Talking Thrush, The: And Other Tales from India | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in August 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

King of the Kites, The

A MOUSE one day met a Frog, whom he knew very well; but the Frog turned up his flat nose, and would not speak to him.

               "Friend Frog," said the Mouse, "why are you so proud to-day?"

               "Because I am King of the Kites," said Froggie.

               You must not suppose that this means a paper kite with a tail. There is a kind of bird called a Kite; it is like a Hawk, only bigger. How absurd it was of this Frog, who could not even fly, to call himself the King of the Kites! And the Mouse was just as absurd, for he answered--

               "Stuff and nonsense! I am King of the Kites!"

               I don't know whether they really believed this themselves, or whether they were only trying to show off. Anyhow, both stuck to it stoutly, and a pretty quarrel was the result. The Mouse grew red in the face; and as for Froggie, he was nearly bursting with rage.

               At last they agreed to refer the decision to a council. The council was made up of a Bat, a Squirrel, and a Parrot. The Parrot took the chair, because he was the biggest, and also because he could talk most, and was therefore thought to be wise.

               "I vote for the Mouse," said the Bat; not that he knew anything about it, but you see a Bat is very like a Mouse, and he wanted to stand up for the family.

               "And I," said the Squirrel, "vote for my friend Froggie." He knew nothing about it either, but he wanted to show that even a Squirrel has an opinion of his own.

               So it fell to the Parrot to give the casting vote, and decide the matter. He took a long time to decide, about two hours; and while he was thinking, and the others were all intent to hear what he should say, down from the sky swooped a Kite; and the Kite stuck one claw into the Mouse's back, and one claw into the Frog, and carried them both away to his nest, and ate them for dinner.

So that was the end of the two Kings of the Kites.           
The other three creatures, in a great fright,           
made themselves scarce, lest the           
Kite should come back and           
eat them too.           


Told by Rám Déo, Brahman, of Mirzápur.

Frog and Mouse dispute, each saying he is King of the Kites—The dispute lasts for several years—They refer it to a Panch (Committee of Five)—The other three are Bat, Squirrel, Parrot—They cannot decide—A small Kite appears—Carries off both Frog and Mouse, and eats them—The rest depart—The dispute does not arise again.

The belief that each species of bird and beast has a king of its own is common. Thus, we have a king of the serpents, of mice, of flies, locusts, ants, foxes, cats, and so on (Frazer, "Pausanias," iii. 559). Also see No. 27 of this collection.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: King of the Kites, The
Tale Author/Editor: Crooke, W. & Rouse, W. H. D.
Book Title: Talking Thrush, The: And Other Tales from India
Book Author/Editor: Crooke, W. & Rouse, W. H. D.
Publisher: E. P. Dutton & Co.
Publication City: New York
Year of Publication: 1922
Country of Origin: India
Classification: ATU 221: The Election of King of Birds

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