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Title: Tales of the Punjab: Folklore of India
Author: Steel, Flora Annie Webster
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Tales of the Punjab: Folklore of India" ***

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TALES OF THE PUNJAB
FOLKLORE OF INDIA

BY

FLORA ANNIE STEEL



CONTENTS



Preface

To the Little Reader

Sir Buzz
The Rat's Wedding
The Faithful Prince
The Bear's Bad Bargain
Prince Lionheart and his Three Friends
The Lambkin
Bopolûchî
Princess Aubergine
Valiant Vicky, the Brave Weaver
The Son of Seven Mothers
The Sparrow and the Crow
The Tiger, the Brâhman, and the Jackal
The King of the Crocodiles
Little Anklebone
The Close Alliance
The Two Brothers
The Jackal and the Iguana
The Death and Burial of Poor Hen-Sparrow
Princess Pepperina
Peasie and Beansir
The Jackal and the Partridge
The Snake-woman and King Ali Mardan
The Wonderful Ring
The Jackal and the Pea-hen
The Grain of Corn
The Farmer and the Money-lender
The Lord of Death
The Wrestlers
The Legend of Gwâshbrâri, the Glacier-Hearted Queen
The Barber's Clever Wife
The Jackal and the Crocodile
How Raja Rasâlu Was Born
How Raja Rasâlu Went Out Into the World
How Raja Rasâlu's Friends Forsook Him
How Raja Rasâlu Killed the Giants
How Raja Rasâlu Became a Jôgi
How Raja Rasâlu Journeyed to the City of King Sarkap
How Raja Rasâlu Swung the Seventy Fair Maidens, Daughters of the King
How Raja Rasâlu Played Chaupur with King Sarkap
The King Who Was Fried
Prince Half-a-Son
The Mother and Daughter Who Worshipped the Sun
The Ruby Prince

Notes to the Tales



PREFACE


Many of the tales in this collection appeared either in the _Indian
Antiquary_, the _Calcutta Review_, or the _Legends of the
Punjab_.  They were then in the form of literal translations, in
many cases uncouth or even unpresentable to ears polite, in all
scarcely intelligible to the untravelled English reader; for it must
be remembered that, with the exception of the Adventures of Raja
Rasâlu, all these stories are strictly folk-tales passing current
among a people who can neither read nor write, and whose diction is
full of colloquialisms, and, if we choose to call them so,
vulgarisms.  It would be manifestly unfair, for instance, to compare
the literary standard of such tales with that of the _Arabian
Nights_, the _Tales of a Parrot_, or similar works.  The
manner in which these stories were collected is in itself sufficient
to show how misleading it would be, if, with the intention of giving
the conventional Eastern flavour to the text, it were to be
manipulated into a flowery dignity; and as a description of the
procedure will serve the double purpose of credential and excuse, the
authors give it,--premising that all the stories but three have been
collected by Mrs. F. A. Steel during winter tours through the various
districts of which her husband has been Chief Magistrate.

A carpet is spread under a tree in the vicinity of the spot which the
Magistrate has chosen for his _darbâr_, but far enough away from
bureaucracy to let the village idlers approach it should they feel so
inclined.  In a very few minutes, as a rule, some of them begin to
edge up to it, and as they are generally small boys, they commence
nudging each other, whispering, and sniggering.  The fancied approach
of a _chuprâsî_, the 'corrupt lictor' of India, who attends at
every _darbâr_, will however cause a sudden stampede; but after a
time these become less and less frequent, the wild beasts, as it were,
becoming tamer.  By and by a group of women stop to gaze, and then the
question 'What do you want?' invariably brings the answer 'To see your
honour' (_âp ke darshan âe_).  Once the ice is broken, the only
difficulties are, first, to understand your visitors, and secondly, to
get them to go away.  When the general conversation is fairly started,
inquiries are made by degrees as to how many witches there are in the
village, or what cures they know for fever and the evil eye,
_etc_.  At first these are met by denials expressed in set terms,
but a little patient talk will generally lead to some remarks which
point the villagers' minds in the direction required, till at last,
after many persuasions, some child begins a story, others correct the
details, emulation conquers shyness, and finally the story-teller is
brought to the front with acclamations:  for there is always a
story-teller _par excellence_ in every village--generally a boy.

Then comes the need for patience, since in all probability the first
story is one you have heard a hundred times, or else some pointless
and disconnected jumble.  At the conclusion of either, however, the
teller must be profusely complimented, in the hopes of eliciting
something more valuable.  But it is possible to waste many hours, and
in the end find yourself possessed of nothing save some feeble variant
of a well-known legend, or, what is worse, a compilation of oddments
which have lingered in a faulty memory from half a dozen distinct
stories.  After a time, however, the attentive collector is rewarded
by finding that a coherent whole is growing up in his or her mind out
of the shreds and patches heard here and there, and it is delight
indeed when your own dim suspicion that this part of the puzzle fits
into that is confirmed by finding the two incidents preserved side by
side in the mouth of some perfectly unconscious witness.  Some of the
tales in this volume have thus been a year or more on the stocks
before they had been heard sufficiently often to make their form
conclusive.

And this accounts for what may be called the greater literary sequence
of these tales over those to be found in many similar collections.
They have been selected carefully with the object of securing a good
story in what appears to be its best form; but they have not been
doctored in any way, not even in the language.  That is neither a
transliteration--which would have needed a whole dictionary to be
intelligible--nor a version orientalised to suit English tastes.  It
is an attempt to translate one colloquialism by another, and thus to
preserve the aroma of rough ready wit existing side by side with that
perfume of pure poesy which every now and again contrasts so strangely
with the other.  Nothing would have been easier than to alter the
style; but to do so would, in the collector's opinion, have robbed the
stories of all human value.

That such has been the deliberate choice may be seen at a glance
through the only story which has a different origin.  The Adventures
of Raja Rasâlu was translated from the rough manuscript of a village
accountant; and, being current in a more or less classical form, it
approaches more nearly to the conventional standards of an Indian
tale.

The work has been apportioned between the authors in this way.  Mrs.
F. A. Steel is responsible for the text, and Major R. C. Temple for
the annotations.

It is therefore hoped that the form of the book may fulfil the double
intention with which it was written; namely, that the text should
interest children, and at the same time the notes should render it
valuable to those who study Folklore on its scientific side.

F. A. _Steel_
R. C. _Temple_



TO THE LITTLE READER


Would you like to know how these stories are told?  Come with me, and
you shall see.  There! take my hand and do not be afraid, for Prince
Hassan's carpet is beneath your feet.  So now!--'Hey presto!
Abracadabra!'  Here we are in a Punjabi village.

                              * * * * *

It is sunset.  Over the limitless plain, vast and unbroken as the
heaven above, the hot cloudless sky cools slowly into shadow.  The men
leave their labour amid the fields, which, like an oasis in the
desert, surround the mud-built village, and, plough on shoulder, drive
their bullocks homewards.  The women set aside their spinning-wheels,
and prepare the simple evening meal.  The little girls troop, basket
on head, from the outskirts of the village, where all day long they
have been at work, kneading, drying, and stacking the fuel-cakes so
necessary in that woodless country.  The boys, half hidden in clouds
of dust, drive the herds of gaunt cattle and ponderous buffaloes to
the thorn-hedged yards.  The day is over, the day which has been so
hard and toilful even for the children,--and with the night comes rest
and play.  The village, so deserted before, is alive with voices; the
elders cluster round the courtyard doors, the little ones whoop
through the narrow alleys.  But as the short-lived Indian twilight
dies into darkness, the voices one by one are hushed, and as the stars
come out the children disappear.  But not to sleep:  it is too hot,
for the sun which has beaten so fiercely all day on the mud walls, and
floors, and roofs, has left a legacy of warmth behind it, and not till
midnight will the cool breeze spring up, bringing with it refreshment
and repose.  How then are the long dark hours to be passed?  In all
the village not a lamp or candle is to be found; the only light--and
that too used but sparingly and of necessity--being the dim smoky
flame of an oil-fed wick.  Yet, in spite of this, the hours, though
dark, are not dreary, for this, in an Indian village, is
_story-telling time_; not only from choice, but from obedience to
the well-known precept which forbids such idle amusement between
sunrise and sunset.  Ask little Kaniyâ, yonder, why it is that he, the
best story-teller in the village, never opens his lips till after
sunset, and he will grin from ear to ear, and with a flash of dark
eyes and white teeth, answer that travellers lose their way when idle
boys and girls tell tales by daylight.  And Naraini, the herd-girl,
will hang her head and cover her dusky face with her rag of a veil, if
you put the question to her; or little Râm Jas shake his bald shaven
poll in denial; but not one of the dark-skinned, bare-limbed village
children will yield to your request for a story.

No, no!--from sunrise to sunset, when even the little ones must
labour, not a word; but from sunset to sunrise, when no man can work,
the tongues chatter glibly enough, for that is story-telling time.
Then, after the scanty meal is over, the bairns drag their
wooden-legged, string-woven bedsteads into the open, and settle
themselves down like young birds in a nest, three or four to a bed,
while others coil up on mats upon the ground, and some, stealing in
for an hour from distant alleys, beg a place here or there.

The stars twinkle overhead, the mosquito sings through the hot air,
the village dogs bark at imaginary foes, and from one crowded nest
after another rises a childish voice telling some tale, old yet ever
new,--tales that were told in the sunrise of the world, and will be
told in its sunset.  The little audience listens, dozes, dreams, and
still the wily Jackal meets his match, or Bopolûchî brave and bold
returns rich and victorious from the robber's den.  Hark!--that is
Kaniyâ's voice, and there is an expectant stir amongst the drowsy
listeners as he begins the old old formula--

'Once upon a time--'



TALES OF THE PUNJAB

FOLKLORE OF INDIA



SIR BUZZ


Once upon a time a soldier died, leaving a widow and one son.  They
were dreadfully poor, and at last matters became so bad that they had
nothing left in the house to eat.

'Mother,' said the son, 'give me four shillings, and I will go seek my
fortune in the wide world.'

'Alas!' answered the mother, 'and where am I, who haven't a farthing
wherewith to buy bread, to find four shillings?'

'There is that old coat of my father's,' returned the lad; 'look in
the pocket--perchance there is something there.'

So she looked, and behold! there were six shillings hidden away at the
very bottom of the pocket!

'More than I bargained for,' quoth the lad, laughing.'  See, mother,
these two shillings are for you; you can live on that till I return,
the rest will pay my way until I find my fortune.'

So he set off to find his fortune, and on the way he saw a tigress,
licking her paw, and moaning mournfully.  He was just about to run
away from the terrible creature, when she called to him faintly,
saying, 'Good lad, if you will take out this thorn for me, I shall be
for ever grateful.'

'Not I!' answered the lad.  'Why, if I begin to pull it out, and it
pains you, you will kill me with a pat of your paw.'

[Illustration:  Boy pulling thorn out of a tigress's paw]

'No, no!' cried the tigress, 'I will turn my face to this tree, and
when the pain comes I will pat _it_.'

To this the soldier's son agreed; so he pulled out the thorn, and when
the pain came the tigress gave the tree such a blow that the trunk
split all to pieces.  Then she turned towards the soldier's son, and
said gratefully, 'Take this box as a reward, my son, but do not open
it until you have travelled nine miles'

So the soldier's son thanked the tigress, and set off with the box to
find his fortune.  Now when he had gone five miles, he felt certain
that the box weighed more than it had at first, and every step he took
it seemed to grow heavier and heavier.  He tried to struggle on--
though it was all he could do to carry the box--until he had gone
about eight miles and a quarter, when his patience gave way.  'I
believe that tigress was a witch, and is playing off her tricks upon
me,' he cried, 'but I will stand this nonsense no longer.  Lie there,
you wretched old box!--heaven knows what is in you, and I don't care.'

So saying, he flung the box down on the ground:  it burst open with
the shock, and out stepped a little old man.  He was only one span
high, but his beard was a span and a quarter long, and trailed upon
the ground.

The little mannikin immediately began to stamp about and scold the lad
roundly for letting the box down so violently.

'Upon my word!' quoth the soldier's son, scarcely able to restrain a
smile at the ridiculous little figure, 'but you are weighty for your
size, old gentleman!  And what may your name be?'

'Sir Buzz!' snapped the one-span mannikin, still stamping about in a
great rage.

'Upon my word!' quoth the soldier's son once more, 'if _you_ are
all the box contained, I am glad I didn't trouble to carry it
farther.'

'That's not polite,' snarled the mannikin; 'perhaps if you had carried
it the full nine miles you might have found something better; but
that's neither here nor there.  I'm good enough for you, at any rate,
and will serve you faithfully according to my mistress's orders.'

'Serve me!--then I wish to goodness you'd serve me with some dinner,
for I am mighty hungry!  Here are four shillings to pay for it.'

No sooner had the soldier's son said this and given the money, than
with a _whiz! boom! bing!_ like a big bee, Sir Buzz flew through
the air to a confectioner's shop in the nearest town.  There he stood,
the one-span mannikin, with the span and a quarter beard trailing on
the ground, just by the big preserving pan, and cried in ever so loud
a voice, 'Ho! ho!  Sir Confectioner, bring me sweets!'

The confectioner looked round the shop, and out of the door, and down
the street, but could see no one, for tiny Sir Buzz was quite hidden
by the preserving pan.  Then the mannikin called out louder still,
'Ho! ho!  Sir Confectioner, bring me sweets!'  And when the
confectioner looked in vain for his customer, Sir Buzz grew angry, and
ran and pinched him on the legs, and kicked him on the foot, saying,
'Impudent knave! do you mean to say you can't see _me?_ Why, I
was standing by the preserving pan all the time!'

The confectioner apologised humbly, and hurried away to bring out his
best sweets for his irritable little customer.  Then Sir Buzz chose
about a hundredweight of them, and said, 'Quick, tie them up in
something and give them into my hand; I'll carry them home.'

'They will be a good weight, sir,' smiled the confectioner.

'What business is that of yours, I should like to know?' snapped Sir
Buzz.  'Just you do as you're told, and here is your money.'  So
saying he jingled the four shillings in his pocket.

'As you please, sir,' replied the man cheerfully, as he tied up the
sweets into a huge bundle and placed it on the little mannikin's
outstretched hand, fully expecting him to sink under the weight; when
lo! with a _boom! bing!_ he whizzed off with the money still in
his pocket.

He alighted at a corn-chandler's shop, and, standing behind a basket
of flour, called out at the top of his voice, 'Ho! ho!  Sir Chandler,
bring me flour!'

And when the corn-chandler looked round the shop, and out of the
window, and down the street, without seeing anybody, the one-span
mannikin, with his beard trailing on the ground, cried again louder
than before, 'Ho! ho!  Sir Chandler, bring me flour!'

Then on receiving no answer, he flew into a violent rage, and ran and
bit the unfortunate corn-chandler on the leg, pinched him, and kicked
him, saying, 'Impudent varlet! don't pretend you couldn't see
_me!_ Why, I was standing close beside you behind that basket!'

So the corn-chandler apologised humbly for his mistake, and asked Sir
Buzz how much flour he wanted.

'Two hundredweight,' replied the mannikin, 'two hundredweight, neither
more nor less.  Tie it up in a bundle, and I'll take it with me.'

'Your honour has a cart or beast of burden with you, doubtless?' said
the chandler, 'for two hundredweight is a heavy load.'

'What's that to you?' shrieked Sir Buzz, stamping his foot, 'isn't it
enough if I pay for it?'  And then he jingled the money in his pocket
again.

So the corn-chandler tied up the flour in a bundle, and placed it in
the mannikin's outstretched hand, fully expecting it would crush him,
when, with a whiz!  Sir Buzz flew off, with the shillings still in his
pocket. _Boom! bing! boom!_

The soldier's son was just wondering what had become of his one-span
servant, when, with a whir! the little fellow alighted beside him, and
wiping his face with his handkerchief, as if he were dreadfully hot
and tired, said thoughtfully, 'Now I do hope I've brought enough, but
you men have such terrible appetites!'

'More than enough, I should say,' laughed the lad, looking at the huge
bundles.

Then Sir Buzz cooked the girdle-cakes, and the soldier's son ate three
of them and a handful of sweets; but the one-span mannikin gobbled up
all the rest, saying at each mouthful, 'You men have such terrible
appetites--such terrible appetites!'

After that, the soldier's son and his servant Sir Buzz travelled ever
so far, until they came to the King's city.  Now the King had a
daughter called Princess Blossom, who was so lovely, and tender, and
slim, and fair, that she only weighed five flowers.  Every morning she
was weighed in golden scales, and the scale always turned when the
fifth flower was put in, neither less nor more.

Now it so happened that the soldier's son by chance caught a glimpse
of the lovely, tender, slim, and fair Princess Blossom, and, of
course, he fell desperately in love with her.  He would neither sleep
nor eat his dinner, and did nothing all day long but say to his
faithful mannikin, 'Oh, dearest Sir Buzz! oh, kind Sir Buzz!--carry me
to the Princess Blossom, that I may see and speak to her.'

'Carry you!' snapped the little fellow scornfully, 'that's a likely
story!  Why, you're ten times as big as I am.  You should carry
_me!_'

Nevertheless, when the soldier's son begged and prayed, growing pale
and pining away with thinking of the Princess Blossom, Sir Buzz, who
had a kind heart, was moved, and bade the lad sit on his hand.  Then
with a tremendous _boom! bing! boom!_ they whizzed away and were
in the palace in a second.  Being night-time, the Princess was asleep;
nevertheless the booming wakened her and she was quite frightened to
see a handsome young man kneeling beside her.  She began of course to
scream, but stopped at once when the soldier's son with the greatest
politeness, and in the most elegant of language, begged her not to be
alarmed.  And after that they talked together about everything
delightful, while Sir Buzz stood at the door and did sentry; but he
stood a brick up on end first, so that he might not seem to pry upon
the young people.

Now when the dawn was just breaking, the soldier's son and Princess
Blossom, wearied of talking, fell asleep; whereupon Sir Buzz, being a
faithful servant, said to himself, 'Now what is to be done?  If my
master remains here asleep, some one will discover him, and he will be
killed as sure as my name is Buzz; but if I wake him, ten to one he
will refuse to go.'

[Illustration:  Soldier's son kneeling beside Princess Blossom's bed
as they talk]

So without more ado he put his hand under the bed, and _bing!
boom!_ carried it into a large garden outside the town.  There he
set it down in the shade of the biggest tree, and pulling up the next
biggest one by the roots, threw it over his shoulder, and marched up
and down keeping guard.

Before long the whole town was in a commotion, because the Princess
Blossom had been carried off, and all the world and his wife turned
out to look for her.  By and by the one-eyed Chief Constable came to
the garden gate.

'What do you want here?' cried valiant Sir Buzz, making passes at him
with the tree.

The Chief Constable with his one eye could see nothing save the
branches, but he replied sturdily, 'I want the Princess Blossom!'

'I'll blossom you!  Get out of _my_ garden, will you?' shrieked
the one-span mannikin, with his one and quarter span beard trailing on
the ground; and with that he belaboured the Constable's pony so hard
with the tree that it bolted away, nearly throwing its rider.

The poor man went straight to the King, saying, 'Your Majesty!  I am
convinced your Majesty's daughter, the Princess Blossom, is in your
Majesty's garden, just outside the town, as there is a tree there
which fights terribly.'

Upon this the King summoned all his horses and men, and going to the
garden tried to get in; but Sir Buzz behind the tree routed them all,
for half were killed, and the rest ran away.  The noise of the battle,
however, awoke the young couple, and as they were now convinced they
could no longer exist apart, they determined to fly together.  So when
the fight was over, the soldier's son, the Princess Blossom, and Sir
Buzz set out to see the world.

Now the soldier's son was so enchanted with his good luck in winning
the Princess, that he said to Sir Buzz, 'My fortune is made already;
so I shan't want you any more, and you can go back to your mistress.'

'Pooh!' said Sir Buzz.  'Young people always think so; however, have
it your own way, only take this hair out of my beard, and if you
_should_ get into trouble, just burn it in the fire.  I'll come
to your aid.'

So Sir Buzz boomed off, and the soldier's son and the Princess Blossom
lived and travelled together very happily, until at last they lost
their way in a forest, and wandered about for some time without any
food.  When they were nearly starving, a Brâhman found them, and
hearing their story said, 'Alas! you poor children!--come home with
me, and I will give you something to eat.'

Now had he said 'I will eat you,' it would have been much nearer the
mark, for he was no Brâhman, but a dreadful vampire, who loved to
devour handsome young men and slender girls.  But, knowing nothing of
all this, the couple went home with him quite cheerfully.  He was most
polite, and when they arrived at his house, said, 'Please get ready
whatever you want to eat, for I have no cook.  Here are my keys; open
all my cupboards save the one with the golden key.  Meanwhile I will
go and gather firewood.'

Then the Princess Blossom began to prepare the food, while the
soldier's son opened all the cupboards.  In them he saw lovely jewels,
and dresses, and cups and platters, such bags of gold and silver, that
his curiosity got the better of his discretion, and, regardless of the
Brâhman's warning, he said, 'I _will_ see what wonderful thing is
hidden in the cupboard with the golden key.'  So he opened it, and lo!
it was full of human skulls, picked quite clean, and beautifully
polished.  At this dreadful sight the soldier's son flew back to the
Princess Blossom, and said, 'We are lost! we are lost!--this is no
Brâhman, but a horrid vampire!'

At that moment they heard him at the door, and the Princess, who was
very brave and kept her wits about her, had barely time to thrust the
magic hair into the fire, before the vampire, with sharp teeth and
fierce eyes, appeared.  But at the selfsame moment a _boom! boom!
binging_ noise was heard in the air, coming nearer and nearer.
Whereupon the vampire, who knew very well who his enemy was, changed
into a heavy rain pouring down in torrents, hoping thus to drown Sir
Buzz, but _he_ changed into the storm wind beating back the
rain.  Then the vampire changed to a dove, but Sir Buzz, pursuing it
as a hawk, pressed it so hard that it had barely time to change into a
rose, and drop into King Indra's lap as he sat in his celestial court
listening to the singing of some dancing girls.  Then Sir Buzz, quick
as thought, changed into an old musician, and standing beside the bard
who was thrumming the guitar, said, 'Brother, you are tired; let
_me_ play.'

And he played so wonderfully, and sang with such piercing sweetness,
that King Indra said, 'What shall I give you as a reward?  Name what
you please, and it shall be yours.'

Then Sir Buzz said, 'I only ask the rose that is in your Majesty's
lap.'

'I had rather you asked more, or less,' replied King Indra; 'it is but
a rose, yet it fell from heaven; nevertheless it is yours.'

So saying, he threw the rose towards the musician, and lo! the petals
fell in a shower on the ground.  Sir Buzz went down on his knees and
instantly gathered them up; but one petal escaping, changed into a
mouse.  Whereupon Sir Buzz, with the speed of lightning, turned into a
cat, which caught and gobbled up the mouse.

Now all this time the Princess Blossom and the soldier's son,
shivering and shaking, were awaiting the issue of the combat in the
vampire's hut; when suddenly, with a _bing! boom!_ Sir Buzz
arrived victorious, shook his head, and said, 'You two had better go
home, for you are not fit to take care of yourselves.'

Then he gathered together all the jewels and gold in one hand, placed
the Princess and the soldier's son in the other, and whizzed away
home, to where the poor mother--who all this time had been living on
the two shillings--was delighted to see them.

Then with a louder _boom! bing! boom!_ than usual, Sir Buzz,
without even waiting for thanks, whizzed out of sight, and was never
seen or heard of again.

But the soldier's son and the Princess Blossom lived happily ever
after.



THE RAT'S WEDDING


Once upon a time a fat sleek Rat was caught in a shower of rain, and
being far from shelter he set to work and soon dug a nice hole in the
ground, in which he sat as dry as a bone while the raindrops splashed
outside, making little puddles on the road.

Now in the course of his digging he came upon a fine bit of root,
quite dry and fit for fuel, which he set aside carefully--for the Rat
is an economical creature--in order to take it home with him.  So when
the shower was over, he set off with the dry root in his mouth.  As he
went along, daintily picking his way through the puddles, he saw a
poor man vainly trying to light a fire, while a little circle of
children stood by, and cried piteously.

'Goodness gracious!' exclaimed the Rat, who was both soft-hearted and
curious, 'what a dreadful noise to make!  What _is_ the matter?'

'The bairns are hungry,' answered the man; 'they are crying for their
breakfast, but the sticks are damp, the fire won't burn, and so I
can't bake the cakes.'

'If that is all your trouble, perhaps I can help you,' said the
good-natured Rat; 'you are welcome to this dry root, and I'll warrant
it will soon make a fine blaze.'

The poor man, with a thousand thanks, took the dry root, and in his
turn presented the Rat with a morsel of dough, as a reward for his
kindness and generosity.

'What a remarkably lucky fellow I am!' thought the Rat, as he trotted
off gaily with his prize, 'and clever too!  Fancy making a bargain
like that--food enough to last me five days in return for a rotten
old stick! _Wah! wah! wah!_ what it is to have brains!'

Going along, hugging his good fortune in this way, he came presently
to a potter's yard, where the potter, leaving his wheel to spin round
by itself, was trying to pacify his three little children, who were
screaming and crying as if they would burst.

'My gracious!' cried the Rat, stopping his ears, 'what a noise!--do
tell me what it is all about.'

'I suppose they are hungry,' replied the potter ruefully; 'their
mother has gone to get flour in the bazaar, for there is none in the
house.  In the meantime I can neither work nor rest because of them.'

'Is that all!' answered the officious Rat; 'then I can help you.  Take
this dough, cook it quickly, and stop their mouths with food.'

The potter overwhelmed the Rat with thanks for his obliging kindness,
and choosing out a nice well-burnt pipkin, insisted on his accepting
it as a remembrance.

The Rat was delighted at the exchange, and though the pipkin was just
a trifle awkward for him to manage, he succeeded after infinite
trouble in balancing it on his head, and went away gingerly,
_tink-a-tink_, _tink-a-tink,_ down the road, with his tail
over his arm for fear he should trip on it.  And all the time he kept
saying to himself, 'What a lucky fellow I am! and clever too!  Such a
hand at a bargain!'

By and by he came to where some neatherds were herding their cattle.
One of them was milking a buffalo, and having no pail he used his
shoes instead.

'Oh fie! oh fie!' cried the cleanly Rat, quite shocked at the sight.
'What a nasty dirty trick!--why don't you use a pail?'

'For the best of all reasons--we haven't got one!' growled the
neatherd, who did not see why the Rat should put his finger in the
pie.

'If that is all,' replied the dainty Rat, 'oblige me by using this
pipkin, for I cannot bear dirt!'

The neatherd, nothing loath, took the pipkin, and milked away until it
was brimming over; then turning to the Rat, who stood looking on,
said, 'Here, little fellow, you may have a drink, in payment.'

But if the Rat was good-natured he was also shrewd.  'No, no, my
friend,' said he, 'that will not do!  As if I could drink the worth of
my pipkin at a draught!  My dear sir, _I couldn't hold it!_
Besides, I never make a bad bargain, so I expect you at least to give
me the buffalo that gave the milk.'

'Nonsense!' cried the neatherd; 'a buffalo for a pipkin!  Who ever
heard of such a price?  And what on earth could _you_ do with a
buffalo when you got it?  Why, the pipkin was about as much as you
could manage.'

At this the Rat drew himself up with dignity, for he did not like
allusions to his size.

'That is my affair, not yours,' he retorted; 'your business is to hand
over the buffalo.'

So just for the fun of the thing, and to amuse themselves at the Rat's
expense, the neatherds loosed the buffalo's halter and began to tie it
to the little animal's tail.

'No! no!' he called, in a great hurry; 'if the beast pulled, the skin
of my tail would come off, and then where should I be?  Tie it round
my neck, if you please.'

So with much laughter the neatherds tied the halter round the Rat's
neck, and he, after a polite leave-taking, set off gaily towards home
with his prize; that is to say, he set off with the _rope_, for
no sooner did he come to the end of the tether than he was brought up
with a round turn; the buffalo, nose down grazing away, would not
budge until it had finished its tuft of grass, and then seeing another
in a different direction marched off towards it, while the Rat, to
avoid being dragged, had to trot humbly behind, willy-nilly.

He was too proud to confess the truth, of course, and, nodding his
head knowingly to the neatherds, said, 'Ta-ta, good people!  I am
going home this way.  It may be a little longer, but it's much
shadier.'

And when the neatherds roared with laughter he took no notice, but
trotted on, looking as dignified as possible.

'After all,' he reasoned to himself, 'when one keeps a buffalo one has
to look after its grazing.  A beast must get a good bellyful of grass
if it is to give any milk, and I have plenty of time at my disposal.'

So all day long he trotted about after the buffalo, making believe;
but by evening he was dead tired, and felt truly thankful when the
great big beast, having eaten enough, lay down under a tree to chew
the cud.

Just then a bridal party came by.  The bridegroom and his friends had
evidently gone on to the next village, leaving the bride's palanquin
to follow; so the palanquin bearers, being lazy fellows and seeing a
nice shady tree, put down their burden, and began to cook some food.

'What detestable meanness!' grumbled one;' a grand wedding, and
nothing but plain rice pottage to eat!  Not a scrap of meat in it,
neither sweet nor salt!  It would serve the skinflints right if we
upset the bride into a ditch!'

'Dear me!' cried the Rat at once, seeing a way out of his difficulty,
'that _is_ a shame!  I sympathise with your feelings so entirely
that if you will allow me I'll give you my buffalo.  You can kill it,
and cook it.'

'_Your_ buffalo!' returned the discontented bearers, 'what
rubbish!  Whoever heard of a rat owning a buffalo?'

'Not often, I admit,' replied the Rat with conscious pride; 'but look
for yourselves.  Can you not see that I am leading the beast by a
string?'

'Oh, never mind the string!' cried a great big hungry bearer; 'master
or no master, I mean to have meat to my dinner!'

Whereupon they killed the buffalo, and, cooking its flesh, ate their
dinner with relish; then, offering the remains to the Rat, said
carelessly, 'Here, little Rat-skin, that is for you!'

'Now look here!' cried the Rat hotly; 'I'll have none of your pottage,
nor your sauce either.  You don't suppose I am going to give my best
buffalo, that gave quarts and quarts of milk--the buffalo I have been
feeding all day--for a wee bit of rice?  No!--I got a loaf for a bit
of stick; I got a pipkin for a little loaf; I got a buffalo for a
pipkin; and now I'll have the bride for my buffalo--the bride, and
nothing else!'

By this time the servants, having satisfied their hunger, began to
reflect on what they had done, and becoming alarmed at the
consequences, arrived at the conclusion it would be wisest to make
their escape whilst they could.  So, leaving the bride in her
palanquin, they took to their heels in various directions.

The Rat, being as it were left in possession, advanced to the
palanquin, and drawing aside the curtain, with the sweetest of voices
and best of bows begged the bride to descend.  She hardly knew whether
to laugh or to cry, but as any company, even a Rat's, was better than
being quite alone in the wilderness, she did as she was bidden, and
followed the lead of her guide, who set off as fast as he could for
his hole.

As he trotted along beside the lovely young bride, who, by her rich
dress and glittering jewels, seemed to be some king's daughter, he
kept saying to himself, 'How clever I am!  What bargains I do make, to
be sure!'

When they arrived at his hole, the Rat stepped forward with the
greatest politeness, and said, 'Welcome, madam, to my humble abode!
Pray step in, or if you will allow me, and as the passage is somewhat
dark, I will show you the way.'

[Illustration:  The rat at the palanquin]

Whereupon he ran in first, but after a time, finding the bride did not
follow, he put his nose out again, saying testily, 'Well, madam, why
don't you follow?  Don't you know it's rude to keep your husband
waiting?'

'My good sir,' laughed the handsome young bride, 'I can't squeeze into
that little hole!'

The Rat coughed; then after a moment's thought he replied, 'There is
some truth in your remark--you _are_ overgrown, and I suppose I
shall have to build you a thatch somewhere.  For to-night you can rest
under that wild plum-tree.'

'But I am so hungry!' said the bride ruefully.

'Dear, dear! everybody seems hungry to-day!' returned the Rat
pettishly; 'however, that's easily settled--I'll fetch you some supper
in a trice.'

So he ran into his hole, returning immediately with an ear of millet
and a dry pea.

'There!' said he, triumphantly, 'isn't that a fine meal?'

'I can't eat that!' whimpered the bride; 'it isn't a mouthful; and I
want rice pottage, and cakes, and sweet eggs, and sugar-drops.  I
shall die if I don't get them!'

'Oh dear me!' cried the Rat in a rage, 'what a nuisance a bride is, to
be sure!  Why don't you eat the wild plums?'

'I can't live on wild plums!' retorted the weeping bride; 'nobody
could; besides, they are only half ripe, and I can't reach them.'

'Rubbish!' cried the Rat; 'ripe or unripe, they must do you for
to-night, and to-morrow you can gather a basketful, sell them in the
city, and buy sugar-drops and sweet eggs to your heart's content!'

So the next morning the Rat climbed up into the plum-tree, and nibbled
away at the stalks till the fruit fell down into the bride's veil.
Then, unripe as they were, she carried them into the city, calling out
through the streets--

  'Green plums I sell! green plums I sell!
  Princess am I, Rat's bride as well!'

As she passed by the palace, her mother the Queen heard her voice,
and, running out, recognised her daughter.  Great were the rejoicings,
for every one thought the poor bride had been eaten by wild beasts.
In the midst of the feasting and merriment, the Rat, who had followed
the Princess at a distance, and had become alarmed at her long
absence, arrived at the door, against which he beat with a big knobby
stick, calling out fiercely, 'Give me my wife! give me my wife!  She
is mine by fair bargain.  I gave a stick and I got a loaf; I gave a
loaf and I got a pipkin; I gave a pipkin and I got a buffalo; I gave a
buffalo and I got a bride.  Give me my wife! give me my wife!'

'La! son-in-law! what a fuss you do make!' said the wily old Queen,
through the door, 'and all about nothing!  Who wants to run away with
your wife?  On the contrary, we are proud to see you, and I only keep
you waiting at the door till we can spread the carpets, and receive
you in style.'

Hearing this, the Rat was mollified, and waited patiently outside
whilst the cunning old Queen prepared for his reception, which she did
by cutting a hole in the very middle of a stool, putting a red-hot
stone underneath, covering it over with a stew-pan-lid, and then
spreading a beautiful embroidered cloth over all.

Then she went to the door, and receiving the Rat with the greatest
respect, led him to the stool, praying him to be seated.

'Dear! dear! how clever I am!  What bargains I do make, to be sure!'
said he to himself as he climbed on to the stool.  'Here I am,
son-in-law to a real live Queen!  What will the neighbours say?'

At first he sat down on the edge of the stool, but even there it was
warm, and after a while he began to fidget, saying, 'Dear me,
mother-in-law! how hot your house is!  Everything I touch seems
burning!'

'You are out of the wind there, my son,' replied the cunning old
Queen; 'sit more in the middle of the stool, and then you will feel
the breeze and get cooler.'

But he didn't! for the stewpan-lid by this time had become so hot,
that the Rat fairly frizzled when he sat down on it; and it was not
until he had left all his tail, half his hair, and a large piece of
his skin behind him, that he managed to escape, howling with pain, and
vowing that never, never, never again would he make a bargain!



THE FAITHFUL PRINCE


Long ago there lived a King who had an only son, by name Prince
Bahrâmgor, who was as splendid as the noonday sun, and as beautiful as
the midnight moon.  Now one day the Prince went a-hunting, and he
hunted to the north, but found no game; he hunted to the south, yet no
quarry arose; he hunted to the east, and still found nothing.  Then he
turned towards the setting sun, when suddenly from a thicket flashed a
golden deer.  Burnished gold were its hoofs and horns, rich gold its
body.  Dazzled by the wonderful sight, the astonished Prince bade his
retainers form a circle round the beautiful strange creature, and so
gradually enclose and secure it.

'Remember,' said the Prince, 'I hold him towards whom the deer may run
to be responsible for its escape, or capture.'

Closer and closer drew the glittering circle of horsemen, while in the
centre stood the golden deer, until, with marvellous speed, it fled
straight towards the Prince, But he was swifter still, and caught it
by the golden horns.  Then the creature found human voice, and cried,
'Let me go, oh!  Prince Bahrâmgor and I will give you countless
treasures!'

But the Prince laughed, saying, 'Not so!  I have gold and jewels
galore, but never a golden deer.'

'Let me go,' pleaded the deer, 'and I will give you more than
treasures!'

'And what may that be?' asked the Prince, still laughing.

'I will give you a ride on my back such as never mortal man rode
before,' replied the deer.

'Done!' cried the gay Prince, vaulting lightly to the deer's back; and
immediately, like a bird from a thicket, the strange glittering
creature rose through the air till it was lost to sight.  For seven
days and seven nights it carried the Prince over all the world, so
that he could see everything like a picture passing below, and on the
evening of the seventh day it touched the earth once more, and
instantly vanished.  Prince Bahrâmgor rubbed his eyes in bewilderment,
for he had never been in such a strange country before.  Everything
seemed new and unfamiliar.  He wandered about for some time looking
for the trace of a house or a footprint, when suddenly from the ground
at his feet popped a wee old man.

'How did you come here? and what are you looking for, my son?' quoth
he politely.

So Prince Bahrâmgor told him how he had ridden thither on a golden
deer, which had disappeared, and how he was now quite lost and
bewildered in this strange country.

'Do not be alarmed, my son,' returned the wee old man; 'it is true you
are in Demonsland, but no one shall hurt you, for I am the demon
Jasdrûl whose life you saved when I was on the earth in the shape of a
golden deer.'

Then the demon Jasdrûl took Prince Bahrâmgor to his house, and treated
him right royally, giving him a hundred keys, and saying, 'These are
the keys of my palaces and gardens.  Amuse yourself by looking at
them, and mayhap somewhere you may find a treasure worth having.'

So every day Prince Bahrâmgor opened a new garden, and examined a new
palace, and in one he found rooms full of gold, and in another jewels,
and in a third rich stuffs, in fact everything the heart could desire,
until he came to the hundredth palace, and that he found was a mere
hovel, full of all poisonous things, herbs, stones, snakes, and
insects.  But the garden in which it stood was by far the most
magnificent of all.  It was seven miles this way, and seven miles
that, full of tall trees and bright flowers, lakes, streams,
fountains, and summer-houses.  Gay butterflies flitted about, and
birds sang in it all day and all night.  The Prince, enchanted,
wandered seven miles this way, and seven miles that, until he was so
tired that he lay down to rest in a marble summer-house, where he
found a golden bed, all spread with silken shawls.  Now while he
slept, the Fairy Princess Shâhpasand, who was taking the air,
fairy-fashion, in the shape of a pigeon, happened to fly over the
garden, and catching sight of the beautiful, splendid, handsome young
Prince, she sank to earth in sheer astonishment at beholding such a
lovely sight, and, resuming her natural shape--as fairies always do
when they touch the ground--she stooped over the young man and gave
him a kiss.

He woke up in a hurry, and what was his astonishment on seeing the
most beautiful Princess in the world kneeling gracefully beside him!

'Dearest Prince!' cried the maiden, clasping her hands,'I have been
looking for you everywhere!'

Now the very same thing befell Prince Bahrâmgor that had happened to
the Princess Shâhpasand--that is to say, no sooner did he set eyes on
her than he fell desperately in love, and so, of course, they agreed
to get married without any delay.  Nevertheless, the Prince thought it
best first to consult his host, the demon Jasdrûl, seeing how powerful
he was in Demonsland.  To the young man's delight, the demon not only
gave his consent, but appeared greatly pleased, rubbing his hands and
saying, 'Now you will remain with me and be so happy that you will
never think of returning to your own country any more.'

So Prince Bahrâmgor and the Fairy Princess Shâhpasand were married,
and lived ever so happily, for ever so long a time.

At last the thought of the home he had left came back to the Prince,
and he began to think longingly of his father the King, his mother the
Queen, and of his favourite horse and hound.  Then from thinking of
them he fell to speaking of them to the Princess, his wife, and then
from speaking he took to sighing and sighing and refusing his dinner,
until he became quite pale and thin.  Now the demon Jasdrûl used to
sit every night in a little echoing room below the Prince and
Princess's chamber, and listen to what they said, so as to be sure
they were happy; and when he heard the Prince talking of his far-away
home on the earth, he sighed too, for he was a kindhearted demon, and
loved his handsome young Prince.

At last he asked Prince Bahrâmgor what was the cause of his growing so
pale and sighing so often--for so amiable was the young man that he
would rather have died of grief than have committed the rudeness of
telling his host he was longing to get away; but when he was asked he
said piteously, 'Oh, good demon! let me go home and see my father the
King, my mother the Queen, my horse and my hound, for I am very
weary.  Let me and my Princess go, or assuredly I shall die!'

At first the demon refused, but at last he took pity on the Prince,
and said, 'Be it so; nevertheless you will soon repent and long to be
back in Demonsland; for the world has changed since you left it, and
you will have trouble.  Take this hair with you, and when you need
help, burn it, then I will come immediately to your assistance.'

Then the demon Jasdrûl said a regretful goodbye, and, Hey presto!--
Prince Bahrâmgor found himself standing outside his native city, with
his beautiful bride beside him.

But, alas! as the good-natured demon had foretold, everything was
changed.  His father and mother were both dead, a usurper sat on the
throne, and had put a price on Bahrâmgor's head should he ever return
from his mysterious journey.  Luckily no one recognised the young
Prince (so much had he changed during his residence in Demonsland)
save his old huntsman, who, though overjoyed to see his master once
more, said it was as much as his life was worth to give the Prince
shelter; still, being a faithful servant, he agreed to let the young
couple live in the garret of his house.

'My old mother, who is blind,' he said, 'will never see you coming and
going; and as you used to be fond of sport, you can help me to hunt,
as I used to help you.'

So the splendid Prince Bahrâmgor and his lovely Princess hid in the
garret of the huntsman's house, and no one knew they were there.  Now
one fine day, when the Prince had gone out to hunt, as servant to the
huntsman, Princess Shâhpasand took the opportunity of washing her
beautiful golden hair, which hung round her ivory neck and down to her
pretty ankles like a shower of sunshine, and when she had washed it
she combed it, and set the window ajar so that the breeze might blow
in and dry her hair.

Just at this moment the Chief Constable of the town happened to pass
by, and hearing the window open, looked up and saw the lovely
Shâhpasand, with her glittering golden hair.  He was so overcome at
the sight that he fell right off his horse into the gutter.  His
servants, thinking he had a fit, picked him up and carried him back to
his house, where he never ceased raving about a beautiful fairy with
golden hair in the huntsman's garret.  This set everybody wondering
whether he had been bewitched, and the story meeting the King's ear,
he sent down some soldiers to make inquiries at the huntsman's house.

'No one lives here!' said the huntsman's cross old mother, 'no
beautiful lady, nor ugly one either, nor any person at all, save me
and my son.  However, go to the garret and look for yourselves.'

Hearing these words of the old woman, Princess Shâhpasand bolted the
door, and, seizing a knife, cut a hole in the wooden roof.  Then,
taking the form of a pigeon, she flew out, so that when the soldiers
burst open the door they found no one in the garret.

The poor Princess was greatly distressed at having to leave her
beautiful young Prince in this hurried way, and as she flew past the
blind old crone she whispered in her ear, 'I go to my father's house
in the Emerald Mountain.'

In the evening when Prince Bahrâmgor returned from hunting, great was
his grief at finding the garret empty!  Nor could the blind old crone
tell him much of what had occurred; still, when he heard of the
mysterious voice which whispered, 'I go to my father's house in the
Emerald Mountain,' he was at first somewhat comforted.  Afterwards,
when he reflected that he had not the remotest idea where the Emerald
Mountain was to be found, he fell into a very sad state, and casting
himself on the ground he sobbed and sighed; he refused his dinner, and
never ceased crying, 'Oh, my dearest Princess! my dearest Princess!'

At last he remembered the magic hair, and taking it from its
hiding-place threw it into the fire.  It had scarcely begun to burn
when, Hey presto!--the demon Jasdrûl appeared, and asked him what he
wanted.

'Show me the way to the Emerald Mountain,' cried the Prince.

Then the kind-hearted demon shook his head sorrowfully, saying, 'You
would never reach it alive, my son.  Be guided by me,--forget all that
has passed, and begin a new life.'

'I have but one life,' answered the faithful Prince, 'and that is gone
if I lose my dearest Princess!  As I must die, let me die seeking
her.'

Then the demon Jasdrûl was touched by the constancy of the splendid
young Prince, and promised to aid him as far as possible.  So he
carried the young man back to Demonsland, and giving him a magic wand,
bade him travel over the country until he came to the demon Nanâk
Chand's house.

'You will meet with many dangers by the way,' said his old friend,
'but keep the magic wand in your hand day and night, and nothing will
harm you.  That is all I can do for you, but Nanâk Chand, who is my
elder brother, can help you farther on your way.'

So Prince Bahrâmgor travelled through Demonsland, and because he held
the magic wand in his hand day and night, no harm came to him.  At
last he arrived at the demon Nanâk Chand's house, just as the demon
had awakened from sleep, which, according to the habit of demons, had
lasted for twelve years.  Naturally he was desperately hungry, and on
catching sight of the Prince, thought what a dainty morsel he would be
for breakfast; nevertheless, though his mouth watered, the demon
restrained his appetite when he saw the wand, and asked the Prince
politely what he wanted.  But when the demon Nanâk Chand had heard the
whole story, he shook his head, saying, 'You will never reach the
Emerald Mountain, my son.  Be guided by me,--forget all that has
passed, and begin a new life.'

Then the splendid young Prince answered as before, 'I have but one
life, and that is gone if I lose my dearest Princess!  If I must die,
let me die seeking her.'

This answer touched the demon Nanâk Chand, and he gave the faithful
Prince a box of powdered antimony, and bade him travel on through
Demonsland till he came to the house of the great demon Safed.  'For,'
said he, 'Safed is my eldest brother, and if anybody can do what you
want, he will.  If you are in need, rub the powder on your eyes, and
whatever you wish near will be near, but whatever you wish far will be
far.'

So the constant Prince travelled on through all the dangers and
difficulties of Demonsland, till he reached the demon Safed's house,
to whom he told his story, showing the powder and the magic wand,
which had brought him so far in safety.

But the great demon Safed shook his head, saying, 'You will never
reach the Emerald Mountain alive, my son.  Be guided by me,--forget
all that has passed, and begin a new life.'

Still the faithful Prince gave the same answer, 'I have but one life,
and that is gone if I lose my dearest Princess!  If I must die, let me
die seeking her.'

Then the great demon nodded his head approvingly, and said, 'You are a
brave lad, and I must do my best for you.  Take this _yech_-cap:
whenever you put it on you will become invisible.  Journey to the
north, and after a while in the far distance you will see the Emerald
Mountain.  Then put the powder on your eyes and wish the mountain
near, for it is an enchanted hill, and the farther you climb the
higher it grows.  On the summit lies the Emerald City:  enter it by
means of your invisible cap, and find the Princess--if you can.'

So the Prince journeyed joyfully to the north, until in the far far
distance he saw the glittering Emerald Mountain.  Then he rubbed the
powder on his eyes, and behold! what he desired was near, and the
Emerald City lay before him, looking as if it had been cut out of a
single jewel.  But the Prince thought of nothing save his dearest
Princess, and wandered up and down the gleaming city protected by his
invisible cap.  Still he could not find her.  The fact was, the
Princess Shâhpasand's father had locked her up inside seven prisons,
for fear she should fly away again, for he doated on her, and was in
terror lest she should escape back to earth and her handsome young
Prince, of whom she never ceased talking.

'If your husband comes to you, well and good,' said the old man, 'but
you shall never go back to him.'

So the poor Princess wept all day long inside her seven prisons, for
how could mortal man ever reach the Emerald Mountain?

Now the Prince, whilst roaming disconsolately about the city, noticed
a servant woman who every day at a certain hour entered a certain door
with a tray of sweet dishes on her head.  Being curious, he took
advantage of his invisible cap, and when she opened the door he
slipped in behind her.  Nothing was to be seen but a large door,
which, after shutting and locking the outer one, the servant opened.
Again Prince Bahrâmgor slipped in behind her, and again saw nothing
but a huge door.  And so on he went through all the seven doors, till
he came to the seventh prison, and there sat the beautiful Princess
Shâhpasand, weeping salt tears.  At the sight of her he could scarcely
refrain from flinging himself at her feet, but remembering that he was
invisible, he waited till the servant after putting down the tray
retired, locking all the seven prisons one by one.  Then he sat down
by the Princess and began to eat out of the same dish with her.

She, poor thing, had not the appetite of a sparrow, and scarcely ate
anything, so when she saw the contents of the dish disappearing, she
thought she must be dreaming.  But when the whole had vanished, she
became convinced some one was in the room with her, and cried out
faintly, 'Who eats in the same dish with me?'

Then Prince Bahrâmgor lifted the _yech_-cap from his forehead, so
that he was no longer quite invisible, but showed like a figure seen
in early dawn.  At this the Princess wept bitterly, calling him by
name, thinking she had seen his ghost, but as he lifted the
_yech_-cap more and more, and, growing from a shadow to real
flesh and blood, clasped her in his arms, her tears changed to radiant
smiles.

Great was the astonishment of the servant next day when she found the
handsome young Prince seated beside his dearest Princess.  She ran to
tell the King, who, on hearing the whole story from his daughter's
lips, was very much pleased at the courage and constancy of Prince
Bahrâmgor, and ordered Princess Shâhpasand to be released at once;
'For,' he said, 'now her husband has found his way to her, my daughter
will not want to go to him.'

Then he appointed the Prince to be his heir, and the faithful Prince
Bahrâmgor and his beautiful bride lived happily ever afterwards in the
Emerald kingdom.



