The Herd Boy And The Witches





Once upon a time a cowherd lost a calf and while looking for it he

was benighted in the jungle; for he was afraid to go home lest he

should be scolded for losing the calf. He had with him his bow and

arrows and flute and a stick but still he was afraid to stay the

night in the jungle; so he made up his mind to go to the jahirthan

as More Turuiko would protect him there; so he went to the jahir

than and climbed a tree in which a spirit abode; he took his bow

and arrows up with him but he was too frightened to go to sleep.



About supper time he saw a number of women who were witches collect

from all sides at the jahir than: at this sight he was more

frightened than ever; the witches then called up the bongas and

they also summoned two tigers; then they danced the lagre dance and

they combed the hair of the two tigers. Then they also called More

Turniko and when they came, one bonga said "I smell a man" and More

Turniko scolded him saying "Faith, you smelt nothing until we came;

and directly we come you say you smell a man; it must be us you smell";

and the chief of the bongas agreed that it must be all right. Then

while the women were dancing the boy took his bow and shot the two

tigers, and the tigers enraged by their wounds fell on the witches

and killed them all; and then they died themselves; and as they were

dying they roared terribly so that the people in the villages near

heard them. When it grew light the boy climbed down and drawing the

arrows from the bodies of the tigers went home.



Then the people asked him where he had spent the night and he said

that he was benighted while looking for his calf and as he heard tigers

roaring near the jahir than he was frightened and had stayed in the

jungle. They told him that when the tigers began to roar the calf

had come running home by itself and this was good news to the herd

boy. Then he found that all the children in the village were crying for

their mothers and the men were asking what had become of their wives;

then the herdboy said that in the night he had seen some women going in

the direction of the jahir than but he had not seen them come back

and they had better go and look there. So the villagers went off and

found their wives lying dead by the jahir than and the two tigers

also dead; and they knew that the women must have been witches to go

there at night; so they wept over them and burned the bodies. And a

long time afterwards the boy told them all that he had seen and done;

and they admitted that he had done right in destroying the witches

and that it would be well if all witches met the same fate.



This story whether true or not is told to this day.





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