TODAY -

Kabokki Nong (Kabok * Rain)
- From a book by N. Bemni Singha -

James Oinam *

Illustration of  'Kabokki Nong'
Illustration of 'Kabokki Nong' by James Oinam



Once upon a time, there lived a clever widow. Unfortunately, she had a very foolish son.

Whatever the mother taught the son, he used to forget as quickly. It was like carrying a heavy burden all the time.

One day, the son wandered off in the village.

It was late night and he met some thieves on the way. They persuaded the fool to come with them to steal from the king.

The fool accompanied them to the king's palace. When they reached there, the thieves asked the fool to go inside the palace and bring out all the jewellery while they wait outside.

The fool went in without slightest fear and brought out all the gold and gems that he could find.

Also he took fancy to an expensive dress of the king and he came out wearing it.

The thieves filled the gold and gems into a bag they had brought, and all of them ran away.

When they far were enough and safe, the thieves split the treasures among themselves. They told the fool that he could have the king's robe as his share.

The fool was very happy and came back home wearing the expensive dress.

It was early morning when he reached the gate of his house. The widow had not slept all night worrying about her son.

Seeing his son in one of king's dresses, she was terrified lest someone saw him.

She rushed outside and pulled her son into the house and asked her son where he was all night. The son told her everything.

The widow knew the king's soldiers will come looking for the dress. She took out all the pearls and jewellery stitched to the cloth and hid them in a safe place. Then she secretly burnt the cloth.

There was some kabok she cooked for selling in the market. She took them out in the courtyard and threw them all over the courtyard. After that she called out her son.

'Ebungngo,** kabok rain has fallen today. Why don't you eat some of them and gather the rest?' said the mother.

The son did as he was told. Meanwhile, as the widow had anticipated, the king's soldiers started looking for the king's robe. A house-to-house search was carried out in the entire kingdom.

When the soldiers came to their house, the widow was out on an errand. The fool received the soldiers.

'I stole the king's dress,' said the fool in a nonchalant manner.

The soldiers searched the house but didn't find anything.

'When did you steal it?' asked the soldiers.

'On the day the kabok rain fell,' replied the fool.

'He is mad. We have wasted our time with him,' saying this to each other they left.

In this way, the fool escaped from a terrible fate because of the cleverness of his mother.

The widow taught her son never to steal again. And with the gem and jewellery she took out from the dress they were able to live happily ever after.

Note: * Kabok is like popcorn made of rice or other grains. They can be plain, salted or sweetened.

** Ebungngo is a generic address mothers use for their sons in Manipur.

Source:
Translated from 'Kabokki Nong' story in the collected work Funga Wari, Vol. 3
, authored by N. Bemni Singha,
published in 1999
by Naharol Khorjei Thaugallup Jaribon.




* 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 March 28, 2018.



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