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uncle to pay his first visit to his bride in the marriage procession, he grew more and more impatient as he approached nearer and nearer, and she shared the feeling. At last, unable to restrain himself, he jumped from his uncle's shoulders, and looked with all his might towards the place where his bride was said to be seated. Unhappily she felt no less impatient than he did, and they saw each other at the same moment. In that moment the bride, bridegroom, and uncle were, all three, converted into pillars, and there they stand to this day, a monument to warn mankind against an inclination to indulge in curiosity. It is a singular fact that in one of the most extensive tribes of the Gond population, to which this couple is said to have belonged, the bride always, contrary to the usual Hindu custom, goes to the bridegroom in procession to prevent a recurrence of this calamity.” " This legend is interesting from various points of view. In the first place it is an example of a process of thought of which we shall find instances in dealing with fetishism, whereby a legend is localized in connection with some curious phenomenon in the scenery, which attracts general attention. Secondly, we have an instance of the primitive taboo which appears constantly in folk-lore, where, as in the case of Lot's wife, the person who shows indiscreet curiosity by a look is turned into stone or ashes.” Thirdly, it may represent a survival of a custom not uncommon among primitive races, where the marriage capturing is done, not by the bridegroom, but by the bride. Thus, among the Gáros, all proposals of marriage must come from the lady's side, and any infringement of the custom can only be atoned for by liberal presents of beer given to her relations by the friends of the bridegroom, who pretends to be unwilling and runs away, but is caught and subjected to ablution, and then taken, in spite of the resistance and counterfeited grief and lamentations of the
* “Rambles and Recollections,” i. 123.
* Stokes, “Indian Fairy Tales,” 140 sqq.; Temple, “Wideawake Stories,” Io9, 302; “Indian Antiquary,” iv. 57; Grimm, “Household Tales,” ii. 4oo.
parents, to the bride's house. It may then reasonably be expected that this custom of marriage prevailed among some branches of the Gond tribe, and that as they came more and more under Hindu influence, an unorthodox ritual prevailing in certain clans was explained by annexing the familiar legend of Dûlha Deo.
Dalton, “Descriptive Ethnology," 64 ; other instances in Westermarck, “History of Human Marriage, 158 sq.
THE GODLINGS OF DISEASE.
Και γαρ τoίσι κακόν χρυσόθρονος "Αρτεμις ώρσεν
Iliad ix. 533-535.
We now come to consider a class of rural godlings, the deities who control disease.
THE DEMONIACAL THEORY OF DISEASE. It is a commonplace of folk-lore and the beliefs of all savage races that disease and death are not the result of natural causes, but are the work of devils and demons, witchcraft, the Evil Eye, and so forth. It is not difficult to understand the basis on which beliefs of this class depend. There are certain varieties of disease, such as hysteria, dementia, epilepsy, convulsions, the delirium of fever, which in the rural mind indicate the actual working of an evil spirit which has attacked the patient. There are, again, others, such as cholera, which are so sudden and unexpected, so irregular in their appearances, so capricious in the victims which they select, that they naturally suggest the idea that they are caused by demons. Even to this day the belief in the origin of disease from spirit possession is still common in rural England. Fits, the falling sickness, ague, cramp, warts, are all believed to be caused by a spirit entering the body of the patient. Hence comes the idea that the spirit which is working the mischief can be scared by a charm or by the exorcism of a sorcerer. They say to the ague, " Ague! farewell till we meet in hell," and to the
cramp, “Cramp! be thou faultless, as Our Lady was when she bore Jesus."
It is needless to say that the same theory flourishes in rural India. Thus, in Rajputâna,' sickness is popularly attributed to Khor, or the agency of the offended spirits of deceased relations, and for treatment they call in a “cunning man,” who propitiates the Khor by offering sweetmeats, milk, and similar things, and gives burnt ash and black pepper sanctified by charms to the patient. The Mahadeo Kolis of Ahmadnagar believe that every malady or disease that seizes man, woman, child, or cattle is caused either by an evil spirit or by an angry god. The Bijapur Vaddars have a yearly feast to their ancestors to prevent the dead bringing sickness into the house."
Further east in North Bhutân all diseases are supposed to be due to possession, and the only treatment is by the use of exorcisms. Among the Gâros, when a man sickens the priest asks which god has done it. The Kukis and Khândhs believe that all sickness is caused by a god or by an offended ancestor.3
So among the jungle tribes of Mirzapur, the Korwas believe that all disease is caused by the displeasure of the Deohâr, or the collective village godlings. These deities sometimes become displeased for no apparent reason, sometimes because their accustomed worship is neglected, and sometimes through the malignity of some witch. The special diseases which are attributed to the displeasure of these godlings are fever, diarrhoea and cough. If small-pox comes of its own accord in the ordinary form, it is harmless, but a more dangerous variety is attributed to the anger of the local deities. Cholera and fever are regarded as generally the work of some special Bhût or angry ghost. The Kharwars believe that disease is due to the Baiga not having paid proper attention to Raja Chandol and the other tutelary godlings of the village. The Pankas think that
1 "Gazetteer,” i. 175.
disease comes in various ways—sometimes through ghosts or witches, sometimes because the godlings and deceased ancestors were not suitably propitiated. All these people believe that in the blazing days of the Indian summer the goddess Devi flies through the air and strikes any child which wears a red garment. The result is the symptoms which less imaginative people call sunstroke. Instances of similar beliefs drawn from the superstitions of the lower races all over the country might be almost indefinitely extended. Even in our own prayers for the sick we pray the Father “to renew whatsoever has been decayed by the fraud and malice of the Devil, or by the carnal will and frailness” of the patient.
Leprosy is a disease which is specially regarded as a punishment for sin, and a Hindu affected by this disease remains an outcast until he can afford to undertake a purificatory ceremony. Even lesser ailments are often attributed to the wrath of some offended god or saint. Thus, in Satára, the King Sateswar asked the saint Sumitra for water. The Sage was wrapped in contemplation, and did not answer him. So the angry monarch took some lice from the ground and threw them at the saint, who cursed the King with vermin all over his body. He endured the affliction for twelve years, until he was cured by ablution at the sacred fountain of Devrāshta." As we shall see, the Bengålis have a special deity who rules the itch.
From ideas of this kind the next stage is the actual impersonation of the deity who brings disease, and hence the troop of disease godlings which are worshipped all over India, and to whose propitiation much of the thoughts of the peasant are devoted.
SiTALĀ, THE GODDESS OF SMALL-Pox.
Of these deities the most familiar is Sitalá, “she that loves the cool,” so called euphemistically in consequence of the fever which accompanies small-pox, the chief infant
' “Bombay Gazetteer,” xix. 465.