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Sunday, June 15, 2014

/ Published by VIRTHLI
Once upon a time, there lived a man called Chemttatepu. Once he went to a river to sharpen his dao. As he was sharpening his dao on a stone, the Crayfish came and pricked his testicle. Out of anger, Chemtattepu sliced off the bamboo nearby and the pumpkin on the top of the bamboo fell and hit the hip of a wild fowl. Outraged, the wild fowl scratched the nest of red ants. The angry ants then bit the testicle of a wild boar. The wild boar got wild. Running amuck, he felled the wild plantain where a bat lived. Having no place to live, the bat flew into the ear of an elephant. The angry elephant then knocked down the house of a widow. The widow got angry and then passed her stool at the source of the village pond.

The whole villagers were angry with the widow. They asked her why she had passed her stool at the source of the pond. In self-defense, the widow said that she did because the elephant knocked down the widow’s house because the bat flew into his ear. The bat then said that the wild boar felled the wild plantain where he lived. The villagers now summoned the wild boar and the latter said that the red ants bit his testicles. The red ants came forward and told the villagers that they bit the wild boar’s testicles because the wild fowl scratched their nest. The wild fowl said that the pumpkin at the top of the bamboo fell and hit her hip. The pumpkin then explained that Chemtattepu felled the bamboo where he lived. Chemtattepu was then made to appear before the whole villagers. He told them that he sliced off the bamboo because the crayfish pricked his testicle.

At last, the crayfish was caught and asked to explain why he pricked the Chemtattepu’s testicle. The crayfish was muttering, “Ih! Ih! Ah!” For the crayfish had no one to blame. He was thus to be punished for his crime. He told the villagers thus: “You can punish me in two ways – either you put me into the fire or drop me in a deep pool. If you put me into a fire, I shall turn red. And if you put me in a pool, I shall turn black.” Knowing not what would be the more befitting punishment, the villagers drop the crayfish into the pool. The crayfish soon swam away and took shelter under a stone inside the water. The villagers tried their utmost to drive out the crayfish with the stem of hnathiel. The angry crayfish cursed the stem, saying, “Let the stem by which you poked me about be burst out on its top end.” Till today, you will notice this particular full-grown hnathiel plant bursting out on its top end.

* Hnathiel: It is broad leaf wild plant of about four feet high found in a thick jungle. The leaf is used for roofing and for wrapping cooked food by the Hmars and other kindred tribes when they go to their journey and jhum.

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

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