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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

A  HERMIT   IN   THE   HIMALAYAS

were the only fuel we could find, burned quite well although they;
were fresh and green—as well as if they had been old and dry.

"At Darchen we met with a hospitable Tibetan householder who
lived with his family in a single tent. He offered us shelter and food
for a few days. When I awoke the first morning at about dawn I
noticed his youngest daughter, who was only about three and a half
years old, and who had slept through the terrible cold of night-
time, when the temperature had sunk ten degrees below freezing-
point, with only a single skin covering her half-clothed form. As
soon as the little child saw that I was awake she leapt like an arrow
from her bed Upon the floor and flew outside the door of the tent.
There she hurled herself upon a pile of snow that lay upon the
ground and lay almost prone upon it. At the time she watched me
closely. After a while she returned to her bed and covered herself
with the skin-blanket once more, undl I made a movement as if to
rise and get up from my own bed. At once she flew outside the tent
and flung herself upon die snow-pile for the second time. I could not
understand the reason of this curious behaviour, and through my
guide I made enquiries of the parent.

"He told me that snow falls heavily during the night and buries
his dog, which sleeps outside in order to guard his tent. Only
the animal's nose and eyes are left uncovered. The dog does not
attempt to move all night, because that would cause its sleeping-
place to become wet, so it remains quiet under its snow blanket
until daytime. These Tibetan dogs are large and ferocious mastiffs,
and so powerful that they tear men to pieces, like wolves. He
explained that the little girl realized that my life would be in
danger should I attempt to go outside the tent on arising, for
the dog would treat me as a stranger to be attacked. Hence she
had watched me since the first break of dawn, and at my first signs
of movement had leapt out to hold the dog which lay hidden
beneath the snow and which I would not have seen, and thus
prevent any injury to me. She could not speak and explain the
danger, because she did not know my language. I marvelled at the
wisdom and goodness of this little mite of a child, and I regarded
this as being inherited, because her father was a highly spiritual man.
He had begged me to give him some lessons in the art ofpranayama
(breath-control used as a means of concentrating the mind) and I
taught him some of our Hindu methods.

"In the ancient monastery of Silling we found one hundred and
eight monks, whose ages ranged from as young as seven up to grey-
beards of over seventy. It possessed a primitive printing-press which
was worked by an old Jama. Instead of using movable types, he
engraved the whole page upon wooden blocks, and in this way each

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