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Vikram And The Vampire

Sir Richard F. Burton

“Classic Hindu Tales of Adventure, Magic, and Romance”


The Baital-Pachisi, or Twenty-five Tales of a Baital is the history of a huge Bat, Vampire, or Evil Spirit which inhabited and animated dead bodies. It is an old, and thoroughly Hindu, Legend composed in Sanskrit, and is the germ which culminated in the Arabian Nights, and which inspired the "Golden Ass" of Apuleius, Boccacio's "Decamerone," the "Pentamerone," and all that class of facetious fictitious literature.

The story turns chiefly on a great king named Vikram, the King Arthur of the East, who in pursuance of his promise to a Jogi or Magician, brings to him the Baital (Vampire), who is hanging on a tree. The difficulties King Vikram and his son have in bringing the Vampire into the presence of the Jogi are truly laughable; and on this thread is strung a series of Hindu fairy stories, which contain much interesting information on Indian customs and manners. It also alludes to that state, which induces Hindu devotees to allow themselves to be buried alive, and to appear dead for weeks or months, and then to return to life again; a curious state of mesmeric catalepsy, into which they work themselves by concentrating the mind and abstaining from food—a specimen of which I have given a practical illustration in the Life of Sir Richard Burton.

The following translation is rendered peculiarly; valuable and interesting by Sir Richard Burton's intimate knowledge of the language. To all who understand the ways of the East, it is as witty, and as full of what is popularly called "chaff" as it is possible to be. There is not a dull page in it, and it will especially please those who delight in the weird and supernatural, the grotesque, and the wild life.

My husband only gives eleven of the best tales, as it was thought the translation would prove more interesting in its abbreviated form.


August 18th, 1893.

Project Gutenberg
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Sir Richard F. Burton

Sir Richard Burton was a British explorer and linguist. He demonstrated his talent for learning languages at an early age. By his death, he was able to speak more than 20 European, Asian and African languages. He traveled extensively, supposedly traveling in disguise to Mecca. Although much of his writing was considered too sexual to publish, he translated The Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra.

Edited by his Wife Isabel Burton

I am the Hivemaster of LitHive and an avid reader and a passionate fan of biographies, histories, and science fiction and fantasy literature in particular.  I love books --  both the old fashioned tree-based version and the new-fangled electronic variety. In spite of owning enough electronic devices to occupy a small family of octopuses, I tend to read most often on my trusty phone.  I love old book stores and elaborate bookshelves and somehow still manage to own far more books than I could possibly ever read given any reasonable life expectancy.I am an alumus of UC Berkeley (Go Bears!) and The Wharton School of Business.  When I am not reading a great story, carrying out my hivemaster duties, or being a family man, I work at Skype.


Hive Master



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Gary Gary | almost 8 years ago

439px-vetal Published Vikram And The Vampire

by Sir Richard F. Burton
Gary Gary | almost 8 years ago

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