Ramjit Bonga

Once upon a time a man went out to snare quail: he set his snares

by the side of a mountain stream and then sat down under a bush to

watch them. As he waited he saw a young woman come along with her

water pot under her arm to draw water from the stream. When she got

to the ghat she put down her pot and made her way up the stream

towards where the snares had been set; she did not notice the hunter

but went to the stump of an ebony tree near him and looking round

and seeing no one she suddenly became possessed and started dancing

round the ebony tree and singing some song which he could not clearly

catch; and as she danced she called out "The Pig's fat is overflowing:

brother-in-law Ramjit come here to me." When she called out like this

the quail catcher quietly crept nearer still to her. Although the

woman repeatedly summoned him in this way the Bonga would not come

out because he was aware of the presence of the onlooker; the woman

however got into a passion at his non-appearance and stripping off her

clothes she danced naked round the tree calling out "The Pig's fat

is overflowing: brother-in-law Ramjit come hither at once." At last

out of the nala appeared the bonga, dark, enormous and shaggy; and

approached the woman: Then the woman said "Brother-in-law Ramjit there

is something that you must do for me; my nephew is ill; he must die

on such and such a day; that day I must see the smoke of his funeral

pyre; but you must save me from the witch-finder; let the blame fall

not on me but on so and so; this is what I came to urge on you; that

you protect me from discovery and then we shall always be friends."

The Bonga at first knowing that they were being watched would not make

the promise but when the woman insisted he promised in a low voice

and then disappeared into the nala; and the witch went back to the

ghat, filled her water pot and went home. The quail catcher also went

trembling home and he remembered the day fixed for the death of the

nephew of the witch and he decided to wait and see what happened before

saying anything to the villagers. Sure enough on the day before that

fixed by the witch the invalid became unconscious and was obviously

at the point of death. When he heard this the quail catcher went to

the sick man's bedside and seeing his condition told his relatives to

collect all the villagers to beat the woman whom he had seen with the

Bonga and he told them all that had passed; the villagers believed

him and summoning all the women of the village they scolded them;

and then being excited by this they rose up and began to beat the

women; to each they gave one blow with a stick, but the woman whom

the quail catcher pointed out they beat till she fainted.

Then they ordered her to cure the sick man and threatened to burn her

along with him if he died, but she insisted that she was innocent. Then

they told her that they knew all that had passed between her and

the Bonga Ramjit, she persisted that it was all a mistake. So they

started to beat her again; they beat her from her heels to her neck

and then from her neck down to her heels till the blood flowed and

they swore that they would not let her go unless she cured the sick

man and that if he died they would cut her to pieces. At last the

torture made her confess that it was she who was eating the sick man;

and she promised to cure him; so they first made her tell the names

of all the other witches in the village and then tied her to a post

and kept her there, and did not untie her till in four or five days

the sick man recovered. When she was let loose the quail catcher ran

away from the village and would not live there any more.

But the villagers threatened the witch woman that if her nephew or any

of his family got ill again they would kill her; and they told her that

as her secret had been found out she was henceforth to be their ojha

and cure their diseases; and they would supply her with whatever she

wanted for the purpose; they asked what sacrifice her nephew must make

on his recovery; and she told them to get a red cock, a grasshopper:

a lizard; a cat and a black and white goat; so they brought her these

and she sacrificed them and the villagers had a feast of rice and

rice beer and went to their homes and the matter ended.

Ramai And The Bonga Raven And His Mother-in-law facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail