In the course of our journey from the bungalow, the chatty, Caucasoid guide had politely inquired about my place of work and the purpose of this visit. I told him that I worked in one of the museums under the King, and I had come there to make a sketch of the potentially famous Jason Sisters and note all relevant details. “My lord, you will see that those figures cannot be the work of a mortal,” he said as we got down from the coach.

Instructing the driver to stand guard over the carriage and the horses, we entered the Blackie Forest. My companion walked slowly on the matted grass, indicating the places where I must be careful to avoid entangling my feet in the dense undergrowth. I urged him to walk quickly as the excitement of seeing this masterpiece gripped me.

The undergrowth thinned as we moved on and then in a patch of open ground, under the bright sun, stood the statues. “Incredible,” escaped my lips, as I gazed at the figures of the seven maidens. While five figures were completely visible, the other two had only their torsi insight. I went around the figures. Strangely, the torso of one was stuck on the trunk of a tree and that of the other rested on the back of another statue. All the figures were painted in bright natural colours. Sculptures like this in the middle of a forest, I thought in awe. They, indeed, looked as if flesh and blood creatures were magically frozen in time.

I took out the cardboard, clipped a sheet on it, and began to sketch. The Caucasoid, patiently stood beside me for some time and then requested, “If it pleases your grace, would you care to hear about a belief that our people have about the Jason Sisters?” I nodded, and he rattled on. Though I did not listen, I knew what he was talking about.

The people here believed that long ago near this Forest, lived a family of seven sisters. They proudly traced their ancestry back to Jason, the man who had got the golden fleece. Once it had been raining for a fortnight, and the people were afraid that there would be a flood. A blind seer, who used to stay in this place, had told that in order to avoid the impending calamity the seven sisters must go together in the forest at night, and bring him seven pink roses before dawn. If the seven sisters, the seer had warned, could not return before dawn they would become statues. The sisters had never returned.

After completing my work, we were walking back to the carriage when my companion asked if I acceded to the belief of his people. “It’s conjectural,” I commented. He courteously remarked that the sisters had an uncanny custom of proving sceptics wrong. I smiled. Entering the coach, I saw seven pink roses scattered on the seat.


Photo By: Unsplash

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