Nepali Folk Tales

Nepali Folk Tales in English

Nepali Folk Tales – Do As They Do

Be careful on how you act around your children. 

Once in a hilly area, there lived an old man. His wife was dead so all he had was his only son. He took great care of him and pampered him in every way feasible. More than anything, he ensured his son was smart in practical things – especially money and property. As soon as the son married a girl from the same village, the old man retreated from his practical duties and started to live totally dependent on his son and daughter-in-law.

As years passed, the old man’s health deteriorated. Soon he couldn’t even go up and down the stairs without support. Around the same time, his daughter-in-law gave birth to a son. The old man’s condition however continued to deteriorate. He couldn’t even go to the toilet by himself.

A few more years passed.

One day the old man’s son had a thought, ‘All this old man does now is eat. He can’t even walk. What’s the point of him being alive if he can’t even do the toilet stuff himself! How long will he live? Why hasn’t death taken him yet?’

This thought of death gave him an idea –

‘What if I pushed him off a cliff? We will have a good time and this old man will get to Swarga quicker’.

He went to his wife and shared this idea. She was sick of looking after the old man so she agreed without hesitation.

The next day, he placed his father in a doko (Nepali basket made from bamboo) and went to a cliff nearby. The old man’s grandson followed his father. The old man could neither hear nor see properly so he had no idea what his son was about to do to him. He thought he was being taken to a temple, so he remained quiet. 

When they reached the cliff and the son was just about to push the doko, the young boy yelled- 

‘Father! Father! Hold on!’

The father looked behind to see his son running towards him. He wasn’t amused. 

‘What the hell are you doing here? Get back,’ said the father, angered. 

‘Are you supposed to throw the doko away too?’ he asked. 


‘I just wanted to make sure you weren’t making a mistake. If you throw the doko, how am I supposed to throw you away?’

‘What do you mean throw me away?’ the young boy’s father asked, surprised. 

‘You throw your father, I throw mine. Isn’t this how it works?’ the young boy replied with innocence. 

This made his father realize the mistake. He brought the old man home and treated him with great respect thenon. His young son treated him similarly. 


Nepali Folk Tales – Four Men

Come together with people who are special like you and together – do things special!

Once there lived a hunter. He always lay in woods and fields with his arrow stretched from his bow in a ready position and shot whatever caught his eye. Even gnats weren’t spared. He meticulously killed each that flew near him. Such was his aim! This way he had gained a great reputation as an expert archer.

One day a person who could walk relentlessly passed by the hunter’s way. He walked so quickly that while walking with his friends, even if he took a toilet break for half-an-hour he would be able to catch up with them in no time. He noticed the hunter’s actions and was impressed with him. In fact, noticing someone as talented as him, he proposed to him for friendship. The hunter agreed and so they started traveling together.

During their travels, they once saw a group headed for a wedding. It was hot so the people were finding it hard. Then a man plucked out a huge tree from the ground and placed it near the group to ensure the shade from the tree cooled them. Seeing this, the hunter and the walker were impressed and proposed to the strong man for friendship. He agreed and so the three friends traveled together.

One day they met a man who was able to spot a tiny grain from hundreds of meters afar. They asked him to join in too. He did so and now there were four of them. They had nothing to fear now. They could stay and walk anywhere and at any time. After a few days, they all came to a realization that they could together achieve something huge. One of them said –

‘Friends! We all are talented in our own way. We shouldn’t just wander around without a purpose. We should do something. I think we should go to a different country and see what we can do.’

The friends agreed. And so they set off. They walked across woods and deserts until they reached a deadly river.  There wasn’t any bridge or boat. There were people discussing ways to cross it, however. Those people were trying to find a way to cross that river for the last fifteen days.  The four men saw this as an opportunity to make some positive contribution. So, the strong one uprooted many trees and threw them in the river. In no time, a bridge formed which was easily crossable. The people thanked them and began going about their usual business. The four men crossed too.

They were forced to spend that night in a dense forest.

‘This forest is too huge and dense. We need to sleep one at a time,’ they agreed upon.

First, it was the turn of the one who could see afar to stay awake while the rest slept. He discovered that there lived rakshas in that forest who came towards them drooling at the smell of humans. He first woke the hunter and then everyone else.

The hunter stepped forward and began shooting. He killed a lot of rakshasas but soon he ran out of arrows. They discussed and then decided that the walker would rush and bring some arrows. During this, the rakshas had already come near them. The strong one uprooted a few trees and threw them at the rakshas. He even picked a few rakshasas and threw them around like cricket balls. The rakshases were scared and started to run away. The walker returned with arrows and so they all together finished the rakshasas off. They slept the night in peace.

The next day they resumed their journey. They faced a lot of obstacles on their way but together they managed to successfully defeat them all. They eventually reached the capital of a different country. They lived in a Dharamshala.

They walked around the country and noticed that the people there were sad. They were told that it was because their beloved queen was ill and was unable to recover despite multiple efforts for a prolonged period of time. Now an old mystic had said that if anyone could bring water from seven seas within two hours she would recover. The queen had disseminated this message and announced that the one who could bring it would get half of her kingdom and great wealth.

The four friends discussed among themselves –

‘Friends! All four of us are special in our own way. We had decided to travel around to do something great. If we manage to save the queen, we will be able to acquire great wealth, honor, and dharma.’

Everyone agreed and went to the palace and met the king.

‘Your Highness! We are ready to bring the water from the seas but we have no vessel to bring water in.’

The King gave them a vessel. The walker carried the vessel and with the guidance of the far-seer, he proceeded.

This news spread around the country. The people were curious to see men who were ready to accept such an absurd venture. They rushed to the palace to meet the remaining three. This soon led to a stampede and the soldiers had to intervene.

Meanwhile, the farseer stood on the roof and watched his friend rush along woods and hills. He communicated this with everyone. Suddenly, he saw the walker get scared off his feet. He had seen a tiger and it was about to kill him. Hearing this, the strong one quickly uprooted a giant tree from the palace compound and asked the exact point at which he was to shoot. The seer pointed precisely. The strong one threw the tree in the pointed direction. It hit the tiger and the tiger died on the spot.

The walker went ahead. The seer commentated his every move:

He has reached the sea. He has filled the vessel. Now he has moved.

The public watched along dumbfounded.

He has reached the sea. He has filled the vessel. Now he has moved. Now he is trying to know the time. He is staring at the sun. He might have realized that he has enough time. So, he is now taking a nap. Now he has fallen asleep. A giant tiger from the forest is approaching him. She has reached up to him.

The shooter loaded his bow and shot the tiger with the guidance of the seer. The tiger died.

The walker woke up after a while and saw a dead tiger. Seeing it, he was pleased and returned back without harm.

In the palace, the queen was handed the water. The queen recovered immediately. Everyone was pleased. The four men were celebrated in the palace. A great feast was held for them. After that, they were allowed to leave. The King opened his treasury and asked them to take whatever they could take. The strong one carried everything. This ashamed the king. He then gave them half his wealth and state.

After this, all four men returned to their respective homes.


Nepali Folk Tales – Wise vs Intelligent vs Smart

It is not about being fast. It is about doing what’s appropriate. 

Once there lived a tortoise, a frog, and a snake nearby a river. They were good friends. Their life was normal and good. They crossed the river together early in the morning, ate their respective foods, and returned back in the evenings.

One day while they were on the other side of the river, loud thunder and lightning together with deadly black clouds filled the skies. Realizing that it would soon rain heavily, the wise tortoise said – 

‘Hey, guys. Look at the skies. I think it will rain heavily. We should return back. It will get worse if it floods.’

‘Don’t panic. Nothing is wrong. We can cross when it starts raining. There’s no point worrying now. I am innovative enough to figure out tens of solutions even if it floods,’ the frog, who was intelligent, said. 

‘Exactly! It hasn’t rained yet. We shouldn’t bother about things that haven’t yet happened. Live in the present, son. Even if it floods I think I am smart enough to figure out hundreds of solutions for us,’ the snake added. 

The tortoise wasn’t amused with their way of thinking. 

‘See. I am neither fast nor intelligent and smart as you guys! All I know is that it will soon rain heavily and it’s better we cross the river. Else we may not be able to return at all. There’s nothing to lose if we get going now. Let’s go. I am going.’ the tortoise said and started to cross the river. 

