An illustration from a Syrian edition of the Panchatantra dated 1354. The rabbit fools the elephant king by showing him the reflection of the moon.The Panchatantra is an ancient Indian inter-related collection of animal fables in verse and prose, in a frame story format. The original Sanskrit work, which some scholars believe was composed in the 3rd century BCE,is attributed to Vishnu Sharma. It is based on older oral traditions, including “animal fables that are as old as we are able to imagine”, including the Buddhist Jataka Tales. It is “certainly the most frequently translated literary product of India”, and these stories are among the most widely known in the world.

An illustration from a Syrian edition of the Panchatantra dated 1354. The rabbit fools the elephant king by showing him the reflection of the moon.
The Panchatantra is an ancient Indian inter-related collection of animal fables in verse and prose, in a frame story format. The original Sanskrit work, which some scholars believe was composed in the 3rd century BCE,is attributed to Vishnu Sharma. It is based on older oral traditions, including “animal fables that are as old as we are able to imagine”, including the Buddhist Jataka Tales. It is “certainly the most frequently translated literary product of India”, and these stories are among the most widely known in the world.