Thursday, May 8, 2014

Revenge Of Ngai Spirit

When Ngai spirit is no longer wanted, instead of throw it away; the owner can married it to a third party. This can be done in two ways. If the Ngai is to be passed on to another person to continue with fostering Ngai, then the rhizome is wrapped with a piece of red cloth and the package is handled to the person who is normally a disciple or the person’s offspring.


If no one wanted to inherit the Ngai, then the rhizome should be boiled and then dried under hot sun for three days. This is to bind the Ngai spirit to the rhizome and not escape to elsewhere. After that, the dried rhizome is wrapped with a piece of red cloth together with some money. Instead of giving the package to a person, it is placed beside a road and whoever picks the package up is deemed to accept the Ngai voluntarily; like it or not.


My Ngai master told a story about someone refused to honour this tradition and paid the ultimate price though years later. Ngai spirit never forgets to seek its revenge:


This incident happened in the 1940’s in the village where my master stayed.


A poor farmer picked up a parcel on his way home after a hard day’s work in his rice field. When the farmer opened up the parcel, it was a dried ginger rhizome and some money.


The farmer knew that someone wanted to get rid of Ngai spirit and that he shouldn’t keep the money; but the temptation was too much and that he wanted some money to feed his family. So, after taking the money, the farmer decided to lose the Ngai by swimming across a river parallel to the path. It is said an Ngai spirit cannot cross body of waters. However, the farmer did not know that the Ngai has already attached itself on his hat when he started to cross the river.


Luck was on the farmer’s side as his hat was washed away by strong river flow in the midst of crossing the river.


Someone picked up the farmer’s hat somewhere down the stream and hang it on a tree branch at the river bank. The tree subsequently withered and died.


Years later the farmer went to the river bank where people hung his hat with his son. When the farmer’s son pointed his finger towards the dead tree and asked: “Dad! Why is the tree dead?”


The farmer told his son the story behind it.


It was pretty unlucky that the Ngai spirit was still attached to the tree and when it heard the farmer’s tale, it immediately knew that the farmer was the person it has been searching for. The Ngai didn’t waste any time and swiftly attached itself onto the farmer.


On returning home, the farmer was fallen sick and started to waste away. People said that the Ngai has consumed his soul.

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