The frog and the snake smirked and went about their business. But just as the tortoise had anticipated, it soon rained heavily. They were finally alarmed and decided it was time to cross the river. The rain got heavier and heavier until the river started flooding. 

First, the snake jumped but he got badly hit on his head by a large piece of floating log. This got him giddy. He lost control of himself. The river violently took him away and he soon died. 

The frog, not seeing the snake, thought he had crossed the river. He jumped too.  But the torrential river was too much for him to handle. The water kicked him around like a pinball. He couldn’t handle the force and died. 

The tortoise saw all this from the other end. There was nothing he could do except wonder why his friends didn’t listen to him in time. 

He moved on with his life. 

The wise go slow.


Nepali Folk Tales – The Path To Wisdom

Wisdom is difficult to acquire. You have got to be patient and must continue to learn and persevere.

Once there lived a king who loved to hunt. While on one such expedition, he reached deep into a forest. The forest was nothing special in that the king had hunted in its fringes numerous times. He hadn’t reached so deep, however.

When he reached to one particular area, he was suddenly filled with great calmness and peace. It was unlike anything he had ever experienced. While he was a spiritual person, he had done nothing special to make him feel that way. So he realized it was not his own doing but of something special that lurked there.

He looked around until he discovered a small hut. He went inside and there he saw an old man who didn’t seem to be bothered with the arrival of the king. He stayed calm and smiled. The king was impressed. He knew why that place had such a vibe. He decided to leave everything he had and stay with that old man to learn the wisdom of calmness and peace.

He came back after a few days to live as a pupil of that old man. However, the king didn’t find life there as convenient and easy as he had thought it would be. The old man never spoke a word apart from commanding the king to do certain works. This way he didn’t let the king sit idly even for a moment.  Worst of all, the old man never lectured nor taught anything. The king didn’t dare to make queries.

In a few days, the king found it intolerable. It was worse than his royal duties. He couldn’t take it anymore. So one day he amassed courage and went to the old man and asked –

‘Why don’t you teach me the secrets to wisdom?’

‘You are not ready yet,’ the old man replied.

The King quietly went about his tasks.

After a few days, the king asked again. But the old man replied that same –

‘You are not ready.’

And this continued until the king lost patience. One day while he was out on the spring to fetch water, he decided to walk away. Not had he walked a few steps, he heard a voice say –

‘Oh, look the king is running away from his duties.’

The king was surprised to hear this. He looked around but saw no one. Assuming it to be his illusion he continued to walk.

‘You are running away! The mighty king is fleeing,’ the voice said again

The king was now convinced that it was not his illusion. He looked around carefully and guessed it must have been coming from the pot. He went near and monitored the pot.

‘Where are you going?’ the pot asked.

The king was startled. He had seen nothing like this before. He looked around once again wondering if anyone played tricks on him.

‘Don’t be surprised. It’s me, the pot. Answer my question – Where are you going?’

The king nervously replied –

‘Back to my kingdom.’


‘I came here hoping to learn wisdom on how to be calm and peaceful from the old man. But he keeps telling me I am not ready. I no longer think he is special. Even the little calmness and peace I had is gone now. There’s no point,’ the king said.

‘To learn even a small thing is difficult my friend. Much more difficult than to rule, you may have observed. You may suffer your entire life yet learn nothing.  Look at me as an example, I have suffered much but have remained ignorant.’

‘Really? Can you tell me more about yourself? How can you speak? Why didn’t you speak before?’ the king asked. He now seemed interested.

‘It’s a long story,’ replied the pot. ‘Once a  man came up to me with his spade and dug me out of my home. He then took me to his house and poured a lot of dirty water on me. He kneaded me into a dough. Oh, how much I suffered then!

‘But that was not it. He then took me to a shed and made small balls of my parts and placed me on a potter’s wheel until I got lightheaded. When he finally took me out of it, I thought the suffering was over. But far from it. He bear me with a wooden mallet and put me in a burning furnace. He then took me to a shop and left me there. Just like that!

‘There were many like me in that shop. I looked at them and realized that all of them had gone through the same suffering and agony like me. So that gave me some solace. I realized that I was not alone in this suffering. That’s when I was full of pity for other pots too.

‘But tell you what – that was not the end of my suffering. People came and thumped me to see if there was anything wrong with me. I was surprised that an intelligent creature like man would be so indifferent to the suffering of others. I began abhorring humans. After a few days of thumps and lumps, a fellow came and bought me. He then gave me to the old man. Thankfully, I haven’t suffered since then. The old man takes good care of me.

‘You have to understand this, oh mighty king. Wisdom is difficult to acquire. You have got to be patient and must continue to think, learn and persevere. Do not despair and return to your life of power and glory. They are nothing compared to wisdom. In fact, kingship is easy. You have people to do the smallest of things for you. On top of that, you won’t get the chance to contemplate and improve. Such is the grip of power. I have seen you desire and try. I think you have a chance. Very few people get this chance. Count for yourself how many kings there are in this world and how many wise people. I don’t think you will find it difficult to see that there aren’t much around with wisdom. Don’t let go of this opportunity that very few get.’

The pot said and sighed.

The king carefully lifted the pot, filled it with water, and took it back to the hut.

The pot hasn’t spoken nor has the king returned to his palace ever since.




Nepali Folk Tales – Four Fools

Vanity, Stupidity, Greed and Cunnigness: The FOUR Deadly Poisons.

Once a poisonous snake intentionally rested in the middle of a forest road blocking the path to its only river. The animals heading to the river saw her and retreated. Although that meant they had to walk all the way around the forest to quench their thirst, they didn’t dare lock horns with her. Such was her reputation! She enjoyed every moment of all this.

When it was the turn of a thirsty elephant, he was in such haste that he didn’t notice the snake until his feet almost stepped on her. She reacted with a terrifying hiss. The sight of a vicious snake in front of him frightened the elephant off his feet. A few seconds later, he felt humiliated. He fumed –

‘Hey, what the hell do you think you are doing in the middle of the road? Get out. Can’t you see that you are on my way!’

‘I won’t. Get lost,’ the snake replied and looked away.

‘I will stamp on you,’ the elephant threatened.

‘I will bite you to death if you dare come near me,’ the snake said.

The elephant thought the snake would be intimidated by his size. But that obviously wasn’t the case! While it may have been wise of him to either move on or at least try to lure the dangerous snake in some way, he decided to brawl. He lifted that giant heavy leg of his and threatened to stamp her without realizing that one bite of hers would be enough to send him to permanent sleep. His actions angered the snake. She turned around and ferociously hissed. This yet again scared the elephant off his feet. He was so embarrassed that without thinking, he harshly stamped the snake to pieces. The snake died, but not before injecting her lethal poison inside the elephant’s body. The elephant was badly hurt. He couldn’t stand on his feet any longer. He collapsed to the ground. After a while, he died.

A hunter was walking around the forest when he noticed a dead elephant with a shiny tusk. He got excited at the sight of a free tusk. But he was so blinded that he didn’t even bother to be careful. He placed his quiver on the body of the elephant and used a knife to make an incision. After a while, he pulled the tusk with his bare hands. He pulled it with all his might. The tusk came off but such great force was applied that it pierced into his head. He died on the spot.

A few hours passed. A jackal sniffed his way to the three carcasses. He was over the moon at the sight of months worth of free meals. He didn’t want to share these with anyone else. He came up with a plan to erect the man vertically to make it seem like he was alive. Anyone who came sniffing would run off scared at the sight of a hunter. He would then get to enjoy all three for months!

To erect the man’s body, he decided to use the elephant for support. He held the man’s hair with his teeth and climbed up the elephant. He did that until he needed further elevation to make the man stand on his feet.  He could then push the man in a way that he would be balanced in between the elephant’s legs. So he stepped on the quiver placed on the elephant’s body. But… he slipped and fell inside – and the arrows pierced him mercilessly. He bled and died within a few minutes.

All four: dead!

After a few days, When local villagers saw this sight, they were stunned. How could this have even happened, they wondered and discussed among themselves.

They couldn’t find an explanation. If anyone else had killed them all, why didn’t that anyone take anything at all! This became a huge riddle for the villagers.

Everyone, every single moment tried to find an explanation. But one thing or the other always didn’t connect. Finally, it reached the king. It was a huge deal after all!

