THE stories contained in this little book are only a small part of a large collection of Indian folk-tales, made by Mr. Crooke in the course of the Ethnological Survey of the North-West Provinces and Oudh. Some were recorded by the collector from the lips of the jungle-folk of Mirzápur; others by his native assistant, Pandit Rámgharíb Chaubé. Besides these, a large number were received from all parts of the Provinces in response to a circular issued by Mr. J. C. Nesfield, the Director of Public Instruction, to all teachers of village schools.
The present selection is confined to the Beast Stories, which are particularly interesting as being mostly indigenous and little affected by so-called Aryan influence. Most of them are new, or have been published only in the North Indian Notes and Queries (referred to as N.I.N.Q.).
In the re-telling, for which Mr. Rouse is responsible, a number of changes have been made. The text of the book is meant for children, and consequently the first aim has been to make an interesting story. Those who study folk-tales for any scientific purpose will find all such changes marked in the Notes. If the change is considerable, the original document is summarised. It should be added that these documents are merely brief Notes in themselves, without literary interest. The Notes also give the source of each tale, and a few obvious parallels, or references to the literature of the subject.