Village Folk-tales of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), vol. 1-3

by Henry Parker | 1910 | 406,533 words

This folk-tale entitled “the kitul seeds” 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. 26 from the collection “stories told by the cultivating caste and vaeddas”.

A CERTAIN man and his son, who was a grown-up youth, were walking along a path one day, when they came to a place where many seeds had fallen from a Kitul Palm tree.

The man drew his son’s attention to them, and said,

“We must gather these Kitul seeds, and plant them. When the plants from them grow up we shall have a large number of Kitul trees, from which we will take the toddy (juice), and make jaggery (a kind of brown sugar). By selling this we shall make money, which we will save till we shall have enough to buy a nice pony.”

“Yes,” said the boy,

“and I will jump on his back like this, and ride him,”

and as he said it he gave a bound.

“What!” said the father,

“would you break my pony’s back like that!”

and so saying, he gave him a blow on the side of the head which knocked him down senseless.

E. G. Goonewardene, Esqre
North-western Province.



There is another story of this type in the tale No. 53, below.

In the Jataka story No. 4 (vol. i, p. 19), there is a tale of a young man who acquired a fortune and became Lord Treasurer by means of a dead mouse which he picked up and sold for a farthing, subsequently increasing his money by careful investments.

In the Katha Sant Sagara, vol. i, p. 33, a nearly identical mouse story is given.

In Indian Fairy Tales (Stokes), p. 31, there is a different one. A man who was to receive four pice for carrying a jar of ghl, settled that he would buy a hen with the money, sell her eggs, get a goat, and then a cow, the milk of which he would sell. Afterwards he would marry a wife, and when they had children he would refuse some cooked rice which they would offer him. At this point he shook his head as he refused it, and the jar fell and was broken.

In Indian Nights’ Entertainment (Swynnerton), p. 23, a man who was carrying a jar of butter on his head, and who expected to get three halfpence for the job, was going to buy a hen, then a sheep, a cow, a milch buffalo, and a mare, and then to get married. As he patted his future children on the head the pot fell and was broken.

In The Arabian Nights (Lady Burton’s ed., i, p. 296) there is a well-known variant in which the fortune was to be made out of a tray of glass-ware.

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