Story type: Literature
In a country there were seven men, no two of whom belonged to the same family, or were of the same trade. One was a grain merchant’s son, one a baker’s, and so on; each had a different trade.
These seven men determined they would go to seek for service in another country. They said good-bye to their fathers and mothers, and set off.
They travelled every day, and walked through many jungles. At last, a long way from their homes, they came to a wide plain in the midst of a jungle, and on it they saw a goat which seemed to be a very good milch-goat. The seven men said to each other, “If this goat belonged to any one, it would not be left all alone in the jungle. Let us take it with us.” They did so, and no one they met asked them any questions about the goat.
In the evening they arrived at a village where they stayed for the night. They cooked and ate their dinners, and gave the goat grass and grain. At midnight, when they were all asleep, the goat became a great she-demon, with a great mouth, and swallowed one of the seven men. Then she became a goat again, and went back to the place where she had been stabled.
The men got up in the morning, and were very much surprised to find they were only six, not seven. “Where is the seventh gone?” they said. “Well, when he returns we will all go on together.” They sat waiting and waiting for him, till, as it was getting late and he had not come, they all thought they had better start without him. So they continued their journey, taking the goat with them. Before they went they said to the villagers, “If our seventh man comes back to you, send him after us.”
At evening they came to another village, where they stayed for the night. They cooked and ate their dinners, and gave grain and grass to the goat. At midnight, when they were fast asleep, the goat became a demon and swallowed another man, and then took her goat’s shape again.
In this way she ate five men. The two that were left were very sad at finding themselves alone. “We were seven men,” they said, “now we are but two.” The grain merchant’s son was one of the two, and he was very quick and sharp. He determined he would not say anything to his companion, but that he would watch by him that night, and find out, if he could, what had happened to his other friends. To keep himself awake he cut a piece out of his finger, and rubbed a little salt into the wound, so that when his companion went to sleep, he should not be able to sleep because of the pain. At midnight the goat came and turned into a huge demon. She went quickly up to the sleeping man to swallow him; but the merchant’s son rushed at her, beat her, and snatched his companion from her mouth. The demon turned instantly into a goat, and went back to the place where it had been stabled.
The two men next morning set out from the village where they had passed the night. They would have killed the goat had they been able. As they could not do so, they took it with them till they came to a plain in the jungle, where they tied it up to a tree, and left it. Then they continued their journey, and were very sorry they had not known how wicked the goat was before it had swallowed their five companions.
The goat meanwhile turned itself into a most beautiful young girl, dressed in grand clothes and rich jewels, and she sat down in the jungle and began to cry. Just then the king of another country was hunting in this jungle; and when he heard the noise of the crying, he called his servants and told them to go and see who was crying. The servants looked about until they saw the beautiful girl. They asked her a great many questions, but she only cried, and would not answer. The servants returned to the king, and told him it was a most beautiful young girl who was crying; but she would do nothing but cry, and would not speak.
The king left his hunting and went himself to the girl, and asked her why she cried. “My husband married me,” she said, “and was taking me to his home. He went to get some water to drink, and left me here. He has never come back, and I don’t know where he is; perhaps some tiger has killed him, and now I am all alone, and do not know where to go. This is why I cry.” The king was so delighted with her beauty, that he asked her to go with him. He sent his servants for a fine palanquin, and when it came he put the girl into it, and took her to his palace, and there she stayed.
At midnight she turned into a demon, and went to the place where the king’s sheep and goats were kept. She tore open all their stomachs, and ate all their hearts. Then she dipped seven knives in their blood, and laid the knives on the beds of the seven queens.
Next morning the king heard that all his sheep and goats were lying dead; and when his seven wives woke, they saw that their clothes were all bloody, and that bloody knives lay on their beds. They wondered who had done this wicked thing to them.
The next night at twelve o’clock the beautiful girl turned into a demon again, and went to the cow-house. There she tore open the cows and ate their hearts. Then she smeared the queens’ clothes, and laid knives dipped in blood on their beds; but she washed her own hands and clothes, so that no blood should show on them. For a long time the same thing happened every night, till she had eaten all the elephants, horses, camels,–every animal, indeed, belonging to the king. The king wondered very much at his animals all being killed in this way, and he could not understand either why every morning his wives’ clothes were bloody, and bloody knives found on their beds.
When she had eaten all the animals, the demon said to the king, “I am afraid your wives are very wicked women. They must have killed all your cows and sheep, goats, horses, elephants, and camels. I am afraid one day they will eat me up.” “I have been married to them for many years,” answered the king, “and anything like this has never happened before.” “I am very much afraid of them,” said the demon, who all this time looked a most beautiful girl. “I am very much afraid; but if you cut out their eyes, then they cannot kill me.”
