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Religious Fasts

(Mangal's Anguish)

(This story is listened to by those who observe Tuesday fast. They listen it before breaking the fast. The fast is observed for obtaining royal patronage, happiness or for getting a son. People generally wear red clothes at worship and offer red flowers to the deity. God Hanuman is also worshipped.)

Once there was a Brahman's son. He was married at an early age. He went to his father-in-law's village to get back his wife. His in-laws welcomed him heartily and gave him best dishes to eat.
The boy said to his father-in-law, "Please send your daughter with me. My mother is unwell. There is nobody to look after her."

"That is correct," said the father-in-law, "but we have not made full preparations to offer her clothes and cash."

The boy said "Our family is not So down-and-out as to accept such offers all the time. You send your daughter with me."

The boy's mother-in-law raised another objection and said, "My daughter is a newly-wed and she is very beautiful. She will wear gold ornaments. Who will guarantee her safety during the journey?"

The boy said, "I am brave enough to guard her. See my muscular body."

The mother-in-law said, "It is not the muscular body but the mind which guards us."

The boy said, "Do not consider me without mind." The father-in-law and the mother-in-law argued for some time with the son-in-law and finally agreed to send their daughter with him.

The young husband and wife both started their journey for the village. It was Tuesday. Tuesday is devoted to the god Mars. He is the commander of this day. The Mars saw the Brahman's beautiful wife. He was dazzled to see such a beauty. He knew witchcraft. He disguised himself as a Brahman's son and said to the boy," She is my wife. Who are you to accompany her? Give her to me, otherwise I will kill you."

The Brahman's son felt bewildered at the sight of an identical man like him. He said, "You are a ghost. You are a cheat. She is my wife. How can I give her to you?"

The woman would not differentiate between the two. She stood there puzzled. Some cow herds noticed their quarrel. They went to them and asked about the cause of their quarrel.

The Brahman's son said, "She is my wife. This man is a cheat. He wants to take away my wife under a false disguise. He is not the man who has married this woman. I am her real husband."

The Mars who was in the guise of Brahman's son said, "She is my wife and I am her real husband."

The cow-herds felt confused at their claims. One of the cow-herd asked the woman, "Who is your real husband?"

The lady said, "I was married when I was very young. I have cast my look at my husband for the first time, after long years. I cannot differentiate between the two."

The matter became still complicated. One of the cow-herds sensed the gravity of the situation. He could see that one of them was a spirit. He knew how to deal with such spirits.

He said, "Bring an earthen pot with a spout. I will hand over this lady to the real husband."

They arranged a Kuchcha Karva or a pot with a spout. The cowherd said, "This lady belongs to that person who can enter this pot through its spout"

The Brahman's son said, "This is injustice. I cannot enter this pot."

The cowherd said, "Then you are a cheat. You would have to abide by my order."

The Brahman's son kept mum. He was helpless.

The Mars said, "She is my wife. I can enter this pot through its spout."

The clever cowherd said, "If you enter this pot, she will be your wife."

The Mars was in the form of a spirit. He knew the craft of changing his body into any shape. He entered the pot through the spout. The cow-herd dosed the spout with a tight cork. The Mars was imprisoned in the pot. He could not come out from it. To make his escape impossible, the cowherd dug a deep hole in the ground and put that earthen pot deep into it and filled the hole up.

The Brahman's son was happy. He thanked the cowherd for his intelligence and wisdom.

Since that day, it has been a belief that nobody should dig earth on Tuesday so that the devil spirit of the Mars remains inside the earth for ever.

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