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Anuwa And His Mother

Category: Part I.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once there was a young fellow named Anuwa who lived with his old
mother, and when he was out ploughing his mother used to take him
his breakfast. One day a jackal met her on her way to the field with
her son's breakfast and told her to put down the food which she was
carrying or he would knock her down and bite her; so she put it down
in a fright and the jackal ate most of it and then went away and
the old woman took what was left to her son and told him nothing
about what had happened. This happened several days in succession;
at last one day Anuwa asked her why she brought so little rice and
that so untidily arranged; so she told him how she was attacked every
day by the jackal. Then they made a plan that the next day the mother
should take the plough afield, while Anuwa should dress up as an old
woman and carry the breakfast. This they did and the jackal met Anuwa
as usual and made him put down the breakfast basket, but while the
jackal was eating, Anuwa knocked him head over heels with his stick;
and the jackal got up and fled, threatening and cursing Anuwa. Among
other things the jackal as he ran away, had threatened to eat Anuwa's
malhan plants, so Anuwa put a fence of thorns round them and when
the jackal came at night and tried to eat the pods he only got his
nose pricked.

Foiled in this the jackal called out "Well, I will eat your fowls
to-morrow;" but Anuwa the next night sat by the fowl house with a
sickle and when the jackal came and poked in his head, Anuwa gave him a
rap on the snout with the sickle, so the jackal made off crying "Well,
Anuwa, your fowls have pecked me on the head, you shall die." So the
next day Anuwa pretended to be dead and his mother went about crying;
she took her way to the jungle and there she met the jackal and she
told him that Anuwa had died in consequence of his curse and she
invited him to the funeral feast, saying that he used to eat the
rice which she had cooked and he had become like a son to her. The
jackal gladly promised to attend, and he collected a number of his
friends and at evening they went to Anuwa's house and sat down in
the courtyard. Then the old woman came out and began to bewail her
son: but the jackal said "Stop crying, grannie, you cannot get back
the dead: let us get on to the feast." So she said that she would
fry some cakes first, as it would take some time before the rice was
ready. The jackals approved of this but they asked her to tie them up
with a rope first lest they should get to fighting over the food, so
the old woman brought a thick rope and tied them all up and tightest
of all she tied up the jackal which had cursed Anuwa; then she went
inside and put an iron pan on the fire and from time to time she
sprinkled water on it and when the jackals heard the water hissing
they thought that it was the cakes frying and jumped about with
joy. Suddenly Anuwa came out with a thick stick and set to beating
the jackals till they bit through the ropes and ran away howling;
but the first jackal was tied so tightly that he could not escape,
and Anuwa beat him till he was senseless and lay without moving all
night. The next morning Anuwa took the jackal and tied him to a stake
near the place where the village women drew water and he put a thick
stick beside it and every woman who went for water would give the
jackal one blow with the stick. After a few days beating the body
of the jackal became all swollen and one night some other jackals
came there and asked him what he ate that he had got so fat and he
said that every one who came to draw water gave him a handful of rice
and that was why he was so fat; and if they did not believe him they
could take his place and try for themselves.

So one jackal agreed to try and untied the first jackal and let himself
be tied in his place, but in the morning five women came down and
each gave him a blow with the stick till he jumped about for pain,
and seeing him jumping other women came and beat him till he died.

Next: Ledha And The Leopard

Previous: Bajun And Jhore

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