THE BEAR'S BAD BARGAIN


[Illustration:  The woodman in front of his hut]

Once upon a time, a very old woodman lived with his very old wife in a
tiny hut close to the orchard of a rich man,--so close that the
boughs of a pear-tree hung right over the cottage yard.  Now it was
agreed between the rich man and the woodman, that if any of the fruit
fell into the yard, the old couple were to be allowed to eat it; so
you may imagine with what hungry eyes they watched the pears ripening,
and prayed for a storm of wind, or a flock of flying foxes, or
anything which would cause the fruit to fall.  But nothing came, and
the old wife, who was a grumbling, scolding old thing, declared they
would infallibly become beggars.  So she took to giving her husband
nothing but dry bread to eat, and insisted on his working harder than
ever, till the poor old soul got quite thin; and all because the pears
would not fall down!  At last, the woodman turned round and declared
he would not work any more unless his wife gave him _khichrî_ to
his dinner; so with a very bad grace the old woman took some rice and
pulse, some butter and spices, and began to cook a savoury
_khichrî_.  What an appetising smell it had, to be sure!  The
woodman was for gobbling it up as soon as ever it was ready.  'No,
no,' cried the greedy old wife, 'not till you have brought me in
another load of wood; and mind it is a good one.  You must work for
your dinner.'

So the old man set off to the forest and began to hack and to hew with
such a will that he soon had quite a large bundle, and with every
faggot he cut he seemed to smell the savoury _khichrî_ and think
of the feast that was coming.

Just then a bear came swinging by, with its great black nose tilted in
the air, and its little keen eyes peering about; for bears, though
good enough fellows on the whole, are just dreadfully inquisitive.

'Peace be with you, friend!' said the bear, 'and what may you be going
to do with that remarkably large bundle of wood?'

'It is for my wife,' returned the woodman.  'The fact is,' he added
confidentially, smacking his lips, 'she has made _such_ a
_khichrî_ for dinner! and if I bring in a good bundle of wood she
is pretty sure to give me a plentiful portion.  Oh, my dear fellow,
you should just smell that _khichrî_!'

At this the bear's mouth began to water, for, like all bears, he was a
dreadful glutton.

[Illustration:  The woodman talking to the bear]

'Do you think your wife would give me some too, if I brought her a
bundle of wood?' he asked anxiously.

'Perhaps; if it was a very big load,' answered the woodman craftily.

'Would--would four hundredweight be enough?' asked the bear.

'I'm afraid not,' returned the woodman, shaking his head; 'you see
_khichrî>_ is an expensive dish to make,--there is rice in it,
and plenty of butter, and pulse, and--'

'Would--would eight hundredweight do?'

'Say half a ton, and it's a bargain!' quoth the woodman.

'Half a ton is a large quantity!' sighed the bear.

'There is saffron in the _khichrî_,' remarked the woodman
casually.

The bear licked his lips, and his little eyes twinkled with greed and
delight.

'Well, it's a bargain!  Go home sharp and tell your wife to keep the
_khichrî_ hot; I'll be with you in a trice.'

Away went the woodman in great glee to tell his wife how the bear had
agreed to bring half a ton of wood in return for a share of the
_khichrî_.

Now the wife could not help allowing that her husband had made a good
bargain, but being by nature a grumbler, she was determined not to be
pleased, so she began to scold the old man for not having settled
exactly the share the bear was to have; 'For,' said she, 'he will
gobble up the potful before we have finished our first helping.'

On this the woodman became quite pale.  'In that case,' he said, 'we
had better begin now, and have a fair start.'  So without more ado
they squatted down on the floor, with the brass pot full of
_khichrî_ between them, and began to eat as fast as they could.

'Remember to leave some for the bear, wife,' said the woodman,
speaking with his mouth crammed full.

'Certainly, certainly,' she replied, helping herself to another
handful.

'My dear,' cried the old woman in her turn, with her mouth so full
that she could hardly speak, 'remember the poor bear!'

'Certainly, certainly, my love!' returned the old man, taking another
mouthful.

So it went on, till there was not a single grain left in the pot.

'What's to be done now?' said the woodman; 'it is all your fault,
wife, for eating so much.'

'My fault!' retorted his wife scornfully, 'why, you ate twice as much
as I did!'

'No, I didn't!'

'Yes, you did!--men always eat more than women.'

'No, they don't!'

'Yes, they do!'

'Well, it's no use quarrelling about it now,' said the woodman,' the
_khichrî_'s gone, and the bear will be furious.'

'That wouldn't matter much if we could get the wood,' said the greedy
old woman.  'I'll tell you what we must do,--we must lock up
everything there is to eat in the house, leave the _khichrî_ pot
by the fire, and hide in the garret.  When the bear comes he will
think we have gone out and left his dinner for him.  Then he will
throw down his bundle and come in.  Of course he will rampage a little
when he finds the pot is empty, but he can't do much mischief, and I
don't think he will take the trouble of carrying the wood away.'

So they made haste to lock up all the food and hide themselves in the
garret.

Meanwhile the bear had been toiling and moiling away at his bundle of
wood, which took him much longer to collect than he expected; however,
at last he arrived quite exhausted at the woodcutter's cottage.
Seeing the brass _khichrî_ pot by the fire, he threw down his
load and went in.  And then--mercy! wasn't he angry when he found
nothing in it--not even a grain of rice, nor a tiny wee bit of pulse,
but only a smell that was so uncommonly nice that he actually cried
with rage and disappointment.  He flew into the most dreadful temper,
but though he turned the house topsy-turvy, he could not find a morsel
of food.  Finally, he declared he would take the wood away again, but,
as the crafty old woman had imagined, when he came to the task, he did
not care, even for the sake of revenge, to carry so heavy a burden.

'I won't go away empty-handed,' said he to himself, seizing the
_khichrî_ pot; 'if I can't get the taste I'll have the smell!'

Now, as he left the cottage, he caught sight of the beautiful golden
pears hanging over into the yard.  His mouth began to water at once,
for he was desperately hungry, and the pears were the first of the
season; in a trice he was on the wall, up the tree, and, gathering the
biggest and ripest one he could find, was just putting it into his
mouth, when a thought struck him.

'If I take these pears home I shall be able to sell them for ever so
much to the other bears, and then with the money I shall be able to
buy some _khichrî_.  Ha, ha!  I shall have the best of the
bargain after all!'

So saying, he began to gather the ripe pears as fast as he could and
put them into the _khichrî_ pot, but whenever he came to an
unripe one he would shake his head and say, 'No one would buy that,
yet it is a pity to waste it' So he would pop it into his mouth and
eat it, making wry faces if it was very sour.

Now all this time the woodman's wife had been watching the bear
through a crevice, and holding her breath for fear of discovery; but,
at last, what with being asthmatic, and having a cold in her head, she
could hold it no longer, and just as the _khichrî_ pot was quite
full of golden ripe pears, out she came with the most tremendous
sneeze you ever heard--'_A-h-chc-u!_'

The bear, thinking some one had fired a gun at him, dropped the
_khichrî_ pot into the cottage yard, and fled into the forest as
fast as his legs would carry him.

So the woodman and his wife got the _khichrî_, the wood, and the
coveted pears, but the poor bear got nothing but a very bad
stomach-ache from eating unripe fruit.



PRINCE LIONHEART AND HIS THREE FRIENDS


Once upon a time there lived a King and Queen who would have been as
happy as the day was long had it not been for this one
circumstance,--they had no children.

At last an old _fakîr_, or devotee, coming to the palace, asked
to see the Queen, and giving her some barleycorns, told her to eat
them and cease weeping, for in nine months she would have a beautiful
little son.  The Queen ate the barleycorns, and sure enough after nine
months she bore the most charming, lovely, splendid Prince that ever
was seen, who was called Lionheart, because he was so brave and so
strong.

Now when he grew up to man's estate, Prince Lionheart grew restless
also, and was for ever begging his father the King to allow him to
travel in the wide world and seek adventures.  Then the King would
shake his head, saying _only_ sons were too precious to be turned
adrift; but at last, seeing the young Prince could think of nothing
else, he gave his consent, and Prince Lionheart set off on his
travels, taking no one with him but his three companions, the
Knifegrinder, the Blacksmith, and the Carpenter.

Now when these four valiant young men had gone a short distance, they
came upon a magnificent city, lying deserted and desolate in the
wilderness.  Passing through it they saw tall houses, broad bazaars,
shops still full of goods, everything pointing to a large and wealthy
population; but neither in street nor house was a human being to be
seen.  This astonished them very much, until the Knifegrinder,
clapping his hand to his forehead, said, 'I remember!  This must be
the city I have heard about, where a demon lives who will let no one
dwell in peace.  We had best be off!'

'Not a bit of it!' cried Prince Lionheart.  'At any rate not until
I've had my dinner, for I am just desperately hungry!'

So they went to the shops, and bought all they required, laying the
proper price for each thing on the counters just as if the shopkeepers
had been there.  Then going to the palace, which stood in the middle
of the town, Prince Lionheart bade the Knifegrinder prepare the
dinner, while he and his other companions took a further look at the
city.

No sooner had they set off, than the Knifegrinder, going to the
kitchen, began to cook the food.  It sent up a savoury smell, and the
Knifegrinder was just thinking how nice it would taste, when he saw a
little figure beside him, clad in armour, with sword and lance, riding
on a gaily-caparisoned mouse.

'Give me my dinner!' cried the mannikin, angrily shaking his lance.

'_Your_ dinner!  Come, that is a joke!' quoth the Knifegrinder,
laughing.

'Give it me at once!' cried the little warrior in a louder voice, 'or
I'll hang you to the nearest _pîpal_ tree!'

'Wah! whipper-snapper!' replied the valiant Knifegrinder, 'come a
little nearer, and let me squash you between finger and thumb!'

At these words the mannikin suddenly shot up into a terribly tall
demon, whereupon the Knifegrinder's courage disappeared, and, falling
on his knees, he begged for mercy.  But his piteous cries were of no
use, for in a trice he was hung to the topmost branch of the
_pîpal_ tree.

'I'll teach 'em to cook in my kitchen!' growled the demon, as he
gobbled up all the cakes and savoury stew.  When he had finished every
morsel he disappeared.

Now the Knifegrinder wriggled so desperately that the _pîpal_
branch broke, and he came crashing through the tree to the ground,
without much hurt beyond a great fright and a few bruises.  However,
he was so dreadfully alarmed that he rushed into the sleeping-room,
and rolling himself up in his quilt, shook from head to foot as if he
had the ague.

By and by in came Prince Lionheart and his companions, all three as
hungry as hunters, crying, 'Well, jolly Knifegrinder! where's the
dinner?'

Whereupon he groaned out from under his quilt, 'Don't be angry, for
it's nobody's fault; only just as it was ready I got a fit of ague,
and as I lay shivering and shaking a dog came in and walked off with
everything.'

He was afraid that if he told the truth his companions would think him
a coward for not fighting the demon.

'What a pity!' cried the Prince, 'but we must just cook some more.
Here! you Blacksmith! do you prepare the dinner, while the Carpenter
and I have another look at the city.'

Now, no sooner had the Blacksmith begun to sniff the savoury smell,
and think how nice the cakes and stew would taste, than the little
warrior appeared to him also.  And he was quite as brave at first as
the Knifegrinder had been, and afterwards he too fell on his knees and
prayed for mercy.  In fact everything happened to him as it had
happened to the Knifegrinder, and when he fell from the tree he too
fled into the sleeping-room, and rolling himself in his quilt began to
shiver and shake; so that when Prince Lionheart and the Carpenter came
back, hungry as hunters, there was no dinner.

Then the Carpenter stayed behind to cook, but he fared no better than
the two others, so that when hungry Prince Lionheart returned there
were three sick men, shivering and shaking under their quilts, and no
dinner.  Whereupon the Prince set to work to cook his food himself.

No sooner had it begun to give off a savoury smell than the tiny
mouse-warrior appeared, very fierce and valiant.

'Upon my word, you are really a very pretty little fellow!' said the
Prince in a patronising way; 'and what may you want?'

'Give me my dinner!' shrieked the mannikin.

'It is not _your_ dinner, my dear sir, it is _my_ dinner!'
quoth the Prince; 'but to avoid disputes let's fight it out.'

Upon this the mouse-warrior began to stretch and grow till he became a
terribly tall demon.  But instead of falling on his knees and begging
for mercy, the Prince only burst into a fit of laughter, and said, 'My
good sir! there is a medium in all things!  Just now you were
ridiculously small, at present you are absurdly big; but, as you seem
to be able to alter your size without much trouble, suppose for once
in a way you show some spirit, and become just my size, neither less
nor more; then we can settle whose dinner it really is.'

The demon could not withstand the Prince's reasoning, so he shrank to
an ordinary size, and setting to work with a will, began to tilt at
the Prince in fine style.  But valiant Lionheart never yielded an
inch, and finally, after a terrific battle, slew the demon with his
sharp sword.

Then guessing at the truth he roused his three sick friends, saying
with a smile, 'O ye valiant ones! arise, for I have killed the ague!'

And they got up sheepishly, and fell to praising their leader for his
incomparable valour.

After this, Prince Lionheart sent messages to all the inhabitants of
the town who had been driven away by the wicked demon, telling them
they could return and dwell in safety, on condition of their taking
the Knifegrinder as their king, and giving him their richest and most
beautiful maiden as a bride.

This they did with great joy, but when the wedding was over, and
Prince Lionheart prepared to set out once more on his adventures, the
Knifegrinder threw himself before his master, begging to be allowed to
accompany him.  Prince Lionheart, however, refused the request,
bidding him remain to govern his kingdom, and at the same time gave
him a barley plant, bidding him tend it very carefully; since so long
as it flourished he might be assured his master was alive and well.
If, on the contrary, it drooped, then he might know that misfortune
was at hand, and set off to help if he chose.

So the Knifegrinder king remained behind with his bride and his barley
plant, but Prince Lionheart, the Blacksmith, and the Carpenter set
forth on their travels.

By and by they came to another desolate city, lying deserted in the
wilderness, and as before they wandered through it, wondering at the
tall palaces, the empty streets, and the vacant shops where never a
human being was to be seen, until the Blacksmith, suddenly
recollecting, said, 'I remember now!  This must be the city where the
dreadful ghost lives which kills every one.  We had best be off!'

'After we have had our dinners!' quoth hungry Lionheart.

So having bought all they required from a vacant shop, putting the
proper price of everything on the counter, since there was no
shopkeeper, they repaired to the palace, where the Blacksmith was
installed as cook, whilst the others looked through the town.

No sooner had the dinner begun to give off an appetising smell than
the ghost appeared in the form of an old woman, awful and forbidding,
with black wrinkled skin, and feet turned backwards.

At this sight the valiant Blacksmith never stopped to parley, but fled
into another room and bolted the door.  Whereupon the ghost ate up the
dinner in no time, and disappeared; so that when Prince Lionheart and
the Carpenter returned, as hungry as hunters, there was no dinner to
be found, and no Blacksmith.

Then the Prince bade the Carpenter do the cooking while he went abroad
to see the town.  But the Carpenter fared no better, for the ghost
appeared to him also, so that he fled and locked himself up in another
room.

'This is really too bad!' quoth Prince Lionheart, when he returned to
find no dinner, no Blacksmith, no Carpenter.  So he began to cook the
food himself, and ho sooner had it given out a savoury smell than the
ghost arrived; this time, however, seeing so handsome a young man
before her she would not assume her own hag-like shape, but appeared
instead as a beautiful young woman.

However, the Prince was not in the least bit deceived, for he looked
down at her feet, and when he saw they were set on hind side before,
he knew at once what she was; so drawing his sharp strong sword, he
said, 'I must trouble you to take your own shape again, as I don't
like killing beautiful young women!'

At this the ghost shrieked with rage, and changed into her own
loathsome form once more; but at the same moment Prince Lionheart gave
one stroke of his sword, and the horrible, awful thing lay dead at his
feet.

Then the Blacksmith and the Carpenter crept out of their
hiding-places, and the Prince sent messages to all the townsfolk,
bidding them come back and dwell in peace, on condition of their
making the Blacksmith king, and giving him to wife the prettiest, the
richest, and the best-born maiden in the city.

To this they consented with one accord, and after the wedding was
over, Prince Lionheart and the Carpenter set forth once more on their
travels.  The Blacksmith king was loath to let them go without him,
but his master gave him also a barley plant, saying, 'Water and tend
it carefully; for so long as it flourishes you may rest assured I am
well and happy; but if it droops, know that I am in trouble, and come
to help me.'

Prince Lionheart and the Carpenter had not journeyed far ere they came
to a big town, where they halted to rest; and as luck would have it
the Carpenter fell in love with the fairest maiden in the city, who
was as beautiful as the moon and all the stars.  He began to sigh and
grumble over the good fortune of the Knifegrinder and the Blacksmith,
and wish that he too could find a kingdom and a lovely bride, until
his master took pity on him, and sending for the chief inhabitants,
told them who he was, and ordered them to make the Carpenter king, and
marry him to the maiden of his choice.

This order they obeyed, for Prince Lionheart's fame had been noised
abroad, and they feared his displeasure; so when the marriage was
over, and the Carpenter duly established as king, Prince Lionheart
went forth on his journey alone, after giving a barley plant, as he
had done before, by which his prosperity or misfortune might be known.

Having journeyed for a long time, he came at last to a river, and as
he sat resting on the bank, what was his astonishment to see a ruby of
enormous size floating down the stream!  Then another, and another
drifted past him, each of huge size and glowing hue!  Wonderstruck, he
determined to find out whence they came.  So he travelled up stream
for two days and two nights, watching the rubies sweep by in the
current, until he came to a beautiful marble palace built close to the
water's edge.  Gay gardens surrounded it, marble steps led down to the
river, where, on a magnificent tree which stretched its branches over
the stream, hung a golden basket.  Now if Prince Lionheart had been
wonderstruck before, what was his astonishment when he saw that the
basket contained the head of the most lovely, the most beautiful, the
most perfect young Princess that ever was seen!  The eyes were closed,
the golden hair fluttered in the breeze, and every minute from the
slender throat a drop of crimson blood fell into the water, and
changing into a ruby, drifted down the stream!

Prince Lionheart was overcome with pity at this heartrending sight;
tears rose to his eyes, and he determined to search through the palace
for some explanation of the beautiful mysterious head.

So he wandered through richly-decorated marble halls, through carved
galleries and spacious corridors, without seeing a living creature,
until he came to a sleeping-room hung with silver tissue, and there,
on a white satin bed, lay the headless body of a young and beautiful
girl!  One glance convinced him that it belonged to the exquisite head
he had seen swinging in the golden basket by the river-side, and,
urged by the desire to see the two lovely portions united, he set off
swiftly to the tree, soon returning with the basket in his hand.  He
placed the head gently on the severed throat, when, lo and behold!
they joined together in a trice and the beautiful maiden started up to
life once more.  The Prince was overjoyed, and, falling on his knees,
begged the lovely girl to tell him who she was, and how she came to be
alone in the mysterious palace.  She informed him that she was a
king's daughter, with whom a wicked Jinn had fallen in love, in
consequence of which passion he had carried her off by his magical
arts:  and being desperately jealous, never left her without first
cutting off her head, and hanging it up in the golden basket until his
return.

Prince Lionheart, hearing this cruel story, besought the beautiful
Princess to fly with him without delay, but she assured him they must
first kill the Jinn, or they would never succeed in making their
escape.  So she promised to coax the Jinn into telling her the secret
of his life, and in the meantime bade the Prince cut off her head once
more, and replace it in the golden basket, so that her cruel gaoler
might not suspect anything.

The poor Prince could hardly bring himself to perform so dreadful a
task, but seeing it was absolutely necessary, he shut his eyes from
the heartrending sight, and with one blow of his sharp bright sword
cut off his dear Princess's head, and after returning the golden
basket to its place, hid himself in a closet hard by the
sleeping-room.

By and by the Jinn arrived, and, putting on the Princess's head once
more, cried angrily, 'Fee! fa! fum!  This room smells of man's flesh!'

Then the Princess pretended to weep, saying, 'Do not be angry with me,
good Jinn, for how can I know aught?  Am I not dead whilst you are
away?  Eat me if you like, but do not be angry with me!'

Whereupon the Jinn, who loved her to distraction, swore he would
rather die himself than kill her.

'That would be worse for me!' answered the girl, 'for if you were to
die while you are away from here, it would be very awkward for me:  I
should be neither dead nor alive.'

'Don't distress yourself!' returned the Jinn; 'I am not likely to be
killed, for my life lies in something very safe.'

'I hope so, I am sure!' replied the Princess,' but I believe you only
say that to comfort me.  I shall never be content until you tell me
where it lies, then I can judge for myself if it is safe.'

At first the Jinn refused, but the Princess coaxed and wheedled so
prettily, and he began to get so very sleepy, that at last he replied,
'I shall never be killed except by a Prince called Lionheart; nor by
him unless he can find the solitary tree, where a dog and a horse keep
sentinel day and night.  Even then he must pass these warders unhurt,
climb the tree, kill the starling which sits singing in a golden cage
on the topmost branch, tear open its crop, and destroy the bumble bee
it contains.  So I am safe; for it would need a lion's heart, or great
wisdom, to reach the tree and overcome its guardians.'

'How are they to be overcome?' pleaded the Princess; 'tell me that,
and I shall be satisfied.'

The Jinn, who was more than half asleep, and quite tired of being
cross-questioned, answered drowsily, 'In front of the horse lies a
heap of bones, and in front of the dog a heap of grass.  Whoever takes
a long stick and changes the heaps, so that the horse has grass, and
the dog bones, will have no difficulty in passing.'

The Prince, overhearing this, set off at once to find the solitary
tree, and ere long discovered it, with a savage horse and furious dog
keeping watch and ward over it.  They, however, became quite mild and
meek when they received their proper food, and the Prince without any
difficulty climbed the tree, seized the starling, and began to twist
its neck.  At this moment the Jinn, awakening from sleep, became aware
of what was passing, and flew through the air to do battle for his
life.  The Prince, however, seeing him approach, hastily cut open the
bird's crop, seized the bumble bee, and just as the Jinn was alighting
on the tree, tore off the insect's wings.  The Jinn instantly fell to
the ground with a crash, but, determined to kill his enemy, began to
climb.  Then the Prince twisted off the bee's legs, and lo! the Jinn
became legless also; and when the bee's head was torn off, the Jinn's
life went out entirely.

So Prince Lionheart returned in triumph to the Princess, who was
overjoyed to hear of her tyrant's death.  He would have started at
once with her to his father's kingdom, but she begged for a little
rest, so they stayed in the palace, examining all the riches it
contained.

Now one day the Princess went down to the river to bathe, and wash her
beautiful golden hair, and as she combed it, one or two long strands
came out in the comb, shining and glittering like burnished gold.  She
was proud of her beautiful hair, and said to herself, 'I will not
throw these hairs into the river, to sink in the nasty dirty mud,' so
she made a green cup out of a _pîpal_ leaf, coiled the golden
hairs inside, and set it afloat on the stream.

It so happened that the river, farther down, flowed past a royal city,
and the King was sailing in his pleasure-boat, when he espied
something sparkling like sunlight on the water, and bidding his
boatmen row towards it, found the _pîpal_ leaf cup and the
glittering golden hairs.

He thought he had never before seen anything half so beautiful, and
determined not to rest day or night until he had found the owner.
Therefore he sent for the wisest women in his kingdom, in order to
find out where the owner of the glistening golden hair dwelt.

The first wise woman said, 'If she is on Earth I promise to find her.'

The second said, 'If she is in Heaven I will tear open the sky and
bring her to you.'

But the third laughed, saying, 'Pooh! if you tear open the sky I will
put a patch in it, so that none will be able to tell the new piece
from the old.'

The King, considering the last wise woman had proved herself to be the
cleverest, engaged her to seek for the beautiful owner of the
glistening golden hair.

Now as the hairs had been found in the river, the wise woman guessed
they must have floated down stream from some place higher up, so she
set off in a grand royal boat, and the boatmen rowed and rowed until
at last they came in sight of the Jinn's magical marble palace.

Then the cunning wise woman went alone to the steps of the palace, and
began to weep and to wail.  It so happened that as Prince Lionheart
had that day gone out hunting, the Princess was all alone, and having
a tender heart, she no sooner heard the old woman weeping than she
came out to see what was the matter.

'Mother,' said she kindly, 'why do you weep?'

'My daughter,' cried the wise woman, 'I weep to think what will become
of you if the handsome Prince is slain by any mischance, and you are
left here in the wilderness alone.'  For the witch knew by her arts
all about the Prince.

'Very true!' replied the Princess, wringing her hands; 'what a
dreadful thing it would be!  I never thought of it before!'

All day long she wept over the idea, and at night, when the Prince
returned, she told him of her fears; but he laughed at them, saying
his life lay in safety, and it was very unlikely any mischance should
befall him.

Then the Princess was comforted; only she begged him to tell her
wherein it lay, so that she might help to preserve it.

'It lies,' returned the Prince, 'in my sharp sword, which never
fails.  If harm were to come to it I should die; nevertheless, by fair
means naught can prevail against it, so do not fret, sweetheart!'

'It would be wiser to leave it safe at home when you go hunting,'
pleaded the Princess, and though Prince Lionheart told her again there
was no cause to be alarmed, she made up her mind to have her own way,
and the very next morning, when the Prince went a-hunting, she hid his
strong sharp sword, and put another in the scabbard, so that he was
none the wiser.

Thus when the wise woman came once more and wept on the marble stairs,
the Princess called to her joyfully, 'Don't cry, mother!--the Prince's
life is safe to-day.  It lies in his sword, and that is hidden away in
my cupboard.'

Then the wicked old hag waited until the Princess took her noonday
sleep, and when everything was quiet she stole to the cupboard, took
the sword, made a fierce fire, and placed the sharp shining blade in
the glowing embers.  As it grew hotter and hotter, Prince Lionheart
felt a burning fever creep over his body, and knowing the magical
property of his sword, drew it out to see if aught had befallen it,
and lo! it was not his own sword but a changeling!  He cried aloud, 'I
am undone!  I am undone!' and galloped homewards.  But the wise woman
blew up the fire so quickly that the sword became red-hot ere Prince
Lionheart could arrive, and just as he appeared on the other side of
the stream, a rivet came out of the sword hilt, which rolled off, and
so did the Prince's head.

Then the wise woman, going to the Princess, said, 'Daughter! see how
tangled your beautiful hair is after your sleep!  Let me wash and
dress it against your husband's return.'  So they went down the marble
steps to the river; but the wise woman said, 'Step into my boat,
sweetheart; the water is clearer on the farther side.'

And then, whilst the Princess's long golden hair was all over her eyes
like a veil, so that she could not see, the wicked old hag loosed the
boat, which went drifting down stream.

In vain the Princess wept and wailed; all she could do was to make a
great vow, saying, 'O you shameless old thing!  You are taking me away
to some king's palace, I know; but no matter who he may be, I swear
not to look on his face for twelve years!'

At last they arrived at the royal city, greatly to the King's delight;
but when he found how solemn an oath the Princess had taken, he built
her a high tower, where she lived all alone.  No one save the hewers
of wood and drawers of water were allowed even to enter the courtyard
surrounding it, so there she lived and wept over her lost Lionheart.

Now when the Prince's head had rolled off in that shocking manner, the
barley plant he had given to the Knifegrinder king suddenly snapped
right in two, so that the ear fell to the ground.

This greatly troubled the faithful Knifegrinder, who immediately
guessed some terrible disaster had overtaken his dear Prince.  He
gathered an army without delay, and set off in aid, meeting on the way
with the Blacksmith and the Carpenter kings, who were both on the same
errand.  When it became evident that the three barley plants had
fallen at the selfsame moment, the three friends feared the worst, and
were not surprised when, after long journeying, they found the
Prince's body, all burnt and blistered, lying by the river-side, and
his head close to it.  Knowing the magical properties of the sword,
they looked for it at once, and when they found a changeling in its
place their hearts sank indeed!  They lifted the body, and carried it
to the palace, intending to weep and wail over it, when, lo! they
found the real sword, all blistered and burnt, in a heap of ashes, the
rivet gone, the hilt lying beside it.

'That is soon mended!' cried the Blacksmith king; so he blew up the
fire, forged a rivet, and fastened the hilt to the blade.  No sooner
had he done so than the Prince's head grew to his shoulders as firm as
ever.

'My turn now!' quoth the Knifegrindcr king; and he spun his wheel so
deftly that the blisters and stains disappeared like magic, and the
sword was soon as bright as ever.  And as he spun his wheel, the burns
and scars disappeared likewise from Prince Lionheart's body, until at
last the Prince sat up alive, as handsome as before.

'Where is my Princess?' he cried, the very first thing, and then told
his friends of all that had passed.

'It is my turn now!' quoth the Carpenter king gleefully; 'give me your
sword, and I will fetch the Princess back in no time.'

So he set off with the bright strong sword in his hand to find the
lost Princess.  Ere long he came to the royal city, and noticing a
tall new-built tower, inquired who dwelt within.  When the townspeople
told him it was a strange Princess, who was kept in such close
imprisonment that no one but hewers of wood and drawers of water were
allowed even to enter the courtyard, he was certain it must be she
whom he sought.  However, to make sure, he disguised himself as a
woodman, and going beneath the windows, cried, 'Wood! wood!  Fifteen
gold pieces for this bundle of wood!'

The Princess, who was sitting on the roof, taking the air, bade her
servant ask what sort of wood it was to make it so expensive.

'It is only firewood,' answered the disguised Carpenter,' but it was
cut with this sharp bright sword!'

Hearing these words, the Princess, with a beating heart, peered
through the parapet, and recognised Prince Lionheart's sword.  So she
bade her servant inquire if the woodman had anything else to sell, and
he replied that he had a wonderful flying palanquin, which he would
show to the Princess, if she wished it, when she walked in the garden
at evening.

She agreed to the proposal, and the Carpenter spent all the day in
fashioning a marvellous palanquin.  This he took with him to the tower
garden, saying, 'Seat yourself in it, my Princess, and try how well it
flies.'

But the King's sister, who was there, said the Princess must not go
alone, so she got in also, and so did the wicked wise woman.  Then the
Carpenter king jumped up outside, and immediately the palanquin began
to fly higher and higher, like a bird.

'I have had enough!--let us go down,' said the King's sister after a
time.

Whereupon the Carpenter seized her by the waist, and threw her
overboard, just as they were sailing above the river, so that she was
drowned; but he waited until they were just above the high tower
before he threw down the wicked wise woman, so that she got finely
smashed on the stones.

Then the palanquin flew straight to the Jinn's magical marble palace,
where Prince Lionheart, who had been awaiting the Carpenter king's
arrival with the greatest impatience, was overjoyed to see his
Princess once more, and set off, escorted by his three companion
kings, to his father's dominions.  But when the poor old King, who had
very much aged since his son's departure, saw the three armies coming,
he made sure they were an invading force, so he went out to meet them,
and said, 'Take all my riches, but leave my poor people in peace, for
I am old, and cannot fight.  Had my dear brave son Lionheart been with
me, it would have been a different affair, but he left us years ago,
and no one has heard aught of him since.'

On this, the Prince flung himself on his father's neck, and told him
all that had occurred, and how these were his three old friends--the
Knifegrinder, the Blacksmith, and the Carpenter.  This greatly
delighted the old man; but when he saw the golden-haired bride his son
had brought home, his joy knew no bounds.

So everybody was pleased, and lived happily ever after.



THE LAMBIKIN


[Illustration:  Lambikin surrounded by vicious animals]

Once upon a time there was a wee wee Lambikin, who frolicked about on
his little tottery legs, and enjoyed himself amazingly.

Now one day he set off to visit his Granny, and was jumping with joy
to think of all the good things he should get from her, when whom
should he meet but a Jackal, who looked at the tender young morsel and
said--'Lambikin!  Lambikin!  I'll _eat_ _you_!'

But Lambikin only gave a little frisk, and said--

  'To Granny's house I go,
  Where I shall fatter grow,
  Then you can eat me so.'

The Jackal thought this reasonable, and let
Lambikin pass.

By and by he met a Vulture, and the Vulture, looking hungrily at the
tender morsel before him, said--'Lambikin!  Lambikin!  I'll _eat_
_you_!'

But Lambikin only gave a little frisk, and said--

  'To Granny's house I go,
  Where I shall fatter grow,
  Then you can eat me so.'

The Vulture thought this reasonable, and let
Lambikin pass.

And by and by he met a Tiger, and then a Wolf, and a Dog, and an
Eagle, and all these, when they saw the tender little morsel, said--
'Lambikin!  Lambikin!  I'll _eat_ _you_!'

But to all of them Lambikin replied, with a little frisk--

  'To Granny's house I go,
  Where I shall fatter grow,
  Then you can eat me so.'

At last he reached his Granny's house, and said, all in a great hurry,
'Granny, dear, I've promised to get very fat; so, as people ought to
keep their promises, please put me into the corn-bin _at once!_

So his Granny said he was a good boy, and put him into the corn-bin,
and there the greedy little Lambikin stayed for seven days, and ate,
and ate, and ate, until he could scarcely waddle, and his Granny said
he was fat enough for anything, and must go home.  But cunning little
Lambikin said that would never do, for some animal would be sure to
eat him on the way back, he was so plump and tender.

'I'll tell you what you must do,' said Master Lambikin,' you must make
a little drumikin out of the skin of my little brother who died, and
then I can sit inside and trundle along nicely, for I'm as tight as a
drum myself.'

So his Granny made a nice little drumikin out of his brother's skin,
with the wool inside, and Lambikin curled himself up snug and warm in
the middle, and trundled away gaily.  Soon he met with the Eagle, who
called out--

  'Drumikin!  Drumikin!
  Have you seen Lambikin?'

And Mr. Lambikin, curled up in his soft warm nest, replied--

  'Lost in the forest, and so are you,
  On, little Drumikin!  Tum-pa, tum-too!'

'How very annoying!' sighed the Eagle, thinking regretfully of the
tender morsel he had let slip.

Meanwhile Lambikin trundled along, laughing to himself, and singing--

  'Tum-pa, tum-too;
  Tum-pa, tum-too!'

Every animal and bird he met asked him the same question--

  'Drumikin!  Drumikin!
  Have you seen Lambikin?'

And to each of them the little sly-boots replied--

  'Lost in the forest, and so are you,
  On, little Drumikin!  Tum-pa, tum-too;
  Tum-pa, turn-too; Tum-pa, tum-too!'

Then they all sighed to think of the tender little morsel they had let
slip.

At last the Jackal came limping along, for all his sorry looks as
sharp as a needle, and he too called out--

  'Drumikin!  Drumikin!
  Have you seen Lambikin?'

And Larnbikin, curled up in his snug little nest, replied gaily--

  'Lost in the forest, and so are you,
  On, little Drumikin!  Tum-pa--'

But he never got any further, for the Jackal recognised his voice at
once, and cried, 'Hullo! you've turned yourself inside out, have you?
Just you come out of that!'

Whereupon he tore open Drumikin and gobbled up Lambikin.



BOPOLÛCHÎ


Once upon a time a number of young girls went to draw water at the
village well, and while they were filling their jars, fell a-talking
of their betrothals and weddings.

Said one--'My uncle will soon be coming with the bridal presents, and
he is to bring the finest clothes imaginable.'

Said a second--'And my uncle-in-law is coming, I know, bringing the
most delicious sweetmeats you could think of.'

Said a third--'Oh, my uncle will be here in no time, with the rarest
jewels in the world.'

But Bopolûchî, the prettiest girl of them all, looked sad, for she was
an orphan, and had no one to arrange a marriage for her.  Nevertheless
she was too proud to remain silent, so she said gaily--'And my uncle
is coming also, bringing me fine dresses, fine food, and fine jewels.'

Now a wandering pedlar, who sold sweet scents and cosmetics of all
sorts to the country women, happened to be sitting near the well, and
heard what Bopolûchî said.  Being much struck by her beauty and
spirit, he determined to marry her himself, and the very next day,
disguised as a well-to-do farmer, he came to Bopolûchî's house laden
with trays upon trays full of fine dresses, fine food, and fine
jewels; for he was not a real pedlar, but a wicked robber, ever so
rich.

Bopolûchî could hardly believe her eyes, for everything was just as
she had foretold, and the robber said he was her father's brother, who
had been away in the world for years, and had now come back to arrange
her marriage with one of his sons, her cousin.

Hearing this, Bopolûchî of course believed it all, and was ever so
much pleased; so she packed up the few things she possessed in a
bundle, and set off with the robber in high spirits.

But as they went along the road, a crow sitting on a branch croaked--

  'Bopolûchî, 'tis a pity!
  You have lost your wits, my pretty!
  'Tis no uncle that relieves you,
  But a robber who deceives you!'

'Uncle!' said Bopolûchî, 'that crow croaks funnily.  What does it
say?'

'Pooh!' returned the robber, 'all the crows in this country croak like
that.'

A little farther on they met a peacock, which, as soon as it caught
sight of the pretty little maiden, began to scream--

     'Bopolûchî, 'tis a pity!
     You have lost your wits, my pretty!
     'Tis no uncle that relieves you,
     But a robber who deceives you!'

'Uncle!' said the girl, 'that peacock screams funnily.  What does it
say?'

'Pooh!' returned the robber, 'all peacocks scream like that in this
country.'

By and by a jackal slunk across the road; the moment it saw poor
pretty Bopolûchî it began to howl--

  'Bopolûchî, 'tis a pity!
  You have lost your wits, my pretty!
  'Tis no uncle that relieves you,
  But a robber who deceives you!'

'Uncle!' said the maiden, 'that jackal howls funnily.  What does it
say?'

'Pooh!' returned the robber, 'all jackals howl like that in this
country.'

So poor pretty Bopolûchî journeyed on till they reached the robber's
house.  Then he told her who he was, and how he intended to marry her
himself.  She wept and cried bitterly, but the robber had no pity, and
left her in charge of his old, oh! ever so old mother, while he went
out to make arrangements for the marriage feast.

Now Bopolûchî had such beautiful hair that it reached right down to
her ankles, but the old mother hadn't a hair on her old bald head.

'Daughter!' said the old, ever so old. mother, as she was putting the
bridal dress on Bopolûchî, 'how did you manage to get such beautiful
hair?'

'Well,' replied Bopolûchî, 'my mother made it grow by pounding my head
in the big mortar for husking rice.  At every stroke of the pestle my
hair grew longer and longer.  I assure you it is a plan that never
fails.'

'Perhaps it would make _my_ hair grow!' said the old woman
eagerly.

'Perhaps it would!' quoth cunning Bopolûchî.

So the old, ever so old mother put her head in the mortar, and
Bopolûchî pounded away with such a will that the old lady died.

Then Bopolûchî dressed the dead body in the scarlet bridal dress,
seated it on the low bridal chair, drew the veil well over the face,
and put the spinning-wheel in front of it, so that when the robber
came home he might think it was the bride.  Then she put on the old
mother's clothes, and seizing her own bundle, stepped out of the house
as quickly as possible.

On her way home she met the robber, who was returning with a stolen
millstone, to grind the corn for the wedding feast, on his head.  She
was dreadfully frightened, and slipped behind the hedge, so as not to
be seen.  But the robber, not recognising her in the old mother's
dress, thought she was some strange woman from a neighbouring village,
and so to avoid being seen he slipped behind the other hedge.  Thus
Bopolûchî reached home in safety.

Meanwhile, the robber, having come to his house, saw the figure in
bridal scarlet sitting on the bridal chair, spinning, and of course
thought it was Bopolûchî.  So he called to her to help him down with
the millstone, but she didn't answer.  He called again, but still she
didn't answer.  Then he fell into a rage, and threw the millstone at
her head.  The figure toppled over, and lo and behold! it was not
Bopolûchî at all, but his old, ever so old mother!  Whereupon the
robber wept, and beat his breast, thinking he had killed her; but when
he discovered pretty Bopolûchî had run away, he became wild with rage,
and determined to bring her back somehow.

[Illustration:  Bopolûchî and the robber]

Now Bopolûchî was convinced that the robber would try to carry her
off, so every night she begged a new lodging in some friend's house,
leaving her own little bed in her own little house quite empty, but
after a month or so she had come to the end of her friends, and did
not like to ask any of them to give her shelter a second time.  So she
determined to brave it out and sleep at home, whatever happened; but
she took a bill-hook to bed with her.  Sure enough, in the very middle
of the night four men crept in, and each seizing a leg of the bed,
lifted it up and walked off, the robber himself having hold of the leg
close behind her head.  Bopolûchî was wide awake, but pretended to be
fast asleep, until she came to a wild deserted spot, where the thieves
were off their guard; then she whipped out the bill-hook, and in a
twinkling cut off the heads of the two thieves at the foot of the
bed.  Turning round quickly, she did the same to the other thief at
the head, but the robber himself ran away in a terrible fright, and
scrambled like a wild cat up a tree close by before she could reach
him.

'Come down!' cried brave Bopolûchî, brandishing the bill-hook, 'and
fight it out!'

But the robber would not come down; so Bopolûchî gathered all the
sticks she could find, piled them round the tree, and set fire to
them.  Of course the tree caught fire also, and the robber, half
stifled with the smoke, tried to jump down, and was killed.

After that, Bopolûchî went to the robber's house and carried off all
the gold and silver, jewels and clothes, that were hidden there,
coming back to the village so rich that she could marry any one she
pleased.  And that was the end of Bopolûchî's adventures.



PRINCESS AUBERGINE


Once upon a time there lived a poor Brahman and his wife, so poor,
that often they did not know whither to turn for a meal, and were
reduced to wild herbs and roots for their dinner.

Now one day, as the Brahman was gathering such herbs as he could find
in the wilderness, he came upon an Aubergine, or egg-plant.  Thinking
it might prove useful by and by, he dug it up, took it home, and
planted it by his cottage door.  Every day he watered and tended it,
so that it grew wonderfully, and at last bore one large fruit as big
as a pear, purple and white and glossy,--such a handsome fruit, that
the good couple thought it a pity to pick it, and let it hang on the
plant day after day, until one fine morning when there was absolutely
nothing to eat in the house.  Then the Brahman said to his wife, 'We
must eat the egg-fruit; go and cut it, and prepare it for dinner.'

So the Brahman's wife took a knife, and cut the beautiful purple and
white fruit off the plant, and as she did so she thought she heard a
low moan.  But when she sat down and began to peel the egg-fruit, she
heard a tiny voice say quite distinctly, 'Take care!--oh, please take
care!  Peel more gently, or I am sure the knife will run into me!'

The good woman was terribly perplexed, but went on peeling as gently
as she could, wondering all the time what had bewitched the egg-fruit,
until she had cut quite through the rind, when--what do you think
happened?  Why, out stepped the most beautiful little maiden
imaginable, dressed in purple and white satin!

The poor Brahman and his wife were mightily astonished, but still more
delighted; for, having no children of their own, they looked on the
tiny maiden as a godsend, and determined to adopt her.  So they took
the greatest care of her, petting and spoiling her, and always calling
her the Princess Aubergine; for, said the worthy couple, if she was
not a Princess _really_, she was dainty and delicate enough to be
any king's daughter.

Now not far from the Brahman's hut lived a King, who had a beautiful
wife, and seven stalwart young sons.  One day, a slave-girl from the
palace, happening to pass by the Brahman's cottage, went in to ask for
a light, and there she saw the beautiful Aubergine.  She went straight
home to the palace, and told her mistress how in a hovel close by
there lived a Princess so lovely and charming, that were the King once
to set eyes on her, he would straightway forget, not only his Queen,
but every other woman in the world.

Now the Queen, who was of a very jealous disposition, could not bear
the idea of any one being more beautiful than she was herself, so she
cast about in her mind how she could destroy the lovely Aubergine.  If
she could only inveigle the girl into the palace, she could easily do
the rest, for she was a sorceress, and learned in all sorts of magic.
So she sent a message to the Princess Aubergine, to say that the fame
of her great beauty had reached the palace, and the Queen would like
to see with her own eyes if report said true.

Now lovely Aubergine was vain of her beauty, and fell into the trap.
She went to the palace, and the Queen, pretending to be wonderstruck,
said, 'You were born to live in kings' houses!  From this time you
must never leave me; henceforth you are my sister.'

This flattered Princess Aubergine's vanity, so, nothing loath, she
remained in the palace, and exchanged veils with the Queen, and drank
milk out of the same cup with her, as is the custom when two people
say they will be sisters.

But the Queen, from the very first moment she set eyes on her, had
seen that Princess Aubergine was no human being, but a fairy, and knew
she must be very careful how she set about her magic.  Therefore she
laid strong spells upon her while she slept, and said--

  'Beautiful Aubergine! tell me true--
  In what thing does your life lie?'

And the Princess answered--'In the life of your eldest son.  Kill him,
and I will die also.'

So the very next morning the wicked Queen went to where her eldest son
lay sleeping, and killed him with her own hands.  Then she sent the
slave-girl to the Princess's apartments, hoping to hear she was dead
too, but the girl returned saying the Princess was alive and well.

Then the Queen wept tears of rage, for she knew her spells had not
been strong enough, and she had killed her son for naught.
Nevertheless, the next night she laid stronger spells upon the
Princess Aubergine, saying--

  'Princess Aubergine! tell me true--
  In what thing does your life lie?'

And the sleeping Princess answered--'In the life of your second son.
Kill him, and I too will die.'

So the wicked Queen killed her second son with her own hands, but when
she sent the slave-girl to see whether Aubergine was dead also, the
girl returned again saying the Princess was alive and well.

Then the sorceress-queen cried with rage and spite, for she had killed
her second son for naught.  Nevertheless, she would not give up her
wicked project, and the next night laid still stronger spells on the
sleeping Princess, asking her--

  'Princess Aubergine! tell me true--
  In what thing does your life lie?'

And the Princess replied--'In the life of your third son.  Kill him,
and I must die also!'

But the same thing happened.  Though the young Prince was killed by
his wicked mother, Aubergine remained alive and well; and so it went
on day after day, until all the seven young Princes were slain, and
their cruel mother still wept tears of rage and spite, at having
killed her seven sons for naught.

Then the sorceress-queen summoned up all her art, and laid such strong
spells on the Princess Aubergine that she could no longer resist them,
and was obliged to answer truly; so when the wicked Queen asked--

  'Princess Aubergine! tell me true--
  In what thing does your life lie?'

the poor Princess was obliged to answer--'In a river far away there
lives a red and green fish.  Inside the fish there is a bumble bee,
inside the bee a tiny box, and inside the box is the wonderful
nine-lakh necklace.  Put it on, and I shall die.'

Then the Queen was satisfied, and set about finding the red and green
fish.  Therefore, when her husband the King came to see her, she began
to sob and to cry, until he asked her what was the matter.  Then she
told him she had set her heart on procuring the wonderful nine-lakh
necklace.

'But where is it to be found?' asked the King.

And the Queen answered in the words of the Princess Aubergine,--'In a
river far away there lives a red and green fish.  Inside the fish
there is a bumble bee, inside the bee a tiny box, and in the box is
the nine-lakh necklace.'

Now the King was a very kind man, and had grieved sincerely for the
loss of his seven young sons, who, the Queen said, had died suddenly
of an infectious disease.  Seeing his wife so distressed, and being
anxious to comfort her, he gave orders that every fisherman in his
kingdom was to fish all day until the red and green fish was found.
So all the fishermen set to work, and ere long the Queen's desire was
fulfilled--the red and green fish was caught, and when the wicked
sorceress opened it, there was the bumble bee, and inside the bee was
the box, and inside the box the wonderful nine-lakh necklace, which
the Queen put on at once.

Now no sooner had the Princess Aubergine been forced to tell the
secret of her life by the Queen's magic, than she knew she must die;
so she returned sadly to her foster-parents' hut, and telling them of
her approaching death, begged them neither to burn nor bury her body.
'This is what I wish you to do,' she said; 'dress me in my finest
clothes, lay me on my bed, scatter flowers over me, and carry me to
the wildest wilderness.  There you must place the bed on the ground,
and build a high mud wall around it, so that no one will be able to
see over.'

The poor foster-parents, weeping bitterly, promised to do as she
wished; so when the Princess died (which happened at the very moment
the wicked Queen put on the nine-lakh necklace), they dressed her in
her best clothes, scattered flowers over the bed, and carried her out
to the wildest wilderness.

Now when the Queen sent the slave-girl to the Brâhman's hut to inquire
if the Princess Aubergine was really dead, the girl returned saying,
'She is dead, but neither burnt nor buried; she lies out in the
wilderness to the north, covered with flowers, as beautiful as the
moon!'

The Queen was not satisfied with this reply, but as she could do no
more, had to be content.

Now the King grieved bitterly for his seven young sons, and to try to
forget his grief he went out hunting every day; so the Queen, who
feared lest in his wanderings he might find the dead Princess
Aubergine, made him promise never to hunt towards the north, for, she
said, 'some evil will surely befall you it you do.'

But one day, having hunted to the east, and the south, and the west,
without finding game, he forgot his promise, and hunted towards the
north.  In his wanderings he lost his way, and came upon a high
enclosure, with no door; being curious to know what it contained, he
climbed over the wall.  He could scarcely believe his eyes when he saw
a lovely Princess lying on a flower-strewn bed, looking as if she had
just fallen asleep.  It seemed impossible she could be dead, so,
kneeling down beside her, he spent the whole day praying and
beseeching her to open her eyes.  At nightfall he returned to his
palace, but with the dawning he took his bow, and, dismissing all his
attendants on the pretext of hunting alone, flew to his beautiful
Princess.  So he passed day after day, kneeling distractedly beside
the lovely Aubergine, beseeching her to rise; but she never stirred.

