The Relations of Ssidi Kur

Glorified Nangasuna Garbi! thou art radiant within and without; the holy vessel of sublimity, the fathomer of concealed thoughts, the second of instructors, I bow before thee. What wonderful adventures fell to the lot of Nangasuna, and to the peaceful wandering Chan, and how instructive and learned the Ssidi will be found, all this is developed in thirteen pleasing narratives.

And I will first relate the origin of these tales:—

In the central kingdom of India there once lived seven brothers, who were magicians; and one berren (a measure of distance) further dwelt two brothers, who were sons of a Chan. Now the eldest of these sons of the Chan betook himself to the magicians, that he might learn their art; but although he studied under them for seven years, yet the magicians taught him not the true key to magic.

And once upon a time it happened that the youngest brother, going to bring food to the elder, peeped through the opening of the door, and obtained the key to magic. Thereupon, without delivering to the elder the food which he had brought for him, he returned home to the palace. Then said the younger son of the Chan to his brother, “That we have learned magic, let us keep to ourselves. We have in the stable a beautiful horse; take this horse, and ride not with him near the dwelling-place of the magicians, but sell the horse in their country, and bring back merchandise.”

And when he had said thus, he changed himself into a horse. But the elder son of the Chan heeded not the words of his brother, but said unto himself: “Full seven years have I studied magic, and as yet have learned nothing. Where, then, has my young brother found so beautiful a horse? and how can I refuse to ride thereon?”

With these words he mounted, but the horse being impelled by the power of magic was not to be restrained, galloped away to the dwelling-place of the magicians, and could not be got from the door. “Well, then, I will sell the horse to the magicians.” Thus thinking to himself, the elder called out to the magicians, “Saw ye ever a horse like unto this? My younger brother it was who found him.” At these words the magicians communed with one another. “This is a magic horse; if magic grow at all common, there will be no wonderful art remaining. Let us, therefore, take this horse and slay him.”

The magicians paid the price demanded for the horse, and tied him in a stall; and that he might not escape out of their hands, they fastened him, ready for slaughter, by the head, by the tail, and by the feet. “Ah!” thought the horse to himself, “my elder brother hearkened not unto me, and therefore am I fallen into such hands. What form shall I assume?” While the horse was thus considering, he saw a fish swim by him in the water, and immediately he changed himself into a fish.

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But the seven magicians became seven herons, and pursued the fish, and were on the point of catching it, when it looked up and beheld a dove in the sky, and thereupon transformed itself into a dove. The seven magicians now became seven hawks, and followed the dove over mountains and rivers, and would certainly have seized upon it, but the dove, flying eastwards to the peaceful cave in the rock Gulumtschi, concealed itself in the bosom of Nangasuna Baktschi (the Instructor). Then the seven hawks became seven beggars, and drew nigh unto the rock Gulumtschi. “What may this import?” bethought the Baktschi to himself, “that this dove has fled hither pursued by seven hawks?” Thus thinking, the Baktschi said, “Wherefore, O dove, fliest thou hither in such alarm?” Then the dove related to him the cause of its flight, and spake afterwards as follows:—“At the entrance to the rock Gulumtschi stand seven beggars, and they will come to the Baktschi and say, ‘We pray thee give us the rosary of the Baktschi?’ Then will I transform myself into the Bumba of the rosary; let the Baktschi then vouchsafe to take this Bumba into his mouth and to cast the rosary from him.”

Hereupon the seven beggars drew nigh, and the Baktschi took the first bead into his mouth and the rest he cast from him. The beads which were cast away then became worms, and the seven beggars became fowls and ate up the worms. Then the Baktschi let the first bead fall from his mouth, and thereupon the first bead was transformed into a man with a sword in his hand. When the seven fowls were slain and become human corses, the Baktschi was troubled in his soul, and said these words, “Through my having preserved one single man have seven been slain. Of a verity this is not good.”

To these words the other replied, “I am the Son of a Chan. Since, therefore, through the preservation of my life, several others have lost their lives, I will, to cleanse me from my sins, and also to reward the Baktschi, execute whatsoever he shall command me.” The Baktschi replied thereto, “Now, then, in the cold Forest of Death there abides Ssidi Kur; the upper part of his body is decked with gold, the lower is of brass, his head is covered with silver. Seize him and hold him fast. Whosoever finds this wonderful Ssidi Kur, him will I make for a thousand years a man upon the earth.”

Thus spake he, and the youth thereupon began these words: “The way which I must take, the food which I require, the means which I must employ, all these vouchsafe to make known unto me.” To this the Baktschi replied, “It shall be as thou demandest. At the distance of a berren (a measure of distance) from this place you will come to a gloomy forest, through which you will find there runs only one narrow path. The place is full of spirits. When thou reachest the spirits, they will throng around you; then cry ye with a loud voice, ‘Spirits, chu lu chu lu ssochi!’ And when thou hast spoken these words, they will all be scattered like grain. When thou hast proceeded a little further, you will encounter a crowd of other spirits; then cry ye, ‘Spirits, chu lu chu lu ssosi!’ And a little further on you will behold a crowd of child-spirits: say unto these, ‘Child-spirits, Ri ra pa dra!’ In the middle of this wood sits Ssidi Kur, beside an amiri-tree. When he beholds you, he will climb up it, but you must take the moon-axe, with furious gestures draw nigh unto the tree, and bid Ssidi Kur descend. To bring him away you will require this sack, which would hold a hundred men. To bind him fast this hundred fathoms of checkered rope will serve you. This inexhaustible cake will furnish thee with provender for thy journey. When thou hast got thy load upon thy back, wander then on without speaking, until thou art returned home again. Thy name is Son of the Chan; and since thou hast reached the peaceful rock Gulumtschi, thou shalt be called the peaceful wandering Son of the Chan.”

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Thus spake the Baktschi, and showed him the way of expiation. When Ssidi Kur beheld his pursuer, he speedily climbed up the amiri-tree, but the Son of the Chan drew nigh unto the foot of the tree, and spake with threatening words: “My Baktschi is Nangasuna Garbi; mine axe is called the white moon; an inexhaustible cake is my provender. This sack, capable of holding a hundred men, will serve to carry thee away, this hundred fathoms of rope will serve to bind thee fast; I myself am the peaceful wandering Son of the Chan. Descend, or I will hew down the tree.”

Then spake Ssidi Kur, “Do not hew down the tree; I will descend from it.”

And when he had descended, the Son of the Chan thrust him into the sack, tied the sack fast with the rope, ate of the butter-cake, and wandered forth many days with his burden. At length Ssidi Kur said to the Son of the Chan, “Since our long journey is wearisome unto us, I will tell a story unto you, or do you relate one unto me.”

The Son of the Chan kept on his way, however, without speaking a word, and Ssidi began afresh, “If thou wilt tell a story, nod your head to me; if I shall relate one, then do you shake your head.”

But because the Son of the Chan shook his head from side to side, without uttering a word, Ssidi began the following tale:—

I. The Adventures of the Rich Youth

“In former times there lived, in a great kingdom, a rich youth, a calculator, a mechanic, a painter, a physician, and a smith, and they all departed from their parents and went forth into a foreign land. When they at length arrived at the mouth of a great river, they planted, every one of them, a tree of life; and each of them, following one of the sources of the river, set forth to seek their fortunes. ‘Here,’ said they to one another,—‘here will we meet again. Should, however, any one of us be missing, and his tree of life be withered, we will search for him in the place whither he went to.’

“Thus they agreed, and separated one from another. And the rich youth found at the source of the stream, which he had followed, a pleasure-garden with a house, in the entrance to which were seated an old man and an old woman. ‘Good youth,’ exclaimed they both, ‘whence comest thou—whither goest thou?’ The youth replied, ‘I come from a distant country, and am going to seek my fortune.’ And the old couple said unto him, ‘It is well thou hast come hither. We have a daughter, slender of shape and pleasant of behaviour. Take her, and be a son unto us!’

“And when they had so spoken, the daughter made her appearance. And when the youth beheld her, he thought unto himself, ‘It is well I left my father and my mother. This maiden is more beauteous than a daughter of the Tângâri (god-like spirits of the male and female sex). I will take the maiden and dwell here.’ And the maiden said, ‘Youth, it is well that thou earnest here.’ Thereupon they conversed together, went together into the house, and lived peacefully and happily.

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“Now, over the same country there reigned a mighty Chan. And once in the spring-time, when his servants went forth together to bathe, they found, near the mouth of the river, in the water, a pair of costly earrings, which belonged to the wife of the rich youth. Because, therefore, these jewels were so wondrously beautiful, they carried them to the Chan, who, being greatly surprised thereat, said unto his servants, ‘Dwells there at the source of the river a woman such as these belong to? Go, and bring her unto me.’

“The servants went accordingly, beheld the woman, and were amazed at the sight. ‘This woman,’ said they to one another, ‘one would never tire of beholding.’ But to the woman they said, ‘Arise! and draw nigh with us unto the Chan.’

“Hereupon the rich youth conducted his wife to the presence of the Chan; but the Chan, when he beheld her, exclaimed, ‘This maiden is a Tângâri, compared with her, my wives are but ugly.’

“Thus spake he, and he was so smitten with love of her, that he would not let her depart from his house. But as she remained true and faithful to the rich youth, the Chan said unto his servants, ‘Remove this rich youth instantly out of my sight.’

“At these commands the servants went forth, taking with them the rich youth, whom they led to the water, where they laid him in a pit by the side of the stream, covered him with a huge fragment of the rock, and thus slew him.

“At length it happened that the other wanderers returned from all sides, each to his tree of life; and when the rich youth was missed, and they saw that his tree of life was withered, they sought him up the source of the river which he had followed, but found him not. Hereupon the reckoner discovered, by his calculations, that the rich youth was lying dead under a piece of the rock; but as they could by no means remove the stone, the smith took his hammer, smote the stone, and drew out the body. Then the physician mixed a life-inspiring draught, gave the same to the dead youth, and so restored him to life.

“They now demanded of him whom they had recalled to life, ‘In what manner wert thou slain?’ He accordingly related unto them the circumstances; and they communed one with another, saying, ‘Let us snatch this extraordinary beautiful woman from the Chan!’ Thereupon the mechanic constructed a wooden gerudin, or wonderful bird, which, when moved upwards from within, ascended into the air; when moved downwards, descended into the earth; when moved sideways, flew sideways accordingly. When this was done, they painted it with different colours, so that it was pleasant to behold.

“Then the rich youth seated himself within the wooden bird, flew through the air, and hovered over the roof of the royal mansion; and the Chan and his servants were astonished at the form of the bird, and said, ‘A bird like unto this we never before saw or heard of.’ And to his wife the Chan said, ‘Go ye to the roof of the palace, and offer food of different kinds unto this strange bird.’ When she went up to offer food, the bird descended, and the rich youth opened the door which was in the bird. Then said the wife of the Chan, full of joy, ‘I had never hoped or thought to have seen thee again, yet now have I found thee once more. This has been accomplished by this wonderful bird.’ After the youth had related to her all that had happened, he said unto her, ‘Thou art now the wife of the Chan—but if your heart now yearns unto me, step thou into this wooden gerudin, and we will fly hence through the air, and for the future know care no more.’

