Twenty-Two Goblins, From Sanskrit, Translated by Arthur W. Ryder


The Brahman who died because Poison from a Snake in the Claws of a Hawk fell into a Dish of Food given him by a Charitable Woman. Who is to blame for his death?

Then the King went back under the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his shoulder, and started as before. And as he walked along, the goblin said to him again: "O King, listen to a very condensed story."

There is a city called Benares. In it lived a Brahman named Devaswami, whom the king honoured. He was very rich, and he had a son named Hariswami. This son had a wonderful wife, and her name was Beautiful. No doubt the Creator put together in her the priceless elements of charm and loveliness after his practice in making the nymphs of heaven.

One night Hariswami was sleeping on a balcony cooled by the rays of the moon. And a fairy prince named Love-speed was flying through the air, and as he passed he saw Beautiful asleep beside her husband. He took her, still asleep, and carried her off through the air.

Presently Hariswami awoke, and not seeing the mistress of his life, he rose in anxiety. And he wondered: "Oh, where has my wife gone? Is she angry with me? Or is she playing hide-and- seek with me, to see how I will take it?" So he roamed anxiously all over the balcony during the rest of the night. But he did not find her, though he searched as far as the garden.

Then he was overcome by his sorrow and sobbed convulsively. "Oh, Beautiful, my darling! Fair as the moon! White as the moonlight! Was the night jealous of your beauty; did she carry you away? Your loveliness shamed the moon who refreshed me with beams cool as sandal; but now that you are gone, the same beams torment me like blazing coals, like poisoned arrows!"

And as Hariswami lamented thus, the night came to an end, but his anguish did not end. The pleasant sun scattered the darkness, but could not scatter the blind darkness of Hariswami's madness. His pitiful lamentations increased a hundredfold, when the nightly cries of the birds ended. His relatives tried to comfort him, but he could not pluck up courage while his loved one was lost. He went here and there, sobbing out: "Here she stood. And here she bathed. And here she adorned herself. And here she played."

His relatives and friends gave him good advice. "She is not dead," they said. "Why should you make way with yourself? You will surely find her. Pluck up courage and hunt for her. Nothing is impossible to the brave and determined man." And when they urged him, Hariswami after some days plucked up heart.

He thought: "I will give all my fortune to the Brahmans, and then wander to holy places. Thus I will wear away my sins, and when my sins are gone, perhaps I shall find my darling in my wanderings." So he arose and bathed.

On the next day he provided food and drink, and made a great feast for the Brahmans, and gave them all he had except his piety. Then he started to wander to holy places, hoping to find his wife.

As he wandered, the summer came on him like a lion, the blazing sun its mouth, and the sunbeams its mane. And the hot wind blew, made hotter yet by the sighs of travellers separated from their wives. And the yellow mud dried and cracked, as if the lakes were broken-hearted at the loss of their lotuses. And the trees, filled with chirping birds, seemed to lament the absence of the spring, and their withering leaves seemed like lips that grow dry in the heat.

At this time Hariswami was distressed by the heat and the loss of his wife, by hunger, thirst, and weariness. And as he sought for food, he came to a village. There he saw many Brahmans eating in the house of a Brahman named Lotus-belly, and he leaned against the doorpost, speechless and motionless.

Then the good wife of that pious Brahman pitied him, and she thought: "Hunger is a heavy burden. It makes anyone light. Look at this hungry man standing with bowed head at the door. He looks like a pious man who has come from a far country, and he is tired. Therefore he is a proper person for me to feed."

So the good woman took in her hands a dish filled with excellent rice, melted butter, and candied sugar, and courteously gave it to him. And she said: "Go to the edge of our pond, and eat it."

He thanked her, took the dish, went a little way, and set it down under a fig-tree on the edge of the pond. Then he washed his hands and feet in the pond, rinsed his mouth, and joyfully drew near to eat the good food.

At that moment a hawk settled on the tree, carrying a black snake in his beak and claws. And the snake died in the grasp of the hawk, and his mouth opened, and a stream of poison came out. This poison fell into the dish of food.

But Hariswami did not see it. He came up hungry, and ate it all. And immediately he felt the terrible effects of the poison. He stammered out: "Oh, when fate goes wrong, everything goes wrong. Even this rice and the milk and the melted butter and the candied sugar is poison to me." And he staggered up to the Brahman's wife and said: "Oh, Brahman's wife, I have been poisoned by the food you gave me. Bring a poison-doctor at once. Otherwise you will be the murderer of a Brahman."

And the good woman was terribly agitated. But while she was running about to find a poison-doctor, Hariswami turned up his eyes and died. Thus, though she was not to blame, though she was really charitable, the poor wife was reproached by the angry Brahman who thought she had murdered her guest. She was falsely accused for a really good action. So she was dejected and went on a pilgrimage.

When he had told this story, the goblin said: "O King, who murdered the Brahman? the snake, or the hawk, or the woman who gave him the food, or her husband? This was discussed in the presence of the god of death, but they could not decide. Therefore, O King, do you say. Who killed the Brahman? Remember the curse, if you know and do not tell the truth."

Then the king broke silence and said: "Who did the murder? The snake cannot be blamed, because he was being eaten by his enemy and could not help himself. The hawk was hungry and saw nothing. He was not to blame. And how can you blame either or both of the charitable people who gave food to a guest who arrived unexpectedly? They were quite virtuous, and cannot be blamed. I should say that the dead man himself was to blame, for he dared to accuse one of the others."

When the goblin heard this, he jumped from the king's shoulder and escaped to the sissoo tree. And the king ran after him again, determined to catch him.


The Girl who showed Great Devotion to the Thief. Did he weep or laugh?

Then the king went back to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his shoulder, and started. And as he walked along, the goblin said to him: "O King, I will tell you another story. Listen."

There is a city called Ayodhya, which was once the capital of Rama the exterminator of giants. In this city lived a strong-armed king named Hero-banner who protected the world as a wall protects a city. During his reign a great merchant named Jewel lived in the city. His wife was named Pleasing, and a daughter named Pearl was given to her prayers.

As the girl grew up in her father's house, her natural virtues grew too: beauty, charm, and modesty. And thus she became a young woman. Now in her young womanhood she was asked in marriage not only by great merchants, but even by kings. But she was prudent and did not like men. She would not have loved a god if he had been her husband. She was ready to die at merely hearing talk of her marriage. So her father was silent on the subject, though his tender love for her made him sad. And the story was known everywhere in Ayodhya.

At this time all the citizens were being plundered by thieves, and they petitioned King Hero-banner in these words: "O King, we are plundered every night by thieves, and cannot catch them. Your Majesty must decide what to do." So the king stationed night-watchmen in hiding about the city, to search out the thieves.

When the watchmen failed to catch the thieves for all their searching, the king himself took his sword, and wandered about alone at night. And he saw a man creeping along a wall with noiseless steps, often casting a fearful glance behind him. The king concluded that this was the thief who all alone robbed the city, and went up to him. And the thief asked him who he was. The king replied: "I am a thief."

Then the thief said joyfully: "Good! You are my friend. Come to my house. I will treat you like a friend." So the king agreed and went with the thief to a house hidden in a grove and guarded by a wall, full of delightful and beautiful things, and bright with shining gems. There the thief offered the king a seat, and went into an inner room.

At that moment a serving-maid came into the room and said to the king: "Your Majesty, why have you come into the jaws of death? This wonderful thief has gone out, intending to do you a mischief. He is certainly treacherous. Go away quickly."

So the king quickly went away, returned to the city, and drew up a company of soldiers. With these soldiers he went and surrounded the house where the serving-maid had been.

When the thief saw that the house was surrounded, he knew that he was betrayed, and came out to fight and die like a man. He showed more than human valour. He cut off the trunks of elephants, the legs of horses, and the heads of men; and he was all alone, with only his sword and shield. When the king saw that his army was destroyed, he ran forward himself.

The king was a scientific swordsman, so with a turn of his wrist he sent the sword and the dagger flying from the thief's hand. Then he threw away his own sword, wrestled with the thief, threw him, and took him alive.

The next morning the thief was led to the place of execution to be impaled, and the drums were beaten. And Pearl, the merchant's daughter, saw him from her balcony. All bloody and dusty as he was, she went mad with love, found her father, and said to him: "Father, I am going to marry that thief who is being led to execution. You must save him from the king. Otherwise I shall die with him."

But her father said: "What do you mean, my daughter? That thief stole everything the citizens had, and the king's men are going to kill him. How can I save him from the king? Besides, what nonsense are you talking?" But the more he scolded, the more determined she became. And as he loved his daughter, he went to the king and offered all he had for the release of the thief.

But the king would not be tempted by millions. He would not release the thief who stole everything, whom he had captured at the risk of his life. So the father returned home sadly. And the girl, not heeding the arguments of her relatives, took a bath, entered a litter, and went to the death-scene of the rogue, to die with him. Her parents and her relatives followed her, weeping.

At that moment the executioners impaled the thief. As his life ebbed away, he saw the girl and the people with her, and learned her story. Then the tears rolled down his cheeks, but he died with a smile on his lips.

The faithful girl took the thief's body from the stake, and mounted the pyre to burn herself. But the blessed god Shiva was staying invisibly in the cemetery, and at that moment he spoke from the sky: "O faithful wife, I am pleased with your constancy to the husband of your choice. Choose whatever boon you will from me."

The girl worshipped the gracious god and chose her boon: "O blessed one, my father has no son. May he have a hundred. Otherwise his childless life would end when I am gone."

And the god spoke again from the sky: "O faithful wife, your father shall have a hundred sons. But choose another boon. A woman faithful as you are deserves more than the little thing you asked."

Then she said: "O god, if I have won your favour, may this my husband live and always be a good man."

The invisible Shiva spoke from the sky: "So be it. Your husband shall be made alive and well. He shall be a good man, and King Hero-banner shall be pleased with him."

Then the thief arose at once, alive and well. And the merchant Jewel was overjoyed and astonished. He took Pearl and the thief, his son-in-law, went home with his rejoicing relatives, and made a feast great as his own delight, in honour of the sons he was to have.

And the king was pleased when he learned the story, and in recognition of the stupendous courage of the thief, he appointed him general at once. The thief reformed, married the merchant's daughter, and lived happily with her, devoted to virtue.

When the goblin had told this story, he reminded the king of the curse, and said: "O king, when the thief on the stake saw the merchant's daughter approaching with her father, did he weep or laugh? Tell me."

And the king answered: "He thought: I can make no return to this merchant for his unselfish friendship.' Therefore he wept from grief. And he also thought: Why does this girl reject kings and fall in love with a thief like me? How strange women are!' Therefore he laughed from astonishment."