The king called his servants and said to them, “Get ready seven palanquins, and carry my seven wives into the jungle. There you must leave them; only first take out their eyes, which you must bring to me.” The servants took the queens to a jungle a long way from the king’s country. There they took out their eyes, and left them, and brought the eyes to the king, who gave them into the demon’s hands. She pounded them to bits with a stone, and threw the bits away.
The seven queens in the jungle did not know which way to go; so they walked straight on, and fell into a dry well which lay just before them. In this well they stayed; and the day when they thought they must die of hunger and thirst was drawing near. But before it came the eldest queen had a little son. She and the five next wives were so hungry, that they agreed to kill the child, and divide it into seven pieces. They each ate a piece, and gave one to the seventh and youngest wife. She said nothing, and hid the piece. These five wives each had a son one after the other, and they killed and divided their children as the eldest wife had done with hers. But the youngest wife hid all the six pieces that were given her, and would eat none. Her son was born last of all. Then the six eldest wives said, “Let us kill and divide your child.” “No,” she said, “I will never kill or divide my boy; I would rather die of hunger. Here are the six pieces you gave me. I would not eat them. Take them and eat them, but you must not touch my son.” God was so pleased with her for not killing her child, that he made the boy grow bigger and bigger every day; and the little queen was very happy.
They all lived in the dry well without any food till the little prince was five years old. By that time he was very quick and clever. One day he said to his mother, “Why have we lived all this while in the well?” His mother and all the other wives told him about the wicked demon who lived in his father’s palace, and how the king believed her to be a beautiful girl and had married her, and of all the evil things that she had done to them, and how she had made the king send them to the jungle and have their eyes cut out and given to her, and how from not being able to see they had fallen into this well, and how they had eaten all his brothers, because they were so very hungry they thought they should die–all but his mother at least, for she would not eat the other wives’ children and would not kill her own little son. “Let me climb out of this well,” said the boy, who determined in his heart that he would kill this wicked demon one day. His mother said, “No, stay here; you are too young to leave the well.”
The boy did not listen to her, but scrambled out. Then he saw they were in a wide plain in the jungle. He ran after a few birds, caught and killed them. Then he roasted the birds and brought them with some water to his seven mothers in the well. When they had eaten them and drunk the water, they were happy and worshipped God. The six mothers who had eaten their children were full of sorrow, and said, “If our six sons were now living, how good it would be for us: how happy we should be.” The young prince went out hunting for little birds every day, and in the evening he cooked those he caught and brought them, with water, to his mothers.
Now the demon, because she was a demon and was therefore wiser than men and women, knew that the seven queens lived in the well, and that the son of the youngest queen was still alive. She determined to kill him; so she pretended her eyes hurt her, and began crying, and making a great to-do. The king asked her, “What is the matter?” “See, king, see my eyes,” she said. “They ache and hurt me so much.” “What medicine will make them well again?” said the king. “If I could only bathe them with a tigress’s milk, they would be well,” she answered.
The king called two of his servants and said to them, “Can either of you get me a tigress’s milk? Here are two thousand rupees for whichever of you brings me the milk.” Then he gave them the rupees, and told them to get it at once.
The servants took the rupees, and said nothing to the king, but they said to each other, “How can we get a tigress’s milk?” And they were very sad. They left the king’s country, and wandered on till they came to the jungle-plain, where lived the young prince and his mothers. There they saw him sitting by a dry well and roasting birds. “Do you live in this jungle?” they said to him. “Yes,” answered the boy. Then the servants talked together. “See,” they said, “this boy lives in the jungle, so he will surely be able to get us the milk. Let us tell him to get it, and give him the two thousand rupees.”
So they came back to the boy, who asked them where they were going. “Our queen is very ill with pain in her eyes, and our king has sent us for some tigress’s milk for her to bathe them with, that they may get well. He has given us two thousand rupees, for whichever of us to keep who gets the milk. But we do not know where or how to get it.”
“Good,” said the boy; “give me the two thousand rupees and I will get it for you. Come here for it in a week’s time.”
The king’s servants were very much pleased at not having to try and get it themselves, so they gave him the rupees and went home. The demon knew quite well when she asked for the milk that none of the king’s servants would dare to go for it, but that his son would be brave enough to go. This is why she asked for it, for she meant the tigers to kill him.
The little prince now took his seven mothers out of the well, and they all went together to his father’s country. There he got a small house for them, and good clothes and food. He got a servant, too, for them, to cook their dinner and take care of them. “Be very tender to them,” he said to the servant, “for they cannot see.” For himself he bought a little horse, and good clothes, and a gun, and a sword. Then he made his mothers many salaams, and told them he was going to get a tigress’s milk. They all cried and begged him not to go.
