Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Strange Story of Mangas

I'm not sure why I haven't posted this before, but this is a video that my friends and I did for a project in Mongolian class a few years back!  It's our cinematic version of a classic Mongolian folktale.  I was on narration, but you can see me with some pretty wicked hair from 6:50 to 7:10.  You can also see between 5:20 and 6:15 our excitement over the then-forthcoming legalization of certain a herbal medicinal product in our state. Here's the story in English.

TOLD BY BAT, BAATAR and SUKHBAATAR (our Mongolian names)

On one hot summer day, an old man was taking his red cattle down to the lake for a drink.  This old man's name was Dalantai.  As he was coming down to the lake, a huge, terrifying monster came out of the lake!  This terrible monster had a hideous face and walked on quick legs.  This was Mangas, the Monster!  For a long time, this monster had been taking away and eating Dalantai and his brothers' best cattle.  Mangas said:

"Hey, old man!  I'm hungry.  Give me your best cattle, that I may eat them."

"Strong Mangas!" Said Dalantai. "My red cattle sure are delicious.  I can even make them into some great khuushuur for you."

"Hmm...khuushuur.  Give them to me!" said Mangas.

"I will give them to you, Mangas, but there's one problem.  You need my brother Tontii's knife to eat them, as the khuushuur are very thick."

"You wait here," replied Mangas. "I'll go get Tontii's knife."

Mangas went from the lake to Tontii's ger (i.e. Mongolian yurt).

"Tontii!" Mangas cried. "Give me your knife!  I need it to eat Dalantai's khuushuur."

"Ok, Mangas," said Tontii. "But my knife's dull.  You need my brother's whetstone.  His name is Bintii.  Go get his stone and come back."

Mangas, dejected, went from that place to see Bintii.  Bintii was terrified, on hearing what Mangas said, pointed down the way--for the whetstone was very heavy, and could only be moved with his brother Tantii's carriage.

"My whetstone's over there." he said.  At this point in the video, you can hear Mangas singing "Ayani shuvuu"--that is, "Migrating Birds"--a very popular Mongolian song.

Mangas travelled to a distant ger, where he found Tantii, smoking his silver joint pipe.

"Awesome..." mumbled Tantii as Mangas approached, taking a long draft from his dooby pipe.

"Where's your wagon?  Give it to me now!" demanded Mangas.

"Sure, Mangas." he replied. "But...my wagon is made of heavy iron.  You'll need my brother's big white horse."

"I'll go get the horse." said Mangas. "You wait here."

Mangas therefore headed to Tantii's camp.  Tantii was gazing upon his horse, which Mangas promptly demanded.  Tantii said:

"Mangas, my horse is out grazing.  Head over to my brother Untii's camp by the lake.  He has an uurga, which you'll need."



A younger version of me with majestic long hair is standing in the library of Western Washington University holding an important looking book.  Below, the caption is supposed to say "Teacher--WWU".  Unfortunately, the word in Mongolian for teacher is "Bagsh", not "Baksh".  Whoops.

"'Uurga'--this is a long lasso made from a birch tree.  Mongolian herders, by means of the uurga, are able to capture their horses."


Mangas headed off and found Untii by a nearby lake.  He asked for the uurga, and Untii pointed to an island in the middle of the lake.

"My uurga is on an island in the middle of the lake."

"How am I going to get through the water to the uurga?" Asked Mangas.

"Tie the heaviest rock you can find around your neck." said Untii. "It has magical properties which will allow you to quickly reach the island." He indicated a nearby rock with a rope around it.  He and his brothers had come up with this plan to do Mangas in.

"Thanks!" said Mangas.  He jumped into the water and promptly drowned.

From that day on, Dalantai, Tantii, Bintii, Xantii, Tantii, Untii, would always laugh when they thought of how they tricked Mangas.  They lived happily ever after.


Courtesy of Strangely Doesburg, the Accordianist Laureate of Washington state.

No comments:

Post a Comment