Three Quotations

(June 10th to 17th)




1. …And the little girl-daughter said, 'This is a good nut that I am eating. If you choose I will make a magic and I will give you this pair of scissors, very sharp and strong, so that you and your children can eat coconuts like this all day long when you come up from the Sea to the land …'



This is from 'The Crab that Played with the Sea' in the 'Just So Stories'.


In the very earliest times when the Eldest Magician was getting things ready on the Earth, Pau Amma the King Crab of all Crabs had scuttled away and played by himself. He was so huge that when he settled into his hole, the sea rose and flooded the land.

The Eldest Magician - with the help of the Man's little girl-daughter - has made him stop, by making him small, and arranging for his shell to fall off; he was also allowed to hide in every hole, and use sharp pincers to feed himself.

But because the movement of the waters had helped the Man in his fishing, the Magician made the Fisherman of the Moon pull the waters to and fro twice a day, as they have done ever since.








2. …'I am the Colonel Sahib's son, and my order is that you go at once. You black men are frightening the Miss Sahib. One of you must run into cantonments and take the news that the Miss Sahib has hurt herself, and that the Colonel's son is here with her…'


This is from 'Wee Willie Winkie' in the collection of that name. A young Englishwoman, Miss Allardice, has foolhardily ridden out into Afghan territory, and had a fall. Wee Willie Winkie, the Colonel's six year-old son, has ridden after her, knowing she is in danger. When he reaches her, he sends his pony back for help. Meanwhile, some wild Afghan tribesmen have appeared, with kidnap and ransom in mind…








3. …'I went forward; but I cannot say whither I went, and there was no more food for myself or the sister. And upon a hot night, she weeping and calling for food, we came to a well, and I bade her sit upon the kerb, and thrust her in, for, in truth, she could not see; and it is better to die than to starve…'


This is from 'Little Tobrah' in 'Life's Handicap'. Little Tobrah and his sister had been orphaned when hi parents died of the smallpox, and his sister blinded. They could not manage the grain press which had been their parents' living, and had wandered with only a few annas through the villages. But it was a time of famine, and they could beg no food.