Page:Barlaam and Josaphat. English lives of Buddha.djvu/14

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viii
PREFACE

generally with the history of the legend, which forms one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of literature. The fact that by its means Buddha had been, if only informally, canonised a Saint of the Church, would be enough to attract attention to it. But many of the parables enframed in the legend have had a history even more remarkable than the legend itself. As is well known, the Caskets story of the Merchant of Venice is ultimately derived from Barlaam and Josaphat.

I have for some time been making rather extensive collections for the Introduction to this work, in order to make it a companion study to my treatment of the Fables of Bidpai and Æsop in the same series. But all that I have collected, and much more also, has been put together by Dr. Ernst Kuhn in a contribution to the Abhandlungen of the Bavarian Academy of Science (Munich, 1893). This is one of those erudite bibliographical monographs in which German scholarship excels; and in all those portions of my Introduction, which deal with the bibliographical aspects of the question, and notably in the pedigree and appendices, I make grateful use of Dr. Kuhn's researches.