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The Story of The Lazy Boy: A Kachari Folktale

by Compiled by Rev. Sidney Endle

1911

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In the early 1900s, a missionary named Reverend Sidney Endle wrote about the Kachari people, who live in the Assam region of India. In his book, he translated several of their spoken folktales, including the following story about a boy who tries to plant seeds after everyone else has finished.

 As you read, take notes on how the moral, or lesson, develops throughout the story.
"Cultivation" by Dignata Talukdar is licensed under CC BY 2.0

There was once a very lazy boy. And when everybody else had planted out his paddy,[1] he was only setting forth to plough. But the old man of the season, seeing him, said “The season has gone; what are you ploughing for now? The paddy is all planted out, and it is late.”

But the boy would not listen to him, and ploughed sturdily ahead, beating his cattle soundly as he went. And when the old man again and again questioned him, he cried "What sort of old man is this? Can he not see that I am busy? I know very well what I am about.”

But the old man said gently, “Nay, my son: but it is for your good that I would speak to you.”

And the boy said “Speak quickly then, and have done with it.”

And the old man said, “My son, the season is gone; what avails[2] it to plough now?”

And then the boy cried “Where has it gone? And when has it gone? And why has it gone? And how shall I find it?”

But the old man of the season said, “You should have ploughed when others did. The season has gone, and no man can bring it back.”

But the boy said, “I must bring it back; else, how shall I eat, and how shall I live? Do tell me where it is gone.”

And as he would not let the god go, finally, losing patience, he said “You go over there, and you will find an old man with a snow-white head ploughing in a field. You get hold of him and do as he tells you.” So saying, he made his escape. Then the lad hastened home to his mother and bade her cook supper quickly, and tie him up some rice to take with him on the morrow, for he was going to bring back the departed season for ploughing.Q1

“For,” said he, “when I was ploughing to-day, an old man told me that the season was gone, and that if I went after him and pursued him I would find him, and that I must do as he would tell me.” So she rose very early in the morning, and, giving him to eat and drink, sent him on his way.

And as he went, he asked all he met “Can you tell me where the old man of the season has gone?”

But they said, “Everyone knows that the season is gone, but where it is gone, or why it is gone, who can say?”

At last, when he was nearly in despair, he saw an old man ploughing afar off, and shouted to him “Stay a moment, father, stay; I want to ask you a question.”

But the old man was busy, and went his way. Then the lad pursued him and never ceased calling after him till at last the old man losing patience, turned upon him, and said, “What pertinacious[3] noisy lad is this, who won't leave me alone?”

But the lad said, “Be not angry, my father; I am fallen into great trouble, and it behooves[4] you to help me.”

“Speak quickly, then,” said the old man.

And the boy said, “I take you to be the old man of the season, and I pray you not to slay me. All the others have planted out their paddy, and I have fallen behind, and have planted ”

But the old man said, “It is too late for me to return. Go you back, and plant your paddy as best you can.” And so the lad hastened back and planted out his seedlings in such heedless haste as became him. And that's all.Q2

“The Story of The Lazy Boy: A Kachari Folktale” compiled by Rev. Sidney Endle (1911) is in the public domain.

Notes

  1. wet land in which rice is grown
  2. Avail (verb): to help or benefit
  3. Pertinacious (adjective): stubborn or insistent
  4. Behoove (verb): to be necessary or proper for
  1. wet land in which rice is grown x
  2. Avail (verb): to help or benefit x
  3. Pertinacious (adjective): stubborn or insistent x
  4. Behoove (verb): to be necessary or proper for x

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