I read this book about 16-Sep-2011. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1900. This note was last modified Friday, 04-Nov-2011 08:39:06 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
The classic stories of a China that mostly never was.
Kai Lung tells stories to an audience in his village, with continuing characters and relationships. The stories range over time and space and subject very widely. The language shows a period view of China, which is probably out of favor today.
These were recognized as early proto-fantasy by several stories being reprinted in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series. This seems a strange choice since there's no fantasy element beyond normal peasant life.
I think I first heard of them from a reference in Busman's Honeymoon (#6).