Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Koi and Bai

There were once two sisters: Koi and Bai. Koi was so clever and Bai was the foolish one. They didn’t have much things only one blanket, one cow and one mango tree. So they decided to share their things together. Koi thought this is a good opportunity to make more profit out of their only properties. She told Bai: dearest Bai, you are always first.
So they made three agreements.

Bai will have that blanket on day time, koi will have that on night.
Bai will have the front part of the cow, Koi will have the back end.
Bai will have bottom half of the mango tree, Koi will have the top half.

Bai, the foolish one, agreed and fell into the trap. During the day when the sun blazed down there is no use of blanket, but at night its shivering cold. While Koi slept in comfort, Bai could not sleep at all. Bai was tired of feeding the cow; while Koi made butter and yogurt from the milk. Bai had to water the mango tree and weed around its base. Koi came and took all the mangoes.

Many day passed away while Bai was suffering from all of this. One day a farmer saw Bai asked how she is. She told him all her story and then that farmer told her a way to end this. In the next day Bai took her blanket and dipped it in the river, did not feed the cow and scold it, and told Koi that she decided to cut the mango tree. As a result, when koi went to sleep at night she could not sleep all night because of the wet blanket. In the morning Koi went to milk the cow and the cow kick her, and when she went to have some mangoes found Bai standing there with a saw.

Koi understand immediately what she was doing to her sister all these days. She cried from regret and asked for her forgiveness. Bai felt that Koi has learned her lesson and forgave her. From that day on, they decided to share their things equally. And so it was that Koi and Bai shared the blanket and kept each other warm at night; shared the milk to make butter and yogurt; and shared those delicious mangoes. And so much did they have that they had plenty to share with the rest of the community. (Sharmin Akter)

Folktales (Story of Kuber)

India is a land of folktales. We grow listening to many stories from our parents, grandparents and neighbours about a time when mythical creatures dominated our lands. In fact, there are so many of them it is very difficult to decide which one to talk about. Along with classical Indian folktales we also hear about western and other Asian fairy tales. One unique thing about Indian folktales is that in most of the folktales there are Gods involved.

So in one such story, a rich merchant called Kuber earns a lot of wealth and declares himself the richest man on earth. To do away with his ego and pride Lord Shiva sends his son Ganesh to have lunch at Kuber’s house. Ganesh is a fat boy known for eating more. But Kuber knows that he has all the wealth in the world to buy all the food he can eat. So Kuber promises to satisfy his hunger. But Ganesh ends up eating everything including the furniture of Kuber’s house. Kuber understands his mistake and acknowledges his greed, and begs to Annapurna, Ganesh’s mother, to stop this. Annapurna then very tactfully sends a bowl of rice, which ends the hunger of Ganesh. (Upasana)

Folk Tales: The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz depicts the life of Dorothy, and her dog Toto, and the adventures they face to return home after being transported to the magical Land of Oz. During her journey to Emerald City via the yellow brick road, she befriends the Scarecrow, who wants a brain, the Tin Man, who wishes for a heart, and the Cowardly Lion, who needs courage. The desires of each supporting character represent some of the main elements that are important for human survival: 1) the brain –used for cognitive, motor, and involuntary functions, 2) the heart –used for pumping blood and to symbolize the metaphorical sense of emotion, and 3) courage –used for bravery and to face difficulty.

The character of the Scarecrow is made out of straw and lacks the necessity of a brain. If a human was missing a brain, that individual would not be able to perform certain functions needed to live such as breathing. The Tin Man is made entirely out of tin and needs oil for his survival; however, he does not possess a heart which is required for human existence. The heart allows for blood to flow through our bodies and it represents the emotion of love! Lastly, the Cowardly Lion has the body and stature of someone who is not afraid. On the contrary, he does not have the “courage” to go along with being a massive lion. I relate courage to human survival because without it, we would not be able to achieve a lot of the goals we have for ourselves. What would be the point of living if we have nothing to live for in our everyday lives? In closing, the Wizard of Oz relates to the survival of human life by showcasing the foundational requirements a person needs to thrive and live a fruitful life. (David Arocho)

Mexican Folk Tale “La Llorona” (The weeping girl)

A long time ago, there was a poor young girl who loved a rich man, and together they had three children. The girl wished to marry him; however, the man told her that he couldn’t get married with her because she had three out of wedlock children. The girl was determined to be with the man, so she decided to drown her children to prove her love to him. To her surprise, the man didn’t agree to marry her. She got angry and went out near the river where she drowned her children, started walking along the river and weeping and calling for her kids. But they were gone. So, she drowned herself. The spirit of the girl was condemned to wander the waterways, yelling, weeping and searching for her children. Usually, people say that if someone sees a woman dressed with a white dress or hears the phrase “where are my kids?” near a river, someone will die. – Ana Moyeda

Momotarou (The Peach Boy)

