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Hindu Literature by Epiphanius Wilson

Part 2 out of 10

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man--punish them that do wrong of their own knowledge.' Being asked his
meaning, he recited the foregoing verses, and, being still further
questioned, he told this story--

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

'Never tires the fire of burning, never wearies death of slaying,
Nor the sea of drinking rivers, nor the bright-eyed of betraying,'

Thereupon the King's officer dismissed Kandarpa-ketu, and did justice by
setting the Barber free, shaving the head of the Barber's wife, 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:--
The Crow despatched the Serpent by a chain.'

'How did that occur?' asked Karataka.

Damanaka related:--


"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,
From a house with serpents rife,
Saucy slaves and brawling wife--
Get thee out, to save thy life.'

'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

'Doubt nothing,' answered the other--

'He that hath sense hath strength; the fool is weak:--
The Lion proud died by the Hare so meek,'

'How came that about?' asked the Hen-Crow.

'Thus,' replied her mate:--


"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

'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

"I have heard your story," said the Hen-Crow, "but what plan do you

"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

'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,[14] 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,
Pluck them by the roots together; 'Tis the thing that giveth ease,'

'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:--
What man shuns the fire as sinful for that once it burned a church?'

'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;
Bind a cur's tail ne'er so straightly, yet it curleth up again.'

'How, in sooth, should Trust and Honor change the evil nature's root?
Though one watered them with nectar, poison-trees bear deadly fruit.'

I have now at least warned your Majesty: if evil comes, the fault is not

'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

'Safe within the husk of silence guard the seed of counsel so
That it break not--being broken, then the seedling will not grow,'

What 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,
Like she-mules that die conceiving, in his folly finds his end,'

'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;
The Wagtail foiled the sea, that did not so,'

'How could that be?' demanded King Tawny-hide.

'The Jackal related:--


"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

'Husband, the terrible disaster has occurred! My eggs arc 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. When the Master of the Mighty
Wing had listened to their complaint, he conveyed it to the knowledge of
the God Narayen, 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

'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,
Death to hold and death to loosen--such is life's perplexity.'

'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

'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, 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

"Woman's love rewards the worthless--kings of knaves exalters be;
Wealth attends the selfish niggard, and the cloud rains on the sea."

'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,
As the sooty soorma pleases, lighted by a brilliant eye.'

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[15] blossoms, there the alligators hide;
In the sandal-tree are serpents. Pain and pleasure live allied.'

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;
Snake and wasp haunt root and blossom; on the boughs sit ape and bear.'

'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;
So the favor of princes, once altered, is ended.'

'Yes,' said the Bull, 'and a king incensed is terrible--

'Wrath of kings, and rage of lightning--both be very full of dread;
But one falls on one man only--one strikes many victims dead,'

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:--
On a lifeless heap of ashes fearlessly the foot is set,'

'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,
Another hath the spoils--mine is the guilt.'

'Sire,' replied the Jackal, 'a King over-merciful is like a Brahman
that eats all things equally. 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,
But among the evil-hearted;
Time's sure step drag, soon or later,
To his judgment, such a Traitor;
Lady Lukshmi, of her grace,
Grant good fortune to this place;
And you, Royal boys! and boys of times to be
In this fair fable-garden wander free.'

[12] The white umbrella borne above the heads of Indian rajahs.

[13] The deity of prudence.

[14] Regal authority derives its rights from three sources: Power,
Prescription or continuance, and Wisdom.

[15] The lotus resembles the water-lily, but is more varied in form and


When the next day of instruction was come, the King's sons spake to the
Sage, Vishnu-Sarman.

"Master," said they, "we are Princes, and the sons of Princes, and we
earnestly desire to hear thee discourse upon War."

"I am to speak on what shall please you," replied Vishnu-Sarman. "Hear
now, therefore, of 'War,' whose opening is thus:--

'Between the peoples of Peacock and Swan[16]
War raged; and evenly the contest ran,
Until the Swans to trust the Crows began.'

'And how was all that?' asked the sons of the Rajah. Vishnu-Sarman
proceeded to relate--


"In the Isle of Camphor there is a lake called 'Lotus-water,' and
therein a Swan-Royal, named 'Silver-sides,' had his residence. The birds
of the marsh and the mere had elected him King, in full council of all
the fowls--for a people with no ruler is like a ship that is without a
helmsman. One day King Silver-sides, with his courtiers, was quietly
reposing on a couch of well-spread lotus-blossoms, when a Crane, named
'Long-bill,' who had just arrived from foreign parts, entered the
presence with an obeisance, and sat down.

'What news from abroad, Long-bill?' asked his Majesty.

'Great news, may it please you,' answered the Crane, 'and therefore have
I hastened hither. Will your Majesty hear me?'

'Speak!' said King Silver-sides.

'You must know, my Liege,' began the Crane, 'that over all the birds of
the Vindhya mountains in Jambudwipa a Peacock is King, and his name is
'Jewel-plume,' I was looking for food about a certain burnt jungle
there, when some of his retainers discovered me, and asked my name and
country. 'I am a vassal of King Silver-sides, Lord of the Island of
Camphor,' I replied, 'and I am travelling in foreign lands for my
pleasure.' Upon that the birds asked me which country, my own or theirs,
and which King, appeared to me superior. 'How can you ask?' I replied;
'the island of Camphor is, as it were, Heaven itself, and its King a
heaven-born ruler. To dwellers in a barren land like yours how can I
describe them? Come for yourselves, and see the country where I live.'
Thereupon, your Majesty, the birds were exceedingly offended, as one
might expect--

'Simple milk, when serpents drink it, straightway into venom turns;
And a fool who heareth counsel all the wisdom of it spurns.'

For, indeed, no reflecting person wastes time in admonishing

'The birds that took the apes to teaching,
Lost eggs and nests in pay for preaching.'

'How did that befall?' asked the King.

The Crane related:--


"In a nullah that leads down to the Nerbudda river there stood a large
silk-cotton tree, where a colony of weaver-birds had built their hanging
nests, and lived snugly in them, whatever the weather. It was in the
rainy season, when the heavens are overlaid with clouds like
indigo-sheets, and a tremendous storm of water was falling. The birds
looked out from their nests, and saw some monkeys, shivering and starved
with the cold, standing under a tree. 'Twit! twit! you Monkeys,' they
began to chirrup. 'Listen to us!--

'With beaks we built these nests, of fibres scattered;
You that have hands and feet, build, or be spattered.'

On hearing that the Monkeys were by no means pleased. 'Ho! ho!' said
they, 'the Birds in their snug nests are jeering at us; wait till the
rain is over,' Accordingly, so soon as the weather mended, the Monkeys
climbed into the tree, and broke all the birds' eggs and demolished
every nest. I ought to have known better,' concluded the Crane, 'than to
have wasted my suggestions on King Jewel-plume's creatures.'

'But what did they say?' asked Silver-sides.

'They said, Rajah,' answered the Crane, 'who made that Swan of thine a

'And what was your reply?' asked Silver-sides.

'I demanded,' replied the Crane, 'who made a King of that Peacock of
theirs. Thereupon they were ready to kill me for rage; but I displayed
my very best valor. Is it not written--

'A modest manner fits a maid,
And Patience is a man's adorning;
But brides may kiss, nor do amiss,
And men may draw, at scathe and scorning.'

'Yet a man should measure his own strength first,' said the Rajah,
smiling; 'how did you fare against King Jewel-plume's fellows?'

'Very scurvily,' replied Long-bill. "Thou rascal Crane," they cried,
"dost thou feed on his soil, and revile our Sovereign? That is past
bearing!" And thereat they all pecked at me. Then they began again:
"Thou thick-skulled Crane! that King of thine is a goose--a web-footed
lord of littleness--and thou art but a frog in a well to bid us serve
him--- him forsooth!--

'Serving narrow-minded masters dwarfs high natures to their size:--
Seen before a convex mirror, elephants do show as mice.'

