Chando and His Wife

A Santhal Pargana Tale

translated by Cecil Henry Bompas

Once upon a time Chando went to the hills to fashion a plough out of a log of wood; and his wife was left at home alone, Chando was so long in coming back that his wife grew impatient; so she made some mosquitos and sent them to worry him and drive him home. But Chando made some dragon-flies and they ate up the mosquitos and he went on with his work. His wife made various other animals and sent them out, but Chando destroyed them all. At last she made a tiger and sent it to frighten him home; but Chando took up a handful of chips from the log he was cutting and threw them at the tiger and they turned into wild dogs and chased the tiger away. Ever since that no tiger will face wild dogs.

Then Chando’s wife shut up a locust in an iron pot and when Chando at last came home she asked him “Why have you been so long? Who is to give food and drink to all the living creatures if you don’t attend to business.” Chando answered that he had fed them all.

“No you have not, you have not fed the locust!”

“But I have” said Chando.

Then she took the lid off the iron pot and showed him the locust eating grass inside; and Chando had nothing to say.