Question on panchatantra

McComas Taylor mccomas.taylor at ANU.EDU.AU
Thu Mar 8 19:46:25 EST 2007

Prof Kirk is quite correct - this story is not in Purnabhadra's PT, on 
which Rajan's translation (and Ryder's) is based, or any of the 
'Southern' recensions, Hitopadesha, etc. The story does not sound very 
Indic to me - wolves are virtually unknown in kathA or epic literature. 
I don't claim to know Vikramodaya. What I do know of Hertel's work is 
that it is very unlikely to have errors in it.

Hope this helps


jkirk wrote:
> The translation I have is one by Chandra Rajan, of Vishnu Sharma's 
> Pancatantra. Unfortunately it has no index.
> Looking over the story titles in the table of contents, I don't see anything 
> like the story you inquire of here. Suggest that you check this motif in
> Thompson, Stith. 1989. MOTIF-INDEX OF FOLK-LITERATURE, and also Stith 
> Thompson and Jonas Balys, Oral Tales of India. Bloomington, IN: Indiana 
> University Press, 1958.
> Joanna Kirkpatrick
> ===================
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Dean Anderson" <eastwestcultural at YAHOO.COM>
> To: <INDOLOGY at>
> Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2007 12:48 PM
> Subject: Question on panchatantra
> A fellow scholar asked me to post this here:
> Dean Anderson
>       I am doing important folklore-related research and need to learn some 
> details about a story in the Panchatantra.  I have only read a summary of it 
> in another book and have not yet been able to find a full English 
> translation.  According to the summary I read, two women are traveling 
> together with their infants.  While asleep in a forest, a wolf kills one of 
> the babies, and the mother swaps the corpse for the other’s child while the 
> latter is still asleep.  A dispute ensues, and the women appear at the court 
> of Gopicandra, where they present their case.  A wise parrot advises that 
> the disputed child be cut in half.  The true mother objects. This reveals 
> the authenticity of her claim, and she is awarded the child.
> The reference that was given for the story is   Vikramodaya, No. 14 in 
> Hertel’s Panchatantra (1914), 154.   However, this reference appears to be 
> inaccurate; and I have not been able to find a version of this story in any 
> of the English translations that I’ve looked through.

Dr McComas Taylor
Head, South Asia Centre
Faculty of Asian Studies
The Australian National University

Tel: +61 2 6125 3179
Fax: +61 2 6125 8326

Email: mccomas.taylor at
Location: Room E4.26 Baldessin Precinct Building 

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