Hindu Literature
by Epiphanius Wilson
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Translator's Preface


THE WINNING OF FRIENDS The Story of the Jackal, Deer, and Crow The Story of the Vulture, the Cat, and the Birds The Story of the Dead Game and the Jackal The Prince and the Wife of the Merchant's Son The Story of the Old Jackal and the Elephant

THE PARTING OF FRIENDS The Story of the Lion, the Jackals, and the Bull The Story of the Monkey and the Wedge The Story of the Washerman's Jackass The Story of the Cat who Served the Lion The Story of the Terrible Bell The Story of the Prince and the Procuress The Story of the Black Snake and the Golden Chain The Story of the Lion and the Old Hare The Story of the Wagtail and the Sea

WAR The Battle of the Swans and Peacocks The Story of the Weaver-Birds and the Monkeys The Story of the Old Hare and the Elephants The Story of the Heron and the Crow The Story of the Appeased Wheelwright The Story of the Dyed Jackal The Story of the Faithful Rajpoot

PEACE The Treaty Between the Peacocks and the Swans The Story of the Tortoise and the Geese The Story of Fate and the Three Fishes The Story of the Unabashed Wife The Story of the Herons and the Mongoose The Story of the Recluse and the Mouse The Story of the Crane and the Crab The Story of the Brahman and the Pans The Duel of the Giants The Story of the Brahman and the Goat The Story of the Camel, the Lion, and His Court The Story of the Frogs and the Old Serpent


Introduction NALA AND DAMAYANTI.— Part I Part II


Introduction Invocation BOOK I.— CANTO I.—Narad [Cantos II., III., IV., and V. are omitted] VI.—The King VII.—The Ministers VIII.—Sumantra's Speech IX.—Rishyasring X.—Rishyasring Invited XI.—The Sacrifice Decreed XII.—The Sacrifice Begun XIII.—The Sacrifice Finished XIV.—Ravan Doomed XV.—The Nectar XVI.—The Vanars XVII.—Rishyasring's Return XVIII.—Rishyasring's Departure XIX.—The Birth of the Princes XX.—Visvamitra's Visit XXI.—Visvamitra's Speech XXII.—Dasaratha's Speech XXIII.—Vasishtha's Speech XXIV.—The Spells XXV.—The Hermitage of Love XXVI.—The Forest of Tadaka XXVII.—The Birth of Tadaka XXVIII.—The Death of Tadaka XXIX.—The Celestial Arms XXX.—The Mysterious Powers XXXI.—The Perfect Hermitage XXXII.—Visvamitra's Sacrifice XXXIII.—The Sone XXXIV.—Brahmadatta XXXV.—Visvamitra's Lineage XXXVI.—The Birth of Ganga [Cantos XXXVII. and XXXVIII. are omitted] XXXIX.—The Son of Sagar XL.—The Cleaving of the Earth XLI.—Kapil XLII.—Sagar's Sacrifice XLIII.—Bhagirath


Introduction Dramatis Personae Rules for Pronunciation of Proper Names Prologue Act First Act Second Prelude to Act Third Act Third Prelude to Act Fourth Act Fourth Act Fifth Prelude to Act Sixth Act Sixth Act Seventh


Introduction BALLADS OF HINDOSTAN.— Jogadhya Uma Buttoo Sindhu.— Part I Part II Part III MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.— Near Hastings France The Tree of Life Madame Therese Sonnet Sonnet Our Casuarina-Tree


* * * * *



[Translated from the Sanscrit by Sir Edwin Arnold]


A story-book from the Sanscrit at least possesses the minor merit of novelty. The "perfect language" has been hitherto regarded as the province of scholars, and few of these even have found time or taste to search its treasures. And yet among them is the key to the heart of modern India—as well as the splendid record of her ancient Gods and glories. The hope of Hindostan lies in the intelligent interest of England. Whatever avails to dissipate misconceptions between them, and to enlarge their intimacy, is a gain to both peoples; and to this end the present volume aspires, in an humble degree, to contribute.

The "Hitopadesa" is a work of high antiquity, and extended popularity. The prose is doubtless as old as our own era; but the intercalated verses and proverbs compose a selection from writings of an age extremely remote. The "Mahabharata" and the textual Veds are of those quoted; to the first of which Professor M. Williams (in his admirable edition of the "Nala," 1860) assigns a date of 350 B.C., while he claims for the "Rig-Veda" an antiquity as high as B.C. 1300. The "Hitopadesa" may thus be fairly styled "The Father of all Fables"; for from its numerous translations have come AEsop and Pilpay, and in later days Reineke Fuchs. Originally compiled in Sanscrit, it was rendered, by order of Nushiravan, in the sixth century, A.D., into Persic. From the Persic it passed, A.D. 850, into the Arabic, and thence into Hebrew and Greek. In its own land it obtained as wide a circulation. The Emperor Acbar, impressed with the wisdom of its maxims and the ingenuity of its apologues, commended the work of translating it to his own Vizir, Abdul Fazel. That minister accordingly put the book into a familiar style, and published it with explanations, under the title of the "Criterion of Wisdom." The Emperor had also suggested the abridgment of the long series of shlokes which here and there interrupt the narrative, and the Vizir found this advice sound, and followed it, like the present Translator. To this day, in India, the "Hitopadesa," under other names (as the "Anvari Suhaili"[1]), retains the delighted attention of young and old, and has some representative in all the Indian vernaculars. A work so well esteemed in the East cannot be unwelcome to Western readers, who receive it here, a condensed but faithful transcript of sense and manner.

As often as an Oriental allusion, or a name in Hindoo mythology, seemed to ask some explanation for the English reader, notes have been appended, bearing reference to the page. In their compilation, and generally, acknowledgment is due to Professor Johnson's excellent version and edition of the "Hitopadesa," and to Mr. Muir's "Sanscrit Texts."

A residence in India, and close intercourse with the Hindoos, have given the author a lively desire to subserve their advancement. No one listens now to the precipitate ignorance which would set aside as "heathenish" the high civilization of this great race; but justice is not yet done to their past development and present capacities. If the wit, the morality, and the philosophy of these "beasts of India" (so faithfully rendered by Mr. Harrison Weir) surprise any vigorous mind into further exploration of her literature, and deeper sense of our responsibility in her government, the author will be repaid.


[1] "The Lights of Canopus," a Persian paraphrase; as the "Khirad Afroz," "the lamp of the Understanding," is in Hindustani.




This book of Counsel read, and you shall see, Fair speech and Sanscrit lore, and Policy.

ON the banks of the holy river Ganges there stood a city named Pataliputra. The King of it was a good King and a virtuous, and his name was Sudarsana. It chanced one day that he overheard a certain person reciting these verses—

"Wise men, holding wisdom highest, scorn delights, as false as fair, Daily live they as Death's fingers twined already in their hair.

Truly, richer than all riches, better than the best of gain, Wisdom is, unbought, secure—once won, none loseth her again.

Bringing dark things into daylight, solving doubts that vex the mind, Like an open eye is Wisdom—he that hath her not is blind."

Hearing these the King became disquieted, knowing that his own sons were gaining no wisdom, nor reading the Sacred Writings,[2] but altogether going in the wrong way; and he repeated this verse to himself—

"Childless art thou? dead thy children? leaving thee to want and dool? Less thy misery than his is, who is father to a fool."

And again this—

"One wise son makes glad his father, forty fools avail him not:— One moon silvers all that darkness which the silly stars did dot."

"And it has been said," reflected he—

"Ease and health, obeisant children, wisdom, and a fair-voiced wife— Thus, great King! are counted up the five felicities of life. For the son the sire is honored; though the bow-cane bendeth true, Let the strained string crack in using, and what service shall it do?"

"Nevertheless," mused the King, "I know it is urged that human efforts are useless: as, for instance—

"That which will not be, will not be—and what is to be, will be:— Why not drink this easy physic, antidote of misery?"

"But then that comes from idleness, with people who will not do what they should do. Rather,

"Nay! and faint not, idly sighing, 'Destiny is mightiest,' Sesamum holds oil in plenty, but it yieldeth none unpressed. Ah! it is the Coward's babble, 'Fortune taketh, Fortune gave;' Fortune! rate her like a master, and she serves thee like a slave."

"For indeed,

"Twofold is the life we live in—Fate and Will together run:— Two wheels bear life's chariot onward—will it move on only one?"


"Look! the clay dries into iron, but the potter moulds the clay:— Destiny to-day is master—Man was master yesterday."

"So verily,

"Worthy ends come not by wishing. Wouldst thou? Up, and win it, then! While the hungry lion slumbers, not a deer comes to his den."

Having concluded his reflections, the Raja gave orders to assemble a meeting of learned men. Then said he—

"Hear now, O my Pundits! Is there one among you so wise that he will undertake to give the second birth of Wisdom to these my sons, by teaching them the Books of Policy; for they have never yet read the Sacred Writings, and are altogether going in the wrong road; and ye know that

"Silly glass, in splendid settings, something of the gold may gain; And in company of wise ones, fools to wisdom may attain."

Then uprose a great Sage, by name Vishnu-Sarman, learned in the principles of Policy as is the angel of the planet Jupiter himself, and he said—

"My Lord King, I will undertake to teach these princes Policy, seeing they are born of a great house; for—

"Labors spent on the unworthy, of reward the laborer balk; Like the parrot, teach the heron twenty times, he will not talk."

