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Full text of "Romantic tales from the Panjab with Indian nights' entertainment"

3 1822026744631 











UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO 




3 1822026744631 








i LIBRARY 

I UNIVERSITY OF 
CALIFORNIA 

I 5A N DIEGO j 
\ . ** 



ROMANTIC TALES FROM 
THE PANJAB WITH INDIAN 
NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENT 




ROMANTIC TALES FROM 
THE PANjAB WITH INDIAN 
NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENT 



<r 



BY 

CHARLES SWYNNERTON, F.S.A. 

(SENIOR CHAPLAIN, INDIAN GOVERNMENT, RETD.) 



NEW EDITION IN ONE VOLUME 



LONDON 

ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE & CO. LTD. 
1908 



RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED, 

BREAD STREET HILL, E.C., AND 

BL'NGAY, SUFFOLK. 



The Original Dedication of ROMANTIC TALES, here reproduced 
by the King's gracious Privilege, ran as follows 



TO HER MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY, 

QUEEN VICTORIA, EMPRESS OF INDIA, 

WHOM THE PEOPLE OF INDIA CALL BY 

THE ENDEARING NAME OF "MOTHER," THIS 

SERIES OF INDIAN STORIES IS (BY HER 

MAJESTY'S KIND PERMISSION) 

RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED 



PREFACE 



IN this volume are comprised all the stories which I had 
previously issued in two separate works, entitled respect- 
ively, Indian Nights' Entertainment and Romantic Tales 
/row the Pan jab. 

In now re-publishing the full tale of these stories, in 
a complete edition intended for popular use, it is not 
needful to write much by way of introduction, and much 
which I write I have written before. As translations 
from the Pan jab i of the Upper Indus, they are as literal 
as idiom and faithful freedom of expression would permit. 
Their collection and compilation from purely original 
sources were the work of years, bringing solace in trouble 
and respite from the weariness of the long glowing days 
of summer in that hottest of all hot places, the Peshawur 
Valley. As popular legends and tales they claim -of course 
the highest possible antiquity, being older than the 
Jatakas, older than the Mahabharata, older than history 
itself. From age to age, and from generation to genera- 
tion, they have been faithfully handed down by people 
rude and unlearned, who have preserved them through all 
the vicissitudes of devastating wars, changes of rule and 
faith, and centuries of oppression. They are essentially 
the tales of the people. They are truly representative of 
the quaint legends and stories which form the delight of 
the village hujrd or guest-house on winter-nights, when 
icy winds are blowing over mountain and plain; when the 
young men of the village community gather round the 
blazing logs to be charmed by the voice of some wander- 
ing minstrel, to listen agape to his incredible descriptions 
of the miseries and the joys of hapless love, or to revel 
in the fantastic tales of giants, goblins and fairies; or 
when the weary wayfarer, if not too spent to sit up, alter- 



viii PREFACE 

nates the recital of fictitious wonders by news from the 
outer world, or commands the attention of auditors, as 
simple as himself, by circumstantial accounts of disastrous 
chances of his own by flood and fell. It was at the little 
village of Ghazi, on the river Indus, thirty miles above 
Attock, and upwards of a thousand miles due north of 
Bombay, that many of these tales were written down from 
the mouths of the simple narrators themselves. There, at 
the solitary house of my old friend, Thomas Lambert Bar- 
low, a master of every variety of local dialect, whose 
assistance and encouragement were of the greatest possible 
value to me, they were, many of them at least, gathered 
together. There, within sight and hearing of the majestic 
river of history and romance, quite close to the ancient 
ferry over which Alexander the Great threw his bridge of 
boats, in a district exclusively pastoral, which comprises 
within its area the fabled mountain of Gandghar, the 
stronghold of the last of the giants, in the midst of many 
a ruined temple and fallen fortress pertaining to a nobler 
race and a former faith, we used to sit late into the night, 
round the leaping log fire in winter, under the dewless 
sky in summer, and enjoy hearing, as much as the 
villagers enjoyed telling, the tales which had charmed 
their forefathers for scores of generations. 

A few miles north of Ghazi, at the point where the Sirin, 
a river abounding in noble fish, falls into the Indus, stands 
a collection of hamlets known as Torbela, the people of 
which, like the savages of the Orinoco, are addicted to a 
curious habit of eating a certain saponaceous clay. Oppo- 
site Torbela, on the other side of the Indus, stands the 
warlike independent Pathan village of Kabbal. It is here, 
between these two rival villages, that the " Father of 
Rivers " breaks through the gorge of the opposing 
systems on either side, the last bulwarks of the Himalayas, 
which form the territory, in part independent, in part under 
British control, called by the inhabitants Yakistan. Won- 
derfully beautiful is the view miles and miles up the river, 
where the descending lines of the precipitous mountains, 
one behind the other, recede ever more and more into the 
blue haze until crowned by distant snows. As we sit in 
the warm winter sun among the river-boulders at Ghazi, 
where several gold-washers are busy rocking the sand in 
their rude cradles, and as the eye is directed northwards 



PREFACE ix 

into the dim distance past the bare tawny peaks of Baner 
to the west and the dark pine-clad heights of the Black 
Mountain to the east, we remember that all this land was 
once in the hands of a dynasty of Greeks, of helmed 
Menander, or lightning-wielding Antialkides, whose coins 
attest the excellency of the arts in these remote places 
when under their accomplished sway, but of whose influ- 
ence every living trace seems to have disappeared, unless 
in the classical designs of village basket-work or in the 
graceful devices in red and green on the country rugs of 
felt, may be detected a remnant, however slight, of Grecian 
taste and Western refinement. Or again, listening to the 
murmuring of the river, always low and rapid during the 
bright months of winter, we think of the enlightened rule 
of the great Buddhist convert, Azoka, several of whose 
rock-cut edicts which are the delight of Oriental epigraph- 
ists are close at hand, one of them across the stream in 
Yusufzai, and three others within a ride of fifty miles to 
the north at Manserah. And not only Azoka; for here 
reigned also the representatives of other famous dynasties 
as well : the brilliant Scythian chief, Kanishka; the Hindu 
Kings of Kabul of whom Raja Rasalu of the legends 
was possibly one; the revived line of the Sassanians; the 
pitiless Muhammadan Mahmud, the Image-breaker of 
Ghazni ; and lastly, the Mogul Emperors of Delhi. No 
wonder this region abounds in footsteps of the speechless 
past, and that every separate village contains within itself 
an unwritten library of old-world legends, stories, and 
proverbs, of which the present volume offers comparatively 
but a few examples. 

For further information concerning the legends of this 
volume, their origin, their history, the places where and 
the circumstances under which they were gathered to- 
gether, I must refer the reader to my long introduction 
and to the appendix in Romantic Tales from the Panjdb 
(Constable, 1903). All the stories, the five score and seven, 
presented here are issued in this cheap edition in the hope 
that they may form a treasure-house of amusement, and for 
that reason I have ventured on no scientific arrangement 
of them nor classified them in any way. Some little 
arrangement there is, inasmuch as the longer stories have 
been divided one from the other by fables and anecdotes, 



x PREFACE 

thrown in for the sake of variety in reading, but on the 
whole they may be compared to lots shaken up in a bag, 
falling into their places by the rule of haphazard, to be 
a moment's delight, then to be laid aside, and anon to be 
resumed. For men and women doomed from week to 
week to live laborious days, for busy merchant and leisure- 
less professional man, for readers of ease and culture 
whether in the East or in the West, for old folks sitting 
snug and warm in the chimney corner, and, above all, for 
the young, for boys and girls freed from the term's weary 
round, this collected volume of old stories is now pub- 
lished anew. And if in ever so slight a degree they tend 
to lighten the burden of life, which seems to grow heavier 
as the years roll on, if for five minutes now and then they 
serve to mask a sorrow or force a smile, reward so great, 
as I have already said elsewhere, will far exceed my desert. 

In conclusion, I have to acknowledge an error of fact 
which appeared in my introduction to Romantic Tales in 
1903, and which was pointed out by a writer in the 
AthencBum. I was not the first, as I supposed, to present 
a version of the beautiful tale of Hir and Rdnjha to Eng- 
lish readers. That honour belongs to Sir Richard Temple, 
whose monumental work should be consulted by all 
students interested in the stories of the Panjab. At the 
same time it should be stated that my version differs so 
completely from his, coming as it does from a different 
quarter, as to constitute a new story in itself, while at 
the same time it differs considerably also from a much 
earlier version published in French by Garcin de Tassy 
in 1857. 1 That is a translation, highly embellished, from 
the Hindustani, a version to charm the fine ladies of an 
Eastern court, but not to win the sympathies of the simple 
auditors in a village hujrd. 

C. S. 

1 Revue de V Orient, VI, 113. I am indebted to the Librarian 
at the India Office for the reference. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PACK 

PREFACE . . . . . . vii 

I. THE LOVE STORY OF H&R AND RANJHA . . I 

II. ADVENTURES OF AHMED ("GUL BADSHAH ") . . 25 
III. OF THE WEAVER WHO MISSED THE MARE HE WAS 

RIDING ...... 39 

IV. OF THE BLIND FAKIR AND THE GOLD MOHURS . 39 

V. OF THE CRAFTY FAKlR AND THE FOOLISH KING . 41 

VI. OF THE PATHAN WHO WANTED HIS ASS MADE A MAN . 43 

VII. A JUNGLE TALE .... 46 

VIII. A STORY OF A RUBY . . v . . .49 
IX. THE RASALU LEGENDS 

1. RASALU'S EARLY LIFE . . . . 51 

2. HE GOES TO GUJERAT .' . .. .56 

3. HIS REVOLT . . -. . . . 59 

4. THE HUNTER KIN/5 . . . . .67 
5- RASALU AND THE SWANS . . . .- 76 
6. RASALU AND RAJA BH6j .. . . .82 
7- RASALU AND THE GIANTS OF GANDGARH -. . 87 
8. TILYAR NAG THE SNAKE AND SUNDAR KAG THE RAVEN IOI 
9- RASALU AND RAJA SIRIKAP . . * .* 112 

10. THE TREASON OF KOKI.A . . . . 124 

11. FATE OF KOKLA . . .... . 136 

12. DEATH OF RASALU . . . 144 

X. OF THE WISE LAMBARDAR . . . - 152 

XI. OF THE BANEYRWAL AND THE THIEF . . 153 

XII. OF THE TIGER AND THE HARE . . . r 154 

XIII. OF THE GREEDY MONKEY . . .. ,. . 156 

XIV. CONCERNING REPENTANCE . .' . . 156 
XV. THE PREACHER CONFOUNDED . . .. 157 

XVI. STORY OF PRINCE AHMED AND THE FLYING HORSE . 157 

xi 



Xll 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAGE 

XVII. ADVENTURES OF NEK BAKHT . . . 160 

XVIII. OF THE MAN AND THE BEAR . . . 174 

XIX. OF THE MISER AND THE GRAIN OF WHEAT . 174 

XX. OF THE BANEYR MAN AND THE MILL . . 175 

XXI. OF THE FARMER, HIS WIFE, AND THE OPEN DOOR. 175 

XXII. OF THE FOUR PALS . . . . 176 

XXIII. THE STORY OF LALL, THE IDIOT . . .178 

XXIV. THE LOVE STORY OF MIRZA AND SAHIBANH . 1 88 
XXV. OF THE SAINT AND THE PILGRIM . .' .212 

XXVI. ON THE LOVE OF MONEY . . . 213 

XXVII. ON CHARACTERISTIC PRIDE OF THE BANEYRWALS 214 

XXVIII. TALE OF THE FALSE WITNESS . . .214 

XXIX. STORY OF THE KING AND THE PARROT . 2l6 

XXX. OF THE OLD WEAVER AND THE CAMEL'S FOOTPRINTS 22O 

XXXI. OF GRIBA, THE WEAVER . . , .221 

XXXII. THE ADVENTURES OF ISARA AND CANiSARA . , 221 

XXXIII. THE STORY OF PURAN BHAGAT . . . 230 

XXXIV. THE STORY OF THE KING AND THE FOUR GIRLS 245 
XXXV. OF THE PRETENTIOUS MULE . . . 251 

XXXVI. OF THE FROG AND THE FARRIER . . .251 

XXXVII. OF THE FOUR FOOLISH WEAVERS . . 252 

XXXVIII. OF THE KING AND HIS DAUGHTERS . . 263 

XXXIX. OF THE WIDOW OF BANEYR . . . 264 

XL. OF THE GARDENER'S WIFE, THE POTTER'S WIFE, 

AND THE CAMEL . . . . . 264 

XLI. OF THREE SILLY WEAVERS . . 265 

XLII. ON A WEAVER'S STUPIDITY . . . 266 

XLIII. OF CERTAIN DELUDED WEAVERS . . 268 

XLIV. A TALE OF A KING AND A FARMER . .270 

XLV. OF A CREDULOUS WEAVER . . . 272 

XLVI. OF THE BANEYRWAL AND HIS DROWNED WIFE . 273 

XLVII. OF THE PRETENTIOUS FROG . . . 273 

XLVIII. THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPH0 . 274 

XLIX. OF THE SON WHO REPROVED HIS FATHER . 300 

L. OF THE THIEF AND THE POOR MAN . . 300 

LI. OF THE TRAVELLER AND HIS CAMEL . . 301 

LII. CONCERNING THE TWO FRIENDS . . . 3OI 

LIII. STORY OF THE YOUNG MAN AND THE SNAKE . 303 

LIV. STORY OF THE WEAVER AND THE THIEVES . 308 



CONTENTS 



Xlll 



CHAPTER PAGE 

LV. STORY OF THE TRAVELLER AND THE OILMAN . 31! 

LVI. OF AN UNFORTUNATE JACKAL . . . 313 

LVII. TALE OF A WEAVER AND A WATER-MELON . 314 

LVI1I. THE STORY OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR's 
SON : 

PART I. . . . . 316 

PART II. . . . . . 326 

PART III. . . -335 

LIX. OF THE FAMINE AND THE WEAVER . 352 

LX. OF THE TWO WEAVERS AND THE GRASSHOPPERS 353 

LXI. OF PATH AN GREEDINESS . . . -353 

LXII. STORY OF SHfSHAT KHAN OF LAHORE . . ; 354 

LXI1I. OF THE PHILOSOPHIC BANERWAL . . 357 

LXIV. OF GOD AND THE NOBLEMAN . . 358 

LXV. STORY OF THE NINE-KILLING KHAN . . 358 

LXVI. OF THE SILVERSMITH AND HIS MOTHER'S BANGLE 362 

LXVII. HOW A WOMAN COULD NOT KEEP A SECRET . 362 

LXVIII. THE STORY OF ALI THE MERCHANT AND THE 

BRAHMIN . . . . . 365 

LXIX. OF THE TWO MISERS . . .. .381 

LXX. OF THE KING AND THE ROBBERS . . 382 

LXXI. OF THE PAINTED JACKAL . . . . 385 

LXXII. OF THE JACKAL AND THE EWE-SHEEP . . 386 

LXXIII. A STORY OF GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON 

MALIK ...... 386 

LXXIV. STORY OF THE QUEEN AND THE GOLDSMITH . 397 

LXXV. OF THE WILD DOG OF PIHUR . . . 400 

LXXVI. STORY OF THE WEAVER AND THE PRIEST . 401 

LXXVII. OF THE JACKAL AND THE FLEAS , . , . 403 

LXXVIII. OF A SILLY JACKASS . . . . * 404 

LXXIX. OF THE FRIENDLY RAT . . . . 406 

LXXX. ON THE STUBBORN NATURE OF THE AFGHANS. 407 

LXXXI. A STORY OF A BARBER .... 407 

LXXXII. THE ADVENTURES OF RUP AND BUSSANT, THE TWO 

SONS OF RAJA BANS. . . 4IO 

LXXXIII. OF THE BANEYRWAL AND HIS MOTHER . . . 430 

LXXXIV. STORY OF FAZL NUR AND THE DEMON . 430 

LXXXV. CONCERNING THE SEVEN WISE MEN OF BUNEYR . 436 

LXXXVI. OF THE FOOLISH QUACK . . . 438 



XIV 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAGE 

LXXXVII. OF THE CAMEL AND THE RAT .' . . 440 

LXXXVIII. OF THE CROW AND ITS YOUNG -i' 441 

LXXXIX. OF THE TWO SIMPLE BANERWALS . . . 442 

XC. OF THE BANEYR MAN AND THE BOAT . . 442 

XCI. THE STORY OF GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON 

GHUL ...... 442 

XCII. THE STORY OF LAL BADSHAH AND THE TWO LITTLE 

PRINCESSES ..... 457 

XCIII. STORY OF PRINCE BAIRAM AND THE FAIRY BRIDE 464 

XCIV. OF THE SILLY WEAVER-GIRL . . . 469 

XCV. OF THE TIGER AND THE CAT . . . 470 

XCVI. THE STORY OF THE PRINCESS AND THE OGRES . 471 

XCVII. OF THE PRIEST WHO FEIGNED TO BE DEAD . 482 

L'ENVOY ...... 485 



Note. A few hints as to pronunciation of the proper names : 

a (circumflex) like a in father Rdnjhd. 

a (unmarked) like u in but Chand = Chund. 

e like a \nfate held. 

i (circumflex) like ee in feet Dhido Dheedo 

6 like o in home H6m Bddshdh. 

u like oo in room Gfd Bddshdh. 



JL 



ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 



INDIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENT 



THE LOVE STORY OF HiR AND RANJHA 1 

MANY years ago, in quite the olden time, there lived 
three brothers, Nur Khan, Chund Khan, and Ranjha. Of 
these three the two elder were married, but Ranjha, whose 
pet name was Dhido, was only a stripling. 

One day Nur Khan and Chund Khan came to Ranjha 
and said, "Dhido, our father is now dead, and as for us 
we have families to feed. But you, Brother, do nothing at 
all on the farm. All you do is to ramble uselessly after 
the buffaloes and goats, playing old tunes. So we two 
have decided to divide the inheritance into three parts, and 
we now tell you plainly that from this time forth you will 
have to manage your own land yourself : 

" Up, Brother, up thy piping days forego 

See where the blacksmith sweats beneath the shade ! 
These useless bars, with many a lusty blow, 

Quickly he'll change to ploughshare and to spade; 
Then haste we home again to fix the line 
That shall divide our heritage from thine." 

In vain Ranjha, and in vain his sisters, the wives of his 
brothers, urged that he was still but young and untrained. 
The iron was wrought up, the land was divided, and the 

1 The verses in this tale are translations of verses in the original 
Panjabi. 



2 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

lad was left to do the best he could. To make matters 
worse, the portion assigned to him was wild uncleared 
jungle. He merely got barren land which had never been 
broken at all, and of which the soil was poor, bearing 
stones, and scrub, and coarse grass. It was land far too 
savage for him to reduce to order at all. Nevertheless, 
taking with him his yoke and his plough, and driving his 
oxen before him, the boy set out early in the morning to 
clear it and till it. Hard was the task and stiff the ground, 
and soon his arms began to tire, and his bullocks to flag, 
and when at last his ploughshare snapped in twain in the 
stony furrows, he sat himself down, and bitterly weeping 
complained " I was the son of my father's old age, and 
nothing of this kind have I ever seen before. Cruel 
unnatural brothers are mine to give me barren land!" 
Saying these words he loosed his oxen from the yoke to 
wander at will, and lay down to sleep under the shade of 
a tree. 

By-and-by, when the sun was high in the heavens, out 
stepped his two sisters from the house, bearing in their 
hands some churl, 1 and calling the boy by his name. As 
they came along the fields they passed their husbands busy 
at the plough, and they stopped a moment and said, " Do 
you know where Dhido is?" And their husbands looked 
up and told them where to seek him. But when the women 
reached the spot they found him lying asleep, his work 
unfinished and his oxen loose. So they slapped his cheeks 
with the tips of their fingers and woke him up, and began 
to reproach him, saying, " O Dhido, for shame ! 

" You love to tend the lazy herd, 

To sleep beneath the shady tree ; 
You love to startle beast and bird, 

Playing your flute's soft minstrelsy. 
But now chy sisters stand and weep, 
They cry, ' O thou whom others keep, 

When wilt thou learn 

Bread of thine own to earn?' ' 

Saying these words they took him, and the broken 
plough and the oxen, and coming to their husbands they 
complained about him. "O Dhido," said the brothers, 
"it is not lawful food you eat, and, unless you work and 

1 C/ntri, sweet cake. 



THE LOVE STORY OF HIR AND RANJHA 3 

earn for yourself, no longer can you remain with us. See 
to it, therefore, for we mean what we say !" 

Ran] ha felt grieved as he listened to these words which 
vexed his very soul, and all the night long he lay awake, 
turning them over and over. He could not sleep, and at 
last he determined that when the morning came he would 
leave the village and never return again. In vain his 
sisters strove with him, coaxing him to stay. He left 
them as the day broke, and with only his scarf and his 
staff started off on his travels. All day long he walked, 
never stopping for a moment to rest, and in the evening 
it so happened that he approached a certain village named 
Kharlan-di-Mari, and, because he was worn with hunger 
and fatigue, he entered it, and made his way to the mosque, 
intending to spend the night there. 

Now it was then close on the hour for prayers, and soon 
the people began to assemble, and one of them saw him 
and said, " Son, you look like a wayfarer; have you had 
anything to eat?" 

" No," answered he, " I have eaten nothing at all. Early 
in the morning I left my house in Takht-Hazara, and I 
have only just arrived." Then went a lad to his home 
and brought him some food, and he ate and drank and 
revived. But it was winter time, and he, lying on the 
floor in the open mosque, became sick with the pangs of 
fever, and his fever and sickness troubled him sore. And 
when the people came together again to say their morning 
prayers, they looked at him, and, seeing how ill he had 
been, they said to him, " And how have you passed 
the night?" Then said Ranjha, "I came from Takht- 
Hazara 

" At dawn of day I broke away, 

Nor lingered once to rest, 
Till in your village mosque I lay, 

By want and grief oppressed ; 
A little boy went round, by pity led, 
And begged me alms some butter-milk and bread. 

' I tell you I am the son of a good man," said he, 
*' and one well-to-do, and never before have I seen such 
troubles. I have become sick from the cold, and I pray 
you therefore to let me warm myself somewhere at a fire." 
One of the villagers at once took him to the village 
smithy, and he sat down and began to warm himself over 



4 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

the glowing charcoal. Meanwhile the smith snatched out 
a bar of hot iron, and holding it on the anvil he told his 
two lads to beat it with their hammers. Then, looking at 
Ranjha and observing that he seemed a fine stout young 
fellow, he bade him also take a hammer, and smite while 
the others rested. Ranjha felt ashamed to refuse the man 
so small a service, so he sprang into the pit, and seizing 
a sledge, he struck the red-hot iron three or four times, 
but, as he struck, the blood started from the veins of his 
arms. And when he laid the hammer down he said 

" Cold was the night, a homeless wanderer I, 

Vainly for fire I searched from door to door, 
And when I raised the ponderous sledge on high, 
My very blood came trickling to the floor." 

But the blacksmith was astonished. " Ah, what delicate 
limbs!" cried he. "Are you a King's son, or born of 
some fairy race ? In my house you would never earn even 
your keep, and therefore, boy, go, seek your fortune else- 
where, in the name of God!" 

So Ranjha left that place, and his heart was sad, but 
as he went along he chanced, to his great joy, to see a 
certain woman putting some fire into an oven, for she was 
a bread-seller, and he determined to go near to her, and 
to sit down and warm himself. As soon as he entered 
the door of the court, however, he was arrested by the 
cries of three or four young girls. " O youth," cried they, 
" whoever you are, is it among a parcel of girls you wish 
to sit ? Surely a house full of women is no place for you !" 
But the mistress of the house, whose name was Miraban, 
observing how handsomely he carried himself, called him 
in and made him sit down by the side of the stove, and 
the boy did as he was bidden and came into the court- 
yard and sat down, and the heat of the stove warmed his 
blood, and his eyes began to shine. By-and-by the woman 
glanced at him again, and perceiving that he had some- 
thing hidden away under his arm, she asked him what it 
was. " Whenever I am sad," said he, "I take my flute 
and play upon it, for it amuses me, and I carry it wher- 
ever I go." Then all the girls, and the woman herself as 
well, would have him play them a tune to pass the time, 
and at first he refused to play at all, saying it was better 
not, but, when they came clustering round him, crying, 



THE LOVE STORY OF HIR AND RANJHA 5 

" Play us something, play us something !" he put the flute 
to his lips and began to play. But the effect of that 
music was such that the girls and even the woman of the 
house herself became possessed, being rendered utterly 
distraught by the sound which rilled their ears, and they 
began to dance like mad things, all over the court, keep- 
ing time with feet and hands. Yea, the very cakes in the 
stove danced till they turned as black as coal. Seeing her 
cakes burnt to ashes, Miraban was filled with grief and 
sorrow of heart, and, waxing wrath, she snatched up her 
kundi 1 and gave Ranjha two or three strokes on the back 
with it, saying, " O you sorcerer, you have made us all 
silly ! Out of my house at once you are not worth a 
pin!" Thus the boy would have had to wander forth 
again, but, looking at the woman, he said, " O you lady- 
compounder of loaves, listen to the words of your spiritual 
guide ! Go to Madam Oven, lift up the cover from her 
mouth, and look within!" Then she took off the top of 
the oven and looked down and saw that the cakes were 
no longer burnt as before, but all done to a turn ; and 
when she considered the thing, she guessed that Ranjha 
had mystic power in him, and she approached him humbly, 
and besought him to stay with her for a time, seeing also 
indeed that her own good man was but a poor creature, and 
that Ranjha, on the contrary, was young and stout. 

Soon after, her husband, who had gone to the forest for 
fuel, came back with a load of logs on his head, and as 
he threw them to the ground he observed the youth seated, 
like a prince, on a couch, with the best carpet in the house 
spread under him, and so he said to his wife, " Who is 
your visitor?" 

" You do not know him," answered she. " But I know 
him, for he is my family pir, 2 come from my father's 
village." 

So Ranjha remained in the house of Miraban for three 
or four days, but at the end of that time he began to 
get tired of his dull life and longed to go away. In the 
middle of the night, therefore, when husband and wife 
were both asleep, he arose softly and stole away; but as 
he stepped over the threshold the woman heard him and 

1 Kfindi, the hooked stick with which the cakes or loaves are taken 
out of the oven. 
3 Spiritual guide. 



6 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

awoke, and when she found that he had gone she also 
went after him. Pursuing him along the stony footpath 
she soon drew nigh him, but Ranjha turned and threw 
stones at her, telling her to be gone. So she stopped and 
cried, " O you cursed of God, why would you hide your- 
self? Miraban is calling you. Have you eaten poison, or 
wholesome food, in my house?" Then came also her hus- 
band, and he, overhearing all that was said, bade her 
return. "Come here, Miraban," said he. "Was this 
man your lover, that you speak him fair and foul in the 
same breath?" 

" And do you not know?" answered she. " You were 
sleeping, I think. But understand he is a thief. He took 
up all our precious things and was going off. We were 
ruined indeed if I had not wakened in time." 

Then as she caught Ranjha by one arm, her husband 
seized him by the other, and as a captured thief he was 
dragged back to the house and put in the stocks, and there 
in the chamber alone he was left to pass the night. 

Now in the morning, when her husband had gone forth 
as usual for a load of wood, Miraban came privately to 
the lad, bringing him churi, and she opened her heart to 
him, saying, " My dear love, do you not see that I love 
you ? I love you, and how then can I bear to part with 
you !" This speech Ranjha heard, but keeping silence he 
uttered not a word, but remained still, and by-and-by 
she gave him some churi and left him alone. 

This woman used to parch quantities of corn and to 
leave much of it lying on the oven. One day a blind 
man groped his way in and coming to the stove began to 
pick up the grains and put them in his mouth. Presently 
Ranjha caught sight of him and cried, " O blind man, 
what are you doing?" 

:< I am eating the parched grain," answered he. 

" Come to me," said Ranjha. " If you come to me, I 
will put some healing medicine on your eyes, and then 
you will be able to see." 

So the blind man rose up, and coming to Ranjha he 
began to feel his body, and, as he did so, he touched the 
stocks, and by feeling soon found out what they were. 
Then Ranjha took up a handful of churi and crammed it 
into his mouth, and when the blind man found out how 
delicious it was, he stretched out his leg and tried to put 



THE LOVE STORY OF HIR AND RANJHA 7 

it into one of the holes of the stocks. "What are you 
doing now?" said Ranjha. 

"I think," answered the blind man, "you get churi 
here, and if I sit in the stocks with you, of course I shall 
get churi too." 

" Blind man," said Ranjha, " do not waste your time to 
no purpose. You cannot put your foot into the stocks 
unless you first take out the peg." 

Then the blind man felt for the peg, and when he had 
found it he seized it, and, applying his full force to it, 
drew it out at once. Then Ranjha lifted up the plank 
and put the blind man in the stocks instead of himself, 
after which he took up the wooden peg and drove it home 
with a stone. " O blind man," said he, " take this plate of 
churi and eat it up ! If you want more, call aloud ' O 
God, send me churi, O God, send me churi! ' and churi 
will come to you." So Ranjha left the blind man in the 
stocks, and escaped from the house. 

Now the blind man was not long before he had finished 
the whole of his churi, and as he still felt unsatisfied he 
began to cry out, " God, God, send me churi, send me 
churi! O God, send me a mouthful !" And he made such 
a din in the darkness of the night that he roused Miraban, 
who rose in wrath, crying, " Who are you? and what in 
the world are you saying?" 

" I am a blind man," roared he of the stocks, "and I 
am doing nothing whatever but asking God to send me 
churi." 

Then thought the woman to herself, " Ranjha perhaps 
has gone mad!" So she got up, and came into the 
chamber to see him and to find out what had gone wrong 
with him. Great was her surprise to discover that it was 
not Ranjha at all, but the old blind beggar who passed 
her door every day. Her anger was beyond everything, 
and dragging him out of the stocks she threw him down, 
and seizing her kundi she applied it well to the old fellow's 
shoulders, who struggled in vain and howled horribly. 
Louder and louder grew the noise of the fray, until at 
last it ended by rousing the husband, who came rushing 
into the room, and who laid hold of his wife by the throat. 
" O shameless hussy," cried he, " you have come out here 
to carry on your tricks with Ranjha, have you?" So 
saying, he punished her well. 



8 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Meanwhile, as they were thus contending, all three one 
with another, Ranjha came back, and standing beside the 
door, peeped in to watch the fun, and when he saw his 
chance he cried aloud, " O woman, so tall and so slender, 
whose name is Miraban, get up, you sleep too long; Ranjha 
is leaving you !" These words said he, and then he ran 
away. But Miraban and her husband Sowari ran after 
him, and while one cried "Thief!" the other cried 
"Rogue!" until Ranjha lifted some stones and stoned 
them, saying, " Neither my father's sister nor my mother's 
sister are you, Miraban, that I should not put a knife to 
your throat. Love indeed ! What can you know of love, 
you sorry jade ?" 

Now when Sowari heard this speech, he left following 
Ranjha, and again turned on his wife in a fury. " Ah, 
faithless female dog!" cried he. "You told me the lad 
was your village pir, and behold now he speaks to you 
of love ! Verily you have harboured him for tricks of 
your own and nought else!" And with these words he 
belaboured her front and rear with her own kundi until 
she cried " Peccavi !" 

Meanwhile Ranjha laughed. "Ha, ha!" quoth he, 
" How now, sly puss? 

" Sowari suspects 

Some things have been missed, Miraban 

Is it true? 
Sowari believes 

A thief has been kissed, Miraban 

Was it you ? 
Sowari declares 

He will give you his fist, Miraban 
So, vixen, adieu ! " 

Leaving the contending couple to settle the difference 
between them, Ranjha went on his way, and coming to 
the river Chenab which flows into the Ravi, he plunged 
in, and swam with the current many a mile, until at last 
he saw on the bank a beautiful garden. So he made for 
it, and, landing, entered it. The beauty of the place 
captivated him, because being only a simple countryman 
he had never seen the like of it before. It was dawn, and 
the worshippers of God were making preparations for their 
accustomed prayers. While sitting alone under a shady 
tree his mind went back to his native village, and he 



THE LOVE STORY OF HIR AND RANJHA 9 

thought of his brothers and sisters and the fields and the 
cattle, and the nooks and corners of his father's house, and 
then he thought of his present miserable condition. All at 
once he raised his eyes, and perceived five venerable men 
standing before him. To see them there he was astonished 
and amazed, but they all spoke very kindly to him, saying, 
" O good young sir, give us some milk !" All five of them, 
standing together, joined in prayer to Ranjha, saying 

" Who beg and implore, dost thou ken? 

O we the Five Pirs l beg of thee ! 
What name shalt thou bear among men ? 

Miyan Ranjha for aye shalt thou be ! 
So buffalo's milk do thou bring us, for, lo, 
We have given thee Hira for weal or for woe !" 

But on Ranjha fell sorrow that he had no milk to offer 
them, which when the Pirs perceived, they said, " Why 
are you troubled?" 

" Alas, sirs," answered he, " my buffaloes are far away 
in Takht-Hazara. Here I have no animal at all. Where 
then can I find milk for you?" 

" O son," said they, "have you ever given anything 
away in the name of God?" 

" No, never," replied the lad. " I am a mere boy; but 
of course my brothers have." 

" Recollect well," said they again. " Perhaps you may 
have given something at least!" 

Then Ranjha considered, and after a while he again 
spoke and said, " Sirs, I remember that once, when a calf 
of mine was ill and about to die, I gave it to a beggar." 

" How old was your calf then ?" inquired the Pirs. 

" She was but two months," answered he. 

"By this time she has grown up," said they, "and 
you can call her, and when you call her we hope that 
she will come to you. What was her name do you 
remember?" 

" Yes," said he, "I used to call her Brownie !" 

" Then call her," said the Pirs. " Call her by the same 
name." 

So Ranjha called out, " Brownie! Brownie !" and in a 

1 Pir a saint, a spiritual director. When a man is in sickness or 
peril, he supplicates God and his Pir. 



io ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

little time his buffalo came running towards him with her 
tail cocked up over her back. Now as she approached, he 
saw plainly enough that she had no milk at all in her. 
" Now what shall I do?" thought he. " How am I going 
to milk a dry buffalo?" The Pirs perceiving the drift of 
his mind then said to him, " What is the matter now?" 

" The buffalo has no milk," answered he. 

" Never mind that, my son," said they. " Pat her and 
sit down to milk." 

So he did as he was told, and sat down, but again he 
considered that he had no vessel for the milk, and he 
looked towards the Pirs, who, understanding at once the 
whole matter, brought him a little wooden begging-bowl 
which they gave him for the milk, and he began to milk 
the creature, thinking all the time if she let down any milk 
at all, how soon that small vessel would be rilled. But, 
to his great surprise, when the milk began to flow, neither 
did the milk stop nor did the vessel fill. At last he got 
very tired, and looked once more towards the Five Pirs, 
who came near, and one said, " Do not be distressed, my 
son. Get up now, ,you have milk enough." 

Then Ranjha rose, and presented the bowl to the Pirs 
who drank of the milk turn by turn, and who gave the 
remainder to Ranjha himself. When all this was done, 
the Five Pirs ordered the boy to close his eyes, and he did 
so. " Shut your eyes," said they 

" Now close thine eyes, O duteous son, 
For, lo, she's thine, by virtue won, 

Mahr Chukak's daughter Hir ! 
O close thine eyes, she's freely thine, 
We cede her in the name divine, 

The lovely and the dear ! " 

So Ranjha closed his eyes and waited for a long long 
time for orders to open them again, but, as no one ordered 
him to do so, at last he opened them himself, when to his 
great astonishment he no more saw Pirs or buffalo or 
garden, all had vanished away, but he found himself in 
another garden far more beautiful than the other, and he 
saw close at hand some couches decorated with all manner 
of handsome trappings, but no one to sit or to lie on them. 
At the same time he remembered that he had some cakes 
with him, so he took them out of his turban and sat down 
and began to eat. All at once he noticed some lovely 



THE LOVE STORY OF HIR AND RANJHA n 

damsels, well dressed and adorned with rich jewels, coming 
towards him, and some of them were singing and dancing, 
and others walking sedately. Being so young he felt 
afraid, and ran away towards the bank of the river, intend- 
ing to cross over to the other side. Now Hir was chief 
among them all, and when she saw him she sent her 
damsels to persuade him not to enter the river, and they 
followed, but could prevail nothing. So Hir herself went 
forward then,- and gently reproved him, saying 

" O tall of form, and fair of face, 

youth whose turban's close embrace 
Enfolds thy shapely brow 

Who but a fool, in haste to die, 
A river's fordless depths would try, 
As thou art trying now?" 

Then, as he was struggling on, the girl plunged in after 
him, and seizing him by the hand, she said, " Brother, do 
not kill yourself, the river here is too deep to be crossed." 
Her words and her action gave him confidence, and he 
returned with her to the garden, where she put some 
questions to him, as to who he was, why he had left his 
home, and whether or not he could do anything. While 
she was thus speaking to him, it came into her heart that 
this youth was the servant of God and endued with grace 
divine. And in answer to her questions he told her that 
he had come from Takht-Hazara, that injustice had driven 
him away, and that as for employment all he could do was 
to graze buffaloes. " Ah, then you are in luck," said she, 
"for I can get you work to do. I will ask my father to- 
day." 

So they wandered about the garden together, spending 
the whole day there, she and he and her company of 
maidens, and in the evening she parted from him and 
returned home. Then when her father came in from the 
fields, she went to him, and sat down by his side, and 
spoke to him, thus 

" O father, I have engaged a servant for you. He 
grazes buffaloes and understands them. Well content will 
he be with a pakka * of four yards and a bhura 2 of eight 
yards, nor during twelve years will he ever ask for more. 

1 Pakka is a sheet of cotton cloth. 

2 Bhtira is a coarse country blanket. 



12 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

No buffalo touched by his rod will ever bring you a bull- 
calf. He sits on a rock or he stands on a mound, and 
when he plays on his flute all the herd will follow him 
home." 

"Very well, daughter mine," said her father. "All 
this is very good. What more need we ask from God ? 
He is a good man, you say. No buffalo touched by him 
but brings a she-calf, and, besides all this, you say that 
when he likes he plays on a flute, and that when he plays 
all the whole herd comes trooping home to the sound of 
his music. This is very good, my dear, and we will take 
him and keep him, so bring the lad hither to me." 

The next day, therefore, Hir brought Ranjha home to 
her father's house and he was at once engaged. At first 
he had charge of the horses, but the work was irksome 
to him, and after a time he complained to Hir and said, 
" You never promised to make me a horse-keeper, Hir, 
and the work does not suit me at all. Ask your father 
therefore to give me charge of his herds of buffaloes, for 
that was the bargain." And when she had spoken to her 
father, saying, " O father, Ranjha is weary of keeping 
the horses, and he was promised only the buffaloes," her 
father at once answered, " Hir, my daughter, it was a 
mistake of the steward, and you can send him to our island 
of Bela 1 to take care of the buffaloes there." 

So to Bela Ranjha went, and there he became the sole 
master of a herd of three hundred buffaloes. Before his 
arrival at the place it took eight or nine herdsmen to 
manage so many, but Ranjha managed them all himself. 
The simple creatures loved him from the first. He would 
sit all day in the shade with his flute, and towards sunset 
he would mount a hillock or climb a tree, and there he 
would play a certain lively tune, and gradually the whole 
herd would respond to the call, and then follow him 
whithersoever he went. And so passed the jocund hours 
away. 

One night Hir dreamed that a man clothed in white 
garments came to her bedside and spoke to her. " Listen, 
O daughter," said the voice. "The Five Pirs have met 
together and have married you with solemn rites to 
Ranjha." Hearing these words, Hir trembled and awoke. 
As she was in the habit of honouring the prophet Christ 

1 Bela is the term for any islet formed by a river. 



THE LOVE STORY OF HIR AND RANJHA 13 

every Sunday, and as it was then Sunday eve, she took 
the phantom which had appeared to her to be a vision of 
Christ himself, and she received his word with joy, believ- 
ing that already she was the wife of Ranjha. So the 
next morning she went up to her father and said, " Father, 
you know the buffaloes never come to the village. They 
are kept at Bela, and our messengers being very dishonest 
do not bring us all the milk nor yet the butter which comes 
from them. Will you then permit me, father, to go for a 
few days, and look after these things myself?" And her 
father was glad, and said, " Go, my child, you have my 
full consent to do so." 

So away went Hir, and when she came to the island she 
found Ranjha there, but Ranjha was displeased. " Dear- 
est one," said he, " I never enslaved myself to your father 
for a morsel of bread and a cup of butter-milk. One motive 
I had, and that was that I might see you day by day. 
Perhaps you are not aware that even now you are my wife, 
and that upon me the Five Pirs have bestowed your hand. 
But tell me, dear one, do you for your part accept me as 
your husband?" 

Hearing these words she at once called to mind her 
dream, and she answered, and said, " I have dreamed a 
dream this night I dreamt it 

" I slept, and, lo, a dream I had 
Some heavenly One, in glory clad, 

Came nigh me in the night ! 
' Ranjha,' cried he, ' hath wedded Hir, 
They, the great Five, each one a Pir, 

Performed the sacred rite ! ' ' 

So then, joyfully and peacefully, they began to live 
together one with the other on that little island in the 
midst of the river Chenab. Ranjha had no work to do but 
to sit by the side of Hir all day long playing his flute, 
and in the evening he had only to strike up his sunset-tune 
for all the buffaloes to come running home to the fold. 
Soon, however, prying people began to whisper about 
them, and by-and-by some of them went to her father's 
house and told tales about them. Then there came a cer- 
tain beggar-man who reported that whenever he went 
across to Bela to beg an alms he always found the herds- 
man sitting on a couch with a plate of churi before him. 1 
1 Churi is a food much eaten by the newly married. - 



H ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Now when this was said, Mahr Chukak called his sons 
together, and, finding them very angry at the misfortune 
which had befallen the family, he strove to appease them, 
saying, " My sons, you know well that people are in the 
habit of spreading lies of this description. For my part 
I think the scandal is false, but let us sift the matter well 
and then take steps to stop people's tongues. And for this 
purpose I tell you there is a man my brother whose 
name is Kaido, who is lame of a leg, and who lives in a 
hut outside the village like a beggar, and keeps dogs and 
fowls and a goat or two. Call that man to me. I think 
he will be the proper person to ascertain if these things 
are true or false." 

Kaido therefore was summoned, and Mahr Chukak 
asked him whether he would go over to Bela and bring 
back word what was right and what was wrong there. 
And Kaido said "Yes, "and having so determined he pre- 
pared for his visit, for he got a bag made of a leopard's 
skin, and a staff and a begging-bowl, and a brass lotah for 
water, and he put on him a turban of twisted ropes of 
goat's hair, and being so disguised as a poor wandering 
fakir he went across to the island. Now Hir was then 
absent, having gone to gather ber 1 berries, but before 
going she had laid before Ranjha some freshly-made 
churi. And when Kaido arrived at the door of the hut in 
which they lived he cried in a feigned voice, " Give me 
some alms ! O you resident in this noble mansion, give 
me some alms in the name of God !" Ranjha then began 
to consider what there was which he could offer the man, 
and after thinking awhile he said, " O beggar, come in ! 
Take this platter of fresh churi and begone, for it is all 
I have." So Kaido took the churi, and right glad he was 
to get it, because in the churi he had the proof of all the 
stories told by the town's folk. Therefore, putting the 
churi in his bag of leopard-skin, he limped away with it 
as fast as he could. 

He had scarcely left the house when Hir, returning, 
missed the chun, and addressing Ranjha, she said, 
"What has become of all the churi?" 

" I have eaten it all myself," answered he. 

" No, dear," said she, " I do not think you have. You 
always kept some of it till the evening, and you could not 
1 A little wild plum. 



THE LOVE STORY OF HIR AND RANJHA 15 

have eaten the whole of it. You say that to-day you have 
eaten it all? t Tell me the truth, please." 

Then said he, "It is true that I have not eaten the 
churl, for I gave it to a poor fakir." 

Hir felt alarmed when she heard him speak thus, and 
said, " What kind of man was he?" 

" He was an old fellow," answered Ranjha, " and lame 
of a leg." 

Then she understood the whole matter, and became 
exceedingly sorrowful, saying, " You have done very 
wrong, my dear. No beggar was that at all, but my uncle 
Kaido. He will now take the churi to my father, and you, 
as well as I, will be brought into shame and disgrace." 
And then, without losing another moment, she took up 
a heavy stick and ran after the pretended fakir. Going 
out of the door she espied him running away at a great 
distance, and he also, looking behind him, saw his niece 
in full pursuit, but as he w r as lame of a leg and she a fine 
active girl, he was soon overtaken. And when she reached 
him she gave him four or five good cracks over his head 
with her stick and knocked him down. Then she tore off 
his turban of goat's hair, and snatched away his begging- 
bowl, and seized his leopard-skin bag which she at once 
opened, and emptied of the churi, while the old rascal lay 
flat on the ground crying and lamenting and saying, " O 
daughter, would you lift your hand against your uncle?" 

" Yes, a thousand times yes," cried she, " because like 
a villain you are going to put me to shame." 

So with a parting thrust she left him and betook herself 
back to Ranjha. 

But Kaido, gathering himself up, collected all the 
crumbs of churi he could find, and so went weeping and 
wailing to his brother, who was just then sitting in his 
courtyard in the midst of some of his neighbours. To 
him he presented himself, and, throwing down the scraps 
of churi before the whole company, he said, " Listen to 
me, O ye Siyals 

" O hear me speak, for sage advice I give, 
No woman-child henceforth permit to live, 
Soon as your teeming wives are brought to bed, 
Be yours to strike their female children dead ! 
For know, my kinsmen, Hir is Ranjha's slave, 
His she is now, and his will be beyond the grave!" 



i6 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Then Mahr Chukak rose up in wrath, and ordered his 
sons to go to the island, to put Ran j ha to t death, and to 
bring their sister home. So to Ranjha they went, and 
sitting down by his side began to seek for some excuse 
to slay him. " O Ranjha," said they, " the smell of musk 
comes from you. Whence got you the smell of musk?" 

" There is a certain wood," said he, " and the name of 
that wood is sandal wood. Sandal wood came floating 
down the river, and the buffaloes drank of the water 
thereof, and they carry the smell of musk with them 
wherever they go. But as for me I have not robbed a 
caravan, still less have I embraced your sister Hir." 

"You utter a lie!" cried they. "You go with our 
sister Hir, and out of her bosom comes the smell of the 
musk that comes from yourself." 

Then the two men drew their swords, and they were 
in the act to cut the lad down, when he spoke again. 
" Brothers, look here," said he. " Go to the herd and 
smell the buffaloes' mouths yea, the odour is in their 
very dung. You will find that the smell of the musk 
comes, not from me, but from them. I do not tell you 
a lie." 

The brothers then lowered their weapons and went out, 
and when they found some buffaloes' dung they smelled 
it, and, lo, the smell was as the smell of musk. But it 
availed not Ranjha, for their father's command was to 
kill and not to spare him. Going back to his hut, there- 
fore, they again raised their swords to smite him, but in 
the very act their arms stiffened and remained uplifted, 
nor could any effort of theirs cause them to descend again. 
They tried to bring them down, working their bodies now 
this side, now that, but they tried in vain. Then they 
began to suspect that Ranjha was different from other men, 
and believing him to be a prophet of God, they all four 
fell down at his feet. " Pardon us," said they, " and we 
will return to our father, and commend you to him that 
he may give you our sister Hir to wife. But do you pray 
for us that our arms may be restored, and for this favour 
we promise never to move foot or hand against you again." 
So Ranjha prayed, and the use of their arms came back 
to them as before. 

Now, as they were conferring together, Hir also came 
in, and began to taunt and upbraid her brothers for what 



THE LOVE STORY OF HIR AND RANJHA 17 

they had done. "Dear sister," protested they, "we 
were only acting a part, nor had we any idea of killing 
Ranjha at all. But we have come to summon you home, 
for your father wishes to see you for a couple of days, 
while your mother also is far from well. Get leave, 
therefore, from Ranjha and go with us back." So she 
turned to Ranjha and said, " My dear, give me leave 
now to return with my brothers, and in two days we 
shall meet again." 

On the way to the village she thought much of the 
treachery of her uncle Kaido in coming to Bela disguised 
as a poor fakir, and she saw plainly that he alone could 
have betrayed her, and that all her troubles had their 
origin in him. So she said, " Brothers, take me round by 
the way of our uncle's hut, as I have business with him 
of great importance." And they turned aside out of their 
way, and it was so that when they were passing the hut, 
and when the two men had gone a little before her, Hir 
took some fire and put it to the thatch, and the fire at 
once burst into a blaze and consumed the whole place, 
while the lame beggar began to dance and yell with rage. 
"Ah, Hir," cried he, "you have done me a wrong in 
burning my hut ! I jumped and danced and O you have 
burnt up my heart ! You have burnt up Khairi, my little 
Beauty, which had twelve chickens, you have burnt Lohi, 
my little red bitch that barked at every door, my vessels 
are burnt, all my household stuffs are burnt, and the bag 
in which I stored my bhang. Countless were the things I 
had in my house. You have burnt them all yea, in a 
word, I may say you have burnt up a very apothecary's 
shop!" Thus he complained, and then he said, "But I 
go to your father's house to denounce you." 

" Go," said she. " You have burnt fire on my head, 
and I have burnt fire on yours." 

With these words she hastened aw r ay and entered her 
mother's chamber, leaving her wretched uncle without, 
wringing his hands and bemoaning his hard fate. 

That night Mahr Chukak and his wife talked only of 
their daughter Hir, and the end of it was that her mother 
said, " Husband, to kill a human being would be the 
greatest sin, and how much more so when the victim 
would be your own daughter ! No, we must send for the 
Kazi and get him to persuade and correct her." 



i8 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Early in the morning, therefore, a man was despatched 
to the mosque for the Kazi, and he was asked to take her 
in hand, to admonish her with wise counsel, and to bring 
her to reason. And the Kazi called her in, and when she 
came to him he said to her, " O Hir, you are a good child, 
your mother is a good woman, and a good man is your 
father. Listen then to good advice, for I have taught you 
from your childhood up, and I am your master. My dear 
daughter, do you think it is right or proper to bring 
trouble and disgrace on your father and mother? You 
know that long ago they betrothed you to the chief of 
the Khera tribe, and well you know that every child 
should obey its father." 

"My Pir is a spirit," answered she, "and he has 
married me to Ranjha. I have accepted Ranjha, and his 
shall I be as long as I live." 

These words filled the Kazi's soul with rage, and he 
said, " O Hir, artful girl that thou art, listen to me and 
attend to the words of God ! You will be expelled from 
Paradise to find your portion in Hell!" 

" Kazi," said she, " from my earliest years you have 
been my instructor, but never from you, O Kazi, should 
I have looked for language like this ! Raniha is mine and 
I am his." 

Then the priest opened his book, and showed Hir some 
lines written therein, saying to her, " O child of disobedi- 
ence, do you not see this? Do you dare to bandy words 
with your Kzi ? I tell you that you are on the straight 
road to Hell." 

" O you consumer of bribes !" cried Hir. " They have 
bribed you with five rupees and a betel leaf ! A precious 
Mulwdna x are you ! What are you doing, you cunning 
Kazi, you deceiver of the people ? Why make white the 
black letters of the Alkoran ? May your children perish 
at home and your oxen abroad ! What connection, tell 
me, is there between love and the doctrines of the 
Muhammadan Law?" 

Then thought the Kazi within himself, "This girl is too 
infatuated to listen to a word spoken against Ranjha, since 
she puts even me to disgrace." As he was thus con- 
sidering, one of the people of the Kheras came to the door 
and made signs as though he had somewhat to tell him. 

1 A priest. 



THE LOVE STORY OF HIR AND RANJHA 19 

But the priest dismissed him with a look, and turning 
again to Hir, he said, " I have no power to write, I have 
not even ink for my pen to describe, the sin you are about 
to commit. A place will be found for you in the lowest pit 
of Hell if you do not submit yourself to the Law. O Hir, 
you will render yourself infamous, and an outcast from 
your parents, from me, and from all your kin, if you do 
not obey my order, and give Ranjha up. O believe what 
I tell you ! If you will not accept the Khera as your hus- 
band, your father has fully determined to hand you over, 
body and soul, to the lowest scavenger in all the village." 
But Hir, like the foundations of the earth, remained 
unmoved. " Hear me, O Kazi," said she. " To me you 
are a father, and you, too, have daughters at home in your 
house. I have begged you, I have prayed you, I have 
besought you with tears, and ever I call you Miyan. 1 For 
Ranjha I am going distracted 

" He is my soldier lad, yea more, 

My chosen knight is he ! 
Him madly, madly I adore, 
His life is life of me ! 

If Ranjha seek the battle-field 

To fight against the foe, 
O I will be his sheltering shield, 

On me shall fall the blow ! 

Could I in Mecca's sacred place 

E'er hope to bow my head, 
If I from Ranjha turned my face, 

Or Khera loved instead?" 

" O blasphemy !" cried the priest. " Listen to me and 
attend, O Hir, thou crafty one ! Fearlessly you utter 
words without sense, but may speedy death put an end 
to him, may that Ranjha of whom you are so proud be 
numbered with the lost!" 

" Can prayer be made in vain?" said she. 

" When the sun breaks the power of night 
I rub my nose-ring clean and bright ; 
When the sun halts in mid career, 
A gem I choose to deck my ear ; 
When he marks half the western sky, 
My burnished necklace then I try ; 

1 Miydn, master. 



20 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Soon as he sinks adown the west, 
I don the robe that suits me best ; 
When bed-time comes my beads I take, 
And all my faith's confessions make." 1 

"O Kazi," continued she, " neither you nor my father 
can be judge between Ranjha and me. Let us go to the 
King and let him be my judge." 

The Kazi then ordered one of his pupils to call in her 
mother, and when the mother entered the room she looked 
at her daughter and said, "Hear me, my daughter! 
Doubtless the Kazi has explained to you everything. 
Know then that you have been given in marriage to Sattar, 
the chief of the Kheras. Why do you bring so much 
trouble upon us?" 

" Mother," answered she, " if you have a single particle 
of the true Faith in you, do not vex me. Otherwise I will 
thrust a dagger into my heart, and die here at your feet !" 

Her mother then made signs to her younger daughter, 
who went out and brought in her father, and all four sat 
down together. " O my daughter," said her father, " you 
must simply be ruled by us, and obey the orders we give 
you. Why will you not accept the Khera? God will 
give you the true Faith." 

" O father," said she, " hear me ! 

" One day I ran, urged by some secret power, 
And to the ferry came, just as a boat 
Came floating in. Within her lay a youth, 
And from his face I lifted up the veil, 
But when he raised his eyes to look at mine, 
Straightway I, swooning, fell. The Khwaja Pir 2 
Betrothed me to him ; angels whispering low 
Performed the ceremony of Mdydn; 3 
To deck me out came jewels down from Heaven, 
Pearls for my neck and bracelets for my arms, 
And, O, to Ranjha, father, was I wed ! 
The angel Jibrail was there to speak 
The solemn words, and Israfil stood by 
As witness to the rite, while in the train, 
The wedding-train, walked the Five Holy Pirs, 
And God, yea, God Himself, was good to me ! 
All turned to Ranjha, and they gave him Hir, 
In this world now, and in the world to come." 

1 In other words she observes the five fixed times of prayer in vogue 
among Muhammadans. ', . 

2 KhwdjA Pir the deity of the river. 

3 Mdydn, the betrothal ceremony. 



THE LOVE STORY OF HIR AND RANJHA 21 

Meanwhile the Kazi was muttering to himself, " There 
are sixteen rubies and seventeen diamonds with five pearls. 
Five of the rubies are of excellent lustre what a garland 
they would make ! Who can read me the parable ? The 
men, forsooth, are asses and the women she-asses!" He 
then addressed himself to Mahr Chukak, and said, " Very 
rich is the Khera. When he was betrothed to Hir he sent 
her rubies, diamonds, and pearls of price. And yet not- 
withstanding all this and much besides, in spite of my 
precepts and her father's injunctions, she is going to 
marry a homeless beggarly wanderer, so that your only 
remedy now is to do away with her altogether." 

But here her mother interposed and said, " God forbid 
to kill the child must in any case be a sin ! The whole 
world would point the finger of scorn and say we had 
killed her because she was worthless and bad, and our 
good name would be for ever lost. No, no, let us rather 
marry her off to the Khera at once!" 

Her advice was approved, and the father Mahr Chukak 
at once proceeded to act upon it. He summoned his family 
bard as well as a barber and a Brahmin, and despatched 
them all three to Sattar, the chief of the Kheras, to give 
him notice that his wedding ceremony would be celebrated 
in eight days. So the tribe of the Kheras assembled 
together and held a council, and it was announced to them 
that Mahr Chukak had sent his messengers, saying, 
"Make your preparations of marriage!" And the news 
was very welcome to them, and they all began to get 
ready. 

And now Hir, considering within herself that her fate 
was inevitable, unless God himself could help her, decided 
to see Ranjha once more. So, taking with her a bevy of 
maidens, she set off for the island, and when she arrived 
there she found Ranjha sitting under a tree engaged in 
prayer. "Dear Ranjha," said she, "what about the 
buffaloes? Are they quite well?" 

"What do I know about the buffaloes?" answered 
he. 

She, supposing him to be angry, sat down by his 
side, and said, "It is not on the buffaloes' account 
I have come let them go ! I have come to tell you 
something." Then in a little while she spoke to him 
thus 



22 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" My father's buffaloes are mine whole herds 

He now has given me. Fairies are some, 
And some are lovelier than birds 
Of Paradise, that go and come, 
Or houris soft and fair. 

Look at their dazzling teeth ! No jasmine flower, 
No dainty bud, can boast so pure a white ! 

And, O, their curving horns ! What power, 
And what rare symmetry unite 
Magnificently there ! 

When they go forth, is there a pasture sweet 

But puts on warmer smiles for them? 
When they troop home, our tiny street 

/Wears beauty like a diadem, 
Though mean enough before. 

Perdition seize them ! Yea, may they devour 

Their owners, Ranjha ! But, for me 
And you, O snatch this fleeting hour, 

And in my arms content yourself to be- 
Perchance you may embrace me nevermore ! " 

Moreover, she told him of her approaching marriage 
with the Khera, and said, " I will send for you the day 
before the wedding, and then shall I see whether or not 
the power of God is upon you." 

" My dear heart," said Ranjha. " I have no such 
power at all. I am a simple man and cannot pretend to 
favour or grace more than another. But let us trust in 
God, who only can make darkness light." 

When Hir returned to her house, she found that the 
mdhdi 1 had been prepared for her, and as she entered her 
apartment a certain woman whose duty it was called her 
and said, "Dear child, come, stretch out your hand!" 
But, instead of giving her hand, she slapped the woman's 
face, saying, " O mother, you have distilled the mdhdi, 
but whose hands would you redden therewith ? I am 
betrothed to Ranjha, and would you give me to the 
Khera?" 

At last the marriage procession arrived, and after the 
performance of all the preliminary rites, the ceremony itself 
began to be solemnized. For the girl's mother had sent for 
the Kazi and her father and several other persons. First 
of all came her father and the Kazi, who addressed her 

1 Mdhdi, a red vegetable stain, similar to henna, for staining the 
nails, the palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. 



THE LOVE STORY OF HIR AND RANJHA 23 

and said, " Dear child, we hope you will consider us, and 
not put us to disgrace in the presence of so many people." 

"O let me be," said she, "for well you know that 1 
have already been married to Ranjha!" 

Then was Sattar Khera made to sit down, and the Kazi 
began the ceremony, but Hir sprang up from her place, 
and seizing a rod, smote the priest upon the head. " Ah," 
cried he, "the bridegroom sat down ready to begin, but 
she, the insolent and perverse, has plucked out my 
beard!" 

"O Kazi," said she, "listen to me 

" The month of July has descended in flood, 

And the barrier-sands have been carried away ; 
Deep, deep, and as fierce in my heart and my blood 
Rolls the river of love 
Can you turn it with threats, or with menaces stay?" 

Also she said, " But for you, O stony priest, may God 
consign you to lamentable shame and disgrace without 
end, and may like disgrace befall your daughters as 
well!" 

Then she went out of the house, her mind fixed wholly 
on Ranjha. But her mother, who was not willing that 
further forbearance should be shown her, now ordered 
that she should be taken by force and made over at once 
to the Khera. So the servants seized her, and with 
violence thrust her into the palki which was waiting ready 
to receive her. 

That same morning Ranjha was lying asleep among the 
trees of Bela when the Five Pirs appeared to him and 
said, " Sir, are you asleep? Know you not that your wife 
is going away with the Khera?" All five of them stood 
at his head, saying, " Rise up, O wretched one, the 
Kheras are about to bear her away!" 

Then Ranjha sprang to his feet, and, by the power of 
the Pirs, he at once found himself standing close to the 
palki in which Hir had been seated. Now no one was 
able to lift that palki. The very strongest of the Kheras 
tried to raise it, but he tried in vain. In spite of all their 
struggles the palki remained immovable. And all the 
time Ranjha stood by, while the Five Pirs stood behind 
him. And when the people, notwithstanding every en- 
deavour, found themselves unable to lift the palki, then 



24 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

they called the Kazi, and the Kazi, coming to Hir, spoke 
and said, " O daughter, you shall have all the wealth you 
desire. We will give you apparel and ornaments, rubies 
and diamonds; but for God's sake dismiss Ranjha from 
your mind, forget him for one moment, so that the palki 
may be raised and the honour of your family preserved." 
But Hir answered him not, only she looked towards the 
Five Pirs and towards Ranjha, and she said, " Let the 
Five Pirs speak. If they do, another palki will descend 
from Heaven, and in one palki shall sit Hir and in the 
other Ranjha!" 

So the Five Pirs prayed before God, and immediately, 
to the surprise of all men, another palki descended from 
Heaven. But the Kheras, bewildered and astonished, 
turned towards Mahr Chukak and his wife, who, answer- 
ing, said, " We were her parents, and truly we brought 
her into the world, but that Hir was married to Ranjha is 
news indeed we never understood it before." 

And now Ranjha stepped forth and took his place, and 
the Five Pirs ordered angels of God to come down and 
bear the palkis away. And there appeared two angels, 
beautiful and strong, who, lifting the palkis in their hands, 
bore them upwards, and carried them swiftly to Mecca. 
And there, having paid their devotions, the two lovers 
lived happily together for many years, and if, as we 
believe, they never died, they are living still in one o/ 
the islands of Arabia. 

Told by the bard, Sher, at Abbottdbdd, October 1889. 



A STORY OF GUL BADSHAH 25 

II 

A STORY OF GUL BADSHAH 
The true King is God ; I tell of Kings who vanish away. 

HEAR a story of Gul Badshah, the name of whose queen 
was Manavur. 1 He was just and good, very jealous of his 
name, and all the world spoke well of him. One day his 
vizier came to him and said 

"O King, the Queen goes and comes just as she 
pleases. Let her go out, but only at stated times. It is 
not good for queens to go out so much." 

" But the Queen," answered the King, " gets tired of 
the house, and she goes out and comes back refreshed. 
So best, let the Queen be, vizier!" 

Again, after some days, the vizier came to the King 
and mentioned the name of the Queen to him in such a 
way that he set the King a-thinking, and by-and-by the 
King began to suspect something. 

Now Queen Manavur had a sister whose name was 
Senah, and the two lived in the palace together. One 
day when these two went out walking as usual, the King 
took his bow and his quiver, and, with his dog at his 
heels, he followed them. On they went until they came 
to a garden of trees, and the King having tracked them, 
stole up and saw both ladies sitting with two huge men 
called dhehs, that is to say, two demons or ogres. At 
that moment the Queen glanced back, and spied the King 
coming, and said to her dheh, " The King, the King, he 
is coming and will strike!" Then she shrank away as if 
in fear of the dheh, and so crouching, awaited events. 

Now when the King came quite close up, the second 
dheh rose, and snatching up the Princess Senah, flew off 
with her after the manner of dhehs; but the Queen's dheh 
rushed at the King and would have slain him, had not the 
King's dog seized him by the leg and held him fast until 
the King, fitting an arrow to his bow, took aim and laid 
the monster low. Thus, the dheh being dead, the Queen 
Manavur ran away home for her life, and went trembling 

1 From Manauhdr, "heart-ravishing." 



26 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

to her rooms. But the King entered moody and sullen, 
and sat down in his hall of audience and awaited the 
coming of his vizier, who, when he saw him, said, " O 
King, you are upset, your mind is disturbed!" 

At that time, however, the King did not answer, but 
remained silent, and soon he went in ; and as he sat by 
himself he began to consider and to meditate, saying, 
" Surely nothing in the world is so faithful as a dog. O 
excellent hound, O faithful friend, but for you, your 
master would be lying cold and stiff in the garden of 
cypresses !" So the King sent for his vizier and told him 
the whole story, how the Queen was false, how the 
Princess had vanished, and how one of the dhehs lay dead 
in the garden. " But I do not wish to kill her," said he, 
" for if I killed my Queen, the people would not under- 
stand, they would believe even worse things of her, and 
on me and on my house would fall trouble and disgrace, 
and everywhere in my kingdom men would give me a bad 
name. To save my honour, therefore, contrive some- 
thing; invent what scheme you please, but whatever you 
do, let it be settled that the Queen shall eat day by day 
of the leavings of my dog, since, when she was false, my 
dog was true !" 

So it came to pass that a house was built covered all 
over with bristling spear-heads so that the Queen could 
not possibly escape, or in any way be reached ; and every 
day when the faithful dog had finished his daily meal the 
vizier carried his leavings to that dismal place and gave 
them to the Queen with his own hands. So passed many 
days. But the King was not satisfied, and sometimes he 
sent forth his vizier disguised into the city to listen to the 
speech of the people and to report their sayings. And 
when the vizier returned and the King inquired, " What 
are the people saying?" the vizier would answer, "No 
one suspects, for no one knows that the Queen is not in 
the palace." These reports, however, the King never 
believed, and for greater secrecy he ordered all his servants 
to live without the walls. " Let no one spend the night 
within the palace grounds," said he. But even that pre- 
caution did not ease the mind of the King, who, growing 
more and more suspicious, at last retired to the top of a 
certain mountain, where he had a strong castle, in which 
he took up his abode and in which the Queen languished 



A STORY OF GUL BADSHAH 27 

miserably, feeding like a beast on the leavings of the old 
dog. And no guard or attendant or servant, once en- 
gaged, was allowed to leave the premises, under pain of 
sword or gibbet. Nor could any one approach from with- 
out, for on one side were steep places, and on the other, 
at the foot of that mountain, flowed a river twelve miles 
broad, on which no boat was suffered to ply. 

Now it had so happened, that it was in the very country 
which lay on the opposite side of the river that the second 
dheh had settled when he had flown away with the Princess 
Senah. But he had died, leaving the Princess alone. And 
in the place where the dheh had died and the Princess 
was living, there were heard every Thursday night the 
most dismal wailings and meanings, nor could any one 
find out what they were. And when the Kings of that 
part came to see the Princess Senah and to ask her to 
marry them she always imposed conditions, saying to 
them, " First I will only marry the man who will stop 
the wailing, and, secondly, I will only marry the man 
who will bring me tidings of Gul Badshah." Many were 
the Princes who essayed the tasks imposed on them, but 
none of them succeeded. No one was able to stop the 
wailings, and no one could bring her news of Gul Bad- 
shah, for the Queen was too straitly confined; and as for 
the wailings, all the old men declared they had gone on 
for years time out of mind, so that the Kings had all to 
return to their homes as they came. 

It chanced, however, that in those parts there was one 
King named Chand Badshah, who had seven sons by one 
Queen, and one son only by another Queen. All the seven 
elder brothers were married, but not so the half-brother. 
This young Prince, whose name was Ahmed, sometimes 
visited his brothers' wives, who never failed to taunt him, 
saying, " If you were worth anything at all, you would 
go and stop the wailing and marry the Princess." Stung 
by these reproaches, he at last answered them, " Now I 
go ! If I stop the wailing, all's well; if not, I will return 
no more." So he left his home, and after wandering from 
place to place, he at last arrived at the palace of the 
Princess and asked her hand in marriage. But she 
answered him, " Stop the wailing noise and marry me, 
and bring me news of Gul Badshah and marry me, but 
never shall man marry me until both my behests are 



28 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

fulfilled." Having received his answer, he repaired to 
the place of the wailings to observe, climbing the hills 
and going down to the valleys, sometimes by night, some- 
times by day, and all to no purpose, But, when he 
inquired of the neighbours, he heard that in such a place 
lived a very old man who by trade was a goldsmith. To 
him he went, and when he spoke to him the old man 
answered, " Why have you come to me, and for what 
purpose do you ask such things? For this is a most 
difficult enterprise, and you are merely a lad. Better go 
home again !" 

" Nay," answered the Prince, "only tell me the story, 
for learn the secret I must!" 

" Heed then my words," said the old man. " In former 
times that was a place where evil men were wont to rob 
and murder the innocent. In those days there once came 
a wedding party who implored the inhabitants to escort 
them through the dark defiles where the robbers used to 
lurk and where the murders took place, but, out of all the 
people, only ten men would venture to go. As soon as 
they got down to a certain place, as they were travelling 
along, out rushed the robbers and massacred every soul 
of the party. And, because those ten men had gone freely 
to their death, therefore the people reckon them as martyrs. 
Yet, out of the ten, nine only were good men. The tenth 
was a usurer. And every Thursday night, week by week, 
for the souls of the nine good men, rice comes down from 
heaven, but for the soul of the usurer come only stones, 
and ever as he gnaws his stones he keeps wailing and 
wailing. Hence the dismal noise which is heard in all the 
country-side." 

Having heard this story, the Prince set out for the 
mountain defile, and on Thursday night he sat down near 
the spot at which those men had fallen under the sword. 
And as he sat, the souls of those ten men gathered, and 
came to the place, and also sat down. And the nine good 
men said among themselves, " To-night we have a guest, 
let us spare a little for him from every mess." So they 
all gave, each of them dropping a little of his rice into a 
dish, which they then presented to the Prince. And when 
the tenth saw that, he said, " As you have given of yours, 
I too must give of mine," and he gave the Prince a stone, 
and having so done, he went away and sat down by him- 



A STORY OF GUL BADSHAH 29 

self. Then said the Prince, " Food you have brought 
me, but wherefore this stone?" All that mystery they 
explained to him fully, and they also said, " In a little 
while you will hear the sound of the wailing." 

" But what is the meaning of it?" asked the Prince. 

Then the nine answered, " In life he was worth lacs and 
lacs of rupees, yet never gave a pice in charity. All his 
treasure he buried in the ground, while the poor starved, 
and that is why he is now so punished." 

" But may I not speak to him," said the Prince, " if only 
to say to him ' God bless you !' ?" 

So the nine good martyrs took him to their fellow- 
martyr, and when the Prince saw him he had pity on him, 
and begged him to tell him the reason of his misery. 

" When I was in life," said the usurer, " and when my 
debtors came to me with their supplications, I used to say 
to them, ' First pay your interest and then take your prin- 
cipal, first pay your interest and then take your prin- 
cipal !' But, O sir, if you could only find my money, which 
is a vast sum, and distribute it all in charity, then God 
perhaps would release me ! It lies buried in the village of 
the old goldsmith." 

When morning came all the ghosts disappeared, and 
the Prince returned to the village. But he had forgotten 
to ask the bad man his name, so he went to the old gold- 
smith and said to him, " W^hat were the names of the ten 
martyrs?" And the old man answered so and so. " But 
what was the name of the rich usurer?" asked Ahmed. 

"That man," said he, "was named Din." 

" Can you tell me anything about him ?" said the Prince. 

" I can tell you everything," said the goldsmith. 

" Then has he any relations left still in this place?" 

" None of his own descendants," answered the man, 
" but some of his daughter's descendants are here." 

But when the Prince went to inquire, he found only one 
great-grand-daughter left, and she in the greatest poverty. 
At that very moment she was so poor that she was 
patching up her wretched hovel herself, with mud. So he 
addressed her and said, " Was not your great-grandfather 
named Din?" 

" Yes," answered she. " Din was my grandfather's 
name." 

" Alas," said he, " that ancestor of yours is now a cursed 



3 o ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

being. For the sake of his name, then, give something 
away in charity." 

At this the woman got angry, and throwing some of 
her mud to one side, " Here take this !" cried she. ' This 
I will give, if you like, it is all he ever left me." 

" But had he never a house of his own, your great- 
grandfather Din?" asked the Prince. 

" O yes, he had," said she, "but poverty compelled us 
to sell it to a grain-seller." 

" Come, show me the place," said he. 

So they both went together, and having reached the 
house, the Prince said to the bunniah, " Did you buy Din's 
property from this woman?" 

" Yes," answered the man. 

" But," said the Prince, " did you buy the house only, 
or did you buy the land as well?" 

" I bought the house only," said he. 

On hearing this, the Prince began digging. After some 
time he came upon three large jars full of money, which 
he lifted out, and then said to the woman, " All this money 
was your great-grandfather's." 

" I have nothing to do with it," said she. " Give me 
but enough to live upon, and the rest take yourself." 

Then said he to the bunniah, " If for twenty rupees you 
bought this house, take now thirty and quit." 

"You speak so handsomely," said the bunniah, "and 
have behaved so well, why should I ask more than I paid ?" 

The Prince then took the money and divided it into 
three parts. One part with the house he gave to the 
woman, but with the other two parts he bought horses 
and goods and raiment and food, and began to distribute 
them day by day in charity, but always in the name of 
Din. Each Thursday the wailing sounded less and less 
dreadful, and it ceased completely to be heard as soon 
as the whole of the money had been given to the poor. 
Then went the Prince back to the Princess and said, 
" One of my tasks is done." 

"I know it," said she, "but the other still remains. 
Bring me now news of Gul Badshah, and my hand shall 
be yours." 

So the Prince set out again, and coming to the old gold- 
smith, he stated the case to him and said, " What shall I 
do now?" 



A STORY OF GUL BADSHAH 31 

" Alas," said he, " this is a most difficult business, and 
you such a stripling ! First of all you must pass through 
jungles full of tigers and monkeys and huge birds of 
prey." 

' If I die," said the Prince, " go I must." 

" Come," said the old man. " I will advise you, and if 
you will follow my counsels you will succeed." 

' What do you advise?" asked the Prince. 

" First of all," said the old man, " when you come to the 
country of the tigers, be not afraid, but go forward, and 
say unto them, ' In the name of God!' Then they will 
allow you to pass, and none will molest you. Again, when 
you get to the country of the great birds, say in like 
manner, 'In the name of God!' and they too will let 
you pass. But the monkeys will not obey that charm. 
Therefore be careful to take with you some grain, as much 
as you can carry, and when they begin to swarm about 
you, scatter it on the ground, for monkeys are greedy 
folk, and they will stop to fill their mouths, and meanwhile 
you can pass safely through." 

So the Prince took with him a bag full of grain and 
started on the adventure. When he came to the tigers 
he cried, " In the name of God !" and so passed on. And 
when he came to the monkeys he threw at them handfuls 
of the grain which monkeys love. Grain by grain, the 
monkeys stopped to pick it up, while the Prince passed 
on in safety. Then he came to the huge birds, numbers 
of which came flying round him and spoke to him, and 
thanked God for his grace in sending them a human being 
for their dinner that day. And their words were so alarm- 
ing that the Prince had need of all his courage. 

" You speak of eating me," said he. " But see my bow 
and my arrows I can shoot you down two at a time." 

Then said the king of the birds to him, " Who then 
are you ?" 

" I am a king," answered he. 

"You a king?" cried the bird. " And do you under- 
stand shooting?" 

"Yes, I do," answered the Prince. 

"Be it so," said the bird. " I will hold up my claw, 
and if you can hit my claw with one of your arrows, pass 
in peace in the name of God!" 

So the bird held up a claw, but the Prince, suspecting a 



32 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

trick, determined to aim at the leg, "for," said he, " I 
think that bird will lower his claw, and if he do, then I 
shall hit him fair." 

As a matter of fact the bird did lower his claw, and the 
arrow hit it and pierced it through. And the Chief of 
the birds was so astonished at this exploit that at once he 
ordered an escort of birds to see the Prince safely out 
of his territory. Nevertheless the wounded bird remained 
behind, but it was not to waylay the Prince, though the 
Prince thought it might have been so; and when they 
arrived at the boundary of the kingdom of the birds, their 
leader begged a token from the Prince, who gave him a 
ring as a pledge that his engagement had been faithfully 
kept, and then the escort returned, while the Prince con- 
tinued his journey alone. 

At last he came to the banks of the river, but neither 
boat nor boatman, nor any person whatsoever, was to be 
seen anywhere, and how to cross no one could tell him. 
Now there grew there an enormous stsam tree, and as he 
was very tired he sought the shade of it, and lying down 
commended himself to God and went to sleep. In his 
sleep he dreamed that he heard the loud cries of birds, and 
started up, but could see no one. But there the cries were 
just the same, and they seemed to come from a great 
nest high up in the tree. And as he looked he saw a 
huge snake crawling up from branch to branch, and the 
higher he went, the more loudly shrieked the young birds, 
and the more they fluttered. When the Prince understood 
the affair, he drew his bow and the snake fell dead, pierced 
by a sharp arrow, while he himself, weary with travel, lay 
down and went to sleep once more. 

After a time the two old birds returned, bringing food 
for their young ones, and seeing a strange man lying there, 
they began to say to each other, " For six years past, 
this fellow has been coming here stealing our young ones. 
Now, before feeding them, let us kill him !" 

But the youngsters, overhearing this speech, cried, " The 
man has saved our lives in such sort that to the end of 
our days we can never be thankful enough." 

" Nay," said the old birds. " The rogue is an enemy, 
and an enemy he has been for six years past." 

" O no," said the young ones, " not he at all, but that 
monstrous snake. See where he lies!" 



A STORY OF GUL BADSHAH 33 

And when the old birds saw the snake, they were 
convinced, and straightway wetting their wings in the river, 
they spread them over the sleeping Prince to shade and 
refresh him. When, however, he at last awoke, he looked 
up, and began to think he was to be devoured, but the 
birds said, " Don't be afraid !" 

" I am distressed," said the Prince, " because it would 
seem that God has only given me trouble on trouble." 

But the birds reassured him by telling him their story, 
and by thanking him for his kindness, after which they said 
to him, " Can we do anything for you? Other people can 
work with their hands, but we will work with our eyes 
for you ! ' ' 

" I wish to cross the river," said he, " to get news of 
Gul Badshah and his begam." 

Then said the male bird, " You rest awhile here, and I 
will cross and bring you all the news possible." 

" O no," said the Prince, " my promise was that I should 
go myself and see with my own eyes." 

"In any case it is now too late, ' ' said the bird. ' 'Remain 
therefore with us and rest. We can give you food, we 
can catch you a deer. Shall we bring it alive or dead ?" 
'' Bring it to me alive," said the Prince. 
So it was said, and so it was done. The deer was 
brought in alive, and the Prince killed it, and, having 
made a fire, he roasted the flesh of it, and ate, and slept. 
And when the morning came the male bird descended 
from the tree and bade the Prince mount on his back 
and close his eyes. And swiftly he rose, and swiftly flying 
over the river set the Prince down close to the castle. 
!< Now I am going," said he, " but, as you have done us a 
service so great that we can never repay it, take from me 
this feather, and if ever you are in danger or in need of 
help, burn the end of it in a flame, and one or both of 
us will come to your aid." 

