Most Loved Tales from Panchatantra and Timeless Tales from Panchatantra (cover: Great Tales from Panchatantra)
. Om Books International . Uttar Pradesh, India
PK3741.P3G74 2013 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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The cover proclaims Large Print. The early T of C shows that there are four stories here in the book's first part: The Jackal and the Drum, The Most Dangerous Animal, Two Snakes and the Princess, and The Donkey's Song. The second volume -- Timeless Tales from Panchatantra -- has six other stories. The Jackal and the Drum, some twenty pages long, is quite different here from the version I know from Ramsay Wood's Kalila and Dimna. The jackal in this version lives near a military camp. He gets into the camp and is hungry. As he is about to steal some food, there is a loud boom in the camp. He hides behind a tree for hours. When he finally comes out, he begins searching for food. Seeing the drum, he figures that it is where they store all their food. When this beast does not stir after he pokes its full belly, he strikes it so hard with a club that he breaks the skin and finds nothing inside. One might ask if he can do all this without waking the men in the camp. The Most Dangerous Animal is the traditional story about finding four creatures in a well and rescuing them. The rescuer in this case is a poor henpecked Brahmin. The creatures include a goldsmith, a tiger, an ape, and a snake. All thank their rescuer and invite him to call on them in the future. He calls on the monkey and is given food and on the tiger and is given jewels from a deceased prince. The Brahmin takes the jewels to the goldsmith, who asks him to wait while he goes off to sell the jewels to the king. Alas, the king recognizes the jewels as stolen from his son. The goldsmith then hands over the Brahmin. Desperate in his prison cell, the Brahmin calls on the snake. The snake poisons the queen, and only the Brahmin can save her. He does. The king believes the Brahmin and punishes the goldsmith, who is the most dangerous animal. The third story features a snake living in a prince's stomach. The Donkey's Song is about a washerman's donkey. In search of food at night, he teams up with a jackal, who is eager to show him where cucumbers grow. Night after night, the donkey eats and the jackal stands guard. Finally, the donkey wants to thank the jackal with a song. Admonished by the jackal not to sing, the donkey goes ahead. The awakened farmers beat the donkey and tie a stone around his neck. In the second volume, mice help free elephants who earlier have been considerate of the mice. Fox helps old horse fulfill his master's wish for a lion's skin by tricking the lion into being tied to what the lion thought was a dead horse. Three Fish has two unusual turns. The fish who plots to play dead does so by folding her body in an abnormal way. The young fish who waits too long and thus can make no getaway takes her own life. UP is next, told at some length. Some mischievous monkeys in cold weather see villagers warming themselves with red balls and collect berries and try to make a fire by blowing on them. When birds try to admonish them, the text has the monkeys driving them away. The illustration shows one dead or unconscious on the ground. Again in this story, the emphasis is on the monkeys' stupidity, not on the birds' meddling. The second volume closes with The Talking Cave, featuring a fox and a lion. Six volumes in this series present stories from the Panchatantra, as becomes clear on the last page of each of the two volumes here. To judge from this book, that may be three books each containing two volumes. The book is unusually heavy for its size.