Vikram Vetal Story and Books

This article will inform you about the mysterious folklore characters and interesting Vikram Vetal books. Much before the horror genre as we know in present times, took off as best sellers, India’s oral storytelling folklore traditions had Vikram Vetal stories for hundreds of years. 

Vikram is King Vikramaditya and Vetal is the ghost who tells stories to King Vikramaditya. These stories are part of traditional Indian folklore and kids do enjoy reading and listening to them. 

The original texts were written in Sanskrit by an Indian Kashmiri author named Somdev Bhatt in the 11th century. The stories named Vetala Panchavimshatiare are within a frame of the larger story.

At the end of each story, Vetal asks a question to King Vikram. If Vikram answers the question, Vetal the ghost flies back to the tree and if King Vikram does not answer it will prove fatal for him. These stories are for older kids like adolescents and teenagers. Very young kids might find these stories a bit strange and confusing.

If your middle-grade avid reader has a special liking for ghost thrills then go for these stories. Vikram Vetal’s stories do not have the scary jerky kind of sickening horror. These Indian folklore ghost stories are fantastical, strange and amusing

Vikram Vetal books – ghost stories in folktales

The story of Vikram and the Betaal, which is often called “Vikram Betal,” is an old Indian folktale that goes back more than a thousand years.

The Betaal is the main character of the Vikram Betal story. He or she is a supernatural being with an insatiable need to think.

Betaal likes to test King Vikramaditya’s intelligence and knowledge by asking him hard riddles and questions that make him think.

Also read: Jataka Tales in English

The secret is that every time Vikram tries to answer Betaal’s questions, Betaal goes back to his home. This makes the king’s journey an endless cycle of learning and mystery.

The main character, King Vikramaditya, is a good example of courage, fairness, and wisdom. 

Listen, O King!: Five-and-Twenty Tales of Vikram and the Vetal: Five-and-Twenty Tales of Vikram and Vetal 

The author is Sivadasa and the translator is Deepa Agarwal. The book was published by Penguin Random House in 2016. The author and translator have written well to build interest in the amusing and witty ghost stories. The book is great for introducing horror and ghost stories genre to avid readers. The language is great for vocabulary development. There are few illustrations and it’s a chapter book with 25 short stories of Vikram and the witty ghost Vetal.

Best of Vikram Vetal Tales for Children

As a favor, a monk asked King Vikramaditya, the ruler of Ujjain, to bring the vampire Betal to him. Betal would fly back to his home in absence of total silence. As Vikram goes to get the body where Betal is hiding, the vampire begins to tell a story. At the end of each story, he forces King Vikram to figure out the story’s puzzle. Folk tales like these that betal told make up an interesting set.

The author is Sunita Pant Bansal and book published by Om Books in 2009. The book has 128 colourful illustrated pages, and meant for readers above 8 years.


Reading this article has given you a fair idea about Vikram Vetal stories and books. These stories are an important part of Indian children’s literature.

The Vikram Vetal stories are ageless and very much a part of Indian folktales, so it becomes necessary that children read books, read them and retell them. 

Role-play or dramatization of Vikram Vetal’s stories is also interesting for kids. On camp-fire nights, teenagers and adolescents would enjoy listening to stories of Vikram Vetal.

Also read related articles

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Panchatantra Stories in English

Hitopadesha Stories Ancient Indian Folktales

Best Fiction Books For Middle Grade Readers

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