Thanks to Mr. S. M. Mitra, the well-known Hindu psychologist and politician, who has done so much to draw more closely together the land of his birth and that of his adoption, I am able to bring within reach of English children a number of typical Hindu Tales, translated by him from the Sanskrit, some of them culled from the ancient classics of India, others from widely separated sources. The latter have hitherto been quite inaccessible to western students, as they are not yet embodied in literature, but have been transmitted orally from generation to generation for many centuries....
It has long been recognized that the common numerals used in daily life are of comparatively recent origin.
The number of systems of notation employed before the Christian era was about the same as the number of
written languages, and in some cases a single language had several systems. The Egyptians, for example, had
three systems of writing, with a numerical notation for each; the Greeks had two well-defined sets of
numerals, and the Roman symbols for number changed more or less from century to century.
In all ages, from the remotest antiquity, the story-teller has flourished. Evidences of his existence are to
be found among the most ancient monuments and writings in the Orient. In Egypt, Nineveh, Babylon,
and other ancient lands he flourished, and in the homes of the noblest he was ever an honored guest.
The oldest collection of folklore stories or myths now in existence is of East Indian origin and is
preserved in the Sanskrit. The collection is called Hitopadesa, and the author was Veshnoo Sarma.