back to home page
  back to fables page
back to fables
The Panchatantram

From the Panchatantram:

The Three Fishes

The Indigo Jackal

The Monkey and the

The Talkative Turtle

back to fables page

The Panchatantram is one of the earliest collections of fables, written in India more than two thousand five hundred years ago. It is known in Europe as the Fables of Bidpai. Some of the tales in it can be traced as far back as 1500 BC to the ancient Sanskrit text, the Rig Veda.

The original Panchatantram is in Sanskrit, and has been written in a mixture of prose and verse. The introduction attributes the work to Vishnu Sharma, a learned Brahmin, who used these tales to teach the art of kingship and worldly wisdom to the three dull-witted sons of a king. The work is divided into five parts (hence the name: pancha: five and tantram: parts), each part dealing with a particular aspect of life and living. Through each part runs a 'main' story, which contains within it the shorter tales. The introduction acts as an enclosing frame for the entire work.

Travellers carried the stories to Persia, Arabia, and in the 11th century AD to Greece and thence to the rest of Europe. Traces of these stories can be found in the fables of La Fontaine, and in the fairy tales of Grimm. The stories also travelled to Indonesia in both oral and written forms. In India these stories are still told to children by their parents and grandparents.


Some fables from the Panchatantram:

The Three Fishes   |   The Indigo Jackal   |   The Monkey and the Crocodile   |   The Talkative Turtle


Share on Twitter

fables   folktales   fairytales   myths   festival stories   tales from history   classics retold   science fiction and fantasy   stories behind great discoveries   tales behind nursery rhymes   puzzles   short stories by Rohini Chowdhury   blog archives from Around the Fireplace by Rohini Chowdhury   reviews of children's books   writers' biographies   other writings by Rohini Chowdhury   books by Rohini Chowdhury  

to, stories for children


To contact us, mail to:
Last updated: April 2010. Copyright © Rohini Chowdhury 2002. All rights reserved.

back to pomegranatepips