Once upon a time, there lived a man with his two sons. After the demise of his wife, he married another woman. However, his second wife wasn’t very fond of his sons. She always asked him whom he loved more – she or his sons. More often than not, the man avoided replying to this question.

One day, the stepmother went out into the fields and returned home with severe mosquito bites on her face. She complained to her husband that his two sons had brutally assaulted her, resulting in grievous injuries on her face. Once again, the man did not react to her complaint. Unhappy about this, she compelled him to decide once and forΒ  all who was the dearest to him.

‘If you love me more, you must abandon your sons,’ she said.

The man replied that it was his wife he loved more and decided to give up on his sons.

The following day, he took them deep into the woods and left them inside a big pit. The boys carved steps on the pit’s wall with their knives and escaped. They felt starved and exhausted when they got out of the hole. They wanted to get back home, but they couldn’t as fatigue forced them on the ground.

The older brother climbed up a tree to find their way home. At the top of the tree, he spotted a nest with eggs. He picked some eggs and threw them down, to his younger brother. The eggs, however, broke before the latter could catch them. To save an egg for his hungry brother, the older brother held one inside his mouth. The egg accidentally slid down his throat, and he swallowed it. It immediately transformed him into a bird. The older brother flew off and asked the younger brother to follow its shadow. Once they got inside the thick forest, the younger brother lost his way.

A wild cat helped the younger brother get to a nearby village. He started living there and became a rich man. Every year, he would invite everyone in the village to a big feast. He once invited a flock of birds to the feast, so he could find his lost brother. As expected, the older brother did turn up at the feast. He wanted to take his younger brother with him. The duo collected feathers from every single bird in the village and flew into the endless sky, in the hope of a better life.

…now that you’re here

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Kalai Selvi, Folk Tale writer at Ameya

Kalai is passionate about reading and reinterpreting folk tales from all over the country. Write to her at kalai.muse@gmail.com to know more about her.

Folk tale adopted and abridged from Internet Archive.