The king too couldn’t think of any explanation so he asked a wise minister of his to figure out how all this may have happened. The minister went to the site and observed all the carcasses closely. He had solved it. He came back and said to the king –

The snake died of vanity

The elephant of stupidity

The man was blinded by his greed

The jackal by his cunningness.

All four were equal fools. No more no less!

It wasn’t difficult for people to guess what may have happened after this brilliant explanation!


Nepali Folk Tales – The Doubts Of A Chameleon

We look at others and think they have it all. We wish we did what they did. But, what we forget is: There is a reason why we are the way we are!  It’s for us to figure out what we really are. 

Once there lived a chameleon who could not just change his color, he was a shapeshifter. He could turn into any creature he desired – however he desired – whenever he desired. But the issue with him was, he didn’t know what to become!  

One day while roaming around in confusion, he reached a shed where a milker was milking a buffalo. As he watched the scene wondering what kind of life was best, a drop of milk entered his mouth. He loved the taste! And then he thought to himself – This is so good! If a drop tastes like this, imagine what a hundred drops might taste like! How lucky must this buffalo’s calf be! I think I should be a calf.   

And then he had his first transformation – he turned into a newly born calf and sat near a buffalo who had just given birth. The next day, the owner of the shed saw this and was glad that one of his buffalos had given birth to a twin. He happily accepted it.

But life as a calf was not as wonderful as the chameleon had imagined.  The milker hardly left any milk for him. All he got to drink was a few drops left behind in the udder. He starved badly.

Then one day he thought – This is not good! Life of a calf is miserable. I think I should become a milker. He is the one who takes all the milk. 

And so he did. He transformed himself into the same milker, tied and shut the original at a corner of the shed and took his place.

But life as a milker too was not as wonderful as he had imagined. He had to work tremendously hard – day and night without getting to drink even a drop of milk. It was then that he realized that the milker doesn’t get to drink anything. Everything went to the owner.

Then he decided to transform into the owner of the shed. He transformed and untied the milker. He locked the original owner in the storeroom of his own house and started taking care of business. But hardly a day had passed and he began freaking out. He had to take care of the house, manage workers and other people, listen to harsh words from others, manage loans and credit – And all this gave him no rest. All he did was worry day and night. There was nothing else. Only a constant fear, threat and thoughts of profit!

While he got to drink the milk, the miserable thoughts he had to deal with made the milk irrelevant and tasteless. It was no different from the water he drank as a chameleon – just some liquid entering into his body. He ceased wanting to drink milk after a couple of days.

This is not fun. Not fun at all, he thought one night.

He immediately went downstairs, freed the original owner, turned into a chameleon and ran off the house. He didn’t transform into anything else ever again.


Nepali Folk Tales – Integrity of A Woman

Live a life of Integrity and Intelligence.

Once there lived a Pandit who had a beautiful wife. In fact, so beautiful that every man who ever laid eyes on her desired her. The prince, the minister’s son, the merchant’s son, and even the barber’s son were among the few that constantly drooled over her. But the Pandit was strict, so no one ever dared to go near and approach.

One day the Pandit had to urgently visit another country. He didn’t have any money so he went to the merchant and loaned 200 Rupees. He told him that his wife would manage some money by tomorrow and pay him back the day after. He went home and told his wife about the loan. She assured him that she would think of some way. The Pandit left in the evening.

The wife had a habit of bathing at the river at the earliest dawn. While she was coming back from her bath the next morning, thinking of ways to pay the merchant back, the king’s son blocked her way and said –

‘I am really enchanted by your looks. I want to take you to the palace tonight. How long will you keep up with that pathetic brahmin? I will give you whatever you want.’

The woman thought for a while and said –

‘Oh, Prince! Why don’t you come to my house at 10 PM tonight? I will fulfill all your needs.’

The prince said he would and they parted ways.

After a while, she met the minister’s son.

‘I am in love with your body. I want to make you the princess of my heart tonight,’ he said.

The woman told him to come to hers at 11 PM. Likewise, she met the merchant’s son and told him to meet her at 12 PM at her house when he too expressed his feelings for her. A little later, she met the barber’s son and told him to come at 1 AM. After this, she reached her home.

She thought for a long time after which she called and asked four of her close friends to come to hers immediately.

‘Friends, taking advantage of my husband’s absence, the prince, the minister’s son, the merchant’s son, and the barber’s son – all tried to seduce me today. I have cleverly called all of them – one at a time –  at my home tonight. I want you to come and help me. I want you guys to tell them I like surprises and then I want you to ask them to hide in the black boxes I have in the other room. Once they enter, I want you to shut it and lock it.’

The friends agreed.

That night, after supper they all got ready and waited. At 10 PM, the prince arrived. The woman hid and the friends cleverly made him enter the box. After which they shut it, locked it and placed it in the garden. The prince yelled from inside.

Likewise, at 11 PM the minister’s son came and they did the same. They managed to lock all four men by 1 PM.

The next morning the merchant came to take his money back.

‘What 200 Rupees? I don’t know of any such loan.’ the wife told him.

The merchant was in shock.

‘What are you talking about! Your husband took 200 Rupees from me the day before yesterday. He said you would pay me back today. You are deceiving me. This is not good,’ he said.

‘I don’t know of such commitments,’ she said.

This terrified the merchant. He swore at her and straight away headed to the King’s court. He explained everything to him. Since the merchant was the king’s close ally, he asked one of his guards to go and bring the woman to the court immediately. The guard did so.

‘Did you or your husband take the merchant’s money?’ the king asked.

‘No your highness. We haven’t taken anything from anyone. We are simple people with simple ways.’ she pleaded.

There was a heated discussion after that. The merchant insisted that they had taken money from him while the woman kept denying it. The king listened to all of it. He was slowly losing his patience. The woman understood that the king would support the merchant and not her if everything failed. So she made a move –

‘Okay! You guys may not believe me, but you surely believe in God. What if I called upon my goddess? If she asks me to pay the money back in front of you, I will pay it.’

Everyone was surprised. The merchant scolded her. But the king was a man of faith and spirituality. He wanted to see if that could really happen.

‘You can bring your goddess here, is that what you mean?’ the king asked.

‘Yes, your highness. I can bring her here in front of all of you,’ she replied.

‘Then do it,’ the king ordered.

‘But she is too heavy. I cannot carry her myself. I need a few strong men to come with me to my house,’ she said.

The king asked four soldiers to go with her.

When they reached her home, she asked the four men to wait outside for a while and entered.

She went to each of the black boxes and said –

‘Listen! If you do as I say, I will set you free at my home with dignity. Otherwise, I will take you to court and expose you in front of hundreds of people.’

Each agreed to assist her.

‘If so then I will take you guys to the court now and when the king asks whether I have taken money from the merchant, you guys should deny. Am I clear?’, she said.

All of them agreed. She asked the four men to come in and take the boxes away.

At the court, the boxes were kept in front of the woman. The King went near and asked –

‘Has this woman taken money from the merchant?’

‘No-No-No, she hasn’t,’ came voices from each box.

This amazed the King. He couldn’t hold himself any longer. He had to see the goddess! For the first time in his life!

He wanted that divine experience. So, he ordered his men to open the box immediately. They did so.

Four men stepped out one after another. It wasn’t difficult for anyone to recognize them. The King although disappointed, was amazed at the sight. He asked why they were shut like that. The woman explained everything. The four confessed.

The king was impressed with the woman’s wisdom and heavily rewarded her. He was sad that he couldn’t see the goddess though!

The men apologized. The woman went home pleased.


Nepali Folk Tales – Presence of Mind

When in crisis, always remember to stay calm. Try to understand the situation instead of reacting. Make things happen with what you have. 

Once there lived an old woman. Her husband had died when she was young. She didn’t marry again. She had neither children nor relatives. She was wealthy, however, and lived in a nice two-storeyed house and had lots of valuable items.  

One night when the old woman was deep asleep in her room on the upper floor, four thieves broke into her house. They saw extremely valuable items and grabbed everything they could possibly take. This turned into a noisy affair that woke the old woman. Instead of reacting, however, she carefully paid attention to what was going on downstairs. She correctly observed that there were four thieves and all were young men.  

