Monday, December 21, 2020

Demons, spirits, clever women (Following folktales around the world 182. - Nepal)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!

Folk tales of Nepal
Karuna Kar Vaidya
Ratna Pustak Bhandar, 1979.

This book with a memorable cover contains 11 folktales. The short introduction says the tales were collected from traditional storytellers and translated word for word. The editors selected the stories to represent the diversity of different types of tales in the oral tradition of Nepal. The book is decorated with black-and-white illustrations. 


The best tale in the book was that of a bamboo cutter who got kidnapped by a demon. The creature took his place, but his clever wife figured out the truth, and managed to kill the demon with various home-made tricks. In the end, she also got rid of a band of robbers, and saved her husband.
I liked the tale about the miserly old woman who would not let her five daughters-in-law eat their fill from the family's food stores. The youngest wife figured out a way to get the food, and make the old woman believe it had been stolen by spirits. In the end, the mother-in-law learned her lesson.
There was a tale about the god of death that was a very dark version of the "appointment in Samarra" story. A black snake told a man the place and hour of his death, and he ran far away from it. However, when the time came, he was lured back by a winged horse, and met his horrible end anyway. (TW)


Dhon Cholecha was a version of the kind and unkind girls, while Sinhapata Maiju reminded me of the story of the wedding of the bug and the mouse: the lady, after several ill-fitting suitors, married a mouse and lived in the royal treasury. However, the mouse drowned in a pot of oil, and the king ended up taking care of the bereaved widow.
The trickster in residence was a man nicknamed Kakaju, who tricked various people out of their money and belongings (e.g. with the classic "donkey that drops gold"), until he became rich.

Where to next?

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