Part 1 out of 4
Produced by Delphine Lettau, Charles Franks
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
INDIAN FAIRY TALES
_Selected and edited by_
JOHN D. BATTEN
TO MY DEAR LITTLE PHIL
From the extreme West of the Indo-European world, we go this year to
the extreme East. From the soft rain and green turf of Gaeldom, we seek
the garish sun and arid soil of the Hindoo. In the Land of Ire, the
belief in fairies, gnomes, ogres and monsters is all but dead; in the
Land of Ind it still flourishes in all the vigour of animism.
Soils and national characters differ; but fairy tales are the same in
plot and incidents, if not in treatment. The majority of the tales in
this volume have been known in the West in some form or other, and the
problem arises how to account for their simultaneous existence in
farthest West and East. Some--as Benfey in Germany, M. Cosquin in
France, and Mr. Clouston in England--have declared that India is the
Home of the Fairy Tale, and that all European fairy tales have been
brought from thence by Crusaders, by Mongol missionaries, by Gipsies,
by Jews, by traders, by travellers. The question is still before the
courts, and one can only deal with it as an advocate. So far as my
instructions go, I should be prepared, within certain limits, to hold a
brief for India. So far as the children of Europe have their fairy
stories in common, these--and they form more than a third of the whole
--are derived from India. In particular, the majority of the Drolls or
comic tales and jingles can be traced, without much difficulty, back to
the Indian peninsula.
Certainly there is abundant evidence of the early transmission by
literary means of a considerable number of drolls and folk-tales from
India about the time of the Crusaders. The collections known in Europe
by the titles of _The Fables of Bidpai, The Seven Wise Masters, Gesia
Romanorum_, and _Barlaam and Josaphat_, were extremely popular
during the Middle Ages, and their contents passed on the one hand into
the _Exempla_ of the monkish preachers, and on the other into the
_Novelle_ of Italy, thence, after many days, to contribute their
quota to the Elizabethan Drama. Perhaps nearly one-tenth of the main
incidents of European folktales can be traced to this source.
There are even indications of an earlier literary contact between
Europe and India, in the case of one branch of the folk-tale, the Fable
or Beast Droll. In a somewhat elaborate discussion [Footnote: "History
of the Aesopic Fable," the introductory volume to my edition of Caxton's
_Fables of Esope_ (London, Nutt, 1889).] I have come to the
conclusion that a goodly number of the fables that pass under the name
of the Samian slave, Aesop, were derived from India, probably from the
same source whence the same tales were utilised in the Jatakas, or
Birth-stories of Buddha. These Jatakas contain a large quantity of
genuine early Indian folk-tales, and form the earliest collection of
folk-tales in the world, a sort of Indian Grimm, collected more than
two thousand years before the good German brothers went on their quest
among the folk with such delightful results. For this reason I have
included a considerable number of them in this volume; and shall be
surprised if tales that have roused the laughter and wonder of pious
Buddhists for the last two thousand years, cannot produce the same
effect on English children. The Jatakas have been fortunate in their
English translators, who render with vigour and point; and I rejoice
in being able to publish the translation of two new Jatakas, kindly
done into English for this volume by Mr. W. H. D. Rouse, of Christ's
College, Cambridge. In one of these I think I have traced the source
of the Tar Baby incident in "Uncle Remus."
Though Indian fairy tales are the earliest in existence, yet they are
also from another point of view the youngest. For it is only about
twenty-five years ago that Miss Frere began the modern collection of
Indian folk-tales with her charming "Old Deccan Days" (London, John
Murray, 1868; fourth edition, 1889). Her example has been followed by
Miss Stokes, by Mrs. Steel, and Captain (now Major) Temple, by the
Pandit Natesa Sastri, by Mr. Knowles and Mr. Campbell, as well as
others who have published folk-tales in such periodicals as the
_Indian Antiquary_ and _The Orientalist_. The story-store of
modern India has been well dipped into during the last quarter of a
century, though the immense range of the country leaves room for any
number of additional workers and collections. Even so far as the
materials already collected go, a large number of the commonest
incidents in European folk-tales have been found in India. Whether
brought there or born there, we have scarcely any criterion for
judging; but as some of those still current among the folk in India can
be traced back more than a millennium, the presumption is in favour of
an Indian origin.
From all these sources--from the Jatakas, from the Bidpai, and from the
more recent collections--I have selected those stories which throw most
light on the origin of Fable and Folk-tales, and at the same time are
most likely to attract English children. I have not, however, included
too many stories of the Grimm types, lest I should repeat the contents
of the two preceding volumes of this series. This has to some degree
weakened the case for India as represented by this book. The need of
catering for the young ones has restricted my selection from the well-
named "Ocean of the Streams of Story," _Katha-Sarit Sagara_ of
Somadeva. The stories existing in Pali and Sanskrit I have taken from
translations, mostly from the German of Benfey or the vigorous English
of Professor Rhys-Davids, whom I have to thank for permission to use
his versions of the Jatakas.
I have been enabled to make this book a representative collection of
the Fairy Tales of Ind by the kindness of the original collectors or
their publishers. I have especially to thank Miss Frere, who kindly
made an exception in my favour, and granted me the use of that fine
story, "Punchkin," and that quaint myth, "How Sun, Moon, and Wind went
out to Dinner." Miss Stokes has been equally gracious in granting me
the use of characteristic specimens from her "Indian Fairy Tales." To
Major Temple I owe the advantage of selecting from his admirable
_Wideawake Stories_, and Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench & Co. have
allowed me to use Mr. Knowles' "Folk-tales of Kashmir," in their
Oriental Library; and Messrs. W. H. Allen have been equally obliging
with regard to Mrs. Kingscote's "Tales of the Sun." Mr. M. L. Dames has
enabled me add to the published story-store of India by granting me the
use of one from his inedited collection of Baluchi folk-tales.
I have again to congratulate myself an the co-operation of my friend
Mr. J. D. Batten in giving beautiful or amusing form to the creations
of the folk fancy of the Hindoos. It is no slight thing to embody, as
he has done, the glamour and the humour both of the Celt and of the
Hindoo. It is only a further proof that Fairy Tales are something more
than Celtic or Hindoo. They are human.
I. THE LION AND THE CRANE
II. HOW THE RAJA'S SON WON THE PRINCESS LABAM
III. THE LAMBIKIN
V. THE BROKEN POT
VI. THE MAGIC FIDDLE
VII. THE CRUEL CRANE OUTWITTED
VIII. LOVING LAILI
IX. THE TIGER, THE BRAHMAN AND THE JACKAL
X. THE SOOTHSAYER'S SON
XII. THE CHARMED RING
XIII. THE TALKATIVE TORTOISE
XIV. A LAC OF RUPEES FOR A PIECE OF ADVICE
XV. THE GOLD-GIVING SERPENT
XVI. THE SON OF SEVEN QUEENS
XVII. A LESSON FOR KINGS
XVIII. PRIDE GOETH BEFORE A FALL
XIX. RAJA RASALU
XX. THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN
XXI. THE FARMER AND THE MONEY-LENDER
XXII. THE BOY WHO HAD A MOON ON HIS FOREHEAD AND A STAR ON HIS CHIN
XXIII. THE PRINCE AND THE FAKIR
XXIV. WHY THE FISH LAUGHED
XXV. THE DEMON WITH THE MATTED HAIR
XXVI. THE IVORY CITY AND ITS FAIRY PRINCESS
XXVII. SUN, MOON, AND WIND GO OUT TO DINNER
XXVIII. HOW THE WICKED SONS WERE DUPED
XXIX. THE PIGEON AND THE CROW
NOTES AND REFERENCES
THE LION AND THE CRANE
The Bodhisatta was at one time born in the region of Himavanta as a
white crane; now Brahmadatta was at that time reigning in Benares. Now
it chanced that as a lion was eating meat a bone stuck in his throat.
The throat became swollen, he could not take food, his suffering was
terrible. The crane seeing him, as he was perched an a tree looking for
food, asked, "What ails thee, friend?" He told him why. "I could free
thee from that bone, friend, but dare not enter thy mouth for fear thou
mightest eat me." "Don't be afraid, friend, I'll not eat thee; only
save my life." "Very well," says he, and caused him to lie down on his
left side. But thinking to himself, "Who knows what this fellow will
do," he placed a small stick upright between his two jaws that he could
not close his mouth, and inserting his head inside his mouth struck one
end of the bone with his beak. Whereupon the bone dropped and fell out.
As soon as he had caused the bone to fall, he got out of the lion's
mouth, striking the stick with his beak so that it fell out, and then
settled on a branch. The lion gets well, and one day was eating a
buffalo he had killed. The crane, thinking "I will sound him," settled
an a branch just over him, and in conversation spoke this first verse:
"A service have we done thee
To the best of our ability,
King of the Beasts! Your Majesty!
What return shall we get from thee?"
In reply the Lion spoke the second verse:
"As I feed on blood,
And always hunt for prey,
'Tis much that thou art still alive
Having once been between my teeth."
Then in reply the crane said the two other verses:
"Ungrateful, doing no good,
Not doing as he would be done by,
In him there is no gratitude,
To serve him is useless.
"His friendship is not won
By the clearest good deed.
Better softly withdraw from him,
Neither envying nor abusing."
And having thus spoken the crane flew away.
_And when the great Teacher, Gautama the Buddha, told this tale, he
used to add: "Now at that time the lion was Devadatta the Traitor, but
the white crane was I myself_."
HOW THE RAJA'S SON WON THE PRINCESS LABAM
In a country there was a Raja who had an only son who every day went
out to hunt. One day the Rani, his mother, said to him, "You can hunt
wherever you like on these three sides; but you must never go to the
fourth side." This she said because she knew if he went on the fourth
side he would hear of the beautiful Princess Labam, and that then he
would leave his father and mother and seek for the princess.
The young prince listened to his mother, and obeyed her for some time;
but one day, when he was hunting on the three sides where he was
allowed to go, he remembered what she had said to him about the fourth
side, and he determined to go and see why she had forbidden him to hunt
on that side. When he got there, he found himself in a jungle, and
nothing in the jungle but a quantity of parrots, who lived in it. The
young Raja shot at some of them, and at once they all flew away up to
the sky. All, that is, but one, and this was their Raja, who was called
When Hiraman parrot found himself left alone, he called out to the
other parrots, "Don't fly away and leave me alone when the Raja's son
shoots. If you desert me like this, I will tell the Princess Labam."
