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.

THE END. 


Discussion:

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.