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Hindu Tales from the Sanskrit   By: (1856-1925)

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Hindu Tales from the Sanskrit

Translated by

S. M. Mitra

Adapted by

Mrs. Arthur Bell

1919

INTRODUCTORY NOTE.

Thanks to Mr. S. M. Mitra, the well known Hindu psychologist and politician, who has done so much to draw more closely together the land of his birth and that of his adoption, I am able to bring within reach of English children a number of typical Hindu Tales, translated by him from the Sanskrit, some of them culled from the ancient classics of India, others from widely separated sources. The latter have hitherto been quite inaccessible to western students, as they are not yet embodied in literature, but have been transmitted orally from generation to generation for many centuries.

These tales are not only of a kind to enchain the attention of children. They also illustrate well the close affinity between the two chief branches of the great Aryan race, and are of considerable ethical value, reflecting, as they do, the philosophy of self realisation which lies at the root of Hindu culture. They have been used from time immemorial by the best teachers of India as a means of building up the personalities of the young and maintaining the efficiency of the adult. They serve in fact as text books of the unique system of Mind Training which has been in use in India from remote Vedic times, the root principle of which is as simple as it is effective.

Hindu children become familiar at their mothers' knees with these stories, and are trained to answer questions on them, subtly chosen to suit their ages and call into action their mental faculties. Appealing to them as an amusing game, in which they vie with each other in trying to solve the problems presented for their consideration, the boys and girls, who are educated together till they are ten or twelve years old, early learn to concentrate their attention; whilst the simultaneous development of all their powers is encouraged and they are, imperceptibly to themselves led to control their thoughts and emotions from within, instead of having to obey orders which they do not understand from without. They realize indeed, whilst still in the nursery, the ideal suggested by the sage Vidura in the Mahabharata: "Seek to know thyself by means of thyself, keeping thy mind, intellect and senses, under control; for self is thy friend as it is also thy foe."

Nancy Bell.

Southbourne on Sea, 1918.

CONTENTS.

1. The Magic Pitcher 2. The Story of a Cat, a Mouse, a Lizard and an Owl 3. A Royal Thief Catcher 4. The Magic Shoes and Staff 5. The Jewelled Arrow 6. The Beetle and the Silken Thread 7. A Crow and His Three Friends 8. A Clever Thief 9. The Hermit's Daughter

STORY I

The Magic Pitcher.

CHAPTER I

Long, long ago there lived far away in India a woodcutter called Subha Datta and his family, who were all very happy together. The father went every day to the forest near his home to get supplies of wood, which he sold to his neighbours, earning by that means quite enough to give his wife and children all that they needed. Sometimes he took his three boys with him, and now and then, as a special treat, his two little girls were allowed to trot along beside him. The boys longed to be allowed to chop wood for themselves, and their father told them that as soon as they were old enough he would give each of them a little axe of his own. The girls, he said, must be content with breaking off small twigs from the branches he cut down, for he did not wish them to chop their own fingers off. This will show you what a kind father he was, and you will be very sorry for him when you hear about his troubles.

All went well with Subha Datta for a long time. Each of the boys had his own little axe at last, and each of the girls had a little pair of scissors to cut off twigs; and very proud they all were when they brought some wood home to their mother to use in the house. One day, however, their father told them they could none of them come with him, for he meant to go a very long way into the forest, to see if he could find better wood there than nearer home... Continue reading book >>




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