Then the parrots all flew back to their Raja, chattering. The prince
was greatly surprised, and said, "Why, these birds can talk!" Then he
said to the parrots, "Who is the Princess Labam? Where does she live?"
But the parrots would not tell him where she lived. "You can never get
to the Princess Labam's country." That is all they would say.
The prince grew very sad when they would not tell him anything more;
and he threw his gun away, and went home. When he got home, he would
not speak or eat, but lay on his bed for four or five days, and seemed
At last he told his father and mother that he wanted to go and see the
Princess Labam. "I must go," he said; "I must see what she is like.
Tell me where her country is."
"We do not know where it is," answered his father and mother.
"Then I must go and look for it," said the prince.
"No, no," they said, "you must not leave us. You are our only son. Stay
with us. You will never find the Princess Labam."
"I must try and find her," said the prince. "Perhaps God will show me
the way. If I live and I find her, I will come back to you; but perhaps
I shall die, and then I shall never see you again. Still I must go."
So they had to let him go, though they cried very much at parting with
him. His father gave him fine clothes to wear, and a fine horse. And he
took his gun, and his bow and arrows, and a great many other weapons,
"for," he said, "I may want them." His father, too, gave him plenty of
Then he himself got his horse all ready for the journey, and he said
good-bye to his father and mother; and his mother took her handkerchief
and wrapped some sweetmeats in it, and gave it to her son. "My child,"
she said to him, "When you are hungry eat some of these sweetmeats."
He then set out on his journey, and rode on and on till he came to a
jungle in which were a tank and shady trees. He bathed himself and his
horse in the tank, and then sat down under a tree. "Now," he said to
himself, "I will eat some of the sweetmeats my mother gave me, and I
will drink some water, and then I will continue my journey." He opened
his handkerchief, and took out a sweetmeat. He found an ant in it. He
took out another. There was an ant in that one too. So he laid the two
sweetmeats on the ground, and he took out another, and another, and
another, until he had taken them all out; but in each he found an ant.
"Never mind," he said, "I won't eat the sweetmeats; the ants shall eat
them." Then the Ant-Raja came and stood before him and said, "You have
been good to us. If ever you are in trouble, think of me and we will
come to you."
The Raja's son thanked him, mounted his horse and continued his
journey. He rode on and on until he came to another jungle, and there
he saw a tiger who had a thorn in his foot, and was roaring loudly from
"Why do you roar like that?" said the young Raja. "What is the matter
"I have had a thorn in my foot for twelve years," answered the tiger,
"and it hurts me so; that is why I roar."
"Well," said the Raja's son, "I will take it out for you. But perhaps,
as you are a tiger, when I have made you well, you will eat me?"
"Oh, no," said the tiger, "I won't eat you. Do make me well."
Then the prince took a little knife from his pocket, and cut the thorn
out of the tiger's foot; but when he cut, the tiger roared louder than
ever--so loud that his wife heard him in the next jungle, and came
bounding along to see what was the matter. The tiger saw her coming,
and hid the prince in the jungle, so that she should not see him.
"What man hurt you that you roared so loud?" said the wife. "No one
hurt me," answered the husband; "but a Raja's son came and took the
thorn out of my foot."
"Where is he? Show him to me," said his wife.
"If you promise not to kill him, I will call him," said the tiger.
"I won't kill him; only let me see him," answered his wife.
Then the tiger called the Raja's son, and when he came the tiger and
his wife made him a great many salaams. Then they gave him a good
dinner, and he stayed with them for three days. Every day he looked at
the tiger's foot, and the third day it was quite healed. Then he said
good-bye to the tigers, and the tiger said to him, "If ever you are in
trouble, think of me, and we will come to you."
The Raja's son rode on and on till he came to a third jungle. Here he
found four fakirs whose teacher and master had died, and had left four
things,--a bed, which carried whoever sat on it whithersoever he wished
to go; a bag, that gave its owner whatever he wanted, jewels, food, or
clothes; a stone bowl that gave its owner as much water as he wanted,
no matter how far he might be from a tank; and a stick and rope, to
which its owner had only to say, if any one came to make war on him,
"Stick, beat as many men and soldiers as are here," and the stick would
beat them and the rope would tie them up.
The four fakirs were quarrelling over these four things. One said, "I
want this;" another said, "You cannot have it, for I want it;" and so
The Raja's son said to them, "Do not quarrel for these things. I will
shoot four arrows in four different directions. Whichever of you gets
to my first arrow, shall have the first thing--the bed. Whosoever gets
to the second arrow, shall have the second thing--the bag. He who gets
to the third arrow, shall have the third thing--the bowl. And he who
gets to the fourth arrow, shall have the last things--the stick and
rope." To this they agreed, and the prince shot off his first arrow.
Away raced the fakirs to get it. When they brought it back to him he
shot off the second, and when they had found and brought it to him he
shot off his third, and when they had brought him the third he shot off
While they were away looking for the fourth arrow the Raja's son let
his horse loose in the jungle, and sat on the bed, taking the bowl, the
stick and rope, and the bag with him. Then he said, "Bed, I wish to go
to the Princess Labam's country." The little bed instantly rose up into
the air and began to fly, and it flew and flew till it came to the
Princess Labam's country, where it settled on the ground. The Raja's
son asked some men he saw, "Whose country is this?"
"The Princess Labam's country," they answered. Then the prince went on
till he came to a house where he saw an old woman.
"Who are you?" she said. "Where do you come from?"
"I come from a far country," he said; "do let me stay with you to-
"No," she answered, "I cannot let you stay with me; for our king has
ordered that men from other countries may not stay in his country. You
cannot stay in my house."
"You are my aunty," said the prince; "let me remain with you for this
one night. You see it is evening, and if I go into the jungle, then the
wild beasts will eat me."
"Well," said the old woman, "you may stay here to-night; but to-morrow
morning you must go away, for if the king hears you have passed the
night in my house, he will have me seized and put into prison."
Then she took him into her house, and the Raja's son was very glad. The
old woman began preparing dinner, but he stopped her, "Aunty," he said,
"I will give you food." He put his hand into his bag, saying, "Bag, I
want some dinner," and the bag gave him instantly a delicious dinner,
served up on two gold plates. The old woman and the Raja's son then
When they had finished eating, the old woman said, "Now I will fetch
"Don't go," said the prince. "You shall have plenty of water directly."
So he took his bowl and said to it, "Bowl, I want some water," and then
it filled with water. When it was full, the prince cried out, "Stop,
bowl," and the bowl stopped filling. "See, aunty," he said, "with this
bowl I can always get as much water as I want."
By this time night had come. "Aunty," said the Raja's son, "why don't
you light a lamp?"
"There is no need," she said. "Our king has forbidden the people in his
country to light any lamps; for, as soon as it is dark, his daughter,
the Princess Labam, comes and sits on her roof, and she shines so that
she lights up all the country and our houses, and we can see to do our
work as if it were day."
When it was quite black night the princess got up. She dressed herself
in her rich clothes and jewels, and rolled up her hair, and across her
head she put a band of diamonds and pearls. Then she shone like the
moon, and her beauty made night day. She came out of her room, and sat
on the roof of her palace. In the daytime she never came out of her
house; she only came out at night. All the people in her father's
country then went about their work and finished it.
The Raja's son watched the princess quietly, and was very happy. He
said to himself, "How lovely she is!"
At midnight, when everybody had gone to bed, the princess came down
from her roof, and went to her room; and when she was in bed and
asleep, the Raja's son got up softly, and sat on his bed. "Bed," he
said to it, "I want to go to the Princess Labam's bed-room." So the
little bed carried him to the room where she lay fast asleep.
The young Raja took his bag and said, "I want a great deal of betel-
leaf," and it at once gave him quantities of betel-leaf. This he laid
near the princess's bed, and then his little bed carried him back to
the old woman's house.
Next morning all the princess's servants found the betel-leaf, and
began to eat it. "Where did you get all that betel-leaf?" asked the
"We found it near your bed," answered the servants. Nobody knew the
prince had come in the night and put it all there.
In the morning the old woman came to the Raja's son. "Now it is
morning," she said, "and you must go; for if the king finds out all I
have done for you, he will seize me."
"I am ill to-day, dear aunty," said the prince; "do let me stay till
"Good," said the old woman. So he stayed, and they took their dinner
out of the bag, and the bowl gave them water.
When night came the princess got up and sat on her roof, and at twelve
o'clock, when every one was in bed, she went to her bed-room, and was
soon fast asleep. Then the Raja's son sat on his bed, and it carried
him to the princess. He took his bag and said, "Bag, I want a most
lovely shawl." It gave him a splendid shawl, and he spread it over the
princess as she lay asleep. Then he went back to the old woman's house
and slept till morning.
In the morning, when the princess saw the shawl she was delighted.
"See, mother," she said; "Khuda must have given me this shawl, it is so
beautiful." Her mother was very glad too.
"Yes, my child," she said; "Khuda must have given you this splendid
When it was morning the old woman said to the Raja's son, "Now you must
"Aunty," he answered, "I am not well enough yet. Let me stay a few days
longer. I will remain hidden in your house, so that no one may see me."
So the old woman let him stay.
When it was black night, the princess put on her lovely clothes and
jewels, and sat on her roof. At midnight she went to her room and went
to sleep. Then the Raja's son sat on his bed and flew to her bed-room.
There he said to his bag, "Bag, I want a very, very beautiful ring."
The bag gave him a glorious ring. Then he took the Princess Labam's
hand gently to put on the ring, and she started up very much
"Who are you?" she said to the prince. "Where do you come from? Why do
you come to my room?"
"Do not be afraid, princess," he said; "I am no thief. I am a great
Raja's son. Hiraman parrot, who lives in the jungle where I went to
hunt, told me your name, and then I left my father and mother, and came
to see you."
"Well," said the princess, "as you are the son of such a great Raja, I
will not have you killed, and I will tell my father and mother that I
wish to marry you."
The prince then returned to the old woman's house; and when morning
came the princess said to her mother, "The son of a great Raja has come
to this country, and I wish to marry him." Her mother told this to the
"Good," said the king; "but if this Raja's son wishes to marry my
daughter, he must first do whatever I bid him. If he fails I will kill
him. I will give him eighty pounds weight of mustard seed, and out of
this he must crush the oil in one day. If he cannot do this he shall
In the morning the Raja's son told the old woman that he intended to
marry the princess. "Oh," said the old woman, "go away from this
country, and do not think of marrying her. A great many Rajas and
Rajas' sons have come here to marry her, and her father has had them
all killed. He says whoever wishes to marry his daughter must first do
whatever he bids him. If he can, then he shall marry the princess; if
he cannot, the king will have him killed. But no one can do the things
the king tells him to do; so all the Rajas and Rajas' sons who have
tried have been put to death. You will be killed too, if you try. Do go
away." But the prince would not listen to anything she said.
