Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/467

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the Western Border of India. 431

it was for him to draw the profits. "On the contrary," came the answer, "you took possession of the widow, and looking after the daughter was part of the pleasure of looking after the mother. Pay up, please." The elder brother refused, and, as a Pathan is most tenacious of anything he considers his right, the younger man, to get a bit of his own back, suborned all the witnesses, hired a bridegroom, and produced a parish priest. Witnesses, as you will have gathered, are not expensive.

Thus it will be seen that people adhere with great tenacity to their supposed rights. Laban would have been furious had he been obliged to part with his daughters without receiving their equivalent in labour or cash. Moses, too, laid down a penalty of fifty shekels for an unauthorized elopement. Our law in India rightly refuses to acknowledge these transactions, and many are the subterfuges employed to get what men think should be their due. On the Border, however, where we have not full right of interference, and mainly confine ourselves to keeping deaths from violence at as low a figure as possible, there is more adjustment in accordance with tribal ideas, and with the aid of the tribal leaders, — the elders that sit in the gate, of whom we read in the case of Boaz and Ruth. But it must not be considered that, because a guardian requires compensation for the loss of a young lady in his charge, he does not retain his own ideas as to who is, and who is not, suitable for marriage with his ward. If he is lax on this subject, his relatives, and the chiefs and elders of the tribe, will soon let him know of his shortcomings. Some of the hottest disputes I have heard of have been over matters of this kind. Where strength and valour are of consideration as factors in the position of a tribe as a whole, intermarriage with menials is strongly deprecated, and a tribesman is expected to form an alliance which will lead to a good continuation of the breed. To take a concrete case, — a wandering group of Sweepers, men of the lowest type, pitched their tents of rags