Having so said, the bird took wing once more, and 
instantly disappeared. But the Prince entered first a 
neighbouring town, and the people took note of him, and 
when they asked him why he was there, he answered, " I 
have come to enter the service of the King." And they 
said, " Are you mad to think of such a thing? For neither 
will you have leave to go, nor will you even save your 
life if you attempt it." 



34 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" What does it matter," said the Prince, " since I have 
made up my mind to face the risk?" 

At the castle gate, the sentry warned him too, and an 
old domestic said to him, " Ah fool, to come to a place 
like this," but still he persisted, until some one went and 
told the King, who came and said to him, " Whence come 
you?" And while the Prince answered something, the 
King said, " Why have you come?" 

" I am merely one of the King's servants," said the 
Prince. " Let me be one of your bodyguard." 

" My servants come, but they never go," said the King. 
"Neither absence nor leave is theirs, .and death is the 
penalty of desertion. So come or else go at once." 

" Try me," said the Prince; " these conditions I accept." 
So Prince Ahmed entered the service of Gul Badshah, 
who furnished him with arms and sent him to guard the 
Queen. She was confined in a tower by herself, and her 
cell was dark and narrow. There she languished from day 
to day, fed upon the leavings of a dog, though still she 
looked like a human being. All these things the Prince 
soon discovered, and when he had seen and learnt every- 
thing he determined to get away. So he went to the King 
and said, " I have made a great mistake, and as this service 
does not suit me I wish to go, or at least to take leave." 

" One thing you may do, ' answered the King, " and one 
only. You can remain living or dead." 

" Nay," answered the Prince. " I will not stay here 
either living or dead, but I will go." 

So the King called for a sword, but Prince Ahmed said, 
" First let me have respite merely so much as to allow me 
to take my farewell of the world from the house-top." 

The King consenting, the Prince took with him a little 
fire, and running up the steps to the top of the tower, 
he took out his feather and held it for a moment over 
the ember, and, when it flamed, at once both the birds 
appeared ready to do him service. Meamvhile the King 
had sent up some of his guards, saying, " If he refuse to 
descend, kill him on the spot." Hearing their approach, 
the birds advised despatch, saying, " Make your salaams 
and mount at once, lest you be overtaken by an arrow." 
So the Prince turned towards the palace, and with a 
respectful salaam he thanked the King for his hospitality, 
and exclaiming, " Now, I am off !" mounted the male bird, 



A STORY OF GUL BADSHAH 35 

and in a moment was carried far away to the other side 
of the river. Thus when the slaves reached the top of the 
tower they found no one there, and at once returned to 
report the circumstance to the King, who, falling into a 
rage, seized a sword and ran up himself, but when he saw 
the place deserted, he cried, " Ah, the fellow was some 
traitor from another land ! He has escaped me, and now 
my dishonour will be published to the world." 

But the Prince had landed in safety under the great tree 
on which sat the young ones, now well able to fly. And 
he said to the male bird, " Carry me, I pray you, over the 
jungles." And the male bird said, " Take one of my 
young ones also to remain with you always and to be your 
attendant." At first the Prince refused this gift, but after- 
wards he consented. Then he mounted once more, and 
away they flew over hills and plains of forest and jungle, 
where lived the monkeys and the tigers and the birds that 
devoured travellers, and at last they alighted not many 
marches from the house of the Princess Senah. There the 
old bird made his salaams to him, and committed to him 
the young one, who promised to be faithful and bring news 
when trouble threatened, and after that he took his leave 
of them both, and returned to his mate. But the Prince 
continued his journey on foot, until he reached the village 
of the old goldsmith, who, when he' had heard of all his 
adventures, said, " Now go boldly to the Princess and 
claim her." This the Prince did not fail to do, and 
when he saw her he said, " I have obeyed your orders. I 
have fulfilled both the conditions; do you believe it, or 
net?" 

" Tell me," said she, " the whole story from first to last, 
and then I will tell you whether I believe it or not." 

So she sat and listened, while the Prince related his 
adventures in wild places, in the countries of the tigers 
and the monkeys and the savage birds, and told her of 
the enormous snake, and how God had shown him kindness 
at the river, and brought him two great fowls to carry him 
over and to carry him back. " And your sister the 
Queen," said he, "is still alive; she lives in a barred 
chamber, and eats the leavings of the King's dogs, and yet, 
in spite of it all, she has still something of the look of a 
woman." 

" All this is true," cried the Princess when he had ended. 



36 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" I knew beforehand that this would happen, and so now 
I accept you." 

But by this time she had become very poor, and for 
that reason she would have put him off, he being a Prince, 
and she a Princess. " But see," said she, " I have left a 
ruby chain of great price pledge it, and procure me 
suitable conveyance, and I will go with you to your 
country." 

So after the wedding was over, a handsome doolie was 
brought, into which the Princess got in her loveliest robes, 
and they both started for the court of Chand Badshah, 
the Prince's father. When within two marches of the 
capital, a herald was sent forward to announce their com- 
ing, and the news spread far and wide. His mother was 
overjoyed, and his father saddled his horse and rode out 
with a brilliant retinue to welcome his long-lost son, and, 
having met him on the road, he embraced him, and escorted 
them both with great ceremony into the town. But 
Princess Senah delayed to visit her seven sisters, the wives 
of the other seven Princes, until she had new apparel pro- 
vided to visit them in state. " I must put off my call," 
said she, " until my things are ready." 

"Nay," answered her mother-in-law, "you shall not 
need to wait. You shall have all you require immediately. 
See, I have brought with me gold, apparel and jewellery in 
abundance, trinkets and bangles, a mirror of pearls for 
your finger, pendants for your head, a ring for your nose, 
and slaves withal to attend you. What need you more?" 

So then she 'began to adorn herself handsomely, and her 
ornaments jingled like bells the moment she moved. And 
when she was ready, her husband, Prince Ahmed, escorted 
her forth, and her doolie bore her to the palace of her new 
sisters, who already possessed her likeness, but who were 
forced to admit that the reality far surpassed the picture. 

Now the seven Princes were of old envious of their 
youngest brother because he was the son of another 
woman, and they began to conspire. " We had got this 
fellow," said they, "out of the way, but here he is back 
again in greater glory than ever." Their hatred against 
him increased when Prince Ahmed demanded territory to 
maintain his dignity, and especially after he had said to 
them, " You are seven sons of one mother, I am the only 
son of another mother. By custom and law, therefore, half 



A STORY OF GUL BADSHAH 37 

the kingdom should be yours, and the other half should 
be mine." 

" No," said the brothers, " make eight parts of it and 
take one, and do not expect any more." 

While these disputes were raging among his children, 
the old King Chand Badshah died and was buried. And 
when he was dead the wife of the eldest brother spoke 
and said to her husband, " Give him half the kingdom, 
and then fight him and take all his land from him, since 
you are seven to one." But the seven brothers scorned 
this advice as being the advice of a woman, and with 
Ahmed they agreed to call in a neighbouring king as 
umpire, who, when he had come and feasted for seven 
days, said to the seven, " Give your youngest brother one 
half of the kingdom, since it is his by right." This then 
accordingly they did, but when the land was divided, they 
soon picked a quarrel against him and began to make 
war upon him, and to take from him his towns and his 
castles. In his extremity Prince Ahmed summoned his 
favourite heron, but it was not to be found in its house 
or elsewhere, and search was made for it in vain. But 
the people heard say that the brothers had poisoned it 
with oil, because a wise man had informed them that it 
could fly one hundred miles in a single breath to bring 
news to its master and to fetch him assistance. Then in 
his trouble Prince Ahmed turned to his friend the umpire 
King, who promised speedy relief, which when the seven 
heard, they sent ambassadors to their brother desiring 
peace. " Let us agree to lay down our arms," said they, 
"and let us quarrel no more." 

" I am the youngest," answered Ahmed, " and you are 
my elders. For that reason, if for no other, I desire to 
be on neighbourly terms with you." 

Now at that time there was living with the seven 
Princesses an old woman whose name was Badnami. She, 
coming to the wicked Princes, as they sat together, said, 
" Give me the order, and I will contrive the death of Prince 
Ahmed at once." So they gave her leave. 

There was then peace between the brothers, and they 
were all together at the capital of the seven, for Prince 
Ahmed and his wife had come on a visit to them. And 
Badnami went to the Princess Senah and said, " Alas, 
Lady, your husband has accused you to me only this very 



38 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

day of freedoms with one of his brothers, but O do not 
repeat what I say, lest I fall into trouble." Then she went 
to the Prince and whispered to him privately under a 
similar promise of secrecy, " Alas, how men are always 
suspected ! Only this very day your wife accused you 
to me of freedoms with one of her slave-girls." 

Thus this wicked old woman sowed the seeds of jealousy 
between the husband and the wife, and one day when the 
Prince was away in the garden, she ran to him and said, 
" At this very moment one of your brothers is walking 
off with your wife." 

Then she ran to the Princess and cried, " O haste, Lady, 
haste, your husband at this very moment is running off 
with your beautiful slave-girl !" Hearing these words, the 
young Queen rushed out into the garden, and Prince 
Ahmed seeing her as he approached the house, and believ- 
ing as he did that she was hastening to meet her lover, 
shot her dead, without a moment's delay, with the bow 
which he bore in his hand. But when he came up to her 
and looked at her quivering body, it smote him to the heart 
that he had never questioned her. The seven brothers of 
course rejoiced, and, as they sat together in the evening, 
they said among themselves, " Half the work is already 
done, half only now is left!" But as for Prince Ahmed, 
he wandered forth, and sat him down in a lonely spot by 
himself. There his minister found him, and when he came 
to him he said, " What answer will you give before God 
in the next world for the murder of that poor Princess?" 
And as he thought of all the perils he had gone through 
in order to win her, his heart broke, and, falling back- 
wards, he died. 

Then was the whole realm seized by the seven brothers, 
and they enjoyed it; but their pride was not for long, for 
Prince Ahmed's mother went to the umpire King and to 
various other kings, and having brought an army, declared 
war against those unnatural brothers, two of whom were 
slain, and the rest banished, while the old Queen, ascend- 
ing the throne herself, had the obsequies of ^Prince Ahmed 
and Princess Senah performed with suitable splendour, and 
their memories preserved in sumptuous tombs set in the 
midst of gardens of fountains and flowers. 

Told at Hdji Shah, near Attack, by Gholdm, a 
Muhammadan villager, 1880. 



THE BLIND FAKIR AND THE GOLD MOHARS 39 

III 



IT happened one dark night, that a certain wise man, on 
a journey, was riding his mare through a gloomy forest, 
in which highwaymen and thieves sometimes lay in wait. 
Suddenly he cried out with a loud voice, " Nafr, Nafr, 1 
where on earth is my mare?" 

"Your mare?" answered his man. "You are riding 
your mare, are you not?" 

" Am I?" said his master. " Well, so I am. But all 
the same we should be very careful going through a place 
like this." 

Told by the bard, Sher, at Abbottdbdd, November 1889 



IV 
OF THE BLIND FAKIR AND THE GOLD MOHARS 

ONCE upon a time there was a blind fakir who used to 
sit day by day begging at the gate of a city. As he was 
accounted a saint, his simple neighbours called him Hafiz. 2 
It was the custom of Hafiz to cry out at intervals in a loud 
voice, " Who is the beloved of God, who will let me feel, 
only feel, one hundred gold mohurs?" 

It happened one day that a certain soldier, returning 
from the wars, passed by the spot where Hafiz was sitting 
and heard his doleful cry. Said the soldier to himself, 
"I vow before God that if ever I have a hundred gold 

1 A servant. 

2 Hafiz, a title of honour bestowed upon any one who can say the 
Koran bv heart. 



4 o ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

mohurs, I will carry them to this good old man and let 
him feel them !" 

He had not gone far on his way, when, as if in answer 
to his prayer, he picked up a bag of money which had 
been dropt in his path, and which contained a hundred 
gold mohurs, neither more nor less. So the good man 
retraced his steps, and going up to Hafiz, he said, " Sir, 
by the kindness of God and yourself I have found a 
hundred gold mohurs. Be good enough to feel them, O 
good old man !" 

Blind Hafiz took the soldier's bag, untied the string, 
picked out the coins one by one, counting them carefully 
as he passed them from hand to hand, then restored them, 
tied up the precious treasure again, and gave the soldier 
hundreds of benedictions. 

" But," said the soldier, " I also want my money, good 
Hafiz!" At once the blind beggar set up a dismal cry, 
"Friends, neighbours, help! Thieves! All my wretched 
life I have been scraping together a little money, here a 
pice, there a cowrie, and now this son of a thief would 
rob me of all!" The people who came rushing together 
with great tumult instantly seized the unfortunate soldier, 
tore his clothes to rags, beat him to a jelly, and finally 
hustled him out of the town. 

But the soldier, determined to have his revenge, stilt 
waited about. A cat watches a mouse, and so in like sort 
the soldier watched the blind fakir. By-and-by Hafiz 
takes up his hamzah, 1 and begins to feel his way home, 
passing down into the street of the blind beggars. His 
house was the last in the row near to the open country, 
and having undone the clasp, he entered and sat down on 
the floor, thanking God for all his mercies. But he was 
not aware that the soldier had dogged his steps, and that, 
at that very moment, he was standing behind him with 
drawn sword ready to cut off his head. 

" Four hundred gold pieces before," muttered old Hafiz, 
" and one hundred now. Four hundred and one hundred 
make five hundred !" And Hafiz laughed long and merrily. 

The blind man now rose up and groped his way to a 
corner where he turned up the earth, revealing a flat stone, 
which he lifted, and, lo, beneath it a brass pot ! Divesting 
himself of his broad belt, which was heavy with treasure, 

1 Hamzah here, a stick with a crescent top. 



THE CRAFTY FAKIR AND FOOLISH KING 41 

he deposited that, and the gold he had just acquired, in the 
brass pot aforesaid, and restoring everything to its proper 
place, returned to his cot. 

Now came the turn of the soldier. Stooping down, he 
slyly uncovered the brass pot, which he lifted out with the 
utmost care; but, as ill luck would have it, in the act of 
rising, he knocked his head against a shelf. Instantly the 
old man bounded from his seat, and, seizing his stick, 
began to career madly round the centre of the room, revolv- 
ing like a wheel, and uttering the most frightful cries. 
Round and round he danced like a madman, striking out 
right and left with his stick, breaking his waterpots to 
shivers and flooding his room with water. His cries were 
so frantic as to be heard by another blind man who lived 
hard by, and who now came running over to see what was 
the matter. But scarcely had he entered the room when 
Hafiz closed with him, believing him to be the robber, and 
over the two blind men went on to the floor, fast locked in 
each other's arms, rolling here and rolling there in the 
mud, and with cries and yells tearing each other to pieces. 

Taking advantage of the noise, and bursting with 
laughter, the soldier now slipped out of the house with all 
his booty, and got away as fast as his legs would carry 
him. 

Told at Ghazi on the Indus, by Sher Khan, a blind man, 
September 1879. 



V 

OF THE CRAFTY FAKIR AND THE FOOLISH KING 

ONCE upon a time some sturdy fakir came to a certain 
town in which every commodity was sold at precisely the 
same rate. Gold was as cheap as iron, and wheaten bread 
could be bought for the same price as barley cakes. 



42 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" This must be a fine place to live in," said one of the 
fakirs. " Let us rest a bit here!" But the chief of the 
band answered, " No, no, for if everything is sold at the 
same rate, justice is probably sold too. We are too 
poor. So I, for one, shall move on." The first speaker, 
however, who was a great lazy fellow, caring only for 
his ease, determined to remain, in order to eat and 
drink and live his life. His comrades therefore left him 
behind. 

As ill-luck would have it, that night there was a great 
robbery with murder, and the people set upon the strange 
fakir and charged him with the crime. In vain he pro- 
tested innocence, and the upshot of the matter was that the 
King condemned him to be hanged. So he found himself 
in a fix, but somehow he managed to send word to his 
chief, who arrived on the scene just as the gallows had 
been set up, and the people were only waiting for the King 
to come and give the word of command. 

"Save me, O my Pir, save me!" was the petition of 
the doomed fakir. 

" Listen," said his master. " I shall speak to the King 
and beg to be hanged in your place, but do you keep 
saying all the time, ' No, no, I want to be hanged myself !' 
and then we shall see what we shall see !" 

When the King arrived the old fakir approached him 
and said, " O King, this unfortunate one is strong and 
young, with an old mother to maintain, whereas I am old 
and useless. Be pleased, therefore, to hang me instead of 
him!" 

" Nay, nay," cried the other fakir, " I want to be 
hanged myself, I want to be hanged myself!" 

This farce was repeated several times over, which so 
astonished the King that he called the old fakir aside and 
said to him, " What's the meaning of this, that you two 
gentlemen are both so eager to be hanged?" 

"Sir," answered that deceitful one, "the sacred books 
and in short all the writings of the fakirs pronounce this 
day to be the most fortunate day for death in the w^hole 
history of Islam. He who dies to-day is in luck, for he 
will go on angels' wings straight away to Paradise !" 

" Ah, then," cried the King, " that being so, hang me, 
O good people, hang me!" 

So the King was hanged instead of the fakir, who, re- 



PATHAN WHO WANTED HIS ASS MADE A MAN 43 

joicing in his luck, went off with his master, and both 
instantly cleared away. 

Told at Attack on the Indus, December 10, 1879, 
by Karan Khan, a villager. 



VI 

OF THE PATHAN WHO WANTED HIS ASS TO BE 
MADE A MAN 

ONCE upon a time a priest was teaching the village chil- 
dren at a mosque, when a Pathan came by. Hearing the 
babbling, he halted outside the wall and looked over. 
There he saw the priest flogging one of the boys and 
exclaiming, as he flogged him, " From an ass I have 
made a man of you, yea, made a man of you out of a 
jackass, and yet you will not understand !" 

Hearing these extraordinary words, the Pathan pricked 
up his ears and said to himself, " What power this priest 
must possess to turn asses into men!" So, taking fifty 
rupees out of his waist-cloth, he stepped into the court 
and laid them down before the priest. " I am going," 
said he, " to bring you my old donkey and I give you in 
advance these fifty rupees on condition that you make a 
man of him." 

" Well," said the priest, " I shall want the money if 
only for the feed of the ass; but do you call again some 
other day !" 

The priest, therefore, took the man's money and put it 
by, and when the donkey came he handed it over to his 
wife, who used it day by day to fetch and carry. 

At the end of six months, the Pathan came back and 
said to the priest, " Now, if you have finished the job, 
hand me over my man !" 

' You have come too late," answered the priest. " The 
truth is I spiced your ass so highly that it was not long 



44 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

before he turned into the nawab of the next village. Go 
to the nawab of the next village, and tell him so !" 

For the next village, therefore, the Pathan set off, and 
going to the house of the nawab, he explained the matter, 
saying, " My fifty rupees I gave to the priest, and now 
come along you are my man !" 

Thereupon the nawab waxed wrath and turned him out, 
and the Pathan had to return empty-handed to the priest, 
to whom he made his complaint. " I went to the nawab," 
said he, "but he got angry and refused to give himself 
up!" Then said the priest, "That nawab was once a 
pupil of mine, and you must therefore go to him again, 
and remind him that he was taught by me from a child; 
tell him I put too much spice in him, and that, nawab or 
no nawab, he is most certainly your old donkey !" 

So the Pathan did as he was told, and when the nawab 
had heard his story again, he began to think within him- 
self, " It would appear that my old teacher must have said 
something to this stupid ass, which he has not under- 
stood. So I had better go with him to the priest myself." 

Coming to the mosque, the nawab, inasmuch as the 
priest was his old master, paid him great respect, and 
begged to be enlightened as to the capers of the block- 
head of a Pathan. " He is certainly a blockhead, but not 
more so than other Pathans," said the priest. " The fact 
is he was passing when I was administering the rod to a 
dunce, and hearing me using my accustomed phrase, 
' From an ass I have made a man of you,' he gave me fifty 
rupees to make a man out of his own ass. Then I sent 
him on to you, but even now, as you see, he does not 
understand." 

" I have an idea," said the nawab. " Do you tell him 
that his ass has now become the village fakir, and send 
him there, and I'll warrant that, by the exercise of some 
miracle or other, that holy man will be able somehow to 
knock sense into his head." 

No sooner was it said than it was done, and presently 
the Pathan was seen standing by the lowly shed of the 
viHage fakir, to whom he told his message, saying, " The 
priest informs me that you are my old donkey, and I want 
you to come home with me at once." On hearing these 
words, the fakir thought to himself, " This man is daft !" 
Then he said, " Yes, it is all right ! I was once your old 



PATHAN WHO WANTED HIS ASS MADE A MAN 45 

donkey true enough, my master. But first I want you to 
do something for me, and then you must come back for 
me. I have a friend, another fakir, who lives across the 
river. Take him these cakes, and having given them to 
him, with my salaams, fail not to return." Taking the 
cakes, the Pathan went to the river, but he had forgotten 
to ask for a boat in which to cross over, so he had fain 
to retrace his steps. " Return to the river," said the fakir, 
" make respectful salaams to it, and say I have sent you, 
and then you will be able to cross." So he went again, 
and made obeisance, and received an answer, and then he 
was permitted to cross over the water to the other side. 
There he saw the second fakir, to whom he handed the 
cakes, saying, " Such and such a fakir has sent you this 
bread." By this time the Pathan had begun to experience 
some faint glimmerings of reason, and he now considered 
within himself, " How am I to get back? I will ask the 
fakir !" This therefore he did, saying, " How am I to cross 
the river again ?" 

" Go to the bank," answered the holy man, " and say to 
the river, ' He who needs not food sends you a salaam, 
and begs you to suffer this Pathan to cross.' " 

The Pathan obeyed him, and coming to the river he 
spoke as directed, and, as before, the same voice said 
" Cross !" and he crossed over in safety. And all the time 
he was puzzling his brains as to what things meant, seeing 
that the fakir had eaten up all the cakes. So he said he 
would go back to the first fakir and ask him to explain. 

To him therefore he went again, and, reporting to him 
all that had hapt, he begged for some explanation. And 
the fakir, seeing he was ripe, took him in hand. " Ah !" 
said he to him, " you are a Pathan, and therefore I suppose 
a foolish fellow, void of understanding. If you had had 
any wit at all, you would have seen for yourself. That 
man, being a fakir, does not need food, but as I sent it, 
and as you took it, he ate it out of civility !" Furthermore 
he said to him, " O son, we are fakirs. If any one could 
turn donkeys into men, it would be ourselves, of course, 
but that schoolmaster merely meant to say that he had 
turned a stupid lad into a wise one, a fool into a reasonable 
being." 

So, having been enlightened, and understanding at last 
what a fool he was, the Pathan went back to the mosque, 



46 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

and, stooping low, he touched the feet of the priest and 
said, " An ass I came and an ass I went. Take me, I pray 
you, in hand yourself, and make a man of me !" 

Hearing these words, the priest commended him, and, 
restoring his money and his ass, bade him enter his school, 
which he did, and there in time he acquired some know- 
ledge and even some sense, saving the fact that he was still 
a Pathan. 

Told at Ghdsi, February 14, 1883, by Nazdm Din, 
a villager of Ghargushti. 



VII 

A JUNGLE TALE 

ONCE upon a time there was a donkey, and also n 
bullock, and neither the one nor the other had any regular 
master, but any one who wished used to catch them, and 
load them with stones or with timber, and work them to 
death. So one day the bullock said to the donkey, " Look 
here, we have no master and both our backs are sore. 
Every one puts upon us. Let us then go to the hills 
together and shift for ourselves !" 

"All right," said the donkey, "let us!" and they 
started off. After living freely in the jungle for some 
time, they got into good condition, and the donkey said 
to the bullock, " O bullock, bullock, I feel to-day as if I 
should like to bray !" 

"Hold!" said the bullock, "and don't be an ass! 
Have you forgotten the time when your back was so sore, 
and now do you want to bray, merely because you have 
been living at your ease for a day or two ? Here we are 
in the jungle, and, if you bray, a tiger will assuredly come, 
and kill either you or me! What then, O donkey?" 

" Let him come," said the donkey; " let as many tigers 



A JUNGLE TALE 47 

come as like. I feel I should like to bray, and therefore 
bray I must." 

So the donkey began braying terribly, until the earth 
seemed to shake, and the bullock said to him, " So, you 
are braying, are you ? Well, now I must shift for myself." 

So the two friends separated. But the bullock had gone 
only a few steps, when a famished tiger began to wag his 
head and say, " I am hungry, very hungry, and God has 
brought into these jungles a donkey for me!" 

The bullock also, as he moved away, was saying to 
himself, " Now something unpleasant is sure to happen, 
or I am not the true son of a bullock." 

And the tiger was also saying, " I will set on the 
bullock first, and then settle with the donkey." 

And the donkey, seeing how things were going, was 
saying, " The tiger has made for the bullock, and then I 
suppose he will come and devour me!" 

Presently the tiger sprang on the bullock, so the donkey 
flew to the rescue, kicking and biting savagely. At last 
he fixed his teeth in the tiger's flesh, right between the 
shoulders, which forced him to let go, and the bullock, set 
free, ran away to a place of safety. 

At this moment a ploughman came strolling by, and 
he said, " What a thing a donkey has laid hold of a 
tiger !" The tiger seeing him called out, " O you plough- 
man, come to my aid, save me from this wretched 
donkey !" 

"Nay," answered he, " I save you not, you deserve all 
you will get ! ' ' 

" For the sake of God, and in the name of the Prophet,'* 
cried the tiger, " I beseech you, take me out of the jaws 
of this wretched donkey!" 

Thus adjured, the ploughman went up, and smote the 
donkey with his staff. But this only made the donkey 
rear and kick and struggle all the more, until the tiger 
said, " O he bites me harder than ever, his very teeth 
meet in me ! For mercy's sake don't hit him any more, 
or I am a dead tiger this day ! O ploughman, take your 
plough-rope, and passing it round the villain's teeth, saw 
his very jaws off !" 

Thus assailed, the donkey was fain to let go his hold, 
and seeing that he had now two foes to fight instead of 
one, he scampered off, and joined his friend the bullock 



4 8 

in a place of safety, leaving the miserable tiger lying 
exhausted on the ground. Then thought the tiger to him- 
self, " Far better to have died at once than to have suffered 
such dishonour from a donkey ! This ploughman, too, 
will talk of it everywhere, and all the tigers will come to 
hear of it. I had therefore better kill him out of the way." 
So he glared at the ploughman, and said, " O ploughman, 
I am going to kill you !" 

" But why kill me?" said the ploughman. 

" I am going to kill you," answered the beast, " because 
you will go and tell everybody about this infamy, and 
then all the whole tribe of tigers will be disgraced for ever. 
But dead men tell no tales, and once I kill you, my story 
is safe!" 

" O you ungrateful beast!" said the ploughman. "1 
released you from death, and is this all the thanks I get ? 
Not a. word will I speak, nor mention a thing about it." 
And he solemnly promised to hold his tongue. 

After this the ploughman went his way home, followed 
by the dejected tiger. And the man said to his wife, " I 
have seen a wonderful thing this day, but I won't tell you 
what it was." 

Now, in this family, the grey mare was the better horse, 
so she said to her husband, " If you don't tell me, I'll 
thrash you !" 

" Well," said her husband, " I will tell you, but remem- 
ber, if I do, I shall be killed." 

" Don't be a fool," said she, " but tell me at once !" 

So he told his wife the whole story which he had pro- 
mised to keep secret, and the tiger, listening outside, heard 
every word, nd he cried out, " You wait till I catch you !" 
And the man said to his wife, " Now, you see !" 

Next day the ploughman would have kept to the house, 
being afraid to go out to till the land, but his wife hustled 
him, saying, " Off with you ! Snakes and tigers never 
come to the same place twice! Get along !" and she took 
up a stick and gave him a drubbing. Then thought the 
man to himself, " Better for me to be killed by a tiger 
than struck by a woman !" So out he went, but presently 
came across the tiger, who began to upbraid him for his 
perfidy, and would have eaten him, if the wife, hearing 
the noise, had not issued forth, armed with her bludgeon. 
The tiger, seeing her fury, took fright and ran away, 



A STORY OF A RUBY 49 

leaving the man to his plough. And so the wife returned 
triumphant to the cottage. Who then will say that a 
woman is not as good as a donkey, seeing that if a donkey 
routed a tiger, a woman was more than a match for man 
and tiger too ? 

Told by Nur Khan, a farmer, at Torbela, Upper Indus. 
November 21, 1880. 



VIII 
A STORY OF A RUBY 

" Of a really deserving man no one knows the value" 

ONCE upon a time there was a potter, who owned thirty 
or forty donkeys. Having loaded them up with pots one 
day, he was going his rounds, when he found a precious 
stone, which he tied round his largest donkey's neck. 
After a time he came to a ferry, and as he was crossing 
over, the ferryman saw the stone and admired it. " What 
a pretty stone," said he. " Give it to me, and your 
donkey may go over free!" 

" All right," said the potter, and he handed over the 
stone to the ferryman, who tied it to his stern oar. 

After a time, a traveller wanted to cross. He was by 
trade a lapidary, and seeing the stone he said to himself, 
" That stone is simply a priceless ruby!" So he said to 
the boatman, " Will you take five rupees for your stone?" 

" You can have it for ten," answered the boatman, 
having no idea of its value; and so the lapidary became 
the possessor of the ruby. 

Having paid the money, and received the stone, he 
wrapped it most carefully in several soft napkins, and then 
laid it within several jewel cases, which he placed under 
lock and key in the safest place in his shop. 

Some time after, the King, wanting a ruby, sent his 



50 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

minister to look for one. Without delay they went straight 
to the lapidary, who at first denied having any such stone 
as the King would care to possess. " If I had," said he, 
" you would seize it, and give me but a small sum for it." 

" Never fear," said the minister. " As you have such 
a ruby, show it to us ! But first, how much do you ask 
for it?" 

" Not less than twenty thousand rupees," answered the 
lapidary. 

"Well, bring it, and show it!" said the minister. 

So he brought out his boxes, which he proceeded to 
open. But, alas, he found his precious ruby shivered to 
atoms ! "Ah, my kismet, my kismet, my ruby, my 
ruby !'* cried he. 

So the minister went away. And the lapidary, looking 
at the shattered ruby, began to upbraid it. But the ruby 
murmured, "Can you wonder that I am broken? First 
I was found by a potter and tied round the neck of a 
donkey, but he, poor man, was a simple villager. Then 
I was owned by a boatman who bound me to an oar, but 
he too was ignorant, and knew no better. But you ! you 
offered five rupees for me, and gave ten ! And even now, 
when you had the chance of proclaiming my true value, 
what did you do ? You asked a wretched twenty thousand 
rupees for me ! These slights were too much my heart 
broke, and now I am worthless!" 

So with people really worthy of honour. Thev are never 
appreciated by their fellow-men, until, with broken hearts, 
they lie in their graves ! 

Told by Sher Khan, the blind Khan of Hazro. 
December 27, 1881. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 51 

IX 
THE RASALU LEGENDS 

I. RASALU'S EARLY LIFE 1 

" On a Tuesday he entered his narrow domain, 
A Saturday smiled when he left it again ; 
O then was brought forth that monarch of might, 
And Rasal on the day of his birth was he hight. " 

RAJA StjLwAHAN (SALIAVAHAN) OF SiALKdr, a descendant 
of the great king famous in story, whose name was Vikra- 
majit, of the empire of Ujain, had two Queens, the elder 
of whom was Ichran, and the younger Luna, a tanner's 
daughter. By the former whom he had married first, he 
had a son Puran, who by the advice of the astrologers 
was secluded from the sight of his father in a lonely palace 
from the moment of his birth until he was twelve years 
old. On his release from duress, he was permitted to 
appear at court, and his father on one occasion sent him 
to pay his respects to his newly-married wife, Rani Luna, 
who was about the same age as the young prince and 
exceedingly fair. Puran also was remarkable for his great 
beauty, and Rani Luna, when she saw him, fell deeply 
in love with him. But because he absolutely refused to 
listen to her, she procured his disgrace, and his deluded 
and incensed father condemned him to exile and death. 
The executioners to whom he was committed carried him 
far away into the wilds, where they cut off his hands and 
feet and cast him into a ruined well, there to languish and 
die. In that dismal place he lingered for many a year 
until he was rescued by the great saint Guru Gorakhnath, 
who restored his limbs to him sound and whole as before, 
and showed him kindness and protection. 

Prince Puran now determined to turn fakir, and con- 
cealing his identity, he temporarily took up his abode, by 
his director's- advice, in a certain abandoned garden close 
to the palace of his father in Sialkot. The fame of his 
sanctity spread far and wide, until it was reported to the 
King Sulwahan that the very trees of the garden, which 

1 This and the following chapter are compiled from scattered 
fragments and traditions. The verses represent verses in the original 
story. 



52 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

had withered up to the roots and died, were miraculously 
beginning to bud and to put forth leaves. So the King and 
his younger Queen, desiring the same favour, went to visit 
him. As they approached the spot, Puran said to himself 
" Here comes my father, and not only he, but my step- 
mother as well ; if she should chance to recognize me, she 
will again plot to work me ill." 

But being a good man he considered once more, 
" Never mind, I trust in God. Whatever she does she 
must account for hereafter; and so, whether she remember 
me or not, still out of respect I will rise and do obeisance 
to them." 

When the King and his consort arrived at the place, 
Puran stood up and bowed himself humbly, with his eyes 
fixed on the ground. 

"Ah!" cried the King, "you have acted amiss; you 
are a fakir, and it is I who should have humbled myself 
to you." 

" O King," answered he, " I had a master once, but he 
is dead, and, as I do remember, his face and form were 
not unlike those of your Highness : that is the reason 1 
rose and salaamed at your approach." 

Then the Queen addressed him and said, " I also have 
come to see you, for I have no children." 

" You shall certainly have a son," replied the fakir, 
" but your son's mother will always be crying, even as the 
mother of your step-son was always crying. And just as 
by reason of the fraud contrived by you the son of Rani 
Ichran fell upon evil days, so, though, as a mighty hero 
vowed to solitude, your son shall conquer his foes, yet he 
shall at last perish through the guile of a woman." 

With these words Puran handed to his father a single 
grain of rice, bidding him administer the same to Rani 
Luna, in order that the promised son should come into 
the world. 

In due time the event as foretold came to pass, and the 
King named the child Rasal or Rasalu. Sorrow and heavi- 
ness attended his birth, for the conjunction of his stars 
presaged a life of storm and strife, and the astrologers 
prophesied evil to the King on account of him. Scarcely 
had he opened his eyes on the world, therefore, when he 
was banished to a solitary place, and, like his half-brother 
Puran before him, he was not permitted to see his father 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 53 

for twelve weary years. As he advanced in growth, how- 
ever, he enjoyed a foretaste of his future glory in the 
stories of kings and heroes, which were recited or sung to 
him day by day by bards and minstrels, until the very 
name of war and the sound of arms tingled in his ears 
like music. All that was suitable to his position and 
agreeable to his destiny he practised and learnt; but most 
of all he excelled in magic, in archery, in riding, and in 
the use of the sword and lance, while the pleasures of 
chess-playing and deer-hunting filled up his lighter hours. 

Thus passed the early boyhood of Prince Rasalu, until 
he was free to approach the capital and to set foot over 
his father's threshold. He was remarkably strong and 
agile for his years, more like a man than a boy; and he 
was skilled in every generous accomplishment, and in 
every warlike exercise. Yet there was then one pastime 
which, beyond all others, he was fond of indulging in, 
and that pastime was shooting marbles from the pellet- 
bow. He used to watch for the women of the city as they 
returned from the river, bearing on their heads full chatties 
or pitchers of water, and shooting his hard pellets with 
an unerring aim from the walls of the palace, he would 
break the pitchers into atoms, and laugh gaily when he 
saw the released water pouring down in floods over their 
shoulders. 

At last his victims made complaint to the wazir, and 
the wazir complained to the King, and as the Prince had 
been warned again and again, he proposed his banishment 
for a season. But the King answered, " One son of mine 
I dismissed to exile and death before, for which I shall 
ever mourn. See, here is my treasury, take money suf- 
ficient for the purpose, and let the women of the city be 
provided with vessels of brass." Moreover, he laid his 
commands on his son that he should cease to molest them. 

But if the women imagined that their pitchers of brass 
would make the slightest difference, they were soon un- 
deceived, for Rasalu fashioned a bow of steel, and cast 
him pellets of iron; and so great was his strength of arm 
that, with faultless aim, he drove his bullets right through 
the brazen pitchers even when full charged with water. 
In dismay the people turned their steps again to the 
palace, and in answer to their prayers the wazir once more 
proposed the banishment of the Prince. 



54 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" Nay," answered the King, " this is my only son; he 
must not be sent away. I therefore order that in every 
enclosure in the city a well shall be sunk, so that the 
women of each household may draw their abundance of 
water undisturbed." 

So, in accordance with the King's directions, numerous 
wells were built throughout the city, and the people fondly 
reckoned on supplying their needs in freedom and quiet. 
But again they were disappointed, for the irrepressible 
Prince ascended to the top of a high tower which com- 
manded every homestead and walled enclosure within the 
gates, and from that vantage-ground he continued to dis- 
charge his artillery at the brazen pitchers, to the despair 
of the unfortunate owners. 

Then was the King petitioned for the last time either 
to banish or to put to death his rebellious son ; and his 
patience being at length exhausted, he answered, 
" Would to God Rasalu had never been born, or that even 
now he were taken away ! Let him leave my country, let 
him go wheresoever he pleases, but let me not look upon 
his face again." And to his mother Luna he said, " Tell 
that son of thine to quit my kingdom and never to trouble 
me more !" 

Full of distress, the Queen sent for Rasalu and said to 
him, " Henceforth, my son, we shall be as strangers, for 
the King has pronounced your doom. You must leave 
your mother, your home, and your country, and go into 
exile." 

"But why," asked the Prince, "am I to leave you, 
mother, and why must I quit the country? What crime 
have I committed? Speak to the King, my father, and 
let him declare for what fault I am deserving of exile." 

That night the Queen entreated the King for her son 
with repeated solicitations and tears, but he answered her 
harshly, steadily refusing to listen to her prayers, saying, 
" Rasalu's crime admits of no excuse, he has plunged 
the good people into distress in the matter of water, and 
his exile is the only remedy." 

When the Prince heard that his fate was irrevocable, he 
sought his father's presence and said to him, " I will obey 
you in all things if on your side you will accept my two 
conditions. The first is, that you make me a Mussulman ; 
and the next is that you become a Mussulman yourself." 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 55 

Hearing these words, the King lost control of himself, 
and in a fury he ordered his son to instantly quit the 
palace. At the same time he sent for his ministers and 
said to them, " Set up a figure fashioned like a man with 
his hand behind his back, and let the face of the figure be 
blackened. By this symbol my son will understand that 
he is doomed to banishment." f 

One day, as Rasalu was returning from the chase, he 
caught sight of the figure standing without his mother's 
palace, and, turning to his followers, he said : " This figure 
is a sign that I must quit the kingdom. Lo, the goodness 
of the King my father ! We are the descendants of the 
great King Vikramajit, who sold himself away in charity 
three hundred times; and for a mere trifle my father 
decrees my banishment. Nevertheless, I will obey." 

So he gathered together a chosen band of valiant men, 
the flower of the youth of Sialkot, and armed them with 
bows, lances, and swords. He also provided himself with 
fleet horses and ample treasure, and when all was ready, 
he mounted his famous mare Foladi, 1 which was born on 
the same day as himself, and passing under the windows 
of his mother's palace he bade her a long farewell, and 
set out from the city at the head of his followers, all 
eagerly bent on foray and spoil. 

But the Rani Luna, weeping and beating her breast, 
loosed her ringlets and looked out from her lattice and 
watched the retreating figure of her son as he rode away 
into the wilds. There she remained straining her eyes, 
until a distant cloud of dust alone showed her the route 
which he had taken, and as she watched and wept she 
stretched out her hands and cried through her falling 
tears 

" O little, little can I see of you, 

My son Rasalu ! 
Your crest the rolling dust obscures from view, 

My own Rasalu ! 

With knives of hardened steel my heart is riven, 
It burns like flames within the furnace driven. 

O hear, Rasalu ! 

Whose son goes forth to exile, storm, and strife, 
How doubly, trebly vain that mother's life!" 

1 Foladi means made of steel (Persian). Sometimes Rasalu 's horse, 
like Rustem's, is named Baurdki, the Grey Mare. 



56 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PAN JAB 
RAjA RASALU 

2. HE GOES TO GUJERAT 

HAVING turned his back upon his native land, Raja 
Rasalu rode towards the kingdom of Gujerat. Wherever 
he halted on his route the whole country was made aware 
that he was bound on an expedition of adventure, and that 
he would enrol all good men and true who would join his 
standard. Thus, by the time he arrived at the capital of 
Gujerat he found himself in command of a strong force of 
hardy warriors, all eager to do battle for their youthful 
leader. 

The King of Gujerat was a Gujar, the head of a race 
of Rajputs in alliance with the house of Sialkot, and 
friendly to Raja Sulwahan. Hearing that a foreign force 
had encamped within sight of his walls, he went forth to 
hold a parley with them, and, when he met Rasalu, he 
addressed him courteously, saying, "Who are you? 

" What Raja's son are you, 

And say what name you bear ; 
Where lies your fatherland, 

What city owns you there?" 

And to him Rasalu made answer 

" Raja Sulwahan's son am I, 

Rasalu is my name ; 
Sialk6t is my fatherland, 
My city is the same." 1 

Then was Rasalu received and welcomed with befitting 
honour, and festivities were held to celebrate his arrival 
at Gujerat. 

" But," said the Gujar King, " you are heir to a king- 
dom ; why then do I see you at the head of an army so 
far away from your own dominions?" 

" Near Jhilam," answered Rasalu, " there is a territory 

1 The reader will scarcely need to be reminded of the similar 
doggerel put into the mouth of Captain Cuttle 

Captain Cuttle is my name, 

England is my nation, 
London is my dwelling-place, 

And blessed be creation ! 

a variant of a rhyme as old as Rasalu ! 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 57 

containing numbers of giants who have been turned into 
stone, but it is held by usurpers. Of that country my 
father claims a fourth share, as being near of kin to the 
former rajas; and, as his rights are denied, I am now on 
my way to maintain them, and to recover my patrimony." 

Then the Gujar King offered help to Rasalu, saying, 
" Take with you a contingent of my troops, chosen marks- 
men, with arms and munitions of war, and go, and prosper 
against your enemies." And to his own men he said, 
"Go, fight for Raja Rasalu, and do not return until you 
are dismissed." 

When the Prince arrived at the land of the Petrified 
Ones he at once began his warlike operations, besieging 
forts, throwing up earthworks, and cutting off supplies. 
Rasalu's strength w r as the strength of a giant; his bow, 
made out of steel, could be drawn by no one but himself, 
and he had three arrows, each of them weighing a hundred 
pounds, which never failed to hit, and which he never 
failed to recover. 

After a short blockade the principal fortress was carried, 
and the city fell into the hands of Rasalu. Much spoil was 
taken, gold and silver and precious stones, and splendid 
raiment, and many a fair damsel, all of which was divided 
among his captains and men of war. 

Then, while the petty princes fled away, or else sub- 
mitted, and consented to acknowledge Rasalu as lord and 
master, the kingdom was reduced to order, laws were en- 
forced, and under chosen governors prosperity once more 
smiled on the land. 

It was during his halt at Jhilam that Raja Rasalu heard 
of a certain famous fakir, or saint, whose abode was at the 
village of Tillah, and as this man's reputation for miracles 
and signs was in everybody's mouth, he determined to pay 
him a visit. The hermit's power was so great that he 
knew of the King's approach long before he came to the 
foot of the hill on which he lived, and addressing his dis- 
ciples, he said, " Raja Rasalu is at hand with purpose to 
put my knowledge to the test. But as he is the son of a 
Hindu, he ought to have known his duty better. How- 
ever, I will forestall him, and test him first, and we 
shall see whether his own power is so great as rumour 
declares." 

His pupils answered him, "True, O master; they say 



5 8 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

his arrow is so strong and swift that it will pierce a stone. 
Therefore devise something." 

The hermit then turned himself into an immense hungry 
tiger, and when the King's followers saw the wild beast 
prowling round about the jungle, they were alarmed, and 
said, " See, so great is the power of this hermit that even 
the tigers acknowledge -his sway. Come, let us return!" 

But Raja Rasalu answered, " He is a wise man who will 
finish an enterprise; foolish are they who falter!" 

Then the King challenged the tiger, and said, " You are 
indeed a mighty full-grown tiger, but I am a Rajput. 
Come, let us do battle together!" 

In reply, the tiger uttered a terrific growl like the roar 
of a coming earthquake, and crouching down, he prepared 
to spring. But Rasalu fitted two of his tremendous arrows 
to his bow of steel, when immediately the tiger was con- 
founded with fright and vanished away. 

The King now went forward to the house of this famous 
hermit, whom he found sitting in the midst of his disciples, 
and who at once arose and made a salutation to the man 
who was more powerful than himself. 

" Pretty hermit this," cried the King, " to stand up to 
me or to any one else !" 

The saint, feeling ashamed, said, " O King, this hill 
is only the abode of mendicants. It is not Gandgarh, which 
is the home of giants. If single-handed you engaged the 
giants of Gandgarh, and if you slew them, you would win 
glory and renown ; but there can be no renown and no 
glory in lording it over poor fakirs." 

" O sir," answered the King, " you taunt me ! Now, as 
I am a descendant of the great king Vikramajit, I vow 
never to abide in my home in peace, until I have conquered 
the giants of Gandgarh." 

" As for me," said the old prophet, " I can only pray 
for you. Yet I know full well that you will prosper, and 
overcome them all yea, every one if you will but remem- 
ber and do what I bid you : First, draw not your sword 
against the poor, and next, lift not your hand to smite 
fakirs." 

Then Raja Rasalu, dismissing his retinue, left that 
place, and continued his journey alone. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 59 



3. RASALU'S REVOLT 

AND now, having ended his labours in the borders of 
Jhilam, Raja Rasalu, whose term of exile was drawing to a 
close, set out for other parts, regardless of home and 
kindred. And wherever he went he took with him Shadi, 
his parrot, and Foladi, his grey mare. Thus he went 
on his way, and when* his mother heard of it she sent forth 
a messenger, but the messenger returned, saying, " Rasalu 
has gone off, and will not return." And when his father 
heard of it, he sent forth a messenger, but his messenger 
returned with the same story. And when his foster-mother 
heard of it, she also sent forth a messenger, and the mes- 
senger came, and Rasalu inclined his ear, and went back 
to Sialkot. And when his foster-mother saw him in the 
courtyard, the milk simmered in her breasts, and she cried 
to him 

" Hast come, my son, from lands afar? 

Hast come, my son, from wounds and war? 

Hast played a manly part? 
I am thy mother, who but I ? 
And thou art the babe I travailed by, 
The offspring of my heart ! " 

But Rasalu did not regard her. Only as he passed he 
looked up and answered her thus 

" In my hand I carry a mendicant's stick, 
And my head is bound up with a clout, 
Your son may be whole and your son may be sick, 
I'm a beggar-man out and out!" 

Thus came Rasalu back to Sialkot. And his mother 
was glad and his father too. 

Now Rasalu had not been long at home before he 
yielded to counsel and began to incline his mind to mar- 
riage. So he sent his groom to his mother with this 
message, "If I did not tell you so before, it was only 
shame that held me back. But now choose me a wife, for 
I am willing to be guided." 

Hearing these tidings, his mother became highly pleased, 
for she had often spoken to him on the same subject, but 
every time Rasalu had turned away and put it off. Now, 
however, he himself had made the first advances, and she 



60 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

told the King, his father, who, delighted equally \vith 
herself, told the groom to hasten back to his son and say, 
" I will summon the great ones, I will order our family 
Brahmin to open his tables, Moti Ram also shall be called, 
and the wedding ceremonies shall be put in train without 
delay." 

Then the King, Raja Sulwahan, called together his 
council, especially his wazir, Moti Ram, who was the father 
of the chosen bride, and he fixed the wedding for the fifth 
day of the month Assa. 

The day after, early in the morning, at the time of the 
drawing of water, Rasalu went down to the river to bathe. 
On his way back he passed along the street in which 
stood the house of Moti Ram. There, loitering about the 
well, he saw a parcel of girls with their pitchers. They 
were laughing and talking together as women do. Fore- 
most among them was the maiden who had been betrothed 
to him and whom he was shortly to marry. Being a girl 
of free spirit, always ready with a jibe or a jest, she called 
out in that public place to the man she \vas to wed 

" Ho, rider of the dark grey mare, 
Did you forget to bind your hair? 
Like some young girl's, all loosely tied, 
It bobs about from side to side. 
Take care, O Raja, I implore, 
Lest, as you pass some lady's door, 
Her watchman flout you, 
And jest about you ! " 

Rasalu was vexed to be put to shame, and he answered 
her 

" Hear me, my wife not now but soon to be ! 
For all your words of shame addressed to me 
I swear, as I am Rani Luna's son, 
Your insults I'll repay you every one!" 

And, retorting, the girl cried 

" You son of Luna, do not be so proud, 
Nor vent your anger thus before a crowd, 
For men as good as you, 
Not one, but quite a crew, 
Lead forth by miry ways 
My father's calves to graze ! " 

Then said Rasalu to her 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 61 

" O bride betrothed, O wife to be, 

Mark thou the words I speak to thee ! 

By the mother who bore me, 

By the pangs she had o'er me, 
My wife thou shalt be, but I swear to thy face, 
I'll marry and leave thee to shame and disgrace." 

So he passed on his way. And when the marriage 
preparations were sufficiently advanced, his father and 
himself and all the guests, being a great company, went 
to the house of Moti Ram, and there the wedding feast 
was spread and the people all sat down. But Moti Ram, 
the bride's father, sat not down with the rest, but, girding 
up his loins, he went in and out among the guests, saying, 
" O friends, ye who have come in with the procession, 
welcome you are ! And I pray you not to feel displeased 
or offended, for I am one of your slaves!" And when 
the meal was over and the men had retired to smoke and 
to recline, troops of girls came in and played bero-ghori. 1 
With singing and dancing came they in, all the maidens 
of the place in full tale, and they jested with the King and 
the Prince, and made free with everything, and Rasalu 
gave them largess, throwing among them fifty rupees, and 
one gold piece thrown in too. Then they took his hands, 
and brought him to the chamber in which he was to be 
married, all fun and laughter, and he went with them in 
company with his father and a great following of friends. 
But as he passed through the court, he made secret signs 
to his groom not to fail to have Foladi, his grey mare, 
saddled and bridled and ready at hand. 

Then entered the Brahmin priests, who called in also 
the parents, and the two, the man and the woman, were 
made to sit down in the middle of that room, while the 
Brahmins read to them words out of a book. And to the 
principal one said Rasalu, " O Sundar Das, I, the Raja, 
speak to you ! To cut the matter short, I pray you not 
to marry me at all !" 

"O Raja Rasalu," answered he. "Hear me! You 
come of a noble stock. I pray you do not disgrace your 
name by conduct unworthy of your birth !" 

This counsel Rasalu disdained, keeping silence all the 
time. And when the reading was over these men tied 
together the ends of the skirts of the bride and the bride- 

1 Scrambling for money or sweetmeats. 



62 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

froom, and made them pass round and round the burning 
re. And as Rasalu passed round, he glanced up, and, lo, 
in the court without, his horse stood ready. So all at once 
he drew his sword and severed the skirts at the knot, the 
one from the other, and he leapt forth, while his wife 
reproached him, saying," O Rasalu, you have done me 
a wrong to cut off marriage-knot of mine, and in the day 
of judgment I will call you to account for it ! 

" Ah me ! How foul a trick to play 

Your wedded wife ! 
Before great God what will you say 
To save your life?" 

But he taunted her, and said, " Remember your words, 
O Rani, the words that you spoke that day at the well ! 
Since you call me a beast, go marry some one else !" 

In vain all the four parents, afflicted by so great a 
disgrace, besought him to return, standing with heads 
bare and imploring him. " I brought you up from 
a child," said the King, " only to be a grief to me, 
and now you have degraded your father before all this 
assembly !" 

Rasalu did not note the words spoken by his father, and 
on his way forth he bethought him that he should have 
answered him too, so he returned, and, while his whole 
body trembled, he said thus, " Hear me, my father ! Me 
have you ever embittered. But I go hence to Mecca, and 
when I come again, it will be with a Muhammadan army 
at my back to pull down Sialkot." 

Then he went off, riding day and night, until he came 
to a noble city having walls and towers all round, and, 
going to the gates, he inquired, "Who is the chief of 
this place?" 

'This is the city of Mecca," said a watchman, "and 
the lord of Mecca is the Hazrat Imam Ali Lak." 

So Rasalu entered, and he went to the Imam Ali, and 
addressed him, saying, " Receive me, I pray you !" 

The Imam, seeing that he was a Hindu, said to him, 
' Whence come you?" 

" What Raja's son are you? 

What is the name you bear? 
Where lies your fatherland? 
What city owns you there?" 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 63 

And Rasalu made answer, " I am a Rajput" 

" Raja Sulwahan 's son am I, 

Rasalu is my name, 
My city is Sialkot, 

My fatherland the same." 

Then the Imam Ali ordered the two prophets, the Pir 
Panjabi and Surkru Sobah, to embrace him, and they all 
three took him and all embraced him, and their embraces 
so purified his heart that the locks of infidelity were 
broken asunder. Also they taught him the prayers, 
and so Rasalu ceased to be a Hindu and became a 
Muhammadan. 

One day he said to the chief priest, " My father is a 
great infidel and a follower after evil customs. Give me 
help to enable me to return and overcome him." 

" What evil customs do you speak of?" asked the priest. 

" First," answered Rasalu, " he takes to himself a new 
guest every night, but early in the morning he takes his 
life, or sends him forth to perish in the jungles. Next, 
the robe he wears by day he burns at night, and that 
which he wears at night he burns in the morning. And 
lastly, he will not drink two days together from the same 
well. Every morning, therefore, a new well must be dug 
for him, and lives are sacrificed in vain." 

When they heard these things, the priests became con- 
vinced that Raja Sulwahan was a very great infidel indeed, 
but they answered, saying, " It would not be right for you, 
his son, to lead an army against your own father. Such 
behaviour would ill become you, for a son should respect 
his father !" Still, however, he continued to urge his peti- 
tion, and so the Imam told the rest of the priests not to 
refuse his request absolutely, but to put him off w r ith 
promises, which when Rasalu perceived he became more 
eager than ever to have his request complied with. 

Meanwhile Raja Sulwahan had set to work to repair the 
walls of Sialkot, for the armies of Muhammad were over- 
running all the world. One of the great towers, however, 
repeatedly fell down at the moment of completion. Three 
times the builders laid stone upon stone and three times 
the work crumbled to the dust. Then the King consulted 
his astrologers, who said, " Never will the wall stand, until 
the head of a young Muhammadan, who must be also an 



6 4 

only son, has been buried under the foundations!" So 
the King sent officers, and they came to the house of 
the old woman Zabero, and, seizing her son, they hauled 
him forth, saying, " Are you not a Muhammadan ?" And 
boldly the lad answered, loving the truth, " I am a Muham- 
madan ; I do not deny it, for in any case I must die at 
last and pass into the presence of God." 

And the men who had him took him off to the King, 
before whom he came, and on his arm he wore a wedding- 
bracelet and on his neck a garland of flowers. And when 
the King saw him he said, " For whose feast art thou thus 
decked out, O son?" 

" For my own feast am I thus decked out," answered 
he, " for to-day is the day of my marriage." 

" It matters not," said the King. " Ho, fellows, off with 
this youngster's head, and down with it into the earth !" 

So the lad was at once beheaded, even there, in the 
presence of his widowed mother, who wept at that sight, 
and who, snatching a dagger from a soldier, cried out, 
" I, too, am ready to die. O wicked Raja, may the light- 
nings of God fall upon you !" 

Now as she spoke these words, meditating death, the 
head and the body of her lifeless son began moving towards 
her on the ground, which when she perceived, she dropped 
her weapon, and taking up those bloody tokens one by one, 
she pressed them to her bosom. Then addressing the King, 
she cried, " Now will I go to Mecca and bring back with 
me those that will avenge my cause !" 

Rising at once, the old woman started on her journey, 
but, seeing that she was aged and feeble, she could not 
cover more than half-a-mile a day. With limbs fatigued 
and feet swollen, she prayed in her distress to God and 
said, " I am an old woman and cannot walk. May Pir 
Panjabi come to my succour !" Then she lay down in the 
desert, and that same night, as she slept, she had a dream. 
In her dream she saw an old man with a white beard, 
who came to her and said to her, " Shut your eyes !" and 
she shut them and at once found herself in Mecca. That 
was her dream. Early in the morning when she woke, 
she looked about her, and her dream had come true, for 
she saw that she was standing on the steps of the Great 
Mosque, and she saw also the priests of that mosque, and 
she addressed them, saying, " Behold in me a helpless old 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 65 

woman, having no protector. A Hindu Raja, the biggest 
infidel in Hindustan, has cruelly killed my son to build 
him a wall. If you are indeed followers of the Prophet, 
come and avenge me !" 

" Mother, do not weep," answered they. "Our heads 
shall answer for your son's." 

" I could wish not to weep," said she, " but my heart 
weeps, and I cannot restrain myself. I must weep and 
weep until you come and plough up the city." 

" The son of our chief priest," answered they, "is to 
be married in three days. After that we shall set out for 
Sialkot." 

" O priest," replied she, " you are quite right ! You are 
going to marry your son, and at home sits my daughter 
robbed of her husband, and in short I cannot wait any 
longer !" 

Then they set out for the kingdom of Sialkot. But as 
they marched along, she looked and saw that they were 
only five horsemen all told, so she said to Rasalu, " You 
are but a few. What will you do against all the hosts 
of Sialkot?" And the Hazrat took up the answer and 
said, " Mother, put your trust in us!" 

" Of course," said she, " I put my trust in you. But I 
see also that you are only five in number." 

" Close your eyes !" said the priest. So she closed her 
eyes forthwith, and when in a moment more she opened 
them again, she saw a large army, the numbers whereof 
were so vast, that the pommel of one horseman jostled 
against the pommel of the next, and the sound of their 
riding went up. So she was satisfied, and she counselled 
them to bring their army on in the same invisible manner. 

At last they arrived at the city of Sialkot and invested 
it, being encamped round about the walls. And early in 
the morning when the people came out they saw the whole 
place surrounded, and they went in and told Raja Sul- 
wahan. And when the King looked out, he said, "It is 
only my son, Rasalu, no one else, who has brought this 
evil upon me. He went to Mecca and now he has come 
back with a Muhammadan army to destroy me !" 

Then began the great fight between Sulwahan on the one 

side and his son Rasalu on the other. Long held out 

Sialkot, but it was taken at last, and when the enemy 

swarmed through the gates and over the walls, so great 

5 



66 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

was the slaughter that the horses walked the streets fet- 
lock deep in blood. But first, before that happened, the 
people of that city looked down and saw a horseman fight- 
ing sword in hand, but without his head, which he had 
hurled at the gates. That man was the Hazrat himself. 
And the people marvelled at it, expressing their astonish- 
ment each to the other. But passing strange it was to see 
how the body stopped fighting on hearing their remarks, 
and how falling down from its horse, it lay quite still 
among the slain. 

Meanwhile Sundar Das, the Brahmin priest, never ceased 
praying to God for peace. But he prayed in vain, for the 
Muhammadans fought on until they had gained the citadel 
and the palace of the king. And when they had entered 
therein, they saw the Raja Sulwahan sitting on his stool, 
smoking his hookah. Then the priests said to Rasalu, 
" Go forward to your father and bid him become a 
Muhammadan !" So Rasalu went in and bade his father 
either turn Muhammadan or die. 

"My son," answered the king, "you whom I have 
brought up to manhood, spare your father's life!" 

But Rasalu seized him by his long hair, which he 
twisted, and throwing him on the ground, he put his foot 
on his breast and would have cut off his head. Then said 
his father unto him, " Neither your mother nor I have ever 
been unfaithful the one to the other. You are therefore 
my own undoubted son, and at the bar of Heaven, I, your 
father, will lay my hands upon you !" And when Rasalu 
would have smitten, the priests held back his hand, for- 
bidding the deed. Then came he away, and going forth, 
he buried the bodies of the Muhammadans who had fallen 
in the assault. 

After a time it came to pass that father and son became 
reconciled, and that Moti Ram offered his second daughter, 
in lieu of his first, as a wife for Rasalu. But the priests 
returned to Mecca, and by-and-by Rasalu also left the city, 
and once more, mounted on Foladi, went roaming over 
the world. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 67 



4. THE HUNTER KING 

WHEN he had established a new government in Sialkot 
it was that Raja Rasalu set out alone for the Deccan be- 
cause he wished to meet and to see Mirshikari, the 
renowned hunter. 

As he was riding along, his horse suddenly heard the 
strains of distant music proceeding from the depths of 
the forest. " Sir," said she to her master, " what is that 
sweet sound which I hear, and whence is it coming?" 

" I have been told," answered Rasalu, " that there is a 
certain king of the greenwood, named Mirshikari, who sits 
in the forest playing on a lute which was given to him by 
the Water-King, the immortal Khwajah Khizar. 1 All the 
animals when they hear the melodious music come and 
gather around him to listen. Then when he finds a 
chance, he shoots at them with his bow, and kills whatever 
game he favours." 

Saying this, Raja Rasalu with his horse and with Shadi 
his parrot, followed the direction of the sound, and 
approached the glade in which Mirshikari was sitting. 

Now Mirshikari had been informed by astrologers that 
in the course of time one Rasalu would come, who should 
be his master in magic and fighting and in woodcraft. So 
he was always expecting him ; and now, when he saw a 
mounted stranger approaching, he inquired of him, " Who 
are you?" 

" What Raja's son are you? 

And say what name you bear ; 
Where lies your fatherland? 
What city owns you there?" 

And Rasalu answered him 

" Raja Sulwahan's son am I, 

Rasalu is my name ; 

Sialkot is my fatherland, 

My city is the same." 

Then asked Mirshikari, " Are you the Rasalu that 
should come?" 

1 Khwdjah Khizar; the tutelary deity of the Indus. 



68 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" Yes," answered the King. 

" As I have heard about you," said Mirshikari, "so 
now have I seen you." 

" What have you heard about me?" inquired Rasalu. 

"The real Rasalu," answered Mirshikari, "carries an 
arrow weighing one hundred pounds. By this token I 
know you are the real Rasalu, and to-day, by the grace 
of God, I have met you in the forest, where I had scarcely 
hope of seeing you at all." 

Then said Rasalu, "What are you doing? Why are 
you playing on a lute?" 

" It is my usual custom," answered Mirshikari. " Every 
day of my life I play on my lute in order to entice the 
animals, because, when my lute is playing, all the animals 
of the forest gather round me to listen to it, and then, 
watching my chance, I choose my sport and shoot at them 
and kill them, since I cannot live without flesh-meat 
every day. But, O my master, as you have come to 
the green-wood at last, I pray that you will make me your 
disciple." 

" So let it be," said Rasalu, " but first, if you will be a 
follower of mine, there are three conditions which you will 
have to observe." 

"Whatever shall be told me," said Mirshikari, "that 
shall I observe to do implicitly." 

Then said Rasalu, " The first condition is this : Let no 
one know of my coming here, and tell no one that you 
have seen me. The second is this : You may go and 
shoot over three sides of the forest, the north, east and 
the west, but on the fourth side you shall not shoot. And 
the third condition is this : On the forbidden side of the 
forest there live two deer, a buck and a doe. On no 
account must you kill them." 

; ' How shall I know," then asked Mirshikari, " which of 
all the deer of the forest the two reserved ones are?" 

To him Rasalu returned answer, " On the south side of 
the forest those two deer live, and to that side alone they 
resort. You will never meet them and you will never see 
them unless you go there. But if you do go there, and 
if you shoot them, O remember, you will lose your own 
life!" 

All these terms were accepted by Mirshikari, and Rasalu 
having shown him his mode of using weapons of war and 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 69 

of the chase, went away from that place, and tarried in 
another part of the forest. 

So Mishikari, after playing on his lute and killing some 
deer, returned to the city, and when he had eaten his food 
he went to his chamber, and there he began to address 
sweet words to his wife. In the midst of their colloquy 
he broke the first condition imposed upon him by Raja 
Rasalu, for he said to her, " To-day I have seen Rasalu 
in the forest." 

The woman turned round and said, " You are speaking 
a jest. What, is Rasalu a madman to be wandering about 
in the woods? What a wise man are you !" 

Feeling ashamed and abashed on account of his wife's 
words, he took an oath to God before her, and said, 
" I have verily seen Raja Rasalu to-day with my own 
eyes." 

But his wife believed not his words, and she said to him, 
" Hold your tongue and do not vex me so, seeing you 
cannot beguile me." 

After a short time Mirshikari ordered his wife to prepare 
his breakfast over-night, " because," said he, " to-morrow 
I must be in the forest long before dawn." 

Hearing this speech, his wife thought to herself, "It is 
useless to take so much trouble at so late an hour of the 
night. Everything can be got ready for him before he 
starts in the morning." 

At the fixed time on the morrow, while it was yet dusk, 
she awoke, and having bathed, she went to the cook-room 
to prepare some food for Mirshikari, but she was astonished 
at finding that there was no meat of any description in 
the house. Then said she, " Mirshikari will not eat any- 
thing but meat. I must go into the street, to the stalls 
of the butchers, and bring home two pounds of goat's 
flesh." 

So she went to a butcher and said to him, " Give me 
two pounds of goat's flesh, and to-morrow I will give you 
four pounds of venison instead of it." 

" At this time of night," answered the butcher, " I can- 
not possibly open my door. I hear your voice, but what 
you are God knows ; some witch, perhaps, or a giantess, 
or it may be an evil spirit." 

: ' I am the wife of Raja Mirshikari," replied the woman. 

Then said the butcher, " If you are the wife of Mirshi- 



70 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

kari, bring me the money, and I will give you the two 
pounds of meat." 

In the meantime, while his wife was arguing with the 
butcher, Mirshikari woke up, and he called and looked, 
but in the palace his wife was nowhere to be found. For 
some time he waited, but he waited in vain, for she did 
not return. Then, as it was growing late and as he was 
tired of waiting, he took up his lute, his quiver, and his 
bow, and without any breakfast he went out to his 
shooting. When he arrived at the ground he broke the 
second condition, for he chose for his sport the side of 
the forest which had been forbidden to him by his master 
Rasalu. 

Having fixed on a place, he sat himself down, tuned the 
strings of his lute, and began to play. The beautiful 
strains floated on the morning air, and penetrated into the 
depths of the forest, so that, as Raja Rasalu was wandering 
about, his mare again heard the sweet woodland notes, and 
said to the King, "Sir, it is the sound of the lute we heard 
in the woods yesterday." 

" You are right," answered Rasalu, " but my man has 
not fulfilled my behest, nor has he regarded my word, 
and now we shall witness the turning of his fate." 

Meanwhile, as Mirshikari was playing his lute, the two 
deer, a buck and a doe, came out of the forest into the open 
glade, and there stood still to listen. As they felt them- 
selves drawn towards the spot where the lute was playing, 
the doe said to the buck, " Let us wait here and see. Per- 
haps it is Raja Mirshikari playing on his lute. I am afraid 
lest, seeing us, he will kill us dead, because by means of 
his treacherous lute he has already done much to empty 
the woods." 

On hearing these unexpected words, Mirshikari stopped 
his music, and glancing all round him, he saw a chachra 
tree covered with large green leaves. Then moving softly 
to it, he plucked some of the foliage, and having fastened 
it all over his body, he made himself leafy and green like 
the tree, and taking up his lute, he began to play on it 
once more, and as he played he slowly advanced towards 
the buck and the doe. 

When the two deer saw him approaching, the buck said 
to the doe, " See, he is coming towards us for something, 
let us go and meet him." 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 71 

But the doe said, " Do not move a step further," to 
which the buck made answer 

" In the forest I was bred, 
In the forest 1 was fed, 

And the forest is my home ; 
Some little leafy tree, 
To discover you and me, 
In perplexity doth roam." 

Then said the doe to her simple husband 

" In the forest I was bred, 
In the forest I was fed, 

And the forest is my home ; 
Such a thing could never be 
For a little leafy tree 

On two little feet to roam." 

But the buck, being resolved to go forward, said 

" In the forest I was bred, 
In the forest I was fed, 

In the forest I abide ; 
And if hunger be his plea, 
Or if forced by fate he be, 

We may venture to his side." 

" No, no," cried the doe; "be well advised 

" In the forest I was bred, 
In the forest I was fed, 
In the forest I abide ; 
By his acting I can see 
He would capture you and me, 
And our flesh he would divide." 

"O my husband," continued she, "you should not go 
nearer." 

Saying this, she stopped ; but the wilful buck went nearer 
and nearer, listening to the dulcet music, and when Mir- 
shikari saw him well within flight of his arrow, he took his 
lute between his teeth and, drawing his bow, he shot at 
him, and the foolish deer, being pierced by the sharp 
weapon in the shoulder, fell to the ground. Then ran 
Mirshikari swiftly forward, and drawing his knife, he pre- 
pared to cut the throat of his quarry according to custom. 

But all the time Raja Rasalu was watching his proceed- 
ings, saying to his horse, " He has disregarded my 



72 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

counsel; look and you will see the trouble which shall 
shortly fall upon him." 

Mirshikari now lifted his knife to despatch his victim, 
when the deer addressed him in reproachful words, and 
said 

" Thou tyrant-thrower of the pointed dart, 

Thine edgeless knife, O lay it by ; 
But take the lute, the lute that pierced my heart, 
And strike some chords before I die ; 

tyrant, sweep the trembling strings again, 

1 fain would hear one fleeting dying strain ! " 

Then said Mirshikari, "His death has been caused by 
my lute, and I must therefore play for him something more. 
Yet I am in fear lest, as I play, he may suddenly. turn 
his head and gore me with his horns." 

So he sat upon him astride, pressing him down with 
the weight of his body, and thus seated he began to play 
upon his lute once more, while the dying buck, as his life 
ebbed away, listened to the ravishing sounds. 

When he had finished playing, Mirshikari laid aside his 
lute again, and lifting his knife, he passed it over the 
throat of the buck, and let out his life-blood. 

After this he looked about him for some water, ".For," 
said he, " if the knife be not washed, my game will not be 
fit for eating." But no water was to be seen, excepting 
the heavy dew which lay all round about upon the earth. 
So he wiped his bloodstained knife in the grass, and when 
it was cleansed he held it between his teeth in order that 
he might also wipe the blood from his hands in the same 
manner. But it so happened that no sooner had he put 
his hands into the wet grass than he was stung by a viper. 
Uttering a loud cry, he dropped his knife from his mouth, 
which, falling upon the serpent, cut it into two pieces so 
that it died, and presently Mirshikari himself, as the poison 
pervaded his system, gave up the ghost and expired as 
well. 

Seeing this, Raja Rasalu, who was watching all these 
fatal consequences, said to his mare, " Now see what will 
come to pass next." 

After a little while the doe stole out from the jungle to 
look for her husband, and she found him dead. She also 
saw Mirshikari lying still upon the ground. Then thought 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 73 

she to herself, " The hunter-king has been shooting for 
a long time, and now, being tired, he is taking his rest." 
But, venturing nearer, she espied the dead snake cut into 
two pieces, and the knife resting close by. Then under- 
stood she that her husband had been killed by Mirshikari, 
that Mirshikari had been killed by the snake, and that the 
snake had been killed by the knife. 

Having looked upon this dismal spectacle, she said to 
herself: "Now for me to live longer in the world is 
useless, for God knows who may not kill me, or what 
suffering it may not be my lot to endure." And she began 
to wonder how she should destroy herself. After thinking 
and considering, she said, " O my husband's horns, they 
are sharp as spears ! I shall put straight his head and 
jump upon them, and their points will pierce through my 
body and kill me." 

So saying, she set the buck's head upright, and going 
to a little distance she leaped upon his sharp, tapering 
horns, which, penetrating her body, ripped her open and 
killed her. In her dying struggles she gave birth to two 
little kids, a male and a female; but they, after breathing 
the air for a few short moments, expired likewise by the 
side of their dam. 

And all the time Raja Rasalu was gazing at the scene, 
watching every hapless circumstance, and he now said to 
his mare, " Let us see what will come to pass next." 

In a few minutes a jackal came out of the forest, and 
finding so many dead bodies lying prone upon the ground, 
he began to trim his moustachios, and to leap and frisk 
for joy, saying to himself, " God has given me lots of 
good things to-day ! I shall eat my fill, and sleep, and 
eat again. But Mirshikari is a strong man and a famous 
hunter, and if he wakes up he will certainly kill me. So 
my best plan will be to steal his bowstring and throw it 
away ; because then, if he awake, he will never without it 
be able to harm me, and meanwhile I shall have time to 
escape." 

Saying this, the jackal came silently towards Mirshikari, 
and, taking away his bow and skipping into the jungle, he 
endeavoured to break it. But the string was made of 
twisted wire which proved too tough for his teeth. At last, 
putting the side of the bow on his hind legs and one end 
of it under his chin, he succeeded in slipping the wire, but 



74 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

the rebound of the weapon was so sharp and so sudden 
that it tore him in two, and the upper part of his body went 
flying towards the sky. 

When Raja Rasalu saw the jackal's fate he laughed and 
said, " Let us go and look at them now." Coming to 
the spot, he said to his mare, " What shall we do? What 
arrangements shall we make for conveying the body of 
Mirshikari?" 

" Lay it on his own horse," answered she, " and she 
will carry it straight to his house." 

Then Rasalu lifted the body and was going to lay it on 
Mirshikari's horse, but the animal refused, saying, " As 
he failed to obey your orders, I will never carry him 
more." 

"At least," said Rasalu, "guide me to your master's 
palace," and taking from the fatal spot Mirshikari's tur- 
ban, his quiver, his bow, and his lute, he followed the dead 
hunter's horse, which led them on through the grassy 
glades and the leafy alleys of the forest. 

As they entered the city, Raja Rasalu caught sight 
of a woman standing at the stall of a butcher who was 
weighing out some meat, and he overheard her say- 
ing, " Do not longer delay. My husband Mirshikari is 
waiting." 

Then Rasalu stopped and said to her, " O woman ! 
what are you doing there? 

" You weigh the flesh within the scale, 

But say for whom the flesh you weigh; 
The flesh you weigh will ne'er avail, 
The man who looked his last to-day." 

Hearing these words, the woman hastily turned and 
said, " Who are you thus cursing my husband?" 

" I am Rasalu," answered he. But the woman did not 
believe him. 

" A wise Rasalu too," replied she, " to curse another 
man needlessly. It is no good thing which you do." 

; ' But," said Rasalu, " would you recognize your hus- 
band's things if they were shown to you?" 

'Yes," answered she, "wherefore not?" 

Then he laid down before her Mirshikari's turban, his 
lute, and his weapons, and said, " Examine and see if 
these things are your husband's." 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 75 

As soon as she looked upon them, the woman swooned 
and fell senseless to the ground. 

When she came to herself she arose and ran to the 
palace of the King who was lord of all that country, weep- 
ing and beating her breast, and Rasalu followed her. 
There she cried aloud, " Sir, this man has killed my 
husband Mirshikari!" 

The King, hearing her distressful cries, ordered a trial, 
and at the hour appointed one hundred men were de- 
spatched to bring Raja Rasalu into the court. But Rasalu, 
collecting them all in one place, covered them under the 
broad expanse of his shield, and then sent a message to 
the King, saying, " Come if you can, and take your men 
from under my shield." 

When the King understood what a wonderful master of 
magic he was, and how great was his might to cover one 
hundred men with his shield, he sent other messengers, 
saying to them, "Do not use force with him. Bring him 
by solicitations and prayers." And they, as soon as they 
arrived, humbly requested Rasalu to come before their 
lord, beseeching him with courteous words. 

" I come," answered he, and so, lance in hand, and with 
the king's messengers behind him, rode to the city and so 
to the palace. When he entered the King's presence he 
said, " Wherefore have you sent for me?" 

"Why have you slain Mirshikari?" inquired the 
King. 

' I will also ask you a riddle," replied Rasalu, " and if 
you can answer it, you will know of the death of 
Mirshikari 

" One was killed and two died ; 
Two were killed and four died; 
Four were killed and six died ; 
Four were males and two were females." 

But the King was unable to guess the answer. There- 
fore said he to his ministers, " Go with this stranger, 
whoever he is, and see if he tells the truth, and let us 
beware lest he be the real Rasalu." 

So Rasalu conducted them to the forest, where they 
came and saw all the six bodies lying lifeless together on 
the ground. Taking up the corpse of Mirshikari, they 
took it into the presence of the king, who, having heard 



76 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

their tale, looked upon it and said of Rasalu, " This man 
has indeed spoken the word of truth." 

Then Raja Rasalu carried the body of his disciple, 
Mirshikari, back into the forest, and there he laid it down, 
and he dug a grave for it, both long and deep, with his 
own hands, and buried it under the shade of the trees. 
And over the spot he erected an enduring tomb, and pro- 
claimed to the whole city and to all the country around, 
" Whosoever would go hunting, let him first go visit the 
tomb, and do homage at the grave, of Mirshikari !" 

Having performed this last act of piety to the remains 
of the hunter-king, he engraved on his tomb the following 
epitaph, and then went his way 

" King- Dhartli, peerless he for deeds of might, 

Abandoned all his pomp to die : 
And this fair world shall sink in endless night, 
As fades a star-bespangled sky." 



RAJA RASALU 

5. RASALU AND THE SWANS 

RASALU, in his wanderings, once came to a certain city, 
on the gate of which he read an inscription setting forth 
that Rasalu of Sialkot, the son of Sulwahan, would one 
day appear, and that he would shoot an arrow of iron one 
hundred feet into the air, and that his reward should be 
a turban one hundred feet in length. 

There Rasalu determined to tarry; and one day in the 
presence of the inhabitants, when feats of strength were 
being exhibited, he took one of his arrows and shot it 
towards the sky. All the people stood still to gaze, wait- 
ing for the return of the arrow, but as it never came back, 
they said, " This must be the real Rasalu !" 

Then they wove for him a turban one hundred feet in 
length and proclaimed him as the real Rasalu throughout 
the city, and for his great strength he was held in honour 
of all men. 

The next day he entered on his travels again, and as 
he was walking by a river-side he saw a crow and his 
mate sitting fondly together, and he heard the female bird 
saying, " Please take me up to the sky." 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 77 

" No one can go up to the sky," answered the male 
bird. 

But she insisted and said, " Take me up as high into 
the air, then, as you can." 

Saying this, she mounted up and the male bird followed 
her, and both went flying skywards until they were out of 
sight, and Rasalu, wondering what would come of this 
adventure, continued his wanderings. 

Now the two birds flew up so high that at last they 
came to a region of rain, hail, and snow, which kept falling 
continually, and the female bird, drenched and terrified, 
cried, " For God's sake, save my life and take me to some 
place of shelter." 

" What can be done now?" said her companion. " It 
is your own fault, why did you not listen to good 
advice?" 

With these words they began to descend, and, worn out 
with fatigue, they at last fell on to a certain island away 
in the sea. Then said the female crow, " Let us go and 
look for some place of shelter." 

