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How Boh Han Me Got His Title
by [?]

Boh Han Me was one of the greatest generals who ever lived in the hill and water country. Just what his original name was nobody knows now, but this story tells how he gained his title.

One day he went into the jungle with his wife and his two children to gather nau, which is a kind of puc made from the young bamboo shoots. They were very successful in getting it, and were just on the point of going home with their loads, when right before them appeared a large black bear. The bear opened wide his mouth and roared, showing his immense white teeth and great throat, and came ambling toward them growling all the while in the fiercest kind of way.

Now as soon as the man saw the bear he just threw away all the nau that he had in his hands and ran for his life, calling on his wife to do the same. The two children followed their father and left their mother to get out of her trouble as best she could. She, however, was as brave as her husband was cowardly, and instead of running away, she took a handful of the longest of the shoots and thrust them down the open throat of the bear and killed him. She then took the short sword that they had brought from home to cut the shoots, and with it she skinned the bear, cut him up, and made the skin into a sack in which to carry the meat.

Meanwhile her cowardly husband did not stop running till he reached the city in which he lived, and then he told all his neighbors how he had been in the jungle and a great bear had attacked them; how he had fought bravely for a long while, but at last it had killed his wife and eaten her. The neighbors were very sorry for him, but advised him to get home and fasten all the doors and windows before the spirit of his wife would have time to get in, for they said, seeing that she was killed when he was with her, her ghost would without doubt try and gain admittance to the house and haunt it. Once in, it would be very difficult to get her out.

The man, more frightened than ever, ran home as fast as he could and called his children to bring all the rice that was already cooked into the house, and then they fastened up the two doors and the one window with bamboos and rattan. There was to be a feast in the city that night, and the two children wanted to go and see the fun, but their father was in such a fright that he would not give them permission to go, or even to look out through the holes in the sides of the house where the bamboo matting had come unfastened and bulged away from the posts.

By this time the sun had set and it was just getting dark, and the man, tired with the hunt in the jungle and the excitement after, was just going to sleep when he heard a voice that he recognized as his wife’s calling to be let in.

“Husband, oie !” it called, “open the door and let me in. I am very tired and hungry, and want rice and sleep. Get up quickly. Why have you fastened up the window and doors with bamboos and rattan? There are no bad men around; any one would think you were afraid thieves were coming to-night.”

The man was frightened almost to death when he heard his wife’s voice, for he felt sure it was her ghost coming to haunt him, so he called out:

“Ghost of my wife, oie ! I will not let you in. If I did I would never be able to get you out again. You want to haunt this house. I will not let you in. Go away, go away!”