A long-lost collection of Indian fairy tales transcribed by the daughter of the British governor of Bombay.
"Old Deccan Days is a groundbreaking and deeply original book," writes folklorist Kirin Narayan in her introduction to this classic collection of folktales from the Deccan province of India. In the 150 years since its publication, "its multilayered, polyphonic structure has rarely been matched."
In the cold months of 1865, young Mary Frere and her father, Bartle Frere, British governor of Bombay, set out in a caravan across the Deccan province of south central India. During their journey Mary transcribed 24 popular Hindu folktales told to her by her nursemaid. That collection of tales, which she published as Old Deccan Days, not only became the first Indian folklore collection in English, it established a new genre of writing about British India.
These marvelously imaginative tales from the Indian oral tradition are peopled with beautiful, smart, outspoken women; restless, adventuresome men; gods who take on human form; and animals who know the secrets of human destinies. Evil magicians cast spells on humans, changing them to plants, and demonic, ogre-like Rakshases savor human flesh.
• Includes Mary Frere's original introduction to the first published edition
• Updated by folklorist Kirin Narayan with an introduction discussing the oral tradition, the British Colonial period, and the relationship between Frere and her nursemaid, Anna DeSouza
• Invaluable resource for researchers and students of the oral transmission of folktales in the British Colonial period in England and colonized India
• Documents the common practice by government officials and missionaries in mid-19th century India to record and publish native folklore
• Augmented with an introduction to the oral tradition, the British Colonial period, and the Frere–Souza relationship