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Forest of Gold, Fable

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Fable:

On his dying day, a hermit who had travelled the mountains all his life, spoke of a hidden valley that had trees of gold. But he also warned of an ice monster that guarded the valley. Before he could complete the map to locate the valley, he passed away. The news of this strange story spread like wild-fire and many an adventurer set out to find the promising treasure. They scoured the mountains, high and low. Through valleys filled with flowers and past slopes filled with dark green forests.  They climbed over steep cliffs and cascades of waterfalls but found no sign of the treasure. After traveling for many months, a few of the seekers came to a valley that looked like a desert filled with tall mountains. A cold river ran through the barren landscape of sand, stone, and snow covered peaks, but nothing grew in this harsh terrain.

Disheartened, most of the treasure hunters decided to turn back and head home. But two of them chose to carry on. Their food was running out and so was their patience, but greed for gold is often more powerful than hunger and common sense. Both of them set out into the cold desert and travelled for many days without encountering any sign of life. One morning,  in the distance they saw an orchard of poplar  and willow trees, standing tall and magnificent in the barren landscape.  They decided to camp under the beautiful trees and survive the winter that was fast approaching.

As the season changed, the trees changed color from green to warm yellow and the river turned from brown to cold blue. Ice storms began to loom on the horizon and the mountains cloaked themselves in capes of white snow. And then suddenly as if by magic, one day the sky was crystal blue. Everything became still in anticipation. Slowly the cold sun moved across the bright blue sky and shone upon the valley with the turquoise river and the yellow forest.Towards the evening a gentle but icy wind began to blow and suddenly the bright yellow leaves of the poplar and willow, caught the rays of the setting sun and began to shine as if they were made of gold. Awestruck, the two adventurers finally realized what the hermit was talking about.

The next summer, a search party was organized to find the two missing men. After tracking their trail across the ice desert for many days, the search party spotted the two men in the distance near a small green forest. When they came near, the rescuers found the two men were long dead, their bodies frozen in ice. But surprisingly both the men had a smile on their face. Their bodies were searched but no gold was found. The search party returned home empty handed except for the sad tale that would be told to their children for generations.

Moral: In our chase for wealth, we often forget to appreciate the precious gifts that nature has given us.

Amazing fact: Most leaves don’t actually “change” color. When the days shorten, they lose their masks of green chlorophyll and reveal their natural pigments.

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Cloud Forest Fable

Youtube link: http://youtu.be/vJFag3IIQXo

Read the fable first, then watch the film:
In the Andes mountains of Ecuador lived two friends, the Cloud and the Forest. They would play with each other, not for hours or days but for weeks that turned into months. One day they had a difference of opinion, which turned into a heated argument that soon became an ego issue. The Clouds decided to move on and Forest decided to focus on growing into newer territories.

Forest Fable

But the animals and birds of the forest very unhappy about this sudden turn of events for their lives depended on the two being together. They thought of a plan to get the two friends back together. The great condor wrote a beautiful apology letter and flew to the Clouds with it saying it was from the Forest. Meanwhile, the anaconda presented a copy of the same letter to the Forest, but signed it in the Cloud’s name. But both the Cloud and the Forest caught on to their trick and scolded them severely.

Seeing their plan fail, the dejected animals and birds prepared to leave the forest and look for another home. That night the forest was very silent. But the next morning everyone was surprised to see the Cloud and Forest back together. Surprised, the Condor, Anaconda and others went and asked the two friends for the reason behind their change of heart. With a smile, the friends explained –
your letters made us realize how well we know each other and also what our friendship means not just to us but also to others around us.

Moral: True friends are hard to find. When you do, hold on to them.

Amazing fact: Only 1% of the global woodland is covered by cloud forests. Climate change and rapid deforestation of the cloud forests is putting the future of many rare birds, animals,insects and plants in grave danger.

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Have you ever wondered what is the significance of our dreams? All human beings dream. Irrespective of race, religion or country. And yet, each dream is different.

Deep in the South American Amazon, live a few tribes that have mastered the art of interpreting dreams. These indigenous tribes are known as dream cultures. The Achuar is one such tribe. They live in the Amazon forest along either side of the border between Ecuador and Peru. Until a few decades ago they had no contact with the world outside their forest. So a lot of their culture, wisdom and understanding of nature is still a mystery.

Pukeko

Pukeko

The Achuar believe that dreams are a powerful way of interpreting the future. They also have a deep respect for Nature and treat it is a living entity that guides them in the journey of life through signs and dreams. Perhaps that is why the Achuars have been able to live so harmoniously in the Amazon jungles for thousands of years.