"But in this royal family the offspring are royal-minded, and in six moons I will engage to make your Majesty's sons comprehend Policy."

The Raja replied, with condescension:—

"On the eastern mountains lying, common things shine in the sun, And by learned minds enlightened, lower minds may show as one."

"And you, worshipful sir, are competent to teach my children the rules of Policy."

So saying, with much graciousness, he gave the Princes into the charge of Vishnu-Sarman; and that sage, by way of introduction, spake to the Princes, as they sat at ease on the balcony of the palace, in this wise:—

"Hear now, my Princes! for the delectation of your Highnesses, I purpose to tell the tale of the Crow, the Tortoise, the Deer, and the Mouse."

"Pray, sir," said the King's sons, "let us hear it."

Vishnu-Sarman answered—

"It begins with the Winning of Friends; and this is the first verse of it:—

"Sans way or wealth, wise friends their purpose gain— The Mouse, Crow, Deer, and Tortoise make this plain."

[2] The Vedas are the holy books of India. They are four in number: The Rig-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sama-Veda, and Atharva-Veda.


Sans way or wealth, wise friends their purpose gain— The Mouse, Crow, Deer, and Tortoise make this plain."

"However was that?" asked the Princes.

Vishnu-Sarman replied:—

"On the banks of the Godavery there stood a large silk-cotton-tree, and thither at night, from all quarters and regions, the birds came to roost. Now once, when the night was just spent, and his Radiance the Moon, Lover of the white lotus, was about to retire behind the western hills, a Crow who perched there, 'Light o' Leap' by name, upon awakening, saw to his great wonder a fowler approaching—a second God of Death. The sight set him reflecting, as he flew off uneasily to follow up the man's movements, and he began to think what mischief this ill-omened apparition foretold.

"For a thousand thoughts of sorrow, and a hundred things of dread, By the wise unheeded, trouble day by day the foolish head."

And yet in this life it must be that

"Of the day's impending dangers, Sickness, Death, and Misery, One will be; the wise man waking, ponders which that one will be."

Presently the fowler fixed a net, scattered grains of rice about, and withdrew to hide. At this moment "Speckle-neck," King of the Pigeons, chanced to be passing through the sky with his Court, and caught sight of the rice-grains. Thereupon the King of the Pigeons asked of his rice-loving followers, 'How can there possibly be rice-grains lying here in an unfrequented forest? We will see into it, of course, but We like not the look of it—love of rice may ruin us, as the Traveller was ruined.

"All out of longing for a golden bangle, The Tiger, in the mud, the man did mangle."

"How did that happen?" asked the Pigeons.


"Thus," replied Speckle-neck: "I was pecking about one day in the Deccan forest, and saw an old tiger sitting newly bathed on the bank of a pool, like a Brahman, and with holy kuskus-grass[3] in his paws.

'Ho! ho! ye travellers,' he kept calling out, 'take this golden bangle!'

Presently a covetous fellow passed by and heard him.

'Ah!' thought he, 'this is a bit of luck—but I must not risk my neck for it either.

"Good things come not out of bad things; wisely leave a longed-for ill. Nectar being mixed with poison serves no purpose but to kill."

'But all gain is got by risk, so I will see into it at least;' then he called out, 'Where is thy bangle?'

The Tiger stretched forth his paw and exhibited it.

'Hem!' said the Traveller, 'can I trust such a fierce brute as thou art?'

'Listen,' replied the Tiger, 'once, in the days of my cub-hood, I know I was very wicked. I killed cows, Brahmans, and men without number—and I lost my wife and children for it—and haven't kith or kin left. But lately I met a virtuous man who counselled me to practise the duty of almsgiving—and, as thou seest, I am strict at ablutions and alms. Besides, I am old, and my nails and fangs are gone—so who would mistrust me? and I have so far conquered selfishness, that I keep the golden bangle for whoso comes. Thou seemest poor! I will give it thee. Is it not said,

'Give to poor men, son of Kunti—on the wealthy waste not wealth; Good are simples for the sick man, good for nought to him in health.'

'Wade over the pool, therefore, and take the bangle,'

Thereupon the covetous Traveller determined to trust him, and waded into the pool, where he soon found himself plunged in mud, and unable to move.

'Ho! ho!' says the Tiger, 'art thou stuck in a slough? stay, I will fetch thee out!'

So saying he approached the wretched man and seized him—who meanwhile bitterly reflected—

'Be his Scripture-learning wondrous, yet the cheat will be a cheat; Be her pasture ne'er so bitter, yet the cow's milk will be sweet.'

And on that verse, too—

'Trust not water, trust not weapons; trust not clawed nor horned things; Neither give thy soul to women, nor thy life to Sons of Kings.'

And those others—

'Look! the Moon, the silver roamer, from whose splendor darkness flies With his starry cohorts marching, like a crowned king through the skies. All the grandeur, all the glory, vanish in the Dragon's jaw; What is written on the forehead, that will be, and nothing more,'

Here his meditations were cut short by the Tiger devouring him. "And that," said Speckle-neck, "is why we counselled caution."

"Why, yes!" said a certain pigeon, with some presumption, "but you've read the verse—

'Counsel in danger; of it Unwarned, be nothing begun. But nobody asks a Prophet Shall the risk of a dinner be run?'

Hearing that, the Pigeons settled at once; for we know that

"Avarice begetteth anger; blind desires from her begin; A right fruitful mother is she of a countless spawn of sin.'

And again,

'Can a golden Deer have being? yet for such the Hero pined:— When the cloud of danger hovers, then its shadow dims the mind.'

Presently they were caught in the net. Thereat, indeed, they all began to abuse the pigeon by whose suggestion they had been ensnared. It is the old tale!

"Be second and not first!—the share's the same If all go well. If not, the Head's to blame."

And we should remember that

"Passion will be Slave or Mistress: follow her, she brings to woe; Lead her, 'tis the way to Fortune. Choose the path that thou wilt go."

When King Speckle-neck heard their reproaches, he said, "No, no! it is no fault of his.

'When the time of trouble cometh, friends may ofttimes irk us most: For the calf at milking-hour the mother's leg is tying-post.'

'And in disaster, dismay is a coward's quality; let us rather rely on fortitude, and devise some remedy. How saith the sage?

"In good fortune not elated, in ill-fortune not dismayed, Ever eloquent in council, never in the fight affrayed— Proudly emulous of honor, steadfastly on wisdom set; Perfect virtues in the nature of a noble soul are met. Whoso hath them, gem and glory of the three wide worlds[4] is he; Happy mother she that bore him, she who nursed him on her knee."

"Let us do this now directly," continued the King: "at one moment and with one will, rising under the net, let us fly off with it: for indeed

'Small things wax exceeding mighty, being cunningly combined:— Furious elephants are fastened with a rope of grass-blades twined.'

"And it is written, you know,

'Let the household hold together, though the house be ne'er so small; Strip the rice-husk from the rice-grain, and it groweth not at all.'

Having pondered this advice, the Pigeons adopted it; and flew away with the net. At first the fowler, who was at a distance, hoped to recover them, but as they passed out of sight with the snare about them he gave up the pursuit. Perceiving this, the Pigeons said,

"What is the next thing to be done, O King?"

"A friend of mine," said Speckle-neck, "lives near in a beautiful forest on the Gundaki. Golden-skin is his name—the King of the Mice—he is the one to cut these bonds."

Resolving to have recourse to him, they directed their flight to the hole of Golden-skin—a prudent monarch, who dreaded danger so much that he had made himself a palace with a hundred outlets, and lived always in it. Sitting there he heard the descent of the pigeons, and remained silent and alarmed.

"Friend Golden-skin," cried the King, "have you no welcome for us?"

"Ah, my friend!" said the Mouse-king, rushing out on recognizing the voice, "is it thou art come, Speckle-neck! how delightful!—But what is this?" exclaimed he, regarding the entangled net.

"That," said King Speckle-neck, "is the effect of some wrong-doing in a former life—

'Sickness, anguish, bonds, and woe Spring from wrongs wrought long ago,'[5]

Golden-skin, without replying, ran at once to the net, and began to gnaw the strings that held Speckle-neck.

"Nay! friend, not so," said the King, "cut me first these meshes from my followers, and afterwards thou shalt sever mine."

"I am little," answered Golden-skin, "and my teeth are weak—how can I gnaw so much? No! no! I will nibble your strings as long as my teeth last, and afterwards do my best for the others. To preserve dependents by sacrificing oneself is nowhere enjoined by wise moralists; on the contrary—

'Keep wealth for want, but spend-it for thy wife, And wife, and wealth, and all to guard thy life,'

"Friend," replied King Speckle-neck, "that may be the rule of policy, but I am one that can by no means bear to witness the distress of those who depend on me, for—

'Death, that must come, comes nobly when we give Our wealth, and life, and all, to make men live,'

And you know the verse,

'Friend, art thou faithful? guard mine honor so! And let the earthy rotting body go,'"

When King Golden-skin heard this answer his heart was charmed, and his fur bristled up for pure pleasure. "Nobly spoken, friend," said he, "nobly spoken! with such a tenderness for those that look to thee, the Sovereignty of the Three Worlds might be fitly thine." So saying he set himself to cut all their bonds. This done, and the pigeons extricated, the King of the Mice[6] gave them his formal welcome. "But, your Majesty," he said, "this capture in the net was a work of destiny; you must not blame yourself as you did, and suspect a former fault. Is it not written—

'Floating on his fearless pinions, lost amid the noon-day skies, Even thence the Eagle's vision kens the carcase where it lies; But the hour that comes to all things comes unto the Lord of Air, And he rushes, madly blinded, to his ruin in the snare,'"

With this correction Golden-skin proceeded to perform the duties of hospitality, and afterwards, embracing and dismissing them, the pigeons left for such destination as they fancied, and the King of the Mice retired again into his hole.

