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(excerpts from posts)
(If you want to retell any of the stories below, be sure to obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain)

1) Here are a few sites:
FolkTales January 1996
FolkTales February 1996

2) If you go to this page
You will find many stories from the Thai culture. My favorite is the one about playing Elephant polo!
There is also a book full of Thai stories called Thai tales which you can find here:
You really should look for it in your local library. They just may have it in stock!
Angela D. 12/10/06

3) The only Thai story I have in my files is a version of Manora the Bird Woman that Cathy M. posted on her website of stories about the seasons at

Cathy gives Tales from Thailand: Folklore, Culture and History by Marian Davis Toth (published by Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1971) as one of her sources for this story. Perhaps a librarian could help you locate this book.

4) This story is in from Shake-It-Up Tales! by Margaret Read MacDonald,  August House, 2000.  (This tale was collected from Nai Tong Bai Pen Tong, age 59. He was a teacher at Nong Lek. He used to be a monk, then an Abbot for 16 years. He can speak and write Thai, Lao, Khmer.

There are similar tales about bride tests, German and Scandinavian that have prospective husband observe wife candidates while they take the rind off cheese.  One wastes, one too particular, and the chosen one does it "just right." Another involves spinning tests.
See Bride tests

Summary: Choose A Wife - woman is chosen as wife, because she chooses to use "catch of the day" to share with others, so that they may all eat and live to share again.
A man wanted his son to choose a wise, good, and kind wife. So the man told his son to propose this question to any woman he might want in  his life.  "If you had a big fish, how could you feed your family as long as possible? So the young man asked many women, "If you had a big fish, how could you feed your family as long as possible?" (At this point, you might let your audience make some attempts at answering the question.) At last the young man found a girl who gave him this answer to the question, "If you had a big fish, how could you feed your family as long as possible?" The girl said, "First I would cook the fish with many vegetables to make a great deal of food. Then I would give some to my relatives, some to my neighbors,  and some to my friends. Then when THEY had a big fish, they would bring some to share with me.  So it would be that one big fish would feed my family for a long, long time." This was the right answer. So they married and lived happily ever after.

5) From Shake-It-Up Tales! - Rich Man Seeks A Daughter-in-Law by Margaret Read MacDonald,  August House, 2000.  (This tale was collected from Nai Tong Bai Pen Tong, age 59. He was a teacher at Nong Lek. He used to be a monk, then an Abbot for 16 years. He can speak and write Thai, Lao, Khmer. )

There are similar tales about bride tests, German and Scandinavian that have prospective husband observe wife candidates while they take the rind off cheese.  One wastes, one too particular, and the chosen one does it "just right." Another involves spinning tests.

6) Asian:
I really like Folk Stories of the Hmong: Peoples of Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam (World Folklore Series), compiled by Norma Livo & Dia Cha.  ISBN # 0-87287-854-6
The information at the beginning of the book is very informative and provides background information that is useful when sharing these stories.

7) In the collection by Margaret Read MacDonald Peace Tales.  She cites it as a tale from Burma and Thailand and entitles it Not Our Problem.  Request permission to retell to:

Not Our Problem, retold by Margaret Read MacDonald.
The King sat with his Adviser eating honey on puffed rice.  As they ate they leaned from the palace window and watched the street below.  They talked of this and that.  The King, not paying attention to what he was doing, let a drop of honey fall onto the windowsill.  "Oh sire, let me wipe that up," offered the Adviser.  "Never mind," said the King, "It is not our problem. The servants will clean it later."

As the two continued to dine on their honey and puffed rice, the drop of honey slowly began to drip down the windowsill.  At last it fell with a plop onto the street below.  Soon a fly had landed on the drop of honey and begun his own meal.  Immediately a gecko sprang from under the palace and with a flip of its long tongue swallowed the fly.  But a cat had seen the gecko and pounced.  Then a dog sprang forward and attacked the cat!

"Sire, there seems to be a cat and dog fight in the street.  Should we call someone to stop it?"  "Never mind," said the King, "It's not our problem." So the two continued to munch their honey and puffed rice.

eanwhile, the cat's owner had arrived and was beating the dog.  The dog's owner ran up and began to beat the cat.  Soon the two were beating each other.

"Sire, there are two persons fighting in the streets now.  Shouldn't we send someone to break this up?"  The King lazily looked from the window.  "Never mind.  It's not our problem."

