This is a hunger that leads us down a path of discovery and realization. This pulls us towards new experiences and helps us break away from monotony and boredom. We learn for the joy of learning.
In folktales Curiosity is treated as a curse. The curious woman is thrashed for her nagging questions. The curious princess finds herself in all kinds of trouble and even in fairy tales such as Goldilocks and Snow White, curiosity lands the heroine in great trouble.
So while searching for curiosity tales, I wished for one that would throw a positive light on this amazing value to imbibe. Curiosity is that which takes us through a journey of discovery and as we grow older curiosity can help keep us mentally and physically active.
There are two delightful stories that you must read if you want to experience curiosity through a tale:
"Why Why Girl" by Jnanapith / Padma Vibhushan awardee Mahashwetha Devi, which reflects a lot of this folktale I have narrated here, but in delightful language. At the same time telling us Books are a source of immense answers to the questioning child.
The other book I would recommend is this delightful book about how curiosity spurred Albert Eistein called
"On a Beam of light" by Berne ( author) & Radunsky ( illustrator)
The Wonderer - Norwegian Folktale
(The original tale can be found on Tell me a Story - U express)
In a land far up North lived a boy called Per. He was curious about everything around him and constantly wondered why things were the way they are.
Even while playing a game, he would suddenly stop to ask a question: “Why are the clouds so high up in the sky?” only to be ridiculed by his friends who were quite used to his random questions by now.
Yet he did not let it bother him as he wondered and wandered the village; sometimes observing, sometimes asking and sometimes just understanding things as they appeared to him.
Curious Per they called him and he did not mind. “Curiosity kills the cat” they mocked him, but he never gave a heed.
“I wonder how people can make new things if they are not curious like me, so I am sure that need not be true all the time” he said. No matter what his friends said, it never stopped him from wandering and wondering and thinking up creative answers to his questions.
One day, while playing with his friends, they heard a deep rumbling from within the woods. It sounded like a hammering, but one can never know what it may be.
“What is that sound I wonder?”said curious Per aloud. “You wonder about the sounds coming from the woods?”, laughed his friends.
But Per decided to investigate and he followed the sound to a clearing in the woods and there saw a strange sledgehammer that was hammering a rock. But there was no one holding the hammer!
“May I know what it is you are doing?” asked Per.
“Waiting for you”said the hammer. So Per took the hammer and put into his bag and went back to his village.
“So did you find the sounds of the wood?” Asked his friends and Per just smiled at them and nodded his head.
On another day while playing by the stream, his friends and he bent down to drink from the cool water, when Per had another question. “Where does this stream come from, I wonder?” he said.
“Ha ha, from the top of a tree” laughed his friends.
Scarcely heeding their words, Per followed the stream upwards, walking further and further away from them and when he finally stopped, he saw the strangest sight. A walnut was open and the stream gushed out from it! He picked up the walnut, and closed its mouth with some moss and put it into his bag again.
“So did you find the tree?” Asked his friends when he went back. “No, I found a nut” he said and they simply laughed at him.
It so happened that the King of that land was living in his beautiful palace high up on the mountains. But there were two things that bothered him. A wall which he had constructed just outside his palace had suddenly turned magical, and whenever anyone tried to break it down, it grew bigger and taller, almost double its size. So now this enormous wall blocked the palace view of the beautiful hills.
The other problem was that there was no well inside the palace and all the servants had to fetch water from a well far below. By the time they carried the bucket up into the palace the water was freezing cold and the bucket heavy. They despaired of their situation and pleaded the king for a solution.
The King decreed that anyone who would solve their problems in one go, would be very well rewarded.
So the boys who were in the village gathered one day and decided to help the king solve his problems. Per too tagged along with them.
The wall was gigantic by now and even as his friends started hammering and breaking the wall, it grew bigger and bigger. They could do nothing about it.
"Let me try" said Per and took out his magical hammer from the bag. One bang and the wall came crashing down and as they watched, the hammer broke the wall to bits and pieces all by itself. Such tiny pieces that they had no magic in them to get back together and grow stronger and bigger.
The king was overjoyed. But Per now walked to the place where the wall once stood and took out the walnut, placed it in the hole and unplugged the moss and lo behold, a stream started flowing from the nut; all the way from the palace to the village where he lived.
“This is amazing!” Said the King and sent Per back with loads of good things for him and his family.
While all the others in the village, no longer mocked or ridiculed Per. They now started wondering and asking questions about the world. For that is how anything can be discovered!