Bad kings are only strong enough to spoil good vassals--as a fiction
once was mightier than a herd of elephants. You know it, don't you?--

'Mighty may prove things insignificant:--
A tale of moonshine turned an elephant.'

'No! how was that?' I asked.

The birds related--


"Once on a time, very little rain had fallen in the due season; and the
Elephants being oppressed with thirst, thus accosted their
leader:--'Master, how are we to live? The small creatures find something
to wash in, but we cannot, and we are half dead in consequence; whither
shall we go then, and what shall we do?' Upon that the King of the
Elephants led them away a little space; and showed them a beautiful pool
of crystal water, where they took their ease. Now it chanced that a
company of Hares resided on the banks of the pool, and the going and
coming of the elephants trampled many of them to death, till one of
their number named Hard-head grumbled out, 'This troop will be coming
here to water every day, and every one of our family will be crushed.'
'Do not disquiet yourself,' said an old buck named Good-speed, 'I will
contrive to avert it,' and so saying, he set off, bethinking himself on
his way how he should approach and accost a herd of elephants; for,

'Elephants destroy by touching, snakes with point of tooth beguile;
Kings by favor kill, and traitors murder with a fatal smile.'

'I will get on the top of a hill,' he thought, 'and address the
Elephants thence.'

"This being done, and the Lord of the herd perceiving him, it was asked
of the Hare, 'Who art thou? and whence comest thou?'

'I am an ambassador from his Godship the Moon,' replied Good-speed.

'State your business,' said the Elephant-king.

'Sire,' began the Hare, 'an ambassador speaks the truth safely by
charter of his name. Thus saith the Moon, then: "These hares were the
guardians of my pool, and thine elephants in coming thither have scared
them away. This is not well. Am I not Sasanka, whose banner bears a
hare, and are not these hares my votaries?"'

'Please your worship,' said the Elephant-king with much trepidation, 'we
knew nothing of this; we will go there no more.'

'It were well,' said the sham ambassador, 'that you first made your
apologies to the Divinity, who is quaking with rage in his pool, and
then went about your business.'

'We will do so,' replied the Elephant with meekness; and being led by
night to the pool, in the ripples of which the image of the Moon was
quivering, the herd made their prostrations; the Hare explaining to the
Moon that their fault was done in ignorance, and thereupon they got
their dismissal.'

'Nay,' I said, 'my Sovereign is no fiction, but a great King and a
noble, and one that might govern the Three Worlds, much more a kingdom,'

'Thou shalt talk thy treason in the presence,' they cried; and therewith
I was dragged before King Jewel-plume.

'Who is this?' asked the Rajah.

'He is a servant of King Silver-sides, of the Island of Camphor,' they
replied; 'and he slights your Majesty, on your Majesty's own land.'

'Sirrah Crane!' said the Prime Minister, a Vulture, 'who is chief
officer in that court?'

'A Brahmany Goose,' I answered, 'named "Know-all"; and he does know
every possible science.'

'Sire,' broke in a Parrot, 'this Camphor-isle and the rest are poor
places, and belong to Jambudwipa. Your Majesty has but to plant the
royal foot upon them.'

'Oh! of course,' said the King.

'Nay,' said I, 'if talking makes your Majesty King of Camphor-island, my
Liege may be lord of Jambudwipa by a better title.'

'And that?' said the Parrot.

'Is fighting!' I responded.

'Good!' said the King, with a smile; 'bid your people prepare for war.'

'Not so,' I replied; 'but send your own ambassador.'

'Who will bear the message?' asked the Rajah. 'He should be loyal,
dexterous, and bold.'

'And virtuous,' said the Vulture, 'and therefore a Brahman:--

'Better Virtue marked a herald than that noble blood should deck;
Shiva reigns forever Shiva while the sea-wave stains his neck.'

'Then let the Parrot be appointed,' said the Rajah.

'I am your Majesty's humble servant,' replied the Parrot; 'but this
Crane is a bad character, and with the bad I never like to travel. The
ten-headed Ravana carried off the wife of Ramchundra! It does not do,

'With evil people neither stay nor go;
The Heron died for being with the Crow.'

'How did that befall?' asked the King. The Parrot related:--


'The high-road to Oogein is a very unshaded and sultry one; but there
stands upon it one large Peepul-tree, and therein a Crow and a Heron had
their residence together. It was in the hot weather that a tired
traveller passed that way, and, for the sake of the shade, he laid his
bow and arrows down, and dropped asleep under the tree. Before long the
shadow of the tree shifted, and left his face exposed to the glare;
which the Heron perceiving, like the kindly bird he was, perched on the
Peepul-tree, and spread his wings out so as to cast a shadow on the
traveller's face. There the poor fellow, weary with his travel,
continued to sleep soundly, and snored away comfortably with open mouth.
The sight of his enjoyment was too much for the malevolent Crow, who,
perching over him, dropped an unwelcome morsel into the sleeper's mouth,
and straightway flew off. The traveller, starting from his slumber,
looked about, and, seeing no bird but the Heron, he fitted an arrow and
shot him dead. No!' concluded the Parrot, 'I like the society of honest

'But why these words, my brother?' I said; 'his Majesty's herald is to
me even as his Majesty.'

'Very fine!' replied the Parrot; 'but--

'Kindly courtesies that issue from a smiling villain's mouth
Serve to startle, like a flower blossoming in time of drouth.'

Needs must that thou art a bad man; for by thy talk war will have
arisen, which a little conciliation had averted:--

'Conciliation!--weapon of the wise!
Wheedled therewith, by woman's quick device,
The Wheelwright let his ears betray his eyes.'

'How came that about?' asked the King. The Parrot related:--


"There was a Wheelwright in Shri-nuggur, whose name was 'Heavy-head,' He
had good reason to suspect the infidelity of his wife, but he had no
absolute proof of it. One day he gave out that he should go to a
neighboring town, and he started accordingly; but he went a very little
way, and then returning, hid himself in his wife's chamber. She being
quite satisfied that he was really gone away, invited her gallant to
pass the evening with her, and began to spend it with him in
unrestrained freedom. Presently, by chance, she detected the presence of
her husband, and her manner instantly changed.

'Life of my soul! what ails you?' said her lover; 'you are quite dull

'I am dull,' she replied, 'because the lord of my life is gone. Without
my husband the town is a wilderness. Who knows what may befall him, and
whether he will have a nice supper?'

'Trouble thyself no more about the quarrelsome dullard,' said her

'Dullard, quotha!' exclaimed the wife. 'What matter what he is, since he
is my all? Knowest thou not--

'Of the wife the lord is jewel, though no gems upon her beam;
Lacking him, she lacks adornment, howsoe'er her jewels gleam?'

Thou, and the like of thee, may serve a whim, as we chew a betel-leaf
and trifle with a flower; but my husband is my master, and can do with
me as he will. My life is wrapped up in him--and when he dies, alas! I
will certainly die too. Is it not plainly said--

'Hairs three-crore, and half-a-crore hairs, on a man so many grow--
And so many years to Swerga shall the true wife surely go?'

And better still is promised; as herein--

'When the faithful wife,[17] embracing tenderly her husband dead,
Mounts the blazing pile beside him, as it were the bridal-bed;
Though his sins were twenty thousand, twenty thousand times o'er-told,
She shall bring his soul to splendor, for her love so large and bold.'

All this the Wheelwright heard. 'What a lucky fellow I am,' he thought,
'to have a wife so virtuous,' and rushing from his place of concealment,
he exclaimed in ecstasy to his wife's gallant, 'Sir I saw you ever truer
wife than mine?'

