It was a story of Jampa’s childhood. She lived in the most beautiful village in Chumbi valley of Tibet. She was 3 years old at that time when this happened. Her house was very near to the forest. Her amala* always warned her about the forest. She told her about the wolves and bears who lived there. She even avoided looking at the forest at night. Specially in the moonlight the forest looked so mysterious to her.
From the morning till the evening they roamed around in the valley and played all day. She was very fond of Lahmu and followed her everywhere. Lahmu was the shepherd Mingma’s daughter. There were 140 yaks and 20 horses in their warehouse. Lahmu would whistle when it was time for them to go home in the evening and everyone would follow her back quietly.
One day in late summer they all were at their favorite spot. It was more sultry and misty than usual. Jampa felt a storm was coming. Within a few minutes the clear blue sky turned into violet with huge dark clouds. The fierce wind started blowing the grass violently. They started running homewards as fast as they could. The thunderstorm overtook them following a series of lightning. Some of them fell very near. The thunder rolled continuously. Before they could reach home it started raining. Those raindrops hit them like stones on their shoulder and back. It was very painful.
Suddenly a massive noise made them almost deaf. They were so frightened as they ran through the rain and the forest was just beside them. Out of the blue a loud, painful cry startled them . Lahmu stopped to check what it was. Jampa followed her too.
Lahmu whispered: “It’s a drong**!”
It was a huge golden-brown female yak with grayish muzzle. Jampa remembered amala once told her that drongs are very shy and bigger than domesticated yaks. They live much above the forest and never leave their herd and they seldom come down here or near humans. Jampa wondered why it was here.
They noticed one of her horns was broken and it was covered with blood. She was shaking with pain and fear. She tried to go away from them but failed to move her legs. All of a sudden she started gasping for air and her body shook with intense twitch. Then she fell and became still.
Lahmu cried : “Oh no! What should I do now?”
Jampa tried to ask : “Is it dead?”
Lahmu shouted with surprise : “There is a calf!”
He was little bigger than a normal dog, covered with the blood of his mother. The wild yak gave birth to her baby just before she died. Female yak always finds a secluded place to give birth.
In between the storm went further leaving them wet. Lahmu told Jampa to wait there and ran to call her father. As Jampa waited there perplexed near the calf, the calf pressed it’s head on Jampa’s leg.
Mingma came running and took the calf to the warehouse. All were so happy and amused seeing the calf trying to stand on its legs and walk. That night Jampa slept beside the baby.
For a few days the calf stayed in the canopy and then he was set free in the vicinity as he was a wild yak. But he didn’t go anywhere. Every evening he came back to the entrance of the canopy and waited for Jampa. Jampa gave him a name too. She called him Muh. She became very protective about Muh and wouldn’t leave him alone. Jampa thought it was her duty to teach Muh how to find good moss and herb. Now Muh followed Jampa everywhere. Muh wont let anyone nearby except Lahmu and Jampa. Even though he was near domesticated cattle and human, still he remained a wild.
Winter came soon. Muh grew very fast. Almost as big as Jampa. Jampa’s amala told her it is time for Muh to go and unite with his herd. A wild yak should never have to live in a canopy. Freedom is what he will start missing soon. Jampa was very upset. She almost started crying. But she didn’t know how to cry.
Then one day it was her time to say goodbye to her little Muh. Jampa stood watching Mingma and Lahmu taking Muh into the forest. She knew she wasn’t allowed to go there. It broke her heart to let him go as Jampa thought him as her own child. But amala told her by next year she will have her own baby.
She felt sad that she couldn’t overcome the fear of forest. Even for her Muh. She will always remain a domesticated yak till her death.
*Amala = Mother;
**Drong = Wild yak;
Inspired by: Der weiße Yak – Federica de Cesco