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“After these words the wife said, ‘To the first husband to whom destiny united me am I inclined more than ever.’ Having thus spoken they entered into the wooden gerudin, and ascended into the sky. The Chan beheld this, and said, ‘Because I sent thee up that thou mightest feed this beautiful bird, thou hast betaken thyself to the skies.’ Thus spake he full of anger, and threw himself weeping on the ground.

“The rich youth now turned the peg in the bird downwards, and descended upon the earth close to his companions. And when he stepped forth out of the bird, his companions asked him, ‘Hast thou thoroughly accomplished all that thou didst desire?’ Thereupon his wife also stepped forth, and all who beheld her became in love with her. ‘You, my companions,’ said the rich youth, ‘have brought help unto me; you have awakened me from death; you have afforded me the means of once more finding my wife. Do not, I beseech you, rob me of my charmer once again.’

“Thus spake he; and the calculator began with these words:—‘Had I not discovered by my calculation where thou wert lying, thou wouldst never have recovered thy wife.’

“‘In vain,’ said the smith, ‘would the calculations have been, had I not drawn thee out of the rock. By means of the shattered rock it was that you obtained your wife. Then your wife belongs to me.’

“‘A body,’ said the physician, ‘was drawn from out of the shattered rock. That this body was restored to life, and recovered his former wife, it was my skill accomplished it. I, therefore, should take the wife.’

“‘But for the wooden bird,’ said the mechanic, ‘no one would ever have reached the wife. A numerous host attend upon the Chan; no one can approach the house wherein he resides. Through my wooden bird alone was the wife recovered. Let me, then, take her.’

“‘The wife,’ said the painter, ‘never would have carried food to a wooden bird; therefore it was only through my skill in painting that she was recovered; I, therefore, claim her.’

“And when they had thus spoken, they drew their knives and slew one another.”

“Alas! poor woman!” exclaimed the son of the Chan; and Ssidi said, “Ruler of Destiny, thou hast spoken words:—Ssarwala missbrod jakzang!” Thus spake he, and burst from the sack through the air.

Thus Ssidi’s first tale treated of the adventures of the rich youth.

II. The Adventures of the Beggar’s Son

When the Son of the Chan arrived as before at the cold Forest of Death, he exclaimed with threatening gestures at the foot of the amiri-tree, “Thou dead one, descend, or I will hew down the tree.” Ssidi descended. The son of Chan placed him in the sack, bound the sack fast with the rope, ate of his provender, and journeyed forth with his burden. Then spake the dead one these words, “Since we have a long journey before us, do you relate a pleasant story by the way, or I will do so.” But the Son of the Chan merely shook his head without speaking a word. Whereupon Ssidi commenced the following tale:—

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“A long time ago there was a mighty Chan who was ruler over a country full of market-places. At the source of the river which ran through it there was an immense marsh, and in this marsh there dwelt two crocodile-frogs, who would not allow the water to run out of the marsh. And because there came no water over their fields, every year did both the good and the bad have cause to mourn, until such times as a man had been given to the frogs for the pests to devour. And at length the lot fell upon the Chan himself to be an offering to them, and needful as he was to the welfare of the kingdom, denial availed him not; therefore father and son communed sorrowfully together, saying, ‘Which of us two shall go?’

“‘I am an old man,’ said the father, ‘and shall leave no one to lament me. I will go, therefore. Do you remain here, my son, and reign according as it is appointed.’

“‘O Tângâri,’ exclaimed the son, ‘verily this is not as it should be! Thou hast brought me up with care, O my father! If the Chan and the wife of the Chan remain, what need is there of their son? I then will go, and be as a feast for the frogs.’

“Thus spake he, and the people walked sorrowfully round about him, and then betook themselves back again. Now the son of the Chan had for his companion the son of a poor man, and he went to him and said, ‘Walk ye according to the will of your parents, and remain at home in peace and safety. I am going, for the good of the kingdom, to serve as a sacrifice to the frogs.’ At these words the son of the poor man said, weeping and lamenting, ‘From my youth up, O Chan, thou hast carefully fostered me. I will go with thee, and share thy fate.’

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“Then they both arose and went unto the frogs; and on the verge of the marsh they heard the yellow frog and the blue frog conversing with one another. And the frogs said, ‘If the son of the Chan and his companion did but know that if they only smote off our heads with the sword, and the son of the Chan consumed me, the yellow frog, and the son of the poor man consumed thee, the blue frog, they would both cast out from their mouths gold and brass, then would the country be no longer compelled to find food for frogs.’

“Now, because the son of the Chan understood all sorts of languages, he comprehended the discourse of the frogs, and he and his companion smote the heads of the frogs with their swords; and when they had devoured the frogs, they threw out from their mouths gold and brass at their heart’s pleasure. Then said the wanderers, ‘The frogs are both slain—the course of the waters will be hemmed in no more. Let us then turn back unto our own country.’ But the son of the Chan agreed not to this, and said, ‘Let us not turn back into our own country, lest they say they are become spirits; therefore it is better that we journey further.’

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“As they thereupon were walking over a mountain, they came to a tavern, in which dwelt two women, beautiful to behold—mother and daughter. Then said they, ‘We would buy strong liquor that we might drink.’ The women replied, ‘What have ye to give in exchange for strong liquor?’ Thereupon each of them threw forth gold and brass, and the women found pleasure therein, admitted them into their dwelling, gave them liquor in abundance, until they became stupid and slept, took from them what they had, and then turned them out of doors.

“Now when they awoke the son of the Chan and his companion travelled along a river and arrived in a wood, where they found some children quarrelling one with another. ‘Wherefore,’ inquired they, ‘do you thus dispute?’

“‘We have,’ said the children, ‘found a cap in this wood, and every one desires to possess it.’

“‘Of what use is the cap?’

“‘The cap has this wonderful property, that whosoever places it on his head can be seen neither by the Tângâri, nor by men, nor by the Tschadkurrs’ (evil spirits).

“‘Now go all of ye to the end of the forest and run hither, and I will in the meanwhile keep the cap, and give it to the first of you who reaches me.’

“Thus spoke the son of the Chan; and the children ran, but they found not the cap, for it was upon the head of the Chan. ‘Even now it was here,’ said they, ‘and now it is gone.’ And after they had sought for it, but without finding it, they went away weeping.

“And the son of the Chan and his companion travelled onwards, and at last they came to a forest in which they found a body of Tschadkurrs quarrelling one with another, and they said, ‘Wherefore do ye thus quarrel one with another?’

“‘I,’ exclaimed each of them, ‘have made myself master of these boots.’

“‘Of what use are these boots?’ inquired the son of the Chan.

“‘He who wears these boots,’ replied the Tschadkurrs, ‘is conveyed to any country wherein he wishes himself.’

“‘Now,’ answered the son of the Chan, ‘go all of you that way, and he who first runs hither shall obtain the boots.’

“And the Tschadkurrs, when they heard these words, ran as they were told; but the son of the Chan had concealed the boots in the bosom of his companion, who had the cap upon his head. And the Tschadkurrs saw the boots no more; they sought them in vain, and went their way.

“And when they were gone, the prince and his companion drew on each of them one of the boots, and they wished themselves near the place of election in a Chan’s kingdom. They wished their journey, laid themselves down to sleep, and on their awaking in the morning they found themselves in the hollow of a tree, right in the centre of the imperial place of election. It was, moreover, a day for the assembling of the people, to throw a Baling (a sacred figure of dough or paste) under the guidance of the Tângâri. ‘Upon whose head even the Baling falls, he shall be our Chan.’ Thus spake they as they threw it up; but the tree caught the Baling of Destiny. ‘What means this?’ exclaimed they all with one accord. ‘Shall we have a tree for our Chan?’

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“‘Let us examine,’ cried they one to another, ‘whether the tree concealeth any stranger.’ And when they approached the tree the son of the Chan and his companion stepped forth. But the people stood yet in doubt, and said one to another thus, ‘Whosoever ruleth over the people of this land, this shall be decided to-morrow morning by what proceedeth from their mouths.’ And when they had thus spoken, they all took their departure.

“On the following morning some drank water, and what they threw from their mouths was white; others ate grass, and what they threw from their mouths was green. In short, one threw one thing, and another another thing. But because the son of the Chan and his companion cast out from their mouths gold and brass, the people cried, ‘Let the one be Chan of this people—let the other be his minister.’ Thus were they nominated Chan and minister! And the daughter of the former Chan was appointed the wife of the new Chan.

“Now in the neighbourhood of the palace wherein the Chan dwelt was a lofty building, whither the wife of the Chan betook herself every day. ‘Wherefore,’ thought the minister, ‘does the wife of the Chan betake herself to this spot every day?’ Thus thinking, he placed the wonderful cap upon his head, and followed the Chan’s wife through the open doors, up one step after another, up to the roof. Here the wife of the Chan gathered together silken coverlets and pillows, made ready various drinks and delicate meats, and burnt for their perfume tapers and frankincense. The minister being concealed by his cap, which made him invisible, seated himself by the side of the Chan’s wife, and looked around on every side.

“Shortly afterwards a beautiful bird swept through the sky. The wife of the Chan received it with fragrance-giving tapers. The bird seated itself upon the roof and twittered with a pleasing voice; but out of the bird came Solangdu, the Son of the Tângâri, whose beauty was incomparable, and he laid himself on the silken coverlets and fed of the dainties prepared for him. Then spake the son of the Tângâri, ‘Thou hast passed this morning with the husband whom thy fate has allotted to thee. What thinkest thou of him?’ The wife of the Chan answered, ‘I know too little of the prince to speak of his good qualities or his defects.’ Thus passed the day, and the wife of the Chan returned home again.

“On the following day the minister followed the wife of the Chan as he had done before, and heard the son of the Tângâri say unto her, ‘To-morrow I will come like a bird of Paradise to see thine husband.’ And the wife of the Chan said, ‘Be it so.’

“The day passed over, and the minister said to the Chan, ‘In yonder palace lives Solangdu, the beauteous son of the Tângâri.’ The minister then related all that he had witnessed, and said, ‘To-morrow early the son of the Tângâri will seek thee, disguised like a bird of Paradise. I will seize the bird by the tail, and cast him into the fire; but you must smite him in pieces with the sword.’

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“On the following morning, the Chan and the wife of the Chan were seated together, when the son of the Tângâri, transformed into a bird of Paradise, appeared before them on the steps that led to the palace. The wife of the Chan greeted the bird with looks expressive of pleasure, but the minister, who had on his invisible-making cap, seized the bird suddenly by the tail, and cast him into the fire. And the Chan smote at him violently with his sword; but the wife of the Chan seized the hand of her husband, so that only the wings of the bird were scorched. ‘Alas, poor bird!’ exclaimed the wife of the Chan, as, half dead, it made its way, as well as it could, through the air.

“On the next morning the wife of the Chan went as usual to the lofty building, and this time, too, did the minister follow her. She collected together, as usual, the silken pillows, but waited longer than she was wont, and sat watching with staring eyes. At length the bird approached with a very slow flight, and came down from the birdhouse covered with blood and wounds, and the wife of the Chan wept at the sight. ‘Weep not,’ said the son of the Tângâri; ‘thine husband has a heavy hand. The fire has so scorched me that I can never come more.’