The king sent for the prince to the old woman's house, and his servants
brought the Raja's son to the king's court-house to the king. There the
king gave him eighty pounds of mustard seed, and told him to crush all
the oil out of it that day, and bring it next morning to him to the
court-house. "Whoever wishes to marry my daughter," he said to the
prince, "must first do all I tell him. If he cannot, then I have him
killed. So if you cannot crush all the oil out of this mustard seed,
you will die."
The prince was very sorry when he heard this. "How can I crush the oil
out of all this mustard seed in one day?" he said to himself; "and if I
do not, the king will kill me." He took the mustard seed to the old
woman's house, and did not know what to do. At last he remembered the
Ant-Raja, and the moment he did so, the Ant-Raja and his ants came to
him. "Why do you look so sad?" said the Ant-Raja.
The prince showed him the mustard seed, and said to him, "How can I
crush the oil out of all this mustard seed in one day? And if I do not
take the oil to the king to-morrow morning, he will kill me."
"Be happy," said the Ant-Raja; "lie down and sleep; we will crush all
the oil out for you during the day, and to-morrow morning you shall
take it to the king." The Raja's son lay down and slept, and the ants
crushed out the oil for him. The prince was very glad when he saw the
The next morning he took it to the court-house to the king. But the
king said, "You cannot yet marry my daughter. If you wish to do so, you
must first fight with my two demons and kill them." The king a long
time ago had caught two demons, and then, as he did not know what to do
with them, he had shut them up in a cage. He was afraid to let them
loose for fear they would eat up all the people in his country; and he
did not know how to kill them. So all the kings and kings' sons who
wanted to marry the Princess Labam had to fight with these demons;
"for," said the king to himself, "perhaps the demons may be killed, and
then I shall be rid of them."
When he heard of the demons the Raja's son was very sad. "What can I
do?" he said to himself. "How can I fight with these two demons?" Then
he thought of his tiger: and the tiger and his wife came to him and
said, "Why are you so sad?" The Raja's son answered, "The king has
ordered me to fight with his two demons and kill them. How can I do
this?" "Do not be frightened," said the tiger. "Be happy. I and my wife
will fight with them for you."
Then the Raja's son took out of his bag two splendid coats. They were
all gold and silver, and covered with pearls and diamonds. These he put
on the tigers to make them beautiful, and he took them to the king, and
said to him, "May these tigers fight your demons for me?" "Yes," said
the king, who did not care in the least who killed his demons, provided
they were killed. "Then call your demons," said the Raja's son, "and
these tigers will fight them." The king did so, and the tigers and the
demons fought and fought until the tigers had killed the demons.
"That is good," said the king. "But you must do something else before I
give you my daughter. Up in the sky I have a kettle-drum. You must go
and beat it. If you cannot do this, I will kill you."
The Raja's son thought of his little bed; so he went to the old woman's
house and sat on his bed. "Little bed," he said, "up in the sky is the
king's kettle-drum. I want to go to it." The bed flew up with him, and
the Raja's son beat the drum, and the king heard him. Still, when he
came down, the king would not give him his daughter. "You have," he
said to the prince, "done the three things I told you to do; but you
must do one thing more." "If I can, I will," said the Raja's son.
Then the king showed him the trunk of a tree that was lying near his
court-house. It was a very, very thick trunk. He gave the prince a wax
hatchet, and said, "Tomorrow morning you must cut this trunk in two
with this wax hatchet."
The Raja's son went back to the old woman's house. He was very sad, and
thought that now the Raja would certainly kill him. "I had his oil
crushed out by the ants," he said to himself. "I had his demons killed
by the tigers. My bed helped me to beat his kettle-drum. But now what
can I do? How can I cut that thick tree-trunk in two with a wax
At night he went on his bed to see the princess. "To-morrow," he said
to her, "your father will kill me." "Why?" asked the princess.
"He has told me to cut a thick tree-trunk in two with a wax hatchet.
How can I ever do that?" said the Raja's son. "Do not be afraid," said
the princess; "do as I bid you, and you will cut it in two quite
Then she pulled out a hair from her head, and gave it to the prince.
"To-morrow," she said, "when no one is near you, you must say to the
tree-trunk, 'The Princess Labam commands you to let yourself be cut in
two by this hair.' Then stretch the hair down the edge of the wax
The prince next day did exactly as the princess had told him; and the
minute the hair that was stretched down the edge of the hatchet-blade
touched the tree-trunk it split into two pieces.
The king said, "Now you can marry my daughter." Then the wedding took
place. All the Rajas and kings of the countries round were asked to
come to it, and there were great rejoicings. After a few days the
prince's son said to his wife, "Let us go to my father's country." The
Princess Labam's father gave them a quantity of camels and horses and
rupees and servants; and they travelled in great state to the prince's
country, where they lived happily.
The prince always kept his bag, bowl, bed, and stick; only, as no one
ever came to make war on him, he never needed to use the stick.
Once upon a time there was a wee wee Lambikin, who frolicked about on
his little tottery legs, and enjoyed himself amazingly.
Now one day he set off to visit his Granny, and was jumping with joy to
think of all the good things he should get from her, when who should he
meet but a Jackal, who looked at the tender young morsel and said:
"Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll EAT YOU!"
But Lambikin only gave a little frisk and said:
"To Granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so."
The Jackal thought this reasonable, and let Lambikin pass.
By-and-by he met a Vulture, and the Vulture, looking hungrily at the
tender morsel before him, said: "Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll EAT YOU!"
But Lambikin only gave a little frisk, and said:
"To Granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so."
The Vulture thought this reasonable, and let Lambikin pass.
And by-and-by he met a Tiger, and then a Wolf, and a Dog, and an Eagle,
and all these, when they saw the tender little morsel, said: "Lambikin!
Lambikin! I'll EAT YOU!"
But to all of them Lambikin replied, with a little frisk:
"To Granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so."
At last he reached his Granny's house, and said, all in a great hurry,
"Granny, dear, I've promised to get very fat; so, as people ought to
keep their promises, please put me into the corn-bin _at once_."
So his Granny said he was a good boy, and put him into the corn-bin,
and there the greedy little Lambikin stayed for seven days, and ate,
and ate, and ate, until he could scarcely waddle, and his Granny said
he was fat enough for anything, and must go home. But cunning little
Lambikin said that would never do, for some animal would be sure to eat
him on the way back, he was so plump and tender.
"I'll tell you what you must do," said Master Lambikin, "you must make
a little drumikin out of the skin of my little brother who died, and
then I can sit inside and trundle along nicely, for I'm as tight as a
So his Granny made a nice little drumikin out of his brother's skin,
with the wool inside, and Lambikin curled himself up snug and warm in
the middle, and trundled away gaily. Soon he met with the Eagle, who
Have you seen Lambikin?"
And Mr. Lambikin, curled up in his soft warm nest, replied:
"Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin. Tum-pa, tum-too!"
"How very annoying!" sighed the Eagle, thinking regretfully of the
tender morsel he had let slip.
Meanwhile Lambikin trundled along, laughing to himself, and singing:
Every animal and bird he met asked him the same question:
Have you seen Lambikin?"
And to each of them the little slyboots replied:
"Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin. Tum-pa, tum too;
Tum-pa, tum-too; Tum-pa, tum-too!"
Then they all sighed to think of the tender little morsel they had let
At last the Jackal came limping along, for all his sorry looks as sharp
as a needle, and he too called out--
Have you seen Lambikin?"
And Lambikin, curled up in his snug little nest, replied gaily:
"Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin! Tum-pa--"
But he never got any further, for the Jackal recognised his voice at
once, and cried: "Hullo! you've turned yourself inside out, have you?
Just you come out of that!"
Whereupon he tore open Drumikin and gobbled up Lambikin.
Once upon a time there was a Raja who had seven beautiful daughters.
They were all good girls; but the youngest, named Balna, was more
clever than the rest. The Raja's wife died when they were quite little
children, so these seven poor Princesses were left with no mother to
take care of them.
The Raja's daughters took it by turns to cook their father's dinner
every day, whilst he was absent deliberating with his Ministers on the
affairs of the nation.
About this time the Prudhan died, leaving a widow and one daughter; and
every day, every day, when the seven Princesses were preparing their
father's dinner, the Prudhan's widow and daughter would come and beg
for a little fire from the hearth. Then Balna used to say to her
sisters, "Send that woman away; send her away. Let her get the fire at
her own house. What does she want with ours? If we allow her to come
here, we shall suffer for it some day."
But the other sisters would answer, "Be quiet, Balna; why must you
always be quarrelling with this poor woman? Let her take some fire if
she likes." Then the Prudhan's widow used to go to the hearth and take
a few sticks from it; and whilst no one was looking, she would quickly
throw some mud into the midst of the dishes which were being prepared
for the Raja's dinner.
Now the Raja was very fond of his daughters. Ever since their mother's
death they had cooked his dinner with their own hands, in order to
avoid the danger of his being poisoned by his enemies. So, when he
found the mud mixed up with his dinner, he thought it must arise from
their carelessness, as it did not seem likely that any one should have
put mud there on purpose; but being very kind he did not like to
reprove them for it, although this spoiling of the curry was repeated
many successive days.
At last, one day, he determined to hide, and watch his daughters
cooking, and see how it all happened; so he went into the next room,
and watched them through a hole in the wall.
There he saw his seven daughters carefully washing the rice and
preparing the curry, and as each dish was completed, they put it by the
fire ready to be cooked. Next he noticed the Prudhan's widow come to
the door, and beg for a few sticks from the fire to cook her dinner
with. Balna turned to her, angrily, and said, "Why don't you keep fuel
in your own house, and not come here every day and take ours? Sisters,
don't give this woman any more wood; let her buy it for herself."
Then the eldest sister answered, "Balna, let the poor woman take the
wood and the fire; she does us no harm." But Balna replied, "If you let
her come here so often, maybe she will do us some harm, and make us
sorry for it, some day."
The Raja then saw the Prudhan's widow go to the place where all his
dinner was nicely prepared, and, as she took the wood, she threw a
little mud into each of the dishes.