This made her think. It surely wasn’t a good idea for a single old lady to go after four young thieves. One, they could hurt her. Two, even if they ran, they could come back later knowing it was only an old lady. Three, they could divide into multiple groups, where one could come back and steal while she was after another. 

But hardships in life had strengthened the old woman. She was tough and wise. She didn’t panic. Instead, she calmly thought of a solution. A few minutes later, she got it!

She had multiple items in her house: Maana, Pathi, Supaa, Daala, Bancharo, etc. (all Nepali utility items.) What she did was modify their names and pretended she was calling her sons aloud –

‘Maanyau, Paathyau, Supaau, Daalau, Bancharau, wake up quick! Four thieves have broken into our house. Hurry up! Bring your weapons.’

She then created a lot of noise on that floor: She rapidly opened and shut the doors. She dropped and smashed things. 

The thieves heard all this. They immediately paused and tried to look at each other in the darkness of night. While they couldn’t see each other, they all understood the severity of the situation. They understood that they couldn’t afford to wait even for a minute. Each dropped whatever he was taking, including his bag, and ran empty-handed from the house as fast he possibly could. All were gone in a jiffy. 

The old woman went downstairs and saw that the thieves had managed to collect  almost every valuable item. The old woman checked their bags: There were valuable items stolen from others as well. 

Instead of panicking in the time of crisis, the old woman had shown great resolve and presence of mind. She made use of whatever was at her disposal.





Nepali Folk Tales – Grit Of A Sparrow

Hardships in life are inevitable. It’s up to us to figure out how we come out of them. Grit and Courage are invaluable toolkits!   

This story is about one such hardship and grit.

Once there lived a pair of sparrows. They loved each other and didn’t have much to worry about. They dwelled near the King’s palace so food came easy. All they had to do was enter into the palace garden through a small hole and they could soak themselves in grains, seeds, and all that was there. How much does a sparrow eat anyway!

They worked hard for only one day a week, during which they collected enough grains to feed them for the remaining days. Life was simple and good.

But now they had a concern – They weren’t able to bring young ones into the world.

This was because their nest never lasted long enough. Every time they built a nest, and prepared for the hatch, the royal elephant who walked the same route – destroyed them. It wasn’t done intentionally, it was just that his belly smashed the nest each time he walked. This way the sparrow couple never got enough time to hatch the eggs.

Once, while the king went on a hunting trip of 2-3 days with the elephant, the sparrows took a chance, built a nest, and even laid eggs. They buzzed with hope and excitement. But as soon as the king returned, the old story repeated itself – the elephant walked and obliterated the nest along with the eggs.

The female was distraught.

‘This is too much. I cannot take it anymore. Let’s leave this place, even if it means starving or struggling hopelessly for food,’ she cried.

This stirred the male. He couldn’t see his partner in such agony. But he couldn’t accept the idea of moving out of such a convenient place either. He had seen other sparrows immensely suffer for the lack of food. There were sparrows who had to abandon their eggs just because they had nothing to eat. The male had heard and seen all this! He couldn’t leave but couldn’t see his partner in distraught either. So, he decided to immediately do something about the elephant. He went and told his partner about it.

The female wasn’t amused at the idea.

‘What will we do? We are helpless! How can we fight an elephant?’ she questioned.

‘Don’t worry! I will do what I can. If I fail, we’ll move out,’ the male calmed her.

The next day the male decided to follow the elephant and attack when he was the most vulnerable. When the elephant reached near their shelter, he sat on the howdah. The mahout took the elephant to a cliff to graze. When the mahout went away leaving the elephant alone, the male entered into the elephant’s ear and flapped his wings with all his might. This hurt the elephant. He started to panic and restlessly move around. The male sparrow put more effort into the flapping. The elephant couldn’t take it. He lost control over himself and ran aimlessly. The sparrow came out and watched as the elephant fell from the cliff and died. The male smiled and returned home.

They gave birth to many chicks thereafter.

Meanwhile, the king bought a new elephant and, luckily for her, her belly didn’t interfere with the sparrow business!



Nepali Folk Tales – Revenge of The Sparrow

If you have suffered injustice – exploit and expose the rat and the flawed system. There is nothing wrong with that!

Once there lived a pair of sparrows. They loved and cared for each other until the female got pregnant. The male left her and fled. The female’s life was miserable after that. She gave birth to a chick and raised it in great hardship.

After a few months, the male realized that his child had now grown up and could be of great assistance to him. He came back and demanded the chick. This angered the female. She yelled –

‘What makes you think you can come back and take my child? You left me stranded in time of hardship, what makes you think you can take my child!’

The male wasn’t going to give up. They fought. The male said the chick was rightfully his while the female said there was no such right. They went to the king’s court to settle the issue.

They explained everything to the King.

‘Whose is the chick, your highness?’ asked the female.

‘The chick belongs to the father,’ the King decreed.

‘Then you should write this on an inscription,’ the female said.

The King ordered – ‘A child belongs to the father more than the mother,’ to be written in the inscription. After this, the male took the chick away.

The female was badly hurt. She yelled and cried. She vowed to take revenge on the King.

A few weeks later, she died.

There was a carpenter who worked in the King’s palace. His wife was pregnant. The spirit of the female sparrow transmigrated into his wife’s womb. A daughter was born to them after 10 months.

She grew up endowed with great virtue and talents.

One day, there was a meeting in the palace between kings and the ministers. They were discussing who could grow a pumpkin inside a Gagri (Nepali Water Pitcher). No one thought anyone could.

A Gagri

After a while, one of the ministers spoke –

‘The carpenter is quite wise. He might!’

The King asked the carpenter to be brought to the court immediately and ordered him to do so. The carpenter couldn’t deny so he returned home dejected. He looked disappointed as he entered. His daughter saw this and came running at him. He shared everything with her. She thought for a while and told him to stay calm and go to bed. The father was not convinced but his daughter’s support did manage to calm him. The daughter meanwhile had a plan. (And some special abilities!)

The next day she bought some pumpkin seeds and a clay gagri. She planted the seeds in her garden. It sprang the next day and within a few days, some sprouts emerged in it. She took them and placed them inside the gagri. She took good care of the pumpkin and on the seventh day: The gargri had a pumpkin inside it. She took the gagri to her father and told him to go to the palace and ask the king to take the pumpkin out without breaking it into pieces. The father was pleased. He went to the palace and did as she had asked.

The king was astonished to see this but was nevertheless pleased with the carpenter. He gave some reward and the carpenter returned home.

There was another meeting in the palace after a few days. This time they discussed who could build a house in reverse order. Everyone thought the intelligent carpenter could do it, if anyone. The King summoned the carpenter and asked him to build a house in reverse. This time too, the carpenter couldn’t deny so he returned home dejected. He had the same look of disappointment as he entered. His daughter saw this and asked what was wrong. He shared everything. She thought for a while and told him to stay calm and go to bed. The father was not convinced but his daughter’s support meant a lot to him. The daughter had a plan.

The next day she told her father to go ask for money with the King to build the house. She told him to take a paathi (an archaic nepali cup) and to tell the King to fill the paathi from the opposite end when he is about to give it. The carpenter went to the palace and did what she said. The King yelled at him –

‘Fool! How can a paathi be filled in reverse!’

The carpenter told him that he would require money that has been filled in reverse order to build a house in that order. The King realized the error and pardoned him. The carpenter went home and shared this with his daughter. She was pleased.

During the next meeting at the palace, they discussed who could bring the things of ultimate quality, character, and taste. Once again, they all agreed that only the carpenter could do it. The carpenter was called and was asked to bring them. The carpenter couldn’t deny so he returned home dejected. He looked disappointed when he entered. His daughter saw him and asked what was wrong. He told her everything. She thought for a while and told him to stay calm and go to bed.

The next day she asked him to bring a piece of new cloth. She tore the cloth into three pieces and filled them with salt, chilly, and rice. She gave those to his father and told him to take this to the King and say –

‘The ultimate quality is rice, the ultimate character is chilly, and the ultimate taste is salt.’

The carpenter went to the court and did what his daughter told. The King opened the clothes and was impressed with what the carpenter had done. He rewarded him with two thousand rupees. The carpenter gleefully accepted it and returned home. He gave it to his daughter. She, however, asked him to buy her a horse with it. The daughter began riding the horse around.

