The Tigerís Marriage

A Santhal Pargana Tale

translated by Cecil Henry Bompas

Once upon a time there lived a Rājā who had one son and many daughters. One day the Rājā went into the jungle to cut grass. He cut a great deal of grass and tied it up in a big bundle and then he found that he had cut so much that it was more than he could carry. As he was wondering what he should do a tiger came by that way and seeing the Rājā in difficulties asked what he could do to help him. The Rājā explained that he had cut a bundle of grass which was too heavy to carry. The tiger said that he would carry the grass if he were rewarded for it: the Rājā asked him what reward he wanted. The tiger said that he wished for one of the Rājā’s daughters in marriage. The Rājā reflected that he had many daughters and agreed to the proposition. Thereupon the grass was placed on the tiger’s back and he carried it to the Rājā’s palace. Now the Rājā was ashamed to give his daughter openly to the tiger so he told the tiger to wait by the water hole, and sending for one of his daughters bade her go and fetch water; the girl went to the water hole where the tiger was waiting and was carried off by the tiger. But the Rājā’s son missed his sister and went in search of her. After searching some time he came to a cave in the jungle and looking in he was the tiger finishing the remains of the girl whom he had killed. Then the Rājā’s son ran home as quickly as he could, and told the Rājā what he had seen.

The next day the tiger came openly to the Rājā’s palace and asked to see the Rājā. He was taken to the Rājā and treated politely. Then the tiger said to the Rājā: “I am sorry to say that the wife whom you gave me has died, so you must give me another.” The Rājā said he would think about the matter and invited the tiger to stay at the palace. So the tiger was given a good bed, and quickly went to sleep. In the night the Rājā’s son boiled some large vessels of water and poured the scalding water over the sleeping tiger and killed him. And in this way the tiger died.