The three Ghosts

Collected by Maya Thakuri

Once upon a time there lived an old woman with her son whose name was
Birkhe. He was lazy and was in the habit of always loafing away his time
doing nothing productive . This habit of Birkhe was a matter of great
concern to his old mother. “How will my son live after my death?” she used
to often ask to herself. And often she used to scold and nag him for his
silly habits. But his friends and the villagers liked him for his simple
and good natured qualities. Small children loved him very much because he
always whiled away his time playing with them.
One day, the old woman made a packet of three millet breads and asked him
to go to the town and find a job for himself. “Enough is enough. It is time
you earned your own living. So, you had better go and find some work in the
town. I cannot feed you any more.” said the old woman to Birkhe.
With the packet of those three breads in his hand he set out on his
journey. After he had walked for the whole day he passed the night at the
house of an old man who, Birkhe found, lived by himself. Next day, he set
out very early. After walking quite some distance he thought he should rest
for some time and eat the breads he had with him. He sat on a slab of stone
under a tree and unpacked the packet of breads. With the breads before him
he asked to himself, ” What number must I eat for my lunch —one, two or
all the three?”
And, it so happened that three ghosts lived underneath the slab. Though
they were ghosts but they were real cowards. When they heard Birkhe
asking to himself of the number of breads he should eat for his lunch they
thought that Birkhe had actually meant the number of ghosts. They thought
their time was up and they began to cry. At last, they appeared before him
and with their hands clasped together asked for his mercy saying, “Oh
Mighty Ghost, Oh the Mightiest one, please spare our lives. You must be
the mightiest one of all to be able to eat three of us at a time.” Now,
this was something very much unexpected for Birkhe and he was really
astonished. But later he realized that they had mistaken him for some
mighty ghost.
“What shall I get for sparing your lives? asked Birkhe with all the airs
and grace of a mighty ghost.
At this, the ghosts very meekly and timidly said, “Sir, please accept this
goat as our humble gift. Birkhe who had gained more self-confidence and
composure by now asked, “What ! A mere goat for sparing three lives? And
before he had finished his say they again spoke, ” Sir, you should know
that this is not an ordinary goat. It drops nuggets of gold every time it
defecates. All you need to do is simply to order him to defecate. On
hearing of this miraculous goat Birkhe was besides himself with joy. But
he hid his joy and only said, “Well, well, this time I spare you all three
of you of your lives.” Birkhe was finding it difficult to hide his
happiness and therefore hurried away from there with the goat in his hand.
He was also very impatient to show his accomplishment to his mother and his
friends in the village. But no matter how impatient he was he had to pass
his night in the same old man’s house. Unable to repress his joy and
excitement he told the whole day’s incident to the old man and he also
added how his goat dropped nuggets every time he defecated. The old man not
only was amazed at the story but also was filled with greed. After Birkhe
had gone to sleep and was fast asleep in his bed the old man took the goat
with him and hid it somewhere and replaced it with another goat of the same
shape and size. Next morning, Birkhe, with the goat in his hand, left the
place very early and reached his home before dusk. When the mother saw his
son she thought that he was still strolling around in the village and began
to scold him. But this time the son was not the least perturbed by her
scolding. And later, he told her everything and showed her the goat. The
mother could not believe all this. And when Birkhe ordered the goat to
defecate to show his mother what he had just said was true the goat instead
of dropping gold nuggets only bleated and ran away.
Overwhelmed with shame and embarrassment he left the village immediately
and went towards the place where he had met the ghosts. On reaching the
place, he sat on the same slab and ordered the ghosts to come out of their
hiding. The ghosts who had already smelt his presence appeared before him
shaking with fear and nervousness. Birkhe thundered before them” What made
you bloody fools play this dirty trick on me? How could you fool me by
giving me an ordinary goat and assuring me that it dropped gold nuggets.
The ghosts were shocked to hear all this from Birkhe and they pleaded
innocence of the unfortunate event and swore by their supreme ghost that
the goat they had given him was a genuinely miraculous one and not an
ordinary one. And to please him, again, they offered him a jar and said,
“Sir, this is not an ordinary jar. It can produce the best rice pudding on
your command.” Birkhe, this time, was careful enough to test the
genuineness of the jar there itself and when he was satisfied with the
miraculous performance of the jar thanked the ghosts and left.
Again, on his way back home he was compelled to pass the night at the
house of the same old man. Unable to repress his joy and excitement he told
the old man everything of the day’s incident and showed how the jar
produced the best pudding at his command. The old man had never tasted so
tasty pudding in all his life and was again filled with the desire of
possessing it. So, when Birkhe had gone to sleep and was fast asleep in his
bed the old man took the jar and hid it somewhere and replaced it with a
jar of the same shape and size. The next morning, Birkhe left very early.
He was impatient to show his achievement to his mother and to his friends.
And when he reached his village his mother started scolding him. But he
told his mother everything that had happened and ordered the jar to produce
the best pudding to prove his mother what he had just said was true. But
the black jar would produce no pudding. This time, the mother was really
very angry and scolded him saying,” You are a good for nothing fellow. You
should be ashamed of yourself of what you are you doing. Of all the people
in the world you have now resorted to making a fool of your old mother and
that too again and again? ” Before she could say anything further he was
gone out of her sight and out of the village.
Without stopping to wait anywhere he straight away went to the same place
and ordered the ghosts to come out of their hiding. The ghosts, thinking
that their end had come, appeared before him trembling with fear and crying
“Oh mightiest of the mightys please have mercy on us. We are ready to be
your slaves all throughout our lives. Please spare our lives for Supreme
Ghost sake. Please.
Birkhe who himself was very confused and bewildered did not know what to
say to these ghosts. With a great effort he brought calm and composure in
his face and asked to the ghosts, ” What do you think has gone wrong with
those gifts of yours that they have failed to perform miraculously?” The
ghosts then discussed among themselves for some time and at last offered
him with a club with spikes in its surface saying, “This will not only
protect you and your property but also salvage the property that were lost
or stolen. Pray you take this, sir.” Birkhe, then, thanked them and left
with the club in his hand. On his way back home he halted at the old man’s
house to pass the night. Unable to repress his joy and excitement he told
him the day’s incident and told him how the club worked. And when he had
gone to sleep and was fast asleep in his bed the old man took the club in
his hand to replace it with another club but before he could do so the club
got itself free from his hand and began thrashing and bashing him on his
head and body. The thrashing was too hard for the old man to bear. He
understood that the club would not stop until he confessed his crime and
returned the stolen goods. So he brought the goat and the jar back from
the place where he had hidden them.
In the morning, when Birkhe came out of the house to leave, he was besides
himself with joy and excitement when he saw the goat and the jar waiting
for him by the side of the club. He took the jar and the club in his hand
and set out towards his home with the goat following him behind. This time,
he could really show his mother of his exploits and prove his worth. The
mother was really proud of his son. And they became good friends of the
ghosts and they all lived happily thereafter.

May the narrator of this tale be blessed with a golden garland,
And the listener, with a flower garland;
May this tale remain in the heaven,
To be here again
At the time of next narration.

Sumber : 12 – 33 !!! !!!!

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