Back Cover Copy
LITERATURE / HINDUISM
FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1870, these witty and spirited legends established the literary foundations for the Arabian Nights. The tales first appeared in Sanskrit as the Baital‑Pachisi, a collection of Hindu stories told by the baital (a vampire or mischievous spirit). They center on the adventures of the great King Vikram--the King Arthur of the East--who has promised delivery of the vampire to a magician. Pulling the vampire out of a tree, Vikram stuffs him in a sack and sets off on his journey. But the loquacious baital has his own designs and proceeds to instruct the king with a series of tales of the deception, villainy, and folly of human beings. As revealing today as they were in their own time, these stories will entertain and delight modern readers while illuminating the life and customs of classical India. This reprint from the 1893 limited edition contains 34 black-and‑white illustrations, including the frontispiece designed especially for that edition.
Orientalist, prolific author, and traveler‑explorer, SIR RICHARD F. BURTON (1821-1890) was one of the most remarkable and controversial men of his century. He is famous as the translator of The 1001 Arabian Nights, the Kama Sutra, the Ananga‑Ranga, and the Perfumed Garden.