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Folklore Books from Nepal, Tibet,
the Himalayas and India
from Pilgrims Publishing, Varanasi, India and Pilgrims Book House, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Click here for books on:

Asian Folklore
Burmese Folklore
Indian Folklore
Nepalese Folklore
Tibetan Folklore

*** Asian Folklore ***

Folk Tales from the Far East

Retold by Charles H Meeker

Folk stories, myths and tales of old have always existed in many different cultures. Each of these folktales from the Far East tells a different story; each brings a moral tale to life and gives a short lesson to be learnt.

There are beast fables, in which animals speak and otherwise act as men in order to drive home the prospect of morality or wordly wisdom. "Suddenly a door opened from the side of the great trunk and a beautiful wood fairy came out..'Sahib' began the fairy ' I see you like stores, do you like riddles too?'..."

You will adore these stories and riddles from India and the Far East, exquisitely retold and delightfully illustrated. Through humour and satire, each story can suggest a deeper meaning for the more perceptive.

So read on and be amused by these tales and riddles from another world!

Paperback. 152 pages. B&W drawings.
Pilgrims Folk Tales Series.
Weight: 300 g (10.5 oz).
Item No: 8177691171.
Price: $US 3.00. . Convert Currency



Shadow Forms: A Collection of Occult Stories

by Manly P Hall.

Haunted by the shadows in our mind tales of the occult feed upon these deep recesses incessantly. They Conjure up the devils of our own sub-conscious to haunt us during our waking moments. The inexplicable and the horrific have as always confounded the simplicity that is man. Call if warped imagination; morbid fear in the mind or just ghastly nightmares; the power of the occult and horror stories have entranced people since man first walked the earth. Long ago the demons of the night in dark forests, in empty deserts and in brooding canyons, haunted man in his darkest hour. Today in the long dark shadows lurk unseen shapes and destructive ghostly vibrations. Is this some unknown power, or the forces within our minds, that dare to creep into our conscious state?

Shadow Forms is a collection of stories from around the world, mostly from the East, which have been passed down through the ages by word of mouth and coalesced into both fancy and morality. Each story will surprise you and provoke your thoughts perhaps casting its own shadow form on your mind.

The author, Manly Hall, is also well known for this more serious works on esoteric subjects and has written several books, which delve into the world of the occult. Through this collection of tales he successfully represents the shadow world of the occult.

Paperback. 75 pages.
Pilgrims Folk Tales Series.
Weight: 200 g (7 oz).
Item No: 8177691198.
Price: $US 1.50. . Convert Currency


*** Burmese Folklore ***

Burmese Folk Tales

by Htin Aung.

The village storyteller in Burma considered a tale as a tale and no more, and would not distinguish or classify the stories that he told.

But actually tales told in Burmese villages could be divided into three categories: (i) folktales; (ii) folk legends; and (iii) jatakas (or Buddhist birth tales).

This collection of Burmese folktales is highly coloured and exotic. The stories illustrate universal human truths. The atmosphere of these is the same kind as their European counterparts. Some of the tales are highly significant in courts of law and often contain pointers as to how certain situations should be dealt with. They form the foundation of many decisions taken in courts of law.

Paperback. 235 pages.
Pilgrims Folk Tales Series.
Weight: 400 g (14 oz).
Item No: 8177691147.
Price: $US 4.50. . Convert Currency


*** Indian Folklore ***

Ancient Indian Tales

Edited by C N Burchett

India is a land of age-old traditions and storytelling is very deeply rooted in its popular culture. Till the recent introduction of television throughout the country, storytelling remained a significant means of amusement in which both young and old participated with zeal. Even now some of the most popular television serials are based upon stories and legends of mythical heroes.

The anthology of tales in this volume deals with love and philosophy, adventure as well as morality and religion. They cover the whole spectrum of India's great spiritual heritage. These stories have the native purity of folk art and are yet shaped with rare sophistication.

