On the bank of the Godavari River is a kingdom called the Abiding
Kingdom. There lived the son of King Victory, the famous King
Triple-victory, mighty as the king of the gods. As this king sat in
judgment, a monk called Patience brought him every day one piece of fruit
as an expression of homage. And the king took it and gave it each day to
the treasurer who stood near. Thus twelve years passed.
Now one day the monk came to court, gave the king a piece of fruit as
usual, and went away. But on this day the king gave the fruit to a pet
baby monkey that had escaped from his keepers, and happened to wander in.
And as the monkey ate the fruit, he split it open, and a priceless,
magnificent gem came out.
When the king saw this, he took it and asked the treasurer: "Where have
you been keeping the fruits which the monk brought? I gave them to you."
When the treasurer heard this, he was frightened and said: "Your Majesty,
I have thrown them all through the window. If your Majesty desires, I will
look for them now." And when the king had dismissed him, he went, but
returned in a moment, and said again: "Your Majesty, they were all smashed
in the treasury, and in them I see heaps of dazzling gems."
When he heard this, the king was delighted, and gave the jewels to the
treasurer. And when the monk came the next day, he asked him: "Monk, why
do you keep honouring me in such an expensive way? Unless I know the
reason, I will not take your fruit."
Then the monk took the king aside and said: "O hero, there is a
business in which I need help. So I ask for your help in it, because you
are a brave man." And the king promised his assistance.
Then the monk was pleased, and said again: "O King, on the last night
of the waning moon, you must go to the great cemetery at nightfall, and
come to me under the fig-tree." Then the king said "Certainly," and
Patience, the monk, went home well pleased.
So when the night came, the mighty king remembered his promise to the
monk, and at dusk he wrapped his head in a black veil, took his sword in
his hand, and went to the great cemetery without being seen. When he got
there, he looked about, and saw the monk standing under the fig-tree and
making a magic circle. So he went up and said: "Monk, here I am. Tell me
what I am to do for you."
And when the monk saw the king, he was delighted and said: "O King, if
you wish to do me a favour, go south from here some distance all alone,
and you will see a sissoo tree and a dead body hanging from it. Be so kind
as to bring that here."
When the brave king heard this, he agreed, and, true to his promise,
turned south and started. And as he walked with difficulty along the
cemetery road, he came upon the sissoo tree at some distance, and saw a
body hanging on it. So he climbed the tree, cut the rope, and let it fall
to the ground. And as it fell, it unexpectedly cried aloud, as if alive.
Then the king climbed down, and thinking it was alive, he mercifully
rubbed its limbs. Then the body gave a loud laugh.
So the king knew that a goblin lived in it, and said without fear:
"What are you laughing about? Come, let us be off." But then he did not
see the goblin on the ground any longer. And when he looked up, there he
was, hanging in the tree as before. So the king climbed the tree again,
and carefully carried the body down. A brave man's heart is harder than a
diamond, and nothing makes it tremble.
Then he put the body with the goblin in it on his shoulder, and started
off in silence. And as he walked along, the goblin in the body said: "O
King, to amuse the journey, I will tell you a story. Listen."
The Prince's Elopement. Whose fault was the resulting death of his
There is a city called Benares where Shiva lives. It is loved by pious
people like the soil of Mount Kailasa. The river of heaven shines there
like a pearl necklace. And in the city lived a king called Valour who
burned up all his enemies by his valour, as a fire burns a forest. He had
a son named Thunderbolt who broke the pride of the love-god by his beauty,
and the pride of men by his bravery. This prince had a clever friend, the
son of a counsellor.
One day the prince was enjoying himself with his friend hunting, and
went a long distance. And so he came to a great forest. There he saw a
beautiful lake, and being tired, he drank from it with his friend the
counsellor's son, washed his hands and feet, and sat down under a tree on
And then he saw a beautiful maiden who had come there with her servants
to bathe. She seemed to fill the lake with the stream of her beauty, and
seemed to make lilies grow there with her eyes, and seemed to shame the
lotuses with a face more lovely than the moon. She captured the prince's
heart the moment that he saw her. And the prince took her eyes captive.
The girl had a strange feeling when she saw him, but was too modest to
say a word. So she gave a hint of the feeling in her heart. She put a
lotus on her ear, laid a lily on her head after she had made the edge look
like a row of teeth, and placed her hand on her heart. But the prince did
not understand her signs, only the clever counsellor's son understood them
A moment later the girl went away, led by her servants. She went home
and sat on the sofa and stayed there. But her thoughts were with the
The prince went slowly back to his city, and was terribly lonely
without her, and grew thinner every day. Then his friend the son of the
counsellor took him aside and told him that she was not hard to find. But
he had lost all courage and said: "My friend, I don't know her name, nor
her home, nor her family. How can I find her? Why do you vainly try to
Then the counsellor's son said: "Did you not see all that she hinted
with her signs? When she put the lotus on her ear, she meant that she
lived in the kingdom of a king named Ear-lotus. And when she made the row
of teeth, she meant that she was the daughter of a man named Bite there.
And when she laid the lily on her head, she meant that her name was Lily.
And when she placed her hand on her heart, she meant that she loved you.
And there is a king named Ear-lotus in the Kalinga country. There is a
very rich man there whom the king likes. His real name is Battler, but
they call him Bite. He has a pearl of a girl whom he loves more than his
life, and her name is Lily. This is true, because people told me. So I
understood her signs about her country and the other things." When the
counsellor's son had said this, the prince was delighted to find him so
clever, and pleased because he knew what to do.
Then he formed a plan with the counsellor's son, and started for the
lake again, pretending that he was going to hunt, but really to find the
girl that he loved. On the way he rode like the wind away from his
soldiers, and started for the Kalinga country with the counsellor's son.
When they reached the city of King Ear-lotus, they looked about and
found the house of the man called Bite, and they went to a house near by
to live with an old woman. And the counsellor's son said to the old woman:
"Old woman, do you know anybody named Bite in this city?"
Then the old woman answered him respectfully: "My son, I know him well.
I was his nurse. And I am a servant of his daughter Lily. But I do not go
there now because my dress is stolen. My naughty son is a gambler and
steals my clothes."
Then the counsellor's son was pleased and satisfied her with his own
cloak and other presents. And he said: "Mother, you must do very secretly
what we tell you. Go to Bite's daughter Lily, and tell her that the prince
whom she saw on the bank of the lake is here, and sent you with a
love-message to her."
The old woman was pleased with the gifts and went to Lily at once. And
when she got a chance, she said: "My child, the prince and the
counsellor's son have come to take you. Tell me what to do now." But the
girl scolded her and struck her cheeks with both hands smeared with
The old woman was hurt by this treatment, and came home weeping, and
said to the two men: "My sons, see how she left the marks of her fingers
on my face."
And the prince was hopeless and sad, but the very clever counsellor's
son took him aside and said, "My friend, do not be sad. She was only
keeping the secret when she scolded the old woman, and put ten fingers
white with camphor on her face. She meant that you must wait before seeing
her, for the next ten nights are bright with moonlight."
So the counsellor's son comforted the prince, took a little gold
ornament and sold it in the market, and bought a great dinner for the old
woman. So they two took dinner with the old woman. They did this for ten
days, and then the counsellor's son sent her to Lily again, to find out
And the old woman was eager for dainty food and drink. So to please him
she went to Lily's house, and then came back and said: "My children, I
went there and stayed with her for some time without speaking. But she
spoke herself of my naughtiness in mentioning you, and struck me again on
the chest with three fingers stained red. So I came back in disgrace."
Then the counsellor's son whispered to the prince: "Don't be alarmed,
my friend. When she left the marks of three red fingers on the old woman's
heart, she meant to say very cleverly that there were three dangerous days
coming." So the counsellor's son comforted the prince.
And when three days were gone, he sent the old woman to Lily again. And
this time she went and was very respectfully entertained, and treated to
wine and other things the whole day. But when she was ready to go back in
the evening, a terrible shouting was heard outside. They heard people
running and crying: "Oh, oh! A mad elephant has escaped from his stable
and is running around and stamping on people."
Then Lily said to the old woman: "Mother, you must not go through the
street now where the elephant is. I will put you in a swing and let you
down with ropes through this great window into the garden. Then you can
climb into a tree and jump on the wall, and go home by way of another
tree." So she had her servants let the old woman down from the window into
the garden by a rope-swing. And the old woman went home and told the
prince and the counsellor's son all about it.
Then the counsellor's son said to the prince: "My friend, your wishes
are fulfilled. She has been clever enough to show you the road. So you
must follow that same road this very evening to the room of your darling."
So the prince went to the garden with the counsellor's son by the road
that the old woman had shown them. And there he saw the rope-swing hanging
down, and servants above keeping an eye on the road. And when he got into
the swing, the servants at the window pulled at the rope and he came to
his darling. And when he had gone in, the counsellor's son went back to
the old woman's house.
But the prince saw Lily, and her face was beautiful like the full moon,
and the moonlight of her beauty shone forth, like the night when the moon
shines in secret because of the dark. And when she saw him, she threw her
arms around his neck and kissed him. So he married her and stayed hidden
with her for some days.
One day he said to his wife: "My dear, my friend the counsellor's son
came with me, and he is staying all alone at the old woman's house. I must
go and see him, then I will come back."
But Lily was shrewd and said: "My dear, I must ask you something. Did
you understand the signs I made, or was it the counsellor's son?" And the
prince said to her: "My dear, I did not understand them all, but my friend
has wonderful wisdom. He understood everything and told me." Then the
sweet girl thought, and said: "My dear, you did wrong not to tell me
before. Your friend is a real brother to me. I ought to have sent him some
nuts and other nice things at the very first."
Then she let him go, and he went to his friend by night by the same
road, and told all that his wife had said. But the counsellor's son said:
"That is foolish," and did not think much of it. So they spent the night
Then when the time for the twilight sacrifice came, a friend of Lily's
came there with cooked rice and nuts in her hand. She came and asked the
counsellor's son about his health and gave him the present. And she
cleverly tried to keep the prince from eating. "Your wife is expecting you
to dinner," she said, and a moment later she went away.
Then the counsellor's son said to the prince: "Look, your Majesty. I
will show you something curious." So he took a little of the cooked rice
and gave it to a dog that was there. And the moment he ate it, the dog
died. And the prince asked the counsellor's son what this strange thing
And he replied: "Your Majesty, she knew that I was clever because I
understood her signs, and she wanted to kill me out of love for you. For
she thought the prince would not be all her own while I was alive, but
would leave her for my sake and go back to his own city. So she sent me
poisoned food to eat. But you must not be angry with her. I will think up
Then the prince praised the counsellor's son, and said: "You are truly
the body of wisdom." And then suddenly a great wailing of grief-stricken
people was heard: "Alas! Alas! The king's little son is dead."
When he heard this, the counsellor's son was delighted, and said: "Your
Majesty, go to-night to Lily's house, and make her drink wine until she
loses her senses and seems to be dead. Then as she lies there, make a mark
on her hip with a red-hot fork, steal her jewels, and come back the old
way through the window. After that I will do the right thing."
Then he made a three-pronged fork and gave it to the prince. And the
prince took the crooked, cruel thing, hard as the weapon of Death, and
went by night as before to Lily's house. "A king," he thought, "ought not
to disregard the words of a high- minded counsellor." So when he had
stupefied her with wine, he branded her hip with the fork, stole her
jewels, returned to his friend, and told him everything, showing him the
Then the counsellor's son felt sure his scheme was successful. He went
to the cemetery in the morning, and disguised himself as a hermit, and the
prince as his pupil. And he said: "Take this pearl necklace from among the
jewels. Go and sell it in the market-place. And if the policemen arrest
you, say this: It was given to me to sell by my teacher.'"
So the prince went to the market-place and stood there offering the
pearl necklace for sale, and he was arrested while doing it by the
policemen. And as they were eager to find out about the theft of the
jewels from Bite's daughter, they took the prince at once to the chief of
police. And when he saw that the culprit was dressed like a hermit, he
asked him very gently: "Holy sir, where did you get this pearl necklace?
It belongs to Bite's daughter and was stolen." Then the prince said to
them: "Gentlemen, my teacher gave it to me to sell. You had better go and
Then the chief of police went and asked him: "Holy sir, how did this
pearl necklace come into your pupil's hand?"
And the shrewd counsellor's son whispered to him: "Sir, as I am a
hermit, I wander about all the time in this region. And as I happened to
be here in this cemetery, I saw a whole company of witches who came here
at night. And one of the witches split open the heart of a king's son, and
offered it to her master. She was mad with wine, and screwed up her face
most horribly. But when she impudently tried to snatch my rosary as I
prayed, I became angry, and branded her on the hip with a three-pronged
fork which I had made red-hot with a magic spell. And I took this pearl
necklace from her neck. Then, as it was not a thing for a hermit, I sent
it to be sold."
When he heard this, the chief of police went and told the whole story
to the king. And when the king heard and saw the evidence, he sent the old
woman, who was reliable, to identify the pearl necklace. And he heard from
her that Lily was branded on the hip.
Then he was convinced that she was really a witch and had devoured his
son. So he went himself to the counsellor's son, who was disguised as a
hermit, and asked how Lily should be punished. And by his advice, she was
banished from the city, though her parents wept. So she was banished naked
to the forest and knew that the counsellor's son had done it all, but she
did not die.
And at nightfall the prince and the counsellor's son put off their
hermit disguise, mounted on horseback, and found her weeping. They put her
on a horse and took her to their own country. And when they got there, the
prince lived most happily with her.
But Bite thought that his daughter was eaten by wild beasts in the
wood, and he died of grief. And his wife died with him.
When he had told this story, the goblin asked the king: "O King, who
was to blame for the death of the parents: the prince, or the counsellor's
son, or Lily? You seem like a very wise man, so resolve my doubts on this
point. If you know and do not tell me the truth, then your head will
surely fly into a hundred pieces. And if you give a good answer, then I
will jump from your shoulder and go back to the sissoo tree."
Then King Triple-victory said to the goblin: "You are a master of
magic. You surely know yourself, but I will tell you. It was not the fault
of any of the three you mentioned. It was entirely the fault of King
But the goblin said: "How could it be the king's fault? The other three
did it. Are the crows to blame when the geese eat up the rice?"
Then the king said: "But those three are not to blame. It was right for
the counsellor's son to do his master's business. So he is not to blame.
And Lily and the prince were madly in love and could not stop to think.
They only looked after their own affairs. They are not to blame.
"But the king knew the law-books very well, and he had spies to find
out the facts among the people. And he knew about the doings of rascals.
So he acted without thinking. He is to blame."
When the goblin heard this, he wanted to test the king's constancy. So
he went back by magic in a moment to the sissoo tree. And the king went
back fearlessly to get him.
The Three Lovers who brought the Dead Girl to Life. Whose wife should
Then King Triple-victory went back under the sissoo tree to fetch the
goblin. And when he got there and looked about, he saw the goblin fallen
on the ground and moaning. Then, when the king put the body with the
goblin in it on his shoulder and started to carry him off quickly and
silently, the goblin on his shoulder said to him: "Oh King, you have
fallen into a very disagreeable task which you do not deserve. So to amuse
you I will tell another story. Listen."
On the bank of Kalindi River is a farm where a very learned Brahman
lived. And he had a very beautiful daughter named Coral. When the Creator
fashioned her fresh and peerless loveliness, surely he must have despised
the cleverness he showed before in fashioning the nymphs of heaven.
When she had grown out of childhood, there came from the city of Kanauj
three Brahman youths, endowed with all the virtues. And each of them asked
her father for her, that she might be his own. And though her father would
rather have died than give her up to anyone, he made up his mind to give
her to one of them. But the girl would not marry any one of them for some
time, because she was afraid of hurting the feelings of the other two. So
they stayed there all three of them day and night, feasting on the beauty
of her face, like the birds that live on moonbeams.
Then all at once Coral fell sick of a burning fever and died. And when
the Brahman youths saw that she was dead, they were smitten with grief.
But they adorned her body, took it to the cemetery, and burned it.
And one of them built a hut there, slept on a bed made of her ashes,
and got his food by begging. The second took her bones and went to dip
them in the sacred Ganges river. And the third became a monk and wandered
in other countries.
And as he wandered, the monk came to a village called Thunderbolt, and
was entertained in the house of a Brahman. But when he had been honoured
by the master of the house and had begun to eat dinner there, the little
boy began to cry and would not stop even when they petted him. So his
mother took him on her arm, and angrily threw him into the blazing fire.
And being tender, he was reduced to ashes in a moment.
When the monk saw this, his hair stood on end, and he said: "Alas! I
have come into the house of a devil. I will not eat this food. It would be
like eating sin." But the master of the house said to him: "Brahman, I
have studied to good purpose. See my skill in bringing the dead to life."
So he opened a book, took out a magic spell, read it, and sprinkled water
on the ashes. And the moment the water was sprinkled, the boy stood up
alive just as before. Then the monk was highly delighted and finished his
dinner with pleasure.
And the master of the house hung the book on an ivory peg, took dinner
with the monk, and went to bed. When he was asleep, the monk got up
quietly, and tremblingly took the book, hoping to bring his darling Coral
back to life. He went away and travelled night and day, until he finally
reached the cemetery. And he caught sight of the second youth, who had
come back after dipping the bones in the Ganges. And he also found the
third youth, who had made a hut and lived there, sleeping on the girl's
Then the monk cried: "Brother, leave your hut. I will bring the dear
girl back to life." And while they eagerly questioned him, he opened the
book, and read the magic spell, and sprinkled holy water on the ashes. And
Coral immediately stood up, alive. And the girl was more beautiful than
ever. She looked as if she were made of gold.
When the three youths saw her come back to life like that, they went
mad with love, and fought with one another to possess her.
One said: "I brought her to life by my magic spell. She is my wife."
The second said: "She came to life because of my journey to the sacred
river. She is my wife."
The third said: "I kept her ashes. That is why she came to life. She is
my dear wife."
O King, you are able to decide their dispute. Tell me. Whose wife
should she be? If you know and say what is false, then your head will
When the king heard this, he said to the goblin: "The man who painfully
found the magic spell and brought her back to life, he did only what a
father ought to do. He is not her husband. And the man who went to dip her
bones in the sacred river, he did only what a son ought to do. He is not
her husband. But the man who slept with her ashes and lived a hard life in
the cemetery, he did what a lover ought to do. He deserves to be her
When the goblin heard this answer of King Triple-victory, he suddenly
escaped from his shoulder and went back. And the king wished to do as the
monk had asked him; so he decided to go back and get him. Great-minded
people do not waver until they have kept their promises, even at the cost
The Parrot and the Thrush. Which are worse, men or women?
Then the king went back to the sissoo tree to fetch the goblin. When he
got there, he took the body with the goblin in it on his shoulder, and
started off in silence. And as he walked along, the goblin said to him
again: "O King, you must be very tired, coming and going in the night. So
to amuse you I will tell another story. Listen."
There is a city called Patna, the gem of the earth. And long ago a king
lived there whose name was Lion-of-Victory. Fate had made him the owner of
all virtues and all wealth. And he had a parrot called Jewel-of-Wisdom,
that had divine intelligence and knew all the sciences, but lived as a
parrot because of a curse.
This king had a son called Moon, and by the advice of the parrot this
prince married the daughter of the king of the Magadha country; and her
name was Moonlight. Now this princess had a thrush named Moony, who was
like the parrot, because she had learning and intelligence. And the parrot
and the thrush lived in one cage in the palace.
One day the parrot eagerly said to the thrush: "My darling, love me,
and share my bed and my chair and my food and my amusements."
But the thrush said: "I will have nothing to do with men. Men are bad
Then the parrot said: "Men are not bad. It is only women who are bad
and cruel-hearted." And they quarrelled.
Then the two birds wagered their freedom with each other and went to
the prince to have their quarrel decided. And the prince mounted his
father's judgment throne, and when he had heard the cause of the quarrel,
he asked the thrush: "How are men ungrateful? Tell the truth." Then she
said, "Listen, O Prince," and to prove her point she started to tell this
story illustrating the faults of men.
There is a famous city called Kamandaki, where a wealthy merchant lived
named Fortune. And in time a son was born to him and named Treasure. Then
when the father went to heaven, the young man became very unruly because
of gambling and other vices. And the rascals came together, and ruined
him. Association with scoundrels is the root from which springs the tree
So in no long time he lost all he had through his vices, and being
ashamed of his poverty, he left his own country and went to wander in
other places. And during his travels he came to a city called Sandal City,
and entered the house of a merchant, seeking something to eat. When the
merchant saw the youth, he asked him about his family, and finding that he
was a gentleman, he entertained him. And thinking that Gate had sent the
young man, he gave him his own daughter Pearl, together with some money.
And when Treasure was married, he lived in his father-in-law's house.
As time passed, he forgot his former miseries in the comforts of his
life, and longed for the old vices, and wanted to go home. So the rascal
managed to persuade his father-in-law, who had no other children, took his
wife Pearl with her beautiful ornaments, and an old woman, and started for
his own country. Presently he came to a wood where he said he was afraid
of thieves, so he took all his wife's ornaments. Perceive, O Prince, how
cruel and hard are the ungrateful hearts of those who indulge in gambling
and other vices. And the scoundrel was ready, just for money, to kill his
good wife. He threw her and the old woman into a pit. Then the rascal went
away and the old woman perished there.
But Pearl, with the little life she had left, managed to get out by
clinging to the grass and bushes, and weeping bitterly, and bleeding, she
asked the way step by step, and painfully reached her father's house by
the way she had come. And her mother and father were surprised and asked
her: "Why did you come back so soon, and in this condition?"
And that good wife said: "On the road we were robbed, and my husband
was forcibly carried off. And the old woman fell into a pit and died, but
I escaped. And a kind-hearted traveller pulled me from the pit." Then her
father and mother were saddened, but they comforted her, and Pearl stayed
there, true to her husband.
Then in time Treasure lost all his money in gambling, and he reflected:
"I will get more money from the house of my father-in-law. I will go there
and tell my father-in-law that his daughter is well and is at my house."
So he went again to his father-in-law. And as he went, his
ever-faithful wife saw him afar off. She ran and fell at the rascal's feet
and told him all the story that she had invented for her parents. For the
heart of a faithful wife does not change even when she learns that her
husband is a rogue.
Then that rascal went without fear into the house of his father-in-law
and bowed low before his feet. And his father-in-law rejoiced when he saw
him and made a great feast with his relatives, for he said: "My son is
delivered alive from the robbers. Heaven be praised!" Then Treasure
enjoyed the wealth of his father-in-law and lived with his wife Pearl.
Now one night this worst of scoundrels did what I ought not to repeat,
but I will tell it, or my story would be spoiled. Listen, O Prince. While
Pearl lay asleep trusting him, that wretch killed her in the night, stole
all her jewels, and escaped to his own country. This shows how bad and
ungrateful men are.
When the thrush had told her story, the prince smiled and said to the
parrot: "It is your turn now."
Then the parrot said: "Your Majesty, women are cruel and reckless and
bad. To prove it, I will tell you a story. Listen."
There is a city called Joyful, where lived a prince of merchants named
Virtue, who owned millions of money. He had a daughter named Fortune,
peerless in beauty, dearer to him than life. And she was given in marriage
to a merchant's son from Copper City, whose name was Ocean. He was her
equal in wealth, beauty, and family; a delight to the eyes of men.
One day when her husband was away from home, she saw from the window a
handsome young man. And the moment she saw him, the fickle girl went mad
with love, and secretly sent a messenger to invite him in, and made love
to him in secret. Thus her heart was fixed on him alone, and she was happy
But at last her husband came home and delighted the hearts of his
parents-in-law. And when the day had been spent in feasting, Fortune was
adorned by her mother, and sent to her husband's room. But she was cold
toward him and pretended to sleep. And her husband went to sleep, too, for
he was weary with his journey, and had been drinking wine.
When everyone in the house had gone to sleep after their dinner, a
thief made a hole in the wall and came into that very room. And just then
the merchant's daughter got up without seeing him, and went out secretly
to a meeting with her lover. And the thief was disappointed, and thought:
"She has gone out into the night wearing the very jewels that I came to
steal. I must see where she goes." So the thief went out and followed her.
But she met a woman friend who had flowers in her hand, and went to a
park not very far away. And there she saw the man whom she came to meet
hanging on a tree. For the policeman had thought he was a thief, had put a
rope around his neck and hanged him.
And at the sight she went distracted, and lamented pitifully: "Oh, oh!
I am undone," and fell on the ground and wept. Then she took her lover
down from the tree and made him sit up, though he was dead, and adorned
him with perfumes and jewels and flowers.
But when in her love-madness she lifted his face and kissed him, a
goblin who had come to live in her dead lover, bit off her nose. And she
was startled and ran in pain from the spot. But then she came back to see
if perhaps he was alive after all. But the goblin had gone, and she saw
that he was motionless and dead. So she slowly went back home, frightened
and disgraced and weeping.
And the concealed thief saw it all and thought: "What has the wicked
woman done? Alas! Can women be so dreadful as this? What might she not do
next?" So out of curiosity the thief still followed her from afar.
And the wretched woman entered the house and cried aloud, and said:
"Save me from my cruel enemy, my own husband. He cut off my nose and I had
done nothing." And her servants heard her cries and all arose in
excitement. Her husband too awoke. Then her father came and saw that her
nose was cut off, and in his anger he had his son-in-law arrested.
And the poor man did not know what to do. Even when he was being bound,
he remained silent and said nothing. Then they all woke up and heard the
story, but the thief who knew the whole truth, ran away. And when day
came, the merchant's son was haled before the king by his father-in-law.
And Fortune went there without her nose, and the king heard the whole
story and condemned the merchant's son to death for mistreating his wife.
So the innocent, bewildered man was led to the place of execution and
the drums were beaten. Just then the thief came up and said to the king's
men: "Why do you kill this man without any good reason? I know how the
whole thing happened. Take me to the king, and I will tell all."
So all the king's men took him to the king. And the thief told the king
all the adventures of the night, and said: "Your Majesty, if you cannot
trust my word, you may find the nose at this moment between the teeth of
the dead body."
Then the king sent men to investigate, and when he found it was true,
he released the merchant's son from the punishment of death. As for
wretched Fortune, he cut off her ears, too, and banished her from the
country. And he took from her father, the merchant, all his money, and
made the thief the chief of police. He was pleased with him.
O Prince, this shows how cruel and false women are by nature.
As he spoke these words, the parrot changed into a god, for the curse
was fulfilled, and went to heaven like a god. And the thrush suddenly
became a goddess, for her curse was at an end, and flew up likewise to
heaven. So their dispute was never settled at that court.
When the goblin had told this story, he asked the king: "O King, tell
me. Are men bad, or women? If you know and do not tell, your head will fly
to pieces." And when the king heard these words of the goblin on his
shoulder, he said to that magic goblin: "O goblin! Here and there, now and
then, there is an occasional bad man like that. But women are usually bad.
We hear about many of them."
Then the goblin disappeared from the king's shoulder as before. And the
king tried again to catch him.
King Shudraka and Hero's Family. Which of the five deserves the most
Then King Triple-victory went back under the sissoo tree and caught the
goblin, who gave a horse-laugh. But the king without fear put him on his
shoulder as before and started toward the monk. And as he walked along,
the goblin on his shoulder said to him again: "O King, why do you take
such pains for that wretched monk? Have you no sense about this fruitless
task? Well, after all, I like your devotion. So, to amuse the weary
journey, I will tell you another story. Listen."
There is a city called Beautiful, and it deserves the name. There lived
a king named Shudraka, of tremendous power and mighty courage. He was so
used to victory that the fire of his courage was kept blazing by the wind
from the fans in the hands of the wives of his vanquished foes. Under his
rule the earth was rich and always good, as in the days of old. And he was
fond of brave men.
Now one day a Brahman named Hero came from Malwa to pay his homage to
this king. He had a wife named Virtue, a son named Trusty, and a daughter
named Heroic. And he had just three servants, a dagger at his hip, a sword
in his hand, and a shield in his other hand. These were all the servants
he had when he asked the king for five hundred gold-pieces a day as his
And the king thought from his appearance that he was a remarkably brave
man, so he gave him the wages he asked. But out of curiosity he put spies
on his track, to learn what he did with all the money.
Now Hero called on the king in the morning, and at noon he took his
sword and stood at the palace gate and divided his daily salary. One
hundred gold-pieces he gave to his wife for food and household expenses.
And with another hundred he bought clothes and perfumes and nuts and such
things. And another hundred he devoted to the worship of Vishnu and Shiva,
after taking the ceremonial bath. And the two hundred which were left he
gave to Brahmans and the unhappy and the poor. This was the way he divided
and spent the money every day. Then after he had sacrificed and eaten
dinner, he stood every night alone at the palace gate with his sword and
shield. All this King Shudraka learned from his spies and was greatly
pleased and forbad the spies to follow him again. For he thought him a
wonderful man, worthy of especial honour.
Then one day a veil of clouds covered the sky and poured down rain in
streams day and night, so that the highway was quite deserted. Only Hero
was at his post as usual by the palace gate. And when the sun set and
dreadful darkness was spread abroad and the rain fell in sheets, the king
wished to test Hero's behaviour. So at night he climbed to the palace roof
and cried: "Who is there at the gate?" And Hero answered: "I am here." And
the king thought: "How steadfast this man Hero is, and how devoted to me!
I must surely give him a greater post." And he descended from the roof and
entered the palace and went to bed.
The next night it rained again in sheets and the world was wrapped in
the darkness of death. And again the king thought to test his behaviour,
and climbing to the roof he called out toward the palace gate: "Who is
there?" And when Hero said: "I am here, your Majesty," the king was
Just then he heard at a distance a sweet-voiced woman crying. And he
thought: "Who is this who laments so piteously, as if in deep despair? In
my kingdom there is no violence, no poor man and none distressed. Who can
she be?" And being merciful, he called to Hero, who stood below: "Listen,
Hero. A woman is weeping at some distance. Go and learn why she weeps and
who she is." And Hero said "Certainly," arranged his dagger, took his
sword in his hand, and started. He did not even think of the pelting hail,
the flashing lightning, or the rain and darkness. And when the king saw
him setting out alone in a night like that, he was filled with pity and
curiosity, and descending from the palace roof, took his sword and
followed all alone, without being seen.
As Hero traced the sound of crying, he came to a beautiful lake outside
the city, and there he saw a woman in the midst of the water, lamenting in
these words: "Alas for you, brave and merciful and generous! How shall I
live without you?"
And Hero was amazed, and timidly asked her: "Who are you, and why do
you weep?" And she replied: "O Hero, I am the Goddess of the Earth, and
now my lord, this virtuous King Shudraka, is going to die in three days.
