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Folk-Tales, Traditions and Superstitions


The Khasis possess a considerable amount of folk-lore. The tales which will be found reproduced in the original Khasi have been obtained from a collection which was in the possession of the Rev. Dr. Roberts, of Cherrapunji, who very kindly placed it at my disposal. The translations are by U Nissor Singh, Sub-Inspector of Schools, and the author of a Khasi English Dictionary as well as certain other educational works in that language. Dr. Roberts’s collections would fill a book; so I have selected only a few of what I consider typical tales. At the instance of Sir Charles Lyall, I have given the Khasi and English side by side. The stories will speak for themselves, but I add a few explanatory notes. The water-fall of Ka Likai is a magnificent cascade in the rainy season; it can best be viewed from the heights of Laitkynsew. The water-fall is situated close to the village of Nongriat, which is approached by a succession of stone steps from the village of Tyrna, just below the Charrapunji Laitkynsew bridle-path. “Dingiei,” which is mentioned in the second tale, is the high hill to be seen on the right-hand side of the Shillong-Cherrapunji road soon after leaving Shillong. The highest point of the range is over 6,000 ft. The third tale contains the well-known story of Ka Pah Syntiew, the fabled ancestress of the Khyrim and Mylliem Siem families. The cave where Ka Pah Syntiew is said to have made her abode is still to be seen in the neighbourhood of Nongkrem. The story of the origin of the Siems of Suhtnga, who afterwards became the Rajas of Jaintiapur, is a well-known tale in the Jaintia Hills. A description of the wonderful mass of granite known by the name of the Kyllang Rock will be found in the section of the monograph which deals with geographical distribution. I have also added a photograph of the rock. The Syntengs have a story that when the strong west wind blows in the spring this is due to the advent of U Kyllang, who comes to visit his wife, the river Umngot, at that season: amongst the Khasis hills are all of them masculine, but to rivers is usually attributed the feminine gender. U Symper is another isolated rocky eminence rising from the Maharam plain close to the village of K’mawan. The best view of the hill is obtainable from Laitmawsiang on the path to Mawsynram. The village of Mawsmai every traveller from Therria to Cherrapunji knows. It is chiefly remarkable for a fairly large limestone cave, and its fine memorial stones. The Khasi theory to explain how the moon got its spots is, I believe, original, but is no more extraordinary than our own nursery tale about the “man in the moon.” The Sohpet Byneng hill is the first hill of any size that the traveller sees on the Gauhati road when journeying to Shillong. It is close to Umsning Dak Bungalow. There are caves in the hill which are tenanted by bears. Strange to say, according to Khasi ideas, this is one of the highest points in the hills; in reality Sophet Byneng is some 2,000 ft. lower than the Shillong Peak. As mentioned elsewhere, the Khasis are very fond of dogs; so I have given their version of how the dog came to live with man. The well-known thlen superstition will be found fully described under the heading of “Human sacrifices.” I have, however, thought the tale of sufficient interest to reproduce at length here. The story of the river Rupatylli is a pretty tale, and is just such a one as would appeal to the imagination of mountaineers like the Khasis. The Kopili story is important, in that it indicates the origin of human sacrifices in the Jaintia Hills; it also throws, perhaps, some light on the question of the use to which the flat table memorial stones were put in years gone by. The superstition about the crossing of the Kopili can be vouched for by many, who have taken the journey from the Jaintia Hills to North Cachar by the Kopili route. Mawpunkyrtiang is a small village close to Cherrapunji. The weird tale about the Siem of Malyniang is the pride of the Maskut people, for in olden days their King, i.e. the Siem of Malyniang, is supposed to have been a very powerful monarch amongst the Khasis. The story of Manick Raitong is interesting, in that it explains the origin of the use of the sharati, a bamboo flute of special make which is played only at funerals. The pool of water, which was formed after U Manick and the erring queen were burnt, may be connected with the Umkoi, or tank, which is dug to cleanse the souls of those who have died violent deaths. The idea of the bamboo, which bore leaves that grew upside-down, springing up from the buried flute, is also to be found in the Synteng tale regarding U Loh Ryndi’s fishing rod. Owing to considerations of space, I have had to curtail largely the folk-lore section. I have, however, kept the materials by me, and if at any future time there is reason to believe that the reproduction of more Khasi folk-lore is called for, I shall be glad to try to arrange that some of the other folk-tales be printed.

The Water-Fall of Ka Likai.

The water-fall of Ka Likai is one of the most beautiful water-falls in the Khasi Hills. Its stream flows from a certain river from the village of Rangjirteh and passes by the village of Nongriat. The fall can be seen distinctly from the village of Laitkynsew. What a beautiful fall it is when viewed in the autumn. It is also a very high fall. There was in olden days in the village of Rangjirteh a woman called Ka Likai. She was a poor woman who had a husband. When she had given birth to a child, the husband died. Whilst the child was yet a baby, she experienced much trouble in taking care of it on account of her poverty. After the child was able to walk, what a pleasure it was to her to see it growing, and able to play with other children. Then that woman married another man; but he did not love the little child, and many a time he got angry because she could not take care of him more, on account of that child.

One day when she went to carry iron ore, her husband took the child and killed it. When he had cut up the body into pieces, he prepared curry with it and placed the curry where the mother would come and eat it. When he had finished doing so, he threw the head and the bones of the child far away, but he forgot to throw away the fingers, which he had placed in a basket where the betel-nut was kept. When the mother returned from her journey, she inquired “Where is the child?” “She has just gone somewhere, I don’t know where,” he said. She remained silent awhile; then she said, “Is there any rice and curry?” He said “Yes, it is ready,” and went out at the same time. When she ate, she found the curry very tasty, and she thought that he had got the flesh of a young pig from some one who had performed a sacrifice. When she had finished eating, she took up the betel-nut basket, but found the fingers of her child there. She shrieked and threw herself down, and then ran to the precipice and cast herself down it. All the villagers wondered, but no one ventured to prevent her as she held a da in her hand. From that time the waterfall was called the “Fall of Ka Likai.”

Ka Kshaid Ka Likai.

Ka kshaid-ka-Likai ka long kawei ka kshaid ha ri Khasi kaba itynnad shibun eh. Ka wan tuid na kawei ka wah ha ka shnong Rangjirteh kaba wan hap ha ka shnong Nongriat. Ia kane ka kshaid lah ban ioh-i bha na ka shnong Laitkynsew. Katno ka long kaba i-tynnad lada khmih ia ka ha ka por synrai. Ka long ruh kaba jrong shibun eh. La don kawei ka briew ha ka shnong Rangjirteh hyndai kaba kyrteng ka Likai. Kane ka briew ka long kaba duk bad ka la don u tnga, te ynda la kha iwei i khun kynthei uta i tnga u la iap noh. Hamar ka por ha dang lung ita I khun ka la shitom shibun ban sumar ha ka jinglong duk jong ka. Te ynda i la nangiaid katno, ka la sngewbha ban ioh-i ia la i khun ba i la shait, bad ba i la nang ba’n leh kai bad ki para khynnah. Te kane ka briew ka la shongkurim bad uwei pat u briew; hynrei uta u’m ieit ia ita i khun, bad katno ba u la jiw sngew bitar ba ka’m lah ban khreh ba’n sumar ia u na ka bynta ita i khun.

Te ha kawei ka sngi ba ka leit kit nongnar, uta u tnga u la shim ia ita i khun bad u la pyniap noh. Bad haba u la ot u la shet jintah ia ka doh jong i, u la buh ruh ha ka jaka ba ka’n wan bam ka kmie; bad ynda u la dép kumta baroh u la leit bred noh ia ka khlih bad ki shyieng sha jngai, hynrei ia ki shimpriahti ba u la buh ha ka shang kwai u’m kynmaw shuh ban leit bred. Haba la wan ka kmie na kata ka jingleit ka la kylli, “hangno ka khun”? “Tip ei, u ong, shano ka leit kai myntan.” Ka shu sngap noh bad ka ong “La don ja don jintah ne em” u ong, “la don,” bad hamar kata ka por u leit kai noh. Te haba ka la bam ja, ka sngew bang shibun, bad ka la tharai ba u ioh doh khun sniang na kino-kino kiba knia, bad haba ka la lah bam ja ka la shim ka shang kwai ba’n bam kwai, ka shem pynban da ki shimpriahti ita i khun bad ka la lyniar la lympat ia lade kat ba lah, bad ka la mareh sha katei ka riat bad ka la pynnoh ia lade. Kumta lyngngoh ki shnong-ki-thaw baroh bad y’m lah ba’n khang mano-mano ruh, ka bat la ka wait ha ka kti. Te naduh kata ka por ki khot “ka kshaid-noh-ka-Likai.”

The Dingiei Hill.

