-- The Story of the Lion, the Jackals, and the Bull*
Then spake the Royal Princes to Vishnu-Sarman,
"Reverend Sir! we have listened to the 'Winning of Friends,' we would now hear how friends are parted."
"Attend, then," replied the Sage, "to 'the Parting of Friends,' the first couplet of which runs in this wise—
'The Jackal set—of knavish cunning full—"How was that?" asked the sons of the Rajah.
The Story of the Lion, the Jackals, and the Bull
"In the Deccan there is a city called Golden-town, and a wealthy merchant lived there named Well-to-do. He had abundant means, but as many of his relations were even yet richer, his mind was bent upon outdoing them by gaining more. Enough is never what we have—
'Looking down on lives below them, men of little store are great;And is not wealth won by courage and enterprise?—
'As a bride, unwisely wedded, shuns the cold caress of eld,And wealth that increases not, diminishes—a little gain is so far good—
'Seeing how the soorma/1/ wasteth, seeing how the ant-hill grows,/2/Moved by these reflections Well-to-do loaded a cart with wares of all kinds, yoked two bulls to it, named Lusty-life and Roarer, and started for Kashmir to trade. He had not gone far upon his journey when in passing through a great forest called Bramble-wood, Lusty-life slipped down and broke his foreleg. At sight of this disaster Well-to-do fell a-thinking, and repeated—
'Men their cunning schemes may spin—Comforting himself with such philosophy, Well-to-do left Lusty-life there, and went on his way. The Bull watched him depart, and stood mournfully on three legs, alone in the forest. 'Well, well,' he thought, 'it is all destiny whether I live or die:—
'Shoot a hundred shafts, the quarry lives and flies—not due to death;As the days passed by, and Lusty-life picked about in the tender forest grass, he grew wonderfully well, and fat of carcase, and happy, and bellowed about the wood as though it were his own. Now, the reigning monarch of the forest was King Tawny-hide the Lion, who ruled over the whole country absolutely, by right of having deposed everybody else. Is not might right?—
'Robes were none, nor oil of unction, when the King of Beasts was crowned:—One morning, his Majesty, being exceedingly thirsty, had repaired to the bank of the Jumna to drink water, and just as he was about to lap it, the bellow of Lusty-life, awful as the thunder of the last day, reached the imperial ears. Upon catching the sound the King retreated in trepidation to his own lair, without drinking a drop, and stood there in silence and alarm, revolving what it could mean. In this position he was observed by the sons of his minister, two jackals named Karataka and Damanaka, who began to remark upon it.
'Friend Karataka,' said the last, 'what makes our royal master slink away from the river when he was dying to drink?'
'Why should we care?' replied Karataka. 'It's bad enough to serve him, and be neglected for our pains—
'Oh, the bitter salt of service!—toil, frost, fire, are not so keen:—'Nay, friend! never think thus,' said Damanaka—
'What but for their vassals,'I care not,' replied Karataka; 'we have nothing to do with it, and matters that don't concern us are best left alone. You know the story of the Monkey, don't you?'—
'The Monkey drew the sawyer's wedge, and died:—'No!' said Damanaka. 'How was it?'
The Story of the Monkey and the Wedge
"In South Behar, close by the retreat of Dhurmma,/5/ there was an open plot of ground, upon which a temple was in course of erection, under the management of a man of the Káyeth caste,/6/ named Subhadatta. A carpenter upon the works had partly sawed through a long beam of wood, and wedged it open, and was gone away, leaving the wedge fixed. Shortly afterwards a large herd of monkeys came frolicking that way, and one of their number, directed doubtless by the Angel of death, got astride the beam, and grasped the wedge, with his tail and lower parts dangling down between the pieces of the wood. Not content with this, in the mischief natural to monkeys, he began to tug at the wedge; till at last it yielded to a great effort and came out; when the wood closed upon him, and jammed him all fast. So perished the monkey, miserably crushed; and I say again—
'Let meddlers mark it, and be edified.'
'But surely,' argued Damanaka, 'servants are bound to watch the movements of their masters!'
'Let the prime minister do it, then,' answered Karataka; 'it is his business to overlook things, and subordinates shouldn't interfere in the department of their chief. You might get ass's thanks for it—
'The Ass that hee-hawed, when the dog should do it,Damanaka asked how that happened, and Karataka related:—
The Story of the Washerman's Jackass
"There was a certain Washerman/7/ at Benares, whose name was Carpúrapataka, and he had an Ass and a Dog in his courtyard; the first tethered, and the last roaming loose. Once on a time, when he had been spending his morning in the society of his wife, whom he had just married, and had fallen to sleep in her arms, a robber entered the house, and began to carry off his goods. The Ass observed the occupation of the thief, and was much concerned.
