The Chronicles of Chheechkaduni
(© Biswapriya Purkayastha)
Oh, they found how he had got away: the base villain had dug
a tunnel from under the floor of his hut to outside the community fence, and
there, in the hollow of a rock, he had secreted dried childflesh and water; he
had taken along with him the youngest and comeliest two of his five wives, the
older three being very properly busily engaged in preparing to slaughter and
convert into steaks and sausages their erstwhile lord and master.
I should mention one effect that this villain’s act had on
the whole community: from then on, the honoured person was allowed not three
hours but three minutes to accept and relish the honour bestowed on him, lest
he should prove to be as base a traitor as Onek Mangsho; and during those three
minutes he was never let alone, but was caught and held fast by four strong
men, with the knife of another at his belly. But that is neither here nor
there; our story is concerned with the villain himself, and not to those he
callously abandoned to their fate.
Onek Mangsho, despite all his sins, had one virtue. He had
once been a great warrior, and at the time of his escape still had the skill
and the weapons with which he had devastated the hunting parties set out by
other communities, and had many times dragged back the corpses of enemy warriors
for the victory feast. At such times, he, as the killer, had of course been
given the hearts and testicles of the fallen enemies, and had consumed them
with relish; yet they seem not to have filled his own heart and testicles with
the courage of those he had dispatched. It may seem blasphemous, but this
miserable chronicler dares wonder if there is nothing to the belief that such
consumption bestows the consumee’s prowess on the consumer.
What we know of Onek Mangsho’s doings after leaving the
community comes to us from the account of his youngest, prettiest, and least
illiterate wife, Chheechkaduni, who left an account of their wanderings in a
hole in a wall of the ancient and abandoned city which we now call Tomar Matha,
though we have no knowledge of its original name. The account, written in human
blood on stretched human skin, was found many, many years after it must have
been left there, so long indeed that it had almost crumbled to dust, and there
are several passages missing. But what is left is enough to serve as a warning
to those among us who harbour traitorous thoughts in their hearts. Beware.
Here follows the account of Chheechkaduni, youngest wife of
Onek Mangsho. It has been adapted for ease of reading by modernising the
archaic, nearly extinct language of the time; and certain passages have been
removed by order of the High Monk of the Grand Assembly himself. Annotations,
where appended, are by your humble chronicler, and have been in every case
approved and blessed by the Literary Council members.
I must introduce myself to the reader of these chronicles, before I begin
describing the wondrous adventures that have come our way.
I am Chheechkaduni, youngest wife and Principal Lover of the
Great and Honoured Onek Mangsho, Warrior of Warriors, Light of the Universe,
who...(blasphemous passage deleted here, the aim of which was to prove that
this Onek Mangsho was right in evading the honour bestowed on him by the
Assembly). Perhaps this account of mine will one day reach a more
enlightened humanity; if not, no matter. It is enough that I have written it
and left it to be found. I can do no more.
We journeyed over the desert hills almost without pause for
seven days, knowing that we had to travel as fast as we could to evade the
pursuit that must surely follow. We paused only to eat and sleep, and then one
of us always kept awake and on guard. While such guard duties were to be shared
by the three of us equally, in truth, I must say that in reality only I and my
Lord kept watch, for nobody could ever stop the sly and lazy Opodartho from
sleeping when she was to keep watch, or eat five mouthfuls of childmeat when
she was entitled, like me, to only two. I must say that I had to stay up and
watch her during her time on watch, to make sure she did not fall asleep or eat
all our remaining food and run away. I wondered every day why my Lord ever
decided to bring along Opodartho. She was infinitely more trouble than she was
worth. But my Lord does nothing without a reason.
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