Readers will find selections from the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Puranas, Subandhu's Vasavadatta, Bana's Kadambari and Harshacharita, not to mention Dandin's Tales of Ten Princes (Dasakumaracharita), and finally the work of the 11th century Kashmiri poet, Soma Deva's The Ocean of Streams of Story (Katha Sarit Sagar).

Paperback. 343 pages.
Pilgrims Folk Tales Series.
Weight: 500 g (17.5 oz).
Item No: 8177691201.
Price: $US 7.00. . Convert Currency


Animal Fables of India: Narayana's Hitopadesha, or Friendly Counsel

by Francis G Hutchins. Illustrated by A Ramachandran.

The Hitopadesha (or Friendly Counsel) is a wonderful rendering of India's animal fables. These fables were originally written in order to instruct young Indian princes in their duties as rulers.
The fables here involve characters from the animal world who think, speak and act like human beings. Each fable involves traits like love, hate, envy or jealousy and has a moral or philosophical theme which retains its appeal to the present day. The book gives us an insight into human nature, shows us how to choose our friends and how to meet life's obstacles wisely, and how to live a life of peace and harmony in an imperfect world.
Adults and children will both enjoy these ancient but timeless tales.

Paperback. 269 pages. B&W illustrations.
Weight: 395 g (13.8 oz).
Item No: 81-7303-130-4.
Price: $US 7.75. . Convert Currency


The Baital Pachisi: Twenty Five Ghost Stories

Retold by Captain W Hollings

These immortal tales of chivalry and skullduggery, wisdom and foolishness, honesty and deceit, are about Baital, a mythical wraith-like figure, credited with supernatural powers, and King Vikramaditya whose wisdom is matched only by King Solomon of the Biblical fame.

This wise yet evil spirit which hangs upside down in a tree, challenges Vikramaditya to hold his silence while he narrates his tales and then asks for the king's opinion as to the morality of the characters. The minute the king answers, the spirit files away once more to his place in the tree, forcing the king to clamber up and drag him down again.

Thus we are entertained and at the same time discover:
-- what strange deeds have been done
-- what beautiful princesses and handsome princes have searched far and wide to fine their true loves
-- what wicked men have woven complex tales of deceit and confusion
-- what devotees and yogis have proclaimed moral truth and sought to define the nature of humankind.

The Baital Pachisi is written as a series of simple stories. Each story has a moral and a philosophical theme, which has stood the test of time and is relevant to modern times. For those interested in the ancient sayings, riddles, fables and stores of India, these short tales will prove highly entertaining and instructive.

Paperback. 105 pages.
Pilgrims Folk Tales Series.
Weight: 250 g (8.8 oz).
Item No: 8177691163.
Price: $US 2.50. . Convert Currency


Indian Fairy Stories

Selected and retold by Donald A Mackenzie.

This book is an anthology of some of the best stories ever produced on the Indian subcontinent.

The stories here are presented in a style that all ages can appreciate and understand and they will enlighten and entertain readers who wish to go back and remember things as they were. They are stories of speaking animals, fairies and beasts, of princes and princesses, of love, happiness and sometimes extreme sorrow.

They teach us to have a moral code acceptable not only to man but also to nature. They also reveal to us the Indian way of life, and give us glimpses of the true Indian character.

Paperback. 110 pages. B&W illustrations.
Pilgrims Folk Tales Series.
Weight: 250 g (8.8 oz).
Item No: 817769121X.
Price: $US 2.50. . Convert Currency



Indian Fairy Tales

Selected and edited by Joseph Jacobs.

Indian Fairy Tales is an exciting and entertaining collection of stories, full of the colour and enchantment of India.

These stories have a universal appeal. There are often striking similarities between Indian tales and the tales of European myth and legend, with the Indian fairy tale characters often having close counterparts in Western traditional tales.

Specially selected and retold to offer the best of India, the stories in Indian Fairy Tales speak of snow-capped mountains, meandering rivers, the ocean, the blue heavens, the exquisite flora and fauna, and characters from paupers to princes.

