SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Prudence & Good Judgement - Folktale from Kashmir - Secret of Traamkhazaan (Tulika Publishers)

Prudence or discretion: A character strength that enables you to do and say things that is well thought out and not hasty. This strength allows you to make choices that you will not regret later.
It falls under the strength of Temperance and allows us practice the ability to monitor and manage our feelings, motivations and behaviour, and protects us from excess.

Cautious wisdom, practical wisdom and practical reason.

Vocabulary to Use

good judgement
common sense

This folktale lends easily to the concept of practicing prudence. Here I have adapted it for telling without taking away the essence of the story. One can always read out the original story from the book as well.

Secret of Traamkhazaan- Folktale from Kashmir –
Taken from the book:
 The Enchanted Saarang 
 Tulika Publishers (Asha Hanley & Proiti Roy)

Adapted for telling here:

Traamkhazaan, Traamkhazaan, Secret treasures in a copper bowl.
Fazli and Humza chanted the lines as they drove their sheep up the mountain which was known to everyone as the Traamkhazaan – Copper Treasure Mountain. It was summer in the mountains and delicious new grass could be found way up on the slopes and that’s where the brother and sister had to take their sheep.
Down below was their dera or camp where families had made their tents and lived together as a community. Mother had packed some lunch for the two of them, rice, spinach, meat and yummy yellow paneer – fried into a golden brown which they carried in a bowl tied up with a cloth.
“Do you think this mountain has secrets and treasures?”Asked Fazli to her brother
“I sure wish it had some treasure for us to find. Then we can give some of it to Abba and he will not have to worry about the winter cold”
Drrr.....Drr...said Hamza as he drove the sheep higher up the slope.
Just as they turned the corner they were shocked to a standstill as they saw a short man standing there, leaning against a rock. He had a grey hair and a grey beard and a rope around his waist just like all the shepherds on the mountain.
“As salaam alaikum bhaisaab. Are you new here? We have never seen you before. Are you a shepherd?” asked Hamza politely.
“I am looking for something, have you ever looked for anything on this mountain?” the stranger asked
“Not really, only sheep and sometimes we look for mushrooms. What are you looking for?”
“A Treasure” said the grey bearded man looking at Fazli and Humza with a twinkle on his eyes.
“Treasure! But that is just a story”, said Fazli
‘Maybe and maybe not...but before that can you give me some food, I am very hungry”
Humza and Fazli had just enough food for the two of them, but in a jiffy, Fazli decided to share the food they had brought along with them. She opened her cloth packet and took out the two bowls of food. The stranger rubbed his hands in delight
“Yummm, this is my favourite food, rice, meat and paneer” and he gobbled up all the food as the two watched him.
Just as quickly as he finished eating, he waved goodbye, thanked them and disappeared around the mountain path as Fazli and Humza stared at each other.
How were they going to explain this to their Mother? No food and nothing to show for their kindness. It was going to be along day.
As the sun set in the western horizon, Fazli and Humza who had eaten nothing but a few berries picked up from the mountain and drunk from the cool mountain spring, made their way back down the slope while trying to count all their sheep.
Suddenly a rustle between the bushes caused the sheep to bleat loudly in fear and huddle together.
Was it a snake or could it be a leapord they wondered and quickly Hamza held his stick firmly in his hand.
The man with the grey hair and grey beard stood once more before them. He also had a peculiar shining copper bowl in his hand.
“Here, you may have this”, he said with a grin.
Fazli’s eyes literally popped out. Was this the copper treasure that could be found on these mountains? She reached out and took the bowl in her hand; it looked so pretty and shiny.
She ran her finger along the smooth edge of the bowl and “cling” a golden coin fell into the bowl.
The old man smiled at them and said “This is a magic bowl. But as you were kind and generous, the Spirit of the Copper Mountain will give you what you wish for. But remember
“Never Ever wish anyone ill, for if you do, the wish will come true, but the bowl will fly over the hill”
“Why should we wish anyone ill? We are so lucky to have this bowl that we will wish for all good things!” promised Hamza and Fazli.
Even before they finished speaking, the old man disappeared and the two drove their sheep back home.
