The first chaang, the first elephant, once had big eyes,
Which the animals thought looked beautiful and wise.
Then, along came a bird, a wagtail, and…
Told in verse, this folktale from the Tai Phake people of India’s northeast is gentle and funny. It is one among many animal stories they tell children about why and how something came to be – why the sun comes out when the cock crows, how the tiger got its stripes and how the bulbul and the monkey ended up with red bottoms! Priya Kuriyan chooses an unusually minimal palette of colours to re-create the region’s landscape, while her inimitable flair for animating characters captures the endearing quality of the folktale with warmth and humour.