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Rungnu and Zawngte

Hmar Folk Tales,

Sunday, July 20, 2014

/ Published by Simon L Infimate
Rungnu and Zawngte were once friends. Rungnu had a very beautiful musical instrument called rawsem**. She used to play with it and danced with joy. Zawngte was envious of it. He wanted to steal it. One day, Zawngte tried to bluff Rungnu, saying, “Rungnu, your mummy asked you to go to your jhum immediately and deliver her wrapped cooked rice.” Rungnu then rushed to their jhum with the wrapped rice, leaving behind her musical instrument at home. While she was away, zawngte went to Rungnu’s house and stole her rawsem.

Zawngte now played with it happily and sung thus:

I stole Rungnu’s rawsem,
With the red monkey’s prepuce retracting widely,
And his testicles beating hither and thither.

Rungnu was very sad. She wanted to get it back. She also thought out a plan as to how she could get it back. One day, Rungnu called on Zawngte and said to him, “Mr. Zawngte, your mummy asked you to unhusk your paddy.” Zawngte replied that he had done it already. As her first trick failed, Rungnu told Zawngte that his mummy had asked him to cook. Zawngte said that he had cooked it. As her second tricked failed, Rungnu told Zawngte that his mummy had asked him to go to sleep. Now, Zawngte retired to bed and slept very soundly.

While Zawngte was asleep, Rungnu stealthily went to Zawngte’s house and took away the rawsem. But when Rungnu was about to fly away with it through the window, Zawngte woke up and rushed to the window. He somehow managed to catch hold of Rungnu’s tail. Rungnu was struggling so hard that she lost her tail but managed to fly away with her rawsem.

One day when Rungnu met Zawngte again she asked him to give back her tail. Zawngte said that he could return her tail if she instantly offered him 300 coins. Rungnu had no coins to offer to him. As a result, she never got back her tail. You will see till today that all the Rungnus have bobbed tail.

* Rungnu means little female partridge and Zawngte means little monkey.
* Rawsem is something like a bamboo flute.

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