Searching here and there, at last they saw a swan with 
his mate, sitting in a nest in the midst of a tree. So the 
crow approached, and offered his salaams. " What do you 
want, O crow?" said the swan to his unwelcome guest. 

" For the sake of God," answered the crow, " be good 
enough to give us a corner to shelter in to save our lives." 

" Although between you and me," said the swan, 
"there is no relationship, come in and take your rest." 

On hearing this, the female swan protested vehemently. 
"I cannot allow the creature to come into any house of 
mine," cried she. " He is a mean fellow, and our kins- 
people will reproach us, not to speak of our good name." 

" He is asking for shelter in the name of God," said her 
husband, " and I am therefore bound to allow him to enter 
and rest." 

The crow and his mate then crawled into the nest, and 
the swan gave them pearls to eat, and whatsoever else his 
house afforded. 1 

The next morning, the rain being over, the crows 
stepped forth, and the male bird said to the swan, " Dear 
friend, against the wicked you should always be on your 
guard." 

1 Swans are said to feed on pearls. 



78 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" He who will do evil shall suffer evil," answered the 
swan. 

" True," said the crow, " but whether a man do evil or 
not, he should always keep the base and the unworthy at 
a distance." 

"What do you mean by saying that?" inquired the 
swan. 

" Do you not know," said the crow, " that in a single 
night you have robbed me of my swan-wife whom I have 
tenderly reared for twelve years ? You had better give her 
back to me." 

" Is this your return for all my kindness?" asked the 
swan. 

" I do not know the meaning of kindness," replied the 
insolent crow; "give me back my wife! Otherwise, you 
must either fight with me, or go to the King's court for 
judgment." 

" I have no desire to fight with you," answered the 
swan meekly. " Come, let us go to the court of the 
King!" 

All the birds at once set out and came to the palace 
of Raja Bhoj. When they entered the court the King 
inquired, " Why have those four birds come here to-day? 
Bring them before me first!" 

Then were they marshalled by officers before the judg- 
ment seat, and they said, " Sire, we have come to you for 
a decision; condescend to listen !" 

' What is it that you want?" asked the king. 

' Inquire from the crow," said the swan. 

" Nay," replied the crow, " I do not wish to say any- 
thing whatever please ask the swan." 

Then the swan stated his case 

" Struck down by storm, and rain, and driving snow, 
With cries for shelter came this crafty crow ; 
In God's great name he proffered his request, 
We gave him all we had our place of rest; 
But lo ! when morning dawned, good turned to ill, 
He sat and mocked us, and he mocks us still." 

Then the crow stood forward, and stated his own side 
of the question thus 

" One day upon the river-side 
I chanced to take a stroll, 
And there I found some creature's egg 
Within a sandy hole. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 79 

This egg I carried in my bill, 

And cherished it with care, 
I hatched it underneath my breast, 

Till all my breast was bare. 

At last, the young one burst the shell, 

No useless cock was he, 
Or else he might have wandered forth, 

And roamed the jungle free. 

It was a female, and I said, 

' I will preserve her life, 
When twelve years old she'll doubtless prove 

A most deserving wife.' 

Then came this swan, struck down by rain, 

By storm and driving snow, 
And begged me for the love of God 

Some pity to bestow. 

I took him in without a word, 

But lo ! when morning came, 
On score of caste he took my wife, 

And vilified my name." 

Raja Bhoj, having heard both stories, said to the swan, 
" This crow appears to me to be in the right, so hand him 
over his wife !" 

The poor swan made no reply, but gave up his wife at 
once to the crow, and then he went crying and sobbing to 
a distant place, where he lived in a certain solitary garden. 

The triumphant crow, leading out his prize, thought to 
himself, " As my new wife is so handsome, no doubt, if 
I go to my own house, my kinsfolk will come and snatch 
her away from me. It is better therefore to take her 
away to some distance." 

It chanced, however, that the spot which he chose was 
the very garden in which the male swan was already 
living, and so it came to pass that all the four birds once 
more found themselves together. 

One day it happened to Raja Rasalu that, in the course 
of his travels, he rode by that way, and that, as he went, 
he was saying to his mare, " To pass the time let us look 
for some friend and get him to talk." 

Just then he saw a jackal, and making for him he ran 
him down and caught him. 

"Sir, why have you caught me?" said the jackal. 



8o ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" Merely to make you talk," answered Rasalu, " and to 
pass the time." 

Then the jackal, seated on Rasalu 's saddle-bow, began 
to tickle them both with hundreds of lying stories which 
amused them excessively. While thus employed they 
approached the city of Raja Bhoj, when Rasalu told the 
jackal to be off. 

" But," answered the jackal, " it would be cruel to leave 
me here, since all the dogs of the town would set on me 
and kill me. You had better take me with you." 

Rasalu consenting entered the city, and the people 
seeing him, paid him salutations and said, " Who are 
you?" 

" I am Rasalu, the son of Sulwahan," answered he. 

Hearing his name, all the inhabitants came and sur- 
rounded him, saying, " This day God has fulfilled our 
desires." 

Thence Rasalu went to the court of Raja Bhoj, for 
whom he conceived a strong feeling of friendship, and 
dismounting from his horse, he entered and sat down. 
Then Raja Bhoj called for chess and invited his visitor to 
play. Rasalu, who had taken a fancy for his amusing 
little friend the jackal, caused him to sit close to him 
whilst he began the game. First Raja Bhoj, on his side, 
laid a bet of one thousand rupees and threw the dice, but, 
his cast being spoilt by the jackal falling violently against 
his arm, Rasalu won. Raja Bhoj became angry with the 
jackal, but the latter said, " Pray, sir, pardon my offence ! 
I have been awake the whole night, and being sleepy, I 
touched your side quite by an accident." 

Once more Raja Bhoj laid and began to play, but his 
cast of the dice was again spoilt by the jackal falling as 
before against his side. Then cried Raja Bhoj, " Is there 
any one there? Ho ! some one cut this jackal to pieces !" 

" I have been awake the whole night," said the jackal, 
excusing himself again; " forgive me, as I have not com- 
mitted this fault wilfully." 

1 What is this talk about your being awake the whole 
night?" inquired Rasalu. " What do you mean by that?" 

;< I will tell the secret," said the jackal, " to Raja Bhoj 
only." 

"Tell me then, O jackal," said Raja Bhoj, "what it 
was you were doing all the night through?" 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 81 

" Sir," replied the jackal, " tormented with hunger I 
went to the river-side to look for food. But finding none 
I grew desperate, and taking up a stone I threw it against 
another stone, and from the two stones came out fire." 

Having said so much, the jackal came to a stop, and 
Raja Bhoj said, "Well, what else did you do?" 

" Sir," said the jackal, " I caught the fire in some dry 
fuel, out of which a small cinder flew and fell into the 
river, when at once the whole river was in a blaze. Then 
I, being afraid of my life on account of you, endeavoured 
to quench the fire with dry grass, but though I tried my 
best I am sorry to say two-thirds of the river were burnt 
up and one-third only remained." 

Listening to this tale every one began to laugh, and to 
say, " What a fib ! Can water catch fire, and, even if it 
could, can dry grass quench it?" 

" Sirs," said the jackal, " if water cannot quench fire, 
how can a crow possibly claim a female swan as his wife?" 

Hearing this mysterious answer, Raja Rasalu said, 
"Jackal, what in the world are you talking about?" 

" Sir," answered the jackal, " Raja Bhoj pronounced a 
judgment in this court yesterday between a crow and a 
swan, and without due consideration he snatched away the 
swan's wife, and made her over to the crow. This judg- 
ment I listened to myself. And now the wretched swan 
is crying all round the jungle, while the crow is enjoying 
his triumph without let or fear." 

"Can this be true?" asked Rasalu, to which Bhoj 
replied, " Yes, this fellow tells the truth. I was undoubt- 
edly wrong." 

Then Raja Rasalu sent for these four birds, and when 
they came he ordered them to sit in a row on the branch 
of a tree and to close their eyes. The birds did so, and 
Rasalu, taking a bow and pellets, shot at the crow and 
killed him dead on the spot, saying, " This is a just reward 
for fraud and treachery." 

At the same time he restored the female swan to her 
proper mate, who, delighted with the judgment, extolled 
his wisdom thus 

" All other kings are geese, but you 

The falcon wise and strong ; 
A judgment just you gave, and true 
O may your life be long!" 



82 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 
RAJA RASALU 

6. RASALU AND RAJA BHOJ 

WHEN Rasalu had spent a brief season of rest at the 
court of Raja Bhoj, he requested that king's permission 
to take his leave. But his host, unwilling to part with 
him, said, " As you have blest my palace with your pre- 
sence, so you will confer on me a still greater favour, if 
you will abide here a little longer, and make me your 
disciple." 

" In the same spot," answered Rasalu, " my destiny for- 
bids me to tarry long. Nevertheless I will accept your 
invitation and impart to you whatever I know myself." 

So he remained in that city some time longer, dwelling 
in the house of his friend, and teaching him the art of 
fighting and wrestling. 

At last Rasalu set out once more on his travels, and 
many of the inhabitants, out of love and admiration for 
him, saw him out of their borders; but Raja Bhoj and his 
wazir, together with some few attendants, accompanied 
him several days' marches. 

As they journeyed pleasantly along, Raja Bhoj said to 
Rasalu, " Pray tell me, what in your opinion are the five 
most cursed things in the world." 

Then Rasalu answered him 

" A thriftless wife who ruins house and home ; 
A daughter grown whose head is bare and bald ; 
A daughter-in-law of sour forbidding face ; 
A crooked axle to the garden-well ; 
A field that lies athwart the village path ; 
A man may search the world where'er he please, 
And never find more cursed things than these." 1 

Hearing this answer, Raja Bhoj was pleased exceed- 
ingly, and praised Rasalu's wisdom. And so the two 
kings, engaged in pleasant converse, continued their way. 

At last they arrived one morning at a delightful garden 
which belonged to the Rani Sobhon, 2 and entering therein, 
the whole company dismounted, and laying aside their 
arms, they reclined along the margin of a fountain of cool, 
delicious water. 

1 A string of favourite Panjabi proverbs. 

2 Sobhd Beauty, charm. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 83 

Scarcely had they taken their places, when they saw 
approaching them from the midst of the shrubs and trees 
one hundred beautiful damsels, all armed with drawn 
swords. Rasalu, with a smile, then said to Bhoj, " These 
fair ladies appear to be very formidable. Let us amuse 
ourselves a little at their expense." 

Having thus spoken, he looked at the girls and said. 
" O ladies, why have you come out against us with drawn 
swords in your hands?" 

" Whosoever," answered they, " trespasses within the 
bounds of this garden or comes hither to take water out 
of the fountain forfeits his ears and his hands, and is then 
expelled with ignominy." 

" Alas," said Rasalu, " what dire mishap has brought 
us here !" 

Putting on sterner looks, the girls then said, " Have 
any of you touched the water of the fountain ? If you 
have, confess it, in order that we may cut off your hands 
and your ears, for such is the order we have received from 
the Queen, our mistress, who has bidden us cut off the 
hands and ears of all who dare to drink from her 
fountain." 

"O fair ones," replied Rasalu, "we have not yet 
presumed to drink. But, as we are merely poor wayfarers, 
do not hinder us. Suffer us to drink, and then let us 
depart in peace." 

" Who are you?" inquired the damsels. 

" As for me," said the King, " men call me Rasalu." 

Hearing his name, all the girls fluttered together, and 
began to whisper among themselves, "If he be the real 
Rasalu," said they, " he will catch us and kill us. We 
had better let him go, and seize only the others." 

But Rasalu divined their thoughts, and so he said 

" If you let me go, O beauteous ones, will you not 
also release the others, seeing we are all wayfarers to- 
gether?" 

Then said one of the maidens 

" Wayfarers number three, they say, 
The brook, the moon, the shining day; 

Of all these three, 

Pray tell to me, 
Who is your father, and who is your mother?" 1 

1 Common children's rhyme. 



84 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

"It is true we are wayfarers," replied Rasalu, " but we 
are not so much wayfarers as world-travellers." 
" Indeed," said the same lady, " but 

" Travellers o' the world are also three, 
A sheep, a woman, a bullock they be ; 
With quibbling words no longer play, 
But tell me your name without delay." * 

"It is evident," said Rasalu, " that we poor fellows, 
whether wayfarers or world-travellers', shall have fain to 
implore your clemency." 

" We have power, of course," observed the ladies, re- 
lenting, " to let you off. But what answer shall we make 
to our mistress?" 

" Go to your hard-hearted mistress," answered Rasalu, 
" and tell her this 

" Beside your spring three men reclined, 
Your father's family priests were they ; 

They saw our swords, and, vexed in mind, 
They rose at once and walked away ; 

God knows their route we greatly fear 

They've gone to Kabul or Kashmir." 

Accordingly these simple damsels left Rasalu and his 
friends, and going to the palace, they reported to the Rani 
Sobhan all that had been told them. " Alas," said the 
Queen, beginning to grieve, "it is twelve long years since 
our family priests were here before ! And now, when they 
had journeyed so great a distance to visit me, my foolish- 
ness has driven them away. Who knows whether they 
will ever return again to me or not?" 

So speaking the Queen began to sob, and rising from 
her seat, she prepared to descend into the garden with her 
train of belted maidens. 

Meanwhile, however, Rasalu and his companions, 
having rested sufficiently, had left the fountain and gone 
on their way. Towards evening they halted at a pleasant 
spot in the open wilderness, where there were some beau- 
tiful well-laden mango-trees, and a fair babbling brook. 
Here they determined to tarry for the night, and having 
dismounted, they sat down under the cool, shady boughs. 

Just then a deer appeared in the distance, and Rasalu, 
drawing his bow, brought it down, after which, a fire 

1 Common children's rhyme. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 85 

having been kindled, the game was dressed and served, 
and every one with glad, contented mind partook of the 
feast. 

Now it happened that about the same time Raja Horn 
of Delhi had been routed in a great battle by another 
Raja. Great was the slaughter, and Raja Horn, abandon- 
ing his capital, fled away with only a few of his attendants. 
Coming to the mango-trees under which Rasalu and his 
friends were sleeping, the fugitives there pitched their 
camp, and having eaten a frugal supper, they all retired 
to rest. The night was very lovely, and Raja Horn's 
Queen was lying asleep in her litter next to her husband's 
tent, while the Raja sat by her side. As he was unwilling 
or unable to sleep himsel/, he began to gaze with a certain 
tender melancholy, now at the slumbering lady, and now 
at the shining moon. When some time had thus elapsed, 
he called up his wazir and said to him, " I have just made 
some verses." 

" Pray, sir, tell them to me," said the wazir. 

Then Raja Horn repeated the following lines 

" No water's like the Ganges, river dear; 
No light is like the moon, serenely clear; 
No sleep is like the sleep that fondly lies, 
So calm and still, upon a woman's eyes; 
Of every fruit that hangs upon the tree, 
The luscious mango is the fruit for me." 1 

"Bravo!" cried the wazir, applauding vehemently. 
"Excellently good, sir, and right nobly expressed!" 

Suddenly the silence was broken by the voice of Raja 
Rasalu, who, with his friend Bhoj, had not been as soundly 
asleep but that he had heard every word of this pretty 
interlude, and who now interrupted the conversation with 
these words 

"In lonely woods I walk, Raja, 

I walk, a poor recluse ; 
However wise your talk, Raja, 
Your friend's a learned goose." 

"Who is that?" cried Raja Horn with sudden anger. 
" What means this intrusion on our privacy? Ho! catch 
the fellow, and bring him here!" 

1 These lines consist of common sayings of the people. 



86 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

One of the attendants approached Rasalu, and said with 
some insolence, " Get up, sir; how dare you interfere with 
our Raja's talk?" 

" If you value your life," answered Rasalu, " return to 
your master at once." 

" Why?" said the man. " Who are you and whence 
come you?" 

" I am Rasalu the son of Sulwahan," replied he, " and 
my home is the blessed Sialkot. If you are not a stranger 
to courtesy and to the customs of kings, and if you will 
request me civilly to visit your Raja, I may go to him. 
But never yield I to force." 

The servant was astonished, and returning to his master 
he reported to him all his adventure. 

" Go to him again," said Raja Horn, " and entreat him 
courteously to come to me. I wish to speak with him." 

Then went the attendant back to Rasalu, and delivered 
his message, saying, " Sir, Raja Horn of Delhi sends you 
his compliments and would speak to you." 

So Rasalu arose, and approaching the tent he saluted 
the King of Delhi with grave politeness. 

" Are you really Rasalu?" inquired the latter. " Why 
did not my verses commend themselves to you?" 

" However well expressed," answered Rasalu, " the 
sentiment was scarcely true. So I ventured to interrupt 
you." 

" I may of course be wrong," said Raja Horn; " but if 
so, you will doubtless correct me." 

"Willingly," replied Rasalu; "the idea, in my judg- 
ment, should be this 

" No water like the limpid stream 

That ripples idly by ; x 
No light so glorious as the beam 

That sparkles from the eye ; 
Of all the sleep that mortals know, 

The sleep of health's the best; 
Of all the fruit the gods bestow, 

A son exceeds the rest." 

" How is that?" said Raja Horn. " Let me hear your 
explanation." 

' When you were born into the \vorld," answered 

1 Literally, " No water like the water at your arm-pit " a proverb 
referring to the flask always borne under the arm by travellers and 
shepherds in the East. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 87 

Rasalu, " who gave you Ganges water then? And when 
a thirsty fugitive you fled away before your foes, what 
good was Ganges water to you then ? If you had not eyes 
you might look for the moonlight in vain ; if health forsook 
you, sleep would forsake you too; and if you were to die 
fruitless, you would die a barren stock, with never a son to 
succeed or to perpetuate you." 

Having heard this answer, Raja Horn, admiring 
Rasalu's wisdom, praised him greatly, and said to him, 
"Sir, you are undoubtedly right, and I was wrong." 

The next morning Raja Rasalu embraced his friend 
Raja Bhoj and bade him adieu, after which he continued 
his journey alone, ever seeking for fresh adventures. 

RAJA RASALU 

7. RASALU AND THE GIANTS OF GANDGARH 

ONCE Raja Rasalu was out hunting in the forest when, 
overcome with fatigue, he lay down under a tree and went 
to sleep. In his sleep he had a vision in which he saw 
approaching him the Five Holy Men, who addressed him, 
saying, ' ' Get up, Raja, and root out the race of the giants ! " * 
Disturbed in mind, he arose and instantly set off on the 
expedition, having determined without delay to achieve 
the exploit. Many a league rode the hardy King on his 
renowned war-horse Foladi, now over hills, now over 
moors, and now through gloomy forests, intent on his 
arduous quest. One day in the depths of a lonely wood 
he reached a large city which was as silent as the grave. 
He entered the streets, but they were deserted; he gazed 
in at the open shops, but they were all tenantless. Amazed 
at the solitude, he stood in an open space and surveyed 
the scene. Just then he caught sight of some smoke 
issuing from a distant corner, and making his way to it 
he saw there a miserable old woman kneading and baking 
quantities of bread and preparing abundance of sweet- 
meats, but all the time she was either weeping or laughing. 
Surprised at a spectacle so extraordinary, Rasalu halted 
and said, " Mother, in this solitary place who is to eat all 
that food, and why are you both weeping and laughing?" 

1 " Five Holy Men " The five chosen Apostles of Muhammad 
The Five Pirs. 



88 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" My son, where have you come from?" answered the 
woman, "from the skies or out of the earth? Do you 
know this country belongs to giants and man-eaters ? You 
are a stranger ; it is better for you to pursue your way and 
not to question me." 

" Nay," said Rasalu, " I cannot bear to see you in such 
trouble, and I would fain know the cause of it." 

" The king of this place," said the woman, " is Kashu- 
deo, 1 and he has ordered that a human being, a buffalo 
and four hundred pounds of bread, shall be sent daily to 
a certain place for the giants. Once I had seven sons, of 
whom six have been devoured, and to-day it is the turn of 
the seventh, and to-morrow it will be the turn of myself. 
This is my trouble, and it makes me cry. But I am laugh- 
ing because also to-day my seventh son was to have been 
married, and because his bride ha ! ha ! will have now 
to do without him." 

With these words the woman fell to laughing and crying 
more bitterly than ever. 

" Weep not," said Raja Rasalu. 

" Good wife, your tears no longer shed, 
If God will keep the youngster's head, 
I swear my own shall fall instead." 

But the old woman had not so learnt her lessons of life, 
and replying through her tears, "Alas! what man was 
ever known to give his head for another?" she went on 
with her dismal task. But Rasalu said, " I have come here 
for no other reason than to extirpate the kingdom of the 
giants." 

" Who are you then ?" inquired the woman. " What is 
your father's name and where is your birthplace?" 

' The blessed Sialkot is my birthplace," replied he. "I 
am the son of Sulwahan, and my name is Rasalu." 

Then the woman began considering, and she thought 
to herself, " Whether he be the real Rasalu, I know 
not; yet he may be, because it is written, 'One Rasalu 
shall be born, and he will destroy the kingdom of the 
giants.' ' 

Then Rasalu, gazing round, inquired, " Why is there 
no one in the city ? 

1 Kashu-De'o, a Hindu deity held in high honour in Kashmir. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 89 

" Here temple domes and palace towers, 

Bazaars and lowly shops abound, 
But silent as the passing hours, 

Idly they lift themselves around ; 
What luckless hap hath chanced the world, that all 
Deserted are the doors of house and mart and hall?" 

" Let not this surprise you," answered the old woman, 
" the people have all been eaten up by the giants." 

Rasalu now dismounted from his horse, and having tied 
him under shelter, he stretched himself on a small low 
bedstead and at once fell into a deep slumber. Meanwhile 
the young lad arrived with the buffalo which was laden 
with the bread and the sweetmeats, and when all was ready 
he drove it before him through the empty streets and went 
out into the forest. After a time the old woman came 
close to the sleeping king and began to cry piteously, so 
that the King started up from his sleep and inquired the 
reason of her distress. She answered him 

" Thou rider of the dark-grey mare, 
Rasalu, bearded, turbaned stranger, 

for some saviour to repair, 

A champion, to the field of danger ! 

1 weep because those tyrants come to-day, 
To lead my one surviving son away." 

Then Rasalu arose, and with a word of comfort to the 
mother, he mounted and rode off in pursuit of her son. 
Having overtaken him he said, " How shall we know 
boy, when the giants are coming?" 

"First," answered the boy, "there will be a strong 
wind with rain, and when that is over the giants will 
come." 

Continuing their journey, they arrived at the banks of 
a river, where the boy halted, while Rasalu rambled about 
hunting. In his absence one of the giants named Thirya 1 
came down to fetch some water. So huge of body and 
mighty of limb was he, that his water-skin was composed 
of the hides of twenty-seven buffaloes all sewn together 
so as to form one vast receptacle, and he carried a bucket 
made up of the hides of seven buffaloes. When he filled 
his water-skin the river absolutely groaned, so that Rasalu, 
hearing, gazed at it in wonder. 

1 Thirya Unprincipled one. 



go ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Thirya, seeing the lad and the buffalo, and the full load 
of bread, grinned with greedy delight, saying, " Glad am 
I to see all these good things." 

Then seizing some of the loaves, he shuffled away into 
a thicket and began to munch. But by-and-by Rasalu 
returned, and then the boy said to him, " One of the 
giants has already come and has taken away his toll of 
the loaves, and others will soon come and eat me together 
with the buffalo. What is the use of your advancing 
further?" 

"Who is he that has taken away the loaves?" asked 
Rasalu. 

" He is the water-carrier," answered the lad. " His 
name is Thirya, and he generally comes first and takes his 
bread beforehand as a tax which is allowed him." 
' Where is he?" asked Rasalu. 

" There he is," said the boy, " in the thicket, eating the 
loaves." 

Rasalu, sword in hand, rode into the thicket, and going 
up to the giant he smote him with his iron whip and cut 
off his right hand, and recovered the loaves. 

Then, with a howl which was so loud and dreadful that 
it roused his companions the other giants from their sleep 
or from their labours and brought them out from their 
dens in the mountain, the giant cried, as he gazed at the 
hero's enormous quiver and his threatening aspect, 
"What man, what demon, are you?" 

" I am Rasalu," answered the King. 

And when he heard the name, the disabled monster, 
crying and weeping, ran back to his brothers, traversing 
the distance in two or three strides. His brothers were 
surprised, and said, "What has come over you? You 
look quite perplexed. Where is the skin and where the 
pitcher?" And Thirya answered, " The leathern pitcher I 
left with the buffalo, the skin I hung on the pommel of 
the horse. Run, brothers, run ! 

" Here comes Rasalu, the champion brave, 
Let us haste and hide in the mountain cave ; 
Whether prophet of God or Beelzebub, 
Upon his shoulders he carries a club!" 

Saying these words, Thirya cried out and ran in 
terror. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 91 

But the eldest of the crew, whose name was Kabir, 1 and 
who was bald-pated, offered to go and see what was the 
matter and who the person was who had cut off Thirya's 
arm. Now this Kabir was very bold. He advanced confi- 
dently, running along to the side by which Rasalu was 
coming. Scarcely had he gone far, when he saw a buffalo, 
a boy, and a horseman moving up towards him. So at 
once he understood the whole matter, and he said to him- 
self, " Here will I stay, for the things to be divided are 
the buffalo, the boy, and the loaves. But the horse and his 
rider are things over and above all that, and these shall be 
mine. I will have them at once, and tell my brothers I 
have devoured them in vengeance for my brother's arm. 
So they won't be angry with me!" 

While he was planning all this out, Raja Rasalu saw 
him, but he was so tall in stature and so awful in aspect, 
that the Raja could not take him for a man at all, but, as 
the head was moving, he asked the boy; " O boy, boy," 
said he, " let me know what that mountain is in front of 
me with the moving top ! Are the hills of this country 
moving?" 

" No, sir," answered the boy. " That is not a hill. It 
is a sturdy giant. His name is Kabir. He is waiting for 
us. He will undoubtedly devour us all !" 

" All right !" said Rasalu. " Let us go forward !" 

Meanwhile the Raja took his bow, and placing an arrow 
in it, he drew and shot it with such force, that it went 
straight into the upper part of Kabir's skull. So the giant 
cried out with a bitter cry and went running in terror to 
his brothers, who were more astonished than ever. And 
they asked him, saying, " What is the matter with you? 
Why are you running so wildly ? Perhaps you have 
eaten something!" He was just going to answer them, 
when his brains came oozing out from his wound, and he 
fell prone upon the earth right in front of his brothers, 
saying, as he fell 

" Hear me, brothers, though we live long enough, still 
we must die ! But be advised by me, and beware of the 
horseman coming up the hill !" 

Then fell rage on them all for the loss of their two 
brothers, and they all began to boast, and to utter foul 
words. " Who is the man," said they, " who has treated 

1 A certain Hindu philosopher. 



92 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

our brothers thus?" Tundia and Mundia declared they 
would go at once, and devour him there where he stood. 
But Akaldeo 1 told them to calm themselves, and not be 
too hasty. " Let him come, brothers," said he, " and we 
will see how we can avenge ourselves for our loss!" So 
they began to make preparations. 

Meanwhile Rasalu, the boy, and the buffalo, came 
within sight of them, and the Raja said, " Hail, giants, 
hail!" And Akaldeo returned answer, saying 

" Hail to you, and hail to your father and mother ! But 
stop there, whoever you are, and let me first know your 
name. Are you Raja Rasalu ? Our fathers told us we 
should be killed by one Raja Rasalu, but it does not matter 
whether you are he or not, as we are quite prepared to 
have a fight with you. So what is your name anyhow?" 

At first Rasalu hesitated to say, but the giant insisted, 
and when he saw that he was growing angry he spoke and 
said, " Sialkot is my country and Sialkot is my town. My 
father's name is Sariban (Sulwahan) and my mother was 
Rani Luna." Now his mother's name he gave them be- 
cause she was of the race of the fairies; and when the 
younger brothers heard it they would have fled at once. 
But Tundia and Mundia said, " Flee who will, we will 
stand by Akaldeo!" 

And Akaldeo counselled them, saying, " Brothers, do 
not run ! My parents taught me a charm, and we shall 
soon see if this horseman stands or runs. If he stands, 
then no doubt he is Raja Rasalu." Then turning to the 
Raja, he said, " One snort of mine will sweep you away !" 

At once the monster laid his forefinger on his right 
nostril and blew with his left. Instantly there passed over 
the land a sudden and thick darkness, the atmosphere was 
filled with lurid dust, and by means of magic and enchant- 
ment the winds and the clouds rushed up from afar. Then 
beat the rain for forty days and forty nights, and the hail- 
stones smote, the thunders roared, and the lightnings 
flashed, and the very earth was shaken. 

" Now keep your feet, good steed," cried Raja Rasalu; 
and to the lad he said, " Here, boy, grip well my stirrup 
and fear them not!" 

And while the wind swept by with the force of a hurri- 
cane so that the trees were uprooted, the King sat firm 

1 Akaldgo Immortal God. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 93 

and undaunted in the midst of the tempest and never 
flinched or cowered a jot. Nay, so firm was his seat, that 
his horse sank up to his knees in the earth. 

When the storm had driven by and the darkness had 
sped, Akaldeo boastfully cried, " Now see if Rasalu is 
there!" 

And as the light dawned they saw him in the same spot. 
Then Akaldeo, bursting with rage, snorted with both his 
nostrils, and it continued raining and hailing with two-fold 
violence, and the storm raged furiously for eighty days and 
eighty nights, so that no stone, or tree, or animal, or bird, 
was left within a radius of a hundred miles. And when 
this was over, Akaldeo cried once more, " Now see if 
Rasalu is there!" And they looked and still they saw 
him standing in the same position, calm and unmoved as 
the Angel of Death. Then fear and consternation filled 
their hearts, and they were in a mind to flee, when one of 
them said, " But if you are indeed Rasalu, you will pierce 
with your arrow seven iron griddles, for so it is written in 
our sacred books." 

"Bring them forth!" said Rasalu. 

And the giants brought out the seven griddles, each of 
which weighed thirty-five tons, and setting them up in a 
row one behind another, they challenged Rasalu to pierce 
them. Drawing his bow, Rasalu launched one of his 
shafts of iron, weighing a hundre3 pounds, and drove it 
at the seven griddles, so that it pierced them through 
and through and fixed itself immovably in the earth 
beyond. 

" You have missed !" cried all the giants in a breath. 

" I never missed in my life," returned Rasalu. " Go, 
look at the griddles and see!" 

They went to the spot, and saw the griddles really 
pierced, and the arrow stuck in the ground beyond. 

Then said Rasalu, " Pull out the arrow !" 

They all pulled and tugged, but not one of them could 
stir it, so, at that, Rasalu drew it forth himself. 

" Of a truth this man is a giant," said one. " Let us 
try him with some iron gram. If he will eat it, we shall 
know that he comes of the blood of the demons." 

Then the giants brought ten pounds of iron gram and 
gave it into his hands; but Rasalu, deftly changing it for 
the gram which he had in his horse's nose-bag, began to 



94 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

eat before them, and when he had so done, he cried, " Now 
look out for yourselves !" 

Then they all got really alarmed. " No doubt," thought 
they, " it is the real Raja Rasalu : no doubt our destruction 
is certain." But Akaldeo chanted a charm and turned 
himself into a stone. Two others, Thirya and Wazir, fled 
for their lives; but Tundia and Mundia, feeling ill, stayed 
where they were. Then said Rasalu to Foladi, his horse, 
" Now what shall we do ?" 

" Their chief has turned himself into a stone," answered 
the horse, " by virtue of his magic. You cannot therefore 
do anything with him. Much better that you should fight 
the two who are remaining behind." 

So Rasalu advanced to them and bade them strike the 
first blow. 

" No strength is left to us at all !" answered they. 

" Raja," said the parrot, " kill them at once !" 

" O Rasalu," said they, " evil is the deed you have done 
us this day ! O tyrant, two of our brothers you have 
killed ! What poison have you served out to us ? In the 
name of God, take our lives soon !" 

Then Rasalu, drawing his bow, struck first at Tundia, 
and the arrow sent him flying to Maksudabagh. Then 
with another arrow he smote Mundia, who, with the arrow, 
went flying away to Alikhan. Down they fell, both of 
them, Tundia and Mundia. They fell like mountains, and 
their blood gushed out like rivers of water in the hills. 

After that he advanced to Akaldeo, and smote him two 
or three times, but, finding his efforts useless, he asked 
his parrot and his horse to advise him. " Raja," said the 
parrot, "it is useless to break your arm over this stone. 
Three of them have been killed, and of the two who have 
fled one has lost his arm. You can't do any harm to 
this figure of stone. Let us then go to the place where 
the smoke is rising; perhaps some of their women are 
there. Make them tell you what to do with this figure, 
and then despatch them as well !" 

Then went Rasalu forward to that place from which the 
smoke was issuing, and there he found a large building 
with a wild garden round it. At the same time he spied 
a woman coming out, whose features were most repulsive, 
who was covered with hair to her ankles, and whose teeth 
were just like the iron points of ploughshares. She was 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 95 

coming forward as if to meet her husband, and she bore, 
in her hand an iron bar, from one end of which was 
hanging a whole roasted camel. The sight of her scared 
even Rasalu, for he had never seen anything so hideous 
in his life, and he cried out to his parrot, " O Shadi, woe 
to you, and woe to me, and woe to us all ! Our lives 
were preserved from those monsters, but now you have 
led your master to a most awful thing. No doubt we 
shall here be eaten alive!" 

" Be careful, Raja !" answered the parrot. " Don't lose 
your presence of mind ! It is a woman, and it cannot be 
so courageous as the men. Frighten her, and you will 
see that she will give way !" 

Then Rasalu, drawing his sword, spoke, " O Bhagalbatt, 
in a towering rage I draw my sword ! Tell the secret at 
once, and show me your husband's magic art !" 

At the same time he flashed his sword in front of her 
as if to cut her in pieces. The woman stood aghast, and, 
folding her hands, she said, " I will obey all your orders." 

" Tell me the secret, then, at once !" said Rasalu, " Your 
husband is a stone. Can you make him alive again?" 

" Yes, I can," answered she, " and I will go with you to 
the place." 

And so she did. But no sooner had she approached the 
figure of her husband than she ran back again, and would 
have escaped, if Rasalu had not caught her, refusing to 
let her go. Then said she, " I will not bring my husband 
back to life unless you promise to marry me after you 
have put him to death. Oh, I do not want to become a 
widow ! If you kill me it does not matter, because in that 
case my husband will save himself and remain alive. But 
give me your promise, and I will call him back to life, and 
then you can kill him, and marry me !" 

At this speech Rasalu laughed. But Shadi said, " Raja, 
why hesitate? Give her your promise. You will never 
have such a chance again ! You will certainly have to 
buy up all the cotton in the country to dress her, but 
then see what a beauty she is ! She is indeed most 
lovely, and well worthy of your Highness !" 

Rasalu, however, was much perplexed, not wishing to 
make a false promise, and besides he did not want her as 
a wife. Yet, after all, he promised; and when he had 
done so, the giantess said 



96 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

"O Raja, make haste, make no delay! The whole 
body of the giant has become rigid as stone, but not so 
his heart. Up, Raja, and strike him through the heart !" 

Then Rasalu went up at a bound, his horse leaping a 
leap of one hundred yards, and passing round the figure, 
he saw that the heart was indeed beating very heavily. 
So he stabbed him there, right through the heart, and his 
sword came out on the other side of the body. And as 
the sword drove in, that one-eyed monster began to 
tremble like a quaking mountain, and in a short time he 
grew cold. 

Then said his horse to Rasalu, " Raja, now is the time 
for you to marry this woman, that is, to strike her dead, 
lest she play us a trick !" 

" No, horse," answered Rasalu, "she cannot do harm, 
and besides she is only a woman, so let her live till we 
come back. First and foremost we must think of the 
giants who have run away, and who are far more danger- 
ous than she. One of them is without an arm, so I don't 
care for him ; but the other is sound and stout, and we 
must settle him at once!" 

So Rasalu set off in pursuit of Thirya and Wazir. 
These both ran together for a little while, but afterwards 
Thirya, who was wounded and bleeding, said to Wazir, 
" Brother, my blood is flowing apace, and will, I think, 
get us into trouble, because Rasalu can follow us upon the 
track of the blood. But you, being in sound health, had 
better get away to some safe place and leave me alone." 
Wazir, thinking Thirya meant him to return to Akaldeo, 
went back, because he hoped to escape to Mount Sarban, 
but on the way he saw Rasalu galloping his horse. 
Puzzled and perplexed what to do, he tore up thick bushes 
and large trees and made a pile of them and hid himself 
under them. Thirya, happening to look back, was quite 
astonished at his sudden disappearance, and he said 

" He left me only just now, and what's become of him 
I do not know!" And, being quite confounded by grief 
and sorrow, he spoke and said, " The fire of pain burns 
in my breast, on our family has fallen calamity. O 
Brother, escape while yet you can, run anywhere, to this 
side or to that side, if only you are still alive !" 

Then Rasalu again conferred with his horse and his 
parrot, and ordered them to advise him, whether first to 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 97 

go in pursuit of Thirya, or to kill the giant concealed under 
the trees. Both of them advised him to kill Wazir first. 
So the King came to the pile of trees and brushwood, and 
they saw that underneath lay a large flat slab of heavy 
stone, which was moving up and down as the giant 
breathed beneath. Now the Raja had learnt some magic 
from his mother Luna, so he chanted some words, by 
virtue of which the stone rolled away, and the giant be- 
neath became visible. Then the Raja began to pull away 
the trees and the bushes, but the horse and the parrot 
stopped him, saying, " O Raja, what a foolish thing to 
do ! If you are going to tear away those trees one by one, 
it will take ages, and, besides, the giant will suddenly 
jump up all at once and catch you in his arms, and you 
will not be able to kill him, but get killed by him yourself 
instead. You have killed four of them, and now we think 
the fifth will kill you. You had better cut him through 
with your sword, together with the trees." And right 
glad was Rasalu that he did so. He drew his sword, 
making it flash like lightning, and, taking God's name on 
his lips, he struck with his sword, which was so sharp, 
that it passed through the trees and the bushes, and cut 
the giant in two. Then, setting a light to it, he made a 
bonfire of the whole mass. 

When all this was being done, Thirya again looked back, 
and saw that his brother Wazir was dead. He also saw 
Rasalu preparing to pursue him with all his strength, and 
he cried, " You have cut off my arm and killed my brothers. 
Why still pursue me? I feel an arrow piercing my 
heart!" Then he hurried on up the mountain, moaning, 
" O God, you alone are my saviour ! He won't let me 
alone !" And when he got to the cliff, all at once the rock 
before him began to split open, and taking advantage of 
it, he climbed up and ran into the cleft. So Rasalu lost 
him, to his great surprise, and he spoke to his parrot and 
his horse, saying 

" I am astonished! You see the state of affairs. No 
sooner had I begun to overtake him, than he disappeared. 
What's to be done now?" 

" Sahib," answered Shadi, " you did not see what I did. 

I was higher than you, and I think that the rock must 

have opened for the giant to go in. Let me go and see 

where he is!" So the parrot flew to the hill and found 

7 



98 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

him hidden in the Cave of Gandghar. Then, flying back 
to his master, he said, "The giant is hidden in the cave 
of the mountain." 

Going to the place, Rasalu saw Thirya crouching in the 
gloom of Gandgharri-ki-ghar, 1 and he cried, " Are you 
inside, Thirya?" 

" Yes," answered he. 

" Why are you here?" asked Rasalu. 

"Because, sir," said Thirya, "you cut off my hand, 
and I was afraid of you, and I have come in hither to 
hide." 

Then, as he heard the approaching tramp of Foladi, he 
ran further in, and lifting up his voice in a lament, cried 
aloud and said 

" Strange is Thy nature always, God most dread, 
To Thee the poor and needy cry for bread ; 
Thou givest life where life lived not before, 
And those who live Thou biddest live no more. 
My bark is drifting o'er the stormy deep, 
While all her crew are wrapt in deadly sleep ; 
Asrail himself grips fast the guiding oar, 
And, through the waves that hoarsely round her roar, 
His shuddering freight he hurries to the shore. 
O how can I foreknow what words of doom 
Against my soul proclaim beyond the shadowy tomb!" 

As he spoke thus, Rasalu alighted, and tying his horse 
to a stone, he took his shield and his sword and went 
into the cave. Then said the parrot, " Raja, Raja, what 
are you doing? We advise you not to go alone into that 
cave, lest in the darkness the giant catch you in his arms 
and eat you up!" But the Raja insisted, and went in, 
but as he found no limit to the length of that cave, and 
as Thirya continued to evade him, and as it was getting 
darker and darker at every step, he cried out, " Thirya, it 
is unmanly to flee away to such a place ! Come out if 
you are brave, and you shall have the first blow !" 

" No, no, no," roared the giant, " I won't come out, 
and I will never come out till the Day of Judgment!" 
And as he rushed further and further in, the echoes of his 
voice reverberating through the vast chambers resounded 
far and wide. But the darkness then became so black and 
so confusing that Rasalu searched for him in vain. There- 
fore at last he gave up the hopeless task and came out. 
1 That is, The Cave of Gandghar. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 99 

But having engraved a likeness of his stern face on the 
surface of the rock just within the cave, he rolled a great 
stone to the mouth of it, and fixed thereto his bow and 
arrow. At full stretch, with the arrow fitted to the string, 
hangs the bow, and from the arrow hangs a tuft of 
Rasalu's hair. Then having closed up the entrance, he 
cried out to the imprisoned giant, "Thirya, remember if 
you dare to stir forth you will be killed on the spot!" 

Thus he shut the monster in, and there he remains to 
this day. Sometimes, even now, he endeavours to escape, 
but when in the sombre twilight he catches sight of the 
awful look of King Rasalu's pictured face, and sees the 
threatening arrow, and the nodding tuft of hair, he rushes 
back dismayed and baffled, and his bellowing fills the 
villages round with dread. 1 

Then said the son of the old woman to Rasalu, " Raja, 
let us now go back!" And the Raja, listening to the 
words of the boy, turned to go home again. When they 
got near the castle of the giants, the boy again spoke. 
" Raja," said he, " let the giantess remain where she is. 
Go not nigh her gate, but let us go straight home!" 

" No, child," said Rasalu, " this plan will not work at 
all. The giantess will prove as great a plague to the 
world as the giants were. So we must kill her too!" 

They went to the castle, and there saw the giantess 
sitting and waiting. She had dressed herself up in most 
splendid clothing, in the hope of becoming the wife of 
Rasalu. She now stood up and began to catch the Raja 
by his skirt, but he ordered her to keep off and not to 
touch him. 

" Raja," said she, " I am to be your wife, and do you 
order me not to touch you ? What is the meaning of 
that?" 

" When you are my wife, you can touch me," said the 
Raja, "of course!" 

' Then make haste, Raja," cried she. " Be quick and 
marry me !" 

'We must do the thing properly," said Rasalu. 
1 Hear me, you Bhagalbatt ! Let us put the cauldron on 
the fire, and fill it full, and let us march round it seven 
times. Thus shall the wedding rite be accomplished !" 

1 Subterranean noises are often heard in the neighbourhood of 
Gandghar. 



ioo ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Then brought she out a huge iron cauldron, and the 
Raja bade her to fill it with oil, and set it in the midst, 
and light a large fire under it. All this she did, as she 
was told, saying to Rasalu, "Is it a way of marrying, 
Raja!" 

" Yes, my wife," answered he. 

Now Rasalu had determined to throw her into the burn- 
ing oil, but she suspected him, and she had also made 
up her mind to throw him in, if she got the chance. 
Meanwhile he told her to compass the fire with him seven 
times, according to the custom of Hindus at their mar- 
riages, and she began to trip round and round. And as 
Rasalu eyed her, he was thinking how best he could lift 
her up, and he decided that the best plan would be to 
catch her by the neck with one hand, and by the lower part 
of her body with the other. So, in accordance with this 
plan, all of a sudden he thus caught her, as she was 
prancing round the fire, and, using the utmost force, he 
heaved her up, and cast her into the boiling cauldron, 
where she was burnt up. And when her skull split with 
the heat of the fire, so great was the shock thereof, that 
it brought on an earthquake which lasted for three hours. 
And Rasalu said 

" Forever cursed be the wife, 
The wretch, who sells her husband's life, 

Burn, burn, O leaping flame ! 
I've killed her dead, that famous slut, 
The cauldron reeks of Bhagalbatt, 1 

All open lies her shame !" 

Then Rasalu took the boy back to Uda-nagiri, where 
the house of the old woman was, and there they saw her 
waiting for them outside the door. And when they drew 
near, alive and safe, joyfully she spoke and said 

" I saw you coming on your way, 

As I stood beside the door, 
O sit and rest while now you may, 
And let me be, I humbly pray, 
Your slave for evermore!" 

Thus the old woman entreated him to stop with her, 
but he was not willing to do so, for in three days he 
mounted his mare and rode away to other parts. 

1 When the a is not accented it is pronounced like u in English 
butt. The giantess's name therefore pronounce Bhuggulbutt. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 101 



8. TILYAR NAG THE SNAKE AND SUNDAR KAG THE RAVEN 1 

THEN after many days, Rasalu came by the way of 
Nurpur Jehan to Mejat, and so to Avellia, and then to 
Maksudabagh in Hazara. At that time there was a large 
dragon or serpent in that country which was very destruc- 
tive to every living thing. The country was all unin- 
habited, and waste, on account of the serpent. And it 
rained and continued raining for seven days and nights. 
And when the rain was over, and the weather clear, Rasalu 
happened to see a hedgehog. 

The hedgehog, trying to leap a stream, fell into it, and 
became entangled in weeds, and got into trouble, and he 
addressed Raja Rasalu, saying thus 

" O rider of the dark-grey mare, 

Rasalu, bearded, turbaned stranger, 
A drowning hedgehog craves your care, 

For God's sake save his life from danger!" 

When Rasalu heard these words he was surprised, and 
began to look about him. And he said to his parrot, 
" You are flying above me. Did you hear a voice? Who 
calls to me?" Instantly the parrot looked about, and 
seeing the black hedgehog, he said to Rasalu, "It is the 
hedgehog. He begs you, in the name of God, to rescue 
him. So pray help him !" 

Then Rasalu looked at the hedgehog, and said, " You 
are a hedgehog, and I am a man. What connection there 
is between you and me I know not. But as you have 
challenged me with the name of God, I will help you!" 
He then dismounted, and stretched out his hand to help 
the hedgehog out. But the hedgehog struggled, and some 
of his spines ran into the Raja's hand. To get rid of the 
little beast, the Raja threw him back into the water, and 
he fell into the very same place whence he had been 
taken. And Rasalu said to him, " Your body is very 
small and very insignificant, but you seem to have many 

1 Tilydr Ndg, i.e. Tilyar the Snake (Cobra). Sundar Kdg, i.e. 
Sundar the Raven or Crow. 



102 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

arms. I do not touch you again, seeing that your sharp 
quills have pierced my hand!" 

So the Raja left him where he found him, and went on 
his way. And when the hedgehog saw that, he put his 
hands together, and besought him, saying, " Neither touch 
me with your hand, nor keep me in your lap. Take me 
out of the stream and put me in your horse's feeding 
bag !" But Rasalu was in doubt, so he said to the parrot, 
" Shadi, the hedgehog wants me to put him in the nose- 
bag. What is your opinion about that?" And the parrot 
as well as the horse begged him to rescue the hedgehog 
from his miserable plight. So the Raja lowered the end 
of his bow, and so took him out of the water, and he set 
him on the ground and left him there a little while to 
dry. And when he was dry he put him in Foladi's nose- 
bag, which hung from the saddle-bow. 

It was then mid-day, and Rasalu made up his mind to 
go to Maksudabagh, and there take rest from the heat of 
the sun. So he set out. And as they journeyed the 
hedgehog began to think to himself, " I have been ex- 
posed to storm and rain for seven days, and to-day there 
is a good sun shining. I wonder if I am any the worse. 
Better see!" So he swelled himself out, and stretched 
his spines. And the spines on the horse-side pierced 
through the nose-bag, and pricked Foladi most terribly, 
so that she shuddered again. And Rasalu was astonished 
and said to his horse, "O you horse! you have been in 
many a battle, you have fought with giants and savages 
without number, and you never trembled. I think it must 
be either your last day or mine. Let me know the cause 
of this trembling!" 

"My trembling," answered the horse, "has been all 
caused by that wretched animal you took out of the water !" 

Then Rasalu dismounted to see, and found his horse's 
body pierced by the spines. So he said to the hedgehog, 
" I took you out of that horrible mess, and carried you 
with me. Why, pray, did you pierce my Foladi with 
your thorns?" 

;< It was a joke," answered the hedgehog, "my first 
joke ! It was not malice, it was not a bad heart ! Indeed 
I may have to play some other jokes with Mr. Horse !" 

So they all laughed and joked together, one with the 
other. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 103 

By-and-by they began to draw nigh to Maksudabagh. 
Now as they were riding along, Rasalu observed a 
spacious castle, beautifully built, and surrounded on all 
sides with gardens, but it was entirely deserted. There 
Rasalu dismounted and sat down under a baherd 1 tree, 
close to a running fountain of pellucid water. At that 
moment the parrot began to say something, when the 
hedgehog exclaimed from the nose-bag, " Take me out, 
take me out !" 

The King lifted him out, and then addressing his parrot, 
he said, " Tell me, O Shadi, what you were going to say." 
" Sir," answered the parrot, " it seems to me that this 
house is enchanted. It must belong to some demons or 
giants, because I can see the carcases of dead men lying 
all about close to the walls. It is better that we should 
leave this place and go pass the night elsewhere." 

" I have no wish to do that," answered Rasalu, " and in 
brief I intend to remain. But tell me, what monster is 
that which has killed all these men?" 

"Sir," replied the parrot, " what do I know about them ? 
Ask the hedgehog, since he has the look of one who 
belongs to these parts." 

Then said the King to the hedgehog, " O Friend, what 
monster is it which has destroyed all these animals and 
all these men ?" 

" Sir," answered the hedgehog, folding his hands, " in 
this place live Tilyar, the great flying serpent, and his 
friend Sundar Kag, the sea-raven. They are villains in 
grain, and having come here they trouble and molest 
wretched wayfarers, and whosoever ventures this way, 
whether he be hunter or prince or king, they never permit 
him to quit the place alive." 

" What do they do?" enquired Rasalu. 
Kneeling down before the King as if at his prayers, the 
hedgehog meekly replied, " Sir, travellers who come to 
this fountain, being overcome with fatigue, lie down here 
and rest. Then this Tilyar the serpent, in the middle of 
the night, steals out upon them and sucks away their 
breath as they lie asleep, after which he goes away and 
informs the sea-raven, who comes in his turn and pecks 
out their eyes from their sockets." 
" Is it true?" said Rasalu. 

1 A tree yielding a medicinal fruit. 



io 4 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" Yes, it is quite true," answered the hedgehog. 

Then said the King, " I cannot now mount again, be- 
cause I have already said that here I will certainly remain. 
But you shall all act as I bid you." 

" We await your orders," said the hedgehog. 

" God is master over all," said Rasalu. ' He has power 
to kill and He has power to save. But one thing, in good 
sooth, you people should not omit to do. Altogether we 
number four persons. Let us therefore wake and sleep by 
turns, and thus let us pass the four watches of the night 
in safety." 

Having so ordained, Rasalu again spoke, and said, 
"The first watch of the night shall be taken by me, the 
second by Folddi my horse, the third by Shadi my parrot, 
and the fourth by the hedgehog." 

But, alas ! all Rasalu's plans availed him not, for before 
night-fall that fiery serpent came. And thus it befell. 

As it was still early in the day, he ordered the horse to 
go and graze in the meadows, and the parrot to go and 
pick fruits in the woods, and the hedgehog to have a 
ramble, and so they were scattered. 

Now Tilyar, the serpent, had made a vow twelve years 
before that he would suck away Rasalu's breath. And 
Tilyar's friend, the raven, whose name was Sundar Kag, 
knew it. It so happened that Rasalu, feeling weary with 
the heat, had fallen asleep, and Sundar Kag, hopping 
round, saw him, and at once went to Tilyar's hole, and 
woke him up with a loud croak. The serpent, feeling 
angry at being disturbed, said, " What business have you 
coming here at this hour?" 

"Come out!" said the raven. "The man you have 
vowed to kill is to-day in this very garden, and I have 
come to tell you so." 

The serpent at once came out of his den, and crawled 
softly to the spot where Raja Rasalu was sleeping. Tak- 
ing the Raja at advantage he mounted on his breast, and 
putting his mouth to Rasalu's mouth, drew up all his 
breath, so that the Raja became lifeless. Just after this, 
Shadi returned from the jungle, and, seeing the Raja lying 
asleep, he sat on the tree, waiting for him to wake and 
have a talk. 

Meanwhile the serpent went back, and reported the 
whole adventure to his friend the raven, and ordered him 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 105 

to go and make a feast on the Raja's body. But the 
raven had a wife whose name was Sharak, 1 and she said 
to her husband, " O Sundar Kag, bring me the Raja's 
eyes and tongue, and eat the rest yourself!" So the 
raven set off, and the first thing he did was to sit on the 
Raja's instep, which he began to peck, in order to find 
out if he was really dead or not. Finding that he did 
not stir, he hopped on to one of his knees, and the parrot, 
who was watching the whole thing, was quite surprised 
the Raja did not move, because he knew well that his 
master's aim never failed of its mark. After this, the 
raven hopped up and sat on the Raja's breast. Then the 
parrot concluded that Rasalu was dead. So he pounced 
down on to the raven and broke his back, and when the 
raven saw that his back was broken, he flew away. But 
he was so amazed and bewildered, that he could not find 
his own house, but went blundering along elsewhere 
through streams and bushes. 

The parrot now began to weep for his master. And, he 
thought of the hedgehog, and longed for his friend the 
horse ; but neither of them came. Indeed, the poor hedge- 
hog had himself got into trouble. For, when rambling in 
the jungle, he began to pursue a little grasshopper, and 
he was so eager in the pursuit that he never saw a pool of 
water right in his way, and fell flop into it. And very 
sorry he was when he found, as he quickly did, that he 
could not get out again. But what was his horror when 
he overheard Tilyar, the serpent, saying to his friend 
Sundar Kag, " I have taken his breath, go along and 
feast away ! ' ' 

" O God," said he, "what has happened? All this 
trouble has been caused by me!" He was just thinking 
about all this, when a rat, having got scent of him, began 
to throw mud at him, because rats and serpents naturally 
are the enemies of hedgehogs. The poor hedgehog begged 
him to leave off, and help him out. But the rat refused, 
saying, " Shall I help one that is my enemy? No, never !" 
and, to show his malice, he got on the hedgehog's back, 
and kept pushing him down into the water. Then the 
hedgehog prayed him again. " In the name of God," 
said he, " take me out, and I promise never to do anything 

1 The Graculus religiosa. 



106 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

to injure you. O rat, it is a time of trial; if you will do 
me this little kindness, you shall be repaid !" 

At last the rat relented. But he said, " O hedgehog, 
please hide your snout, I am afraid of your snout ! And 
oh, please hide your teeth, as I am also afraid of your 
teeth! Consent to this, and I will help you!" So the 
hedgehog did so, and the rat laid hold of one of his 
spines, and, snatching him out of the water, landed him 
safely on dry ground. Then ran the hedgehog back with 
all speed, and was surprised to find the Raja sleeping, and 
the parrot weeping copiously. "O parrot," said he, 
" what is the cause of your trouble?" Then answered the 
parrot as he sobbed 

" Of the fruits of the garden we feasted at will, 
By the waters we wandered and drank to our fill, 

But, ah, for the weeping, 

Our Raja is sleeping, 
Our Raja is sleeping forever in death, 
For Tilyar the serpent has drawn up his breath !" 

" O Shadi, parrot Shadi," answered the hedgehog, " the 
Raja is not dead, though his breath has been drawn up 
by the snake. Within twenty-one days he can be restored 
to life. Please get some milk and two chupatties and 
some rice cooked in the milk. Get them soon !" And the 
hedgehog continued, " I am a very weak little body, and 
cannot speak to any one. I cannot persuade any one to 
bring them. The horse also is a thing to be coveted, and, 
if he goes, people will catch him and tie him up. Neither 
he nor I can help. Only you, who are a bird and who 
can fly far away in a little time, can bring those things!" 

So Shadi went, and going he said, " I, Shadi, leave this 
place trusting in God, and saying that I will come back 
in eight days. O hedgehog, carefully watch the Raja's 
eyes, that they be not destroyed !" 

Then flew the parrot away to the village of Kabbal and 
perched on the roof of the house of a widow, who was 
a Hindu. And the parrot cried, " O God most merciful, 
O most bounteous God!" The woman was going down 
to the Indus with a little vessel in her hand, but hearing 
the voice of the bird she stopped, and said 

" O parrot, where is your home, 

And where is the place of your dwelling? 
What Raja sent you to roam? 

O speak to me, truthfully telling!" 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 107 

And the parrot made answer 

" Sialk6t is my Raja's court, 
His mother comes from Indra Fort; 
In beauty, theme of endless praise, 
He shames the moon of fifteen days ; 
But Tilyar Nag- has sucked his breath, 
And now my Raja lies in death ! 
For love of God, behold this tear. 
And make for me a little fe/nr/" 

Now the woman made up her mind to catch the parrot, 
because, as it was a Raja's, his master would come and 
pay high ransom for it. So she prepared the khir the 
milk, the rice, and the sugar and invited the parrot to 
come and eat. But the parrot was too clever to be taken 
in, and refused. " I belong to a great Raja," said he. 
" I am not accustomed to eat of one dish, but of two. 
Make me also some chup allies! " And this he said then, 
because he wanted to engage both her hands, so that he 
might not be caught. So she baked the cakes which she 
held in one hand, while she held the khir on the other, 
and she invited Shadi to the feast. Then the parrot flew 
down straight on to her head, with his face over her face, 
and glad beyond measure she was when she noticed that 
every feather in his body was set in gold. " No doubt," 
thought she, "he belongs to some great Raja!" And 
now the parrot, in order to engage her attention, began to 
peck up khir, grain by grain, but afterwards, getting a 
chance, he flew away with two chupdllies, and, wrapped 
in the ch&pdtties, a little khir. Seeing this, the woman 
stood surprised, and cried 

" Around my lattice, gaily nested, 
Bulbuls trill by night and day ; 
Upon my house-top, golden crested, 

Peacocks sing melodious lay ; 
O parrot, you alone have rested, 
Only rested to betray!" 

By-and-by the parrot came to the hedgehog, and saluted 
him, and he took note that the hedgehog was sitting close 
by the ear of the Raja. And the hedgehog said, " I have 
been watching the Raja all this time; so much I have done. 
Have you also done something?" And the hedgehog, 
taking from the parrot one of the chupdtlies, wrapped it 



io8 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

well round his own body, and keeping a little khir in 
front of his mouth, he again sat close to the ear of the 
Raja. 

But how about the raven? When the raven flew away 
from the garden, having his backbone broken, he stayed 
away for several days, but when his back got well, he 
returned to his own house, thinking that by that time his 
friends would have forgotten the story. But his wife 
Sharak received him with anger, and spoke roughly to 
him. "What have you done?" cried she to him. 
" Where have you been? Have you brought the Raja's 
eyes and tongue for me? If not, you are no good !" The 
raven, at these reproaches, felt sad, saying to himself, 
" Wives are always nagging their husbands !" To satisfy 
her, he sp'oke, saying, " Keep quiet! I am again going 
to the place, and will fetch you the things as soon as 
possible !" 

" Then go at once," said she, " and bring them !" 
So early in the morning the raven flew to the garden 
once more, and there he saw some white kMr close to 
RUja Rasalu's ear. At first he stood at some distance, 
fearful that the parrot might pounce on him again, and 
break his backbone. But soon he drew nearer, and at last 
came right up to the khtr, and began to peck at it, because 
it was delicious and he was not accustomed to nice things. 
When he had eaten up all the khir, the greedy raven 
then began to dig his beak into the chupatty, minded to 
devour that as well, but at once the hedgehog seized his 
head with his jaws. Alarmed at this, the raven spread 
his wings and flew away, carrying the hedgehog with him. 
But the hedgehog was very clever. He at once sent his 
teeth well into the raven's back, and bit him hard, and 
so the fight went on, until the raven, helpless and ex- 
hausted, came fluttering down to the ground in the maw 
of his enemy. Then thought the raven to himself, " I will 
converse with the hedgehog, and induce him to open his 
mouth!" So he spoke, saying, "Well, hedgehog, did 
you take hold of me knowingly, or unknowingly ? Did 
you want to catch me, or somebody else ?" But the hedge- 
hog, being very cunning, spoke not a word. Then began 
the raven to cry out with a great outcry, and his friend 
the serpent, hearing his voice, was surprised, wondering 
what had happened to his old chum, the raven. To find 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 109 

out, he thrust his head out of his hole, and said, " Who 
is there ? Let my friend go !" 

Then said the hedgehog, " First go and restore my 
friend, and then I will leave yours !" 

" Leave my friend first," said the serpent. " I have 
done yours no harm only drawn up his breath. And 
promise me peace as well. I will then go and pour his 
breath back into him, and take out all the poison." 

So the hedgehog vowed him peace, and the snake went 
to Rasalu and took out the poison, and poured life into his 
body again. But Shadi, who was watching, said, " Take 
care, Basha 1 Nag ! My Raja was as powerful as twenty- 
two champions. Do not keep back even a little of that 
power!" Then the snake moved aside, and Shadi said, 
" What is the reason my Raja does not rise? He is lying 
as senseless as before!" 

"Shadi," answered the serpent, "take two or three 
leaves of the shere 2 tree, and put them into Rasalu's 
mouth with a few drops of water, and you will see his 
power will come back, and he will rise !" 

This therefore the parrot proceeded to do. 

Now when the snake was thus engaged, the hedgehog, 
getting a chance, took the lifeless raven in his mouth to 
the snake's den, where, releasing him, he laid his head 
under one of his wings, and set him up at the entrance. 
When the snake returned, he found the smell of hedgehog 
coming from the hole of his den, and he said, "You 
hedgehog, you ! Why have you gone into my den?" 

" I have set your friend sitting at the entrance," said 
the hedgehog, " and that is the only reason I entered your 
den !" 

" Make haste, then," said the serpent. " Get out that I 
may go in ! It is hot weather, and some ant will be 
coming and creeping on my body !" 

" I have made your friend sit here," said the hedgehog. 
" Look at him : here he is, right before your eyes. He 
does not speak because he is so angry with you for 
delaying." 

But the hedgehog was watching his chance, being afraid 
of being devoured by the serpent, and all of a sudden he 

1 Artful one. 

2 A small fruit-bearing shrub, the Coriaria Nepalensis. 



no ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

made a leap and, springing on to the serpent's head, began 
to thrust all his thorns into the serpent's brain, and there 
was a great fight between them. 

" O unworthy one," then cried his victim, " do not 
break your vow !" 

" I am a hedgehog," answered he. ' What have I to 
do with vows? My business is to kill my enemy !" 

Then said the serpent 

"In former ages, write the sages, 

Snakes and hedgehogs were akin ; 
Then cease your strife and spare my life, 
And you shall God's approval win !" 

But the hedgehog answered him 

" In former ages, write still wiser sages, 

We tore each other more than tongue can tell ; 
O fool and daft, where was your wonted craft? 
On your own foot the axe uplifted fell ! " l 

Meanwhile Raja Rasalu rose up, and found the parrot 
sitting close by, but he was very angry to have been 
wakened from such a sweet sleep, and had a mind to take 
hold of the parrot and punish him for it. But the parrot 
said, " My Liege, let us go to the serpent's den that I 
may show you the wonderful kindness done you by the 
hedgehog. You indeed had done a little service to that 
creature, but now I will inform you of the great service 
he has done to you !" 

So the Raja went, and there he saw the hedgehog fast- 
ened to the head of the serpent, and the serpent struggling, 
and trying to get rid of him. So the Raja drew his sword 
and cut the snake to pieces, and from his fragments he 
made great heaps. Then understood he all the greatness 
of the service which had been done for him, and he was 
glad, and said to the hedgehog, " O hedgehog, this favour 
which you have done me is past recompense since you 
have saved my life, but you will be rewarded of God!" 
At the same time the hedgehog advanced to the Raja's 
feet and spoke thus 

1 " Kohara maria tudh apon apen pair " " The axe you have 
struck on your own foot." A proverb very common in a country 
where every one cuts his own fire-wood. So, in English, " the biter 
bit," " Hoist on his own petard," etc. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS in 

" A dish was filled with pearls and in it was poured 
size. Having now done you a service, I am your son 
and you are my father!" 

Then Rasalu took off his turban, and threw it at the 
hedgehog's feet, and the hedgehog said, " The dish is filled 
with pearls and the pearls had black lines upon them. If 
you talk sweetly, I am only as the dust of your feet." 
Then the hedgehog folded his hands, and begged the Raja 
to take up his turban and put it on his head, saying, " I 
am as one of your sons, and you are my father. As a 
son should serve a father, so will I serve you !" 

" I will keep you always with me," said the Raja, " yea, 
I will set you in gold and make a locket of you." 

" Let me remain here," answered the hedgehog. " I do 
not wish to go with you for the great trouble I should be 
to you. I want to remain in the hole of the snake so that 
no other serpent may venture to come and trouble this 
place again." 

The parrot and the horse also commended him highly, 
saying, " O friend, you have saved our master's life. May 
God preserve you in happiness!" 

" Sir Horse and Sir Parrot," said the hedgehog, " I 
have merely returned the favour which the Raja did to me." 

Very unwillingly Raja Rasalu consented to part with 
him, but at last leaving him at that spot, he mounted and 
rode off. Hardly had he turned his back when the hedge- 
hog looked after him and said, " Where are you going 
to now, O King?" 

" I am going," answered the King, " to see Raja 
Sirikap." 

" O sir," said the hedgehog, " be warned by me ! Go 
not to Raja Sirikap, for he is a magician, and he will 
surely bring you into trouble." 

" Nevertheless to Raja Sirikap I shall go," replied 
Rasalu. 

" If you are really fixed to go," said the hedgehog, 
" take advice and act as I beg you. Lying on the road 
halfway to Sirikap's capital you will find the body of Raja 
Sirisuk his brother. Go to him, speak to him, and mark 
well his words." 

Then the king left that place, and rode away to look 
for the body of Sirisuk, the brother of Sirikap the Be- 
header, while the hedgehog remained still in that garden. 



ii2 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 
RAJA RASALU 

9. RASALU AND RAJA SIRIKAP 

THAT very day, having departed from thence, Raja 
Rasalu journeyed on towards Sirikot, the " Fort of 
Skulls." 1 

At the close of the day he halted, and having pitched 
his tent and eaten his supper, he walked forth to look for 
the body of Sirisuk, the brother of Raja Sirikap, who, as 
his name implies, was surnamed " The Beheader." He 
found the corpse lying stiff and cold on the ground, and 
turning to his parrot, he said, " This man is dead. Who 
now will advise us about Raja Sirikap?" 

" Offer up your prayers to God," answered the parrot, 
" and I think the body will sit up, because it is not really 
dead, but it lies here under the spell of Sirikap's magic." 

Then Rasalu, when he had first washed his face, his 
hands and his feet, stood and prayed in these words 

" God, within the forest lonely 

Night hath fallen o'er the dead; 
Grant him life a moment only, 

Light within his eyelids shed ; 
Then this corpse that lieth pronely, 

Four words to speak will lift his head." 

The King's prayer was heard and God granted Sirisuk 
his life, for at once the dead man trembled, and, raising 
himself, he began to speak. "Who has disturbed me?" 
said he. 

" Here you have been lying asleep for twelve years," 
answered Rasalu. " What kind of sleep is this?" 

"Who are you?" asked Sirisuk. 

" I am Rasalu," answered the King. 

"Are you the real Rasalu or another?" said Sirisuk. 
" Where are you going?" 

" I journey towards the castle of your elder brother 
Sirikap in order to wage battle with him," said Rasalu. 

Then began Sirisuk to laugh a dead man's laugh. 

' What are you laughing at?" inquired Rasalu. 

" I was his own brother," replied Sirisuk, " and yet he 
killed me without pity. We often played chaupat together, 

1 The popular notion. Really The Head Fort. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 113 

and I was always the winner excepting once. Once only 
my brother won, and then he claimed my head; and when 
in joke not thinking that, as he was my brother, he meant 
what he said I bent my head, he took it off at a single 
blow, and then, fastening a rope to my feet, threw me out 
of the city. Do you think then he will spare you ? Be- 
sides, you have not even an army, while his army is 
numerous. How do you intend to cope with him?" 

" Assisted by your advice," answered Rasalu, " I trust 
I shall be fully able to fight and to subdue him." 

Then said Sirisuk, " When you begin to draw near the 
city he will raise his magical storm and blow you away to 
some other country. And if you evade that, he will bury 
you under a storm of magical snow. And if you escape 
that, then when you strike the gong which hangs before 
the castle-gate, and when the noise of the gong shall sound 
in your ears, you will lose your senses, and becoming 
crazed you will be driven out of the place. And if per- 
adventure you avoid that peril, then when you pass under 
the swing of his daughter Chandei who swings in the 
porch of the palace, which is fifty yards high, you will 
begin to rage with frenzy and you will become the sport 
of the inmates, because the effect of that swing is that 
whosoever passes beneath it goes raving mad. And if by 
good fortune and the favour of God you overcome that 
danger, Raja Sirikap will then play chaupat 1 with you, 
and his wife and daughters will sit before you to divert 
your eyes, and in the meantime you will lose the game and 
Sirikap will win it, after which he will cut off your head. 
But if he cannot prevail over you in that way, he will call 
forth his rats, Harbans and Harbansi, 2 who are kept for 
that very purpose, and who will come and take away the 
wick out of the lamp, and there will be confusion, and 
Sirikap will make you the loser and himself the winner, 
after which he will take your head from off your shoulders. 
It is better for you to turn back and not go to Raja 
Sirikap." 

" I will certainly go to him," answered Rasalu. 

"If you insist upon going," said Sirisuk, "you must 
endeavour to avoid all the perils of which I have warned 

1 Chaupat. A game somewhat like draughts. 

2 Harbans. A person of many resources, a Jack of all trades. 

8 



ii4 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

you. Therefore do you now take out of me two of my 
ribs. On your way you will meet a cat which you must 
carry with you and which you must feed from time to 
time with my ribs. Then when you are playing chaupat 
and when the Raja cries out ' Harbans !' let loose your cat, 
so the cat will kill the rat, and the game will be yours." 
Saying these words, Sirisuk drew out of his side two 
of his ribs and gave them to Raja Rasalu, who took 
them and kept them carefully by him as he journeyed 
along. 

Having started afresh, he came to a village where a cat 
was busy assisting an old weaver in his work. " O 
weaver," said Rasalu, "have you no son, nor any servant, 
that this wretched cat is helping you?" 

"I am a poor man," answered the weaver, "and no 
other creature in the house have I excepting my cat." 

Rasalu, offering the man twenty rupees, bought the cat, 
and took her with him, and as they went along she sucked 
at the ribs of Sirisuk. 

Rasalu came next to a certain place where he saw two 
boys playing together. One of them made a small pool 
of water and called it the river " Ravi ", and the other 
made a similar pool and called it the river " Chena." Just 
then up came a third boy, who stooped down and drank 
up the water out of both the pools. 

Resuming his journey, Rasalu next saw an old soldier 
washing clothes on the bank of a river. He was a dis- 
charged pensioner who had done good service, and who 
had received as his reward the grant of a horse and sixty 
villages. His vouchers or pension-papers were tied up in 
his turban, which was lying at some distance from him 
upon the ground. When his back was turned a stray goat 
came by and ate up both his turban and his vouchers, and 
on discovering his loss the poor soldier, who was on his 
way to claim his recompense, began to lament most 
bitterly. 

Having observed these things, Rasalu continued his 
march, and at last approaching the city of Sirikot, the 
capital of Raja Sirikap, he pitched within a mile of the 
fortress, and there he tarried. 

When the king of that place heard of the arrival of this 
redoubtable champion, he raised his magic storms, in 
which many trees and houses were swept away. The 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 115 

next morning he inquired of his wife Ichardei, 1 saying, 
" See if that man is still there !" 

The Queen looked out of the window and said, " He 
and his horse are there still." 

Then Sirikap proclaimed in the city, " To-night there 
will be a heavy fall of snow. Take care of yourselves !" 

As the evening approached the snow began to come 
down, and it continued falling all night until every place 
in the city was buried many a yard deep. When morning 
broke the King again addressed his wife, saying, " See if 
the man is still there!" 

" Sir," answered she, looking out, " he is standing there 
still, and the snow has not touched him." 

When the storm was over, Raja Rasalu entered the city, 
and going to the castle-gate, he took up the mallet and 
smote the gong such a terrific blow that mallet and gong 
were both smashed into pieces. Then said he to his horse, 
" If I venture to pass beneath the lady's swing my senses 
will leave me." 

" Sit firmly in your seat," answered the horse; " I will 
reach her at a single bound, and the moment I reach her 
do yo'u sever the swing with your sword." 

With these words the horse leaped into the air and 
carried her rider to the lofty archway under which the 
Princess Chandei, with her two sisters, was then swinging 
in their cradle-swing, when Rasalu with one stroke cut 
through the silken cords, and down fell the three to the 
ground. Alarmed and indignant, they went running to 
their father, and Chandei spoke, crying out and saying 

" Some one has come to-day, O King, 

Who kills and kills throughout the town ; 
He smote my ropes, and spoilt my swing, 

And I, Chandei, came tumbling down; 
The mallet flew in fragments eight, 

Down fell the gong in fragments nine ; 
O flee, my sire, evade thy fate, 

The doom of all thy kingly line ! " 

" Daughter," said Raja Sirikap, " do not distress your- 
self and do not fear. Soon I shall kill him, and you shall 

1 Ichardei, i. e. A woman of God. It was also the name of the 
mother of Puran Bhaghat, the prince-saint, the immaculate " Joseph " 
of the Panjab. See his story. 



n6 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

see his head upon the bloody walls which I have built of 
the heads of others despatched before him." 

Then, inflamed with anger, he placed guards in the 
different corridors of the palace with orders not to allow 
Rasalu to pass them, but to lead him in by the gateway 
which was built of men's skulls. This then the guards did. 
Rasalu was led in by the Gate of Skulls, where he saw 
piles of heads, grim and ghastly, which first laughed and 
then wept at him as he passed them by, and Rasalu 
addressed them and said, " O heads, pray that I may have 
luck 

" Since I must try my fortunes too, 

O Heads dissevered, pray 
That God will grant me victory, 

When I sit down to play, 
For then one yard of cloth I'll bring 

For every head in turn, 
And on a pyre of sandal-wood 

Each one of you shall burn ! " 

So Rasalu entered the palace, and Sirikap rose, and 
salaamed him. Then he said to him, " O stripling, where- 
fore have you come ? You have come to the city of Gangu 
to burn coals of fire on your head. But come on, Rasalu ! 
Tell me, if you can, how many glories there are in the 
world?" 

Now Rasalu was always helped in secret by the Five 
PITS, and they now came to his aid, and he at once 
answered, " O fool, void of understanding not to know 
yourself ! The glory of the house is the house-wife, the 
glory of the body is dress, the glory of the land is the 
falling rain, and the glory of the battle-field is verily a 
goodly son !" 

Then Sirikap offered him a couch covered with a green 
embroidered cloth, on which were cabalistic symbols, the 
work of women versed in magic and spells, and upon that 
he invited his visitor to sit and rest. 

But Rasalu waved him aside, rejecting his advances. 
"Give me not coloured couches," said he; "give me a 
carpet all woven in white." 

" White shall it be," answered Sirikap, " but first you 
must answer another question and read me the riddle I 
shall set you, for that is the custom ; and if you guess it 
aright, the white-woven couch shall be yours." 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 117 

"Say on!" said Rasalu. 

Then spoke Sirikap to him thus 

" Who of four- fold beard is he, 

Of azure foot and neck so ruddy? 
I've told the chief as you may see, 
My riddle well the wise will study." 

Rasalu disdained to answer. " Let it go !" said he. " I 
do not care for riddles." But Sirikap insisted on the 
answer. Then Rasalu said, " What is that lying by your 
side?" 

"It is my bow," answered Sirikap. 

" And what do you do with your bow?" added Rasalu. 

" I shoot arrows with it," said Sirikap. 

Then said Rasalu, " Is not the thing you spoke of an 
arrow ? See, here is one from my quiver ; regard its four- 
feathered head, its blue steel foot, its ruddy shaft. And 
now, as you are answered, let me have the white-woven 
couch !" 

But Sirikap was very wicked, and he continued to ask 
riddles, putting another, and saying, " There is a certain 
water in which trees are drowned to their summits, and 
in which the rhinoceros may bathe perfectly well. But 
in the same tank neither can we fill a pitcher nor can 
sparrows quench their thirst. What is it?" 

And Rasalu answered, " O uncle, no longer put me off, 
but let us play fair ! Your riddle's answer is the dew, 
which is seen on the grass when the sun rises?" 

But Sirikap was so wicked as not to be satisfied even 
yet, and he asked Rasalu still another riddle, saying, 
" There are four husbands and sixteen wives, four wives 
to each husband, and all living under the same roof. I 
ask you, O Rasalu, guess what it signifies?" 

Then Rasalu began to think Sirikap was not so clever 
as he was reported to be, and he answered, " Each thumb 
has four fingers, and your great toes have each four little 
toes, and that is your answer. A child might guess it. 
Had I a wager on this riddle, I should chop off your head. 
But I fear God ! And now, as you are answered, give me 
the couch and let us get to business!" 

" I cannot dispute your answers," said Sirikap. "Yet 
stay, it is now your turn, so put a riddle to me, and if I 



n8 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

fail to give you the true answer, the white-woven couch 
shall be given you." 

Then said Rasalu, "Be it so answer me this 

" Within your city-boundary, 

A wonder I did note : 
A horse and sixty villages 

Were swallowed by a goat; 
Then came a bald-head urchin, 

Of most capacious maw, 
Who stooped him down and guzzled up 

The Ravi and Chena?" 

" O," cried Sirikap, "that is quite impossible! It is 
even irreligious ! Do not utter such impiety ! Are you 
not afraid ? Let us get out of the house, lest the roof fall 
on our heads !" 

Then said Rasalu, " Your riddles are all right, it seems, 
and mine all wrong?" And he told him the answer 
which compelled him to give in and Rasalu said to him, 
"See, you have not discovered the answer: grant me 
therefore the white-covered couch," and without another 
word Sirikap gave it to him. 

But the Queen, who had been watching and listening, 
began to tremble with fear, until her husband went up to 
her and cheered her, saying, " Do not grieve I shall cut 
off this fellow's head in a minute and send it over to you, 
because many others have come in like manner, but none 
have escaped my hands at last." 

Then said Sirikap to Rasalu, " Wherefore have you 
come to me?" 

"It is reported," answered he, " that you are a tyrant, 
a man of blood, delighting in the slaughter of thousands 
of innocent men. Therefore have I come to your castle 
to challenge you to combat." 

"Be it so," replied Sirikap. "Everything shall of 
course be ordered as you desire." Then said he again, 
" For you and me to fight together in public would be 
anything but creditable. Far better is it that you should 
come and play chaupat with me, and that the conqueror 
should cut off the loser's head." 