The carpenter’s house wasn’t too far from the palace and its stable. There were only female horses there. The daughter sneakily left her horse at that stable every night. After a few months, one of the king’s horses was pregnant. In due time, she gave birth. The daughter then went to the stable, took the foal and brought it with her. When the guards interrupted, she said the foal was hers and didn’t give it back. When this issue couldn’t be resolved by the soldiers, the King had to intervene. He came up to her and said –

‘The foal born of my horse is mine.’

‘Who does a child belong to : the father or the mother, your highness?’ The little girl asked.

‘The mother,’ the King replied.

‘Why don’t you confirm this in one old inscription of yours,’ the girl suggested.

The king asked one of his men to go check. The man returned with the information that a child belonged to the father more than the mother. 

And so the little girl took the little foal with her and the King remembered the sparrows.

The female sparrow took her revenge!


This is a mystical tale about a character wronged by both her loved-one and the system. The only thing of meaning and comfort is taken away for her. The character vows to take revenge, not just for personal satisfaction but also to expose the fallacy of a thought and a system. The character ends up taking revenge. But it required a great plan from her.

If we remove the mystical element from the tale then it becomes a tale of a woman’s struggle – which frequently occurs in society and people’s lives.

What we can learn from this is – 

If you have suffered injustice – exploit and expose the rat and the flawed system. There is nothing wrong with that!



Nepali Folk Tales – The Dog, The Jackal and The Lion

Once a dog was strolling near a forest when he saw a jackal sitting with her cubs. The dog sensed a resemblance with them. He went near and said –

‘We look the same. We must be from the same family. I think we should live together as one.’

The jackal too didn’t see much difference between herself and the dog, so she agreed to the proposal.

They went together until they reached a warm-looking den. They sniffed around and knew it was a den of a lion. The lion was apparently away, so the dog, the jackal, and her cubs went inside and made themselves comfortable.

In the evening, they sensed the lion approaching. The cubs got scared and began to cry.

‘Why are they making such a distressing noise?’ the dog asked the jackal.

‘They are asking for the lion’s heart,’ said the jackal loudly. She wanted the lion to hear.

The dog was smart so he understood what the jackal was up to.

‘Why don’t you give them the heart I brought the other day,’ said the dog loudly.

‘They are not gonna eat stale heart! They want it fresh,’ the jackal replied.

‘Tell them to be quiet for a while. I can sense a lion coming this way, I will kill it and bring a fresh heart,’ the dog said.

The lion heard all this. He believed a stronger creature than him was inside his den. He ran away in a jiffy. The dog and the jackal made that den their home after that.

(Taken from Folk Tales from Nepal: The Origin of Alcohol and Other Stories, Keshar Lall, Ratna Pustak Bhandar, 2009) 


This tale is about characters of similar nature coming together to fight opposition and adversity. This tale doesn’t give a good message as it is about occupying what belongs to others and deceiving the rightful owner with trickery and teamwork.

What we can learn from this is –

There are lots of dogs and jackals in this world. Be alert and discover the truth before giving up!


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Nepali Folk Tales – The Old Man and His Daughter

There once lived an old man who had four sons and one daughter. All were married.

The sons, their wives, and the old man lived in the same house while the daughter lived in a different village with her husband.

The sons and their wives didn’t care much for the old man. He struggled to even eat and drink in good taste. They hardly spoke with him and were rude – unless they wanted a favor.

One day while his daughter had come to visit him, she asked –

‘Are your daughters-in-law taking good care of you, father?’

‘I am old. I cannot do anything on my own. They only bother to be nice to me when they want something in return,’ the father said with tears in his eyes.

The daughter was sad hearing this.

‘Oh, father! I would stay with you if I could. But a daughter has to be at her own house with her husband’s family. I can’t even take me with you,’ she said.

Her words touched him deep. The contrasting nature of his children flashed in front of his eyes. But he couldn’t speak a word.

‘I have an idea,’ the daughter said in excitement. The father paid attention.

She took off a gold chain from her neck and gave it to him.

‘I have a solution to this problem, but you have to do as I say,’ she said.

The father nodded.

‘This is my chain. Take it. You can return it to me later. The plan is for you to wear this and indirectly tell your daughters-in-law that whoever takes the best care of you will get it,’

He wasn’t willing to take the chain but the daughter insisted. He finally agreed to go ahead with the plan and wore it on his neck.

It didn’t take long for his daughters-in-law to notice the new shiny gold. Each of them came to him when no one else was around and asked –

‘Father, where did you get it?’

‘It is of my deceased wife. I have decided to wear it,’ he said to each.

‘What will you plan to do with the chain? It looks like it could be of great use to younger women,’ each said.

‘Ah, I plan to give it to the person who takes the best care of me,’ he replied.

Now the daughters-in-law competed with each other. Each wanted to give him the best care possible. They took good care of the old man’s drinks, food, clothes, and they behaved well. Even their husbands changed. All this resulted in the old man having a good life.

After a couple of years, the old man got ill. He knew he wouldn’t live long. He tried to contact his daughter but failed to do so. And as he had assumed, he died within a few days.

The daughter came and the family finished the last rites together.

In the morning of the day she was to leave, she went to her sisters-in-law and asked –

‘Did father leave me a parting message?’

‘Yes,’ they said. ‘He asked us to tell you that the firewood from last time was very good.’

She then covertly went to the courtyard and removed the pile of firewood. There it shined: Her golden chain! She took it and left for her home.


This tale is about a man who has worked very hard to ensure he and his children have a good life. But when he is old and unable to take care of himself anymore, his children brush him aside. (These kinds of incidents frequently occur). But the old man is lucky to have a caring and thoughtful daughter who understands his situation and comes up with a genius solution. The result: the old man is treated well. He lives in good care and attention until he dies.

What we can learn from this is –

Most humans are terrible. Yet, we all are forced to live together in this world. The cunning, the evil, the petty will try to make our lives miserable. To survive with them, we better beat them at their own game! 


Nepali Folk Tales – A Brave Boy

There once was an orphan boy. He lived in a small house with a relative who didn’t care much about him. There was a coconut tree near his house. The boy went there daily, climbed it, and enjoyed the coconuts. That’s all there was to his life.

One day while he was on the top of the tree, a rakshasi (female man-eating being) came and shouted –

‘Hey, kid! Give me a coconut.’

The boy was angry at her rude demand.

‘Why do you want other people’s stuff? Is it yours?’ he yelled back.

‘If you don’t give me a coconut I will eat that soft meat of yours,’ she threatened.

The boy looked at her carefully. Seeing her body and teeth, he got scared. He said he would give some and dropped one in the ground. The rakshasi wasn’t amused at the behavior.

‘Give it to me in my hands,’ she shouted.

The boy decided to do as she said. He came down and was about to hand a coconut over to her when… She grabbed him and put him in a sack. She took him with her to her home.

‘Help, help,’ the boy cried from inside.

‘Hold on, it’s momentary. The pain will vanish once you get into my belly,’ she said with an evil laugh and walked on.

On the way, however, the rakshasi had to poop. She kept the boy nearby and went into the forest. Seizing the opportunity, the boy carefully got out of the sack, filled it with rocks, and returned to the coconut tree. The rakshasi came back and lifted the sack. Surprised at it being heavier, she opened it – to find only rocks!

Fuming with anger, she decided to return back to the coconut tree. Just as she was about to reach there, she spotted the boy. So, she went back to her home and returned the next day in a different attire. Appearing as a different person.

She asked for a coconut just like before. The boy replied –

‘I won’t give anything to anyone! How can I afford to give everyone a coconut!’

This triggered the rakshasi. She climbed the tree, forcefully grabbed the boy, placed him in her sack, and took him.

On the way, she had to pee. She kept the sack just like the other day and went nearby. The boy seized this opportunity and carefully got out of the sack. This time around, however, he filled the sack with some wet mud and returned to the coconut tree. The rakshasi returned, carried the sack, and walked towards her home.

As she was about to get there, she noticed that her back was wet.

‘This rascal has urinated,’ she said and opened the sack. She was surprised to find nothing but wet mud there.

‘Next time I won’t stop anywhere,’ she said.

The boy climbed the tree early the next morning. A few hours later, he spotted the rakshasi coming towards him. He got scared and hurried down. In doing so, he fell badly and couldn’t get up in time. The rakshasi took this opportunity to put him in her sack. This time she successfully brought him home.