'Good Dog,' said he, 'this is thy matter: why dost thou not bark aloud, and rouse the master?'
'Gossip Ass,' replied the Dog, 'leave me alone to guard the premises. I can do it, if I choose; but the truth is, this master of ours thinks himself so safe lately that he clean forgets me, and I don't find my allowance of food nearly regular enough. Masters will do so; and a little fright will put him in mind of his defenders again.'
'Thou scurvy cur!' exclaimed the Ass—
'At the work-time, asking wages—is it like a faithful herd?'
'Thou extreme Ass!' replied the Dog.
'When the work's done, grudging wages—is that acting like a lord?'
'Mean-spirited beast,' retorted the Ass, 'who neglectest thy master's business! Well, then, I at least will endeavor to arouse him; it is no less than religion,
'Serve the Sun with sweat of body; starve thy maw to feed the flame;/8/So saying, he put forth his very best braying. The Washerman sprang up at the noise, and missing the thief, turned in a rage upon the Ass for disturbing him, and beat it with a cudgel to such an extent that the blows resolved the poor animal into the five elements of death. 'So that,' continued Karataka, 'is why I say, Let the prime minister look to him. The hunting for prey is our duty—let us stick to it, then. And this,' he said, with a meditative look, 'need not trouble us to-day; for we have a capital dish of the royal leavings.'
'What!' said Damanaka, rough with rage, 'dost thou serve the King for the sake of thy belly? Why take any such trouble to preserve an existence like thine?—
'Many prayers for him are uttered whereon many a life relies;For assisting friends, and defeating enemies also, the service of kings is desirable. To enter upon it for a mere living makes the thing low indeed. There must be dogs and elephants; but servants need not be like hungry curs, while their masters are noble. What say the books?
'Give thy Dog the merest mouthful, and he crouches at thy feet,'Well, well!' said Karataka; 'the books are nothing to us, who are not councillors.'
'But we may come to be,' replied Damanaka; 'men rise, not by chance or nature, but by exertions—
'By their own deeds men go downward, by them men mount upward all,Advancement is slow—but that is in the nature of things—
'Rushes down the hill the crag, which upward 'twas so hard to roll:'Very good,' observed Karataka; 'but what is all this talk about?'
'Why! don't you see our Royal Master there, and how he came home without drinking? I know he has been horribly frightened,' said Damanaka.
'How do you know it?' asked the other.
'By my perception—at a glance!' replied Damanaka; 'and I mean to make out of this occasion that which shall put his Majesty at my disposal.'
'Now,' exclaimed Karataka, 'it is thou who art ignorant about service—
'Who speaks unasked, or comes unbid,'I ignorant about service!' said Damanaka; 'no, no, my friend, I know the secret of it—
'Wise, modest, constant, ever close at hand,'In any case, the King often rates thee,' remarked Karataka, 'for coming to the presence unsummoned.'
'A dependent,' replied Damanaka, 'should nevertheless present himself; he must make himself known to the great man, at any risk—
'Pitiful, that fearing failure, therefore no beginning makes,and besides, to be near is at last to be needful;—is it not said—
'Nearest to the King is dearest, be thy merit low or high;'Well,' inquired Karataka, 'what wilt thou say, being come to him?'
'First,' replied Damanaka, 'I will discover if his Majesty is well affected to me.'
'How do you compass that?' asked the other.
'Oh, easily! by a look, a word,' answered Damanaka; 'and that ascertained, I will proceed to speak what will put him at my disposal.'
'I can't see how you can venture to speak,' objected the other, 'without an opportunity—
'If Vrihaspati, the Grave,/9/'Pray don't imagine I shall speak unseasonably,' interrupted Damanaka; 'if that is all you fear, I will start at once.'
'Go, then,' said Karataka; 'and may you be as lucky as you hope.'
"Thereupon Damanaka set out for the lair of King Tawny-hide; putting on, as he approached it, the look of one greatly disconcerted. The Rajah observed him coming, and gave permission that he should draw near; of which Damanaka availing himself, made reverential prostration of the eight members and sat down upon his haunches.
'You have come at last, then, Sir Jackal!' growled his Majesty.
'Great Monarch!' humbly replied Damanaka, 'my service is not worthy of laying at your imperial feet, but a servant should attend when he can perform a service, and therefore I am come—
'When Kings' ears itch, they use a straw to scratch 'em;'H'm!' growled the Lion.
'Your Majesty suspects my intellect, I fear,' continued the Jackal,'after so long an absence from your Majesty's feet; but, if I may say so, it is still sound.'
'H'm!' growled the Lion again.
