Kafal Pake Meine Nahi Chakhe
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As the summers start, the hills begin to flourish with the seasonal fruits. 'Kaafal' or the local mountain berries, is also one of those seasonal fruits. These red-coloured berries are very juicy and they appeal to local people and tourists. For many people, this fruit becomes an important mean of employment. A very old folklore is related to this fruit and is very popular in Uttarakhand.
Long ago, a woman and her daughter lived in a remote village. Both were the only support of each other. The mother worked hard to run the house, somehow. When the trees blossomed and fruits arrived, they used to come on the trees during the summer season and pluck those berries (kaafal) to sell them in the market. This used to be a great source of income and employment for the villagers in the hills. Which can still be seen today. One day when she got the berries from the tree, the daughter was tempted and attracted to those red lustrous, juicy pearls. She expressed her desire to taste them, but the mother had to sell them and she refused to give her any. She went out to work in the fields by covering the fruit basket in a corner in the courtyard and asked the daughter to take care of the berries, Kaafal!!
During the daytime when the sun began to climb and temperatures were high, the berries began drying down in the sun and dried up. When the mother reached home, the daughter had slept. The mother sat down to relax for a while, when the thought of berries struck her mind. She immediately ran to see the fruits kept in the basket. The shrunken berries appeared smaller and lesser in number. She was already irritated by working in the heat and so hungry that she got more annoyed when she saw the weight of the berries coming down. She picked up the daughter and asked in anger, ‘How did the number of berries reduce? Did you eat them???’ The innocent girl replied, 'No mother, I did not even taste a single fruit.’ But the mother did not listen to her. Her anger got overwhelming and she began beating her daughter badly. The daughter cried several times, but the mother did not listen to her leaving the girl unconscious, and finally hitting her on the head. She fell down in the courtyard and banged her head on a stone which later killed her.
Eventually the mother's anger disappeared and she calmed herself and realised her mistake. She raised her daughter in the lap and asked for apology, put a lot of cheer, put it on the chest, but the daughter had died. The mother began cursing herself and feel sorry for her deed. Her daughter was her only support and she killed her own blood.
She took the life of her daughter over a small matter. When the mother realised that the berries decrease in size under the sun, she couldn’t forgive herself. And in this repentance, she took her own life.
It’s said that the mother and daughter died and were reborn as two birds. When the berries (Kaafals) ripen, one of the birds melodiously sings, ‘kaafal paako, mael nee chakho’ meaning – ‘The berries are red and ripe, but I did not taste them.’ Later, the other bird screams, ‘Pur- putai- pur-pur’ meaning-‘ The berries are full, dear daughter.’