How shall I find another such master? So I am distracted with grief, and I
When Hero heard this, he was frightened and said: "Goddess, is there
any remedy for this, any way in which the king might be saved?" And the
goddess answered: "There is just one remedy, my son, and it is in your
hands." And Hero said: "Goddess, tell me quickly, that I may adopt it at
once. What good would life be to us otherwise?"
Then the goddess said: "My son, there is no other man devoted to his
master as you are: so you may learn how to save him. There is a temple to
the Dreadful Goddess built by that king near his palace. If you sacrifice
your son to her at once, then the king will not die. He will live another
hundred years. If you do it this very night, then the blessing will come,
And Hero, the hero, replied: "Then I will go, Goddess, and do it this
moment." And the Goddess of the Earth said: "Good fortune go with you,"
and she vanished. And the king, who had followed secretly, heard it all.
So he still followed to find out how Hero would behave.
But Hero went straight home, woke his wife Virtue, and told her all
that the Goddess of the Earth had said. And his wife said: "My dear, if so
much depends on it, wake the boy and tell him." Then Hero woke the little
boy, told him all, and said: "My boy, if you are sacrificed to the
Dreadful Goddess, our king will live. If not, he will die in three days."
And the boy was true to his name. Without fear and without hesitation
he said: "My dear father, I am a lucky boy if the king lives at the cost
of my life. Besides, that would pay for the food we have eaten. Why then
delay? Take me quickly and sacrifice me to the goddess. May the king's
evil fate be averted by my death!" And Hero was delighted and
congratulated him, saying: "Well said! You are indeed my son."
So Hero's wife Virtue and his daughter Heroic went through the night
with Hero and Trusty to the temple of the Dreadful Goddess. The king too
followed them, disguised and unnoticed. Then the father took Trusty from
his shoulder in the presence of the goddess. And Trusty worshipped the
goddess, and bravely saluted her, and said: "O Goddess, by the sacrifice
of my head may the king live another hundred years and rule a thornless
And as he prayed, Hero cut off his head and offered it to the Dreadful
Goddess, saying: "May the king live at the cost of my son's life!" Then a
voice cried from heaven: "O Hero, who else is devoted to his master as you
are? You have given life and royal power to the king at the cost of your
only son, and such a son." All this the king himself saw and heard.
Then Hero's daughter Heroic kissed the lips of her dead brother, and
was blinded with sorrow, and her heart broke, and she died.
Then Hero's wife Virtue said: "My dear, we have done our duty by the
king. And you see how my daughter died of grief. So now I say: What good
is life to me without my children? I was a fool before. I should have
given my own head to save the king. So now permit me to burn myself at
And when she insisted, Hero said: "Do so. What happiness is there in a
life of constant mourning for your children? And as for your giving your
own life instead, do not grieve about that. If there had been any other
way, I should of course have given my life. So wait a moment. I will build
you a funeral pile out of these logs." So he built the pile and lighted
And Virtue fell at her husband's feet, then worshipped the Dreadful
Goddess, and prayed: "O Goddess, may I have the same husband in another
life, and may this same King Shudraka be saved at the cost of my son's
life." And she died in the blazing fire.
Then Hero thought: "I have done my duty by the king, as the heavenly
voice admitted. And I have paid for the king's food which I have eaten. So
now why should I want to live alone? It is not right for a man like me to
go on living at the expense of all the family which I ought to support.
Why should I not please the goddess by sacrificing myself?"
So Hero first approached the goddess with a hymn of praise: "O
Demon-slayer! Saviour! Devil-killer! Trident-holder! Joy of the wise!
Protectress of the universe! Victory to thee, O best of mothers, whose
feet the world adores! O fearless refuge of the pious! Kali of the
dreadful ornaments! Honour and glory to thee, O kindly goddess! Be pleased
to accept the sacrifice of my head in behalf of King Shudraka." Then he
suddenly cut off his own head with his dagger.
King Shudraka beheld this from his hiding-place, and was filled with
amazement and grief and admiration. And he thought: "I have never seen or
heard the like of this. That good man and his family have done a hard
thing for me. In this strange world who else is so brave as that, to give
his son, his family, and his life for his king: If I should not make a
full return for his kindness, my kingdom would mean nothing to me, and my
life would be the life of a beast. If I lost my virtue, it would all be a
disgrace to me."
But when he started to cut off his own head, there came a voice from
heaven: "My son, do nothing rash. I am well pleased with your character.
The Brahman Hero and his children and his wife shall come back to life."
And when the voice ceased, Hero stood up alive and uninjured with his son
and his daughter and his wife. Then the king hid himself again and looked
on with eyes filled with tears of joy, and could not see enough of them.
Now Hero, like a man awaking from a dream, gazed at his son and his
wife and his daughter, and was greatly perplexed. He spoke to each by
name, and asked them how they had come to life after being reduced to
ashes. "Is this a fancy of mine? Or a dream? Or an illusion? Or the favour
of the goddess?" And his wife and children said to him: "By the favour of
the goddess we are alive."
At last Hero believed it, and having worshipped the goddess, he went
home happy with his children and his wife. And when he had seen his son
and his wife and daughter safe at home, he went back that same night to
the palace gate.
And King Shudraka saw all this and went back without being seen
himself, and climbed to the roof, and called: "Who is there at the gate?"
And Hero replied: "Your Majesty, I, Hero, am here. At your command I
followed the woman who cried. She must have been a witch, for she vanished
the moment I saw her and spoke to her."
When the king heard this, he was astonished beyond measure, for he had
seen what really happened. And he thought: "Ah, the hearts of brave men
are deep as the sea, if they do not boast after doing an unparalleled
action." So the king descended from the roof, entered the palace, and
passed the rest of the night there.
Then when the court was held in the morning, Hero came to see the king.
And as he stood there, the delighted king told all his counsellors and the
others the story of the night. And all were amazed and confounded at
hearing of Hero's virtues, and they praised him, crying: "Well done! Well
Then the king and Hero lived happily together, sharing the power
When the goblin had told this story, he asked King Triple-victory: "O
King, which of all these was the most worthy? If you know and will not
tell, then the curse I told you of will be fulfilled."
And the king said to the goblin: "O magic creature, King Shudraka was
the most noble of them all."
But the goblin said: "Why not Hero, the like of whom as a servant is
not to be found in the whole world? Or why should not his wife receive the
most praise, who did not waver when she saw her son killed like a beast
before her eyes? Or why is not the boy Trusty the most worthy, who showed
such wonderful manhood when only a little boy? Why do you say that King
Shudraka was the best among them?"
Then the king answered the goblin: "Not Hero. He was a gentleman born,
so it was his duty to save his king at the cost of life, wife and
children. And his wife was a lady, a faithful wife who only did what was
right in following her husband. And Trusty was their son, and like them.
For the cloth is always like the threads. But the king has aright to use
his subjects' lives to save his own. So when Shudraka gave his life for
them, he proved himself the best of all."
When the goblin heard this, he jumped from the king's shoulder and went
back to his home without being seen. And the king was not disturbed by
this magic, but started back through the night to catch him.
The Brave Man, the Wise Man, and the Clever Man. To which should the
girl be given?
Then King Triple-victory went back to the sissoo tree and saw the body
with the goblin in it hanging there just as before. He took it down
without being frightened by all its twistings and writhings, and quickly
set out again. And as he walked along in silence as before, the goblin
said: "O King, you are obstinate, and you are pleasing to look at. So to
amuse you, I will tell another story. Listen."
There is a city called Ujjain, famous throughout the world. There lived
a king named Merit, who had as counsellor a Brahman named Hariswami,
adorned with all noble virtues. The counsellor had a worthy wife, and a
son named Devaswami was born to her, and was as good as she. And they had
one daughter named Moonlight, who was worthy of her name, for she was
famous for her matchless beauty and charm.
When the girl had grown out of childhood, she was proud of her
wonderful beauty, and she told her mother, her father, and her brother: "I
will marry a brave man or a wise man or a clever man. I should die if I
were married to anyone else."
Now while her father was busy looking for such a husband for her, he
was sent by King Merit to another king in the southern country to make a
treaty for war and peace. When he had finished his business, a Brahman
youth, who had heard of his daughter's beauty, came and asked him for her.
And he said: "My daughter will not marry anyone unless he is a clever
man or a wise man or a brave man. Which of these are you? Tell me." And
the Brahman said: "I am a clever man." "Show me," said the father, and the
clever man made a flying chariot by his skill. Then he took Hariswami in
this magic chariot, and carried him to the sky. And he took the delighted
father to the camp of the king of the southern country where he had been
on business. Then Hariswami appointed the marriage for the seventh day.
At this time another Brahman youth in Ujjain came to the girl's brother
and asked him for her. And when he was told that she would marry only a
wise man or a clever man or a brave man, he said he was a brave man. Then
when he had shown his skill with weapons, the brother promised his sister
to the brave man. And without telling his mother, he consulted the
star-gazers and appointed the marriage for the seventh day.
At the same time a third Brahman youth came to the girl's mother and
asked for the girl. And the mother said: "My son, a wise man or a clever
man or a brave man shall marry my daughter but no one else. Which of these
are you? Tell me." And he said: "I am a wise man." So she asked him about
the past and the future, and found that he was a wise man. Then she
promised to give him her daughter on the seventh day.
The next day Hariswami came home and told his wife and his son all that
he had done. And she and he each told him all that she or he had done. So
Hariswami was greatly perplexed, because three bridegrooms had been
invited. Then the seventh day came and the three bridegrooms came to
Strange to say, at that moment Moonlight disappeared. Then the wise man
said: "A giant named Smoke-tail has carried her to his den in the Vindhya
When Hariswami heard this from the wise man, he was frightened and
asked the clever man to find a remedy for the trouble. And the clever man
made a chariot as before, full of all kinds of weapons, and brought
Hariswami with the wise man and the brave man in a moment to the Vindhya
forest. And the wise man showed them the giant's den.
When the giant saw what had happened, he came out in anger, and the
brave man fought with him. Then came a famous duel with strange weapons
between a man and a giant for the sake of a woman, like the ancient fight
between Rama and Ravana. Though the giant was a terrible fighter, the
brave man presently cut off his head with an arrow shaped like a
half-moon. When the giant was killed, they found Moonlight in the den and
all went back to Ujjain in the clever man's chariot.
