The Boy Who Learnt Magic

: Part I.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once upon a time there was a Raja who had seven wives and they were

all childless, and he was very unhappy at having no heir. One day a

Jogi came to the palace begging, and the Raja and his Ranis asked him

whether he could say what should be done in order that they might

have children; the Jogi asked what they would give him if he told

them and they said that they would give him anything that he asked

for and gave him
written bond to this effect. Then the Jogi said

"I will not take elephants or horses or money, but you shall give me

the child which is born first and any born afterwards shall be yours,

do you agree?" And the Ranis consulted together and agreed. "Then,"

said the Jogi, "this is what you must do: you must all go and bathe,

and after bathing you must go to a mango orchard and the Raja must

choose a bunch of seven mangoes and knock it down with his left

hand and catch it in a cloth, without letting it touch the ground;

then you must go home and the Ranis must sit in a row according to

their seniority and the Raja must give them each one of the mangoes

to eat, and he must himself eat the rinds which the Ranis throw away;

and then you will have children." And so saying the Jogi went away

promising to return the next year.

A few days later the Raja decided to give a trial to the Jogi's

prescription and he and the Ranis did as they had been told; but the

Raja did not eat the rind of the youngest Rani's mango; he did not love

her very much. However five or six months after it was seen that the

youngest Rani was with child and then she became the Raja's favourite;

but the other Ranis were jealous of her and reminded the Raja that he

would not be able to keep her child. But when her time was full she

gave birth to twin sons, and the Raja was delighted to think that he

would be able to keep the younger of the two and he loved it much.

When the year was up the Jogi came and saw the boys and he said that

he would return when they could walk; and when they could run about,

he came again, and asked whether the Raja would fulfil his promise.

The Raja said that he would not break his bond. Then the Jogi said

that he would take the two boys and when the Raja objected that he was

only entitled to one, he said that he claimed both as they were born

at the same time; but he promised that if he took both he would teach

them magic and then let one come back; and he promised also that all

the Ranis should have children. So the Raja agreed and sent away the

boys with the Jogi and with them he sent goats and sheep and donkeys

and horses and camels and elephants and furniture of all sorts.

The Jogi was called Sitari Jogi and he was a Raja in his own

country. But before they reached his country all the animals died,

first the goats, then the sheep and the donkeys and the horses and the

camels and the elephants. And when the goats died the boys lamented:

"The goats have died, father,

How far, father,

Is it to the country of the Sitari Jogi?"

and so they sang when the other animals died.

At last they reached the Jogi's palace and every day he taught them

incantations and spells. He bought them each a water pot and sent

them every morning to fill it with dew, but before they collected

enough, the sun came out and dried up the dew; one day they got a

cupful, another day half a cupful, but they never were able to fill

the pots. In the course of time they learnt all the spells the Jogi

knew and one day when they went out to gather dew, the younger boy

secretly took with him a rag and he soaked this in the dew and then

squeezed it into the pot and so he soon filled it; and the elder

boy seeing his brother's pot full, filled his pot at a pool of water

and they took them to the Jogi; but the Jogi was not deceived by the

elder boy and told him that he would never learn magic thoroughly;

but the younger boy having learned all that the Jogi knew, learnt more

still from his friends, for all the people of that country knew magic.

Then one day the Jogi took the two boys back to their home and he told

the Raja that he would leave the elder boy at home. The Raja wanted

to keep the younger one, but the Jogi insisted and the younger boy

whispered to his mother not to mind as he would soon come back by

himself; so they let him go.

The Jogi and the boy used to practise magic: the Jogi would take the

form of a young man and the boy would turn into a bullock and the

Jogi would go to a village and sell the bullock for a good price;

but he would not give up the tethering rope and then he would go away

and do something with the tethering rope and the boy would resume his

shape again and run off to the Jogi and when the purchasers looked

for their bullock they found nothing, and when they went to look for

the seller the Jogi would change his shape again so that he could

not be recognised; and in this way they deceived many people and

amassed wealth.

Then the Jogi taught the boy the spell he used with the rope, and

when he had learnt this, he asked to be taught the spell by which he

could change his own shape without having a second person to work the

spell with the rope. The Jogi said that he would teach him that later

but he must wait. Then the boy reproached the Jogi and said that he

did not love him; and he went away to his friends in the town and

learnt the spell he wanted from them, so that he was able to change

his shape at will.

Two or three days after the boy again went to the Jogi and said

"Teach me the spell about which I spoke to you the other day," and

the Jogi refused. "Then," said the boy, "I shall go back to my father,

for I see that you do not love me."

At this the Jogi grew wrathful and said that if the away he would

kill him, so the boy at this ran away in terror, and the Jogi became

a leopard and pursued him: then the boy turned himself into a pigeon

and the Jogi became a hawk and pursued him; so the boy turned himself

into a fly and the Jogi became a paddy bird and pursued him; the fly

alighted on the plate of a Rani who was eating rice, and the Jogi took

on his natural shape and told the Rani to scatter the rice which she

was eating on the ground and she did so; but the boy turned himself

into a bead of coral on the necklace which the Rani was wearing; and

the Jogi did not notice this but became a pigeon and ate up the rice

which the Rani had thrown down. When he did not find the boy among the

rice he turned himself into a Jogi again and saw him in the necklace;

then he told the Rani to break her necklace and scatter the beads on

the ground and she did so; then the Jogi again became a pigeon and

began to pick up the beads, but the boy turned himself into a cat

and hid under the verandah and when the pigeon came near, he pounced

on it and killed it, and ran outside with it. Then he became a boy

again and twisted off the bird's head and wrapped it in his cloth and

went off home; and looking behind he saw the Jogi's head come rolling

after him, so when he came to a blacksmith's fire by the side of the

road he threw the pigeon's head into it, and then the Jogi's head

also ran into the fire and was consumed.

And the boy went home to his parents.