Kathai Kathaiyam Karanamam

Tales We Heard Sitting In Ammupatti’s Lap

Amman Amman Ooracha

Posted by ammupatti on May 15, 2009

Once upon a time there lived a family consisting of a father, mother and their beautiful daughter. Let us call her Paru (in the original story there is no name for the girl, just oru ponnu irundhalam). When the girl grew up, the parents wanted to get her married and started looking for an eligible groom. One day a young man was brought to their house by the village elders. The father welcomed them all and asked them to be seated. He then asked the village elders who the young man was. The village elders said, “this young man belongs to a village a little further away from here. He has come looking for a girl for marriage. After we talked to him, we thought that he would be a good match for Paru.” Paru’s father was very happy and asked the young man about his family and other details. The young man replied that he came from a reputed family and that his parents were rich.

So it was decided that Paru would be married to this young man and soon the day arrived for Paru to leave for her husband’s home. Paru was very sad that she had to leave her loving parents and other relatives and friends to a far away place where she did not know anyone. The elders in the family consoled her saying, “Don’t worry, your husband is a very good man. So his family also must be good. They will take good care of you. And you are not going very far away. Whenever you feel like seeing us, just send a message to us. We will come and bring you home.” They bade farewell to her and Paru and her young husband started their journey towards her new home. In those days there were no vehicles to travel from place to place and all the travelling had to done by foot.

So Paru and her husband walked and walked crossing rivers and fields and mountains. It was almost midday and yet there was no sign of any village. Paru was very tired of all the walking, so she asked her husband, “Amman, Amman, Ooracha?” (Have we reached our village yet, Uncle) to which her husband replied, “Innamoraru kadakkavenum” (we have to cross one more river). They walked for a long distance again and there was still no sign of any village. Paru was very exhausted and thirsty so she once again asked her husband, “Amman, Amman, Ooracha” and her husband replied, “innamoraru kadakkavenum.” They crossed more rivers and walked for long and it was evening and still there was no sign of any village. Paru could not walk any more. She was tired and thirsty and hungry, so she asked her husband once again, “Amman, Amman, Ooracha?

Her husband was very irritated by her constant asking and he angrily replied, “Chumma irukkayo, swaroopathe kattattumo?” (Will you shut up or do you want to see my true form). Paru was very frightened by his anger and started walking again. After some time, with still no village in sight, Paru once again asked her husband, “Amman Amman, Ooracha?” Her husband got so angry that he roared and when Paru looked towards her husband she saw a huge lion roaring in front of her. The lion said, “now keep quiet and walk with me.” Shivering with fear Paru followed the lion and at last at nightfall, they reached the lion’s den in the forest.

Upon reaching the den, the lion, for it was a lion that had disguised itself as a young man and married Paru, told her, “I have three cubs and my wife is dead. I have married you to take care of my little ones. You have to be their mother and take care of all their needs. Cook for them, bathe them, play with them. You cannot escape from here.” Paru had no other go but to accept everything that the lion said because she was so far away from home. The lion would go out every day and hunt and bring food for her and the cubs. Paru would cook food and feed the lion and the cubs and do all the other work in the house. Whenever she was alone she would feel very sad and cry at her fate. After some time she decided that crying would not help and she had to devise a plan to escape from there. So she started thinking of ways and means to escape from there. She could not go from there back to her village alone as she was not sure of the route.

One day she saw a crow and decided to tie a letter to the foot of the crow. She wrote a detailed letter to her father saying that her husband was actually a lion and had cheated them all by taking human form and she had been assigned to cook for the lion’s cubs. She asked her father to come very soon and take her back. She also wrote that the lion would go hunting every morning and would return only in the evening, so her father should come to take her when the lion was away. She tied the letter to the crow’s feet and waited for a reply. Soon the crow brought the reply from her father saying that he would come and take her back. Paru waited for her father to come. Paru’s father came to the lion’s den the next morning when the lion was away. Paru put an iron griddle on the stove and caught and tied the lion cubs above the griddle so that they would get cooked and the fat in their body would drip on to the griddle, making a sizzling sound. Paru’s father locked the house from the inside and they both escaped from lion’s den and ran from the forest as fast as they could so that the lion would not catch them.

When Paru and her father reached their village, Paru’s father called a village meeting and narrated how the lion had cheated all of them and how he had brought back Paru with him. All the villagers were very angry at the lion for making fools of them all and were happy that Paru was back safe. They all agreed that the danger was not yet past. The lion was sure to come back angrier and kill them all for what Paru and her father had done to the cubs. So all of them devised a plan. The filled the well in Paru’s compound with dry leaves and twigs and spread a beautiful carpet on top of it.

The lion came back to its den in the evening and knocked at the door. Nobody opened the door. Through the door he could get the smell of burning fat and the sound of the dripping fat. He thought Paru was cooking a nice meal and eating it all alone. “Chuttu Chuttu thinnu, Iru Iru Varen” (You are cooking sizzling dishes and eating it all alone, wait till I come) roared the lion. He went around the den and knocked again and again and yet nobody opened the door. He was mad with anger and smashed the door open and went inside. What he saw inside made him more angry and when he saw the condition of his cubs he just could not control himself. He knew that Paru had escaped and decided to teach Paru a lesson.

