Thursday, December 17, 2015

Folk Tale

Many folk tales in Sri Lanka are connected to the daily lives of the people, which go back to about 500 years. Most of the time, a folk tale is woven around a prominent figure such as the king, a wise man in a village or sometimes the “gamarala” (farmer). The story which is described below is about a man called as “Andare”, who was a court jester employed to amuse the King, and his Ministers. Although books on history do not mention about such a position during the reign of Sinhala Kings, there could have been such a position to take away the tension of the daily work of the King and his ministers. Therefore, the stories of Andare are quite popular. Even if there’s no direct moral expressed in these stories related to Andare, one could learn how to use wit and brains in combination to get out of certain situations.

One day, since Andare used to play pranks on the king, the ministers and sometimes even the queen, the ministers decided to play a prank on Andare for a change. So they went to the king one day and requested His Majesty to order everyone to dive in to the Royal pond and resurface with an egg in their hands. The king too agreed to this and was curious to know what Andare would do.

Therefore, when the next day, the king, his ministers and Andare went to the Royal pond to take a bath, the king announced that before he took his bath, everyone should dive in to the Royal pond and bring an egg each when they come up again, and if he’s unable to do it, that man ashould admit that he’s a fool. By this time, each of the ministers had an egg with them which was unknown to Andare. At the order when the signal was given, the ministers immediately dived in to the pool. Although Andare was quite surprised at this request, he had no alternative but to dive himself.

After a while, each minister came back to the surface holding an egg in his hand, and everyone including the king was waiting for Andare. Finally, he too came up and realized that he was set up and that this had been planned before to make him a fool. However, he did not want to accept that he was defeated. Therefore, as soon as he came up, Andare cried “Cock-a –doodle doo ….! All of you are hens and I am the only cockerel over here! Cock-a doodle doo…”

The King was impressed and amazed at how Andare was able to use his brain and wit to outmaster the ministers and how he made the prank rebound on them and had a hearty laugh. (Inosha, 2015)

Arash the Archer story

A long time ago, in a land far away, there were two countries called Iran and Turan. Manouchehr was the king of Iran and he had a majestic Kingdom, but unfortunately, he was a cruel monarch whose unjust behavior and imprudence made Iran an unorganized country. When the king of Turan, Pashdad, was informed about Iran’s desultory condition and the weakness of Manuchehr’s kingdom, he did not hesitate for a moment. He told his consultants and ministers, "This is the precious time to defeat Manouchehr and seize Iran”. After a long meeting they came up with a big plan. They decided to send Afrasiab, the prince, with a major army to fight with Manouchehr's corps and conquer them. That was how a gory war began between two countries.

Iranian soldiers bravely fought for their country and they sacrificed their life to defend Iran’s borders. The war took a long time, but unfortunately, despite all those sacrifices, Afrasiab was clever and powerful man, but Manouchehr was an old and slobby leader. Therefore, Afrasiab surrounded Manuchehr and his corps, and finally two sides reached a settlement. The agreement was in this way, “an Iranian soldier should shoot an arrow with a bow on Alborz Mountain and at the end, the land between the bow-shot place and wherever the arrow falls would stay as Iran’s territory and the rest would be a part of Turan”.

Manouchehr announced this news in his corps and asked for the strongest and bravest soldier who could make the longest shot. Arash Pioneered to do the shot. He had a very special bow which could make the longest shot, but that shot would come with a price. “A person who shoots with this bow, will lose all his strength and will die at the end;" he remembered this sentence vividly from a man who gave him this bow. But he was resolute to give up all he had for his country. He went on top of Alborz mountain to make the shot; he took his bow, put an arrow in it. Then he held his breath and started to drag it. He knew he had only one shot and he wanted to make the best one. He started to think about his homeland, his country, his people, his loved ones, and the smell of spring in his home, and by each thought the power was moving to his hands from all parts of his body, and in the same time, he breathed more and more from his country’s air for a very last time. When he had all his energy in his hands and his livers were full, he closed his eyes and released the arrow in the name of Iran. The arrow left Arash’s bow and traveled for a day from dawn to sunset and finally hit a walnut tree near the Jeyhoon River, which was identified as Iran and Turan’s border. But our hero, Arash, was exploded and dispersed on the mountain after the shot to enrich Iran’s soil forever with integrity and honor. (Soraya, 2015)

· This is an ancient Persian myth and folkloric story that was originally written in Aboureihan Birooni’s book.

The Walker and his Animals

A man, his horse and his dog walked by a rural road when suddenly lightning fell and killed all three immediately. The man did not notice that he had died and continued on his way with the horse and the dog.

The road had a strong slope. The weather was very hot. It was very dusty also and they had walked a long distance. They were exhausted and thirsty.

After a curve, the man saw a large beautifully decorated gate. He could see that the gate was the entrance to a huge garden with all kinds of trees and flowers. He saw that in the middle of the garden a huge pool offered fresh water to its visitors.

The man walked in the direction of the guard that protected the gate. After greeting, the man asked him about the name of that beautiful and comfortable place. The guard said this is the heaven. The man, surprised, said: Oh!!.. Marvelous, we are in the heaven. We are thirsty!. The guard, pointing at the pool, said to the man: In this place, you can drink all water you want. Please, go ahead…but, only you can pass. The man said: My horse and my dog also want to drink water. They also are thirsty. I am sorry – said the guard - In this place the entrance of animals is not allowed.

The man was angry because he was so thirsty, but he did not think of drinking water alone. He got up, said good bye to the guard and continued walking.

The road had its huge slope yet and the sun heated up even more. They were really tired at that moment when they arrived to another place. This time the little gate was made of old wood. He could see that the gate led to a dusty road which finished in a puddle of water surrounded by several trees. Next to a tree, an old man was sitting on the ground; he probably was sleeping. The thirsty man and his animals entered and walked in direction of the old man. Good morning!, said the walker. The old man answered with a movement of his head. The man continued: We are thirsty: my dog, my horse and me, said the man. The old man responded: There is a little river next to those rocks. You and your animals can drink all the water you need. The walker and his animals went to the river and they gorged their thirst. After that, they came back to where the old man was sitting and thanked the man for the courtesy. The old man responded: You and your animals can come back when you like. After thanks again, the man said: What is the name of this place? The heaven, answered the old man. Really? But we just passed another place a few miles ago, and its guard told me that was the Heaven! Said the man, That is not the heaven, it is the hell. Said the old man, You should prohibit others from using your name. This information is false and can induct to errors! said the man. No way - rebuked the old man – they really do a favor to us, because in that place stay all those capable of abandoning their best friends. (Elliot, 2015)

Folktale from Bangladesh-The Fox and the Crocodile

A long time ago, there was a village situated on the bank of a beautiful lake and there used to live a clever fox and his faithful friend, the crocodile. Almost every day, the two friends used to meet each other and discuss how they can ensure the availability of the food without much hassle.

