The Legend of Himal and Nagrai: Greatest Kashmiri Folk Tales
‘In these days when Kashmir is ever more inaccessible to most of us, it is both a personal pleasure and a cultural treasure to have this authentic Kashmiri voice speaking to us from the living realm of Kashmiri memory and imagination.’—Wendy Doniger ‘You know as well as I do, this forest opens its passages to those who tell stories. Stories, after all, show the way, don’t they? It is said: a tale lives on only if it is told.’ Filled with serpent kings, long lost lovers, magical birds and seductive witches, The Legend of Himal and Nagrai is an enchanting collection of folk tales from a land as beautiful as it is misunderstood—Kashmir. In the title story, the serpent king Nagrai takes on human form to be with his one true love—the princess Himal. But despite Nagrai’s warnings, when Himal doubts her lover’s origins, all hell breaks loose. Will the star-crossed lovers ever be together? In ‘Akanandun’, having pined for a son for years, a couple is finally blessed with a beautiful boy—but on one diabolical condition. Will the couple be able to keep their word? In ‘Shikaslad’, a pauper goes on a quest to awaken his luck, which has been ‘asleep’ for years. Will he recognize good luck staring him in the face? These and twenty-six other delightful folk tales—painstakingly collected and retold by the author—bring to light the immensely rich, multicultural and largely undocumented tradition of storytelling in Kashmir. As Kashmiri voices continue to be brutally silenced, this book is a vibrant tapestry celebrating the spirit and imagination of Kashmir, in the words of its own people.
Retold by Onaiza Drabu (Author)
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