by R Tagore · Cited by 2 — Title: The Crescent Moon young pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of a vanishing eBook file: cmoon10.pdf or cmoon10.htm.
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PGCC Collection: The Crescent Moon, by Rabindranath Tagore (trans.) World eBook Library PGCC Collection Bringing the world’s eBook Collection Together Project Gutenberg Consortia Center is a member of the World eBook Library Consortia, __________________________________________________ Limitations By accessing this file you agree to all the Terms and Conditions, as stated here. This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at Here are 3 of the more major items to consider: 1. The eBooks on the PG sites are NOT 100% public domain, some of them are copyrighted and used by permission and thus you may charge for redistribution only via direct permission from the copyright holders. 2. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark [TM]. For any other purpose than to redistribute eBooks containing the entire Project Gutenberg file free of charge and with the headers intact, permission is required. 3. The public domain status is per U.S. copyright law. This eBook is from the Project Gutenberg Consortium Center of the United States. The mission of the Project Gutenberg Consortia Center is to provide a similar framework for the collection of eBook collections as does Project Gutenberg for single eBooks, operating under the practices, and 1

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general guidelines of Project Gutenberg. The major additional function of Project Gutenberg Consortia Center is to manage the addition of large collections of eBooks from other eBook creation and collection centers around the world. The complete license details are online at: __________________________________________________Title: The Crescent MoonAuthor: Rabindranath Tagore (trans.)Release Date: September, 2004 [EBook #6520][Posted: December 25, 2002]Character set encoding: Latin1 THE CRESCENT MOON Original html version created at by Eric Eldred.This eBook was produced by Chetan K Jain.The Crescent Moon2

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THE RECALLTHE FIRST JASMINESTHE BANYAN TREEBENEDICTIONTHE GIFTMY SONGTHE CHILD-ANGELTHE LAST BARGAINLIST OF COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONSFRONTISPIECETHE HOMETHE BEGINNINGFAIRYLANDPAPER BOATSTHE MERCHANTTHE HEROBENEDICTIONINDEX OF THE FIRST LINESAh, these jasminesAh, who was it coloured that little frockBless this little heartChild, how happy you are sitting in the dustCome and hire meDay by day I float my paper boatsI am small because I am a little childIf baby only wanted to, he could flyIf I were only a little puppyIf people came to know where my king’s palace isI long to go over thereImagine, motherI only said, “When in the evening”I paced aloneIt is time for me to go, motherI want to give you something, my childI wish I could take a quiet cornerMother, I do want to leave off my lessonsMother, let us imagine we are travellingMother, the folk who live up in the cloudsMother, the light has grown greyMother, your baby is sillyOn the seashore of endless worlds4

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O you shaggy-headed banyan treeSay of him what you pleaseSullen clouds are gatheringSupposing I became a champa flowerThe boat of the boatman MadhuThe night was dark when we went awayThe sleep that flits on baby’s eyesThey clamour and fightThis song of mineWhen I bring you coloured toysWhen storm cloudsWhen the gong sounds tenWhere have I come fromWho stole sleep from baby’s eyesWhy are those tears in your eyes, my childWhy do you sit there on the floorYou say that father writes a lot of books[Illustration: The Home–from a drawing by Nandalall Bose–seechome.jpg]THE HOMEI paced alone on the road across the field while the sunset washiding its last gold like a miser.The daylight sank deeper and deeper into the darkness, and thewidowed land, whose harvest had been reaped, lay silent.Suddenly a boy’s shrill voice rose into the sky. He traversedthe dark unseen, leaving the track of his song across the hush ofthe evening.His village home lay there at the end of the waste land, beyondthe sugar-cane field, hidden among the shadows of the banana andthe slender areca palm, the cocoa-nut and the dark greenjack-fruit trees.I stopped for a moment in my lonely way under the starlight, andsaw spread before me the darkened earth surrounding with her armscountless homes furnished with cradles and beds, mothers’ heartsand evening lamps, and young lives glad with a gladness thatknows nothing of its value for the world.5

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ON THE SEASHOREOn the seashore of endless worlds children meet.The infinite sky is motionless overhead and the restless water isboisterous. On the seashore of endless worlds the children meetwith shouts and dances.They build their houses with sand, and they play with emptyshells. With withered leaves they weave their boats andsmilingly float them on the vast deep. Children have their playon the seashore of worlds.They know not how to swim, they know not how to cast nets.Pearl-fishers dive for pearls, merchants sail in their ships,while children gather pebbles and scatter them again. They seeknot for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets.The sea surges up with laughter, and pale gleams the smile of thesea-beach. Death-dealing waves sing meaningless ballads to thechildren, even like a mother while rocking her baby’s cradle.The sea plays with children, and pale gleams the smile of thesea-beach.On the seashore of endless worlds children meet. Tempest roamsin the pathless sky, ships are wrecked in the trackless water,death is abroad and children play. On the seashore of endlessworlds is the great meeting of children.THE SOURCEThe sleep that flits on baby’s eyes–does anybody know from whereit comes? Yes, there is a rumour that it has its dwelling where,in the fairy village among shadows of the forest dimly lit withglow-worms, there hang two shy buds of enchantment. From thereit comes to kiss baby’s eyes.The smile that flickers on baby’s lips when he sleeps–doesanybody know where it was born? Yes, there is a rumour that ayoung pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of avanishing autumn cloud, and there the smile was first born in thedream of a dew-washed morning–the smile that flickers on baby’slips when he sleeps.The sweet, soft freshness that blooms on baby’s limbs–doesanybody know where it was hidden so long? Yes, when the motherwas a young girl it lay pervading her heart in tender and silentmystery of love–the sweet, soft freshness that has bloomed on6