But he set off and rode for three or four days through the jungles. Then he came to a large jungle which was in a great blaze, and two tiger-cubs were running about in the jungle trying to get out of the fire. He jumped off his horse, and took them in his hands; then he mounted his horse again and rode out of the jungle. He rode on till he came to another which was not on fire. He let the cubs loose in it that they might run away; but they placed themselves in front of his horse, and said, “We will not let you go till you have seen our father and mother.”
Meanwhile the tiger and tigress saw the boy coming with their cubs, and they came running to meet them. Till then they had thought their cubs were burned in the jungle-fire. Now they knew at once this boy had saved them. The cubs said to their father and mother, “We should have died had it not been for this boy. Give him food; and when he has eaten some food, we will drink milk.” The tigers were very happy at having their children safe. They went to a garden and got food and good water for the boy, who ate and drank. Then the little cubs drank their mother’s milk.
The tiger said to the prince, “You are such a little child, how is it your mother let you come alone to this jungle?”
“My mother’s eyes are sore and pain her; and the doctor says that if she bathes them in a tigress’s milk they will get well. So I came to see if I could get a little for her.”
“I will give you some,” said the tigress, and she gave him a little jar full of her milk. The cubs said, “One of us will go with you, and the other will stay with our father and mother.” “No,” said the little prince, “do you both stay with your father and mother. I will not take either of you away. What should I do with you?” “No,” said one of the cubs; “I will go with you. I will do all you tell me. Wherever you bid me stay, there I will stay; and I will eat any food you give me.” “Take him with you,” said the old tiger; “one day you will find him of use.” So the boy took the cub and the milk, and made his salaam to the old tigers and went home. His mothers were delighted at his return, though, as they had no eyes, they could not see him.
He tied up the tiger’s cub and fed him. Then he took a little of the milk, and went to the dry well in the jungle and sat down by it. The king’s servants came when the week had passed, and the boy gave them the milk. The servants took it to the king, who gave it to the demon. She was very angry when she found the tigers had not eaten the boy; but she bathed her eyes with the milk, and said nothing.
At the end of another week she would not eat or drink, and did nothing but cry. “What is the matter?” said the king. “See how my eyes pain me,” she answered. “If I could only get an eagle’s feather to lay on them they would be well. Oh, how they hurt me!”
The king called his servants and gave them four thousand rupees. “Go and get me an eagle’s feather,” he said, “and he who gets it is to take the four thousand rupees.” “Let us go to the jungle well,” they said, “and find the boy who got us the tigress’s milk. We could never get an eagle’s feather, but this child certainly can get one for us.”
So they went to the well where they found the boy. The little prince was very wise, though he was such a little child; and he knew the demon would try to send him on some other errand that she might get rid of him. He was quite willing to go on her errands, for he thought he might thus learn how to kill her. He was not a bit afraid of being killed himself, for he knew that God loved him, and that no one but God could kill him.
He at once asked the king’s servants, “What do you want now?” “Our king has sent us for an eagle’s feather to lay on the queen’s eyes, which pain her again. Here are four thousand rupees for you if you will get it for us.” “Give me the rupees,” said the king’s son. “Come here in two weeks, and I will give you the feather.”
He took the rupees to his mothers, and told them he was going to fetch an eagle’s feather. “Where will you find one?” they said. “I don’t know,” he answered, “but I am going to look for one.” He hired some more servants, and told them to take care of his mothers and the tiger-cub.
He rode straight on for two or three days, and at last came to a very dense jungle, through which he rode for another three or four days. When he got out of it he found himself on a beautiful smooth plain in which was a tank. There, too, was a large fig-tree, and under the tree cool shade, and cool, thick grass. He was very much pleased when he saw the tank and the tree. He got off his horse, bathed in the tank, and sat down under the fig-tree, thinking, “Here I will sleep a little while before I go further.”
While he lay asleep in the grass, a great snake crawled up the tree, at the top of which were two young eagles. They began screaming very loud. Their cries awakened the little prince. He looked about and saw the great snake in the tree. Then he took his gun and fired at it, and the snake fell dead to the ground. He cut it into five pieces, and hid them in the long grass. Then he lay down again and went to sleep.
The baby eagles were alone in the tree, as their father and mother had gone to another country. But now the old birds came home, and found the king’s son sleeping in the grass. “See,” they said, “here is the thief who every year robs us of our children! But now he cannot get away. We will kill him.” However, they thought it better to go and look first at their children, to see if they were safe or not. They flew up to the top of the tree, and when they found their children safe, they wished to give them food. All the time they kept saying, “Eat; then we will kill the thief who steals away our children every year.” The young eagles thought, “Oh, if God would only give us the power to speak, then we would tell our father and mother that this boy is no thief.” Then God gave them the power to speak, and they said to the old eagles, “Listen; if that boy had not been here, we should have died, for he killed a huge snake that was going to swallow us: only go and look, and you will see it dead and cut into pieces.” And the eaglets refused to eat till the boy had been fed.
