The Night of the Glowing Sembar by Jethro Buck

I bought a book called ‘The Night Life of Trees’. It’s a book full of intricate silk screen prints made by Ram Singh Urveti, Bhajju Shyam and Durga Bai of the Gond tribe in central India. Each print is accompanied by a story.

Here is one of those stories:

The Night of the Glowing Sembar

In the rainy month of July. A cowherd was looking for a lost cow along the edge of the forest. The evening grew darker, and there was no sign of the cow anywhere. The cowherd became anxious, and the little calf with him cried for her mother.

Together, they wandered into the forest calling out for the cow and soon they lost their way. Night fell fast and the black clouds gathering in the sky confused the cowherd.He could do nothing but weep with the calf.

A firefly saw the scene and felt pity for the two lost creatures. "Follow me," he called to them. "I think I can lead you to what you seek"

And so the two walked through the dark forest, led by the lone blinking light.

And all of a sudden, the cowherd saw a strange vision ahead of him. It was a Sembar tree, shining like a jewel in the blackness.

On every leaf, on every branch, sat a firefly. And under the tree, Bathed in the glow, was the lost cow.

So to this day, we know that good spirits live in the Sembar tree, and to this day the cowherd and the firefly are friends. And if you happen to be lost in the forest, you should find your way to the protecting Sembar, glowing like gold in the night

From the 'Night Life of Trees', Tara Books

Here is my painting of the moment of relief when the cow is seen safe and sound under the tree.

Click to select the cover image for this artwork.
Dimensions (h/w/d): 15 10 (37 25)