When the goblin heard this, he immediately slipped from the king's shoulder and escaped to his home. But the king was not discouraged. He followed him to the sissoo tree.


The Man who changed into a Woman at Will. Was his wife his or the other man's?

So the king went back as before under the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his shoulder, and started toward the monk. And as he walked along, the goblin told the king a story.

There was a city called Shivapur in Nepal. Long ago a king named Glory-banner lived there, and he deserved the name. He laid the burden of government on his counsellor named Ocean- of-Wisdom, and devoted himself to a life of pleasure with his wife Moonbright.

In course of time a daughter named Moonlight was born to them, pleasing as the moonlight to the eyes of men. When she grew up, she went one day in spring with her servants to a festival in the garden.

There she was seen by a Brahman youth named Master- mind, the son of Rich, who had come there to the festival. When he saw her plucking flowers with one arm uplifted, he went mad with love. His heart was taken captive by the gay maiden, and he was no longer master of his mind.

He thought: "Is she the goddess of love, plucking the spring flowers in person? Or is she a forest goddess, come here to worship the spring-time?"

Then the princess saw him, like a new god of love incarnate. The moment her eyes fell on him, she fell in love, forgetting her flowers and even her own limbs. While they looked at each other, lost in love like people in a picture, a great wail of anguish arose. They lifted their heads to learn what the matter was, and just then an elephant that had broken his chain, maddened by the scent of another mad elephant, came by, crushing the people in his path. He had thrown off his driver and the ankus hung from him as he ran. And everyone fled in terror.

But the youth Master-mind ran up in a hurry and took the princess in his arms. And with a mixture of fear and love and modesty she half embraced him as he carried her far out of the elephant's path. Then her people gradually gathered, and she went to the palace, looking at the youth, and burning over the flame of love.

And the youth went home from the garden, and thought: "I cannot live, I cannot exist a moment without her. I must seek help from my teacher Root, who is a thorough rogue." And so the day slowly passed.

The next morning he went to his teacher Root, and found him with his constant friend Moon. He drew near, bowed, and told his desire. And the teacher laughed and promised to help him.

So that wonderful rogue put a magic pill in his mouth, and thus changed himself into an old Brahman. He put a second pill into Master-mind's mouth, which changed him into a lovely girl. Then that prince of rogues took him to the king and said: "O King, this maiden has come a long distance to marry my only son. But my son has gone away, and I am going to look for him. Please keep the girl. For you are a protector to be trusted while I am looking for my son."

The king was afraid of a curse, so he promised to do it. And summoning his daughter, he said: "Daughter, keep this maiden in your chamber, and let her live with you." So the girl took the Brahman youth Master-mind in his girl form to her own apartments.

When Root had gone away, Master-mind in his girl form lived with his beloved, and in a few days came to know her in an intimate and loving way, as girl friends do. Then when he saw that she was pining away and tossing on her couch, he asked the princess one evening: "My dear girl, why do you grow pale and thin day by day, grieving as if separated from your love? Tell me. Why not trust a loving, innocent girl like me? If you will not tell me, I shall starve myself."

And the princess trusted him and said after a little hesitation: "My dear girl, why should I not trust you? Listen. I will tell you. One day I went to the spring festival in the garden. There I saw a handsome Brahman youth, fair as the moon but not so cold, the sight of whom kindled my love. For he adorned the garden as the spring-time does. While my eager eyes were feasting on his face, a great mad elephant that had broken his chain came charging and thundering past like a black cloud in the dry season. My servants scattered in terror, and I was helpless. But the Brahman youth took me in his arms and carried me far away. I seemed to be in a sandal bath, in a stream of nectar. I cannot tell how I felt as I touched him. Presently my servants gathered around, and I was brought here helpless. I felt as if I had fallen from heaven to earth. From that day I see in my thoughts my dear preserver beside me. I embrace him in my dreams. What need of more words? I wear away the time, thinking constantly of him and only him. The fire of separation from the lord of my life devours me day and night."

When Master-mind heard these welcome words, he rejoiced and counted himself happy. And thinking the time to reveal himself had come, he took the pill from his mouth, and disclosed his natural form. And he said: "Beautiful maiden, I am he whom you bought and enslaved with a kindly glance in the garden. I was sick at the separation from you; so I took the form of a girl, and came here. So now bring heaven in a loving glance to my love-tortured heart."

When the princess saw that the lord of her life was beside her, she was torn between love and wonder and modesty, and did not know what she ought to do. So they were secretly married and lived there in supreme happiness. Master-mind lived in a double form. By day he was a girl with the pill in his mouth, by night a man without the pill.

After a time the brother-in-law of King Glory-banner gave his daughter with great pomp to a Brahman, the son of the counsellor Ocean-of-Wisdom. And the princess Moonlight was invited to her cousin's wedding and went to her uncle's house. And Master-mind went with her in his girl form.

When the counsellor's son saw Master-mind in his lovely girl form, he was terribly smitten with the arrows of love. His heart was stolen by the sham girl, and he went home feeling lonely even with his wife. It made him crazy to think of that lovely face. When his father tried to soothe him, he woke from his madness and stammered out his insane desire. And his father was terribly distressed, knowing that all this depended on another.

Then the king learned the story and came there. When the king saw his condition and perceived that he was seven parts gone in love, he said: "How can I give him the girl who was intrusted to me by the Brahman? Yet without her he will be ten parts gone in love, and will die. And if he dies, then his father, the counsellor, will die too. And if the counsellor perishes, my kingdom will perish. What shall I do?"

He consulted his counsellors, and they said: "Your Majesty, the first duty of a king is the preservation of the virtue of his people. This is the fundamental principle, and is established as such among counsellors. If the counsellor is lost, the fundamental principle is lost; how then can virtue be preserved? So in this case it would be sinful to destroy the counsellor through his son. You must by all means avoid the loss of virtue which would ensue. Give the Brahman's girl to the counsellor's son. And when the Brahman returns, further measures will suggest themselves."

To this the king agreed, and promised to give the sham girl to the counsellor's son. So Master-mind in his girl form was brought from the chamber of the princess, and he said to the king: "Your Majesty, I was brought here by somebody for a given purpose. If you give me to somebody else, well and good. You are the king. Right and wrong depend on you. I will marry him to-day, but only on one condition. My husband shall go away immediately after the marriage and not return until he has been on a pilgrimage for six months. Otherwise I shall bite out my tongue."

So the counsellor's son was summoned, and he joyfully assented. He made the man his wife at once, put the sham wife in a guarded room and started on a pilgrimage. So Master-mind lived there in his woman form.

When he realized that the counsellor's son would soon return, Master-mind fled by night. And Root heard the story, and again assumed the form of an old Brahman. He took his friend Moon, went to Glory-banner, and said respectfully: "Your Majesty, I have brought my son. Pray give me my daughter-in-law."

The king was afraid of a curse, so he said: "Brahman, I do not know where your daughter-in-law has gone. Be merciful. To atone for my carelessness, I will give your son my own daughter."

The prince of rogues in the form of an old Brahman angrily refused. But the king finally persuaded him, and with all due form married his daughter Moonlight to Moon, who pretended to be the old Brahman's son. Then Root went home with the bride and bridegroom.

But then Master-mind came, and in the presence of Root, a great dispute arose between him and Moon.

Master-mind said: "Moonlight should be given to me. I married the girl first with my teacher's permission."

Moon said: "Fool! What rights have you in my wife? Her father gave her to me in regular marriage."

So they disputed about the princess whom one had won by fraud and the other by force. But they could reach no decision.

O King, tell me. Whose wife is she? Resolve my doubts, and remember the agreement about your head.

Then the king said: "I think she is the rightful wife of Moon. For she was married to him in the regular way by her father in the presence of her relatives. Master-mind married her secretly, like a thief. And when a thief takes things from other people, it is never right."

When the goblin heard this, he went back home as before. And the king stuck to his purpose. He went back again, put the goblin on his shoulder, and started from the sissoo tree.


The Fairy Prince Cloud-chariot and the Serpent Shell-crest. Which is the more self-sacrificing?

So the king walked along with the goblin. And the goblin said: "O king, listen to a story the like of which was never heard."

There is a mountain called Himalaya where all gems are found. It is the king of mountains. Its proud loftiness is everywhere the theme of song. The sun himself has not seen its top.

On its summit is a city called Golden City, brilliant like a heap of sunbeams left in trust by the sun. There lived a glorious fairy-king named Cloud-banner. In the garden of his palace was a wishing-tree which had come down to him from his ancestors.

King Cloud-banner had worshipped the tree which was really a god, and by its grace had obtained a son named Cloud-chariot. This son remembered his former lives. He was destined to be a Buddha in a future life. He was generous, noble, merciful to all creatures, and obedient to his parents.

When he grew up, the king anointed him crown prince, persuaded thereto by his counsellors as well as by the remarkable virtues of the youth. While Cloud-chariot was crown prince, his father's counsellors came to him one day and kindly said: "Crown prince, you must always honour this wishing-tree in your garden; for it yields all desires, and cannot be taken away by anybody. As long as it is favourably disposed to us, the king of the gods could not conquer us, and of course nobody else could."

Then Cloud-chariot thought: "Alas! The men of old had this heavenly tree, yet they did not pluck from it any worthy fruit. They were mean-spirited. They simply begged it for some kind of wealth. And so they degraded themselves and the great tree too. But I will get from it the wish which is in my heart."

With this thought the noble creature went to his father. He showed such complete deference as to delight his father, then when his father was comfortably seated, he whispered: "Father, you know yourself that in this sea of life all possessions, including our own bodies, are uncertain as a rippling wave. Especially is money fleeting, uncertain, fickle as the twilight lightning. The only thing in life which does not perish is service. This gives birth to virtue and glory, twin witnesses through all the ages to come. Father! Why do we keep such a wishing-tree for the sake of transient blessings? Our ancestors clung to it, saying: It is mine, it is mine.' And where are they now? What is it to them, or they to it? Then, if you bid me, I will beg this generous wishing-tree for the one fruit that counts, the fruit of service to others."

His father graciously assented, and Cloud-chariot went to the wishing-tree, and said: "O god, you have fulfilled the wishes of our fathers. Fulfil now my one single wish. Remove poverty from the world. A blessing be with you. Go. I give you to the needy world." And as Cloud-chariot bowed reverently, there came a voice from the tree: "I go, since you give me up." And the wishing-tree immediately flew from heaven and rained so much money on the earth that nobody was poor. And Cloud-chariot's reputation for universal benevolence was spread about.

