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Deccan Nursery Tales or, Fairy Tales from the South   By: (1870-1954)

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Deccan Nursery Tales or Fairy Tales from the South


C.A. Kincaid, C.V.O.


To my little son


Whose interest in these stories first induced me to offer them to the public this little volume is affectionately inscribed


These stories first appeared in the Times of India newspaper, and my acknowledgments are due to the editor for his courtesy in permitting their publication.

I have translated all of them as literally as possible from the original Marathi. But, owing to the difference between Marathi and English canons of taste, I have had in a very few places slightly to change the sense. In some places, owing to the obscurity of the original text, I have had to amplify the translation. In other places I have had to cut short the descriptions of Hindu rites and ceremonies so as to avoid wearying the English reader.

It may not be out of place to say just a word about the Indian gods mentioned in the stories. It must be remembered that the main Hindu gods are three in number. They are all sprung from a common origin, Brahma, but they are quite separate beings. They do not form a trinity, i.e. three in one or one in three. And each of them has a wife and a family. The following genealogical tree will, I hope, help the reader.

Brahma Shiva = Parwati Ganpati = the daughters of Agni Kartakswami [1] Vishnu = Mahalaxmi Brahmadev = Saraswati

Of the above gods, Shiva, his son Kartakswami, and his wife Parwati, Vishnu and his wife Mahalaxmi only are mentioned in the following stories. Besides these, however, the Sun and Moon and the five principal planets obtain a certain amount of worship. The Sun is worshipped every morning by every orthodox Hindu. And Shani or Saturn inspires a wholesome fear, for his glance is supposed to bring ill fortune. Then again, besides the main gods, the world according to Hindu belief, which in this respect closely resembles that of the ancient Greeks, is peopled with Asuras (demons), Devkanya (wood nymphs), Nag kanya (the serpent maidens of Patâla), and Gandharwas (a kind of cherubim). The first three of these find a place in the ensuing fairy tales.

The scientific doctrine is that Shiva is the destroyer and Vishnu the preserver of life, and that Brahmadev is the creative spirit. In practice, however, Brahmadev is almost entirely disregarded, while the Hindus worship Shiva, Vishnu, Parwati, or Mahalaxmi just as they feel inclined, or as the particular sect to which they belong requires them.

Lastly, it must be borne in mind that the Hindu year consists of twelve lunar months. In the Deccan the year begins with Chaitra, corresponding roughly with April. The months then succeed each other in the following order: Vaishak, Jesht, Ashad, Shravan, Bhadrapad, Ashwin, Kartih, Margshish, Paush, Mag, Phalgun, Each month begins on the first day of the new moon and is divided into two parts. The first half comprises the period from the new moon to the full moon. This is the bright half of the month. The second half comprises the period from the full moon to the new moon. This is the dark half of the month. The lunar months are made to correspond with the solar year by the interposition of an "adhik" or intercalary month every third year.



I. The Sunday Story II. The Monday Story III. The Tuesday Story IV. The Wednesday and Thursday Story V. The Friday Story VI. The Saturday Story VII. Mahalaxmi and the Two Queens VIII. The Island Palace IX. Nagoba, the Snake King X. Parwati and the Beggar Man XL Parwati and the Brahman XII. Soma, the Washerwoman XIII. Vasishta and the Four Queens XIV... Continue reading book >>

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