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Log in No account? Create an account. Remember me. Facebook Twitter Google. Previous Share Flag Next. Author: Vikram Seth. Genre: Fiction, literature, poetry, fables, mythology, animals. Country: India. Language: English. Publication Date: Summary: This is a collection of 10 fables in poetry form.
The humorously re-imagined fables come from India, China, Greece, and Ukraine. The Crocodile and the Monkey is a poem about Kuroop the crocodile and his faithful friend the monkey, who collects mangoes for Kuroop's wife, until she gets it into her head that she would like to eat her husband's friend, instead. The Louse and the Mosquito is a poem about Creep the louse and her brood, who live peacefully in the bed of of a king, but everything goes wrong when a mosquito begs to partake of their home and meal.
The Mouse and the Snake is a poem about a brave mouse, that avenges her dead friend against a vicious snake. The Rat and the Ox is a poem about how the Zodiac signs were assigned to their respective animals, and how the rat challenged the ox to a size competition to go ahead of him in the chronological progression. In The Eagle and the Beetle , the eagle eats a beetle's dear beloved friend hare, but gets more than she bargained for thinking beetle to be too small for real retribution.
In The Hare and the Tortoise , vain socialite hare is challenged by the slow-and-steady tortoise to a race, but manages to spin her loss as a great publicity stunt. The Cat and the Cock is a poem about two best friends, a cat and a cock, and the wily fox that kidnaps the cock, and the resourceful cat that finds a way to save his friend and teach fox a lesson she won't soon forget.
In The Goat and the Ram , when the two animals get kicked off the farm for eating too much, they must use their wits to survive running into a pack of hungry wolves.
In the Frog and the Nightingale , a talentless frog takes as an apprentice a trusting nightingale with a beautiful voice, but soon ruins her with bad advice and greed. In The Elephant and the Tragopan , the two friends followed by all other animal inhabitants of a beautiful valley under threat of human intervention and destruction, go to the palace of the human ruler to try to negotiate the safety of their lands.
I will let you choose your end. After all, you are my friend. When his friend the poet Chang Heard the mouse's story later, Eager to commemorate her, As he walked back to his house, He composed 'The Faithful Mouse' - Where in elegiac metre He extols the Snake-Defeater And in couplets sad and stoic Celebrates her acts heroic - Acts that prove that shock and pain, Death and grief are not in vain - Which fine lines, alive or dead, Neither of the mice has read.
Bears came out of hibernation In midwinter with elation; Then they saw the sky and scowled, Shook their frozen fists, and growled. Rabbits raged and voles were vicious. All these signs were inauspicious, And the gods were much resented By a world so discontented.
I am much the bigger beast. Ask the godling for permission. I will second your petition. Soon he'd grown to twice his size From his ankles to his eyes - And, on the appointed day, Ox and rat went on their way, Wandering jointly through the town.
Women threw their baskets down, Screaming: "O my god! Just to see it makes me ill! Then the ox, so far impassive, Thought the people had gone blind Or that he had lost his mind. But that rat - he's really big! She mixed her tears with his dark blood And cloaked his face with clods of mud.
She swore that till her dying breath She would avenge his cruel death, That she would make the eagle pay For what she had performed today. The rat's a fool! You don't say! Gibble-gabble everywhere Went the mouse and mole and hare - Gibble-gabble, gibble-gabble. Oh, what riffraff! Oh, what rabble! And his sermon was the same: "Eddy, Neddy, Freddy, - boys - You must never break your toys. You must often floss your gums. You must always do your sums.
Buy your own house; don't pay rent. Save your funds at six per cent. Major in accountancy, And grow up to be like me. Listen, Eddy, Neddy, Freddy - You be slow - but you be steady. This last mushroom, I suspect, Has a cerebral effect. Every time I eat one, I Feel I'm floating in the sky. So much for her charm and flair. So much for her idle boast. In her cup I'll raise a toast To hard work and regularity. Silly creature!
Such vulgarity! Now she'll learn that sure and slow Is the only way to go - That you can't rise to the top With a skip, a jump, a hop - That you've got to hatch your eggs, That you've got to count your legs, That you've got to do your duty, Not depend on verve and beauty. Always use the telephone. Never let a stranger in. Heed my words through thick and thin: These are sad and troubled times Marred by bold and vicious crimes.
Things have changed so much -" she sighed, "Since the year your father died. So, my darlings, bolt the lock, Heat the pot, and guard the cock. Who, after all, is bothering us? Thing aren't that bad. We've not been beaten. We could have been, but were not, eaten. You depression's draining. Now dry your face and quit complaining.
It shows poor taste, as you should know, To quiver with anticipation Or to display overt elation Merely because you've seen your meal.
Think how our friends the wolves must feel. The goat pulled him inside the tent - And that was where they spent the night. Indeed, as of the time I write, They live there still, secure from harm, Out of the reach of wolf or farm.
They eat wild strawberries and grass And drink stream water, clear as glass. They never argue, never fight. They never have bad dreams at night. With moderation and accord They pass their days, serenely bored.
But - oh, well - at least it's mine. A cub-reporter bison calf Who wrote for Bingle Telegraph Had just confirmed the frightful fact In language chilling and exact. I will not take this lying down. I'll cluck at them. I'll flap my wings. I tell you, I will do such things - What they are yet I do not know, But, take my word, I mean to show Those odious humans what I feel. And the Great Partridge will reveal - That Partridge, dwelling in the sky, Who looks down on us from on high - He will reveal to us the way - So kneel with me and let us pray.
Praying may help us - who can tell? I would endeavour to maintain Our plans on a terrestrial plane. The leopards did not kill the deer.
The smaller birds evinced no fear. Each eagle claw sat in its glove. The mood was truce, if not quite love. At meeting of the Beastly Board Eating each other was outlawed. He is a creature mild and vicious, Practical-minded and capricious, Loving and brutal, sane and mad, The good as puzzling as the bad.
The sticky centre of this mess Is an uneasy selfishness. He rips our flesh and tears our skin For cloth without, for food within. The leopard's spots are his to wear. Our ivory unknots his hair. The tragopan falls to his gun. He shoots the flying fox for fun. The black bear dances to his whim.
Beastly Tales From Here and There by Vikram Seth.
Beastly Tales from Here and There
Beastly Tales – Vikram Seth (1st Edition)
Beastly Tales from Here and There by Vikram Seth