“Thus spoke he, and the wife of the Chan replied, ‘Do not say so, but come as you are wont to do, at least come on the day of the full moon.’ Then the son of the Tângâri flew up to the sky again, and the wife of the Chan began from that time to love her husband with her whole heart.

“Then the minister placed his wonderful cap upon his head, and, drawing near to a pagoda, he saw, through the crevice of the door, a man, who spread out a figure of an ass, rolled himself over and over upon the figure, thereupon took upon himself the form of an ass, and ran up and down braying like one. Then he began rolling afresh, and appeared in his human form. At last he folded up the paper, and placed it in the hand of a burchan (a Calmuc idol). And when the man came out the minister went in, procured the paper, and remembering the ill-treatment which he had formerly received, he went to the mother and daughter who had sold him the strong liquor, and said, with crafty words, ‘I am come to you to reward you for your good deeds.’ With these words he gave the women three pieces of gold; and the women asked him, saying, ‘Thou art, indeed, an honest man, but where did you procure so much gold?’ Then the minister answered, ‘By merely rolling backwards and forwards over this paper did I procure this gold.’ On hearing these words, the women said, ‘Grant us that we too may roll upon it.’ And they did so, and were changed into asses. And the minister brought the asses to the Chan, and the Chan said, ‘Let them be employed in carrying stones and earth.’

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“Thus spake he, and for three years were these two asses compelled to carry stones and earth; and their backs were sore wounded, and covered with bruises. Then saw the Chan their eyes filled with tears, and he said to the minister, ‘Torment the poor brutes no longer.’

“Thereupon they rolled upon the paper, and after they had done so they were changed to two shrivelled women.”

“Poor creatures!” exclaimed the Son of the Chan. Ssidi replied, “Ruler of Destiny, thou hast spoken words: Ssarwala missdood jakzank!” Thus spoke he, and flew out of the sack through the air.

And Ssidi’s second relation treats of the adventures of the Poor Man’s Son.

III. The Adventures of Massang

When the Son of the Chan arrived at the foot of the amiri-tree, and spoke as he had formerly done, Ssidi approached him, suffered himself to be placed in the sack, fastened with the rope, and carried away. Ssidi spoke as before, but the Son of the Chan shook his head, whereupon Ssidi began as follows:—

“A long time ago there lived in a certain country a poor man, who had nothing in the world but one cow; and because there was no chance of the cow’s calving, he was sore grieved, and said, ‘If my cow does not have a calf, I shall have no more milk, and I must then die of hunger and thirst.’

“But when a certain number of moons had passed, instead of the calf the poor man had looked for he found a man with horns, and with a long tail like a cow. And at the sight of this monster the owner of the beast was filled with vexation, and he lifted up his staff to kill him; but the horned man said, ‘Kill me not, father, and your mercy shall be rewarded.’

“And with these words he retreated into the depth of a forest, and there he found among the trees a man of sable hue. ‘Who art thou?’ inquired Massang the horned. ‘I was born of the forest,’ was the reply, ‘and am called Iddar. I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.’

“And they journeyed forth together, and at last they reached a thickly-covered grassy plain, and there they beheld a green man. ‘Who art thou?’ inquired they. ‘I was born of the grass,’ replied the green man, ‘and will bear thee company.’

“Thereupon they all three journeyed forth together, until they came to a sedgy marsh, and there they found a white man. ‘Who art thou?’ inquired they. ‘I was born of the sedges,’ replied the white man, ‘and will bear thee company.’

“Thereupon they all four journeyed forth together, until they reached a desert country, where, in the very depths of the mountain, they found a hut; and because they found plenty both to eat and to drink in the hut, they abode there. Every day three of them went out hunting, and left the fourth in charge of the hut. On the first day, Iddar, the Son of the Forest, remained in the hut, and was busied preparing milk, and cooking meat for his companions, when a little old woman put up the ladder and came in at the door. ‘Who’s there?’ exclaimed Iddar, and, upon looking round, he beheld an old woman about a span high, who carried on her back a little sack. ‘Oh, what, there is somebody sitting there?’ said the old woman, ‘and you are cooking meat; let me, I beseech you, taste a little milk and a little meat.’

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“And though she merely tasted a little of each, the whole of the food disappeared. When the old woman thereupon took her departure, the Son of the Forest was ashamed that the food had disappeared, and he arose and looked out of the hut. And as he chanced to perceive two hoofs of a horse, he made with them a number of horse’s footmarks around the dwelling, and shot an arrow into the court; and when the hunters returned home and inquired of him, ‘Where is the milk and the fatted meat?’ he answered them, saying, ‘There came a hundred horsemen, who pressed their way into the house, and took the milk and the flesh, and they have beaten me almost to death. Go ye out, and look around.’ And his companions went out when they heard these words, looked around, saw the prints of the horses’ feet and the arrow which he himself had shot, and said, ‘The words which he spoke are true.’

“On the following day the Son of the Grass remained at home in the hut, and it befell him as it had befallen his companion on the previous day. But because he perceived the feet of two bullocks, he made with them the marks of the feet of many bullocks around the dwelling, and said to his companions, ‘There came a hundred people with laden bullocks, and robbed me of the food I had prepared for you.’

“Thus spake he falsely. On the third day the Son of the Sedges remained at home in the hut, and because he met with no better fortune, he made, with a couple of the feet of a mule, a number of prints of mules’ feet around the dwelling, and said to his companions, ‘A hundred men with laden mules surrounded the house, and robbed me of the food I had prepared for you.’

“Thus spake he falsely. On the following day Massang remained at home in the hut, and as he was sitting preparing milk and flesh for his companions, the little old woman stepped in as before and said, ‘Oh, so there is somebody here this time? Let me, I pray you, taste a little of the milk and a little of the meat.’ At these words Massang considered, ‘Of a certainty this old woman has been here before. If I do what she requires of me, how do I know that there will be any left?’ And having thus considered, he said to the old woman, ‘Old woman, before thou tastest food, fetch me some water.’ Thus spoke he, giving her a bucket, of which the bottom was drilled full of holes, to fetch water in. When the old woman was gone, Massang looked after her, and found that the span-high old woman, reaching now up to the skies, drew the bucket full of water again and again, but that none of the water remained in it. While she was thus occupied, Massang peeped into the little sack which she carried on her shoulders, and took out of it a coil of rope, an iron hammer, and a pair of iron pincers, and put in their place some very rotten cords, a wooden hammer, and wooden pincers.

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“He had scarcely done so before the old woman returned, saying, ‘I cannot draw water in your bucket. If you will not give me a little of your food to taste, let us try our strength against each other.’ Then the old woman drew forth the coil of rotten cords, and bound Massang with them, but Massang put forth his strength and burst the cords asunder. But when Massang had bound the old woman with her own coil, and deprived her of all power of motion, she said unto him, ‘Herein thou hast gotten the victory; now let us pinch each other with the pincers.’

“Whereupon Massang nipped hold of a piece of the old woman’s flesh as big as one’s head, and tore it forcibly from her. ‘Indeed, youth,’ cried the old woman, sighing, ‘but thou hast gotten a hand of stone; now let us hammer away at each other!’

“So saying, she smote Massang with the wooden hammer on his breast, but the hammer flew from the handle, and Massang was left without a wound. Then drew Massang the iron hammer out of the fire, and smote the old woman with it in such wise that she fled from the hut crying and wounded.

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“Shortly after this, the three companions returned home, and said to Massang, ‘Now, Massang, thou hast surely had something to suffer?’ But Massang replied, ‘Ye are all cowardly fellows, and have uttered lies; I have paid off the old woman. Arise, and let us follow her!’

“At these words they arose, followed her by the traces of her blood, and at length reached a gloomy pit in a rock. At the bottom of this pit there were ten double circular pillars, and on the ground lay the corpse of the old woman, among gold, brass, and armour, and other costly things. ‘Will you three descend,’ said Massang, ‘and then pack together the costly things, and I will draw them up, or I will pack them, and you shall draw them out.’ But the three companions said, ‘We will not go down into the cavern, for of a verity the old woman is a Schumnu’ (a witch). But Massang, without being dispirited, allowed himself to be let down into the cavern, and collected the valuables, which were then drawn forth by his companions. Then his companions spoke with one another, saying, ‘If we draw forth Massang, he will surely take all these treasures to himself. It were better, then, that we should carry away these treasures, and leave Massang behind in the cavern!’

“When Massang noticed that his three companions treated him thus ungratefully, he looked about the cavern in search of food, but between the pillars he found nothing but some pieces of bark. Thereupon Massang planted the bark in the earth, nourished it as best he might, and said, ‘If I am a true Massang, then from this bark let there grow forth three great trees. If I am not, then shall I die here in this pit.’

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“After these enchanting words, he laid himself down, but from his having come in contact with the corse of the old woman, he slept for many years. When he awoke, he found three great trees which reached to the mouth of the pit. Joyfully clambered he up and betook himself to the hut, which was in the neighbourhood. But, because there was no longer any one to be found therein, he took his iron bow and his arrows, and set forth in search of his companions. These had built themselves houses and taken wives. ‘Where are your husbands?’ inquired Massang of their wives. ‘Our husbands are gone to the chase,’ replied they. Then Massang took arrow and bow, and set forth. His companions were returning from the chase with venison, and when they beheld Massang with arrow and bow, they cried, as with one accord, ‘Thou art the well-skilled one! take thou our wives and property, we will now wander forth further!’ At these words Massang said, ‘Your behaviour was certainly not what it should have been; but I am going to reward my father—live on, therefore, as before.’

“By the way Massang discovered a brook, and out of the brook arose a beautiful maiden. The maiden went her way, and flowers arose out of her footsteps. Massang followed the maiden until he arrived in heaven, and when he was come there, Churmusta Tângâri (the Protector of the Earth) said unto him, ‘It is well that thou art come hither, Massang. We have daily to fight with the host of Schumnu (witches). To-morrow look around; after to-morrow be companion unto us.’

“On the following day, when the white host were sore pressed by the black, Churmusta spake unto Massang: ‘The white host are the host of the Tângâri, the black are the host of the Schumnu. To-day the Tângâri will be pressed by the Schumnu; draw, therefore, thy bow, and send an arrow into the eye of the leader of the black host.’ Then Massang aimed at the eye of the leader of the black host, and smote him, so that he fled with a mighty cry. Then spake Churmusta to Massang, ‘Thy deed is deserving of reward; henceforward dwell with us for ever.’ But Massang replied, ‘I go to reward my father.’

“Hereupon Churmusta presented to Massang, Dschindamani, the wonder-stone of the Gods, and said unto him, ‘By a narrow circuitous path you will reach the cave of the Schumnu. Go without fear or trembling therein. Knock at the door and say, “I am the human physician.” They will then lead thee to the Schumnu Chan, that you may draw out the arrow from his eyes; then lay hands upon the arrow, scatter seven sorts of grain towards heaven, and drive the arrow yet deeper into his head.’

“Thus spake Churmusta authoritatively, and Massang obeyed his commands; reached, without erring, the cavern of the Schumnu, and knocked at the door. ‘What hast thou learned?’ inquired the woman. ‘I am a physician,’ answered Massang; and he was conducted into the building. He examined the wound of the Chan, and laid hands upon the arrow. ‘Already,’ said the Chan, ‘my wound feels better.’ But Massang suddenly drove the arrow further into the head, scattered the seven grains towards heaven, and a chain fell clattering from heaven down to earth.

