“There were once two brothers who were gods and they lived in the sky. We do not know their names because this was a long, long time ago. One day the younger brother perceived Earth from his vantage point in space: it was so beautiful and shiny that he decided to visit. He descended to Earth and he spent a few days there before he returned to the sky. He brought back a handful of soil that he had mixed with animal fat so that it glittered and sparkled, and he showed it to his elder brother saying: “Look how beautiful the Earth is! See how it glitters, it is shining!” He added, “You should also visit the Earth and experience its serene beauty because indeed, Earth seems much more beautiful to me than Heaven.” This was how the story began, the version that was told by Wangjay Losu. These are meandering, organic stories that were born, nurtured and matured in the Patkai Hills; they are the whispers of the Wanchos that have been passed down from generation to generation, until – quite unexpectedly – they reach the ears of a foreigner. Of course they could not reach those ears directly: they first had to be translated into English, which was the language that she understood. Why did he mix the soil with fat? What was his motive?
The Story of the Gourd is the story of the creation of the first Wancho Chief, who it is said, emerged from a gourd. the story was related in Wancho by Wanjay Losu, and also by late Nyamchai Wangsa; it has since been translated by Jatwang Wangsa into English, and it will be the foundation for developing a short animated film.
This is a community project, and it is part of The Stories of Our Ancestors research, documentation and media production. Participants based in Longding District will join the project, and assist in the adapation process. In this case, community participation fulfills the role of the commissioning party: although the Wancho consultants and participants do not yet have the prerequisite media skills, they provide guidance for the film-maker to follow.