Gond folktales

Story of Peacock and Owl
As told by Durga Bai: 
“There was once an election held to choose the king of the jungle. It was a tie between Mor (Peacock) and Ullu (Owl), but as it was unanimously decided that it the king of the jungle could not be Ullu the Owl, (who we believe to be quite foolish) , Mor the Peacock was chosen as the king of the jungle and he was to be crowned the very next morning . While Mor was getting dressed up for the occasion he got so carried away that he completely lost track of time. The animals patiently waited and waited, but when Mor still did not show up for the coronation, they make Ullu the king of the jungle instead.”

Story of the Peacock and the Lapwing
As told by Rajendra Shyam:
When Bada Dev created the world, it took seven days. Bada Dev created all the creatures of nature in the first three and a half days and the grains in the remaining three and a half days. He wanted to create a bird called Peacock, and so first he made all the parts – the head, feathers, tail, legs and crown separately. But another bird called the Lapwing saw all these parts and she decided that she would take the legs for herself. Sometime later Lapwing laid her eggs but then she suddenly became very fearful of the jungle, wind, water and sky, and she thought that if the sky were to fall down she could stop it by using her new legs. After all of this, Peacock danced in the monsoon and he admired his beauty, but when he looked down at his legs he felt unhappy because in all his beauty only his legs were ugly and this is why he is shown weeping in the painting.

Gond Stories about Death

(From The Gonds of Andhra Pradesh, by C. von Fürer-Haimendorf, 1979, George Allen & Unwin, London.)

In the beginning Shambu Pen made earth, he made one man, one bull, one dog and one stork and to each of these he allotted a life of 40 years long.  Forty years each was to live on this earth.  The bull grumbled,  the dog grumbled and the stork grumbled; life was too hard, forty years too long, twenty years would suffice.  Man too grumbled but he grumbled because he considered that forty years was not enough:  “Why should it be only forty?  After only forty I will not want to return to Shambu Pen”.  The bull, the dog and the stork heard man and each offered to give twenty years of the time allotted to them.   “Give it in writing”, said man, “so that when Shambu calls me at the end of forty years I will have something to show him.”
To the palace of Shambu Pen went man, bull, dog and stork. Man informed Shambu of his desire to live longer than forty years in the world and said that bull, dog and stork agreed to give up part of their lifetime.   Shambu Pen recorded their wishes and ever since the life of bulls, dogs and storks have been short, while some men live to the age of sixty, some to eighty and some even to a hundred years. 

 The Carpenter and the Messengers of Death

Although death is considered the direct result of the jiv leaving the body, the Gonds recognize that death may be precipitated by disease, a device designed by Sri Shambu to facilitate the task of his messengers, when he sends them to  summon the jiv of the living:
Bhagavan  decreed that a carpenter should die.  The carpenter had lived long enough on this earth.  So Bhagavan sent Yama and his two messengers to summon the carpenter’s jiv to Bhagavan.  But Yama made a mistake.  He went to the house of a Gond and summoned his jiv.  Life fled from the Gond, all his clansmen mourned and the women began weeping and wailing.  When Bhagavan saw the jiv of the Gond he abused Yama.  “I did not summon the jiv of the Gond but the jiv of the carpenter.”  And he sent Yama back to fetch the jiv of the carpenter;  the jiv of the Gond he commanded should return to its body.  The corpse of the Gond was carried out of the house, as the bier crossed the threshold the jiv entered the body; the women wailed and the funeral pyre stood ready; then the jiv stirred in the limbs of the Gond. “Stop, stop”, shouted the Gonds.  “This man is not dead.  There is life in his body.” Then they set down the bier. And the Gond repeated what Bhagavan had said, and all came to know that it was the carpenter and not the Gond whom Bhagavan had summoned. 

