Indian Antiquary. Bombay, 1891. Vol. xx, pp. 142-47. "Folk-lore in Salsette," by Geo. Fr. D'Penha.
Mendicant has wife and six daughters. Boiling rice poured into his hand raises blister on thumb. Wife opens blister, and heroine comes forth. Six girls and heroine shut up whilst mother makes rice-cakes; they make excuse to he released in turn, and cat all the cakes. Mother makes cakes of ashes for self and husband. Father pretends to take seven girls to visit uncle, and abandons them in forest whilst they sleep. Heroine only sleeps whilst sucking father's thumb. He cuts it off, and leaves it in her mouth. Girls suppose she has eaten father, and call her Bâpkhâdi. They reach house with seven vacant rooms; each takes one; heroine's room the best, containing [Magic] dresses and gold shoes; has stable attached-- Meeting-place (church)--Flight, manifold-- Lost shoe King's son pines for owner of shoe; hides in father's stable; watches maidservants eat grain and throw husks to horses calls out to them. They reveal prince's hiding-place. King visits him, cheers him, and institutes search for owner of shoe-- Shoe marriage test -- Happy marriage-- Sisters become heroine's waiting-maids. Prince goes on voyage. Heroine bears soil. Sisters blindfold her, bury child alive under tree, and put stone in its place. Shower of gold on prince's ship betokens birth of son. Prince hurries home; sisters show him stone-- Prince takes second voyage. Heroine bears son; sisters bury child alive under tree, substituting cocoa-nut broom-- Shower of gold on prince's ship. Sisters show him broom-- Third voyage of prince-- Heroine bears daughter, whom sisters bury alive in church, substituting another kind of broom-- Shower of silver on prince's ship. Sisters show him broom, and calumniate heroine-- Heroine stripped and thrown into dungeon. Prince marries six sisters-- Heroine's children come begging; say words which mystify prince; refuse to take alms from six wives; bid prince call seventh wife. Three streams of milk from heroine's breast penetrate seven curtains and run into children's mouths-- Heroine restored to favour-- Villain Nemesis. Six sisters despoiled and driven forth on donkeys.
(1) A gôsânvi1 with a wife and six daughters has been in the habit of begging in Isis own neighbourhood from house to house, only collecting thereby one sêr of rice daily, barely sufficing for himself and family. One day he goes begging outside his own village; a woman pours into his hands some rice boiling hot from the caldron, raising a big blister on his thumb, Returning home, he bids wife take needle and break blister; when about to apply needle she hears a voice saying: "Father, if you break, break it carefully." They are perplexed at this; but same words are repeated each time she attempts to open blister. Then she opens it with utmost care, and a little girl comes out and walks about. Poor gôsânvi is unhappy at having seventh daughter to maintain, but submits to fate.-- (2) One day he bids wife make pôlê.2 She rejoins: "How many pôlâ will one sêr of rice make? At any rate, they will hardly be ready before our girls will eat them up." Whereupon gôsânvi advises that girls be shut up whilst she makes them, and he and she can eat them together. He goes off begging as usual; wife shuts the girls up in a room, and begins making pole. When sounds of cooking a pôlâ reach the girls, one of them calls to mother, and makes excuse for getting out. Mother lets her out, and she goes straight to kitchen and eats up the first pôlâ. The same thing happens with all the pôlê, for the dough will only just make seven. Mother, not knowing what to say to husband, or what to give him to eat takes some ashes and makes two pôlê one for herself, one for him, he returns, and they sit down to the meal. Gôsânvi is enraged, and makes wife explain everything.-- (3) Then he says he must take the girls and leave them in a forest, that they be no longer a burden upon him. Wife agrees, and that evening he calls to girls to dress quickly, for their maternal uncle has asked him to bring them to his house. They have never heard of their maternal uncle before, but get ready and set out with father. He leads them on for many hours through a forest, always replying to their inquiries that they must go a long way further yet. When darkness overtakes them he says that they must sleep that night in the forest. Girls, suspecting nothing, fall asleep. Youngest daughter, who came out of blister, is in the habit of sucking father's thumb when going to sleep, always waking when thumb is removed. The gôsânvi is therefore obliged to cut off his thumb and leave it in little girl's mouth, whilst he goes away leaving them all asleep.