Packing my rather nest-stained copies of Krylov’s Fables, Phaedrus, and Plautus’ bawdy comedies in a leather scrip made from hippo hide (a gift from an African devotee of the Sphinx) also filled with tasty tidbits for snacking while drifting, I took the ancient celestial highway southwards over the Himalayas. Not the best season for an enjoyable flight but as an immortal with an appetite for adventures as well as victuals, the trip was bearable. My stopover was to be the Sun Temple at Konarak in Orissa. Once upon a century, I had several apsara friends who danced there on its walls. Hopefully they could locate a copy of that famous Indian classic, the Panchatantra, a text that should provide my little theatre company with material for some juicy plays. A book of Jataka Tales would be a bonus.
Indeed, no problem, Sundari had a handy Panchatantra she would part with. In Sanskrit of course, which I’ve never learned. So I’ve had to stay several days to claw up English versions of these works that will appeal to the less classically educated members of the San Jose troupe. I’ve finally settled on W.H.D. Rouse’s The Giant Crab and Other Tales from Old India and Jataka Tales retold by Ellen C. Babbitt. Naturally I will be available to explain any subtleties that escape Flea-in-the Ear Coyote and Brazil-Nut Macaw. Even they will appreciate the cleverness of the animal protagonists and the realistic conclusion of each story. No Disney confections for the thespian appetites of this, the first animal-centric theatre company to perform for animals as well as humans. Alas, my four-year empty stomach has not been as appreciative of spicy curries as I expected. Now, onwards and eastwards, perhaps with a Pacific layover.
A dropped feather for you regarding a human-centric video version of Krylov’s The Raven and the Fox (sorry, but I’m too busy dodging air traffic to translate if you don’t understand Russian). Oh, when will it be possible to chase these humans out of our rightful roles? Oh, yes, I’ve a human face, but my heart throbs with the passions of a bird.