Now at the end of a year he, one day, found the most beautiful little
boy imaginable lying beside the Princess.  He was greatly astonished,
but taking the child in his arms, cared for it tenderly all day, and
at night laid it down beside its dead mother.  After some time the
child learnt to talk, and when the King asked it if its mother was
always dead, it replied, 'No! at night she is alive, and cares for me
as you do during the day.'

Hearing this, the King bade the boy ask his mother what made her die,
and the next day the boy replied, 'My mother says it is the nine-lakh
necklace your Queen wears.  At night, when the Queen takes it off, my
mother becomes alive again, but every morning, when the Queen puts it
on, my mother dies.'

This greatly puzzled the King, who could not imagine what his Queen
could have to do with the mysterious Princess, so he told the boy to
ask his mother whose son he was.

The next morning the boy replied, 'Mother bade me say I am your son,
sent to console you for the loss of the seven fair sons your wicked
Queen murdered out of jealousy of my mother, the lovely Princess
Aubergine.'

Then the King grew very wroth at the thought of his dead sons, and
bade the boy ask his mother how the wicked Queen was to be punished,
and by what means the necklace could be recovered.

The next morning the boy replied, 'Mother says I am the only person
who can recover the necklace, so to-night, when you return to the
palace, you are to take me with you.'  So the King carried the boy
back to the palace, and told all his ministers and courtiers that the
child was his heir.  On this, the sorceress-queen, thinking of her own
dead sons, became mad with jealousy, and determined to poison the
boy.  To this end she prepared some tempting sweetmeats, and,
caressing the child, gave him a handful, bidding him eat them; but the
child refused, saying he would not do so until she gave him the
glittering necklace she wore round her throat, to play with.

Determined to poison the boy, and seeing no other way of inducing him
to eat the sweetmeats, the sorceress-queen slipped off the nine-lakh
necklace, and gave it to the child.  No sooner had he touched it than
he fled away so fast that none of the servants or guards could stop
him, and never drew breath till he reached the place where the
beautiful Princess Aubergine lay dead.  He threw the necklace over her
head, and immediately she rose up lovelier than ever.  Then the King
came, and besought her to return to the palace as his bride, but she
replied, 'I will never be your wife till that wicked sorceress is
dead, for she would only murder me and my boy, as she murdered your
seven young sons.  If you will dig a deep ditch at the threshold of
the palace, fill it with scorpions and snakes, throw the wicked Queen
into it, and bury her alive, I will walk over her grave to be your
wife.'

So the King ordered a deep ditch to be dug, and had it filled with
scorpions and snakes.  Then he went to the sorceress-queen, and bade
her come to see something very wonderful.  But she refused, suspecting
a trick.  Then the guards seized her, bound her, flung her into the
ditch amongst the scorpions and snakes, and buried her alive with
them.  As for the Princess Aubergine, she and her son walked over the
grave, and lived happily in the palace ever after.



VALIANT VICKY, THE BRAVE WEAVER


Once upon a time there lived a little weaver, by name Victor Prince,
but because his head was big, his legs thin, and he was altogether
small, and weak, and ridiculous, his neighbours called him
Vicky--Little Vicky the Weaver.

But despite his size, his thin legs, and his ridiculous appearance,
Vicky was very valiant, and loved to _talk_ for hours of his
bravery, and the heroic acts he would perform if Fate gave him an
opportunity.  Only Fate did not, and in consequence Vicky remained
little Vicky the valiant weaver, who was laughed at by all for his
boasting.

Now one day, as Vicky was sitting at his loom, weaving, a mosquito
settled on his left hand just as he was throwing the shuttle from his
right hand, and by chance, after gliding swiftly through the warp, the
shuttle came flying into his left hand on the very spot where the
mosquito had settled, and squashed it.  Seeing this, Vicky became
desperately excited:  'It is as I have always said,' he cried; 'if I
only had the chance I knew I could show my mettle!  Now, I'd like to
know how many people could have done that?  Killing a mosquito is
easy, and throwing a shuttle is easy, but to do both at one time is a
mighty different affair!  It is easy enough to shoot a great hulking
man--there is something to see, something to aim at; then guns and
crossbows are made for shooting; but to shoot a _mosquito_ with a
_shuttle_ is quite another thing.  That requires a man!'

The more he thought over the matter, the more elated he became over
his skill and bravery, until he determined that he would no longer
suffer himself to be called 'Vicky.'  No! now that he had shown his
mettle he would be called 'Victor'--'Victor Prince'--or better still,
'Prince Victor'; that was a name worthy his merits.  But when he
announced this determination to the neighbours, they roared with
laughter, and though some did call him Prince Victor, it was with such
sniggering and giggling and mock reverence that the little man flew
home in a rage.  Here he met with no better reception, for his wife, a
fine handsome young woman, who was tired to death by her ridiculous
little husband's whims and fancies, sharply bade him hold his tongue
and not make a fool of himself.  Upon this, beside himself with pride
and mortification, he seized her by the hair, and beat her most
unmercifully.  Then, resolving to stay no longer in a town where his
merits were unrecognised, he bade her prepare some bread for a
journey, and set about packing his bundle.

'I will go into the world!' he said to himself.  'The man who can
shoot a mosquito dead with a shuttle ought not to hide his light under
a bushel' So off he set, with his bundle, his shuttle, and a loaf of
bread tied up in a kerchief.

Now as he journeyed he came to a city where a dreadful elephant came
daily to make a meal off the inhabitants.  Many mighty warriors had
gone against it, but none had returned.  On hearing this the valiant
little weaver thought to himself, 'Now is my chance!  A great haystack
of an elephant will be a fine mark to a man who has shot a mosquito
with a shuttle!'  So he went to the King, and announced that he
proposed single-handed to meet and slay the elephant.  At first the
King thought the little man was mad, but as he persisted in his words,
he told him that he was free to try his luck if he chose to run the
risk; adding that many better men than he had failed.

Nevertheless, our brave weaver was nothing daunted; he even refused to
take either sword or bow, but strutted out to meet the elephant armed
only with his shuttle.

'It is a weapon I thoroughly understand, good people,' he replied
boastfully to those who urged him to choose some more deadly arm, 'and
it has done its work in its time, I can tell you!'

It was a beautiful sight to see little Vicky swaggering out to meet
his enemy, while the townsfolk flocked to the walls to witness the
fight.  Never was such a valiant weaver till the elephant, descrying
its tiny antagonist, trumpeted fiercely, and charged right at him, and
then, alas! all the little man's courage disappeared, and forgetting
his new name of Prince Victor he dropped his bundle, his shuttle, and
his bread, and bolted away as fast as Vicky's legs could carry him.

Now it so happened that his wife had made the bread ever so sweet, and
had put all sorts of tasty spices in it, because she wanted to hide
the flavour of the poison she had put in it also; for she was a
wicked, revengeful woman, who wanted to be rid of her tiresome,
whimsical little husband.  And so, as the elephant charged past, it
smelt the delicious spices, and catching up the bread with its long
trunk, gobbled it up without stopping an instant.  Meanwhile fear lent
speed to Vicky's short legs, but though he ran like a hare, the
elephant soon overtook him.  In vain he doubled and doubled, and the
beast's hot breath was on him, when in sheer desperation he turned,
hoping to bolt through the enormous creature's legs; being half blind
with fear, however, he ran full tilt against them instead.  Now, as
luck would have it, at that very moment the poison took effect, and
the elephant fell to the ground stone dead.

When the spectators saw the monster fall they could scarcely believe
their eyes, but their astonishment was greater still when, running up
to the scene of action, they found Valiant Vicky seated in triumph on
the elephant's head, calmly mopping his face with his handkerchief.

'I had to pretend to run away,' he explained, 'or the coward would
never have engaged me.  Then I gave him a little push, and he fell
down, as you see.  Elephants are big beasts, but they have no strength
to speak of.'

The good folks were amazed at the careless way in which Valiant Vicky
spoke of his achievement, and as they had been too far off to see very
distinctly what had occurred, they went and told the King that the
little weaver was just a feaiful wee man, and had knocked over the
elephant like a ninepin.  Ihen the King said to himself, 'None of my
warriors and wrestlers, no, not even the heroes of old, could have
done this.  I must secure this little man's services if I can.'  So he
asked Vicky why he was wandering about the world.

[Illustration:  Vicky descending from the dead elephant]

'For pleasure, for service, or for conquest!' returned Valiant Vicky,
laying such stress on the last word that the King, in a great hurry,
made him Commander-in-Chief of his whole army, for fear he should take
service elsewhere.

So there was Valiant Vicky a mighty fine warrior, and as proud as a
peacock of having fulfilled his own predictions.

'I knew it!' he would say to himself when he was dressed out in full
fig, with shining armour and waving plumes, and spears, swords, and
shields; 'I _felt_ I had it in me!'

Now after some time a terribly savage tiger came ravaging the country,
and at last the city-folk petitioned that the mighty Prince Victor
might be sent out to destroy it.  So out he went at the head of his
army,--for he was a great man now, and had quite forgotten all about
looms and shuttles.  But first he made the King promise his daughter
in marriage as a reward.  'Nothing for nothing!' said the astute
little weaver to himself, and when the promise was given he went out
as gay as a lark.

'Do not distress yourselves, good people,' he said to those who
flocked round him praying for his successful return; 'it is ridiculous
to suppose the tiger will have a chance.  Why, I knocked over an
elephant with my little finger!  I am really invincible! *'

But, alas for our Valiant Vicky!  No sooner did he see the tiger
lashing its tail and charging down on him, than he ran for the nearest
tree, and scrambled into the branches.  There he sat like a monkey,
while the tiger glowered at him from below.  Of course when the army
saw their Commander-in-Chief bolt like a mouse, they followed his
example, and never stopped until they reached the city, where they
spread the news that the little hero had fled up a tree.

'There let him stay!' said the King, secretly relieved, for he was
jealous of the little weaver's prowess, and did not want him for a
son-in-law.

Meanwhile, Valiant Vicky sat cowering in the tree, while the tiger
occupied itself below with sharpening its teeth and claws, and curling
its whiskers, till poor Vicky nearly tumbled into its jaws with
fright.  So one day, two days, three days, six days passed by; on the
seventh the tiger was fiercer, hungrier, and more watchful than ever.
As for the poor little weaver, he was so hungry that his hunger made
him brave, and he determined to try and slip past his enemy during its
mid-day snooze.  He crept stealthily down inch by inch, till his foot
was within a yard of the ground, and then?  Why then the tiger, which
had had one eye open all the time, jumped up with a roar!

Valiant Vicky shrieked with fear, and making a tremendous effort,
swung himself into a branch, cocking his little bandy legs over it to
keep them out of reach, for the tiger's red panting mouth and gleaming
white teeth were within half an inch of his toes.  In doing so, his
dagger fell out of its sheath, and went pop into the tiger's wide-open
mouth, and thus point foremost down into its stomach, so that it died!

Valiant Vicky could scarcely believe his good fortune, but, after
prodding at the body with a branch, and finding it did not move, he
concluded the tiger really was dead, and ventured down.  Then he cut
off its head, and went home in triumph to the King.

'You and your warriors are a nice set of cowards!' said he,
wrathfully.  'Here have I been fighting that tiger for seven days and
seven nights, without bite or sup, whilst you have been guzzling and
snoozing at home.  Pah! it's disgusting! but I suppose every one is
not a hero as I am!'  So Prince Victor married the King's daughter,
and was a greater man than ever.

But by and by a neighbouring prince, who bore a grudge against the
King, came with a huge army, and encamped outside the city, swearing
to put every man, woman, and child within it to the sword.  Hearing
this, the inhabitants of course cried with one accord, 'Prince
Victor!  Prince Victor to the rescue!' so the valiant little weaver
was ordered by the King to go out and destroy the invading army, after
which he was to receive half the kingdom as a reward.  Now Valiant
Vicky, with all his boasting, was no fool, and he said to himself,
'This is a very different affair from the others.  A man may kill a
mosquito, an elephant, and a tiger; yet another man may kill
_him_.  And here is not one man, but thousands!  No, no!--what is
the use of half a kingdom if you haven't a head on your shoulders?
Under the circumstances I prefer _not_ to be a hero!'

So in the dead of night he bade his wife rise, pack up her golden
dishes, and follow him--'Not that you will want the golden dishes at
my house,' he explained boastfully, 'for I have heaps and heaps, but
on the journey these will be useful.'  Then he crept outside the city,
followed by his wife carrying the bundle, and began to steal through
the enemy's camp.

Just as they were in the very middle of it, a big cockchafer flew into
Valiant Vicky's face.  'Run! run!' he shrieked to his wife, in a
terrible taking, and setting off as fast as he could, never stopped
till he had reached his room again and hidden under the bed.  His wife
set off at a run likewise, dropping her bundle of golden dishes with a
clang.  The noise roused the enemy, who, thinking they were attacked,
flew to arms; but being half asleep, and the night being pitch-dark,
they could not distinguish friend from foe, and falling on each other,
fought with such fury that by next morning not one was left alive!
And then, as may be imagined, great were the rejoicings at Prince
Victor's prowess.  'It was a mere trifle!' remarked that valiant
little gentleman modestly; 'when a man can shoot a mosquito with a
shuttle, everything else is child's play.'

So he received half the kingdom, and ruled it with great dignity,
refusing ever afterwards to fight, saying truly that kings never
fought themselves, but paid others to fight for them.

Thus he lived in peace, and when he died every one said Valiant Vicky
was the greatest hero the world had ever seen.



THE SON OF SEVEN MOTHERS


Once upon a time there lived a King who had seven wives, but no
children.  This was a great grief to him, especially when he
remembered that on his death there would be no heir to inherit the
kingdom.

Now, one day, a poor old _fakîr_ or religious devotee, came to
the King and said, 'Your prayers are heard, your desire shall be
accomplished, and each of your seven queens shall bear a son.'

The King's delight at this promise knew no bounds, and he gave orders
for appropriate festivities to be prepared against the coming event
throughout the length and breadth of the land.

Meanwhile the seven Queens lived luxuriously in a splendid palace,
attended by hundreds of female slaves, and fed to their hearts'
content on sweetmeats and confectionery.

Now the King was very fond of hunting, and one day, before he started,
the seven Queens sent him a message saying, 'May it please our dearest
lord not to hunt towards the north to-day, for we have dreamt bad
dreams, and fear lest evil should befall you.'

The King, to allay their anxiety, promised regard for their wishes,
and set out towards the south; but as luck would have it, although he
hunted diligently, he found no game.  Nor had he greater success to
the east or west, so that, being a keen sportsman, and determined not
to go home empty-handed, he forgot all about his promise, and turned
to the north.  Here also he met at first with no reward, but just as
he had made up his mind to give up for that day, a white hind with
golden horns and silver hoofs flashed past him into a thicket.  So
quickly did it pass, that he scarcely saw it; nevertheless a burning
desire to capture and possess the beautiful strange creature filled
his breast.  He instantly ordered his attendants to form a ring round
the thicket, and so encircle the hind; then, gradually narrowing the
circle, he pressed forward till he could distinctly see the white hind
panting in the midst.  Nearer and nearer he advanced, when, just as he
thought to lay hold of the beautiful strange creature, it gave one
mighty bound, leapt clean over the King's head, and fled towards the
mountains.  Forgetful of all else, the King, setting spurs to his
horse, followed at full speed.  On, on he galloped, leaving his
retinue far behind, but keeping the white hind in view, and never
drawing bridle, until, finding himself in a narrow ravine with no
outlet, he reined in his steed.  Before him stood a miserable hovel,
into which, being tired after his long unsuccessful chase, he entered
to ask for a drink of water.  An old woman, seated in the hut at a
spinning-wheel, answered his request by calling to her daughter, and
immediately from an inner room came a maiden so lovely and charming,
so white-skinned and golden-haired, that the King was transfixed by
astonishment at seeing so beautiful a sight in the wretched hovel.

She held the vessel of water to the King's lips, and as he drank he
looked into her eyes, and then it became clear to him that the girl
was no other than the white hind with the golden horns and silver feet
he had chased so far.

Her beauty bewitched him completely, and he fell on his knees, begging
her to return with him as his bride; but she only laughed, saying
seven Queens were quite enough even for a King to manage.  However,
when he would take no refusal, but implored her to have pity on him,
and promised her everything she could desire, she replied, 'Give me
the eyes of your seven wives, and then perhaps I may believe that you
mean what you say.'

The King was so carried away by the glamour of the white hind's
magical beauty, that he went home at once, had the eyes of his seven
Queens taken out, and, after throwing the poor blind creatures into a
noisome dungeon whence they could not escape, set off once more for
the hovel in the ravine, bearing with him his loathsome offering.  But
the white hind only laughed cruelly when she saw the fourteen eyes,
and threading them as a necklace, flung it round her mother's neck,
saying, 'Wear that, little mother, as a keepsake, whilst I am away in
the King's palace.'

Then she went back with the bewitched monarch as his bride, and he
gave her the seven Queens' rich clothes and jewels to wear, the seven
Queens' palace to live in, and the seven Queens' slaves to wait upon
her; so that she really had everything even a witch could desire.

Now, very soon after the seven wretched, hapless Queens were cast into
prison, the first Queen's baby was born.  It was a handsome boy, but
the Queens were so desperately hungry that they killed the child at
once, and, dividing it into seven portions, ate it.  All except the
youngest Queen, who saved her portion secretly.

The next day the second Queen's baby was born, and they did the same
with it, and with all the babies in turn, one after the other, until
the seventh and youngest Queen's baby was born on the seventh day.
But when the other six Queens came to the young mother, and wanted to
take it away, saying, 'Give us your child to eat, as you have eaten
ours!' she produced the six pieces of the other babies untouched, and
answered, 'Not so! here are six pieces for you; eat them, and leave my
child alone.  You cannot complain, for you have each your fair share,
neither more nor less.'

Now, though the other Queens were very jealous that the youngest
amongst them should by forethought and self-denial have saved her
baby's life, they could say nothing; for, as the young mother had told
them, they received their full share.  And though at first they
disliked the handsome little boy, he soon proved so useful to them,
that ere long they all looked on him as their son.  Almost as soon as
he was born he began scraping at the mud wall of their dungeon, and in
an incredibly short space of time had made a hole big enough for him
to crawl through.  Through this he disappeared, returning in an hour
or so laden with sweetmeats, which he divided equally amongst the
seven blind Queens.

As he grew older he enlarged the hole, and slipped out two or three
times every day to play with the little nobles in the town.  No one
knew who the tiny boy was, but everybody liked him, and he was so full
of funny tricks and antics, so merry and bright, that he was sure to
be rewarded by some girdle-cakes, a handful of parched grain, or some
sweetmeats.  All these things he brought home to his seven mothers, as
he loved to call the seven blind Queens, who by his help lived on in
their dungeon when all the world thought they had starved to death
ages before.

At last, when he was quite a big lad, he one day took his bow and
arrow, and went out to seek for game.  Coming by chance upon the
palace where the white hind lived in wicked splendour and
magnificence, he saw some pigeons fluttering round the white marble
turrets, and, taking good aim, shot one dead.  It came tumbling past
the very window where the white Queen was sitting; she rose to see
what was the matter, and looked out.  At the first glance at the
handsome young lad standing there bow in hand, she knew by witchcraft
that it was the King's son.

She nearly died of envy and spite, determining to destroy the lad
without delay; therefore, sending a servant to bring him to her
presence, she asked him if he would sell her the pigeon he had just
shot.

'No,' replied the sturdy lad, 'the pigeon is for my seven blind
mothers, who live in the noisome dungeon, and who would die if I did
not bring them food.'

'Poor souls!' cried the cunning white witch; 'would you not like to
bring them their eyes again?  Give me the pigeon, my dear, and I
faithfully promise to show you where to find them.'

Hearing this, the lad was delighted beyond measure, and gave up the
pigeon at once.  Whereupon the white Queen told him to seek her mother
without delay, and ask for the eyes which she wore as a necklace.

'She will not fail to give them,' said the cruel Queen, 'if you show
her this token on which I have written what I want done.'

So saying, she gave the lad a piece of broken potsherd, with these
words inscribed on it--'Kill the bearer at once, and sprinkle his
blood like water!'

Now, as the son of seven mothers could not read, he took the fatal
message cheerfully, and set off to find the white Queen's mother.

But while he was journeying he passed through a town, where every one
of the inhabitants looked so sad that he could not help asking what
was the matter.  They told him it was because the King's only daughter
refused to marry; so when her father died there would be no heir to
the throne.  They greatly feared she must be out of her mind, for
though every good-looking young man in the kingdom had been shown to
her, she declared she would only marry one who was the son of seven
mothers, and of course no one had ever heard of such a thing.  Still
the King, in despair, had ordered every man who entered the city gates
to be led before the Princess in case she might relent.  So, much to
the lad's impatience, for he was in an immense hurry to find his
mothers' eyes, he was dragged into the presence-chamber.

No sooner did the Princess catch sight of him than she blushed, and,
turning to the King, said, 'Dear father, this is my choice!'

Never were such rejoicings as these few words produced.  The
inhabitants nearly went wild with joy, but the son of seven mothers
said he would not marry the Princess unless they first let him recover
his mothers' eyes.  Now when the beautiful bride heard his story, she
asked to see the potsherd, for she was very learned and clever; so
much so that on seeing the treacherous words, she said nothing, but
taking another similarly-shaped bit of potsherd, wrote on it these
words--'Take care of this lad, give him all he desires,' and returned
it to the son of seven mothers, who, none the wiser, set off on his
quest.

Ere long, he arrived at the hovel in the ravine, where the white
witch's mother, a hideous old creature, grumbled dreadfully on reading
the message, especially when the lad asked for the necklace of eyes.
Nevertheless she took it off, and gave it him, saying,' There are only
thirteen of 'em now, for I ate one last week, when I was hungry.'

The lad, however, was only too glad to get any at all, so he hurried
home as fast as he could to his seven mothers, and gave two eyes
apiece to the six elder Queens; but to the youngest he gave one,
saying, 'Dearest little mother!--I will be your other eye always!'

After this he set off to marry the Princess, as he had promised, but
when passing by the white Queen's palace he again saw some pigeons on
the roof.  Drawing his bow, he shot one, and again it came fluttering
past the window.  Then the white hind looked out, and lo! there was
the King's son alive and well.

She cried with hatred and disgust, but sending for the lad, asked him
how he had returned so soon, and when she heard how he had brought
home the thirteen eyes, and given them to the seven blind Queens, she
could hardly restrain her rage.  Nevertheless she pretended to be
charmed with his success, and told him that if he would give her this
pigeon also, she would reward him with the Jôgi's wonderful
cow, whose milk flows all day long, and makes a pond as big as a
kingdom.  The lad, nothing loath, gave her the pigeon; whereupon, as
before, she bade him go ask her mother for the cow, and gave him a
potsherd whereon was written--'Kill this lad without fail, and
sprinkle his blood like water!'

But on the way, the son of seven mothers looked in on the Princess,
just to tell her how he came to be delayed, and she, after reading the
message on the potsherd, gave him another in its stead; so that when
the lad reached the old hag's hut and asked her for the Jôgi's
cow, she could not refuse, but told the boy how to find it; and,
bidding him of all things not to be afraid of the eighteen thousand
demons who kept watch and ward over the treasure, told him to be off
before she became too angry at her daughter's foolishness in thus
giving away so many good things.

Then the lad did as he had been told bravely.  He journeyed on and on
till he came to a milk-white pond, guarded by the eighteen thousand
demons.  They were really frightful to behold, but, plucking up
courage, he whistled a tune as he walked through them, looking neither
to the right nor the left.  By and by he came upon the Jôgi's cow,
tall, white, and beautiful, while the Jôgi himself, who was king of
all the demons, sat milking her day and night, and the milk streamed
from her udder, filling the milk-white tank.

The Jôgi, seeing the lad, called out fiercely, 'What do you want
here?'

Then the lad answered, according to the old hag's bidding, 'I want
your skin, for King Indra is making a new kettledrum, and says your
skin is nice and tough.'

Upon this the Jôgi began to shiver and shake (for no Jinn or Jôgi
dares disobey King Indra's command), and, falling at the lad's feet,
cried, 'If you will spare me I will give you anything I possess, even
my beautiful white cow!'

To this, the son of seven mothers, after a little pretended
hesitation, agreed, saying that after all it would not be difficult to
find a nice tough skin like the Jôgi's elsewhere; so, driving the
wonderful cow before him, he set off homewards.  The seven Queens were
delighted to possess so marvellous an animal, and though they toiled
from morning till night making curds and whey, besides selling milk to
the confectioners, they could not use half the cow gave, and became
richer and richer day by day.

Seeing them so comfortably off, the son of seven mothers started with
a light heart to marry the Princess; but when passing the white hind's
palace he could not resist sending a bolt at some pigeons which were
cooing on the parapet, and for the third time one fell dead just
beneath the window where the white Queen was sitting.  Looking out,
she saw the lad hale and hearty standing before her, and grew whiter
than ever with rage and spite.

[Illustration:  The son demanding the Jôgi's cow]

She sent for him to ask how he had returned so soon, and when she
heard how kindly her mother had received him, she very nearly had a
fit; however, she dissembled her feelings as well as she could, and,
smiling sweetly, said she was glad to have been able to fulfil her
promise, and that if he would give her this third pigeon, she would do
yet more for him than she had done before, by giving him the
million-fold rice, which ripens in one night.

The lad was of course delighted at the very idea, and, giving up the
pigeon, set off on his quest, armed as before with a potsherd, on
which was written, 'Do not fail this time.  Kill the lad, and sprinkle
his blood like water!'

But when he looked in on his Princess, just to prevent her becoming
anxious about him, she asked to see the potsherd as usual, and
substituted another, on which was written, 'Yet again give this lad
all he requires, for his blood shall be as your blood!'

Now when the old hag saw this, and heard how the lad wanted the
million-fold rice which ripens in a single night, she fell into the
most furious rage, but being terribly afraid of her daughter, she
controlled herself, and bade the boy go and find the field guarded by
eighteen millions of demons, warning him on no account to look back
after having plucked the tallest spike of rice, which grew in the
centre.

So the son of seven mothers set off, and soon came to the field where,
guarded by eighteen millions of demons, the million-fold rice grew.
He walked on bravely, looking neither to the right nor left, till he
reached the centre and plucked the tallest ear; but as he turned
homewards a thousand sweet voices rose behind him, crying in tenderest
accents, 'Pluck me too! oh, please pluck me too!'  He looked back, and
lo! there was nothing left of him but a little heap of ashes!

Now as time passed by and the lad did not return, the old hag grew
uneasy, remembering the message 'his blood shall be as your blood'; so
she set off to see what had happened.

Soon she came to the heap of ashes, and knowing by her arts what it
was, she took a little water, and kneading the ashes into a paste,
formed it into the likeness of a man; then, putting a drop of blood
from her little finger into its mouth, she blew on it, and instantly
the son of seven mothers started up as well as ever.

'Don't you disobey orders again!' grumbled the old hag, 'or next time
I'll leave you alone.  Now be off, before I repent of my kindness!'

So the son of seven mothers returned joyfully to the seven Queens,
who, by the aid of the million-fold rice, soon became the richest
people in the kingdom.  Then they celebrated their son's marriage to
the clever Princess with all imaginable pomp; but the bride was so
clever, she would not rest until she had made known her husband to his
father, and punished the wicked white witch.  So she made her husband
build a palace exactly like the one in which the seven Queens had
lived, and in which the white witch now dwelt in splendour.  Then,
when all was prepared, she bade her husband give a grand feast to the
King.  Now the King had heard much of the mysterious son of seven
mothers, and his marvellous wealth, so he gladly accepted the
invitation; but what was his astonishment when on entering the palace
he found it was a facsimile of his own in every particular!  And when
his host, richly attired, led him straight to the private hall, where
on royal thrones sat the seven Queens, dressed as he had last seen
them, he was speechless with surprise, until the Princess, coming
forward, threw herself at his feet, and told him the whole story.
Then the King awoke from his enchantment, and his anger rose against
the wicked white hind who had bewitched him so long, until he could
not contain himself.  So she was put to death, and her grave ploughed
over, and after that the seven Queens returned to their own splendid
palace, and everybody lived happily.



THE SPARROW AND THE CROW


A sparrow and a crow once agreed to have _khichrî_ for dinner.
So the Sparrow brought rice, and the Crow brought lentils, and the
Sparrow was cook, and when the _khichrî_ was ready, the Crow
stood by to claim his share.

'Who ever heard of any one sitting down to dinner so dirty as you
are?' quoth the Sparrow scornfully.  'Your body is quite black, and
your head looks as if it were covered with ashes.  For goodness
gracious sake, go and wash in the Pond first.'

The Crow, though a little huffy at being called dirty, deemed it best
to comply, for he knew what a determined little person the Sparrow
was; so he went to the Pond, and said--

  'Your name, sir, is Pond,
    But my name is Crow.
  Please give me some water,
    For if you do so
  I can wash beak and feet
    And the nice _khichrî_ eat;
  Though I really don't know
    What the Sparrow can mean,
  For I'm sure, as Crows go,
    I'm remarkably clean!'

[Illustration:  The crow and those he meets]

But the Pond said, 'Certainly I will give you water; but first you
must go to the Deer, and beg him to lend you a horn.  Then with it you
can dig a nice little rill for the water to flow in clean and fresh.'

So the Crow flew to the Deer, and said--

  'Your name, sir, is Deer,
    But my name is Crow.
  Oh, give me a horn, please,
    For if you do so
  I can dig a clean rill
  For the water to fill;
  Then I'll wash beak and feet
  And the nice _khichrî_ eat;
  Though I really don't know
    What the Sparrow can mean,
  For I'm sure, as Crows go,
    I'm remarkably clean!'

But the Deer said, 'Certainly I will give you a horn; but first you
must go to the Cow, and ask her to give you some milk for me to
drink.  Then I shall grow fat, and not mind the pain of breaking my
horn.'

So the Crow flew off to the Cow, and said--

  'Your name, ma'am, is Cow,
    But my name is Crow.
  Oh, give me some milk, please,
    For if you do so
  The pain will be borne,
  Deer will give me his horn,
  And I'll dig a clean rill
  For the water to fill;
  Then I'll wash beak and feet
  And the nice _khichrî_ eat;
  Though I really don't know
    What the Sparrow can mean,
  For I'm sure, as Crows go,
    I'm remarkably clean!'

But the Cow said, 'Certainly I will give you milk, only first you must
bring me some Grass; for who ever heard of a cow giving milk without
grass?'

So the Crow flew to some Grass, and said--

  'Your name, sir, is Grass,
    But my name is Crow.
  Oh, give me some blades, please,
    For if you do so
  Madam Cow will give milk
  To the Deer sleek as silk;
  The pain will be borne,
  He will give me his horn,
  And I'll dig a clean rill
  For the water to fill;
  Then I'll wash beak and feet
  And the nice _khichrî_ eat;
  Though I really don't know
    What the Sparrow can mean,
  For I'm sure, as Crows go,
    I'm remarkably clean!'

But the Grass said, 'Certainly I will give you Grass; but first you
must go to the Blacksmith, and ask him to make you a sickle.  Then you
can cut me, for who ever heard of Grass cutting itself?'

So the Crow went to the Blacksmith, and said--

  'Your name, sir, is Smith,
    But my name is Crow.
  Please give me a sickle,
    For if you do so
  The Grass I can mow
  As food for the Cow;
  Madam Cow will give milk
  To the Deer sleek as silk;
  The pain will be borne,
  He will give me his horn,
  And I'll dig a clean rill
  For the water to fill;
  Then I'll wash beak and feet
  And the nice _khichrî_ eat;
  Though I really don't know
    What the Sparrow can mean,
  For I'm sure, as Crows go,
    I'm remarkably clean!'

'With pleasure,' said the Blacksmith, 'if you will light the fire and
blow the bellows.'

So the Crow began to light the fire, and blow the bellows, but in so
doing he fell right in--to--the--very--middle--of--the--_fire_,
and was burnt!

So that was the end of him, and the Sparrow ate all the
_khichrî_.



THE TIGER, THE BRAHMÂN, AND THE JACKAL


Once upon a time a tiger was caught in a trap.  He tried in vain to
get out through the bars, and rolled and bit with rage and grief when
he failed.

By chance a poor Brâhman came by.  'Let me out of this cage, O pious
one!' cried the tiger.

'Nay, my friend,' replied the Brâhman mildly, 'you would probably eat
me if I did.'

'Not at all!' swore the tiger with many oaths; 'on the contrary, I
should be for ever grateful, and serve you as a slave!'

Now when the tiger sobbed and sighed and wept and swore, the pious
Brâhman's heart softened, and at last he consented to open the door of
the cage.  Out popped the tiger, and, seizing the poor man, cried,
'What a fool you are!  What is to prevent my eating you now, for after
being cooped up so long I am just terribly hungry!'

In vain the Brâhman pleaded for his life; the most he could gain was a
promise to abide by the decision of the first three things he chose to
question as to the justice of the tiger's action.

So the Brâhman first asked a _pîpal_ tree what it thought of the
matter, but the _pîpal_ tree replied coldly, 'What have you to
complain about?  Don't I give shade and shelter to every one who
passes by, and don't they in return tear down my blanches to feed
their cattle?  Don't whimper--be a man!'

Then the Brâhman, sad at heart, went farther afield till he saw a
buffalo turning a well-wheel; but he fared no better from it, for it
answered, 'You are a fool to expect gratitude!  Look at me!  While I
gave milk they fed me on cotton-seed and oil-cake, but now I am dry
they yoke me here, and give me refuse as fodder!'

[Illustration:  Buffalo turning the well-wheel]

The Brâhman, still more sad, asked the road to give him its opinion.

'My dear sir,' said the road, 'how foolish you are to expect anything
else!  Here am I, useful to everybody, yet all, rich and poor, great
and small, trample on me as they go past, giving me nothing but the
ashes of their pipes and the husks of their grain!'

On this the Brâhman turned back sorrowfully, and on the way he met a
jackal, who called out, 'Why, what's the matter, Mr. Brâhman?  You
look as miserable as a fish out of water!'

Then the Brâhman told him all that had occurred.  'How very
confusing!' said the jackal, when the recital was ended; 'would you
mind telling me over again? for everything seems so mixed up!'

The Brâhman told it all over again, but the jackal shook his head in a
distracted sort of way, and still could not understand.

'It's very odd,' said he sadly, 'but it all seems to go in at one ear
and out at the other!  I will go to the place where it all happened,
and then perhaps I shall be able to give a judgment.'

So they returned to the cage, by which the tiger was waiting for the
Brâhman, and sharpening his teeth and claws.

'You've been away a long time!' growled the savage beast, 'but now let
us begin our dinner.'

'_Our_ dinner!' thought the wretched Brâhman, as his knees
knocked together with fright; 'what a remarkably delicate way of
putting it!'

'Give me five minutes, my lord!' he pleaded, 'in order that I may
explain matters to the jackal here, who is somewhat slow in his wits.'

The tiger consented, and the Brâhman began the whole story over again,
not missing a single detail, and spinning as long a yarn as possible.

'Oh, my poor brain! oh, my poor brain!' cried the jackal, wringing his
paws.  'Let me see! how did it all begin?  You were in the cage, and
the tiger came walking by----'

'Pooh!' interrupted the tiger,' what a fool you are! _I_ was in
the cage.'

'Of course!' cried the jackal, pretending to tremble with fright;
'yes!  I was in the cage--no, I wasn't--dear! dear! where are my
wits?  Let me see--the tiger was in the Brâhman, and the cage came
walking by--no, that's not it either!  Well, don't mind me, but begin
your dinner, for I shall never understand!'

'Yes, you shall!' returned the tiger, in a rage at the jackal's
stupidity; 'I'll _make_ you understand!  Look here--I am the
tiger--'

'Yes, my lord!'

'And that is the Brâhman--'

'Yes, my lord!'

'And that is the cage--'

'Yes, my lord!'

'And I was in the cage--do you understand?'

'Yes--no--Please, my lord--'

'Well?' cried the tiger, impatiently.

'Please, my lord!--how did you get in?'

'How!--why, in the usual way, of course!'

'Oh dear me!--my head is beginning to whirl again!  Please don't be
angry, my lord, but what is the usual way?'

At this the tiger lost patience, and, jumping into the cage, cried,
'This way!  Now do you understand how it was?'

'Perfectly!' grinned the jackal, as he dexterously shut the door; 'and
if you will permit me to say so, I think matters will remain as they
were!'



THE KING OF THE CROCODILES


[Illustration:  Farmer begging the crocodiles not to hurt him]

Once upon a time a farmer went out to look at his fields by the side
of the river, and found to his dismay that all his young green wheat
had been trodden down, and nearly destroyed, by a number of
crocodiles, which were lying lazily amid the crops like great logs of
wood.  He flew into a great rage, bidding them go back to the water,
but they only laughed at him.

Every day the same thing occurred,--every day the farmer found the
crocodiles lying in his young wheat, until one morning he completely
lost his temper, and, when they refused to budge, began throwing
stones at them.  At this they rushed on him fiercely, and he, quaking
with fear, fell on his knees, begging them not to hurt him.

'We will hurt neither you nor your young wheat,' said the biggest
crocodile, 'if you will give us your daughter in marriage; but if not,
we will eat you for throwing stones at us.'

The farmer, thinking of nothing but saving his own life, promised what
the crocodiles required of him; but when, on his return home, he told
his wife what he had done, she was very much vexed, for their daughter
was as beautiful as the moon, and her betrothal into a very rich
family had already taken place.  So his wife persuaded the farmer to
disregard the promise made to the crocodiles, and proceed with his
daughter's marriage as if nothing had happened; but when the
wedding-day drew near the bridegroom died, and there was an end to
that business.  The farmer's daughter, however, was so beautiful that
she was very soon asked in marriage again, but this time her suitor
fell sick of a lingering illness; in short, so many misfortunes
occurred to all concerned, that at last even the farmer's wife
acknowledged the crocodiles must have something to do with the bad
luck.  By her advice the farmer went down to the river bank to try to
induce the crocodiles to release him from his promise, but they would
hear of no excuse, threatening fearful punishments if the agreement
were not fulfilled at once.

So the farmer returned home to his wife very sorrowful; she, however,
was determined to resist to the uttermost, and refused to give up her
daughter.

The very next day the poor girl fell down and broke her leg.  Then the
mother said, 'These demons of crocodiles will certainly kill us
all!--better to marry our daughter to a strange house than see her
die.'

Accordingly, the farmer went down to the river and informed the
crocodiles they might send the bridal procession to fetch the bride as
soon as they chose.

The next day a number of female crocodiles came to the bride's house
with trays full of beautiful clothes, and _henna_ for staining
the bride's hands.  They behaved with the utmost politeness, and
carried out all the proper ceremonies with the greatest precision.
Nevertheless the beautiful bride wept, saying, 'Oh, mother! are you
marrying me into the river?  I shall be drowned!'

In due course the bridal procession arrived, and all the village was
wonderstruck at the magnificence of the arrangements.  Never was there
such a retinue of crocodiles, some playing instruments of music,
others bearing trays upon trays full of sweetmeats, garments, and
jewels, and all dressed in the richest of stuffs.  In the middle, a
perfect blaze of gold and gems, sat the King of the Crocodiles.

The sight of so much magnificence somewhat comforted the beautiful
bride, nevertheless she wept bitterly when she was put into the
gorgeous bride's palanquin and borne off to the river bank.  Arrived
at the edge of the stream, the crocodiles dragged the poor girl out,
and forced her into the water, despite her struggles, for, thinking
she was going to be drowned, she screamed with terror; but lo and
behold! no sooner had her feet touched the water than it divided
before her, and, rising up on either side, showed a path leading to
the bottom of the river, down which the bridal party disappeared,
leaving the bride's father, who had accompanied her so far, upon the
bank, very much astonished at the marvellous sight.

Some months passed by without further news of the crocodiles.  The
farmer's wife wept because she had lost her daughter, declaring that
the girl was really drowned, and her husband's fine story about the
stream dividing was a mere invention.

Now when the King of the Crocodiles was on the point of leaving with
his bride, he had given a piece of brick to her father, with these
words:  'If ever you want to see your daughter, go down to the river,
throw this brick as far as you can into the stream, and you will see
what you will see!'

Remembering this, the farmer said to his wife, 'Since you are so
distressed, I will go myself and see if my daughter be alive or dead.'

Then he went to the river bank, taking the brick, and threw it ever so
far into the stream.  Immediately the waters rolled back from before
his feet, leaving a dry path to the bottom of the river.  It looked so
inviting, spread with clean sand, and bordered by flowers, that the
farmer hastened along it without the least hesitation, until he came
to a magnificent palace, with a golden roof, and shining, glittering
diamond walls.  Lofty trees and gay gardens surrounded it, and a
sentry paced up and down before the gateway.

'Whose palace is this?' asked the farmer of the sentry, who replied
that it belonged to the King of the Crocodiles.

'My daughter has at least a splendid house to live in!' thought the
farmer; 'I only wish her husband were half as handsome!'

Then, turning to the sentry, he asked if his daughter were within.

'Your daughter!' returned the sentry, 'what should she do here?'

'She married the King of the Crocodiles, and I want to see her.'

At this the sentry burst out laughing.  'A likely story, indeed!' he
cried; 'what! _my_ master married to _your_ daughter!  Ha!
ha! ha!'

Now the farmer's daughter was sitting beside an open window in the
palace, waiting for her husband to return from hunting.  She was as
happy as the day was long, for you must know that in his own
river-kingdom the King of the Crocodiles was the handsomest young
Prince anybody ever set eyes upon; it was only when he went on shore
that he assumed the form of a crocodile.  So what with her magnificent
palace and splendid young Prince, the farmer's daughter had been too
happy even to think of her old home; but now, hearing a strange voice
speaking to the sentry, her memory awakened, and she recognised her
father's tones.  Looking out, she saw him there, standing in his poor
clothes, in the glittering court; she longed to run and fling her arms
round his neck, but dared not disobey her husband, who had forbidden
her to go out of, or to let any one into the palace without his
permission.  So all she could do was to lean out of the window, and
call to him, saying, 'Oh, dearest father!  I am here!  Only wait till
my husband, the King of the Crocodiles, returns, and I will ask him to
let you in.  I dare not without his leave.'

The father, though overjoyed to find his daughter alive, did not
wonder she was afraid of her terrible husband, so he waited patiently.

In a short time a troop of horsemen entered the court.  Every man was
dressed from head to foot in armour made of glittering silver plates,
but in the centre of all rode a Prince clad in gold--bright burnished
gold, from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet,--the
handsomest, most gallant young Prince that ever was seen.

Then the poor farmer fell at the gold-clad horseman's feet, and cried,
'O King! cherish me! for I am a poor man whose daughter was carried
off by the dreadful King of the Crocodiles!'

Then the gold-clad horseman smiled, saying, '_I_ am the King of
the Crocodiles!  Your daughter is a good, obedient wife, and will be
very glad to see you.'

After this there were great rejoicings and merrymakings, but when a
few days had passed away in feasting, the farmer became restless, and
begged to be allowed to take his daughter home with him for a short
visit, in order to convince his wife the girl was well and happy.  But
the Crocodile King refused, saying, 'Not so! but if you like I will
give you a house and land here; then you can dwell with us.'

The farmer said he must first ask his wife, and returned home, taking
several bricks with him, to throw into the river and make the stream
divide.

His wife would not at first agree to live in the Crocodile Kingdom,
but she consented to go there on a visit, and afterwards became so
fond of the beautiful river country that she was constantly going to
see her daughter the Queen; till at length the old couple never
returned to shore, but lived altogether in Crocodile Kingdom with
their son-in-law, the King of the Crocodiles.



LITTLE ANKLEBONE


Once upon a time there was a little boy who lost his parents; so he
went to live with his Auntie, and she set him to herd sheep.  All day
long the little fellow wandered barefoot through the pathless plain,
tending his flock, and playing his tiny shepherd's pipe from morn till
eve.

But one day came a great big wolf, and looked hungrily at the small
shepherd and his fat sheep, saying, 'Little boy! shall I eat you, or
your sheep?'  Then the little boy answered politely, 'I don't know,
Mr. Wolf; I must ask my Auntie.'

So all day long he piped away on his tiny pipe, and in the evening,
when he brought the flock home, he went to his Auntie and said,
'Auntie dear, a great big wolf asked me to-day if he should eat me, or
your sheep.  Which shall it be?'

Then his Auntie looked at the wee little shepherd, and at the fat
flock, and said sharply, 'Which shall it be?--why, _you_, of
course!'

So next morning the little boy drove his flock out into the pathless
plain, and blew away cheerfully on his shepherd's pipe until the great
big wolf appeared.  Then he laid aside his pipe, and, going up to the
savage beast, said, 'Oh, if you please, Mr. Wolf, I asked my Auntie,
and she says you are to eat _me_.'

Now the wolf, savage as wolves always are, could not help having just
a spark of pity for the tiny barefoot shepherd who played his pipe so
sweetly, therefore he said kindly, 'Could I do anything for you,
little boy, after I've eaten you?'

'Thank you!' returned the tiny shepherd.  'If you would be so kind,
after you've picked the bones, as to thread my anklebone on a string
and hang it on the tree that weeps over the pond yonder, I shall be
much obliged.'

So the wolf ate the little shepherd, picked the bones, and afterwards
hung the anklebone by a string to the branches of the tree, where it
danced and swung in the sunlight.

Now, one day, three robbers, who had just robbed a palace, happening
to pass that way, sat down under the tree and began to divide the
spoil.  Just as they had arranged all the golden dishes and precious
jewels and costly stuffs into three heaps, a jackal howled.  Now you
must know that thieves always use the jackal's cry as a note of
warning, so that when at the very same moment Little Anklebone's
thread snapped, and he fell plump on the head of the chief robber, the
man imagined some one had thrown a pebble at him, and, shouting 'Run!
run!--we are discovered!' he bolted away as hard as he could, followed
by his companions, leaving all the treasure behind them.

'Now,' said Little Anklebone to himself, 'I shall lead a fine life!'

So he gathered the treasure together, and sat under the tree that
drooped over the pond, and played so sweetly on a new shepherd's pipe,
that all the beasts of the forest, and the birds of the air, and the
fishes of the pond came to listen to him.  Then Little Anklebone put
marble basins round the pond for the animals to drink out of, and in
the evening the does, and the tigresses, and the she-wolves gathered
round him to be milked, and when he had drunk his fill he milked the
rest into the pond, till at last it became a pond of milk.  And Little
Anklebone sat by the milken pond and piped away on his shepherd's
pipe.

Now, one day, an old woman, passing by with her jar for water, heard
the sweet strains of Little Anklebone's pipe, and following the sound,
came upon the pond of milk, and saw the animals, and the birds, and
the fishes, listening to the music.  She was wonderstruck, especially
when Little Anklebone, from his seat under the tree, called out, 'Fill
your jar, mother!  All drink who come hither!'

Then the old woman filled her jar with milk, and went on her way
rejoicing at her good fortune.  But as she journeyed she met with the
King of that country, who, having been a-hunting, had lost his way in
the pathless plain.

'Give me a drink of water, good mother,' he cried, seeing the jar; 'I
am half dead with thirst!'

'It is milk, my son,' replied the old woman; 'I got it yonder from a
milken pond.'  Then she told the King of the wonders she had seen, so
that he resolved to have a peep at them himself.  And when he saw the
milken pond, and all the animals and birds and fishes gathered round,
while Little Anklebone played ever so sweetly on his shepherd's pipe,
he said, 'I must have the tiny piper, if I die for it!'

[Illustration:  Old woman finding the pond of milk]

No sooner did Little Anklebone hear these words than he set off at a
run, and the King after him.  Never was there such a chase before or
since, for Little Anklebone hid himself amid the thickest briars and
thorns, and the King was so determined to have the tiny piper, that he
did not care for scratches.  At last the King was successful, but no
sooner did he take hold of Little Anklebone than the clouds above
began to thunder and lighten horribly, and from below came the lowing
of many does, and louder than all came the voice of the little piper
himself singing these words--

  'O clouds! why should you storm and flare?
    Poor Anklebone is forced to roam.
   O does! why wait the milker's care?
     Poor Anklebone must leave his home.'

And he sang so piercingly sweet that pity filled the King's heart,
especially when he saw it was nothing but a bone after all.  So he let
it go again, and the little piper went back to his seat under the tree
by the pond; and there he sits still, and plays his shepherd's pipe,
while all the beasts of the forest, and birds of the air, and fishes
of the pond, gather round and listen to his music.  And sometimes,
people wandering through the pathless plain hear the pipe, and then
they say, 'That is Little Anklebone, who was eaten by a wolf ages
ago!'*



THE CLOSE ALLIANCE

A TALE OF WOE


One day a farmer went with his bullocks to plough his field.  He had
just turned the first furrow, when a tiger walked up to him and said,
'Peace be with you, friend!  How are you this fine morning?'

'The same to you, my lord, and I am pretty well, thank you!' returned
the farmer, quaking with fear, but thinking it wisest to be polite.

'I am glad to hear it,' replied the tiger cheerfully, 'because
Providence has sent me to eat your two bullocks.  You are a
God-fearing man, I know, so make haste and unyoke them.'

'My friend, are you sure you are not making a mistake?' asked the
farmer, whose courage had returned now that he knew it was merely a
question of gobbling up bullocks; 'because Providence sent me to
plough this field, and, in order to plough, one must have oxen.  Had
you not better go and make further inquiries?'

'There is no occasion for delay, and I should be sorry to keep you
waiting,' returned the tiger.  'If you'll unyoke the bullocks I'll be
ready in a moment.'  With that the savage creature fell to sharpening
his teeth and claws in a very significant manner.

But the farmer begged and prayed that his oxen might not be eaten, and
promised that if the tiger would spare them, he would give in exchange
a fine fat young milch cow, which his wife had tied up in the yard at
home.