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“But while Massang was preparing to lay hands upon the chain, the Schumnu woman smote him with an iron hammer with such force, that from the blow there sprang forth seven stars.”

“Then,” said the Son of the Chan, “he was not able to reward his father.”

“Ruler of Destiny, thou hast spoken words! Ssarwala missdood jonkzang.” Thus spake Ssidi, and burst from the sack through the air.

Thus Ssidi’s third relation treats of the adventures of Massang.

IV. The Magician with the Swine’s Head

When the Son of the Chan had, as before, seized upon Ssidi, and was carrying him away, Ssidi spoke as formerly, but the Son of the Chan shook his head, without uttering a word, and Ssidi began the following relation:—

“A long while since there lived in a happy country a man and a woman. The man had many bad qualities, and cared for nothing but eating, drinking, and sleeping. At last his wife said unto him, ‘By thy mode of life thou hast wasted all thine inheritance. Arise thee, then, from thy bed, and while I am in the fields, go you out and look about you!’

“As he, therefore, according to these words, was looking about him, he saw a multitude of people pass behind the pagoda with their herds; and birds, foxes, and dogs crowding and noising together around a particular spot. Thither he went, and there found a bladder of butter; so he took it home and placed it upon the shelf. When his wife returned and saw the bladder of butter upon the shelf, she asked, ‘Where found you this bladder of butter?’ To this he replied, ‘I did according to your word, and found this.’ Then said the woman ‘Thou went out but for an instant, and hast already found thus much.’

“Then the man determined to display his abilities, and said, ‘Procure me then a horse, some clothes, and a bloodhound.’ The wife provided them accordingly; and the man taking with him, besides these, his bow, cap, and mantle, seated himself on horseback, led the hound in a leash, and rode forth at random. After he had crossed over several rivers he espied a fox. ‘Ah,’ thought he, ‘that would serve my wife for a cap.’

“So saying, he pursued the fox, and when it fled into a hamster’s hole, the man got off his horse, placed his bow, arrows, and clothes upon the saddle, fastened the bloodhound to the bridle, and covered the mouth of the hole with his cap. The next thing he did was to take a large stone, and hammer over the hole with it; this frightened the fox, which ran out and fled with the cap upon its head. The hound followed the fox, and drew the horse along with it, so that they both vanished in an instant, and the man was left without any clothes.

“After he had turned back a long way, he reached the country of a mighty Chan, entered the Chan’s stable, and concealed himself in a stack of hay, so that merely his eyes were left uncovered. Not long afterwards, the beloved of the Chan was walking out, and wishing to look at a favourite horse, she approached close to the hayrick, placed the talisman of life of the Chan’s kingdom upon the ground, left it there, and returned back to the palace without recollecting it. The man saw the wonderful stone, but was too lazy to pick it up. At sunset the cows came by, and the stone was beaten into the ground. Some time afterwards a servant came and cleansed the place, and the wonderful stone was cast aside upon a heap.

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“On the following day the people were informed, by the beating of the kettledrums, that the beloved of the Chan had lost the wonderful stone. At the same time, all the magicians and soothsayers and interpreters of signs were summoned, and questioned upon the subject. On hearing this, the man in the hayrick crept out as far as his breast, and when the people thronged around him and asked, ‘What hast thou learned?’ he replied, ‘I am a magician.’ On hearing these words they exclaimed, ‘Because the wondrous stone of the Chan is missing, all the magicians in the country are summoned to appear before him. Do you then draw nigh unto the Chan.’ The man said, ‘I have no clothes.’ Hereupon the whole crowd hastened to the Chan, and announced unto him thus: ‘In the hayrick there lieth a magician who has no clothes. This magician would draw nigh unto you, but he has nought to appear in.’ The Chan said, ‘Send unto him this robe of cloth, and let him approach.’ It was done.

“The man was fetched, and after he had bowed down to the Chan, he was asked what he needed for the performance of his magic charms. To this question he replied, ‘For the performance of my magic charms, it is needful that I should have the head of a swine, some cloths of five colours, and some baling’ (a sacred figure of dough or paste). When all these things were prepared, the magician deposited the swine’s head at the foot of a tree, dressed it with the cloths of five colours, fastened on the large baling, and passed the whole of three nights in meditation. On the day appointed, all the people assembled, and the magician having put on a great durga (cloak), placed himself, with the swine’s head in his hand, in the street. When they were all assembled together, the magician, showing the swine’s head, said, ‘Here not and there not.’ All were gladdened at hearing these words. ‘Because, therefore,’ said the magician, ‘the wonderful stone is not to be found among the people, we must seek for it elsewhere.’

“With these words the magician, still holding the swine’s head in his hand, drew nigh unto the palace, and the Chan and his attendants followed him, singing songs of rejoicing. When, at last, the magician arrived at the heap, he stood suddenly still, and exclaimed, ‘There lies the wonderful stone.’ Then, first removing some of the earth, he drew forth the stone, and cleansed it. ‘Thou art a mighty magician,’ joyfully exclaimed all who beheld it. ‘Thou art the master of magic with the swine’s head. Lift up thyself that thou mayest receive thy reward.’ The Chan said, ‘Thy reward shall be whatsoever thou wilt.’ The magician, who thought only of the property he had lost, said, ‘Give unto me a horse, with saddle and bridle, a bow and arrows, a cap, a mantle, a hound, and a fox. Such things give unto me.’ At these words the Chan exclaimed, ‘Give him all that he desireth.’ This was done, and the magician returned home with all that he desired, and with two elephants, one carrying meat, and the other butter.

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“His wife met him close to his dwelling, with brandy for him to drink, and said, ‘Now, indeed, thou art become a mighty man.’ Thereupon they went into the house, and when they had laid themselves down to sleep, the wife said to him, ‘Where hast thou found so much flesh and so much butter?’ Then her husband related to her circumstantially the whole affair, and she answered him saying, ‘Verily, thou art a stupid ass. To-morrow I will go with a letter to the Chan.’

“The wife accordingly wrote a letter, and in the letter were the following words:—‘Because it was known unto me that the lost wondrous stone retained some evil influence over the Chan, I have, for the obviating of that influence, desired of him the dog and the fox. What I may receive for my reward depends upon the pleasure of the Chan.’

“The Chan read the letter through, and sent costly presents to the magician. And the magician lived pleasantly and happily.

“Now in a neighbouring country there dwelt seven Chans, brethren. Once upon a time they betook themselves, for pastime, to an extensive forest, and there they discovered a beauteous maiden with a buffalo, and they asked, ‘What are you two doing here? Whence come you?’ The maiden answered, ‘I come from an eastern country, and am the daughter of a Chan. This buffalo accompanies me.’ At these words these others replied, ‘We are the seven brethren of a Chan, and have no wife. Wilt thou be our wife?’[1] The maiden answered, ‘So be it.’ But the maiden and the buffalo were two Mangusch (a species of evil spirit like the Schumnu), and were seeking out men whom they might devour. The male Mangusch was a buffalo, and the female, she who became wife to the brethren.

[1] It is in accordance with the customs of Thibet for a woman of that country to have several husbands.

“After the Mangusch had slain, yearly, one of the brethren of the Chan, there was only one remaining. And because he was suffering from a grievous sickness, the ministers consulted together and said, ‘For the sickness of the other Chans we have tried all means of cure, and yet have found no help, neither do we in this case know what to advise. But the magician with the swine’s head dwells only two mountains off from us, and he is held in great estimation; let us, without further delay, send for him to our assistance.’

“Upon this four mounted messengers were despatched for the magician, and when they arrived at his dwelling, they made known to him the object of their mission. ‘I will,’ said the magician, ‘consider of this matter in the course of the night, and will tell you in the morning what is to be done.’

“During the night he related to his wife what was required of him, and his wife said, ‘You are looked upon, up to this time, as a magician of extraordinary skill; but from this time there is an end to your reputation. However, it cannot be helped, so go you must.’

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“On the following morning the magician said to the messengers, ‘During the night-time I have pondered upon this matter, and a good omen has presented itself to me in a dream. Let me not tarry any longer but ride forth to-day.’ The magician, thereupon, equipped himself in a large cloak, bound his hair together on the crown of his head, carried in his left hand the rosary, and in his right the swine’s head, enveloped in the cloths of five colours.

“When in this guise he presented himself before the dwelling-place of the Chan, the two Mangusch were sorely frightened, and thought to themselves, ‘This man has quite the appearance, quite the countenance, of a man of learning.’ Then the magician, first placing a baling on the pillow of the bed, lifted up the swine’s head, and muttered certain magic words.

“The wife of the Chan seeing this discontinued tormenting the soul of the Chan, and fled in all haste out of the room. The Chan, by this conduct being freed from the pains of sickness, sank into a sound sleep. ‘What is this?’ exclaimed the magician, filled with affright. ‘The disease has grown worse, the sick man uttereth not a sound; the sick man hath departed.’ Thus thinking, he cried, ‘Chan, Chan!’ But because the Chan uttered no sound, the magician seized the swine’s head, vanished through the door, and entered the treasure-chamber. No sooner had he done so, than ‘Thief, thief!’ sounded in his ears, and the magician fled into the kitchen; but the cry of ‘Stop that thief! stop that thief!’ still followed him. Thus pursued the magician thought to himself, ‘This night it is of no use to think of getting away, so I will, therefore, conceal myself in a corner of the stable.’ Thus thinking, he opened the door, and there found a buffalo, that lay there as if wearied with a long journey. The magician took the swine’s head, and struck the buffalo three times between the horns, whereupon the buffalo sprang up and fled like the wind.

“But the magician followed after the buffalo, and when he approached the spot where he was, he heard the male Mangusch say to his female companion, ‘Yonder magician knew that I was in the stable; with his frightful swine’s head he struck me three blows—so that it was time for me to escape from him.’ And the Chan’s wife replied, ‘I too am so afraid, because of his great knowledge, that I would not willingly return; for, of a certainty, things will go badly with us. To-morrow he will gather together the men with weapons and arms, and will say unto the women, “Bring hither firing;” when this is done he will say, “Lead the buffalo hither.” And when thou appearest, he will say unto thee, “Put off the form thou hast assumed.” And because all resistance would be useless, the people perceiving thy true shape will fall upon thee with swords, and spears, and stones; and when they have put thee to death, they will consume thee with fire. At last the magician will cause me to be dragged forth and consumed with fire. Oh, but I am sore afraid!’

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“When the magician heard these words, he said to himself, ‘After this fashion may the thing be easily accomplished.’ Upon this he betook himself, with the swine’s head to the Chan, lifted up the baling, murmured his words of magic, and asked, ‘How is it now with the sickness of the Chan?’ And the Chan replied, ‘Upon the arrival of the master of magic the sickness passed away, and I have slept soundly.’ Then the magician spake as follows: ‘To-morrow, then, give this command to thy ministers, that they collect the whole of the people together, and that the women be desired to bring firing with them.’

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“When, in obedience to these directions, there were two lofty piles of fagots gathered together, the magician said, ‘Place my saddle upon the buffalo.’ Then the magician rode upon the saddled buffalo three times around the assembled people, then removed the saddle from the buffalo, smote it three times with the swine’s head, and said, ‘Put off the form thou hast assumed.’