But all the relatives were jealous and envious. They thought that they could easily conquer Cloud-chariot and his father without the wishing-tree, and they prepared to fight to take away his kingdom. But Cloud-chariot said to his father: "Father, how can you take your weapons and fight? What high-minded man would want a kingdom after killing his relatives just for the sake of this wretched, perishable body? Let us abandon the kingdom, and go away somewhere to devote ourselves entirely to virtue. Then we shall be blessed in both worlds. And let these wretched relatives enjoy the kingdom which they hanker after."

And Cloud-banner said: "My son, I only want the kingdom for you, and if you give it up from benevolent motives, what good is it to me? I am an old man."

So Cloud-chariot left the kingdom and went with his father and mother to the Malabar hills. There he built a hermit's retreat, and waited on his parents.

One day, as he wandered about, he met Friend-wealth, the son of All-wealth, who lived there as king of the Siddhas. And Cloud-chariot spoke to him and made friends with him.

Then one day Cloud-chariot saw a shrine to the goddess Gauri in the grove, and entered there. And he saw a slender, lovely maiden surrounded by her girl friends and playing on a lute, in honour of Gauri. The deer listened to her music and her song, motionless as if ashamed because her eyes were lovelier than their own. When Cloud-chariot saw the slender maiden, his heart was ravished.

And he seemed to her to make the garden beautiful like the spring-time. A strange longing came over her. She became so helpless that her friends were alarmed.

Then Cloud-chariot asked one of her friends: "My good girl, what is your friend's sweet name? What family does she adorn?"

And the friend said: "This is Sandal, sister of Friend-wealth, and daughter of the king of the Siddhas." Then she earnestly asked for the name and family of Cloud-Chariot from a hermit's son who had come with him. And then she spoke to Sandal with words punctuated by smiles: "My dear, why do you not show hospitality to the fairy prince? He is a guest whom all the world would be glad to honour."

But the bashful princess remained silent with downcast eyes. Then the friend said: "She is bashful. Accept a hospitable greeting from me." And she gave him a garland.

Cloud-chariot, far gone in love, took the garland and put it around Sandal's neck. And the loving, sidelong glance which she gave him seemed like another garland of blue lotuses. So they pledged themselves without speaking a word.

Then a serving-maid came and said to the princess: "Princess, your mother remembers you. Come at once." And she went slowly, after drawing from her lover's face a passionate glance, for which Love's arrow had wedged a path. And Cloud-chariot went to the hermitage, thinking of her; while she, sick with the separation from the lord of her life, saw her mother, then tottered to her bed and fell upon it. Her eyes were blinded as if by smoke from the fire of love within her, her limbs tossed in fever, she shed tears. And though her friends anointed her with sandal and fanned her with lotus-leaves, she found no rest on her bed or in the lap of a friend or on the ground.

Then when the day fled away with the passionate red twilight, and the moon drew near to kiss the face of the laughing East, she despaired of life, and her modesty would not let her send a message in spite of all her love. But somehow she lived through the night. And Cloud-chariot too was in anguish at the separation. Even in his bed he was fallen into the hand of Love. Though his passion was so recent, he had already grown pale. Though shame kept him silent, his looks told of the pangs of love. And so he passed the night.

In the morning he arose and went to the shrine of Gauri. And his friend, the hermit's son, followed him and tried to comfort him. At that moment the lovelorn Sandal came out of her house alone, for she could not endure the separation, and crept to that lonely spot to end her life there.

She did not see her lover behind a tree, and with eyes brimming with tears she prayed to the goddess Gauri: "O goddess, since I could not in this life have Cloud-chariot as my husband, grant that in another life at last he may be my husband."

Then she tied her garment to the limb of an ashoka tree before the goddess and cried: "Alas, my lord! Alas, Cloud-chariot! They say your benevolence is universal. Why did you not save me?"

But as she fastened the garment about her neck, a voice from the sky was heard in the air: "My daughter, do nothing rash. Cloud-chariot, the future king of the fairies, shall be your husband."

And Cloud-chariot heard the heavenly voice, and with his friend approached his rejoicing sweetheart. The friend said to the girl: "Here is the gift which the goddess grants you." And Cloud-chariot spoke more than one tender word and loosed the garment from her neck with his own hand.

Then a girl friend who had been gathering flowers there and had seen what was happening, came up joyfully and said, while Sandal's modest eyes seemed to be tracing a figure on the ground: "My dear, I congratulate you. Your wish is granted. This very day Prince Friend-wealth said in my presence to King All-wealth, your father: Father, the fairy prince , who deserves honour from all the world, who gave away the wishing-tree, is here, and we should treat him as an honoured guest. We could not find another bridegroom like him. So let us welcome him with the gift of Sandal who is a pearl of a girl.' And the king agreed, and your brother Friend-wealth has this moment gone to the hermitage of the noble prince. I think your marriage will soon take place. So go to your chamber, and let the noble prince go to his hermitage."

So she went slowly and happily and lovingly. And Cloud-chariot hastened to the hermitage. There he greeted Friend-wealth and heard his message, and told him about his own birth and former life. Then Friend-wealth was delighted and told Cloud-chariot's parents who were also delighted. Then he went home and made his own parents happy with the news.

That very day he invited Cloud-chariot to his home. And they made a great feast as was proper, and married the fairy prince and Sandal on the spot. Then Cloud-chariot was completely happy and spent some time there with his bride Sandal.

One day he took a walk for pleasure about the hills with Friend-wealth, and came to the seashore. There he saw great heaps of bones, and he asked Friend-wealth: "What creatures did these heaps of bones belong to?" His brother-in-law Friend-wealth said to the merciful prince: "Listen, my friend. I will tell you the story briefly."

Long ago Kadru, the mother of the serpents, made a wager with her rival Vinata, the mother of the great bird Garuda. She won the wager and enslaved her rival. Now Garuda's anger continued even after he had freed his mother from slavery. He kept going into the underworld where Kadru's offspring, the serpents, live, to eat them. Some he killed, others he crushed.

Then Vasuki, king of the serpents, feared that in time all would be lost if the serpents were all to be slain thus. So he made an agreement with Garuda. He said: "O king of birds, I will send one serpent every day to the shore of the southern sea for you to eat. But you are never to enter the underworld again. What advantage would it be to you if all the serpents were slain at once?" And Garuda agreed, with an eye to his own advantage.

Since that time Garuda every day eats the snake sent by Vasuki here on the seashore. And these heaps of bones from the serpents that have been eaten, have in time formed a regular mountain.

When Cloud-chariot heard this story from the lips of Friend-wealth, he was deeply grieved and said: "My friend, wretched indeed is that king Vasuki who deliberately sacrifices his own subjects to their enemy. He is a coward. He has a thousand heads, yet could not find a single mouth to say: O Garuda, eat me first.' How could he be so mean as to beg Garuda to destroy his own race? Or how can Garuda, the heavenly bird, do such a crime? Oh, insolent madness!"

So the noble Cloud-chariot made up his mind that he would use his poor body that day to save the life of one serpent at least. At that moment a door-keeper, sent by Friend-wealth's father, came to summon them home. And Cloud-Chariot said: "Do you go first. I will follow." So he dismissed Friend-wealth, and remained there himself.

As he walked about waiting for the thing he hoped for, he heard a pitiful sound of weeping at a distance. He went a little way and saw near a lofty rock a sorrowful, handsome youth. He was at that moment abandoned by a creature that seemed to be a policeman, and was gently persuading his old, weeping mother to return. And Cloud-chariot wished to know who it might be. So he hid himself and listened, his heart melting with pity.

The old mother was bowed down by anguish, and started to lament over the youth. "Oh, Shell-crest! Oh, my virtuous son, whom I fondled, not counting the labour and the pain! Oh, my son, my only son! Where shall I see you again? Oh, my darling! When your bright face is gone, your old father will fall into black despair. How can he live then? Your tender form is hurt by the rays of the sun. How can it bear the pangs of being eaten by Garuda? Oh, my unhappy fate! Why did the Creator and the serpent-king choose my only son from the broad serpent-world, and seize upon him?"

And as she lamented, the youth, her son, said: "Mother, I am unhappy enough. Why torture me yet more? Return home. For the last time I bow before you. It is time for Garuda to come."

And the mother cried: "Alas, alas for me! Who will save my son?" And she gazed about wildly and wept aloud.

All this Cloud-chariot, the future Buddha, saw and heard. And with deep pity he thought: "Alas! This is a serpent named Shell-crest, sent here by Vasuki for Garuda to eat. And this is his mother, following him out of her great love. He is her only son, and she is mourning in pain and bitter anguish. I should forever curse my useless life if I did not save one in such agony at the cost of a body which must perish anyway some day."

So Cloud-chariot joyfully approached and said to the old mother: "Serpent-mother, I will save your son. Do not weep."

But the old mother thought that this was Garuda, and she screamed: "O Garuda, eat me! Eat me!"

Then Shell-crest said: "Mother, this is not Garuda. Do not be alarmed. What a difference between one who soothes our feelings like the moon, and the fearful Garuda."

And Cloud-chariot said: "Mother, I am a fairy, come to save your son. I will put on his garment and offer my own body to the hungry bird. Do you take your son and go home."

But the old mother said: "No, no. You are more than a son to me. To think that such as you should feel pity for such as we!"

And Cloud-chariot answered: "Mother, I beg you not to disappoint me." But when he insisted, Shell-crest said: "Noble being, you have certainly shown compassion, but I do not wish to save my body at the expense of yours. Who would save a common stone at the cost of a pearl? The world is full of creatures like me, who are merciful only to themselves. But creatures like you, who are merciful to all the world, are very rare. Oh, pious being, I could not stain the pure family of Shell-guard, as the dark spot stains the disk on the moon."

Then Shell-crest said to his mother: "Mother, return from this desolate place. Do you not see the rock of sacrifice wet with the blood of serpents, the terrible plaything of Death? I will go for a moment to the shore and worship the god Shiva there. And I will return quickly before Garuda comes."

So Shell-crest took leave of his mother and went to worship Shiva. And Cloud-chariot thought: "If Garuda should come in this interval, I should be happy."

Then he saw the trees stiffening themselves against the wind made by the sweeping wings of the king of birds. "Garuda is coming," he thought, and climbed the rock of sacrifice, eager to give his life for another.

And Garuda straightway pounced upon the noble creature and lifted him from the rock in his beak. While Cloud-chariot's blood flowed in streams and the gem fell from his forehead, Garuda carried him off and began to eat him on the summit of the Malabar hills. And while he was being eaten, Cloud-chariot thought: "In every future life of mine may my body do some good to somebody. I would not attain heaven and salvation without doing some good first." Then a shower of flowers fell from heaven on the fairy prince.

At that moment the blood-stained gem from his forehead fell in front of his wife Sandal. She was in anguish at the sight, and as her parents-in-law were near, she tearfully showed it to them. And they were alarmed at the sight of their son's gem and wondered what it meant. Then King Cloud-banner discovered the truth by his magic arts, and he and his queen started to run with Cloud-chariot's wife Sandal.

At that moment Shell-crest returned from his worship of Shiva. He saw the rock stained with blood, and cried: "Alas for me, poor sinner! Surely that noble, merciful creature has given his body to Garuda in place of mine. I must find him. Where has the great being been carried by my enemy? If I find him alive, then I shall not sink into the slough of infamy." So he followed weeping the broad trail of blood.

Now Garuda noticed that Cloud-chariot was happy while being eaten, and he thought: "This must be some strange, great being, for he is happy while I am eating him. He does not die, and what remains of him is thrilled with delight. And he turns a gracious, benevolent look upon me. Surely, he is no serpent, but some great spirit. I will stop eating him and ask him."

But while he reflected, Cloud-chariot said: "O king of birds, why do you stop? There is still some flesh and blood on me, and I see that you are not satisfied. Pray continue to eat."

When the king of birds heard these remarkable words, he said: "You are no serpent. Tell me who you are."

But Cloud-chariot continued to urge him: "Certainly I am a serpent. What does the question mean? Continue your meal. What fool would begin a thing and then stop?"

At that moment Shell-crest shouted from afar: "O Garuda, do not commit a great and reckless crime. What madness is this? He is not a serpent. I am the serpent."

And he ran between them and spoke again to the agitated bird: "O Garuda, what madness is this? Do you not see that I have the hood and the forked tongue? Do you not see how gentle his appearance is?"

While he was speaking, Cloud-chariot's wife Sandal and his parents hurried up. And when his parents saw how he was lacerated, they wept aloud and lamented: "Alas, my son! Alas, Cloud-chariot! Alas for my merciful darling, who gave his life for others!"

But when they cried: "Alas, Garuda! How could you do this thoughtless thing?" then Garuda was filled with remorse and thought: "Alas! How could I be mad enough to eat a future Buddha? This must be Cloud-chariot, who gives his life for others, whose fame is trumpeted abroad through all the world. If he is dead, I am a sinner, and ought to burn myself alive. Why does the fruit of the poison-tree of sin taste sweet?"

While Garuda was thus deep in anxious thought, Cloud-chariot saw his relatives gathered, fell down, and died from the pain of his wounds. Then, while his grief-stricken parents were loudly lamenting, while Shell-crest was accusing himself, Sandal looked up to heaven and, in a voice stammering with tears, reproached the goddess Gauri who had graciously given her this husband: "Oh, Mother! You told me that the fairy prince should be my husband, but it is my fate that you spoke falsely."

Then Gauri appeared in a visible form, and said: "Daughter, my words are not false." And she sprinkled Cloud-chariot with nectar from a jar. And straightway he stood up alive, unhurt and more beautiful than before.

As they all bent low in worship, and Cloud-chariot rose only to bend again, the goddess said: "My son, I am pleased with your gift of your own body. With my own hand I anoint you king of the fairies." And she anointed Cloud-chariot with liquor from the jar, and then disappeared, followed by the worship of the company. And showers of heavenly blossoms fell from the sky, and the drums of the gods were joyfully beaten in heaven.

Then Garuda reverently said to Cloud-chariot: "O King, I am pleased with your more than human character. For you have done a strange thing of unparalleled nobility, to be marvelled at throughout the universe, to be written upon the walls of heaven. Therefore I am at your service. Choose from me what boon you will."

The noble creature said to Garuda: "O Garuda, you must repent and eat no more serpents. And you must restore to life those that you ate before, who now are nothing but bones."

And Garuda said: "So be it. I will eat no serpents hereafter. And those that I have eaten shall come to life."

Then all the serpents who had been eaten down to the bones, suddenly stood up. And through the grace of Gauri all the leading fairies learned immediately the wonderful deed of Cloud-chariot. So they all came and bowed at his feet and took him, freshly anointed by the very hand of Gauri, with his rejoicing relatives and friends to the Himalaya mountain. There Cloud-chariot lived happily with his father and his mother and his wife Sandal and Friend-wealth and the generous Shell-crest. And he ruled the fairy world radiant with gems.

When the goblin had told this long, strange story, he said to the king: "O King, tell me. Which was the more self-sacrificing, Cloud-chariot or Shell-crest? If you know and do not tell, then the curse I mentioned before will be fulfilled."

And the king said: "There was nothing remarkable in what Cloud-chariot did. He was prepared for it by the experiences of many past lives. But Shell-crest deserves praise. He was saved from death. His enemy had another victim, and was far away. Yet he ran after and offered his body to Garuda."

When the goblin heard this, he went back to the sissoo tree. And the king returned to catch him again.


The King who died for Love of his General's Wife; the General follows him in Death. Which is the more worthy?

Then the king went back under the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his shoulder as before, and started. And the goblin said to him: "O King, I will tell you another little story to relieve your weariness. Listen."

Long ago there was a city named Golden City on the bank of the Ganges, where a quarter of the old perfect virtue still lingers in these evil days. There was a king named Glorious, and he deserved the name. His bravery kept the world from being overflowed, like the shore of the sea.

In this king's city lived a great merchant, who had a daughter named Passion. Everyone who saw her fell in love and went mad with passion.

When she grew to be a young woman, the virtuous merchant went to King Glorious and said: "Your Majesty, I have a daughter, the gem of the three worlds, and she is old enough to marry. I could not give her to anyone without consulting your Majesty. For you are the master of all gems in the world. Pray marry her and thus lay me under obligations."

So the king sent his own Brahmans to examine her qualities. But when the Brahmans saw her supreme loveliness, they were troubled and thought: "If the king should marry her, his kingdom would be ruined. He would think only of her, and would doubtless neglect his kingdom. Therefore we must not report her good qualities to the king."

So they returned to the king and said: "Your Majesty, she has bad qualities." So the king did not marry the merchant's daughter. But he bade the merchant give his daughter to a general named Force. And she lived happily with her husband in his house.

After a time the lion of spring came dancing through the forest and slew the elephant of winter. And King Glorious went forth on the back of an elephant to see the spring festival. And the drum was beaten to warn virtuous women to stay within doors. Otherwise they would have fallen in love with his beauty, and love-sickness might be expected.

But when Passion heard the drum, she did not like to be left alone. She went out on the balcony, that the king might see her. She seemed like the flame of love which the spring-time was fanning with southern breezes. And the king saw her, and his whole being was shaken. He felt her beauty sinking deep in his heart like a victorious arrow of Love, and he fainted.

His servants brought him back to consciousness, and he returned to the city. There he made inquiries and learned that this was Passion whom he had rejected before. So he banished from the country the Brahmans who had said that she had bad qualities, and he thought longingly of her every day.

And as he thought of her, he burned over the flame of love, and wasted away day and night. And though from shame he tried to conceal it, he finally told the reason of his anguish to responsible people who asked him.

They said: "Do not suffer. Why do you not seize her?" But the virtuous king would not do it.

Then General Force heard the story. He came and bowed at the feet of the king and said: "Your Majesty, she is the wife of your slave, therefore she is your slave. I give her to you of my own accord. Pray take my wife. Or better yet, I will leave her here in the palace. Then you cannot be blamed if you marry her." And the general begged and insisted.

But the king became angry and said: "I am a king. How can I do such a wicked thing? If I should transgress, who would be virtuous? You are devoted to me. Why do you urge me to a sin which is pleasant for the moment, but causes great sorrow in the next world? If you abandon your wedded wife, I shall not pardon you. How could a man in my position overlook such a transgression? It is better to die." Thus the king argued against it. For the truly great throw away life rather than virtue. And when all the citizens came together and urged him, he was steadfast and refused.

So he slowly shrivelled away over the fever-flame of love and died. There was nothing left of King Glorious except his glory. And the general could not endure the death of his king. He burned himself alive. The actions of devoted men are blameless.

When the goblin on the king's shoulder had told this story, he asked the king: "O King, which of these two, the king and the general, was the more deserving? Remember the curse before you answer."

The king said: "I think the king was the more deserving."

And the goblin said reproachfully: "O King, why was not the general better? He offered the king a wife like that, whose charms he knew from a long married life. And when his king died, he burned himself like a faithful man. But the king gave her up without really knowing her attractions."

Then the king laughed and said: "True enough, but not surprising. The general was a gentleman born, and acted as he did from devotion to his superior. For servants must protect their masters even at the cost of their own lives. But kings are like mad elephants who cannot be goaded into obedience, who break the binding-chain of virtue. They are insolent, and their judgment trickles from them with the holy water of consecration. Their eyes are blinded by the hurricane of power, and they do not see the road. From the most ancient times, even the kings who conquered the world have been maddened by love and have fallen into misfortune. But this king, though he ruled the whole world, though he was maddened by the girl Passion, preferred to die rather than set his foot on the path of iniquity. He was a hero. He was the better of the two."

Then the goblin escaped by magic from the king's shoulder and went back. And the king pursued him, undiscouraged. No great man stops in the middle of the hardest undertaking.


The Youth who went through the Proper Ceremonies. Why did he fail to win the magic spell?

Then the king went back through the night to the cemetery filled with ghouls, terrible with funeral piles that seemed like ghosts with wagging tongues of flame. But when he came to the sissoo tree, he was surprised to see a great many bodies hanging on the tree. They were all alike, and in each was a goblin twitching its limbs.

And the king thought: "Ah, what does this mean? Why does that magic goblin keep wasting my time? For I do not know which of all these I ought to take. If I should not succeed in this night's endeavour, then I would burn myself alive rather than become a laughing-stock."

But the goblin understood the king's purpose, and was pleased with his character. So he gave up his magic arts. Then the king saw only one goblin in one body. He took him down as before, put him on his shoulder, and started once more.

And as he walked along, the goblin said: "O King, if you have no objections, I will tell you a story. Listen."

There is a city called Ujjain, whose people delight in noble happiness, and feel no longing for heaven. In that city there is real darkness at night, real intelligence in poetry, real madness in elephants, real coolness in pearls, sandal, and moonlight.

There lived a king named Moonshine. He had as counsellor a famous Brahman named Heaven-lord, rich in money, rich in piety, rich in learning. And the counsellor had a son named Moon-lord.

