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U Niang Raja

In the past, in the Jaiñtia Hills there was the Kingdom of Sutnga. Besides the Kingdom of Sutnga, there was also the smaller kingdom known as the Kingdom of Madur Maskut which was ruled over by the Malngiang kings. The Malngiang king was Mailong Raja. Mailong Raja had a brother called Niang Raja who was a most trusted aid and adviser to the king. Niang Raja was also strong and brave, being extremely skilled in the art of warfare.

The King of Sutnga was afraid of Niang Raja's prowess and wanted to kill him. A group of his soldiers had captured Niang Raja, cut his body into pieces and threw it into a gorge but the next day, Niang Raja was seen walking as if nothing had happened to him. Nobody knew the secret to Niang Raja coming back to life and this disturbed the King of Sutnga. Finally, after much deliberation, his ministers and him devised a plan to lure Niang Raja by using a beautiful woman. Thus, a search was undertaken to find the most beautiful maiden in the land. When they found her, the King of Sutnga promised that if she was able to discover the secret of Niang Raja then she would be gifted with money and her family would also be gifted with land. The maiden was dressed in the finest silk and gold, so that she would catch the attention of Niang Raja.

Sure enough, one day when Niang Raja was in the market, he saw the beautiful maiden and was besotted by her. He sent his men to ask her who she was and where she came from but she would not tell them. Finally, Niang Raja talked to her himself, praising her beauty and as they talked he fell in love with her. Consequently, Niang Raja and the woman were married and she fulfilled all her duties as wife to a prince. Niang Raja loved his wife deeply and trusted her completely. She started to notice that he never took a bath at home and would go on long walks that stretched for hours.

One day, she told him of her fear that he walked around with no attendants or soldiers with him. She then started to weep inconsolably. Seeing his wife in distress, Niang Raja told her that he went on his walks so that he could bathe in the river and when he did he would take out his intestines to wash them and dry them on the rocks. He told her that his power and the secret of his life lay in his intestines. So, with the knowledge of Niang Raja's secret, the men of the King of Sutnga waited for Niang Raja to arrive at the river. This would be Niang Raja's last bath. While the prince was in the river, they chopped his intestines, killing Ning Raja in the water instantly. Thus, with Niang Raja out of the way the King of Sutnga conquered Madur Maskut and the kingdom came to be known as Sutnga-Madur Maskut.

The story of U Niang Raja tells of ambition, intrigue, the supernatural and betrayal. The events of the story capture the imagination and we are engrossed by the secrets of the past.
Reference: 'Khasi Myths, Legends and Folktales' by Bijoya Sawian (2010).

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