“At these words the buffalo was transformed into a fearful ugly Mangusch. His eyes were bloodshot, his upper tusks descended to his breast, his bottom tusks reached up to his eyelashes, so that he was fearful to behold. When the people had hewed this Mangusch to pieces with sword and with arrow, with spear and with stone, and his body was consumed upon one of the piles of fagots, then said the magician, ‘Bring forth the wife of the Chan.’ And with loud cries did the wife of the Chan come forth, and the magician smote her with the swine’s head, and said, ‘Appear in thine own form!’ Immediately her long tusks and bloodshot eyes exhibited the terrific figure of a female Mangusch.

“After the wife of the Chan had been cut in pieces, and consumed by fire, the magician mounted his horse; but the people bowed themselves before him, and strewed grain over him, presented him with gifts, and regaled him so on every side, that he was only enabled to reach the palace of the Chan on the following morning. Then spake the Chan, full of joy, to the magician, ‘How can I reward you for the great deed that thou hast done?’ And the magician answered, ‘In our country there are but few nose-sticks for oxen to be found. Give me, I pray you, some of these nose-sticks.’ Thus spake he, and the Chan had him conducted home with three sacks of nose-sticks, and seven elephants bearing meat and butter.

“Near unto his dwelling his wife came with brandy to meet him; and when she beheld the elephants, she exclaimed, ‘Now, indeed, thou art become a mighty man.’ Then they betook themselves to their house, and at night-time the wife of the magician asked him, ‘How camest thou to be presented with such gifts?’ The magician replied, ‘I have cured the sickness of the Chan, and consumed with fire two Mangusch.’ At these words she replied, ‘Verily, thou hast behaved very foolishly. After such a beneficial act, to desire nothing but nose-sticks for cattle! To-morrow I myself will go to the Chan.’

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“On the morrow the wife drew near unto the Chan, and presented unto him a letter from the magician, and in this letter stood the following words:—‘Because the magician was aware that of the great evil of the Chan a lesser evil still remained behind, he desired of him the nose-sticks. What he is to receive as a reward depends upon the pleasure of the Chan.’

“‘He is right,’ replied the Chan, and he summoned the magician, with his father and mother, and all his relations before him, and received them with every demonstration of honour. ‘But for you I should have died; the kingdom would have been annihilated; the ministers and all the people consumed as the food of the Mangusch. I, therefore, will honour thee,’ and he bestowed upon him proofs of his favour.”

“Both man and wife were intelligent,” exclaimed the Son of the Chan.

“Ruler of Destiny,” replied Ssidi, “thou hast spoken words! Ssarwala missdood jakzang!” Thus spake he, and burst from the sack through the air.

Ssidi’s fourth relation treats of the Magician with the head of the Swine.

V. The History of Sunshine and his Brother

As the Chan’s Son was journeying along as before, laden with Ssidi, Ssidi inquired of him as formerly who should tell a tale. But the Son of the Chan shook his head without speaking a word, and Ssidi began as follows:—

“Many years ago Guchanasschang reigned over a certain happy land. This Chan had a wife and a son, whose name was Sunshine (Narrani Garral). Upon the death of his first wife the Chan married a second; and by her likewise he had a son, and the name of his second son was Moonshine (Ssarrani Garral). And when both these sons were grown up, the wife of the Chan thought to herself, ‘So long as Sunshine, the elder brother, lives, Moonshine, the younger, will never be Chan over this land.’

“Some time after this the wife of the Chan fell sick, and tossed and tumbled about on her bed from the seeming agony she endured. And the Chan inquired of her, ‘What can be done for you, my noble spouse?’ To these words the wife of the Chan replied, ‘Even at the time I dwelt with my parents I was subject to this sickness. But now it is become past bearing. I know, indeed, but one way of removing it; and that way is so impracticable, that there is nothing left for me but to die.’ Hereupon spake the Chan, ‘Tell unto me this way of help, and though it should cost me half my kingdom thou shalt have it. Tell me what thou requirest.’ Thus spake he, and his wife replied with the following words, ‘If the heart of one of the Chan’s sons were roasted in the fat of the Gunsa (a beast); but thou wilt not, of course, sacrifice Sunshine for this purpose; and I myself bare Moonshine, his heart I will not consume. So that there is now nothing left for me but to die.’ The Chan replied, ‘Of a surety Sunshine is my son, and inexpressibly dear unto me; but in order that I may not lose thee, I will to-morrow deliver him over to the Jargatschi’ (the servants of Justice).

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“Moonshine overheard these words and hastened to his brother, and said, ‘To-morrow they will murder thee.’ When he had related all the circumstances, the brother replied, ‘Since it is so, do you remain at home, honouring your father and mother. The time of my flight is come.’ Then said Moonshine with a troubled heart, ‘Alone I will not remain, but I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.’

“Because the following day was appointed for the murder, the two brothers took a sack with baling-cakes from the altar, crept out at night, for it was the night of the full moon, from the palace, and journeyed on day and night through the mountainous country, until they at length arrived at the course of a dried-up river. Because their provender was finished, and the river afforded no water, Moonshine fell to the earth utterly exhausted. Then spake the elder brother, full of affliction, ‘I will go and seek water; but do you watch an instant until I come down from the high places.’

“After some vain attempts Sunshine returned, and found that his brother had departed this life. After he had with great tenderness covered the body of his brother with stones, he wandered over high mountains, and then arrived at the entrance of a cave. Within the cave sat an aged Arschi. ‘Whence comest thou?’ inquired the old man, ‘thy countenance betokeneth deep affliction.’ And when the youth had related all that had passed, the old man, taking with him the means of awakening the dead, went with the youth to the grave, and called Moonshine back to life. ‘Will ye be unto me as sons?’ Thus spake the old man, and the two young men became as sons unto him.

“Not far from this place there reigned a mighty Chan of fearful power; and the time was approaching in this country when the fields were watered, but the crocodiles prevented this. The crocodiles frequented a marsh at the source of the river, and would not allow the water to stream forth until such times as a Son of the Tiger-year[2] had been offered to them as food. After a time it happened that when search had been made in vain for a Son of the Tiger-year, certain people drew nigh unto the Chan, and said, ‘Near unto the source of the river dwelleth the old Arschi, and with him a Son of the Tiger-year. Thither led we our cattle to drink, and we saw him.’

[2] Among the Calmucs every year has its peculiar name, and persons born in any year are called the children of that year.

“When he heard this, the Chan said, ‘Go and fetch him.’

“Accordingly the messengers were despatched for him, and when they arrived at the entrance of the cave, the Arschi himself came forth. ‘What is it that ye seek here?’ inquired the aged Arschi. ‘The Chan,’ replied they, ‘speaketh to thee thus: Thou hast a Son of the Tiger-year. My kingdom hath need of him: send him unto me.’ But the Arschi said, ‘Who could have told you so? who, indeed, would dwell with an old Arschi?’

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“Thus speaking he retired into his cave, closed the door after him, and concealed the youth in a stone chest, placed the lid on him, and cemented up the crevices with clay, as if it was from the distillation of arrack. But the messengers having broken down the door, thrust themselves into the cave, searched it, and then said, ‘Since he whom we sought is not here, we are determined that nothing shall be left in the cave.’ Thus speaking, they drew their swords; and the youth said, out of fear for the Arschi, ‘Hurt not my father; I am here.’

“And when the youth was come forth, the messengers took him with them; but the Arschi they left behind them weeping and sorrowing. When the youth entered into the palace of the Chan, the daughter of the Chan beheld him and loved him, and encircled his neck with her arms. But the attendants addressed the Chan, saying, ‘To-day is the day appointed for the casting of the Son of the Tiger-year into the waters.’ Upon this the Chan said, ‘Let him then be cast into the waters!’ But when they would have led him forth for that purpose, the daughter of the Chan spake and said, ‘Cast him not into the waters, or cast me into the waters with him.’

“And when the Chan heard these words, he was angered, and said, ‘Because this maiden careth so little for the welfare of the kingdom, over which I am Chan, let her be bound fast unto the Son of the Tiger-year, and let them be cast together into the waters.’ And the attendants said, ‘It shall be according as you have commanded.’

“And when the youth was bound fast, and with the maiden cast into the waters, he cried out, ‘Since I am the Son of the Tiger-year, it is certainly lawful for them to cast me into the waters; but why should this charming maiden die, who so loveth me?’ But the maiden said, ‘Since I am but an unworthy creature, it is certainly lawful for them to cast me into the waters; but wherefore do they cast in this beauteous youth?’

“Now the crocodiles heard these words, felt compassion, and placed the lovers once more upon the shore. And no sooner had this happened than the streams began to flow again. And when they were thus saved, the maiden said to the youth, ‘Come with me, I pray you, unto the palace?’ and he replied, ‘When I have sought out my father Arschi, then will I come, and we will live together unsevered as man and wife.’

“Accordingly the youth returned to the cave of the old Arschi, and knocked at the door. ‘I am thy son,’ said he. ‘My son,’ replied the old man, ‘has the Chan taken and slain; therefore it is that I sit here and weep.’ At these words the son replied, ‘Of a verity I am thy son. The Chan indeed bade them cast me into the waters; but because the crocodiles devoured me not, I am returned unto you. Weep not, O my father!’

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“Arschi then opened the door, but he had suffered his beard and the hair of his head to grow, so that he looked like a dead man. Sunshine washed him therefore with milk and with water, and aroused him by tender words from his great sorrow.

“Now when the maiden returned back again to the palace, the Chan and the whole people were exceedingly amazed. ‘The crocodiles,’ they exclaimed, ‘have, contrary to their wont, felt compassion for this maiden and spared her. This is indeed a very wonder.’ So the whole people passed around the maiden, bowing themselves down before her. But the Chan said, ‘That the maiden is returned is indeed very good. But the Son of the Tiger-year is assuredly devoured.’ At these words his daughter replied unto him, ‘The Son of the Tiger-year assuredly is not devoured. On account of his goodness his life was spared him.’

“And when she said this, all were more than ever surprised. ‘Arise!’ said the Chan to his ministers, ‘lead this youth hither.’ Agreeably to these commands, the ministers hastened to the cave of the aged Arschi. Both Arschi and the youth arose, and when they approached unto the dwelling of the Chan, the Chan said, ‘For the mighty benefits which this youth has conferred upon us, and upon our dominions, we feel ourselves bound to go forth to meet him.’

“Thus spake he, and he went forth to meet the youth, and led him into the interior of the palace, and placed him upon one of the seats appropriated to the nobles. ‘O thou most wondrous youth!’ he exclaimed, ‘art thou indeed the son of Arschi?’ The youth replied, ‘I am the Son of a Chan. But because my stepmother, out of the love she bare to her own son, sought to slay me, I fled, and, accompanied by my younger brother, arrived at the cave of the aged Arschi.’

“When the Son of the Chan related all this, the Chan loaded him with honours, and gave his daughters for wives unto the two brothers, and sent them, with many costly gifts and a good retinue, home to their own kingdom. Thither they went, drew nigh unto the palace, and wrote a letter as follows:—‘To the Chan their father, the two brothers are returned back again.’

