Folktales The best children's folktales, fables, animal lore, folklore, myths, fairy tales, legends and folk

tales from around the world! We have collected tales for kids from India, China, Burma and many other countries... Some of these tales will make you think, some of them will make you laugh, some will make you wonder, but almost all of them have hidden wisdom for you to discover! Silence is Golden By N C Ramaa; Illustration by Sudheer Nath Once upon a time, a Chinese student once went to his teacher. He asked his teacher a question: "Sir, is there any good in talking a lot?" The teacher replied: "Toads and frogs croak night and day, but no one pays any attention to them. But the cock crows at a certain time of night and wakes up everyone."

The teacher smiled at his student and said, "This proves that no good is achieved by talking a lot. What is important is to say the right thing at the right time." Modesty Pays By N C Ramaa; Illustration by Sudheer Nath There once lived a proud driver in Qi, a state in China. He was the driver of the Prime Minister of the state. One day the Prime Minister happened to drive through the street where the driver lived with his wife. Some neighbour's saw him drive the Prime Minister and were excited. One of the neighbours ran to the driver's home and said to driver's wife-"Quick! See who is driving the Prime Minister? Your husband." The wife ran out to see her husband drive the chariot of the Prime Minister. She saw her husband drive past her with his head held high up in the air, arrogant and proud.

When the driver returned home that evening, his wife did not speak to him. He asked her, "Why are you unhappy." She said, "I want to divorce you." The driver got the shock of his life. He said," Why, Why do you want to divorce me?" She replied, "Look at the Prime Minister, he sat with great modesty in the chariot. You are but his driver, yet you are so arrogant, that is why I want to leave you." The driver realized his mistake. He understood that the better a personget, more humble should he be to gain respect. From that day onwards, he became more humble. The Prime minister noticed the change in him. He asked the driver, "Why have you changed your manner of behaviour?" The driver replied, "My wife admonished me, and I think she is right." The Prime Minister admired his change in attitude, took him to the king and said, "Your Honour, my driver is a man of virtue, he has the courage to correct his own mistakes." Recognizing it, the king said, "Good! He should be given an officialpost." The driver was made an officer. He discharged his duties with greatmodesty, and lived happily ever after. A Crocodile Named Rain Cloud By Madhu Gurung; Illustration by Sudheer Nath A folktale from Myanmar Once upon a time there was an old fisherman Ye Myint and his wife Aye Aye Se wholived by the river Irrawady. Every day they cast their net and caught fish, which they sold at the local market. The old man and his wife did not have any children.

One day while fishing as usual, Ye Myint cast his net and waited for the catch. He was surprised to get only an egg. He recognised it as a crocodile egg. He called out to his wife who picked up the egg, took it home and put it under some straw. Some days later the egg hatched and a small baby crocodile came out.

Ye Myint and Aye Aye Se were very happy. They called the crocodile Rain Cloud and treated him as their son. Every day, after they returned from fishing, the old man and his wife would call out to Rain Cloud and feed him the choicest fish from their catch. Ye Myint made a small enclosure of river water where Rain Cloud swam safe from any predators. As the days went by, Rain Cloud grew and soon he was too big for the small pond that his father had made. So, with a heavy heart Ye Myint and Aye Aye Se put him back him in the river. But every day, without fail, both would go and call out to Rain Cloud to feed him.Soon Rain Cloud became very strong and all the fishes and other crocodiles grew afraid of him. As a result, Rain Cloud became very vain and proud. He no longer took Ye Myint and Aye Aye Se to be his parents but as ordinary human beings who came every day tofeed him and pay homage. One day, as Ye Myint called out to Rain Cloud, he slithered from the tall bull rushes and came to the bank of the river. He was in a bad and vicious mood. As the fisherman put out the fish for him to eat, Rain Cloud went underwater and caught hold of his ankle, pulling him towards the water. "My son what are you doing?" asked Ye Myint. "Why, I have decided to eat you," said Rain Cloud with an angry hiss. "But I am your father and I have always looked after you so much with love and care." "I have to eat you nevertheless," said Rain Cloud, his eyes red with anger. "Okay you can do that but let me pray for the last time," requested Ye Myint. Rain Cloud agreed and the old man fell on his knees, closed his eyes and with all his heart prayed that the next birth he should be born as the Master of White Magic so that he could take revenge on the crocodile. For Rain Cloud had broken his trust. After he had finished praying, Rain Cloud dragged the fisherman to the river and ate him up. After that day Rain Cloud became even more vicious and was greatly feared by animals, fish and humans who fished by the river. He now was the King of Irrawady. As he was handsome and powerful, many female crocodiles fell in love with him. Rain Cloud gave them the royal ignore as he was busy being the dominant king.