The carpenter heard the tidings.  Heard that Bhagavan would send Yama for him the next day.  Then he thought, “I am a clever man, I am a good carpenter, I can make many things, boxes and cots and doors. Surely I can find some way of avoiding this misfortune.”  The carpenter went to the jungle.  He found a mahua tree (bassia latifolia), he hollowed the trunk and made a door in the  trunk, and set it like a trap so that the door shut on all who entered.  Then he returned to his house. 
Next morning Yama and his two messengers came to the carpenter’s house. “Bhagavan has summoned you”,   said Yama, “you must come with us.”  “Just wait a moment said the carpenter.  You can accompany me and then I will accompany you to Bhagavan.”
The carpenter led them into the forest, he led them to the mahua tree and showed them the mahua tree with the carved door.  Yama and his messengers said,  “This is very fine work, what a clever man you are!”   “Go in”, said the carpenter, “go in and see what is inside.”  The messengers stepped over the threshold, Yama went inside, and the door closed.  The carpenter returned to his house well pleased with himself. 
Bhagavan sat in his palace.  One month passed, two months passed, one year passed; and when twelve years had passed and nothing was heard of Yama and the messengers; Bhagavan determined to discover what had happened to them. Near his house he planted a mahua tree, in a few months he caused the mahua tree to grow to full stature, caused the mahua tree to blossom and when the flowers littered the ground, he gathered them together and from them distilled liquor.  Then he called an arrack seller and set up a shop bidding him sell the liquor and keep his ears open for Yama and his messengers. 
The liquor was strong and many people came to the arrack shop.  One day the carpenter came to drink arrack.  He sat on the grass in the shade of the tree and drank liquor, once, twice, thrice he drank, he was quite drunk.  So drunk was he that he grew boastful. “I am a very fine man,” he said to his neighbour. “See what a clever man I am.”  All around him men and women were drinking liquor.  “Why don’t you listen”,  said the carpenter.  “I’ll tell you a tale.  Bhagavan sent Yama and his minions to fetch me, but I carved a trap in a tree and invited the three to enter.  There they are shut in, they can never escape.”
The seller of the arrack had heard enough.  He went to Bhagavan and told him what the carpenter had said.  Hearing his words, Bhagavan dressed himself like a sadhu, girth his loins with an orange cloth and smeared his body with ashes, rubbed ashes and dust into his long hair and his beard.  Then Bhagavan went and sat in the arrack seller’s shop. 
Next day, at midday, came the villagers and also the carpenter.  They sat down in the shade and started drinking.  The other villagers drank one or two cups but the carpenter drank many, and when he was drunk, the arrack seller said to him, “Yesterday you said you had locked Bhagavan’s people away.  What a clever man you are, now tell us how you do it.”
“Oh that was nothing”, roared the carpenter.  “That was twelve years ago.  Ha ha ha! They are still there!  If you don’t believe me, go and see for yourself.  Just beyond the hill you’ll find a  tall tree with a door, there they are.”
Quietly Bhagavan rose and made his way to the mahua tree.  He opened the door and there he found Yama and his two messengers.  Quite weak and thin they were; they were famished with hunger and very thirsty and their bodies were shriveled. 
For many days Bhagavan considered.  If I send Yama and his messengers for that carpenter again  he will surely ensnare them.  He is a very clever man.  Yet his life must end.  It is time his years on earth  were over.  Then he thought of a trick to outwit the carpenter.  He sent an owl from the forest to cry munf, munf at his door; the carpenter heard the owl crying munf, munf,   rose from his bed and went into the night to see what was wrong.  The carpenter saw nothing, and returned to his house.  Again the owl cried munf, munf, again the carpenter rose from his bed and went out into the cold night air.  And so it went on the whole night.  In the morning fever seized the carpenter, fever shook his body.  The carpenter was ill; one day passed, two days passed, three days passed.  For eight days the fever did not leave him; he was ravaged with fever his body grew weak and his senses were straying.  “Now” said Bhagavan to Yama, “Go and fetch the carpenter.  He is ill, he is weak, you can easily carry him off!”
Ever since men have been forewarned of their approaching end by pain and illness.  No longer does death come suddenly and unexpectedly; as a rule, Bhagavan summons the jiv only when the body is weak with fever and disease.

The Coming of Death - Muria, Palari, Bastar state

(From Myths of Middle India, by Verrier Elwin, 1949.  Oxford University Press, New Delhi.)