“Now the father and mother had for many years bewailed the loss of both their sons, and their sorrows had rendered them so gloomy that they remained ever alone.

“On receipt of this letter they sent forth a large body of people to meet their children. But because the wife of the Chan saw both the youths approaching with costly gifts and a goodly retinue, so great was her envy that she died.”

“She was very justly served!” exclaimed the Son of the Chan.

“Ruler of Destiny, thou hast spoken words! Ssarwala missdood jonkzang.” Thus spake Ssidi, and burst from the sack through the air.

Thus Ssidi’s fifth relation treats of Sunshine and his brother.

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VI. The Wonderful Man who overcame the Chan

When the Son of the Chan had proceeded as formerly to seize the dead one, then spake he the threatening words, seized upon Ssidi, thrust him into the sack, tied the sack fast, ate of the butter-cakes, and journeyed forth with his burden. After Ssidi had as before asked who should tell the tale, and the Son of the Chan had replied by merely shaking his head, Ssidi began the following relation:—

“A long, long time ago there lived in the land of Barschiss, a wild, high-spirited man, who would not allow any one to be above him. Then spake the Chan of the kingdom to him, full of displeasure, ‘Away with thee, thou good-for-nothing one! Away with thee to some other kingdom!’ Thus spake he, and the wild man departed forth out of the country.

“On his journey he arrived about mid-day at a forest, where he found the body of a horse, which had been somehow killed, and he accordingly cut off its head, fastened it to his girdle, and climbed up a tree.

“About midnight there assembled a host of Tschadkurrs (evil spirits) mounted upon horses of bark, wearing likewise caps of bark, and they placed themselves around the tree. Afterwards there assembled together other Tschadkurrs, mounted upon horses of paper, and having caps of paper on their heads, and they likewise placed themselves around the tree.

“During the time that those who were assembled were partaking of various choice wines and liquors, the man peeped anxiously down from the tree, and as he was doing so, the horse’s head fell down from his belt. The Tschadkurrs were thereby exceedingly alarmed; so much that they fled hither and thither uttering fearful cries.

“On the following morning the man descended from the tree, and said, ‘This night there was in this spot many choice viands and liquors, and now they are all vanished.’ And while he was thus speaking, he found a brandy flask, and as he was anxious for something to drink, he immediately applied the flask which he had found to his lips; when suddenly there sprang out of it meat and cakes and other delicacies fit for eating. ‘This flask,’ cried he, ‘is of a surety a wishing flask, which will procure him who has it everything he desires. I will take the flask with me.’

“And when he had thus spoken, he continued his journey until he met with a man holding a sword in his hand. ‘Wherefore,’ cried he, ‘dost thou carry that sword in thine hand?’ And the man answered, ‘This sword is called Kreischwinger; and when I say to it, “Kreischwinger, thither goes a man who has taken such a thing from me, follow him and bring it back,” Kreischwinger goes forth, kills the man, and brings my property back again.’ To this the first replied, ‘Out of this vessel springeth everything you desire; let us exchange.’ So accordingly they made an exchange; and when the man went away with the flask, he who now owned the sword said, ‘Kreischwinger, go forth now and bring me back my flask.’ So the sword went forth, smote his former master dead, and brought the golden vessel back again.

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“When he had journeyed a little further, he met a man holding in his hand an iron hammer. ‘Wherefore,’ cried he, ‘dost thou hold this hammer in thy hand?’ To this question the other replied, ‘When I strike the earth nine times with this hammer, there immediately arises a wall of iron, nine pillars high.’ Then said the first, ‘Let us make an exchange.’ And when the exchange was made, he cried out, ‘Kreischwinger, go forth and bring me back my golden vessel!’

“After Kreischwinger had slain the man, and brought back the golden vessel, the man journeyed on until he encountered another man, carrying in his bosom a sack, made of goatskin, and he asked him, ‘Wherefore keepest thou that sack?’ To this question the other replied, ‘This sack is a very wonderful thing. When you shake it, it rains heavily; and if you shake it very hard, it rains very heavily.’ Hereupon the owner of the flask said, ‘Let us change,’ and they changed accordingly; and the sword went forth, slew the man, and returned back to its master with the golden vessel.

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“When the man found himself in the possession of all these wonderful things, he said unto himself, ‘The Chan of my country is indeed a cruel man; nevertheless I will turn back unto my native land.’ When he had thus considered, he turned back again, and concealed himself in the neighbourhood of the royal palace.

“About midnight he struck the earth nine times with his iron hammer, and there arose an iron wall nine pillars high.

“On the following morning the Chan arose, and said, ‘During the night I have heard a mighty tock, tock at the back of the palace.’ Thereupon the wife of the Chan looked out, and said, ‘At the back of the palace there stands an iron wall nine pillars high.’ Thus spake she; and the Chan replied, full of anger, ‘The wild, high-spirited man has of a surety erected this iron wall; but we shall see whether he or I will be the conqueror.’

“When he had spoken these words the Chan commanded all the people to take fuel and bellows, and make the iron wall red-hot on every side. Thereupon there was an immense fire kindled, and the Wonderful Man found himself, with his mother, within the wall of iron. He was himself upon the upper pillars, but his mother was on the eighth. And because the heat first reached the mother, she exclaimed unto her son, ‘The fires which the Chan has commanded the people to kindle will destroy the iron wall, and we shall both die.’ The son replied, ‘Have no fear, mother, for I can find means to prevent it.’

“When he had spoken these words he shook the sack of goatskin, and there descended heavy rain and extinguished the fire. After that he shook the sack still more forcibly, and there arose around them a mighty sea, which carried away both the fuel and the bellows which the people had collected.”

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“Thus, then, the Wonderful gained the mastery over the Chan,” exclaimed the Son of the Chan.

“Ruler of Destiny, thou hast spoken words! Ssarwala missdood jakzang!” Thus spake Ssidi, and burst from the sack through the air.

Thus Ssidi’s sixth relation treats of the Wonderful Man who overpowered the Chan.

VII. The Bird-man

When the Son of the Chan had done as formerly, spoken the threatening words, and carried off Ssidi, Ssidi asked him as before to tell a tale; but the Son of the Chan shook his head without speaking a word, and Ssidi began as follows:—

“In times gone by there lived in a fair country the father of a family, whose three daughters had daily by turns to watch over the calves. Now it once happened, during the time that the eldest sister should have been watching the calves, that she fell asleep, and one of them was lost. When the maiden awoke and missed the calf, she arose and went forth to seek it, and wandered about until she reached a large house with a red door.

“She went in, and then came to a golden door, next to that to a silver one, and last of all to a brazen door. After she had likewise opened this door she found, close to the entrance of it, a cage decorated with gold and all manner of costly jewels, and within it, on a perch, there stood a white bird.

“‘I have lost a calf,’ said the maiden, ‘and am come hither to seek it.’ At these words the bird said, ‘If thou wilt become my wife I will find the calf for you, but not without.’ But the maiden said, ‘That may not be; among men birds are looked upon but as wild creatures. Therefore I will not become your wife, even though, through refusing, I lose the calf for ever.’ And when she had thus spoken she returned home again.

“On the following day the second sister went forth to tend the calves, and she likewise lost one of them. And it happened unto her as it had done unto the eldest sister, and she too refused to become the wife of the bird.

“At last the youngest sister went forth with the calves, and when she missed one she too wandered on until she reached the house wherein the bird resided. The bird said unto her likewise, ‘If thou wilt become my wife, I will procure for thee the calf which thou hast lost.’ ‘Be it according to thy will.’ Thus spake she, and became the wife of the bird.

“After some time it happened that a mighty thirteen days’ feast was held at a large pagoda in the neighbourhood, and upon this occasion a number of persons assembled together, amongst the rest the wife of the bird. And she was the foremost among the women; but among the men the most noticed was an armed man, who rode upon a white horse three times round the assemblage. And all who saw him exclaimed, ‘He is the first.’

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“And when the woman returned home again the white bird demanded of her, ‘Who were the foremost among the men and the women who were there assembled together?’ Then said the woman, ‘The foremost among the men was seated upon a white horse, but I knew him not. The foremost of the women was myself.’

“And for eleven days did these things so fall out. But on the twelfth day, when the wife of the bird went to the assemblage, she sat herself down near an old woman. ‘Who,’ said the old woman, ‘is the first in the assemblage this day?’ To this question the wife of the bird replied, ‘Among the men, the rider upon the white horse is beyond all comparison the foremost. Among the women, I myself am so. Would that I were bound unto this man, for my husband is numbered among wild creatures since he is nothing but a bird.’

“Thus spake she, weeping, and the old woman replied as follows:—‘Speak ye no more words like unto these. Amongst the assembled women thou art in all things the foremost. But the rider upon the white horse is thine own husband. To-morrow is the thirteenth day of the feast. Come not to-morrow unto the feast, but remain at home behind the door until thine husband opens his birdhouse, takes his steed from the stable, and rides to the feast. Take ye, then, the open birdhouse and burn it. And when thou hast done this thy husband will remain henceforth and for ever in his true form.’

“The wife of the bird, thereupon, did as she had been told; and when the birdhouse was opened, and her husband had departed, she took the birdhouse and burnt it upon the hearth. When the sun bowed down towards the west the bird returned home, and said to his wife, ‘What, art thou already returned?’ and she said, ‘I am already returned.’ Then said her husband, ‘Where is my birdhouse?’ And the wife replied, ‘I have burnt it.’ And he said, ‘Barama, that is a pretty business—that birdhouse was my soul.’

“And his wife was troubled, and said, ‘What is now to be done?’ To these words the bird replied, ‘There is nothing can be done now, except you seat yourself behind the door, and there by day and night keep clattering a sword. But if the clattering sword ceases, the Tschadkurrs will carry me away. Seven days and seven nights must ye thus defend me from the Tschadkurrs and from the Tângâri.’

“At these words the wife took the sword, propped open her eyelids with little sticks, and watched for the space of six nights. On the seventh night her eyelids closed for an instant, but in that instant the Tschadkurrs and Tângâri suddenly snatched her husband away.

“Weeping bitterly, and despising all nourishment, the distracted wife ran about everywhere, crying unceasingly, ‘Alas, my bird-husband! Alas, my bird-husband!’

“When she had sought for him day and night without finding him, she heard from the top of a mountain the voice of her husband. Following the sound, she discovered that the voice proceeded from the river. She ran to the river, and then discovered her husband with a load of tattered boots upon his back. ‘Oh! my heart is greatly rejoiced,’ said the husband, ‘at seeing thee once more. I am forced to draw water for the Tschadkurrs and the Tângâri, and have worn out all these boots in doing so. If thou wishest to have me once again, build me a new birdhouse, and dedicate it to my soul; then I shall come back again.’

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“With these words he vanished into the air. But the woman betook herself home to the house again, made a new birdhouse, and dedicated it to the soul of her husband. At length the bird-man appeared and perched himself on the roof of the house.”

“Truly, his wife was an excellent wife!” exclaimed the Son of the Chan.

“Ruler of Destiny, thou hast spoken words! Ssarwala missdood jakzang!” Thus spake Ssidi, and burst from the sack through the air.

Thus Ssidi’s seventh relation treats of the Bird-man.

