Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Yak and a Buffalo, Long Lost Cousins?


Yak in Himalayas
Buffalo in India


(My encounter with buffalo in Gujarat reminded me of this story I heard long time ago)


Here is a story about yak and buffalo. I grew up looking after yaks in Shingkhar. And if I am not mistaken, this must have been the first Bhutanese folk tale I heard in my life.

I was told that, once upon a time, both yak and buffalo lived in the great plains of India. They had all the good pastures land that provided nutritious grass. They also had good and clean water supply throughout the year. To be concise, they had all the means necessary for their survival in India.

The only thing they missed in India was Salt. When their desire to taste salt reached their brim, the Yak came up with an idea. He told his cousin that he would go to Tibet in search of salt and would come back when he had found enough for both.

Yak had one condition. He told his cousin that he would need all his hair to keep him warm in cold and freezing weather of Tibet. Buffalo willingly and wholeheartedly gave away all his hairs. Off went the yak in search of salt. (Who never returned ever since?)

Yak chose to live in Tibet among the Himalayas and soon forgot his cousin who was dying to taste the salt. On the other hand, buffalo believed in the words of his cousin who never returned and kept on waiting. He waited so long that his head became permanently positioned like he was looking in the north all the time.

This is the reason why buffalos' today have scanty hairs on their body when yaks have excess. Not only that, buffalos' today have a head that are slightly lowered but looking at a very faraway place( As if to indicate that they are still waiting for yak from North)

3 comments:

  1. i too heard the folk tale before but never read it....
    thank you sir for sharing it in black n white...

    loved reading it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Two years ago I was in Nepal where a Tibetan friend told me a variation of this story.

    Why does the Buffalo always look up?

    In that story the Buffalos in India decided to send one of them to Himalayas to fetch salt .So one was chosen and his cousin lent him his fur so that he wouldn´t freeze in snow of Himalayas.When
    the Buffalo arrived he saw green pastures and plenty supply of salt as well.Cold was no problem since he was well equiped with a nice fur. So he decided to stay. We know him these days as Yak. His poor cousin is still waiting in India, constantly looking up towards Himalaya, wondering when is he coming back.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Two years ago I was in Nepal where a Tibetan friend told me a variation of this story.

    Why does the Buffalo always look up?

    In that story the Buffalos in India decided to send one of them to Himalayas to fetch salt .So one was chosen and his cousin lent him his fur so that he wouldn´t freeze in snow of Himalayas.When
    the Buffalo arrived he saw green pastures and plenty supply of salt as well.Cold was no problem since he was well equiped with a nice fur. So he decided to stay. We know him these days as Yak. His poor cousin is still waiting in India, constantly looking up towards Himalaya, wondering when is he coming back.

    ReplyDelete

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