-- (4) Next morning girls cannot find father, but, seeing his thumb in youngest sister's mouth, conclude that she has eaten him, and henceforth name her Bâpkhâdi.3 They take it from her mouth, thus waking her, and reprimand her severely; saying that they intend to leave her to herself, they start off for another country. She follows them till they find a large house with seven rooms in it, all vacant. Each takes a room, finding in it plenty of food, clothes, and other necessaries; but Bâpkhâdi's room is the best, containing clothes and furniture of matchless beauty, and having a stable attached. But she says nothing about it to sisters, always remaining in the rags in which she had come.-- (5) On Sunday mornings the six sisters dress in their best and go to church to attend mass. Before starting they always call to Bâpkhâdi to ask her whether she is coming; but she answers never a word. Nevertheless, she quickly dresses up in rich silks with golden slippers, and goes to church on horseback, arriving before her sisters. So, too, after mass she will get home first, and be standing at her door, clothed in rags. Sisters, who have seen the beautiful girl, return and tell her what a sight she has missed through not going to church.-- (6) One day, whilst returning from church, Bâpkhâdi loses one of her slippers, and it attracts the attention of the king's son, who happens to pass by. He picks it up, and goes and throws himself down in his father's stables, thinking of the owner of the slipper, and how he can find her. Then he gives up eating and drinking. King searches for him in vain throughout palace and all through village.-- (7) But king's maid-servants go to stables to feed the horses, and, as usual, eat the grain and throw them the husks; seeing which, the prince calls out from hiding-place: "Oh, ho! is this how you feed the horses? No wonder they get leaner day by day, while you grow stouter!" Hearing prince's voice, the maid-servants fly like lightning to the king, and say: "Sire, shall we tell thee one, or shall we tell thee two?" King bids them say what they have to say at once, and when they have related all, he goes to the stables and speaks thus to prince: "What ails you, my son? Tell me what you lack. If any has lifted his hands to strike you, I will take his hands. If any his legs to kick you, I will take his legs. If any has cast his eyes on you, I will take his eyes." Prince replies that nothing ails him, nor has any one harmed him. He grieves because he has found a golden slipper, and knows not how to trace the owner, whom he must marry or die of grief. He will touch no food or drink till he finds her. King comforts him, promising to send in all directions to find the owner, and persuades him to go home and take food as usual.-- (8) Messengers are sent to try the slipper till they find the owner, then to arrange for her marriage with prince. They seek throughout the country, coming at length to the house of the seven sisters. The slipper is tried on the six eldest, but fits none. Then they, for once, think of Bâpkhâdi, and bid the men try it on her; and lo! it fits her perfectly.-- (9) Arrangements are made, the day appointed for the ceremony, and Bâpkhâdi is duly married to the king's son amid great rejoicings. Her six sisters are invited to live in palace, but are made to wait on her as her maids. They grow jealous of her.-- (10) Presently prince determines to set out on distant voyage, and fits out his ship. Before taking leave of Bâpkhâdi he calls her sisters, and bids them tend her carefully, saying, that should a son be born to him, a shower of gold will fall on his ship; if a daughter is born, there will be a shower of silver. He departs, and in due time Bâpkhâdi bears a son. But her sisters bind up her eyes, and take the child and bury him alive under a sâyâ tree, and substitute in his place an ôrôntâ.4 Bâpkhâdi little knows the trick that has been played her. A shower of gold falls on the prince's ship, and, in his joy, he distributes sugar and other presents to his crew, and hastens home. When the Sisters show him the ôrôntâ he is grieved to the heart, but remains silent.