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Of Dains And Ojhas

Category: Part VI.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once upon a time Marang Buru decided that he would teach men
witchcraft. In those days there was a place at which men used to
assemble to meet Marang Buru and hold council with him: but they only
heard his voice and never saw his face. One day at the assembly when
they had begun to tell Marang Buru of their troubles he fixed a day
and told them to come to him on it, dressed all in their cleanest
clothes and he would teach them witchcraft.

So the men all went home and told their wives to wash their clothes
well against the fixed day, as they were going to Thakur to learn
witchcraft. The women of course all began to discuss this new plan
among themselves and the more they talked of it the less they liked it;
it seemed to them that if the men were to get this new strange power
it would make them more inclined to despise and bully women than ever;
so they made a plot to get the better of their husbands. They arranged
that each woman should brew some rice beer and offer it to her husband
as he was starting to meet Marang Buru and beg him to drink some lest
his return should be delayed. They foresaw that the men would not be
able to resist the drink; and that having started they would go on till
they were dead drunk: it would then be easy for the women to dress
themselves like men and go off to Marang Buru and learn witchcraft
in place of their husbands. So said, so done;--the women duly made
their husbands drunk and then put on pagris and dhoties and stuck
goats' beards on their faces and went off to Marang Buru to learn
witchcraft. Marang Buru did not detect the imposition and according
to his promise taught them all the incantations of witchcraft.

After the women had come home with their new knowledge their
husbands gradually recovered their senses and bethought them of their
appointment with Marang Buru. So they hurried off to the meeting place
and asked him to teach them what he had promised. "Why, I taught it
all to you this morning," answered Marang Buru, "what do you mean by
coming to me again?" The men could not understand what he meant and
protested that they had not been to him at all in the morning. "Then
you must have told your wives what I was going to do!" This they could
not deny: "I see," said Marang Buru "then they must have played a trick
on you and learnt the mantras in your place," At this the men began
to lament and begged that they might be taught also: but Marang Buru
said that this was impossible; he could only teach them a very little;
their wives had reaped the crop and they could only have the gleanings;
so saying, he taught them the art of the ojha and in order that
they might have the advantage of their wives in one respect and be
able to overawe them he also taught them the craft of the jan and
with that they had to be content. This is why only women are witches.

Next: Initiation Into Witchcraft

Previous: Witchcraft

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