The Talking Thrush - and Other Tales from India
by William Crooke
Previous Part     1  2  3
Home - Random Browse

Thereupon One-eye cocked up his solitary eye, to see how things were going on up aloft; and seeing this, Roley called out—

"Mother, give me a lump of mud, and I'll hit the brute in his sound eye, and then we will finish him off."

When One-eye heard this, he gave a great start, and down toppled the whole seven in a heap, one a-top of the next, spitting and roaring and scratching. They were so much taken aback, that they imagined all sorts of powerful beasts to be fighting with them, when it was only their own selves, biting each other; and the end of all was, that as soon as the seven Tigers had each got his four legs to himself, off they went helter-skelter into the forest, and never more troubled Mammy Nanny-goat and her four frolicsome Kids.

The Stag, the Crow, and the Jackal

ONCE upon a time there was a Stag living in a certain jungle, and in the same jungle lived a Crow. These two were bosom friends. Why a Stag should take a fancy to a Crow, I cannot say; but so it was; and if you do not believe it, you had better not read any further.

It so befell that a Jackal came by one day, and his eye fell on this Stag, and a fine plump Stag he was. The Jackal's mouth began to water. How he would like to make a meal of so dainty a piece of flesh. But he knew it was of no use trying to attack the Stag, who seemed very strong. Still, by hook or by crook, that Stag he would have. So in the depths of his cunning heart he concocted a trick, of which you shall shortly hear.

The Jackal watched his chance, and as soon as he had found the Stag alone, he began to say, sidling up to the Stag, and whispering in his ear—

"Beware of that Crow; he's fooling thee. Beware, beware all birds of the air. There's no trusting any bird, let alone a Crow, who is worst of the whole feathered tribe. Now you and I, who never try in the air to fly, good honest gentlemen with four legs apiece, we are marked out for friends by Nature herself."

Will you be surprised to hear that the Stag listened to the crafty and slanderous words, and deserted his friend the Crow? When your hair is grey you will know that such is the way of the world, and that a true friend who sticks to the end, is harder to find than a diamond mine.

But although this Stag was shallow-hearted and weak, not so the Crow. He was a true friend, and he was cut to the heart by the unkindness of his friend the Stag; but he wasted no time in fruitless tears. He went about his work as usual, and waited for a chance of winning back his recreant friend.

Well, Stag and Jackal scoured about the woods together, and the Jackal did his best to make himself agreeable. In this he had poor success; for though the Stag tried hard to like his new comrade, yet he could not help seeing that he was dirty; moreover, the Jackal ate all sorts of dead animals, but the Stag was a vegetarian, and did not approve of this kind of food. But though the Stag had qualms now and again, he was not strong enough to break loose from the friendship of the Jackal.

But the time was ripening for the Jackal's blow. He knew a place where huntsmen used to set gins and snares, to catch the wild animals. So one day, as he and the Stag were out a-walking together, the Jackal so managed that they passed by this place. The Jackal took good care to keep clear of the snare; but the innocent Stag knew nothing of snares or gins, so into a snare he stept, and snap! he was fast.

Now was the time for a true friend to show his friendship. But the Jackal, as we already know, was a humbug; accordingly, all he did was to sit by the side of the Stag, and try not to look pleased.

"Oh dear, what shall I do?" said the Stag, when he found himself caught. "Oh my friend, do help me out."

"You shock me, friend," said the Jackal, pulling a long face; "surely you have not forgotten that it is Sunday? We are told in the Ten Commandments to do no work on the Sabbath day. If it were not so, how gladly would I help you!" So saying, he wiped away a crocodile tear. He sat down and waited in the hope that the Stag would die, and then he would eat him.

But the faithful Crow was not far. Though his friend the Stag would not so much as cast him a look, the Crow followed him ever, biding his time; and now the time had come.

The Crow perched on a neighbouring tree, and said—

"Dear friend, I am only a weak little bird, and I cannot help you; but I can teach you to help yourself. My advice is, pretend to be dead, and when the Hunter comes, he will open the snare without any care, and you can escape."

"Thank you, long-suffering friend!" said the Stag; and so he did. When the Huntsman came, he thought the Stag was dead; he opened the snare, and before he was aware, the Stag was up and off and away.

The Stag asked his friend the Crow to forgive him, and they lived happily together as before. As for the treacherous Jackal, he never came near them more.

The Monkey and the Crows

IN a certain land, a flock of Crows built their nests in the branches of a huge cotton-tree.

In that country, the climate is not the least like ours. It is hot all the year round, and for eight months the sun blazes like a fiery furnace, so that the people who live there are burnt as black as your boot; then after eight months comes the rain, and the rain comes down in bucketsful, with lightning fit to blind you, and thunder enough to crack your head. These Crows were quite happy in their nests, whatever happened; for when it was hot, the leaves of the trees sheltered them from the sun, and in the rainy season the leaves kept them pretty dry.

One evening there came a terrible storm, with torrents of rain like Noah's flood. In the midst of it, the Crows noticed a Monkey sliding along, drenched and draggle-tailed, looking like a drowned Rat. The Crows set up a chorus of caws, and called out—

"O Monkey, what a fool you must be! Look at us, dry and comfortable, in our nests of rags and twigs. If we, with only our little beaks to help us, can make comfortable nests, why can't you, with two hands and two feet and a tail?"

You might have thought the Monkey would take this advice to heart. But not a bit of it. Monkeys are naturally a lazy tribe, and they are full of envy, hatred, and malice. What they like best is destroying whatever they can lay their hands on; and when I look upon some of the nations of this globe, I cannot help thinking that they really must be descended from Monkeys. So this Monkey snapt and snarled, and said to the Crows—

"Just wait till morning, and then we'll see what a Monkey can do."

The simple birds were delighted to hear this, and looked forward to seeing the Monkey do something wonderfully clever, with his tail and his two hands and two feet.

Morning came, and the rain was over. The Monkey climbed up into the tree, and in his rage and envy he tore all the Crows' nests to pieces.

Then the Crows were sorry they spoke, and determined for the future to mind their own business, and let fools alone. For, as the wise man said, "To give good advice to a fool is like pouring oil upon the fire."

The Swan and the Paddy-Bird

A WILD Swan was flying once to his home, when he paused to rest on a tree. This was a kind of tree you have most likely never seen. It was very tall, and had no branches upon it until you came to the top, but at the top was a large clump of green leaves, and bunches of cocoa-nuts hanging down.

It so happened that on this tree was the nest of a Paddy-bird. A Paddy-bird is a bird something like a heron, which feeds on fish and frogs. At the moment when the Swan perched upon the tree, this Paddy-bird was sitting demurely on the edge of a pond that was below the tree, watching the water for a rise. She had no fishing-rod, but when she saw a little fish or a frog swim past, out went her beak like a flash, and the fish was pierced. Then she ate the fish, or carried it off to her little ones in the nest.

When the Paddy-bird chanced to look round, she saw the Swan sitting upon her tree. She was frightened at this, thinking that perhaps it was some bird of prey, come to devour her chicks. So she left her fishing, and at once flew up to the top of the cocoa-nut tree. The Swan looked harmless enough when she came closer, so plucking up courage, the Paddy-bird thus addressed him—

"Good-day, sir. May I ask who you are?"

