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Tripura, the land of History and Legends


FOLK LORES-KERENG-KOTHOMA

The word 'folk' (or fole in old English and folk in German) means a nation or people, usually common people. Folk tales are, therefore, popular stories handed down by oral tradition from some remote antiquity.

India occupies an important place in the history of the folklore world. In fact, she is considered to be one of the fountain heads of fables and fiction, for the Rig Veda is regarded as the oldest literature in which we find the earliest specimens of folksongs and ballads. The Vedic Akhyanas are full of folk tales. The Atharvaveda is the storehouse of folk beliefs, incantations, rites and rituals of man. Side by side with the highest doctrines of religion, philosophy and ethics and with the subtlest calculations of astronomy and astrology, the Sanskrit language also provides rich folklore for amusement as well as for instruction. If the Rigveda is the oldest known treatise in the world, the Panchatantra and the Hitopadesha are the oldest known books of fables. These apart, one finds an inexhaustible source of folk tales in the two great epics-the Raniayana and the Mahabharata.

Folk tales are an invitation to study the ancient customs, notions, beliefs, traditions, superstitions and prejudices of the common people-people living outside the sphere of sophisticated influence. Folk tales also broadly suggest a certain socio-political organisation which, the people believe or would like to believe, held its sway in the past. Although the tales do not have any scientific grounding and consist apparently of faiths and pseudo beliefs, customs and traditions, they do depict a broad area of culture of the people. The progress of science and technology and the scientific explanations of hitherto inexplicable phenomena have not lessened the traditional charm and fascination of the fairy tales. One does not lose interest even by repetitive recitals of the same old story, for, after all, the folk tales and fables have a peculiar potency to satisfy one's curiosity about the secret of nature's working through the medium of delightful stories.

Even apart from dealing with various problems and aspects of human life, social customs and traditions, beliefs (omen and superstition), taboos and sanctions etc, the folk tales (like folk songs) also serve the purpose of recreation and entertainment to provide the people with a variety of knowledge. The prose versions of some folk songs also carry the message of the verities of life; they suggest the need for tact and wisdom and certain ideals in family and social life. There are some folk tales in Tripura which can easily be elevated to the rank of literature, for they convey that unique sense of intra-and inter-family love and conflict, feud and romance, loyalty and betrayal that characterise a classic. The characters in such folk tales include both animate and inanimate objects. Stones, trees, creepers, angels, gods and goddesses, sages, rivers, river- gods, clouds and lightning, etc. rub shoulders with one another in the given frame-work of a mutuality of relations. Some of the folk tales take the form of fairy tales whose origin may be traced to popular ballads depicting adventures or miracles.

There are over one hundred folk tales of Tripura, which shows the richness of the Tripuri Culture. These are still being told by the old and grand parents to their grand children, but it has decreased now. Below are summarized few folk-tales of Tripura:

 Two Sisters & Nuwai Birds A piece of pumpkin Furai
Old lady and her Iguana Love and Lighting  

The Nuwai birds and the two Sisters:

There lived a 'jhum' cultivator. His family consisted of his old parents, his wife and a daughter. The girl was still a very little one-not yet left her mother's lap. In such a state the wife of the cultivator left for her next world-the heaven. She was survived by her husband and the little daughter Kosomti'.

The cultivator was compelled to marry for the second time. There came another daughter in the cultivators family after one year. She was born with yellow complexion and, so, she was named Kormoti. Now Kosomti and Kormoti were two young sisters. They grew up and stepped to the age of marriage. The two had a hearty love for each other. They together worked in the house and in the 'jhum' fields.

The elder sister, Kosomti, was destined with black complexion. Her mentality was also not good. So, she being unable to stand herself against Kormoti, either in the work of 'Jhum' cultivation or iii the household activities became very jealous of Kormoti.

