Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bhutanese Folktales III

Stories source: Archarya, Gopilal. Bhutanese Folktales (From the East and the South) Thimphu: Pekhang Enterprise, 2004

1.              Dhon Dor Horla

Courageous Samdrup meets a ghost in the middle night and soon he accompanies the ghost on his journey claiming himself also as the ghost. Samdrup alias Dhon Dor Horla helps the ghost to carry the bag which contains the stolen soul of a princess. The man then runs away and hides in a wheat field until the break of dawn when the angry ghost finally disappears. Samdrup goes to the king’s palace and cures the dying princess whom the happy king rewards him as his wife. Samdrup becomes the next heir to the throne.
Values: courage, bravery, fear, ego, pretension, wisdom, quick thinking, foolishness, fame, fortune

2.              The Women who wanted to get rid of their goiter

Zangmo is beautiful and attractive save for her protruding goiter. She sets out one day from her home in Punakha to Thimphu. When she sleeps at night at Dochula, a mountain, the girl prays and takes refuges in the guarding deities for safety. At night, ghosts come and remove her ‘extra meat’. She goes back home happy, but she becomes the object envy of everyone in the village. Another girl also tries the same to remove her goiter, but the result dismays her. She now goes back home with an additional goiter on her neck.
Values: nature, fate, curses, refuge in deity, gratitude, envy, homage, enthusiasm, fear, shame

3.              Thagchung Nganpa

The hero saves the king of underground world who is disguised as a snake from a fearful hunter. The king rewards his saver with all types of riches, but the king’s old mother suggests him to ask for an old dog. The dog is not an ordinary one, but later to everyone’s disbelief changes to a beautiful princess. Soon she becomes the object of envy and a greedy king wants to marry her. The king gives the boy a number of changes, but he overcomes all with the help of his wife and the father-in-law.
Values: family tradition, inspiration, hard work, commands, respect for authority, helping others, jealousy, hatred

4.              Fate

A new baby boy is born who is fated to die at the mouth of a tiger, the instant fire in the house dies. So, the worried parents try to keep fire continuously burning for seven years. On the eighth, the adamant boy goes out into the forest, but the father secretly follows his son lest any danger befalls on him. At night the father kills a tiger and saves his son. The man carries both the tiger and his son home. When he finds out about the beast, the boy kicks the dead tiger. Unluckily, the boy’s toes hit the tiger’s teeth, the scratch develops into a severe wound and the boy’s fate turns out right for every medication fails.
Values: fate, perseverance, care, arrogance, disobedience, parental concern, advices

5.              The Gambler

The hero of he story envisions himself winning a great fortune in a game of dice. His constant dreams make him become a gambler in a hope to make a good living. Following his dream whole-heartedly, the man becomes a great and renowned gambler. The king challenges him only to lose everything including the kingdom. The gambler now becomes the king and with his faithful wife, he lives a majestic life.

Values: boasting, making fun of others, prejudice, dreams, gambling, gain and loss, risk taking, simplicity, favor, helping poor, ego, overconfidence, luck, guilt, apologies, forgiveness, joy, celebration

6.              The Cat that Spoke

Namgay is alone in his cowshed when his partner goes back to the village to collect their rations. In the evening a cat comes to his shed out of nowhere. Soon the cat begins to talk and now Namgay observes a goiter swell at the cat’s neck. But pretending not to observe anything at all, Namgay talks to the cat about ghosts. Still the bulge on the cat’s neck keeps on growing in stature and now the cowherd is hapless. In a move that surprises both himself and his uninvited guest, Namgay hits the bulge, which burst out. That’s the end of talking cat.
Values: sense of duties, friendship, unity, quick wit, beliefs, bravery, fear, physical force, strength

7.              When Lam Pema Singey Laughed

When Lam Pema Singey laughs, it rains enough and the harvest is always good. Once the great saint refuses to laugh. Even the worried king begs him but to no avail. It is only on his exile the lama cannot control his laughter as he hears two men talking in their dreams. No sooner does the lama burst out than the rain comes pelting down. Finally long waited drought ends and everyone thanks the mighty Lam Pema Singye.
Values: laughter, foolishness, power, might, order, wisdom, gratitude

