Folk-Lore/Volume 4/Miscellanea (December)
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Number 4. (December)
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Folk-lore Items from North Indian Notes and Queries (vol. iii), April-June, 1893.
2. Mirzapur. Worship of Birnath.—Protector of cattle. Small platforms, on which are one, three, or five wooden posts with rude human head, on which oil or ghee is continually poured. Rice, milk, and cakes are also offered. Worship is always done in the morning.
5. Dog-Worship.—In W. India it is the custom to feed dogs as a sacred duty "each day in each month". Crows are also sometimes fed.
7. Legenid of the Origin of the Seven Sub-classes of Sweepers, as told by a Sweeper. (The hero becomes a Thug, and "every Brahman traveller he throttled, and hung his caste-thread on a holy fig-tree".)
43. Fire-making, part of the ceremonial of Brahmanism. Still done by rubbing sticks.
44. Jain Rosaries, their make and meaning. 56, 57. Rosaries of snake-bones and other objects, and their comparative value. 84. More about Rosaries.
85. Minor Gods worshipped by Hindus in Mirzapur.—Amongst many curious things is mentioned that sometimes rice and pulse are put on the head of the victim [like Homer's ούλοχύται]. One deity is simply a cloth twisted up roughly in form of a woman.
14. Gorakhpur. Magahiya Doms.—Their two chief deities. They offer milk to snakes. Their only sacred tree is the pipal, and no M. will pick its leaves. Special superstition about iron, which they will not use for certain purposes. Any M. who breaks open a house with iron is outcast, and some day or other his eyes are put out. Mode of taking a solemn oath (iron, water, pipal leaves, charcoal, a certain grass, and a wheel). Subdivided into seven clans, which intermarry. Each is headed by hereditary chief, succeeded on death by the eldest male kinsman. It is a crime to bring in a woman from an outside tribe. Adoption is practised. Polygamy; no polyandry; they bury the dead. (An interesting piece.)
46. A criminal tribe in Madras consecrate their "jemmy" to Perumal before setting out, and crave his aid.
47. Sacred Arms at Amritsar.
48. Marriage by Capture in the House of Taimur. 60. Same in Tibet (and a trace of matriarchate).
49. Khamars.—Worship of Muchak Rani, a small oblong stone, daubed with red lead. They marry it every three years (formerly it was once a year) with many ceremonies to a bridegroom who is supposed to reside in a cave, into which they drop it.
53. Two boys' games.
86-94. A variety of children's games, with the rhymes sung at them. Mention is made of the following curious fact: "On the 3rd of Sawan the women swing each other as a sort of religious ceremony." [Similar to the αίώρα in Greece.]
95. Aboriginal houses.
97. Details as to the Nat tribe.
99. If a woman loses her sons, she gets the nose of a newborn son bored, to pretend he is a girl. The nose-ring is worn till marriage, when it is removed by the bride's mother.
8. Kumaun Sorcery.—Mode of "medicine" for disease, as practised on the writer's cousin. A formula is given. The usual noise is made. A light is lit, and must be kept burning during the whole period of treatment. A net is brought, and cut bit by bit by the family and bystanders (symbolical).
Cow's urine used for purification by a Brahman.
9. South Mirzapur; Aborigines; Death-Ceremonies.—Trace of the deceased shows itself in the footmark of a rat or weasel. Offerings of food to deceased spirit. Worship of the soul of the deceased, done (with offerings) in the family cooking-house (so elsewhere). The Bhuiyars put up the ridge-pole of the house always on a Friday. After it is put up, if a bird sits on it, or a crackling noise is heard in the wood, it is very unlucky. If this happens, they take down the ridge-pole, and will not use it again. [Cp. Hesiod, Op. 742 μηδε δόμον ποίών ανεπίξεστον καταλειπειν μή τοι εφεζογένη κρώζη λακερυζα κορώνη: .]
— Kharwars. No one sits on the threshold of the house, or touches it (so others). At marriages, they tie on house-doors and wedding-shed a string of mango leaves, which, after the wedding', is thrown into a running stream. In epidemic of cholera and small-pox they hang before the door an old shoe or old broom.
11. Almonds used as money.
Folk-Tales. . The Merchant, the Pri7tcess, and the Grateful Animals. — Hero saves animals' lives, who reward him. Magic ring, with four attendant demons. Sympathetic plant (life index), which withers if the hero falls in misfortune. Four tasks for a suitor. Wife's shoe falls in the water, and a king finding it falls in love with its owner. The wife is tricked into yielding her husband's magic ring. This is recovered and the pair come together again by aid of the grateful beasts. . How the Jackal got the Weaver married.
7. Hoiv the Manjhi won his Wife. 8. The Brahinan attd Mother Ganges.
. The Tiger, the Brahmaft, and the Covetous Goldsmith. . The Rival Queens. (" Cruel step-mother replaced by cruel co-wife.
71. N.-W.P. — Barren woman prays for a child as she stands naked facing the sun.
75. Those who die at Ramnagar (near Benares), or in the Nagadha country, become asses.
76-83. Proverbs and saws.
111, 112, 114, 115. Various charms and spells, some consisting of arrangement of magic numbers.
W. H. D. Rouse.
Smelling in Token of Affection. — This custom still prevails amongst the Sinhalese, and takes the place of "kissing" amongst ourselves. They emigrated from Bengal to Ceylon about two thousand years ago, and, doubtless, brought the custom with them. I have never observed it among the Tamils.
W. B. Hope.