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It was then harvesting time of 'Jhum' crops. The crops were to be brought into house. The two sisters, one day went out to the 'Jhum' field with 'Langa' ( a kind of basket made of cane to be carried on head) on their heads. The younger sister, going to the 'Jhum' field, began to gather vegetables and fill her 'Langa'. On the other hand, the elder sister Kosomti, collected those special vegetables that drew her attention and cutting them with her 'bill hook' she began to eat them, and those which she could not eat were left scattered here and there. She did not keep any vegetable in her 'Langa'. But the 'langa' Kormoti, became filled up in a short time. Now it was time to return home wards. Kormoti asked her elder sister, "Sister" my langa is filled up. "What's about yours? Lets go home". Kosomti replied "Sister" you see. I am not getting any vegetable over here. How can I fill up my Langa? Your Langa, I see is over flowing. Do one thing, sister, you better give me some of your vegetables from your Langa. If not, so, what shall I show in the house sister Kormoti became very displeased with the reply of her elder sister, "No, sister I run not going to give you even a single vegetable, you've swallowed whatever you have found before your hand either green or ripen. Those, which you could not eat, left rejected. How can your Langa be filled up in this way. I want to eat with all the members of the house together and so I haven't eaten even one of the vegetables.'

Kosomti said "Why do you become angry? The load on your shoulder will be lighter if you give me a portion of vegetables from your Langa- You will practically not feel your Langa as troublesome as you feel flow'. Kormoti said -"Let jt be so, I am always in the habit of carrying such load, I will carry it today too and I will not give you even a bit of vegetable. You have now been in the habit of taking vegetable from my collection and you don't fill your langa, Truly I am saying, I am not giving you a single vegetable today.

Kosomti became very angry at the words of her younger sister, but restrained herself from talking anymore. The two sisters proceeded instantly towards their house. There flew a river a little ahead of their jhum land. They were to cross the river to each their house. Coming to the bank of the river Kosomti said to Kormoti "Let's Kormoti, have a rest here for a while". Their house was situated not so far off from the river. They used to bathe in that river every day-and carried drinking water from it. Kormoti too, agreed to her sister's proposal. Keeping their Langas under the shade of a tree, they set down to rest. It was a banyan tree under which Kormoti and Kosomti set. The tree stood very close to the river bank and its branches were stretched over the river. Suddenly Kosomti, pointing out to a branch hung down over the river, said, "Look, Look at it, Kosomti- how beautifully, the branch swings over the river. It will be pleasant to swing from it. Let's go to fetch a creeper." Kormoti collected a long creeper from the forest nearby, fastened it down very swiftly from the swinging branch and made a fine cradle. Now it was the turn of swinging. At first, Kosomti sat on the cradle and asked her sister, "Swing me Kormoti, but do it slowly, please. Be careful, otherwise, I may fall down". Kosomti went on swinging.

From beneath the tree Kormoti once said, "Sister, you have swung very much. Now you get down and let me swing. I wish to swing for a while." Kosomti came down. Kormoti got into it and Kosomti began to swing her. Kormoti, being afraid of falling down, said to her elder sister "sister, sister, swing me slowly, or else I may fall down". Kosomti was swinging the cradle and thinking within herself "I asked you to give me some vegetables, but you did not give. Now I will teach you a good lesson." Kosomti began to swing her violently. Kormoti, being too much afraid, cried out-"sister, don't Swing me so violently, I am about to fall down". Kosomti did not pay heed to her sister's appeal, rather she pushed her away abruptly and violently. Kormoti having jailed to control herself fell down into the river. A very big Bual fish lay there in the river water. It took her for a food and caught her in mouth. Kormoti did not have the time to try for an escape.

The river being aglow with the deep yellow complexion of Kormoti, turned into yellow colour. Kosomti, too could not think of such a happening. She became puzzled in the first instance. The next moment she managed to control herself and then she filled up her Langa with all the vegetables from that of Kormoti arid came back home. Her mother, seeing her alone, asked "you've returned alone, where is Kormoti?" Kosomti replied in an indifferent mood, "She's coming behind slowly. I've come fast for I am very hungry" Placing the Langa in one corner of the house, Kosomti quickly sat down to eat.