[Illustration:  Farmer pleading with the tiger]

To this the tiger agreed, and, taking the oxen with him, the farmer
went sadly homewards.  Seeing him return so early from the fields, his
wife, who was a stirring, busy woman, called out, 'What! lazybones!--back
already, and _my_ work just beginning!'

Then the farmer explained how he had met the tiger, and how to save
the bullocks he had promised the milch cow in exchange.  At this the
wife began to cry, saying, 'A likely story, indeed!--saving your
stupid old bullocks at the expense of my beautiful cow!  Where will
the children get milk? and how can I cook my pottage and collops
without butter?'

'All very fine, wife,' retorted the farmer, 'but how can we make bread
without corn? and how can you have corn without bullocks to plough the
fields?  Pottage and collops are very nice, but it is better to do
without milk and butter than without bread, so make haste and untie
the cow.'

'You great gaby!' wept the wife, 'if you had an ounce of sense in your
brain you'd think of some plan to get out of the scrape!'

'Think yourself!' cried the husband, in a rage.

'Very well!' returned the wife; 'but if I do the thinking you must
obey orders; I can't do both.  Go back to the tiger, and tell him the
cow wouldn't come along with you, but that your wife is bringing it'

The farmer, who was a great coward, didn't half like the idea of going
back empty-handed to the tiger, but as he could think of no other plan
he did as he was bid, and found the beast still sharpening his teeth
and claws for very hunger; and when he heard he had to wait still
longer for his dinner, he began to prowl about, and lash his tail, and
curl his whiskers, in a most terrible manner, causing the poor
farmer's knees to knock together with terror.

Now, when the farmer had left the house, his wife went to the stable
and saddled the pony; then she put on her husband's best clothes, tied
the turban very high, so as to make her look as tall as possible,
bestrode the pony, and set off to the field where the tiger was.

She rode along, swaggering and blustering, till she came to where the
lane turned into the field, and then she called out, as bold as brass,
'Now, please the powers!  I may find a tiger in this place; for I
haven't tasted tiger's meat since yesterday, when, as luck would have
it, I ate three for breakfast.'

[Illustration:  Farmer's wife on a horse]

Hearing these words, and seeing the speaker ride boldly at him, the
tiger became so alarmed that he turned tail, and bolted into the
forest, going away at such a headlong pace that he nearly overturned
his own jackal; for tigers always have a jackal of their own, who, as
it were, waits at table and clears away the bones.

'My lord! my lord!' cried the jackal, 'whither away so fast?'

'Run! run!' panted the tiger; 'there's the very devil of a horseman in
yonder fields, who thinks nothing of eating three tigers for
breakfast!'

At this the jackal sniggered in his sleeve.  'My dear lord,' said he,
'the sun has dazzled your eyes!  That was no horseman, but only the
farmer's wife dressed up as a man!'

'Are you quite sure?' asked the tiger, pausing.

'Quite sure, my lord,' repeated the jackal; 'and if your lordship's
eyes had not been dazzled by--ahem!--the sun, your lordship would
have seen her pigtail hanging down behind.'

'But you may be mistaken!' persisted the cowardly tiger; 'it was the
very devil of a horseman to look at!'

'Who's afraid?' replied the brave jackal.  'Come! don't give up your
dinner because of a woman!'

'But you may be bribed to betray me!' argued the tiger, who, like all
cowards, was suspicious.

'Let us go together, then!' returned the gallant jackal.

'Nay! but you may take me there and then run away!' insisted the tiger
cunningly.

'In that case, let us tie our tails together, and then I can't!'  The
jackal, you see, was determined not to be done out of his bones.

To this the tiger agreed, and having tied their tails together in a
reef-knot, the pair set off arm-in-arm.

Now the farmer and his wife had remained in the field, laughing over
the trick she had played on the tiger, when, lo and behold! what
should they see but the gallant pair coming back ever so bravely, with
their tails tied together.

'Run!' cried the farmer; 'we are lost! we are lost!'

'Nothing of the kind, you great gaby!' answered his wife coolly, 'if
you will only stop that noise and be quiet.  I can't hear myself
speak!'

Then she waited till the pair were within hail, when she called out
politely, 'How very kind of you, dear Mr. Jackal, to bring me such a
nice fat tiger!  I shan't be a moment finishing my share of him, and
then you can have the bones.'

At these words the tiger became wild with fright, and, quite
forgetting the jackal, and that reef-knot in their tails, he bolted
away full tilt, dragging the jackal behind him.  Bumpety, bump, bump,
over the stones!--crash, scratch, patch, through the briars!

In vain the poor jackal howled and shrieked to the tiger to stop,--the
noise behind him only frightened the coward more; and away he went,
helter-skelter, hurry-scurry, over hill and dale, till he was
_nearly_ dead with fatigue, and the jackal was _quite_ dead
from bumps and bruises.

_Moral_--Don't tie your tail to a coward's.



THE TWO BROTHERS


Once upon a time there lived a King who had two young sons; they were
good boys, and sat in school learning all that kings' sons ought to
know.  But while they were still learning, the Queen their mother
died, and their father the King shortly after married again.  Of
course the new wife was jealous of the two young Princes, and, as
stepmothers usually do, she soon began to ill-use the poor boys.
First she gave them barley-meal instead of wheaten cakes to eat, and
then even these were made without salt.  After a time, the meal of
which the cakes were made was sour and full of weevils; so matters
went on from bad to worse, until at last she took to beating the poor
young Princes, and when they cried, she complained to the King of
their disobedience and peevishness, so that he too was angry, and beat
them again.

At length the lads agreed it was high time to seek some remedy.

'Let us go into the world,' said the younger, 'and earn our own
living.'

'Yes,' cried the elder, 'let us go at once, and never again eat bread
under this roof.'

'Not so, brother,' replied the younger, who was wise beyond his years,
'don't you remember the saying--

  ''With empty stomachs don't venture away,
    Be it December, or be it May'?'

So they ate their bread, bad as it was, and afterwards, both mounting
on one pony, they set out to seek their fortune.

Having journeyed for some time through a barren country, they
dismounted under a large tree, and sat down to rest.  By chance a
starling and a parrot, flying past, settled on the branches of the
tree, and began to dispute as to who should have the best place.

'I never heard of such impertinence!' cried the starling, pushing and
striving to get to the topmost branch; 'why, I am so important a bird,
that if any man eats me he will without doubt become Prime Minister!'

'Make room for your betters!' returned the parrot, hustling the
starling away; 'why, if any man eats _me_ he will without doubt
become a King!'

Hearing these words, the brothers instantly drew out their crossbows,
and aiming at the same time, both the birds fell dead at the selfsame
moment.  Now these two brothers were so fond of each other that
neither would allow he had shot the parrot, for each wanted the other
to be the King, and even when the birds had been cooked and were ready
to eat, the two lads were still disputing over the matter.  But at
last the younger said, 'Dearest brother, we are only wasting time.
You are the elder, and must take your right, since it was your fate to
be born first.'

So the elder Prince ate the parrot, and the younger Prince ate the
starling; then they mounted their pony and rode away.  They had gone
but a little way, however, when the elder brother missed his whip, and
thinking he had perhaps left it under the tree, proposed to go back
and find it.

'Not so,' said the younger Prince, 'you are King, I am only Minister;
therefore it is my place to go and fetch the whip.'

'Be it as you wish,' replied the elder, 'only take the pony, which
will enable you to return quicker.  In the meantime I will go on foot
to yonder town.'

The younger Prince accordingly rode back to the tree, but the
Snake-demon, to whom it belonged, had returned during the interval,
and no sooner did the poor Prince set foot within its shade than the
horrid serpent flew at him and killed him.

Meanwhile, the elder Prince, loitering along the road, arrived at last
at the town, which he found in a state of great commotion.  The King
had recently died, and though all the inhabitants had marched past the
sacred elephant in file, the animal had not chosen to elect any one of
them to the vacant throne by kneeling down and saluting the favoured
individual as he passed by, for in this manner Kings were elected in
that country.  Therefore the people were in great consternation, and
orders had been issued that every stranger entering the gates of the
city was forthwith to be led before the sacred elephant.  No sooner,
therefore, had the elder Prince set foot in the town than he was
dragged unceremoniously--for there had been many disappointments--before
the over-particular animal.  This time, however, it had found
what it wanted, for the very instant it caught sight of the Prince it
went down on its knees and began in a great hurry to salute him with
its trunk.  So the Prince was immediately elected to the throne, amid
general rejoicings.

[Illustration:  The sacred elephant bowing before the prince]

All this time the younger Prince lay dead under the tree, so that the
King his brother, after waiting and searching for him in vain, gave
him up for lost, and appointed another Prime Minister.

But it so happened that a magician and his wife, who, being wise folk,
were not afraid of the serpents which dwelt in the tree, came to draw
water at the spring which flowed from the roots; and when the
magician's wife saw the dead Prince lying there, so handsome and
young, she thought she had never seen anything so beautiful before,
and, taking pity on him, said to her husband, 'You are for ever
talking of your wisdom and power:  prove it by bringing this dead lad
to life!'

At first the magician refused, but when his wife began to jeer at him,
saying his vaunted power was all pretence, he replied angrily, 'Very
well; you shall see that although I myself have no power to bring the
dead back to life, I can force others to do the deed.'

Whereupon he bade his wife fill her brass drinking bowl at the spring,
when, lo and behold! every drop of the water flowed into the little
vessel, and the fountain was dry!

'Now,' said the magician, 'come away home, and you shall see what you
will see.'

When the serpents found their spring had dried up, they were terribly
put out, for serpents are thirsty creatures, and love water.  They
bore the drought for three days, but after that they went in a body to
the magician, and told him they would do whatever he desired if he
would only restore the water of their spring.  This he promised to do,
if they in their turn restored the dead Prince to life; and when they
gladly performed this task, the magician emptied the brass bowl, all
the water flowed back into the spring, and the serpents drank and were
happy.

The young Prince, on coming back to life, fancied he had awakened from
sleep, and fearing lest his brother should be vexed at his delay,
seized the whip, mounted the pony--which all this time had been
quietly grazing beside its master--and rode off.  But in his hurry and
confusion he took the wrong road, and so arrived at last at a
different city from the one wherein his brother was king.

It was growing late in the evening, and having no money in his pocket,
the young Prince was at a loss how to procure anything to eat; but
seeing a good-natured-looking old woman herding goats, he said to her,
'Mother, if you will give me something to eat you may herd this pony
of mine also, for it will be yours.'

To this the old woman agreed, and the Prince went to live in her
house, finding her very kind and good-natured.  But in the course of a
day or two he noticed that his hostess looked very sad, so he asked
her what was the matter.

'The matter is this, my son,' replied the old woman, tearfully; 'in
this kingdom there lives an ogre, which every day devours a young man,
a goat, and a wheaten cake--in consideration of receiving which meal
punctually, he leaves the other inhabitants in peace.  Therefore every
day this meal has to be provided, and it falls to the lot of every
inhabitant in turn to prepare it, under pain of death.  It is my turn
to-day.  The cake I can make, the goat I have, but where is the young
man?'

'Why does not some one kill the ogre?' asked the brave young Prince.

'Many have tried, but all have failed, though the King has gone so far
as to promise his daughter in marriage, and half his kingdom, to a
successful champion.  And now it is my turn, and I must die, for where
shall I find a young man?' said the poor old woman, weeping bitterly.

'Don't cry, Goody,' returned the good-natured Prince; 'you have been
very kind to me, and I will do my best for you by making part of the
ogre's dinner.'

And though the old woman at first refused flatly to allow so handsome
a young man to sacrifice himself, he laughed at her fears, and cheered
her up so that she gave in.

'Only one thing I ask of you, Goody,' quoth the Prince; 'make the
wheaten cake as big as you can, and give me the finest and fattest
goat in your flock.'

This she promised to do, and when everything was prepared, the Prince,
leading the goat and carrying the cake, went to the tree where the
ogre came every evening to receive and devour his accustomed meal.
Having tied the goat to the tree, and laid the cake on the ground, the
Prince stepped outside the trench that was dug round the ogre's
dining-room, and waited.  Presently the ogre, a very frightful monster
indeed, appeared.  Now he generally ate the young man first, for as a
rule the cakes and goats brought to him were not appetising; but this
evening, seeing the biggest cake and the fattest goat he ever set eyes
upon, he just went straight at them and began to gobble them up.  As
he was finishing the last mouthful, and was looking about for his
man's flesh, the Prince sprang at him, sword in hand.  Then ensued a
terrible contest.  The ogre fought like an ogre, but in consequence of
having eaten the cake and the goat, one the biggest and the other the
fattest that ever was seen, he was not nearly so active as usual, and
after a tremendous battle the brave Prince was victorious, and laid
his enemy at his feet.  Rejoicing at his success, the young man cut
off the ogre's head, tied it up in a handkerchief as a trophy, and
then, being quite wearied out by the combat, lay down to rest and fell
fast asleep.

Now, every morning, a scavenger came to the ogre's dining-room to
clear away the remains of the last night's feast, for the ogre was
mighty fastidious, and could not bear the smell of old bones; and this
particular morning, when the scavenger saw only half the quantity of
bones, he was much astonished, and beginning to search for more, found
the young Prince hard by, fast asleep, with the ogre's head by his
side.

'Ho! ho!' thought the scavenger, 'this is a fine chance for me!'

So, lifting the Prince, who, being dead tired, did not awake, he put
him gently into a clay-pit close by, and covered him up with clay.
Then he took the ogre's head, and going to the King, claimed half the
kingdom and the Princess in marriage, as his reward for slaying the
ogre.

Although the King had his suspicions that all was not fair, he was
obliged to fulfil his promise as far as giving up part of his kingdom
was concerned, but for the present he managed to evade the dreadful
necessity of giving his daughter in marriage to a scavenger, by the
excuse that the Princess was desirous of a year's delay.  So the
Scavenger-king reigned over half the kingdom, and made great
preparations for his future marriage.

Meanwhile, some potters coming to get clay from their pit were
mightily astonished to find a handsome young man, insensible, but
still breathing, hidden away under the clay.  Taking him home, they
handed him over to the care of their women, who soon brought him
round.  On coming to himself, he learnt with surprise of the
scavenger's victory over the ogre, with which all the town was
ringing.  He understood how the wicked wretch had stepped in and
defrauded him, and having no witness but his own word, saw it would be
useless to dispute the point; therefore he gladly accepted the
potters' offer of teaching him their trade.

Thus the Prince sat at the potters' wheel, and proved so clever, that
ere long they became famous for the beautiful patterns and excellent
workmanship of their wares; so much so, that the story of the handsome
young potter who had been found in a clay-pit soon became noised
abroad; and although the Prince had wisely never breathed a word of
his adventures to any one, yet, when the news of his existence reached
the Scavenger-king's ears, he determined in some way or another to get
rid of the young man, lest the truth should leak out.

Now, just at this time, the fleet of merchant vessels which annually
came to the city with merchandise and spices was detained in harbour
by calms and contrary winds.  So long were they detained that the
merchants feared lest they should be unable to return within the year;
and as this was a serious matter, the auguries were consulted.  They
declared that until a human sacrifice was made the vessels would never
leave port.  When this was reported to the Scavenger-king he seized
his opportunity, and said, 'Be it so; but do not sacrifice a citizen.
Give the merchants that good-for-nothing potter-lad, who comes no one
knows whence.'

[Illustration:  The prince at the potter's wheel]

The courtiers of course lauded the kindness of the Scavenger-king to
the skies, and the Prince was handed over to the merchants, who,
taking him on board their ships, prepared to kill him.  However, he
begged and prayed them so hard to wait till evening, on the chance of
a breeze coming up, that they consented to wait till sunset.  Then,
when none came, the Prince took a knife and made a tiny cut on his
little finger.  As the first drop of blood flowed forth, the sails of
the first ship filled with wind, and she glided swiftly out of
harbour; at the second drop, the second ship did likewise, and so on
till the whole fleet were sailing before a strong breeze.

The merchants were enchanted at having such a valuable possession as
the Prince, who could thus compel the winds, and took the very
greatest care of him; before long he was a great favourite with them
all, for he was really an amiable young man.  At length they arrived
at another city, which happened to be the very one where the Prince's
brother had been elected King by the elephant, and while the merchants
went into the town to transact business, they left the Prince to watch
over the vessels.  Now, growing weary of watching, the Prince, to
amuse himself, began, with the clay on the shore beside him, to make a
model from memory of his father's palace.  Growing interested in his
work, he worked away till he had made the most beautiful thing
imaginable.  There was the garden full of flowers, the King on his
throne, the courtiers sitting round,--even the Princes learning in
school, and the pigeons fluttering about the tower.  When it was quite
finished, the poor young Prince could not help the tears coming into
his eyes, as he looked at it, and he sighed to think of past days.

Just at that very moment the Prime Minister's daughter, surrounded by
her women, happened to pass that way.  She looked at the beautiful
model, and was wonderstruck, but when she saw the handsome, sad young
man who sat sighing beside it, she went straight home, locked the
doors, and refused to eat anything at all.  Her father, fearing she
was ill, sent to inquire what was wrong, whereupon she sent him this
reply:  'Tell my father I will neither eat nor drink until he marries
me to the young man who sits sighing on the sea-shore beside a king's
palace made of clay.'

At first the Prime Minister was very angry, but seeing his daughter
was determined to starve herself to death if she did not gain her
point, he outwardly gave his consent; privately, however, arranging
with the merchants that immediately after the marriage the bride and
bridegroom were to go on board the ships, which were at once to set
sail, and that on the first opportunity the Prince was to be thrown
overboard, and the Princess brought back to her father.

So the marriage took place, the ships sailed away, and a day or two
afterwards the merchants pushed the young man overboard as he was
sitting on the prow.  But it so happened that a rope was hanging from
the bride's window in the stern, and as the Prince drifted by, he
caught it and climbed up into her cabin unseen.  She hid him in her
box, where he lay concealed, and when they brought her food, she
refused to eat, pretending grief, and saying, 'Leave it here; perhaps
I may be hungry by and by.'  Then she shared the meal with her
husband.

The merchants, thinking they had managed everything beautifully,
turned their ships round, and brought the bride and her box back to
her father, who, being much pleased, rewarded them handsomely.

His daughter also was quite content, and having reached her own
apartments, let her husband out of the box and dressed him as a
woman-servant, so that he could go about the palace quite securely.

Now the Prince had of course told his wife the whole story of his
life, and when she in return had related how the King of that country
had been elected by the elephant, her husband began to feel sure he
had found his long-lost brother at last.  Then he laid a plan to make
sure.  Every day a bouquet of flowers was sent to the King from the
Minister's garden, so one evening the Prince, in his disguise, went up
to the gardener's daughter, who was cutting flowers, and said, 'I will
teach you a new fashion of arranging them, if you like.'  Then, taking
the flowers, he tied them together just as his father's gardener used
to do.

The next morning, when the King saw the bouquet, he became quite pale,
and turning to the gardener, asked him who had arranged the flowers.

'I did, sire,' replied the gardener, trembling with fear.

'You lie, knave!' cried the King; 'but go, bring me just such another
bouquet to-morrow, or your head shall be the forfeit!'

That day the gardener's daughter came weeping to the disguised Prince,
and, telling him all, besought him to make her another bouquet to save
her father's life.  The Prince willingly consented, for he was now
certain the King was his long-lost brother; and, making a still more
beautiful bouquet, concealed a paper, on which his name was written,
amidst the flowers.

When the King discovered the paper he turned quite pale, and said to
the gardener, 'I am now convinced you never made this nosegay; but
tell me the truth, and I will forgive you.'

Whereupon the gardener fell on his knees and confessed that one of the
women-servants in the Prime Minister's palace had made it for his
daughter.  This surprised the King immensely, and he determined to
disguise himself and go with the gardener's daughter to cut flowers in
the Minister's garden, which he accordingly did; but no sooner did the
disguised young Prince behold his brother than he recognised him, and
wishing to see if power and wealth had made his brother forget their
youthful affection, he parried all questions as to where he had learnt
to arrange flowers, and replied by telling the story of his
adventures, as far as the eating of the starling and the parrot.  Then
he declared he was too tired to proceed further that day, but would
continue his story on the next.  The King, though greatly excited, was
accordingly obliged to wait till the next evening, when the Prince
told of his fight with the demon and delivery by the potters.  Then
once more he declared he was tired, and the King, who was on pins and
needles to hear more, had to wait yet another day; and so on until the
seventh day, when the Prince concluded his tale by relating his
marriage with the Prime Minister's daughter, and disguise as a woman.

Then the King fell on his brother's neck and rejoiced greatly; the
Minister also, when he heard what an excellent marriage his daughter
had made, was so pleased that he voluntarily resigned his office in
favour of his son-in-law.  So what the parrot and the starling had
said came true, for the one brother was King, and the other Prime
Minister.

The very first thing the King did was to send ambassadors to the court
of the king who owned the country where the ogre had been killed,
telling him the truth of the story, and saying that his brother, being
quite satisfied as Prime Minister, did not intend to claim half the
kingdom.  At this, the king of that country was so delighted that he
begged the Minister Prince to accept of his daughter as a bride, to
which the Prince replied that he was already married, but that his
brother the King would gladly make her his wife.

So there were immense rejoicings, but the Scavenger-king was put to
death, as he very well deserved.



THE JACKAL AND THE IGUANA


One moonlight night, a miserable, half-starved jackal, skulking
through the village, found a worn-out pair of shoes in the gutter.
They were too tough for him to eat, so, determined to make some use of
them, he strung them to his ears like earrings, and, going down to the
edge of the pond, gathered all the old bones he could find together,
and built a platform with them, plastering it over with mud.

On this he sat in a dignified attitude, and when any animal came to
the pond to drink, he cried out in a loud voice, 'Hi! stop!  You must
not taste a drop till you have done homage to me.  So repeat these
verses, which I have composed in honour of the occasion:--

  'Silver is his daïs, plastered o'er with gold;
  In his ears are jewels,--some prince I must behold!'

Now, as most of the animals were very thirsty, and in a great hurry to
drink, they did not care to dispute the matter, but gabbled off the
words without a second thought.  Even the royal tiger, treating it as
a jest, repeated the jackal's rhyme, in consequence of which the
latter became quite cock-a-hoop, and really began to believe he was a
personage of great importance.

[Illustration:  The jackal on the mud-plastered bone platform]

By and by an iguana, or big lizard, came waddling and wheezing down to
the water, looking for all the world like a baby alligator.

'Hi! you there!' sang out the jackal; 'you mustn't drink until you
have said--

'Silver is his daïs, plastered o'er with gold; In his ears are
jewels,--some prince I must behold!'

'Pouf! pouf! pouf!' gasped the iguana.  'Mercy on us, how dry my
throat is!  Mightn't I have just a wee sip of water first? and then I
could do justice to your admirable lines; at present I am as hoarse as
a crow!'

'By all means!' replied the jackal, with a gratified smirk.  'I
flatter myself the verses _are_ good, especially when well
recited.'

So the iguana, nose down into the water, drank away, until the jackal
began to think he would never leave off, and was quite taken aback
when he finally came to an end of his draught, and began to move away.

'Hi! hi!' cried the jackal, recovering his presence of mind;' stop a
bit, and say--

  'Silver is his daïs, plastered o'er with gold;
  In his ears are jewels,--some prince I must behold!'

'Dear me!' replied the iguana, politely, 'I was very nearly
forgetting!  Let me see--I must try my voice first--Do, re, me, fa,
sol, la, si,--that is right!  Now, how does it run?'

  'Silver is his daïs, plastered o'er with gold;
  In his ears are jewels,--some prince I must behold!'

repeated the jackal, not observing that the lizard was carefully
edging farther and farther away.

'Exactly so,' returned the iguana; 'I think I could say that!'
Whereupon he sang out at the top of his voice--

  'Bones make up his daïs, with mud it's plastered o'er,
  Old shoes are his ear-drops:  a jackal, nothing more!'

And turning round, he bolted for his hole as hard as he could.

The jackal could scarcely believe his ears, and sat dumb with
astonishment.  Then, rage lending him wings, he flew after the lizard,
who, despite his short legs and scanty breath, put his best foot
foremost, and scuttled away at a great rate.

It was a near race, however, for just as he popped into his hole, the
jackal caught him by the tail, and held on.  Then it was a case of
'pull butcher, pull baker,' until the lizard made certain his tail
must come off, and the jackal felt as if his front teeth would come
out.  Still not an inch did either budge, one way or the other, and
there they might have remained till the present day, had not the
iguana called out, in his sweetest tones, 'Friend, I give in!  Just
leave hold of my tail, will you? then I can turn round and come out.'

Whereupon the jackal let go, and the tail disappeared up the hole in a
twinkling; while all the reward the jackal got for digging away until
his nails were nearly worn out, was hearing the iguana sing softly--

  'Bones make up his daïs, with mud it's plastered o'er,
  Old shoes are his ear-drops:  a jackal, nothing more!'



THE DEATH AND BURIAL OF POOR HEN-SPARROW


Once upon a time there lived a cock-sparrow and his wife, who were
both growing old.  But despite his years the cock-sparrow was a gay,
festive old bird, who plumed himself upon his appearance, and was
quite a ladies' man.  So he cast his eyes on a lively young hen, and
determined to marry her, for he was tired of his sober old wife.  The
wedding was a mighty grand affair, and everybody as jolly and merry as
could be, except of course the poor old wife, who crept away from all
the noise and fun to sit disconsolately on a quiet branch just under a
crow's nest, where she could be as melancholy as she liked without
anybody poking fun at her.

Now while she sat there it began to rain, and after a while the drops,
soaking through the crow's nest, came drip-dripping on to her
feathers; she, however, was far too miserable to care, and sat there
all huddled up and peepy till the shower was over.  Now it so happened
that the crow had used some scraps of dyed cloth in lining its nest,
and as these became wet the colours ran, and dripping down on to the
poor old hen-sparrow beneath, dyed her feathers until she was as gay
as a peacock.

Fine feathers make fine birds, we all know, and she really looked
quite spruce; so much so, that when she flew home, the new wife nearly
burst with envy, and asked her at once where she had found such a
lovely dress.

'Easily enough,' replied the old wife; 'I just went into the dyer's
vat.'

The bride instantly determined to go there also.  She could not endure
the notion of the old thing being better dressed than she was, so she
flew off at once to the dyer's, and being in a great hurry, went pop
into the middle of the vat, without waiting to see if it was hot or
cold.  It turned out to be just scalding; consequently the poor thing
was half boiled before she managed to scramble out.  Meanwhile, the
gay old cock, not finding his bride at home, flew about distractedly
in search of her, and you may imagine what bitter tears he wept when
he found her, half drowned and half boiled, with her feathers all
awry, lying by the dyer's vat.

'What has happened?' quoth he.

But the poor bedraggled thing could only gasp out feebly--

  'The old wife was dyed--
  The nasty old cat!
  And I, the gay bride,
  Fell into the vat!'

Whereupon the cock-sparrow took her up tenderly in his bill, and flew
away home with his precious burden.  Now, just as he was crossing the
big river in front of his house, the old hen-sparrow, in her gay
dress, looked out of the window, and when she saw her old husband
bringing home his young bride in such a sorry plight, she burst out
laughing shrilly, and called aloud, 'That is right! that is right!
Remember what the song says--

  'Old wives must scramble through water and mud,
  But young wives are carried dry-shod o'er the flood.'

This allusion so enraged her husband that he could not contain
himself, but cried out,' Hold your tongue, you shameless old cat!'

Of course, when he opened his mouth to speak, the poor draggled bride
fell out, and going plump into the river, was drowned.  Whereupon the
cock-sparrow was so distracted with grief that he picked off all his
feathers until he was as bare as a ploughed field.  Then, going to a
_pîpal_ tree, he sat all naked and forlorn on the branches,
sobbing and sighing.

'What has happened?' cried the _pîpal_ tree, aghast at the sight.

'Don't ask me!' wailed the cock-sparrow; 'it isn't manners to ask
questions when a body is in deep mourning.'

But the _pîpal_ would not be satisfied without an answer, so at
last poor bereaved cock-sparrow replied--

  'The ugly hen painted.
  By jealousy tainted,
  The pretty hen dyed.
  Lamenting his bride,
  The cock, bald and bare,
  Sobs loud in despair!'

On hearing this sad tale, the _pîpal_ became overwhelmed with
grief, and declaring it must mourn also, shed all its leaves on the
spot.

By and by a buffalo, coming in the heat of the day to rest in the
shade of the _pîpal_ tree, was astonished to find nothing but
bare twigs.

'What has happened?' cried the buffalo; 'you were as green as possible
yesterday!'

'Don't ask me!' whimpered the _pîpal_.  'Where are your manners?
Don't you know it isn't decent to ask questions when people are in
mourning?'

But the buffalo insisted on having an answer, so at last, with many
sobs and sighs, the _pîpal_ replied--

  'The ugly hen painted.
  By jealousy tainted,
  The pretty hen dyed.
  Bewailing his bride,
  The cock, bald and bare,
  Sobs loud in despair;
  The _pîpal_ tree grieves
  By shedding its leaves!'

'Oh dear me!' cried the buffalo, 'how very sad!  I really must mourn
too!'  So she immediately cast her horns, and began to weep and wail.
After a while, becoming thirsty, she went to drink at the river-side.

'Goodness gracious!' cried the river, 'what is the matter? and what
have you done with your horns?'

'How rude you are!' wept the buffalo.  'Can't you see I am in deep
mourning? and it isn't polite to ask questions.'

But the river persisted, until the buffalo, with many groans,
replied--

  'The ugly hen painted.
  By jealousy tainted,
  The pretty hen dyed.
  Lamenting his bride,
  The cock, bald and bare,
  Sobs loud in despair;
  The _pîpal_ tree grieves
  By shedding its leaves;
  The buffalo mourns
  By casting her horns!'

'Dreadful!' cried the river, and wept so fast that its water became
quite salt.

By and by a cuckoo, coming to bathe in the stream, called out, 'Why,
river! what has happened?  You are as salt as tears!'

'Don't ask me!' mourned the stream; 'it is too dreadful for words!'

Nevertheless, when the cuckoo would take no denial, the river
replied--

  'The ugly hen painted.
  By jealousy tainted,
  The pretty hen dyed.
  Lamenting his bride,
  The cock, bald and bare,
  Sobs loud in despair;
  The _pîpal_ tree grieves
  By shedding its leaves;
  The buffalo mourns
  By casting her horns;
  The stream, weeping fast,
  Grows briny at last!'

'Oh dear! oh dear me!' cried the cuckoo, 'how very very sad!  I must
mourn too!'  So it plucked out an eye, and going to a corn-merchant's
shop, sat on the doorstep and wept.

'Why, little cuckoo! what's the matter?' cried Bhagtu the shopkeeper.
'You are generally the pertest of birds, and to-day you are as dull
as ditchwater!'

'Don't ask me!' snivelled the cuckoo; 'it is such terrible grief! such
dreadful sorrow! such--such horrible pain!'

However, when Bhagtu persisted, the cuckoo, wiping its one eye on its
wing, replied--

  'The ugly hen painted.
  By jealousy tainted,
  The pretty hen dyed.
  Lamenting his bride,
  The cock, bald and bare,
  Sobs loud in despair;
  The _pîpal_ tree grieves
  By shedding its leaves;
  The buffalo mourns
  By casting her horns;
  The stream, weeping fast,
  Grows briny at last;
  The cuckoo with sighs
  Blinds one of its eyes!'

'Bless my heart!' cried Bhagtu,'but that is simply the most
heartrending tale I ever heard in my life!  I must really mourn
likewise!'  Whereupon he wept, and wailed, and beat his breast, until
he went completely out of his mind; and when the Queen's maidservant
came to buy of him, he gave her pepper instead of turmeric, onion
instead of garlic, and wheat instead of pulse.

'Dear me, friend Bhagtu!' quoth the maid-* servant, 'your wits are
wool-gathering!  What's the matter?'

'Don't! please don't!' cried Bhagtu; 'I wish you wouldn't ask me, for
I am trying to forget all about it.  It is too dreadful--too too
terrible!'

At last, however, yielding to the maid's entreaties, he replied, with
many sobs and tears--

  'The ugly hen painted.
  By jealousy tainted,
  The pretty hen dyed.
  Lamenting his bride,
  The cock, bald and bare,
  Sobs loud in despair;
  The _pîpal_ tree grieves
  By shedding its leaves;
  The buffalo mourns
  By casting her horns;
  The stream, weeping fast,
  Grows briny at last;
  The cuckoo with sighs
  Blinds one of its eyes;
  Bhagtu's grief so intense is,
  He loses his senses!'

'How very sad!' exclaimed the maidservant.  'I don't wonder at your
distress; but it is always so in this miserable world!--everything
goes wrong!'

Whereupon she fell to railing at everybody and everything in the
world, until the Queen said to her, 'What is the matter, my child?
What distresses you?'

'Oh!' replied the maidservant, 'the old story! every one is miserable,
and I most of all!  Such dreadful news!--

  'The ugly hen painted.
  By jealousy tainted,
  The pretty hen dyed.
  Lamenting his bride,
  The cock, bald and bare,
  Sobs loud in despair;
  The _pîpal_ tree grieves
  By shedding its leaves;
  The buffalo mourns
  By casting her horns;
  The stream, weeping fast,
  Grows briny at last;
  The cuckoo with sighs
  Blinds one of its eyes;
  Bhagtu's grief so intense is,
  He loses his senses;
  The maidservant wailing
  Has taken to railing!'

'Too true!' wept the Queen, 'too true!  The world is a vale of tears!
There is nothing for it but to try and forget!'  Whereupon she set to
work dancing away as hard as she could.

By and by in came the Prince, who, seeing her twirling about, said,
'Why, mother! what is the matter?'

The Queen, without stopping, gasped out--

  'The ugly hen painted.
  By jealousy tainted,
  The pretty hen dyed.
  Lamenting his bride,
  The cock, bald and bare,
  Sobs loud in despair;
  The _pîpal_ tree grieves
  By shedding its leaves;
  The buffalo mourns
  By casting her horns;
  The stream, weeping fast,
  Grows briny at last;
  The cuckoo with sighs
  Blinds one of its eyes;
  Bhagtu's grief so intense is,
  He loses his senses;
  The maidservant wailing
  Has taken to railing;
  The Queen, joy enhancing,
  Takes refuge in dancing!'

'If that is your mourning, I'll mourn too!' cried the Prince, and
seizing his tambourine, he began to thump on it with a will.  Hearing
the noise, the King came in, and asked what was the matter.

'This is the matter!' cried the Prince, drumming away with all his
might--

  'The ugly hen painted.
  By jealousy tainted,
  The pretty hen dyed.
  Lamenting his bride,
  The cock, bald and bare,
  Sobs loud in despair;
  The _pîpal_ tree grieves
  By shedding its leaves;
  The buffalo mourns
  By casting her horns;
  The stream, weeping fast,
  Grows briny at last;
  The cuckoo with sighs
  Blinds one of its eyes;
  Bhagtu's grief so intense is,
  He loses his senses;
  The maidservant wailing
  Has taken to railing;
  The Queen, joy enhancing,
  Takes refuge in dancing;
  To aid the mirth coming,
  The Prince begins drumming!'

'Capital! capital!' cried the King, 'that's the way to do it!' so,
seizing his zither, he began to thrum away like one possessed.

And as they danced, the Queen, the King, the Prince, and the
maidservant sang--

  'The ugly hen painted.
  By jealousy tainted,
  The pretty hen dyed.
  Bewailing his bride,
  The cock, bald and bare,
  Sobs loud in despair;
  The _pîpal_ tree grieves
  By shedding its leaves;
  The buffalo mourns
  By casting her horns;
  The stream, weeping fast,
  Grows briny at last;
  The cuckoo with sighs
  Blinds one of its eyes;
  Bhagtu's grief so intense is,
  He loses his senses;
  The maidservant wailing
  Has taken to railing;
  The Queen, joy enhancing,
  Takes refuge in dancing;
  To aid the mirth coming,
  The Prince begins drumming;
  To join in it with her
  The King strums the zither!'

So they danced and sang till they were tired, and that was how every
one mourned poor cock-sparrow's pretty bride.

[Illustration]



PRINCESS PEPPERINA


A Bulbul once lived in a forest, and sang all day to her mate, till
one morning she said, 'Oh, dearest husband! you sing beautifully, but
I should so like some nice green pepper to eat!'  The obedient bulbul
at once flew off to find some, but though he flew for miles, peeping
into every garden by the way, he could not discover a single green
pepper.  Either there was no fruit at all on the bushes, but only tiny
white star-flowers, or the peppers were all ripe, and crimson red.

At last, right out in the wilderness, he came upon a high-walled
garden.  Tall mango-trees shaded it on all sides, shutting out fierce
sunshine and rough winds, and within grew innumerable flowers and
fruits.  But there was no sign of life within its walls--no birds, no
butterflies, only silence and a perfume of flowers.

The bulbul alighted in the middle of the garden, and, lo! there grew a
solitary pepper plant, and amid the polished leaves shone a single
green fruit of immense size, gleaming like an emerald.

Greatly delighted, the bird flew home to his mate, and telling her he
had found the most beautiful green pepper in the world, brought her
back with him to the garden, where she at once began to eat the
delicious morsel.

Now the Jinn to whom the garden belonged had all this time been asleep
in a summer-house; and as he generally kept awake for twelve whole
years, and then slept for another twelve years, he was of course very
sound asleep, and knew nothing of the bulbul's coming and going.
Nevertheless, as the time of his awaking was not far off, he had
dreadful nightmares whilst the green pepper was being pecked to
pieces, and, becoming restless, awoke just when the bulbul's wife,
after laying one glittering emerald-green egg beneath the pepper
plant, flew away with her husband.

As usual, the Jinn, after yawning and stretching, went to see how his
pet pepper was getting on.  Great was his sorrow and rage at finding
it pecked to pieces.  He could not imagine what had done the mischief,
knowing as he did that neither bird, beast, nor insect lived in the
garden.

'Some dreadful creeping thing from that horrid world outside must have
stolen in, whilst I slept,' said the Jinn to himself, and immediately
began to search for the intruder.  He found nothing, however, but the
glittering green egg, with which he was so much astonished that he
took it to his summer-house, wrapped it up in cotton-wool, and put it
away carefully in a carved niche in the wall.  Every day he went and
looked at it, sighing over the thought of his lost pepper, until one
morning, lo and behold! the egg had disappeared, and in its place sat
the loveliest little maiden, dressed from head to foot in
emerald-green, while round her neck hung a single emerald of great
size, shaped just like the green pepper.

The Jinn, who was a quiet, inoffensive creature, was delighted, for he
loved children, and this one was the daintiest little morsel ever
beheld.  So he made it the business of his life to tend Princess
Pepperina, for such the maiden informed him was her name.

Now, when twelve years had passed by in the flowery garden, it became
time for the good-natured Jinn to go to sleep again; and it puzzled
him very much to think what would become of his Princess when he was
no longer able to take care of her.  But it so happened that a great
King and his Minister, while hunting in the forest, came upon the
high-walled garden, and being curious to see what was inside, they
climbed over the wall, and found the lovely Princess Pepperina seated
by the pepper plant.

The King immediately fell in love with her, and in the most elegant
language begged her to be his wife.  But the Princess hung down her
head modestly, saying, 'Not so!--you must ask the Jinn who owns this
garden; only he has an unfortunate habit of eating men sometimes.'

Nevertheless, when she saw the young King kneeling before her, she
could not help thinking him the handsomest and most splendid young man
in the world, so her heart softened, and when she heard the Jinn's
footstep, she cried, 'Hide yourself in the garden, and I will see if I
can persuade my guardian to listen to you.'

Now, no sooner had the Jinn appeared, than he began to sniff about,
and cry 'Fee! fa! fum!  I smell the blood of a man!'

Then the Princess Pepperina soothed him, saying, 'Dear Jinn! you may
eat _me_ if you like, for there is no one else here,'

And the Jinn replied, kissing and caressing her the while, 'My dearest
life!  I would sooner eat bricks and mortar!'

After that the Princess cunningly led the conversation to the Jinn's
approaching slumbers, and wondered tearfully what she should do alone
in the walled garden.  At this the good-hearted Jinn became greatly
troubled, until at last he declared that the best plan would be to
marry her to some young nobleman, but, he added, a worthy husband was
hard to find, especially as it was necessary he should be as handsome,
as a man, as Princess Pepperina was beautiful amongst women.  Hearing
this, the Princess seized her opportunity, and asked the Jinn if he
would promise to let her marry any one who was as beautiful as she
was.  The Jinn promised faithfully, little thinking the Princess
already had her eye on such a one, and was immensely astonished when
she clapped her hands, and the splendid young King appeared from a
thicket.  Nevertheless, when the young couple stood together hand in
hand, even the Jinn was obliged to own that such a handsome pair had
never before been seen; so he gave his consent to their marriage,
which was performed in ever so great a hurry, for already the Jinn had
begun to nod and yawn.  Still, when it came to saying good-bye to his
dear little Princess, he wept so much that the tears kept him awake,
and he followed her in his thoughts, until the desire to see her face
once more became so strong that he changed himself into a dove, which
flying after her, fluttered above her head.  She seemed quite happy,
talking and whispering to her handsome husband, so he flew home again
to sleep.  But the green mantle of his dear little Princess kept
floating before his eyes, so that he could not rest, and changing
himself into a hawk, he sped after her, circling far above her head.
She was smiling by her husband's side, so the Jinn flew home to his
garden, yawning terribly.  But the soft eyes of his dear little
Pepperina seemed to look into his, driving sleep far from them; so he
changed into an eagle, and soaring far up into the blue sky, saw with
his bright piercing gaze the Princess entering a King's palace far
away on the horizon.  Then the good Jinn was satisfied, and fell fast
asleep.

Now during the years which followed, the young King remained
passionately in love with his beautiful bride, but the other women in
the palace were very jealous of her, especially after she gave birth
to the most lovely young Prince imaginable.  They determined to
compass her ruin, and spent hours in thinking how they might kill her,
or lay a snare for her.

Every night they would come to the door of the Queen's room, and
whisper, to see if she was awake, 'The Princess Pepperina is awake,
but all the world is fast asleep.'

Now the emerald, which the young Queen still wore round her neck, was
a real talisman, and always told the truth; if any one even whispered
a story, it just up and out with the truth _at once_, and shamed
the culprit without remorse.  So the emerald on these occasions would
answer, 'Not so! the Princess Pepperina is asleep.  It is the world
that wakes.'

Then the wicked women would shrink away, for they knew they had no
power to harm the Princess while the talisman was round her neck.

At last it so happened that when the young Queen was bathing she took
off the emerald talisman, and left it by mistake in the
bathing-place.  So that night, when the jealous women as usual came
whispering round the door, 'The Princess Pepperina is awake, but all
the world sleeps,' the truthful talisman called out from the
bathing-place, 'Not so! the Princess Pepperina sleeps.  It is the
world that wakes.'

Knowing by the sound of the talisman's voice that it was not in its
usual place, these wicked creatures stole into the room gently, killed
the infant Prince, who was peacefully sleeping in his little crib, cut
him into little bits, laid them in his mother's bed, and gently
stained her lips with the blood.

Early next morning they flew to the King, weeping and wailing, bidding
him come and see the horrible sight.

'Look!' said they, 'the beautiful wife you loved so much is an
ogress!  We warned you against her, and now she has killed her child
in order to eat its flesh!'

The King was terribly grieved and wroth, for he loved his wife, and
yet could not deny she was an ogress; so he ordered her to be whipped
out of his kingdom and then slain.

So the lovely tender fair young Queen was scourged out of the land,
and then cruelly murdered, whilst the wicked jealous women rejoiced at
their evil success.

But when Princess Pepperina died, her body became a high white marble
wall, her eyes turned into liquid pools of water, her green mantle
changed into stretches of verdant grass, her long curling hair into
lovely creepers and tendrils, while her scarlet mouth and white teeth
became a beautiful bed of roses and narcissus.  Then her soul took the
form of a sheldrake and its mate,--those loving birds which, like the
turtle-dove, are always constant,--and floating on the liquid pools,
they mourned all day long the sad fate of the Princess Pepperina.

Now, after many days, the young King, who, despite her supposed crime,
could not help bewailing his beautiful bride, went out a-hunting, and
finding no game, wandered far afield, until he came to the high white
marble wall.  Curious to see what it enclosed, he climbed over on to
the verdant grass, where the tendrils waved softly, the roses and
narcissus blossomed, and the loving birds floated on the liquid pools
mourning all day long.

The King, weary and sad, lay down to rest in the lovely spot, and
listened to the cry of the birds, and as he listened, the meaning
seemed to grow plain, so that he heard them tell the whole story of
the wicked women's treachery.

Then the one bird said, weeping, to the other, 'Can she never become
alive again?'  And the other answered, 'If the King were to catch us,
and hold us close, heart to heart, while he severed our heads from our
bodies with one blow of his sword, so that neither of us should die
before the other, the Princess Pepperina would become alive once
more.  But if one dies before the other, she will always remain as she
is!'

Then the King, with a beating heart, called the birds to him, and they
came quite readily, standing heart to heart while he cut off their
heads with one blow of his sword, so that they fell dead at the
self-same moment.

At the very same instant the Princess Pepperina appeared, smiling,
more beautiful than ever; but, strange to say, the liquid pools, the
grass, the climbing tendrils, and the flowers remained as they were.

Then the King besought her to return home with him, vowing he would
never again distrust her, and would put all the wicked traitors to
death; but she refused, saying she would prefer to live always within
the high white marble walls, where no one could molest her.

'Just so!' cried the Jinn, who, having but that moment awakened from
his twelve years' sleep, had flown straight to his dearest Princess.
'Here you shall live, and I will live with you!'

Then he built the King and Queen a magnificent palace, where they
lived very happily ever after; and as no one knew anything about it,
no one was jealous of the beautiful Princess Pepperina.



PEASIE AND BEANSIE


Once upon a time there were two sisters, who lived together; but while
the elder, Beansie by name, was a hard quarrelsome creature, apt to
disagree with everybody, Peasie, the younger, was soft and most
agreeable.

Now, one day, Peasie, who was for ever trying to please somebody, said
to her sister, 'Beansie, my dear! don't you think we ought to pay a
visit to our poor old father?  He must be dull now--it is harvest
time, and he is left alone in the house.'

'I don't care if he is!' replied Beansie.  'Go yourself!  I'm not
going to walk about in the heat to please any old man!'

So kind Peasie set off alone, and on the way she met a plum-tree.
'Oh, Peasie!' cried the tree, 'stop a bit, there's a good soul, and
tidy up my thorns a little; they are scattered about so that I feel
quite uncomfortable!'

'So they are, I declare!' returned Peasie, and forthwith set to work
with such a will that ere long the tree was as neat as a new pin.

A little farther on she met a fire, and the fire cried out, 'Oh, sweet
Peasie! tidy up my hearth a bit, for I am half choked in the ashes!'

'So you are, I declare!' returned good-natured Peasie, setting herself
to clear them away, until the fire crackled and flamed with pleasure.

Farther on she met a _pîpal_ tree, and the _pîpal_ called
out, 'Oh, kind Peasie! bind up this broken branch for me, or it will
die, and I shall lose it!'

'Poor thing! poor thing!' cried soft-hearted Peasie; and tearing a
bandage from her veil, she bound up the wounded limb carefully.

After a while she met a stream, and the stream cried out, 'Pretty
Peasie! clear away the sand and dead leaves from my mouth, for I
cannot run when I am stifled!'

'No more you can!' quoth obliging Peasie; and in a trice she made the
channel so clear and clean that the water flowed on swiftly.

At last she arrived, rather tired, at her old father's house, but his
delight at seeing her was so great that he would scarcely let her away
in the evening, and insisted on giving her a spinning-wheel, a
buffalo, some brass pots, a bed, and all sorts of things, just as if
she had been a bride going to her husband.  These she put on the
buffalo's back, and set off homewards.

Now, as she passed the stream, she saw a web of fine cloth floating
down.

'Take it, Peasie, take it!' tinkled the stream; 'I have carried it
far, as a reward for your kindness.'

So she gathered up the cloth, laid it on the buffalo, and went on her
way.

By and by she passed the _pîpal_ tree, and lo! on the branch she
had tied up hung a string of pearls.

'Take it, Peasie, take it!' rustled the _pîpal_; 'I caught it
from a Prince's turban as a reward for your kindness.'

Then she took the pearls, fastened them round her pretty slender
throat, and went on her way rejoicing.

[Illustration:  Peasie and her buffalo]

Farther on she came to the fire, burning brightly, and on it was a
girdle with a nice hot sweet-cake.

'Take it, Peasie, take it!' crackled the fire; 'I have cooked it to a
turn, in reward for your kindness.'

So lucky Peasie took the nice hot cake, and, dividing it into two
pieces, put one aside for her sister, and ate the other while she went
on her way.

Now when she reached the plum-tree, the topmost branches were bending
down, covered with ripe yellow fruit.

'Take some, Peasie, take some!' groaned the laden tree; 'I have
ripened these as a reward for your kindness.'

So she gathered her veil full, and eating some, set the rest aside for
her sister; but when she arrived at home, instead of being pleased at
her little sister's good fortune and thoughtfulness, disagreeable
Beansie nearly cried with spite and envy, and was so cross, that poor
little sweet Peasie became quite remorseful over her own luck, and
suggested that her sister might be equally fortunate if she also went
to visit her father.

So, next morning, greedy Beansie set off to see what she could get
from the old man.  But when she came to the plum-tree, and it cried
out, 'Oh, Beansie! stop a bit and tidy up my thorns a little, there's
a good soul!' the disobliging Beansie tossed her head, and replied, 'A
likely story!  Why, I could travel three miles in the time it would
take me to settle up your stupid old thorns!  Do it yourself!'

And when she met the _pîpal_ tree, and it asked her to tie up its
broken branch, she only laughed, saying, 'It doesn't hurt _me_,
and I should have walked three miles in the time it would take to set
it right; so ask somebody else!'