To this proposal Raja Rasalu willingly agreed, so the 
chess-board was brought, the lamp was lighted, and the 
two kings sat down to play. 

As the game began, Sirikap chanted for luck, saying 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 119 

" Beneath this lamp's uncertain ray 
Two kings contend in rival play : * 
O changeful Game, change thou for me, 
What Sirikap wills the same should be." 

Hearing this charm, Rasalu said, "That which you 
have now repeated is essentially wrong, since in your 
verse you have not mentioned the sacred name of God. 
What you should have said was this 

" Beneath this lamp's uncertain ray 
Two kings contend in rival play : 
O changeful Game, change thou for me, 
What God decrees the same shall be." 

With these words the game began. Raja Sirikap, re- 
peating incantations over his dice, threw them, and Rasalu 
lost Sialkot. Then Rasalu waxed wrath, and in his anger 
he wagered all his servants, his goods and his whole king- 
dom, all of which were also won by Sirikap. The third 
time he staked his mare, Foladi, and his parrot, Shadi, 
which were also won by Sirikap : the fourth time he lost 
his arms : and the fifth and last time he lost his own 
life. 

Then Sirikap sprang to his feet, and drawing his sword 
he prepared to cut off his rival's head. But Rasalu said, 
"It is true I have lost my head, and you have a right to 
act as you please. Nevertheless I would look towards my 
own kingdom once more. Suffer me therefore to ascend 
for that purpose to the roof of your palace." 

Sirikap consenting, Rasalu went up to the palace-roof 
and began to gaze towards Sialkot, and as he gazed in 
sorrow he smote his hands upon his thighs and uttered 
a sigh. 

Now the cat, with the two ribs, was concealed in his 
clothing, and when Rasalu smote himself she cried out, 
upon which the King remembered her and rejoiced. " O 
you luckless little beast," said he, "you have not yet 
done me a service at all, but now let me try my fortune 
once more." 

Coming down into the palace, he said to Sirikap, " By 
whom were you created?" 

" By Him who created you," answered he. 

1 Literally, Heads and houses arc at stake a proverb 



120 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" If you really believe this," said Rasalu, " permit me 
to try one more game in His name." 

" Certainly," answered Sirikap, and the two kings again 
sat down to play. 

Then Rasalu exclaiming, " In the name of God," threw 
the dice and won back Sialkot. In the second game he 
won back his kingdom and all his subjects. In the third 
he recovered his horse and his parrot, in the fourth his 
arms, and in the fifth game he regained his own head. 

The two kings were now quits, but Sirikap pressed for 
another trial, and the play proceeded. Fortune, however, 
had deserted him, and in the first game he lost his capital 
Sirikot, in the second all his kingdom, his furniture and 
army, and in the third his wife and children. Fiercely 
and warily he now contended for the fourth game, upon 
which he had wagered his head, and finding that he made 
no way, he cried out, " Harbansa, Harbansa!" when at 
once his male rat appeared on the scene. He stole in, 
and ran towards his master in response to the summons, 
but meanwhile Raja Rasalu had brought his cat from his 
sleeve and set her down in the shadow of the lamp. Then 
as the rat approached to meddle with the lamp, the cat 
pounced upon him and swallowed him up. Sirikap in his 
despair now cried out, " Harbansi, Harbansi, look sharp, 
Harbansi !" 

But the female rat, which had witnessed the fate of her 
mate, replied from a safe distance 

" A curse to your service, O King, 

A curse to your handful of grain ! 
I am off to the hills, and my teeth 
Shall nibble the herbage again." 

The next moment the fourth game came to an end 
and Rasalu was again the victor. Drawing his sword he 
approached Sirikap to smite off his head, but his opponent 
besought him saying, "You begged my permission to 
look towards your country and I gave it. You will allow 
me then, for the sake of God, to go and see my family, 
but first I would venture a game in the name of God as 
you did." 

Rasalu accepted his offer and the game was once more 
resumed, but again Sirikap lost. Then said he, "I would 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 121 

now, if you will permit me, go and bid adieu to my 
family, after which I will shortly return." 

Rasalu agreed, and the defeated King, going to his three 
daughters, said to them, " Put on your jewels, attire your- 
selves in royal array, and, presenting yourselves before 
Rasalu, try to ensnare him with your beauty." 

Now the names of his daughters were Chandei (Moon- 
like), Bhagdei (Fortunate) and Sughran (Wise), all three 
fair to look upon. Hastening to obey, they apparelled 
themselves gloriously in their best, adorning themselves 
with rich ornaments and bright jewels, and going to Raja 
Rasalu they began to gaze on him and to parade their 
charms. But he heeded them not, neither did he gaze at 
them back, but he asked of them, "Where is Sirikap?" 

" In fear of his life," answered they, " he has fled from 
the city." 

"It does not matter," said Rasalu. " Wherever he 
goes, I will search for him and find him out." 

Going to the council of ministers, he inquired where their 
master generally sat. Some said, " He may be in his 
chamber of mirrors." Others said, " He may be in his 
subterranean dwelling." But the rest said, " He is a king, 
and he must have gone whithersoever it pleased him." 

Then Rasalu began to search the court and the palace; 
from chamber to chamber he passed; in some places he 
found miserable captives, in others the bodies of dead 
men and women, and in others precious stones and valu- 
able ornaments, but nowhere could he discover Sirikap. 
Leaving the palace he went to the stables, and, as he 
looked and looked in every corner, his eye rested on a 
manger filled with litter which seemed to be alive. 

" What is the matter," said he, " with this horse-litter 
that it swells and sinks and swells again?" 

Going up to the manger he tossed out the litter, and 
there, crouching miserably beneath it, was found Raja 
Sirikap. 

"Ah," said Rasalu, "doubtless you are some mean 
fellow, since you have hidden yourself in this filthy place." 

And he caught him by the neck and dragged him along 
to the chamber in which they had played, exclaiming as 
he went, " O villain, hundreds of heads you have smitten 
off in your time with your own hand and all for pastime, 
yet you never grieved or shed a tear. And now when 



122 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

the same fate is to be your own you sneak away and bury 
yourself in horse-dung!" 

Now an event had occurred in the palace of which 
Rasalu was not aware. Sirikap's wife, Ichardei, had given 
birth to a daughter, and the magicians and wizards had 
met Sirikap and told him, saying, " Sir, we have sought 
for the interpretation of this mystery, why ruin should 
have fallen on your house, and we find that all this 
calamity has been brought about by your infant daughter, 
whose destiny has crossed your own. She came in an evil 
hour. Let her now be sacrificed, and let her head be 
thrown into the river, and your crown and head will be 
secure." 

And Sirikap had answered, "If my life depend on her, 
go, cut off her head, and mine may haply yet be saved." 
So a slave-girl was despatched to bring the infant to the 
magicians. And, as she carried it along from the apart- 
ments of its mother, she cried, while she caressed it, " O, 
what a pretty child, I should so like to save it!" 

It was just at this moment, as she crossed the court, 
that Raja Rasalu appeared from the stable, dragging 
Sirikap, and he thus overheard her remark. " Where are 
you taking that child to?" said he. 

" This is the King's child, born twenty-one days ago," 
answered the slave-girl. " The Brahmin soothsayers have 
declared that she is the cause of all her father's troubles, 
and now her head is to be taken off and thrown into the 
Indus to save further mischief." 

When Rasalu looked at the child he loved it, for it was 
very beautiful, so beautiful that the sun and moon felt 
ashamed in comparison, and he said to the girl, " Follow 
me!" 

Having entered the chamber, he released his victim, who 
said, "Rasalu, say now, what is your purpose?" 

' I am going," answered he, " to cut off your head." 

"For the sake of God," said Sirikap, "spare me and 
grant me my life, and in lieu of your wager take one of 
my daughters in marriage!" 

" I want none of your daughters," replied Rasalu. " I 
want only your head." 

Sirikap then humbled himself more and more, pleading 
for his life and saying, "Sir, have mercy!" Also 
Ichardei came running from her chamber and threw her- 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 123 

self at the feet of Raja Rasalu in misery and distress, and 
begged him not to kill her husband. 

" In the name of God, spare him !" cried she. At the 
same time the nurse came out, and taking the child, she 
laid her down also at Rasalu 's feet, and the child was 
shining in beauty like the moon. And Ichardei, pros- 
trate, with head bared, prayed him to accept the child, 
saying 

" Oh, Rasalu, take my daughter, 

Take my loved one for your own, 
Why, ah why commit this slaughter? 

Leave the baby's sire alone ! 
If you, pitying my complaining, 

Look upon her mother's tears, 
I will gold advance, maintaining 

Nurse and babe for fifteen years!" 

At last Rasalu, relenting, said to her husband, " You 
shall be spared on certain conditions. In the first place 
you will take an oath never to play villainous tricks at 
chaupat with any one again. In the next you will free all 
your captives. And in the third place you will draw five 
lines with your nose on a hot griddle." x 

All these terms were accepted by Sirikap, who took the 
oath and released his prisoners, but when the red-hot 
griddle was produced he began to excuse himself not to 
make the lines. But Rasalu caught him by the back of 
the neck, and holding his nose to the griddle, he marked 
it with lines until his nose was singed to the bone, after 
which he loosed him and let him go. Then Sirikap, seeing 
himself in such a state of shame and disgrace, ran away 
into the wild woodlands, but by-and-by he returned once 
more, and lived for many years. 

Meanwhile Raja Rasalu, mounted on his grey mare, 
and ever followed by Shadi, rode proudly away. With 
him, in a palanquin, escorted some way by a guard of 
honour, and accompanied by her nurse, travelled the little 
girl, the infant daughter of Sirikap, whose name was 
Kokal, or Kokla, that is, the Sweet-cooing Dove. She 
it was who in after years, when she grew to woman's 
estate, became his hapless little Queen. 

1 Another version says that Sirikap was to " bare his head, and 
draw the five lines with his nose on the ground." 



I2 4 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 
RAJA RASALU 

IO. THE TREASON OF KOKLA 

AFTER leaving Sirikap, Rasalu, having dismissed his 
escort, and having travelled thence for twelve days, at last 
arrived at the hills of Kherimurti near Burhan, where he 
saw upon the height a beautiful castle surrounded by a fair 
garden which looked like the dwelling-place of a king. 

" This," said Rasalu, " is an abode worthy of living in, 
and here I resolve to remain." 

" Sir," said his mare to him, " this is a palace which 
looks to me like the house of a giant. It is not wise to 
take up your quarters here." 

11 Let us abide," answered Rasalu, " at least for a night. 
If we are molested we can then abandon it, but if not, I 
mean to occupy it, because it is a place after my own heart 
and I have no desire to leave it." 

So there they slept in security, and no man or demon 
or any other creature intruded upon them for twelve years, 
and Rasalu said, " Here there is no one to cause us 
alarm." 

And in that lofty stronghold he dwelt, having strength- 
ened it with walls and bastions all round and having cut 
out a flight of steps, eighty-six in number, from the garden 
beneath to the palace above. 

When the child Kokla was growing up, he ordered that 
the old custom of his people should be disregarded, and 
that the little Princess should be, not reared on vegetable 
food, but nourished also with flesh-meat every day. Her 
education was entrusted to the ancient nurse who had 
accompanied her from Sirikot, and who was quite devoted 
to her. No other woman but herself was allowed to attend 
her, and no other woman but herself was permitted to 
enter the walls of the fortress. When with increasing 
years she became ill and was likely to die, the King said 
to her, " I have as much respect and love for you as for 
my own mother, and wherever it is your wish that your 
body shall be burnt, there it shall be done." 

"Do not burn my body," said she; "lay me in the 
Abba-Sindh." * 

1 Abba-Sindh Father of Rivers, the Indus. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 125 

And when the day of her death came, her wishes were 
duly observed, and her body was committed to the river. 

Raja Rasalu was passionately fond of hunting. Leav- 
ing the child in the charge of the nurse to play with mdina 
and parrot, he was in the habit of visiting the woodland 
every day with bows and arrows to chase the wild deer. 
Rejoicing in his strength and in his skill as a marksman, 
he indulged in the sport either wholly alone or attended 
only by Shadi his parrot. In the evening he returned 
with his spoil to the castle, when the feast was spread, and 
his minstrel-birds sang of his exploits and of the exploits 
of Vikramajit, as he sat with his little Princess on his 
divan, and fed her with venison. Her life was lonely with 
only a nurse to attend to her, but she had constant com- 
panions in eighty parrots, eighty-six mamas, and eighty 
peacocks, who guarded her both night and day, and who, 
like all living things in those days, had the gift of speech. 
With them she used to converse, and to them she told all 
her little joys and sorrows. 1 

So passed the lives of King and Princess, until the old 
nurse died, and the little girl had grown into a woman 
and had become Rasalu 's Queen. They were very happy 
together, for the King was always a " good " man (which 
means in the Panjab that he was faithful to the one lady 
of his choice, and that he never desired the companionship 
of another). 

One evening, when he was in a merry mood, an odd 
fancy came into the King's mind, which was, that his 
young wife should accompany him to the chase. " I have 
eaten so much venison in my life," said she, "that, if I 
did go with you, all the deer of the forest would follow 
me." 

But the proposal delighted her, and her spirits rose at 
the prospect of liberty, and of leaving the castle, if only 
for a day, to visit the wild trackless woodland. 

" But/' said she, " how do you kill the deer?" 

" When I shoot my arrow at the deer," answered the 
King, "and when the deer feels himself wounded, he 
runs back and falls dead before my horse's feet." 

The Queen was surprised to hear tell of this, and 

1 " Eighty-six mdinas " a clever little bird of the corvus tribe, with 
yellow feet and bill. It is larger than a starling-, and can be made 
to utter words and phrases in the deepest of notes. 



126 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

she said, "How can it be? I should like so much to 
see it." 

"And so you shall," answered he, "for to-morrow, 
Sweetheart, you and I will go hunting together." 

So in the morning they set out unattended, the Queen 
riding on a pillion behind her husband, and they came 
to the wooded hillocks and grassy ravines where the deer 
love to wander. Soon the King loosed an arrow from the 
string, which wounded a doe, but the animal, instead of 
approaching them, ran forward half a mile, when she was 
overtaken and slain. 

The Queen felt disappointed, for she had come to see a 
wonder, and she began to scoff. "You have not spoken 
the truth, sir," cried she. 

"Why so?" asked Rasalu. 

"If no horse had been with you," replied the Queen, 
" you could not have caught this deer at all." 

"The reason is this," said Rasalu, "you have been 
sitting behind me the whole day, close to my body, and 
from touch of you one third of my power has left me." 

Then the Queen flouted him again, and with a mocking 
laugh she said, " I know not whether I am a wife or 
daughter, but if touch has cost you one third of your 
strength, how will it fare with you for sons and daughters ? 
Make way for me, and I will catch all these animals alive 
with my hands ! You, O Raja, have killed a deer with 
an arrow from your bow, but, if you will allow me, I will 
bring a deer to your feet alive !" 

" How can you do that?" said Rasalu. " The thing is 
impossible. The deer will not come to you." 

"No?" replied she. " But I can. You think yourself 
a hero, and I am a woman. Yet I am more than you !" 

So the Rani dismounted and sat herself down among 
the rocks and the thickets, and lifting up her veil, she 
shook her dduni (the pendant jewels of her forehead), and 
let them tinkle in the sun. Her eyes were filled with anti- 
mony, and her hands and feet were rosy with henna. So, 
when the deer saw her lovely face, which was shining like 
gold, they all came shyly up to her. Then said she to 
Rasalu, " Come now, Raja, and catch as many of them 
as you please !" 

" I will catch none of them," answered he, " nor are 
they worth the catching. Are they lovers of yours?" 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 127 

Then came to her a great blue buck, Laddan by name, 
who was the king of them all. Boldly he came forward, 
for he had become like one without sense, beholding her 
beauty, and, disregarding the words of his dam, who 
entreated him not to venture, he ran and fell at her feet. 

But Rasalu waxed wroth, and catching the deer in both 
his arms, he raised him aloft, and hurled him to the earth, 
and made haste to kill him with his knife, laying the blade 
on his neck. But the Rani had compassion, and begged 
Rasalu to let him go, and not to kill him, and she said 

" A king art thou of kingly race, 

Strong is thine arm and keen thy knife ; 
By the Koran, O grant me grace, 
And give this trembling deer his life!" 

The Raja, listening to her words, spared indeed the 
deer's life, but he cut off his ears and his tail, and so let 
him go. And the deer, seeing himself thus dishonoured, 
and dripping w 7 ith blood, reproached him with fateful 
words. 

" O Raja Rasalu," said he, " you are a monarch among 
men, and I am only a poor creature of the jungle. With 
your sword you have lopt off my ears and my tail ; but 
know this that one day you yourself will be so gashed and 
slashed that until the Day of Judgment you never will heal 
you of your wounds again 

" O King, my ears and my tail you have lopt; 

You have marred and insulted me sore ; 
But beware, for if ever by doe I was dropt, 
The spoiler shall visit your door ! " 

The king-deer then departed, leaving the pair to them- 
selves, but the Queen felt so vexed to think that her hus- 
band's power in spells and magic was less than her own. 
Nor was he less angry at the circumstance which had 
marred the glory of his life, one moment reproaching his 
wife, and another moment reviling the blue buck, but 
failing to see that the blame was his and his alone. And 
so the two returned to Kherimurti. 

Meanwhile the blue buck was planning a bitter revenge. 
At the town of Atak (Attock) on the banks of the Indus 
a certain king named Hodi had built a border-fortress on 
the top of a cliff which rises from the very margin of the 



128 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

river. This chieftain was noted for his love of pleasure, as 
well as for his passion for the pastime of the chase. 
Calling these things to mind, the blue buck said to him- 
self, " Now I will betake me to the palace of Raja Hodi, 
and I will graze in his garden, and, when the hue-and- 
cry is set up and he begins to follow me, I will run to the 
castle of Raja Rasalu." 

So he made his way to Raja Hodi's, followed by all his 
friends, and entering the King's garden, he utterly de- 
stroyed it. These things the gardeners reported to their 
master, who, when he heard of the havoc which had been 
made, issued a notice, saying, " Whosoever shall kill hira 
haran (the blue buck), whose name is Laddan, I will give 
him rich presents, a horse to ride on, and jewels to wear, 
and I will make him the commander of my army." 

This notice was published all over that country, and it 
so happened that the news of it reached the ears of two 
shepherd-boys named Bald-head and One-eye, W 7 ho said*, o 
each other, " Let us go and find this hira haran, the blue 
buck." 

So they searched and searched everywhere until they 
found him. Then Bald-head went privately to Raja Hodi 
and made his report. " If you will come with me, O 
King," said he, " I will show you the blue buck." And 
the King loaded him with presents and accompanied him 
to the place. 

Meanwhile, however, One-eye, who harboured a grudge 
against Bald-head, had hunted away the buck from that 
ravine into another. And when Raja Hodi came and 
could not find anything, he became angry. " Where is 
the blue buck?" cried he. 

Then spoke One-eye and said to the King, " This boy 
is known to be an idiot, he knows nothing whatever 
about the matter. He has been deceiving you, O king; 
but if you will take away his presents and give them 
to me, I will show you Laddan the blue buck, and no 
mistake." 

So the King transferred the presents from Bald-head to 
One-eye, who took him to a distant ravine, and pointed out 
to him the game he was in search of. 

As soon as Laddan perceived Raja Hodi, he ran de- 
liberately in front of him and led his pursuer in the 
direction of Kherimurti, all the time feigning a lameness 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 129 

in order to entice him more and more with the hope of 
eventual capture. 

"Sir," said the wazir, "do not pursue this deer, for 
I perceive there is some magic about him." 

King Hodi, however, refused to hear the voice of his 
wazir, and galloping his horse he went straight for his 
quarry, leaving his attendants to shift for themselves. After 
a long run the blue buck sprang the river close to the 
palace of Rani Kokla, and the horse of Raja Hodi, roused 
by the chase, essayed and performed the same leap. 

But the deer then disappeared into a cave and hid him- 
self, and when the King came to the spot he was nowhere 
to be seen. 

So Hodi drew rein, and, finding himself in the midst of 
a garden of mangoes, he stretched forth his hand to pluck 
some of the fruit. But as he did so one of the sentinel- 
mdinas exclaimed, " Do not break the branches and do 
not eat the mangoes ! This garden belongs to one who 
will punish intruders." 

Raja Hodi then observed that the trees grew beneath a 
fortress, but he could not see any means of approach. 
Looking up, he saw the plumage of the parrots gleaming 
from the eaves, and Rani Kokla pacing the roof in her 
royal array. Then said he to the mdina 

" The parrots perch themselves aloft, 

They dwell within the eaves ; 
But O that splendid lustre, soft 

And bright as golden leaves, 
Say, mdina, say, what beauty passes there, 
Perchance some man, or is it maiden fair?" 

"She is the wife of the King," answered the mdina, 
" and the King is away hunting the wild deer in the moors 
and woodlands." 

Then one of the birds glanced down from above, and 
said to the Queen, " See, a man has entered the garden, 
and he is spoiling the fruit !" 

"What is a man?" asked the Queen. "Is he a wild 
beast, or is he some other thing? Where is he? I want 
to see him show me him ! Heaven grant it is Raja 
Hodi!" 

The Queen looked down from the roof of her palace, 
and saw that some handsome raja was sitting on horse- 

9 



130 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

back in her garden, and that he carried a bow, and an 
arrow which weighed three pounds. So she cried out to 
him 

" Ho, sir, beneath my palace walls, 

Say who and what are you? 
Some skulking- robber, rife for brawls? 
Or are you champion true?" 

And to her Raja Hodi returned answer 

" O Rani, thieves are clothed in rags, 

True men are clean and white ; 
For love of you, o'er flats and crags, 

I kept my game in sight ; 
And far from country and from kin, 

He led me here fair lady's smile to win." 

Then said the Queen 

** w 

" What Raja's son are you, 

And say what name you bear, 
Where lies your fatherland, 
What city claims you there?" 

The King answered her 

" Raja Bhatti's son am I, 

Hodi is the name I bear, 
Udhe is my fatherland, 
Atak is my city there." 

Then thought Hodi to himself, " Who is this woman 
in the midst of the wilderness ? Is she a witch or some 
goddess? I must find out." So he addressed her and 
said 

" Your father, who is he? your husband who? 
Where has he gone, the fool to troth untrue, 
To leave alone a lovely maid like you, 

To pine from hour to hour 

In lofty palace- tower?" 

Hearing these words the Rani Kokla, smitten with love, 
began to think of many things, and she answered him 

" Sirikap, my sire, my lord's Rasalu hight, 
Rings not the welkin with Rasalu 's might? 

In lofty palace-tower 

I sit in lonely bower, 
But he, who left his lovely maiden here, 
Ranges afar to chase the fallow deer." 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 131 

Now when Hodi heard the name of Rasalu he began to 
grow sick with fear, and would fain have turned back. 
But love stronger than fear urged him on, and he said to 
the Queen, " Do you know who I am?" 

" Yes," answered she, " I know you well, and I have 
been waiting for you ever so long, here, in this airy 
turret." 

Then, seeing her meaning, Hodi said to her 

" Running and walking in breathless haste, 

From distant scenes I hied me, 
Yet now the golden time I waste, 

For I know no path to guide me ; 
O Rani, say, where lies your palace-road, 

What steps will lead me to your bright abode?" 

And to him the Queen replied again 

" Walking and running in breathless haste, 

From scenes afar you hied you, 
And now the golden time you waste, 

For you know no road to guide you ? 
Beneath the mangoes set your steed, 

Your quiver to the pommel tie, 
The steps that to my castle lead, 

Among the mango-trees they lie ; 
Full eighty-six, nor less nor more, 

Will bring you to my chamber door." 

Raja Hodi looked for the steps, and finding them he 
began to ascend. But, when he had gained the vestibule 
of the palace, one of the mdinas on guard stopped him, 
saying 

" Where have you lost your deer? 

Where did your cattle go ? 
No right of road lies here 
You are now Rasalu 's foe!" 

And turning to her companion, a parrot, she said, "The 
duty which is laid on us both by our dear master is to 
watch over the safety of the Queen, and we shall be false 
to our salt if we do not report to him the coming of this 
stranger." 

By this time Rani Kokla was growing impatient, and 
she was saying to herself, "Why does he tarry? why 
linger the steps of my Raja?" So she passed out of her 
chamber to inquire, and seeing that her favourite mdina 



was the cause of the delay she began to reprove her. 
But the mdina bravely replied, " What are you doing, 
admitting a strange man to these walls? If the King 
hear of this wickedness, he will strike you dead where 
you stand." 

The Queen started and flushed with rage, but, restrain- 
ing herself, she led Hodi to the well which Raja Rasalu 
had hewn out of the rock [and which was furnished with 
wheels and ropes and pitchers for drawing up water into 
the trough]. There they sat, and she gave him food and 
drink, and they entertained one another with delicious 
words. 

Then Kokla led the way to the hall of the King's 
chamber, but as she gained the doorway the mdina spoke 
again and said 

" O hear me, parrot, let us fly 

Far hence we'll fly away ! 
In this sad home can you and I 

Remain another day? 

The clustering grapes ah ! word of woe 
Are pecked at by a wretched crow!" 

The Queen instantly turned upon the mama, but the 
parrot, eager to allay her anger, said to his companion, 
"O you senseless one! What harm is done if the man 
merely eats and drinks and goes away ? What is Raja 
Rasalu to us ? Does not the Queen, our mistress, tend us 
and feed us with her own hands?" 

"She does indeed," answered the mdina. "Still she 
has dishonoured her name, and done what she should not 
have done. And we are the servants of the Raja." 

This speech of the mdina enraged the Queen still more, 
so much so, indeed, that she ran to the cage, and seizing 
the poor bird, she wrung her neck and cast her away. 

But the cunning parrot, gazing at his friend's quivering 
body, said, " Ah, you silly chatterer, you have just met 
your deserts!" Then addressing his mistress he con- 
tinued, " If you would but take me out of my cage, I 
should like to give the mama's dead body a couple of 
kicks." 

' Thank you, parrot," said the Queen, " you are loyal 
and true." And she opened the cage and let him out, 
when the parrot flew to the mdina and kicked her. 

Meanwhile the Queen had closed the door and taken 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 133 

Hodi into Rasalu's chamber, and there both he and she 
sat down together on a beautiful couch. Then the King, 
admiring her delicate beauty, said to her 

41 A tiny mouth, a slender nose, 

A figure graceful as the fawn, 
Two eyes as soft as opening rose 

When glistening with the dews of dawn 
O Queen, how dainty thou so slim, so slight, 
One little touch would surely break you quite !" 

But Rani Kokla answered and said 

44 For joy the fletcher frames the arrowy dart, 
For joy the blade is wrought by curious art, 
And as in June the horn-tipt bow's unstrung, 
And, all relaxed, within the chamber hung, 
But, summer past, is pulled and pulled again, 
Nor feels the force of unaccustomed strain, 
So bounteous love, the more it takes and gives, 
The more it charms us, and the more it lives." l 

When night fell, they both slept on the one cot, and 
the Rani talked to the Raja and the Raja to the Rani, and 
all the sentinel birds, seeing this, began to weep, but none 
dared to utter a single word. 

Now all this time the parrot was meditating an escape 
from the closed chamber, but he found no means of egress. 
At last, at dawn of day, he perceived a small aperture, 
and fluttering through it he flew on to the battlements. 

"Alas! alas!" cried the frightened Queen to Hodi. 
" What shall we do? The news has gone to Rasalu !" 

"Ah!" said Hodi, with a deep breath. "But, O 
Rani," continued he, " if you will coax the parrot to 
return I think he will not disregard you, but come back 
to your house, and then we shall have no room for alarm, 
no cause for sorrow." 

So the Queen looked out at a casement and cried 
through the lattice, in caressing tones 

44 Rice with my nails have I cleaned for you ever, 
Boiled it in new milk and chided you never ; 
Come to me, Pretty, return to me, Dear, 
You are my Ranjha, and I am your Hir ! " 

1 During the summer-heat weapons of the chase are laid aside, to 
be taken down again in the cold season. 



i 3 4 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

But the parrot was deaf to her blandishments; and 
spreading his bright wings, he answered her 

" You've killed my pretty mdina dead, 

All widowed now am 1 ; 
If e'er by parrots I was bred, 
Away to the King I'll fly." 

With these words the bird mounted and flew far away, 
and he began to search for Raja Rasalu among forests and 
hills and deserts, but unable to find him he finally stopped 
exhausted in one place. 

Meanwhile Hodi was in a fright, for when he saw the 
tell-tale parrot on the wing, fear seized upon him, and 
caring only for his own safety, he hastened out of the 
doors of the palace. But the Queen threw her arms about 
him and clipped him, and wept piteously, and Hodi, to 
soothe her, wiped away her tears with his hands, and the 
black stain from her eyes discoloured his fingers. But 
though he wiped her eyes and embraced her again and 
again, he could not stop her weeping. Then, impatient 
to be gone, he tore himself away from her, and for his 
cowardice she regarded him with scorn, and cried, " What 
you leave me? 

" Yes, yes, to me you leave the blame, 
The taunt, the blow, the loss, the shame ! 
Methought some swan had fired my breast, 
But out, thou crane, to run were best ! 
Oh hence ! Had I thy spirit known, 
Should craven lips have touched my own?" 

Vexed by her taunts, Hodi jeered, and cried back at 
her 

"The platter was laden with delicate fare 
My leavings are left, the table is bare : 
The raiment so costly is tattered and old, 
Scarce fit for a beggarman bitten with cold." 

With these words he ran away from the place and made 
his escape. Coming to the river-bank, he went down to 
drink water, for he was thirsty, and there, when he had put 
down his hands towards the water, he saw on his fingers 
the black stain of the collyrium, and he drew them back, 
saying, " This is the only token of my love which I 
possess, and I must not wash it away." Thus speaking 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 135 

to himself he stooped down on his knees and drank like 
a goat. 

Hard by there was an old washerwoman who, observing 
his action, said to his wife, " Who is that man drinking 
water like a beast?" 

" Whether you know him or not," answered she, u I 
know him well." 

" Tell me, then, who he is," said her husband. 

" He is Raja Hodi," answered the woman. 

" O fool," returned the washerman, " did you ever see 
a Raja drinking water like that?" 

" I am afraid," replied she, " to tell you the reason of 
it, lest, if I did, you should kill me." 

"What a strange thing to say," said he; " as if I 
should kill you for telling me a good secret !" 

" Take an oath !" said his wife. 

" I take an oath of the God w r ho created me," answered 
he, " that I will not harm you, if you will tell me why 
the Raja is drinking w r ater like that." 

Then his wife replied to him thus 

" Last night, some wayward wife or daughter 

Enrocked him in her soft embraces ; 
So, ox-like, stoops the King for water, 

For love to save love's piteous traces; 
She wept to part, he wiped her tears away, 
The sable stains his finger-tips beray." 

The washerwoman, hearing this horrid scandal, became 
angry, and said to his wife, " No doubt you, woman, have 
been at the bottom of it ; you have been the go-between ; 
otherwise how could you know anything of the Raja's 
doings?" Thus saying, he took up his mallet and struck 
her on the back of the head, so that she fell senseless. 

" A nice man you are," said she when she came to her- 
self. " I told you what you asked for, and this was your 
return !" 

Now Hodi had stopped drinking to listen to their 
colloquy, and, feeling ashamed, he had risen, and was 
walking away without quenching his thirst. Then the 
washerman perceiving his anger, thought to himself, " In 
the morning this Raja will surely kill me." So he said 
to his wife, "Don't be offended; go to that Raja and 
bring him back to drink water; otherwise he will never 
leave me alone." 



136 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" That I will not," answered his wife. " By trusting 
you once I have already suffered enough, and if I bring 
the Raja back you will say I was his friend, as you have 
said already." 

" Call him back," said her husband, " I will not touch 
you." 

Then, yielding once more, she turned round to Hodi 
and cried to him 

" Ne'er cleanse thy teeth with dkh, that blistering herb, 
And feed not on the baneful flesh of snakes ; 
Caress not thou a stranger's beauteous boy, 
For love will fill thy mouth with foul desire ; 
However needy, quaff no neighbour's curds, 
Drink water rather it is sweeter far : 
Nor covet thou another's couch to win, 
For know it never, never can be thine ; 
So wash away, O King that stain is curst 
And come, in double handfuls slake thy thirst." 

Raja Hodi, seeing that she was a witch of infinite wisdom, 
took the woman's advice, and w r ashing his hands he drank 
his fill. Then approaching the washerman, he said, " O 
washerman, this woman is not fitted for you, because she 
is wise, while you are a fool. You had better take a thou- 
sand gold pieces, and hand her over to me. I will cherish 
her like one of my children, and with my money you can 
marry another." 

"Your pardon, sir," said the washerman, "this plan 
will never do." 

So Raja Hodi left them, and, passing on, he arrived at 
his own palace. There, choosing a solitary chamber in 
which stood an old couch, he laid himself down, and began 
with tears to remember and to lament for the Rani Kokla. 



RAJA RASALU 

II. FATE OF KOKLA 

IT happened, while all these disgraceful doings were 
going on at the palace of Raja Rasalu, that the Queen's 
parrot, having recovered from his fatigue, resumed his 
search, and at last coming to Jhulna Kangan in Hazara 
he noticed some smoke rising up to the skies. So he flew 
towards it, and there he saw his dear master's horse 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 137 

picketed under a tree, and Shadi the parrot sitting on the 
pommel of the saddle, while in the cool shade of the 
drooping foliage the King lay sleeping, close to the great 
cave on Mount Sarban, near the village of Sarbad. 

Said he to Shadi, "Wake up your Raja!" 

" I have no authority to do so," answered Shadi, " wake 
him yourself, since you are the Rani's messenger." 

Then the weary bird, dipping his wings in the flowing 
stream, fluttered them over Rasalu's face, and the drops 
fell upon him like soft rain, and he awoke, and seeing 
his wife's favourite sitting above him on the tree, he said, 
" Why have you left the house alone?" 

Weeping, the bird made answer 

" The Rani killed my mdina-birdie, 

Cold it lies upon the floor, 
And my reproaches unavailing-, 

Only vexed her more and more ; 
Arise, arise, O sleeping- Raja, 

Thieves have forced your palace door ! M1 

Hearing these sorrowful tidings, the King said 

" My mdinas number eighty-six, 

My peacocks tell fourscore ; 
Well guarded thus, what thievish tricks 
Could force my palace door?" 

"Alas!" answered the parrot, "what could the watch- 
men do?" 

"If goodmen rise at dead of night 

And steal their own possessions, 
Then basely tax some luckless wight 

With guilt of their transgressions, 
Or if the fence in evil hour 
Perforce the barley-crop devour, 

How can the guard 

Keep watch and ward?" 

Then Rasalu arose, and said to his charger, " Now be 
wary and true, O Foladi, and take me to my house in a 
moment." 

" I will do so," answered the horse, "but never smite 
me with your heels." 

Mounting, the King rode away towards Kherimurti : 
but in a fit of impatience he forgot his promise, and 

1 Among the Panjabis the term for a betrayer is "thief." 



138 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

plunged his spurs into the horse's side, when at once the 
animal came to a halt and was turned into a stone. 

" Ah, you unfaithful one," cried Rasalu as he leaped 
from the saddle, " O you unworthy friend, is this a time 
for perfidy ?" 

" Touch me again," said the horse, " and I shall never 
be able to carry you more 

" O spare your whip, your rowel spare, 

Rasalu, press me not at all; 
If ever I was bred from mare, 

I'll set you 'neath your castle-wall." 

Saying these words, the gallant horse arose, and, taking 
her master on her back once more, in an instant she 
reached her destination. 

The first act of Raja Rasalu on dismounting beneath 
the mangoes was to ascend to his wife's chamber, where 
he found her lying fast asleep. Leaving her undisturbed, 
he went down again to the garden and said to Shadi, his 
parrot, " Go silently and tenderly and bring me here the 
ring from off the Rani's hand " and the bird at once 
went aw r ay and brought it. 

Then the king, having tied it round his faithful com- 
rade's neck, commanded him, saying, " Away now to 
Raja Hodi ! Tell him that Rasalu has been killed in 
the forest, and that Rani Kokla has sent you with this 
token of love as a sign for him to come and bear her 
away." 

" I go at once, sir," answered the parrot, and taking 
wing, he flew towards Attock, and reaching the palace, he 
perched himself in one of the windows. There he was 
seen by certain of the servants, who said to each other, 
" See this parrot it is tame it looks like some roval 
pet!" 

Overhearing their words, Shadi answered them, " You 
are right, I am the companion of a king." 

The servants went to the Raja and said to him, " There 
is a parrot sitting in one of the windows, who says that 
he has a message for you from the Rani Kokla." 

Raja Hodi, hearing the name of Kokla, sprang to his 
feet and came out instantly, and approaching the parrot, 
he said, " O faithful bird, what message have you brought 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 139 

for me?" Instead of answering, Shadi began to shed 
tears. 

" Why are you crying?" asked the King. 

"Doubtless," replied the parrot, "you are an honour- 
able man, to form a friendship and then to go away and 
discard it utterly !" 

"What do you mean by that?" said Hodi. 

"This morning," answered the parrot, "the Rani on 
account of your absence was going to kill herself. I, 
seeing the dagger in her hand, implored her, saying, ' O 
wait until I return!' Then she gave me her ring, and 
bade me for dear life go quickly, and she is waiting for 
me. But if you do not go to her at once, she will destroy 
herself." 

Hodi, taking the love-token, said, " But where is your 
master Rasalu?" 

" God knows," answered Shadi. " I have searched for 
him everywhere, but I was unable to find him. I think 
some demons or giants must have killed him and eaten 
him." 

Raja Hodi then called for his horse, and mounted, and 
rode away on the spot. And when they sighted the towers 
of Kherimurti, the parrot addressed him and said, " Let 
me fly in advance of you to inform the Queen of your 
arrival." 

" Pray do so," answered Hodi. And the parrot flew to 
the mango-trees and said to his master, " Your rival is 
coming. Make ready to meet him !" 

When Raja Hodi drew nigh, the King advanced to meet 
him and said to him, "Good-morrow, sir; will you 
walk up?" 

Hodi, on seeing him, became as still as a picture, and 
he began to make hundreds of excuses, saying, " I have 
come here by mistake. I did not know whose palace this 
might be, and I w r as coming to inquire. I hope you will 
excuse me." 

"Nay," said Rasalu, "your destiny has brought you 
here. It is better to betake you to your arms and to use 
them first on me." 

" Sir," answered Hodi, " I am not your enemy. I was 
unaware whose fortress this might be, so I was coming 
to inquire about it. I do not think there is any harm in 
inquiring !" 



i 4 o ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

"Let this senseless talk go," said Rasalu, "and use 
your weapons first ! Otherwise you will say, ' Rasalu 
smote me treacherously.' ' 

Hodi, finding there was no escape from him, took an 
arrow from his quiver, and, putting it to his bow, he cried, 
" Now look out, my poisoned dart is coming!" and shot 
at Rasalu. 

But Rasalu bent from his horse, and avoided the bolt, 
which, striking against the castle-walls, broke the stones 
into shivers. Then said the injured King 

" O little, little bends the bow-string- tight, 

But grandly bends the bow that bends to might; 
The wise man bends to shun the barbed bolt, 
Who never bends at all is worse than dolt." 

But King Hodi, in fear and dismay, with his fate before 
him, groaned and said 

" O little, little can I see of you, 

Rasalu ; 
A gathering mist obscures your form from view, 

Rasalu ; 

With knives of hardened steel my heart is riven, 
It burns like flames within the furnace driven, 
O hear, Rasalu ! " 

Deaf to words and deaf to prayers, Rasalu fitted one of 
his iron arrows to his mighty bow, and prepared to launch 
it. At first, to test his adversary's nerve, he grimly made 
a feint of shooting, when at once the quaking coward 
slipped behind a mango-tree. 

" Ha !" cried Rasalu, " you are behind the mango-tree, 
are you? Look out, your final hour has come!" 

Drawing the bow to its utmost tension, he let fly the 
arrow, which drove through the trunk of the tree and 
pierced through the body of his foe, and fell four hundred 
yards beyond. So swiftly flew the fatal shaft, that Raja 
Hodi never so much as felt it, and he said to Rasalu. 
" You have missed !" 

" I never missed in my life," answered he. " Shake 
yourself and see !" 

And when Hodi shook himself, he fell down senseless 
from his horse, and died beneath the mango-trees. 

Then the King went forward sword in hand, and, dis- 
mounting, he smote off the traitor's head. 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 141 

As the head rolled aside from the bleeding trunk, the 
lips of the dead parted, and the quivering tongue uttered 
the words, " Rasalu, give me to drink!" 

And Rasalu, as in a dream, lifted his enemy's empty 
quiver from which the arrows had slipped, and filling it 
with water from a pool, he held it to the open mouth, and 
Hodi drank, and when he had drunk he cried, " O birds, 
wheeling above me and cleaving the air with your pinions, 
go to the Queen, my Loved One, and tell her that Hodi 
has drunk water from the hands of Raja Rasalu!" 

Then the soul of Raja Rasalu rejoiced as he said to 
himself, " To-day I have brought my wife no venison. 
Yet she shall have venison daintier than ever she tasted 
before." 

The headless corpse lay at his feet. Stripping it of its 
rich clothing and cutting open the body, he tore out the 
heart and took it with him to the castle, rolling aside the 
ponderous gate and closing it again with a giant's strength. 

Having made his preparations, he went to the apartments 
of the Queen, and found her still asleep. " Arise, arise," 
cried he, "the hour is late!" 

Lifting herself from her couch, she looked at him in 
amazement, for her conscience smote her, and she said to 
herself, " Does he suspect anything?" 

Turning from the threshold and looking into the court, 
the King noticed that water had been recently drawn in 
the suspended pitchers of the well by means of the treadle, 
which was too heavy for the slender strength of his wife 
to move. There, too, stood his favourite hookah, close 
to the platform, which was befouled with spittle. Re- 
garding his Rani \vith a sorrowful air, he said 

" Who has smoked my hookah, Rani, 

Who his spittle here did throw; 
Who the water lifted, Rani, 

Wet's the trough with overflow?" 

Then the Queen hastened to answer her lord 

11 I have smoked your hookah, Raja, 

I the spittle here bestrewed ; 
I the pitchers lifted, Raja, 
And the water overflowed." 

But in her mind she said, " Has the parrot betrayed 
me?" 



142 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Then the King looked about him and observed that both 
the favourite birds' cages \vere empty. "Ah!" said he, 
" I hear not the voice of your parrot, and the mdina greets 
not his master! Where are your friends?" 

" The voice of the parrot is still," answered she, "and 
the mdina greets not her master, because they are roving 
abroad. I let out my friends for a flight, and they flew 
to the mango-trees." 

But her mind misgave her, and she thought to herself, 
" Now the truth must come out !" 

Then the King went to the walls and cried, " Miamittu ! 
Miamittu!" and the parrot heard and replied from the 
mango-trees. 

" Here I am," said he, " but my body shakes with fear. 
I dare not enter the palace." 

He held out his hand and the parrot flew on to it. " You 
and the mama-bird," said the King in reproachful tones, 
" were left by me to guard and protect the Queen. My 
confidence has been abused. All this evil has been going 
on, and you did not tell me." 

" I could tell you the whole truth," answ r ered the parrot, 
" but these days are not the days for truth. One of us 
told the truth, and now his head lies here, and his body 
there." 

When the King saw the mama-bird all ruffled and head- 
less, he picked up the body and took it to the Queen.. 
" Look!" cried he, "I left the mdina whole and well 
what work is this?" 

"He was killed by the parrot," answered she; "ask 
him he dares not deny it." And as she spoke the words, 
she threw at the bird a threatening look. 

But the parrot said, " Perhaps it was so; I may have 
killed the mdina; but did the King ever hear of such a 
thing in the world?" At the same instant he secretly 
pointed one of his claws at his mistress to signify that the 
mdina had been killed by herself. 

After this the King entered his chamber, and as he gazed 
around him he noticed how the cushions and mats were 
disordered, and, here and there, scattered about, he saw 
the stones of his wife's broken necklace of rubies, which 
she had been vainly endeavouring to string. Then said 
he 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 143 

" Strange footsteps mark my floor, Rani, 

My couch is all dispread; 
Who forced my chamber-door, Rani, 

What thief abused my bed ; 
What hand the necklace tore, Rani, 

Who broke the golden thread?" 

And again the Queen made answer 

" Soon as the mdina died, Raja, 

My beads the parrot tore, 
All scared I stepped aside, Raja, 

And trod the polished floor ; 
O never ask me why, Raja, 

Your couch is all dispread, 
For none came here but I, Raja, 

To rest upon your bed ! " 

But even as she uttered her excuses her heart sank within 
her, and she said to herself, " Alas, what next!" 

Then the King, curbing his rage and his grief, cried, 
" Enough ! Go, Rani, and see to the venison which is 
preparing in the cook-house, and bake me my bread." 
And he went out and sat down alone by the well. 

When the Queen appeared with the smoking flesh and 
the cakes of bread, she laid them down on the floor, and 
the King looked at her and said, "Come, let us eat together 
once more !" 

Like a woman, quite forgetful of her faults, she accepted 
his feigned kindness, and her spirits rose; but men are 
different they nurse their thoughts and keep their sus- 
picions warm. 

Then the King put some of the bread to his lips, and 
said, "To-day my bread is tasteless!" 

" Ah !" cried the Queen. " What food, dear Heart, have 
you brought me here ? Methinks no venison was ever so 
dainty and sweet as this." 

Pushing his bread away from him and rising up on the 
platform, the King answered her thus 

" What food is this so dainty sweet? 
Alive he languished at your feet ; 
Now, dead and gone, he pleases still 
You eat his flesh, nay, eat your fill ! 
But O ! may she whose heart is proved untrue, 
Ascend the funeral pyre, and perish too!" 

At that, the bit dropped from the poor Rani's mouth, as 



i 4 4 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

she said to herself, "Ah, I am betrayed, I am betrayed; 
he knows all ! All is over !" 
Then, with streaming eyes, she answered her lord 

" I sit me down, and O you flout me sore, 
I get me up, and still you mock me more ; 
Since then my suffering gaze nor help nor hope can spy, 
With him for whom you taunt me, Raja, will I die ! " 

Saying this, she sprang to her feet and ran quickly 
up the battlements, whence she beheld, lying far beneath 
her, the headless body of Raja Hodi. Then, with a cry, 
she threw 7 herself over; but before her body had reached 
the rocks below her breath had gone out of her, and so fell 
dead the Rani Kokla. 



RAJA RASALU 

12. DEATH OF RASALU 

ON witnessing the bloody and pitiful fate of his consort, 
Raja Rasalu hastened in his amazement to the gate of the 
fortress, and passing swiftly out, he descended the rocky 
steps, and there, stretched by the very corpse of Raja Hodi 
whose charger was still champing his bit under the mango- 
trees, he found the shattered remains of the luckless Kokla. 
Strange and wan was the smile which still lingered on 
her lips, and full of pain and reproach the eyes which 
seemed to burn into his. Stooping over the dead body 
of the only woman whom he had ever really, truly, loved, 
the King is said to have then felt what it was to have 
loved and for ever to have lost. Taking her up tenderly, 
he carried her into the palace and laid her down. Both 
the bodies, his wife's and her lover's, he laid down side 
by side, say the bards, and he covered them over with 
the same cloth. Then he considered within himself, "But 
if I burn them, the disgraceful secret will be known abroad. 
No ! at midnight I will carry them both down and throw 
them into the river." 

Then, seeing the parrot, he said to him, " Your partner 
is dead and gone, so also is mine. Poor parrot and hapless 
king! See how the world is passing away!" 

After this the King, being very weary, lay down and slept, 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 145 

and forgetting the two bodies he did not wake until late 
in the night. It was almost dawn when he approached the 
river, bearing the dead on his shoulders. Just then he 
caught sight of the old washerman and his wife going 
down with a bundle of clothes. So he stepped aside to 
escape their notice, and dropped the two dead bodies into 
the river. 

As he watched them drifting and sinking in the dark 
'deep waters of the Indus, he overheard the woman saying 
to her husband, " It is not yet morning. To pass the time 
tell me a story !" 

"What is the use?" answered the husband. "We 
have to get through the world somehow. Part of our life 
is over, and part only remains. We have no time to waste 
over stories." 

" But," replied she, "it is not yet daylight, so tell me 
a tale while the night continues." 

Then said the washerman, " Shall I tell you a true story, 
or some other one?" 

"A true story," answered she; "something you have 
seen and known." 

So the man began 

"Hear me, O wife! Not long ago, before I married 
you, I had another wife. She used to say her prayers 
five times in the day, and I thought her a treasure. Yet 
every night she absented herself from my house for at 
least an hour, until I began to wonder what was her 
motive. At last I determined to find out. The next time 
she went away, I followed her, because I said, ' Perhaps 
she goes out to her prayers, but I should like to see for 
myself.' I found she visited the grave of a fakir, and 
that she prayed to him that I might become blind. When 
I heard this, I could not help feeling, ' Before my face 
she respects me, but how false she is behind my back ! 
To-morrow I will be beforehand with her at the shrine, 
and she shall have her answer.' 

" The next night I hid myself in the shrine, and when 
my wife came and prayed as usual I answered her, ' O 
woman, for a long time you have prayed to me, this time 
your prayer is answered. Go home and feed your husband 
with sweet pudding in the morning and with roast fowl 
in the evening, and in a week he will be blind.' 

" I then got away home as fast as I could run, and 



146 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

when my wife returned I asked her, ' Where have you 
been ?' 

" ' I have been in the village giving out the clothes,' 
answered she. 

" The next morning my wife said to me, ' Husband, 
see, I have here some buttermilk and oil, let me wash 
your head.' 

" I accordingly undressed. But when my wife saw my 
body, she cried, ' Why, husband, how thin you have 
become ! you are all skin and bone. I must feed you up.' 
To this I answered ' Good.' So my wife went and made 
me sweet pudding which I enjoyed. And in the evening 
she gave me roast fowl which I enjoyed too. 

" After three or four days I said to her, ' Wife, I don't 
know what has happened, my eyes are getting quite dim.' 
Though she affected to console me, I could easily perceive 
that she was glad. After the seventh day I said to her, 
' Wife, I am stone blind, I can't see a thing.' She, hear- 
ing this, set up a hypocritical howl, and going out she 
visited this saint and that, and offered up counterfeit 
prayers for my recovery. 

" I now took to a stick and acted the blind man to the 
life. But one day my wife said to herself, ' This may be 
all a deceit; I must put his blindness to the test.' So she 
said to me, 'I am going out a-visiting; if I put some 
barley to dry, will you take care of it?' 

" ' How can I ?' replied I. ' Still, if you will put it on 
some matting within my reach so that I can feel it from 
time to time, I will try.' 

" This then she did, and I sat by it with my stick in my 
hand. In a short time I saw my wife slyly creeping 
towards the grain, and when she got near she felt it. 
Lifting my stick I gave her such a violent blow on the 
head that she fell almost senseless, crying out, ' Ah, you 
have killed me !' 

4 Wife, wife,' protested I, ' how could I tell it was you ? 
Did I not say I was blind ? I thought there was a bullock 
or a goat here.' 

' This quite convinced my wife that I must be entirely 
blind, and she continued to feed me as before. 

" Now the truth was that she was intriguing with another 
man whom she used to visit, though at great risk, whenever 
she found the opportunity. This man she now introduced 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 147 

from time to time into my house. One day, when he 
was expected, she sought a quarrel with me to get me 
out of the way. 'Why don't you do something?' said 
she; 'you are always indoors. Get out, man, and stack 
some wood ! ' 

" I abused her heartily for her speech and w-ent out. 
When I returned I spied the man sitting in my chamber 
and said to myself, 'Aha, my friend is here!' My w r ife 
when she saw me coming told him to get into the great 
mat which was lying rolled up against the wall, and he did 
so. Going to the cow-house, where I knew there was some 
rope handy, I' returned, groping all the way with my 
stick. 

" ' What do you want \vith that rope?' said my wife. 

" Without answering I felt my way to the mat, and tying 
it up first at one end and then at the other I shouldered 
it, and said to my wife, ' This trouble which has fallen 
upon me is more than I can bear. I am now going 
as a pilgrim to Mecca, and this will serve me as a 
kneeling mat.' 

" I then went out, but she followed me, entreating me 
to alter my mind. Don't go; don't leave your poor little 
wife!' implored she. 

" But the neighbours said, ' Let the poor man alone. 
What use is he to you now ?' So I got away from her. 

" After I had gone two or three miles, the man inside 
the mat began to struggle and shake. 

" ' Shake away,' said I, ' you will have reason to shake 
soon. You think I am blind, but I am not.' 

" I no\v approached a village, and the first thing I 
observed was a woman baking some bread of fine flour. 
When the cake was ready she took it inside to the corn- 
bin where her lover was hiding, and she gave it to him. 
Then she came out and began baking bread of coarse 
barley meal. Pretending to be a fakir, I went up to her 
and said, 'Mother, make me some wheaten bread with a 
little butter.' 

"'Where am I to get wheaten flour?'' answered she. 
' Do you not see how poor I am ?' 

" ' Nay, but bake me some,' replied I. 

" As we were disputing, her husband came up and said, 
' Don't quarrel, woman, w j ith fakirs!' 

"'I am not quarrelling,' said she, 'but this man is 



148 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

begging for fine bread and butter. Did you ever get such 
a luxury?' 

" When the husband heard this he was angry with me, 
and said, ' If a barley cake will suit you, take it. But if 
not, begone ! ' 

" Then said I, pointing to the door, ' They who sit in 
corn-bins eat fine bread, but beggars mustn't be choosers.' 

"' What's this about corn-bins ?' cried he. ' This must 
be looked into.' 

"So he went into the corn-bin, and there he found his 
wife's lover squatting among the grain and eating fine 
bread and butter. ' You are an honest man, O fakir,' he 
cried out to me. 

" But he was in such a rage that he drew his knife and 
would most certainly have cut the fellow's throat, if I had 
not caught him by the arm and checked him, and brought 
him out of the place. 

" ' Look here,' said I, opening my mat, and releasing my 
prisoner, ' here is another of them. Your fate is not differ- 
ent from mine, nor mine from other men's. Therefore 
do not kill, but let us both agree to make the best of a 
bad job, because you see, if Raja Rasalu in his palace, 
great and mighty as he is, has the same misfortune as we, 
and yet bears it patiently, who are we that we should 
complain ?' ' 

Filled with forebodings, Raja Rasalu, who had over- 
heard every word, now came forward and said, "I am 
Raja Rasalu, the King of all this realm. Ask me for land 
and you shall have it, or if you want money take it, but 
tell me how knew you people that such wickedness was 
being done in my house?" 

" And are you not aware," answered the man, " that 
women are by nature witches and soothsayers? They 
know or they find out everything, and they have been 
talking of the doings at Kherimurti for days." 

Then the King took them both to the castle and gave 
them money, and to the husband he said, "You are a 
white-bearded man, old and venerable. Your years entitle 
you to respect. Therefore come and see me often, and 
let us converse together." And he sent them away. 

He himself after this grew careless and morose, and he 
ceased to visit the field so often, leaving Foladi to him- 
self, his life being weary and his heart broken, thinking 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 149 

of his dead wife, of her black ingratitude, and of her dismal 
fate. Sometimes friends gathered about him in darbdr 
to counsel and to plan, and sometimes turn by turn they 
told him stories of kings of old, or passed the time in 
making up riddles. Frequently the old washerman visited 
him and brought him in news from without, and his 
favourite parrot strove to console him. But his kingdom 
was neglected, his conquests forgotten, many of his distant 
vassals forswore his service, his guards of parrots, pea- 
cocks, and mdinas mostly abandoned the palace, and in his 
vast fortress he lived, at least for a king, solitary and alone. 
Meanwhile there were wise women at the town of Raja 
Hodi who had guessed or divined the secret of Kheri- 
murti. One day Hodi's brothers were riding past the 
village well when the women were drawing water for their 
households, and they overheard one of them saying, " Men 
value their darling vices more than life." 

"What is that which you say?" cried one of the 
princes. 

" I said," answered the speaker, " that men for a 
woman's love will sacrifice even life itself to gain their 
ends." 

" But what do your words really signify?" said he. 
" If the brothers of Raja Hodi have any sense of their 
own," replied she, " they have no need to ask." 

On hearing this, they galloped up to the palace of 
Raja Hodi, and entering the court, they cried, " Where is 
Raja Hodi?" 

" Ever since the day on which he left the castle to 
pursue the blue buck," answered one of the attendants, 
" he has been paying visits across the river in the direction 
of the castle of Raja Rasalu. Some days ago, he went 
out as usual, but he has not yet returned, and we know 
not what has become of him." 

When the brothers heard these tidings they assembled 
their vassals from all parts, and addressing them, they said, 
' The King is a prisoner, or else he has been killed in the 
country of Raja Rasalu. We must rescue or avenge him. 
Will you stand by us w : hen we cross the river, or will you 
go back to your houses?" 

Then answered they all with one voice, " Our heads be 
yours if we do not stand by you to a man." 

Now the old washerman used to visit Raja Rasalu day 



: 5 o ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

by day, because the King delighted in his quaint stories 
and good sense. About this time he went up to the palace 
as usual and received his customary welcome. Said the 
King to him, " What news to-day?" 

" Among the women of the village," answered the 
washerman, " there is a strange rumour, but it may not 
be true." 

" Let me have it," said the King. 

" I overheard them talking among themselves," replied 
he, "and they were saying that as Raja Rasalu had cut 
off the head of Raja Hodi, so his own head would also 
fall in three days." 

When the King understood this he was greatly put out, 
and rising and pacing the floor, he said, " Have you 
really heard this?" 

" Yes," answered the washerman, " the women have it 
so, but I know nothing about it." 

" I have seen the day when I could singly and alone 
laugh my foes to scorn," said the king; " and still I have 
troops, if I can only assemble them in time." 

Then he summoned his warder and bade him call out 
all his followers in the castle. But when they were dra\vn 
up, there was not a dozen men left to man the walls. 

" Winning or losing a battle is in the hands of God," 
said he to the old washerman. " But what is one to do 
with a handful of men like this?" 

Vigorously, however, the old warrior prepared for a 
siege. Something of his former spirit returned upon him 
as he directed one of his men to gallop out into the 
country to order his people to gather in strength and 
to bring in supplies for the defence of his castle at Kheri- 
murti, and as he assisted with his own hands to repair the 
broken battlements and to close up the breaches. Hardly 
had he completed his task, when the hostile force appeared 
in sight. They were led by the brothers of Raja Hodi, 
and were fully armed with every weapon of war. They 
swam the river or crossed it on skins; and like bees 
they swarmed round the hill and sat down beneath the 
walls of Kherimurti. Then passed mutual defiances be- 
tween the opposing leaders, and the siege began in form. 
But Raja Rasalu, though reinforced by fresh supplies of 
men, soon began to perceive that the struggle was a hope- 
less one, and that the end could not be far off. Resolving 



THE RASALU LEGENDS 151 

therefore not to be caught like a rat in a trap, but to 
sell his life as dearly as possible, he ordered his men 
to prepare for a sally. That night he piled up faggots 
in the chambers of Rani Kokla, and with his own hand 
set the palace on fire, and, when the flames leaped up 
into the darkness of the midnight sky, the besiegers saw 
them and wondered. 

The next morning he led his followers down the rocky 
steps, and, as he passed through the Queen's garden, he 
looked at the mango-trees, and cried 

" O flushed with fruit, or bare of bough, 

Fruit may ye never form again, 
Dead is Kokla, her place is void, 
And flaming red the fires remain 1" 

Then with a rush he descended to the plains and met 
his enemies hand to hand. There the battle raged with 
fury on both sides for seven days and seven nights. King 
Rasalu fought like a lion, and many a foe went down 
beneath his mighty arm, never to rise again. At last his 
men were all of them killed, and the king himself, wearied 
out with the long fight, covered with wounds, and hemmed 
in by increasing numbers, was slain by an arrow nine 
yards long, which pierced his neck. And when the fight 
was over, his enemies smote off his head and carried it back 
with them in triumph to the castle of Raja Hodi. 

And thus, according to most of the story-tellers of the 
Upper Panjab, perished their national hero Raja Rasalu, 
having survived his might and outlived the fame and glory 
of his great exploits. 1 

1 Some say that Rasalu never died at all, but that he passed over or 
descended into the Indus, and that, like Arthur and other mythical 
characters, he is to come again. 

[This concluding chapter, like the first of the series of the Rasalu 
Legends, is partly made up from fragments collected from different 
villages.] 

Collected from bards in the Raival Pindi District, 1877-82. 



152 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

X 

OF THE WISE LUMBARDAR 

A LARGE earthen chatty, or jar, half filled with corn, was 
once standing in the courtyard of a farmhouse, when a 
horned sheep coming by thrust his head into it and began 
to enjoy himself. When he had satisfied his hunger, how- 
ever, he found himself unable, owing to the size of the 
neck of the chatty, to draw forth his head again, so that 
he was thus caught in a trap. The farmer and his ser- 
vants perceiving this were sadly perplexed. " What's to 
be done now?" said they. One of them proposed that the 
lambardar, or village headman, whose wisdom was in 
every one's mouth, should be requested to help them in 
their difficulty, which was no sooner said than done. The 
lambardar was delighted. He at once mounted his camel, 
and in a few minutes arrived at the spot. But the archway 
into the yard was low, and he on the top of his camel was 
high, nor did it occur to him or to any one else that the 
camel should be left outside. " I cannot get in there," said 
he to the farmer; " pray knock the doorway down !" and 
accordingly the arch was destroyed, and the wise man 
entered. 

Having dismounted and gazed profoundly at the im- 
prisoned ram, he suddenly exclaimed, " This matter is a 
mere trifle. Fetch me a sword." So the sword was 
brought, and taking it in his hand he cut off the animal's 
head at a single blow. "There," cried he, "is your 
sheep, and here is your vessel of corn. Take them away." 

By this time the whole village had assembled, and every 
one began to murmur his praises. But a farm-servant, 
who was reputed cunning, observed, " But the sheep's head 
is still in the jar ! Now what are we to do?" 

" True," answered the lambardar. " To you this affair 
seems hard; but to me the one thing is just as easy as 
the other." 

With this he raised a great stone and smashed the vessel 
into a thousand pieces, while the people clapped their 
hands with joy. No one was more astonished than the 
farmer. It is true his gateway was ruined, his grain spilt, 



OF THE BANEYRWAL AND THE THIEF 153 

his jar broken, and his stock-ram killed. These things, 
however, gave him no concern. He had been rescued from 
a serious difficulty, and so the fame of that lambardar be- 
came the envy of all the surrounding villages. 

From Ghdzi. 



XI 
OF THE BANEYRWAL AND THE THIEF 

ONCE upon a time a little Baneyrwal, holding his two 
fingers to his mouth, happened to look into a tub, and 
there perceived his own image reflected in the water. 
" Mother, mother," cried he, " there is a child in this tub 
begging for bread." 

" Listen to that now," said the mother to her husband. 
" Look into the tub, man, and see if there is any one 
there." 

So the husband looked in and at once exclaimed, " Wife, 
wife, there is no child; but I see an old villain of a thief, 
and when we are all asleep he will certainly jump out and 
murder us in our beds !" 

Picking up a stone in the utmost alarm, the man hurled 
it into the tub, intending to strike the robber dead. Then 
he cautiously approached the tub once more, but failing 
to see anything but the tossing water, he said to his 
wife, " That thief must have been a very cunning rascal. 
He has escaped I don't know where, but he is not likely to 
trouble this house again." 

From Ghdzi. 



i 5 4 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

XII 

OF THE TIGER AND THE HARE 

A JUNGLE TALE 

IN a certain forest there once lived a fierce tiger, which 
was in the habit of hunting down the rest of the animals 
for mere sport, whether hunger impelled him thereto or 
not. All the animals, therefore, met together by common 
consent to consider their grievances. " Let us agree," said 
the jackal, " that one of us shall be chosen by lot day by 
day as a sacrifice to the tiger." 

"All right," assented the others; "but first let us see 
the tiger, and let us offer him a petition." 

So they all marched together to the tiger's den, and 
humbly besought him to refrain from indiscriminate 
slaughter, and to be satisfied with the animal which should 
voluntarily come to him day by day. " Do not hunt us 
poor fellows down," said they, " for one of us will always 
come to be devoured by you, and this plan will save you 
trouble as well." 

" No, no," cried the tiger; " I shall use my claws and 
my teeth, and so eat my food." 

" But," answered the animals, " God has said that we 
ought to live in hope." 

"True," answered the tiger; "but he has also bidden 
every one to earn his own bread." 

At last, after much argument, the tiger suffered himself 
to be persuaded, and made a solemn promise to remain at 
home in his den. Thenceforward every day an animal 
chosen by lot went to the den to be eaten. But when the 
hare's turn came, she flatly said, " I shall not go; I shall 
live my life." In vain the other animals tried to persuade 
or coerce her. Twelve o'clock, the tiger's usual feeding 
time, came and went, then came one, two, and three. At 
last the hare suddenly started up, and exclaiming, " Now 
I'm off!" she set out for the den. As she drew near she 
noticed the famished tiger tearing up the earth in fury, 
and heard him bellowing, " Who is this ridiculous hare 
to keep me waiting?" 

" But I have an excuse," protested the hare. 

' What excuse can you have?" demanded the tiger. 



OF THE TIGER AND THE HARE 155 

" To-day," said the hare, " it was not my turn to come at 
all. It was my brother's. I am thin, but my brother is 
plump and fat. My brother had started for your den, but 
on the way he fell in with another tiger which wanted to eat 
him, and, in fact, he caught him and was carrying him 
away, when I came up and said to him, ' This country is 
not your country, but the country of another tiger who 
will punish you.' To which the strange tiger answered, 
' You go at once, and call that tiger of yours out, and 
then he and I shall have a fight.' So here I am, sir, sent 
to deliver his challenge. Come and kill the villain for 
us." 

Full of rage and jealousy, the tiger said to the hare, 
"Lead on!" and the pair started forth to seek the rival 
tiger. As they went along the hare began to look alarmed 
and shrink back, and made as though she would have 
hidden herself in a thicket. " What is the matter now?" 
inquired the tiger. " What are you afraid of?" 

"I am afraid," answered she, " because the other tiger's 
den lies close in front of us." 

" Where where?" cried the tiger, peering forward with 
searching eyes. " I see no den whatever." 

" It is there see ! T> answered the hare; " almost at your 
very feet ! ' ' 

" I can see no den," said the tiger. " Is there no means 
of persuading you to come forward and show me the 
place?" 

' Yes," replied the hare, " if you will please carry me 
under your arm." 

So the tiger lifted the cunning hare under his arm, and, 
guided by her directions, he unexpectedly found himself at 
the edge of a large deep well. " This is the den I told you 
of," whispered the hare. " Look in and you will see the 
robber." 

Standing on the brink and looking down into the clear 
depths, the tiger saw at the bottom the reflected image of 
himself and the hare, and imagining that he saw his enemy 
in proud possession of the fat brother, he dropped the 
nimble hare, which easily escaped, and with a roar he 
leaped down, where, after struggling in the water for many 
hours, he finally expired, and thus the forest was at last 
rid of the tyrant. 

From Ghdsi. 



156 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

XIII 
OF THE GREEDY MONKEY 

ONCE upon a time a monkey noticed some wheat which 
had fallen into a small hollow in a rock. Thrusting in 
his hand, he filled it with the grain, but the entrance was 
so narrow that he was unable to draw it out without relin- 
quishing most of his prize. This, however, he was un- 
willing to do, greedily desiring to have it all. So the 
consequence was that he remained without any, and finally 
went hungry away. 

From Ghazi. 



XIV 
CONCERNING REPENTANCE 

A CERTAIN priest asked one of his parishioners, " Which 
is the older, your beard or yourself?" 

" I am the elder, of course," answered the man. 

"Your beard seems to have changed," said the holy 
man, " for it was black before and now it is white, yet 
you are still the same. When will you begin to change 
when cease to do evil and learn to do well ?" 

From Ghasi. 



PRINCE AHMED AND THE FLYING HORSE 157 

XV 
THE PREACHER CONFOUNDED 

A MUHAMMADAN priest, seated in his mosque, was once 
holding forth to some villagers on the torments of the life 
to come. When in the full flow of his eloquence, he 
observed one of his auditors, a poor farmer, weeping 
profusely. 

" Ah, you sinner!" cried the preacher, interrupting his 
discourse, "you are crying, are you? My words have 
struck home to you, have they ? You begin to think of 
your sins, do you?" 

" No, no," answered the man; " I was not thinking of 
my sins at all. I was thinking of my old he-goat, that 
grew sick and died a year ago. Such a loss ! Never was 
a beard so like the beard of my old he-goat as yours." 

Hearing these words, the villagers began to laugh, and 
the priest took refuge in the Koran. 

From Hazro. 



XVI 
STORY OF PRINCE AHMED AND THE FLYING HORSE 

ONCE there was a king who had a son named Ahmed. 
He was only a youth, and his delight was to ramble about 
the bazaars of the town. There he became friendly with 
four other boys, the sons of a goldsmith, an ironsmith, an 
oilman, and a carpenter respectively. He used to work 
and play with them, and they became his companions. 
They were so clever that men used to call them the children 
of magic. By-and-by the vizier heard of these things, and 
said to the King, "Your son has chosen companions out 
of the very bazaars, four boys who are leading him to 
destruction." So the King sent a guard and had all the 



158 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PAN JAB 

four boys arrested and thrown into prison. But the Prince 
intervened, and said, "Grant them a hearing; do not 
condemn them without a trial." When they were brought 
into the King's court, the little goldsmith said, " Give us 
time to clear ourselves from the charges of the vizier. After 
eight days we shall all appear again, and the King shall 
judge us." So they were reprieved for eight days, and 
at the end of the time they assembled to show their skill. 
The little goldsmith brought six brazen fish, which he 
cast into the King's tank, and they swam about, and the 
courtiers threw crumbs of bread to them, which they caught 
and devoured. The blacksmith brought two large iron 
fish, which swallowed up all the brazen ones. The oilman 
brought two artificial giants, which fought together on the 
plain until they were separated by Prince Ahmed. The 
carpenter brought a large wooden horse, furnished with 
a secret spring, and Prince Ahmed leaped on to its back ; 
and when he had touched the spring, it mounted like 
lightning into the air, and was out of sight in a moment. 

The King, who had been pleased at first, now flew into 
a rage, and seizing the carpenter, he shook him, and cried, 
" Villain, bring back my son !" 

" O King, that I cannot do," said the carpenter. 
" Spare my life, and the Prince will return to you in all 
safety in two months." 

The two months were granted, and all four boys were 
put into chains to await their death in case the Prince did 
not return. 

Meanwhile the flying horse, having carried Prince 
Ahmed five hundred leagues, alighted on the terrace-roof 
of a magnificent palace, and there the Prince saw, reclining 
in the moonlight, a most beautiful young princess. In- 
stantly he fell in love with her, and when she looked up 
and saw a handsome stranger standing by, she also fell 
in love with him. So the Prince and she went down into 
the palace together and had a talk, and when he left her 
he mounted his flying horse and flew to the top of a large 
tdlli-tree beyond the bounds of the palace grounds. There 
he disjointed his horse and hung the pieces to the branches, 
and, climbing down the tree, he lodged at the house of 
an old woman. But every night, when darkness had set 
in, he used to climb the talli-tree, mount his wooden horse, 
and fly to the palace roof. At last the Princess's confiden- 



PRINCE AHMED AND THE FLYING HORSE 159 

tial slave girl began to whisper the secret, and some one 
went to the King, and said, "Some thief pays nightly 
visits to the palace." So the King put on double guards, 
and every one was challenged going in and coming out, 
but still the rumour reached the ears of the King, " Some 
thief comes to your daughter's palace." 

Then the King summoned his vizier and said, " No one 
but a woman is competent to unravel this mystery." So 
a wise woman was consulted by the King and the vizier, 
who advised that the stairs of the palace, to the very roof, 
should be covered with slime. 

The next night, when Prince Ahmed arrived on the 
terrace and attempted to descend, he slipped down several 
steps, and, suspecting a trick, he made his escape, left his 
horse on the top of the talli-tree, and made for the hut of 
the old woman. The next morning he sent for a washer- 
man, and gave him his soiled clothing to clean. 

Meanwhile the King proclaimed, by beat of drum, that 
every inhabitant of the town should appear in the palace 
yard. The washerman, desirous of cutting a figure, 
donned the gorgeous clothing of the Prince, and when the 
people assembled, he was at once singled out, and then it 
was noticed that 'his coat was stained with slime. So the 
King called^ for the executioner, and cried, "String him 
up !" But the washerman fell on his face, and said, " My 
lord, I am only a poor washerman, and this clothing is not 
mine at all. It belongs to another, who sent it to be 
cleaned. Let the officers come, and I will give him into 
their hands." 

So he took the officers to the old woman's hut, and there 
they found Prince Ahmed, and dragged him to the King, 
who ordered his instant death. Meanwhile, however, the 
Princess had sent a secret message to him, saying, " Offer 
the King a ransom. I will provide the sum, and save your 
life." But he sent word back, " No ransom shall I offer, 
but do you meet me in half-an-hour on the roof of the 
palace." 

Then the soldiers dragged off the Prince to the tdlli-tree, 
and round his neck they put a halter, and they were just 
going to hang him, when he besought them, saying, 
'' Please let me go up to breathe the air of the world for 
the last time;" and having bribed them with two gold 
mohurs, he began to ascend the tree. Having reached 



the top, where he was hidden from view, he quickly put 
the pieces of his horse together and flew to the terrace, 
where, seizing the Princess, he flung her into the saddle 
before him, and touching the spring he passed rapidly 
through the air in the sight of both King and people, 
and in a moment he arrived at his father's house. 

After this the four boys were released from prison and 
made governors of provinces; while the Prince and the 
Princess, being married at last, lived together in the enjoy- 
ment of every pleasure. 

From Torbela. 



XVII 
ADVENTURES OF NEK BAKHT * 

MANY years ago, when Nek Bakht was a boy, his father 
died, and he became King in his place. This lad took 
to hunting as his constant amusement, spending many days 
away from home. Now it was customary in that country 
for each courtier to follow singly his own game until he 
had brought it down. It was also the custom at the close 
of the day when all had returned from the field for the 
King to say, "Is there any king greater than I?" and 
for the ministers to answer, " None." The young King's 
daily pride, however, was one day brought low. He was 
following a deer, and he rode and rode till he was out 
of sight, when God ordered an angel to abolish space in 
such a way that in one moment the King found himself 
five hundred miles away in the territory of another king. 
He was now merely an ordinary mortal like any one else, 
but in a worse plight than most, for he was seized as a 
criminal. All that country indeed was in terror on account 
of a notorious robber, so that the gates of the city were 
closed at sunset and kept closed all night. Therefore when 
just before the time of closing Nek Bakht entered the city 
armed as he was, all the people cried, " Here is the 

1 Nek Bakht Good Luck. 



ADVENTURES OF NEK BAKHT 161 

robber !" and banging the gates behind him, they unhorsed 
him, bound him, and carried him off to the King. And 
when the King heard what they had to say, he said, " Cut 
off his hands, and let him sit in the market-place." But 
some said, "What is the use of that?" Others said, 
" Better to hang him at once." So the King ordered him 
to be cast into prison, and he was taken to a cell. There 
he devoted himself to the study of the Koran, and one day 
he came to the passage, " God is almighty. He can set 
up and put down." This passage he used to deride when- 
ever his vizier reminded him of it, but now it comes home 
to him, and he begins to weep bitterly. And when the 
jailor saw him thus he said, " O young man, you were just 
now reading and now you are crying. Why are you 
crying?" 

" I am crying," answered he, "at my hard lot, and at 
the difference in my estate, comparing myself now with 
what I used to be." 

" If you will tell me what you mean by that saying," 
said the jailor, " I will tell the King for you." 

"If I do tell you," said Nek Bakht, "what good will 
it do? God has not sent me help, and how can you?" 
Then he said, " This part of the Koran I used to scorn 
when I was a King, for I said, ' Who can bring me down ?' 
And did not my ministers tell me day after day that there 
was no king greater than I ? Yet here are you, a poor 
man, earning a few pence daily, and here am I, and if 
you gave me two kicks, what could I do? Is it strange 
therefore to find me crying?" 

Then the jailor went and told the King that his prisoner 
was not the robber at all, but Nek Bakht the great King. 
And the King began to feel afraid, because he used to be 
subject to the Prince's father, and he hastened to the prison 
with all his ministers, and begged pardon for his mistake. 

" You are not to blame," answered the Prince, " but my 
own pride only. I have learnt a lesson." 

" I am your vassal, as I was your father's," said the 
King, putting his hands together. " Be not therefore 
angry, nor bring armies to punish me." 

" That I shall never do," said he. " But now, as I have 
been long absent from my people, give me an aid in men 
and horses to enable me to return, lest meanwhile some 
one may have seized my kingdom." 
1 1 



i6a ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

So troops and treasure were freely given, and Nek 
Bakht rode out at their head, and when he got nigh the 
border he began inquiring, " Who is the King?" and the 
people said, " The King w r as devoured by a wild beast;" 
others answered, " He has gone away, no one knows 
where;" while some others again said, " Wherever he is, 
he is chasing a deer." Thus he came, he and his army, 
close up to the capital, and his old wazir rode forth to meet 
him, and recognized him as the lost King as soon as ever 
he saw him. " And how has my kingdom fared, since I 
went?" asked the Prince. 

" As it was when you left it," answered the wazir, " so 
is it now." 

After that he entered his house, giving order that his 
own troops should receive those of his vassal and entreat 
them well. Then one day, when he sat on his throne, his 
wazir said to him, " O King, you remember the day I used 
to say to you, ' God is Almighty, He can raise and He 
can abase ' ?" 

"Yes," said the King, "I have experienced the full 
force of those words." The King also said, " Hunting I 
give up for ever. I will apply myself to other matters, 
and I will merely ride out day by day for exercise." 

One day, as he was riding along the bank of the river, 
he observed an old woman stooping down by the edge of 
the stream, and going near, he saw that she was engaged 
in picking up bits of grass, tying them in small loose 
bundles, and throwing them on to the water, and he noticed 
that she kept watching them as they floated away. So he 
drew nearer still and said to her, " What are you doing ?" 

" Hush !" answered the wise woman. " I am reading 
fortunes." 

"And whose fortune is figured in the last bundle?" 
asked the King. ' 

"That bundle," said she, "carries the fortune of the 
King of this country, whose name is Nek Bakht." 

Now it was seen that the handful of grass floated hither 
and thither among the currents, and that, after an uncertain 
course, it finally reached the opposite side. Then said the 
King, " That bundle has crossed to the further bank, but 
what is the meaning of it?" 

"The King's life," answered the woman, "will be a 
long one, but full of troubles." 



ADVENTURES OF NEK BAKHT 163 

Then began the King to be sorrowful, and when he 
returned to the palace his countenance was altered, and 
his face downcast, so that the wazir asked him. what was 
the matter. 

" Do not seek to know," answered the King. 

" You are but a youth," said the wazir. " Your father 
confided everything to me, much more should you." 

" My life," said the King, "is to be like a bit of hay 
tossed about on troubled waters, no peace, no rest, but 
trial on trial." 

"Nay," answered the wazir, "who can tell that but 
God only?" 