But as the years went by, Rain Cloud mellowed down. He started thinking about his past and felt remorseful at eating up the old man who had been a father to him. He would often think of him and feel very guilty. Rain Cloud stopped being vain and turned kind and helpful, especially toward humans. He wanted to do make up for what he had done. Now crocodiles can take on human forms after they are 100 years old. So, after Rain Cloud turned 100, he shed his scaly crocodile skin on the banks of Irrawady andwalked out as a handsome young man. He worked as an artist who excelled in painting landscape that brought out the incredible blues of the sky, the soaring birds or nesting cranesand the silver grey of the river. It was while painting, that he met a beautiful youngwoman Soe Mein, fell in love with her and married her. Rain Cloud and Soe Mein lived an idyllic existence. They were very happy. Rain Cloud built a house not far from the Irrawady. As fate would have it, a boy was born in a village close to the Irrawady. He remembered the boon he had asked God for and by the time he was 16, he was the Master of White Magic. On his 17th birthday, Moe Kyaw went to the bank of the Irrawady, took out his magic wand and dipping it in water cried "Rain Cloud!" Rain Cloud, who was sleeping in his house, woke up with a start. He heard the rumble of the Master of White Magic and felt fear. He woke up his sleeping wife and told her his life's story .Soe Mein clung to him crying, she was afraid to lose him. "Be brave my dearest," Rain Cloud said as he was leaving," I have to pay for what I have done." Rain Cloud hurried to the river and became a crocodile once again. He hurried away as he heard the second call of the Master of White Magic. Herecognised the voice of his father and knew that he had come to take revenge. With aheavy heart Rain Cloud knew that it was only with his death that the vicious cycle would end.

By the time Ye Myint put his wand for the third time, Rain Cloud came up from theriver. In his anger Ye Myint touched Rain Cloud with his wand, who was killed instantly. The Master of White Magic had not anticipated that Rain Cloud would leave something for him. He watched in surprise as Rain Cloud's upper body and two legs turned to rubies and his lower limbs became pure gold. Ye Myint was filled with remorse. Although he had got his wish, it was at the cost of the life of his son - Rain Cloud. He realised that revenge never pays anybody but leaves one with a heavy heart and years of regret to live with. Ye Myint did not touch the riches that Rain Cloud offered him in his death and with one last sorrowful look he left.

Soe Mein came looking for her beloved Rain Cloud. When she came across his form in gold and rubies she cried knowing that Rain Cloud had died. Soe Mein collected all the gold and rubies and built a big pagoda in the name of Rain Cloud which still remains on the banks of the silver gray river Irrawady where Rain Cloud had lived and died. It is said that those who throng the pagoda get their heart's desire. Why Monkeys Mean Trouble By B Sumangal; Illustrations by Sudheer Nath In the village of Sholingur in Tamil Nadu, is a temple dedicated to the Hindu monkey god Hanuman. The temple is on top of a small hill. In and around the hill in the thick forest live a group of monkeys. All they do is scare people and create trouble -- even when people worship them as symbols of Hanuman. And there's a story behind why they create trouble.… The story goes back a long time. In the village lived an old couple. The old woman would make delicious sweets every day and take them to the market where her husband sat at a stall and sold them. The old woman's sweets were so popular that whoever came to the temple specially stopped at the old man's stall to buy her sweets. One day, on her way to the market, the old woman tripped over a rock and fell. The basketful of sweets that she was carrying fell too. The sweets scattered on the ground. The old woman sank to the ground and wailed loudly in Tamil, "Aieeow! vambu velaiku vaindu vanthene!" (Look at this trouble I bought!). She started walking back home to get another fresh batch of sweets. She did not know but she was being watched by a monkey. As soon as she left, the monkey swung down from the tree branch he was sitting upon and came to examine the sweets.

