Title: The Man and the Tiger
Description: The Rengma folktale ‘The Man and the Tiger’ illustrates some of the values and beliefs which influence the Rengma culture till today.
It explains the interdependence of members of families in times of hardship which we can see through the woman and her children.
In the story, the tiger advised the man not to wander in the valleys during winter and not to go to the damp places as he will be there. People, to this day, believe this advice and avoid such places. We also came across the advice of the tiger to man not to marry women of his own clan. This is practiced till today amongst the Rengma community.
Marrying one’s own clan is prohibited and one who commits such taboos are disowned by the communities.It is also believed that such men face unfortunate incidents in life such as being eaten by a tiger.
As such, we can see that this short folktale holds a lot of significance in explaining and helping us understand the values ,beliefs and practices Within our community.
The Story: In the beginning, when God created the Earth,all creatures could talk.
Men and animals lived as families.
There was a woman who lived with her two children- the older child was the tiger and the man was the younger one. At her older age, the woman fell ill and her two children looked after her in turns. When the tiger stayed with his mother, her health got worse but when the man stayed at home, she was better.
One day when the tiger was away, his mother died. The man buried their mother under the hearth with the fear that the tiger might eat her body. Then the tiger returned home and said that some typical smell of flesh is evident and began searching for his mother but she could not be found.
Not long after the mother’s death, the man decided to live separately from the tiger to save himself from being killed.
The tiger, before leaving, advised the man not to wander too much in the valleys during summer, as he will take shelter in the shady gullies. And not to go to damp places during winter, as he will be there. He also advised the man not to marry women of his own clan.
From then on, the tiger went to live in the jungle and to this day, the man and tiger have never held a conversation together again.
Format & Duration: Audio –1mins 38secs
Date of Recording: 8-July-2023
Date of Upload: 20-Nov-2023
Performer: K Hillo Kent
Creator: Kenyugi Kent & Sharon Kent
Publisher: Tetso College, Dimapur
Kent Kenyugi, Kent Sharon. 2023. The Man and the Tiger. (https://neiipa.in/audio/the-man-and-the-tiger/) NEIIPA,Tetso College. Accessed: (01-Mar-2024)