Part 1 out of 3
Transcribed by "Batsy" Bybell, email@example.com
Translated from the Sanskrit by Arthur W. Ryder
1. The Prince's Elopement. Whose fault was the resulting death of
2. The Three Lovers who brought the Dead Girl to Life. Whose
wife should she be?
3. The Parrot and the Thrush. Which are worse, men or women?
4. King Shudraka and Hero's Family. Which of the five deserves
the most honour?
5. The Brave Man, the Wise Man, and the Clever Man. To which
should the girl be given?
6. The Girl who transposed the Heads of her Husband and
Brother. Which combination of head and body is her husband?
7. The Mutual Services of King Fierce-lion and Prince Good.
Which is the more deserving?
8. The Specialist in Food, the Specialist in Women, and the
Specialist in Cotton. Which is the cleverest?
9. The Four Scientific Suitors. To which should the girl be given?
10. The Three Delicate Wives of King Virtue-banner. Which is the
11. The King who won a Fairy as his Wife. Why did his
counsellor's heart break?
12. The Brahman who died because Poison from a Snake in the
Claws of a Hawk fell into a Dish of Food given him by a
Charitable Woman. Who is to blame for his death?
13. The Girl who showed Great Devotion to the Thief. Did he
weep or laugh?
14. The Man who changed into a Woman at Will. Was his wife his
or the other man's?
15. The Fairy Prince Cloud-chariot and the Serpent
Shell-crest. Which is the more self-sacrificing?
16. The King who died for Love of his General's Wife; the General
follows him in Death. Which is the more worthy?
17. The Youth who went through the Proper Ceremonies. Why did
he fail to win the magic spell?
18. The Boy whom his Parents, the King, and the Giant conspired
to Kill. Why did he laugh at the moment of death?
19. The Man, his Wife, and her Lover, who all died for Love.
Which was the most foolish?
20. The Four Brothers who brought a Dead Lion to Life. Which is
to blame when he kills them all?
21. The Old Hermit who exchanged his Body for that of the Dead
Boy. Why did he weep and dance?
22. The Father and Son who married Daughter and Mother. What
relation were their children?
On the bank of the Godavari River is a kingdom called the Abiding
Kingdom. There lived the son of King Victory, the famous King
Triple-victory, mighty as the king of the gods. As this king sat in
judgment, a monk called Patience brought him every day one piece
of fruit as an expression of homage. And the king took it and gave
it each day to the treasurer who stood near. Thus twelve years
Now one day the monk came to court, gave the king a piece of
fruit as usual, and went away. But on this day the king gave the
fruit to a pet baby monkey that had escaped from his keepers, and
happened to wander in. And as the monkey ate the fruit, he split it
open, and a priceless, magnificent gem came out.
When the king saw this, he took it and asked the treasurer: "Where
have you been keeping the fruits which the monk brought? I gave
them to you." When the treasurer heard this, he was frightened and
said: "Your Majesty, I have thrown them all through the window.
If your Majesty desires, I will look for them now." And when the
king had dismissed him, he went, but returned in a moment, and
said again: "Your Majesty, they were all smashed in the treasury,
and in them I see heaps of dazzling gems."
When he heard this, the king was delighted, and gave the jewels to
the treasurer. And when the monk came the next day, he asked
him: "Monk, why do you keep honouring me in such an expensive
way? Unless I know the reason, I will not take your fruit."
Then the monk took the king aside and said: "O hero, there is a
business in which I need help. So I ask for your help in it, because
you are a brave man." And the king promised his assistance.
Then the monk was pleased, and said again: "O King, on the last
night of the waning moon, you must go to the great cemetery at
nightfall, and come to me under the fig-tree." Then the king said
"Certainly," and Patience, the monk, went home well pleased.
So when the night came, the mighty king remembered his promise
to the monk, and at dusk he wrapped his head in a black veil, took
his sword in his hand, and went to the great cemetery without
being seen. When he got there, he looked about, and saw the monk
standing under the fig-tree and making a magic circle. So he went
up and said: "Monk, here I am. Tell me what I am to do for you."
And when the monk saw the king, he was delighted and said: "O
King, if you wish to do me a favour, go south from here some
distance all alone, and you will see a sissoo tree and a dead body
hanging from it. Be so kind as to bring that here."
When the brave king heard this, he agreed, and, true to his
promise, turned south and started. And as he walked with
difficulty along the cemetery road, he came upon the sissoo tree at
some distance, and saw a body hanging on it. So he climbed the
tree, cut the rope, and let it fall to the ground. And as it fell, it
unexpectedly cried aloud, as if alive. Then the king climbed down,
and thinking it was alive, he mercifully rubbed its limbs. Then the
body gave a loud laugh.
So the king knew that a goblin lived in it, and said without fear:
"What are you laughing about? Come, let us be off." But then he
did not see the goblin on the ground any longer. And when he
looked up, there he was, hanging in the tree as before. So the king
climbed the tree again, and carefully carried the body down. A
brave man's heart is harder than a diamond, and nothing makes it
Then he put the body with the goblin in it on his shoulder, and
started off in silence. And as he walked along, the goblin in the
body said: "O King, to amuse the journey, I will tell you a story.
The Prince's Elopement. Whose fault was the resulting death of
There is a city called Benares where Shiva lives. It is loved by
pious people like the soil of Mount Kailasa. The river of heaven
shines there like a pearl necklace. And in the city lived a king
called Valour who burned up all his enemies by his valour, as a
fire burns a forest. He had a son named Thunderbolt who broke the
pride of the love-god by his beauty, and the pride of men by his
bravery. This prince had a clever friend, the son of a counsellor.
One day the prince was enjoying himself with his friend hunting,
and went a long distance. And so he came to a great forest. There
he saw a beautiful lake, and being tired, he drank from it with his
friend the counsellor's son, washed his hands and feet, and sat
down under a tree on the bank.
And then he saw a beautiful maiden who had come there with her
servants to bathe. She seemed to fill the lake with the stream of her
beauty, and seemed to make lilies grow there with her eyes, and
seemed to shame the lotuses with a face more lovely than the
moon. She captured the prince's heart the moment that he saw her.
And the prince took her eyes captive.
The girl had a strange feeling when she saw him, but was too
modest to say a word. So she gave a hint of the feeling in her heart.
She put a lotus on her ear, laid a lily on her head after she had
made the edge look like a row of teeth, and placed her hand on her
heart. But the prince did not understand her signs, only the clever
counsellor's son understood them all.
A moment later the girl went away, led by her servants. She went
home and sat on the sofa and stayed there. But her thoughts were
with the prince.
The prince went slowly back to his city, and was terribly lonely
without her, and grew thinner every day. Then his friend the son of
the counsellor took him aside and told him that she was not hard
to find. But he had lost all courage and said: "My friend, I don't
know her name, nor her home, nor her family. How can I find her?
Why do you vainly try to comfort me?"
Then the counsellor's son said: "Did you not see all that she hinted
with her signs? When she put the lotus on her ear, she meant that
she lived in the kingdom of a king named Ear-lotus. And when she
made the row of teeth, she meant that she was the daughter of a
man named Bite there. And when she laid the lily on her head, she
meant that her name was Lily. And when she placed her hand on
her heart, she meant that she loved you. And there is a king named
Ear-lotus in the Kalinga country. There is a very rich man there
whom the king likes. His real name is Battler, but they call him
Bite. He has a pearl of a girl whom he loves more than his life, and
her name is Lily. This is true, because people told me. So I
understood her signs about her country and the other things."
When the counsellor's son had said this, the prince was delighted
to find him so clever, and pleased because he knew what to do.
Then he formed a plan with the counsellor's son, and started for
the lake again, pretending that he was going to hunt, but really to
find the girl that he loved. On the way he rode like the wind away
from his soldiers, and started for the Kalinga country with the
When they reached the city of King Ear-lotus, they looked about
and found the house of the man called Bite, and they went to a
house near by to live with an old woman. And the counsellor's son
said to the old woman: "Old woman, do you know anybody named
Bite in this city?"
Then the old woman answered him respectfully: "My son, I know
him well. I was his nurse. And I am a servant of his daughter Lily.
But I do not go there now because my dress is stolen. My naughty
son is a gambler and steals my clothes."
Then the counsellor's son was pleased and satisfied her with his
own cloak and other presents. And he said: "Mother, you must do
very secretly what we tell you. Go to Bite's daughter Lily, and tell
her that the prince whom she saw on the bank of the lake is here,
and sent you with a love-message to her."
The old woman was pleased with the gifts and went to Lily at
once. And when she got a chance, she said: "My child, the prince
and the counsellor's son have come to take you. Tell me what to
do now." But the girl scolded her and struck her cheeks with both
hands smeared with camphor.
The old woman was hurt by this treatment, and came home
weeping, and said to the two men: "My sons, see how she left the
marks of her fingers on my face."
And the prince was hopeless and sad, but the very clever
counsellor's son took him aside and said, "My friend, do not be
sad. She was only keeping the secret when she scolded the old
woman, and put ten fingers white with camphor on her face. She
meant that you must wait before seeing her, for the next ten nights
are bright with moonlight."
So the counsellor's son comforted the prince, took a little gold
ornament and sold it in the market, and bought a great dinner for
the old woman. So they two took dinner with the old woman. They
did this for ten days, and then the counsellor's son sent her to Lily
again, to find out something more.
And the old woman was eager for dainty food and drink. So to
please him she went to Lily's house, and then came back and said:
"My children, I went there and stayed with her for some time
without speaking. But she spoke herself of my naughtiness in
mentioning you, and struck me again on the chest with three
fingers stained red. So I came back in disgrace."