At the beginning of the world men were very small.   They ploughed with rats and had to pull down brinjals as if they were getting mangoes.  The ground was so soft that you could fall down to the Lower World.  In those days men could remove the tops of their heads, examine them for lice and put them back again.  When the first men died, their neighbours took them out to burial but the corpses got up and came back and sat in front of their houses.  When the neighbours came in they asked, "Where have you been?"  "We have been out burying you".
"What sort of folk are you?  We were just sleeping and you carried us here and there.  when we awoke, we returned home!"

When Mahapurub heard of this, he wondered how he was to get lives for his kingdom.  He thought, "I must stick the tops of their heads on; then they will certainly die."  He ground flour, mixed it with water into a paste and hid it.  Then he went to see the first man and woman.  "What have you got inside your heads?" He asked.  "Do show me".
They removed the tops of their heads and Mahapurub quickly smeared the edges with paste muttering, "Never come unstuck again".

When the first man and woman put the tops of their heads back, they stuck and soon afterwards people began to die.  And now for fear that the dead might come back again to their houses, the neighbours burnt their bodies and they never returned to life. 

The myth of the entrapment of the Gond gods

(From The Gonds of Andhra Pradesh, by C. von Fürer-Haimendorf, 1979, George Allen & Unwin, London.)

 There is a myth that the Gond gods were lured into a subterranean prison by a squirrel let loose by Mahadeo, and that it was  Pahandi Kupar Lingal  (Lingo) who liberated the Gond gods.  There are various myths about Lingal – that he was born near a pahandi tree, or that he sprung from an egg laid by the mythical vulture, Mohami.  There are parallels between Lingal and characteristics of Shiva.

Lingal felt happy resting in the shade of a great banyan tree.  He took out his instrument (the Bana) and played.  The Gond gods rumbling in the earth, the palmira palm stirred, and they awoke and said to hear other, “What beautiful music!  Certainly they are the tunes of our katora (priest).”  Full of new hope the Gond gods roused themselves.  Thin and yellow they were, shrunken and weak after twelve years of confinement and starvation;  some sat up, some stood up and some even danced to the joyous tunes while others, still half asleep, swayed to the rhythm of Lingal’s music. 

Pahandi Kupar Lingal rejoiced.  He knew that at last he had found his Gond gods.  But how to free them?  How to bring them out of the cave?  He remembered Jangu Bai and called her name, begging her help.  Hardly had her name passed his lips when Jangu Bai stood before him.  ‘Why have you called me?” she asked. “Why have you thought of me?” 

“I have found my gods.  My Gond gods are in this cave over which the palmira tree grows.  How can I tear up this tree?  How can I shift the stone slab?”

Then Jangu Bai instructed Lingal in all he should do.  She told him of the giant bird Ranisurral whom Sri Shambu had posted to guard the cave.  She showed him the bird’s nest with its two small nestlings in the branches of the tree under which he had rested and she advised him to kill the small birds lest their shrieks betray his presence to their parents who were away and searching for food.  She bade him collect the resin of many trees and heat it in a cauldron.  Lingal was planning to pour it on the chicks, but he could not climb the smooth tree trunk.  Jangu Bai help him climb the tree.  As he climbed up the chicks saw him and shrieked so loudly that the whole earth trembled and darkness enveloped the earth.  In fear, Lingal descended the tree, but this time he climbed down the front side of Jangu Bai, who was angry:  She had been touched by a man and now they could no longer belong to the same kin-group. 
The birds returned each carrying an elephant in its beak, at the cry of the chicks.  Jangu Bai seized them at the foot of the tree, one bird in each hand.  They claimed to be servants of Sri Shambu, but that failed to impress Jangu Bai.  She killed the two birds, uprooted the Palmira tree, moved the great boulder that was twelve times the size of a bull, from the entrance of the cave Sursuryadi, and out of the cave came the Gond gods.

Lingal was now afraid that the hungry gods would eat him. “For twelve years I have searched for my Gond gods and now I have freed them they want to devour me.  Therefore I am in need of advice.” 

Finally Lingal  plays his instrument and charms the ferocious gods.  

