The following is from a work-in-progress called The Mahabharata: a Book Report, in which I'm slowly reading through the Hindu epic poem The Mahabharata, and writing a book report on what I read.
The poem begins in a forest. A storyteller named Ugrasravas joins a group of Brahmin seers who have gathered together. The seers ask Ugrasravas what he’s been up to. He replies that he’s just come from a snake sacrifice where he heard the epic poem The Mahabharata. After this, he visited many holy sites where the events of the Mahabharata took place—the epic battles in particular. At the seer’s request, Ugrasravas begins to tell the story of the Mahabharata. He tells of the origin of the universe, and the seer Vyasa who witnessed the events of the Mahabharata and composed them into a poem. He then gives a summary of the 18 books of the Mahabharata, sort of like a movie trailer.