Baital Pachisi  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Baital Pachisi or Vetala Panchvimshati ("Twenty five tales of Baital") or Vikram and The Vampire is a collection of tales and legends from India. It was originally written in Sanskrit. Like Arabian Nights, it is a set of tales, within a frame story. It concerns an encounter between King Vikramāditya and a Vetala, an early mythical creature resembling a vampire.

According to Isabel Burton, the Baital Pachisi "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".

From the 1870 preface by Burton

"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." M. Deriege seems indeed to confound them with the "Moeurs du Temps" illustrated with artistic gouaches, when he says, "une de ces fables milesiennes, rehaussees de peintures, que la corruption romaine recherchait alors avec une folle ardeur." --Sir Richard Burton




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Baital Pachisi" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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