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Updated: September 3, 2013 12:56 IST

Tales from forgotten kingdoms

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Twenty stories that will take you through a dragon’s lair, allow you to meet a queen named Nan Kyin Pu, a salt mermaid and more…

Fascinating stories filled with interesting names, incredible creatures, woven with the beautiful thread of magic! Translated from Burmese, Madhu Gurung began the task during her three-year stint in Myanmar, beginning 2000. These are stories that have been narrated to children over centuries by their parents and grandparents. She felt the need to retell these tales so that readers the world over can appreciate the uniqueness of the tales.

In this collection of folktales you’ll meet a crocodile named Rain Cloud, a wrestling ghost, the dog on the moon and the painter who disappeared; You will find the answer to the riddle, and see how a brother became the king of two kingdoms. There will be birds that talk, dragon snakes that fall in love, and mermaids that become your friends, and ogres that want to kill you. You’ll see how the boatman from Chin Hills Htan Sin taught a lesson to the greedy, cunning merchant and also how a coward became the hero!

Simply enchanting

The Ayeyarwady is a common feature and you follow its course as it runs through the stories separating lovers, taking ships along or just flowing strong and silent by the side.

The stories come from different parts of the country — from the states of Mandalay to the Kachin, from Thaton to Kayin, from the kingdom of Mon to the kingdom of Mrauk-U. You get to meet a whole host of people — the Lishus, Palaungs who cultivate tea, the Inthas who row boats using their legs and more. The stories are about kings and queens, boatmen and fishermen, farmers and hermits, beggars and princes. Although the stories are of different places and people, each one is enchanting.

There is a lot to learn from each story; some stories explain the how salt began to be used in food, why lunar eclipses occur, while others show what happens when you are ungrateful and forget those who helped you, what happens when you cheat someone or behave unjustly. Some stories talk about fate and how it cannot be changed. If you help others and do the right thing, you will reap just rewards.


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