There once lived a beautiful girl, Kuvelü in a far off Naga Village.
She lost her mother at a young age and lived with her father. A long time after her mother’s death, her father married a young lady hoping she would be a mother to her but her stepmother was vain and evil. She was jealous of Kuvelü’s beauty and grace and was envious of the majestic "tida"(a large necklace, worn by both men and women, denoting status and wealth) she had inherited from her dead mother.
Everyday, Kuvelü would rise before daybreak and make the fire, sweep the house clean, feed the chickens and cook their meals with a song on her lips and then go off to work in the fields. But inspite of all her efforts and industrious ways, Kuvelü could not do anything right in her new mother’s eyes and this saddened her greatly for she missed a motherly presence in her life. Her father was a gentle soul and could only sigh and hope.
As was the way of her people, the young Kuvelü would go to the forest daily with a group of friends to gather wood and fetch water.  One day, Kuvelü and her friends went deep into the forest to fetch firewood and ended up at a mysterious lake. Having had a tiring time, they set down their baskets, took off their jewellery and started frolicking in the water. And while the girls bathed and enjoyed the cool waters, the Spirit of the lake fell in love with the beautiful Kuvelü and stole her prized possession, her tida.
As dusk was fast approaching and they were a long way from home, they reluctantly made hurried preparations to return back. To her great distress and horror, Kuvelü could not find her tida where she had left it. She beseeched her friends not to tease her and hand over her necklace if they had hidden it. But turns out her friends did not have it and they joined her in her search but to no avail. Her necklace was gone. The young girls returned home mystified while Kuvelü was in tears for she had lost all that was left of her dead mother.
On returning home, she mournfully related the day’s events to her stepmother and father. While her father said it must be the work of the lake spirit and not to worry for it was just a necklace after all; the cruel stepmother accused her of lying and said, “ You sly young lady, you must have given it away to your admirers or some secret lover!” Kuvelü refuted the accusations and pleaded innocent but her stepmother was not moved. She teased her mercilessly. So the young girl finally took it to heart and made an oath to prove her innocence. She swore on the names of the spirits of her ancestors and upon their honor that she spoke the truth and if she was lying, may all her efforts be unfruitful and barren for life.
The next day as dawn broke, she rushed to the lake and stood at the spot she last saw her tida. She took off her cloth belt and threw it upon a great rock which stood at the mouth of the lake and shouted aloud, “Spirit of the lake, I challenge you to reveal yourself to me, you who stole my necklace! Pray return it to me so I can prove my innocence. You who has great power, show me your magnanimity and give me back my necklace and you can have my soul in return”. The moment she uttered these words, her necklace was flung back into her hands and the spirit of the lake rose from his abode in the form of a handsome young man. “There you are, you shall be my bride! Come with me”.
Alas! The deal was made and the price had to be paid.
Kuvelü had a wish to return to her village and bid her father goodbye before she would be gone to the spirit world so the god took her back to her village in a mist. She came upon her stepmother and handed her the necklace saying, “Oh mother, here you are. I am peace at last and so should you be. Of what good is this necklace to me if it causes a rift between us mother and daughter. Oh what sorrow that we couldn’t be friends! Alas I am gone”. The stepmother could only stare, mouth agape as the beautiful Kuvelü was swept  away in a swirling mist by a very handsome god.
She then appeared to her beloved father who was busy cutting wood in the yard, “My poor father,  your unfortunate daughter has paid the price for letting her desire of a mother’s approval win over a father’s love. What sorrow that I shall not be with you no more, Father, take care of yourself for me and I shall find comfort in your wellbeing.” Saying this, she was borne away by her spirit husband to his world, never to be seen again.
Photography by Tetseos. Content copyright Tetseos ©All rights reserved. Do not use any images/content without prior permission.

22 comments:

Random bursts of light says:
at: 16 August 2011 at 13:56 said...

Very nice story.

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 19 August 2011 at 00:08 said...

Thanks for stopping by.
We love the feedback. It lets us know that someone cares.
Keep visiting and sharing.

Anonymous
at: 19 August 2011 at 01:05 said...

i hope it's not the case with the beautiful Kuvelu who is still around and serenading us with her lovely voice :)

juanita
at: 29 August 2011 at 12:09 said...

love your blog Mercy, Azi and the rest of the Tetseo sisters. Look forward to more stories and song posts by you. much love!

