There was once a small boy and every day when his parents went to the fields
he used to run weeping after them and clamour to be taken too. They took
him home, but he ran after them again, and they struck him and scolded
him and took him back to the house once more, but still he ran after
them. Day after day this happened, till one day he started after them
later than usual. His father and mother had gone well ahead and did not
hear him, and as he ran along the path calling for them he met a party
of strangers from another village, and they seized him and carried him
off. When his father and mother came home in the evening they searched
for him but could not find him, for the strangers had taken him a long
way away.

The strangers sold him to a couple who already had a son of their own, a boy a little younger than Hangnegun, and the two
grew up together, Hangnegun believing that his owners were his real
parents and their son Hraiteomakpa his brother. The man Bungsing and his
wife ill-treated him and gave him only scraps to eat, but Hraiteomakpa
was fond of him, and when his parents gave Hangnegun bad and scanty
food, Hraiteomakpa protested and shared his own good helpings with him.
When the two grew up to manhood, Bungsing bought handsome clothes and
necklaces and brass armlets for his own son, but Hraiteomakpa took them
and gave them to Hangnegun. When Hangnegun came to the house for the
midday meal and the man and his wife saw him wearing their son’s fine
clothes they were furiously angry and made him take them all off, and
they put them aside for Hraiteomakpa. When Hraiteomakpa came in he saw
the ornaments lying there and asked what had happened, and when they
told him he was so angry that he cried out that if his elder brother
could not have them, then he would not, and snatching up all the fine
things he dropped them into the pounding-block, and although his parents
tried to stop him, he hammered all the ornaments to pieces with the
dhan-pounder.

One morning the village bucks were to chase and catch a mithan. Hangnegun was with his sweethearts in the dekachang, and
knowing this, Bungsing and his wife armed themselves with a stout stick
each and went early in the morning and stood one on either side of the
door.
“Hangnegun!” they said. “What are you doing? Are you still asleep? Your brother Hraiteomakpa has already caught hold of the
mithan’s tail!”

Hangnegun heard this, but he also heard them whispering to each other to hit him hard as he came out, and he dashed
out so quickly that they missed him altogether and only hit each other.
Hangnegun went to the morung and spoke to the malik’s wife, who was his
kinswoman although he did not know it, and asked her whether it was true
that Hraiteomakpa had caught hold of the mithan’s tail many times
already.
“How can it be true?” she said. “He is still asleep. Your parents have told you lies.”

When the young men went to catch the mithan, Hraiteomakpa was the first
to seize the tail, and when his parents heard him shouting his father’s
and grandfather’s name they were delighted, but he lost his hold, and
Hangnegun caught the tail. Bungsing and his wife were angry and hurried
down with sticks in their hands, intending to hit him and make him let
go; but when they hit at him he dodged them so neatly that they never
struck him and he never lost his grip on the tail, and he ran off so
quickly behind the mithan that they could not catch him.

When Hangnegun caught the mithan he called out the names of Bungsing and
Bungsing’s father, but afterwards the malik’s wife called him and told
him that Bungsing had only bought him from his kidnappers, and she
taught him the names of his real father and grandfather and told him to
shout them if he caught a mithan again.
The next time the bucks went to catch a mithan Hraiteomakpa was again the first to catch the
tail, and when Bungsing and his wife heard him shouting they were
delighted; but he let go, and Hangnegun caught it. Bungsing and his wife
tried to hit him as before, but he dodged them and ran on shouting the
names of his real father and grandfather. When Hraiteomakpa heard what
Hangnegun was shouting he was disturbed and wondered what had happened
that his brother should shout other names.

Another day the villagers agreed to hold a fish-poisoning and they asked who had seen
the creeper in the jungle. Hraiteomakpa said he had seen some, and that
there would be enough for twenty loads; Hangnegun also said he had seen
some, but that there was only enough for ten loads. Twenty men went with
Hraiteomakpa and ten with Hangnegun, but when the twenty reached the
spot they found none at all and when Hangnegun’s ten reached their place
they found far more than they could carry. The twenty shouted across to
Hangnegun’s party to know how much they had got, and Hangnegun called
to them to send twenty more men. When they arrived Hangnegun had all the
loads cut and ready, and they all came back to the village carrying
them.

Next day everybody from the village went to the river to catch fish. The bucks and girls went first, carrying the creeper, and
while they were waiting for the others the girls passed the time by
looking for lice in the bucks’ heads; but while ten girls were hunting
in Hraiteomakpa’s, no less than twenty chose to look in Hangnegun’s.
When the rest of the villagers came along and Bungsing and his wife saw
how many more girls had chosen Hangnegun, they were very angry.

