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ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 47
In Issue 47 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates two legends from ancient Burma, modern day Myanmar. The first is the tale of “The Disrespectful Daughter” – a tale with a moral for young people. The second is a folk tale, also with a moral, about three sisters who open their front door to a hungry tiger.
This issue also has the “Where in the World – Look it Up” section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story, on map. HINT – use Google maps.
Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children’s stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as “Father of Stories”.
 
Two Burmese Folk Tales

Two Burmese Folk Tales

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In far bygone days, there was a widow who had three daughters. The girls lived in a tiny house in the forest.

 

A tiger was also in the forest and watched out for the girls, hoping to hunt them down.

 

One day, the mother said to the girls, Ill go out to look for food. Dont go out and dont let anyone in. Then she set off.

 

The tiger saw the mother leave. An hour later, the tiger went to the house and knocked on the door. One of the girls, Ma Gyi, went to the door and asked,
Who is it?
This is me, your mother, replied the tiger.
May I see your eyes? Why are your eyes so red? enquired Ma Gyi.
I was worried about you and cried on the way home, answered the tiger.
May I see your hands? Why are your hands so big and dirty?
The tiger replied, I helped with planting on a farm and so my hands became dirty.

 

The girls unwisely opened the door and then ran away and climbed a tree while the tiger chased them.

 

The tiger asked, How can I climb up?
Ma Gyi gave a tricky response, Pour oil onto the tree.

 

The tiger went back to the house, brought some oil and poured it onto the tree. However, it could not climb up the tree as it was so slippery.

 

Then Ma Gyis sister, Ma Nge shouted, Chop the tree down with an axe.

 

The tiger got an axe and started to chop the tree down. The girls were very fearful and cried out to the Lord of the Sky to save them.

 

The Lord of the Sky sent down a basket and a rope and the girls went up into the sky. The tiger made the same request and climbed into another basket going up into the sky. However, the rope was old and finally broke and the tiger fell to the ground and died.

 

The girls became as fairies of the Sun, Moon and Stars.

—–

From FOLKLORE and FAIRY TALES from BURMA – 21 folk and fairy tales from ancient Myanmar

ISBN 9781909302856

URL: http://abelapublishing.com/burmese

 

55% of the net profit from the sale of this book will be donated to the Phaung Daw Oo Monastic Education High School, Mandalay to assist with teaching materials.

Folklore and Fairy Tales from Burma

Today we journey far to the South – to West Africa for an Anansi Story.

 

THERE were once upon a time three sisters and a brother. The sisters were all proud, and one was very beautiful, and she did not like her little brother, “because,” she said, “he was dirty.” Now, this beautiful sister was to be married, and the brother begged their mother not to let her marry, as he was sure the man would kill her, for he knew his house was full of bones. So the mother told her daughter, but she would not believe it, and said, “she wouldn’t listen to anything that such a dirty little scrub said,” and so she was married.

Now, it was agreed that one sister was to remain with her mother, and the other was to go with the bride, and so they set out on their way. When they got to the beach, the husband picked up a beautiful tortoise-shell comb, which he gave to his bride. Then they got into his boat and rowed away over the sea, and when they reached their home, they were so surprised to see their little brother, for the comb had turned into their brother. They were not at all glad to see him, and the husband thought to himself he would kill him without telling his wife. When night came the boy told the husband that at home his mother always put him to sleep in the blacksmith’s shop, and so the husband said he should sleep in the smithy.

 

In the middle of the night the man got up, intending to kill them all, and went to his shop to get his irons ready, but the boy jumped up as soon as he went in, and he said, “Boy, what is the matter with you?” So the boy said, when he was at home his mother always gave him two bags of gold to put his head on. Then the man said, he should have them, and went and fetched him two bags of gold, and told him to go to sleep.

But the boy said, “Now, mind, when you hear me snore I’m not asleep, but when I am not snoring then I’m asleep.” Then the boy went to sleep and began to snore, and as long as the man heard the snoring, he blew his bellows; but as soon as the snoring stopped, the man took his irons out of the fire, and the boy jumped up.

Then the man said, “Why, what’s the matter? why can’t you sleep?”

The boy said, “No; for at home my mother always gave me four bags of money to lie upon.”

Well, the man said he should have them, and brought four bags of money. Then the boy told him again the same thing about his snoring, and the man bade him go to sleep, and he began to snore, and the man to blow his bellows until the snoring stopped. Then the man took out his irons again, and the boy jumped up, and the man dropped the irons, saying, “Why, what’s the matter now that you can’t sleep?”

The boy said, “At home my mother always gave me two bushels of corn.”

So the man said he should have the corn, and went and brought it, and told him to go to sleep. Then the boy snored, and the man blew his bellows till the snoring stopped, when he again took out his irons, and the boy jumped tip, and the man said, “Why, what’s it now?”

The boy said, “At home my mother always goes to the river with a sieve to bring me some water.”

So the man said, “Very well, I will go, but I have a cock here, and before I go I must speak to it.”

Then the man told the cock if he saw any one moving in the house he must crow; that the cock promised to do, and the man set off.

 

Now when the boy thought the man was gone far away, he got up, and gave the cock some of the corn; then he woke up his sisters and showed them all the bones the man had in the house, and they were very frightened. Then he took the two bags of gold on his shoulders, and told his sisters to follow him. He took them to the bay, and put them into the boat with the bags of gold, and left them whilst he went back for the four bags of money. When he was leaving the house he emptied the bags of corn to the cook, who was so busy eating, he forgot to crow, until they had got quite away.

 

When the man returned home and could not find them in the house, he went to the river, where he found his boat gone, and so he had no way of going after them. When they landed at their own place the boy turned the boat over and stove it in, so that it was of no use any more; and he took his sisters home, and told their mother all that had happened, and his sisters loved him, and they lived very happily together ever afterwards, and do so still if they are not dead.

 

NOTE: ANANZI or Ahnansi (Ah-nahn-see) “the trickster” is a cunning and intelligent spider and is one of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore. The Anansi tales are believed to have originated in the Ashanti tribe in Ghana. (The word Anansi is Akan and means, simply, spider.) They later spread to other Akan groups and then to the West Indies, Suriname, and the Netherlands Antilles. On Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire he is known as Nanzi, and his wife as Shi Maria.

He is also known as Ananse, Kwaku Ananse, and Anancy; and in the Southern United States he has evolved into Aunt Nancy. He is a spider, but often acts and appears as a man. The story of Anansi is akin to the Coyote or Raven the trickster found in many Native American cultures.

 

From Ananzi Stories by Sir George Webbe Dasent

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_anst.html

 

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