Then when the proper time for wedding came, there arose a great dispute
among the three in Hariswami's house.
The wise man said: "If I had not discovered her by my wisdom, how could
you have found her hiding-place? She should be given to me."
The clever man said: "If I had not made a flying chariot, how could you
have gone there in a moment and come back like the gods, or how could you
have had a chariot-fight with him? She should be given to me."
The brave man said: "If I had not killed the giant in the fight, who
would have saved her in spite of all your pains? The girl should be given
And as they quarrelled, Hariswami stood silent, confused, and
When the goblin had told this story, he said to the king: "O King, do
you say to which of them she should be given. If you know and will not
tell, then your head will split into a hundred pieces."
Then the king broke silence and said: "She should be given to the brave
man, who risked his life and killed the giant and saved the girl. The wise
man and the clever man were only helpers whom Fate gave him. A star-gazer
and a chariot-maker work for other people, do they not?"
When the goblin heard this answer, he suddenly escaped from the king's
shoulder and went back. And the king determined to get him, and went again
to the sissoo tree.
The Girl who transposed the Heads of her Husband and Brother. Which
combination of head and body is her husband?
Then the king went back to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his
shoulder as before, and started in silence toward the monk. And the goblin
said to him: "O King, you are wise and good, so I am pleased with you. To
amuse you, therefore, I will tell you another story with a puzzle in it.
Long ago there was a king named Glory-banner in the world. His city was
named Beautiful. And in this city was a splendid temple to the goddess
Gauri. And to the right of the temple was a lake called Bath of Gauri. And
on a certain day in each year a great crowd of people came there on a
pilgrimage from all directions to bathe.
One day a laundryman named White came there from another village to
bathe. And the youth saw a maiden who had also come there to bathe. Her
name was Lovely, and her father's name was Clean-cloth. She robbed the
moon of its beauty and White of his heart. So he inquired about her name
and family and went home lovesick.
When he got there, he was ill and could not eat without her. And when
his mother asked him, he told her what was in his heart, but did not
change his habits. But she went and told her husband, whose name was
So Spotless went and saw how his son was acting, and said: "My son, why
should you be downcast? Your desire is not hard to obtain. For if I ask
Clean-cloth, he will surely give you his daughter. We are not inferior to
him in birth, wealth, or social position. I know him and he knows me. So
there is no difficulty about it." Thus Spotless comforted his son, made
him eat and take care of himself, went with him the next day to
Clean-cloth's house, and asked that the girl might be given to his son
White. And Clean-cloth graciously promised to give her to him.
Then when the time came, Clean-cloth gave White his charming daughter,
a wife worthy of him. And when he was married, White went happily to his
father's house with his sweet bride.
Now as he lived there happily, Lovely's brother came to visit. And when
they had all asked him about his health and his sister had greeted him
with a kiss, and after he had rested, he said: "My father sent me to
invite Lovely and White to a festival in our house." And all the relatives
said it was a good plan and entertained him that day with appropriate
things to drink and eat.
The next morning White set out for his father-in-law's house, together
with his brother-in-law and Lovely. And when he came to the city
Beautiful, he saw the great temple of Gauri. And he said to Lovely and her
brother: "We will see this goddess. I will go first and you two stay
here." So White went in to see the goddess. He entered the temple and
bowed before the goddess whose eighteen arms had killed the horrible
demons, whose lotus-feet were set upon a giant that she had crushed.
And when he had worshipped her, an idea suddenly came to him. "People
honour this goddess with all kinds of living sacrifices. Why should I not
win her favour by sacrificing myself?" And he fetched a sword from a
deserted inner room, cut off his own head, and let it fall on the floor.
Presently his brother-in-law entered the temple to see why he delayed
so long. And when he saw his brother-in-law with his head cut off, he went
mad with grief, and cut off his own head in the same way with the same
Then when he failed to come out, Lovely was alarmed and entered the
temple. And when she saw her husband and her brother in that condition,
she cried: "Alas! This is the end of me!" and fell weeping to the floor.
But presently she rose, lamenting for the pair so unexpectantly dead, and
thought: "What is my life good for now?"
Before killing herself, she prayed to the goddess: "O Goddess! One only
deity of happiness and character! Partaker of the life of Shiva! Refuge of
all women-folk! Destroyer of grief! Why have you killed my husband and my
brother at one fell swoop? It was not right, for I was always devoted to
you. Then be my refuge when I pray to you, and hear my one pitiful prayer.
I shall leave this wretched body of mine on this spot, but in every future
life of mine, O Goddess, may I have the same husband and brother." Thus
she prayed, praised, and worshipped the goddess, then tied a rope to an
ashoka tree which grew there.
But while she was arranging the rope about her neck, a voice from
heaven cried: "Do nothing rash, my daughter. Leave the rope alone. Though
you are young, I am pleased with your unusual goodness. Place the two
heads on the two bodies and they shall rise up again and live through my
So Lovely left the rope alone and joyfully went to the bodies. But in
her great hurry and confusion she made a mistake. She put her husband's
head on her brother's body and her brother's head on her husband's body.
Then they arose, sound and well, like men awaking from a dream. And they
were all delighted to hear one another's adventures, worshipped the
goddess, and went on their way.
Now as she walked along, Lovely noticed that she had made a mistake in
their heads. And she was troubled and did not know what to do.
When the goblin had told this story, he asked the king: "O King, when
they were mingled in this way, which should be her husband? If you know
and do not tell, then the curse I spoke of will be fulfilled."
And the king said to the goblin: "The body with the husband's head on
it is her husband. For the head is the most important member. It is by the
head that we recognize people."
Then the goblin slipped from the king's shoulder as before, and quickly
disappeared. And the king went back, determined to catch him.
The Mutual Services of King Fierce-lion and Prince Good. Which is the
Then the king went back to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his
shoulder as before, and started. And as he walked along, the goblin said:
"O King, I will tell you a story to amuse your weariness. Listen."
On the shore of the Eastern Ocean is Copper City. There a king named
Fierce-lion lived. He turned his back to other men's wives, but not to
fighting men. He destroyed his enemies, but not other men's wealth.
One day a popular prince named Good came from the south to the king's
gate. He introduced himself, but did not get what he wanted from the king.
And he thought: "If I am born a prince, why am I so poor? And if I am to
be poor, why did God give me so many desires? For this king pays no
attention to me, though I wait upon him and grow weary and faint with
While he was thinking, the king went hunting. He went with many
horsemen and footmen, and the prince ran along in the dress of a pilgrim
with a club in his hand. And during the hunt the king chased a great boar
a long distance, and so came into another forest. There he lost sight of
the boar, for the trail was covered with leaves and grass. And the king
was tired and lost his way in the forest. Only the pilgrim-prince thought
nothing of his life, and hungry and thirsty as he was, he followed on foot
the king who rode a swift horse.
And when the king saw him following, he spoke lovingly: "My good man,
do you perhaps know the way we came?"
And the pilgrim bowed low and said: "I know, your Majesty. But first
rest yourself a moment. The blazing sun, the middle jewel in the girdle of
heaven's bride, is terribly hot." Then the king said eagerly: "See if
there is water anywhere."
And the pilgrim agreed and climbed a high tree and looked around. And
he saw a river and climbed down and took the king to it. He unsaddled the
horse, gave him water and grass, and let him rest. And when the king had
bathed, the pilgrim took two fine mangoes from his skirt, washed them and
gave them to the king.
"Where did you get these?" asked the king, and the pilgrim bowed and
said: "Your Majesty, I have lived on such food for ten years. While I was
serving your Majesty, I had to live like a monk." And the king said: "What
can I say? You deserve your name of Good." And he was filled with pity and
shame, and thought: "A curse on kings, who do not know whether their
servants are happy or not! And a curse of their attendants, who do not
tell them this and that!" And when the pilgrim insisted, the king was
prevailed on to take the two mangoes. He rested there with the pilgrim and
ate the mangoes and drank water with the pilgrim, who was accustomed to
eat mangoes and drink water.
Then the pilgrim saddled the horse and went ahead to show the way, and
at last, at the king's command, mounted behind on the horse; so the king
found his soldiers and went safely home. And when he got there, he
proclaimed the devotion of the pilgrim, and made him a rich man, but could
not feel that he had paid his debt. So Good stayed there happily with King
Fierce-lion and stopped living as a pilgrim.
One day the king sent Good to Ceylon to ask for the hand of the
daughter of the King of Ceylon. So he set out after sacrificing to the
proper god, and entered a ship with some Brahmans chosen by the king. And
when the ship had safely reached the middle of the ocean, there suddenly
arose from the waves a very large flag-pole made of gold, with a top that
touched the sky. It was adorned with waving banners of various colours and
was quite astonishing.
At the same moment the clouds gathered, it began to rain violently, and
a mighty wind blew. And the ship was driven by the storm winds and caught
on the flag-pole. Then the pole began to sink, dragging the ship with it
into the raging waves. And the Brahmans who were there were overcome with
fear and cursed the name of their king Fierce-lion.
But Good could not endure that because of his devotion to his king. He
took his sword in his hand, girt up his garment, and threw himself after
the flag-pole into the sea. He had no fear of the pole which seemed a
refuge from the ocean. Then as he sank, the ship was battered by the winds
and waves and broke up. And all in it fell into the mouths of sharks.
But Good sank into the ocean, and when he looked about he saw a
wonderful city. There he entered a shrine to Gauri, tall as the heavenly
mountain, with great gem-sprinkled banners on walls made of different
kinds of jewels, in a golden temple blazing with jewelled pillars, with a
garden that had a pool, the stairs to which were made of splendid gems.
After he had bowed low and praised and worshipped the goddess there, he
sat down before her in amazement, wondering if it was all a conjuror's
Just then the door was suddenly opened by a heavenly maiden. Her eyes
were like lotuses, her face like the moon. She had a smile like a flower
and a body soft as lotus-stems. And a thousand women waited upon her. She
entered the shrine of the goddess and the heart of Good at the same
moment. And when she had worshipped the goddess there, she went out from
the shrine, but not from the heart of Good.
She entered a circle of light, and Good followed her. And he saw
another splendid house, that seemed like a place of meeting for all riches
and all enjoyments. And he saw the girl sitting on a jewelled couch, and
he approached and sat beside her. He was like a man painted in a picture,
for his eyes were fastened on her face.
