Folklore of the Santal Parganas | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in October 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Story on Caste, A

THERE was once a village inhabited only by Musahars. Among them was one girl who was so beautiful that she seemed more than human. Her father and mother were so proud of her looks that they determined not to marry her to a man of their own caste. They were constantly discussing whom they should choose as a son-in-law; one day they began to consider who were the greatest persons in the world. The old woman was of opinion that there was no one greater than Chando, the Sun God, and suggested that they should marry the girl to him. Her husband agreed and off they set and presented themselves before Chando. Chando asked why they had come. "O Chando, we understand that you are the greatest being in the world and we have come to marry our daughter to you," Chando answered "I fancy there is some one greater than I," "Who is he?" asked the parents. "The cloud is greater than I, for it can hide my face and quench my rays."

               At this the father and mother hurried off with their daughter in search of the Cloud, and when they found him, told him that they had brought their daughter to give him to wife, as he was the greatest being in the world. "I may be great," said the Cloud, "but there is a greater than I, the Wind. The Wind rises and blows me away in a minute." So they went in search of the Wind and when they found him, explained to him why they had brought him their daughter. The Wind said "I am strong but there are stronger than I: the Mountains are stronger. I can blow things down or whirl them away, but I cannot move the mountains."

               So on they went to the Mountain and explained their errand. The Mountain said "I am great but there are more powerful than I. The ground-rat is more powerful, for however high I may be the ground-rats burrow holes in me and I cannot resist them."

               The poor parents by this time began to feel rather discouraged, but still they made up their minds to persevere and went on to look for the ground-rat. They found him and offered him their daughter in marriage, but the ground-rat denied that he was the most powerful being on earth, the Musahars were more powerful for they lived by digging out ground-rats and eating them.

               The hapless couple went home very dejectedly, reflecting that they had begun by despising their own caste and had gone in search of something greater and had ended where they begun. So they arranged to marry their daughter to a man of their own caste after all.

               Moral You should not despise your own caste or race; you cannot help what caste you are born into. A Santal may learn to read and write and associate with men of good position and thereby his mind may be perverted. He may wish to change his caste become a Sadhu, or a Kherwar, or a Boistab, or a Mussulman, or a Christian or anything else; but people will still know him for a beef-eating Santal. If he becomes a Christian, no one will think him the equal of a Saheb or a Brahman; no Saheb will marry his daughter or give him his daughter in marriage. Remember what happened to the Musahar, who despised his own caste. God caused you to be born in a certain caste. He and not we made the different castes and He knows what is good and bad for us.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Story on Caste, A
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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