Giant snakes and other creatures

from Press News, posted 02/14/2013 - 12:38

As I said yesterday with regard to Chinese New Year and the new Year of the Snake, few NIAS books discuss snakes to any great extent. However, one NIAS book features a giant snake (as well as cunning birds, boastful fish, fearsome witches and much more). Here is Xavier Romero-Frias’s retelling of the legend about the origin of the Maldivian ruling dynasty.

The Legend of Koimala

Long ago, in the northern mainland, lived a poor couple in a hut deep in the forest. One day the husband went to hunt and didn’t return. His wife, who was pregnant with her first child, went to look for her husband, dreading that something had happened to him. While she was walking through the forest, the woman suddenly felt the pains of childbirth. She sat under a nikabilissa tree and gave birth there alone. While she was lying there exhausted, a tiger jumped out of a bush and devoured the woman. Since the child was hidden between two roots, the tiger didn’t see him and went away. 

A herd of cows arrived after some time at that particular spot and one cow with a full udder happened to stand right above the child while she was grazing. The child felt for the nipple with his lips and sucked the milk. The cow, whose swollen udders had been hurting, felt relieved and returned everyday to that place under the nikabilissa tree. In this manner the baby grew and, as soon as he could crawl, he followed the herd of cows.

The story continues here (just click on the Extract tab and download the PDF file). The giant snake appears in the story just after the enormous fish and huge bird pictured below.

In our next post, another NIAS book discusses snakes - but this time how to hunt them.


Press news

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    Carol Ann Boshier's book 'Mapping Cultural Nationalism: The Scholars of the Burma Research Society,1910-1935' has been shortlisted for the EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize 2019. Congratulations!

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