Any researcher into the pre-modern history of India inevitably faces the problem of source material, and the creative genius of medieval Indians furnishes us with a wide range of sources; innumerable files of original documents, multi-volumed chronicles, bulky treatises, etc. A great number of travelogues enables us to view medieval India through the eyes of visitors from all parts of the globe. The source to be analysed in this article will hardly stand comparison with the above-mentioned materials. It is a biography of an insignificant man, a family history of modest middle-class people unconnected with court intrigues and political battles. And the title of the book is anything but serious. Ardhakathanaka means “Half a Tale”. The author, a Jain merchant named Banarasi Das, completed it in 1641, being fifty-five at that time; the ideal life span of the great Jain sages was believed to be one hundred and ten years. Thus Banarasi, who harboured no ambitions to equal the great sages, titled his autobiography “Haifa Tale”, displaying a somewhat bitter humour (he died shortly after completing the book).