In my Peasant Life in Bengal, I made the peasant lad Govinda spend some hours every evening listening to stories told by an elderly woman known as Sambhu’s mother, who was the best storyteller in the village.


After reading that passage, Captain R. C. Temple of the Bengal Staff Corps, son of the distinguished Indian administrator Sir Richard Temple, wrote to me to say how interesting it would be to have a collection of those unwritten stories that old women in India recite to small children in the evenings, and to ask if I could make such a collection. As I was no stranger to the Mährchen of the Brothers Grimm, to Dasent’s magnificent telling of Norse Tales, to