Now Light o' Leap, the Crow, had been a spectator of the whole transaction, and wondered at it so much that at last he called out, "Ho! Golden-skin, thou very laudable Prince, let me too be a friend of thine, and give me thy friendship."

"Who art thou?" said Golden-skin, who heard him, but would not come out of his hole.

"I am the Crow Light o' Leap," replied the other.

"How can I possibly be on good terms with thee?" answered Golden-skin with a laugh; "have you never read—

'When Food is friends with Feeder, look for Woe, The Jackal ate the Deer, but for the Crow,'

"No! how was that?"

"I will tell thee," replied Golden-skin:—


"Far away in Behar there is a forest called Champak-Grove,[7] and in it had long lived in much affection a Deer and a Crow. The Deer, roaming unrestrained, happy and fat of carcase, was one day descried by a Jackal. 'Ho! ho!' thought the Jackal on observing him, 'if I could but get this soft meat for a meal! It might be—if I can only win his confidence,' Thus reflecting he approached, and saluted him.

'Health be to thee, friend Deer!'

'Who art thou?' said the Deer.

'I'm Small-wit, the Jackal,' replied the other. 'I live in the wood here, as the dead do, without a friend; but now that I have met with such a friend as thou, I feel as if I were beginning life again with plenty of relations. Consider me your faithful servant.'

'Very well,' said the Deer; and then, as the glorious King of Day, whose diadem is the light, had withdrawn himself, the two went together to the residence of the Deer. In that same spot, on a branch of Champak, dwelt the Crow Sharp-sense, an old friend of the Deer. Seeing them approach together, the Crow said,

'Who is this number two, friend Deer?'

'It is a Jackal,' answered the Deer, 'that desires our acquaintance.'

'You should not become friendly to a stranger without reason,' said Sharp-sense. 'Don't you know?'

"To folks by no one known house-room deny:— The Vulture housed the Cat, and thence did die."

'No! how was that?' said both.

'In this wise,' answered the Crow.


"On the banks of the Ganges there is a cliff called Vulture-Crag, and thereupon grew a great fig-tree. It was hollow, and within its shelter lived an old Vulture, named Grey-pate, whose hard fortune it was to have lost both eyes and talons. The birds that roosted in the tree made subscriptions from their own store, out of sheer pity for the poor fellow, and by that means he managed to live. One day, when the old birds were gone, Long-ear, the Cat, came there to get a meal of the nestlings; and they, alarmed at perceiving him, set up a chirruping that roused Grey-pate.

'Who comes there?' croaked Grey-pate.

"Now Long-ear, on espying the Vulture, thought himself undone; but as flight was impossible, he resolved to trust his destiny and approach.

'My lord,' said he, 'I have the honor to salute thee.'

'Who is it?' said the Vulture.

'I am a Cat,'

'Be off, Cat, or I shall slay thee,' said the Vulture.

'I am ready to die if I deserve death,' answered the Cat; 'but let what I have to say be heard,'

'Wherefore, then, comest thou?' said the Vulture.

'I live,' began Long-ear, 'on the Ganges, bathing, and eating no flesh, practising the moon-penance,[8] like a Bramacharya. The birds that resort thither constantly praise your worship to me as one wholly given to the study of morality, and worthy of all trust; and so I came here to learn law from thee, Sir, who art so deep gone in learning and in years. Dost thou, then, so read the law of strangers as to be ready to slay a guest? What say the books about the householder?—

'Bar thy door not to the stranger, be he friend or be he foe, For the tree will shade the woodman while his axe doth lay it low,'

And if means fail, what there is should be given with kind words, as—

'Greeting fair, and room to rest in; fire, and water from the well— Simple gifts—are given freely in the house where good men dwell,'—

and without respect of person—

'Young, or bent with many winters; rich, or poor, whate'er thy guest, Honor him for thine own honor—better is he than the best,'

Else comes the rebuke—

'Pity them that ask thy pity: who art thou to stint thy hoard, When the holy moon shines equal on the leper and the lord!'

And that other, too,

'When thy gate is roughly fastened, and the asker turns away, Thence he bears thy good deeds with him, and his sins on thee doth lay

For verily,

'In the house the husband ruleth, men the Brahmans "master" call; Agni is the Twice-born Master—but the guest is lord of all,'

"To these weighty words Grey-pate answered,

'Yes! but cats like meat, and there are young birds here, and therefore I said, go,'

'Sir,' said the Cat (and as he spoke he touched the ground, and then his two ears, and called on Krishna to witness to his words), 'I that have overcome passion, and practised the moon-penance, know the Scriptures; and howsoever they contend, in this primal duty of abstaining from injury they are unanimous. Which of them sayeth not—

'He who does and thinks no wrong— He who suffers, being strong— He whose harmlessness men know— Unto Swerga such doth go.'

"And so, winning the old Vulture's confidence, Long-ear, the Cat, entered the hollow tree and lived there. And day after day he stole away some of the nestlings, and brought them down to the hollow to devour. Meantime the parent birds, whose little ones were being eaten, made an inquiry after them in all quarters; and the Cat, discovering this fact, slipped out from the hollow, and made his escape. Afterwards, when the birds came to look closely, they found the bones of their young ones in the hollow of the tree where Grey-pate lived; and the birds at once concluded that their nestlings had been killed and eaten by the old Vulture, whom they accordingly executed. That is my story, and why I warned you against unknown acquaintances."

"Sir," said the Jackal, with some warmth, "on the first day of your encountering the Deer you also were of unknown family and character: how is it, then, that your friendship with him grows daily greater? True, I am only Small-wit, the Jackal, but what says the saw?—

"In the land where no wise men are, men of little wit are lords; And the castor-oil's a tree, where no tree else its shade affords."

The Deer is my friend; condescend, sir, to be my friend also."

'Oh!' broke in the Deer, 'why so much talking? We'll all live together, and be friendly and happy—

'Foe is friend, and friend is foe, As our actions make them so,'

"Very good," said Sharp-sense; "as you will;" and in the morning each started early for his own feeding-ground (returning at night). One day the Jackal drew the Deer aside, and whispered, 'Deer, in one corner of this wood there is a field full of sweet young wheat; come and let me show you.' The Deer accompanied him, and found the field, and afterwards went every day there to eat the green corn, till at last the owner of the ground spied him and set a snare. The Deer came again very shortly, and was caught in it, and (after vainly struggling) exclaimed, 'I am fast in the net, and it will be a net of death to me if no friend comes to rescue me!' Presently Small-wit, the Jackal, who had been lurking near, made his appearance, and standing still, he said to himself, with a chuckle, 'O ho! my scheme bears fruit! When he is cut up, his bones, and gristle, and blood, will fall to my share and make me some beautiful dinners,' The Deer, here catching sight of him, exclaimed with rapture, 'Ah, friend, this is excellent! Do but gnaw these strings, and I shall be at liberty. How charming to realize the saying!—

'That friend only is the true friend who is near when trouble comes; That man only is the brave man who can bear the battle-drums; Words are wind; deed proveth promise: he who helps at need is kin; And the leal wife is loving though the husband lose or win,'

And is it not written—

'Friend and kinsman—more their meaning than the idle-hearted mind. Many a friend can prove unfriendly, many a kinsman less than kind: He who shares his comrade's portion, be he beggar, be he lord, Comes as truly, comes as duly, to the battle as the board— Stands before the king to succor, follows to the pile to sigh— He is friend, and he is kinsman—less would make the name a lie.'

"Small-wit answered nothing, but betook himself to examining the snare very closely.

'This will certainly hold,' muttered he; then, turning to the Deer, he said, 'Good friend, these strings, you see, are made of sinew, and to-day is a fast-day, so that I cannot possibly bite them. To-morrow morning, if you still desire it, I shall be happy to serve you,'

When he was gone, the Crow, who had missed the Deer upon returning that evening, and had sought for him everywhere, discovered him; and seeing his sad plight, exclaimed—

'How came this about, my friend?'

'This came,' replied the Deer, 'through disregarding a friend's advice,'

'Where is that rascal Small-wit?' asked the Crow.

'He is waiting somewhere by,' said the Deer, 'to taste my flesh,'

'Well,' sighed the Crow, 'I warned you; but it is as in the true verse—

'Stars gleam, lamps flicker, friends foretell of fate; The fated sees, knows, hears them—all too late.'

And then, with a deeper sigh, he exclaimed,'Ah, traitor Jackal, what an ill deed hast thou done! Smooth-tongued knave—alas!—and in the face of the monition too—

'Absent, flatterers' tongues are daggers—present, softer than the silk; Shun them! 'tis a jar of poison hidden under harmless milk; Shun them when they promise little! Shun them when they promise much! For, enkindled, charcoal burneth—cold, it doth defile the touch.'

