Kriloff’s Original Fables
How often, after that we’ve done some evil act, Unto another’s fault we lay the fact, How often people say
:
“The thought without him had not come into my
head.” And, if no soul is by, instead Old Nick himself comes into play,
Though he hath also neither helped nor led. Examples not a few of this, and here is one. A certain Brahmin in the East a name had won
For eloquence and doctrine sound,
But lived not up to all that he did preach
(‘Mong Brahmins also hypocrites are found)
;
But that apart, my story’s point I reach. Within his brotherhood the breach
Of holy rule was due to him alone,
The rest were men justly for saintship known,
And, what inspired most in him disgust,
His order’s Head an iron hand did own : ” At thine own peril break our rules thou must.” Our Brahmin, though, was not so soon disheartened,
One day of fast his wits he smartened,
Could he not somehow to himself a nice treat stand ? He got an egg, and waited till ’twas night,
A candle from the tinder puffed to light, And the egg roasted on’t with sleight of hand
;
He turns it lightly round unto the flame,
Takes not his eyes off, swallows it down in
thought,
And grins to see his Chief thus set at naught
:
” But thou’lt not catch me all the same, Longbearded friend of mine ! The egg I’ll eat in thy despite.”
But here unhappily, and silent quite, Into the cell his Chief came, and divine His wrath at seeing such a sin ! An answer he doth threatening wait
:
The proofs are flagrant, to deny too late ! ” Forgive me, holy father,” doth begin
The Brahmin through his tears, ” Forgive me this, my first offence !
I know not how it was, but no defence
Is there for him the cursed fiend that hears !

A devil lifted here the stove’s latch handle,
” Too bad of thee,” he cried, ” a slanderer to be
!
It was but now that I a lesson learned of thee,
And truly I the first time see How eggs are roasted at a candle.”
[Several Russian proverbs express the idea of this fable, as ” The devil gets the blame, but the monk ate the pig.”
The incident of the egg has, on the other hand, itself added to the number of national proverbs.]

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