Kosomti's old grandmother went out to bathe in the river. Stepping into the water, she wondered! 'How strange, the water looks yellow today I've never seen it before! Perhaps, somebody have mixed turmeric in the water?"  The old lady took up some water on her hand. "No, nothing so yellow is left on my hand. Then where does so much colour in the water come from? The old lady didn't worry further about it. She took her bath and began to wash her clothes. But, strange it was; whenever the old woman beat her clothes against the wharf wood, a tone like that of Kormoti was heard saying 'Oh, grandmother, your beating hits me on leg". The grand mother looked around for a while. No one came to her sight. She again began to beat her clothes heavily against the wharf-wood. Somebody was again heard saying, "Oh, grandmother, your beating hurts me on my chest." The grandmother stopped in wonder. Now she moved at a little distance and began to beat her clothes. This time too, someone was heard saying in a pitiful voice. "Oh grandmother, now your beating hits me on the head." Once-twice-thrice someone was heard saying the same again and again in the same voice. The grandmother moved her eyes all around, but she found none. Yet the grandmother doubted, "Its none bu Kormoti." She asked in a hurry, Kormoti, where are you talking from I can't make Out anything". "Kormoti replied in low voice, "Here grandmother, I am here. 1 am talking from inside a sheat fish laying under the wharf." No sooner had the grandmother heard it then she removed the wood of the wharf and a large Bual came to her sight. The fish swallowed up Kormoti but her head was still outside. The fish was unable to move after swallowing the human body. The old woman, with all her efforts pulled the fish up on the bank.

Now, Kormoti might die soon if she was not removed from the fish's belly. The old woman called out the old man loudly from the river bank to come with a bill hook. The old man hurried to the spot with the bill hook, and the old man with great care made an operation in the belly of the fish and took Kormoti out. Kormoti, lying in the fish belly, was about to die. After a little while, Kormoti recovered her sense and told her grandmother weeping all that happened to her. The grandmother's anger then showered upon Kosomti. "This devil should be punished severely. She intended to kill Kormoti today. Luckily, I came here this time to bathe or else Kormoti must have died in the belly of the fish". The grandmother catching hold of her grand daughter's hand walked slowly towards the house.

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Stepping into the house, the old woman started calling her son and Kosomti. She called her son and said, "Ask your vagabond daughter Kosomti to tell you what she has done today. Fortunately I went to bathe at that moment; otherwise Kormoti might have died today. The lady narrated to her son all that happened. Everybody then began to scold Kosomti who being afraid of all the inmates, took shelter in one corner of the house and began to weep.

Kosomti's father was very angry with his daughter for what she had done. At that time he, without saying any word to her, promised within to punish her severely. He even forbade all others to tell her anything.

Next day, before it was dawn, Kosomti's father collected a bundle of bamboos and built up a big cage. The cage was so strong and so big that a person could stand within it upright at ease. When the cage was ready to serve its purpose, Kosomti's father sent for her and when she came, he said "Kosomti, go inside the cage and see if you can stand upright". Kosomti could not make out the plan behind it and no sooner did she enter the cage than her father shut the cage door. Horrified at it, Kosomti cried out and wept. But this could not soften her father's mind to the least. The cage door was tied up more tightly with a rope and hung from a branch of the big tree standing in their courtyard. From inside the cage, Kosomti, weeping, entreated her father to free her from it. The father did not pay any heed to her daughter's entreaties. He rather began to scold, "Vagabond, the devil, you conspired to kill Kormoti. Now, you've to get the punishment. I shall let you die bit by bit of starvation. Let me see, who comes forward tÝ save you" Nobody responded to her pathetic weeping.

Kosomti went on spending her days in the cage. She was to endure all, such as, the sun rays of the day time and unbearable cold in the nights. Kormoti requested her mother, grandmother and all, one by one to free Kosomti. But none, afraid of her father, came forward to free her from the cage, Kosomti was denied even a drop of water in her thirst and food in her severe hunger. As days passed on, she became weaker and more hungry and thirsty than before. One day as it dawned, all the inmates of the house set out for their individual work in the jhum land, only Kormoti, was left alone to look after the house. Kosomti having such an opportunity called Kormoti and said "Kormoti, bring me some water, sister, I am going to die without it, I might have committed an offence to you. Please pardon for it.

Kormoti loved her elder sister very earnestly. She shed tears for her elder sister. Hiding herself away from her parents, she dared not do anything for the fear of her lather. That day, as she had an opportunity she fastened some rice and little water in a pot at the top of a long bamboo and passed them to Kosomti. While giving those Kormoti said, "Sister, you must not tell anybody that I have given you food. Then I shall be thrown to my fate as yours now. Kosomti responded "How can it be sister, I had ill fate and that is why, I am suffering so much and I shall by no means, lead you to similar fate." After many days Kosomti got her throat wet and she seemed to have regained her life. Kormoti kept her elder sister alive giving her food and water off and in such a way that none could see. No one in the house could know of it.

