Henjunaha : Part 2
- From a book by K.B. Sharma -

James Oinam *

 Henjunaha  :: An illustration done by James Oinam
Henjunaha :: An illustration done by James Oinam

Henjunaha: Part 2

Khoidom Widow's House

Widow Khoidom climbed mountains and cut wood to earn living. But she earned little and she and her son Henjunaha were not well fed. They lived in a dilapidated house. Henjunaha had grown up into a young man. One morning when the widow returned home from the market, she could not find her son in the house. She called out his name. Henjunaha who had just returned home replied.

'Son, I asked you not to venture out of the house when I am away. Have you been to the mountains to cut those wood,' the widow asked seeing the logs Henjunaha was carrying on his back.

'Oh Mother, I am grown up now. Let me go out and work and help you. Why do you forbid me from going out?' asked Henjunaha.

The widow became very sad, 'It is because of what happened to your father when you were a little boy.'

'Tell me what happened to him,' asked Henjunaha.
The widow narrated the tragic story of Henjunaha's father.

(Khoidom's Story)

Langlenhanba got ready to go to the forest to cut wood.
'Where is Henjunaha?' he asked his wife Khoidom.

'He is still sleeping,' replied Khoidom.
'But it is so late. He always gets before I go and asks to bring him heijangpet fruits for him. I want to see him before I go,' he told his wife.

'Yes husband,' saying this the wife went inside the house and called Henjunaha.
On hearing his father to about to leave, he came out running from the house.

'Father I want to go with you. Let me come,' cried Henjunaha.
Hugging Henjunaha, Langlenhanba promised Henjunaha he would bring heijangpet fruits from the Thangjing mountain. When he grew up they will go together.

'Wife, I must go now. It is getting late.'

(In the Forest)

Langlenhanba was unable to find any proper tree to cut. He wanted to carve a big boat for the king. It was getting dark. At a distance he saw a fine tree growing alone on a barren hill.
'This tree does not have any defect of any kind. It is very healthy and would be perfect for a boat.'

He struck it with his axe. Blood oozed out of the wound. It was actually a spirit who had taken the form of a tree.
Langlenhanba ran for home. He fell down upon the place where the water dripped from the roof of the house. He called out for his wife. The wails of her husband brought the wife rushing.

'What has happened to you dear husband,' she cried.
'Dear wife, my time on this earth is over. Take care of Henjunaha. Do not let him go out to the forest alone.'

Langlenhanba died leaving his wife and child alone and without any relatives.

(Khoidom and Henjunaha's Story Resumes)

Khoidom: 'That's why I cannot let you go out to cut woods.'
'But mother, I am a grown up man now. I can take care of myself now. All my friends go out to work. Please let me help you,' Henjunaha pleaded.

The widow reluctantly agreed to her son.

Laihalli River

In the early morning, Lairaulembi and her friends were taking bath. They were washing their hairs with chenghi (herbal concoction for washing hair). They were discussing that not a single hair must fall off, lest it falls over a spirit. Meanwhile waves of water came rushing towards them.

'Esh! What's creating this turmoil?' cried out Lairaulembi.
At a distance they saw a boat rowing towards them. Henjunaha and his friend Loya were on the boat.

'O human boatmen, don't you see we are washing our hairs here. Come here and let me forgive you,' called out Lairaulembi in her musical voice.
Her friends laughed at this.

Loya was taken aback to hear this, 'Is that some spirits over there? It will not be manly to just run away?'
They rowed the boat close to the girls.

When Lairaulembi and Henjunaha saw each other, they looked mesmerized and kept looking each other. Tonu, Lairaulembi's friend, waved her hands in front of Lairaulembi's face.
All of them laughed. 'Come, let's go,' said Tonu.

Henjunaha and Loya stayed there until all the girls left and then they turned their boat and headed for home.


Henjunaha and Loya wandered around the garden.
'Do you think they will come here to gather flowers for prayers?' enquired Loya.

'Hush! I see some girls coming this way. Let's hide behind this tree,' suggested Henjunaha.
'It is a pity we don't know their names. They are the same girls we saw yesterday friend.'

Lairaulembi and Tonu were chasing away the birds:
Hada Urit napangbi
Namana kauray tadabi
Napana kauray khumdabi

[Oh Urit, deaf one
Mother calls, but you can't hear
Father calls, but you don't reply

Loya and Henjunaha pushed away the branches to come out of their hiding place.
Tonu and Lairaulembi began to run away.

'It is us sisters,' cried out Loya.
Henjunaha and Loya blocked their way. The girls recognized them.

'From the moment we saw you yesterday we have been smitten by you. Could you tell us what your names are?' asked Loya.
'I am Tonu and my friend is Lairaulembi. What are yours dear ones?' queried Tonu.

'My friend is Henjunaha and I am Loya,' answered Loya.
It was all very clear that Lairaulembi and Tonu also liked Henjunaha and Loya.

Just then Khoijuhongba came in the garden looking for his daughter. Finding his girl with young men, he approached them directly, 'My child I sent you for the Thangjing festival and here you are in the garden alone with this young men who wearing plain some cloths.'

'O father, I was tired and wanted to rest a while. He was just looking after me,' replied Lairaulembi, looking at Henjunaha.
'Who are you?' Khoijuhongba addressed the young man directly.

'I am Henjunaha, son of the widow Khoidom, Sir,' answered Henjunaha.
'Son of a poor widow, what are you talking about with my daughter? Do not ever meet my daughter again.'

'O father, he is a good man,' intervened Lairaulembi.
'Child you must avoid the company of the low-born. Come quickly, walk in front of me to the Thanjing temple,' commanded the father.

And so the two left the place.
Loya and Tonu who were hiding nearby heard the entire conversation.

Loya was greatly disturbed, 'Now what will happen? My friend has been discovered and forbidden from meeting his love.'
'Do not alarmed. He has firmly established himself in the heart of my friend. Tomorrow early morning we all go collecting flowers for Lord Thangjing. You must come with your friend and meet us then,' soothed Tonu.

'Even if things do not go well, ours is all fixed,' joked Loya.
Both of them laughed at this. Then they parted ways.

Note: A friend told me there is no bird called 'urit' mentioned in the song above. It is a pun. The name is formed from 'una-una lit-thokpa' (in spite of seeing, sneaking away).

Adapted from:
Book Title: Henjunaha
Author: K.B. Sharma
Publisher: Dr. Laishram Lokendra
First Print: 2010
Printer: Rajesh Book Store, Governor Road, Imphal

* James Oinam wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on February 14, 2019.

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