Then the King told him of the old woman, whom he 
found telling fortunes to herself by the river-side, and of 
the little bundles of dry grass, and what she said to him, 
to which the wazir replied, " O King, all that is but fancy 
and illusion. If she could tell that, she would be a queen 
herself." 

Some days after the King once more rode out, and as he 
approached the same spot he saw the old woman engaged 
in the very same thing. Again he addressed her, as be- 
fore, saying, " Mother, what are you doing?" 

"Just wait a minute," answered she. "Two spirits 
have come to me just now, for they want me to decide a 
case for them. Their names are Fate and Destiny. 1 Fate 
is saying, ' I shall cause the King, and the Princess of 
the Kingdom of Flowers, to meet.' And Destiny says, 
' But what if I shall not allow you to do so?' 'I shall 
manage it!' cries Fate. 'Nay,' replies Destiny, 'you 
shall not, for when she comes to bathe in the river, I shall 
drown her there and so break your power.' Therefore," 
continued the old woman, "do you retire, until I have 
settled the business, which will take time." 

So spake she to the King, who left her watching her 
wisps of straw, and went back moodier than ever to the 
palace. And the wazir remarking his looks, said to him- 
self, " Whenever the King rides towards the river now, he 
returns melancholy." And he said, " What is the matter ?" 

Then the King began again to relate to the wazir his 
adventure of the day. " I found two voices, Fate and 

1 Fate A ruthless objective Power, working- capriciously from 
without. Destiny A subjective Influence, impelling from within in 
obedience to law. 



164 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Destiny, contending together," said he, "and Fate has 
fixed it that I am to marry the Princess of the Kingdom of 
Flowers. And I am troubled, for what perils may I not 
have to go through, what anguish to suffer, before that 
can be!" 

"O foolish King," said the vizier, "can even Fate 
accomplish the impossible? The Princess spoken of lives 
millions of miles away, and do what you will you can never 
meet." 

Some days after, the King again rode towards the river, 
and again found the old woman there. This time she 
spoke first, saying, " O son, who are you?" 

" I am merely the son of a khan," answered he. 

" You have often come here," said she, " and as you do 
come so much, I now tell you that within fifteen days 
Nek Bakht will be married to the young Princess I told 
you about." 

Then the King returned to the city more melancholy 
than ever, and calling his wazir he began to tell him the 
day's woeful news. " Within fifteen days it is written that 
I must marry her," said he. " Since hearing that, I have 
been tormented, for how is it possible for me even to see 
her? Is space to be again annihilated, is the very earth 
to disappear again under my feet, are there more imprison- 
ments in store for me, or what?" And he went in, 
distressed beyond words, expecting he knew not what 
misfortune. 

Now it had so happened that in the kingdom of the 
Princess a decree had been in force for some time, ordering 
that all female children should be destroyed the moment 
they were born, and that any woman sparing her infant- 
daughter should be hanged. Only one woman had dared 
to disobey that cruel law, and only one little girl had been 
saved from death. For when she was born, her mother 
hid her so cunningly that she grew up to be eight or nine 
years old. One day she was playing about, when who 
should come in but the King. She tried to hide, but it 
was too late, and the King said to her mother, " Whose 
child is that?" 

;< If my life is spared," answered she, " I will tell." 

' Take your life and answer," said he. 

' Then I sav," replied the woman, " this child is your 
own daughter." 



ADVENTURES OF NEK BAKHT 165 

" Ah ! " cried the King. " So, after all, I have been dis- 
obeyed by you ! But what to do now is more than I can 
say." 

So he went off to his ministers and reported the matter 
to them. " Did I not order that all the little girls should 
be killed? How then do I find one of them living?" 

Then the ministers put their heads together and con- 
sidered, and, after much time spent in argument, they 
unanimously agreed on a verdict. So they sought out the 
King and advised him, saying, " Have the Princess shut 
up in a chest and thrown into the river." Then came the 
carpenter and made a box to fit the Princess, and her 
mother did not forget to line it handsomely and put food 
in it. And the child gets inside, and a man takes the box 
on his head to carry it to the river, and as it leaves the 
palace the mother goes to the lattice and looks and looks ! 
But the man, who was a slave, had pity, and instead of 
putting earth in the chest to sink it as he was ordered, he 
sealed it round with dough, so that when it was com- 
mitted to the current and went floating away, a great fish 
came and swallowed it up. And the fish having swallowed 
the chest, headed down the river, and it swam and swam 
and swam, until it came close to the very place where lived 
the old woman. And it was by this trick that Fate had 
his own way. For at that spot there was a back-water into 
which the fish turned, and in which it made so great a 
splash that the villagers soon saw it, and coming down 
with sticks and clubs tried their best to kill it. But while 
they were still engaged in that work, Nek Bakht himself 
came riding by, and urging his horse into the water he 
speared the fish, which was then dragged up high and dry. 
" Carry the fish to my cooks," said the King, " let them 
cut off the head and the tail thereof for the people, but 
the midst of the fish let them keep for the King's table." 

As it was the King himself who gave the order, his order 
was at once obeyed, and the fish was taken to the royal 
kitchen. But when the chief cook took his knife to cut the 
monster open, he heard a voice which said, " Take care, 
I am a human being!" The cook looked very puzzled, 
but, thinking his ears had deceived him, he raised the knife 
again, when the same voice cried, " Take care, I am a 
human being !" Being more puzzled than ever, he called 
in one of his men and told him to listen, and again the 



166 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

same voice came from the inside of the fish. Then that 
man who had been called in said to the chief cook, " That 
fish must have eaten something!" So they went very 
carefully to work, and in the very centre of the fish they 
found no box at all, but a beautiful little lady. The won- 
derful news was at once despatched to the King, who 
ordered the girl to be brought to him, and who asked her, 
saying, " \\ ho are you?" She, however, being a very 
wise girl, thought it best not to say too much, so she only 
told a little of her story, and the King sent her away, 
putting her under charge of some of his handmaidens. 
But within a few days the wazir himself said to the King, 
"The girl is very handsome. Why not marry her?" 
And the King did so, and called her Dilaram, 1 and the 
fifteen days were completed. 

When the wedding was over, the King suddenly be- 
thought himself and said, " This is the day I was to have 
married the Princess of the Kingdom of Flowers. But no, 
it has not been so, and it is not so, and now I must go and 
see the old woman." 

So he rode down to the bank of the river, and there the 
old woman was working her spells as usual. " What is 
your business now?" said he. 

" Have patience, O sir," she answered him. " Fate and 
Destiny have again come to me, and they are talking of 
the same thing. Listen and you will hear what they say !" 

And the King listened and heard the voices. Fate said, 
" Those two I am going to marry together." " No, no," 
said Destiny. Suddenly Fate cries, " But I have married 
them already !" Thereupon both voices addressed the old 
woman and said, "You stand umpire between us two! 
Go at once to the palace and see which of us is right!" 
And all the time the King was standing a little way off, 
listening to the dispute. Then said the woman, " Agreed ! 
I will go, but first let Fate declare by what means he 
brought the marriage about." 

" I managed it so," said Fate. " I drove the King of 
that country to a fury when I led him to the chamber in 
which the Princess was, so she was shut up in a box, she 
was thrown into the river, and I caused a great fish to 
swallow her up, and to bring her to this very lake; and 
the fish was opened, and then the Princess stepped forth 

1 Dildrdm Heart 's-ease. 



ADVENTURES OF NEK BAKHT 167 

to marry the King, and she did marry the King. Go and 
sec for yourself !" 

At this moment the King advanced quite close and said, 
11 \Vhat tidings to-day, O old woman?" 

"Only what I have already told you," answered she. 
" I am now going to the palace to find out particulars." 

"No need," said Nek Bakht. "Your prophecy has 
come true, it is all fulfilled, and the King has married the 
Princess.' ' 

" Really?" said she, " is it really true?" 

"Yes," said the King, "all is finished and over this 
very day." 

"Alas! alas!" then said the woman. "I am sorry 
for it." 

"Sorry?" said he. "But where is the cause for 
sorrow?" 

" Alas !" said she again, " I am sorry because the young 
King's mother is a sorceress and so also is that princess. 
Now that there are two of them, what will become of 
him?" 

So the King turned back more miserable than ever. " I 
cannot kill my wife," said he to himself. " It would be 
no use, for my mother is also a witch." And as he drew 
nigh to the city the wazir met him, and observing his 
disturbed countenance, asked him the reason. So he tells 
him all his new trouble, and how not only his young wife 
is a witch, but his mother also. The wazir was grieved. 
" O foolish King," said he, " this your mother lived with 
your father for many a year, and never was such a thing 
ever heard about, and as for your wife, she is yet but a 
child. What can she know of magic?" 

Nevertheless the King believed the words of the old 
woman, and going into a chamber apart, he lay down. 
By-and-by his mother came to him and said, " O son, why 
are you so sorrowful ? Cast your eye on your fair young 
Oueen, see how beautiful she is, and how truly she loves 
you!" 

" Leave me," said he to his mother. " I am not well. 
To-morrow we shall see." 

" God will make you well, my son," said his mother. 
And she left him there. But a little after he looked out, 
and saw his mother and his wife working spells at a pipal 
tree, and he felt afraid. 



168 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Some time passed away, until one day the King was 
minded to ride to the river again. He did so and found 
the old woman at her old occupation, watching her bundles 
of dry grass. Just then her two spirits, Fate and Destiny, 
were again conversing one with the other. Says Fate, " In 
a kingdom beyond the sea lives another princess, and in 
four days Nek Bakht will go there and marry her." " Yes, 
that indeed will happen," replies Destiny, "but in the 
meantime he will have trouble enough." 

Having heard so much, the King came forward and said, 
" Old woman, what occupies you now?" 

" The same old thing," answered she. " I am only acting 
the part of arbiter between the two powers, and sifting the 
true from the false. As for the King, poor man, for him 
I grieve, for in four days he will be far aw-ay and married 
again, and still he will be vexed by plaguing cares." 

These words sounded in the ears of the King like a 
sentence of Death, and so beset him all the way home, 
that he took no heed of his mare, where or how she was 
going. And when, in the bazaar, a certain woman bearing 
two water-pitchers on her head came by, he knocked against 
her, and as the shock overbalanced her, down fell the 
pitchers and the water was wasted. As she was only a 
poor woman she lost her temper and cried out, " He is 
jumping his horse in the street, and he calls himself a 
king, and yet he does not know the tricks they play in 
his own house, fine as he is!" 

On hearing these words the King woke up and touched 
bridle, but the woman had passed on. She entered a 
house and closed the door, but the King followed, and said 
to an attendant, " Set a mark on that house for me !" And 
a mark was set on it that the King might know it again. 
Then he went on, and the wazir saw him and said, " O 
King, before you used to look sorrowful, but to-day the 
very colour has left your face ! What new trouble has 
come to pester you now ?" The King beckons to the vizier 
to come near to him, and he tells him the story of the 
woman whose jars he had broken and whose water he had 
spilt. " Her words were strange," said he. " Who made 
her so hardy to seek to undo me thus ?" 

Presently the King again spoke and said, " Let us both 
disguise ourselves and sally out, let us go to her house !" 
So both dressed themselves up as fakirs, in old garments 



ADVENTURES OF NEK BAKHT 169 

of many colours, all shreds and patches, and with bowl 
and staff went forth. The woman took them for mendi- 
cants, and said to them, " Shall I give you flour, or would 
you like some cakes?" 

" We will have neither," answered the wazir, "but we'll 
just come in and have a smoke, and a talk about something 
we have in our minds." 

So they entered, and as they squatted over the hookah, 
the woman looked at them and at once recognized the 
King. " I suppose you have come for explanations," said 
she. 

" Some women are wiser than others," answered the 
King. 

' In two days," said she, " the daughter of the King of 
a certain land is to be married, and her name is Aziz. 1 
With the King of that land your wife and mother 
intrigue, and in a moment they can be with him. They 
go and come the same day. How do they do it ? They 
sit on a pipal tree, and the pipal tree carries them there and 
back." 

"Can these things be?" said the wazir, and the King 
remembered how he saw both the ranis doing magic to a 
pipal tree hard by the palace, and he said, "That pipal 
tree I know." 

" Well," said she, " if you doubt my word, have a hole 
made in the tree, and sit in it, and you will go too." 

Then they went away and no one knew them. And 
when Nek Bakht got back to the palace, he ordered his 
wife and mother to remain in their own apartments, and 
he shut them in. Then he called a cunning carpenter who 
made a chamber in the tree, and it had a door to it, and 
when the door was closed, no one could see the difference, 
for it looked the same as the rest. 

Now as soon as the two days were up, he was lying on 
his bed, when he overheard his wife and mother talking. 
' The hour has come," said they, " let us start now !" 

'Your husband the King is asleep," said the elder 
Queen. ;t Here, take these magic mustard-seeds, and drop 
them on the King's breast. They will sprout, and the 
roots will fasten him down." 

So Dilaram Begam took the mustard-seeds and went 
into the chamber where the King was feigning sleep. And 
1 Aziz Bcgam Beloved Lady. 



170 



ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 



she said, " Alas, this is my dear, dear husband ! I will not 
sprinkle his breast with them, but only drop them round 
the edges of his bed." When she returned, her mother 
said to her, " Have you done it?" 

" Yes, it is done," answered the wife. 

" Come along then," said her mother. " First let us 
bathe and dress, and then go to the pipal tree, when by the 
power of God and magic the pipal tree will fly." 

Now, when they had gone to the bath, the King arose, 
and creeping through the branches of the mustard-trees 
he got to the pipal tree first, and entering into the chamber, 
he closed the door and kept quiet. By-and-by came the 
ladies and got on the top of the tree. And they uttered 
magic words over a red thread, and tied it round the tree. 
Then they addressed the tree, and said, " By order of God 
and magic, ascend !" And the tree, with leaf and branch, 
and with its roots attached, flew off to the city of the 
kingdom over the sea, where it settled in a place outside 
the gates. Then both mother and wife got down and 
hastened away. Nek Bakht also opened the door of his 
chamber and came out and followed them, and he saw 
that they made for the King's palace, which they entered 
by a wicket, and then the door was closed and they were 
lost to view. 

As he stood there awhile, he heard the sound of music 
and tom-toms, and presently a marriage-procession swept 
by. " What wedding is this?" And some one told him 
it was the wedding of the King's daughter, the Princess 
Aziz. So he joined himself to the party and passed in 
with the rest. 

Now, it so happened that the bridegroom was the ugliest 
man in the whole world. His party knew w<ell how ugly 
he was, and that the bride's party would tease him about 
his ugliness and give him no rest. So they all decided 
that he should be married by proxy, and that he should 
not appear at all. " Let us choose out some handsome 
youth," said they, "to represent him, and then he will 
escape the flouts and the jeers of the girls." And when 
they looked round and saw Nek Bakht, they all declared 
for him, and begged him to go through the ceremony, 
which after much persuasion he at last consented to do, 
and he looked most handsome, so that none of the courtiers 
could touch him. The people, too, were astonished, and 



ADVENTURES OF NEK BAKHT 171 

they ran and said to the King, " So handsome is the 
bridegroom that no one can look at him, nay, when he 
showed himself to the bridesmaids, they all swooned away 
for very trouble." 

This news heard also his mother and his wife, for they 
were then with the King, and the mother said to the wife, 
" Go, child, and see him. Surely he cannot be more hand- 
some than Nek Bakht!" And the girl went to have a 
peep, and she saw them both, the bride and the proxy 
bridegroom, going through the ceremony. And she gazed 
and gazed as they dropped their rings into a bowl of milk, 
and saw the bridegroom take out his ring and put iiton 
the finger of the bride, and the bride take out her ring 
and put it on the finger of the bridegroom. And she went 
back and said, " So handsome is he that I can see no 
difference between him and Nek Bakht. The one is the 
very image of the other." 

By this time the ceremony was over, and Nek Bakht, 
having played his part, walked out before King and 
courtiers and wife and mother, unrecognized, and, remem- 
bering the counsel of the old woman, determined to hasten 
to the piped tree. So, turning to the wedding-party, 
"Here, take these trappings, I am off!" said he, and 
leaving with them his wedding garment, he ran to the 
tree first, shut himself in, and bided events. Towards 
evening came his mother and the Princess Dilaram his 
wife. Nor did they suspect anything, but they got on the 
top of the tree as before, and pronounced the magic words, 
" By the order of God and magic, ascend !" when at once 
the tree rose and in a single breath it reached their home 
and sank into its own place. Entering the palace, the 
ladies went to the bath, while the King escaped to his 
own room, and forcing his way through the mustard-trees, 
lay down on his bed and feigned sleep. The first thing 
the Queen-mother did, when she returned from the bath, 
was to light a candle, and then she went into the King's 
room, where she saw with horror that the mustard-seed had 
been sown on the edges of the bed, and she noticed the 
opening in the mustard-trees through which the King 
had crept. Going to her daughter, she cried, " All's up ! 
You have worked foolishness. O how wrong you have 
been ! It was Nek Bakht himself and none other, who 
was with us at the wedding, for who else in the whole 



172 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

world could face Nek Bakht for beauty?" Then she 
hastened back again to the King's chamber and peeped 
through the leaves, scanning her son's appearance and 
the colour of his hands. "It is only too true," said she 
when she got back. " All his fingers are red with the 
stain of the henna. Now, if we do not contrive something, 
he will kill us both." 

"O what shall we do?" said the wife. 

" There is one way and one only," answered she. 
"Leave it to me and you will see!" 

So she takes water of magic, and throws it over the face 
of her son, and at once he becomes unconscious. And all 
the time she keeps upbraiding her daughter and saying, 
" It is all your doing, disobedient one. Why did you not 
sow the mustard-seed on his chest as I ordered?" She 
then takes a silk thread from her hair, and, with mutter- 
ings, ties it round her son's ankle, and he turns into a 
peacock, and they take the peacock and set it loose in the 
garden. 

Some time after this the Queen-mother went to the old 
wazir and said, " Where is the King? He must have dis- 
appeared again." Search was made for him, but he was 
not to be found, and the wazir governed, thinking he 
would again return as at the former time. 

Now in the kingdom over the sea there was commotion 
as soon as it was discovered in the morning that the 
mock bridegroom was not the real bridegroom after all. 
The ugly Prince had not a chance, as the Princess spurned 
him from her, and bade him begone. Then she looked at 
the ring on her finger, and saw it was a signet ring 
engraven with the name of Nek Bakht, and she told the 
King, who got into a rage and sent messengers every- 
where through the world to look for the kingdom of Nek 
Bakht. And the messengers set out. But the Princess 
built a large caravanserai and invited merchants from every 
part to put up there. And over the gateway she built 
herself a bower in which she dwelt, for she hoped by that 
means to hear all the foreign gossip and to get tidings of 
the runaway bridegroom. It so happened about that time 
that a company of merchants visited the capital of Nek 
Bakht. Before leaving, these people stole the peacock 
from the King's garden, and brought it back with them 
to the very serai in which lived the Princess Aziz, who, 



ADVENTURES OF NEK BAKHT 173 

when she saw the peacock, gave them their price and 
bought it, and the bird became her companion. One day 
when the rain was falling, she called the peacock to her, 
and laid it in her lap. As she was caressing it, she caught 
sight of the red thread which bound its foot, and taking 
a knife she severed it, when in a moment the peacock 
disappeared and she saw Nek Bakht standing before her, 
no longer a bird, but a man. Then was she glad; and 
her father ordered general rejoicings and gave Nek Bakht 
an army and sent him back to his own country. So Nek 
Bakht set out, taking the bride with him, and so journeyed 
home. 

One evening, as the party was approaching a certain 
tree, two large white kites were seen wheeling round about 
them. At last they flew to the tree on which they settled. 
Then said the Princess, " Do you see those kites? They 
are your mother and your wife, who by the power of 
magic have learnt everything that has happened. Give 
me the order and I will destroy them." 

" How can you destroy them?" said the King. 

" Nay, speak the word and I will do it," answered she. 
" You will see how, and it will save trouble in the end." 

So Nek Bakht gave her leave, and she at once changed 
herself into a black kite, and flew off. Then ensued a 
fierce encounter between the black kite and the two white 
ones, and in the struggle they came tumbling to the 
ground, when the King ordered them, all three, to be 
killed on the spot, w'hich was at once done by a soldier. 

Then the King went home and lived a still more melan- 
choly life than ever. Finding no rest, he again consulted 
the old witch of the river-side, and found Fate and Destiny 
wrangling together as usual. Says Destiny, " He will live 
long." "Not so," replies Fate, "and moreover he is 
doomed to die a violent death," which came to pass in an 
earthquake which swallowed up King, wazir, and palace, 
and so ends the story. 

Told by Mullah, of the caste Paveh, at Hasro, in the 
Rd-wal Pindi District, January 1881. 



174 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

XVIII 
OF THE MAN AND THE BEAR 

ONE day, when the river was in flood, a certain dark 
object was seen floating down the stream. Thereupon a 
poor man, mistaking it for a log of wood, plunged into the 
water, and, swimming with vigorous strokes, seized it with 
both his hands. When too late, he discovered that he was 
clasped in the shaggy embrace of a brown bear. " Ho !" 
cried his friends from the shore, when they saw him drift- 
ing, " let the log go ! let the log go!" 

" Just what I am trying to do," answered the unhappy 
man, " but the log won't let me go !" l 

This, with the following four, from the Chach Plain, 

1877-80. 



XIX 

OF THE MISER AND THE GRAIN OF WHEAT 

A GREAT miser was once sitting on a precipice and 
dangling his feet over the edge. Hunger having become 
insupportable, he took out his small bag of parched grain 
and began to toss the food, grain by grain, into his mouth. 
All at once a single grain missed its destination and fell 
to the bottom of the ravine. "Ah, what a loss!" cried 
he. " But even a grain of wheat is of value, and only 
a simpleton would lose it." Whereupon he incontinently 
leaped down from the rock to recover his precious morsel, 
and broke both his legs. 

1 Logs of deodar are frequently floated down the Indus from the 
Himalayas. During- floods many of these logs are washed away from 
the " timber-yards " far up the mountains. For every log regained 
the villagers receive a reward of four annas from the owner. Each 
log bears its owner's mark. 



OF THE FARMER AND HIS WIFE 175 

XX 

OF THE BANEYR MAN AND THE MILL 

A BANEYR WAL came down to the Indus, where he saw a 
water-mill at work. Said he to himself, " People say that 
God is known by His wonderful ways. Now, here is a 
wonderful thing with wonderful ways, though it has neither 
hands nor feet. It must be God." So he went forward 
and kissed the walls, but he merely cut his face with the 
sharp stones. 



XXI 

OF THE FARMER, HIS WIFE, AND THE OPEN DOOR 

ONCE upon a time a poor farmer and his wife, having 
finished their day's labour and eaten their frugal supper, 
were sitting by the fire, when a dispute arose between 
them as to who should shut the door, which had been blown 
open by a gust of wind. 

" Wife, shut the door!" said the man. 

" Husband, shut it yourself!" said the woman. 

" I will not shut it, and you shall not shut it," said the 
husband; "but let the one who speaks the first word 
shut it." 

This proposal pleased the wife exceedingly, and so the 
old couple, well satisfied, retired in silence to bed. 

In the middle of the night they heard a noise, and, 
peering out, they perceived that a wild dog had entered 
the room, and that he was busy devouring their little 
store of food. Not a word, however, would either of these 
silly people utter, and the dog, having sniffed at every- 
thing, and having eaten as much as he wanted, went out 
of the house. 



176 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

The next morning the woman took some grain to the 
house of a neighbour in order to have it ground into flour. 

In her absence the barber entered, and said to the 
husband, " How is it you are sitting here all alone?" 

The farmer answered never a word. The barber then 
shaved his head, but still he did not speak ; then he 
shaved off half his beard and half his moustache, but even 
then the man refrained from uttering a syllable. Then 
the barber covered him all over with a hideous coating 
of lamp-black, but the stolid farmer remained as dumb 
as a mute. "The man is bewitched!" cried the barber, 
and he hastily quitted the house. 

He had hardly gone when the wife returned from the 
mill. She, seeing her husband in such a ghastly plight, 
began to tremble, and exclaimed, " Ah ! wretch, what have 
you been doing?" 

"You spoke the first word," said the farmer, "so 
begone, woman, and shut the door!" 



XXII 

OF THE FOUR PALS 

ONCE upon a time a crow, a jackal, a hyena, and a 
camel swore a friendship, and agreed to seek their food 
in common. Said the camel to the crow, " Friend, you 
Can fly; go forth and reconnoitre the country for us." 
So the crow flew away from tree to tree until he came 
to a fine field of musk melons, and then he returned and 
reported the fact to his companions. " You," said he 
to the camel, " can eat the leaves, but the fruit must be 
the share of the jackal, the hyena and myself." 

When it was night all four visited the field and began 
to make a hearty supper. Suddenly the owner woke up 
and rushed to the rescue. The crow, the jackal, and the 
hyena easily escaped, but the camel was caught and driven 
out with cruel blows. Overtaking his comrades, he said, 



OF THE FOUR PALS 177 

" Pretty partners you are, to leave your friend in the 
lurch!" Said the jackal, "We were surprised. But 
cheer up; to-night we'll stand by you, and won't allow 
you to be thrashed again !" 

The next day the owner, as a precaution, covered his 
field with nets and nooses. 

At midnight the four friends returned again, and began 
devouring as before. The crow, the jackal and the hyena 
soon had eaten their fill, but not so the camel, who had 
hardly satisfied the cravings of hunger when the jackal 
suddenly remarked, " Camel, I feel a strong inclination 
to bark." 

"For heaven's sake don't," said the camel; "you'll 
bring up the owner, and then while you all escape I shall 
be thrashed again." 

" Bark I must," replied the jackal, who set up a dismal 
yell. Out from his hut ran the owner; but it happened 
that while the camel, the crow, and the jackal succeeded 
in getting away, the stupid hyena was caught in a net. 
"Friends! friends!" cried he, "are you going to 
abandon me? I shall be killed!" 

" Obey my directions," said the crow, " and all will be 
right." 

' What shall I do?" asked the hyena. 

" Lie down and pretend to be dead," said the crow, 
" and the owner will merely throw you out, after which 
you can run away." 

He had hardly spoken when the owner came to the spot, 
and seeing what he believed to be a dead hyena, he seized 
him by the hind-legs and threw him out of the field, when 
at once the delighted hyena sprang to his feet and trotted 
away. " Ah !" said the man, " that rascal was not dead, 
after all." 

When the four friends met again the camel said to the 
jackal, " Your barking, friend, might have got me another 
beating. Never mind, all's well that ends well; to-day 
yours, to-morrow mine." 

Some time afterwards the camel said, "Jackal, I'm 
going out for a walk. If you will get on my back I will 
give you a ride, and you can see the world." The jackal 
agreed, and, stooping down, the camel allowed him to 
mount on his back. As they were going along they came 
to a village, whereupon all the dogs rushed out and began 



178 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

barking furiously at the jackal, whom they eyed on the 
camel's back. Then said the camel to the jackal, " O 
jackal, I feel a strong inclination to roll." 

"For heaven's sake, don't!" pleaded the jackal; "I 
shall be worried." 

" Roll I must," replied the camel, and he rolled, while 
the village dogs fell on the jackal before he could escape, 
and tore him to pieces. 

Then the camel returned and reported the traitor's death 
to his friends, who mightily approved the deed. 



XX1I1 

THE STORY OF LALL, THE IDIOT 1 

THERE once lived an idiot named Lall, who on the very 
day of his birth lost his father. It is an old saying that 
a boy-child who has no father is a king, for he can do 
just what he pleases. And this was doubly true of Lall, 
because he had -so little sense that it was useless even to 
attempt to control him. 

In the same town lived Lall's aunt, his mother's sister, 
who was also a widow with an only daughter. Her his 
mother used to visit from time to time, and on these 
occasions she would say, " Sister, you have a daughter. 
Shall not our children marry together?" To which the 
sister would answer, "What! marry my daughter to an 
idiot? What would happen then, I wonder? No, sister, 
this cannot be." To this the poor mother would reply, 
" You are my own sister. If you won't give your daughter 
to wife to my idiot son, who in the \vorld will?" And 
then the aunt would relent, and say, " Well, I suppose, 
as you are my eldest sister, I must. Come once again, 
and we'll see if w f e can settle it." 

At last it was all arranged, and, in accordance with the 

1 Lall (pronounced Lull) means " a fool;" Lalla is " a little fool." 



THE STORY OF LALL, THE IDIOT 179 

usual custom, Lall's mother sent to the boy's betrothed 
presents of clothes and trinkets. Poor Lall began to visit 
the house, too, and the people in the street, when they 
knew he was engaged, were quite civil to him, saying to 
each other, " Don't you know this is Widow Hira's son- 
in-law?" 

Now, it is considered an unworthy thing for a youth 
to be always haunting the house of his betrothed, and 
frequent visits are always discouraged. But Lall, being 
an idiot, and having been well fed on the occasion of his 
first visit, had no regard for people's prejudices, and in 
short used to visit his aunt every day in the week. 

One day he was on his way to the house as usual, when 
a girl, drawing water from the well, saw him, and cried, 
" O Lalla, come here, and help me to carry this vessel 
of water !" She was by no means so big as Lall, who was 
active and strong; but when he came up she began to 
smile wickedly at him and to joke him about his sweet- 
heart. Thereupon Lall gave her a great push, which 
toppled her over into the well, and as there was no one 
near to rescue her the poor thing was drowned. 

When the lad arrived home his mother said to him, 
" O Lall, where have you been again to-day?" 

" I have been to the same place," answered Lall; "and 
I have had plenty to eat." 

" Lall," said his mother, " you should not go there so 
often now that you are betrothed. The girls will all begin 
to make fun of you, and who knows what you may be 
doing?" 

"What fun will the girls make of me?" replied Lall. 
" One of them did so to-day, and I caught her by the 
neck and threw her into the well. And she's as dead as 
a stone, I can tell you;" and Lall quite laughed at the 
capital joke he had played her. 

"Ah, what fatal news is this?" cried the distressed 
mother. " Now this lad of mine will be hanged." 

Without a moment's delay the idiot's mother ran out, 
and as it was getting dark she escaped observation and 
came to the well. With the greatest difficulty she managed 
to get out the body, which she carried to the river, and, 
tying a large jar full of sand to the neck of it, she threw 
it into the water. 

On her way back she saw the dead body of a he-goat 



i8o ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

lying in the road. This she lifted on to her shoulders, and 
taking it to the well, she dropped it in. Then she returned 
to her own house. 

She now began to reflect that, as her idiot boy was 
certain to chatter to every one about the trick which he had 
played the unfortunate girl, her precautions ought to be 
increased. So she took a box of sweetmeats and scattered 
them all over the court of the house. Then she cried out 
to her son, who had gone to bed : " Get up, Lall get up, 
boy! the sky has been raining sweetmeats!" No second 
invitation was needed for Lall, who loved sweetmeats with 
all } is heart. He sprang from his bed, and, rushing out 
just as he was, gathered up every one of them, cramming 
his capacious mouth again and again. 

By this time, however, there was a great commotion at 
the house of the missing girl. Messengers were sent 
everywhere to look for her, but they all returned no wiser 
than they went. All night long the search went on, and 
in the morning some said, " The poor girl has been made 
away with for her trinkets and bangles, and they have 
hidden her body." 

Now, Lall had risen early, intending to visit the house 
of his cousin as usual. Going up the street, he noticed 
an unusual stir, and he stopped and asked, " What is all 
this noise for?" 

" O Lall," said one, " Gaffer Laiya's little girl went 
out to fetch some water, and now she is nowhere to be 
found." 

" Is that all the fuss?" answered Lall. " I caught that 
girl by the neck, and threw her into the well. Haven't 
you looked for her there?" 

Some of the bystanders, with the girl's father, hearing 
this, seized him, and took him along with them. " Come 
along, Lall, and show r us," said they. 

On the way one cried, " When did you kill her, Lall? 
When did you kill her?" 

"What, you stupid people?" said Lall. "Why, of 
course, I killed her last night before the sky began to rain 
down sweetmeats." 

"What a fool this fellow is!" then became the cry. 
" What is the use of our wasting time over him?" But 
others said, " No, let us go and see. Perhaps there is 
something in it." 



THE STORY OF LALL, THE IDIOT 181 

When the crowd arrived at the well, the girl's father 
said, " Let Lall go down and bring up my daughter." 

" All right," cried Lall; "give me a rope, tie it round 
my waist and let me down. I'll soon find her for you." 

So the people brought a stout rope, and Lall was lowered 
into the well, which was very wide, though not very deep 
like all the wells of that country. 

When Lall, who could swim like a fish, found himself in 
the water, he looked round him, but could perceive no 
signs of the dead body. Then he gave a dive down into 
the well, and coming across something at the bottom, he 
examined it, and rose once more to the surface. 

" Hi !" cried he, looking up the well and addressing 
the distracted father, "has your daughter two horns?" 

" Bring it up, bring it up, Lall !" cried the poor man, 
" and let us see it." 

Down into the water Lall dived again, and after an 
interval which seemed like eternity he again came to the 
surface. " I say," cried he to the father, " hasn't your 
daughter four legs?" 

On hearing this, some said, " What's the use of bother- 
ing here with this silly fool?" But others cried out to 
Lall, " Bring up the body, Lall, there's a fine lad ! bring 
it up and let us see it." 

Lall dived down for the third time, and was longer out 
of sight than ever. At last he appeared once more, and 
looking up to the eager faces, he cried, " Hi, uncle, has 
your daughter a long tail?" 

Then many of the people got very angry. " Why don't 
you bring it up, you idiot!" they cried, and they threat- 
ened to brain him with stones. The boy now hastily 
disappeared for the last time; but if he had been as other 
people, he would have felt the father's tears, as they 
dropped into the well, worse even than stones. This time 
he remained under water a longer period still, until the 
people began to imagine he was drowned too. But at last 
he appeared again, and holding up high over the water the 
head of the old he-goat, he cried to the unfortunate father, 
"See! isn't this your daughter?" 

This caused the greatest disorder and confusion among 
the people, because, while some were bursting with rage, 
others seemed bursting with laughter, and no one knew 
what to say or where to look. " Ah, what stuff this is !" 



182 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

said one of the serious ones; " and what precious time we 
have wasted over this wretched idiot!" Then some were 
for throwing in the rope, and leaving the lad to drown. 
But the father said, " No ! he is only a poor idiot let him 
go." And so Lall was pulled roughly up and sent about 
his business. 

While all this was going on, Lall's poor mother half 
out of her wits with fear and apprehension was giving 
away bread in charity, and offering up her intercessory 
prayers at all the shrines in the place on behalf of her boy. 
And overjoyed was she when she received him once more 
safe and sound, because, though he was only an idiot, he 
was the very light of her life. Yet she did not spare him 
when she got hold of him again, and often she reproached 
and reviled him with, " Ah, you little fool ! you have lost 
your sweetheart, and who'll marry you now?" For her 
sister had lost no time in coming to her and saying, " A 
pretty to-do in the town, and all about your idiot of a 
son ! No more sweethearting at my house if you please, 
sister ! I have had enough of it, and, in short, my daughter 
is promised now to somebody else." So the match had 
been broken off, and poor Lall's love-making came to an 
end. 

Some time after this Lall was loitering about the street, 
when a passing soldier laid hold of his arm and said, 
" Here, lad, carry this vessel of butter for me, and if you 
are smart I'll give you three halfpence." This quite de- 
lighted Lall, who was as strong as a horse, and taking up 
the vessel, with an " All right, I'll carry it," he swung it 
on to his shoulders. The vessel was a large jar of earthen- 
ware, and the butter was in a liquid state, like oil. 

As Lall strode along the road, followed by the soldier, 
his busy brain began to build up castles in the air. " How 
lucky am I !" said he to himself. " This fellow is going 
to give me three ha'pence, and what shall I do with it ? I 
know. I'll go into the market and buy a hen with it, and 
I'll take it home and feed it; and the hen will lay eggs, 
and I shall have a fine brood of chickens. And I'll sell 
them all for what they will fetch, and when I have sold 
them I'll buy a sheep. After a bit the sheep will have 
young ones, and when I have also sold them, I'll buy a 
cow. And when my cow has young ones I'll buy a milch 
buffalo; and when my milch buffalo has young ones, I'll 



THE STORY OF LALL, THE IDIOT 183 

sell her and I'll buy a mare to ride on. And when I am 
riding my mare the people will all stare at me, and say, 
'O Lall! Lall!' and the girls will nudge each other, 
and say, ' Look at Lall on his beautiful mare !' And when 
I have a mare of my own, I shall not be long making a 
match with some fine girl with a pot of money; and I'll 
get married, and I shall have four or five nice little chil- 
dren. And when my children look up to me and cry, 
' Papa, papa !' I'll say to one, ' O you little dear !' and to 
another, 'O you little darling!' And with my hand I'll 
pat them on the head, one by one, just like this.' Suiting 
the action to the word, Lall, in total oblivion of the jar 
of butter, lowered his hand, and made several passes in 
the air as if patting his children's heads; but as he did 
so, down fell the unlucky jar, which was broken into a 
thousand pieces, and all the precious butter ran about the 
street. 

The soldier now ran up in a furious passion. " Ah, you 
villain," said he, "this liquid butter was the King's! 
Come along, I am going to the King, and you shall be 
punished. Five rupees all pitched into the street!" So 
he seized Lall and took him along with him. 

They had not gone many yards when they saw a mule 
coming towards them, and some distance behind him a 
buniah running and shouting, " Hi ! my mule is running 
away, my mule is running away ! Will some one give 
him two cracks with a stick and stop him ?" Hearing this, 
Lall lifted his staff and smote the mule so heavy a blow on 
the head that he fell to the ground quite lifeless. When 
the buniah came up, he cried, " Ah, you villain, you have 
killed my mule, and you shall go before the King!" 

So the buniah, in high indignation, joined company 
with the soldier, and all three went on towards the King's 
court. 

As they were walking along they came up to a little hut, 
or hovel of grass, by the roadside, in which lived a very 
old man and a very old woman. Here the three sat down 
to rest, and Lall, being thirsty, had a drink of water. 
Then the soldier and the buniah said to the old couple, 
" Do you know who this is? This is Lall !" When the 
old woman, who was of a whimsical turn, heard that, she 
said 

" O Lalla, do tell us the story of how Lanka 



1 84 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

captured, and how Dehsar, the ten-headed god, was 
killed." 

" Now, woman," answered Lall, " don't be teasing me. 
Don't you see what trouble I am in?" 

But the old lady was not to be denied. " Now, do tell 
us, Lall," said she. " Now hear, O soldier," then replied 
Lall, " and hear you, O buniah ! This old woman wants 
to know how Lanka was taken, and how the ten-headed god 
was killed. I can show her this far better than I can tell 
her, and if I do not show her she will not believe me." 

Saying this, the stupid lad sprang up, and, seizing a 
hatchet which was lying by, he cut off the old man's head 
at a single blow. "This," cried he, "is how the ten- 
headed god was killed." 

Then he caught up some dry grass, set a light to it and 
fired the hut, which in a moment was enveloped in flames. 
Nor would the old woman have escaped being burnt to 
death if Lall had not dragged her out of the place. " And 
now," said he, " this is the way that Lanka was taken." 

Then was the old woman sorry she spoke, but her rage 
was greater than her grief, for she swore in the most 
dreadful manner. "But, you villain!" said she, "I'll 
tell the King, and you shall be hanged." And she joined 
the soldier and the buniah to add her accusation to theirs. 

Away started the party once more ; but before coming 
to the King's court they passed the shop of an oil-seller. 
Here Lall halted and said to the soldier, " Look, my hair 
is so rough and untidy that I am not fit to go before the 
King. Let me enter this shop and smooth down my hair 
with a little oil." To this the soldier consented, and Lall 
entered the shop, which was kept by another old woman. 
All round there were shelves, and on the shelves stood 
large earthen vessels quite full of oil. Said Lall to the 
shopkeeper, " Mother, I have a few cowries here; let me 
have a little oil for my hair." And he gave her two or 
three cowries. Then the woman took an iron spoon and 
brought the boy a little oil from one of the vessels. Lall 
held out his hand for it, and she poured it into his palm ; 
but Lall was so silly that he let it all run out between his 
fingers, and it dropped on the floor. Then said he, " I 
bought a few cowries' worth of oil, and even that small 
quantity has slipped away!" But spilt oil is a sign of 
good luck, and the woman thought she would cheer him 



THE STORY OF LALL, THE IDIOT 185 

up by saying, " O boy, you are in luck to-day; you have 
certainly escaped something dreadful!" 

When Lall heard the woman speaking thus, he began 
thinking to himself, " I have spilt these few drops of oil, 
.and I am in luck, and perhaps have missed some great 
misfortune or other. But if I spill all the oil in the shop 
I shall bring far more luck on myself and luck on every- 
body else as well." So he lifted his heavy staff, and 
laying on the chatties with the utmost violence, he smashed 
them to atoms, and let out so large a quantity of oil that 
it covered the ground and ran out at the door. 

"Hulloa!" cried the soldier, who was sitting outside; 
"what, more mischief here?" 

Presently out came the old shopkeeper, fuming with 
rage, and crying, " Ah, you villain of a thief, we'll see 
what the King will say to this !" And she joined company 
with the other complainants, and all went forward and 
entered into the King's presence. 

The King w : as at this time in his court hearing cases 
and administering justice. When he saw Lall and his four 
accusers at the door, he called them forward to his judg- 
ment-seat, and bade them state their business. The first 
to speak was the soldier. " O King, I hired this man," 
said he, " to carry five rupees' worth of ghee for your 
Highness' kitchen, but he dropped it in the street, and it 
was all wasted." 

Then the King turned to Lall and said, " What is your 
name?" 

" My name is Lall," answered the lad. " This soldier is 
complaining about his pen'orth of ghee; but if the King 
will lend me his ears, I will state the case truly." 

The King nodding assent, Lall proceeded: "I agreed 
with the soldier to carry his butter for three ha'pence. ' As 
I went along I began to think what I should do with so 
large a sum. I would buy a hen and hatch chickens and 
sell them. Then I would buy a sheep and have lambs 
and sell them. Then I would buy a cow and have calves 
and sell them. Then I would have a milch buffalo and 
have baby buffaloes and sell them. And lastly, I should 
buy a fine mare and go riding among the girls and choose 
me a wife, and get children four or five. And I was just 
fancying myself in the midst of them, petting them and 
tousling them, 'and I merely took down my hand from the 



jar to pat their dear little heads, when crash ! down came 
the jar, and all the butter ran away. But was I to blame, 
O King, seeing I lost so much myself?" 

When the King heard this he perceived that Lall was 
a merry fool, and he began to laugh. As fools were his 
delight, he felt very well inclined to him, and, turning to 
the soldier, he gave sentence thus : " Soldier, for the sake 
of three pice this poor fellow has lost his all, and, in short, 
ruined himself, for he has lost his fowls, his sheep, his 
cows, his buffaloes, his mare, and even his poor unhappy 
children ; while all you have lost is five rupees. Stand 
aside; he is forgiven. I dismiss the case." 

The King then called forward the next accuser, upon 
which the buniah advanced and gave his evidence thus : 
" This miserable man, my lord, whom I have never 
injured, struck my mule with that staff of his and killed 
it." 

"Did you kill this buniah's mule, Lall?" asked the 
King. 

'Yes, I did," answered Lall; "but, O King, let the 
buniah witness whether he did not tell me to do so, crying 
out again and again, ' O traveller, traveller, give my 
mule a couple of cracks!' I merely struck his animal 
once." 

" Soldier, what have you to say to this?" the King then 
asked. " Is Lall's statement true or false?" 

" My lord, it is true," answered the soldier. 

" Then," said the King to. the buniah, " this misfortune 
is surely no one's fault but your own. Ho, guard, give 
this false witness half-a-dozen stripes and turn him into 
the street!" 

So the unfortunate buniah was led off in disgrace. 

Then the poor old woman whose house was on fire began 
her pitiful story: "This man, O king, both cut off my 
husband's head and burnt up my house. I ask for 
justice." 

"Can this be possible, Lall?" asked the King. 

" Yes," answered Lall, "it is true enough. But she 
asked me again and again to give her the story of the 
death of the ten-headed god, and to show her how Lanka 
was taken, and I merely obeyed her." 

As the old woman could not deny this, Lall continued, 
'' I thought it was best to explain to her properly how it 



THE STORY OF LALL, THE IDIOT 187 

was done, for deeds are always better than words, and so I 
showed her properly in order that there might be no 
mistake." 

To the woman the King then said, " As this appears to 
be the case, the prisoner must be acquitted. Be more 
careful another time, and meanwhile my servants will pro- 
vide you with a dwelling." So this case also was 
dismissed. 

Then lastly the oil-seller came forward and accused Lall 
of having wantonly and maliciously smashed the whole of 
her oil vessels and spilt the oil, thereby ruining her for 
ever. " Did you do this thing, Lall?" said the King. 

"Yes, O King, I did," answered Lall. 

"And why did you?" returned the King. 

" I went into the shop to buy four cowries' worth of oil 
to oil my hair before coming into your Highness' presence; 
but the oil ran away between my fingers, and the woman 
told me how lucky I was to have spilt it, and I thought to 
myself, ' If spilling a little of her oil brings me luck, 
spilling the whole of her oil will bring me and her and 
every one else luck.' So I spilt it as much for herself as 
for me." 

Then the King, addressing himself to the woman, said, 
" Woman, you must have known this poor fellow was an 
idiot, and you should have been more careful of your 
speech. It is quite evident that he broke your vessels of 
oil because he thought you were not strong enough to 
break them for yourself. He wished you to have all the 
luck in the world. But the original fault lay with 
yourself." 

So the King, greatly amused, dismissed this case as 
well, and ordered the prisoner to be discharged. 

Lall then joyfully betook himself home to his mother, 
who said, " Lall, Lall, I have been in the greatest agony 
of mind about you ! What became of you ?" And to his 
mother Lall told all his adventures from first to last. And 
when she had heard them through, she said 

" My Lall does everything- upside down ; 

God brings it together as right as a crown." 

Told by Mullah, a villager of Hasro, May 1880. 



i88 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

XXIV 
THE LOVE STORY OF MIRZA AND SAHIBANRi 

IN a city by the Chenah, 2 known by the name of Gul- 
vallah, lived Raja Khiva of Jhang, whose daughter was 
called Sahiboh. By caste he was a Syal. Up to the age 
of twelve his daughter did little else but attend the village 
school, kept by the kazi at the village mosque, where she 
learned her lessons. And the man to whom her father 
had betrothed her was Tana Khan of the tribe of Chandan. 

Away on the banks of the Ravi, dwelt the tribe of the 
Kharrals, among whom there was a certain man of the 
name of Dadu Khan, who had a son named Mirza. And 
of all that tribe Mirza's uncle, Ibrahim Khan, was the 
ruler and chief. 

Now Mirza \vas passionately fond of sport, being 
reckoned a mighty hunter. He was a roving blade, 
always on foot or in the saddle, but he was wild and 
eccentric, and said by the people to be half mad. One 
day he was away hunting, and exactly at noon he reached 
the outskirts of the town of Jhang Syal. The girl, Sahi- 
boh, was then bathing in the river, attended by her sixty 
maidens, and she said, "How is it that at this hour of the 
day a horseman comes riding here?" Then Sahiboh, 
standing knee-deep in the water, cried aloud 

" O rider of the dark-grey mare, 
Why stand you burning- there 
Beneath the noon-tide glare?" 

But Mirza only looked and looked, and then he answered 
her thus 

" The sun is the sun of my country too, 

Never shade in my fate can exist ; 
My business, O maiden, to-day is with you, 
But the rest let them live as they list ! " 

After this, Mirza said, " I have come far in the sun, give 
me some water." 

The first time he asked her, she answered, " This water 

1 Throughout this story, in deference to my village story-teller, I 
spell the heroine's name exactly as he pronouncd it Sdhibdh. 

2 Otherwise the Chenab. 



THE LOVE STORY OF MIRZA AND SAHIBANH 189 

is the water of Jhang Syal, it is the water of love, and you 
will not like it." 

He spoke to her a second time, " Give me some water 
to drink!" 

And the second time she answered, " This water is the 
water of Jhang Syal, it is the water of love, and you will 
not like it!" 

Then said he 

" What brings twin spirits face to face? 

Sure, Fate alone can bring; 
We eat and drink, just as we please, 

But God controls the string. 
By Ravi's banks I drew my breath. 

O women's hearts beware! 
No lover dreads the dart of death, 

Though his grave be yawning there!" 

Then said Sahiboh to one of her companions, " Go you 
and take him some \vater !" The girl filled a brass vessel 
and took it; but her thumb was in the water as she carried 
it, and when he saw that, Mirza said, " Your thumb is in 
the water, I cannot drink it!" 

The girl went back and repeated that speech to Sahiboh. 
Then said Sahiboh to another girl, " You take him some 
water, but hold the lotah on your palm !" The girl took 
it, but a whirlwind swept along, and threw dust and shreds 
of grass into the vessel. And Mirza said, " I cannot drink 
it. This water is full of dust and the shreds of grass." 

The girl went back to Sahiboh and threw down the 
vessel, saying, " The man says that, unless Sahiboh her- 
self gives him to drink, he will die standing where he is !" 

Then Sahiboh, standing knee-deep in the water, cried 
aloud 

" O you, with your mare so glossy and grey, 

And your necklet of amber flowers, 
With your quiver of arrows so green and so gay, 
And the pearls dropping from you in showers ! 
Have you heard of our khans? men mighty are they! 
And I bid you beware, 
Lest they come for your mare ! 
Better drink, if you're wise, and go on your way !" 

But Mirza only looked and looked, and then he answered 
her 

" My camels roamed, from Ravi's banks they strayed, 
And for your own Chenab methinks they made ! 



igo ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

I looked both east and west, but, still bereft, 
To Khiva's town I come, for that alone is left ! 
Of Dadu Khan I am both son and heir, 
And Mirza is the name men call me there. 
But what my crime, O matchless maiden say, 
That Khiva's khans should take mj mare away?" 

Then Sahiboh carried the water and gave to him to drink 
herself. And when he had drunk, she laid aside the lotah, 
took the bridle, and said to her friends, " You go on with 
your bathing, and I will show the traveller the road." So 
she went along with him through the jungle, and taking 
him to a jhand tree, 1 she said, " Get down from your 
horse, please !" And, when he had dismounted, they both 
sat down in the deep shadow, and they were talking and 
talking and talking, until at last evening surprised them, 
and Mirza said to himself, "It is dusk, and I have far to 
get back to my home." She tried to detain him, saying, 
" It is now too late, stay, be my guest!" But he said to 
her, " Within ten days I will come again," and so he 
mounted his mare, and galloped away. 

Ten days had well-nigh passed when, starting once 
more, he came to Jhang Syal, and round the town he went, 
looking for his beloved. But he looked in vain. So he 
went to the house of an old woman, and, tying up his 
horse, there he rested. Then said he to the woman, 
" Come and show me the place where Sahiboh lives." 

" No," answered the woman, " stay you here! First 1 
will go to Sahiboh, and tell her you have come, and ask 
her if I may bring you there or not?" 

" If she ask you who has come," said Mirza, " say it is 
her cousin, the son of her mother's sister." 

So the old woman started off, going to the house of 
Sahiboh, to whom she gave the message, and Sahiboh 
said, " Where has he come from?" 

" He says he comes from the Ravi," answered the 
woman, " and he says he is son to your mother's sister." 

Then said the girl, " Go back and find out if that is 
really so, and bring him bring him quietly bring him 
quietly here !" 

1 An acacia (Prosopis Spicigera) sacred to marriage, before which 
a sprig from it is ceremonially cut off by the bridegroom. This 
jhand-tree incident, therefore, constituted an informal marriage 
betwixt the twain, Mirza and Sahibanh. 



THE LOVE STORY OF MIRZA AND SAHIBANH 191 

So back the old woman went to Mirza, and she led him 
forth. But said he to her, " What about my arms and 
my horse?" 

" Bring all !" answered she, and so he did. But Sahi- 
boh had ordered that he was to be kept outside for a while, 
and to her mother she spoke, disclosing her mind 

" Friendship, O Mother, with men, 

And close to the heart a throe ! 

Sad lovers bear their love, 

As trees bear the rending snow ! 

What does the earth want most? 

It cries for the showers of heaven ; 

And the kneaded bread cries " salt," 

To season and sweeten the leaven ! 
As the holes in a sieve, as the stars above, 
So many in number the pangs of love ! " 

" O daughter !" answered her mother, " for twelve years 
you have been learning from the priest ! You have been 
promised to the tribe of Chandan, who number twelve 
thousand men, and what strange thing is this you are 
prating about? It is a bad word and nothing less, that 
you are saying, my child. God forbid that it should be 
so!" 

Now all the time Mirza was standing in the street, 
watching her through some stacks of fuel, as she sat wind- 
ing her thread on the top of the house. In the enclosure 
below the mother was sweeping up the dust, and, suddenly 
looking up, she caught sight of him peeping, and it seemed 
to her that his eyes burned like coals of fire. So she put 
down her broom and came out to the street, and at once 
she recognized him as her sister's son, for she had heard 
tell of his beauty and his famous grey mare. Now Mirza's 
mother, like herself, had been a girl of Jhang Syal, so she 
said to him, " Why should the son hide in the village of 
his mother's family ? What, peeping are you ? But your 
eyes are peering eyes eyes that are bloody eyes and 
covetous eyes eyes quick to pounce; inwardly calculating, 
outwardly too cunning to betray the secrets behind them. 
What, the old murder have you forgotten?" Then she 
bade him enter. 

Now in the courtyard there was a mango-tree, and under 
it she set a cot, and told him to sit down. Then she 
went away, and Sahiboh came down and sat with him and 



192 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

talked. In the afternoon the mother came back, and with 
her eyes she made signs to her daughter to bid him 
begone, since her father and brothers would be coming 
in from the fields. All this Mirza saw and understood, 
and rose at once. As he was mounting, Sahiboh caught 
hold of him, saying, " You are my guest. I will hide you 
somewhere, but stay you must!" 

But he, supposing that already the girls of the town 
must be talking about them, said, " For your own sake i 
go, but within ten days I will come again !" So, though 
she pulled and strove, he mounted and rode off. And from 
the house-top she watched him as long as he was in sight. 
Then she folded up her mat and down she went into the 
court, taking her spinning with her, and saying 

" O Mirza Khan, have I sent you away? 

And what in the world is left for me, 
What is now left me to hope or to see ? 
With my coloured bobbins I idly play, 
As I sit alone, 'neath a shady tree, 
In the shade of my father's mango-tree ! 

My little brother, he ran to my side, 
4 Come sing me a nursery song ! ' he cried ; 
So I sang him a song, but all the time 
The name of Mirza slipt into the rhyme. 

O Mirza Khan, O Mirza Khan, 

Ease to the smart, 

Peace to the heart, 
Comes with the name of Mirza Khan!" 

Then, overpowered with grief, die fainted away. Many 
were the doctors who were summoned, but none could 
understand her complaint. Lastly came the priest, who 
taught her her lessons, and he felt her pulse. Never before 
could he take this liberty, much as he wished, being in 
love with her himself, but now he could and did, and he 
said to her mother, " An evil spirit has frightened her, yea, 
one of the great demons !" 

" Spend what you please on medicine," said the mother. 

' This kind cannot be driven out under four hundred 
rupees," said the priest. 

" Spend anything you like," said she, " only cure her !" 

" Well," said the priest, "the hour is past for a cure 
to-day. It is too late ! But to-morrow something may be 
done!" 



THE LOVE STORY OF MIRZA AND SAHIBANH 193 

But to himself he was saying, " To-day she was ready 
with her four hundred rupees. To-morrow she may give 
eight hundred." And he went away home. But he was 
unable to sleep, vexed that he had not taken the four 
hundred rupees. The night was as long as a year to him. 
In his concern he rose at midnight instead of at dawn, 
and cried the bhang, 1 and the good men of the place 
all got up and came to the mosque for their matin-prayers. 
A long time kept he them waiting, and even, when at last 
he came, it was still too early. And when he opened 
school, his mind was in such a state, thinking of the four 
hundred rupees, that he taught the wrong lessons, and 
always his eyes kept wandering to the door, and he was 
saying to himself, " Now some one will come!" and ever 
and again, " Surely now some one will come to call me to 
Sahiboh 's house!" 

Now, by the morning, Sahiboh had recovered, and she 
got ready to go to the mosque for her lessons, and as she 
was washing her hands she said to her mother 

" In the river Chenah I was bathing, mother, 

And O how my heart was quaking ! 
Then came to me Mirza and showed himself, mother, 
A veil from before him taking" ! 

If you are my mother, I beg and I pray, 
O keep my purdah 2 for ever, for aye ! " 

So saying, she went to the mosque. But when the 
priest saw her coming, he got frantic with rage, thinking, 
' What was the matter with the vixen yesterday that she 
should be so well to-day? I have lost my four hundred 
rupees !" Then said he to the children. " Cut rose-slips, 
and beat Sahiboh well, whether she knows her lessons or 
not !" Hardly had she entered when she noticed his anger, 
and expected her beating. But, thought she to herself, 
" I can save myself, if I can but give him a hint that 
Mirza Khan is my friend." So she said to him 

" With switches beat me not, O master mine, 
Nor yet with cruel blows inflame my blood 
All learning, and the power to learn are gone ! 
I am enflamed with love ! I slept and slept, 

1 The Muezzin. 

2 Keep my secret. The pardd is the curtain fencing off the secret, 
or women's quarters of the house. It is also the mantle which hides 
the face. 

13 



i 9 4 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

But love awoke and stirred within my breast 
To praises ever listening, love arose ! 
In that dark cloud that darts the fiery flash, 
Tis there, yea, there resides my Mirza Khan!" 

Then the kazi jumps up in a flurry, he is tying and 
tying his turban on, he is going to Sahiboh's ! So off he 
hastens, and he says to her mother, " O Mother of 
Sahiboh, Sahiboh will not learn!" 

" O priest," answered she, "wherefore not? \vhy will 
she not learn ?" 

"She is in love with Mirza Khan," said he. "Some 
day you will be thinking this love has been brought about 
by me, for, mark my words, she will not remain in your 
house. To-day, or to-morrow, she will be off with him !" 

"O kazi," said her mother, "leave me now and go! 
When she comes home, I'll give her a dressing." 

So the priest went away, and when Sahiboh came in, 
her mother was heating the oven, and having the oven- 
stick in her hand, she gave her daughter several strokes 
on the back, and the girl answered, " I have checked Mirza 
Khan from coming to our street, and yet you, my own 
mother, even you must taunt me ! Two have been learn- 
ing the same lesson, and into the very marrow the lesson 
has sunk. But if you are my mother, O keep my 
purdah!" 

Time passed, and Mirza came riding over again, but, 
fearing scandal, he thinks to himself, " It is best not to go 
to the house." So he rides on to the shop of an apothe- 
cary, near which were assembled a number of people, and 
he stands looking on. 

Now that very day Sahiboh had opened out her hair, 
and she said to her mother, " Go, please, Mother, and 
bring me some oil for my hair, for I feel ashamed to go 
out like this!" 

" I am old," answered her mother. " Go, bring it 
yourself !" 

So she took a little vessel, and, with her hair all loose, 
she went for the oil herself. There, at the shop of the 
apothecary, stood Mirza Khan on his mare, and she saw 
him; and when Mirza saw her, he said to the apothecary,. 
" What do you make by your sales?' 

" Four or five rupees a day," answered the man. 
'Take ten rupees," said Mirza, "and give me up the 



THE LOVE STORY OF MIRZA AND SAHIBANH 195 

shop to myself, and let me bargain with this girl!" So 
he sat in the shop and received her there, and the apothe- 
cary locked the door and went away. Towards evening 
the man came back, and he opened the door and said, 
" It is late now; therefore get away home !" So Sahiboh 
went home, and home also went Mirza. But when Sahi- 
boh reached her house, her mother beat her again, saying, 
" It was morning when you went for the oil where have 
you been all these hours?" 

" You sent me out for oil," answered she, " and I went 
to the shop of the apothecary. Three men \vere there, 
one a Brahmin, and the other two Jats. 1 But they knew 
not how to balance the rod, or to weigh out the silk, 
and so I made bargains for them. After this, I saw Mirza 
Khan playing. Oil I bought not, but love was there, and 
there in abundance!" 

Now Mirza had promised to come again after three or 
four days to a certain private place outside of the town, 
where Sahiboh had a garden-lodge. And Sahiboh, being 
an only daughter, her father was fond of her, and he let 
her go there, only saying to her, " The place is outside 
the town, and not over safe. Take therefore with you 
your sixty playmates for company!" So away they all 
went, and the time came, and Mirza did not appear. 
Now she had slung swings from the boughs of the trees, 
and so at first she was glad, expecting him, but now she 
was sorry, seeing that he was some days behind his 
time. At last, on the fifth day, he came, and she saw him 
coming and turned her back. Mirza Khan, supposing 
she had not seen him, came in front of her, but again 
she turned her back. He was puzzled, but thinking again 
to himself, " Perhaps she has not seen me," he came 
in front of her again, and again she turned her back to 
him. Then said he to himself, " O, she is angry with 
me!" and, so thinking, he turned his horse's head as if 
for home. When he had gone some way, however, he 
said to himself, " But I never asked her why she 
is angry!" So he retraced his steps, but she turned 
her back on him again. Then spoke he to her and 
said 

1 Jat, a tribe among- the Hindus. All these dark figures of speech 
are in verse. Though commonly current, and well understood by 
the people, they are not explainable in English. 



196 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" In Khiva's town the tdli 1 trees are grown 
A forest vast and deep ; and in the shade 
Are tied his countless mares, to tighten up 
Whose silken girths press on as many grooms ; 
But Khiva's matchless daughter decks herself 
With amulets, careless of aught beside. 

O Sahib6h, deign from the folds of your chadda 

One glance to throw me ! 
Look at me patiently standing before you, 
Do you not know me?" 

Saying this, he turned his horse's head away once more. 
Then thought Sahiboh to herself, " Now he is going in 
earnest!" and she made a bound and caught hold of his 
horse's bridle, " for," thought she, " he will never come 
back any more !" And she said to him 

" I bore in my hand a basin of curds, 2 

And went to the river ; 
My tresses I washed in the rush of the river, 

Framing the words, 

Using the curds, 

Then the river rolled on and the curds were all gone, 
But love lies for ever and ever. 

O Mirza, cut me with your knife, 

Nor deem that I shall feel the pain, 

Then will you know no blood can flow, 

So full of love's my every vein ! " 

"And now come in," said she, "and see my house!" 
and she took him through the garden and into the 
pavilion, which they entered, and he thought, " It will be 
wonderful if I escape the eyes of so many girls !" Think- 
ing of the danger of discovery, and fearing to stay too 
long, he said to her, " Now show me over the house!" 

And Sahiboh took him by the hand, and she led him in 
saying, "Come, I will go with you myself!" But soon 
one of the maids met them, and, addressing Mirza, she 
said 

" Thou stranger youth, so tall, so slim, so straight, 
What business brings you to my lady's gate? 
Look elsewhere thou this darling is bespoken ! 
Would'st thou an anguished mind, and a heart broken?" 

1 Tdtt, in Hindustan proper called sisam an acacia producing an 
excellent timber, very handsome and hard, sometimes called the 
Indian mahogany. 

2 Curds are used by the Panjabi women for washing the hair. 



i 9 7 

Mirza Khan felt vexed at the words of the girl, and 
he answered her 

" No one can cross another's path unless 

By kismet driven. Ours is the bread and ours 
The limpid draught, to leave or take at will, 
But only God Himself can hold the string 
Does trouble ask before it deigns to come ? 
Or Love request before it pierce the heart? 
And, if my love has bound me wrist to wrist, 
Will Love consent to force, and set me free?" 

Then said he to Sahiboh, " Now let me go !" 

" You told me to have the house made ready," said she. 
" For you I have had it prepared, but for you to stay, not 
that you should come and leave again so soon !" 

Then Mirza, thinking to himself " What is best to be 
done?" sat down again, and all the maidens in the place 
flocked round about him; and Sahiboh said to them, " Is 
there any one in the whole world to compare with this 
man?" 

" He is so fair," answered they, "he is so delicately 
made, that you can see the water as it trickles down his 
throat." 

And they were all delighted at his coming, and begged 
him to remain. And he looked round on them all, but, 
wherever he looked, his eyes always came back to Sahiboh. 

That night Sahiboh kept him with her, and all the night 
long she and her handmaids sat up to admire him. 

Now in the morning Sahiboh's mother went to him, and 
warned him, saying, " O Mirza Khan, be it known to you 
that my daughter has been promised and betrothed in a 
very great tribe ! Stay nigh, if you like, for eight days, 
but after that begone, and take care never to come after 
Sahiboh again, lest the tribe come down and sack the 
town!" And to her daughter she said, "Now, go you 
to your books !" 

And Mirza said to Sahiboh's mother, " For fifteen days 
I have learnt nothing. Let me go to the mosque and 
learn too !" 

Now the priest kept his boys outside the mosque, while 
the girls sat within. So the woman answered, " Yes, you 
go too, but sit with the boys, don't go in with the girls !" 

So Mirza went to the school, and sat outside among the 
boys, and he said to the priest, " You teach all the boys 



i 9 8 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

of your own town. I am a stranger. Why do you not 
teach me too?" 

Then the priest came to him and said, " What stranger 
are you ?" 

" I come from the Ravi," answered he. " I am a nephew 
of Khiva Raja. Teach me quickly, I pray you !" 

And the priest said to Mirza Khan, " Look over all you 
have learnt before, and when you can say it by heart, I 
will give you something else." So, first uttering the 
name of God, Mirza began, and kept on repeating, " Sahi- 
boh Syal ! Sahiboh Syal!" The priest, hearing him 
uttering these words, was astounded, and he said to him- 
self, " What gibberish has this fellow got hold of!" 

While all this was going on, the girls within the school 
were calling out, " Priest, priest, come and give us our 
lessons !" But Mirza said to him, " No, no, give me my 
lesson first, before you go!" And when the priest went 
in, thinking some madman had come to his school, he first 
called up Sahiboh, and to her he said, " Now let me 
have your lesson !" 

Now this priest had a stick for the boys, but for the 
girls he kept a whip. So when Sahiboh answered him, 
" In the name of God, Mirza Khan, Kharral of the Ravi ! 
Mirza Khan, Kharral of the Ravi !" the priest cried out, 
' What are you doing, you madcap ? For twelve years I 
have taught you, and what stuff is this you are jabber- 
ing?" 

" Am I not saying my lesson?" said the girl. " Only 
that I remember, and that only I repeat. I am not saying 
anything strange, am I?" 

Then the priest caught her one crack with his whip, and 
he hit her again, and then he hit her a third time, when, 
with a bound, in sprang Mirza, and, seizing him, hurled 
him out of the door. All the pupils were astonished, and 
they wondered, saying among themselves, " What has 
this farmer of a fellow done to our priest ? He has thrown 
him out, and so belaboured him, that half his breath 
is out of his body." Then they tried a rescue, but 
Mirza said, "No, no, why should I loose him? He 
has been beating one of the girls as if she had been his 
wife!" 

' She is not my wife," answered the priest, " no, but 
she is my pupil, and has been so for twelve long years !" 



THE LOVE STORY OF MIRZA AND SAHIBANH 199 

"True," said Mirza, "you have beaten your pupil. 
But is that any reason for beating me too?" 

" Liar!" cried the children. " Who has beaten you?" 

" I am telling lies, am I?" said Mirza, and drawing up 
his jacket he showed them the three livid marks of the 
whip along his bare back. So all began to say, " This 
priest has beaten the girl, but the lad has the marks. 
How is this? Ah, it is some love-affair !" 

After these things, the priest made up his mind what 
to do, and writing a letter he sent it secretly to Taha 
Khan, and the words of the letter were, " Mirza Khan 
is in love with your betrothed, and will take her away. 
Get ready your wedding-party, and in eight days come 
and marry her. Take heed to yourselves ! Otherwise 
he will carry her off." Then he went to the girl's father, 
Khiva Khan, and told him too, saying, " Such is the 
state of affairs; all these things occurred at the mosque." 

Then Khiva and the girl's mother took Mirza, and said 
to him, " You are a Kharral, we are Syals. We cannot 
mate ourselves with you, and besides the girl is already 
promised. So go away home, and do not come any 
more !" Thus Mirza was dismissed from Jhang Syal, and 
mounting his horse, he rode rapidly away. But Sahiboh 
was at her place on the house-top, and she saw him go, 
and thence she again watched him long, till he was no 
longer in sight. Still she watched, and at last her mother 
came up, crying, " Come down ! Come down from the 
house-top ! Wouldest go and kill thyself?" 

The girl gazed at her mother and answered her thus 

" And come you so to me, and Mirza Khan 
Driven out? But what is left me now in all 
This house to look upon ? Ah me, ah me, 
The spine of the black snake is snapt in twain ! 
My little cot I press to my embrace 
And weep the while. The roof-post of the house 
I strain unto my aching breast, and cry 
' O Mirza, spring like a tiger, swoop like a hawk, 
Come back, come back to Jhang Syal ! ' ' 

But Mirza Khan rode on, and reaching his home, he 
threw himself on his bed, nor thought of house, or horse, 
or arms any more, being weary of heart. 

Now the priest's letter reached the Chandan tribe in 
safety, and they called together their twelve thousand 



200 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

armed men, and prepared for the start on the eighth day. 
This news one of her companions gave to Sahiboh, who 
was lying, dry-eyed with sorrow, but in fear of her father. 
And she thought to herself, " If I could only get a runner 
to go and tell Mirza !" (She became so ill that her mother 
was minded to send for the priest again, but her daughter 
said to her, "Why ask the priest about me? Do you 
not know my illness that you should ask the priest ? Are 
you so simple as all that?" 

When the priest came, he brought with him his books. 
And he made pretence of opening his books to consult 
them, but all the time reading out verses of his o\vn. " In 
the book," said he, "I read sweet food; all will come 
right at last; five hundred-weight of vermicelli, with ten 
fowls, and she will recover." 

And Sahiboh thought to herself, " My love is away at 
the Ravi, and the priest is plundering like this!" 

Then the priest turned another leaf, and said, " From 
death Sahiboh is set free. She has been stung by a bitter 
sting. Five tons of flour with five buffaloes, in the name 
of God give to the priest!") 1 

Again Sahiboh thought within herself, " My love is 
away at the Ravi. I will go tell my mother myself, and 
she shall know my complaint." And to her mother she 
said, " When you sent me to the bazaar for oil, did I not 
tell you they knew not how to hold the scales, or to weigh 
out the silk ? Instead of selling honey, they measured 
out love. Generally people, when they cry, cry tears, but 
lovers cry blood. With what a lance has Mirza struck 
me through, that in my veins no blood is left remaining ! 
Either let Mirza come and see me, or to-day I die !" 

Then her mother grew very angry. " Deceitful girl," 
said she, "when will you learn your duty?" And she 
also wrote a note to the tribe of the Chandans, bidding 
them come at once and take her daughter away. And in 
these words it was she wrote to them, " The daughter of 
Khiva, Sahiboh, Taha Khan's betrothed. Come and take 
your dhoolie. Ask peace from God!" 

Then Sahiboh also wrote a letter, and she put it in a 
little box, and she launched the box on the river, so that 
it might float away to her lover. And thus she wrote to 
him, "A letter Sahiboh has written to Mirza Khan. If 

1 The part between brackets probably belongs to a variant. 



THE LOVE STORY OF MIRZA AND SAHIBANH 201 

you are sitting, rise; if you are standing, come quickly. 
Taha Khan's wedding-party is coming with numbers of 
men. No footmen are to be'seen all are riding on horses. 
I shall have to go to the Chandan, and then what will 
you do?" 

Now Mirza Khan was so stricken as to be ill, and in 
grief of heart he had gone walking to the river. " I will 
go to the river," said he, "I will drink of the water of 
the stream which flows down from Sahiboh, and that will 
console me !" 

So he had his cot laid by the river-side, and there he 
lay, and one day, as he lay, he saw a casket coming 
floating down the stream. In wonder about it, he sent 
out a servant to fetch it, and when it was brought in to 
him, he saw there a lock, and in the lock a key. So he 
opened the box, and found the letter within. " What is 
this?" cried he, and he read the words. Then went he 
to the khan, his uncle, and threw the letter and his 
turban down on the earth before him. The letter his 
uncle read, and to the people he said, " Take up my 
nephew's turban, and put it again on his head!" 

" Nay," said Mirza, " not until you promise me your 
aid against the Syals!" 

"They are stronger than I, those people," answered 
his uncle. " Take from me money, as much as you please, 
take, if you like, the weight of the girl in gold, but I 
cannot go fight against the Syals." 

Still he pleaded, Mirza Khan refusing to don his tur- 
ban, until the khan became sorrowful, and going up to 
him, he put on him his turban himself, saying to him 

" O kinsman, our warriors are always at hand, 
They muster in swarms on the banks of the Ravi ; 
The Ravi river is a river of love, 
It fills up the heart with the odour thereof; 
Like a turtle of gold is your Sahiboh Syal, 
And a golden peacock, my nephew, are you ! 
The flower of the Ravi shall meet the Syals, 
They shall fight and o'erwhelm them, so great is their strength ; 
Whilst I, even I, Ibrahim, see the day, 
What host shall dare come to take Sahibdh away?" 

But when the mother of Mirza heard of this compact, 
she took away her son's horse and his arms, and laid 
orders on him not to stir abroad, but to remain at home. 



202 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

And to Ibrahim Khan she said, " For mercy's sake, do 
not give him this help ! Give him the prettiest girl of 
the tribe, but never go to Jhang Syal." 

Then were numbers of damsels, the loveliest of the tribe, 
brought before Mirza, with a dancing girl or two to divert 
him, but he could not be induced to regard them, or 
even to look at them, but he turned to his friends, and 
said, " Sahiboh only do I praise, Sahiboh alone will I 
marry, nor shall I marry any one else who is not her very 
counterpart. Sahiboh is daughter to Khiva Raja. She 
was born on a Tuesday ; one year old was she and she drank 
her mother's milk (for the last time) ; when two years 
old she was clad in lovely garments; when four years old 
she wore her bangles; when six years old she went run- 
ning among her girl-companions; when eight years old 
she began to step on her toes ; when ten years old she 
walked so as to be heard; when eleven she began to 
develop strength as a young buffalo runs up a hill ; at 
twelve she was the complete woman, and looked bright 
as a polished keen-edged sword. And when she was a 
woman, all the young khans began to take note of her 
beauty and made haste to win her 

" In plaits, like twisted snakes, low hangs her hair; 
Her brow is like the moon; curved as the point 
Of Hosain's scimitar her well-cut nose ! 
How black her eyebrows ! lo, they terrify 
Like serpents, and her lashes pierce the heart ! 

(O, beautiful is Sahib6h!)i 

Handfuls of rings adorn her ears, they fight 
Like pairs of rival starlings ! Daintiest buds 
Of jasmine are her dazzling teeth what hand, 
What master's cunning fingers, fashioned them? 

(O, beautiful is Sahib6h !) 

Thin is the fragrant betel-leaf, and thin 

Her fragrant lips, distilling sherbet meet 

For lovers, oh, stoop down, stoop down and sip ! 

(So beautiful is Sahiboh!) 

What wonderous apple, praised of all the world, 

With Sahiboh 's chin may men compare? Her breasts, 

Two round surdhis, 2 like ruddy rubies shine ! 

(O, beautiful is Sahib6h !) 

1 SAhibAnh a noble (gentleman's) bride. 
? Spherical water-bottles of terra cotta. 



THE LOVE STORY OF MIRZA AND SAHIBANH 203 

A goblet is her navel-pit behold 

Where pass her thronging lovers round and round ! 

(O, beautiful is Sahib6h!)i 

In velvet slippers hide her tiny toes, 
And, as she moves along, with measured steps 
And dainty tread, more dainty far than tread 
Of snow-white pard, how gracefully she goes ! 

(So beautiful is Sahib6h !) 

Stained are her heels with henna rosy red, 
So that, where'er she goes, she colours red 
The very ground she walks on ! Who of all 
Her maiden-friends can rival her in charm? 

(O, beautiful is Sahiboh!) 

"Call you these girls beautiful? They cannot com- 
pare even with her handmaidens How can I marry them ? 
You are all in league to deceive me !" 

Then said all his brethren, " We have done for Mirza 
Khan the best we can. If he will die, die he must!" 

And all the girls, when they saw them forsake him, 
lifted up their hands and prayed for him. " Mirza 
Khan," said they, "by all means go to Jhang Syal, and 
may God be with you ! On your shoulders sling your 
green bow ! There is no man like you, no one so brave, 
and no one so handsome there!" 

Then they went their ways, and he sought out his 
mother, saying, " Give me my horse and my arms!" 

" Your arms," said she, " I cannot give keep still !" 

" Why can you not give me my arms?" said he. " Is 
it not better for me to die there than here ? Do you want 
me to die at your gate?" 

" O my son," said his mother, "it is madness for you 
to go there ! They are a most mighty tribe. Yet hear 
me ! If go you must, never shall I regard you as son of 
mine unless you bear away Sahiboh five kos 2 before you 
are killed yourself." 

So his mother handed over to him his arms, and Lakhi 3 
his mare. Then thought Mirza of God, and having com- 

1 Compare with this the Song of Songs iv. 1-6; v. 10-16; and 
vii. i-io ; and especially vii. 2 , " Thy navel is like a round goblet 
that wanteth not liquor." The wine-cups of the old world were often 
shallow saucer-like vessels, and it should be noted that, among 
oriental women, whether trousers or skirt be worn, the garment is 
tightly bound round below the navel, which is exposed often to view. 

2 Five kos about eight miles. 

3 Lakhi beautiful. 



204 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

mended himself to Him, he mounted and galloped away, 
and at once arrived at Jhang Syal. There he saw the 
twelve thousand Chandans. But, he being alone, the 
people said, " Who is this coming alone?" So he passed 
to the house of the old woman, who said to him, " Why 
do you not join the wedding-party?" And he answered 
her, " Let me stay here, I pray you!" But she would 
not, so he handed her money, five-and-twenty rupees, and 
then she gave in, saying, " By all means, but are you that 
same Mirza Khan? Why, O foolish one, have you come 
to your death ? If your body were in tiny bits, and every 
bit a body, you would not be a match for all the people 
here." 

" Old woman," said he, " I have come and I am here. 
Only do something for me, if you will. Go tell Sahiboh 
that Mirza has come!" 

So away she went, and Sahiboh gave her a hundred 
rupees, and said to her, " Now manage to bring him to- 
night. To-morrow he will be cut to pieces ; only let me 
see him to-night!" 

" But how contrive?" said the old woman. " Now look 
you ! Give me some of your beautiful robes, something 
in which to disguise him, and I will bring him dressed up. 
Let me have ample enough to cover himself, his horse 
and his arms !" 

So Sahiboh handed her an immense cloak, fifty or sixty 
yards of cloth, which same cloak receiving she went her 
way. And first she set before Mirza some food, for he 
was in need of it. Then she bade him mount Lakhi, 
his grey mare. His sword and his bow were slung over 
his shoulder, and he bent low in the saddle, leaving ex- 
posed to gaze only the ears and the tail of his horse. 
Hundreds of steeds were hitched about, which began to 
neigh, and to break from their ropes, and the old woman 
made pretence, crying, " O you grooms, take care, the 
daughter of the wazir is coming to visit Sahiboh!" So 
she led him safely through the gateway of the Lodge of 
Mirrors, telling an attendant to tie up his mare somewhere 
close by, and thus, having seen him well into the house, 
she went her way home. 

