TODAY -

Hiyangthau
- From a book by N. Bemni Singha -

James Oinam *

 An Illustration of Hiyangthau
An Illustration of Hiyangthau by James Oinam



In the olden days, there lived a poor couple. Both of the husband and wife had to work hard for their food. Then the woman became pregnant. The man asked his wife to take rest. He had to work very hard to buy food for both of them.

One day he borrowed money from his rich neighbour. The money was enough for the wife to buy her food for four–five months.

Then the husband left for foreign land to earn a lot of money. Months passed by and the husband did not return.

She became worried as the money was running out and she could go out to work. Then she became ill and bed-ridden.

The neighbours used to drop by and take care of her. But they had their lives and how long could they take care of the sick woman who has been left alone by her husband? They became angry at him. By and by, they stopped visiting her.

The woman became seriously ill and died. No one knew she was dead. Her dead body lied in the house. A cat jumped over body and she turned into Hiyanthau.

After some days, at night, the husband returned from his journey with a lot of silver.

'Dear wife, please open the door. I am back,' called the husband.

'It is open. Just come in,' replied Hiyanthau in the form of the wife.

The husband pushed the door open and came in. The wife was in dishevelled cloths.

Her hair was rough as it had not been combed for days. She walked to and fro in an agitated manner.

The husband showed her the cloths he had brought for her. But she was not interested.

Then he noticed the broken body of his wife and trembled in fear. The wife looked at him with big round eyes and showed him her enormous teeth. The man retreated towards the door.

'People, people, please open your door latch for me,' shouted the man running out of the house.

But it was late night and all the neighbours had gone to sleep. No one had opened their gates for him. So ran and climbed up a liana. Hiyanthau came after him.

She could not the touch the liana so she threw stone at him. Then sat down and waited for him to come down.

The birds started chirping as the morning time approached. Hiyanthau had to go back to the house, and she turned into a corpse.

The man came down the liana and told his neighbours the entire story.

'But your wife was sick. Let's go and see her,' said the neighbours.

They all came to the house and found the wife's body. A knowledgeable man among them who knew all about spirits and ghost told them that she had turned into Hiyanthau.

'Without losing any time she must be cremated with all the necessary ceremonies. Otherwise, at night she will become alive again and torment the entire village,' he said.

So the neighbours arranged for the funeral. The man performed all the necessary ceremonies.

But he deeply regretted that his wife died because of his carelessness and leaving her alone.

He demolished the house and sold off the land. Then he took all the silver he had earned and went on pilgrimage never to return again to the village.


Source Details:

Translated from 'Hiyangthau' story in the collected work Funga Wari, Vol. 3
Author: N. Bemni Singha
Book Illustrator: N. Nongdon Sana
Publisher: Naharol Khorjei Thaugallup Jaribon
Year of Publication: 1999




* James Oinam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on January 06, 2020.



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