The friends of the cat's owner gathered and began to cheer him on.  The friends of the dog's owner began to cheer her on as well.  Soon both groups entered the fight and attacked each other.

"Sire, a number of people are fighting in the street now.  Perhaps we should call someone to break this up."  The King was too lazy to even look.  You can guess what he said.  "Never mind.  It's not our problem."

Now soldiers arrived on the scene.  At first they tried to break up the fighting.  But when they heard the cause of the fight some sided with the cat's owner.  Others sided with the dog's owner.  Soon the soldiers too had joined the fight.

With the soldiers involved, the fight erupted into a civil war.  Houses were burned down.  People were harmed.  And the palace itself was set afire and burned to the ground.  The King and his advisor stood surveying the ruins. "Perhaps," said the King, "I was wrong?  Perhaps the drop of honey WAS our problem."

8) Willy Claflin at the national festival and one of the stories on his tape is Bung Quilla Bung. Does anyone have a country of origin? He lists this as a traditional tale. I also would like a primary source. It's a lot like Freedom Bird which David Holt brought back from Thailand.

9) Why the Sea Is Salty - Norway also Northern Thailand.

10) There is a folktale from Thailand in the Stories for the Seasons archives, along with links to sites concerning Thailand and folktales.

11) I have a very simple repetitive Thai tale called Watching the Garden. In it the crow steals some beans and the boy who was supposed to be keeping watch tries to get them back. He asks the hunter to shoot the crow, but he refuses. He meets a mouse and asks him to chew the hunters bow strings, but the mouse says "I'm not angry with the hunter, it's your problem. He then goes to the cat and asks it to bite the mouse, and so on through dog, hammer, fire, water, earth elephant and gnat. Eventually the gnat co-operates and they all do what they've been asked to do and the beans are returned.

It's from A Treasury of Asian Stories & Activities for Schools & Libraries by Cathy Spagnoli.
Sheila W. Singapore 2/21/01

I found this legend on the web. It also has some interesting tidbits about Thai culture.

In traditional Thai folklore, gibbons are thought to be the reincarnation of disappointed lovers. The source of their mournful songs is believed to be the spirit of a grieving princess calling out to her lost husband in a hopeless yet never-ending search for him. What originally fueled this famous belief is the fact that lar gibbons (Hylobates lar), inhabitants of the rain forests found throughout Thailand, can often be heard singing, from the treetops, "Pua, pua, pua," or a similar sounding series of whoops and wails. Pua is the Thai word (albeit somewhat vulgar) for husband. Thai legend has it that this is how the gibbon came to be. Long ago when the stars were young and the gods shared their magic with mortal men, a young prince named Chantakorop was sent to study under a hermit in the jungle. Only hermits knew the magic of the gods. Life would have been tiresome and boring for the prince had it not been for the hermit's daughter, Mora,1 who entertained him with her graceful dancing and brought him bananas, phutsa1 (a type of fruit), and slices of durian melon.

When Chantakorop's studies were complete, he left to return to his palace and claim the throne. Before he set out on his journey, the hermit presented him with a clay urn. "Within this urn is a gift I hope you will treasure forever. It contains your heart's greatest desire," said the hermit, "However, you may not open the urn until you reach your father's palace. If you open it before you have reached the safety of your own kingdom, great misfortune will befall upon you." The prince vowed to obey the hermit's words, and gratefully took the gift and held his high while the hermit bowed (according to Thai tradition, a prince's head never bends lower than that of a common man). "Sawasdee (goodbye)," said the hermit, "Do not forget what I have told you; you have been forewarned."

Chantakorop bid his instructor farewell, and embarked on his voyage through the jungle. With each passing day the urn inexplicably grew heavier, and with each step the prince's curiosity grew as well. Finally, he could wait no longer. He impatiently removed the lid from the urn, and, much to his surprise, Mora, the hermit's lovely daughter, magically appeared before him.

Chantakorop and Mora were hastily married in the nearest village. Eager to present his bride to his father, the prince anxiously continued his journey toward the royal palace with his new wife. When they were near the outskirts of the kingdom, Chantakorop suddenly remembered the warning the hermit had given him when they had parted, and he realized he had broken his promise to the man. At that moment, a bandit appeared from the shadows and challengedthe prince to a fight. Whoever emerged victorious would have Mora as his prize. They fought valiantly, but the prince soon grew weary. The bandit then immediately swung a powerful blow that sent the prince staggering to the ground. Chantakorop's sword fell beyond his reach. "Mora!" he called, "Quickly, if you cherish my life, bring me my sword!"

