Tikki Tikki Tembo

RETOLD BY S. E. SCHLOSSER

Once there lived a family in ancient China that had two sons.  The elder son, who was to inherit the family fortune, was given a very-long and very-impressive name, as befitted an elder son.  He was called Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo.  The second son, who would have to make his own way in the world and was therefore not so important, though no less beloved, was named Ping. 

The two brothers were good friends, and loved to play games with one another.  One day, as they were playing tag, little Ping slipped on some wet grass and fell into the river. 

Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo was alarmed.  Neither of the brothers knew how to swim. 

Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo ran swiftly toward the house shouting:  “Mother!  Mother!  Ping has fallen into the river!”   

Alarmed, Mother cried:  “Ping has fallen into the river!  We must tell your father!” 

So Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo and his Mother ran out into the farm yard to look for Father.  They found him tending the horse. 

“Father!  Father!  Ping has fallen into the river,” shouted Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo and his Mother.  

“Ping has fallen into the river?” Father cried in alarm.  “We must borrow our Neighbor’s boat and rescue him!” 

Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo, his Mother and his Father ran to the neighbor’s house. 

“Neighbor, Ping has fallen into the river!  May we borrow your boat?” asked Father. 

“Ping has fallen into the river?” exclaimed the Neighbor.  “How terrible.  Of course you may borrow my boat.” 

So Father and Mother and Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo paddled out into the river and rescued poor Ping, who was nearly drowned. 

A few weeks later, Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo and Ping were fetching water from the well when Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo leaned over too far and fell into the well.

Ping was alarmed.  Neither of the brothers knew how to swim. 

Ping ran up to the house, shouting:  “Mother!  Mother!  Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo has fallen into the well!”   

Alarmed, Mother cried:  “Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo has fallen into the well!  We must find your father!” 

Ping and his Mother ran out into the yard to look for Father.  They found him in his workshop, carving a table for the kitchen. 

“Father!  Father!  Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo has fallen into the well,” shouted Ping and his Mother.  

“Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo has fallen into the well?” Father cried in alarm.  “We must borrow a ladder from the Gardener and rescue him!” 

Ping, his Mother and his Father ran to the gardener’s house.  “Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo has fallen into the well,” they told the Gardener.    “We need to borrow your ladder.”

“Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo has fallen into the well?” the Gardener exclaimed.  “How terrible.  Of course you may borrow my ladder.”

So Father took the ladder and climbed down the well to rescue Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo. 

But it took so long for everyone to say the poor boy’s name that Father arrived too late.  Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Hari Kari Pi Chi Pip Peri Pembo had drowned.

Ever since that day, the people of China have given their children very short names.


Author retelling: This is a unique author retelling of this folktale. This version of the story is copyrighted to S.E. Schlosser. See the Contact Us page for information on reprints.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

S. E. Schlosser
Editor of WorldFolklore.net and AmericanFolklore.net, S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series by Globe Pequot Press. She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of "let's pretend" quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children's Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author.
The Spooky Series by S.E. Schlosser