Okay, I can envision enjoying reading this book as a 9 or 10-year-old; however, for an adult reader, the tales didn’t possess much magic, and perhaps a significant portion of the original charm was lost in translation. Perhaps. “The Magic Moonlight Flower and Enchanting Stories” is a compilation of four short stories by Satyajit Ray, translated into English by Arunava Sinha.
The first story, titled “Sujan Harbola, the Boy Who Spoke to Birds,” is an engaging tale about a young, impoverished boy who has no interest in studying and drops out of school to pursue a career as a professional artist, capable of flawlessly mimicking any bird or animal. How his talents earn him a fortune forms the rest of the tale.
While I grew up reading such captivating tales set in the lush Indian jungles, replete with magical fruits, formidable monsters, and an underdog battling against all odds to emerge as the hero, I still wouldn’t consider getting this book as a gift to a child. Why? Because three out of the four short stories essentially convey a single overarching message – that possessing adequate talent can lead to marrying a princess. In these stories, marrying a beautiful princess stands out as the ultimate reward for a hero. Although these narratives might have held greater relevance in the 1970s and 80s, their significance has waned over time.
Satyajit Ray has crafted more intricate stories, characterized by profound themes and multi-faceted characters; however, “The Magic Moonlight Flower and Enchanting Stories” does not include any of his more enduring works.
Rating – 2.5/5. You can find the book on Kindle Unlimited.
Also Read: The Madman’s Library – Book Review (audio version below)