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Ah, who was it coloured that little frock, my child, and coveredyour sweet limbs with that little red tunic?You have come out in the morning to play in the courtyard,tottering and tumbling as you run.But who was it coloured that little frock, my child?What is it makes you laugh, my little life-bud?Mother smiles at you standing on the threshold.She claps her hands and her bracelets jingle, and you dance withyour bamboo stick in your hand like a tiny little shepherd.But what is it makes you laugh, my little life-bud?O beggar, what do you beg for, clinging to your mother’s neckwith both your hands?O greedy heart, shall I pluck the world like a fruit from the skyto place it on your little rosy palm?O beggar, what are you begging for?The wind carries away in glee the tinkling of your anklet bells.The sun smiles and watches your toilet. The sky watches over youwhen you sleep in your mother’s arms, and the morning comestiptoe to your bed and kisses your eyes.The wind carries away in glee the tinkling of your anklet bells.The fairy mistress of dreams is coming towards you, flyingthrough the twilight sky.The world-mother keeps her seat by you in your mother’s heart.He who plays his music to the stars is standing at your windowwith his flute.And the fairy mistress of dreams is coming towards you, flyingthrough the twilight sky.SLEEP-STEALERWho stole sleep from baby’s eyes? I must know.8

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Clasping her pitcher to her waist mother went to fetch water fromthe village near by.It was noon. The children’s playtime was over; the ducks in thepond were silent.The shepherd boy lay asleep under the shadow of the banyantree.The crane stood grave and still in the swamp near the mangogrove.In the meanwhile the Sleep-stealer came and, snatching sleep frombaby’s eyes, flew away.When mother came back she found baby travelling the room over onall fours.Who stole sleep from our baby’s eyes? I must know. I must findher and chain her up.I must look into that dark cave, where, through boulders andscowling stones, trickles a tiny stream.I must search in the drowsy shade of the bakula grove,where pigeons coo in their corner, and fairies’ anklets tinkle inthe stillness of starry nights.In the evening I will peep into the whispering silence of thebamboo forest, where fireflies squander their light, and will askevery creature I meet, “Can anybody tell me where theSleep-stealer lives?”Who stole sleep from baby’s eyes? I must know.Shouldn’t I give her a good lesson if I could only catch her!I would raid her nest and see where she hoards all her stolensleep.I would plunder it all, and carry it home.I would bind her two wings securely, set her on the bank of theriver, and then let her play at fishing with a reed among therushes and water-lilies.When the marketing is over in the evening, and the villagechildren sit in their mothers’ laps, then the night birds willmockingly din her ears with:”Whose sleep will you steal now?”9

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[Illustration: From a drawing by Asit Kumar Haldar–seecbegin.jpg]THE BEGINNING”Where have I come from, where did you pick me up?” the babyasked its mother.She answered half crying, half laughing, and clasping the baby toher breast,– “You were hidden in my heart as its desire, mydarling.You were in the dolls of my childhood’s games; and when with clayI made the image of my god every morning, I made and unmade youthen.You were enshrined with our household deity, in his worship Iworshipped you.In all my hopes and my loves, in my life, in the life of mymother you have lived.In the lap of the deathless Spirit who rules our home you havebeen nursed for ages.When in girlhood my heart was opening its petals, you hovered asa fragrance about it.Your tender softness bloomed in my youthful limbs, like a glow inthe sky before the sunrise.Heaven’s first darling, twin-born with the morning light, youhave floated down the stream of the world’s life, and at last youhave stranded on my heart.As I gaze on your face, mystery overwhelms me; you who belong toall have become mine.For fear of losing you I hold you tight to my breast. What magichas snared the world’s treasure in these slender arms of mine?”BABY’S WORLDI wish I could take a quiet corner in the heart of my baby’s very10

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own world.I know it has stars that talk to him, and a sky that stoops downto his face to amuse him with its silly clouds and rainbows.Those who make believe to be dumb, and look as if they nevercould move, come creeping to his window with their stories andwith trays crowded with bright toys.I wish I could travel by the road that crosses baby’s mind, andout beyond all bounds;Where messengers run errands for no cause between the kingdoms ofkings of no history;Where Reason makes kites of her laws and flies them, and Truthsets Fact free from its fetters.WHEN AND WHYWhen I bring you coloured toys, my child, I understand why thereis such a play of colours on clouds, on water, and why flowersare painted in tints–when I give coloured toys to you, my child.When I sing to make you dance, I truly know why there is music inleaves, and why waves send their chorus of voices to the heart ofthe listening earth–when I sing to make you dance.When I bring sweet things to your greedy hands, I know why thereis honey in the cup of the flower, and why fruits are secretlyfilled with sweet juice–when I bring sweet things to your greedyhands.When I kiss your face to make you smile, my darling, I surelyunderstand what pleasure streams from the sky in morning light,and what delight the summer breeze brings to my body–when I kissyou to make you smile.DEFAMATIONWhy are those tears in your eyes, my child?How horrid of them to be always scolding you for nothing?You have stained your fingers and face with ink while writing–is11

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