Have you ever seen a short man-like creature, about two feet tall and furry in a big way – either black or white – and mostly active at night? Well, only a few have. But ask older people around Kathmandu Valley, especially among the Newars, and someone will tell you they have. It’s a friendly creature but a shy one as well: the “kack”.
Kacks are to Newari folklore what trolls and elves are to the European heritage. They move about in forests and villages by stealth – shy as they are – and stay hidden most of the time. But sometimes they might approach you: they can hide in a heartbeat but they can also appear out of nowhere. So you might be lucky to see one – or unlucky, depending on what colour it has. If you encounter a black kack, better close your eyes. See a white one, on the other hand, and you’re in luck!
A white kack only means well – and seeing one brings good luck and happiness. We spoke to an elderly woman in Kathmandu who saw several kacks – all white ones. The closest encounter was with a quiet, furry fellow who came and sat on her lap! Many of those who’ve seen a kack will tell you how these “little people” would come and sit on the edge of their bed for a while, keeping them half amazed, half in shock the rest of the night. A white kack is friendly – but it can still be a bit scary.
Kacks are getting rarer nowadays and you might wonder why. Maybe they don’t feel welcome or perhaps even ignored? Well, old people who grew up in the heart of kack territory – Kathmandu – will usually tell you a simpler reason: kacks are shy creatures and so, since the capital has become crowded and noisy, many have left. Sure kacks can hide and move about by stealth, but there’s a limit. Either way, now it’s no-longer in Kathmandu but in the villages, you’ll hear about kacks the most.
So to see a kack, you’ll have to find a village and stay overnight – not sure we dare. Do you?
If you know more about the kacks, do mail us or record it on audio and we’ll post it!