Saturday, March 23, 2013

Weekend reading: Some great links and a short folk tale about monkeys

Here are some interesting links I came across during the past week, if you're looking for some weekend reading:

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And here's a short Khasi (an indigenous people from India) folk tale from the 1920 edition of "Folk-Tales of the Khasis" by a Mrs. Rafy. It's titled "How the Monkey’s Colour became Grey."
In olden times the monkeys had long hair of different colours covering their bodies, and they were much more handsome than they are in the present day. They were very inquisitive animals and liked to meddle in the affairs of other people, and they caused a lot of trouble in the world.

One day a monkey wandering on the plains met Ram, the god of the Hindus, searching for the goddess Sita. Ram, thinking that the monkey by his inquisitiveness and audacity might help to find her, bribed him to come to his service.

After making enquiries far and near, the monkey heard at last that Ka Sita was confined in a fort in the island of Ceylon, so he went and told the god Ram. Thereupon Ram gathered together a great host to go and fight the king of the island of Ceylon, but they found the place infested with dragons and goblins of the most hostile disposition, so that they dared not venture to land.

The hosts of Ram then held a consultation, and they decided that, as the monkey had been the cause of their coming there, he must find out a way for them to land without being destroyed by the dragons. The monkey, not knowing what to say, suggested that they should burn down the forests of Ceylon so that the dragons could have no place to hide.

Upon this the hosts of Ram declared that the monkey himself must go over to put his plan into execution. So they dipped a long piece of cloth in oil and tied one end of it to the monkey’s tail and set fire to the other end of it, and the monkey went over to the island and ran hither and thither dragging the flaming cloth behind him and setting the forests on fire everywhere he went, until all the forests of Ceylon were in flames.

Before he could get back to his companions he saw with dismay that the cloth was nearly burnt out, and the heat from the fire behind him began to singe his long hair; whereupon, fearing to be burnt alive, he plunged into the sea and the flames were extinguished. From that time the monkey’s hair has been grey and short as a sign that he once set the forests of Ceylon on fire.
Here are some other public-domain folk tales from the Project Gutenberg archives that have been featured on Papergreat:

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