Page images
PDF
EPUB

Haribol! Haribol! " The two men now sprinkle water with mango leaves on all present and bid them eat ; and all fall to eating.

Thus is the normal state of things in the settlement restored, the spirit of the deceased is incorporated in the community of ancestor-spirits, the death-taboos on the survivors are removed ; and the people of the tanda resume their usual avocations,

Ho Folk-lore* (III)

B. Sukumar Haldar, B.A.

20.--THE STORY OF A FOX AND A BEAR.

a

Once upon a time a fox left her little cubs in a hole at night and went on the prowl. While she was away a bear came and dug up the hole in search of white-ants, and in doing so fatally mauled the little foxes with his long sharp nails. When the fox returned home and saw her little ones lying dead she said to herself :-"You have taken advantage, Bruin, of my absence and slaughtered the dear innocents. You will have to rue for this." One day she was busily engaged, on the bank of a river, in stitching up a bag (porom) of Roong leaves and the bear passed that way. Said the bear :-“ Well

Said the bear :-“ Well granny, what are you making this porom for ?" The fox replied :—“O my dear grand-child, haven't you heard that a great cataclysm is impending? There will be a terrible storm, rain will descend in torrents, trees will be up-rooted and huge boulders of rock will slip off the hill-sides and will be carried headlong into the deep sea. I am making this porom as a life-saving apparatus. I will shut myself up in it snugly when the storm comes.” On hearing this the bear said :-“ O my dear grandam, do make

. one for me also that I may be saved from the great deluge." " Certainly, my dear grand-child," said the fox, “ I will prepare one for you first of all. I am only a small creature and it will not take me long to make one for myself.” Then the fox made a large-sized porom and when it was ready the bear got into it and the fox stitched up the opening and secured the poro" with strong straps and fastening to it a piece of rock she threw it into the river. The bear thus met with a watery grave and the fox revenged herself for the destruction of her little ones.*

* Continued from Vol. II,|Part 111, p. 303 of this Journal.

a

21.--A STORY OF THE HERO (SOWING) FESTIVAL. In ancient times there was a family of four brothers. The brothers were all unmarried and they lived together in com mensality. At some distance from their house there lived a man who celebrated the Hero or sowing festival. During this festival it was customary for people to grind rice into a fine powder which they made into cakes, and some of which they made into a thin paste wherewith they bedaubed the walls of their houses with figures of men and horses. One day the eldest brother strolled down to the village and saw these mural decorations. He then carved a human figure out of a piece of wood and placed it secretly in the course of the night against a wall decorated with rice-paste drawings and returned home unobserved. He spoke to no one about it. Next day his younger brother went round the village and observed the wooden fetish, and at night-fall he crept secretly to the place and gave it a coating of mud-paste. The third brother in like manner saw the figure on the following day and he too approached it secretly at night and painted it in different colours and bedecked it with jewellery so that it looked like a beautiful The youngest brother went to

went to the place on the fourth day and saw the figure and was so pleased with it that he prayed to God to endow it with life. So earnestly did he pray that his prayer was heard and God breathed life into the figure which was forthwith transformed into a handsome damsel. He brought her home and kept her in his own separate room in the common domicile.

The young woman was seen by his brothers next morning and the third brother asked him if he had not found her in the house with the mural decorations where there was an effigy of a woman and whether the woman was not indeed that very effigy brought into life. The answers being in the

Cp. Story No. 14 in Voh II, Part III, p. 289 of this Journal and also Stories Nos. 22 and 23 poste

woman.

affirmative the third brother said :-"Well in that case she is mine by right for it was I who painted and adorned the wooden figure that I found there.” The second brother pressed his own claim on the ground that the credit of covering up a wooden figure . with clay belonged to him; while the eldest brother asserted his own right as the maker of the original carved figure. There thus arose a violent quarrel amongst the four brothers over this strange and fascinating woman. At last the matter was referred to a pancho (a meeting of the elders of the community), who pronounced in favour of the eldest brother, and the other brothers accepted the decision. From that day the Hos have observed the Hero festival which is in vogue even at the present day.

22.-A FOX'S KUSB.

Once upon a time a tiger while roving in the jungles was pinned down under a falling tree and was unable to extricate himself. While he was in this predicament a man happened to pass by and the tiger thus addressed him :-"Oh my friend, lend me a helping hand and get me out of this scrape. Never for a moment suppose that I will do you any harm." The nan said :-"It is impossible to accept your assurance. You are the natural eneiny of mankind. How can I trust you ?" The tiger swore on his word of honour to abstain from doing any harm to the man who, beguiled by the tiger's soft speeches, rescued him by forcing up the tree which held him fast as in a vice. The tiger stretched his limbs and thus addressed the man :“Now will I make a meal of you." The man observed that it was passing strange that the tiger should so soon go back on his plighted word.

Said the tiger :-"I am feeling the pangs of hunger. Necessity has no law and I cannot help devouring you.” The man prayed that the matter might at least be referred in the first instance to a third party. This was conceded by the tiger and both of them proceeded together to find some one to whom the matter could be referred. They came across a bullock and the man told him the whole story and awaited his decision. “ You men,” said the bullock, "are a horribly bad lot. Yon torturo

a

as by twisting our tail and drodding us mercilessly with the pain (a goad) in order to exact the utmost work from us while we are young and when we get old you turn us out of doors and refuse to give us any food. My decision is in favour of the tiger." The tiger said :-" The matter is now settled.

.“ Let me now eat you up.” The man said':-"Don't be impatient. Let us refer the matter to a more reasonable arbitrator." To this the tiger agreed and they went on to another place where they met a fox. The fox affected to be in a great hurry. He said :-"I cannot attend to your business now. I have just come home hot and tired after an arduous journey undertaken at the instance of the King who had commissioned me to deliver an important message abroad. Let me go in and have drink of water and then I will see what I can do for you." After making this speech the fox got into his hole. He came out again after a little time and heard the man's story and then said :-" The whole story is an obvious fabrication." The man asserted that his story was true to fact and he referred the fox to the tiger who only corroborated what he had stated. Said the fox :-"I am sure both of you are making a fool of

It is an impossible story. You must show me the tree connected with this miraculous occurrence." Then they all went to the place where the tree was lying. On seeing the tree the fox indulged in an incredulous guffaw and observed :-"Let me see you reconstruct the strange situation if you can.” There

man raised the tree by main force and the tiger allowed himself to be pressed down under its weight. Said the fox to the tiger :-“ Now let me see you shake yourself free." The tiger tried but could not move. The fox then said to the man :--"Fetch a good big stick and belabour him with it.

. Then the man secured a cudgel and put the poor tiger to death.*

23.-A Fox's ARTFUL DODGE. In a certain forest there lived a serpent, of enormous size, which preyed upon human beings and animals of all kinde. It

*Cf. Story No. 14 in Vol. II, Part III, p, 289 of this Journal and also stories No. 20 ante and 23 post.

me.

upon the

a

« PreviousContinue »