The Rain-Maiden and the Bear-Man


Author: Easterine Kire
Illustrated by Sunandini Banerjee

9780857426185 | HB | pp. 88 | 2021 | Seagull Books

This is a collection of beautifully illustrated stories which make Nagaland comes alive with a rich portrayal of both the natural and the spiritual world, which, to the Naga mind, harmoniously coexisted until the recent past.

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The Bear-Man finds love in the beautiful and compassionate Rain-Maiden but thinks he would never be good enough for her. He thinks that if he reveals his true feelings she would ridicule him like everyone else in his life. So he grows gruff and grumpy, believing that he could never find true love . . .

The other stories in this collection represent oral narratives from the people of Nagaland in North-East India, stories shared privately around a glowing hearth–spirit stories that the narrators swear are true encounters. While ‘Forest Song’, ‘New Road’, ‘River and Earth Story’, and ‘The Man Who Lost His Spirit’ were narrated to the author by local storytellers, ‘The Man Who Went to Heaven’ and ‘One Day’ are entirely based on Naga folktales. ‘The Weretigerman’, meanwhile, is woven around the pre-Christian Naga tradition of certain men becoming dual-souled with the tiger.


Easterine Kire
Illustrator: Sunandini Banerjee







Year of Publication:



Seagull Books





Country of Origin:


About the Author

The author is an award-winning Indian poet, novelist, and writer of children’s books. Her first novel A Naga Village Remembered (reissued as Sky Is My Father) was the first Naga novel to be published in English. Her other novels include Son of the Thundercloud (winner of the Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2018 and the Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year Award 2017), Bitter Wormwood (shortlisted for the Hindu Prize 2013), When the River Sleeps (winner of the Hindu Prize 2015) and Don’t Run, My Love (2017). Her work has been translated into German, Croatian, Uzbek, Norwegian and Nepali. In 2011 she was awarded the governor’s medal for excellence in Naga literature.


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