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My Childhood Stories From Ancient India


NLP trainer and writer, I find stories the most intimate and wall dissolving form of communication.

The world is shaped by two things -stories told and the memories they leave behind.

Vera Nezarian

Stories are my preferred learning mode. I derive my flashes of inspiration, my deep insight, and my lasting entertainment from them.

As I grow older and hopefully wiser too, I realize that there are some stories that I keep coming back too and these have also served as guiding posts when I was lost or confused. Here I am sharing some of those stories. Narrated by my parents and grandparents, read in books as a young kid and some of unknown origin, they have played a vital role nevertheless. I, in turn, have shared with my kids and others.

So here I open the first leaf of my storybook and listen on...

Behold the Wishing Tree

Behold the Wishing Tree

The Wishing Tree

There was once a trader who would travel from one village to a town to a semi-town with his wares. On one such trip, he found himself in a glade in the hot Indian summer. It was afternoon and the Sun was at his most powerful. Looking around for a tree to rest, he managed to find a nice shady tree.

‘If only there would be a breeze now, how nice it would be. ’he thought.

To his utter surprise, there was a cool breeze with the heady smell of flowers.

Delightedly, he muttered ‘If only I could have a glass of water to drink, I’ll be so pleased.’ he muttered. The very next minute, there was a glass of water in front of him. Not believing his luck, he gulped down the water.

Wanting to push his luck a little more, he next thought to himself, ‘If only, I could have a seven-course meal.’ The very next minute, he was delighted to see a delicious seven-course meal spread put in front of him. He ate to his heart’s content.

After eating all that food, he was feeling a little sleepy. So now he thought ‘If only there would be a soft bed with a beautiful lady fanning me, the picture would be complete.’ So it was.

Everything seemed too good to be true. Immediately, he found himself saying ‘I hope all of this is not a dream and a tiger wouldn’t suddenly eat me up. ‘

Poor fellow, now you imagine what happened next! How was he to know that he was sitting under a wishing tree and the tree doesn’t differentiate between a good and a bad wish.

With this, my mother would conclude ‘My, dear, even you have a wishing tree and it is in your mind. Be careful about what you think about and ask for. What if your worst fears actually came true only because you thought of them. And what if your best dreams also came true. Choose with care.’

All for the love of a cat!

All for the love of a cat!

All for the Love of a Cat

There was once a Guru and his very dedicated disciple. The disciple was at a fairly advanced stage in his practice. The Guru decided that it was time to pursue some very difficult meditations in the Himalayas. Therefore, he called his disciple and conveyed his decision. The disciple would have liked to follow his Guru to the Himalayas. But, decided to stay on as per his Guru’s orders.

With his Guru gone, things were a little different. One day, he noticed a mouse eating the only other piece of cloth he had. He immediately decided to get a cat. Soon, he found himself getting a little too attached to the cat. The cat also needed to be given milk. Eventually, he decided to buy a cow. Now procuring milk was no longer a problem. He was a happy man but soon realized that a cow entailed more work.

This led to him cultivating two paddy fields to provide grass for the cow. Each solution posed a new set of problems and ate into his mediation time. One thing led to another and a few years later the disciple was replaced by a man who had the highest paddy landholding in the village, a beautiful wife, and two cherubic kids.

Not too long after, the Guru came back to the village after having completed his penances. But where was his beloved disciple?

So, he returned to the spot where his hut used to be. Now there stood a big mansion. He walked into the house. There was a balding, plump man. Disappointed, he turned back. The disciple recognizing his Guru fell at his Guru’s feet. The Guru was stunned to see what had become of his dear disciple.

Listening to the disciple’s story, the Guru remarked ‘All for the love of a cat.’

Whenever I found myself too entangled in materialistic pursuits or getting caught in the consumerism loop this story would pop up in my mind and help me in putting the brakes. Sense and sanity would be restored. This story taught my young mind its earliest lessons in focus as well.

My mother would be happy to know that her simple stories have been of such help.

I have more in my bag but that's all for now. I would really like to know your favorite childhood stories, the ones that have stayed with you. Please do mention them in the comment box.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on October 15, 2020:

Hi Tammy! Thanks for that !

Tammy Winters from Oregon on October 12, 2020:

A wishing tree... interesting article.

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on October 12, 2020:

Namasthe Dr Pran! Happy to hear that you write short stories. Would be so interested to read some of your stories. Delighted that we both share a love for the same story. So simple yet so powerful, isn’t it??

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 27, 2020:

Namaste Nagender ji and thank you for those kind words.

NAGENDER. D. on September 17, 2020:

Really interesting and gives living experiences. Great madam sowraba.

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 14, 2020:

Hi Rinita, happy to see you here.

Looking forward to knowing the story of the boy and the Apple tree from you.

Childhood stories are never forgotten and take a life of their own and outlive us as well. Wondrous that!

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 14, 2020:

Hi Nikhil, high praise that though I am not sure if I am really deserving of that.

My childhood was full of stories, read , narrated and self-created. Stories really do open our minds and expose us easily to new perspectives. No wonder movies cast such a spell.

Well , you have given me some ideas. Always look forward to your detailed comments and feedback.

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 14, 2020:

Namaste Umeshji, these stories are amusing for sure..no wonder we enjoyed them in our childhood. Thank you for visiting and the comment.

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 14, 2020:

Hi Amit, encouraging that! Keep visiting and keep writing!

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 14, 2020:

Hi Poulomi, thanks for the lovely remark and the visit. Very curious about what your name means.

Take care and keep well.

