Popular Indian Folktales And Fables

Indian folk tales are rich and diverse because of the country’s huge landscape. However, the stories and Sanskrit epics are influenced by religious literature, especially Hinduism, and Indian folk tales enlightened generations after generations.

Indian Folklore And Impact Of Indian Folk Heroes

Traditionally told Indian folk tales and classical epics are robust with Indian culture. Professional storytellers know how to pull out the Indian cultural identity and revolve the stories around an ornamented folk hero.

Ancient folk tales from Indian literature influence local religious practices, and the moral lessons from the tales are important in life philosophies. Academic institutions are taking steps to preserve history and Indian themes.

5 Popular Indian Folktales

Indian cultural sub-system has a lot of stories written in Indian languages. Some fascinating Indian folklore from written literature is given here.

Baital Pachisi

Baital Pachisi is thought to be one of the earliest vampire oral epics on Indian point. King Vikram had pledged a tantric sorcerer that he would capture and bring a Baital (a ghost with vampire-like traits) to him. However, whenever Vikram caught the Baital, the spirit escaped by asking a question.

Vikram's encounter with Baital

The agreement between the two was that if Vikram failed to accurately reply to the question at the end of each problem, the soul would gladly be taken captive. If Vikram had the answer but remained quiet, his skull would explode into a thousand pieces, and if the king properly responded, the Baital would be free to flee.

The cycle repeated itself 24 times because Vikram, being a clever man, was able to solve every riddle, which usually dealt with philosophical concerns about life. Finally, King Vikram could not answer the 25th question, and the Baital followed through on his pledge to capture him.

The soul said he was a prince on his path toward the tantric. He also claimed that it had always been the tantric’s intention to trade the Baital’s soul to achieve immortality and that Vikram would self-sacrifice meantime. The ghost advised the king how to trick the tantric and save both of their lives. Baital purged Vikram of all his faults once he killed the wicked tantric, and he also promised to come to his help when required.

The Dream OF Tenali Rama

Tenali Rama was a poet of the court of a Vijayanagar Empire named Krishnadevaraya in South India. He was popular for his humor and witty personality.

The king planned to have a little fun at the expense of Tenali Rama. He confessed in the presence of the whole court that he had dreamt about a strange thing the night before. The king stated that he and Tenali Rama stumbled across two pits while walking. One of the pis contained honey, whereas the other was a nasty cesspool.

Tenali Rama fell into the cesspool as the king jumped into the honey-filled one. The courtiers were overjoyed hearing this since they were jealous of Tenali Rama’s wisdom. They burst out laughing and clapped in response to the king’s humor.

Tenali Rama appeared in court the following day and confessed that he had experienced a very similar dream the night before. He claimed that although the monarch was able to escape the honey hole, he had to fight his way out of the filth. But he eventually got away and made it to the ground.

However, neither of them could head home in that condition, so they made a plan. While the poet licked the honey from the king’s body, the other did likewise to Tenali Rama. Everyone in the court was stunned, including the king.

Birbal And King Akbar

Birbal was one of Mughal Emperor Akbar’s navratnas (nine gems). All those individuals were regarded as exceptional scholars and creatives. Birbal was recognized for his intelligence, and stories about his wisdom went far and diverse throughout time.

One such oral epic is very popular. Akbar made a line on the floor with his finger a day. He then asked that everyone present shorten the line without clearing any of it. The courtiers attempted sequentially to resolve the riddle, but nobody could.

Birbal making another line to shorten Akbar's line

But it was eventually Birbal’s time, and he just drew another larger line adjacent to the original. As a result, he shortened Akbar’s line shorter without ever touching it. Birbal’s unrivaled wit pushed Emperor and his courtiers to embrace him once more.

Sattuka And Sulasa

This story of Sulasa and Sattuka is taken from the Jataka tales. Sulasa, a lovely prostitute, formerly lived and worked around. She observed a bunch of soldiers bringing a man toward the place of execution one day, and she fell in love with him right away. Sattuka, the notorious bandit, was that lucky man.

Picture of Sulasa from Jataka tales

So, in compensation for Sattuka’s release, Sulasa quickly delivered a thousand gold pieces to the head officer. She then married him and pledged to leave her former life behind. After some days of joyful marriage, Sattuka realized that he wasn’t the sort of clinching down to a particular area or people. He made the decision to murder his wife, grab all of her jewelry, and escape the country.

On the following day, he tricked Sulasa, pretending that he had vowed to a deity on the edge of a hill that if he escaped death, he would make sacrifices. He then had Sulasa put on all her jewelry in honor of the deity and led her to the mountain’s summit. He exposed his wicked plot as they climbed to the top.

Salusa was flabbergasted, but she was quick to respond. She informed Sattuka that she wanted to bow to her life partner from across all four corners one last time. Salusa knelt in front of him, then on all sides, but as she moved behind him, she grabbed Sattuka and pushed him down a hill.

When the local deities on the hill saw this, one said:

“Wisdom is not always reserved to males; a woman can swallow wisdom now and then wisdom is not always confined to men; women are swift in advice now and then.”

The Marriage Of The Mouse

A sage was swimming in a river once when a hawk dropped a mouse straight upon his arms through its jaws. Fearing the hawk might attack the mouse if he left it alone, the sage changed the little creature into a lovely newborn girl and brought her to his spouse. As the couple did not have their own kid, they adopted the newborn, believing her to be a divine favor.

Once the girl became an adult, the sage and his wife planned to marry her to the best spouse possible. As a result, the proud father brought his daughter to the Sun God. The girl, meanwhile, refused to marry him. The sage also visited the King of Clouds, the Lord of Mountains, and the Ruler of Winds. In spite of their great strength, the daughter discarded everyone.

Mouse on the Sage's arm

Finally, the Lord of Mountains asserted that the Lord of Mice would be far better because he could burrow hills all over. When the sage’s daughter heard about the Lord of Mice, she decided to marry him right away. The father then reverted his daughter to mice, and the loving pair wedded.


Indian folk tales put a national identity throughout their notorious Indian-themed tale. Also, Indian folklorists have a separate theme compared to western models like American folklore or English folklore.

Indian folk tales usually try to educate people about right or wrong, and that’s why it has a moral. So we often see fights between good and evil throughout the stories.

Nilanjana Das

I love investigating the unknown and exploring the weird and unexplained. I find it fascinating how our minds can create whole worlds of mystery and suspense. What's even more exciting to me is uncovering these mysteries and looking for evidence that they actually exist!

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