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 29 - Gai Vrat

It is observed in the Shravan mas.
Only one meal is taken during a day.
Every day the cow that returns from the field is worshipped.
The observer of the vow does not eat any green grain.
They do not eat any green coloured item.
The observers of the ritual do not wear green coloured cloth.
Every day in the morning tell the story of Cow.
The story of a Cow is told to one, who has not eaten anything.
They tell the story in the ear of Cow.

Story 1

Once upon a time, there was a daughter of Brahmin.
She was observing the religious vow of a cow.
She died while observing the religious vow.
She got rebirth in koli’s house.
He Koli told his wife, “Rank gher rattan kyathi?” How can a beautiful daughter be born in poor’s family?
Give water in a small earthen pot.
Give parched grain in an earthen cup.
She eats only parched grain.
She drinks only water.
One day a prince of one king came for hunting.
‘Girl, Girl, who are you?
Are you a ghost? Are you an evil spirit?’
‘Oh no, I am neither a ghost or an evil spirit
Oh no, I am neither a sorcerer nor a witch.’
‘Girl, Girl, marry me’
‘Oh, no you belong to a royal dynasty,
“How can you marry a girl of lower caste koli?

Whether you can marry me or cannot marry in any case you have to marry me.’

The girl said, ‘ok right from today itself you come every day for eight days.’

“You, please come for the eight days.
Bring the packet of kum kum.
Bring the packet of nada chhadi.
Bring seven betel nuts.
Bring a yellow coloured paneter.
Bring a green coconut.
Establish a green bamboo sticks.
Paint a nine-coloured chori.
Come with a musical band.‖

Right from the day one, he came daily for eight days.

He came on each seven days of the week.

He brought the packet of kumkum.
He brought the packet of nada chhadi.
He brought a yellow coloured paneter.
He brought a green coloured coconut.
He made bamboos established.
He made chori painted with nine colours.
He arrived with a musical band
They set to marry.
The first mangal, second mangal, third mangal, the fourth mangal, and the last fifth mangal
After finishing five mangals they got married.

Queen let us go to countries as well as foreign countries.’

‘What countries or foreign countries mean to us?’ ―Whether it means or do not mean, we will go.

If you want to eat then eat,

If you want to drink, you can drink.‖ ‘Oh mad king, oh crazy king!

Does ever food or water that we drink last forever?’

‘Whether it last or does not last.’ He looked here and there.

He even threw a glance very far by climbing on the tree.

Friends of peer age go for bath together.

The lake effuses fragrance.

‘Damsels and women, what religious vows have you observed and which vows you have not observed?’

‘Please tell me I will also do.’ ‘Sister you cannot do it.

You cannot obey it.’

I will fulfill them with the blessings of cow.

I will observe the religious vow near the plant of Basil.

I will perform by taking the leaf of peepal tree.

I will do by keeping the sun as an ‘eye witness’.

I will obey this religious vow by meditating the earth.

Thus, I will obey these four religious vows.

They continued to walk

Their own village came

The message was sent to the old woman.

‘The old woman… the old woman your daughter-in-law is coming.’ The old woman put on the tattered saree.

She wore a tattered cloth over head.

She put a plate full of coarse grain on her head.

She went to give merry welcome.

―Why do you give merry welcome to me by showering rice or flowers on me? Give a merry welcome to cow.

Why do you give hearty welcome to me? Give hearty welcome to Goddess Basil.

Why do you give warmth welcome to me?

Give warmth welcome to the leaf of peepal tree.

Why do you give loving welcome to me?

Give loving welcome to the God Surya Narayan.

Why do you welcome me?

Give welcome to the mother Earth.‖

After finishing the convention of welcoming new bride, the old woman went home.

Her tattered saree miraculously changed into a precious silk saree.

Tattered cloth also turned into a precious blouse.

The plate full with coarse grain miraculously transformed into the plate full of real pearls.

The old woman went home.

At home, she cooked thirty-two types of dishes ant thirty-three type of vegetables.

‘The king you wake up please and brush your teeth.’ The king brushed his teeth.

‘The queen you wake up and brush your teeth.’ The queen brushed her teeth.

‘The king you get up and take your bath.’ The king took bath.

‘The queen you wake up and take your bath.’

