The Widow's Son :: Lukhrabi Macha
Fungawari Singbul by B. Jayantakumar Sharma

Translation by Bidyarani Thingujam *

Lukhrabi Macha
An illustration of Folk tale 'Lukhrabi Macha' by Sibananda Thokchom

One upon a time, in a far away village, there lived a poor widow and her only son. The widow took up odd jobs to feed her son and faces many difficulties to bring him up. As time passes, the widow's son grows up into a boy of 13-14 years and one day he said to his mother, "Mother, now I've grown up, you needn't worry, I'll work hard to look after you, buy me a fishing rod and I'll catch fish and sell it at the market. In this way I'll help you".

The mother was overjoyed at hearing the words of his son. Right at that moment she went to the market and bought a fishing rod for her son. From that day onwards, the boy start catching fish and after that the mother and son duo sold the fishes at the market. As time passes, the mother and son lived well for some time. One day, the widow's son wasn't able to catch any fish.

Instead of fish, a beautiful, magical flower was stuck at his fishing rod. The boy was awe-struck at the very sight. This flower was not an ordinary one. It was very bright and beautiful to look at and the smell of it was very sweet. And the flower has a magic spell too. Whoever smells its scent, it can turn anyone old into a young fellow. The widow's son brought the flower home and showed to his mother.

The widow was also surprised but later she thought it is unworthy to keep the flower. She decided to hand over the flower to her brother. Her brother thought the same thing and decided to hand over the magical flower to the King. Seeing the flower the King was overjoyed and praised the man who gifted it to him. But the King had one thing in mind.

He wanted the same flower for his Queen and ordered the man to bring to him at the earliest. Bu the widow's brother narrated the story of how he got the flower. Then the King ordered his men to bring the widow's son to his court.

The widow's son soon appeared before the King's court and the King said, "You did a great job in bringing the magical flower to me. But I want another of the same kind for my Queen. Go and search for it. If you fail, be ready to die.

With a heavy heart, the widow's son left the palace and wandered aimlessly. As he came along, on a river side, the daughter of Sabi King(Rat King), Sabileima saw him instantly fell in love with him. Friends of Sabileima ran to the palace and told the news to Sabi King and the King gave his approval. A grand wedding was held and now the widow's son and Sabileima were man and wife now.

The widow's son told Sabileima the whole story and said goodbye to her and went in search of the magical flower. Along came in the land of Princess Nganuleima and they fell in love at first sight and got married. The widow's son also left the place leaving Nganuleima for some time and went in search of the flower.

Same thing happen in the land of Pigeon King and after marriage, Pigeon King asked the purpose of his visit. The widow's told him about the flower and the Pigeon King revealed the place where the flower is found. The widow's son was excited and went to that place and brings the flower and reached home with his three wives. After that he went to the palace and presented the flower to the King.

The King was surprised at the strong will of the widow's son. But some of his courtiers were not happy, so they tried to persuade the King to test the widow's son. One of the King's men, the barber was very jealous of the widow's son and he hatched many plans with the King to defeat the widow's son.

In order to test the ability of the widow's son, the King ordered the widow's son to collect thoiding (mustard seed) from the from an area where small stones and wastes were scattered here and there.

With sad face, the widow's son obeyed and returned to his home and narrated the incident to his wife Khunuleima. Khunuleima said not to worry and at midnight she called her father and asked for his help. Her father brought a large number of pigeons and picked up all the mustard seeds.

As morning came, the King was very surprised to see the whole thing done. This time the King and his barber decided to set a more toughed task. And again this time, his wife Nganuleima said not to worry and called her father and asked for his help. And lo! the work was done before dawn. The King was again astonished.

The King decided to kill the widow's son this time and set another tougher task. But with the help of Sabileima, the widow's son planned a perfect way to escape the plan of the King. The King had ordered the widow's son to go to the Land of Death and enquire about his forefathers. The widow's son set a perfect plan. In the morning many people came to witness the event of the widow's son going to the Land of Death.

Everything was done according to the plan and people thought the widow's son will not return alive. Everyone get back to their homes thinking the widow's son was dead. The King and his barber was very excited on hearing the news of the widow's son death. They held a grand feast to celebrate their victory. In the morning the King order his me to confiscate all the properties of of the widow's son.

On reaching the house of the widow's son, the King's men found the widow's son sitting leisurely at his courtyard. They got scared and hurriedly got back to the palace and told the news to the King.

The King called the widow's son and ordered him to explain his journey. The widow's son replied that the King's forefathers were well-off but they desperately need a barber because there was no barber in the Land of Death.

The King believed him and ordered his barber to go to the Land of Death. Next day, all arrangement were made for the barber's journey. The widow's son perfectly planned a way to kill the cunning barber.

In this way the barber gets punished for his evil ways. After the death of the barber the King now realised everything and he make friends with the widow's son. The widow's son was made a minister in the court of the King and all is well that ends well.

** From Manipur folk tale Book called "Fungawari Singbul" by B. Jayantakumar Sharma

* Bidyarani Thingujam is a regular contributor to
This article was posted on April 03 2017

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