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The Schoolboy And The Bonga

Category: Part IV

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

There was once a boy who went every day to school and on his way
home he used always to bathe in a certain tank. Every day he left his
books and slate on the bank while he bathed and no one ever touched
them. But one day while he was in the water a bonga maiden came
out of the tank and took his books and slate with her under the
water. When the boy had finished bathing he searched for them a
long time in vain and then went home crying. When the midday meal
was served he refused to eat anything unless his books were found:
his father and mother promised to find them for him and so he ate a
very little. When the meal was finished his father and mother went
to the bonga maiden and besought her--singing

"Give daughter-in-law, give
Give our boy his pen, give up his pen."

The bonga maiden sang in answer

"Let the owner of the pen
Come himself and fetch it."

Then the boy's eldest brother and his wife went and sang

"Give, sister-in-law, give,
Give our brother his pen: give up his pen."

The bonga maiden sing in answer

"Let the owner of the pen
Come himself and fetch it"

Then the boy's maternal uncle and his wife went and sang the same
song and received the same answer. So they told the boy that he must
go himself.

When he reached the tank the bonga girl came up and held out his
books to him; but when he went to take them she drew back and so she
enticed him into the tank; but when once he was under the water he
found he was in quite a dry and sandy place. There he stayed and was
married to the bonga girl. After he had lived with her a long time
he became homesick and longed to see his father and mother. So he
told his bonga wife that he must go and visit them. "Then do not
take your school books with you," said she; "perhaps you won't come
back." "No, I will surely return," he answered; so she agreed to his
going and said that she would sit on the door step and watch for his
return; and he must promise to be very quick. She tied up some cakes
and dried rice for him and also gave him back his school books.

She watched him go to his home and sat and watched for his return but
he never came back. Evening came and night came but he did not return:
then the bonga girl rose and went after him. She went through the
garden and up to her husband's house in a flame of fire: and there
she changed herself into a Karinangin snake and entering the house
climbed on to the bed where the boy lay sleeping and climbed on to
his breast and bit him.

"Rise mother, rise mother,
The Karinangin snake
Is biting me."

he called--

But no one heard him though he kept on calling: so he died and the
bonga girl went away with his spirit.

Next: The Bonga's Cave

Previous: The Sarsagun Maiden

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