800px-sambar_deersThere was a time when the animals all looked similar, there were a few differences to mark their external appearance but they mostly looked alike. It was at a time like this that the Hanuman monkey and the Sambhar deer were among the closest friends in the animal kingdom. Now in those days, the sambhar deer had a very long tail while the monkey did not have a tail at all. One day the Hanuman monkey asked his friend to let him try out the tail for a short while, “Friend, I have always wanted to see how I would look with a tail,” he said. The sambhar agreed without any fuss. He was only too happy to let his friend wear his tail for a while.

The Hanuman monkey tried it on and (perhaps) liking it so much, did not want to part with it. So he jumped up a tree and sat right at the very top. (In Nagaland and surrounding regions, the commonly found monkey has a very long tail, longer than the combined length of the head and the body.)His friend cajoled and pleaded but it was of no use. So thought the sambhar, it would not do to beg for a tail anymore, but he still needed to get one. He pulled out his liver, made a tail out of it and put it on. That is why the men say that the sambhar tail tastes so good.

 

Story Collected By:  Arundhuti Dasgupta

Source: The Lhota Nagas by J P Mills

Location: Nagaland

Image: Sambar deer

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambar_deer#/media/File:Sambar_deers.jpg