When the day broke, the Crow (who was still there) saw the master of the field approaching with his club in his hand.

'Now, friend Deer,' said Sharp-sense on perceiving him, 'do thou cause thyself to seem like one dead: puff thy belly up with wind, stiffen thy legs out, and lie very still. I will make a show of pecking thine eyes out with my beak; and whensoever I utter a croak, then spring to thy feet and betake thee to flight.'

The Deer thereon placed himself exactly as the Crow suggested, and was very soon espied by the husbandman, whose eyes opened with joy at the sight.

'Aha!' said he, 'the fellow has died of himself,' and so speaking, he released the Deer from the snare, and proceeded to gather and lay aside his nets. At that instant Sharp-sense uttered a loud croak, and the Deer sprang up and made off. And the club which the husbandman flung after him in a rage struck Small-wit, the Jackal (who was close by), and killed him. Is it not said, indeed?—

'In years, or moons, or half-moons three, Or in three days—suddenly, Knaves are shent—true men go free,'

"Thou seest, then," said Golden-skin, "there can be no friendship between food and feeder."

"I should hardly," replied the Crow, "get a large breakfast out of your worship; but as to that indeed you have nothing to fear from me. I am not often angry, and if I were, you know—

'Anger comes to noble natures, but leaves there no strife or storm: Plunge a lighted torch beneath it, and the ocean grows not warm.'

"Then, also, thou art such a gad-about," objected the King.

"Maybe," answered Light o' Leap; "but I am bent on winning thy friendship, and I will die at thy door of fasting if thou grantest it not. Let us be friends! for

'Noble hearts are golden vases—close the bond true metals make; Easily the smith may weld them, harder far it is to break. Evil hearts are earthen vessels—at a touch they crack a-twain, And what craftsman's ready cunning can unite the shards again?'

And then, too,

'Good men's friendships may be broken, yet abide they friends at heart; Snap the stem of Luxmee's lotus, and its fibres will not part.'

"Good sir," said the King of the Mice, "your conversation is as pleasing as pearl necklets or oil of sandal-wood in hot weather. Be it as you will"—and thereon King Golden-skin made a treaty with the Crow, and after gratifying him with the best of his store reentered his hole. The Crow returned to his accustomed perch:—and thenceforward the time passed in mutual presents of food, in polite inquiries, and the most unrestrained talk. One day Light o' Leap thus accosted Golden-skin:—

"This is a poor place, your Majesty, for a Crow to get a living in. I should like to leave it and go elsewhere."

"Whither wouldst thou go?" replied the King; they say,

'One foot goes, and one foot stands, When the wise man leaves his lands.'

"And they say, too," answered the Crow,

'Over-love of home were weakness; wheresoever the hero come, Stalwart arm and steadfast spirit find or win for him a home.

Little recks the awless lion where his hunting jungles lie— When he enters it be certain that a royal prey shall die,'

"I know an excellent jungle now."

"Which is that?" asked the Mouse-king.

"In the Nerbudda woods, by Camphor-water," replied the Crow. "There is an old and valued friend of mine lives there—Slow-toes his name is, a very virtuous Tortoise; he will regale me with fish and good things."

"Why should I stay behind," said Golden-skin, "if thou goest? Take me also."

Accordingly, the two set forth together, enjoying charming converse upon the road. Slow-toes perceived Light o' Leap a long way off, and hastened to do him the guest-rites, extending them to the Mouse upon Light o' Leap's introduction.

"Good Slow-toes," said he, "this is Golden-skin, King of the Mice—pay all honor to him—he is burdened with virtues—a very jewel-mine of kindnesses. I don't know if the Prince of all the Serpents, with his two thousand tongues, could rightly repeat them." So speaking, he told the story of Speckle-neck. Thereupon Slow-toes made a profound obeisance to Golden-skin, and said, "How came your Majesty, may I ask, to retire to an unfrequented forest?"

"I will tell you," said the King. "You must know that in the town of Champaka there is a college for the devotees. Unto this resorted daily a beggar-priest, named Chudakarna, whose custom was to place his begging-dish upon the shelf, with such alms in it as he had not eaten, and go to sleep by it; and I, so soon as he slept, used to jump up, and devour the meal. One day a great friend of his, named Vinakarna, also a mendicant, came to visit him; and observed that while conversing, he kept striking the ground with a split cane, to frighten me. 'Why don't you listen?' said Vinakarna. 'I am listening!' replied the other; 'but this plaguy mouse is always eating the meal out of my begging-dish,' Vinakarna looked at the shelf and remarked, 'However can a mouse jump as high as this? There must be a reason, though there seems none. I guess the cause—the fellow is well off and fat,' With these words Vinakarna snatched up a shovel, discovered my retreat, and took away all my hoard of provisions. After that I lost strength daily, had scarcely energy enough to get my dinner, and, in fact, crept about so wretchedly, that when Chudakarna saw me he fell to quoting—

'Very feeble folk are poor folk; money lost takes wit away:— All their doings fail like runnels, wasting through the summer day.'

"Yes!" I thought, "he is right, and so are the sayings—

'Wealth is friends, home, father, brother—title to respect and fame; Yea, and wealth is held for wisdom—that it should be so is shame,' 'Home is empty to the childless; hearts to them who friends deplore:— Earth unto the idle-minded; and the three worlds to the poor.'

'I can stay here no longer; and to tell my distress to another is out of the question—altogether out of the question!—

'Say the sages, nine things name not: Age, domestic joys and woes, Counsel, sickness, shame, alms, penance; neither Poverty disclose. Better for the proud of spirit, death, than life with losses told; Fire consents to be extinguished, but submits not to be cold.'

'Verily he was wise, methought also, who wrote—

'As Age doth banish beauty, As moonlight dies in gloom, As Slavery's menial duty Is Honor's certain tomb; As Hari's name and Hara's Spoken, charm sin away, So Poverty can surely A hundred virtues slay.'

'And as to sustaining myself on another man's bread, that,' I mused, 'would be but a second door of death. Say not the books the same?—

'Half-known knowledge, present pleasure purchased with a future woe, And to taste the salt of service—greater griefs no man can know.'

'And herein, also—

'All existence is not equal, and all living is not life; Sick men live; and he who, banished, pines for children, home, and wife; And the craven-hearted eater of another's leavings lives, And the wretched captive waiting for the word of doom survives; But they bear an anguished body, and they draw a deadly breath, And life cometh to them only on the happy day of death.'

Yet, after all these reflections, I was covetous enough to make one more attempt on Chudakarna's meal, and got a blow from the split cane for my pains. 'Just so,' I said to myself, 'the soul and organs of the discontented want keeping in subjection. I must be done with discontent:—

'Golden gift, serene Contentment! have thou that, and all is had; Thrust thy slipper on, and think thee that the earth is leather-clad.'

'All is known, digested, tested; nothing new is left to learn When the soul, serene, reliant, Hope's delusive dreams can spurn.'

'And the sorry task of seeking favor is numbered in the miseries of life—

'Hast thou never watched, a-waiting till the great man's door unbarred? Didst thou never linger parting, saying many a last sad word? Spak'st thou never word of folly, one light thing thou wouldst recall? Rare and noble hath thy life been! fair thy fortune did befall!'

'No!' exclaimed I, 'I will do none of these; but, by retiring into the quiet and untrodden forest, I will show my discernment of real good and ill. The holy Books counsel it—

'True Religion!—'tis not blindly prating what the priest may prate, But to love, as God hath loved them, all things, be they small or great; And true bliss is when a sane mind doth a healthy body fill; And true knowledge is the knowing what is good and what is ill.'

"So came I to the forest, where, by good fortune and this good friend, I met much kindness; and by the same good fortune have encountered you, Sir, whose friendliness is as Heaven to me. Ah! Sir Tortoise,

'Poisonous though the tree of life be, two fair blossoms grow thereon: One, the company of good men; and sweet songs of Poet's, one.'

"King!" said Slow-toes, "your error was getting too much, without giving. Give, says the sage—

'Give, and it shall swell thy getting; give, and thou shalt safer keep: Pierce the tank-wall; or it yieldeth, when the water waxes deep.'

And he is very hard upon money-grubbing: as thus—

'When the miser hides his treasure in the earth, he doeth well; For he opens up a passage that his soul may sink to hell,'

And thus—

'He whose coins are kept for counting, not to barter nor to give, Breathe he like a blacksmith's bellows, yet in truth he doth not live.'

It hath been well written, indeed,

'Gifts, bestowed with words of kindness, making giving doubly dear:— Wisdom, deep, complete, benignant, of all arrogancy clear; Valor, never yet forgetful of sweet Mercy's pleading prayer; Wealth, and scorn of wealth to spend it—oh! but these be virtues rare!'

"Frugal one may be," continued Slow-toes; "but not a niggard like the Jackal—

'The Jackal-knave, that starved his spirit so, And died of saving, by a broken bow.'

"Did he, indeed," said Golden-skin; "and how was that?"