'A king, may it please your Majesty, should know how to estimate his servants, whatever their position—
'Pearls are dull in leaden settings, but the setter is to blame;'Servants, gracious liege! are good or bad as they are entertained. Is it not written?—
'Horse and weapon, lute and volume, man and woman, gift of speech,'And if I have been traduced to your Majesty as a dull fellow, that hath not made me so—
'Not disparagement nor slander kills the spirit of the brave;'Accept then, Sire, from the humblest of your slaves his very humble counsel—for
'Wisdom from the mouth of children be it overpast of none;'Good Damanaka,' said King Tawny-hide, somewhat appeased, 'how is it that thou, so wise a son of our first minister, hast been absent all this while from our Court? But now speak thy mind fearlessly: what wouldst thou?'
'Will your Majesty deign to answer one question?' said Damanaka. 'Wherefore came He back from the river without drinking?'
'Hush!' whispered the King, 'thou hast hit right upon my trouble. I knew no one unto whom I might confide it; but thou seemest a faithful fellow, and I will tell thee. Listen, then,' continued his Majesty in an agitated whisper, 'there is some awful beast that was never seen before in this wood here; and we shall have to leave it, look you. Did you hear by chance the inconceivable great roar he gave? What a strong beast it must be to have such a voice!'
'May it please your Majesty, I did hear the noise,' said the Jackal, 'and there is doubtless cause for terrible apprehension therein; but take comfort, my Liege, he is no minister who bids thee prepare for either war or resignation. All will go well, and your Majesty will learn by this difficulty which be your best servants,'
'Good Jackal,' said Tawny-hide, 'I am horribly frightened about it.'
'I can see that,' thought Damanaka; but he only said, 'Fear nothing, my liege, while thy servant survives,'
'What shall I do?' asked the King.
'It is well to encourage those who can avert disaster. If your Majesty condescended now to bestow some favor on Karataka and the other——'
'It shall be done,' said the Rajah; and, summoning the other Jackals, he gave them and Damanaka a magnificent gift of flesh, and they left the presence, undertaking to meet the threatened danger.
'But, brother,' began Karataka,'haven't we eaten the King's dinner without knowing what the danger is which we are to meet, and whether we can obviate it?'
'Hold thy peace,' said Damanaka, laughing; 'I know very well what the danger is! It was a bull, aha! that bellowed—a bull, my brother—whose beef you and I could pick, much more the King our master.'
'And why not tell him so?' asked Karataka.
'What! and quiet his Majesty's fears! And where would our splendid dinner have been then? No, no, my friend—
'Set not your lord at ease; for, doing that,'Who was Curd-ear, the Cat?' inquired Karataka. Damanaka related:—
The Story of the Cat Who Served the Lion
"Far away in the North,/10/ on a mountain named 'Thousand-Crags,' there lived a lion called 'Mighty-heart'; and he was much annoyed by a certain mouse, who made a custom of nibbling his mane while he lay asleep in his den. The Lion would wake in a great rage at finding the ends of his magnificent mane made ragged, but the little mouse ran into his hole, and he could never catch it. After much consideration he went down to a village, and got a Cat named Curd-ear to come to his cave with much persuasion. He kept the Cat royally on all kinds of dainties, and slept comfortably without having his mane nibbled, as the mouse would now never venture out. Whenever the Lion heard the mouse scratching about, that was always a signal for regaling the Cat in a most distinguished style. But one day, the wretched mouse being nearly starved, he took courage to creep timidly from his hole, and was directly pounced upon by Curd-ear and killed. After that the Lion heard no more of the mouse, and quite left off his regular entertainments of the Cat. No!" concluded Damanaka, "we will keep our mouse alive for his Majesty."
So conversing, the Jackals went away to find Lusty-life the Bull, and upon discovering him, Karataka squatted down with great dignity at the foot of a tree, while Damanaka approached to accost him.
'Bull,' said Damanaka, 'I am the warder of this forest under the King Tawny-hide, and Karataka the Jackal there is his General. The General bids thee come before him, or else instantly depart from the wood. It were better for thee to obey, for his anger is terrible,'
'Thereupon Lusty-life, knowing nothing of the country customs, advanced at once to Karataka, made the respectful prostration of the eight members, and said timidly, 'My Lord General! what dost thou bid me do?—
'Strength serves Reason. Saith the Mahout, when he beats the brazen drum,'Bull,' answered Karataka, 'thou canst remain in the wood no longer unless thou goest directly to lay thyself at our Royal master's imperial feet.'
'My Lord,' replied the Bull, 'give me a guarantee of safety, and I will go.'
'Bull,' said Karataka, 'thou art foolish; fear nothing—
"When the King of Chedi/11/ cursed him,Our Lord the King will not vouchsafe his anger to thee; knowest thou not—
'Mighty natures war with mighty: when the raging tempests blow,'So the Jackals, keeping Lusty-life in the rear, went towards the palace of King Tawny-hide; where the Rajah received them with much graciousness, and bade them sit down.