(from The Muria and their Gotul, 264f)

Cats and Rats - Baiga, Baghmara Kawardha State

After their marriage, Parvati went to live in Mahdeo's house  But Mahadeo was never to be found at home.  He was always away on some business or other in the jungle.  Twelve years and thirteen ages passed while Parvati remained lonely in the house.  Then from the dirt of her body she made a tiger and sent it to frighten Mahadeo home.  Mahadeo was making a plough and he threw the shavings of the wood at the tiger.  They turned into wild dogs and chased it away.  The tiger ran back, its tail tucked into its arse, and since it had been made of the dirt from Parvati's chest, it sprung on to her chest and hung there.  At that time Parvati was cleaning an old blackened earthen pot and her hands were dirty.  The dogs came chasing the tiger and tried to catch it.  Parvati pushed them away with her hands and that is why the wild dog's face is black.  To soothe the frightened tiger Parvati stroked its face with her fingers and the black lines can still be seen.
Mahadeo got hungry and at last came home for a meal.  When the tiger saw him it again jumped onto Parvati's chest.  Mahadeo picked up a long wooden spoon, put the handle into the fire and drew lines all over the tiger's body to punish it for coming to frighten him.  Sometimes he put the bowl of the spoon into the fire and made round marks instead.
Then to punish Parvati for what she had done, Mahadeo took dirt from his body and made a rat and told it to eat the food in the house and even tear Parvati's own cloth.  Having done this he went back to the jungle and continued making his plough.
When the rat began to be a great nuisance in the house, Parvati rubbed her thigh and from the dirt made a cat.  That is why the cat's body is round like a woman's thigh and its head like a knee, and now directly a rat comes out a cat attacks it immediately.

Deer -  Binjhwar, Dhaurabhata, Raipur District

Bhangarh Deo was always ailing;  he went one day to Sisu Deo for medicine and advice from her winnowing fan.  Sisu Deo said, "You must sacrifice an antelope in my name and then you will recover; otherwise you will die." Bhangarh Deo said, "And where will I get an antelope? I have never heard of such a creature." Sisu Deo said, "If you will pay me enough I will make one for you."  Sisu Deo said, "Come after two days and I will have the antelope ready and you can take it away."
There was a harra tree and at its foot a little ash.  Sisu Deo took the ash in his hand and muttered a charm - "By this charm let Dhodhi (Sisu's wife. They had quarrelled and she had gone down to her mother's house in the Lower World.  But Sisu Deo still had power over her womb by his magic, and forced her to give brith to the antelope),give birth and let it come leaping and go to the back of the Baba's house."  He got a keu root and made horns; he fixed a leaf for a tail and coloured it with harra juice and there was the antelope ready. He tied it by his house.  After two days Bhangarh Deo came with money and bought the antelope and sacrificed it, and recovered.

Why Men and Animals no Longer Talk Together - Ahir - Panderwa, Bilaspur District

In the old days all the animals, cows, tigers, dogs, bears, goats and jackals used to graze together and talk with the Rawat who took them to the forest.  For at that time men and animals could talk together freely.
On the Dumketi Kachhar hills, Kawar Rawat used to graze his herd of animals and daily he talked and laughed with them.  One day when his wife was pregnant he wanted to go home early.  He asked the cow, "Is your belly full yet? If it is, we will go home; if not, we will go further in the jungle."  The cow said, "No, my belly is not full;  I still am hungry." At home the Rawat's wife began to feel her pains and she sent a boy to call her husband.
"Come, your wife is in pain; there will be a child." The Rawat said to the herd, "Come brothers, let us go home. There will be a child." But they said, "Our bellies are not full.  We wont go yet."  Kawar Rawat took his stick and beat the cow so hard that still on one side of her body there is a hollow place and only one side is full.  To the tigers and bears he said, "Go away into the jungle;  I will graze you no more."  To all the animals he said, "From today you will be dumb.  I don't want to hear you talk again."  He drove the bears and tigers into the jungle and took the cows home quickly, and that day there was a child in the house.

(Note: Even now rats are said to understand human speech. It was the custom in the Punjab that when people made rat-poison they declared that they were cooking food for the neighbours for if they were overheard the talk the rats were supposed to understand the word poison.)