"I will tell you," answered Slow-toes:—


"In a town called 'Well-to-Dwell' there lived a mighty hunter, whose name was 'Grim-face,' Feeling a desire one day for a little venison, he took his bow, and went into the woods; where he soon killed a deer. As he was carrying the deer home, he came upon a wild boar of prodigious proportions. Laying the deer upon the earth, he fixed and discharged an arrow and struck the boar, which instantly rushed upon him with a roar louder than the last thunder, and ripped the hunter up. He fell like a tree cut by the axe, and lay dead along with the boar, and a snake also, which had been crushed by the feet of the combatants. Not long afterwards, there came that way, in his prowl for food, a Jackal, named 'Howl o' Nights,' and cast eyes on the hunter, the deer, the boar, and the snake lying dead together. 'Aha!' said he, 'what luck! Here's a grand dinner got ready for me! Good fortune can come, I see, as well as ill fortune. Let me think:—the man will be fine pickings for a month; the deer with the boar will last two more; the snake will do for to-morrow; and, as I am very particularly hungry, I will treat myself now to this bit of meat on the bow-horn,' So saying, he began to gnaw it asunder, and the bow-string slipping, the bow sprang back, and resolved Howl o' Nights into the five elements by death. That is my story," continued Slow-toes, "and its application is for the wise:—

'Sentences of studied wisdom, nought avail they unapplied; Though the blind man hold a lantern, yet his footsteps stray aside.'

The secret of success, indeed, is a free, contented, and yet enterprising mind. How say the books thereon?—

'Wouldst thou know whose happy dwelling Fortune entereth unknown? His, who careless of her favor, standeth fearless in his own; His, who for the vague to-morrow barters not the sure to-day— Master of himself, and sternly steadfast to the rightful way: Very mindful of past service, valiant, faithful, true of heart— Unto such comes Lakshmi[9] smiling—comes, and will not lightly part.'

"What indeed," continued Slow-toes, "is wealth, that we should prize it, or grieve to lose it?—

'Be not haughty, being wealthy; droop not, having lost thine all; Fate doth play with mortal fortunes as a girl doth toss her ball.'

It is unstable by nature. We are told—

'Worldly friendships, fair but fleeting, shadows of the clouds at noon Women, youth, new corn, and riches—these be pleasures passing soon.'

And it is idle to be anxious; the Master of Life knows how to sustain it. Is it not written?—

'For thy bread be not o'er thoughtful—God for all hath taken thought: When the babe is born, the sweet milk to the mother's breast is brought.

He who gave the swan her silver, and the hawk her plumes of pride, And his purples to the peacock—He will verily provide.'

"Yes, verily," said Slow-toes, "wealth is bad to handle, and better left alone; there is no truer saying than this—

'Though for good ends, waste not on wealth a minute; Mud may be wiped, but wise men plunge not in it.'

Hearing the wisdom of these monitions, Light o' Leap broke out, 'Good Slow-toes! thou art a wise protector of those that come to thee; thy learning comforts my enlightened friend, as elephants drag elephants from the mire,' And thus, on the best of terms, wandering where they pleased for food, the three lived there together.

One day it chanced that a Deer named Dapple-back, who had seen some cause of alarm in the forest, came suddenly upon the three in his flight. Thinking the danger imminent, Slow-toes dropped into the water, King Golden-skin slipped into his hole, and Light o' Leap flew up into the top of a high tree. Thence he looked all round to a great distance, but could discover nothing. So they all came back again, and sat down together. Slow-toes welcomed the Deer.

'Good Deer,' said he, 'may grass and water never fail thee at thy need. Gratify us by residing here, and consider this forest thine own.'

'Indeed,' answered Dapple-back, 'I came hither for your protection, flying from a hunter; and to live with you in friendship is my greatest desire.'

'Then the thing is settled,' observed Golden-skin.

'Yes! yes!' said Light o' Leap, 'make yourself altogether at home!'

So the Deer, charmed at his reception, ate grass and drank water, and laid himself down in the shade of a Banyan-tree to talk. Who does not know?—

'Brunettes, and the Banyan's shadow, Well-springs, and a brick-built wall. Are all alike cool in the summer, And warm in the winter—all.'

'What made thee alarmed, friend Deer?' began Slow-toes. 'Do hunters ever come to this unfrequented forest?'

'I have heard,' replied Dapple-back, 'that the Prince of the Kalinga country, Rukmangada, is coming here. He is even now encamped on the Cheenab River, on his march to subjugate the borders; and the hunters have been heard to say that he will halt to-morrow by this very lake of "Camphor-water." Don't you think, as it is dangerous to stay, that we ought to resolve on something?'

'I shall certainly go to another pool,' exclaimed Slow-toes.

'It would be better,' answered the Crow and Deer together.

'Yes!' remarked the King of the Mice, after a minute's thought; 'but how is Slow-toes to get across the country in time? Animals like our amphibious host are best in the water; on land he might suffer from his own design, like the merchant's son—

'The merchant's son laid plans for gains, And saw his wife kissed for his pains.'

'How came that about?' asked all. "I'll tell you," answered Golden-skin.


"In the country of Kanouj there was a King named Virasena, and he made his son viceroy of a city called Virapoora. The Prince was rich, handsome, and in the bloom of youth. Passing through the streets of his city one day, he observed a very lovely woman, whose name was Lavanyavati—i.e., the Beautiful—the wife of a merchant's son. On reaching his palace, full of her charms and of passionate admiration for them, he despatched a message to her, and a letter, by a female attendant:—who wonders at it?—

'Ah! the gleaming, glancing arrows of a lovely woman's eye! Feathered with her jetty lashes, perilous they pass us by:— Loosed at venture from the black bows of her arching brow they part, All too penetrant and deadly for an undefended heart.'

Now Lavanyavati, from the moment she saw the Prince, was hit with the same weapon of love that wounded him; but upon hearing the message of the attendant, she refused with dignity to receive his letter.

'I am my husband's,' she said, 'and that is my honor; for—

'Beautiful the Koil[10] seemeth for the sweetness of his song, Beautiful the world esteemeth pious souls for patience strong; Homely features lack not favor when true wisdom they reveal, And a wife is fair and honored while her heart is firm and leal.'

What the lord of my life enjoins, that I do.'

'Is such my answer?' asked the attendant.

'It is,' said Lavanyavati.

Upon the messenger reporting her reply to the Prince, he was in despair.

'The God of the five shafts has hit me,' he exclaimed, 'and only her presence will cure my wound.'

'We must make her husband bring her, then,' said the messenger.

'That can never be,' replied the Prince.

'It can,' replied the messenger—

'Fraud may achieve what force would never try:— The Jackal killed the Elephant thereby.'

'How was that?' asked the Prince. The Slave related:—


"In the forest of Brahma[11] lived an Elephant, whose name was 'White-front.' The Jackals knew him, and said among themselves, 'If this great brute would but die, there would be four months' food for us, and plenty, out of his carcase.' With that an old Jackal stood up, and pledged himself to compass the death of the Elephant by his own wit. Accordingly, he sought for 'White-front,' and, going up to him, he made the reverential prostration of the eight members, gravely saluting him.

'Divine creature,' said he, 'vouchsafe me the regard of one look.'

'Who art thou?' grunted the Elephant,'and whence comest thou?'

'I am only a Jackal,' said the other; 'but the beasts of the forest are convinced that it is not expedient to live without a king, and they have met in full council, and despatched me to acquaint your Royal Highness that on you, endowed with so many lordly qualities, their choice has fallen for a sovereign over the forest here; for—

'Who is just, and strong, and wise? Who is true to social ties? He is formed for Emperies.

Let your Majesty, therefore, repair thither at once, that the moment of fortunate conjunction may not escape us.' So saying he led the way, followed at a great pace by White-front, who was eager to commence his reign.

"Presently the Jackal brought him upon a deep slough, into which he plunged heavily before he could stop himself.

'Good master Jackal,' cried the Elephant,'what's to do now? I am up to my belly in this quagmire.'

'Perhaps your Majesty,' said the Jackal, with an impudent laugh, 'will condescend to take hold of the tip of my brush with your trunk, and so get out.'

'Then White-front, the Elephant, knew that he had been deceived; and thus he sank in the slime, and was devoured by the Jackals. Hence,' continued the attendant, 'is why I suggested stratagem to your Highness,'

Shortly afterwards, by the Slave's advice, the Prince sent for the merchant's son (whose name was Charudatta), and appointed him to be near his person; and one day, with the same design, when he was just come from the bath, and had on his jewels, he summoned Charudatta, and said—

"I have a vow to keep to Gauri—bring hither to me every evening for a month some lady of good family, that I may do honor to her, according to my vow; and begin to-day."

Charudatta in due course brought a lady of quality, and, having introduced her, retired to watch the interview. The Prince, without even approaching his fair visitor, made her the most respectful obeisances, and dismissed her with gifts of ornaments, sandal-wood, and perfumes, under the protection of a guard. This made Charudatta confident, and longing to get some of these princely presents he brought his own wife next evening. When the Prince recognized the charming Lavanyavati—the joy of his soul—he sprang to meet her, and kissed and caressed her without the least restraint. At sight of this the miserable Charudatta stood transfixed with despair—the very picture of wretchedness'——

'And you too, Slow-toes—but where is he gone?' abruptly asked King Golden-skin.

