Ah I finally found it.Jesus, these stories are so amazingly sick as compared to Grimm s bloodiness Actually they re both bloody and sick.Especially this nice little description of a prince peeking on the daughters of gods This day, too, the women arrived and unwrapped their saris before his unbelieving eyes He gazed on them, his eyes moving from head to toe What shapes, what complexions Kohl streaked eyes, faces like the moon, cascades of black hair flowing down to their buttocks, round breasts like perfect melons, and all of them young and virginal They dived into the water, leaving their saris and pearls on the dry ground Reminds me that I have to finish Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio one day, because its just as subversive and profoundly magical in its content. read a story in beehive it had a reference to this book and i issued it from my college library there are lots and lots of good stories in this book this is a kind of book that you could never finish because every time you reread it, it feels fresh and first hand. There is a lot of fun to be had here In general, truly good people get good things, truly bad people don t One story, perhaps my favorite, is entitled Nonviolence In this story, a wicked snake bites everyone passing by A holy man ask the snake not bite, the snake agrees When people learn they can bully and beat up on the snake, they do so The holy man sees the bruises on the snake and says, I asked you not to bite anyone But I didn t ask you not to hiss Sometimes, we all gotta hiss free speech but no, biting and killing isn t gonna get us anywhere. Titled with care, since there is a lot of regional differences The Muslim vs Hindu are the most pronounced and easy to see All of them, of course, have the possibility of polygamous unions Very common for a heroine s problem to be not her jealous sisters, nor her annoyed mother in law or stepmother in law, but her precursors as queen.Tales of sillies, tales of cunning scoundrels, animals tales, pure fairy tales often with fillips unrecognizable from European tales A Love Like Salt opening where the father wants to know whether his daughters deem their prosperity owing to his fate or theirs leads not to three balls but to a Feather of Finist the Falcon type tale Kind and unkind girls where the girls are half sisters one s mother got all the inheritance, and the other widow has to spin, and her daughter loses the cotton to the wind A rajah who loses his arms and legs and still gets chosen by a princess of China as her bridegroom And a lot. An Enchanting Collection Of Tales, Translated From Twenty Two Different Languages, That Are By Turns Harrowing And Comic, Sardonic And Allegorical, Mysterious And Romantic Gods Disguised As Beggars And Beasts, Animals Enacting Machiavellian Intrigues, Sagacious Jesters And Magical Storytellers, Wise Counselors And Foolish Kings All Inhabit A Fabular World, Yet One That Is Also Firmly Grounded In Everyday Life Here Is An Indispensable Guide To India S Ageless Folklore Tradition With Black And White Illustrations ThroughoutPart Of The Pantheon Fairy Tale And Folklore Library The best book available in market about exceptionally beautiful tales from India I recommend everyone to read this book The introduction by Ramanujan is a short essay why folk tales are important and it talks about the tale of a tale More than 150 stories collected in a single book. A large and good collection of witty tales, mostly told to teach people the way of life and its illusory nature when emotions and ignorance take a toll The tales cover all aspects of life wit, bravery, mindfulness, trickery and fantasy The mixture is really amazing and gives us a clear picture of what the children of yesteryear generations grew up with, such lustrous stories of Gods, demons, wise men, stupid men and brave women Touches on all virtues and vices of human nature Some stories turn you into a king, some into a poor man and some into a wise man and even some into a woman One thought provoking and inspiring tale that I personally love is the tale titled Outwitting Fate A young Brahman in search of knowledge had heard about a great sage and philosopher who lives in the heart of a dense forest, far from the madness of civilization So he walked for days through the thorns of the jungle and the menace of the wild beast till he reached the lonely cottage on the bank of the river where the great sage lived the old sage welcomed the young seeker, accepted him as his disciple, and gave him a place to stay in his hut The young man served the master and his wife in various ways did some of the household chores and learned all he could from the old master.Now the old man was still youthful, and in his old age, his wife became pregnant for the first time Just when she was eight months into her pregnancy, the sage had a desire to go and visit the source of the holy river by which he lived as he could