‘These stories speak to and belong to the whole of humanity. . . .
What Ramsay has done over the last thirty years is to have made the version for our time.’
From the Introduction by Michael Wood – historian, broadcaster and author of The Story of India
'An intricately woven web of some of the world’s oldest and greatest
stories, sweetly and humourously retold, and begging to be read aloud
to a new generation of listeners.’
William Dalrymple, author of City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
‘Kalila wa Dimna is, like the Arabian Nights, an engine room of
stories – and stories within stories. It is also one of the undoubted
masterpieces of world literature. Its tales mingle entertainment and wisdom. The limpidity of Ramsay Wood’s prose echoes that of the Indian original.’
Robert Irwin, author of The Arabian Nights: a Companion
‘A must-read for anyone interested in the masterpieces of world
literature – or just in a totally engrossing and entertaining reading
experience. This book is an amazing gift to all of us who love good stories and great storytelling!’
Lisa Alther, author of Kinflicks
In its original Arabic format, •Kalila and Dimna• (•The Panchatantra• being its Sanskrit precursor), ostensibly constitutes a handbook for rulers, a so-called 'Mirror for Princes' illustrating indirectly, through a cascade of teaching stories and verse, how to (and how not to!) run the kingdom of your life. In their slyly profound grasp of human nature at its best (and worst!) these animal fables, usually avoiding any moralistic human criticism, serve up digestible sage counsel for us all.
Based on his collation of scholarly translations from key Sanskrit, Syriac, Arabic and Persian texts, as well as the 1570 English rendition by Sir Thomas North, this is the first uncompromisingly modern re-telling in either the East or West for over 400 years. In Ramsay Wood's version the profound meanings behind these ancient fables shine forth as he captures a great world classic, making it fresh, relevant, fascinating and hugely readable.
His second volume of fables from •Kalila and Dimna•, picks up where the first, Fables of Friendship and Betrayal, left off - covering deceit, political skullduggery, murder, enemies, deadly monsters, kings, bees, princesses, monkeys, lions, crocodiles and how we all live and die together in peace or conflict. This is a book full of outrageously behaved animals and humans doing the most delightfully awful (yet sometimes gentle) things to each other. These are joyous, sad, amusing and sometimes brutal stories; their function being to educate both king and commoner alike in the ways of the world, the harsh realities that can often lurk beneath the surface of our cozy, everyday subjectivity.