The big eagles flew down and found the bits of the snake: so they flew away to a beautiful garden, where they got delicious fruits and water. These they brought to the boy, and awoke him and fed him. Then they said to him, “It is indeed good to find our children alive. Hitherto our children have always been eaten by that snake. How are your father and mother? Why did they let you come to this jungle? What have you come here for?” The little prince said, “My mother’s eyes are very sore; but they would be cured if she could have an eagle’s feather to lay on them. So I came to look for one.” Then the mother gave him one of her feathers.
When the boy was going home, the eaglets said they would go with him. “No,” he said, “I will not take you with me.” But the old birds said, “Take one of them, it will help you one day.” The little prince made his salaam to the big eagles, and took one of their young ones, mounted his horse, and rode off. The eaglet flew over his head to shade him from the sun.
When he got home to his seven mothers, he took the feather and went and sat by the dry well. The king’s servants came there to him, and he gave them the feather, and said, “Take it to your king.” This they did, and the king gave it to the demon, who flew into a great rage. She said to herself, “The tigers did not kill him, and now the eagles have not killed him.”
At the end of two weeks she began to cry and would not eat. The king asked her, “What is the matter with you? what has happened to you?” “My eyes pain me so much,” she said. “What will cure them?” said the king. “If I had only some night-growing rice,” she said, “I would boil it, and make rice-water, which I would drink. Then I should get well.” Now this night-growing rice was a wonderful rice that no men, and only one demon, possessed. This was the demon-queen’s brother. He used to put a grain of this rice into his huge cavern of a mouth at night when he went to sleep, and when he woke in the morning this grain would have become a tree. Then the demon used to take the rice-tree out of his mouth.
The demon, who seemed such a lovely girl, now wrote a letter to her brother, in which she said, “The bearer of this letter goes to you for some night-growing rice. You must kill him at once; you must not let him live.” The king gave this letter to his servants, with six thousand rupees. “Take this letter,” he said, “and fetch some of the night-growing rice. Here are six thousand rupees for whichever of you finds it.” The king had no idea that it was not these men who had gone for the tigress’s milk and the eagle’s feather.
The servants said, “Let us go to the well, to the boy who has helped us before. We don’t know where to get this night-growing rice, but that boy is sure to know.”
The boy was sitting by the well, and asked what they wanted. They answered, “See, the king has given us six thousand rupees and a letter, and told us to fetch him some night-growing rice.” “Very good,” said the king’s son. “Come here in three weeks’ time, and I will give you some.” The servants gave him the rupees and returned home.
He took the rupees to his mothers, and told them he was going on a fresh errand, and they were to keep the money. Then he made them salaams, took his letter, and rode off. The eaglet went too, and flew above his head. The tiger’s cub he left at home.
He rode on and on through a very large jungle, and he rode a long, long way: at last in a jungle he saw a fakír, who was living in it. He made him salaams, and the fakír was delighted to see him, “because,” he said, “for many years I have been in this country, and all that time have never seen any man.” The prince sat down by the fakír, and the fakír was very much pleased. He asked the boy who had sent him to the jungle, and why he had come to it. “My mother has sore eyes,” he answered, “and wants some night-growing rice. She has given me a letter to the man who owns it.”
The fakír took and read the letter, and was very sorry. He tore it up and threw it away. Then he wrote another, in which he said, “Your sister is very ill, and her son has come for some night-growing rice for her.” This he gave to the boy, and told him to continue his journey. He also told him that the man who had the rice was a huge demon, and that he lived in the country by the great sea. Then he told him the way.
The boy rode on and on, and after a week’s journeying he came to the demon’s country. There he saw the huge demon sitting on the ground, with his great, big mouth, that was just like a cavern. As soon as the demon saw him he stood up and said, “It is many days since a man came here. Now I will eat this one.” He went towards the prince to seize him, and a great rushing wind came blowing from the demon, as it always did when he was angry. But the boy, who had begun to walk towards him when he stood up, threw the letter to him with all his might, so that it fell on him; at the same time he made many salaams. The demon read the letter, and found his sister was very ill, and this was her son; so he stopped the wind, and came up to the boy, who he thought was his sister’s son. “You have come for the rice for my sister who is ill,” he said to him; “you shall have it.”
The demon had a splendid house full of beautiful things, and a great many servants. He took the little prince home with him, and told his servants to get water ready and gave the child a bath. They were also to cook a good dinner for him. Then the demon showed the boy all his gardens, and all his beautiful things, and took him through all the rooms of his house. One room he did not show to the prince. He told him he was never to go into it, though he might go everywhere else that he liked. In this room lived the demon’s daughter, who was very beautiful, just like a fairy. She was ten years old. Every day before her father went out, he used to make the girl lie on her bed, and cover her with a sheet, and he placed a thick stick at her head, and another at her feet; then she died till he came home in the evening and changed the sticks, putting the one at her head at her feet, and the one at her feet at her head. This brought her to life again.
