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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

The Curse of Forbidden Grain

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Once upon a time, in a tamarisk tree by a shimmering lake, a stork and a she-stork built a cosy nest and became proud parents to their adorable chicks. Each morning, as the sun rose in the sky, they spread their wings and soared into the air, in search of delicious food to feed their little ones.

One fine day, while flying high, they spotted a field of mouthwatering millet. The stork, filled with excitement, turned to the she-stork and said, "Darling, perch on a tree while I quickly hop over to the field and grab a bite." But the wise she-stork, sensing danger, cautioned, "Oh dear, it's getting late. Let's fly away and find our meal elsewhere." However, the stubborn stork was determined and paid no heed to her advice. Ignoring her pleas, he ventured towards the enticing millet field.

With an eager beak, the stork began pecking at the grains, relishing the taste of the scrumptious millet. But his feast was short-lived, for just as he had gobbled up a few precious morsels, a crafty farmer appeared out of nowhere. Swiftly and skillfully, the farmer cast his net, capturing the unsuspecting stork in its clutches. In an instant, the stork found himself trapped and helplessly slung over the farmer's shoulder, bound for an uncertain fate.

As the she-stork watched in despair, she cried out, "Oh, my dear stork! I warned you, I pleaded with you, 'Don't eat the millet! Don't eat the millet!'"

To her heartbreaking dismay, the stork, caught in his own foolishness, responded with remorse, "I was a fool, my love. I was a fool! Now, I shall face my destiny, but you must fly back to our precious chicks! Fly back to our little ones!"

With tears in her eyes, the she-stork swiftly flew back to their nest. She lovingly tended to their babies, providing them with food, water, and warm cuddles, before venturing off to find news of her captured mate.

As she reached the farmer's house, her heart sank at the sight before her. The farmer had mercilessly taken the stork's life and was now cutting him into pieces. Outraged, the she-stork exclaimed, "Shame on you! Shame on your terrible deed!"

The farmer, unmoved by her words, replied callously, "I killed him because he devoured my precious millet crop."

Undeterred, the brave she-stork bravely retorted, "Well, once you've cooked and devoured his flesh, give me the bones."

Curiosity piqued, the farmer and his wife prepared a meal from the stork's remains. When the bones were piled together in one spot, the she-stork flew over and sang a haunting melody:

"I warned you, I pleaded with you, crying,

'Don't eat the millet! Don't eat the millet!'"

In a miraculous moment, the bones stirred and came to life, reforming into the magnificent stork once again. With a flutter of wings, he flew to his loyal she-stork, reunited at last.

Together, they soared back to their precious nest, where their chicks chirped with joy. The stork, having learned his lesson, solemnly swore never to feast upon another's crop again.

May this tale remind us of the importance of listening to wise counsel and the consequences that come from acting without thought. May we always respect the fruits of others' labour and cherish the bonds of family and forgiveness.


Source: Translations from Sindhi folklore by Musharraf Ali Farooqi

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