“Kashmiri folklorist Onaiza Drabu has revisited these, using Kashmiri phrases to add atmosphere to an already atmospheric collection.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Kashmir is very much in the news and therefore these Kashmiri folk tales which conjure up the essence of that erstwhile state and are welcome. Stories of Kashmir, as one of the tales in the book tells us, evoke love, revenge and sorrow because that is life in the paradise among the mountains. These are illustrated in stories of a cold-hearted queen mountain who made the king of mountains bow down and touch her feet, or a girl who fell in love with a hairy monster that her whole village feared. There are also stories of Kashmiri cunning as tricksters try to get the better of each other to the point of death.
Many deal with the origins of springs – since the word naag is the same for serpent and rivulet. – and other places. Some of stories are distinctly grim, but they are united by a common fascination.
There is an unmistakable similarity between some of these folk tales to those of France or Japan and Sweden, not to mention other parts of India. From which we can conclude that they have all been inspired by a common source of stories which appear as variants in different languages. Some of these stories have appeared in collections of brought out during colonial times but many have not been translated before. Kashmiri folklorist Onaiza Drabu has revisited these, using Kashmiri phrases to add atmosphere to an already atmospheric collection.
Added 28th March 2020