Reading Reflections (1 Jan 2018)

The Russian fairy tales book had 2 more tales - Emelya and the Pike and Valisila the beautiful. Emelya is know as Emelya the fool but he acquires almost God like powers just for the mere act of refraining from killing a pike. He has been given words if he repeats, anything can happen. Wood gets cut on his own, his sledge moves all by itself through town, the princess falls in love with him. The only source of conflict is his own will. He is too lazy even to use the magic words and get things done. Someone has to push him for that to happen. But that is about it. Story could have been more interesting if he had been more quirky to the extreme.

The other story Valisila the beautiful again has an all powerful benefactor - Valisila's doll. The doll is given to her by her mother and the doll helps her with solution for every problem. This is more interesting because the doll can't move around. It can only give ideas. Only Valisila actually has to do it. Here the main antagonist is Baba Yaga, the witch. As I mentioned earlier, she appears as protagonist in some stories and antagonist in others. Here she is the antagonist. Valisila is sent to her to obtain light and she tries to give her impossible tasks and tries to use her failure at these tasks as a pretext to eat her up. But she manages to complete the tasks thanks to the help from her doll.

The descriptions of Baba Yaga's house is interesting. House is made of human bones as is the gate. The gate only opens at a word from her. The skulls glow and give light.The house is guarded by a tree that lashes out, a cat that scratches and a dog that bites. Three horsemen ride into her house - a white horseman of the dawn, a red horseman of the noon and black horseman of the night. The imagery is interesting. 

The tasks are typical - separation of grains. And solution is also typical - help from birds and mice. The escape is more interesting. She manages to bribe the brown maiden who works with Baba Yaga and her 3 guards and the gate as well. The 5 of them are not treated well by Baba Yaga and so they let the girl escape in return for gifts from her. This is workable into a logical solution to her problems. So overall I find this to be  a story with potential. The story continues after her stepmother and stepsisters are burned by the skull she brings home from Baba Yaga's house for light. She is able to make a garment out of flax, weaving flax into golden threads. A Tsarevich gets impressed and married her. She then lives happily ever after with her father, doll and an old woman who cooks and cleans for her. This seems totally unrelated to main tale. But all these elements together are workable into a tale.

The other story I am starting for year end is Partibhan Kanavu going into new year. I have always wanted to read Tamil books  but did not for 2 years. So starting 2018 with a Tamil book. Only done first page so far. It is full of metaphorical description of Kaveri river and its banks comparing it to diamonds and precious stones etc,. waxing eloquent over a page. This is an interesting manner of narrative and worth exploring.

A third book is Baby Read Aloud - Basics. 2 years too late as it is for babies 0-2 years. But need to start somewhere to get into this genre of child development - an areas I have not focused on enough. I have clearly realized a baby is not just another person and the same principles of dealing with family and friends don't apply to babies. This book starts off extolling the benefits of reading to babies. I wonder if it is too late now. Hope as we move on the book has more useful information that can be used at this point.

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