The availability of the food was particularly very low in the winter and hence the fox had to steal away the leftover from the villagers outside their house. But this was a very risky job to do as the villagers, one day, out of fear that the fox might eat their chicken, threw stones at him. After this rude reception the fox returned to his den with bruises and starvation and the crocodile came to accompany him.

Then one day, the fox came up with an idea. He went to the crocodile and said, “I have an idea my friend, let’s cultivate our own food.” Though the crocodile spent most of his life in the water and did not have much idea about the land, he replied, “That sounds interesting. But what crops shall we cultivate?"“We could cultivate rice” said the fox. “Rice requires water hence it is best to cultivate them near the lake”.

“That’s a great idea. But how does it taste?” “It is tasty, soft and easy to swallow than the meat,” replied the fox. “That is nice, can’t wait to start the process.”So the crocodile helped the fox to cultivate the grains of rice. He took care of the plants until they were tall and ripe.

“Now we should harvest the crop” said the fox and the crocodile licked his lips hungrily. “Wait my friend, how we shall share this rice?” asked the fox. He then pretended to think for some time and replied, “I have an idea, since you have worked so hard for the last few months, you can have all the parts that grows below the ground and I will just take the top part.”

“That is so kind of you” the crocodile said. “Thank you very much.”

But as they pulled out the rice plant from the ground, the crocodile found out that only thin roots grow below the ground and all the ripe rice seeds have grown above the ground. The evil minded fox started to laugh but the crocodile was disheartened and annoyed with the fox.“We should grow something different next time,” said the crocodile.

The fox agreed with him. “We should try to cultivate potatoes this time” he recommended. So like before, the crocodile helped the fox to plant the potatoes and took good care of them until they were tall and bushy.“Now let’s harvest the crop,” said the fox and the crocodile licked his lips hungrily. “Wait my friend, how we shall share this potatoes?” said the fox. “I know what we should do, since you have worked so hard for the last few months, you can have…”

“Oh this time I’ll take the top part, if you don’t have any problem with it, fox,” the crocodile was unfair to in previous occasions, this time you would say which part of the coconut you want to take.” The crocodile got deceived by the shiny outer surface of the coconut and decided to take the outer part of it leaving the tasty and smooth part for the fox. When they started to cut through the shiny smooth impatiently said. “Oh, I suppose that would be fair. Last time I took the part that grows above the ground, this time you can take it.”

They dug up the potatoes with a shovel and the crocodile got surprised when he saw all the white potatoes have grown beneath the ground. He only got a mouthful of leaves but tasted very bad and he spat them out with disgust.“ This time we will grow coconuts. I have seen village children climb up to the tree to pick them” the crocodile said.

So they grew the coconut and when they were ready to harvest, the fox said, “my friend I green skin, the rough hairy brown shell came out. The crocodile saw that on the inside there was refreshing, milky coconut water and white coconut flesh.

This time the crocodile got furious. “Stop tricking me fox!” If we grow anything else I want to have the inside.”

Next crop they grew was mangoes and as per his desperate request, the crocodile got the inside part of the mangoes, the seed. The crocodile got so angry that he was about the snap off the tail of this false and heartless friend. Meanwhile the clever fox was plotting how he can save himself from the angry crocodile. Then he came up with a new idea. The fox was about proposed their next venture, which was to grow sugar cane. He was just about to promise the crocodile to have the both roots and leaves but had to stop because of the smiley expression of the crocodile.

“What is it?” asked the fox.

The kind hearted crocodile had a broad smile on his face and said, “I’ve got much better idea that any of yours. There is a much fairer way of sharing and we will never have to worry about starvation if we follow that. The fox was surprised with the sudden change of behavior from the crocodile. He asked, "What is your idea?”

The crocodile said that they should equally share the total harvest, not just a certain portion of them. Eventually the fox understood and agreed on the term of the crocodile and they never had to face any scarcity for food. (Maliha, 2015)

Moral: If we can share and utilize our limited resource, we can maximize result.

Folk Tale from Sri Lanka- “Andare” and the Ministers

Once upon a time in ancient Sri Lanka, there was a clever person called Andare, who was known for his talent to amuse the king. The ministers who worked for the king was jealous of Andare, and one day they planned to teach him a good lesson.

The king and the ministers had a special day that they all go together to have a swim in the lake. Andare used to accompany the king to the pool on such days too. The ministers secretly discussed among themselves and each planned to take an egg each to the pool with them. Andare and the king were both unaware of their plan.

At the lake, one minister asked “who can dive in this lake and find an egg from the bottom and bring it up?” All the ministers volunteered to take the challenge and jumped into the lake. Andare was clueless and didn’t have any option but to jump in and try to find the egg. In a while all the ministers appeared with an egg in hand. But Andare appeared without any in hand. But before anyone could tell anything to him, Andare shouted out loud “cock- a- doodle- doo… You all are hens and I’m the only cock!!!” and gave a hearty laugh to everyone. (Suhadinie, 2015)

Ant and Cicada

Long before all this, there was a forest in which all animals were talking. There was a cicada and basically he was a rock star of the woods. He just wanted to rock’n roll all night and party every day. He never made any kind of preparation for the coming summer. He was always relaxing with his guitar and his friends. On the other hand, there was a hardworking ant and he was working every day of hot summer making preparations for coming summer. When the long and cold winter finally came, cicada has found himself in very bad position because he has done nothing for coming winter. No foods, no nothing. Then he remembered that maybe his neighbor hardworking ant could help him and give him some food. He went to his cabin and kindly knocked the door and said “Good evening brother ant” and ant replied “what do you want cicada”. Then, cicada explained the situation to him. Ant replied, “what did you do all summer?” Cicada answered that with embarrassment, “I partied all summer.“ However ant got really mad and replied, “Keep on partying in the winter too like you did in summer” and shut the door. In the end, cicada sadly started to walk in the snow. (Utku Gulbulak, Turkey, 2015)