"I am a Swan," said the other, "and I am on my way home; but as it is a hot day, I thought I would rest awhile on your tree. I hope you have no objection?"

"Welcome, my lord Swan, welcome!" said the Paddy-bird. "I only wish I could offer you entertainment. But I am ashamed to say that I have no food worth your taking. I am a poor bird, and you know we Paddy-birds eat only small fish and frogs, which your highness would hardly touch."

"Oh, never mind for that," answered the Swan; "thank you all the same, but I can find my own food on this tree of yours."

This set our Paddy-bird's heart all a-flutter, for what could he mean but her brood? However, all was well in a minute; when she saw the Swan go to one of the green cocoa-nuts hanging to the tree. You have seen, I suppose, three little soft places at the top of a cocoa-nut, which are holes in the shell filled up with pulp. The Swan pierced his bill through one of these holes, and drank the milk inside the cocoa-nut. Then he gave some of the milk to the Paddy-bird, and flew away.

This milk tasted very nice, and the Paddy-bird began to say to herself, "What a fool I have been all these years! Here am I, watching and waiting all day long for a frog, and nasty things they are too, and all this while there was plenty of delicious milk within a yard of my nest! Well, good-bye fish, and good-bye frogs; I have done with you now for ever."

The next time the Paddy-bird felt hungry, she flew to a cocoa-nut and began to peck at it. But she did not know the secret of the three little holes at the top of the cocoa-nut; so she pecked, and pecked, and got no further. At last she gathered all her strength, and gave a tremendous peck at the cocoa-nut. Snap! her bill broke off, and the blood ran out, and very soon the poor Paddy-bird had bled to death.

Next day, the Swan happened to fly by that way again; and coming to the tree, he found his friend the Paddy-bird lying dead on the ground, with her bill snapt off clean. He understood at once what had happened, and said to himself, "This is what comes of trying to do what one is not fit for. Let the cobbler stick to his last, or misfortune follows fast."

What is a Man?

IN a certain forest, a Lioness dwelt who had one cub. This cub did not go to school, as you one day will go; but he learned his lessons at home. And what do you think his lessons were? Not multiplication which is vexation; not the Rule of Three which puzzles me; not spelling and copy-books. No; the Lioness had only one lesson to teach her cub, and that was, to avoid mankind as if they were poison. Every day, morning and evening, she taught him for an hour; telling him again and again, that of all the beasts of the forest he need fear none, for a lion is stronger than any, but man he must fear and keep clear of.

Well, the little Lion grew big; and as often happens to children as well as lions' cubs, he grew conceited too. He could not believe that his mother was old enough to know better than he; no, he would see for himself. So one fine day, this Lion set out on a voyage of discovery.

The first thing he saw was an Ox. This Ox was a fine sturdy animal, and the Lion felt rather nervous to see such hoofs and horns. You must remember he was young and ignorant, and had hardly seen any animal but his mother and father. So he went up to the Ox, and said timidly—

"Good morning, sir. Will you be good enough to tell me if you are a Man?"

If an Ox could laugh, that Ox would have laughed in the face of the Lion's cub. But an Ox is always solemn, like a Turk, though he does not love bloodshed as a Turk does. This Ox was chewing the cud, munching and mouthing with great calmness, so as to get the full flavour of the rich grass. He turned his meek eyes, and stared at the Lion. Then he said—

"A Man! God forbid. A Man is a terrible creature. He makes slaves of us Oxen, and puts a yoke on our necks and fastens us to a thing called a plough; and makes us pull the plough to and fro, up and down, till we are tired to death. If we won't go, he sticks a prod into us, which hurts us very much. I can't think what is the use of all this pother; we get no good of it. And when we are old, and can work no more, he kills us, and eats our flesh, and the skin he makes into shoes for his own feet. Keep clear of Men, if you value your life." Then the Ox turned his head away, and went on with his chewing.

This gave our Lion something to think about. He thought the Ox a very fine animal indeed, and yet, said the Ox, Man was stronger.

The Lion went his ways, and by-and-by, what should he see but a Camel. If the Ox was a fine creature, here was a finer; ever so tall, with a hump on his back, and a long neck, and great long legs. Surely this must be the terrible Man he had heard so much of. But to make certain, he approached the Camel with great respect, and said—

"Good morning, sir. Pray, will you tell me if you are a Man?"

The Camel turned his long neck, and sniffed and sneered as Camels have a way of doing, and a most unpleasant way it is.

"Pooh!" said he. "Stuff! poof! you oaf! you think me a Man? I wish I were a Man, wouldn't I make short work of you! A man, quotha! Why, I am a slave to that same Man. They catch us, these Men, and make a hole in our noses, and put a ring in it—do you see my ring? How do you think I like a hole made in my nose, as if two holes were not enough! Then they tie a rope to the ring, and lead us about all day long just where they please, without a with your leave, or by your leave! And they make us squat down in the mud, and put a great load on our backs, enough to crush a whipper-snapper like you. Groan as we may, it's all of no use, they do what they choose. Man! the very name makes me shiver. Get out, and leave me alone!"

This frightened our Lion, because who knew whether the great animal might not kill him, if it came into his head, so the Lion went away as fast as he could.

In a little while, he espied an Elephant. Here was a monster, to be sure! A great black mountain, with a long nose curling about, and huge white teeth sticking out, and big ears flapping. The Lion was quite terrified this time, and would not go near the Elephant, until he suddenly saw that the Elephant had a rope round his tusks, by which he was tied fast to a stake. Then he plucked up courage to approach, and said—

"Good morning, my lord. Please will you tell me, are you a Man?"

The Elephant trumpeted loudly. That was his way of laughing at the idea that he could be mistaken for a Man.

"Hooroo! hooroo!" he shrieked. "A Man! Hooroo! No, but a Man is my master, and that's the truth. A Man tied me to this post. Cruel and selfish brutes, are men; and with all my strength, I am no match for a Man. They get on our backs, a dozen of them at a time, and make us fetch, and carry, and drive us about by sticking a sharp spike into our skulls. Don't you go near a Man, if you love your life; why, bless me, they will make mincemeat of you! Hooroo!" The Elephant swished his trunk all round him in his excitement.

Our Lion had now seen three astonishing creatures, and they all said that a Man was stronger than they were. What could this terrible creature be like? He must be a mountain indeed, if he was to master such a beast as the black Elephant. Yet the black creature said that Men got on his back, a dozen of them at a time. The Lion could not understand it at all. He shook his head, and stalked away thoughtful.

As the Lion was going along, he saw a puny and weak-looking thing, walking upright on two legs. He seemed to be a kind of monkey, thought the Lion. It never entered his head that this little thing could be a Man, but he trotted up to him gaily, and said—

"Good morning, my friend. Can you tell me where I can find a Man? I have been hunting for one all the morning."

"I am a Man," said the other.

At this the Lion laughed in his face. "You a Man!" said he. "Come, come; I may be young, but I am no fool, my good fellow. Why, you are not so big as one leg of that mountain over there, who was tied to a stake, as he said, by a Man."

"All the same," the Man said, "I am one of them."

"But look here," the Lion went on, "my father and mother both say that Man is a terrible and cruel creature, and the only creature a Lion need fear. Now, either you are no Man, or else my father and mother are quite wrong."