Then the counsellor's son whispered to the prince: "Don't be
alarmed, my friend. When she left the marks of three red fingers
on the old woman's heart, she meant to say very cleverly that there
were three dangerous days coming." So the counsellor's son
comforted the prince.
And when three days were gone, he sent the old woman to Lily
again. And this time she went and was very respectfully
entertained, and treated to wine and other things the whole day.
But when she was ready to go back in the evening, a terrible
shouting was heard outside. They heard people running and crying:
"Oh, oh! A mad elephant has escaped from his stable and is
running around and stamping on people."
Then Lily said to the old woman: "Mother, you must not go
through the street now where the elephant is. I will put you in a
swing and let you down with ropes through this great window into
the garden. Then you can climb into a tree and jump on the wall,
and go home by way of another tree." So she had her servants let
the old woman down from the window into the garden by a
rope-swing. And the old woman went home and told the prince
and the counsellor's son all about it.
Then the counsellor's son said to the prince: "My friend, your
wishes are fulfilled. She has been clever enough to show you the
road. So you must follow that same road this very evening to the
room of your darling."
So the prince went to the garden with the counsellor's son by the
road that the old woman had shown them. And there he saw the
rope-swing hanging down, and servants above keeping an eye on
the road. And when he got into the swing, the servants at the
window pulled at the rope and he came to his darling. And when
he had gone in, the counsellor's son went back to the old woman's
But the prince saw Lily, and her face was beautiful like the full
moon, and the moonlight of her beauty shone forth, like the night
when the moon shines in secret because of the dark. And when she
saw him, she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. So
he married her and stayed hidden with her for some days.
One day he said to his wife: "My dear, my friend the counsellor's
son came with me, and he is staying all alone at the old woman's
house. I must go and see him, then I will come back."
But Lily was shrewd and said: "My dear, I must ask you
something. Did you understand the signs I made, or was it the
counsellor's son?" And the prince said to her: "My dear, I did not
understand them all, but my friend has wonderful wisdom. He
understood everything and told me." Then the sweet girl thought,
and said: "My dear, you did wrong not to tell me before. Your
friend is a real brother to me. I ought to have sent him some nuts
and other nice things at the very first."
Then she let him go, and he went to his friend by night by the same
road, and told all that his wife had said. But the counsellor's son
said: "That is foolish," and did not think much of it. So they spent
the night talking.
Then when the time for the twilight sacrifice came, a friend of
Lily's came there with cooked rice and nuts in her hand. She came
and asked the counsellor's son about his health and gave him the
present. And she cleverly tried to keep the prince from eating.
"Your wife is expecting you to dinner," she said, and a moment
later she went away.
Then the counsellor's son said to the prince: "Look, your Majesty.
I will show you something curious." So he took a little of the
cooked rice and gave it to a dog that was there. And the moment
he ate it, the dog died. And the prince asked the counsellor's son
what this strange thing could mean.
And he replied: "Your Majesty, she knew that I was clever because
I understood her signs, and she wanted to kill me out of love for
you. For she thought the prince would not be all her own while I
was alive, but would leave her for my sake and go back to his own
city. So she sent me poisoned food to eat. But you must not be
angry with her. I will think up some scheme."
Then the prince praised the counsellor's son, and said: "You are
truly the body of wisdom." And then suddenly a great wailing of
grief-stricken people was heard: "Alas! Alas! The king's little son
When he heard this, the counsellor's son was delighted, and said:
"Your Majesty, go to-night to Lily's house, and make her drink
wine until she loses her senses and seems to be dead. Then as she
lies there, make a mark on her hip with a red-hot fork, steal her
jewels, and come back the old way through the window. After that
I will do the right thing."
Then he made a three-pronged fork and gave it to the prince. And
the prince took the crooked, cruel thing, hard as the weapon of
Death, and went by night as before to Lily's house. "A king," he
thought, "ought not to disregard the words of a high-
minded counsellor." So when he had stupefied her with wine, he
branded her hip with the fork, stole her jewels, returned to his
friend, and told him everything, showing him the jewels.
Then the counsellor's son felt sure his scheme was successful. He
went to the cemetery in the morning, and disguised himself as a
hermit, and the prince as his pupil. And he said: "Take this pearl
necklace from among the jewels. Go and sell it in the
market-place. And if the policemen arrest you, say this: It was
given to me to sell by my teacher.'"
So the prince went to the market-place and stood there offering the
pearl necklace for sale, and he was arrested while doing it by the
policemen. And as they were eager to find out about the theft of
the jewels from Bite's daughter, they took the prince at once to the
chief of police. And when he saw that the culprit was dressed like
a hermit, he asked him very gently: "Holy sir, where did you get
this pearl necklace? It belongs to Bite's daughter and was stolen."
Then the prince said to them: "Gentlemen, my teacher gave it to
me to sell. You had better go and ask him."
Then the chief of police went and asked him: "Holy sir, how did
this pearl necklace come into your pupil's hand?"
And the shrewd counsellor's son whispered to him: "Sir, as I am a
hermit, I wander about all the time in this region. And as I
happened to be here in this cemetery, I saw a whole company of
witches who came here at night. And one of the witches split open
the heart of a king's son, and offered it to her master. She was mad
with wine, and screwed up her face most horribly. But when she
impudently tried to snatch my rosary as I prayed, I became angry,
and branded her on the hip with a three-pronged fork which I had
made red-hot with a magic spell. And I took this pearl necklace
from her neck. Then, as it was not a thing for a hermit, I sent it to
When he heard this, the chief of police went and told the whole
story to the king. And when the king heard and saw the evidence,
he sent the old woman, who was reliable, to identify the pearl
necklace. And he heard from her that Lily was branded on the hip.
Then he was convinced that she was really a witch and had
devoured his son. So he went himself to the counsellor's son, who
was disguised as a hermit, and asked how Lily should be punished.
And by his advice, she was banished from the city, though her
parents wept. So she was banished naked to the forest and knew
that the counsellor's son had done it all, but she did not die.
And at nightfall the prince and the counsellor's son put off their
hermit disguise, mounted on horseback, and found her weeping.
They put her on a horse and took her to their own country. And
when they got there, the prince lived most happily with her.
But Bite thought that his daughter was eaten by wild beasts in the
wood, and he died of grief. And his wife died with him.
When he had told this story, the goblin asked the king: "O King,
who was to blame for the death of the parents: the prince, or the
counsellor's son, or Lily? You seem like a very wise man, so
resolve my doubts on this point. If you know and do not tell me the
truth, then your head will surely fly into a hundred pieces. And if
you give a good answer, then I will jump from your shoulder and
go back to the sissoo tree."
Then King Triple-victory said to the goblin: "You are a master of
magic. You surely know yourself, but I will tell you. It was not the
fault of any of the three you mentioned. It was entirely the fault of
But the goblin said: "How could it be the king's fault? The other
three did it. Are the crows to blame when the geese eat up the
Then the king said: "But those three are not to blame. It was right
for the counsellor's son to do his master's business. So he is not to
blame. And Lily and the prince were madly in love and could not
stop to think. They only looked after their own affairs. They are
not to blame.
"But the king knew the law-books very well, and he had spies to
find out the facts among the people. And he knew about the doings
of rascals. So he acted without thinking. He is to blame."
When the goblin heard this, he wanted to test the king's constancy.
So he went back by magic in a moment to the sissoo tree. And the
king went back fearlessly to get him.
The Three Lovers who brought the Dead Girl to Life. Whose wife
should she be?
Then King Triple-victory went back under the sissoo tree to fetch
the goblin. And when he got there and looked about, he saw the
goblin fallen on the ground and moaning. Then, when the king put
the body with the goblin in it on his shoulder and started to carry
him off quickly and silently, the goblin on his shoulder said to
him: "Oh King, you have fallen into a very disagreeable task which
you do not deserve. So to amuse you I will tell another story.
On the bank of Kalindi River is a farm where a very learned
Brahman lived. And he had a very beautiful daughter named Coral.
When the Creator fashioned her fresh and peerless loveliness,
surely he must have despised the cleverness he showed before in
fashioning the nymphs of heaven.
When she had grown out of childhood, there came from the city of
Kanauj three Brahman youths, endowed with all the virtues. And
each of them asked her father for her, that she might be his own.
And though her father would rather have died than give her up to
anyone, he made up his mind to give her to one of them. But the
girl would not marry any one of them for some time, because she
was afraid of hurting the feelings of the other two. So they stayed
there all three of them day and night, feasting on the beauty of her
face, like the birds that live on moonbeams.
Then all at once Coral fell sick of a burning fever and died. And
when the Brahman youths saw that she was dead, they were
smitten with grief. But they adorned her body, took it to the
cemetery, and burned it.
And one of them built a hut there, slept on a bed made of her
ashes, and got his food by begging. The second took her bones and
went to dip them in the sacred Ganges river. And the third became
a monk and wandered in other countries.
And as he wandered, the monk came to a village called
Thunderbolt, and was entertained in the house of a Brahman. But
when he had been honoured by the master of the house and had
begun to eat dinner there, the little boy began to cry and would not
stop even when they petted him. So his mother took him on her
arm, and angrily threw him into the blazing fire. And being tender,
he was reduced to ashes in a moment.
When the monk saw this, his hair stood on end, and he said: "Alas!
I have come into the house of a devil. I will not eat this food. It
would be like eating sin." But the master of the house said to him:
"Brahman, I have studied to good purpose. See my skill in
bringing the dead to life." So he opened a book, took out a magic
spell, read it, and sprinkled water on the ashes. And the moment
the water was sprinkled, the boy stood up alive just as before.
