Fables Across Time
Tracing Patterns of Similarity and Difference
Notes on the Text
Last Updated 15 March 2005.
As in the case of Kalilah-wa Dimnahh, all citations
and quotations from the Panchatantra will be from the Spanish edition.
A name which means "Seedy" in Sanskrit (Edgerton, page
In the original Sanskrit Panchatantra, the moral is in
verse form. Bufeo, however, has translated the parable into verse
and I have retained his form.
I would go so far as to argue that El conde Lucanor, and
perhaps even Sendebar both take their respective structures from Kalilah-wa
Dimnahh, and through that text, Panchatantra. Each of the texts is
framed in a dialogue between wise people and a monarch, primarily consisting
of a series of questions asked by the king to his adviser/philosopher/counselor,
which is then answered with a story as an example. Each book of Kalilah-wa
Dimnahh begins with the king calling on his advisor to present him with
specific advice, to which the philosopher responds with an answer and an
allusion to a story, the standard response to which is, ‘¿Cómo
fue esso?’ This is a striking parallel to similar Spanish translations
in Panchatantra where the refrain: ‘¿Cómo fue eso?’ is used
at the end of each frame tale, and identical to the ‘¿Cómo
fue esso?’ of Sendebar and El conde Lucanor. In Panchatantra
the framed dialogue is less formal, the monarch not necessarily explicitly
calling on his adviser to narrate a lesson. Nonetheless, one must
remember the larger frame of the whole book—the dialogue between the teacher
and the students that is the result of specific ‘questions’ asked not only
by the princes who are being instructed, but by the very nature of kingship.
There are no clear examples of this in the fables analyzed
In Manuscript A of the Keller edition, however, the animal
is a dog (Keller, page 254.)
In Hindu mythology, Raksasas are able to change their
form at will.
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