Part 2 out of 3
take the journey which you took. You must not refuse me nor
accompany me. I shall go alone and in disguise. You must rule the
kingdom, and not dispute my words. Swear to do it on your life."
So he spoke, and would not listen to advice, but dismissed the
counsellor. Then Farsight was unhappy though a great festival was
made for him. How can a good counsellor be happy when his
master devotes himself to a vice?
The next night King Glory-banner threw the burden of government
on that excellent counsellor, assumed the dress of a hermit, and
left his city. And as he travelled, he saw a monk named Grass, who
said when the king bowed before him as a holy man: "My son, if
you sail with a merchant named Fortune, you will obtain the
maiden you desire. Go on fearlessly."
So the king bowed again and went on rejoicing. After crossing
rivers and mountains he came to the ocean. And on the shore he
met at once the merchant Fortune whom the monk had mentioned,
bound for Golden Island. And when the merchant saw the king's
appearance and his signet ring, he bowed low, took him on the
ship, and set sail.
When the ship reached the middle of the sea, the maiden suddenly
arose, sitting in the branches of the magic tree. And as the king
gazed eagerly at her, she sang as before to her lute:
Whatever seed of fate is sown
The fruit appears--'tis strange!
Whatever deed a man has done,
Not God himself can change.
Whatever, how, for whom, and where
Tis fated so to be,
That thing, just so, for him, and there
Must happen fatally.
This song she sang, hinting at what was to happen. And the king
gazed at her smitten by love, and could not move. Then he cried:
"O Sea, in hiding her, you deceive those who think they have your
treasures. Honour and glory to you! I seek your protection. Grant
me my desire!" And as the king prayed, the maiden sank with the
tree. Then the king jumped after her into the sea.
The good merchant Fortune thought he was lost and was ready to
die of grief. But he was comforted by a voice from heaven which
said: "Do nothing rash. There is no danger when he sinks in the
sea. For he is the king Glory-banner, disguised as a hermit. He
came here for the sake of the maiden; she was his wife in a former
life. And he will win her and return to his kingdom in the Anga
country." So the merchant sailed on to complete his business.
But King Glory-banner sank in the sea, and all at once he saw a
heavenly city. He looked in amazement at the balconies with their
splendid jewelled pillars, their walls bright with gold, and the
network of pearls in their windows. And he saw gardens with
pools that had stairways of various gems, and magic trees that
yielded all desires. But rich as it was, the city was deserted.
He entered house after house, but did not find the maiden
anywhere. Then he climbed a high balcony built of gems, opened a
door, and entered. And there he saw her all alone, lying on a
jewelled couch, and clad in splendid garments. He eagerly raised
her face to see if it was really she, and saw that it was indeed the
maiden he sought. At the sight of her he had the strange feeling of
the traveller in a desert in summer at the sight of a river.
And she opened her eyes, saw that he was handsome and loveable,
and left her couch in confusion. But she welcomed him and with
downcast eyes that seemed like full-blown lotuses she did honour
to his feet. Then she slowly spoke: "Who are you, sir? How did
you come to this inaccessible under-world? And what is this
hermit garb? For I see that you are a king. Oh, sir, if you would do
me a kindness, tell me this."
And the king answered her: "Beautiful maiden, I am King
Glory-banner of the Anga country, and I heard from a reliable
person that you were to be seen on the sea. To see you I assumed
this garb, left my kingdom, and followed you hither. Oh, tell me
who you are."
Then she said to him with bashful love: "Sir, there is a king of the
fairies named Moonshine. I am his daughter, and my name is
Moonlight. Now my father has left me alone in this city. I do not
know where he went with the rest of the people, or why.
Therefore, as my home is lonely, I rise through the ocean, sit on a
magic tree, and song about fate."
Then the king remembered the words of the monk, and urged her
with such gentle, tender words that she confessed her love and
agreed to marry him. But she made a condition: "My dear, on four
set days in each month you must let me go somewhere unhindered
and unseen. There is a reason." And the king agreed, married her,
and lived in heavenly happiness with her.
While he was living in heavenly bliss, Moonlight said to him one
day: "My dear, you must wait here. I am going somewhere on an
errand. For this is one of the set days. While you stay here,
sweetheart, you must not go into that crystal room, nor plunge into
this pool. If you do, you will find yourself at that very moment in
the world again." So she said good-bye and left the city.