After the creeper had been beaten and the fish had began to come to the
surface, Hangnegun, who was a strong swimmer, dived in to pick up fish
from the bottom of the pool, and Bungsing and his wife caught up a big
stone and threw it in in the hope of killing him, because he always
outshone their son; but he came out on the other side of the pool with a
fine catch of fish, and dived in again, and again they missed him, and
again he came out with a big catch. When he scrambled out he went to
Bungsing’s wife and asked her what she had caught, but she only had two
or three tiny fish lying in the mouth of the basket. Then he gave her
from his own catch of big fish.

They all went back to the village in the evening and the young men arranged to have a feast in the
morung the next day, each bringing food from his own house. When the
time came everybody had brought rice and fish and zu except Hangnegun,
who sat there without eating or drinking anything. The others told him
to go and fetch his share from his house, but he refused. The malik’s
wife knew how he was ill-treated and called him and offered him food and
drink from her house, but he would not take it. All his friends went on
telling him to fetch some and at last he went to Bungsing’s house.
Bungsing’s wife had left only the stale, hard rice at the bottom of the
pot and the bones and scraps of the fish, and he took them. When he got
back to the morung he opened the packet and showed his friends what he
had brought, and said: “Look. You wanted to see, and I was ashamed to
show you.” Then he flung himself down on the bench and covered himself
with his cloth and lay as if he was asleep, and was too ashamed to get
up, although his friends pleaded with him and begged him to eat with
them.

Later on, when the feast was over and he was sitting in the morung, the malik’s wife called him and said: “Your real father and
mother live far away in another village, and they are now very rich and
have much dhan and your father is malik of a morung. If you want to go
to them, go, for you have nothing but trouble here.”

Then Hangnegun began to want to go, but in spite of the ill- treatment he had
received he was sorry to leave his younger brother and his friends.
Hraiteomakpa saw that he was always silent and thinking about something,
and wondered still more what had happened, and when he remembered that
Hangnegun had shouted other names when he caught the mithan, he was
frightened and watched Hangnegun all the time.

For a long time Hangnegun could find no chance to escape because Hraiteomakpa was always
with him, but one day he slipped away. Hraiteomakpa missed him and
hurried after him and caught him up, and said: “Don’t go away! Come back
with me. We will go back together.” Hangnegun said: “I’m only going for
a walk. I shan’t go away.” Hraiteomakpa would not believe him and
worried him to come back to the village. At last Hangnegun said: “I tell
you I won’t go away. Now go back and fetch me your father’s drinking-
cup and some thirst-raiser and I’ll wait here and drink it when you come
back.” Hraiteomakpa would not go until Hangnegun promised he would not
run away, but the moment the boy had gone Hangnegun slipped into the
jungle and hid himself. When Hraiteomakpa came back and found no one he
was so consumed with grief and anger that he flung down the cup and
broke it in pieces, and threw down the appetizer in the road. Then he
wept and wept, and Hangnegun watched him from the jungle, but because of
the cruelty of Bungsing and his wife he would not go back, and at last
Hraiteomakpa, still weeping, went back to the village. Hangnegun came
out of the jungle and went on, but a little further on he met two girls,
both of whom loved him; they too had guessed that he was going and were
standing with their hands joined across the path.

“If you go beyond this,” they said. “You are no true man. You must not go any further.”
He begged them not to stop him, but they would not let him go, and at
last he caught hold of their wrists and tore their hands apart and ran
on. They followed him, calling him and beseeching him to come back, but
he ran on till he came to a log bridge across a stream. He ran across
it, and before they could come up he seized the log and threw it down
into the water. When they saw they could go no further the girls fell
into a passion of grief and wept and tore off their cloths and beat the
ground with them, but Hangnegun hurried on towards his father’s village.


It was dark when he reached it and the bucks and girls were dancing in the morung. He slipped round to the back door of his father’s
house, and knocked, and his mother opened it and recognised him. She
went and called her husband, who was watching the dancing, and he came
and saw his son and recognised him. Then he went back to the morung and
called out to the dancers: “Your mother has a bad colic. Don’t dance any
more.” Then they all stopped and were quiet, but one of the girls heard
voices inside the house and peered in through a crack and saw the most
handsome young man she had ever seen in her life, as bright and shining
as a lamp; and all the other girls came and looked too and they had
never seen anyone so handsome as Hangnegun.

The next day his father made a feast to celebrate, and killed a big boar; and the old man
was full of drink and beside himself with joy, and came out of the
house and screeched and leapt like a young man, and shouted: “You told
me my family was extinct. But although you said so, my race is not
extinct, and my family is restored again!”