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A Moving Tale




CHILDREN OF THE ENCHANTED JUNGLE
By Tim Murari
Scholastic India, 2009, pp. 228, Rs. 195.00

VOLUME XXXIII NUMBER 11 November 2009

Imagine an enchanted world where children coexist happily with creatures of the jungle and even speak the same language! Here wild animals—panthers and snakes, leopards and deer, elephants and bears and countless birds and insects live in harmony as friendly neighbours should. Tigresses allow children to play with their cubs, and the fruit trees give them plenty of mangoes, guavas, papayas and berries all the year round, according to the seasons. However, these children are not what we would call ‘normal’ children. All are orphans and not one can remember his natural parents. Each child has an imperfection or handicap—a deformed leg, a blind eye, or else is very sickly. This is why all these children have been abandoned by their parents, the Big People of the Crowded Place, to be brought up by older children in the sanctuary of the jungle.   The Big People know that their abandoned child will be loved and fed, and will live a beautiful life in the jungle with the other children. So they have no qualms in leaving their child at the edge of the jungle or stream where the older children keep secret vigil. They are never seen by the Big People which is why many think that they are ghosts. These children also speak their own language which no outsider can understand. It is their secret means of communication. Yet they understand the language of the Big People and the language of all the birds and creatures in the jungle world too. They sport fanciful names like ‘Yellow Flower’, ‘Bright Light’, or ‘CoolClear’ after their lovely surroundings.   Deep in the heart of this dense forest, in the Glade lies a most mysterious power. Made of cool green-gold stone, it glows with an inner light and protects the children. Indeed it is this that has bestowed on them the power of many languages. The children lovingly call it Latrommi.   This idyllic life in the jungle is threatened when a ruthless woman from the outer world called Varang decides to capture this mysterious power. She will spare nothing that crosses her path—and will even raze the beautiful jungle to the ground to find Latrommi, which she knows is the source of unlimited power over the world. Varang engages a wily contractor who cuts down jungles and sells their timber—leaving the land dry and barren. Sometimes he turns the land ...


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