Friday, June 1, 2007

The Foolish Boy

Once there lived a foolish boy, and he was sent by his widowed mother to search for food in the forest. He found a wild fowl caught in a trap. After instructing it to go to his mother without fail and get cooked, he freed the bird and it flew away. Then the boy walked home at leisure, but when he reached home he was surprised to find that the bird had not arrived. He then told his mother about the bird. 'You foolish boy,' said his mother, 'next time you must kill the bird with your knife, and bring it home yourself.' The next day, the boy went again to the forest to look for food, and he found some big mushrooms growing under a tree. 'Ha, Ha,' laughed the boy, 'you shall not escape me this time,' and he ran and cut the mushrooms into small bits with his knife, and then he took the mushrooms to his mother. 'Oh you foolish boy,' said his mother, 'you have spoilt the mushrooms for cooking. Next time you must pluck them by the roots.'

The next day the boy went again to the forest in search of food, and he saw a bee-hive on a tree. 'Honey for me,' the boy said to himself, 'but I must pluck it by the root, as my mother instructed.' So he climbed the tree, and tried to pull off the hive from the branch, but he was attacked by the bees of the hive and badly stung. Crying in pain, he jumped down and ran home to his mother. 'You foolish boy,'said his mother, 'next time you must make a fire, and let the smoke drive away the bees.'

The next day the boy went out as usual in search of food, and he saw a monk. 'I will get him this time,' promised the boy to himself. He stealthily walked up to the monk, and then suddenly set fire to the yellow robes of the monk. When the monk rolled on the grass and put out the fire, the boy was persistent and again attempted to set fire to the robes. So the monk has to seize a stick and beat the boy. The boy ran crying to his mother. 'You foolish boy,' said his mother, 'you can always know a monk by his yellow robe, and the next time you see a monk, kneel down and show respect to him.'

The next day the boy went out again in search of food and, wandering into the thicker part of the forest, he meet a tiger. Instead of climbing the nearest tree for safety, the boy looked carefully at the tiger and, on seeing the yellow stripes on the animal, he thought it was a monk. So he knelt down and made obeisance, and the tiger pounced upon him and ate him.
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This story is taken from Burmese Folk-tales by Maung Htin Aung

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