Monday, October 13, 2008


From Badi Blog

The Coming of the Kingdom

This comic book we picked up in the bookstore at Louhelen at the insistence of 9 year old Tomaso. We read a couple of pages and it was clear that this was a complex argument about prophesy aimed at Christians investigating the Faith. Tomaso was undeterred and insisted we go through it during our Baha'i classes. 14 year old Silvie was not fooled and protested weakly that this was not a kid's comic. It took us over a month but we finally finished it. It has some nice prophetic references that I was not aware of. In some ways it is heavier than Thief in the Night, though much shorter. As well it has some good illustrations. This is the only place I have seen where the portraits of the kings and queen Baha'u'llah wrote to are in full color. Recommended for contacts, not children's classes.

From Badi Blog

The Golden Jungle
Carmel Publishing, New Delhi, 3rd Ed., 2002,

This series of four booklets from India Silvie insisted we read, though it is written for much younger children. It is highly didactic and moralizing in tone, and even Tomaso was protesting at the alternative spelling and diction. He was constantly asking, "Is not that a mistake?" No, they have their own ways of speaking English in India... The first few stories about forest animals were soppy and bland in the extreme. That seems to have lulled them into low expectations, because the following story hit them like like a brick. They were utterly shocked in the first reading, protesting, "You cannot put that in a children's story!" Tonight they insisted on reading it to their mother, and this time they were laughing all the way through. I insisted that Tomaso read it aloud, since, unlike most of what we read in these classes, it is at his reading skill level. A highly successful story, though probably for the wrong reasons. What do you think, is this appropriate?

from: Book One, Meera Saves Squirrel


This is the story of a little mouse who lived with his father, mother and eleven sisters and brothers. He was always obedient to his parents and he loved his, brothers and sisters.

His mother taught him to be honest and good to others. She also taught him to take her permission for going anywhere, so that he may not get into trouble. "Yes Mom," he would say. And they were all very happy.

But the little mouse got into a big trouble when he forgot his mother's advice. This is how it happened.

Diwali is one of the most important Indian Festivals. It is a very happy occasion. People decorate their houses and prepare, many sweets. They visit and greet each other saying, "Happy Diwali!" In the evenings the people fire many crackers and rockets and set off other types of fireworks.

The little mouse was very excited to see all this. "We have to get some of those crackers," the little mouse said to his friends. At first they hesitated -to join him in the mischief. However, they gave in when he insisted.

The three of them hid behind a bush near a pile of Fireworks the children had made. One by one these were fired by the children. Everyone enjoyed the sight of the rockets bursting high in the sky.
The mice waited patiently until the children were gone. When all was clear they dashed out and picked up one of the biggest and heaviest of the rockets.

"Be quick!" cried the little mouse as the three of them struggled to carry the rocket away.

Soon the mice were out of sight. They managed to place the rocket stick into the ground and aimed it towards the sky.

"We need matches to fire the rocket," said one of them.

"I will go and fetch one," replied the little mouse. Soon he was back with a big match box that he had stolen from the children.

"Wow, this is a great moment in my life. This event will be written in mouse history... the first mouse to fire a rocket into space!" the naughty mouse announced.

"I will hold the stick tightly while you light the wick," he said, not realizing that it was dangerous to hold onto the rocket stick. (The safe way to fire a rocket is to light the wick and then immediately move away a safe distance from it.)

"Five, four, three, two, one, fire!" screamed the naughty little mouse.

Within a moment the rocket zoomed up into the sky carrying the terrified little mouse with it. He did not know what to do as he flew up into the air along with the burning rocket. All he could think of was to hold fast to the stick.

He looked below once and got a big fright when he saw how high he was flying. Then he saw the kind face of his mother. She had always been telling him to stay out of mischief and not go anywhere without her permission.

As he flew higher through the clouds, he overcame his fears and began to enjoy the flight. "Rocket flying is fun, he decided."I have gone where no mouse has gone before!" He was full of such thoughts when the rocket burst with a big bang. This time the noise was terrific. The poor mouse somersaulted in the air and began falling towards the earth at a terrible speed. He began screaming and crying, but there was no one to help him. He shut his eyes so that he would not see his end. Again he began talking to his mother, promising to be good. But it seemed there was little chance of his survival.

"Oh Mommy," he sobbed, "if I stay alive this time, I will never touch anything that does not belong to me, and I will never go anywhere without your permission!"

Now the little, mouse was very lucky for he splashed noisily head first into a puddle of mud. From his head to his tummy, he was stuck in the mud. Only his two legs and long tail were left sticking out. He struggled to get out but to no avail. He only managed to swallow mud.

The other two mice saw the big crash from a distance. They rushed over to the puddle and were astonished to see his legs and tail sticking out of the mud.

"Let us pull his legs to get him out." They began pulling his legs in two opposite directions. They could not hear their friend screaming in pain. And as he screamed, he swallowed more mud.

"This is not working, let us pull on his tail," one of his friends suggested. They pulled and pulled with all their strength. The poor mouse's tail stretched and stretched and finally snapped right off! But the poor mouse was still stuck in the mud.

Again, the little mouse cried out in pain, swallowing even more mud. Not only did it hurt him, but it hurt his pride. His tail, as with all mice, was a sign of dignity and honour.

"Let us pull his legs in the same direction... I hope his legs do, not break off so easily," one of them said. They quickly pulled him out of the mud.

He was half dead, covered with mud, and without his jail. His friends forced the mud out of his stomach, revived him, and washed him with water from a clean pond nearby.

His friends tried to console him by telling him his mother would stitch his tail back on. Finally they gave him his tail and sent him home.

He told the whole story to his mother who was shocked to see her child in such a terrible condition. "Mommy! My tail!" sobbed the little mouse as he held it up to her."Oh, dear, what have you done to your beautiful tail?" said the mother. "My friends said you could stitch it back on for me."

"I will try, my dear." replied his mother, after hearing out his story. She got a thread and a big needle. As she stuck the needle into his back he shouted and screamed with pain. His mother did it again. But she soon realized; could not be fixed.

"I doubt if we could fix it. It is better to hang it on the wall in your room as a reminder to stay away from mischief." said the mother.
The little mouse grew up to be wise and well behaved and became known as the Tailless Mouse. He never forgot his lesson.

After we finished reading this story they protested to us: using body parts to teach a lesson, isn't that horrible?

Momka and I told them that they should try German fairy tales if they want shocking, what with their obsession with child cannibalism. Still, you cannot accuse the brothers Grimm of being patronizing, as this story no doubt is... Anyway, I really am interested in your opinion as to whether this story is appropriate or not. Is it possible to be funny without being politically incorrect? Is it appropriate to be unintentionally funny like this?


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