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23 February 2020

A Shina folklore story: “Kangulee Ga Ma-Pale” (The cuckoo and its siblings)

Syed Mujahid Ali Shah and S.Mujtaba Hassan
Syed Mujahid Ali Shah is a sociologist and nature conservationist based in Nagar and S. Mujtaba Hassan is a student of literature at Department of Modern Languages KIU and Gilgit

Once there was a cuckoo living in its nest with its siblings; made on a tree in the middle of a steep rock in the mountain of Agai Kut  in Minapin valley. It had six siblings. Underneath there was living a fox that made its den in a cave. One day the fox was very hungry. It looked around to get some flesh for itself and its cubs. But it could not find anything. Suddenly it got an idea in its mind to blackmail the cuckoo through a cunning strategy. It threatened the cuckoo that it was going to climb the rock and come into the tree and eat all of its six siblings though in fact the fox could never climb the steep rock and the tree. The cuckoo was so worried and accepted the option that it offered a little bird and dropped it down to the roof of fox den. The fox collected it and ate it with its family. Next day the fox again asked the cuckoo to extend another sibling of it otherwise would face consequences of losing all the family. The frightened cuckoo dropped another little bird from its nest for the fox. The fox again collected it and arranged free lunch for its cubs.

There was a chakor  that made its nest in a bushy patch besides the cuckoo’s nest in the tree. It noticed the suffering of poor cuckoo in the hands of cunning fox. The chakor reached to the cuckoo and listened to the whole story. It told the cuckoo that the fox could not climb the steep rock and tge tree to reach its nest. The cuckoo got shocked. On the third day the fox repeated its demand and tried threaten the cukoo. The cuckoo neglected the fox and cursed him with harsh words. It told the fox that it was not going to offer any of its siblings. The fox got ashamed and asked the cuckoo that who told her all about it. The cuckoo told the fox that it was the chakor. The fox was very angry with the chakor. It decided to hunt the chakor at any cost.

One day the chakor was searching for its food in the bushes. The fox caught the chakor and told him that it was going to make a delicious dinner with it. The clever chakor told the fox that it got very weak due to the shortage of food and coldness in the winter and the fox could get little meat .It suggested the fox to steal  grains and dried up mulberry from the farmers of Minapin and feed it with them to get fat and more meat. The fox agreed with the chakor and took it to its home .It stole grains and dried mulberry and fed the chakor well. Soon it got fat.

One day the fox asked the fat chakor why not to make it a delicious dinner that night. The clever chakor said “My lord! You have fed me with nutritious grains and sweet mulberries I am thankful to you”.the fox got happy with it.The chakor further flattered the fox by singing a song in Shina as “Dadi luyiye anyro tel be bijem tel! tel! tel ! (I want to present myself to you like a coconut oil that drops in your mouth and gives you and extra-ordinary taste” The fox was very amused with this song and asked the chakor to sing it again. The clever chakor demanded that it would sing if the fox had made it to sit on the window of the cave.The fox was so amused with the flattering and the sweet song that it leted the chakor to sit on the window. The chakor sang the next verse of the song as “Dadi lunyey anyro xir the bijem xir!xir!xir!(I would like to throw  my feces in the mouth of fox when I am flying away”. It flew in the sky through yhe open windo by filling the open miuth of the fox with its feces that the fox had opened its mouth if the chakor was flying directly into its mouth.The fox started vomiting and remained crying over the split milk.
Lesson: "To be cunning cleverer doesn’t mean to be the most cunning and the cleverest"