Gateway to the Classics: The Indian Story Book by Richard Wilson
The Indian Story Book by  Richard Wilson

Front Matter


The 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.


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