This son went one day to a great resort of gamblers to play. There the dice, beautiful as the eyes of gazelles, were being thrown constantly. And Calamity seemed to be looking on, thinking: "Whom shall I embrace?" And the loud shouts of angry gamblers seemed to suggest the question: "Who is there that would not be fleeced here, were he the god of wealth himself?"

This hall the youth entered, and played with dice. He staked his clothes and everything else, and the gamblers won it all. Then he wagered money he did not have, and lost that. And when they asked him to pay, he could not. So the gambling-master caught him and beat him with clubs.

When he was bruised all over by the clubs, the Brahman youth became motionless like a stone, and pretended to be dead, and waited. After he had lain thus for two or three days, the heartless gambling-master said to the gamblers: "He lies like a stone. Take him somewhere and throw him into a blind well. I will pay you the money he owes."

So the gamblers picked Moon-lord up and went far into the forest, looking for a well. Then one old gambler said to the others: "He is as good as dead. What is the use of throwing him into a well now? We will leave him here and go back and say we have left him in a well." And all the rest agreed, and left him there, and went back.

When they were gone, Moon-lord rose and entered a deserted temple to Shiva. When he had rested a little there, he thought in great anguish: "Ah, I trusted the rascally gamblers, and they cheated me. Where shall I go now, naked and dusty as I am? What would my father say if he saw me now, or any relative, or any friend? I will stay here for the present, and at night I will go out and try to find food somehow to appease my hunger."

While he reflected in weariness and nakedness, the sun grew less hot and disappeared. Then a terrible hermit named Stake came there, and he had smeared his body with ashes. When he had seen Moon-lord and asked who he was and heard his story, he said, as the youth bent low before him: "Sir, you have come to my hermitage, a guest fainting with hunger. Rise, bathe, and partake of the meal I have gained by begging."

Then Moon-lord said to him: "Holy sir, I am a Brahman. How can I partake of such a meal?"

Then the hermit-magician went into his hut and out of tenderness to his guest he thought of a magic spell which grants all desires. And the spell appeared in bodily form, and said: "What shall I do?" And the hermit said: "Treat that man as an honoured guest."

Then Moon-lord was astonished to see a golden palace rise before him and a grove with women in it. They came to him from the palace and said: "Sir, rise, come, bathe, eat, and meet our mistress." So they led him in and gave him a chance to bathe and anoint himself and dress. Then they led him to another room.

There the youth saw a woman of wonderful beauty, whom the Creator must have made to see what he could do. She rose and offered him half of her seat. And he ate heavenly food and various fruits and chewed betel leaves and sat happily with her on the couch.

In the morning he awoke and saw the temple to Shiva, but the heavenly creature was gone, and the palace, and the women in it. So he went out in distress, and the hermit in his hut smiled and asked him how he had spent the night. And he said: "Holy sir, through your kindness I spent a happy night, but I shall die without that heavenly creature."

Then the hermit laughed and said: "Stay here. You shall have the same happiness again to-night." So Moon-lord enjoyed those delights every night through the favour of the hermit.

Finally Moon-lord came to see what a mighty spell that was. So, driven on by his fate, he respectfully begged the hermit: "Holy sir, if you really feel pity for a poor suppliant like me, teach me that spell which has such power."

And when he insisted, the hermit said: "You could never win the spell. One has to stand in the water to win it. And it weaves a net of magic to bewilder the man who is repeating the words, so that he cannot win it. For as he mumbles it, he seems to lead another life, first a baby, then a boy, then a youth, then a husband, then a father. And he falsely imagines that such and such people are his friends, such and such his enemies. He forgets his real life and his desire to win the spell. But if a man mumbles it constantly for twenty-four years, and remembers his own life, and is not deceived by the network of magic, and then at the end burns himself alive, he comes out of the water, and has real magic power. It comes only to a good pupil, and if a teacher tries to teach it to a bad pupil, the teacher loses it too. Now you have the real benefit through my magic power. Why insist on more? If I lost my powers, then your happiness would go too."

But Moon-lord said: "I can do anything. Do not fear, holy sir." And the hermit promised to teach him the spell. What will holy men not do out of regard to those who seek aid?

So the hermit went to the river bank, and said: "My son, mumble the words of the spell. And while you are leading an imaginary life, you will at last be awakened by my magic. Then plunge into the magic fire which you will see. I will stand here on the bank while you mumble it."

So he purified himself and purified Moon-lord and made him sip water, and then he taught him the magic spell. And Moon-lord bowed to his teacher on the bank, and plunged into the river.

And as he mumbled the words of the spell in the water, he was bewildered by its magic. He forgot all about his past life, and went through another life. He was born in another city as the son of a Brahman. Then he grew up, was consecrated, and went to school. Then he took a wife, and after many experiences half pleasant, half painful, he found himself the father of a family. Then he lived for some years with his parents and his relatives, devoted to wife and children, and interested in many things.

While he was experiencing all these labours of another life, the hermit took pity on him and repeated magic words to enlighten him. And Moon-lord was enlightened in the midst of his new life. He remembered himself and his teacher, and saw that the other life was a network of magic. So he prepared to enter the fire in order to win magic power.

But older people and reliable people and his parents and his relatives tried to prevent him. In spite of them he hankered after heavenly pleasures, and went to the bank of a river where a funeral pile had been made ready. And his relatives went with him. But when he got there he saw that his old parents and his wife and his little children were weeping.

And he was perplexed, and thought: "Alas! If I enter the fire, all these my own people will die. And I do not know whether my teacher's promise will come true or not. Shall I go into the fire, or go home? No, no. How could a teacher with such powers promise falsely? Indeed, I must enter the fire." And he did.

And he was astonished the feel the fire as cool as snow, and lost his fear of it. Then he came out of the water of the river, and found himself on the bank. He saw his teacher standing there, and fell at his feet, and told him the whole story, ending with the blazing funeral pile.

Then his teacher said: "My son, I think you must have made some mistake. Otherwise, why did the fire seem cool to you? That never happens in the winning of this magic spell."

And Moon-lord said: "Holy sir, I do not remember making any mistake." Then his teacher was eager to know about it, so he tried to remember the spell himself. But it would not come to him or to his pupil. So they went away sad, having lost their magic.

When the goblin had told this story, he asked the king: "O King, explain the matter to me. Why did they lose their magic, when everything had been done according to precept?"

Then the king said: "O magic creature, I see that you are only trying to waste my time. Still, I will tell you. Magic powers do not come to a man because he does things that are hard, but because he does things with a pure heart. The Brahman youth was defective at that point. He hesitated even when his mind was enlightened. Therefore he failed to win the magic. And the teacher lost his magic because he taught it to an unworthy pupil."

Then the goblin went back to his home. And the king ran to find him, never hesitating.


The Boy whom his Parents, the King, and the Giant conspired to Kill. Why did he laugh at the moment of death?

Then the king went to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his shoulder as before, and started in silence. And the goblin on his shoulder saw that he was silent and said: "O King, why are you so obstinate? Go home. Spend the night in rest. You ought not to take me to that rascally monk. But if you insist, then I will tell you another story. Listen."

There is a city called Brilliant-peak. There lived a glorious king named Moon, who delighted the eyes of his subjects. Wise men said that he was brave, generous, and the very home of beauty. But in spite of all his wealth, he was very sad at heart. For he found no wife worthy of him.

One day this king went with soldiers on horseback into a great wood, to hunt there and forget his sorrow. There he split open many boars with his arrows as the sun splits the black darkness, and made fierce lions into cushions for his arrows, and slew mountainous monsters with his terrible darts.

As he hunted, he spurred his horse and beat him terribly. And the horse was so hurt by the spur and the whip that he could not tell rough from smooth. He dashed off quicker than the wind, and in a moment carried the king into another forest a hundred miles away.

There the king lost his way, and as he wandered about wearily, he saw a great lake. He stopped there, unsaddled his horse, let him bathe and drink, and found him some grass in the shade of the trees. Then he bathed and drank himself, and when he had rested, he looked all about him.

And he saw a hermit's daughter of marvellous beauty under an ashoka tree with another girl. She had no ornaments but flowers. She was charming even in a dress of bark. She was particularly attractive because of her thick masses of hair arranged in a girlish way.

And the king fell in love with her and thought: "Who is she? Is she a goddess come to bathe in these waters? Or Gauri, separated from her husband Shiva, leading a hard life to win him again? Or the lovely moon, taking a human form, and trying to be attractive in the daytime? I will go to her and find out."

So he drew near to her. And when she saw him coming, she was astonished at his beauty and dropped her hands, which had been weaving a garland of flowers. And she thought: "Who can he be in this forest? Some fairy perhaps. Blessed are my eyes this day."

So she rose, modestly looking another way, and started to go away, though her limbs failed her. Then the king approached and said: "Beautiful maiden, I have come a long distance, and you never saw me before. I ask only to look at you, and you should welcome me. Is this hermit manners, to run away?"

Then her clever friend made the king sit down and treated him as an honoured guest. And the king respectfully asked her: "My good girl, what happy family does your friend adorn? What are the syllables of her name, which must be a delight to the ear? Or why at her age does she torture a body as delicate as a flower with a hermit's life in a lonely wood?"

And the friend answered: "Your Majesty, she is the daughter of the hermit Kanva and the heavenly nymph Menaka. She grew up here in the hermitage, and her name is Lotus-bloom. With her father's permission she came here to the lake to bathe. And her father's hermitage is not far from here."

Then the king was delighted. He mounted his horse and rode to the hermitage of holy Kanva, to ask for the girl. And he entered the hermitage in modest garb, leaving his horse outside. Then he was surrounded by hermits with hoary crowns and bark garments like the trees, and saw the sage Kanva radiant and cool like the moon. And he drew near and fell at his feet.

And the wise hermit greeted him and let him rest, then said: "My son Moon, I will tell you something to your advantage. Listen. I know what fear of death there is in mortal creatures. Why then do you uselessly kill the wild beasts? Warriors were made by the Creator to protect the timid. Therefore protect your subjects in righteousness, and root out evil. As Happiness flees before you, strive to overtake her with all your means, elephants and horses and things. Enjoy your kingship. Be generous. Become glorious. Abandon this vice of hunting, this sport of Death. For slayer and slain are equally deceived. Why spend your time in such an evil pursuit?"

The sensible king was pleased and said: "Holy sir, I am instructed. And great is my gratitude for this instruction. From now on I hunt no more. Let the wild animals live without fear."

Then the hermit said: "I am pleased with your protection of the animals. Choose any boon you will."

Then the quick-witted king said: "Holy sir, if you are kindly disposed, give me your daughter Lotus-bloom."

