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A Legend






Category: Part V.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once upon a time a woman was found to be with child by her own brother,
so the two had to fly the country. In their flight they came to the
Mustard Tank and Flower Lake, on the banks of which they prepared
to cook their food. They boiled water and cooked rice in it; and
then they boiled water to cook pulse to eat with the rice. But when
the water was ready they found that they had forgotten to bring any
pulse. While they were wondering what they could get to eat with their
rice they saw a man of the fisher caste (Keot) coming along with his
net on his shoulder. Then the woman sang--


"The son of a Keot is standing on the bank of the tank:
The fish are jumping: the son of a Keot is catching the fish."


So the Keot caught them some fish, which they ate with their rice.

Then they went on and by the side of the road they saw a date palm
the juice of which had been tapped; and they wished to drink the juice
but they found that they had brought no drinking vessel with them. The
woman looked about and saw near by a fan palm tree and she sang--


"The peepul's leaves go flicker, flicker:
The banyan's leaves are thick and fleshy:
Of the fan palm's leaf, brother, make a cup.
And we will drink the juice of the date palm."


So her brother made a drinking vessel of a palm leaf and they drank
the date juice and went on their way. At nightfall they rested at
the foot of a Bael tree and fell into a drunken sleep from the date
juice they had drunk.

As the woman lay senseless her child was born to her and no sooner
was the child born than a bael fruit fell on to its head and split it
into four pieces which flew apart and became four hills. From falling
on the new-born child the bael fruit has ever since had a sticky
juice and the tree is covered with thorns which are the hair of the
child. In the morning the man and woman went on and came to a forest
of Tarop trees and the woman wiped her bloody hands on the Tarop
trees and so the Tarop tree ever since exudes a red juice like blood.

Next morning they went on and came to a spring and drank of its water
and afterwards the woman bathed in it and the blood stained water
flowed over all the country and so we see stagnant water covered
with a red scum. Going on from there they reached a low lying flat
and halted; almost at once they saw a thunder storm coming up from
the South and West; and the woman sang--


"A storm as black as the so fruit, brother,
Is coming, full of danger for us:
Come let us flee to the homestead of the liquor seller."


But the brother answered--


"The liquor seller's house is an evil house:
You only wish to go there for mischief."


So they stayed where they were and the lightning came and slew
them both.





Next: Pregnant Women

Previous: Hares And Men



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