At noon, when all the members of the house left for jhum field, Kosomti then looked forwards to the remote blue sky. She could hardly turn her sight forward to the sky in the sun rays. Yet, she gazing at the "Nowai birds," flying in one corner of the sky would think in herself if she could fly in the blue sky like those birds, "My god, thou bestowest me the wings & strength to fly high tip in the sky like those birds."

Kosomti was sitting in her cage one day. Accidentally a pitiful tune .f a song came out from her lips in her ignorance. She told the birds flying in the remote sky in a rhythmic tune-

i) Oh, my nowai birds,
Look at me.
Bring me feathers,
For, in the blue sky
 I intend to fly.

 The hearts of the nowai birds melt, as they heard the tragic song of Kosomti. They came down in group and each of them gave her a single feather. Kosomti thus got a lot of feathers and kept them arranged in order in one corner of the cage.

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Al a silent noon, next day, Kosomti again implored the nowai birds in her pitiful tune-

ii) Oh my nowai birds,
 Pick me up.
 Bring me some beaks,
For nowai birds I wish to be.

 The nowai birds responded to her song today also. They came down and each of them gave her a single beak, Kosomti collected them and kept them in order.

Next noon-Kosomti again implored the nowai birds-

iii) Oh my dear, my nowai birds, Pick me up,
Bring me some nails,
For, up high in the blue sky
I wish to fly.

 That day each of the nowai birds gave her a single nail. Kosomti arranged even these nails in order.

Now some thread was needed. Her father being absent in the house, Kosomti requested her step mother for a needle and some thread. The stop mother did not pay any attention to her request. She rather turned her face to the other side. Having failed to move her mother she demanded the same to her aunt. Her aunt, too said, "Ask your 'pishi' and she went away. All had left for their respective work saying her same thing. In the meantime one day she got her grandmother alone, and entreated her for a needle and some thread. The grandmother's heart got softened by Kosomti's earnest entreaty. She found out a broken needle and some thread and handed them over to Kosomti.

Kosomti even though she was overwhelmed with grief, was now pleased a little. Now she gathered the feathers, the nails and the beaks given to her by the nowai birds and made a fine dress of a nowai bird by needling them with thread. When this dress was made up one day, at noon, when all set out to work in the jhum field, Kosomti put this dress on lightly for a trial. But what a wonder it was. As soon as she wore the dress, she felt immense strength in her body, as if she was really a nowai bird.

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Now it was her turn to fly out of the cage. One day Kosomti put on that dress tightly, and as she felt herself a nowai bird, she broke the cage into pieces by pecking splashing, and nailing it with her beak, nails and feathers. Who was there to keep Kosomti captive now? She, flying by means of the two wings, sat on a tree. Her heart leaped up with joy of freedom. She wits moving here and there, flying over her house. And inviting the nowai birds flying in the remote sky, she said

(iv)Wait-wait a little
In this sky
And pick me up.
Give me strength in my wings,
For, in the blue sky
I will fly.

Kosomti broke the cage already and came out and she was flying in the sky like a bird. All gathered in their courtyard to see their Kosomti in the form of a bird. Kosomti's parents looked up to the sky and requested her again and again to come back. In response to their words, Kosomti said, "You did not feed me in my hunger. I did not have single drop o water from you in my thirst. I have got only scolding and rude words. You have understood it very well now that you can no more keep me locked up. Are you now calling me to come back to you for this only?

The birds flying in the blue sky are dearer to me than you. I like to fly with them. I had no intention to kill Kormoti. Her fate being ill, the Bual fish had swallowed her in. But you did not try to understand it.

Now, to Kormoti, Kosomti said, "Sister, Kormoti I will never forget what you have done for me. It is you who have saved me from hunger with food and from thirst with water. May god bless you. I wish that you may get yourself married to a good husband. You will be happy. You are a girl of turmeric complexion. The river water too turned into turmeric colour when you plunged into it. So, the river has been named after your body colour.

Invoked by Kosomti, the nowai birds began to fly here and there over their house. Now Kosomti would also fly with them. Before her departure she called Kormoti and said her the last words, 'Sister, you go back to the house. I shall now rise up in the blue sky and breathe in a horizon of freedom and safety."