There was an old couple living in a village. The wife went to a river to wash clothes while her husband went to a mountain to cut trees every day. One day, the wife saw a peach floating down the river, took it home, and cut it in half with her husband. Surprisingly, what came out of the peach was a boy. They named the boy Momotarou (“peach boy”) and raised him well. One day, Momotarou told them that he was going to Demon Island to beat up the demons that were harming the village. He also asked his mother to make some sweet dumplings for him. With his father’s help, dressed and armed, Momotarou was ready to go. First, on his way to the island, he met a monkey, who asked for a dumpling and offered to join him in exchange. In the same way, a pheasant and a dog also followed Momotarou to the island. At Demon Island, they beat all of the demons and returned to the village with many treasures such as gold and silver. The village people lived happily ever after. (Hisa Fujino)

A Folktale from Sri Lanka: Story of Mahadenamutta

Mahadenamutta means all-knowing sage; ironically, he did not know anything and all his judgements were erroneous. He was an old man who lived in a village with his faithful five disciples whose wisdom matched with their master. Mahadenamutta was the village judge. So he held a prestigious place in the village, and people came to him to seek justice. He, on the other hand, executed the most unlikely defected from its genesis judgement to those cases. Better or for worse, we never hear the side of the village folks.

One day a villager came across a problem. His one and only goat, from whom he got milk for his breakfast, got his head stuck inside a pot and struggled to get out of it. Failing which, the villager came running for a wise solution from this renowned old judge. The judge regally, sitting on the elephant surrounded by his ever faithful disciples, thus spoke.

Asking irrelevant questions that did not even remotely have reflection on this scene, dangling with it just to pretend the gravity of the scene, he ordered the poor man to cut the neck of his beloved goat. The villager dared to disobey. Then he instructed the man to smash the pot to release the head of the goat. Nodding triumphantly at the crowd, he ordered the carcass to be taken to his house. (Ayoma Samaratunge)

Folk Tale (La Llorona)

“La Llorona” (The crywoman) is one of the most popular Mexican folk tales. This story goes back to the Spanish invasion in Mexico. According to the tale, during the seventeenth century there was an indigenous woman that was married to a Spanish soldier and they had three sons. Some time later, he left her family to marry a Spanish woman. When she learned that her husband married another woman, she took her three children to the river and drowned them. After that, she committed suicide. Since that day, some people in Mexico say that her spirit appears around the rivers and it shouts looking for her children. (Rocio Vargas Torres)

How the Tortoise got the cracks on his scute

As is customary in Igbo land, the story teller starts by saying;
Story teller: Ifo chakpii
Audience: woo
Story teller: Onwere akuko m g’akoro unu (I want to tell you a story)
Audience: Koro anyi ka obi di anyi mma (Tell us to make us happy)
Story teller: Oruru otumgbe (once upon a time)
Audience: otumgbe ruo (it is time)

A long, long time ago, God invited all animals to a party in heaven. It was to be a party full of merriment, dancing and eating. The birds and bats were happy because they understood this to be an exclusive party for only volant animals. However, the tortoise was troubled because he really wanted to be a part of that party but he had no wings, and the Wright brothers were not born then (nor their ancestors) not to mention the existence of aeroplanes. He approached his friend, Dove to ask if he could please give him a lift to heaven. The Dove replied, ‘Tortoise my friend, you know I would if I could. You are more than 5 times my size, and you know heaven is far. You’ll have to go ask Mr. Eagle, he’s the only one who can lift you’. Tortoise left his friend and went straight to Eagle’s house to seek for a lift to heaven. To his surprise, Mr. Eagle agreed to give him a ride to heaven without a fuss. Mr. Tortoise thanked him and went home happily to prepare.

On the D-day, Tortoise was gorgeously dressed in his best isiagu dress with a matching red cap and black staff carved out of ebony. He was ready; the ‘smartest’ animal in the entire animal kingdom was ready to meet God. All the animals set out with the Tortoise on Mr. Eagle’s back and arrived in heaven by mid-day. But before God came out to welcome the animals, Tortoise, in his cunningness, told all the animals that it would be fantastic for every one of them to choose a new befitting name for the party. ‘In that way, God would be impressed and give us whatever we want’, he said. The animals were excited with the idea and they started choosing beautiful names. Mr. Eagle wished to be called “the golden leave” while Dove said he’d like to be addressed as “sunrise”. When they had all chosen their names, Tortoise announced that he’d love to be called “All of you”. The animals thought his name was funny so they laughed, not knowing that Tortoise had a sinister motive. God came out to welcome them and they all introduced themselves in their new names. God showed them around heaven and delegated one of his servants to bring enough food for all of them before he retired to rest.

It was time to eat and God’s servant brought so many foods and announced to the animals, ‘This is for all of you’. The Tortoise smiled and took all the foods to himself, citing that the servant specifically called his name. He ate all the food without sharing with the other animals, not even his friend Dove nor his ‘driver’ Eagle. He finished all the food by himself. God’s servant came again to drop drinks for them. The animals were about to start sharing the drinks when Tortoise called out to the servant in a loud voice, ‘Whose drinks are these?’

The servant replied, ‘It is for all of you’, and left. Tortoise, again, consumed all the drinks without sharing.