It all seemed like a dream when they woke up the next morning. But can two people have the same dream?
“I saw an old man”
“Me too, and he appeared and disappeared like magic!”
“He also told a rhyme....mmmm...something about wish and ill and fly over the hill?”
Never Ever wish anyone Ill, for the wish will come true, but the bowl will fly over the hill” said Hamza who always had a great memory for words.
“But is he real? Is he the Spirit of the TraamKhazaan Mountain? Will the bowl give us what we wish for?”
Questions tumbled out of Fazli’s mouth, but the copper bowl was there, right in front of them and their only proof they had not dreamed the whole thing up.
“Come let us tell Abba what happened and let us show him the bowl”
With a quick splash of icy cold water, they rushed towards their father’s tent.
But there was someone with their father and the two of them looked very solemn.
“Do you remember Sarai, you played with her last summer?” Said the visitor once he saw them at the entrance and gestured them to come in.
“She is very sick and we are all worried for her. We can only pray now”
Hamza and Fazli looked at each other and they both had the same idea it seemed, for when they stepped out of the tent almost together they both spoke about the magic Copper Bowl.
“Shall we rub the bowl and wish for Sarai’s good health?”
“We can try, but last time it gave money, I am not sure it will give her good health now”
But without any more talking, Fazli, rubbed the rim of the copper bowl and made a wish under her breathe. The watched and watched for something to happen, but nothing did.
Disheartened they had to start the evening duties and soon went over to their mother for some roti and noonchai.
Next morning the two decided to visit Sarai and made the long trek down the hill.
As they neared the dera, they were surprised, in fact shocked to see Sarai sitting outside her tent with a shawl around her shoulders and actually smiling at them.
“It is a miracle” said Sarai’s mother. “She was very sick last night, but this morning she got up and sat down like everything was fine and she has even asked for some roti and chai!”
“Spirit of Traamkhazaan, Thank you”, said Fazli under her breathe and when no elder was around they even shared their wonderful secret with Sarai, their friend.
But not everyone can believe all that is told to them and Sarai was of that nature.
“Spirit? Copper Bowl? What rubbish! How could he cure me? Does he speak Kashmiri?” she interrogated them and asked them many many questions. Finally she forced them to show the magic bowl to her.
Hamza looked at Fazli and both of them knew they must not tell Sarai about the gold. So when he brought the copper bowl from where he had hidden it, he quietly gave t to Fazli, who thought of the first thing that came to her mind and gently rubbed the edge of the copper bowl.
A large blob of yummy white paneer fell into the bowl, much to Sarai’s amazement!
They waved goodbye to Sarai and left back for their dera, but did not realise that they had left Sarai, thinking and thinking.
The next morning Sarai left her home very early and walked all the way to Fazli and Humza’s dera way up on the hills. She waited for them to leave their tent and drive the sheep further away and quickly when no one was looking went into their tent.
Simple children that Fazli and Humza were they had left the copper bowl just under their folded clothes and in no time Sarai had found the bowl.
“You are my slave now, you have to obey me, and give me whatever I ask” said greedy Sarai and wished loudly for some yummy Buffalo milk paneer, the same that she had seen Fazli do the previous evening.
To her surprise and horror, the bowl became hotter and hotter and just flew right out of her hands banged her nose once and flew out of the window and far away. At the same moment a piece of hot paneer fell into her mouth and her mouth clamped shut around this blob of hot food, that it burnt her tongue and made her cry out.
She ran out of the tent and back home gasping for breath and clutching her throat. She refused to eat paneer from that day onwards and thought twice before she wished ill of someone.
While back on the hills, the copper bowl flew right to where Fazli and Humza were grazing the sheep and landed at their feet. The Spirit of Traamkhazaan had given the bowl back to those who would use it with prudence, the kind and helpful brother and sister.
Traamkhazaan, Traamkhazaan, Secret treasures in a copper bowl.
“Never Ever wish anyone Ill, for the wish will come true, but the bowl will fly over the hill”
The two used the bowl for many other important things in their family and every time made sure it would be a helpful act.

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