A long time ago in Manipur there was a very brave and courageous tribal hunter named Ngamtawan. He was a bachelor. Every day, accompanying his faithful dog he went to the jungles and killed several wild animals. All the heads of wild animals, the ruthless Ngamtawan had killed were put on display on the wall of his house. He thought that the heads on display had attracted the visitors.
One day, in his hunting expedition on the edge of the jungles, he did not find any wild animal. So he had to carry out the hunting expedition in the deep jungles.
On his way, he found a small hilly village inhabited by a particular tribal people. The tribals in this village could transfigure themselves either into humans or into ferocious tigers. They were known by other tribal people living in the adjoining village as “Half tiger, Half human beings.” Another particular thing of the village is that they (tribals) had rendered their home work in the form of human beings but when going out of their village, they transformed into a tiger.
When any tribal of this village got angry, they roared like a tiger. In this village, there lived a very beautiful tribal girl named Keinu. She was the only daughter of the tribal village chief. She was also a very hard working girl. One day, while Keinu was working her handloom, the brave Ngamtawan, on his way to the hunting expedition met her.
Seeing the beautiful face and graceful nature of the tribal girl working, Ngamtawan was madly in love with her. For him, it was indeed love at first sight. He was attracted by the girl and wanted her to be his wife. Ngamtawan had cancelled his hunting that day and came back to his village as soon as possible.
Upon his reaching home, he requested his parents to go to the residence of the tribal village chief and made a request for making an arranged marriage with Keinu. Little did Ngamtawan think that the beautiful girl whom he loved very much could transfigure into either a human being or a tiger? After a series of negotiation between the two tribal villages and its chief, Ngamtawan and his lover united in marriage.
Now Keinu was at the residence of her husband. But natural instinct of the particular tribal village was still in her. One day, Ngamtawan had killed seven beasts and brought them back to his house. He was very happy and wanted to arrange a great grand feast in honour of his wife’s family members and relatives. A large number of invitees who came to take part in the grand feast were surprised when they saw the heads put on display on the wall of Ngamtawan’s house.
Though the varieties of dishes were tasty and delicacies, the invitees had taken their food items half-heartedly. While taking some rest, some of the guests were whispering and talking in low voices. At night, they woke up slowly and steadily and approached the wall where the heads were put on displays. And then, they began to see the heads and touched them remembering their near and dear ones. They cried with tears in their eyes.
Some of them said, “Oh! My elder brother, Oh! Younger sister and Oh! father-in-law! All of your heads are put on display. All of you fell prey at the hands of this ruthless hunter Ngamtawan.”
While Ngamtawan was asleep because of his tiredness in the expedition, his younger sister heard the mourning of the visitors at the dead of the night. She knew that the guests were not human beings. Then she began trembling but she controlled her fear.
While the guests were crying and paying tribute to the heads of their relatives, Ngamtawan was awoken by a very soft voice of his sister. She tricked her brother to come outside so as to take a vigil while she was answering the call of nature. Ngamtawan who had nodded reluctantly was told about the prevailing situation inside the house. At last, he was told by his sister that the guest are not human beings. They appeared to be beasts.
Ngamtawan was in hesitation but said himself, “I must take care from them.” Next day, after the morning meals were given to the fulfilment of the guests, Ngamtawan had requested his father-in-law to herd the pigs from the stys for killing and arranging the pork for the dishes of the night meals. His father-in-law in his attempt to herd the pig had roared like a tiger.
The pigs in fear had run out of their stys. On hearing the roar of the tribal village chief at the stys, all the visitors rushed to the stys and roared like tigers. They in masses produced their natural instincts. The courageous Ngamtawan who already made his preplan for this matter had used his bow and arrows against the roaring visitors. He killed all the invitees.
Even though her parents, brothers, sisters and relatives lost their lives at the hands of her brave husband, Keinu pretended to not care for the dead. But in the core of her heart, she wanted sweet revenge from her husband. She was waiting for her time for revenge. So she pretended to be ill for several days. She asked her husband to do many hard tasks which, she presumed, would be impossible for Ngamtawan. But the brave and courageous Ngamtawan could have performed the hunting task easily and several wild animals and its heads were presented to his wife as a token of love.
But Keinu still had been dreaming of killing her husband. One day, Keinu requested her husband to kill the white bear and bring back it’s liver. She said, “Eating of the white bear’s liver will recover my ill health very soon.” Ngamtawan to fulfil the demand of his lovely wife went from place to place, village to village and hill to hill to launch the white bear hunting expedition. As usual, he was accompanied by his devoted dog.
At last, he used all his hunting skills, he had killed a white bear at the edge of a tall mountain. After bringing back the liver of the white bear, a large stone had run down from atop the mountain towards him. Incidentally, Ngamtawan was trapped in the mountain slopes and injured badly. Before dying, he asked his faithful dog, to tell his parents about the sad news. The dog was again asked to use his faithful gesture and signals in telling the shocking news. The dog rushed towards his master’s home.
The devoted dog upon reaching his home sat on the tip of the broom being used every day for cleaning and clearing the floor of the house. Ngamtawan’s parents and sisters were surprised about the gesture and signal performed by their dog who was pulling the broom towards the way which Ngamtawan had earlier gone for the bear hunting. All the family members and several villagers, presumed that their brave and courageous hunter died in the white bear hunting expedition.
Keinu on hearing the news was happy. She thought that she had revenge for killing her parents and relatives. Keinu treated Ngamtawan’s faithful dog very badly. She had many times beat the animal. Unable to bear the torture of his mistress, the dog, one day had bitten her on her leg and went away from the house. Later, the dog led a jungle life.
After a few years, the dog transformed its body into a wolf. The offspring of the wolf had killed animals in the jungle. They took out the liver of the killed animals and baked it in the sunshine near a tree. The Hmar tribals believe that the liver baked near the tree was dedicated to their master Ngamtawan.
The folk tale of the Hmars.
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