Once upon a time there was a very ugly man called Mauzungrakel. To add to his ugliness, he also suffered from leprosy. He had a dog which also suffered from leprosy. The chief of the village where Mauzungrakel lived had a very beautiful daughter named Chawnpui.l Every young man of the village coveted the hand of Chawnpui for marriage. But it happened that Chawnpui had conceived the child of Mauzungrakel.

Their illicit relationship started like this. The girls of the village used to carry home grain-rice from barn in a jungle early in the morning. Because of dew on the roadside wild plants, the petticoats of all other girls except Chawnpui’s, got completely wet. The villagers were really taken aback. Mauzungrakel was determined to find out why Chawnpui’s petticoat never got wet. He got up early in the morning and hid himself on the roadside where Chawnpui was to come. As usual, Chawnpui came along the road lifting her petticoat up to her waist so that the dew would not touch her petticoat. Mauzungrakel came to see with his own eyes why Chawnpui’s petticoat never got wet. Jumping out of his hiding place, he stood just in front of Chawnpui. Chawnpui felt so ashamed that she begged Mauzungrakel not to expose her publicly. The latter agreed to her request on one condition that he should first sleep with her. Chawnpui had no choice and thus gave in to his demand. Soon she was pregnant and gave birth to a son.

In spite of her parent’s repeated chiding, Chawnpui did not like to disclose who the father of her son was. The chief at last thought out a plan as to how he could find out the real father of his grandson. One day he made a proclamation that all the young men of the village, while returning from jhum in the evening, should make a line and then enter the village gate one by one. He further proclaimed that Chawnpui’s son would intensely look at each and every one and point at his real father.

Every young man wanted to marry Chawnpui and thought what could best draw the attention of Chawnpui’s son. They plucked different kinds of flowers and put on their ears. As they entered the village gate, they made gestures, showing Chawnpui’s son the beautiful flowers on their ears. Whenever Chawnpui saw handsome young man, she used to poke her son’s abdomen. Because she wanted to marry the most handsome young man of the village.

All but Mauzungrakel had passed through the village gate. To the surprise of all, none was pointed at. At last, Mauzungrakel came slowly, holding one feet long stem of a plant at the end of which was tied a flying beetel. When he came nearer and nearer, Chawnpui’s son become restless and pointed at Mauzungrakel, shouting, “Pa-pa, Pa-pa.”

Chawnpui had to marry Mauzungrakel. The chief was so angry that he drove out Chawnpui and Mauzungrakel from the village and told them go settle below the outskirt of the village. Chawnpui detested her husband so much that she did not allow him and his dog to stay inside their house. In this way, Mauzungrakel and his dog used to sleep in the front porch and never had meal together with his wife.

One fine morning, Mauzungrakel and his dog went out for hunting. As they entered the thick jungle, the dog chanced to see a small pond. He stopped and barked at the pond endlessly. Even when Mauzungrakel pushed his dog and dog refused and kept on barking as before. Mauzungrakel got so angry with his dog that he pushed him into the pond. And lo : the leprous dog was completely healed and became the most beautiful dog of the country : Mauzungrakel was dumbstruck at what was happening. He thought to himself that if the pond could cure his dog, it would surely cure him also. Mauzungrakel soon jumped into the pond and also became the most handsome person ever born. Mauzungrakel and his dog moved on. Soon they passed through the jungle where a group of monkeys were jumping from one branch of a tree to another. One of them carried a magic drum. When he beat the drum, saying, “Let all the fruits of this branch be ripe, “ the fruits became ripe in a twinkling of an eye.

Seeing this, Mauzungrakel and his dog coveted the magic drum and ran after the monkey who carried the drum. With the drum, the monkey could not jump freely and became very tired. At last Mauzungrakel and his dog caught the monkey and snatched away the magic drum. When they came across unripe fruits on the way, Mauzungrakel beat the drum as the monkey did then all the unripe fruits became ripe all of a sudden. They were very happy and returned home.

As usual, Mauzungrakel and his dog stayed in the front porch of their house. When Chawnpui saw Mauzungrakel and his dog, she could not even believe her own eyes. She was stunned by the beauty of Mauzungrakel and his dog. Soon Chawnpui made the evening meal ready. She whispered to her son to invite his father to have meal with them. In case he refused, she also told her son what he should do. The child then asked his father to have meal with his mother. But Mauzungrakel replied. “No, my son. Your mummy detests me.” Then the child said, “If you do not, I am falling from the wooden frome of the fireshelf..” At this, Chawnpui intervened, “Instead of letting the child fall, why don’t you come in.” Mauzungrakel went in and had meal with Chawnpui. Soon it was night and time to sleep and the child, as told in advance by his mother, called his father again, “Daddy, please come and sleep.” “No, my son. Your mummy detests me,” replied Mauzungrakel. Then, the child started moving towards the edge of the bed, saying, “If you do not, I am falling from the bed.”

Again, Chawnpui intervened and said, “Instead of letting the child fall, why don’t you come and sleep? Mauzungrakel could no longer resist and went to sleep with his wife.

You must remember that Mauzungrakel and his family lived below the outskirt of the main village of his father-in-law’s. The villagers of Mauzungrakel and that of the chief’s village had a common pond. Because of the fast increasing population of Mauzungrakel’s village, the water was no longer sufficient for the two villagers. There ensured a serious quarrel between the two villages which ultimately culminated in inter-village war. The whole village of Mauzungrakel was soon swept over by the chief’s warriors, leaving behind almost all the houses burned down. At last, some surviving villagers rushed to Mauzungrakel who was basking in the sun and appealed to him, “Look! We all are perishing now! Will you not help us? Then Mauzungrakel stood up slowly, and turned round, seeing the dead bodies lying like logs, and the houses burning with heavy smoke still curling up the sky said, “Let all the hosts and their houses stand up again, and let all the enemies die.” As he said this, he beat his magic drum and behold! All his dead villagers rose up again with new houses instantly. On the other hand, all the chief’s warriors died and perished. After this, Mauzungrakel extended his hegemony over his father-in-law’s land and village and ruled over them as chief. Despise not the ugly goes the Hmar proverb.

Source: Prof.(Dr.) Lal Dena,Hmar Folk Tales, Scholar Publishing House, New Delhi, 1995

Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.