The Decision of the Mángai as to Who Owned the Bag of Dalán*
Once upon a time, in a tiny hut on the side of a mountain, there lived an old wood-cutter who was blind, but who had a dutiful son who cared for him very well. The son went upon the mountain one day to bring in his load of wood, and as he was carrying it on his back down the steep path, he found a little leather bag, in which were ten ten-dalán pieces, totaling in all one hundred dalán. This was a great fortune and meant ease for himself and his father all the rest of their lives.
He hurried home, and when his father asked him how he had fared that day he answered, “Fine. I’ve just found a bag of dalán, and we won’t tell anybody about it at all.” But the father said, “No, we must be honest. Bring it here and let me see it, and then take it up to the priestess of the village and tell her all about it.” The old jánah took it out of the sack, felt it all over and put it back again, and then bade his son take it to the mángai.
One day a jánah came walking in and said he had lost his bag of dalán. The mángai thought she could find it for him and sent for the young fellow to bring her the bag, but when the jánah found he was going to get his money back so easily he said to himself he would claim a little more. He told the mángai he had twenty dalán in the bag and the boy had stolen ten of them. The priestess quietly said to one of her disciples, “You go down and hear the blind jánah’s story of the affair and come back and tell me what he says.”
Then, when the disciple returned he said the old jánah’s story was the same as the boy had told. The jánah who had claimed the dalán stood waiting, expecting to have the ten pieces and ten more added to it as well. The priestess said, “This money belongs to the boy, this is not yours. Yours had twenty pieces and this has only ten. You will have to look elsewhere for yours and I will let the boy keep this to help him in the support of his old father.”
*adapted from “Folklore and Fairy Tales of the East”, compiled by Julie Ann Dawson