'When the story was concluded,' said Long-bill, 'the King, with a
gracious gift of food, sent me off before the Parrot; but he is coming
after me, and it is now for your Majesty to determine as it shall please

'My Liege,' observed the Brahmany-goose with a sneer, 'the Crane has
done the King's business in foreign parts to the best of his power,
which is that of a fool.'

"Let the past pass," replied the King, "and take thought for the

"Be it in secret, then, your Majesty," said the Brahmany-goose--

'Counsel unto six ears spoken, unto all is notified:--
When a King holds consultation, let it be with one beside,'

Thereupon all withdrew, but the Rajah and the Minister.

'What think you?' said Silver-sides.

'That the Crane has been employed to bring this about,' replied the

'What shall we do?' asked the King.

'Despatch two spies--the first to inform and send back the other, and
make us know the enemy's strength or weakness. They must be such as can
travel by land and water, so the Crane will serve for one, and we will
keep his family in pledge at the King's gate. The other must be a very
reserved character; as it is said--

'Sick men are for skilful leeches--prodigals for prisoning--
Fools for teachers--and the man who keeps a secret, for a King,'

'I know such a one,' said his Majesty, after a pause.

'It is half the victory,' responded the Minister.

At this juncture a chamberlain entered with a profound obeisance, and
announced the arrival from Jambudwipa of the Parrot.

'Let him be shown to a reception-room,' commanded the Goose, in reply to
a look from the King. 'He shall presently have audience.'

'War is pronounced, then,' said the King, as the attendant withdrew.

'It is offered, my Liege; but must not be rashly accepted,' replied the

'With gift, craft, promise, cause thy foe to yield;
When these have failed thee, challenge him a-field.'

To gain time for expedients is the first point. Expedients are good for
great and little matters equally, like

'The subtle wash of waves, that smoothly pass,
But lay the tree as lowly as the grass.'

Let his Excellency the Parrot, then, be cajoled and detained here, while
we place our fort in condition to be useful. Is it not said--

'Ten true bowmen on a rampart fifty's onset may sustain;
Fortalices keep a country more than armies in the plain?'

And your Majesty,' continued the Goose, 'will recall the points of a
good fortress--

'Build it strong, and build it spacious, with an entry and retreat;
Store it well with wood and water, fill its garners full with wheat.'

'Whom, then, shall we entrust with this work?' asked King Silver-sides.

'The Paddy-bird[18] is a good bird, and a skilful,' replied his

'Let him be summoned!' said the King. And upon the entrance of the
Paddy-bird, the superintendence of the fortress was committed to him,
and accepted with a low prostration.

'As to the fort, Sire!' remarked the Paddy-bird, 'it exists already in
yonder large pool; the thing is to store the island in the middle of it
with provisions--

'Gems will no man's life sustain;
Best of gold is golden grain.'

'Good!' said King Silver-sides; 'let it be looked to.' Thereupon, as the
Paddy-bird was retiring, the Usher entered again, and making
prostration, said: 'May it please your Majesty, the King of all the
Crows, Night-cloud by name, has just arrived from Singhala-dwipa, and
desires to lay his homage at your Majesty's feet.'

'He is a wise bird, and a far-travelled,' said the King; 'I think we
must give him audience.'

Nevertheless, Sire,' interrupted the Goose, 'we must not forget that he
is a land-bird, and therefore not to be received as a water-fowl. Your
royal memory doubtless retains the story of

'The Jackal's fate, who being colored blue,
Leaving his party, left his own life too.'

'No! How was that?' asked King Silver-sides. The Goose related--


"A Jackal once on a time, as he was prowling about the suburbs of a
town, slipped into an indigo-tank; and not being able to get out he laid
himself down so as to be taken for dead. The dyer presently coming and
finding what seemed a dead Jackal, carried him into the jungle and then
flung him away. Left to himself, the Jackal found his natural color
changed to a splendid blue. 'Really,' he reflected, 'I am now of a most
magnificent tint; why should I not make it conduce to my elevation?'
With this view, he assembled the other Jackals, and thus harangued

'Good people, the Goddess of the Wood, with her own divine hand, and
with every magical herb of the forest, has anointed me King. Behold the
complexion of royalty!--and henceforward transact nothing without my
imperial permission."

"The Jackals, overcome by so distinguished a color, could do nothing but
prostrate themselves and promise obedience. His reign, thus begun,
extended in time to the lions and tigers; and with these high-born
attendants he allowed himself to despise the Jackals, keeping his own
kindred at a distance, as though ashamed of them. The Jackals were
indignant, but an old beast of their number thus consoled them:--

"Leave the impudent fellow to me. I will contrive his ruin. These tigers
and the rest think him a King, because he is colored blue; we must show
them his true colors. Do this, now!--in the evening-time come close
about him, and set up a great yell together--he is sure to join in, as
he used to do--

'Hard it is to conquer nature: if a dog were made a King,
Mid the coronation trumpets, he would gnaw his sandal-string.'

And when he yells the Tigers will know him for a Jackal and fall upon

'The thing befell exactly so, and the Jackal,' concluded the Minister,
'met the fate of one who leaves his proper party.'

'Still,' said the King, 'the Crow has come a long way, and we might see
him, I think.'

'Admit the Parrot first, Sire,' said the Goose; 'the fort has been put
in order and the spy despatched.'

"Thereupon a Court was called, and the Parrot introduced, followed by
Night-cloud, the Crow. A seat was offered to the parrot, who took it,
and, with his beak in the air, thus delivered his mission:--

'King Silver-sides!--My master, the King Jewel-plume, Lord of Lords,
bids thee, if life and lands be dear to thee, to come and make homage at
his august feet; and failing this to get thee gone from Camphor-island.'

'S'death!' exclaimed the Rajah, 'is there none that will silence this

'Give the sign, your Majesty,' said the Crow, starting up, 'and I will
despatch this audacious bird.'

'Sir,' said the Goose, 'be calm! and Sire, deign to listen--

''Tis no Council where no Sage is--'tis no Sage that fears not Law;
'Tis no Law which Truth confirms not--'tis no Truth which Fear can

An ambassador must speak unthreatened--

'Though base be the Herald, nor hinder nor let,
For the mouth of a king is he;
The sword may be whet, and the battle set,
But the word of his message is free.'

Thereat the Rajah and Night-cloud resumed their composure; and the
Parrot took his departure, escorted by the Minister, and presented with
complimentary gifts of gold and jewels. On reaching the palace of
Jewel-plume, the King demanded his tidings, and inquired of the country
he had visited.

'War must be prepared, may it please you,' said the Parrot: 'the
country is a country of Paradise.'

'Prepare for war, then!' said the King.

'We must not enter on it in the face of destiny,' interposed the
Vulture-Minister, whose title was 'Far-sight.'

'Let the Astrologer then discover a favorable conjuncture for the
expedition, and let my forces be reviewed meantime,' said the King.

'We must not march without great circumspection,' observed Far-sight.

'Minister!' exclaimed the King, 'you chafe me. Say, however, with what
force we should set out.'

'It should be well selected, rather than unwieldy,' replied the

'Better few and chosen fighters than of shaven crowns a host,
For in headlong flight confounded, with the base the brave are lost.'

And its commanders must be judiciously appointed; for it is said--

'Ever absent, harsh, unjustly portioning the captured prey--
These, and cold or laggard leaders make a host to melt away.'

'Ah!' interrupted the Rajah, 'what need of so much talk? We will go,
and, if Vachaspati please, we will conquer.'

Shortly afterwards the Spy returned to Camphor-island. 'King
Silver-sides,' he cried, 'the Rajah, Jewel-plume, is on his way hither,
and has reached the Ghauts. Let the fort be manned, for that Vulture is
a great minister; and I have learned, too, that there is one among us
who is in his pay.'

