Brother Long Spring Day
This week’s short story came from the book Stories From Beyond the Clouds, An Anthology of Tibetan Folk Tales. It is a book of Tibetan folk tales and an easy and enjoyable read.
Sangay Khando was the lovely daughter of an old and cranky mother. The mother would never let Sangay ask questions so she didn’t know much.
They never had enough to eat although a lovely jar of rice was stored in the cupboard. She was told to never fix it. It was being saved for the “Brother Long Spring Day”. One day while home alone a very old and tired monk came to the door telling her he had travelled far and was hungry. He told her he was “Brother Long Spring Day”. She fed him the rice.
“Brother Long Spring Day” really meant the longest day of spring had arrived and was not a person at all. She fixed the rice for him, saved some for herself and her mother who she knew would be tired and hungry after work. The monk seemed to know about her terrible mother and told her she could always find a home in the mountains with him. He knew a great deal about her.
You can figure the rest out.
Mother came home, was very angry and threw her daughter out of the house. She lived with the monk for several years, being taught Buddhist principles of kindness, mindfulness actions and the Buddhist scriptures. She was happy living with the monk and his pet rooster and cat.
One day, when she was fetching water she came upon the king’s men who spied her and followed her. They saw she left footprints in the snow shaped like lotus blossoms. They knew she was special. She was a human Dhakini who was right up there with the faeries.
The monk knew these horsemen to be servants of the King and that they needed a Princess for his son to marry. The monk explains she will one day marry the prince. She is covered in beautiful clothes and has more food than she has ever seen.
She sadly leaves the monk, marries the Prince and one day a poor beggar woman arrives at the castle. Yes, you guessed it, her mother.
She takes her in, she is dying and houses her for 7 days. She cannot tell her history to the prince. It slips out though as she forgets to be mindful. The prince asks a lot of questions and she convinces him to leave her alone for 3 days. He agrees. With that, she secretly rides through the night to consult the monk. What should she do? She cannot tell him the history of her childhood and her mother. The monk organises for her to return home and come back with the prince. When they return there is a large castle, lots of servants and her mother has come back from the dead. It is really the monk in the form of the mother. A good deed done, they all go home happy. The monk is released from this life on earth to disappear into the ether, through the rainbow hued sky and join the Dakinis and faeries. Every one is happy.
It finishes with: Sanghay Khando, the human Dakini, realised her mission in life. The wind was blowing through her hair, the birds were returning from their journey to foreign lands. She felt the sandalwood beads and was at peace with the world.
For a Sunday afternoon that is pleasantly warm, the windows are open and not much to do this was a pleasant read. I haven’t read fairy tales in many years and I think this little bit of escapism into the folklore of Tibet will be a bit of fun. There was even an illustration in this story.