Tibetan Folk Tales: The Wolf, the Fox, and the Rabbit

You will find a reference to tsamba in this folktale, which is one of the typical foods of Tibet. It is roasted barley flour that you can mix with Tibetan butter tea to make a sort of raw dumpling. You can read more about tsamba at Wikipedia, and you will see another one of these "idols of tsamba" used in the story of The Story of the Two Devils.

Explore: For another story about animal thieves, see The Cony Who Got into Bad Company, and for another story about treachery among friends, see How the Fox Fell a Victim to His Own Deceit.

[notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Tibetan Folktales unit. Story source: Tibetan Folk Tales by A.L. Shelton with illustrations by Mildred Bryant (1925).

How the Wolf, the Fox and the Rabbit Committed a Crime

When an evil man gets mad at his enemy, he beats his horse on the head.
Tibetan Proverb.

ONCE upon a time a wolf, a fox and a rabbit were walking along the road together when they met a wizard carrying a pack on his back. The rabbit said to the rest of them, "I'll go limping along in front of this fellow and he will put his load down and try to catch me, and you two slip around behind him, and when he puts his things down, you get them."

Sure enough, the man put his pack down, picked up some rocks and started after the rabbit in hot haste, while the wolf and the fox got his load and ran off with it. He came back pretty soon, when he found he couldn't catch the rabbit, and found his things were all gone. In great grief he started down the road, wondering what he would do and how he was going to live.

Meanwhile the wolf, the fox and the rabbit met in a chosen place and opened the pack to see what was in it. There were a pair of Tibetan boots with many layers in the soles, which made them very heavy, a cymbal with a tongue or clapper, an idol of tsamba and some bread.

The rabbit acted as divider and said to the wolf, "You have to walk a lot, so you take the heavy boots." And the wolf took the boots. To the fox he said, "You have a lot of children; you take the bell for them to play with, and I'll take the food."

The wolf put on the boots and started out to hunt a sheep. The boots were so heavy he fell on the ice and couldn't get up, and the shepherd found him and killed him.

The fox took the bell and went in to his children ringing it, Da lang, da lang, da lang, and thought it would please them, but instead it scared them all to death.

So the rabbit ate up the idol of tsamba and all the bread and got the best of that bargain.

(400 words)