'Have you seen him?' asked the King.
'We have seen him, your Majesty,' answered Damanaka; 'it is quite as your Majesty expected—the creature has enormous strength, and wishes to see your Majesty. Will you be seated, Sire, and prepare yourself—it will never do to appear alarmed at a noise.'
'Oh, if it was only a noise,' began the Rajah.
'Ah, but the cause, Sire! that was what had to be found out; like the secret of Swing-ear the Spirit.'
The Story of the Terrible Bell
"A goblin, your Majesty," responded Damanaka, "it seemed so, at least, to the good people of Brahmapoora. A thief had stolen a bell from the city, and was making off with that plunder, and more, into the Sri-parvata hills, when he was killed by a tiger. The bell lay in the jungle till some monkeys picked it up, and amused themselves by constantly ringing it. The townspeople found the bones of the man, and heard the noise of the bell all about the hills; so they gave out that there was a terrible devil there, whose ears rang like bells as he swung them about, and whose delight was to devour men. Every one, accordingly, was leaving the town, when a peasant woman named Karála, who liked belief the better for a little proof, came to the Rajah.
'Highness!' she observed, 'for a consideration I could settle this Swing-ear.'
'You could!' exclaimed the Rajah.
'I think so!' repeated the woman.
'Give her a consideration forthwith,' said the Rajah.
"Karála, who had her own ideas upon the matter, took the present and set out. Being come to the hills, she made a circle, and did homage to Gunputtee,/12/ without whom nothing prospers. Then, taking some fruit she had brought, such as monkeys love extremely, she scattered it up and down in the wood, and withdrew to watch. Very soon the monkeys finding the fruit, put down the bell, to do justice to it, and the woman picking it up, bore it back to the town, where she became an object of uncommon veneration. We, indeed," concluded Damanaka, "bring you a Bull instead of a bell—your Majesty shall now see him!"
"Thereupon Lusty-life was introduced, and, the interview passing off well, he remained many days in the forest on excellent terms with the Lion.
'One day another Lion, named 'Stiff-ears,' the brother of King Tawny-hide, came to visit him. The King received him with all imaginable respect, bade him be seated, and rose from his throne to go and kill some beasts for his refreshment.
'May it please your Majesty,' interposed the Bull, 'a deer was slain to-day—where is its flesh?'
'Damanaka and his brother know best,' said the King.
'Let us ascertain if there be any,' suggested the Bull.
'It is useless,' said the King, laughing—'they leave none.'
'What!' exclaimed the Bull, 'have those Jackals eaten a whole deer?'
'Eaten it, spoiled it, and given it away,' answered Tawny-hide; 'they always do so.'
'And this without your Majesty's sanction?' asked the Bull.
'Oh! certainly not with my sanction,' said the King.
'Then,' exclaimed the Bull, 'it is too bad: and in Ministers too!—
'Narrow-necked to let out little, big of belly to keep much,'No wealth will stand such waste, your Majesty—
'He who thinks a minute little, like a fool misuses more;'A king's treasury, my liege, is the king's life.'
'Good brother,' observed Stiff-ears, who had heard what the Bull said, 'these Jackals are your Ministers of Home and Foreign Affairs—they should not have direction of the Treasury. They are old servants, too, and you know the saying—
'Brahmans, soldiers, these and kinsmen—of the three set none in charge:Ministers, my royal brother, are often like obstinate swellings that want squeezing, and yours must be kept in order.'
'They are not particularly obedient, I confess,' said Tawny-hide.
'It is very wrong,' replied Stiff-ears; 'and if you will be advised by me—as we have banqueted enough to-day—you will appoint this grain-eating and sagacious Bull your Superintendent of Stores.'
'It shall be so,' exclaimed the King.
'Lusty-life was accordingly appointed to serve out the provisions, and for many days Tawny-hide showed him favor beyond all others in the Court.
"Now the Jackals soon found that food was no longer so freely provided by this arrangement as before, and they met to consult about it.