The tales of courage and sacrifice, love and adventure, magic and death, offer both spellbinding entertainment as well as answers to fundamental questions of life.

This enchanting book will be treasured not only by children who enjoy reading of adventure and heroism, but also by parents and educators looking for new ways to respond to the age-old request to "Tell Me a Story".

Paperback. 255 pages. B&W drawings.
Pilgrims Folk Tales Series.
Weight: 450 g (15.8 oz).
Item No: 817769006X.
Price: $US 5.00. . Convert Currency


Jataka Tales: Birth Stories of Buddha

Selected and told by Ethel Beswisk

The Jataka Tales were told by the Buddha during the forty years following his enlightenment. Today, 2,500 years after his death, they are still remembered and cherished by readers of all ages. The 35 stories here are mostly about animals and the former lives of Buddha. They exemplify Buddhist ethics and his belief that action and character of the present have their source in the past. The book is a fascinating introduction to Indian thought and to the ways Buddhist values apply to the present-day world.

Paperback. 115 pages.
Weight: 105 g (3.7 oz).
Item No: 81-7303-173-8.
Price: $US 2.50. . Convert Currency



More Jataka Tales

Selected and retold by Ellen C Babbitt

A selection of Jataka tales in the classic translation by Ellen C Babbitt.

The Monkey and the Crocodile
How the Turtle Saved His Own Life
The Merchant of Seri
The Turtle Who Could n't Stop Talking
The Ox Who Won the Forfeit
The Sandy Road
The Quarrel of the Quails
The Measure of Rice
The Foolish, Timid Rabbit
The Wise and Foolish Merchant
The Elephant Girly-face
The Banyan Deer
The Princes and the Water-Sprite
The King's White Elephant
The Ox Who Never Envied the Pig
Grannie's Blackie
The Crab and the Crane
Why the Owl Is Not King of the Birds

Paperback. 61 pages. B&W drawings.
Pilgrims Folk Tales Series.
Weight: 200 g (7 oz).
Item No: 8177691139.
Price: $US 1.50. . Convert Currency


Simla Village Tales: Folktales from the Himalayas

Selected and retold by Alice Elizabeth Dracott.

One cannot sojourn for long in the East without hearing strange stories, all of which are vouched for by the natives. Most would make one's blood run cold, but they are irresistibly fascinating.

Filled with pathos but almost always showing that every cloud has its silver lining, these tales carry the reader into the mythical past that was India. The majority of these tales have the raw transparency of folk art, whilst others are fashioned with uncommon sophistication.

Many of the stories have been passed down by word of mouth. Long before the radio and television ever existed, people spent hours around fires telling stories for entertainment.

First published in 1906, Simla Village Tales captivates and preserves some of the old folk tales of a long gone era. This new version of these same stories will show that little of their underlying meaning and significance has changed.

Paperback. 146 pages. B&W drawings.
Pilgrims Folk Tales Series.
Weight: 300 g (10.5 oz).
Item No: 817769118X.
Price: $US 3.00. . Convert Currency


The Tota Kahani Parrot Tales: Translated from Saiyid Haidar Bakhsh's Hindustani Version of Muhammad Kadiri's Persian Abridgement of Nakhshabi's Tuti Nama

Translated by George Small

Tales of mystic places and mysterious people pervade the pages of this book -- to fascinate,, educate and fill our hearts with pleasurable emotions.

Tales of princes and princesses, their clandestine lovers, tales of greed and jealousy, are all eloquently told. Steeped in ancient history and culture, they open up new vistas to brighten up this seemingly drab and dull world of ours.

Many of these tales are simple and easily understood, whilst others are more sophisticated and carry a hidden and deeper message for the reader.

Taken originally from a Sanskrit collection, this version of these particular tales were first translated and adapted into Persian and then re-translated into Hindustani.

Their present form thus provides us with a great blend of many cultures and beliefs. All, however, helpt the reader understand and take delight in one of the most fascinating of ancient civilisations.

