By Needrup Zangpo
As the greatly perplexed demon stood before the man muttering to himself ‘this is a fish-bodied, egg-headed pig-like beast’, the man sprang up and thrust his hard penis into its mouth saying, ‘If you don’t know what it is, this is what it is.’ The demon gave a sharp squeal like a pig struck unaware by an arrow and stumbled away with the front teeth smashed in.
A group of travellers had just emptied a pot of suja and a bangchung of zaw. They agreed that the quick snack should serve as dinner.
As the pot and bangchung went back into the cane basket, the sun was going behind the horizon. The small fire fed with dry twigs turned red as the last rays of the sun left the cave.
The travellers talked in hushed voices. One who kept the fire going snapped the twigs gingerly to avoid cracking sound. One took out his rosary and started chanting mani softly. Another spread his bedding in the deepest corner of the cave. One stared vacantly at the disappearing sun.
No sooner did the sun completely disappear behind the mountain than a sprightly man, a cross between a mendicant and a beggar, greeted the travellers with a loud voice. He had long, uncombed hair and wore a pair of huge, round earrings.
‘This is a rocky hillside not ideal for travellers to camp,’ he said as he barged into the cave. The surprised travellers looked at one another with unease and said nothing.
The hillside of Wodod Drak between Phari in Tibet and Shingkarab in Bhutan was turning dark. The high altitude shrubs that dot the hillside looked increasingly like crawling ogres of the Bhutanese folktales.
Still standing, the sprightly man continued to speak in a loud voice about his coming from Tibet and going to Bhutan. The travellers became nervous and anxious. ‘Can I camp here tonight with you?’ the wildly confident man asked them. The travellers once again looked at one another with inquiring expressions. The oldest of them said, ‘Sleep there,’ pointing at the mouth of the cave.
The heavy silence returned to the cave after the new comer settled down. After a long suffocating silence, the oldest traveller said in a deliberate, loud voice before sleeping, ‘May I be protected, Lord Demon of Wodod.’ And all of his friends echoed almost in unison, ‘May I be protected, Lord Demon of Wodod.’ The Tibetan man said in a provocative tone, ‘May I be protected, My Own Thing.’
At around midnight, the demon of Wodod Drak for whom all travellers paid silent obeisance came stomping by, his hair violently cascading behind him. ‘What special thing do you have that you should seek protection from it?’ The demon demanded of the Tibetan man in a guttural growl. This startled the travellers out of their sleep. They all sat up and huddled together in the deepest corner of the cave. They muttered incoherent bits of prayers.
The sprightly man took his time to sit up. He looked the ferocious demon straight in the eye and thrust out his rock hard penis saying, ‘I have this one.’
‘Oho! What a strange beast this is!’ the demon exclaimed. ‘Its head is like an egg, its trunk like a fish, and its root is like a pig.’
The travellers, who were frozen with fear, could not believe what was happening. One wondered what a strange thing it was to do to a ruthless demon. Another thought they were sure to pay with their lives for the Tibetan vagrant’s foolishness. But one among them with a more contemplative nature felt a mysterious power emanating from the Tibetan man’s penis, and it soothed his whole being that was paralysed with fear.
As the greatly perplexed demon stood before the man muttering to himself ‘this is a fish-bodied, egg-headed pig-like beast’, the man sprang up and thrust his hard penis into its mouth saying, ‘If you don’t know what it is, this is what it is.’ The demon gave a sharp squeal like a pig struck unawares by an arrow and stumbled away with the front teeth smashed in.
After a long, pregnant silence, a subdued-looking man walked up to the Tibetan man and knelt before him, eyes downcast. Wodod Demon, in his peaceful manifestation, submitted himself to the Tibetan man and pledged not to harm any life thereafter.
The benumbed travellers, trembling, discovered that the wildly confident man was Lam Drukpa Kunley.
Needrup Zangpo is a journalist living and working in Bhutan. This story is his latest creative non-fiction piece on Lam Drukpa Kunley as it appeared in the current issue of Kuzuzangpo La magazine.
Needrup is also founder of Druk Loter a a writing, editing, translation and consulting firm.