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 28 - Rani Ranakde

There were seven elder and younger brothers-in-laws.

All the six sisters-in-laws happily used to eat together and made merriment everyday.

The youngest daughter-in-law was not allowed to join the group of six elder sisters–in-laws during meal time as well as in merry making activities. She had to do outside works like to clean dirt found daily in houses and besmear the floor of the house with a paste of mud; and to make the paste of mud.

After finishing the drudgery task, the youngest daughter-in-law used to take her meal alone. Everyday as she sat to take meal, her elder sister-in-law put a frog in her plate.

Due to elder sister–in-law’s act of serving a living frog in the plate of younger sister–in-law every day the younger one used to get up and wash her hands without eating anything.

The same type of incident lasted for many days. Gradually the younger one became thin and emaciated without food.

One day the husband of youngest woman asked her, ‘Here all are prospering abundantly and putting on weight and why are you becoming weak and lean day by day?’

She said, ‘Dear husband, I cannot explain anything in words. One night, you spread your bed near the door of a kitchen and after covering your self with a thin cloth see the matter with your own eyes.’

One day her husband made bed near the door of the kitchen and he covered himself with a thin cloth.

The youngest daughter–in-law sat to take her meal and as usual the elder sister–in-law served a living frog in her plate. The youngest daughter-in-law got up hungry and washed her hands.

The husband saw the matter with his own eyes. He realized that this grief is such that it can neither be shared nor can be tormented.

He told his wife, ‘Devoted woman; there is no end of this agony so let me try my luck by going to a foreign country.’

Innocent and ignorant, coward and poor man just for the love and respect for his wife started his journey by taking a sack on his shoulder.

One day, when the youngest daughter-in-law was making a round shaped ball of dung.

The husband went near her and asked, ‘Do you want to say anything?’

‘What can I say and do? Please carry this as a sign.’

After saying so, the woman removed a ring from her finger and pinned up the ring in husband’s hair.

The husband said, ‘Do you want to throw the small balls of dung at the extremity of the village? If you want to throw then you give me those dung balls so while going I can lighten at least this much part of your burden.’

He put all the dung balls in one sack and started by carrying sack on his shoulder. ‘Nobody had ever lifted the burden of the daughter-in-law. Today for the last time, oh Ram! I could do only this much.’

While walking, he reached at the premises of the village. As he emptied the sack he saw the miracle that instead of balls of mud, the balls of gold fell on the ground.

‘This is the fruit of the righteousness of my Ranak De. I will do charity in her name.How can I use this fortune?’

Going ahead, he got built a public charitable water house.

‘People who drink water of this public charitable water house must say loudly that

Panida pijo…re
Rani Ranak de na name

‘Drink water in the name of Ranak De’

The traveller overhear the sound-

Pani da pio re
Rani Ranak De na name

“Drink waer in the name of Rani Ranak De.‘

The man went ahead. He saw people walking with a naked feet on the road burning due to scorching heat. There he got built the public charitable shoe house.

He shouted aloud:—

Pagarkha perjo re
Rani Ranak de ne name

“Please wear shoes in the name of Rani Ranak De.”

He went further and he saw villages striving in hunger. He got built a boarding house where food was charitably served to the needy, orphans, beggars etc.

‘Eat food in the name of Rani Ranak De’

He went further, found finely built majestic palaces, and managed to clean the lake by removing dirt.

He sent letters to many villages and invited all those people who were in search of job or work.

Here at brothers‘house their wealth and prosperity ruined. They said, ‘We have heard that in one village one reputed merchant has so much work to be done. Let us go there, we will earn livelihood there.’

All six elder sisters-in-laws and brother–in-law started their journey along with their unfavourite Rani Ranak De.

As they went ahead, the public charitable water house arrived. All were shouting—

Rani Ranak de na name

‘Drink water in the name of Rani Ranak De’

Once again, elder brothers–in-laws as well as elder-sisters-in-laws verbally taunted Rani

Ranak De saying:—

‘Oh ho ho! Look, in past there had been some fortunate Rani Ranak De, in her name all these public charitable must be built. Here look at our unfortunate Ranak De born in lineage.’

The youngest lady wisely digested all taunts without retorting any. All went ahead; there came a public charitable shoe house.

Everywhere loud pleasant call was heard:

Pagarkha perjure
Rani Ranak De na nam na

‘Put on shoes in the name of Rani Ranak De’

All put on shoes there. Once again, all tried to provoke the youngest daughter-in-law by making her ridicule;

“In the past there must have been some lady having majestic qualities. That is why the charitable house of shoes has been built. Here look at our misfortunate Ranak Due to her bad luck we lost everything what we had.”

The younger daughter-in law endured all sarcastic remarks and smartly remained calm and cool. As they went ahead, the public charitable dining house came.

The loud inviting call was heard that—

Bhojanaya jamjo... re
Rani Ranak de ne name

“Eat food in the name of Rani Ranak De‘

After taking meal; all got satisfaction and once again they taunted, ‘There must had been Ranak De who must have highlighted the glory of the ancestry and here see our ugly Ranakde who wrecked family lineage.’

The younger one also beared that taunt. Thousands of people were working. All water forms were clean. The roads and storeys were underconstruction.

The brother identified every one. He also recognized his own wife. However, nobody could identify him.

He made arrangements of rooms for his brothers to accommodate in. He asked them to take buttermilk and water from his house any time.

All started to do labour work. At mealtime, any one member from the family used to go at the rich man’ s house to bring buttermilk.

One day, the younger-daughter-in-law was sent to bring buttermilk. Her husband filled the whole pot with full creamed buttermilk. All got too much satisfaction by drinking full cream buttermilk.

‘Send her every day to bring buttermilk. The “seth” gives full cream buttermilk to this orphan.’

Another day, when the younger-daughter-in-law went to fetch buttermilk; she saw that the rich man was taking bath. As his body was bare, the woman soon identified that he was her husband. She also saw her ring shining in his hair.

Tears rolled down from her eyes.

‘Woman, why do you cry?’

‘There is no reason’

‘Would you please give me bath?’

The woman got surprised, why does this man ask like this?

The man replied ‘Don’ t worry, I am not a stranger, I have not changed. See this sign.’

After saying so, he removed the ring from his hair and gave her,

Spontaneous love flowed from the heart of a woman. “Due to righteousness of your character the dung miraculously turned into gold. This magnificence is the consequence of that miracle.

From that source, I built charitable house.

Pani peejo… re
Rani Ranak De na name
Pagarkha perjo… re
Rani Ranak De na name
Bhojaniya karjo…re
Rani Ranak De na name

‘O “ swami”, every one was taunting me.’

‘Let they taunt you but the fact is that all have been saved from difficulties due to the righteousness of your character. Now you will stay here.’ ‘But, there they will talk about me’

‘Let them talk. You are my wife and I am your husband.’

The woman stayed there. Elder-sister–in-laws and elder brother-in-laws thought that she might have got morally corrupt.

One day the younger brother invited the whole family for lunch.

He served frog made of gold in every one’s plate. He did not serve anything else in the plate. He said, ‘Start eating.’ All stared at each other.

‘Why don’ t you eat? This frog is made of gold. You can eat at least by exchanging it.

But, did you ever think while serving the living frog that how one could eat?‘

All identified him that he was their younger brother. All looked down with shame.

‘Worship the feet of your unfavourite younger daughter–in-law, because her patience has won.’

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