Myth-Folklore Unit: Santal Folklore

Overview. The Santal (Santhal, Sontal, Sonthal) are the largest tribal community in India, living primarily in the states of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha, and also in the neighboring nations of Nepal and Bangladesh. They speak a Munda language which is related to Vietnamese and Khmer, and they have an incredibly rich storytelling tradition. The stories in this unit come from an enormous collection of Santal stories translated into English by C. H. Bompas: Folklore of the Santal Parganas. In selecting stories for this unit, I have focused on the animal legends, so you will find here many tales of tigers and of jackals, along with supernatural creatures like the ghormuhas who "have heads like horses and bodies and arms like men, and their legs are shaped like men’s but they have only one leg each, and they eat human beings." Between the tigers and the ghormuhas, the world of Santal stories is full of danger and adventure, plus plenty of animal tricksters too!

Language. These folktales are told in contemporary English, so the language used should not pose any problems.

Story Length. This unit contains single-page stories, along with one two-page story.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on two pages total: Santal Folklore. Click "Older Posts" at the bottom of that page to see the second page.

  1. Ledha and the Leopard
  2. The Oilman’s Bullock
  3. The Monkey and the Girl
  4. Ramai and the Animals
  5. The Ghormuhas
  6. The Raibar and the Leopard
  7. The Tiger’s Bride
  8. The Killing of the Tiger
  9. The Raja's Dream
  10. The Raja's Dream (cont.)
  11. The Jackal and the Crow
  12. The Tiger Cub and the Calf
  1. The Jackal and the Chickens
  2. The Jackal Punished
  3. The Tigers and the Cat
  4. The Elephant and the Ants
  5. A Fox and His Wife
  6. The Jackal and the Crocodiles
  7. The Hyaena Outwitted
  8. The Crow and the Egret
  9. The Jackal and the Hare
  10. The Brave Jackal
  11. The Jackal and the Leopards

(Santal woman and child,
photo by Biplob Rahman)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments for Google accounts; you can also contact me at