At this he was very angry, and sent to have the woman seized and
brought before him. But when the widow came, she told him that she had
played this trick because she wanted to gain an audience with him; and
she spoke so cleverly, and pleased him so well with her cunning words,
that instead of punishing her, the Raja married her, and made her his
Ranee, and she and her daughter came to live in the palace.
Now the new Ranee hated the seven poor Princesses, and wanted to get
them, if possible, out of the way, in order that her daughter might
have all their riches, and live in the palace as Princess in their
place; and instead of being grateful to them for their kindness to her,
she did all she could to make them miserable. She gave them nothing but
bread to eat, and very little of that, and very little water to drink;
so these seven poor little Princesses, who had been accustomed to have
everything comfortable about them, and good food and good clothes all
their lives long, were very miserable and unhappy; and they used to go
out every day and sit by their dead mother's tomb and cry--and say:
"Oh mother, mother, cannot you see your poor children, how unhappy we
are, and how we are starved by our cruel step-mother?"
One day, whilst they were thus sobbing and crying, lo and behold! a
beautiful pomelo tree grew up out of the grave, covered with fresh ripe
pomeloes, and the children satisfied their hunger by eating some of the
fruit, and every day after this, instead of trying to eat the bad
dinner their step-mother provided for them, they used to go out to
their mother's grave and eat the pomeloes which grew there on the
Then the Ranee said to her daughter, "I cannot tell how it is, every
day those seven girls say they don't want any dinner, and won't eat
any; and yet they never grow thin nor look ill; they look better than
you do. I cannot tell how it is." And she bade her watch the seven
Princesses, and see if any one gave them anything to eat.
So next day, when the Princesses went to their mother's grave, and were
eating the beautiful pomeloes, the Prudhan's daughter followed them,
and saw them gathering the fruit.
Then Balna said to her sisters, "Do you not see that girl watching us?
Let us drive her away, or hide the pomeloes, else she will go and tell
her mother all about it, and that will be very bad for us."
But the other sisters said, "Oh no, do not be unkind, Balna. The girl
would never be so cruel as to tell her mother. Let us rather invite her
to come and have some of the fruit." And calling her to them, they gave
her one of the pomeloes.
No sooner had she eaten it, however, than the Prudhan's daughter went
home and said to her mother, "I do not wonder the seven Princesses will
not eat the dinner you prepare for them, for by their mother's grave
there grows a beautiful pomelo tree, and they go there every day and
eat the pomeloes. I ate one, and it was the nicest I have ever tasted."
The cruel Ranee was much vexed at hearing this, and all next day she
stayed in her room, and told the Raja that she had a very bad headache.
The Raja was deeply grieved, and said to his wife, "What can I do for
you?" She answered, "There is only one thing that will make my headache
well. By your dead wife's tomb there grows a fine pomelo tree; you must
bring that here, and boil it, root and branch, and put a little of the
water in which it has been boiled, on my forehead, and that will cure
my headache." So the Raja sent his servants, and had the beautiful
pomelo tree pulled up by the roots, and did as the Ranee desired; and
when some of the water, in which it had been boiled, was put on her
forehead, she said her headache was gone and she felt quite well.
Next day, when the seven Princesses went as usual to the grave of their
mother, the pomelo tree had disappeared. Then they all began to cry
Now there was by the Ranee's tomb a small tank, and as they were crying
they saw that the tank was filled with a rich cream-like substance,
which quickly hardened into a thick white cake. At seeing this all the
Princesses were very glad, and they ate some of the cake, and liked it;
and next day the same thing happened, and so it went on for many days.
Every morning the Princesses went to their mother's grave, and found
the little tank filled with the nourishing cream-like cake. Then the
cruel step-mother said to her daughter: "I cannot tell how it is, I
have had the pomelo tree which used to grow by the Ranee's grave
destroyed, and yet the Princesses grow no thinner, nor look more sad,
though they never eat the dinner I give them. I cannot tell how it is!"
And her daughter said, "I will watch."
Next day, while the Princesses were eating the cream cake, who should
come by but their step-mother's daughter. Balna saw her first, and
said, "See, sisters, there comes that girl again. Let us sit round the
edge of the tank and not allow her to see it, for if we give her some
of our cake, she will go and tell her mother; and that will be very
unfortunate for us."
The other sisters, however, thought Balna unnecessarily suspicious, and
instead of following her advice, they gave the Prudhan's daughter some
of the cake, and she went home and told her mother all about it.
The Ranee, on hearing how well the Princesses fared, was exceedingly
angry, and sent her servants to pull down the dead Ranee's tomb, and
fill the little tank with the ruins. And not content with this, she
next day pretended to be very, very ill--in fact, at the point of
death--and when the Raja was much grieved, and asked her whether it was
in his power to procure her any remedy, she said to him: "Only one
thing can save my life, but I know you will not do it." He replied,
"Yes, whatever it is, I will do it." She then said, "To save my life,
you must kill the seven daughters of your first wife, and put some of
their blood on my forehead and on the palms of my hands, and their
death will be my life." At these words the Raja was very sorrowful; but
because he feared to break his word, he went out with a heavy heart to
find his daughters.
He found them crying by the ruins of their mother's grave.
Then, feeling he could not kill them, the Raja spoke kindly to them,
and told them to come out into the jungle with him; and there he made a
fire and cooked some rice, and gave it to them. But in the afternoon,
it being very hot, the seven Princesses all fell asleep, and when he
saw they were fast asleep, the Raja, their father, stole away and left
them (for he feared his wife), saying to himself: "It is better my poor
daughters should die here, than be killed by their step-mother."
He then shot a deer, and returning home, put some of its blood on the
forehead and hands of the Ranee, and she thought then that he had
really killed the Princesses, and said she felt quite well.
Meantime the seven Princesses awoke, and when they found themselves all
alone in the thick jungle they were much frightened, and began to call
out as loud as they could, in hopes of making their father hear; but he
was by that time far away, and would not have been able to hear them
even had their voices been as loud as thunder.
It so happened that this very day the seven young sons of a
neighbouring Raja chanced to be hunting in that same jungle, and as
they were returning home, after the day's sport was over, the youngest
Prince said to his brothers "Stop, I think I hear some one crying and
calling out. Do you not hear voices? Let us go in the direction of the
sound, and find out what it is."
So the seven Princes rode through the wood until they came to the place
where the seven Princesses sat crying and wringing their hands. At the
sight of them the young Princes were very much astonished, and still
more so on learning their story; and they settled that each should take
one of these poor forlorn ladies home with him, and marry her.
So the first and eldest Prince took the eldest Princess home with him,
and married her.
And the second took the second;
And the third took the third;
And the fourth took the fourth;
And the fifth took the fifth;
And the sixth took the sixth;
And the seventh, and the handsomest of all, took the beautiful Balna.
And when they got to their own land, there was great rejoicing
throughout the kingdom, at the marriage of the seven young Princes to
seven such beautiful Princesses.
About a year after this Balna had a little son, and his uncles and
aunts were so fond of the boy that it was as if he had seven fathers
and seven mothers. None of the other Princes and Princesses had any
children, so the son of the seventh Prince and Balna was acknowledged
their heir by all the rest.
They had thus lived very happily for some time, when one fine day the
seventh Prince (Balna's husband) said he would go out hunting, and away
he went; and they waited long for him, but he never came back.
Then his six brothers said they would go and see what had become of
him; and they went away, but they also did not return.
And the seven Princesses grieved very much, for they feared that their
kind husbands must have been killed.
One day, not long after this had happened, as Balna was rocking her
baby's cradle, and whilst her sisters were working in the room below,
there came to the palace door a man in a long black dress, who said
that he was a Fakir, and came to beg. The servants said to him, "You
cannot go into the palace--the Raja's sons have all gone away; we think
they must be dead, and their widows cannot be interrupted by your
begging." But he said, "I am a holy man, you must let me in." Then the
stupid servants let him walk through the palace, but they did not know
that this was no Fakir, but a wicked Magician named Punchkin.
Punchkin Fakir wandered through the palace, and saw many beautiful
things there, till at last he reached the room where Balna sat singing
beside her little boy's cradle. The Magician thought her more beautiful
than all the other beautiful things he had seen, insomuch that he asked
her to go home with him and to marry him. But she said, "My husband, I
fear, is dead, but my little boy is still quite young; I will stay here
and teach him to grow up a clever man, and when he is grown up he shall
go out into the world, and try and learn tidings of his father. Heaven
forbid that I should ever leave him, or marry you." At these words the
Magician was very angry, and turned her into a little black dog, and
led her away; saying, "Since you will not come with me of your own free
will, I will make you." So the poor Princess was dragged away, without
any power of effecting an escape, or of letting her sisters know what
had become of her. As Punchkin passed through the palace gate the
servants said to him, "Where did you get that pretty little dog?" And
he answered, "One of the Princesses gave it to me as a present." At
hearing which they let him go without further questioning.
Soon after this, the six elder Princesses heard the little baby, their
nephew, begin to cry, and when they went upstairs they were much
surprised to find him all alone, and Balna nowhere to be seen. Then
they questioned the servants, and when they heard of the Fakir and the
little black dog, they guessed what had happened, and sent in every
direction seeking them, but neither the Fakir nor the dog were to be
found. What could six poor women do? They gave up all hopes of ever
seeing their kind husbands, and their sister, and her husband, again,
and devoted themselves thenceforward to teaching and taking care of
their little nephew.
Thus time went on, till Balna's son was fourteen years old. Then, one
day, his aunts told him the history of the family; and no sooner did he
hear it, than he was seized with a great desire to go in search of his
father and mother and uncles, and if he could find them alive to bring
them home again. His aunts, on learning his determination, were much
alarmed and tried to dissuade him, saying, "We have lost our husbands,
and our sister and her husband, and you are now our sole hope; if you
go away, what shall we do?" But he replied, "I pray you not to be
discouraged; I will return soon, and if it is possible bring my father
and mother and uncles with me." So he set out on his travels; but for
some months he could learn nothing to help him in his search.
At last, after he had journeyed many hundreds of weary miles, and
become almost hopeless of ever hearing anything further of his parents,
he one day came to a country that seemed full of stones, and rocks, and
trees, and there he saw a large palace with a high tower; hard by which
was a Malee's little house.
