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  • Writer's pictureSpeak Your Roots

The Origin of Lightning




Mynhyndai eh, mynba ki sim-ki-doh, ki khniang ki puit, ki mrad ki mreng baroh ki dang ïakren bad ïasngewthuh kawei ka ktien, la don ka hima-bah jong u laiphew mrad laiphew mreng baroh. Baroh ki ïashong ïa-im ha ka suk ka saiñ, ka jingïaieid ïabha bad ki ïaleit ïawan ruh ryngkat. Kim tip kata ka ïashun ïapen, ka ïakajia majia, ka ïadait ka ïapyniap para ki hi.


Ha kawei ka sngi, u Shakyllia, u Diengkhied bad u Risang haba ki dang ïa ïaid knmih shnong khmih thaw, ki wan poi hajan kawei ka lympung, ha kaba u khun bynriew u ïashad ïamastieh shisien shisnem. Kine baroh lai ki la sngew shohmynsiem ïa kata ka leh u bynriew bad ki la ïapyrkhat ba kan long kaba sngewbha bad itynnat lada kin lah ban pynlong kum kata hapdeng u laiphew mrad baroh. Kumta haba ki la leit phai, u Diengkhied bad la ka shaw-shaw, u Shakyllia bad la ka tangmuri, u Risang bad la ka ksing, ki la ïaput ïatem haduh ba la sawa ka khlaw baroh kawei.


Kane ka tem ka put basngewtynnad, ka la pynkhih ïa u laiphew mrad baroh ban wan ïapeit bad ïasngapkai. Katto katne na ki, ki la ïaong ba haba ki la don ki nongput nongtem kiba kum kita, balei ba kim lah ban pynlong sa ka shad ka kmen, kumba leh lem u bynriew?


Kumta ki la ïabuh ïa uwei uba kham-nang kham tip ka talat kam shane shatai, bad uba kham tbit ruh ha ki kam sngewbha. Une u long u Pyrthat. Ma u pat, ban leit pyntip ïa ka hima sima baroh kawei ban long kum kata ka phur ka siang, u la shna kawei ka nakra kaba lah ban ïohsngew shaduh jngai bah, bad u la tied da kata kyndung shi kyndung bad step bad sngi. Ynda kata ka ïa ka la poi, u laiphew mrad phew mreng baroh u la ïawan poi ha ka lympung kaba la khreh lypa hangta ha khlaw. Baroh ki la ïa riam ïa beit da ki kup-ki-sem tyngkai, ki ïarkhie bad iphuhmat.


Ka Shrieh ka la pynsad pynkhyllong bha ïa la ki khun bad ka la rkhie phuhmut phuhmat haduh ba ka dam sa ka khmut ka khmat. U Sñiang ruh u la sum la sleh jriang bad u la ïaid wiat-samrkhie haduh ba la ang shynded sa ka khmut, kum ka shata. Ka Dkhoh ka la sad la khyllong bha, bad ka la nap tang ka peit ït haduh ban da plaid ki irmat bad byrie. Bad u Dkhan pat uba la rkhie ïap-ang ïap-ler ïa ka, u la dam la rit sa ki khmat. U 'Labasa bad u 'La-thapsim, ki la sei da ki khor ki khriam bad ki la kup la deng baroh shirynïeng.


Te, haba la sdang ka put ka tem, ka ksing, ka tangmuri, ka lympung ka la shit ir. Ka kmen ka risa kum kata ym pat ju don. Ha kata ka por la wan pol u Kui, u phong u kup da ka khor ka khriam khyrwang, kaba phyrnai na khlieh ha kjat bad u la rah ruh la ka waitlam rupa kaba u la phah shna khnang na ka bynta ka shad ka kmen. Tang shu poi tiap ha lympung, u mastieh ir, u pynshad wait sha kadiang bad sha kamon haduh ba u paid peitkai u la shoh biej thiaw bad u ïarisa shaw shi shaw. U Kui pat u la sngewsarong sngewmeng haduh bym lah ong shuh.


