Thursday, February 16, 2012

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

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