'King!' said the Goose, 'that must be the Crow.'

'But whence, then, did he show such willingness to punish the Parrot?'
objected his Majesty. 'Besides, war was declared long after the Crow
came to Court.'

'I misdoubt him,' said the Minister, 'because he is a stranger.'

'But strangers surely may be well-disposed,' replied the King. 'How say
the books?--

'Kind is kin, howe'er a stranger--kin unkind is stranger shown;
Sores hurt, though the body breeds them--drugs relieve, though

Have you never heard of King Sudraka and the unknown Servant, who gave
his son's life for the King?

'Never,' answered the Goose.


"I will tell you the tale," said the King, "as I heard it from
'Lilyflower,' daughter of the Flamingo 'White-flag,' of whom I was once
very fond:--A soldier presented himself one morning at King Sudraka's
gate, and bade the porter procure an audience for 'Vira-vara, a
Rajpoot,'[19] who sought employment. Being admitted to the presence, he
thus addressed the King:--

'If your Highness needs an attendant, behold one!'

'What pay do you ask?' inquired the King.

'Five hundred pieces of gold a day,' said Vira-vara.

'And your accoutrements?' asked the King.

'Are these two arms, and this sabre, which serve for a third,' said
Vira-vara, rolling up his sleeve.

'I cannot entertain you,' rejoined his Majesty; and thereupon the
Rajpoot made salaam, and withdrew. Then said the Ministers, 'If it
please your Majesty, the stipend is excessive, but give him pay for four
days, and see wherein he may deserve it.' Accordingly, the Rajpoot was
recalled, and received wages for four days, with the complimentary
betel.--Ah! the rare betel! Truly say the wise of it--

'Betel-nut is bitter, hot, sweet, spicy, binding, alkaline--
A demulcent--an astringent--foe to evils intestine;
Giving to the breath a fragrance--to the lips a crimson red;
A detergent, and a kindler of Love's flame that lieth dead.
Praise the gods for the good Betel!--these be thirteen virtues given,
Hard to meet in one thing blended, even in their happy heaven.'

'Now the King narrowly watched the spending of Vira-vara's pay, and
discovered that he bestowed half in the service of the Gods and the
support of Brahmans, a fourth part in relieving the poor, and reserved a
fourth for his sustenance and recreation. This daily division made, he
would take his stand with his sabre at the gate of the palace; retiring
only upon receiving the royal permission.

'It was on the fourteenth night of the dark half of the month that King
Sudraka heard below a sound of passionate sobbing. 'Ho! there,' he
cried, 'who waits at the gate?'

'I,' replied Vira-vara, 'may it please you.'

'Go and learn what means this weeping,' said the King.

'I go, your Majesty,' answered the Rajpoot, and therewith departed.

'No sooner was he gone than the King repented him of sending one man
alone into a night so dark that a bodkin might pierce a hole in it, and
girding on his scimitar, he followed his guard beyond the city gates.
When Vira-vara had gone thus far he encountered a beautiful and
splendidly dressed lady who was weeping bitterly; and accosting her, he
requested to know her name, and why she thus lamented.

'I am the Fortune of the King Sudraka,' answered she; 'a long while I
have lived happily in the shadow of his arm; but on the third day he
will die, and I must depart, and therefore lament I.'

'Can nothing serve, Divine Lady, to prolong thy stay?' asked the

'It might be,' replied the Spirit, 'if thou shouldst cut off the head of
thy first-born Shaktidhar, that hath on his body the thirty-two
auspicious marks of greatness. Were his head offered to the all-helpful
Durga, the Rajah should live a hundred years, and I might tarry beside

'So speaking, she disappeared, and Vira-vara retraced his steps to his
own house and awoke his wife and son. They arose, and listened with
attention until Vira-vara had repeated all the words of the vision. When
he had finished, Shaktidhar exclaimed, 'I am thrice happy to be able to
save the state of the King. Kill me, my father, and linger not; to give
my life in such a cause is good indeed,' 'Yes,' said the Mother, 'it is
good, and worthy of our blood; how else should we deserve the King's
pay?' Being thus agreed, they repaired together at once to the temple of
the Goddess Durga, and having paid their devotions and entreated the
favor of the deity on behalf of the King, Vira-vara struck off his son's
head, and laid it as an offering upon the shrine. That done, Vira-vara
said, 'My service to the King is accomplished, and life without my boy
is but a burden,' and therewith he plunged his sword in his own breast
and fell dead. Overpowered with grief for her husband and child, the
mother also withdrew the twice-blooded weapon, and slew herself with it
on the bodies of Vira-vara and Shaktidhar.

'All this was heard and seen by King Sudraka, and he stood aghast at the
sad sight. 'Woe is me!' he exclaimed--

'Kings may come, and Kings may go;
What was I, to bring these low?
Souls so noble, slain for me,
Were not, and will never be!'

What reck I of my realm, having lost these?' and thereat he drew his
scimitar to take his own life also. At that moment there appeared to him
the Goddess, who is Mistress of all men's fortunes. 'Son,' said she,
staying his lifted hand, 'forbear thy rash purpose, and bethink thee of
thy kingdom.'

"The Rajah fell prostrate before her, and cried--'O Goddess! I am done
with life and wealth and kingdom! If thou hast compassion on me, let my
death restore these faithful ones to life; anywise I follow the path
they have marked,' 'Son,' replied the Goddess, 'thine affection is
pleasing to me: be it as thou wilt! The Rajpoot and his house shall be
rendered alive to thee.' Then the King departed, and presently saw
Vira-vara return, and take up again his station as before at the

'Ho! there, Vira-vara!' cried the King, 'what meant the weeping?'

'Let your Majesty rest well!' answered the Rajpoot, 'it was a woman who
wept, and disappeared on my approach.' This answer completed the Rajah's
astonishment and delight; for we know--

'He is brave whose tongue is silent of the trophies of his sword;
He is great whose quiet bearing marks his greatness well assured.'

So when the day was come, he called a full council, and, declaring
therein all the events of the night, he invested the faithful guard with
the sovereignty of the Carnatic.

"Thus, then," concluded King Silver-sides, "in entertaining strangers a
man may add to his friends."

"It may well be," replied the Goose; "but a Minister should advise what
is expedient, and not what is pleasing in sentiment:--

'When the Priest, the Leech, the Vizir of a King his flatterers be,
Very soon the King will part with health, and wealth, and piety.'

'Let it pass, then,' said Silver-sides, 'and turn we to the matter in
hand. King Jewel-plume is even now pitched under the Ghauts. What think

'That we shall vanquish him,' replied the Goose; 'for he disregards, as
I learn, the counsel of that great statesman, the Vulture Far-sight; and
the wise have said--

'Merciless, or money-loving, deaf to counsel, false of faith,
Thoughtless, spiritless, or careless, changing course with every
Or the man who scorns his rival--if a prince should choose a foe,
Ripe for meeting and defeating, certes he would choose him so.

He is marching without due preparation; let us send the Paddy-bird at
the head of a force and attack him on his march."

Accordingly the Paddy-bird, setting out with a force of water-fowl, fell
upon the host of the Peacock-king, and did immense execution.
Disheartened thereat, King Jewel-plume summoned Far-sight, his Minister,
and acknowledged to him his precipitation.

'Wherefore do you abandon us, my father?' he said. 'Correct for us what
has been done amiss.

'My Liege,' replied the Vulture, 'it has been well observed--

'By the valorous and unskilful great achievements are not wrought;
Courage, led by careful Prudence, unto highest ends is brought.'