So the hermit gave him his daughter, the child of the nymph, who then came up after her bath. So they were married, and the king wore cheerful garments, and Lotus-bloom was adorned by the hermits' wives. And the weeping hermits accompanied them in procession to the edge of the hermitage. Then the king took his wife Lotus-bloom, mounted his horse, and started for his city.

At last the sun, seeing the king tired with his long journeying, sank wearily behind the western mountain. And fawn-eyed night appeared, clad in the garment of darkness, like a woman going to meet her lover. And the king saw an ashvattha tree on the shore of a pond in a spot covered with grass and twigs, and he decided to spend the night there.

So he dismounted, fed and watered his horse, brought water from the pond, and rested with his beloved. And they passed the night there.

In the morning he arose, performed his devotions, and prepared to set out with his wife to rejoin his soldiers. Then, like a cloud black as soot with tawny lightning-hair, there appeared a great giant. He wore a chaplet of human entrails, a cord of human hair, he was chewing the head of a man, and drinking blood from a skull.

The giant laughed aloud, spit fire in his wrath, and showed his dreadful fangs. And he scolded the king and said: "Scoundrel! I am a giant named Flame-face. This tree is my home; even the gods do not dare to trespass here. But you and your wife have trespassed and enjoyed yourselves. Now swallow your own impudence, you rascal! You are lovesick, so I will split open your heart and eat it, and I will drink your blood."

The king was frightened when he saw that the giant was invincible, and his wife was trembling, so he said respectfully: "I trespassed ignorantly. Forgive me. I am your guest, seeking protection in your hermitage. And I will give you a human sacrifice, so that you will be satisfied. Be merciful then and forget your anger."

Then the giant forgot his anger, and thought: "Very well. Why not?" And he said: "O King, I want a noble, intelligent Brahman boy seven years old, who shall give himself up of his own accord for your sake. And when he is killed, his mother must hold his hands tightly to the ground, and his father must hold his feet, and you must cut off his head with your own sword. If you do this within seven days, then I will forgive the insult you have offered me. If not, I will kill you and all your people."

And the king was so frightened that he consented. Then the giant disappeared.

Then King Moon mounted his horse with his wife Lotus-bloom and rode away sad at heart, seeking for his soldiers. And he thought: "Alas! I was bewildered by hunting and by love, and I find myself ruined. Where can I find such a sacrifice for the giant? Well, I will go to my own city now, and see what happens."

So he continued his search, and found his soldiers and his city Brilliant-peak. There his subjects were delighted because he had found a wife worthy of him, and they made a great feast. But it was a day of despondency and dreadful agony for the king.

On the next day he told his counsellors the whole story. And one counsellor named Wise said: "Your Majesty, do not despair. I will find a victim for the sacrifice. The world is a strange place."

Thus the counsellor comforted the king, and made a statue of a boy out of gold. And he sent the statue about the land, with constant beating of drums and this proclamation: "We want a noble Brahman boy seven years old who will offer himself as a sacrifice to a giant with the permission of his parents. And when he is killed, his mother must hold his hands, and his father must hold his feet. And as a reward, the king will give his parents a hundred villages and this statue of gold and gems."

Now there was a Brahman boy on a farm, who was only seven years old, but wonderfully brave. He was of great beauty, and even in childhood he was always thinking about others. He said to the heralds: "Gentlemen, I will give you my body. Wait a moment. I will hurry back after telling my parents."

So they told the boy to go. And he went into the house, bowed before his parents, and said: "Mother! Father! I am going to give this wretched body of mine in order to win lasting happiness. Pray permit me. And I will take the king's gift, this statue of myself made of gold and gems, and give it to you together with the hundred villages. Thus I will pay my debt to you, and do some real good. And you will never be poor again, and will have plenty more sons."

But his parents immediately said: "Son, what are you saying? Have you the rheumatism? Or are you possessed by a devil? If not, why do you talk nonsense? Who would sacrifice his child for money? And what child would give his body?"

But the boy said: "I am not mad. Listen. My words are full of sense. The body is the seat of unnameable impurities, it is loathsome and full of pain. It perishes in no long time at best. If some good can be done with the worthless thing, that is a great advantage in this weary life, so wise men say. And what good is there except helping others? If anyone can serve his parents so easily, then how lightly should the body be esteemed!"

Thus the boy, with his bold words and his firm purpose, persuaded his grieving parents. And he went and got from the king's men the golden statue and the hundred villages, and gave them to his parents.

So the boy with his parents followed the king's men to the city Brilliant-peak. And the king looked upon the brave boy as a magic jewel for his own preservation, and rejoiced greatly. He adorned the boy with garlands and perfumes, put him on an elephant, and took him with his parents to the home of the giant.

There the priest traced a magic circle beside the tree, and reverently lit the holy fire. Then the horrible giant Flame-face appeared, mumbling words of his own. He staggered, for he was drunk with blood, and snorted and yawned. His eyes flashed fire and his shadow made the whole world dark.

And the king said respectfully: "Great being, here is the human sacrifice you asked for, and this is the seventh day since I promised it. Be merciful. Accept this sacrifice."

And the giant licked his chops, and looked the boy over, who was to be the sacrifice. Then the noble boy thought: "I have done some good with this body of mine. May I never rest in heaven or in eternal salvation, but may I have many lives in which to do some good with my body." And the air was filled with the chariots of gods who rained down flowers.

Then the boy was laid before the giant. His mother held his hands, and his father held his feet. When the king drew his sword and was ready to strike, the boy laughed so heartily that all of them, even the giant, forgot what they were doing, looked at the boy's face, and bowed low before him.

When the goblin had told this strange story, he asked the king: "O King, why did the boy laugh at the moment of death? I have a great curiosity about this point. If you know and will not tell, then your head will fly into a hundred pieces."

And the king said: "Listen. I will tell you why the boy laughed. When danger comes to any weak creature, he cries for life to his mother and father. If they are not there, he begs protection from the king, whom heaven made his protector. Failing the king, he cries to a god. Some one of these should be his protector. But in the case of this boy everything was contrary. His parents held his hands and feet because they wanted money. And the king was ready to kill him with his own hand, to save his own life. And the giant, who is a kind of a god, had come there especially to eat him. So the boy thought: They are ridiculously fooled about their bodies, which are fragile, worthless, the seat of pain and suffering. The bodies of the greatest gods perish. And such creatures as these imagine that their bodies will endure!' So when he saw their strange madness, and felt that his own wishes were fulfilled, the Brahman boy laughed in astonishment and delight."

Then the goblin slipped from the king's shoulder and went back to his home. And the king followed with determination. The heart of a good man is like the heart of the ocean. It cannot be shaken.


The Man, his Wife, and her Lover, who all died for Love. Which was the most foolish?

Then the king went back under the sissoo tree, took the goblin on his shoulder, and set out in haste. And as he walked along, the goblin on his shoulder said: "O King, I will tell you a story about a great love. Listen."

There is a city called Ujjain, which seems like a divine city made by the Creator for the pious who have fallen from heaven. In this city there was a famous king named Lotus-belly. He delighted the good, and defeated the king of the demons.

While he was king, a merchant named Fortune, richer than the god of wealth, lived in the city. He had one daughter named Love-cluster, who seemed the model from whom the Creator had made the nymphs of heaven. This merchant gave his daughter to a merchant named Jewel-guard from Copper City.

As he was a tender father and had no other children, the merchant stayed with his daughter Love-cluster and her husband. Now Love-cluster came to hate Jewel-guard as a sick man hates a pungent, biting medicine. But the beautiful woman was dearer than life to her husband, dear as long-fathered wealth to a miser.

One day Jewel-guard started for Copper City to pay a loving visit to his parents. Then the hot summer came, and the roads were blocked for travellers by the sharp arrows of the sun. The winds blew soft with the fragrance of jasmine and trumpet-flower, like sighs from the mouths of mountains separated from the springtime. And wind-swept dust-clouds flew to the sky like messengers from the burning earth begging for clouds. And the feverish days moved slowly like wayfarers who cling to the shade of trees. And the nights clad in pale yellow moonlight became very feeble without the invigorating embrace of winter.

At this time Love-cluster, anointed with cooling sandal, and clad in thin garments stood at her lattice-window. And she saw a handsome youth with a friend whom he trusted. He seemed the god of love born anew and seeking his bride. He was the son of the king's priest, and his name was Lotus-lake.

And when Lotus-lake saw the lovely girl, he expanded with delight as lotuses in a lake expand at the sight of the moon. When the two young people saw each other, their hearts embraced each other at the bidding of Love, their teacher.

So Lotus-lake was smitten with love, and was led home with difficulty by his friend. And Love-cluster was equally maddened by love. First she learned from her friend his name and home, then slowly withdrew to her room. There she thought of him and became feverish with love, simply tossing on her couch, seeing nothing and hearing nothing.

After two or three days spent in this way, she felt bashful and fearful, pale and thin from the separation, and hopeless of union with her lover. So, as if drawn on by the moonbeam which shone through her window, she went out at night when her people were asleep, determined to die. And she came to a pool under a tree in her garden.

There stood a family image of the goddess Gauri, set up by her father. She drew near to this image, bowed before the goddess, praised her, and said: "O Goddess, since I could not have Lotus-lake as my husband in this life, may he be my husband in some other life!" And she made a noose of her garment, and tied it to the ashoka tree before the goddess.

At that moment her trusty friend awoke, and not finding her in the room, hunted about and came luckily into the garden. There she saw the girl fastening the noose about her neck, and she cried, "No, no!" And running up, she cut the noose.

When Love-cluster saw that it was her own friend who had run up and taken the noose away, she fell to the ground in great agony. But her friend comforted her and asked the reason of her sorrow. Then she arose and said: "Jasmine, my friend, I cannot be united with him I love. I am dependent on my father and other people. Death is the happiest thing for me."

And as she spoke, she was terribly scorched by the fiery darts of love, and determined to feel no more hope, and fainted. And her friend Jasmine lamented: "Alas! Love is a hard master. It has reduced her to this condition." But she gradually brought her back to life with cool water and fans and things. She made an easy bed of lotus-leaves. She put pearls cool as snow on her heart.

Then Love-cluster came to herself and slowly said to her weeping friend: "My dear, the fire within me cannot be quenched by such things as pearls. If you want to save my life, be clever enough to bring my lover to me."

And the loving Jasmine said: "My dear, the night is almost over. In the morning I will bring your lover here to meet you. Be brave and go now to your room."

Love-cluster was contented. She took the pearls from her neck and gave them to her friend as a present. And she said: "Let us go now. Then in the morning you must keep your promise." So she went to her room.

