Village Folk-tales of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), vol. 1-3
Story 264 - Concerning the Blind-Eyed Man
This folk-tale entitled “concerning the blind-eyed man” is gathered from oral sources sources, tracing its origin to ancient Ceylon (Sri Lanka). These tales are often found to contain similarities from stories from Buddhism and Hinduism. This is the story nr. 264 from the collection “south indian stories”.
IN a certain country there was a blind man. The man had married a fine handsome woman. While the two persons were staying a little time begging, and seeking and getting a living, having said that country was not good and having thought of going to another country, one day the blind man said to his wife,
“While we are staying in this country we have much inconvenience. Because of it let us go to another country.”
Thereupon the woman, too, said of it,
“It is good.”
After that the two persons having set off, journeyed through the middle of a forest wilderness. At that time a Hettiya, also, of that city having quarrelled with his father, he also, as he was going to another country travelled on the path in the midst of the forest on which this blind man and his wife are going. The Hettiya encountered that blind man and his wife on the road.
Thereupon, while this Hettiya was talking with the two persons he asked,
“Where are you two going in the jungle in this forest wilderness ?”
Then this blind man and his wife said,
“We are going to another country for the sake of a livelihood.”
The Hettiya said,
“It is good, if so. I also having quarrelled with our father am going to another country. If so, let us all three go [together].”
Thereupon all three having said,
“It is good,”
while they were talking and journeying, because the blind person’s wife is beautiful to the Hettiya his mind became attached to her, like marrying her. Because the Hettiya was a young man to the blind person’s wife, also, her mind became attached to him.
When these two persons, thinking in this manner, were going a little far, the Hettiya spoke to that woman, unknown to the blind person,
“Let us two go [off together].”
Thereupon the woman gave her word,
“It is good.”
To drop the blind person and go, the scheme which the woman told the blind person [was this]:
“Ane ! Husband, there is a kind of fruit-tree fruits in this forest wilderness which it gratifies me to eat. Therefore you must give permission to me to eat them and come back.”
Having said [this] she made obeisance.
At that time the blind man, thinking it is true, said,
“It is good. I will remain beneath this tree; you go, and having eaten the fruit come quickly.”
Thereupon the woman, saying,
“It is good,”
while the blind person was continuing to stay there went with the Hettiya somewhere or other to a country.
This blind man remained night and day in hunger beneath the tree, for six days. After that, yet [another] Hettiya, while going to the village of the woman who had married that Hettiya, tying up a packet of cooked rice also, to eat for the road, travelled with his wife by the middle of that forest wilderness.
Thereupon the Hettiya met with that blind-eyed man. So the Hettiya spoke to his wife,
“There is a man near that tree. Let us go near, and [after] looking let us go.”
The woman said,
“It is good.”
Then the two persons having gone near that blind person, asked,
“Who are you ?”
Then the blind person made many lamentations to that Hettiya:
“Ane ! Friend, I am a blind person. I having spoken with my wife about going to another country, while we were going in the middle of this forest wilderness, my wife got hid and went off with yet [another] man. I am now staying six days without any food. You arrived through my good luck. Ane ! Friend, having gone, calling me, to the country to which you are going, send me to an asylum. If not, in this forest wilderness there is not any all-refuge.”
Thereupon the Hettiya, having become much grieved, unfastened the cooked rice that the party brought to eat for the road, and having given the blind person to eat, as they were going, inviting the blind person, to the city to which the party are going, he told that Hettiya’s (his own) wife to come holding [one end of] the blind person’s walking? stick (to guide him).
Then the Hetti woman said,
“Ane ! O Lord, should I go holding this blind person’s leading stick they will say I am the blind man’s wife. I have heard that kind of story before this. But if you, Sir, say so, I will come holding it .”
The Hettiya said,
“No matter, come holding it.”
While [she was] thus holding it, calling him they went to the city to which the party are going. Having gone [there] and told the blind man to stay [with them] that day night, they gave him amply food and drink, and the mat also for sleeping on.
Next day after light fell having said to the blind person,
“Now then; there ! You having gone into that street and begged, seeking something, eat,”
with much kindness they started him.
Then the blind person having gone near the royal house at that city, said,
“Ane ! O Deity, when I was coming away with my wife by the middle of a forest wilderness, a Hettiya having quarrelled with his father, and said that he was going to another country, and for six days having not a meal, as he was coming fell behind us. We gave him the cooked rice that we brought for our expenses, and came calling him [to accompany us]. As though in that way the assistance were insufficient, the Hettiya uprooting my wife also [from me] said he will not give her to me, and drove me away. To whom shall I tell this suit ? Do you investigate only suits for rich persons ? Do you not institute suits for poor persons ? Now then, how shall I obtain a living ?”
Having said [this] he began to weep.
At that time the [royal] messengers having gone, told it to the King. Thereupon the King also having become grieved regarding it, sent messengers and caused the Hettiya who came with the blind person, and his wife, to be brought.
“This young Hettiya did not take a wife [for himself]; he took the blind person’s wife,”
and ordered them to behead the Hettiya. Having said,
“The woman having come in diga [marriage] to the blind person and in the meantime having endangered him, went with another man,”
he ordered them to put her in a lime-kiln and bum her. Having given a little money to the blind person he told him to go.
Thereupon the blind person, taking the money also and having gone outside the royal palace, was saying and saying,
“Ane ! O Gods, what is it that has occurred to me ! At the time when I remained for six days in the midst of the forest, this Hettiya and his wife having met with me while they are coming, and given food to me who was in hunger for six days, brought me to this city, and let me go. I having told all these (lit., these these) lies [in order] to take the woman, I was not allowed to take the woman, nor were the two persons allowed to live well together. The foolish King without giving me the woman ordered them to kill her. Now then, where shall I go ?”
At that time a man having heard him, quickly went and said to the King that this blind person says thus. Then the King quickly having caused the blind person to be brought, and having released the Hett ra and the woman from death, and given presents to the two persons, and sent them away, ordered the blind person to be killed.
Immigrant from Malayalam, Southern India.
(Written in Sinhalese, and partly related in that language.)