A Sri Lankan folk tale retold by J.B. Disanayaka
Gamarala meets the king of devils
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.

One 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?

The 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 tomorrow”.

The 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”.

“What 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”.

“What 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 silent.

“Tell 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 time.

The 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”.

“Never 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.

Devils 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.

The 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 everyday”.

The 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.

The 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.

Trembling, 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.

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