You have set Strength in the seat of Counsel, your Majesty, and he hath
clumsily spoiled your plans. How indeed could it fall otherwise? for--

'Grief kills gladness, winter summer, midnight-gloom the light of day,
Kindnesses ingratitude, and pleasant friends drive pain away;
Each ends each, but none of other surer conquerors can be
Than Impolicy of Fortune--of Misfortune Policy.'

I have said to myself, 'My Prince's understanding is affected--how else
would he obscure the moonlight of policy with the night-vapors of talk;'
in such a mood I cannot help him--

'Wisdom answers all who ask her, but a fool she cannot aid;
Blind men in the faithful mirror see not their reflection made.'

And therefore I have been absent.'

'My father!' said the King, joining his palms in respect, 'mine is all
the fault! Pardon it, and instruct me how to withdraw my army without
further loss.'

Then the Vulture's anger melted, and he reflected--

'Where the Gods are, or thy Guru--in the face of Pain and Age,
Cattle, Brahmans, Kings, and Children--reverently curb thy rage.'

And with a benignant smile, he answered the King thus, 'Be of good
heart, my Liege; thou shalt not only bring the host back safely, but
thou shalt first destroy the castle of King Silver-sides.'

'How can that be, with my diminished forces?' asked the Rajah.

'It will come to pass!' answered the Vulture. 'Break up to-day for the
blockade of the fort.'

Now, when this was reported by the spies to King Silver-sides, he was
greatly alarmed. 'Good Goose!' said he, 'what is to be done? Here is the
King of the Peacocks at hand, to blockade us--by his Minister's advice,

'Sire,' replied the Goose, 'separate the efficient and the inefficient
in your force; and stimulate the loyalty of the first, with a royal
bounty of gold and dresses, as each may seem to merit. Now is the time
for it--

'Oh, my Prince! on eight occasions prodigality is none--
In the solemn sacrificing, at the wedding of a son,
When the glittering treasure given makes the proud invader bleed,
Or its lustre bringeth comfort to the people in their need,
Or when kinsmen are to succor, or a worthy work to end,
Or to do a mistress honor, or to welcome back a friend.'

'But is this expenditure needed?' said the King.

'It is needed, my Liege,' said the Goose, 'and it befits a Monarch;

'Truth, munificence, and valor, are the virtues of a King;
Royalty, devoid of either, sinks to a rejected thing.'

'Let it be incurred then!' replied the King.

At this moment Night-cloud, the Crow, made his appearance. 'Deign me one
regard, Sire,' said he, 'the insolent enemy is at our gates; let your
Majesty give the word, and I will go forth and show my valor and
devotion to your Crown.'

'It were better to keep our cover,' said the Goose. 'Wherefore else
builded we this fortalice? Is it not said?--

'Hold thy vantage!--alligators on the land make none afraid;
And the lion's but a jackal that hath left his forest-shade.'

But go, your Majesty, and encourage our warriors." Thereupon they
repaired to the Gateway of the Fort, and all day the battle raged there.

It was the morning after, when King Jewel-plume spake thus to his
Minister the Vulture--'Good sir, shall thy promise be kept to us?'

'It shall be kept, your Majesty,' replied the Vulture; 'storm the fort!'

'We will storm it!' said the Peacock-king. The sun was not well-risen
accordingly when the attack was made, and there arose hot fighting at
all the four gates. It was then that the traitorous Crows, headed by
their Monarch, Night-cloud, put fire to every dwelling in the citadel,
and raised a shout of 'The Fort is taken! it is taken!' At this terrible
sound the soldiers of the Swan-king forsook their posts, and plunged
into the pool.

Not thus King Silver-sides:--retiring coolly before the foe, with his
General the Paddy-bird, he was cut off and encircled by the troopers of
King Jewel-plume, under the command of his Marshal, the Cock.

'My General,' said the King, 'thou shalt not perish for me. Fly! I can
go no farther. Fly! I bid thee, and take counsel with the Goose that
Crest-jewel, my son, be named King!'

'Good my Lord,' replied the Paddy-bird, 'speak not thus! Let your
Majesty reign victorious while the sun and moon endure. I am governor of
your Majesty's fortress, and if the enemy enter it he shall but do so
over my body; let me die for thee, my Master!--

'Gentle, generous, and discerning; such a Prince the Gods do give!'

'That shalt thou not,' replied the Rajah--

'Skilful, honest, and true-hearted; where doth such a Vassal live?'

'Nay! my royal Lord, escape!' cried the Paddy-bird; a king's life is the
life of his people--

'The people are the lotus-leaves, their monarch is the sun--
When he doth sink beneath the waves they vanish every one.

When he doth rise they rise again with bud and blossom rife,
To bask awhile in his warm smile, who is their lord and life.'

'Think no more of me.' At this instant the Cock rushing forward,
inflicted a wound with his sharp spurs on the person of the King; but
the Paddy-bird sprang in front of him, and receiving on his body the
blows designed for the Rajah, forced him away into the pool. Then
turning upon the Cock, he despatched him with a shower of blows from his
long bill; and finally succumbed, fighting in the midst of his enemies.
Thus the King of the Peacocks captured the fortress; and marched home
with all the treasure in it, amid songs of victory.

Then spake the Princes: "In that army of the Swans there was no soldier
like the Paddy-bird, who gave his own life for the King's."

"There be nowhere many such," replied Vishnu-Sarman; "for

'All the cows bring forth are cattle--only now and then is born
An authentic lord of pastures, with his shoulder-scratching horn.'[20]

"It is well spoken," said the Princes.

"But for him that dares to die so," added the Sage, "may an eternal
heaven be reserved, and may the lustrous Angels of Paradise, the
Apsaras, conduct him thither! Is it not so declared, indeed?--

'When the soldier in the battle lays his life down for his king,
Unto Swerga's perfect glory such a deed his soul shall bring.'

"It is so declared," said the Rajah's sons.

"And now, my Princes," concluded Vishnu-Sarman, "you have listened to

"We have listened, and are gratified," replied the sons of the King.

"Let me end then," said their Preceptor, "with this--

'If the clouds of Battle lower
When ye come into your power,
Durga grant the foes that dare you
Bring no elephants to scare you;
Nor the thunderous rush of horses,
Nor the footmen's steel-fringed forces:
But overblown by Policy's strong breath,
Hide they in caverns from the avenging death.'

[16] The peacock is wild in most Indian jungles. The swan is a species
of flamingo of a white color. The voice and gait of a beautiful woman
are likened by the Hindoo poets to those of the swan.

[17] By such a death as that alluded to, she earns the title of Sati,
the "excellent."

[18] The common Indian crane; a graceful white bird, seen everywhere in
the interior of Hindoostan.

[19] A man of military caste.

[20] Large branching horns which reach backward and rub upon his


When the time came for resuming instruction, the King's sons said to
Vishnu-Sarman, "Master, we have heard of War, we would now learn
somewhat of the treaties which follow war." "It is well asked," replied
the Sage; "listen therefore to 'Peace,' which hath this commencement--

'When those great Kings their weary war did cease,
The Vulture and the Goose concluded Peace.'

'How came that?' asked the Princes.

Vishnu-Sarman related:--


"So soon as King Jewel-plume had retreated, the first care of King
Silver-sides was the discovery of the treason that had cost him the

'Goose,' he said to his Minister, 'who put the fire to our citadel,
think you? Was it an enemy or an inmate?'

'Sire,' replied the Goose, 'Night-cloud and his followers are nowhere to
be seen--it must needs be his work.'

'It must needs be,' sighed the King, after a pause; 'but what

'If it please your Majesty, no,' replied the Minister; 'it is written--

"'Tis the fool who, meeting trouble, straightway destiny reviles;
Knowing not his own misdoing brought his own mischance the whiles."

You have forgotten the saying--

'Who listens not, when true friends counsel well,
Must fall, as once the foolish Tortoise fell.'

