This is when you believe in miracles, in fairy tales, in fantasy stories shared by your Granny or Grandpa or Mommy or Daddy. Be it the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny or the Santa Claus. Each of these stories was developed by our forefathers in order to instill values and ethics in us.
Here’s one such story that my grandma used to tell us and now I pass it on to my daughters.
I belong to Kerala, a state where a simple walk around your courtyard itself can be called as a nature walk. I was lucky to have had the good fortune of spending two complete months every year during summer vacations at my grandparents place in Palakkad, in North Kerala; to be precise, Ottapalam.
One afternoon, during one such walk around our backyard, I heard a strange bird. Its voice suggested that it was crying out of deep pain. Since I was the lonely traveler on these afternoon trips, I had no one to ask which bird it was and why was it crying.
After a few days, while Ammamma (my grandmother) and I were having our breakfast in the dining area close to kitchen, I heard that voice again. Out of curiosity I asked Ammamma about the bird and its cry. She said that it was Kattodachaathan. I loved stories. Especially ones with unknown characters. So the curious, innocent kid in me requested her to throw some light on our new hero, Kattodachaathan.
“There was a young boy who never used to listen to his parents. He refused to give water to anyone who asked for it. His parents kept telling him that it was wrong on his part to not give water to the thirsty ones. But stubborn this boy was and didn’t take their words seriously. After a few days, while playing he fell inside a pit. Nobody saw him and nobody knew he was in there. The pit was in the midst of a huge ground where only cattle used to come and graze grass. Days went by, but no one came to rescue him. He was tired, hungry and thirsty. He survived on the occasional mango or banana residue that a bird or a squirrel used to drop in the pit by mistake. But he had nothing to quench his thirst. His throat was aching with pain. One night, it rained heavily and the pit was getting filled with water. Now there was enough water around him but he could not drink it because it was muddy. He cried and cried, but to no avail. At last, God appeared in front of him and told him that he was suffering because he never helped thirsty people. He also cursed him to become an ugly bird and fly miles and miles and yet not get even a single drop of water. And this bird form of the boy was called Kattodachathan. Before disappearing God said that whoever doesn’t offer water to thirsty people, will become Kattodachathan and suffer for their entire life.”
After having heard that story, every time I heard the bird’s cry, it would remind me to not refuse water to someone who is thirsty.
So much to teach a little one to offer water to a thirsty person?
The moral of the story is…
…just like the Tooth Fairy, Santa and the Easter Bunny, Kattodachaathan too teaches us the Joy of Giving or The Act of Being Kind.
As Mother Teresa said, “We have been created for greater things, to love and to be loved. “
A story that made my childhood better and one that I now use to make the girls learn the habit of giving. Of course, my girls are way to smart and Lil Love told me,
Dumbo boy! He should have told God, “Bhagwaan ho kar chhote bachhon ko shraap dena achhi baat hai kya?”
(Translation: Dumbo boy! He should have told God, “Being a God, Is it good for Gods to curse young kids?”
Emotional athyachaaris my girls are! 😛
This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “Fantasy: The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .) : a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?”
This is one of the contributions to Project 365 – A Post A Day.