Then when the fire said to her, 'Oh, sweet Beansie! tidy up my hearth
a bit, for I am half choked by my ashes,' the unkind girl replied,
'The more fool you for having ashes!  You don't suppose I am going to
dawdle about helping people who won't help themselves?  Not a bit of
it!'

So when she met the stream, and it asked her to clear away the sand
and the dead leaves which choked it, she replied, 'Do you imagine I'm
going to stop my walk that you may run?  No, no!--every one for
himself!'

At last she reached her father's house, full of determination not to
go away without a heavy load for at least two buffaloes, when, just as
she was entering the courtyard, her brother and his wife fell upon
her, and whacked her most unmercifully, crying, 'So this is your plan,
is it?  Yesterday comes Peasie, while we were hard at work, and
wheedles her doting old father out of his best buffalo, and goodness
knows what else besides, and to-day _you_ come to rob us!  Out of
the house, you baggage!'

With that they hounded her away, hot, tired, bruised, and hungry.

'Never mind!' said she, to console herself, 'I shall get the web of
cloth yet!'

Sure enough, when she crossed the stream, there was a web, three times
as fine as Peasie's, floating close to the shore, and greedy Beansie
went straight to get it; but, alas! the water was so deep that she was
very nearly drowned, while the beautiful cloth floated past her very
fingers.  Thus all she got for her pains was a ducking.

'Never mind!' thought she, 'I'll have the string of pearls!'

Yes, there it hung on the broken branch; but when Beansie jumped to
catch it, branch and all fell right on her head, so that she was
stunned.  When she came to herself, some one else had walked off with
the pearls, and she had only a bump on her head as big as an egg.

All these misfortunes had quite wearied her out; she was starving with
hunger, and hurried on to the fire, hoping for a nice hot sweet
girdle-cake.

Yes, there it was, smelling most deliciously, and Beansie snatched at
it so hastily that she burnt her fingers horribly and the cake rolled
away.  Before she had done blowing at her fingers and hopping about in
pain, a crow had carried off the cake, and she was left lamenting.

'At any rate, I'll have the plums!' cried miserable Beansie, setting
off at a run, her mouth watering at the sight of the luscious yellow
fruit on the topmost branches.  First she held on to a lower branch
with her left hand, and reached for the fruit with the right; then,
when that was all scratched and torn by the thorns, she held on with
her right, and tried to get the fruit with the left, but all to no
avail; and when face and hands were all bleeding and full of prickles,
she gave up the useless quest, and went home, bruised, beaten, wet,
sore, hungry, and scratched all over, where I have no doubt her kind
sister Peasie put her to bed, and gave her gruel and posset.



THE JACKAL AND THE PARTRIDGE


A Jackal and a Partridge swore eternal friendship; but the Jackal was
very exacting and jealous.  'You don't do half as much for me as I do
for you,' he used to say, 'and yet you talk a great deal of your
friendship.  Now my idea of a friend is one who is able to make me
laugh or cry, give me a good meal, or save my life if need be.  You
couldn't do that!'

'Let us see,' answered the Partridge; 'follow me at a little distance,
and if I don't make you laugh soon you may eat me!'

So she flew on till she met two travellers trudging along, one behind
the other.  They were both footsore and weary, and the first carried
his bundle on a stick over his shoulder, while the second had his
shoes in his hand.

Lightly as a feather the Partridge settled on the first traveller's
stick.  He, none the wiser, trudged on, but the second traveller,
seeing the bird sitting so tamely just in front of his nose, said to
himself,

'What a chance for a supper!' and immediately flung his shoes at it,
they being ready to hand.  Whereupon the Partridge flew away, and the
shoes knocked off the first traveller's turban.

'What a plague do you mean?' cried he, angrily turning on his
companion.  'Why did you throw your shoes at my head?'

[Illustration:  The second traveler preparing to fling his shoe at the
partridge]

'Brother!' replied the other mildly, 'do not be vexed.  I didn't throw
them at you, but at a Partridge that was sitting on your stick.'

'On my stick!  Do you take me for a fool?' shouted the injured man, in
a great rage.  'Don't tell me such cock-and-bull stories.  First you
insult me, and then you lie like a coward; but I'll teach you
manners!'

Then he fell upon his fellow-traveller without more ado, and they
fought until they could not see out of their eyes, till their noses
were bleeding, their clothes in rags, and the Jackal had nearly died
of laughing.

'Are you satisfied?' asked the Partridge of her friend.

'Well,' answered the Jackal, 'you have certainly made me laugh, but I
doubt if you could make me cry.  It is easy enough to be a buffoon; it
is more difficult to excite the higher emotions.'

'Let us see,' retorted the Partridge, somewhat piqued; 'there is a
huntsman with his dogs coming along the road.  Just creep into that
hollow tree and watch me:  if you don't weep scalding tears, you must
have no feeling in you!'

The Jackal did as he was bid, and watched the Partridge, who began
fluttering about the bushes till the dogs caught sight of her, when
she flew to the hollow tree where the Jackal was hidden.  Of course
the dogs smelt him at once, and set up such a yelping and scratching
that the huntsman came up, and seeing what it was, dragged the Jackal
out by the tail.  Whereupon the dogs worried him to their hearts'
content, and finally left him for dead.

By and by he opened his eyes--for he was only foxing--and saw the
Partridge sitting on a branch above him.

'Did you cry?' she asked anxiously.  'Did I rouse your higher emo--'

'Be quiet, will you!' snarled the Jackal; 'I'm half dead with fear!'

So there the Jackal lay for some time, getting the better of his
bruises, and meanwhile he became hungry.

'Now is the time for friendship!' said he to the Partridge.  'Get me a
good dinner, and I will acknowledge you are a true friend.'

'Very well!' replied the Partridge; 'only watch me, and help yourself
when the time comes.'

Just then a troop of women came by, carrying their husbands' dinners
to the harvest-field.

The Partridge gave a little plaintive cry, and began fluttering along
from bush to bush as if she were wounded.

'A wounded bird!--a wounded bird!' cried the women; 'we can easily
catch it!'

Whereupon they set off in pursuit, but the cunning Partridge played a
thousand tricks, till they became so excited over the chase that they
put their bundles on the ground in order to pursue it more nimbly.
The Jackal, meanwhile, seizing his opportunity, crept up, and made off
with a good dinner.

'Are you satisfied now?' asked the Partridge.

'Well,' returned the Jackal, 'I confess you have given me a very good
dinner; you have also made me laugh--and cry--ahem!  But, after all,
the great test of friendship is beyond you--you couldn't save my
life!'

'Perhaps not,' acquiesced the Partridge mournfully, 'I am so small and
weak.  But it grows late--we should be going home; and as it is a long
way round by the ford, let us go across the river.  My friend the
crocodile will carry us over.'

Accordingly, they set off for the river, and the crocodile kindly
consented to carry them across, so they sat on his broad back and he
ferried them over.  But just as they were in the middle of the stream
the Partridge remarked, 'I believe the crocodile intends to play us a
trick.  How awkward if he were to drop you into the water!'

'Awkward for you too!' replied the Jackal, turning pale.

'Not at all! not at all!  I have wings, you haven't.'

On this the Jackal shivered and shook with fear, and when the
crocodile, in a gruesome growl, remarked that he was hungry and wanted
a good meal, the wretched creature hadn't a word to say.

'Pooh!' cried the Partridge airily, 'don't try tricks on _us_,--I
should fly away, and as for my friend the Jackal, you couldn't hurt
_him_.  He is not such a fool as to take his life with him on
these little excursions; he leaves it at home, locked up in the
cupboard.'

'Is that a fact?' asked the crocodile, surprised.

'Certainly!' retorted the Partridge.  'Try to eat him if you like, but
you will only tire yourself to no purpose.'

'Dear me! how very odd!' gasped the crocodile; and he was so taken
aback that he carried the Jackal safe to shore.

'Well, are you satisfied now?' asked the Partridge.

'My dear madam!' quoth the Jackal, 'you have made me laugh, you have
made me cry, you have given me a good dinner, and you have saved my
life; but upon my honour I think you are too clever for a friend; so,
good-bye!'

And the Jackal never went near the Partridge again.



THE SNAKE-WOMAN AND KING ALI MARDAN


Once upon a time King Ali Mardan went out a-hunting, and as he hunted
in the forest above the beautiful Dal lake, which stretches clear and
placid between the mountains and the royal town of Srinagar, he came
suddenly on a maiden, lovely as a flower, who, seated beneath a tree,
was weeping bitterly.  Bidding his followers remain at a distance, he
went up to the damsel, and asked her who she was, and how she came to
be alone in the wild forest.

'O great King,' she answered, looking up in his face, 'I am the
Emperor of China's handmaiden, and as I wandered about in the
pleasure-grounds of his palace I lost my way.  I know not how far I
have come since, but now I must surely die, for I am weary and
hungry!'

'So fair a maiden must not die while Ali Mardan can deliver her,'
quoth the monarch, gazing ardently on the beautiful girl.  So he bade
his servants convey her with the greatest care to his summer palace in
the Shalimar gardens, where the fountains scatter dewdrops over the
beds of flowers, and laden fruit-trees bend over the marble
colonnades.  And there, amid the flowers and sunshine, she lived with
the King, who speedily became so enamoured of her that he forgot
everything else in the world.

So the days passed until it chanced that a Jôgi's servant, coming back
from the holy lake Gangabal, which lies on the snowy peak of Haramukh,
whither he went every year to draw water for his master, passed by the
gardens; and over the high garden wall he saw the tops of the
fountains, leaping and splashing like silver sunshine.  He was so
astonished at the sight that he put his vessel of water on the ground,
and climbed over the wall, determined to see the wonderful things
inside.  Once in the garden amid the fountains and flowers, he
wandered hither and thither, bewildered by beauty, until, wearied out
by excitement, he lay down under a tree and fell asleep.

Now the King, coming to walk in the garden, found the man lying there,
and noticed that he held something fast in his closed right hand.
Stooping down, Ali Mardan gently loosed the fingers, and discovered a
tiny box filled with a sweet-smelling ointment.  While he was
examining this more closely, the sleeper awoke, and missing his box,
began to weep and wail; whereupon the King bade him be comforted, and
showing him the box, promised to return it if he would faithfully tell
why it was so precious to him.

'O great King,' replied the Jôgi's servant, 'the box belongs to my
master, and it contains a holy ointment of many virtues.  By its power
I am preserved from all harm, and am able to go to Gangabal and return
with my jar full of water in so short a time that my master is never
without the sacred element.'

Then the King was astonished, and, looking at the man keenly, said,
'Tell me the truth!  Is your master indeed such a holy saint?  Is he
indeed such a wonderful man?'

'O King,' replied the servant, 'he is indeed such a man, and there is
nothing in the world he does not know!'

This reply aroused the King's curiosity, and putting the box in his
vest, he said to the servant, 'Go home to your master, and tell him
King Ali Mardan has his box, and means to keep it until he comes to
fetch it himself.'  In this way he hoped to entice the holy Jôgi into
his presence.

So the servant, seeing there was nothing else to be done, set off to
his master, but he was two years and a half in reaching home, because
he had not the precious box with the magical ointment; and all this
time Ali Mardan lived with the beautiful stranger in the Shalimar
palace, and forgot everything in the wide world except her
loveliness.  Yet he was not happy, and a strange look came over his
face, and a stony stare into his eyes.

Now, when the servant reached home at last, and told his master what
had occurred, the Jôgi was very angry, but as he could not get on
without the box which enabled him to procure the water from Gangabal,
he set off at once to the court of King Ali Mardan.  On his arrival,
the King treated him with the greatest honour, and faithfully
fulfilled the promise of returning the box.

Now the Jôgi was indeed a learned man, and when he saw the King he
knew at once all was not right, so he said, 'O King, you have been
gracious unto me, and I in my turn desire to do you a kind action; so
tell me truly,--have you always had that white scared face and those
stony eyes?'

The King hung his head.

'Tell me truly,' continued the holy Jôgi, 'have you any strange woman
in your palace?'

Then Ali Mardan, feeling a strange relief in speaking, told the Jôgi
about the finding of the maiden, so lovely and forlorn, in the forest.

'She is no handmaiden of the Emperor of China--she is no woman!'
quoth the Jôgi fearlessly; 'she is nothing but a Lamia--the dreadful
two-hundred-years-old snake which has the power of taking woman's
shape!'

Hearing this, King Ali Mardan was at first indignant, for he was madly
in love with the stranger; but when the Jôgi insisted, he became
alarmed, and at last promised to obey the holy man's orders, and so
discover the truth or falsehood of his words.

Therefore, that same evening he ordered two kinds of _khichrî_ to
be made ready for supper, and placed in one dish, so that one half was
sweet _khichrî_, and the other half salt.

Now, when as usual the King sat down to eat out of the same dish with
the Snake-woman, he turned the salt side towards her and the sweet
side towards himself.

She found her portion very salt, but, seeing the King eat his with
relish and without remark, finished hers in silence.  But when they
had retired to rest, and the King, obeying the Jôgi's orders, had
feigned sleep, the Snake-woman became so dreadfully thirsty, in
consequence of all the salt food she had eaten, that she longed for a
drink of water; and as there was none in the room, she was obliged to
go outside to get some.

Now, if a Snake-woman goes out at night, she must resume her own
loathsome form; so, as King Ali Mardan lay feigning sleep, he saw the
beautiful form in his arms change to a deadly slimy snake, that slid
from the bed out of the door into the garden.  He followed it softly,
watching it drink of every fountain by the way, until it reached the
Dal lake, where it drank and bathed for hours.

Fully satisfied of the truth of the Jôgi's story, King Ali Mardan
begged him for aid in getting rid of the beautiful horror.  This the
Jôgi promised to do, if the King would faithfully obey orders.  So
they made an oven of a hundred different kinds of metal melted
together, and closed by a strong lid and a heavy padlock.  This they
placed in a shady corner of the garden, fastening it securely to the
ground by strong chains.  When all was ready, the King said to the
Snake-woman, 'My heart's beloved! let us wander in the gardens alone
to-day, and amuse ourselves by cooking our own food,'

She, nothing loath, consented, and so they wandered about in the
garden; and when dinner-time came, set to work, with laughter and
mirth, to cook their own food.

The King heated the oven very hot, and kneaded the bread, but being
clumsy at it, he told the Snake-woman he could do no more, and that
she must bake the bread.  This she at first refused to do, saying that
she disliked ovens, but when the King pretended to be vexed, averring
she could not love him since she refused to help, she gave in, and set
to work with a very bad grace to tend the baking.

Then, just as she stooped over the oven's mouth, to turn the loaves,
the King, seizing his opportunity, pushed her in, and clapping down
the cover, locked and double-locked it.

[Illustration:  Snake-woman in the oven]

Now, when the Snake-woman found herself caught in the scorching oven,
she bounded so, that had it not been for the strong chains, she would
have bounded out of the garden, oven and all!  But as it was, all she
could do was to bound up and down, whilst the King and the Jôgi piled
fuel on to the fire, and the oven grew hotter and hotter.  So it went
on from four o'clock one afternoon to four o'clock the next, when the
Snake-woman ceased to bound, and all was quiet.

They waited until the oven grew cold, and then opened it, when not a
trace of the Snake-woman was to be seen, only a tiny heap of ashes,
out of which the Jôgi took a small round stone, and gave it to the
King, saying, 'This is the real essence of the Snake-woman, and
whatever you touch with it will turn to gold.'

But King Ali Mardan said such a treasure was more than any man's life
was worth, since it must bring envy and battle and murder to its
possessor; so when he went to Attock he threw the magical Snake-stone
into the river, lest it should bring strife into the world.



THE WONDERFUL RING


_Once_ upon a time there lived a King who had two sons, and when
he died he left them all his treasures; but the younger brother began
to squander it all so lavishly that the elder said, 'Let us divide
what there is, and do you take your own share, and do what you please
with it.'

So the younger took his poition, and spent every farthing of it in no
time.

When he had literally nothing left, he asked his wife to give him what
she had.  Then she wept, saying, 'I have nothing left but one small
piece of jewellery; however, take that also if you want it.'

So he took the jewel, sold it for four pounds, and taking the money
with him, set off to make his fortune in the world.

As he went on his way he met a man with a cat
'How much for your cat?' asked the spendthrift
Prince.

'Nothing less than a golden pound/ replied the man.

'A bargain indeed!' cried the spendthrift, and immediately bought the
cat for a golden sovereign.

By and by he met a man with a dog, and called out as before, 'How much
for your dog?'  And when the man said not less than a golden pound,
the Prince again declared it was a bargain indeed, and bought it
cheerfully.

Then he met a man carrying a parrot, and called out as before, 'How
much for the parrot?'  And when he heard it was only a golden
sovereign he was delighted, saying once more that was a bargain
indeed.

He had only one pound left.  Yet even then, when he met a Jôgi
carrying a serpent, he cried out at once, 'O Jôgi, how much for the
snake?'

'Not a farthing less than a golden sovereign,' quoth the Jôgi.

'And very little, too!' cried the spendthrift, handing over his last
coin.

So there he was, possessed of a cat, a dog, a parrot, and a snake, but
not a single penny in his pocket.  However, he set to work bravely to
earn his living; but the hard labour wearied him dreadfully, for being
a Prince he was not used to it.  Now when his serpent saw this, it
pitied its kind master, and said, 'Prince, if you are not afraid to
come to my father's house, he will perhaps give you something for
saving me from the Jôgi.'  The spendthrift Prince was not a bit afraid
of anything, so he and the serpent set off together, but when they
arrived at the house, the snake bade the Prince wait outside, while it
went in alone and prepared the snake-father for a visitor.  When the
snake-father heard what the serpent had to say, he was much pleased,
declaring he would reward the Prince by giving him anything he
desired.  So the serpent went out to fetch the Prince into the
snake-father's presence, and when doing so, it whispered in his ear,
'My father will give you anything you desire.  Remember only to ask
for his little ring as a keepsake.'

This rather astonished the Prince, who naturally thought a ring would
be of little use to a man who was half starving; however, he did as he
was bid, and when the snake-father asked him what he desired, he
replied, 'Thank you; I have everything, and want for nothing.'

Then the snake-father asked him once more what he would take as a
reward, but again he answered that he wanted nothing, having all that
heart could desire.

Nevertheless, when the snake-father asked him the third time, he
replied, 'Since you wish me to take something, let it be the ring you
wear on your finger, as a keepsake.'

Then the snake-father frowned, and looked displeased, saying, 'Were it
not for my promise, I would have turned you into ashes on the spot,
for daring to ask for my greatest treasure.  But as I have said, it
must be.  Take the ring, and go!'

So the Prince, taking the ring, set off homewards with his servant the
serpent, to whom he said regretfully, 'This old ring is a mistake; I
have only made the snake-father angry by asking for it, and much good
it will do me!  It would have been wiser to say a sack of gold.'

'Not so, my Prince!' replied the serpent; 'that ring is a wonderful
ring!  You have only to make a clean square place on the ground,
plaster it over according to the custom of holy places, put the ring
in the centre, sprinkle it with buttermilk, and then whatever you wish
for will be granted immediately.'

Vastly delighted at possessing so great a treasure as this magic ring,
the Prince went on his way rejoicing, but by and by, as he trudged
along the road, he began to feel hungry, and thought he would put his
ring to the test.  So, making a holy place, he put the ring in the
centre, sprinkled it with buttermilk, and cried, 'O ring, I want some
sweetmeats for dinner!'

No sooner had he uttered the words, than a dishful of most delicious
sweets appeared on the holy place.  These he ate, and then set off to
a city he saw in the distance.

As he entered the gate a proclamation was being made that any one who
would build a palace of gold, with golden stairs, in the middle of the
sea, in the course of one night, should have half the kingdom, and the
King's daughter in marriage; but if he failed, instant death should be
his portion.

Hearing this, the spendthrift Prince went at once to the Court and
declared his readiness to fulfil the conditions.

The King was much surprised at his temerity, and bade him consider
well what he was doing, telling him that many princes had tried to
perform the task before, and showing him a necklace of their heads, in
hopes that the dreadful sight might deter him from his purpose.

But the Prince merely replied that he was not afraid, and that he was
certain he should succeed.

Whereupon the King ordered him to build the palace that very night,
and setting a guard over him, bade the sentries be careful the young
boaster did not run away.  Now when evening came, the Prince lay down
calmly to sleep, whereat the guard whispered amongst themselves that
he must be a madman to fling away his life so uselessly.
Nevertheless, with the first streak of dawn the Prince arose, and
making a holy place, laid the ring in the centre, sprinkled it with
buttermilk, and cried, 'O ring, I want a palace of gold, with golden
stairs, in the midst of the sea!'

And lo! there in the sea it stood, all glittering in the sunshine.
Seeing this, the guard ran to tell the King, who could scarcely
believe his eyes when he and all his Court came to the spot and beheld
the golden palace.

Nevertheless, as the Prince had fulfilled his promise, the King
performed his, and gave his daughter in marriage, and half his
kingdom, to the spendthrift.

'I don't want your kingdom, or your daughter either!' said the
Prince.  'I will take the palace I have built in the sea as my
reward.'

So he went to dwell there, but when they sent the Princess to him, he
relented, seeing her beauty; and so they were married and lived very
happily together.

Now, when the Prince went out a-hunting he took his dog with him, but
he left the cat and the parrot in the palace, to amuse the Princess;
nevertheless, one day, when he returned, he found her very sad and
sorrowful, and when he begged her to tell him what was the matter, she
said, 'O dear Prince, I wish to be turned into gold by the power of
the magic ring by which you built this glittering golden palace.'

So, to please her, he made a holy place, put the ring in the centre,
sprinkled it with buttermilk, and cried, 'O ring, turn my wife into
gold!'

No sooner had he said the words than his wish was accomplished, and
his wife became a golden Princess.

Now, when the golden Princess was washing her beautiful golden hair
one day, two long glittering hairs came out in the comb.  She looked
at them, regretting that there were no poor people near to whom she
might have given the golden strands; then, determining they should not
be lost, she made a cup of green leaves, and curling the hairs inside
it, set it afloat upon the sea.

As luck would have it, after drifting hither and thither, it reached a
distant shore where a washerman was at work.  The poor man, seeing the
wonderful gold hairs, took them to the King, hoping for a reward; and
the King in his turn showed them to his son, who was so much struck by
the sight that he lay down on a dirty old bed, to mark his extreme
grief and despair, and, refusing to eat or drink anything, swore he
must marry the owner of the beautiful golden hair, or die.

The King, greatly distressed at his son's state, cast about how he
should find the golden-haired Princess, and after calling his
ministers and nobles to help him, came to the conclusion that it would
be best to employ a wise woman.  So he called the wisest woman in the
land to him, and she promised to find the Princess, on condition of
the King, in his turn, promising to give her anything she desired as a
reward.

Then the wise woman caused a golden barge to be made, and in the barge
a silken cradle swinging from silken ropes.  When all was ready, she
set off in the direction whence the leafy cup had come, taking with
her four boatmen, whom she trained carefully always to stop rowing
when she put up her finger, and go on as long as she kept it down.

After a long while they came in sight of the golden palace, which the
wise woman guessed at once must belong to the golden Princess; so,
putting up her finger, the boatmen ceased rowing, and the wise woman,
stepping out of the boat, went swiftly into the palace.  There she saw
the golden Princess, sitting on a golden throne; and going up to her,
she laid her hands upon the Princess's head, as is the custom when
relatives visit each other; afterwards she kissed her and petted her,
saying, 'Dearest niece! do you not know me?  I am your aunt.'

But the Princess at first drew back, and said she had never seen or
heard of such an aunt.  Then the wise woman explained how she had left
home years before, and made up such a cunning, plausible story that
the Princess, who was only too glad to get a companion, really
believed what she said, and invited her to stop a few days in the
palace.

Now, as they sat talking together, the wise woman asked the Princess
if she did not find it dull alone in the palace in the midst of the
sea, and inquired how they managed to live there without servants, and
how the Prince her husband came and went.  Then the Princess told her
about the wonderful ring the Prince wore day and night, and how by its
help they had everything heart could desire.

On this, the pretended aunt looked very grave, and suggested the
terrible plight in which the Princess would be left should the Prince
come to harm while away from her.  She spoke so earnestly that the
Princess became quite alarmed, and the same evening, when her husband
returned, she said to him, 'Husband, I wish you would give me the ring
to keep while you are away a-hunting, for if you were to come to harm,
what would become of me alone in this sea-girt palace?'

So, next morning, when the Prince went a-hunting, he left the magical
ring in his wife's keeping.

As soon as the wicked wise woman knew that the ring was really in the
possession of the Princess, she persuaded her to go down the golden
stairs to the sea, and look at the golden boat with the silken cradle;
so, by coaxing words and cunning arts the golden Princess was
inveigled into the boat, in order to have a tiny sail on the sea; but
no sooner was her prize safe in the silken cradle, than the pretended
aunt turned down her finger, and the boatmen immediately began to row
swiftly away.

Soon the Princess begged to be taken back, but the wise woman only
laughed, and answered all the poor girl's tears and prayers with slaps
and harsh words.  At last they arrived at the royal city, where great
rejoicings arose when the news was noised abroad that the wise woman
had returned with the golden bride for the love-sick Prince.
Nevertheless, despite all entreaties, the Princess refused even to
look at the Prince for six months; if in that time, she said, her
husband did not claim her, she might think of marriage, but until then
she would not hear of it.

To this the Prince agreed, seeing that six months was not a very long
time to wait; besides, he knew that even should her husband or any
other guardian turn up, nothing was easier than to kill them, and so
get rid both of them and their claims.

Meanwhile, the spendthrift Prince having returned from hunting, called
out as usual to his wife on reaching the golden stairs, but received
no answer; then, entering the palace, he found no one there save the
parrot, which flew towards him and said, 'O master, the Princess's
aunt came here, and has carried her off in a golden boat.'

Hearing this, the poor Prince fell to the ground in a fit, and would
not be consoled.  At last, however, he recovered a little, when the
parrot, to comfort him, bade him wait there while it flew away over
the sea to gather news of the lost bride.

So the faithful parrot flew from land to land, from city to city, from
house to house, until it saw the glitter of the Princess's golden
hair.  Then it fluttered down beside her and bidding her be of good
courage, for it had come to help her, asked for the magic ring.
Whereupon the golden Princess wept more than ever, for she knew the
wise woman kept the ring in her mouth day and night, and that none
could take it from her.

However, when the parrot consulted the cat, which had accompanied the
faithful bird, the crafty creature declared nothing could be easier.

'All the Princess has to do,' said the cat, 'is to ask the wise woman
to give her rice for supper tonight, and instead of eating it all, she
must scatter some in front of the rat-hole in her room.  The rest is
my business, and yours.'

So that night the Princess had rice for supper, and instead of eating
it all, she scattered some before the rat-hole.  Then she went to bed,
and slept soundly, and the wise woman snored beside her.  By and by,
when all was quiet, the rats came out to eat up the rice, when the
cat, with one bound, pounced on the one which had the longest tail,
and carrying it to where the wise woman lay snoring with her mouth
open, thrust the tail up her nose.  She woke with a most terrific
sneeze, and the ring flew out of her mouth on to the floor.  Before
she could turn, the parrot seized it in his beak, and, without pausing
a moment, flew back with it to his master the spendthrift Prince, who
had nothing to do but make a holy place, lay the ring in the centre,
sprinkle it with buttermilk, and say, 'O ring, I want my wife!' and
there she was, as beautiful as ever, and overjoyed at seeing the
golden palace and her dear husband once more.



THE JACKAL AND THE PEA-HEN


Once upon a time a Jackal and a Pea-hen swore eternal friendship.
Every day they had their meals together, and spent hours in pleasant
conversation.

Now, one day, the Pea-hen had juicy plums for dinner, and the Jackal,
for his part, had as juicy a young kid; so they enjoyed themselves
immensely.  But when the feast was over, the Pea-hen rose gravely,
and, after scratching up the ground, carefully sowed all the
plum-stones in a row.

'It is my custom to do so when I eat plums,' she said, with quite an
aggravating air of complacent virtue; 'my mother, good creature,
brought me up in excellent habits, and with her dying breath bade me
never be wasteful.  Now these stones will grow into trees, the fruit
of which, even if I do not live to see the day, will afford a meal to
many a hungry peacock.'

These words made the Jackal feel rather mean, so he answered loftily,
'Exactly so!  I always plant my bones for the same reason.'  And he
carefully dug up a piece of ground, and sowed the bones of the kid at
intervals.

After this, the pair used to come every day and look at their gardens;
by and by the plum-stones shot into tender green stems, but the bones
made never a sign.

'Bones do take a long time germinating,' remarked the Jackal,
pretending to be quite at his ease; 'I have known them remain
unchanged in the ground for months.'

'My dear sir,' answered the Pea-hen, with ill-concealed irony,
'_I_ have known them remain so for _years_!'

So time passed on, and every day, when they visited the garden, the
self-complacent Pea-hen became more and more sarcastic, the Jackal
more and more savage.

At last the plum-trees blossomed and bore fruit, and the Pea-hen sat
down to a perfect feast of ripe juicy plums.

'He! he!' sniggered she to the Jackal, who, having been unsuccessful
in hunting that day, stood by dinnerless, hungry, and in consequence
very cross; 'what a time those old bones of yours do take in coming
up!  But when they do, my! what a crop you'll have!'

The Jackal was bursting with rage, but she wouldn't take warning, and
went on:  'Poor dear! you do look hungry!  There seems some chance of
your starving before harvest.  What a pity it is you can't eat plums
in the meantime!'

'If I can't eat plums, I can eat the plum-eater!' quoth the Jackal;
and with that he pounced on the Pea-hen, and gobbled her up.

_Moral_--It is never safe to be wiser than one's friends.

[Illustration:  It is never safe to be wiser than ones friends. ]



THE GRAIN OF CORN


Once upon a time a farmer's wife was winnowing corn, when a crow,
flying past, swooped off with a grain from the winnowing basket and
perched on a tree close by to eat it.  The farmer's wife, greatly
enraged, flung a clod at the bird with so good an aim that the crow
fell to the ground, dropping the grain of corn, which rolled into a
crack in the tree.  The farmer's wife, seeing the crow fall, ran up to
it, and seizing it by the tail, cried, 'Give me back my grain of corn,
or I will kill you!'

The wretched bird, in fear of death, promised to do so, but, lo and
behold! when he came to search for the grain, it had rolled so far
into the crack that neither by beak nor claw could he reach it.

So he flew off to a woodman, and said--

  'Man! man! cut tree;
  I can't get the grain of corn
  To save my life from the farmer's wife!'

But the woodman refused to cut the tree; so the crow flew on to the
King's palace, and said--

  'King! king! kill man;
  Man won't cut tree;
  I can't get the grain of corn.
  To save my life from the farmer's wife!'

But the King refused to kill the man; so the crow flew on to the
Queen, and said--

    'Queen!  Queen! coax King;
    King won't kill man;
    Man won't cut tree;
  I can't get the grain of corn
  To save my life from the farmer's wife!'

But the Queen refused to coax the King; so the crow flew on till he
met a snake, and said--

    'Snake! snake! bite Queen;
    Queen won't coax King;
    King won't kill man;
    Man won't cut tree;
  I can't get the grain of corn
  To save my life from the farmer's wife!'

But the snake refused to bite the Queen; so the crow flew on till he
met a stick, and said--

    'Stick! stick! beat snake;
    Snake won't bite Queen;
    Queen won't coax King;
    King won't kill man;
    Man won't cut tree;
  I can't get the grain of corn
  To save my life from the farmer's wife!'

But the stick refused to beat the snake; so the crow flew on till he
saw a fire, and said--

    'Fire! fire! burn stick;
    Stick won't beat snake;
    Snake won't bite Queen;
    Queen won't coax King;
    King won't kill man;
    Man won't cut tree;
  I can't get the grain of corn
  To save my life from the farmer's wife!'

But the fire refused to burn the stick; so the crow flew on till he
met some water, and said--

    'Water! water! quench fire;
    Fire won't burn stick;
    Stick won't beat snake;
    Snake won't bite Queen;
    Queen won't coax King;
    King won't kill man;
    Man won't cut tree;
  I can't get the grain of corn
  To save my life from the farmer's wife!'

But the water refused to quench the fire; so the crow flew on till he
met an ox, and said--

    'Ox! ox! drink water;
    Water won't quench fire;
    Fire won't burn stick;
    Stick won't beat snake;
    Snake won't bite Queen;
    Queen won't coax King;
    King won't kill man;
    Man won't cut tree;
  I can't get the grain of corn
  To save my life from the farmer's wife!'

But the ox refused to drink the water; so the crow flew on till he met
a rope, and said--

    'Rope! rope! bind ox;
    Ox won't drink water;
    Water won't quench fire;
    Fire won't burn stick;
    Stick won't beat snake;
    Snake won't bite Queen;
    Queen won't coax King;
    King won't kill man;
    Man won't cut tree;
  I can't get the grain of corn
  To save my life from the farmer's wife!'

But the rope wouldn't bind the ox; so the crow flew on till he met a
mouse, and said--

    'Mouse! mouse! gnaw rope;
    Rope won't bind ox;
    Ox won't drink water;
    Water won't quench fire;
    Fire won't burn stick;
    Stick won't beat snake;
    Snake won't bite Queen;
    Queen won't coax King;
    King won't kill man;
    Man won't cut tree;
  I can't get the grain of corn
  To save my life from the farmer's wife!'

But the mouse wouldn't gnaw the rope; so the crow flew on until he met
a cat, and said--

    'Cat! cat! catch mouse;
    Mouse won't gnaw rope;
    Rope won't bind ox;
    Ox won't drink water;
    Water won't quench fire;
    Fire won't burn stick;
    Stick won't beat snake;
    Snake won't bite Queen;
    Queen won't coax King;
    King won't kill man;
    Man won't cut tree;
  And I can't get the grain of corn
  To save my life from the farmer's wife!'

The moment the cat heard the name of mouse, she was after it; for the
world will come to an end before a cat will leave a mouse alone.

    'So the cat began to catch the mouse,
    The mouse began to gnaw the rope,
    The rope began to bind the ox,
    The ox began to drink the water,
    The water began to quench the fire,
    The fire began to burn the stick,
    The stick began to beat the snake,
    The snake began to bite the Queen,
    The Queen began to coax the King,
    The King began to kill the man,
    The man began to cut the tree;
  So the crow got the grain of corn,
  And saved his life from the farmer's wife!'



THE FARMER AND THE MONEY-LENDER


There was once a farmer who suffered much at the hands of a
money-lender.  Good harvests, or bad, the farmer was always poor, the
moneylender rich.  At last, when he hadn't a farthing left, the farmer
went to the moneylender's house, and said, 'You can't squeeze water
from a stone, and as you have nothing to get by me now, you might tell
me the secret of becoming rich.'

'My friend,' returned the money-lender piously, 'riches come from
Ram--ask _him_.'

'Thank you, I will!' replied the simple farmer; so he prepared three
girdle-cakes to last him on the journey, and set out to find Ram.

First he met a Brâhman, and to him he gave a cake, asking him to point
out the road to Ram; but the Brâhman only took the cake and went on
his way without a word.  Next the farmer met a Jôgi or devotee, and to
him he gave a cake, without receiving any help in return.  At last, he
came upon a poor man sitting under a tree, and finding out he was
hungry, the kindly farmer gave him his last cake, and sitting down to
rest beside him, entered into conversation.

'And where are you going?' asked the poor man at length.

'Oh, I have a long journey before me, for I am going to find Ram!'
replied the farmer.  'I don't suppose you could tell me which way to
go?'

'Perhaps I can,' said the poor man, smiling, 'for _I_ am Ram!
What do you want of me?'

Then the farmer told the whole story, and Ram, taking pity on him,
gave him a conch shell, and showed him how to blow it in a particular
way, saying, 'Remember! whatever you wish for, you have only to blow
the conch that way, and your wish will be fulfilled.  Only have a care
of that money-lender, for even magic is not proof against their
wiles!'

The farmer went back to his village rejoicing.  In fact the
money-lender noticed his high spirits at once, and said to himself,
'Some good fortune must have befallen the stupid fellow, to make him
hold his head so jauntily.'  Therefore he went over to the simple
farmer's house, and congratulated him on his good fortune, in such
cunning words, pretending to have heard all about it, that before long
the farmer found himself telling the whole story--all except the
secret of blowing the conch, for, with all his simplicity, the farmer
was not quite such a fool as to tell that.

Nevertheless, the money-lender determined to have the conch by hook or
by crook, and as he was villain enough not to stick at trifles, he
waited for a favourable opportunity and stole it.

But, after nearly bursting himself with blowing the thing in every
conceivable way, he was obliged to give up the secret as a bad job.
However, being determined to succeed, he went back to the farmer, and
said, 'Now, my friend!  I've got your conch, but I can't use it; you
haven't got it, so it's clear you can't use it either.  The matter is
at a standstill unless we make a bargain.  Now, I promise to give you
back your conch, and never to interfere with your using it, on one
condition, which is this,--whatever you get from it, I am to get
double.'

'Never!' cried the farmer; 'that would be the old business all over
again!'

'Not at all!' replied the wily money-lender; 'you will have your
share!  Now, don't be a dog in the manger, for if _you_ get all
you want, what can it matter to you if _I_ am rich or poor?'

At last, though it went sorely against the grain to be of any benefit
to a money-lender, the farmer was forced to yield, and from that time,
no matter what he gained by the power of the conch, the money-lender
gained double.  And the knowledge that this was so preyed upon the
farmer's mind day and night, until he had no satisfaction out of
anything he did get.

At last there came a very dry season,--so dry that the farmer's crops
withered for want of rain.  Then he blew his conch, and wished for a
well to water them, and, lo! there was the well. _But the
money-lender had two!_--two beautiful new wells!  This was too much
for any farmer to stand; and our friend brooded over it, and brooded
over it, till at last a bright idea came into his head.  He seized the
conch, blew it loudly, and cried out, 'O Ram, I wish to be blind of
one eye!'  And so he was, in a twinkling, but the money-lender, of
course, was blind of both eyes, and in trying to steer his way between
the two new wells, he fell into one and was drowned.

Now this true story shows that a farmer once got the better of a
money-lender; but only by losing one of his eyes!



THE LORD OF DEATH


Once upon a time there was a road, and every one who travelled along
it died.  Some folk said they were killed by a snake, others said by a
scorpion, but certain it is they all died.

Now a very old man was travelling along the road, and being tired, sat
down on a stone to rest; when suddenly, close beside him, he saw a
scorpion as big as a cock, which, while he looked at it, changed into
a horrible snake.  He was wonderstruck, and as the creature glided
away, he determined to follow it at a little distance, and so find out
what it really was.

So the snake sped on day and night, and behind it followed the old man
like a shadow.  Once it went into an inn, and killed several
travellers; another time it slid into the King's house and killed
him.  Then it crept up the waterspout to the Queen's palace, and
killed the King's youngest daughter.  So it passed on, and wherever it
went the sound of weeping and wailing arose, and the old man followed
it, silent as a shadow.

Suddenly the road became a broad, deep, swift river, on the banks of
which sat some poor travellers who longed to cross over, but had no
money to pay the ferry.  Then the snake changed into a handsome
buffalo, with a brass necklace and bells round its neck, and stood by
the brink of the stream.  When the poor travellers saw this, they
said, 'This beast is going to swim to its home across the river; let
us get on its back, and hold on to its tail, so that we too shall get
over the stream.'

Then they climbed on its back and held by its tail, and the buffalo
swam away with them bravely; but when it reached the middle, it began
to kick, until they tumbled off, or let go, and were all drowned.

When the old man, who had crossed the river in a boat, reached the
other side, the buffalo had disappeared, and in its stead stood a
beautiful ox.  Seeing this handsome creature wandering about, a
peasant, struck with covetousness, lured it to his home.  It was very
gentle, suffering itself to be tied up with the other cattle; but in
the dead of night it changed into a snake, bit all the flocks and
herds, and then, creeping into the house, killed all the sleeping
folk, and crept away.  But behind it the old man still followed, as
silent as a shadow.

Presently they came to another river, where the snake changed itself
into the likeness of a beautiful young girl, fair to see, and covered
with costly jewels.  After a while, two brothers, soldiers, came by,
and as they approached the girl, she began to weep bitterly.

'What is the matter?' asked the brothers; 'and why do you, so young
and beautiful, sit by the river alone?'

Then the snake-girl answered, 'My husband was even now taking me home;
and going down to the stream to look for the ferry-boat, fell to
washing his face, when he slipped in, and was drowned.  So I have
neither husband nor relations!'

'Do not fear!' cried the elder of the two brothers, who had become
enamoured of her beauty; 'come with me, and I will marry you.'

'On one condition,' answered the girl:  'you must never ask me to do
any household work; and no matter for what I ask, you must give it
me.'

'I will obey you like a slave!' promised the young man.

'Then go at once to the well, and fetch me a cup of water.  Your
brother can stay with me,' quoth the girl.

But when the elder brother had gone, the snake-girl turned to the
younger, saying, 'Fly with me, for I love you!  My promise to your
brother was a trick to get him away!'

'Not so!' returned the young man; 'you are his promised wife, and I
look on you as my sister.'

On this the girl became angry, weeping and wailing, until the elder
brother returned, when she called out, 'O husband, what a villain is
here!  Your brother asked me to fly with him, and leave you!'

Then bitter wrath at this treachery arose in the elder brother's
heart, so that he drew his sword and challenged the younger to
battle.  Then they fought all day long, until by evening they both lay
dead upon the field, and then the girl took the form of a snake once
more, and behind it followed the old man silent as a shadow.  But at
last it changed into the likeness of an old white-bearded man, and
when he who had followed so long saw one like himself, he took
courage, and laying hold of the white beard, asked, 'Who and what are
you?'

Then the old man smiled and answered, 'Some call me the Lord of Death,
because I go about bringing death to the world.'

'Give me death!' pleaded the other, 'for I have followed you far,
silent as a shadow, and I am aweary.'

But the Lord of Death shook his head, saying, 'Not so!  I only give to
those whose years are full, and you have sixty years of life to come!'

Then the old white-bearded man vanished, but whether he really was the
Lord of Death, or a devil, who can tell?



THE WRESTLERS

A STORY OF HEROES


There was, once upon a time, long ago, a wrestler living in a far
country, who, hearing there was a mighty man in India, determined to
have a fall with him; so, tying up ten thousand pounds weight of flour
in his blanket, he put the bundle on his head and set off jauntily.
Towards evening he came to a little pond in the middle of the desert,
and sat down to eat his dinner.  First, he stooped down and took a
good long drink of the water; then, emptying his flour into the
remainder of the pond, stirred it into good thick brose, off which he
made a hearty meal, and lying down under a tree, soon fell fast
asleep.

Now, for many years an elephant had drunk daily at the pond, and,
coming as usual that evening for its draught, was surprised to find
nothing but a little mud and flour at the bottom.

'What shall I do?' it said to itself, 'for there is no more water to
be found for twenty miles!'

Going away disconsolate, it espied the wrestler sleeping placidly
under the tree, and at once made sure he was the author of the
mischief; so, galloping up to the sleeping man, it stamped on his head
in a furious rage, determined to crush him.

But, to his astonishment, the wrestler only stirred a little, and said
sleepily, 'What is the matter? what is the matter?  If you want to
shampoo my head, why the plague don't you do it properly?  What's
worth doing at all is worth doing well; so put a little of your weight
into it, my friend!'

The elephant stared, and left off stamping; but, nothing daunted,
seized the wrestler round the waist with its trunk, intending to heave
him up and dash him to pieces on the ground.  'Ho! ho! my little
friend!--that is your plan, is it?' quoth the wrestler, with a yawn;
and catching hold of the elephant's tail, and swinging the monster
over his shoulder, he continued his journey jauntily.

By and by he reached his destination, and, standing outside the Indian
wrestler's house, cried out, 'Ho! my friend!  Come out and try a
fall!'

'My husband's not at home to-day,' answered the wrestler's wife from
inside; 'he has gone into the wood to cut pea-sticks.'

'Well, well! when he returns give him this, with my compliments, and
tell him the owner has come from far to challenge him.'

So saying, he chucked the elephant clean over the courtyard wall.

'Oh, mamma! mamma!' cried a treble voice from within, 'I declare that
nasty man has thrown a mouse over the wall into my lap!  What shall I
do to him?'

'Never mind, little daughter!' answered the wrestler's wife; 'papa
will teach him better manners.  Take the grass broom and sweep the
mouse away.'

Then there was a sound of sweeping, and immediately the dead elephant
came flying over the wall.

'Ahem!' thought the wrestler outside, 'if the little daughter can do
this, the father will be a worthy foe!'

So he set off to the wood to meet the Indian wrestler, whom he soon
saw coming along the road, dragging a hundred and sixty carts laden
with brushwood.

'Now we shall see!' quoth the stranger, with a wink; and stealing
behind the carts, he laid hold of the last, and began to pull.

'That's a deep rut!' thought the Indian wrestler, and pulled a little
harder.  So it went on for an hour, but not an inch one way or the
other did the carts budge.

'I believe there is some one hanging on behind!' quoth the Indian
wrestler at last, and walked back to see who it was.  Whereupon the
stranger, coming to meet him, said, 'We seem pretty well matched; let
us have a fall together.'

'With all my heart!' answered the other, 'but not here alone in the
wilds; it is no fun fighting without applause.'

'But I haven't time to wait!' said the stranger; 'I have to be off at
once, so it must be here or nowhere.'

Just then an old woman came hurrying by with big strides.

'Here's an audience!' cried the wrestler, and called aloud, 'Mother!
mother! stop and see fair play!'

'I can't, my sons, I can't!' she replied, 'for my daughter is going to
steal my camels, and I am off to stop her; but if you like, you can
jump on to the palm of my hand, and wrestle there as I go along.'

So the wrestlers jumped on to the old woman's palm, and wrestled away
as she strode over hill and dale.

Now when the old woman's daughter saw her mother, with the wrestlers
wrestling on her hand, she said to herself, 'Here she comes, with the
soldiers she spoke about!  It is time for me to be off!'

So she picked up the hundred and sixty camels, tied them in her
blanket, and swinging it over her shoulder, set off at a run.

But one of the camels put its head out of the blanket and began
groaning and hubble-bubble-ubbling, after the manner of camels; so, to
quiet it, the girl tore down a tree or two, and stuffed them into the
bundle also.  On this, the farmer to whom the trees belonged came
running up, and calling, 'Stop thief! stop thief!'

'Thief, indeed!' quoth the girl angrily; and with that she bundled
farmer, fields, crops, oxen, house, and all into the blanket.

Soon she came to a town, and being hungry, asked a pastry-cook to give
her some sweets; but he refused, so she caught up the town bodily; and
so on with everything she met, until her blanket was quite full.

At last she came to a big water-melon, and being thirsty, she sat down
to eat it; and afterwards, feeling sleepy, she determined to rest a
while.  But the camels in her bundle made such a hubble-bubble-ubbling
that they disturbed her, so she just packed everything into the lower
half of the water-melon rind, and popping on the upper half as a lid,
she rolled herself in the blanket and used the melon as a pillow.

Now, while she slept, a big flood arose, and carried off the
water-melon, which, after floating down stream ever so far, stuck on a
mud-bank.  The top fell off, and out hopped the camels, the trees, the
farmer, the oxen, the house, the town, and all the other things, until
there was quite a new world on the mud-bank in the middle of the
river.



THE LEGEND OF GWÂSHBRÂRI, THE GLACIER-HEARTED QUEEN


Once upon a time, ever so long ago, when this old world was young, and
everything was very different from what it is nowadays, the mighty
Westarwân was King of all the mountains.  High above all other hills
he reared his lofty head, so lofty, that when the summer clouds closed
in upon his broad shoulders he was alone under the blue sky.  And
thus, being so far above the world, and so lonely in his dignity, he
became proud, and even when the mists cleared away, leaving the fair
new world stretched smiling at his feet, he never turned his eyes upon
it, but gazed day and night upon the sun and stars.

Now Harâmukh, and Nangâ Parbat, and all the other hills that stood in
a vast circle round great Westarwân, as courtiers waiting on their
king, grew vexed because he treated them as nought; and when the
summer cloud that soared above their heads hung on his shoulders like
a royal robe, they would say bitter, wrathful words of spite and envy.

Only the beautiful Gwâshbrâri, cold and glistening amid her glaciers,
would keep silence.  Self-satisfied, serene, her beauty was enough for
her; others might rise farther through the mists, but there was none
so fair as she in all the land.

Yet once, when the cloud-veil wrapped Westarwân from sight, and the
wrath rose loud and fierce, she flashed a contemptuous smile upon the
rest, bidding them hold their peace.

'What need to wrangle?' she said, in calm superiority;' great
Westarwân is proud; but though the stars seem to crown his head, his
feet are of the earth, earthy.  He is made of the same stuff as we
are; there is more of it, that is all.'

'The more reason to resent his pride!' retorted the grumblers.  'Who
made him a King over us?'

Gwâshbrâri smiled an evil smile.  'O fools! poor fools and blind!
giving him a majesty he has not in my sight.  I tell you mighty
Westarwân, for all his star-crowned loftiness, is no King to me.  Tis
I who am his Queen!'

Then the mighty hills laughed aloud, for Gwâshbrâri was the lowliest
of them all.

'Wait and see!' answered the cold passionless voice.  'Before
to-morrow's sunrise great Westarwân shall be my slave!'

Once more the mighty hills echoed with scornful laughter, yet the
icy-hearted beauty took no heed.  Lovely, serene, she smiled on all
through the long summer's day; only once or twice from her snowy sides
would rise a white puff of smoke, showing where some avalanche had
swept the sure-footed ibex to destruction.

