Tales from Tagore adapted by E.F. Dodd is a collection of six short stories titled 'The Cabulliwallah',' The Child’s Return',' Subha', 'The Postmaster', 'The Castaway' and 'The River Stairs'.
'The Cabulliwallah' is a story about a fruit seller who forms an unlikely friendship with a five year old Bengali girl named Mini in Calcutta, India. At the beginning, Mini is frightened of the fruit seller, but she eventually overcomes her fear and the two become friends, and the fruit seller is a frequent visitor. However, one day the fruit seller gets into an altercation with another man who owes him money, and he is sent to prison for several years. Mini reminds the fruit seller of his own little daughter who lives far away.
'Subha’ is a story about a girl who cannot hear or speak. Subha’s father loves her, but her mother detests her. Tagore says, “Banikantha, Subha’s father, loved this silent child of his rather better than he loved his other daughters; but her mother hated Subha.” Tagore explores Subha’s life in this story.
'The Castaway' is about three individuals Kiran, Sharat and Nilkanta who meet due to unfortunate circumstances.
The stories take the reader on a journey to North India. Rabindranath Tagore’s language is aesthetic and lyrical, and he creates a powerful atmosphere in his short stories. Tagore also explores North Indian traditions and culture in his short stories.
Reviewed by Ryhanna Salie