stories of this book are, for the most part, drawn
from the two great Indian epics, the Ramayana and
the Mahabharata. I have tried to tell them simply,
and to this end have rigidly kept down the number
of proper names, as experience tells me that the
popularity of Hawthorne's stories from the Greek
Classics is largely due to this characteristic. It is
also out of consideration for the youth of my readers
that I have omitted accents which mean less than
nothing to most ^o t^em, and have simplified the
proper names as much as possible. This is all part
of my plan for showing that these Oriental stories
have within them the same elements as those which
win our admiration in the tales of our own land
love of virtue and hatred of oppression, tenderness
towards children, women, and the aged, bravery
and resource in the face of danger, patience under
tribulation, and faith in the ultimate conquest of evil.
Readers of Sir Edwin Arnold's The Light of Asia
will recognise the source of the story to which I have
given the title of The Prince Wonderful. I hope that
I have in some small measure brought out the
wonderful spiritual meaning of that poem so far as
it can be apprehended by the readers for whom this
volume is intended. I am indebted to Miss F.
Richardson's The Iliad of the East (1870) for the
outline of the story which I have named The Great
Drought, and for other help in telling the story of
Rama. Other books from which I have drawn
material are Sir Edwin Arnold's Indian Idylls, Mr.
R. C. Dutt's translation into English verse of selected
portions of the Mahabharata, and Professor J. Camp-
bell Oman's summaries of the two great epics.
The story of Sakuntala is told from the English
prose translation of that drama of Kalidasa, the
"Shakespeare of India," by Charles Wilkins,
published at the request of Warren Hastings in 1785.