Then the monk was highly delighted and finished his dinner with
And the master of the house hung the book on an ivory peg, took
dinner with the monk, and went to bed. When he was asleep, the
monk got up quietly, and tremblingly took the book, hoping to
bring his darling Coral back to life. He went away and travelled
night and day, until he finally reached the cemetery. And he caught
sight of the second youth, who had come back after dipping the
bones in the Ganges. And he also found the third youth, who had
made a hut and lived there, sleeping on the girl's ashes.
Then the monk cried: "Brother, leave your hut. I will bring the
dear girl back to life." And while they eagerly questioned him, he
opened the book, and read the magic spell, and sprinkled holy
water on the ashes. And Coral immediately stood up, alive. And
the girl was more beautiful than ever. She looked as if she were
made of gold.
When the three youths saw her come back to life like that, they
went mad with love, and fought with one another to possess her.
One said: "I brought her to life by my magic spell. She is my
The second said: "She came to life because of my journey to the
sacred river. She is my wife."
The third said: "I kept her ashes. That is why she came to life. She
is my dear wife."
O King, you are able to decide their dispute. Tell me. Whose wife
should she be? If you know and say what is false, then your head
When the king heard this, he said to the goblin: "The man who
painfully found the magic spell and brought her back to life, he did
only what a father ought to do. He is not her husband. And the man
who went to dip her bones in the sacred river, he did only what a
son ought to do. He is not her husband. But the man who slept with
her ashes and lived a hard life in the cemetery, he did what a lover
ought to do. He deserves to be her husband."
When the goblin heard this answer of King Triple-victory, he
suddenly escaped from his shoulder and went back. And the king
wished to do as the monk had asked him; so he decided to go back
and get him. Great-minded people do not waver until they have
kept their promises, even at the cost of life.
The Parrot and the Thrush. Which are worse, men or women?
Then the king went back to the sissoo tree to fetch the goblin.
When he got there, he took the body with the goblin in it on his
shoulder, and started off in silence. And as he walked along, the
goblin said to him again: "O King, you must be very tired, coming
and going in the night. So to amuse you I will tell another story.
There is a city called Patna, the gem of the earth. And long ago a
king lived there whose name was Lion-of-Victory. Fate had made
him the owner of all virtues and all wealth. And he had a parrot
called Jewel-of-Wisdom, that had divine intelligence and knew all
the sciences, but lived as a parrot because of a curse.
This king had a son called Moon, and by the advice of the parrot
this prince married the daughter of the king of the Magadha
country; and her name was Moonlight. Now this princess had a
thrush named Moony, who was like the parrot, because she had
learning and intelligence. And the parrot and the thrush lived in
one cage in the palace.
One day the parrot eagerly said to the thrush: "My darling, love
me, and share my bed and my chair and my food and my
But the thrush said: "I will have nothing to do with men. Men are
bad and ungrateful."
Then the parrot said: "Men are not bad. It is only women who are
bad and cruel-hearted." And they quarrelled.
Then the two birds wagered their freedom with each other and
went to the prince to have their quarrel decided. And the prince
mounted his father's judgment throne, and when he had heard the
cause of the quarrel, he asked the thrush: "How are men
ungrateful? Tell the truth." Then she said, "Listen, O Prince," and
to prove her point she started to tell this story illustrating the faults
There is a famous city called Kamandaki, where a wealthy
merchant lived named Fortune. And in time a son was born to him
and named Treasure. Then when the father went to heaven, the
young man became very unruly because of gambling and other
vices. And the rascals came together, and ruined him. Association
with scoundrels is the root from which springs the tree of calamity.
So in no long time he lost all he had through his vices, and being
ashamed of his poverty, he left his own country and went to
wander in other places. And during his travels he came to a city
called Sandal City, and entered the house of a merchant, seeking
something to eat. When the merchant saw the youth, he asked him
about his family, and finding that he was a gentleman, he
entertained him. And thinking that Gate had sent the young man,
he gave him his own daughter Pearl, together with some money.
And when Treasure was married, he lived in his
As time passed, he forgot his former miseries in the comforts of
his life, and longed for the old vices, and wanted to go home. So
the rascal managed to persuade his father-in-law, who had no other
children, took his wife Pearl with her beautiful ornaments, and an
old woman, and started for his own country. Presently he came to a
wood where he said he was afraid of thieves, so he took all his
wife's ornaments. Perceive, O Prince, how cruel and hard are the
ungrateful hearts of those who indulge in gambling and other
vices. And the scoundrel was ready, just for money, to kill his
good wife. He threw her and the old woman into a pit. Then the
rascal went away and the old woman perished there.
But Pearl, with the little life she had left, managed to get out by
clinging to the grass and bushes, and weeping bitterly, and
bleeding, she asked the way step by step, and painfully reached her
father's house by the way she had come. And her mother and
father were surprised and asked her: "Why did you come back so
soon, and in this condition?"
And that good wife said: "On the road we were robbed, and my
husband was forcibly carried off. And the old woman fell into a pit
and died, but I escaped. And a kind-hearted traveller pulled me
from the pit." Then her father and mother were saddened, but they
comforted her, and Pearl stayed there, true to her husband.
Then in time Treasure lost all his money in gambling, and he
reflected: "I will get more money from the house of my
father-in-law. I will go there and tell my father-in-law that his
daughter is well and is at my house."
So he went again to his father-in-law. And as he went, his
ever-faithful wife saw him afar off. She ran and fell at the rascal's
feet and told him all the story that she had invented for her parents.
For the heart of a faithful wife does not change even when she
learns that her husband is a rogue.
Then that rascal went without fear into the house of his
father-in-law and bowed low before his feet. And his
father-in-law rejoiced when he saw him and made a great feast
with his relatives, for he said: "My son is delivered alive from the
robbers. Heaven be praised!" Then Treasure enjoyed the wealth of
his father-in-law and lived with his wife Pearl.
Now one night this worst of scoundrels did what I ought not to
repeat, but I will tell it, or my story would be spoiled. Listen, O
Prince. While Pearl lay asleep trusting him, that wretch killed her
in the night, stole all her jewels, and escaped to his own country.
This shows how bad and ungrateful men are.
When the thrush had told her story, the prince smiled and said to
the parrot: "It is your turn now."
Then the parrot said: "Your Majesty, women are cruel and reckless
and bad. To prove it, I will tell you a story. Listen."
There is a city called Joyful, where lived a prince of merchants
named Virtue, who owned millions of money. He had a daughter
named Fortune, peerless in beauty, dearer to him than life. And she
was given in marriage to a merchant's son from Copper City,
whose name was Ocean. He was her equal in wealth, beauty, and
family; a delight to the eyes of men.
One day when her husband was away from home, she saw from
the window a handsome young man. And the moment she saw
him, the fickle girl went mad with love, and secretly sent a
messenger to invite him in, and made love to him in secret. Thus
her heart was fixed on him alone, and she was happy with him.
But at last her husband came home and delighted the hearts of his
parents-in-law. And when the day had been spent in feasting,
Fortune was adorned by her mother, and sent to her husband's
room. But she was cold toward him and pretended to sleep. And
her husband went to sleep, too, for he was weary with his journey,
and had been drinking wine.
When everyone in the house had gone to sleep after their dinner, a
thief made a hole in the wall and came into that very room. And
just then the merchant's daughter got up without seeing him, and
went out secretly to a meeting with her lover. And the thief was
disappointed, and thought: "She has gone out into the night
wearing the very jewels that I came to steal. I must see where she
goes." So the thief went out and followed her.
But she met a woman friend who had flowers in her hand, and
went to a park not very far away. And there she saw the man
whom she came to meet hanging on a tree. For the policeman had
thought he was a thief, had put a rope around his neck and hanged
And at the sight she went distracted, and lamented pitifully: "Oh,
oh! I am undone," and fell on the ground and wept. Then she took
her lover down from the tree and made him sit up, though he was
dead, and adorned him with perfumes and jewels and flowers.
But when in her love-madness she lifted his face and kissed him, a
goblin who had come to live in her dead lover, bit off her nose.
And she was startled and ran in pain from the spot. But then she
came back to see if perhaps he was alive after all. But the goblin
had gone, and she saw that he was motionless and dead. So she
slowly went back home, frightened and disgraced and weeping.
And the concealed thief saw it all and thought: "What has the
wicked woman done? Alas! Can women be so dreadful as this?
What might she not do next?" So out of curiosity the thief still
followed her from afar.
And the wretched woman entered the house and cried aloud, and
said: "Save me from my cruel enemy, my own husband. He cut off
my nose and I had done nothing." And her servants heard her cries
and all arose in excitement. Her husband too awoke. Then her
father came and saw that her nose was cut off, and in his anger he
had his son-in-law arrested.
And the poor man did not know what to do. Even when he was
being bound, he remained silent and said nothing. Then they all
woke up and heard the story, but the thief who knew the whole
truth, ran away. And when day came, the merchant's son was
haled before the king by his father-in-law. And Fortune went there
without her nose, and the king heard the whole story and
condemned the merchant's son to death for mistreating his wife.
So the innocent, bewildered man was led to the place of execution
and the drums were beaten. Just then the thief came up and said to
the king's men: "Why do you kill this man without any good
reason? I know how the whole thing happened. Take me to the
king, and I will tell all."
So all the king's men took him to the king. And the thief told the
king all the adventures of the night, and said: "Your Majesty, if
you cannot trust my word, you may find the nose at this moment
between the teeth of the dead body."
Then the king sent men to investigate, and when he found it was
true, he released the merchant's son from the punishment of death.