Now a servant of the maiden saw that his body was thrilled, that he was
intent upon the maiden, that he was in love. She understood his feelings
and said to him: "Sir, you are our guest. Enjoy the hospitality of my
mistress. Arise. Bathe. Eat." And he felt a little hope at her words and
went to a pool in the garden which she showed him.
He plunged into the pool, and when he rose to the surface, he found
himself in the pool of King Fierce-lion in Copper City. And when he saw
that he had come there so suddenly, he thought: "Oh, what does it mean?
Where is that heavenly garden? What a difference between the sight of that
girl which was like nectar to me, and this immediate separation from her
which is like terrible poison! It was no dream. I was awake when the
serving-maid deceived me and made a fool of me."
He was like a madman without the girl. He wandered in the garden and
mourned in a lovelorn way. He was surrounded by wind-blown flower-pollen
which seemed to him the yellow flames of separation. And when the gardener
saw him in this state, he went and told the king.
And the king was troubled. He went himself to see Good, and asked him
soothingly: "What does this mean? Tell me, my friend. Where did you go?
And where did you come? And where did you stay? And what did you fall
Then Good told him the whole adventure. And the king thought: "Ah, it
is fortunate for me that this brave man is lovelorn. For now I have a
chance to pay my debt to him." So the king said to him: "My friend, give
over this vain grief. I will go with you by the same road, and bring you
to the heavenly maiden." So he comforted Good, and made him take a bath.
The next day he transferred his royal duties to his counsellors and
entered a ship with Good. Good showed the way through the sea and they saw
the flag-pole with its banners rising as before in the middle of the
ocean. Then Good said to the king: "Your Majesty, here is the magic
flag-pole standing up. When I sink down there, you must sink too along the
flag-pole." So when they came near the sinking pole, Good jumped first,
and the king followed him.
They sank down and came to the heavenly city. And the king was
astonished, and after he had worshipped the goddess, he sat down with
Good. Then the girl, like Beauty personified, came out of the circle of
light with her friends. "There she is, the lovely creature," said Good,
and the king thought: "He is quite right to love her." But when she saw
the king looking like a god, she wondered who the strange and wonderful
man might be, and entered the shrine to worship the goddess.
But the king took Good and went into the garden to show how little he
cared about her. A moment later the girl came from the shrine; she had
been praying for a good husband. And she said to a girl friend: "My
friend, I wonder where I could see the man who was here. Where is the
great man? You girls must hunt for him and ask him to be good enough to
come and accept our hospitality. For he is a wonderful man, and we must be
polite to him."
So the girl found him in the garden and gave him her mistress' message
very respectfully. But the brave king spoke loftily to her: "Your words
are hospitality enough. Nothing else is necessary."
Now when her mistress had heard what he said, she thought he was a
noble character, better than anybody else. She was attracted by the
courage of the king in refusing a sort of hospitality which was almost too
much to offer a mere man, and thought about the fulfilment of her prayer
for a husband. So she went into the garden herself. She drew near to the
king and lovingly begged him to accept her hospitality.
But the king pointed to Good and said: "My dear girl, he told me of the
goddess here, and I came to see her. And by following the flag-pole I saw
the goddess and her very marvellous temple. It was only afterwards that I
happened to see you."
Then the girl said: "O King, you may be interested in seeing a city
which is the wonder of the three worlds." And the king laughed and said:
"He told me about that, too. I believe there is a pool for bathing there."
And the girl said: "O King, do not say that. I am not a deceitful girl.
Why should I deceive an honourable man, especially as your noble character
has made me feel like a servant? Pray do not refuse me."
So the king agreed and went with Good and the girl to the edge of the
circle of light. There a door opened and he entered and saw another
heavenly city like a second hill of heaven; for it was built of gems and
gold, and the flowers and fruits of every season grew there at the same
And the princess seated the king on a splendid throne and brought him
gifts and said: "Your Majesty, I am the daughter of the great god
Black-wheel. But Vishnu sent my father to heaven. And I inherited these
two magic cities where one has everything he wants. There is no old age or
death to trouble us here. And now you are in the place of my father to
rule over the cities and over me." So she offered him herself and all she
had. But the king said: "In that case you are my daughter and I give you
in marriage to my brave friend good."
In the king's words she saw the fulfilment of her prayer, and being
sensible and modest, she agreed. So the king married them and gave all the
magic wealth to happy Good, and said: "My friend, I have paid you now for
one of the two mangoes which I ate. But I remain in your debt for the
Then he asked the princess how he could get back to his city. And she
gave the king a sword called Invincible, and the magic fruit which wards
off birth, old age, and death. And the king took the sword and the fruit,
plunged into the pool which she showed him, and came up in his own
country, feeling completely successful. But Good ruled happily over the
kingdom of the princess.
When the goblin had told this story, he asked the king: "O King, which
of these two deserves more credit for plunging into the sea?"
And the king was afraid of the curse, so he gave a true answer: "Good
seems to me the more deserving, for he did not know the truth beforehand,
but plunged without hope into the sea, while the king knew the truth when
And as soon as the king broke silence, the goblin slipped from his
shoulder as before without being seen and went to the sissoo tree. And the
king tried as before to catch him. Brave men do not waver until they have
finished what they have begun.
The Specialist in Food, the Specialist in Women, and the Specialist in
Cotton. Which is the cleverest?
So the king went back under the sissoo tree, caught the goblin just as
before, put him on his shoulder, and started toward the monk. And as he
walked along, the goblin on his shoulder spoke and said: "O King, listen
once more to the following story to beguile your weariness."
In the Anga country there is a great region called Forest. There lived
a great Brahman, pious and wealthy, whose name was Vishnu-swami. To his
worthy wife three sons were born, one after another. When they had grown
to be young men, specialists in matters of luxury, they were sent one day
by their father to find a turtle for a sacrifice which he had begun.
So the brothers went to the ocean and there they found a turtle. Then
the eldest said to the two younger: "One of you take this turtle for
Father's sacrifice. I cannot carry a slimy thing that smells raw."
But when the eldest said this, the two younger said: "Sir, if you feel
disgust, why shouldn't we?"
When the eldest heard this, he said: "You take the turtle, otherwise
Father's sacrifice will be ruined on your account. Then you and Father too
will surely go to hell."
When they heard him, the two younger brothers laughed and said: "Sir,
you seem to know our common duty, but not your own."
Then the eldest said: "What? Are you not aware that I am a connoisseur
in food? For I am a specialists in foods. How can I touch this loathsome
When he heard these words, the second brother said: "But I am even more
of a connoisseur. I am a specialist in women. So how can I touch it?"
After this speech, the eldest said to the youngest: "Do you then, being
younger than we, carry the turtle."
Then the youngest frowned and said to them: "Fools! I am a great
specialist in cotton."
So the three brothers quarrelled, and arrogantly leaving the turtle
behind them, they went to have the matter decided at Pinnacle, the capital
of a king called Conqueror. When they came there, and had been announced
and introduced by the door-keeper, they told their story to the king. And
when the king had heard all, he said: "Stay here. I will examine you one
after another." So they agreed and all stayed there.
Then the king invited them in at his own dinner hour, seated them on
magnificent seats, and set before them sweet dishes of six flavours, fit
for a king. While all the rest ate, one of the Brahmans, the specialist in
food, disgustedly shook his head and refused to eat. And when the king
himself asked him why he would not eat food that was sweet and savoury, he
respectfully replied: "Your Majesty, in this food there is the odour of
smoke from a burning corpse. Therefore, I do not wish to eat it, however
sweet it may be."
Then at the king's command all the rest smelt of it and declared it the
best of winter rice, and perfectly sweet. But the food-critic held his
nose and would not touch it. Now when the king reflected and made a
careful investigation, he learned from the commissioners that the dish was
made of rice grown near a village crematory. Then he was greatly
astonished and pleased, and said: "Brahman, you are certainly a judge of
food. Pray take something else."
After dinner the king dismissed them to their rooms, and sent for the
most beautiful woman of his court. And at night he sent this lovely
creature, all adorned, to the second brother, the specialist in women. She
came with a servant of the king to his chamber, and when she entered, she
seemed to illuminate the room. But the judge of women almost fainted, and
stopping his nose with his left hand, he said to his servants: "Take her
away! If not, I shall die. A goaty smell issues from her."
So the servants, in distress and astonishment, conducted her to the
king and told him what had happened. Then the king sent for the specialist
in women, and said: "Brahman, she has anointed herself with sandal,
camphor, and aloes, so that a delightful perfume pervades her
neighbourhood. How could this woman have a goaty smell?" But in spite of
this the specialist in women would not yield. And when the king
endeavoured to learn the truth, he heard from her own lips that in her
infancy she had been separated from her mother and had been brought up on
goat's milk. Then the king was greatly astonished and loudly praised the
critical judgment of the specialist in women.
Quickly he had a couch prepared for the third brother, the specialist
in cotton. So the critic of cotton went to sleep on a bed with seven
quilts over the frame and covered with a pure, soft coverlet. When only a
half of the first watch of the night was gone, he suddenly started from
the bed, shouting and writhing with pain, his hand pressed to his side.
And the king's men who were stationed there saw the curly red outline of a
hair deeply imprinted on his side.
They went at once and informed the king, who said to them: "See whether
there is anything under the quilts or not." So they went and searched
under each quilt, and under the last they found one hair, which they
immediately took and showed to the king. And the king summoned the
specialist in cotton, and finding the mark exactly corresponding to the
hair, was filled with extreme astonishment. And he spent that night
wondering how the hair could sink into his body through seven quilts.
Now when the king arose in the morning, he was delighted with their
marvellous critical judgment and sensitiveness, so that he gave each of
the three specialists a hundred thousand gold-pieces. And they were
contented and stayed there, forgetting all about the turtle, and thus
incurring a crime through the failure of their father's sacrifice.
When he had told this remarkable story, the goblin on the king's
shoulder said: "O King, remember the curse I spoke of and declare which of
these three was the cleverest."
When he heard this, the wise king answered the goblin: "Without doubt I
regard the specialist in cotton as the cleverest, on whose body the
imprint of the hair was seen to appear visibly. The other two might
possibly have found out beforehand."
When the king had said this, the goblin slipped from his shoulder as
before. And the king went back under the sissoo tree again to fetch him.
The Four Scientific Suitors. To which should the girl be given?
