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Stories from Bengal
The snake-goddess Manasa
Bengal has many deadly snakes and this is why some people pray to the snake-goddess Manasa to protect them from being bitten. The most popular Manasa story is about how a merchant called Chand refused to worship her. In her anger Manasa killed his six sons on their wedding nights. Chand had a seventh son called Lakhinder and when it was time for him to marry, he married a girl called Behula. Chand built them a room of iron to protect them from Manasa's snakes, but there was a crack somewhere and a poisonous snake came in that night and killed Lakhinder. Behula took his body down the river in a raft and prayed to many gods until, finally, Manasa brought Lakhinder and his six brothers back to life. From that day, Chand began worshipping Manasa.