Dingiei Hill is one of the highest peaks in the Khasi country, resembling in height and size the Shillong “Peak” which lies opposite and to the north of it. There are many villages on this hill belonging to the Shillong Siem. In olden days on the top of this hill grew a gigantic tree overshadowing the whole world, the name of that tree was “ka Dingiei.” The Khasis came to a determination that if this tree were cut down (lit. destroyed) the world would become good and would have light, for as long as it (the tree) remained standing, the world remained dark and unfruitful. They accordingly came to an unanimous decision to fell it. When they cut (the tree) during the day and went back next morning, they found that the marks of cutting had been obliterated. Thus they cut each day, and next morning they found that the marks had disappeared. This was the case always. Then they marvelled why this thing was thus. They asked questions and they investigated; ka phreid (a very small bird) said “all this has happened because a tiger comes every night to (the foot of) the tree and licks the part of the tree which has been cut.” Thereupon the men, having plied their axes and knives the whole day in cutting the tree (instead of carrying them away as usual), tied them to the incisions, with their edges pointing outwards. So when the tiger went as usual at night to lick the incisions, the sharp blades of the axes and knives cut his tongue. Thenceforth the tiger ceased to go to the tree; and as the tiger ceased to lick the incisions, the mark was not obliterated as before. So their work went on progressing every day until ka Dingiei fell. Thus the world received light, and cultivation throve, and there was nothing more to stand in the way of the light of the sun and the moon. It was for that reason that the name of “U Lum Dingiei” was given to the hill. Nobody knows what became of the tree, for since the time it fell its species has died out and there is no seed of it (to be found) anywhere on the earth from which it can be grown.

U Lum Dingiei.

U lum Dingiei u long u wei u lum uba jrong shibun ha ri Khasi. U syrim ha ka jing jrong bad jingkhraw ia u lum Shillong, bad u long marpyrshah jong u shaphang Shatei. Halor une u lum don bun ki shnong hapoh u Siem Shillong. Mynhyndai halor une u lum don kawei ka dieng kaba khraw shibuin eh haduh ba ka la kah dum ia ka pyrthei baroli kawei, ka kyrteng kata ka dieng ki khot ka Dingiei. Ki khun Khasi ki la ia kut jingmut ba lada yn ioh pynduh noh ia kane ka dieng ka’n bha ka’n shai ka pyrthei, namar katba ka dang ieng, ka pyrthei ka dum bad ka’m lah ban seisoh. Kumta ki la ia ieng da kawei ka jingmut ba’n ia khet noh ia ka. Te ynda ki la pom ia ka mynsngi, ki leit pat mynstep ki shem ba la dam noh ka dien pom. Kumta ki pom biang sa ha kawei ka sngi, ynda lashai mynstep ka dam-pa-dam biang. Shu kumta barabor ka long. Hangta ki la lyngngoh, hato balei ka long kumne. Ki ia kylli ki ia tohkit; ong ka phreid (ka sim kaba rit shibun) “kane ka jinglong ha dam kumne haba phi la pom ka long namar u khla mynmiet mynmiet u wan jliah ia ka dien ba phi la pom.” Te kumta ki khun bynriew ynda ki la lah pom mynsngi baroh shi sngi, mynmiet ki teh pyn-ang da ki wait ki sdi ka kata ka jaka ba ki la lah pom . Kumta u khla haba u wan mynmiet u jliah phot u thyllied haba kynduh ha kita ki syrti wait syrti sdi. Kumtah naduh kata ka por um wan shuh; bad ynda um ioh shuh ban jliah kata ka dien pom u khun bynriew, ruh kam dam shuh. Shu nangdep ka jingtrei man ka sngi haduh ba la kyllon ka Dingiei. Kumta sa shai pher ka pyrthei bad sa manbha ka thung ka tep ka rep ka sei ynda ymdon ba shar shuh ia ka sngi ia u buai. Namarkata ki sa ioh ban khot kyrteng ia une a lum “u Lum Dingiei.” Ia ka jinglong kane ka Dingiei ym don ba tip ei-ei naduh kata ka por haduh mynta, namar naduh ba la kyllon ka iapduh bad ym don symbai ba kan pynmih haei-haei ha ka pyrthei haduh kane ka sngi.

Concerning the Origin of the Siems of Shillong.

The Siem of Shillong is a very great and powerful chief in the Khasi Hills. He is generally known throughout the Khasi Hills as the “god king”. By the term “god king” is meant that God has been pleased to give over to him the largest portion of the Khasi country, i.e. the kingdom of Shillong, to rule. If you seek for the origin of these “god kings,” you will find there is great uncertainty about it. At any rate there is a tradition amongst the Khasis to the following effect. In olden days a rumour got abroad that there was a woman in a cave called Marai, which is situated near the present village of Pomlakrai, at the source of the river Umiew or Umiam. She was a young and very beautiful damsel. Of the reality of the damsel’s existence there is no question. Many tried to catch her, but they could not, owing to the narrowness of the cave. There came, however, a certain very clever man who went to entice her by showing her a flower called “u tiew-jalyngkteng.” The damsel then came (out) near to snatch the flower, but the man went on holding back his hand until she came out into a more open place, when he seized her. He then brought her to his house and carefully tended her, and afterwards he married her. That damsel was called “Ka Pah Syntiew, the flower-lured one,” because that man caught her by coaxing and enticing her with a flower. That man, who came from the village of Nongjri in the Bhoi country, was called the Nongjri Kongor. After she had given birth to daughters and sons, she returned, to the same place whence she had been captured, and from that time forth she never came out again, however much her husband and children called and implored her. Her children increased in stature and in wisdom and the people hearing of the wonderful origin of their mother, came from all parts of the country to look at them. The children also were very clever at showing their humility and good manners in the presence of the elders. All the people (in return) loved them and considered them to be the children of the gods and did homage to them. It occurred to the nobles and leaders of the Shillong Raj to appoint them Siems, because (they said) the children had been born of a wonderful woman, who, it seemed very clear, was the daughter of the “god Shillong.” Therefore they gladly decided to appoint them Siems in the country of Shillong, (i.e., the present Khyrim and Mylliem States). The children thus became Siems, and they were called “Ki Siem-Blei” (the god kings) of Shilong.

Shaphang ba long U Siem Shillong.

U Siem Shillong u long uwei u Siem uba khraw shibun bad uba don bor ruh ha kane ka ri lum Khasi. Ia une u Siem la jiw bna baroh kawei ka ri ba u long u Siem-Blei. Haba ong Siem-Blei ka mut ba U Blei u la i mon sngewbha ba’n aiti ha u ban synshar ia kawei ka bynta kaba khraw ha ri Khasi. Ha une la ba’n synshar ha ri Shillong. Haba wad ia ka jingsdang jong kine ki Siem Blei don shibun ka jingb’ym thikna. La kumno-kumno ka don ka jingiathu-khana kum kane kaba harum ha pydeng ki Khasi haduh kane ka sngi. Ha kaba nyngkong eh la byna ha don kawei ka briew ha ka krem Marai, kaba hajan ka shnong Pomlakrai mynta, ha tyllong ka wah Umiew ne Umiam. Kata ka briew kaba dang met samla kaba bhabriew shibun eh. Ia kaba ka don, ka don hangta barabor, bad bun ki ia pyrshang ban kem ia ka, kim lah namar ka long ka krem kaba khim. Te ynda la mih uwei u briew uba kham sian u la leit khroh ia ka da kaba pyni da u syntiew uba ki khot u tiew-ja-lyngkteng. Kumta katno ka briew ka la wan hajan ba’n kynieh ia uta u syntiew, te uta u briew u nangring da kaba pynran ia la ka kti khyndiat khyndiat haduh ka’n da mih ha kaba kham kylluid ka jaka, u sa kem ia ka. Hangta u la wallam sha la ieng, u ri u sumar bha ia ka, bad hadien-hadien u la shongkurim ia ka. Te la khot kyrteng ia kata ka briew ka Pah-syntiew, namar ba uta u briew u ioh kem ia ka da kaba khroh ba pah da u syntiew. Uta u briew u long uba na Nongjri Bhoi, bad ki jiw khot u Kongor Nongjri ia u. Te ynda ka la kha ki khun, kynthei bad shynrang, ka la leit phet sha kajuh ka jaka na kaba u la ioh kem ia ka, bad naduh kata ka por ka’m wan shuh, la’u tnga ki khun ki leit khot leit pyrta katno-katno ruh. Kita ki khun ki la nangshait nang sian, bad ki briew ruh, haba ki la bna ia ka jinglong kaba phylla ka jong ku kmie jong ki, ki la wan khnang na kylleng ki jaka ba’n khmih ia kita ki khynnah. Te kita ki khynnah ki la nang shibun ba’n leh rit ba’n leh don akor ha khmat ki tymmen briew, ki briew ruh baroh ki a ieit ia ki bad ki tharai ba ki long ki khun Blei. Kumta ki la ia nguh ki la ia dem ia kita ki khynnah bad hadien kata ka la jia ha ki dohnud kiba khraw-batri, ki tymmen-ki-san ha ka ri Shillong ban thung Siem ia ki namar ki khynnah ki long kiba la wan kha da ka briew kaba phylla shibun, kaba imat eh ba ka long ka khun u Blei Shillong. Te kumta ki la ia kut da ka mon snowbha baroh ba’n thung Siem ia ki ha ka hima Shillong, bad kumta la long Siem kita ki khynnah, ki synshah bad ki khot ruh ia ki Siem-Blei-Siem-Shillong.

U Loh Ryndi and Ka Lim Dohkha.

