The Jataka Tales
Author: Ancient Indian stories about people, animals, birds and fish
Translated by: Tina Carroll-Marynychenko
Illustrations by: Iana Grankovska
Age group: kids aged 2 to 102
Before you, dear reader, are the Buddhist Jataka Tales, the fabulous stories created in ancient India.
The Jatakas are stories about animals, birds and fish, fairy tales, parables and historical narratives. The Jatakas had been created based on early Buddhist folklore as stories about the previous births of the Buddha who, before he became Buddha, has been born for 550 times. Every Jataka tale depicts Buddha (Bodhisattva) in a certain form – animal, bird, human or divine.
The first Jatakas were created in III century BC. Jataka tales went far beyond the borders of India. They have influenced the concomitant literature of China and Japan. Through Iran and the Arabic countries, the Jatakas found their way to Europe, particularly to Ukraine. For instance, if you compare “The Golden Goose”, an ancient Indian Jataka tale, “The Grateful Crane”, a Japanese folk tale, and “The Limping Goose”, one of the oldest Ukrainian folk tales, - you will realize that our planet is full of soul mates.
Iana Grankovska, a young talented Ukrainian illustrator, offers her own interpretation of the Jatakas. Every tale is like a separate performance featuring puppets, whose strings are perhaps pulled by Buddha himself. The illustrator dresses the characters not only in the Indian, but also in the Chinese garments, as long as the Jatakas, being a popular folklore, have been created all over the Buddhist countries of the world (and Buddhism is one of the three major religions in China). Actually, the oldest Jatakas that came to us, have been translated into ancient Chinese and Tibetan. Particularly, Dalai-lama XIV likes to use Jatakas in his sermons. For millenniums, the Jatakas have been the source for moral education: kindness, sympathy, generosity, non-violence, self-sacrifice, compassion, honesty, loyalty, love towards animals and birds.
This is Ukraine`s first publication of the Jatakas translated and adapted for children.