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Legend Of Palia Gadh

( Originally Published Late 1800's )

In our preceding pages we have noticed Captain Hodgson's discovery of the sources of the Jumna and the Ganges;* and the following curious extract from Mr. Fraser's tour to the sources of those celebrated rivers may be considered as interesting. It is a description of a deep and dark glen named Palia Gadh, which strongly re-minds us of the celebrated tale of the Vampire.

"But it would not be easy to convey by any description a just idea of the peculiarly rugged and gloomy wildness of this glen : it looks like the ruins of nature, and appears, as it is said to be, completely impracticable and impenetrable. Little is to be seen except dark rock ; wood only fringes the lower parts and the water's edge ; perhaps the spots and streaks of snow, contrasting with the general blackness of the scene, heighten the appearance of desolation. No living thing is seen ; no motion but that of the waters ; no sound but their roar. Such a spot is suited to engender superstition, and here it is accordingly found in full growth. Many wild traditions are pre-served, and many extravagant stories related of it.

" On one of these ravines there are places of worship not built by men, but natural piles of stones, which have the appearance of small temples. These are said to be the residence of the dewtas, or spirits, who here haunt and inveigle human beings away to their wild abodes. It is said that they have a particular predilection for beauty in both sexes, and remorselessly seize on any whom imprudence or accident may have placed within their power, and whose spirits become like theirs after they are deprived of their corporeal frame. Many instances were given of these ravishments. On one occasion, a young man who had wandered near their haunts, being carried in a trance to the valley, heard the voice of his own father, who some years before had been thus spirited away, and who now recognised his son. It appears that paternal affection was stronger than the spell that bound him, and instead of rejoicing in the acquisition of a new prey, he recollected the forlorn state of his family deprived of their only support. He begged and obtained the freedom of his son, who was dismissed under the injunction of strict silence and secrecy. He, however, forgot his vow, and was immediately deprived of speech ; and, as a self-punishment, he cut out his tongue with his own hand. This man was said to be yet living, and I desired that he should be brought to me, but he never came, and they afterwards informed me that he had very lately died. More than one person is said to have approached the spot, or the precincts of these spirits, and those who have returned have generally agreed in the expression of their feelings, and have uttered some prophecy. They fall, as they say, into a swoon, and between sleeping and waking hear a conversation, or are sensible of certain impressions as if a conversation were passing, which generally relates to some future event. Indeed, the prophetic faculty is one of the chiefly remarkable attributes of these spirits, and of this place."

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