8.              The Greedy Woodcutter

A poor generous woodcutter’s axe once falls down in the lake as he drinks water. He now cries there until the lady mermaid and hears his pleas. Soon brings before him a golden axe, silver axe and a metal axe. But the woodcutter speaks the truth and chooses his own axe. The mermaid rewards him all the three axes. Then a jealous woodcutter also tries his luck only to lose even his own axe in the lake for his dishonesty.
Values: sense of dignity, family pride, hard work, grief of loss, joy of gain, honesty, sincerity, gratitude, reward, jealousy

9.              The Magic Pumpkin

An old childless couple desperately longs for a baby, which so seems so distant at their age. They finally find a big pumpkin, which claims as their son. To their disbelief the pumpkin helps the old couple. Even more the pumpkin brings himself a princess as his wife. One fateful day as the pumpkin climbs the tree to pick fruits for his wife, he falls down. The pumpkin shatters into pieces cracking the pumpkin to pieces. From inside it, a young handsome prince comes out. The rest is miracle.
Values: hard work, yearning for possessions, duty to parents, excitement, courage, faith in god, new lessons, respect, sociable norms, wisdom, vision, pride, revenge

10.           The Bear and the Fox

A bear and a fox are friends, but the foolish bear soon becomes a slave to the sly fox. They work together and plant crops, which the cunning fox eats them all without the bear’s notice. Once the bear gets seriously beaten and now he realizes he has been cheated. In his counter attack, the bear comes out with serious plan, which ends the sly fox.
Values: friendship, unity, duty, responsibility, dishonesty, trust, sincerity, ignorance, revenge, apologies, ingratitude, satisfaction, happiness

11.           Princess in the flower stalk

When their cruel stepmother treats them harshly, the seven princes and their only sister run away to build their own house and start living far from their father’s kingdom. One day when the brothers are out at work, a monster devours their hard working sister. The brothers take revenge killing the monster. However, they are sad as their only sister is dead, but not for long. Miraculously, their sister comes out of a marigold stalk.
Values: divorce, evil nature, pretension, working in unity, revenge, rejoice, happiness

12.           The Henpecked King

Totally dominated by his wife, the king hardly takes any decision without his wife. People talk and laugh at the coward king, feel insecure, but the king is helpless. It is one fateful day that the king realizes his weakness, when he finds a monkey beating its wife. Taking the inspiration from the monkey, the king finally realizes his potential. He now beats his once dominating wife. Soon the woman submits herself before her husband, swearing to keep her sharp tongue inside always and does not interfere in king’s business.
Values: selfish ends, carelessness, realisation of potential, cowardice, dominance, obedience, submission before power

13.           The Buffalo with sixteen horns

An orphan works all day long for his neighbours, but he is not treated well by the people. So, he runs away one day and reaches a shed where a group of bufalloes take shelter at night. The leader of the herd, the bufallo with sixteen horns allows the poor boy to stay with them, making use of the produce from the herd. He has a long buffalo horn to blow if he is in any sort of dangers, but he misuses it and the herd is unhappy about it. Once when his villagers come to take him back, he blows the horn but this time the herd does not come to rescue him.
Values: endurance, hardwork, cruelty, vision, understanding, kindness, compassion, wisdom, unity, duty, humbleness, sympathy, disobedience, mistrust

14.           Puchey Bandhar

Of all a little moneky is the naughtiest who does not heed to his grandfather’s constant advice. The worried old monkey warns his little grandson about the dangers of sea and the crocodiles. But the little monkey wants to see the sea and crocodiles for himself. He does not listen to his grandfather and instead chooses to go to the sea one day.  Silly monkey takes his own reflection in the water as his brother. In a foolish move, he jumps immediately to meet his brother in the sea where many hungry crocodiles wait to receive him down below.
Values: anxiety, parental care, advices, disobedience, overconfidence, ignorance, foolishness

15.           The princess with three strands of Golden hair

The princess has three strands of golden hair which later becomes her plight. She loses a strand while she takes bath in the river. Everyone is asked to find out the lost hair promising the finder the princess herself. By sheer chance, the finder happens to be none other than her own brother and by vow, she has to marry her brother. The girl now runs away. All her six brothers and their mother all die with the girl’s curse. In the end her youngest brother comes to her. She marries a hunter in the woods and they live happily. 
Values: care, disobedience, vows, curses, love, spiritual devotion, universal law, happiness, qucik thinking, obedience, compassion

