Mother in Law becomes a Donkey! Tamil Folk Tale (Post No.4585)

Written by London Swaminathan 


Date: 5 JANUARY 2018


Time uploaded in London- 20-56


Post No. 4585

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.

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There are over 20,000 proverbs in Tamil language; hundreds of them have beautiful stories behind them. One interesting story about a mother in law is based on a popular proverb – ‘As the time went by Mother in Law became a donkey!’ (Vara vara maamiyaar Kazuthai pola Aaanaalam)


The story is as follows:

There lived a couple in a village. Ammanji had a wife by name Vallala Kandi. The very name of the woman shows that she was an unruly woman; a bad- tempered woman. There were always shouts and fights in the house. The man’s name show that he was a naïve man. Both of them had their mothers living with them. They also fought with one another.

Ammanji’s mother got fed up with what was happening inside the house. One day Amannji’s mother ran away from home and took shelter in a temple far away from the madding crowd. Since it was dark nobody noticed her departure.


During mid night, Goddess Kali in the temple started for a city round. She saw this old woman and asked what brought her to the temple. She explained everything happening at home. Kali was very kind towards her and told her she would be alright if she ate the mango fruit. Saying so Goddess gave her a mango fruit.


In the meantime, Ammanji got worried about her mother went in search of her at the first light of the day. Someone told him that he saw an old woman in the Kali temple. Ammanji ran to the temple and came to know everything happened in the night. Ammanji was given the fruit but he refused and insisted his mother should eat it. She ate it and had a piggy back ride on her son Ammaanji. He was feeling her rough skin; but as the time went by, he felt smoother and smoother skin. He turned back and was wonderstruck when he saw his mother. She looked younger now. When she went home, he saw her completely  changed and became a young woman. Ammanji, his wife and mother in law couldn’t believe their own eyes.


Ammanji’s wife was a bit jealous and planned something in her mind. Next day she told her mother—Ammanji’s mother in law – – to run away from home. She did so and took shelter in the same temple. Kali appeared before her asked her the reason. When she told Kali about her ‘sufferings’, Kali knew that it was a lie. But Kali gave her a mango fruit and told her everything would change  when she eat the fruit. She hurriedly ate the mango.

In the meantime Ammanji’s wife became very anxious and persuaded her son to go out and look for her mother. Ammanji came straight to the temple and met her mother in law. By the time he came there, she finished eating her mango fruit.


As before, Ammanji offered her a lift home. She had a piggy back ride. To Ammanji’s surprise the body weight of the lady slowly increased and her skin became rougher and rougher. When he turned back, he saw a lady with a donkey’s face; He tried very hard to supress his laughter. When they reached home, he didn’t see his mother in law at all, but only a donkey. Ammanji and his mother were happy. Ammanji’s wife and mother in law were sad.


This gave birth to a proverb, “As the time goes by mother in law became a donkey”.




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