Originally published in January 2005, in 2 parts.
Book 47 in my first 52 books challenge.
Edited/Retold by: Pratibha Nath
Year published: 1995
Genre: Folk-tales, myths, legends
Where got: Paramount Book Store, New Delhi, India
I bought this book during my stay in India in 1996. For some reason I only ever read the first few stories, and when I got back home I put it on a shelf and promptly forgot about it. It came to light again recently when I was culling my books, and I decided to finally finish reading it. Like most of the locally published books I bought in India, it is printed on cheap paper that is already yellowing, and the glued binding is coming apart, even though the book has rarely been opened.
As you can see, the cover is quite funny – I believe that’s supposed to be a demon.
This is a collection of folk-tales and legends from all over India. Although the stories are meant for children, they are readable for persons of any age who like folk-tales and adventure stories. The folk-tales are mostly about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and the legends are about the gods, demons and heroes of India’s ancient literature, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Puranas.
The stories are written in a simple and readable style that suits the subject of the folk-tales. Some are funny, others fantastic, and some have some kind of moral. The legends don’t quite fit in with the folk-tales – the themes are so different and when the folk-tales end and the legends begin the reader is all of a sudden not sitting by the fire in the village square any more and listening to a master storyteller, but instead has been transported to the palace of a king to enjoy a reading from books about gods, kings and heroes. It doesn’t quite fit, and I think the two story collection should have been published as two separate books.
Rating: A collection of stories that are fun to read and will give fans of folk-tales an opportunity to compare Indian folk-tales with those of other cultures.