Once there lived a weaver in a small village in one of the big kingdoms in North India. One day he brought home some jaggery to eat while he lay dreaming up the big things in life. As he lay on his cot, eating and dreaming, dreaming and eating, some of the jaggery fell on to the floor. Immediately a swarm of flies swooped in on the crumbs on the floor and the man, with all the rage that he could summon up on that hot afternoon, brought his palm down on the flies.
As he looked to see the impact of his hard whack on the floor, he was very pleased. Thirty, at the very least, squashed flies were his reward. The weaver was very proud and he felt that he who could kill 30 flies with one swat ought to be made for better things than weaving. So he left his job, his home and his village and headed for the king’s palace.
The king asked him his name and what he could do. “Tees Mar Khan, I am a slayer of 30,” he said. Impressed the king made him a soldier in his force.
Soon there came a day when a tiger strayed into the kingdom. Upon seeing him the townsfolk ran helter-skelter and the tiger began attacking all he could see. The king had to do something to help his panicked people and so he summoned the bravest soldier in his force.
Kill the tiger, he told Tees Mar Khan who stood quaking in his boots. But he could not let his fear show on his face and so he announced with aplomb, “I have killed 30. What is the tiger in front of me?”
As he sped out of the palace, Tees Mar Khan began formulating a plan in his head. He would go to the washerman’s shed where he would untie his donkey from the pole and then go home and collect his belongings and flee the town. Meanwhile as he headed towards the shed, the skies opened up.
Rain poured down on the panicked town that the tiger had stumbled into. Inside the washerman’s shed where his donkey was tied a crowd had gathered, people were huddled together to keep themselves dry and perhaps also safe from being attacked on the streets alone. When Tees Mar Khan entered looking for the donkey, he was stunned to see so many people. Everyone turned to him, looking in askance as to what was he doing there when he ought to be saving the town.
Quickly regaining his composure, he said, “I am not afraid of any tiger-shiger. It is these droplets of water that I need protection from, the tapkua I fear more than any beast.” Now, unseen by any of those gathered, in the darkness of the moment, the tiger had stepped into the shed also. When he heard this boast, he was a bit intrigued. Who was this beast called Tapkua that this brave man was talking about? What animal was fiercer than him?