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  • Writer's pictureSpeak Your Roots

Shape shifters by Mario Pathaw

Mario says: "Shape shifters are popular figures in myths and folktales around the world. In Japan and China, foxes assume human form to bedevil the unwary. In Brazil, the river dolphin Boto can turn into a boy and many Native American cultures have stories of "skin-walkers”. In Ireland, there is a myth which talks about the man wolves of Ossory."

"This concept is also very popular in the Khasi tribe and there are tales and myths about the shape shifters of my clan, The Pathaw clan. According to the tales passed down from my great grandmother, the men of the Pathaw clan leave their bodies in a seemingly lifeless state while their spirits travel and roam around as the "Khla" (Tigers/ Leopards). The Khasi tribe describes a brave warrior as "U Khla Wait" (attributing to the fighting spirit of the Khla) and my mother describes our Pathaw men as warriors and protectors of the family."


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