The Syntengs give the following explanation of the origin of Siems of Suhtnga. There was a man from War Umwi named U Loh Ryndi. He went one day to fish in the Umwi stream. When he had caught only one fish, he returned home. He roasted the fish and placed it on the tyngir (a swinging shelf above the hearth). He forgot that it was there, and did not remember to eat it. The next morning he went out for a walk to the hill. When he returned home in the evening, he found his house had been swept and looked after, and that the rice had been cooked. He was much surprised at this. The next day the same thing happened. When this state of things continued to occur, he made a pretence of going for a walk to the hill and he called his dog. But he concealed himself the whole day outside the village, and when it was time for cooking rice (evening), he returned home. When he saw that smoke was rising from the house, he crept up stealthily in order that he might suddenly enter the house. Finding a woman there, he said, “Who art thou?” She replied, “I am Ka Lih Dohkha. I am the fish whom thou didst catch and forget to eat. She forthwith added, “Thou must not let any one know. I have many relatives. Come, let us go and fetch them to come here.” So Ka Loh Ryndi bade his mother take care of the house until his return from his journey. They went together and arrived at the place where he had caught her, and she jumped into the water and he remained on the dry land. After a while she returned, bringing with her her relatives, but how many of them there were is not known. They all went to the house of U Loh Ryndi. When Ka Lih Dohkha began to enter the house, and was about to cross the threshold, she saw a broom which his mother had placed on the threshold. She therefore abruptly turned back with all her relatives to the river. After that U Loh Ryndi saw in a dream that Ka Lih Dohkha had gone by the river Umwai Khyrwi to a village called Suhtnga. (Since that time all the fish have left the river up to the present day.) He accordingly went to angle for her in that stream, and when he had caught her, he found that she looked after him just the same as before. After that he married Ka Lih Dohkha and she bore him twelve daughters and a son. When the children of U Loh Ryndi and Ka Lih Dohkha grew up, both of them returned to the stream Umwai Khyrwi. It is said that from the fishing rod of U Loh Ryndi, which he left on the bank of the stream, there grew up bamboos, the joints and leaves of which grow upside down to the present day.

U Loh Ryndi bad Ka Lim Dohkha.

Ki Synteng ki bâtai ia ka jinglong tynrai ki Siem Suhtnga kumne. La don u wei U War Umwi, uba kyrteng U Loh Ryndi, uba la leit khwai dohkha na ka Wah Umwi; te ynda la ngat tang kata kawai u la wan noh sba la ieng. Ynda u la syang u la buh noh halor tyngir ha ka ruh. Hangta u la klet bad um kynmaw shuh ban bam ia ka. Kumta ynda la-shai mynstep u la leit kai pat sha lum, te haba u la wan noh la jan miet u la shem ia ka iing jong u ba la sar la sumar bad ka ja ba la ih. Mynkata u la lyngngeh shiban ba ka long kumne. Te kum la-shai ka la long kumjuh. Ynda ka shu dem iailong kumne-pa-kumne la ban sin eh, ynda kumta u la leh ia lade kum u ban sa leit lum, u da ting ia u ksew. Hinrei u la rih noh baroh shi sngi harud nong, bad ynda la poi ka por shet ja u la wan noh sha iing. Te mynba u la ioh-i ba la tydem ding ha ieng u la syntiat bha biang ba un ioh rung kynsan bluit hapoh. Hynda kumta u la shem ia ka kynthei hangta. U la ong ia ka, “Pha kaei”? Ka la ong ia u, “nga long Ka Lih-dohkha, ma nga, nga long kata ka dohkha ba me la ngat bad me la klet ban bam.” Ynda kumta ka la ong ia u “me wat pyntip iano iano ruh, nga don ki kur shibun eh, ngin ia leit shaw ia ki ban wan noh shane.” Kumta U Loh Ryndi u la buh ia la ka kmie ban sumar ia ka iing tad ynda un wan na ka jingleit jong u. Ynda ki la ia leit ki la poi ha kata ka jaka ba u la ngat ia ka. Ynda kumta ka la sid ha ka um, u te u nang sah ha ka ryngkew. Te la shibit ka la wan pat sha u bad ka wallam lem bad ka ia ki kur, hinrei ki long katno ngut ym lah banong, bad ki la leit baroh sha ka iing U Loh Ryndi. Te mynba Ka Lih Dohkha ka la sydang rung ha iing, hamar be kan sa jam ia ka shahksew ka la ioh-i ia u synsar ba la buh ka kmie jong u hapoh kata ka shahksew; namarkata ka la kylla din bak bad ki kur jong ka sha kata ka wah. Hadin kata U Loh Ryndi u la phohsniw, u la ioh-i ha kata ka jingphohsniw ia Ka Lih Dohkha ba ka la leit noh sha ka shnong ba ki khot ka Suhtnga ha ka Umwai-khyrwi (naduh kata la jäh noh ki dohkha ha ka wah Umwi haduh mynta). Te u ruh u la leit sha kata ka wah ban khwai ia ka, bad ynda u la ngat u la shem ba ka sumar ia u kumjuh. Ynda nangta u la shongkurim bad Ka Lih Dohkha, bad u la ioh khun khadar ngut ki kynthei uwei u shynrang. Ynda la rangbah kita ki khun u Loh Ryndi bad Ka Lih Dohkha ki la leit noh baroh ar ngut ha kata ka Umwai Khyrwi. Te ki ong ba na u ryngwiang khwai jong U Loh Ryndi, harud um ba u la ieh noh, la long ki shken kiba ka mat ka long khongpong bad ka sla de kumjuh jen haduh mynta.

Kyllang and Symper.

Kyllang is a hill which is near the village of Mawnai in Khadsawphra, and Symper is a hill which is situated in the Siemship of Maharam. The old folks say that there are gods which inhabit these hills, which are called U Kyllang and U Symper. These gods had a quarrel for some reason that we mortals do not know. They fought by throwing mud at one another. After they had fought, once or twice, U Kyllang proved victorious. So U Symper, having been humiliated, sits quietly in his own place to this day, and U Kyllang sits very proudly because be was victorious in the fight. The holes which are like tanks in U Symper’s sides remain to this day; it is said that U Kyllang made those holes during the battle.

U Kyllang bad U Symper.

U Kyllang u long u lum uba hajan ka shnong Mawnai ha Khadsawphra bad U Symper u dei u lum uba long ha ri Maharam. Ha kine ki lum ki tymmen ki jiw tharai ba don ki blei kiba shong hangto kiba kyrteng U Kyllang bad U Symper. Kine ki blei baroh ar ngut ki la ia kajia namar kano kano ka daw kaba ngi u bynriw ngim lah ban tip. Te ki la ialeh baroh ar ngut da kaba ia khawoh ktih. Ynda ki la ialeh shi por ar por jop U Kyllang. Kumta U Symper u shong pynrit ia lade ha la ka jaka jar-jar haduh mynta, bad U Kyllang u shong da kaba sngew khraw sngew sarong shibun ba u la jop ha ka jingialeh. Ki thliw kiba long kum ki pukri kiba don ha ki krung u lum Symper ki sah haduh mynta; ki ong ba la pynlong ia kito ki thliw da U Kyllang ha ka por ialeh.

The Siem creating stone at Mawsmai.

On the outskirts of Mawsmai village, and to the west of it, stands a hill; it is a very beautiful hill. From a distance it looks like the hump of a bull. It has big trees growing on it, as people are afraid to cut them because they believe that the god “Ryngkew” is there, who takes care of and protects the country. This hill has two names, U Mawlong Siem and U Lyngkrem. U Mawlong Siem is the smaller (peak) on the southern side, and U Lyngkrem the taller one, in which there is a cave. The Mawsmai people sacrifice once or twice a year according to the god’s demand. The Mawsmai people have, besides U Mawlong Siem, other village gods (called “Ryngkew"). The name of the one is “U Rangjadong,” and the name of the other “U Ramsong.” Sacrifices are offered to these two also. U Mawlong Siem is a very great and stern god. The other gods dare not engage in battle with him. He has a daughter called “Ka Khmat Kharai” (i.e. the mouth of the abyss). The god of the Umwai people fell in love with this daughter, but he was unable to obtain her in marrage, as U Mawlong Siem did not like him. It is not possible to know the exact reason why the name of U Mawlong Siem was given to him, but at any rate it appears that the name arose from the fact that in olden days before the death of a Siem there used to be heard at “Mawlong Siem” a great noise of beating of drums. The Mawsmai and the Mawmluh people used to hear it, and they attributed it to the god “Mawlong Siem,” who beat the drum for his children to dance to. At any rate, when this sound is heard, it never fails to portend the death of a Siem. It appears that this hill was called “Mawlong Siem” for that reason.

U Mawlong Siem ha Mawsmai.

Harud ’nong Mawsmai don u wei u lum uba shaphang sepngi na ka shnong. Une u lum uba i-tynnad shibun. Ban khymih na sha jingngai u long kum u syntai masi kyrtong. U don ki dieng kiba khraw ki bym jiw don ba nud ban thoh ban dain namar ba ki niew ba u long U Ryngkew u blei uba sumar uba da ia ka muluk ka jaka. Ia une u lum ki khot ar kyrteng, U Mawlong Siem bad U Lyngkrem, U Mawlong Siem u long uta uba kham lyngkot shaphang shathi, bad U Lyngkrem u long uta uba jerong eh bad uba don ka krem Pubon hapoh. Ia une U Mawlong Siem ki Mawsmai ki jiw jingknia da u blang shisin shi snem ne shi sin ar snem katba u pan. Ki Mawmluh ruh ki leh kumjuh na la shnong. Nalor une U Mawlong Siem ki Mawsmai ki don shuh ki Ryngkew hajan shgong, uwei U Rangjadong bad uwei pat U Ramsong. Ia kine ki knia. Une U Mawlong Siem u long u blei uba khraw shibun bad uba eh. Ki para blei kim nud ban ia leh thyma ia ki. U don kawai ka khun kaba kyrteng “Ka Khymat Kharai,” u blei ki Umwai u i-bha ia ka, hinrei um lah poi namar U Mawlong Siem um sngewbha ia u. Ban tip thikna ia ka daw balei ba khot kyrteng Mawlong Siem ia u ym lah ban tip; hinrei la kumno kumno i-mat ba kane ka kyrteng ka la mih namar ba mynhyndai haba yn sa iap Siem la jiw ioh sngew hangta ha U Mawlong Siem ba don ka jingsawa tem ksing kaba khraw shibun. Ki Mawsmai bad ki Mawmluh ki jiw ioh sngew, bad ki jiw tharai ba u blei Mawlong Siem u tem ksing ban pynshad khun. Lei lei haba la ioh sngew kum kata ka jingsawa ym jiw pep ia ka ban iap Siem, bad i-mat ba na kata ka daw la khot kyrteng ia une u lum Mawlong Siem.