16.           The Foolish Brother

The younger brother is a foolish brother. He kills their grandmother pouring hot boiling water onto her heard while helping her take bath. The upset elder brother now sends him to herd their sheep. He lets most of the sheep die from over feeding. The frustrated elder brother now sends his foolish brother to accompany his wife, only to find that he has cut the wife into two halves. He ruins his brother who dies heart broken. 
Values: foolishness, wisdom, care for old, anxiety

17.           The Man Who Knew too much

A man becomes famous for his art of prediction although he hardly knows anything about the astrology for which he claims as master. It is only by mere coincidences that he becomes successful in the very art. In likewise manner, he even surprises the king when he locates the king’s lost horse and the queen’s necklace with his prediction. The happy king makes the astrologer his minister who again surprises everyone with a victory in the battlefield - ofcourse by sheer chance.
Values: wit, sensitivity, logic, fame, fear, fortune, struggle, order, reward, joy, comfort, confidence, mistrust, success, bravery, victory, honour, providence

18.           The Jealous friend

Two friends go to study in a distant land. They separate from each other at a place to attend different schools. The rich man’s son wastes his time while his friend, the poor man’s son works hard and becomes a learned man. They meet at the very place after certain years. Now the spoilt rich man’s son is jealous of his friends knowledge and overcome by jealousy, he plans to kill his own friend. The poor man’s son sends home a three-lettered chit through his friend, which finally the three scholars intrepret it correctly. The rich man’s gets his share of punishment.
Values: friendship, wealth, fame, power, education, struggle, procastination, bad comapany, guidance, regret, jealousy, curiosity, reward, punishment

19.           The Unrelenting enemy

Two men are neighbours by location, but worst enemies at hearts. One neighbour teaches the other’s son how to grow salt in the kitchen garden, but having wasted enough resources and effort, the second man realizes he’s been cheated and now he plans for a sweet revenge. Now he shows his neighbour how to cross a swollen river at night. That’s the end of cruel neighbour.
Values: enmity, lies, deception, ignorance, revenge

20.           Prince Vikranta

Prince Vikranta’s father while on exile experiences a vision. He now sends his son to the king of nagas who prophesizes prince Vikranta, a beautiful daughter of demon, who lives in a distant land. On this mission, the prince helps some animals in danger. He also meets two extraordinary men who accompany him on the mission. The demon puts a series of challenges before he gives the prince his daughter’s hand in marriage. He overcomes all with his two friends and the animals that he saves earlier on his way. With a beautiful wife, the prince returns only to join his father.
Values: bravery, discovery, fortune, obedience, advice, prayer, compassion, help, prophesy, challenges, determination, accomplishment, reward, happiness

