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The Cure For Laziness

Category: Part I.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

There was once a man who lived happily with his wife, but she was very
lazy; when work in the fields was at its height she would pretend
to be ill. In June and July, she would begin to moan as if in pain,
and when every one else had gone off to work she would eat any rice
that they had left over; or if there were none, would cook some for
herself; Her father-in-law decided to call in some ojhas to examine
her and if they could not cure her, then to send her back to her
father: so he called in two ojhas and told them to do their best,
as he did not want the woman's relations to complain that she had
not been properly treated.

So the first ojha felt her pulse and smiled and said nothing, and
the second ojha felt her pulse and smiled and said nothing, and
when the father-in-law asked them if they knew what was the matter,
they answered that the illness was very serious and medicines must be
applied; the father-in-law said "Yes; but you must get the medicines
or tell me exactly what is wanted and I will arrange for it;" this
conversation took place before the woman; the ojhas said "Very well,
we will do what you want but before applying the medicine we shall
have to do some incantations;" the father-in-law answered "Do whatever
is necessary to make a good job of it. Don't spare anything; try and
get everything ready by to-morrow: for we are in great difficulty; I
do not like to leave the patient alone in the house and yet I cannot
spare anyone to look after her;" the ojhas promised and got up
and went out with the father-in-law, and in the village street they
told him that laziness was all that was the matter with the woman,
but that they knew a medicine which would cure her; so they went
to the jungle and dug up two very big tubers of the tirra plant,
as big as pumpkins, and in the evening they went to the man's house
and told him that they had found the medicine, and that the whole
household was to come to the cross roads at the end of the village
very early the next morning with the patient and they would exorcise
the disease and apply remedies.

At cockcrow the next morning the two ojhas brought the two tubers
and put them down at the end of the village street, and then went to
the house where the sick woman lived and awoke the inmates, and they
borrowed a pot of water and some vermilion and an old winnowing fan
and then they all went to the place where the tubers had been left,
and the ojhas made the patient sit on the winnowing fan facing the
east and painted her with vermilion; then they waved pig's dung round
her head and tied the two tubers round her neck and told her to walk
up and down the village street three times; and that would remove
the spell that was on her. So the woman began to walk up the village
street and every one laughed at her and the children ran after her
and smacked her and jumped and shouted for joy and the ojhas called
out to her "You must not take off the tubers until you are cured."

The woman walked up and down twice, but then she was so ashamed at
being laughed at that she threw away the tubers and ran off home;
then they all laughed the more; and followed her to the house, and
the ojhas asked whether she was cured that she had taken off the
remedies they had applied; she only smiled in answer and they told
her to take care because if she ever got ill again they would apply
the same remedy; but from that day the woman completely recovered
and did her fair share of all the work.

Next: The Brahman's Powers

Previous: The Three Fools

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