The next morning he took the form of a young man again and dressed in nice clothes started towards Paru’s village. He met the village elders and along with them went to Paru’s house. As had been decided earlier Paru’s family welcomed him showing lot of love and affection and led him towards the well which was filled with dry leaves and twigs and made him sit on the carpet on which were kept trays of good food. The young man went towards the carpet to sit and as he stepped on to the carpet his feet sank in the dry leaves and twigs and he fell deep into the well. The villagers then filled the well with mud and sand so that the lion could never come out. Paru and her parents lived happily ever after.


14 Responses to “Amman Amman Ooracha”

  1. Anon said

    Patti, I’ve been reading your blogs quite regularly for some time. Keep looking forward to your posts. Thanks a ton for putting these stories up.. If it weren’t for u, these stories will surely get lost forever :(

    on a side thought.. this story gave me insight as to why the lion population in India is so low :D.. just kidding.

  2. mona said


    This is a familiar story that we have listened as chidlren , but not the conclusion.
    The elders would always says chumma irukkeya sorupathakaatatuma, and amman amman ooraacho.
    Do you know another one where it goes chorakudukka paapaan chorakudukka paapaan?
    that brings memories too.
    thanks, mona

    • ammupatti said

      Hi Mona

      I havn’t heard ‘Chorakudukka Paapaan. Why don’t you post the story.


      • Radhika said

        yes yes my father and mother used to say this
        and frighten us
        now looking back-it brings a smile

        lovely lovely memories

  3. ammupatti said

    Hi Anon

    Ha Ha Ha

    Thanks much for your encouraging words.:)


  4. Jaya said

    Do you know the story that goes
    Kathai Kathaiam karanamam
    Karanathil oru thoranamam
    Thoranathis oru ……

    My grandma use to tell me this one but I cannot remember beyond this. WOuld like to remember the whole thing for my daughter!

    • Meena said


      Here is what i have heard from my grand parents

      Kathai kathaiyam karanamam
      karanathila toranamam
      yelayum keza pabaam
      pamba adikka tadiki ponen
      tadiellam chera irundanu
      cheta alamba tanniki ponnen
      tanni ellem meenaa irundadu
      meenai pudikka valaikki ponen
      valai ellam kizinju irundadu
      valai tekka oocikku ponen
      oociyum tattanum urundu ponal..

      • Uma said

        Thanks for this version Meena, but I have been looking for the text for this song for a long time. For some reason I remember it like this….

        Kathai kathaiyam karanamam
        Karanithil oru thoranamam
        Thoranathil oru oorvalamam….

        I dont seem to remember beyond that
        If anyone can supply the next few lines I would appreciate it.

        And Ammupatti – very nice website. Thank you

  5. Meena said

    Hi Ammupatti,

    Have been following your food blog for a year now..first time here. Lovely stories. I have heard elders say chumma irukkeya sorupathakaatatuma but never knew there was a story behind it. Good strries for me to tell my sons during bed time :-)


    Here is what i have heard from my grand parents

    Kathai kathaiyam karanamam
    karanathila toranamam
    yelayum keza pabaam
    pamba adikka tadiki ponen
    tadiellam chera irundanu
    cheta alamba tanniki ponnen
    tanni ellem meenaa irundadu
    meenai pudikka valaikki ponen
    valai ellam kizinju irundadu
    valai tekka oocikku ponen
    oociyum tattanum urundu ponal..

  6. Ram Gopal said

    Thanks for the great story; nevertheless, I feel compelled to revise a couple of things in the story to tone down the violence; what if the cubs are roaming free around the house and she left a regular meal on the stove so that it smells of food as the lion returned; and instead of burying the lion alive, what if he is rehabilitated in the end and feels remorse for his actions & returns to the forest looking for a nice female lion to marry and have a happy family?

    Look for your comments.

  7. Bhavani said

    Dear Ammupatti,

    Its long since i have been regularly visitng ur website. But today only i am commenting. My MIL used to tell this line Kathai Kathaiyam karanamam every time when she plays with her grand children and also amman amman ooracham when ever we came late from office. I now know the story behind it. Its very bad that she is no more with us now. But i remembered her on seeing these words and those memories are sweet.

    U are doing a very good work and all ur recipies i have tried (which we regularly doin the house but my MIL will help out and i just will be assisting her). Now i am not confident enough in doing it so will go through urs once or twice andwill start off.

    Keep doing the great work.


  8. Radhika said

    Thanks for the lovely stories-which i thought i wouldnt ever be able to hear again-u hv brought back a part of my life with my
    parents which i thought nobody would understand-i cant explain the emotion
    thank you-i need another help-if its ok to ask-please

    Am actually looking for a Vikramadityan kathai-which my dad used to tell us when we were smalll-which went something like this-Vikramaadityan innu oru raja,bhattii ingra mantri ,oru vetalamema chenthu rajyam bharichindirndha—there was a story of a lady who woudnt talk etc–can anybody help-please

  9. Meena said

    While browsing your little stories and poems, I am reminded of my paatti who even at 87 years of age would rock my first son (now 24 years old) on her legs singing’
    kaakey kaakey koodevide
    kootinagathu oru kunjundu
    kunjina theeti kodukamo
    kunju kidhanthu karanjedum
    kunje kunje nee tharumo
    ennude kayile neyappum!

    Paatti used to tell us how she was married off at the age of 14 to thatha, a sansrit school teacher. She originated from Puthucode, wore her 9 yards ‘podavai’ every single day and her songs and poetry were completely in malayalam.

  10. Jayasri said

    Very charming story. I wonder what Blandings Media Empire is though. Can you enlighten me?

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