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Puhul hora Karen danay

25 April, 2021

Puhul hora karen danay or The white gourd thief is known by his neck (and shoulders) is a well-loved Sinhala folk tale.

Once upon a time, there was a gamarala or farmer in a village and in his vegetable plot a humongous alupuhul or white gourd started to grow. The farmer was very happy and looked after the enormous alupuhul or white gourd very carefully.

The alupuhul kept on growing.

One morning when the gamarala went to his vegetable field he discovered to his horror that his precious aluphu was missing. The gamarala thought long and hard and came to the conclusion that someone had stolen the alupuhul. He also knew that it had to be someone from the village itself.

Now, the gamarala made a plan to catch the alupuhul thief.

He took a bell and ringing it he went to the kadapila or the village boutique. Standing there the gamarala continued to ring the bell. The villagers who heard the bell became curious as to why a bell was being rung early in the morning and came to the kadapila to find out why.

After all the villagers gathered at the kadapila the gamarala cried out aloud so that all could hear “Puhul hora karen daney- puhul hora karen daney” meaning the puhul thief will be known by his neck.

The gamarala’s trick paid off. The thief who was among the crowd got frightened thinking that the powdery substance from the puhul must be on his neck and shoulders. He quickly started to brush his neck and shoulders and gave himself away. The gamarala jumped forward and caught the thief. He also told the crowd what had happened.

The frightened thief worshipped the gamarala and begged for forgiveness and returned the alupuhul to the gamarala.

And this is how the saying puhul hora karen daney came to be.

 

In Sinhala karen can mean neck and shoulders.

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