Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Reading Notes: Week 2 Anthology of Jatakas

So, I've read all the stories in this anthology before (I think I put it together maybe 3 or 4 years ago...?), but this time I am reading from a new perspective: I am looking to see which jatakas I can tell as 100-word stories! If I can get at least 3 of them to work as 100-stories, that will give me what I need for a story post this week. :-)

The Foolish, Timid Rabbit.

The Animals and the End of the World
Rabbit slept under a palm-tree, and a coconut fell on his head. 
"The sky is falling!" Rabbit shouted. He jumped and ran. 
"What's wrong?" Deer asked. 
"End of the world! Sky is falling!" shrieked Rabbit, and Deer ran with him. 
They met Fox. "What's wrong?" she asked. 
"Sky falling! End of world!" Rabbit panted. 
Now Rabbit, Deer, and Fox were running. 
Monkey, Leopard, Elephant... all running! 
Lion stopped them. "Who says it's the end of the world?" 
They pointed at Rabbit, and Rabbit took Lion to the tree. 
"That's a coconut!" Lion roared. "It's not the end of the world."

The Princes and the Turtle
The princes shouted, "Father, we saw a lake monster!
The king's guards went and caught the monster; it was only a turtle, but the princes had never seen a turtle, and it frightened them.
"How shall we kill it?" the king asked them.
"Crush it!" said the first.
"Burn it!" said the second.
The third prince feared the water, so he said, "Drown it!"
At this the turtle shrieked, "Please don't drown me, good people!"
"Let the turtle be drowned," commanded the king.
They threw the turtle into the lake.
Laughing, he dove down into the water. "Home at last!"

The Turtle Who Flew
A turtle had befriended two birds, and they lived together at a lake. The lake was drying up, so the birds offered to carry the turtle away. “You will hold onto the middle of this stick, and we will carry the ends in our beaks, but you have to keep your mouth closed tight shut. Can you do that?”
“Yes!” said the turtle.
But when they were flying, people on the ground laughed at the flying turtle. "That turtle looks ridiculous up there!" they said. 
He opened his mouth to rebuke them, and thus plunged to his death.

The Cunning Crane and the Crab. This was hard to condense, but I think it turned out pretty good!

The Crane and the Fish
The lake was drying up. “Don’t worry, dear fish-friends!” said a crane. “I'll carry you to my home, a big lake nearby.”
The fish agreed, and the crane carried them off one by one. But the crane didn't relocate the fish; he devoured them.
Finally only a crab remained.
“Come on!” said the crane.
But as they were landing, the crab looked down and saw the fish bones, so he grabbed the crane's neck with his pincers.
“Let go!” the crane said, but the crab squeezed.
He then lived happily ever after in the big lake.

The Crocodile and the Monkey's Heart. This one was really hard. I almost gave up, but then I left out the crocodile's wife and it worked.

The Monkey's Heart
Craving Monkey's heart for supper, Crocodile swam to the riverbank where Monkey lived. "Let's go to Banana Island, Monkey!" 
"But you know I can't swim." 
"Don't worry! I'll carry you."
Greedy for bananas, Monkey jumped on. 
Then Crocodile plunged deep under the water. 
"What are you doing?" Monkey shrieked. 
"I'm going to eat your heart for supper." 
"But I left my heart in the tree!"
Monkey pointed to the fig tree on the riverbank. 
"Well, go get it!"
Crocodile swam back to shore, and Monkey leaped up into the tree. 
"You can fool me once," he cackled. "But not twice!"

The Crocodile in the River. For this one, I just did the first half, with the "talking object" trick (there's a Brer Rabbit story like that too: Heyo House!); just that trick makes for a good story on its own, even without the second trick where Monkey gets Crocodile to close his eyes.

Crocodile in the River
Crocodile noticed Monkey using a rock to cross the river; Monkey would jump from riverbank to rock, and from rock to other riverbank. 
"I'll make my back look like a rock," thought Crocodile. "He'll jump on me, and I'll catch him!" 
Monkey saw a suspicious new rock in the river. Before he jumped, Monkey said, "Hello, Rock!' 
Crocodile said nothing. 
"Hey, Rock! Why don't you answer me like you usually do?" Monkey shouted.
Crocodile realized he had to answer. "Hello…" he said cautiously. 
"Hello to you, Crocodile!" Monkey cackled. "And goodbye! I won't be jumping on you today… or ever!"

The Monkey who Gathered Lotuses. This is a cool story, but I'm not even going to try to get this one down to 100 words... 

The Deer Who Wouldn't Listen
The Buddha was born as a deer.
His sister said to her son, "Go to your uncle and learn the tricks you need to stay safe from hunters."
But the young deer did not listen to his mother.
The Buddha said to him, "Nephew, there are things you must learn to stay safe. I will teach you."
But the young deer did not listen to his uncle.
He then fell into a hunter's trap and was killed.
"Brother," said the Buddha's sister, "why didn't you teach him?"
"I couldn't teach him," said the Buddha, "because he didn't want to learn."

Old Rooster, New Rooster
Every morning, a faithful old rooster woke the young brahmins at dawn to begin their studies. 
That rooster finally died, so they needed a new one.
They found a rooster in the cemetery, but he crowed at odd hours. He crowed at dawn, but he also crowed all night and all day.
When he crowed at night, he disturbed the brahmins' sleep.
When he crowed during the day, he disturbed their studies. 
The rooster didn't know how to crow properly, so they killed him. 
A rooster needs to know how to be a rooster. Otherwise, what is he?

Goblin City. Like with the monkey-lotus story, I'm not even going to try to write this one in 100 words, but I'm guessing there will be some great retellings of this story 

It worked......... this was such a fun experiment. A few of these were really hard to do and I almost gave up, but I made them work with some persistent tinkering. A really nice thing about taking notes this way: my stories are ready to go! :-)

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