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Half a Baby?

The tortoise and the bird were fishing when both gave birth to boys. Several days later the bird had something to do and asked the tortoise to tend her son. The tortoise agreed.

As the days passed, she increasingly believed that her son was uglier than the bird's son, and at last she decided to switch the two sons.

When the bird returned she saw the tortoise's son lying in her bed and her son lying in the tortoise's bed. She asked the tortoise, "Why did you put your son in my bed and put my son in your bed?"

The tortoise said, "How can you ask me this sort of question?"

The bird sadly went looking for the king of the forest - the tiger. When she found him, she told him what had happened.

The tiger said, "I will help you. Now, let us go," and the two set off.

When they reached the home of the tortoise and the bird, the tiger asked the tortoise, "Which baby is yours?" The tortoise pointed to the baby bird in her bed.

The bird said, "No, that's my baby," and then the tortoise and the bird began quarrelling.

The tiger interrupted, "I don't know who to believe. Give the baby to me. I will cut it in two and give each of you a half."

The tortoise nodded in agreement. The bird sadly said, "No, don't cut the baby. If you don't know who the mother is, please give this baby to the tortoise."

The tiger smiled, took the baby bird from the tortoise's bed, and gave it to the bird, telling the tortoise, "No mother would ever agree to cut her baby in half."

The Baby Rabbit and the Cruel Bear

A mother rabbit lived with her son, a baby rabbit, in an old cave. This was near the home of a cruel bear and her son, called Foolish bear. The cruel bear often beat the mother rabbit and made her dig up edible roots.

The mother rabbit and the cruel bear went to dig up edible roots in the early morning one warm spring day. The cruel bear dug up half a bag of edible roots and then she slept on a big rock, while the mother rabbit kept on digging.

At noon, the cruel bear woke up. She was hungry. She saw the mother rabbit now had two bags of edible roots. She said, "Today you have two bags of edible roots. I will take them."

The mother rabbit was frightened. She took one bag of her edible roots and ran away. The bag was heavy, so she ran slowly. The cruel bear caught her near the opening of her cave and killed her.

The poor baby rabbit cried in fear. The cruel bear said to the baby rabbit, "You must bring me a bag of edible roots. If you don't, I will kill you as I killed your mother," and then she went to her cave.

The baby rabbit was sad. He knew he could not fight the cruel bear and win, but suddenly he got an idea. He hopped to the bears' cave and invited Foolish Bear to visit him. Before Foolish Bear left, his cruel mother warned him to be careful.

The baby rabbit and Foolish Bear entered the baby rabbit's home. The baby rabbit said, "Mother hid a bag of edible roots under the floor. I am tired and cannot dig it up. Why don't you dig it up and take it home with you?"

The gullible Foolish Bear believed this and eagerly began digging. Meanwhile, the baby rabbit ran away.

Foolish Bear was very strong and he soon was at the bottom of a hole that was so deep he could not get out. He felt tired and cried. His cruel mother heard him and hurried into the old cave. It was dark inside, so she could not see. She fell into the deep hole. She landed on top of her son, and because she was fat and heavy, it killed him. And the hole was so large that the cruel bear could not climb out.

Three days later the baby rabbit came back and saw the cruel bear and her son in the deep hole. They both were dead. The baby rabbit was now safe and lived a happy life.

The Rock Lion Opens Its Mouth

A poor family and a rich family lived at the foot of a mountain. There was a large forest at the top of the mountain. Every day the head of the poor family went to the forest to get wood to sell for food and clothing.

In the forest there was a rock lion. Usually the poor man would put some barley meal and butter in the lion's mouth and say, "Please eat this, brother lion."

The days went by. One day as the poor man was feeding the rock lion, the lion said, "Thank you, friend. You are a good man."

The poor man was frightened and said, "Brother lion, you don't have a master to feed you, so I gave you some food. I don't have any good food because I am poor."

"You are an honest man. Tomorrow morning before sunrise, come here and I will give you something," said the lion.

The man took his firewood and returned home. Next morning he went to the lion. "Listen," said the lion, "there is much gold in my stomach. You may take some. But when the sun rises, you must take your hand out of my stomach, because at that time my mouth will close."

"Yes, I understand," said the man. He put his hand in the lion's stomach and soon he had filled a small bag with gold. "This is enough for me," he said, thanked the lion, and went home.

The poor man was now rich. His rich neighbour was jealous and asked, "How did you become so rich?" The honest man told him about the rock lion.

The rich man put on old clothes, went to the forest, and every day did as the poor man had done. He fed the lion barley with meal and butter and fetched firewood. One day the lion repeated what he had told the poor man.

The rich man was very happy and came the next day with a big bag. He took much gold from the lion's stomach. The sun rose, but the greedy man still did not have enough. And clomp! - the lion's mouth clamped shut on his arm and did not opened again.

Purported Yeti scalp
Purported Yeti scalp at Khumjung monastery (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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