In all Buddhist countries the Jataka tales were the ma-
jor sources for developing the character of the people. They
were used widely in preaching by monks and lay preach-
ers. King Dutugemunu (2nd century B.C.), in Anurad-
hapura, paid for the support of preachers to teach Dhamma,
the teachings of the Buddha. They usually used these sto-
ries in their sermons. Even the Venerable Arahant Maha
Mahinda, who introduced Dhamma into Sri Lanka, used
these stories to illustrate the truth of the teachings. Some
were even used by the Lord Buddha in his teachings, and
from him his followers learned them and passed them into
popular use in society. Even earlier, the same types of sto-
ries were present in Vedic literature.

Greek myths, as well as the fables of Aesop, inherited
them from the Vedas and Buddhism; Persia also took them
from India. They later migrated into the stories of Chaucer
in England and Boccaccio in Italy. The stories were used
for a variety of purposes. In Sanskrit, thePancatantra used
them to teach Law and Economics, and theKatha Sarit Sa-
gara used them for the development of knowledge, as well
as just for enjoyment. In the past, people have been satis-
fied and fulfilled in many ways by hearing them in forms
ranging from lessons to fairy tales.