Nolbu and Heungbu

A long time ago, there were two brothers, Nolbu and Heungbu. Nolbu, the elder brother, was rich and greedy. Heungbu, the younger brother, was poor but generous. He had a big family to support. One day, his children were hungry and Heungbu found there was no rice to feed the family. Heungbu was desperate and visited Nolbu for a help. What came back was no. Nolbu was greedy and also his wife was greedy as well. They could not allow any rice to Heungbu. However, Heungbu kept begging for food. Nolbu’s wife got mad and smashed him with a rice scoop. Heungbu found there was some rice left on his cheek. He asked for more so he could feed his family. A few days later, Heungbu found a swallow with a broken leg. He took good care of the bird and the swallow got better and flew away. In next spring, the same swallow brought a gourd seed to Heungbu. Heungbu found it interesting it and grew that seed. Time passed and the gourd grew big. Heungbu thought it was time to cut it open. When he opened the gourd, many pieces of gold poured out continuously. He became very rich and did not need to worry about poverty again. Nolbu found out Heungbu got rich and became jealous. He went to Heungbu’s house and was surprised by the size of the house. He asked Heungbu how he became rich. Heungbu generously answered all questions. After he heard everything about the swallow, he waited for a swallow to come. Unfortunately, he could not see any swallow come to his house. He got impatient and caught a swallow. He broke the swallow’s leg. Then he cured the bird hoping that one day the bird would bring a gourd seed to him. He waited and waited until the bird flew back to him. Finally the same swallow came back and brought a seed to him. Nolbu was happy and planted the seed. When the gourd got big, Nolbu started cutting the gourd. Inside, there was no gold. Large amounts of water came out and washed away his house. Then monsters came out condemning his jealousy toward Heungbu’s gold. Nolbu and his wife were beaten and remaining of the house was torn down. Nolbu became a poor just like his brother was. Nothing left to do, he went to Heungbu. When Heungbu found Nolbu he split his gold and shared it with Nolbu. Both families lived happily ever after. (Byungkwan, 2015)


The story of the cicada and the ant is really popular in France because the tale was rewritten by Jean de La Fontaine. Every French person knows at least one of La Fontaine’s fables which are taught at school. For me, it was the cicada and the ant. In fact, the cicada spent the whole summer singing while the ant worked hard to stock food for the winter. And when winter came, the cicada had nothing to survive and asked the ant some help and food. Yet, the ant refused and sneered at the cicada for her reckless behaviour. As a conclusion, the ant is a wise hard-worker while the cicada is idle and careless which gets her into trouble. Nevertheless, the ant is selfish because she doesn’t want to lend food to the cicada. In fact, in Jean de la Fontaine’s tale, the cicada seems nicer even though she is not as smart as the ant whose smartness prevents her from being in need. (Marine, 2015)

Korean folk tale – Golden Ax and Silver Ax

Once upon a time, when even tigers were smoking, lived there a good woodcutter near a mountain. He was a diligent man working hard every day to buy some medicine for his mother in sickness. One day, his ax fell into a pond by mistake of strong batting. He was in such a huge panic, because it is the only one ax he had. In a bitter disappointment, he cried loudly. At that moment, a mountain god heard his crying and appeared in front of the woodcutter. The god asked him why he was crying. The woodcutter explained that his ax was deep in the pond by his mistake. After woodcutter’s confession, the god went down to the pond and brought a shiny golden ax, and asked the woodcutter if it was his. He said no. The god went down again and grabbed a bright silver ax, and asked again whether it was his or not. He said again, no. Lastly, the god came with an coarse iron ax and asked it was his. The woodcutter said yes and thanked the god from his sincere heart. The mountain god was moved by the woodcutter’s honesty and gave all the three axes to him for supporting the woodcutter’s care for his mother. On the woodcutter’s way home, he met another woodcutter, who was greedy and dishonest. The greedy woodcutter had heard what happened on the mountain and he decided to do exactly the same thing. The greedy one threw into his ax to the same pond on purpose. Again, the mountain god appeared. However, when the god brought a golden ax, the greedy woodcutter screamed, “yes that was mine!”. The god was very angry against his dishonesty. Finally, the god took the greedy one’s iron ax and disappeared. The greedy woodcutter lost his iron ax and cried loudly but the mountain god never appeared again. (Hyungeun, 2015)

Folk Tale

Many folk tales in Sri Lanka are connected to the daily lives of the people, where some of these stories go back to about 500 years. Most of the time, a folk tale is woven around a prominent figure such as the king, a wise man in a village or sometimes the “gamarala” (head farmer). The story described below explains an incident which happened in the gamarala’s (the farmer’s) house and how the popular Sri Lankan proverb “Kaluwa Maarapan giya wagei” (how Kaluwa went to Maarapana) was added in to the Sri Lankan vocabulary.

Once upon a time the gamarala (head farmer) lived with his gamamahage (the farmer’s wife), and they had a man servant named “Kaluwa” to do odd jobs around the house. The gamamahage’s relations lived in another village called “Maarapana” which was quite far away and since the only modes of transportation were by foot (how the common man travelled) or by bullock cart (this was how the rich travelled) those days, it took about a day to get to Maarapana.

One morning, the gamamahage called Kaluwa and said, “Kaluwa, tomorrow morning you have to go to Maarapana”. Kaluwa was preoccupied with something else and was only listening with one ear. As soon as gamamahage gave this order, he readily said, “Yes Madame, I’ll definitely go” and went back. Then, the gamamahage prepared some sweets, and collected fresh fruits and vegetables from their garden so that Kaluwa could take these with him to her relations next morning.

Early next morning, Kaluwa woke up and remembered that he had to go to Maarapana, so he got dressed and started off on his journey. He enjoyed meeting other folk on his way, spoke to them, breathed in the fresh air, listened to all kinds of birds chirping and was almost at his destination. However, then he started thinking “I remember Madame asking me to go to Maarapana, but why did she ask me to come here? I was thinking about something else while she was talking, so did I miss anything she said? Now, here I am at the outskirts of Maarapana after more than a half days’ journey on foot, but I do not know what to do here after coming! Why oh why didn’t I listen closely to what she said? Now, I do not have an alternative but to turn back and go home!” so the weary Kaluwa rested for some time and started off back home.

