The Lazy Conman and Other Stories: Folktales from Nepal
Author: Ajit Baral
Do you not have eyes? Canâ€™t you see that I am watering my tree?â€™ The merchant said, â€˜But there are clothes on the branches.â€™ â€˜Yes, I would expect a clothes-tree to grow clothesâ€”wouldnâ€™t you?â€™ Kakaji is a lazy man, much given to sitting around, until, one day, his wife kicks him out in a rage. After a series of adventuresâ€”which involve a tree that bears clothes and a dancing bear that shits silver coinsâ€”Kakaji comes home rich and resumes his life of indolence. Characters like Kakaji abound in The Lazy Conman and Other Stories, making their roguish way in the world with wit, charm and grace. The Uttis and Laligurans trees fall in and out of love; the mouse asks the sun, the clouds and the mountain, successively, to be her husband; and Death is trapped, for the first and the only time, on earth. The fox teaches the Brahmin an important lesson of life while gods walk the earth and actively take part in human and animal affairs. An engaging retelling of mostly oral folktales, these stories represent the mosaic of cultures that make up the Nepalese nation. With beautiful illustrations by Durga Baral, one of Nepalâ€™s best-known cartoonists, The Lazy Conman and Other Stories affords a fascinating view of the social and cultural life of Nepal and a unique opportunity to sample the treasures of an ancient and rapidly changing culture.