not take her with him, he entrusted her to the care of his disciple and another sage s wife.The old sage s wife was ready to give birth and, at the appropriate time went into labour The women friend stayed with her inside the cottage and the disciple waited outside, anxiously praying that she should safely give birth to a healthy baby.Now, Hindus believe that Brahma, the Creator, is present at the birth of every child and writes on the newborn infant s forehead his or her fortunes He is supposed to arrive just at the moment of birth, just when the child leaves the mother s womb to enter the world He is, of course, invisible to ordinary mortals But the young disciple s eyes were not exactly those of any ordinary mortal His master had given him all kinds of knowledge and various powers So he was startled to see a person entering most unceremoniously, the cottage where his mater s wife was giving birth.Stop right there said the disciple angrily The great God shuddered, for no one so far had ever seen him or stopped him like this in his eternal round of duties He was astonished and quite bewildered when he heard the following words of rebuke You old brahman, what do you think your doing, entering my master s cottage without so much as a by your leave Right in front of me my teacher s wife is in labour You can t go in there.Bhrama hastily explained to the young man who he was and what he was about to do The baby had already begun to leave the womb and he had very little time to waste When the young man heard who he was, he tied his upper cloth around his waist as a mark of respect before an elder and a god, prostrated himself before Brahma, and begged his pardon.Brahma was in a hurry He wanted to go in at once, but the young man would not let him go until he has told him what he meant to write on the forehead of the newborn child Son , said the Brahma, even I do not know what my stylus will write on the forehead of the newborn As the child comes into the world, I place the stylus on its head and it writes the fate of the child according to it s good and bad acts in its previous life You shouldn t stop me here I have to go in at once Then said the young man, on your way out, you must tell me what was written on the forehead of my guru s child All right , said the Brahma in a hurry and went in In a moment he returned, and the young man asked the god what his stylus had written Son, I ll tell you what it wrote , said Brahma But if you tell anyone about it, your head will split into thousand pieces The child is a boy He has a hard life before him A buffalo and a sack of rice will be his share in life he ll have to live on it What can be done What O, father of the Gods, this child is the son of a great sage Is this his fate cried the disciple What do I have to do with it Such are the fruits of a former life Wha s sown in the past must be reaped in the present Now, remember what I said if you reveal this secret to anyone, your head will explode into a thousand pieces.Then the Brahma vanished, leaving the young disciple bewildered by what he had heard and pained by the thought of what a hard life awaited his guru s newborn son But he could tell no one about it.His guru returned from his pilgrimage and was delighted to see his wife and child doing well And the young disciple forgot his sorrow in the learned company of the old sage.Three years passed his deep study, and again the old sage decided to go on a pilgrimage to the sacred source of the Tungabhadra River Again his wife was pregnant, and he had to leave her in the care of his disciple and his friend s wife This time, too, Brahma came at the moment of birth The young man was waiting for him Brahma was again stopped at the door and promised to tell the young man the fate of the child On his way out, the god told the young man The child is a girl this time My stylus has written that she has to earn her living as a prostitute, sell her body every night Remember what I told you last time if you reveal this secret to anyone, your head will explode into a thousand pieces Don t forget.When Brahma left the young man was still in shock The daughter of the holiest man was fated to live the life of a prostitute After turning over and over in his mind for days, he consoled himself with the thought that fate alone governs human lives.The old sage returned from his pilgrimage, and the young disciple spent two years with him At the end of these years, when the boy was five and the girl was two, the disciple himself decided to go on a pilgrimage to the Himalayas The thought of the growing children and the miserable fate that was waiting for them filled him with pain and even anger, though he consoled himself again and again with the thoughts of fate.With the guru s permission, he left the forest hu and his guru s family and journey towards the Himalayas He visited many towns and learned men, lived with and learned from many sages He