Now Slow-toes had not chosen to wait the end of the story, but was gone before, and Golden-skin and the others followed him up in some anxiety. The Tortoise had been painfully travelling along, until a hunter, who was beating the wood for game, had overtaken him. The fellow, who was very hungry, picked him up, fastened him on his bow-stick, and set off for home; while the Deer, the Crow, and the Mouse, who had witnessed the capture, followed them in terrible concern. 'Alas!' cried the Mouse-king, 'he is gone!—and such a friend!

'Friend! gracious word!—the heart to tell is ill able Whence came to men this jewel of a syllable.'

'Let us,' continued he to his companions, 'let us make one attempt, at least, to rescue Slow-toes before the hunter is out of the wood!'

'Only tell us how to do it,' replied they.

'Do thus,' said Golden-skin: 'let Dapple-back hasten on to the water, and lie down there and make himself appear dead; and do you, Light o' Leap, hover over him and peck about his body. The hunter is sure to put the Tortoise down to get the venison, and I will gnaw his bonds.'

'The Deer and the Crow started at once; and the hunter, who was sitting down to rest under a tree and drinking water, soon caught sight of the Deer, apparently dead. Drawing his wood-knife, and putting the Tortoise down by the water, he hastened to secure the Deer, and Golden-skin, in the meantime, gnawed asunder the string that held Slow-toes, who instantly dropped into the pool. The Deer, of course, when the hunter got near, sprang up and made off, and when he returned to the tree the Tortoise was gone also. "I deserve this," thought he—

'Whoso for greater quits his gain, Shall have his labor for his pain; The things unwon unwon remain, And what was won is lost again.'

And so lamenting, he went to his village. Slow-toes and his friends, quit of all fears, repaired together to their new habitations, and there lived happily.

Then spake the King Sudarsana's sons, "We have heard every word, and are delighted; it fell out just as we wished."

"I rejoice thereat, my Princes," said Vishnu-Sarman; "may it also fall out according to this my wish—

"Lakshmi give you friends like these! Lakshmi keep your lands in ease! Set, your sovereign thrones beside, Policy, a winsome bride! And He, whose forehead-jewel is the moon Give peace to us and all—serene and soon."

[3] Used in many religious observances by the Hindoos.

[4] Heaven, earth, and the lower regions.

[5] The Hindoo accounts for the origin of evil by this theory of a series of existences continued until the balance is just, and the soul has purified itself. Every fault must have its expiation and every higher faculty its development; pain and misery being signs of the ordeals in the trial, which is to end in the happy re-absorption of the emancipated spirit.

[6] The mouse, as vehicle of Gunesh, is an important animal in Hindoo legend.

[7] The champak is a bushy tree, bearing a profusion of star-like blossoms with golden centres, and of the most pleasing perfume.

[8] A religious observance. The devotee commences the penance at the full moon with an allowance of fifteen mouthfuls for his food, diminishing this by one mouthful each day, till on the fifteenth it is reduced to one. As the new moon increases, his allowance ascends to its original proportion.

[9] The wife of Vishnoo, Goddess of beauty and abundance.

[10] The black or Indian cuckoo.

[11] A grove where the Vedas are read and expounded.


Then spake the Royal Princes to Vishnu-Sarman,

"Reverend Sir! we have listened to the 'Winning of Friends,' we would now hear how friends are parted."

"Attend, then," replied the Sage, "to 'the Parting of Friends,' the first couplet of which runs in this wise—

'The Jackal set—of knavish cunning full— At loggerheads the Lion and the Bull.'

"How was that?" asked the sons of the Rajah.

Vishnu-Sarman proceeded to relate:—


"In the Deccan there is a city called Golden-town, and a wealthy merchant lived there named Well-to-do. He had abundant means, but as many of his relations were even yet richer, his mind was bent: upon outdoing them by gaining more. Enough is never what we have—

'Looking down on lives below them, men of little store are great; Looking up to higher fortunes, hard to each man seems his fate.'

And is not wealth won by courage and enterprise?—

'As a bride, unwisely wedded, shuns the cold caress of eld, So, from coward souls and slothful, Lakshmi's favors turn repelled.'

'Ease, ill-health, home-keeping, sleeping, woman-service, and content— In the path that leads to greatness these be six obstructions sent.'

And wealth that increases not, diminishes—a little gain is so far good—

'Seeing how the soorma wasteth, seeing how the ant-hill grows, Little adding unto little—live, give, learn, as life-time goes.'

'Drops of water falling, falling, falling, brim the chatty o'er; Wisdom comes in little lessons—little gains make largest store.'

Moved by these reflections Well-to-do loaded a cart with wares of all kinds, yoked two bulls to it, named Lusty-life and Roarer, and started for Kashmir to trade. He had not gone far upon his journey when in passing through a great forest called Bramble-wood, Lusty-life slipped down and broke his foreleg. At sight of this disaster Well-to-do fell a-thinking, and repeated—

'Men their cunning schemes may spin— God knows who shall lose or win.'

Comforting himself with such philosophy, Well-to-do left Lusty-life there, and went on his way. The Bull watched him depart, and stood mournfully on three legs, alone in the forest. 'Well, well,' he thought, 'it is all destiny whether I live or die:—

'Shoot a hundred shafts, the quarry lives and flies—not due to death; When his hour is come, a grass-blade hath a point to stop his breath.'

As the days passed by, and Lusty-life picked about in the tender forest grass, he grew wonderfully well, and fat of carcase, and happy, and bellowed about the wood as though it were his own. Now, the reigning monarch of the forest was King Tawny-hide the Lion, who ruled over the whole country absolutely, by right of having deposed everybody else. Is not might right?—

'Robes were none, nor oil of unction, when the King of Beasts was crowned:— 'Twas his own fierce roar proclaimed him, rolling all his kingdom round.'

One morning, his Majesty, being exceedingly thirsty, had repaired to the bank of the Jumna to drink water, and just as he was about to lap it, the bellow of Lusty-life, awful as the thunder of the last day, reached the imperial ears. Upon catching the sound the King retreated in trepidation to his own lair, without drinking a drop, and stood there in silence and alarm revolving what it could mean. In this position he was observed by the sons of his minister, two jackals named Karataka and Damanaka, who began to remark upon it.

'Friend Karataka,' said the last,'what makes our royal master slink away from the river when he was dying to drink?'

'Why should we care?' replied Karataka. 'It's bad enough to serve him, and be neglected for our pains—

'Oh, the bitter salt of service!—toil, frost, fire, are not so keen:— Half such heavy penance bearing, tender consciences were clean.'

'Nay, friend! never think thus,' said Damanaka—

'What but for their vassals, Elephant and man— Swing of golden tassels, Wave of silken fan— But for regal manner That the "Chattra"[12] brings, Horse, and foot, and banner— What would come of kings?'

'I care not,' replied Karataka; 'we have nothing to do with it, and matters that don't concern us are best left alone. You know the story of the Monkey, don't you?'—

'The Monkey drew the sawyer's wedge, and died:— Let meddlers mark it, and be edified.'

'No!' said Damanaka. 'How was it?'

'In this way,' answered Karataka:—


"In South Behar, close by the retreat of Dhurmma, there was an open plot of ground, upon which a temple was in course of erection, under the management of a man of the Kayeth caste, named Subhadatta. A carpenter upon the works had partly sawed through a long beam of wood, and wedged it open, and was gone away, leaving the wedge fixed. Shortly afterwards a large herd of monkeys came frolicking that way, and one of their number, directed doubtless by the Angel of death, got astride the beam, and grasped the wedge, with his tail and lower parts dangling down between the pieces of the wood. Not content with this, in the mischief natural to monkeys, he began to tug at the wedge; till at last it yielded to a great effort and came out; when the wood closed upon him, and jammed him all fast. So perished the monkey, miserably crushed; and I say again—

'Let meddlers mark it, and be edified.'

'But surely,' argued Damanaka, 'servants are bound to watch the movements of their masters!'

'Let the prime minister do it, then,' answered Karataka; 'it is his business to overlook things, and subordinates shouldn't interfere in the department of their chief. You might get ass's thanks for it—

'The Ass that hee-hawed, when the dog should do it, For his lord's welfare, like an ass did rue it.'

Damanaka asked how that happened, and Karataka related:—


"There was a certain Washerman at Benares, whose name was Carpurapataka, and he had an Ass and a Dog in his courtyard; the first tethered, and the last roaming loose. Once on a time, when he had been spending his morning in the society of his wife, whom he had just married, and had fallen to sleep in her arms, a robber entered the house, and began to carry off his goods. The Ass observed the occupation of the thief, and was much concerned.

'Good Dog,' said he, 'this is thy matter: why dost thou not bark aloud, and rouse the master?'

'Gossip Ass,' replied the Dog, 'leave me alone to guard the premises. I can do it, if I choose; but the truth is, this master of ours thinks himself so safe lately that he clean forgets me, and I don't find my allowance of food nearly regular enough. Masters will do so; and a little fright will put him in mind of his defenders again.'

'Thou scurvy cur!' exclaimed the Ass—

'At the work-time, asking wages—is it like a faithful herd?'

'Thou extreme Ass!' replied the Dog.

'When the work's done, grudging wages—is that acting like a lord?'

