Waking up early morning my eyes went out through the window. I could notice the hills far away half covered with clouds. Rain was dropping lightly and i could hear a bird chirping. That is when the old folktale that i read in my childhood flashed through my mind.
Do you ever wonder how humans produce beautiful voice and can sing so sweetly? Well, thousand’s of years ago humans did not have sweet voice like they have now. It was very coarse and rough. A famous folktale is still being told how humans got the beautiful voice and learned the art of singing.
Long ago in the land of Arunachal Pradesh, was a mythical city called Doje. In this city lived certain people called the Nites. They were farmers and mostly cultivated sugarcanes and bananas.
When the harvest was almost ready, people would begin to dream of the days of plenty. Though they watched their crop and waited for it to mature, they found, everytime, that on the night before the crop was to be harvested, it got mysteriously eaten up. The field lay ravaged and not a single plant remained.
“Who eats them? “,they wondered.
Different representatives took turns to watch all night, but failed to find the culprit.
One day, a bat suggested that they make a trap to catch the culprit. The people of Arunachal Pradesh are very good at making traps for animals. They use fancy gadgets made up of bamboo to trap animals.
The trap was made and, lo and behold ! The miscreant was also caught. However, the figure in the trap made no sense. Nobody had seen a creature like the one in the trap ever before. People from all over the city came, looked at the animal and nodded their heads. They did not know what it was. So, the bat carried it on his back to a hilltop and left it there.
Just then, the spirit of water, splashed against the hill. The second wave was a bigger one and this time the spirit of water could see atop the hill.
Guess who he saw lying on the hilltop?
His own son!
The spirit of water flew into such a rage that he cursed the people of Doje, “The city will be ravaged by flood and storm,” he declared and lost no time in huffing and puffing out the waters.
As the spirit of water’s fury was building up, flying past were two birds, Bello and Lido. They got worried hearing the spirits warth. Their children were still too small to fly and they feared a storm and flood would destroy their little home. Poor Bello and Lido!
No sooner had the storm began to rage, than the tall tree broke and down came the nest. Poor Bello and Lido cried their heart out. The storm raged endlessly. Finally, everything came to a standstill. The wind stopped blowing and the water spirit calmed down. Nature took a long breath and came still.
At this time, the first man of Arunachal Pradesh, Abo Tani, decided to go out for a walk. He thought he would collect the animals killed in the storm and gather broken twigs for firewood. His mother warned him, “Nature is very hurt, wait for her to recover a little.” But Tani did not listen to her.
As he went out, walking over fallen branches and broken trees, he heard a sweet song. A little sad but so charming that Tani felt drawn towards the ode. He walked on and on in the direction of the music even overlooking the many dead birds and broken twigs on the way that he had come out to collect.
Then he ran into Bello and Kango. They were crying. Tani told them that their song enchanted him.
“This is no song. It is a tale of grief, ” said Bello.
Tani had no idea what the birds were saying. He asked the bird if they could give a part of it as gift.
“Do not ask for this,” said Kango and continued to cry.
Tani asked again and again. The bords told Tani that he must not ask for the song because along with the song he would get the sorrow too.
“It may be sweet sweet to ears, but is sore to the heart. For it carries the burden of bereaved mother, “they said.
Tani was adamant. He refused to understand what Bello was saying, but felt the song was worth any price. He knew not sorrow or bereavement. He again insisted. The unhappy bird tried their best to tell him to let go.
Finally, Bello said, “Here is a drop of my tear, swallow it with a piece of ginger. Do not tell anyone I gave it to you.”
In return, Tani changed the colour of the birds into green, so it would not be noticed in the forest.
Tani could not wait to get home. He swallowed the tear with a piece of ginger. With the ginger teardrop, man began to speak in a beautiful voice and learned the art of singing.
It is also with that ginger teardrop that man first experienced death. As soon as Tani swallowed the ginger teardrop, his mother died!