Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tricksters. Adventures of Young Krishna

Today's book for Krishna week carried on the theme of Krishna's childhood, and it tells the stories of Krishna's youth in more detail than the children's books I've shared so far: The Adventures of Young Krishna: The Blue God of India by Diksha Dalal-Clayton.

A note at the front of the book explains that the author died of cancer in 1991, and her family and friends worked to make sure this book made it into print to honor her memory; the book was published by Oxford University Press in 1992.

The illustrations are by Marilyn Heeger. Here is her depiction of Krishna and the trick he played on the gopis:

The stories go up to the defeat of King Kansa and also two other important stories from Krishna's later life: the story of Krishna and his friend Sudama, and also a story about Krishna and Draupadi from the Mahabharata. I'll have more to say about the larger story of Krishna's life in other posts this week. Meanwhile, enjoy this beautiful book which is inspired by the author's lifelong love of Krishna stories.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Tricksters. Fantastic Adventures of Krishna

For this second day in the week of Krishna stories, I selected this book by Demi, also known as Charlotte Dumaresq Hunt; you can read more about her prolific career at Wikipedia. I learned there that she did her master's degree at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in India, and she has had a lifelong interest in the storytelling traditions of India. So, here is her Krishna book: The Fantastic Adventures of Krishna, which Demi both wrote and illustrated.

Of course the book includes the story of Krishna the butter thief:

The book is focused on the youthful adventures of Krishna, and it ends with the restoration of King Ugrasena, Krishna's uncle, to the throne. There are many other adventures in Krishna's life that come later, and those will be told in other books later this week.

You can also find many other books by Demi at the Archive, including other books with Indian themes: The Hallowed Horse and Gandhi. And I hope you will enjoy her Krishna book, and its lovely illustrations:

by Demi

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Tricksters. Stories of Krishna.

I'm starting a new week of tricksters this week, and I'll be focusing on Krishna, a central figure in the stories of India. Krishna plays many roles in these ancient stories, and one of those roles is as a trickster-hero-savior, much like the Algonquian trickster-hero Glooscap that was the focus of last week's posts.

I'll start with a collection of comic books from Amar Chitra Katha, the Indian comic book publication founded by Anant Pai in order to bring the ancient stories to life for young reader in India. You can read more about Anant Pai at Wikipedia, and here is a compendium of five different Krishna comic books in one volume: Stories of Krishna.

For example of Krishna's heroic adventures, while still a young boy he was able to rescue the people in his village from the anger of the storm-god Indra, lifting up a mountain so they could take shelter:

One of the most famous "trickster" incidents in the life of Krishna is the story of his stealing the butter, and that story is this focus of this book: The Butter Thief by Chris Murray.

The lovely illustrations are by Kim Waters Murray.

Krishna's life story is full of fabulous adventures from the moment of his birth until the moment of his death. I'll be back with more Krishna books every day for this coming week. If you are new to the ancient stories of India, learning about Krishna is a great place to start.

Amar Chitra Katha Comic Books

by Chris Murray

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Tricksters. Algonquian Spirit

To finish up this week of Koluskap stories, I wanted to make sure to include this collection of Algonquian writing edited by one of my favorite scholars of Native American literature, Brian Swann: Algonquian Spirit: Contemporary Translations of the Algonquian Literatures of North America.

You will find all kinds of stories here, including stories of Koluskap. There are many translators who have contributed stories here, drawing on many sources. There is also a long introduction from Swann putting the stories and sources in context, along with a historical and geographical overview of the Algonquian languages that are represented in this book.

Swann is also the author of a lovely book of Native American riddles, illustrated by Maria Rendon: Touching the Distance: Native American Riddle-Poems.

Readers of this blog might also remember Swann's book of African riddles, with illustrations by Ashley Bryan (!): The House with No Door: African Riddle-Poems.

So much goodness, just a click away at the Internet Archive, thanks to the power of controlled digital lending!

by Brian Swann

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Tricksters. How Glooskap Outwits the Ice Giants

I'm excited about today's post because I get to share a lot of books, all by author Howard Norman; you can read more about his work at Wikipedia.

First off is his collection of Glooscap stories: How Glooskap Outwits the Ice Giants: And Other Tales of the Maritime Indians.

He is also the author of a collection of stories about the Cree trickster Wisakedjak: Trickster and the Fainting Birds.

He wrote a book of Arctic stories for the Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library: Northern Tales : Traditional Stories of Eskimo and Indian Peoples.

And... here's something really exciting: he did two books with illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon. The first is a collection of Native stories from the Arctic: The Girl Who Dreamed Only Geese : And Other Tales of the Far North.

And the other book he did with the Dillons is a global anthology of folktales about birds: Between Heaven and Earth: Bird Tales from Around the World.

All these wonderful books are just a click away at the Internet Archive!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Tricksters. Glous'gap Stories of the Micmac Indians

Continuing on with this week of Glous'gap stories, I am really excited about today's book because it is written by two Micmac storytellers: On the Trail of Elder Brother: Glous'gap Stories of the Micmac Indians by Michael Runningwolf and Patricia Clark Smith.

Michael Runningwolf is a Micmac Algonquin who grew up in New Brunswick, Canada, and in Maine. He now lives in New Mexico where he works as a storyteller and artist; he did the illustrations for this book. Patricia Clark Smith is also Micmac, and she grew up in Massachusetts and Maine; she now teaches Native American literature at the University of New Mexico.

Michael Runningwolf's illustrations are beautiful; here is the illustration for the story of Glous'gap and Grandfather Turtle:

The introduction to the book explains some basic elements of Micmac culture and tradition, along with the hero they call Glous'gap, and also ""Elder Brother." As they describe Glous'gap, "he is our spiritual teacher, the ultimate warrior, medicine-person, and occasional trickster. Some say he is a spirit; others think he is human. In any case, the things Glous'gap says and does are models for the way our people approach life." They acknowledge the contributions made by non-Native anthropologists and other scholars who have studied these stories, but "as far as we know, ours is the only book of traditional Micmac stories that have been retold and written down by two Micmac authors."

I was so glad to find this book at the Archive, and if you are interested in learning more about Micmac storytelling traditions, see this online exhibit: The Geography of Mi'kmaq Folklore.

And, of course, the Micmac storytelling tradition extends far beyond the stories of Glous'gap... but his stories are a great way to get started!

by Michael Runningwolf and Patricia Clark Smith

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Tricksters. Gluskap the Liar

After yesterday's post about the Gluskap stories collected by 19th-century folklorist Charles Leland, I wanted to share this book by a 20th-century folklorist, much more reliable and methodical in his approach: Horace Palmer Beck, and his book Gluskap the Liar, and Other Indian Tales.

While the introduction to Leland's book was not very helpful, Beck's introduction is useful, as he explains the sources he worked with and his method of selecting and presenting the stories included in the book. 

There are also illustrations by Arthur K. D. Healy; here is the giant beaver who caused some trouble for Gluskap:

Horace Beck (more about him) taught at Middlebury College for many years, and he also was a commentator for Vermont Public Radio. The Internet Archive has other books by Beck including The Folklore of Maine and Folklore and the Sea.

So, I'll be back with more Gluskap stories tomorrow, and I hope you enjoy the stories included here: