TODAY -

The King's Umbrella : Pay Nareckpi
- From a book by N. Bemni Singha -

James Oinam *

Pay Nareckpi :: An Illustration by N. Nongdon Sana from the book 'Funga Wari'
Pay Nareckpi :: An Illustration by N. Nongdon Sana from the book 'Funga Wari'



Once upon a time, there lived a very kind-hearted king. The king was very generous and could not see any pain in his subjects.

One day, the king decided to visit the rural areas of his kingdom to see how the common people in his king were faring.

So he sat on his beautifully decorated horse and set out along with his coterie.

It was summer time, so they brought the king's umbrella.

On the way, they met a poor man.

The man was sweating profusely due to the sun.

The heat had completely exhausted him, and he was walking at a slow pace.

The king felt pity for the poor man.

He called out, 'Oh man, take my umbrella. You need it more than I do.'

And he gave the royal umbrella to the poor man. Then the king's party went ahead on their journey.

Holding the luxurious umbrella, the poor man wondered, 'I did not ask the king for anything. But the king is so generous, he gave me his royal umbrella. If I beg him for the horse, he will give me that too.'

The poor man decided to wait for the king to return from his journey.

After touring the villages and listening to the problems of his peasants, the king's party was on its way back to the palace.

The poor man who had been waiting for them approached the king as they came close.

'Oh kind king, you gave me your umbrella without my asking. Please give me your horse too,' requested the poor man.

The king was outraged at the man's impudence.

'How dare you ask for my horse? You're are a very greedy man,' shouted the king.

Then he ordered his men to take back the umbrella he had given to the man.

The king's men took away the umbrella from the poor man, and they all galloped towards the palace.

The poor man said to himself, 'If I were satisfied with the umbrella, I could have sold it in the market for a good price. Now, I have nothing left with me. I feel like licking the remains. * '

Slowly, in a dejected manner, he walked back to his house.


Note: The word 'pay' means 'a kind of umbrella', according to the book Manipuri Grammar: A Supplement, authored by Nand Lal Sharma, published in 1998 by Hidangmayum Bihari Sharma, Sangaiprou Airport Road, Imphal.

The word 'nareckpi' seems like an adjective. I can only speculate here that it might be a corruption for a compound word 'na' + 'leckpi' (ear + lick). The brim of the umbrella probably had ostentatious decorations dangling, almost 'licking' (touching) the ears of its user.

* The expression 'licking the remains' is a phrase that has been deliberately retained from the story. I believe it is referring to another popular folktale Paybet. In the story, a greedy cat who wanted to eat a little bird ends up 'licking' the bird's dropping only.


Source Details:

Translated from 'Pay Nareckpi' 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 July 26, 2018.



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