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The Dog Bride

Category: Part I.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once upon a time there was a youth who used to herd buffaloes; and as
he watched his animals graze he noticed that exactly at noon every
day a she-dog used to make its way to a ravine, in which there were
some pools of water. This made him curious and he wondered to whom
it belonged and what it did in the ravine; so he decided to watch,
and one day when the dog came he hid himself and saw that when it
got to the water, it shed its dog skin and out stepped a beautiful
maiden, and began to bathe; and when she had finished bathing she put
on the skin and became a dog again, and went off to the village; the
herdboy followed her and watched into what house she entered, and he
enquired to whom the house belonged. Having found out all about it,
he went back to his work.

That year the herdboy's father and mother decided that it was time
for him to marry and began to look about for a wife for him; but he
announced that he had made up his mind to have a dog for his wife
and he-would never marry a human girl.

Everyone laughed at him for such an extraordinary idea, but he could
not be moved; so at last they concluded that he must really have
the soul of a dog in him, and that it was best to let him have his
own way. So his father and mother asked him whether there was any
particular dog he would like to have for his bride, and then he gave
the name of the man into whose house he had tracked the dog that
he had seen going to the ravine. The master of the dog laughed at
the idea that anyone should wish to marry her, and gladly accepted
a bride's price for her; so a day was fixed for the wedding and the
booth built for the ceremony and the bridegroom's party went to the
bride's house and the marriage took place in due form and the bride
was escorted to her husband's house.

Every night when her husband was asleep, the bride used to come out
of the dog's skin and go out of the house; and when her husband found
out this, he one night only pretended to go to sleep and lay watching
her, and when she was about to leave the room he jumped up and caught
hold of her and seizing the dog skin, threw it into the fire, where
it was burnt to ashes, so his bride remained a woman, but she was
of more than human beanty. This soon became known in the village and
everyone congratulated the herdboy on his wisdom in marrying a dog.

Now the herdboy had a friend named Jitu and when Jitu saw what a
prize his friend had got, he thought that he could not do better
than marry a dog himself. His relations made no objection and a
bride was selected and the marriage took place, but when they were
putting vermilion on the bride's forehead she began to growl; but
in spite of her growling they dragged her to the bridegroom's house,
and forcibly anointed her with oil and turmeric; but when the bride's
party set off home, the dog broke loose and ran after them; then
everyone shouted to Jitu to run after his bride and bring her back,
but she only growled and bit at him, so that he had at last to give
it up. Then everyone laughed at him so much that he was too ashamed
to speak, and two or three days later he hanged himself.

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Previous: The Sons Of The Kherohuri Raja

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