folktale for an urban world: Chutku and Patku

Once upon a time, there was a man and a woman who lived near a huge forest. Now, these people lived off the earth as we all do except that they actually grew stuff. So, they used to grow food. Crops like rice, lentils, all kinds of twisty, gnarly root vegetables and stuff you need every day to cook, but never think is too important. Like coriander, ginger, chilies and so on. You get the picture, right?

Anyway, so one day the woman was cleaning vessels in the backyard, when she noticed a little rabbit peering up at her from the bushes. She was a bit worried, rabbits are messy and eat more than they can digest. So, it’s not the smartest thing to host them if they come calling. Besides that, they seem to have a great capacity to multiply. First, there’s one rabbit, then two, then, four, then six. Till you’re left wondering where on earth did they come from and where did all your vegetables go?

So, pulling this story back to the point where it wandered off from, this little rabbit was the sweetest little thing and charmed the farmer’s wife. By the evening, she was convinced he would be her darling pet and was trying to palm off his foraging talents as survival skills to her husband, the farmer. That poor man had no time to think about pets since he was wondering how to get hold of someone to take charge of the wounded leopard he found in his patch of farmland. It was a young cub, that much was clear. But, he would soon grow into a full blown predator and the farmer didn’t want to land up as lunch or dinner for that matter.

So, while the farmer’s wife cooed to the rabbit and the farmer tried to figure out how to contact the authorities and inform them he was the unwilling benefactor to a wild leopard, an unlikely friendship was struck between the rabbit and the leopard. It is a strange twist of fate in an age, when the boundaries between wild spaces and the civilized world are blurred. It was to become the beginning of a series of adventures for the rabbit, the leopard and a source of stories for people who came to know of them, lived with them and later rumor, hearsay and even news.

I guess, I am one of them and here is the first of the stories I heard about them.