It was time to go home, and all the animals left him behind. Nobody agreed to carry him because they wanted to punish him for tricking them. However, he begged Dove to please tell his (Tortoise's) wife to cover their entire house with mattress and every other soft material she could find, and that he was going to land at any moment. The Dove agreed to deliver his message, but when he got to Tortoise’s house, he told the wife to fill the entire house with sharp objects, stones and any other hard materials she could find. She didn’t understand why her husband would make such demand but she had to comply; her husband hated disobedience. Tortoise looked from heaven to see his house filled with materials; he was impressed with his wife, and he jumped. He was expecting to land on soft materials, only to land on stones and sharp objects, shattering his scute in bits and vomiting all he had consumed in heaven earlier. On seeing what just happened, the wife ran to call Mr. Snail, who came to gum his scute together and treat her husband of his injuries. Mr. Tortoise was filled with remorse and he swore never to betray his friends again.

That is why the Tortoise has cracked, disjointed and rough looking scute till this day. (Benneth Obitte)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Three Stars

There was a red star, a green star, and a yellow star in the sky. They were very good friends with each other. They were playing a game of hide-and-seek one day. The red star saw a piece of white cloud and ran towards the white cloud quickly trying to hide under the white cloud. Unfortunately, the red star was running in a big rush and fell to the ground. Bang! The red star fell on a tree that was beside a broad road.

Hoot! A car was driving on the road. The car saw the red star and stopped. The red star wondered: “Why don’t you go?” The car said, “Because you are red light. I need to wait for green light to go.” In a short time, there were a lot of cars stopping in front of the red star. The various cars blocked the road, and they honked the horn and shouted: “Change to green light! Change to green light!” The red star was worried. “Where can I find green light? Oh, I can ask for help from the green star!” The red star figured out a great solution. However, the green star was in the sky, and who could go and ask for help from the green star?

A little bird said: “I can go to tell the green star.” The little bird used all her energy, and her wings were sour after a while. She could not fly anymore, and she saw an eagle. The eagle said: “I will go and tell the green star.” The eagle opened his wide wings and flew to the sky. On the half way to the sky, the eagle was tired and he saw an airplane. The airplane said, “I will go and tell the green star.” The airplane flew very fast and reached very high, but she still could not reach the green star. At that time, the airplane saw a rocket, and the rocket said, “I can go to tell the green star.” The rocket flew to the sky in one second. The green star and the yellow star were looking for the red star when the rocket reached the sky. The green star ran down immediately after hearing that the red star was waiting for help. The yellow star followed the green star and said: “I want to go, too.”

Once the green star arrived, all the cars were very happy, but no car started to drive. The red star asked: “Why don’t you start to drive?” The cars said: “Close your eyes. You need to close your eyes.” The red star closed the eyes immediately. And the green star and yellow star followed the red star and closed their eyes also. The cars said: “Open your eyes! Open your eyes!” All the three stars opened their eyes.

“No. Green star open eyes, red star and yellow star close eyes.” The cars said: “That is right, you three take turns to open eyes.” The red star and the yellow star closed their eyes immediately, and the green star opened the eyes widely. And all the cars left one by one sequentially. (Yu Hua)

Tiger and Rabbit

Once upon a time, there was a little tiger in the forest. His dream was flying in the sky. You know, it is impossible for a tiger to fly in the sky. However, it was his dream. In order to achieve his dream, he got up early to exercise flying, and didn’t go to bed until midnight every day.

One day, the door of his house was struck after midnight. He asked, “Who?” A sound of fatigue came, “Is anybody there? I am a little rabbit. I am lost in the forest. Could I live in your house?” The little tiger opened the door. There was a little rabbit outside the door. By the light of the bright, the little tiger saw the little rabbit blush. Then, the little tiger let the rabbit come into the house.

After that, the little rabbit lived in the little tiger’s house. Furthermore, the tiger and the rabbit got along very well. Every time when the tiger went to exercise flying, the rabbit always accompanied the tiger. When the tiger felt sad because it was difficult for him to fly, the rabbit always encouraged and comforted the tiger. On the other hand, when other animals bullied the little rabbit, the little tiger always bravely stood up to help the rabbit. As the time went by, they got used to living together.

Suddenly one day, an angel came to meet with the little tiger. The angel said, “I am touched by your exercise. I can help you grow wings to fly in the sky, but you will never return to this forest.” The tiger was very happy because he would achieve his dream soon. The little rabbit was also happy for the little tiger. However, the little tiger could not see the sadness and pain in the eyes of the little rabbit. On the second day, the little tiger went with the angel. The rabbit was very sad, crying all day.

After a few days, the little tiger began to miss the little rabbit. He missed the smile, the shadow, and the embrace which made him reassured. But he could not return to the forest any more. He was very regretful to leave the little rabbit. He was worried that there would be other animals to bully the little rabbit. But, he could not do anything.

The little tiger went to ask for the help of the angel, and he said, “Dear angel, could you please help me? I don’t want to fly in the sky any more. I want to return to the forest. I want to live together with the rabbit.” The angel said, “It is ok. I can let you go back to the rabbit, before you have to be a watchdog for us in two years. You will lose your dignity as a tiger if you have to be a watchdog for us.” The tiger said, “Yes, I will do it.”