Meanwhile, during that morning, soon after Kaluwa had left without telling anyone, the gamamahage was looking for him frantically with the packed goodies to be given to her relations. Unfortunately Kaluwa was nowhere to be seen. She related this to the gamarala as well, and they were puzzled as to what happened and were clueless about Kaluwa’s whereabouts.

They stayed up till late night and finally saw someone coming down the road to see that it was Kaluwa! Kaluwa was tired and both the gamarala and gamamahage were curious to know where he had been.

Kaluwa said,”Well Madame, yesterday you called and asked me to go to Maarapana today, so I went”. Then the gamamahage said, “but, Kaluwa, I did not tell you what you were supposed to do once you go there. I was hoping to tell you this morning. But when I woke up, you were gone! What did you do after going there?” Kaluwa was really angry with himself and disappointed at his clumsiness. “ I did not do anything there, Kaluwa said.” I went and came back. Yesterday when you asked me to go, my mind was preoccupied with some other thoughts. So, I was not listening to you properly. It did not occur to me till I almost got to Maarapana that I did not know what to do after I got there. But I thought, while I was thinking about something else, you must have told me what the errand was Madame. But I could not recall it. So, I had a fruitless journey and here I am all tired and hungry”.

The gamamahage pitied their servant and immediately brought some food. “Kaluwa, I wanted you to visit my relations and give them the food that I prepared because I couldn’t visit them for a long time. But before I gave you these directions and explained everything, you were gone! What’s the result? All are in vain!”

The gamarala finally said, “Kaluwa, always listen carefully to what others say and act accordingly. Do not be clumsy or absent minded. Listening is a great virtue. Always listen and get the right facts, or else things might end up as how it happened today; fruitless no matter how much effort you put, because you did not get the right facts. Now, you’ll have to go again tomorrow.”

This was how Kaluwa went to Maarapan, and whenever someone don’t listen to advice or directions and then ends up doing the same task twice or does something wrong instead of what was asked, we say, “oh that’s just like how Kaluwa went to Maarapana”! (Inosha, Sri Lanka, 2015)

Liang and Zhu (folk tale)

In ancient China, girls and women were not allowed to go to school because girls were required to stay at home and they were forbidden to meet strange men before marriage. But there was a girl named Zhu who found that she was really interested in reading books and learning knowledge. She was brave, so she got away from her home, dressed up like a boy and attended a school. In the school, she met a lot of classmates who were all boys absolutely and thought that Zhu was also a boy. Specially, Zhu became very good friends with a boy named Liang. They discussed questions in the class, had endless talks and had fun during school tour. Then Zhu found that she fell in love with Liang. But Liang just regarded Zhu as his best friend. Therefore, Zhu attempted to tell the truth to Liang. But it was heard by another classmate, Ma, unintentionally. Liang was shocked and quickly found that if Zhu was a girl, she actually was the very lover for him. So they were very happy because they loved each other. Happy ending? No! It does not end. Just then, Zhu received a letter from her family that she was found by them and urged to come back to home as soon as possible. Zhu had to leave and before leaving, she left a letter to Liang, saying” Two and eight, three and seven, four and six”, which means that Liang should come to her home and make a proposal after ten days. The reason why Zhu did not state this straightforwardly is that it was an age that girls were even not allowed to meet strange men. However, Liang thought that he should do this after thirty days. After Zhu came back to home, she was waiting for Liang’s proposal every day. Nevertheless, Liang did not appear, but their classmate, Ma, came to her home and proposed to her. Actually, when Ma heard that Zhu was a girl, he also fell in love with her. Zhu’s family thought that Ma was much richer than Liang and looked pretty. So they forced Zhu to marry him. Zhu resisted marrying Ma because what she loves was Liang. But finally, without having got any information from Liang, Zhu agreed. When Liang heard that Zhu was about to marry Ma, he was extremely regretful and became sick gradually. Eventually, Liang died of disease. When Zhu knew that it was actually a misunderstanding, her heart was also dead. She requested to pass Liang’s grave on the day when she was on her way to marry Ma. All of a sudden, the grave was cracked. Zhu jumped into the grave and immediately the grave closed. When the environment became peaceful again, there were two beautiful butterflies coming out from the grave. People think that they are actually Liang and Zhu and they can finally stay together forever without any restraint. (Mengxi, China, 2015)

Guang Sima Hurled the Jar

One day, when Guang Sima was playing hide-and-seek with his friends in the backyard, they suddenly heard a cry for help. “What happened?” All the children were asking each other, but no one had awareness of what was going on. Soon, they found out the problem. There stood a water jar in the middle of the yard. A child climbed on it for fun, but out of blue, he fell in carelessly. The water jar was so huge that the child was certainly going to get drowned. Some of his friends were scared and began to cry while others were running outside to ask adults for help. However, Guang Sima was the only one remained calm. He thought for a while, picking up a big boulder and then hurled it to the jar. “Bang!” The jar was broken and the child came out of it with water all over him. He was saved! In the end, Guang Sima was praised for his wisdom. He was also very diligent and passionate for reading history books. He eventually compiled the History as a Mirror and became a famous historian in China. (Lin Lin, China, 2015)

The Story of the Cowherd and the Weaver girl - Qixi Festival’s Origin

This is a romantic legend story which have been handed down for nearly 2 millennia. It is one of the four romantic love folk tale in China.

Once upon a time, there was a poor boy, Niu Lang whose parent died when he was young lived with his brother and brother-in-law in west of Nanyang. But his brother-in-law was mean to him and asked him to do all the work. One day in autumn, Niu Lang’ s brother-in-law asked him to walk nine cow but only he brought ten cow that he could have went home. He was worried and did not know how to do. He came across an old man when he was wandered. The old men asked the reason he was upset. After knowing what happened, the old man told him that there was an old sick cow lying in the mountain of Fu Niu and he could bring him back home when the cow was covered to health. Then, Niu Lang went to the mountain of Fu Niu and found the cow. Niu Lang feed the cow three days. On the fourth day, the cow told Niu Lang that he was the fairy in the Heaven but was punished to be a cow in the world of humans and only the way of washing him in dew in a month can heal him. Niu Lang took care of the cow by washing him every day and slept with him at night. Finally, the cow was recovered to health and Niu Lang brought ten cow back home. However, when he got home, Niu Lang’s brother-in-law kicked him out and he took the old cow left home.