He picked up a sweet and smelt it. His eyes lit up. Food! It made his mouth water as he hadn't had breakfast. He tucked into the sweet and found it to be delicious. He gobbled up two more. Looking around furtively, he stuffed five more in his mouth before the gang arrived for their share. He grabbed another two for good measure and hurried up the tree. Whatever it was that the woman had called it was very tasty. Then he remembered that the old woman had called it "trouble". For when the sweets had fallen she had wailed, "Oh look at the trouble I bought!" He decided to go to the market and buy some more of that "trouble". He took the old woman's half broken basket and went to the market.

And whom should he bump into but the old man, who was waiting for his wife to turn up with the sweets. There was already a big crowd of people near his stall waiting for the sweets to arrive. Ordinarily the old man would not have given the monkey a second glance. He knew monkeys were curious animals. But he saw the half broken basket that the animal was dragging and recognised it as his wife's. Now he was very worried. Whatever happened to her? He hurried after the monkey who was looking at everything wide-eyed. He didn't know where trouble was sold but he was determined to find out. Suddenly he saw the old man who was coming behind him. "Hey man! I wish to buy some trouble." The old man was puzzled. What did the monkey mean by wishing to "buy trouble?" He asked the monkey to explain. "An old woman dropped this basket and said 'Oh god! Look at this trouble I bought'. I had some and it tasted delicious and I want to buy some more." The old man thought and thought. At last he put two and two together. Then he looked at the monkey and asked, "Do you know what trouble is?" Hungry and anxious to get away with his treasure before his pals looked out from nearby trees, he said tersely, "Yes! Give me all and double quick, you fool."

The old man gave a lopsided grin at the monkey. He told the monkey to wait while he went in and packed some trouble for him. He soon came out dragging a large jute bag. The bag was tied at the mouth. He gave it to the monkey and reverently folded his hands together in prayer. Ignoring the old man, the monkey took the bag, threw it across his shoulder and scampered away. The weight of the bag was killing, he was bent double, but the thought of the mouthwatering delicacies inside kept him going. Soon he was out of the village. Tired of carrying the bag he decided to rest a while. He could not resist the thought of eating some trouble there and then. With renewed energy he wiped the drool from his mouth and undid the strings that tied the bag. As the strings fell away, two gaping mouths with ferocious teeth and savage growls leapt out. The monkey did not wait to investigate whom the mouth and claws belonged to. His heart was already in his mouth. With a leap higher than any he had taken in his life, he managed to barely reach the branch of the nearest tree. As the monkey leapt up, the two dogs that had been released from the bag, jumped high to catch him. One of the dogs managed to get hold of the monkey's tail that was still hanging down, and neatly snipped it off. Howling in pain the monkey climbed higher and higher until the dogs were mere specks down below.

To this day, monkeys stay up in the trees and stay far away from trouble, but also try to create trouble for humans - even when they are worshipped. Preparing for Winter An Aesop's Fable retold by Manisha Deveshvar; Illustration by Anup Singh Autumn was coming to an end. All the insects and animals were working very hard to stock their larders with enough food to last them the winter. They all knew that winter time would be tough - it would be cold and food would be scarce. As it would get dark really soon, it would be difficult to go looking for food. Therefore, everyone was working hard, all except Mr Grasshopper. He loved autumn. Autumn was a time when the leaves changed colour. It was all so so pretty. The trees seemed to be on fire with red, yellow and orange leaves, which then fell off and covered the ground. There was a pleasant breeze too.