As the impact of human society on the environment increases and we move towards an uncertain future, the Achuars have reached out and shared their dreams and visions with us. In the hope that even though all of us have our own individual dreams, but perhaps as a society we can learn to share another dream. A dream of creating a future that is better than our present. A future that is better for everyone, irrespective of race, religion, country or species.

Film by: Nitin Das, Special thanks: Daniel Koupermann
To visit the Achuar or know more about them, check out the web-site of this wonderful organization: Pachamama Alliance
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Achuar

Achuar

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Fables of Tigers

Sundarbans
The Sundarban forests (literally meaning ‘beautiful jungle’),  cover parts of India and Bangladesh. They are situated in the area where the mighty rivers Ganges and the Brahmaputra flow into the Bay of Bengal Sea, forming the world’s largest delta. These amazing forests are home of the Royal Bengal tiger.

Bengal Tiger - pic by guppiecat

Fable:  In the Sundarbans, a little-known goddess Bon-bibi graces its forests. The story goes that Bonbibi, the ‘lady of the jungle’, was chosen by God to protect people who worked in the Sundarbans against a greedy man-eating half sage half tiger-demon named Dokkhin Rai.

Dokkhin Rai was a sage meditating in the forest, who was constantly disturbed by the villagers entering the forest to collect wood or honey. In a fit of rage he decided to feed on them. Using his ascetic powers he took the form of a tiger. Soon, he refused to share any of the forest resources with humans. He also started legitimizing the killings by calling them a ‘tax’ – one the villagers had to pay with their lives for the products they usurped from ‘his’ jungle. He proclaimed himself the master of the Sundarbans and of all the tigers spirits, gods, and demons that inhabited it. With time, he became a demon. The trust that had existed between tigers and humans was now shattered.

On noticing this, God decided to put a stop to Dokkhin Rai’s reign of terror. He chose for this task Bonbibi, an orphan who was abandoned in the forest as a baby and was raised by the deer. Along with her twin brother Shah Jangoli, she arrived in the infamous land of the eighteen tides, the deepest part of the Sundarbans which was home to the demon tiger.  But Dokkhin Rai was wily and clever, he always managed to evade them.

At the same time in a nearby village lived a poor young boy called Dukhe – The sad one. He received this strange name because he had a very loud cry. Even as a baby his cries could be heard across the river right up to the neighbouring village. One summer  he was lured by his uncle Dhona to join him for collecting honey from the forest. Dukhe’s mother reluctantly allowed him to leave, with the advice that he should call out to Mother Bonbibi should any harm befall him. Once in the forest, the team was confronted by the demon Dokkhin Rai, who promised to give the evil uncle Dhona seven boats full of honey and wax if he could have Dukhe in return. The greedy Dhona decided to leave Dukhe on the banks of Kedokhali Island and sailed off in his wooden boat. Just as Dukhe was about to be devoured by Dokkhin Rai, he cried out to Bonbibi. Hearing the loud cries Bonbibi was able to locate the elusive tiger and sent her brother Shah Jangoli to beat up Dokkhin Rai.

Sunderban - pic by WildVanilla (Rob)

After a battle that lasted for 7 days Dokkhin Rai was overpowered and brought to Bonbibi. Bonbibi was about to order his death when a wise man named Ghazi intervened.  He pleaded to Bonbibi and argued that if Dokhin Rai was killed there would be no difference between good and evil. Instead of killing the demon, we should kill the reason that led to Dokhin Rai becoming a demon.  Bonbibi  understood the wisdom in this.

A defeated Dokkhin Rai  complained that if the humans are given a free reign, there will be no forest left. So, to be fair and ensure that Dokkhin Rai and his retinue of tigers and spirits stop being a threat to humans, and humans stop being a threat to non-humans, Bonbibi elicits promises from Dukhe, Dokkhin Rai and the Ghazi that they are all to treat each other as brothers. She does this by forcing Dokkhin Rai and the Ghazi to part with some of their wood and gold respectively, and by making Dukhe promise that he and his kind should only enter the forest with a pure heart and empty handed.

She accepted Dokkhin Rai’s apology and accepted him as her ‘son’. Later, she ordered her pet crocodile, Seko, to drop Dukhe to his village. It is after his return to the village that Dukhe popularized the worship of Bonbibi – The lady of the Jungle.

Moral: Senseless wars can end if we understand the real reason behind them. It is important to create a balance in nature, if we wish to have a better future.

