Gifts for Kaluhami | Sunday Observer

Gifts for Kaluhami

24 October, 2021

Once upon a time there lived a village chieftain (Gamarala ) and his wife (Gama Mahage). Their pride and joy was Kaluhami, their only daughter. Kaluhami was beautiful with long, black hair, and rosy lips. She was also good and was kind and generous to all those who knew her.

Sadly, one day the beautiful Kaluhami fell ill. None of the vedarala’s (native physicians ) could cure her. She died young being around 20 years in age.

The Gamarala and Gama Mahage were heartbroken . There was not a day that the Gama Mahage did not think of her daughter and cry.

One day, the Gamarala left the house to attend to some work. A little after he left a beggar in tattered clothes came to the house. He was emaciated and looked very sickly. The kind hearted Gama Mahage took pity on him and gave him food and drink. Once the beggar had eaten and drunk his fill the Gama Mahage spoke to him and asked him about his health.

“Aney nona (lady) mata bohoma amaru wela mama elova gihin melova awa”. ( I was so sick that I went to the other world and came back). This is a common Sinhala way of saying that because you had been so sick that you nearly died. The Gama Mahage was so foolish that she really thought that the man had gone to the other world and returned.

“ So, you went to the other world and returned” ?

‘ Of course. Why do you ask”?

“I ask because my beautiful daughter Kaluhami went to the other world a while ago. Have you met my daughter by any chance”?

The beggar realised how foolish the Gama Mahage was. He decided to make the most of this chance.

“Of course, I know your beautiful daughter Kaluhami. She always talks about her parents and how happy she was in her life here”.

The Gama Mahage was overjoyed. Here, at last was news of her beloved daughter. She kept firing questions at the beggar and kept talking about Kaluhami. She told the beggar about the things Kaluhami liked to do, her favourite food and many other details.

At last, the beggar said, “Your daughter and I love each other and we want to get married soon but ….. and he stopped without completing the sentence.

“ Why did you stop talking”? What is the matter”?

“No, it is that Kalhami is a little sad”.

“Why is she sad” asked the Gama Mahage impatitently and anxiously.

“ She did not take any jewellery with her to the other world. Therefore, she has no jewllery to wear at out wedding”’

“ How I wish I could send some jewellery to her. When are you getting back to the other world “ ?

“ In fact, I am on my way back to the other world. If you like, I can take some jewellery and give it to Kaluhami”.

“How wonderful”! exclaimed the foolish Gama Mahage.

She quickly collected all the jewellery in the house and gave it to the beggar saying “please tell my daughter that this is a gift from her mother”. He pretended to be reluctant to take so much of jewellery. “I feel bad to take all this but as it is your wish I well do so” said the crafty beggar.

“Please look after my daughter well” begged the Gama Mahage.

The beggar went away quickly saying he was already late in getting back to the other world. Actually, he wanted to get away before the Gamarala came home. A little while later the Gamarala came home and was happy to see the Gama Mahage looking happy since Kaluhami died. He asked his wife the reason for her happiness.

She told him what had happened. The Gamarala was horrified at his wife’s foolishness.

He quickly sprang upon his horse and chased after the beggar. The beggar saw the Gamarala coming after him and quickly climbed a nearby tree. The Gamarala too started clambering up the tree. When this happened the crafty beggar slid down the tree on the other side. Poor Gamarala was still up the tree.

The beggar ran to the Gamarala’s horse, mounted it and rode away calling out “ I will tell Kaluhami that the jewellery is a gift from her mother and the horse is a gift from her father”.

The poor Gamarala had to go home empty handed without the jewellery and his horse.


Source: Folklore