Mora reached for the sword, but was momentarily distracted by the sight ofthe bold bandit and left the sword where it lay. The bandit then seized the weapon for himself and killed the prince in an instant. Shocked by the result of her inaction, Mora bent over the body of her beloved prince and cried, "Pua, pua, pua (husband, husband, husband)."

The bandit took the heartbroken woman away. Mora went willingly, but all she could do the entire time was sadly call out, "Pua, pua, pua." As sunsetapproached, the gods looked down from the heavens, and the hermit suddenly appeared before his daughter and the bandit. Ashamed at her betrayal, he turned her into a gibbon. From that day on, she has roamed the forest in search of her fallen husband, and the melancholy sound of the gibbon crying, "Pua, pua, pua" is her eternal song of remorse.
Karen C. 2/21/01

13) Why the Minah Bird Mimics Man, a Thailand tale from Danny Kaye's Around the World Story Book, Random House, 1960.
Long ago parakeets were kept as pets because it could be taught the language of man.  It could even express it's own thoughts and had only to hear a word to be able to repeat it. Once a man who owned a parakeet stole a buffalo from his neighbor and killed it. Cooked part, ate it, hid other parts in the rice bin and over the rice house. Parakeet observes action of man. Neighbor comes seeking buffalo.  Man denies knowing anything - bird yells out two secret hiding places.  Man denies again but is taken to court because of bird's repeated yells of hiding places. The night before the trial, man puts parakeet into a large pot with heavy lid.  Bangs on pot, drips water on lid, noises of storm all night long on pot. Parakeet is called as witness during trial.  People in court believe bird. Man says ask parakeet what the weather was like last night.  Bird describes bad storm. People are convinced that parakeet cannot be trusted to tell the truth since last night's weather was calm and dry.  Man goes free, chases bird into forest to fend for itself. Parakeet is befriended by crow and owl.  New bird comes to forest with beautiful plumage.  New bird can speak the language of man.  Parakeet seeks to warn the new bird, "I was once cherished and cared for by man because I spoke his words. But I also spoke my own thoughts, and this made man angry.  So I was cruelly driven from the house of man.  Therefore I come to warn you that when man hears you speaking his words, he will capture you and keep you in his home.  Yet if you speak any word but those he teaches you, if you utter your own thoughts in his language, he will drive you, also, from his home.  For man cares not for the truth or wisdom of other creatures.  He loves only to hear his own thoughts repeated."

Men soon heard of the speaking tongue of the mynah bird, and they captured it and cherished it in their homes.  But the mynah bird, having been warned by the parakeet, never uttered his own thoughts, but only echoed the words of man.
Mel D. 2/22/01

14) My friend Supaporn Vathanprida, who just returned from her mother's funeral in Lompang, Thailand, has found comfort in the story When Death Comes and Medicine to Revive the Dead. They are  in her book Thai Tales: Folktales of Thailand.

I once told the story Quail Song at the service for a young child friend.  It is in Look Back and See: Twenty Lively Tales for Gentle Tellers, by Margaret Read MacDonald.
Margaret 4/21/98

15) Go to
Scroll down to stories from Thailand. You'll find:
...(The) Elephant and the Bees
...(The) Freedom Bird
...If It Belongs to Us, It Will Come to Us
...(The) Freedom Bird
...(The) Singing Ape of Thailand
...(The) Star Stories of Thailand


Girl Who Wore Too Much, The
a folktale from Thailand, by Margaret Read MacDonald. Thai text by Supaporn Vathanaprida; illustrated by Yvonne Lebrun Davis. (1998 - Ages 9-12) (August House)
A comic tale about vanity and excess set in Thailand.
Book Description
Like most young girls, Aree likes fine clothing and jewelry. But she is just a wee bit spoiled and has more dresses and accessories than she needs. So when word comes of a dance to be held in the next village, Aree can't make up her mind: Now I can show off my fine clothes! But which color shall I wear? The pink, the fuchsia, the scarlet? The sky blue or aquamarine? Maybe violet? Deep purple? Magenta? Maybe chartreuse? Or emerald green?

(This web page updated 10/3/03; 12/10/06; 7/22/08)


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