Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Lambikin...a tale from India



Once upon a time there was a wee wee lambikin, who frolicked about on his little tottery legs, and enjoyed himself amazingly.

Now one day he set off to visit his granny, and was jumping with joy to think of all the good things he should get from her, when who should he meet but a jackal, who looked at the tender young morsel and said, "Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll eat YOU!"

But Lambikin only gave a little frisk and said,

To granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so.


The jackal thought this reasonable, and let Lambikin pass.

By and by he met a vulture, and the vulture, looking hungrily at the tender morsel before him, said, "Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll eat YOU!"

But Lambikin only gave a little frisk, and said,

To granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so.


The vulture thought this reasonable, and let Lambikin pass.

And by and by he met a tiger, and then a wolf, and a dog, and an eagle, and all these, when they saw the tender little morsel, said, "Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll eat YOU!"

But to all of them Lambikin replied, with a little frisk,

To granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so.


At last he reached his granny's house, and said, all in a great hurry, "Granny, dear, I've promised to get very fat. So, as people ought to keep their promises, please put me into the corn bin at once."

So his granny said he was a good boy, and put him into the corn bin, and there the greedy little lambikin stayed for seven days, and ate, and ate, and ate, until he could scarcely waddle, and his granny said he was fat enough for anything, and must go home.

But cunning little Lambikin said that would never do, for some animal would be sure to eat him on the way back, he was so plump and tender.

"I'll tell you what you must do," said Lambikin. "You must make a little drumikin, and then I can sit inside and trundle along nicely, for I'm as tight as a drum myself."

So his granny made a nice little drumikin, with the wool inside, and Lambikin curled himself up snug and warm in the middle, and trundled away gaily. Soon he met with the eagle, who called out,

Drumikin! Drumikin!
Have you seen Lambikin?

And Mr. Lambikin, curled up in his soft warm nest, replied,

Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin. Tum-pa, tum-too!


"How very annoying!" sighed the eagle, thinking regretfully of the tender morsel he had let slip.

Meanwhile Lambikin trundled along, laughing to himself, and singing,

Tum-pa, tum-too;
Tum-pa, tum-too!


Every animal and bird he met asked him the same question,

Drumikin! Drumikin!
Have you seen Lambikin?

And to each of them the little sly-boots replied,

Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin. Tum-pa, tum-too!
Tum-pa, tum-too; Tum-pa, tum-too!


Then they all sighed to think of the tender little morsel they had let slip.

At last the jackal came limping along, for all his sorry looks as sharp as a needle, and he too called out,

Drumikin! Drumikin!
Have you seen Lambikin?

And Lambikin, curled up in his snug little nest, replied gaily,

Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin! Tum-pa --


But he never got any further, for the jackal recognized his voice at once, and cried, "Hullo! You've turned yourself inside out, have you? Just you come out of that!"

Whereupon he tore open Drumikin and gobbled up Lambikin.


(Bet you thought this was going to end differently....didn't you??)


This version of the story was published by Joseph Jacobs in Indian Fairy Tales (London: David Nutt, 1892)