The next day, when the demon had gone out, the boy went to this room, and opened the door, for he wanted to see what was in it. He went in, and saw the beautiful girl lying on the bed. “How lovely she is!” he said; “but she is dead.” Then he saw the sticks, and, to amuse himself, he put the one at her head at her feet, and the one at her feet at her head, just as the demon did every evening. The girl at once came to life, and opened her eyes and got up. “Who is this?” she said to herself, when she saw the king’s son. “This is not my father.” She asked him, “Who are you? Why do you come here? If my father sees you he will eat you.” “No, he won’t,” said the prince, “for I am your aunt’s son, and your father himself brought me to his house. But why is it that you are dead all day, and alive all night?” The girl had told him that her father brought her to life every evening, and made her dead every morning. “Such is my father’s pleasure,” she answered.
So they talked together all day, and he said to her, “Suppose one day your father made you dead as usual, and that he was killed before he had brought you to life, what would you do? You would always be dead then.” “Listen,” she said; “no one can kill my father.” “Why not?” said the boy. “Listen,” she answered; “on the other side of the sea there is a great tree, in that tree is a nest, in the nest is a mainá. If any one kills that mainá, then only will my father die. And if, when the mainá is killed, its blood falls to the ground, a hundred demons would be born from the blood. This is why my father cannot be killed.”
At evening, before the demon came home, the prince made the girl dead. Then he went softly into another room.
The fakír had said to the boy, when they were in the jungle together, “If ever you are in trouble, come to me and I will help you. It will take you now one week to ride to the demon’s country; but if ever you need me, you shall be able to come to me here in this jungle, and to return to the demon’s house in one day.” The fakír was such a holy man that everything he said should happen did happen. So now the prince determined he would go to the fakír and ask him what he should do to kill this mainá. In the morning, therefore, as soon as the demon had gone out, he set off for the fakír’s jungle, and, thanks to the holy man’s power, he got there very quickly. He told him everything, and the fakír made a paper boat which he gave him. “This boat will take you over the sea,” he said to the prince. “This paper boat!” said the boy. “How can a paper boat go over the sea? It will get soaked and sink.” “No, it will not,” said the fakír. “Launch it on the sea, and get into it. The boat will of itself carry you to the tree where the mainá’s nest is.”
The prince took the boat, and went back to the demon’s house. He got there before the demon came home, so that he did not know the boy had been to the fakír. When the demon returned that evening, the king’s son said, “To-morrow I will go home, as my mother is very ill. Will you give me the rice?” “Good,” said the demon, “you shall have it to-morrow.” Next morning he gave the rice, and went off to the jungle.
Then the boy took his paper boat down to the sea, launched it, and got into it; and of itself the boat went straight over the sea to the opposite shore. The eaglet flew above his head; but he left his horse on land. When he got to the other side, he saw the great tree, with the nest and the mainá. He climbed the tree, and took down the nest, and the demon, who was far away, knew it at once, and said to himself, “Some one has come to catch and kill me.” He set out at once for the tree. The prince saw him coming, so he wrapped the mainá up in his handkerchief, that no blood should fall to the ground. Then he broke off one of its legs, and one of the demon’s legs fell off. Still the demon came on. Then he broke off the other leg, but the demon walked on his hands. The boy saw him coming nearer and nearer, so he wrung the bird’s head off, and the demon fell dead.
The prince jumped into his paper boat, and of itself the boat went straight back to the other shore, to the demon’s country. Then he went up to the demon’s house, and made his daughter alive.
She was frightened, and said to him, “Oh, take care. If my father comes back, and finds us together, he will eat us both.” “He will not come back,” said the prince. “I have killed him.”
Then he dressed her in boy’s clothes, that no one might know she was a girl, and he found a horse, and had it made ready for her. Her father had collected a quantity of rupees. Some of these the prince gave to the servants as a present, and said to them, “Stay here and be happy; do not be afraid, for there is no demon now to come and eat you.”
Then he took the rice and mounted his horse, and made the girl mount also, and went off to the fakír. The paper boat he left, as he did not want it any more. He and the demon’s daughter made the fakír many salaams, and they stayed with him for a day before they rode to the prince’s country. Here they went to his seven mothers, who were very, very glad to see them, and thanked God that their son had come back safe.
He took a little of the rice, and went and sat by the well till the king’s two servants came. Then he gave them the rice for their king, and the king gave it to the demon. She said nothing while the king was with her; but when she was alone she cried, for she knew the boy must have killed her brother, as he had brought her the rice.