After two years, the little tiger fulfilled the watchdog mission. Then, he returned to his house successfully. When he arrived at the door of his house, he was worried and he wasn’t sure that the rabbit was still in his house. He was wandering in the door of his house, and dared not knock on the door, because he is afraid of nobody inside. Suddenly, the door was open. The little rabbit was still waiting for him in the tiger’s house.

“Will you love me in the morning?”

“Forever, and ever.” (Yiting Dong)

Golden, Silver, and Iron Axe

Once upon a time, a woodman who made his living by logging completed his work. He was heading for home. He kept walking with fatigue. He found a river got in the way, and he decided to have a rest on the bridge. He leaned against a wood rail and enjoyed the beautiful riverside view. Unfortunately, his iron axe slipped from his hand at this time. The iron axe sank into the river quickly. The poor man cried, “Oh Oh! That’s my only axe! How can I make money without my axe!” Suddenly, the river was spilt open and an old man appeared in front of the woodman when he decided to dive in the river to find the axe. “I’m the patron of this river.” The old man said, “Why are you sneezing in my place?” The god asked. “I dropped my only axe into the river”, the woodman replied tearfully. “Don’t worry, my son, I can help you,” the god comforted him and disappeared. Soon the god showed up with two shining axes in his hand; one was made of gold and the other was silver. “Which one is your axe, the golden one or the silver one?” the god asked, showing these two axes to the woodman. “I’m sorry, I’m afraid they are not mine,” the woodman responded honestly, “Mine is an old and iron axe.” The woodman responded. The god smiled and held out the iron axe. “Here you go, my son. Both the golden and silver axe are yours. You deserved it for your integrity.” The god left three axes to the woodman and disappeared magically. The woodman was awarded for his honesty and he lived the rest of his life comfortably.

However, a neighbor of the woodman envied him. He purchased a new axe and dropped it into the same river on purpose. He pretended to cry on the bank of the river and squinted to find the god. The god appeared and asked him, “What can I do for you, son?” The neighbor replied, “My axe was dropped in your river.” The god disappeared for a while, and came up with golden axe and silver axe in front of the neighbor. “Which one is yours, my son?” The god asked. The neighbor chuckling answered, “Both are mine!” The god was sternly watching the neighbor, shaking his head and left nothing to him, not even his new axe. The neighbor got his penalty for his greed and dishonesty. (Tianyu Chen)

Apes and the caring pigeon (from Kalila wa-dimna)

Once upon a time in very old times, there was a group of apes who lived together on a mountain. They were living a happy life until there was a long winter. The apes were not prepared for the winter and long winter nights started to get unbearable for them. They had no home and were so cold all the time, so they started looking for light, hoping that the light would be a sign of fire, which could keep them warm.

Any small light was a trigger for them to move and stay next to it, even if the light was too small and had little heat. In their search for fire, one day they found a firefly; they got so excited to see the light coming out of it. They mistook the firefly for a small fire, so they started to gather firewood to initiate a big fire. They gathered a lot of firewood, put all of it on the poor firefly and began to blow in to the firewood with their whole strength to extend the fire. Although they were trying so hard, as there was no fire to begin with, their efforts were useless.

There lived a pigeon above a tall tree, close to where the apes were trying to make fire, and he was observing the poor apes and their fruitless efforts. He knew they would not be able to make a fire with a firefly, so he thought he should go to the apes and explain to them that they cannot make a fire with a firefly. He flew and sat next to the biggest and strongest ape and started to explain to him that a firefly is not fire. He said, “I can see that you have been trying too hard to make a fire with this poor firefly, but you should know that this creature only shines at night. It is only reflecting the little light existing in the environment, but you have mistaken it for fire. This firefly cannot give you any heat and you are wasting your time!”

The strong ape was annoyed with what the pigeon said and said to him, “You should mind your own business; we are making fire here!”

There was a jackal passing by which heard the conversation between the apes and the pigeon. He thought he should help the pigeon as he knew the apes, so he went to the pigeon and said: “if you were a wise pigeon, you would not be trying to educate the apes! These apes would not accept your logic and they would only hurt you if you continue your attempts to convince them.”

But the pigeon did not accept the jackal’s advice and still wanted to help the apes, so he went to another ape and said, “Listen! you cannot make fire with a firefly, it would make no heat and you will die from cold.” He talked to many apes, so finally the apes got angry and caught and decapitated the pigeon. The apes continued their efforts to make their fire with the firefly, but the night got so cold and none of them survived till the next morning. (Sahar Mihandoust)

Pull up the seedlings to make them grow

In ancient China, there was a man who grew seedlings on his farm. Every day he went to the farm to check how tall his seedlings grew. He was very eager to see the seedlings grow up quickly. However, one day passed, two days passed and three days passed. The seedlings grew very slowly and you could barely see the difference. He walked around the farm anxiously and said to himself, “I have to do something to help them”. One day, he thought of a good plan. Guess what he did? He went to the farm hastily and pulled up every seedling! He worked from noon to sunset. After went back home, he said while he was still breathing heavily, “So exhausted today. But it is so delightful to see all the seedlings grow up a lot.” His son did not understand what happened, but had a bad feeling. He ran quickly to the farm, no surprise, all the leaves of seedlings began to wither.

