TODAY -

Apangba Manao : The Foolish Younger Brother
- From a book by N. Bemni Singha -

James Oinam *

Apangba Manao  :: An Illustration from the book 'Funga Wari, Vol. 3'
Apangba Manao :: An Illustration from the book 'Funga Wari, Vol. 3'



Once upon a time, there lived an old woman who suffered from 'kum leina' (marasmus?). She had two sons. The younger one was so stupid that he had no comparison. One day, the elder brother went to the market. Before leaving, he told his younger brother, 'Give our mother a bath with hot water. Then give her some sugarcane juice to drink.'

When the elder brother left, the younger brother took out their mother to the courtyard. He sat her on a 'phan' (a low rectangular wooden stool with two legs). Then he poured hot boiling water over her.

The mother died instantly. Her mouth became wide open. The younger brother thought she was asking for the sugarcane juice. So he gave her the juice. But the juice ran down her cheeks. He thought that maybe she wanted to eat sugarcane. He took her to the field and leaned her body against the stout sugarcane plants.

The elder brother returned from the market. Not seeing the mother anywhere, he asked his brother, 'Where is mother?'

'She wanted to eat some sugarcane. So I put her in the field,' replied the fool.

The elder brother rushed to the field and found their mother there, lying dead. He brought back her body to the courtyard. Sitting beside the body, he cried aloud. The younger brother realized that their mother had died, and he cried too.

The body was cremated and all the rites were performed. One day, the elder brother took the younger brother to the market. They purchased many items. As his hands were full, the elder brother asked the younger brother to hold the packets of sugar and salt for him. The younger brother asked to return home before of him.

On the way to home, the younger brother felt like going to toilet. He wanted to hide his belongings while he hid behind a tree to defecate. A stream was flowing nearby. He put the packets in the stream. When he was done, he cleansed himself and came for the packets. But alas, the packets were empty. He returned with a heavy heart, thinking his brother will not forgive him.

Nothing happened when the elder brother came to know about it. He knew there was no use scolding him. It was his fault letting the fool go alone. Instead, he told his brother to follow any advice given to him strictly.

Some thieves were looking for a fool to help them steal from the palace. They approached the younger brother for help discreetly. Even without knowing clearly what they wanted, the fool went along with them.

On reaching the palace at night, they forced open a door. Handing over some mustard seeds to the fool, they told him, 'Go inside the palace. It is pitch dark. Throw these seeds around. From the sound made by them, search the palace thoroughly and bring out any valuables you find inside.'

The fool did as he was told. He came out carrying gold and silver and costly boxes every time he got out, and after depositing them outside, he went in carrying more mustard seeds.

At last, the seeds hit a large drum. He could not carry it out because it was very large. He decided to have some, and started beating the drum loudly. The thieves ran away leaving all the loot piled up at the door. The king and soldiers came running in the direction of the noise. They caught him.

'Thief! We have caught you red-handed,' said the king.

'O King, I am not a thief. I came with the thieves,' replied the fool. He narrated the entire story.

The king gave him a packet, 'I believe you. Now, go home. Don't waver from your path ever again.'

The fool started for his home. He walked straight to his home. If a pond came his way, he did not go by the side. Instead, he swam right across it. He mistook the king's advice. When the king said don't waver from your path, he meant do not do anything wrong in future like stealing.

But he took the advice literally. Then came a big banyan tree. He climbed the tree to go past it in a straight way. But he almost fell from the top of it. Luckily, he caught hold a large branch and dangled from it. In a while, a man came riding an elephant.

'Mister, please get me down from here,' he called out.

The elephant man took pity on him. He stood on the back of the elephant and got hold of the fool's legs. At that moment, the elephant walked away, and elephant man was left hanging from the legs of the fool. After a while came a man riding a horse.

'Hello mister, please help us,' should the two men hanging on the banyan tree.

The man came riding near them. He stood on the back of the horse and held the legs of the elephant man. Just then, the horse ran away, and the horse man was left hanging by the legs of the elephant man. The fool found all this so amusing he laughed aloud and let go of the branch to clap his hands.

All of them came crashing down. The horse man broke his legs. The elephant man broke both his hands. Fortunately, the fool fell on both of them safely.

Finally, the fool came to the house with the packet.

'Where have you been all this time,' shouted the elder brother.

The younger brother told him the whole story and handed over the packet to his elder brother. The packet had lumps of gold and silver in it. They sold the gold lumps and purchased agricultural land and became wealthy.

The elder brother first married the younger brother to a clever girl. Only then he also settled down. All four of them lived together happily ever after.


Source Details:

Translated from 'Apangba Manao' story in the collected work Funga Wari, Vol. 3
Author: N. Bemni Singha
Book Illustrator: N. Nongdon Sana
Publisher: Naharol Khorjei Thaugallup Jaribon
Year of Publication: 1999




* James Oinam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on December 15, 2018.



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