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On the slopes of the Nat-toung of Toungoo lived a very old man, who was afterwards known as Taw-mai-pah (grandfather of the boar's tusk).
A huge wild boar ravaged the toungyas of the old man's sons and sons-in-law, till the injury done became unbearable. Such, however, was the size, strength, and ferocity of the brute that no one dared to attack him. The old man at last devoted his life for the welfare of his children, knowing well that they would all be starved if the boar's ravages were not checked. After a furious combat the boar was slain, but the old man was too much exhausted by his exertions to carry home any of the meat. . On his return, he sent his sons and sons-inlaw to bring in the carcase, but they could not find it, though the ground, trampled into bloody mire, bore testimony to the fight that had taken place. They returned empty-handed, and chaffed the old man about his boasting to have killed a boar he had not even mastered. The old man was furious, and told them they were not smart enough to fight the boar, or even to bring in the carcase when he had been killed for them.
At last, to settle the dispute, they all went to the spot, and found the carcase really missing; but, on searching around, they found a tusk of the boar, red on one face, white on another, and blue on the third. The boar was a supernatural one, and by his defeat had lost so much of his magic power that his tusk had dropped out, though his life was regained. Taw-mai-pah took the tusk home with him, and made it into a comb. When he first used the comb he became suddenly young again. It was very lucky he was amid his whole assembled family, or they would never have recognized him in the brisk young man who had renewed his youth by the magic power of the boar's tusk. Taw-maipah's family multiplied with wonderful rapidity, as, of course, the boar's tusk was constantly used to renew their youth, and to set death and old age at defiance.
Soon they filled the Toungoo hills, and even established themselves in the city of Toungoo itself. The land not being able to support their increasing numbers, Taw-mai-pah started on a long journey to find a place where the land was rich enough to support his family with little or no work. He said he had conquered disease and death, but the evil of hard work still remained to be conquered. The trial to which he subjected the land of each district he visited was this. He dug a number of holes, and tried to see how many holes the earth from one hole would fill. On this side of the Cambodia, he found the earth from one hole would fill four holes of equal size. This he did not consider sufficient, and so he crossed the river, and found that the earth from one hole would fill seven similar holes. This satisfied him, and he returned to bring his huge family. They all marched together as far as the river, and there they all complained of hunger. Some one told them that certain shells were good for food. They commenced boiling them with roselle (then a new plant to them). After boiling the shells for many hours, they tried to see whether the shells were soft or not; but of course the hard outer shells had not softened, and so they concluded the shells were not cooked enough. Others arrived at the same conclusion from noticing the red juice of the roselle. “Of course," said they, “the shells are not cooked enough, for you can see the blood still flows red from them." Taw-mai-pah began to get impatient, and wanted to march on, but his descendants refused to start till they had had food. Taw-maipah said he would go ahead and mark the path by cutting down trees and brushwood. After boiling their shells a long while, the people met some Chinamen, who laughed at them, and showed them how to break an air-hole in the top of the long shell and suck out the contents.
After dinner, they started after Taw-mai-pah, but, seeing that the wild plantains along the path had sprouted six or eight inches since they were cut, they concluded Taw-mai-pah was too far ahead for them to follow, and so they returned to their old quarters.
Since losing the magic comb, which Taw-mai-pah took with him, of course old age and disease and death have ruled over the Karens as before.
Taw-mai-pah, while his clan was multiplying so rapidly, took Chinese wives for some of his descendants, and from them the Shans are descended. He took Siamese wives for others, and from them are descended the Toungthoos. Some took Hindoo wives, and from them are descended the black
Karens of the Toungoo hill tracts. Taw-mai-pah, still young with his magic comb, will one day assemble all his descendants and feast them with a boar, the rib-bones of which will be seven cubits long, and the fore-foot of which will be seven hands in circumference. Taw-mai-pah's children will not be able to understand each other when they meet, but must learn each other's language.