VIII. The Painter and the Wood-carver

When the Son of the Chan had, as on all the former occasions, spoken the words of threatening, placed the dead one in the sack, and journeyed forth with him, Ssidi spake this time also as follows:—“The day is long, and the distant journey will tire us: do you relate a tale unto me, or I will relate one unto you.” But the Son of the Chan shook his head without saying a word, and Ssidi began as follows:—

“Many years ago there lived in the land of Gujassmunn a Chan, whose name was Gunisschang. This Chan, however, died, and his son Chamuk Sakiktschi was elected Chan in his place. Now there lived among the people of that country a painter and a wood-carver, who bore similar names, and were evilly disposed towards each other.

“Once upon a time the painter, Gunga, drew nigh unto the Chan, and said unto him, ‘Thy father hath been borne into the kingdom of the Tângâri, and hath said unto me, “Come unto me!” Thither I went, and found thy father in great power and splendour; and I have brought for you this letter from him.’ With these words the painter delivered unto the Chan a forged letter, the contents of which were as follows:—

“‘This letter is addressed to my son Chamuk Sakiktschi.

“‘When I departed this life, I was borne to the kingdom of the Tângâri. An abundance of all things reigns in this land; but since I am desirous of erecting a pagoda, and there are no wood-carvers to be found here, do you despatch unto me Cunga, the wood-carver. The means by which he is to reach this place he may learn from the painter.’

“After he had perused this letter, the Chan of Gujassmunn said, ‘If my father has really been carried into the realms of the Tângâri, that would indeed be a good thing. Call hither the wood-carver.’ The wood-carver was called, and appeared before the Chan, and the Chan said unto him, ‘My father has been carried into the realms of the Tângâri. He is desirous of erecting a pagoda, and because there are no wood-carvers there he is desirous that you should be despatched unto him.’

“With these words the Chan displayed the forged letter, and when he had read it, the wood-carver said unto himself, ‘Of a surety Gunga, the painter, has played me this trick; but I will try if I cannot overreach him.’

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“Thus thinking, he inquired of the painter, ‘By what means can I reach the kingdom of the Tângâri?’

“To these words, the painter replied, ‘When thou hast prepared all thy tools and implements of trade, then place thyself upon a pile of fagots, and when thou hast sung songs of rejoicing and set light to the pile of fagots, thus wilt thou be able to reach the kingdom of the Tângâri.’ Thus spake he, and the seventh night from that time was appointed for the carver’s setting forth on his journey.

“When the wood-carver returned home unto his wife, he spake unto her these words:—‘The painter hath conceived wickedness in his mind against me; yet I shall try means to overreach him.’

“Accordingly he secretly contrived a subterranean passage, which reached from his own house into the middle of his field. Over the aperture in the field he placed a large stone, covered the stone with earth, and when the seventh night was come, the Chan said, ‘This night let the wood-carver draw nigh unto the Chan, my father.’ Thereupon, agreeably to the commands of the Chan, every one of the people brought out a handful of the fat of the Gunsa (a beast). A huge fire was kindled, and the wood-cutter, when he had sung the songs of rejoicing, escaped by the covered way he had made back to his own house.

“Meanwhile the painter was greatly rejoiced, and pointed upwards with his finger, and said, ‘There rideth the wood-carver up to heaven.’ All who had been present, too, betook themselves home, thinking in their hearts, ‘The wood-carver is dead, and gone up above to the Chan.’

“The wood-carver remained concealed at home a whole month, and allowed no man to set eyes upon him, but washed his head in milk every day, and kept himself always in the shade. After that he put on a garment of white silk, and wrote a letter, in which stood the following words:—

“‘This letter is addressed to my son Chamuk Sakiktschi. That thou rulest the kingdom in peace; it is very good. Since thy wood-carver has completed his work, it is needful that he should be rewarded according to his deserts. Since, moreover, for the decoration of the pagoda, many coloured paintings are necessary, send unto me the painter, as thou hast already sent this man.’

“The wood-carver then drew nigh unto the Chan with this letter. ‘What!’ cried the Chan, ‘art thou returned from the kingdom of the Tângâri?’ The wood-carver handed the letter unto him, and said, ‘I have, indeed, been in the kingdom of the Tângâri, and from it I am returned home again.’

“The Chan was greatly rejoiced when he heard this, and rewarded the wood-carver with costly presents. ‘Because the painter is now required,’ said the Chan, ‘for the painting of the pagoda, let him now be called before me.’

“The painter drew nigh accordingly, and when he saw the wood-carver, fair, and in white-shining robes, and decorated with gifts, he said unto himself, ‘Then he is not dead!’ And the Chan handed over to the painter the forged letter, with the seal thereto, and said, ‘Thou must go now.’

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“And when the seventh night from that time arrived, the people came forward as before with a contribution of the fat of the Gunsa; and in the midst of the field a pile of fagots was kindled. The painter seated himself in the midst of the fire, with his materials for painting, and a letter and gifts of honour for the Chan Gunisschang, and sang songs of rejoicing; and as the fire kept growing more and more intolerable, he lifted up his voice and uttered piercing cries; but the noise of the instruments overpowered his voice, and at length the fire consumed him.”

“He was properly rewarded!” exclaimed the Son of the Chan.

“Ruler of Destiny, thou hast spoken words! Ssarwala missdood jakzang!” Thus spake Ssidi, and burst from the sack through the air.

Thus Ssidi’s eighth relation treats of the Painter and the Wood-carver.

IX. The Stealing of the Heart

When the Son of the Chan was, as formerly, carrying Ssidi away in the sack, Ssidi inquired of him as before; but the Son of the Chan shook his head without speaking a word, so Ssidi proceeded as follows:—

“Many, many years ago there ruled over a certain kingdom a Chan named Guguluktschi. Upon the death of this Chan his son, who was of great reputation and worth, was elected Chan in his place.

“One berren (a measure of distance) from the residence of the Chan dwelt a man, who had a daughter of wonderful abilities and extraordinary beauty. The son of the Chan was enamoured of this maiden, and visited her daily; until, at length, he fell sick of a grievous malady, and died, without the maiden being made aware of it.

“One night, just as the moon was rising, the maiden heard a knocking at the door, and the face of the maiden was gladdened when she beheld the son of the Chan; and the maiden arose and went to meet him, and she led him in and placed arrack and cakes before him. ‘Wife,’ said the son of the Chan, ‘come with me!’

“The maiden followed, and they kept going further and further, until they arrived at the dwelling of the Chan, from which proceeded the sound of cymbals and kettledrums.

“‘Chan, what is this?’ she asked. The son of the Chan replied to these inquiries of the maiden, ‘Do you not know that they are now celebrating the feast of my funeral?’ Thus spake he; and the maiden replied, ‘The feast of thy funeral! Has anything then befallen the Chan’s son?’ And the son of the Chan replied, ‘He is departed. Thou wilt, however, bear a son unto him. And when the season is come, go into the stable of the elephant, and let him be born there. In the palace there will arise a contention betwixt my mother and her attendants, because of the wonderful stone of the kingdom. The wonderful stone lies under the table of sacrifice. After it has been discovered, do you and my mother reign over this kingdom until such time as my son comes of age.’

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“Thus spake he, and vanished into air. But his beloved fell, from very anguish, into a swoon. ‘Chan! Chan!’ exclaimed she sorrowfully, when she came to herself again. And because she felt that the time was come, she betook herself to the stable of the elephants, and there gave birth to a son.

“On the following morning, when the keeper of the elephants entered the stable, he exclaimed, ‘What! has a woman given birth to a son in the stable of the elephants? This never happened before. This may be an injury to the elephants.’

“At these words the maiden said, ‘Go unto the mother of the Chan, and say unto her, “Arise! something wonderful has taken place.”’

“When these words were told unto the mother of the Chan, then she arose and went unto the stable, and the maiden related unto her all that had happened, ‘Wonderful!’ said the mother of the Chan. ‘Otherwise the Chan had left no successors. Let us go together into the house.’

“Thus speaking, she took the maiden with her into the house, and nursed her, and tended her carefully. And because her account of the wonderful stone was found correct, all the rest of her story was believed. So the mother of the Chan and his wife ruled over the kingdom.

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“Henceforth, too, it happened that every month, on the night of the full moon, the deceased Chan appeared to his wife, remained with her until morning dawned, and then vanished into air. And the wife recounted this to his mother, but his mother believed her not, and said, ‘This is a mere invention. If it were true my son would, of a surety, show himself likewise unto me. If I am to believe your words, you must take care that mother and son meet one another.’

“When the son of the Chan came on the night of the full moon, his wife said unto him, ‘It is well that thou comest unto me on the night of every full moon, but it were yet better if thou camest every night.’ And as she spake thus, with tears in her eyes, the son of the Chan replied, ‘If thou hadst sufficient spirit to dare its accomplishment, thou mightest do what would bring me every night; but thou art young and cannot do it.’ ‘Then,’ said she, ‘if thou wilt but come every night, I will do all that is required of me, although I should thereby lose both flesh and bone.’

“Thereupon the son of the Chan spake as follows: ‘Then betake thyself on the night of the full moon a berren from this place to the iron old man, and give unto him arrack. A little further you will come unto two rams, to them you must offer batschimak cakes. A little further on you will perceive a host of men in coats of mail and other armour, and there you must share out meat and cakes. From thence you must proceed to a large black building, stained with blood; the skin of a man floats over it instead of a flag. Two aerliks (fiends) stand at the entrance. Present unto them both offerings of blood. Within the mansion thou wilt discover nine fearful exorcists, and nine hearts upon a throne. “Take me! take me!” will the eight old hearts exclaim; and the ninth heart will cry out, “Do not take me!” But leave the old hearts and take the fresh one, and run home with it without looking round.’

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“Much as the maiden was alarmed at the task which she had been enjoined to perform, she set forth on the night of the next full moon, divided the offerings, and entered the house. ‘Take me not!’ exclaimed the fresh heart; but the maiden seized the fresh heart and fled with it. The exorcists fled after her, and cried out to those who were watching, ‘Stop the thief of the heart!’ And the two aerlic (fiends) cried, ‘We have received offerings of blood!’ Then each of the armed men cried out, ‘Stop the thief!’ But the rams said, ‘We have received batschimak cakes.’ Then they called out to the iron old man, ‘Stop the thief with the heart!’ But the old man said, ‘I have received arrack from her, and shall not stop her.’

“Thereupon the maiden journeyed on without fear until she reached home; and she found upon entering the house the Chan’s son, attired in festive garments. And the Chan’s son drew nigh, and threw his arms about the neck of the maiden.”

“The maiden behaved well indeed!” exclaimed the Son of the Chan.

“Ruler of Destiny, thou hast spoken words! Ssarwala missdood jakzang.” Thus spake Ssidi, and burst from the sack through the air.

Thus Ssidi’s ninth relation treats of the Stealing of the Heart.

X. The Man and his Wife

When Ssidi had been captured as before, and was being carried away in the sack, he inquired, as he had always done, as to telling a tale; but the Son of the Chan shook his head without speaking a word. Whereupon Ssidi began the following relation:—

“Many, many years since, there lived in the kingdom of Olmilsong two brothers, and they were both married. Now the elder brother and his wife were niggardly and envious, while the younger brother was of quite a different disposition.