'It is all our own fault,' said Damanaka, 'and people must suffer for their own mistakes. You know who said—
"I that could not leave alone'No!' said Karataka, 'how was it?' Damanaka related:—
The Story of the Prince and the Procuress
"In the city of 'Golden-Streets' there reigned a valorous King, named Vira-vikrama, whose officer of justice was one day taking away to punishment a certain Barber, when he was stopped by a strolling mendicant, who held him by the skirts, and cried out, 'Punish not this man—punish them that do wrong of their own knowledge.' Being asked his meaning, he recited the foregoing verses, and, being still further questioned, he told this story—
"I am Prince Kandarpa-ketu, son of the King of Ceylon. Walking one day in my summer-garden, I heard a merchant-captain narrating how that out at sea, deep under water, on the fourteenth day of the moon, he had seen what was like nothing but the famous tree of Paradise,/14/ and sitting under it a lady of most lustrous beauty, bedecked with strings of pearls like Lukshmi herself, reclining, with a lute in her hands, on what appeared to be a golden couch crusted all over with precious stones. At once I engaged the captain and his ship, and steered to the spot of which he told me. On reaching it I beheld the beautiful apparition as he had described it, and, transported with the exquisite beauty of the lady, I leapt after her into the sea. In a moment I found myself in a city of gold; and in an apartment of a golden palace, surrounded by young and beautiful girls, I found the Sea-queen. She perceived my approach, and sent an attendant with a courteous message to meet me. In reply to my questions, I learned that the lady was the Princess Ratnamanjari, daughter of the King of All the Spirits—and how she had made a vow that whoever should first come to see her golden city, with his own eyes, should marry her. So I married her by the form called Gundharva,/15/ or 'Union by mutual consent,' and spent many and happy days in her delightful society. One day she took me aside, and said, 'Dear Prince! all these delights, and I myself, are thine to enjoy; only that picture yonder, of the Fairy Streak-o'-Gold, that thou must never touch!' For a long time I observed this injunction; at last, impelled by resistless curiosity, I laid my hand on the picture of 'Streak-o'-Gold,' In one instant her little foot, lovely as the lotus-blossom, advanced from out of the painting, and launched me through sea and air into my own country. Since that I have been a miserable wanderer; and passing through this city, I chanced to lodge at a Cowkeeper's hut, and saw the truth of this Barber's affair. The herdsman returned at night with his cattle, and found his wife talking with the wife of the Barber, who is no better than a bawd. Enraged at this, the man beat his wife, tied her to the milking-post, and fell asleep. In the dead of the night the Barber's wife came back, and said to the woman, 'He, whom thou knowest, is burnt with the cruel fire of thine absence, and lies nigh to death; go therefore and console him, and I will tie myself to the post until thou returnest.' This was done, and the Cowkeeper presently awoke. 'Ah! thou light thing!' he said jeeringly, 'why dost not thou keep promise, and meet thy gallant?' The Barber's wife could make no reply; whereat becoming incensed, the man cried out, 'What! dost thou scorn to speak to me? I will cut thy nose off!'/16/ And so he did, and then lay down to sleep again. Very soon the Cowkeeper's wife came back and asked if 'all was well.' 'Look at my face!' said the Barber's wife, 'and you will see if all is well.' The woman could do nothing but take her place again, while the Barber's wife, picking up the severed nose, and at a sad loss how to account for it, went to her house. In the morning, before it was light, the Barber called to her to bring his box of razors, and she bringing one only, he flung it away in a passion. 'Oh, the knave!' she cried out, directly, aloud, 'Neighbors, neighbors! he has cut my nose off!' and so she took him before the officers. The Cowkeeper, meantime, wondering at his wife's patience, made some inquiry about her nose; whereto she replied, 'Cruel wretch! thou canst not harm a virtuous woman. If Yama and the seven guardians of the world/17/ know me chaste, then be my face unmaimed!' The herdsman hastened to fetch a light, and finding her features unaltered, he flung himself at her feet, and begged forgiveness. For,
'Never tires the fire of burning, never wearies death of slaying,Thereupon the King's officer dismissed Kandarpa-ketu, and did justice by setting the Barber free, shaving the head of the Barber's wife,/18/ and punishing the Cowkeeper's.
'That is my story,' concluded Damanaka, 'and thence I said that we had no reason to complain.'
'Well, but we must do something,' said Karataka.
'Yes! How shall we break the friendship of the King with the Bull?' asked the other.
'It is very strong,' observed Karataka.
'But we can do it,' replied the other.
'What force would fail to win, fraud can attain:—'How did that occur?' asked Karataka.
The Story of the Black Snake and the Golden Chain
"A pair of Crows had their abode in a certain tree, the hollow of which was occupied by a black snake, who had often devoured their young. The Hen-bird, finding herself breeding again, thus addressed her mate: 'Husband, we must leave this tree; we shall never rear young ones while this black snake lives here! You know the saw—
'From false friends that breed thee strife,'My dear,' replied the Crow, 'you need not fear; I have put up with him till I am tired. Now I will put an end to him.'
'How can you fight with a great black snake like that?' said the Hen-bird.
'Doubt nothing,' answered the other—
'He that hath sense hath strength; the fool is weak:—'How came that about?' asked the Hen-Crow.
The Story of the Lion and the Old Hare
"On the Mandara mountain there lived a Lion named Fierce-of-heart, and he was perpetually making massacre of all the wild animals. The thing grew so bad that the beasts held a public meeting, and drew up a respectful remonstrance to the Lion in these words:—
"Wherefore should your Majesty thus make carnage of us all? If it may please you, we ourselves will daily furnish a beast for your Majesty's meal." The Lion responded, "If that arrangement is more agreeable to you, be it so"; and from that time a beast was allotted to him daily, and daily devoured. One day it came to the turn of an old hare to supply the royal table, who reflected to himself as he walked along, "I can but die, and I will go to my death leisurely."
