In the old days, Mien used to do paddy rice farming. In the rice fields people built little temporary field huts, usually raised on poles, where they could rest and eat in the shade during the working season. In those days socialization between boys and girls was very strict. Boys and girls couldn’t be intimate with each other.
There was a young man who was courting a girl. He really loved her and wanted to marry her. They always made secret arrangements to meet each other in the middle of the rice fields in the field hut. He always arrived there first and his girlfriend second. Unfortunately, one night his girlfriend arrived there first and went inside the field hut to wait for him. While she was waiting for him a tiger came. The tiger went inside and killed her. Then he proceeded to eat her and suck her blood.
When the young man arrived later, he heard squeaky noises inside the field hut. He was worried so he didn’t climb up. He was afraid that someone might have come first and gone up inside the hut. As he was waiting under the hut he heard something; when he looked up he saw drips coming from the hut. There was a full moon, and it was very bright that night. He reached his hand out to catch the drips and saw that it was blood.
The young man then took out his big knife and began to climb up to the hut. When he got to the entrance, the tiger jumped out. He slashed the tiger into two pieces with his knife, and the tiger dropped to the ground and died. He went inside the hut and saw that his girlfriend had been torn to pieces. He was grief-stricken and very frightened.
The young man didn’t know what to do so he went to his girlfriend’s village. He was afraid to speak to her parents so he told some other villagers, “Over at the field hut a tiger has killed a girl! I don’t know whose family she belongs to. I heard a noise and saw blood dripping so I went up to see. When I got up there, the tiger jumped out and I slashed it to death. You need to go see whose family the girl belongs to.
The villagers went and saw that the girl had been killed. The tiger had already torn her apart and eaten her. Afterwards, the villagers began to understand the relationship between the young man and the girl, but they could not punish him.
From that incident and other incidents later, the Mien have become more open in regard to courtship. That is why Mien today allows courting in the house.