As for wretched Fortune, he cut off her ears, too, and banished her
from the country. And he took from her father, the merchant, all
his money, and made the thief the chief of police. He was pleased
O Prince, this shows how cruel and false women are by nature.
As he spoke these words, the parrot changed into a god, for the
curse was fulfilled, and went to heaven like a god. And the thrush
suddenly became a goddess, for her curse was at an end, and flew
up likewise to heaven. So their dispute was never settled at that
When the goblin had told this story, he asked the king: "O King,
tell me. Are men bad, or women? If you know and do not tell, your
head will fly to pieces." And when the king heard these words of
the goblin on his shoulder, he said to that magic goblin: "O goblin!
Here and there, now and then, there is an occasional bad man like
that. But women are usually bad. We hear about many of them."
Then the goblin disappeared from the king's shoulder as before.
And the king tried again to catch him.
King Shudraka and Hero's Family. Which of the five deserves the
Then King Triple-victory went back under the sissoo tree and
caught the goblin, who gave a horse-laugh. But the king without
fear put him on his shoulder as before and started toward the
monk. And as he walked along, the goblin on his shoulder said to
him again: "O King, why do you take such pains for that wretched
monk? Have you no sense about this fruitless task? Well, after all,
I like your devotion. So, to amuse the weary journey, I will tell you
another story. Listen."
There is a city called Beautiful, and it deserves the name. There
lived a king named Shudraka, of tremendous power and mighty
courage. He was so used to victory that the fire of his courage was
kept blazing by the wind from the fans in the hands of the wives of
his vanquished foes. Under his rule the earth was rich and always
good, as in the days of old. And he was fond of brave men.
Now one day a Brahman named Hero came from Malwa to pay his
homage to this king. He had a wife named Virtue, a son named
Trusty, and a daughter named Heroic. And he had just three
servants, a dagger at his hip, a sword in his hand, and a shield in
his other hand. These were all the servants he had when he asked
the king for five hundred gold-pieces a day as his wages.
And the king thought from his appearance that he was a
remarkably brave man, so he gave him the wages he asked. But out
of curiosity he put spies on his track, to learn what he did with all
Now Hero called on the king in the morning, and at noon he took
his sword and stood at the palace gate and divided his daily salary.
One hundred gold-pieces he gave to his wife for food and
household expenses. And with another hundred he bought clothes
and perfumes and nuts and such things. And another hundred he
devoted to the worship of Vishnu and Shiva, after taking the
ceremonial bath. And the two hundred which were left he gave to
Brahmans and the unhappy and the poor. This was the way he
divided and spent the money every day. Then after he had
sacrificed and eaten dinner, he stood every night alone at the
palace gate with his sword and shield. All this King Shudraka
learned from his spies and was greatly pleased and forbad the spies
to follow him again. For he thought him a wonderful man, worthy
of especial honour.
Then one day a veil of clouds covered the sky and poured down
rain in streams day and night, so that the highway was quite
deserted. Only Hero was at his post as usual by the palace gate.
And when the sun set and dreadful darkness was spread abroad
and the rain fell in sheets, the king wished to test Hero's
behaviour. So at night he climbed to the palace roof and cried:
"Who is there at the gate?" And Hero answered: "I am here." And
the king thought: "How steadfast this man Hero is, and how
devoted to me! I must surely give him a greater post." And he
descended from the roof and entered the palace and went to bed.
The next night it rained again in sheets and the world was wrapped
in the darkness of death. And again the king thought to test his
behaviour, and climbing to the roof he called out toward the palace
gate: "Who is there?" And when Hero said: "I am here, your
Majesty," the king was greatly astonished.
Just then he heard at a distance a sweet-voiced woman crying. And
he thought: "Who is this who laments so piteously, as if in deep
despair? In my kingdom there is no violence, no poor man and
none distressed. Who can she be?" And being merciful, he called
to Hero, who stood below: "Listen, Hero. A woman is weeping at
some distance. Go and learn why she weeps and who she is." And
Hero said "Certainly," arranged his dagger, took his sword in his
hand, and started. He did not even think of the pelting hail, the
flashing lightning, or the rain and darkness. And when the king
saw him setting out alone in a night like that, he was filled with
pity and curiosity, and descending from the palace roof, took his
sword and followed all alone, without being seen.
As Hero traced the sound of crying, he came to a beautiful lake
outside the city, and there he saw a woman in the midst of the
water, lamenting in these words: "Alas for you, brave and merciful
and generous! How shall I live without you?"
And Hero was amazed, and timidly asked her: "Who are you, and
why do you weep?" And she replied: "O Hero, I am the Goddess of
the Earth, and now my lord, this virtuous King Shudraka, is going
to die in three days. How shall I find another such master? So I am
distracted with grief, and I lament."
When Hero heard this, he was frightened and said: "Goddess, is
there any remedy for this, any way in which the king might be
saved?" And the goddess answered: "There is just one remedy, my
son, and it is in your hands." And Hero said: "Goddess, tell me
quickly, that I may adopt it at once. What good would life be to us
Then the goddess said: "My son, there is no other man devoted to
his master as you are: so you may learn how to save him. There is
a temple to the Dreadful Goddess built by that king near his
palace. If you sacrifice your son to her at once, then the king will
not die. He will live another hundred years. If you do it this very
night, then the blessing will come, not otherwise."
And Hero, the hero, replied: "Then I will go, Goddess, and do it
this moment." And the Goddess of the Earth said: "Good fortune
go with you," and she vanished. And the king, who had followed
secretly, heard it all. So he still followed to find out how Hero
But Hero went straight home, woke his wife Virtue, and told her
all that the Goddess of the Earth had said. And his wife said: "My
dear, if so much depends on it, wake the boy and tell him." Then
Hero woke the little boy, told him all, and said: "My boy, if you
are sacrificed to the Dreadful Goddess, our king will live. If not, he
will die in three days."
And the boy was true to his name. Without fear and without
hesitation he said: "My dear father, I am a lucky boy if the king
lives at the cost of my life. Besides, that would pay for the food we
have eaten. Why then delay? Take me quickly and sacrifice me to
the goddess. May the king's evil fate be averted by my death!"
And Hero was delighted and congratulated him, saying: "Well
said! You are indeed my son."
So Hero's wife Virtue and his daughter Heroic went through the
night with Hero and Trusty to the temple of the Dreadful Goddess.
The king too followed them, disguised and unnoticed. Then the
father took Trusty from his shoulder in the presence of the
goddess. And Trusty worshipped the goddess, and bravely saluted
her, and said: "O Goddess, by the sacrifice of my head may the
king live another hundred years and rule a thornless kingdom."
And as he prayed, Hero cut off his head and offered it to the
Dreadful Goddess, saying: "May the king live at the cost of my
son's life!" Then a voice cried from heaven: "O Hero, who else is
devoted to his master as you are? You have given life and royal
power to the king at the cost of your only son, and such a son." All
this the king himself saw and heard.
Then Hero's daughter Heroic kissed the lips of her dead brother,
and was blinded with sorrow, and her heart broke, and she died.
Then Hero's wife Virtue said: "My dear, we have done our duty by
the king. And you see how my daughter died of grief. So now I
say: What good is life to me without my children? I was a fool
before. I should have given my own head to save the king. So now
permit me to burn myself at once."
And when she insisted, Hero said: "Do so. What happiness is there
in a life of constant mourning for your children? And as for your
giving your own life instead, do not grieve about that. If there had
been any other way, I should of course have given my life. So wait
a moment. I will build you a funeral pile out of these logs." So he
built the pile and lighted it.
And Virtue fell at her husband's feet, then worshipped the
Dreadful Goddess, and prayed: "O Goddess, may I have the same
husband in another life, and may this same King Shudraka be
saved at the cost of my son's life." And she died in the blazing fire.
Then Hero thought: "I have done my duty by the king, as the
heavenly voice admitted. And I have paid for the king's food
which I have eaten. So now why should I want to live alone? It is
not right for a man like me to go on living at the expense of all the
family which I ought to support. Why should I not please the
goddess by sacrificing myself?"
So Hero first approached the goddess with a hymn of praise: "O
Demon-slayer! Saviour! Devil-killer! Trident-holder! Joy of the
wise! Protectress of the universe! Victory to thee, O best of
mothers, whose feet the world adores! O fearless refuge of the
pious! Kali of the dreadful ornaments! Honour and glory to thee, O
kindly goddess! Be pleased to accept the sacrifice of my head in
behalf of King Shudraka." Then he suddenly cut off his own head
with his dagger.
King Shudraka beheld this from his hiding-place, and was filled
with amazement and grief and admiration. And he thought: "I have
never seen or heard the like of this. That good man and his family
have done a hard thing for me. In this strange world who else is so
brave as that, to give his son, his family, and his life for his king: If
I should not make a full return for his kindness, my kingdom
would mean nothing to me, and my life would be the life of a
beast. If I lost my virtue, it would all be a disgrace to me."
But when he started to cut off his own head, there came a voice
from heaven: "My son, do nothing rash. I am well pleased with
your character. The Brahman Hero and his children and his wife
shall come back to life." And when the voice ceased, Hero stood
up alive and uninjured with his son and his daughter and his wife.
Then the king hid himself again and looked on with eyes filled
with tears of joy, and could not see enough of them.
Now Hero, like a man awaking from a dream, gazed at his son and
his wife and his daughter, and was greatly perplexed. He spoke to
each by name, and asked them how they had come to life after
being reduced to ashes. "Is this a fancy of mine? Or a dream? Or
an illusion? Or the favour of the goddess?" And his wife and
children said to him: "By the favour of the goddess we are alive."