She waited a week, and then she began to cry again, and would not eat. The king was very sorry, and thought, “What can I do to make her well and happy?” Then he said, “What will cure your eyes?” “See, king,” she answered, “if I could only bathe my eyes with water from the Glittering Well, they would not pain me any more.” This well was in the fairies’ country, and was guarded by the demon’s sister, whose name was Jangkatar. She lived in the well; and when any one came to draw water from it, she used to drag him down and eat him.
The king called his servants, gave them eight thousand rupees, and said, “Go and fetch me water from the Glittering Well.” The servants went at once to the dry well in the jungle. There they found the prince, who asked them what they wanted. “Here are eight thousand rupees,” they said; “and the king has ordered us to bring him water from the Glittering Well.” “Come in three weeks, and I will give it to you,” said the king’s son. He took to his mothers the eight thousand rupees which the servants had given him, and said to them, “Take care of these rupees, for I am going away for a little while.” Then he got his horse ready and mounted it, and made many salaams to his mothers. The tiger-cub said to him, “Take me with you this time. Last time you only took the eagle. Now we will both go with you.”
So he rode off; and the eaglet flew above his head and the young tiger ran by his side. It took him a week to get to the fairies’ country, and then he came to a beautiful smooth plain, in which was a garden, but no house. In the middle of this garden was the Glittering Well. It was a deep well, and the water sprang up out of it like a fountain, and then fell back into the well, and the water shone and sparkled as if it were gold, and silver, and diamonds. This is why it was called the Glittering Well.
The prince dipped his jar in the well, and Jangkatar put up her hand and caught him. She dragged him into the water and swallowed him whole. Then the young eagle flew down into the well, seized Jangkatar in his talons, and took her out and threw her on the ground. The tiger-cub rushed at her instantly, tore her open, and pulled the king’s son out of her. But he was half dead. The cub and the eaglet lay down on him to warm him, and when they had warmed him, he was better.
“We have saved you,” they said to him. “But for us you would have died.” The young prince thanked them and caressed them. “It is quite true,” he said; “without you I should have died.” Then he filled his jar with water, and mounted his horse and rode home. He made salaams to his seven mothers, with whom all this time the demon’s daughter had stayed. He bathed his mothers’ eyes with the water from the Glittering Well, and then they saw perfectly once more.
He took a little of the water, and went to wait for the king’s servants by the dry jungle well, and he was very happy thinking that now his mothers could see. He gave the water to the king’s servants, who took it to the king, and the king gave it to his demon-wife, and she was very sad and angry, for she knew the boy must have killed her sister, the guardian of the Glittering Well.
When a whole month had passed, and he had not been sent on any more errands, the king’s son said to himself, “Good; now nothing more is going to happen to me. I am not to be sent anywhere else.” So he bought a fine horse and grand clothes, and rode to the king’s court-house. He went in, and seated himself at the king’s right hand; but he made no salaam to the king, and spoke to no one. This he did every day for three days. Everybody was wondering who this boy was, and why he never made any salaam to the king.
On the fourth day, as he sat at the king’s right hand, the king asked him, “Whose child are you? Where do you come from? Where are you going?” The young prince answered, “See, king, I am a merchant’s son; my ship has been wrecked, and I want to find service with some one.” “What can you do?” asked the king. “I don’t know any trade,” said his son; “but I can tell you a story.” “What wages do you want?” said the king. “One thousand rupees a day,” answered the boy. “I shall only stay a short time in your country.” “Good,” said the king; “I will give you one thousand rupees a day, and a servant to wait on you besides. So come every day to my court-house, and tell me your story.”
The prince told the king his own story. He began from where the king found the beautiful demon-girl crying in the jungle, and ended it where his demon-wife cried and cried for her sister Jangkatar. It took him three weeks to tell the story; and when he had finished it, the king knew that he himself was the king in the story, and that this boy was his own son. “How can I find my seven queens again?” he said. “If you will kill this wicked demon-woman they will come back to you,” said his son. The king was very sad, and thought, “My seven wives and my boy must have suffered very much.” Then he loved his son, and was very happy that he had found him. He ordered his servants to dig a deep pit in the jungle, so deep that should his demon-wife take her demon form when put into it, only her head would be above it. He thought that if her body were buried in the ground she would not be able to do them much harm while they were shooting her. Then he, and his son, and his servants took their guns and bows and arrows, and took the demon with them to the deep pit. She went quite quietly, though she knew they were going to kill her. Since Jangkatar’s death she had been very quiet and sad. And now she thought, “That boy will most certainly kill me as he has killed my sister and brother. He is stronger than I am. I have no one else to send him to; and if I had, he could not be killed. What is the use of my trying to save myself?” So she went along quite quietly, looking like a beautiful girl. She let them put her into the pit, and shoot her to death with their guns and bows and arrows. Then they filled the pit up with earth.