"Well," said the Man, "I am not nearly so strong as you are, or the Elephant and Camel, or even the Ox. As you say, I am not much to look at, but I have one power which you all lack."

"Indeed," said the Lion, "and what may that be?"

The Man answered, "Reason."

"I never heard of reason," said the Lion. "Please explain it to me, will you?"

"It is not easy to explain what reason is," replied the Man; "but if you like, I will show you how it works."

The Lion was pleased. "Oh please do," he said.

I must tell you that this Man was a woodcutter, and he had an axe upon his shoulder. He now lifted this axe and drove a blow into a stout sapling which grew hard by. When he had split the sapling, he took a wedge of wood, and hammered it in with the back of his axe, until there was a large cleft in the trunk of the sapling. "Now then," said the Man, "just put your paw in that hole."

The Lion obediently put his paw into the cleft, and then the Man pulled out the wedge from the cleft. The sapling closed tight on the paw of the Lion, and squeezed it. "Now," said the Man, "you know what reason is."

But the Lion no longer cared to hear about reason; all he wanted was to get his paw out of the cleft. He pulled and he tugged, he roared and he struggled; but all of no use; he could not by any means get his paw free. The end of all was, in madness and fury he dashed his head against the ground, and died.

This was how the Lion learnt how terrible a being is Man; but unluckily, you see, his knowledge was of no use to him or any one else, because it cost him his life. If he had listened to his mother's teaching, he might be living still, and you would not be reading this story.

The Wound and the Scar

THERE was once a forest where a Lion dwelt. Over all the beasts of the forest the Lion lorded it, and of men not one durst come near the place for fear of King Lion; none, that is, except one only, a Woodman who lived in a little hut just upon the borders of the woodland; and between the forest and the hut a river flowed. This Woodman came often into the forest, to cut wood; and he had no fear to do so, because the Lion and he were bosom friends. Such fast friends they were that if ever the Woodman failed to pay his daily visit, the Lion was grieved and missed him sorely.

It happened once that the Woodman fell ill of a fever. In his woodland hut he lay all alone, for no wife was there, or sister to care for him. So he tossed and moaned, and waited for the hours to pass.

Of course during all this time the Woodman could not visit the forest, and his friend the Lion missed him. "What can be the matter," thought King Lion. "Has some enemy killed him, or has he fallen sick?" At last he could no longer bear the suspense, and set out in search of the Woodman.

I do not think that the Lion had ever yet been to his friend's house; and for all he knew he might be walking straight into a trap. But he was so fond of the Woodman that he never thought of danger. All he wanted was to see his friend. Accordingly, he followed the path by which the Woodman came into the woods; and in due time this path led him to the bank of a wide and swift river, and over on the opposite bank was a hut.

In plunged the Lion, not waiting to think; and though there were crocodiles in that river ready to eat him, and though the current bade fair to sweep him away, so strong was his love for his friend that he swam across.

The Woodman's house stood within an enclosure, and all the doors and gates were shut; but the Lion jumped over the wall, and searched about, until he managed somehow to force his way into the house. Then he saw his friend lying upon a bed, and very ill, all alone, with no one to tend him.

How grieved the Lion was to see his friend, you can imagine better than I can tell. The Lion knelt down by his friend's side, and began to lick him all over. This woke the man from his dazed condition; and when he found the Lion licking his body, he did not like the smell of the Lion, so he turned his head away, with a grunt of disgust.

Now I think this was very unkind, because the Lion had no other way of showing how much he cared for his friend. Think what a long way he had come to see his friend, and think what danger he had faced; and now to be met with a grunt of disgust! The Lion stopped licking the Woodman, and got up slowly, and went away. Back he swam over the deep and swift river, but all the heart was taken out of him; he cared not for the crocodiles, indeed now he would not have been very sorry if a crocodile had devoured him. One crocodile did actually get a nip at his leg, and left a wound there. Back to his den he crept, solitary and sad. And when he got to his den, he lay down, sick of his friend's fever, which he had taken by licking him.

In a week or so, the Woodman was well again; and thinking nothing of what had passed, he shouldered his axe, and trudged away to cut wood. When the time came for his midday meal, he went as his custom was to the Lion's den; and there he found his friend the Lion, thin and sick.

"Why, friend, what is the matter?" the Woodman asked.

"I am ill," said the Lion.

"What is it?" asked the Woodman again.

But the Lion would answer nothing; and do what he would, the man could not get him to say another word. So he left him for that day, and went home.

For several days after, the man did the same thing; and gradually the Lion got better. At last one day, when the Lion was quite well again, the man said to him—

"Tell me, good friend Lion, what it is that has made you so silent and gloomy of late?"

Then answered the Lion, "O Woodman, I will tell you. When you were ill, I swam a swift river and faced death, all for your sake; I came into your house when you lay deserted, and licked your body, and took the fever which you had into my veins; and this wound which you see, I received from a crocodile as I was swimming across on my way back. But you received me with scorn, and turned away your face in disgust. The fever is gone, and this wound (as you see) is healed; but the wound in my heart can never heal. You are no true friend; and from henceforth our ways lie apart."

The man was ashamed of his unkindness, but it was too late, for, as the poet says—

"Who snaps the thread of friendship, never more Can join it as it once was joined before."

The Cat and the Parrot

ONCE upon a time, a Cat and a Parrot had joint lease of a certain piece of land, which they tilled together.

One day the Cat said to the Parrot, "Come, friend, let us go to the field."

Said the Parrot, "I can't come now, because I am whetting my bill on the branch of a mango-tree."

So the Cat went alone, and ploughed the field. When the field was ploughed, the Cat came to the Parrot again, and said—

"Come, friend, let us sow the corn."

Said the Parrot, "I can't come now, because I am whetting my beak on the branch of a mango-tree."

So the Cat went alone, and sowed the corn. The corn took root, the corn sprouted, it put forth the blade, and the ear, and the ripe corn in the ear. Then again the Cat came to the Parrot, and said—

"Come, friend, let us go and gather the harvest."

Said the Parrot, "I can't come now, because I am whetting my beak on the branch of a mango-tree."

So the Cat went alone, and gathered the harvest. She put it away in barns, and made ready for threshing. When all was ready for the threshing, again the Cat came to the Parrot, and said—

"Come, friend, let us thresh the corn."

Said the Parrot, "I can't come now, because I am whetting my beak on the branch of a mango-tree."

So the Cat went, and threshed all the corn alone. Then the Cat came back to the Parrot, and said—

"Come, friend, let us go and winnow the grain from the chaff."

Said the Parrot, "I can't come now, because I am whetting my beak on the branch of a mango-tree."

So the Cat winnowed the grain from the chaff alone. Then she came back once again to the Parrot, and said—

"Come, friend, the grain is all winnowed and sifted; come and divide it between us."

"Certainly," said the Parrot, and came at once. You see the Cat had done all the work, but the Parrot was quite ready to share the profit. They divided the corn into two halves, and the Cat put her half away somewhere, and the Parrot carried his half to his nest.

