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The Origin Of Tobacco






Category: Part V.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

This is the way that the chewing tobacco began. There was once a
Brahmin girl whose relations did not give her in marriage and she
died unmarried. After the body had been burned and the people had
gone home, Chandu thought "Alas, I sent this woman into the world
and she found favour with no one; well, I will confer a gift on her
which will make men ask for her every day," So he sowed tobacco at
the burning place and it grew up and flourished. And there was a boy
of the cowherd caste who used to graze his cattle about that place;
he saw his goats greedily eating the tobacco leaf and he wondered
what the leaf was and tasted a bit but finding it bitter he spat it
out. Some time after however he had tooth-ache and having tried many
remedies in vain he bethought himself of the bitter tobacco and he
chewed some of that and kept it in his mouth and found that it cured
the tooth-ache; from that time he formed the habit of chewing it. One
day he saw some burnt bones or lime and he picked up the powder and
rubbed it between his fingers to see what it was and after doing so he
ate some tobacco and found that the taste was improved, so from that
time he always chewed lime with the tobacco. He recommended the leaf
to other men who had tooth-ache and they formed the habit of chewing
it too and called it tobacco; and then men who had no tooth-ache took
to it; and acquired a craving for it. This is the way tobacco chewing
began, as our forefathers say.





Next: The Transmigration Of Souls

Previous: The Sikhar Raja



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