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Popular Legends of Nepal

Why death is not seen
It is believed that death was a visible body. When the time for one to die would come, death would come to the person and the person would accept to go to the Yamaloka (the place for the dead). Death was thus accepted and was celebrated.

Once, while death was going through the list of people who had to die he came across a young blacksmith who was not ready to die. He still had a lot of dreams to fulfill, so, when he saw Death come to him he was polite with death for he wanted Death to leave him alone. Death would not leave him. He then told death that he wanted to show him his work and took him to a multi-chambered iron building, which he had built. He guided death to the innermost chamber and asked Death to relax there. He then locked Death inside the chamber, locking seven doors. The blacksmith told no one his secret. Lord Shiva found out that Death was trapped and entrusted his consort, Parvati, to carry out a plan to release Death. Parvati, disguised as a beautiful woman working in the place where the blacksmith went every evening to drink, went to the world of the mortals. She served the young blacksmith many fine drinks, acting very seductive, and tried to find out his secrets. The intoxicated blacksmith revealed all she wanted to know. Then, Death was released and from then on, death never went to the world of the mortals in its visible form.

The Beautiful Queen who got stuck in mud
There was once a queen, widely known for her pure and enchanting beauty, simplicity, modesty and the fact that she never wore any jewelry. She was a great devotee of the sun god and her favorite morning ritual was worshipping the sun god after washing herself. She had dedicated a sacred pool to the sun god in the middle of which was a beautifully crafted crystal column with the statue of the sun god. There were lotuses all over the pool, she would gently step on to them to get to middle of the pool.

One day, when she was attending a festival she beautiful lady heavily ornamented with gold jewelry. She felt inferior and asked her husband to buy her jewelry. The king was shocked to see that his wife had changed. He tried to convince her that it would be sad to trade her precious simplicity with material luxury, but the queen would not listen. The saintly king had never collected revenue for his own luxury and thus had no money to fulfill her desires. He was forced to ask his subjects to contribute some gold and soon a goldsmith was called.

When the queen got her new jewelry, she couldn't wait to show it everyone. She attracted everyone`s attention that day and she enjoyed every bit of the attention. She was so excited that it was tough for her to fall asleep.

The next morning, she washed up to go to worship the sun god but when she foot on a lotus it would no longer support her. She fell down and was stuck in the mud of the pool. There was no one around to help her out, so, she had to struggle very hard to free herself. She finally freed herself and rushed to her room just to find out, while glancing in her mirror, that she had turned very ugly. From then on she could neither worship the sun god nor could she beautify herself.

The King who did not fear death
There was once a philosopher king, Yoga Narendra Malla,who believed that he was immortal. So, to convince people about his belief he installed a statue of himself in front of his palace. The statue had a naga forming a canopy over his head and a bird on top of the nagas head, which looked as if it was about to fly. The statue was devoted in prayer to taleju, the goddess of Patan state. Then the king proclaimed that as long as the bird perched on top of the naga, his subjects should know that he was still alive.

One day the king disappeared mysteriously. The staue prayed to taleju and the bird had not flown away. Thus, once a year there is a big festival at which the golden window of his palace is left open in the hope of his return. A dish of meal is also served for him regularly.

The naga who won the heart of garuda
Once, a very distinguished Naga (snake/serpent) wanted to see the great bathing ceremony of the rato machindra, the famous Buddhist rain-god, which was to take place on a full moon night of Chaitra (April). He went disguised as a human, telling his wife not to tell anyone about his whereabouts.

Soon Garuda, a mythical bird and enemy of all naga`s, went to the Nagas` wife asking where her husband was. Upon the insistence of the Garuda she told him where her husband was and that he could be recognized as he would appear to be the tallest man in the crowd watching from the Lagan Stupa as that was the best place from where the ceremony could be viewed. The garuda went to the ceremony and found the Naga. The garuda got hold of him and commanded him to present himself for the Garudas next meal. Thje naga was neither surprised nor frightened at the prospect of being swallowed up by the Garuda, for he knew that there was no escape. Instead, he pleaded the garuda saying that he would readily be the garudas meal if the garuda would allow him to see the ceremony of the rato macchindra, to whom he was deeply devoted. The garuda agreed.

When the festival was over, the naga went home to bid farewell to his wife. He was not angry at his wife, but he explained what had happened and went to the Garudas home on time. The garuda was greatly moved by his truthfulness and loyalty. The Garuda then decided that the Naga should be presented to the rato macchindra. Till this day, the Rato Macchindra wears a necklace called 'Satya Naga'.

The potters choice
There was once a potter, who was a great devotee of the lord Shiva. Once the lord, impressed by the potters` actions granted him a wish. The potter wished that all the pots he made would never break. The lord granted him the wish, smiling mysteriously. The potter tested the promised and he found out that his wish had indeed been fulfilled.

Soon, he was famous far and wide for his unbreakable pots and everyone came to buy them. This went on for a few years but since the pots would never break, people did not want new pots. His business suddenly stopped and his family went hungry. He could not understand how the boon given by Shiva had brought him misery.

One early morning as he was praying to Lord Shiva, with utmost sorrow in his heart. The Lord was moved by the hard times he was going through, thus the lord asked why he was unhappy. The potter, falling at the lords` feet, pleaded the lord to take the boon back and asked for forgiveness. The Lord was pleased and so he took back the boon. From then on, the potter happily made pots that would break and crack and would need to be replaced in due course of time.

When Laxmi changed her mind
Once Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, granted a wish to Vishwakarma, a great architect, for building a beautiful house for her. When Viswakarma told her that he would accept anything she would give, she told him that she would give him gold enough to cover his body and a luxurious life. Then she brought an enormous jar of gold-powder and started to pour it over his body. The jar of gold did not suffice and so she went to get more. This display of magnanimity started to worry Vishnu, the lord of balance and preservation. Vishnu was worried that the boon would make him lazy and forget his talents as an architect. He made a plan and accordingly put fleas and ticks inside the gold dust, which made Vishwakarma to move for relief.

On the other hand, Laxmi was tired of filling and pouring the gold dust without succeeding in completing her task. She finally decided that the Vishwakarma was moving because he wanted more and more gold. She, deciding that he was getting greedy, put a curse on him saying that he must work hard even on her ceremonial birthday (laxmi-puja day). At first Vishwakarma was confused, but he wasn't sad for he was relieved of the fleas. Thus, in this way everything went back into order as usual.

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