"Now Fierce-of-heart, the lion, was pinched with hunger, and seeing the Hare so approaching he roared out, "How darest thou thus delay in coming?"
'Sire,' replied the Hare, 'I am not to blame. I was detained on the road by another lion, who exacted an oath from me to return when I should have informed your Majesty.'
'Go,' exclaimed King Fierce-of-heart in a rage; 'show me, instantly, where this insolent villain of a lion lives.'
"The Hare led the way accordingly till he came to a deep well, whereat he stopped, and said, 'Let my lord the King come hither and behold him.' The Lion approached, and beheld his own reflection in the water of the well, upon which, in his passion, he directly flung himself, and so perished."
"I have heard your story," said the Hen-Crow, "but what plan do you propose?"
"My dear," replied her mate, "the Rajah's son comes here every day to bathe in the stream. When he takes off his gold anklet, and lays it on the stone, do thou bring it in thy beak to the hollow of the tree, and drop it in there." Shortly after the Prince came, as was his wont, and taking off his dress and ornaments, the Hen-Crow did as had been determined; and while the servants of the Prince were searching in the hollow, there they found the Black Snake, which they at once dispatched.
'Said I not well,' continued Damanaka, 'that stratagem excels force?'
'It was well said,' replied Karataka; 'go! and may thy path be prosperous!
'With that Damanaka repaired to the King, and having done homage, thus addressed him:—
"Your Majesty, there is a dreadful thing on my mind, and I am come to disclose it."
'Speak!' said the King, with much graciousness.
'Your Majesty,' said the Jackal, 'this Bull has been detected of treason. To my face he has spoken contemptuously of the three prerogatives of the throne,/19/ unto which he aspires.'
"At these words King Tawny-hide stood aghast.
'Your Majesty,' continued Damanaka, 'has placed him above us all in the Court. Sire! he must be displaced!—
'Teeth grown loose, and wicked-hearted ministers, and poison-trees,'Good Jackal,' said the King, after some silence; 'this is indeed dreadful; but my regard for the Bull is very great, and it is said—
'Long-tried friends are friends to cleave to—never leave thou these i' the lurch:—'That is written of discarding old servants, may it please your Majesty,' observed Damanaka; 'and this Bull is quite a stranger,'
'Wondrous strange!' replied the Lion; 'when I have advanced and protected him that he should plot against me!'
'Your Majesty,' said the Jackal, 'knows what has been written—
'Raise an evil soul to honor, and his evil bents remain;I have now at least warned your Majesty: if evil comes, the fault is not mine.'
'It will not do to condemn the Bull without inquiry,' mused the King; then he said aloud, 'shall we admonish him, think you, Damanaka?'
'No, no, Sire!' exclaimed the Jackal, eagerly; 'that would spoil all our precautions—
'Safe within the husk of silence guard the seed of counsel soWhat is to be done must be done with despatch. After censuring his treason, would your Majesty still trust the traitor?—
'Whoso unto ancient fondness takes again a faithless friend,'But wherein can the Bull injure me?' asked Tawny-hide; 'tell me that!'
'Sire,' replied the Jackal, how can I tell it?—
'Ask who his friends are, ere you scorn your foe;'How could that be?' demanded King Tawny-hide.
The Story of the Wagtail and the Sea
"On the shore of the Southern Sea there dwelt a pair of Wagtails. The Hen-bird was about to lay, and thus addressed her mate:—
'Husband, we must look about for a fit place to lay my eggs.'
'My dear,' replied the Cock-bird, 'will not this spot do?'
'This spot!' exclaimed the Hen; 'why, the tide overflows it.'
'Good dame,' said the Cock, 'am I so pitiful a fellow that the Sea will venture to wash the eggs out of my nest?'
'You are my very good Lord,' replied the Hen, with a laugh; 'but still there is a great difference between you and the Sea.'
"Afterwards, however, at the desire of her mate, she consented to lay her eggs on the sea-beach. Now the Ocean had overheard all this, and, bent upon displaying its strength, it rose and washed away the nest and eggs. Overwhelmed with grief, the Hen-bird flew to her mate, and cried:—
'Husband, the terrible disaster has occurred! My eggs are gone!'
'Be of good heart! my Life,' answered he.
"And therewith he called a meeting of fowls, and went with them into the presence of Gurud, the Lord of the birds./21/ When the Master of the Mighty Wing had listened to their complaint, he conveyed it to the knowledge of the God Narayen,/22/ who keeps, and kills, and makes alive the world. The almighty mandate given, Gurud bound it upon his forehead, and bore it to the Ocean, which, so soon as it heard the will of Narayen, at once gave back the eggs.
