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Subhadra - The Thief :: Subhadra Chhuri Huranba
Fungawari Singbul by B. Jayantakumar Sharma

Translation by Bidyarani Thingujam *

Subhadra - The Thief / Subhadra Chhuri Huranba
An illustration of Folk tale 'Subhadra - The Thief' by Sibananda Thokchom



Once upon a time, in a faraway country, there lived a man by the name Subhadra. He lived with his widowed mother and they were so poor that even a day's meal was very hard to earn.

At last, having no way left, Subhadra decided to devote himself to Mahadev, the Hindu God and started praying and chanting his name day and night. Seeing at Subhadra's devotion and service, Mahadev was very pleased.

One day, suddenly Mahadev appeared in front of Subhadra and said in a loud voice, "Subhadra, I felt so happy and pleased at your devotion. Tell me what you want? I'll give you a boon. Seeing Mahadev in front of himself, Subhadra was awe-struck at first, but gathering himself, he replied, "O Lord, Maker of all, you blessed me today. My problem is I'm very poor and I don't have any means to look after my mother. She is a very unfortunate one and I must at least try to feed her properly".

"O Lord, give me the courage to steal at least a day's meal from people. Being pleased at Subhadra's honesty, Mahadev blessed him a boon. By that magical spell Subhadra will be able to make everyobe sleepwhenever he enters ahouse. Using the magical spell, Subhadra and his mother get a day's meal and lived happily for sometime.

One day, when Subhadra came to steal from a house, he happens to see a boy and girl who were siblings and they were in a very poor condition. Being heart-broken at seeing them, Subhadra decided to steal for them and from that day, he stole an extra day's meal from people's houses.

After bringing the food, he left for the siblings when they were asleep. Seeing the food, the brother and the sister were very elated.

As time passes, Subhadra one day thought, "I can't steal for them anymore. So today, I'll steal something that will last for some time and that can feed them every day. So he stole a golden bangle from a rich merchant and placed the bangle in the house of the poor siblings. Seeing the bangles the siblings were very happy, and came out to sell the bangle in order to get money.

Unfortunately for them, the man to whom they were selling the golden bangle happens to be the rich merchant from whom Subhadra stole the bangle. He saw the bangle and calling them thieves, the merchant beat the brother and the sister black and blue. The merchant then handed them over to the King's soldiers.

On hearing the news, Subhadra came running to the palace and own up his deeds. He requested the King to set free the children. He told the King the whole story. After knowing everything, the King thought of testing Subhadra.

He said, "Then, Subhadra, you must do something for me. The King of our neighbouring country had a magical knife that can do wonders. I want that knife. Can you bring it for me? If you do the task, I'll give you half of my kingdom and also will let you go free. And if you fail, you know the punishment". Seeing no other means, Subhadra accepted the King's command and set off to complete the task.

Meanwhile, at the neighbouring country, the King had a very wise and learned scholar who knew everything. The scholar sensed that something is going to happen at their land and with his skills, he calculate everything of Subhadra's visit to their country.

He hurriedly said to his King, " O King, the King of our neighbouring country has sent someone to steal your magical knife. The person has magical powers. We must be fully prepared to face him".

The King said, "then how should we face him? Use all of your skills and power to prevent him? I'll reward you handsomely"? After that, the scholar used all his learned skills and power to prevent Subhadra. But to no avail, as soon as Subhadra reached the place, he cast the magical spell and everyone in the palace fell asleep.

Wasting no more time, Subhadra searched for the knife, and at last found it na dtaking that, he hurriedly left the palace. At the palace, the scholar, after coming to his senses, wake up all the soldiers and the King and they came after Subhadra. After chasing for a while, Subhadra was at last cornered by the King's soldiers.

Seeing no way out, Subhadra stabbed himself to death. Then the King said, "As this knife is responsible for a man's death, it is no use to me. And they all left the place.

As soon as they left, Subhadra came back to life by using his magical powers. He reached his country and handed the knife to his King. The King was very pleased and as promised he gave Subhadra half of his kingdom.

Subhadra and his mother lived happily ever after. Subhadra was a good thief and he steal for the well-being of the poor siblings and at last he got his prize.


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


* Bidyarani Thingujam is a regular contributor to e-pao.net
This article was posted on June 24 2017



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