1. Folktales

MEHOUVIÜ AND MORUSA : An Angami Naga Folk Tale

Long ago there was once a girl name Mehouviü. She was the most wise maiden of her village. Added to that blessing, she possessed a very pleasing personality. There were many young men in her village who courted her, but she felt that she was not ready to take any one of them as husband.

Morusa was a famous warrior of Mima. He was tall and strong and already had taken many heads. In the neighboring villages, there were few who had not heard of him. Mehouviü’s refusal of marriage to any man in her village could probably have been due to the fact that some of her friends had told her of the warrior, Morusa, who could possibly become a suitor.

Morusa’s uncle advised him to take a wife and when someone suggested the virtuous Mehouviü, the warrior agreed to the proposal.

Morusa and Mehouviü lived in the age where honor and reputation were highly valued. The quest for honor drove man into the battlefield again and again. Warriors killed enemy warriors in order to take their heads as trophies. That was the life Morusa lived.

Everything would have gone smoothly if the two had not lived in this age. It endangered his life to the extent that he could not indulge in the ordinary courtship of his betrothed. He could not visit her and indulge in the engaging, long talks that were the privilege of betrothed couples. So he was preparing to marry a woman he had never seen though he had heard enough good reports.

Meanwhile Mehouviü was happy. She feasted her female friends and waited for her wedding day. However, a few weeks before the wedding, she had the strangest dreams. She dreamed she was in Morusa’s house with a heaped plate of rice and meat set before her. Her listeners thought it was simply a foretaste of things to come. When they were married, she would become a member of Morusa’s rich household. She dreamt this dream repeatedly.

With few days left before the wedding, Morusa became restless. He wanted to impress his bride by doing something of note and prove himself a worthy suitor.

So he set out on his quest, and on that day, he did not encounter any enemy warriors at all. He decided to travel further. As fate would have it, his steps led him to a village that was unknown to him, the village of his beloved Mehouviü.

The village inhabitants were away in their fields so it was quite deserted. However, he spied a woman weaving at her porch. She had very long hair, was attractive and tall. The warrior hesitated a little to kill such a well-formed woman. Yet even as he wavered, he noticed her lustrous hair and thought how well it would look as an ornament of war. So he swiftly stepped up to her, taking her by complete surprise. He slid her weaving loom off and drove his spear into her heart. Next he took her head as a trophy and proudly bore it home.

The two villages of the betrothed couple were some distance away from each other. Mehouviü’s relatives were heartbroken to discover her killing just days before her wedding. They sent messenger to Morusa’s village where the preparations were underway. The sad news of her death was brought to Morusa as well as the fact that she had been slain by a warrior. Morusa was grief-stricken.

Later Morusa and his relatives pieced together the bits of information they had on the whereabouts of the two and they came to the sad realization that Morusa had unknowingly killed his own beloved. The shock and grief of both clans were unimaginable.

[Story by Zhalevono Shohe; Extracted from the book, “Retelling Naga Narratives: More Than Thrice-Told Tales,” published by Heritage Publishing House]



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