One day, he saw several beautiful ladies playing the river. He met a lady named Zhi Nu who was one daughter of the emperor in the Heaven with the help the magic cow. They felt into love very soon and they lived together. Zhi Nu weaved (Her duty when she was in the Heaven) and Niu Lang farmed every day.

They lived happily and had two children. But the Goddess of Heaven, Zhi Nu's mother, found out that Zhi Nu, a fairy girl, had married a mere mortal. The Goddess was furious and ordered Zhi Nu to return to heaven. On Earth, Niu Lang was very upset that his wife had disappeared. Suddenly, his cow told him that if he killed it and put on its hide, he would be able to go up to Heaven to find his wife. Crying bitterly, he killed the cow, put on the skin, and carried his two beloved children off to Heaven to find Zhi Nu. The Goddess discovered this and was very angry. Then the Goddess scratched a wide river in the sky to separate the two lovers forever, thus forming the Milky Way between them. Zhi Nu must sit forever on one side of the river, sadly weaving on her loom, while Niu Lang watches her from afar while taking care of their two children.

But once a year all the magpies in the world would take pity on them and fly up into heaven to form a bridge over the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation so the lovers may be together for a single night, which is the seventh night of the seventh moon. On that day they met, they cried together. And people thought they were the Deneb in the Cygnus constellation. For the world of humans, that day is rainy cause their crying.

Since then, every seventh lunar month, according to legend the Cowherd and Magpie Bridge day, the girls will come out, look up at the stars, look for the Galaxy on both sides of Deneb in the Cygnus constellation, hoping to see their Mr. Right, begging God to make their own ingenuity as capable as Weaver, praying she could have happy marriage, thus forming the Qixi Festival. Nowadays, we celebrate this festival as lovers’ days. It is the Valentine's Day in China. (Lu Guo, 2015)

Tale of Three Baby Unicorns and the Big Bad Wolf

I was told this story when I was a kid. I don’t know the origin of the story (whether it’s from Iran or not). I also made some changes to the story (Originally it was about goats and a wolf but I thought unicorns are cooler).

Once upon a time three little unicorns lived in a house with their mom. One day, their mom left the house to go to the jungle and bring her children food. Before leaving, She asked her kids to not to open the door for anyone expect her. Not so long after she left the house, the big bad wolf, which was waiting for the Mommy unicorn to leave, knocked on the door. “Who is it?” said the baby unicorns.

“It’s me, your mother. I brought you food” said the big bad wolf.

“If you’re telling the truth then show us your hand from underneath the door”. The baby unicorns said.

The big bad wolf showed her hand without hesitation; but upon seeing his hands, the baby unicorns screamed: “No! You’re not out mother. You’re the big bad wolf. We’re not opening the door for you”. The big bad wolf started thinking about how to trick the baby unicorns, and he came up with an idea. He went to a toy store, and bought a fake unicorn hand. He went back to the unicorns’ house and knocked on the door.

“Who is it?” said the baby unicorns.

“It’s me, your mother. I brought you food” said the big bad wolf.

“If you’re telling the truth then show us your hand from underneath the door”. The baby unicorns said.

This time, the big bad wolf showed them the fake hand. The two older baby unicorns shouted in joy: “Yay! Mom’s back”, but the youngest one said: “Wait guys! This is a fake hand. The big bad wolf is trying to trick us”. The older baby unicorns did not listen to her, and opened the door. The big bad wolf jumped in the house and ate the older baby unicorns, but couldn’t find the youngest one, because she was hiding. The big bad wolf left the house. Couple of hours passed, and the Mommy unicorn returned home. She saw the door being wide open, rushed into house horrified and yelled: “My babies! Where are you?” The youngest one jumped out from a corner, where she was hiding all this time, and said: “Mom! The big bad wolf tricked my brothers into opening the door for him and then he ate them”. Mommy unicorn decided to free her children by fighting the big bad wolf. She went to the blacksmith’s shop, brought him a magical flute, and asked him to sharpen her horn. Word got to the big bad wolf that Mommy unicorn is preparing to fight her, so he decided to have his claws sharpened. He went to the blacksmith’s shop, brought him a bag full of air, and asked him to sharpen his claws. Blacksmith found out that the big bad wolf is trying to trick him, so he cut all of the wolf’s claws and gave him fake ones. The big bad wolf and the Mommy unicorn met outside the jungle, and got into a fight. Since the wolf’s claws were fake ones, he lost the fight. Mommy unicorn ripped his stomach in half using her sharp horn, and freed her children. They all lived happily ever after.

The End. (Pouria)

The Story of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp

Once upon a long time ago, a young man named Aladdin. He was a young man from a poor family. His uncle was self-centered and loves only himself. One day, Aladdin went with his uncle to look for treasure in a cave and asked his uncle to come down to the the cave, and bring the treasures inside. Aladdin was very scared, and suddenly the door of the cave has been closed. Aladdin's uncle tried to open the door but he could not. Aladdin was trapped inside the cave, and while he was walking between the treasures, drew his attention very old lamp. He took it and cleared it of dust. Then, the lamp vibrated and came out of it great and huge genie, and the genie thanked Aladdin because it was released from this lamp. After that, the genie said to Aladdin: What do you want me to do to thank you because you got me out of the lamp ?? Aladdin said to him, I want to get me out of this cave, and the genie took Aladdin out of the cave. There was a king named Qamar Aldeen in Aladdin country, and he had a beautiful girl her name "Jasmine". Aladdin have always seen her sitting in the balcony of the palace, and he loved her so much. He believed that it is impossible to marry her because he is a poor man. Aladdin returned to his home with his magic lamp. He told his mother about the story, then Aladdin asked the genie a lot of money, gold and gifts to marry Jasmine, but the king rejected this request because his daughter was engaged to the son of the minister. On Jasmine’s wedding, Aladdin asked the genie to make Princess see the son of the minister an idiot and refuse to marry him. Aladdin went back to the king to ask for the hand of Princess "Jasmine", and he agreed, but the king asked Aladdin to provid a great palace to live in it with the princess. Then, Aladdin asked the genie to build a palace, and the genie did. He built a giant palace, and they got married. Aladdin’s Uncle returned to the town and knew that Aladdin did not die in the cave. Also, he knew that Aladdin became rich and had the magic lamp, so he decided to go to Aladdin’s palace as a lamp vendor. He persuaded the Princess to replace the old lamp which is the magic lamp with a new lamp, and princess agreed on it because she did not know that was a magic lamp. When Aladdin returned to the palace, he was aware of what happened and knew that his uncle the one who replace it. Then, he told his wife the full story of the magic lamp. Aladdin went to his uncle on the pretext that he wanted to forgive him and wanted to make him satisfied. During the argue between Aladdin and his uncle, Aladdin took the magic lamp without making his uncle to feel so. After that, he went back to the palace, took out the genie of the lamp, and told him that he is free. But the genie said to Aladdin that he does not want freedom, and he wants to serve him because he is a good man. In the end, Aladdin, Jasmine, and genie lived a happy life. (Samah, Saudi Arabia, 2015)