'How, indeed,' concluded Damanaka, 'should I judge of the Bull's power, not knowing who supports him?'
'By what signs, then,' asked the King, 'may I conclude him a traitor?'
'If he comes into the presence with his horns lowered for goring, as one that expects the fight. That,' replied the Jackal, 'will convince your Majesty,'
'Thereupon Damanaka the Jackal withdrew, and betook himself towards the Bull, upon perceiving whom he approached slowly, with all the air of one greatly distressed.
'Good master Jackal,' said Lusty-life, 'what goes amiss with thee?'
'All goes amiss with such as serve wicked masters,' replied the Jackal.
'But what ails thee?' asked the Bull.
'Alas!' answered the Jackal, 'what can I say in such a strait!—
'Even as one who grasps a serpent, drowning in the bitter sea,'And therewithal the Jackal heaved a deep sigh, and squatted down.
'But, good friend,' said the Bull, 'at least tell me what is in thy mind.'
'Bull,' began Damanaka, 'it is a King's secret, and should not be spoken; but thou didst come here upon my safeguard, and as I hope for the life to come,/23/ I will tell thee of what touches thee so nearly. Listen!—the heart of the King is turned against thee! he hath sworn secretly that he will kill thee and feast upon thy flesh.'
'Then Lusty-life the Bull was sorely troubled, and he fell a-musing thus—
"Woman's love rewards the worthless—kings of knaves exalters be;'Can this be the Jackal's doing?' he reflected. Going with honest folk will not make one honest—
'Many a knave wins fair opinions standing in fair company,Then he said aloud, 'wherein can I have angered the King? Do kings hate without cause? I can tell nothing, except that there is no happiness which abides long—
'Where the azure lotus/24/ blossoms, there the alligators hide;I thought his Majesty noble as the sandal-tree; but that, indeed, is not wholly noble—
'Rich the sandal—yet no part is but a vile thing habits there;'Bull,' said Damanaka, 'I knew the King of old for one whose tongue was honey and whose heart was poison.'
'But how very hard!' said the Bull, 'that he, being a lion, should attack me, an innocent eater of grass!'
'It is very hard!' said the Jackal.
'Who can have set him against me?' asked the Bull.
'Being so, it cannot be bettered,' replied the Jackal, 'whoever did it—
'As a bracelet of crystal, once broke, is not mended;'Yes,' said the Bull, 'and a king incensed is terrible—
'Wrath of kings, and rage of lightning—both be very full of dread;Still, I can but die—and I will die fighting! When death is certain, and no hope left but in battle, that is the time for war,'
'It is so,' said the Jackal.
'Having weighed all this, Lusty-life inquired of the Jackal by what signs he might conclude the King's hostile intentions.
'If he glowers upon thee,' answered Damanaka, 'and awaits thee with ears pricked, tail stiffened, paw upraised, and muzzle agape, then thou mayest get thee to thy weapons like a Bull of spirit, for
'All men scorn the soulless coward who his manhood doth forget:—'Then Damanaka the Jackal returned to the Lion, and said to him:—
'If it please your Majesty, the traitor is now coming; let your Majesty be on your guard, with ears pricked and paw upraised.'
'The Bull meanwhile approached, and observing the hostile attitude of King Tawny-hide, he also lowered his horns, and prepared for the combat. A terrible battle ensued, and at the last King Tawny-hide slew Lusty-life the Bull. Now when the Bull was dead, the Lion was very sorrowful, and as he sat on his throne lamenting, he said—
'I repent me of this deed!—
'As when an Elephant's life-blood is spilt,'Sire,' replied the Jackal, 'a King over-merciful is like a Brahman that eats all things equally./26/ May all your Majesty's enemies perish as did this Bull.'
"Thus endeth," said the Sage Vishnu-Sarman, "the 'Parting of Friends.'"
"We are gratified exceedingly thereby," replied the Sons of the King.
"Let me then close it thus," said their Preceptor—
'So be friendship never parted,
N O T E S
/1/ (Unjun.) The antimony powder used universally by Hindoo women to darken the lids and lashes of the eye. It is applied with a small stick rubbed upon the powder, and a little consequently goes a long way.
/2/ In the great plains of India the large ant-hills form a marked feature. They are thrown up with great rapidity, and have been seen to rise by a public road to the height of three feet or more in a night or two.
/3/ The large earthen pot employed to hold water.
/4/ The white umbrella borne above the heads of Indian rajahs, and especially appropriated to royalty, like the Chowri or Yak-tail.
/5/ Personified virtue, under the form of the bull of Shiva, and with this title.
