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Golden Deer

Thami Fokltale

Golden Deer

Thami Fokltale

Long, long ago, deep in the forest of the Dolakha region, Ya’apa and Sunari Ama, the primordial father and mother of the Thami people, lived peacefully. They lived secluded lives and never mingled with the population outside the forest. Though all alone in the forest and knowing nothing of people in the villages and towns, they were always happy. 

One day a fisherman appeared at the court of the King of Dolakha. He was the official fisherman of the King himself and would bring fresh fish to court every day. 

 “I come in great distress, your majesty’,” he pleaded, “My fishing net has been destroyed.”

He displayed his fishing net that had been destroyed by small pieces of bamboo and wood chippings. 

 “This is my third net that has been destroyed this month,” he said, “someone must be living in the forest and is mischievously throwing away these wood and bamboo pieces in the river.”

Hearing the fisherman’s pleas, the King ordered his guards to search the forest. They searched for a few days but found nobody. 

 “Follow the river source and search there,” the king ordered. 

 When they followed the river to its source, they found the hut where Ya’apa was living and apprehended him. He was shackled and brought before the king. Fearing for his life, Ya ‘apa brought a wild pheasant he had just killed as an offering to pacify the king. But the king wasn’t interested in this lowly gift. Resolved to punish Ya’apa who was living in the forest without royal consent, the King wanted to impose a severe punishment. 

“You will return to your hut for now,” the King said, “but in a week, you shall come to the court to hear my judgment.”

On the day of the judgment, Ya’apa returned with a deer that he had hunted for the king. 

 The enraged King bellowed, “With this gift, you have bought yourself a few days. Go for now and return in a week to hear my judgment.”

 The third time, Ya’apa came with a mountain goat but that too wasn’t enough to appease the king. Ya’apa was sent back and the king proclaimed that he would be executed the next day. Ya’apa went home and confided about the King’s order to his wife, Sunari Ama

She consoled her husband and told him that she would accompany him to the king’s court the next day. The next day, they appeared before the king. Sunari Ama made pleas to the King for the release of her husband but her appeal fell on deaf ears. Although Sunari Ama had divine powers, she tried to persuade the kings with pleas and arguments but nothing seemed to work in her favor. After much weeping and bargaining, she finally declared. 

 “In exchange for my husband’s freedom, I shall give you something that you do not have in your entire kingdom.”

“What can you offer a King who already possesses everything?” roared the monarch. 

“I shall give you a Golden Deer,” proclaimed Sunari Ama

 The court responded with loud jeers at the words of Sunari Ama. The King laughed. At that moment Sunari Ama plucked a strand from the long tangled braids of her hair and threw it on the floor. The small strand of her hair transformed into a golden deer! The whole room gasped!

Witnessing this miracle, the King was pleased but also frightened, and he bowed before Sunari Ama and said, “Your husband is free to go, my lady. Tell me what more you want and I shall try to fulfill your wishes.”

“Give us land the size of a Buffalo skin to settle on,” said Sunari Ama. The King urged them to accept more, but they refused, demanding only that a buffalo skin be brought to show the King exactly how much land they wished. When the skin was brought to the court, Ya ‘apa trimmed the dried skin into long and thin strips, which he then laid out in the shape of a large square, a big piece of the kingdom, and requested the King to let them have a land that size, in his kingdom. 

The King, thoroughly impressed by the Thami couple, granted their request. They were allowed to settle on lands around the Sunkoshi river. 

Ya ‘apa and Sunari Ama returned to their family. Their seven sons and seven daughters settled in different parts of this land. To this day, the Thami people, descendants of Ya’apa and Sunari Ama, live in these lands.