Neeli, Peeli and Lali were three brothers. And they were butterflies. The most handsome butterflies in all the land, and best friends, too. Their mother, Rangberangi, had taught them all they knew. She told them many things, “But”, she said, “the most important thing of all to remember is that you must always depend on and support each other.
There was a time when a farmer would sit out in his field, watching a lonesome cloud float away, taking with it the last hope of a much-needed burst of rain. As humans take control over more and more natural processes – not necessarily for the betterment of civilisation – rain too seems to have finally been leashed in.
When we were small, we used to look up to the sky and often see a white trail left by a jet aircraft. Rocket! Rocket! We used to yell, jump up with joy, clap our hands and strain our eyes as the ‘rocket’ disappeared into the horizon.
Everything that is born must die. Not only living beings, but inanimate objects like stars too.
The birth of a star
The universe has massive clouds of hydrogen floating around. Sometimes, these clouds come together and form very dense and huge balls of hydrogen gas.
It was a stifling hot day in the second week of June and the animals of Jhilmil forest were miserable. The bumblebees no longer droned but sighed. A tail heavy with perspiration made Billori, the squirrel, sit sadly on a patch of dry earth, as hard as a turtle’s hide.
It is that time of the year when all of us look to the sky, waiting for the first drops of rain to fall on our faces. We wish the monsoon would come soon. But for people who live in polluted cities like Delhi or Tokyo, there’s some bad news.
RED FLOWER: Hello friends. I am Red Flower. I live here in these fields. All the trees, animals, birds, clouds, winds and the sun are my friends. But my best friend is Sun. It is morning now and time for him to come.
A Muria folk tale from Orissa retold from ‘When the World was Young’, by Verrier Elwin. The book is a fascinating collection of folktales from the tribal peoples of India. Elwin was a pioneering anthropologist; he spent his entire life getting to know the ways of life of the tribal peoples.
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