Indians and known to be virtuous and very dedicated in their parenting. Many of these virtues are narrated in the form of stories and fables. Growing up, an Indian child is influenced by a rich collection of stories and mythological tales, which have its own moral significance.
This section covers the following tales and fables. Panchatantra is a legendary collection of short stories from India. Originally composed in the 2nd century B.C, Panchatantra is believed to be written by Vishnu Sharma along with many other scholars. These takes were written to implant moral values and governing skills in the young sons of the king.
The Jataka tales are part of the canon of sacred Buddhist literature, collection of some 550 anecdotes and fables. The Jataka stories, over millennia, have been seminal to the development of many civilisations, the cultivation of moral conduct and good behaviour, the growth of a rich and varied literature in diverse parts of the world and the inspiration for painting, sculpture (that can be found in ancient monasteries like the Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad) and architecture of enduring aesthetic value.
Vikram and Betal (the Vampire) or Baital Pachisi(“Twenty five tales of Baital”) is a collection of tales and legends from India. It was originally written in Sanskrit. Like Arabian Nights, it is a set of tales, within a frame story. Attributed to 8th-century Sanskrit sage Bhavabhuti, the legendary King Vikram, identified as Vikramaditya (c. 1st century BC), promises a vamachara (a tantric sorcerer) that he will capture a vetala (or Baital), a vampire spirit who hangs from a tree and inhabits and animates dead bodies. The condition is that the king should bring the vampire in complete silence, lest Betal, the vampire flies back with the corpse to its abode. However, it isn’t as easy because as soon as Vikram attempts to fetch the corpse (that Betal manifests), the vampire starts to narrate a story. And at the end of every story it compells king Vikram to solve the puzzle of the story, thus breaking his silence. The stories thus narrated by Betal forms an interesting series of fairy tales.
Stories of Akbar and Birbal are extremely popular in India. Akbar was an illiterate king who ruled the Mughal Empire between 1542 and 1605 and Birbal was one of the most learned people of his time, who was part of Akbar’s court. The several instances when Birbal uses his wit and intelligence to calm the ire of Emperor Akbar and amuse him at the same time, are told to children from a very early age. It used to be part of the oral tradition of storytelling, but in recent years these stories have been compiled into books by various authors.