Now all Sahiboh's maidens took him for some princess, 
and Sahiboh said to him, " How is it you come so late? 
All these people are now here, and what can you do alone ? 



THE LOVE STORY OF MIRZA AND SAHIBANH 205 

You will be killed, Mirza Khan ! The remedy for one 
is two, and the remedy for two is four, but here we have 
thousands !" 

Mirza laid his hands on his moustache, saying to her, 
"Only listen to me! Keep cool! Do not lose your 
presence of mind!" 

" You tell me to keep cool," answered the girl. " Ah 

" For you I am risking my life, 
For you I am beckoned away, 
Only dare to be mine, Mirza Khan, 
Be mine, O be mine but to-day ! " 

Drink, drink, O my Heart, of the cup, 
By the side of your hand as it lies 
Let us drink the sweet poison of love, 
The moment of destiny flies. 

Long-, long e'er we met you were kin, 
As soon as I saw you, how dear ! 
Too far have we gone for regret, 
The sugar is mixed with the khir I l 

O, beware, Mirza Khan, it is I, 
Khiva's daughter, who's stolen your heart! 
If you die, die with me, Mirza Khan, 
Even death shall not tear us apart ! 

Yet, O but to live till to-morrow, 
And O to be with you till then ! 
This night is our last, my Beloved, 
We shall never be happy again ! " 

Then Mirza took the girl in his arms and kissed her wet 
cheeks, and spoke to her " All this," said he, " you have 
been saying and well I understand, but I too am ready, so 
hear also me 

" Now has the lover his bundle of perils tied up, 

His destiny daring ! 
The flesh on my body has shrunk and dried up, 

My bones are all staring ! 
If my head is to fall, fall it must, 

Can Fate be evaded? 
But for ever with thee are my love and my trust, 

Till life shall have faded! 

" But, O Sahiboh, all can be arranged if your maidens 
can only be made to sleep. Give them some wine !" 

1 Khir rice boiled in milk, and sweetened with sugar, a favourite 
dish, especially at weddings. Here a proverb The deed is done, the 
die is cast ! 



206 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Then Sahiboh called out to her companions, " Now, O 
Girls, make merry, since to-morrow I go!" and she served 
out beakers of wine, saying, " Give them wine and call 
it sherbet !" And so tiny cups were passed round, and all 
the girls grew drowsy. But one of them, suspecting a 
trick, smelled something in it, and, instead of draining her 
goblet, she poured it into her bosom. Now this girl was 
loved of Sahiboh the most. 

When midnight came, Sahiboh got up to see, and found 
them all asleep excepting the one, who said to her, " The 
wine was drugged by me, but surely I am your friend. 
Why should I drink, seeing that I wish you well?" And 
to Mirza Sahiboh spoke, saying, " Rise, it is time for us 
to go!" 

Then Mirza got up, and answered her, " Before Taha 
Khan and all the chiefs, women are dancing and lanterns 
are gleaming. All are engaged in revelry. Yes, now is 
the time!" 

So he saddled his mare, but he pulled so hard that the 
girth-strap broke, and Sahiboh said, " Mirza, I sneezed, 
and the girth of Lakhi has broken ! Either a king will 
lose his crown, or a prince will be killed !" 

'You speak as a woman," answered he. "Leave all 
to God, and come, mount behind me !" 

So she got on the mare, and when she was seated, the 
girl who had drunk no wine, rose and took the bridle, 
saying, " Long have I eaten your salt, nor will I leave 
you now, until I have seen you safely out of the place." 
Then the great cloak was thrown over both the lovers, 
and the girl led them forth in their disguise. 

As they passed along, Mirza said, " Hear me, Sahiboh ! 
I want, before leaving, to see your betrothed, Taha 
Khdn." 

"Oh, for mercy's sake, don't!" cried she. "Are you 
mad? Let us get on !" 

But Mirza persisted, riding by the place where music 
and dancing were being kept up all the night through, 
and he cried aloud, "Look out, and hear me! I am 
Mirza Khan, and I am taking away Sahiboh !" 

At once the whole company rushed for their swords, but 
the girl at the bridle called out, " Nay, listen, ye people ! 
This is merely a mad fakir. He is mad, and always he 
repeats the same thing. You are a forest of men, in- 



THE LOVE STORY OF MIRZA AND SAHIBANH 207 

numerable, and the man has received presents accordingly, 
this horse and a cloak to cover him. How should Mirza 
be here?" Then was heard the voice of another woman, 
"O yes, he is a madman. Let the mad fakir go!" So 
all the men sat down again. 

Then came Mirza to another party of revellers, while 
Sahiboh was protesting, saying, " O fool, to say such 
things! You will ruin all!" 

" Look at Taha Khan !" said Mirza. 

" Come along, Mirza Khan !" answered she. " I have 
looked at him enough. Taha Khan is thinner than a 
buffalo and blacker than a griddle. A basketful of bread 
he devours, and he gobbles a whole chatty of ddl. 1 Yea, 
he is bald, and has large feet ! Is that a fellow to look at ? 
Let us haste away!" 

Then cried Mirza, " O you people, whether awake or 
asleep, here am I, Mirza Khan, taking away Sahiboh !" 

At once the men rushed to their arms, and again the 
girl cried aloud, and said, " O you people, hear me ! This 
is only the mad fakir. He spake the same words to the 
other party, and he speaks them again to you. Regard 
him not !" 

So the men sat down again, keeping quiet, and Mirza 
passed on, while the girl returned to the house. 

Now it so happened that as the lovers were passing 
along the village street, a certain Brahmin pundit was 
sitting in his house reading a book. This man, glancing 
up, saw Mirza's leg gleaming from beneath the long 
cloak, so at once he made his way to Khiva Khan, and 
said to him, " I have just seen something like magic." 

"Keep still, keep still!" said Khiva. 

" I will tell you what that was," said the Brahmin, and 
opening his book, he feigned to read 

"In the town of Khiva Khan, 

I perceive a mighty stir, 
Dame Jimiab 2 has swooned, 

Her house is in a whirr ! 
With the Kharral Mirza Khan, 

Your Sahib6h, O the grief, 
She's gone off with Mirza Khan. 

The bastard and the thief!" 

Now at the distance of five kos from Jhang Syal there 
1 Ddl peas, food, victuals. 2 Jimidb Glory of the Land. 



208 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

was a certain shrine before which Mizra Khan used to halt 
and pray, saying, " O Panj-pir, 1 if ever I succeed in 
bringing away Sahiboh, passing here will I tarry and 
rest!" To that spot the two lovers now came in their 
flight, and Mirza spake, saying, " O Sahiboh, this is the 
place of my vow!" 

" There are twelve thousand of the Chandans in pur- 
suit," said she. " Do you want to die? Let us get on !" 

" I have an oath," answered he. " Come down, lay 
your knee beneath my head, and here let me rest for 
one half-hour !" 

It was then close to dawn, and Sahiboh said, " In half- 
an-hour the morning will be on us. What are you think- 
ing of?" 

But Mirza dismounted, and lifted her down, and he laid 
his head in her lap, and so fell asleep. 

Meanwhile Khiva Raja, with Tana Khan, and some 
maids, had betaken themselves to the house of Sahiboh, 
and there they saw her sixty companions lying heavy with 
drunken sleep, and they wondered where Sahiboh could 
be. " All these are her maidens," said they, "but where 
is herself?" So forthwith arose a great tumult, and many 
more came running up, crying, " Say, what is the 
matter?" Then a rumour went round, and all began to 
say, " Mirza has carried Sahiboh away !" And the news 
flew through the town, and the Syals and the Chandans 
began saddling their horses, and there was a great stir. 

But all this time Sahiboh was on the watch in the place 
of the shrine, and soon she began to hear the noise of the 
pursuit, so she tried to rouse Mirza, crying, " Get up ! 
get up ! for God's sake get up !" 

But the only answer given by Mirza was, " Let me 
sleep!" 

Then she looked at his arms. " He has only one 
hundred and forty arrows," said she to herself, "only 
that at the utmost, and what good is that ? One arrow of 
his can kill but three or four, while his horse is good for 
a hundred kos. No resistance, therefore, but flight alone 
will serve us." Then again she thought within herself, 
" All these horsemen are coming, and the foremost among 
them will be my own two brothers, they will be the first 
to be killed, and all the people will curse me, and say, 
1 Panj-pir. Five Pirs The five Apostles of Muhammad. 



THE LOVE STORY OF MIRZA AND SAHIBANH 209 

* Not only has this woman gone off with her lover, but 
she has killed her brothers as well.' Now, if I could do 
anything by which I could get at his arrows and throw 
them away, that would be best!" So she rolled up her 
chadda (mantle) and gently transferred Mirza's head to it. 
Then, taking the arrows, she threw them all out, and, 
having put back the empty quiver, she laid his head in 
her lap once more. 

By this time the pursuit was close, the Brahmin having 
betrayed them, and as Sahiboh saw them rushing onward 
she woke up Mirza. Then Mirza rose and looked back, 
and, lo, his foes were at hand. So he threw his quiver 
over his shoulder, not missing the arrows, and, with his 
sword girded on his thigh, he mounted Sahiboh and him- 
self, and prepared to start. And of his foes Darabadshah 
refused to follow, but Khiva Raja and Taha Khan pressed 
him sore. Then said Mirza to Sahiboh, " Shake yourself, 
Sahiboh !" and Sahiboh shook herself, and it came to pass 
when Lakhi heard the jingling of Sahiboh's jewels of silver 
and gold, the good mare leaped the wall of the shrine, 
and got away from them all. But Taha Khan taunted 
him, crying out, " Now, sir, be brave, and quit you like 
a man, nor turn a woman's back to your foes !" 

Then Mirza drew rein, and looked at his quiver, and 
he saw no arrows there, but one only. And he said to 
Sahiboh, " You have done wrong, O Sahiboh, to empty 
my quiver ! But for you I might with this have killed 
Hanishamir and Lakmir, and your father's grey horse, and 
the others I could have sent among the rest of the Syals. 
But now, though the mare is eager to close and my enemies 
taunt me, I am all unarmed." Nevertheless, he took the 
single arrow, and, fitting it to his bow, let loose, crying, 
''Come on, O ye Syals!" and the arrow found out the 
two brothers, Hanishamir and Lakmir, who were gallop- 
ing well in advance with lance and sword, and it brought 
them down, having pierced the breast of the one and lodged 
in the thigh of the other. By this time the host was 
closing in upon him, and the air was rent with the sound 
of their music. And Mirza said, " Mirza is but one, he 
is alone ! If I fall, I fall alone, one against many." Now 
Lakhi, his mare, was accustomed of old to rush into the 
midst of battle, and as now she rushed among the advanc- 
ing warriors, Mirza Khan drew his sword, and fought for 



210 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

four hours, cutting down every man whom he encountered, 
until his hand swelled and stuck to the hilt. At last, after 
five hundred and fifty of the party of the Syals had been 
killed or disabled, came Khiva Khan himself, crying, 
" Truce !" and he said to Mirza, " Why have you killed 
my troops, O Mirza Khan ? Why have you slain my 
sons? Let us now have peace!" But he spake deceit- 
fully, for even then, while they were parleying, Taha 
Khan rode up, and hit Mirza with his lance on the back 
of his head, so that his turban rolled off and fell to the 
ground. And Mirza, turning to Sahiboh, said, " A curse 
to the love of women, whose wisdom is in their heels ! 
They profess friendship ; anon they betray ! My turban 
has fallen, my head is bare. Mirza alone, unaided, dies 
here, and no brother or friend beside him !" 

Then Khiva, who was hiding a dagger in his hand, said, 
" Surely you have killed enough, and why now kill your- 
self? I will give the Chandans another girl, and you can 
take Sahiboh away. Give me then, O Mizra Khan, the 
right hand of peace!" And when Mirza stretched forth 
his right hand, the old man smote him through the body, 
so that he fell dead. Then, seeing his daughter, he at 
once took her up behind himself, and starting for home, 
left Mirza's bleeding body on the ground. 

Now when the Syals, returning with Khiva to Jhang, 
arrived at a spot within three kos of the town, Sahiboh 
looked back, and she saw the crows gathering round the 
body of Mirza Khan. Then, seeing a dagger hanging 
from her father's saddle, she drew it, and plunging it into 
her side, she fell. And when Khiva looked round and 
saw the blood, he said to the chiefs of the Chandan tribe, 
" Now see, friends, and do not say I kept not faith ! This 
girl has killed herself !" So the party rode on, leaving her 
lying there. On opposite sides of the vale lay the bodies 
of these two hapless ones, and the blood of Mirza from 
the one side, and the blood of Sahiboh from the other, 
flowed down the slopes, and mingled in the hollow be- 
tween. And all the people, when they saw it, said, " Oh, 
we did wrong to kill two such lovers as these !" 

But Sahiboh, before dying, laid her hand on her wound, 
and a raven came and sat hard by. And she took out 
pen and some paper, and dipping her pen in the blood, 
she wrote on the paper and said, " O Raven, take this 



THE LOVE STORY OF MIRZA AND SAHIBANH 211 

letter to Ibrahim Khan, Kharral of the Ravi!" And the 
writing was this, " Mirza and Sahiboh have been killed at 
the crooked tali tree. Tell Pilo, the poet, to make such 
verses on this mishap, that the story will last till the day 
of judgment !" 

So the raven went and took the letter, and Ibrahim 
Khan read it, and he told Mirza's mother, saying, " Your 
son lies dead five kos out of Jhang Syal. Do you want 
the body brought in?" 

"If he has really fallen there," answered she, " yes 
certainly send for the body!" 

Then the chief of the Kharrals summoned his men to the 
number of twenty-four thousand sabres, with their twelve 
thousand horses, and twelve thousand buffaloes with 
pierced noses. Having all mounted, they set forth, and 
by-and-by reached the crooked tali tree, and there they 
found the mare standing by the body of Mirza, and his 
body was shining like the body of a martyr. And all 
that multitude grew sorrowful, and taking the bodies of 
Mirza and Sahiboh, they laid them together in the one 
dhoolie which they left at the tali tree under a guard, 
and so continued their march to Jhang to fight the Syals. 
As for the Chandans, they still abode in Jhang, for they 
claimed the body of Sahiboh, saying to Khiva, " Where 
have you left her body ? Give us her body that we may 
bury it among our own people?" 

To whom Khiva replied, " When she was alive I gave 
her to you. Now, dead, she lies out there. Go fetch her 
yourselves !" But they feared to go, knowing the Kharrals 
were there. 

Then met the opposing forces, and, in the fight which 
ensued, seven hundred more of the Syals and Chandans 
fell on the field, until, pressed beyond measure, Khiva 
Raja craved a peace. "Take my town," said he, "take 
what you please for the life of Mirza Khan !" 

But the Kharrals answered, " For you no peace! Our 
sorrow for Mirza will never abate, until we have burnt your 
town about you !" So the fight went on, until, in the town 
of the Syals, not one stone was left upon another. In the 
end, Khiva and his wife Jimiab were taken, and sent away 
to the Kharral country, and the victors put a man of their 
own in Jhang. 

So Khiva and his wife were led away, and when they 



212 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

reached the crooked tali tree, they halted there, and said 
to the guard, " Now tell us true, are these indeed the 
bodies of Mirza and Sahiboh?" 

" Yes," answered the men, " these are really they." 

" Then," said Khiva and Jimiab Mai, " it would be well 
for both our tribes to build their tombs here at the crooked 
tdlt tree, since that tree is the boundary between us. So 
shall we be friends for all the time to come !" 

But Ibrahim Khan said, " No, their shrines shall be 
made in the Kharral country, and there only shall they 
rest!" 

So they took the two bodies home, and there they made 
their shrine, and there, i'n the same tomb, they lie unto 
this day. 

After this, Ibrahim Khan said to Khiva and Jimiab, 
" You are now alone, you have no children, and at Jhang 
there is always trouble. Abide you here!" 

"O son," answered Khiva, " let us go back ! Give me 
but bread to eat and clothing to put on, and let me die 
at Jhang !" 

"Very w r ell!" said Ibrahim Khan. So he gave them 
horses, and sent them back, and made them tributary. 

Told at Ghdzi on the Upper Indus, on the night of 
September, 1883, by Sharaf, son of Kesar, 
of the village of Kuri, District of 
Rdivdl Pindi. 



XXV 

OF THE SAINT AND THE PILGRIM 

THERE was a certain saint, by name Abul Hassan, whose 
power and sanctity were noised all over the country. One 
day a pilgrim came from a distant land for the sole pur- 
pose of seeing him, but when he called at the house he 
found that he was absent. "Where has he gone?" in- 
quired he of his wife. Now, the saint's wife was a hard 



ON THE LOVE OF MONEY 213 

woman, bitter and peevish in speech, and instead of 
answering the question, she began to abuse her husband 
with unmeasured violence, so that, hearing her words, the 
pilgrim lost all faith in the holiness of the person he had 
travelled so far to see. As he left the house, he said to 
some of the neighbours, " This saint of yours where is 
he ?" They answered, " He has gone to the hills to gather 
sticks." 

" Though I no longer believe in him," said the pilgrim 
to himself, " I will at least look upon his face before I 
return." 

So he set out forthwith for the jungle, but he had not 
proceeded far when he met the holy man face to face. 
His wood was borne before him by a tiger, and in his 
hand, instead of a whip, he carried a live snake. Then the 
pilgrim fell at his feet and said, " At the reproachful words 
of your w 7 ife my faith decreased, but I now believe that 
verily you are a saint indeed. Pray forgive me !" 

" He who will use invincible patience," answered the 
saint, " especially with a shrew of a wife, shall command 
the very tigers, and they will obey him, for patience is 
rewarded of God. But a scolding wife can no man tame, 
seeing she is the very fiend himself." 

From Ghazi. 



XXVI 

ON THE LOVE OF MONEY 

A MISER once found his way into the bazaar to buy 
bread. The weather \vas unusually warm, and as he 
trudged along the perspiration gathered round the coin, 
which was closely clutched in his hand. Arresting his 
steps, he gazed at the moist piece with a fond eye and 
said, " I won't spend you then. Weep not, dear friend; 
we shall not separate, after all I will starve first !" So he 
restored the money to his bag, and begged for scraps from 
door to door. 



214 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

XXVII 
ON CHARACTERISTIC PRIDE OF THE BANEYRWALS 

A POOR man of Baneyr, unable to support himself in 
his native mountains, set out for Hindustan to seek his 
fortune, and there rose to the rank of nawab. One of his 
poor relations, hearing of his good fortune, determined to 
visit him. So he went to the bazaar, and with a few annas 
bought one pound of sugar as a neighbourly present for 
his former acquaintance. After a long journey he arrived 
at the palace, and found the nawab in the midst of his 
fine friends. But though he winked and nodded and beck- 
oned to him to step aside for a friendly greeting, and to 
receive his pound of sugar, his efforts to engage the great 
man's attention were quite unsuccessful. At last, per- 
ceiving that his unwelcome visitor was about to open his 
mouth, the nawab said to one of his attendants, " Conduct 
this poor stranger to my store-room, where my bags of 
sugar are laid up, and there let him sit down and eat his 
fill." Then he caused a letter to be written to his native 
village sternly forbidding any more of his poor ill-clad 
kinsmen to trouble him with their objectionable presence. 

From Attock. 



XXVIII 

TALE OF THE FALSE WITNESS 1 

A JUNGLE TALE 

A CARAVAN of merchants came and pitched for the night 
at a certain spot on the way down to Hindustan. In the 
morning it was found that the back of one of the camels 

1 This story is intended as a satire on the universal practice pre- 
vailing among the natives of India of getting up false cases and 
procuring false witness in courts of law. 



TALE OF THE FALSE WITNESS 215 

was so sore that it was considered inexpedient to load him 
again, and he was turned loose into the wilderness. So 
they left him behind. The camel, after grazing about the 
whole day, became exceedingly thirsty, and meeting a 
jackal, he said to him, " Uncle, uncle, I am very thirsty; 
can you show me some water?" 

" I can show you water," said the jackal; " but if I do, 
you must agree to give me a good feed of meat from your 
sore back." 

" I do agree," replied the camel; " and now show me the 
water." 

So he followed his small friend until they came to a 
running stream, where he drank such quantities of water 
that the jackal thought he was never going to stop. Then, 
turning to the jackal, he invited him to his repast. 
" Come, uncle," said he, "you can now make your supper 
off my sore back." 

" Nay," answered the jackal, " you forget. Our agree- 
ment was not that. It was, dear nephew, that I should 
have a meal of your tongue, 1 not of your wretched old 
back. This you distinctly promised if I would take you 
to water." 

"Very well," replied the camel; "bring forward your 
witness to prove your words, and you can have it so." 

" My witness I have handy," said the jackal, "and in 
two minutes he will be here." 

So, going to the wolf, he pitched him a lying tale, and 
persuaded him to bear false witness. "You see, wolf," 
remarked he, " if I eat his tongue he will certainly die, and 
then we shall both have grand feeds, and all our friends 
can come and feast as well ; but no one could possibly 
touch the flesh of a sore back." So the two made their 
way to the camel, and the jackal, appealing to the wolf, 
began, "What was the bargain? Did he not agree that 
if I would take him to water he would give me his 
tongue?" 

" That w r as the bargain, most certainly," asserted the 
wolf, "and the camel agreed. Sitting behind that rock, 
I overheard the whole affair." 

"Be it so," said the camel. " As you both delight in 
lies, and have no consciences, come along, Mr. Jackal, and 

1 " Sore back " in Panjabi being chigh, and tongue jib, there was 
sufficient similarity of sound to suggest prevarication. 



216 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

devour my tongue." With which words he lowered his 
long neck until his head was on a level with his diminutive 
foe. But the latter then said to the wolf, " O friend, you 
see what a morsel I am ! I am much too weak to pull out 
that enormous tongue. Could you not seize it and hold 
it for me?" 

Then the wolf ventured his head into the camel's mouth 
to pull forward the tongue, but the camel instantly closed 
his powerful jaws, and, crushing the skull of his enemy, 
shook him to death. Meanwhile, the jackal danced and 
skipped with glee, crying out 

" Behold the fate of the false witness ! behold the fate 
of the false witness !" 

From Ghazi. 



XXIX 

STORY OF THE KING AND THE PARROT 

IN former days, when birds possessed the gift of speech, 
and were as intelligent as the wisest statesmen, there lived 
a certain king who took much pleasure in a favourite 
parrot. It was the greatest delight of his life to caress her, 
to converse with her, and to feed her with dainty scraps 
from his own hands as she stood perched on his royal 
knee, while the lovely-plumaged bird, coyly reciprocat- 
ing the king's attachment, manifested her love for him 
in a thousand endearing ways and by the prettiest of 
speeches. 

One day, in the warm early spring-time, just as the 
tender willows by the mill-stream were beginning to put 
on their bright clothing of green, the parrot addressed her 
petition to her master in these words 

" O King, it is now a long time since I left my home. 
Give me leave to fly away and visit the well-loved spot 
once more." 

But the King refused her request, not finding it possible 



STORY OF THE KING AND THE PARROT 217 

to part with her. It was only after many solicitations, 
extending over many days, that at last he granted a very 
sorrowful permission. 

"Go, dear bird," said he, "and visit your own native 
clime. When six months have fled, then come back to me 
once more, and when you come, remember to bring me 
some sure token that your love has never diminished." 

" Absent or present, O King," answered the parrot, 
" I shall love you still the same." 

So the King and his favourite had a most tender parting, 
with many a sweet little kiss to be remembered by them 
both thereafter. And then the parrot spread out her 
golden wings and started for her own home, flying from 
tree to tree and from hill to hill for many a league. 

But the King, who knew the direction of her flight, had 
commanded some of his courtiers to follow her and to 
observe her doings. It was a long and a weary journey. 
One hundred miles at least did the courtiers travel through 
the woods. At last they came to a barren plain, quite 
destitute of vegetation, over which the wind howled dis- 
mally. At the end of this plain their further progress was 
barred by a mighty river, which they could by no means 
cross over. As they were preparing to retrace their steps 
they noticed a few solitary trees growing near the brink 
of the water. On the drooping branch of one of them was 
built a nest, and upon the nest, to their joy and surprise, 
sat the King's favourite parrot; while ever and anon a gust 
of the keen wind would come and rudely bend the fragile 
bough with its precious burden and dip it into the chilly 
water. 

Having noticed these things, the courtiers once more 
returned to the palace, and reported to the King all that 
they had witnessed. Naturally the King was astonished 
that a bird so wise and sensible, able to command the 
most beautiful lodging and the daintiest food, should 
prefer exile in a desolate place amid want and privation. 
But, as he had a thoughtful and sagacious mind, he began 
to reflect on a circumstance so extraordinary, and at last, 
addressing his court, he said 

" This is only an instance of a true instinct. Be it ever 
so poor and humble, its own proper home is what the heart 
of every living creature must yearn after the most, and it 
is the will of God that the parrot should love her poor wet 



218 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

nest of sticks on the blown willow before all the palaces 
in the world." 

The six months had nearly expired when the parrot, 
having reared and forsaken a vigorous brood of young 
ones, prepared to set out for the King's palace. But first, 
remembering her promised love-token, she visited the 
beautiful Garden of the Fairies, and from an enchanted 
tree which grew in the middle of it she selected two small 
rosy apples, and then continued her flight. Having 
arrived at court, her presence was at once announced, and 
she was welcomed with every manifestation of joy. Then 
she presented her two apples, as tokens that her love had 
never suffered diminution during all her weary absence. 
But the King, full of suspicions, as kings are so apt to be, 
eyed them askance, and to test the virtues he threw one of 
them to his favourite hound. The dog greedily devoured 
it, but scarcely had he done so when the poor animal was 
seized with horrible convulsions and expired in agony. 
Without a moment's consideration the King rose up, 
anger darting from his eyes, and, seizing his unfortunate 
parrot, he instantly wrung her neck. This done, he ordered 
that the remaining apple should be cast out. 

Now, this apple was endowed with magic power, and as 
it happened that, when it was thrown from the casement, 
it fell into the King's garden, it soon began to grow ; and 
though it did not grow so high as the clouds, it quickly 
became a goodly tree, bearing quantities of fruit. It need 
scarcely be said that no one about the palace ever dreamed 
of approaching it. Indeed, the King had issued a law 
that no one should go within fifty yards of it, and on 
account of its supposed deadly qualities it was known far 
and wide as THE TREE OF DEATH. 

The King's garden was very large and extensive, and in 
one of its remote corners, just behind the royal stables, 
there stood a lowly hut in which dwelt an old sweeper and 
his wife, whose business it was to keep clean the stalls. 
They were both very miserable, being poor, aged and 
infirm. One night, as they were meditating on their sad 
and forlorn condition, the sweeper said to his wife 

"See how wretched we are! Life has become intoler- 
able. As we have now lived too long, let us eat some of 
the fruit of the Tree of Death, and so die together." 

This was no sooner said than done, and the man or the 



STORY OF THE KING AND THE PARROT 219 

woman, one or the other, went out and plucked the for- 
bidden fruit, and they made what they believed to be their 
last meal of it. But lo ! now a miracle, for these two old 
creatures, instead of instantly falling down dead as they 
expected, became suddenly endowed with youth and 
beauty, and into all their limbs began to flow a feeling of 
renewed vigour and strength. 

Early the next morning down came the master of the 
horse, and when he perceived two persons whom he sup- 
posed to be perfect strangers in the royal garden he 
demanded of them who they were, and by what means they 
had entered. 

" We are not intruders," answered they. " We are the 
two poor old sweepers who have lived in this hut this 
many a day. Being weary of living, we have eaten of 
the fruit of the Tree of Death, hoping to die; but, by the 
blessing of God, instead of dying, we have both become 
young again." 

When the master* of the horse had heard this wonderful 
account he was surprised, and, commanding them to follow 
him, he ushered them into the immediate presence of the 
King. 

'These two persons," said he, "have strange tidings 
for you, O king." 

So to the King they related all that had befallen them, 
having first of all fallen on their knees and implored his 
pardon for their transgression of the laws. 

At first the King was so incredulous that he felt inclined 
to order them forth to instant execution ; but at the request 
of his master of the horse he spared them, in order to test 
the truth of their statement. 

Calling one of the most aged of his nobles, he bade him 
go forth and gather some of the mysterious fruit which 
had wrought such miracles. The old courtier instantly 
hobbled away, and when he returned he held in his hand 
a small basket of the tiny rose-red apples. 

"Behold, sire," said he; "I have obeyed your com- 
mand." 

"Now eat!" exclaimed the monarch. And the old 
man, not without many misgivings, proceeded to eat one 
of the shining morsels. Then, indeed, the mind of the 
bewildered King became satisfied, when before his very 
eyes he saw his wrinkled servant gradually assuming the 



220 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

lineaments of a glorious youth. It was small wonder 
that this mighty potentate forgot the dignity of his posi- 
tion, and, rising from his seat, sprang forward to taste 
so delicious a repast. The whole of the court was per- 
mitted to follow his example, and in a single day all the 
lords and ladies of the palace who had passed the heyday 
of their strength and beauty became young and blooming 
once more. 

The King now sent for his diviners and soothsayers to 
interpret for him so singular a wonder, and to explain the 
mystery of the apple which had killed his dog. Having 
arranged their enchantments and worked their various 
spells, they one and all agreed that the first apple had been 
licked by a serpent, which had lain hidden in the tree of 
the Garden of the Fairies, and that its venomous saliva, 
adhering to the fruit, had caused the death of the dog, but 
that the parrot was in no way to blame. We may feel 
quite sure that the King, who was noble and generous at 
heart, had reason then to mourn over the fate of his 
beloved bird. He made what amends he could, for he 
erected in her honour a magnificent shrine, where she was 
ever afterwards adored as a saint, not only by his own 
subjects, but by pilgrims from all parts of the known 
world. And the Tree of Death became the Tree of Life. 

Told at Ghazi by a bard, Christmas 1879. 



XXX 

OF THE OLD WEAVER AND THE CAMEL'S FOOT- 
PRINTS 

ONE night a camel trespassing in a weaver's field left 
there the marks of his feet. In the morning the owner 
brought to the spot the oldest weaver in the village, ex- 
pecting that he would be able to explain what manner 



221 

of animal had trodden down his corn. The old man, on 
seeing the footprints, both laughed and cried. Said the 
people, " O father, you both laugh and cry ! What does 
this mean ?" 

" I cry," said he, "because I think to myself, 'What 
will these poor children do for some one to explain things 
to them when I am dead,' and I laugh because, as for 
these footprints, I know not, no, I know not, what they 
are." 

From Ghdzi. 



XXXI 

OF GRiBA, THE WEAVER 

AT the village of Bhuran lived an old \veaver named 
Griba, who, for a wonder, was shrewd enough. It hap- 
pened that Habib Khan, the lambardar, laid a tax on the 
weavers' houses at the rate of two rupees for every door- 
way. When Griba heard of this, he tore down his door, 
and, laying it on his shoulders, carried it off to the khan's. 
" Here, khan," said he, with a profound salaam, " I have 
heard you want doorways, so I have brought you mine. 
I also hear you want the side-walls, and I am now going 
to fetch them, too." Hearing this, the khan laughed, and 
said, "O Griba the weaver, take back your door; your 
tax is paid." 

From Hazro. 



XXXII 

THE ADVENTURES OF 1SARA AND CANlSARA 

SOME years ago there lived two merchants, a Hindu and 
a Muhammadan, who were partners in the same business. 
The name of the Hindu was Isara, and the name of the 



222 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Muhammadan was Canisara. They had once been ex- 
tremely well off, but hard times had come upon them, 
their business had declined, and they had gradually sunk 
into poverty. 

One day Canisara came to the house of Isara and said, 
" Lend us something some money, or some grain, or 
some bread we have absolutely nothing to eat." 

"O friend," answered Isara, "you are not in worse 
plight than we are. We are quite destitute of everything. 
What can I give you?" 

So Canisara's visit was fruitless, and he returned empty- 
handed as he had come. 

After he had gone, isara said to his wife, " All we have 
is a brass plate and a single brass cup. As the plate is of 
value, put it for safety into a net and hang it from the 
roof over our beds; and put some water in the plate, so 
that if Canisara comes into the house to steal it when we 
are asleep, the water will spill on our faces and we shall 
awake." 

That very night Canisara, who knew of the brass plate, 
determined to make an effort to become possessed of it. 
So, long after the inmates were in bed, he visited the house 
of Isara, and, softly lifting the latch, stole into the apart- 
ment. There, in the faint light of the moon, he saw the 
plate hanging in a net over the beds, but, being a cunning 
fellow and suspecting a trick, he first put his forefinger 
through the net and discovered that the plate contained 
water. To avoid detection, he now took up some sand, 
and, with the utmost care, dropped it gradually into the 
plate, until the whole of the water was absorbed. Having 
accomplished this, he slowly abstracted the plate from 
the net and made off with it. 

On his way home he considered that his wisest course 
would be to hide the plate for a short time until he met 
with an opportunity of selling it. Going, therefore, to a 
tank, he waded into it some distance, and buried it in the 
mud, and in order to mark the place he stuck in a long 
reed which he had plucked on the margin. Then, per- 
fectly satisfied with his success, he went home and got into 
bed. 

The next morning, when Isara awoke, he missed the 
plate, and cried, " O wife, Canisara has been here. He 
has stolen the plate." 



THE ADVENTURES OF ISARA AND CANISARA 223 

Going at once to his friend's house, he searched it high 
and low, but returned home no wiser than he was before. 
As the day was far spent, he went out to the tank for his 
accustomed bath. When he arrived at the edge of the 
water, he observed the solitary reed nodding in the wind, 
and said, " Hallo ! this was not here yesterday. This is 
some trick of Canisara's." So he waded into the water, 
and had the satisfaction of discovering his missing plate, 
which he carried home to his wife, But he left the tell-tale 
reed undisturbed. 

After a day or two Canisara came down to the tank, and 
wading out to his reed, began to grope among the mud 
for the brass plate, but he groped in vain. "Ah!" 
groaned he, " Isara has been here." Vexed and dis- 
appointed, he returned to his house and smoked his 
hookah. 

Canisara now r visited his partner once more, and said to 
him, "Friend Isara, we are both as badly off as we can 
be. Let us now go together to some other country, and 
let us take our account-books with us, and see if by hook 
or by crook we cannot make some money." To this pro- 
posal Isara agreed, and the two friends set out on their 
travels. 

After a weary tramp they arrived at a city in which a 
rich merchant had recently died, and by inquiry they 
found that, his body having been burnt, ^ his remains had 
been duly laid in a certain place. Then Isara, by tamper- 
ing with the ledgers w r hich he had brought with him from 
his own home, concocted a tremendous bill against the 
defunct merchant, ingeniously running up the amount to 
forty thousand rupees. When night set in, the two 
friends went to the place of sepulture, and dug ojut a 
chamber, in which Canisara hid himself, while Isara 
covered him over with sticks and earth, and, in short, 
managed his task so well that in the morning no one would 
have suspected that the ground had been disturbed at all. 
Isara, armed with his account-books, w r ent presently to 
the house of the sons of the dead merchant, and said to 
them, " Both your father and your grandfather were in 
debt to the house of which I am a partner. The total sum 
due to us is forty thousand rupees, and payment is re- 
quested without more delay." 

The sons at first attempted to brave it out. " Not a 



224 

farthing do we owe you," said they. " Why was not this 
monstrous claim sent in before?" 

" The claim is true," replied Isara, "and the money is 
owing in full. I appeal to your dead father. Let him be 
the judge. I cite you to appear with me at his grave." 

The two sons, thus solemnly charged, accompanied their 
pretended creditor to their father's grave. Now, the dead 
man's name was Bahnushah. 

"O Bahnushah," cried Isara, " thou model of honour 
and probity, hear and answer ! Are you indebted in the 
sum of forty thousand rupees to the house of Isara and 
Canisara, or are you not?" 

Three times was this appeal made with a loud voice 
over the grave, and in answer to the third appeal Canisara 
spoke in a sepulchral tone from the bowels of the earth : 
"O my sons," cried he, "if you are faithful to my 
memory, leave not this weight of woe on my soul, but 
pay the money at once." 

The sons were overwhelmed, and, dropping on their 
knees, promised to fulfil the request of the dead. They 
then returned home, and taking Isara into their counting- 
house, paid him over the sum demanded, and presented 
him with a mule in addition to carry away the burden. 
Isara, who was beyond measure enchanted with the suc- 
cess of his stratagem, forgot in the full flow of his happi- 
ness to return for his partner, and having mounted the 
mule and ensconced himself in comfort between the saddle- 
bags, he made haste to get out of the town. 

By this time Canisara, beginning to tire of being pent 
up in his dark, narrow lodging, was thinking to himself, 
" Strange ! Why does not Isara come back with news?" 
And, unable to bear the suspense any longer, he burst 
open his frail tenement and entered the town. Going to 
the house of the deluded merchants, he inquired for one 
named Isara, and learnt that he had just received the 
amount of the debt, and had departed. " There he goes," 
said they, "on yonder mule." ^Following with his eyes 
the direction indicated, he saw Isara astride of the mule 
going up a neighbouring hill, and occasionally belabour- 
ing his stubborn animal with a cudgel. "Ha! ha!" 
laughed Canisara, " so Isara is leaving me in the lurch." 
And he began to follow him. 

Now, as Isara jogged along he saw a handsome gold- 



THE ADVENTURES OF ISARA AND CANISARA 225 

embroidered shoe lying upon the road; but he was too 
proud in the possession of his newly-acquired wealth to 
regard such a trifle as an odd shoe, however embroidered, 
and he continued his way without dismounting. When 
Canisara arrived at the spot, however, he picked up the 
shoe, and a happy thought striking him, he ran at the 
top of his speed round by some rocks along a by-way and 
joined the main track again some distance ahead of Isara. 
There he laid down the shoe in the middle of the road, 
and hid himself in a bush. 

Isara, riding up as happy as a king, turned a projecting 
corner of the road and at once espied the shoe. Reining 
up his mule, he gazed at it and cried, " Ha! here's the 
fellow of the shoe I left behind the same pattern and 
everything." And, dismounting, he picked up the shoe, 
tied his mule to the very bush in which Canisara was in 
hiding, and ran back as hard as he could go for the sup- 
posed fellow. The moment he was out of sight Canisara 
got out from the bush, mounted the mule, and rode off 
at a full pace. 

Now, Isara, of course, looked for the fellow-shoe in vain, 
and, what was still harder to bear, he returned to the bush 
to find his mule gone. " Ha!" cried he, " Canisara has 
been here!" And he hastened on foot towards his own 
village. 

Meanwhile Canisara was also pressing on with all speed. 
He arrived at his home in the middle of the night, and 
without a word to any of his neighbours he unloaded the 
mule and drove it away into the forest. He then sum- 
moned his wife, and the two between them carried the 
bags of money into the house and buried them under the 
mud floor. But being afraid of unpleasant questions if he 
met Isara just then, he absented himself from home, 
charging his wife not to reveal the fact of his arrival. 

Isara, by no means despairing, arrived at his own house 
and related his adventures to his wife, who agreed with 
him in his opinion that the money had been taken by 
Canisara. " And what is more," said Isara, " he has 
buried it in his house." 

The next night the wife of Isara invited the wife of 
Canisara A to spend a few hours with her, and during the 
interval Isara visited the house of his partner and success- 
fully dug up the money, after which he restored the floor 



226 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

to its former appearance. Taking the hoard to his own 
house, which he entered after the departure of Canisara's 
wife, he buried it in like manner under the floor of his 
chamber. He then went off and hid himself in an old 
dry well, directing his wife to bring him his food at a 
certain hour every day. 

By this time Canisara had ventured to return to his 
home, and choosing a proper time for the purpose, he 
dug up the floor of his house, stopping now and then to 
chuckle with his wife over the success of his stratagem. 
But, alas ! the money was nowhere to be found, and he 
laboured in vain. "Ah!" cried he, throwing down his 
spade, " Isara has been here !" Then he considered within 
himself, " Isara has taken away the money, but instead 
of looking for the money I shall now look for Isara 
himself." 

Canisara now watched in the neighbourhood of Isara's 
house night and day, and observing that his wife always 
went out at the same hour, he began to suspect that she must 
be taking her husband's food somewhere. So he dogged 
her footsteps at a safe distance, and discovered that she 
made for the old well. There he watched her from behind 
a boulder, and saw her take bread and buttermilk from 
under her veil, and lower the food with a piece of string 
down the well. After a time he noticed that she drew up 
the empty vessel, and, with a few words to the person 
below, returned to the town. "Ha, ha!" laughed 
Canisara, " fsara is here; he is down that well! But 
where can the money be?" 

That night Canisara made up some atrociously bad 
bread, and the next day he disguised himself as a woman 
in a long red cloth, and taking with him the bread, a 
vessel, and a piece of string, he went out to the well and 
lowered down the food. 

"O, you cursed woman !" cried Isara in a rage, " what 
bread is this you have brought me?" 

"O husband!" answered Canisara in feigned tones, 
" you rail at your poor wife, but what am I to do without 
money ?" 

' You wretched woman !" said Isara, " you know that 
under the floor of our old house there are bags and bags 
of money ! Why can't you take a rupee occasionally and 
buy me decent victuals?" 



THE ADVENTURES OF ISARA AND CAN1SARA 227 

Canisara, having heard quite enough for his purpose, 
pulled up the empty vessel and took himself off. He 
passed the real wife on his way into town, and going 
straight to the house, he abstracted the whole of the 
money, and carried it to his own house j but this time he 
buried it in the garden. 

Meanwhile, Isara's wife, having arrived at the well, let 
down her husband's food. Isara, when he saw the sus- 
pended vessel again bobbing in front of him, cried out, 
"Hullo! you here again? It is not half-an-hour since 
you were here before ! ' ' 

" What are you talking about?" answered the woman. 
" I have not been near you since this time yesterday." 

" Ah !" exclaimed Isara with a groan, " is it so? Then 
Canisara has been here, and we are undone again I" 

So he climbed up by the loose masonry and came out of 
the well. "Now let us go home," said he, "and look 
after the money." When he came to his house it was 
too evident that the place had been rifled, and having plied 
his shovel to no purpose, he rushed off to the house of 
Canisara. His wily partner, however, was nowhere to be 
found, nor with all his searching and digging could he 
light on the slightest trace of the lost treasure. At last, 
baffled and disappointed, he went back to his wife and 
got her to lay him out as if he were dead, and to bewail 
him after the custom of his people. Then came the neigh- 
bours bearing bundles of wood, and a funeral-pyre was 
erected to burn his body. Canisara, hearing of these 
lugubrious preparations, said to himself, " All this, I 
fear, is only some trick of my old friend;" and he went 
to the house and asked permission to view the body. 
" This merchant who is dead w : as a friend of mine," said 
he. But they drove him out of the place, saying, " No, 
no; you area Muhammadan." 

Isara was now carried out of the house on a stretcher 
and laid on the top of the funeral-pyre, while blankets 
and clothes were held round to keep off the gaze of the 
multitude. Just as the torches were applied, and the smoke 
began to envelop him, and while the confusion was at its 
height, he slipped out of his shroud, and, taking advantage 
of the darkness, he managed to escape from the scene 
unobserved. His first act was to go again to the house 
of Canisara, feeling satisfied that he must by that time 



228 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

have ventured to return; but the latter, full of suspicion 
and in dread of his life, still kept out of the way. So 
fsara's search was a complete failure. " I cannot find the 
money," said he; " but Canisara I am determined to hunt 
out, and then we shall have an account to settle." 

Canisara now resolved to feign death in his turn. 
" Isara has not deceived me," said he; "but if I can 
deceive Isara, I will return some night, dig up the money, 
and be off to other parts." So first of all a rumour was 
circulated that he was very ill ; then it was asserted that 
he was dead ; and his wife, to keep up the deceit, laid him 
out and bewailed him with shrieks and moaning cries. 
When the neighbours came about, they said, "Alas! it 
is poor Canisara!" And they ordered his shroud and 
carried his body to the grave. There they laid it down 
upon the earth, close by the tomb of an old hermit, for 
the customary observances, and Isara, who had followed 
the mourners, contrived to get a peep at his friend's face, 
saying, " This poor man, as you know, was a crony of 
mine." Having satisfied his doubts, he climbed into a 
tree, which was near the grave, and waited there until, the 
rites being completed, the body was laid in its chamber. 
As soon as the company had dispersed, night having now 
set in, Isara got down from the tree, crept to the old 
tomb, and, lifting up the slab, dragged out the body alive 
and laid it down by the edge of the grave. Just then the 
noise of approaching footsteps and subdued whispers 
caught his attention, and he again got into the tree, 
wondering what this interruption could be. 

The party which now approached was a gang of notorious 
robbers, seven in number, one of whom was blind of an 
eye. Catching sight of the body in the old tomb, they 
examined it with great care, and exclaimed, " See, this 
must be some famous saint ! He has come out of his 
grave, and his body is perfectly fresh. Let us pray to him 
for favour and good luck!" So they one and all fell 
down on their knees and besought his assistance. " We 
are pledged to a robbery this night," said they. "If we 
are successful, O saint, into your mouth we shall drop 
some sugar." The one-eyed man, however, said, " As 
for me, I shall tickle his throat with some water." 

Having made their vows, they all set out for the town, 
robbed a rich man's house, and returned, each one bearing 



THE ADVENTURES OF ISARA AND CANISARA 229 

his own bag of money, to the graveyard. They now 
dropped morsels of sugar into Canisara's mouth in accord- 
ance with their promises; but when it came to the turn 
of the robber of the one eye, he trickled in some vile water. 
Poor Canisara had accepted the sugar with stolid indiffer- 
ence ; but the disgusting water, tickling his gullet, nearly 
choked him, and he began to cough most violently. Pre- 
cisely at this moment fsara, who had been an absorbed 
observer of the scene, suddenly shrieked out in menacing 
tones, " Never mind the fellows behind; catch the rascal 
who is standing in front!" 

These unexpected words sounded in the robbers' ears 
like the voice of the black angel, and imagining themselves 
in the midst of evil spirits, they took to their heels and 
incontinently ran away, leaving their bags of money behind 
them by the open grave. 

The dead Canisara now sprang to his feet, crying out, 
" Ha ! ha ! fsara is here, and I have caught him at last !" 
And as the latter had descended from the tree, the two 
friends embraced each other most cordially. Picking up 
the seven bags of gold, they entered the old tomb, where 
they managed to light one of the little earthenware lamps 
belonging to the shrine, and by dint of drawing the feeble 
flame close enough, they poured out the glittering heaps, 
and proceeded to settle their accounts. They were, how- 
ever, unable to agree about a balance of a single farthing; 
and their words began to run high, each of them asserting 
his claim with tremendous warmth. 

By this time the robbers, having come to a halt, deputed 
their one-eyed companion to return and look for the money. 
One-eyed men are proverbially cunning, and this one was 
determined not to impair his reputation. Creeping quietly 
along, he arrived at the tomb as the dispute was in full 
career ; but, alas ! he was seen ; and just as his head 
appeared through one of the holes in the wall, Canisara 
suddenly snatched off the fellow's old turban, and, handing 
it to Isara, cried, " Here, then, is your farthing; so now 
we are quits!" The robber, drawing back his head with 
the utmost despatch, ran as fast as his legs could carry 
him to his confederates, and told them, " The number of 
demons in that old tomb is so immense that the share of 
each of them comes to only a single farthing! Let us 
get away, or we shall all be caught and hanged!" So, 



230 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

in a great fright, they left the place on the instant, and 
never returned again. 

Then said the wily Canisara to the wily Isara, " With 
the forty thousand rupees which I possess already, my 
share of this capture is one bag, and these other six bags 
are therefore yours." 

The two friends were now equally rich; and returning 
to their homes, they bought lands and houses, and defied 
poverty for the rest of their days, living together with their 
wives and children in the utmost happiness and in the 
enjoyment of every blessing. 

Told at Ghasi, Upper Indus, 1880. 



XXXIII 

THE STORY OF PURAN BHAGAT ! 

KING SfjLWAHAN (Salivahan) reigned in Sialkot in the 
Panjab. In course of time he had a son named Puran, 
whose mother's name was Ichran. When Puran was 
born the King sent, as usual, for the astrologers and the 
family priest to make his horoscope, and, as it was written 
in his forehead, so was it read by them, for they told 
the King that he was not to see his son for twelve years. 
Therefore poor Puran, as soon as he was born, was con- 
fined in a tower. Having come out of one solitary cell 
he was sent into another, with attendants both male and 
female and provisions of all kinds, for twelve years. There 
he had governors to train him, professors to teach him 
the use of the bow, and learned men to instruct him in 
affairs both civil and military. When he was six years 
old the pundits gave him lessons in the sacred books. 
By the time he was twelve he was fully equipped in every 
kind of knowledge and equal to the discharge of all 
worldly affairs. Then the order came that he might leave 
his tower and visit his father. And when Puran heard 
it he was much pleased, and, getting together innumerable 

1 Bhagat a devotee, a saint. 



THE STORY OF PURAN BHAGAT 231 

presents, he set out to see his father, who was waiting 
impatiently to receive him. Well pleased was the King 
to see his son Puran at last; and he distributed largess 
and alms, and gave presents to the pundits and Brahmins, 
as cows, buffaloes, horses and elephants. And to Puran 
was given a seat near to the throne on the right side, where 
he sat and ruled the court. 

Now the King beholding his son, and observing that 
he was now nearly grown, issued strict orders to his 
servants and courtiers to look out for a wife for him. 
" As God has granted to me this jewel," said he, " I 
should see that he is married." But Puran refused that 
honour, saying, " I do not care for marriage, neither do 
I value it. I desire to see the world, and devote myself 
only to the service of God. Of your grace, please do not 
lay trouble upon me, nor chain and shackle me with your 
own hands. O sir, hold me not back from the ways of 
virtue !" 

The King, hearing these words from Puran's own 
mouth, became displeased, and said, " So, you are my 
son, and you have the power to disobey me?" 

But the wazir, observing his state of anger, said, " Sir, 
you will please excuse him ; he is only a boy ; what can 
he know about marriage ? When he comes of age, he will 
not want telling, he will then go wooing himself. You 
need not feel concerned about his marriage." 

Then the King's anger was appeased, and he said no 
more. 

Now the King himself had not long before married a 
new wife, a girl named Luna, of the caste of the leather- 
dressers, who was very handsome, and who, when adorned, 
looked like the moon. And it came about at this time 
that the King said to Puran, " Go now and pay your 
respects to your mother and the other Queen, your step- 
mother, for they are also anxious to see you, and be 
careful that you disobey not this order!" 

So Puran rose accordingly, and taking with him all his 
servants male and female, he went to the King's palace to 
pay his respects to the two queens. Many were the pre- 
sents which were borne by his attendants, and many the 
jewels and the ornaments which he wore on his own 
person, and which doubled and trebled his beauty. His 
earrings were shining like stars in the sky, the diamonds 



232 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

in his necklet were glittering brilliantly, his hand-rings 
were right noble, and it cannot be expressed how greatly 
his looks were enhanced by their display. 

Having arrived at the place, Puran made inquiry from 
the attendants where the palace of his mother stood, and 
where the palace of his step-mother, and each was pointed 
out to him. And he said, "It is better that I should pay 
respect to my step-mother first, because my real mother 
knows that I am her son, and that to her I am always 
bound in honour and obedience." 

Having so said to his attendants, he went towards the 
palace of the Rani Luna, passing in without difficulty and 
having confidence that a kind and tender reception awaited 
him. But scarcely had he entered the chamber, when this 
lady, having looked on his youth and beauty, became 
suddenly enamoured, the fires of love were kindled into 
flames which issued from her body, and losing all sense 
of modesty, she fixed eyes of eager desire upon him. 
Puran, unwitting of danger, meanwhile advanced towards 
her, and, having reached the place where the Rani was 
seated, he folded his hands together, and, prostrating him- 
self, made his salutations. But instead of returning a 
dignified answer, she also humbled herself, paying him the 
respect of an inferior, which when Puran saw, he was 
astounded, and he thought within himself, " Alas, it was 
fated that I should be brought in here!" Rani Luna, on 
the other hand, was thinking that to be with him would 1 be 
to bathe in the sacred waters of the Ganges, and that to 
be loved by him would be Paradise itself, and she promised 
herself that she would be one of the lucky women of the 
world if Puran would comply with her wishes. In short, 
such was her state of melancholy and distress that she could 
not longer control herself, but broke out openly into speech. 

' Why say ' Mother, mother !' to me?" cried she. " I 
am not your mother ! Never were you born of womb of 
mine, then why call you me ' Mother ' ? You are my 
equal in age, and in person we are worthy each of the 
other; your love-darts pierce my heart, and words cannot 
tell all that I suffer for love of you !" 

Then in his shame Puran said to her, " Never must you 
use any such words to me ! Was such friendship between 
mother and son ever yet heard of? And how will the 
world speak ill of us if we meditate this thing ! I am 



THE STORY OF PLJRAN BHAGAT 233 

your son ! As a mother you must embrace me and think 
of me!" 

But Rani Luna, throwing away the wheel of shame, 
caught hold of him by his coat, and pulled him towards 
her, saying, " Come, sit with me on this royal couch ! 
Behold in me, not a woman, but some fairy, entitled to 
make offers to you, and begging you to accept them. But 
you, whether you are man or eunuch I know not, seeing 
you display no manly attribute. O dear friend, come and 
sit down to please me!" 

Then Puran regarded her sternly, and with rough 
language spoke. " Mother, you are mad ! Your husband 
is my father ! Me you should think of as a son born of 
your own bosom. If we were to commit this folly, earth 
and sky would vanish away ! Oh, come to your senses ! 
In the name of God, do not be mad !" 

"I shall kill you!" cried Luna. "Yea, I will cause 
you to be killed by your own father, if you deny me again ! 
Here am I standing before you, like a poor beggar for 
an alms, and you, because you are stern and stout-hearted, 
care not a jot for my prayers, which in fact you disdain. 
Were you born of me? Have I given you milk out of 
my breasts ! By what law, by what reason do you call 
me 'mother'? Why will you slay yourself? why lose 
your own life?" 

" Please take note and be careful to remember," said 
Puran, " that I will not touch your couch, nor put a foot 
on it, and that from this moment I will not allow even my 
eyes to turn towards you ! And now, I care not if I am 
killed or not !" 

So saying, he wrested his clothing out of her hand, and 
fled the place, saying, " At least I will not die laden with 
sin so unnatural and so dreadful !" But Luna, when she 
saw him going, cried out, "Very well look out! This 
dav I will drink your blood !" 

That evening, before the arrival of Raja Sulwahan, 
Rani Luna, taking off all her jewels and ornaments, some 
of them breaking, some of them twisting, laid them aside, 
and lighted no candles in her palace, but went into a 
solitary room, and there, wrapping herself in an old torn 
dress, sat in grief. And when the Raja entered the palace 
she instantly came to him crying bitterly, and sat down 
with him. The King asked her of her trouble, to which 



234 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

she replied, "Ah, do not ask me! Ask rather your son 
who has been fed like a stallion from the stall, and has 
burnt up my heart. Keep him by you you had better 
but let me go away!" 

The King, hearing this, was enraged, and ordered Luna 
to explain herself, and to disclose everything whatsoever 
he had done to her. "If he has spoken unbecomingly 
to you," said he, "if he has used harsh language to you, 
tell me of it! Verily I will hang him. What value is 
such a son to me? If he has done evil to you to-day, 
will he do less to me when he comes to manhood?" 

" See my body, see my jewels," cried the Rani, " look 
at my couch, these are the signs of his violence ! I spoke 
to him as a son, but he did not treat me as a mother!" 

Then she brought out her jewels. " This was broken, 
when he twisted my arm," said she, "and when I with- 
stood him, he rushed from the palace!" 

At these tidings the King's heart was aflame with rage, 
he was weltering in troubles caused by his own son. The 
whole night he passed counting the stars and thinking 
about him. But when morning broke, he rose and, after 
taking his bath, he ordered his doorkeepers and his other 
attendants to summon his wazir and to bring Puran before 
him. " If they ask the reason," said he, "say there is 
work for them." Then those servants went to the wazir, 
and told him, and afterwards sought out Puran, to whom 
with folded hands they spoke. " Your father calls you !" 
But Puran, at the rehearsal of their message, understood 
well enough the reason of the summons, and he said to 
himself, " I know all about this affair. But I do not care; 
let me see what comes of it!" 

When Puran came into his presence, the Raja said to 
him, "You have plunged me into rivers of trouble! 
Would God you had been killed at your birth ! Behold 
what you have done in the house ! Get out of my sight, 
lest I cut you to pieces ! When I asked you to marry you 
refused, and now you would choose your mother for wife, 
would you ?" 

Puran wept bitterly. And he said, " Father, it is not 
in my power to tell you, still less to make you believe, 
what has come to pass. Do not lose your senses, I pray, 
that you should blame me for such a crime. If you would 
judge me truly, and see whether I am guilty or innocent, 



THE STORY OF PURAN BHAGAT 235 

I 

take a chaldron of oil and heat it well, and when the oil 
is hot like unto fire, put my hand into it, and if my hand 
burn, let punishment light on me, but if not, then you still 
can act as you please!" 

On hearing these words, the King was the more incensed, 
and said, " Instead of asking pardon, instead of atoning 
for your crime, you contradict me! I have seen every 
sign and every proof of what you have done !" 

Then the King ordered the executioners to take him and 
to kill him. And that order, when it passed, caused a 
great disturbance in the palace and in the city all round. 
All was disorder, and the King began to reprimand his 
wazir, too, saying, "It is you who are at the root of all 
my troubles!" But when Ichran, Puran's real mother, 
heard of it, she came running to the Raja, breaking her 
jewels and throwing dust on her head, and crying, " What 
anger have you against my son Puran ? You are in the 
power of Rani Luna, and therefore must you kill the 
innocent boy !" 

"Away with him!" said the King. "And you, you 
wretched woman, be off ! Otherwise you shall go with 
him ! Your son is an unlucky son, born on some luckless 
day, who, having come into the world, has caused me 
all this disgrace. He is no shame to yourself, nay, he 
is no good at all. I know perfectly well the mischief he 
has wrought !" 

" Sir," answered the Rani Ichran, " it is not true. You 
should consider well. Why have you taken leave of your 
senses ? How do you know that the Rani Luna has spoken 
the truth ? For her only you are losing the Faith !" 

The King, however, would hear no more, but ordered 
the executioners to obey his command forthwith, saying, 
" Go out into the jungle with him, and cut off his hands 
and his feet!" 

Hearing the sentence, Puran paid him his last farewell 
with respect, and started under charge of the executioners. 

And Puran said, " I am as one without strength, with 
no power to explain what I am suffering, and there is no 
friend of mine who can tell me what fault I have done 
that I should suffer so much. All I can think is that it 
was written in my forehead that I should be judged a thief 
through Rani Luna my step-mother !" And though Rani 
Ichran interceded for him again, pleading for his life, and 



236 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

saying, " Do not kill your son ! Who now will call you 
father !" the Raja closed his ears, refusing to be entreated ; 
nay, in his fury he again charged the executioners, saying 
to them, " Go at once and obey my orders ! You will 
cut off his hands and his feet, and then kill him like a 
goat !" And so the executioners caught Puran, and away 
they went with him. 

Now it came to pass, as they were taking him out of 
the city, that Rani Luna sent a letter to him secretly, 
saying, " If you will agree to my request, I will stand 
security for you, and lay the blame on another servant. 
Think of it ! There is still time. Why lose your life 
for nothing?" 

But Puran spat on the letter and told her, " I do not 
wish to save my life weighed down by the burden of such 
a crime. Even if I live thousands of years, it is still 
appointed unto me once to die !" Then, with a deep sigh, 
he said, " May God visit you, as you have dealt by me ! 
Unnatural is the crime which you have fastened on me. 
Whatever has come upon my head, that I will bear, but 
my mother will die with the sorrow of it!" 

Then Puran besought his executioners to stop for a 
moment at his mother's palace, and his request was 
allowed, and Puran and his mother Tehran met once more, 
and bade each other their last farewells, resigning all hope 
of ever meeting again. Then she returned, crying and 
beating her breast, and saying, " For a slight offence, 
Puran Baghat, my son, is going to be killed innocently!" 

And the executioners, having taken him some distance 
into the jungle, cut off his hands and his feet, and, throw- 
ing him into an old ruined well, came back with a cup 
full of his blood to the palace of the Rani Luna, who 
rejoiced to see it. 

Twelve years passed over, when the Guru Gorakhnath 
was pleased to order his disciples to go on a tour with 
him, and, having started, they reached Sialkot, and pitched 
their tents not far from the ruined well into which Puran 
had been cast by the King's executioners. Halting there, 
he ordered one of his disciples to go and fetch some 
water, but when the man had thrown his line and lotah 
(brass vessel) in hopes to reach water, he peered down and 
saw a man in the well. The disciple was frightened at 
the sight, supposing it was a spirit or a demon, and ran 



THE STORY OF PURAN BHAGAT 237 

back to his guru, and explained what he had seen, saying, 
" Guru Sahib, as soon as I had reached the well, and was 
about to draw up water, I saw to my great surprise a man 
sitting in the well. If you will please come yourself, you 
will be satisfied that this is so. I cannot tell if it is a man, 
or a spirit, or some evil ghost!" 

The guru, hearing these words, went to the well, and 
with him went all his followers. And when they reached 
the well, all the rest kept silence, while the guru spoke 
and asked, " Who are you? What is your name? How 
came you in here?" 

Then Puran, crying bitterly, answered and said, " After 
lapse of twelve years I have seen a human face again ! 
I also am a man, you can see that for yourself, if you 
like ! But if you feel any pity for me, you will kindly 
take me out, and then I will tell you my history." 

The guru therefore ordered his disciples to take Puran 
out, which was accordingly done. And when Puran came 
to the surface, the guru was greatly pleased when he beheld 
his beautiful shape, and he said, " O God, have mercy on 
him !" Then ordered he his disciples to carry him tenderly 
to his tent and to set him down. 

And he asked him, saying, "Where is your home, O 
child ? What is your name and your father's name ? 
How comes it that your hands and feet are cut off? 
Explain to me everything." 

And Puran answered, " Our real country is Ujjain, the 
land of the Raja Vikramajit, and to this side came our 
ancestors and settled in Sialkot. My name is Puran, son 
of Sulwahan, and Raja Sulwahan having cut off my hands 
and my feet, threw me in here." So far I tell you, but I 
can tell you no more, unless you lay your injunctions on 
me, and then, if you do, I will explain further to you!" 

The disciples, hearing this, said to him, " Happy should 
you be, and well content, that you have met Guru Gorakh- 
nath ! He is the beloved of God, and his worship has 
been accepted by the Almighty. You can ask what you 
please of him !" 

Then Puran began his hapless story, not forgetting his 
father's kindness, and the guru heard him attentively. 
And Puran said, " When I was born every one loved me, 
and my father fed me with love and caresses. After 
twelve years I came forth from my tower, and my father, 



238 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

when he saw me, ordered his minister to arrange a mar- 
riage for me, but I refused the favour designed me. Then, 
in a short time, he ordered me to go and pay my dutiful 
respects to my mother and step-mother. But when I 
entered the palace of Luna you may think what she was 
about to do, for, losing the wheel of shame, she tried to 
subdue me with love, but I, drawing my clothes forcibly 
away from her, ran out of the palace. Then, in the night, 
she made my father believe what she pleased. And when 
the Raja heard it, without further consideration he ordered 
the executioners to take me and kill me, and so, having 
brought me here, they cut off my hands and my feet, and 
left me in this old well." 

Then Guru Gorakhnath was pleased exceedingly to 
hear this history of Puran, and taking a vessel, he threw 
handfuls of water over him, and remembered God, and 
prayed for him, that He would see fit to grant him his 
lost limbs, and lo, his prayers were heard, and Puran was 
made whole again. 

Then Puran, seeing that he was restored, offered his 
thanks to the guru, and begged him to make him one of 
his disciples; but the guru answered, saying, "Rather 
you must now return to your own home, and see your 
father again." 

" Much I may not say," said Puran. " Only do you 
please accept my petition and grant me jog. Having 
pierced my ears, O sir, insert the stone earrings with your 
own hand !" 

"Jog you must not think of," answered the guru. 
' The performance of jog is beyond you. You will have 
to suffer hunger and thirst, to bear trials with patience, 
and to renounce the world. You will have to leave behind 
all the pleasures of sense, and to enter upon a life most 
difficult to pursue." 

But Puran, folding his hands, persisted, saying, " I 
will obey your orders, I will accept all your directions. 
Show me kindness, then, and make me one of your slaves. 
I will strive my utmost, and do whatever service you 
impose." 

At last the guru granted his prayer, and having shorn 
off some of his hair, he pierced his ears with his own 
hands, and put the mundrd (stone earrings) in them, and 
so Puran became a jogi or fakir. 



THE STORY OF PURAN BHAGAT 239 

Two days passed, and the guru then ordered Puran to 
go to the palace of the Rani Sundra, 1 and bring thence 
tood for the brotherhood. As he was going, the other 
disciples said among themselves, " Let us see now of what 
sort he will be when he returns!" 

But Puran took no notice, but having asked the guru 
to lay his hand upon him, and having uttered the name 
of God, he started for the house of Sundra. The guru 
also said to him, " Take care, you must treat every one, 
man and woman alike, as brother and sister. This alone 
is the way to win the world !" 

"Sir," answered Puran, "if it had been my desire to 
enjoy the world, I should have listened to Luna, or I 
should have followed my father's direction to marry; or 
again, when you bade me return to my house, I should 
have gone, if I had hankered after pleasure. Be assured, 
therefore I have no worldly desire at all !" 

With these words he went on his way, and came to the 
palace of Rani Sundra, and there, speaking with a loud 
voice, he begged for alms, which were sent out to him by 
a female slave. But Puran said, " My business to-day is 
not with slaves, nor from them have 1 come to take alms. 
You will please go and tell the Rani to come herself, and 
give me the alms." 

The slave fell in love with him the moment she saw 
him, and, without a word in answer, she went in and told 
the Rani all he had said, adding other words of her own. 
" Rani," said she, "you are always admiring your own 
beauty. Look at this fakir who is sitting before your 
house, he is a thousand times handsomer ! You can come 
and see for yourself!" 

The Rani went to one of her palace-windows and looked 
out. And when she saw his beautiful face, instantly she 
too fell in love with him, and she said to the slave-girl, 
" Go and call the fakir in !" So the girl came once more 
to Puran and gave her message, saying, " Please come in, 
the Rani wants you!" 

But Puran answered, "It is not the custom of fakirs to 
enter houses. Go tell the Rani to come out and give me 
whatever alms she has to give herself!" 

When the Rani heard that, she opened her caskets, and 
filling a tray with rich jewels, she took them out herself to 

1 Sundar beautiful. 



2 4 o ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

the fakir, and said, " Please accept them, so shall I esteem 
it a favour ! Yea, I should be fortunate if you would 
accept myself and my house as well !" 

Puran, however, did not consent, but, taking from her 
all the jewels, he returned to the guru, and told him the 
things which had befallen him. 

Now the guru was astonished to see him again, and he 
asked him, saying, " Who gave you all these precious 
stones?" 

" The Rani Sundra herself gave them to me," answered 
Puran. 

" These stones," said the guru, " are of no use to fakirs. 
You must look upon them as common pebbles of the 
public road. Better go and return them !" 

So the next day Puran set out again for the house of 
the Rani Sundra, who was eagerly waiting for him, and 
who, when he arrived, received him with pleasure. Puran 
paid his compliments to her, and said, " You will please 
take back the jewels. My guru is not pleased. But if 
you have bread, or any other victuals in the house, pray 
bring them!" The Rani then set to work and prepared 
various cakes and sweetmeats with her own hand, and, 
laying them in dishes and trays, she ordered her servants 
to carry them to Guru Gorakhnath. Then said she to 
Puran, " Come, I will go see the guru myself !" So she 
went with him, and her servants bearing loads of food 
followed after, and so came to the guru, to whom she 
offered her respects, laying all her offerings at his feet. 
Round about stood the whole band of the disciples, who 
came together at that sight, and she threw looks at them 
all, and no one of that company persevered in virtue saving 
and except the guru and Puran only. 

Now her coming pleased the guru greatly, and he said 
to her, " What boon do you wish?" , 

" By your kindness and grace," answered she, " I have 
in my house all I desire servants, horses, elephants, 
female attendants nothing is w r anting but your goodwill 
and the grace of God." 

Then said the guru to her again, " What boon do you 
wish? Ask without fear!" 

Then the Rani, standing in the midst of them, looked 
round on all his disciples, and she chose Puran as worthy 
to be the boon she desired. And the guru consented, 



THE STORY OF PURAN BHAGAT 241 

accepting her request, and laid his orders on Puran to go 
with her. Puran kept silence, not wishing to gainsay his 
guru, but, rising, he went with the Rani Sundra, and 
accompanied her home. And when they came to the 
palace, the Rani said, " I am one of the fortunate women 
in the world, and blessed is my lot. To-day I have 
obtained my desire through the kindness of the Guru 
Gorakhnath, yea, such a bargain have I made this day, that 
no one else in the world will ever make the like of it again !" 

Puran, however, was not so pleased, for as they drew 
nigh the house, he was in mind to run away, and ere they 
reached the door he begged the Rani to allow him to go 
into the jungle for a space. And the Rani, consenting, 
ordered two of her female slaves to attend him. But 
having gone some distance from the city, he ran for his 
life, saying to the slaves, " Go tell your Rani that Puran 
has gone away !" Those attendants therefore went back to 
the Rani, and explained to her all that had happened in 
the jungle. The Rani, hearing the news, fell senseless, 
and began to cry and to beat her breast, saying, " If I 
ha9 known you would have played me this trick, never 
would I have allowed you to go to the jungle. Hardly 
had I known the bliss of looking at your face, when, like 
an enemy, you left me in all this woe. Ah, dear one, I 
have no power over you at all, and for you alone I go to 
my death this day !" Then she went up to the top of the 
palace, and looked long into the jungle, but no sign of 
Puran was to be seen anywhere round. Failing to find 
him and despairing of his return, she threw herself over 
and killed herself, and her death was mourned by the 
whole city. 

Puran, on the other side, leaving that place, came to 
Tillah, where his guru was then abiding, who, when he 
saw him approaching, straightway understood that he had 
left the Rani Sundra. And he spoke angrily to him, 
saying, ' You have not acted in accordance with my 
wishes !" But Puran wept before him, and said, " I told 
you, Guru Sahib, that I have no desire for worldly plea- 
sures, and yet, notwithstanding my words, you bade me 
marry a wife." 

Then, understanding it all, the guru felt pleased, and 
took him into favour. 

The next day the guru said to Puran, " Now go to 
16 



242 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Sialkot and see your father!" Instantly Puran obeyed, 
and coming to Sialkot, he entered an old garden of his 
own, which for want of water and care had dried up, 
and in that garden he tarried, and the moment he entered 
the garden, all the trees and the flowers, which had died 
down to the earth, instantly revived and put forth blossom 
and leaf, and all over the city went the news, that the 
garden that had been dry for many years was now as 
green as before. And people wondered and said, " Who 
has come here that the garden is so green again?" And 
multitudes came to see him, and whosoever came received 
whatever he needed. 

And it came to pass that some one made report of the 
miracle to Raja Sulwahan and Rani Luna, who, when 
they heard of it, also went to see the strange fakir. And 
the people cleared the way and told him, saying, " Here 
are the Raja and Rani come to see you !" When Puran 
heard that, he got up, and offered his respects to them 
both, receiving them numbly. 

And the King said to him, " Sir, I have come to see 
you, but you have laid weight of obligation on my head 
to receive me with ceremony thus !" 

" How came you here, and why do you visit me?" said 
Puran. " Please say !" 

"You seem to be a sage and a friend of God," 
answered the King. " All I need is a son, if, in your 
kindness, you will grant the boon." 

" I think," said Puran, " that you had a son, and that 
somebody, taking him into the jungle, killed him like a 
goat. Will you tell me how he died?" 

Hearing these words, the Raja wept bitterly, and answer- 
ing, said, " Yes, sir, there was once a son in my house, 
born of the Rani Ichran. When he was young, I ordered 
him to go and visit his mothers, and he, seeing his step- 
mother, Rani Luna, and throwing all shame and virtue 
aside, wanted to deal injuriously with her." 

" O sir," said Puran, " beware how you speak ! Your 
son was innocent, but not so his mother!" 

Then turning to Rani Luna he said, " Rani, will you 
explain now how it all happened? God will give you a 
son, but first you must truly confess your fault. Only 
beware and do not prevaricate!" 

" Alas," said the Rani, " mine alone was the fault and 



THE STORY OF PURAN BHAGAT 243 

not Puran's ! Not he, but I, I only was to blame ! When 
he came to my palace, I, at sight of his lovely face, begged 
him to be my friend. But Puran refused, and I then 
said to him, ' If you will not be mine, something worse 
shall happen to you.' So, after that, beguiling the Raja, 
I caused him to be made away with." 

Great was the astonishment of the Raja on hearing 
these words. " O wretched woman," cried he, " then it 
was your deed that lost me my son, and you it was who 
wrought the mischief, by which Puran, my son, went out 
of my hands !" 

When Puran saw them both crying, he could not 
restrain himself, but, weeping too, he said to the Rani, 
" Luna, let the past go ! That which was written in his 
destiny has come to pass!" Then giving a grain of rice 
to the Raja, he ordered him to give it to his Rani, " for 
then," said he, "by the grace of God, there shall be a 
son in your house again ; but trouble shall be his portion 
such as that which Rani Luna brought on Puran, and 
through trouble like his shall he die." 

In the meantime, Rani Ichran, Puran's real mother, 
heard of the wonders that were being wrought, and she 
said to herself, " Let me also go there, and beg healing 
for my eyes !" So she started for the place, but her eyes 
were dim from much weeping, and scarcely could she see 
where she was going. And as she was stumbling, Puran 
turned, and saw his mother coming to him in her trouble, 
so he got up, and ran to her, and bringing her to his 
shed, he questioned her, saying, " Mother, what has 
happened to your eyes?" 

"Ah, sir," said she, "the loss of my son Puran has 
blinded me." 

" You should not weep for him," said Puran, " neither 
should you lament him. He who has once died can never 
again come back. Rather pray to God, and He will give 
you your sight !" 

She, having recognized his voice, then said, " Son, from 
what side have you come? Where was your birthplace, 
who was your father, what fortunate mother brought you 
into the world ? If I could see, soon should I find out who 
you are. But your voice tells me you are Puran. Am I 
right or not?" 

" I am disciple of the Guru Gorakhnath," answered 



244 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

he, " and jogi by profession. My ancestors were men of 
renown in Ujjain. I am a son of the Raja Sulwahan, my 
name is Puran, and Pivdr (Rajput) is my caste !" 

His mother, hearing these words, became happy, light 
once more visited her eyes, she embraced her son, and 
all her trouble and sorrow vanished away. 

Now the Raja, when he saw and heard all these things, 
became ashamed, and he began to mourn over his own 
folly. But Puran looked at him, and said, " Sir, let it go, 
for, as it was fated to be, so has my destiny brought it 
to pass." And as Luna was also thinking and lament- 
ing over all she had said to him, he spoke to her as well, 
saying, " Think no more of the past ! Regard me as your 
own son and forgive me ! Not so much your fault is it, 
as the fault of my father, seeing he did not inquire into 
the matter." Then the Raja, with folded hands, cried, 
" O God, forgive me, for I alone am the root of all my 
son's misfortunes ! What answer shall I make to Thee, 
O God, hereafter?" 

After these things, Puran said to them all, " Now go 
back to your house ! There live happily, and let me return 
from whence I have come!" 

"Sir," said the King, "go not away again! Come 
home with me, take the keys of all my palaces, and of 
all my treasuries, and be king of the land instead of 
me, for, if you leave me now, the parting will surely 
kill me!" 

But Puran refused his father's request, and then his 
mother Ichran begged him to come and live for a time 
near her. But that too he refused, saying, " From this 
place, when a child, I was taken away into exile. How 
then shall I show my face now before the people ! But I 
give you my guru as a surety, that I will come and see 
you again. Do not therefore urge me with speech, but 
allow me to go !" 

Having so spoken, Puran got up to leave them there, 
both the Raja and his mother, and to his father he said, 
" Treat Luna as your queen, and also take care of my 
mother!" So having started from that place he came 
once more to Tillah, and there paid his compliments and 
his respects to the Guru Gorakhnath, as also to all the 
brethren of the order, explaining the strange events which 
had passed between his parents and himself. And the 



STORY OF THE KING AND THE FOUR GIRLS 245 

guru was greatly pleased to hear it, and to see him again, 
and he blessed him, saying, " May God guard you and 
keep you happy!" 

Told at Murree, July 1881, by Gharal, a story-teller. 



XXXIV 

THE STORY OF THE KING AND THE FOUR GIRLS 

THERE was once a king who, during the day, used 
to sit on his throne and dispense justice, but who at night 
was accustomed to disguise himself and to wander about 
the streets of his city looking for adventures. 

One evening he was passing by a certain garden when 
he observed four young girls sitting under a tree, and 
conversing together in earnest tones. Curious to over- 
hear the subject of their discourse, he stopped to listen. 
The first said, " I think of all tastes the pleasantest in 
the world is the taste of meat." 

" I do not agree with you," said the second; "there 
is nothing so good as the taste of wine." 

"No, no," cried the third; "you are both mistaken, 
for of all tastes the sweetest is the taste of love." 

" Meat and wine and love are all doubtless sweet," 
remarked the fourth girl; " but in my opinion nothing can 
equal the taste of telling lies." 

The girls then separated, and went to their homes; and 
the King, w-ho had listened to their remarks with lively 
interest and with much wonder, took note of the houses 
into which they went, and, having marked each of the 
doors with chalk, he returned to his palace. 

The next morning he called his wazir, and said to him, 
" Send to the narrow street, and bring before me the 
owners of the four houses the doors of which have a round 
mark in chalk upon them." The wazir at once went in 
person, and brought to the court the four men who lived 



246 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

in the houses to which the King had referred. Then said 
the King to them, " Have not you four men four 
daughters?" 

" We have," answered they. 

" Bring the girls hither before me," said the King. 

But the men objected, saying, " It would be very wrong 
that our daughters should approach the palace of the 
King." 

"Nay," said the King; "if the girls are your 
daughters, they are mine too, besides which you can bring 
them privately." 

So tfoe King sent four separate litters, curtained in the 
usual manner, and the four girls were thus brought to the 
palace and conducted into a large reception-room. Then 
he summoned them one by one to his presence as he 
required them. To the first girl he said, " O daughter, 
what were you talking about last night when you sat with 
your companions under the tree?" 

" I was not telling tales against you, O King," 
answered she. 

" I do not mean that," said the King; " but I wish to 
know what you were saying." 

" I merely said," replied she, " that the taste of meat 
was the pleasantest." 

'Whose daughter, then, are you?" inquired the 
King. 

' I am the daughter of a Bhabra," answered she. 

" But," said the King, " if you are one of the Bhabra 
tribe, who never touch meat, what do you know of the 
taste of it ? So strict are they, that when they drink water 
they put a cloth over the mouth of the vessel, lest they 
should swallow even an insect." 

