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Food Mythology

How the coconut got his face

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The Round coconut often represents a human head, the round markings often called eye to represent two eyes and one mouth. There is an interesting folk story from Kerala, that explains the origin of coconut tree came to be, and how the coconut got its face.

In one of the coastal villages lived a young fisherman who was unable to catch any fishes. He used to spend hours trying but missed every catch. The young man became poorer day by day, he also had nothing to eat. He became a laughing stock of the village. This filled the fisherman with remorse and he decided to do something about it.

So, he went to a famous magician who taught him how to remove his head from his body. Soon the young man started going to the beach late in the evenings when all the other fishermen had returned to their homes with their daily catch. Then he would hide behind some rocks, take his head off from his body, and dive into the water. The fish, amazed at the sight of a headless man floating in the sea, would swarm around him curiously. Some of them would enter the man’s body through his neck. The man would then swim ashore, take the fish out, and replace his head. Then he would proudly go back to his village and flaunt his catch.

After a few days, the villagers began to wonder how the young man was able to catch so many fish every day without using fishing nets or rods.

One day, a curious little boy followed him to the beach and watched as he pulled off his head and dived into the water. The little boy quickly ran forward, picked up the man’s head, and threw it into a bush. When the man came out of the water, he could not find his head.

He searched for it frantically, but could not find it. Then, because his magic was running out, he threw himself back into the sea, and became a fish.

The curious little boy brought all the villagers to the beach show them the man’s amazing head. But when they got to the bush where he had thrown the man’s head, they found that it had already grown into a tall and slender palm with nuts on it.

Each nut had the man’s face on it. And, that is how the coconut tree was created.

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