Oldest Brother's Story: Tales of the Pwo Karenby Elizabeth Hinton
Photographs by Peter Hinton
Black and white photographs throughout
“Will you tell us a story?”
Like children in every culture, the Karen children of Dong Luang village repeat this refrain, and are treated, in turns, to delightful and awesome tales of giants and witches, tigers and pythons, and orphans and overlords, recounted by their imaginative elders. After a morning of planting a rice field, or during a merry wedding feast, the tales are told, and the children enthralled. The adults listen, too.
Writer ELIZABETH HINTON collected and translated the folktales in this volume during her stay in the Pwo Karen village of Dong Luang in the hills of northern Thailand. She places the stories in the context of the people she knew there, endearingly framed by their human relationships, daily routines, and cycle of seasons—indeed, the very stuff from which the stories themselves spring. The tales are woven into the village's unchanging agrarian rhythm: sowing in the hot season, weeding during the early rains, waiting through the monsoons, and harvesting in the cool season.
PETER HINTON’s evocative photographs of village people and society enliven the text, creating a unique and intimate portrayal of a Karen community that has remained intact in the midst of a changing Thailand.