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resort is in old ruins. Many old buildings are, as we have seen, attributed to the agency of demons, and in any case interference with them is resented by the Deus loci who occupies them. This explains the number of old ruined houses which one sees in an Indian town, and with which no one cares to meddle, as they are occupied by the spirits of their former owners. The same idea extends to the large bricks of the ancient buildings which are occasionally disinterred. Dr. Buchanan describes how on one occasion no one would assist him in digging out an ancient stone image. The people told him that a man who had made an attempt to do so some time before had met with sudden death. The landlord of the village stated that he would gladly use the bricks from these ruins, but that he was afraid of the consequences. So, in Bombay, interference with the bricks of an ancient dam brought Guinea worm and dysentery into a village, and some labourers were cut off who meddled with some ancient tombs at Ahmadnagar. General Cunningham, in one of his Reports, describes how on one occasion, when carrying on some excavations, his elephant escaped, and was recovered with difficulty; the people unanimously attributed the disaster to the vengeance of the local ghosts, who resented his proceedings. The people who live in the neighbourhood of the old city of Sahet Mahet are, for the same reason, very unwilling to meddle with its ruins, or even to enter it at night. When Mr. Benett was there, a storm which occurred was generally believed to be a token of the displeasure of the spirits at his intrusion on their domains. The tomb of Shaikh Mîna Shâh at Lucknow was demolished during the Mutiny, and the workmen suffered so much trouble from the wrath of the saint, that when the disturbances were over they collected and rebuilt it at their own expense.

The same theory exists in other countries. Thus, in the Isle of Man, “a good Manx scholar told me how a relative of his had carted the earth from an old burial ground on his

1 “Eastern India,” i.


2 “Bombay Gazetteer,” xii. 13; xvii. 703. 3 “ Oudh Gazetteer," iii. 286.

farm and used it as manure for his fields, and how his beasts died afterwards. It is possible for a similar reason that a house in ruins is seldom pulled down and the materials used for other buildings; where that has been done misfortunes have ensued.”" In the Konkan it is believed that all treasures buried underground, all the mines of gold, silver, and precious stones, all old caves and all ruined fortresses, are guarded by underground spirits in the shape of a hairy serpent or frog. These spirits never leave their places, and they attack and injure only those persons who come to remove the things which they are guarding.” In short, these places are like the Sith Bhruaith mounds in Scotland, which were respected, and it was deemed unlawful and dangerous to cut wood, dig earth there, or otherwise disturb them. In the same way the sites of ancient villages which abound in Northern India are more or less respected. They were abandoned on account of the ravages of war, famine, or pestilence, and are guarded by the spirits of the original owners, these calamities being self-evident proofs of the malignity and displeasure of the local deities.


We have already mentioned incidentally the mine spirits. It is not difficult to see why the spirits of mine and cave should be malignant and resent trespass on their territories, because by the nature of the case they are directly in communication with the under-world. In the folk-tales of Somadeva we have more than one reference to a cave which leads to Pātāla, “the rifted rock whose entrance leads to hell.” Others are the entrance to fairy palaces, where dwell the Asura maidens beneath the earth.” Of a mine at Patna, Dr. Buchanan writes: “A stone-cutter who was in my service was going into one of the shafts to break a specimen, when the guide, a Muhammadan trader, acquainted

* “Folk-lore,” iii. 83. * Campbell, “Notes,” 150 sq. * Tawney, “Katha Sarit Ságara,” i. 446, 558; ii. 197.

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1. 283.

with the fears of the workmen, pulled him back in alarm, and said, “Pull off your shoes ! Will you profane the abode of the gods?'Under the same belief, the Cornish miners will allow no whistling underground.'

Mr. Spencer suggests that the respect for caves is based on the early practice of burial in such places. At any rate, the belief is very general that spirits and deities live in caves. There is a whole cycle of fairy legend centring round the belief that some of the heroes of old live in caves surrounded by their faithful followers, and will arise some day to win back their kingdom. Thus, Bruce and his enchanted warriors lie in a cave in Rathlin Island, and one day they will arise and win back the island for Scotland. The same tale is told of Arthur, Karl the Great, Barbarossa, and many other heroes. The same tale appears in Oriental folk-lore in the shape of the Ashâbu-'l-Kahf, “the companions of the cave," the seven sleepers of Ephesus. So the famous Alha of the Bundelkhand epic is said to be still alive. He makes regular visits on the last day of the moon to Devî Sârad's temple on the Mahiyâr Hill, where he has been repeatedly seen and followed. But he sternly warns any one from approaching him, and the main proof of his presence is that some unknown hand puts a fresh garland on the statue of the goddess every day.*


In India many deities live in caves. There are cave temples of Kâlî, Annapûrnâ, and Sûraj Nârâyan, the Sun god, at Hardwâr. Kumaun abounds in such temples. That at Gauri Udyâr is where Siva and Pârvatî once halted for the night with their marriage procession. Their attendants overslept themselves and were turned into the stalactites for which the cave is famous. Another is called from its depth Pâtâla Bhuvaneswar, from the roof of which a

i Hunt, “ Popular Romances,” 431.

Principles of Sociology,'' i. 201. 3 Lady Wilde, “ Legends," 86. 4 “North Indian Notes and Queries," ii. 27.

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