Oraons: The SARHUL Festival (Part-III)

Sadly, the six brothers and their wives prevailed upon and pressurized the Seventh and the youngest brother to execute their scheme to get rid of the ‘Chooti-Bahu; they asked him to kill her for the peace and the well-being of the entire family.  The youngest brother was caught in a precarious situation. He loved his wife very much and the fact that she was pregnant was making him doubt the plans of his brothers and their wives. But he wanted harmony in the family and maybe sacrificing one member for the sake of entire family seemed like an only possible solution. The ‘Chooti-Bahu’ too became aware of their plans, but she decided to keep her emotions and broken heart to herself.
As an only way out and perhaps the best possible solution to keep the family unity and happiness intact, the youngest Brother decided that he must get rid of his wife.  So he asked her to accompany him to jungle, as he had to get some work done there and he carried a small sword (kataar) for the security purpose. After they had reached deep inside the jungle, he stopped under one of the Shaal-tree and decided to rest under it. His pregnant wife was too tired and as soon as she sat beside him under the tree, she fell deep into sleep. After his wife was sound asleep, he pulled out his small sword to kill her; but the thought of his pregnant wife and unborn child compelled him to change his decision. He left her fast asleep under the tree and headed back to her home.
On his way back, the youngest brother used the blood-red colour taken from the Banda-tree and the Khair-tree to colour his sword. After reaching his home, he showed his dripping blood-red sword to his brothers and their wives and told them that he killed his wife when she was in deep slumber under the tree.  Everyone in the family believed him. But again their family fell into bad times and everyone was finding it difficult to survive during the bad times.  The youngest Brother became the wood-cutter to earn his living; his economic plight too became wretched.
Meanwhile, when the wife of the youngest brother woke up, she did not find her husband; so sitting under the Shaal-tree, she started waiting for him. When he did not return, she tried her best to search for him but she remained unsuccessful. With few options, she decided to use the thread taken out from her dress (Sari) to tie it around the tree seven times; so that in case her husband comes back to look for her during day time, then he would be able to recognize the tree where he left behind his wife sleeping. Still optimistic that her husband would come back, every night she used to return back to the same Shaal-tree, to sleep under it.

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