Aayirathi Yettu KiLi (1008 Parrots)
Again its story time…After hearing the same old stories of Gods and Goddesses, I got bored extremely and wanted to listen to some interesting story. Today nobody can fool me telling some age old story, so I told my dad
“Dad, I want some interesting story. Not the same stories about Kanna umaachee…”
“Oh fine. Today I’ll tell you a story about 1008 Parrots!!” He told
I geared up with full enthusiasm and by his side in bed, clutching my pillow tight and with one of my tiny legs on his tummy; I started listening to the story….
Long long ago, there lived 1008 parrots in a dense forest, situated in the bank of some river which has not been yet recognized as some ‘named-river’ by the great storytellers of that ages. The paattis and thathas who used to tell stories couldn’t give any name out of their forgetfulness and responsibilities that they bear in bringing up their umpteen number of children.
In those 1008 parrots, one was physically challenged. It couldn’t fly. All the parrots used fly high, move from one tree to another, collect foods and so on. This parrot would stay in the shade of the tree which was by the side of the river and used to play near the bank of the river. The other parrots which brought food, fed the lame parrot in the afternoon and in the nights. The 1007 parrots which were perched on the tree barks, used to throw bad and sour fruit down the tree, which hang on the twigs of the branches and they used to peck and eat sweet fruits. The lame parrot used to eat those sour fruits and sustained its livelihood.
One fine morning, when the sun has just reached the brim of the water level (Horizon), all the birds started leaving its place one by one in search of food and other necessities. This lame parrot woke up and went to the river to perform its morning duties. To its astonishment, it found a small basket wrapped in cozy clothes, came floating in the river. In an anticipation to find some food in the basket, it took the basket from the river and opened the covering cloth, to find a small baby in it. It took the basket to the shade of the tree and announced to the parrots sitting in the tree.
“Hey all, if you give me a sweet fruit from the branch, I’ll show you a treasure to you”
On hearing this, all the parrots got anxious and started throwing sweet fruits to the lame parrot below the tree. On seeing the shower of fruits, the lame parrot was happy and called all the parrots down the tree, to have a look at the basket. All the parrots were happy seeing a small, cute baby in the basket and started to bring up the baby as their own.
(I had lots of question in the story flow which missed the logic lines…But those questions were nullified for my childhood brains and they were deemed to be out-of-scope of the story.)
Coming back to the story, the parrots built a small hut nearby the river and started buying Cerelac, Lactogen, Johnson & Johnson Baby powder, soap and Woodward’s Gripe Water for the child. All the other parrots used to go for work, in the day time and this lame parrot used to take care of the baby girl at home. The parrots brought up the baby with utmost care and affection. Time passed by and this baby started growing slowly and one fine day, the bay girl grew up into a beautiful babe and the parrots started teaching her, household works!
The real tragedy
Everything went fine in this small (!) family, until one day when all the parrots left for work, this lame parrot told the girl
“Hey babe, listen I’ve an important work outside. I’m leaving now and will be returning in the evening. So be careful and listen to my instructions clearly. Do not go out of the house. Do not open the door unless we knock the door and call your name from outside and one more important note. Feed the dog with the Curd-Rice and the cat with the Milk-Rice. Bye for now. Take care”.
Saying so, the lame parrot left the hut, limping its way on the streets. The girl closed the door and was playing with the cat and dog. When it was time for lunch, the girl, absent mindedly, fed the dog with the Milk-Rice and the cat with the Curd-Rice
(I was told that, dogs don’t eat Milk-Rice, and Cats don’t expect Curd-Rice. I donno why they do not like this for long time and I’ve not experimented this till now, as I did not get an opportunity to feed cats and dogs.)
Now, out of rage, the dog and cat went to the kitchen and pissed (did susu/ucha..) in the coal pieces placed in the sand-stove (In those days, they used the stove made of sand and use to cook food burning the coal). The girl was unaware of this and she had fallen asleep. Now that all the food was over and she had to make food for the night, she woke up and entered the kitchen. To her disappointment, she found that the coal was cold and she cannot make anything to eat. In spite of the other parrots warning her not to leave the house in any circumstances, she opened the door and walked through the streets in search of fire.
There was no houses open nearby, so she walked a few distance away from her house and knocked a door which seems to be so old and un-kept. She is yet to realize the danger she is to face. A woman, who was in her twenties, opened the door and beckoned her in. As this girl hasn’t met anyone in the town, she was not able to recognize bad people from good. The woman was the eldest daughter of a wicked witch who lived in the town and the mother witch who has gone out for bathing in the nearby river.
“Do you have some fire for the coal? Matchbox was over so couldn’t burn the coals. It will be helpful, if you can lend me a matchbox”
“Ofcourse, why not? We do help others. By the way, I’ve not seen you in this place. Where do you stay?” The witch enquired.
“I live five houses away from this place. I live here only. I haven’t come out for days. As there was no match today at home, I just thought, I can get some from nearby house”
The witch thought, today she is a good feast to my mom. I’ll send her to the river bank so that, my mom can have her as it is today as she hadn’t got a chance to have a full feast! Having this in her mind, she asked to handover the sari to her mom, who is bathing in the river, as she forgot to take it with her.