-- (11) Two or three years afterwards he again sets out on a voyage, advising the sisters to take more care this time of his wife. Bâpkhâdi again bears a son, and the sisters bind her eyes, and take away the child, and bury it alive under an tree, substituting for it a bôvâtrâ.5 Prince witnesses a second shower of gold; again distributes sugar and other presents, and hastens home, only to be disappointed once more.-- (12) Another two or three years elapse, and he sets out again, telling the sisters to exercise great care this time. His wife hears a daughter, and the sisters bury the child alive in the church, putting in its place a môrvâli.6 This time there comes pouring a heavy shower of silver; the prince distributes presents, and returns home. The sisters show him the mo and also tell a lot of tales against Bâpkhâdi.-- (13) He is enraged, and casts her into a dark dungeon, and takes the six sisters as his wives. Bâpkhâdi is also deprived of all her clothes and jewellery. For food, the remains of fish7 and other leavings are thrown to her. So matters continue for several years.-- (14) Meanwhile, "the hand of the Almighty" has saved her three children, and they grow to be from ten to fifteen years old, and live by begging. In their begging excursions they are wont to say: "Brother Sâyâ from under the sâyâ tree, brother Ansâ under the ânsâ tree, sister Dêuku from the church, the king8 of this country is mad; he married seven wives; he is our father." From house to house they go, repeating these words, and at last reach the palace. The prince hears, but cannot understand, and bids them repeat the words over and over again several times; then he tells one of the six sisters to give them something in alms. The sisters conclude who the children must be but pretend not to know, and one of them offers alms. But children refuse to take any. Each of the sisters in turn offers something; but children will take nothing at their hands-- (15) Prince is puzzled, and asks them for an explanation, whereupon children say: "Let your seventh wife, who is in the dungeon, come out. Place seven curtains between her and us, and watch what happens. Then you will come to know everything." Bâpkhâdi is brought forth, and seven curtains are placed between her and her children. Three streams of milk burst from her breasts, and, penetrating the seven curtains, run into the children's mouths. Prince is astounded, and, at length, makes sisters explain by revealing the whole story. Then he embraces the children, and also Bâpkhâdi, asking her why she did not tell this story long ago. She replies that, her eyes being bandaged, she knew nothing; hence her silence.-- (16) Prince orders children to be bathed and handsomely clad, Bâpkhâdi is restored to her former position, and again clothed and covered with jewellery.-- (17) The six sisters are despoiled of all. Prince has their hair and noses cut off, and they are then seated on donkeys, and banished from the country. The donkeys gallop on for several hours, when sisters say: "Donkey, donkey, which way?" Donkeys reply: "On, on; for your wrongs we have to suffer!" Prince, and his wife and children, live happily to very old age. He succeeds his father as king.
1: An ascetic who goes about begging,
smeared with ashes.
2: Pôlê, singular pôlâ,
are made in the following way:-- Ordinary rice and a little quantity of
another grain (mêthi, plural mêthiâ) are ground together.
The flour is made into dough with toddy and water, and allowed to remain
for a few hours. After this an earthen tâwâ (platter) is placed
on the oven, a little oil rubbed on it (usually with a stick of the plantain
leaf, after beating it into the shape of a brush), and a little of the
dough poured on it, which in a short time makes a pôlâ.
3: Bâpkhâdi means literally
"eater of the father".
4: A round stone used for grinding
5: A broom made out of the reeds
of the cocoanut palm-leaf. it is ordinarily known as the "Goa broom".
6: A moo is another sort of broom
made of the date palm-leaf.
7: It should be remembered that
the Salsette Christians are fish-eaters. They very seldom eat meat, except,
perhaps, on Sundays and feast-days.
8: By "the king" is here
meant "the prince" of the tale.
Cox, Marian Roalfe. Cinderella: Three Hundred and Forty-five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin, and Cap O' Rushes, abstracted and tabulated. London: David Nutt for the Folklore Society, 1893.
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