Folklore of the Santal Parganas | Annotated Tale

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Bajun and Jhore

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 thought "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 sacrificed 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.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Bajun and Jhore
Tale Author/Editor: Bompas, Cecil Henry
Book Title: Folklore of the Santal Parganas
Book Author/Editor: Bompas, Cecil Henry
Publisher: David Nutt
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1909
Country of Origin: India
Classification: unclassified

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