Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/100

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74 Collectanea.

be put in charge. It was a lonely District with, as my Assistant Mr. Bolster called it, " three white men in a wilderness of sand." He was at the subdivision of Bhakkar, 55 miles off, and the Police Ofificer lived with me in Mianwali.

Naturally, in a place like this, one gets to notice many things that pass unobserved in a crowded Cantonment full of gaieties or distractions. Among those who became the subject of study in Mianwali were my chuprassis (doorkeepers), and it happened that all three were characters in their way. The youngest one had been a hawksman before he became an orderly, and was therefore told off to look after guns and help in all forms of sport. He could never be got to approve of shooting on Fridays, and was much upset if a hare crossed our path early in the morning; and he would not, unless forced, count the bag until all prospect of further sport was ended, as to do so was likely to stop the bag at the amount counted. But these ideas have near parallels in most places. The other chuprassis were better worth folklore study. When I was a bachelor, the principal thing that I noted was that the older man conceived from the first a great reverence for my powers "^s a magician. The annual rainfall in Mianwali is only 10^ inches, and in Bhakkar 7, and there were several prolonged droughts during my incumbency, but this had no effect on his belief in me. Rain seemed to fall, either when I was in Mianwali, which was obviously due to my presence there, or it fell in places to which I had gone, and nothing but my arrival had brought it to such spots. So far did my reputation as a rainmaker carry me, that, after I experienced one or two heavy soakings on the little hill to which I resorted for a portion of the hot weather, — and rain that falls in an arid area is rain, and not the drizzle that goes under that title in this country, — I dis- covered that Tahla Ram would induce me to get out a good distance from home without either waterproof or umbrella when there appeared a chance of a storm rolling up, I challenged him about this, and he pointed out that on certain occasions I, the Head of the District, had got wet, and the whole District had been well wetted with me, and that it was incumbent on me to try and obtain the same effect whenever possible. On another occasion we arrived on the Hill on a Monday about the 20th of