Legends and customary beliefs of the Santals

Taken from

Title: Folklore of the Santal Parganas by Cecil Henry Bompas-1909


CXLVIII. Marriage with Bongas.

There have been many cases of Santals marrying Bonga girls. Not of course with formal marriage ceremonies but the marriage which results from merely living together.

In Darbar village near Silingi there are two men who married bonga. One of them was very fond of playing on the flute and his playing attracted a bonga girl who came to him looking like a human girl, while he was tending buffaloes. After the intimacy had lasted some time she invited him to visit her parents, so he went with her and she presented him to her father and mother as her husband. But he was very frightened at what he saw; for the seats in the house were great coiled up snakes and on one side a number of tigers and leopards were crouching. Directly he could get a word alone with his wife he begged her to come away but she insisted on his staying to dinner; so they had a meal of dried rice and curds and gur and afterwards he smoked a pipe with his bonga father-in-law and then he set off home with his bonga wife. They were given a quantity of dried rice and cakes to take with them when they left.

After seeing him home his wife left him; so he thought that he would share the provisions which he had brought with a friend of his; he fetched his friend but when they came to open the bundle in which the rice and cakes had been tied, they found nothing but meral leaves and cow dung cakes such as are used for fuel. This friend saw that the food must have been given by bongas and it was through the friend that the story became known.

In spite of this the young man never gave up his bonga wife until his family married him properly. She used to visit his house secretly, but would never eat food there; and during his connection with her all his affairs prospered, his flocks and herds increased and he became rich, but after he married he saw the bonga girl no more.

The adventures of the other young man of the same village were much the same. He made the acquaintance of a bonga girl thinking that she was some girl of the village, but she really inhabited a spring, on the margin of which grew many ahar flowers. One day she asked him to pick her some of the ahar flowers and while he was doing so she cast some sort of spell upon him and spirited him away into the pool. Under the water he found dry land and many habitations; they went on till they came to the bonga girl’s house and there he too saw the snake seats and tigers and leopards.

He was hospitably entertained and stayed there about six months; one of his wife’s brothers was assigned to him as his particular companion and they used to go out hunting together. They used tigers for hunting-dogs and their prey was men and women, whom the tigers killed, while the bonga took their flesh home and cooked it. One day when they were hunting the bonga pointed out to the young man a wood cutter in the jungle and told him to set the tiger on to “yonder peacock”; but he could not bring himself to commit murder; so he first shouted to attract the wood cutter’s attention and then let the tiger loose; the wood cutter saw the animal coming and killed it with his axe as it sprang upon him.

His bonga father-in-law was so angry with him for having caused the death of the tiger, that he made his daughter take her husband back to the upper world again.

In spite of all he had seen the young man did not give up his bonga wife and every two or three months she used to spirit him away under the water: and now that man is a jān guru.


CXLIX. The Bonga Headman.

Sarjomghutu is a village about four miles from Barhait Bazar on the banks of the Badi river. On the river bank grows a large banyan tree. This village has no headman or paranic; any headman who is appointed invariably dies; so they have made a bonga who lives in the banyan tree their headman.

When any matter has to be decided, the villagers all meet at the banyan tree, where they have made their manjhi than; they take out a stool to the tree and invite the invisible headman to sit on it. Then they discuss the matter and themselves speak the answers which the headman is supposed to give. This goes on to the present day and there is no doubt that these same villagers sometimes offer human sacrifices, but they will never admit it, for it would bring them bad luck to speak about it.

The villagers get on very well with the bonga. If any of them has a wedding or a number of visitors at his house, and has not enough plates and dishes, he goes to the banyan tree and asks the headman to lend him some. Then he goes back to his house, and returning in a little while finds the plates and dishes waiting for him under the tree, and when he has finished with them he cleans them well and takes them back to the tree.


CL. Lakhan and the Bongas.

Once a young man named Lakhan was on a hunting party and he pursued a deer by himself and it led him a long chase until he was far from his companions, and when he was close behind it they came to a pool all overgrown with weeds and the deer jumped into the pool and Lakhan after it; and under the weeds he found himself on a dry high road and he followed the deer along this until it entered a house and he also entered. The people of the house asked him to sit down but the stool which was offered him was a coiled up snake, so he would not go near it; and he saw that they were bongas and was too frightened to speak. And in the cattle pen attached to the house he saw a great herd of deer.