Manash Saikia
at: 29 August 2011 at 17:44 said...

Hi! Was lead to this blog by Juanita's post. (Infact saw u guys at her marriage and also in Delhi) Now this is some soulful music... the kind which fills up valleys and surpasses mountains. Just keep it coming.. We are all ears!!!

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 30 August 2011 at 02:54 said...

Thank you Juanita.
Do stop by again.
Will keep 'em coming. More posts :)

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 30 August 2011 at 02:58 said...

Hi Manash Saikia,
Thank you.
Glad you stopped by to share your thoughts.
Do visit again. We have a lot more to share and more music coming up.

ashish chopra says:
at: 31 August 2011 at 09:22 said...

Your music so rustic,pristine and pure.I love it and it resonates my soul.Glad that you are keeping your tradition alive-This is the true Naga spirit or should I say Chakhasang spirit.
Neipo po jotsu te

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 31 August 2011 at 19:34 said...

Wow. Thank you Ashish Chopra.

We're just doing our little bit and feedback is always welcome.
We all need that little push along the way so thank you for the encouragement. Do stop by again.
And your Chokri is simply lovely. Where did you learn it?

yuimi kapai
at: 15 September 2011 at 20:58 said...

on shobha de's books, it's said, "her look sells more than her books." the fotos indeed sells, and the lake or whatever looks scenic and haunting. the story is a good one. something that interests me, "the deal is made" - but kevulu seems to hav nothing to do with the deal or at least the deal's been cut by the lake spirit ... anther patriarchal perpetuating story ... i guess.

Anonymous
at: 16 September 2011 at 18:36 said...

it was beautiful thank you just reminded of something.......had always love u sisters singing...u sisters are always a pride to watch...god bless.....atu tzudir

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 21 September 2011 at 23:03 said...

Thank you Yuimi Kapai for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
Our folktales are of much interest from a sociological, philosophical and psychological point of view too I believe. Much can be derived from the thematic aspects and narratives too to reveal the ways of our people and the underlying beliefs behind propagated practices.
We decided to look at this story as a sadly twisted tragic lovestory which has other themes too but we chose to focus on the romantic notion of a god falling for a human and forcing her hand to be his in a "all is fair in love and war game" in which she is unwittingly played into his hands.
Lovely to see your observant comment.

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 21 September 2011 at 23:05 said...

Hello Atu Tzudir,
Thank you for stopping by.
We are humbled by the support and encouragement. God bless you too and we hope to make more lovely music for you all in the coming days.

ato
at: 22 October 2011 at 12:25 said...

wow!! reminds me of a tale told by my dad.......really awesome.

amoskrome says:
at: 25 October 2011 at 08:10 said...

Yeah kuku dis is a heart touching folk tale indeed, i recalled ones it has been narrated by my grand pa those were the days....

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 31 October 2011 at 01:18 said...

Hello Amos and Ato,
Thank you for sharing your views :)

Wonderful and exciting tales do exist but very few shared nowadays.
Just sharing the ones we sing about.
Hope to be able to share more eventually.

senti jazzz pongen says:
at: 11 June 2012 at 09:30 said...

its a nic n touching story.....
may God bless u all

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 11 June 2012 at 23:57 said...

Dear Senti,
Thanks for stopping by.

We have so many more stories to share.
Come by again.
God bless you too.

Anonymous
at: 18 December 2013 at 16:16 said...

Hmmm nice

Prashant Saini
at: 19 December 2013 at 23:25 said...

what a good story u posted...really it was a good one and hope for more good stories .. god bless you

Hachiko Loyal says:
at: 13 January 2016 at 12:37 said...

Hello, can we be friends? I am Malaysian but living in America. I was curious about Indian culture and came across your blog. I am fascinated by the northeastern culture and I would love to know more. Your pictures are pretty. :)

Email me back at hachiko14loyal@gmail.com

I like to know you more. I am considering to visit your place. Nagaland ^_^

Hachiko Loyal says:
at: 13 January 2016 at 12:37 said...

Hello, can we be friends? I am Malaysian but living in America. I was curious about Indian culture and came across your blog. I am fascinated by the northeastern culture and I would love to know more. Your pictures are pretty. :)

Email me back at hachiko14loyal@gmail.com

I like to know you more. I am considering to visit your place. Nagaland ^_^