SELECTED AND EDITED BY
EDITOR OF "FOLK-LORE"
ILL USTRATED ) BY
JOHN D. BATTEN
DAVID NUTT, 270 STRAND
[Rights of translation and reproduction reserved]
fiY DEAR LITTLe THIL
ROM the extreme West of the Indo-
European world, we go this year to the
S extreme East. From the soft rain and
green turf of Gaeldom, we seek the
garish sun and arid soil of the Hindoo.
In the Land of Ire, the belief in
fairies, gnomes, ogres and monsters is all but dead; in
the Land of Ind it still flourishes in all the vigour of
Soils and national characters differ; but fairy tales are
the same in plot and incidents, if not in treatment. The
majority of the tales in this volume have been known in the
West in some form or other, and the problem arises how
to account for their simultaneous existence in farthest West
and East. Some-as Benfey in Germany, M. Cosquin in
France, and Mr. Clouston in England-have declared that
India is the Home of the Fairy Tale, and that all European
fairy tales have been brought from thence by Crusaders, by
Mongol missionaries, by Gipsies, by Jews, by traders, by
travellers. The question is still before the courts, and one
can only deal with it as an advocate. So far as my instruc-
tions go, I should be prepared, within certain limits, to hold
a brief for India. So far as the children of Europe have
their fairy stories in common, these-and they form more
than a third of the whole-are derived from India. In
particular, the majority of the Drolls or comic tales and
jingles can be traced, without much difficulty, back to the
Certainly there is abundant evidence of the early trans-
mission by literary means of a considerable number of drolls
and folk-tales from India about the time of the Crusaders.
The collections known in Europe by the titles of The Fables
of Bidpai, The Seven Wise Masters, Gesla Romanorum, and
Barlaam and Josaphat, were extremely popular during the
Middle Ages, and their contents passed on the one hand
into the Exempla of the monkish preachers, and on the
other into the Novelle of Italy, thence, after many days, to
contribute their quota to the Elizabethan Drama. Perhaps
nearly one-tenth of the main incidents of European folk-
tales can be traced to this source.
There are even indications of an earlier literary contact
between Europe and India, in the case of one branch of the
folk-tale, the Fable or Beast Droll. 'In a somewhat elabo-
rate discussion I have come to the conclusion that a
goodly number of the fables that pass under the name of
the Samian slave, AEsop, were derived from India, probably
from the same source whence the same tales were utilised
in the Jatakas, or Birth-stories of Buddha. These Jatakas
contain a large quantity of genuine early Indian folk-
tales, and form the earliest collection of folk-tales in the
world, a sort of Indian Grimm, collected more than two
thousand years before the good German brothers went on
their quest among the folk with such delightful results.
For this reason I have included a considerable number of
them in this volume; and shall be surprised if tales that
have roused the laughter and wonder of pious Buddhists
for the last two thousand years, cannot produce the same
effect on English children. The Jatakas have been fortu-
nate in their English translators, who render with vigour
and point; and I rejoice in being able to publish the
translation of two new Jatakas, kindly done into English for
this volume by Mr. W. H. D. Rouse, of Christ's College,
Cambridge. In one of these I think I have traced the
source of the Tar Baby incident in Uncle Remus."
Though Indian fairy tales are the earliest in existence,
yet they are also from another point of view the youngest.
History of the AEsopic Fable," the introductory volume to my
edition of Caxton's Fables of Esqfe (London, Nutt, 1889).
For it is only about twenty-five years ago that Miss Frere
began the modern collection of Indian folk-tales with her
charming Old Deccan Days" (London, John Murray,
1868; fourth edition, 1889). Her example has been followed
by Miss Stokes, by Mrs. Steel, and Captain (now Major)
Temple, by the Pandit Natesa Sastri, by Mr. Knowles and
Mr. Campbell, as well as others who have published folk-
tales in such periodicals as the Indian Antiquary and The
Orientalist. The story-store of modern India has been well
dipped into during the last quarter of a century, though the
immense range of the country leaves room for any number
of additional workers and collections. Even so far as the
materials already collected go, a large number of the com-
monest incidents in European folk-tales have been found in
India. Whether brought there or born there, we have
scarcely any criterion for judging; but as some of those
still current among the folk in India can be traced back
more than a millennium, the presumption is in favour of an
From all these sources-from the Jatakas, from the
Bidpai, and from the more recent collections-I have
selected those stories which throw most light on the origin
of Fable and Folk-tales, and at the same time are most
likely to attract English children. I have not, however,
included too many stories of the Grimm types, lest I
should repeat the contents of the two preceding volumes
of this series. This has to some degree weakened the case
for India as represented by this book. The need of catering
for the young ones has restricted my selection from the
well-named Ocean of the Streams of Story," Katha-Sarit
Sagara of Somadeva. The stories existing in Pali and
Sanskrit I have taken from translations, mostly from the
German of Benfey or the vigorous English of Professor
Rhys-Davids, whom I have to thank for permission to use
his versions of the Jatakas.
I have been enabled to make this book a representative
collection of the Fairy Tales of Ind by the kindness of the
original collectors or their publishers. I have especially to
thank Miss Frere, who kindly made an exception in my
favour, and granted me the use of that fine story, Punch-
kin," and that quaint myth, How Sun, Moon, and Wind
went out to Dinner." Miss Stokes has been equally
gracious in granting me the use of characteristic speci-
mens from her "Indian Fairy Tales." To Major Temple
I owe the advantage of selecting from his admirable
Wideawake Stories, and Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench & Co.
have allowed me to use Mr. Knowles' Folk-tales of
Kashmir," in their Oriental Library; and Messrs. W. I.
Allen have been equally obliging with regard to Mrs.
Kingscote's "Tales of the Sun." Mr. M. L. Dames has
enabled me add to the published story-store of India by
granting me the use of one from his inedited collection of
I have again to congratulate myself on the co-operation
of my friend Mr. J. D. Batten in giving beautiful or amusing
form to the creations of the folk fancy of the Hindoos. It
is no slight thing to embody, as he has done, the glamour
and the humour both of the Celt and of the Hindoo. It is
only a further proof that Fairy Tales are something more
than Celtic or Hindoo. They are human.
I. THE LION AND THE CRANE I
II. HOW THE RAJA'S SON WON THE PRINCESS LABAM 3
III. THE LAIBIKIN . 17
IV. PUNCHKIN 21
V. THE BROKEN POT 38
VI. THE MAGIC FIDDLE 40
VII. THE CRUEL CRANE OUTWITTED 46
VIII. LOVING LAILI .51
IX. THE TIGER, THE BRAHMAN, AND THE JACKAl 66
X. THE SOOTHSAYER'S SON 70
XI. HARISARMAN 85
XII. THE CHARMED RING. 90
XIII. THE TALKATIVE TORTOISE. I00
XIV. A LAC OF RUPEES FOR A PIECE OF ADVICE 103
XV. THE GOLD-GIVING SERPENT ... II2
XVI. THE SON OF SEVEN QUEENS II
XVII. A LESSON FOR KINGS .. 127
XVIII. PRIDE GOETH BEFORE A FALL .132
XIX. RAJA RASALU .. .136
XX. THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN .150
XXI. THE FARMER AND THE MONEY-LENDER 152
XXII. THE BOY WHO HAD A MOON ON HIS FOREHEAD AND A
STAR ON HIS CHIN 156
XXIII. THE PRINCE AND THE FAKIR 179
XXIV. WHY THE FISH LAUGHED .186
XXV. THE DEMON WITH THE MATTED HAIR 194
XXVI. THE IVORY CITY AND ITS FAIRY PRINCESS 199
XXVII. SUN, MOON, AND WIND GO OUT TO DINNER 218
XXVIII. HOW THE WICKED SONS WERE DUPED 221
XXIX. THE PIGEON AND THE CROW 223
NOTES AND REFERENCES, .
PRINCESS LABAM .
THE LION AND THE CRANE
THE CHARMED RING
THE SON OF SEVEN QUEENS
RAJA RASALU .
BOY WITH MOON ON FOREHEAD
DEMON WITH MATTED HAIR
To face page 2
S ,, 196
[Plates, vignettes, initials, and cuts are from "process" blocks supplied by
Messrs. J. C. Drummond & Co. of Covent Garden.]
The Lion and the Crane
HE Bodhisatta was at one time born
in the region of Himavanta as a white
crane; now Brahmadatta was at that
time reigning in Benares. Now it
Schanced that as a lion was eating
meat a bone stuck in his throat.
The throat became swollen, he could
not take food, his suffering was terrible. The crane seeing
him, as he was perched on a tree looking for food, asked,
"What ails thee, friend ?" He told him why. "I could
free thee from that bone, friend, but dare not enter
thy mouth for fear thou mightest eat me." Don't be
afraid friend, I'll not eat thee; only save my life." Very
well," says he, and caused him to lie down on his left side.
But thinking to himself, "Who knows what this fellow will
do," he placed a small stick upright between his two jaws
that he could not close his mouth, and inserting his head
inside his mouth struck one end of the bone with his beak.
Whereupon the bone dropped and fel' cut. As soon as he
had caused the bone to fall, he got out of the lion's mouth,
striking the stick with his beak so that it fell out, and then
2 Indian Fairy Tales
settled on a branch. The lion gets well, and one day was
eating a buffalo he had killed. The crane thinking "I
will sound him," settled on a branch just over him, and in
conversation spoke this first verse :
A service have we done thee
To the best of our ability,
King of the Beasts Your Majesty !
What return shall we get from thee? "
In reply the Lion spoke the second verse:
"As I feed on blood,
And always hunt for prey,
'Tis much that thou art still alive
Having pnce been between my teeth."
Then in reply the crane said the two other verses :
Ungrateful, doing no good,
Not doing as he would be done by,
In him there is no gratitude,
To serve him is useless.
His friendship is not won
By the clearest good deed.
Better softly withdraw from him,
Neither envying nor abusing."
And having thus spoken the crane flew away.
And when the great Teacher, Gautama the Buddha, told
this tale, he used to add: ".Now at that time the lion was
Devadatta the Traitor, but the white crane was I myself."
i~ k' "
THE LION AND THE CRANE
How the Raja's Son won the
SA country there was a Raja who had an
'~~o. nly son who every day went out to hunt.
One day the Rani, his mother, said to
him, "You can hunt wherever you like
on these three sides ; but you must never
go to the fourth side." This she said
because she knew if he went on the fourth side he would
hear of the beautiful Princess Labam, and that then he
would leave his father and mother and seek for the princess.
The young prince listened to his mother, and obeyed her
for some time; but one day, when he was hunting on the
three sides where he was allowed to go, he remembered what
she had said to him about the fourth side, and he determined
to go and see why she had forbidden him to hunt on that
side. When he got there, he found himself in a jungle, and
*nothing in the jungle but a quantity of parrots, who lived in
it. The young Raja shot at some of them, and at once they
all flew away up to the sky. All, that is, but one, and this
was their Raja, who was called Hiraman parrot.
4 Indian Fairy Tales
When Hiraman parrot found himself left alone, he called
out to the other parrots, Don't fly away and leave me alone
when the Raja's son shoots. If you desert me like this, I will
tell the Princess Labam."
Then the parrots all flew back to their Raja, chattering.
The prince was greatly surprised, and said, "Why, these birds
can talk Then he said to the parrots, Who is the
Princess Labam ? Where does she live ? But the parrots
would not tell him where she lived. You can never get to
the Princess Labam's country." That is all they would say.
The prince grew very sad when they would not tell him
anything more ; and he threw his gun away, and went home.
When he got home, he would not speak or eat, but lay on
his bed for four or five days, and seemed very ill.
At last he told his father and mother that he wanted to go
and see the Princess Labam. I must go," he said; "I
must see what she is like. Tell me where her country is."
We do not know where it is," answered his father and
Then I must go and look for it," said the prince.
No, no," they said, you must not leave us. You are
our only son. Stay with us. You will never find the
"I must try and find her," said the prince. Perhaps
God will show me the way. If I live and I find her, I will
come back to you; but perhaps I shall die, and then I shall
never see you again. Still I must go.
So they had to let him go, though they cried very much
at parting with him. His father gave him fine clothes to
wear, and a fine horse. And he took his gun, and his bow
and arrows, and a great many other weapons, for," he
The Princess Labam 5
said, I may want them." His father, too, gave him plenty
Then he himself got his horse all ready for the journey,
and he said good-bye to his father and mother; and his
mother took her handkerchief and wrapped some sweetmeats
in it, and gave it to her son. My child," she said to him,
"When you are hungry eat some of these sweetmeats."
