Enduring and profound, among the earliest and most popular of all books of fables
First recorded 1500 years ago, but taking its origins from a far earlier oral tradition, the Pancatantra
is ascribed by legend to the celebrated, half-mythical teacher Visnu Sarma. Asked by a great king to awaken the dulled intelligence of his three idle sons, the aging Sarma is said to have composed the great work as a series of entertaining and edifying fables narrated by a wide range of humans and animals, and together intended to provide the young princes with vital guidance for life. Since first leaving India before AD 570, the Pancatantra
has been widely translated and has influenced a cast number of works in India, the Arab world and Europe, including the Arabian Nights
, the Canterbury Tales
and the Fables
of La Fontaine.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.