In the morning Jasmine crept out without being seen to hunt for the house of Lotus-lake. When she got there, she found Lotus-lake under a tree in the garden. He was lying on a couch of lotus-leaves moistened with sandal, and the friend who knew his secret was fanning him with plantain-leaf fans, for he was tortured by the flames of love. And Jasmine hid, to find out whether this was lovesickness for her friend or not.

Then the friend said to Lotus-lake: "My friend, comfort your heart by glancing a moment at this charming garden. Do not be so troubled."

But he said to his friend: "My heart has been stolen by Love-cluster. It is no longer in my body. How can I comfort it? Love has made an empty quiver of me. So invent some plan by which I may meet the thief of my heart."

Then Jasmine came out joyfully and without fear and showed herself. And she said: "Sir, Love-cluster has sent me to you, and I am the bearer of a message to you. Is it good manners to enter the heart of an innocent girl by force, steal her thoughts, and run away? It is strange, but the sweet girl is ready to give her person and her life to you, her charmer. For day and night she heaves sighs hot as the smoke from the fire of love that burns in her heart. And teardrops carry her rouge away and fall, like bees longing for the honey of her lotus-face. So, if you wish it, I will tell you what is good for both of you."

And Lotus-lake said: "My good girl, the words which tell me that my love is lonely and longing, frighten me and comfort me. You are our only refuge. Devise a plan."

And Jasmine answered: "This very night I will bring Love-cluster secretly to the garden. You must be outside. Then I will cleverly let you in, and so you two will be united." Thus Jasmine delighted the Brahman's son, and went away successful to please Love-cluster with the news.

Then the sun and the daylight fled away, pursuing the twilight. And the East adorned her face with the moon. And the white night-blooming lotuses laughed, their faces expanding at the thought of the glory that was coming to them. At that hour the lover Lotus-lake came secretly, adorned and filled with longing, to the garden-gate of his beloved. And Jasmine led Love-cluster secretly into the garden, for she had lived through the day somehow.

Then Jasmine made her sit down under the mango trees, while she went and let Lotus-lake in. So he entered and looked upon Love-cluster as the traveller looks upon the shade of trees with thick foliage. And as he drew near, she saw him and ran to him, for love took away her modesty, and she fell on his neck. "Where would you go? I have caught you, thief of my heart!" she cried. Then excessive joy stopped her breathing and she died. She fell on the ground like a vine broken by the wind. Strange are the mysterious ways of Love.

When Lotus-lake saw that terrible fall, he cried: "Oh, what does it mean?" And he fainted and fell down. Presently he came to himself, and took his darling on his lap. He embraced her and kissed her and wept terribly. He was so borne down by the terrible burden of grief that his own heart broke. And when they were both dead, the night seemed to die away in shame and fear.

In the morning the relatives heard the story from the gardeners, and came there filled with timidity and wonder and grief and madness. They did not know what to do, but stood a long time with downcast eyes. Unfaithful women disgrace a family.

Presently the husband Jewel-guard came back from his father's house in Copper City, filled with love for Love-cluster. When he came to his father-in-law's house and saw the business, he was blinded by tears and went thoughtfully into the garden. There he saw his wife dead in another man's arms, and his body was scorched by flames of grief, and he died immediately.

Then the whole household shouted and screamed so that all the citizens heard the story and came there. The demi-gods themselves were filled with pity and prayed to the goddess Gauri whose image had been set up there before by Love-cluster's father: "Oh, Mother, the merchant who set up this statue was always devoted to you. Show mercy to him in his affliction."

And the gracious goddess heard their prayer. She said: "All three shall live again, and shall forget their love." Then through her grace they all arose like people waking from sleep. They were alive, and their love was gone. While all the people there rejoiced at what had happened. Lotus-lake went home, bending his head in shame. And the merchant took his shamefaced daughter and her husband and went into the house and made a feast.

When the goblin had told this story on the road in the night, he said: "O King, which was the most foolish among those who died for love? If you know and do not tell, you must remember the curse I spoke of before."

Then the king answered: "O magic creature, Jewel-guard was the most foolish of them. When he saw that his wife had died for love of another man, he should have been angry. Instead, he was loving, and died of grief."

Then the goblin slipped from the king's shoulder and quickly set out for his home. And the king ran after him again, eager as before.


The Four Brothers who brought a Dead Lion to Life. Which is to blame when he kills them all?

Then the king went back to the sissoo tree, took the goblin, put him on his shoulder, and started for the place he wished to reach. And as he walked along the road, the goblin began to talk again: "Bravo, King! You are a remarkable character. So I will tell you another story, and a strange one. Listen."

There is a city called Flower-city. There lived a king named Earth-boar. In his kingdom was a farm where a Brahman lived whose name was Vishnuswami. His wife was named Swaha. And four sons were born to them.

After a time the father died, and the relatives took all the money. So the four brothers consulted together: "There is nothing for us to do here. Suppose we go somewhere." And after a long journey they came to the house of their maternal grandfather in a village called Sacrifice. The grandfather was dead, but their uncles sheltered them, and they continued their studies.

But they did not amount to much, so in time their uncles became scornful in such matters as food and clothing. And they were troubled.

Then the eldest took the others aside and said: "Brothers, no man can do anything anywhere on earth. Now I was wandering about discouraged, and I came to a wood. There I saw to-day a dead man whose limbs lay relaxed on the ground. And I wished for the same fate, and I thought: He is happy. He is free from the burden of woe.' So I made up my mind to die, and hanged myself with a rope from a tree. I lost consciousness, but before the breath of life was gone, the cord was cut and I fell to the ground. And when I came to myself, I saw a compassionate man who had happened by at that moment, and he was fanning me with his garment. And he said to me: My friend, you are an educated man. Tell me why you are so despondent. The righteous man finds happiness, the unrighteous man finds unhappiness because of his unrighteousness, and for no other reason. If you made up your mind to this because of unhappiness, practice righteousness instead. Why seek the pains of hell by suicide?' Thus the man comforted me and went away. And I gave up the idea of suicide and came here. You see I could not even die when fate was unwilling. Now I shall burn my body at some holy place, that I may not again feel the woes of poverty."

Then the younger brothers said to him: "Sir, why is an intelligent man sad for lack of money? Do you not know that money is uncertain as an autumn cloud? No matter how carefully won and guarded, three things are fickle and bring sorrow at the last: evil friendships, a flirt, and money. The resolute and sensible man should by all means acquire that virtue which brings him Happiness a captive in bonds."

So the eldest brother straightway plucked up heart, and said: "What virtue is it which we should acquire?"

Then they all reflected, and took counsel together: "We will wander over the earth, and each of us will learn some one science." So they appointed a place for meeting, and the four brothers started in four different directions.

After a time they all gathered at the meeting-place, and asked one another what they had learned. The first said: "I have learned a science by which I can take the skeleton of any animal whatever and put the proper kind of flesh on it."

The second said: "I have learned a science by which I can put on the flesh-covered skeleton the proper hair and skin."

The third said: "My science is this. When the skin and the flesh and the hair are there, I can put in the eyes and the other organs of sense."

The fourth said: "When the organs are there, I can give the creature the breath of life."

So all four went into the forest to find a skeleton and test their various sciences. As fate would have it, they found the skeleton of a lion there. And they took that, not knowing the difference.

The first fitted out the skeleton with appropriate flesh. The second added the skin and hair. The third provided all the organs. The fourth gave life to the thing, and it was a lion. The lion arose with terrible massive mane, dreadful teeth in his mouth, and curving claws in his paws. He arose and killed his four creators, then ran into the forest.

Thus the Brahman youths all perished because they did wrong to make a lion. Who could expect a good result from creating a bad-tempered creature? Thus, if fate opposed, even a virtue that has been painfully acquired does not profit, but rather injures. But the tree of manhood, with the water of intelligence poured into its watering-trench of conduct about the vigorous root of fate, generally bears good fruit.

When the goblin had told this story, he asked the king who was walking through the night: "O King, remember the curse I mentioned, and tell me which of them was most to blame for creating the lion?"

And the king reflected in silence: "He wants to escape again. Very well. I will catch him again." So he said: "The one who gave life to the lion, is the sinner. The others did not know what kind of an animal it was, and just showed their skill in creating flesh and skin and hair and organs. They were not to blame because they were ignorant. But the one who saw that it was a lion and gave it life just to exhibit his skill, he was guilty of the murder of Brahmans."

Then the goblin went home. And the king followed him again, and came to the sissoo tree.


The Old Hermit who exchanged his Body for that of the Dead Boy. Why did he weep and dance?

Then the king went back to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his shoulder in spite of all its writhings, and set out in silence. And the goblin on his shoulder said: "O king of kings, you are terribly obstinate about this impossible task. So to amuse the weary journey I will tell a story. Listen."

In the Kalinga country was a city called Beautiful, where people lived as happily as in heaven. There ruled a famous king named Pradyumna. And in a part of this city was a region set apart by the king, where many Brahmans lived. Among them was a learned, wealthy, pious, hospitable Brahman named Sacrifice.

In his old age a single son was born to him and his worthy wife. The boy grew under the fostering care of his father, and showed signs of excellence. He was called Devasoma by his father, and his parents were entirely devoted to him.

In his sixteenth year the boy attracted everyone by his learning and modesty. Then he suddenly fell ill of a fever and died. When his father and mother saw that he was really dead, they embraced the body and wept aloud. But their love for him would not permit them to burn the body.

So the old relatives gathered, and said to the father: "Brahman, life is imaginary like a city in the sky. Do you not know this, you who know things above and things below? The kings who enjoyed themselves like gods upon the earth, they have gone one by one to cemeteries filled with processions of weeping ghosts. Their bodies were burned by the flesh-devouring fire and eaten by jackals. No one could prevent it in their case. How much less in the case of others? Therefore, as you are a wise man, tell us what you mean by embracing this dead body?"

So at last the relatives persuaded him to let his son go, and they put the body in a litter and brought it to the cemetery with weeping and wailing.

At that time a hermit was fulfilling a hard vow, and was living in a hut in the cemetery. He was very thin because of his age and his hard life. His veins stuck out like cords to bind him, as if afraid that he would break in pieces. His hair was tawny like the lightning.

This hermit heard the wailing of the people, and turned to his pupil who begged food for him. Now this pupil was proud and arrogant. And the hermit said: "My boy, what is this wailing we hear? Go outside and find out, then return and tell me why this unheard-of commotion is taking place."

But the pupil said: "I will not go. Go yourself. My hour for begging is passing by."

Then the teacher said: "Fool! Glutton! What do you mean by your hour for begging? Only one half of the first watch of the day is gone."

