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Bengal Dacoits and Tigers   By: (1864-1932)

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Maharanee Sunity Devee, C.I. of Cooch Behar


Dacoit Stories

The Jhee's Discovery Trapped by a Cobra Saved by a Bear Raghu Dacoit Girl as Kali Ma The Deputy Magistrate All for Nothing A Punjabee Dacoit A Child's Experience Two Chinese Dacoits An Unfaithful Servant

Tiger Stories

The Bearer's Fate Through the Roof Earning the Reward A Burmese Monster The Palki and the Tiger An Assam Adventure A Thrilling Story A Cachar Tiger A Maharajah's Adventures


Dacoit Stories

The Jhee's Discovery

It was the month of Jaishta (May June) in Bengal, and the earth languished under the scorching rays of the sun and sent up a voiceless prayer to the Rain God to come soon and refresh the fields and jungles with the welcome "barsat" (rainy season).

Yet, in spite of the intense heat, a young and delicately nurtured Bengali lady was travelling. She was on her way to pay a visit to her parents in law, for after marriage the bride returns to her childhood's home and remains there, paying visits from time to time to her husband's home until the day comes when she goes to live there.

It is a Bengali custom that ladies, especially young ladies, must always wear their jewellery, even when travelling. Arms, wrists, neck and ankles, bare of jewels, are a sign of widowhood or dire poverty. Out young heroine was accordingly adorned with jewels and she was also richly attired. Was she not the daughter of a wealthy man and going to visit her mother in law? So her mother had lovingly dressed her in an exquisite gold embroidered Benares silk saree of finest texture and superb workmanship, and the jewellery, which adorned her graceful arms, neck and ankles, was in keeping with the richness of her costume.

Twelve bearers took turns in carrying the covered palanquin or palki in which she travelled. They had been in her father's service for many years and were known, to be trustworthy. A faithful jhee (maid) accompanied her, sometimes walking beside the palki and at other times sitting within, to fan her young mistress and help to enliven the weary journey with tales of former travels. Two men servants, whom in Bengal we call durwans and who are permitted to bear arms in defence of their masters' goods, completed the party. One of them walked on either side of the palanquin and each carried a naked sword in his hand. These two men were tried and trusted retainers of the young lady's father, and were prepared to defend their master's daughter even at the cost of their lives.

The route lay through a lonely country district with stretches of rice fields scattered between, and villages nestling here and there among groves of trees. At. one of these villages the party halted awhile for rest and refreshment, and then on again in the fierce heat of a close Indian day.

Thus many miles had been passed; and the evening shades were beginning to cool the wearisome day, when the travellers drew near to a group of trees not far from a small tank (artificial lake). The palki bearers sighted this ideal resting place and asked the jhee to inform their young mistress of it, and beseech that they might stop there and refresh themselves with a draught of water, after which they would be able to travel still faster,

A gracious consent was readily given by the fair one within the palanquin. She had found the heat almost beyond endurance, and pitied the bearers who had the weight of her palki and herself added to their sufferings.

The palanquin was gently set down under a large and shady tree, and the durwans respectfully withdrew a little distance to permit of the jhee raising the covering, so that their kind mistress might also enjoy the grateful shade and coolness of the grove... Continue reading book >>

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