Then the king went back to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his
shoulder, and started. And the goblin spoke to him again: "O King, why do
you go to such pains in this cemetery at night? Do you not see the home of
the ghosts, full of dreadful creatures, terrible in the night, wrapped in
darkness as in smoke? Why do you work so hard and grow weary for the sake
of that monk? Well, to amuse the journey, listen to a puzzle which I will
In the Avanti country is a city built by the gods at the beginning of
time, adorned with wonderful wealth and opportunities for enjoyment. In
the earliest age it was called Lotus City, then Pleasure City, then Golden
City, and now it is called Ujjain. There lived a king named Heroic. And
his queen was named Lotus.
One day the king went with her to the sacred Ganges river and prayed to
Shiva that he might have children. And after long prayer he heard a voice
from heaven, for Shiva was at last pleased with his devotion: "O King,
there shall be born to you a brave son to continue your dynasty, and a
daughter more beautiful than the nymphs of heaven."
When he heard the heavenly voice, the king was delighted at the
fulfilment of his wishes, and went back to his city with the queen. And
first Queen Lotus bore a son called Brave, and then a daughter named Grace
who put the god of love to shame.
When the girl grew up, the king sought for a suitable husband for her,
and invited all the neighbouring princes by letter, but not one of them
seemed good enough for her. So the king tenderly said to his daughter: "My
dear, I do not see a husband worthy of you, so I will summon all the kings
hither, and you shall choose." But the princess said: "My dear father,
such a choice would be very embarrassing. I would rather not. Just marry
me to any good-looking young man, who understands a single science from
beginning to end. I wish nothing more nor less than that."
Now while the king was looking for such a husband, four brave,
good-looking, scientific men from the south heard of the matter and came
to him. And when they had been hospitably received, each explained his own
science to the king.
The first said: "I am a working-man, and my name is Five-cloth. I make
five splendid suits of clothes a day. One I give to some god and one to a
Brahman. One I wear myself, and one I shall give to my wife when I have
one. The fifth I sell, to buy food and things. This is my science. Pray
give me Grace."
The second said: "I am a farmer, and my name is Linguist. I understand
the cries of all beasts and birds. Pray give me the princess."
The third said: "I am a strong-armed soldier, and my name is Swordsman.
I have no rival on earth in the science of swordsmanship. O King, pray
give me your daughter."
The fourth said: "O King, I am a Brahman, and my name is Life. I
possess a wonderful science. For if dead creatures are brought to me, I
can quickly restore them to life. Let your daughter find a husband in a
man who has such heroic skill."
When they had spoken, and the king had seen that they all had wonderful
garments and personal beauty, he and his daughter swung in doubt.
When the goblin had told this story, he said to the king: "Remember the
curse I mentioned, and tell me to which of them the girl should be given."
And the king said to the goblin: "Sir, you are merely trying to gain
time by making me break silence. There is no puzzle about that. How could
a warrior's daughter be given to a working- man, a weaver? Or to a farmer,
either? And as to his knowledge of the speech of beasts and birds, of what
practical use is it? And what good is a Brahman who neglects his own
affairs and turns magician, despising real courage? Of course she should
be given to the warrior Swordsman who had some manhood with his science."
When the goblin heard this, he escaped by magic from the king's
shoulder, and disappeared. And the king followed him as before.
Discouragement never enters the brave heart of a resolute man.
The Three Delicate Wives of King Virtue-banner. Which is the most
Then the king went to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his shoulder
once more, and started toward the monk. And as he walked along, the goblin
on his shoulder said: "O King, I will tell you a strange story to relieve
your weariness. Listen."
There once was a king in Ujjain, whose name was Virtue-banner. He had
three princesses as wives, and loved them dearly. One of them was named
Crescent, the second Star, and the third Moon. While the king lived
happily with his wives, he conquered all his enemies, and was content.
One day at the time of the spring festival, the king went to the garden
to play with his three wives. There he looked at the flower-laden vines
with black rows of bees on them; they seemed like the bow of the god of
love, all ready for service. He heard the songs of nightingales in the
trees; they sounded like commands of Love. And with his wives he drank
wine which seemed like Love's very life-blood.
Then the king playfully pulled the hair of Queen Crescent, and a
lotus-petal fell from her hair into her lap. And the queen was so delicate
that it wounded her, and she screamed and fainted. And the king was
distracted, but when servants sprinkled her with cool water and fanned
her, she gradually recovered consciousness. And the king took her to the
palace and waited upon his dear wife with a hundred remedies which the
And when the king saw that she was made comfortable for the night, he
went to the palace balcony with his second wife Star. Now while she slept
on the king's breast, the moonbeams found their way through the window and
fell upon her. And she awoke in a moment, and started up, crying "I am
burned!" Then the king awoke and anxiously asked what the matter was, and
he saw great blisters on her body. When he asked her about it, Queen Star
said: "The moonbeams that fell on me did it." And the king was distracted
when he saw how she wept and suffered. He called the servants and they
made a couch of moist lotus-leaves, and dressed her wounds with damp
At that moment the third queen, Moon, left her room to go to the king.
And as she moved through the noiseless night, she clearly heard in a
distant part of the palace the sound of pestles grinding grain. And she
cried: "Oh, oh! It will kill me!" She wrung her hands and sat down in
agony in the hall. But her servants returned and led her to her room,
where she took to her bed and wept. And when the servants asked what the
matter was, she tearfully showed her hands with bruises on them, like two
lilies with black bees clinging to them. So they went and told the king.
And he came in great distress, and asked his dear wife about it. She
showed her hands and spoke, though she suffered: "My dear, when I heard
the sound of the pestles, these bruises came." Then the king made them
give her a cooling plaster of sandal-paste and other things.
And the king thought: "One of them was wounded by a falling
lotus-petal. The second was burned by the moonbeams. The third had her
hands terribly bruised by the sound of pestles. I love them dearly, but
alas! The very delicacy which is so great a virtue, is positively
And he wandered about in the palace, and it seemed as if the night had
three hundred hours. But in the morning the king and his skilful
physicians took such measures that before long his wives were well and he
When he had told this story, the goblin asked: "O King, which of them
was the most delicate?" And the king said: "The one who was bruised by the
mere sound of the pestles, when nothing touched her. The other two who
were wounded or blistered by actual contact with lotus-petals or
moonbeams, are not equal to her."
When the goblin heard this, he went back, and the king resolutely
hastened to catch him again.
The King who won a Fairy as his Wife. Why did his counsellor's heart
Then the king went as before to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his
shoulder, and started back. And the goblin said once more: "O King, I like
you wonderfully well because you are not discouraged. So I will tell you a
delightful little story to relieve your weariness. Listen."
In the Anga country was a young king named Glory- banner, so beautiful
that he seemed an incarnation of the god of love. He had conquered all his
enemies by his strength of arm, and he had a counsellor named Farsight.
At last the king, proud of his youth and beauty, entrusted all the
power in his quiet kingdom to his counsellor, and gradually devoted
himself entirely to pleasure. He spent all his time with the ladies of the
court, and listened more attentively to their love-songs than to the
advice of statesmen. He took greater pleasure in peeping into their
windows than into the holes in his administration. But Farsight bore the
whole burden of public business, and never wearied day or night.
Then the people began to murmur: "The counsellor Farsight has seduced
the king, and now he alone has all the kingly glory." And the counsellor
said to his wife, whose name was Prudence: "My dear, the king is devoted
to his pleasures, and great infamy is heaped upon me by the people. They
say I have devoured the kingdom, though in fact I support the burden of
it. Now popular gossip damages the greatest man. Was not Rama forced to
abandon his good wife by popular clamour? So what shall I do now?"
Then his clever wife Prudence showed that she deserved her name. She
said: "My dear, leave the king and go on a pilgrimage. Tell him that you
are an old man now, and should be permitted to travel in foreign countries
for a time. Then the gossip will cease, when they see that you are
unselfish. And when you are gone, the king will bear his own burdens. And
thus his levity will gradually disappear. And when you come back, you can
assume your office without reproach."
To this advice the counsellor assented, and said to the king in the
course of conversation: "Your Majesty, permit me to go on a pilgrimage for
a few days. Virtue seems of supreme importance to me."
But the king said: "No, no, counsellor. Is there no other kind of
virtue except in pilgrimages? How about generosity and that kind of thing?
Isn't it possible to prepare for heaven in your own house?"
Then the counsellor said: "Your Majesty, one gets worldly prosperity
from generosity and that kind of thing. But a pilgrimage gives eternal
life. A prudent man should attend to it while he has strength. The chance
may be lost, for no one can be sure of his health."
But the king was still arguing against it when the doorkeeper came in
and said: "Your Majesty, the glorious sun is diving beneath the pool of
heaven. Arise. The hour for your bath is slipping away." And the king went
immediately to bathe.
The counsellor went home, still determined on his pilgrimage. He would
not let his wife go with him, but started secretly. Not even his servants
He wandered alone through many countries to many holy places, and
finally came to the Odra country. There he saw a city near the ocean,
where he entered a temple to Shiva and sat down in the court. There he
sat, hot and dusty from long travel, when he was seen by a merchant named
Treasure who had come to worship the god. The merchant gathered from his
dress and appearance that he was a high-born Brahman, and invited him
home, and entertained him with food, bathing, and the like.
When the counsellor was rested, the merchant asked him: "Who are you?
Whence do you come? And where are you going?" And the other replied: "I am
a Brahman named Farsight. I came here on a pilgrimage from the Anga
Then the merchant Treasure said to him: "I am preparing for a trading
voyage to Golden Island. Do you stay in my house. And when I come back,
and you are wearied from your pilgrimage, rest here for a time before
going home." But Farsight said: "I do not want to stay here. I would
rather go with you." And the good merchant agreed. And the counsellor
slept in the first bed he had lain in for many nights.
The next day he went to the seashore with the merchant, and entered the
ship loaded with the merchant's goods. He sailed along, admiring the
wonders and terrors of the sea, till at last he reached Golden Island.
There he stayed for a time until the merchant had finished his buying and
selling. Now on the way back, he saw a magic tree suddenly rising from the
ocean. It had beautiful branches, boughs of gold, fruits of jewels, and
splendid blossoms. And sitting on a jewelled couch in the branches was a
lovely maiden of heavenly beauty. And while the counsellor wondered what
it all meant, the maiden took her lute in her hand, and began to sing:
Whatever seed of fate is sown, The fruit appears--'tis strange!