'I never heard it,' said the King. 'How was that?' The Goose related--


"There is a pool in South Behar called the 'Pool of the Blue Lotus,' and
two Geese had for a long time lived there. They had a friend in the pool
who was a Tortoise, and he was known as 'Shelly-neck,' It chanced one
evening that the Tortoise overheard some fishermen talking by the water.
'We will stop here to-night,' they said, 'and in the morning we will
catch the fish, the tortoises, and such like.' Extremely alarmed at
this, the Tortoise repaired to his friends the Geese, and reported the

'What ever am I to do, Gossips?' he asked.

'The first thing is to be assured of the danger,' said the Geese.

'I am assured,' exclaimed the Tortoise; 'the first thing is to avoid it:
don't you know?--

'Time-not-come' and 'Quick-at-peril,' these two fishes 'scaped the net;
'What-will-be-will-be,' he perished, by the fishermen beset.'

'No,' said the Geese,' how was it?' Shelly-neck related:--


"It was just such a pool as this, and on the arrival at it of just such
men as these fishermen, that three fishes, who had heard their designs,
held consultation as to what should be done.

'I shall go to another water,' said "Time-not-come," and away he went.

'Why should we leave unless obliged?' asked "Quick-at-peril." 'When the
thing befalls I shall do the best I can--

'Who deals with bad dilemmas well, is wise.
The merchant's wife, with womanly device,
Kissed--and denied the kiss--under his eyes.'

'How was that?' asked the other fish. Quick-at-peril related:--


"There was a trader in Vikrama-poora, who had a very beautiful wife, and
her name was Jewel-bright. The lady was as unfaithful as she was fair,
and had chosen for her last lover one of the household servants. Ah!

'Sex, that tires of being true,
Base and new is brave to you!
Like the jungle-cows ye range,
Changing food for sake of change.'

Now it befell one day that as Jewel-bright was bestowing a kiss on the
mouth of the servant, she was surprised by her husband; and seeing him
she ran up hastily and said, 'My lord, here is an impudent varlet! he
eats the camphor which I procured for you; I was actually smelling it on
his lips as you entered.' The servant catching her meaning, affected
offence. 'How can a man stay in a house where the mistress is always
smelling one's lips for a little camphor?' he said; and thereat he was
for going off, and was only constrained by the good man to stay, after
much entreaty. 'Therefore,' said Quick-at-peril, 'I mean to abide here,
and make the best I can of what befalls, as she did.'

'Yes, yes,' said What-will-be-will-be, 'we all know

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

'When the morning came, the net was thrown, and both the fishes
inclosed. Quick-at-peril, on being drawn up, feigned himself dead; and
upon the fisherman's laying him aside, he leaped off again into the
water. As to What-will-be-will-be, he was seized and forthwith
dispatched.--And that,' concluded the Tortoise, 'is why I wish to devise
some plan of escape.'

'It might be compassed if you could go elsewhere,' said the Geese, 'but
how can you get across the ground?'

'Can't you take me through the air?' asked the Tortoise.

'Impossible!' said the Geese.

'Not at all!' replied the Tortoise; 'you shall hold a stick across in
your bills, and I will hang on to it by my mouth--and thus you can
readily convey me,'

'It is feasible,' observed the Geese, 'but remember,

'Wise men their plans revolve, lest ill befall;
The Herons gained a friend, and so, lost all.'

'How came that about?' asked the Tortoise. The Geese related:--


"Among the mountains of the north there is one named Eagle-cliff, and
near it, upon a fig-tree, a flock of Herons had their residence. At the
foot of the tree, in a hollow, there lived a serpent; and he was
constantly devouring the nestlings of the Herons. Loud were the
complaints of the parent birds, until an old Heron thus advised
them:--'You should bring some fishes from the pool, and lay them one by
one in a line from the hole of yonder Mongoose to the hollow where the
Serpent lives. The Mongoose will find him when it comes after the fish,
and if it finds him it will kill him.' The advice seemed good, and was
acted upon; but in killing the Snake the Mongoose overheard the cry of
the young Herons; and climbing the tree daily, he devoured all that the
Snake had left. Therefore,' concluded the Geese, 'do we bid you look
well into your plan: if you should open your mouth, for instance, as we
carry you, you will drop and be killed.'

'Am I a fool,' cried the Tortoise, 'to open my mouth? Not I! Come now,
convey me!'

'Thereupon the Geese took up the stick; the Tortoise held fast with his
mouth, and away they flew. The country people, observing this strange
sight, ran after.

'Ho! ho!' cried one, 'look at the flying Tortoise!'

'When he falls we'll cook and eat him here,' said another.

'No; let us take him home for dinner!' cried a third.

'We can light a fire by the pool, and eat him,' said the first.

'The Tortoise heard these unkind remarks in a towering passion. 'Eat
me!--eat ashes!' he exclaimed, opening his mouth--and down he fell
directly, and was caught by the countrymen.--Said I not well,' concluded
the Goose-Minister, 'that to scorn counsel is to seek destruction?'

'You have well said,' replied King Silver-sides, disconsolately.

'Yes, your Majesty,' interposed the Crane, who was just returned, 'if
the Fort had been cleared, Night-cloud could not have fired it, as he
did, by the Vulture's instigation.'

'We see it all,' sighed the King, 'but too late!'

'Whoso trusts, for service rendered, or fair words, an enemy,
Wakes from folly like one falling in his slumber from a tree.'

'I witnessed Night-cloud's reception,' continued the Crane. 'King
Jewel-plume showed him great favor, and was for anointing him Rajah of

'Hear you that, my Liege?' asked the Goose.

'Go on; I hear!' said Silver-sides.

'To that the Vulture demurred,' continued the Crane:--'"favor to low
persons," he said, "was like writing on the sea-sand. To set the
base-born in the seat of the great was long ago declared impolitic--

'Give mean men power, and give thy throat to the knife;
The Mouse, made Tiger, sought his master's life.'

'How was that?' asked King Jewel-plume. The Vulture related--


"In the forest of the Sage Gautama there dwelt a Recluse named
Mighty-at-Prayer. Once, as he sat at his frugal meal, a young mouse
dropped beside him from the beak of a crow, and he took it up and fed it
tenderly with rice grains. Some time after the Saint observed a cat
pursuing his dependent to devour it, whereupon he changed the mouse into
a stout cat. The cat was a great deal harassed by dogs, upon which the
Saint again transformed it into a dog. The dog was always in danger of
the tigers, and his protector at last gave him the form of a
tiger--considering him all this while, and treating him withal, like
nothing but a mouse. The country-folk passing by would say, 'That a
tiger! not he; it is a mouse the Saint has transformed.' And the mouse
being vexed at this, reflected, 'So long as the Master lives, this
shameful story of my origin will survive!' With this thought he was
about to take the Saint's life, when he, who knew his purpose, turned
the ungrateful beast by a word to his original shape. Besides, your
Majesty," continued the Vulture, "it may not be so easy to take in

'Many fine fishes did the old Crane kill,
But the Crab matched him, maugre all his bill.'

'How came that to pass?' asked Jewel-plume.

'The Vulture related:--


"There was an old Crane at a mere called Lily-water, in Malwa, who stood
one day in the shallows with a most dejected look and drooping bill. A
Crab observed him and called out, 'Friend Crane! have you given up
eating, that you stand there all day?' 'Nay, sir!' replied the old
Crane; 'I love my dish of fish, but I have heard the fishermen say that
they mean to capture every one that swims in this water; and as that
destroys my hope of subsistence, I am resigning myself to death.' All
this the fishes overheard. 'In this matter certainly,' they said, 'his
interest is ours; we ought to consult him; for it is written--

'Fellow be with kindly foemen, rather than with friends unkind;
Friend and foeman are distinguished not by title but by mind.'