There was rakshasi’s daughter in the house too.

‘Fry him,’ the rakshasi said and instructed her on how to cook a human properly. She then went outside for another catch.

The young rakshasi took the boy out of the sack and prepared to cut him to pieces. The boy was scared but didn’t lose his calm. He could sense that the girl was stupid. He took this opportunity to lure her into giving him her clothes. He wore them and forcefully placed the girl inside a dhinki and beat her to small pieces. He prepared her just as the rakshasi had taught earlier.

In the evening the rakshasi returned.

‘Is the meat ready?’ she asked the girl.

The boy imitated the girl’s voice and said – ‘Yes, it’s ready mother.’

‘Bring it, I wanna taste it,’ she said.

The boy covered his face and brought the meat. The rakshasi was pleased with the sight.

‘Finally, after so many days of struggle! This boy seemed so tasty,’ she said and began eating.

Just as she was done, the boy took off the clothes and shouted –

‘How was your daughter’s meat?’

He ran out of the house in a jiffy. The rakshasi looked on.

The rakshasi hasn’t come out of her house since… 


This tale is about a boy who has had to face a lot of hardships in life. His only solace too is intruded. His life is threatened, yet he somehow manages to save himself. Every single time. He doesn’t give up. He keeps on trying. Finally, he uses his intelligence to deal with the solution once and for all.

The thing to learn from this is – 

Be brave. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope and your awareness. It usually requires only one intelligent move – at the right time in the right place – to deal with a problem and ward it off forever.  


Nepali Folk Tales – A Hunter and a Tiger

A man was out in the forest hunting birds when he came across a tiger. Excited at the sight of a muscular adult, the tiger prepared to pounce on him. The hunter noticed this in time and began pleading –

‘Please don’t kill me. Let’s be friends. I can manage better prey for you and will help you in a lot of things.’

The tiger liked the idea and said –

‘Sounds good! Go and kill my enemy – the porcupine’

The hunter agreed and asked where the porcupine was.

The tiger led the hunter to the hole where it lived. He pointed his gun at the face of the hole and waited for the porcupine. As soon as it came out, the man shot it – dead on the spot!

It impressed the tiger. But he didn’t want others to know about it as it would hurt his reputation.

‘Please don’t tell anyone about all this. I do not want others to know that you killed the porcupine,’ he requested.

The hunter agreed. He took the porcupine home and ate it for dinner.

The next morning, the hunter’s wife went to fetch water in a local tap. She picked her teeth with a bamboo splinter as she walked. Two of her neighbors observed this and asked what she had eaten.

‘My husband brought a porcupine last night, he had killed it himself,’ she boasted.

The news spread like wildfire around the village. It was only a matter of time before it reached the tiger. Fuming with anger, he went around the jungle searching for the hunter. When he finally spotted him, he questioned the hunter’s commitment.

‘I said nothing,’ the hunter argued.

‘I don’t know. Now, I will prey on you,’ the tiger said.

This frightened the man and it showed in his body. He trembled.

The tiger noticed this and asked –

‘Why do you tremble?’

The hunter thought for a while. He realized that the only thing the tiger was afraid of was the porcupine. So, he decided to cash in on this opportunity.

‘The porcupine I ate yesterday is mad at you. It wants to come out of my body to hurt you,’ he said.

The tiger sprinted out of sight in a jiffy!


A person is in threat. Scared out of mind, that person requests the threatening person to pardon him by promising to help in return. He helps the threat get rid of its biggest weakness. But the threat asks for a commitment to that secret. Although the man adheres to his words, the nature of things is such that the secret is out. The threat is mad at the person for revealing it and goes to destroy him. The man realizes the threat’s weakness and uses it to chase it off!

What we can learn from this tale is –

  1. Be careful with sensitive information
  2. Stay true to your words – but if someone doesn’t understand your situation and comes to hurt you, use your intelligence to exploit their weakness for your safety. 


Nepali Folk Tales – Eight Children

There once lived a haughty boy. His name was Bunachha. He spoke like an old man.

One day, he went to his mother and said-

‘Mother! Now that I am clever and I can correctly pronounce tough words, I am thinking about going to Calcutta to make good money. Is it okay with you?’

‘Sure. Why not! But do you realize that there are wild rivers on the way?’ she said.

‘Am I a coward! I will go. Send me as soon as possible. I will bring great money and we will build a new house,’ Bunachha replied.

‘Who will you go with?’ the mother asked.

‘Why are you worrying. I have six-seven friends. We will go together.’

As soon as the mother agreed, Bunachha ran out. He went to his friends and spoke-

‘Look, friends! I am leaving for Calcutta. Whoever wants to go, can join me. We are now capable enough to correctly pronounce tough words. What’s the issue? We will earn well and build new houses here after we come back. What say?’

The friends agreed.

The next day, the friends took permission from their respective homes and gathered at the same place. Eight kids were now set to leave.

‘Okay, then! Tomorrow, all of you bring the necessary things and take leave from your home,’ Bunachha ordered. They all agreed and left.

Bunachha carried his belongings, took leave from his mother, and arrived at the designated place early the next morning. Slowly the friends gathered too.

‘Okay, friends. Are we ready to leave?’, Bunachha asked.

They cheered.

‘Okay then, let’s go.’, he said and they left.

On their way, they talked about all kinds of stuff and easily crossed the roads, until they reached a river.

‘See my friends! My mother had warned me of these rivers. So we all have to cross it as a unit. Else the river will take us with it. So…Hold your hands and let’s go!‘ Bunachha ordered.

They successfully crossed.

Immediately, Bunachha said –

‘Wait, now we will count if all eight of us are here.’

He began counting:

‘One, Two, Three…Seven’

‘Where’s one,’ he wondered. Another friend came forward.

‘Should I recount? You may have missed,’ he requested.

Bunachha agreed.

‘One, Two, Three, Four…Seven.’

‘You were right! Where’s one? Who is gone? Where did he go?’ he panicked.

All the boys panicked. They restlessly began screaming.

An old man who was bathing in the river nearby heard the noise. He rushed to them and asked –

‘What’s up boys? Who is lost?’

‘Eight of us left home to go abroad. All eight of us were here before we crossed this river, but now we are only seven,’ they explained.

The old man laughed.

‘Silly boys! Stay in line. I will count,’ he said and counted –

‘One, Two…Seven, Eight!’

‘The one who counted forgot to count himself. Silly boys!’ said the old man and went back to his bath. But on his way he thought –

Where might have they come from! Where might they be going! If I could keep them with me, I could make them work for me. This way, I could make some more money.

The old man went back to the boys and asked –

‘Tell me, where did you come from and where are you going?’

‘We came from our home and we are headed for Calcutta. We are going there to make some money to build houses for us here,’ the boys immediately answered.

The old man now was excited. He wanted to take them with him. He could take great advantage of them.

‘See boys – You guys are children as of now. It’s not easy to reach Calcutta. You won’t be able to do it. There’s a lot to do at my house. Why don’t you guys help me, I will pay you. You will become more mature in 2-4 years. By then, you will also have enough money. You can leave then. What say?’ he asked.

The boys looked at each other. They couldn’t give an answer. So they all went to the old man’s house. He fed them well. He didn’t make them work that day.

The next day he assigned them each a work. One had to carry water, one had to bring logs from wood, one had to graze the goats…

On the eighth day, they had to beat rice in a Dhinki (It is a traditional rice mill or husk lever used in Nepal). The old man gave each of them a bundle and said –

‘Boys, go and beat these rice in the dhinki.’

A Dhinki. Source: Krish, Wikicommons.

(In Newari it can be interpreted in two ways: either ‘Go beat the rice’ or ‘Throw the dhinki.’ The boys interpret the latter.)

For a while, the boys stared in amazement at the work assigned to them. Bunachha spoke –

‘Why are you guys staring? We have to do whatever grandfather has told us to do. Before he returns, we have to throw this away. Else it won’t be good for us.’

Everyone agreed and worked together to bring the dhinki out. But they were not sure where they were supposed to throw it. Again, the leader Bunachha stepped up –

‘Can’t you see? We will throw it off the cliff of that hill’.

Everyone did as he ordered and threw the dhinki off the cliff. By the time they were home, the old man was back.

‘Did you beat rice in the dhinki?‘ the old man rudely asked Bunachha.

