Blessings from a Spirit :: Bhoot Ki Thoujal
Fungawari Singbul by B. Jayantakumar Sharma

Translation by Bidyarani Thingujam *

 Blessings from a Spirit :: Bhoot Ki Thoujal
An illustration of Folk tale 'Bhoot Ki Thoujal' by Sibananda Thokchom

Once upon a time, in a great kingdom, there lived three good friends. They were intelligent, brave and sincere. They were loyal to their king and because of their bravery and faithfulness the king also were very kind to them.

One day, the king of the neighbouring country suddenly attacked their kingdom. The king was in distress and he called upon the three of them.

And the king said, "Friends, all of you helped me all this time and this time also, please help me. Please help me in saving my country from the hands of the intruders. If you do so, I'll make you rich and give the three of you half of my kingdom, you'll rule like another king. The three friends happily agreed and leading a large number of army, they fight back and won the war.

But unfortunately, after the war, the king stay away from his words and didn't abide by his promise of giving away half of his kingdom to the three friends. The three friends got shocked and angry. They tried to confront the king but the king fell to deaf ears. So, furious with the king, they left the kingdom and came to a faraway country.

While travelling in a forest, it soon became dark and they decided to spend the night under a fig tree. It is decided that when the two were asleep, the youngest one will guard them.

So when he was guarding them, as midnight approaches, suddenly a spirit appears and said in a loud voice, "Friend, you seem to me like a good person, today I'll give you a boon. It is a magical bag and whatever money you took out from this bag it will be boundless but don't tell this thing to anybody".

After saying this, the spirit vanished. The youngest friend was surprised as well as happy. Dawn came and after waking up his two friends he told them the whole story. Next day, they came through the forest and as night came, they happen to spend the night under a tree. This time, the middle-aged friend took the charge of guarding his two friends.

At midnight, the same spirit appeared and gifted him an instrument that can see anything, that is happening in any place. This time also, the man told the whole story to his two friends.

Next night, when they were spending the night in the forest, the older friend took the charge of guarding his two friends. At midnight the same spirit appeared, and gifted him a magical trumpet.

With its music, anyone can attract a large number of people. Dawn came, and after waking up his two friends, the older friend told them the whole story. With the three magical instruments, the three friends came north and after selecting a proper location, they build up a beautiful, big palace with money from the magical bag and they lived happily for some time.

One day, the three friends arranged a grand feast for the king who banished them from his kingdom. Along with the king came his daughter who is very cunning in her ways. She thought, "How could the three men easily become rich overnight?"

"There is something fishy happening", she thought. The king's daughter planned well to find the truth and invited them to a feast in her palace.

And she kept checking over them and at last she came to know about the magical things. So, when the three friends were asleep, she replaced the things with duplicate instruments and kept the original ones to herself.

In the next morning, the three friends after getting up did not see anybody in the palace. When one of them tried the instrument that can see anything, it does not work because of its duplicity. They tried the remaining instruments and also they are not working anymore.

Suddenly a large number of the king's soldiers came and beat the three friends mercilessly and the three friends somehow save their lives by running away in different directions. They have lost each other now.

The youngest one who ran in the south direction came to a place where a large apple tree is there and he decided to spend the night there. At that moment he was very much starved and he plucked an apple and ate it.

The moment he finished the apple, his nose grew longer and longer. Seeing this he was quite shocked, and he was shouting and crying. The nose grew so long that it reaches the place where his other two friends were staying.

They were quite surprised at the incident happening in front of them and the two friends came in search of the owner of the nose. At last they came to the apple tree and they were quite shocked to see their friend in this condition.

They tried to soothe their friend's pain and all of them spend their night under the apple tree. At midnight, a miracle happened. The same spirit appeared in front of them and asked them their problem.

The spirit saw the extended nose and took out a cure. The spirit fed a dried apple to the young friend and he was cured of the problem. They were very happy. The three friends told the spirit the whole story and how they lost all their magical things.

The spirit taught them of a plan and the three friends came to the palace with some fresh and dried apple to avenge the king's daughter. They waited for a suitable time to bribe the palace cook and at last they succeeded in their plan. The palace cook put some fresh apple in the favourite food of the princess.

As soon as she finished the food, her nose grew longer and longer and she was crying and shouting at what is happening in front of herself. The news spread in the whole country. The King was in a dilemma. He called all his doctors and experts to treat her daughter but no one can cure her.

At last he said to his people, "If anybody, anybody can treat my daughter, I'll gave her hand in marriage to the person". The three friends heard of this news and they send the young one disguised as a doctor and he offer to treat the princess.

The king was very happy and he agreed to his offer. Treatment began and the doctor started many healing process but her condition is becoming worse and worse. The doctor said, "O king, your daughter's condition has worsen, this is a very rare disease, I've checked her and found out that she cheated of someone's property.

Because of that, this kind of thing is happening to her". The princess got embarrassed at hearing these words, and she brings out the three magical things which she had looted from the three friends. This time, the young friend made her eat the dried apple and lo! She is cured and her nose is in the normal position. Having seen this, the king and his people were overjoyed.

Meanwhile, the three friends quietly pick up their things and packed up and they were off to travel far way land.

** From Manipur folk tale Book called "Fungawari Singbul" by B. Jayantakumar Sharma

* Bidyarani Thingujam is a regular contributor to
This article was posted on September 06 2017

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