Kosomti's parents eagerly requested to her daughter, "Please daughter Kosomti, do not flay away leaving us behind, we shall never punish you again come back for once.'

Kosomti replied again from the roof top, 'Mother and father, if you want to see me come back, then keep the cake and water in the roof top of house at the time of 'Hangrai', (that is Sankrati) I shall come flying and take a meal of it.' Among Tripuri this fact is substantiated by the visiting of nowai (pelican) during winter season in India.

Kosomti's parents and all others were gazing at the disappearance of Kosomtii, with tears in their eyes Kosomti too, while going away flying with the nowai birds, said,

"O, the nowai birds of the remote sky,
Up in the remote sky you go
Pass all the feaces out
Off their bodies below."

  The Old Lady and her Iguana:

It's a story of long past. There was a prosperous village. Almost all the villager owned some land in that village. Those who did not own any land, used to work as daily labourers in other's land. They maintained their livelihood earning wages as labourers. So none of the villagers suffered from any crisis.

In this village an old lady lived in a small hut built on a small tilla (hillock) in the corner of that village, She had none of her own. Everyday she used to go out at break of day for begging. But every day she would beg only in three houses.

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There lived a big iguana in a hole beside the courtyard of the house of that old woman. The old woman loved that iguana very much. Everyday after her begging she would scatter some rice at the courtyard for that iguana. Till the iguana ate the rice the old lady would not start cooking. One day on the occasion of a marriage of the daughter of a rich man of the village, all the villagers were invited, no one was omitted. Even the father of the daughter had personally invited the old lady. The father of the daughter had brought all the youths of the village to work and distributed duties among them accordingly. The day before the wedding all the villagers assembled at the wedding house.

Sitting on the varanda of the house the old woman was thinking on the previous day that the next day was the wedding day. But to attend the wedding what clothes she would wear! Only two Rignai (garment) were there in the house. These were also dirty. Some places on the rignai were torn due to displacement of the fibers. Would it be wise, she thought, to go to the wedding wearing this type of cloth? At this time the iguana had come out to take his meal. But towards him she had no attention, she did not go to beg that day. She was thinking and thinking. At last she decided that she would bring a good rignai from a known house situated down the tilla and would return the rignai after the wedding day. She therefore thought not to go out to beg on the day. The day would somehow pass with the remaining rice at the house. Thinking so she stood up from the Varanda. All on a sudden her eyes fell on the iguana. She saw the iguana entering the hole, only the tail of it came to her sight. Seeing so, the old woman brought some rice from the house and scattered them while she remained standing nearby. But the iguana did not come out from the hole to eat. At this her mind was upset. Today she had no scope to cook, because if the iguana did not eat she was also to remain unfed. After standing there for sometime, she went back home with sorrow. The old woman peeped at from the house whether the iguana had taken its food or not. But she found the rice scattered on the same spot. The iguana had not taken anything. That meant that at night also she was to remain unfed.

On the other hand the boys of the village had settled that they would make the altar of the marriage all through the night. So at night all had began to work for alter. As night passed a bit, the father had sent wine and pork for to eat at time of working. In the midst of these, a boy told "We will not take drinks only with pork as it is a day of pleasure. I will eat a meat of the sort that I have not taken for a longtime. Is there anybody else amongst you who can provide us with this type of meat meant for.  Having heard his word all had started thinking. What type of meat was this that they had riot eaten for long! All were drowned in thinking hut nobody could find the type of meat meant for. Suddenly one of them shouted in pleasure 'Yes Yes ! I can recall ! Many days are gone we have not eaten any iguana's meat. Let us have some iguana's meat today" Another boy told-"but at dead of night from where will we have iguana"? The one who spoke first, told this time-"If you are able to catch and kill, then I can say the whereabouts of that iguana". Then all had cried out in chorus. 'Alright, Alright, you tell us where that iguana resides, we will catch it and kill it for the purpose.

The boy told then-"Beside our village where an old woman lives on a small tilla (hill), there lives an iguana in a big hole beside the courtyard of her house. That one is big in size and if you desire you can kill and have that one. But beware the old woman by no means should get a hint of it. If she conms to know there shall be no way. The old woman keeps watch over it like the wealth of yakshas". Then another boy told-"Is it wise to kill the iguana when the old woman takes so much care of it and loves it so much 7".

