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The Old Woman and the Red Pumpkin cover

The Old Woman and the Red Pumpkin

Translated and adapted by Betsy Bang
Illustrated by Molly Bang

First published in 1975

About the Story
This is one of two individual—and very well-known—Bengali folktales translated by my mother that I illustrated. When husbands in India or Bangladesh die, the wives almost never remarry. They cut off their long hair and they give away all of their beautiful saris and their jewelry to their daughters and daughters-in-law and only wear white for the rest of their lives. So this Old Woman is a widow—and so she also has a good deal of freedom to do as she pleases. (Most widows don’t live alone but with their families. It’s usually no fun to live alone.)

The style of the pictures I found by looking at many illustrations of Indian art, and I most related to illustrations about the Jain religion. I loved both the colors of gold, red and blue, and I loved the loose but adept brush strokes. So in this first story of the Old Woman, these were the colors I used.

copyright 2016 by Molly Bang