The Origin Of Tobacco

: Part V.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

This is the way that the chewing tobacco began. There was once a

Brahmin girl whose relations did not give her in marriage and she

died unmarried. After the body had been burned and the people had

gone home, Chandu thought "Alas, I sent this woman into the world

and she found favour with no one; well, I will confer a gift on her

which will make men ask for her every day," So he sowed tobacco at

the burning place and it
grew up and flourished. And there was a boy

of the cowherd caste who used to graze his cattle about that place;

he saw his goats greedily eating the tobacco leaf and he wondered

what the leaf was and tasted a bit but finding it bitter he spat it

out. Some time after however he had tooth-ache and having tried many

remedies in vain he bethought himself of the bitter tobacco and he

chewed some of that and kept it in his mouth and found that it cured

the tooth-ache; from that time he formed the habit of chewing it. One

day he saw some burnt bones or lime and he picked up the powder and

rubbed it between his fingers to see what it was and after doing so he

ate some tobacco and found that the taste was improved, so from that

time he always chewed lime with the tobacco. He recommended the leaf

to other men who had tooth-ache and they formed the habit of chewing

it too and called it tobacco; and then men who had no tooth-ache took

to it; and acquired a craving for it. This is the way tobacco chewing

began, as our forefathers say.