Indian Fairy Tales: Punchkin
Reading time: (3 minutes).
Many, many weary miles did he travel, till at last he came to a thick jungle; and, being very tired, sat down under a tree and fell asleep. He was awakened by a soft rustling sound, and looking about him, saw a large serpent which was making its way to an eagle's nest built in the tree under which he lay, and in the nest were two young eagles.
The Prince seeing the danger of the young birds, drew his sword and killed the serpent; at the same moment a rushing sound was heard in the air, and the two old eagles, who had been out hunting for food for their young ones, returned. They quickly saw the dead serpent and the young Prince standing over it; and the old mother eagle said to him, "Dear boy, for many years all our young ones have been devoured by that cruel serpent; you have now saved the lives of our children; whenever you are in need therefore, send to, us and we will help you; and as for these little eagles, take them, and let them be your servants."
At this the Prince was very glad, and the two eaglets crossed their wings, on which he mounted; and they carried him far, far away over the thick jungles, until he came to the place where grew the circle of palm-trees, in the midst of which stood the six chattees full of water. It was the middle of the day, and the heat was very great. All round the trees were the genii fast asleep; nevertheless, there were such countless thousands of them, that it would have been quite impossible for anyone to walk through their ranks to the place; down swooped the strong-winged eaglets - down jumped the Prince; in an instant he had overthrown the six chattees full of water, and seized the little green parrot, which he rolled up in his cloak; while, as he mounted again into the air, all the genii below awoke, and finding their treasure gone, set up a wild and melancholy howl.
Away, away flew the little eagles, till they came to their home in the great tree; then the Prince said to the old eagles, "Take back your little ones; they have done me good service; if ever again I stand in need of help, I will not fail to come to you."
He then continued his journey on foot till he arrived once more at the Magician's palace, where he sat down at the door and began playing with the parrot. Punchkin saw him, and came to him quickly, and said, "My boy, where did you get that parrot? Give it to me, I pray you."
But the Prince answered, "Oh no, I cannot give away my parrot, it is a great pet of mine; I have had it many years."
Then the Magician said, "If it is an old favourite, I can understand you not caring to give it away; but come, what will you sell it for?"
"Sir," replied the Prince, "I will not sell my parrot."
Then Punchkin got frightened, and said, "Anything, anything; name what price you will, and it shall be yours."
The Prince answered, "Let the seven Raja's sons whom you turned into rocks and trees be instantly liberated."
"It is done as you desire," said the Magician, "only give me my parrot."
And with that, by a stroke of his wand, Balna's husband and his brothers resumed their natural shapes.
"Now, give me my parrot," repeated Punchkin.
"Not so fast, my master," rejoined the Prince; "I must first beg that you will restore to life all whom you have thus imprisoned."
The Magician immediately waved his Wand again; and, whilst he cried, in an imploring voice, "Give me my parrot!" the whole garden became suddenly alive: where rocks, and stones, and trees had been before, stood Rajas, and Punts, and Sirdars, and mighty men on prancing horses, and jewelled pages, and troops of armed attendants.
"Give me my parrot!" cried Punchkin.
Then the boy took hold of the parrot, and tore off one of its wings; and as he did so the Magician's right arm fell off.
Punchkin then stretched out his left arm, crying, "Give me my parrot!"
The Prince pulled off the parrot's second wing, and the Magician's left arm tumbled off.
"Give me my parrot!" cried he, and he fell on his knees.
The Prince pulled off the parrot's right leg, the Magician's right leg fell off : the Prince pulled off the parrot's left leg, down fell the Magician's left.
Nothing remained of him save the limbless body and the head; but still he rolled his eyes, and cried, "Give me my parrot!"
"Take your parrot, then," cried the boy, and with that he wrung the bird's neck and threw it at the Magician; and, as he did so, Punchkin's head twisted round, and, with a fearful groan, be died!
Then they let Balna out of the tower; and she, her son, and the seven Princes went to their own country, and lived very happily ever afterwards. And as to the rest of the world, every one went to his own house.
Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:
Source: Indian Fairy Tales (1890), by Joseph Jacobs, illustrated by John Batten. Weblink..
Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology.
Laura Gibbs, Ph.D.
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