Monday, March 25, 2013

A tale of many tales

I've recently started telling my daughter stories at bedtime again - I thought that I would post the stories I tell her every day.  These are not completely original or completely 'inspired'.  They are a mix and match of both - some stories with morals, some that end abruptly, some well known stories that are toned down to suit her because she has an overactive imagination and I don't want to add to that just before she sleeps.

Yesterday I told her the story of the young deer who was very found of his antlers. Here it is:

There was once a deer who loved his antlers.  He loved them so much he was always gazing at them in the forest pond.  He kept admiring them, the way there were so tall and big and strong and how beautiful they made him look.  He caught sight of his legs in the forest pond and thought to himself - 'How ugly my feet are, how thin - they look like sticks.  And so it went on every day.  

Suddenly one day - there was a hunter in the woods.  He had caught sight of the many deer in the forest.  He decided to catch one.  He ran after our young deer.  The deer ran but suddenly could not move.  It looked up to see that it's beautiful antlers were caught in the low hanging branches of the tree above.  It could not move.  And the hunter was coming closer every minute.  The deer tried with all it's strength to break free and just as the hunter appeared in the clearing it was caught in, it broke free.  The hunter chased after it but the deer was too fast for him and it got away.

A little while later, the deer stood at the edge of the forest pond again - now he resented the antlers which he had always thought beautiful, instead he realized his legs were the most beautiful for they carried him fast and far way from danger.

Note:  This tale was told to me by my grandfather as an example of how we should accept all parts of ourselves etc... my daughter felt the antlers could still be more useful than the legs to the deer - she felt the deer should have rammed the hunter with its huge antlers instead of attempting to run away.  Aggression comes early these days ;-)

I also told her about the story of a snake that ran over a garden of greens.  Excuse the mistakes in my farming story - I know next to nothing about farming and am completely city bread.

There was once a girl who grew greens (keerai) in her garden.  She grew all variety of greens, molla keerai, pasala keerai, agathu keerai, vendhaya keerai, sombhu keerai, dill keerai (that's all the variety i know ;-)).
Every week she used to cut bunches of her keerai from her garden and pack them in a wet sack and take them to the market for selling.  

One week, a snake came into her garden and ran all over the greens.  It then went back to its home near the garden.  That week, the girl followed her usual practice and collected the greens from the garden and took them to the market.  A young mother and her daughter came to the market that day and bought the keerai from her.  They had it for lunch that day with some dal. The mother offered the daughter a first bite of the rice and keerai/dal mixture.  The daughter took a mouthful only to spit it out immediately saying that it was bitter.  The mother took a bite herself and found it bitter too... They then kept the keerai away and had a different lunch.  The next week, at the market, they told the keerai-girl angrily that the keerai from last week was very bitter and that it probably had been poisonous.  The keerai-girl burst into tears at their complaints because she had done nothing different - she decided to meet her grandmother and find out what could be wrong.  

Her grandmother knew exactly what the problem had been - she asked the granddaughter to check the garden for evidence of a snake.  The keerai girl went home and checked her garden.  She promptly found the snake's home.  The grandmother suggested that the keerai girl pour some milk inside the snake's hole.  The grand daughter did as instructed and after that day, she never had troubles from the snake again.

Notes:  This story is inspired by the snake gourd we bought from a vegetable vendor one day who claimed to sell 'thotathu kai'.  We cooked the gourd and it was so bitter - we threw it away.  I then heard that some vegetables taste bitter when a poisonous snake runs around them.  I don't know if it's true or not but it seemed very interesting and has stuck in my head since then.  About pouring milk on the snake's home - this is just tamil-movie inspired and I don't know if snakes even drink milk in reality. 

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