The king went to his seven wives, and begged them to forgive him. He brought them, his son, and the demon’s daughter home to his palace. Later the king married his son to the demon’s daughter, and every one was glad.
But the king grieved that his six other sons were dead.
Told by Múniyá.
FAIRY TALE TRANSLATED BY MAIVE STOKES.
WITH NOTES BY MARY STOKES
THE DEMON IS AT LAST CONQUERED BY THE KING’S SON.
1. The leading idea of this story is the same as that in “Brave Hírálálbásá.”
2. With this demon as a goat, compare the Rakshas in the Pig’s Head Soothsayer in Sagas from the Far East, p. 63, and the Rakshas in a Bengáli story printed by Mr. G. H. Damant in the Indian Antiquary, 7th June, 1872, p. 120. This last story opens with seven labourers, brothers, six of whom go down to the water to drink and never return. The seventh goes to see what has happened to them, and finds, instead of his brothers, a goat which is really a Rakshas. This goat then turns into a beautiful woman who marries the king, first making him give into her hands the eyes of his queen, who is sent blind into the forest, where she bears a little son. The Rakshas wife learns this, and when the boy later takes service with the king she sends him three times to her people in Ceylon, with orders to them to kill him. He has to bring her foam from the sea, a wonderful rice which is sown, ripens, and can be boiled in one day, and a singular cow. With the help of a Sannyásí (a Bráhman of the fourth order, a religious mendicant), he does these errands safely. The Rakshases in Ceylon receive him as their sister’s son, show him his own mother’s eyes and the clay with which they can be set again in any human sockets, a lemon which contains the life of the tribe, and a bird in which is that of the Rakshas-queen. The boy cuts up the lemon, and thereby kills them all, carries her eyes to his mother, and kills the Rakshas-queen by killing the bird. In this story, as in “Brave Hírálálbásá,” the Rakshas-queen takes her own fearful form on seeing her danger.
3. The Bargat, fig-tree, is the Ficus Bengalensis of Linnæus.
4. Múniyá sends her hero for a Garpank’s feather; Garpank I can find in no dictionary, but have ventured to translate it by eagle, as she says it is like a kite, only very much bigger; she sent us to see a statue of a garpank that stood over a gateway in a street in Calcutta, which might be that of an eagle or of a huge hawk. She said such birds did not exist in Bengal, and that it was not the Garuḍa (the sovran of the feathered race and vehicle of Vishṇu, Benfey). Gubernatis, in the 2nd volume of his Zoological Mythology, p. 189, tells a story from Monferrat where a king is blind, and can only be cured by “bathing his eyes in oil with a feather” of a griffin that lives on a high mountain. His third and youngest son catches and brings him one of the griffins and the king regains his sight.
5. Winning the gratitude of a bird by killing the snake or dragon that year after year devours its young birds is such a common incident in fairy tales, that I will only mention two instances. One occurs in a Dinájpur tale published by Mr. G. H. Damant in the Indian Antiquary for 5th April, 1872, p. 145, where the hero saves the young birds from the snake. They tell the old birds. He lies under the tree and listens to the old birds relating how he will find the tree with the silver stem and golden branches he has come to seek. The other occurs at pp. 119, 110, of a story collected by Vogl ( Volksmaerchen [Slavonic], p. 79) called Schön-Jela. In this tale the hero is sheltered in the dreadful underground wilderness by a hermit. Here there is the gigantic bird, Einja, who every third year has a brood of four young birds which a dragon as regularly devours. The hero, Prince Milan, watches by the nest for the dragon and kills him. The young birds, overjoyed, fly out of the nest and cover the hero with their wings till the old bird on her return asks who has saved them. Then they unfold their wings and she sees Prince Milan. In return she carries him to the upper world.
6. The word translated “night-growing rice” is Rát-vashá-ke-dhán; and the ayah’s description of this rice is given in the story. In this description she spoke of it as cháwal, the common word for uncooked rice, and said the Rakshas wished to drink its kánjí-pání (rice-water). As it is a fairy plant I am afraid it is hopeless trying to find its botanical name. Unluckily, Dr. George King says vashá is not rice at all. This is what he wrote to me on the subject: ” Vashá is, I suppose, the same as vasaka, and in that case is Justitia Adhatoda, a straggling shrub common over the whole of India [very unlike the Rát-vashá-ke-dhán] and which was in the Sanscrit as it is in the native pharmacopœias. It is not a kind of rice, but belongs to the natural order of Acanthaceæ (the family to which Acanthus and Thunbergia belong).” This night-growing rice may be compared to the day-growing rice in paragraph 2, p. 288, of the notes to this story.
