11. Fairies of the Pine Forest

They were travelling in the Arctic ocean towards east. Balarama remarked, “In this earth the amount of water seems to be more than land”

Krishna agreed: “Two third of the earth is filled with oceans. These oceans are some times calm and rough over the surface when there is a storm. In the interior also there are hot and cold water currents, influenced by the temperatures.” Krishna was in the mood for teaching some geography lessons.

Panimukha the polar bear reached Bering Strait and landed in the north western part of North America which was also in the arctic circle. Then it crossed the mountainous region and moved in a south easterly direction.

Their journey continued along the pine forests where they came across rivers, crystal clear streams, and large lakes. Very rarely they came across human beings. The people in the icy regions travelled in sledges dragged by reindeers. Their main activity was hunting and fishing. They were known as Eskimos. They also came across herds of large deers called caribou. There were wolves in the jungle.

It was a moonlit night. They stayed in a dense pine forest. Pine cones were scattered all over the place. A jungle stream was gurgling over pebbles. They could see the eyes of wolves shining like small fire balls at a distance. On a flat rock near the running water, Krishna and Balarama were sitting immersed in nature’s beauty. In the bed of the river among the pebbles the stars and moon were also dancing. Krishna was inspired to play his flute. Balarama took his mridangam (a percussion instrument). He made a small camp fire with the logs. Since mridangam is a leather instrument, he heated the leather often to align with the (basic note) Shruti.

The moon was peeping through the trees. Slowly the fairies of the forest gathered and started dancing around them. That scene reminded of the dance of gopis in Gokula, clapping their hands and stepping in unison with music.

Suddenly there were noises of chasing in some distance. The wolves did not dare come near them because of the camp fire; but were attacking the caribou. Krishna suddenly stopped the flute and roared like a lion. The sound reverberated in the forest. Though the wolves were not familiar of lions” roar, they could sense that this was the roar of a strange powerful animal. They were scared and scattered.

The caribou escaped from a critical situation.

The music continued for some more time. Suddenly a giant head peered from above through the thick pine trees. The strange animal had powerful jaws, and pencil-like sharp teeth with a large head. The fairies chanted in a low voice “Dinosaur! Dinosaur!”

The monster, walking on four legs with elephant-like body and a sturdy raised tail, approached them menacingly. Its weight would be exceeding that of four elephants, and its length about fifty feet. (in later years it would be classified as a SAUROPOD). It looked like a terrible, powerful, wondrous lizard!

Krishna recognized that they were facing a new challenge. He used his flute like a magic wand and waved towards Karimukha. The elephant instantly grew into a large mammoth (a large prehistoric giant elephant) and attacked the dinosaur with his powerful tusks.

The dinosaur tried to bite the trunk of the mammoth projecting his neck. The mammoth swung his trunk and caught hold of the neck of the dinosaur. There was a fierce tussle for some time. When the mammoth slightly loosened its grip, the dinosaur wriggled out and fled into the forest. The mammoth became Karimukha again.

The fairies were happy and wonder-struck. They adored Krishna and Balarama and with folded hands requested them to continue the music. Suddenly Naradha descended from heavens with his “Narayana” chant. Krishna and Balarama resumed their melodious music. Fairies danced merrily around them till it was dawn. The deers, black bears, and grizzly bears also came around and danced. There was a Rasa Leela (ceremonial dance of gokula) dance in the pine forest!

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