'Mean-spirited beast,' retorted the Ass, 'who neglectest thy master's business! Well, then, I at least will endeavor to arouse him; it is no less than religion,

'Serve the Sun with sweat of body; starve thy maw to feed the flame; Stead thy lord with all thy service; to thy death go, quit of blame.'

So saying, he put forth his very best braying. The Washerman sprang up at the noise, and missing the thief, turned in a rage upon the Ass for disturbing him, and beat it with a cudgel to such an extent that the blows resolved the poor animal into the five elements of death. 'So that,' continued Karataka, 'is why I say, Let the prime minister look to him. The hunting for prey is our duty—let us stick to it, then. And this,' he said, with a meditative look, 'need not trouble us to-day; for we have a capital dish of the royal leavings.'

'What!' said Damanaka, rough with rage, 'dost thou serve the King for the sake of thy belly? Why take any such trouble to preserve an existence like thine?—

'Many prayers for him are uttered whereon many a life relies; 'Tis but one poor fool the fewer when the gulping Raven dies.'

For assisting friends, and defeating enemies also, the service of kings is desirable. To enter upon it for a mere living makes the thing low indeed. There must be dogs and elephants; but servants need not be like hungry curs, while their masters are noble. What say the books?

'Give thy Dog the merest mouthful, and he crouches at thy feet, Wags his tail, and fawns, and grovels, in his eagerness to eat; Bid the Elephant be feeding, and the best of fodder bring; Gravely—after much entreaty—condescends that mighty king.'

'Well, well!' said Karataka; 'the books are nothing to us, who are not councillors.'

'But we may come to be,' replied Damanaka; 'men rise, not by chance or nature, but by exertions—

'By their own deeds men go downward, by them men mount upward all, Like the diggers of a well, and like the builders of a wall.'

Advancement is slow—but that is in the nature of things—

'Rushes down the hill the crag, which upward 'twas so hard to roll: So to virtue slowly rises—so to vice quick sinks the soul.'

'Very good,' observed Karataka; 'but what is all this talk about?'

'Why! don't you see our Royal Master there, and how he came home without drinking? I know he has been horribly frightened,' said Damanaka.

'How do you know it?' asked the other.

'By my perception—at a glance!' replied Damanaka; 'and I mean to make out of this occasion that which shall put his Majesty at my disposal,'

'Now,' exclaimed Karataka, 'it is thou who art ignorant about service—

'Who speaks unasked, or comes unbid, Or counts on favor—will be chid.'

'I ignorant about service!' said Damanaka; 'no, no, my friend, I know the secret of it—

'Wise, modest, constant, ever close at hand, Not weighing but obeying all command, Such servant by a Monarch's throne may stand.'

'In any case, the King often rates thee,' remarked Karataka, 'for coming to the presence unsummoned.'

'A dependent,' replied Damanaka, 'should nevertheless present himself; he must make himself known to the great man, at any risk—

'Pitiful, that fearing failure, therefore no beginning makes, Who forswears his daily dinner for the chance of stomach-aches?'

and besides, to be near is at last to be needful;—is it not said—

'Nearest to the King is dearest, be thy merit low or high; Women, creeping plants, and princes, twine round that which groweth nigh.'

'Well,' inquired Karataka, 'what wilt thou say, being come to him?'

'First,' replied Damanaka, 'I will discover if his Majesty is well affected to me.'

'How do you compass that?' asked the other.

'Oh, easily! by a look, a word,' answered Damanaka; 'and that ascertained, I will proceed to speak what will put him at my disposal.'

'I can't see how you can venture to speak,' objected the other, 'without an opportunity—

'If Vrihaspati, the Grave, Spoke a sentence out of season, Even Vrihaspati would have Strong rebuke for such unreason.'

'Pray don't imagine I shall speak unseasonably,' interrupted Damanaka; 'if that is all you fear, I will start at once.'

'Go, then,' said Karataka; 'and may you be as lucky as you hope.'

"Thereupon Damanaka set out for the lair of King Tawny-hide; putting on, as he approached it, the look of one greatly disconcerted. The Rajah observed him coming, and gave permission that he should draw near; of which Damanaka availing himself, made reverential prostration of the eight members and sat down upon his haunches.

'You have come at last, then, Sir Jackal!' growled his Majesty.

'Great Monarch!' humbly replied Damanaka, 'my service is not worthy of laying at your imperial feet, but a servant should attend when he can perform a service, and therefore I am come—

'When Kings' ears itch, they use a straw to scratch 'em; When Kings' foes plot, they get wise men to match 'em.'

'H'm!' growled the Lion.

'Your Majesty suspects my intellect, I fear,' continued the Jackal,'after so long an absence from your Majesty's feet; but, if I may say so, it is still sound.'

'H'm!' growled the Lion again.

'A king, may it please your Majesty, should know how to estimate his servants, whatever their position—

'Pearls are dull in leaden settings, but the setter is to blame; Glass will glitter like the ruby, dulled with dust—are they the same?

'And a fool may tread on jewels, setting in his crown mere glass; Yet, at selling, gems are gems, and fardels but for fardels pass.'

'Servants, gracious liege! are good or bad as they are entertained. Is it not written?—

'Horse and weapon, lute and volume, man and woman, gift of speech, Have their uselessness or uses in the One who owneth each.'

'And if I have been traduced to your Majesty as a dull fellow, that hath not made me so—

'Not disparagement nor slander kills the spirit of the brave; Fling a torch down, upward ever burns the brilliant flame it gave.'

'Accept then, Sire, from the humblest of your slaves his very humble counsel—for

'Wisdom from the mouth of children be it overpast of none; What man scorns to walk by lamplight in the absence of the sun?'

'Good Damanaka,' said King Tawny-hide, somewhat appeased, 'how is it that thou, so wise a son of our first minister, hast been absent all this while from our Court? But now speak thy mind fearlessly: what wouldst thou?'

'Will your Majesty deign to answer one question?' said Damanaka. 'Wherefore came He back from the river without drinking?'

'Hush!' whispered the King, 'thou hast hit right upon my trouble. I knew no one unto whom I might confide it; but thou seemest a faithful fellow, and I will tell thee. Listen, then,' continued his Majesty in an agitated whisper, 'there is some awful beast that was never seen before in this wood here; and we shall have to leave it, look you. Did you hear by chance the inconceivable great roar he gave? What a strong beast it must be to have such a voice!'

'May it please your Majesty, I did hear the noise,' said the Jackal, 'and there is doubtless cause for terrible apprehension therein; but take comfort, my Liege, he is no minister who bids thee prepare for either war or resignation. All will go well, and your Majesty will learn by this difficulty which be your best servants,'

'Good Jackal,' said Tawny-hide, 'I am horribly frightened about it.'

'I can see that,' thought Damanaka; but he only said, 'Fear nothing, my liege, while thy servant survives,'

'What shall I do?' asked the King.

'It is well to encourage those who can avert disaster. If your Majesty condescended now to bestow some favor on Karataka and the other——'

'It shall be done,' said the Rajah; and, summoning the other Jackals, he gave them and Damanaka a magnificent gift of flesh, and they left the presence, undertaking to meet the threatened danger.

'But, brother,' began Karataka,'haven't we eaten the King's dinner without knowing what the danger is which we are to meet, and whether we can obviate it?'

'Hold thy peace,' said Damanaka, laughing; 'I know very well what the danger is! It was a bull, aha! that bellowed—a bull, my brother—whose beef you and I could pick, much more the King our master.'

'And why not tell him so?' asked Karataka.

'What! and quiet his Majesty's fears! And where would our splendid dinner have been then? No, no, my friend—

'Set not your lord at ease; for, doing that, Might starve you as it starved "Curd-ear" the Cat.'

'Who was Curd-ear, the Cat?' inquired Karataka. Damanaka related:—


"Far away in the North, on a mountain named 'Thousand-Crags,' there lived a lion called 'Mighty-heart'; and he was much annoyed by a certain mouse, who made a custom of nibbling his mane while he lay asleep in his den. The Lion would wake in a great rage at finding the ends of his magnificent mane made ragged, but the little mouse ran into his hole, and he could never catch it. After much consideration he went down to a village, and got a Cat named Curd-ear to come to his cave with much persuasion. He kept the Cat royally on all kinds of dainties, and slept comfortably without having his mane nibbled, as the mouse would now never venture out. Whenever the Lion heard the mouse scratching about, that was always a signal for regaling the Cat in a most distinguished style. But one day, the wretched mouse being nearly starved, he took courage to creep timidly from his hole, and was directly pounced upon by Curd-ear and killed. After that the Lion heard no more of the mouse, and quite left off his regular entertainments of the Cat. No!" concluded Damanaka, "we will keep our mouse alive for his Majesty."

So conversing, the Jackals went away to find Lusty-life the Bull, and upon discovering him, Karataka squatted down with great dignity at the foot of a tree, while Damanaka approached to accost him.

'Bull,' said Damanaka, 'I am the warder of this forest under the King Tawny-hide, and Karataka the Jackal there is his General. The General bids thee come before him, or else instantly depart from the wood. It were better for thee to obey, for his anger is terrible,'

'Thereupon Lusty-life, knowing nothing of the country customs, advanced at once to Karataka, made the respectful prostration of the eight members, and said timidly, 'My Lord General! what dost thou bid me do?—

'Strength serves Reason. Saith the Mahout, when he beats the brazen drum, "Ho! ye elephants, to this work must your mightinesses come."'

