The Apatani and their monster


In the book of Rene von Nebesky-Wojkowitz. (1)

The Apa Tani are a people living in an out-of-the-way valley of the Eastern Himalayas. They have been known by name for a considerable time, but it was only towards the end of the Second World War that the first explorers entered their territory. There they heard a very singular story.

The Apa Tani assert that their valley was originally a great lake. When their forefathers set to work draining the valley and clearing the surrounding jungle, they came upon terrifying giant lizards, bum, as the Apa Tani call them. The description did not tally with any known species of lizard. According to the natives there were still a few bum in another valley, fifty miles north of the last Apa Tani villages.

A few years later an expedition was sent to the Eastern Himalayas, with the support of a leading English newspaper, to search for bum. The explorers had first to cut a path through impassable jungle, in an exhausting struggle with precipices, thorn thickets, mosquitoes and leeches. But all their efforts were vain, for the bum was never found. True, the explorers repeatedly met natives who gave them further reports of giant lizards, but the truth of their stories could never be checked. The bum is probably a species of crocodile that also occurs in the Brahmaputra.

(1) Rene von Nebesky-Wojkowitz. Where the Gods are Mountains. Three years among the people of the Himalayas. Reynald and Co. New York. p. 157

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