Category: Part VI.
Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas
The higher castes do not believe in witchcraft. If a man is ill they
give him medicines and if he dies in spite of the medicine they do
nothing further. But all the lower castes believe in witchcraft and
know that it is a reality. The Santal women learnt the craft first
from Marang Burn by playing a trick on him when he meant to teach
their husbands. And now they take quite little girls out by night
and teach them so that the craft may not die out.
We know of many cases to prove that witchcraft is a reality. Pirthi
who lives in Pankha's house was once ill: and it was an aunt of his who
was "eating" him. One night as he lay ill the witch came and bent over
him to take out his liver: but he woke up just in time and saw her and
catching her by the hair he shouted for the people in the house. They
and the villagers came and took the woman into custody. When the
Pargana questioned her she confessed everything and was punished.
Another time a boy lay ill and senseless. A cowherd who was driving
cattle home at evening ran to the back of the house where the sick boy
lay, after a cow which strayed there. There he found a woman in a state
of possession (rum) he told the villagers what he had seen and they
caught the woman and gave her a severe beating: whereupon the sick
boy recovered. But about two months afterwards the cowherd suddenly
fell down dead: and when they consulted a jan as to the reason he
said that it was the witch who had been beaten who had done it.
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