wandered for twenty years, examining the world, understanding human nature, pondering the ways of Providence Then he decided to return to the guru s place on the banks of the river where he had begun his studies.But when he got there, he found that his guru had died and so his wife His heart heavy with sorrow over their passing, he went to the nearest town in search of his guru s children After a while, he found a coolie with a single buffalo He at once recognised his guru s son in this poor man What Brahma s iron pen had written in his forehead had come to pass The disciple s heart grew heavier He could hardly bear to see his great guru s son a poor man living off a single buffalo He followed the poor man to his hut, where he had a family, a wife and two ill fed children There was a sack of rice in his house and no Each day the family anxiously took out a little of it, husked it, and cooked it When the sack was empty, with his coolie s saving, he was able to get one sack, that s all That s how they lived, just as the stylus of Brahma had written.The disciple started a conversation with the sage s son, calling him by name and asked, Do you know me The coolie was astonished to hear his name from the lips of an utter stranger The disciple introduces himself and explained who he was and begged him to follow his advice As the disciple was himself middle aged and looked like a sage, the coolie was impressed Then the disciple said Son, please do as I tell you As soon as you wake up tomorrow, take your buffalo and the sack of rice and sell them in the market for whatever price they ll fetch Don t think twice about it Buy whatever you need for a great dinner for you and your family and finish it all by tomorrow evening Leave not even a mouth full for the next day reserve nothing with the rest of the money, feed the poor and give gifts to the best Brahmans in town You ll never regret it I m your father s disciple and I m telling you this for your own welfare Trust me But the coolie couldn t believe him, what will I do to feed four mouths in this house if I sell it all tomorrow he cried You brahmans are always advising poor people like me to give it all to Brahmans It s all very well for you You are at the receiving end.But his wife who had overheard the conversation, intervened She said, This gentleman looks like a wise man, just like your father who was his guru He must know something we don t Let s follow his advice for one day and see.The coolie s doubt broke down when she also supported the holy man The next day, somewhat anxiously, he sold his buffalo and his sack of rice What he bought with the money was enough to feed fifty Brahmans morning and evening as well as his own family So that day he fed people other than his own family for the first time in his life When he went to bed that night after this unusual day, he couldn t sleep He got up in the middle of the night and found his father s disciple sleeping on the flat ground outside his hut the disciple was wakened by the coolie s arrival and asked him what the matter was The coolie said, Sir I ve done as you told me In a few hours, it will be dawn What will I do when my wife and children wake up What will I feed I ve nothing left not a pice, not a handful of rice, and no buffalo to give milk.The disciple showed him some money he had, enough to buy another buffalo and a sack of rice, asked him to go back to bed.The coolie had bad dreams that night and woke up early When he went out to wash his face at the well, he looked at the make shift shed where he used to feed his buffalo some straw the first thing every morning But, to his astonishment, he found another buffalo standing there He thought, Fie on poverty It makes you dream of buffaloes when you have none It was still dark So he went in and brought out a lamp to see if the buffalo was real It was a real beast And beside it was a sack of rice His heart leapt with joy and he ran out to tell the holy man, his father s disciple But when he heard the news, the disciple said with a disgusted air, My dear man, why do you care so much why do you feel so overjoyed Take the beast and the sack of rice at once, and sell them as you did yesterday Give your family and the Brahmans another terrific meal.the coolie obeyed this time without any misgivings He sold the buffalo and the sack of rice, bought provisions, and again fed his family and fifty Brahmans, keeping nothing Thus it went in the house of the sages son Every morning he found a buffalo and a sack of rice A month passed The holy man was now sure that this kind of good life has become an established fact in the life of his guru s son So one day he said, You re now living comfortably continue to do what you ve been doing Reserve nothing for yourself If you do, your happiness will end If you hoard the money, this good fortune will desert you He whole heartedly agreed to do everything the holy man said, to the last detail