Folk Tales of Gujarat (and Jhaverchand Meghani)

by Vandana P. Soni | 2014 | 98,532 words

This study represents an English translation of the Gujarat Folk tales composed by Gujarati poet Jhaverchand Meghani (1896-1947). Meghani was born in Chotila and left an important landmark on the history of Saurashtra and Gujarat folklore, Indian poetry, journalism and other literary sciences....

Chapter 13 - Vanadiya Ni Varta

[On the day of Sitla Satam this story is told in the last after all the tales are told.]

There was only one sister among seven brothers. She was an absolute virgin. She never ate in the name of any male. She was used to leave the place whenever the talk regarding male began.

The turns of seven sisters-in -laws were set for winding bed of their sister-in-law. All the seven sisters-in-laws were jealous of her. Once in the morning when one siste–in-law came to dismantle bed she smelt kumkum and sensed a fragrance of fragrant oil and also noticed deep red coloured stains of spit of betel leaf on the wall.

On the second day when the second sister-in-law went, she also sensed fragrance of kumkum and fragrant oil and also noticed stains of spit of betel leaf on the wall.

On the third day the third one experienced the same type of perfumed smell of abil and gulal from the bedsheet of a sister-in-law.

All the seven sisters in laws became suspicious and gossiped against her character: ‘Alas! For all the seven brothers their sister is an incarnation of Chastity! See, here how an incarnation of Chastity is doing! Brothers blow trumpet! Here, sister amorously enjoys night.’

In the village one temple was under construction. At the top of it golden egg was to be put. But the challenge was that an egg could be fixed by a woman who is completely serene.

Queens of all Kings came. They all failed in fixing golden egg on the top of the temple.

Even queens also lacked complete serenity. The king made a public proclaimation, ‘is there any one who could come forward to put the golden egg at the top of the temple, ‘is there any serene woman? Is there any lady whose character is completely pious? Whether the land has become absolutely arid?’

The royal court got jampacked with human crowd; the challenge bearer circulated challenge among all: who will fix the golden round shaped stone on the top of temple?

‘My sister will fix the golden egg on the top of the temple. Give it to me.’ Brother after saying so accepted the challenge announced by a bearer; went home to call his sister.

All the seven sisters in law laughed in cheek. They mutually murmured with jealousy: ‘Today whole pride of all the brothers for their sister will dissolve. Amorous character of sister will be exposed.’

A brother came back to the temple along with his sister. Almost all the villagers came to watch the event.

Brahmin said: ‘Oh brother, these are raw cotton threads which are tied to a sieve. If really you are a chaste woman then you can fetch water through this sieve. If you lack chastity then water can’ t be fetched.‘

The sister tied a sieve with a raw cotton threads. She dipped sieve into the well. She fetched it when it got filled with water. A sieve was full with water, when it came out. ‘Sister, now fix auspicious golden egg on the top of the temple. It will get fixed only if your character is pure, serene, and free from all blemishes.’

Sister pulled the thread of a golden egg. It got fixed but it remained slant.

‘An egg has remained slant! An egg remained slant! There is some blemish in her character! There is some blemish in her character!’ Thus, all yelled a lot.

By folding hands sister prayed Sun God, ‘oh god! When I was small I had lifted one calf and it urinated. After that if ever I had touched any male, and then stone should not get fixed. Otherwise it must get fixed!’

On saying so, sister touched the stone with her baby finger. Soon the egg became erect.

‘Salute to a pious woman! Salute to a serene lady!’ The whole crowd made such hilarious clamour.

Brothers and sister happily returned home but sisters-in-laws were excessively jealous.

They poisoned ears of brothers. ‘At least keep an eye over your sister’ s actions! Every day in her bed abil and gulal are sprinkled.‘

A brother examined the bed of the sister. He smelt the fragrance of abil and gulal. He saw the stains of spit of betel leaves on wall. A brother was surprised to find this.

During night he kept vigilance near his sister’s bed. Sister was having a sound sleep. She had covered her body with a quilt.

During midnight one wasp came out of a drain. It took the form of a human being. It started to sprinkle colors on sister’s bed. It also poured fragrant oil. It also spate betel juice on the wall. After sprinkling colors it stealthily started to go.

Soon brother rushed pursuing the wasp by carrying sword. ‘Stand, oh sinner! Who are you? I will cut you into pieces.’

By folding hands wasp humbly said:

‘I am god of wasps. Your sister does not listen to my stories. Whenever my story is told she goes away. So to disrepute her I am taking all these actions against her. Please leave me. I shall never come back.’

‘Now sinner if you ever put a step here, then I will kill you.’

Wasp humbly went away. It never came back. Thus sister’s character got rid from all blemishes.

Vanadiya, tu vandish ma!
Bhaini ben ne kandish ma!
Kunda kalank chadavish ma!

Oh God of wild trees please never harass anyone.
Never harm sister of any brother
Never lay baseless blame on anyone’s character!

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