But with the setting sun a rosy radiance fell over the whole world.
Then Gwâshbrâri's pale face flushed into life, her chill beauty glowed
into passion.  Trans-* figured, glorified, she shone on the
fast-darkening horizon like a star.

And mighty Westarwân, noting the rosy radiance in the east, turned his
proud eyes towards it; and, lo! the perfection of her beauty smote
upon his senses with a sharp, wistful wonder that such loveliness
could be--that such worthiness could exist in the world which he
despised.  The setting sun sank lower, reflecting a ruddier glow on
Gwâshbrâri's face; it seemed as if she blushed beneath the great
King's gaze.  A mighty longing filled his soul, bursting from his lips
in one passionate cry--'O Gwâshbrâri! kiss me, or I die!'

The sound echoed through the valleys, while the startled peaks stood
round expectant.

Beneath her borrowed blush Gwâshbrâri smiled triumphant, as she
answered back, 'How can that be, great King, and I so lowly?  Even if
I _would_, how could I reach your star-crowned head?--I who on
tip-toe cannot touch your cloud-robed shoulder?'

Yet again the passionate cry rang out--'I love you! kiss me, or I
die!'

Then the glacier-hearted beauty whispered soft and low, the sweet
music of her voice weaving a magical spell round the great
Westarwân--You love me?  Know you not that those who love must
stoop?  Bend your proud head to my lips, and seek the kiss I cannot
choose but give!'

Slowly, surely, as one under a charm, the monarch of the mountains
stooped-nearer and nearer to her radiant beauty, forgetful of all else
in earth or sky.

The sun set.  The rosy blush faded from Gwâshbrâri's fair false face,
leaving it cold as ice, pitiless as death.  The stars began to gleam
in the pale heavens, but the King lay at Gwâshbrâri's feet, discrowned
for ever!

And that is why great Westarwân stretches his long length across the
valley of Kashmîr, resting his once lofty head upon the glacier heart
of Queen Gwâshbrâri.

And every night the star crown hangs in the heavens as of yore.



THE BARBER'S CLEVER WIFE


Once upon a time there lived a barber, who was such a poor silly
creature that he couldn't even ply his trade decently, but snipped off
his customers' ears instead of their hair, and cut their throats
instead of shaving them.  So of course he grew poorer every day, till
at last he found himself with nothing left in his house but his wife
and his razor, both of whom were as sharp as sharp could be.

For his wife was an exceedingly clever person, who was continually
rating her husband for his stupidity; and when she saw they hadn't a
farthing left, she fell as usual to scolding.

But the barber took it very calmly.  'What is the use of making such a
fuss, my dear?' said he; 'you've told me all this before, and I quite
agree with you.  I never _did_ work, I never _could_ work,
and I never _will_ work.  That is the fact!'

'Then you must beg!' returned his wife, 'for _I_ will not starve
to please you!  Go to the palace, and beg something of the King.
There is a wedding feast going on, and he is sure to give alms to the
poor.'

'Very well, my dear!' said the barber submissively.  He was rather
afraid of his clever wife, so he did as he was bid, and going to the
palace, begged of the King to give him something.

'Something?' asked the King; 'what thing?'

Now the barber's wife had not mentioned anything in particular, and
the barber was far too addle-pated to think of anything by himself, so
he answered cautiously, 'Oh, something!'

'Will a piece of land do?' said the King.

Whereupon the lazy barber, glad to be helped out of the difficulty,
remarked that perhaps a piece of land would do as well as anything
else.

Then the King ordered a piece of waste, outside the city, should be
given to the barber, who went home quite satisfied.

'Well! what did you get?' asked the clever wife, who was waiting
impatiently for his return.  'Give it me quick, that I may go and buy
bread!'

And you may imagine how she scolded when she found he had only got a
piece of waste land.

'But land is land!' remonstrated the barber; 'it can't run away, so we
must always have something now!'

'Was there ever such a dunderhead?' raged the clever wife.'  What good
is ground unless we can till it? and where are we to get bullocks and
ploughs?'

But being, as we have said, an exceedingly clever person, she set her
wits to work, and soon thought of a plan whereby to make the best of a
bad bargain.

She took her husband with her, and set off to the piece of waste land;
then, bidding her husband imitate her, she began walking about the
field, and peering anxiously into the ground.  But when any-* body
came that way, she would sit down, and pretend to be doing nothing at
all.

Now it so happened that seven thieves were hiding in a thicket hard
by, and they watched the barber and his wife all day, until they
became convinced something mysterious was going on.  So at sunset they
sent one of their number to try and find out what it was.

'Well, the fact is,' said the barber's wife, after beating about the
bush for some-time, and with many injunctions to strict secrecy, 'this
field belonged to my grandfather, who buried five pots full of gold in
it, and we were just trying to discover the exact spot before
beginning to dig.  You won't tell any one, will you?'

The thief promised he wouldn't, of course, but the moment the barber
and his wife went home, he called his companions, and telling them of
the hidden treasure, set them to work.  All night long they dug and
delved, till the field looked as if it had been ploughed seven times
over, and they were as tired as tired could be; but never a gold
piece, nor a silver piece, nor a farthing did they find, so when dawn
came they went away disgusted.

The barber's wife, when she found the field so beautifully ploughed,
laughed heartily at the success of her stratagem, and going to the
corn-dealer's shop, borrowed some rice to sow in the field.  This the
corn-dealer willingly gave her, for he reckoned he would get it back
threefold at harvest time.  And so he did, for never was there such a
crop!--the barber's wife paid her debts, kept enough for the house,
and sold the rest for a great crock of gold pieces.

Now, when the thieves saw this, they were very angry indeed, and going
to the barber's house, said, 'Give us our share of the harvest, for we
tilled the ground, as you very well know.'

'I told you there was gold in the ground,' laughed the barber's wife,
'but you didn't find it.  I have, and there's a crock full of it in
the house, only you rascals shall never have a farthing of it!'

'Very well!' said the thieves; 'look out for yourself to-night.  If
you won't give us our share we'll take it!'

So that night one of the thieves hid himself in the house, intending
to open the door to his comrades when the housefolk were asleep; but
the barber's wife saw him with the corner of her eye, and determined
to lead him a dance.  Therefore, when her husband, who was in a
dreadful state of alarm, asked her what she had done with the gold
pieces, she replied, 'Put them where no one will find them,--under
the sweetmeats, in the crock that stands in the niche by the door.'

The thief chuckled at hearing this, and after waiting till all was
quiet, he crept out, and feeling about for the crock, made off with
it, whispering to his comrades that he had got the prize.  Fearing
pursuit, they fled to a thicket, where they sat down to divide the
spoil.

'She said there were sweetmeats on the top,' said the thief; 'I will
divide them first, and then we can eat them, for it is hungry work,
this waiting and watching.'

So he divided what he thought were the sweetmeats as well as he could
in the dark.  Now in reality the crock was full of all sorts of
horrible things that the barber's wife had put there on purpose, and
so when the thieves crammed its contents into their mouths, you may
imagine what faces they made and how they vowed revenge.

But when they returned next day to threaten and repeat their claim to
a share of the crop, the barber's wife only laughed at them.

'Have a care!' they cried; 'twice you have fooled us--once by making
us dig all night, and next by feeding us on filth and breaking our
caste.  It will be our turn to-night!'

Then another thief hid himself in the house, but the barber's wife saw
him with half an eye, and when her husband asked, 'What have you done
with the gold, my dear?  I hope you haven't put it under the pillow?'
she answered, 'Don't be alarmed; it is out of the house.  I have hung
it in the branches of the _nîm_ tree outside.  No one will think
of looking for it there!'

The hidden thief chuckled, and when the house-folk were asleep he
slipped out and told his companions.

'Sure enough, there it is!' cried the captain of the band, peering up
into the branches.  'One of you go up and fetch it down.'  Now what he
saw was really a hornets' nest, full of great big brown and yellow
hornets.

So one of the thieves climbed up the tree; but when he came close to
the nest, and was just reaching up to take hold of it, a hornet flew
out and stung him on the thigh.  He immediately clapped his hand to
the spot.

'Oh, you thief!' cried out the rest from below, 'you're pocketing the
gold pieces, are you?  Oh! shabby! shabby!'--For you see it was very
dark, and when the poor man clapped his hand to the place where he had
been stung, they thought he was putting his hand in his pocket.

'I assure you I'm not doing anything of the kind!' retorted the thief;
'but there is something that bites in this tree!'

Just at that moment another hornet stung him on the breast, and he
clapped his hand there.

'Fie! fie for shame!  We saw you do it that time!' cried the rest.
'Just you stop that at once, or we will make you!'

So they sent up another thief, but he fared no better, for by this
time the hornets were thoroughly roused, and they stung the poor man
all over, so that he kept clapping his hands here, there, and
everywhere.

'Shame!  Shabby!  Ssh-sh!' bawled the rest; and then one after another
they climbed into the tree, determined to share the booty, and one
after another began clapping their hands about their bodies, till it
came to the captain's turn.  Then he, intent on having the prize,
seized hold of the hornets' nest, and as the branch on which they were
all standing broke at the selfsame moment, they all came tumbling down
with the hornets' nest on top of them.  And then, in spite of bumps
and bruises, you can imagine what a stampede there was!

After this the barber's wife had some peace, for every one of the
seven thieves was in hospital.  In fact, they were laid up for so long
a time that she began to think that they were never coming back again,
and ceased to be on the look-out.  But she was wrong, for one night,
when she had left the window open, she was awakened by whisperings
outside, and at once recognised the thieves' voices.  She gave herself
up for lost; but, determined not to yield without a struggle, she
seized her husband's razor, crept to the side of the window, and stood
quite still.  By and by the first thief began to creep through
cautiously.  She just waited till the tip of his nose was visible, and
then, flash!--she sliced it off with the razor as clean as a whistle.

'Confound it!' yelled the thief, drawing back mighty quick; 'I've cut
my nose on something!'

'Hush-sh-sh-sh!' whispered the others, 'you'll wake some one.  Go on!'

'Not I!' said the thief; 'I'm bleeding like a pig!'

'Pooh!--knocked your nose against the shutter, I suppose,' returned
the second thief.  'I'll go!'

But, swish!--off went the tip of his nose too.

'Dear me!' said he ruefully, 'there certainly is something sharp
inside!'

'A bit of bamboo in the lattice, most likely,' remarked the third
thief.  'I'll go!'

And, flick!--off went his nose too.

'It is most extraordinary!' he exclaimed, hurriedly retiring; 'I feel
exactly as if some one had cut the tip of my nose off!'

'Rubbish!' said the fourth thief.  'What cowards you all are!  Let
_me_ go!'

But he fared no better, nor the fifth thief, nor the sixth.

'My friends!'. said the captain, when it came to his turn, 'you are
all disabled.  One man must remain unhurt to protect the wounded.  Let
us return another night.'--He was a cautious man, you see, and valued
his nose.

So they crept away sulkily, and the barber's wife lit a lamp, and
gathering up all the nose tips, put them away safely in a little box.

Now before the robbers' noses were healed over, the hot weather set
in, and the barber and his wife, finding it warm sleeping in the
house, put their beds outside; for they made sure the thieves would
not return.  But they did, and seizing such a good opportunity for
revenge, they lifted up the wife's bed, and carried her off fast
asleep.  She woke to find herself borne along on the heads of four of
the thieves, whilst the other three ran beside her.  She gave herself
up for lost, and though she thought, and thought, and thought, she
could find no way of escape; till, as luck would have it, the robbers
paused to take breath under a banyan tree.  Quick as lightning, she
seized hold of a branch that was within reach, and swung herself into
the tree, leaving her quilt on the bed just as if she were still in
it.

'Let us rest a bit here,' said the thieves who were carrying the bed;
'there is plenty of time, and we are tired.  She is dreadfully heavy!'

The barber's wife could hardly help laughing, but she had to keep very
still, for it was a bright moonlight night; and the robbers, after
setting down their burden, began to squabble as to who should take
first watch.  At last they determined that it should be the captain,
for the others had really barely recovered from the shock of having
their noses sliced off; so they lay down to sleep, while the captain
walked up and down, watching the bed, and the barber's wife sat
perched up in the tree like a great bird.

Suddenly an idea came into her head, and drawing her white veil
becomingly over her face, she began to sing softly.  The robber
captain looked up, and saw the veiled figure of a woman in the tree.
Of course he was a little surprised, but being a goodlooking young
fellow, and rather vain of his appearance, he jumped at once to the
conclusion that it was a fairy who had fallen in love with his
handsome face.  For fairies do such things sometimes, especially on
moonlight nights.  So he twirled his moustaches, and strutted about,
waiting for her to speak.  But when she went on singing, and took no
notice of him, he stopped and called out, 'Come down, my beauty!  I
won't hurt you!'

But still she went on singing; so he climbed up into the tree,
determined to attract her attention.  When he came quite close, she
turned away her head and sighed.

'What is the matter, my beauty?' he asked tenderly.  'Of course you
are a fairy, and have fallen in love with me, but there is nothing to
sigh at in that, surely?'

'Ah--ah--ah!' said the barber's wife, with another sigh, 'I believe
you're fickle!  Men with long-pointed noses always are!'

But the robber captain swore he was the most constant of men; yet
still the fairy sighed and sighed, until he almost wished his nose had
been shortened too.

'You are telling stories, I am sure!' said the pre* tended fairy.
'Just let me touch your tongue with the tip of mine, and then I shall
be able to taste if there are fibs about!'

So the robber captain put out his tongue, and, snip!--the barber's
wife bit the tip off clean!

What with the fright and the pain, he tumbled off the branch, and fell
bump on the ground, where he sat with his legs very wide apart,
looking as if he had come from the skies.

'What is the matter?' cried his comrades, awakened by the noise of his
fall.

'_Bul-ul-a-bul-ul-ul!_' answered he, pointing up into the tree;
for of course he could not speak plainly without the tip of his
tongue.

'What--is--the--matter?' they bawled in his ear, as if that would do
any good.

'_Bul-ul-a-bul-ul-ul!_' said he, still pointing upwards.

'The man is bewitched!' cried one; 'there must be a ghost in the
tree!'

Just then the barber's wife began flapping her veil and howling;
whereupon, without waiting to look, the thieves in a terrible fright
set off at a run, dragging their leader with them; and the barber's
wife, coming down from the tree, put her bed on her head, and walked
quietly home.

After this, the thieves came to the conclusion that it was no use
trying to gain their point by force, so they went to law to claim
their share.  But the barber's wife pleaded her own cause so well,
bringing out the nose and tongue tips as witnesses, that the King made
the barber his Wazîr, saying, 'He will never do a foolish thing as
long as his wife is alive!'



THE JACKAL AND THE CROCODILE


Once upon a time, Mr. Jackal was trotting along gaily, when he caught
sight of a wild plum-tree laden with fruit on the other side of a
broad deep stream.  He could not get across anyhow, so he just sat
down on the bank, and looked at the ripe luscious fruit until his
mouth watered with desire.

Now it so happened that, just then, Miss Crocodile came floating down
stream with her nose in the air.  'Good morning, my dear!' said Mr.
Jackal politely; 'how beautiful you look to-day, and how charmingly
you swim!  Now, if I could only swim too, what a fine feast of plums
we two friends might have over there together!'  And Mr. Jackal laid
his paw on his heart, and sighed.

Now Miss Crocodile had a very inflammable heart, and when Mr. Jackal
looked at her so admiringly, and spoke so sentimentally, she simpered
and blushed, saying, 'Oh!  Mr. Jackal! how can you talk so?  I could
never dream of going out to dinner with you, unless--unless--'

'Unless what?' asked the Jackal persuasively.

'Unless we were going to be married!' simpered
Miss Crocodile.

'And why shouldn't we be married, my charmer?' returned the Jackal
eagerly.  'I would go and fetch the barber to begin the betrothals at
once, but I am so faint with hunger just at present that I should
never reach the village.  Now, if the most adorable of her sex would
only take pity on her slave, and carry me over the stream, I might
refresh myself with those plums, and so gain strength to accomplish
the ardent desire of my heart!'

Here the Jackal sighed so piteously, and cast such sheep's-eyes at
Miss Crocodile, that she was unable to withstand him.  So she carried
him across to the plum-tree, and then sat on the water's edge to think
over her wedding dress, while Mr. Jackal feasted on the plums, and
enjoyed himself.

'Now for the barber, my beauty!' cried the gay Jackal, when he had
eaten as much as he could.  Then the blushing Miss Crocodile carried
him back again, and bade him be quick about his business, like a dear
good creature, for really she felt so flustered at the very idea that
she didn't know what mightn't happen.

'Now, don't distress yourself, my dear!' quoth the deceitful Mr.
Jackal, springing to the bank, 'because it's not impossible that I may
not find the barber, and then, you know, you may have to wait some
time, a considerable time in fact, before I return.  So don't injure
your health for my sake, if you please.'

With that he blew her a kiss, and trotted away with his tail up.

Of course he never came back, though trusting Miss Crocodile waited
patiently for him; at last she understood what a gay deceitful fellow
he was, and determined to have her revenge on him one way or another.

So she hid herself in the water, under the roots of a tree, close to a
ford where Mr. Jackal always came to drink.  By and by, sure enough,
he came lilting along in a self-satisfied way, and went right into the
water for a good long draught.  Whereupon Miss Crocodile seized him by
the right leg, and held on.  He guessed at once what had happened, and
called out, 'Oh! my heart's adored!  I'm drowning!  I'm drowning!  If
you love me, leave hold of that old root and get a good grip of my
leg--it is just next door!'

Hearing this, Miss Crocodile thought she must have made a mistake,
and, letting go the Jackal's leg in a hurry, seized an old root close
by, and held on.  Whereupon Mr. Jackal jumped nimbly to shore, and ran
off with his tail up, calling out, 'Have a little patience, my
beauty!  The barber will come some day!'

But this time Miss Crocodile knew better than to wait, and being now
dreadfully angry, she crawled away to the Jackal's hole, and slipping
inside, lay quiet.

By and by Mr. Jackal came lilting along with his tail up.

'Ho! ho!  That is your game, is it?' said he to himself, when he saw
the trail of the crocodile in the sandy soil.  So he stood outside,
and said aloud, 'Bless my stars! what has happened?  I don't half like
to go in, for whenever I come home my wife always calls out,

  '"Oh, dearest hubby hub!
  What have you brought for grub
  To me and the darling cub?"

and to-day she doesn't say anything!'

Hearing this, Miss Crocodile sang out from inside,

  'Oh, dearest hubby hub!
  What have you brought for grub
  To me and the darling cub?'

The Jackal winked a very big wink, and stealing in softly, stood at
the doorway.  Meanwhile Miss Crocodile, hearing him coming, held her
breath, and lay, shamming dead, like a big log.

'Bless my stars!' cried Mr. Jackal, taking out his
pocket-handkerchief, 'how very very sad!  Here's poor Miss Crocodile
stone dead, and all for love of me!  Dear! dear!  Yet it is very odd,
and I don't think she can be quite dead, you know--for dead folks
always wag their tails!'

On this, Miss Crocodile began to wag her tail very gently, and Mr.
Jackal ran off, roaring with laughter, and saying, 'Oho!--oho! so dead
folk always wag their tails!'



HOW RAJA RASÂLU WAS BORN


Once there lived a great Raja, whose name was Sâlbâhan, and he had two
Queens.  Now the elder, by name Queen Achhrâ, had a fair young son
called Prince Pûran; but the younger, by name Lonâ, though she wept
and prayed at many a shrine, had never a child to gladden her eyes.
So, being a bad, deceitful woman, envy and rage took possession of her
heart, and she so poisoned Raja Sâlbâhan's mind against his son, young
Pûran, that just as the Prince was growing to manhood, his father
became madly jealous of him, and in a fit of anger ordered his hands
and feet to be cut off.  Not content even with this cruelty, Raja
Sâlbâhan had the poor young man thrown into a deep well.
Nevertheless, Pûran did not die, as no doubt the enraged father hoped
and expected; for God preserved the innocent Prince, so that he lived
on, miraculously, at the bottom of the well, until, years after, the
great and holy Guru Goraknâth came to the place, and finding Prince
Pûran still alive, not only released him from his dreadful prison,
but, by the power of magic, restored his hands and feet.  Then Pûran,
in gratitude for this great boon, became a _faqîr_, and placing
the sacred earrings in his ears, followed Goraknâth as a disciple, and
was called Pûran Bhagat.

But as time went by, his heart yearned to see his mother's face, so
Guru Goraknâth gave him leave to visit his native town, and Pûran
Bhagat journeyed thither and took up his abode in a large walled
garden, where he had often played as a child.  And, lo! he found it
neglected and barren, so that his heart became sad when he saw the
broken watercourses and the withered trees.  Then he sprinkled the dry
ground with water from his drinking vessel, and prayed that all might
become green again.  And, lo! even as he prayed, the trees shot forth
leaves, the grass grew, the flowers bloomed, and all was as it had
once been.

The news of this marvellous thing spread fast through the city, and
all the world went out to see the holy man who had performed the
wonder.  Even the Raja Sâlbâhan and his two Queens heard of it in the
palace, and they too went to the garden to see it with their own
eyes.  But Pûran Bhagat's mother, Queen Achhrâ, had wept so long for
her darling, that the tears had blinded her eyes, and so she went, not
to see, but to ask the wonder-working _faqîr_ to restore her
sight.  Therefore, little knowing from whom she asked the boon, she
fell on the ground before Pûran Bhagat, begging him to cure her; and,
lo! almost before she asked, it was done, and she saw plainly.

Then deceitful Queen Lonâ, who all these years had been longing vainly
for a son, when she saw what mighty power the unknown _faqîr_
possessed, fell on the ground also, and begged for an heir to gladden
the heart of Raja Sâlbâhan.

Then Pûran Bhagat spoke, and his voice was stern,--'Raja Sâlbâhan
already has a son.  Where is he?  What have you done with him?  Speak
truth, Queen Lonâ, if you would find favour with God!'

Then the woman's great longing for a son conquered her pride, and
though her husband stood by, she humbled herself before the
_faqîr_ and told the truth,--how she had deceived the father and
destroyed the son.

Then Pûran Bhagat rose to his feet, stretched out his hands towards
her, and a smile was on his face, as he said softly, 'Even so, Queen
Lonâ! even so!  And behold! _I_ am Prince Pûran, whom you
destroyed and God delivered!  I have a message for you.  Your fault is
forgiven, but not forgotten; you shall indeed bear a son, who shall be
brave and good, yet will he cause you to weep tears as bitter as those
my mother wept for me.  So! take this grain of rice; eat it, and you
shall bear a son that will be no son to you, for even as I was reft
from my mother's eyes, so will he be reft from yours.  Go in peace;
your fault is forgiven, but not forgotten!'

Queen Lonâ returned to the palace, and when the time for the birth of
the promised son drew nigh, she inquired of three Jôgis who came
begging to her gate, what the child's fate would be, and the youngest
of them answered and said, 'O Queen, the child will be a boy, and he
will live to be a great man.  But for twelve years you must not look
upon his face, for if either you or his father see it before the
twelve years are past, you will surely die!  This is what you must
do,--as soon as the child is born you must send him away to a cellar
underneath the ground, and never let him see the light of day for
twelve years.  After they are over, he may come forth, bathe in the
river, put on new clothes, and visit you.  His name shall be Raja
Rasâlu, and he shall be known far and wide.'

So, when a fair young Prince was in due time born into the world, his
parents hid him away in an underground palace, with nurses, and
servants, and everything else a King's son might desire.  And with him
they sent a young colt, born the same day, and a sword, a spear, and a
shield, against the day when Raja Rasâlu should go forth into the
world.

So there the child lived, playing with his colt, and talking to his
parrot, while the nurses taught him all things needful for a King's
son to know.



HOW RAJA RASÂLU WENT OUT INTO THE WORLD


Young Rasâlu lived on, far from the light of day, for eleven long
years, growing tall and strong, yet contented to remain playing with
his colt and talking to his parrot; but when the twelfth year began,
the lad's heart leapt up with desire for change, and he loved to
listen to the sounds of life which came to him in his palace-prison
from the outside world.

'I must go and see where the voices come from!' he said; and when his
nurses told him he must not go for one year more, he only laughed
aloud, saying, 'Nay!  I stay no longer here for any man!'

Then he saddled his horse Bhaunr Irâqi, put on his shining armour, and
rode forth into the world; but--mindful of what his nurses had often
told him--when he came to the river, he dismounted, and going into
the water, washed himself and his clothes.

Then, clean of raiment, fair of face, and brave of heart, he rode on
his way until he reached his father's city.  There he sat down to rest
a while by a well, where the women were drawing water in earthen
pitchers.  Now, as they passed him, their full pitchers poised upon
their heads, the gay young Prince flung stones at the earthen vessels,
and broke them all.  Then the women, drenched with water, went weeping
and wailing to the palace, complaining to the King that a mighty young
Prince in shining armour, with a parrot on his wrist and a gallant
steed beside him, sat by the well, and broke their pitchers.

Now, as soon as Raja Sâlbâhan heard this, he guessed at once that it
was Prince Rasâlu come forth before the time, and, mindful of the
Jôgis' words that he would die if he looked on his son's face before
twelve years were past, he did not dare to send his guards to seize
the offender and bring him to be judged.  So he bade the women be
comforted, and for the future take pitchers of iron and brass, and
gave new ones from his treasury to those who did not possess any of
their own.

But when Prince Rasâlu saw the women returning to the well with
pitchers of iron and brass, he laughed to himself, and drew his mighty
bow till the sharp-pointed arrows pierced the metal vessels as though
they had been clay.

Yet still the King did not send for him, and so he mounted his steed
and set off in the pride of his youth and strength to the palace.  He
strode into the audience hall, where his father sat trembling, and
saluted him with all reverence; but Raja Sâlbâhan, in fear of his
life, turned his back hastily and said never a word in reply.

Then Prince Rasâlu called scornfully to him across the hall--

  'I came to greet thee, King, and not to harm thee!
    What have I done that thou shouldst turn away?
  Sceptre and empire have no power to charm me--
    I go to seek a worthier prize than they!'

Then he strode out of the hall, full of bitterness and anger; but, as
he passed under the palace windows, he heard his mother weeping, and
the sound softened his heart, so that his wrath died down, and a great
loneliness fell upon him, because he was spurned by both father and
mother.  So he cried sorrowfully--

  'O heart crown'd with grief, hast thou naught
    But tears for thy son?
  Art mother of mine?  Give one thought
    To my life just begun!'

And Queen Lonâ answered through her tears--

  'Yea! mother am I, though I weep,
    So hold this word sure,--
  Go, reign king of all men, but keep
    Thy heart good and pure!'

So Raja Rasâlu was comforted, and began to make ready for fortune.  He
took with him his horse Bhaunr Irâqi, and his parrot, both of whom had
lived with him since he was born; and besides these tried and trusted
friends he had two others--a carpenter lad, and a goldsmith lad, who
were determined to follow the Prince till death.

So they made a goodly company, and Queen Lona, when she saw them
going, watched them from her window till she saw nothing but a cloud
of dust on the horizon; then she bowed her head on her hands and wept,
saying--

  'O son who ne'er gladdened mine eyes,
  Let the cloud of thy going arise,
  Dim the sunlight and darken the day;
  For the mother whose son is away
      Is as dust!'



HOW RAJA RASÂLU'S FRIENDS FORSOOK HIM


Now, on the first day, Raja Rasâlu journeyed far, until he came to a
lonely forest, where he halted for the night.  And seeing it was a
desolate place, and the night dark, he determined to set a watch.  So
he divided the time into three watches, and the carpenter took the
first, the goldsmith the second, and Raja Rasâlu the third.

Then the goldsmith lad spread a couch of clean grass for his master,
and fearing lest the Prince's heart should sink at the change from his
former luxurious life, he said these words of encouragement--

  'Cradled till now on softest down,
    Grass is thy couch to-night;
  Yet grieve not thou if Fortune frown--
    Brave hearts heed not her slight!'

Now, when Raja Rasâlu and the goldsmith's son slept, a snake came out
of a thicket hard by, and crept towards the sleepers.

'Who are you?' quoth the carpenter lad, 'and why do you come hither?'

'I have destroyed all things within twelve miles!' returned the
serpent.  'Who are _you_ that have dared to come hither?

Then the snake attacked the carpenter, and they fought until the snake
was killed, when the carpenter hid the dead body under his shield, and
said nothing of the adventure to his comrades, lest he should alarm
them, for, like the goldsmith, he thought the Prince might be
discouraged.

Now, when it came to Raja Rasâlu's turn to keep watch, a dreadful
unspeakable horror came out of the thicket.  Nevertheless, Rasâlu went
up to it boldly, and cried aloud, 'Who are you? and what brings you
here?'

Then the awful unspeakable horror replied, 'I have killed everything
for thrice twelve miles around!  Who are _you_ that dare come
hither?'

Whereupon Rasâlu drew his mighty bow, and pierced the horror with an
arrow, so that it fled into a cave, whither the Prince followed it.
And they fought long and fiercely, till at last the horror died, and
Rasâlu returned to watch in peace.

Now, when morning broke, Raja Rasâlu called his sleeping servants, and
the carpenter showed with pride the body of the serpent he had killed.

'Tis but a small snake!' quoth the Raja.  'Come and see what I killed
in the cave!'

And, behold! when the goldsmith lad and the carpenter lad saw the
awful, dreadful, unspeakable horror Raja Rasâlu had slain, they were
exceedingly afraid, and falling on their knees, begged to be allowed
to return to the city, saying, 'O mighty Rasâlu, you are a Raja and a
hero!  You can fight such horrors; we are but ordinary folk, and if we
follow you we shall surely be killed.  Such things are nought to you,
but they are death to us.  Let us go!'

Then Rasâlu looked at them sorrowfully, and bade them do as they
wished, saying--

    'Aloes linger long before they flower:
      Gracious rain too soon is overpast:
    Youth and strength are with us but an hour:
      All glad life must end in death at last!

  But king reigns king without consent of courtier;
    Rulers may rule, though none heed their command.
  Heaven-crown'd heads stoop not, but rise the haughtier,
    Alone and houseless in a stranger's land!'

So his friends forsook him, and Rasâlu journeyed on alone.



HOW RAJA RASÂLU KILLED THE GIANTS


[Illustration:  Old woman making unleavened bread]

Now, after a time, Raja Rasâlu arrived at Nila city, and as he entered
the town he saw an old woman making unleavened bread, and as she made
it she sometimes wept, and sometimes laughed; so Rasâlu asked her why
she wept and laughed, but she answered sadly, as she kneaded her
cakes, 'Why do you ask?  What will you gain by it?'

'Nay, mother!' replied Rasâlu, 'if you tell me the truth, one of us
must benefit by it.'

And when the old woman looked in Rasâlu's face she saw that it was
kind, so she opened her heart to him, saying, with tears, 'O stranger,
I had seven fair sons, and now I have but one left, for six of them
have been killed by a dreadful giant who comes every day to this city
to receive tribute from us,--every day a fair young man, a buffalo,
and a basket of cakes!  Six of my sons have gone, and now to-day it
has once more fallen to my lot to provide the tribute; and my boy, my
darling, my youngest, must meet the fate of his brothers.  Therefore I
weep!'

Then Rasâlu was moved to pity, and said--

   'Fond, foolish mother! cease these tears--
     Keep thou thy son.  I fear nor death nor life,
     Seeking my fortune everywhere in strife.
   My head for his I give!--so calm your fears.'

Still the old woman shook her head doubtfully, saying, 'Fair words,
fair words! but who will really risk his life for another?'

Then Rasâlu smiled at her, and dismounting from his gallant steed,
Bhaunr Irâqi, he sat down carelessly to rest, as if indeed he were a
son of the house, and said, 'Fear not, mother!  I give you my word of
honour that I will risk my life to save your son.'

Just then the high officials of the city, whose duty it was to claim
the giant's tribute, appeared in sight, and the old woman fell
a-weeping once more, saying--

   'O Prince, with the gallant gray steed and the
     turban bound high
   O'er thy fair bearded face; keep thy word, my
     oppressor draws nigh!'

Then Raja Rasâlu rose in his shining armour, and haughtily bade the
guards stand aside.

'Fair words!' replied the chief officer; 'but if this woman does not
send the tribute at once, the giants will come and disturb the whole
city.  Her son must go!'

'I go in his stead!' quoth Rasâlu more haughtily still.  'Stand back,
and let me pass!'

Then, despite their denials, he mounted his horse, and taking the
basket of cakes and the buffalo, he set off to find the giant, bidding
the buffalo show him the shortest road.

Now, as he came near the giants' house, he met one of them carrying a
huge skinful of water.  No sooner did the water-carrier giant see Raja
Rasâlu riding along on his horse Bhaunr Irâqi and leading the buffalo,
than he said to himself, 'Oho! we have a horse extra to-day!  I think
I will eat it myself, before my brothers see it!'

Then he reached out his hand, but Rasâlu drew his sharp sword and
smote the giant's hand off at a blow, so that he fled from him in
great fear.

Now, as he fled, he met his sister the giantess, who called out to
him, 'Brother, whither away so fast?'

And the giant answered in haste, 'Raja Rasâlu has come at last, and
see!--he has cut off my hand with one blow of his sword!'

Then the giantess, overcome with fear, fled with her brother, and as
they fled they called aloud--

  'Fly! brethren, fly!
    Take the path that is nearest;
  The fire burns high
    That will scorch up our dearest!

  Life's joys we have seen:
    East and west we must wander!
  What has been, has been;
    Quick! some remedy ponder.'

Then all the giants turned and fled to their astrologer brother, and
bade him look in his books to see if Raja Rasâlu were really born into
the world.  And when they heard that he was, they prepared to fly east
and west; but even as they turned, Raja Rasâlu rode up on Bhaunr
Irâqi, and challenged them to fight, saying, 'Come forth, for I am
Rasâlu, son of Raja Sâlbâhan, and born enemy of the giants!'

Then one of the giants tried to brazen it out, saying, 'I have eaten
many Rasâlus like you!  When the real man comes, his horse's
heel-ropes will bind us and his sword cut us up of their own accord!'

Then Raja Rasâlu loosed his heel-ropes, and dropped his sword upon the
ground, and, lo! the heel-ropes bound the giants, and the sword cut
them in pieces.

Still, seven giants who were left tried to brazen it out, saying,
'Aha!  We have eaten many Rasâlus like you!  When the real man comes,
his arrow will pierce seven girdles placed one behind the other.'

So they took seven iron girdles for baking bread, and placed them one
behind the other, as a shield, and behind them stood the seven giants,
who were own brothers, and, lo! when Raja Rasâlu twanged his mighty
bow, the arrow pierced through the seven girdles, and spitted the
seven giants in a row!

But the giantess, their sister, escaped, and fled to a cave in the
Gandgari mountains.  Then Raja Rasâlu had a statue made in his
likeness, and clad it in shining armour, with sword and spear and
shield.  And he placed it as a sentinel at the entrance of the cave,
so that the giantess dared not come forth, but starved to death
inside.

So this is how he killed the giants.



HOW RAJA RASÂLU BECAME A JÔGI


Then, after a time, Rasâlu went to Hodinagari.  And when he reached
the house of the beautiful far-famed Queen Sundrân, he saw an old Jôgi
sitting at the gate, by the side of his sacred fire.

'Wherefore do you sit there, father?' asked Raja Rasâlu.

'My son,' returned the Jôgi, 'for two-and-twenty years have I waited
thus to see the beautiful Sundrân, yet have I never seen her!'

'Make me your pupil,' quoth Rasâlu, 'and I will wait too.'

'You work miracles already, my son,' said the Jôgi; 'so where is the
use of your becoming one of us?'

Nevertheless, Raja Rasâlu would not be denied, so the Jôgi bored his
ears and put in the sacred earrings.  Then the new disciple put aside
his shining armour, and sat by the fire in a Jôgi's loin-cloth,
waiting to see Queen Sundrân.

Then, at night, the old Jôgi went and begged alms from four houses,
and half of what he got he gave to Rasâlu and half he ate himself.
Now Raja Rasâlu, being a very holy man, and a hero besides, did not
care for food, and was well content with his half share, but the Jôgi
felt starved.

The next day the same thing happened, and still Rasâlu sat by the fire
waiting to see the beautiful Queen Sundrân.

Then the Jôgi lost patience, and said, 'O my disciple, I made you a
pupil in order that you might beg, and feed me, and behold, it is I
who have to starve to feed you!'

'You gave no orders!' quoth Rasâlu, laughing.  'How can a disciple beg
without his master's leave?'

'I order you now!' returned the Jôgi.  'Go and beg enough for you and
for me.'

So Raja Rasâlu rose up, and stood at the gate of Queen Sundrân's
palace, in his Jôgi's dress, and sang,

  '_Alakh!_ at thy threshold I stand,
    Drawn from far by the name of thy charms;
  Fair Sundrân, with generous hand,
    Give the earring-decked Jôgi an alms!'

Now when Queen Sundrân, from within, heard Rasâlu's voice, its
sweetness pierced her heart, so that she immediately sent out alms by
the hand of her maid-servant.  But when the maiden came to the gate,
and saw the exceeding beauty of Rasâlu, standing outside, fair in face
and form, she fainted away, dropping the alms upon the ground.

Then once more Rasâlu sang, and again his voice fell sweetly on Queen
Sundrân's ears, so that she sent out more alms by the hand of another
maiden.  But she also fainted away at the sight of Rasâlu's marvellous
beauty.

Then Queen Sundrân rose, and came forth herself, fair and stately.
She chid the maidens, gathered up the broken alms, and setting the
food aside, filled the plate with jewels and put it herself into
Rasâlu's hands, saying proudly--

  'Since when have the earrings been thine?
    Since when wert thou made a _faqîr_?
  What arrow from Love's bow has struck thee?
      What seekest thou here?
    Do you beg of all women you see,
    Or only, fair Jôgi, of me?'

And Rasâlu, in his Jôgi's habit, bent his head towards her, saying
softly--

  'A day since the earrings were mine,
    A day since I turned a _faqîr_;
  But yesterday Love's arrow struck me;
      I seek nothing here!
    I beg nought of others I see,
    But only, fair Sundrân, of thee!'

Now, when Rasâlu returned to his master with the plate full of jewels,
the old Jôgi was sorely astonished, and bade him take them back, and
ask for food instead.  So Rasâlu returned to the gate, and sang--

  '_Alakh!_ at thy threshold I stand,
    Drawn from far by the fame of thy charms;
  Fair Sundrân, with generous hand,
    Give the earring-decked beggar an alms!'

Then Queen Sundrân rose up, proud and beautiful, and coming to the
gate, said softly--

  'No beggar thou!  The quiver of thy mouth
    Is set with pearly shafts; its bow is red
  As rubies rare.  Though ashes hide thy youth,
    Thine eyes, thy colour, herald it instead!
  Deceive me not--pretend no false desire--
  But ask the secret alms thou dost require.'

But Rasâlu smiled a scornful smile, saying--

  'Fair Queen! what though the quiver of my mouth
    Be set with glistening pearls and rubies red?
  I trade not jewels, east, west, north, or south;
    Take back thy gems, and give me food instead.
  Thy gifts are rich and rare, but costly charms
  Scarce find fit placing in a Jôgi's alms!'

Then Queen Sundrân took back the jewels, and bade the beautiful Jôgi
wait an hour till the food was cooked.  Nevertheless, she learnt no
more of him, for he sat by the gate and said never a word.  Only when
Queen Sundrân gave him a plate piled up with sweets, and looked at him
sadly, saying--

  'What King's son art thou? and whence dost thou come?
  What name hast thou, Jôgi, and where is thy home?'

then Raja Rasâlu, taking the alms, replied--

  'I am fair Lona's son; my father's name
    Great Sâlbâhan, who reigns at Sialkot.
  I am Rasâlu; for thy beauty's fame
    These ashes, and the Jôgi's begging note,
  To see if thou wert fair as all men say;
  Lo!  I have seen it, and I go my way!'

Then Rasâlu returned to his master with the sweets, and after that he
went away from the place, for he feared lest the Queen, knowing who he
was, might try to keep him prisoner.

And beautiful Sundrân waited for the Jôgi's cry, and when none came,
she went forth, proud and stately, to ask the old Jôgi whither his
pupil had gone.

Now he, vexed that she should come forth to ask for a stranger, when
he had sat at her gates for two-and-twenty years with never a word or
sign, answered back, 'My pupil?  I was hungry, and I ate him, because
he did not bring me alms enough.'

'Oh, monster!' cried Queen Sundrân.  'Did I not send thee jewels and
sweets?  Did not these satisfy thee, that thou must feast on beauty
also?'

'I know not,' quoth the Jôgi; 'only this I know--I put the youth on a
spit, roasted him, and ate him up.  He tasted well!'

'Then roast and eat me too!' cried poor Queen Sundrân; and with the
words she threw herself into the sacred fire and became _sati_
for the love of the beautiful Jôgi Rasâlu.

And he, going thence, thought not of her, but fancying he would like
to be king a while, he snatched the throne from Raja Hari Chand, and
reigned in his stead.



HOW RAJA RASÂLU JOURNEYED TO THE CITY OF KING SARKAP


Now, after he had reigned a while in Hodinagari, Rasâlu gave up his
kingdom, and started off to play _chaupur_ with King Sarkap.  And
as he journeyed there came a fierce storm of thunder and lightning, so
that he sought shelter, and found none save an old graveyard, where a
headless corpse lay upon the ground.  So lonesome was it that even the
corpse seemed company, and Rasâlu, sitting down beside it, said--

  'There is no one here, nor far nor near,
     Save this breathless corpse so cold and grim;
  Would God he might come to life again,
    'Twould be less lonely to talk to him.'

And immediately the headless corpse arose and sat beside Raja Rasâlu.
And he, nothing astonished, said to it--

  'The storm beats fierce and loud,
     The clouds rise thick in the west;
  What ails thy grave and thy shroud,
     O corpse, that thou canst not rest?'

Then the headless corpse replied--

  'On earth I was even as thou,
    My turban awry like a king,
  My head with the highest, I trow,
    Having my fun and my fling,
  Fighting my foes like a brave,
    Living my life with a swing.
         And, now I am dead,
         Sins, heavy as lead,
  Will give me no rest in my grave!'

So the night passed on, dark and dreary, while Rasâlu sat in the
graveyard and talked to the headless corpse.  Now when morning broke
and Rasâlu said he must continue his journey, the headless corpse
asked him whither he was going; and when he said. 'to play
_chaupur_ with King Sarkap,' the corpse begged him to give up the
idea, saying, 'I am King Sarkap's brother, and I know his ways.  Every
day, before breakfast, he cuts off the heads of two or three men, just
to amuse himself.  One day no one else was at hand, so he cut off
mine, and he will surely cut off yours on some pretence or another.
However, if you are determined to go and play _chaupur_ with him,
take some of the bones from this graveyard, and make your dice out of
them, and then the enchanted dice with which my brother plays will
lose their virtue.  Otherwise he will always win.'

So Rasâlu took some of the bones lying about, and fashioned them into
dice, and these he put into his pocket.  Then, bidding adieu to the
headless corpse, he went on his way to play _chaupur_ with the
King.



HOW RAJA RASÂLU SWUNG THE SEVENTY FAIR MAIDENS, DAUGHTERS OF THE KING


Now, as Raja Rasâlu, tender-hearted and strong, journeyed along to
play _chaupur_ with the King, he came to a burning forest, and a
voice rose from the fire saying, 'O traveller, for God's sake save me
from the fire!'

Then the Prince turned towards the burning forest, and, lo! the voice
was the voice of a tiny cricket.  Nevertheless, Rasâlu, tender-hearted
and strong, snatched it from the fire and set it at liberty.  Then the
little creature, full of gratitude, pulled out one of its feelers, and
giving it to its preserver, said, 'Keep this, and should you ever be
in trouble, put it into the fire, and instantly I will come to your
aid.'

The Prince smiled, saying, 'What help could _you_ give
_me_?'  Nevertheless, he kept the hair and went on his way.

Now, when he reached the city of King Sarkap, seventy maidens,
daughters of the King, came out to meet him--seventy fair maidens,
merry and careless, full of smiles and laughter; but one, the youngest
of them all, when she saw the gallant young Prince riding on Bhaunr
Irâqi, going gaily to his doom, was filled with pity, and called to
him, saying--

  'Fair Prince, on the charger so gray,
       Turn thee back! turn thee back!
  Or lower thy lance for the fray;
  Thy head will be forfeit to-day!
  Dost love life? then, stranger, I pray,
       Turn thee back! turn thee back!'

But he, smiling at the maiden, answered lightly--

  'Fair maiden, I come from afar,
  Sworn conqueror in love and in war!
  King Sarkap my coming will rue,
  His head in four pieces I'll hew;
  Then forth as a bridegroom I'll ride,
  With you, little maid, as my bride!'

Now when Rasâlu replied so gallantly, the maiden looked in his face,
and seeing how fair he was, and how brave and strong, she straightway
fell in love with him, and would gladly have followed him through the
world.

But the other sixty-nine maidens, being jealous, laughed scornfully at
her, saying, 'Not so fast, O gallant warrior!  If you would marry our
sister you must first do our bidding, for you will be our younger
brother.'

'Fair sisters!' quoth Rasâlu gaily, 'give me my task and I will
perform it.'

So the sixty-nine maidens mixed a hundredweight of millet seed with a
hundredweight of sand, and giving it to Rasâlu, bade him separate the
seed from the sand.

Then he bethought him of the cricket, and drawing the feeler from his
pocket, thrust it into the fire.  And immediately there was a whirring
noise in the air, and a great flight of crickets alighted beside him,
and among them the cricket whose life he had saved.

Then Rasâlu said, 'Separate the millet seed from the sand.'

'Is that all?' quoth the cricket; 'had I known how small a job you
wanted me to do, I would not have assembled so many of my brethren.'

With that the flight of crickets set to work, and in one night they
separated the seed from the sand.

Now when the sixty-nine fair maidens, daughters of the King, saw that
Rasâlu had performed his task, they set him another, bidding him swing
them all, one by one, in their swings, until they were tired.

Whereupon he laughed, saying, 'There are seventy of you, counting my
little bride yonder, and I am not going to spend my life in swinging
girls; yet, by the time I have given each of you a swing, the first
will be wanting another!  No! if you want to swing, get in, all
seventy of you, into one swing, and then I will see what I can
compass.'

So the seventy maidens, merry and careless, full of smiles and
laughter, climbed into the one swing, and Raja Rasâlu, standing in his
shining armour, fastened the ropes to his mighty bow, and drew it up
to its fullest bent.  Then he let go, and like an arrow the swing shot
into the air, with its burden of seventy fair maidens, merry and
careless, full of smiles and laughter.

But as it swung back again, Rasâlu, standing there in his shining
armour, drew his sharp sword and severed the ropes.  Then the seventy
fair maidens fell to the ground headlong; and some were bruised and
some broken, but the only one who escaped unhurt was the maiden who
loved Rasâlu, for she fell out last, on the top of the others, and so
came to no harm.

After this, Rasâlu strode on fifteen paces, till he came to the
seventy drums, that every one who came to play _chaupur_ with the
King had to beat in turn; and he beat them so loudly that he broke
them all.  Then he came to the seventy gongs, all in a row, and he
hammered them so hard that they cracked to pieces.

Seeing this, the youngest Princess, who was the only one who could
run, fled to her father the King in a great fright, saying--

  'A mighty Prince, Sarkap! making havoc, rides along,
  He swung us, seventy maidens fair, and threw us out headlong;
  He broke the drums you placed there and the gongs too in his pride,
  Sure, he will kill thee, father mine, and take me for his bride!'

But King Sarkap replied scornfully--

  'Silly maiden, thy words make a lot
     Of a very small matter;
  For fear of my valour, I wot,
     His armour will clatter.
  As soon as I've eaten my bread
  I'll go forth and cut off his head!'

Notwithstanding these brave and boastful words, he was in reality very
much afraid, having heard of Rasâlu's renown.  And learning that he
was stopping at the house of an old woman in the city, till the hour
for playing _chaupur_ arrived, Sarkap sent slaves to him with
trays of sweetmeats and fruit, as to an honoured guest.  But the food
was poisoned.

Now when the slaves brought the trays to Raja Rasâlu, he rose up
haughtily, saying, 'Go, tell your master I have nought to do with him
in friendship.  I am his sworn enemy, and I eat not of his salt!'

So saying, he threw the sweetmeats to Raja Sarkap's dog, which had
followed the slaves, and lo! the dog died.

Then Rasâlu was very wroth, and said bitterly, 'Go back to Sarkap,
slaves! and tell him that Rasâlu deems it no act of bravery to kill
even an enemy by treachery.'



HOW RAJA RASÂLU PLAYED CHAUPUR WITH KING SARKAP


Now, when evening came, Raja Rasâlu went forth to play _chaupur_
with King Sarkap, and as he passed some potters' kilns he saw a cat
wandering about restlessly; so he asked what ailed her that she never
stood still, and she replied, 'My kittens are in an unbaked pot in the
kiln yonder.  It has just been set alight, and my children will be
baked alive; therefore I cannot rest!'

Her words moved the heart of Raja Rasâlu, and, going to the potter, he
asked him to sell the kiln as it was; but the potter replied that he
could not settle a fair price till the pots were burnt, as he could
not tell how many would come out whole.  Nevertheless, after some
bargaining, he consented at last to sell the kiln, and Rasâlu, having
searched through all the pots, restored the kittens to their mother,
and she, in gratitude for his mercy, gave him one of them, saying,
'Put it in your pocket, for it will help you when you are in
difficulties.'

So Raja Rasâlu put the kitten in his pocket, and went to play
_chaupur_ with the King.

Now, before they sat down to play, Raja Sarkap fixed his stakes.  On
the first game, his kingdom; on the second, the wealth of the whole
world; and on the third, his own head.  So, likewise, Raja Rasâlu
fixed his stakes.  On the first game, his arms; on the second, his
horse; and on the third, his own head.