Then the Cat and the Parrot agreed to invite each other to dinner every day; that is to say, the Cat asks the Parrot to-day, and the Parrot asks the Cat to-morrow. The Cat's turn came first. Then the Cat went to market and bought a ha'porth of milk, a ha'porth of sugar, and a ha'porth of rice. When the Parrot came there was nothing but this stingy fare. Moreover, the Cat was so inhospitable, that she actually made the Parrot cook the food himself! Perhaps that was her way of rebuking her friend for his laziness.

Next day the turn came to the Parrot. He procured about thirty pounds of flour, and plenty of butter, and everything else that was needed, and cooked the food before his guest came. He made enough cakes to fill a washerwoman's basket—about five hundred.

When the Cat came, the Parrot put before her four hundred and ninety-eight cakes, in a heap, and kept back for himself only two. The Cat ate up the four hundred and ninety-eight cakes in about three minutes, and then asked for more.

The Parrot set before her the two cakes he had kept for himself. The Cat devoured them, and then asked for more.

The Parrot said, "I have no more cakes, but if you are still hungry, you may eat me."

The Cat was still hungry, and ate the Parrot, bones and beak and feathers. Thus the tables were turned; for if the Parrot had the best of it before, the Cat had the best of it now.

An old woman happened to be near, and saw this. So she picked up a stone, and said—

"Shoo! shoo! get away, or I'll kill you with this stone."

Now the Cat thought to herself, "I ate a basketful of cakes, I ate my friend the Parrot, and shall I blush to eat this old hag?"

No, surely not. The Cat devoured the old Woman.

The Cat went along the road and perceived a Washerman with a donkey. He said, "O Cat, get away, or my donkey shall kick you to death!"

Thought the Cat, "I ate a basketful of cakes, I ate my friend the Parrot, I ate the abusive old Woman, and shall I blush to eat a Washerman?"

No, surely not. The Cat devoured the Washerman.

The Cat next met the wedding procession of a King: a column of soldiers, and a row of fine elephants two and two. The King said, "O Cat, get away, or my elephants will trample you to death."

Thought the Cat, "I ate a basketful of cakes, I ate my friend the Parrot, I ate the abusive old Woman, I ate the Washerman and his donkey, and shall I blush to eat a beggarly King?"

No, surely not. The Cat devoured the King, and his procession, and his elephants too.

Then the Cat went on until she met a pair of Landcrabs. "Run away, run away, Pussycat!" said the Landcrabs, "or we will nip you!"

"Ha! ha! ha!" laughed the Cat, shaking her sides (fat enough they were by this time), "I ate a basketful of cakes, I ate my friend the Parrot, I ate an abusive old Woman, I ate the Washerman and his donkey, I ate the King and all his elephants, and shall I run away from a Landcrab? Not so, but I will eat the Landcrab too!" So saying, she pounced upon the Landcrabs. Gobble, gobble, slip, slop: in two swallows the Landcrabs went down the Cat's gullet.

But although the Landcrabs slid down the Cat's gullet easily enough, you must know that they are hard creatures, too hard for a Cat to bite; so they took no harm at all. They found themselves amongst a crowd of creatures. There was the King, sitting with his head on his hands, very unhappy; there was the King's newly-wed bride in a dead faint; there was a company of soldiers, trying to form fours, but rather muddled in mind; there was a herd of elephants, trumpeting loudly; there was a donkey braying and the Washerman beating the donkey with a stick; there was the Parrot, whetting his beak on his own claws; then there was the old Woman abusing them all roundly; and last of all, five hundred cakes neatly piled in a corner. The Landcrabs ran round to see what they could find; and they found that the inside of the Cat was quite soft. They could not see anything at all, except by flashes, when the Cat opened her mouth, but they could feel. So they opened their claws, and nip! nip! nip!

"Miaw!" squealed the Cat.

Then came another nip, and another great Miaw! The Landcrabs went on nipping, until they had nipped a big round hole in the side of the Cat. By this time the Cat was lying down, in great pain; and as the hole was very big, out walked the Landcrabs, and scuttled away. Then out walked the King, carrying his bride; and out walked the elephants, two and two; out walked the soldiers, who had succeeded in forming fours-right, by your left, quick march! out walked the donkey, with the Washerman driving him along; out walked the old Woman, giving the Cat a piece of her mind; and last of all, out walked the Parrot, with a cake in each claw. Then they all went about their business, as if nothing had happened; and the Parrot flew back to whet his beak on the branch of the mango-tree.



1.—The Talking Thrush

Told by KASHI PRASAD, village school, Bhinga, district Bahraich, Oudh.

Man sows cotton-seeds in garden—Phudki bird sees him—Makes her nest of the cotton—Goes to a Behana, and says, "If I bring you cotton, will you card it, and give me half, keeping half yourself?"—He does so—"Now make it into balls" (Piuni)—Does so on the same terms—A Kori spins thread on the same terms—And weaves it into cloth—Similarly a tailor makes it into clothes—She flies to court and sits on a peg—Says the King, "Give me your suit"—She does so, and says, "The King covets my suit"—"Come here, and I will return it"—She comes, and he catches her—"I will cut you in pieces"—"The King will cut me in pieces to-day"—He cuts her up and tells his servant to wash them—"To-day the King is washing and cleaning"—Puts her in a pan of oil—"To-day the King is frying me in oil"—Eats her—"I shall go into the King's stomach"—The Bird puts out its head—Two soldiers attempt to cut it off and mutilate the King so that he dies.

The motif is much the same as in No. 2 of the collection. The pieces of the Thrush speak like the fish in the tale of the "Fisherman and the Jinni" (Burton, "Arabian Nights," Library Edition, I. 59).

2.—The Rabbit and the Monkey

Told by DANKHAH RABHA, in the Bhutan Hills. Taken without essential change from North Indian Notes and Queries, iv. Sec. 465.

3.—The Sparrow's Revenge

Told by SHIN SAHAI, teacher of the village school of Dayarhi Chakeri, Etah District. Another version of the Podna and the Podni, N.I.N.Q. iii. 83. Compare the Valiant Blackbird, No. 28 below.

Hen Sparrow tells her husband to go into the jungle and fetch firewood to cook khir (rice milk)—A Chamar kills him—Hen makes carriage of straw, yokes two rats to it, and drives off to take vengeance—Meets a Wolf—"Where are you going?"—"To take vengeance on the Chamar who killed my husband"—"May I help?"—"It will be kind"—Meets a Snake, who salutes her with, "Ram! Ram! Whither away?"—Replies as before, and same thing happens—So with a Scorpion—They arrive at the house of the Chamar—Wolf hides near the river—Snake under pile of cow-dung fuel—Scorpion under the lamp—The Sparrow flies up to the eaves and twitters—Out comes Chamar—Says she, "A friend awaits you near the river." To the river he goes—Wolf seizes him—His wife goes to the heap for fuel—Snake bites her—She calls to her son, "Bring the lamp"—Scorpion stings him—They all die—Hen Sparrow gets another mate, and lives happily ever after.

It is part of the Faithful Animal cycle (Temple, "Wide-awake Stories," 412; Clouston, "Popular Tales and Fictions," i. 223 seqq.). This form of tale, in which the weaker animal gets the better of its more powerful oppressor, is common in Indian folk-lore. Compare No. 1 of this collection.

4.—The Judgment of the Jackal

Told by SHIUDAN CHAMAR, of Chaukiya, Mirzapur. N.I.N.Q. iii. 101.