Paperback. 152 pages.
Pilgrims Folk Tales Series.
Weight: 200 g (7 oz).
Item No: 8177691155.
Price: $US 3.00. . Convert Currency


Twenty Jataka Tales

Retold by Princess Noor Inayat Khan

This collection of of Jataka tales (animal stories originally told by the Buddha) tell gentle stories of animal kindness and sacrifice, which will appeal to both children and adults alike.

Twenty Jataka Tales are here retold by Princess Noor Inayat Khan, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Tipu Sultan, the Indian Muslim ruler who died fighting the British in the eighteenth century. Born in Russia in 1914, she later lived in England and later France. She studied music and medicine, and became a writer of children's stories. During World War II she died fighting the Germans in occupied France.

Paperback. 70 pages. B&W drawings. First published in 1939.
Pilgrims Folk Tales Series.
Weight: 200 g (7 oz).
Item No: 8177691120.
Price: $US 2.00. . Convert Currency


*** Nepalese Folklore ***

The Golden Umbrella: Nepalese Folktales

Compiled by Eva Kipp, Hem Rai, Dilip Sapkota, Rajendra Bajracharya and Parmeswari Shrestha

The Golden Umbrella is like a multicoloured lantern. The folktales included in this collection cover almost the entire spectrum of human emotions and situations. Some of them have the mellow fragrance of love, while some others reek of hatred and jealousy. Some tales have ghosts and apparitions as their main characters, while in some others one will find people indulging in cannibalism.
All the tales have been picked up from small villages. They express various aspects of country life, offer an insight into the complexities of the human mind and provide a panoramic view of the cultural and social life of Nepali villages. Also reflected in them are many local lifestyles, activities, beliefs, feelings, superstitions, customs and inhibitions, as well as a deep faith in the supernatural.
The Golden Umbrella has everything: love and revenge, miracles and magic, infidelity and betrayal, greed and magnanimity, you name it!

Paperback. 77 pages. B&W drawings.
Weight: 140 g (4.9 oz).
Item No: 81-7303-162-2.
Price: $US 2.50. . Convert Currency


Limbu Folklore: A Collection of Oral Folklore from the Limbu People of Northeast Nepal

by Melanie Pappadis

Limbu Folklore is a firsthand study of the traditions and culture of one of the many ethnic groups that constitute the Nepali nation. This survey traces the origins and gradual development of these people within the framework of the greater Nepalese nation.

Working closely with Nepali scholars the author visited and lived with the Limbu people over an extended period. She has enjoyed their hospitality and observed them at work and play. Her study is a candid compilation of their complicated folklore, delving deep into their socio-religious activities. Through this study she has been able to discover their history, traditional lifestyle, eating habits, religious beliefs, social traits, and close association with their adopted habitat. It also shows the inner aspects of the life of the Limbu people and how these have remained undisturbed over the years, allowing them to maintain their individual identity within the whole gamut of cultures that have become mixed together in the collage of what we now know as Nepal.

The author, Melanie Pappadis, studied with the School for International Training in Nepal in 1993 and completed her Independent Research Project: to collect and translate Limbu oral folklore. She later moved to Cuenca, Ecuador, where she spent time teaching English. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, she is currently living and teaching in New York City where she obtained her MFA in Creative Writing from the New School. She has completed her first novel and is continuing to work on translation projects.

Paperback. 97 pages. Colour photographs.
Weight: 200 g (7 oz).
Item No: 8177691899.
Price: $US 6.00. . Convert Currency


Lore and Legend of Nepal

by Kesar Lall

Giants and demons, Bungadeo, the God of Mercy, and Bandhu Achaju, the Tantric Master, feature in thirty-one traditional folktales from Nepal.  Entertaining and illuminating reading. 
Several of these stories confirm the old theory of the German orientalist Max Muller about the migration of tales from country to country.  The Adivasis of Bihar can find at least half a dozen of them retold with changes of names and places.  A couple of them are variations of stories found in distant Vietnam. 
A few of the stories belong to the reigns of particular kings of Nepal and as such can be dated.  Almost all of them illuminate some aspects of life in and around Kathmandu.
"Even people with sophisticated tastes will enjoy these tales" - The Times of India

