Indian Ghost Stories by S. Mukerji
THE EXAMINATION PAPER.
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This is a story which I believe. Of course, this is not my personal experience; but it has been repeated by so many men, who should have witnessed the incident, with such wonderful accuracy that I cannot but believe it.
The thing happened at the Calcutta Medical College.
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There was a student who had come from Dacca, the Provincial Capital of Eastern Bengal. Let us call him Jogesh.
Jogesh was a handsome young fellow of about 24. He was a married man and his wife's photograph stood in a frame on his table in the hostel. She was a girl hardly 15 years old and Jogesh was evidently very fond of her. Jogesh used to say a lot of things about his wife's attainments which we (I mean the other students of his class) believed, and a lot more which we did not believe. For instance we believed that she could cook a very good dinner, but that is an ordinary accomplishment of the average Bengali girl of her age.
Jogesh also said that she knew some mystic arts by means of which she could hold communion with him every night. Every morning when he came out of his room he used to say that his wife had been to him during the night and told him--this--that--and the other. This, of course, we did not believe, but as Jogesh was so sensitive we never betrayed our scepticism in his presence. But one significant fact happened one day which rather roused our curiosity.
One morning Jogesh came out with a sad expression and told us that his father was ill at home. His wife had informed him at night, he said; at that time we treated the matter with indifference but at about 10 o'clock came a telegram, (which we of course intercepted) intimating that his father was really ill.
The next morning Jogesh charged us with having intercepted his telegram; but we thought that he must have heard about the telegram from one of the students, as there were about half a dozen of us present when the telegram had arrived.
Jogesh's father came round and the matter was forgotten.
Then came the annual University examination.
Jogesh's weak subject was Materia Medica and everybody knew it.
So we suggested that Jogesh should ask his wife what questions would be set, during one of her nightly visits.
After great hesitation Jogesh consented to ask his wife on the night before the examination.
The eventful night came and went. In the morning Jogesh came out and we anxiously inquired what his wife had said.
"She told me the questions" said Jogesh sadly "but she said she would never visit me again here."
The questions were of greater importance and so we wanted to have a look at them. Jogesh had noted these down on the back of a theatre programme (or hand bill--I really forget which) and showed the questions to us. There were eleven of them--all likely questions such as Major ---- might ask. To take the questions down and to learn the answers was the work of an hour, and in spite of our scepticism we did it. And we were glad that we did it.
When the paper was distributed, we found that the questions were identically those which we had seen that very morning and the answers to which we had prepared with so much labour only a few hours before.
The matter came to the notice of the authorities who were all European gentlemen. The eleven answer papers were examined and re-examined, and finally Jogesh was sent for by Col. ---- the Principal to state how much truth was there in what had been reported, but Jogesh prudently refused to answer the question; and finally the Colonel said that it was all nonsense and that the eleven students knew their Materia Medica very well and that was all. In fact it was the Colonel himself who had taught the subject to his students, and he assured all the eleven students that he was really proud of them. The ten students were however proud of Jogesh and his mystic wife. It was decided that a subscription should be raised and a gold necklace should be presented to Jogesh's wife as a humble token of respect and gratitude of some thankful friends, and this plan was duly executed.
Jogesh is now a full-fledged doctor and so are all the other ten who had got hold of the Materia Medica paper.