NOTE: This story was originally published on Freya's blog http://blog.fatema.in/2010/07/chandratal-a-spitian-folklore/
A version of this story is also published in Kishore Thukral's book Spiti Through Legend And Lore.
Once upon a time, almost a hundred years ago there lived a lazy man in the village of Rangrik who was a burden on his wife since he did no work. One day this man decided to go to the Chandra Tal lake as he had heard a lot about it being beautiful. It was far from where he lived and a difficult trek but he thought it would be an excellent way to escape his wife and her nagging. So he left and walked for many days over mountains and passes. Finally when he was almost worn out he caught sight of the lake. It was indeed beautiful and he was so moved he sat down to play his flute and was soon lost in the music.
When he opened his eyes a while later there was a beautiful woman standing before him. She said, “Hello Gangrup, I am the Chandra Tal Fairy. Your music drew me here. I have fallen in love with you. Will you come and live with me in my kingdom? I promise to love you and keep you happy if you agree to play for me and love me.”
So Gangrup went with her to her underwater kingdom and they were very happy there through summer. Then as winter came the fairy asked Gangrup to go back home. He was unhappy and said he didn’t want to go as he would miss her. The Chandra Tal Fairy insisted that he had to leave but said he could come back next summer. She said she would miss him too and would await his return. However, she warned him not to tell anyone about them or else they would never be able to be together again.
Gangrup's family was overjoyed to see him as they had thought he had died when he did not return for months. Winter set in and Gangrup drank and slept as always, doing nothing else. One day when he was really drunk his wife was nagging him about some work she wanted done. He turned to her and said: “Shut up woman, don’t nag me or else I will go away to the Chandra Tal Fairy. She loves me.” Saying this he gulped down the last of his drink and passed out.
The next morning he remembered what had happened & started to cry. Everyone was concerned and kept asking him what happened but he just kept wailing. He passed the rest of the winter in mad grief and as soon as summer set in he left for the lake.
As soon as he got there he took out his flute and started to play. Soon enough the fairy emerged. She said: “I have just come to say good bye Gangrup. You mentioned me, you broke your oath and you've broken my heart.” Saying this she left. Gangrup fell to his knees and called after her crying. A while later she emerged holding a bundle. Gangrup was overjoyed thinking she had forgiven him. But she said “This is our daughter, born of our love, take her back with you.” Saying that she handed him the bundle and left.
Gangrup looked down at his daughter and gasped. She was the ugliest thing he had ever set his eyes on, covered in warts and boils and she was also very ill. He didn’t want to touch her but then filial love won and he took her along. However she died on the way. A broken hearted Gangrup carried her tiny body devoid of life, all the way home.
His family was stunned when he told them she was his daughter from the Chandra Tal Fairy. He buried her with all ceremony and built a memorial for her in the house. From then on his families luck changed and they became rich. After all, the little girl was also a Nortin (fairy).
His descendants are still alive today though they have moved to a new house (the old house still stands in ruins). They moved the memorial to the new house too and it can be still seen today.
Freya is a compulsive traveller, who also loves reading, and has dogs by the half dozen! To read more of her adventures, please visit her blog.
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