Paperback. 73 pages.  B&W illustrations.
Weight: 130 g (4.6 oz).
Item No: N000005015. 
Price: $US2.75.  . Convert Currency


Nindra Maya

Retold by Eva Kipp

Nindra Maya is the story of an orphan's journey from poverty to princedom. It is replete with interesting happenings - kings and queens transforming themselves into birds; palaces vanishing into thin air; and birds coming to the rescue of men. The romantic ambience of the tale will certainly captivate the hearts of children of different age groups. Nindra Maya is one of the most popular folktales from Nepal.

Paperback. 13 pages. Colour paintings. Nepali and English text. 21 x 27 cm.
Weight: 70 g (2.5 oz).
Item No: 81-7303-171-1.
Price: $US 1.50. . Convert Currency



Real Love

by Eva Kipp

Folktales always fascinate children, irrespective of the country they belong to. They stir their imagination and enable them to establish a relationship with nature and the animal world. Real Love is a memorable story from the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal. It is a tragicomic account of affection, jealousy, separation and reunion, and has the genuine fragrance of a folktale narrated with a great deal of tenderness. Its lucid style and simplicity of tone will have an immediate appeal for children of all ages.

Paperback. 24 pages. Colour paintings.
Weight: 70 g (2.5 oz).
Item No: 81-7303-164-9.
Price: $US 1.35. . Convert Currency


Real Love; followed by: Helpers of Madhukar and Nindra Maya (Small Format)

by Eva Kipp

These three folktales retold by Eva Kipp are among the most beautiful folktales of Nepal. They have romance, suspense, intrigue, separation, reunion - all the ingredients of fascinating folktales that will captivate the hearts of children everywhere.

Hardback. 30 pages. Colour paintings.
Weight: 150 g (5.3 oz).
Item No: 81-7303-158-4.
Price: $US 5.10. . Convert Currency


Tales of Old Bhaktapur

by Jim Goodman

Tales of princes, gods, fierce demons and stupid tigers, merchants and farmers, rich folk and poor, lucky younger brothers and rewarded devotees, giant serpents and flying horses. Full of striking imagery, pathos, humour, irony, fantasy and romance, these tales represent the cream of Bhaktapur's oral narrative tradition.
The stories contained in this volume were collected by the author in the autumn and winter of 1982-83 during his first visit to the unique and fascinating town, an old urban settlement in Nepal. Charmed by the brick streets, the traditional buildings and temples, and the way of daily life of Bhaktapur, the author returned to this unique town often to explore, to observe, to photograph and to listen to folks who talked about their city, its people, culture and history.

Paperback. 72 pages.
Weight: 120 g (4.2 oz).
Item No: N000005191.
Price: $US4.00. . Convert Currency


*** Tibetan Folklore ***

Beauty of High Hills: Tales of the Turquoise

by Barbara Bingley

Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet, these are the lands of fairy forests, strange and beautiful lands inhabited by kindly talkative folk who will on occasion tell a traveller of the miraculous. These stories all recount the prowess of the Lord Buddha, who, when he rose from his Lotus Throne in the mountains beyond the Shali, came to the lands of the Thunderbolt in order to subdue the evil who dwelt there.
These are the nursery tales of the Land of Snow. They have been repeated again and again by innumerable story tellers, each of whom presented them in his own fashion. In this little book Barbara Bingley has sought not so much to retell old tales as to recount the manner in which she heard them, and thereby reveal something of the spirit of the mountain people who possessed both the simplicity of children and the grave wisdom of ancient sages.

Paperback. 82 pages. B&W wood engravings.
Weight: 140 g (4.9 oz).
Item No: 81-7624-046-X.
Price: $US 2.95. . Convert Currency



Folk Tales from Tibet

Compiled by Capt. W F O'Connor.