Why There Are Spots On The Moon.

In olden days there was a woman who had four children, three girls and one boy. Their names were these, Ka Sngi (sun), Ka Um (water), Ka Ding (fire), and U Bynai (moon). These four children belonged to rich gentle folk. The Moon was a wicked young man, for he began to make love to his elder sister, Ka Sngi. In the beginning the Moon was as bright as the Sun. When the Sun became aware of his bad intentions, she was very angry. She took some ashes in her hand and said to him, “do you harbour such an incestuous and wicked intention against me, your elder sister, who has taken care of you and held you in her arms, and carried you on her back like a mother does; now I will cover your brow with ashes, you wicked and shameless one; begone from the house.” Then the Moon felt very much ashamed, and from that time he gave out a white light because the Sun had covered him with ashes. What we see like a cloud (on the Moon) when it is full, are the ashes which adhered from the time the Sun covered him with them. The three daughters, however, remained at home to take care of their mother, until she grow old and died.

Kumno ba la Thoh dak U Bynai.

La don kawei ka briew mynhyndai kaba don saw ngut ki khun, lai ngut ki kynthei bad u wei u shynrang. Ki kyrteng jong ki ki long kine, Ka Sngi, Ka Um, Ka Ding, bad U Bynai. Kine baroh saw ngut ki la long ki khun riwbba khun don burom shisha shisha. Te une U Bynai u la long u briew uba riwnar, u sydang ban i-bha ia la ka hynmen, Ka Sngi. Une U Bynai ruh ha kaba mynnyngkong u long uba phyrnai hi ryngkat Ka Sngi. Te ynda ka Sngi ka la sngewthuh ia ka jingmut riwnar jong u ka la sngew bittar shibun bad ka la shim u dypei ha la ka kti bad ka la ong ia u, “da kum kane ka kam kaba sang kaba sniw phi thew ia nga ka hynmen kaba la thum la bah, la sumar sukher kum ka kymie ryngkat; mynta ngan tep da u dypei ia ka shyllang-mat jong me u riwnar u khlem rain, khie phet noh na iing.” Te U Bynai u la sngew rem sngew rain shibun eh. Bad naduh kata ka por U Bynai u kylla da ka jinghai kaba lih namar ba tep Ka Sngi da u dypei. Bad uta uba ngi ioh-i ha U Bynai kum u l’oh ha ka por ba u pyllun u long u dypei kein uba sah naduh ba tep Ka Sngi. Te ki sah lai ngut ki para kynthei kiba sumar ia la ka kmie ba la sydot la tymmen haduh ba kan da iap.

“Sohpet Byneng” Hill.

In olden days, when the earth was very young, they say that heaven and earth were very near to one another, because the navel-string of heaven drew the earth very close to it. This navel-string of heaven, resembling flesh, linked a hill near Sumer with heaven. At that time all the subjects of the Siem of Mylliem throughout his kingdom came to one decision, i.e. to sever the navel-string from that hill. After they had cut it, the navel-string became short; and, as soon as it shortened, heaven then ascended high. It was since that time that heaven became so high, and it is for that reason that they call that hill which is near Sumer “U Sohpet Byneng.”

U Lum Sohpet Byneng.

Mynhyndai mynba dang lung ka pyrthei ki ong ba ka byneng bad ka khyndew ki ia jan sbibun namar ba U Sohpet Byneng u ring ia ka byneng ba’n wan kham hajan. Une U Sohpet Byneng u long kum ka doh kaba snoh na u wei u lum uba hajan Sumer bad ka snoh ruh ia ka byneng. Te mynkata ka por ki khun ki raiot U Siem Mylliem baroh kawei ka hima ki ia ryntieh kawei ka buit ban ia ieng ba’n khet noh ia uta U Sohpet Byneng na uta u lum. Te ynda ki la ialeh ba’n khet ia u u la dykut, bad tang u shu dykut ka byneng ka la kiw theng sha jerong. Kumta ka shu jngai kumne ka byneng naduh kata ka por ba dykut U Sohpet Byneng nalor uta u lum. Kane ruh ka long ka daw namar balei ba la khot ia uta u lum uba don hajan Sumer “U Lum Sohpet Byneng.”

How the Dog came to live with Man.

In olden days, when the world was young, all the beasts lived happily together, and they bought and sold together, and they jointly built markets. The largest market where all the beasts used to take their articles for sale was “Luri-Lura,” in the Bhoi country. To that market the dog came to sell rotten peas. No animal would buy that stinking stuff. Whenever any beast passed by his stall, he used to say “Please buy this stuff.” When they looked at it and smelt it, it gave out a bad odour. When many animals had collected together near the stall of the dog, they took offence at him, and they said to him, “Why have you come to sell this evil smelling, dirty stuff?” They then kicked his ware and trampled it under foot. The dog then complained to the principal beasts and also to the tiger, who was at that time the priest of the market. But they condemned him, saying, “You will be fined for coming to sell such dirty stuff in the market.” So they acted despitefully towards him by kicking and trampling upon his wares. When the dog perceived that there was no one to give ear to his complaint, he went to man, who said, “Come and live with me, and I will arise with you to seek revenge on all the animals who have wronged you.” The dog agreed and went to live with man from that time. Then man began to hunt with the assistance of the dog. The dog knows well also how to follow the tracks of the animals, because he can scent in their footprints the smell of the rotten pea stuff which they trod under foot at Luri-Lura market.

Kumno u Kseq u la wan Shong bad u Briew.

Mynhyndai, mynba dang lung ka pyrthei shibit, ki mrad ki mreng lai phew jaid ki ia suk ki ia lok para mrad, bad ki ju ia-die-ia-thied, ia thaw iew thaw hat ryngkat. Te ka iew kaba khraw tam eh kaba poi baroh ki lai phew mrad ba’n wallam la ki jingkhaii pateng ka long ka Iew “Luri-Lura” ba ri Bhoi. Ha kata ka iew u ksew u wan die ’tung rymbai, te ym man don ba pan thied satia ia kata ka ktung. La iaid kawei ka mrad u tyrwa, “To thied kane ka ktung.” Haba ka la khmih bad ka la iw, kaba iwtung pynban, la iaid kawei pat ruh shu shem ba ka long kumta, kaba sniew bad kaba iwtung ka jingdie jong u ksew. Te haba ki la ialang kham bun ha ka basa jong u ki la phoi ia u ksew, ki ong “balei me wan die ia ka ktung kaba iw jakhlia?” bad ki la kynjat ia ka jingdie jong u bad ki la iuh hapoh slajat. Te u ksew u la mudui ha ki para mrad kiba kham rangbah bad ha u khla uba long lyngdoh, ha kata ka iew. Pynban ki la pynrem ia u, bad ki la ong, “yn dain kuna ia me uba wan die ia ka jakhlia ha ka iew ka hat.” Kumta ki la leh bein ia u da kaba iuh kaba kynjat ia kata ka ktung. Te u ksew haba u ioh-i b’ym don ba sngap ia ka jingmudui jong u, u la wan sha u bynriew, bad u bynriew u la ong “To wan shong noh bad nga nga’n ieng ryngkat bad me ba’n wad kyput ia ki lai phew mrad kiba leh bein ia me.” Te kumta u ksew u la kohnguh bad u la wan shong bad u bynriew naduh kata ka por. Nangta sa long ka beh mrad u bynriew ryngkat bad ka jingiarap u ksew. U ksew ruh u tip ba’n bud dien ia ki mrad, namar u sngewthuh ba ka dien ka khnap ka mrad baroh ka don ka jingiw-khong ba la sah ka jingiw naduh kata ka por ba ki iuh ia ka ktung rymbai jong u ha ka Iew Luri-Lura.

The “Thlen.”