“Once upon a time the elder brother, who had contrived to gather together abundance of riches, gave a great feast, and invited many people to partake of it. When this was known, the younger thought to himself, ‘Although my elder brother has hitherto not treated me very well, yet he will now, no doubt, since he has invited so many people to his feast, invite also me and my wife.’ This he certainly expected, but yet he was not invited. ‘Probably,’ thought he, ‘my brother will summon me to-morrow morning to the brandy-drinking.’ Because, however, he was not even invited unto that, he grieved very sore, and said unto himself, ‘This night, when my brother’s wife has drunk the brandy, I will go unto the house and steal somewhat.’

“When, however, he had glided into the treasure-chamber of his brother, there lay the wife of his brother near her husband; but presently she arose and went into the kitchen, and cooked meat and sweet food, and went out of the door with it. The concealed one did not venture at this moment to steal anything, but said unto himself, ‘Before I steal anything, I will just see what all this means.’

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“So saying, he went forth and followed the woman to a mountain where the dead were wont to be laid. On the top, upon a green mound, lay a beautiful ornamental tomb over the body of a dead man. This man had formerly been the lover of the woman. Even when afar off she called unto the dead man by name, and when she had come unto him she threw her arms about his neck; and the younger brother was nigh unto her, and saw all that she did.

“The woman next handed the sweet food which she had prepared to the dead man, and because the teeth of the corse did not open, she separated them with a pair of brazen pincers, and pushed the food into his mouth. Suddenly the pincers bounced back from the teeth of the dead man, and snapped off the tip of the woman’s nose; while, at the same time, the teeth of the dead man closed together and bit off the end of the woman’s tongue. Upon this the woman took up the dish with the food and went back to her home.

“The younger brother thereupon followed her home, and concealed himself in the treasure-chamber, and the wife laid herself down again by her husband. Presently the man began to move, when the wife immediately cried out, ‘Woe is me! woe is me! was there ever such a man?’ And the man said, ‘What is the matter now?’ The wife replied, ‘The point of my tongue, and the tip of my nose, both these thou hast bitten off. What can a woman do without these two things? To-morrow the Chan shall be made acquainted with this conduct.’ Thus spake she, and the younger brother fled from the treasure-chamber without stealing anything.

“On the following morning the woman presented herself before the Chan, and addressed him, saying, ‘My husband has this night treated me shamefully. Whatsoever punishment may be awarded to him, I myself will see it inflicted.’

“But the husband persisted in asserting, ‘Of all this I know nothing!’ Because the complaint of the wife seemed well-founded, and the man could not exculpate himself, the Chan said, ‘Because of his evil deeds, let this man be burnt.’

“When the younger brother heard what had befallen the elder, he went to see him. And after the younger one had related to him all the affair, he betook himself unto the Chan, saying, ‘That the evildoer may be really discovered, let both the woman and her husband be summoned before you; I will clear up the mystery.’

“When they were both present, the younger brother related the wife’s visit to the dead man, and because the Chan would not give credence unto his story, he said: ‘In the mouth of the dead man you will find the end of the woman’s tongue; and the blood-soiled tip of her nose you will find in the pincers of brass. Send thither, and see if it be not so.’

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“Thus spake he, and people were sent to the place, and confirmed all that he had asserted. Upon this the Chan said, ‘Since the matter stands thus, let the woman be placed upon the pile of fagots and consumed with fire.’ And the woman was placed upon the pile of fagots and consumed with fire.”

“That served her right!” said the Son of the Chan.

“Ruler of Destiny, thou hast spoken words! Ssarwala missdood jakzang!” Thus spake Ssidi, and burst from the sack through the air.

Thus Ssidi’s tenth relation treats of the Man and his Wife.

XI. Of the Maiden Ssuwarandari

When the Son of the Chan was carrying off Ssidi, as formerly, Ssidi related the following tale:—

“A long while ago, there was in the very centre of a certain kingdom an old pagoda, in which stood the image of Choschim Bodissadoh (a Mongolian idol), formed of clay. Near unto this pagoda stood a small house, in which a beautiful maiden resided with her aged parents. But at the mouth of the river, which ran thereby, dwelt a poor man, who maintained himself by selling fruit, which he carried in an ark upon the river.

“Now it happened once, that as he was returning home he was benighted in the neighbourhood of the pagoda. He listened at the door of the house in which the two old people dwelt, and heard the old woman say unto her husband, ‘We are both grown exceedingly old; could we now but provide for our daughter, it would be well.’

“‘That we have lived so long happily together,’ said the old man, ‘we are indebted to the talisman of our daughter. Let us, however, offer up sacrifice to Bodissadoh, and inquire of him to what condition we shall dedicate our daughter—to the spiritual or to the worldly. To-morrow, at the earliest dawn, we will therefore lay our offering before the Burchan.’

“‘Now know I what to do,’ said the listener; so in the night-time he betook himself to the pagoda, made an opening in the back of the idol, and concealed himself therein. When on the following morning the two old people and the daughter drew nigh and made their offering, the father bowed himself to the earth and spake as follows:—

“‘Deified Bodissadoh! shall this maiden be devoted to a spiritual or worldly life? If she is to be devoted to a worldly life, vouchsafe to point out now or hereafter, in a dream or vision, to whom we shall give her to wife.’

“Then he who was concealed in the image exclaimed, ‘It is better that thy daughter be devoted to a worldly life. Therefore, give her to wife to the first man who presents himself at thy door in the morning.’

“The old people were greatly rejoiced when they heard these words; and they bowed themselves again and again down to the earth, and walked around the idol.

“On the following morning the man stepped out of the idol and knocked at the door of the aged couple. The old woman went out, and when she saw that it was a man, she turned back again, and said to her husband, ‘The words of the Burchan are fulfilled; the man has arrived.’

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“‘Give him entrance!’ said the old man. The man came in accordingly, and was welcomed with food and drink; and when they had told him all that the idol had said, he took the maiden with the talisman to wife.

“When he was wandering forth and drew nigh unto his dwelling, he thought unto himself, ‘I have with cunning obtained the daughter of the two old people. Now I will place the maiden in the ark, and conceal the ark in the sand.’

“So he concealed the ark, and went and said unto the people, ‘Though I have ever acted properly, still it has never availed me yet. I will therefore now seek to obtain liberal gifts through my prayers.’ Thus spake he, and after repeating the Zoka-prayers (part of the Calmuc ritual), he obtained food and gifts, and said, ‘To-morrow I will again wander around, repeat the appointed Zoka-prayers, and seek food again.’

“In the meanwhile it happened that the son of the Chan and two of his companions, with bows and arrows in their hands, who were following a tiger, passed by unnoticed, and arrived at the sand-heap of the maiden Ssuwarandari. ‘Let us shoot at that heap!’ cried they. Thus spake they, and shot accordingly, and lost their arrows in the sand. As they were looking after the arrows, they found the ark, opened it, and drew out the maiden with the talisman.

“‘Who art thou, maiden?’ inquired they. ‘I am the daughter of Lu.’ The Chan’s son said, ‘Come with me, and be my wife.’ And the maiden said, ‘I cannot go unless another is placed in the ark instead of me.’ So they all said, ‘Let us put in the tiger.’ And when the tiger was placed in the ark, the Chan’s son took away with him the maiden, and the talisman with her.

“In the meanwhile the beggar ended his prayers; and when he had done so, he thought unto himself, ‘If I take the talisman, slay the maiden, and sell the talisman, of a surety I shall become rich indeed.’ Thus thinking he drew nigh unto the sand-heap, drew forth the ark, carried it home with him, and said unto his wife, who he thought was within the ark, ‘I shall pass this night in repeating the Zoka-prayers.’ He threw off his upper garment. And when he had done so, he lifted off the cover of the ark, and said, ‘Maiden, be not alarmed!’ When he was thus speaking, he beheld the tiger.

“When some persons went into the chamber on the following morning, they found a tiger with his tusks and claws covered with blood, and the body of the beggar torn into pieces.

“And the wife of the Chan gave birth to three sons, and lived in the enjoyment of plenty of all things. But the ministers and the people murmured, and said, ‘It was not well of the Chan that he drew forth his wife out of the earth. Although the wife of the Chan has given birth to the sons of the Chan, still she is but a low-born creature.’ Thus spoke they, and the wife of the Chan received little joy therefrom. ‘I have borne three sons,’ said she, ‘and yet am noways regarded; I will therefore return home to my parents.’

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“She left the palace on the night of the full moon, and reached the neighbourhood of her parents at noontide. Where there had formerly been nothing to be seen she saw a multitude of workmen busily employed, and among them a man having authority, who prepared meat and drink for them. ‘Who art thou, maiden?’ inquired this man. ‘I come far from hence,’ replied the wife of the Chan; ‘but my parents formerly resided upon this mountain, and I have come hither to seek them.’

“At these words the young man said, ‘Thou art then their daughter?’ and he received for answer, ‘I am their daughter.’

“‘I am their son,’ said he. ‘I have been told that I had a sister older than myself. Art thou she? Sit thee down, partake of this meat and this drink, and we will then go together unto our parents.’

“When the wife of the Chan arrived at the summit of the mountain, she found in the place where the old pagoda stood a number of splendid buildings, with golden towers full of bells. And the hut of her parents was changed into a lordly mansion. ‘All this,’ said her brother, ‘belongs to us, since you took your departure. Our parents lived here in health and peace.’

“In the palace there were horses and mules, and costly furniture in abundance. The father and mother were seated on rich pillows of silk, and gave their daughter welcome, saying, ‘Thou art still well and happy. That thou hast returned home before we depart from this life is of a surety very good.’

“After various inquiries had been made on both sides, relative to what had transpired during the separation of the parties, the old parents said, ‘Let us make these things known unto the Chan and his ministers.’

“So the Chan and his ministers were loaded with presents, and three nights afterwards they were welcomed with meat and drink of the best. But the Chan said, ‘Ye have spoken falsely, the wife of the Chan had no parents.’ Now the Chan departed with his retinue, and his wife said, ‘I will stop one more night with my parents, and then I will return unto you.’

“On the following morning the wife of the Chan found herself on a hard bed, without pillows or coverlets. ‘What is this?’ exclaimed she; ‘was I not this night with my father and mother—and did I not retire to sleep on a bed of silk?’

“And when she rose up she beheld the ruined hut of her parents. Her father and mother were dead, and their bones mouldered; their heads lay upon a stone. Weeping loudly, she said unto herself, ‘I will now look after the pagoda.’ But she saw nothing but the ruins of the pagoda and of the Burchan. ‘A godly providence,’ exclaimed she, ‘has resuscitated my parents. Now since the Chan and the ministers will be pacified, I will return home again.’

“On her arrival in the kingdom of her husband, the ministers and the people came forth to meet her, and walked around her. ‘This wife of the Chan,’ cried they, ‘is descended from noble parents, has borne noble sons, and is herself welcome, pleasant, and charming.’ Thus speaking, they accompanied the wife of the Chan to the palace.”

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“Her merits must have been great.” Thus spake the Son of the Chan.

“Ruler of Destiny, thou hast spoken words! Ssarwala missdood jakzang!” Thus spake Ssidi, and burst from the sack through the air.

Thus Ssidi’s eleventh relation treats of the Maiden Ssuwarandari.

The Relations of Ssidi Kur – Arabic Folktales

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