Mr Grasshopper spent his days playing. He jumped from leaf to leaf and from one fallen twig to another. What he liked best was the way the leaves bounced when he jumped off them, and how the leaf he landed on swayed with his weight. "Yooo eeeeee. Life is lovely, the world is beautiful, I want to play forever..." he sang. Just then little Miss Ant happened to pass by. She was dragging a heavy grain of rice behind her. "Oowf. This is so heavy. I wish I could get some help with this. I should have asked my brother to come along to help me," she was muttering. "Oh, do you need help?" asked Mr Grasshopper. "Yes, sir. Would you give me a hand? My ant hill is just a few trees away, but this is so heavy," replied the ant happily. "Naw. First you come and play with me for some time, then I shall gladly help you. What are you toiling for anyway? Autumn is so beautiful, you too should enjoy the weather while you can," the grasshopper said. "No, Mr Grasshopper. You too must start collecting your food for the winter. Otherwise it will be tough as there won't be anything to eat," said the concerned ant. "Nothing doing. I will go out and find all the food I want when I am hungry. Right now it is time to play and have a party," the silly grasshopper replied. So Miss Ant just shook her head and went on - "Huff, puff, huff, puff." Then winter came. It was so cold that the ants didn't dare to come out. But their tummies were full and they were warm and happy. Actually, everyone was warm and happy, except for Mr Grasshopper. He was cold and hungry. As he went hunting for food only when it was less cold than usual, he got very little to eat and soon became weak with hunger. "Oh, why did I spend my days playing? I should have listened to the ant..." he thought with regret.

Whatever Happens, Happens for the Best... By: Ajay Jaiman; Illustrations by Amarjeet Malik Once upon a time there was an old man called Sthira, who lived alone in a village. He would go about his business alone, even in his old age. He was a nice, friendly man who was liked by all the people in the village. They would often come over to the old man’s house and express their sympathy that his only son had gone so far away to study. They wondered aloud if his son would ever return. To all their concern, Sthira would always thank them and say, "Whatever happens, happens for the good."

One day, the old man’s son returned to the village. The entire village was very happy for Sthira, and streams of villagers came over to congratulate him. Like always, the old man was polite. He thanked all of them for coming over and said, "Whatever happens, happens for the good." Barely a few days had passed, when one day, Sthira’s son fell off a horse’s back and broke his leg. Once again the entire village came over to Sthira’s house to express their concern. And once again the old man thanked them for their sympathy and said, "Whatever happens, happens for the good." Some of the villagers were surprised to hear this and wondered what good could there possibly be in a broken leg. A few days later, a small army of the local king came to the village and recruited all able-bodied young men into the army. When they came to Sthira’s house they found his son with a broken leg. So they left him behind. Once again, all the villagers came to the old man’s house to congratulate him for his good luck. And like always, the old man thanked them for their concern and said, "Whatever happens, happens for the good." How Stars Came into Being Saora folktale retold by Moushumi Mohanty; Illustrations by Sudheer Nath This is a story about a long, long time ago. There was once an old man who smoked tobacco. He smoked tobacco in terracotta or clay pipes, called pikka. This old man had three sons. When the three sons grew up, he got them married one after the other.

It happened once, that the eldest son went to his wife's parents' house to attend a marriage. His wife's entire family treated him like a king. His wife's sister prepared a pikka for him. But the mischievous girl filled the pikka with salt and put a little tobacco on top.

The man lit the pikka and blew out the smoke. As he did that, something extraordinary happened. The salt caught fire and crackled. Sparks flew. But, he was not scared at all. He blew so hard that the sparks flew high up into the sky and got stuck there. They became stars.

The man lit the pikka and blew out the smoke. As he did that, something extraordinary happened. The salt caught fire and crackled. Sparks flew. But, he was not scared at all. He blew so hard that the sparks flew high up into the sky and got stuck there. They became stars.