'Bull,' answered Karataka, 'thou canst remain in the wood no longer unless thou goest directly to lay thyself at our Royal master's imperial feet.'

'My Lord,' replied the Bull, 'give me a guarantee of safety, and I will go.'

'Bull,' said Karataka, 'thou art foolish; fear nothing—

"When the King of Chedi cursed him, Krishna scorned to make reply; Lions roar the thunder quiet, Jackals'-yells they let go by."

Our Lord the King will not vouchsafe his anger to thee; knowest thou not—

'Mighty natures war with mighty: when the raging tempests blow, O'er the green rice harmless pass they, but they lay the palm-trees low,'

'So the Jackals, keeping Lusty-life in the rear, went towards the palace of King Tawny-hide; where the Rajah received them with much graciousness, and bade them sit down.

'Have you seen him?' asked the King.

'We have seen him, your Majesty,' answered Damanaka; 'it is quite as your Majesty expected—the creature has enormous strength, and wishes to see your Majesty. Will you be seated, Sire, and prepare yourself—it will never do to appear alarmed at a noise.'

'Oh, if it was only a noise,' began the Rajah.

'Ah, but the cause, Sire! that was what had to be found out; like the secret of Swing-ear the Spirit.'

'And who might Swing-ear be?' asked the King.


"A goblin, your Majesty," responded Damanaka, "it seemed so, at least, to the good people of Brahmapoora. A thief had stolen a bell from the city, and was making off with that plunder, and more, into the Sri-parvata hills, when he was killed by a tiger. The bell lay in the jungle till some monkeys picked it up, and amused themselves by constantly ringing it. The townspeople found the bones of the man, and heard the noise of the bell all about the hills; so they gave out that there was a terrible devil there, whose ears rang like bells as he swung them about, and whose delight was to devour men. Every one, accordingly, was leaving the town, when a peasant woman named Karala, who liked belief the better for a little proof, came to the Rajah.

'Highness!' she observed, 'for a consideration I could settle this Swing-ear.'

'You could!' exclaimed the Rajah.

'I think so!' repeated the woman.

'Give her a consideration forthwith,' said the Rajah.

"Karala, who had her own ideas upon the matter, took the present and set out. Being come to the hills, she made a circle, and did homage to Gunputtee,[13] without whom nothing prospers. Then, taking some fruit she had brought, such as monkeys love extremely, she scattered it up and down in the wood, and withdrew to watch. Very soon the monkeys finding the fruit, put down the bell, to do justice to it, and the woman picking it up, bore it back to the town, where she became an object of uncommon veneration. We, indeed," concluded Damanaka, "bring you a Bull instead of a bell—your Majesty shall now see him!"

"Thereupon Lusty-life was introduced, and, the interview passing off well, he remained many days in the forest on excellent terms with the Lion.

'One day another Lion, named 'Stiff-ears,' the brother of King Tawny-hide, came to visit him. The King received him with all imaginable respect, bade him be seated, and rose from his throne to go and kill some beasts for his refreshment.

'May it please your Majesty,' interposed the Bull, 'a deer was slain to-day—where is its flesh?'

'Damanaka and his brother know best,' said the King.

'Let us ascertain if there be any,' suggested the Bull.

'It is useless,' said the King, laughing—'they leave none,'

'What!' exclaimed the Bull, 'have those Jackals eaten a whole deer?'

'Eaten it, spoiled it, and given it away,' answered Tawny-hide; 'they always do so,'

'And this without your Majesty's sanction?' asked the Bull.

'Oh! certainly not with my sanction,' said the King.

'Then,' exclaimed the Bull, 'it is too bad: and in Ministers too!—

'Narrow-necked to let out little, big of belly to keep much, As a flagon is—the Vizir of a Sultan should be such.'

'No wealth will stand such waste, your Majesty—

'He who thinks a minute little, like a fool misuses more; He who counts a cowry nothing, being wealthy, will be poor.'

'A king's treasury, my liege, is the king's life.'

'Good brother,' observed Stiff-ears, who had heard what the Bull said, 'these Jackals are your Ministers of Home and Foreign Affairs—they should not have direction of the Treasury. They are old servants, too, and you know the saying—

'Brahmans, soldiers, these and kinsmen—of the three set none in charge: For the Brahman, tho' you rack him, yields no treasure small or large; And the soldier, being trusted, writes his quittance with his sword, And the kinsman cheats his kindred by the charter of the word; But a servant old in service, worse than any one is thought, Who, by long-tried license fearless, knows his master's anger nought.'

Ministers, my royal brother, are often like obstinate swellings that want squeezing, and yours must be kept in order.'

'They are not particularly obedient, I confess,' said Tawny-hide.

'It is very wrong,' replied Stiff-ears; 'and if you will be advised by me—as we have banqueted enough to-day—you will appoint this grain-eating and sagacious Bull your Superintendent of Stores.'

'It shall be so,' exclaimed the King.

'Lusty-life was accordingly appointed to serve out the provisions, and for many days Tawny-hide showed him favor beyond all others in the Court.

"Now the Jackals soon found that food was no longer so freely provided by this arrangement as before, and they met to consult about it.

'It is all our own fault,' said Damanaka, 'and people must suffer for their own mistakes. You know who said—

"I that could not leave alone 'Streak-o'-Gold,' must therefore moan. She that took the House-wife's place Lost the nose from off her face. Take this lesson to thy heart— Fools for folly suffer smart."

'No!' said Karataka, 'how was it?' Damanaka related:—


"In the city of 'Golden-Streets' there reigned a valorous King, named Vira-vikrama, whose officer of justice was one day taking away to punishment a certain Barber, when he was stopped by a strolling mendicant, who held him by the skirts, and cried out, 'Punish not this man—punish them that do wrong of their own knowledge.' Being asked his meaning, he recited the foregoing verses, and, being still further questioned, he told this story—

"I am Prince Kandarpa-ketu, son of the King of Ceylon. Walking one day in my summer-garden, I heard a merchant-captain narrating how that out at sea, deep under water, on the fourteenth day of the moon, he had seen what was like nothing but the famous tree of Paradise, and sitting under it a lady of most lustrous beauty, bedecked with strings of pearls like Lukshmi herself, reclining, with a lute in her hands, on what appeared to be a golden couch crusted all over with precious stones. At once I engaged the captain and his ship, and steered to the spot of which he told me. On reaching it I beheld the beautiful apparition as he had described it, and, transported with the exquisite beauty of the lady, I leapt after her into the sea. In a moment I found myself in a city of gold; and in an apartment of a golden palace, surrounded by young and beautiful girls, I found the Sea-queen. She perceived my approach, and sent an attendant with a courteous message to meet me. In reply to my questions, I learned that the lady was the Princess Ratnamanjari, daughter of the King of All the Spirits—and how she had made a vow that whoever should first come to see her golden city, with his own eyes, should marry her. So I married her by the form called Gundharva, or 'Union by mutual consent,' and spent many and happy days in her delightful society. One day she took me aside, and said, 'Dear Prince! all these delights, and I myself, are thine to enjoy; only that picture yonder, of the Fairy Streak-o'-Gold, that thou must never touch!' For a long time I observed this injunction; at last, impelled by resistless curiosity, I laid my hand on the picture of 'Streak-o'-Gold,' In one instant her little foot, lovely as the lotus-blossom, advanced from out of the painting, and launched me through sea and air into my own country. Since that I have been a miserable wanderer; and passing through this city, I chanced to lodge at a Cowkeeper's hut, and saw the truth of this Barber's affair. The herdsman returned at night with his cattle, and found his wife talking with the wife of the Barber, who is no better than a bawd. Enraged at this, the man beat his wife, tied her to the milking-post, and fell asleep. In the dead of the night the Barber's wife came back, and said to the woman, 'He, whom thou knowest, is burnt with the cruel fire of thine absence, and lies nigh to death; go therefore and console him, and I will tie myself to the post until thou returnest.' This was done, and the Cowkeeper presently awoke. 'Ah! thou light thing!' he said jeeringly, 'why dost not thou keep promise, and meet thy gallant?' The Barber's wife could make no reply; whereat becoming incensed, the man cried out, 'What! dost thou scorn to speak to me? I will cut thy nose off!' And so he did, and then lay down to sleep again. Very soon the Cowkeeper's wife came back and asked if 'all was well.' 'Look at my face!' said the Barber's wife, 'and you will see if all is well.' The woman could do nothing but take her place again, while the Barber's wife, picking up the severed nose, and at a sad loss how to account for it, went to her house. In the morning, before it was light, the Barber called to her to bring his box of razors, and she bringing one only, he flung it away in a passion. 'Oh, the knave!' she cried out, directly, aloud, 'Neighbors, neighbors! he has cut my nose off!' and so she took him before the officers. The Cowkeeper, meantime, wondering at his wife's patience, made some inquiry about her nose; whereto she replied, 'Cruel wretch! thou canst not harm a virtuous woman. If Yama and the seven guardians of the world know me chaste, then be my face unmaimed!' The herdsman hastened to fetch a light, and finding her features unaltered, he flung himself at her feet, and begged forgiveness. For,

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