‘Mother I do not want to take bath. I have to observe religious vow of cow.’

‘Oh, no, this bitch has just entered into the house and started to observe religious vows.’ Do not vilify me.

“If I can fulfill the vow, then I will carry on.

I will execute with the grace of Mother Cow.

I will perform near the plant of basil.

I will fulfill the vow by taking the leaf of peepal tree

I will carry out this religious vow by keeping the Sun as testimony.

I will observe the vow by contemplating the Mother Earth. I will go for bath.

Please send the yellow coloured cloth and a yellow saree.‖

The old woman deliberately sent green coloured cloth and a green coloured saree.

She returned home in wet clothes.

She came back home on taking bath and washing her clothes.

She came after fetching pot full with water.

She came after worshipping cow and on the way, she prayed to all wandering cows.

On reaching home, she set to eat

She found that one vegetable of green coloured Kankoda and rotla were prepared.

She stuffed all kankoda, by digging a pit in the earth.

She ate only rotla rotla as a part of her meal

On the second day

She once again returned home after taking bath.

She returned home after fetching one pot full with water.

She arrived after worshipping cow.

She prayed to all wandering cows.

At home, she sat to take her meal.

She found vegetable of ghiloda and rotla

She once again dumped ghiloda, into earth by digging a pit.

She ate rotla.

The third day broke.

She turned back home after taking her bath and washing clothes.

She came by bringing a pot full of water.

She returned back after worshipping cow.

She arrived after worshipping all wandering cow that came on her way.

She came home and got ready to take her lunch. She found that the vegetable of turiya and rotla were prepared.

She buried turiya into the earth.

She got up after eating only rotla.

The fourth day arrived.

She came after taking bath.

She returned after washing clothes.

She came back by fetching water pot.

She turned up after worshipping cow.

On her way back to home, she worshipped all wandering cows.

She sat to take her lunch after returning home.

The vegetable of galka and rotla were prepared.

She dumped galka into the earth.

She got up after eating only rotla

The fifth day started.

She comes back after taking bath

She fetches water pot on her way back to home.

She comes after worshipping cow

On the way, she worships all wandering cows.

She eats only after returning home.

The vegetable of dodka and rotla were cooked.

She dumped dodka dodka into the pit.

She got up after eating only rotla.

The queen conceived:

The first month, second month,

Third month, andt he fourth month got over.

Daughter in law’s fifth stage of pregnancy started.

‘Please tie panchmasi to her.’

Mother in law replied, ‘What panchmasi to this contemptuous woman!’

‘Tie a simple thread of yarn on her wrist and finish the formality.’ In this way the sixth and seventh stage of premotherhood got over.

On the seventh month, she started to say:

‘O woman. O mother! Please celebrate the ceremony of a baby shower.’

‘What baby shower for this scornful woman!’

Complete the formality by simply sprinkling rice on her.

The eighth month passed

During the ninth month her labor pain started.

Sister, woman!

What to do and what not to do?

She laid her head in a mortar and thrust her legs in the middle of a large cylindrical vessel…. ………

The queen delivered a baby boy

The king became victim of the eye disease.

The lamps of ghee were lightened at the king’s house.

All gushed to give good news to the king:

‘The king, the son is born at your home.

The king summoned astrologers from various countries.

Various types of pages of articles and books were referred.

The mother-in-law was envious by nature.

She went and threw away the boy on the top of the dunghill.

An infant went rolling near the fenced compound where the cows were kept.

It further rolled down near the pot of basil plant.

It reached near the leaf of peeplo.

It rolled down under the presence of the Surya narayan It lived in the care of a mother Earth.

The mother Cow fed the baby.

The mother Tulsi nurtured the baby.

The peeplo nourished the baby. The Surya narayan took care of the baby The mother Earth protected the baby.

The daughter of Vanijia Sutar came to worship cow.

The cow said, ‘sister, sister! Please take brother.’

‘No, no, if he belongs to ghost, witch, sorcerer, or any evil spirit then how can I take him?’

“He does not belong to ghost; he does not even belong to witch, sorcerer or an evil spirit.

The mother cow gives you and you can accept him.

The peeplo is gifting you and you can accept the reward.

The Surya Narayan is giving you and you can accept him.

The mother Earth gives and you take him.”

