The Dog Bride
Once upon a time there was a youth who used to herd buffaloes; and as he watched his
animals graze he noticed that exactly at noon every day a she-dog used to make its way to
a ravine, in which there were some pools of water. This made him curious and he wondered
to whom it belonged and what it did in the ravine. So he decided to watch, and one day
when the dog came he hid himself and saw that when it got to the water, it shed its dog
skin, and out stepped a beautiful maiden and began to bathe. And when she had finished
bathing she put on the skin and became a dog again, and went off to the village. The
herdboy followed her and watched into what house she entered, and he inquired to whom the
house belonged. Having found out all about it, he went back to his work.
That year the herdboy's father and mother decided that it was time for him to marry and
began to look about for a wife for him. But he announced that he had made up his mind to
have a dog for his wife, and he would never marry a human girl.
Everyone laughed at him for such an extraordinary idea, but he could not be moved. So
at last they concluded that he must really have the soul of a dog in him, and that it was
best to let him have his own way. So his father and mother asked him whether there was any
particular dog he would like to have for his bride, and then he gave the name of the man
into whose house he had tracked the dog that he had seen going to the ravine. The master
of the dog laughed at the idea that anyone should wish to marry her, and gladly accepted a
bride's price for her. So a day was fixed for the wedding and the booth built for the
ceremony, and the bridegroom's party went to the bride's house, and the marriage took
place in due form, and the bride was escorted to her husband's house.
Every night when her husband was asleep, the bride used to come out of the dog's skin
and go out of the house. And when her husband found out this, he one night only pretended
to go to sleep and lay watching her. And when she was about to leave the room he jumped up
and caught hold of her and seizing the dog skin, threw it into the fire, where it was
burnt to ashes. So his bride remained a woman, but she was of more than human beauty. This
soon became known in the village, and everyone congratulated the herdboy on his wisdom in
marrying a dog.
Now the herdboy had a friend named Jitu, and when Jitu saw what a prize his friend had
got, he thought that he could not do better than marry a dog himself. His relations made
no objection, and a bride was selected, and the marriage took place, but when they were
putting vermilion on the bride's forehead she began to growl; but in spite of her growling
they dragged her to the bridegroom's house, and forcibly anointed her with oil and
turmeric. But when the bride's party set off home, the dog broke loose and ran after them.
Then everyone shouted to Jitu to run after his bride and bring her back, but she only
growled and bit at him, so that he had at last to give it up.
Then everyone laughed at him so much that he was too ashamed to speak, and two or three
days later he hanged himself.
Cecil Henry Bompas: Folklore of the Santal Parganas. London 1909, Nr. 85. (AT
402, Indien, Santal)