Banuchha interpreted the other meaning.

‘Yes. It was tough. But I threw it out of the cliff,’ he proudly said.

‘What?!’ the old man exploded in rage –

‘Rascals, did I ask you to throw the dhinki? I told you to beat rice. Go, bring it back. Else you may have to starve.’

‘But how can we bring it back? We can’t bring it back from there!’ they said.

The old man felt bad for them.

How will they bring it back from such a height! he thought and told them to work carefully from now on.

One day they went goat-grazing. While the goats browsed the boys played.

At dusk, the weather deteriorated. Black clouds covered the sky. A cold and fierce wind blew. The poor kids brought the scattered goats together at a pati (A roofed resting place). The boys and the goats woefully shivered until the boys couldn’t take it anymore. They collected dry leaves, twigs and started a fire.

The fire, however, scared the goats. They moved away.

‘Why won’t these goats stay by the fire?’, Bunucha said – ‘Friends, we have got to bring them closer to the fire.’

The boys followed his command and forcefully brought the goats near. The goats retaliated and haphazardly jumped around. The further the goats went, the more the boys brought them closer – until they brought them too close. All of them burnt and died!

‘Look how things are! A little while ago they jumped and ran because it was too cold. Now that they are warm, they sleep calm,’ Bunuchha said.

After a while:

‘Now the rain has stopped. Let’s get back home. Let’s wake them up,’ Bunuchha ordered.

The boys made noise and tried to shoo away the goats. But they were dead! They didn’t move.

A frustrated Bunucha said –

‘How long do we wait! How long do we warm them! I am starving! Let us carry one each and leave.’

And so all the boys carried a goat on their back and walked.

The old man was already back home by the time the boys returned. He was astonished to see the boys carry one scorched goat each.

‘What did you do to them? Why did you kill them?’ the old man asked.

‘We didn’t kill them! These poor folks were shivering. It rained crazy and the wind was fierce. We collected dry leaves and started a fire. We allowed them to enjoy the fire too. They were silent once they were warm. But they didn’t seem to want to leave and were reluctant. We forcefully carried one each,’ Baluchha explained. The boys confirmed.

The old man couldn’t utter a word! He was shocked. Dumbfounded. Hopeless!


This tale majorly shows the thought process and activities of young and bold characters. Our main guy, Bunachha, is innocent and haughty. He is in a hurry to mature so he wants to do things that older people do.

Luckily, he has friends who too are bold. But they are more simpleminded and are willing to do whatever Bunachha commands. So this tale can also be looked upon as a tale of leader and followers. The introduction of the old man brings in an opportunist character who is clever and knows how to manipulate others for his own advantage. We do not have a shortage of such people in our society! However, the old man himself suffers, thanks to Bunachha’s haughtiness and the innocence of the boys. This way, it also becomes a tale of innocence and boldness vs cleverness. At the end of it all, innocence and boldness prevail.

A major lesson to be learnt from this tale is this –

While it is great to be brave – watchfulness, humility and wisdom are equally important. Our society is full of opportunistic rogues, and the world is a tough place to be. Mix courage with knowledge and humility and no one can ever hurt you! 



Nepali Folk Tales: 4 Instructions

Once there lived an old couple. They had five sons of which four moved out of the country at a young age. Only the youngest son, who was feeble-minded, stayed with them.

At the age of 55, the old man suffered from an illness. But luckily he recovered. The young son worked with responsibility after that. He loved his parents. The parents too, loved him equally. Soon he married.

Time passed and at the age of 85, the father suffered from a deadly disease. They tried a variety of solutions, but nothing worked this time around. The father finally lost hope, so he called his son and said-

‘Your brothers ran away early but due to God’s grace, you stayed with us. I am satisfied with you. I won’t live long now. Take care of your mother and your wife. I will give you four instructions which you have to follow if you don’t want to suffer in life. Now listen to those four instructions:

  1. Never run in a sesame field
  2. Never idly sit on walls and streets fidgeting your legs
  3. Never share your secrets with your wife
  4. Never befriend a Kami (A low order caste in Hindu System)

The father suffered in agony and didn’t last long after that.

This is after four years of his death. The son remembered the instructions. But he wondered how true they really were. So, he decided to test them himself.

First, he ran in a sesame field. The seeds stung his feet badly and the wounds didn’t heal for years. He realized that sesame seeds were actually rough and poisonous.

He then wanted to test the second instruction.

He went to the walls of his field and sat. A black snake bit his legs. The snake was venomous, so his feet didn’t heal at all. His toes rot and fell.

Realizing the truth of those two instructions, he decided to test the third.

He befriended a Kami. Nothing bad happened to him immediately, he went on to test his wife.

He went to the palace of the king and stole his peacock. He came home and told his wife about it. He then hid the peacock in a box without letting his wife know and killed and cooked a chicken. That night, they both enjoyed the meal.

‘Do not tell this to anyone, if the king finds out, I am dead,’ he told his wife.

The next morning his wife went to bring some water from a local tap. She uncomfortably moved her tongue around her mouth as she walked. The neighboring women noticed this. One came up and asked – ‘What’s wrong with your mouth?’

‘Nothing,’ the woman replied and walked on. After a while however, she couldn’t resist and whispered –

‘Okay I will tell you something. But make sure you won’t tell this to anyone. Yesterday my husband stole the king’s peacock. We ate it for dinner. That’s what has stuck in my teeth.’

The neighbor said she won’t tell anyone and left.

At the palace, the king searched for his lost peacock. Everyone was at it. Around the same time, the neighbor woman told her husband about the peacock. The husband told somebody else and in no time, the news spread like wildfire. It reached the king. He was told that someone stole and ate his peacock. The king immediately ordered two of his guards to bring the culprit to him. It didn’t take long for them to find the man and then they brought him to the palace.

‘Why did you steal the peacock?,’ they asked him.

He told the truth. So the king ordained to have him executed. The ministers took him to the riverside. At that time, a Kami was sharpening his Khukuri. The ministers called him. The man thought to himself-

‘This Kami is my friend but now he is helping them execute me. My father was correct.’

But just as he was about to be executed he plead-

‘Please don’t kill me because I haven’t killed the king’s peacock. I will bring it as it is. I did all this to test my father’s instruction.’

And he explained everything. He was then allowed to go home and bring the peacock.

He realized that it was wrong to befriend a Kami and reveal secrets to one’s wife. He found all his father’s instructions to be correct.



This story is all about four instructions a father gives to his son:

  1. Never run in a sesame field
  2. Never idly sit on walls and streets fidgeting your legs
  3. Never share your secrets with your wife
  4. Never befriend a Kami (A low order caste in Hindu System)

The first instruction teaches this – If you do reckless activities in a dangerous environment, you can’t expect good things to happen to you. You will be hurt. Be careful and understand the environment before taking action on it. 

The second instruction teaches this – Sitting idly in public places or in life implies you are a careless and lazy person. The snake bite probably symbolizes someone saying harsh things to you.

The third instruction can be applied to any person who has a habit of gossiping and who doesn’t have control over the self. It doesn’t mean it has to be a wife or a woman. There are men who are worse. The message is this – Never share your secrets to stupid people!

The fourth instruction is caste-biased. But if we remove the character and caste, what we learn is – Never befriend and trust a person who is  unobliged to the friendship. Choose your companions and acquaintances wisely. Don’t depend on anyone unless you are sure of them.

The general message is to be careful in life. Choose companions and activities with great care, attention and wisdom.



Nepali Folk Tales: Bitter But True

There once lived an elderly couple who gave birth to a son in their advancing years. They named him Balram.

When Balram matured, they had an extravagant wedding for him. Balram’s wife was very beautiful. The old couple were glad to have found such a daughter-in-law.

While assured of her beauty, the old man one day decided to learn of her mental abilities. So he called her up and asked –

‘Can you tell me how much we may have spent at your wedding?’

‘I think only 2 mana rice (1 Mana equals 0.56 liter),’ she replied.

The old man irritated with this answer said –

‘I spent so much on your wedding and now you say only 2 manas! You talk as if we didn’t do enough. I don’t want to see the face of a stupid person like you. You go back home. There is no place for a daughter-in-law like you in my house’

The daughter-in-law was astonished to see him react like that. But she didn’t speak a word. The old man decided to take her back himself immediately.

