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YASHPEH
International Folktales Collection

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Story No. 606


The Coldest Season

Book Name:

Folklore of the Santal Parganas

Tradition: India

One winter day a bear and a tiger began to dispute as to which is the coldest season of the year; the bear said July and August, which is the rainy season, and the tiger said December and January, which is the winter season. They argued and argued but could not convince each other; for the bear with his long coat did not feel the cold of winter but when he got soaked through in the rain he felt chilly.

At last they saw a man coming that way and called on him to decide – “but have a care” – said the tiger – “if you give an opinion favourable to the bear, I will eat you;” and the bear said “If you side with the tiger, I will eat you.” At this the man was terror stricken but an idea struck him and he made the tiger and the bear promise not to eat him if he gave a fair decision and then he said “It is not the winter which is the coldest, nor the rainy season which is the coldest, but windy weather; if there is no wind no one feels the cold much either in the winter or in the rainy season.” And the tiger and the bear said “You are right, we never thought of that” and they let him go.

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1 This is why Santals when going to eat, move the stool that is offered to them before they sit down on it.

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