At last Hero believed it, and having worshipped the goddess, he
went home happy with his children and his wife. And when he had
seen his son and his wife and daughter safe at home, he went back
that same night to the palace gate.
And King Shudraka saw all this and went back without being seen
himself, and climbed to the roof, and called: "Who is there at the
gate?" And Hero replied: "Your Majesty, I, Hero, am here. At your
command I followed the woman who cried. She must have been a
witch, for she vanished the moment I saw her and spoke to her."
When the king heard this, he was astonished beyond measure, for
he had seen what really happened. And he thought: "Ah, the hearts
of brave men are deep as the sea, if they do not boast after doing
an unparalleled action." So the king descended from the roof,
entered the palace, and passed the rest of the night there.
Then when the court was held in the morning, Hero came to see
the king. And as he stood there, the delighted king told all his
counsellors and the others the story of the night. And all were
amazed and confounded at hearing of Hero's virtues, and they
praised him, crying: "Well done! Well done!"
Then the king and Hero lived happily together, sharing the power
When the goblin had told this story, he asked King
Triple-victory: "O King, which of all these was the most worthy? If
you know and will not tell, then the curse I told you of will be
And the king said to the goblin: "O magic creature, King Shudraka
was the most noble of them all."
But the goblin said: "Why not Hero, the like of whom as a servant
is not to be found in the whole world? Or why should not his wife
receive the most praise, who did not waver when she saw her son
killed like a beast before her eyes? Or why is not the boy Trusty
the most worthy, who showed such wonderful manhood when only
a little boy? Why do you say that King Shudraka was the best
Then the king answered the goblin: "Not Hero. He was a
gentleman born, so it was his duty to save his king at the cost of
life, wife and children. And his wife was a lady, a faithful wife
who only did what was right in following her husband. And Trusty
was their son, and like them. For the cloth is always like the
threads. But the king has aright to use his subjects' lives to save his
own. So when Shudraka gave his life for them, he proved himself
the best of all."
When the goblin heard this, he jumped from the king's shoulder
and went back to his home without being seen. And the king was
not disturbed by this magic, but started back through the night to
The Brave Man, the Wise Man, and the Clever Man. To which
should the girl be given?
Then King Triple-victory went back to the sissoo tree and saw the
body with the goblin in it hanging there just as before. He took it
down without being frightened by all its twistings and writhings,
and quickly set out again. And as he walked along in silence as
before, the goblin said: "O King, you are obstinate, and you are
pleasing to look at. So to amuse you, I will tell another story.
There is a city called Ujjain, famous throughout the world. There
lived a king named Merit, who had as counsellor a Brahman
named Hariswami, adorned with all noble virtues. The counsellor
had a worthy wife, and a son named Devaswami was born to her,
and was as good as she. And they had one daughter named
Moonlight, who was worthy of her name, for she was famous for
her matchless beauty and charm.
When the girl had grown out of childhood, she was proud of her
wonderful beauty, and she told her mother, her father, and her
brother: "I will marry a brave man or a wise man or a clever man. I
should die if I were married to anyone else."
Now while her father was busy looking for such a husband for her,
he was sent by King Merit to another king in the southern country
to make a treaty for war and peace. When he had finished his
business, a Brahman youth, who had heard of his daughter's
beauty, came and asked him for her.
And he said: "My daughter will not marry anyone unless he is a
clever man or a wise man or a brave man. Which of these are you?
Tell me." And the Brahman said: "I am a clever man." "Show
me," said the father, and the clever man made a flying chariot by
his skill. Then he took Hariswami in this magic chariot, and
carried him to the sky. And he took the delighted father to the
camp of the king of the southern country where he had been on
business. Then Hariswami appointed the marriage for the seventh
At this time another Brahman youth in Ujjain came to the girl's
brother and asked him for her. And when he was told that she
would marry only a wise man or a clever man or a brave man, he
said he was a brave man. Then when he had shown his skill with
weapons, the brother promised his sister to the brave man. And
without telling his mother, he consulted the star-gazers and
appointed the marriage for the seventh day.
At the same time a third Brahman youth came to the girl's mother
and asked for the girl. And the mother said: "My son, a wise man
or a clever man or a brave man shall marry my daughter but no one
else. Which of these are you? Tell me." And he said: "I am a wise
man." So she asked him about the past and the future, and found
that he was a wise man. Then she promised to give him her
daughter on the seventh day.
The next day Hariswami came home and told his wife and his son
all that he had done. And she and he each told him all that she or
he had done. So Hariswami was greatly perplexed, because three
bridegrooms had been invited. Then the seventh day came and the
three bridegrooms came to Hariswami's house.
Strange to say, at that moment Moonlight disappeared. Then the
wise man said: "A giant named Smoke-tail has carried her to his
den in the Vindhya forest."
When Hariswami heard this from the wise man, he was frightened
and asked the clever man to find a remedy for the trouble. And the
clever man made a chariot as before, full of all kinds of weapons,
and brought Hariswami with the wise man and the brave man in a
moment to the Vindhya forest. And the wise man showed them the
When the giant saw what had happened, he came out in anger, and
the brave man fought with him. Then came a famous duel with
strange weapons between a man and a giant for the sake of a
woman, like the ancient fight between Rama and Ravana. Though
the giant was a terrible fighter, the brave man presently cut off his
head with an arrow shaped like a half-moon. When the giant was
killed, they found Moonlight in the den and all went back to Ujjain
in the clever man's chariot.
Then when the proper time for wedding came, there arose a great
dispute among the three in Hariswami's house.
The wise man said: "If I had not discovered her by my wisdom,
how could you have found her hiding-place? She should be given
The clever man said: "If I had not made a flying chariot, how
could you have gone there in a moment and come back like the
gods, or how could you have had a chariot-fight with him? She
should be given to me."
The brave man said: "If I had not killed the giant in the fight, who
would have saved her in spite of all your pains? The girl should be
given to me."
And as they quarrelled, Hariswami stood silent, confused, and
When the goblin had told this story, he said to the king: "O King,
do you say to which of them she should be given. If you know and
will not tell, then your head will split into a hundred pieces."
Then the king broke silence and said: "She should be given to the
brave man, who risked his life and killed the giant and saved the
girl. The wise man and the clever man were only helpers whom
Fate gave him. A star-gazer and a chariot-maker work for other
people, do they not?"
When the goblin heard this answer, he suddenly escaped from the
king's shoulder and went back. And the king determined to get
him, and went again to the sissoo tree.
The Girl who transposed the Heads of her Husband and Brother.
Which combination of head and body is her husband?
Then the king went back to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his
shoulder as before, and started in silence toward the monk. And
the goblin said to him: "O King, you are wise and good, so I am
pleased with you. To amuse you, therefore, I will tell you another
story with a puzzle in it. Listen."
Long ago there was a king named Glory-banner in the world. His
city was named Beautiful. And in this city was a splendid temple
to the goddess Gauri. And to the right of the temple was a lake
called Bath of Gauri. And on a certain day in each year a great
crowd of people came there on a pilgrimage from all directions to
One day a laundryman named White came there from another
village to bathe. And the youth saw a maiden who had also come
there to bathe. Her name was Lovely, and her father's name was
Clean-cloth. She robbed the moon of its beauty and White of his
heart. So he inquired about her name and family and went home
When he got there, he was ill and could not eat without her. And
when his mother asked him, he told her what was in his heart, but
did not change his habits. But she went and told her husband,
whose name was Spotless.
So Spotless went and saw how his son was acting, and said: "My
son, why should you be downcast? Your desire is not hard to
obtain. For if I ask Clean-cloth, he will surely give you his
daughter. We are not inferior to him in birth, wealth, or social
position. I know him and he knows me. So there is no difficulty
about it." Thus Spotless comforted his son, made him eat and take
care of himself, went with him the next day to
Clean-cloth's house, and asked that the girl might be given to his
son White. And Clean-cloth graciously promised to give her to
Then when the time came, Clean-cloth gave White his charming
daughter, a wife worthy of him. And when he was married, White
went happily to his father's house with his sweet bride.
Now as he lived there happily, Lovely's brother came to visit. And
when they had all asked him about his health and his sister had
greeted him with a kiss, and after he had rested, he said: "My
father sent me to invite Lovely and White to a festival in our
house." And all the relatives said it was a good plan and
entertained him that day with appropriate things to drink and eat.
The next morning White set out for his father-in-law's house,
together with his brother-in-law and Lovely. And when he came to
the city Beautiful, he saw the great temple of Gauri. And he said to
Lovely and her brother: "We will see this goddess. I will go first
and you two stay here." So White went in to see the goddess. He
entered the temple and bowed before the goddess whose eighteen
arms had killed the horrible demons, whose lotus-feet were set
upon a giant that she had crushed.
And when he had worshipped her, an idea suddenly came to him.
"People honour this goddess with all kinds of living sacrifices.
Why should I not win her favour by sacrificing myself?" And he
fetched a sword from a deserted inner room, cut off his own head,
and let it fall on the floor.
Presently his brother-in-law entered the temple to see why he
delayed so long. And when he saw his brother-in-law with his head
cut off, he went mad with grief, and cut off his own head in the
same way with the same sword.
Then when he failed to come out, Lovely was alarmed and entered
the temple. And when she saw her husband and her brother in that
condition, she cried: "Alas! This is the end of me!" and fell
weeping to the floor. But presently she rose, lamenting for the pair
so unexpectantly dead, and thought: "What is my life good for
Before killing herself, she prayed to the goddess: "O Goddess! One
only deity of happiness and character! Partaker of the life of Shiva!
