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- Upon a brook, a gurgling brook,
- Chemtatrawta sat on a stone,
- Honing his dao to make it sharp
- Upon the stone he sat on.
- ”What is that noise,” a young prawn cried
- “As of someone honing dao ?
- Upon my nerves, surely, it grates
- And sets my nippers on edge.”
- From its hiding the prawn espied
- A leather bag, ( What a bag ! )
- Skimming the water as it swung
- Pendulum like, to and fro.
- Nearer it came- the prawn, I mean,
- To’rds the bag, (oh ! what a bag !)
- The young prawn smiled and then withdrew,
- Come again, much nearer now.
- The bag still swung, pendulum-like,
- Skimmed the water, swallow-like;
- The young prawn stalked it stealthily,
- Primed its nippers for the nip.
- Alack-a-day ! Alack ! I say,
- For the poor, ill-fated bag !
- The nippers clicked, the bag jumped up -
- With the man who honed his dao !
- As might a boy his teacher scolds
- Vent his anger on his books,
- So did that man Chemtatrawta
- Vent his rage on a bamboo !
- Vented his fury and cut down
- The harmless, blameless bamboo,
- Lovingly entwined and festooned
- By a fond, loving Khaum.
- As did that man Chemtatrawta
- Vent his rage on the bamboo,
- So did the Khaum vent his rage
- Upon the wild fowl below.
- The Khaum hit the poor wild fowl
- A sound blow on its coccyx;
- The wild fowl, made wilder by this,
- Scratched asunder an ants’ nest.
- A furious ant, blind with fury,
- Sought for victims far and wide,
- Chancing upon a sleeping boar,
- Bit its exposed t-t-c.
- The sleeping boar thus roused from sleep
- Seethed and boiled with furious rage,
- Gored down with its tusks a plantain
- Where a bat had its lodging.
- The blind bat blubbered bitterly,
- Flew about in blind fury,
- And met by chance an elephant
- In whoose nose it found refuge.
- The elephant was none too pleased
- To lodge a bat in its nose;
- Sneezing, sniffing and trumpeting
- It knocked down a widow’s house.
- The poor widow now a d.p.,
- Boiling with impotent rage,
- (As you would all be in her place)
- Dirtied the spring waterhole.
- The Chain of events had now come
- To the point where village folks
- Could not ignore the consequence -
- ‘Cause of what the widow did.
- And so the village council met
- (The sixteenth August being past)
- The poor widow was first summoned
- Before that August council.
- “Why did you,” they asked the widow,
- “Defecate above the Spring ?”
- “Why! because,” she promptly answered,
- “The el’phant knocked down my house.”
- The elephant was then summoned,
- It sneezed, sniffed and stamped about;
- For what it did to the widow,
- Said the bat was all to blame.
- The blinking bat as next brought in;
- It told them how the cruel boar
- Had felled the plantain where it lodged
- And deprived it of its home.
- The outraged wild boar then came in,
- And grunted in a hurt tone,
- “Had the ant stung your t-t-c
- You’d all have done what I did.”
- The nestless ant was then brought in,
- And in a shrilled voice it cried;
- ” Had the wild fowl destroyed your nest
- You’d have been no less furious!”
- The wild fowl next came strutting in,
- In a loud, cackling voice said ;
- “Had a Khaum hit your coccyx
- You’d destroy any ants’ nest !”
- Still bruised and sore, the Khaum came,
- “I ask you, dear sirs,” it said;
- “Whose fault was it that when I fell down
- When Tatrawt felled my bamboo ?”
- Chemtatrawta was next summoned
- To explain why he had felled
- The bamboo that stood by the brook
- And the Khaum had so loved.
- He hemmed and hawed, Chemtatrawta,
- “Dear sirs,” he said, ” If a prawn
- Had nipped your t-t-c, would you
- Have cared which bamboo you felled !”
- The council was shocked to hear this,
- For man’s honour was at stake -
- “Send for the prawn quickly,” they said,
- “We will cure its audacity,”
- The prawn came in, pale and frightened,
- Promptly it dropped on its knees,
- “Pardon me, sirs, pardon,” it cried
- “I’ll never do it again.”
- For the moral of this story
- We shall tell you just this one;
- Do not meddle, do not meddle
- With a swinging, swinging bag !
- Pu Sangliana, Govt. High School Annual Magazine Vol-III, 1954