A Houseful of Friends
‘make friends, a houseful of them without fail. A great friend: a blessing found. By a friends kindness we and ours are safe and sound.’
Signed, silk screen print on Somerset acid free 100% cotton 250gsm paper
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This print was inspired by a two month cycling trip to India where I became fascinated by the many folk tales that I encountered. This print originates from the 'Jataka' Tales:
A Houseful of Friends
India, Jataka Tales
A family of birds lived on an island in a lake not far from the great forest. On the northern shore of this lake lived a Lion. On the eastern shore lived the king of the birds. On the southern shore of the lake lived a tortoise.
‘Have you many friends near here?’ the mother bird asked the father bird.
‘No, not one in this part of the forest,’ he said.
‘You must find some friends. We must have some one who can help us if ever we are in danger, or in trouble,’ said the mother bird.
‘With whom shall I make friends?’
‘With the Lion, the king of the birds and the tortoise.’
And the father bird did just so.
One day men hunted in the great forest from morning until night, but found nothing. Not wishing to go home empty–handed, they went to the island to see what they could find there. ‘Let us stay here to–night,’ they said, ‘and see what we can find in the morning.’
They had made their beds under the tree in which the hawks nest was built. ‘Did you hear that?’ said one of the hunters. ‘That was the cry of birds! They will do very well for our breakfast. There are young ones in that nest.’ And the hunters built a fire, and made it blaze up.
Then the mother bird said to the father: ‘These men are planning to eat our young ones. We must ask our friends to save us.’
The king of the birds, the lion and the tortoise agreed to come at once and when the hunters heard the Lion’s roar they ran away as fast as they could. When the Lion came to the foot of the tree, not one of the hunters was to be seen. Then the king of the birds and the Turtle came up, and the father bird said: ‘You have saved us. Friends in need are friends indeed.’
And the mother bird remarked: ‘make friends, a houseful of them without fail. A great friend: a blessing found. By a friends kindness we and ours are safe and sound.’
Lillias Kinsman-Blake © 2014.