Refuge of all women-folk! Destroyer of grief! Why have you killed
my husband and my brother at one fell swoop? It was not right, for
I was always devoted to you. Then be my refuge when I pray to
you, and hear my one pitiful prayer. I shall leave this wretched
body of mine on this spot, but in every future life of mine, O
Goddess, may I have the same husband and brother." Thus she
prayed, praised, and worshipped the goddess, then tied a rope to an
ashoka tree which grew there.
But while she was arranging the rope about her neck, a voice from
heaven cried: "Do nothing rash, my daughter. Leave the rope
alone. Though you are young, I am pleased with your unusual
goodness. Place the two heads on the two bodies and they shall
rise up again and live through my favour."
So Lovely left the rope alone and joyfully went to the bodies. But
in her great hurry and confusion she made a mistake. She put her
husband's head on her brother's body and her brother's head on
her husband's body. Then they arose, sound and well, like men
awaking from a dream. And they were all delighted to hear one
another's adventures, worshipped the goddess, and went on their
Now as she walked along, Lovely noticed that she had made a
mistake in their heads. And she was troubled and did not know
what to do.
When the goblin had told this story, he asked the king: "O King,
when they were mingled in this way, which should be her
husband? If you know and do not tell, then the curse I spoke of
will be fulfilled."
And the king said to the goblin: "The body with the husband's
head on it is her husband. For the head is the most important
member. It is by the head that we recognize people."
Then the goblin slipped from the king's shoulder as before, and
quickly disappeared. And the king went back, determined to catch
The Mutual Services of King Fierce-lion and Prince Good. Which
is the more deserving?
Then the king went back to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his
shoulder as before, and started. And as he walked along, the goblin
said: "O King, I will tell you a story to amuse your weariness.
On the shore of the Eastern Ocean is Copper City. There a king
named Fierce-lion lived. He turned his back to other men's wives,
but not to fighting men. He destroyed his enemies, but not other
One day a popular prince named Good came from the south to the
king's gate. He introduced himself, but did not get what he wanted
from the king. And he thought: "If I am born a prince, why am I so
poor? And if I am to be poor, why did God give me so many
desires? For this king pays no attention to me, though I wait upon
him and grow weary and faint with hunger."
While he was thinking, the king went hunting. He went with many
horsemen and footmen, and the prince ran along in the dress of a
pilgrim with a club in his hand. And during the hunt the king
chased a great boar a long distance, and so came into another
forest. There he lost sight of the boar, for the trail was covered
with leaves and grass. And the king was tired and lost his way in
the forest. Only the pilgrim-prince thought nothing of his life, and
hungry and thirsty as he was, he followed on foot the king who
rode a swift horse.
And when the king saw him following, he spoke lovingly: "My
good man, do you perhaps know the way we came?"
And the pilgrim bowed low and said: "I know, your Majesty. But
first rest yourself a moment. The blazing sun, the middle jewel in
the girdle of heaven's bride, is terribly hot." Then the king said
eagerly: "See if there is water anywhere."
And the pilgrim agreed and climbed a high tree and looked around.
And he saw a river and climbed down and took the king to it. He
unsaddled the horse, gave him water and grass, and let him rest.
And when the king had bathed, the pilgrim took two fine mangoes
from his skirt, washed them and gave them to the king.
"Where did you get these?" asked the king, and the pilgrim bowed
and said: "Your Majesty, I have lived on such food for ten years.
While I was serving your Majesty, I had to live like a monk." And
the king said: "What can I say? You deserve your name of Good."
And he was filled with pity and shame, and thought: "A curse on
kings, who do not know whether their servants are happy or not!
And a curse of their attendants, who do not tell them this and
that!" And when the pilgrim insisted, the king was prevailed on to
take the two mangoes. He rested there with the pilgrim and ate the
mangoes and drank water with the pilgrim, who was accustomed
to eat mangoes and drink water.
Then the pilgrim saddled the horse and went ahead to show the
way, and at last, at the king's command, mounted behind on the
horse; so the king found his soldiers and went safely home. And
when he got there, he proclaimed the devotion of the pilgrim, and
made him a rich man, but could not feel that he had paid his debt.
So Good stayed there happily with King Fierce-lion and stopped
living as a pilgrim.
One day the king sent Good to Ceylon to ask for the hand of the
daughter of the King of Ceylon. So he set out after sacrificing to
the proper god, and entered a ship with some Brahmans chosen by
the king. And when the ship had safely reached the middle of the
ocean, there suddenly arose from the waves a very large
flag-pole made of gold, with a top that touched the sky. It was
adorned with waving banners of various colours and was quite
At the same moment the clouds gathered, it began to rain
violently, and a mighty wind blew. And the ship was driven by the
storm winds and caught on the flag-pole. Then the pole began to
sink, dragging the ship with it into the raging waves. And the
Brahmans who were there were overcome with fear and cursed the
name of their king Fierce-lion.
But Good could not endure that because of his devotion to his
king. He took his sword in his hand, girt up his garment, and threw
himself after the flag-pole into the sea. He had no fear of the pole
which seemed a refuge from the ocean. Then as he sank, the ship
was battered by the winds and waves and broke up. And all in it
fell into the mouths of sharks.
But Good sank into the ocean, and when he looked about he saw a
wonderful city. There he entered a shrine to Gauri, tall as the
heavenly mountain, with great gem-sprinkled banners on walls
made of different kinds of jewels, in a golden temple blazing with
jewelled pillars, with a garden that had a pool, the stairs to which
were made of splendid gems. After he had bowed low and praised
and worshipped the goddess there, he sat down before her in
amazement, wondering if it was all a conjuror's trick.
Just then the door was suddenly opened by a heavenly maiden. Her
eyes were like lotuses, her face like the moon. She had a smile like
a flower and a body soft as lotus-stems. And a thousand women
waited upon her. She entered the shrine of the goddess and the
heart of Good at the same moment. And when she had worshipped
the goddess there, she went out from the shrine, but not from the
heart of Good.
She entered a circle of light, and Good followed her. And he saw
another splendid house, that seemed like a place of meeting for all
riches and all enjoyments. And he saw the girl sitting on a jewelled
couch, and he approached and sat beside her. He was like a man
painted in a picture, for his eyes were fastened on her face.
Now a servant of the maiden saw that his body was thrilled, that he
was intent upon the maiden, that he was in love. She understood
his feelings and said to him: "Sir, you are our guest. Enjoy the
hospitality of my mistress. Arise. Bathe. Eat." And he felt a little
hope at her words and went to a pool in the garden which she
He plunged into the pool, and when he rose to the surface, he
found himself in the pool of King Fierce-lion in Copper City. And
when he saw that he had come there so suddenly, he thought: "Oh,
what does it mean? Where is that heavenly garden? What a
difference between the sight of that girl which was like nectar to
me, and this immediate separation from her which is like terrible
poison! It was no dream. I was awake when the
serving-maid deceived me and made a fool of me."
He was like a madman without the girl. He wandered in the garden
and mourned in a lovelorn way. He was surrounded by
wind-blown flower-pollen which seemed to him the yellow flames
of separation. And when the gardener saw him in this state, he
went and told the king.
And the king was troubled. He went himself to see Good, and
asked him soothingly: "What does this mean? Tell me, my friend.
Where did you go? And where did you come? And where did you
stay? And what did you fall into?"
Then Good told him the whole adventure. And the king thought:
"Ah, it is fortunate for me that this brave man is lovelorn. For now
I have a chance to pay my debt to him." So the king said to him:
"My friend, give over this vain grief. I will go with you by the
same road, and bring you to the heavenly maiden." So he
comforted Good, and made him take a bath.
The next day he transferred his royal duties to his counsellors and
entered a ship with Good. Good showed the way through the sea
and they saw the flag-pole with its banners rising as before in the
middle of the ocean. Then Good said to the king: "Your Majesty,
here is the magic flag-pole standing up. When I sink down there,
you must sink too along the flag-pole." So when they came near
the sinking pole, Good jumped first, and the king followed him.
They sank down and came to the heavenly city. And the king was
astonished, and after he had worshipped the goddess, he sat down
with Good. Then the girl, like Beauty personified, came out of the
circle of light with her friends. "There she is, the lovely creature,"
said Good, and the king thought: "He is quite right to love her."
But when she saw the king looking like a god, she wondered who
the strange and wonderful man might be, and entered the shrine to
worship the goddess.
But the king took Good and went into the garden to show how
little he cared about her. A moment later the girl came from the
shrine; she had been praying for a good husband. And she said to a
girl friend: "My friend, I wonder where I could see the man who
was here. Where is the great man? You girls must hunt for him and
ask him to be good enough to come and accept our hospitality. For
he is a wonderful man, and we must be polite to him."
So the girl found him in the garden and gave him her mistress'
message very respectfully. But the brave king spoke loftily to her:
"Your words are hospitality enough. Nothing else is necessary."
Now when her mistress had heard what he said, she thought he
was a noble character, better than anybody else. She was attracted
by the courage of the king in refusing a sort of hospitality which
was almost too much to offer a mere man, and thought about the
fulfilment of her prayer for a husband. So she went into the garden
herself. She drew near to the king and lovingly begged him to
accept her hospitality.
But the king pointed to Good and said: "My dear girl, he told me
of the goddess here, and I came to see her. And by following the
flag-pole I saw the goddess and her very marvellous temple. It was
only afterwards that I happened to see you."
Then the girl said: "O King, you may be interested in seeing a city
which is the wonder of the three worlds." And the king laughed
and said: "He told me about that, too. I believe there is a pool for
bathing there." And the girl said: "O King, do not say that. I am not
a deceitful girl. Why should I deceive an honourable man,
especially as your noble character has made me feel like a servant?
Pray do not refuse me."
