Amita Bhose


Amita Bhose

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The Story of Prince Sobur


(retold by Amita Bhose)

Published by Ion Creanga Publishing House in 1975, The Story of Prince Sobur is the first translation of Bengali tales in Romanian.

As the children - from five to ninety - open the book happily, a fascinating and wonderful world reveals before their round eyes. It is not the world of the 1001 nights, but that of a country, almost legendary as the land of spices and silk, exotic par excelence. It is a far world, and yet so near warm and known to us.

As we read The Story of the two sisters, we feel that in fact we are reading the well-known Romanian folk tale "The daughter of the woman and the daughter of the old man". Turning the pages over, we arrive at The Story of Prince Sobur and we remember the story of "Salt in the dish".

The tomcat Motonjali is punished for its greed and boasting, yet we cannot help admiring his shrewdness with wich it rules over animals of the forest. Om the other hand, The ever dissatisfied mouse is a parable of failure of any attempt to change the natural order of things and of punishment for useless vanity.

The daughter of the emperor kidnapped by a many-hooded sbake and imprisoned in its palace is a common theme of populat tales. In Romanian tales, tears of Ileana Cosînzeana are transformed into Lillies of the valley; tears of Indian Princess are changed into rubies that float on sea-waves (How rubies came into being).

" - Spinach in the garden has dried. - Why did you dry, o spinach? - Why did the cows eat me up? - Why you eat the spinach, o cows? - Why doesn't the milkman feed us? Why don't you feed them, o milkman? - Why doesn't my wife cook? - Why don't you cook, o milkmaid ? Why does my baby cry? - Why do you cry, baby? - Why do the ants bite me? - Why do you bite the baby, o ants? - Cut, cut, cut. Ant bites the baby again" (verses told at the end of each story).

And again everything starts afresh. The eternal begining and the eternal end meet at a single point on the cycle of existence.

Elena Andronache



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