As he was looking about, the Malee's wife saw him, and ran out of the
house and said, "My dear boy, who are you that dare venture to this
dangerous place?" He answered, "I am a Raja's son, and I come in search
of my father, and my uncles, and my mother whom a wicked enchanter
Then the Malee's wife said, "This country and this palace belong to a
great enchanter; he is all powerful, and if any one displeases him, he
can turn them into stones and trees. All the rocks and trees you see
here were living people once, and the Magician turned them to what they
now are. Some time ago a Raja's son came here, and shortly afterwards
came his six brothers, and they were all turned into stones and trees;
and these are not the only unfortunate ones, for up in that tower lives
a beautiful Princess, whom the Magician has kept prisoner there for
twelve years, because she hates him and will not marry him."
Then the little Prince thought, "These must be my parents and my
uncles. I have found what I seek at last." So he told his story to the
Malee's wife, and begged her to help him to remain in that place awhile
and inquire further concerning the unhappy people she mentioned; and
she promised to befriend him, and advised his disguising himself lest
the Magician should see him, and turn him likewise into stone. To this
the Prince agreed. So the Malee's wife dressed him up in a saree, and
pretended that he was her daughter.
One day, not long after this, as the Magician was walking in his garden
he saw the little girl (as he thought) playing about, and asked her who
she was. She told him she was the Malee's daughter, and the Magician
said, "You are a pretty little girl, and to-morrow you shall take a
present of flowers from me to the beautiful lady who lives in the
The young Prince was much delighted at hearing this, and went
immediately to inform the Malee's wife; after consultation with whom he
determined that it would be more safe for him to retain his disguise,
and trust to the chance of a favourable opportunity for establishing
some communication with his mother, if it were indeed she.
Now it happened that at Balna's marriage her husband had given her a
small gold ring on which her name was engraved, and she had put it on
her little son's finger when he was a baby, and afterwards when he was
older his aunts had had it enlarged for him, so that he was still able
to wear it. The Malee's wife advised him to fasten the well-known
treasure to one of the bouquets he presented to his mother, and trust
to her recognising it. This was not to be done without difficulty, as
such a strict watch was kept over the poor Princess (for fear of her
ever establishing communication with her friends), that though the
supposed Malee's daughter was permitted to take her flowers every day,
the Magician or one of his slaves was always in the room at the time.
At last one day, however, opportunity favoured him, and when no one was
looking, the boy tied the ring to a nosegay, and threw it at Balna's
feet. It fell with a clang on the floor, and Balna, looking to see what
made the strange sound, found the little ring tied to the flowers. On
recognising it, she at once believed the story her son told her of his
long search, and begged him to advise her as to what she had better do;
at the same time entreating him on no account to endanger his life by
trying to rescue her. She told him that for twelve long years the
Magician had kept her shut up in the tower because she refused to marry
him, and she was so closely guarded that she saw no hope of release.
Now Balna's son was a bright, clever boy, so he said, "Do not fear,
dear mother; the first thing to do is to discover how far the
Magician's power extends, in order that we may be able to liberate my
father and uncles, whom he has imprisoned in the form of rocks and
trees. You have spoken to him angrily for twelve long years; now rather
speak kindly. Tell him you have given up all hopes of again seeing the
husband you have so long mourned, and say you are willing to marry him.
Then endeavour to find out what his power consists in, and whether he
is immortal, or can be put to death."
Balna determined to take her son's advice; and the next day sent for
Punchkin, and spoke to him as had been suggested.
The Magician, greatly delighted, begged her to allow the wedding to
take place as soon as possible.
But she told him that before she married him he must allow her a little
more time, in which she might make his acquaintance, and that, after
being enemies so long, their friendship could but strengthen by
degrees. "And do tell me," she said, "are you quite immortal? Can death
never touch you? And are you too great an enchanter ever to feel human
"Why do you ask?" said he.
"Because," she replied, "if I am to be your wife, I would fain know all
about you, in order, if any calamity threatens you, to overcome, or if
possible to avert it."
"It is true," he added, "that I am not as others. Far, far away,
hundreds of thousands of miles from this, there lies a desolate country
covered with thick jungle. In the midst of the jungle grows a circle of
palm trees, and in the centre of the circle stand six chattees full of
water, piled one above another: below the sixth chattee is a small cage
which contains a little green parrot; on the life of the parrot depends
my life; and if the parrot is killed I must die. It is, however," he
added, "impossible that the parrot should sustain any injury, both on
account of the inaccessibility of the country, and because, by my
appointment, many thousand genii surround the palm trees, and kill all
who approach the place."
Balna told her son what Punchkin had said; but at the same time
implored him to give up all idea of getting the parrot.
The Prince, however, replied, "Mother, unless I can get hold of that
parrot, you, and my father, and uncles, cannot be liberated: be not
afraid, I will shortly return. Do you, meantime, keep the Magician in
good humour--still putting off your marriage with him on various
pretexts; and before he finds out the cause of delay, I will be here."
So saying, he went away.
Many, many weary miles did he travel, till at last he came to a thick
jungle; and, being very tired, sat down under a tree and fell asleep.
He was awakened by a soft rustling sound, and looking about him, saw a
large serpent which was making its way to an eagle's nest built in the
tree under which he lay, and in the nest were two young eagles. The
Prince seeing the danger of the young birds, drew his sword, and killed
the serpent; at the same moment a rushing sound was heard in the air,
and the two old eagles, who had been out hunting for food for their
young ones, returned. They quickly saw the dead serpent and the young
Prince standing over it; and the old mother eagle said to him, "Dear
boy, for many years all our young ones have been devoured by that cruel
serpent; you have now saved the lives of our children; whenever you are
in need, therefore, send to us and we will help you; and as for these
little eagles, take them, and let them be your servants."
At this the Prince was very glad, and the two eaglets crossed their
wings, on which he mounted; and they carried him far, far away over the
thick jungles, until he came to the place where grew the circle of palm
trees, in the midst of which stood the six chattees full of water. It
was the middle of the day, and the heat was very great. All round the
trees were the genii fast asleep; nevertheless, there were such
countless thousands of them, that it would have been quite impossible
for any one to walk through their ranks to the place; down swooped the
strong-winged eaglets--down jumped the Prince; in an instant he had
overthrown the six chattees full of water, and seized the little green
parrot, which he rolled up in his cloak; while, as he mounted again
into the air, all the genii below awoke, and finding their treasure
gone, set up a wild and melancholy howl.
Away, away flew the little eagles, till they came to their home in the
great tree; then the Prince said to the old eagles, "Take back your
little ones; they have done me good service; if ever again I stand in
need of help, I will not fail to come to you." He then continued his
journey on foot till he arrived once more at the Magician's palace,
where he sat down at the door and began playing with the parrot.
Punchkin saw him, and came to him quickly, and said, "My boy, where did
you get that parrot? Give it to me, I pray you."
But the Prince answered, "Oh no, I cannot give away my parrot, it is a
great pet of mine; I have had it many years."
Then the Magician said, "If it is an old favourite, I can understand
your not caring to give it away; but come what will you sell it for?"
"Sir," replied the Prince, "I will not sell my parrot."
Then Punchkin got frightened, and said, "Anything, anything; name what
price you will, and it shall be yours." The Prince answered, "Let the
seven Raja's sons whom you turned into rocks and trees be instantly
"It is done as you desire," said the Magician, "only give me my
parrot." And with that, by a stroke of his wand, Balna's husband and
his brothers resumed their natural shapes. "Now, give me my parrot,"
"Not so fast, my master," rejoined the Prince; "I must first beg that
you will restore to life all whom you have thus imprisoned."
The Magician immediately waved his wand again; and, whilst he cried, in
an imploring voice, "Give me my parrot!" the whole garden became
suddenly alive: where rocks, and stones, and trees had been before,
stood Rajas, and Punts, and Sirdars, and mighty men on prancing horses,
and jewelled pages, and troops of armed attendants.
"Give me my parrot!" cried Punchkin. Then the boy took hold of the
parrot, and tore off one of its wings; and as he did so the Magician's
right arm fell off.
Punchkin then stretched out his left arm, crying, "Give me my parrot!"
The Prince pulled off the parrot's second wing, and the Magician's left
arm tumbled off.
"Give me my parrot!" cried he, and fell on his knees. The Prince pulled
off the parrot's right leg, the Magician's right leg fell off: the
Prince pulled off the parrot's left leg, down fell the Magician's left.
Nothing remained of him save the limbless body and the head; but still
he rolled his eyes, and cried, "Give me my parrot!" "Take your parrot,
then," cried the boy, and with that he wrung the bird's neck, and threw
it at the Magician; and, as he did so, Punchkin's head twisted round,
and, with a fearful groan, he died!
Then they let Balna out of the tower; and she, her son, and the seven
Princes went to their own country, and lived very happily ever
afterwards. And as to the rest of the world, every one went to his own
THE BROKEN POT
There lived in a certain place a Brahman, whose name was
Svabhavak_ri_pa_n_a, which means "a born miser." He had collected
a quantity of rice by begging, and after having dined off it, he filled a
pot with what was left over. He hung the pot on a peg on the wall,
placed his couch beneath, and looking intently at it all the night, he
thought, "Ah, that pot is indeed brimful of rice. Now, if there should be
a famine, I should certainly make a hundred rupees by it. With this I
shall buy a couple of goats. They will have young ones every six months,
and thus I shall have a whole herd of goats. Then, with the goats, I
shall buy cows. As soon as they have calved, I shall sell the calves.
Then, with the calves, I shall buy buffaloes; with the buffaloes, mares.
When the mares have foaled, I shall have plenty of horses; and when
I sell them, plenty of gold. With that gold I shall get a house with four
wings. And then a Brahman will come to my house, and will give me his
beautiful daughter, with a large dowry. She will have a son, and I shall
call him Somasarman. When he is old enough to be danced on his
father's knee, I shall sit with a book at the back of the stable, and while
I am reading, the boy will see me, jump from his mother's lap, and run
towards me to be danced on my knee. He will come too near the
horse's hoof, and, full of anger, I shall call to my wife, 'Take the baby;
take him!' But she, distracted by some domestic work, does not hear me.
Then I get up, and give her such a kick with my foot." While he thought
this, he gave a kick with his foot, and broke the pot. All the rice fell
over him, and made him quite white. Therefore, I say, "He who makes
foolish plans for the future will be white all over, like the father of
THE MAGIC FIDDLE
Once upon a time there lived seven brothers and a sister. The brothers
were married, but their wives did not do the cooking for the family. It
was done by their sister, who stopped at home to cook. The wives for
this reason bore their sister-in-law much ill-will, and at length they
combined together to oust her from the office of cook and general
provider, so that one of themselves might obtain it. They said, "She
does not go out to the fields to work, but remains quietly at home, and
yet she has not the meals ready at the proper time." They then called
upon their Bonga, and vowing vows unto him they secured his good-will
and assistance; then they said to the Bonga, "At midday, when our
sister-in-law goes to bring water, cause it thus to happen, that on
seeing her pitcher, the water shall vanish, and again slowly re-appear.
