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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "Mr. Mighty-of-his-Mouth and Mr. Mighty-of-his-Hands"

Mr. Mighty-of-his-Mouth and Mr. Mighty-of-his-Hands

In two adjoining villages there lived two famous men. The one was called Mr. Mighty-of-his-mouth—one that could accomplish wonders with words alone. The other was called Mr. Mighty-of-his-hands—one who could make no use of that glib instrument the tongue, but was able to bear burdens, cut wood, and perform other physical labour.

It so happened that they agreed to live together in the house of the Mr. Mighty-of-his-mouth, to try and see which of them was the superior. They accordingly kept company for several months, till the great feast of the nine nights (navarâtrî) came on. On the first day of the feast Mr. Mighty-of-his-hands wanted to sacrifice a goat to the goddess Kâlî. So he said to Mr. Mighty-of-his-mouth,

“My dear friend, we both are mighty in our way, and so it would be shameful for us to buy the goat, that we want to sacrifice, with money. We should manage to get it without payment.”

“Yes, we must do so, and I know how,” replied Mr. Mighty-of-his-mouth, and he asked his friend to wait till that evening.

Now there lived a shepherd at one ghaṭikâ’s (hour’s) distance from their house, and the two friends resolved to go to his fold that night and steal away one of his goats. Accordingly, when it was dark, they approached his fold. The shepherd had just finished his duties to the mute members of his flock, and wanted to go home and have his rice hot. But he had no second person to watch the flock, and he must not lose his supper. So he planted his crook before the fold, and throwing his blanket (kambalî) over it, thus addressed it:

“My son, I am very hungry, and so must go for my rice. Till I return do you watch the flock. This wood is rich in tigers and goblins (bhûtas). Some mischievous thief or bhûta—or kûta may come to steal away the sheep. Watch over them carefully.” So saying the shepherd went away.

The friends had heard what the shepherd said. Of course, Mr. Mighty-of-his-mouth laughed within himself at this device of the shepherd to impress upon would-be robbers that he had left some one there to watch his sheep, while really he had only planted a pole and thrown a blanket over it.

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