This story tells us that we should not rush to do anything. For certain thing, it just does not work if you rush, because it needs accumulation of time. Just like another old Chinese saying “A watched pot never boils”. (Rui Liu)

Crane and the Crab

Once upon a time a crane used to live close to a pond. The pond was full of various types of fishes and crabs. The crane used to feed on them by catching them every day. After a long time passed the crane grew older and became weaker. It was hard for the crane to hunt in his old age because he was not agile enough. He became so weak that fish use to swim around him but he was unable to catch them. The crane became weaker and weaker as the days passed and then the crane decided to think of a different way to get his food. The crane decided to devise a plan to catch his food.

One day he went to the pond without any intention of catching any fish and looked sad. Fishes and crabs saw the crane not trying to catch them for long time. This made them curious and they asked the crane what was the matter. The crane told them that he was very sad because all of them were going to die. This made all the animals of the pond worried and they asked why would they all die. The crane replied that some people from near the village were going to fill the pond and use this land for growing crops. He further said that he could save them because there was another pond at a distance which couldn’t be covered by land. But he said that he could carry few fishes at a time and would make one trip per day because he was old and weak and could not make multiple trips.

The animals of the pond agreed with him because he portrayed himself as their savior and did not show any interest in eating them. He started taking few fishes in his beak every day and at a little distance behind the rock he used to kill and eat them. Several days passed and crane grew stronger, and then one day the crab asked the crane to carry him to the other pond. The crane thought it would be a good idea to try some new food though it would be hard to kill as compared to fish.

The crane agreed and took the crab in his beak and started taking him away. After some time the crab got suspicious and asked how far the other pond was. The crane was blind in his greed to eat the crab and replied “I am not taking you to the pond; instead I am going to kill and eat you,” without realizing that crab was better equipped to defend himself compared to fishes earlier. Crab suddenly tightened his claw on crane’s neck and bled him to death. Somehow crab managed to reach the pond and narrated his experience with the rest of the pond animals. (Pradeep Vyawahare, India, 2016)

Moral: Excess greed is harmful.

Folk Tale (How to Bring the Donkey)

Once upon a time, a father with his five year old son wanted to sell their donkey. One day, they decided to go to the downtown to sell their donkey. They walked the donkey on their way. A man saw this scenery and asked them, “Why did you guys not ride the donkey instead of walking it?” Thus, the father asked his son to ride on the donkey. After a period, they encountered a woman. The woman said to the son that you are not respectful to your father. After hearing these words, the son let the father ride the donkey. After some time, they encountered another woman. She said "poor kid", and blamed the father about not taking care of his son. Therefore, the father decided to ride the horse together with his son. After walking a distance, they encountered another man. This time, he accused the father and son of abusing the animal. He said that "this donkey was weak and skinny; how could you guys rode on him". The father and the son had no choice but carrying the donkey on their back and walking to the downtown. When they crossed the bridge, the donkey could not stand the torture and tried to escape. Unfortunately, when the donkey escaped, it fell to the river and drowned.

This story tells us that we do not need to always listen to others and follow their rules. Sometimes we should be confident about our choice, ideals and thought. The most important thing is that we need to have our own opinion toward a thing and make our mind to do it. (Cheng Ta)

Unity is Strength

A long time ago, an old sage had five young sons. The sons were strong enough, but they always quarreled with each other all day, and they didn’t want to share anything among them. Since he was getting old, the old person was thinking about distributing all of his assets to his children. However, he was worried that when he was gone forever, his children couldn’t maintain his hard earned assets. One fine morning, he called all his sons. He said, “Sons, bring some wood sticks to me.” Hence, they brought back some sticks and gave them to him. Then the old man tied all of the wood sticks together and kept them in front of them. After that, the old person said, “Break it and take all of my assets!” The sons tried their best to break the bunch of sticks individually, but they could not make it. They sweated, “Daddy, It’s impossible!” After that, the old man untied the wood sticks and gave one to them, “Now break a single stick”. They easily managed to break the single stick. Therefore, the old sage said to his sons, “Dear sons, if you stay together, no one can harm you. But, if you stay alone you will collapse like the single broken stick.” All of the boys then repented for their misdoings and understood the strength of unity. After that day, they never quarreled with each other and happily lived together thereafter. (Minhaz, Bangladesh, 2016)

The Greatest Warrior Who Was a Liar

It was a bright sunny afternoon when Karna had finished his archery session. Lord Parashurama was looking tired after an intense day of training. He asked Karna, “It is too hot. I am tired. I will take some rest.” Being a good disciple, Karna asked his master to put his head on his lap. Parashurama smiled and both the teacher and student started moving towards a huge banyan tree.