Merchant puts up at house of Oilman—Oilman ties the horse to his mill—Next morning Merchant asks for it—He replies, "It has run away!"—"But what is that horse?"—"My mill gave birth to it in the night"—Appeal to Siyar Panre, the Jackal—"Go back and I will come"—He bathes in a tank—Delay—They seek him, and find him sitting by the tank—"Why did you delay?"—"Too busy; the tank caught fire, and I have just put it out"—"You are mad; who ever heard of a tank on fire?"—"Who ever heard of a mill bearing a foal?"—Oilman returns horse.

A parallel may be found in the Buddhist Jātaka, No. 219 (Cambridge translation, ii. 129), another Version from the Frontier in Swynnerton's "Indian Nights' Entertainment," p. 142. Compare Stumme, Tunisische Maerchen, vol. ii., Story of an Oilman.

5.—How the Mouse got into his Hole

Told by BISRAM BANYA and recorded by MAHARAJ SINH, teacher of the school at Akbarpur, Faizabad district.

6.—King Solomon and the Owl

Told by MUNSHI CHHOTE KHAN, teacher of the village school at Ant, District Sitapur, Oudh.

[A new legend of the Fall.]

Solomon hunts alone—An Owl asks him to receive him—Solomon asks, "Why do you hoot all night?"—"To wake men and women early for prayer: travelling is difficult, for treasure is dearer than life"—"Why do you shake your head?"—"To remind mankind that the world is but a fleeting show, and to show my disapproval of their delight in worldly things"—"Why do you eat no grain?"—"Adam ate wheat in heaven, and was turned out of it on that account. Adam prayed, and God sent him into the world, and blessed him to be the father of mankind. If I eat one grain I expect to be cast into hell"—"Why do you drink no water in the world at night?"—"Because Noah's race was drowned in this world in water. If I drink, it would be hard for me to live"—Solomon is pleased, and asks the Owl to remain with him, and advise him on all points.

There is no verse in the original.

All through the eastern world the owl, from its association with graveyards and old ruins, is regarded as a mystic bird, invested with powers of prophecy and wisdom (Crooke, "Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India," i. 279).

7.—The Camel's Neck

Told by BACHAU, a Kasera, or brassfounder, of Mirzapur, North-West Provinces.

Camel practises austerities—Bhagwan is pleased, and appears to him—"Who are you?"—"Lord of the Three Regions"—"Show me your proper form"—Bhagwan appears in his four-handed form (Chaturbhuji)—Camel does reverence—"Ask a boon"—"Let my neck be a yojan long"—"Be it so"—The neck becomes eight miles long—He can now graze within a radius of four miles (sic)—It rains—He puts his neck in a cave—A pair of Jackals eat his flesh—The Camel dies—A wise man says—

"Alas dokh mahan dekhyo phal kaisa bhaya; Yaten unt ajan, maran lagyo nij karm se."

"Idleness is a great fault: see what was the result of idleness. By this the foolish Camel died, simply owing to his own deeds."

This is one of the very common cycle of tales where the fool comes to ruin in consequence of a stupid wish. In the "Book of Sindibad," it appears as the "Peri and the Religious Man" (Clouston, "Book of Sindibad," 71); La Fontaine has adopted it as the "Three Wishes," and Prior as "The Ladle." The Italian version will be found in Crane, "Italian Popular Tales," 221. The four-hand god is Vishnu in his form as Chaturbhuja.

8.—The Quail and the Fowler

Told by RAMESWAR-PURI, a wandering religious beggar of Kharwa, District Mirzapur.

Fowler catches a Quail—"I'll teach you three things, and if you free me I'll teach you a fourth: (1) Never set free what you have caught; (2) What seems to you untrue you need not believe; (3) What is past you should not trouble about"—He sets the Quail free—Says the Quail, "I have in my stomach a gem weighing 1 1/4 seers, and worth lakhs of rupees; had you not let me go you would have that gem"—Fowler falls on the ground in misery—Says the Quail, "You forget my teaching: (1) You set me free; (2) You did not ask how a body so light could contain such a gem; (3) You are troubled about what is past"—Flies away—Fowler returns home a wiser man.

Compare the "Laughable Stories of Bar-Hebraeus," E. A. W. Budge (Luzac, 1897), No. 382, where a Sparrow acts as this Quail does. See also the "Three Counsels worth Money" in No. 485.

9.—The King of the Kites

Told by RAM DEO, Brahman, of Mirzapur.

Frog and Mouse dispute, each saying he is King of the Kites—The dispute lasts for several years—They refer it to a Panch (Committee of Five)—The other three are Bat, Squirrel, Parrot—They cannot decide—A small Kite appears—Carries off both Frog and Mouse, and eats them—The rest depart—The dispute does not arise again.

The belief that each species of bird and beast has a king of its own is common. Thus, we have a king of the serpents, of mice, of flies, locusts, ants, foxes, cats, and so on (Frazer, "Pausanias," iii. 559). Also see No. 27 of this collection.

10.—The Jackal and the Camel

Told by HAR PRASAD, Brahman, of Saraya Aghat, District Etah, N.W.P.

Camel grazing, entangles nose-string in a tree—Confused in mind, appeals to Jackal—"Brother, I will free you for one seer of flesh"—He agrees—Jackal asks the tongue—"Have you a witness?"—Jackal tries all the beasts, offering half of all he gets—Wolf refuses—Jackal explains that the Camel will die, and they will get all his body—He then agrees, and swears it—Camel opens his mouth, curls back tongue—Jackal cannot catch the tongue—Wolf tries—When the head is well in, Camel closes his jaws—"O Dada (father), what is this?"—Says Jackal, "The result of lying," and runs away—Wolf dies.

In Oriental folk-lore the jackal takes the place which the fox occupies in the Western world, and numerous tales are told of his cunning. This fact has formed the base of an argument to prove that the European Beast tales originated from the East (Tawney, "Katha Sarit Sagara," ii. 28).

11.—The Wise Old Shepherd

Told by MUNSHI FAZL KARIM of Mirzapur.

A Naga (Snake) goes out of his hole to take an airing—Enters the Raja's court—All flee in terror—Raja orders the Snake to be killed—The Prince kills it—Snake's wife goes in search—Enters the court and learns his fate—Vows to make his wife also a widow—Coils round the Prince's neck in the night—He dares not stir—Queen-mother goes to see what is the matter—Sees the Snake—Raja sends archers—They prepare to shoot—Snake pleads fair reprisals, and asks that the matter be decided by Panch—They find five Shepherds holding a Panchayat—They all go thither—The men all agree that the Snake is right except one—He asks how many sons has the Snake—"Seven"—"Then you must wait till the Princess has three more, and then you may kill him."

There is a universal taboo in India against killing a snake. When a cobra is slain it is supposed that its mate always avenges its death (Crooke, "Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India," i. 226).

12.—Beware of Bad Company

Told by JAGAT KISHOR, master at the Government School, Gonda, Oudh.

A Swan made friends with a Crow—They fly away from Mansarowar to find some sport—Perch on a pipal tree under which a pious Raja is worshipping his Thakurji (idol of Ram or Krishna)—Crow drops filth on his head and flies away—He sees the Swan and shoots it—Swan says:—

"Kak nahin, ham hans hain, Man karat ham bas; Dhrisht kag ke mel son, Bhayo hamaro nas."