Bhutanese Folktales II

And as promised and in continuation, the following is the summary of Folktales of Bhutan (New Delhi: Learners Press Private Limited, 1999) by Rita Thomas. Please enjoy and don't forget to read the original book.
  1. Dawa Zangpo
A poor widow once sends her three sons in search of fortune. She gives a gold coin to the eldest, silver to the middle, while the youngest is given three rolls of woolen cloth. Dawa Zangpo, the youngest on his way saves a cat, a dog and a monkey from being beaten, in exchange for his three rolls of cloth. Dawa Zangpo next saves a fish who helps him to become a rich man and when his magic ring given by the Luyi Gyelpo, the king of the water world, is being stolen, the three animals, cat, dog and monkey restore it back from the greedy king.
Values: destiny, compassion, greed, jealousy, and kindness
  1. The silly leopard
A witty fox tricks a silly leopard. The leopard finds the fox near a river, but it claims to be a different fox. The cunning fox continues to cheat the silly leopard and he always becomes a victim. Ultimately, the leopard ends up with a fateful death after falling over a cliff in a basket he’s been convinced to enter by the fox. The leopard is a victim of his own foolishness.
Values: wit, cleverness, quick thinking, judgment, decision
  1. Aming Niwa
Aming Niwa, the mouse rewards two girls with two different gifts. An orphan sheep herd’s lunch box accidentally falls down into a mouse’s hole. She asks the mouse to return it to her. The poor girl is surprised when the mouse invites her and gives her rich jewelries for her humbleness. Another girl hears about it and tries the same, but now she is dismayed with the gift gifted by the rodent.
Values: humbleness, generosity, integrity, arrogance, jealousy
  1. The Sheep herd
One day, a lazy sheep herd saves a weak rat from its rival counterpart. Coincidentally the rat happens to be the disguised prince of underground. The King thanks the lazy sheep herd for saving his son. The boy surprises the king when he refuses even a bag of gold, asking instead for an old dog, but it later transforms into a beautiful princess. Now the king of that land wants to marry the beautiful girl. He gives a series of challenges, which the boy easily overcomes with his wife’s help. Later he even defeats the king’s troop in the war and claims the princess as his own.
Values: helping the weak, compassion, obedience, good judgment, wit, fate, fortune
  1. The Mother and the Ghost
A boy meets a fearful ghost, but the boy is quick enough to hit it the monster who falls down dead. He takes the monster’s head and hangs it on the wall. He warns his mother about it, but his curious mother is convinced to marry her by the monster’s head. Overcome by monster, she treats it even at the cost of her son’s life. She sends him to dangerous places for medicines pretending sick. Completely healed, the monster prepares to kill the boy, but will it succeed? In the end the son forgives his cruel mother, but drives her away to suffer alone.
Values: bravery, sincerity, helping parents, weakness, forgiveness, foolishness, selfishness, gratitude
  1. Ashi Dungli Dolma
A king’s three beautiful daughters receive proposals from far and wide, but all of them want to marry Sai Jangchu Dorji, the richest and handsome of all. The prince Jangchu also wants to marry one of the princesses, but he is uncertain which to marry. Disguised as beggar, he goes to test the humbleness and generosity of each princess. He soon finds out that the two elder sisters are not fit to marry him, but he is attracted by the sweet behavior of the youngest. He now plans to marry her only. A day before the wedding, the beggar puts a puppy into Ashi Dungli Dolma, the youngest sister’s bed and he now threatens to tell others that she has given birth to a puppy if she does not choose him. On the wedding day, everyone is surprised when the youngest princess chooses to marry the beggar instead of thousand suitors waiting her. The angry father drives them away. The poor couple wanders through different places before they finally get to their palace. The princess is surprised to know that she has married Sai Jangchu Dorji whom they all longed to marry.
Values: pride, distinction, kindness, modesty, humbleness, generosity, vision,
  1. The Hen and the Monkey
 The monkey is unhappy that he has to work whole day while his friend, he hen sits lazy at home. Therefore, the two friends switch their jobs, but now the monkey finds work at home even more difficult. The monkey then asks the hen to go back to their old task, which the hen agrees simply. This time, the monkey returns to observe secretly the working hen and the next day he again suggests her to switch their job. In an attempt to lay eggs like the hen, the monkey’s tail gets burned. Now the monkey drives her way. later with the help of her friends, the hen takes a sweet revenge to the monkey who runs away never to return again.
