'Because it was very hot in my house one day and I could not concentrate on my work, I decided to write a summer story involving mangoes and a river. By the time I had finished writing 'The Crocodile and the Monkey' (in a cool room lent to me by a friend), another story and other animals had begun stirring in my mind. And so it went on until all ten of these beastly tales were born - or re-born. Of the ten tales told here, the first two come from India, the next two from China, the next two from Greece, and the next two from the Ukraine. The final two came directly from the Land of Gup. I hope you enjoy them and have a beastly time.' Vikram Seth.
Hungers after mangoes so
That she'd pine and weep and swoon,
Mango-less in burning June.'
Then Kuroop the crocodile,
Gazing upwards with a smile,
Thus addressed his monkey friend:
'Dearest monkey, in the end,
Not the fruit, but your sweet love,
Showered on us from
Constant through the changing years,
Shakes her grief and dries her tears.'
(This was only partly true,
She liked love, and mangoes too.)
Humorous verse renditions of ten tales about animals. Eight are based on Indian, Chinese, Greek and Ukrainian folk-tales, and two were dreamed up by the author. Cute.
Some are Vikram Seth's retelling of stories and fables from other places and a couple are his own original ones.
All revolve around animals, with humans only in the background a bit, such as the king who unwittingly provides
Very fast to read with consistent rhyming and amusing illustrations for each story.
It's rare that I enjoy poetry except for really long, epic sorts of poems (e.g. Beowulf, Dante, Vikram Seth's own The Golden Gate, etc.) but these were fast and funny to keep me entertained. Not unlike Shel Silverstein.