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Madhu Gurung

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The Story-tellers

What could be a better way to get to know a country than through its folk-tales and stories? And if you love collecting stories anyway, as Madhu Gurung does, nothing could be more wonderful. Here, Madhu, presently based in Myanmar's capital, Yangon, talks about the Myanmarese duo of mother and daughter who have enlivened her days by weaving...

The Harpist and the Princess

The Harpist and the Princess
A Burmese folk taleOnce upon a time in the beautiful city of Mandalay lived a young orphan boy. His name was Thi Hah. He was very poor and often had to go without food.He had one passion in life, and that was playing the harp. The Burmese harp resembles a long tailed boat with a thick bottom and...

The Woman who Collects Children

An inspiring story from our archives: June 2000Some people like to collect stamps. Others prefer stickers, posters, tattoos or coins. But Pinky Bhutia is different. She collects children. In her mountain village, in Sikkim, she is known as the wonderful young woman who adopts all the children she can.Pinky was 14 when she adopted her first child, a Nepali...

The Best Storyteller in the World

The Best Storyteller in the World
Bajai," as we called grandmother, was the best storyteller in the world. Her tales of jewelled ladies and brave warriors, of civilisations that ended due to famine, floods, war or volcanic eruptions, filled our young lives with fantasy.Nestling in the foothills of Mussoorie is a tiny village called Johri Gaun (Johri village) where we spent part of our summer...

How the Gorkhas Came to Dehradun

Some time ago, Madhu Gurung wrote about her grandmother who was the best storyteller in the world. Once 'Bajai' as she was called, told a different kind of a story - a real story of how the Gorkha warriors of Nepal came to settle down in Dehradun. Among them was Bajai's grandfather, the chieftain of a clan.Bajai...

The Boy and the Magic Brush

A folktale from Myanmar, it will acquaint readers with a new word called 'Nat'. Nats are spirits, good or bad, and they are believed to have supernatural powers. The Buddhists believe that everybody goes through the cycle of life, death and rebirth - all determined by the person's 'karma' or deeds. Being a Nat is just one of the...

How The Coconut Came To Myanmar

Myanmar (then called Burma) is known as the golden land of gold dome pagodas and swaying coconut trees. Coconut trees were originally called 'gon-bin' in Myanmar language, which translated in English means the mischief-maker's tree.Why it is known by this most unusual name, is because once centuries ago, a raft carrying three people landed on the Burmese coast. The...

A Crocodile Named Rain Cloud

A folktale from MyanmarOnce upon a time there was an old fisherman Ye Myint and his wife Aye Aye Se who lived by the river Irrawady. Every day they cast their net and caught fish, which they sold at the local market. The old man and his wife did not have any children.One day while fishing as usual, Ye...

The Rumour

"Bajai," as we called grandmother, was the best storyteller in the whole world, says Madhu Gurung. She lived in the foothills of Mussoorie in a tiny village called Johri Gaun. And she always started her stories with a saying, "To the listener a garland of gold, to the storyteller a garland of all forest flowers and this tale that...

Shebu and Moonmoon, the Long Haired Goat

"Bajai," as we called grandmother, was the best storyteller in the whole world, says Madhu Gurung. She lived in the foothills of Mussoorie in a tiny village called Johri Gaun. And she always started her stories with a saying, "To the listener a garland of gold, to the storyteller a garland of all forest flowers and this tale that...

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