Bajun And Jhore

: Part I.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once upon a time there were two brothers named Bajun and Jhore. Bajun

was married and one day his wife fell ill of fever. So, as he was

going ploughing, Bajun told Jhore to stay at home and cook the dinner

and he bade him put into the pot three measures of rice. Jhore stayed

at home and filled the pot with water and put it on to boil; then he

went to look for rice measures; there was only one in the house and

Jhore tho
ght "My brother told me to put in three measures and if I

only put in one I shall get into trouble." So he went to a neighbour's

house and borrowed two more measures, and put them into the pot and

left them to boil. At noon Bajun came back from ploughing and found

Jhore stirring the pot and asked him whether the rice was ready. Jhore

made no answer, so Bajun took the spoon from him, saying "Let me feel

how it is getting on", but when he stirred with the spoon he heard a

rattling noise and when he looked into the pot he found no rice but

only three wooden measures floating about; then he turned and abused

Jhore for his folly, but Jhore said "You yourself told me to put in

three measures and I have done so." So Bajun had to set to work and

cook the rice himself and got his dinner very late.

Next day Bajun said to Jhore, "You don't know how to cook the dinner;

I will stay at home to-day, you go to plough, and take a hatchet

with you and if the plough catches in a root or anything, give a

cut with the hatchet." So Jhore went ploughing and when the plough

caught in anything and stopped, he gave a cut with his hatchet at

the legs of the bullocks; they backed and plunged with the pain and

then he only chopped at them the more until he lamed them both. At

noon Bajun saw the bullocks come limping back and asked what was

the matter with them. "O," said Jhore, "that is because I cut at

them as you told me." "You idiot," said Bajun, "I meant you to give

a cut at the roots in which the plough got caught, not at the legs

of the bullocks; how will you live if you do such silly things? You

cannot plough, you must stay at home and cook the rice. I will show

you this evening how it is done." So after that Jhore stayed at home

and cooked. Bajun's wife grew no better, so one day Bajun, before he

went to the fields, told Jhore to warm some water in order that his

wife might wash with it. But Jhore made the water boiling hot and

then took it and began to pour it over his sister-in-law as she lay

on her bed; she was scalded and shrieked out "Don't pour it over me,"

but Jhore only laughed and went on pouring until he had scalded her

to death. Then he wrapped her up in a cloth and brought her dinner to

her and offered it her to eat, but she was dead and made no answer to

him, so he left it by her and went and ate his own rice. When Bajun

came back and found his wife scalded to death he was very angry and

went to get an axe to kill Jhore with; thereupon Jhore ran away into

the jungle and Bajun pursued him with the axe.

In the jungle Jhore found a dead sheep and he took out its stomach and

called out "Where are you, brother, I have found some meat." But Bajun

answered, "I will not leave you till I have killed you." So Jhore ran

on and climbed up inside a hollow tree, where Bajun could not follow,

Bajun got a long stick and poked at him with it and as he poked, Jhore

let fall the sheep's stomach, and when Bajun saw it he concluded that

he had killed his brother. So he went home and burned the body of

his wife and a few days later he performed the funeral ceremonies to

the memory of his wife and brother; he smeared the floor of the house

with cowdung and sacrificed goats and fowls. Now Jhore had come back

that day and climbed up on to the rafters of the house, and he sat

there watching all that his brother did. Bajun cooked a great basket

of rice and stewed the flesh of the animals he had sacrified and

offered it to the spirits of the dead and he recited the dedication

"My wife I offer this rice, this food, for your purification," and

so saying he scattered some rice on the ground; and he also offered

to Jhore, saying, "Jhore, my brother, I offer this rice, this food,

for your purification," and then Jhore called out from the roof "Well,

as you offer it to me I will take it." Bajun had not bargained to get

any answer, so he was astounded and went to ask the villagers whether

their spirits made answer when sacrificed to: and the villagers told

him that they had never heard of such a thing. While Bajun was away

on this errand, Jhore took up the unguarded basket of rice and ran

away with it; after going some way he sat down by the road and ate

as much as he wanted, then he sat and called out "Is there anyone on

the road or in the jungle who wants a feast?" A gang of thieves who

were on a thieving expedition heard him and went to see what he meant;

he offered to let them eat the rice if they would admit him to their

company; they agreed and he went on with them to steal; they broke

into a rich man's house and the thieves began to collect the pots

and pans but Jhore felt about in the dark and got hold of a drum and

began to beat on it. This woke up the people of the house and they

drove away the thieves. Then the thieves abused Jhore and said that

they could not let him stay with them: "Very well", said he, "then

give me back the rice you ate." Of course they could not do this. So

they had to let him stay with them. Then they went to the house of a

rich Hindu who had a stable full of horses and they planned to steal

the horses and ride away with them; so each thief picked out a horse,

but Jhore got hold of a tiger which had come to the back of the stable

to kill one of the horses; and when the thieves mounted their horses,

Jhore mounted on the tiger, and the tiger ran off with him towards the

jungle. Jhore kept on calling out "Keep to the road, you Hindu horse,

keep to the road, you Hindu horse." But it dragged him through the

briars and bushes till he was dead and that was the end of Jhore.