Vikram and the Vampire | Vetala Panchavimshati | A Review


Vikram and the Vampire | Vetala Panchavimshati | A Review

Vikram and the Vampire  Vetala Panchavimshati  A Review

Vikram and the Vampire Vetala Panchavimshati A Review

Vikram and the Vampire (Vetala Panchavimshati)-A Review


“Vikram and the Vampire,” also known as “Vetala Panchavimshati,” is a collection of stories deeply rooted in Indian folklore and mythology. Written by Sir Richard Francis Burton, this work is a remarkable translation of the traditional tales of King Vikramaditya and the Vetala, showcasing the rich narrative tapestry of ancient India. This review delves into the various aspects that make this collection a captivating and enduring piece of literature.

Narrative Structure and Themes:

Burton’s translation captures the essence of the original stories, which are framed as a series of tales told by the Vetala to King Vikramaditya. The central theme revolves around the interaction between the wise King Vikramaditya and the witty yet eerie Vetala, who narrates a series of captivating and often moralistic stories. Each tale poses a challenging question or dilemma to the king, who must answer correctly to maintain his life.

Cultural Significance:

The stories are steeped in Indian cultural and mythological contexts, offering readers an authentic glimpse into ancient Indian society, beliefs, and values. The collection draws upon elements from Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, amalgamating them into a vivid representation of the diverse religious and cultural landscape of India.

Language and Translation:

Burton’s translation is a testament to his linguistic prowess and cultural sensitivity. His prose retains the essence of the original work while making it accessible to English-speaking audiences. The language is rich and evocative, reflecting the cadence and style of classical Indian literature.


The characters in “Vikram and the Vampire” are vividly portrayed and often imbued with human-like qualities. King Vikramaditya exemplifies wisdom, courage, and justice, while the Vetala is characterized by his cleverness and mysterious nature. The supporting characters in the individual stories showcase a range of human virtues and flaws.

Moral Complexity:

Each story presented by the Vetala presents a moral dilemma or question, inviting readers to ponder deeper philosophical questions. The stories explore themes such as the consequences of deceit, the power of truth, the nature of karma, and the complexities of human relationships.

Entertainment Value:

The collection balances thought-provoking narratives with elements of suspense, wit, and humor. The interplay between Vikramaditya and the Vetala adds an intriguing layer of tension and engagement, as readers anticipate the king’s response to each riddle.

Influence and Legacy:

“Vikram and the Vampire” has left an indelible mark on literature and popular culture. Its influence can be seen in subsequent works of fiction, adaptations, and retellings across various media. The stories’ enduring appeal lies in their ability to transcend time and cultural boundaries.

Illustrations and Editions:

Many editions of “Vikram and the Vampire” feature intricate illustrations that bring the characters and settings to life. These illustrations, whether traditional or contemporary, enhance the visual experience of the stories and provide a deeper connection to the narrative.


Vikram and the Vampire (Vetala Panchavimshati)” stands as a remarkable achievement in the field of literary translation, offering readers a captivating journey into the heart of Indian folklore and mythology. Burton’s skillful rendition preserves the cultural nuances, moral dilemmas, and narrative charm of the original tales. This collection continues to enthrall readers and serves as a bridge between cultures, inviting us to explore the timeless wisdom embedded within its stories. 0 0 0.

Vikram and the Vampire Vetala Panchavimshati A Review

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N. B. The article ‘Vikram and the Vampire Vetala Panchavimshati A Review’ originally belongs to the book The Reviews of Epic Literature Around the World Vol-Iby Menonim Menonimus.


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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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