So the king agreed and went with Good and the girl to the edge of
the circle of light. There a door opened and he entered and saw
another heavenly city like a second hill of heaven; for it was built
of gems and gold, and the flowers and fruits of every season grew
there at the same time.
And the princess seated the king on a splendid throne and brought
him gifts and said: "Your Majesty, I am the daughter of the great
god Black-wheel. But Vishnu sent my father to heaven. And I
inherited these two magic cities where one has everything he
wants. There is no old age or death to trouble us here. And now
you are in the place of my father to rule over the cities and over
me." So she offered him herself and all she had. But the king said:
"In that case you are my daughter and I give you in marriage to my
brave friend good."
In the king's words she saw the fulfilment of her prayer, and being
sensible and modest, she agreed. So the king married them and
gave all the magic wealth to happy Good, and said: "My friend, I
have paid you now for one of the two mangoes which I ate. But I
remain in your debt for the second."
Then he asked the princess how he could get back to his city. And
she gave the king a sword called Invincible, and the magic fruit
which wards off birth, old age, and death. And the king took the
sword and the fruit, plunged into the pool which she showed him,
and came up in his own country, feeling completely successful.
But Good ruled happily over the kingdom of the princess.
When the goblin had told this story, he asked the king: "O King,
which of these two deserves more credit for plunging into the
And the king was afraid of the curse, so he gave a true answer:
"Good seems to me the more deserving, for he did not know the
truth beforehand, but plunged without hope into the sea, while the
king knew the truth when he jumped."
And as soon as the king broke silence, the goblin slipped from his
shoulder as before without being seen and went to the sissoo tree.
And the king tried as before to catch him. Brave men do not waver
until they have finished what they have begun.
The Specialist in Food, the Specialist in Women, and the
Specialist in Cotton. Which is the cleverest?
So the king went back under the sissoo tree, caught the goblin just
as before, put him on his shoulder, and started toward the monk.
And as he walked along, the goblin on his shoulder spoke and said:
"O King, listen once more to the following story to beguile your
In the Anga country there is a great region called Forest. There
lived a great Brahman, pious and wealthy, whose name was
Vishnu-swami. To his worthy wife three sons were born, one after
another. When they had grown to be young men, specialists in
matters of luxury, they were sent one day by their father to find a
turtle for a sacrifice which he had begun.
So the brothers went to the ocean and there they found a turtle.
Then the eldest said to the two younger: "One of you take this
turtle for Father's sacrifice. I cannot carry a slimy thing that smells
But when the eldest said this, the two younger said: "Sir, if you
feel disgust, why shouldn't we?"
When the eldest heard this, he said: "You take the turtle, otherwise
Father's sacrifice will be ruined on your account. Then you and
Father too will surely go to hell."
When they heard him, the two younger brothers laughed and said:
"Sir, you seem to know our common duty, but not your own."
Then the eldest said: "What? Are you not aware that I am a
connoisseur in food? For I am a specialists in foods. How can I
touch this loathsome thing?"
When he heard these words, the second brother said: "But I am
even more of a connoisseur. I am a specialist in women. So how
can I touch it?"
After this speech, the eldest said to the youngest: "Do you then,
being younger than we, carry the turtle."
Then the youngest frowned and said to them: "Fools! I am a great
specialist in cotton."
So the three brothers quarrelled, and arrogantly leaving the turtle
behind them, they went to have the matter decided at Pinnacle, the
capital of a king called Conqueror. When they came there, and had
been announced and introduced by the door-keeper, they told their
story to the king. And when the king had heard all, he said: "Stay
here. I will examine you one after another." So they agreed and all
Then the king invited them in at his own dinner hour, seated them
on magnificent seats, and set before them sweet dishes of six
flavours, fit for a king. While all the rest ate, one of the Brahmans,
the specialist in food, disgustedly shook his head and refused to
eat. And when the king himself asked him why he would not eat
food that was sweet and savoury, he respectfully replied: "Your
Majesty, in this food there is the odour of smoke from a burning
corpse. Therefore, I do not wish to eat it, however sweet it may
Then at the king's command all the rest smelt of it and declared it
the best of winter rice, and perfectly sweet. But the food-critic
held his nose and would not touch it. Now when the king reflected
and made a careful investigation, he learned from the
commissioners that the dish was made of rice grown near a village
crematory. Then he was greatly astonished and pleased, and said:
"Brahman, you are certainly a judge of food. Pray take something
After dinner the king dismissed them to their rooms, and sent for
the most beautiful woman of his court. And at night he sent this
lovely creature, all adorned, to the second brother, the specialist in
women. She came with a servant of the king to his chamber, and
when she entered, she seemed to illuminate the room. But the
judge of women almost fainted, and stopping his nose with his left
hand, he said to his servants: "Take her away! If not, I shall die. A
goaty smell issues from her."
So the servants, in distress and astonishment, conducted her to the
king and told him what had happened. Then the king sent for the
specialist in women, and said: "Brahman, she has anointed herself
with sandal, camphor, and aloes, so that a delightful perfume
pervades her neighbourhood. How could this woman have a goaty
smell?" But in spite of this the specialist in women would not
yield. And when the king endeavoured to learn the truth, he heard
from her own lips that in her infancy she had been separated from
her mother and had been brought up on goat's milk. Then the king
was greatly astonished and loudly praised the critical judgment of
the specialist in women.
Quickly he had a couch prepared for the third brother, the
specialist in cotton. So the critic of cotton went to sleep on a bed
with seven quilts over the frame and covered with a pure, soft
coverlet. When only a half of the first watch of the night was gone,
he suddenly started from the bed, shouting and writhing with pain,
his hand pressed to his side. And the king's men who were
stationed there saw the curly red outline of a hair deeply imprinted
on his side.
They went at once and informed the king, who said to them: "See
whether there is anything under the quilts or not." So they went
and searched under each quilt, and under the last they found one
hair, which they immediately took and showed to the king. And
the king summoned the specialist in cotton, and finding the mark
exactly corresponding to the hair, was filled with extreme
astonishment. And he spent that night wondering how the hair
could sink into his body through seven quilts.
Now when the king arose in the morning, he was delighted with
their marvellous critical judgment and sensitiveness, so that he
gave each of the three specialists a hundred thousand
gold-pieces. And they were contented and stayed there, forgetting
all about the turtle, and thus incurring a crime through the failure
of their father's sacrifice.
When he had told this remarkable story, the goblin on the king's
shoulder said: "O King, remember the curse I spoke of and declare
which of these three was the
When he heard this, the wise king answered the goblin: "Without
doubt I regard the specialist in cotton as the cleverest, on whose
body the imprint of the hair was seen to appear visibly. The other
two might possibly have found out beforehand."
When the king had said this, the goblin slipped from his shoulder
as before. And the king went back under the sissoo tree again to
The Four Scientific Suitors. To which should the girl be given?
Then the king went back to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his
shoulder, and started. And the goblin spoke to him again: "O King,
why do you go to such pains in this cemetery at night? Do you not
see the home of the ghosts, full of dreadful creatures, terrible in
the night, wrapped in darkness as in smoke? Why do you work so
hard and grow weary for the sake of that monk? Well, to amuse the
journey, listen to a puzzle which I will tell you."
In the Avanti country is a city built by the gods at the beginning of
time, adorned with wonderful wealth and opportunities for
enjoyment. In the earliest age it was called Lotus City, then
Pleasure City, then Golden City, and now it is called Ujjain. There
lived a king named Heroic. And his queen was named Lotus.
One day the king went with her to the sacred Ganges river and
prayed to Shiva that he might have children. And after long prayer
he heard a voice from heaven, for Shiva was at last pleased with
his devotion: "O King, there shall be born to you a brave son to
continue your dynasty, and a daughter more beautiful than the
nymphs of heaven."
When he heard the heavenly voice, the king was delighted at the
fulfilment of his wishes, and went back to his city with the queen.
And first Queen Lotus bore a son called Brave, and then a daughter
named Grace who put the god of love to shame.
When the girl grew up, the king sought for a suitable husband for
her, and invited all the neighbouring princes by letter, but not one
of them seemed good enough for her. So the king tenderly said to
his daughter: "My dear, I do not see a husband worthy of you, so I
will summon all the kings hither, and you shall choose." But the
princess said: "My dear father, such a choice would be very
embarrassing. I would rather not. Just marry me to any
good-looking young man, who understands a single science from
beginning to end. I wish nothing more nor less than that."
Now while the king was looking for such a husband, four brave,
good-looking, scientific men from the south heard of the matter
and came to him. And when they had been hospitably received,
each explained his own science to the king.
The first said: "I am a working-man, and my name is
Five-cloth. I make five splendid suits of clothes a day. One I give
to some god and one to a Brahman. One I wear myself, and one I
shall give to my wife when I have one. The fifth I sell, to buy food
and things. This is my science. Pray give me Grace."
The second said: "I am a farmer, and my name is Linguist. I
understand the cries of all beasts and birds. Pray give me the
The third said: "I am a strong-armed soldier, and my name is
Swordsman. I have no rival on earth in the science of
swordsmanship. O King, pray give me your daughter."
The fourth said: "O King, I am a Brahman, and my name is Life. I
possess a wonderful science. For if dead creatures are brought to
me, I can quickly restore them to life. Let your daughter find a
husband in a man who has such heroic skill."
When they had spoken, and the king had seen that they all had
wonderful garments and personal beauty, he and his daughter
swung in doubt.
When the goblin had told this story, he said to the king:
"Remember the curse I mentioned, and tell me to which of them
the girl should be given."
And the king said to the goblin: "Sir, you are merely trying to gain
time by making me break silence. There is no puzzle about that.
