Indian folklore is a special gem in the crown of India’s history. Storytelling is an age old tradition, and Indian authors from all over the country have contributed heavily to their cultures through the writing and narrating of stories.
Known as the ‘Shakespeare of Rajasthan’, Vijayan Detha is one of India’s most renowned storytellers. In Timeless Tales from Marwar, Vishes Kothari translates his works for the wider enjoyment of Detha’s magical narrative style.
Read an excerpt of one of his stories titled ‘The Leaf and the Pebble’ below:
‘Because I was so completely unsuccessful with love, I
became very talented at writing love stories. Perhaps,
had I been successful, I would not have been so.’
Below a tree lay a pebble. All alone. Whom to talk to? Who to speak to? Lying there alone, he got suffocated. As fate would have it, one day, a leaf came there, flying from a distance. All of a sudden, the pebble found a chance to talk to someone. He was delighted. He accorded great honour and respect to the leaf who had come to his home.
One day, the pebble told the leaf, ‘My dear friend, please don’t go anywhere and leave me alone. I cannot even live a second without you now.’
‘Leave a friend like you and go?’ replied the leaf. ‘I’m not that big a fool! But if strong winds blow, how will I stay in one place? I will have to fly with the winds.’
The pebble thought hard and finally came up with a solution. ‘Don’t you worry about this! I won’t let you fly away even if the father of all storms passes through here. As soon as the winds blow, I will sit on you. Even if gusts of winds blow, I won’t let you be blown away with it. But friend,’ continued the pebble, ‘in front of the rain I am powerless . . . If it pours, I’ll melt.’
It was the leaf now who thought of a solution. ‘Don’t you worry about this! As soon as it rains, I will cover you. Even the father of rains won’t be able to melt you.’ And so, both friends thought of schemes to save each other. Many a storm blew, but the pebble did not let the leaf get blown away.
Many a time it rained, but the leaf did not let the stone melt.
But as fate would have it, one day, the storm and the rain came together. All the schemes that the two friends had devised to save each other proved futile. The pebble said, ‘I’ll save you.’ And the leaf said, ‘I’ll save you.’
Finally, the pebble spoke up again. ‘Silly, how can you save me? You’ll be blown away with the first gust of wind! And I’ll melt anyway. Now, let’s not bother with senseless quarrel. Let me sit on you.’
And so, the leaf had to let the pebble sit on it despite its wish. The pebble positioned itself properly on the leaf. The clouds began to thunder. Lightning began to flash. Large drops of rain began to fall. Gusts of wind began to blow. The pebble began to melt. Went on melting. Till he melted completely, he continued to protect his friend. As soon as the pebble melted completely, a gust of wind came and blew the leaf away.
Tears streaming from his eyes, the leaf bid farewell to his friend with a heavy heart.
Vijayan Detha’s stories are full of heart, soul and magic. They explore some of the most popular fables from one of India’s richest cultures. You can read more stories in his inimitable narrative style in Timeless Tales from Marwar.