Thereupon they repaired to him: 'Good Crane,' they said, 'what course is
there for safety?'

'Course of safety there is,' replied the Crane, 'to go elsewhere; and I
will carry you one by one to another pool, if you please.'

'Do so,' said the trembling fishes.

"The Crane accordingly took one after another, and having eaten them
returned with the report that he had safely deposited each. Last of all,
the Crab requested to be taken; and the Crane, coveting his tender
flesh, took him up with great apparent respect. On arriving at the spot,
which was covered with fish-bones, the Crab perceived the fate reserved
for him; and turning round he fastened upon the Crane's throat and tore
it so that he perished.'

'Well, but,' said King Jewel-plume, 'we can make Night-cloud viceroy
here, to send over to Vindhya all the productions of Camphor-isle!'

'Then the Vulture Far-sight laughed a low laugh and said--

'Who, ere he makes a gain has spent it,
Like the pot-breaker will repent it.'

'What was that?' asked the King. Far-sight related:--


"There was a Brahman in the city of Vana, whose name was Deva Sarman. At
the equinoctial feast of the Dussera, he obtained for his duxina-gift a
dish of flour, which he took into a potter's shed; and there lay down in
the shade among the pots, staff in hand. As he thus reclined he began to
meditate, 'I can sell this meal for ten cowrie-shells, and with them I
can purchase some of these pots and sell them at an advance. With all
that money I shall invest in betel-nuts and body-cloths and make a new
profit by their sale; and so go on trafficking till I get a lakh of
rupees--what's to prevent me? Then I shall marry four wives--and one at
least will be beautiful and young, and she shall be my favorite. Of
course the others will be jealous; but if they quarrel, and talk, and
trouble me I will belabor them like this--and this'--and therewith he
flourished his staff to such a purpose as to smash his meal-dish and
break several of the potter's jars. The potter, rushing out, took him by
the throat, and turned him off; and so ended his speculations. I smiled,
my Liege,' concluded the Vulture, 'at your precipitancy, thinking of
that story.'

'Tell me, then, my Father, what should be done,' said the King.

'Tell me first, your Majesty, what took the fortress: strength or

'It was a device of yours,' said the King.

'It is well,' replied the Minister, 'and my counsel now is to return
before the rainy season, while we can return; and to make peace. We have
won renown and taken the enemy's stronghold; let it suffice. I speak as
a faithful adviser; and it is written--

'Whoso setting duty highest, speaks at need unwelcome things,
Disregarding fear and favor, such a one may succor kings.'

Oh, my Liege! war is uncertain! Nay, it may ruin victor and

'Sunda the strong, and giant Upasunda,
Contending, like the lightning and the thunder,
Slew each the other. Learn, the while you wonder.'

'Tell me that,' said the King of the Peacocks.

'The Vulture related--


"Long ago, my Liege, there were two Daityas named Sunda and Upasunda,
the which with penance and fasting worshipped that God who wears the
moon for his forehead-jewel; desiring to win his favor, and thereby the
lordship of the Three Worlds. At last the God, propitiated by their
devotion, spake thus unto them:--

'I grant a boon unto ye--choose what it shall be.'

'And they, who would have asked dominion, were suddenly minded of
Saraswati--who reigns over the hearts and thoughts of men--to seek a
forbidden thing.

'If,' said they, 'we have found favor, let the Divinity give us his own
cherished Parvati, the Queen of Heaven!'

'Terribly incensed was the God, but his word had passed, and the boon
must be granted; and Parvati the Divine was delivered up to them. Then
those two world-breakers, sick at heart, sin-blinded, and afire with the
glorious beauty of the Queen of Life--began to dispute, saying one to
another: 'Mine is she! mine is she!' At the last they called for an
umpire, and the God himself appeared before them as a venerable Brahman.

'Master,' said they, 'tell us whose she is, for we both won her by our

'Then spake that Brahman:--

'Brahmans for their lore have honor; Kshattriyas for their bravery;
Vaisyas for their hard-earned treasure; Sudras for humility,'

Ye are Kshattriyas--and it is yours to fight; settle, then, this
question by the sword.'

'Thereupon they agreed that he spoke wisely, and drew and battled; and
being of equal force, they fell at the same moment by an exchange of
blows. Good my Lord,' concluded the Minister, 'peace is a better thing
than war,'

'But why not say so before?' asked Jewel-plume.

'I said it at the first,' replied the Minister. 'I knew King
Silver-sides for a just King, upon whom it was ill to wage battle. How
say the Scriptures?--

'Seven foemen of all foemen, very hard to vanquish be:
The Truth-teller, the Just-dweller, and the man from passion free,
Subtle, self-sustained, and counting frequent well-won victories,
And the man of many kinsmen--keep the peace with such as these.'

The Swan-king has friends and kinsmen, my Liege:--

'And the man with many kinsmen answers with them all attacks;
As the bambu, in the bambus safely sheltered, scorns the axe.'

'My counsel then is that peace be concluded with him,' said the Vulture.

'All this King Silver-sides and his Minister the Goose heard attentively
from the Crane.

'Go again!' said the Goose to Long-bill, 'and bring us news of how the
Vulture's advice is received.'

'Minister!' began the King, upon the departure of the Crane, 'tell me as
to this peace, who are they with whom it should not be concluded?'

'They be twenty, namely----'

'Tarry not to name them,' said the King; 'and what be the qualities of a
good ally?'

'Such should be learned in Peace and War,' replied the Goose, 'in
marching and pitching, and seasonably placing an army in the field; for
it is said--

'He who sets his battle wisely, conquers the unwary foe;
As the Owl, awaiting night-time, slew the overweening Crow.'

Counsel, my Liege, is quintuple--Commencing, providing, dividing,
repelling, and completing,'

'Good!' said the King.

'Power is triple,' continued the Goose, 'being of Kings, of counsels,
and of constant effort.'

'It is so!' said the King.

'And expedients, my Liege,' continued the Goose, 'are quadruple, and
consist of conciliation, of gifts, of strife-stirring, and of force of
arms; for thus it is written--

'Whoso hath the gift of giving wisely, equitably, well;
Whoso, learning all men's secrets, unto none his own will tell;
Whoso, ever cold and courtly, utters nothing that offends,
Such a one may rule his fellows unto Earth's extremest ends.'

'Then King Jewel-plume would be a good ally,' observed the Swan-king.

'Doubtless!' said the Goose, 'but elated with victory, he will hardly
listen to the Vulture's counsel; we must make him do it.'

'How?' asked the King.

'We will cause our dependent, the King of Ceylon, Strong-bill the Stork,
to raise an insurrection in Jambudwipa.'

'It is well-conceived,' said the King. And forthwith a Crane, named
Pied-body, was dismissed with a secret message to that Rajah.

'In course of time the first Crane, who had been sent as a spy, came
back, and made his report. He related that the Vulture had advised his
Sovereign to summon Night-cloud, the Crow, and learn from him regarding
King Silver-sides' intentions. Night-cloud attended accordingly.

'Crow!' asked King Jewel-plume, 'what sort of a Monarch is the Rajah

'Truthful, may it please you,' replied the Crow; 'and therewithal noble
as Yudisthira himself.'

'And his Minister, the Goose?'

'Is a Minister unrivalled, my Liege,' said the Crow-king.

'But how then didst thou so easily deceive them?'

'Ah! your Majesty,' said the Crow, 'there was little credit in that. Is
it not said?--

'Cheating them that truly trust you, 'tis a clumsy villainy!
Any knave may slay the child who climbs and slumbers on his knee.'