But the king took his sword and followed, to learn her secret. And
he saw a giant approaching with a great black cave of a mouth that
yawned like the pit. The giant fell down and howled horribly, then
took Moonlight into his mouth and swallowed her.
And the king's anger blazed forth. He took his great sword, black
as a snake that has sloughed its skin, ran up wrathfully, and cut off
the giant's head. He was blinded by his madness, he did not know
what to do, he was afflicted by the loss of his darling. But
Moonlight split open the stomach of the giant, and came out alive
and unhurt, like the brilliant, spotless moon coming out from a
When he saw that she was saved, the king cried: "Come, come to
me!" and ran forward and embraced her. And he asked her: "What
does it mean, dearest? Is this a dream, or an illusion?" And the
fairy answered: "My dear, listen to me. It is not a dream, nor an
illusion. My father, the king of the fairies, laid this curse upon me.
My father had many sons, but he loved me so that he could not eat
without me. And I used to come to this deserted spot twice a
month to worship Shiva.
"One day I came here and it happened that I spent the whole day in
worship. That day my father waited for me and would not eat or
drink anything, though he was hungry and angry with me. At night
I stood before him with downcast eyes, for I had done wrong. And
he forgot his love and cursed me--so strong is fate. Because you
have despised me and left me hungry a whole day, a giant named
Terror-of-Fate will swallow you four times a month when you
leave the city. And each time you will split him open and come
out. And you shall not remember the curse afterwards, nor the pain
of being swallowed alive. And you must live here alone.'
"But when I begged him, he thought awhile and softened his curse.
When Glory-banner, King of the Angas, shall become your
husband, and shall see you swallowed by the giant, and shall kill
the giant, then the curse shall end, and you shall remember all your
magic arts.' Then he left me here, and went with his people to the
Nishadha mountain. But I stayed here because of the curse. And
now the curse is ended, and I remember everything. So now I shall
go to the Nishadha mountain to see my father. Of course now I
remember how to fly. And you are at liberty to stay here, or to go
back to your own kingdom."
Then the king was sad, and he begged her thus: "My beautiful
wife, do not go for seven days. Be as kind as you are beautiful. Let
me be happy with you in the garden, and forget my longings. Then
you may go to your father, and I will go home." So he persuaded
her, and was happy with her for six days in the garden. And the
lilies in the ponds looked like longing eyes, and the ripples like
hands raised to detain them, and the cries of swans and cranes
seemed to say: "Do not leave us and go away."
On the seventh day the king cleverly led his wife to the pool from
which one could get back to the world. There he threw his arms
about her and plunged into the pool, and came up with her in the
pool in the garden of his own palace.
The gardeners saw that the king had come back with a wife, and
they joyfully ran and told the counsellor Farsight. He came and fell
at the king's feet, and then led the king and the fairy into the
palace. And the counsellor and the people thought: "Wonderful!
The king has won the fairy whom others could see only for a
moment like the lightning in the sky. Whatever is written in one's
fate, that comes true, however impossible it may be."
But when Moonlight saw that the king was in his own country, and
the seven days were over, she thought she would fly away like
other fairies. But she could not remember how. Then she became
very sad, like a woman who has been robbed.
And the king said: "Why are you so sad, my dear? Tell me." And
the fairy said: "The curse is over. Yet because I have been bound
so long in the fetters of your love, I have lost my magic arts. I
cannot fly." Then the king thought: "The fairy is really mine," and
he was happy and made a great feast.
When the counsellor Farsight saw this, he went home, and lay
down on his bed, and his heart broke, and he died. Then the king
governed the kingdom himself, and lived for a long time in
heavenly happiness with Moonlight.
When he had told this story, the goblin said: "O King, when the
king was so happy, why should the counsellor's heart break? Was
it from grief because he did not win the fairy himself? Or from
sorrow because the king came back, and he could no longer act as
king? If you know and will not tell me, then you will lose your
virtue, and your head will go flying into a hundred pieces."
And the king said to the goblin: "O magic creature, neither of these
reasons would be possible for a high-minded counsellor. But he
thought: The king used to neglect his duties for the sake of
ordinary women. What will happen now, when he loves a fairy? In
spite of all my efforts, a terrible misfortune has happened.' I think
that was why his heart broke."
Then the magic goblin went back to his tree in a moment. And the
king was still determined to catch him, and went once more to the
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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