("I am no Crow but a Swan, dwelling in Man Sarowar; being friend of an ignoble Crow I am destroyed.")

The Crow, as in several tales in this collection, is in Oriental folk-lore the representative of all that is thievish and mischievous.

13.—The Foolish Wolf

Told by MAHADEVA PRASAD, pupil of branch school, Nau Shaharah, District Gonda, Oudh.

Wolf and Ass were friends—Played as described in text—Boy sees Wolf running away from Ass, and says, "What a timid Wolf"—Says the Wolf, "You shall rue it, I'll carry you off to-day"—Boy tells his mother—"Never mind, he won't hurt you"—Hides stone in loin-cloth—Wolf comes for him—Leaves him in his den for the morrow—Goes to play with the Ass—Boy climbs a tree—Wolf finds no Boy—Stands gaping with perplexity—Boy throws stone into his mouth and kills him.

14.—Reflected Glory

Told by MATA DIN, assistant teacher, Pili-Bhit district, N.W.P.

A Shepherd had a lame Goat which he beat—It ran away—Fearing the wild beasts, it sat down beside a cave where were footsteps of a Lion—A Jackal comes up—"Ram, Ram, grandfather! I have found food after many days." "Ram, Ram, grandson, I was told to sit here by the owner of these footprints."—"A Lion! if I eat you, he will eat my cubs"—He goes—A Wolf comes, and the same thing happens—The Lion comes—Says the Goat, "By the influence of your footprints I have been safe; beasts came to devour me, and I became your man: they fled." "If you have called yourself my man I will not eat you"—Lion finds an Elephant: "I have a lame Goat; let him go on your back and eat the young leaves as you graze"—He agrees, and the Goat says, "Khoj pakar liyo baran ko hasti mili hai ai gaj mastak achchhi charhi ajaya kopal khaya" ("By betaking myself to the footprints of the great, I have got an Elephant")—Mounting on the Elephant's head, the Goat feeds well on new leaves.

15.—The Cat and the Sparrows

Told by TULSI RAM, Brahman, of Sadabad, Mathura district. For the motif, compare Jātaka, No. 333 (translation, vol. iii. p. 71).

16.—The Foolish Fish

Told by HARI CHAND or HEM CHANDI, teacher of a village school, Mirzapur district. A variant of the same, told by SHEO-DAN, Chamar, Chankiya, Mirzapur district.

Banya sees Tiger sunk in the mud—Tiger tries him to release him—Swears he will not hurt him or his family—Banya saves him—Says Tiger, "Shall I eat you or your ox?"—Banya protests—Tiger: "It is the way of my family"—Banya says, "Let the Jackal arbitrate"—Jackal asks to see the place the Tiger was in—Then to be shown exactly how he was—The Tiger goes in again, and the Jackal advises the man to go home and leave him.

17.—The Clever Goat

Recorded by MATA DIN, assistant teacher, Pili-Bhit district.

18.—A Crow is a Crow for Ever

Told and recorded by SAHIB RAM, Brahman, of Nardauli, Etah district.

The verse is:—

Kag parhae pinjra: parhi gaye charon Ved: Jab sudhi ai kutum ki rahe dhed ke dhed.

"I kept my crow in a cage, and taught him all four Vedas; When he thought of his family, he became filthy as ever."

19.—The Grateful Goat

Told by BIKKU MISRA, Brahman, Achhnera village, Agra district.

Butcher buys a Goat—"Spare my life, and I will repay you"—He spares him—The Goat goes into the forest and meets a Jackal—"I am going to eat you." "Wait till I get fat in the forest." "Good: look out for me when you come back"—Meets a Wolf—Same thing happens—Finds a temple of Mahadeva—In it are gold coins—Swallows them—Goes to a flower-seller—"Cover me with flowers"—He does so, and the Goat voids two mohurs—Sets out to return—Meets the Wolf—"Have you seen a Goat?" "No"—Meets the Jackal—"Have you seen a Goat?" "Yes, some distance back"—Proceeds to the Butcher, and voids the rest of the coins—The Butcher is grateful, and never kills him as long as he lives.

Agra district. Tales of animals spitting gold are common, as in Grimm's "Three Little Men in the Wood" ("Household Tales," i. 56) and in Oriental Folk-lore (Tawney, "Katha Sarit Sagara," ii. 8, 453, 637; Knowles, "Folk-tales of Kashmir," p. 443).

20.—The Cunning Jackal

Told by BAL BIR PRASAD, teacher of the school at Sultanpur, Oudh.

A Jackal sees melons on the other side of a river—Sees a Tortoise—"How are you and your family?" "I am well, but I have no wife." "Why did you not tell me? some people on the other side have asked me to find a match for their daughter." "If you mean it I will take you across"—Takes him across on his back—When the melons are over the Jackal dresses up a jhau-tree as a bride—"There is your bride, but she is too modest to speak till I am gone"—Tortoise carries him back—Calls to the stump—No answer—Goes up and touches it—Finds it is a tree—Vows revenge—As Jackal drinks, catches his leg—"You fool, you have got hold of a stump by mistake; see, here is my leg," pointing to a stump—Tortoise leaves hold—Jackal escapes—Tortoise goes to Jackal's den—Jackal returns and sees the footprints leading into the den—Piles dry leaves at the mouth, and fires them—Tortoise expires.

This is an unpublished variant of the "Jackal and the Crocodile" (Temple, "Wide-awake Stories," 243).

21.—The Farmer's Ass

Told by RAM SINH, Haidar-Garh, district Barau Banki.

A Washerman has an Ass that brays on hearing a conch-shell, thinks he must have been a saint in a former life, but something went wrong (kahin chuk gaya) and he became an Ass—Names him Tulsi Das—Ass dies—"He was valuable to me," shaves head, performs obsequies, gives feast to clansmen—Goes to shop of a Banya—"Why are you in mourning?" "Tulsi Das, who was a great saint, is dead"—Banya shaves, too—Raja's sepoy asks him why—"Tulsi Das is dead"—Shaves, too—Comrades ask why—Same thing—Same with the chief of the sepoys—The minister, the raja, all shave—Queen asks why—Raja tells her—"But who is Tulsi Das?" "A friend of the minister's"—So the report is traced back to the Washerman, who says, "He was my Ass."

N.I.N.Q., iii. Sec. 104, gives the same tale about an ass named Sobhan (beautiful): told by Shyam Sundar, village accountant of Dudhi, Mirzapur district, recorded by Ahmad Ullah. Compare Temple's "Wide-awake Stories," 'The Death and Burial of poor Hen Sparrow;' Lady Burton's "Arabian Nights," iii. 228, 'The Unwise Schoolmaster who fell in Love by Report;' Jacob's "English Fairy Tales," 'Tetty Mouse and Tatty Mouse,' and note, p. 234.

22.—The Parrot Judge

Told by MAKUND LAL, Mirzapur.

A Bird-catcher had a Parrot which knew only two words, Beshak (undoubtedly) and Cheshak (what doubt)—Took it to market, and gave out that it knew Persian, price 5 lakhs of rupees—Nobleman asks it, "Do you know Persian?"—"Cheshak"—Buys it—Puts it in a gold cage, and gives it good food—King one day began to talk to the Parrot in Persian—It could say nothing but these two words—The owner threw it on the ground and killed it.

