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Tatacharla Kathalu

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Stories of Tatacharlu, narrated to Charles Philip Brown during the year 1842. Brown published these stories in 1855. Many Telugu people also do not know about the existence of these stories. A collection with annotations was printed by Emesco in 1974. I am bringing to you one story at present as a sampler. The english sounds peculiar. So is the Telugu for it's regionality and also the time of narration, that is more than a century and a half old. Read it and enjoy! I will try to bring more such stories in the future to you.

Sons of Duggisettys


Thirty years back, in the Nellore area, in the village Damaramadugu, there was a businessman community by name Duggishetty Varu. . Since they were a totally poor they  use to eke out their livelihood by pounding paddy for a wage, carrying sacks and selling salt. An old man of the clan had two sons. As they grew up, and were doing the work that their father used to do, and kept the father at home without any difficulty to him, and treating him well, Pendari horse battalion came to the country for plunder.


One horseman from that group, with all the golden items, silver ornaments, pearls, gems, corundums, varaha coins, rupayyas stolen from the families of rich people, in a sack balanced on both sides of the horse, came to this village and while going in the lane next to the house of this businessman, entered into the back yard of the house. There was a well there. Just at short distance from it, there was a haystack. In that tub, there was full water that the house owner brought out from the well to wash the clothes.


Because of the fear of the battalions coming, all the villagers migrated out from there. Then people of that house also went away. Only the komati old man since not able to run along with all the others, sent his sons telling them go somewhere and live, he himself hiding in the hay stack.


Then the battalion horseman, since his horse was tired because of full hunger and thirst, seeing that, by God’s will there was necessary grass in the garden and necessary water in the tub, drank some water from the tub himself, made the horse drink it, pulled out some grass from the haystack and put it before the horse, and before it ate wanted to enter the house and take any jewellery if available, the horseman entered the house.


Then the old businessman hiding in this haystack, since there was no one there, looked four sides, came out, touched the jewel sack on that horse, thinking that by the grace of the God, time has come for the poverty getting solved, if I push this bag into the well, and drive away the horse through this way and hide in the haystack as earlier, let us look what will happen as per our luck, drove that horse near to the well, pushed that bag into the well, untied the horse, drove it away, and hid himself as was earlier.


The horseman thinking that he has to keep quiet till the horse eats grass and satisfies itself, entered into two or three houses near that house, searched trunks, pots shelves crevices nooks bundles rooms and granaries and tied up  things of his choice and came near his horse with them. Since that horse was not there he was very depressed and thought, what is this, there are no people here, who untied this horse or may be  has it got released itself or our own fellows came here and released it and took it, nothing is known, went looking for the horse.


After that what happened to the horseman is not known. After two or three days the disturbance of the battalion got over and all came back to their respective homes. After that this Komati  old man also thinking daily that there is wealth in that well

 to kill his poverty and was looking into the well at every step in the name of drawing water, day and night was thinking of that only, spent a month with patience since one day all in the house have gone to the next village for the gods annual festival, thnking that there is no rush, stopped both his son from going to that festival that day in the night, after midnight came near the well and pulled out that bag after tying it to the water drawing ropes, took it to the house, when opened that bundle and saw, as there were very good glowing ornaments, enjoyed extreme happiness, burnt that bag in fire without any traces left put the ornaments in an earthen pot, buried under the water tub next to the well, took out some cash from the lot and kept it at a different place for using when required,and continued the business which is their castes profession  and making it known to the outside that they are borrowing money from someone and internally continued developing according to the advice of the old man.


After the death of the old man, the two brothers shared it equally and were happy with properties. Even though the matter was a great secret, was known to all the people in the area and became a rumor. This is a wonderful information.

The Fat He-Buffalo


When Pulla Reddy, a family man from the village Koduru of Nellore seema, bought a he- buffalo for agriculture and fed it well and was protecting it to the best capability, soon after there were rains and all the family men prepared their tilling tools and started tilling, he also thought that he can use this he-buffalo along with another one and started preparations, but, the that he-buffalo never got up. After that Reddy prodded the he-buffalo in the behind with a pointed staff. When pricked,it jumped and broke the tether, made a big noise and started throwing the horns and ran loose. After that some people followed it and chased it. It accosted those men, made them tumble and tumble, stamped under the feet and gored and killed a few. For some the legs were broken. For some the joints were broken. Some ran away.


After that the he-buffalo would see people from any distance if visible, chase and kill, but would never come into the clutches of anybody, and was maddened, and behaved to it’s own will, and as such there were fresh rains and fresh green crops, would graze bellyful and drink water in the tank, would sleep next to the tank bund on the way of coming and going to this  village and the other village. Then because of it’s fear for three days, people walking on that path stopped. All the villagers tomtommed the news in the village and took care that the youngsters never went in that way to their fields.


When that was so, on the fourth day, a man from the business community, with a salt bag on his head was going from village to village selling the same, came this way without any worry, not knowing that there is a he-buffalo there. The fattened he-buffalo in the grass grown till the waist, ate as much wanted and was lying down. When the business man came into the distance of ten arm lengths, hearing his foot step noise, the he-buffalo got up  and jumped like a tiger that located a deer, and while turning its head , making noise, shaking its tail, ogling with the eyes, with the ears straight upturned, like a cannon ball, jumped onto the businessman.


Then the businessman dropped the salt bag there and ran into the space between the two toddy trees on the tank bund, which were there side by side with a place in between them with their trunks being together.


Even the he buffalo to kill him, followed him, and rammed into the space between the two trees with all the speed. Then how it’s two horns could pass through the place is not known. Each of the horns is probably three yards long. But the neck is only of the length of the fore arm. It’s body is somewhat like that of a baby elephant.


The neck of such a he buffalo was caught in that and it was not able to go either forward or backward and was making a lot of noise, and panting, and as it moved backwards and forwards ten times, both the toddy trees with one’s roots intertwined with the other’s came out from the earth as one tuber and fell on it’s neck. Then this he-buffalo all the day bore those two trees, pushed them this way and that, got weakened and tired.


After that the villagers listening to the incident from the salt seller, came there together to see the fun. Some people said  it’s a pity. Some people said, since God has punished it in such a way, we are all alive. Then some of them said it will die unless we relieve it off the weight.


That Pulla Reddy when came near and held its horns, it looked so docile, with tears rolling down it’s eyes, with a pitiable stance as if asking whenever they are going to release the noose from its neck. Then they tied a rope to it’s horns, brought axes, cut the toddy trees roots and stems taking care not to harm the buffalo, and relieved it.


Later, they tied it up for one day and gave a little grass, and water, and the next day tied it to the tilling tool, and put to work, like the wisest of all the buffalos it was tilling the fastest as the first team of tilling.

More such stories in pipeline!!