Values: sense of duties, responsibilities, help, unity, potential, ingratitude, appreciation,
  1. The Adventures of a poor boy
As he wanders through places, he acquires an old magic cap,  which makes the wearer invisible, a wooden bowl, which supplies the owner with ready meals whenever wished for, and finally a drum which takes the beater to far away places with each beat. The poor man then marries a girl who soon runs away with his wooden bowl and the magic drum. He however has the magic cap with which he takes revenge on his cruel, cunning wife.
Values: happiness, selfishness, greed, ungratefulness, helping others, reward, wit, kindness, compassion
  1. Acho LaLa-the moon to the rescue
Afraid of sinpos, the mythical man-eating demons, the parents run away leaving behind their hapless daughter. The demons carry the girl away into the mountains. She feeds a dog and a few insects who promise to help her. The grateful dog gives her a handful of seeds before she runs away. As soon as they find it out, the demons chase her from behind. The girl throws some seeds behind her which suddenly converts the place  into a dense forest making it difficult for the monster. The hapless girl then requests Acho LaLa, the moon to help her. When the moon finally hands down an iron ladder, the girl climbs up to the sky. The heavy ladder hit the demons and they all die.
Values: obedience, good judgment, considerations for the needy, helping others and helping ourselves, evil, inherent goodness, god’s help
  1. The Skin of the Tiger
Except for the tiger skin on which he sleeps at night, the hermit does not possess much things. He is proud of the colorful tiger skin and how he acquired it. He claims as an expert in wild life. As he meditates in a cave one day, he hears a sound of a strange animal and soon another animal also appears on the scene. Then the two animals fight. The hermit finds it difficult to believe what he has just observed. He sees an abominable creature leave while the tiger lays dead. The hermit goes to the site to pick up the dead tiger, takes it home and skins it off. People believe that the hermit is offered such gift for his greatness and as a symbol of the creature’s submission.
Values: bravery, respecting the learned, blessing, not materialistic, satisfaction, happiness, self-enrichment
  1. Mekhay Doma
Mekhay Doma’s parents are cowherd in the mountains and she reaches them food everyday. On her way she meets a tiger, a boar and a monkey who all threaten to eat her up. Mikhay is wise enough, she promises to come back. As she returns home, she hides herself in a barrel and rolls her way down. But the barrel accidentally hits a rock breaking open the girl from inside. All the animals see her and as they plan to eat the girl. In a surprise move, the girl escapes her death and all animals run away.
Values: wisdom, carelessness, responsibility, accountability, foolishness
  1. Grandpa Heylay Heylay
The tired Grandpa Heylay Heylay feels that hard work is not for him. One fateful day, as he works in his field, he suddenly finds a beautiful ruby. He is happy that he does not have to work anymore. He goes to the market to sell it off and on the way he exchanges the ruby with a horse, the horse with an ox, the ox with a rooster, the rooster with a song. Then singing a song, Grandpa Heylay Heylay goes away feeling happy and satisfied with his business.
Values: Hard work, success, contentment, foolishness, wit, happiness, materialism, trade
  1. The Yeti Does not bend
As old Kaydola and his son Shety look for their lost yaks in the mountain, they see an abominable a sleeping yeti under a tree. No one has ever seen it and now Shety wants to boast in the village he has seen a yeti. To prove to his friends, he slowly pulls some strands of the yeti’s hair, but the monster wakes up. They run away and yeti chases them. The yeti falls down whenever he hits the tree branches. They conclude the yeti does not bend. The yeti thus disappears. But they are too sad as they have lost the hair. They think nobody will believe them in the village.
Values: curiosity, fame, new lessons, new discoveries  
  1. The Hoopoe
The male hoopoe wrongly suspects his wife has eaten the grain, which he collects with great effort. The pea falls down in a hole inside the wall. The angry male hoopoe pecks the female to death then he regrets and feels sad. The hoopoe carries the dead body to the mountains, but seeing the vultures flock around, he returns, takes it on to a boulder and seeing mice the hoopoe changes his mind. Then he places the dead body in the river, but he quickly changes his mind knowing that fishes would eat her up. Thus, the hoopoe takes her to the nest. It is already spring and flowers have come up from the hole where his wife has dropped the grain. In great remorse the maize hoopoe also dies beside his wife’s body.