Whatever deed a man has done, Not God himself can change.
And when she had made her meaning clear, the heavenly maiden
straightway sank with the magic tree and the couch. And Farsight thought:
"What a wonderful thing I have seen to-day! What a strange place the ocean
is for the appearance of a tree with a fairy in it! And if this is a usual
occurrence at sea, why do not other goddesses arise?"
The pilot and other sailors saw that he was astonished, and they said:
"Sir, this wonderful maiden appears here regularly, and sinks a moment
after, but the sight is new to you." Then the counsellor, filled with
amazement, came to the shore with Treasure, and disembarked. And when the
merchant had unloaded his goods and caused his servants to rejoice, the
counsellor went home with him and spent many happy days there.
At last he said to Treasure: "Merchant, I have rested happily for a
long time in your house. Now I wish to go to my own country. Peace be with
you!" And in spite of urging from the merchant, Farsight took his leave,
and started with no companion except his own courage. He went through many
countries and at last reached the Anga country. And scouts who had been
sent by King Glory-banner saw him before he reached the city. When the
king learned of it, he went himself out of the city to meet him, for he
had been terribly grieved by the separation. He drew near, embraced and
greeted the counsellor and took him, all worn and dusty with the weary
journey, into an inner room.
And as soon as the counsellor was refreshed, the king said:
"Counsellor, why did you leave us? How could you bring yourself to do so
harsh and loveless a thing? But after all, who can understand the strange
workings of stern necessity? To think that you should decide all at once
to wander off on a pilgrimage! Well, tell me what countries you visited,
and what new things you saw."
Then the counsellor told him the whole story truthfully and in order,
the journey to Golden Island and the fairy who rose singing from the sea,
her wonderful beauty and the magic tree.
But the king immediately fell in love so hopelessly that his kingdom
and his life seemed worthless to him without her. He took the counsellor
aside and said: "Counsellor, I simply must see her. Remember that I shall
die if I do not. I bow to my fate. I will take the journey which you took.
You must not refuse me nor accompany me. I shall go alone and in disguise.
You must rule the kingdom, and not dispute my words. Swear to do it on
So he spoke, and would not listen to advice, but dismissed the
counsellor. Then Farsight was unhappy though a great festival was made for
him. How can a good counsellor be happy when his master devotes himself to
The next night King Glory-banner threw the burden of government on that
excellent counsellor, assumed the dress of a hermit, and left his city.
And as he travelled, he saw a monk named Grass, who said when the king
bowed before him as a holy man: "My son, if you sail with a merchant named
Fortune, you will obtain the maiden you desire. Go on fearlessly."
So the king bowed again and went on rejoicing. After crossing rivers
and mountains he came to the ocean. And on the shore he met at once the
merchant Fortune whom the monk had mentioned, bound for Golden Island. And
when the merchant saw the king's appearance and his signet ring, he bowed
low, took him on the ship, and set sail.
When the ship reached the middle of the sea, the maiden suddenly arose,
sitting in the branches of the magic tree. And as the king gazed eagerly
at her, she sang as before to her lute:
Whatever seed of fate is sown The fruit appears--'tis strange! Whatever
deed a man has done, Not God himself can change.
Whatever, how, for whom, and where Tis fated so to be, That thing, just
so, for him, and there Must happen fatally.
This song she sang, hinting at what was to happen. And the king gazed
at her smitten by love, and could not move. Then he cried: "O Sea, in
hiding her, you deceive those who think they have your treasures. Honour
and glory to you! I seek your protection. Grant me my desire!" And as the
king prayed, the maiden sank with the tree. Then the king jumped after her
into the sea.
The good merchant Fortune thought he was lost and was ready to die of
grief. But he was comforted by a voice from heaven which said: "Do nothing
rash. There is no danger when he sinks in the sea. For he is the king
Glory-banner, disguised as a hermit. He came here for the sake of the
maiden; she was his wife in a former life. And he will win her and return
to his kingdom in the Anga country." So the merchant sailed on to complete
But King Glory-banner sank in the sea, and all at once he saw a
heavenly city. He looked in amazement at the balconies with their splendid
jewelled pillars, their walls bright with gold, and the network of pearls
in their windows. And he saw gardens with pools that had stairways of
various gems, and magic trees that yielded all desires. But rich as it
was, the city was deserted.
He entered house after house, but did not find the maiden anywhere.
Then he climbed a high balcony built of gems, opened a door, and entered.
And there he saw her all alone, lying on a jewelled couch, and clad in
splendid garments. He eagerly raised her face to see if it was really she,
and saw that it was indeed the maiden he sought. At the sight of her he
had the strange feeling of the traveller in a desert in summer at the
sight of a river.
And she opened her eyes, saw that he was handsome and loveable, and
left her couch in confusion. But she welcomed him and with downcast eyes
that seemed like full-blown lotuses she did honour to his feet. Then she
slowly spoke: "Who are you, sir? How did you come to this inaccessible
under-world? And what is this hermit garb? For I see that you are a king.
Oh, sir, if you would do me a kindness, tell me this."
And the king answered her: "Beautiful maiden, I am King Glory-banner of
the Anga country, and I heard from a reliable person that you were to be
seen on the sea. To see you I assumed this garb, left my kingdom, and
followed you hither. Oh, tell me who you are."
Then she said to him with bashful love: "Sir, there is a king of the
fairies named Moonshine. I am his daughter, and my name is Moonlight. Now
my father has left me alone in this city. I do not know where he went with
the rest of the people, or why. Therefore, as my home is lonely, I rise
through the ocean, sit on a magic tree, and song about fate."
Then the king remembered the words of the monk, and urged her with such
gentle, tender words that she confessed her love and agreed to marry him.
But she made a condition: "My dear, on four set days in each month you
must let me go somewhere unhindered and unseen. There is a reason." And
the king agreed, married her, and lived in heavenly happiness with her.
While he was living in heavenly bliss, Moonlight said to him one day:
"My dear, you must wait here. I am going somewhere on an errand. For this
is one of the set days. While you stay here, sweetheart, you must not go
into that crystal room, nor plunge into this pool. If you do, you will
find yourself at that very moment in the world again." So she said
good-bye and left the city.
But the king took his sword and followed, to learn her secret. And he
saw a giant approaching with a great black cave of a mouth that yawned
like the pit. The giant fell down and howled horribly, then took Moonlight
into his mouth and swallowed her.
And the king's anger blazed forth. He took his great sword, black as a
snake that has sloughed its skin, ran up wrathfully, and cut off the
giant's head. He was blinded by his madness, he did not know what to do,
he was afflicted by the loss of his darling. But Moonlight split open the
stomach of the giant, and came out alive and unhurt, like the brilliant,
spotless moon coming out from a black cloud.
When he saw that she was saved, the king cried: "Come, come to me!" and
ran forward and embraced her. And he asked her: "What does it mean,
dearest? Is this a dream, or an illusion?" And the fairy answered: "My
dear, listen to me. It is not a dream, nor an illusion. My father, the
king of the fairies, laid this curse upon me. My father had many sons, but
he loved me so that he could not eat without me. And I used to come to
this deserted spot twice a month to worship Shiva.
"One day I came here and it happened that I spent the whole day in
worship. That day my father waited for me and would not eat or drink
anything, though he was hungry and angry with me. At night I stood before
him with downcast eyes, for I had done wrong. And he forgot his love and
cursed me--so strong is fate. Because you have despised me and left me
hungry a whole day, a giant named Terror-of-Fate will swallow you four
times a month when you leave the city. And each time you will split him
open and come out. And you shall not remember the curse afterwards, nor
the pain of being swallowed alive. And you must live here alone.'
"But when I begged him, he thought awhile and softened his curse. When
Glory-banner, King of the Angas, shall become your husband, and shall see
you swallowed by the giant, and shall kill the giant, then the curse shall
end, and you shall remember all your magic arts.' Then he left me here,
and went with his people to the Nishadha mountain. But I stayed here
because of the curse. And now the curse is ended, and I remember
everything. So now I shall go to the Nishadha mountain to see my father.
Of course now I remember how to fly. And you are at liberty to stay here,
or to go back to your own kingdom."
Then the king was sad, and he begged her thus: "My beautiful wife, do
not go for seven days. Be as kind as you are beautiful. Let me be happy
with you in the garden, and forget my longings. Then you may go to your
father, and I will go home." So he persuaded her, and was happy with her
for six days in the garden. And the lilies in the ponds looked like
longing eyes, and the ripples like hands raised to detain them, and the
cries of swans and cranes seemed to say: "Do not leave us and go away."
On the seventh day the king cleverly led his wife to the pool from
which one could get back to the world. There he threw his arms about her
and plunged into the pool, and came up with her in the pool in the garden
of his own palace.
The gardeners saw that the king had come back with a wife, and they
joyfully ran and told the counsellor Farsight. He came and fell at the
king's feet, and then led the king and the fairy into the palace. And the
counsellor and the people thought: "Wonderful! The king has won the fairy
whom others could see only for a moment like the lightning in the sky.
Whatever is written in one's fate, that comes true, however impossible it
But when Moonlight saw that the king was in his own country, and the
seven days were over, she thought she would fly away like other fairies.
But she could not remember how. Then she became very sad, like a woman who
has been robbed.
And the king said: "Why are you so sad, my dear? Tell me." And the
fairy said: "The curse is over. Yet because I have been bound so long in
the fetters of your love, I have lost my magic arts. I cannot fly." Then
the king thought: "The fairy is really mine," and he was happy and made a
When the counsellor Farsight saw this, he went home, and lay down on
his bed, and his heart broke, and he died. Then the king governed the
kingdom himself, and lived for a long time in heavenly happiness with
When he had told this story, the goblin said: "O King, when the king
was so happy, why should the counsellor's heart break? Was it from grief
because he did not win the fairy himself? Or from sorrow because the king
came back, and he could no longer act as king? If you know and will not
tell me, then you will lose your virtue, and your head will go flying into
a hundred pieces."
And the king said to the goblin: "O magic creature, neither of these
reasons would be possible for a high-minded counsellor. But he thought:
The king used to neglect his duties for the sake of ordinary women. What
will happen now, when he loves a fairy? In spite of all my efforts, a
terrible misfortune has happened.' I think that was why his heart broke."
Then the magic goblin went back to his tree in a moment. And the king
was still determined to catch him, and went once more to the sissoo tree.