A collection of Indian tales of wit, wisdom, humour, bravery, devotion and lots more...

The clever wife – A folktale from South India

In a village in South India, there lived a farmer named Somu. Somu owned four bulls. Of the four, one was very well built and was Somu’s favorite. He was grey in colour with sharp horns curving at the ends. He was five feet tall and had a long tail. He had a majestic look and everyone who passed by while he was ploughing the field stopped by, to admire him. Somu had named him Raja and was very proud of him. He treasured Raja like his life.

One night, a thief somehow managed to enter the shed where the bulls were kept and stole Raja and led him away. Somu was shocked when he found Raja missing in the morning. Raja was like a son to him and Somu could not bear his disappearance. He tried his level best to trace him but the thief was from another far-off village and had led Raja to his house. He was a seasoned thief and knew that he had to lie low for some time before attempting to sell Raja, who, he was sure, would fetch a lot of money for his looks.  

Somu, had no clue as to where Raja was. Like a mad man, he ran to all the nearby villages in search of Raja, but it was of no avail.

Thoroughly disheartened and sad, Somu stopped all his work and was mourning the loss of Raja all the time.

Somu’s wife Lila, was worried. But she was a clever lady. She consoled Somu and told him that the thief would certainly try to sell Raja as he was a handsome bull after all . The cattle market which operated in the town some distance away happened only once a month on the last Sunday which was falling the day after. Lila was pretty sure that Somu would find Raja in the market. She told Somu that he should go to the cattle market and the probability of finding Raja was pretty high. Somu was also somewhat convinced but was worried as to how he would prove that Raja was his, if he were to find him.

“Don’t you worry!” she said. “I will tell you what to do if you find Raja.” And she whispered something into his ear. Somu smiled and knew that this would work.

On Sunday, Somu went to the cattle market very early and was going around looking at the cattle and to his great joy, he found Raja! The thief was trying to negotiate with somebody to sell off Raja. Somu shouted, “Raja! This is my Raja!” and rushed to hug Raja. The thief came in between and raising his voice said, “What do you mean ‘my Raja’ huh? This is my bull and how dare you come and coolly say it is yours huh? Move, move!” Saying so he tried to push Somu aside.

“But it is mine! The grey colour, the curved horns and the majestic look, I know it is mine” protested Somu.

“Oho! If I have a bull similar to yours, does it make him yours huh? I have him for the past one year and so don’t make noise unnecessarily” said the thief rudely. The buyer who was supposed to buy Raja was puzzled and was staring at this new ‘tamasha’. Now, a few more onlookers gathered  and the thief was getting panicky. Somu ran to the other side of Raja and in a split second, covered Raja’s eye with his hands. Raja did not protest as he knew it was Somu. Somu, looking at the thief asked him, “Well, if this is your bull, which eye of his is blind, right or left?”

The thief was shocked now. He did not know that the bull was blind in one eye and he had never even cared to examine the bull after he stole him.

“Er… err…” he stuttered. “He is blind in his right eye” he said in a faltering voice.

“No” said Somu and took off his hand covering the right eye.

“Er… no.. no.. I meant left eye, left eye, not right eye” said the thief.

Now Somu took off both his hands and said, “You are absolutely wrong! My Raja has no defects at all. You have stolen him!”

Now Raja was nuzzling up to Somu and Somu was stroking his face. The on-lookers were convinced about Somu’s claims and they started interrogating the thief. He tried to escape but all of them over-powered him and he was handed over to the king’s police and I don’t need to say what happened to him after that!

Somu led Raja home happily and thanked clever Lila for her brilliant idea!


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  1. Gomathi S

    A simple nice story for the kids.

  2. Sripriya Ramesh

    Wonderful story Vidhya

  3. Vidya @ Manomayi

    Very well narrated dear friend! 👍💐

  4. Vidya @ Manomayi

    Very well narrated dear friend! 👍💐 Tku for sharing!

  5. Subramanian N

    very interesting end. children will enjoy it.

  6. R. Latha


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