In olden days there was a market in the village of Langhiang Kongkhen, and there was a bridge sacred to the gods there. All the children of men used to frequent that heavenly market. They used to pass by Rangjirteh, where there is a cave which was tenanted by a gigantic “thlen.” When they went to that market, as soon as they arrived at Rangjirteh they were swallowed up by the “thlen.” The “thlen” did this in obedience to an order he had received. If ten people went there, five of them were swallowed up; half of them he devoured, and half of them he let go. But any one who went alone was not touched by the “thlen,” for it was necessary for him to leave untouched half (of the number of those who went). When many people had been devoured, and when they saw that all the children of men would be destroyed, whether they were Khasis or plains people, they held a great durbar at Sunnai market to which both Khasis and plains people went. They considered together as to how to devise a means by which they could slay the “thlen” which had devoured the children of men. After they had deliberated for a long time they decided to adopt the following plan. In the grove that is close to Laitryngew, which is called “the grove of U Suidnoh,” there was a man called “U Suidnoh.” They counselled together to get “U Suidnoh” to make friends with the “thlen.” This Suidnoh was a courageous man who did not care for any one. He used always to walk alone; so when he went to the “thlen,” the latter did not eat him because there was no one else with him who could be let go. The people advised U Suidnoh that he should go and give the “thlen” flesh every day, either goats, or pigs, or cattle. After he had done this for a long time, the “thlen” became tame, and was great friends with U Suidnoh. When both of them became very intimate thus, the children of men advised U Suidnoh to build a smelting house. So he built a smelting house and made the iron red-hot, and, holding it with a pair of tongs, took it to the “thlen.” When he arrived he said to the “thlen,” “Open your mouth, open your mouth, brother-in-law, here is some flesh.” As soon as he opened his mouth, he threw the red-hot iron down his throat. The monster then struggled and wriggled so violently in its death agony that the earth shook as if there had been an earthquake. When U Suidnoh saw the death struggle of the “thlen,” he fainted (from excitement). The quaking of the earth startled all the children of men, and they thought that something had happened. When U Suidnoh did not return home his family went to look for him, for they knew that he had gone to feed the “thlen” with red-hot iron. They found him there lying in a faint. When they had revived him, they asked him why he had fainted thus. He replied, “When I was feeding the ‘thlen’ with red-hot iron, he struggled and wriggled and I fainted. Come, let us go and see what has become of him.” They then went and found that the “thlen” was dead. They then published abroad all over the world that the “thlen” was dead, and they convened a durbar to decide about eating him. In the durbar they came to the following understanding, i.e. that the Khasis should eat half, and the plains people half (of the body). After they had come to this decision in the durbar, they then went to take him out of the cave, and they lifted him on to a rock. They there cut into pieces the “thlen’s” carcase. The plains people from the East, being more numerous, ate up their share entirely, not leaving anything for this reason there are no “thlens” in the plains; but the Khasis from the West, being fewer in numbers, could not eat up the whole of their share; they left a little of it. Thus, because they did not eat it all, the “thlen” has remained with them. U Suidnoh gained for himself fame and honour, which he enjoys up to the present day. The Khasis, therefore, when they find that the hair or the clothes of any one belonging to them have been cut, refer the matter to U Suidnoh, and they sacrifice to him. The Syntengs also have their “thlen,” but he differs much from the Khasi “thlen.” The Syntengs also believe he is a kind of serpent, and there are some families and clans who keep him and worship him like a god. They sacrifice to him a pig only; they do not propitiate him with human blood as the Khasis do.

Shaphang U Thlen.

Mynhyndai la don ka iew ha Langhiang Kongkhen, ba don ka jingkieng blei hangta. Baroh ki khun bynriw ki ia wan ha kane ka iew blei. Ki iaid lynti na Rangjirteh, kaba don ka krem u thlen uba khraw eh. Te katba ki leit sha kane ka iew blei tang shu poi ha Rangjirteh la nguid noh u thlen. U ieh kum ha kane ka rukom kat kum ka hukum ba u la ioh. Lada iaid shiphaw ngut, san ngut la nguid noh; shiteng shiteng la bam, shiteng shiteng la pyllait noh. Hinrei ia uba iaid wei briew ym bit ba’n bam. Ka dei ba’n da pyllait shiteng shiteng. Te ynda la lut than eh ki briew, ki i ruh kum ba’n sa duh ki khun bynriew baroh, bad Khasi bad Dykhar, hangta ki la sydang ba’n lum ka dorbar bah ha ka iew Sunnai, u Dykhar u hangta u Khasi ruh hangta. Ki ia pyrkhat ba’n ioh ka buit ka lad da kumno ki lah ba’n pyniap noh ia u thlen uba la bam duh ia u khun bynriew. Ynda ki la dorbar kham slem ki la ioh ka lad kaba biang kumne. Ha kata ka khlaw hajan Laitryngew kaba ki khot ’law Suidnoh la don uwei uba kyrteng “U Suidnoh” ki la ong ba’n pynialok ia U Suidnoh bad U Thlen. Une U Suidnoh u long uba riwnar u b’ym jiw iaid ryngkat briew. Wei briw, wei briw, u iaid. Kumte haba u leit sha U Thlen ruh u’m bam satia namar ba U Thlen hi ruh u’m jiw bam ha b’ym don jingpyllait. Ki briew ki la sylla ia U Suidnoh ba un leit doh ia u hala ka sngi; u da ki blang, ki sniang, ki massi. Haba la leh kumta kham slem U Thlen u la juh, u la ia lok bha bad “U Suidnoh.” Te ynda kine ki la ia juh bha, u khun bynriew u la bythah pat ia U Suidnoh ba u’n shna shlem, bad u la shna shlem ba’n pyrsut nar-wah. Ynda u la pyrsut ia u nar haduh ba u la saw bha hain u la khap na ka lawar ding bak bad katba u dang saw dang khluid bha u la leit lam ha U Thlen. Tang shu poi u ong “Ko kynum ang, ang, kane ka doh,” bad iang u shu ang u la thep jluk ha u pydot. Hangta U Thlen u la khih u la lympat u la kyrhtat u la ksaid iap baduh ba la win ka khyndew kumba khih u jumai. Hangta U Suidnoh, haba u ioh-i ia ka jingksaid iap U Thlen, u ruh u la iapler b’ym tip briew shuh. Te kata ka jingwin ka khyndew ka la pynkyndit ia u khun bynriew baroh ha ka pyrthei, bad ki la pyrkhat ba la jia ei ei. U Suidnoh u’m poi shuh sha la iing, te kiba ha iing jong u ki la leit wad, namar ki la tip ba u la leit jingbam ha U Thlen da u nar saw: hangta ki la shem ba u la iap ler, bad ki la pynkyndit ia u bad ki la kylli ia u “Balei me iapler kumne?” U ong, “Hamar ba nga dang jingbam ia U Thlen da u nar saw ba la pyrsut bha, u la kyrthat, khih lympat U Thlen bad nga la iap ler. “Ia, ia leit khymih kumno u la long.” Ynda ki la ia leit khymih ki shem ba la iap U Thlen. Hangta la pynbyna haw ia ka pyrthei baroh be la lah iap U Thlen, bad u lum ka dorbar ba’n bam noh ia u. Hangta ha ka dorbar ki la ia kut kumne: ki Khasi ki’n bam shiteng bad ki Dykhar ki’n bam shiteng. Ynda la ia kut kumta ha ka dorbar ki la ieng ba’n leit sei noh na ka krem, bad ki la rah halor u mawsiang. Hangta ki la ia shain ia dain ia ka doh U Thlen lyngkhot lyngkhot. Ki Dykhar na mih-ngi, namar ba ki kham bun briew ki la bam lut ia la ka bynta, kim shym pynaah ei ei, kumta ym don Thlen shuh ha pyddeng ki Dylhar. Hinrei ki Khasi, na sepngi namar ba ki kham duna briew ki’m shym lah ba’n bam lut ia la ka bynta, ki la pynsah katto katne. Kumta namar ba ki’m shym bam lut, U Thlen u dang sah. U Suidnoh u la ioh la ka nam la ka burom haduh mynta. Namar haba ki Khasi ki shem ba la ot shniuh ne ot jaïn ki pynkit halor U Suidnoh bad ki jingknia ia u. Ki Synteng ruh ki don la U Thlen hinrei u pher shibun na U Thlen Khasi. Ki Synteng ruh ki ngeit ba u long u kynja bysein, bad don ki iing bad ki jaid kiba jiw ri ia u bad ki mane kum u blei. Ki jingknia ia u tang da u sniang, hinrei kim da ka snam briew kumba ki Khasi kiba ri ia u.

About the River “Rupatylli” at Duwara.

In ancient times, when the world was still young, there were two river goddesses who lived on the Shillong Peak; perhaps really they were the daughters of the god of the Peak. These two wagered one against the other that each would be the first to arrive in the Sylhet plains by cutting a channel for herself. They agreed to start from Shillong Peak. One followed the channel of the Umngot, and the other that of Umiew or Umiam. The one that followed the channel of Umngot chose a soft and easy bed, and although the way was a longer one, she did not find it a trouble to go by a circuitous route. When she reached the Sylhet plains she was called “Shengurkhat,” and she then flowed past Chhatak, and so reached Duwara. She looked round to see where Umiam was, but she could not descry her anywhere. So out of playfulness she flowed slowly, and she formed a channel like a necklace (rupatylli) by way of waiting to see where Umiam was. Umiew was very proud, she felt strong enough to make the channel she chose, and although it was through the midst of hills and rocks, she cared not a bit; so she wasted time by digging through the hills and boulders. When she reached Shella, she thought she could easily beat Umngot, for the course she had taken was a very straight one. When she got a little below Shella she saw Umngot shouting for joy with foaming waves in the Rupatylli channel at Duwara. She was covered with shame, and she slackened her speed and split herself up into 5 branches, namely, ka Umtong, ka Torasa, ka Pasbiria ka Kumarjani, and ka Duwara. Umiam did this so as to hide her shame from Umngot. This is how the river Rupatylli was formed at Duwara, to be a token that Umngot had been victorious in her contest with Umiew.

Shaphang ka wah. Rupatylli ha Duwara.

