the fields within this night, then he would kill me by using the upper or lower bolt the tomorrow.’

    ‘Are you worried for such a silly thing?’ the queen said. ‘All the seeds would be gathered.’ She wrote a letter to her father and sent that through the baby pigeon. The baby pigeon reached her father-mother’s kingdom. The king read that letter and said, ‘That rascal king is worrying my daughter so much?’ They ordered, ‘Go all the pigeons of our kingdom and pick up the mustard seeds.’

     The pigeons reached there in large numbers, gathered the mustard seeds, [put them in seven baskets] and went back the same night. The next morning the prince called the king to see that.

    The king saw, the seven baskets were filled with mustard seeds. He thought, ‘Bloody hell, what plan can I devise? It’s really very difficult to stump the prince.’ Then the king again called him and said to him, ‘If you can fill up the seven ponds with tiger milk by tomorrow morning, well and good, otherwise I shall kill you by the upper or lower bolts.’

    Again the prince came, buried his face and slept on the bed. That day was the turn of tiger king’s daughter. She said, ‘Oh dear! You eat properly during everybody’s turn. Why are you angry during my turn and not are not eating. Come, get up and have you rice.’

    He then explained that he had been ordered by the king to fill all the ponds with tiger milk; otherwise he would be killed. The queen then consoled him by asking him not to bother. She said she would arrange to make those ponds full. She told him to eat and assured that the king could not kill him. Then the prince had his food.

    When he finished eating, it became evening. Then the queen wrote a letter and sent that through the tiger cub. The cub reached the tiger kingdom.

    ‘That rascal’s worrying my daughter likes this!’ said the king. ‘Go all the milch tigers to that kingdom.’ Then all the tigers reached there. They gave milk and filled the ponds with tiger milk and then left the place in the same night.

    The next day the king saw the ponds filled with milk. Then he accepted defeat and left everything to the barber to apply his intelligence. The barber advised him to take more chance and to tell that prince to bring a multicoloured bird. If he would bring, then all right, otherwise he would be killed with the upper and lower bolts. The king had become very greedy on seeing such beautiful queens. The barber was also very much greedy. Once he was passing by that road. He entered into the new king’s palace. He came and enquired of the queens where the king was. ‘Ask him to bring a multicoloured bird. Our king has said this. Tell him.’

    ‘Okay. He’s not home at present. When he comes back we’ll tell him.’

    The barber then asked, ‘For what reason all of you are sitting like this?’

    ‘Who’ll take out the rice from the barn; our husband is not there. How we’ll prepare rice and eat without taking it out? That’s why we are sitting idle,’ replied the queens.

    The barber said, ‘I’m a manly person. I’ll take the rice out. Don’t you think I can do that? I’m a manly person.’

    The queens said, ‘Okay then, please take out some for us.’ Then the barber came. His temptation grew on seeing the queens. He inserted his hand into the barn. At that time the king was hiding there. He caught the barber. After catching him, all of them tied him up. Then he told to his queens, ‘Let’s go together to the sea beach. We’ll collect all the feathers of the birds of all colours.’ Then they collected the feathers and came back home.

    That barber was tied up already in a bag. They stitched the bag. They stitched his mouth also. They stitched the feathers on that bag and converted that barber into a multicoloured bird. They tied a belt on his waist and took him to the king.

    They said, ‘Sir! You wanted a multicoloured bird. Please take this.’

    The king said, ‘No, I haven’t told anything. The barber had told. So give it at his house.’

    He took the bird to the barber’s house and asked where the barber was. ‘He has gone to the king’s house,’ his wife replied.

    ‘No he is not there at the king’s palace. We just came from there,’ said the prince.

    The barber’s wife said, ‘He must have gone somewhere else.’

    Then the prince said, ‘Okay, take this. When he comes, please tell him that we have brought a multicoloured bird according to his wish.’

    The barber’s wife asked, ‘What will the bird eat, oh son!’

    ‘No aunty, it’ll not eat anything. Whenever it shakes its body, just give it a beating,’ said the prince.

    Then when the barber-bird shook its body a little, his wife said, ‘What the hell is this blasted bird, it’s always shaking itself.’ She then beat that it with a wooden plate. She was roasting some puffed rice. She said in anger, ‘I’ll roast the puffed rice or take care of this bird?’ Saying like this she beat the bird some more. But how much could she beat? She would roast the rice or thrash the bird? So like this what she did, she put the burning wood of the stove on the mouth of that bag. Then the barber’s mouth opened. The barber said, ‘You killed me, you killed me.’

    ‘You rascal old man? I was beating it thinking it was something else.’ His wife then opened his stitches and cleaned him. Then both of them lived. The discussion is finished. The story remains.



Illustrations: Sarasi Das