He then set out on his journey, and rode on and on till he
came to a jungle in which were a tank and shady trees. He
bathed himself and his horse in the tank, and then sat down
under a tree. "Now," he said to himself, I will eat some
of the sweetmeats my mother gave me, and I will drink
some water, and then I will continue my journey." He opened
his handkerchief, and took out a sweetmeat. He found an
ant in it. He took out another. There was an ant in that
one too. So he laid the two sweetmeats on the ground, and
he took out another, and another, and another, until he had
taken them all out; but in each he found an ant. Never
mind," he said, I won't eat the sweetmeats ; the ants shall
eat them." Then the Ant-Raja came and stood before him
and said, You have been good to us. If ever you are in
trouble, think of me and we will come to you."
The Raja's son thanked him, mounted his horse and con-
tinued his journey. He rode on and on until he came to
another jungle, and there he saw a tiger who had a thorn in
his foot, and was roaring loudly from the pain.
Why do you roar like that ? said the young Raja.
"What is the matter with you ? "
I have had a thorn in my foot for twelve years,"
answered the tiger, and it hurts me so; that is why I roar."
"Well," said the Raja's son, I will take it out for you.
6 Indian Fairy Tales
But perhaps, as you are a tiger, when I have made you
well, you will eat me ?"
-' -2 ''
Oh, no," said the tiger, I won't eat you. Do make
Then the prince took a little knife from his pocket, and
cut the thorn out of the tiger's foot; but when he cut, the
tiger roared louder than ever-so loud that his wife heard
him in the next jungle, and came bounding along to see
what was the matter. The tiger saw her coming, and hid
the prince in the jungle, so that she should not see him.
What man hurt you that you
-'I roared so loud ? said the wife.
'. "No one hurt me," answered
S,, the husband; "but a Raja's son
came and took the thorn out of
Where is he ? Show him to me," said his wife.
If you promise not to kill him, I will call him," said the
The Princess Labam
I won't kill him; only let me see him," answered his
Then the tiger called the Raja's son, and when he came
the tiger and his wife made him a great many salaams.
Then they gave him a good dinner, and he stayed with them
for three days. Every day he looked at the tiger's foot, and
the third day it was quite healed. Then he said good-bye
to the tigers, and the tiger said to him, If ever you are in
trouble, think of me, and we will come to you."
The Raja's son rode on and on till he came to a third
jungle. Here he found four fakirs whose teacher and master
had died, and had left four things,-a bed, which carried
whoever sat on it whithersoever he wished to go; a bag, that
gave its owner whatever he wanted, jewels, food, or clothes;
a stone bowl that gave its owner as much water as he wanted,
no matter how far he might be from a tank; and a stick and
rope, to which its owner had only to say, if any one came to
make war on him, Stick, beat as many men and soldiers
as are here," and the stick would beat them and the rope
would tie them up.
The four fakirs were quarrelling over these four things.
One said, I want this ; another said, You cannot have
-it, for I want it;" and so on.
The Raja's son said to them, Do not quarrel for these
things. I will shoot four arrows in four different directions.
Whichever of you gets to my first arrow, shall have the first
thing-the bed. Whosoever gets to the second arrow, shall
have the second thing-the bag. He who gets to the third
arrow, shall have the third thing-the bowl. And he who
gets to the fourth arrow, shall have the last things-the stick
and rope." To this they agreed, and the prince shot off his
8 Indian Fairy Tales
first arrow. Away raced the fakirs to get it. When they
brought it back to him he shot off the second, and when
they had found and brought it to him he shot off his third,
and when they had brought him the third he shot off the
While they were away looking for the fourth arrow the
Raja's son let his horse loose in the jungle, and sat on the
bed, taking the bowl, the stick and rope, and the bag with
him. Then he said, "Bed, I wish to go to the Princess
Labam's country." The little bed instantly rose up into
the air and began to fly, and it flew and flew till it came to
the Princess Labam's country, where it settled on the
ground. The Raja's son asked some men he saw, Whose
country is this ? "
"The Princess Labam's country," they answered. Then
the prince went on till he came to a house where he saw an
Who are you ? she said. Where do you come from? "
I come from a far country," he said; do let me stay
with you to-night.
No," she answered, I cannot let you stay with me;
for our king has ordered that men from other countries may
not stay in his country. You cannot stay in my house."
"You are my aunty," said the prince; "let me remain
with you for this one night. You see it is evening, and if
I go into the jungle, then the wild beasts will eat me."
"Well," said the old woman, "you may stay here
to-night; but to-morrow morning you must go away, for if
the king hears you have passed the night in my house, he
will have me seized and put into prison."
. Then she took him into her house, and the Raja's son
The Princess Labam
was very glad. The old woman began preparing dinner,
but he stopped her, "Aunty," he said, I will give you
food." He put his hand into his bag, saying, "Bag, I
want' some dinner," and the bag gave him instantly a
delicious dinner, served up on two gold plates. The old
woman and the Raja's son then dined together.
When they had finished eating, the old woman said,
" Now I will fetch some water."
"Don't go," said the prince. You shall have plenty of
water directly." So he took his bowl and said to it,
"Bowl, I want some water," and then it filled with water.
When it was full, the prince cried out, "Stop, bowl," and
the bowl stopped filling. See, aunty," he said, "with
this bowl I can always get as much water as I want."
By this time night had come. Aunty," said the Raja's
son, why don't you light a lamp ?"
"There is no need," she said. "Our king has for-
bidden the people in his country to light any lamps; for, as
soon as it is dark, his daughter, the Princess Labam, comes
and sits on her roof, and she shines so that she lights
up all the country and our houses, and we can see to do
our work as if it were day."
When it was quite black night the princess got up. She
dressed herself in her rich clothes and jewels, and rolled up
her hair, and across her head she put a band of diamonds
and pearls. Then she shone like the moon, and her beauty
made night day. She came out of her room, and sat on
the roof of her palace. In the daytime she never came out
of her house; she only came out at night. All the people
in her father's country then went about their work and
Io Indian Fairy Tales
The Raja's son watched the princess quietly, and was
very happy. He said to himself, How lovely she is "
At midnight, when everybody had gone to bed, the
princess came down from her roof, and went to her room;
and when she was in bed and asleep, the Raja's son got up
softly, and sat on his. bed. Bed," he said to it, I want
to go to the Princess Labam's bed-room." So the little
bed carried him to the room where she lay fast asleep.
The young Raja took his bag and said, I want a great
deal of betel-leaf," and it at once gave him quantities of
betel-leaf. This he laid near the princess's bed, and then
his little bed carried him back to the old woman's house.
Next morning all the princess's servants found the betel-
leaf, and began to eat it. "Where did you get all that
betel-leaf?" asked the princess.
"We found it near your bed," answered the servants.
Nobody knew the prince had come in the night and put it
In the morning the old woman came to the Raja's son.
" Now it is morning," she said, and you must go; for if
the king finds out all I have done for you, he will seize
I am ill to-day, dear aunty," said the prince; "do let
me stay till to-morrow morning."
Good," said the old woman. So he stayed, and they
took their dinner out of the bag, and the bowl gave
When night came the princess got up and sat on her
roof, and at twelve o'clock, when every one was in bed, she
went to her bed-room, and was soon fast asleep. Then
the Raja's son sat on his bed, and it carried him to the
The Princess Labam
princess. He took his bag and said, Bag, I want a most
lovely shawl." It gave him a splendid shawl, and he
spread it over the princess as she lay asleep. Then he
went back to the old woman's house and slept till morning.
In the morning, when the princess saw the shawl she
was delighted. "See, mother," she said; Khuda must
have given me this shawl, it is so beautiful." Her mother
was very glad too.
Yes, my child," she said ; Khuda must have given you
this splendid shawl."
When it was morning the old woman said to the Raja's
son, "Now you must really go."
"Aunty," he answered, "I am not well enough yet.
Let me stay a few days longer. I will remain hidden in
your house, so that no one may see me." So the old
woman let him stay.
When it was black night, the princess put on her lovely
clothes and jewels, and sat on her roof. At midnight she
went to her room and went to sleep. Then the Raja's son
sat on his bed and flew to her bed-room. There he said
to his bag, Bag, I want a very, very beautiful ring." The
bag gave him a glorious ring. Then he took the Princess
Labam's hand gently to put on the ring, and she started up
very much frightened.
Who are you ? she said to the prince. "Where do
you come from? Why do you come to my room? "
"Do not be afraid, princess," he said; "I am no thief.
I am a great Raja's son. Hiraman parrot, who lives in the
jungle where I went to hunt, told me your name, and then
I left my father and mother, and came to see you."
Well," said the princess, as you are the son of such a
12 Indian Fairy Tales
great Raja, I will not have you killed, and I will tell my
father and mother that I wish to marry you."
The prince then returned to the old woman's house; and
when morning came the princess said to her mother, "The
son of a great Raja has come to this country, and I wish to
marry him." Her mother told this to the king.
"Good," said the king; but if this Raja's son wishes
to marry my daughter, he must first do whatever I bid
him. If he fails I will kill him. I will give him eighty
pounds weight of mustard seed, and out of this he must
crush the oil in one day. If he cannot do this he
In the morning the Raja's son told the old woman that
he intended to marry the princess. Oh," said the old
woman, "go away from this country, and do not think of
marrying her. A great many Rajas and Rajas' sons have
come here to marry her, and her father has had them all
killed. He says whoever wishes to marry his daughter
must first do whatever he bids him. If he can, then he
shall marry the princess; if he cannot, the king will have
him killed. But no one can do the things the king tells
him to do; so all the Rajas and Rajas' sons who have tried
have been put to death. You will be killed too, if you try.
Do go away." But the prince would not listen to anything
The king sent for the prince to the old woman's house,
and his servants brought the Raja's son to the king's court-
house to the king. There the king gave him eighty pounds
of mustard seed, and told him to crush all the oil out of it
that day, and bring it next morning to him to the court-
house. "Whoever wishes to marry my daughter," he
The Princess Labam
said to the prince, "must first do all I tell him. If he
cannot, then I have him killed. So if you cannot crush all
the oil out of this mustard seed, you will die."
The prince was very sorry when he heard this. How
can I crush the oil out of all this mustard seed in one
day?" he said to himself; and if I do not, the king will
kill me." He took the mustard seed to the old woman's
house, and did not know what to do. At last he remem-
bered the Ant-Raja, and the moment he did so, the Ant-
Raja and his ants came to him. "Why do you look so
sad?" said the Ant-Raja.
The prince showed him the mustard seed, and said to
him, How can I crush the oil out of all this mustard seed
in one day? And if I do not take the oil to the king
to-morrow morning, he will kill me."
Be happy," said the Ant-Raja; lie down and sleep;
we will crush all the oil out for you during the day, and
to-morrow morning you shall take it to the king." The
Raja's son lay down and slept, and the ants crushed out
the oil for him. The prince was very glad when he saw
.The next morning he took it to the court-house to the
king. But the king said, "You cannot yet marry my
daughter. If you wish to do so, you must first fight with
my two demons and kill them." The king a long time ago
had caught two demons, and then, as he did not know what
to do with them, he had shut them up in a cage. He was
afraid to let them loose for fear they would, eat up all the
people in his country; and he did not know how to kill
them. So all the kings and kings' sons who wanted to
marry the Princess Labam had to fight with these demons;
Indian Fairy Tales
" for," said the king to himself, perhaps the demons may
be killed, and then I shall be rid of them."
When he heard of the demons the Raja's son was very
sad. "What can I do ?" he said to himself. How can
I fight with these two demons ? Then he thought of his
tiger: and the tiger and his wife came to him and said,
" Why are you so sad? The Raja's son answered, The
king has ordered me to fight with his two demons and kill
them. How can I do this?" "Do not be frightened,"
said the tiger. "Be happy. I and my wife will fight with
them for you."
Then the Raja's son took out of his bag two splendid
coats. They were all gold and silver, and covered with
pearls and diamonds. These he put on the tigers to make
them beautiful, and he took them to the king, and said to
him, May these tigers fight your demons for me?"
" Yes," said the king, who did not care in the least who
The Princess Labam
killed his demons, provided they were killed. "Then call
your demons," said the Raja's son, and these tigers will
fight them." The king did so, and the tigers and the
demons fought and fought until the tigers had killed the
That is good," said the king. But you must do some-
thing else before I give you my daughter. Up in the sky
I have a kettle-drum. You must go and beat it. If you
cannot do this, I will kill you."
The Raja's son thought of his little bed; so he went to
the old woman's house and sat on his bed. "Little bed,"
he said, "up in the sky is the king's kettle-drum. I want
to go to it." The bed flew up with him, and the Raja's son
beat the drum, and the king heard him. Still, when he
came down, the king would not give him his daughter.
" You have," he said to the prince, "done the three things
I told you to do; but you must do one thing more." If
I can, I will," said the Raja's son.
Then the king showed him the trunk of a tree that was
lying near his court-house. It was a very, very thick
trunk. He gave the prince a wax hatchet, and said, To-
morrow morning you must cut this trunk in two with this
The Raja's son went back to the old woman's house.
