Long long ago, in a remote village in Bengal, lived an old farmer Subroto. Subroto was too old and weak to work in the field any more and that year there had been a severe drought that his field had become a piece of parched land, totally barren.
Subroto’s wife Moitree was also very weak and old and she was getting very irritated that there was not enough in the house at all. She kept showing her anger on Subroto, yelling at him whenever she could, accusing him of not providing her enough.
Poor Subroto was very patient but day by day as Moitree kept on yelling at him, he got fed up and one day , decided to leave the house for good. The next morning before Moitree was up, he collected his stick and a shawl and left the house in the wee hours.
Subroto kept walking aimlessly for hours together. The sun was rising up slowly and in a few hours was shining bright and hot. Subroto, having not eaten anything at all felt really tired and he sighted a huge banyan tree ahead. ” Let me rest here for sometime” he thought as he sat and stretched himself under the cool shade of the huge tree.Lots of birds had their homes in the tree and quite a few of the birds were making lot of beautiful sounds.
Now, Subroto happened to know the language of the birds. As he lay under the tree enjoying the breeze and the sounds, two words caught his attention “Sonar Barsa” . “Sonar Barsa? ” That meant Gold Rain. Where was the gold rain? He looked up and saw two parakeets discussing about the ” Sonar Barsa ” . They were talking of a magic cow which a magician in a nearby village had and how the magician wanted to gift it to the first poor person who met him the next day early morning, as he was going away from the village. The cow it seems , was called “Sonar Barsa” since its dung turned into gold the moment it touched the ground. Subroto further understood from the conversation of the parakeets that they had overheard the magician talking to his cow that morning about his gifting her to the first poor person he saw the next day. Since he had not made his intention public, no one in the village knew of it.
Subroto jumped up. He wanted to go and get “Sonar Barsa”. He started walking fast , almost running and reached the magician’s house by evening. He saw a huge tree near the magician’s house and went and rested under the tree through the night, forgetting his hunger and thirst. He could hardly sleep. The next day early in the morning he rushed to the magician’s house and knocked the door. He met the magician and told him about his poverty and asked him if he could help him. He was careful enough not to mention about “Sonar Barsa” as he did not want the magician to know that he knew the secret. As expected, the magician led him to the back yard of the house and there was this beautiful black cow. The magician looked at Subroto and said, “Subroto, I shall be leaving this village in a few days from now . I am going on a Yatra to the Himalayas and I am disposing all my belongings.” Pointing to the cow, the magician continued, “Here is my darling cow Sonar Barsa. She is called so because the moment her dung touches the ground, it turns into Gold. Take her with you and look after her well and she will take care of you and your poverty will vanish in a few days”. Subroto’s eyes were wide open with joy , his mouth dropping!!. He could not believe his luck. “Thank you, Oh Thank you Sir! Thank you so much Sir!!” said Subroto as he prepared to leave with the cow. “Be careful” said the magician, “the country is full of crooks”.
Subroto started walking back to his village. Now, he could face Moitree with pride and gift her all the gold she wanted in her life. He was happily walking with the cow in tow and by the time it was noon, he was feeling very very tired. It was a hot day and he had in his excitement not slept for the whole night.
He sighted a large shady tree and thinking that he would take a short nap, tied Sonar Barsa to the tree and lay down. Suddenly he heard lot of birds chirping, and woke up with a jerk. To his dismay, he found that it was past sunset. Lots of birds had come back to their nests. Thankfully, Sonar Barsa remained tied to the tree. Subroto was in a dilemma. He could not reach his village if he started his journey so late and he was afraid of walking through the lonely roads through the night. Suddenly Subroto remembered that his old friend Dipankar lived in the next village. “Well, I hope Dipankar is at home” thought Subroto. “I shall try my luck and spend the night there”, he thought. He led Sonar Barsa and reached Dipankar’s small house in the next village. Dipankar was very much there and was very surprised at the sudden arrival of Subroto. Dipankar was a rich fellow but was miserly. So he and his wife offered Subroto a simple meal which Subroto had with much relish as he had not eaten for days. Dipankar enquired about why Subroto was there and that too with a cow!!. Subroto was a naive guy and was not used to lying and so he told him the whole story . Dipankar was jealous.” Why should this guy become richer than me ? ” he thought. He struck upon an idea. He also had a jet black cow. Quietly when Subroto was sleeping, he interchanged the cows and tied his cow where Sonar Barsa was tied. In the morning poor Subroto, in his anxiety to reach home, got up early and bade good bye to his friend and took the black cow and walked home.