Then a boy came running in and asked the mistress of the house who Lakhan was; she said that he had brought their kid home for them. Lakhan wanted to run away but he could not remember the road by which he had come. Two daughters of the house were there and they wanted their father to keep Lakhan as a son-in-law; but their father told them to catch him a kid and let him go; so they brought him a fawn and the two girls led him back and took him through the pool to the upper world: but on the way they put some enchantment on him, for two or three weeks later he went mad and in his madness he ran about from one place to another and one day he ran into the pool and was seen no more, and no one knows where he went or whether the two bonga maidens took him away.


CLI. The House Bonga.

Once upon a time there was a house bonga who lived in the house of the headman of a certain village; and it was a shocking thief; it used to steal every kind of grain and food, cooked and uncooked; out of the houses of the villagers. The villagers knew what was going on but could never catch it.

One evening however the bonga was coming along with a pot of boiled rice which it had stolen, when one of the villagers suddenly came upon it face to face; the bonga slunk into the hedge but the villager saw it clearly and flung his stick at it, whereupon the bonga got frightened and dropped the pot of rice on the ground so that it was smashed to pieces and fled. The villager pursued the bonga till he saw it enter the headman’s house. Then he went home, intending the next morning to show the neighbours the spilt rice lying on the path; but when the morning came he found that the rice had been removed, so he kept quiet.

At midday he heard the headman’s servants complaining that the rice which had been given them for breakfast was so dirty and muddy that some of them had not been able to eat it at all; then he asked how they were usually fed “Capitally,” they answered “we get most varied meals, often with turmeric and pulse or vegetables added to the rice; but that is only for the morning meal; for supper we get only plain rice.” “Now, I can tell you the reason of that” said the villager, “there is a greedy bonga in your house who goes stealing food at night and puts some of what he gets into your pots for your morning meal.” “That’s a fine story” said the servants: “No, it’s true” said the villager, and told them how the evening before he had made the bonga drop the rice and how afterwards it had been scraped up off the ground; and when they heard this they believed him because they had found the mud in their food.

Some time afterwards the same man saw the bonga again at night making off with some heads of Indian corn; so he woke up a friend and they both took sticks and headed off the bonga, who threw down the Indian corn and ran away to the headman’s house. Then they woke up the headman and told him that a thief had run into his house. So he lit a lamp and went in to look, and they could hear the bonga running about all over the house making a great clatter and trying to hide itself; but they could not see it. Then they took the headman to see the Indian corn which the bonga had dropped in its flight. The next day the villagers met and fined the headman for having the bonga in his house; and from that time the bonga did not steal in that village, and whenever the two men who had chased it visited the headman’s house the bonga was heard making a great clatter as it rushed about trying to hide.


CLII. The Sarsagun Maiden.

There was once a Sarsagun girl who was going to be married; and a large party of her girl friends went to the jungle to pick leaves for the wedding. The Sarsagun girl persisted in going with them as usual though they begged her not to do so. As they picked the leaves they sang songs and choruses; so they worked and sang till they came to a tree covered with beautiful flowers; they all longed to adorn their hair with the flowers but the difficulty was that they had no comb or looking glass; at last one girl said that a bonga Kora lived close by who could supply them; thereupon there was a great dispute as to who should go to the bonga Kora and ask for a mirror and comb; each wanted the other to go; and in the end they made the Sarsagun girl go. She went to the bonga Kora and called “Bonga Kora give a me mirror and comb that we may adorn our hair with Mirjin flowers.” The Bonga Kora pointed them out to her lying on a shelf and she took them away.

Then they had a gay time adorning their hair; but when they had finished not one of the girls would consent to take back the mirror and comb. The Sarsagun maiden urged that as she had brought them it was only fair that someone else should take them back; but they would not listen, so in the end she had to take them. The Bonga Kora pointed to a shelf for her to place them on but when she went to do so and was well inside his house he closed the door and shut her in. Her companions waited for her return till they were tired and then went home and told her mother what had happened. Then her father and brother went in search of her and coming to the Bonga Kora’s home they sang:

“Daughter, you combed yourself with a one row comb

Daughter, you put mirjin flowers in your hair

Daughter, come hither to us.”

But she only answered from within—

“He has shut me in with a stone, father

He has closed the door upon me, father

Do you and my mother go home again.”

Then her eldest brother came and sang the same song and received the same answer; her mothers’s brother and father’s sister then came and sang, also in vain; so they all went home.