Lord Parashurama, the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu (the preserver) was one of the greatest warriors in Hindu mythology. Parashurama, a Brahmin, had received his famous axe from Lord Shiva (the destroyer).

Karna was amazed to see his guru sleeping like a baby within a few minutes. For a moment he realized that this was the man who taught him all the advanced skills of archery and the art of warfare. Today Karna was ready to fight any battle against any warrior. After a while, a bee flew in and sat on Karna’s thigh. He was feeling irritated as the bee refused to go away. Karna knew that any kind of movement could disturb the sleep of his guru. His master’s sleep was more important than the suffering this little bee gave. The stubborn bee refused to go away and started to bite and sting. It was not very long when blood started to ooze from Karna’s thigh. Within seconds, blood started to flow profusely and a stream of it touched Lord Parashurama’s cheek. Parashurama was horrified to see so much blood all around him. Karna explained to him what the bee had done and why he didn’t want to wake him up. Parashurama asked, “Karna, my love, how did you put up with so much pain without a whisper?” Karna replied, “It was not pain, My Lord. I could easily bear such discomfort.” All his life Parashurama thought that Karna was a Brahmin but a soft-bodied Brahmin could have never endured this much pain. It was not long that Parashurama realized that Karna was not a Brahmin. He was a Kshatriya (a Hindu caste of warriors). Lord Parashurama had sworn to teach his skills only to Brahmins. He demanded Karna to tell him the truth. Karna told his master that he was a charioteer’s son and was from a lower caste. He knew he had hurt his teacher’s sentiments and acquired the knowledge of mighty weapons by lying to his master. This angered Lord Parashurama, who laid a curse upon Karna that he would forget all his knowledge of weapons at the moment of his greatest need.

Years later, in the battle of Kurkhshetra (or Mahabharata War), Karna lost his powers to launch the Bramhastra (the divine weapon which could destroy anyone) and was killed by his brother and arch rival Arjun. (Abhishek Kumar)

Cowboy and Tiger

Once upon a time, there was a cowboy in a village. He went to the field to take care of his cow. He was crying by saying tiger, tiger, tiger…….to make joke with the village residents. The village residents went to the field to help the cowboy from the tiger. However, the village residents did not see any tiger in the field. They asked the cowboy, where is the tiger? He was laughing, and they understood that he made them fools. After some days, the cowboy again was crying by saying tiger, tiger, tiger……, but on that day, no village resident went to help him from the tiger. Unfortunately, on that day tiger attacked him, and the cowboy was killed. (Rafikul Islam, Bangladesh, 2016)

Folk Tale for Landon and Annabelle

Life is like a journey on a road that is puzzling and has roughness and kinks. Throughout your journey on the road, you face the wind, the sun, the storm, winter, spring, light and darkness, though you need to keep moving forward. You constantly fall and need to stand up again. I believe that persistence and hardworking is key to success in your journey. Here, I would like to tell you the famous story of a rabbit and a turtle. The story metaphorically tells you how persistence is important.

Once, a rabbit, the king of speed within the animal kingdom, challenged a turtle to a running contest. The turtle openly accepted the challenge, though he knew he would have a rough path to pass, if he was going to win the race. The rabbit and other animals of the kingdom laughed at the turtle for racing with the rabbit, because turtles walked very slowly. They started the contest, while all the animals came together to watch the match. The rabbit was proudly posturing, since he was confident that he would win the race. All the animals were talking about how the rabbit runs fast, though the turtle is ridiculously slow. The turtle felt alone but hopeful that he could succeed. The rabbit and the turtle started the race. The rabbit ran very fast and got a big distance from the turtle. The turtle was walking slowly, though determinately. The rabbit was too proud and confident so he thought he could take a nap on the road and then he would run again and would win. He chose a nice spot on grasses under a shadow of a tree aside the path and fell asleep. He went to a deep and sweet sleep, though the turtle was still walking slowly, but constantly.

He was so persistent in moving forward that he didn’t stop, even one second. He just walked forward. The rabbit was still asleep, while he was having sweet dreams. The turtle was still walking. He passed the rabbit and walked forward. He was tenacious and was walking toward the end of the contest. The animals saw him getting closer and closer to the end, though unbelievably they couldn’t see the rabbit. The turtle finally reached to the end and won. He won, while the rabbit was still sleeping. The turtle won because he was persistent and determinate in his path. He walked slowly but he never stopped. (Niloofar Gholamrezaei, Iran, 2016)

Yi Shot Down the Suns

A long time ago, there were ten suns in the sky; they were the sons of the Oriental Lord. These ten suns lived with their mother, the wife of the Oriental Lord, in the Eastern Sea. After having the bath in the Eastern Sea, she always put them on a tree, just like birds perched in their nests. Nine of them perched on the shorter branches of the tree, while the other sun rested on the top of the tree. When the sky needed dawn, the sun on the top of the tree would cart through the sky, spreading the light and heat all over the world to every corner. Ten suns took turns on duty orderly every ten days; everything in the world was in a harmonious appearance. At that time, people were grateful to the sun for bringing them time, light and joy, they even often kowtowed towards the sky to show their worship.

