Table of Contents

Introduction

This chapter retells a Rajasthani folktale about a wrestler called Vijay Singh. In order to prove his claim of not being afraid of ghosts, the wrestler sets out towards the Haunted Desert. He uses his wits to fool the ghost and returns to the village, unharmed.

Summary

Vijay Singh was a strong but boastful wrestler. He once boasted of not being scared of ghosts and was made to go to the Haunted Desert to prove his claim. The Haunted Desert was infamous for ghosts and many unfortunate incidents of loot. Before he set out, a wise old woman handed him a packet containing an egg and a lump of salt. 

As he moved towards the Haunted Desert, the wrestler heard a voice which claimed to be Vijay Singh’s friend Natwar. Though Vijay Singh could not see clearly in the dark, he knew it was the ghost trying to fool him. As the ghost appeared, Vijay Singh told him that he had walked a long distance only to meet the ghost. The ghost was puzzled to meet a human who did not run away at the very sight of a ghost. 

Vijay Singh then handed him a piece of rock and told him to squeeze it to make the fluid pour out of it. When the ghost failed, Vijay Singh squeezed what the ghost took to be same piece of rock and a yellow fluid burst out of it with crackling sound. Then he challenged the ghost to crush a piece of rock to salt. The ghost failed again and the wrestler crushed what the ghost took to be a stone to powdered salt. This way he took advantage of the darkness to trick the ghost by making use of the egg and salt. 

The ghost then invited the wrestler to spend the night at his place with a plan to kill his guest while asleep but Vijay Singh was no fool. He hid in a corner and set his bed in such a way as to resemble a man sleeping under the sheets. The ghost woke up at night and struck hard at what he thought was the wrestler, though it was only a bolster. 

Next morning when Vijay Singh woke up, the ghost was shocked. Vijay Singh cleverly complained of some insects that had bothered him during sleep. The ghost was terrified of a man to whom hard blows of a club had only seemed insect bites. The ghost fled from his own place. 

Conclusion

Vijay Singh took back all the wealth that the ghost had acquired by looting people and returned most of it to the rightful owners. He thanked the old woman whose packet had helped him in his quest and also married her granddaughter. Besides earning the respect of the villagers, Vijay Singh also learned the lesson to never be boastful in future.