Gond - Barratola, Mandla District

In Jhinjhgarh lived Korwasai Dewar the Baiga and his wife Andaro.  They had a daughter whose name was Sukhnibai.  Mahadeo came to serve for her as Lamsena and wrokd for five years in her house.  But the Dewar and his wife did not give the boy propoer food to ear, with the result that he grew very thin.
When the five years service was completed, the Dewar and his wife said to Mahadeo, "Now go and call your relatives and we will celebrate your marriage". Mahadeo called for tigers, bears, snakes, scorpions and brought them in his marriage party.  The Dewar had collected a great quantity of food and liquor and when he saw the animals and reptiles in Mahadeo's marriage party he was very angry, for he said, "Who will east the feast that I have prepared?"  Then Mahadeo by his magic power caused the animals to say that they would drink the Baiga's liquor but  the snakes and scorpions said, "We must have ganja".
The Baiga gave teh post of liquor to the bears and tigers to drink but he had no ganja and wondered how to get some.  Finally he sent his wife to pick datura leaves and when she brought them to the house he rubbed and rubbed them till a drop of juice fell to the ground.  From this drop was born the hemp plant.  Then the Baiga got the water of twelve tanks and made a pipe as big as twelve threshing-floors.  He mixed the datura leaves with the water and filled the pipe and gave it to the snakes and scorpions to drink.  They soon became drunk and began to dance.  As the snakes danced - in those days they went upright like men - their backs broke and ever since they have gone flat along the ground.

Gond - Dhanras, Uprora Zamindari

On the Hill of Peafowls Eggs was born the Saila dance and song.  At first peacocks used to dance the Saila.  Men went for wood and leaves and they saw the dance; they too were pleased; they joined the birds and all danced together.  When the men had learnt how to do it, they went home and taught it in the villages.  In the jungle, was a tall date palm;  The peacocks used to dance round it.  As the peacock has a tuft on its head and a fine tail, men too put tufts in their turbans and decorations on their buttocks.  As the peacock dances looking back at its own beauty, so in the Saila men dance looking back at their shadows.  The first Saila song was:

Khajrake tari nachat nachat hai manjura

Janamane ethai more jhaliya manjura.
Under the palm tree the peacock dances 
It has taken birth, my long-tailed peacock.

But when men had learnt everything, the peacock stopped the Saila.  For they were frightened, and the long-tailed peacocks said to me, "Make tufts of our tails and put them in your turbans and your Saila will never go wrong."  They pulled out many feathers from their tails and gave them to the men to use in the Saila.  

Gond - Bilhar, Bilaspur District

When men come in weary from their toil in the fields, they  rest in all their eighty chambers and seventy-two veins.  They sleep and the soul goes out to search for the wealth they have not found in the day.  That is why sleep is given to men, for without it they would have no courage.  In sleep, a man thinks he is wise and rich; he goes all over the world.   Without sleep, he could not bear the work he has to do every day.  

Muria -  Berma, Bastar State

Long ago men could read the future in their dreams.  An owl heard of it and said, "If men can see their dreams, they will never die."  The owl waited till the gods were holding a Darbar and then fell with a bang into the midst of them. The gods said, "What is the matter?"  The owl replied, "I have had a dream, and in that dream I was marrying a Raja's daughter.  We had done eleven rounds of the Lagir;  had it been twelve, she would have been mine; but I awoke and fell to the ground.  Now I must marry this girl.  What am I to do?"

The gods were concerned and said to one another, " How can a red-eyed bird marry a Raja's daughter?"  The owl replied, "But all the world gets what it sees in dreams;  how can it be that only my dreams are false?"  At that the gods cursed men saying, "From now on, let all dreams be false". 

Dhanwar – Barbhata, Uprora Zamindari

When the world would not remain steady, Mother Earth cause birds to be born. The first birds had four leg. But after then were born Mother Earth took two legs from each and set them below the earth like the pillars of a house. Resting on the legs of crores of birds the world became steady. (p34)

Gond – Patangarth, Mandla District

At the beginning there was nothing but water. On its surface floated a lotus flower on which sat Mahadeo. When he saw nothing but water he made a crow from the dirt of his body and sent it to find earth. The crow flew and flew till it came to reset on the claw of the great crab, Kakramal Ksahttri. When the crow said “Kao”, the crab exclaimed, “At last after many days I have got something to eat.” The crow replied, “Uncle, my father has sent me to you.” The crab said, “Nephew, why have you come? Tell me quickly.” The crow replied, “My father has sent me to get earth to make the world.”