The girl accepted this offer and she happily took the sari from her and left the place telling the witch that, she will return and get the matchbox. When she was in her way towards the river, a passerby asked her,
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to give this sari to a lady who is bathing in the river”
“What……? A lady? No no, you are fooled, she is not a lady. She is a wicked witch who lives in the town. She eats small girls and drinks the blood without leaving any drop. So just throw away the sari here and return home safely”
On hearing this, she was got frightened and hurriedly left the place and reached the Witch’s Home to get the matchbox.
On seeing the girl back standing full in flesh outside the house, the witch got confused as why her mom, didn’t have her for Lunch. The Witch gave a matchbox and some tamarind seeds. She asked the girl to drop those tamarind seeds one by one for each step, till she reaches her place, and when she reaches her place just drop all those tamarind seeds outside the house.
“I’m asking you to do this just in case if my mom wants to meet you, then I can show her the way right? That is why”. The Witch told her. The girl accepted this and left home dropping the tamarind seeds one by one, as she was told. She was so innocent and timid that, she couldn’t recognize that woman was the witch’s daughter and she was asked to do this because, the witch can later come home and eat her for dinner. The girl reached home and cooked food for the evening.
Later at witch’s house, when the mother witch returned from the river and enquired her daughter about why she hasn’t sent anyone for lunch, under the pretext of handing over the sari. The daughter witch told her that, she has sent a girl for today’s lunch, but why did she spare her? On hearing this, mother Witch became furious and started shouting. The daughter Witch informed her that, she has given small tamarind seeds to the girl which she had dropped all over the place till her house. She can go to her house directly tracing the seeds and have her. On hearing this, the wicked witch became happy and walked towards the girl’s house, tracing the tamarind seeds all over the streets. On seeing the heap of tamarind seeds outside a house, she knocked to door.
The girl looked outside through the hole in the door and found that the wicked witch is standing outside to eat her. She was scared and did not open the door. After waiting and knocking for long time, the wicked witch broke one of her long nails from one of her fingers, and inserted it in one of the cracks in the door and left the place.
In the evening when all the parrots returned home, knocked the door and on hearing the parrot’s voice, the girl opened in the door in hurry while she failed to notice the nail which was protruding out of the door which was inserted by the wicked witch. The nail pricked the girl’s throat and she felt unconscious on the ground. When all the parrots, entered the house and saw the unconscious girl, they thought that she was dead and they packed the girl in the same basket in which it came with all her dresses and left the basket in the river. It floated along the river and went away. Time passed by.
In some other part of the city, there was a king who was in search for a bride for him. He consulted a sage who told him that, he should arrange a mock marriage with a Banana tree. This will make the forest deities happy and they will find a girl for him. (In olden days, if the country did not get any rain, they will arrange a marriage in between a donkey and a tree. They believed that, this will make the rain god happy and he will shower the rain. In the same way, they believed that, if the king arranges a marriage ceremony and tie the holy thread which they call mangal sutra, nowadays to the tree, he will get a bride soon.
The basket came floating along the river and it entered the forest region, where water was flowing smoothly. The unconscious girl, under the effect of chill breeze and the river water, gained her consciousness and opened her eyes to find her in the forest. She found a bank and got down the big basket. And found a place behind a Banana trees
A grand ceremony was organized in the forest which was in his kingdom and the king arranged for a big feast for all the subjects of his kingdom. After the feast was over, the king announced,
“Now I’m going to tie this holy thread to the banana tree and let the forest deities be happy seeing all this feast and ceremony which I arranged in the forest…” Saying so, he took the holy thread and started walking toward the chosen banana tree. The band and other spiritual musical instruments were played at the highest decibel.
“Let the forest gods and goddesses be happy. Please show me a bride” the king prayed in his highest pitch. All the subjects and his courtroom ministers were watching this ceremony. Suddenly a beautiful girl came from behind from the banana tree and she looked like a damsel. The king was happy on seeing this beautiful girl and he was very much delighted to have her as his wife and queen of his kingdom. This girl is none other than the girl who was brought up by those parrots some time before.
And after that, they lived happily ever after….
Seeing this, one of the minister’s sons arranged for another ceremony in the forest, similar to that of the king’s, so that he can get a beautiful wife too. Similarly all the subjects and all the people from the kingdom were assembled. This time the minister’s son announced that he will tie the holy thread to the drumstick tree.
He too shouted words that, he assumed will make the forest deities happy. He marched towards the drumstick tree with pompous and proud walk. Suddenly a ugly witch like creature which we call Kutti pisasu came out of the tree. Seeing this unexpected appearance, all the people ran away from that place including the minister’s son.
“After that, what happened to the parrots?”. I interrogated my father innocently. It was 11.00 o’ clock.
“See time is 11.00 o’clock, now sleep, I’ll tell you another story tomorrow” My father said this and switched off the lights. I was thinking the whole night about the lame parrot. I had many questions in my mind which were not answered still and many logical portions which slipped very badly
- If you drop the tamarind seeds all through the streets, will that stay for long time? Will that be helpful for finding the way to her house?
- How did the parrots come to a conclusion that the girl died?
- How did they put the well grown girl in the same basket from which they found her earlier?
All these questions were still unanswered and lot more.
Do you have any?