She accepted a brother and went home.

‘Mother, mother I have brought a brother.’

‘If he belongs to a ghost, witch sorcerer or an evil spirit then why did you bring him?’

“No, mother, he does not belong to ghost, witch, sorcerer or an evil spirit.

The mother cow has gifted me and I have brought him.

A mother Tulsi gave me and I accepted him.

The peeplo allowed and I carried him here.

The Surya Narayan permitted me and I brought him.

The mother Earth bestowed to me and I accepted.‖ After giving bath to son, they made it sleep in the cradle.

The child grew rapidly.

He learnt to speak.

He started to address as ‘uncle’ and ‘papa’.

‘Uncle, papa: please turn wooden horses;-into horse of glass.’

‘Oh, innocent son, ignorant son, can any one change wooden horses into horses of glass?’

‘Whether one can turn a wooden horse into

a horse of glass or not, you please make one for me.’ Uncle changed a wooden horse into a horse of glass.

The time for Sitla satam arrived. The son went out to make horse drink water.

All the seven queens came to take bath.

‘Wooden horses, horses of glass please drink water’

‘Oh, innocent child, ignorant child; ever wooden horses or horse of glass drink water?’

“Whether they drink or do not drink,

They have to drink water. Mad queen, silly Queen: does ever queen of a king deliver rags and broom?”

On reaching home, the queen told everything to the king. ‘The King, one son of a

carpenter told us like this.’

The next day broke. The time of gokal atham arrived.

The boy went out to make horses drink water.

All the seven queens went to take bath.

‘The wooden horses, horses of glass: drink water.’

‘Oh innocent child, ignorant child; does ever wooden horses or horses of glass drink water?’

“Whether they drink or do not drink,

They have to drink water. Mad queen, silly Queen: does ever queen of a king deliver rags and broom?”

On reaching home, the queen told everything to the king. ‘The King, one son of a carpenter told us like this.’

The king gave the punishment to the boy and the boy was expelled from the city during the same night.

The black cloth was given to him.

The black mare was provided to him to mount on it.

The black colored food was supplied to him to eat.

He went, while going he stopped where one king was performing yagna He stood there.

‘Brother, brother, please you do catering.’ ‘No, you belong to royal lineage.

I am son of a carpenter. How can I do catering?’

‘Whether you can involve or cannot, you have to involve yourself in the catering.’ He joined the service of catering.

All came for feast and all the seven queens came in the dinner party.

The kolan queen asked mother, mother what shall I wear?

She said, ‘definitely you have to wear a cloth offered to the tree.’ The queen dressed her with the cloth that is offered to the tree.

She came for the dinner.

She sat on the top of a dunghill.

The son while serving food to all came near mother to serve food to her. As the son came near, her motherly affection spontaneously overflowed. The string of her bodice broke and drops of milk a symbol of motherly affection dripped down.

The king studied many pages… he reffered many books.

The first page was dedicated to Brahma, in the second there was a discussion of conscience. In the third page the discussions regarding the religious vow of a Mother cow came out:

Unchi khadki
Nicchi khadki
Me vaviya tal ne tulsi
Tal ne tulsi girdharilal
Me pujiya shravaniya char
Ek shravan chuki
Chor no avvtar chuki
Rambai Shyambai ruda gam
Me parnaviya Amarkhan
Amarkhan ni sat Raniyo
Hindola khate hinche chhe
Pan ni pichkari mare chhe.
Hase to hira gare
Bole to moti zare
Hinde to kanku na pagla
Jai Gai MA, tamara sat
Ne amara vrat paripuran Utarjo

The upper courtyard
The lower courtyard
I have sown sesame and basil.
The sesame and basil have been offered as homage to Girdharilal.
I worshipped the four Shravan.
I missed one month of Shravan
I was saved from the birth as a thief .
Rambai, Shyambai are lovely villages .
I got Amarkhan married.
Amarkhan had seven queens
All swayed on the swing and spate betel juice
If they laughed, there chompers shined like a diamond.
If they speak, one can sense magnificence of pearls
If they walk then the kumkum impressions of their feet is visualized.
Jai ho! Mother cow: your power and our vows.
May our vows get fulfilled!

[This story is told in Umreth region of Gujarat.]

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