All the other then told-"lt is only an iguana. What is the harm done to the old woman if the iguana is killed. Let us kill and bring that silently". It was dead of night. At a distance the foxes were yelling, It was pitchy dark. One was going ahead showing the path with a bamboo made burning flambeau. When they reached the house of the old woman then an owl had hooted harshly. They had found out after much searching, the hole of that iguana. Thereafter one of them had started piercing in the whole with a long pointed bamboo. After a while the iguana came out from the hole full of cuts and wounds. And as soon as the iguana came out they beheaded it with a chopper. All left the place then with the iguana. The next moment the owl had hooted again in a rough tone. With that hooting the old woman woke up from her sleep with au alarm. With an unknown fear her mind crumbled. A pernicious fear had occupied her mind. But she did not get a smell of the misdeed that took place outside her house. Again she fell asleep.

The boys then cut the iguana into piece and after roasting it in fire began to eat with wine in delight. As they had become intoxicated with wine, a)) drooped down gradually at their places. They were no longer in a condition to work. Gradually the night advanced toward day break.

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While tie operation, to kill the iguana took place the old lady was in deep sleep. Now the old woman had suddenly woke up at a call as if some body was telling her-"Old woman, old woman, get up quickly and run away from here". The old woman got up from sleep horrified and looked all around to find nothing of the kind. She was wondering as to who could be there to cad her that way. "May be I was dreaming"-she thought but she could not drive away fear from her mind. Who might have called hc in that fashion. Tossing on her bed in anxieties over the matter she finally fell in sleep again. But after a while the same thing happened. This limo us if telling with hot haste--"oh; old woman are you still sleeping. (Jot up quickly, Runaway, hurriedly ; Half part of the village has almost come to an end

If you like to survive' run away this moment". Again the old women got up and as frightened. The same thing in exactly the same way cannot ho repeated-she thought. "What an inauspicious word ; what does it mean, that half part of the village has almost come to an end? No, this lime he will sit up late at night. Let it be observed. Whether same thing happened again or not. The same thing again happened. This time she had heard it distinctly as if somebody was telling her "old woman, Oh old woman are you sitting still? Don't you have any love for life Do you want to die r [ho entire village is going to be destructed. Your house too will be washed away. If you like to save your life then run away this moment from here. Are you not hearing the roaring sound which is approaching fast Run away, run away quickly". The old woman then exclaimed as she was startled with fear-"Who are you to frighten me in this way? Are you man, or ghost or a god, Who are you?"

The old woman heard the reply "I am not a man, nor a ghost or a god, I m your that iguana. The boys of the wedding house have killed me this night and they have eaten my meat along with wine with pleasure. For that very reason the entire village will be smashed by my curse within this night. I will immerse the entire village under water. Hence forth a big lake will appear here instead of the village. Only a post of this house will stand above the water as if to remind others of the existence of it one time. So you run away this very moment".

At that moment the old woman heard a big roar. As if the sea was rolling fast towards her. What a big roar. Hearing this, the old woman became very much nervous. Instantly without further delay, the old woman began to man through the rear passage of the house. It seemed to her as if a huge cobra was running behind her raising its hundreds or thousands of heads. Running at a great speed she reached the adjacent village at the dead of night and no sooner had she entered the veranda of a house she fell down unconscious. At dawn when the householder opened the door he saw this old lady lying in unconscious state. He brought her in and had her nursed with much care. After a while, for intensive care of that householder the old woman recovered her senses. She, then still panicky; narrated to him iii a frail voice of the havoc that took over. The householder then along wilh the villagers set out for the spot to ascertain the matter which he learnt from the old woman. The spot bore the evidences to testify the report of that old woman. They all became astonished, and alarmed. There was no Sigh of the village nor the dwellers only unfathomable water spread all around. They became surprised. Nothing was visible except the top of a post which remained erected a little higher than the level of the water. The post was of that house where the work was going on in connection with the daughter's marriage of a rich person.

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 A Piece of Pumpkin:

There were two sisters married in the neighbouring village. The younger of them was very rich-possessing immense wealth and gold. The elder sister us in the opposite state-very poor and earned her livelihood by begging from door to door.

