A well known cycle of stories in classical Sanskrit literature, the tales are told by a pet parrot to its young mistress to distract her from going to her lover during her husband's absence on a journey abroad.
For seventy nights the bird detains the heroine Prabhavati at home with accounts of illicit liaisons, ensuring complications and clever escapes. These irreverent, sometimes ribald and always uninhabited tales of passion and intrigue, cunning and credulity are interspersed with cynical verse homilies and wise percepts from famous classics. Set amidst the common life of towns and villages in ancient India, they also constitute an absorbing social document.
The present is the first complete translation into English of the extant Sanskrit text which dates to about the twelfth century AD. The stories are much older but were so far inaccessible to modern readers. This lively and faithful rendering by a distinguished Sanskritist now fills this gap.