Then the two of them went to Singardip. There Nal Raja and Nal Rani had earth. After searching for a long time, the crab and the cow went to Nal Raja and Nal Rani and began calling them aunt and uncle and asked for some earth as a loan. They promised to give it and said, “Take some food and then go your way.” Nal Rani prepared poison for the guests. When they had eaten, they became drunk and then unconscious. When they saw them safely asleep, Nal Raja and Nal Rani stole the earth and prepared to run away. But the crab awoke and caught them in its claws and squeezed the earth out of their mouths and gave it to the crow.
Then the crow took the earth to Mahadeo. Mahadeo made seven leaf-cups of lotus leaves and put a little earth in each. He stirred it up in each cup and called for Makramal Kshattri. He said to her, “Now spin your web over the face of the sea.” The spider prepared her web and Mahadeo put the seven cups of earth upon it and fanned them with a lotus leaf. With the breeze of his fanning, the earth was carried over the web and the seven kinds of earth were prepared – the black earth, the red earth, the milk earth, the barren earth, the gravel earth, virgin earth and swampy earth.

When all was ready, Mahadeo said to Bhimsen, “I have made the earth, but I do not know whether it is solid or no.” Bhimsen was pleased and said, “I will come and look.” As he went, his feet sank into the earth. But he lay down on the ground and rolled about, thus making mountains.” (p38)

Gond – Mangwani, Mandla District

Originally the sky was very near the earth. There was an old woman. Everyday she use to clean her courtyard. One day the sky was knocked against her back as she bent down to sweep. She was annoyed and pushed the sky up a bit with her broom. But the sky went right up up to where it is now. (p82)

Dewar – The Crab, Tendubhata, Raipur District
The crab is the grandson of Bhagavan.  For twelve ages it did penance and at last Bhagavan gave it a blessing: “What I write, you can read, but no others. You are the Raja of the waters. “ In the old days, therefore, when there was nothing in the world but water the crab lived in the ocean. It killed everything that fell into the water. Bhagavan thought, “If I give my blessings to the crab, then when I am in trouble it will help me”. And when Bhagavan wanted to make the earth he could get no one to help him but the crab. When at last the earth was ready, Bhimsen was sent to level it, but the crab thought he was stealing it and ran to fight him. Across the path the spider had made its web. The crab was very angry. “Are you trying to trap me?” it shouted. And it put its foot on the spider. The spider cursed the crab. “You have trodden on me. Henceforth you will live under the earth. Unless you hide in your hole, you will die.”
The crab is the master of the earth and sees that on one steals it. When the earth was ready, Bhagavan gave Bhimsen the kingdom of water and the crab the kingdom of dry land. When no rain falls, the crab weeps and makes a humming noise. Bhimsen’s ears stand like those of a frightened horse at the sound and rain begins to fall.” (p153)

Gond – Taurbahara, Bindra-Nawagarh Zamindari

Formally the crab had a trunk like an elephant. But when Mahadeo cut off the head of Ganesh and Parvati was very angry, he cut off the crab’s trunk and put it on Ganesh instead. But this killed the crab. Parvati got angry again. “You are not content with ruining Ganesh: you must destroy the poor crab as well.” So Mahadeo said, “Crab, O brother crab, get up and live even without a head.” Up got the crab and in compensation Mahadeo made its back very strong. You can still see the marks of Mahadeo’s sword o the place where its head should be. (p154)

Gond – Barratola, Mandla District

In former times the crab had no claws. One day a Baigin went to the river to fish. Under a large stone she found a crab and caught it. As she was about to kill it the crab folded its hands and said, “Mother, don’t kill me; keep me in your house and I will make all arrangements for you.”
The woman took the crab home. A few days afterwards the Raja sent his servants to call the villagers to come to his fields to cut the crop. When they came to the Baigin’s house, she had neither husband nor son to send to the fields. But the crab said, “Don’t be afraid mother, I will go instead.” She went to the Agaria’s smithy and got him to make two small knives of iron. She fixed the knives in front of the crab’s body and by her magic ensured that it would be able to cut anything it desired.
The crab went to the Raja’s fields and cut a whole field by itself and piled up the grain. It returned to the Baigin’s house and she was pleased and sent it back to live in the river. (p154)