Folk Tales from Tibet is a collection of some of the most exquisite stories from Tibet recorded by Captain W F O'Connor. These tales were collected during his tenure as secretary and interpreter with the Lhasa Mission of 1904 -- a time when the western world knew little or nothing about this mystical and exotic country.

Hidden high up in the trans-Himalayan Plateau, Tibet separates two of the most ancient cultures, namely China and India. Both have played a big part in its development. The introduction of Buddhism from India changed the life styles and beliefs of the Tibetan people and helped them to develop into a highly conscious Buddhist society. Still its Bon Po origins and traditions are evident in the Buddhist way of life. This is clearly reflected in the psyche of the Tibetan peoples. It is also evident whilst reading these stories.

Carefully selected, the stories in Folk Tales from Tibet give a complete picture of the life and styles of the Tibetan peoples of the times. Like all folk tales they are very representative of the cultures that they attempt to portray. Even though most of the tales according to the author find their origins in both India and China, they have been moulded by time to be representative of the Tibetan culture as well. With the addition of some Tibetan love songs and poetry this volume provides excellent reading for all.

Paperback. 176 pages. Colour illustrations.
Pilgrims Folk Tales Series.
Weight: 400 g (14 oz).
Item No: 817769202X.
Price: $US 4.00. . Convert Currency


Gessar Khan: A Legend of Tibet

Retold by Ida Zeitlen. Illustrated by Thoedore Nadejen.

This is a tale of Gessar Khan, a legendary folk hero of Tibetan or Mongolian origin, whose story was passed down by word of mouth until in Beijing in 1716 it was published in the Mongolian language. Later it was translated into Russian, and from there into German and finally into English.

"The epic of Gessar of Ling has been described as the Iliad of Central Asia. The hero is a deified warrior king who, with his magic weapons and riding on his winged horse, triumphs over the forces of evil and injustice. Many of the stories and points involve demons, spells and magic creations but, like many of the Greek myths, it is thought that they have some basis in historical fact. Originally orally transmitted, later some of the stories were written down and grouped in a subject order." - John Whelpton, Tibet (Clio Press)

Hardback. 203 pages. Chocolate and ochre linocut illustrations.
Weight: 700 g (24.5 oz).
Item No: 81-7624-008-7.
Price: $US 20.50. . Convert Currency


Paperback. 203 pages. Chocolate and ochre linocut illustrations.
Weight: 350 g (12.3 oz).
Item No: 8177690841.
Price: $US 11.75. . Convert Currency


Tibetan Folk Tales

Collected and retold by A L Shelton

Tibet is a land of mystery and mysticism that has for centuries hidden itself from the outside world. Tibetan folktales are steeped in mystical imagery and give the fertile imagination plenty of scope to work and for this reason they have always attracted a vast audience.

The author, A L Shelton, collected the fifty tales in this book from wandering herdsmen of the trans-Himalayan regions of Tibet as they sat around their campfires at night. As such, they reflect the true culture and psyche of the Tibetan people.

Whether you are old or young, the stories in Tibetan Folk Tales will fascinate and entertain you time and time again. As with all Eastern tales, Tibetan folktales have deeper meanings that may not be immediately understood and you can ponder over each tale and discover deeper and hidden meanings under the surface.

Paperback. 192 pages. B&W drawings.
Pilgrims Folk Tales Series.
Weight: 350 g (12.3 oz).
Item No: 8177692011.
Price: $US 4.00. . Convert Currency


Tibetan Tales: Stories from the Dsangs Blun (The Wise and the Foolish)

Translated by Antoinette K Gordon

These delightful tales, taken from the Tibetan Buddhist canon, are traditional stories that the Buddha told his disciples and are in the form of parables which illustrate common incidents in life, point a moral and impart important aspects of Buddhist teachings.

Paperback. 72 pages. B&W illustrations.
Weight: 80 g (2.8 oz).
Item No: N000004700.
Price: $US 2.00. . Convert Currency



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PO Box 3872, Kathmandu, Nepal. Tel: 977-1-4700942. Fax: 977-1-4700943.