Hyndai mynba dang lung ka pyrthei la don ar ngut ki blei um kiba shong ha lum Shillong. Lehse shisha ki long ki khun u blei Shillong. Kine ki la ia kop ba’n ia mareh ba’n ia pynpoi kloi sha ri madan Shilot da kaba ia pom mar kawei ka wah. Kumta ki la ia kut bad ki la ia mih na Shillong kawei ka Umngot bad kawei ka Umiew ne Umiam. Kata ka Umngot ka bud ia ka lynti na ba, jem ba jem, la ka long kham jingngai ruh kam sngew salia ba’n iaid kyllain. Kumta ka la poi ha Shilot ba’n khot ka wah Shengurkhat bad ka iaid haduh Shattok, bad ka poi ha Duwara. Ka khymih ia ka Umiam haei-haei-ruh, te ym ioh-i. Kumta ka la leh suki kai, ka thaw ka rupa tylli hangto ba’n long kumba sangeh ba’n ioh-i ia ka Umiam. Ka Umiew ka long kaba kham sarong, ka sngew khlain ba’n iaid na ka lynti kaba bit la ka long da ki lum ne ki maw, ka’m suidniew, kumta ka la pynlut por ha kaba tih ia ki lum bad ki maw. Ynda ka la poi ha Shella ka la shu mut ba’n jop ia ka Umngot namar ka lynti jong ka ka long kaba beit eh, te ynda ka la poi harum Shella khyndiat ka la ioh-i ia ka Umngot ba ka la risa da ka jingkhie dew ha ka wah Rupatylli ha Duwara. Kumta ka la sngew rain suin bad ka la leh suki noh da kaba pynpait tynat ia lade san tylli, kawai ka Umtang; ar ka Umtarasa; lai ka Pasbiria; saw ka wah Kumarjani; san ka wah Duwara. Kumne ka la leh khnang ba’n buh riah ia la ka jingkhein burom ha khymat ka Umngot. Kumta sa long ka wah Rupatylli ha Duwara namar ka long ka dak ka jingjop ka Umngot ia ka Umiew.

The Kupli (Kopili).

The Kopili river rises in the “Black Mountains,” and flows northwards into the Brahmaputra. It is the boundary between the country of the Syntengs and that of the Hadems. Any traveller who wishes to cross this river must leave behind him the rice which he has taken for his journey, and any other food that he may have taken with him. If he does not do so, even if he crosses the river at an unforbidden point, he is liable to offer a sacrifice to the Kopili goddess. The people offer to her three fowls and three goats outside the village, i.e. one to the goddess herself, and the other two to her sons, U Shyngkram and U Jali; and five fowls, that they may all three feast together; this is the case of one transgression only. But in the case of a man who has committed more than one, it is not possible to say how many goats and fowls must be sacrificed, because the river often demands offerings on account of a man’s parents or relatives having crossed the river at some time or other.

From the time of the old Siem to that of U Ram Singh Siem, they used to sacrifice to this great goddess two persons during the months of November and December at the time of offering: a sacrifice at Jaintiapur. After a ceremony performed by the Brahmíns at Jaintiapur, the victims are led to the Mawshai (Shangpung) market, where they are allowed to take and eat anything they like. After that they conduct them to Sumer; but some say that the stone on which the victims are beheaded is situated below the village of Ka Lew Kai, near a stream which falls into the Kopili, and where there is a mawkynthei (flat table-stone) close to that sacred river.

They place the victims on that stone, where the executioner beheads them with a terrible sword. After that they throw the dead bodies their heads into the river. But in the days of U Markuhain (U Raj Indro Singh) “who was our contemporary” they have ceased to do so out of fear of East India Company. The victims are known by the name of “Mugha Khara.”

At the time all the people of the territory of the twelve dolois were in great state of terror. It is said that the victim-catchers, when they inquired about the clan (of their intended victims), conducted themselves as if they did not intend to do anything. When the people told their clan, then they caught them. When they heard that the people belonged to clans from which kongngors were selected, they did not arrest them. When it was impossible to get hold of any one else, they sacrificed some of the (king’s) slaves.

Shaphang Ka Kupli, U Shyngkram bad U Jali, ki Khun jong ka.

Ka Kupli ka long ka wah na ki lum baiong bad ka tuid da artet ha ka wah Brahmaputra. Ka long ka pud ia ka ri Synteng bad ka ri. Hadem ha mihngi. Uno-uno u nongleit jingleit uba kwah ban jam ia kane ka wah Blei-Kupli u don kam ba’n bred noh ia la u khaw-ryneng ha shiliang wah, bad ia ki kynja jingbam baroh phar, te un sa klan ia ka. Lada u’m da leb kumta, la’u klan na ka jaka ka b’ym sang ruh un hap jingainguh ha ka. Ki khun-ki-hajar ia ka ha lum lai s’iar, lai blang kawei ia ka, marmar uwei ia U Shyngkram bad U Jali; bad san s’iar ba ki’n ia bam sngewbha baroh lai ngut shi khun shi kymie, kata ka long haba long tang kawei ka lait, hinrei haba ka’n long katba shong ka lait u briew lei-lei, ngam tip ka’n long katno blang katno siar namar haba dei ka’n wan pan ka jingknia namar ba la klan ia ka na khlieh lane na kyjat da u kynie u kypa kano-kano ka iing lane kano-kano ka kur. Naduh ki sngi ki Siem Tymmen haduh ki sngi U Ram Singh Siem ia kane ka blei bah ka kymai u lei ba khraw ki knia da ki briew ar-ngut shi snem shi snem hamar u bynai ba ki puja ne nguh ha Jaintiapur. kata, hamar u ’nai wieng bad u ’nai nohprah. Ynda ki la knia ha Jaintiapur da ki Bramon, ki sa ia lam ia ki sha ka iew Mawshai ne ka iew Shangpung ba ki’n bam shiwa katba mon na kata ka iew. Nangta pat sha Sumer, kiwei pat ki ong ba u maw ba ki khrai khlieh ia ki Muga Khara u don harum ka shnong Iewksi hajan kawei ka wah kaba tuid sha ka Kupli sha ka jaka ba don ka maw kynthei harud kata ka wah blei Kumta ki sa kyntiw halor kata ka maw kynthei ia ki; nangta pat wan sa u nongkhrai khlieh bad ka wait ba i-shyrkhei, u khrai ia ki hangta. Hadin kata ki sa shat ia ki met-iap sha um bad ia ki khlieh jong ki ruh de. Hinrei ha ki sngi U Markuhain ne U Raj-Indro Singh uba ha Khyjong ngi mynta ym long shuh kumta namar ba u tieng ia ka Kompani. Ia kine ki briew ba ki knia ki khot kyrteng ia ki ki Muga Khara.

Mynkata ki bynriew shi khadar doloi sngew tieng, ki ong ba ki nongkem ki da kylli shiwa ia ka jaid, ki da leh ia lade kum ki bym mut ba’n leh ei-ei-ruh, te ynda kita ki briw ia kibe ki mut ba’n kem ki la ia thuh ia la ka jaid ki sa kem ia ki. Haba ki sngew ba ki long na ka jaid kaba jiw long kongngor ki’m jiw kem. Te haba ym ioh eh ki knia da ki mraw Siem.

The Village of Mawpun-ka-Rytiang (Mawpunkyrtiang).

There was in olden days a woman called Ka Rytiang of the Siem clan. Whilst she was still a spinster, she used to go to catch fish in a stream over which there is to the present day a bridge made of a single stone, called Mawpun ka Rytiang. Whilst she was catching fish in the midst of the stream a fit of drowsiness overtook her. At that very moment there approached her a very handsome young man, who thus addressed her; “Take this drumful of money; do not marry, and thou shalt nevertheless bear children. Thou must throw a bridge built of a single stone across this stream, thou must build thy house entirely of stone, the beams must be all of stone. Thou must spend all the money I have given thee, and if it does not suffice for thy expenditure, I shall bring more. Thou wilt remember all that I say?” She replied “yes.” As soon as he had finished speaking to her, she awoke from her fit of drowsiness, and found herself holding a drumful of money. On her way home she pondered over what he had said to her, and her heart was full of joy that she had met a god who had given her so much money, and who had spoken such words to her. She then constructed a bridge over that stream, with a single stone, which remains till this day. When she was about to build her house, it happened that she got married notwithstanding; she gave birth to a blind child, and died shortly afterwards. So the people called the village “Mawpun-ka-Rytiang,” or, when abbreviated, “Mawpunkyrtiang.”

Ka Shnong Mawpun-ka-Rytiang (Mawpunkyrtiang).

