Has taken the port of Bombay on lease
With seven fishermen
He takes measurements
To see where the sea was churned
Where the moon was born
Where the Mandar** dived
After its wings were clipped.
[**The name of the mountain which, along with other things, rose out of the ocean when it was churned by the gods and the demons. This mountain had wings and could fly.]
How an Elephant Sneezes
“I’ll hear how an elephant sneezes”
So saying Kesta
From end to end
Roams the forests of Nepal.
To tickle its trunk he took a stick
As well as seven drums of snuff
He tried hard trekking marshy lands
He sneezed two thousand times
And died at last.
* Rabindranath Tagore wrote a large number of nonsense verses for children – they are perhaps the largest in the world. Most of them are untranslatable. In translation half the fun is also lost. The only way to enjoy them fully is to read them in the original Bengali. These two are from the collection Khapchhara (The Odd) which alone consists of 129 such verses and many of them were accompanied by line drawings.