Values: working in unity, sense of responsibility, speaking truth, false judgment, regrets.
  1. Acho Tsagye
Acho Tshagye (foolish elder brother) prepares lunch for his brother who ploughs field. The food however gets spoiled when he falls down on his way. The hungry angry brother goes home himself for the lunch while the Acho Tsagye is asked to watch the two oxen. Acho Tsagye cuts the oxen’s tail, ears and legs when they move as he is instructed not to let them move. Now the frustrated younger brother runs away. Acho Tsagye is however not without options; he hides inside the brother’s basket where his necessities are packed. The brother stops in the evening only to find his foolish brother inside the basket. Then they find a house where they finally settle after scaring and driving away the demons.
Values: sincerity, unity, foolishness, brotherhood, wisdom, gain, happiness
  1. Sing Sing Yangdonma
A raven once drops Sing Sing Yangdonma a strange tasty fruit. The girl now overcome by its taste sends her father in search of more fruits of similar kind in the land of demons. The father climbs the tree and picks enough fruits, but his bag falls down hitting the monster beneath. Now the monster threatens the father who immediately promises to give his daughter if he finds out her name. The man is released. The monster sends a pig and a monkey to find out the girl’s name, both of them forget her name on their way. On the third day, a bee finds out the girl’s name and as promised Sing Sing Yangdonma has to go with the monster. She is hung up on the ceiling from where she sings a beautiful tune, which even attracts the monster’s own daughter. They exchange their place and Sing Sing cuts the rope letting the girl fall down in the boiling water. She then finds an old woman who helps her run away with rich jewels. Sing Sing Yangdon finally marries a kind-hearted prince.
Values: endurance, kindness, bravery, temptation, greed, help, wit
  1. The Lame Monkey
The lazy Pladong sows rice in his field, which a group of monkeys destroys during the time of harvest. The angry boy now chases the monkeys; all escape except a lame monkey. The hapless monkey pleads the boy to spare his life and the monkey ultimately helps the boy to become a rich man who finally marries a beautiful princess.
Values: hard work, kindness, frustration, loss, gain, compassion, temptation, sense of wealth, triumph, evil, wit, foolishness
  1.  (Forgot the title - will find out soon)
A poor man sows wheat, but he is surprised to find his crops eaten by sparrows. The boy threatens to kill the bird but it rewards him with a magical cup, a goat and a walking stick. A jealous rich woman steals the boy’s magical objects and replaces with fakes. The boy then teaches the greedy woman a lesson and she returns all the objects to him.
Values: hard work, compassion, greed, helping others, deception, lessons, jealousy, materialism
  1. The Tiger and the Frog
A tiger is forced to believe that a frog really eats tigers, cows and deer. The frightened tiger can no longer hold his fear and he runs away. On the way a silly fox persuades the tiger to go back and defeat the slimy creature. The fox ties a creeper on his body while the other end is tied on the tiger and they return to site. When the frog thanks the fox for bringing the tiger back, the frightened tiger again runs away. This time dragging all his way the dogmatic fox who immediately dies.
Values: wit, size, foolishness, bravery, fear, arrogance
  1. The Ugly frog
A frog leaps out from inside the old woman’s aching knee. The old man threatens to kill the creature that immediately begs for his life with a promise to help the old childless couple. To everyone’s disbelief, the ugly frog brings home a beautiful princess. The ugly creature then transforms itself into a good-looking prince who immediately becomes the envy of other princesses. Of all, the eldest sister becomes jealous of her sister’s husband. She kills her own sister but she heals again. In the end, the prince destroys the evil sister to live happily again.
Values: pain, frustration, laughter, considerations, bravery, pride, obedience, prejudice, joy, jealousy, inherent evil nature, goodness, loss, gain, happiness
  1. Gangze Joy Guma
 A frustrated couple once plans to make their lazy son to work in the field. They hide edible things in the field everyday. Slowly the boy becomes interested in the work for he always finds incentives. He now becomes ambitious and realizes his potential. As he travels to distant lands, the boy meets two other strong and powerful men, but in the end he finds that there is none to equal his strength and potential.
Values: advice, instructions, temptation, ambition, incentives, potential, discovery, determination