However, as time went by, ten suns became feeling bored; they wanted to travel around the sky together since they thought it must be very interesting. So, one day, when the dawn came, the ten suns rode the cart together, setting foot on the journey through the sky. But, the life on earth could not stand the heat that ten suns released; they were just like ten giant fire balls. They not only burned out forest to ashes, but also burned many people and animals. Those who were not burnt in the fire, the animals, the pigs, the wolves, and the wanderers, frantically searched for a place which had water and food to escape from the calamities. The river dried up, even the sea was also facing dryness, and all the fish also died off, so the monster in the sea climbed up to steal food in villages. Crops and orchards also burned out, and the sources of food for people and livestock were cut off. People were either burned out to die by the high temperature of the sun or killed by the beast. In a word, people were struggling in the fire disaster.

At this time, there was a young handsome guy called Hou Yi, who was a skillful archer. He was in much pain seeing people living in misery, so he determined to shoot the extra nine suns to save the people from the untold miseries. Yi climbed over the ninety nine high mountains, crossed the ninety nine rivers, passed through ninety-nine canyons, and he finally arrived at the Eastern Sea. Yi climbed on the top of the highest mountain beside the sea. Without hesitation, he shot down the first sun in one second; his second arrow shot down two suns together; and at this time, there were still seven suns staring red glowing eyes in the sky. Hou Yi still felt very hot, so he continued to shoot the other suns. He shot the third arrow fiercely, this arrow shot was very strong, and it shot down four suns at this time! The other suns trembled all over, and then Yi shot the arrows to the sun one by one, and finally all nine suns were shot down. Their feathers fell down to the ground, their light and heat disappeared slowly. The last sun in the sky was extremely afraid of Yi; he was in accordance with the instructions of Hou Yi to stay in the sky contributing light and heat to the earth as before.

Since then, the sun rises from the east of the sea and sets in the west side every day. And underneath all of the horrible cloud cover, the sun will always be there, warming everything in the word. (Lingjuan Qi. China. 2016)

The Polygamous Man

Once upon a time, there lived a man who had seven wives. This man was originally a hunter. He married his wives one by one at different times until a total of seven. Initially, he had too much love for his first wife, which later reduced as he married more young wives. Indeed, he loved the seventh wife more than everyone else, and surely hated the first but never divorced. In some month, he came to realize that all his wives were pregnant and they were to give birth at any time. While he had gone far away from his family to hunt and gather food for a full month, he received news that the first five wives had given birth to babies in only three consecutive days. He was told that his first wife had given birth to a very handsome baby boy. He immediately sought to know if his seventh wife had also given birth. Unfortunately she hadn’t, and he was disappointed. He never sent any congratulatory message to the first wife but only to the rest, since he didn’t love her anymore.

After some minutes of silence, he aggressively asked some of his co-hunters to go and kill the baby boy. On arrival, his men saw the baby boy and that he was very handsome; they all became empathetic and told the mum to forgive them. They did not kill the baby boy. When their master heard that they had not killed the boy, he sent a second team to kill the boy. On arrival, this second team was so astonished by the fact that the boy was too handsome to be killed. The master received the report that the team had also not killed boy as he had commanded. He sent a third team that behaved the same way as the previous ones. When he received the same report, he became so angry and picked a spear to go and kill the boy himself. When the mum to the boy heard the news that her husband was coming to kill the boy himself, she excessively cried and hid the boy in some clay pot and covered it with a cloth that allowed oxygen to penetrate it.

He arrived early in the morning but found his seventh wife in serious labor pains. He was forced to first attend to his lovely wife to ensure that she gave birth safely. The seventh wife also delivered a baby boy but without 2 fingers on the left hand. Nonetheless, he was very excited. He then remembered that he had unfinished business of killing the boy to the first wife. He immediately picked up his spear and started looking for the baby in the mum’s hut. The mum was intensely crying but the husband didn’t care at all. After some 30 minutes of searching the hut, he heard the baby crying in the clay pot; the mum immediately jumped and grabbed the baby out of the pot to her chest. When the man saw that the baby was too handsome, he fainted for over 30 minutes. When he regained his consciousness, he knelt down before his wife and pleaded with her for forgiveness. The wife hugged and forgave him without any hesitation. He then organized a party to celebrate all the children, all the wives had delivered by the time of the party. While giving a speech during the party, he apologized to all his workmen. To the ones who refused to kill the baby boy as per his command, he gave them gifts and greatly thanked them for doing the right thing. The story ended with him crowning the baby boy to his first wife as his heir.