/6/ A writer; a man sprung from a Kshatriya father and a Sudra mother.
/7/ The labour of the laundry in India is always performed on hard rocks by the river side, and principally by men called "dhobies."
/8/ (Literally, "with the belly serve the Eater of oblations"—hutáshan), i.e., stint thyself to perform the sacrifice.
/9/ Regent of the planet Jupiter, and Instructor of the divinities.
/10/ There are no lions in India, excepting that called "the maneless lion," occasionally met with in Guzerat; but they abound to the north-west.
/11/ Shishupála; he took also the forms of Ravana and of Hiranya Kasipu, to oppose Krishna, who killed him.
/12/ Gunesh; the deity of prudence. Born from the bathing-water of the Goddess Parvati.
/13/ The little sea-shell used in India for small change. About 6,000 go to the rupee.
/14/ A tree growing in Indra's Swerga, which instantly produced whatever was desired.
/15/ Manu, in his Book III, gives the form of eight different kinds of marriage. This is that without ceremonies, and by mutual consent. The ordinary Hindoo rite is very graceful, and resembles in some points the classic custom. At any time after the "Moonj," or investiture with the sacred thread, the Brahman boy is marriageable, and the girl must not be ten years old. They meet at the bride's house, the laganpatrica or "marriage horoscope" having been previously made out by the astrologer. There they go through the suptupadi, walking together three times round a fire, seven steps at each time; then their garments are tied together, and an offering is placed upon the flames, completing the rite. The bride remains at her father's house until the age of twelve or thirteen, when she is claimed by her husband.
/16/ The ordinary expedient of an incensed husband in the East.
/17/ These dight protecting deities rank next below the Hindoo Trinity. They are: —1. Indra, the air; 2. Agni, the fire; 3. Chandra, the moon; 4. Surya, the sun; 5. Pavana, the wind; 6. Yama, the lord of justice and of the lower worlds; 7. Varuna, God of the waters; and 8. Kuvera, the master of wealth.
/18/ This indignity reduced her to the appearance and the miserable status of a widow.
/19/ Regal authority derives its rights from three sources with the Hindoo authors—viz. Power, Prescription or continuance, and Wisdom.
/20/ The Greek word nectar, and the Sanskrit amrit, and alike in their etymology—"the immortal." Both were the food of the undying gods, and the Hindoo deities thus obtained their ambrosia. The Daityas, like the Titans, had waged war upon the divinities (the Suras), and these last betook themselves to Vishnoo for protection. He bade them cast certain medicinal herbs into the "sea of milk;" then taking Mount Mandara for a churning-stick, and the king of the serpents for the twisting-string, the gods began to churn the ocean for nectar. The Daityas themselves aided on promise of sharing in the strength-restoring extract, and stood at the serpent's head while the Suras worked at the tail. The great Vishnoo also took part in the work as a tortoise, upon whose back the mountain whirled round backwards and forwards. Out of the seething flood there came up at the last a figure robed in white—Dhanwantari, the physician of the gods—who bore in his hands the first cup-full of the amrit. From the same ocean also rose the ever-lovely Lukshmi,—the marvellous cow, from which all things that could be desired might be milked,—and the kalkût, or poison which stained the neck of Shiva. The nectar thus obtained bestowed new vigour on the wearied gods, and was stored up in the moon, where the lunar rays ripen and perfect it.
/21/ He is the vehicle and the attendant of Vishnoo, and has a human face with the wings of a bird.
/22/ Varuna, god of the world of waters. This Deity is regent of the west, and a lord of punishment, holding a noosed cord, wherewith to bind transgressors beneath the sea. His váhana, a vehicle, is the great fish mukur. The present age (kalpa) of the world is called Váráha, or the boar's, and was initiated by Narayen. "When that supreme lord," says the Vishnoo Pooran, "woke and beheld the universe void, knowing that the earth lay hid within the waters, he assumed the body of a wild boar, and plunging in them raised up the earth till it floated upon the waves." The name Narayen, suggestive of the Greek Nereus, denotes Him "whose progress (ayana) is upon the face of the waters (harah)."
/23/ Literally, "the other world" (Paralók).
/24/ The lotus resembles our water-lily, but is more varied in form and colour. There are white, red, blue, and yellow varieties.
/25/ There is a belief, constantly occurring in Hindoo writings, that the elephant's head contains precious stones, resembling pearls. The remorseful monarch alludes to this, and compares his conquest to the slaughter of an elephant, which leaves guilt to the lion, and gives the pearls to some chance hunter.
/26/ This epithet, "sarwabhaksha," and the comparison, are very strong, and suffice to quiet King Tawny-hide's conscience. A Brahman who ate flesh would be like the unclean "Rákshasas" or demons.
|-- Hitopadesha index page -- Glossary -- FWP's main page --|