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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Beauty and the Beast???

Once upon a time in a village, there was a beautiful girl by the name of Chawngvungi. She came of a good family for her father was a man of standing in their village. There was also a young man called Sawngkhara who regularly courted her. But Chawngvungi found Sawngkhara ugly and repulsive, and would give him no attention even when he called. But Sawngkhara had a magic potion called ‘Zawlaidi’ which he decided to use on Chawngvungi because he was deeply in love with her while she wouldn’t give him a second glance. He applied the potion to Chawngvungi’s waist band as she was weaving on the loom and stopped calling on her for three days. In that time, Sawngkhara’s Zawlaidi had worked and Chawngvungi began to so long for him that she could no longer get on with her work. She could only hang on to her loom without weaving, and when friends called her to gather wood, she could not bring herself to go out with them.

Chawngvungi’s mother became immensely worried and she cried,
“Chawngi, your friends go forth to gather wood,
Else sit at home and work their looms,
For whom are you pining that you sit idle?”

To this Chawngvungi would reply,
“Oh mother, my friends they go and gather wood,
Or sit at home and work their looms,
Pining for Sawnga I lie limp upon my looms.”

Then on the third night, Sawngkhara made his way to Chawngi’s house and shouted for her,
“Chawngi, open the door for me,
It is I, Chawnga, come to call on you.”
Chawngvungi’s mother was not keen to see the man and shouted back, “Let the son of a Bawmzo go sleep at the Suar.”
To this Sawngkhara replied,
“Ka pi, My mother a Bawmzo she may be,
But my father, he be the famed Hauchema.”

Chawngvungi’s mother had no reply and therefore sent her daughter to open the door. The ‘rick rack’ of the opening door could be heard as soon as the words left the mother’s mouth. Since she was so displeased to see Sawngkhara, he did not stay long that night.

The following day, Chawngvungi and her mother went to their field to farm. There Sawngkhara had turned himself into a little bird that could be heard singing “Chawngler, Chawngler” from across the valley. When she heard this Chawngvungi said,
“Hark Mother! Even the birds across the valley sing
‘Chawngler, Chawngler’
Let us be gone mother let us go home.”

Her mother quickly retorted, “They say no such thing, all I hear is ‘Di ngai, Di ngai’ and continued with her work. But since Chawngvungi could not bring herself to be of any help, they finally did go home and this went on for three days together.

In the nights when Sawngkhara would visit Chawngvungi, he would always find the door locked by her mother and he started to worry. He finally decided to use the Zawlaidi on her as well and applied some on the broom she was to use. From that time on, she too was infatuated with Sawngkhara and looked forward to his visits. As soon as the sound of his footsteps reached their sumhmun, she would quickly send Chawngvungi to open the door, which the girl did most enthusiastically.

In time, Sawngkhara’s family sent emissaries to ask for Chawngi’s hand in marriage. It could have been that her mother was jealous for she insisted on being given the family ‘Darhuai’ as bride-price for her daughter. Though Sawngkhara’s family had great misgivings about parting with their ‘Darhuai’, their pleas fell on deaf ears and they finally gave it away as a price for Chawngvungi’s hand, for her mother would accept nothing else.

As they were leaving for Sawngkhara’s village, Chawngvungi said to her mother, “Mother, if the leaves of our banyan tree droop, say to yourself, ‘My Chawngvungi is sick’; if the branches turn dry and break, know that I have died, and come running in tears.” In her turn, Chawngvungi’s mother replied, “Go mourn Sawngkhara and come back soon.” Having heard this exchange, Sawngkhara’s mother quickly retorted, “Chawngi’s mother, we’re not taking her to mourn Chawnga, we’re taking her to bear sons and daughters.”

In a little while from then, not long after Chawngi bore a son, she became greatly ill and died soon after. Her mother, observing the banyan tree, soon learnt of Chawngi’s death and came in tears, claiming her daughter’s body. She and Sawngkhara’s family began fighting for Chawngvungi’s body and cried their songs of mourning in derision. Chawngi’s mother cried,
“Chawngi, Chawngi, didn’t I tell you
‘Go mourn Sawnga and come back soon,
Chawngi, Chawngi.”

To this cry of lamentation, Sawngkhara’s mother came up with her own cry,
“Chawngi, o dear expensive Chawngvungi,
We offered brass and necklaces
But your mother, rejecting asked for the ‘Darhuai’
Chawngi, o dear expensive Chawngvungi.”
Sawngkhara’s sisters also joined the mourners crying,
“Ka pi, we never brought her home to mourn Sawnga,
We brought her home to bear him sons, we brought her home to bear him daughters
Chawngi, Dear expensive Chawngvungi.”

In the midst of all this, Sawngkhara held his infant son and cried, “Chawngi, get up, your son Liantea cries in hunger”, and he could not be consoled. When his friends saw him in such a state, they thought it best to take him out for a while for they were afraid he might die from crying so much. Decided upon such a course of action, they took him hunting to Lentlang.

Even the hunting trip could not raise Sawngkhara’s spirit, for he saw Chawngvungi’s face in the flowers there and so longed for her that he would pluck the flowers and keep them. And when they came back from their trip, he was told that Chawngi’s mother had run off with her body. Sawnga immediately set off after her with the hope of reclaiming his wife’s body. On the way, Chawngi’s mother had washed her body in a stream and there he found her nail which had been broken off. This broken nail he took with him and returned home. It is said that he performed the ‘Kuang ur’ over that broken nail for three long years.


samuelapa said...

A ngaihnawm hlawm khawp mai. I blog hi i advertise tha duh lo em a nih hi...

tochh said...

ka thatchhe em a, miin a hriat ve vak hi ka hlau alom:)


A khai a, inhmuh lohna va rei tawh ve a..i blog hi nangmahni tih ka lo hre lova..dam tha maw..ka blog lo visit ve thin rawh aw...!