Folklore of the Santal Parganas | Annotated Tale

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Boy Who Learnt Magic, The

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 a 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.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Boy Who Learnt Magic, The
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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