One day the elder sister visited the younger sister's house with a mind of getting some help from her. The younger sister offered her a piece of pumpkin and some rice at best to make a meal. She offered nothing more than that. The younger sister notwithstanding her wealthy position was never compassionate or sympathetic to her sister and being very selfish and crooked thought to get some services from her sister in return of the 'help' she had offered.

The younger sister asked the elder sister to sit with her and requested to bring out the lice from her head. She first looked into the elder sister's head. The elder sister being very poor could not oil and comb her hair and the younger sister brought out some lice from them. Now the younger sister bent lowered her head but the elder sister failed to find any house. The younger sister started combing her hair and suddenly discovered lice fall from her count. On seeing it she thought within herself that the elder sister had no mind to find the lice and thus had deceived her. She thought that her sister was beside herself with the rice sufficing a meal and in no mood to do what she had been asked to. She therefore meditated to revenge this indifference to her request and being angry took away the piece of pumpkin from her. She did not stop here, she had driven away her sister by the back door on the pleat if she leaves by the front door, it would augur bad for her children. The elder sister thus insulted and humiliated left the house in silence anguished within and with lean stepped forward for home.

All the way she was weeping and thinking of her starving children awaiting eagerly her return with something to feed them. Hastily she collected the leaves and roots of some vegetation from the road side hedges to boil them for the children. Coming home she dressed the roots and leaves und put into a bowel-at least these will relieve them slightly from the pervading appetite. She felt very tired after the days walking and from hunger and could not help accusing her fate for all her miseries and after a while fell into a slumber beside the boiling bowel. In her slumber she dreamt ri wonderful dream. God has appeared to console her saying, 'O my sweet child, I have been very much pained in seeing your wretched state from above. You get up and find I have converted all your vegetables into gold, what more I can do for you my child."

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"Take the gold and sell them to live happily with your children. She was startled to get up and to her utter surprise found all roots in the bowel have really become gold -as per her dream. She immediately went out to sell out them and in no time became very rich. She had changed her whole state and made everything rich.

But she could not forget the behavior her sister had done to her in driving out from her house. By the grace of god today she was no longer in her old state and now got a chance to retaliate the insult. She sent an invitation to her younger sister to visit her house and see them for herself She had already learnt from people of her elder sister's changed state and on getting the invitation she came to the elder sister's house to see for herself' whether she had become wealthier than herself. The younger sister was very happy and delighted to see the elder sister's gold and other wealth. The two sisters spent the whole day together conversing all throughout and ate together. Coming to her house the younger sister also sent an invitation to the elder sister to come to her house. The elder sister was awaiting this chance only. She came one day to her sister's house. She came adorned with all her golden ornaments in a horse cart. As she reached there, the younger sister came running out of her room to receive her. But the elder sister entered through the back door by which she was once driven away.

When the lunch time came, she was offered variety of delicious foodstuff. The elder sister looked at them and did not pick up a single item to her mouth. She touched the utensils several times with her costly ornaments and came out from there by the back door. Seeing her leave iii that way the younger sister entreated, "Why have you not taken anything-sister" The elder sister replied promptly from the gate "When I visited your house in my wretched state, I had no gold ornament and good clothes, that time you took away the piece of pumpkin you had offered as alms and to insult me drove me away through the back door saying that had I been allowed do pass by the front door it would augur bad for your children. You did all these since I was poor. But now? You are showing so much care and love not to me as I possess now gold and wealth. It appears that you are showing love not to me but to my wealth. And for that I have taken nothing from the dish and come back out touching the food stuff with my ornaments," saying so the elder sister got into conveyance and came back. The younger sister was thus pay back with the same coin.