He was very sad, and thought that now the Raja would
certainly kill him. I had his oil crushed out by the ants,"
he said to himself. I had his demons killed by the tigers.
My bed helped me to beat his kettle-drum. But now what
can I do? How can I cut that thick tree-trunk in two
with a wax hatchet ? "
At night he went on his bed to see the princess. "To-
16 Indian Fairy Tales
morrow," he said to her, "your father will kill me.'
"Why ? asked the princess.
He has told me to cut a thick tree-trunk in two with a
wax hatchet. How can I ever do that ? said the Raja's
son. Do not be afraid," said the princess; do as I bid
you, and you will cut it in two quite easily."
Then she pulled out a hair from her head, and gave it to
the prince. To-morrow," she said, when no one is near
you, you must say to the tree-trunk, 'The Princess Labam
commands you to let yourself be cut in two by this hair.'
Then stretch the hair down the edge of the wax hatchet's
The prince next day did exactly as the princess had told
him; and the minute the hair that was stretched down the
edge of the hatchet-blade touched the tree-trunk it split into
The king said, "Now you can marry my daughter-"
Then the wedding took place. All the Rajas and kings of
the countries round were asked to come to it, and there
were great rejoicings. After a few days the prince's son
said to his wife, Let us go to my father's country." The
Princess Labam's father gave them a quantity of camels
and horses and rupees and servants; and they travelled
in great state to the prince's country, where they lived
The prince always kept his bag, bowl, bed, and stick;
only, as no one ever came to make war on him, he never
needed to use the stick.
NCE upon a time there was a wee wee
Lambikin, who frolicked about on his
little tottery legs, and enjoyed himself
Now one day he set off to visit his
Granny, and was jumping with joy to
think of all the good things he should get from her, when
who should he meet but a Jackal, who looked at the tender
young morsel and said: Lambikin Lambikin I'll EAT
But Lambikin only gave a little frisk
and said :
To Granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so."
The Jackal thought this reasonable, and let Lambikin
By-and-by he met a Vulture, and the Vulture, looking
hungrily at the tender morsel before him, said : Lambikin !
Lambikin I'll EAT YOU! "
18 Indian Fairy Tales
But Lambikin only gave a little frisk, and said:
To Granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so."
The Vulture thought this reasonable, and
let Lambikin pass.
41 4 .,,, And by-and-by he met a Tiger, and then
a Wolf, and a Dog, and an Eagle, and all these, when
they saw the tender little morsel, said: "Lambikin!
Lambikin I'll EAT YOU "
But to all of them Lambikin replied, with a little frisk :
"To Granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so."
,,...,,.. At last he reached his Granny's house,
and said, all in a great hurry, Granny, dear, I've promised
to get very fat; so, as people ought to keep their promises,
please put me into the corn-bin at once."
So his Granny said he was a good boy, and put him into
the corn-bin, and there the greedy little Lambikin stayed
for seven days, and ate, and ate, and ate, until he could
scarcely waddle, and his Granny said he was fat enough
for anything, and must go home. But cunning little Lambi-
kin said that would never do, for some animal would be sure
to eat him on the way back, he. was so plump and tender.
I'll tell you what you must do," said Master Lambikin,
you must make a little drumikin out of the skin of my
little brother who died, and then I can sit inside and trundle
along nicely, for I'm as tight as a drum myself."
So his Granny made a nice little drumikin out of his
brother's skin, with the
wool inside, and Lambikin /
curled himself up snug and
warm in the middle, and
trundled away gaily. Soon
he met with the Eagle, who called out:
Drumikin Drumikin !
Have you seen Lambikin? "
And Mr. Lambikin, curled up in his soft warm nest
Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin. Tum-pa, tum-too "
"How very annoying!" sighed the Eagle, thinking
regretfully of the tender morsel he had let slip.
Meanwhile Lambikin trundled along, laughing to himself,
and singing :
Tum-pa, tur-too "
Every animal and bird he met asked him the same
"Drumikin Drumikin !
Have you seen Lambikin ? "
And to each of them the little slyboots replied :
Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin. Tum-pa, tum too;
Tum-pa, tun-too ; Tum-pa, tur-too "
20 Indian Fairy Tales
Then they all sighed to think of the tender little morsel
they had let slip.
At last the Jackal came limping along, for all his sorry
looks as sharp as a needle, and he too called out-
"Drumikin Drumikin !
Have you seen Lambikin? "
And Lambikin, curled up in his snug little nest, replied
Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin! Tum-pa- "
But he never got any further, for the Jackal recognized
his voice at once, and cried : Hullo you've turned your-
self inside out, have you ? Just you come out of that "
Whereupon he tore open Drumikin and gobbled up
NCE upon a time there was a Raja who
had seven beautiful daughters. They
were all good girls; but the youngest,
named Balna, was more clever than the
rest. The Raja's wife died when they
were quite little children, so these seven
poor Princesses were left with no mother to take care of
The Raja's daughters took it by turns to cook their
father's dinner every day, whilst he was absent deliberating
with his Ministers on the affairs of the nation.
About this time the Prudhan died, leaving a widow and
one daughter; and every day, every day, when the seven
jII -P- -
_____I I'_ --! 1
22 Indian Fairy Tales
Princesses were preparing their father's dinner, the Prudhan's
widow and daughter would come and beg for a little fire
from the hearth. Then Balna used to say to her sisters,
" Send that woman away ; send her away. Let her get the
fire at her own house. What does she want with ours.?
If we allow her to come here, we shall suffer for it some
But the other sisters would answer, Be quiet, Balna;
why must you always be quarrelling with this poor woman ?
Let her take some fire if she likes." Then the Prudhan's
widow used to go to the hearth and take a few sticks from
it; and whilst no one was looking, she would quickly throw
some mud into the midst of the dishes which were being
prepared for the Raja's dinner.
Now the Raja was very fond of his daughters. Ever
since their mother's death they had cooked his dinner with
their own hands, in order to avoid the danger of his being
poisoned by his enemies. So, when he found the mud
mixed up with his dinner, he thought it must arise from
their carelessness, as it did not seem likely that any one
should have put mud there on purpose; but being very
kind he did not like to reprove them for it, although this
spoiling of the curry was repeated many successive days.
At last, one day, he determined to hide, and watch his
daughters cooking, and see how it all happened; so he
went into the next room, and watched them through a hole
in the wall.
There he saw his seven daughters carefully washing the
rice and preparing the curry, and as each dish was com-
pleted, they put it by the fire ready to be cooked. Next
he noticed the Prudhan's widow come to the door, and beg
for a few sticks from the fire to cook her dinner with.
Balna turned to her, angrily, and said, Why don't you
keep fuel in your own house, and not come here every day
and take ours ? Sisters, don't give this woman any more
wood; let her buy it for herself.
Then the eldest sister answered, Balna, let the poor
woman take the wood and the fire; she does us no harm."
But Balna replied, "If you let her come here so often,
maybe she will do us some harm, and make us sorry for
it, some day."
The Raja then saw the Prudhan's widow go to the
place where all his dinner was nicely prepared, and, as
she took the wood, she threw a little mud into each of the
At this he was very angry, and sent to have the woman
seized and brought before him. But when the widow came,
she told him that she had played this trick because she
wanted to gain an audience with him; and she spoke so
cleverly, and pleased him so well with her cunning words,
that instead of punishing her, the Raja married her, and
made her his Ranee, and she and her daughter came to live
in the palace.
Now the new Ranee hated the seven poor Princesses, and
wanted to get them, if possible, out of the way, in order
that her daughter might have all their riches, and live in
the palace as Princess in their place ; and instead of being
grateful to them for their kindness to her, she did all she
could to make them miserable. She gave them nothing but
bread to eat, and very little of that, and very little water to
drink; so these seven poor little Princesses, who had been
accustomed to have everything comfortable about them, and
24 Indian Fairy Tales
good food and good clothes all their lives long, were very
miserable and unhappy; and they used to go out every
day and sit by their dead mother's tomb and cry-and
Oh mother, mother, cannot you see your poor children,
how unhappy we are, and how we are starved by our cruel
One day, whilst they were thus sobbing and crying, lo
and behold! a beautiful pomelo tree grew up out of the
grave, covered with fresh ripe pomeloes, and the children
satisfied their hunger by eating some of the fruit, and every
day after this, instead of trying to eat the bad dinner their
step-mother provided for them, they used to go out to their
mother's grave and eat the pomeloes which grew there on
the beautiful tree.
Then the Ranee said to her daughter, I cannot tell how
it is, every day those seven girls say they don't want any
dinner, and won't eat any; and yet they never grow thin
nor look ill; they look better than you do. I cannot tell
how it is." And she bade her watch the seven Princesses,
and see if any one gave them anything to eat.
So next day, when the Princesses went to their mother's
grave, and were eating the beautiful pomeloes, the Prudhan's
daughter followed them, and saw them gathering the fruit.
Then Balna said to her sisters, Do you not see that
girl watching us? Let us drive her away, or hide the
pomeloes, else she will go and tell her mother all about it,
and that will be very bad for us."
But the other sisters said, Oh no, do not be unkind,
Balna. The girl would never be so cruel as to tell her
mother. Let us rather invite her to come and have some
of the fruit." And calling her to them, they gave her one
of the pomeloes.
No sooner had she eaten it, however, than the Prudhan's
daughter went home and said to her mother, I do not
wonder the seven Princesses will not eat the dinner you
prepare for them, for by their mother's grave there grows
a beautiful pomelo tree, and they go there every day and
eat the pomeloes. I ate one, and it was the nicest I have
The cruel Ranee was much vexed at hearing this, and
all next day she stayed in her room, and told the Raja
that she had a very bad headache. The Raja was
deeply grieved, and said to his wife, "What can I do for
you?" She answered, "There is only one thing that
will make my headache well. By your dead wife's tomb
there grows a fine pomelo tree; you must bring that here,
and boil it, root and branch, and put a little of the water in
which it has been boiled, on my forehead, and that will cure
my headache." So the Raja sent his servants, and had
the beautiful pomelo tree pulled up by the roots, and did as
the Ranee desired'; and when some of the water, in which
it had been boiled, was put on her forehead, she said her
headache was gone and she felt quite well.
Next day, when the seven Princesses went as usual to
the grave of their mother, the pomelo tree had disappeared.
Then they all began to cry very bitterly.
Now there was by the Ranee's tomb a small tank, and
as they were crying they saw that the tank was filled with
a rich cream-like substance, which quickly hardened into a
thick white cake. At seeing this all the Princesses were
very glad, and they ate some of the cake, and liked it ; and
26 Indian Fairy Tales
next day the same thing happened, and so it went on for
many days. Every morning the Princesses went to their
mother's grave, and found the little tank filled with the
nourishing cream-like cake. Then the cruel step-mother
said to her daughter : I cannot tell how it is, I have had
the pomelo tree which used to grow by the Ranee's grave
destroyed, and yet the Princesses grow no thinner, nor
look more sad, though they never eat the dinner I give
them. I cannot tell how it is "
And her daughter said, I will watch."
Next day, while the Princesses were eating the cream
cake, who should come by but their step-mother's daughter.
Balna saw her first, and said, See, sisters, there comes
that girl again. Let us sit round the edge of the tank and
not allow her to see it, for if we give her some of our cake,
she will go and tell her mother; and that will be very un-
fortunate for us.
The other sisters, however, thought Balna unnecessarily
suspicious, and instead of following her advice, they gave
the Prudhan's daughter some of the cake, and she went
home and told her mother all about it.
The Ranee, on hearing how well the Princesses fared,
was exceedingly angry, and sent her servants to pull down
the dead Ranee's tomb, and fill the little tank with the
ruins. And not content with this, she next day pretended
to be very, very ill-in fact, at the point of death-and
when the Raja was much grieved, and asked her whether it
was in his power to procure her any remedy, she said to
him: Only one thing can save my life, but I know you
will not do it." He replied, Yes, whatever it is, I will
do it." She then said, To save my life, you must kill the
seven daughters of your first wife, and put some of their
blood on my forehead and on the palms of my hands, and
their death will be my life." At these words the Raja
was very sorrowful; but because he feared to break his
word, he went out with a heavy heart to find his daughters.
He found them crying by the ruins of their mother's
Then, feeling he could not kill them, the Raja spoke
kindly to them, and told them to come out into the jungle
with him; and there he made a fire and cooked some rice, and
gave it to them. But in the afternoon, it being very hot,
the seven Princesses all fell asleep, and when he saw they
were fast asleep, the Raja, their father, stole away and left
them (for he feared his wife), saying to himself: It is
better my poor daughters should die here, than be killed by
He then shot a deer, and returning home, put some of
its blood on the forehead arid hands of the Ranee, and she
thought then that he had really killed the Princesses, and
said she felt quite well.
