Sri Lankan folk tale retold by J.B. Disanayaka
Gamarala meets the king of
Once upon a time, there was a Gamarala, a chieftain of the
village. He became famous as the man who could tame even devils
– yakku. For he had tamed two devils and they came to pay
homage to him every day with a bag of millet and a basket of vegetables.
day, the devils brought not one but two bags and two baskets. The
Gamarala was surprised. “Why are you bringing me two bags
and two baskets today?” , he asked the devils. “I asked
only for one bag and one basket, didn’t I?
devils said, “We brought two bags and baskets because we won’t
be able to come tomorrow. So we brought today what we ought to bring
Gamarala was a little curious. “Why can’t you come tomorrow?”
he asked. The two devils said, “Sir, there is an important
meeting that we must attend”.
meeting?” asked the Gamarala, pretending to be very angry.
“Sir, there is a meeting summoned by our Majesty the King.
We were asked to be there in time to discuss an important matter”.
have you got to discuss?” asked the Gamarala. The devils were
rather reluctant to tell Gamarala about this meeting because it
was all about the Gamarala and the two devils themselves. Their
king was angry that his subjects were working as slaves to a human
being. How could the devils tell the Gamarala about it? They kept
me then”, shouted the Gamarala, “Where are you having
this meeting?” “Under the spreading tamarind tree, near
the Big Rock”, answered the devils. “O.K. You can go
now”, shouted the Gamarala and the devils disappeared in no
Gamarala had an older brother. People called him ‘Loku Gamarala’
– the big Gamarala – to distinguish him from the other
one – Podi Gamarala, the Small Gamarala. The Small Gamarala
told the Big Gamarala about this meeting of devils. “Let’s
go and watch this meeting. I’ve never seen a gathering of
devils in all my life”.
have I’, said the Big Gamarala. “I haven’t seen
the King of Devils either”. The next day, both of them went
to the open space near the Big Rock where the tamarind tree was.
They climbed the tree and settled down on two branches to get a
good view of the meeting.
came in large numbers. There were small devils and big devils. There
were ugly devils and uglier ones. They were discussing this matter
about the Gamarala. The two devils who served the Gamarala sat in
front. Then there was a silence. Entered their king – the
King of Devils.
meeting began and the two devils had to tell the King why they were
serving just another human being. “Oh, Your Majesty”,
answered both of them at the same time. “You don’t know
how powerful this Gamarala is. He was about to kill us and we pleaded
with him to spare our lives on the promise that we gave him gifts
King laughed at the height of his voice. “What nonsense! Who
has ever heard of human beings that are more powerful than devils!”
All the devils shouted in agreement. This shouting made the Small
Gamarala tremble with fear. He became so scared that he couldn’t
help losing the grip of the branch that he was holding on to. With
a big noise he began to fall from the tree.
Big Gamarala who saw his brother falling from the branch, shouted
“Brother, now that you are ready to catch the devils, catch
the biggest of them all – their King!” The King of Devils
heard the words of the Big Gamarala. He thought that the Small Gamarala
was trying to catch him and overpower him.
he knelt before the Gamarala and said, “Please spare my life
too. I’ll bring you whatever you want”. Ever since then,
the King of Devils also joined the other two devils to bring Gamarala
things that he could never dream of having – riches that only
a king could possess.