In this way she will be delayed. Let the water not flow into her
pitcher, and you may keep the maiden as your own."
At noon when she went to bring water, it suddenly dried up before her,
and she began to weep. Then after a while the water began slowly to
rise. When it reached her ankles she tried to fill her pitcher, but it
would not go under the water. Being frightened she began to wail and
cry to her brother:
"Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my ankles,
Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not dip."
The water continued to rise until it reached her knee, when she began
to wail again:
"Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my knee,
Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not dip."
The water continued to rise, and when it reached her waist, she cried
"Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my waist,
Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not dip."
The water still rose, and when it reached her neck she kept on crying:
"Oh! my brother, the water reaches to my neck,
Still, Oh! my brother, the pitcher will not dip."
At length the water became so deep that she felt herself drowning, then
she cried aloud:
"Oh! my brother, the water measures a man's height,
Oh! my brother, the pitcher begins to fill."
The pitcher filled with water, and along with it she sank and was
drowned. The Bonga then transformed her into a Bonga like himself, and
carried her off.
After a time she re-appeared as a bamboo growing on the embankment of
the tank in which she had been drowned. When the bamboo had grown to an
immense size, a Jogi, who was in the habit of passing that way, seeing
it, said to himself, "This will make a splendid fiddle." So one day he
brought an axe to cut it down; but when he was about to begin, the
bamboo called out, "Do not cut at the root, cut higher up." When he
lifted his axe to cut high up the stem, the bamboo cried out, "Do not
cut near the top, cut at the root." When the Jogi again prepared
himself to cut at the root as requested, the bamboo said, "Do not cut
at the root, cut higher up;" and when he was about to cut higher up, it
again called out to him, "Do not cut high up, cut at the root." The
Jogi by this time felt sure that a Bonga was trying to frighten him, so
becoming angry he cut down the bamboo at the root, and taking it away
made a fiddle out of it. The instrument had a superior tone and
delighted all who heard it. The Jogi carried it with him when he went
a-begging, and through the influence of its sweet music he returned
home every evening with a full wallet.
He now and then visited, when on his rounds, the house of the Bonga
girl's brothers, and the strains of the fiddle affected them greatly.
Some of them were moved even to tears, for the fiddle seemed to wail as
one in bitter anguish. The elder brother wished to purchase it, and
offered to support the Jogi for a whole year if he would consent to
part with his wonderful instrument. The Jogi, however, knew its value,
and refused to sell it.
It so happened that the Jogi some time after went to the house of a
village chief, and after playing a tune or two on his fiddle asked for
something to eat. They offered to buy his fiddle and promised a high
price for it, but he refused to sell it, as his fiddle brought to him
his means of livelihood. When they saw that he was not to be prevailed
upon, they gave him food and a plentiful supply of liquor. Of the
latter he drank so freely that he presently became intoxicated. While
he was in this condition, they took away his fiddle, and substituted
their own old one for it. When the Jogi recovered, he missed his
instrument, and suspecting that it had been stolen asked them to return
it to him. They denied having taken it, so he had to depart, leaving
his fiddle behind him. The chief's son, being a musician, used to play
on the Jogi's fiddle, and in his hands the music it gave forth
delighted the ears of all who heard it.
When all the household were absent at their labours in the fields, the
Bonga girl used to come out of the bamboo fiddle, and prepared the
family meal. Having eaten her own share, she placed that of the chief's
son under his bed, and covering it up to keep off the dust, re-entered
the fiddle. This happening every day, the other members of the
household thought that some girl friend of theirs was in this manner
showing her interest in the young man, so they did not trouble
themselves to find out how it came about. The young chief, however, was
determined to watch, and see which of his girl friends was so attentive
to his comfort. He said in his own mind, "I will catch her to-day, and
give her a sound beating; she is causing me to be ashamed before the
others." So saying, he hid himself in a corner in a pile of firewood.
In a short time the girl came out of the bamboo fiddle, and began to
dress her hair. Having completed her toilet, she cooked the meal of
rice as usual, and having eaten some herself, she placed the young
man's portion under his bed, as before, and was about to enter the
fiddle again, when he, running out from his hiding-place, caught her in
his arms. The Bonga girl exclaimed, "Fie! Fie! you may be a Dom, or you
may be a Hadi of some other caste with whom I cannot marry." He said,
"No. But from to-day, you and I are one." So they began lovingly to
hold converse with each other. When the others returned home in the
evening, they saw that she was both a human being and a Bonga, and they
Now in course of time the Bonga girl's family became very poor, and her
brothers on one occasion came to the chief's house on a visit.
The Bonga girl recognised them at once, but they did not know who she
was. She brought them water on their arrival, and afterwards set cooked
rice before them. Then sitting down near them, she began in wailing
tones to upbraid them on account of the treatment she had been
subjected to by their wives. She related all that had befallen her, and
wound up by saying, "You must have known it all, and yet you did not
interfere to save me." And that was all the revenge she took.
THE CRUEL CRANE OUTWITTED
Long ago the Bodisat was born to a forest life as the Genius of a tree
standing near a certain lotus pond.
Now at that time the water used to run short at the dry season in a
certain pond, not over large, in which there were a good many fish. And
a crane thought on seeing the fish.
"I must outwit these fish somehow or other and make a prey of them."
And he went and sat down at the edge of the water, thinking how he
should do it.
When the fish saw him, they asked him, "What are you sitting there for,
lost in thought?"
"I am sitting thinking about you," said he.
"Oh, sir! what are you thinking about us?" said they.
"Why," he replied; "there is very little water in this pond, and but
little for you to eat; and the heat is so great! So I was thinking,
'What in the world will these fish do now?'"
"Yes, indeed, sir! what _are_ we to do?" said they.
"If you will only do as I bid you, I will take you in my beak to a fine
large pond, covered with all the kinds of lotuses, and put you into
it," answered the crane.
"That a crane should take thought for the fishes is a thing unheard of,
sir, since the world began. It's eating us, one after the other, that
you're aiming at."
"Not I! So long as you trust me, I won't eat you. But if you don't
believe me that there is such a pond, send one of you with me to go and
Then they trusted him, and handed over to him one of their number--a
big fellow, blind of one eye, whom they thought sharp enough in any
emergency, afloat or ashore.
Him the crane took with him, let him go in the pond, showed him the
whole of it, brought him back, and let him go again close to the other
fish. And he told them all the glories of the pond.
And when they heard what he said, they exclaimed, "All right, sir! You
may take us with you."
Then the crane took the old purblind fish first to the bank of the
other pond, and alighted in a Varana-tree growing on the bank there.
But he threw it into a fork of the tree, struck it with his beak, and
killed it; and then ate its flesh, and threw its bones away at the foot
of the tree. Then he went back and called out:
"I've thrown that fish in; let another one come."
And in that manner he took all the fish, one by one, and ate them, till
he came back and found no more!
But there was still a crab left behind there; and the crane thought he
would eat him too, and called out:
"I say, good crab, I've taken all the fish away, and put them into a
fine large pond. Come along. I'll take you too!"
"But how will you take hold of me to carry me along?"
"I'll bite hold of you with my beak."
"You'll let me fall if you carry me like that. I won't go with you!"
"Don't be afraid! I'll hold you quite tight all the way."
Then said the crab to himself, "If this fellow once got hold of fish,
he would never let them go in a pond! Now if he should really put me
into the pond, it would be capital; but if he doesn't--then I'll cut
his throat, and kill him!" So he said to him:
"Look here, friend, you won't be able to hold me tight enough; but we
crabs have a famous grip. If you let me catch hold of you round the
neck with my claws, I shall be glad to go with you."
And the other did not see that he was trying to outwit him, and agreed.
So the crab caught hold of his neck with his claws as securely as with
a pair of blacksmith's pincers, and called out, "Off with you, now!"
And the crane took him and showed him the pond, and then turned off
towards the Varana-tree.
"Uncle!" cried the crab, "the pond lies that way, but you are taking me
"Oh, that's it, is it?" answered the crane. "Your dear little uncle,
your very sweet nephew, you call me! You mean me to understand, I
suppose, that I am your slave, who has to lift you up and carry you
about with him! Now cast your eye upon the heap of fish-bones lying at
the root of yonder Varana-tree. Just as I have eaten those fish, every
one of them, just so I will devour you as well!"
"Ah! those fishes got eaten through their own stupidity," answered the
crab; "but I'm not going to let you eat _me_. On the contrary, is
it _you_ that I am going to destroy. For you in your folly have
not seen that I was outwitting you. If we die, we die both together;
for I will cut off this head of yours, and cast it to the ground!" And
so saying, he gave the crane's neck a grip with his claws, as with a
Then gasping, and with tears trickling from his eyes, and trembling
with the fear of death, the crane beseeched him, saying, "O my Lord!
Indeed I did not intend to eat you. Grant me my life!"
"Well, well! step down into the pond, and put me in there."
And he turned round and stepped down into the pond, and placed the crab
on the mud at its edge. But the crab cut through its neck as clean as
one would cut a lotus-stalk with a hunting-knife, and then only entered
When the Genius who lived in the Varana-tree saw this strange affair,
he made the wood resound with his plaudits, uttering in a pleasant
voice the verse:
"The villain, though exceeding clever,
Shall prosper not by his villainy.
He may win indeed, sharp-witted in deceit,
But only as the Crane here from the Crab!"
Once there was a king called King Dantal, who had a great many rupees
and soldiers and horses. He had also an only son called Prince Majnun,
who was a handsome boy with white teeth, red lips, blue eyes, red
cheeks, red hair, and a white skin. This boy was very fond of playing
with the Wazir's son, Husain Mahamat, in King Dantal's garden, which
was very large and full of delicious fruits, and flowers, and trees.
They used to take their little knives there and cut the fruits and eat
them. King Dantal had a teacher for them to teach them to read and
One day, when they were grown two fine young men, Prince Majnun said to
his father, "Husain Mahamat and I should like to go and hunt." His
father said they might go, so they got ready their horses and all else
they wanted for their hunting, and went to the Phalana country, hunting
all the way, but they only founds jackals and birds.