Furai

The headman of the village called Wamlang made gala preparations for the marriage of his beautiful young daughter Chhiaree. The bridegroom was named Diaree, a young man of indomitable energy and strength. The stage was all set, and in a few moments Chhiaree was to embrace Diaree in her wedlock. The friends and relations were agog with joy and merriment. The gaily decorated giggling Tripuri girls were moving about glancing at their lovers. Feasts, dances and religious rites were going on as usual as necessary components of the ceremony. Rejoicing was at its height when suddenly the sound of Furai was heard heralding the presence of Kuki enemy in the village. The young bridegroom Diaree who was in his rich wedding dress quickly put it aside, wiped off the sandal paste from his forehead and soon got ready to join the fight. Furai-call now seemed to be very close; war drums were beaten to ask for people's sacrifice for safeguarding the country's honour. Diaree joined the battle and fought valiantly against the Kukis for seven days. The Kukis were eventually humbled, thanks to Diaree's valour. On his way back after the victory, Diaree yielded to the charms of a village belle, being oblivious of his newly-wed wife Chhiaree, who in the village was passing her days in heart-breaking agony and desolation and was waiting anxiously for her husband's safe return. Meanwhile the Prince of the country sought to marry Chhiaree. The young lady turned down the proposal with utter contempt. When the prince threatened to take her by force, she fled from the village, climbed to a hill top and jumped from there. A raven caught hold of her and flew her to Diaree. Learning about it all, the young man took arms against the Prince and brought him low. Chhiaree and Diaree thereafter lived happily in the village.

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Love and Lightnings

In a village situated beside a rushing brook on the slope of a hill lived a man named Champarai, his wife Khulumati and their son Nugurai, a young man of indomitable energy and physical strength. One day Khulumati had gone for a bath in the brook, while her son was busy on the jhoom field. She saw the body of a young girl floating in the strong current of the hilly river where swimming was hazardous. She called her son Nugurai who immediately rushed to the spot; instantly he jumped into the stream, swam and rescued the girl. Nugurai then took her to his house, sent for his uncle Chadrai Sardar who was an ojha (a quack). The latter declared that the girl was still alive. Medicine was applied and the water flushed out of her body. She was saved Khulumati who had no daughter, brought her up bestowing all her love on the girl. Nugurai's parents could not get any clue to the parentage of the girl, and when they were charmed by the pleasant behaviour of the girl, they did not show any curiosity either. As months rolled by, Nugurai fell in love with the girl, Nakhapili. The village girls often used to tell her about the finer traits of Nugurai' s character, how he had risked his life to save her and how he tenderly carried her to his hut. Nakhapili started looking askance at Nugurai who did not take long to get the message of her eyes. But the village girls soon became jealous of Nakha. They made no secret of their attachment to Nugurai. Nugurai, now in deep love with Nakha, would rush home from the jhoom field on one pretext or another. Sometimes he would ask for drinks. She would hand over the bamboo funnel with home-brewed wine and their fingers would touch and remain locked for a while. Nugurai's parents who were already looking for a bride agreed to accept Nakha though with some initial hesitation as the parentage of the girl was not yet clear to them. And that itself brought tragedy into this folk tale.

On the wedding day, the whole village came to the celebration. The wedding platform (Haya) was beautifully decorated with flowers. The priest (Achai) was busy supervising the ritual part of the ceremony. Meat and wine were served to the guests. Rejoicing was at its peak when a cousin of Champarai with his wife and daughter arrived. The daughter identified Nakha as her step-sister who was supposed to have committed suicide by jumping into the river. When told that the bride was related to them, Khulumati and Champ arai called off the marriage in obedience to the age-old custom which did not allow an intra-gotra wedding.

Nakha and Nugurai were shocked and dumbfounded. Nakha began to weep; both tore off their marriage apparel and wiped off the sandal paste from their foreheads. To escape from the ignominious catastrophe, they left the house at dead of night and started their life anew in a nearby village with the warmth and vigour of a newly married life. But alas, this time too fate did not favour them. After a few months, Champarai came and pleaded with his son to return home and get married as the present marriage was against the sanction of social custom and law. The words came as a bombshell to the young couple. Nugurai refused to oblige his father. Khulumati's wrath fell upon the girl and she let loose a torrent of abuse. Nakha silently listened to the abuse. Slowly she bowed down and touched her feet and said, "You are my mother, now that I have lost my mother's love and she wants me to die, die I shall. Do bless me that in my next birth I shall get again your son as my husband." With these words Nakha ran down the hill slopes, Nugurai ran after her. There was a deep ravine, and a small stream ran winding down the slope. Nakha jumped from the edge of the ravine, Nagu followed her. But instead of going down Nakha moved upwards and Nugurai followed her up in the sky which was soon covered with dark clouds. Soon there was a thunderous noise in the sky. Everybody including the parents of the boy witnessed the strange happenings. Even today whenever dark clouds thunder in the sky, the Tripuri villagers fondly remember their Nugurai and Nokhapili and their abiding love.

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