A very long time ago, there was a young girl named Tanaiya. She lived
in a small hut by a beautiful lake. Tanaiya loved water and would
swim in the lake all day long. "Ah, how lovely!" she would sigh with
One day, while Tanaiya waded into the water, something unusual
touched her body. "What was that?" she wondered.
Suddenly, she saw a snake-like creature. But its head was much
larger than that of a snake. Though frightened,Tanaiya went closer
and observed the creature. It was an eel, a kind of fish.
Tanaiya jumped out of the lake and ran towards her hut. The next day
when she went for a swim, the eel was swimming around a rock, as if
it was waiting for Tanaiya. As soon as the eel saw Tanaiya, it began
to swim faster. Tanaiya was surprised. She swam towards the eel and
gently touched it. It was smooth and cold. "What a wonderful
creature!" she thought to herself and smiled.
From that day on, it became a regular practice. The eel would be
waiting for Tanaiya every morning and both of them would swim side
by side for hours together.
Tanaiya would gaze at the wonderful patterns on the eel's body, and
before leaving, Tanaiya would gently pat the eel.
One day, after a long swim, when Tanaiya came out of the water and
sat on the bank, the eel also swam out of the lake. "How can a fish
swim out of water....and why?" thought Tanaiya,in wonder.
Suddenly, much to her surprise the eel transformed itself into a
young man! And he was very handsome. She was wonder-struck and could
not utter a word!
The young man spoke," I am Ambu, the God of Eels. I like you very
much and would like to remain by your side forever, but the time has
come for me to leave you." Hearing this, Tanaiya was perturbed.
"What? Are you going away?" "Yes! I have to," replied Ambu, "but
before leaving I wish to give you a gift that will always remind you
of me. To get that gift you will have to do as I say." Tanaiya
"Tomorrow I shall come to your hut in the form of eel. You must cut
off my head and burry it nears your hut," saying this Ambu dived
into the lake. A shocked Tanaiya returned home. The next morning,
she saw the eel lying at her doorstep, with its head placed upon the
threshold. Tanaiya stared at it, surprised. "Why is the eel ready to
die?" she wondered. But she had promised to do as the eel said, so
she didn't say anything.
The eel looked at Tanaiya as if trying to say," Do as I said! Please
don't hesitate!" Tanaiya gazed at the eel for a while, took a deep
breath, raised her axe and hacked off the eel's head. Then she
buried it behind her hut. From that day on, Tanaiya became sad and
Every day, she would sit near the place where she had buried the
eel's head and cry. After few days, she noticed a sapling growing at
the spot. Tanaiya was thrilled! She watered the sapling and nurtured
it every day. Soon, it grew in to a tall and magnificent coconut
tree. It swayed majestically; its long leaves singing the sweetest
melody Tanaiya had ever heard. Its sweet milky water was refreshing
and wonderful to taste. Tanaiya was now very happy; she danced
around the tree. "Indeed, it’s the best gift I could get!" she
It is therefore believed that the coconut palm, every part of which
is useful, is a gift from the God of Eels. They say, when the
fibrous shell of the fruit is removed, one can see the face and eyes
of an eel on it.
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