Then the holy man said, I ve to go do something else now Tell me where your sister is The sages son choked on tears when his sister was mentioned Don t ask about her, he said She is lost to the world The disciple knew full well what the son spoke of Just tell me where I can find her, he said.The son reluctantly directed him to the next village, where she was a prostitute The disciple then took his leave, ardently wishing to help his master s daughter Arriving in her village, he reached her house before twilight and knocked on her door The door was opened at once, as none in her profession wait for a second knock She was shocked to find a holy man on her doorstep He introduced himself as the disciple of her father, and she wept with shame, falling to his feet, sorrowing at the thought that she, a common whore, was the child of a great sage She told him how poverty had brought her to this state He comforted her, saying, Daughter, I ache to see you living in such a way But if you ll listen to me, I can help you live a better life Shut your door to all who knock, and say that you ll only open it to one who brings you pearls of the first water Do it for tonight, and I ll see you in the morning Sick of the life she was living, she readily agreed Her customers thought she had gone crazy, asking for pearls all of a sudden, and she turned away all comers But as dawn approached, she began to worry Who in the village could now afford her price But Brahma s prophecy had to be fulfilled In the last hours of the night, Brahma himself assumed the form of a young man, carrying a measure of fine pearls with him He spent the night with her, and a god loved her until dawn.She told the holy man all that had transpired He knew then that his plan had worked From now on, you are a pure woman There are few men in the world who can afford your price every night Whoever gave you these pearls must continue to do so from now on, as your husband and lover Never let another person touch you Now, do what I say sell all the pearls each day at the market, and spend the money on feeding yourself and the poor Keep nothing Give everything away If you fail to do this, away goes your husband and your life of poverty will return Will you do what I ask The sage s daughter happily agreed He went to live under a tree near her house to see if this plan would work It soon did Finally satisfied with the improved lives of his master s children, the holy man decided to set off on another pilgrimage Anxious to be going, he woke too early and set off when the moon was still overhead He hadn t gone too far when he saw a man approach This handsome figure led a buffalo on a rope, balanced a sack of rice on his head, and had a lustrous string of pearls over his shoulder The holy man asked this person his business in the forest Who are you sir walking like this in the forest Asked the holy man.The man with the buffalo threw down the sack at this question and almost wept as he replies, Look, my head has become almost bald from carrying this sack of rice every night to that coolie s house I lead this buffalo to that man s shed Then I dress up and carry these pearls to his sister s house My iron pen wrote their fates on their forehead, and thanks to you, you wretched clever man, I have to supply them whatever was promised at their birth when will you relieve me of these burdens Brahma wept, for it was non other than Brahma himself Not till you grant them good ordinary life and happiness said the holy man Brahma did exactly that and was relieved of his troubles in these two cases.Thus were fate and Brahma outwitted. It took me a while to finish this book as I read the stories from this book to my 8 years old son it became a kind of habit for me to read him the stories he liked it and I also liked it.Folk tales in the book are from all over India There are few stories which I had to skip otherwise the stories are good. Not one for the kids The stories span all emotions, some being laugh out funny, others so violent as to make Tarantino salivate, others salacious enough to burn modern ears, some with lessons, and many were juststories meant to entertain. A.K Ramanujan is known for firmly establishing his works in the Indian Hindu ethos This book is a must for every Indian to enjoy the tender and delicate flow of the Indian tradition over ages These stories reflect a characteristic aura of their respective corners of India.
Ramanujan was an Indian poet, scholar and author, a philologist, folklorist, translator, poet and playwright His academic research ranged across five languages Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Sanskrit, and English He published works on both classical and modern variants of these literature and also argued strongly for giving local, non standard dialects their due.He was called Indo Anglian harbingers
- 384 pages
- Folktales from India
- A.K. Ramanujan
- 18 November 2017 A.K. Ramanujan