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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/269

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Folk-lore Miscellanea.

centuries. The passage runs thus .—"While Bucca Rayalu ruled Vijayanagar, his chief servant, in the year Krodhi (A.D.. 1364), built a tank near Bucca Raya Samudram, in the present district of Bellary, North Madras. After some time this tank became so full of water that the two sluices did not suffice to let it off, and the embankment was crumbling under the flood. While the villagers beheld this, a goddess possessed a woman, and she exclaimed, 'I am Ganga Bhavāni; if you will feed me with a human sacrifice I will stop here, if not I will not stop! ' While the villagers and the elders took counsel about making the sacrifice, Ganga Devi possessed a girl, not yet grown up, named Mūsalãmma. She was the seventh and youngest daughter-in-law of Bāsi Reddi. The goddess said to her, ' Become thou the sacrifice! 'She accordingly was prepared to become a sacrifice: she adorned herself as a bride with red and yellow paint, wearing a pure vest, and holding a lime in her hand. She set out in a procession from her home, and came up on the embankment. She adored the feet of her father-in-law, Bāsi Reddi, and did homage to the townsfolk. She said: 'I have received the commands of Ganga Bhavāni; I am going to become a sacrifice!' Thirty feet from the sluice there was now a gap, between which and the bank a chasm had opened. She went and stood in the chasm, and they poured in earth and stones upon her, so the bank stood firm. The following day this Mūsalãmma, who had thus become a sacrifice, possessed the females of the village. She said, 'Make a stone image of me, place it under a tree, and worship it!' Accordingly they erected it and worship her, but there is no chapel. Besides, if people who passed near cried out 'Mūsalãmma!' she used to reply 'Hoh!' But one evening, as men went for grass and called to her in the usual manner, on her answering, they replied, 'Though thou art dead, thou art still proud.' From that time she never answers, but is still worshipped." I have never been in the Bellary district, but have ascertained that the tank, though much silted up and nearly useless, still exists, and that a mound on the bank is popularly associated with a remembrance of sacrifice.

One other variant of sacrificial burials may be noticed. In the Coimbatore district of Madras, where prehistoric remains, circles of stones, kistvaens, etc., are especially numerous, I found in several spots on the western border large flat stones laid on the ground, which were found to cover huge jars, usually five feet high by four in girth, wide-mouthed, and tapering to a point, of thick red earthenware. These were buried in the ground, with no circle around or cairn above, but only a great flat stone laid over the mouth, by which in time they had become cracked or crushed in: it was rare to find one perfect. The jars were mostly filled with earth that had filtered in, and at their bottom there were some small bones much broken. The natives