Haba la shong thait u Kui, u Pyrthat u la ïapankai ïa ka wait jong u ba un khalai kai shipor. U Kui u la sngewbynnud ban ai, ïoh u Pyrthat un shad kham bha ban ïa u bad ïoh baroh kin ïaroh. Kumta u la kren da rapjot da kumne kumtai, hynrei um banse ban ai, haba baroh baroh ki ban ia u ba u dei ban ai, namar ka jingheh jingkhraw jong kata ka shad ka kmen ka long na ka jingtrei shitom jong u Pyrthat. Te u Pyrthat, u tang shu ïoh ïa kata ka wait, u king-u-mastieh, haduh ba la i biria hi khait. Baroh ki la ïarisa bad ïaroh ia u.


Hynrei hapdeng kata ka jingïarisa, u Pyrthat u tied u talaiñ shane shatai ïa kata ka wait haduh ba u laiphew mrad baroh bad baheh bad barit u la sheptieng ym don pyrthei shuh bad u ïaphet sakma. Hapdeng kane ka jingkulmar, u Pyrthat, u kiew de soit sha sahit bneng, u rah jyndat bad ksing bad wait. U Kui u la sngewsih shibun ba u la duh noh ïa la ka wait, bad u ïai pyrshang ban ïoh kiew sha sahit ban ïoh knieh biang na u Pyrthat uba la shukor ïa u.


Naduh kata, sa mih ka jingïashun ïabitar hapdeng u laiphew mrad baroh.




In the early days of the world, when the animals fraternised with mankind, they tried to emulate the manners and customs of men, and they spoke their language. Mankind held a great festival every thirteen moons, where the strongest men and the handsomest youths danced “sword dances” and contested in archery and other noble games, such as befitted their race and their tribe as men of the Hills and the Forests—the oldest and the noblest of all the tribes.


The animals used to attend these festivals and enjoyed watching the games and the dances. Some of the younger and more enterprising among them even clamoured for a similar carnival for the animals, to which, after a time, the elders agreed; so it was decided that the animals should appoint a day to hold a great feast.


After a period of practising dances and learning games, U Pyrthat, the thunder giant, was sent out with his big drum to summon all the world to the festival. The drum of U Pyrthat was the biggest and the loudest of all drums, and could be heard from the most remote corner of the forest; consequently a very large multitude came together, such as had never before been seen at any festival.


The animals were all very smartly arrayed, each one after his or her own taste and fashion, and each one carrying some weapon of warfare or a musical instrument, according to the part he intended to play in the festival. There was much amusement when the squirrel came up, beating on a little drum as he marched; in his wake came the little bird Shakyllia, playing on a flute, followed by the porcupine marching to the rhythm of a pair of small cymbals.


When the merriment was at its height U Kui, the lynx, arrived on the scene, displaying a very handsome silver sword which he had procured at great expense to make a show at the festival. When he began to dance and to brandish the silver sword, everybody applauded. He really danced very gracefully, but so much approbation turned his head, and he became very uplifted, and began to think himself better than all his neighbours. Just then U Pyrthat, the thunder giant, happened to look round, and he saw the performance of the lynx and admired the beauty of the silver sword, and he asked to have the handling of it for a short time, as a favour, saying that he would like to dance a little, but had brought no instrument except his big drum. This was not at all to U Kui's liking, for he did not want any one but himself to handle his fine weapon; but all the animals began to shout as if with one voice, saying “Shame!” for showing such discourtesy to a guest, and especially to the guest by whose kindly offices the assembly had been summoned together; so U Kui was driven to yield up his silver sword.


As soon as U Pyrthat got possession of the sword he began to wield it with such rapidity and force that it flashed like leaping flame, till all eyes were dazzled almost to blindness, and at the same time he started to beat on his big drum with such violence that the earth shook and trembled and the animals fled in terror to hide in the jungle. During the confusion U Pyrthat leaped to the sky, taking the lynx’s silver sword with him. U Kui was very disconsolate, and has never grown reconciled to his loss. It is said of him that he has never wandered far from home since then, in order to live near a mound he is trying to raise, which he hopes will one day reach the sky. He hopes to climb to the top of it, to overtake the giant U Pyrthat, and to seize once more his silver sword.



The Khasi folktale about the origin of lightning has for its protagonists the animals of the forest participating in a dance that would change their lives. The Khasi and English versions that have been used here have been abridged from Ki Khanatang u Barim by H. Elias, S.D.B and Folktales of the Khasis by Mrs. Rafy.


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