Myth-Folklore Unit: Bidpai

Overview. The collection of stories known as the Fables of Bidpai is one of the many descendants of the ancient Indian Panchatantra, with "Bidpai" being the name of a storyteller who, like Aesop, was famous for his tales of wit and wisdom. Bidpai is not well known today, but he was quite famous in early modern Europe, and many of the Bidpai stories made their way into the French fables of La Fontaine in the 17th century. In this reading unit, you will be using a modern English translation of the fables of Bidpai by Maude Dutton: The Tortoise and the Geese and Other Fables of Bidpai. Dutton's version eliminates the Panchatantra frametale in order to focus on the stories themselves, and she includes all the most famous Bidpai stories here, such as the tale of the rats who could eat iron, the flying tortoise who was unable to keep his mouth shut, the gardener who foolishly made friends with a bear, and many more.

Language. This is a modern English version of the stories intended for a young audience, so the language used should pose no problems at all.

Story Length. This unit contains only single-page stories, and some pages contain several very short stories.

Choosing Between Units. If you are not sure which of the two Panchatantra units to choose — Ryder's Panchatantra of the Tales of Bidpai — the main factor to consider is literary style. Ryder's Panchatantra conveys the story-within-a-story-within-a-story style of the original Sanskrit Panchatantra, while the Tales of Bidpai unit tells the stories individually, without the literary frametale.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on two pages total: Bidpai. Click "Older Posts" at the bottom of that page to see the second page.

  1. Introduction
  2. The Rustic and the Nightingale
  3. The King, the Falcon, and the Drinking-Cup
  4. The Two Travelers
  5. Poor Man, Rich Man, Young Man
  6. The Merchant and His Iron
  7. Gardener, Farmer, Tyrant
  8. The King, the Hermit, and the Two Princes
  9. Three Stories about Apes
  10. The Ass, the Lion, and the Fox
  11. Three Stories about Foxes
  1. The Hare, the Fox, and the Wolf
  2. Three Stories about Snakes
  3. The Camel Driver and the Adder
  4. Two Tortoise Stories
  5. The Crane and the Crab
  6. The Lean Cat and the Fat Cat
  7. Three Stories about Birds
  8. The Partridge and the Hawk
  9. The Crow, the Jackal, the Wolf, and the Camel
  10. The Three Fish
  11. The Lion and the Hare

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