The Scattered Jewels and Other Tales of Guyana is a collection of
three fantasies drawn from Guyanese folklore. The first, "The
Scattered Jewels," seeks to explain the difference in size of the
three counties of Guyana -- Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice -- and
the preponderance of jewels (gold and diamonds) found in Essequibo
as compared to those found in the other two counties. Lord
Frengdutch left the land and the jewels to be divided equally among
his sons, Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice. "Since we cannot agree
on how to divide the land," said the brothers, "we will go to the
Royal Council. They have the wisdom and ability to do what is
needed." Accordingly, the members of the Royal Council stepped into
the fray and, because of their intervention, Guyana was divided
into three counties and the jewels scattered across the land. There
is a mystery about Guyana and the scattered jewels and, when
reading this fable, questions may arise, such as where and what are
the scattered jewels? Are these treasures only in Guyana? And, by
the way, where do the mermaids come from? The second tale draws us
into the world of these mysterious creatures of the deep. Fear of
rain and of thunder and lightning is explored through the fable of
"Seraphon," a mermaid, and her human husband. Every night they
would sit on the sea wall and sing until, at sunrise, Seraphon
would plunge into the water, leaving him alone. The mermaid theme
continues with "The Lure of the Mermaid" and the discovery of the
Wai-Wai, the first people of Guyana, and the Manitou, the fisherman
of long, long ago. These unique beings were the forerunners of the
mysterious Water People of Guyana. Through these stories, the
legends of sun-kissed Guyana, the land of many waters, are
recreated. Such stories have been passed down from generation to
generation, representing the heritage of all those who live or who
have lived in Guyana. Evadne D'Oliveira is a Guyanese writer living
in Canada. A storyteller and playwright, she believes in filling
the gap for the children who always want to know more about stories
from long ago. For many years, she wrote stories that were
presented on "Broadcast to Schools" in Guyana. She has been an
editor at the Guyana Chronicle and the representative for PEN
International in Guyana.
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