Friday, 6 February 2009

How the tangkum lost its tail…

The rufous-throated partridge here is called the Tangkum by the Adis. It has a very interesting call Whee-Wooo with an ascending tone according to Grimmett’s bird book. We hear it in the forests here every other day. So one day, the partridge went Whee-Wooo and a squirrel dropped a fruit it was eating. A barking deer got alarmed when the fruit fell on him and scooted and thereby caused almost a landslide. A crab in the river was peacefully basking down below in the river when a pebble hit its eye and the crab lost its eye.

So here in Adi community, for any justice they have a formal meeting called Kebang. So the forest organised a Kebang and the Kebang’s verdict was to fine the stone. But the stone said, this dumb barking deer slid over me and therefore I rolled, mine not to reason why. Hmm said the council, call that deer, let’s fine him and get this over with, we got other work to do. The barking deer barked that he was only doing his morning foraging duties when he was alarmed by this seed that fell off the sky. The seed was summoned, the seed said, I was only hoping my fruit is eaten and I get dispersed peacefully somewhere till the rains when this silly squirrel dropped me half-eaten, mine not to reason why. “Summon that squirrel”, council said. Squirrel bickered that he also as the deer was doing his early morning feeding when he heard the Tangkum call and don’t know why today the ascending tone was really at an ascent.

“Get tangkum here, double quick”. Tangkum came Whee-Whooing and quickly figured there was no way out, although he begged the council’s mercy that early morning is the time he calls for a pretty girl tangkum and really it wasn’t his fault. Yet, he had to give up something, causing this whole ruckus. “Take my tail with twelve beautiful feathers”. And that’s how the tangkum lost its tail, a fine Adi story.

The boys of the village also trapped one today with a sling-trap, this is the picture of the beautiful bird, no tail as per the tale.


Dawgmatix said...

Great post.. very very readable.. tribal wisdom and wildlife are a potent combination.. and the last pic is like a reality check!

karthee said...

thanks, i have always taken dawgmatix seriously!