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The Boy Who Wanted A Drum – A Hindi Tale from India
Retold by Dianne de Las Casas

In the land of India, there lived a poor woman and her son. Her son was hardworking, polite, and never complained about his ragged clothes and worn shoes. The woman wanted, more than anything, to give her son a special gift. She asked him, “I am going to the market to sell our grain. Is there anything you want from the market?”

The boy had secretly been wishing for a drum. He could feet the beat of the drum deep inside his heart. “Mother, I would like a drum,” he replied.

The boy’s mother went to market and sold her grain. She knew she would never have enough money to buy him a drum but she didn’t want to come home empty-handed. On the way home, she found a sturdy stick. She picked it up and said, “I will give this to my son.”

When she handed the stick to her son, he smiled and said, “Thank you, mama.” Then he went outside to play. He saw an old woman lighting her chulha, her woodstove with some dried cow dung she used for fuel. The fire would not start and big billows of smoke poured forth. It stung her eyes and made her cry.

The boy asked gently, “What is the matter?”

The old woman answered, “I cannot light my fire.”

The boy replied, “I have a sturdy stick. You can have it. You need it more than I.”

The old woman was delighted. She took the stick and had no trouble lighting her fire. To thank him, the old woman gave him a chapatti, a round, flat piece of bread.

The boy walked on until he came upon a mother and her crying child.

The boy asked gently, “What is the matter?”

The mother answered, “My child is hungry and I have nothing to feed him.”

The boy replied, “I have a chapatti. You can have it. You need it more than I.”

The mother, who was the potter’s wife, was delighted. She took the bread and fed it to her hungry child. To thank the boy, she gave him a large pot.

The boy walked on until he came upon a couple arguing,

The boy asked gently, “What is the matter?”

The man, a washerman, answered, “My wife broke the pot I use to wash clothes. I cannot boil my clothes clean.”

The boy replied, “I have a large pot. You can have it. You need it more than I.”

The washerman and his wife were delighted. They took the pot and put their clothes inside. To thank the boy, they gave him a warm coat.

The boy walked on until he came to a bridge. There, he saw a man shivering in the cold without so much as a shirt to cover him.

The boy asked gently, “What is the matter?”

The man answered, “I was attacked by robbers and they stole everything, including my shirt.”

The boy replied, “I have a warm coat. You can have it. You need it more than I.”

The man was delighted. He put the coat on and it fit perfectly. To thank the boy, he gave him a strong horse that the robbers left behind.

The boy walked on with his horse until he ran into a wedding party with musicians, the bridegroom and his family. They were sitting under a tree with long faces.

“The boy asked gently, “What is the matter?”

The bridegroom’s father said, “We need a horse for our wedding procession. The bridegroom cannot arrive on foot! The man who was supposed to bring us a horse is not here! What are we to do? My son will be late for his own wedding!”

The boy replied, “I have a strong horse. You can have it. You need it more than I.”

The bridegroom was delighted. “You have saved the day! Let us repay your kindness with a gift.” He spoke to one of the musicians and then turning to the boy, handed him a drum.

The boy was delighted! “I have always wanted a drum. I can feel the drum beat inside my heart. Thank you!”

They all celebrated their good fortune with music. The boy waved to the bridegroom as he rode away on his strong horse. Then he ran all the way home.

“Mama, mama,” he shouted. Look at my new drum!” He told her his story and then played her the song from deep inside his heart.

Sources: This story is from Kamishibai Story Theater: The Art of Picture Telling by Dianne de Las Casas (Westport, CT: Teacher Ideas Press, 2006). This story was adapted from “A Drum” in Folktales from India: A Selection of Oral Tales from Twenty-two Languages by A.K. Ramanujan (New York: Pantheon Books, A Division of Random House, 1991) and “A Drum” from Tales of Wonder: India website http://darsie.net/talesofwonder/india/drum.html

Tags: Boy, Drum, Library, Story, Storytelling, Wanted, Who, a

Views: 2088

Replies to This Discussion

This is a wonderful story, Dianne. I love it, and if possible, I would love to tell it. Bravo! STEVE
Steve:

Thank you. I love this story too. It's also on my World Fiesta CD accompanied by music. Great theme of giving.

Warmly,
Dianne
Dianne,

I like this story. I have a question. When you tell it, do you use a drum?

Joanne
This is a really good story. I love the imagery and it gives so much to play with. Thank you for sharing.

I'm starting on a project where I'll be exploring storytelling as a form of currency exchange. This is the perfect story to add to my 'tokri' - basket in Hindi. :)

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