Besides, the Minister detected me immediately. It was the King whose
innate goodness forbade him to suspect evil in another:--

'Believe a knave, thyself scorning a lie,
And rue it, like the Brahman, by and by.'

'What Brahman was that?' asked the King. Night-cloud replied:--


"A Brahman that lived in the forest of Gautama, your Majesty. He had
purveyed a goat to make pooja, and was returning home with it on life
shoulder when he was descried by three knaves. 'If we could but obtain
that goat,' said they, 'it would be a rare trick'; and they ran on, and
seated themselves at the foot of three different trees upon the
Brahman's road. Presently he came up with the first of them, who
addressed him thus: 'Master! why do you carry that dog on your
shoulder?' 'Dog!' said the Brahman, 'it is a goat for sacrifice!' With
that he went on a coss, and came to the second knave; who called
out--'What doest thou with that dog, Master?' The Brahman laid his goat
upon the ground, looked it all over, took it up again upon his back, and
walked on with his mind in a whirl; for--

'The good think evil slowly, and they pay
A price for faith--as witness "Crop-ear" may.'

'Who was Crop-ear?' asked the King of the Peacocks.


"A Camel, may it please you," replied Night-cloud, "who strayed away
from a kafila, and wandered into the forest. A Lion, named
'Fierce-fangs,' lived in that forest; and his three courtiers, a Tiger,
a Jackal, and a Crow, met the Camel, and conducted him to their King.
His account of himself was satisfactory, and the Lion took him into his
service under the name of Crop-ear. Now it happened that the rainy
season was very severe, and the Lion became indisposed, so that there
was much difficulty in obtaining food for the Court. The courtiers
resolved accordingly to prevail on the Lion to kill the Camel; 'for what
interest have we,' they said, 'in this browser of thistles?'

'What, indeed!' observed the Tiger; 'but will the Rajah kill him after
his promise of protection, think you?'

'Being famished he will,' said the Crow. 'Know you not?--

'Hunger hears not, cares not, spares not; no boon of the starving beg;
When the snake is pinched with craving, verily she eats her egg.'

Accordingly they repaired to the Lion.

'Hast brought me food, fellow?' growled the Rajah.

'None, may it please you,' said the Crow.

'Must we starve, then?' asked his Majesty.

'Not unless you reject the food before you, Sire,' rejoined the Crow.

'Before me! how mean you?'

'I mean,' replied the Crow (and he whispered it in the Lion's ear),
'Crop-ear, the Camel!'

'Now!' said the Lion, and he touched the ground, and afterwards both
ears, as he spoke, 'I have given him my pledge for his safety, and how
should I slay him?'

'Nay, Sire! I said not slay,' replied the Crow; 'it may be that he will
offer himself for food. To that your Majesty would not object?'

'I am parlous hungry,' muttered the Lion.

'Then the Crow went to find the Camel, and, bringing all together before
the King under some pretence or other, he thus addressed him:--

'Sire! our pains are come to nothing: we can get no food, and we behold
our Lord falling away,

'Of the Tree of State the root
Kings are--feed what brings the fruit.'

Take me, therefore, your Majesty, and break your fast upon me."

'Good Crow,' said the Lion, 'I had liefer die than do so.'

'Will your Majesty deign to make a repast upon me?' asked the Jackal.

'On no account!' replied the Lion.

'Condescend, my Lord,' said the Tiger, 'to appease your hunger with my
poor flesh.'

'Impossible!' responded the Lion.

'Thereupon Crop-ear, not to be behind in what seemed safe, made offer of
his own carcase, which was accepted before he had finished; the Tiger
instantly tearing his flank open, and all the rest at once devouring

'The Brahman,' continued Night-cloud, 'suspected nothing more than did
the Camel; and when the third knave had broken his jest upon him for
bearing a dog, he threw it down, washed himself clean of the
contamination, and went home; while the knaves secured and cooked his

'But, Night-cloud,' asked the Rajah, 'how couldst thou abide so long
among enemies, and conciliate them?'

'It is easy to play the courtier for a purpose,' said Night-cloud--

'Courtesy may cover malice; on their heads the woodmen bring,
Meaning all the while to burn them, logs and fagots--oh, my King!
And the strong and subtle river, rippling at the cedar's foot,
While it seems to lave and kiss it, undermines the hanging root.'

Indeed, it has been said--

'A wise man for an object's sake
His foe upon his back will take,
As with the Frogs once did the Snake.'

'How was that?' asked the Peacock-King. The Crow related:--


"In a deserted garden there once lived a Serpent, 'Slow-coil' by name;
who had reached an age when he was no longer able to obtain his own
food. Lying listlessly by the edge of a pond, he was descried by a
certain Frog, and interrogated--

'Have you given up caring for food, Serpent?'

'Leave me, kindly Sir,' replied the subtle reptile; 'the griefs of a
miserable wretch like me cannot interest your lofty mind.'

'Let me at least hear them,' said the Frog, somewhat flattered.

'You must know, then, gracious Sir,' began the Serpent, 'that it is now
twenty years since here, in Brahmapoora, I bit the son of Kaundinya, a
holy Brahman; of which cruel bite he died. Seeing his boy dead,
Kaundinya abandoned himself to despair, and grovelled in his distress
upon the ground. Thereat came all his kinsmen, citizens of Brahmapoora,
and sat down with him, as the manner is--

'He who shares his brother's portion, be he beggar, be he lord,
Comes as truly, comes as duly, to the battle as the board;

Stands before the King to succor, follows to the pile to sigh;
He is friend and he is kinsman--less would make the name a lie.'

Then spoke a twice-passed Brahman,[21] Kapila by name, 'O Kaundinya!
thou dost forget thyself to lament thus. Hear what is written--

'Weep not! Life the hired nurse is, holding us a little space;
Death, the mother who doth take us back into our proper place.'

'Gone, with all their gauds and glories: gone, like peasants, are the
Whereunto the world is witness, whereof all her record rings.'

What, indeed, my friend, is this mortal frame, that we should set store
by it?--

'For the body, daily wasting, is not seen to waste away,
Until wasted, as in water set a jar of unbaked clay.'

'And day after day man goeth near and nearer to his fate,
As step after step the victim thither where its slayers wait.'

Friends and kinsmen--they must all be surrendered! Is it not said--

'Like as a plank of drift-wood
Tossed on the watery main,
Another plank encountered,
Meets--touches--parts again;
So tossed, and drifting ever,
On life's unresting sea,
Men meet, and greet, and sever,
Parting eternally.'

Thou knowest these things, let thy wisdom chide thy sorrow, saying--

'Halt, traveller! rest i' the shade: then up and leave it!
Stay, Soul! take fill of love; nor losing, grieve it!'

But in sooth a wise man would better avoid love; for--

'Each beloved object born
Sets within the heart a thorn,
Bleeding, when they be uptorn.'

And it is well asked--

'When thine own house, this rotting frame, doth wither,
Thinking another's lasting--goest thou thither?'

What will be, will be; and who knows not--

'Meeting makes a parting sure,
Life is nothing but death's door.'

For truly--

'As the downward-running rivers never turn and never stay,
So the days and nights stream deathward, bearing human lives away.'

And though it be objected that--

'Bethinking him of darkness grim, and death's unshunned pain,
A man strong-souled relaxes hold, like leather soaked in rain.'

Yet is this none the less assured, that--

'From the day, the hour, the minute,
Each life quickens in the womb;
Thence its march, no falter in it,
Goes straight forward to the tomb.'

Form, good friend, a true idea of mundane matters; and bethink thee that
regret is after all but an illusion, an ignorance--

'An 'twere not so, would sorrow cease with years?
Wisdom sees aright what want of knowledge fears.'

'Kaundinya listened to all this with the air of a dreamer. Then rising
up he said, 'Enough! the house is hell to me--I will betake me to the

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