On their way, the old man walked ahead while she followed behind.

They saw a group headed for cremation. The daughter-in-law asked them, ‘Is this a single corpse or a hundred?’

Hearing such a stupid question from her, the old man fumed. He thought what a fool of a woman she was. How can she ask if it was a single corpse or a hundred when she could clearly see only one. I think she really is madcap. But he didn’t speak a word. He kept on walking.

A little further, they saw large cropland. Farmers were harvesting. The daughter-in-law asked-

‘Father, are these crops of last year or of the current year?’

The old man was fed up with her, yet he didn’t speak a word and kept walking. The daughter-in-law kept up with him.

A little further they heard a jackal howl. The old man didn’t bother but she got restless. She understood animal language. The jackal was saying, ‘A corpse is buried here. If anyone would dig it out, I could eat. There’s a diamond ring in the finger of this corpse. Whoever brings it out, will get that ring’

‘It would be great to get hold of the ring. But how? The old man won’t believe it if I tell him about it,’ the daughter-in-law thought to herself.

The old man was tired from the walk. They sat under a peepal tree for a while. The old man took a nap. She took this opportunity and went near the jackal and began digging. After a while, she found both the corpse and the ring. She placed the corpse in front of the jackal and took off the ring.

When the old man woke up and couldn’t see her, he looked around for her. He finally spotted her near the corpse. He nervously thought – ‘Oh my! what kind of daughter-in-law did I get! She is not even afraid to be around corpses. I don’t think I should walk with her.’

So he didn’t say a word and walked on.

Seeing him walk away she ran towards him and walked together.

They stayed over at a place overnight and continued walking the next morning.

They heard a crow cawing. The old man didn’t notice a thing but she understood what the crow was saying:

‘There are two vessels underneath this tree which are full of coins. There’s even a bowl of curd. If anyone dug this place, I would eat the curd and give the coins’

She ran and began digging. After a while, she spotted a vessel. It was exactly the way the crow described. She gave the curd and took the coins.

The old man now was impressed on having gotten such wealth due to his daughter-in-law’s valor. She told him about the crow. The old man felt guilty for thinking she was a nincompoop. He decided not to send her back and they returned.

The old man was curious.

‘Why did you sit beside the corpse,’ he finally asked. She explained everything. She even gave him the ring. The old man started believing her.

After a while, he asked – ‘Why did you ask if that corpse was one or hundred?’

‘One who does well for others is called a hundred corpses after death. One who hasn’t done anything is called a single corpse – that’s why I asked,’ she replied.

‘And what about the harvest?’ he asked.

‘One who collects the harvest of the previous year has no debt to clear. If it is of this years, then there will be debts and investments, that’s why I asked.’

The old man now was happy hearing all this from her. But he still had a question. He asked it –

‘Listen, I spent so much on my son’s wedding. But you said I didn’t spend much. Why did you say that? Do you think the wedding was possible with 2 mana of rice?’

‘There’s a reason I said that. Yeah, you may have spent a lot at our wedding, but I could see only 2 mana of rice spent with all your heart. The rest of your expenses were merely for showing-off. Only the expense out of love and sympathy will give good returns. That’s why I gave such an answer but you didn’t understand,’ she replied.

Hearing such bitter but true words from his daughter-in-law impressed him.

‘She is very intelligent. She is equally virtuous. I thought unnecessary things,’ he said to himself.

After that day, the old man handed all the responsibilities over to her and lived in comfort and peace.


Nepali Folk Tales: You Go For The Meat But Drown In The Soup

Once upon a time in an unknown village lived a man who had two wives. From each, he had a daughter. The elder daughter was Subhadra and the younger Nauli.

Subhadra’s mother died within a few years of her birth. After this, her stepmom gave her a hard time. One day she called her daughter Nauli and said-

‘Listen! Take Subhadra for a bath on the pond and push her in it. She will die and we will live in happiness.’

Nauli did as her mother said and pushed Subhadra into the pond.

But Subhadra didn’t die. Jaldev (Water God) saved her, took her to a nice city and left her there. Since she didn’t know anyone, she couldn’t find anything to eat. Hunger and thirst troubled her. She decided to walk around. Finally, she met an old woman and said-

‘Please give me something to eat, give me some work. I am hungry’

‘I will give you food, drinks, clothes and everything else but you have to work 3-4 years for me. If you do so, I will even pay you,’ she told her.

Subhadra agreed and got to work. She had to graze and milk cows-goats.

One day a clowder of cats followed her. She took some milk out of the vessel and fed them. They started meandering around her. She gave them milk each day.

As time passed, the old woman made her clean the lawn and sieve rice too. Subhadra began feeding the birds in the process.

Three years passed.

One day the old woman sent Subhadra to a dark room and made her handpick some rice. This treatment distressed her and she wept at her condition. The cats heard this, came in, and asked –

‘Why are you crying Subhadra?’

Subhadra explained everything.

The cats told her to not worry and promised to help her out. That night the cats stayed in that room without sleeping. Subhadra handpicked from whatever light came through their eyes.

The next day, the old woman asked Subhadra to bring water in a sieve. Subhadra cried as she went. The birds came to help her. They brought mud in their beaks and used it to cover the holes in the sieve. Subhadra took the water home with success.

Her valor pleased the old woman. Since Subhadra had proved herself to be proficient at work, the old woman asked her to fetch a box from the lake. She went and brought it home.  The old woman asked her to rotate it three times. Hardly had she rotated it once, she found herself standing near a pond. She had a box in her hand. It was full of gold, silver, jewelry and nice clothes.

At that moment, a prince came from god knows where. He came near Subhadra and asked-

‘Who are you?’

Subhadra told her story. The prince proposed to her for marriage. But Subhadra said she would only do so with permission from her parents. The prince agreed.

Subhadra went home. Her stepmom was horror-struck.

‘Didi had pushed me into the pond to kill me. But I didn’t die. I lived in joy’, Subhadra said.

Subhadra’s father arrived. He was elated to see his daughter. He asked where she had been all these days. Subhadra told the entire story including the proposal of the prince.

Meanwhile, Nauli burnt with envy.

‘I will also go to that pond and return like Subhadra,’ she said to herself.

The next morning she jumped at the exact point at which she had pushed Subhadra. But Nauli never returned. She had gone for the meat but had drowned in the soup. Meanwhile, Subhadra wed the prince and lived in great joy thereafter.


This is a fable with a dark ending. Otherwise it has a generic plot of greed and suffering.

When it comes to characters, Subhadra’s life teaches us that perseverance and the ability to endure hardship will always have good returns. She tolerated everything life threw at her. She only had hardwork and patience to turn to.

Nothing significant happens to the original culprit – Nauli’s mother.

Subhadra’s father has been portrayed as a naive man who never has a clue on what goes on. The old woman is confusing. She shows signs of grace but also puts Subhadra into tough tests. Her eventual action signifies her mythical nature.

Nauli, on the other hand is both senseless and greedy. If you don’t work hard on yourself – on your character and values – that’s how you will end up! The prince is a pragmatic man who seems to be ready to cooperate with Subhadra throughout life.

If we are to give a realistic spin to this tale, we have to eliminate the mythical parts. There are a few.

The first is of Jaldev (Water God) who saves Subhadra, takes her to a nice city and leaves her there. This seems to have been added for the mythical air. Although Subhadra’s fortune revolves around water, we may look at Jaldev as a metaphorical representation of water – which may have played a significant part in the life of some person. Subhadra may have been rescued by someone. But being too hurt to go back home, she may have wandered into the city.

The actions of cats and the birds don’t seem plausible. Subhadra may have had a small light from somewhere through which she did the whole rice thing. Subhadra had enough sense to fill the sieve with mud or whatever there was – so there is no need for mythical birds.

The Prince could be a normal honorable lad.  The old woman could have been lonely without an heir and could have handed her valuable belongings to Subhadra seeing her decency and character.

(This has been translated from Nepali Lok Katha Sangalo, compiled by Ram Bikram Sijapati)


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.


Story about life: A Rat’s Story
Understand Yourself, Be Yourself!

image showing rat's story. Nepali Folk Tale

Enjoy this Story about life which both entertains and provides valuable life lesson!

Our task is to understand our desires and go after them — all guns blazing. Mastering the skills in the process.