Folk Tale

In ancient China, in a small village, there was a family, in which three generations lived together. A grandfather lived with his son and a grandson. The grandfather was very weak, and he no longer could work on the field. His son complained about that he had to feed and take care of the old man who was not able to bring anything to the family. One day, the son put his father in a big basket and carried him to the back of village. There was a mountain behind the village. The son carried his father to the bottom of the mountain, and left him there. The grandson was following them. He saw everything. When the son and the grandson walked back to their house without the grandfather. The son noticed that his son, the grandson, carried the empty basket with him. He asked, “Why do you carry this broken old basket back?” The grandson replied, “Because when you gets old, I will use it to carry you back to the bottom of mountain.” The father was suddenly shamed and regretted what he had done to his father. He went back to the mountain, and brought his father back to home. (Xiaomiao Wang, China, 2015)

Folk Tale

Once upon a time, there was a family of parents and three sons who lived in farm. The three brothers were responsible to pick up the fruits and vegetables and sell them on market. Unfortunately, the brothers were fighting and arguing all the time and they do not work together as a team. They always blamed each other for any mistake happened. They did not organize their work and every one depended on others to do the tasks. One day, they picked up watermelons and went to market to sell them. However, the oldest went to swim in the river and left his brothers in the market. The youngest brother went to eat in a restaurant and the middle brother slept while he was reading. As a result, a thief stole all the watermelons. They went home and started to blame one another about who was the responsible for this accident. The brothers were arguing and got in a fight. The parents were very sad and tried to stop them from fighting, but they could not. Next morning, the brothers were very tired. Therefore, they could not work on the farm and pick up the corn. The parents tried to pick up the corn, but because they were old, they could not pick up all corns. The father was sad because other farmers sold their corn, but he could not. As a result, the father called his sons and gave each of one a wood stick. He asked them to break the stick and they did it easily. However, when the father asked each one of them to break three sticks together, they could not break the sticks. The father explained to the brothers that if they work together, the competitors in the marked would not able to outperform them, but if each one works alone, they will not be able to compete with the other farmers. The brothers learned the lesson that strength is in unity and collaboration. (Ebtehal, Saudi Arabia, 2015)

Folk Story

Once upon a time in East, there was a young poor farmer working hard to provide for his wife and their little child. They were living in a small village behind the tall mountains covered by snow all the time. Their life was always with hardship and adversity. But the young man would work as hard as it took to not let his family down. He would walk every night from the farm to his small house through the dark forest surrounded by white peaks all alone, carrying a small lantern in hand. There was a railway passing through the heart of the mountains from a walking distance of the forest. One time, in a cold winter night, while he was coming back to his home from work, suddenly he heard a horrifying sound coming from the tunnels and saw the rocks collapsing and falling down on the railway and blocking the tunnel. It was terrifying, but it got worse. He saw from far away that a train was approaching the tunnel without knowing that if they passed the tunnel, thousands of lives would be in jeopardy and could end dramatically. He didn’t know what to do or how possibly could he have stopped the train. He remembered those days that he used to walk by the railway and see the happy travelers waving at him. He couldn’t let them die. Suddenly he felt strength in his heart. He had made his decision. He wanted to save all those lives even if it cost his own life. The lantern couldn’t glint enough for engine driver to see that, so he took off his shirt even though the weather was terribly cold. He tied up the shirt to his wooden stick and lit the shirt using lantern`s oil and made a big flame out of it. Then he started to run toward the locomotive holding the stick and waving constantly so the train engineer could see that. The train was still approaching and getting awfully close to the blocking rocks. The man`s heart was beating like a drum and he could not feel the chilling weather anymore. He got to the railroad and now he was running directly toward the locomotive in the opposite direction with no regard for his life. The engineer who had seen him now for a few minutes was hitting the brake as hard as he could. The passengers were anxious and screaming and did not have any clue what was happening to them. But finally at the very last possible minutes, the train had stopped just the shy of 100 feet away from the blocking rocks. Now everyone could breathe. But they were in shock. They got off the train and could not believe what they were witnessing. Yes, they saw that small and skinny young man had saved all these people`s life and now was lying down on the railroad with a fading smile. He fainted and they took him to the hospital. Since he ran naked under very cold weather his chest got infected and they had to treat him there for fifteen days. He was indeed a great man that showed the world what it meant to be selfless and put your ownlife in jeopardy to save other human beings. (Sina, Iran, 2015)

Years have been passed and the story of RIZALI KHAJAVI has been narrated for over sixty years, generation to generation. He is now eighty-five years old and lives in KARAJ which is one of the biggest cities in Iran and close to Tehran. He is originally from MIANEH, AZARBAYJAN SHARGHI and lived there until recently. His incredible story has been taught to elementary schools` students in Iran for more than 3 decades.

Folk Tale

Little fox always made fun of others. Once they stuck a watermelon in the back of a hedgehog and flipped the hedgehog so that he can never turn over back to normal again. He also asked goose to eat the star and moon in the water and made the goose drink much water.

Because little fox always made fun of others. No one in the forest want to make friend with him anymore. He was really upset and decided to make a change. He made a gun and carried it into the forest. Animals ran away from him. Big yellow dog was the bravest animal in the forest and he decided to put little fox down. Little Fox shot him into his mouth. Big yellow dog was not hurt and he felt sweet in his mouth. He therefore realized that the bullet was made of sugar and chocolate. Knowing that little fox was using candy bullets, all animals changed to ask for a shot from little fox. Little fox ran out of bullet in short. He ran back to home quickly, filled all of his candies into an artillery, and made a final fire, a big one. All animals felt sweet and smiled as well as little fox himself. Little fox felt much happier than to make fun of others.

