The Prince and Other Modern Fables

The Prince and Other Modern Fables, by Rabindranath Tagore

I've wanted to read Tagore for a long time, but am always very nervous about actually doing it.  After all, I'm not really very good at poetry--and Tagore writes poetry in Bengali, which brings it to a whole new level of difficulty, right?.   I ran into this little book of fables at work, and I thought it might work as a nice introduction to Tagore.  And so it did.  I am looking forward to trying more of his work.

This is a collection of little stories--not quite fairy tales, but fables in the sense that they are short imaginative stories, like folktales but written by an author.  They do not feature animals in peoples' places, like Aesop's fables.  You could read most of them to a child.  They are lovely little tales, and if you can find a copy, spend an hour or so reading them.

The stories were originally written as prose poems, and Tagore said that he didn't arrange them as poetry "most probably out of cowardice," but I think they're nice the way they are.  Each story was published in Bangla publications between 1917 and 1922.


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