On the Migration of Fables - Max Müller

On the Migration of Fables

By Max Müller

  • Release Date - Published: 2012-04-01
  • Book Genre: Fiction & Literature
  • Author: Max Müller
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On the Migration of Fables Max Müller read online review & book description:

Sanskrit literature is very rich in fables and stories; no other literature can vie with it in that respect; nay, it is extremely likely that fables, in particular animal fables, had their principal source in India. In the sacred literature of the Buddhists, fables held a most prominent place. The Buddhist preachers, addressing themselves chiefly to the people, to the untaught, the uncared for, the outcast, spoke to them, as we still speak to children, in fables, in proverbs and parables. Many of these fables and parables must have existed before the rise of the Buddhist religion; others, no doubt, were added on the spur of the moment, just as Sokrates would invent a myth or fable whenever that form of argument seemed to him most likely to impress and convince his hearers. But Buddhism gave a new and permanent sanction to this whole branch of moral mythology, and in the sacred canon, as it was settled in the third century before Christ, many a fable received, and holds to the present day, its recognized place. After the fall of Buddhism in India, and even during its decline, the Brahmans claimed the inheritance of their enemies, and used their popular fables for educational purposes. The best known of these collections of fables in Sanskrit is the Pankatantra, literally the Pentateuch, or Pentamerone. From it and from other sources another collection was made, well known to all Sanskrit scholars by the name of Hitopadesa, i.e., Salutary Advice. Both these books have been published in England and Germany, and there are translations of them in English, German, French, and other languages.

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