Meantime the seven Princesses awoke, and when they
found themselves all alone in the thick jungle they were
much frightened, and began to call out as loud as they
could, in hopes of making their father hear; but he was
by that time far away, and would not have been able to
hear them even had their voices been as loud as thunder.
It so happened that this very day the seven young sons
of a neighboring Raja chanced to be hunting in that same
jungle, and as they were returning home, after the day's
sport was over, the youngest Prince said to his brothers:
" Stop, I think I hear some one crying and calling out.
28 Indian Fairy Tales
Do you not hear voices ? Let us go in the direction of the
sound, and find out what it is."
So the seven Princes rode through the wood until they
came to the place where the seven Princesses sat crying
and wringing their hands. At the sight of them the young
Princes were very much astonished, and still more so on
learning their story; and they settled that each should
take one of these poor forlorn ladies home with him, and
So the first and eldest Prince took the eldest Princess
home with him, and married her.
And the second took the second;
And the third took the third;
And the fourth took the fourth;
And the fifth, took the fifth;
And the sixth took the sixth;
And the seventh, and the handsomest of all, took the
And when they got to their own land, there was great
rejoicing throughout the kingdom, at the marriage of the
seven young Princes to seven such beautiful Princesses.
About a year after this Balna had a little son, and his
uncles and aunts were so fond of the boy that it was as if
he had seven fathers and seven mothers. None of the
other Princes and Princesses had any children, so the son
of the seventh Prince and Balna was acknowledged their
heir by all the rest.
They had thus lived very happily for some time, when
one fine day the seventh Prince (Balna's husband) said he
would go out hunting, and away he went; and they waited
long for him, but he never came back.
Then his six brothers said they would go and see what
had become of him ; and they went away, but they also did
And the seven Princesses grieved very much, for they
feared that their kind husbands must have been killed.
One day, not long after this had happened, as Balna was
rocking her baby's cradle, and whilst her sisters were
working in the room below, there came to the palace door
a man in a long black dress, who said that he was a Fakir,
and came to beg. The servants said to him, You cannot
go into the palace-the Raja's sons have all gone away;
we think they must be dead, and their widows cannot be
interrupted by your begging." But he said, I am a holy
man, you must let me in." Then the stupid servants let
him walk through the palace, but they did not know that
this was no Fakir, but a wicked Magician named Punchkin.
Punchkin Fakir wandered through the palace, and saw
many beautiful things there, till at last he reached the room
where Balna sat singing beside her little boy's cradle. The
Magician thought her more beautiful than all the other
beautiful things he had seen, insomuch that he asked her to
go home with him and to marry him. But she said, My
husband, I fear, is dead, but my little boy is still quite
young; I will stay here and teach him to grow up a clever
man, and when he is grown up he shall go out into the
world, and try and learn tidings of his father. Heaven
forbid that I should ever leave him, or marry you." At
these words the Magician was very angry, and turned her
into a little black dog, and led her away; saying, Since
you will not come with me of your own free will, I will
make you." So the poor Princess was dragged away,
30 Indian Fairy Tales
without any power of effecting an escape, or of letting her
sisters know what had become of her. As Punchkin
passed through the palace gate the servants said to him,
"Where did you get that pretty little dog?" And he
answered, "One of the Princesses gave it to me as a
present." At hearing which they let him go without
Soon after this, the six elder Princesses heard the little
baby, their nephew, begin to cry, and when they went
upstairs they were much surprised to find him all alone, and
Balna nowhere to be seen. Then they questioned the
servants, and when they heard of the Fakir and the little
black dog, they guessed what had happened, and sent in
every direction seeking them, but neither the Fakir nor the
dog were to be found. What could six poor women do ?
They gave up all hopes of ever seeing their kind husbands,
and their sister, and her husband, again, and devoted
themselves thenceforward to teaching and taking care of
their little nephew.
Thus time went on, till Balna's son was fourteen years
old. Then, one day, his aunts told him the history of the
family ; and no sooner did he hear it, than he was seized
with a great desire to go in search of his father and mother
and uncles, and if he could find them alive to bring them
home again. His aunts, on learning his determination,
were much alarmed and tried to dissuade him, saying, We
have lost our husbands, and our sister and her husband,
and you are now our sole hope; if you go away, what shall
we do? But he replied, I pray you not to be discouraged ;
I will return soon, and if it is possible bring my father and
mother and uncles with me." So he set out on his travels;
but for some months he could learn nothing to help him in
At last, after he had journeyed many hundreds of weary
miles, and become almost hopeless of ever hearing anything
further of his parents, he one day came to a country that
seemed full of stones, and rocks, and trees, and there he saw
a large palace with a high tower; hard by which was a
Malee's little house.
As he was looking about, the Malee's wife saw him, and
ran out of the house and said, My dear boy, who are you
that dare venture to this dangerous place? He answered,
"I am a Raja's son, and I come in search of my father,
and my uncles, and my mother whom a wicked enchanter
Then the Malee's wife said, This country and this
palace belong to a great enchanter; he is all powerful, and
if any one displeases him, he can turn them into stones and
trees. All the rocks and trees you see here were living
people once, and the Magician turned them to what they
now are. Some time ago a Raja's son came here, and
shortly afterwards came his six brothers, and they were all
turned into stones and trees; and these are not the only
unfortunate ones, for up in that tower lives a beautiful
Princess, whom the Magician has kept prisoner there for
twelve years, because she hates him and will not marry
Then the little Prince thought, These must be my
parents and my uncles. I have found what I seek at last."
So he told his story to the Malee's wife, and begged her to
help him to remain in that place awhile and inquire further
concerning the unhappy people she mentioned; and she
32 Indian Fairy Tales
promised to befriend him, and advised his disguising
himself lest the Magician should see him, and turn him
likewise into stone. To this the Prince agreed. So the
Malee's wife dressed him up in a saree, and pretended that
he was her daughter.
One day, not long after this, as the Magician was walking
in his garden he saw the little girl (as he thought) playing
about, and asked her who she was. She told him she was
the Malee's daughter, and the Magician said, "You are a
pretty little girl, and to-morrow you shall take a present of
flowers from me to the beautiful lady who lives in the
The young Prince was much delighted at hearing this,
and went immediately to inform the Malee's wife; after
consultation with whom he determined that it would be
more safe for him to retain his disguise, and trust to the
chance of a favourable opportunity for establishing some
communication with his mother, if it were indeed she.
Now it happened that at Balna's marriage her husband
had given her a small gold ring on which her name was
engraved, and she had put it on her little son's finger when
he was a baby, and afterwards when he was older his aunts
had had it enlarged for him, so that he was still able to
wear it. The Malee's wife advised him to fasten the well-
known treasure to one of the bouquets he presented to his
mother, and trust to her recognizing it. This was not to
be done without difficulty, as such a strict watch was kept
over the poor Princess (for fear of her ever establishing
communication with her friends), that though the supposed
Malee's daughter was permitted to take her flowers every
day, the Magician or one of his slaves was always in the
room at the time. At last one day, however, opportunity
favoured him, and when no one was looking, the boy tied
the ring to a nosegay, and threw it at Balna's feet. It fell
with a clang on the floor, and Balna, looking to see what
made the strange sound, found the little ring tied to the
flowers. On recognizing it, she at once believed the story
her son told her of his long search, and begged him to
advise her as to what she had better do ; at the same time
entreating him on no account to endanger his life by trying
to rescue her. She told him that for twelve long years
the Magician had kept her shut up in the tower because she
refused to marry him, and she was so closely guarded that
she saw no hope of release.
Now Balna's son was a bright, clever boy, so he said,
" Do not fear, dear mother; the first thing to do is to
discover how far the Magician's power extends, in order
that we may be able to liberate my father and uncles,
whom he has imprisoned in the form of rocks and trees.
You have spoken to him angrily for twelve long years;
now rather speak kindly. Tell him you have given up all
hopes of again seeing the husband you have so long
mourned, and say you are willing to marry him. Then
endeavour to find out what his power consists in, and
whether he is immortal, or can be put to death."
Balna determined to take her son's advice; and the next
day sent for Punchkin, and spoke to him as had been
The Magician, greatly delighted, begged her to allow the
wedding to take place as soon as possible.
But she told him that before she married him he must
allow her a little more time, in which she might make his
34 Indian Fairy Tales
acquaintance, and that, after being enemies so long, their
friendship could but strengthen by degrees. "And do tell
me," she said, are you quite immortal ? Can death never
touch you? And are you too great an enchanter ever to
feel human suffering ? "
"Why do you ask ? said he.
"Because," she replied, "if I am to be your wife, I would
fain know all about you, in order, if any calamity threatens
you, to overcome, or if possible to avert it."
It is true," he added, that I am not as others. Far,
far away, hundreds of thousands of miles from this, there
lies a desolate country covered with thick jungle. In the
midst of the jungle grows a circle of palm trees, and in the
centre of the circle stand six chattees full of water, piled
one above another : below the sixth chattee is a small cage
which contains a little green parrot; on the life of the
parrot depends my life; and if the parrot is killed I must
die. It is, however," he added, impossible that the parrot
should sustain any injury, both on account of the inaccessi-
bility of the country, and because, by my appointment,
many thousand genii surround the palm trees, and kill all
who approach the place."
Balna told her son what Punchkin had said; but at the same
time implored him to give up all idea of getting the parrot.
The Prince, however, replied, Mother, unless 1 can get
hold of that parrot, you, and my father, and uncles, cannot
be liberated : be not afraid, I will shortly return. Do you,
meantime, keep the Magician in good humour-still putting
off your marriage with him on various pretexts; and before
he finds out the cause of delay, I will be here." So
saying, he went away.
Many, many weary miles did he travel, till at last he
came to a thick jungle; and, being very tired, sat down
under a tree and fell asleep. He was awakened by a soft
rustling sound, and looking about him, saw a large serpent
which was making its way to an eagle's nest built in the
tree under which he lay, and in the nest were two young
eagles. The Prince seeing the danger of the young birds,
drew his sword, and killed the serpent; at the same
moment a rushing sound was heard in the air, and the two
old eagles, who had been out hunting for food for their young
ones, returned. They quickly saw the dead serpent and
the young Prince standing over it; and the old mother
eagle said to him, Dear boy, for many years all our young
ones have been devoured by that cruel serpent; you
have now saved the lives of our children; whenever you
are in need, therefore, send to us and we will help you;
and as for these little eagles, take them, and let them
be your servants."
At this the Prince was very glad, and the two eaglets
crossed their wings, on which he mounted ; and they carried
him far, far away over the thick jungles, until he came to
the place where grew the circle of palm trees, in the midst
of which stood the six chattees full of water. It was the
middle of the day, and the heat was very great. All round
the trees were the genii fast asleep; nevertheless, there
were such countless thousands of them, that it would have
been quite impossible for any one to walk through their
ranks to the place; down swooped the strong-winged
eaglets-down jumped the Prince; in an instant he had
overthrown the six chattees full of water, and seized the
little green parrot, which he rolled up in his cloak; while,
36 Indian Fairy Tales
as he mounted again into the air, all the genii below awoke,
and finding their treasure gone, set up a wild and melan-
Away, away flew the little eagles, till they came to their
home in the great tree; then the Prince said to the old
eagles, Take back your little ones; they have done me
good service; if ever again I stand in need of help, I will
not fail to come to you." He then continued his journey
on foot till he arrived once more at the Magician's palace,
where he sat down at the door and began playing with the
parrot. Punchkin saw him, and came to him quickly, and
said, My boy, where did you get that parrot ? Give it to
me, I pray you."
But the Prince answered, Oh no, I cannot give away
my parrot, it is a great pet of mine; I have had it many
Then the Magician said, If it is an old favourite, I can
understand your not caring to give it away; but come
what will you sell it for?"
"Sir," replied the Prince, I will not sell my
Then Punchkin got frightened, and said, Anything,
anything; name what price you will, and it shall be
yours." The Prince answered, Let the seven Raja's
sons whom you turned into rocks and trees be instantly
It is done as you desire," said the Magician, only give
me my parrot." And with that, by a stroke of his wand,
Baina's husband and his brothers resumed their natural
shapes. Now, give me my parrot," repeated Punchkin.
Not so fast, my master," rejoined the Prince ; I must
first beg that you will restore to life all whom you have
The Magician immediately waved his wand again; and,
whilst he cried, in an imploring voice, Give me my
parrot!" the whole garden became suddenly alive: where
rocks, and stones, and trees had been before, stood Rajas,
and Punts, and Sirdars, and mighty men on prancing
horses, and jewelled pages, and troops of armed attendants.
Give me my parrot cried Punchkin. Then the boy
took hold of the parrot, and tore off one of its wings; and
as he did so the Magician's right arm fell off.
Punchkin then stretched out his left arm, crying, Give
me my parrot The Prince pulled off the parrot's second
wing, and the Magician's left arm tumbled off.
Give me my parrot! cried he, and fell on his knees.
