Themes for Folktales of Meghalaya
Meghalaya, the land known to be the abode of cloud, is also the land of fairies. It is a land of fairy tales and a dream land. Meghalaya lies on the north-eastern boundary of India. It is heavily forested and rich in natural beauty and wildlife. The people of Meghalaya have a treasure trove of folktales about animals. In these tales they often find an amusing explanation for some natural phenomenon. The land belonged to various tribes like Khasis, Syntengs, Wars, Garos and Kochs, known for their traditional culture amidst of natural beauty. These tribes nevertheless did not have their own script, hence could not record their folk tales, legends and historical stories but were carried forward orally from generation to generation. Therefore even their historical events became part of their folk tales or legends.
The stories in Folktales of Meghalaya were collected in the early 20th century and cover a wide range of topics. There are legends on animals like tigers, monkeys, lynxes and many more. There are also origin stories about the animals such as how the dog and the cat came to live with man, and how the ox and the goat were domesticated. There are tales of cosmic creation that explain what makes the lightning and where the dark spots on the moon come from. There are also legends about some of the Gods and Goddesses of the Khasi religion, including the twin Goddesses Ka Ngot and Ka Iam who give their names to the Ngot River and the Iam River, and the mysterious culture-hero ‘U Biskurom’ who, long ago, dwelt with the people of the earth and taught them wisdom.
These legends and Folktales of Meghalaya are not only good for pleasure reading for young and old alike; but also help scholars to interpret cultural heritage of the colourful tribes of Meghalaya.