This whimsical collection of tales is based on the Buddhist collection of Jātaka tales. However, the author confesses to ‘ruthlessly’ altering them for the amusement of children and occasionally borrowing a ‘phrase or a versicle’.
He opens the book with a warning;
“To this work I refer all scholars, folklorists and scientific persons generally: warning them that if they plunge deeper into these page, they will be horribly shocked.”
These wonderful tales are accompanied by many beautiful and intricate black and white illustrations by W. Heath Robinson. An English cartoonist and illustrator, best known for drawings of ridiculously complicated machines – for achieving deceptively simple objectives. Such was (and is) his fame, that the term ‘Heath Robinson’ entered the English language during the First World War, as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contrivance.
Originally published in 1897, we are now republishing it here as part of our ‘Pook Press’ imprint, celebrating the golden age of illustration in children’s literature.