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

by Henry Parker | 1910 | 406,533 words

This folk-tale entitled “the jackal and the leopard” 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. 70 from the collection “stories of the rodiyas”.

Story 70 - The Jackal And The Leopard

IN a certain country there is a Gamarala. There is a goat-fold of the Gamarala’s. At that goat-fold one by one the goats are disappearing during the night. Afterwards the Gamarala having gone there [to watch for the thief] went to sleep. In the hand of the Gamarala there was a lump of salt chillies.

Afterwards the Leopard came at night. The Leopard lifting each goat looks at it. Having looked, afterwards having lifted up the Gamarala [and found he was the heaviest] he took him. Carrying him away he took him to his rock cave. Then the Gamarala quickly [entered it, and] shut the door. The Leopard then was trying to go into the cave.

Having heard the uproar the Jackal Panditaya came.

“What is this, Sapu-flowers’ Minister, you are doing ?”

he asked.

“In other years I brought goats [and ate them without trouble]. That one having entered the cave has shut the door.”

“You, Sir, having put your tail inside the cave be pleased to wave it,”

he said ; the Jackal Panditaya said.

“Do not catch hold of the tail,”

he said [to the Gamarala].

“Otherwise, having put thy foot against the wall, and having folded it two-fold or three-fold, hold it [fast],”

he said.

“Do not jam a little of the golden salt chillies under the tail of the Sapu-flowers’ Minister,”

he said.

Then the Gamarala having seized the tail jammed in the salt chillies. Afterwards the Sapu-flowers’ Minister pulling out his tail bounded away. Having bounded off and gone, he sat down on a flat rock. Afterwards the Jackal Panditaya asked,

“What are you on that flat rock for ?”

“I am looking if this country is fruitful or unfruitful,” [1]

he said.

Again, the Gamarala, saving his life, went to the village.

The Jackal Panditaya went to the Gamarala.

“What is it, Gamarala ? Couldn’t you kill him ?”

“While he was outside how could I, sitting in the cave, kill him ?”

“I will tell you a trick for that one,”

the Jackal Panditaya said. Afterwards he said,

“You must make a trap for that one,”

he said.

“Where shall I make the trap ?”

[the Gamarala] asked.

“At the fence of the goat-fold,”

he said.

Afterwards he made the trap. The Sapu-flowers’ Minister was noosed in the trap. On the following day the Gamarala came to look.

Having come before the Gamarala, also the Jackal Panditaya came near the trap.

“Gamarala, to-day indeed he has been hanged,”

he said.

Etana metana to gasann “Strike thou there and here a blow ;
Kambul baeta dipanne Knocks upon the cheeks bestow ;
Kanda sewanata aedapanne Drag him to the hill’s shadow,”

the Jackal Panditaya said. Then he said—

Hampottayi to ganne “’Tis the skin will be for thee,
Malu tika mata denne. The little flesh thou’lt give to me.”


Rodiya. North-western Province.



Part of this story was given in The Orientalist, vol. iv, p. 30. A Jackal that had followed a Leopard which was trying to get at a man who had taken refuge in a corn store, advised it to insert its tail through a gap in the doorway, and wave it about. When it did so, the Jackal said in the Peraelibasa,[2] which the Leopard did not understand, Katu anuwe potun detak, which when transposed becomes atu kanuwe detun potak, “Two or three twists round the pillar of the corn store.” The man acted as advised, and held the tail fast. When some men came up they killed the Leopard.

Footnotes and references:


That is, as we should say, “I have come here to enjoy a view of the scenery !”


There appears to be some doubt regarding the spelling of this compound word. I give it as I have heard it. Except in the last letter I have followed that of the late Mr. W. Goonetilleke, the learned Editor of The Orientalist, who in vol. i, p. 8, of that journal said of it:

“Perelibase therefore means ‘the language of transposition,’ or ‘the transposed language.’”

In Clough's Dictionary the second word is spelt basa. In Mr. A. M. Gunasekara’s excellent Sinhalese Grammar the spelling is peralibasa in the Index, and perali base (or bhashawa) in the paragraph dealing with it. Pro-iessor E. Miiller-Hess has drawn my attention to the form pereli on one of the inscribed tablets at Mihintale.

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