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.
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.
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.
A folktale from Myanmar
Once 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.
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.
“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 I tell you today will be heard in heaven.
Shebu and Moonmoon, the Long Haired Goat [Illustrations by Kusum Chamoli] “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.
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 tales even as they help her with her domestic chores.
An inspiring story from our archives: June 2000
Some 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.
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