THE LEGEND OF A GIANT SNAKE AND A GIRL
Long ago there lived a beautiful girl in the western part of the Yimkhiungrü land. She was young and quite beautiful. Every young boy in her village wanted to marry her. But she refused many proposals for marriage because she decided to find Mr Right for her life partner. She lived with her parents who were cultivators. They were not well off.
As is the custom of the Yimkhiungrüs, every able person whether male or female has to go to field throughout the year to work. So, as was the custom, the girl also went to field every day along with her parents to work. But, often times she had to go to the field alone or with her younger siblings to work when her parents had some other engagements.
Thus, the chance to meet the girl and befriend her was opened for the great snake that had magical powers to transform himself into a man. So on the days that she was alone or with her younger siblings, who didn’t know much about mysticism, the giant snake turned himself into a young handsome man and would come to the field to help the young girl work in the field. By and by their friendship grew stronger and stronger. Their friendship further turned into deep love between them. However, the giant snake was not in a hurry to propose her for marriage.
Days went by; months went by and so do years. From the year the giant snake turned himself into a young man and offered his service to work in the field, the harvest from the field was so much so that the family could not finish carrying the grains and other field produce home. The produce increased year after year. As a result, the poor family became very rich by selling the field produce and people started giving their due importance and respect to the family.
The giant snake was very clever and crafty. Using his magical powers, the field produce increased manifold. He never claimed any wages or anything in return for his assistance. He was waiting for his right moment to claim his price.
The beautiful young girl was so simple, and naïve to understand what was going on with her. The young, handsome man used to turn up to help her in the field whenever her parents were not there. But, he didn’t come when her parents were in the field. Therefore, the girl use to wonder as to who is this young man, from where do he come from? And what is his lineage etc? She didn’t know anything about him so far. He was not from her village that’s for sure. So one day, she decided to ask him some questions.
Sure enough, one day when her parents didn’t come to the field, he turned up to help her. As usual, he would come in good attire— in Yimkhiungrü warrior’s attire. Leaving his warrior attire, he would put on a simple working dress that was brought by him. In the evening he would put on the warrior’s attire and after bidding good bye, he would proceed towards the easterly direction. The girl always saw him come from the eastern side. When he turned up and they began to work in the field, the girl asked him his name, to which he replied that she would come to know in due course of time. His name was not important for her to know… he use to say. When she asked his village name, his, parentage etc…. he would simply reply that he is an orphan and he comes from the sunrise direction- that is the east.
For many years their courtship and love affair grew quite strong. By now the parents of the girl started growing suspicious of her relationship with an unknown young man. Her younger siblings also told their parents about the mysterious young man who would turn up to help in the field whenever parents didn’t come to the field. They became very wealthy as a result of his help. The villagers also were quite surprised that this family has become quite rich within few years. Something was going on… which they could not understand.
One fine day, when the giant snake who had turned himself into a young handsome man decided that it is high time to spill out his plan to her. It was time for her to leave her parent’s house to be with him forever. He knew that the family had become very rich because of his help and that they were quite secure financially, materially and powerful socially too. He had done so much so that the parents of the girl were so indebted to him and wanted to see him and make him their son in law.
Sure enough, the young man proposed her to marry him to which she immediately said yes to him. So, they decided to get married as early as possible as his work is over and now her family was well settled in every field. The young girl told her parents about his marriage proposal to which they also readily agreed. But, the young man would not go to her village to meet with her parents, relatives to discuss about the marriage. He insisted that, her parents and relatives should come to the field on a designated day so that they could discuss over the matter.
So, on the appointed day, the parents of the girl along with her other relatives went to the field carrying much meat, and other food items. Rice beer was also carried in good quantity. When they reached the field, they found the young man already waiting for them in his best attire. He also brought a Mithun and a huge pig for the girl’s family as a gift – as is the custom of the Yimkhiungrüs. But, he did not divulge his identity, lineage and village even then. He simply said that he has come from the east and that they would come to know his identity in due course of time. Everyone thought that he could be a village prince or from a very rich and powerful family. His Yimkhiungru language was very fluent. Nobody doubted his false identity. After a sumptuous lunch, both parties now sat down to finalise the date of the marriage and the demand from the girl’s family as dowry. The girl’s side did not ask anything for the dowry but asked the young man to give them whatever he felt like. This was because; they became very rich and powerful because of him only. They knew that he was someone extraordinary. So the date, time was fixed and both parties parted for the D-day.
The girl after returning to the village started to prepare to leave her parent’s house, She made herself complete with whatever she could take to start a new home. The villagers and her parents and relatives also send her many gifts. So, on the appointed day and time they set out as is the custom accompanied by her parents, family members, relatives and other members of the villagers who were well wishers to the marriage.