The Prince pulled off the parrot's right leg, the Magician's
right leg fell off: the Prince pulled off the parrot's left leg,
down fell the Magician's left.
Nothing remained of him save the limbless body and the
head ; but still he rolled his eyes, and cried, Give me my
parrot Take your parrot, then," cried the boy, and
with that he wrung the bird's neck, and threw it at the
Magician; and, as he did so, Punchkin's head twisted
round, and, with a fearful groan, he died !
Then they let Balna out of the tower ; and she, her son,
and the seven Princes went to their own country, and lived
very happily ever afterwards. And as to the rest of the
world, every one went to his own house.
The Broken Pot
HERE lived in a certain place a Brahman,
whose name was Svabhavakripana, which
means "a born miser." He had col-
lected a quantity of rice by begging,
and after having dined off it, he filled
a pot with what was left over. He
hung the pot on a peg on the wall, placed his couch
beneath, and looking intently at it all the night, he thought,
"Ah, that pot is indeed brimful of rice. Now, if there
should be a famine, I should certainly make a hundred
rupees by it. With this I shall buy a couple of goats.
They will have young ones every six months, and thus I
shall have a whole herd of goats. Then, with the goats, I
shall buy cows. As soon as they have calved, I shall sell
the calves. Then, with the calves, I shall buy buffaloes;
with the buffaloes, mares. When the mares have foaled, I
shall have plenty of horses; and when I sell them, plenty
of gold. With that gold I shall get a house with four
wings. And then a Brahman will come to my house, and
will give me his beautiful daughter, with a large dowry.
She will have a son, and I shall call him Somasarman.
The Broken Pot
When he is old enough to be danced on his father's knee,
I shall sit with a book at the back of the stable, and while
I am reading, the boy will see me, jump from his mother's
lap, and run towards me to be danced on my knee. He
will come too near the horse's hoof, and, full of anger, I
shall call to my wife, Take the baby; take him!' But
she, distracted by some domestic work, does not hear me.
Then I get up, and give her such a kick with my foot."
While he thought this, he gave a kick with his foot, and
broke the pot. All the rice fell over him, and made him
quite white. Therefore, I say, He who makes foolish
plans for the future will be white all over, like the father of
The Magic Fiddle
NCE upon a time there lived seven brothers
and a sister. The brothers were married,
but their wives did not do the cooking
for the family. It was done by their
sister, who stopped at home to cook. The
wives for this reason bore their sister-
in-law much ill-will, and at length they combined together
to oust her from the office of cook and general provider,
so that one of themselves might obtain it. They said,
" She does not go out to the fields to work, but remains
quietly at home, and yet she has not the meals ready at
the proper time." They then called upon their Bonga,
and vowing vows unto him they secured his good-will and
assistance; then they said to the Bofga, "At midday
when our sister-in-law goes to bring water, cause it thus
to happen, that on seeing her pitcher the water shall
vanish, and again slowly re-appear. In this way she will
be delayed. Let the water not flow into her pitcher, and
you may keep the maiden as your own."
At noon when she went to bring water, it suddenly
dried up before her, and she began to weep. Then after
The Magic Fiddle 41
a while the water began slowly to rise. When it reached
her ankles she tried to fill her pitcher, but it would not
go under the water. Being frightened she began to wail
and cry to her brother:
"Oh my brother, the water reaches to my ankles,
Still, Oh my brother, the pitcher will not dip."
The water continued to rise until it reached her knee,
when she began to wail again:
42 Indian Fairy Tales,
Oh my brother, the water reaches to my knee,
Still, Oh my brother, the pitcher will not dip."
The water continued to rise, and when it reached her
waist, she cried again :
"Oh my brother, the water reaches to my waist,
Still, Oh my brother, the pitcher will not dip."
The water still rose, and when it reached her neck she
kept on crying:
Oh my brother, the water reaches to my neck,
Still, Oh my brother, the pitcher will not dip."
At length the water became so deep that she felt herself
drowning, then she cried aloud :
Oh my brother, the water measures a man's height,
Oh my brother, the pitcher begins to fill."
The pitcher filled with water, and along with it she
sank and was drowned. The Bonga then transformed her
into a Bonga like himself, and carried her off.
After a time she re-appeared as a bamboo growing on
the embankment of the tank in which she had been
drowned. When the bamboo had grown to an immense
size, a Jogi, who was in the habit of passing that way,
seeing it, said to himself, This will make a splendid fiddle."
So one day he brought an axe to cut it down ; but when
he was about to begin, the bamboo called out, Do not cut
at the root, cut higher up." When he lifted his axe to
cut high up the stem, the bamboo cried out, Do not cut
near the top, cut at the root." When the Jogi again
prepared himself to cut at the root as requested, the
bamboo said, Do not cut at the root, cut higher up ;" and
when he was about to cut higher up, it again called out to
him, Do not cut high up, cut at the root." The Jogi by
The Magic Fiddle 43
this time felt sure that a Bonga was trying to frighten
him, so becoming angry he cut down the bamboo at the
root, and taking it away made a fiddle out of it. The
instrument had a superior tone and delighted all who heard
it. The Jogi carried it with him when he went a-begging,
and through the influence of its sweet music he returned
home every evening with a full wallet.
He now and then visited, when on his rounds, the
house of the Bonga girl's brothers, and the strains of the
fiddle affected them greatly. Some of them were moved
even to tears, for the fiddle seemed to wail as one in bitter
anguish. The elder brother wished to purchase it, and
offered to support the Jogi for a whole year if he would
consent to part with his wonderful instrument. The Jogi,
however, knew its value, and refused to sell it.
It so happened that the Jogi some time after went to the
house of a village chief, and after playing a tune or two on
his fiddle asked for something to eat. They offered to
buy his fiddle and promised a high price for it, but he
refused to sell it, as his fiddle brought to him his means of
livelihood. When they saw that he was not to be prevailed
upon, they gave him food and a plentiful supply of liquor.
Of the latter he drank so freely that he presently became
intoxicated. While he was in this condition, they took
away his fiddle, and substituted their own old one for it.
When the Jogi recovered, he missed his instrument, and
suspecting that it had been stolen asked them to return it to
him. They denied having taken it, so he had to depart,
leaving his fiddle behind him. The chief's son, being a
musician, used to play on the Jogi's fiddle, and in his hands
the music it gave forth delighted the ears of all who heard it.
44 Indian Fairy Tales
When all the household were absent at their labours in
the fields, the Bonga girl used to come out of the bamboo
fiddle, and prepared the family meal. Having eaten her own
share, she placed that of the chief's son under his bed, and
covering it up to keep off the dust, re-entered the fiddle.
This happening every day, the other members of the house-
hold thought' that some girl friend of theirs was in this
manner showing her interest in the young man, so they did
not trouble themselves to find out how it came about.
The young chief, however, was determined to watch, and
see which of his girl friends was so attentive to his comfort.
He said in his own mind, I will catch her to-day, and
give her a sound beating; she is causing me to be ashamed
before the others." So saying, he hid himself in a corner
in a pile of firewood. In a short time the girl came out of
the bamboo fiddle, and began to dress her hair. Having
completed her toilet, she cooked the meal of rice as usual,
and having eaten some herself, she placed the young
man's portion under his bed, as before, and was about to
enter the fiddle again, when he, running out from his hiding-
place, caught her in his arms. The Bonga girl exclaimed,
Fie! Fie you may be a Dom, or you may be a Hadi
of some other caste with whom I cannot marry." He
said, No. But from to-day, you and I are one." So
they began lovingly to hold converse with each other.
When the others returned home in the evening, they saw
that she was both a human being and a Bonga, and they
Now in course of time the Bonga girl's family became
very poor, and her brothers on one occasion came to the
chief's house on a visit.
The Magic Fiddle 45
The Bonga girl recognized them at once, but they did
not know who she was. She brought them water on their
arrival, and afterwards set cooked rice before them. Then
sitting down near them, she began in wailing tones to up-
braid them on account of the treatment she had been sub-
jected to by their wives. She related all that had befallen
her, and wound up by saying, "You must have known
it all, and yet you did not interfere to save me." And that
was all the revenge she took.
The Cruel Crane Outwitted
ONG ago the Bodisat was born to a forest
life as the Genius of a tree standing
near a certain lotus pond.
Now at that time the water used to
run short at the dry season in a certain
pond, not over large, in which there were
a good many fish. And a crane thought on seeing the
I must outwit these fish somehow or other and make a
prey of them."
And he went and sat down at the edge of the water,
thinking how he should do it.
When the fish saw him, they asked him, What are you
sitting there for, lost in thought ?"
I am sitting thinking about you," said he.
Oh, sir what are you thinking about us ? said they.
The Cruel Crane Outwitted
Why," he replied; there is very little water in this
pond, and but little for you to eat; and the heat is so great!
So I was thinking, What in the world will these fish do
now ? '
Yes, indeed, sir! what are we to do ? said they.
If you will only do as I bid you, I will take you in my
beak to a fine large pond, covered with all the kinds of
lotuses, and put you into it," answered the crane.
That a crane should take thought for the fishes is a
thing unheard of, sir, since the world began. It's eating
us, one after the other, that you're aiming at."
"Not I So long as you trust me, I won't eat you.
But if you don't believe me that there is such a pond, send
one of you with me to go and see it."
Then they trusted him, and handed over to him one of
their number a big fellow, blind of one eye, whom
they thought sharp enough in any emergency, afloat or
Him the crane took with him, let him go in the pond,
showed him the whole of it, brought him back, and let him
go again close to the other fish. And he told them all the
glories of the pond.
And when they heard what he said, they exclaimed, All
right, sir! You may take us with you."
Then the crane took the old purblind fish first to the
bank of the other pond, and alighted in a Varana-tree grow-
ing on the bank there. But he threw it into a fork of
the tree, struck it with his beak, and killed it ; and then ate
its flesh, and threw its bones away at the foot of the tree.
Then he went back and called out :
I've thrown that fish in ; let another one come."
48 Indian Fairy Tales
And in that manner he took all the fish, one by one, and
ate them, till he came back and found no more!
But there was still a crab left behind there; and the
crane thought he would eat him too, and called out :
I say, good crab, I've taken all the fish away, and
put them into a fine large pond. Come along. I'll take
you too "
But how will you take hold of me to carry me along ?"
I'll bite hold of you with my beak."
You'll let me fall if you carry me like that. I won't go
with you "
Don't be afraid I'll hold you quite tight all the
Then said the crab to himself, "If this fellow once got
hold of fish, he would.never let them go in a pond Now
if he should really put me into the pond, it would be capital;
but if he doesn't-then I'll cut his throat, and kill him! "
So he said to him :
Look here, friend, you won't be able to hold me tight
enough; but we crabs have a famous grip. If you let me
catch hold of you round the neck with my claws, I shall be
glad to go with you."
And the other did not see that he was trying to outwit
him, and agreed. So the crab caught hold of his neck with
his claws as securely as with a pair of blacksmith's pincers,
and called out, Off with you, now !"
And the crane took him and showed him the pond, and
then turned off towards the Varana-tree.
Uncle cried the crab, "the pond lies that way, but
you are taking me this way !"
The Cruel Crane Outwitted 49
Oh, that's it, is it ? answered the crane. Your dear
little uncle, your very sweet nephew, you call me! You
mean me to understand, I suppose, that I am your slave,
who has to lift you up and carry you about with him!
Now cast your eye upon the heap of fish-bones lying at
the root of yonder Varana-tree. Just as I have eaten
those fish, every one of them, just so I will devour you as
Ah those fishes got eaten through their own stupidity,"
answered the crab ; but I'm not going to let you eat me.
On the contrary, is it you that I am going to destroy. For
you in your folly have not seen that I was outwitting you.
If we die, we die both together; for I will cut off this head
of yours, and cast it to the ground And so saying, he
gave the crane's neck a grip with his claws, as with a
Then gasping, and with tears trickling from his eyes, and
trembling with the fear of death, the crane beseeched him,
saying, 0 my Lord Indeed I did not intend to eat you.
Grant me my life! "
"Well, well! step down into the pond, and put me in
And he turned round and stepped down into the pond,
and placed the crab on the mud at its edge. But the crab
cut through its neck as clean as one would cut a lotus-
stalk with a hunting-knife, and then only entered the
When the Genius who lived in the Varana-tree saw this
strange affair, he made the wood resound with his plaudits,
uttering in a pleasant voice the verse :
5Q Indian Fairy Tales
The villain, though exceeding clever,
Shall prosper not by his villainy.
He may win indeed, sharp-witted in deceit,
But only as the Crane here from the Crab "
S-r--?NCE there was a king called King Dantal,
who had a great many rupees and soldiers
.l, and horses. He had also an only son
called Prince Majnun, who was a handsome
Sboy with white teeth, red lips, blue eyes,
red cheeks, red hair, and a white skin.