Then the bad pupil became angry and said: "Decrepit old man! I am not your pupil. And you are not my teacher. I am going away. Do your begging yourself." And he angrily threw down his staff and bowl before the old man, and got up, and went away.

Then the hermit laughed. He left his hut and went to the place where the dead Brahman boy had been brought to be burned. He saw how the people mourned over such youthful freshness dead, and felt his own age and weakness. So he made up his mind to exchange his body for the other by magic.

He went aside and wept at the top of his voice. Then he danced with all the proper gestures.

After that, full of the longing to enjoy the happiness of youth, he left his own withered body by magic and entered the body of the Brahman youth. So the Brahman youth came to life on the funeral pyre and stood up. And a cry of joy arose from all the relatives: "See! The boy is alive! He is alive!"

Then the magician in the body of the Brahman boy said to the relatives: "I went to the other world, and Shiva gave me life and directed me to perform a great vow. So now I am going off to perform the vow. If I do not, my life will not last. Do you then go home, and I will come later."

So he spoke to those gathered there, having made up his mind what to do, and sent them home full of joy and grief. He went himself and threw his old body into a pit, and then went off, a young man.

When the goblin had told this story, he said to King Triple-victory, who was walking through the night: "O King, when the magician entered another person's body, why did he weep before doing it, or why did he dance? I have a great curiosity about this point."

And the king was afraid of the curse, so he broke silence and said: "Listen, goblin. He thought: I am leaving to-day this body with which I won magic powers, the body which my parents petted when I was a child.' So first he wept from grief, and from love of his body which he found it hard to leave. Then he thought: With a new body I can learn more magic.' So he danced from joy at getting youth."

When the goblin heard this answer, he returned quickly to the sissoo tree. And the king pursued him, undismayed.


The Father and Son who married Daughter and Mother. What relation were their children?

The king paid no attention to the terrible witch of night, clad in black darkness, with the funeral piles as flaming eyes. He bravely went through the dreadful cemetery to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his shoulder, and started as before. And as he walked along, the goblin said to him: "O King, I am very tired with these comings and goings, but you do not seem to be. So I will tell you my Great Puzzle. Listen."

Long ago there was a king named Virtue in the southern country. He was the best of righteous men, and was born in a great family. His wife came from the Malwa country, and her name was Moonlight. And they had one daughter, whom they named Beauty.

When this daughter was grown up, the relatives conspired to wreck the kingdom and drive King Virtue out. But he escaped by night, took a great many jewels, and fled from his kingdom with his beautiful wife and his daughter. He started for his father-in-law's house in Malwa, and came with his wife and daughter to the Vindhya forest. There they spent a weary night.

In the morning the blessed sun arose in the east, stretching out his rays like hands to warn the king not to go into the forest where robbers lived. The king went on foot with his trembling daughter and his wife, and their feet were wounded by the thorny grass. So they came to a fortified village. It was like the city of Death; for there were no righteous people there, and it was filled with robber-men who killed and robbed other people.

As the king drew near with his fine garments and his gems, many robbers saw him from a distance, and ran out armed to rob him. When the king saw them coming, he said to his wife and daughter: "These are wild men. They must not touch you. Go into the thick woods." So the queen with her daughter Beauty fled in fear into the middle of the forest.

But the brave king took his sword and shield and killed many of the wild men as they charged down, raining arrows on him. Then their leader gave an order, and all the robbers fell on the king at once, wounded every limb in his body, and killed him; for he was all alone. So the robbers took the jewels and went away.

Now the queen had hidden in a thicket, and had seen her husband killed. Then she fled a long distance in fear and came with her daughter into another thick wood. The rays of the midday sun were so fierce that travellers had to sit in the shade. So Queen Moonlight and Princess Beauty sat down under an ashoka tree near a lotus-pond in terrible weariness and fear and grief.

Now a gentleman named Fierce-lion who lived near came on horseback with his son into that wood to hunt. The son's name was Strong-lion. And the father saw the footprints of the queen and the princess, and he said to his son: "My son, these footprints are clean-cut and ladylike. Let us follow them. And if we find two women, you shall marry one of them, whichever you choose."

And the son Strong-lion said: "Father, the one who has the little feet in this line of footprints, seems to be the wife for me. The one with the bigger feet must be older. She is the wife for you."

But Fierce-lion said: "My son, what do you mean? Your mother went to heaven before your eyes. When so good a wife is gone, how could I think of another?"

But his son said: "Not so, Father. A householder's house is an empty place without a wife. Besides, you have surely heard what the poet says:

What fool would go into a house? Tis a prisoner's abode, Unless a buxom wife is there, Looking down the road.'

So, Father, I beg you on my life to marry the second one, whom I have chosen for you."

Then Fierce-lion said "Very well," and went on slowly with his son, following the footprints. And when he came to the pond, he saw Queen Moonlight, radiant with beauty and charm. And with his son he eagerly approached her. But when she saw him, she rose in terror, fearing that he was a robber.

But her sensible daughter said: "There is no reason to fear. These two men are not robbers. They are two well-dressed gentlemen, who probably came here to hunt." Still the queen swung in doubt.

Then Fierce-lion dismounted and stood before her. And he said: "Beautiful lady, do not be frightened. We came here to hunt. Pluck up heart and tell me without fear who you are. Why have you come into this lonely wood? For your appearance is that of ladies who wear gems and sit on pleasant balconies. And why should feet fit to saunter in a court, press this thorny ground? It is a strange sight. For the wind-blown dust settles on your faces and robs them of beauty. It hurts us to see the fierce rays of the sun fall upon such figures. Tell us your story. For our hearts are sadly grieved to see you in such a plight. And we cannot see how you could live in a forest filled with wild beasts."

Then the queen sighed, and between shame and grief she stammered out her story. And Fierce-lion saw that she had no husband to care for her. So he comforted her and soothed her with tender words, and took care of her and her daughter. His son helped the two ladies on horseback and led them to his own city, rich as the city of the god of wealth. And the queen seemed to be in another life. She was helpless and widowed and miserable. So she consented. What could she do, poor woman?

Then, because the queen had smaller feet, the son Strong-lion married Queen Moonlight. And Fierce-lion, the father, married her daughter, the princess Beauty, because of the bigness of her feet. Who would break a promise that had been made solemnly?

Thus, because of their inconsistent feet, the daughter became the wife of the father and the mother-in-law of her own mother. And the mother became the wife of the son and the daughter-in-law of her own daughter. And as time passed, sons and daughters were born to each pair.

When the goblin had told this story, he asked the king: "O King, when children were born to the father and daughter, and other children to the son and mother, what relation were those children to one another? If you know and do not tell, then remember the curse I spoke of before?"

When the king heard the goblin's question, he turned the thing this way and that, but could not say a word. So he went on in silence. And when the goblin saw that he could not answer the question, he laughed in his heart and thought: "This king cannot give an answer to my Great Puzzle. So he just walks on in silence. And he cannot deceive me because of the power of the curse. Well, I am pleased with his wonderful character. So I will cheat that rogue of a monk, and give the magic power he is striving after to this king."

So the goblin said aloud: "O King, you are weary with your comings and goings in this dreadful cemetery in the black night, yet you seem happy, and never hesitate at all. I am astonished and pleased at your perseverance. So now you may take the dead body and go ahead. I will leave the body. And I will tell you something that will do you good, and you must do it. The monk for whom you are carrying this body, is a rogue. He will call upon me and worship me, and he will try to kill you as a sacrifice. He will say: Lie flat on the ground in an attitude of reverence.' O King, you must say to that rascal: I do not know this attitude of reverence. Show me first, and then I will do likewise.' Then when he lies on the ground to show you the attitude of reverence, cut off his head with your sword. Then you will get the kingship over the fairies which he is trying to get. Otherwise, the monk will kill you and get the magic power. That is why I have delayed you so long. Now go ahead, and win magic power."

So the goblin left the body on the king's shoulder and went away. And the king reflected how the monk Patience was planning to hurt him. He took the body and joyfully went to the fig-tree.


So King Triple-victory came to the monk Patience with the body on his shoulder. And he saw the monk along in the dark night, sitting under the cemetery tree and looking down the road. He had made a magic circle with yellow powdered bones in a spot smeared with blood. In it he had put a jug filled with blood and lamps with magic oil. He had kindled a fire and brought together the things he needed for worship.

The monk rose to greet the king who came carrying the body, and he said: "O King, you have done me a great favour, and a hard one. This is a strange business and a strange time and place for such as you. They say truly that you are the best of kings, for you serve others without thinking of yourself. This is the very thing that makes the greatness of a great man, when he does not give a thing up, though it costs his very life."

So the monk felt sure the he was quite successful, and he took the body from the king's shoulder. He bathed it and put garlands on it, and set it in the middle of the circle. Then he smeared his own body with ashes, put on a cord made of human hair, wrapped himself in dead man's clothes, and stood a moment, deep in thought. And the goblin was attracted by his thought into the body, and the monk worshipped him.

First he offered liquor in a skull, then he gave him human teeth carefully cleaned, and human eyes and flesh. So he completed his worship, then he said to the king: "O King, fall flat on the ground before this master magician in an attitude of reverence, so that he may give you what you want."

And the king remembered the words of the goblin. He said to the monk: "Holy sir, I do not know that attitude of reverence. Do you show me first, and afterwards I will do it in the same way."

And when the monk fell on the ground to show the attitude of reverence, the king cut off his head with a sword, and cut out his heart and split it open. And he gave the head and the heart to the goblin.

Then all the little gods were delighted and cried: "Well done!" And the goblin was pleased and spoke to the king from the body he was living in: "O King, this monk was trying to become king of the fairies. But you shall be that when you have been king of the whole world."

And the king answered the goblin: "O magic creature, if you are pleased with me, I have nothing more to wish for. Yet I ask you to make me one promise, that these twenty-two different, charming puzzle-stories shall be known all over the world and be received with honour."

And the goblin answered: "O King, so be it. And I will tell you something more. Listen. When anyone tells or hears with proper respect even a part of these puzzle-stories, he shall be immediately free from sin. And wherever these stories are told, elves and giants and witches and goblins and imps shall have no power."

Then the goblin left the dead body by magic, and went where he wanted to. Then Shiva appeared there with all the little gods, and he was well pleased. When the king bowed before him, he said: "My son, you did well to kill this sham monk who tried by force to become king of the fairies. Therefore you shall establish the whole earth, and then become king of the fairies yourself. And when you have long enjoyed the delights of heaven and at last give them up of your own accord, then you shall be united with me. So receive from me this sword called Invincible. While you have it, everything you say will come true."

So Shiva gave him the magic sword, received his flowery words of worship, and vanished with the gods.