Indian Myths

The Four Harmonious Brothers

Paintings depicting the Four Harmonious Brothers are found in many Buddhist communities, including monasteries in Ladakh and Zanskar. While their story doesn’t focus on snow leopards, it describes a precept that the Snow Leopard Conservancy strives to follow.The brothers met under a tree and discovered that the monkey had seen it’s first fruit, the elephant had seen it’s first spreading branches, and the hare had fertilized it as a sapling. But it was the bird who had planted the seed, so the others agreed that he was the senior and the one most deserving of respect.Thus began the Buddhist precept of harmony, mutual respect and collaboration.


Snow Leopard, Otter, and Domestic Cat

Pallas cat

Pallas cat (photo courtesy of the San Diego Zoo)

Three Stories by Jamyang, from the Lungnak Gorge in Zanskar.

Once upon a time, a Snow Leopard, an Otter and a Domestic Cat used to live together in the same family. One day they decided among themselves to give some responsible tasks to each other:

  • The Snow Leopard would go to collect firewood from the mountain.
  • The domestic cat decided to bring fire from a village house.
  • The otter wanted to go for water from the river.

The Snow Leopard went to the mountain to bring fire wood. He suddenly saw an Ibex and started to stalk it. Soon hunting became a way of life for him, which made him forget his actual job and hence never returned back.

The Otter went to fetch water from the river. He saw fishes in the water and kept on trying to catch them. He also forgot his commitment and never returned back either.

The Domestic Cat went to bring fire from a villager’s house. He found the life with the human family very comfortable and cozy and he never returned to the leopard-cat-otter household either.

Although they never got to live together again, the Snow Leopard always keeps separate shares of the stomach and liver for his good friends whenever he kills livestock or wildlife.

In Ladakh and Baltistan, the snow leopard and otter visit one another during the winter. Read more.

Ibex Mating

During the Ibex rutting season, the male Ibex always fight for a single female. The male who is unable to compete with the others and losses the fight badly has to leave the herd and cross over nine valleys and join another herd.

Who produces what?
  • When a marmot crosses with a dog, the new born breed is a marmot.
  • When a marmot crosses with Pallas cat, the new born is a cub of Pallas cat.
  • When Snow Leopard cross with each other, they don’t give birth to a Snow Leopard cub, but when a Snow Leopard crosses with a Pallas cat, only then is snow leopard cub born!