Kaliya, king of ancient India’s serpent people, crosses the gods and must leave. He takes his serpentine wives and offspring and relocates to the pristine Yamuna River, which flows by young Krishna’s village of Vrindavan. The serpent king’s venom poisons the river. Birds fall lifeless to the ground, trees and vegetation dry up, and the lives of the villagers are in danger. Although only a child, Krishna has sworn to protect the environment and safeguard the many animals and people who depend on the river for their existence. Whether one views Krishna as a divine being or as a mischievous child, his respect for nature is exemplary.
This tale from India’s ancient Sanskrit wisdom texts transcends its moment in remote history to deliver a message as relevant as today’s news. Artist Patrick Wire’s luminous illustrations recall the vibrant palette of Maxfield Parrish and complement author Joshua Greene’s lyrical retelling of this classic story.