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The Story Of Foolish Sachuli
by [?]


There once lived a poor old widow woman named Hungní, who had a little idiot son called Sachúlí. She used to beg every day. One day when the son had grown up, he said to his mother. “What makes women laugh?” “If you throw a tiny stone at them,” answered she, “they will laugh.” So one day Sachúlí went and sat by a well, and three women came to it to fill their water-jars. “Now,” said Sachúlí “I will make one of these women laugh.” Two of the women filled their water-jars and went away home, and he threw no stones at them; but as the last, who also had on the most jewels, passed him, he threw a great big stone at her, and she fell down dead, with her mouth set as if she were smiling. “Oh, look! look! how she is laughing!” said Sachúlí, and he ran off to call his mother.

“Come, come, mother,” said he, “and see how I have made this woman laugh.”

His mother came, and when she saw the woman lying dead, she was much frightened, for the dead woman belonged to a great and very rich family, and she wore jewels worth a thousand rupees. Hungní took off all her jewels, and threw her body into the well.

After some days the dead woman’s father and mother and all her people sent round a crier with a drum to try and find her. “Whoever brings back a young woman who wears a great many gold necklaces and bracelets and rings shall get a great deal of money,” cried the crier. Sachúlí heard him. “I know where she is,” said he. “My mother took off all her jewels, and threw her into the well.”

The crier said, “Can you go down into the well and bring her up?”

“If you will tie a rope round my waist and let me down the well, I shall be able to bring her up.”

So they set off towards the well, which was near Hungní’s house; and when she saw them coming, she guessed what they came for, and she ran out and killed a sheep, threw it into the well, and took out the dead woman and hid her.

The crier got some men to come with him, and they let Sachúlí down the well. “Has she got eyes?” said Sachúlí. “Of course, every one has eyes,” answered the men. “Has she a nose?” asked Sachúlí. “Yes, she has a nose,” said the men. “Has she got a mouth?” asked Sachúlí. “Yes,” said the men. “Has she a long face?”

“What does he mean?” said the men, who were getting cross. “No one has a long face; perhaps she has, though. Yes, she has a long face,” cried the men.

“Has she a tail?”

“A tail! Why no one has a tail. Perhaps, though, she has long hair. No doubt that is what he calls a tail. Yes, she has a tail.”

“Has she ears?”

“Of course, every one has ears.”

“Has she four feet?”

“Four feet!” said the men. “Why, no one has four feet. Perhaps you call her hands feet. Yes, she has four feet. Bring her up quickly.”

Then Sachúlí brought up the sheep.

The men were very angry when they saw the sheep, and they beat Sachúlí, and called him a very stupid fellow and a great liar, and they went away feeling very cross.

Sachúlí went home to his mother, who, as soon as she saw him coming, ran out and put the woman’s body back in the well, and when he got home she beat him. “Mother,” said he, “give me some bread, and I will go away and die.” His mother cooked him some bread, and he went away.

He walked on, and on, and on, a long way.

Now, some Rájá’s ten camels had been travelling along the road on which Sachúlí went, each carrying sacks of gold mohurs and rupees, and one of these camels broke loose from the string and strayed away, and the camel-drivers could not find it again. But Sachúlí met it, and caught it and took it home.