Geeta Ramanujam’s Tales from the World will take you on a long journey and introduce you to many fascinating characters. Collected from storytellers on snow-capped mountains, and in eerie forests, opulent palaces and countries near and far, the captivating folk tales in Tales from the World have mesmerized old and young alike. Travel along with this imaginative storyteller and author as she shares peculiar myths and incredible trivia from around the world in this beautifully illustrated volume of twenty tales from Russia, Japan, France, Tibet, India, Korea, Scotland and more.
Let’s read an excerpt from the book about a story from Russia.
Just after the world was created, filled with its trees and mountains and birds, God created a young maiden called Lindu, and left all the birds in her charge. She lived with her father Uko at the very edge of the world, between the sky and Earth. Lindu had the powers to recognize the song of each bird and sing them too. She knew where the birds had flown in autumn, and sent each flock on its way.
Lindu cared for the birds tenderly; she was a godmother to them. She knew how to direct winds to assist the birds as they flew to their destinations. She set fierce dust storms upon hunters who tried to kill her birds or hunt them down. It was not surprising that all the world loved her, those who dwelt in the sky most of all.
The North Star wished to marry Lindu and drove up to her father’s palace in a dusky coach drawn by six black horses. Adorned in a silver cloak and crown in shades of silver, he came bearing ten fine presents for Lindu and drove gracefully through the gates of Uko’s palace to ask for her hand.
However, Lindu was not very fond of the North Star. ‘Why don’t you want to marry me?’ inquired the disappointed North Star. ‘Well, I like to move and travel whereas you just stay fixed in one place in the sky. You are the watchtower of heaven.
Please, sir, return to your place, for I cannot accompany you there.’ Now, the moon decided to take his chances and drove to the palace in a beautiful coach of silver with six grey horses made of clouds. Dressed in white robes and a crown filled with white dewdrops, he presented her with twenty presents and said, ‘Lindu, will you be my wife?’
‘You change your face too often, moon, and that does not suit me,’ she said. The moon waned and returned to the night sky.
‘Well,’ thought the sun, ‘perhaps Lindu might like my bright gold face.’
The sun arrived in a beautiful coach of gold, led by gold and red horses, and rode through dusk to the forest where Lindu was taking care of her birds. Lindu walked up to him, bowed her head and said, ‘I know what you are thinking. I am sorry, but I love change. I love the changing seasons, the climate, the winds and anything that is not constant. You are so precious and graceful, but you have to be vigilant and cannot change at all. That might not suit me, sir.’
The sun too rode away into the purple-pink sky, disappointed and sad. Now, the Northern Light had been watching each suitor drive away disappointed and decided to ask for Lindu’s hand himself, confident that he’d be triumphant. He emerged from his home at midnight, his beautiful colours lighting up the night sky. He’d crafted a coach with diamonds, which was drawn by a thousand white horses. He wore a rainbow cloak and a crown made of gems from the sea. Behind him was another coach filled with gold, silver, pearls and gifts for Lindu. He looked radiant as he left an indigo, purple, blue and pink trail across the sky on his way to Uko’s palace.
‘Lindu,’ he called out, ‘if you marry me, you will not have to follow me like a shadow. You will not have to travel the same path as the others. You can set out anytime you wish and rest when it pleases you. Would you like to be my bride?’ He bent down on his knees to ask for Lindu’s hand.
So, what do you think Lindu said? Lindu’s choice was made.
It was agreed that the wedding would take place when the birds flew south. The wedding day was announced, and guests from the four corners of the sky and Earth arrived to bless the couple.
The torrential winds brought Lindu her silvery bridal veil and the Frost King wove her laces so fine, they had to be stored in cold blocks of ice for safekeeping. Birds from all over brought her robes the colours of butterfly wings. For her feet, she got sandals made of thick clouds and decorated with petals fallen from flowers. The weaver birds stitched them together and hid them under the cotton tree. Back to his home in the midnight land went the Northern Light, knowing that Lindu loved him best.