Then said the girl, " Yes, that is quite true, but, from 
my own observation, I think meat must be exceedingly 
pleasant to the palate. Near our house there is a butcher's 
shop, and I often notice that when people buy meat none 
of it is wasted or thrown away ; therefore it must be preci- 
ous. I also notice that, when people have eaten the flesh, 
the very bones are greedily seized upon by the dogs, nor 
do they leave them until they have picked them as clean 
as a lance-head. And even after that, the crows come 
and carry them off, and when the crows have done with 
them, the very ants assemble together and swarm over 



STORY OF THE KING AND THE FOUR GIRLS 247 

them. Those are the reasons which prove that the taste 
of flesh-meat must be exceedingly pleasant." 

The King, hearing her argument, was pleased, and 
said, ' Yes, daughter, meat is very pleasant as food ; 
every one likes it." And he sent her away with a hand- 
some present. 

The second girl was then brought in, and of her the 
King inquired likewise, " What were you talking about 
last night under the tree?" 

" I said nothing about you, O King," answered she. 

' That is true, but what did you say?" asked the King. 

"What I said," replied she, "was that there was no 
taste like the taste o! wine." 

" But whose daughter are you?" continued the King. 

" I am," said she, " the daughter of a priest." 

" A good joke, forsooth," said the King, smiling. 
" Priests hate the very name of wine. Then, what do you 
know of the taste of it?" 

Then said the girl, "It is true I never touch wine, but 
I can easily understand how pleasant it is. I learn my 
lessons on the top of my father's house. Below are the 
wine-shops. One day I saw two men nicely dressed, who 
came with their servants to buy wine at those shops, and 
there they sat and drank. After a time they got' up and 
went away, but they staggered about from side to side, 
and I thought to myself, ' Here are these fellows rolling 
about, knocking themselves against the wall on this side, 
and falling against the wall on that : surely they will 
never drink wine again!' However, I was mistaken, for 
the next day they came again and did the very same thing, 
and I considered, ' Wine must be very delicious to the 
taste, or else these persons would never have returned for 
more of it.' ' 

Then said the King, " Yes, O daughter, you are right; 
the taste of wine is very pleasant." And, giving her also 
a handsome present, he sent her home. 

When the third girl entered the room, the King asked 
her in like manner, " O daughter, what were you talking 
about last night under the tree?" 

"O King," answered she, "I made no reference to 
you." 

"Quite so," said the King; "but tell me what it was 
you were saying." 



248 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" I was saying," replied she, " that there is no taste in 
the world so sweet as the taste of love-making." 

"But," said the King, "you are a very young girl, 
what can you know about love-making ? Whose daughter 
are you?" 

" I am the daughter of a bard," answered she. "It is 
true I am very young, but somehow I guess that love- 
making must be pleasant. My mother suffered so much 
when my little brother was born that she never expected 
to live. Yet, after a little time, she went back to her old 
ways and welcomed her lovers just the same as before. 
That is the reason I think that love-making must be so 
very pleasant." 1 

"What you say," observed the King, "cannot, O 
daughter, be justly denied." And he gave her a present 
equal in value to those of her friends and sent her, also, 
away. 

When the fourth girl was introduced, the King put the 
same question to her, " Tell me what you and your 
companions talked about under the tree last night." 

" It was not about the King," answered she. 

"Nevertheless," asked he, "what was it you said?" 

" Those who tell lies, said I, must tell them because 
they find it most agreeable," replied she. 

" Whose daughter are you ?" inquired the King. 

" I am the daughter of a farmer," answered the girl. 

" And what made you think there was pleasure in tell- 
ing lies?" asked the King. 

The girl answered saucily, " Oh, you yourself will tell 
lies some day !" 

" How?" said the King. " What can you mean?" 

The girl answered, " If you will give me two lacs of 
rupees, and six months to consider, I will promise to prove 
my words." 

So the King gave the girl the sum of money she asked 
for, and agreed to her conditions, sending her away with 
a present similar to those of the others. 

After six months he called her to his presence again, 
and reminded her of her promise. Now, in the interval 
the girl had built a fine palace far away in the forest, upon 
which she had expended the wealth which the King had 

1 The caste of the professional bard (mirasi) is very low. Their 
women are generally " dancing-girls." 



STORY OF THE KING AND THE FOUR GIRLS 249 

given to her. It was beautifully adorned with carvings 
and paintings, and furnished with silk and satin. So 
she now said to the King, " Come with me, and you shall 
see God." Taking with him two of his ministers, the King 
set out, and by the evening they all arrived at the palace. 

" This palace is the abode of God," said the girl. " But 
He will reveal Himself only to one person at a time, and 
He will not reveal Himself even to him unless he was 
born in lawful wedlock. Therefore, while the rest remain 
without, let each of you enter in order." 

"Be it so," said the King. " But let my ministers 
precede me. I shall go in last." 

So the first minister passed through the door and at once 
found himself in a noble room, and as he looked round he 
said to himself, " Who knows whether I shall be permitted 
to see God or not ? I may be a bastard. And yet this 
place, so spacious and so beautiful, is a fitting dwelling- 
place even for the Deity." With all his looking and 
straining, however, he quite failed to see God anywhere. 
Then said he to himself, " If now I go out and declare 
that I have not seen God, the King and the other minister 
will throw it in my teeth that I am base-born. I have 
only one course open, therefore, which is to say that I 
have seen Him." 

So he went out, and when the King asked, " Have you 
seen God?" he answered at once, " Of course I have seen 
God." 

" But have you really seen Him?" continued the King. 

" Really and truly," answered the minister. 

"And what did He say to you?" inquired the King 
further. 

" God commanded me not to divulge His words," 
readily answered the minister. 

Then said the King to the other minister, " Now you 
go in." 

The second minister lost no time in obeying his master's 
order, thinking in his heart as he crossed the threshold, 
" I wonder if I' am base-born?" Finding himself in the 
midst of the magnificent chamber, he gazed about him on 
all sides, but failed to see God. Then said he to himself, 
" It is very possible I am base-born, for no God can I see. 
But it would be a lasting disgrace that I should admit it. 
I had better make out that I also have seen God." 



250 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Accordingly, he returned to the King, who said to him, 
' Well, have you seen God?" when the minister asserted 
that he had not only seen Him, but that he had spoken 
with Him too. 

It was now the turn of the King, and he entered the 
room confident that he would be similarly favoured. But 
he gazed around in dismay, perceiving no sign of anything 
which could even represent the Almighty. Then began 
he to think to himself, " This God, wherever He is, has 
been seen by both my ministers, and it cannot be denied, 
therefore, that their birthright is clear. Is it possible that 
I, the King, am a bastard, seeing that no God appears 
to me ? The very thought is confusion, and necessity 
will compel me to assert that I have seen Him too." 

Having formed this resolution, the King stepped out 
and joined the rest of his party. 

"And now, O King," asked the cunning girl, "have 
you also seen God?" 

" Yes," answered he with assurance, " I have seen 
God." 

" Really?" asked she again. 

"Certainly," asserted the King. 

Three times the girl asked the same question, and three 
times the King unblushingly lied. Then said the girl, 
" O King, have you never a conscience? How could you 
possibly see God, seeing that God is a spirit?" 

Hearing this reproof, the King recalled to mind the 
saying of the girl that one day he would lie too, and, with 
a laugh, he confessed that he had not seen God at all. 
The two ministers, beginning to feel alarmed, confessed 
the truth as well. Then said the girl, " O King, we poor 
people may tell lies occasionally to save our lives, but 
what had you to fear? Telling lies, therefore, for many 
has its own attractions, and to them at least the taste of 
lying is sweet." 

Far from being offended at the stratagem which the girl 
had practised on him, the King was so struck with her 
ingenuity and assurance that he married her forthwith, 
and in a short time she became his confidential adviser in 
all his affairs, public as well as private. Thus this simple 
girl came to great honour and renown, and so much did 
she grow in wisdom that her fame spread through many 
lands. 



OF THE FROG AND THE FARRIER 251 

XXXV 

OF THE PRETENTIOUS MULE 

A CERTAIN mule, having a good opinion of himself, 
began braying pretentiously, so that every one stopped to 
say, "Who is that?" A traveller, passing by at that 
moment, said to him, " O sir! pray tell me what was 
the name of your mother?" 

" My mother's name was Mare," answered the mule, 
with a louder bray than ever. 

"And what was your father's name?" continued the 
inquisitive traveller. 

" Be off !" answered the mule " be off ! None of your 
insolence, if you please ! You are growing a little too 
familiar !" 



XXXVI 

OF THE FROG AND THE FARRIER 

A FARRIER was once engaged in shoeing a fine Arab 
horse at the door of his smithy. Just then a frog came 
hopping up, and, thrusting out one of his feet with a 
consequential air, he cried, " Ho, farrier, shoe me, too! 
shoe me, too !" 



252 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

XXXVII 

OF THE FOUR FOOLISH WEAVERS 

FOUR poor weavers were once sitting together by the 
wayside, and when a traveller rode by and threw them 
four pence, intending by his act of charity that each of 
them should take as his share a single penny, one of the 
weavers, nimbler than the rest, picked up the whole of the 
four pieces, and said, " These pence are for me." Each 
of his companions preferred precisely the same claim, 
saying, as they fell to quarrelling, " Nay, these pence were 
for me." 

Just then, a second traveller, coming up, asked, " What 
are you four weavers making such an ado for?" 

" These four pence were thrown to me," answered their 
possessor; and so answered each of the others. 

" You stupid people !" said the traveller, " there are four 
pence, and four claimants. Why do you not divide the 
money, and take a penny apiece, instead of falling out 
over them ?" 

" I take all or none," said the man who had secured 
them. 

Then said the second traveller, "But the person who 
gave them to you is not yet out of sight. Run after him, 
and ask him which of you is to have them." 

All the four weavers instantly rose and ran after the 
first traveller; and when they had overtaken him, they 
cried in a breath, " O traveller, say to which of us you 
gave these four pence!" 

The traveller looked at them, and seeing that they were 
weavers, he answered, " First, let me know which of you 
is the greatest fool, and then you shall be told for whom 
I intended the pence." 

The fellow who had grabbed the money cried, " I am an 
exceeding great fool, and if you will listen, I will prove 
that I am. He then related the following story : 

' When I was first married, I went one day to my 
father-in-law's village to pay him a visit, and to keep me 
in countenance I took with me as a companion our village 
barber. While we had still some little part of our journey 
to perform, the sun went down, and darkness began to 



OF THE FOUR FOOLISH WEAVERS 253 

set in. You must understand that I am moon-blind, which 
makes it very difficult for me to distinguish anything after 
dusk. Well, as we were going along, we approached a 
great pit full of water; and as the road seemed black and 
the water looked white, I naturally imagined that the 
water must be the road. Full of this idea, I walked straight 
to the bank, and in another minute I was floundering 
about up to my neck. When the barber saw this, he said, 
' Hullo, friena, where have you gone to ?' 

" 'Wait a minute,' answered I; 'I shall be with you 
presently.' 

" I said this because I did not wish to appear such a 
fool as to have walked into the pond except with a pur- 
pose, and I was equally ashamed to confess that I was 
moon-blind, but I felt anything but comfortable in my 
desperate struggles to regain the bank. The barber, how- 
ever, cried out with a loud voice, ' Help, help ! a man has 
fallen into the water !' and three or four men, hearing his 
cries, rushed to the spot, but before they arrived I managed 
to scramble out myself. One of the new-comers then said 
to me, ' How were you so unlucky as to tumble in ?' 

" ' Oh,' answered I, ' I didn't tumble in I jumped in. 
This barber argued that there was not much water here, 
so I jumped in to show him the real depth of it.' 

" The men laughed at me, and went away, while I 
waited to wring the water out of my dripping clothes. 

" As the barber had gone on ahead, I made haste after 
him ; but it so happened that as we entered the village all 
the cattle were coming in from grazing, and, the barber 
passing down the street close to a bullock, I missed him, 
nor could I tell which way to turn. In this dilemma I said 
to myself, ' I cannot possibly see my way. I had better 
take hold of a bullock's tail, and when he reaches his 
home I'll ask his owner the way to my father-in-law's 
house.' So, seizing a bullock's tail, and holding on to it 
with a tight grip, I walked patiently along. 

" Meanwhile the barber had reached the house, and 
finding that I had not followed, he turned back to look for 
me, and was rather astonished to find me holding a 
bullock's tail. 

"'What are you doing with that bullock's tail?' said 
he. 

" As some villagers were standing within earshot, and 



254 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

I was afraid of being laughed at, I did not mention that 
I had lost my way, but I began to abuse the barber : 
'You wretched fellow!' answered I; 'you say this fine 
bullock is only worth five rupees ! Feel him ! Any one 
with half an eye might see he is worth twenty-five at the 
least.' 

" This speech must have impressed the villagers, be- 
cause one of them said, ' What a clever weaver ! ' 

" I then followed the barber without further mishap to 
my father-in-law's, where we were welcomed, and a bed- 
stead was brought forward for us to sit on. 

" In the courtyard where the family was assembled 
there was a young buffalo, which ever and anon came up 
to the barber and me, and sniffed at us, and sometimes it 
licked us, besmearing our cheeks with a tongue like a 
painter's brush, though we remonstrated and tried to keep 
it away. 

" My mother-in-law now brought us out some bread 
which she had just baked, and having laid it down be- 
tween us, she said, 'Come, eat your bread;' after which 
she went in for some butter. At this moment the buffalo- 
calf again approached us, and the barber hunted it back 
with his stick. He had scarcely sat down again when my 
mother-in-law arrived with the liquid butter, and began to 
pour it over the bread. It was very dark, and as for me, 
I was unable to see the least bit in the world; but hearing 
the trickling of the butter, and believing it was the buffalo 
at the food, I gave my mother-in-law so sharp a back- 
hander that she was sent sprawling on the ground, and 
all the butter was wasted. Being, for a wonder, a woman 
of the sweetest temper, she picked herself up without a 
word of blame, and, taking her vessel, went meekly back 
to the house. 

" A few minutes afterwards said the barber to me, ' I 
hope that was not your mother-in-law whom you hit, but 
I think it was !' 

" Having finished eating, I said, ' Barber, put this 
bread aside,' and, lying down, we went to sleep. 1 

" Some hours must have passed, when I was awakened 
by the clinking of money at some distance, and, imagin- 
ing there was a robber somewhere, I got up to listen. 

1 In the hot weather people bring their light beds out of doors and 
sleep in the courtyard. 



OF THE FOUR FOOLISH WEAVERS 255 

Then, rising, I tied one end of my long turban to the bed, 
so that I might be able to guide myself back when I 
wished to return, and proceeded in the direction of the 
sound, allowing my turban to glide gradually through 
my hands. Almost immediately I found myself at the 
doorway of the court, and, looking out, I stood for a 
moment with cocked-up ears, listening to every sound. 
As the chinking was not repeated, I pulled at the turban 
in order to find my way back, when, as I imagined, the 
whole piece of stuff came towards me, the fact being that 
the mischievous buffalo had taken advantage of the occa- 
sion to bite my turban in two. ' What shall I do now?' 
thought I. 'I shall be found out to a certainty, and 
every one will call me the blind man.' This thought 
distressed me exceedingly, since a blind man is an object 
of pity and scorn, but, groping here and groping there, I 
did my best to retrace my steps. Suddenly my shins 
struck sharply against the edge of a bedstead, and in 
another instant I was lying prone across my old mother- 
in-law, whom I nearly crushed, and who, lifting her head, 
yelled out, ' Murder ! What wretch are you, coming 
about here ?' I answered her, ' Mother dear, when you 
were giving us the butter, I thought, as it was so dark, 
that your young buffalo had come to steal the bread, 
and I hit without looking. But as I am afraid I must 
have struck you, I have just come over to apologize to 
you.' 

" My mother-in-law was pleased, and answered, ' Son, 
go back to bed; I forgive you.' 

" ' Nay, mother,' said I, 'you come as far as my bed 
with me, just to show that you really forgive me, and that 
you bear no malice. This kind of forgiveness does not 
suit me.' 

"So the good-natured old lady accompanied me back, 
and I spent the rest of the night undisturbed. 

" And now," continued the weaver, " did you ever hear 
of such a fool as I am ? And am I not entitled to the four 
pence?" 

The second weaver here interposed, and said, "It is 
true you are pretty foolish, but I am more so. O traveller, 
when you hear the story of my adventures, I think you 
will aclmit that the four pence properly belong to me ! 



256 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

When I went to pay the accustomed visit to my father-in- 
law after my marriage, I determined to travel in style. 
So I borrowed a horse from one neighbour, arms from 
another, and jewels from another. Thus mounted, adorned, 
and accoutred, I set out, and every traveller that passed 
me stared and said, ' What a respectable weaver ! What 
a rich, respectable weaver!' On the road I was caught in 
a storm of rain, and I had to take shelter at a certain 
village. When the rain was over I started again, but, 
owing to the delay, it was so late when I approached the 
village of my father-in-law that I thought to myself, ' If 
I enter the village now no one will see me, but if I wait 
till the morning and enter then, every one will say, ' What 
a grand son-in-law that neighbour of ours has managed 
to get!' This reflection induced me to pull up at the 
door of a poor fakir, and to ask him for a night's lodging. 
'Welcome!' said the fakir, and I dismounted and 
salaamed him. Then said the fakir, ' What business has 
brought you this way to-day ?' 

" ' All I wish,' answered I, ' is just to rest here for the 
night. To-morrow I shall continue my journey.' 

" ' But,' said the fakir, ' it is the custom at this village 
for travellers first to report themselves to the watchman 
before resting.' 

" ' Surely you do not take me for a thief?' protested I. 
' All I want is leave merely to sit down and wait.' 

" ' I don't know,' answered the fakir; ' there have been 
thieves about lately, and if you are not careful you will 
get into trouble. I do not mind allowing you to remain 
if you will put on my clothes and go round and beg some 
bread for me.' 

" ' But I don't know how to beg,' said I. ' Pray be so 
good as to permit me to remain.' 

" 'Out of my doors!' cried the fakir, and he bundled 
me out into the cold. Then said I, ' All right ; if you will 
allow me to stay, I will go and beg for you.' 

" So the fakir took charge of my clothes and all my 
other property, and gave me his rags and his begging- 
bowl and bade me make haste. As I was changing, I 
said to myself, ' I will beg at every house except my 
father-in-law's.' Scarcely had I gone ten steps, however, 
when the fakir cried after me, ' Remember, you are to 
bring scraps from every house in the village, or else in 



OF THE FOUR FOOLISH WEAVERS 257 

this place you shall not remain. I know the bread of 
every one of them, so beware!' 

" This was a caution I had not expected, but I made 
the best of my way into the village in my disguise, and 
having begged at every other house, I stopped in doubt 
and perplexity at that of my father-in-law. On the one 
hand, I was afraid of the fakir, and on the other I was 
afraid of discovery. At last the former feeling prevailed, 
and I entered the courtyard. Now, my father-in-law had 
lately taken up his store of wheat out of the ground, and 
the recent heavy rain had filled the empty pit with water. 
Avoiding the danger, I took up my station in front of the 
house, and cried, ' For God's sake, give me some bread ! 
For God's sake, give me some bread!' after the usual 
style and manner of fakirs. It was horribly dark, and 
the strong wintry wind was so bitterly cold that I felt 
perished. My mother-in-law, hearing my cries, said to 
my wife, ' Take a little bread out to that poor fakir.' And 
my wife, lifting some dry sugar-cane to serve her as a 
torch, lighted it, and with the light in one hand and the 
cakes in the other she came out into the veranda. The 
moment I saw her I said to myself, ' If I go too near her, 
she will recognize me;' so as she advanced I stepped back- 
ward, and the more she advanced the more diffident I 
became, until suddenly I fell plump on my back into 
the pool of water. Then cried my wife, ' Oh, mother, 
mother, this poor fakir has fallen into the pit ! and he is 
sinking, he is sinking!' And so great a stir did she 
make, that my mother-in-law, and my father-in-law, and 
several of the neighbours, came rushing together and sur- 
rounded the pit, crying, ' What has happened ?' Half 
dead with cold, and shivering in every limb, I was 
dragged out of the water by my father-in-law, who said, 
'Oh, fakir, fakir, where do you live ?' but I was in such 
a state that the chattering of my teeth was the only reply 
of which I was capable. Then said my father-in-law, 
' This poor fellow will die of cold, and his blood will be 
on our heads. Light up a fire for him, and let us warm 
him.' This was no sooner said than done, but as I began 
to revive, the people, by questioning, found me out, and 
one of them slyly remarked, ' This man is very like your 
son-in-law, neighbour.' 

" ' Yes, yes,' answered I, gasping; 'I am, I am.' 

17 



258 ROMANTIC TALKS FROM THE PANJAB 

" ' But what on earth,' asked my relations, ' happened 
to you that you had to beg your bread?' 

" ' The truth is,' answered I, ' I came riding to this 
village on a mare; and as it was late when I arrived, I put 
up with a fakir, living hard by the road. But he w r as a 
churl, and he compelled me to take round his bowl for 
bread before he would lodge me, and that is how I came 
to find myself here before the morning.' 

" ' What a misfortune !' cried my father-in-law. ' That 
fakir has not been in the village more than a day, and who 
knows what sort of a character he is ! Run, my son, and 
see whether he is still there, for my mind misgives me.' 

" The son made haste to the hut, but the cunning fakir 
had mounted my mare and decamped at a gallop, carrying 
off all my jewels, my money and my clothes. Then did 
my mother-in-law most unjustly reproach me w : ith bitter 
words, ' A precious wiseacre for a son-in-law ! You would 
not come straight to the house, lest no one should see and 
admire you. Does no one see you now, you silly! and 
when to-morrow comes you will be the gazingstock of the 
whole village.' 

" And now," continued the second weaver to the 
traveller, "this man says he is a fool, but is he one-half 
such a fool as I am?" 

Then said the third weaver, " That these two fellows 
are fools no one can deny. It may be that I am not quite 
so foolish; but you, O traveller, shall judge, and if you 
think me worthy of the four pence, I hope I may receive 
them. 

" On the occasion of my visit to my father-in-law's 
house, whither my wife had gone before me, the village 
barber bore me company ; and on our arrival my mother- 
in-law put out a bedstead for us, and said, ' Sit down.' 
Down we sat; and she then said, ' You must be hungry?' 
The barber answered, ' Yes.' So she brought a pound 
of uncooked rice and some brown sugar, and mixing them 
together, said, ' Eat this.' Then she sat down to her 
distaff just in front of us, and began spinning her thread. 
The barber's whetted appetite waited for no second invita- 
tion, and he fell to; but I was ashamed even to touch the 
food with my mother-in-law looking on, and I took never 
a grain of it. 



OF THE FOUR FOOLISH WEAVERS 259 

" ' This is very nice food,' remarked the barber; ' why 
do you not eat some of it?' 

" ' I don't feel inclined,' answered I. 

" My mother-in-law then got up, and said to me, ' Son, 
you are not eating!' 

" ' No,' said I ; ' I am not hungry.' 

" She then looked vexed; and going to the other women 
of the house, she said, ' I gave the lad some rice, thinking 
he would relish it after his long journey, but he will not 
touch it.' 

" As soon as she had turned her back on us, however, I 
took advantage of the circumstance to pounce on the rice 
like a hungry hawk, and, taking up a double-handful, I 
crammed it all into my mouth, intending to eat pro- 
digiously. If she had only remained away a little longer 
I should have swallow ed my mouthful ; but, to my great 
annoyance, she returned at the critical moment, and sat 
down again at her distaff, looking straight at me all the 
time. 1 kept as quiet as a mouse, not daring to move my 
jaw, while my cheeks were bursting with the quantity of 
sugar and rice which I had stuffed into my mouth. After 
looking at me fixedly for some seconds, she said to herself, 
' This lad was all right a little time ago, when 1 left him. 
What has happened to his face to be all swollen up in that 
way?' Then she rose, and approaching me, she said, 
' O son, are you ill, or what's the matter, that your face 
has become swollen so frightfully ?' As my mouth was so 
full, it was not in my power to utter a syllable, and I 
stared at her mutely. The old woman, now 7 seriously 
alarmed, began shrieking, ' Oh, help ! my son-in-law is ill. 
He is ill he is dying ! See what a dreadful face he has !' 

" The barber, who was not a very intelligent man, but, 
if anything, decidedly stupid, said to her, ' For goodness' 
sake don't make such a noise. These are nothing but 
simple tumours, and I'll cure your son in a jiffy.' 1 

"'Oh, if you will only cure him,' said she, 'of this 
horrid disorder, I have a couple of milch buffaloes in my 
house, and the one we intended for my son-in-law I will 
give to you you shall have it, you shall indeed, if you 
will only cure him !' 

" The barber, taking out his lancet, made a deep gash 

1 Barbers in India are also surgeons barber-surgeons, in fact, as 
formerly in England. 



2 6o ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

in each of my cheeks, and immediately the rice and the 
dissolved sugar began to ooze out. 

" ' You see the blood,' said he, ' which is oozing out? 
and those white things are maggots ! If I had not been 
at hand to cure your son, those maggots would have eaten 
up into his brain and killed him.' 

" My mother-in-law was profuse in her acknowledg- 
ments, and at once presented him with my milch buffalo ; 
but as for me, I lost my buffalo, and had both my cheeks 
cut open into the bargain. 

" And now," said the third weaver, in conclusion, 
"judge whether I am not a greater fool than either of 
these fellows." 

" It must be admitted," observed the fourth weaver, 
"that all these three men are consummately silly; but 
now hear me, for I venture to think I am the biggest fool 
of them all. 

" When I went to visit my father-in-law, I also invited 
our village barber to accompany me. We rode on bor- 
rowed horses, and my wife was carried in a doolie. When 
we arrived at the house, we were made heartily welcome, 
and as an omen of good luck on our happy union, my 
good father-in-law, according to the usual custom, poured 
abundance of oil into the stone socket in which turned the 
lower hinge of the door. Then he gave us seats of honour 
in the midst of his guests, and called for supper. Now, 
my mother had given me the strictest orders to be on my 
good behaviour, and to show my respect and good breed- 
ing by eating as little as possible. When, therefore, my 
friends invited me to the repast, I affected an indifference 
to food, and said, ' I will eat by-and-by.' My friend the 
barber, however, went boldly forward, and as boiled rice 
was a delicacy we seldom partook of, he proceeded to make 
a hearty meal. Then said my mother-in-law, ' Why do 
you not eat, son ? Come and have your supper.' 
' I do not feel hungry just now,' answered I. 
' When the meal was over, the plates were removed, and 
my portion was put on one side. Then, as it was time for 
bed, we all retired, my friends to the courtyard and the 
barber and myself to the house-top. 

" After we had lain down, the barber said to me, ' Why 
did you not eat any food ?' 



OF THE FOUR FOOLISH WEAVERS 261 

"'I was hungry then,' answered I, 'but I am more 
hungry now. Go and ask them to let me have my food 
here.' 

" ' Let us first see,' replied he, ' whether there is a hole 
in the roof.' 

" We looked and found that there was one large enough 
for a man to pass through, for it was one of those houses 
in the roofs of which such holes exist in order that the 
grain, laid on the roof to dry, may be shovelled back into 
the little household granary below. 

" Then said the barber, ' Let us take some of the cording 
off this bed, and I can lower you down. You will find 
your food on the shelf.' 

" Tying the cord round my waist, he lowered me into 
the chamber beneath, and finding my plate of rice on the 
top of the corn-bin, I sat there and ate it. When I had 
finished I said quietly, ' Pull me up!' The barber, how- 
ever, did not pull. Again and again I called to him, 
' Pull me up!' but without avail. Tired of calling, I sat 
still where I was. 

" Now, it happened that some stranger had arrived at 
the house just then, and that my brother-in-law had said 
to my wife, ' Go into the house and bring out that plate 
of rice for him.' My wife, therefore, opened the door from 
without, and began feeling about for the plate. At last 
her hand touched mine, and she uttered a shriek, crying, 
' There is an evil spirit in the house ! Help !' Then said 
I to her, 'Don't run out, and don't make a noise; you 
will be heard.' But without stopping to consider, she 
rushed out, and my mother-in-law instantly shut the door 
and put the chain up. 

" The disturbance roused up the barber, who, looking 
down, said, ' What is the matter? Do you wish to come 
out ?' I begged and begged of him to pull me out as 
quickly as possible. ' I will only pull you out,' answered 
he, ' on condition that you hand me up a chatty of flour.' 
With this request I at once complied, and he took the 
vessel of flour and then pulled me up to the roof. 

" Meanwhile my father-in-law had sent for the village 
priest to exorcise the evil spirit from his house. The 
priest, arriving, sat by the doorstep, opened his book, and 
began to recite appropriate verses. Then said he, ' Some 
spirits are white, and some spirits are black. The spirit 



262 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

which has entered your house is a white one, and a tough 
customer he is likely to prove. How much will you give 
me if I drive him out for you ?' 

" ' Here,' said my father-in-law, ' are five rupees.' 

" ' Good !' replied the priest. ' He shall be driven out, 
but he must be killed as well. Arm yourselves with sticks 
and stones, and when he makes a rush give it to him 
well!' 

" Opening the door, the wily priest now entered the 
house. But the truth was he knew nothing whatever 
about evil spirits, and when he caught sight of the bright 
round disc of light cast by the moon on the floor as it 
shone through the hole in the roof, he was struck dumb 
with fear and astonishment, and remained rooted, half 
dazed, to the spot. Just then the barber peeped down and 
saw him, having overheard all that had passed in the yard 
below. Seizing his vessel full of flour, he emptied the 
whole of it over the priest, who was just under the hole. 
Nearly suffocated, and imagining himself pursued by ten 
thousand furies, the wretched man rushed for the door, 
but was set upon the moment he apoeared by the party 
watching outside. 'Hold, hold!' cried he; 'don't beat 
me, I am the priest!' 

'Nay, you are an evil spirit,' answered they; 'our 
priest is not of this colour.' 

" So they killed him, and cast his body out of the court- 
yard, and went to sleep. When morning came, however, 
they saw that he was really the priest, and no evil spirit 
at all ; and they were in a fright, and were brought up 
to answer for the mishap ; nor did my father-in-law escape 
under a heavy fine. 

" And now, sir," continued the fourth barber, " do you 
not agree that I am the greatest fool of all?" 

'You are all such a rare collection of fools," answered 
the traveller, " that though the four pence were intended 
for equal division among you, you shall now have four 
pence apiece," saying which he gave them more money, 
and continued his journey. 

Told at Ghdsi by a villager of the Chach Plain, 
November 1879. 



OF THE KING AND HIS DAUGHTERS 263 

XXXVIII 
OF THE KING AND HIS DAUGHTERS 

THERE was once a king who had several daughters. 
To the first he said, " How do you love me?" " I love 
you as sugar," said she. To the next he said, "And 
how do you love me?" " I love you as honey," said she. 
To the third he said, " And how do you love me?" " I 
love you as sherbet," said she. To the last and youngest 
he said, " And how do you love me?" " I love you as 
salt," said she. 

On hearing the answer of his youngest daughter the 
King frowned, and, as she persisted in repeating it, he 
drove her out into the forest. 

There, when wandering sadly along, she heard the 
tramping of a horse, and she hid herself in a hollow tree. 
But the fluttering of her dress betrayed her to the rider, 
who was a prince, and who instantly fell in love with her 
and married her. 

Some time after, the King, her father, who did not 
know what had become of her, paid her husband a visit. 
When he sat down to meat, the Princess took care that 
all the dishes presented to him should be made-up sweets, 
which he either passed by altogether or merely tasted. 
He was very hungry, and was longing sorely for some- 
thing which he could eat, when the Princess sent him a 
dish of common spinach, seasoned with salt, such as 
farmers eat, and the King signified his pleasure by eating 
it with relish. 

Then the Princess threw off her veil, and, revealing her- 
self to her father, said, " O my father, I love you as salt. 
My love may be homely, but it is true, genuine and last- 
ing, and I entreat your forgiveness." 

Then the King perceived how great a mistake he had 
made, and there followed a full reconciliation. 



264 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

XXXIX 

OF THE WIDOW OF BANEYR 

THERE was a widow of Baneyr who had two sons. They 
had cut the harvest of their little ancestral field, and their 
two bullocks were treading out the grain, when suddenly 
the sky became overcast and a storm of rain swept by. 
The poor silly woman instantly caught a certain familiar 
insect, a friend to man, and, running a needle and thread 
through it, hung it up to a neighbouring frer-tree as a 
charm to drive away the unwelcome shower. At the same 
time she addressed God in the following words, " O God, 
my boys are but children, and in this thing are innocent. 
But Thou art a white-bearded man. Didst Thou not see 
that this rain was not wanted for threshing out my 
wheat?" 



XL 

OF THE GARDENER'S WIFE, THE POTTER'S WIFE, 
AND THE CAMEL 

A GARDENER'S wife and a potter's wife once hired a 
camel to carry their goods to market. One side of the 
beast was well laden with vegetables and the other with 
pottery. As they went along the road the camel kept 
stretching back his long neck to pilfer the vegetables. 
Upon observing this, the potter's wife began laughing, 
and jested her friend on her ill luck. " Sister," said she, 
" at the end of the journey there will not be a single vege- 
table left; you'll have nothing whatever to sell !" 

" It is true you are luckier than I am," answered the 
gardener's wife, "but, remember, the first to win are the 
last to lose !" 

When they arrived at the market-place the camel-man 



OF THREE SILLY WEAVERS 265 

ordered his animal to kneel down, but the weight on one 
side was so much greater by this time than the weight on 
the other that the camel gave a lurch as he got on his 
fore-knees and crushed the pottery between himself and 
the earth, so that most of it was smashed, and what was 
not smashed was cracked. So it ended that the gardener's 
wife had something, at least, to sell, but the potter's wife 
had nothing. 



XLI 

OF THREE SILLY WEAVERS 

THERE were three weavers, all brothers, who lived in 
the same village. One day the eldest said to the others, 
" I am going to buy a milch buffalo." So he went to a 
farmer, paid for the buffalo, and took it home. 

The second brother was quite touched at the sight of 
it. He viewed its head, its horns, and its teats, and then 
said, " O brother, allow me to be a partner in this beauti- 
ful buffalo." Said the elder, " I have paid for this beauti- 
ful buffalo twenty-two rupees. If you wish to be a partner 
in her, you had better go to the farmer and pay him 
twenty-two rupees too, and then we shall have equal 
shares in her." This then he did. 

Shortly after the third brother came in and said, " O 
brother, you have allowed our brother to be a partner with 
you in this beautiful buffalo; won't you let me take a 
share too?" 

"Willingly," answered the other; "but first you must 
go to the farmer and pay him twenty-two rupees, as we 
have done." 

So the third brother did likewise; while the farmer 
chuckled, saying, " This is a fine thing, getting all this 
money for my skinny old buffalo!" 

The three brothers now agreed that each one of them 
should have a day's milk from the buffalo in turn, and that 



2 66 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

each should bring his own pot. The two elder brothers 
had their turns; but when the third day came, the youngest 
said, "Alas! what shall I do? I have no pot in my 
house!" In this perplexity the eldest remarked, "This 
is a most difficult business, because, you see, if you milk 
the buffalo without a pot, the milk will be spilt; you had 
better milk her into your mouth." 

His ingenious solution of the problem was at once 
adopted, and the youngest brother milked the buffalo into 
his mouth. 

Going home, he was met by his wife, who asked, 
"Well, where is the milk?" 

" I had no pot," answered the man, " so I had to milk 
the buffalo into my mouth." 

" Oh, you did, did you?" cried she; " and so your wife 
counts as no one ? I am to have no milk ? If I am not 
to have my share of the milk, in this house I refuse to 
remain." And she \vent off in anger to the house of her 
mother. 

Then the three brothers went together to the head-man 
of the village and complained, begging him to order the 
woman to return to her husband. 

So the head-man summoned her and said, " O woman, 
you may have your share of the milk, too, just the same 
as your husband. Let him milk the buffalo into his mouth 
in the morning and you milk it into yours in the evening." 

"Then why," cried she, "could not my husband have 
said so himself? Now it is all right; and, besides, I shall 
be saved all the trouble of setting the milk for butter." 
And she returned to her husband's house immensely 
pleased. 



XLII 
ON A WEAVER'S STUPIDITY 

ONCE upon a time a certain weaver, who owned a little 
ancestral field which he had no time to reap, wove a piece 
of cloth, and taking it to the village blacksmith, he said, 



ON A WEAVER'S STUPIDITY 267 

" Here, friend, accept this gift, and make a sickle that 
shall cut my corn of itself." 

When the blacksmith had finished the work, the 
delighted weaver took the sickle and laid it quietly at the 
edge of the ripe corn, saying, " O sickle, mow my field !" 
Then he went home, but in the evening he returned, for 
he said, " Perhaps the job is done; so let me now go and 
see how much of my harvest my new sickle has mown." 
When he arrived at the spot he found the corn undisturbed, 
and the sickle lying idly by. But, taking it in his hand, 
he perceived that it was exceedingly hot, since the sun 
had been playing on it the whole day, and he said to 
himself, "My crop would have been all cut down; but, 
alas ! my sickle has fever." 

So he went to the blacksmith and said, " My sickle has 
done no work because fever is heavy upon it, and so I 
crave some medicine." 

" Take a long string," answered the ready smith, " and 
having tied your sickle to the end of it, dip it into the 
well, and the fever will leave it." Then the weaver did 
as he was bidden, and the sickle recovered and became 
cool, and he took it home with him and joyously hung 
it up. 

Now, it happened that very night that the weaver's old 
mother fell ill of a violent fever, and that the heat of her 
body was such that she kept tossing about and was like 
to die. So her sagacious son, saying to himself, " Aha, 
I know the medicine !" immediately carried her out to the 
well, and having tied a rope round her body, he lowered 
her in, plunging her repeatedly into the cold water until 
she really breathed her last. Then he drew her forth, and 
said, "Now my old mother's fever has left her!" So 
he bore her home, and put her sitting up in a corner of 
the chamber before a spinning-wheel, saying, " Now my 
dear old mother is going to spin." There he left her, 
going himself out to his work. And when he returned 
in the evening he looked at her, and her mouth hung 
open, and her teeth protruded, and great brown ants were 
crawling about her gums. So the weaver said, " My 
clever old mother is eating oil-seeds (thil), and laughing 
away like anything." And with this he began to laugh 
too, and he laughed and laughed so heartily that he 
brought all- his neighbours together, who, seeing his error, 



268 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

reproved him, saying, " O foolish one, your mother is 
not laughing, but dead!" And having so spoken they 
carried her forth and buried her. 



XLIII 
OF CERTAIN DELUDED WEAVERS 

IT was long ago, when the Duranis had subdued the 
country, that there was a certain small village inhabited 
only by weavers. As the Duranis spoke in Persian, and 
the weavers only knew Panjabi, it happened that, when 
the new officers appeared to collect the revenue, the poor 
villagers were unable to explain their grievances, but had 
perforce to sit still and submit to all the exactions possible. 
Then the weavers summoned a meeting of their people, 
and agreed that they would all put ten rupees each into 
a common stock for the purpose of despatching two of their 
number to Kabul to purchase a supply of the language of 
Persia. This was no sooner said than done, and two old 
grey-beards from among their tribe, whose wisdom had 
become the common admiration, set out on the long journey 
past Peshawur and through the dark Khyber Pass to 
obtain the coveted gift. At every village they made the 
anxious inquiry, "Have you any Persian for sale?" and 
from every village, because they were seen to be weavers, 
they were hooted away, or passed contemptuously by. 
They had arrived at the town of Jalalabad, and were about 
to enter the gates, when they met a man \vho was both 
clever and cruel. " We would buy some Persian for our 
village," said the poor weavers. Then said the man to 
himself, " These fellows are great fools, but let me see if 
I cannot please them and secure their money too." So 
he answered them, " Here, come with me, and hand me 
over a fair price, and I will provide you with two jars 
full of the most excellent Persian." So he took them 
home for the night and gave them some supper. 



OF CERTAIN DELUDED WEAVERS 269 

Now, it happened that it was the time of year when 
wasps have their nests hanging from the beams, so this 
wretched man put sweet-stuffs into a couple of jars and 
then filled the jars with black wasps, and, having tied them 
down, he sold them to the travellers, saying, " Be careful 
not to open these jars on the way, lest the Persian escape, 
but keep them safely sealed, and when you arrive home 
call your friends together on a Thursday, and, entering all 
together into a dark chamber, close the doors, undress 
your bodies, and then, opening the jars, let every man 
among you take his share and be satisfied." 

These foolish men then left for India, and having arrived 
at their own village, they called their neighbours together 
and told them the good news. So they all hastened into 
a dark chamber, and, when they had closed every aper- 
ture, they divested themselves of their shirts and opened 
the jars. The imprisoned wasps flew instantly forth, and 
stung them severely, while, groping here and there from 
their attacks, the deluded weavers kept crying, " Where is 
the door? Where is the door?" At last the door was 
found, and an escape was made into the open air, but 
when they looked at each other in the light of day, scarcely 
could they recognize each other by reason of their swollen 
features. One of them, having missed his mother, who 
had been one of the party, cried to some bystanders, " Has 
no one seen my mother?" "Your mother," answered 
they, " has run away, and gone with quantities of Per- 
sian, which was sticking to her fast." So, searching high 
and low, they found the poor old thing, but she was all 
swollen, and she became ill and took to her bed. 

After this sad experience the weavers of the village deter- 
mined never more to meddle with Persian, but to leave that 
tongue for those who were cunning to master strange 
languages. 



270 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

XLIV 
A TALE OF A KING AND A FARMER 

ONE day a certain king, having called his ministers 
about him, mounted his horse and rode out into the fields. 
There he halted before an old farmer, who, though bowed 
w : ith the weight of many years, was toiling in the furrows. 
So he beckoned to him to rein in his oxen, and said to 
him, " Old man, why, in God's name, did you not do it?" 
And the old man answered, "Sir, I did it; but it was 
not God's will." Then said the King the second time, 
"Why did you not do it?" and the man answered as 
before. 

And the third time the King repeated the same question, 
and the old man answered to the like intent. 

Then the King, continuing the conversation, said, " And 
who in the world is it, with whom you country folk do 
your business?" And the old man answered, " With the 
King himself." 

" But if no king comes," asked the monarch, " what 
then do you do?" 

" We trust to the favour of the King's prime minister," 
answered the man. 

" And if there is no minister?" said the King. 

" We then depend on the Prince," answered the man, 
" if the Prince be worthy." 

The King then turned his horse's head towards the city, 
saying to the old man, " Some^ one may come to you 
desiring vehemently to know the meaning of this our con- 
versation, but my will is that you do not tell the secret 
under a heavy sum." 

With these words the King rode home, and, calling his 
vizier, he said to him, " You heard my conversation \vith 
the old ploughman, and you heard the nature of his replies. 
Now tell me the interpretation thereof." 

And the vizier Was confounded, notwithstanding his 
reputed wisdom, and he said, " O King, I know well the 
words which were spoken, but I know not the meaning of 
them." 

So the King said to his minister, " Under penalty of a 



A TALE OF A KING AND A FARMER 271 

heavy fine, and of dismissal from your office, you will bring 
me the meaning within twenty-four hours." 

Then the vizier went sadly away, but as he approached 
his house the thought occurred to him that he would visit 
the old husbandman. So he took with him heaps of money 
and sought him out, and said, " O father, tell me the 
mystery of the words which passed between you and the 
King." And the old 'man answered, " Not under three 
thousand rupees dare I divulge the secret." So the minis- 
ter counted out the money, and gave it into his hand, three 
thousand rupees all told, in bright silver coins. Having 
received the money, the old man explained thus 

" When the King asked me, ' Why did you not do it?' 
he meant, ' Why did you not marry in your youth, for 
then you would have had sons to plough for you, and you 
would never have been compelled to plough yourself now 
in the time of old age.' My reply was, ' I did marry, 
but it was not the will of God that sons should come to 
me.' The King by his second question meant, ' Why 
did you not marry a second wife ?' and my answer was, 
' I did so marry, but again it was not the will of God 
that sons should be born.' And the King's third question 
was, ' Why did you not marry the third time ?' and my 
reply was to the same tenor as before. After this the 
King asked me, ' With whom do you have dealings, you 
people of the soil?' and my answer was, 'With the 
King,' for with us the King of all the year is the month 
of July, when the rain comes in abundance, and our fields 
are well watered, and the earth is loosened, and our seed 
germinates and shoots forth. Then said the King, ' But 
if there is no King, what then ?' and my answer was, * If 
July is in drought, then we trust to August,' which, as 
being the next best month for the farmer, is like the King's 
minister; and when the King, continuing, asked me, ' But 
if there is no minister?' I answered, 'We trust then 
to the young Prince,' which is the month of September, 
when we sow the crops that are to ripen in spring. This 
is the explanation of the \vords." 

So the minister went away satisfied, wondering at the 
wisdom of the old man who could interpret the dark say- 
ings of the King, and at the wisdom of his master in 
divining the hearts of his subjects. 



272 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

XLV 

OF A CREDULOUS WEAVER 

A VILLAGE weaver went out to cut firewood. Climbing 
a tree, he perched upon one of the branches, which he 
began to hew off close to the trunk. " My friend," said 
a traveller passing below, "you are sitting on the very 
limb which you are cutting off; in a few minutes you and 
it will both fall to the ground." The weaver uncon- 
cernedly continued his task, and soon both the branch 
and himself fell to the foot of the tree, as the traveller 
had foretold. Limping after him, the weaver cried, " Sir, 
you are God ! you are God, sir ! you are God ! What 
you prophesied has come to pass." 

"Tut, man, tut!" answered the traveller. " I am not 
God." 

"Nay, but you are," replied the weaver; "and now 
pray, O pray, tell me when I am to die!" 

To be rid of his importunity, the traveller answered, 
" You will die on the day on which your mouth begins 
to bleed," and he pursued his way. 

Some days had elapsed, when the weaver happened 
to be making some scarlet cloth, and as he had frequently 
to separate the threads with his mouth, a piece of the 
coloured fibre by chance stuck in one of his front teeth. 
Catching sight of this in a glass, and instantly concluding 
that it was blood, and that his last hour was at hand, he 
entered his hut and said, "Wife, wife, I am sick! in a 
few minutes I shall be dead; let me lie down, and go, 
dig my grave !" So he lay down on his bed, and, turning 
his face to the wall, closed his eyes, and began deliberately 
to die. And, indeed, such is the power of the imagination 
among these people, that he w r ould have died without doubt 
if a customer had not called for his clothes. He, seeing 
the man's condition, and hearing of the prophecy, asked 
to examine his mouth. "Ah," said he, "what an idiot 
are you! Call you this blood?" and, taking out the 
thread, he held it before the weaver's eyes. 

The weaver, as a man reprieved from death, was over- 
joyed, and, springing to his feet, resumed his work, having 
been rescued, as he imagined, from the very jaws of death. 



OF THE PRETENTIOUS FROG 273 

XLVI 

OF THE BANEYRWAL 1 AND HIS DROWNED WIFE 

THERE was once a sudden flood in the Indus which 
washed away numbers of people, and among others the 
wife of a certain Baneyrwal. The distracted husband was 
wandering along the banks of the river looking for the 
dead body, when a countryman accosted him thus, " O 
friend, if, as I am informed, your wife has been carried 
away in the flood, she must have floated down the stream 
with the rest of the poor creatures. Yet you are going up 
the stream." 

" Ah, sir," answered the wretched Baneyrwal, " you did 
not know that wife of mine. She always took an opposite 
course to every one else. And even now that she is 
drowned I know full well that, if other bodies have floated 
down the river, hers must have floated up." 



XLVII 
OF THE PRETENTIOUS FROG 

A CERTAIN frog, after several ineffectual attempts, 
managed to climb to the top of a clod of earth close to 
the puddle in which he was spawned. "Ah!" cried he, 
casting one eye at some cattle which were grazing near, 
in the hope that they would burst with envy, " what a 
grand sight have I! I see Kashmir! I see Kashmir!" 

1 Baneyrwal a Baneyr-walla a Bandyr-fellow an inhabitant of 
Ban4yr. 



18 



274 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

XLVIII 
THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 

THERE was once a farmer who had two wives, one of 
whom was wise and the other foolish. The son of the 
wise wife was named Alphu, and the son of the foolish 
one was named Sharphu. The foolish woman was of a 
disposition so perverse, suspicious, and contradictory that 
she invariably followed a course exactly opposite to that 
which was recommended to her; and this trait in her 
character soon became known to her sister-wife, who, if 
she desired at any time a favour from her, requested her, 
above all things, not to grant it. 

One day the wise wife fell ill, and perceiving that her 
end was approaching, she sent for her rival, and thus 
addressed her, " Come close to me and hear my last words. 
I am very ill, and like to die, so I have sent for you to 
give you some advice before I go. You know what my 
son is, and what he requires. When I am no more, send 
him daily to the plough, and let him labour, and feed 
him with hard fare. With your own son you should deal 
differently, and I recommend you to send him every day 
to the school, where he may learn, and remember to clothe 
him cleanly and to feed him well." 

The foolish wife answered her, " Very well, your wishes 
I shall attend to;" and very soon after her rival breathed 
her last, and was buried in the little cemetery close by the 
tomb of the village saint. 

The foolish woman then began to consider her dying 
words. " I see," said she, " she wanted my son to be 
sent to school, and her own son to be at large over the 
farm doing the work of the fields. Exactly ! she would 
like my son to get a good thrashing from the surly priest 
every day of his life, while her own escaped free. Very 
likely ! but I shall do no such thing." 

So she called the two boys, and said to them, " You, 
Alphu, from this day forward are to attend school and 
learn your lessons; but my son Sharphu shall go to the 
field and do the work of the farm." 

Sharphu was not sorry to escape the rod, nor did he 
complain that his food consisted only of cakes made with 



THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 275 

water, for that had been ever his accustomed fare. On the 
other hand, Alphu, who was of a serious turn, had no 
reason to complain that he had to go to the mosque day 
by day and learn reading, writing, and arithmetic, espe- 
cially as his cakes were made up with sugar and butter, 
and as his clothing was always clean and respectable. 
Thus the two lads spent their days, until, in a short time, 
Alphu had so far progressed in knowledge that he was 
employed to collect the revenue of his district, w^hile 
Sharphu grew more and more awkward and stupid. 

One day it happened that Sharphu broke his plough, 
so he threw the broken pieces over his shoulder and carried 
them into the village to be mended by the village carpen- 
ter, with whom he left them. After this he said to him- 
self, " It must be near dinner-time; I shall now go home." 

For once he was at home before his brother, who had 
generally come and gone before he appeared. The cakes 
for both brothers were standing in a pile in a wooden 
platter, and as he squatted down beside them, he said, 
" Mother, let me eat my bread and get back to the field, 
or else the bullocks may stray and get lost." 

"Your bread is ready," said she, "and so is Alphu's. 
Your cakes are those at the top, and in the other dish you 
will find some onions. Eat, son, but do not touch the 
cakes of your brother." 

But when Sharphu saw how rich and dainty was the 
food provided for Alphu, he naturally murmured against 
his mother's partiality. " Here am I working hard," said 
he, " and see what poor food I get, while Alphu, who does 
nothing but sit at the huzrd, 1 has sugar and butter." So 
he laid his own cakes aside, and ate Alphu's. Then said 
he, " Mother, I am going to the huzrd I can do collec- 
tor's work as well as Alphu ; let him go to the field I 
plough no more." 

When Alphu came in, his mother said to him, " O my 
son, my other son came in and has eaten your dinner. He 
has left the plough with the carpenter, and the bullocks 
he has left in the field ; and he says you will be able to do 
his work for the future. But you are hungry, so I'll send 
the servant to the field to-day, and make you some more 
cakes, and to-morrow you can begin the work of thq 
farm." 

i Huzrd the general guest-house at a village (Mfrd). 



276 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" Not at all, mother," answered Alphu. " My brother 
may do my work if he pleases, and I will do his. But 
you need not send the servant, because I am ready to go 
at once." 

Without another word the lad set out, and receiving the 
plough from the carpenter, he made his way to the field, 
where he yoked on the two bullocks, ploughed for the rest 
of the day, and in the evening returned home. 

Meanwhile the silly Sharphu had gone to the huzrd and 
taken a seat there. He had not even changed his clothes, 
but dirty as he was, and with his rough blanket on him, 
he appeared in the meeting place at an hour when all 
good farmers were hard at work in their fields. By-and- 
by one of the officers of the Government treasury arrived 
with a man carrying a load, and addressing the village 
watchman, whose post of duty is always the huzra, he said, 
" Give me a fresh man to carry this load on to the next 
village." The watchman looked for one in vain. 
" Every one is out in the fields at work," said he. Upon 
hearing this, the officer, who had no knowledge of 
Sharphu, replied, " But here is a man why not give me 
him?" 

"Me?" cried Sharphu; "but I am one of the village 
landlords!" 

" Ha, ha !" laughed the officer, " you look like one !" 

Saying this, he gave poor Sharphu two blows with his 
stick, and compelled him to carry the load, not only to the 
next village, but to the village beyond as well, for the 
treasury was distant several stages. 

In the evening the wretched Sharphu, aching in every 
limb, came back to the house. 

" Hullo!" cried Alphu, "where have you been? You 
are late -what became of you ?" 

" Oh !" answered Sharphu, " I was sitting at the husrd, 
when a fellow came up and beat me with a stick, and forced 
me to carry a heavy load about ten miles." 

"How unlucky!" replied Alphu. "Never mind; to- 
morrow you will be more fortunate. See, this is the 
revenue which I have been collecting for the Government. 
As you are now to be responsible for my work, you will 
have to set out with this money to-morrow, and hand it 
over to the Tahsildar." And so saying he counted over 
into his brother's hands the full amount. 



THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 277 

In the morning Sharphu rose early, and taking some 
dry flour for his journey, he deposited in the same napkin 
with the flour the rupees which he had received from 
Alphu. He then put the burden on his head and started 
for the Tahsil. 1 About mid-day he arrived at a certain 
village, and going to the house of a baker, he said to the 
woman, " Mother, bake this flour for me." Taking the 
flour, she remarked its weight, and inquired, " Is this flour 
of yours sifted or unsifted?" 

" Sifted or not sifted," answered he, "I want it baked. 
Sift it if you like; if not, cook it as it is." 

The woman then took the flour away and baked it into 
tasty cakes, which he enjoyed, after which she gave him a 
bed to sit down upon, and a hookah to smoke, and enter- 
tained him with every civility. 

In the morning Sharphu bethought him of the money, 
and exclaimed, "Here, you! my money was all in that 
flour I gave you. Give it up !" 

" Did I not ask you," answered the woman, " if your 
flour was sifted or not sifted ? However, I have your 
money safe enough. But until you tell me two stories 
this way, and two stories that way, not a single piece shall 
you have." 

This she said only to try him, and to discover if he was 
a man of mettle or merely a fool. Poor Sharphu was 
quite confounded. " But I don't know any stories at all," 
said he, " so how can I tell you two stories this way and 
two stories that way?" Then he thought to himself, 
" What am I to do? This money is lost to me. Well, 
at any rate, I'll go and have a look at the Tahsil at least; 
I am not going to turn back now." So he continued his 
journey penniless as he was, and went on to see the Tahsil. 

As he was walking along he came to a well or pool of 
water, at the edge of which grew a fine melon-plant, and 
Sharphu noticed that some of the melons were floating on 
the surface of the water. So he said, " I'll tell the officers 
at the Tahsil that I saw melons growing in a well, and 
that will astonish them." 

Having rested and drunk, he went on once more, and 
presently he saw a deer in a thicket scratching his ear with 
one of his hind-feet. Just at that moment a hunter, who 

1 Tahsil the district court-house and Government treasury. Tah- 
sildar the native magistrate in charge. 



278 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

had been in pursuit, fired his matchlock, and the ball 
pierced both the foot and the ear, and struck one of the 
animal's horns. "Ah!" cried Sharphu, with a long 
breath; "here's a wonderful thing. I'll go and tell the 
officers at the Tahsil that I saw a bullet pierce a deer's 
foot, then his ear, and then his horn ! All the same bullet ! 
This will astonish them still more." 

Some distance further on there was a snug nook under 
the roots of a thorny tree in which a bitch had laid her 
pups. One of the pups had crawled out into the open, 
and a kite had swooped down and carried it off. As 
Sharphu came to the spot he heard the yelping of the 
creature, far above his head, but knew not how to explain 
it. "Ho, ho!" said he, "here's another wonder! I'll 
go and tell the officers at the Tahsil I heard dogs barking 
in the air, and that either God keeps them, or else there 
is some country or other overhead. This will astonish 
them most of all." 

On reaching the Tahsil, he entered the quadrangle, and 
going into the office, where the Tahsildar was busy with some 
clients, he cried, " I have a petition, I have a petition !" 

" Well," said the officer, " what is your petition?" 

" I wish it to be written down that I saw melons growing 
out of a well," said Sharphu. 

" Who is this madman ?" asked the Tahsildar, and at a 
signal the servants hunted him out of the place. 

Sharphu, abashed, but by no means disheartened, now 
thought to himself, " One thing I have told, and two others 
remain. Angry or not angry, they shall listen." So he 
returned and cried out, "Another petition, another peti- 
tion!" 

' Tell it quickly, and be off," said the Tahsildar. 

"Let it be recorded," said Sharphu, "that I am the 
man who saw a single bullet shot from a gun which 
wounded a deer in the foot, the ear, and the horn." 

On hearing this nonsense, the Tahsildar fell into a rage 
and ordered his attendants to seize unhappy Sharphu by 
the shoulders and to thrust him out, which accordingly 
they did, adding abuse to their violence and saying, as 
they drove him away, " Take care you do not venture back 
here again !" 

Sharphu, however, notwithstanding his evil treatment, 
determined that the third wonder should not be lost to the 



THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 279 

world for the want of telling. So he had the temerity 
to appear before the Tahsildar once more, crying as on 
the former occasion, " Another petition, another petition !" 

" Wretched idiot," said the Tahsildar, " if you have a 
petition why cannot you state what your petition is, and 
have done with it once for all?" 

" I am the man," answered the undaunted Sharphu, 
" who heard dogs barking in the sky !" 

" Give the fellow a beating," said the Tahsildar, "and 
beat him well, that he may trouble me no more." 

The attendants needed no second bidding, but arming 
themselves with their slippers, they thrashed the unfor- 
tunate petitioner within an inch of his life and cast him out 
with ignominy. 

Sharphu now decided to return to his own village. 
When, after a weary journey, he appeared at the door, his 
brother accosted him, and said, " Sharphu, have you paid 
in the revenue?" 

"No, indeed," answered Sharphu; "I put the money 
among my flour for safety, but the baker's wife at such- 
and-such a village refused to return it unless I told her 
two stories this way, and two stories that way, so I had 
to go on without it, and on my way I saw melons grow- 
ing in a well, and I saw a man who wounded a deer in 
the foot, the ear, and the horn at one shot, and I heard 
dogs barking in the sky; and I told these wonderful things 
to the Tahsildar and all his men, but they beat me and 
drove me away." 

When Alphu had heard this statement a smile stole over 
his face. " So, so," said he, " you will be the lambardar, 
eh, and I am to be the husbandman ? Look here ! one 
of the bullocks has fallen ill. Take this money in the 
morning and go buy another, and I'll try my luck with 
the baker's wife. Perhaps I shall be able to tell her two 
stories this way, and two stories that way." 

Before starting, Alphu bought a large number of 
common brass finger-rings and secreted them in the bag of 
flour which was to serve him for the journey. Arriving 
at the house of the baker, he addressed the woman, and 
begged that she would bake some cakes for him. 

' Has your flour been sifted, or not sifted?" asked she. 

" I know not," answered Alphu; "but you may sift it 
if you think proper." 



2 8o ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PAN JAB 

As she was sifting she caught sight of the rings, and 
perceiving that Alphu's eye was upon her, she remarked, 
" There are some gold rings in it." 

" Yes, ""answered Alphu, " there are lots of those rings 
in a bush by the roadside. I picked just a few as I passed, 
and put them among the flour for safety." 

" But whereabouts is the bush ?" she inquired anxiously. 

Alphu mentioned the spot, and in a few minutes she 
suddenly observed, " I have a little work to do now, and 
I must leave you, but I will return and finish the cakes 
for you in a short time." So she started off, running as 
soon as she had reached, the path, to look for the wonderful 
bush which bore gold rings. 

During her absence her husband came in, and, missing 
his wife, he said, " O guest, my wife was here a few 
minutes ago; where has she gone to?" 

"I don't know," answered Alphu. "A strange man 
came by just now and looked in. He passed the door 
twice and made signs, and your wife went out and fol- 
lowed him." 

The husband was laden with a couple of bundles of 
wood, and hearing this news, he threw them down, and, 
taking up the bamboo-stick on which they had been sus- 
pended from his shoulders, he strode out of the house to 
look for his missing wife. He soon found her returning 
quickly from her fruitless search after the rings, and when 
he met her he said, " Where have you been ?" 

;< I have had some work to do," answered she. 

"But," said he, "the man who made signs to you 
where is he?" 

" I saw no man," protested she, " nor did any man 
make signs to me." 

Not believing her, he lifted his bamboo and thrashed her 
soundly, after which they sulkily returned to the house 
together. 

Meanwhile Alphu, who had noticed the baker's little 
girl playing in the enclosure, had slipped out of the house 
and had met one or two of the villagers. " What is the 
name of the village," asked he, "where the lad lives to 
whom the baker's little daughter is betrothed?" 

'The village of Jabbi," answered one, "four miles 
distant." 

' That will do," said he; and he had returned and was 



THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 281 

sitting quietly in the house when the baker and his wife 
entered, and when the latter, still crying from the effects 
of her chastisement, resumed her baking. 

In the morning he rose up early and went to the hucrd, 
where he happened to meet a traveller who was going to 
that very village of Jabbi. Having ingratiated himself 
with him, he said, " When you get home, go to the house 
of the lad to whom this baker's daughter is engaged, and 
do not forget to tell his friends that his little betrothed 
was sent to the stack to bring some dried cow-dung for 
the fire, and that most unfortunately a snake leaped out 
and bit her, and that she is dead. And say, too, that he 
and his friends are to come here quickly to show their 
sympathy with the family." 

After this Alphu went back to the house and said to the 
baker's wife, " Do you not know that the lad to whom you 
have betrothed your daughter is dead ? He was sent out 
yesterday to gather sticks, and some wolves set on him 
and tore him up." 

"But where did you hear of all this?" asked the 
astonished woman. 

"Oh!" returned Alphu, "I met a traveller just now 
who was going along the road in the greatest haste to 
give this news to other relations elsewhere, and he asked 
me to let you know." 

When the wife of the bread-seller heard these doleful 
tidings, she at once started forth for Jabbi. But by this 
time the former news had also reached Jabbi, and the other 
woman was also at that very moment leaving her house 
for the purpose of demanding an explanation from the 
mother of her son's betrothed. Half-way between the vil- 
lages the two women met, and she of Jabbi at once began 
abusing her friend in unmeasured terms. " You horrid 
hag!" cried she, "why did you send my little daughter- 
in-law to the dunghill for fuel in order to be bitten by a 
snake?" 

'Hold your abominable lying tongue!" retorted the 
other, "and tell me what devil bade you turn out my 
daughter's betrothed among wolves?" 

And with these words the two indignant mothers fell 
on each other fist and claw, and fought like furies; while 
scraps of clothing and wisps of hair lying about attested 
the violence of their rage. At last, wearied with the 



282 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

struggle, they both sat down for breath, when the woman 
of Jabbi suddenly said, " But my son is alive and well, 
thank God!" to which the other replied, "And my 
daughter is also alive and well." 

Then came explanations, and the end of it all was that 
the two antagonists composed their differences, took some 
food together, embraced each other tenderly, and parted 
for their respective homes. 

When the baker's wife arrived at her house, she flew at 
Alphu and said, "So it is you who have been causing 
all this trouble and bother to me !" 

" I have not done anything, mother," answered he 
quietly, "so very wrong. I have merely told you two 
stories this way. But if you do not give me up the rupees 
my foolish brother left with you, I shall have to tell you 
two stories that w r ay !" 

The woman, hearing this, began to feel afraid, and 
going in, she brought out the money, which she handed 
to him, and glad was she to see her visitor's back. 

Alphu now hastened on to the Tahsil to pay in the 
sum which he had recovered. The Tahsildar, who had 
been wondering that the money had not been brought be- 
fore, received him kindly, and in the course of conversation 
remarked, " I am told that it was a brother of yours who 
came here the other day. If so, he was a very stupid 
fellow." 

' Yes," answered Alphu; " his mother is stupid, and so 
also is he." 

" He told me," said the Tahsildar, laughing, "that he 
had seen pumpkins growing out of a well. Just think of 
that!" 

"And why not?" replied Alphu. "The pumpkins 
might easily have been resting in the water. But my 
brother, not being clever, had omitted to observe that the 
plant was really growing at the edge of the water." 

"But," said the Tahsildar, "he also told me he had 
seen a stag wounded in the ear, the heel, and the horn, 
and I know not where, with a single bullet." 

"Even that may be true," answered Alphu; "but he 
did not understand the thing. I presume the deer w r as 
lying in a particular position, or scratching his ear, or 
something." 

"Possibly," said the Tahsildar; "but you cannot so 



THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 283 

easily explain his saying that he had heard dogs barking 
in the sky." 

"Why not?" answered the brother. "Are there not 
vultures and kites about in abundance, and do they not 
sometimes pounce down upon puppies ? But my brother, 
you see, is not very clever, like you and me, and could 
not explain himself." 

After paying in the money, Alphu returned to his own 
village. Entering the house, he said to Sharphu, " Where 
is the bullock I sent you for?" 

" I looked for a bullock all over the country," answered 
Sharphu ; " and as I could not find one, I bought a buffalo 
instead. As I was passing through a certain village, some 
fellows cried out, ' Hi ! sir, where did you bring that 
fighting ram from?' As the whole of them averred that 
my buffalo was a fighting ram, I left it with them, for I 
thought to myself, ' My brother was angry with me before, 
because I failed to pay in the revenue, and now, if I take 
him this buffalo, and it turns out to be a fighting ram, he 
will be still more angry.' ' 

Alphu was unable to hold his anger when he heard 
of this new loss, and he spake such bitter words to his 
brother that the latter left the house and took himself off 
altogether. 

Poor Sharphu now determined to seek his fortune else- 
where, and he went forth he cared not whither. On and 
on he travelled,, and after a long journey he came to a 
village, and rested for the night at the husrd. He there 
heard of a certain Mughal who lived in those parts, and 
who owned all the country round. " He will employ 
you," said the watchman ; " he never refuses a poor beggar 
anything." 

The next day Sharphu walked up boldly to the Mughal's 
door and offered his services. 

" \Vork you shall have," answered the great man 
solemnly, " but I have a playful fancy which I always in- 
dulge when engaging a new servant. If you will agree to 
the condition, well; if not, begone." 

' I agree to anything and everything," said the hungry 
man. 

"Be it so," replied the Mughal. "My stipulation is 
this : if my servant gets angry I pull out his eye, and if I 
get angry he pulls out my eye. Besides this, your daily 



284 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

quota of work must be performed. It is not very much. 
You have only to plough six acres of land every day, to 
fence it with brushwood, to bring in game for my table, 
grass for my mare, and firewood for my house; and you 
are also to cook my food." 

In the morning Sharphu drove his bullocks afield, and 
began to plough the stony hillside. Mid-day came, and 
he had not finished half an acre. Becoming very tired, he 
let the bullocks go, and, quite unmindful of ploughing and 
fencing and hunting and grass-cutting, he lay down and 
slept under the shade of a tree. After a time a one-eyed 
slave-girl brought out some bread to him. It was tied 
up with several tight knots in a bit of calico, and she said 
to the man, " My mistress bids me tell you that you are 
to take out your bread from this cloth without unloosing 
the knots." 

" If I am not to loose the knots," cried he, " how am I 
to get out the bread?" and he gave the parcel back to her, 
saying, "Take it away, take it away!" So the slave- 
girl took the bread back again to the house. 

When evening came he drove home the bullocks, but 
took no game, no grass, and no wood. As he was tying 
up the animals for the night, out came the Mughal, 
and asked him, "Have you ploughed the six acres of 
ground?" 

No," answered he. 
Have you brought in some game?" 
No," answered he a second time. 
Grass for my mare?" 
No," once more said the man. 
Firewood for my house?" 

No, I have not," replied again the deluded Sharphu, 
warming up. 

"What!" cried the Mughal; "you lazy rascal, have 
you done no work at all?" 

" How can I do all that work," answered Sharphu, 
"when I am all alone?" and he began to curse and to 
swear. 

"But the stipulation?" said his master. "I made a 
stipulation, and you are angry, are you not?" 

" And why shouldn't I be angry?" said Sharphu. 

" If you are angry, give up your eye," returned the 
Mughal, and with this he seized poor Sharphu, threw him 



THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 285 

on to the ground, plucked out his eye, and sent him about 
his business. 

Sharphu now set his face towards his own home once 
more. " I have had enough of playing the gentleman," 
said he; "I will go back to my father's fields, where I was 
happy, and never leave them again." As he entered the 
house, Alphu looked at him, and saw that he had lost an 
eye. 

" How did you come to lose your eye?" asked he. 

" I went to work as a servant to a Mughal," answered 
Sharphu ; and then he related his adventures, and the 
cruelty of his master in depriving him of an eye. 

" But," remarked Alphu, " you were going to be a lam- 
bardar. Is this all you have been doing?" 

" I made a mistake," answered Sharphu; " forgive me, 
and now I will be a servant to you, if you will but allow 
me food and clothing." 

" Very well," said Alphu, " you carry on the work of 
the farm for our mother. As for me, I have other work ; 
and first I must visit the village where you were robbed 
of your buffalo." 

So he handed over charge of the place to his brother, 
and prepared for his journey. First he bought a sleek 
young mule and furnished it with gay trappings. Then 
he engaged a fine servant to attend on him, giving him 
certain directions which he was to carry out exactly. When 
all was ready, and he himself had put on his best clothes, 
he set out and came to the village of the robbers, where 
he took a seat in the huzrd, and all the robbers came about 
him and received him with great respect. They also gave 
him refreshments, and lodged him well, and on account 
of his appearance took trouble to oblige him. 

In the morning, when the place was crowded in the 
usual way, Alphu called his servant and said to him, 
"Go and do your business!" and the robbers observed 
that, as the servant removed and broke up the mule's 
dung, he took therefrom numbers of rupees. This aston- 
ished them, and they began to plot among themselves how 
they should obtain possession of so valuable an animal. 

The next morning the servant went through the same 
performance ; for in truth, in accordance with his direc- 
tions, he had put the rupees there himself overnight. But 
the robbers knew nothing of the matter, and they said one 



286 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

to another, " An animal like this we should persuade our 
guest to part with." So one of them asked Alphu, " } Sir, 
will you take the price of this mule and sell it to us?" 

" I will not sell her," answered he. 

"Nay," said they; "take, if you like, four thousand 
rupees and let us have her." 

" No, no," again answered Alphu. ' This mule is my 
kingdom, and pays me tribute every day; whereas if I 
accepted ever so large a sum for her I should soon spend 
that, and then I should have nothing." 

Seeing they could not prevail on him to sell, they 
brought some of the most respectable men of the country, 
and at last Alphu was persuaded to part with his mule for 
four thousand rupees, and having received them he 
returned towards his own village. 

On the way to his house he passed a certain bazaar, 
where, seeing two live hares exposed for sale, he bought 
them both, and took them with him. These he tied up 
in his house, and then rested for the night. 

The next morning he gave one of the hares into his 
wife's charge, saying to her, " I expect three or four 
strange men will come here seeking for me to-day;" and 
he gave her the most careful instructions how she was 
to act with regard to the hare and to the visitors. Then 
he took the other hare, and on leaving the house he said, 
"Tell them they will find me at the well in the field." 
Meanwhile, she began preparing dinner for six. 

Now, when the robbers discovered, as they soon did, 
that the wonderful mule declined to produce rupees for 
them, they were indignant, and four of them banded 
themselves to set out and seek for Alphu. " Whenever 
we find him," said they, " let us kill him." When they 
arrived at his house, and had inquired after him, his wife 
said, " He has gone to the well;" and as soon as they 
had turned their backs she brought the hare, which had 
been left in her charge, out of the house, tied it at the 
door, and went on with her cooking. 

Alphu was seated on a bedstead by the well, and when 
he saw the robbers approaching he rose up, received them 
politely, gave them seats, and offered them a hookah. 
Then, while engaging them in conversation, he took out 
his hare, gave it two slaps, and said to it, " Go and tell 
rny wife to prepare supper for six." The hare imme- 



THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 287 

diately scampered off, and by-and-by it escaped unseen 
into a field of sugar-cane. The robbers were amazed at 
Alphu's proceedings, and said among themselves, " Let 
us not kill him now; let us first see what will come of 
this." 

After a time Alphu invited the four men to come and 
sup with him, and they accompanied him home, where 
they were still more amazed to see the very same hare, as 
they supposed it to be, tied up at the door. Then they 
said to each other, " This hare must be a very good sort 
of animal to have; let us see if we cannot get possession 
of it." 

Alphu now invited them to sit down, and messes were 
laid for six, which was also a surprise to the robbers, who 
exchanged looks. In the middle of the meal Alphu said 
to his wife, "Give this guest some more bread;" but 
instead of bread she brought him water. Feigning anger, 
her husband struck her so severe a blow that she fell to 
the ground as if dead. Then said the robbers, "Alas! 
what have you done ? This crime will be fastened on us, 
and we shall all be hanged!" But Alphu took down a 
handsome crooked stick, which he kept in a silken cover, 
and tapping his wife's head with it three times, he said 
quietly, "Rise, rise!" and at once the woman got up, 
smiled, and again sat down as if nothing had happened. 

The amazement of the robbers had now reached a 
climax, and they said to each other, " We must contrive 
by all means to get possession of this stick too, so that 
if any of our people die we shall know what to do." 

Supper over, they all retired to the cool shade of the 
garden, and sat down on bedsteads. Then said the 
robbers to Alphu, " Are you willing to part with your 
hare and your magical stick?" 

" No," answered he. " What should I do without 
them ? My hare is my messenger. And as for the stick, 
you know a man cannot restrain himself always, and it is 
well to be on the safe side. Besides, I sold you my mule, 
and I lost by the transaction." 

As their arguments availed nothing, the four robbers 
left him and returned the next day in company with the 
most substantial men of their tribe to assist them in their 
efforts at negotiation. "Name," said they, "a price for 
these articles." The more he refused, the more persistent 



-88 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

they became, and the upshot of it was that Alphu affected 
to fall into a great rage, and cried, " Here, take them 
away, you may have them as a gift !" and that they, feel- 
ing ashamed of their importunity, forced upon him two 
thousand rupees, and carried away both the wonderful hare 
and the still more wonderful stick to their village in the 
hills. 

On reaching their homes, one of the robbers, who was 
more wealthy than the others, bought out his comrades 
and took both the prizes to his own house, where he care- 
fully tied up the hare in his chamber, and deposited the 
stick in the corn-bin, which was the safest place he could 
think of. That done, he sat down in the midst of his 
family with a contented heart. 

The next day he would go out ploughing. So he took 
up the hare, and said to his wife, " When I want my 
dinner, I will send you this hare to let you know. If she 
tells you to prepare for one, you will prepare only for my- 
self, but if she tells you to prepare for more, you will 
know that guests have come." 

Having arrived at the field, he tied the hare to a stump 
and went on with his ploughing. At noon, feeling very 
hungry, he ceased working, loosed the hare, and, giving it 
two smart slaps, he let it go, saying, " Away, tell my wife 
to bring me out my bread quickly." But the hare, glad 
of its liberty, soon escaped into the jungles. 

In the evening the robber returned to the house in a 
great rage, and said, " Wife, why did you not send me 
out my dinner?" 

' I was waiting for your orders," answered she. 

'' But I sent you the hare!" said he. 

" No hare ever came to me," replied she. 

Notwithstanding, the duped husband visited all his rage 
on his wife. Lifting a heavy stick, he killed her on the 
spot, and not content with that, he killed also his children 
for attempting to save her. 

When his rage began to cool he was seized with terror, 
and, rushing to the corn-bin, he brought forth his magic 
stick, and began tapping the heads of all the corpses one 
after another, saying, "Rise, rise!" But he tapped in 
vain : not a movement, not a turn of the eye, was visible. 
Then he called in his neighbours and frienis, and because 
all the people of this village were notorious for their rob- 



THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 289 

beries, and even murders, they became frightened, and 
they said one to another, " Never have we been so over- 
reached ! We only seized a single buffalo of that man's, 
and he has robbed us of six thousand rupees, and brought 
about all this terrible misery and bloodshed. Therefore, 
let us have no more to say to the villain, but let us remain 
quiet, lest worse befall us." 

As for Alphu, he kept good watch for ten or twelve 
days; but as none of his enemies seemed inclined to molest 
him again, he at last said to his brother : " I have avenged 
you on that tribe of robbers, and now I must go and 
visit your friend the Mughal." 

When he was leaving the house he spoke to his mother, 
saying, " I may be absent one month, or I may be absent 
twelve months; but I shall not return until 1 have paid 
off old scores, and settled with him in full. Meanwhile 
Sharphu must take care of the property." 

Then he disguised himself like a poor servant in old 
worn-out clothes, and with his staff in his hand he 
journeyed to the Mughal's village, where he stopped at 
the husrd. 

" Does any one want a good servant?" inquired he. 

" Yes, I do," answered the Mughal, who happened to 
be present. " But stay," continued he, " I always make 
one stipulation, and if you would serve me you must 
accept it." 

" And what is that?" asked Alphu. 

" If you get angry," answered the Mughal, " I pull out 
your eye, and if I get angry you pull out mine." 

"Agreed!" said Alphu; "and what work do you 
expect?" 

"Every day," replied he, "you will plough six acres 
of land and fence it, and bring in to me from the jungle 
game for my table, grass for my mare, and firewood for 
my house, and you will cook my dinner for me." 

" All this I agree to, and even more, if you like," said 
Alphu, with assurance. And he accompanied the Mughal 
home. 

The next morning a pair of bullocks and a plough were 
made over to him, and he was sent to the field. He began 
his labour by ploughing all round the six acres, and by 
ploughing twelve furrows in the middle. Next he made 
up four bundles of brushwood and set them at the four 

19 



290 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

corners of the field. He then tied up his bullocks to a 
small acacia tree, and spreading his cloth on the ground, 
he lay down and went to sleep. 

About noon the one-eyed slave girl brought his bread to 
him, tied, as before, by several knots, in a napkin. 

" My mistress," said she, " bids you take out your food 
without untying the knots." 

Alphu received the napkin, tore a hole in the bottom of 
it, and thus took out the bread. While he was eating it 
he observed that one of the house-dogs had followed the 
girl. This little creature was a great pet of her mistress, 
and her name was Launghi. When the girl was going 
away he contrived to detain the creature by throwing 
scraps of bread to her, after which he quietly caught her, 
slipped a rope round her neck, and tied her up to the tree. 
Towards evening he went to an old dry well in the 
neighbourhood, where he found a little grass about a 
mouthful and he cut it, saying, " This will do for my 
master's mare." As the forest was several miles off, and 
he had no mind to travel so far afield for firewood, he 
broke up the yoke and the plough into several pieces, say- 
ing, " This will do for my master's fire." Then he took 
the little dog and killed her, after which he skinned her, 
and said, " I shall now have a rabbit for my master's 
dinner." 

Having completed his arrangements, he went home, and 
the Mughal meeting him, asked, " Have you ploughed the 
six acres?" 