7. Compare with the paper boat the rolled-up burdock leaf given to the hero by the dwarf in the seventh Esthonian tale quoted by Gubernatis ( Zoological Mythology, vol. I. p. 155): whenever this hero wishes to cross water he unrolls his burdock-leaf. Gubernatis compares this leaf to the lotus-leaf on which the Hindús represented their god as floating in the midst of the waters ( ibid. ).
8. With the great wind that comes from the demon, compare the following Swedish account of a giant in Thorpe’s Northern Mythology, vol. II. p. 85. He asks his road of a lad, who directs him: then “he went off as in a whirlwind, and the lad now discovered, to his no small astonishment, that his forefinger with which he had pointed out the way had followed along with the giant.” In the old Scandinavian belief the Giant Hræsvelgr sat at the end of heaven in an eagle’s garb (arna ham). From the motion of his wings came the wind which passed over men ( ib. vol. I. p. 8). It must be mentioned also that “in the German popular tales the devil is frequently made to step into the place of the giants” ( ib. vol. I. p. 234), and that Stöpke or Stepke is in Lower Saxony an appellation of the devil or of the whirlwind, from which proceed the fogs which spread over the land ( ib. p. 235). The devil sits in the whirlwind and rushes howling and raging through the air (Mark Sagen, ib. p. 377). The whirlwind is also ascribed to witches. If a knife be cast into it, the witch will be wounded and become visible (Schreiber’s Taschenbuch, 1839, p. 323; ib. vol. I. p. 235). Mr. Ralston, in his Songs of the Russian People, p. 382, says the Russian peasant attributes whirlwinds to the mad dances in which the devil celebrates his marriage with a witch, and at p. 155 of the same book tells us how the malicious demon Lyeshy not only makes use of the whirlwind as a travelling conveyance for himself and a means of turning intruders out of quarters he had selected for his own refuge, but sends home in it people to whom he is grateful. In Ireland we find a wind blowing from hell. King Loegaire tells Patrick, “I perceived the wind cold, icy, like a two-ridged spear, which almost took our hair from our heads and passed through us to the ground. I questioned Benén as to this wind. Said Benén to me, ‘This is the wind of hell which has opened before Cúchulainn.’”
Lebar na huidre, p. 113 a. This “wind of hell” makes one think of the sweet-scented wind from the mid-day regions, and the evil-scented wind from the north, which in old Persian religious belief blew to meet pure and wicked souls after death (Tylor’s Primitive Culture, vol. II. pp. 98, 99). Mr. Tylor mentions also the Fanti negroes’ belief that the men and animals they sacrifice to the local fetish are carried away in a whirlwind imperceptibly to the worshippers ( ib. p. 378).
8. �bjhamjham-ke pání is what has been translated by “water from the glittering well.”
9. The king had a great pit dug in the jungle. This is how Kai and Bedwyr plucked out the beard of Dillus Varvawc, which had to be plucked out during life. They made him eat meat till he slept. “Then Kai made a pit under his feet, the largest in the world, and he struck him a violent blow, and squeezed him into the pit. And there they twitched out his beard completely with the wooden tweezers; and after that they slew him altogether” (“Kilhwch and Olwen,” Mabinogion, vol. II. p. 304).
Bél, a fruit; Ægle marmelos.
Bulbul, a kind of nightingale.
Chaprásí, a messenger wearing a badge ( chaprás ).
Cooly (Tamil kúli ), a labourer in the fields; also a porter.
Dál, a kind of pulse; Phaseolus aureus, according to Wilson; Paspalum frumentaceum, according to Forbes.
Dom (the d is lingual), a low-caste Hindú.
Fakír, a Muhammadan religious mendicant.
Ghee ( ghí ), butter boiled and then set to cool.
Kází, a Muhammadan Judge.
Kotwál, the chief police officer in a town.
Líchí, a fruit; Scytalia litchi, Roxb.
Mahárájá (properly Maháráj), literally great king.
Mahárání, literally great queen.
Mainá, a kind of starling.
Maund ( man ), a measure of weight, about 87 lb.
Mohur ( muhar ), a gold coin worth 16 rupees.
Nautch ( nátya ), a union of song, dance, and instrumental music.
Pálkí, a palanquin.
Pice ( paisa ), a small copper coin.
Pilau, a dish made of either chicken or mutton, and rice.
Rájá, a king.
Rakshas, a kind of demon that eats men and beasts.
Rání, a queen.
Rohú, a kind of big fish.
Rupee ( rúpíya ), a silver coin, now worth about twenty pence.
Ryot ( ràíyat ), a cultivator.
Sarai, a walled enclosure containing small houses for the use of travellers.
Sárí, a long piece of stuff which Hindú women wind round the body as a petticoat, passing one end over the head.
Sepoy ( sipáhí ), a soldier.
Wazír, prime minister.
Yogí, a Hindú religious mendicant.