A Folk Tale


I will tell you one story.

The narrative is neither similar to that of Upanishadic tales, nor to Puranic stories. I do not have any authentic credits to make, nor do I know the origin of this story. It is very popular in U.P. I assume that it could be called a folk tale.

It happened like this:

Lord Shankar and Goddess Parvati were going for their evening walk through the mortal world. As usual, and as is usually depicted in Hindu artworks too, Lord Shankar was riding his vehicle, the bull Nandi, while Goddess Parvati was walking on foot. As they crossed the local bazaar, some shopkeepers, craftsmen, trade people and idle men saw them, and looking annoyed, commented on their back:

— Hey, look there! How cruel that man is! His young and tender wife is walking on foot, and he himself is sitting on the bull like a king!

The comment was made loud enough, so Lord Shankar heard it. It was correct, he thought to himself, how come it didn’t occur to him? With apologetic face, he got down and asked Goddess Parvati to ride Nandi instead. The Goddess was hesitant, but then climbed on the Lord’s insistence. And so they moved forward — the Goddess on Nandi, the Lord on foot.

After some time, they went round a small pond where several women were washing their clothes and gossiping. As they passed the womenfolk, they heard them hitting their sarcastic remarks:

— See, how arrogant and proud that woman is! Making her husband suffer so much. Her husband is walking on foot, and she is only concerned about her own comfort. At least we are not like her — we can’t even dream of doing such a thing.

Goddess Parvati thought that perhaps in the rearrangement some social mistake has been made. So she talked the matter over, and asked Lord Shiva whether he too could climb onto Nandi. Lord did so, and though the space was scarce, they still somehow managed. After some time, they found themselves in front of the building of the local animal welfare office. The workers happened to see them, and were immediately panicked at the sight:

— Hey, hey, look there! That is what I always say! Man has forever been harassing poor animals for his own convenience. See, how these two young and healthy persons are riding on the poor creature. Not for a moment do they think of its suffering!

Now, the Lord and the Goddess thought that it was indeed so, and yet they had been riding this poor creature all these years. They realized the burden they had been putting on Nandi; both of them got down, and started walking on foot, with Nandi by their side. As they travelled further and went through the city centre, they found several ladies and gentlemen looking at them with smiling faces, and whispering to each other:

— Now, what to say about these people? Such a big and healthy bull is with them, yet they are walking on foot!

PS: Hope you do not need any analysis or explanation.

photo credit: Mount Kailash at dusk via photopin (license)

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10 thoughts on “A Folk Tale

  1. rationalraj2000

    In the south it is told as a story of a farmer and his son to highlight that you can’t please everyone.. First time hearing of it as Lord Shankar’s tale…


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