Pakou's Folktale

The Mother and the Naughty Boy

My mother told me this folktale. I translated it from Hmong into English.

Pakou interviewing people at the Farmer's MarketOnce there was a mother who had a son. She was very nice but the son was very naughty.

One day his mother ran away. When he found out he cried and cried.

He then went to see a fortuneteller. “Where is my mother?”  he asked.  The fortuneteller gave him two clamps to make the animals tell him where his mother is. He went on his way and searched for his mother.

Along the way he saw an ant. He asked, “Ant, have you seen my mother?” Ant did not tell him so he clamped the ant. Finally, Ant told him the way to another animal.

Next, he met a worm. He asked worm and it did not tell the boy, so the boy clamped him and finally he did tell him the way to another animal.

After that, he met crab. He did the same thing to crab. “Ouch, little boy, since I don't have any clamps, why don't you give me those two clamps and I will tell you where your mother is.” The boy gave crab the two clamps.

“You head straight up this path and it will lead you to a pond. There you will find a couple of frogs. You must ask them to swallow up all of the pond water. Down way on the bottom, you will see your mom weaving. As soon as you see her, you jump in.”

The two frogs did just that and the little boy jumped in. “Why have you followed me here?” asked the mother. “You did not listen to me.”

“Mother, I am sorry. I will listen to you from now on.”

Next, the little boy went to ask the grandpa if he could take his mom home. The grandpa said, “You can take your mom home only if you can find me in a game of hide-and-seek.”

“Yes, Grandpa, that is a promise.”

The grandpa then transformed into an apple way up in the apple tree. The little boy searched and searched. He gave up. He then went to the pond and asked his mom to help him.

She said, “Sweetie, do you see that red apple up there? Throw rocks at it and your grandpa will come out.” The boy did that and the grandpa came out.

Next, the grandpa turned into a needle on his mom's blouse. The boy again asked his Mom and his Mom pointed to the needle. The boy took the needle and threw it in the bonfire.

The grandpa came out screaming. “Okay, I give up. You win. You can take your Mom home now, but you must love her and listen to her. Or the next time you won't have any more chances.”

So then, Mom came with him and the little boy has always listened to his Mom.

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This page last updated on October 7, 2002