cover image Seasons of Splendour: Tales, Myths & Legends of India

Seasons of Splendour: Tales, Myths & Legends of India

Madhur Jaffrey. Atheneum Books, $0 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31141-3

The author of a bestselling cookbook, Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery, Jaffrey is also well-known as an actress in England and America. Her feeling for drama imbues this collection with the color and vigor of Foreman's paintings and drawings. Selections from East-Indian lore are arranged according to the Hindu calender and prefaced by the anthologist's reminiscences of times when mothers told the stories to their children. The reader responds to the magic when young girls gather on rooftops to eat halva in the moon-drenched night, in honor of the legend, ""The Moon and the Heavenly Nectar.'' The evil star Rahu tricks Vishnu, Creator of the Universe, by swallowing a drop of potion that makes the demon immortal. Because the moon tries to warn Vishnu, Rahu vows to wipe out its light, every year. That's why there is an annual eclipse of the moon. ``If you listen, that is the day you can hear Rahu laughing.'' Each tale is unusual and enthralling in itself, as well as a rewarding excursion into the culture of an ancient country. (All ages)