Bhutanese Folktales

Years ago, I was made to compile a list of Bhutanese folktales and annotate them all. I also had to also identify what values each stories carries. Unfortunately, I could not find all the books. As you can see, each story is summarized and after each story, I have listed values that I thought are encompassed in each of them. And for those of who may not have had gone through all the books, it is my pleasure to present to you an annotated Bhutanese folktales. However, it is my hope that you would ultimately read the books yourself. But please don't expect much from a high school student (I was back then).

The first I have is a wonderful book by Ashi Kunzang Choden: Bhutanese Tales of Yeti published by White Lotus Co., (1997), Thailand. Please enjoy!
  1. The Greedy Herder
A herder once comes across a strange creature. It is a mysterious yeti. Everyday, the creature visits the man’s window and it disappears as soon as it is given some meat. It becomes an everyday ritual. The man always has meat for the creature. One day, haunted by his greedy dreams, the herder attempts to kill the yeti, which results into his fateful death. It is then believed a yeti does not harm us unless it’s in danger.
Values: livelihood, bravery, danger, discovery, superstition, reality, greed, reward.
  1. Goelak, the place where the Migoi was Defeated
A young little brother is alone in the mountains with a herd of yaks when his sister is away at home to collect rations. When the girl returns to the mountains, her brother goes missing. In the dark, the girl searches for her brother only to find a large snowman in the cave. With her fast wit, the girl surprises the yeti by driving it away, never to return again. Thereafter, the place is named Goelak, the place where the yeti is defeated.
Values: responsibility, strength, wilderness, fear, bravery, wit, foolishness, triumph, loss
  1. Mimi Khandola’s Story
It is summer and Mimi Khandola has just moved his yaks to higher altitude. He is alone. One night, a group of wild dogs attack an old and weak yak before the old man’s eyes. He again hears wild dogs the following night, but this time the victim is not a yak. Old man believes it is a yeti instead. The old man is suddenly overcome by sadness and he is lonely. Immediately he moves his herd to a different camp.
Values: wilderness, fear, bravery, compassion, sadness, loss, danger and loss
  1. The Migoi’s sense of Smell
As a father and his son are about to sleep, a strange creature disturbs them. It is a yeti. Two yak herders are helpless and as the father starts honing his knife, the son begins to burn a mixture of dried onions, chilies, meat, garlic and dirt, which finally drives the uninvited guest away from their sights.
Values: loneliness, refuge, anxiety, distraction, beliefs, appeasing malevolent spirits, triumph, relief, disbelief, happiness
  1. The Migoi Does Not Bend
As two herders search for their lost yaks, they appear before a sleeping yeti. Slowly and carefully they pull a strand of the creature’s hair. They want to prove to other people that they have seen a yeti. But now the disturbed monster chases the two men. When they look back at it, they see the yeti fall down again and again as it hits the tree branches. Thus they conclude that a yeti does not bend; however while running, they also lose the hair. They now have no proof.
Values: team works, belief, existence of evil forces, fear, anxiety, discovery, loss
  1. The Talisman
Nobody knows where the merchant lives, but he deals garments, wood burls and musk pods. He has a knife, which he refuses to sell it to anyone. He believes his dagger is powerful. One day in the mountain, he finds two yetis. With his knife drawn, the man waits for the creatures and he waves his dagger continuously. Without his notice, the two creatures disappear. He is amused by the incident and now he believes that his knife is powerful enough to drive away even devils.
Values: trade, inheritance, mystery, loss, grief, courage, strength, curiosity, surprise, divine power
  1. The Mule Tail Robbers
Merchants on their trip to Lhasa in Tibet are surprised when their mules’ tails are gone. They stop in the mountains and wait for the snow to clear away. Surprising enough, they shoot a yeti down. They then follow its track to its den. In a cave they also shoot another creature only to find all their mules’ tails in the cave.  The yetis have robbed the tails off the mules.
Values: power, richness, pride, experience, natural calamities, surprise, anger, humiliation, fear, disbelief
  1. The Skin of the Tiger
A yeti once approaches a faithful hermit in a cave and soon a fearful tiger is also on the scene. The tiger is about to harm the hermit when the yeti comes for help. Fighting fearfully, the tiger loses its battle. It lies down slain and the yeti disappears. Thus, the hermit makes the good use of the beautiful tiger skin. Thus, it makes one believe that strong faith in religion gives us the power to resist the wild threats.
Values: Faith, wilderness, lack of materialism, knowledge, bravery, satisfaction
  1. Boots for the Migoi
One day a skilled tanner encounters a fearful yeti. The tanner always carries a piece of hide in his pocket. In his attempt to run away he sews yeti a pair of boots out of wet leather. The yeti is amused and seems to like his boot. The old man runs away, but now as the boots begin to contract, the yeti starts to follow the tanner. The old man runs to his safety until the yeti can no longer walk.
Values: profession, skills, pride, wisdom, modesty, harmony, harmony, tradition, expedition, concern, intoxicants, loss, fear, panics, courage, safety, happiness
  1. The Unintentional Trap
A man is in the woods felling pine trees to develop planks for his worn out house. After his lunch, the man is away from the work site. In his absence, a yeti’s hand is accidentally trapped in the cracks of a pine log that the man has cut. The monster wails in pain. The man is puzzled what to do. Finally he decides to free it. Soon the yeti walks his way never to return again. Satisfied with his work, the man goes home carrying the planks.
Values: natural resources, humiliation, wilderness, loneliness, hard work, fear, bravery, compassion, help, happiness
  1. The Ultimate Divine Test
