Narayana: The Hitopadesa
Haksar, A. N. D
. Penguin Books India . New Delhi, India
PK3741.H6 E5 1998 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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See my comments on the Hitopadesa under the edition Animal Fables of India: Narayana's Hitopadesha or Friendly Counsel translated by Francis G. Hutchins (1985). The introduction here is good on the relationship to the Panchatantra. The four books here are Gaining Friends, Splitting Partners, War, and Peace. The frame stories here are skimpier than in the versions of Kalila and Dimna with which I am best acquainted. I again experienced the overwhelming retarding influence of the verse quotations. I was surprised at how misogynistic some of the texts are (e.g., Stanzas 114-122) and how graphic some of those and others are (e.g., Stanza 116). The bull here breaks a leg and is replaced at the beginning of the story of the friendship with the lion king. The bull is put in charge of the treasury (of meat?), and the jackals get less. There is a great deal of irony in this version, particularly in Bossy's (Dimna's) statements about some who gain favor by doing injury to the king (127). In this version, Bossy ends up victorious and happy. I am surprised at the number of stories I find here beyond those I know from either Kalila and Dimna or from the Panchatantra. One of the best is The Merchant's Bride (65), in which an unscrupulous ruler lusts after a young wife. He appoints her husband to a high position and commands him to bring young women to him night after night. He never touches a woman until the wife is brought…. Another is The Intrusive Ass (85) about an ass who wakes up his master because a burglary is going on; for this he receives a thrashing. The main character in The Woman with Two Lovers (112) cleverly gets one problem to solve the other. In The Swan and the Crow (146), a traveler is hosted by the title's pair of birds. When the sun comes up, the swan spreads his wings to give the guest shade. The traveler yawns, and the crow defecates into his mouth and flies off. The guest wakes up angry and shoots the swan. The main character in The Quick-Witted Wife (193), when caught kissing a servant, makes up a good story of smelling his mouth for the camphor he has allegedly been stealing. There is at the front of the book a detailed T of C listing all the stories. There are many typos in the book, e.g., minster (162, 224); their (192); off (194); and upto (196).