Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bidï - Ritual Hunting of Monkey

Abotani and Swki were best friends. There was, however, always the games of one-upmanship in those days.

“Let us see who can climb higher up in that tree”, Abotani challenged Swki.

“Fine,” Swki accepted the challenge.

Up and up climbed the two friends. Abotani tried his best to beat his friend, but Swki turned out to be a better climber. He was much higher up in the tree.

Swki looked down at Abotani and mocked, “Try and climb up here!”  

In order to save his face, Abotani had to do something.

“Ok friend, if you can just grab that branch, I will accept defeat,” Abotani said.

Swki looked at the branch Abotani was pointing and jumped to grab it. As he grabbed the branch, it broke and he fell down. Swki ended up in a deep gorge called Swki Bwdä.

It took no time for Swki to realize that Abotani had tricked him into the gorge. He was deeply humiliated.

“Come up, my friend,” Abotani tried to help Swki out of the gorge.

“I don’t wan to come up,” Swki said, sulking.

Abotani apologized and tried to cajole Swki back. Swki would not listen. He was offered several rewards but all in vain.

The time for Myoko ritual was near. It is the festival of friendship. So, it could not be performed if the dearest friend Swki was absent. Getting worried, Abotani asked Swki to come out of the gorge.

“My dear friend, Myoko is coming. I cannot celebrate it without you,” Abotani said. “I beg you to come back.”

After a prolonged negotiation, Swki agreed, “Fine, I will come only for Myoko, but what will you offer me?”

Swki agreed to come for the Myoko if he is offered a mithun along with other items. He would, however, return back after the festival. Since Abotani was in no position to bargain, he decided to agree and make best use of the situation.

“I can offer you mithun,” Abotani said, knowing full well that offering a mithun every Myoko would be a costly affair. “But I want to offer you something more useful.”

“And what is that?” Swki asked.

“A swbi bidw would be so useful,” Abotani said. “I will send him to fetch you here.”

Swki thought for a while and agreed.

Since then, the Apatanis hunt a bidw swbi as the first step in the preparation of the Myoko festival. The monkey is used to entice Swki on the second day of the Myoko inaugural ritual - sama pinï.

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