This boy was very fond of playing with the Wazir's son,
Husain Mahamat, in King Dantal's garden, which was
very large and full of delicious fruits, and flowers, and trees,
They used to take their little knives there and cut the fruits
and eat them. King Dantal had a teacher for them to
teach them to read and write.
One day, when they were grown two fine young men,
Prince Majnun said to his father, Husain Mahamat and I
should like to go and hunt." His father said they might
go, so they got ready their horses and all else they wanted
for, their hunting, and went to the Phalana country, hunting
all the way, but they only founds jackals and birds.
The Raja of the Phalana country was called Munsuk
Raja, and he had a daughter named Laili, who was very
beautiful; she had brown eyes and black hair.
52 Indian Fairy Tales
One night, some time before Prince Majnun came to her
father's kingdom, as she slept, Khuda sent to-her an angel
in the form of a man who told her that she should marry
Prince Majnun and no one else, and that this was Khuda's
command to her. When Laili woke she told her father of
the angel's visit to her as she slept; but her father paid no
attention to her story. From that time she began repeating,
Majnun, Majnun; I want Majnun," and would say nothing
else. Even as she sat and ate her food she kept saying,
Majnun, Majnun; I want Majnun." Her father used to
get quite vexed with her. "Who is this Majnun ? who
ever heard of this Majnun ?" he would say.
He is the man I am to marry," said Laili. Khuda
has ordered me to marry no one but Majnun." And she
was half mad.
Meanwhile, Majnun and Husain Mahamat came to hunt
in the Phalana country; and as they were riding about,
Laili came out on her horse to eat the air, and rode behind
them. All the time she kept saying, Majnun, Majnun; I
want Majnun." The prince heard her, and turned round.
" Who is calling me ?" he asked. At this Laili looked at
him, and the moment she saw him she fell deeply in love
with him, and she said to herself, "I am sure that is
the Prince Majnun that Khuda says I am to marry." And
she went home to her father and said, Father, I wish to
marry the prince who has come to your kingdom; for I
know he is the Prince Majnun I am to marry."
"Very well, you shall have him for your husband," said
Munsuk Raja. "We. will ask him to-morrow." Laili
consented to wait, although she was very impatient. As it
happened, the prince left the Phalana kingdom that night,
Loving Laili 53
and when Laili heard he was gone, she went quite mad,
SShe would not listen to a word her father, or her mother,
or her servants said to her, but went off into the jungle,
and wandered from jungle to jungle, till she got farther and
farther away from her own country. All the time she kept
saying, Majnun, Majnun; I want Majnun; and so she
wandered about for twelve years.
At the end of the twelve years she met a fakir-he was
really an angel, but she did not know this-who asked her,
Why do you always -say, 'Majnun, Majnun; I want
Majnun'?" She answered, "I am the daughter of the
king of the Phalana country, and I want to find Prince
Majnun ; tell me where his kingdom is."
I think you will never get there," said the fakir, for
it is very far from hence, and you have to cross many
rivers to reach it." But Laili said she did not care;
she must see Prince Majnun. "Well," said the fakir,
"when you come to the Bhagirathi river you will see a big
fish, a Rohu; and you must get him to carry you to Prince
Majnun's country, or you will never reach it."
She went on and on, and at last she came to the
Bhagirathi river. There was a great big fish called the
Rohu fish. It was yawning just as she got up to it,
and she instantly jumped down its throat into its stomach.
All the time she kept saying, Majnun, Majnun." At this
the Rohu fish was greatly alarmed and swam down the river
as fast as he could. By degrees he got tired and went
slower, and a crow came and perched on his back, and
said Caw, caw." Oh, Mr. Crow," said the poor fish
"do see what is in my stomach that makes such a noise."
"Very well," said the crow, "open your mouth wide,
54 Indian Fairy Tales
and I'll fly down and see." So the Rohu opened his jaws
and the crow flew down, but he came up again very quickly.
" You have a Rakshas in your stomach," said the crow,
and he flew away. This news did not comfort the poor
Rohu, and he swam on and on till he came to Prince
Majnun's country. There he stopped. And a jackal came
down to the river to drink. "Oh, jackal," said the Rohu
" do tell me what I have inside me."
"How can I tell?" said the jackal. "I cannot see
unless I go inside you." So the Rohu opened his mouth
wide, and the jackal jumped down his throat; but he came
up very quickly, looking much frightened and saying,
"You have a Rakshas in your stomach, and if I don't run
away quickly, I am afraid it will eat me." So off he
Loving Laili 55
ran. After the jackal came an enormous snake. Oh,"
says the fish, do tell me what I have in my stomach, for
it rattles about so, and keeps saying, Majnun, Majnun; I
The snake said, Open your mouth wide, and I'll go
down and see what it is." The snake went down: when
he returned he said, You have a Rakshas in your stomach,
but if you will let me cut you open, it will come out of
you." If you do that, I shall die," said the Rohu. Oh,
no," said the snake, "you will not, for I will give you a
medicine that will make you quite well again." So the fish
agreed, and the snake got a knife and cut him open, and
out jumped Laili.
She was now very old. Twelve years she had wandered
about the jungle, and for twelve years she had lived inside
her Rohu; and she was no longer beautiful, and had lost
her teeth. The snake took her on his back and carried her
into the country, and there he put her down, and she
wandered on and on till she got to Majnun's court-house,
where King Majnun was sitting. There some men heard
her crying, Majnun, Majnun; I want Majnun," and they
asked her what she wanted. I want King Majnun," she
So they went in and said to Prince Majnun, An old
woman outside says she wants you." "I cannot leave
this place," said he; send her in here." They brought
her in and the prince asked her what she wanted. "I
want to marry you," she answered. "Twenty-four years
ago you came to my father the Phalana Raja's country, and
I wanted to marry you then; but you went away without
marrying me. Then I went mad, and I have wandered
56 Indian Fairy Tales
about all these years looking for you." Prince Majnun
said, "Very good."
Pray to Khuda," said Laili, "to make us both young
again, and then we shall be married." So the prince
prayed to Khuda, and Khuda said to him, "Touch Laili's
clothes and they will catch fire, and when they are on fire,
she and you will become young again." When he touched
Laili's clothes they caught fire, and she and he became
young again. And there were great feasts, and they were
married, and travelled to the Phalana country to see her
father and mother.
Now Laili's father and mother had wept so much for
their daughter that they had become quite blind, and her
father kept always repeating, Laili, Laili, Laili." When
Laili saw their blindness, she prayed to Khuda to restore
their sight to them, which he did. As soon as the father
and mother saw Laili, they hugged her and kissed her, and
then they had the wedding all over again amid great
rejoicings. Prince Majnum and Laili stayed with Munsuk
Raja and his wife for three years, and then they returned
to King Dantal, and lived happily for some time with him.
They used to go out hunting, and they often went from
country to country to eat the air and amuse themselves.
One day Prince Majnun said to Laili, "Let us go
through this jungle." No, no," said Laili; "if we go
through this jungle, some harm will happen to me." But
Prince Majnun laughed, and went into the jungle. And as
they were going through it, Khuda thought, I should like
to know how much Prince Majnun loves his wife. Would
he be very sorry if she died? And would he marry
another wife ? I will see. So he sent one of his angels
Loving Laili 57
in the form of a fakir into the jungle ; and the angel went
up to Laili, and threw some powder in her face, and
instantly she fell to the ground a heap of ashes.
Prince Majnun was in great sorrow and grief when he
saw his dear Laili turned into a little heap of ashes; and
he went straight home to his father, and for a long, long
time he would not be comforted. After a great many years
he grew more cheerful and happy, and began to go again
into his father's beautiful garden with Husain Mahamat.
King Dantal wished his son to marry again. I will only
have Laili for my wife ; I will not marry any other woman,"
said Prince Majnun.
How can you marry Laili ? Laili is dead. She will
never come back to you," said the father.
"Then I'll not have any wife at all," said Prince
Meanwhile Laili was living in the jungle where her
husband had left her a little heap of ashes. As soon as
Majnun had gone, the fakir had taken her ashes and made
them quite clean, and then he had mixed clay and water with
the ashes, and made the figure of a woman with them, and
so Laili regained her human form, and Khuda sent life into
it. But Laili had become once more a hideous old woman,
with a long, long nose, and teeth like tusks; just such an
old woman, excepting her teeth, as she had been when she
came out of the Rohu fish ; and she lived in the jungle, and
neither ate nor drank, and she kept on saying, Majnun,
Majnun; I want Majnun."
At last the angel who had come as a fakir and thrown
the powder at her, said to Khuda, Of what use is it that
this woman should sit in the jungle crying, crying for ever,
58 Indian Fairy Tales
' Majnun, Majnun; I want Majnun,' and eating and drinking
nothing ? Let me take her to Prince Majnun." Well,"
said Khuda, you may do so; but tell her that she must
not speak to Majnun if he is afraid of her when he sees
her; and that if he is afraid when he sees her, she will
become a little white dog the next day. Then she must go
to the palace, and she will only regain her human shape
when Prince Majnun loves her, feeds her with his own food,
and lets her sleep in his bed."
So the angel came to Laili again as a fakir and carried
her to King Dantal's garden. "Now," he said, "it is
Khuda's command that you stay here till Prince Majnun
comes to walk in the garden, and then you may show
yourself to him. But you must not speak to him, if he is
afraid of you ; and should he be afraid of you, you will the
next day become a little white dog." He then told her
what she must do as a little dog to regain her human
Laili stayed in the garden, hidden in the tall grass, till
Prince Majnun and Husain Mahamat came to walk in the
garden. King Dantal was now a very old man; and
Husain Mahamat, though he was really only as old as
Prince Majnun, looked a great deal older than the prince,
who had been made quite young again when he married
As Prince Majnun and the Wazir's son walked in the
garden, they gathered the fruit as they had done as little
children, only they bit the fruit with their teeth; they did
not cut it. While Majnun was busy eating a fruit in this
way, and was talking to Husain Mahamat, he turned
towards him and saw Laili walking behind the Wazir's son.
Loving Laili 59
Oh, look, look he cried, see what is following you;
it is a Rakshas or a demon, and I am sure it is going to
eat us." Laili looked at him beseechingly with all her
eyes, and trembled with age and eagerness; but this only
frightened Majnun the more. It is a Rakshas, a Rakshas!"
he cried, and he ran quickly to the palace with the Wazir's
son; and as they ran away, Laili disappeared into the
jungle. They ran to King Dantal, and Majnun told him
there was a. Rakshas or a demon in the garden that had
come to eat them.
"What nonsense," said his father. Fancy two grown
men being so frightened by an old ayah or a fakir And if
it had been a Rakshas, it would not have eaten you."
Indeed King Dantal did not believe Majnun had seen any-
thing at all, till Husain Mahamat said the prince was
speaking the exact truth. They had the garden searched
for the terrible old woman, but found nothing, and King
Dantal told his son he was very silly to be so much frightened.
However, Prince Majnun would not walk in the garden any
The next day Laili turned into a pretty little dog; and
in this shape she came into the palace, where Prince Majnun
soon became very fond of her. She followed him every-
where, went with him when he was out hunting, and helped
him to catch his game, and Prince Majnun fed her with
milk, or bread, or anything else he was eating, and at night
the little dog slept in his bed.
But one night the little dog disappeared, and in its stead
there lay the little old woman who had frightened him so
much in the garden; and now Prince Majnun was quite sure
she was a Rakshas, or a demon, or some such horrible
60 Indian Fairy Tales
thing come to eat him; and in his terror he cried out,
"What do you want? Oh, do not eat me; do not eat
me Poor Laili answered, Don't you know me ? I am
your wife Laili, and I want to marry you. Don't you
remember how you would go through that jungle, though I
begged and begged you not to go, for I told you that harm
would happen to me, and then a fakir came and threw
powder in my face, and I became a heap of ashes. But
Khuda gave me my life again, and brought me here, after I
had stayed a long, long while in the jungle crying for you,
and now I am obliged to be a little dog; but if you will
marry me, I shall not be a little dog any more." Majnun,
however, said How can I marry an old woman like you ?
how can you be Laili? I am sure you are a Rakshas or a
demon come to eat me," and he was in great terror.
In the morning the old woman had turned into the little
dog, and the prince went to his father and told .him all that
had happened. "An old woman! an old woman! always
an old woman!" said his father. "You do nothing but
think of old women. How can a strong man like you be
so easily frightened ?" However, when he saw that his
son was really in great terror, and that he really believed
the old woman would came back at night, he advised him to
say to her, I will marry you if you can make yourself a
young girl again. How can I marry such an old woman as
you are ? "
That night as he lay trembling in bed the little old
woman lay there in place of the dog, crying "Majnun,
Majnun, I want to marry you. I have loved you all these
long, long years. When I was in my father's kingdom a
young girl, I knew of you, though you knew nothing of
Loving Laili 6
me, and we should have been married then if you had not
gone away so suddenly, and for long, long years I followed
you." "Well," said Majnun, "if you can make yourself a
young girl again, I will marry you."