23.—The Frog and the Snake

Told by AKBAR SHAH, Manjhi, one of the jungle-folk of Manbasa, Dudhi, Mirzapur, and recorded by Pandit Ramgharib Chaube. N.I.N.Q., iii. Sec. 101.

No change. The King of the Snakes is Vasuki Naga.

24.—Little Miss Mouse

Told by AKBAR SHAH, Manjhi, of Manbasa, Dudhi, Mirzapur. N.I.N.Q., iv. Sec. 19.

No change in first part. The music-shop is in the original the house of the Chamar (a caste of labourers and leather-workers), who gives a drum, which is broken by a woman husking rice, who strikes it with a pestle. The crop in the last scene is rice.

25.—The Jackal that Lost his Tail

Told by PARMANAND TIWARI, student, Anglo-Sanskrit School, Mirzapur. N.I.N.Q., iv. Sec. 17.

A Kurmi (one of the agricultural tribes) used to go to his field—At noon his wife brought the dinner—Meets Jackal, and all falls out as in tale till the tail is cut off—Jackal returns and finds wife gathering cow-dung—"Your son (sic) has cut off my tail, and I must bite you." "He is dead, come to the funeral feast?"—He and his friends come—"To prevent you squabbling, let me tie you up"—Ties them to the cattle pegs, tailless Jackal with specially strong chain—Kurmi comes out with bludgeon—They break their ropes and flee, all but tailless Jackal, which Kurmi kills.

This is connected with the AEsopian fable of "The Fox who Lost his Tail."

26.—The Wily Tortoise

Told by BRIJ MOHAN LAL, second master, High School, Manipuri, N.W.P. The bird is a Hansa. N.I.N.Q., iii. Sec. 295.

27.—The King of the Mice

Told and recorded by BABU GANDHARAB SINH, of Etah.

Kingdom of Mice—Mouse King and Fox Wazir—All animals of forest did homage—Caravan passed—Camel left behind—Eats the Mouse King's garden—Fox brings him in—Mocks the King—Nose-string gets entangled—King says he is served right—He begs release and promises service—Mouse gnaws string—Camel serves him—Woodcutters find Camel and take him—King sends to fetch them—Demands his Camel—The Woodcutters tell their King—He refuses—King of Mice collects armies and burrows under Woodcutter's treasury—Brings all the money out in charge of a detachment of Mice—Wise man sees it—Covets the money—Old Mouse says, "Why do you covet? our King will give you service"—Goes to the King—The King bids him fetch more of his brethren—With these the Mouse King invades the realm of Woodcutters—Mice undermine the walls of the enemy's fort—Woodcutters' army flee—King of Mice gets back his Camel, and makes the Woodcutter King his vassal.

(The episode of the wise man seems to be interpolated, as the men play no part in the attack.)

Another version in N.I.N.Q., iii. Sec. 292, told by THAKUR UMRAO SINH of Sonhar, Etah district, N.W.P. For Kings of Animals, compare No. 9 of this book.

28.—The Valiant Blackbird

Told by WAZIRAN, a Mohammedan servant of Mirzapur, and recorded by MIRZA MUHAMMAD BEG.

A Podna (weaver bird) and his mate lived in a tree—The Raja catches the wife—Podna builds carts of reeds, yokes pairs of frogs, makes kettle-drum, armed with piece of reed, sets out drumming—Meets a Cat—"Where are you going?" "Sarkande ki to gari, do mendak jote jaen, Raja mari Podni, ham bair bisahne jaen" ("My carriage is of reed with two frogs yoked thereto; the King has seized my Podni; I go to take my revenge"). "May I go with you?" "Get into my car"—Meets in same way Ants, Rope and Club, River—Drives into King's courtyard and demands Podni—King orders him to be shut in henhouse—"Nikal billi, teri bari. Kan chhor, kanpati mari" ("Come out, Cat, your turn now: come out of my ear and hit them on the head")—Cat comes out and kills fowls—Next night shut in stable—"Niklo rassi, aur sonte tumhari bari. Kan chhor, kanpati mari"—Rope ties horses and Club kills them—Next night shut in with elephants—"Niklo chiunti tumhari bari. Kan chhor, kanpati mari"—Ants run up trunks and sting their brains—Next night tied to the Raja's bed—"Niklo darya teri bari. Kan chhor, kanpati mari"—River begins to drown King and bed—"For God's sake, take your wife and go."

Here, as in other tales of this collection, we have the incident of the Helping Animals, for which see Tawney, "Katha Sarit Sagara," ii. 103, 596; Crooke, "Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India," ii. 202. See N.I.N.Q., iii. Sec. 173.

29.—The Goat and the Hog

Told by SURAJ SINGH, assistant master of the Kandhla school, district Muzafarnagar, N.W.P. See N.I.N.Q., iv. Sec. 430.

Goat and Hog friends—Goat goes to seek his fortune—Enters shop of a Banya—Eats all he can find—Goes into inner room—Banya returns—Little girl cries for sugar—Goes in to get some—Goat says, "Ek sing anrur ganrur; dusri sing meri, soni marhawal. Banya beti awo nahin, dhenruki phoron" ("One of my horns is twisted, one is gilt with gold. Don't come in, Banya girl, or I will tear your stomach open")—Runs out—Father sends for the Kotwal—Same thing—Prays to him—Goat comes out: "I want sweetmeats, ornaments for my head, neck, feet, horns, tail"—Gives them, putting on all the jewels he has in pawn—Goat shows all this to the Hog—Hog goes to try his luck—Knew no verses—No one frightened—Banya drives him out with stick and dogs.

30.—The Parrot and the Parson

Told by BACHAU KASERA, Mirzapur. N.I.N.Q., v. Sec. 72.

Banker taught his parrot to speak—A Sadhu passed by—Quoth Parrot, "Salaam, Maharaj, how can I get out?" "Let me ask my Guru"—Guru when asked swooned—Sadhu told Parrot what had happened, and apologised for not being able to help—"I understand," says Parrot—Feigns death—Cage opened.

31.—The Lion and the Hare

Told by SURYABALI, Mirzapur.

No change. The verse is:—

Bina budhi ke bagh bilana: Kharha san kahun bagh marana.

32.—The Monkey's Bargains

Told and recorded by RAMESWAR-PURI, teacher, Khairwa village school, district Mirzapur.

The Story of Ganga Burhi (name of the old woman). No change in the incidents, except that the cowherd is grinding corn, and the last sentence is added. The verses are:—

Wah, jangle men se lakari laya, Wah, lakari main burhya ko dinh, Burhiya monkon roti dinh, Wah rotiya main tokon dinh Kya tun mokon mataki na dega? 5

"Hullo! I brought fuel from the forest. (2) I gave it to the old woman. (3) The old woman gave me cake. (4) I gave that cake to thee. (5) Wilt not thou give me jugs?"

U roti main kohra ko dinh, 4 Kohra monkon metuki dinh, U metuki main tokon dinh, Kya tu mujhko makkhan na dega?

"I gave that cake to the Potter. (5) The Potter gave me an earthen vessel. (6) I gave that earthen vessel to thee. (7) Wilt not thou give me butter?"

