Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Four Mighty Men, a Burmese Folktale

Once upon a time, long ago... there were four Mighty Men, whose fame rang throughout the country.  They were Big Ears, Big Hands, Pointy Bottom, and Runny Nose.
Each had distinguished himself separately in various feats of strength.  One day they met together and said, "Let us seek adventure together, instead of seeking alone."  So they did.
The following day they went fishing, thinking perhaps adventure on the water would surpass the fame earned previously from their exploits on land.
So the four Mighty Men went fishing in a boat.  Big Ears put up his giant lobes as a sail, and the boat moved swiftly.  They cast their nets and soon their boat was full to the brim with bounty.

Other fishing boats passed by, and the fishermen shouted to the Mighty Men, "Sires, you have caught all the fish in the sea, but we have caught none.  For how could we ordinary people dare to compete against such mighty men as you?  Please spare us some fish."
The four Mighty Men were not only brave but generous, so they decided to give a handful of fish to each boat.  Big Hands scooped up a hundred times the ordinary haul and the boats almost sank on the way back to the villages.
Pointy Bottom then stood and protested, but Big Hands took no notice of him.  But then he became very angry and sat down with a 'Bang,' piercing a hole in the boat.
Water rushed in and the four Mighty Men were in danger of drowning.  But Runny Nose put his nostrily appendage smack dab into the gushing gap and blew, sending the water out into a geyser.
The mucus then filled the cracked hole, and the four Mighty Men were saved.  So the four Mighty Men sailed back in triumph and all the people cheered them heartily.
(This story was told to me by a young monk after jogging one morning and made me smile.  I hope it made you smile too.)

No comments:

Post a Comment