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Poison Stories of Tibet

Poison Stories of Tibet

There is also in Thibet a curious class, including persons of both sexes, but especially women, who are reputed to be the hereditary keepers of poison.  What poison? Nobody knows. No one has ever seen a trace of it, but this very mystery adds to the terror it inspires. When the fatal time arrives, the one who is to administer it cannot escape the obligation. In default of a passerby who may afford him an opportunity, he must pour it out for one of his friends or relatives. One hears whispers of mothers who have poisoned their only sons, of husbands who have been obliged to hand the fatal cup to a dearly loved bride the day of their marriage; and if there is no one within reach, the "keeper" must drink the deadly poison himself.

"I have seen a man who was said to be the hero of a strange poison story. He was travelling, and on his way through a village he entered a farm to obtain refreshment. The mistress of the house prepared him some beer by pouring hot water upon fermented grain placed in a wooden pot, according to the custom of the Himalayan Thibetans. She then went upstairs. When left alone the traveller remarked, with some astonishment, that the beer placed before him, in the wooden vessel, was boiling in great bubbles. Near by water was also boiling in a cauldron, but in a natural way. The man took a large ladle of this, and emptied it over the suspicious-looking beer. At that moment he heard a fall on the floor above his head. The woman who had served him had fallen down dead."

Tibetans also believed there were special, magic wooden bowls which are sensitive to the presence of any poison poured into them. Such bowls are sold for very high prices. From David-Neel's account.

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