Wah roti main kumhara ko dinh, 4 Kumhara monkon metuki dinh, Wah metuki main gwalin ko dinh Gwalin monkon londi dinh, Wah londi main tokon dinh, Kya tu monkon ek bail bhi na dega?

"(6) I gave that earthen vessel to the cowherd's wife. (7) The cowherd's wife gave me a lump of butter. (8) I gave that lump to thee. (9) Wilt not thou give me an Ox?"

The others are not given, except the last lines:—

Baj meri dholaki dhamak dhun; Rani ke badle ai tun.

"O my drum, make sounds like dhamak dhun: thou art come in exchange for a Queen."

33.—The Monkey's Rebuke

Told and recorded by LALA BHAWANI DIN, teacher of Majhgaon district Hamirpur.

A Banya sold milk mixed with water—Earns 100 rupees—Sets out for home—Stops to wash at a tank—Lays the bag down—Monkey takes the bag up a tree—Drops 50 rupees in the tank—Throws down the bag to the man—"You sold half water and half milk: therefore I have thrown half your money into this tank"—Banya goes home a better man.

34.—The Bull and the Bullfinch

Told by PANDIT JAGANNATH PRASAD, master of Marari Kalan village school, and recorded by Pandit Madhuban, second master of the same, Unao district, Oudh.

Khusat Bird and Bull—The rest as in the story, save that "the Almighty King of the Universe" promises his help to the Lion—Bull tells Bird—Bird says, "Did not I warn you? still I will help"—Tells him that he has dreamt a marriage has been arranged for himself with Mahadeva's spouse—They apply to Mahadeva for explanation—Mahadeva thinks, "If I say visions are real things, this Bird will claim my wife"—So says, "Dreams go by contraries: go home and don't be foolish."

See the value of friendship.

35.—The Swan and the Crow

Told by LALA SHANKAR LAL, village accountant, and recorded by CHANGAN SINH, master of the school at Chamkari, Etah district, N.W.P.

No change, except Wazir for Judge and Gaya for Jerusalem. The Judge is a Hindu, and the Crow promises to take his father's bones to the sacred city of Gaya, in Bengal.

36.—Pride shall have a Fall

Told by AKBAR SHAH, Manjhi, one of the jungle-folk of Manbasa, district Mirzapur.

No change. The animal with one eye is supposed to be cunning and uncanny (Crooke, "Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India," ii. 37, 51). Compare No. 37 of this collection.

37.—The Kid and the Tiger

Told by AKBAR SHAH, Manjhi, and recorded by PANDIT RAMGHARIB CHAUBE. A favourite nursery tale of the Kharwars of Mirzapur.

Tigress and She-goat great friends—Tigress has two cubs, Goat four kids named Khurbhur, Muddil, Goddil, and Nathil—Tigress thinks: "It is hard that I have only two, and the Goat has four: suppose I eat two of hers to make things even"—Asks the Goat to let one kid sleep with her—Only Khurbhur consents—Khurbhur puts one of her cubs in his place—She eats it—Puts a stone in his place—She breaks her teeth—One-eyed Tiger calls—Tells a "story": "When I eat goats, all the four kids are one mouthful"—Khurbhur says, "When you come to eat us, Muddil will hold your head, Nathil the fore-paws, Goddil the hind-paws, Khurbhur will cut off your head, if mother holds the light"—Tiger runs away—Meets six more—They go to Goat's house—Khurbhur climbs tree—They jump and miss him—They climb one on another, One-eye at bottom—Khurbhur says, "Mother, a lump of mud to throw in his eye"—One-eye jumps—They fall—They run away, and trouble the goats no more.

The one-eyed animal appears in No. 35 of this collection.

38.—The Stag, the Crow, and the Jackal

Told and recorded by BALBIR PRASAD, Brahman, of Mirzapur.

Stag and Crow are friends—Jackal covets Stag—Says, "A crow is not a friend for you; choose a denizen of earth like me"—They become friends—Jackal leads him to snare—Stag is trapped—"I cannot help you, because there is leather in the snare, and it is the Ekadashi (eleventh day of the lunar fortnight) when I fast"—Crow advises him to feign death—He does so, and escapes.

39.—The Monkey and the Crows

Told by SARIJU PRASAD, teacher of the school at Subhikha, Bahraich district, Oudh.

Crows build nests in a cotton-tree (semal)—In the rains a Monkey arrives soaking—Said the Crows, "We build nests with only a beak: can you not make a better with two hands and two feet?" "Wait till morning"—Then he tears down their nests—"Good advice given to a fool only kindles his malice."

40.—The Swan and the Paddy-bird

Told by DEVI DIN, student, and recorded by BADARI PRASAD, of the school at Musanagar, Cawnpur district.

No change. The lake in the original is the famous Mana Sarovar lake in Tibet. The Swan at the end repeats this couplet:—

Bit chhoto, chit saugun, bit men chit na samae: So murak binsat sadan, jirni bakuli nariyar khae.

("Desire is one thing, capacity is another. The desire exceeds the power. Thus die the foolish, as did the Paddy-bird when she tried to eat the cocoa-nut.")

The Paddy-bird is the Bagla, or Bagula, a sort of small heron (Ardea torra), which frequents the banks of ponds and catches little fish and frogs. In folk-lore, from its quaint appearance, it is the type of demure cunning, and a sanctimonious rogue ascetic is often compared to it.

Compare a similar tale of a crane: Jātaka, No. 236 (Cambridge translation, ii. 161).

41.—What is a Man?

Told by Shibba Sinh Gaur, Brahman, resident in Saharanpur, N.W.P.

No change, except that the order of the animals is Elephant, Camel, Ox.

Another version makes the man a carpenter—He goes away and makes a cage—Induces the Lion to enter—Leaves him to starve.

The complaints of the animals against men form the subject of a very amusing Hindustani book derived from the Persian, the Akhwan-us-safa.

42.—The Wound and the Scar

Told by SHAIKH FARID AHMAD, and recorded by the teacher of the village school, Barhauli, district Bahraich, Oudh.

No change, except the Wound is dealt by the Woodman's axe, at the command of the Lion, when first he visits him after the sickness. The verses are—

Samman dhaga prem ka jin toryo chatkay Jore se na jurat hai, aut ganth par jay.

43.—The Cat and the Parrot

Told by BISESHAR DAYAL, Banya (or corn-chandler), of Bindki, district Fatehpur, N.W.P., and recorded by PANDIT BALDEO PRASAD, teacher of the Tahsili school, Bindki.

No change, except the Parrot says, "I am sitting on the branch of a mango-tree and getting a bill made." Number of cakes not given. And after meeting the Raja, the Cat meets (1) four young of the wild cow (Surahgaya), which she eats, and (2) a pair of Surahgaya, which fall upon her, and tear her stomach open, when all those she has eaten troop out.

Here, as in other tales of this collection, the Parson is the Guru or spiritual adviser of pious Hindus.


* * * * *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Varied accenting was retained. This hyphenation was so varied that images of the original "Notes" pages were included in the HTML version. You may see these images by clicking on the pages numbers.

An "a" with a marcron is shown in the text by ā.

A smaller typeface indicating a quiet voice was indicated by surround the text with ~.


Previous Part     1  2  3
Home - Random Browse