This was a bed time story from my father.
After a million Tara recitals, the baby was born. She was the sweetest thing her mother laid eyes on. But shortly after giving birth the mother passed away. The father married again, for he was just a man and lacked the knowledge to bring up his daughter.
The stepmother was a shrewd woman. She loved her husband but could not make herself accept his daughter because the girl reminded her husband of his late wife. Every time the father and daughter were together, jealousy flooded her heart. The fact that her husband loved his daughter more than her was a difficult truth for her to accept. Things didn’t change for her and she felt worst when her womb remained cold even after five years of marriage. It didn’t take long for jealousy and frustration to turn into hatred.
The girl bloomed into a beautiful young woman. She had a sweet voice and sang songs while she tented her family sheep. Every morning she would take the animals to graze at the meadow above the village. There she would meet the only other herder. He was the boy who looked after all the animals belonging to the villagers. The sheep belonging to the villagers were charged to him for grazing. At the end of each day he would receive a pitha (a small tin) of rice or powdered wheat as the fee for taking care of the animals. The stepmother didn’t agree in letting the boy take care of the family sheep because she could not stand to see the girl in the house and the father was away most of the time on business trips to Tibet.
So, every day the girl and the boy left their sheep to graze in the meadow while they sat on a dolay (big flat rock) over looking the meadow. They played, talked and shared their packed lunches. His was always wheat dough with chillies and her was rice and curry. Sometimes she would treat him with dried beef but that was only when her father was at home. After lunch they would sit on the rock and sing to each other. Her voice always tingled goose bumps in him. It was not long before they realized that they were in love. He would sing her old love songs about beautiful princesses and orphaned boys. He loved calling her Nge Dolay Pangee Ashi, My Princess of the flat rock.
But their happiness was not to last. The stepmother noticed the girl to be always in a happy mood when she came home. She heard her humming tunes and saw her smiling. This did not happen except when the father was at home.
So, one day, the stepmother went to check on the girl. Hiding behind a bush she saw everything. The next day before the girl got out of bed the stepmother locked her in her room. She then disguised herself as the girl and went to the meadow. She wore the bamboo hat close to her face and approached the boy. When she was close enough she took out the sickle and slashed him on his stomach. She hurried home but left the girl locked in her room. When the girl finally got out she rushed to the hut where the boy lived. He had become pale and lost a lot of blood. She wanted to stay with him but he knew she couldn’t. There was nothing she could do. When she refused to leave him he gave her a bowl of milk. He told her that if the milk retained its pure white colour then it means he is alive but if the milk turned into blood he is no longer alive.
She took the bowl and hid it in the animal shed. Through out the night she sneaked out to look at the milk. She held the bowl and tears trickled into it every time she looked at the milk. By mid night the colour started to slightly change. She could not hold back and rushed to him. When she looked into his eyes she knew it was his last moment. She held him and watched him drift away. She was at least content that he didn’t die alone and that he died in her arms.
She covered him with his gho, took his keray(belt) and hung herself.
After many years, a boy visits the Dolay, he feels it with his hands and his eyes glisten with tears. He sings the song “Dolay Pangee Ashi”...
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