Story Time: Why Girls Are No Longer Sacrificed to the Tanggbain (Builsa Story)

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It is said that in former times, when people brought forth girls, they killed them, but when they brought forth boys they left them [alive]. A chief then begot a daughter and left her in a room and hid her. The daughter lived and grew up. The people of the house peeped [into the room], saw that the [chief’s] daughter had grown up in the room, [and said to the chief:]
“You are the one who said: ‘If someone brings forth a girl, she should be taken and killed’, but you [yourself] begot a girl, took her and hid her and she has grown up”. So they wanted to kill her.
They sent the chief outside [the house] to the kusung, and spoke to him. The chief got up and entered [the house] and told his wife. And so they got up, took some malt, gave it to the girl and told her to go and fetch water. The woman [the girl] took the malt and went into the grinding room. A bird, oho!—called gbiin—flew up and sat down on the grass roof of the grinding room and started singing
[Solo] Adugpalie, ’dugpalie,
you are grinding the malt of your death!
[Solo] And an ant with a red waist will cook your intestines! [Chorus] ’dugpaal-a!
[Solo] And an ant with a black waist will cook your intestines! [Chorus] ’dugpaal-a!
[Solo] And an ant with a red waist will cook your intestines! [Chorus]
’dugpaal-a!
[Solo] And an ant with a black waist will cook your intestines! [Chorus] ’dugpaal-a!
[repeated 3 times]
She finished grinding the malt, went out, took her earthenware vessel and set out for a river. The gbiin bird came again and blocked the way to the river and started singing again:
[Solo] Adugpalie, ’dugpalie, look, you are fetching the water of your death!
[repeated 3 times]
She fetched the water and brought it [to the house] and then mixed the flour with the millet-beer, put it on the fire and [began] to stir the millet-beer. The bird came again and sat down on the the straw roof and started singing again:
[Solo] Adugpalie, ’dugpalie, you are stirring the millet-beer of your death!
[ repeated 6 times]
Then she stood and removed the millet-beer from the pot and put it into another vessel [in order to let it cool]; The bird came again and sat down [on the roof]:
[Solo] Adugpalie, ’dugpalie, you are taking out the millet-beer of your death!
[repeated 3 times]
She began to filter the millet beer; it [the bird] again sat [on the roof]:
[Solo] Adugpalie, ’dugpalie, you are filtering the millet-beer of your death!
[repeated 3 times]
She again stood and put the millet-beer little by little with a calabash into another vessel and added some yeast to it to ferment; The bird sat again [on the straw roof]:
[Solo] Adugpalie, ’dugpalie, look, you are preparing to ferment the millet-beer of your death!
[ repeated 4 times]
At daybreak, they [the people] called one another to come out [and assemble at] the entrance of the house; then they entered, lifted the millet-beer and put it on Adugpaalie’s head,and told her to carry it, and that they are going to kill her at the tanggbain.
They sent her to the tanggbain, then sat around it and said: “Formerly, the chief had said [ordered] that if someone brought forth a girl, she should be killed, whereas if someone brought forth a boy, he should be left [to live]. Now they have killed all our girls, yet the chief took his daughter and hid her and now she has grown; But she must also die.” Today she must be given as a sacrificial offering to the tanggbain; the tanggbain should receive her. The bird again perched on top of the tanggbain:
[Solo] Adugpalie, ’dugpalie, you are sitting on the resting place of your death!
[ repeated 4 times]
Then they [the people] poured [some of the] millet-beer and gave it [sacrificed it] to the tanggbain and then seized the woman [the girl] in order to put her down [on the tanggbain]. Then a ram came from God and landed beside the tanggbain, saying that they should not kill the girl; they should rather seize it [the ram] and kill it and let the girl [live].
This is the reason why nowadays, when they bring forth a girl, they let her [live]; in former times, a girl was something to be offered in sacrifice to a tanggbain; they took her to be offered as a sacrifice to a shrine (bogluk).This was what they did in former times.
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