An Interesting story on land tax collection visit of my Grandfather
My grandfather shared a story with me when it was British era. He was a land tax collection agent and was posted in Reewa district of now in Madhya Pradesh. It was a few hundred kilometers from his native in nearby district Mirzapur. Since in those days the travelling was difficult,so he had to stop in one of the villager’s houses only.
People used to be very hospitable in those days. The house owner took my grandfather to nearby forest to show some of the local wildlife.
It was afternoon and they were hungry and Grandfather was heavily built and a voracious eater. Now the host said “Panditji don’t worry , i will make arrangements here only. What do you want to eat?’ as if there was a virtual menu with him for such jungle excursions. My grandfather saw that he didn’t bring any grains of food with him and was much annoyed with the fact that he will have to remain hungry. He asked him ” Can have some rice here?” The host smiled and asked him to wait for sometime. He went and searched some root like stuff from the jungle ground nearby. He cooked on fire with the water and salt he brought with him. after boiling he just just tore open the skin of root and a rice like stuff poured on the leaf plate. My grandfather although from a village background itself had never seen such a thing earlier. He ate to his satisfaction and asked the host about the roots. The host told him that the jungle provides them with everything and still it had so many unknown roots , fruit and stuff which was known to the public at large.
Then he offered that he can call tiger at will and pat it on its head like a pet. Prospect was nice but my grandpa refuted , knowing that he wasn’t carrying any gun to protect him , just in case if the Tigers refuses to obey its master from nearby village ;).
Back to village by evening , he spent the night at host’s residence and early morning moved out for his home. Just a few kilometers out of the host’s village , he found a huge crowd gathering.A local village head called him as he knew my Grandpa to apprise him of an spectacle about a brave lady. The local british officer was also called there already. When he reached the spot he saw a tiger lying dead on the ground.
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They told the story that the lady had some cattle in her small barn attached to her house. At night she heard some noise of cows and became alert. She thought that it could be a wolf , which has come looking for sheep. So she got ready with a large piece of hard wood cut to be used as firewood , but it was a big and heavy one. her idea was to hit the wolf with firewood and make it run away. She waited outside the gate of the barn with the firewood her hand ready to hit it. The moment it’s head appeared she struck it with full force.It hit his head at the right spot and it dropped dead on the spot. Since the area was not well lit she couldn’t know it was dead or alive and ran for light.When the light was brought on , people saw a tiger lying down dead. Poor fellow didn’t know what hit him just on his way out of his dinner hall. 😉 Lady was rewarded by locals, although unknowingly but she saved her village from stranded wild cat.
My grandfather returned from this eventful journey , musing whether it could have been the same tiger his host was willing to call?. Ha ha.. but we had a story to listen to years later on.
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