Just then the intended bridegroom with his party arrived at the village and were welcomed with refreshments and invited to camp under a tree; but while the bridegroom’s party were taking their ease, the bride’s relations were in a great to-do because the bride was missing; and when the matchmaker came and asked them to get the marriage ceremony over at once that the bridegroom might return, they had to take him into the house and tell him what had happened. The matchmaker went and told the bridegroom, who at once called his men to him and mounted his horse and rode off in a rage. Now it happened that the drummers attached to the procession had stopped just in front of the home of the Bonga Kora and were drumming away there; so when the bridegroom rode up to them his horse passed over the door of the Bonga Kora’s home and stamped on it so hard that it flew open; standing just inside was the Sarsagun girl; at once the bridegroom pulled her out, placed her on his horse and rode off with her to his home.


CLIII. The Schoolboy and the Bonga.

There was once a boy who went every day to school and on his way home he used always to bathe in a certain tank. Every day he left his books and slate on the bank while he bathed and no one ever touched them. But one day while he was in the water a bonga maiden came out of the tank and took his books and slate with her under the water. When the boy had finished bathing he searched for them a long time in vain and then went home crying. When the midday meal was served he refused to eat anything unless his books were found: his father and mother promised to find them for him and so he ate a very little. When the meal was finished his father and mother went to the bonga maiden and besought her—singing

“Give daughter-in-law, give

Give our boy his pen, give up his pen.”

The bonga maiden sang in answer

“Let the owner of the pen

Come himself and fetch it.”

Then the boy’s eldest brother and his wife went and sang

“Give, sister-in-law, give,

Give our brother his pen: give up his pen.”

The bonga maiden sing in answer

“Let the owner of the pen

Come himself and fetch it”

Then the boy’s maternal uncle and his wife went and sang the same song and received the same answer. So they told the boy that he must go himself.

When he reached the tank the bonga girl came up and held out his books to him; but when he went to take them she drew back and so she enticed him into the tank; but when once he was under the water he found he was in quite a dry and sandy place. There he stayed and was married to the bonga girl. After he had lived with her a long time he became homesick and longed to see his father and mother. So he told his bonga wife that he must go and visit them. “Then do not take your school books with you,” said she; “perhaps you won’t come back.” “No, I will surely return,” he answered; so she agreed to his going and said that she would sit on the door step and watch for his return; and he must promise to be very quick. She tied up some cakes and dried rice for him and also gave him back his school books.

She watched him go to his home and sat and watched for his return but he never came back. Evening came and night came but he did not return: then the bonga girl rose and went after him. She went through the garden and up to her husband’s house in a flame of fire: and there she changed herself into a Karinangin snake and entering the house climbed on to the bed where the boy lay sleeping and climbed on to his breast and bit him.

“Rise mother, rise mother,

The Karinangin snake

Is biting me.”

he called—

But no one heard him though he kept on calling: so he died and the bonga girl went away with his spirit.


CLIV. The Bonga’s Cave.

There was once a young bonga who dwelt in a cave in the side of a hill in the jungle; and every day he placed on a flat stone outside, a pot of oil and a comb and a looking glass and some lamp black or vermilion; any woman who went to the jungle could see these things lying there; but they were never visible to a man. After a time the girls who went to the jungle began to use the comb and looking glass and to dress and oil their hair there; it became a regular custom for them to go first to the flat stone before collecting their firewood or leaves.

One day five girls went together to the jungle and after they had combed and dressed their hair it happened that one got left behind; and seeing her alone the bonga came out of the cave and creeping up quietly from behind threw his arms round her; and although she shouted to her friends for help he dragged her inside the cave. Her companions were just in time to see her disappear; and they begged and prayed the bonga to let the girl go for once; but the bonga answered from within that he would never let her go but was going to keep her as his wife; and he drew a stone door over the mouth of the cave. News of the misfortune was sent to the girl’s parents and they came hastening to the place; and her mother began to sing:

“My daughter, you rubbed your hair with oil from a pot:

My daughter, you combed your hair with a comb with one row of teeth;

Come hither to me, my daughter.”

And the girl sang from within the cave:

“Mother, he has shut me in with a stone

With a stone door he has shut me in, mother

Mother, you must go back home.”

Then her father sang the same song and got the same answer; so they all went home. Then the girl’s father’s younger brother and his wife came and sang the song and received the same answer and then her mother’s brother and father’s sister came and then all her relations, but all in vain. Last of all came her brother riding on a horse and when he heard his sister’s answer he turned his horse round and made it prance and kick until it kicked open the stone door of the cave; but this was of no avail for inside were inner doors which he could not open; so he also had to go home and leave his sister with the bonga.