“Note: At first men and snakes lived together; they used to eat from the same kitchen and would visit each other’s houses for festivals and marriages. The snakes never bit men and men never killed the snakes.” (p168)

Agaria - The Elephant- Daldal, Mandla District

In a former age elephants used to fly. They had great wings. One day an elephant flew down to a lake and went in to drink water. There was a crocodile in the lake and when it heard the elephant splashing about, it wondered what this great creature was. It swam through the water and caught it by the leg.
The elephant tried to fly away but could not because of the crocodile which dragged it into deep water. They struggled together for twelve years and thirteen ages until the elephant called on Bhagavan for help. Bhagavan came and aw that the crocodile had torn the wings of the elephant and that the great creature was worn out and ready to die. Bhagavan pulled the noise and it became very long; he took it by the ears and they became very broad. Then he cut off what was left of the wings, for the elephants were always coming down from the sky and crashing on houses and cowsheds and ruining them. So Bhagavan said, “From now onwards elephants should not fly.” (p218) 

Bhaina - Kenda Zamindari

At first birds could not fly; They used to walk or hop about.  One day there was a Raja's wedding.  Everyone was invited.  Among the guests was a Baiga Guru and a Bhaina Gunia. They tried to prove which was the greater magician.  First the Baiga turned the guests into horses and asses.  But the Bhaina  turned some into water, and some into fire.  When they had been turned back into men, they came to the angry magicians and fell at their feet saying, "Trouble us no more; we have seen what great power you have."

The Baiga was going home.  He saw many birds who had been invited to the wedding following him.  Across the past he set bird-lime.  A bird was caught in it and began to weep.  The Bahina saw it and by his magic was caught in it and began to weep.  The Bhaina saw it and by his magic gave the bird wings.  it flew into the air and escaped the Baiga, who was very angry.  But since that day birds have been able to fly. (p184)


  1. story peacock and owl, durgabai
    here is some description about the story,
    when peacock was going to be king next early morning, he was very exited for that. he thought i am going to be a king, i should look more beautiful.he started to get ready from the morning then he got so busy to his makeup, he forgot about the time, when he went there, he saw the owl as a king. after that he regret a lot. and have to except owl as king.
    in a gondi language,it is called khusra(ullu,owl), here is a famous saying or a comment to anyone when anything has happened " haigye khusra k raaj"(it is be reign of owl). this saying has came after this story. specially when something has has done foolish so the comment come out, because we also consider owl as a fool.

  2. I understand that it is the peacock and the owl story that the Gond artists favour- a lot because peacocks are great to draw in their style.
    Also there could be some good character animation in this story.
    I wonder if there is a good Gond song for this story (or indeed any other story)?? Even though I was not able to use the song throughout the Mouse and the Wagtail story it was still fantastic that it existed and came at the end since it really helped to bring the story to life. Do you have other songs that every knows to go with any of these stories??

  3. yes it will be nice, if we add some gond songs in the story. even i think there is some songs in these stories too, which is not mention here. dilip and rajendra must know about that. or else if we need to add some gondi songs, related to peacock and owl story, so it can be happen. or we can choose any other story! where some songs already exist!
    i just want to know what kind of story we want? should any moral be in the story?
    should story related to our life?
    or simply traditional/folk story??

  4. Do you think we could combine the story of the Peacock and the Owl and the Peacock and the Lapwing? Each story seems a little short on its own. That way we could build up the tragic scenario for the peacock. Also would we want to stereotype the characters of the birds - vain, arrogant peacock, foolish owl that thinks he is so wise...sneaky Lapwing. Like people in society.

    1. ya i think so that could be possible. i don't have any problem to mix up these two stories. now have to discuss about this with venket and other artist too.

  5. The stories should not be mixed up, but which ever story/ies are chosen they will have to be adapted for the film medium. Luckily we have the animators to help us with that. It is different to tell a story than to show it in animation.

  6. Dear Tara,

    Thank you very much for the mail which let me know about your blog and gave me a chance to read these beautful folk tales. In my view, these two stories should not be mixed up. It doesn't matter whether they are short or long.

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