Because it was very hot in my house one day and I could not concentrate on my work, I decided to write a summer story involving mangoes and a river. By the time I had finished writing The Crocodile and the Monkey (in a cool room lent to me by a friend), another story and other animals had begun stirring in my mind. And so it went on until all ten of these beastly tales were born or re-born.
Of the ten tales told here, the first two come from India, the next two from China, the next two from Greece, and the next two from the Ukraine. The final two came directly from the Land of Gup. I hope you enjoy them and have a beastly time.' Vikram Seth.