The girl was not unhappy as the wife of the bonga and after a time she proposed to him they should go and pay a visit to her parents. So the next day they took some cakes and dried rice and set off; they were welcomed right warmly and pressed to stay the night. In the course of the afternoon the girl’s mother chanced to look at the provisions which they had brought with them; and was surprised to see that in place of cakes was dried cowdung and instead of rice, leaves of the meral tree. The mother called her daughter in to look but the girl could give no explanation; all she knew was that she had put up cakes and dried rice at starting. Her father told them all to keep quiet about the matter lest there should be any unpleasantness and the bonga decline to come and visit them again.

Now the girl’s brother had become great friends with his bonga brother-in-law and it was only natural that when the bonga and his wife set off home the next morning he should offer to accompany them part of the way. Off they started, the girl in front, then the bonga and then her brother; now the brother had hidden an axe under his cloth and as they were passing through some jungle he suddenly attacked the bonga from behind and cut off his head. Then he called to his sister that he had killed the bonga and bade her come back with him; so the two turned back and as they looked round this saw that the bonga’s head was coming rolling after them. At this they started to run and ran as hard as they could until they got to the house and all the way the head came rolling after until it rolled right into the house. There was a fire burning on the hearth and they plucked up courage to take the head and throw it into the fire where it was burnt to ashes. That was the end of the bonga but eight or nine days later the girl’s head began to ache and in spite of all medicines they applied it got worse and worse until in a short time she died. Then they knew that the bonga had taken her away and had not given her up.

CLV. The Bonga’s Victim.

Once upon a time there were seven brothers and they had one sister. Every day they used to go out hunting leaving their wives and sister at home. One very hot day they had been hunting since dawn and began to feel very thirsty; so they searched for water but could find none. Then one of them climbed a tree and from its summit saw a beautiful pool of water close by: so he came down and they all went in the direction in which he had seen the water; but they could not find it anywhere; so another of the brothers climbed a tree and he called out that he could see the pool close by, but when he came down and led them in what he thought was the right direction he was equally unable to find the water; and so it went on; whenever they climbed a tree they could see the water close by, but when on the ground they could not find it; and all the time they were suffering tortures from thirst.

Then they saw that some bonga was deluding them and that they must offer some sacrifice to appease him.

At first they proposed to devote one of their wives to the bonga; but not one of the brothers was willing that his wife should be the victim; and they had no children to offer so at last they decided to dedicate their only sister as the sacrifice. Then they prayed “Ye who are keeping the water from us, listen; we dedicate to you our only sister; show us where the water is.” No sooner had they said this than they saw a pool of water close beside them and hastened to it and quenched their thirst. Then they rested and began to discuss how they should sacrifice their sister; and at last they decided that as they had devoted her to the bonga because they wanted water, it would be best to cast her into the water; and they planned to go and work one day near a pond of theirs and make their sister bring their breakfast out to them and then drown her.

So they went home and two or three days later the eldest brother said that the time had come for the sacrifice; but the two youngest loved their sister very much and begged for a little delay. Out of pity the others agreed; but almost at once one of the brothers fell ill and was like to die. Medicines were tried but had no effect; then they called in an ojha and he told them that the bonga to whom they had made the vow while out hunting had caused the illness and that if they did not fulfil the vow their brother would die. Then they all went to the sick man’s bedside and poured out water on the ground and swore that they would fulfil their vow; no sooner had they done so than the sick man was restored to health.

So the very next day they arranged to go and level the field near their pond and they told their wives to send their sister to them with their breakfast. When the time came the girl took out their breakfast and put it down by them and they sent her to draw water for them from the pond but when she put her water pot down to the surface it would not sink so as to let the water run in. The girl called out to her brothers that the pot would not fill; they told her to go a little further into the water; so she went in till the water was up to her thighs but still the pot would not fill: then they called to her to go in further and she went in waist deep but still it would not fill; then she went in up to her neck and still it would not fill; then she went in a little further and the water closed over her and she was drowned. At this sight the brothers threw away the food which she had brought and hastened home.

Some days later the body rose and floated to the bank and at the place where it lay a bamboo sprang up and grew and flourished. One day a Dome went to cut it down to make a flute of; as he raised his axe the voice of the girl spoke from within the bamboo “O Dome, do not cut high up; cut low down.” The Dome looked about but could not see who it was who spoke; however he obeyed the voice and cut the bamboo close to the ground and made a flute of it. The sound of the flute was surpassingly sweet and the Dome used to play on it every day. One day he was playing on it at a friend’s house and a Santal heard it and was so taken by its sweet tone that he came at night and stole it.