It is in the middle of a night in the mountain. A strange sound dominates the whole place, but it cannot disturb the dedicated monk at his meditation. Soon his small hut trembles as if in a terrible earthquake. The monk takes refuges in his masters and he is sure that no harm will be done on him. As the night wears away, the sounds and shakes disappear. The curious monk searches for footprints on the snow and concludes that they are yeti’s marks. So it is believed that it is only our own minds that create various terrifying appearances.
Values: ego, ignorance, loneliness, fear, bravery, refuge in masters, curiosity, learning, self realization, enlightenment, discipline
  1. The Final Grip
On their trip to collect bamboos, the three men spend a night in the mountain. They start a large fire to warm themselves. Soon a strange creature also joins them to warm itself. It is a mysterious yeti. In a surprising move, three men scare away the fearful monster when they flung heated stones at it. The three men are haunted by this experience for the rest of their lives.
Values: scarcity, resources, teamwork, intelligence, bravery, courage, strength, safety, fear, victory, happiness, haunting experience
  1. In the Tracks of the Migoi
A group of hunters are surprised when their traps failed to trap any meat one day. Ultimately they find the footprints of a yeti and a courageous hunter go alone following the tracks of the creature. His knife is sharp and he is ready to face any danger his way. Now no one back in the village believes that he has killed a yeti, but their doubts are soon answered when they see two fearful creatures lie dead in the mountain. However, the proud hunter sees his own death nearing.
Values: teamwork, livelihood, hard work, occupations, wilderness, suspicions, mistrust, fame, bravery, beliefs, compassion, death
  1. The Heroes
While hunting in the mountains, a renowned strong man encounters a yeti. The man is so strong that no one can defeat him in the whole village. Then in a surprise move, the man hold the yeti’s wrist and they pull each other hard. They prove they are equally strong. Now both the yeti and the man walk away in direction feeling strong. They are heroes indeed, in different ‘territories’.
Values: ego, pride, strength, brave, courage
  1. The Migoi and the Tiger
A strange commotion in the forest frightens an old cow herder who is clearing path for the cattle. On closer inspection, he finds a yeti and tiger fight vigorously. They jump in the river and continue to fight. The old man keeps it a secret for he believes it is surely a bad omen. But later when another cowherd finds the dead remains of the yeti, the old man is forced to tell his secrets. So the tiger has killed the abominable snowman in the fight.
Values: agriculture, rearing animals, cattle migration, wilderness, beliefs, supernatural forces, wrath of deities, secret, bad omens
  1. Not even a corpse to Cremate
Everyone in the village joins in the search for a lost girl, but to no avail. They cannot find her. People believe that spirits have carried her away. Everyone is shocked when the girl returns after many years. A yeti abducts her as its wife and she gives birth to a strange baby. On the day of her escape, the yeti carries the baby and follows her. When it can no longer keep up, the yeti heartlessly tears away the baby into two halves. Now the girl overcome by immense grief does not live long after the event.
Values: wilderness, fear, courage, love, compassion, loneliness, beliefs, grief, death
  1. The Mirgola’s Spirit Bag
Mirgola is a mystical monkey-like creature. It is believed to possess a bag, which contains its divine power. Some say with this bag, the creature can double its size.  A man captures one such creature and hides its bag. The man puts the creature to work. But all the time, it is seen searching for the bag. After many days, the creature escapes with the bag. The man’s son is killed. The man go in search of mirgola and revenges it.
Values: beliefs, wilderness, fear, intelligence, supernaturalism, superstition, divine power, revenge, good and evil
  1. Not Everybody Sees the Migoi
People in northern Bhutan believe that the sight of a yeti is a bad omen and they fear more of the omen than the monstrous creature itself. Two men are in the mountains trapping pheasants when one of them sees a yeti. The other man cannot see it and immediately the misfortune befalls on the one who sees the yeti. So it is concluded that only few can actually see the yetis.
Values: beliefs, fear, omens, rituals, powerful divination, wilderness
  1. The Brokpa who Forgot
Brokpas believe we should never use weapons against mysterious yetis. One night a Brokpa who forgets such belief starts to challenge the giant. It is only in the morning that people find out his dead body and footprints of a yeti all around him in the snow.
Values: reverence, worships, faith, shock, fear, traditional beliefs, superstition, death
  1. The Novice
There is an eminent lama and he is requested by the villagers to perform a ritual to please the guiding deities. A novice accompanies lama on the trip and he is surprised when he finds his master talk with a yeti. The novice is marveled and amused beyond words.
Values:  guiding deities, religious pursuits, social beliefs, fear, relief
  1. The Mirgoe’s Bride
A girl is supposed to marry two brothers soon, but on the day of the marriage, the girl is lost. People search far and wide. It is useless, they cannot find. Finally after a year, everyone takes for granted that she is dead somewhere somehow. One day when the two brothers are in the wilderness of the mountains they find the girl happily married to a yeti instead. Back in the village, people enjoy the tales.
Values: marriage, family pride, shame, loss, humiliation, anxiety, grief, happiness
  1. The Mirgoe Who Fell Asleep
Three brothers search for their lost yaks in the mountain and as they search in different directions, one of the brothers encounters a yeti. Although by their belief they are not allowed to harm yetis, he shoots it down. Overcome by superstitious beliefs, the brother returns to the village and he is afraid of what he has done. It takes a while for him to come back to his normal self.
Values: wealth, dignity, hard work, tradition, simplicity, loss, confusion, superstition

Coming up next:  Rita Thomas' Folktales of Bhutan (1999)