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Vikram and the Vampire; Classic Hindu Tales of Adventure, Magic, and Romance   By: (1821-1890)

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Captain Sir Richard F. Burton's Vikram and The Vampire Classic Hindu Tales of Adventure, Magic, and Romance Edited by his Wife Isabel Burton "Les fables, loin de grandir les hommes, la Nature et Dieu, rapetssent tout." Lamartine (Milton) "One who had eyes saw it; the blind will not understand it. A poet, who is a boy, he has perceived it; he who understands it will be his sire's sire." Rig Veda (I.164.16).


Preface Preface to the First (1870) Edition Introduction

THE VAMPIRE'S FIRST STORY. In which a Man deceives a Woman

THE VAMPIRE'S SECOND STORY. Of the Relative Villany of Men and Woman

THE VAMPIRE'S THIRD STORY. Of a High minded Family

THE VAMPIRE'S FOURTH STORY. Of a Woman who told the Truth

THE VAMPIRE'S FIFTH STORY. Of the Thief who Laughed and Wept

THE VAMPIRE'S SIXTH STORY. In which Three Men dispute about a Woman

THE VAMPIRE'S SEVENTH STORY. Showng the exceeding Folly of many wise Fools

THE VAMPIRE'S EIGHTH STORY. Of the Use and Misuse of Magic Pills

THE VAMPIRE'S NINTH STORY. Showing that a Man's Wife belongs not to his body but to his Head

THE VAMPIRE'S TENTH STORY. Of the Marvellous Delicacy of Three Queens

THE VAMPIRE'S ELEVENTH STORY. Which puzzles Raja Vikram



The Baital Pachisi, or Twenty five Tales of a Baital is the history of a huge Bat, Vampire, or Evil Spirit which inhabited and animated dead bodies. It is an old, and thoroughly Hindu, Legend composed in Sanskrit, and is the germ which culminated in the Arabian Nights, and which inspired the "Golden Ass" of Apuleius, Boccacio's "Decamerone," the "Pentamerone," and all that class of facetious fictitious literature.

The story turns chiefly on a great king named Vikram, the King Arthur of the East, who in pursuance of his promise to a Jogi or Magician, brings to him the Baital (Vampire), who is hanging on a tree. The difficulties King Vikram and his son have in bringing the Vampire into the presence of the Jogi are truly laughable; and on this thread is strung a series of Hindu fairy stories, which contain much interesting information on Indian customs and manners. It also alludes to that state, which induces Hindu devotees to allow themselves to be buried alive, and to appear dead for weeks or months, and then to return to life again; a curious state of mesmeric catalepsy, into which they work themselves by concentrating the mind and abstaining from food a specimen of which I have given a practical illustration in the Life of Sir Richard Burton.

The following translation is rendered peculiarly; valuable and interesting by Sir Richard Burton's intimate knowledge of the language. To all who understand the ways of the East, it is as witty, and as full of what is popularly called "chaff" as it is possible to be. There is not a dull page in it, and it will especially please those who delight in the weird and supernatural, the grotesque, and the wild life.

My husband only gives eleven of the best tales, as it was thought the translation would prove more interesting in its abbreviated form.


August 18th, 1893.


"THE genius of Eastern nations," says an established and respectable authority, "was, from the earliest times, much turned towards invention and the love of fiction. The Indians, the Persians, and the Arabians, were all famous for their fables. Amongst the ancient Greeks we hear of the Ionian and Milesian tales, but they have now perished, and, from every account we hear of them, appear to have been loose and indelicate." Similarly, the classical dictionaries define "Milesiae fabulae" to be "licentious themes," "stories of an amatory or mirthful nature," or "ludicrous and indecent plays... Continue reading book >>

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