Having got possession of it he used to play on it constantly and always keep it by him. Every night the flute became a woman and the Santal found her in his house without knowing where she came from and used to spend the night talking to her but towards morning she used to go outside the house on some pretext and disappear. But one night as she was about to depart the Santal seized her and forced her to stay with him. Then she retained her human form but the flute was never seen afterwards; so they called the girl the Flute girl and she and the Santal were betrothed and soon afterwards married.

CLVI. Baijal and the Bonga.

Once upon a time there was a young man named Baijal and he was very skilful at playing on the bamboo flute. He played so sweetly that a Bonga girl who heard him fell deeply in love with him and one day when Baijal was alone in the jungle she took the form of a pretty girl and pretended that she had come to the jungle to gather leaves. The two met and acquaintance soon became love and the two used to meet each other every day in the jungle. One day the bonga girl asked Baijal to come home with her; so they went to a pool of water and waded into it but when the water had risen to the calf of his leg Baijal suddenly found himself on a broad dry road which led to his mistress’s house. When they reached it the bonga girl introduced Baijal to her father and brothers as her husband and told him not to be afraid of anything he saw; but he could not help feeling frightened, for the stools on which they sat were coiled-up snakes and the house dogs were tigers and leopards.

After he had been there three of four day his brothers-in-law one morning asked him to come out hunting peafowl. He readily agreed and they all set out together. The Bongas asked Baijal to lead the dog but as the dog was a tiger he begged to be excused until they reached the jungle. So they hunted through the hills and valleys until they came to a clearing in which there was a man chopping up a tree. Then the bongas called to Baijal “There is a peacock feeding; take the dog; throw a stick and knock the bird over and then loose the dog at it.” Baijal pretended not to understand and said that he could see no peacock; then they told him plainly that the man chopping the log was their game. Then he saw that he was meant to kill the man and not only so, but that he would have to eat the flesh afterwards. However he was afraid to refuse, so he took the tiger in the leash and went towards the clearing but instead of first throwing his stick at the man he merely let the tiger loose and cheered it on. The woodcutter heard the shout and looking round saw the tiger; grasping his axe he ran to meet it and as the animal sprang on him he smote it on the head and killed it. Then Baijal went back and told his brothers-in-law that the peacock had pecked their hound to death. They were very angry with him for not throwing his stick first but he explained that he thought that such a big dog as theirs would not need any help.

Two or three days later Baijal told his bonga wife to come home with him, so they set off with a bundle of provisions for the journey. When they had passed out through the pool Baijal opened the bundle to have something to eat but found that the bread had turned into cowdung fuel cakes; and the parched rice into meral leaves; so he threw them all away. However he would not give up the bonga girl and they used to meet daily and in the course of time two children were born to them. Whenever there was a dance in the village the bonga girl used to come to it. She would leave the two children on Baijal’s bed and spend the whole night dancing with the other women of the village.

The time came when Baijal’s parents arranged for his marriage, for they knew nothing of his bonga wife; and before the marriage the bonga made him promise that if he had a daughter he would name the child after her. Even when he was married he did not give up his bonga wife and used to meet her as before. One night she came with her children to a dance and after dancing some time said that she was tired and would go away; Baijal urged her not to go but to come with her children and live in his house along with his other wife. She would not agree and he tried to force her and shut the door of the house; but she and her children rose to the roof in a flash of light and disappeared over the top of the house wall and passed away from the village in a flame of fire. At this Baijal was so frightened that from that time he gave her up and never went near her again.

By and bye his wife bore him a daughter but they did not name the child after the bonga and the consequence was that it soon pined away and died. Two or three more were born but they also all died young because he had not named them after the bonga. At last he did give a daughter the right name and from that time his children lived.

CLVII. Ramai and the Bonga.

Once a Bonga haunted the house of a certain man and became such a nuisance that the man had him exorcised and safely pegged down to the ground; and they fenced in the place where the bonga lay with thorns and put a large stone on the top of him. Just at the place was a clump of “Kite’s claws” bushes and one day when the berries on the bushes were ripe, a certain cowherd named Ramai went to pick them and when he came round to the stone which covered the bonga he stood on it to pick the fruit and the bonga called out to him to get off the stone; Ramai looked about and seeing no one said “Who is that speaking?” and the voice said “I am buried under the stone; if you will take it off me I will give you whatever boon you ask”; Ramai said that he was afraid that the bonga would eat him but the bonga swore to do him no harm, so he lifted up the stone and the bonga came out and thanking Ramai told him to ask a boon.