The happiness derived from sharing is a real happiness. It is much better than a happiness derived from schadenfreude. (Ruizhi Chen, China, 2015)

Genius Mahosod and the Cow Thief

Once upon a time, there was a seven year old boy named Mahosod. He was very clever. He solved many hard problems easily. People in his town assigned him to be a judge. Whenever people had conflicts, they would go to see him and admit his justice. And his justice never let anyone down.

This is a chapter in his very long story. A cow owner goes to take a shower in a big lake. He ties his cow with a tree and hope it is safe. A bad guy walks pass and then he takes. The owner on the lake see everything the thief makes. (I try to make a poem)

The owner runs to catch that bad guy, but he has to cry. The bad guy denies. “You can’t verify. There are no other eyes.” The bad one smiles. They begin to fight, until some people stop by. The people apologize; they can’t justify, but they know who can try. They take the two guys; they go to Mahosod’s help.

Mahosod do easily. The genius asks them simply. “What food you feed this cow?” The thief is so proud; he does take care his cow. He fed milk and grains. The true owner complains, he is so vain. I’m a poor man. I fed it with grasses.

Mahosod smiles. He tells a guy to mix a medicine. If he feeds this kind, the cow will vomit. Then he feeds the medicine to the cow, and waits for some hours, the cow vomit out.

Its vomit to be the grasses. Then Mahosod asks, which one is arch? The people don’t doubt that the one who’s false. The vomit is grasses, then it ate grasses. Then the man who said that he fed it with milk and grains are the thief. The owner receives, whose cow was thieved. And the thief runs away.

People salute Mahosod again. The news of his intelligence comes to the King. Then what is the next thing? What’s happening? Please be waiting till the next chapter. (Ariyawat, Thailand, 2015)

The Rich Man and his Utensils

Once upon a time there was a rich man. He was very greedy and his house was full of costly utensils. Poor people in his town used to borrow his utensils whenever they have ceremonies in their home. The people have to return the utensil along with a hefty rent after the use. The greedy rich man suddenly increased the rent of his utensils and the people became very sad. One day a very strange thing happened. One man who borrowed the rich man’s utensils, has returned a couple of utensils more than that he borrowed. The rich man got perplexed and asked the man how come it was possible. The man replied that some of the utensils were pregnant while he took it home and they delivered baby utensils in his home. He also said it was his duty to return both parent and baby utensils back to the owner. The rich man couldn’t believe this story. He knew that it was not possible. However, because of his greedy nature, he thought it was ok to accept the extra vessels from the man. After several days the man again came back to borrow some of the very expensive utensils from the rich man. The rich man gladly gave him all the expensive utensils that he had, in the belief that he will get more utensils and money in return. The man took all the borrowed expensive utensils to his home. Several days passed and the man was not returning the expensive utensils. The rich man became restless and worried. One day he decided to meet the man who borrowed his expensive utensils and went to see him in his home. After some time the rich man reached the house of the other man and inquired him why he was not returning the expensive utensils. The man replied that, this time all the expensive utensils that he borrowed died in his home. So it was not possible for him to return them back. The rich man became silent and couldn’t speak anything back to the other man. The moral of the story is, "greediness will make you lose everything.” (Sankar, India, 2015)

The Story of Tich Chu

Once upon a time, in a small village in Vietnam, there was a little boy named Tich Chu. He was an orphaned child, living with his grandma. Grandma had to work very hard to raise him; she gave him all her love and a thoughtful care. However, Tich Chu seemed not to love her; he spent all time hanging out with his friends and never cared about Grandma. One day, Grandma was so sick that she could not get up. Meanwhile, Tich Chu was not home, still busy playing with his friends. Grandma was very thirsty; and she started calling Tich Chu:

- Tich Chu, please give me a sip of water. I am very thirsty.

She called him one time, two times, and three times; but Tich Chu did not show up. Then, she turned into a bird and flied away. Just at that moment, Tich Chu came home looking for something to eat; and he saw everything happened to Grandma. He ran after the bird and cried:

- No, Grandma, don’t fly away. Please stay with me!

- I am very thirsty; I have to find water – replied the bird; and she kept flying away.

Tich Chu kept running after the bird while crying bitterly. Finally, the bird landed next to a spring and started to drink water there. Tich Chu tried to approach the bird and insisted:

- Grandma, I’m sorry, I’m very sorry. Please come back with me. I will give you water, I will take care of you. Please don’t leave me alone.

- It’s too late, too late, Tich Chu. I cannot turn back to a human anymore. Cuckoo, cuckoo, koo…- said sadly the bird.

Tich Chu burst into crying desperately. He felt regret for having afflicted his Grandma before; and he did not know how to have her back with him. Suddenly, a beautiful fairy appeared and asked why he was crying. Tich Chu told everything to the fairy. Then, the fairy said:

- If you want your Grandma back to be a human, you should let her drink the water from a magical spring in a distant land. It is very far from here. I am not sure if you can do it.

- Yes, I can. I will do whatever to turn my Grandma back to a human – said determinedly Tich Chu.

The fairy gave him a pitcher and showed him how to get to the magic spring. After going over many mountains and rivers, finally, Tich Chu found the spring and filled his pitcher with its water. He came back and had the Grandma bird drank that water. The magic indeed worked; his Grandma was back to be a human. From that day on, Tich Chu always took good care of Grandma; and he never left her alone in sickness. (Nam Giang Trinh, Vietnam, 2015)

Folk Tale

In ancient China, there was a man working on his farm one day. Suddenly, a fat rabbit rush out quickly and crashed into a tree. The rabbit died immediately because it broke its neck. The farmer just witnessed the whole process, so he took the rabbit to home for dinner. The rabbit was fresh and juicy, since the farmer was very poor, this dinner was best of the year he ever had. Watching the bones leaving on the plate, the man started to doubt himself, “Even though I work hard on the farm every day, what I get cannot satisfy me at all. Today I did nothing but watched the rabbit hitting the tree and died, but I got a wonderful dinner at the end. So why I have to work?”. Then an idea was coming to him. In the next day, he discarded all his plow tools and sat next to the tree to wait the same thing to happen. He believed that another rabbit would die for the same reason in some days, and he did not want to miss it. Day by day, the farm was overgrown with grass, and the man could not even see any shadow of rabbit. His story became popular in his town, and parents would use this story to give their kids a lesson that people should always rely on their own hands but not luck. (Jieying, China, 2015)

Folk Tale

This is a story about a farmer and his four sons.

