Gopal and the gang of robbers! [A folktale from Gujarat]
Written by Swati Joshi
April 14, 2020
Long, long ago there was a forest. The forest was quite big, so it was very popular among thieves as a hideout. One evening, Gopal, a lumberjack (who cuts the trees and cuts them into logs) from a nearby village was traveling through this forest. When he reached the middle of the forest, he saw a man coming out of the bushes.
Gopal asked him who he was. The man replied, “Please don’t be scared. I’m a hamal, let me carry your luggage. Your trunk looks heavy.”
Gopal thought, “What is a porter doing here in the middle of the forest? I think he’s a thief and he must have some dangerous weapon. I’ll have to trick him.”
So thinking of a plan, Gopal allowed the man to carry his trunk. Now, Gopal’s friend Mohan lived in a clearing in this forest. Mohan was also a woodcutter. Gopal led the hamal to Mohan’s house and said, “This is my house and you can leave my luggage here.”
So, as a part of his plan, he pretended to faint.
In the meantime, Mohan came out of the house and he was surprised to see Gopal there. Before Mohan could ask anything, Gopal signaled him to stay quiet and he whispered to Mohan, “This man is a thief and he’s joined me to rob my luggage and money, but I’ve brought him here so that we could catch him. Do as I say!”
Mohan understood the whole situation. Both the friends lifted the thief and took him inside the house. Smiling in his mind, the thief thought, “So stupid these people are! I’d rob him once they’re asleep.” But, before he could understand anything, Gopal and Mohan put him in a trunk and locked it. They took the trunk outside and threw it into a deep pit that was at a distant place from the house.
Now as we know, the forest was full of such robbers and thieves; some other robbers were also rambling around, they spotted this trunk.
They exclaimed, “Whoa! It’s a big trunk.. There must be something valuable inside!”
They pulled out the trunk and what’s this??
“Oh! That’s our friend..” The robbers cried in shock.
They asked the thief, “How did you get in there? The thief told them everything and explained how he was tricked.
Irritated, the thief announced, “I’m not alone now; let’s teach them a lesson and rob the house!”
All of them agreed and went to Mohan’s house.
By the time, Gopal and Mohan had figured out that the thief might attack bringing more men with him. So, they already had made the necessary arrangements.
The robbers reached Mohan’s house. It was dark everywhere. They slowly broke open the door, but before they could enter, a swoosh of hot water hit them. Gopal and Mohan had thrown bucketful of hot water on the robbers. As soon as the hot water fell upon them, the robbers were crying with pain, “Eeeeeeeeaaaaawww! Somebody please do something, it’s burning all over my body…!”
As if it wasn’t enough, Mohan threw a bucketful of chilled water on them. “Arrrrrrr!” The robbers were shivering, but due to shock or cold it wasn’t clear!
Robbers were to remember this night forever as Gopal now had taken a fistful of red chili powder and hurled it at the thieves.
This was the final stroke, the robbers were crying in agony, “Aaaaaiiiiii! Stop this at once…!” Mohan and Gopal cleverly locked these thieves inside the house and called the palace guards. The palace guards came soon and they arrested the robbers.
So, this is how clever Gopal and Mohan tricked the gang of crooks!
When a true friend stands by us, we can overcome any grave condition. This folktale from Gujarat teaches us about the importance of presence of mind, courage and unity. So, why don’t you share this moral story with your friends?