Drowa Sangmo - Summary of the Plot

Background of Drowa Sangmo

Drowa Sangmo is one of Tibet’s most popular stories for young and old alike. It encompasses early Tibetan folklore, history and  introduction of Buddhism Tibet. Tibetans have a good taste for the story and  its rich religious symbolism.


There once was a place called Mandal Gang, which had no religion and which was rocked by fighting among the proud people who lived there. The wisdom Dakini, Yeshi Khadroma, observed this region and saw the suffering of its inhabitants. She decided to show them the path of Dharma. She was born on earth to the daughter of a pious old woman and was called Drowa Sangmo. As she grew up, the young girl taught her old parents about the Dharma and they were overjoyed to have such a wise daughter.

The Plot

Ruling over the region at this time is the evil Queen called Hashang Gyalmo. Her trusted maid-servant, Sema Rago is as nasty as the Queen, and her husband, King Kala Wangpo is totally under her control. One day whilst the King is out for hunting, his favourite dog goes missing. The King became distraught, and he announces that the next day will be spent looking for the dog.

They arrive at a house in the woods and see a dog's footprints leading into it. When they enter the house to interrogate the inhabitants, they find Drowa Sangmo looking incredibly beautiful in the finest clothes, displaying all the characteristics of a Wisdom Dakini. The King is so overcome by this sight that he decides to marry Drowa Sangmo. He expresses his desire to her parents.

Drowa Sangmo’s ideas are different however, she has no wish to become the wife of this sinful king and considers flying to the realm of the Five Dakinis in order to escape this fate. Her parents plead with her not to go and to comply with the Kings wishes. They remind her that if she does not obey they will be at risk of losing their lives at the hand of the angry King. Realising this, she reluctantly allows herself to be married to the King.

For a while, Drowa Sangmo is quite happy. She helps the people by instructing them in the way of Dharma, and under her influence, the land prospers. Soon a princess is born to Drowa Sangmo and three years later she is followed by a prince.

One day, the maid of the evil Queen Hashang goes to the top of the palace and from there she spies Drowa Sangmo and her two children. She reports this to her Mistress who is outraged to learn that her husband has taken another wife. Her rage knows no bounds and she threatens to do great harm to Drowa Sangmo and her children. To escape the wrath of the wicked Queen, Drowa Sangmo flies off to her homeland, the Land of the Dakinis. Her two children are left alone, and along with their father, the King  fell into great depression.

Meanwhile, the Queen is plotting and scheming a way to do away with her rival’s children. She convinces her ministers that they must drug King Kala Wangpo and they do so by means of a poisoned potion. The King, under the influence of the potion, appears quite insane and is subsequently locked up in prison.

The Queen now has no obstacles in the way of her evil desire to kill Drowa Sangmo’s children. She pretends to be seriously ill, proclaiming that only the hearts of the Prince and Princess can cure her. Two butcher brothers are hired to kill the two children, but when they hear the young Prince’s pleas for compassion, they are unable to commit the atrocity. Instead, they took the hearts of two puppies to the Queen . She eats them and makes a remarkable recovery.

Some time later, the Queen happens to see the two children playing and she is furious that she has been tricked. This time she hires two immoral fishermen to do her evil deed, but once again, the Prince and Princess put forth such passionate pleas for mercy, that even these two hard-hearted people cannot kill them. So, they take the children some distance away and leave them to wander alone.

The young children wander, frightened and hungry. Luckily, their mother Drowa Sangmo is watching over them and takes the form of various animals to guide them on a safe path.

Yet again, the evil Queen Hashang discovers that the Prince and Princess are not dead and resolves to get rid of them once and for all. She has the children captured and brought to her palace, where she informs them that they will be thrown into a great black pit by two executioners. Their pleading softens the heart of one of the executioners who sets the little Princess free. The other man, however is not moved and throws the Prince into the abyss.

However, in the Land of the Dakinis, Drowa Sangmo performs a miracle. She transforms herself into two eagles, one male and female. The male bird swoops down and catches the Prince on his wing. To stop him smashing on the rocks below, Drowa Sangmo plunges him into the Ocean. She immediately changes her form into that of two fish, one male and one female and the male carries the young Prince to safety to the land of Pemachen. The people in the land of Pemachen revere the little Prince, and make him their King.

Back on the edge of the abyss, the distraught Princess feels no alternative but to jump after her brother. The executioner persuades her not to, instead advising her to go to the land of Pemachen where the people would look after her. She has a long and extraordinary journey, but finally reaches Pemachen and is joyfully reunited with her brother.

All seems well, but there is one final hurdle to overcome. The Queen Hasang mounts an enormous military attack on the land of Pemachen, deliriously determined to finally succeed in conquering the children of Drowa Sangmo. The power of the good King and the Princess is too strong, however, and the Queen is killed by the first arrow shot from the Prince’s bow.

The young King has just one more deed to do, that is to free his father, still languishing in prison in their homeland. When they arrive at the palace, the Queen’s servant is promptly sent into exile, and the King’s father revived. The family is at last reunited and father and son are seated upon golden thrones. The minister repents and ask for the King’s forgiveness. They are commanded not to commit evil deeds in the future, while the fishermen and the butchers who had saved their lives are rewarded with positions and wealth. Returning to the land of Pemachen, they celebrate grandly and live happily for a very long time.

(source: http://www.tibetanarts.org)