Te la don mynhyndai kawei ka briew kaba kyrteng ka Rytiang, ka jaid Siem. Mynba ka dangsamla ka leit tong sher na kata ka wah kaba don u Mawpun uba ki khot haduh mynta u Mawpun ka-Rytiang. Hamar ba ka dang tong sher ha pyddeng um ka lamshoh sam thiah hangta. Hamarkata ka por la mih u wei u briew uba bhabriew shibun eh, bad u ong ha ka, “Heh kane ka tyngka shi sing nalai; te pha wat shongkurim shuh ho; koit, ki khun pha’n ioh hi, bad pha’n pun uwei u mawpun na Shilliang sha shilliang kane ka wah, bad thaw iing ba phan shong da ki maw suda ki rijid ki rishot, kiei kiei baroh thaw da ki maw. Pha’n pynlut kane ka tyngka baroh, bad lada ym dap ruh ngan sa wallam pat. Phan kynmaw ho ia kaba nga la ong baroh.” Ka ong “haoid.” Te kumne-kumne, tang shu la dép kine ki ktin baroh ba u kren, ka la kyndit na kata ka jingshoh samthiah, bad ka tyngka ka don ha ka kti jong ka shi’sing nalai. Te ynda ka la wan sha la iing, artat artat ka lynti ka la puson ha la ka mynsim da kaba kymen ba ka la iashem ia u blei uba la katne ki tyngka bad uba la kren kum kine ki ktin. Te kumta ka la ring u mawpun uba don baduh mynta. Bad hamar ba ka dang sydang ba’n thaw sa ka iing ka lap ba ioh tynga noh pynban; kumta ka kha u khun da uba matlah bad tang shibit ka iap noh. Kumta ki ioh ban khot ka shnong Mawpun-ka-Rytiang, lane haba kren lyngkot Mawpunkyrtiang.

The Siem of Malyniang.

The Siem of Malyniang was one of those kings who, people said, was one of the “god-kings.” He lived in the village of Madur, which is now in the Maskut doloiship. There arose from the royal family of Malyniang a king whose name was Kyllong Raja. His manner was very peculiar, but he was at the same time both stern and courageous. He made up his mind to conquer the whole of the Synteng country as well as the territory of the Siem of Shillong, in order to extend his own kingdom of Madur. This Kyllong did not require many followers when he went to war because he was a very strong man and a man whom nobody could kill, for, if he was killed he came to life again immediately. The Synteng king once chopped him up into pieces and threw his hands and feet far away, and thought he would not come to life again. Nevertheless, next morning he came to life just the same, and he walked along all the paths and by-ways to intercept his enemies. The Synteng king was in great trouble on his account, and was at a loss for a plan how to overcome him, because, having been killed once or twice, he came to life again.

When the Synteng king had thought well over matter, he hit on a device which he thought a very good one, by which he could ascertain by what manner of means he came to life again after having once been killed. The Synteng king’s stratagem was the following. He selected the most beautiful girl in the Synteng country, he put on her ornaments of gold and of silver and royal raiment of great price, and he said to her, “All these will I give thee, and more besides, if thou canst obtain for me the secret of Kyllong Raja, and canst inform me how he brings himself to life again after being killed. Now I will send thee to the market there, and if Kyllong Raja takes a fancy to thee, and if he is willing to take thee to wife, thou wilt go, and thou wilt pretend to love him as far as is in thy power. Afterwards thou wilt inquire regarding all his secrets and wisdom, i.e. how he comes to life again after he has been killed; and after thou hast found out all these things, thou wilt inform me, so that I may overcome him. Then, if thou art successful in thy mission, I will give thee a great reward.” He then sent her to the market. Kyllong Raja saw her and fell in love with her, and he took her to wife and kept her at Madur. Then that damsel pretended to love him exceedingly, and she repeatedly asked him his secret, how he came to life again. Then Kyllong Raja, fancying that she really loved him, confessed all to her. He said, “My life depends upon these things. I must bathe every day and must wash my entrails” (hence the appellation of “the king who washes his inside” which they gave him), “after that I take my food, and there is no one on earth who can kill me unless he obtains possession of my entrails. Thus my life hangs only on my entrails.”

When, therefore, that damsel who had become his wife had learnt all these things, she sent word to the Synteng king that he should send one of his elders, to whom she might reveal the secret of U Kyllong’s existence. When the Synteng king heard this, he sent his elders to her. She then told all those things that U Kyllong had confessed to her. When the Synteng king had heard everything, he gave orders to the people to be on the watch so as to get hold of U Kyllong Raja. They found him one day bathing, with his entrails placed on one side of the bathing-place, so that afterwards he might wash them. Thereupon a man from Ralliang seized the entrails and killed him. He cut the entrails into little pieces and gave them to the dogs. Thenceforth U Kyllong Raja was not able to come to life again. Madur was conquered, and all the members of the royal family of Malyniang were scattered from that time. Seven generations have passed since then.

Shaphang U Siem Malyniang

U Siem Malyniang u la long uwei u Siem ba jiw byna ba u long u kynja Siem blei. Une u la shong ha ka shnong Madur kaba long mynta ha ka ilaka u doloi Maskut. Ha ka jaid Siem Malyniang la mih uwei uba kyrteng U Kyllong Raja. Une u Siem uba phylla shibun ha la ka jinglong, u briew uba eh uba shlur. U la thymu ban job ia ka ri Synteng baroh bad ia ka ri Shillong ban pynkhraw ia la ka hima Madur. Une u Kylong u’m donkam shibun ki nongbud ban leit ia leh ia kano-kano ka thyma, namar u long u briew uba khlain shibun bad u by’m jiw don uba lah ba’n pyniap ia u. La ki pyniap ruh u im pat kumne-kumne. U Siem Synteng u la pom ia u tukra-tukra, u la bred ia ki kyjat ki kti sha jingngai, bad u la tharai ba u’n ym im shuh, pynban tang la mynstep u la im hi kumjuh, u la iaid ia ki lad ki dong ban sywait ia ki nongshun. U Siem Synteng u la shitom shibun ia u bad u la duh buit ruh da kumno yn leh ba’n jop ia u, haba shi sin ar sin la pyniap u shu im pat kumjuh pakumjuh. Te haba u Siem Synteng u la pyrkhat bha u la shem kawei ka buit kaba u tharai ba ka long kaba bha tam bad kaba u lah ban tip da kano ka rukom ne ka jingstad ba u im pat haba la pyniap ia u. Ka buit jong u Siem Synteng ka la long kumne. U la shim kawei ka samla kaba bhabriew tam na ka ri Synteng baroh, u pyndeng ki jingdeng ksiar ki jingdeng rupa, bad u pynkup ki jaïn Siem kiba kordor eh, bad u ong ha ka “ngan ia pha kine baroh, bad ngan shuh ruh nalor kine lada pha’n ioh ia ka buit u Kyllong Raja ban iathuh ha nga da kumno u lah ban pynim pat ia lade haba pom ia u. Te mynia nga’n phah ia pha sha ieu shato, lada une u Kyllong Raja u i-bha ia pha, bad u’n shim ia-pha ban long ka tynga jong u, phan leit, bad phan leh ieit ia u katba lah. Hadin sa kylli ia ka buit ka jingstad baroh, da kumno u im pat haba la pom ruh, bad ynda pha la tip ia kita baroh sa pyntip sha nga ba nga’n sa jop ia u. Te lada pha’n leh kumta nga’n buskit ia pha shibun ho. Kumta u pbah iew soit ia ka. Te une U Kyllong Raja u la iohih ia ka, bad u la i-bha shisha ia ka, bad u shim iaka ba’n long ka tynga jong u. U buh ia ka ha Madur. Te kata ka samla ka la leh ieit ia u shibun eh bad ka kylli byniah ia ka buit ka jingstad ba u im pat. Hangta une u Kyllong Raja, haba u iohih ba ka leh ieit shibun u phla ia kiei-kiei baroh hak-a. U ong, “Ka jing im jong-nga ka long kumne: nga dei ban sum ha la ka sngi bad ban sait ia la ki snir (nangta la khot ia u “U Siem sait-snir"). Hadin kata ngan sa bam ja, bad y’m don mano-mano ba lah ban pyniap ia nga lada ki’m ioh ia ki snir. Kumta ka jing-im jong nga ka sydin tang ha ki snir hi.” Kumta, ynda kata ka samla, ka tynga jong u, ka la ioh tip ia kata baroh ka phah ktin sha u Siem Synteng ba’n wan uno-uno u rangbah ba ka’n iathuh ia ka jingim bad ka jingiap u Kyllong Raja. Te u Siem Synteng ynda u la sngow ia kata ka ktin shi syndon u la phah ia la ki rangbah sha ka. Te ka la iathuh ia kiei-kiei baroh katba u Kyllong Raja u la phla. Te u Siem Synteng ynda u la tip ia kane baroh u la hukum ia ki briew ba ki’n khiar ban ioh ia u Kyllong Raja. Te ha kawei ka sngi ki la lap ia u ba u sum bad u la buh ia ki snir ha kata ka jaka ba u sum ba u mut ban sait ia ki. Hangta uwei u briew uba na Ralliang u la shim ia ki snir jong u bad u pom ia u; ia kita ki snir u la pyndykut lyngkot lyngkhai bad u la ha ki ksew. Naduh kata ka por u Kyllong Raja u’m lah shuh ba’n im pat, bad kumta la jop ia ka Madur, la pynsakyma ia ka jaid Siem Malyniang naduh kata ka por. Te naduh kata haduh mynta la duh hinniew kyrteng bynriw.