“Look Moitree , look what I have brought!” he yelled in a loud voice. Moitree was relieved to see Subroto back but was not happy at the sight of the cow. “There is no food for us, how will we feed the cow?” she thought and started chiding Subroto, when he told her of the wonder the cow possessed. Moitree did not believe but then sat down near the cow’s hind looking eagerly as to when it would expel some dung. She did not have to wait long. In a few minutes there was dung. “Pacchaack…..Pacchaack…” the dung hit the floor and splashed on Moitree’s nose. But it remained as dung much to the annoyance of the couple. Moitree flew into a rage and started yelling at Subroto. Subroto did not know what to do and hurriedly left the home. He felt that the magician had cheated him. He was sad that all his time had been wasted. He was dejected and did not know what to do. Finally , he decided to go and fight with the magician. He walked so fast with anger that he reached the magician’s house by evening.
The magician looked at him questioningly and before Subroto could open his mouth, asked him, “So where did you lose Sonar Barsa, huh?” Subroto was shocked. Only then it occurred to him that his stay at Dipankar’s place could have been the reason for losing Sonar Barsa. He meekly told the magician that he did not know, but that he had stayed in his friend’s house the last night.
“Look” said the magician, handing him a rope and a sturdy stick. “Take this for tending your cow. Now go and stay tonight at your friend’s house and go back tomorrow to your house. Hm.” The magician’s voice was so commanding that Subroto did not speak one word and reached Dipankar’s house.
Dipankar had gotten a chunk of gold dung that day and was extremely happy but was alarmed at the sight of Subroto. But Subroto did not show any of the ill feelings and on his own told Dipankar that he had come to get the stick and rope from the magician for tending his cow. Dipankar was curious about what would be magical about the stick and rope. Well, maybe he could beat Sonar Barsa with the stick to get more dung gold , he thought. As on the earlier day Subroto was entertained with a good meal and just as Subroto went to sleep, Dipankar came with a similar looking rope and stick to replace the stick and rope given by the magician. Just as he touched the rope , Zeeeeeeeeeng …., it wound itself around Dipankar tying his hands and legs and the stick started jumping about whacking Dipankar hard on his hands and knees . “Ooh! Aah ! Oooh! Aaah! Don’t Beat Don’t Beat” yelled Dipankar at the top of his voice. But the stick was in no mood to listen. Hearing the noise,Dipankar’s wife came running and she was horrified to see Dipankar being beaten. She tried to catch the stick but it whacked he also on her nose and continued whacking Dipankar.
Subroto was also woken up by the noise and he rushed to the hall where Dipankar was being beaten up by the stick. On seeing Subroto, Dipankar yelled, “Subroto, forgive me, I stole your cow. Aah! Please please aaah …. aaask the stick to stop.” Subroto was shocked to see Dipankar being beaten up and more shocked that his friend had stolen Sonar Barsa. But being a good man, he ordered, “Stop! O stick Stop.” The stick came to Subroto’ s hand and the rope unwound itself from Dipankar’s body and coiled itself into a neat bundle.
Dipankar felt thoroughly ashamed of his behaviour and asked for forgiveness from Subroto. He gave back Sonar Barsa and told Subroto to keep the other cow also. Subroto, now a happy man, went back to his home. Moitree was sitting at the doorstep and the moment she saw Subroto bringing another black cow, she took the broom and was about to hurl it at Subroto when “Pacchaack” Sonar Barsa dropped some dung. The moment it touched the ground, it turned into gold. Moitree was awe struck. She pinched herself to see if this was real. She ran to Subroto and asked for forgiveness for her actions .
Subroto, being a good hearted man forgave her and Sonar Barsa rained gold everyday and the couple lived happily in comfort and helped lot of poor people with their unending charity!!
This is the story of “Sonar Barsa”.
Ram Mohan Narasimhan
Nice story with a good moral. Now Moitree will make sure the cow will have enough and more to eat so that the ‘output’ will be equally large!!