Laili said, "Oh, that is quite easy. Khuda will make
me a young girl again. In two days' time you must go
into the garden, and there you will see a beautiful fruit.
You must gather it and bring it into your room and cut it
open yourself very gently, and you must not open it when
your father or anybody else is with you, but when you are
quite alone; for I shall be in the fruit quite naked, without
any clothes at all on." In the morning Laili took her little
dog's form, and disappeared in the garden.
Prince Majnun told all this to his father, who told him to
do all the old woman had bidden him. In two days' time
he and the Wazir's son walked in the garden, and there
they saw a large, lovely red fruit. Oh!" said the Prince,
"I wonder shall I find my wife in that fruit." Husain
Mahamat wanted him to gather it and see, but he would
not till he had told his father, who said, That must be the
fruit; go and gather it." So Majnun went back and broke
the fruit off its stalk; and he said to his father, "Come
with me to my room while I open it; I am afraid to open
it alone, for perhaps I shall find a Rakshas in it that will
No," said King Dantal; remember, Laili will be naked;
you must go alone and do not be afraid if, after all, a
Rakshas is in the fruit, for I will stay outside the door,
and you have only to call me with a loud voice, and I will
come to you, so the Rakshas will not be able to eat you."
Then Majnun took the fruit and began to cut it open
62 Indian Fairy Tales
tremblingly, for he shook with fear; and when he had cut
it, out stepped Laili, young and far more beautiful than she
had ever been. At the sight of her extreme beauty, Majnun
fell backwards fainting on the floor.
Laili took off his turban and wound it all round herself
like a sari (for she had no clothes at all on), and then she
called King Dantal, and said to him sadly, Why has
Majnun fallen down like this ? Why will he not speak to
me ? He never used to be afraid of me; and he has seen
me so many, many times."
King Dantal answered, It is because you are so beauti-
ful. You are far, far more beautiful than you ever were.
But he will be very happy directly." Then the King got
some water, and they bathed Majnun's face and gave him
some to drink, and he sat up again.
Then Laili said, "Why did you faint ? Did you not see
I am Laili ?"
Oh said Prince Majnun, I see you are Laili come
back to me, but your eyes have grown so wonderfully
beautiful, that I fainted when I saw them." Then they
were all very happy, and King Dantal had all the drums in
the place beaten, and had all the musical instruments played
on, and they made a grand wedding-feast, and gave
presents to the servants, and rice and quantities of rupees
to the fakirs.
After some time had passed very happily, Prince Majnun
and his wife went out to eat the air. They rode on the
same horse, and had only a groom with them. They came
to another kingdom, to a beautiful garden. We must go
into that garden and see it," said Majnun.
No, no," said Laili; "it belongs to a bad Raja,
Loving Laili 63
Chumman Basa, a very wicked man." But Majnun insisted
on going in, and in spite of all Laili could say, he got off
the horse to look at the flowers. Now, as he was looking
at the flowers, Laili saw Chumman Basa coming towards
them, and she read in his eyes that he meant to kill her
husband and seize her. So she said to Majnun, Come,
come, let us go; do not go near that bad man. I see in
his eyes, and I feel in my heart, that he will kill you to
What nonsense," said Majnun. "I believe he is a
very good Raja. Anyhow, I am so near to him that I
could not get away."
"Well," said Laili, "it is better that you should be
killed than I, for if I were to be killed a second time,
Khuda would not give me my life again; but I can bring
you to life if you are killed." Now Chumman Basa had
come quite near, and seemed very pleasant, so thought
Prince Majnun; but when he was speaking to Majnun, he
drew his scimitar and cut off the prince's head at one blow
Laili sat quite still on her horse, and as the Raja
came towards her she said, "Why did you kill my
Because I want to take you," he answered.
You cannot," said Laili.
"Yes, I can," said the Raja.
Take me, then," said Laili to Chumman Basa; so he
came quite close and put out his hand to take hers to lift
her off her horse. But she put her hand in her pocket and
pulled out a tiny knife, only as long as her hand was broad,
and this knife unfolded itself in one instant till it was such
a length and then Laili made a great sweep with her arm
64 Indian Fairy Tales
and her long, long knife, and off came Chumman Basa's head
at one touch.
Then Laili slipped down off her horse, and she went to
Majnun's dead body, and she cut her little finger inside her
hand straight down from the top of her nail to her palm,
and out of this gushed blood like healing medicine. Then
she put Majnun's head on his shoulders, and smeared her
healing blood all over the wound, and Majnun woke up and
said, "What a delightful sleep I have had! Why, I feel
as if I had slept for years Then he got up and saw the
Raja's dead body by Laili's horse.
"What's that?" said Majnun.
That is the wicked Raja who killed you to seize me,
just as I said he would."
"Who killed him ? asked Majnun.
I did," answered Laili, and it was I who brought you
Do bring the poor man to life if you know how to
do so," said Majnun.
"No," said Laili, for he is a wicked man, and will try
to do you harm." But Majnun asked her for such a long
time, and so earnestly to bring the wicked Raja to life, that
at least she said, "Jump up on the horse, then, and go far
away with the groom."
"What will you do," said Majnun, "if I leave you? I
cannot leave you."
I will take care of myself," said Laili; but this man
is so wicked, he may kill you again if you are near him."
So Majnun got up on the horse, and he and the groom
went a long way off and waited for Laili. Then she set
the wicked Raja's head straight on his shoulders, and she
ih rl ME
Loving Laili 65
squeezed the wound in her finger till a little blood-medicine
came out of it. Then she smeared this over the place
where her knife had passed, and just as she saw the Raja
opening his eyes, she began to run, and she ran, and ran so
fast, that she outran the Raja, who tried to catch her; and
she sprang up on the horse behind her husband, and they
rode so fast, so fast, till they reached King Dental's
There Prince Majnun told everything to his father, who
was horrified and angry. How lucky for you that you
have such a wife," he said. "Why did you not do what
she told you? But for her, you would be now dead."
Then he made a great feast out of gratitude for his son's
safety, and gave many, many rupees to the fakirs. And
he made so much of Laili. He loved her dearly ; he could
not do enough for her. Then he built a splendid palace
for her and his son, with a great deal of ground about it,
and lovely gardens, and gave them great wealth, and heaps
of servants to wait on them. But he would not allow
any but their servants to enter their gardens and palace,
and he would not allow Majnun to go out of them, nor
Laili; for," said King Dantal, Laili is so beautiful, that
perhaps some one may kill my son to take her away."
The Tiger, the Brahman, and
NCE upon a time, a tiger was caught in a
trap. He tried in vain to get out through
the bars, and rolled and bit with rage and
grief when he failed.
By chance a poor Brahman came by.
Let me out of this cage, oh pious one! "
cried the tiger.
Nay, my friend," replied the Brahman mildly, you
would probably eat me if I did."
"Not at all!" swore the tiger with many oaths; "on
the contrary, I should be for ever grateful, and serve you
as a slave "
Now when the tiger sobbed and sighed and wept and
swore, the pious Brahman's heart softened, and at last he
consented to open the door of the cage. Out popped the
tiger, and, seizing the poor man, cried, What a fool you
Tiger, Brahman, and Jackal 67
are! What is to prevent my eating you now, for after
being cooped up so long I am just terribly hungry "
In vain the Brahman pleaded for his life ; the most he
could gain was a promise to abide by the decision of the
first three things he chose to question as to the justice of
the tiger's action.
So the Brahman first asked a pipal tree what it thought
of the matter, but the pipal tree replied coldly, What.have
you to complain about ? Don't I give shade and shelter to
every one who passes by, and don't they in return tear
down my branches to feed their cattle ? Don't whimper-
be a man "
Then the Brahman, sad at heart, went further afield till
he saw a buffalo turning a well-wheel; but he fared no
better from it, for it answered, "You are a fool to expect
gratitude Look at me! Whilst I gave milk they fed me
on cotton-seed and oil-cake, but now I am dry they yoke
me here, and give me refuse as fodder!"
The Brahman, still more sad, asked the road to give him
"My dear sir," said the road, how foolish you are to
expect anything else! Here am I, useful to everybody,
yet all, rich and poor, great and small, trample on me as
they go past, giving me nothing but the ashes of their pipes
and the husks of their grain "
On this the Brahman turned back sorrowfully, and on
the way he met a jackal, who called out, "Why, what's the
matter, Mr. Brahman ? You look as miserable as a fish
out of water "
The Brahman told him all that had occurred.
" How very confusing! said the jackal, when the recital
68 Indian Fairy Tales
was ended; "would you mind telling me over again, for
everything has got so mixed up ? "
The Brahman told it all over again, but the jackal shook
his head in a distracted sort of way, and still could not
It's very odd," said he, sadly, but it all seems to go
in at one ear and out at the other! I will go to the place
where it all happened, and then perhaps I shall be able to
give a judgment."
So they returned to the cage, by which the tiger was
waiting for the Brahman, and sharpening his teeth and
You've been away a long time!" growled the savage
beast, but now let-us begin our dinner."
Our dinner! thought the wretched Brahman, as his
knees knocked together with fright; "what a remarkably
delicate way of putting it "
Give me five minutes, my lord he pleaded, "in order
that I may explain matters to the jackal here, who is some-
what slow in his wits."
The tiger consented, and the Brahman began the whole
story over again, not missing a single detail, and spinning
as long a yarn as possible.
Oh, my poor brain! oh, my poor brain!" cried the
jackal, wringing its paws. Let me see! how did it all
begin ? You were in the cage, and the tiger came walking
Pooh interrupted the tiger, what a fool you are r
I was in the cage."
Of course !" cried the jackal, pretending to tremble
with fright; yes I was in the cage-no I wasn't -dear !
Tiger, Brahman, and Jackal 69
dear where are my wits ? Let me see-the tiger was in
the Brahman, and the cage came walking by- no, that's
not it, either Well, don't mind me, but begin your dinner,
for I shall never understand "
"Yes, you shall! returned the tiger, in a rage at the
jackal's stupidity; I'll make you understand Look here
-I am the tiger- "
"Yes, my lord "
And that is the Brahman- "
Yes, my lord "
And that is the cage--"
Yes, my lord! "
And I was in the cage-do you understand ?"
"Yes-no-- Please, my lord--"
"Well? cried the tiger impatiently.
Please, my lord !-how did you get in ?"
How !-why in the usual way, of course "
Oh, dear me !-my head is beginning to whirl again !
Please don't be angry, my lord, but what is the usual
At this the tiger lost patience, and, jumping into the
cage, cried, This way Now do you understand how it
was ? "
Perfectly !" grinned the jackal, as he dexterously shut
the door, and if you will permit me to say so, I think
matters will remain as they were !"'
The Soothsayer's Son
SOOTHSAYER when on his deathbed
wrote out the horoscope of his second
son, whose name was Gangazara, and be-
Squeathed it to him as his only property,
leaving the whole of his estate to his
eldest son. The second son thought
over the horoscope, and said to himself:
"Alas am I born to this only in the world? The say-
ings of my father never failed. I have seen them prove
true to the last word while he was living; and how has he
fixed my horoscope! 'From my birth poverty!' Nor
is that my only fate. 'For ten years, imprisonment'
-a fate harder than poverty; and what comes next?
'Death on the sea-shore'; which means that I must
die away from home, far from friends and relatives on a
sea-coast. Now comes the most curious part of the horo-
scope, that I am to 'have some happiness afterwards !'
What this happiness is, is an enigma to me."
Thus thought he, and after all the funeral obsequies of
his father were over, took leave of his elder brother, and
started for Benares. He went by the middle of the Deccan,
The Soothsayer's Son 71
avoiding both the coasts, and went on journeying and
journeying for weeks and months, till at last he reached the
Vindhya mountains. While passing that desert he had to
journey for a couple of days through a sandy plain, with no
signs of life or vegetation. The little store of provision
with which he was provided for a couple of days, at last
was exhausted. The chombu, which he carried always full,
filling it with the sweet water from the flowing rivulet or
plenteous tank, he had exhausted in the heat of the desert.
There was not a morsel in his hand to eat; nor a drop of
water to drink. Turn his eyes wherever he might he found
a vast desert, out of which he saw no means of escape.
Still he thought within himself, "Surely my father's
prophecy never proved untrue. I must survive this
calamity to find my death on some sea-coast." So thought
he, and this thought gave him strength of mind to walk fast
and try to find a drop of water somewhere to slake his dry
At last he succeeded ; heaven threw in his way a ruined
well. He thought he could collect some water if he let
down his chombu with the string that he always carried
noosed to the neck of it. Accordingly he let it down; it
went some way and stopped, and the following words came
from the well: Oh, relieve me I am the king of tigers,
dying here of hunger. For the last three days I have had
nothing. Fortune has sent. you here. If you assist me
now you will find a sure help in me throughout your life.