How could a warrior's daughter be given to a working-
man, a weaver? Or to a farmer, either? And as to his knowledge of
the speech of beasts and birds, of what practical use is it? And
what good is a Brahman who neglects his own affairs and turns
magician, despising real courage? Of course she should be given to
the warrior Swordsman who had some manhood with his science."
When the goblin heard this, he escaped by magic from the king's
shoulder, and disappeared. And the king followed him as before.
Discouragement never enters the brave heart of a resolute man.
The Three Delicate Wives of King Virtue-banner. Which is the
Then the king went to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on his
shoulder once more, and started toward the monk. And as he
walked along, the goblin on his shoulder said: "O King, I will tell
you a strange story to relieve your weariness. Listen."
There once was a king in Ujjain, whose name was
Virtue-banner. He had three princesses as wives, and loved them
dearly. One of them was named Crescent, the second Star, and the
third Moon. While the king lived happily with his wives, he
conquered all his enemies, and was content.
One day at the time of the spring festival, the king went to the
garden to play with his three wives. There he looked at the
flower-laden vines with black rows of bees on them; they seemed
like the bow of the god of love, all ready for service. He heard the
songs of nightingales in the trees; they sounded like commands of
Love. And with his wives he drank wine which seemed like Love's
Then the king playfully pulled the hair of Queen Crescent, and a
lotus-petal fell from her hair into her lap. And the queen was so
delicate that it wounded her, and she screamed and fainted. And
the king was distracted, but when servants sprinkled her with cool
water and fanned her, she gradually recovered consciousness. And
the king took her to the palace and waited upon his dear wife with
a hundred remedies which the physicians brought.
And when the king saw that she was made comfortable for the
night, he went to the palace balcony with his second wife Star.
Now while she slept on the king's breast, the moonbeams found
their way through the window and fell upon her. And she awoke in
a moment, and started up, crying "I am burned!" Then the king
awoke and anxiously asked what the matter was, and he saw great
blisters on her body. When he asked her about it, Queen Star said:
"The moonbeams that fell on me did it." And the king was
distracted when he saw how she wept and suffered. He called the
servants and they made a couch of moist lotus-leaves, and dressed
her wounds with damp sandal-paste.
At that moment the third queen, Moon, left her room to go to the
king. And as she moved through the noiseless night, she clearly
heard in a distant part of the palace the sound of pestles grinding
grain. And she cried: "Oh, oh! It will kill me!" She wrung her
hands and sat down in agony in the hall. But her servants returned
and led her to her room, where she took to her bed and wept. And
when the servants asked what the matter was, she tearfully showed
her hands with bruises on them, like two lilies with black bees
clinging to them. So they went and told the king. And he came in
great distress, and asked his dear wife about it. She showed her
hands and spoke, though she suffered: "My dear, when I heard the
sound of the pestles, these bruises came." Then the king made
them give her a cooling plaster of sandal-paste and other things.
And the king thought: "One of them was wounded by a falling
lotus-petal. The second was burned by the moonbeams. The third
had her hands terribly bruised by the sound of pestles. I love them
dearly, but alas! The very delicacy which is so great a virtue, is
And he wandered about in the palace, and it seemed as if the night
had three hundred hours. But in the morning the king and his
skilful physicians took such measures that before long his wives
were well and he was happy.
When he had told this story, the goblin asked: "O King, which of
them was the most delicate?" And the king said: "The one who
was bruised by the mere sound of the pestles, when nothing
touched her. The other two who were wounded or blistered by
actual contact with lotus-petals or moonbeams, are not equal to
When the goblin heard this, he went back, and the king resolutely
hastened to catch him again.
The King who won a Fairy as his Wife. Why did his counsellor's
Then the king went as before to the sissoo tree, put the goblin on
his shoulder, and started back. And the goblin said once more: "O
King, I like you wonderfully well because you are not discouraged.
So I will tell you a delightful little story to relieve your weariness.
In the Anga country was a young king named Glory-
banner, so beautiful that he seemed an incarnation of the god of
love. He had conquered all his enemies by his strength of arm, and
he had a counsellor named Farsight.
At last the king, proud of his youth and beauty, entrusted all the
power in his quiet kingdom to his counsellor, and gradually
devoted himself entirely to pleasure. He spent all his time with the
ladies of the court, and listened more attentively to their
love-songs than to the advice of statesmen. He took greater
pleasure in peeping into their windows than into the holes in his
administration. But Farsight bore the whole burden of public
business, and never wearied day or night.
Then the people began to murmur: "The counsellor Farsight has
seduced the king, and now he alone has all the kingly glory." And
the counsellor said to his wife, whose name was Prudence: "My
dear, the king is devoted to his pleasures, and great infamy is
heaped upon me by the people. They say I have devoured the
kingdom, though in fact I support the burden of it. Now popular
gossip damages the greatest man. Was not Rama forced to
abandon his good wife by popular clamour? So what shall I do
Then his clever wife Prudence showed that she deserved her name.
She said: "My dear, leave the king and go on a pilgrimage. Tell
him that you are an old man now, and should be permitted to travel
in foreign countries for a time. Then the gossip will cease, when
they see that you are unselfish. And when you are gone, the king
will bear his own burdens. And thus his levity will gradually
disappear. And when you come back, you can assume your office
To this advice the counsellor assented, and said to the king in the
course of conversation: "Your Majesty, permit me to go on a
pilgrimage for a few days. Virtue seems of supreme importance to
But the king said: "No, no, counsellor. Is there no other kind of
virtue except in pilgrimages? How about generosity and that kind
of thing? Isn't it possible to prepare for heaven in your own
Then the counsellor said: "Your Majesty, one gets worldly
prosperity from generosity and that kind of thing. But a pilgrimage
gives eternal life. A prudent man should attend to it while he has
strength. The chance may be lost, for no one can be sure of his
But the king was still arguing against it when the doorkeeper came
in and said: "Your Majesty, the glorious sun is diving beneath the
pool of heaven. Arise. The hour for your bath is slipping away."
And the king went immediately to bathe.
The counsellor went home, still determined on his pilgrimage. He
would not let his wife go with him, but started secretly. Not even
his servants knew.
He wandered alone through many countries to many holy places,
and finally came to the Odra country. There he saw a city near the
ocean, where he entered a temple to Shiva and sat down in the
court. There he sat, hot and dusty from long travel, when he was
seen by a merchant named Treasure who had come to worship the
god. The merchant gathered from his dress and appearance that he
was a high-born Brahman, and invited him home, and entertained
him with food, bathing, and the like.
When the counsellor was rested, the merchant asked him: "Who
are you? Whence do you come? And where are you going?" And
the other replied: "I am a Brahman named Farsight. I came here on
a pilgrimage from the Anga country."
Then the merchant Treasure said to him: "I am preparing for a
trading voyage to Golden Island. Do you stay in my house. And
when I come back, and you are wearied from your pilgrimage, rest
here for a time before going home." But Farsight said: "I do not
want to stay here. I would rather go with you." And the good
merchant agreed. And the counsellor slept in the first bed he had
lain in for many nights.
The next day he went to the seashore with the merchant, and
entered the ship loaded with the merchant's goods. He sailed
along, admiring the wonders and terrors of the sea, till at last he
reached Golden Island. There he stayed for a time until the
merchant had finished his buying and selling. Now on the way
back, he saw a magic tree suddenly rising from the ocean. It had
beautiful branches, boughs of gold, fruits of jewels, and splendid
blossoms. And sitting on a jewelled couch in the branches was a
lovely maiden of heavenly beauty. And while the counsellor
wondered what it all meant, the maiden took her lute in her hand,
and began to sing:
Whatever seed of fate is sown,
The fruit appears--'tis strange!
Whatever deed a man has done,
Not God himself can change.
And when she had made her meaning clear, the heavenly maiden
straightway sank with the magic tree and the couch. And Farsight
thought: "What a wonderful thing I have seen to-day! What a
strange place the ocean is for the appearance of a tree with a fairy
in it! And if this is a usual occurrence at sea, why do not other
The pilot and other sailors saw that he was astonished, and they
said: "Sir, this wonderful maiden appears here regularly, and sinks
a moment after, but the sight is new to you." Then the counsellor,
filled with amazement, came to the shore with Treasure, and
disembarked. And when the merchant had unloaded his goods and
caused his servants to rejoice, the counsellor went home with him
and spent many happy days there.
At last he said to Treasure: "Merchant, I have rested happily for a
long time in your house. Now I wish to go to my own country.
Peace be with you!" And in spite of urging from the merchant,
Farsight took his leave, and started with no companion except his
own courage. He went through many countries and at last reached
the Anga country. And scouts who had been sent by King
Glory-banner saw him before he reached the city. When the king
learned of it, he went himself out of the city to meet him, for he
had been terribly grieved by the separation. He drew near,
embraced and greeted the counsellor and took him, all worn and
dusty with the weary journey, into an inner room.
And as soon as the counsellor was refreshed, the king said:
"Counsellor, why did you leave us? How could you bring yourself
to do so harsh and loveless a thing? But after all, who can
understand the strange workings of stern necessity? To think that
you should decide all at once to wander off on a pilgrimage! Well,
tell me what countries you visited, and what new things you saw."
Then the counsellor told him the whole story truthfully and in
order, the journey to Golden Island and the fairy who rose singing
from the sea, her wonderful beauty and the magic tree.
But the king immediately fell in love so hopelessly that his
kingdom and his life seemed worthless to him without her. He
took the counsellor aside and said: "Counsellor, I simply must see
her. Remember that I shall die if I do not. I bow to my fate. I will