Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Why an elephant has breast, not an udder? --- A story from an elder

What a local elder has to say about the location of elephant's breast? Usually, many quadrupeds have their udders located in between their back limbs; however, this is not true to the elephant. The female elephant breast is located on its chest like we human. Here is a story retold by an elder man, meme Sherab, 80 from Bangtsho, Dewathang about the location of elephant's breast.
Once, there lived a hunter. Every day, he hunts and offers meat on his shrine in a bamboo container. One day as usual, when he returned back from the forest, he found his room well cleaned and arranged. He was astonished to see his room condition and wondered, who uninvited guest, could have visited him. Next day, as usual, he went off to hunt. Right after the sunset in the evening, when he returned home, it was another surprise. His mud stove was on fire with a crowd of dried firewood gathered through the stove mouth. He wondered again, who could have made a fire in his stove. On the third day, when he came back from the jungle, he found delicious meals cooked, ready for him to feed on. This time, he definitely suspected that there is somebody, doing all these works in his absence.
He had an idea! Next morning, he pretended to go off for a hunt but, he came back to watch what was going on in his house. As he watched from behind the bush, a beautiful woman emerged out of a bamboo offering container, which was kept on the shrine. She uncovered herself from a skin and immediately started to work in his kitchen. Without delay, the hunter ran as quickly as possible closer to skin shedded, he grabbed her skin and was about to burn it in the fire. The woman shouted, don’t burn it! Throw some part of it up in the ceiling, some of it down on the ground, and some under the house. The hunter followed her instruction. Instantly, the part of the skin on the ceiling turned into seeds, the part on the ground turned into kitchen utensils, and the part under the house turned into animals. After that, the hunter and the beautiful woman eventually got married and lived happily together for many years.
One day, the couple had quarrel out of some misunderstandings. The hunter scolded his wife. He said, ‘‘you are a woman, who is transformed out of animal flesh''. The statement deeply disappointed her. She felt so embarrassed and sad. She walked far-far away from their house and never returned home. The hunter worried as the wife did not return home. He came out looking for her in the forest. Far in the forest, he saw his wife’s cloth lying on the ground and herself transformed into an elephant. The hunter with deep regret returned home alone.

Meme Sherab said ‘‘this is why female elephants (cows) have their breasts on the chest like we humans do.’’

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