by Dr. Pragya Suman
Comic strips are now faded, but I still remember them. They colored the major bulk of my childhood. There were so many caricatures, Sayre, Rip Kirby, Flash Gorden, I read all, but the most favorite were Phantom and Mandrake. Those days many foreign comics were prevalent in India, and in the later era, many Indian comic heroes developed. An American Cartoonist, a writer Lee Folk, created those magical heroes whose effect is everlasting on little minds. Lee folk liked daydreaming in his school classroom and broke his boredom among stories of Marco Polo, Sherlock Holmes, Arsen Lupin, etc. He was especially fond of stage musicians and chose Hero of his first comic strip, a magician. He named it Mandrake. Mandrake, his friend Lothar and his wife Narda Lived in Xanadu, A house of many adventurous and magical implements. Zo -zo was their cook who appeared with witty gestures.
It is fascinating that Lee Folk choose the name Mandrake after reading a poem. John Donne was a 17th century English poet, he wrote a poem “Go and Catch a Falling Star.”
It is a moderate size poem, and in the first stanza, he mentions Mandrake.
Go and catch a falling star
BY JOHN DONNE
Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil’s foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy’s stinging,
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou be’st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou returnest, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
Lives a woman true, and fair.
If thou find’st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet;
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
False, ere I come, to two, or three.
Mandrake is a herb used both in ancient and modern times as naturopathy.
About the Author:
Dr. Pragya Suman is a doctor by profession and a writer by passion. Her poetries, reviews, and fiction have been published in more than fifty magazines and anthologies, like Beir Bua Journal, Rock pebbles pebbles Journal, 3 AM Magazine, Impspired magazine, Arcs prose poetry magazine, Full house literary Journal, flight of the Dragonfly, Indian Periodical Journal, The World of Myth Magazine, The Pine Cone Review, Bengaluru review, etc. She has achieved the certificate of appreciation from Gujarat Sahitya Academy, Indian Government. She won the Gideon poetry prize summer of 2020. Her debut book Lost Mother was published in 2020, and her second book Photonic Postcard is a collection of Prose Poems. In 2022, she won the poet of the year award, Ukiyoto Publishing, Ontario, for the book Photonic Postcard.
Dr. Pragya Suman is the founding editor of Arc Magazine.
She is currently a Senior Resident in the Shri Krishna Medical College, Muzaffarpur.