Then they began to play, and it fell to Rasâlu's lot to make the first
move.  Now he, forgetful of the dead man's warning, played with the
dice given him by Raja Sarkap; then, in addition, Sarkap let loose his
famous rat, Dhol Raja, and it ran about the board, upsetting the
_chaupur_ pieces on the sly, so that Rasâlu lost the first game,
and gave up his shining armour.

So the second game began, and once more Dhol Raja, the rat, upset the
pieces; and Rasâlu, losing the game, gave up his faithful steed.  Then
Bhaunr Irâqi, who stood by, found voice, and cried to his master--

    'I am born of the sea and of gold;
    Dear Prince! trust me now as of old.
      I'll carry you far from these wiles--
  My flight, all unspurr'd, will be swift as a bird,
      For thousands and thousands of miles!
  Or if needs you must stay; ere the next game you play,
      Place hand in your pocket, I pray!'

Hearing this, Raja Sarkap frowned, and bade his slaves remove Bhaunr
Irâqi, since he gave his master advice in the game.  Now when the
slaves came to lead the faithful steed away, Rasâlu could not refrain
from tears, thinking over the long years during which Bhaunr Irâqi had
been his companion.  But the horse cried out again--

  'Weep not, dear Prince!  I shall not eat my bread
  Of stranger hands, nor to strange stall be led.
  Take thy right hand, and place it as I said.'

These words roused some recollection in Rasâlu's mind, and when, just
at this moment, the kitten in his pocket began to struggle, he
remembered the warning which the corpse had given him about the dice
made from dead men's bones.  Then his heart rose up once more, and he
called boldly to Raja Sarkap, 'Leave my horse and arms here for the
present.  Time enough to take them away when you have won my head!'

Now, Raja Sarkap, seeing Rasâlu's confident bearing, began to be
afraid, and ordered all the women of his palace to come forth in their
gayest attire and stand before Rasâlu, so as to distract his attention
from the game.  But he never even looked at them; and drawing the dice
from his pocket, said to Sarkap, 'We have played with your dice all
this time; now we will play with mine.'

Then the kitten went and sat at the window through which the rat Dhol
Raja used to come, and the game began.

After a while, Sarkap, seeing Raja Rasâlu was winning, called to his
rat, but when Dhol Raja saw the kitten he was afraid, and would not go
farther.  So Rasâlu won, and took back his arms.  Next he played for
his horse, and once more Raja Sarkap called for his rat; but Dhol
Raja, seeing the kitten keeping watch, was afraid.  So Rasâlu won the
second stake, and took back Bhaunr Irâqi.

Then Sarkap brought all his skill to bear on the third and last game,
saying--

  'O moulded pieces, favour me to-day!
  For sooth this is a man with whom I play.
  No paltry risk--but life and death at stake;
  As Sarkap does, so do, for Sarkap's sake!'

But Rasâlu answered back--

  'O moulded pieces, favour me to-day!
  For sooth it is a man with whom I play.
  No paltry risk--but life and death at stake;
  As Heaven does, so do, for Heaven's sake!'

So they began to play, whilst the women stood round in a circle, and
the kitten watched Dhol Raja from the window.  Then Sarkap lost, first
his kingdom, then the wealth of the whole world, and lastly his head.

Just then, a servant came in to announce the birth of a daughter to
Raja Sarkap, and he, overcome by misfortunes, said, 'Kill her at once!
for she has been born in an evil moment, and has brought her father
ill luck!'

But Rasâlu rose up in his shining armour, tenderhearted and strong,
saying, 'Not so, O king!  She has done no evil.  Give me this child to
wife; and if you will vow, by all you hold sacred, never again to play
_chaupur_ for another's head, I will spare yours now!'

Then Sarkap vowed a solemn vow never to play for another's head; and
after that he took a fresh mango branch, and the new-born babe, and
placing them on a golden dish, gave them to the Prince.

Now, as Rasâlu left the palace, carrying with him the new-born babe
and the mango branch, he met a band of prisoners, and they called out
to him--

  'A royal hawk art thou, O King! the rest
  But timid wild-fowl.  Grant us our request--
  Unloose these chains, and live for ever blest!'

And Raja Rasâlu hearkened to them, and bade
King Sarkap set them at liberty.

Then he went to the Murti Hills, and placed the new-born babe,
Kokilan, in an underground palace, and planted the mango branch at the
door, saying, 'In twelve years the mango tree will blossom; then will
I return and marry Kokilan.'

And after twelve years, the mango tree began to flower, and Raja
Rasâlu married the Princess Kokilan, whom he won from Sarkap when he
played _chaupur_ with the King.



THE KING WHO WAS FRIED


Once upon a time, a very long time ago indeed, there lived a King who
had made a vow never to eat bread or break his fast until he had given
away a hundredweight of gold in charity.

So, every day, before King Karan--for that was his name--had his
breakfast, the palace servants would come out with baskets and baskets
of gold pieces to scatter amongst the crowds of poor folk, who, you
may be sure, never forgot to be there to receive the alms.

How they used to hustle and bustle and struggle and scramble!  Then,
when the last golden piece had been fought for, King Karan would sit
down to his breakfast, and enjoy it as a man who has kept his word
should do.

Now, when people saw the King lavishing his gold in this fashion, they
naturally thought that sooner or later the royal treasuries must give
out, the gold come to an end, and the King--who was evidently a man of
his word--die of starvation.  But, though months and years passed by,
every day, just a quarter of an hour before breakfast-time, the
servants came out of the palace with baskets and baskets of gold; and
as the crowds dispersed they could see the King sitting down to his
breakfast in the royal banqueting hall, as jolly, and fat, and hungry,
as could be.

Now, of course, there was some secret in all this, and this secret I
shall now tell you.  King Karan had made a compact with a holy and
very hungry old _faqîr_ who lived at the top of the hill; and the
compact was this:  on condition of King Karan allowing himself to be
fried and eaten for breakfast every day, the _faqîr_ gave him a
hundredweight of pure gold.

Of course, had the _faqîr_ been an ordinary sort of person, the
compact would not have lasted long, for once King Karan had been fried
and eaten, there would have been an end of the matter.  But the
_faqîr_ was a very remarkable _faqîr_ indeed, and when he
had eaten the King, and picked the bones quite quite clean, he just
put them together, said a charm or two, and, hey presto! there was
King Karan as fat and jolly as ever, ready for the next morning's
breakfast.  In fact, the _faqîr_ made _no bones at all_ over
the affair, which, it must be confessed, was very convenient both for
the breakfast and the breakfast eater.  Nevertheless, it was of course
not pleasant to be popped alive every morning into a great frying-pan
of boiling oil; and for my part I think King Karan earned his
hundredweight of gold handsomely.  But after a time he got accustomed
to the process, and would go up quite cheerfully to the holy and
hungry one's house, where the biggest frying-pan was spitting and
sputtering over the sacred fire.  Then he would just pass the time of
day to the _faqîr_ to make sure he was punctual, and step
gracefully into his hot oil bath.  My goodness! how he sizzled and
fizzled!  When he was crisp and brown, the _faqîr_ ate him,
picked the bones, set them together, sang a charm, and finished the
business by bringing out his dirty, old ragged coat, which he shook
and shook, while the bright golden pieces came tumbling out of the
pockets on to the floor.

So that was the way King Karan got his gold, and if you think it very
extraordinary, so do I!

Now, in the great Mansarobar Lake, where, as of course you know, all
the wild swans live when they leave us, and feed upon seed pearls,
there was a great famine.  Pearls were so scarce that one pair of
swans determined to go out into the world and seek for food.  So they
flew into King Bikramâjît's garden, at Ujjayin.  Now, when the
gardener saw the beautiful birds, he was delighted, and, hoping to
induce them to stay, he threw them grain to eat.  But they would not
touch it, nor any other food he offered them; so he went to his
master, and told him there were a pair of swans in the garden who
refused to eat anything.

Then King Bikramâjît went out, and asked them in birds' language (for,
as every one knows, Bikramâjît understood both beasts and birds) why
it was that they ate nothing.

'We don't eat grain!' said they, 'nor fruit, nor anything but fresh
unpierced pearls!'

Whereupon King Bikramâjît, being very kind-hearted, sent for a basket
of pearls; and every day, when he came into the garden, he fed the
swans with his own hand.

But one day, when he was feeding them as usual, one of the pearls
happened to be pierced.  The dainty swans found it out at once, and
coming to the conclusion that King Bikramâjît's supply of pearls was
running short, they made up their minds to go farther afield.  So,
despite his entreaties, they spread their broad white wings, and flew
up into the blue sky, their outstretched necks pointing straight
towards home on the great Mansarobar Lake.  Yet they were not
ungrateful, for as they flew they sang the praises of Bikramâjît.

Now, King Karan was watching his servants bring out the baskets of
gold, when the wild swans came flying over his head; and when he heard
them singing, 'Glory to Bikramâjît!  Glory to Bikramâjît!' he said to
himself, 'Who is this whom even the birds praise?  I let myself be
fried and eaten every day in order that I may be able to give away a
hundredweight of gold in charity, yet no swan sings _my_ song!'

So, being jealous, he sent for a bird-catcher, who snared the poor
swans with lime, and put them in a cage.

Then Karan hung the cage in the palace, and ordered his servants to
bring every kind of birds' food; but the proud swans only curved their
white necks in scorn, saying, 'Glory to Bikramâjît!--he gave us pearls
to eat!'

Then King Karan, determined not to be outdone, sent for pearls; but
still the scornful swans would not touch anything.

'Why will ye not eat?' quoth King Karan wrathfully; 'am I not as
generous as Bikramâjît?'

Then the swan's wife answered, and said, 'Kings do not imprison the
innocent.  Kings do not war against women.  If Bikramâjît were here,
he would at any rate let me go!'

So Karan, not to be outdone in generosity, let the swan's wife go, and
she spread her broad white wings and flew southwards to Bikramâjît,
and told him how her husband lay a prisoner at the court of King
Karan.

Of course Bikramâjît, who was, as every one knows, the most generous
of kings, determined to* release the poor captive; and bidding the
swan fly back and rejoin her mate, he put on the garb of a servant,
and taking the name of Bikrû, journeyed northwards till he came to
King Karan's kingdom.  Then he took service with the King, and helped
every day to carry out the baskets of golden pieces.  He soon saw
there was some secret in King Karan's endless wealth, and never rested
until he had found it out.  So, one day, hidden close by, he saw King
Karan enter the _faqîr's_ house and pop into the boiling oil.  He
saw him frizzle and sizzle, he saw him come out crisp and brown, he
saw the hungry and holy _faqîr_ pick the bones, and, finally, he
saw King Karan, fat and jolly as ever, go down the mountain side with
his hundredweight of gold!

Then Bikrû knew what to do!  So the very next day he rose very early,
and taking a carving-knife, he slashed himself all over.  Next he took
some pepper and salt, spices, pounded pomegranate seeds, and
pea-flour; these he mixed together into a beautiful curry-stuff, and
rubbed himself all over with it--right into the cuts in spite of the
smarting.  When he thought he was quite ready for cooking, he just
went up the hill to the _faqîr_'s house, and popped into the
frying-pan.  The _faqîr_ was still asleep, but he soon awoke with
the sizzling and the fizzling, and said to himself, 'Dear me! how
uncommonly nice the King smells this morning!'

Indeed, so appetising was the smell, that he could hardly wait until
the King was crisp and brown, but then----oh, my goodness! how he
gobbled him up!

You see, he had been eating plain fried so long that a devilled king
was quite a change.  He picked the bones ever so clean, and it is my
belief would have eaten them too, if he had not been afraid of killing
the goose that laid the golden eggs.

Then, when it was all over, he put the King together again, and said,
with tears in his eyes, 'What a breakfast that was, to be sure!  Tell
me how you managed to taste so nice, and I'll give you anything you
ask.'

Whereupon Bikrû told him the way it was done, and promised to devil
himself every morning, if he might have the old coat in return.
'For,' said he, 'it is not pleasant to be fried! and I don't see why I
should in addition have the trouble of carrying a hundredweight of
gold to the palace every day.  Now, if _I_ keep the coat, I can
shake it down there.'

To this the _faqîr_ agreed, and off went Bikrû with the coat.

Meanwhile, King Karan came toiling up the hill, and was surprised,
when he entered the _faqîr_'s house, to find the fire out, the
frying-pan put away, and the _faqîr_ himself as holy as ever, but
not in the least hungry.

'Why, what is the matter?' faltered the King.

'Who are you?' asked the _faqîr_, who, to begin with, was
somewhat short-sighted, and in addition felt drowsy after his heavy
meal.

'Who!  Why, I'm King Karan, come to be fried!  Don't you want your
breakfast?'

'I've had my breakfast!' sighed the _faqîr_ regretfully.  'You
tasted very nice when you were devilled, I can assure you!'

'I never was devilled in my life!' shouted the King; 'you must have
eaten somebody else!'

'That's just what I was saying to myself!' returned the _faqîr_
sleepily; 'I thought--it couldn't--be only--the spices--that--
'--Snore, snore, snore!

'Look here!' cried King Karan, in a rage, shaking the
_faqîr_,'you must eat me too!'

'Couldn't!' nodded the holy but satisfied _faqîr_, 'really--not
another morsel--no, thanks!'

'Then give me my gold!' shrieked King Karan; 'you're bound to do that,
for I'm ready to fulfil my part of the contract!'

'Sorry I can't oblige, but the devil--I mean the other person--went
off with the coat!' nodded the _faqîr_.

Hearing this, King Karan returned home in despair and ordered the
royal treasurer to send him gold; so that day he ate his breakfast in
peace.

And the next day also, by ransacking all the private treasuries, a
hundredweight of gold was forthcoming; so King Karan ate his breakfast
as usual, though his heart was gloomy.

But the third day, the royal treasurer arrived with empty hands, and,
casting himself on the ground, exclaimed, 'May it please your majesty!
there is not any more gold in your majesty's domains!'

Then King Karan went solemnly to bed, without any breakfast, and the
crowd, after waiting for hours expecting to see the palace doors open
and the servants come out with the baskets of gold, melted away,
saying it was a great shame to deceive poor folk in that way!

By dinner-time poor King Karan was visibly thinner; but he was a man
of his word, and though the wily Bikrû came and tried to persuade him
to eat, by saying he could not possibly be blamed, he shook his head,
and turned his face to the wall.

Then Bikrû, or Bikramâjît, took the _faqîr's_ old coat, and
shaking it before the King, said, 'Take the money, my friend; and what
is more, if you will set the wild swans you have in that cage at
liberty, I will give you the coat into the bargain!'

So King Karan set the wild swans at liberty, and as the pair of them
flew away to the great Mansarobar Lake, they sang as they went, 'Glory
to Bikramâjît! the generous Bikramâjît!'

Then King Karan hung his head, and said to himself, 'The swans' song
is true!--Bikramâjît is more generous than I; for if I was fried for
the sake of a hundredweight of gold and my breakfast, he was devilled
in order to set a bird at liberty!'



PRINCE HALF-A-SON


Once upon a time there was a King who had no children, and this
disappointment preyed so dreadfully upon his mind that he chose the
dirtiest and most broken-down old bed he could find, and lay down on
it in the beautiful palace gardens.  There he lay, amid the flowers
and the fruit trees, the butterflies and the birds, quite regardless
of the beauties around him;--that was his way of showing grief.

Now, as he lay thus, a holy _faqîr_ passed through the garden,
and seeing the King in this pitiful plight, asked him what the sorrow
was which drove him to such a very dirty old bed.

'What is the use of asking?' returned the King; but when the
_faqîr_ asked for the third time what the sorrow was, the King
took heart of grace, and answered gloomily, 'I have no children!'

'Is that all?' said the _faqîr_; 'that is easily remedied.  Here!
take this stick of mine, and throw it twice into yonder mango tree.
At the first throw five mangoes will fall, at the second two.  So many
sons you shall have, if you give each of your seven Queens a mango
apiece.'

Then the King, greatly delighted, took the _faqîr's_ stick and
went off to the mango tree.  Sure enough, at the first throw five
mangoes fell, at the second, two.  Still the King was not satisfied,
and, determining to make the most of the opportunity, he threw the
stick into the tree a third time, hoping to get more children But, to
his surprise and consternation, the stick remained in the tree, and
the seven fallen mangoes flew back to their places, where they hung
temptingly just out of reach.

[Illustration:  The king and the faqîr]

There was nothing to be done but to go back to the _faqîr_, and
tell him what had happened.

'That comes of being greedy!' retorted the _faqîr_; 'surely seven
sons are enough for anybody, and yet you were not content!  However, I
will give you one more chance.  Go back to the tree; you will find the
stick upon the ground; throw it as I bade you, and beware of
disobedience, for if you do not heed me this time, you may lie on your
dirty old bed till doomsday for all I care!'

Then the King returned to the mango tree, and when the seven mangoes
had fallen--the first time five, the second time two--he carried them
straight into the palace, and gave them to his Queens, so as to be out
of the way of temptation.

Now, as luck would have it, the youngest Queen was not in the house,
so the King put her mango away in a tiny cupboard in the wall, against
her return, and while it lay there a greedy little mouse came and
nibbled away one half of it.  Shortly afterwards, the seventh Queen
came in, and seeing the other Queens just wiping their mouths, asked
them what they had been eating.

'The King gave us each a mango,' they replied, 'and he put yours in
the cupboard yonder.'

But, lo! when the youngest Queen ran in haste to find her mango, half
of it was gone; nevertheless she ate the remaining half with great
relish.

Now the result of this was, that when, some months afterwards, the six
elder Queens each bore a son, the youngest Queen had only
half-a-son--and that was what they called him at once,--just
half-a-son, nothing more:  he had one eye, one ear, one arm, one leg;
in fact, looked at sideways, he was as handsome a young prince as you
would wish to see, but frontways it was as plain as a pikestaff that
he was only half-a-prince.  Still he throve and grew strong, so that
when his brothers went out shooting he begged to be allowed to go out
also.

'How can _you_ go a-shooting?' wept his mother, who did nothing
but fret because her son was but half-a-son; 'you are only half-a-boy;
how can you hold your crossbow?'

'Then let me go and play at shooting,' replied
the prince, nothing daunted.  'Only give me some sweets to take with
me, dear mother, as the other boys have, and I shall get on well
enough.'

[Illustration:  The youngest queen and her half-a-son]

'How can I make sweets for half-a-son?' wept his mother; 'go and ask
the other Queens to give you some,'

So he asked the other Queens, and they, to make fun of the poor lad,
who was the butt of the palace, gave him sweets full of ashes.

Then the six whole princes, and little Half-a-son, set off a-shooting,
and when they grew tired and hungry, they sat down to eat the sweets
they had brought with them.  Now when Prince Half-a-son put his into
his half-a-mouth, lo and behold! though they were sweet enough
outside, there was nothing but ashes and grit inside.  He was a
simple-hearted young prince, and imagining it must be a mistake, he
went to his brothers and asked for some of theirs; but they jeered and
laughed at him.

By and by they came to a field of melons, so carefully fenced in with
thorns that only one tiny gap remained in one corner, and that was too
small for any one to creep through, except half-a-boy; so while the
six whole princes remained outside, little Half-a-son was feasting on
the delicious melons inside, and though they begged and prayed him to
throw a few over the hedge, he only laughed, saying, 'Remember the
sweets!--it is my turn now!'

When they became very importunate, he threw over a few of the unripe
and sour melons; whereupon his brothers became so enraged that they
ran to the owner of the field and told him that half-a-boy was making
sad havoc amongst his fruit.  Then they watched him catch poor Prince
Half-a-son, who of course could not run very fast, and tie him to a
tree, after which they went away laughing.

But Prince Half-a-son had some compensation for being only half-a-boy,
in that he possessed the magical power of making a rope do anything he
bade it.  Therefore, when he saw his brothers leaving him in the
lurch, he called out, 'Break, rope, break! my companions have gone
on,' and the rope obeyed at once, leaving him free to join his
brothers.

By and by they came to a plum tree, where the fruit grew far out on
slender branches that would only bear the weight of half-a-boy.

'Throw us down some!' cried the whole brothers, as they saw Half-a-son
with his half-mouth full.

'Remember the sweets!' retorted the prince.

This made his brothers so angry that they ran off to the owner of the
tree, and telling him how half-a-boy was feasting on his plums,
watched while he caught the offender and tied him to the tree.  Then
they ran away laughing; but Prince Half-a-son called out, 'Break,
rope, break! my companions have gone on,' and before they had gone out
of sight he rejoined his brothers, who could not understand how this
miserable half-a-boy outwitted them.

Being determined to be revenged on him, they waited until he began to
draw water from a well, where they stopped to drink, and then they
pushed him in.

'That is an end of little Half-a-son!' they said to themselves, and
ran away laughing.

Now in the well there lived a one-eyed demon, a pigeon, and a serpent,
and when it was dark these three returned home and began to talk
amongst themselves, while Prince Half-a-son, who clung to the wall
like a limpet, and took up no room at all, listened and held his
breath.

'What is your power, my friend?' asked the demon of the serpent.
Whereupon the serpent replied, 'I have the treasures of seven kings
underneath me!  What is yours, my friend?'

Then the demon said conceitedly, 'The King's daughter is possessed of
me.  She is always ill; some day I shall kill her.'

'Ah!' said the pigeon, 'I could cure her, for no matter what the
disease is, any one who eats my droppings will become well instantly.'

When dawn came, the demon, the serpent, and the pigeon each went off
to his own haunt without noticing Prince Half-a-son.

Soon afterwards, a camel-driver came to draw water from the well, and
let down the bucket; whereupon Prince Half-a-son caught hold of the
rope and held on.

The camel-driver, feeling a heavy weight, looked down to see what it
was, and when he beheld half-a-boy clinging to the rope he was so
frightened that he ran clean away.  But all Half-a-son had to do was
to say, 'Pull, rope, pull!' and the rope wound itself up immediately.

No sooner had he reached the surface once more than he set off to the
neighbouring city, and proclaimed that he was a physician come to heal
the King's daughter of her dreadful disease.

'Have a care! have a care!' cried the watchmen at the gate.  'If you
fail, your head will be the forfeit.  Many men have tried, and what
can _you_ do that are but half-a-man?'

Nevertheless, Prince Half-a-son, who had some of the pigeon's
droppings in his pocket, was not in the least afraid, but boldly
proclaimed he was ready to accept the terms; that is to say, if he
failed to cure the princess his head was to be cut off, but if he
succeeded, then her hand in marriage and half the kingdom should be
his reward.

'Half the kingdom will just suit me,' he said,' seeing that I am but
half-a-man!'

And, sure enough, no sooner had the princess taken her first dose,
than she immediately became quite well--her cheeks grew rosy, her eyes
bright; and the King was so delighted that he gave immediate orders
for the marriage.  Now amongst the wedding guests were Prince
Half-a-son's wicked brothers, who were ready to die of spite and envy
when they discovered that the happy bridegroom was none other than
their despised half-a-boy.  So they went to the King, and said, 'We
know this lad:  he is a sweeper's son, and quite unfit to be the
husband of so charming a princess!'

The king at first believed this wicked story, and ordered the poor
prince to be turned out of the kingdom; but Half-a-son asked for a
train of mules, and one day's respite, in order to prove who and what
he was.  Then he went to the well, dug up the treasures of seven kings
during the serpent's absence, loaded the mules, and came back
glittering with gold and jewels.  He laid the treasures at the King's
feet, and told the whole story,--how, through no fault of his own, he
was only half-a-son, and how unkindly his brothers had behaved to him.

Then the marriage festivities went on, and the wicked brothers crept
away in disgrace.

They went to the well, full of envy and covetousness.  'Half-a-son got
rich by falling in,' they said; 'let us try if we too cannot find some
treasure,' So they threw themselves into the well.

As soon as it was dark, the demon, the serpent, and the pigeon came
home together.  'Some thief has been here!' cried the pigeon, 'for my
droppings are gone!  Let us feel round, and see if he is here still.'

So they felt round, and when they came upon the six brothers, the
demon ate them up one after another.

So that was an end of them, and Prince Half-a-son had the best of it,
in spite of his only being half-a-boy.



THE MOTHER AND DAUGHTER WHO WORSHIPPED THE SUN


Once upon a time there lived a mother and a daughter who worshipped
the Sun.  Though they were very poor they never forgot to honour the
Sun, giving everything they earned to it except two meal cakes, one of
which the mother ate, while the other was the daughter's share, every
day one cake apiece; that was all.

Now it so happened that one day, when the mother was out at work, the
daughter grew hungry, and ate her cake before dinner-time.  Just as
she had finished it a priest came by, and begged for some bread, but
there was none in the house save the mother's cake.  So the daughter
broke off half of it and gave it to the priest in the name of the Sun.

By and by the mother returned, very hungry, to dinner, and, lo and
behold! there was only half a cake in the house.

'Where is the remainder of the bread?' she asked.

'I ate my share, because I was hungry,' said the daughter, 'and just
as I finished, a priest came a-begging, so I was obliged to give him
half your cake.'

'A pretty story!' quoth the mother, in a rage.  'It is easy to be
pious with other people's property!  How am I to know you had eaten
your cake first?  I believe you gave mine in order to save your own!'

In vain the daughter protested that she really had finished her cake
before the priest came a-begging,--in vain she promised to give the
mother half her share on the morrow,--in vain she pleaded for
forgiveness for the sake of the Sun, in whose honour she had given
alms.  Words were of no avail; the mother sternly bade her go about
her business, saying, 'I will have no gluttons, who grudge their own
meal to the great Sun, in my house!'

So the daughter wandered away homeless into the wilds, sobbing
bitterly.  When she had travelled a long long way, she became so tired
that she could walk no longer; therefore she climbed into a big
_pîpal_ tree, in order to be secure from wild beasts, and rested
amongst the branches.

After a time a handsome young prince, who had been chasing deer in the
forest, came to the big _pîpal_ tree, and, allured by its
tempting shade, lay down to sleep away his fatigues.  Now, as he lay
there, with his face turned to the sky, he looked so beautiful that
the daughter could not choose but keep her eyes upon him, and so the
tears which flowed from them like a summer shower dropped soft and
warm upon the young man's face, waking him with a start.  Thinking it
was raining, he rose to look at the sky, and see whence this sudden
storm had come; but far and near not a cloud was to be seen.  Still,
when he returned to his place, the drops fell faster than before, and
one of them upon his lip tasted salt as tears.  So he swung himself
into the tree, to see whence the salt rain came, and, lo and behold! a
beauteous maiden sat in the tree, weeping.

'Whence come you, fair stranger?' said he; and she, with tears, told
him she was homeless, houseless, motherless.  Then he fell in love
with her sweet face and soft words; so he asked her to be his bride,
and she went with him to the palace, her heart full of gratitude to
the Sun, who had sent her such good luck.

Everything she could desire was hers; only when the other women talked
of their homes and their mothers she held her tongue, for she was
ashamed of hers.

Every one thought she must be some great princess, she was so lovely
and magnificent, but in her heart of hearts she knew she was nothing
of the kind; so every day she prayed to the Sun that her mother might
not find her out.

But one day, when she was sitting alone in her beautiful palace, her
mother appeared, ragged and poor as ever.  She had heard of her
daughter's good fortune, and had come to share it.

'And you _shall_ share it,' pleaded her daughter; 'I will give
you back far more than I ever took from you, if only you will go away
and not disgrace me before my prince.'

'Ungrateful creature!' stormed the mother, 'do you forget how it was
through my act that your good fortune came to you?  If I had not sent
you into the world, where would you have found so fine a husband?'

'I might have starved!' wept the daughter; 'and now you come to
destroy me again.  O great Sun, help me now!'

Just then the prince came to the door, and the poor daughter was ready
to die of shame and vexation; but when she turned to where her mother
had sat, there was nothing to be seen but a golden stool, the like of
which had never been seen on earth before.

'My princess,' asked the prince, astonished, 'whence comes that golden
stool?'

'From my mother's house,' replied the daughter, full of gratitude to
the great Sun, who had saved her from disgrace.

'Nay! if there are such wondrous things to be seen in your mother's
house,' quoth the prince gaily, 'I must needs go and see it.
To-morrow we will set out on our journey, and you shall show me all it
contains.'

In vain the daughter put forward one pretext and another:  the
prince's curiosity had been aroused by the sight of the marvellous
golden stool, and he was not to be gainsaid.

Then the daughter cried once more to the Sun, in her distress, saying,
'O gracious Sun, help me now!'

But no answer came, and with a heavy heart she set out next day to
show the prince her mother's house.  A goodly procession they made,
with horsemen and footmen clothed in royal liveries surrounding the
bride's palanquin, where sat the daughter, her heart sinking at every
step.

And when they came within sight of where her mother's hut used to
stand, lo! on the horizon showed a shining, flaming golden palace,
that glittered and glanced like solid sunshine.  Within and without
all was gold,--golden servants and a golden mother!

There they stopped, admiring the countless marvels of the Sun palace,
for three days, and when the third was completed, the prince, more
enamoured of his bride than ever, set his face homewards; but when he
came to the spot where he had first seen the glittering golden palace
from afar, he thought he would just take one look more at the wondrous
sight, and, lo! there was nothing to be seen save a low thatched
hovel!

Then he turned to his bride, full of wrath, and said, 'You are a
witch, and have deceived me by your detestable arts!  Confess, if you
would not have me strike you dead!'

But the daughter fell on her knees, saying, 'My gracious prince, I
have done nothing!  I am but a poor homeless girl.  It was the Sun
that did it.'

Then she told the whole story from beginning to end, and the prince
was so well satisfied that from that day he too worshipped the Sun.



THE RUBY PRINCE


Once upon a time a poor Brâhman was walking along a dusty road, when
he saw something sparkling on the ground.  On picking it up, it turned
out to be a small red stone, so, thinking it somewhat curious, the
Brâhman put it into his pocket and went on his way.  By and by he came
to a corn-merchant's shop, at the side of the road, and being hungry
he bethought himself of the red stone, and taking it out, offered it
to the corn-dealer in exchange for a bite and sup, as he had no money
in his pocket.

Now, for a wonder, the shopkeeper was an honest man, so, after looking
at the stone, he bade the Brâhman take it to the king, for, said he,
'all the goods in my shop are not its equal in value!'

Then the Brâhman carried the stone to the king's palace, and asked to
be shown into his presence.  But the prime minister refused at first
to admit him; nevertheless, when the Brâhman persisted that he had
something beyond price to show, he was allowed to see the king.

Now the snake-stone was just like a ruby, red and fiery; therefore,
when the king saw it he said, 'What dost thou want for this ruby, O
Brâhman?'

Then the Brâhman replied, 'Only a pound of meal to make a girdle cake,
for I am hungry!'

'Nay,' said the king, 'it is worth more than that!'

So he sent for a _lâkh_ of rupees from his treasury, and counted
it over to the Brâhman, who went on his way rejoicing.

Then the king called his queen, and gave the jewel into her custody,
with many instructions for its safe keeping, for, said he, there was
not its like in the whole world.  The queen, determined to be careful,
wrapped it in cotton-wool, and put it away in an empty chest, locking
the chest with double locks.

So there the ruby snake-stone lay for twelve long years.  At the end
of that time the king sent for his queen, and said,' Bring me the
ruby; I wish to satisfy myself that it is safe,'

The queen took her keys, and going to her room, opened the chest, and,
lo! the ruby was gone, and in its place was a handsome stripling!  She
shut down the box again in a great hurry, and thought and thought what
she had better do to break the news to the king.

Now as she thought, the king became impatient, and sent a servant to
ask what the delay was.  Then the queen bade the servant carry the box
to the audience chamber, and going thither with her keys, she unlocked
the chest before the king.

Out stepped the handsome stripling, to everybody's astonishment.

'Who are you?' quoth the king, 'and where is my jewel?'

'I am Ruby Prince' returned the boy; 'more than that you cannot know.'

Then the king was angry, and drove him from the palace, but, being a
just man, he first gave the boy a horse and arms, so that he might
fight his way in the world.

Now, as Prince Ruby journeyed on his steed, he came to the outskirts
of the town, and saw an old woman making bread, and as she mixed the
flour she laughed, and as she kneaded it she cried.

'Why do you laugh and cry, mother?' quoth Prince Ruby.

'Because my son must die to-day.' returned the woman.'  There is an
ogre in this town, which every day eats a young man.  It is my son's
turn to provide the dinner, and that is why I weep.'

Then Prince Ruby laughed at her fears, and said he would kill the ogre
and set the town free; only the old woman must let him sleep a while
in her house, and promise to wake him when the time came to go forth
and meet the ogre.

'What good will that do to me?' quoth the old woman; 'you will only be
killed, and then my son will have to go to-morrow.  Sleep on,
stranger, if you will, but I will not wake you!'

Then Prince Ruby laughed again.  'It is of no use, mother!' he said,
'fight the ogre I will; and as you will not wake me I must even go to
the place of meeting and sleep there.'

So he rode off on his steed beyond the gates of the city, and, tying
his horse to a tree he lay down to sleep peacefully.  By and by the
ogre came for its dinner, but hearing no noise, and seeing no one, it
thought the townspeople had failed in their bargain, and prepared to
revenge itself.  But Ruby Prince jumped up, refreshed by slumber, and
falling on the ogre, cut off its head and hands in a trice.  These he
stuck on the gate of the town, and returning to the old woman's house,
told her he had killed the ogre, and lay down to sleep again.

Now when the townspeople saw the ogre's head and hands peering over
the city gate, they thought the dreadful creature had come to revenge
itself for some slight.  Therefore they ran to the king in a great
fright, and he, thinking the old woman, whose son was to have formed
the ogre's dinner, must have played some trick, went with his officers
to the place where she lived, and found her laughing and singing.

'Why do you laugh?' he asked sternly.

'I laugh because the ogre is killed!' she replied, 'and because the
prince who killed it is sleeping in my house.'

Great was the astonishment at these words, yet, sure enough, when they
came to examine more closely, they saw that the ogre's head and hands
were those of a dead thing.

Then the king said, 'Show me this valiant prince who sleeps so
soundly.'

And when he saw the handsome young stripling, he recognised him as the
lad whom he had driven from the palace.  Then he turned to his prime
minister, and said, 'What reward should this youth have?'

And the prime minister answered at once, 'Your daughter in marriage,
and half your kingdom, is not too high a reward for the service he has
rendered!'

So Ruby Prince was married in great state to the king's fair daughter,
and half the kingdom was given him to rule.

But the young bride, much as she loved her gallant husband, was vexed
because she knew not who he was, and because the other women in the
palace twitted her with having married a stranger, a man come from
No-man's-land, whom none called brother.

So, day after day, she would ask her husband to tell her who he was
and whence he came, and every day Ruby Prince would reply, 'Dear
heart, ask me anything but that; for that you must not know!'

Yet still the princess begged, and prayed, and wept, and coaxed, until
one day, when they were standing by the river side, she whispered, 'If
you love me, tell me of what race you are!'

Now Ruby Prince's foot touched the water as he replied, 'Dear heart,
anything but that; for that you must not know!'

Still the princess, imagining she saw signs of yielding in his face,
said again, 'If you love me, tell me of what race you are!'

Then Ruby Prince stood knee-deep in the water, and his face was sad as
he replied, 'Dear heart, anything but that; for that you must not
know!'

Once again the wilful bride put her question, and Ruby Prince was
waist-deep in the stream.

'Dear heart, anything but that!'

'Tell me! tell me!' cried the princess, and, lo! as she spoke, a
jewelled snake with a golden crown and ruby star reared itself from
the water, and with a sorrowful look towards her, disappeared beneath
the wave.

Then the princess went home and wept bitterly, cursing her own
curiosity, which had driven away her handsome, gallant young husband.
She offered a reward of a bushel of gold to any one who would bring
her any information about him; yet day after day passed, and still no
news came, so that the princess grew pale with weeping salt tears.  At
last a dancing-woman, one of those who attend the women's festivals,
came to the princess, and said, 'Last night I saw a strange thing.
When I was out gathering sticks, I lay down to rest under a tree, and
fell asleep.  When I awoke it was light, neither daylight nor
moonlight; and while I wondered, a sweeper came out from a snake-hole
at the foot of the tree, and swept the ground with his broom; then
followed a water-carrier, who sprinkled the ground with water; and
after that two carpet-bearers, who spread costly rugs, and then
disappeared.  Even as I wondered what these preparations meant, a
noise of music fell upon my ear, and from the snake-hole came forth a
goodly procession of young men, glittering with jewels, and one in the
midst, who seemed to be the king.  Then, while the musicians played,
one by one the young men rose and danced before the king.  But one,
who wore a red star on his forehead, danced but ill, and looked pale
and wan.  That is all I have to say.'

So the next night the princess went with the dancing-girl to the tree,
where, hiding themselves behind the trunk, they waited to see what
might happen.

Sure enough, after a while it became light that was neither sunlight
nor moonlight; then the sweeper came forth and swept the ground, the
water-carrier sprinkled it, the carpet-bearers placed the rugs, and
last of all, to the sound of music the glittering procession swept
out.  How the princess's heart beat when, in the young prince with the
red star, she recognised her dearest husband; and how it ached when
she saw how pale he was, and how little he seemed to care to dance.

Then, when all had performed before the king, the light went out, and
the princess crept home.  Every night she would go to the tree and
watch; but all day she would weep, because she seemed no nearer
getting back her lover.

At last, one day, the dancing-girl said to her, 'O princess, I have
hit upon a plan.  The Snake-king is passionately fond of dancing, and
yet it is only men who dance before him.  Now, if a woman were to do
so, who knows but he might be so pleased that he would grant her
anything she asked?  Let me try!'

'Nay,' replied the princess, 'I will learn of you and try myself.'

So the princess learnt to dance, and in an incredibly short time she
far surpassed her teacher.  Never before or since was such a graceful,
charming, elegant dancer seen.  Everything about her was perfection.
Then she dressed herself in finest muslins and silver brocades, with
diamonds on her veil, till she shone and sparkled like a star.

With beating heart she hid behind the tree and waited.  The sweeper,
the water-carrier, the carpet-bearers, came forth in turn, and then
the glittering procession.  Ruby Prince looked paler and sadder than
ever, and when his turn came to dance, he hesitated, as if sick at
heart; but from behind the tree stepped a veiled woman, clad in white,
with jewels flashing, and danced before the king.  Never was there
such a dance!--everybody held their breath till it was done, and then
the king cried aloud, 'O unknown dancer, ask what you will, and it
shall be yours!'

'Give me the man for whom I danced!' replied the princess.

The Snake-king looked very fierce, and his eyes glittered, as he said,
'You have asked something you had no right to ask, and I should kill
you were it not for my promise.  Take him, and begone!'

Quick as thought, the princess seized Ruby Prince by the hand, dragged
him beyond the circle, and fled.

After that they lived very happily, and though the women still taunted
her, the princess held her tongue, and never again asked her husband
of what race he came.

[Illustration:  The snake king]



NOTES TO TALES



SIR BUZZ

_Sir Buzz_.--In the vernacular Mîyân Bhûngâ, which is Pânjabî for
Sir Beetle or Sir Bee.  The word is clearly connected with the common
Aryan roots _frem_, _bhran_, _bhah_, _bhin_, to
buzz as a bee or beetle.

_Tigress_.--Not otherwise described by the narrators than as a
_bhût_, which is usually a malignant ghost, but here she is rather
a benevolent fairy.

_Span_.--The word in the vernacular was _hâth_, the arm
below the elbow, or conventionally half-a-yard, or 18 inches.

_Hundredweight_.--The word here is _man_, an Indian weight
of about 80 Ibs.

_Princess Blossom_.--Bâdshâhzâdi Phûlî, Princess Flower, or
Phûlâzâdî, Born-of-a-flower.

_One-eyed Chief Constable_.--_Kotwál_ is the word used in
the original; he is a very familiar figure in all oriental tales of
Musalmân origin, and must have been one in actual mediæval oriental
life, as he was the chief police (if such a term can be used with
propriety) officer in all cities.  The expression 'one-eyed' is
introduced to show his evil nature, according to the well-known saying
and universal belief--

   _Kânâ, kâchrâ, hoch-gardanâ:  yeh tînon kamsât!
   Jablag has apnâ chale, to koî na pûchhe but. _

   Wall-eyed, blear-eyed, wry-necked:  these three are evil.
   While his own resources last none asketh them for help.

_Vampire_.-The word used was the Arabic _ghûl_ (in English
usually ghowl or ghoul), the vampire, man-devouring demon, which
corresponds to the _bhût_ and _pret_, the malignant ghosts
of the Hindus.  It may be noted here that the Persian _ghol_ is
the _loup-garou_ of Europe, the man-devouring demon of the woods.

_King Indar or Indra_--Was originally the beneficent god of
heaven, giver of rain, _etc_., but in the later Hindu mythology
he took only second rank as ruler of the celestial beings who form the
Court of Indra (_Indar kâ akhârâ_ or _Indrâsan Sabhâ_),
synonymous with gaiety of life and licentiousness.



THE RAT'S WEDDING

_Pipkin_--_Gharâ_, the common round earthen pot of India,
known to Anglo-Indians as 'chatty' (_châtî_).

_Quarts of milk_--The vernacular word was _ser_, a weight of
2 lbs.; natives always measure liquids by weight, not by capacity.

_Wild plum-tree_--_Ber_, several trees go by this name, but
the species usually meant are (1) the _Zizyphus jujuba_, which is
generally a garden tree bearing large plum-like fruit:  this is the
_Pomum adami_ of Marco Polo; (2) the _Zizyphus nummularia_,
often confounded with the camel-thorn, a valuable bush used for
hedges, bearing a small edible fruit.  The former is probably meant
here.--See Stewart's _Punjab Plants_, pp. 43-44.

_Millet_--_Pennisetum italicum_, a very small grain.

_Green plums I sell_, _etc_.--The words are--

  _Gaderî gader! gaderî gader!
  Râjâ dî betî chûhâ le giâ gher._

  Green fruit! green fruit!
  The rat has encompassed the Râjâ's daughter.

_Stool_--Pîrhî, a small, low, square stool with a straight
upright back, used by native women.

_Stewpan-lid_--_Sarposh_, usually the iron or copper cover
used to cover _degchîs_ or cooking-pots.



THE FAITHFUL PRINCE

_Bahrâmgor_--This tale is a variant in a way of a popular story
published in the Panjâb in various forms in the vernacular, under the
title of the _Story of Bahrâmgor and the Fairy Hasan Bâno_.  The
person meant is no doubt Bahrâmgor, the Sassanian King of Persia,
known to the Greeks as Varanes V., who reigned 420-438 A.D.  The
modern stories, highly coloured with local folklore, represent the
well-known tale in India--through the Persian--of _Bahrâmgor and
Dilârâm_.  Bahrâmgor was said to have been killed while hunting the
wild ass (_gor_), by jumping into a pool after it, when both
quarry and huntsman disappeared for ever.  He is said to be the father
of Persian poetry.

_Demons:  Demonsland_.--The words used are _deo_ or _dev_
and _deostân_; here the _deo_ is a malicious spirit by
nature.

_Jasdrûl_.--It is difficult to say who this can be, unless the
name be a corruption of Jasrat Râî, through Râwal (_rûl_) = Râo
= Râî; thus Jasrat Râî = Jasrat Râwal = Jasad Rawal = Jasadrûl. If
this be the case, it stands for Dasaratha, the father of Râma Chandra,
and so vicariously a great personage in Hindu story.  It is obvious
that in giving names to demons or fairies the name of any legendary
or fabulous personage of fame will be brought under contribution.

_Shâhpasand_.--This is obviously a fancy name, like its prototype
Dilaram (Heart's Ease), and means King's Delight.  The variant Hasan
Bano means the Lady of Beauty.  In the Pushto version of probably the
original story the name is Gulandama = Rosa, a variant probably of the
Flower Princess.  See Plowden's _Translation of the Kalid-i-Afghâní_,
p. 209 ff.

_Chief Constable_.--See note to Sir Buzz, _ante_.

_Emerald Mountain_.--Koh-i-Zamurrad in the original.  The whole
story of Bahrâmgor is mixed up with the 'King of China,' and so it is
possible that the legendary fame of the celebrated Green Mount in the
Winter Palace at Pekin is referred to here (see Yule's _Marco Polo_,
vol. i. pp. 326-327 and 330).  It is much more probable, however, that
the legends which are echoed here are local variants or memories of
the tale of the Old Man of the Mountain and the Assassins, so famous
in many a story in Europe and Asia in the Middle Ages, _e.g.  The
Romans of Bauduin de Sebourg_, where the lovely Ivorine is the
heroine of the Red Mountain, and which has a general family likeness
to this tale worth observing (see on this point generally Yule's
_Marco Polo_, vol. i. pp. cxliv-cli and 132-140, and the notes to
_Ind.  Ant._ vol. xi. p. 285 ff.; which last, though treated as
superseded here, may serve to throw light on the subject).  It is
evident that we are here treading on very interesting ground, alive
with many memories of the East, which it would be well worth while to
investigate.

_Nûnak Chand_.--Judging by the analogy of the name Nânaksâ (_sic_)
in _Indian Fairy Tales_, pp. 114 ff. and 276, where Nânaksâ,
obviously Nânak Shâh or Bâbâ Nânak, the founder of the Sikh religion,
_ob_. 1538 A.D., is turned into a wonder-working _faqîr_ of the
ordinary sort, it is a fair guess to say that this name is meant for him
too.

_Safed_.--On the whole it is worth while hazarding that this name
is a corruption, or rather, an adaptation to a common word--_safed_,
white--of the name Saifur for the demon in the older legends of
Bahrâmgor.  If so, it occurs there in connection with the universal
oriental name Faghfûr, for the Emperor of China.  Yule, _Marco Polo_,
vol. ii. p. 110, points out that Faghfûr = Baghbûr = Bagh Pûr, a Persian
translation of the Chinese title Tien-tse, Son of Heaven, just as the
name or title Shâh Pûr = the Son of the King. Perhaps this Saifûr in the
same way = Shâh Pûr.  But see note in _Ind.  Ant._ vol. xi. p. 288.

_Antimony_.--Black sulphuret of antimony, used for pencilling the
eyes and beautifying them.  There are two preparations for darkening the
eyes--_surma_ and _kâjal_. _Kâjal_ is fine lamp-black, but
the difference between its use and that of _surma_ is that the former
is used for making a blot to avoid the evil eye (_na*ar_) and the
latter merely as a beautifier.

_Yech-cap_.--For a detailed account of the _yech_ or _yâch_
of Kashmîr see _Ind.  Ant._ vol. xi. pp. 260-261 and footnotes.
Shortly, it is a humorous though powerful sprite in the shape of an
animal smaller than a cat, of a dark colour, with a white cap on its
head.  The feet are so small as to be almost invisible. When in this
shape it has a peculiar cry--_chot, chot, chû-û-ot, chot_.  All this
probably refers to some night animal of the squirrel (? civet cat) tribe.
It can assume any shape, and, if its white cap can be got possession of,
it becomes the servant of the possessor.  The cap renders the human wearer
invisible. Mythologically speaking, the _yech_ is the descendant of
the classical Hindu _yaksha_, usually described as an inoffensive,
harmless sprite, but also as a malignant imp.

_The farther you climb the higher it grows_.--This is evidently
borrowed from the common phenomenon of ridge beyond ridge, each in turn
deceiving the climber into the belief that he has reached the top.



THE BEAR'S BAD BARGAIN

_Khichrî_.--A dish of rice and pulse (_dâl_).

_The weights the bear carries._--These are palpable
exaggerations; thus in India the regulation camel-load is under 3
cwts., but they will carry up to 5 cwts.  A strong hill-man in the
Himâlayas will carry 1/2 cwt., and on occasion almost a whole cwt. up
the hill.



PRINCE LIONHEART

_Lionheart_.--The full vernacular title of this Prince was Sherdil
Shahryâr Shahrâbâd, Lionheart, the Friend and Restorer of the City.
All these names are common titles of oriental monarchs.

_Knifegrinder_, _Blacksmith_, _Carpenter_.--In the
vernacular _sânwâlâ_, _lohár_, _tarkhân_.  The first in
the East, like his brother in the West, is an itinerant journeyman, who
wanders about with a wheel for grinding.

_Demon_.--Here _bhût_, a malignant ghost or vampire, but as
his doings in the tale correspond more to those of a _deo_, demon,
than of a _bhût_, the word has been translated by 'demon.'

_Pîpal_.--Constantly occurring in folk-tales, is the _Ficus
religiosa_ of botanists, and a large fig-tree much valued for its
shade.  It is sacred to Hindus, and never cut by them.  One reason
perhaps may be that its shade is very valuable and its wood valueless.
Its leaves are used in divination to find out witches, thieves, liars,
_etc_., and it is the chosen haunt of ghosts and hobgoblins of all
sorts--hence its frequent appearance in folk-lore.

_Mannikin_.--The word used was the ordinary expression _maddhrâ_,
Panjâbî for a dwarf or pigmy.

_Ghost_.--_Churel_, properly the ghost of a woman who dies in
childbirth.  The belief in these malignant spirits is universal, and a
source of much terror to natives by night.  Their personal appearance is
fairly described in the text:  very ugly and black, breastless,
protruding in stomach and navel, and feet turned back.  This last is the
real test of a _churel_, even in her beautiful transformation.  A
detailed account of the _churel_ and beliefs in her and the methods
of exorcism will be found in the _Calcutta Review_, No. cliii. p.
180 ff.

_Jinn_.--A Muhammadan spirit, properly neither man, angel, nor
devil, but superhuman.  According to correct Muhammadan tradition, there
are five classes of _Jinns_ worth noting here for information--Jânn,
Jinn, Shaitân, 'Ifrît, and Mârid.  They are all mentioned in Musalmân
folk-tales, and but seldom distinguished in annotations.  In genuine
Indian folk-tales, however, the character ascribed to the Jinn, as here,
has been borrowed from the Rakshasa, which is Hindu in origin, and an
ogre in every sense of the European word.