Do not think that I am a beast of prey. When you have
become my deliverer I will never touch you. Pray, kindly
lift me up." Gangazara thought: "Shall I take him out or
not ? If I take him out he may make me the first morsel of
72 Indian Fairy Tales
his hungry mouth. No ; that he will not do. For my father's
prophecy never came untrue. I must die on a sea-coast,
and not by a tiger." Thus think-
ing, he asked the tiger-king to
(/. t"--- hold tight to the vessel, which
f he accordingly did, and he lifted
him up slowly. The tiger reached
the top of the well and felt him-
self on safe ground. True to his
word, he did no harm to Gan-
gazara. On the other hand, he
walked round his patron three
times, and standing before him,
humbly spoke the following
words : My life-giver, my
benefactor! I shall never forget
this day, when I regained my
life through your kind hands.
In return for this kind assistance
I pledge my oath to stand by
you in all calamities. When-
ever you are in any difficulty
just think of me. I am there
with you ready to oblige you by
all the means that I can. To
tell you briefly how I came in
here: Three days ago I was
roaming in yonder forest, when
I saw a goldsmith passing through
it. I chased him. He, finding it impossible to escape my
claws, jumped into this well, and is living to this moment
The Soothsayer's Son 73
in the very bottom of it. I also jumped in, but found
myself on the first ledge of the well; he is on the last and
fourth ledge. In the second lives a serpent half-famished
with hunger. On the third lies a rat, also half-famished,
and when you again begin to draw water these may
request you first to release them. In the same way the
goldsmith also may ask you. I beg you, as your' bosom
friend, never assist that wretched man, though he is your
relation as a human being. Goldsmiths are never to be
trusted. You can place more faith in me, a tiger, though
I feast sometimes upon men, in a serpent, whose sting
makes your blood cold the very next moment, or in a rat,
which does a thousand pieces of mischief in your house.
But never trust a goldsmith. Do not release him; and if
you do, you shall surely repent of it one day or other."
Thus advising, the hungry tiger went away without waiting
for an answer.
Gangazara thought several times of the eloquent way in
which the tiger spoke, and admired his fluency of speech.
But still his thirst was not quenched. So he let down his
vessel again, which was now caught hold of by the serpent,
who addressed him thus: Oh, my protector Lift me
up. I am the king of serpents, and the son of Adisesha,
who is now pining away in agony for my disappearance.
Release me now. I shall ever remain your servant, re-
member your assistance, and help you throughout life in all
possible ways. Oblige me: I am dying." Gangazara,
calling again to mind the "death on the sea-shore"
of the prophecy lifted him up. He, like the tiger-king,
walked round him thrice, and prostrating himself before him
spoke thus : Oh, my life-giver, my father, for so I must
74 Indian Fairy Tales
call you, as you have given me another birth. I was three
days ago basking myself in the morning sun, when I saw a
rat running before me. I chased him. He fell into this
well. I followed him, but instead of falling on the third
storey where he is now lying, I fell into the second. I am
going away now to see my father. Whenever you are in
any difficulty just think of me. I will be there by your side
to assist you by all possible means." So saying, the Nagaraja
glided away in zigzag movements, and was out of sight in
The poor son of the Soothsayer, who was now almost
dying of thirst, let down his vessel for a third time. The
rat caught hold of it, and without discussing he lifted up
the poor animal at once. But it would not go away with-
out showing its gratitude: "Oh, life of my life! My
benefactor I am the king of rats. Whenever you are in
any calamity just think of me. I will come to you, and
assist you. My keen ears overheard all that the tiger-king
told you about the goldsmith, who is in the fourth storey.
It is nothing but a sad truth that goldsmiths ought never
to be trusted. Therefore, never assist him as you have done
to us all. And if you do, you will suffer for it. I am
hungry; let me go for the present." Thus taking leave of
his benefactor, the rat, too, ran away.
Gangazara for a while thought upon the repeated advice
given by the three animals about releasing the goldsmith :
What wrong would there be in my assisting him ? Why
should I not release him also ? So thinking to himself,
Gangazara let down the vessel again. The goldsmith
caught hold of it, and demanded help. The Soothsayer's
son had no time to lose; he was himself dying of thirst.
The Soothsayer's Son 75
Therefore he lifted the goldsmith up, who now began his
story. Stop for a while," said Gangazara, and after
quenching his thirst by letting down his vessel for the fifth
time, still fearing that some one might remain in the well
and demand his assistance, he listened to the goldsmith,
who began as follows: My dear friend, my protector,
what a deal of nonsense these brutes have been talking to
you about me; I am glad you have not followed their advice.
I am just now dying of hunger. Permit me to go away.
My name is Manikkasari. I live in the East main street of
Ujjaini, which is twenty kas to the south of this place, and
so lies on your way when you return from Benares. Do
not forget to come to me and receive my kind remembrances
of your assistance, on your way back to your country."
So saying, the goldsmith took his leave, and Gangazara also
pursued his way north after the above adventures.
He reached Benares, and lived there for more than ten
years, and quite forgot the tiger, serpent, rat, and goldsmith.
After ten years of religious life, thoughts of home and of his
brother rushed into his mind. I have secured enough
merit now by my religious observances. Let me return
home." Thus thought Gangazara within himself, and
very soon he was on his way back to his country.
Remembering the prophecy of his father he returned by the
same way by which he went to Benares ten years before.
While thus retracing his steps he reached the ruined well
where he had released the three brute kings and the gold-
smith. At once the old recollections rushed into his mind,
and he thought of the tiger to test his fidelity. Only a
moment passed, and the tiger-king came running before him
carrying a large crown in his mouth, the glitter of the
76 Indian Fairy Tales
diamonds of which for a time outshone even the bright rays
of the sun. He dropped the crown at his life-giver's feet,
and, putting aside all his pride, humbled himself like a pet
cat to the strokes of his protector, and began in the follow-
ing words: "My life-giver! How is it that you have
forgotten me, your poor servant, for such a long time ? I
am glad to find that I still occupy a corner in your mind. I
can never forget the day when I owed my life to your lotus
hands. I have several jewels with me of little value. This
crown, being the best of all, I have brought here as a single
ornament of great value, which you can carry with you
and dispose of in your own country." Gangazara looked at
the crown, examined it over and over, counted and recounted
the gems, and thought within himself that he would become
the richest of men by separating the diamonds and gold, and
selling them in his own country. He took leave of the
tiger-king, and after his disappearance thought of the kings
of serpents and rats, who came in their turn with their
presents, and after the usual greetings and exchange of
words took their leave. Gangazara was extremely delighted
at the faithfulness with which the brute beasts behaved, and
went on his way to the south. While going along he spoke
to himself thus: "These beasts have been very faithful
in their assistance. Much more, therefore, must Manikkasari
be faithful. I do not want anything from him now. If I
take this crown with me as it is, it occupies much space in
my bundle. It may also excite the curiosity of some robbers
on the way. I will go now to Ujjaini on my way.
Manikkasari requested me to see him without failure on my
return journey. I shall do so, and request him to have the
crown melted, the diamonds and gold separated. He must
The Soothsayer's Son 77
do that kindness at least for me. I shall then roll up these
diamonds and gold ball in my rags, and wend my way
homewards." Thus thinking and thinking, he reached
Ujjaini. At once he inquired for the house of his goldsmith
friend, and found him without difficulty. Manikkasari was
extremely delighted to find on his threshold him who ten
years before, notwithstanding the advice repeatedly given
him by the sage-looking tiger, serpent, and rat, had relieved
him from the pit of death. Gangazara at once showed him
the crown that he received from the tiger-king, told him how
he got it, and requested his kind assistance to separate the
gold and diamonds. Manikkasari agreed to do so, and
meanwhile asked his friend to rest himself for a while to
have his bath and meals; and Gangazara, who was very
observant of his religious ceremonies, went direct to the
river to bathe.
- How came the crown in the jaws of the tiger ? The king
of Ujjaini had a week before gone with all his hunters on a
hunting expedition. All of a sudden the tiger-king started
from the wood, seized the king, and vanished.
When the king's attendants informed the prince about the
death of his father he wept and wailed, and gave notice that
he would give half of his kingdom to any one who should
bring him news about the murderer of his father. The
goldsmith knew full well that it was a tiger that killed the
king, and not any hunter's hands, since he had heard
from Gangazara how he obtained the crown. Still, he
resolved to denounce Gangazara as the king's murderer, so,
hiding the crown under his garments, he flew to the palace.
He went before the prince and informed him that the
assassin was caught, and placed the crown before him.
78 Indian Fairy Tales
The prince took it into his hands, examined it, and at
once gave half the kingdom to Manikkasari, and then
inquired about the murderer. He is bathing in the river,
and is of such and such appearance," was the reply.
At once four armed soldiers flew to the river, and bound the
poor Brahman hand and foot, while he, sitting in meditation,
was without any knowledge of the fate that hung over him.
They brought Gangazara to the presence of the prince, who
turned his face away from the supposed murderer, and asked
his soldiers to throw him into a dungeon. In a minute,
without knowing the cause, the poor Brahman found him-
self in the dark dungeon.
It was a dark cellar underground, built with strong stone
walls, into which any criminal guilty of a capital offence
was ushered to breathe his last there without food and
drink. Such was the cellar into which Gangazara was
thrust. What were his thoughts when he reached that
place ? It is of no use to accuse either the goldsmith or
the prince now. We are all the children of fate. We
must obey her commands. This is but the first day of my
father's prophecy. So far his statement is true. But how
am I going to pass ten years here ? Perhaps without any-
thing to sustain life I may drag on my existence for a day
*or two. But how pass ten years? That cannot be, and I
must die. Before death comes let me think of my faithful
So pondered Gangazara in the dark cell underground, and
at that moment thought of his three friends. The tiger-king,
serpent-king, and rat-king assembled at once with their
armies at a garden near the dungeon, and for a while did not
know what to do. They held their council, and decided to
The Soothsayer's Son 79
make an underground passage from the inside of a ruined
well to the dungeon. The rat raja issued an order at once
to that effect to his army. They, with their teeth, bored
the ground a long way to the walls of the prison. After
reaching it they found that their teeth could not work on
the hard stones. The bandicoots were then specially
ordered for the business ; they, with their hard teeth, made
a small slit in the wall for a rat to pass and repass without
difficulty. Thus a passage was effected.
The rat raja entered first to condole with his protector on
his misfortune, and undertook to supply his protector with
provisions. "Whatever sweetmeats or bread are prepared
in any house, one and all of you must try to bring whatever
you can to our benefactor. Whatever clothes you find
hanging in a house, cut down, dip the pieces in water, and
bring the wet bits to our benefactor. He will squeeze them
and gather water for drink and the bread and sweetmeats
shall form his food." Having issued these orders, the king
of the rats took leave of Gangazara. They, in obedience
to their king's order, continued to supply him with provisions
The snake-king said : "I sincerely condole with you in
your calamity; the tiger-king also fully sympathises with
you, and wants me to tell you so, as he cannot drag his
huge body here as we have done with our small ones. The
king of the rats has promised to do his best to provide you
with food. We would now do what we can for your release.
From this day we shall issue orders to our armies to oppress
all the subjects of this kingdom. The deaths by snake-bite
and tigers shall increase a hundredfold from this day, and
day by day it shall continue to increase till your release.
Indian Fairy Tales
Whenever you hear people near you, you had better bawl
out so as to be heard by them: 'The wretched prince
imprisoned me on the false charge of having killed his
father, while it was a tiger that killed him. From that day
these calamities have broken out in his dominions. If I
were released I would save all by my powers of healing
poisonous wounds and by incantations.' Some one may
report this to the king, and if he knows it, you will obtain
your liberty." Thus comforting his protector in trouble, he
advised him to pluck up courage, and took leave of him.
From that day tigers and serpents, acting under the orders
of their kings, united in killing as many persons and cattle
as possible. Every day people were carried away by tigers
or bitten by serpents. Thus passed months and years.
Gangazara sat in the dark cellar, without the sun's light
falling upon him, and feasted upon the breadcrumbs and
sweetmeats that the rats so kindly supplied him with.
These delicacies had completely changed his body into
a red, stout, huge, unwieldy mass of flesh. Thus passed full
ten years, as prophesied in the horoscope.
Ten complete years rolled away in close imprisonment.
On the last evening of the tenth year one of the serpents
got into the bed-chamber of the princess and sucked her
life. She breathed her last. She was the only daughter
of the king. The king at once sent for all the snake-bite
curers. He promised half his kingdom and his daughter's
hand to him who would restore her to life. Now a servant of
the king who had several times overheard Gangazara's cries,
reported the matter to him. The king at once ordered the
cell to be examined. There was the man sitting in it.
How had he managed to live so long in the cell ? Some