On reaching the field, they found the handsome young man in full Yimkhiungrü warrior’s attire already waiting for them. He looked even more handsome and great. They greeted warmly to each other and sat down for the final feast followed by exchange of gifts and final farewell. The young man gave to the parents of the girl precious ornaments, a mithun, a cow, a pig, a stag, Tiger teeth, wild boar teeth, hornbill feathers, armlets made up of elephant tusk, Dao, spear, cultivating tools and much more goods. All of them present that day were bewildered and could not comprehend as to how he could bring such many items as gift by himself. Because, other than him, there was nobody from his side who had accompanied him for the final meeting. The young man told them that his relatives and friends had left the spot after dropping the items.
After everything was said and done, evening was about to set in. Both parties decided to part. Before parting, the young man warned all of the villagers including the parents and relatives of the girl not to look back before dusk (sunset) after their departure from the spot. They were instructed to look back in the direction of the couple only after the sunset. They would see a glow of light in far off distance to show their location and also that the couple have reached safely. He warned them that if they break his warning they would never see their daughter again and that their hearts would break. Otherwise, he told them that they would meet after every three years at the same spot. So, after hearing and agreeing with the terms and condition from the young man, both parties departed in different direction. The newly married couple went eastward.
However, filial affection took the better of the girl’s mother who wanted to see her daughter for one last time. The next they would see her would be only after three years. That was a long time she thought. So breaking the warning of the young man not to look back before sunset, after some time the mother ran back some distance towards the field to have a glimpse of her beloved daughter. And lo! What did she see? She saw a sight that made her shriek and fainted. Hearing her shrieks, the rest rushed back to see her. They found her unconscious. They woke her up by splashing cold water and asked what had happened. She then pointed towards the direction where the young couple had gone and cried so deeply. What they saw was frightening and all were astonished. They lamented and regretted for their action. They all saw that the young couple had transformed themselves into two huge giant snake and were seen going eastward. A voice was heard saying that since they broke their agreement they saw what they should not have seen. They would never see their daughter again.
Alas! The parents and relatives could not contain their grief that their beloved daughter had turned into a huge snake and married to a snake (demon). They could not do anything but lament. But, they only wished her well as it was her choice. Thus, they never saw her again nor heard of them ever again. They last saw the couple turned into huge snake and went east (towards sunrise).
After so many generations had passed, a huge giant female snake was killed by the Border Roads Organisation workers in 1972 – 73: near Yai river located at Shongkiu that is between Laskiur and Sikiur villages on the way to Kiphire district. The bull dozer while digging a huge stone dug out two huge giant snakes – a male and female with so many other siblings of their own. While the male and sibling managed to escape, the female while defending to let her siblings and the male escape was crushed by the bull dozer blade. After killing the female snake, it was then carried away by the BRO truck towards unknown destination. However, in the process of the killing, the new bull dozer got damaged with no apparent damaged caused by the snake. The bull dozer never was function able ever again. It had to be carried away by the BRO vehicle towards their HQ for checking. No information regarding the condition of the bull dozer was heard ever again.
Few days after the female giant snake was killed, the male giant snake in the form of a young man in warrior’s attire appeared in a dream to a lady of a certain village who use to dream and predict her dreams accurately. The giant snake in the form of human told her that he would take revenge from time to time on humans as his beloved wife was killed by humans. The snake never appeared to any one thereafter in dreams or in reality. It is believed that he roams in the thick forest and cliffs of Rürüdrü, Shipwungrü, Hühdangrü, Pungrungrü, Sikiur villages. People use to see bright light burning at night in deep jungles – especially in rocky cliffs. They presume till today that, it is the male giant snake and that he should not be harmed and encountered. They believe that since he is a demon/devil, he cannot be killed and anyone trying to kill him would meet a terrible fate.
The following incidences took place after the giant snake spoke to a lady in her dream. (The incidences may be just a coincidence that took place. Those may not be as a result of the appearance of the giant snake to the lady and cannot fully subscribe those incidences and attribute it to the acts of the mystical giant snake by any means. The incidences that took place are real but cannot justify those as acts of the mystical giant snake. It is just a supposition only)
Years after this incident took place; so many incidents took place in and around Rai river and adjoining areas. Many killings of human took place and landslides occur every year making motor able impossible. Many fields were washed away by the Yai river. People died while fishing, hunting in mysterious circumstances. Rürüdrü B village from the establishment of the village never grew its household members beyond 50 till today. This is something very mysterious which cannot be known till today. Some years back a convoy of Assam Rifles were ambushed and nearly a platoon was massacred and their arms looted. The killers were never found. Just few years back, a young couple were killed by unknown people beyond Yai river while on their way to Kiphire. The killing of the couple resulted to mass exodus of Yimkhiungrü people out of Kiphire HQ. All houses and property destroyed. Again, years back many people who were engaged in making the Hührungkei Hydro Project tunnel died mysteriously in the Hührungkei river.
The locals are wary of this various incidents and so take precaution when they enter the area. Travellers are instructed to pray to God Almighty to protect them from any harm from this demon. It is believed that the girl taken by the giant snake from the western region and brought towards east could be this very giant snake. The legend is narrated by elders to younger generation from time to time. Whether to believe this legend is up to individual. Christianity has brought in a lot of change to numerous myths and legends which abounded among the Yimkhiungrü people.