Nepali Folk Tales: An Envious Sister

Once there lived a farmer couple who yielded more than enough from their land. They always had spare after they consumed for themselves. They were content in every aspect – except: They didn’t have children.

They went to pilgrimages, fasted, gave to charity, etc. but to no avail: They couldn’t bear a child. Yet, they continued with their discipline.

The perseverance paid-off after a few years, as they finally gave birth – to a daughter. Although they were happy they finally had a child, they weren’t as satisfied as they might have been had it been a son. The daughter grew up while the couple remained patient and continued to try for a son. But even after a decade, it didn’t happen. Yet, they didn’t lose hope.

One day they called some astrologers and showed their horoscopes (china).

‘We will only tell you the truth if you believe us,’ they said.

The couple agreed.

‘What we can see in your horoscope is that you will only have a son once your daughter gets married. So send her away as soon as possible’

The couple got excited and after a few months, they selected a good man and married their daughter. After that, as the astrologers had said, the old couple gave birth to a son and named him Mohan. The couple exploded with happiness and gave a party to the entire village. The villagers came, enjoyed, and gave their blessings.

No one has control over the inevitable. The young boy couldn’t receive the care of his parents for long as both his parents died by the time he was five.

The villagers mourned the death and could see Mohan having a miserable life. So, they decided the village chief would be taking care of Mohan.

After a while, the daughter sniveled back home and said she would take Mohan with her. The villagers thought it was a good thing so they allowed her to leave with him.

Mohan lived well for a few months. But, his sister and brother-in-law were in fact after his inherited wealth. Now, all they did was discuss and weave plans to get hold of it.

One day, Mohan yearned to meet his parents. He went to his sister and asked:

‘Didi, where are our parents? Do you know?’

‘They are at the pond. Do you want to meet them?’ the sister swindled.

Since Mohan had been desperate to see his parents for a long time, he said:

‘If you can then please take me. I will go meet them’

The sinful sister took Mohan to a nearby pond and said, ‘There is a huge Kaalidaha at the center of this pond. In its bank is the Maligainthaan. Our parents are there.’

Mohan being the innocent child he was, asked – ‘Didi are there lands there?’

‘Yes. There are lands and goats. That’s how our parents survive’, she answered.

Hearing this, Mohan got excited and told his sister to take him there.

The gratified sister took him near the pond and said – ‘I am not feeling too well. I will remain here on this edge. You proceed’

Naive Mohan believed his sister and entered the pond. He headed towards the center. Even when the water reached up to his knees, he didn’t fluster. He went on.

Soon the water reached his hips. The sister thinking he might panic told him to go further – quicker.

Hearing this, a fearless Mohan went on. He couldn’t see the Kaalidaha and the Maaligaithaan even when the water reached up to his neck. He shouted-

‘They are giving us water up to the chin but no Kaalidaha and the Maaligaithaan’

The sister, worried he might come back, further encouraged him-

‘Go further my brother, there must be Kaalidaha and the Maaligaithaan’

Mohan, blinded by faith on his sister, moved further ahead. He was eager and restless to meet his parents. Not caring about the water, he kept moving. Until…he drowned! He tried to save himself but not being too good at swimming, he swallowed a lot of water until he could no longer persist.

Seeing this, the sister jumped in excitement and raced back home. She was over the moon with the thought of getting all that wealth. She told the whole story to her husband. He too danced in joy.

The couple stayed at home quietly till the evening. It was when the dusk set in, that they pretentiously went around the neighborhood searching for Mohan. After a few hours, they sat in their garden and screamed and cried.

All the neighbors gathered around them asking what had happened. The sister said-

‘I don’t know where my brother Mohan has gone. The only remaining memory of my parents is gone! How do I live now? There’s no one left for me in this world!’

The husband too imitated his wife. The neighbors empathized with them.

For a week or two, the couple continuously shed crocodile-tears. After that, the sister went to her original home, met the Village Chief and took the property from her deceased brother.

At the other end, after seven days of Mohan’s death, a bamboo sprang up at the center of the pond. It began growing ferociously.

Meanwhile, the sister’s dream of living a wonderful life was shattered as her husband brought in another wife. This meant she had to share everything with another woman.

She cried day and night after that. Soon, she found herself being treated as a servant in the house.

One day, as she was beating some rice, she heard her brother’s voice- The water is up to the hips…

She got scared yet listened carefully. The voice seemed to be coming closer. She fell and had a seizure. But there was no one around to bring her out of it.

After a while, her brother’s voice brought her back to sense. She got up and saw a flute-seller in the garden. The brother’s voice was in fact coming out from one of the flutes. She was taken aback by such a sight. She bought one by giving some rice in return.

Having done with the rice beating, the sister kept that flute underneath her pillow. At midnight, the same voice of her brother returned from inside the flute. The sister asked-

‘Where are you brother? Please forgive me. I didn’t know. I wasted your life because of my stupidity. I took myself to the whirlpool of suffering’

While she lamented as such, all of a sudden the flute began speaking like a beautiful wind blow –

‘Sister, you might find it amazing to see a flute talking. But listen to me. Don’t get too surprised. After I drowned, I became a bamboo and sprang up. The water in the pond dried in a few days.  One day the flute-maker came to drink water from the pond. He saw me and manufactured a flute out of me. I became a unique kind of flute. I begin without even having to play me. This helped the flute-seller sell well. The reason I spoke this way was to search for you’

Hearing this the sister lamented and said-

‘Will I be able to meet you or not? If yes, then how? Please give me an idea’

The brother responds –

‘Sister! What’s the use of meeting an envious person (Daahile) like you? After father and mother died, I was all that was left for you. I was everything: your brother, father, mother, all in one. Even if you were taken by greed, you could have asked with me. I would have given. You were everything to me- mother, sister! But, what did you eventually get? I can live but I won’t tell you how. I am upset with you’

The sister’s heart wept sternly. She began banging her head in the walls. She regretted what she had done. Hearing her wail in her room, her husband and his other wife came running. But she kept wailing. The husband tried talking with her, but not getting any response, he returned back to his room.

The lamentation continued for a long time. ‘Brother! Please forgive me for my previous misdeeds. Please don’t bury me in this maelstrom of worry and suffering.’

The brother after hearing all this said-

‘Sister! You have acknowledged your mistake. This is a wonderful thing. But a person who has made a mistake once will repeat it again. That’s why if you take a vow, I will tell you the way to be alive again or else I won’t’

‘Brother! I won’t repeat such a thing again. Consider me a fool and forgive me for my mistakes. I avow. I won’t do such a terrible deed ever again in my life,’ she said.

‘If so then I will tell you, listen – go to that pond and carefully dig the root of the tallest bamboo.  You will find a white thing that looks like a chicken egg. Bring that thing, rub some dung over it, place it in a bowel, and sprinkle some water on it. After that, cover it with a pure cloth, step outside the room and close the door. Don’t come inside and let nobody know all this,’ the brother instructed.

She got cheerful. She eagerly waited for the night to end.

Just as the dawn was setting in, she took a shovel and went to the pond. She started digging just as her brother had instructed. She soon found the egg thing. She took it home and did as he said. After a while, the siblings met.

They went to the village and the brother explained everything to the elders. They all went to Mohan’s brother-in-law. He was punished and fined. Everything went back to Mohan. The sister apologized. After all that, Mohan and his sister went back to their old home and lived happily ever after.