Story telling is
the oldest traditional folk art. It
is an intellectual hobby of some villager’s
men and women who are endowed with great
tact, imagination, power of expression
and dramatic action. To narrate a story
is the easiest possible thing. We hear
such narration of incidents in the market,
in the field, on the footpath and anywhere
and everywhere in the world. Such narration
is no ordinary story telling. It demands
greater sanctity, better attention of
its listeners and peaceful village atmosphere.
However educated, any and every man
cannot be a storyteller. He is a man
of genius possessing childlike simplicity,
youthful spirit, sympathetic heart,
colourful imagination and power to evoke
emotion in others. He must be a man
of amiable disposition, sound character
and commanding personality with through
mastery over the language to convince
the young listeners of the truth of
the incidents. The listeners must make
their minds run after the story without
stopping an asking to clear a doubt.
They must weep or smile, wide open their
eyes in wonder or curiosity or jump
up in great delight, be of one mind
and spirit with the teller. The secret
of success lies in his sixth sense.
His creative power, faithful delineation
of characters, wide experience are great
assets to him.
their roots in the hoary past when man
acquired the power of articulate expression.
He proudly gave out his heroic feeling
in case of hunting a ferocious tiger
or lion or killing his inveterate enemy
or narrated his pitiable lot in course
of storm, flood, famine or each-quake.
He used his rich imaginative power in
devising the cause of the creation of
his earth, expressed eternal interest
in natural phenomena. He painted his
rising feelings and emotions on the
wall, sang them in song or expressed
them in form of tales. Folk-tales are
a part of current tales or some traditional
The gift of story
telling comes as a part of racial inheritance.
The folk-tales pass through lips of
various people with divergent taste
and power in different ages and in course
of their narration change. That is why
the different versions of the same story
are traced in different places.
In Orissa villages,
boys and girls assemble at the door
of storyteller mainly an old woman on
whom rests the charge of keeping the
child in good humour. The child has
finished up his play. He has no engagement
at home but to disturb and trouble the
mother and other members. So the best
means devised to keep him calm and quiet
is story telling. It makes him sit silently
and patiently for hours, inculcates
a habit of selfcontrol, a habit to hear
Evening is now gone.
Stars twinkle Ploughmen take rest at
heir doors. The village appears calm,
serene and sacred. The grandmother starts
her story with the following meaningless
Let me tell you
What story ? –Of
What frog ? –A
What wood ? –An
What oilman ? –Who
moves a pressing machine.
What pressing machine
? –Of sugar cane.
What sugarcane ?
What Kanthari ?
–An old woman who knows charms
And she ends her
story with the following :
My story ended;
the flower plant died.
Well, flower plan,
why did you die ?
The black cow ate
Well black cow,
why did you eat away the plant ?
The herdsman did
not watch me.
why did you not watch the cow ?
The eldest daughter-in-law
did not give me food.
why did you not give him food ?
The child wept.
Well child, why
did you weep ?
I was bitten by
a dusty black ant.
Well black ant,
why did you bite the child ?
I live under the
earth; when I find a soft flesh, I bite.
After the recitation
of the first song, the lady asks the
boys to choose subject matter. Should
she tell the story of a king, a merchant,
a tiger, a crocodile, a snake, a giant
or a ghost ? Should she tell a story
of sorrow or happiness or the experiences
she had undergone in her long and chequered
career? The boys and girls choose the
tale according to their taste; differ
a great deal from one another in their
choice. For most of the stories were
heard beforehand. If the issue remains
undecided the old lady uses her discretion
and starts, “Once upon a time
there was a king or a merchant.”
At each pause during the narration the
listener has to say ‘hum’
as an encouragement to the narrator.
roughly classified into Legends and
Folk-Tales. A legend is a narrative
of things, which are believed to have
happened about a historical personage,
locality or event. But a Folk-Tale is
a fully imaginary piece, which may not
bear any relation to the real fact of
The legend of Sibei
Santara is well-known throughout the
province. This great architect of Emperor
Narasingha Deb was given the charge
of constructing the world-famous black
pagoda of Konark. The place fixed for
the construction was on the deep water
of the river Chandrabhaga. The architect
threw hundreds of cartloads of stones
into the midst of the river to no effect.
They were as said, swallowed up by Radhaba—a
legendary Sea-Fish. He, however, could
not detect his own mistake and discontinued
the work in great despair. Once while
going on his way fully exhausted, he
was invited by an old lady for dinner
and was given hot pudding. Sibei ate
the hot pudding from the middle and
not from one side and consequently burnt
his hand but could not satisfy his hunger.
The old lady remarked that he should
not behave like Sibei whom he could
not recognize. Sibei enquired her of
his defects to which she said that in
spite of his great-wisdom and skill
n architecture, he lacked awfully in
common sense. He tried to lay the foundation
from the middle and not from one side
and became unsuccessful in his endeavour.
Sibei fully enlightened tried again
in the new method and his efforts were
crowned with success.
Another legend connected
with the temple is the following. The
temple could not be completed with strenuous
efforts of 1200 architects who worked
for 16 years. The emperor promulgated
an order that they would all be beheaded
if they were not able to complete the
temple in another day. Dharma, a boy
of twelve years of age who was in the
womb when his father-Bisu came to Konark
for construction, could, however, to
his great credit and to the glory of
the nation, complete the temple and
saved the lives of 1200 architects.
The architects thought
that to be defeated by a skilful boy
of their own community though a great
glory, is fraught with grave danger.
The Emperor might on that account reward
the boy and punish them all for worthlessness.
They asked Bisu to choose on of the
alternatives to discard the community
or to sacrifice the son. Bisu chose
the later. Before that, Dharma himself
volunteered to sacrifice his life for
the nation, jumped from the top of the
temple into the sea.