Of Dains And Ojhas





Once upon a time Marang Buru decided that he would teach men

witchcraft. In those days there was a place at which men used to

assemble to meet Marang Buru and hold council with him: but they only

heard his voice and never saw his face. One day at the assembly when

they had begun to tell Marang Buru of their troubles he fixed a day

and told them to come to him on it, dressed all in their cleanest

clothes and he would teach them witchcraft.



So the men all went home and told their wives to wash their clothes

well against the fixed day, as they were going to Thakur to learn

witchcraft. The women of course all began to discuss this new plan

among themselves and the more they talked of it the less they liked it;

it seemed to them that if the men were to get this new strange power

it would make them more inclined to despise and bully women than ever;

so they made a plot to get the better of their husbands. They arranged

that each woman should brew some rice beer and offer it to her husband

as he was starting to meet Marang Buru and beg him to drink some lest

his return should be delayed. They foresaw that the men would not be

able to resist the drink; and that having started they would go on till

they were dead drunk: it would then be easy for the women to dress

themselves like men and go off to Marang Buru and learn witchcraft

in place of their husbands. So said, so done;--the women duly made

their husbands drunk and then put on pagris and dhoties and stuck

goats' beards on their faces and went off to Marang Buru to learn

witchcraft. Marang Buru did not detect the imposition and according

to his promise taught them all the incantations of witchcraft.



After the women had come home with their new knowledge their

husbands gradually recovered their senses and bethought them of their

appointment with Marang Buru. So they hurried off to the meeting place

and asked him to teach them what he had promised. "Why, I taught it

all to you this morning," answered Marang Buru, "what do you mean by

coming to me again?" The men could not understand what he meant and

protested that they had not been to him at all in the morning. "Then

you must have told your wives what I was going to do!" This they could

not deny: "I see," said Marang Buru "then they must have played a trick

on you and learnt the mantras in your place," At this the men began

to lament and begged that they might be taught also: but Marang Buru

said that this was impossible; he could only teach them a very little;

their wives had reaped the crop and they could only have the gleanings;

so saying, he taught them the art of the ojha and in order that

they might have the advantage of their wives in one respect and be

able to overawe them he also taught them the craft of the jan and

with that they had to be content. This is why only women are witches.





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