The Arabic title of an Oriental book of fables, named for the main characters in the first tale in the book, the jackals Kalila and Dimna.
Originally, the tales that make up Kalila wa Dimna were an Indian manual of kingship, the Fables of Bidpai or Pancatantra. They were translated from Sanskrit to Pahlavi in the 6th century by the Persian Burzoe, and from Pahlavi to Arabic by the chancery secretary Ibn al-Muqaffa (died 757). The simple and evocative language of this translation had great effect upon the development of Arabic prose. The book became known in Europe in the Middle Ages, and some of the fables were retold by La Fontaine.