Once upon a time, a brother and a sister lived in a remote village of Tamil Nadu. Every day, the siblings went out to graze their goats. For a while, the sister would play with the other kids. She would then climb up a big tree and pick its fruits.

One day, a goblin showed up. Seeing the pixie, the girl’s friends ran away, leaving her alone high up on the tree. The goblin asked her to throw some fruits down at him. The girl did so, but the goblin failed to catch them with his hands. He then asked her to shake the tree’s branches so the fruits would rain down into his hands. She complied. However, once again, the pixie missed the fruits.

He then asked the girl to use her long hair to fling the fruits down. The girl obeyed the goblin’s order, only for the goblin to grab her hair, pull her down, and take her home.

Seven parrots saw the goblin carry the girl away. When the goblin was not home, the seven parrots rescued her and took her to their parrot-house. The parrots instructed her not to open the door, for there was every chance that the goblin may turn up again. They also told her how to find out once they made it back home.

‘You can see a well from the roof. If you see a lamp burning inside the well, that’s your cue that we’re back home. You’ll need to open the door for us, then.’

Three days passed after the parrots left. The now hungry girl opened the door and went to the neighbor’s house to see if she could get some food. When she knocked on the door, it was the goblin who answered! Frightened, she ran back to the parrot-house and locked the door from inside. The frustrated goblin fell inches short of catching her. However, he fastened one claw up and one down on the door.

The next day, she climbed up the roof and found the lamp burning inside the well. Happy to know that the parrots were finally coming back home, she opened the door. However, the goblin’s claws fell on her, killing her instantly.

When the parrots saw her dead, they made a box, put her inside, and submerged it in the ocean. A king and his minister found the box floating in the sea and took it home. The minister wanted to take the box home while the king wanted to see what it contained. When the two finally opened the box, they found the dead girl inside. As soon as they removed the claws from the girl’s body, she came back to life.

Wanting to marry her, the king took her to his palace. However, three more women were also waiting in the palace to marry him. The king decided to test their cooking skills so he would get the best wife. He gave each of them unhusked rice and asked them to pound the rice without bruising a single grain. They were then supposed to cook the rice.

The girl had no clue how to do this. When the seven parrots heard the girl crying, they pecked and opened the husks without breaking the ends. The girl then cooked a delicious meal with the rice. However, the other three girls couldn’t clean the rice without breaking it. The king, therefore, married the girl and the two lived happily ever after.

…now that you’re here

Ameya runs on a purely non-profit basis. With no tangible products on offer, advertisements and donations are our only two sources of keeping this blog up and running. You could convey your support to us with something as little as $5 - that's less than what a Starbucks would cost!

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 Storytelling Institute.