The Betal Panchavimshati, also known as the Vikram Betal Stories, is an ancient collection of Indian tales featuring a King and a Ghost. Originally written in Sanskrit, these stories have gained international popularity. They have been translated into various languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, English, and Marathi. Each narrative carries a moral lesson for the audience.

The stories revolve around the King of Ujjain, Vikramaditya or Vikram, who promises to bring a ghost named Betal to a sage to aid him in his prayers. However, Betal agrees to accompany Vikram on one condition. During their journey, Betal tells the king a story and poses a question at the end. If Vikram answers correctly, Betal returns to his tree. If Vikram remains silent knowingly, he forfeits his life. Only when Vikram genuinely does not know the answer, he can take Betal to the sage. Thus, the journey of Vikram and Betal begins.

The Vikram Betal Stories comprise an intriguing collection of tales that culminate in thought-provoking questions. Delve into this historical treasure and enjoy listening to these stories with children and the rest of the family.

Another version:

Vikram was the king. Betaal was the Vedalam, the ghost and the storyteller. King Vikram must give the correct answer. If not, the king's head would explode into 100 pieces. If he gave the correct answer, the ghost will fly off his shoulder to its refuge the moringa tree, thereby frustrating Vikram to take Batal to its destination.
Vedalam is the analogue of west's Vampire. (Betall-Badal-Bedal-Betal-Vedalam-Vetalam = the ghost)
Here is a detailed story.
King Vikram held court and received gifts from the visitors. A mendicant gave him a fruit on every visit, which the king handed over to the royal storekeeper. One day, the fruit broke while being handled and a ruby came out. The king ordered all the fruits to be examined. All the stored fruits yielded rubies.
The king wanted to meet the mendicant, who proposed to meet him under a banyan tree in the center of the cremation ground on the outskirts of the city on the 14th day of the dark half of the month. The king met him under the tree. The mendicant asked the king to go to the northernmost corner of the grounds, locate a moringa tree there, bring down a corpse (Badal) hanging from a tree branch, and bring it to the mendicant. The mendicant wanted to sit on Bedal and perform certain rites.
En route, Batal would tell a story, and at the end, pose a question to the king. If the king knew the answer, he should answer, or else Vedala (Badal) would break the king's head. If the king spoke and broke the silence, Batal would fly back to the tree. This happened 25 times (thus 25 stories). The king was supposed to deliver Batal to the mendicant according to the agreement.
Batal revealed to the king that the mendicant intended to kill him in order to gain all the power in the world. The king went to the mendicant, who tried to kill the king but ended up being killed by the king instead.

Vikram Betal Story 1: Who's committed the sin (पाप किसका था)?
Vikram Betal Story 2: Who's the husband (पति कौन हुआ)?
Vikram Betal Story 3: Whose sacrifice is bigger (किसका त्याग बड़ा)?
Vikram Betal Story 4: Who should be the groom (वर कौन हुआ)?
Vikram Betal Story 5: Who are husband and wife (पति पत्नी कौन)?
Vikram Betal Story 6: Whose favor is greater (किसका उपकार बड़ा)?
Vikram Betal Story 7: Whose sacrifice is greater (किसका बलिदान बड़ा)?
Vikram Betal Story 8: Who is the most educated ?
Vikram Betal Story 9: Why did the thief laugh and why did he cry?
Vikram Betal Story 10: Who is the intelligent one?