Ramai asked for the power to see bongas and to understand the language of ants. “I will give you the power,” said the bonga, “but you must tell no one about it, not even your wife; if you do you will lose the power and in that case you must not blame me,” Then the bonga blew into his ear and he heard the speech of ants, and the bonga scratched the film of his eyeballs with a thorn and he saw the bongas: and there were crowds of them living in villages like men. In December when we thresh the rice the bongas carry off half of it; but Ramai could see them and would drive them away and so was able to save his rice.

Once a young fellow of his own age was very ill; and his friends blew into his ears and partially brought him to his senses and he asked them to send for Ramai; so they called Ramai and he had just been milking his cows and came with the tethering rope in his hand; and when he entered the room he saw a bonga sitting on the sick man’s chest and twisting his neck; so he flogged it with the rope till it ran away and he pursued it until it threw itself into a pool of water; and then the sick man recovered.

But Ramai soon lost his useful power; one day as he was eating his dinner he dropped some grains of rice and two ants fell to quarrelling over one grain and Ramai heard them abusing each other and was so amused that he laughed out loud.

His wife asked why he laughed and he said at nothing in particular, but she insisted on knowing and he said that it was at some scandal he had heard in the village; but she would not believe him and worried him until he told her that it was at the quarrel of the ants. Then she made him tell her how he gained the power to understand what they said: but from that moment he lost the powers which the bonga had conferred on him.

CLVIII. The Boundary Bonga.

There was once a man who owned a rich swampy rice field. Every year he used to sacrifice a pig to the boundary bonga before harvest; but nevertheless the bonga always reaped part of the crop. One year when the rice was ripening the man used to go and look at it every day. One evening after dusk as he was sitting quietly at the edge of the field he overheard the bonga and his wife talking. The bonga said that he was going to pay a visit to some friends but his wife begged him not to go because the rice was ripe and the farmer would be cutting it almost at once. However, the bonga would not listen to her advice and set off on his journey.

The farmer saw that there was no time to be lost and the very next day he sacrificed the usual pig and reaped the whole of the crop. That evening when work was over he stayed and listened to hear whether the bonga had come back, but all was quiet. The next day he threshed the paddy and instead of twenty bushels as usual he found that he had got sixty bushels of rice, That evening he again went to the field and this time he found that the bonga had returned and was having a fine scolding from his wife, because he had let the farmer reap the whole crop. “Take your silly pig and your silly plate of flour from the sacrifice,” screamed the bonga’s wife, throwing them at her spouse, “that is all you have got; this is all because you would go away when I told you not to do it; how could I reap the crop with the children to look after? If you had stayed we might have got five bandis of rice from that field.”

CLIX. The Bonga Exorcised.

A very poor man was once ploughing his field and as he ploughed the share caught fast in something. At first he thought that it was a root and tried to divide it with his axe; but as he could not cut it he looked closer and found that it was a copper chain. He followed the chain along and at either end he found a brass pot full of rupees. Delighted with his luck he wrapped the pots in his cloth and hurried home. Then he and his wife counted the money and buried it under the floor of their house.

From that time the man began to prosper; his crops were always good; and his cattle increased and multiplied; he had many children and they grew up strong and healthy and were married and had children of their own.

But after many years luck changed. The family was constantly ill and every year a child died. The jan guru who was consulted declared that a Kisar bonga was responsible for their misfortunes. He told the sons how their father had found the money in the ground and said that the bonga to whom the money belonged was responsible for their misfortunes and was named Mainomati.

He told them how to get rid of the bonga. They were to dig up the buried money and place it in bags; and load it on the back of a young heifer; and take five brass nails and four copper nails, and two rams. If the bonga was willing to leave the house the heifer would walk away to another village directly the bags were placed on its back; but if the bonga would not go the heifer would not move.

So they did as the Janguru advised and when the bags were placed on the heifer it walked away to a large peepul tree growing on the banks of a stream in another village and there it stopped. Then they sacrificed the rams and uttering vows over the nails drove them into the peepul tree and went home, turning the heifer loose. From that time their troubles ceased.

But that evening a man driving his cattle home saw a young woman nailed to the peepul tree; and not knowing that she was a bonga he released her and took her home and married her.


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