The Raja of the Phalana country was called Munsuk Raja, and he had a
daughter named Laili, who was very beautiful; she had brown eyes and
One night, some time before Prince Majnun came to her father's kingdom,
as she slept, Khuda sent to her an angel in the form of a man who told
her that she should marry Prince Majnun and no one else, and that this
was Khuda's command to her. When Laili woke she told her father of the
angel's visit to her as she slept; but her father paid no attention to
her story. From that time she began repeating, "Majnun, Majnun; I want
Majnun," and would say nothing else. Even as she sat and ate her food
she kept saying, "Majnun, Majnun; I want Majnun." Her father used to
get quite vexed with her. "Who is this Majnun? who ever heard of this
Majnun?" he would say.
"He is the man I am to marry," said Laili. "Khuda has ordered me to
marry no one but Majnun." And she was half mad.
Meanwhile, Majnun and Husain Mahamat came to hunt in the Phalana
country; and as they were riding about, Laili came out on her horse to
eat the air, and rode behind them. All the time she kept saying,
"Majnun, Majnun; I want Majnun." The prince heard her, and turned
round. "Who is calling me?" he asked. At this Laili looked at him, and
the moment she saw him she fell deeply in love with him, and she said
to herself, "I am sure that is the Prince Majnun that Khuda says I am
to marry." And she went home to her father and said, "Father, I wish to
marry the prince who has come to your kingdom; for I know he is the
Prince Majnun I am to marry."
"Very well, you shall have him for your husband," said Munsuk Raja. "We
will ask him to-morrow." Laili consented to wait, although she was very
impatient. As it happened, the prince left the Phalana kingdom that
night, and when Laili heard he was gone, she went quite mad. She would
not listen to a word her father, or her mother, or her servants said to
her, but went off into the jungle, and wandered from jungle to jungle,
till she got farther and farther away from her own country. All the
time she kept saying, "Majnun, Majnun; I want Majnun;" and so she
wandered about for twelve years.
At the end of the twelve years she met a fakir--he was really an angel,
but she did not know this--who asked her, "Why do you always say,
'Majnun, Majnun; I want Majnun'?" She answered, "I am the daughter of
the king of the Phalana country, and I want to find Prince Majnun; tell
me where his kingdom is."
"I think you will never get there," said the fakir, "for it is very far
from hence, and you have to cross many rivers to reach it." But Laili
said she did not care; she must see Prince Majnun. "Well," said the
fakir, "when you come to the Bhagirathi river you will see a big fish,
a Rohu; and you must get him to carry you to Prince Majnun's country,
or you will never reach it."
She went on and on, and at last she came to the Bhagirathi river. There
was a great big fish called the Rohu fish. It was yawning just as she
got up to it, and she instantly jumped down its throat into its
stomach. All the time she kept saying, "Majnun, Majnun." At this the
Rohu fish was greatly alarmed and swam down the river as fast as he
could. By degrees he got tired and went slower, and a crow came and
perched on his back, and said "Caw, caw." "Oh, Mr. Crow," said the poor
fish "do see what is in my stomach that makes such a noise."
"Very well," said the crow, "open your mouth wide, and I'll fly down
So the Rohu opened his jaws and the crow flew down, but he came up
again very quickly. "You have a Rakshas in your stomach," said the
crow, and he flew away.
This news did not comfort the poor Rohu, and he swam on and on till he
came to Prince Majnun's country. There he stopped. And a jackal came
down to the river to drink. "Oh, jackal," said the Rohu "do tell me
what I have inside me."
"How can I tell?" said the jackal. "I cannot see unless I go inside
you." So the Rohu opened his mouth wide, and the jackal jumped down his
throat; but he came up very quickly, looking much frightened and
saying, "You have a Rakshas in your stomach, and if I don't run away
quickly, I am afraid it will eat me." So off he ran. After the jackal
came an enormous snake. "Oh," says the fish, "do tell me what I have in
my stomach, for it rattles about so, and keeps saying, 'Majnun, Majnun;
I want Majnun.'"
The snake said, "Open your mouth wide, and I'll go down and see what it
is." The snake went down: when he returned he said, "You have a Rakshas
in your stomach, but if you will let me cut you open, it will come out
of you." "If you do that, I shall die," said the Rohu. "Oh, no," said
the snake, "you will not, for I will give you a medicine that will make
you quite well again." So the fish agreed, and the snake got a knife
and cut him open, and out jumped Laili.
She was now very old. Twelve years she had wandered about the jungle,
and for twelve years she had lived inside her Rohu; and she was no
longer beautiful, and had lost her teeth. The snake took her on his
back and carried her into the country, and there he put her down, and
she wandered on and on till she got to Majnun's court-house, where King
Majnun was sitting. There some men heard her crying, "Majnun, Majnun; I
want Majnun," and they asked her what she wanted. "I want King Majnun,"
So they went in and said to Prince Majnun, "An old woman outside says
she wants you." "I cannot leave this place," said he; "send her in
here." They brought her in and the prince asked her what she wanted. "I
want to marry you," she answered. "Twenty-four years ago you came to my
father the Phalana Raja's country, and I wanted to marry you then; but
you went away without marrying me. Then I went mad, and I have wandered
about all these years looking for you." Prince Majnun said, "Very
"Pray to Khuda," said Laili, "to make us both young again, and then we
shall be married." So the prince prayed to Khuda, and Khuda said to
him, "Touch Laili's clothes and they will catch fire, and when they are
on fire, she and you will become young again." When he touched Laili's
clothes they caught fire, and she and he became young again. And there
were great feasts, and they were married, and travelled to the Phalana
country to see her father and mother.
Now Laili's father and mother had wept so much for their daughter that
they had become quite blind, and her father kept always repeating,
"Laili, Laili, Laili." When Laili saw their blindness, she prayed to
Khuda to restore their sight to them, which he did. As soon as the
father and mother saw Laili, they hugged her and kissed her, and then
they had the wedding all over again amid great rejoicings. Prince
Majnum and Laili stayed with Munsuk Raja and his wife for three years,
and then they returned to King Dantal, and lived happily for some time
with him. They used to go out hunting, and they often went from country
to country to eat the air and amuse themselves.
One day Prince Majnun said to Laili, "Let us go through this jungle."
"No, no," said Laili; "if we go through this jungle, some harm will
happen to me." But Prince Majnun laughed, and went into the jungle. And
as they were going through it, Khuda thought, "I should like to know
how much Prince Majnun loves his wife. Would he be very sorry if she
died? And would he marry another wife? I will see." So he sent one of
his angels in the form of a fakir into the jungle; and the angel went
up to Laili, and threw some powder in her face, and instantly she fell
to the ground a heap of ashes.
Prince Majnun was in great sorrow and grief when he saw his dear Laili
turned into a little heap of ashes; and he went straight home to his
father, and for a long, long time he would not be comforted. After a
great many years he grew more cheerful and happy, and began to go again
into his father's beautiful garden with Husain Mahamat. King Dantal
wished his son to marry again. "I will only have Laili for my wife; I
will not marry any other woman," said Prince Majnun.
"How can you marry Laili? Laili is dead. She will never come back to
you," said the father. "Then I'll not have any wife at all," said
Meanwhile Laili was living in the jungle where her husband had left her
a little heap of ashes. As soon as Majnun had gone, the fakir had taken
her ashes and made them quite clean, and then he had mixed clay and
water with the ashes, and made the figure of a woman with them, and so
Laili regained her human form, and Khuda sent life into it. But Laili
had become once more a hideous old woman, with a long, long nose, and
teeth like tusks; just such an old woman, excepting her teeth, as she
had been when she came out of the Rohu fish; and she lived in the
jungle, and neither ate nor drank, and she kept on saying, "Majnun,
Majnun; I want Majnun."
At last the angel who had come as a fakir and thrown the powder at her,
said to Khuda, "Of what use is it that this woman should sit in the
jungle crying, crying for ever, 'Majnun, Majnun; I want Majnun,' and
eating and drinking nothing? Let me take her to Prince Majnun." "Well,"
said Khuda, "you may do so; but tell her that she must not speak to
Majnun if he is afraid of her when he sees her; and that if he is
afraid when he sees her, she will become a little white dog the next
day. Then she must go to the palace, and she will only regain her human
shape when Prince Majnun loves her, feeds her with his own food, and
lets her sleep in his bed."
So the angel came to Laili again as a fakir and carried her to King
Dantal's garden. "Now," he said, "it is Khuda's command that you stay
here till Prince Majnun comes to walk in the garden, and then you may
show yourself to him. But you must not speak to him, if he is afraid of
you; and should he be afraid of you, you will the next day become a
little white dog." He then told her what she must do as a little dog to
regain her human form.
Laili stayed in the garden, hidden in the tall grass, till Prince
Majnun and Husain Mahamat came to walk in the garden. King Dantal was
now a very old man, and Husain Mahamat, though he was really only as
old as Prince Majnun, looked a great deal older than the prince, who
had been made quite young again when he married Laili.
As Prince Majnun and the Wazir's son walked in the garden, they
gathered the fruit as they had done as little children, only they bit
the fruit with their teeth; they did not cut it. While Majnun was busy
eating a fruit in this way, and was talking to Husain Mahamat, he
turned towards him and saw Laili walking behind the Wazir's son.
"Oh, look, look!" he cried, "see what is following you; it is a Rakshas
or a demon, and I am sure it is going to eat us." Laili looked at him
beseechingly with all her eyes, and trembled with age and eagerness;
but this only frightened Majnun the more. "It is a Rakshas, a Rakshas!"
he cried, and he ran quickly to the palace with the Wazir's son; and as
they ran away, Laili disappeared into the jungle. They ran to King
Dantal, and Majnun told him there was a Rakshas or a demon in the
garden that had come to eat them.
"What nonsense," said his father. "Fancy two grown men being so
frightened by an old ayah or a fakir! And if it had been a Rakshas, it
would not have eaten you." Indeed King Dantal did not believe Majnun
had seen anything at all, till Husain Mahamat said the prince was
speaking the exact truth. They had the garden searched for the terrible
old woman, but found nothing, and King Dantal told his son he was very
silly to be so much frightened. However, Prince Majnun would not walk
in the garden any more.
The next day Laili turned into a pretty little dog; and in this shape
she came into the palace, where Prince Majnun soon became very fond of
her. She followed him everywhere, went with him when he was out
hunting, and helped him to catch his game, and Prince Majnun fed her
with milk, or bread, or anything else he was eating, and at night the
little dog slept in his bed.
