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Magical Beings and Impossible Stories

R. Rajagopalan

By Shashi Warrier
Puffin Books, New Delhi, 2008, pp. 223, Rs. 195.00

By Premendra Mitra. Translated by Lila Majumdar
National Book Trust, New Delhi, 2006, pp. 222, Rs. 45.00

VOLUME XXXII NUMBER 11 November 2008

Shashi Warrier’s book of three stories begins with the magical words ‘Once upon a time…’ and takes the reader straight into the world of kings, queens, princesses, dragons, fairies, and other magical beings. It is also the world of greedy royals, scheming ministers, double-crossing villains, and loyal subjects. At the end, of course, good triumphs over evil and all is well.   The stories are fast-paced with surprise twists and turns and should make engrossing reading for any 8 youngster.   The first story, ‘Suzy’s Gift’, is about a smart princess, who has a special power: She can see through lies. If a person utters a falsehood in her presence, his nose swells up. The nose regains its normal size, only when he tells the truth. Suzy uses her gift to save her parents, King Randolph and Queen Catherine, form the machinations of the evil Regent, greedy King Goldfink (from the neighbouring country) and Goldfink’s double-crossing Minister, Grubsneak. There are plots and counter plots, but the evildoers end up in prison and the good people live happily ever after.   The title story, ‘Sally and the Warlocks’, is about a race of magicians, who hate all human beings. The small girl, Sally, accidentally sees one of their rituals and that would bring bad luck to the warlocks. So they take her to their underground caves and decide to sacrifice her. Since that has to be prevented, Warrier brings in Granger, a warlock who is secretly on the side of human beings. Granger plots to save Sally with the help of the talking mice, William and Mary. There is suspense as the plot nearly fails and Granger is exposed. At the nick of time, however, the warlocks’ own magic potion turns them all into fish. Sally escapes not only the warlocks, but also from her wicked stepmother and gets a home of her own.   ‘The Hidden Continent’ is about magical beings, who want to escape from the troublesome human race and go off to a forest continent in the Pacific Ocean. This continent has very few human beings, but it has its share of good and bad kings. King Sharkovitch and King Ludwig von Clunk gang up to create a conflict between King Herringbone and King Thornapple. The two evil kings want to use the conflict to extend their empire. To complicate matters, Herringbone’s daughter Katherine falls in love with Thornapple’...

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