Sundarbans - pic by WildVanilla (Rob)

Fact:  In recent times, the Sundarbans have faced serious threats due to environmental degradation. Not only has the felling of trees caused a lot of damage to the soil and the forest itself, but rampant poaching has endangered the existence of Bengal tigers in the area, and is threatening to cause serious imbalances in the ecosystem.
Read more about the Sunderbans>>>
See how you can protect the Tiger>>>

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Monks vs. Mosquitoes

This film has been made with the monks of Dhangkar Monastery in Spiti, India. No mosquitoes were killed in the making of this film. Film by: Nitin Das, Music: Avinash Baghel, Special thanks: Sunil Chauhan.

Director’s note: The world is warming and the climate is changing, whether we like it or not. And it’s going to impact each one of us in some way or the other. The next time a heat wave hits you or a mosquito bites, think about it.

But change is inevitable and humans have the gift of shaping their own future to a certain extent. The question is, are you willing to take on the responsibility? History has shown that it is common people like you and me that come up with ideas to create a better planet. Just like a small flame that can ignite an entire forest, small actions can have a big impact in transforming our world.


Help us use this film, not just to raise awareness about climate change but also to send life saving mosquito nets to ACT a non-profit working in malaria infested regions of north-east India.

Please subscribe to our site for fables and films from amazing places. Also share this link with a few friends. Spread a little awareness. The world needs it.


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Band of holes, Peru

Photo by tgraham @flickr


In south-western Peru, on a plain called Cajamarquilla is the Band of Holes. Thousands of man-sized holes, stretching for over a mile on uneven mountain terrain, are carved into the barren rock.

 

Fable:  Thousands of years ago, in a valley in the place we now call Peru, there lived a large community of nymphs. For a long time, they lived happily among the trees and rivers, until one year, there was a drought. The rivers started to dry up and the trees began to die. The nymphs knew they had to make an offering to the Rain God, and they also knew that what he loved the most was music. What they couldn’t figure out was how to get music on the earth to reach the skies above, where the Rain God lived. They tried singing, but their voices were not loud enough, and neither were their musical instruments. They tried making bigger and louder instruments, but nothing worked. Finally, one young nymph had an idea. She began digging a big hole in the ground, and once she finished, she stretched several long reeds tightly over the surface. When she plucked the reeds, the sound produced was louder and more magical than that of any other musical instrument in the world. All the other nymphs followed her lead, and within a few hours, the whole valley was covered with large holes, reeds stretched over their surfaces.

The nymphs began to play their new instruments together, and for hours and hours they produced one beautiful melody after another, till the music reached all the way up to the skies. At last, the rain came, and they lived in peace once again. To this day, the large holes can be seen in Pisco Valley in Peru.

Moral: Creativity can help us overcome even the toughest challenges.

Contibuted by: Chitra Roy

Fact:  Archaeologists have suggested that these holes might have been either tombs or storage containers for grain, but neither of these theories has held up against scrutiny. To date, no one has a clue why they’re here, who made them or what they were.

Fable: To the king of the skies was born a daughter so pretty that she gave the Moon a complex. The King raised her in strict discipline as a prim and proper princess, for he had laid many careful plans for her future. But despite his best efforts the pretty princess fell in love with wild dancing. She would put on her emerald dress with flowing ribbons of light and dance her way into the night. Watching her beauty, many a Star fell for her.

As the princess and her admirers grew so did the King’s anguish, for he could not bear to watch a royal princess dance in public. Finally, he put forth a hard choice for the princess – either  marry the Rainbow prince, settle down and give up dancing, or be banished for life to the edge of the Earth. The princess made her choice. To this day, you can often catch her dancing in the skies of the northern hemisphere and see the Stars falling. Not many people have experienced her beauty, but those who have are changed for ever.

Moral: Every choice has it’s tradeoff, but it’s easy to choose if your priorities in life are clear.

Contributed by: Nitin Das

Northern Lights

Northern Lights by 'Image Editor'

Fact: Northern Lights or the aurora is a natural light display in the sky of the arctic regions. The aurora is produced from millions of explosions of magnetic energy. The dancing lights are a form of intense space weather, a result of the atmosphere shielding the Earth against fierce solar particles that would otherwise make our planet unsafe for life. Millions and millions of electrically charged particles in the solar wind wash over Earth and smash into upper atmospheric gases. The energy from each collision is released as photons — particles of light. This causes the particles to glow.

The lights occur frequently between September and October and then occur again between March and April. They are also visible sometimes in the winter. Read more>>

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