The enemies of poise are many and of different origins, both of feeling and of impulse. They all tend, however, toward the same result, the cessation of effort under pretexts more or less specious. It is of no use deceiving ourselves.... Read more of THE ENEMIES OF POISE at Difficult.caInformational Site Network Informational
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The Magic Fiddle






Source: Santal Folk Tales

Once upon a time there lived seven brothers and a sister. The
brothers were married, but their wives did not do the cooking for
the family. It was done by their sister. The wives for this reason
bore their sister-in-law much ill will, and at length they combined
together to oust her from the office of cook and general provider,
so that one of themselves might obtain it. They said, "She does not
go out to the fields to work, but remains quietly at home, and yet
she has not the meals ready at the proper time." They then called
upon their Bad Bonga, [8] and vowing vows unto him they secured his
good will and assistance; then they said to the Bad Bonga, "At mid-day
when our sister-in-law goes to bring water, cause it thus to happen,
that on seeing her pitcher the water shall vanish, and again slowly
re-appear. In this way she will be delayed. May the water not flow into
her pitcher, and you keep the maiden as your own." At noon when she
went to bring water, it suddenly dried up before her, and she began
to weep. Then after a while the water began slowly to rise. When it
reached her ankles she tried to fill her pitcher, but it would not
go under the water. Being frightened she began to wail as follows;--


"Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my ankles,
Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my ankles,
Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not dip,
Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not dip."


The water continued to rise until it reached her knee, when she began
to wail as follows;--


"Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my knee,
Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my knee,
Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not dip,
Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not dip."


The water continued to rise, and when it reached her waist, she wailed
as follows;--


"Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my waist,
"Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my waist,
"Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not dip,
"Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not dip."


The water in the tank continued to rise, and when it reached her
breast, she wailed as follows;--


"Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my breast,
"Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my breast,
"Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not fill,
"Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not fill."


The water still rose, and when it reached her neck she wailed as
follows;--


"Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my neck,
"Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my neck,
"Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not dip,
"Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not dip."


At length the water became so deep that she felt herself to be
drowning, then she wailed as follows;--


"Oh! my brother, the water measures a man's height,
"Oh! my brother, the water measures a man's height,
"Oh! my brother, the pitcher begins to fill,
"Oh! my brother, the pitcher begins to fill."


The pitcher filled with water, and along with it she sank and was
drowned. The bonga then transformed her into a bonga like himself,
and carried her off.

After a time she re-appeared as a bamboo growing on the embankment
of the tank in which she had been drowned. When the bamboo had grown
to an immense size, a Jugi, who was in the habit of passing that way,
seeing it, said to himself, this will make a splendid fiddle. So one
day he brought an axe to cut it down; but when he was about to begin,
the bamboo exclaimed, "Do not cut at the root, cut higher up." When
he lifted his axe to cut high up the stem, the bamboo cried out,
"Do not cut near the top, cut at the root." When the Jugi again
prepared himself to cut at the root as requested, the bamboo said,
"Do not cut at the root, cut higher up;" and when he was about to
cut higher up, it again called out to him, "Do not cut high up,
cut at the root." The Jugi by this time was aware that a bonga was
trying to frighten him, so becoming angry he cut down the bamboo at
the root, and taking it away made a fiddle out of it. The instrument
had a superior tone and delighted all who heard it. The Jugi carried
it with him when he went a-begging, and through the influence of its
sweet music he returned home every evening with a full wallet.

He now and again visited, when on his rounds, the house of the
bonga girl's brothers, and the strains of the fiddle affected them
greatly. Some of them were moved even to tears, for the fiddle
seemed to wail as one in bitter anguish. The elder brother wished
to purchase it, and offered to support the Jugi for a whole year,
if he would consent to part with his magical instrument. The Jugi,
however, knew its value, and refused to sell it.

It so happened that the Jugi sometime after went to the house of a
village chief, and after playing a tune or two on his fiddle asked
something to eat. They offered to buy his fiddle and promised a
high price for it, but he rejected all such overtures, his fiddle
being to him his means of livelihood. When they saw that he was not
to be prevailed upon, they gave him food and a plentiful supply of
liquor. Of the latter he partook so freely that he presently became
intoxicated. While he was in this condition, they took away his fiddle,
and substituted their own old one for it. When the Jugi recovered,
he missed his instrument, and suspecting that it had been stolen
requested them to return it to him. They denied having taken it,
so he had to depart, leaving his fiddle behind him. The chief's son
being a musician, used to play on the Jugi's fiddle, and in his hands
the music it gave forth delighted the ears of all within hearing.

When all the household were absent at their labours in the fields,
the bonga girl emerged from the bamboo fiddle, and prepared the family
meal. Having partaken of her own share, she placed that of the chiefs
son under his bed, and covering it up to keep off the dust, re-entered
the fiddle. This happening every day the other members of the household
were under the impression that some female neighbour of theirs was in
this manner showing her interest in the young man, so they did not
trouble themselves to find out how it came about. The young chief,
however, was determined to watch, and see which of his lady friends was
so attentive to his comfort. He said in his own mind, "I will catch
her to-day, and give her a sound beating. She is causing me to be
ashamed before the others." So saying, he hid himself in a corner in
a pile of firewood. In a short time the girl came out of the bamboo
fiddle, and began to dress her hair. Having completed her toilet,
she cooked the meal of rice as usual, and having partaken herself,
she placed the young man's portion under his bed, as she was wont,
and was about to enter the fiddle again, when he running out from
his hiding place caught her in his arms. The bonga girl exclaimed,
"Fie! Fie! you may be a Dom, or you may be a Hadi." [9] He said,
"No. But from to-day, you and I are one." So they began lovingly
to hold converse with each other. When the others returned home in
the evening, they saw that she was both a human being and a bonga,
and they rejoiced exceedingly.

Through course of time the bonga girl's family became very poor,
and her brothers on one occasion came to the chief's house on a visit.

The bonga girl recognised them at once, but they did not know who
she was. She brought them water on their arrival, and afterwards set
cooked rice before them. Then sitting down near them, she began in
wailing tones to upbraid them on account of the treatment she had
been subjected to by their wives. She related all that had befallen
her, and wound up by saying, "It is probable that you knew it all,
and yet you did not interfere to save me."

After a time she became reconciled to her sisters-in-law, and no
longer harboured enmity in her mind against them, for the injury they
had done her.





Next: Gumda The Hero

Previous: A Thief And A Tiger



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