The Lambikin is a folk tale from India. It is not very well known in the United States, so it would be a good one to use when you have a class that is tired of all the folktales they already know.
In the story, the Lambikin is going to his granny’s house and he meets with a number of creatures who want to eat him. A jackal is first, then a vulture, a tiger, a wolf, a dog, and an eagle. “Lambikin, Lambikin,” each one says, “I’ll EAT you!” To each, the Lambikin responds that he is going to his granny’s house and will be fatter on the way back, so they should wait. Each creature agrees. When the Lambikin has fattened up at his granny’s house, he has her make a little drum and roll him home inside it. Each of the creatures asks the drum whether it has seen Lambikin, and the Lambikin makes a sassy answer and escapes — all but the jackal, who recognizes Lambikin’s voice and eats him. If you feel that your class would be upset by this, it would be easy enough to tell the story in such a way that the Lambikin escapes the jackal as well, and finish it off with one of the traditional happy endings.
“The Lambikin” is one of those stories where little rhythms and rhymes are repeated. First, the Lambikin tells each creature,
“To Granny’s house I go, where I shall fatter grow, and you can eat me so.”
Then the animals greet the drum-encased Lambikin with
“Drumikin, Drumikin, have you seen Lambikin?”
Lambikin’s response is
“Fallen into the fire, and so will you! On, little Drumikin, tumpa tum too!”
The story is sometimes truncated to have just a list of the animals after the vulture, but it can be told with “by and by, he met a…” introducing each animal, for more opportunities to practice the chants.
These passages can be written onto sentence strips and put up in your pocket chart for reading practice, and the kids can chant them as the story is being told. Once the story is well learned, individual students can take the parts of the vulture, jackal, tiger, wolf, dog, and eagle, each saying the rhymes in turn.
This page has a printable tiger mask. While it has a number of animal masks to print out, they do not include the other animals in the story. Why not use their basic mask template for inspiration to draw masks? They also have the clever idea to attach a mask face to kids’ sunglasses from the dollar store.
Alternatively, the class could be divided into seven parts — the six predators and the Lambikin — and the students could say their parts in chorus.
Once the story has been told and retold, it is time for cross-curricular connections.
- “The Lambikin” is an excellent choice for introducing beginning, middle, and end of a story. There is the trip to Granny’s house, the fattening visit, and the trip home, ending with being eaten.
- This story can also be used for sequencing. Use magnetic letters or letter cards to stand for the predators, giving each student the initials of all six animals. While listening to the story, students can put the animals in order as they appear. Then they can notice that the animals are in reverse order on the way back, and return the letters to their original pile as the animals are mentioned in the story.
- Use the rhymes for vowel practice with emergent readers or ESL students. “To Granny’s house I go, where I shall fatter grow, and you can eat me so” gives practice with long O. “Drumikin, Drumikin, have you seen Lambikin?” gives practice for short I.
- For older students, use Venn Diagrams or the grouping pocket chart to compare “The Lambikin” with “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” another “eat me when I’m fatter” story. Let the red circle be one story and the green circle the other, with the yellow circle for shared characteristics.
- The Lambikin’s granny is able to make a drum quickly on short notice. Your class can, too, if they are provided with oatmeal cartons, coffee cans, or similar drum-shaped containers. Use the drums to keep the beat while chanting the rhymes in the story.
- The drum in the picture above and the video below is a khol drum. This drum is commonly found in the Bengal region, while the story is from the Punjab region. The Lambikin’s drum might have been a dhol drum instead. Have students do some research and try out the rhythms of traditional Indian drumming.
- If you have a drum in the classroom, play “The Talking Drum Game.” If you need a drum, click that link to find a good tom-tom from remo. Remo kids’ drums make pleasant sounds and are bright-colored and fun, too.
- This story is excellent for practicing rhythms. Use the Drumikin’s “tumpa tum too” to teach quarter and eighth notes.
Social Studies This is the perfect opportunity to study India. Here are some links for this purpose:
- PBS has a collection of high school World History lesson plans to go with “The Story of India.”
- The British Museum’s interactive site has lots of information and interesting online “challenges.” This will be a great site to set up in your computer center.
- There are some very good classroom activity books for India, includingTravel Through: India, the Hands On Heritage India Activity Book , and the Teacher Created Ancient India Thematic Unit.
- Here is a lesson plan for examining India’s regions, with worksheets and discussion questions. “The Lambikin” is a story from the Punjab region.
- A Virtual Village is a good site for practicing online research skills.
- The food chain as represented in “The Lambikin” is pretty simple: everybody wants to eat the Lambikin. Compare this with the more complex food chains and webs you have studied.
- Here is a simple site on animals of India. There are photographs and basic information. Have students compare the wildlife of India with the animals of their own region. Check out our lesson plans on tigers, too.
- The various animals in “The Lambikin” represent a number of different groups: birds and mammals, domestic and wild animals, predators and scavengers, cats and dogs. Use them to practice classification.