U Manik Raitong and his Flute

In the northern portion of the Khasi Hills which borders on the Bhoi country there lived a man, by name U Manik. The people nicknamed him “U Manik Raitong,” because he was an orphan, his parents, his brothers and sisters, and the whole of his clansfolk having died. He was very poor in addition. U Manik Raitong was filled with grief night and day. He used to weep and deeply groan on account of his orphanhood and state of beggary. He did not care about going out for a walk, or playing like his fellow youths. He used to smear himself with ashes and dust. He used to pass his days only in weeping and groaning, because he felt the strain of his misery to such an extent. He made a flute upon which to play a pathetic and mournful tune. By day he used to work as a ploughman, whenever he was called upon to do so. If nobody called him, he used to sit inactive at home, weeping and groaning and smearing his rags with dust and ashes. At night he used to bathe and dress himself well, and, after having eaten his food, he used to take his flute and play on it till morning. This was always his practice. He was a very skilful player. He had twelve principal tunes. There lived in the same village a queen. Her husband, the Siem, used to be absent from home for long intervals in connection with his public duties. One night, when the queen heard the strains of U Raitong’s flute, she listened to them with very great pleasure, and she felt so much compassion for him that she arose from her couch at midnight and went to visit him. When she reached his house, she asked him to open the door, so that she might pay him a call. U Raitong said “I can’t open the door, as this is not the time to pay visits,” and he went on playing his flute and dancing to the music, with tears in his eyes. Then the queen peeped through one of the chinks of the wall and saw him, and she was beside herself, and breaking open the door she entered in. Then U Raitong, having stopped playing, was annoyed that, to add to his misfortunes, this woman had come to trouble him thus. When she tried to beguile him, U Raitong admonished her and sent her away. She departed just before daybreak. U Raitong then took off his fine clothes, and putting on his rags, sprinkled himself with dust and ashes, and went to plough as was his wont. The queen, however, ensnared him by another device, and whilst the king was still away in the plains, she gave birth to a male child. When the Siem returned, he was much surprised to find that she had borne a child during his absence, and however much he asked her to confess, she would not do so. So the king called the elders and young men to judge the case, and when no proof was found concerning this business, the king appointed another day, when all the males (in the State) should appear, each man holding a plantain. On the appointed day, all the males of the State having appeared, the king told them all to sit in a circle and to show their plantains, and said, “We will place this child in the midst, and to whomsoever the child goes, he is his father, and the adulterer. We will beat him to death with clubs according to the law.” Accordingly, when all the people sat in a circle, and the child was placed in the midst, he went to no one, and, although the king called and coaxed him much, he nevertheless refused to go. Then the king said, “Remember who is absent.” All replied, “There is no one else except U Manik Raitong.” The Siem replied, “Call, then, U Raitong.” Some of the people said, “It is useless to call that unfortunate, who is like a dog or a cat; leave him alone, oh king.” The king replied, “No, go and call him, for every man must come.” So they called him, and when he arrived and the child saw him, the child laughed and followed “U Raitong.” Then the people shouted that it was U Raitong who had committed adultery with the queen. The king and his ministers then ordered that U Raitong should be put to death outside the village. U Raitong said, “Be pleased to prepare a funeral pyre, and I will burn myself thereon, wicked man that I am.” They agreed to his request. U Raitong said to those who were preparing the funeral pyre, “When I arrive near the funeral pyre, set fire to it beforehand, and I will throw myself in, and you stand at a distance.” Then U Raitong went and bathed, dressed himself well, and, taking his flute, played on it as he walked backwards to the funeral pyre; and when he arrived close to it, they lighted it as he had told them to do. He walked three times round the pyre, and then planted his flute in the earth and threw himself into the flames. The queen, too, ran quickly and threw herself on the pyre also. After U Raitong and the queen had been burned, a pool of water formed in the foundations of the pyre, and a bamboo sprang up whose leaves grew upside-down. From U Raitong’s time it has become the practice to play the flute at funerals as a sign of mourning for the departed.

U Manik Raitong bad ka Sharati jong u.

La don uwei u briw shaphang shatei ha ka ri Khasi ha khap ri Bhoi uba kyrteng U Manik. Ki briw ki la sin ia u U Manik Raitong namar ba u long u khun swet uba la iap baroh ki kymi, ki kypa, ki hynmen, ki para bad ki kur ki jaid. U long ruh uba duk shibun. Une U Manik Raitong u dap da ki jingsngowsih synia sngi, u iam ud jilliw ha la ka mynsim namar la ka jinglong khun swet long pukir. Um jiw kwah ban iaid kai leh kai kum ki para samla; u sum da ka dypei da ka khyndew ia lade, u pynleit la ki sngi ki por tang ha ki jingud ki jingiam ba u sngowisynei ia ka pyrthei sngi ba shem shitom haduh katne. Te u la thaw kawei ka sharati ban put ka jingiam briw bad jingriwai sngowisynei. Mynsngi mynsngi u jiw leit bylla pynlur masi haba la don ba wer, haba ym don u shong khop-khop ha la iing, u iam u ud, u sum dypei sum khyndew halor la ki jaïn syrdep jot. Mynmiet mynmiet u sum u sleh, u kup bha kup khuid; bad ynda u la lah bam lah dih u shim ka sharati u put haduh ban da shai. Barobor u jiw leh kumta. Ha kaba put ruh u long uba nang shibun, u don khadar jaid ki jingput kiba kongsan tam ha ka jingput jong u. Te la don ka mahadei ha kata ka shnong kaba u tynga jong ka u long u Siem Rangbah ha ka Hima. Une u Siem u leit sha Dykhar ban pyndep bun jaid ki kam Siem jong u, bad u dei ban jäh slem na la iing. Kane ka mahadei ha kawei ka miet haba ka la ioh sngow ba’riew ka sharati U Raitong ka la sngowbha shibun eh ban sngap, bad haba ka la sngap ka la sngow ieit sngowisynei ia U Raitong haduh ba ka la khie joit shiteng synia ban leit kai sha U Raitong. Te haba ka la poi tiap ha khymat ka iing jong u ka la phah plie ban wan kai. U Raitong u ong ym lah ban plie namar kam long ka por ba dei ban wan kai. Kumta u put la ka jingput bad la ka jingshad nohlyngngeb pynjem ryndang jaw ummat. Te ke mahadei, haba ka la khymih na kawei ka thliew kaba pei, ka la iohih ia u; hangta lei-lei kam don pyrthei shuh haduh ba ka la kyddiah ia ki jingkhang bad ka la rung shapoh iing. Kumta U Raitong u la wai noh la ka jingput bad u sngowsib, halor ba shem kat kane ka pyrthei sngi, sa kane ruh nang wan leh ih-bein kumne. Haba ka la lam pynsboi ia u, U Raitong u la sneng ia ka bad u la phah nob ia ka, te ka la leit noh haba ka sydang ban shai pher. U Raitong u la law la ki jaïn bha, u la shim la ki syrdep bad, u dypei ban leh kumta u jiw leh bad u la leit pynlur masi. Hinrei kane ka mahadei ka la riam ia u da kawei pat ka buit. Te katba u Siem u nangsah ha Dykhar ka la nang kha i wei i khun shinrang, bad haba u la wan u la sngow phylla shibun eh ba ka la ioh khun haba um don. La u kylli byniah katno-katno ruh kam phla satia. Kumta U Siem u la lum ia u tymmen u san, u khynraw khyndein, baroh ban bishar, te haba ym shem sabud ei ei shaphang kane ka kam, kumta u buh ha kawei ka sngi ba yn wan u shinrang briw baroh katha don, kin wallam bad lakait kawei-kawei man u briw. Ynda la poi kata ka sngi, baroh ki la wan na ka hima, bad U Siem u ong, phin shonq tawiar baroh, pynih la ka kait, ngin buh ia une u khunlung ha pyddeng, jar haba une a khunlung un leit uta dei u kypa bad uba klim, ia uta yn shoh tangon ha bynda iap kum ka ain ka jiw long. Kumta te haba la shong tawiar u paitbah byllin, la bah ia uta u khunlung ha pyddeng. Uta u khunlung um leit hano-hano ruh, la khot la khroh. U Siem katno katno ruh um treh. “To ia ia kynmaw sa man u bym don hangne” ong U Siem. Baroh ki ong, “ym don shuh, sa tang U Raitong.” “Khot te ia U Raitong,” ong U Siem. Don katto katne na pyddeng uta a paitbah kiba ong. “Ym khot makna ia uba pli, uba kum u ksew, u miaw, yn nai Siem.” “Em shu khot wei u kynja shinrang briw dei ban wan.” Te la khot is u, bad haba u la poi tiap uta u khunlung u khymih u sam rykhie bad u leit bud ia U Raitong. Kumta risa shar u paitbah baroh ba U Raitong u la klim ia ka mahadei. Te U Siem bad la ki Myntri ki la hukum ban leit pyniap noh ia U Raitong sharud nong. Te u ong “phi da sngowbha shu thaw da la ka jingthang ngan thang hi ia lade wei nga u riwnar ruser. Kumta ki la shah ia kata ka jingpan jong u. Te U Raitong u la ong ha kita kiba thaw jingthang. “Ynda nga poi sha jan jingthang sa nang ding lypa ngan sa nang thang hi, phi kynriah noh sha jingngai. Kumta U Raitong u wan sum wan sleh, u kup bha sem bha, u shim ka sharati u put, u leit da kaba iaid dadin shaduh jingthang. Te ynda u la poi ha jan ki la buh ding kumta u la ong; ynda poi ha jingthang u iaid tawiar lai sin ia ka, u sih ka sharati ha khyndew, bad u thang ia lade. Ka Mahadei ruh da kaba kyrkieh ka la mareh sha kata ka jingthang bad ka ruh ka la thang lem hangta ia lade. Kumta ynda la ing U Raitong bad kata Ka Mahadei, long da ka um ha kata ka nongrim jingthang, bad mih u shken uba long ka mat sha khongpong. Naduh U Raitong sa long ka sharati haduh mynta ban put iam briw ban pynih la ki jingsngowsih na ka bynta kiba la iap.