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Folk Tales of Bengal

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Item Code: HAM226
Author: Lal Behari Day
Publisher: Mittal Publications, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2005
Pages: 296
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 510 gm
Book Description
About The Book

This is a collection of unwritten stories told by old Bengali women to little children from age to age through a hundred generations. Such simple, unadorned and exquisite tales which form a valuable part of the heritage of all civilizations are not to be traced to individual authors. These products of the folk mind, transmitted through countless generations, have a verve and vitality all their own and constitute the very core around which popular mythology casts its halo.

While there have been admirable collections of such folk stories in the West, the veritable treasure of these tales in Indian languages has never so far been systematically tapped.

A pioneering effort in this direction, Folk Tales of Bengal brings together in excellent English translation numerous folktales collected from the traditional story- tellers of Bengal. It will be found an invaluable work by all students of folk literature and comparative mythology.


IN my Peasant Life in Bengal I make the peasant boy Govinda spend some hours every evening in listening to stories told by an old woman, who was called Sambhu's mother, and who was the best story-teller in the village. On reading that passage, Captain R. C. Temple, of the Bengal Staff Corps, son of the distinguished Indian administrator S Richard Temple, wrote to me to say how interesting it would be to get a collection of those unwritten stories which old women in India recite to little children, in the evenings, and to ask whether I could not make such a collection. As I was no stranger to the Mährchen of the Brothers Grimm, to the Norse Tales so admirably told by Dasent, to Arnason's Icelandic Stories translated by Powell, to the Highland Stories done into English by Campbell, and to the fairy stories collected by other writers, and as I believed that the collection suggested would be a contribution, however slight, to that daily increasing literature of folklore and com- parative mythology which, like comparative philosophy, proves that the swarthy and half-naked peasant on the banks of the Ganges is a cousin, albeit of the hundredth remove, to the fair-skinned and well-dressed Englishman on the banks of the Thames, I readily caught up the idea and cast about for materials. But where was an old story-telling woman to be got? I had myself, when a little boy, heard hundreds-it would be no exaggeration to say thousands-of fairy tales from that same old woman, Sambhu's mother- for she was no fictitious person; she actually lived in the flesh and bore that name; but I had nearly for- gotten those stories, at any rate they had all got confused in my head, the tail of one story being joined to the head of another, and the head of a third to the tail of a fourth. How I wished, that poor Samohu's mother had been alive! But she had gone long, long ago, to that bourne from which no traveller returns, and her son Samblu, too, had followed her thither.

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