Long ago, there lived a craftsman called Intupwa. Intupwa was an unhappy man because he tried, and failed, to cut wood with sharp stones. Then one day he dreamt of something better called iron. So he began his search for it.

“Where can I find iron?” Intupwa asked the trees. “If we tell you, you’ll make an axe and cut us down,” the trees replied.

How Iron was Found [Illustration by Sudheer Nath]
How Iron was Found [Illustration by Sudheer Nath]

“Where can I find iron?” Intupwa asked the grass, and met with the same answer.

Then Intupwa tried his luck with the wild animals. “If we tell you, you’ll make arrows and kill us,” the wild animals replied.

His last stop was at the water. “Go to Numrang-Ningpu and you’ll find iron there,” said water.

Intupwa found no iron at Numrang-Ningpu. What he found instead, was that a goddess lived there. And that very night the goddess gave birth to a child as she slept.

This child was red as fire when he was born. But as he cooled, he became black as iron. Intupwa chopped a small bit of him and took it home. Upon arrival, the small bit broke into a hundred pieces. A stream carried the pieces away and scattered them around the world. And that is why iron is found in most parts of the world today.

But Intupwa did not know how to work the iron he had found. Depressed, he sat outside his house and wondered what to do. Suddenly, Elephant came by. Elephant’s feet crushed everything beneath him, even the stones. Intupwa used the crushed stone to make a hammer. Then he heated the iron, but how could he hold it, it was so hot ? And Intupwa had no tongs. All the effort was making him thirsty and so he went down to a stream to drink. He cupped his hands in the water for a mouthful, but jumped up in pain immediately. There was something clinging to his hand. A crab.

Intupwa looked closely at Crab’s claws. Suddenly he was delighted. He thought – if I can make something similar of iron, then I could hold the hot iron with it. He made a pair of tongs and was soon turning out axes, knives and arrow heads with these, and the hammer.

384 words | 3 minutes
Readability: Grade 4 (9-10 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: folktales
Tags: #trees, #goddess, #wild animals

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