This story affirms the fact that you can break some wrong orders to do the right thing. (Judas Tadeo, Uganda)

Folk Story

Once upon a time there was a beautiful family of five. They were very happy and they loved each other very much. One day they went to a camping trip. They drove for six hours to get into the forest. When they got into the forest they set up the tent and started a wood fire. The first night the father was telling stories to the three kids, and the kids were eating marshmallows. The next morning, the family went for a walk in the forest. Landon, the older brother, was jumping and running on the rocks. His father and mother told him to stop jumping and running on the rocks because he could fall over the cliff. He got angry and yelled to them that he was a big boy and he knew what he was doing. Suddenly, when he was going to jump on the last rock, he fell into the 300 feet cliff. Fortunately, he only broke his arm. It was getting dark and he was all alone in the forest. Then he started thinking about his parents. He felt sorry for disobeying them and for giving them a hard time. He was telling himself, "If I had listened to them I probably wouldn’t be here”. Then he remembered what his mother always tells him: “When things are going bad just pray to the Lord and he would give you strength”. Hence, he started to pray to the Lord and promised God that if he got out of the cliff safely, he would ask their forgiveness and would respect them from now on. The Lord heard Landon’s prayer, and the next morning the rescuers saved him. When he was getting out of the cliff he saw his mother and dad. He went running to them and he said: “Mom, Dad I am really sorry. I promise I would never disobey you again”. He hugged them and explained the promise he made to God while he was on the cliff. Landon’s father told him, “Son we love you so much. When we tell you something is because we know is the best for you. I am glad that this experience made you realize it”. Landon learned two things that day. The first one was, that even when you think your parents bother, and don’t let you do anything, they do it because they love you and don’t want you to get hurt. The second lesson was, that God always hears the prayer of a humble and contrite heart. (Edgar Aviles-Rosa)

Folk Tale

Once upon a time, there lived a rat and a squirrel. They were friendly with each other. They had another friend, eagle. Both rat and squirrel lived in the trunk of a tree and the eagle lived on the top of the tree. They were all best friends and they were always there for one another if anyone was in trouble. These three used to go together in search of food in the morning and get back in the evening and used to play together until night. This had become their daily routine. Their children were also all friendly and they all played games while their parents got food. When they got excess food, they stored their food and when they did not get food, they shared their stored food all equally. Suddenly, one day it started raining and the rain continued for three days. They felt their lives would be in danger if they went out; therefore, they thought it was better to eat their stored food. As they decided, they started feeding themselves with the stored food.

Meanwhile, they saw a cat shivering outside their home and they felt pity for the cat. They offered cat a shelter and the cat was very happy. Cat seemed to be very weak and they offered their stored food to cat and then to their children and finally the rat, the squirrel and the eagle ate the food that was left. The rain still continued for three more days, but their stored food got finished. They starved to feed the cat. Cat was getting better day by day. Finally, the rain had stopped and as the stored food was finished, they had to go out in hunt of food. They asked cat to look after their children as their children had become weak due to shortage of food. The cat was okay and agreed to look after their children for that day. As soon as all the three went for food, cat started to think negatively and ate all the children. In the evening, all the three got back home and found their children missing. They got to know that it was all cat’s evil mind and the cat had done this to them. They all decided to teach cat a lesson. They thought of a good plan and they were waiting for the right moment. Finally, one day they saw the cat on the way and thought that it was the correct time to teach it a lesson. The rat willingly got into quick sand and it was holding grass giving an impression to the cat going on the way that it was getting sunk into the sand. Squirrel and eagle were by the side of the tree watching the whole drama. The cat walking that way saw the rat and noticed that the rat was sinking into the quick sand. It felt happy listening to the rat crying out if there is anyone to help it out. The cat started laughing at the rat. The rat started pleasing rat to help it out, but the cat asked rat what it would get in return? The rat told cat that it would offer the cat whatever it asked for. The cat looked here and there for some time and finally got an idea. The cat asked rat if it saves the rat, it had to be the cat’s food. The rat acted for some time as if it is thinking and said it was okay. As per the plan, rat extended its hand and even the cat extended its hand to grab. Rat, with all its strength pulled the cat into the sand. Eagle and the squirrel from the top dropped a branch from the tree. When the rat held it, eagle and squirrel pulled it up. The cat screamed in the fear of death and it drowned into the quick sand. This way they all taught the cat a lesson for betraying them. (Bhargavi Gude)

Moral: Be thankful to the ones that offer you help in need.

Folk Story

Once upon a time, two friends were travelling through a dense forest. It was dark and the two friends knew it was dangerous to travel alone. So they pledged to travel together and take care of each other if any vicious animal attacked them. After hours of walking through the forest, the two friends were tired and they decided to rest under a tree for a while.

While they were fast asleep, a huge bear started running towards them and one of the two sleeping friends saw the bear coming. Instead of waking his friend to warn him about the bear, the selfish friend quickly started climbing the tree, under which they were sleeping, to escape from the bear. When the other friend woke up, suddenly he saw the huge bear fast approaching, getting ready to attack him. He called out for help but no one was there to help him. He quickly came up with a smart idea and lay on the ground breathless pretending to be dead. The bear came close to his face, smelled him and thought he was dead. As bears do not attack dead creatures, it walked away leaving him unharmed. To the other friend who was watching it from above the tree, it felt like the bear was whispering something in his friend’s ears. He quickly climbed down the tree and asked his friend, “What did the bear say to you?” His friend replied, “The bear told me not to trust in fake people like you”. (Ashwin, India, 2017)