The medieval period in Japan, spanning the years from about 1200 to 1600, was a time of rapid cultural development that saw the emergence and refinement of many new art forms. One of these was the religious folk tale, or setsuwa, many collections of which were compiled during this time. Unlike the rarified court poems and accounts of aristocratic life written during this period, setsuwa were literature for the common man. Like the classic fables and parables of the West, these stories are varied in origin, many of them collected from Indian and Chinese sources and retold and embellished by succeeding generations of authors. In Lotus: and Other Tales of Medieval Japan, the author has carefully chosen eight particularly notable setsuwa for their timeless interest and fascinating plot developments.