Once upon a time, there was a farmer in a small village of India. He had huge lands on which he used to cultivate rice and wheat. He had four sons who always used to keep fighting with one another on various petty issues. He used to get sad and depressed seeing his sons arguing all the time with each other. Overall, it was not a happy, united family and the farmer was not able to make his sons realize the importance of togetherness in a family.

He was around 75 years old and the thought of his sons fighting with each other always used to disturb him. One day, the farmer was very sick and with each passing day, his health started deteriorating. The sons called the local doctor near their village to check their father and give him medicines. The doctor made it very clear that maybe, these were the last few days of the farmer’s life and that he wouldn’t be able to survive for a long time. Once the farmer got to know this, he decided to make the property papers in order to divide all his property and money between his four sons. But he was very confused about the ratio in which his property should be divided. He didn’t know if he should divide all his possessions equally amongst his four sons or he should give claim of his property in accordance with the age of his sons.

The sad part was that even when the farmer was on death bed, the four sons kept fighting with each other on the issue of division of the property. The farmer made a resolution that before dying, he would sort out all the issues between the four brothers, so that after his death, they don’t fight with each other anymore. He decided to teach them a lesson by asking them to do a small activity. He asked each of his son to bring a small, thin wood stick and then asked each one of them to break their wood stick. Everyone was successful in doing what their father told them to do. He again asked each of his four sons to bring a small, thin wood stick but this time, he asked them to tie together all these four wood sticks in and make a bundle of them. Once his sons were finished following his instructions, he then asked them to break this bundle of wood sticks. This time none of his son was able to break the bundle. Seeing their sad faces, he asked all of them to come and sit beside him. He told them that his four sons were like four wood sticks. If they keep on fighting like this, anyone might very easily break the bond of the family. But if the four of them didn’t argue or fight with each other over small issues and instead try to solve them by talking patiently with each other, their family would get strengthened and no outsider would be able to break their bond.

Our families are also like small, thin wood sticks. If we keep fighting or judging each other over several issues, we won’t be able to maintain a healthy, peaceful living. But, if we sort out our issues and problems by talking openly and calmly with each other, we would live a happy and healthier life and no one would be able to break our bond in our worst situations.

So, what did we learn from this story? We learnt that “unity is strength”. This story makes us realize that we can conquer the greatest challenges in our lives if we have a healthy, strong, united family to guard us all the time and help us whenever we need them. (Harnoor Kaur, India, 2015)

Arabian Nights

Arabian nights or as the literal translation of the Arabic name “one thousand and one nights” is one of the most famous and probably advanced collections of fiction stories in the Arabic literature. The collection was published in a book with the same name, which was translated to many languages and became very famous worldwide.

The book tells the story of a king called Shahriar, who used to marry a new wife each day and kills her by dawn. Shahriar kept this habit for long time, until all the girls in the city were either killed or escaped to save their lives.

One day, one of the guards of Shahriar told him that the prime minister has a beautiful daughter whom he was hiding for long time, her name was Shahrzad. The king immediately called for his prime minister, and asked to marry his daughter, the prime minister was chocked, but couldn’t say a word other than, yes my lord; then he went home, and sadly told his daughter about the king proposal, and asked her to escape, while he will stay and probably be killed. Shahrzad was a smart girl, she asked her father not to be worried and to proceed with the wedding arrangements. She simply had a plan, every night she will start a new fiction story to the king, and keeps telling the story until dawn, then she stops and promises to continue the next night; once a story is finished, she immediately starts a new one. The king was impressed by the stories, and was always eager to know how each one will end. Shahrzad kept doing this for long, long time, until Shahriar forgot about his bad habit, and they lived happily ever after. (Muhammad A. Muhammad, Egypt, 2015)

The Pony across the River

Pony and his mother lived near a small river; he had a very happy lifetime with his mother. One day, his mother said to pony: “Pony, you have grown up, would you help me to carry this bag of full food to your aunt’s home which locate in a village right across the river? ” “Certainly. I am very glad,” said pony.

He was laden with food and came quickly to the small river. But there was no bridge over the river. He wanted to go across the river, but he didn’t know how deep the water is? When he was wondering, he saw a cow was eating not far. Pony quickly ran to crow: "Dear uncle, do you know how deep the river is? Whether I could go across the river? The crow said smoothly with smile: “don’t worry about it. The river is just to my leg."

Pony went back the river and tried to go through the river. At this time, he heard a voice saying: "pony, pony don’t go! This river is too deep to drown my friend last week,” a small squirrel shouted: “Two days ago, one of my friends accidentally fell into the river, the river took him sweep away."

Pony had no idea,” how can I go across the river? I had to go back and asked my mother.” He returned back home and told his mother. "Never mind, let's go and see." Said his mother.

Pony and her mother came to the river again, “try to across the river by yourself.” Mother said. Pony ventured cautiously, step by step walk through the river. Oh, he knew, neither like the cow says river so shallow nor like squirrel says so deep. It is most important to do the things by self. “Thank you, mother." He was particularly happy today.

Through this story we know, if we want to understand the truth, the only way is to go and try by ourselves. (Songhe)

The Crow and the Fox

Following is a folk tale told by almost all mom’s/grandparents to their small kids/grandchildren while eating. The following story has the moral that “One Should Think Well before Acting”

The crow and the fox

Once upon a time, a fox and a crow lived in a forest. The crow, being small, took a piece of food from a neighboring house and was happily eating perching on a tree top. A fox that passed through the way noticed the crow and immediately came up with a plan to trick the crow. The fox slowly approached the tree and spoke to the crow: “My dear friend, the whole jungle was filled with unpleasant sounds without you and your sheer presence brings life to the jungle. It would be great if you can sing a song with your sweet voice for other creatures in the forest”. The crow, flattened by the fox continuous compliments, opened its mouth to sing. As soon as it opened the mouth, the entire food fell down and the fox happily ate all the food. The crow looked at the fox helplessly and learnt an important lesson of life – “Think before you act”. (Sriramvignesh Mani)