| More Jataka Tales|
|by Ellen C. Babbitt|
|Twenty-one more fables from the Jataka tradition of India, compiled at the request of children captivated by the charm of the stories in Jataka Tales, retold by the same author and illustrated by the same artist. Ages 7-10 |
The continued success of the “Jataka Tales," as retold and
published ten years ago, has led to this second and
companion volume. Who that has read or told stories to
children has not been lured on by the subtle flattery of
their cry for "more"?
Dr. Felix Adler, in his Foreword to "Jataka Tales," says
that long ago he was "captivated by the charm of the Jataka
Tales." Little children have not only felt this charm, but
they have discovered that they can read the stories to
themselves. And so "More Jataka Tales" were found in the
volume translated from the Sanskrit into English by a group
of Cambridge scholars and published by the University Press.
The Jataka tales, regarded as historic in the Third Century
B. C., are the oldest collection of folk-lore extant. They
come down to us from that dim far-off time when our
forebears told tales around the same hearthfire on the roof
of the world. Professor Rhys Davids speaks of them as “a
priceless record of the childhood of our race. The same
stories are found in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Persian, and in
most European languages. The Greek versions of the Jataka
tales were adapted and ascribed to the famous storyteller,
Aesop, and under his name handed down as a continual feast
for the children in the West, — tales first invented to
please and instruct our far-off cousins in the East." Here
East, though East, meets West!
A "Guild of Jataka Translators," under Professor E. B.
Cowell, professor of Sanskrit in the University of
Cambridge, brought out the complete edition of the Jataka
between 1895 and 1907. It is from this source that "Jataka
Tales" and "More Jataka Tales" have been retold.
Of these stories, spread over Europe through literary
channels, Professor Cowell says, "They are the stray waifs
of literature, in the course of their long wanderings coming
to be recognized under widely different aspects, as when
they are used by Boccaccio, or Chaucer, or La Fontaine."
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics