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Elphinstone Kist   Stories for Bairns

A Nasty Rumour (An Indian Folk Tale)     by: Wheeler, Les

In India thir’s a toon caad Kusumapura that sits on the banks o theRiver Ganges. Noo, in this toon thir bade a seer caad Harasvamin an he wis affa fond o the Haillie places. Seein that he wis a seer he didna hae muckle that he could caa his ain an he spent maist o his day in prayin an meditatin. He wis a Brahman an sae wis o the hichest caste an fit sma bittie he needit he got by beggin. He wis verra weel thocht o by the fowk o the toon for he wis richt gweed livin an a gweed example tae aabody. Fowk thocht that it wis gweed for the name o the toon tae hae sic a decent, scholarly chiel amang them.

But even the best o fowk kin hae ithers that dinna like them or are jealous o them an that’s jist the wye o’t. Ae day, fan Harasvamin wis at the mairket gyan aboot amang the fowk an orra vratch o a chiel fa grudged him his gweed quaalities roared oot, “Dae ye raelly ken fat kine o a seer we hae here? Weel, he’s a swick an an evil rogue! He’s the een fa’s aiten aa wir bairns!”

Anither cyaard in the crood, a freen o the first een, jined in. “Richt eneuch. I’ve heard the verra samen thing mysel!”

Syne a third een stertit up. “That’s jist the wye o’t,” says he, “I’ve bin tellt the verra same!” An, of coorse, it wisna lang afore ithers wir drivin doon the same cairt road.

The clekkin got waur nor ivver, wird wint roon an seen aabody wis nyatterin awa aboot the bairns that hid bin aiten by the seer. Siccan a din there wis that ye’d hae thocht a tod hid got intae a hen-hoose.

Syne, fowk widna let thir bairns oot o the hoose thinkin tae themsels that Harasvamin wad tak the youngist eens an ait them aa up. An still aa the nyatterin an rumour-mongerin wint on till it cam tae sic a hicht that the heid yins o the toon thocht they’d better hae a tryst an see fit could be deen. The Brahmans hid lang discussions an wir determined tae dee something afore aa the bairns wir aiten. They thocht they micht banish the seer fae the toon but they wir feart tae spik ower openly aboot it for fear the seer micht get roused an gobble them up as weel! Efter a lot a argy-bargy, an verra little sense, it wis decided that they’d send messengers tae the seer. They wir tae gyang tae the seer an roar oot thir message, fae a gwedd bit awa sae as tae be on the safe side.

“The Brahmans say yiv tae get oot o the toon richt awa!” roared the messengers. Noo, the seer wis fair taen aback fan he heard this. “Fitiver hiv I tae dee that for?” he spiert. He wis even mair bumbazed at the answer.

“Yiv aiten far ower mony bairns on sicht!” cam the chorus.

Fan Harasvamin heard this he set aff at eence tae visit the cooncil o Brahmans, jist tae try an mak siccar that they kent it wisna him fa wis hairmin the bairns an hopin tae fun oot fit wis gyan on. But fowk are nae aye as sensible as they micht be. Fan the Brahmans saa the seer waakin taewards them they wir terrifeed an stertit tae clim up intae the eesins o the temple. Neen o them stoppit tae think fa it wis they wir rinnin awa fae an fowk affen nivver stop tae think. Sae Harasvamin stood aneth them an spak tae ilk een in turn. “Noo, fit’s aa this that’s got intae yir heids, Brahmans? Did ye ivver spier at een anither fu mony bairns I’m supposed tae hae aiten? Fas bairns hiv I aiten? Fu mony o ilka chiels? Fu mony faimilies hae bairns missin? Hiv ye stoppit tae coont them aa?

As seen as they heard fit the seer hid tae say thay aa lookit at een anither, syne spiert at een anither if ony o thir bairns wir missin. Weel, jist as yiv nae doot jaloused by noo, there wisna een o them hid ony bairns missin. Syne, feelin like richt gowks, they cam doon aff the reef an spiert at aa the fowk in the toon an it becam clear that nae only wis there nae bairns missin fae onybody’s faimly, there nivver hid bin ony bairns missin at ony time.

Weel, there wis a gey puckle fowk feelin richt gypit in the en o it an nae wunner. The Brahans aint up an said, “Wiv aa bin richt feel an wiv deen a rael wrang tae the seer. We should hae kent better nor believe the tales in the first place. We kin only say fu sorry we aa are.”

Fan they’d hin thir say, Harasvamin began tae pit thegither fit wee gees an gaws he hid an made ready tae leave the toon. There wis nae pleesure left for the seer in bidin in a toon far rumours pit roon by ony orra vratches wis piyed mair heed till than the wirds o the gweed fowk. But syne the Brahmans, merchants an servin fowk o the toon cam an priggit an beggit wi Harasvamin tae bide.

They’d lernt thir lesson, they wid ken better in the future than tae tak heed o clekkin tongues an trouble-makkers. They’d ken tae mak siccar afore they let things get oot o haun. Harasvamin wisna a seer for nithin an he some thocht the fowk hid hin a lesson they widna forget in a hurry. He kent that at hert they wir gweedly fowk an sae he agreed tae bide amang them an fowk in the toon wir gled that thir seer wis een o the wisest an best fowk in the hale country roon.

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