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 14, 2020:

Hi Dora, I think we have a shared love for stories ...so gladdened that you liked the stories. The beauty is each of us sees a different truth in the same story. Thank for the comment and do take care.

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 13, 2020:

Namaste Singhji, thanks for that encouraging remark. Have a great day.

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 13, 2020:

Hi Chitrangadaji, happy to have you visit and comment.

We are lucky to have such wonderful childhood memories.Looking back, these stories have taught us so much. I couldn't agree more when you say that every act of our elders was a lesson in itself.

Take care.

Dr Pran Rangan from Kanpur (UP), India on September 13, 2020:

Both are very inspiring stories. Second one - All for the love of a cat - is one of my favorites. It have read it in some different versions too. I also like to read and write short stories.

Thanks Sowrabha for sharing.

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 12, 2020:

Hi Danny, with that remark you have pulled me down memory lane.

Even I recollect the many hours spent reading Amar Chitra Katha, watching the weekend shows on Doordarshan and even watching the ads with keen interest and involvement. For once I will allow myself to say’ those days were golden indeed’.

Thanks for sharing those memories Danny!

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 12, 2020:

Namaste Yogiji, indelible impressions they were and I enjoy narrating these stories to my kids and in my classes and enjoy how they are interpreted. As you rightly said, every stage of life, I perceive them differently.

I look forward to your insightful observations always. Thank you so much.

Rinita Sen on September 11, 2020:

Amazing stories Sowrabha. When I started to read the first one, I initially thought it was the story with the boy and the apple tree. That one has stayed with me always. Childhood stories are never forgotten.

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 11, 2020:

Hi Devika! Yes, you are right that stories teach us some of life’s biggest lessons.

Nikhil Sharma from India on September 10, 2020:

Hi, Ms. Sowrabha!

There is no denying fact that you're a great writer and storyteller. And I truly love reading your stories.

What I also like is getting to you and your real-life story through your articles. I'm getting the opportunity to know the wonderful childhood that you spent.

Hopefully, this will help me rewire the creative cells in my brain and give me a sense of motivation.

I've really enjoyed reading both the stories, but before I can expect to read another story, I realized that the article is already finished. Maybe we can have a couple of more such stories from you in the future.

Thank you, Ms. Sowrabha, for sharing your childhood stories with us, Best wishes.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on September 10, 2020:

Very interesting. Well presented. I remember some stories from Panchtantra. They are very amusing.

Amit Masih from Jaipur, India on September 09, 2020:

Amazing! This so so good. Very beautifully written. Keep it up!

Poulomi Das Bhattacharya on September 09, 2020:

Wonderful expressions to pen down your thoughts and childhood ideas. Such an amazing presentation you expressed it beautifully.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 09, 2020:

Two good stories. I like the messages: of the first story about controlling our thoughts, of the second about the danger of distractions. Very helpful.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on September 09, 2020:

Nice simple but powerful stories. You have presented them in a nice manner.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 09, 2020:

Beautiful and insightful stories, and a thoughtful article.

What a beautiful reminder to the childhood memories! As we grow older, we do realise, how every act or word of our elders, was a life lesson.

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful article.

Danny from India on September 09, 2020:

Nostalgic memories Sowrabha. Those days were truly worth to be recalled. Bajaj, Fanta, Gold spot, and other ads just fail to get erased from memories.

Regarding children's stories, Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle & Cacha Chowdary seems to pull us back to read it.

Seek Inwards Yogi from Hyderabad on September 09, 2020:

Sowrabha ji,

Thank you for sharing such simple yet powerful stories. Our elders always had the forethought and left indelible impressions on the young minds for their well-being. Without sounding moralistic, you have reminded us of noble thoughts and right behaviours.

The trader steadily grew greedy and the disciple surely turned worldly. If not for the thought of a tiger, the trader would have been consumed by his rapacity and if not for the cat, the disciple was doomed by his desire for a cloth. Am not saying that his desire for the cloth is wrong, but allowing that to spread was. It ultimately led him down the wrong path.

The beauty of the childhood stories that we learnt from the elders lies in the fact that the meaning deepens as we grow older or wiser and thus stay always relevant!

Thanks again for 2 beautiful stories!

Looking forward for more! Hari Om

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 09, 2020:

I like your story, there is a valuable lesson in every story as in yours. An enjoyable read.

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 09, 2020:

Hi Lorna, it was interesting to know your choice.I would really like to hear some Irish tales from you. Always grateful for your support.

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 09, 2020:

Hi Ankita, happy to know that these stories connected to you. Thanks for the visit.

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 09, 2020:

Hi John, thank you for visiting. glad you enjoyed the stories.

sowspeaks (author) from Bengaluru on September 09, 2020:

Hi Flourish Anyway, interesting observations. As children , my brother and me would have a field time coming up with different versions. Like you mentioned, maybe, with his Guru gone , he started feeling little lonely.

Lorna Lamon on September 08, 2020:

Life lesson within these stories and I particularly enjoyed the story about 'All for the love of a Cat'. I also enjoyed the tales passed down from the generations in my own family, and I can remember sitting beside my mother listening to her tales of Irish Folklore. This was an enjoyable read Sowrabha.

Ankita B on September 08, 2020:

I enjoyed reading both the stories Sowrabha. They have some important lessons to give. Thank you for sharing.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on September 08, 2020:

I enjoyed these stories and their valuable lessons. Thank you for sharing.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 07, 2020:

Good lesson there and I get it. Maybe he needed to think in terms of options before rashly acting. A mousetrap would have worked great and averted the entire mess or mothballs to repel the vermin. I think he loved the cat more than he let on. Obviously he had a change in values if all that change took place.