Soils and national characters differ, but fairy tales are often the same in plot and incidents, if not in style. Most of the 27 tales in this volume of Indian fairy tales by Joseph Jacobs and illustrated by John D Batten are known in the West in some form or other; how can we account for their simultaneous existence in both Europe and Asia?

Some lorists have declared that India is the home of the fairy tale, and that all European fairy tales have been brought from thence by crusaders, Mongol missionaries, Gypsies, Jews, traders, and travellers. After all, India is on one branch of the fabled Silk and Spice Routes, over which Europeans and Asians have been travelling for several millennia. We should be prepared, within certain limits, to hold a brief for India. The common fairy stories of the children of Europe, which form a greater part of their stories as a whole, are derived from Indian tales. In particular, the majority of the Drolls, or comic tales and jingles, can be traced without much difficulty back to the Indian peninsula.

To assemble this volume, Jacobs has selected the best from the Jatakas, the Bidpai, the Tales of the Sun, the Baluchi folk-tales, and the folk-tales of Kashmir. In this volume we find stories about Punchkin, the evil magician, and the quaint myth: "How Sun, Moon, and Wind went out to Dinner", the magic fiddle, the broken pot, the tiger, the Brahman, the Jackal, and more. In short, Jacobs has made this book a representative collection of all the fairy tales of India. It is only a further proof that fairy tales are something more than Celtic or Hindoo—they are human. So curl up with a sliver of the Indian sub-continent and lose yourself in a culture and lifestyle of the ancient, Eastern past.

£3, or approx. NZ$6.40, of the publisher's profit from the sale of every copy of this book will be donated to to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal.

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Author's Bio: 

Joseph Jacobs was born in Australia, sixth surviving son of John Jacobs, a publican who had emigrated from London c.1837, and his wife Sarah, née Myers. Jacobs was educated at Sydney Grammar School and at the University of Sydney, where he won a scholarship for classics, mathematics and chemistry. He did not complete his studies in Sydney, but left for England at the age of 18 and entered St John's College, Cambridge. He graduated B.A. in 1876, and in 1877 studied at the University of Berlin. He was secretary of the Society of Hebrew Literature from 1878 to 1884, and in 1882 came into prominence as the writer of a series of articles in The Times on the persecution of Jews in Russia. This led to the formation of the mansion house fund and committee, of which Jacobs was secretary from 1882 to 1900.
Jacobs settled permanently in the United States. He wrote many articles for the Jewish Encyclopaedia and dies in 1916.
Abela Publishing has been established by John Halsted as a social enterprise. By this we mean we exist to raise funds for charities. We publish new and old childrens stories, fairy tales, folklore, myths and legends and donate 33% of our profits to charities around the world.

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