_Smell of a man_.--The expression used is always in the vernacular
_mânushgandh_, _i.e._ man-smell.  The direct Sanskrit descent
of the compound is worthy of remark.

_Starling_.--_Mainâ_:  the _Gracula religiosa_, a talking
bird, much valued, and held sacred.  It very frequently appears in
folk-tales, like the parrot, probably from being so often domesticated by
people of means and position for its talking qualities.

_Cup_.--_Donâ_, a cup made of leaves, used by the very poor as
a receptacle for food.

_Wise woman_.--_Kutnî_ and _paphe-kutnî_ were the words
used, of which perhaps 'wise woman' is the best rendering. _Kutnî_
is always a term of abuse and reproach, and is used in the sense of witch
or wise woman, but the bearers do not seem to possess, as a rule, any
supernatural powers.  Hag, harridan, or any similar term will usually
correctly render the word.

_Flying palanquin_.--The words used for this were indifferently
_dolâ_, a bridal palanquin, and _burj_, a common word for a
balloon.



THE LAMBIKIN

_Lambikin_.--The words used were Panjâbî, _lelâ_, _lerâ_,
_lekrâ_, and _lelkarâ_, a small or young lamb.

_Lambikin's Songs_.--Of the first the words were Panjâbî--

  _Nânî kol jâwângû:
  Motâ tâjâ âwângâ
  Pher tûn main nûn khâwângâ._

Of the second song--

  _Wan piâ lelkarâ:  wan pî tû.
  Chal dhamkiriâ!  Dham!  Kâ!  Dhû!_

These the rhymes render exactly.  The words _dham_, _kâ_,
_dhû_ are pronounced sharply, so as to imitate the beats on a
drum.

_Drumikin_.--The _dhamkîriâ_ or _dhamkirî_ in Panjâbî is
a small drum made by stretching leather across a wide-mouthed earthen cup
(_piyâlâ_).  The Jatts make it of a piece of hollow wood, 6 inches
by 3 inches, with its ends covered with leather.



BOPOLUCHI

_Bopolûchî_.--Means Trickster.

_Uncle:  uncle-in-law_.--The words used were _mâmû_, mother's
brother, and _patiauhrâ_, husband's (or father-in-law's) younger
brother.

_Pedlar_.--_Wanjârâ_ or _banjârâ_ (from _wanaj_ or
_banaj_, a bargain), a class of wandering pedlars who sell spices,
_etc_.

_Robber_.--The word used was _thag_, _lit._ a deceiver.
The _Thags_ are a class but too well known in India as those who
make their living by deceiving and strangling travellers. Meadows
Taylor's somewhat sensational book, _The Confessions of a Thug_, has
made their doings familiar enough, too, in England.  In the Indian Penal
Code a _thag_ is defined as a person habitually associated with
others for the purpose of committing robbery or child-stealing by means
of murder.

_Crow's, etc., verses,_.--The original words were--

  _Bopo Lûchi!
  Aqlon ghuthî,
  Thag nâl thagî gai._

  Bopo Lûchi!
  You have lost your wits,
  And have been deceived by a _thag_.

_Bridal scarlet_.--Every Panjâbî bride, however poor, wears a
dress of scarlet and gold for six months, and if rich, for two years.



PRINCESS AUBERGINE

_Princess Aubergine,_--The vernacular name for the story is
_Baingan Bâdshâhzâdî._ The Baingan, baigan, begun, or bhântâ is
the _Solanum melongena,_ _i.e_. the egg-plant, or
_aubergine._ Europeans in India know it by the name of
_brinjâl;_ it is a very common and popular vegetable in the
rains.

_Exchanging veils,_--To exchange veils among women, and to
exchange turbans among men, is a common way of swearing friendship
among Panjâbîs.  The women also drink milk out of the same cup on such
occasions.

_Nine-lakh necklace_,--The introduction of the _Nau-lakkhâ
hâr,_ or nine-_lâkh_ necklace, is a favourite incident in
Indian folk-tales. _Nau-lakkhâ_ means worth nine lâkhs, or nine
hundred thousand rupees.  Frequently magic powers are ascribed to this
necklace, but the term _nau-lakkhâ_ has come also to be often
used conventionally for 'very valuable,' and so is applied to gardens,
palaces, _etc_.  Probably all rich Rajas have a hankering to
really possess such a necklace, and the last Mahârâjâ of Patiâlâ,
about fifteen years ago, bought a real one of huge diamonds, including
the Sansy, for Rupees 900,000.  It is on show always at the palace in
the fort at Patiâlâ.



VALIANT VICKY

_Valiant Vicky, the Brave Weaver,_--In the original the title is
'Fatteh Khân, the valiant weaver.'  Victor Prince is a very fair
translation of the name Fatteh Khân.  The original says his nickname
or familiar name was Fattû, which would answer exactly to Vicky for
Victor.  Fattû is a familiar (diminutive form) of the full name Fatteh
Khân.  See _Proper Names of Panjâbîs, passim,_ for the
explanation of this.



THE SON OF SEVEN MOTHERS

For a long and interesting variant of this tale see _Indian
Antiquary,_ vol. x. p. 151 ff.

_Fakîr,_--Properly _faqîr_, is a Muhammadan devotee, but in
modern India the term is used for any kind of holy man, whatever be
his religion.  For instance, the 'Salvation Army' were styled at
Lahore, at a meeting of natives, by a Sikh gentleman of standing, as
_Vilâyatî_ _fuqrâ_, European _faqîrs_.  The power of
granting children to barren women is ascribed in story to all saints
and holy personages of fame.

_Witch_--The word used was _dâyan_.  In the Panjâb a woman
with the evil eye (which by the way is not necessarily in India
possessed by the wicked only, see _Panjâb Notes and Queries_,
1883-84, _passim_), who knows the _dâyan kâ mantar_, or
charm for destroying life by taking out the heart.  The word in its
various modern forms is derived from the classical _dâkinî_, the
female demon attendant on Kali, the goddess of destruction.

_Jôgi's wonderful cow_--The _jôgi_ is a Hindu ascetic, but
like the word _faqîr_, _jôgi_ is often used for any kind of
holy man, as here.  Supernatural powers are very commonly ascribed to
them, as well as the universal attribute of granting sons.
Classically the _yôgi_ is the devotee seeking _yoga_, the
union of the living with the sublime soul.  The wonderful cow is the
modern fabulously productive cow _Kâmdhain_, representing the
classical _Kâmdhenu_, the cow of Indra that granted all desires.
Hence, probably, the dragging in here of Indra for the master of the
_jôgi_ of the tale. _Kâmdhain_ and _Kâmdhenu_ are both
common terms to the present day for cows that give a large quantity of
milk.

_Eighteen thousand demons_--No doubt the modern
representatives--the specific number given being, as is often the
case, merely conventionally--of the guards of Indra, who were in
ancient days the _Maruts_ or Winds, and are in modern times his
Court.  See note.



THE SPARROW AND THE CROW

_The Song_.--The form of words in the original is important.  The
following gives the variants and the strict translation--

  _Tû Chhappar Dâs, Main Kâng Dâs, Deo paneriyâ, Dhoven
  chucheriyâ, Khâwen khijeriyâ, Dekh chiriyâ kâ chûchlâ, Main
  kâng sapariyâ._

  You are Mr. Tank,
  I am Mr. Crow,
  Give me water,
  That I may wash my beak,
  And eat my _khichrî_,
  See the bird's playfulness,
  I am a clean crow.

  _Tû Lohâr Dâs, Main Kâng Dâs, Tû deo pharwâ, Main khodûn
  ghasarwâ, Khilâwen bhainsarwâ, Chowen dûdharwâ, Pilâwen
  hirnarwâ, Toren singarwâ, Khôden chalarwâ, Nikâlen panarwâ,
  Dhoven chunjarwâ, Khâwen khijarwâ, Dehk chiriyâ kâ chûchlâ,
  Main kâng saparwâ._

  You are Mr. Blacksmith,
  I am Mr. Crow,
  You give me a spade,
  And I will dig the grass,
  That I may give it the buffalo to eat,
  And take her milk,
  And give it the deer to drink,
  And break his horn,
  And dig the hole,
  And take out the water,
  And wash my beak,
  And eat my _khichrî_,
  See the bird's playfulness,
  I am a clean crow.



THE BRAHMAN AND THE TIGER

_The Tiger, the Brâhman, and the Jackal_.  A very common and
popular Indian tale.  Under various forms it is to be found in most
collections.  Variants exist in the _Bhâgavata Purâna_ and the
_Gul Bakâolâ_, and in the _Amvâr-i-Suhelî_.  A variant is
also given in the _Indian Antiquary_, vol. xii. p. 177.

_Buffalo's complaint_.--The work of the buffalo in the oil-press
is the synonym all India over--and with good reason--for hard and
thankless toil for another's benefit.

_As miserable as a fish out of water_.--In the original the
allusion is to a well-known proverb--_mandâ hâl wâng Jatt jharî
de_--as miserable as a Jatt in a shower.  Any one who has seen the
appearance of the Panjâbî cultivator attempting to go to his fields on
a wet, bleak February morning, with his scant clothing sticking to his
limp and shivering figure, while the biting wind blows through him,
will well understand the force of the proverb.



THE KING OF THE CROCODILES

_King of the Crocodiles_--In the original the title is Bâdshâh
Ghariâl.

_Lying amid the crops_--It is commonly said in the Panjâb that
crocodiles do so.

_Demons of crocodiles_.--The word used for _demon_ here was
_jinn_, which is remarkable in this connection.

_Henna_--_Mehndî_ or _hinâ_ is the _Lawsonia
alba_, used for staining the finger and toe nails of the bride
red.  The ceremony of _sanchit_, or conveying the _henna_ to
the bride by a party of the bride's friends, is the one alluded to.



LITTLE ANKLEBONE

_Little Anklebone_--This tale appears to be unique among Indian
folk-tales, and is comparable with Grimm's Singing Bone.  It is
current in the _Bâr_ or wilds of the Gujrânwâlâ District, among
the cattle-drovers' children.  Wolves are very common there, and the
story seems to point to a belief in some invisible shepherd, a sort of
Spirit of the Bâr, whose pipe may be heard.  The word used for 'Little
Ankle-bone' was _Gîrî_, a diminutive form of the common word
_gittâ_.  In the course of the story in the original, Little
Anklebone calls himself Giteta Ram, an interesting instance of the
process of the formation of Panjâbî proper names.

_Auntie_--Mâsî, maternal aunt.

_Tree that weeps over yonder pond_--_Ban_, _i.e.
Salvadora oleoides_, a common tree of the Panjâb forests.

_Jackal howled_--A common evil omen.

_Marble basins_--The word used was _daurâ_, a wide-mouthed
earthen vessel, and also in palaces a marble drinking-trough for
animals.

_The verses_,--The original and literal translation are as
follows--

  _Kyûn garjâe badalâ garkanâe?
  Gaj karak sâre des;
  Ohnân hirnîân de than pasmâe:
  Gitetâ Râm gîâ pardes!_

  Why echo, O thundering clouds?
  Roar and echo through all the land;
  The teats of the does yonder are full of milk:
  Gitetâ Râm has gone abroad!



THE CLOSE ALLIANCE

_Providence_--_Khudâ_ and _Allah_ were the words for
Providence or God in this tale, it being a Muhammadan one.

_Kabâbs_--Small pieces of meat roasted or fried on skewers with
onions and eggs:  a favourite Muhammadan dish throughout the East.

_His own jackal_--From time immemorial the tiger has been
supposed to be accompanied by a jackal who shows him his game and gets
the leavings as his wages.  Hence the Sanskrit title of
_vyâghra-nâyaka_ or tiger-leader for the jackal.

_Pigtail_--The Kashmîrî woman's hair is drawn to the back of the
head and finely braided.  The braids are then gathered together and,
being mixed with coarse woollen thread, are worked into a very long
plait terminated by a thick tassel, which reaches almost down to the
ankles.  It is highly suggestive of the Chinese pigtail, but it is far
more graceful.



THE TWO BROTHERS

_Barley meal instead of wheaten cakes_--_Jau kî roti_,
barley bread, is the poor man's food, as opposed to _gihûn kî
rotî_, wheaten bread, the rich man's food.  Barley bread is apt to
produce flatulence.

_With empty stomachs, etc._--The saying is well known and runs
thus--

  _Kahîn mat jâo khâlî pet.
  Hove mâgh yâ hove jeth._

  Go nowhere on an empty stomach,
  Be it winter or be it summer.

Very necessary and salutary advice in a feverish country like India.

_If any man eats me, etc._--Apparent allusion to the saying
rendered in the following verse--

  _Jo nar totâ mârkar khâve per ke heth, Kuchh sansâ man na
  dhare, woh hogâ râjâ jeth. Jo mainâ ko mâr khâ, man men rakhe
  dhîr; Kuchh chintâ man na kare, woh sadâ rahegâ wazîr._

  Who kills a parrot and eats him under a tree,
  Should have no doubt in his mind, he will be a great king.
  Who kills and eats a starling, let him be patient:
  Let him not be troubled in his mind, he will be minister for life.

_Snake-demon_--The word was _isdâr_, which represents the
Persian _izhdahâ_, _izhdâr_, or _izhdar_, a large
serpent, python.

_Sacred elephant_.--The reference here is to the legend of the
_safed hâthî_ or _dhaulâ gaj_, the white elephant. He is the
elephant-headed God Ganesa, and as such is, or rather was formerly,
kept by Râjâs as a pet, and fed to surfeit every Tuesday (_Mangalwâr_)
with sweet cakes (_chûrîs_).  After which he was taught to go down
on his knees to the Râjâ and swing his trunk to and fro, and this was
taken as sign that he acknowledged his royalty. He was never ridden
except occasionally by the Râjâ himself.  Two sayings, common to the
present day, illustrate these ideas--'_Woh to Mahârâjâ hai, dhaule gaj
par sowâr_:  he is indeed king, for he rides the white elephant.'
And '_Mahârâjâ dhaulâ gajpati kidohâî_:  (I claim the) protection
of the great king, the lord of the white elephant.'  The idea appears to
be a very old one, for Ælian (_Hist.  Anim._ vol. iii. p. 46),
quoting Megasthenes, mentions the white elephant.  See M'Crindle,
_India as described by Megasthenes and Arrian_, pp. 118, 119;
_Indian Antiquary_, vol. vi. p. 333 and footnote.

_Brass drinking bowl_.--The _lotâ_, universal throughout India.

_Ogre_.--In the original _râkhas_ = the Sanskrit _râkhasa_,
translated ogre advisedly for the following reasons:--The _râkhasa_
(_râkhas_, an injury) is universal in Hindu mythology as a
superhuman malignant fiend inimical to man, on whom he preys, and that
is his character, too, throughout Indian folk-tales.  He is elaborately
described in many an orthodox legend, but very little reading between
the lines in these shows him to have been an alien enemy on the borders
of Aryan tribes.  The really human character of the _râkhasa_ is
abundantly evident from the stories about him and his doings.  He
occupies almost exactly the position in Indian tales that the ogre does
in European story, and for the same reason, as he represents the memory
of the savage tribes along the old Aryan borders.  The ogre, no doubt, is
the Uighur Tâtar magnified by fear into a malignant demon.  For the
_râkhasa_ see the _Dictionaries_ of Dowson, Garrett, and Monier
Williams, _in verbo_; Muir's _Sanskrit Texts_, vol. ii. p.
420, _etc_.:  and for the ogre see _Panjâb Notes and Queries_,
vol. i., in verbo.

_Goat_.--The ogre's eating a goat is curious:  _cf_. the
Sanskrit name _ajagara_, goat-eater, for the python (nowadays
_ajgar_), which corresponds to the _izhdahâ_ or serpent-demon
on p. 131.



THE JACKAL AND THE LIZARD.

_The verses_.--In the original they are--

  Chândî dâ merâ chauntrâ, koî sonâ lipâî!
  Kâne men merâ gûkrû, shâhzâdâ baithâ hai!

  My platform is of silver, plastered with gold!
  Jewels are in my ears, I sit here a prince!

_The verses_.--In the original they are--

  _Hadî dâ terâ chauntrâ, koî gobar lipaî!
  Kâne men terî jûtî; koî gîdar baithâ hai!_

  Thy platform is of bones, plastered with cow-dung!
  Shoes are in thy ears; some jackal sits there!



THE SPARROW'S MISFORTUNE

_Verses_.--In the original these are--

  _Saukan rangan men charhî,
  Main bhî rangan men parî,_

  My co-wife got dyed,
  I too fell into the vat.

_Verses_.--In the original--

  _Ik sarî, ik balî;
  Ik hinak mode charhî,_

  One is vexed and one grieved;
  And one is carried laughing on the shoulder.

The allusion here is to a common tale.  The story goes that a man who
had two wives wanted to cross a river.  Both wives wanted to go across
first with him, so in the end, leaving the elder to walk, he took the
younger on his shoulder, who mocked the elder with the words--

  _Ik sarî, dûî balî;
  Dûî jâî mûnde charhî._

  First she was vexed, next she grieved;
  While the other went across on the shoulder.

Hence the sting of the old sparrow's taunt.

_Verses_.--In the original--

  _Ik chamkhat hûî;
  Chirî rangan charhî;
  Chirâ bedan karî;
  Pîpal patte jharî;
  Mahîn sing jharî;
  Naîn bahí khârî;
  Koïl hûî kânî;
  Bhagtû diwanî;
  Bandî padnî;
  Rânî nâchnî;
  Putr dholkî bajânî;
  Râjâ sargî bajânî;_

  One hen painted,
  And the other was dyed,
  And the cock loved her,
  So the _pîpal_ shed its leaves,
  And the buffalo her horns,
  So the river became salt,
  And the cuckoo lost an eye,
  So Bhagtû went mad,
  And the maid took to swearing,
  So the Queen took to dancing,
  And the Prince took to drumming,
  And the King took to thrumming.



THE PRINCESS PEPPERINA

_Princess Pepperina_.--In the original _Shâhzâdî Mirchâ_ or
_Filfil Shâhzâdî:  mirch_ is the _Capsicum annuum_ or common
chilli, green and red.

_Sheldrakes_.--The _chakwâ_, male, and _chakwî_, female,
is the ruddy goose or sheldrake, known to Europeans as the Brâhmanî
duck, _Anas casarca_ or _Casarca rutila_.  It is found all over
India in the winter, and its plaintive night cry has given rise to a
very pretty legend.  Two lovers are said to have been for some
indiscretion turned into Brâhmanî ducks, and condemned to pass the
night apart from each other, on the opposite sides of a river.  All
night long each asks the other in turn if it shall join its mate,
and the answer is always 'no.'  The words supposed to be said are--

  _Chakwâ, main âwân?  Nâ, Chakwî!_
  _Chakwî, main âwân?  Nâ, Chakwâ!_

  Chakwâ, shall I come?  No, Chakwî!
  Chakwî, shall I come?  No, Chakwâ!



PEASIE AND BEANSIE

_Peasie and Beansie_, p. 167.--In the original Motho and Mûngo.
_Motho_ is a vetch, _Phaseolus aconitifolius_; and
_mûng_ is a variety of pulse, _Phaseolus mungo_.  Peasie and
Beansie are very fair translations of the above.

_Plum-tree_, p. 167.--_Ber, Zizyphus jujuba._



THE SNAKE-WOMAN

_King 'Ali Mardân_--'Ali Mardân Khân belongs to modern history,
having been Governor (not King, as the tale has it) of Kashmîr, under
the Emperor Shâh Jahân, about A.D. 1650, and very famous in India in
many ways.  He was one of the most magnificent governors Kashmîr ever
had, and is now the best-remembered.

_Snake-Woman_--In the original _Lamiâ_, said in Kashmîr to
be a snake 200 years old, and to possess the power of becoming a
woman.  In India, especially in the hill districts, it is called
_Yahawwâ_.  In this tale the _Lamiâ_ is described as being a
_Wâsdeo_, a mythical serpent. _Wâsdeo_ is the same as
Vâsudeva, a descendant of Vasudeva.  Vasudeva was the earthly father
of Krishna and of his elder brother Balarâma, so Balarâma was a
Vâsudeva.  Balarâma in the classics is constantly mixed up with Sèsha
(now Sesh Nâg), a king of serpents, and with Vâsuki (Bâsak Nâg), also
a king of serpents; while Ananta, the infinite, the serpent whose
legend combines that of Vâsuki and Sêsha, is mixed not only with
Balarâma, but also with Krishna.  Hence the name Wâsdeo for a
serpent.  The Lamiâ is not only known in India from ancient times to
the present day, but also in Tibet and Central Asia generally, and in
Europe from ancient to mediæval times, and always as a malignant
supernatural being.  For discussions on her, see notes to the above in
the _Indian Antiquary_, vol. xi. pp. 230-232, and the discussion
following, entitled 'Lamiâ or Λαμια' pp. 232-235.  Also
_Comparetti's Researches into the Book of Sindibâd_, Folklore
Society's ed., _passim_.

_Dal Lake_--The celebrated lake at Srinagar in Kashmîr.

_Emperor of China's Handmaiden_--A common way of explaining the
origin of unknown girls in Musâlman tales.  Kashmîr is essentially a
Musalmân country._

_Shalimâr gardens_.--At Srinagar, made by the Emperor Jahangir,
who preceded 'Ali Mardân Khân by a generation, for Nûr Mahal.  Moore,
_Lalla Rookh_, transcribes in describing them the well-known
Persian verses in the Dîwân-i-Khâs (Hall of Private Audience) at Delhi
and elsewhere--

  'And oh! if there be an Elysium on earth,
  It is this, it is this.'

The verses run really thus--

  _Agar firdûs ba rû-e-zamîn ast,
  Hamîn ast o hamîn ast o hamîn ast!_

  If there be an Elysium on the face of the earth,
  It is here, and it is here, and it is here!

Shâh Jahân built the Shâlimâr gardens at Lahor, in imitation of those
at Srinagar, and afterwards Ranjît Singh restored them.  They are on
the Amritsar Road.

_Gangâbal_.--A holy lake on the top of Mount Harâmukh, 16,905 feet,
in the north of Kashmîr.  It is one of the sources of the Jhelam River,
and the scene of an annual fair about 20th August.

_Khichrî_.--Sweet khichrî consists of rice, sugar, cocoa-nut,
raisins, cardamoms, and aniseed; salt khichrî of pulse and rice.

_The stone in the ashes_.--The _pâras_, in Sanskrit
_sparsamani_, the stone that turns what it touches into gold.

_Attock_.--In the original it is the Atak River (the Indus) near
Hoti Mardân, which place is near Atak or Attock.  The similarity in
the names 'Ali Mardan and Hotî Mardân probably gave rise to this
statement.  They have no connection whatever.



THE WONDERFUL RING

_The Wonderful Ring_.--In the vernacular _'ajab mundrâ_:  a
variant of the inexhaustible box.

_Holy place_.--_Chaunkâ_, a square place plastered with
cow-dung, used by Hindus when cooking or worshipping.  The cow-dung
sanctifies and purifies it.

_Aunt_.--_Mâsî_, maternal aunt.



THE JACKAL AND THE PEA-HEN

_Plums_, p. 195.--_Ber, Zyziphus jujuba_.



THE GRAIN OF CORN

_The verses_.--In the original they were--

  _Phir gîâ billî ke pâs,
  'Billî, rî billî, mûsâ khâogî'
  Khâtî khûnd pâr nâ!
  Khûnd chanâ de nâ!
  Râjâ khâtî dande nâ!
  Râjâ rânî russe nâ!
  Sapnâ rânî dase nâ!
  Lâthî sapnâ mâre nâ!
  Âg lâthî jalâve nâ!
  Samundar âg bujhâve nâ!
  Hâthî samundar sukhe nâ!
  Nâre hâthî bandhe nâ!
  Mûsâ nâre kâte nâ!
  Lûngâ phir chorûn? nâ!'

  He then went to the cat (saying),
  'Cat, cat, eat mouse.
  Woodman won't cut tree!
  Tree won't give peas!
  King won't beat woodman!
  Queen won't storm at king!
  Snake won't bite queen!
  Stick won't beat snake!
  Fire won't burn stick!
  Sea won't quench fire!
  Elephant won't drink up sea!
  Thong won't bind elephant!
  Mouse won't nip thong!
  I'll take (the pea) yet, I won't let it go!'_

It will be seen that in the text the order has been transposed for
obvious literary convenience.

_Verses_.--In the original these are--

  _Usne kahâ, 'Lap, lap, khâûngî!'
  Phir gîâ mûsâ ke pâs, 'Mûsâ, re mûsâ, ab khâ jâoge?'  'Ham bhî
    nâre katenge.'
  Phir gîâ nâre ke pâs, 'Nâre, re nâre, ab kâte jâoge?'  'Ham bhî
    hâthî bandhenge.'
  Phir gîâ hâthî ke pâs, 'Hâthî, re hâthî, ab bandhe jâoge?'  'Ham
    bhî samundar sûkhenge.'
  Phir gîâ samundar ke pâs, 'Samundar, re samundar, ab sukhe
    jâoge?'  'Ham bhî âg bujhâenge.'
  Phir gîâ âg ke pâs, 'Âg, rî âg, ab bujhâî jâogi?'  'Ham bhî lâthî
    jalâvenge.'
  Phir gîâ lâthî ke pâs, 'Lâthî, re lâthî, ab jal jâoge?'  'Ham bhî
    sâmp mârenge.'
  Phir gîâ samp ke pâs, 'Sâmp, re sâmp, ab mâre jâoge?'  'Ham bhî
    rânî dasenge?'
  Phir gîâ rânî ke pâs, 'Rânî, rî rânî, ab dasî jâoge?'  'Ham bhî
    râjâ rusenge.'
  Phir gîâ râjâ ke pâs, 'Râjâ, re raja, ab rânî rus jâoge?'  'Ham
    bhî khâtî dândenge.'
  Phir gîâ khâtî ke pâs, 'Khâtî, re khâtî, ab dande jâoge?'  'Ham
    bhî khund kâtenge.'
  Phir gîâ khund ke pâs, 'Khund, re khund, ab kâte jâoge?'  'Ham
    bhî chanâ denge.'
  Phir woh chanâ lekar chalâ gîâ?_

  The cat said, 'I will eat him up at once!'
  (So) he went to the mouse, 'Mouse, mouse, will you be eaten?'  'I
    will gnaw the thong.'
  He went to the thong, 'Thong, thong, will you be gnawed?'  'I
    will bind the elephant.'
  He went to the elephant, 'Elephant, elephant, will you be bound?'
    'I will drink up the ocean.'
  He went to the ocean, 'Ocean, ocean, will you be drunk up?'  'I
    will quench the fire.'
  He went to the fire, 'Fire, fire, will you be quenched?'  'I will
    burn the stick.'
  He went to the stick, 'Stick, stick, will you be burnt?'  'I will
    beat the snake.'
  He went to the snake, 'Snake, snake, will you be beaten?'  'I will
    bite the queen.'
  He went to the queen, 'Queen, queen, will you be bitten?'  'I will
    storm at the king.'
  He went to the king, 'King, king, will you be stormed at by the
    queen?'  'I will beat the woodman.'
  He went to the woodman, 'Woodman, woodman, will you be
    beaten?' 'I will cut down the trunk.'
  He went to the trunk, 'Trunk, trunk, will you be cut down?'  'I
    will give you the pea.'
  So he got the pea and went away.



THE FARMER AND THE MONEY-LENDER

_Money-lender_--_Lîdû_, a disreputable tradesman, a sharp
practitioner.

_Râm_--Râma Chandra, now 'God' _par excellence_.

_Conch_--_Sankh_, the shell used in Hindu worship for
blowing upon.



THE LORD OF DEATH

_Lord of Death_.--_Maliku'l-maut_ is the Muhammadan form of
the name, _Kâl_ is the Hindu form.  The belief is that every
living being has attached to him a 'Lord of Death.'  He is represented
in the 'passion plays' so common at the Dasahra and other festivals by
a hunchbacked dwarf, quite black, with scarlet lips, fastened to a
'keeper' by a black chain and twirling about a black wand.  The idea
is that until this chain is loosened or broken the life which he is to
kill is safe.  The notion is probably of Hindu origin.  For a note on
the subject see _Indian Antiquary_, vol. x. pp. 289, 290.



THE WRESTLERS

_The Wrestlers_.--The story seems to be common all over India. In
the _Indian Antiquary_, vol. x. p. 230, it is suggested that it
represents some aboriginal account of the creation.

_Ten thousand pounds weight_.--In the original 160 _mans_,
which weigh over 13,000 lbs._



GWASHBRARI

_Gwâshbrâri, etc_.--The Westarwân range is the longest spur into
the valley of Kashmîr.  The remarkably clear tilt of the strata
probably suggested this fanciful and poetical legend.  All the
mountains mentioned in the tale are prominent peaks in Kashmîr, and
belong to what Cunningham (_Ladâk_, 1854, ch. iii.) calls the Pîr
Panjâl and Mid-Himâlayan Range.  Nangâ Parbat, 26,829 ft., is to the
N.W.; Harâ Mukh, 16,905 ft., to the N.; Gwâshbrâri or Kolahoî, 17,839
ft., to the N.E.  Westarwân is a long ridge running N.W. to S.E.,
between Khrû and Sotûr, right into the Kashmîr valley.  Khru is not
far from Srinagar, to the S.E.

_Lay at Gwâshbrâri's feet, his head upon her heart_.--As a matter
of fact, Westarwân does not lay his head anywhere near Gwâshbrâri's
feet, though he would appear to do so from Khrû, at which place the
legend probably arose.  An excellent account of the country between
Khrû and Sesh Nâg, traversing most of that lying between Westarwân and
Gwâshbrâri, by the late Colonel Cuppage, is to be found at pp. 206-221
of Ince's _Kashmîr Handbook_, 3rd ed., 1876.



THE BARBER'S CLEVER WIFE

_Hornets' nest_.--Properly speaking, bees.  This species makes a
so-called nest, _i.e._ a honey-comb hanging from the branch of a
tree, usually a _pîpal_, over which the insects crawl and jostle
each other in myriads in the open air.  When roused, and any accident
may do this, they become dangerous enemies, and will attack and sting
to death any animal near.  They form a real danger in the Central
Indian jungles, and authentic cases in which they have killed horses
and men, even Europeans, are numerous.

_Fairy_.--_Parî_, fairy, peri:  the story indicates a very
common notion.



THE JACKAL AND THE CROCODILE

_Verses_.--In the original they are--

  _Gâdar, ghar kyâ lâyâ?
  Kyâ chîz kamâyâ?
  Ki merâ khâtir pâyâ._

  Jackal, what hast thou brought home?
  What thing hast thou earned?
  That I may obtain my wants.

The story has a parallel in most Indian collections, and two in
_Uncle Remus_, in the stories of 'The Rabbit and the Wolf' and of
'The Terrapin and the Rabbit.'



HOW RAJA RASÂLU WAS BORN

_Raja Rasâlu_--The chief legendary hero of the Panjâb, and
probably a Scythian or non-Aryan king of great mark who fought both
the Aryans to the east and the invading tribes (?  Arabs) to the
west.  Popularly he is the son of the great Scythian hero Sâlivâhana,
who established the Sâka or Scythian era in 78 A.D.  Really he,
however, probably lived much later, and his date should be looked for
at any period between A.D. 300 and A.D. 900.  He most probably
represented the typical Indian kings known to the Arab historians as
flourishing between 697 and 870 A.D. by the synonymous names Zentil,
Zenbil, Zenbyl, Zambil, Zantil, Ranbal, Ratbyl, Reteil, Retpeil,
Rantal, Ratpil, Ratteil, Ratbal, Ratbil, Ratsal, Rusal, Rasal, Rasil.
These are all meant for the same word, having arisen from the
uncertainty of the Arabic character and the ignorance of
transcribers.  The particular king meant is most likely the opponent
of Hajjaj and Muhammad Qasim between 697 and 713 A.D.  The whole
subject is involved in the greatest obscurity, and in the Panjâb his
story is almost hopelessly involved in pure folklore.  It has often
been discussed in learned journals.  See _Indian Antiquary_, vol.
xi. pp. 299 ff. 346-349, vol. xii. p. 303 ff., vol. xiii. p. 155 ff.;
_Journal Asiatic Society of Bengal_ for 1854, pp. 123-163,
_etc_.; Elliot's _History of India_, vol. i. pp. 167, 168,
vol. ii. pp. 178, 403-427.

_Lonan_--For a story of Lonân, see _Indian Antiquary_, vol.
ix. p. 290.

_Thrown into a deep well_--Still shown on the road between
Siâlkot and Kallowâl.

_Gurû Gorakhnâth_--The ordinary _deux ex machinâ_ of modern
folk-tales.  He is now supposed to be the reliever of all troubles,
and possessed of most miraculous powers, especially over snakes.  In
life he seems to have been the Brâhmanical opponent of the mediæval
reformers of the fifteenth century A.D.  By any computation Pûran
Bhagat must have lived centuries before him.

_Pûran Bhagat_.--Is in story Râjâ Rasâlû's elder brother.  There
are numerous poems written about his story, which is essentially that
of Potiphar's wife.  The parallel between the tales of Raja Rasâlu and
Pûran Bhagat and those of the Southern Aryan conqueror Vikramâditya
and his (in legend) elder brother Bhatrihari, the saint and philosopher,
is worthy of remark.



HOW RAJA RASÂLU WENT OUT INTO THE WORLD

_Bhaunr' Irâqi_.--The name of Rasâlu's horse; but the name
probably should be Bhaunri Rakhi, kept in the underground cellar.
'Irâqi means Arabian.

_Verses_.--In the original these are--

  _Main âiâ thâ salâm nûn, tûn baithâ pîth maror!
  Main nahîn terâ râj wandânundâ; main nûn nahîn râj te lor._

  I came to salute thee, and thou hast turned thy back on me!
  I have no wish to share thy kingdom!  I have no desire for empire.

  _Mahlân de vich baithîe, tûn ro ro na sunâ! Je tûn merî mâtâ
  hain, koî mat batlâ! Matte dendî hai mân tain nûn, putar:  gin
  gin jholî ghat! Châre Khûntân tûn râj kare, par changâ rakhîn
  sat!_

  O sitting in the palace, let me not hear thee weeping!
  If thou be my mother give me some advice!
  Thy mother doth advise thee, son:  stow it carefully away in thy
    wallet!
  Thou wilt reign in the Four Quarters, but keep thyself good and
    pure.

_Verses_.--In the original these are--

  _Thorâ thorâ, betâ, tûn disîn, aur bahotî disî dhûr:
  Putr jinân de tur chale, aur mâwân chiknâ chûr._

  It is little I see of thee, my son, but I see much dust.
  The mother, whose son goes away on a journey, becomes as a powder
    (reduced to great misery).



HOW RAJA RASÂLU'S FRIENDS FORSOOK HIM

_Verses_.--Originals are--

  _Agge sowen lef nihâlîân, ajj sutâ suthrâ ghâs!
  Sukh wasse yeh des, jâhan âeajj dî rât!_

  Before thou didst sleep on quilts, to-day thou has slept on clean
    grass!
  Mayest thou live happy in this land whither thou hast come this
    night!

_Snake_--Most probably represents a man of the 'Serpent Race' a
Nâga, Taka, or Takshak.

_Unspeakable horror_--The undefined word _âfat_, horror,
terror, was used throughout.

_Verses_--Originals are--

  _Sadâ na phûlan torîân, nafrâ:  sadâ na Sâwan hoe:
  Sadâ na joban thir rahe:  sadâ na jive koe:
  Sadâ na râjiân hâkimî:  sâda na râjiân des:
  Sadâ na hove ghar apnâ, nafrâ, bhath piâ pardes_.

  _Tcrîs_ (a mustard plant) do not always flower, my servant:  it
    is not always the rainy season (time of joy).
  Youth does not always last:  no one lives for ever:
  Kings are not always rulers:  kings have not always lands:
  They have not always homes, my servant:  they fall into great
    troubles in strange lands.

These verses of rustic philosophy are universal favourites, and have
been thus rendered in the _Calcutta Review_, No. clvi. pp. 281,
282--

  Youth will not always stay with us:
   We shall not always live:
  Rain doth not always fall for us:
   Nor flowers blossoms give.

  Great kings not always rulers are:
   They have not always lands:
  Nor have they always homes, but know
   Sharp grief at strangers' hands.



HOW RAJA RASÂLU KILLED THE GIANTS

_Giants_--_Râkshasa_, for which see previous notes.

_Nîlâ city_--Most probably Bâgh Nîlâb on the Indus to the south
of Atak.

_Verses_--In the original these are--

  _Na ro, mata bholîe:  na aswân dhalkâe: Tere bete ki 'îvaz main
  sir desân châe. Nîle-ghorewâlîd Râjâ, munh dhârî, sir pag, Woh
  jo dekhte âunde, jin khâiâ sârâ jag_.

  Weep not, foolish mother, drop no tears:
  I will give my head for thy son.
  Gray-horsed Raja:  bearded face and turban on head,
  He whom you see coming is he who has destroyed my life!

_Verses_--In original--

  _Nasso, bhajo, bhâîo!  Dekho koî gali! Tehrî agg dhonkaî, so
  sir te ân balî! Sûjhanhârî sûjh gae; hun laihndî charhdî jâe!
  Jithe sânûn sûkh mile, so jhatpat kare upâe!

  Fly, fly, brethren! look out for some road!
  Such a fire is burning that it will come and burn our heads!
  Our fate has come, we shall now be destroyed!
  Make some plan at once for our relief._

_Gandgari Mountains_--Gandgarh Hills, to the north of Atak; for a
detailed account of this legend see _Journal Asiatic Society of
Bengal_ for 1854, p. 150 ff.



HOW RAJA RASÂLU BECAME A JOGI

_Hodînagarî_--A veritable will-o'-the-wisp in the ancient Panjâb
geography:  Hodînagarî, Udenagar, Udaynagar, is the name of
innumerable ruins all over the northern Panjâb, from Siâlkot to
Jalâlâbâd in Afghânistân beyond the Khaibar Pass.  Here it is more
than probably some place in the Rawâl Pindi or Hazârâ Districts along
the Indus.

_Rânî Sundrân_--The daughter of Hari Chand.

_Alakh_--'In the Imperishable Name,' the cry of religious
mendicants when begging.

_Verses_.--In original--

  _Jâe bûhe te kilkiâ:  lîa nâm Khudâ:
  Dûron chalke, Rânî Sundrân, terâ nâ:
  Je, Rânî, tû sakhî hain, kharî faqîrân pâ:_

  Coming to the threshold I called out:  I took the name of God:
  Coming from afar, Rânî Sundrân, on account of thy name.
  If thou art generous, Rânî, the beggar will obtain alms.

The _Musalmân_ word _Khudâ_, God, here is noticeable, as
Rasâlû was personating a _Hindu jôgi_.

_Verses_.

  _Kab kî pâî mundran?  Kab kâ hûâ faqîr? Kis ghatâ mânion?  Kis
  kâ lâgâ tîr! Kete mâen mangiâ?  Mere ghar kî mangî bhîkh? Kal
  kî pâî mundrân!  Kal kâ hûâ faqîr! Na ghat, mâîân, mâniân:  kal
  kâ lagâ tîr. Kuchh nahîn munh mangî:  Kewal tere ghar ke
  bhîkh._

  When didst thou get thy earring?  When wast thou made a _faqîr?_
  What is thy pretence?  Whose arrow of love hath struck thee?
  From how many women hast thou begged?  What alms dost thou beg from me?
  Yesterday I got my earring:  yesterday I became a _faqîr_.
  I make no pretence, mother:  yesterday the arrow struck me.
  I begged nothing:  only from thy house do I beg.

_Verses_.--In original--

  _Tarqas jariâ tîr motîân; lâlân jarî kumân; Pinde bhasham
  lagâiâ:  yeh mainân aur rang; Jis bhikhiâ kâ lâbhî hain tû wohî
  bhikhiâ mang. Tarqas jariâ merâ motîân:  lâlân jarî kumân. Lâl
  na jânâ bechke, motî be-wattî. Motî apne phir lai; sânûn pakkâ
  tâm diwâ._

  Thy quiver is full of pearly arrows:  thy bow is set with rubies:
  Thy body is covered with ashes:  thy eyes and thy colour thus:
  Ask for the alms thou dost desire.
  My quiver is set with pearls:  my bow is set with rubies.
  I know not how to sell pearls and rubies without loss.
  Take back thy pearls:  give me some cooked food.

_Verses_.--In original--

  _Kahân tumhârî nagari? kahân tumhârâ thâon? Kis râjâ kâ betrâ
  jôgî? kyâ tumhârâ nâon? Siâlkot hamârî nagarî; wohî hamârâ
  thâon. Râjâ Sâlivâhan kâ main betrâ:  Lonâ parî merâ mâon.
  Pinde bhasam lagâe, dekhan terî jâon. Tainûn dekhke chaliâ:  Râjâ
  Rasâlu merâ nâon._

  Where is thy city?  Where is thy home?
  What king's son art thou, _jôgi?_ What is thy name?
  Sialkot is my city:  that is my home.
  I am Râjâ Sâlivâhan's son:  the fairy Lonâ is my mother.
  Ashes are on my body:  (my desire was) to see thy abode.
  Having seen thee I go away:  Râjâ Rasâlû is my name.

_Sati_.--The rite by which widows burn themselves with their
husbands.



HOW RAJA RASÂLU JOURNEYED TO THE CITY OF KING SARKAP

_Raja Sarkap_.--_Lit_.  King Beheader is a universal hero of
fable, who has left many places behind him connected with his memory,
but who he was has not yet been ascertained.

_Verses_.--In original--

  _Bâre andar piâ karanglâ, na is sâs, na pâs. Je Maullâ is nûn
  zindâ kare, do bâtân kare hamâre sâth. Laihndion charhî badalî,
  hâthân pâiâ zor: Kehe 'amal kamâio, je jhaldi nahîn ghor?_

  The corpse has fallen under the hedge, no breath in him, nor any one
    near.
  If God grant him life he may talk a little with me.
  The clouds rose in the west and the storm was very fierce;
  What hast thou done that the grave doth not hold thee?

_Verses_.--In original--

  Asîn bhî kadîn duniyân te inhân the;
  Râjâ nal degrîân pagân banhde,
    Turde pabhân bhâr.
  Âunde tara, nachâunde tara,
    Hânke sawâr.
  Zara na mitthî jhaldî Râjâ
    Hun sau manân dâ bhâr.

  I, too, was once on the earth thus;
  Fastening my turban like a king,
    Walking erect.
  Coming proudly, taunting proudly,
    I drove off the horsemen.
  The grave does not hold me at all, Raja:
    Now I am a great sinner.

_Chaupur_, p. 256.--_Chaupur_ is a game played by two
players with 8 men each on a board in the shape of a cross, 4 men to
each cross covered with squares.  The moves of the men are decided by
the throws of a long form of dice.  The object of the game is to see
which of the players can move all his men into the black centre square
of the cross first.  A detailed description of the game is given in
_The Legends of the Panjâb_, vol. i. pp. 243, 245.



HOW RAJA RASÂLU SWUNG THE SEVENTY FAIR MAIDENS, DAUGHTERS OF THE KING


_The daughters of Raja Sarkap_.--The scene of this and the
following legend is probably meant to be Kot Bithaur on the Indus
near Atak.

_Verses_.--In original--

  _Nîle-ghorewâliâ Râjâ, niven neze âh!
  Agge Râjâ Sarkap hai, sir laisî ulâh!
  Bhâla châhen jo apnâ, tân pichhe hî mur jâh!
  Dûron bîrâ chukiâ ithe pahutâ âh:
  Sarkap dâ sir katke tote kassân châr.
  Tainûn banâsân wohtrî, main bansân mihrâj!_

  Grey-horsed Râjâ, come with lowered lance!
  Before thee is Râjâ Sarkap, he will take thy head!
  If thou seek thy own good, then turn thee back!
  I have come from afar under a vow of victory:
  I will cut off Sarkap's head and cut it into four pieces.
  I will make thee my little bride, and will become thy bridegroom!

_Hundredweight_--_Man_ in the original, or a little over 80
lbs.

_Verses_--In original--

  _Ik jo aia Rajpût katdâ mâromâr, Paske lârhân kapiân sittîâ
  sîne bhâr. Dharîn dharin bheren bhanîân aur bhane ghariâl! Taîn
  nûn, Râjâ, marsî ate sânûn kharsî hâl._

  A prince has come and is making havoc;
  He cut the long strings and threw us out headlong.
  The drums placed are broken and broken are the gongs.
  He will kill thee, Raja, and take me with him!

_Verses_--In original--

  _Chhotî nagarî dâ waskîn, Rânî wadî karî pukâr.
  Jân main niklân bâhar, tân merî tan nachâve dhâl.
  Fajre rotî tân khâsân, sir laisân utâr._

  Princess, thou hast brought a great complaint about a dweller in a
    small city.
  When I come out his shield will dance for fear of my valour.
  In the morning I will eat my bread and cut off their heads.



HOW RAJA RASÂLU PLAYED _CHAUPUR_ WITH RAJA SARKAP

_Dhol Râjâ_--It is not known why the rat was so called.  The hero
of a well-known popular love-tale bears the same name.  Dhol or Dhaul
(from Sanskrit _dhavala_, white) is in popular story the
_cow_ that supports the earth on its horns.

_Verses_--In original--

  _Sakhî samundar jamiân, Râjâ lîo rud gar thâe: Âo to charho
  merî pîth te, kot tudh kharân tarpâe. Urde pankhî main na desân,
  jo dauran lakh karor. Je tudh, Râjâ, pârâ khelsiâ, jeb hâth to
  pâe._

  O my beloved, I was born in the ocean, and the Râjâ
    bought me with much gold.
  Come and jump on my back and I will take thee off
    with thousands of bounds.
  Wings of birds shall not catch me, though they go
    thousands of miles.
  If thou wouldst gamble, Raja, keep thy hand on thy pocket.

_Verses_--In original--

  _Na ro, Râjiâ bholiâ; nâ main charsân ghâh,
  Na main tursân râh.
  Dahnâ dast uthâeke jeb de vich pâh!_

  Weep not, foolish Râjâ, I shall not eat their grass,
  Nor shall I go away.
  Take thy right hand and put it in thy pocket!

_Verses_.--In original--

  _Dhal, we pâsâ dhalwin ithe basante lok! Sarân dharân han
  bâziân, jehrî Sarkap kare so ho! Dhal, we pâsâ dhalwen, ithe
  basanlâ lok! Sarân dharân te bâzian!  Jehrî Allah kare so ho!_

  O moulded pieces, favour me:  a man is here!
  Heads and bodies are at stake! as Sarkap does so let it be.
  O moulded pieces, favour me:  a man is here!
  Heads and bodies are at stake! as God does so let it be!

_Verses_.--In original--

  _Hor râje murghâbîân, tu râjâ shâhbâz!
  Bandî bânân âe band khalâs kar! umar terî drâz._

  Other kings are wild-fowl, thou art a royal hawk!
  Unbind the chains of the chain-bound and live for ever!

_Mûrtî Hills_.--Near Râwal Pindî to the south-west.

_Kokilân_.--Means 'a darling':  she was unfaithful and most
dreadfully punished by being made to eat her lover's heart.



THE KING WHO WAS FRIED

_The king who was fried_.--The story is told of the hill temple
(_marhî_) on the top of Pindî Point at the Murree (_Marhî_)
Hill Sanitarium.  Full details of the surroundings are given in the
_Calcutta Review_, No. cl. p. 270 ff.

_King Karan,_.--This is for Karna, the half-brother of Pându, and
a great hero in the _Mahâbhârata_ legends.  Usually he appears in
the very different character of a typical tyrant, like Herod among
Christians, and for the same reason, _viz_. the slaughter of
innocents.

_Hundredweight_.--A man and a quarter in the original, or about
100 lbs.

_Mânsarobar Lake_.--The Mânasasarovara Lake (=Tsho-Mâphan) in the
Kailâsa Range of the Himâlayas, for ages a centre of Indian fable.
For descriptions see Cunningham's _Ladâk_, pp. 128-136.

_Swan_.--_Hansa_ in the original:  a fabulous bird that lives
on pearls only.  Swan translates it better than any other word.

_King Bikramâjît_.--The great Vikramâditya of Ujjayinî,
popularly the founder of the present Sarhvat era in B.C. 57.  Bikrû is
a legitimately-formed diminutive of the name.  Vikrâmaditya figures
constantly in folklore as Bikram, Vikram, and Vichram, and also by a
false analogy as Bik Râm and Vich Râm.  He also goes by the name of
Bîr Bikramâjît or Vîr Vikram, i.e.  Vikramâditya, the warrior.  In
some tales, probably by the error of the translator, he then becomes
two brothers, Vir and Vikram.  See Postans' _Cutch_, p. 18 ff.



PRINCE HALF-A-SON

_Half-a-son_--_Adhiâ_ in the original form; _âdhâ_, a
half.  The natives, however, give the tale the title of '_Sat
Bachiân diân Mâwân,_' _i.e_. the Mothers of Seven Sons.



THE MOTHER OF SEVEN SONS

_Broken-down old bed_.--This, with scratching the ground with the
fore-finger, is a recognised form of expressing grief in the Panjâb.
The object is to attract _faqîrs_ to help the sufferer.



THE RUBY PRINCE

_Prince Ruby_.--_La'ljî_, Mr. Ruby, a common name:  it can
also mean 'beloved son' or 'cherished son.'

_Snake-stone_.--_Mani_ the fabulous jewel in the
cobra's hood, according to folklore all over India.  See _Panjâb
Notes and Queries_, vol. i. for 1883-84.





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ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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