Tuesday, December 15, 2015

When I Was Wee: My Favorite Folktale

My favorite childhood book was...

Tikki Tikki Tembo



This is a great little story about the most honored elder son with the grand (nearly fatal) long name and his younger brother Chang. Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sa Rembo-Chari Bari Ruchi Pip Peri Pembo ~gasps~ is the beloved son of his mother, while younger brother Chang is easily dismissed. T3 is keen to get into mischief, as children are wont to do. That mischief leads to T3 falling down a well and it is up to his little brother (and the old man with the ladder) to save him.

Being the younger child, the days I empathized with Chang were many, many, many. Being the younger child learning to read while my family was stationed in Taiwan...not even typhoons could pry it from my grip.

The book was first published in 1968 and was widely welcomed by academia. Nearly 50 years later, the book is tossed back and forth as being a racist representation of Asain culture. I'm not going to wade into the political correctness of a folktale. I will say only that it spoke to me so strongly as a child, that I've shared it with the next generation of my family.

7 comments:

  1. I remember reading this one when I was younger. It's definitely a story that sticks with you once you've read it, and I'm glad I don't have a name that long!

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    1. Glad you agree! Imagine having a name that long in grade school when the teacher says, "Class, you have one minute to complete this pop quiz. Make sure you write your name at the top of the page." ~gulp~

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  2. Never heard of it! very interesting

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    1. Apparently, T3 even has a theme song now. Who knew?

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  3. My cousin taught me a garbled version of the name when I was little but I never knew what it was, or that it was a character in a book! I thought it was just a rhyme she'd made up. You learn something new every day I guess.

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    1. I learned at an early age that if I repeated the name often enough, I could annoy the bejebus out of my sister. ~wicked laugh~

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