Ahoi Ashtami-A Folk Tale!
Once upon a time, there lived a woman in a village. She had seven sons. One day she went to the forest to bring soil for the renovation and painting of her home (this was in the month of Kartik just before the Hindu festival Deepawali). She started digging soil with spade nearby a den. Suddenly the woman’s spade fell on the cub in the den and the cub died. The woman felt very sorry and sympathetic. She took the soil from the forest and came back.
Within the coming year, all her seven sons died. She was very sad. One day she narrated her woes to old ladies in her village. She told them that she didn’t knowingly commit the sin and it happened unintentionally. She narrated to the ladies that once when she was digging for the soil in the forest her spade fell on a cub and thereafter within a year all her seven sons died. The ladies appreciated for confessing her guilt. The ladies told her that by confessing the sin she has atoned for half of the sin.
They advised the woman to pray to the Goddess Ashtami Bhagwati. The woman kept a fast on the Kartik Krishna Ashtami and then onwards she started praying and keeping fast regularly. By the power of her prayer, God’s grace was showered upon her and she could get back her all seven sons.
It is a practice amongst some communities of women to fast on Ahoi Ashtami to pray for the well being of their sons.