But one night the little dog disappeared, and in its stead there lay
the little old woman who had frightened him so much in the garden; and
now Prince Majnun was quite sure she was a Rakshas, or a demon, or some
such horrible thing come to eat him; and in his terror he cried out,
"What do you want? Oh, do not eat me; do not eat me!" Poor Laili
answered, "Don't you know me? I am your wife Laili, and I want to marry
you. Don't you remember how you would go through that jungle, though I
begged and begged you not to go, for I told you that harm would happen
to me, and then a fakir came and threw powder in my face, and I became
a heap of ashes. But Khuda gave me my life again, and brought me here,
after I had stayed a long, long while in the jungle crying for you, and
now I am obliged to be a little dog; but if you will marry me, I shall
not be a little dog any more." Majnun, however, said "How can I marry
an old woman like you? how can you be Laili? I am sure you are a
Rakshas or a demon come to eat me," and he was in great terror.
In the morning the old woman had turned into the little dog, and the
prince went to his father and told him all that had happened. "An old
woman! an old woman! always an old woman!" said his father. "You do
nothing but think of old women. How can a strong man like you be so
easily frightened?" However, when he saw that his son was really in
great terror, and that he really believed the old woman would came back
at night, he advised him to say to her, "I will marry you if you can
make yourself a young girl again. How can I marry such an old woman as
That night as he lay trembling in bed the little old woman lay there in
place of the dog, crying "Majnun, Majnun, I want to marry you. I have
loved you all these long, long years. When I was in my father's kingdom
a young girl, I knew of you, though you knew nothing of me, and we
should have been married then if you had not gone away so suddenly, and
for long, long years I followed you."
"Well," said Majnun, "if you can make yourself a young girl again, I
will marry you."
Laili said, "Oh, that is quite easy. Khuda will make me a young girl
again. In two days' time you must go into the garden, and there you
will see a beautiful fruit. You must gather it and bring it into your
room and cut it open yourself very gently, and you must not open it
when your father or anybody else is with you, but when you are quite
alone; for I shall be in the fruit quite naked, without any clothes at
all on." In the morning Laili took her little dog's form, and
disappeared in the garden.
Prince Majnun told all this to his father, who told him to do all the
old woman had bidden him. In two days' time he and the Wazir's son
walked in the garden, and there they saw a large, lovely red fruit.
"Oh!" said the Prince, "I wonder shall I find my wife in that fruit."
Husain Mahamat wanted him to gather it and see, but he would not till
he had told his father, who said, "That must be the fruit; go and
gather it." So Majnun went back and broke the fruit off its stalk; and
he said to his father, "Come with me to my room while I open it; I am
afraid to open it alone, for perhaps I shall find a Rakshas in it that
will eat me."
"No," said King Dantal; "remember, Laili will be naked; you must go
alone and do not be afraid if, after all, a Rakshas is in the fruit,
for I will stay outside the door, and you have only to call me with a
loud voice, and I will come to you, so the Rakshas will not be able to
Then Majnun took the fruit and began to cut it open tremblingly, for he
shook with fear; and when he had cut it, out stepped Laili, young and
far more beautiful than she had ever been. At the sight of her extreme
beauty, Majnun fell backwards fainting on the floor.
Laili took off his turban and wound it all round herself like a sari
(for she had no clothes at all on), and then she called King Dantal,
and said to him sadly, "Why has Majnun fallen down like this? Why will
he not speak to me? He never used to be afraid of me; and he has seen
me so many, many times."
King Dantal answered, "It is because you are so beautiful. You are far,
far more beautiful than you ever were. But he will be very happy
directly." Then the King got some water, and they bathed Majnun's face
and gave him some to drink, and he sat up again.
Then Laili said, "Why did you faint? Did you not see I am Laili?"
"Oh!" said Prince Majnun, "I see you are Laili come back to me, but
your eyes have grown so wonderfully beautiful, that I fainted when I
saw them." Then they were all very happy, and King Dantal had all the
drums in the place beaten, and had all the musical instruments played
on, and they made a grand wedding-feast, and gave presents to the
servants, and rice and quantities of rupees to the fakirs.
After some time had passed very happily, Prince Majnun and his wife
went out to eat the air. They rode on the same horse, and had only a
groom with them. They came to another kingdom, to a beautiful garden.
"We must go into that garden and see it," said Majnun.
"No, no," said Laili; "it belongs to a bad Raja, Chumman Basa, a very
wicked man." But Majnun insisted on going in, and in spite of all Laili
could say, he got off the horse to look at the flowers. Now, as he was
looking at the flowers, Laili saw Chumman Basa coming towards them, and
she read in his eyes that he meant to kill her husband and seize her.
So she said to Majnun, "Come, come, let us go; do not go near that bad
man. I see in his eyes, and I feel in my heart, that he will kill you
to seize me."
"What nonsense," said Majnun. "I believe he is a very good Raja.
Anyhow, I am so near to him that I could not get away."
"Well," said Laili, "it is better that you should be killed than I, for
if I were to be killed a second time, Khuda would not give me my life
again; but I can bring you to life if you are killed." Now Chumman Basa
had come quite near, and seemed very pleasant, so thought Prince
Majnun; but when he was speaking to Majnun, he drew his scimitar and
cut off the prince's head at one blow.
Laili sat quite still on her horse, and as the Raja came towards her
she said, "Why did you kill my husband?"
"Because I want to take you," he answered.
"You cannot," said Laili.
"Yes, I can," said the Raja.
"Take me, then," said Laili to Chumman Basa; so he came quite close and
put out his hand to take hers to lift her off her horse. But she put
her hand in her pocket and pulled out a tiny knife, only as long as her
hand was broad, and this knife unfolded itself in one instant till it
was such a length! and then Laili made a great sweep with her arm and
her long, long knife, and off came Chumman Basa's head at one touch.
Then Laili slipped down off her horse, and she went to Majnun's dead
body, and she cut her little finger inside her hand straight down from
the top of her nail to her palm, and out of this gushed blood like
healing medicine. Then she put Majnun's head on his shoulders, and
smeared her healing blood all over the wound, and Majnun woke up and
said, "What a delightful sleep I have had! Why, I feel as if I had
slept for years!" Then he got up and saw the Raja's dead body by
"What's that?" said Majnun.
"That is the wicked Raja who killed you to seize me, just as I said he
"Who killed him?" asked Majnun.
"I did," answered Laili, "and it was I who brought you to life."
"Do bring the poor man to life if you know how to do so," said Majnun.
"No," said Laili, "for he is a wicked man, and will try to do you
harm." But Majnun asked her for such a long time, and so earnestly to
bring the wicked Raja to life, that at least she said, "Jump up on the
horse, then, and go far away with the groom."
"What will you do," said Majnun, "if I leave you? I cannot leave you."
"I will take care of myself," said Laili; "but this man is so wicked,
he may kill you again if you are near him." So Majnun got up on the
horse, and he and the groom went a long way off and waited for Laili.
Then she set the wicked Raja's head straight on his shoulders, and she
squeezed the wound in her finger till a little blood-medicine came out
of it. Then she smeared this over the place where her knife had passed,
and just as she saw the Raja opening his eyes, she began to run, and
she ran, and ran so fast, that she outran the Raja, who tried to catch
her; and she sprang up on the horse behind her husband, and they rode
so fast, so fast, till they reached King Dantal's palace.
There Prince Majnun told everything to his father, who was horrified
and angry. "How lucky for you that you have such a wife," he said. "Why
did you not do what she told you? But for her, you would be now dead."
Then he made a great feast out of gratitude for his son's safety, and
gave many, many rupees to the fakirs. And he made so much of Laili. He
loved her dearly; he could not do enough for her. Then he built a
splendid palace for her and his son, with a great deal of ground about
it, and lovely gardens, and gave them great wealth, and heaps of
servants to wait on them. But he would not allow any but their servants
to enter their gardens and palace, and he would not allow Majnun to go
out of them, nor Laili; "for," said King Dantal, "Laili is so
beautiful, that perhaps some one may kill my son to take her away."
THE TIGER, THE BRAHMAN, AND THE JACKAL
Once upon a time, a tiger was caught in a trap. He tried in vain to get
out through the bars, and rolled and bit with rage and grief when he
By chance a poor Brahman came by. "Let me out of this cage, oh pious
one!" cried the tiger.
"Nay, my friend," replied the Brahman mildly, "you would probably eat
me if I did."
"Not at all!" swore the tiger with many oaths; "on the contrary, I
should be for ever grateful, and serve you as a slave!"
Now when the tiger sobbed and sighed and wept and swore, the pious
Brahman's heart softened, and at last he consented to open the door of
the cage. Out popped the tiger, and, seizing the poor man, cried, "What
a fool you are! What is to prevent my eating you now, for after being
cooped up so long I am just terribly hungry!"
In vain the Brahman pleaded for his life; the most he could gain was a
promise to abide by the decision of the first three things he chose to
question as to the justice of the tiger's action.
So the Brahman first asked a _pipal_ tree what it thought of the
matter, but the _pipal_ tree replied coldly, "What have you to
complain about? Don't I give shade and shelter to every one who passes
by, and don't they in return tear down my branches to feed their
cattle? Don't whimper--be a man!"
Then the Brahman, sad at heart, went further afield till he saw a
buffalo turning a well-wheel; but he fared no better from it, for it
answered, "You are a fool to expect gratitude! Look at me! Whilst I
gave milk they fed me on cotton-seed and oil-cake, but now I am dry
they yoke me here, and give me refuse as fodder!"
The Brahman, still more sad, asked the road to give him its opinion.
"My dear sir," said the road, "how foolish you are to expect anything
else! Here am I, useful to everybody, yet all, rich and poor, great and
small, trample on me as they go past, giving me nothing but the ashes
of their pipes and the husks of their grain!"
On this the Brahman turned back sorrowfully, and on the way he met a
jackal, who called out, "Why, what's the matter, Mr. Brahman? You look
as miserable as a fish out of water!"
The Brahman told him all that had occurred. "How very confusing!" said
the jackal, when the recital was ended; "would you mind telling me over
again, for everything has got so mixed up?"
The Brahman told it all over again, but the jackal shook his head in a
distracted sort of way, and still could not understand.
"It's very odd," said he, sadly, "but it all seems to go in at one ear
and out at the other! I will go to the place where it all happened, and