In the later books, the so-called Indian Bidpai is drawn upon for oriental fables that had come to the French through translations from Persian. The most likely source for La Fontaine was the pseudonymous version by Gilbert Gaulmin (1585–1665) under the title The book of Enlightenment or the Conduct of Kings (French: Le Livre des lumières ou la Conduite des Roys, composée par le sage Pilpay Indien, traduite en français par David Sahid, d’Ispahan, ville capitale de Perse; 1644). Another translation by Father Pierre Poussines appeared in 1666 with the Latin title Specimen sapientiae Indorum veterum (A sample of ancient Indian wisdom). With a genealogy going back to the Indian Panchatantra, they were then attributed to Bidpai (Pilpay), who is given more than his fair due by La Fontaine in the preface to his second collection of Fables: “I must acknowledge that I owe the greatest part to Pilpay, the Indian sage.” (French: Je dirai par reconnaissance que j’en dois la plus grande partie à Pilpay sage indien.) His sources are in fact much more diverse and by no means mainly oriental; of 89 fables, no more than twenty are found in Bidpai’s collection.
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