Folklore of the Santal Parganas | Annotated Tale

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

Backwards and Forwards Dance, The

THERE was once a Santal who owed money to a money-lender: the lender went to dun him every day but as he had nothing to pay with he used to hide in the jungle and as he had no warm clothes he used to light a fire to warm himself by; and when the fire was low he would sit near it and when it blazed up he would move back from it. When the money-lender asked the man's wife where he was, she always replied "He is dancing the 'Backwards and Forwards' dance." The money-lender got curious about this; and said that he would like to learn the dance. So one evening the Santal met him and offered to teach him the dance but, he said he must be paid and what would the money-lender give? The money-lender said that he would give any thing that was asked; so the Santal called two witnesses and before them the money-lender promised that if the Santal taught him the dance he would let him off his debt.

               The next morning the Santal took the money-lender to the jungle and told him to take off his clothes as they would dance with only loin cloths on; then he lit a heap of straw and they sat by it warming themselves; and he purposely made only a small fire at first. Then the money-lender asked when they were going to begin to dance but the Santal said "Let us warm ourselves first, I am very cold," so saying he piled on more straw and as the fire blazed up they moved away from it; and when it sank they drew nearer again. While this was going on the two witnesses came up and the money-lender began to object that he was not being taught to dance; but the Santal said, "What more do you want; don't you keep moving backwards and forwards in front of the fire? This is the 'Backwards and Forwards' dance." Seeing how he had been tricked the money-lender was much upset and he appealed to the witnesses, but they decided against him; and he went home crying and lost his money.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Backwards and Forwards Dance, 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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