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Children’s Day Special: It started with Bili Majhi

Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar tells us the story of Tuyu, the fox, who ate everything that stood in its way – an egg, a bent old woman, a termite hill, and an egret

Written by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar |
Updated: November 14, 2021 12:12:53 pm
Tuyu FoxTuyu Fox (Illustration by Shyam)

Bili Majhi, the egg, went rolling by.
Roll roll roll roll roll roll roll roll
Down the hill, Bili Majhi came rolling.
Through the paddies, Bili Majhi
went rolling.
Through the villages, Bili Majhi
went rolling.
Roll roll roll roll roll roll roll roll
Bili Majhi seemed to be in a hurry, for it was rolling away so fast.
A man herding cattle called out, “Oka te ho, Bili Majhi?” — Where are you off to,
Bili Majhi?
“Tuyu saang dorbar.” — To have a meeting with Tuyu, the fox. Bili Majhi was in such a hurry that it did not even stop. Just called out its reply and rolled away.
“Be careful!” The man tried to warn Bili Majhi but it had already rolled away quite far.
Tuyu was lolling under an arjun tree. Lolling, but irritable.
Bili Majhi was tired of all that rolling.
Huff puff puff huff…
Bili Majhi stopped rolling as it
reached Tuyu.
“Who is it?” Tuyu raised its head and looked at Bili Majhi. “Bili Majhi, is it?”
“Yes”…huff puff… “Oh! I am quite breathless!” Puff huff… Bili Majhi apologised to Tuyu.
“You are late,” Tuyu growled at Bili Majhi.
“I came rolling from so far,” Bili Majhi said in defence.
“It’s so late, I’m hungry now.”
“What?”
“I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten all day. And you’re late!”
“But you see — ”
GULP!
One gulp, and Bili Majhi went down Tuyu’s throat into its tummy.
Satiated, Tuyu stretched its body and walked away.
Walk walk walk… Walk walk walk…
Tuyu walked through the grass.
Tuyu walked through the fields.
Tuyu walked beside the river.
Walk walk walk… Walk walk walk…
STOP!
Who dared stop Tuyu’s walk?
What? A kubu budhi — a bent old woman!
“E kubu budhi! Sor!” — You bent old woman! Move! Tuyu ordered the bent
old woman.
“I can’t, child,” the bent old woman said. “I don’t have the strength to move. You can walk by my side and go on your way.”
“I don’t change my path,” Tuyu growled. “If you don’t move away from my path, I will eat you.”
“You will eat me?” The bent old woman asked in disbelief. “But I am a mere bent old woman.”
“Aami ekta dim khayichhi — I have already eaten an egg — Now I’ll eat you as well,” Tuyu threatened the bent old woman.
“But why would you —”
GULP!
The bent old woman too entered
Tuyu’s tummy.
Tuyu then resumed walking.
Walk walk walk… Walk walk walk…
Tuyu walked by a pond.
Tuyu walked by flower beds.
Tuyu walked through trees.
STOP!
Who dared stop Tuyu’s walk again?
What? A boonoom daanaang — a termite hill! And a knog — an egret — standing beside the anthill!
“E boonoom daanaang! Sor!” — You termite hill! Move! Tuyu ordered the termite hill.
“I think you’re quite aware that I’m a
termite hill,” the termite hill, teeming with termites, asked Tuyu. “You really expect me
to move?”
Tuyu was furious.
“And if you next ask me to move,” the egret added, “I am not moving either. I’m here to eat termites. I’m not going anywhere without eating termites. Go, walk by.”
“I don’t change my path,” Tuyu growled. ‘If you don’t move away from my path, I’ll eat you both.”
“What?” The termite hill and the egret gaped at Tuyu. Then — HAHAHAHAHA — they began laughing. The termite hill couldn’t roll on the ground laughing, but the egret did.
“You don’t believe me?” Tuyu shouted in anger. “Aami ekta dim khayichhi ar ekta kubu budhi khayichhi — I have already eaten an egg and a bent old woman — Now I’ll eat you as well,” Tuyu threatened the termite hill
and the egret.
“Go away, go away,” the termite hill said. ‘We’ll die laughing before you can —”
GULP!
Both the termite hill and the egret too entered Tuyu’s tummy.
Tuyu then resumed walking.
Walk walk walk… Walk walk walk…
Tuyu walked over rocks.
Tuyu walked over a culvert.
Tuyu walked through a stream.
STOP!
Who dared stop Tuyu’s walk again?
What? A daang, a wooden stick, fixed in the ground!
“E daang! Sor! — You wooden stick! Move!” Tuyu ordered the wooden stick.
“Erm — I’m a stick made of wood, fixed in the ground,” the wooden stick said. “I’m not sure if I’d be able to move.”
“I don’t take no for an answer,” Tuyu growled. ‘If you don’t move away from my path, I will eat you.”
“Eat me?” The wooden stick asked Tuyu. “You quite sure about choosing to eat a wooden stick? You might want to reconsider your decision.”
“Aami ekta dim khayichhi aar ekta kubu budhi khayichhi aar ekta boonoom daanaang khayichhi aar ekta knog khayichhi — I have already eaten an egg, a bent old woman, a termite hill, and an egret — Now I’ll eat you as well,” Tuyu threatened the wooden stick.
“I see, you are quite an eater, and I don’t doubt your eating talent,” the wooden stick said, “but you might want to think again before eating —”
POUNCE!
Tuyu jumped on the wooden stick —
And —
GASH!
The sharp upper tip of the wooden stick tore through Tuyu’s mouth, jowl, trunk, and — finally — abdomen.
“Erm — I told you so, fox,” the wooden stick said to Tuyu’s lifeless body fallen on
the ground.
One by one, Bili Majhi, the bent old woman, the termite hill with all its termites, and the egret came crawling out of
Tuyu’s tummy.
They all thanked the wooden stick.
Then Bili Majhi rolled away.
The bent old woman walked away.
The egret flew away.
And the termite hill, because it cannot move, stayed there, with all its termites, beside the wooden stick.

Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar is a doctor and writer based in Jharkhand

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