Moldhin Chan: A Thado-Kuki Folktale : Part 1
- From a book by Kh Ibeton Devi -

James Oinam *

Cover of  'Bharatki Khang-gatlaba Funga Wari-shing', authored by Kh Ibeton Devi
Cover of 'Bharatki Khang-gatlaba Funga Wari-shing', authored by Kh Ibeton Devi

Translated from the story 'Moldhin Chan (Phajabagi Mang-ngalna Ching Ngalhanba Nupi)' (loose translation: Moldhin Chan (A Girl Who Brightened the Hills with Her Beauty)) in the collection Bharatki Khangatlaba Funga Waarishing (Selected Folktales of India) (A Collection of Twenty Folk Tales in Manipuri) authored by Kh. Ibeton Devi, published by Writers' Club Manipur Nambol, in September 2007.

Once upon a time there lived a girl named Moldhin Chan. She was so beautiful that nothing could be compared with her beauty. It was said her beauty brightened the mountains. And her parents were proud of her.

Every morning with her friends, she used to go to the mountains and cut wood for her family. One day seven of them went to cut wood before the daybreak. As they had filled their baskets even before sunrise, they were on their way back home. They were quite tired and decided to rest for a while on the way.

At a distance, the girls noticed a very ugly man. They started talking about him.

'Whoever is unable to lift her basket of woods by herself shall ask the man to lift it for her.'

'Yes, Yes,' agreed Moldhin Chan.

When the time came to resume their journey, to the horror of Moldhin Chan, the basket which seemed so light earlier was so heavy now. Her friends started leaving. And as all of them had agreed, she requested the man to lift the basket for her. Moldhin noticed that the man had a musical instrument made from human skull and fingers.

So this was what he was playing while walking along the rocky mountains! He was actually an evil god. He warned Moldhin that she must not tell this to anyone. And if she did, he will come immediately and abduct her away.

Moldhin was burning with the temptation to tell people about this evil god. But she was afraid of the threat he had given. When the evening came, the boys and girls of the village were out together. They noticed Moldhin Chan was hiding something.

'Is it about that man we met in the morning,' asked her friend.

'He has threatened me not to tell anyone. He will kidnap me if I did,' replied Moldhin Chan.

Everyone laughed on hearing this.

'If you are so afraid, we will lock the door and surround you and no harm will come to you,' said one of the boys.

And so Moldhin Chan told them about the evil god. Suddenly all the boys and girls in the room fell under a spell. They could neither move nor speak anything. The door opened and the evil god appeared. He took Moldhin Chan away. Gradually, they came to their senses and realized Moldhin Chan had been captured by the evil god.

The mother and father of Moldhin Chan were very intelligent people. They devised a test to see who could free their daughter from the evil god. A large stone was put beside seven plates of food and seven bottles of wine.

'Whoever can throw this stone high up in the sky and eat all food and drink all the wine before the stone came down again can defeat the evil god,' they said. Also, they will marry their daughter Moldhin Chan to that man as a reward.

People came from far and wide to try their luck but all of them failed the test. The parents got disheartened. Their neighbours told them they should let two poor brothers who lived by capturing rats to take the test. As they could not find anyone else, they agreed.

The younger brother took the test first. He threw up the stone in the sky and ate all the food.

Then it was the turn for the elder brother. He threw up the stone and ate all the food and drank all the wine too before it came down.

The parents of Moldhin Chan were convinced that the two brothers can surely rescue their daughter.

The elder brother's name was Yangchan and younger brother was called Purul. Yangchan and Purul set out in search of the evil god. They searched all the mountains and all the forests. Finally, they came upon the land of the gods. Also, they found the footprints of the evil god.

As they followed the footprints, they noticed that the footprints were getting bigger and bigger. Seeing this the younger brother said, 'Brother, I'm afraid of this evil god. He seems to be getting stronger and stronger.'

'If you are afraid, then I will go ahead alone and leave you here,' replied the brother.

With his weapon the elder brother dug a cave and deposited his younger brother in it to protect him from wild animals and evil gods.

Yangchan went ahead alone to rescue the girl. He reached the huge house of the evil god. He was not at home. To the other gods who present there, Yangchan showed his prowess. He jumped across the tall house and thrust his staff into the prayer ground. Seeing all that, all the gods were afraid to fight him.

'I'm taking away the girl with me. Ask the evil god when he returns to jump over his house if he wants to follow me,' he told the gods.

He took Moldhin Chan with him and started on their way back home. It became night. So they decided to take rest and resume their journey in the morning. Meanwhile, the evil god returned home and found out what had happened. The gods told him about the challenge Yangchan had thrown.

First, he tried jumping over his house, but failed. Then he tried thrusting a staff into the prayer ground. Not even half of the staff went into the ground.

The gods advised him not to follow Yangchan as he was much stronger than him, but the evil god was adamant and went after Yangchan and Moldhin Chan.

(To be continued)

* James Oinam wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on February 23, 2018.

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