' Yes," answered Alphu. 

' And have you fenced them ?" 

' Yes," answered he again. 

' And brought in some game?" 

' Certainly," said Alphu; " see, here it is !" 

'And grass and firewood?" 

' Of course !" once more replied the undaunted servant. 

' Then," said the Mughal, " make my dinner quickly." 
Alphu went away, lighted a fire, set on the pot, and 
made an excellent stew of poor little Launghi. 

As soon as his dinner was served the Mughal sat down, 
and, in accordance with his usual habit, he called for the 
little lap-dog. " Launghi ! Laiinghi !" cried he. But he 
whistled and called to no purpose. Then said Alphu, 
" Launghi won't come !" 



THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 291 

" And why will she not?" asked the Mughal. 

" How can Launghi come to you," answered the man, 
" when you are eating her?" 

" What?" cried the Mughal angrily; " would you dare 
to put a dog before me?" 

"Are you not getting angry with me?" said Alphu 
meaningly. 

" No," answered the Mughal; " I am not getting angry. 
Here, take this food and throw it away, and cook me 
something else !" 

' What shall I cook?" asked Ulphu. 

" Flesh-meat will take too long," said the Mughal, " so 
make me a little satthu" [parched grain prepared as a 
porridge]. 

" Nay!" said the servant; " I will make you up in no 
time a nice little curry." 

"All right," said the Mughal, "but remember to put 
a couple of cloves in it." 

Alphu, who was a good cook, then made a delicious 
curry with spices and sauces, and when it was ready he 
went into the garden and caught a frog, which he tied by 
the leg to a stool in the kitchen. After this he served up 
the dinner. 

" Did you put some cloves in it?" asked the Mughal. 

"Yes, certainly," answered Alphu; "I caught two of 
them in the garden. One I put in the curry, and I tied 
the other by the leg to a stool. If you haven't enough, 
I can go and fetch the other, and put that in too." Then 
thought the Mughal to himself, " This is a very tricky 
fellow. I should like to see what he has been doing." 
" Go !" exclaimed he, " and bring me that thing you have 
tied by the leg to a stool." 

Alphu left the room, but soon returned, holding up the 
frog between his finger and thumb, and saying, " This is 
the other clove which I caught in the garden." 

The Mughal then became very angry. 

"What! are you getting angry?" cried Alphu. "If 
so, give me up your eye." 

" No, no," said the Mughal hastily; " I am not getting 
angry. I am only asking, why you put a frog in my 
food?" 

" I know not what you call a frog," said Alphu. "In 
my country we call these things ' cloves.' ' 



292 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

The incensed Mughal thrust away his plate, saying, 
" Here, remove this rubbish; I won't eat it eat it your- 
self." Nor did Alphu wait to be told a second time; for 
he took the food, and, squatting down in a comfortable 
corner, he devoured it all himselt. 

In the morning the Mughal got up, and began cooking 
his own breakfast. " In the future," said he to Alphu, 
" you cook no more food for me. Go, take your bullocks 
and your plough, and do your six acres !" 

" And how am I to do them," answered the imperturb- 
able Alphu, " when I have neither plough nor yoke?" 

" But," said his master, looking amazed, " I gave both 
into your hands only yesterday !" 

" yuite true," said Alphu, "but I broke them up and 
used them as firewood to cook your dinner with." 

The Mughal, purple with rage, now rose and stamped 
with his foot. " Did you ever hear," cried he, " of any 
one who used his plough for firewood?" 

"Are you getting angry with me?" retorted Alphu. 
" If so, give me up your eye !" 

" No, no," protested the distracted Mughal, " I am not 
getting angry. Go away to the carpenter, and order 
another plough forthwith, and, in short, get out of my 
sight." 

While a new plough was being made, Alphu had two 
days of comparative idleness; and on the morning of the 
third day he resumed his labour. The Mughal also visited 
the field; and when he saw the one furrow all round the 
six acres, and the twelve furrows in the middle, with the 
forlorn bits of brushwood at the four corners, he again 
waxed wroth, and asked, " Is this the way farmers plough 
and fence their land in your country? Now attend to 
me. I perceive that you are more than I can manage. 
So leave me sharp, and get away to your own place !" 

" Not so fast," answered Alphu. " If I had had any- 
thing to do at my own house, why should I have come to 
serve you ? We stipulated that if one of us got angry, 
he was to give up his eye to the other. And now you are 
angry, since you are turning me out of your service. So 
give me up your eye !" 

"Nay, I am not angry," answered the Mughal. "I 
am merely pointing out that you should not behave like 
this." 



THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 293 

The Mughal then bent his steps towards his home, 
leaving Alphu at the plough. As he walked along he 
could not help thinking of the story of the two men on 
the bank of the river : how they saw something black 
floating down the stream, which they imagined to be a 
blanket; how one of them said to the other, "You can 
swim; go out, and see what it is;" how he went, and 
seized it, and how it was a bear which caught him ; how 
the man on the bank cried, " If you can't bring in the 
blanket, let it go!" and how the other replied, "I wish 
to let the blanket go, but the blanket won't let me go." 
"Yes," said the Mughal aloud, "before, when I took 
servants, I conquered them easily, and took their eyes 
from them; but this fellow is not to be baffled; and what 
is worse, he has caught me in his grip, and I can't get rid 
of the rascal:" 

It happened some time after this that the Mughal's wife 
died, and that he wished to visit a distant village for the 
purpose of bringing home another wife. So he saddled his 
mare, and, taking Alphu with him as his servant, he went 
on his way. By-and-by they approached a village, and, 
as it was late in the day, the Mughal said, " Let us enter 
the village, and lodge there for the night." 

" Let us rather stay here," advised Alphu. " Why 
should you run the risk of infection and no end of vermin 
in a strange village ? On this spot some travellers are 
already encamped, and with them we shall be safe." 

The Mughal, who, as a man of substance, was of a 
corpulent habit, dismounted heavily from his mare and. 
tied her to a tree. A fire was then made, and cakes were 
prepared for supper, and having eaten, the Mughal covered 
up his head in his robe and went to sleep while Alphu 
watched. 

Alphu now began thinking to himself, " This Mughal 
takes care never to get angry, or, at least, he denies that 
he does, so I must make another attempt to surprise him, 
and this time I may perhaps succeed." So he got up 
quietly and went to some cattle-drovers who were also 
halting in that place, and said to them, " My master has 
a fine mare here. Give me a price for her and take her 
off somewhere, but tie up in her place the most vicious 
bullock which you have in your herd. I will answer for 
it that in the morning you shall receive it back again, 



294 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

besides which you can thrash my master well for a robber, 
and compel him to make you compensation." 

The cattle-drovers began to laugh at the drollery of this 
advice, but, finding he was in earnest, some of them 
sprang up, singled out a wild bullock, and tied it in the 
place of the mare, which they sent away somewhere else. 
After this, Alphu lay down and slept. 

Some time before daylight the Mughal awoke, and cried, 
"Alphu, Alphu, saddle the mare!" Alphu, pretending 
zeal, fussed about for a few minutes, and then said, " Sir, 
the mare is saddled and ready." It was too dark for the 
Mughal to see what manner of animal it was which he 
was about to mount, nor had he time to do so, for the 
moment he approached he was tossed on the bullock's 
horns and thrown on his back. " In the name of 
heaven!" cried the poor man, "what's this? Has my 
mare grown a pair of horns in the night?" Then, call- 
ing his servant, he said, " Alphu, O Alphu, look here, 
and tell me quickly what animal is this!" 

" If it is not your mare," answered Alphu, "what can 
it be?" 

By this time morning began to break, and up came the 
cattle-drovers in a body. Seizing the bewildered Mughal, 
they belaboured him well with goads and sticks, saying, 
"Thief, you have stolen our bullock!" The Mughal 
retaliated, hitting out with his staff, or butting at them 
with his head, while he called out repeatedly, " You are 
the thieves ; you have stolen my mare, you have stolen 
my mare!" Then they thrashed him again, and finally 
seized him by main force, saying, "Come along, we'll 
take you to the justice !" 

All this time Alphu was holding his sides laughing 
immoderately. "You are my servant," remonstrated the 
Mughal; "why have you not taken my part?" 

"How can I?" coolly replied he. " How do I know 
where you have sent your mare ? And if you have stolen 
this bullock the case is worse. I will do your work for 
you, but you must not expect me to throw myself into a 
well for you." 

As the herdsmen were shuffling and urging the unlucky 
man to come on, Alphu asked him, " Why did you bring 
that bullock here and tie it up to our tree?" 

When the Mughal, in his shame and anger, heard this, 



THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 295 

he thought to himself, " If my own servant is going to 
witness against me I am lost!" So he addressed himself 
to his persecutors, and said, "Take your bullock away, 
and, see, here is some money for you to leave me alone. 
You have stolen my mare, but never mind." 

" Nay," retorted they, " you have caused us trouble and 
loss of time. You must go to the court." 

"Ah," groaned the Mughal, "these fellows are too 
much for me ! They out-do Alphu himself." 

At this stage Alphu came forward and interfered, hand- 
ing the men their bullock, and ten rupees out of his 
master's purse, and sending them away whispering and 
laughing. 

Then said the Mughal to Alphu, " My mare is gone and 
my honour is gone too. Let us return home, and I'll buy 
another mare, and we can set out again. Here, pick up 
the saddle and let us be off!" 

"Do you call this thing a saddle?" answered Alphu. 
" I call it a basket, and in the old hut which you have 
given me to live in I have a dozen of them. If you want 
some more I can supply you with plenty, but I am not 
going to carry this one all the way home." 

Said the Mughal, again becoming excited, " Do you 
say you have baskets like this in your house ? Are you 
aware that this basket, as you call it, cost me fifty rupees ?" 

" Well, pick it up yourself," answered Alphu, " I 
won't. If you like to carry such a wretched thing, do 
so." 

" What !" yelled the Mughal, growing infuriated, " did 
I not hire you as a servant?" 

"Are you getting angry with me?" asked Alphu 
quietly. 

" No, no, not at all, not at all," replied the Mughal, 
recovering himself. " I was merely observing that this 
was a saddle, and not a basket." 

The Mughal then picked up the saddle himself, and the 
two ill-assorted companions began their return journey. 
" Look here," said the Mughal, " it will be a disgrace for 
me to be seen carrying a saddle into my village. I will 
carry it within a mile, and to save the scandal do you 
take it then." 

" Well," answered Alphu, " do you carry it within a 
mile." 



296 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

When they arrived at the place indicated, the Mughal 
said, " Now you carry the saddle." 

" Nay, that I will not," answered Alphu. 

"Why not?" said his master, astonished. "You said 
you would." 

" I did not say I would carry the saddle," said Alphu. 
" I said you might carry it, and I said that I had plenty 
of baskets of the same pattern." 

Then the Mughal again began to flare up. 

" Are you getting angry with me now?" asked Alphu. 
" If so, give me up your eye." 

" No, no," answered the Mughal, " I am not getting 
angry. I am merely pointing out that a servant should 
obey his master." 

" If the thing were worth carrying," said Alphu, " I 
might take it for you; but an old basket, never !" 

The Mughal, who would not for shame be seen entering 
his village bearing a saddle on his head, was fain to take 
it down, lay it on the ground, tie a piece of string to 
it, and in that manner to make for his house by the 
shortest possible path, dragging the unlucky saddle behind 
him. 

Having arrived home, the Mughal borrowed another 
mare from a neighbour, and the next morning he started 
very early, so as to reach his destination on the same day. 
His dignity would not permit him to travel without a 
servant, and he was compelled to take Alphu with him 
again. They were within a mile of the village, when the 
Mughal sent on his servant in advance, saying, " I shall 
rest here and bathe. Do you go on and request my 
friends to prepare my dinner for me." 

On reaching the house, Alphu gave the people his 
master's message, thus, " My master sends his respects to 
you, and wishes you to know that in a little while he will 
be here. Meanwhile, he would have you prepare some 
dinner for him." 

They were all delighted at the intelligence, and began 
their preparations. But Alphu surprised them by saying, 
" Of course any food will do for me, as I am only a 
servant. But my master is indisposed, and he has asked 
me to say that for two days he has been taking only the 
food which his doctors have prescribed for him, and which 
he must adhere to," 



THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 297 

"What kind of food, then," asked they, "would he 
like?" 

" You will take," answered the man, " one pound of the 
common country soap and dress it with assafcetida and 
spices into a kind of porridge. It is the only thing my 
master will touch." 

When the Mughal arrived, all his new wife's relations 
came forward to receive him, and they gave him the seat of 
honour. "I am very tired," thought he, "and very 
hungry, and when I have had a good dinner I shall go 
to sleep." The food came, and the aroma which assailed 
his nostrils was a trifle compared with the flavour of the 
first spoonful. He was amazed, and nearly beside himself 
with rage and disappointment, but shame kept him silent. 
At the same time he perceived his mischievous servant eat- 
ing wholesome food close by, and eyeing him with a 
malicious twinkle. To make matters still worse, his host 
pressed him cordially to make a good meal for the credit 
of the house, which he was compelled to do to avoid 
offending them. Then, pleading fatigue, he retired to 
another chamber and lay down. In the middle of the 
night he became very sick, and complained of horrible 
nausea and pains and spasms. Calling his servant, he 
said, " Come along with me outside; I am ill." 

" Nay," said Alphii, " if we go out now 7 , we shall be 
arrested by the watchman and locked up as thieves. If 
you are sick, I will bring you the vessel, and in the morn- 
ing I can take it out before any one is astir." 

Before morning the Mughal ordered his servant to throw 
out the vessel. " I am coming," answered he. And 
whenever the Mughal called him he answered in like 
manner, " I am coming," but he came not. At last day- 
light appeared, and the Mughal, for very shame, had to 
rise to take away the odious thing himself. He covered 
it with the sheet which he had thrown over his head, and, 
stepping out in the cold, crossed over towards the jungle. 

Hardly had he left the room when his friends came in 
and inquired for him. 

' The food you gave him last night," said Alphu, " did 
not agree with him at all, and he is so angry that he has 
started for his home. Some of you go and persuade him 
to return. He is just outside. He will make excuses, but 
never mind them, bring him back." 



298 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

One or two therefore followed the Mughal, and overtook 
him before he had time to disencumber himself of his load. 
" We apologize," said they, " if the food was not to your 
liking. Do not part in anger, but come back with us." 

The Mughal protested that he was merely taking the 
morning air; but they would listen to no excuses, and, as 
they laid hold of his arms in order to add a friendly 
violence to their arguments, the vessel which he held 
dropped out of his hands on to the stones and was broken. 
The poor man was covered with confusion,. and his anger 
getting the better of him, he rushed back to the house to 
revile his servant. " Ah, villain," cried he, when he saw 
him, "would you play, your tricks on me in a strange 
house?" 

"Are you getting angry with me?" answered Alphu. 
" If so, give me up your eye." 

"No, no!" said the Mughal, dancing and almost 
speechless with rage; " I am not angry not -at all. I 
would merely point out to you that your conduct is in- 
famous." And he once more subsided. 

He then went and called for his mare, and when his 
friends again entered the room he said, " I must return 
to my home at once, as I am not well." So he put his 
new wife into a palanquin, mounted his mare, and all three 
left for their own village. 

They were within a short distance of the village, when 
the Mughal looked back and saw that the bearers of the 
palanquin had lagged far behind. " Go quickly back," 
said he to Alphu, "and hasten up my wife. Make her 
fly, so that she may be there and here in the same moment, 
as darkness is rapidly falling." 

Alphu hastened back and said to the bearers, " Strange 
bearers are riot permitted to enter this village, so set down 
the palanquin and return to your homes ; other bearers will 
be here presently." 

The men obeyed him, and, as he was considering what 
he should do next, he saw a party emerging from a wood, 
who told him that they had just been burying a young girl 
of the village, w r ho had died of a fall from a swing. A 
thought came into the mind of the wily Alphu. Bidding 
the bride get out of the palanquin, he took her into the 
wood and bound her securely to a tree. " If you utter a 
sound, or make the least noise until you are released," 



THE ADVENTURES OF ALPHU AND SHARPHU 299 

said he, "I will put you to death." He then went on to 
the newly-made grave, and began to open it. A foot and 
a half below the surface he came to the narrow chamber, 
and, taking out the body, he chopped off one of its legs. 
With this in his hand he hurried to his master. 

"What in the name of heaven is that?" exclaimed he 
with starting eyes. 

" I am your servant," quoth Alphu, " and I have merely 
obeyed your orders. You told me to hasten on your wife 
so fast that she might be there and here in the same 
moment. That is exactly what I have done, for she is 
there, and she is also here." And he held up the ghastly 
object before the astounded Mughal, who, crying out, 
"Villain, you have undone me; you have destroyed me, 
and you have killed my wife!" rushed at him savagely. 

The two men instantly closed and rolled over and over, 
while their excited voices mingled together, Alphu crying, 
" You are angry at last; you are angry at last !" and his 
master screaming, " Yes, yes; I am angry !" But Alphu, 
being younger and stronger, soon prevailed over his obese 
antagonist, and while he nearly throttled him with one 
hand, he plucked out his eye with the other. After this 
he got up and shook himself, and, returning to his own 
village, he said to his brother, " Now, Sharphu, I have 
reckoned in full with the Mughal, and exacted eye for eye 
see !" and he threw down the Mughal's eye before him. 

From this time the two brothers lived together on the 
family estate very happily, nor had Sharphu ever again 
a wish to abandon his own proper work. 

As for the Mughal, his bride was discovered and restored 
to him. But he reformed his manners and turned over a 
new leaf, for it was never afterwards heard that he plucked 
out the eyes of any of his servants again. 

Told by a bard at Hazro, February 1879. 



300 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

XLIX 
OF THE SON WHO REPROVED HIS FATHER 

A CERTAIN villager died, and, as his body was being 
carried along to the grave, his little son, who was walking 
in front, began to address the corpse, and to say, " Father, 
they are taking you now to a very narrow house. There 
will be no sleeping-mat for you there, nor any light; there 
will not be even the smell of bread, nor a single cup for 
you to drink from." 

Another boy, of about the same age, who was also in 
the procession, overheard these words, and said to his 
father, " They are taking this body, then, to our house?" 

" Nay, boy," answered the father, " not to our house, 
but to the grave." 

" But," replied the child, "the dead man's son says it 
is to our house, for we have no sleeping-mats, nor any 
lights, we have never any food to eat nor water to drink, 
and our house is also both dark and narrow. I think it 
must be going to our house." 



OF THE THIEF AND THE POOR MAN 

A THIEF broke into a house in the hope of finding some- 
thing worth stealing, but, unfortunately for him, the house 
was the home of a man who was miserably poor. When 
the thief entered, the owner was lying awake, sadly won- 
dering where in the world his next meal was to come 
from. He neither moved nor spoke, but quietly looked 
on while the thief was feeling along the bare walls, and 
rummaging his slender property, trying hard to discover 
something to carry away. At last, as the fellow was leav- 



CONCERNING THE TWO FRIENDS 301 

ing the room empty-handed, the poor man grinned aloud 
with mocking laughter. Turning round in a rage, the 
startled thief exclaimed, " What ! you are laughing, are 
you? And do you call yourself the owner of a house?" 



LI 
OF THE TRAVELLER AND HIS CAMEL 

ONCE upon a time, a traveller, coming along the desert 
road with his laden camel, stopped to rest during the noon- 
tide heat under a shady tree. There he fell asleep. When 
he awoke he looked at the camel, and, finding to his sorrow 
that the faithful companion of all his journeys was dead, 
he thus apostrophized him 

" Where is the spirit fled, ah, where 

The life that cheered the weary ways? 
Couldst thou not wait one hour, nor spare 
For me, thy friend, one parting gaze?" 1 



LII 
CONCERNING THE TWO FRIENDS 

ONCE upon a time a dog and a cock were sworn friends. 
But a famine fell on the land, and the dog said to the 
cock, " There is no food for me here, so I am going away 
to another country. I tell you this that you may not 
blame me and say, ' This dog was my friend, but he left 
me without a word.' ' 

"O dog," answered the cock, "we are sworn friends. 

1 This well-known verse comes naturally to the lips of a PanjabJ 
when he receives news of the death of a friend. 



302 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

If you go I go. Let us go together, and as you are a 
dog, you can forage for us both, since if I venture about 
all the village curs will set on me and eat me up." 

"Agreed!" said the dog. " When I go for food you 
shall hide in the jungle, and whatever I find I will fetch 
to you and we'll share and share alike." 

So the two friends set out. After a time they saw a 
village, and the dog said, " Now I am going forward to 
prowl for food; but as for you, you must remain here. 
But first of all, if anything should happen to you when I 
am away, how shall I know it?" 

Said the cock, " Be this the signal whenever you hear 
me crow three times, at once hasten back to me." 

So for some time these two creatures lived happily, the 
dog bringing in supplies every day, while at night he 
rolled himself up beneath the tree in the branches of which 
the cock sat safely at roost. 

One day, in the absence of the dog, a jackal came to the 
tree, and, looking up, he said to the cock, " O uncle, why, 
pray, are you perched so high ? Come down and let us 
join in evening prayer together." 

"Most willingly," answered the cock; "but first it is 
necessary that I should cry the bhangh, 1 that all good 
Musalmans may hear and come too." 

So the cock began to crow lustily, until the dog in the 
distant village heard his note, and said to himself, " Alas ! 
something has happened to my dear old friend ; I must trot 
home at once." 

So he started for the jungle, but when the jackal looked 
round and saw him he began to sneak off, upon which the 
cock remarked, " O good nephew, this is merely a pious 
neighbour coming to join us. Pray do not leave us ! At 
any rate, stop for prayers!" 

"Alas! uncle, I would stop with pleasure," answered 
the jackal, " but the fact is I have in short, it just occurs 
to my mind that I forgot to perform my ablutions. 2 Fare- 
well." And, quickening his pace, he disappeared. 

1 The Mussalman cry to prayers in the Panjab is called the bhangh, 
and so is the crow of a cock. 

2 I have been compelled to altar this phrase, which in the original 
is too coarse for polite ears. It is a most bitter satire on the exces- 
sive punctiliousness of the stricter Muhammadans in the matter 01 
ceremonial washings. 



STORY OF THE YOUNG MAN AND THE SNAKE 303 

LIII 
STORY OF THE YOUNG MAN AND THE SNAKE 

THERE was once a farmer who was extremely poor. It 
happened that when his poverty was greatest a son was 
born to him, and this son was such a lucky child that 
his father speedily became quite as rich as he was before 
poor, and obtained a great name over all the country. 

After a certain time the farmer thought to himself, " I 
must get my son betrothed somewhere. I was poor once, 
but I am now rich, and my son is lucky. It is right 
that he should be betrothed to the daughter of some rich 
man like myself." 

It was long before he found a suitable match, but at 
last he betrothed the boy to a girl who lived in a distant 
town. The ceremony came on, much money was spent, 
many guests were invited, and much food was given away. 
In short, the betrothal was splendid. 

The son had scarcely grown to manhood when the father 
died, leaving him in the world alone. 

The parents of his betrothed, when they heard the sad 
news, felt very sorry for him, and at first they would have 
brought him to live at their own house. But the mother 
said, " He is old enough now to come and take our 
daughter home with him, so let us send for him that he 
may do so. No friend like a good wife/' 

A messenger was accordingly sent off, and the lad, when 
he received the invitation, dressed himself up in his best, 
and, mounting his mare, set off. 

On the way he came to a lonely jungle, in which he 
saw a mungoose, and a snake of enormous dimensions, 
engaged in deadly combat. He reined up his horse to 
look on. The mungoose soon began to wear out his adver- 
sary, and to inflict such wounds as would have put an end 
to its life in a short time. Seeing which, the boy con- 
sidered to himself, " When two are contending, it is an 
act of charity to separate them." So he tried to separate 
the combatants, but every time he failed, as the mungoose 
again and again sprang upon his adversary in spite of 
him. Finding he could not prevail, he drew his sword 
and dealt the warlike little mungoose his death-blow. 



After this he went on again, but he had not proceeded 
far when he found that the snake had rushed round and 
intercepted him. Then began the boy to remonstrate. 

" I did you good service," said he. " Why, then, have 
you pursued me?" 

"It is true," answered the snake, " that you saved me 
from my enemy. But I shall not let you go. I shall 
eat you." 

" Surely," replied the lad, " one good turn deserves 
another. Will you injure me because I assisted you ? In 
my country we do not deal with each other thus." 

"In these parts," said the snake, " the custom is 
different. Every one here observes the rule of returning 
evil for good." 

The boy then began to argue with the snake, but he 
argued in vain, for the snake w : as determined to eat him. 
At last he said, " Very well, snake, you can eat me, but 
first give me eight days to go about my business, after 
which I shall come back." 

With this request the snake complied, saying, "Be it 
so; in eight days you must return to me." 

The snake, which had coiled himself round about the 
boy's body, now released his hold and suffered him to 
depart, so he rode on once more and completed his 
journey. 

All his friends were very glad to see the young bride- 
groom, and especially his little wife, and at his father- 
in-law's house he remained for several days. But as he 
was always downcast and sad, they asked him, " Why are 
you so sorrowful?" For six days they asked in vain. On 
the seventh they spoke to their daughter. "Is he angry? 
What is the matter with him?" But she also asked 
him in vain. 

When the eighth day came, he said, " Now let me go 
home." The father and mother then gave the daughter 
her portion, and, having placed them both in a bullock- 
cart, they sent the young couple away. 

So the two travelled until they had left the village far 
behind them. Then said the lad to his wife and to her 
servants, " Return now back again to your own home. As 
for me, it is decreed that I shall die on the way." 

All the servants, being alarmed, at once returned, but 
his young wife said, " Where you fall, I shall fall. What 



STORY OF THE YOUNG MAN AND THE SNAKE 305 

am I to do at my house ?" So she continued to accompany 
her husband. 

When he arrived at the spot appointed, he dismounted 
and called forth the snake. 

" I have come," said he, " in accordance with my 
promise. If you wish to eat me, come and eat me now !" 

His wife, hearing his ominous words, descended also, 
and came and stood by her husband's side. By-and-by a 
dreadful hissing sound was heard, and the snake crawled 
out from the jungle, and was preparing to devour the un- 
fortunate boy, when the girl exclaimed, " Why are you 
going to eat this poor youth?" The snake then told her 
the whole story, how he was fighting with a mungoose, 
and how her husband interfered and killed his adversary ; 
"and in this country," continued he, "our custom is to 
return evil for good!" 

The young wife now tried all the arguments she could 
think of to divert the monster from his purpose, but he 
was deaf to her pleadings and refused to listen to them. 
Then said she, " You say that in this country people do 
evil in return for good. This is so strange a custom, and 
so very unreasonable, that I would fain know the history 
of it. How did it all come about?" 

" Do you see those five tali trees?" answered the snake. 
" Go you to them and cry out to them, ' What is the 
reason that in this country folks do evil in return for 
good?' and see what they will say to you !" 

The girl went and did as she was bidden, addressing 
her request to the middle of the five. 

The tree straightway answered her, "Count us! We 
are now five, but once we were six three pairs. The 
sixth tree was hollow, having a vast cavity in its trunk. 
It happened once upon a time, many years ago, that a 
certain thief went and robbed a house, and that the people 
followed him. He ran and ran and ran, and at last he 
came in among us. It was night, but the moon was shin- 
ing, and the thief hid himself in the hollow tali tree. 
Hearing his pursuers close at hand, he besought the tree, 
saying, 'O tree, tree, save me!' When the tali tree 
heard his miserable cry it closed up its old sides upon him, 
and hid him in a safe embrace, so that the people searched 
for him in vain, and they had to return without him. 
When all pursuit was over, the tree once more opened and 
20 



306 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

let him go. Now, in this old tali tree there was sandal 
wood, 1 and the thief, when he went forth, had the scent 
of sandal wood so permanently fixed upon him that wher- 
ever he . was, and wherever he appeared, he diffused a 
delightful fragrance. It so happened that he visited the 
city of a certain king, and a man passing him on the 
road suddenly stopped, and asked him, ' Where did you 
get this beautiful scent ?' 

" ' You are mistaken,' answered the thief; ' I have no 
scent.' 

" ' If you will give me this scent,' said the man, ' I will 
pay you its value.' 

" Again the thief answered, ' I have no scent none.' 

" Then the man, who was shrewd and intelligent, went 
his way to the King and told him, ' There is a stranger 
arrived here who possesses a most wonderful scent. To 
your Highness, perhaps, he might be induced to give it 
up.' 

' The King then ordered the thief into his presence, 
and said to him, ' Show me the scent you have.' 
' I have none,' said he. 

" ' If you will give it up to me quietly,' said the King, 
' you shall be rewarded. If not, you shall be put to 
death.' 

" When the thief heard this he got frightened, and said, 
' Do not kill me, and I will tell the whole story.' So he 
told the King how his life was preserved in the heart of the 
tdlt tree, and how the scent of sandal wood had never left 
him since. Then said the King, ' Come along and show 
me that wonderful tree of which you tell me.' 

" Arriving at this very spot, the King instantly gave 
orders to his followers to cut the tree down and to carry 
it to his palace. But when the tali tree heard his order, 
and when it understood the reason of it, it cried aloud, 
1 I have saved the life of a man, and for this I am to lose 
my own life. For the future, therefore, let it be decreed 
within this jungle that whosoever dares to do good, to him 
it shall be repaid in evil !' " 

The girl, having heard this doleful story, returned once 
more to her husband's side. 

" Well," said the snake, " have you consulted the tali 

1 There is a superstition that tali or stsam trees in old age develop 
sandal wood. 



STORY OF THE YOUNG MAN AND THE SNAKE 307 

tree? and do you find that our custom here is even as I 
told you?" 

She was compelled to admit that it was so; but as the 
monster advanced to his victim, she wept and said, " What 
will become of me? If you must eat my husband, you 
must begin by eating me!" 

The snake objected to an arrangement so unreasonable. 
"You?" cried he. "But you have never done me the 
smallest good. You have not e.ven done me harm. How, 
then, can I be expected to eat you?" 

" But if you kill my husband," replied she, " what's left 
for me ? You acknowledge yourself that I have done you 
no good, and yet you would inflict this injury upon me." 

When the snake heard these words he stopped, and 
began to grow remorseful, especially as she wept more 
copiously than ever. That the boy must be eaten was cer- 
tain, but how should he comfort the girl? Wishing to 
devise something, he crept back to his hole, and in a few 
minutes he returned with two magic globules or pills. 
" Here, foolish woman," said he, " take these two pills and 
swallow them, and you will have two sons to whom you 
can devote yourself, and who will take good care of you !" 

The girl accepted the pills, but, w r ith the cunning natural 
to a woman, said, " If I take these two pills, doubtless 
two sons will be born. But what about my good name?" 

The snake, who knew not that she was already wed, 
hearing her speech, became exasperated with her. 
' Women are preposterous beings," cried he, and he crept 
back once more to his hole. This time he brought out 
two more pills, and when handing them to the disconso- 
late girl he said, " Revenge will sweeten your lot: When 
any of your neighbours revile you on account of your 
sons, take one of these pills between finger and thumb, 
hold it over them, rubbing it gently so that some of the 
powder may fall on them, and immediately you will see 
them consume away to ashes." 

Tying the former pills in her cloth, the girl looked at 
the other pills incredulously, and then, with a sudden 
thought, she gently rubbed them over the snake, saying 
with an innocent air, " O snake, explain this mystery to 
me again ! Is this the way I am to rub them ?" 

The moment an atom of the magic powder had touched 
the snake, he was set on fire, and in another instant he 



3 o8 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

was merely a long wavy line of grey dust lying on the 
ground. 

Then with a glad face the little wife turned to her 
husband and said, " Whosoever does good to any one, 
in the end good will be done to him ; and whosoever does 
evil to any one, in the end evil will be done to him. You 
did good, and, lo ! you are rewarded. The snake did 
evil, and evil befell him. All things help each other. The 
Almighty brings everything to rights at last." 

After this the two went on their way to their own 
home, where they lived in happiness and contentment for 
many a year. 



LIV 
STORY OF THE WEAVER AND THE THIEVES 

THERE were once three notorious thieves who had a 
friend who was by trade a weaver. At this man's house 
they were accustomed to meet to plan their nocturnal ex- 
peditions, and to divide their ill-gotten gains, and he used 
to entertain them with water and bread and tobacco in 
return for various trifles which were occasionally assigned 
to him. One night these thieves stole four buffaloes and 
drove them to the weaver's, who was astonished when he 
saw so rich a capture enter his yard, and who said, " You 
three go off for a single day and you bring back four 
buffaloes. Next time you must take me with you." 

" No, no," answered his friends; "we will present you 
with one of these buffaloes, but you must not come out 
with us." 

" I don't want this buffalo," said the weaver. " I 
should like to have something of my own earning." 

The three thieves then took away the buffaloes and hid 
them in a cave, and when they next went out for spoil the 
weaver went with them. 

This time they betook themselves to a large city, and 
determined to break into a thatched house which seemed a 



STORY OF THE WEAVER AND THE THIEVES 309 

likely place for plunder. The thieves therefore said to the 
weaver, " You look about for a long pole, so that we can 
raise the thatch and get in." The weaver looked every- 
where but was unable to find one. Seeing, however, that 
the people of the house were sleeping outside in the 
enclosed space, he went to them and woke them up, voci- 
ferating, " We are just going to break into your house, 
my good people ! So lend us a pole to raise up the 
thatch." All at once they jumped up in a fright, yelling 
out, "Thieves! Thieves!" and the four house-breakers 
scampered off through the darkness in various directions 
and escaped. 

After a time they met in a certain place, and the thieves 
said to the weaver, " Friend, you must not come with us 
again. You will get us into trouble and we shall be all 
hanged. You remain in this place until we return." 

"This time," answered the weaver, "I shall be more 
careful, so don't be afraid, and take me too." So all four 
set out together again. 

After prowling through a street or two they came to a 
house and made a hole through the wall. The three 
thieves said to the weaver, " Do you stop outside and keep 
watch, and we will enter and hand out the things to you." 
The thieves then crawled through the hole and dis- 
appeared. A long time seemed to elapse, and at last the 
weaver said to himself, " Those fellows must be hiding 
all the best things for themselves," and he crept in after 
them. 

He no\v found himself in complete darkness. Begin- 
ning to grope about, he happened to put his hand into the 
fire-place which was on the floor, and he found that the 
embers were still glowing. So he blew them up, and, 
seeing close by him some vermicelli and sugar, he put them 
into a vessel and began to boil them. 

Now, it so happened that the wife of the good man of 
the house was sleeping on her low charpoy, or bed, next to 
the fire-place, and as she turned herself in her dreams she 
stretched out her arm over the side, and her hand, palm 
uppermost, came between the weaver's nose and his pot of 
vermicelli, where it rested. He, imagining that she was 
asking him for some of his mess, ladled out a spoonful 
boiling hot and clapped it into her hand. At once she 
uttered a piercing shriek, which roused up her husband, 



3 io ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

while the weaver, without a word, escaped into the rafters 
of the low roof, and the three thieves, who had just that 
moment entered laden with booty from another room, hid 
themselves in corners. 

Now, it must be understood that the weaver's name was 
Kadra, a word which in that town signified " God." 
Hardly had Kadra got into the rafters, when the husband, 
who had risen in a fury, smelt the vermicelli and the 
sugar, and found that cooking was going on. " Ah, you 
slut!" cried he to his wife, "you have been making this 
nice. stuff for some friend of yours, have you? and you 
thought I was asleep !" And, taking up a good stick, he 
thrashed her soundly. 

The poor woman, raising her eyes to the rafters, cried 
through her tears, " Kadra (God) knows whether I have 
done this thing or not. I appeal to Kadra!" 

The weaver, who had come from a village where the 
word Kadra was not used in that sense, thinking himself 
accused, and imagining that the woman was staring up 
at him, began to protest, saying, " Why am I to have all 
the bad name ? The other fellows are a good deal worse 
than I am. Look where they are hiding in those corners !" 

Hearing these mysterious words issuing from the roof, 
and discovering that there was a band of thieves in his 
house, the astonished husband took down a sword and 
mounted guard over the hole in the wall, while the cries 
of "Thieves! murder!" uttered by himself and his wife 
quickly roused up their neighbours, who presently entered 
in all haste, and, seizing the four confederates, carried 
them off to gaol. 

The next morning the three thieves and the unhappy 
weaver, all bound together, were brought up before the 
King and accused of house-breaking and robbery. The 
King, with a solemn air, opened his law-books, but, as he 
was some time examining them, the weaver cried out, " O 
King, if I am to be hanged, pray hang me at once, and let 
me get back to my work. I am only a poor weaver, and 
as the sun is getting hot, my thread which was put out 
yesterday will all be dried up and spoilt." 

The King, who loved a joke, whether intended or not, 
was so amused at this speech of the weaver that he ordered 
his release, but the three thieves he sentenced to imprison- 
ment, and they were taken back to gaol. 



STORY OF THE TRAVELLER AND THE OILMAN 311 

LV 
STORY OF THE TRAVELLER AND THE OILMAN 

ONCE upon a time there was a certain traveller who was 
riding a mare. After a long march he came to a village 
and lodged at the house of an oilmaker. It happened that 
during the night his mare had a foal; but in the morning, 
when he was preparing to resume his journey, his host 
came out and seized the foal, saying 

" This foal is mine. My oil-press had it last night." 

" Nay," said the traveller, " it is mine. My mare has 
been in foal for months." 

" And my oil-press," replied the oilman, " must have 
been in foal for months, too." 

As they were unable to agree, they went to the court and 
laid the case before the King. When each of them had 
made his statement, the King, after some consideration, 
at last addressed the traveller and said, " Your mare could 
not possibly have had this foal, because, you see, it was 
found standing by the oil-press." 

So in his wisdom he gave a verdict in favour of the oil- 
man, and sent the parties away. 

The owner was very sorrowful indeed when he saw his 
foal led off by the grinning oilman, nor was his mare less 
so at being so cruelly parted from her young one. In vain 
he urged her forward. She turned her head perpetually, 
and tried hard again and again to trot back to her quarters 
of the night before. 

While the poor man was in this predicament, a jackal 
met him and said, " What is the matter with your mare, 
and why are you so sad?" Then the traveller told the 
jackal the story of the foal, and how the King had awarded 
it to the wrong party. " Cheer up," said the jackal. 
" Only promise to keep me safe from the village dogs, 
and I will get you back your foal." 

The traveller, who was overjoyed to hear the jackal speak 
thus, at once replied, " I will engage to keep you perfectly 
safe if you will help me to recover my foal." 

"Very well," said the jackal, "put now a cloth over 
me, and when you take me into the court, set me up in 



3 i2 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

some conspicuous place where the King \vill not fail to 
see me, and the rest you may leave to me." 

The traveller did as he was directed. He dressed the 
jackal up in a red cloth, which covered his head, and set 
him in the court-house. 

When the jackal, who was sitting as still as a mouse, 
perceived that the King was looking in his direction, he 
fell suddenly down on his side. No sooner had he 
recovered himself than he fell down on his other side. 
Again, having sat upright once more, he fell fiat on his 
face. 

The King, noticing this extraordinary proceeding, called 
out, " Send and ask that child why she is falling down 
here, and then falling down there, here, there and every- 
where in the court-house." When the attendant ap- 
proached and put the question, the jackal answered, 
" That is a secret which I can only impart to the King 
himself. Take me quite close up, so that the King may 
hear, and I will tell it." 

The jackal was now conducted forward to the steps of 
the throne, and the King, seeing he was a jackal, began 
to question him. 

' Why are you come here to play your jackal-tricks ?" 

" If my life is spared," answered the jackal, " I will tell 
you all." 

' Take your life and speak," said the King. 

Then the jackal replied, " Last night, O King, the sea 
caught fire, and in order to put it out I was throwing 
water over it with a sieve the whole night through. Not 
a single wink of sleep did I get, and I am now so tired that 
I tumble down first on one side and then on the other, 
and sometimes I fall forward on my face, so weary am I 
with all my exertions." 

'You silly jackal!" cried the King; "did any one in 
the world ever hear of the sea taking fire? And even if 
it did, would any one throw water on it with a sieve?" 

"And, O King," retorted the jackal, "did any one in 
the world ever hear of an oil-press bearing a foal ?" 

When the King heard that, he began to bethink him- 
self, and after some moments he said, " Call the traveller 
and the oilman once more. The jackal is right it must 
have been the mare which had the foal. Therefore, take 
away the foal from the oilman and give it to the traveller." 



OF AN UNFORTUNATE JACKAL 313 

This was accordingly done, and the traveller, in grati- 
tude and gladness, carried the jackal safely to the jungle, 
where he put him down and made him a low salaam, say- 
ing, " O jackal, it is to you I owe the restoration of my 
foal, and your wisdom I shall ever remember!" 



LVI 
OF AN UNFORTUNATE JACKAL 

IN the month of October, when the crops are ripe and 
the jackals are accordingly frisky and well fed, some of 
these little animals found some loose papers on the ground, 
and agreed to elect a lambardar. To the one elected they 
handed the manuscripts, saying, " Hold these in your 
pad wherever you go, because they are the authority by 
which you shall govern us." 

"Kings have crowns," remarked one of them, "and 
our lambardar should also possess some ensign, mark, or 
decoration, so that all may recognize him." 

" Tie this basket to his tail," suggested a sly fox. 

So the new lambardar was invested with his papers, 
and adorned as well with an old basket fastened securely 
to his tail. Just then a pack of dogs broke in upon them, 
and the jackals scampered off to their holes. The lam- 
bardar's new decoration, however, that wretched basket, 
caught in the entrance, and he was unable to advance. 
"Come in," cried the other jackals from within; "come 
in, Mr. Lambardar." 

" Thank you," answered the lambardar; " but you have 
done me too much honour, and your royal ensign holds 
me fast." 

" Oh !" said they, " show the villains your papers." 

"Precisely what I have done," replied he; "but they 
are such barbarians, these village dogs, that they cannot 
even read." 



314 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

In another minute the dogs had dragged forth the 
wretched lambardar and despatched him. 

Thus [added the story-teller] honour and rank bring 
peril and loss. 



LVII 
TALE OF A WEAVER AND A WATER-MELON 

ONCE upon a time a poor country weaver visited a town, 
where he saw a quantity of water-melons piled up one 
above the other in front of a grain-seller's shop. 

" Eggs of other birds there are," he said, " and I have 
seen them ; but what bird's eggs are these eggs ? These 
must be mare's eggs." 

So he looked at the grain-seller, and said, " Are these 
eggs mare's eggs?" 

The man instantly cocked his ears; and perceiving that 
he was a simpleton, answered, " Yes, these eggs are 
mare's eggs." 

'What is the price?" inquired the countryman. 

" One hundred rupees apiece," said the grain-seller. 

The simple weaver took out his bag of money, and, 
counting out the price, bought one of the melons and 
carried it off. As he went along the road, he began to 
say to himself, " When I get home I will put this egg 
in a warm corner of my house, and by-and-by a foal will 
be born, and when the foal is big enough, I shall mount 
it and ride to the house of my father-in-law. Won't he 
be astonished?" 

As the day, however, was unusually hot, he stopped at 
a pool of water to bathe. But first of all he deposited the 
melon most carefully in the middle of a low bush, and then 
he proceeded to undress himself. His garments were not 
half laid aside, when out from the bush sprang a hare, 
and the weaver, snatching up part of his clothing while 
the rest hung about his legs in disorder, made desperate 



TALE OF A WEAVER AND A WATER-MELON 315 

efforts to chase and overtake the hare, crying out, " Ah, 
there goes my foal! Wo, old boy wo, wo!" But he 
ran in vain, for the hare easily escaped, and was soon out 
of sight. The poor weaver reconciled himself to his loss 
as best he could. " Kismet !" cried he; "and as for the 
egg, it is of course of no use now, and not worth returning 
for, since the foal has left it." 

So he made the best of his way home, and said to his 
wife, " O wife, I have had a great loss this day." 

" Why," said she, "what have you done?" 

" I paid one hundred rupees for a mare's egg," replied 
he, "but while I stopped on the road to bathe, the foal 
jumped out and ran away." 

" Ah, what a pity !" cried the wife; " if you had only 
brought the foal here, I would have got on his back, and 
ridden him to my father's house!" 

Hearing this, the weaver fell into a rage, and, pulling a 
stick out of his loom, began to belabour his wife, saying, 
" What ! you would break the back of a young foal ? Ah ! 
you monster, take that, and that, and that!" 

After this he went out, and began to lament his loss to 
his friends and neighbours, warning them all, " If any of 
you should see a stray foal, don't forget to let me know." 
To the village herdsmen especially he related his wonder- 
ful story : how the foal came out of the egg, and ran away, 
and would perhaps be found grazing on the common-lands 
somewhere. One or two of the farmers, however, to 
whom the tale was repeated, said, " What is this nonsense ? 
Mares never have eggs. Where did you put this egg of 
yours?" 

; ' I put my egg in a bush," said the weaver, " near the 
tank on the way to the town." 

" Come and show us !" cried the farmers. 

"All right," assented the weaver; "come along." 

When they arrived at the spot, the melon was found 
untouched in the middle of the bush. 

; ' Here it is," cried the weaver; " here's my mare's egg. 
This is the thing out of which my foal jumped." 

The farmers turned the melon over and over, and said, 
' But what part of this egg did the foal jump out of?" 

So the weaver took the egg, and began to examine it. 

" Out of this," cried one of the farmers, snatching back 
the melon, " no foal ever jumped. You are a simpleton, 



316 ROMANTIC TALES FROM* THE PANJAB 

and some rogue has choused you out of your money ! 
We'll show you what the foals are." 

So he smashed the melon on a stone, and, giving the 
seeds to the weaver, said, " Here are foals enough for 
you;" while the farmers themselves, amid much laughter, 
sat down and ate up the delicious fruit. 



LVIII 

THE STORY OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 



ONCE upon a time there was a certain Prince who was 
strongly attached to the son of his father's wazir, so that 
the two youths became inseparable companions. On one 
of their hunting excursions, when they had ridden far 
away into the wilds, the Prince, weary of the long chase, 
and suffering from intense thirst, cried, " Oh for some 
water now, from tank or pool or well ! Where shall I find 
water in this wilderness, destitute of a single village?" 

Hard by there happened to be growing a clump of trees, 
and to them the two friends rode, and there they dis- 
mounted. And because the Prince's distress increased, 
the wazir's son spread his mantle under a tree, and said 
to his master, " Rest you here awhile, and let me go and 
look for some water." So the Prince lay down, and the 
full foliage of the tree screened him from the burning sun ; 
for trees are not like men : they endure upon their own 
heads piercing heat and driving rain, yet the wayfarer's 
head they shelter and protect. 1 

Having searched awhile, the wazir's son at last found 
some water in a lonely garden. In the garden there was a 
well, with a flight of steps leading down to the water's 
level. So he descended and filled his vessel. On his way 

1 This is a very favourite figure among the people of the Panjab. 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 317 

up, as he was bearing the water, he saw painted at the top 
of the staircase the portrait of some princess. Her hair 
was all loose and flowing. In one hand she held a lemon, 
and with the other she was lightly drying her dishevelled 
tresses. She was so exceedingly handsome that the 
wazir's son thought within himself, " If the Prince now 
should chance to see this likeness, he will cause me infinite 
trouble, for he will bid me bring him the Princess her- 
self." So he took some earth, and mixing the water with 
it, he made clay, and smeared it all over the picture, 
obscuring it from view. Then he descended once more, 
and having filled his vessel a second time, he returned 
to the Prince, and gave him to drink. Having drunk the 
water, the Prince's strength revived, and, standing up, he 
said, " Now I shall go and examine the garden for my- 
self." 

" The garden is a wilderness in the midst of a wilder- 
ness," said the wazir's son. "It is wild and desolate. 
Who knows what things may abide there ? Let us avoid 
it, for to remain in it cannot be safe. Let us rather mount 
and begone." 

" Nay," replied the Prince, " I have a fancy to see it." 

So they both went to it, and entered within it, and the 
Prince was delighted with the massive walls and the 
grandeur of the trees. After walking about it for some 
time, they at last came to the well, and, the Prince leading 
the way, they began to descend. Gazing about him, he 
said, " These walls are beautiful, excepting just here. 
Who has been spoiling these lovely designs with a vile 
coating of mud ? Wash off this mud, and let us restore 
the colour once more." 

" That is a thing we cannot do," answered the wazir's 
son. "And why? The garden is the owner's, and this 
is surely not our business, but his." 

The Prince, however, paid no heed; but he went down, 
brought up some water in a broken vessel, and threw it 
against the wall until the earth was all washed off, reveal- 
ing the likeness clearly and distinctly. Then the Prince 
sat him down opposite to the picture, and looked at it. 
Long time he looked at it, and at last he said, " Now life 
to me is nothing. Until I meet this lady, whoever she 
is, I shall be miserable; and if I do not meet her, here I 
shall die." 



3 i8 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

The wazir's son was sore perplexed. " Who knows," 
said he, "when this drawing was made? She may have 
died ages ago, and where then shall we look for her?" 

" If she be dead," answered the Prince, " then I die too. 
When I hear the fatal tidings, ' She is dead,' that 
moment shall be my last !" 

Again the Prince said, " If any one deems himself my 
friend, he will bring me this Princess." And with these 
words he lay down prostrate from sorrow. 

Once more the Prince looked up, and said, " If from 
your heart you are really my friend, you will go quickly 
and bring me this Princess. ' 

The wazir's son then began to consider within himself, 
"If I do not attend to the Prince's orders, I shall bring 
ruin on myself and my father the wazir, too; and if I 
leave him here and return alone, the King will slay me ; 
and it may be he will slay my father as well, and my 
father and mother will load me with reproaches, saying, 
' See what a son was ours, who could not save himself, 
and who ruined us !' To return to my home alone, there- 
fore, is not to be thought of." 

He then endeavoured to rouse up his master, saying, 
" Let us at least go to the next village, and ask to whom 
this well belongs." 

" I cannot quit this beauteous face," answered the 
Prince. " I am sick to the heart for her, and here I am 
determined to stay for ever." 

At last the wazir's son left him, and set out alone. After 
riding some distance, he came to a town, where he met a 
man to whom he said, " Whose is the garden in the wilds 
in which there is a well ? Is it a prince's or a merchant's ?" 

" That garden in the wilds," answered the man, " a mer- 
chant made, and he dug the well for the sake of charity ; 
and he used always to keep a servant there, and his order 
was, 'Whenever a traveller comes, give him food; to a 
Hindu, uncooked; to a Mussalman, cooked and I shall 
pay for all; but let no one go empty away.' That good 
merchant, however, is dead ; and his sons were worthless, 
and they turned off the servant, and now they do not go 
there even themselves, lest they should be expected lo 
entertain strangers." 

" I should like," said the wadir's son, " to see that son 
of the merchant who is the least worthless of them all." 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 319 

So the man took the wazir's son to the merchant's house, 
where he found in possession the eldest son. 

"Does the garden in the wilderness belong to you?" 
asked the youth. 

"It is mine," answered the son. 

" And the garden-well, too?" asked the other. 

" That, too, is mine; both are mine," answered he. 

" Then, who are they," continued the wazir's son, " who 
built the well?" 

Then the man told him that the builder of that well was 
a man who dwelt in a town some distance away ; and when 
he heard that, the wazir's son at once went there, and after 
two days' journey he arrived, and finding the builder, he 
said to him, " Did you build that well?" 

And the man took him in and showed him hospitality, 
and kept him there for the night, and told him, saying, 
" Yes; that well was built by me." 

Then said the wazir's son, " What portrait was that 
which you painted on the wall?" 

" The well was mine," answered the man, " but the por- 
trait was the work of my elder brother, who lives in another 
village." 

Now, the person who spoke thus was himself a very 
old man, and the wazir's son began saying to himself, 
" The brother of whom he speaks must be of immense age. 
Can he be living still? How unfortunate this is!" 

Nevertheless, he started for the next village without 
delay, and soon discovered the house to which he had been 
directed. But, to his surprise, the owner seemed far 
younger than the man he had just quitted, and when he 
looked at him he began to think, " This man cannot 
possibly be the elder brother. He must be some one else." 
Nevertheless, his host bade him enter and, seeing he was a 
stranger, he put down a bed for him, and entertained him 
liberally. The wazir's son, however, did not mention the 
object of his visit that night, and when morning came, he 
said to himself, " I suppose the elder brother is absent from 
home, and I must wait until he return." Yet he made no 
communication to his host, though he was the very man 
he sought. 

The next night the man, whose politeness was now 
satisfied, said to him, " On what business have you come 
to my house?" 



320 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" I have come," answered he, " to inquire concerning a 
well in a certain garden in the forest owned by a merchant. . 
I have heard that you built it. Is that so?" 

"Yes," answered the man, "it was I who built the 
well." 

"And was it you," continued the wazir's son, "who 
drew the likeness on the wall?" 

" No," said he. " The well I built, but the likeness was 
painted by another brother still older than I, and he lives 
elsewhere." 

Learning the name of the place, the wazir's son once 
more set off on his search ; and rinding the town, he 
inquired for the house. " Mine is the house," answered 
the first person whom he accosted. 

Now, this man seemed still younger than either of the 
other two, a strange circumstance which astonished the 
wazir's son more than ever. But, accepting his invitation, 
he went to his house, and in the evening his host said to 
him, " What business have you come upon?" 

Then said the wazir's son, " That I will tell you 
presently. But I am strangely puzzled. You look quite 
a young man. Have I turned mad, or are you mad?" 

" Any information I can give you," returned the other, 
" shall be at your service." 

Now, his wife was at that time very poorly, yet he bade 
her, saying, " Go, wife, to the top of the house, and fetch 
me down an apple w : hich you will find on a shelf." 
Though she was so feeble, yet without a word she instantly 
arose, and, going up to the house-top, she brought down 
the apple and gave it to her husband. Having taken the 
apple from her hand, he said, " Now go up again and 
bring me down another apple which is also there." In- 
stantly the wife again obeyed her husband and presently 
returned with the other apple. " There is a third apple," 
then said he, " haste, and bring that too." She went as 
she was bidden, but she found no more, so she came down 
and said, " There is no third apple there." 

The man then turned to the wazir's son, and said, " By 
this have you understood anything?" 

" I have understood something," answered he, " but not 
all. Go on with your story." 

Then said the builder to the wazir's son, " Ever since 
that excellent wife of mine has come into the house, my life 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 321 

has been easy and happy. The youngest of my two 
brothers, who looks so aged and worn, his wife does not 
obey him, neither does she regard him, and what is the 
consequence ? He is the most miserable man alive. Worse 
than a hundred diseases is the disease of anxiety. When 
he asks for water, she answers, ' Get up, and fetch it for 
yourself.' If he asks for bread, it is the same thing. 
Since the day on which that woman took up her abode in 
my brother's house he has not had a moment's happiness, 
and his anxiety has eaten him up. Therefore it is that he 
has grown so aged in his appearance. As to my other 
brother, his wife obeys him in part, but in part only. 
Sometimes, indeed, she makes her husband's heart happy, 
but at other times she renders him wretched. And that 
is the reason he does not age so rapidly as the other. And 
now, O friend, tell me the object of your journey." 

" About the well in the forest-garden was it you who 
built it?" answered the son of the wazir. 

" As to the garden, I know nothing," said the man. " I 
built the well, but at that time there was no garden. After 
the well was built, some one else must have made the 
garden." 

"But who drew that beautiful likeness?" asked the 
wazir 's son. 

' That likeness?" said he. " Why, I drew it myself." 

" And where did you see the original of such a face as 
that?" said the wazir's son. 

'What would you do with her?" replied the other. 
" To begin with, you could not gain her." 

"My Prince," said the wazir's son, "after looking on 
that picture, has fallen into desperate illness, and there he 
lies, and he declares that if I obtain that Princess I shall 
save my life, but that if not I must die." 

" But no one may visit her," said the mason. " If a 
man dare even so much as to look up at her windows, the 
King, her father, takes out his eyes, and whosoever points 
towards the house loses his hand." 

" And if the King's orders are so exceeding strict," said 
the wazir's son, " how on earth were you able to draw 
her?" 

' I happened to be in the city where she lives," replied 
he; " and as I was crossing the river in a boat, the current 
drove me under her palace walls. I did not dare to look 

21 



322 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

up, but in the smooth water beneath I saw reflected her 
likeness, as she sat at her casement. In one hand she held 
a lemon. With the other she was playing in the tresses 
of her flowing hair. Having my colours with me, I at 
once sketched her portrait exactly as she appeared." 

Then asked the wazir's son the name of the town, and, 
bidding his host farewell for the time, he hastened away. 
On the road he came to a wood, in which some little boys 
were grazing their cattle. But they had caught a tortoise, 
and were playing with it, beating it with sticks and kicking 
it like a ball. Seeing this cruel sport, the wazir's son 
became sorrowful, and exclaimed, " Look how everything 
that has breath suffers when beaten about !" So he begged 
them to let the creature go. " If you are so fond of the 
tortoise," answered they, "give us five rupees and take 
it." So he gave them the money, and took the tortoise; 
and when he had come to some water he set it at liberty, 
and let it go. 1 

After that he went along, and at last he came to the city 
in which lived the beautiful Princess. Then thought he 
to himself, " I am a man, and the King's orders are so 
dreadful, what shall I do ? I will disguise myself as a 
woman, and in that character it will be easier for me to 
find her. Even if I knew some woman here, and confided 
my plans to her, the secret that some one is after the 
Princess would be sure to leak out, and then I should be 
killed. My best plan is so to manage that no one may 
suspect, while at the same time I succeed in my object." 
So he went and bought some jewels, and then he dressed 
himself up as a woman, adorning himself with the jewel- 
lery. Having so done, he went once more into the bazaar, 
and bargained for a supply of bangles, and having pro- 
cured a rich variety, he put them into a basket, and went 
crying them up and down the city among the palaces of 
the nobility. And as he cried, "Bangles; who'll buy 
bangles?" he looked so exceedingly handsome that many 
a purchaser called him in to fit on his bangles. But his 
prices were so exhorbitant that the commoner folk were 
unable to buy. Two days he cried his bangles, and on the 
third day he chanced to find himself under the palace of 
the Princess, and as he cried, " Who'll buy my bangles?" 

1 This incident of the tortoise is an interpolation from one of the 
legends of Raja Rasalu. 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 323 

the Princess heard him and looked out; and when she 
saw him, that he was so handsome, she sent a slave-girl, 
and called him in, and said to him, " Fit some of your 
bangles on my arms." So he began to try on some 
bangles; but he delayed and delayed as much as possible, 
almost till the evening, because some he wilfully broke, 
while others were too large, and others, again, too small; 
and the more the Princess regarded him, the more she felt 
some secret attraction towards him. At last, however, she 
was suited, and then, because he was so beautiful, the 
Princess bade him attend on her every day and sell her 
some bangles. Joyfully the wazir's son took his leave, and 
the next day he returned again ; and so he kept coming 
and going for some time. At last the Princess said to 
him, " You break an enormous number of bangles. When 
you go back in the evening, is not your master angry with 
you?" 

At these words he grew very thoughtful, for he knew 
not what to say or how to tell her who and what his master 
was. At last he answered her, " I am only a traveller from 
a distant town, and in your town I am a stranger." After 
that he added, " My husband is very ill. When I left him 
to-day he was nearly dead, and who knows if I snail now 
find him alive?" 

After these things the Princess took so great a fancy to 
the beautiful bangle-seller that she kept him near her 
constantly; and one day she said to him, " Even if your 
husband does die, you can stay with me, and then you 
need not sell bangles any more. I am a king's daughter, 
and here there is plenty of everything. Eat what you like 
and dress as you please." 

Three or four days passed by, and then the wazir's son 
went to the palace, and said, " My husband is dead !" The 
Princess, finding him free, ordered a slave-girl to take his 
basket of bangles and cast them into the river; after which 
she said to him, " Now throw off your mean garments, and 
array yourself in beautiful clothes like mine." So the 
wazir's son retired; and when he had dressed himself up, 
he returned to the Princess, who took up a mirror and 
looked at herself and then looked at him; and as she did 
so, she thought within herself, " This bangle-seller is even 
handsomer than I am." 

One day the Princess became very sorrowful and began 



324 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

to cry. Her maidens said to her, " O Princess, why are 
you crying?" But she answered them never a word. But 
when the wazir's son spoke to her, she began to disclose 
to him her grief, even her whole heart, which never before 
had she confided to any one. " In my heart I have one 
sorrow," said she. " I now wish to marry, but I have told 
my father I shall marry only the man I love. I told him 
this because who knows where he might get me married, 
or what the suitor might be like ? But I would have a hus- 
band as handsome as myself. And when I look at my face 
in the mirror, and where I see you not less beautiful than 
myself, I weep, for I think what a wonder of the Almighty 
it would have been if you had been a man instead of a 
woman. What a peerless pair we should have made!" 

" But do not cry, Princess," said he. " Have patience. 
If this is all your grief, Providence will grant your wish. 
I mean to have a husband as handsome as yourself. I 
know a certain town, and in it there is a holy shrine. Who- 
ever goes there and prays and gives an alms ever attains 
his desires." 

"Two thousand rupees shall I give in charity," cried 
the Princess, " if one of us two can become a man." 

After some days the Princess again spoke to the wazir's 
son, and asked him more about the shrine. " You must 
have patience for a time," answered he, " for I fear to speak 
much on account of the King, your father." 

" Whatever I ask my father," answered she, " he 
never denies me." Again she said, " Tell me all your 
mind." 

The wazir's son then disclosed the secret to her, and 
said, " Now I am turned into a man." 

Now when the Princess heard those words she was glad, 
and said to him, " Listen ! if I steal away with you the 
world will reproach me. But do you so contrive matters 
that the King himself shall tell us to go, since we cannot 
get off without his permission. Here, take these four thou- 
sand rupees. Go at once, and, resuming your proper 
dress, purchase merchandise and bring it into the city for 
sale." 

Then the wazir's son, naming the day of his return, set 
forth, for he went to a distant town, changed his clothes on 
the way, and, having bought servants and horses and rich 
stuffs in abundance, he came back to the city and took up 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 325 

his abode in a superb mansion. There the Princess came 
to see him disguised as a man, and when he had presented 
himself at the court, she said to the King, " Let this be 
the day of my marriage, and let my choice be the new 
merchant." 

When the King heard that he was pleased, because he 
looked on the rich merchant with the utmost favour. " O 
my daughter," said he, " you have permission to marry 
when and whom you like. So let it be." Then the King 
sent for the merchant and made a great feast, and the 
ceremony of marriage was performed with splendour and 
with general satisfaction. 

Now, as soon as the wedding rite was over, the wazir's 
son, under pretence of visiting the shrine for the purpose 
of distributing doles, mounted his horse, and, taking his 
bride with him, he at once rode away to the garden and the 
well in the distant wilderness, where he had left the Prince 
and all their substance. And he said to the Princess, 
" Whatever my faults in the past may appear, O Princess, 
forgive me for all !" She forgave him, and presently they 
arrived at the well, and to the Prince the wazir's son said, 
" The Princess has come." As soon as the Prince looked 
at her face he was glad, but he did not speak to her then. 
Presently the wazir's son again said to the Princess, " I 
have used deceit with you from the first. Will you for- 
give me ? I went to you for the sake of this Prince, my 
lord and master. I am only his servant, and, besides, I 
am also his friend." 

The Princess accepted her fate, saying, " My father gave 
me to you. You are now my master. Therefore, give me 
away to whomsoever you please." 

The wazir's son then brought the Prince, and he put her 
hand into his, and the Prince and Princess, charmed w ? ith 
each other, exchanged vows of eternal fidelity. And when 
all this was done, the whole party returned once more to 
the Prince's own court, where, in the presence of the King 
and Queen, the real nuptials were celebrated, being attended 
with unusual rejoicings in all parts of the kingdom. 



326 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 



THE STORY OF THE PRINCE AND THE 
WAZlR'S SON (continued} 

PART II 

AFTER these things the Prince showered on his friend 
abundance of favours, for he enriched him and gave him 
villages and lands, saying that he loved him before all 
men, and feeling sure that if he bade him go and do any- 
thing, however difficult, he would do it. In consequence 
of all this, it soon happened that the wazir's son became 
an object of envy to many of the other courtiers, who, see- 
ing him always next to the Prince, riding or walking, or 
playing at chess, plotted how they might destroy him. 
Among the rest there was one man, named Bagla, whose 
jealousy found expression in deeds as well as words, for he 
promised to give a large sum to any one who could sow 
distrust between the Prince and his favourite. " Let me 
make the Prince angry with the wazir's son," said he, " and 
then, when he is King, he will kill him, and I shall be 
wazir instead." In order to compass his ends, he looked 
out an old woman suitable for the purpose, and, when he 
had found one, he said to her, "See, here is money; do 
my bidding as I shall direct." And when the old woman 
understood his drift, she said, " Get me four bearers and 
let them bring me a rich litter, and bid them do whatever 
I deem necessary." So the men were provided and the 
palanquin, and when the old woman had dressed herself in 
fine array, she entered, telling the bearers, " When I lower 
my hand, set the litter down, and when I raise my hand, 
lift it up and bear me aw r ay." Then she covered her face 
with her veil, and she was borne to a place which the 
Prince and his friend had to pass when riding to tennis. 
Here her bearers set her down, in obedience to her desire, 
and beckoning to the Prince, she signed him to come near, 
as though she had a petition to offer. But the Prince sent 
the wazir's son, who approached, and she beckoned him 
nearer, and laid her hand on his neck, and drew him to- 
wards her, and made as though she were whispering to him 
something of importance. But she spoke not a single 
word. Having thus accomplished her design, she entered, 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 327 

gave the signal, and instantly her bearers lifted her litter 
and bore her away. 

Then said the wazir's son to himself, " The woman has 
not uttered a syllable. What message, then, can I give 
the Prince?" When he returned, therefore, his face was 
troubled, for he knew not what to say. 

" What did the woman want?" inquired the Prince. 

"I know not," answered he, "for she did not even 
speak." 

The Prince felt annoyed. "Some secret, I suppose," 
said he to himself. "All right, Sir Wazir, keep it to 
yourself." 

The next day the woman returned in exactly the same 
way, and did precisely the same thing, and when she had 
gone, the Prince again said, " Well, what was her message 
to-day?" 

" Not a word did she utter," answered the wazir's son. 

Then the Prince began to get very sorrowful. " Now 
see," said he, "what happens. This man no longer con- 
fides in me." And he began to harden himself against his 
friend. 

The next day the wretched woman came again, and 
repeated exactly the same performance, and again the 
Prince sent the wazir's son to receive her petition ; but she 
said nothing, going off suddenly just as before. Once 
more, also, the Prince asked his friend the object of her 
mission, saying, "What did she say?" And once more 
the wazir's son was compelled to answer, " Not a word." 

"Is it such a secret that you cannot tell me?" cried the 
Prince in a rage. 

" I have no secret," answered he, "for I have received 
no communication. The woman must be mad, I think." 

Then the Prince became still more angry than before, 
and, dismissing his favourite, he bade him begone to his 
house. He also himself threw down his bat, and went to 
the palace, where he met the King, his father, who, when 
he saw him, addressed him, but the youth answered not, 
for he was speechless with rage. 

"O son," said the King, "has any one presumed to 
affront you ? If so, cheer up : he shall die immediately." 

" My wazir," answered the Prince, "is no longer the 
same man to me that he was. He is now nothing to me, 
and worse than nothing. Never shall I have peace of 



328 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

mind again until he is slain, and a bowl of his blood brought 
to me for testimony." 

" Is that all?" said the King. " Be of good cheer, my 
son. Consider him dead already, for he shall die at once." 

Then the King went forth to his own house, and sum- 
moned his executioners, and ordered them to seize the 
wazir's son, and to carry him into the forest, and to behead 
him, and to bring back his two eyes and a cup of his blood. 
So, having caught the unfortunate youth, they led him 
away. 

Now, as they were preparing to despatch him, he said to 
them, " Hear me speak one word, since what I say may 
be of service to you hereafter. You have been told to kill 
me. But if you kill me, to-morrow you will find that the 
Prince will be saying, ' Bring back my wazir bring back 
my wazir!' Then what will you do? He will certainly 
avenge my death on yourselves. Follow good advice : kill 
something else, and take the blood of that." 

Three of the men who had been sent then said to the 
fourth, " This young wazir seems in a fright for his life. 
He does not talk as if he wished to lose it." 

".Let us be cautious," answered the fourth, who was 
wiser than his fellows. " This is a great man and he speaks 
truly, for, being a wazir's son, he knows all things. I have 
a tame deer. Let us kill that and carry its eyes and its 
blood to the King." 

To this they all agreed, but they said, " Let us, however, 
detain this man somewhere so that he cannot escape, lest 
all become known and evil befall us." 

So they hid him and fed him, and in his stead they killed 
the deer ; and the eyes and the blood they took to the Prince, 
who, when he saw them, was glad, and said, " A man who 
would turn his back, let him die the death." But the eyes 
and the blood he gave to be thrown away. 

Some days elapsed and then Bagla, the plotter, came 
forward and petitioned for the office of wazir. " Very 
well," was the answer, " you can be w r azir." So he was 
appointed, and forthwith began to attend the person of the 
Prince. 

One day the Prince \vent out to snare partridges, and took 
with him his new wazir. When tired of the sport, since the 
birds were shy and refused to be decoyed, he thought he 
would like to bathe. 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 329 

" Shall I bathe to-day, or not?" said he to Bagla. 

" If you would like to bathe," answered he, "you will 
do well to bathe; but if you would rather not bathe, it 
will be best to leave the bathing alone." 

Then thought the Prince to himself, " Here is an answer 
for a wazir ! If my old friend had been by my side, he 
would have advised me distinctly which to do, the one or 
the other." 

Some time after he said to his wazir, " Shall we go 
hunting to-day, or shall we not?" 

" To hunt is good," answered he, " and not to hunt is 
good. I should hunt to-day if I felt thereto inclined, but 
if I felt otherwise I should not hunt on any account." 

After hearing this, the Prince's mind reverted still more 
to his former favourite, and he thought with a sigh, " My 
old minister was different. He would have advised me 
freely one way or the other. This fellow, however, is such 
an owl where could I have found him?" 

Once more they went out hunting, and as they rode along 
they saw a beautiful Princess in a boat, and she, when 
she saw the Prince, began to make signals to him. First 
she pointed to her breast, then to her head, and lastly she 
laid her hand upon a vessel which stood beside her. 

"What mean those signs?" asked the Prince of the 
wazir. 

" You have two eyes, O Prince," answered the man, 
" and I have two eyes. You see, and I see. But what the 
lady means you cannot imagine, and I can't." 

This reply set the Prince thinking more than ever, and 
he thought to himself, "As for this fellow, he is not 
worth keeping." He became so vexed and sorrowful that 
on his return home he dismissed his minister altogether, 
and from grief of heart he went and lay down on his bed 
and became very ill. His father, having been informed of 
his illness, went to his chamber to see him. " O son," 
said he, " what is now the matter?" 

1 '^Nothing," answered the Prince, "but I wish back my 
wazir; and if I cannot have him back, I am willing myself 
to die the same death." 

" Courage, my son," said the King. " I will look to it 
myself, and straightway he shall be restored to you." 

Then the King went out and called for his hangmen, and 
said to them, " Produce the wazir's son on your lives !" 



330 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" O King," answered the men, " you ordered us to kill 
him. If, then, we had spared his life, our own lives would 
have paid the price. Where in the world are we to look 
for him now?" 

" If you do not find him and bring him here instantly," 
cried the angry King, " I shall have you killed precisely 
in the same way as he was killed." 

Then the men went forth, saying to themselves, " How 
fortunate for us ! What a mistake we should have made 
but for the wisdom of the wazir!" And forthwith they 
went, and, delivering him out of prison, they brought him 
to the King, and the King took him to the Prince, who at 
once began to amend. 

For a time these two friends were a little strange and 
distant with each other, but soon their old habits revived, 
and they were to be seen as much together as ever. One 
day they went out hunting, and as they approached the 
river the Prince began telling the wazir's son about the 
mysterious signals which had been made to him by the 
beautiful Princess. " What," asked he, " did she mean 
by those signs?" 

" When she put her hand towards her forehead," an- 
swered his friend, " she meant that her name was Chushma 
Rani, or the Eye Rani; when on her breast, she meant to 
say, ' If you visit my country, my heart shall be yours ' ; 
and when she touched the bowl, she intended you to under- 
stand that the name of her home was Lotah (a bowl)." 

"Is it even so?" said the Prince. " Then let us set off 
instantly and see her." 

"Alas!" answered the wazir's son, "how much pain 
and trouble the other Princess cost us; and who knows how 
much more we may suffer from this !" 

' We are to die but once," replied the Prince gaily. 
" Let us, therefore, go and seek her." 

In vain the young minister endeavoured to dissuade his 
master from the rash enterprise. A prince's will is like 
the whirlwind or the torrent, which will not be denied. 

In a few days their preparations were completed, and 
both companions set out on their travels once more. In 
due time they came to a certain town where they found a 
noble garden stocked with all manner of trees. " Let us 
spend the night here," said the Prince. But the woman in 
charge refused her consent. "You wish to stay here," 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 331 

said she. " But Chushma Rani also comes here, for this 
garden is hers, and if she find you here she will be angry, 
and her anger will fall on me." Then the wazir's son 
rejoiced and he bribed her, saying, " Prepare us a place, 
and, here, take for your trouble these four gold coins." 

So the woman set to work to prepare them a lodging in 
the garden. All day long she was thus engaged, and 
when evening came she sat down and cried bitterly. See- 
ing her, the wazir's son said, " O woman, what is the 
matter, and why are you weeping?" 

"Every day at twelve o'clock," answered she, "it is 
my duty to prepare three hundred and sixty necklets of 
flowers, and to take them to the Princess. Now it is even- 
ing, and how shall I perform my task? I am undone !" 

" Bring hither the flowers," said the wazir's son, " and 
let me prepare them for you." 

So he began to thread the flowers, and he made such 
beautiful garlands as had never been seen by the gardener's 
wife before. After all was ready he said to her, " Which 
necklet will the Princess herself wear, do you think?" 

"All those on the top," answered she, "she divides 
among her young companions, and the last of all she keeps 
for herself." 

When the wazir's son heard that, he wrote an exquisite 
letter and attached it to the lowest necklet in the basket, 
and in the letter he told the Princess that the Prince of the 
River had come to see her. So the woman carried them 
all to the Princess, and laid them before her as usual. 
When she had examined a few of them, she said, " O 
woman, who made these necklets?" 

" A sister of mine has come from the country to see 
me," answered she. " I gathered the flowers, and my 
sister wove the necklets." 

The Princess declared them beautiful, and began to dis- 
tribute them to her maidens. The last she took up and 
put round her own neck, but observing the note, she 
opened it and read it in haste. Then she turned to the 
woman and said, " Do you still say your sister wove these 
flowers? do you speak the truth?" The woman fell down 
at her feet and confessed that some merchants had come and 
lodged in the garden. So the lady pencilled a note and 
gave it to the woman, saying, " Go and give this message 
to the merchant who made my necklet." And the woman 



332 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

went and delivered it to the wazir's son, who read the mes- 
sage to the Prince. "It is my custom," ran the note, 
" to exact implicit truth from all my suitors. The man 
who fails in this respect is at once seized by my attendants 
and thrown from my windows into the street. I have asked 
my father a favour, and he has granted that I may marry 
only him whom I see and like. Let me know how many 
followers you have with you, that I may send them all 
needful supplies. Also come to my house and visit me." 

" This is a strange letter," said the Prince. 

" It is the inconsequent letter of a woman," answered 
the wazir's son. " But, come, make haste ! Tell her you 
have come absolutely alone, but beware, see that the couch 
has been properly arranged before you sit down. She will 
put you to the test. If the cushions are wrongly placed, 
still you must sit at the head of the couch, and, as the head 
is always slightly higher than the foot, here, take this 
lemon and lay it on the couch, and, as it moves, so it will 
tell you which is the head and which is the foot." 

So the Prince set off, while the wazir's son, to forestall 
mischance, went to the bazaar, where he found a long train 
of camels laden with cotton. This cotton he secured, and 
induced the merchants to set it down for him close to the 
walls of the palace, and he saw it laid beneath the apart- 
ments of the Princess, and then he said, " My master, 
who is a rich merchant, is absent on business, therefore 
leave the cotton here on approval while I go and seek him, 
and meanwhile give us the refusal of it in consideration of 
this payment if we do not complete the bargain." 

Meanwhile, the Prince had arrived at the palace, and had 
been received with favour. The lemon revealed to him the 
real head of the couch, and he sat down as every prince 
ought to sit. Then said the Princess, " Have you no 
servants with you ? If you have, let me provide for them." 

" I have come to your town," answered he, " unattended 
by any one." 

Then she gave him sweetmeats and sherbet, paying him 
great attention, and when evening approached, three 
hundred and sixty maidens, all richly attired in coloured 
silks and adorned with necklets of flowers, entered the 
chamber and stood in a row before them. Then said the 
Princess to him, " You may be alone, and I may be alone; 
but when kings move about they are accompanied by 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 333 

troops and guards, and if no guards go with them, yet is the 
minister never forgotten. Tell me now, have you your 
minister with you or not? Because if you have, one of 
these maidens shall go and attend on him, so that he may 
not want for comfort in a strange land." 

The Prince was so enchanted by all he saw that he forgot 
his promise, and, pointing to a beautiful damsel, he said, 
" Let this girl, then, be my minister's attendant." 

Then the eyes of the Princess darted out sparks of anger, 
and crying, " You know the penalty destruction to the 
suitor who lies to me!" she summoned some of her 
strongest women, who seized the Prince and cast him head- 
long out of the palace windows. Down and down he fell, 
but he escaped death by falling on the cotton, which was 
collected in abundance on the pavement beneath. Never- 
theless, he was stunned, and all night long he continued to 
lie there in a profound sleep. 

Next morning his minister discovered him, and roused 
him, saying, " Up, O Prince, why continue to lie here?" 
Then he went to the merchants, and to them he said, 
" Your cotton is not approved of, so take your goods and 
take also your money and go." 

The two friends then sat disconsolately down just where 
they were, and began to consider their position. 

' My counsel is that we return home," said the wazir. 

" Never !" answered the Prince; " with what face could 
I show myself at court without the Princess?" 

" I warned you not to speak of me," said the wazir's son, 
" but to say you had travelled alone, for I had a scheme to 
win her. Where was your memory ?" 

" Nevertheless," said the Prince, " you must manage 
affairs so well that I may visit the lady again." 

" People who are in kings' houses," returned the wazir, 
" speak but once. You will never be admitted again, and 
you will lose your life over her." 

" As for me," said the Prince, " it matters little whether 
I go back alive or dead." 

"O Prince," continued the wazir, "you lack wisdom. 
With prudence you would have won her, but how are you 
to win her now ? The only thing left for us is to turn 
fakirs and don the yellow robe." 

So the two friends disguised themselves as religious 
mendicants, and dressed themselves in the appropriate 



334 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

costume. " O King," said the wazir's son, " the good for- 
tune we had looked to find has slipped from our hands. 
Gone is all openness and all candour. Henceforth we deal 
only with deceit." 

Now, in that town there was a certain vacant house, con- 
taining a courtyard and a double entrance, one to the front 
and the other in the back. This house, being suitable for 
their purpose, they hired, and while the attendant sat 
solemnly in a cell at the front door, his master occupied 
a secluded cell within the enclosure. The arrival of two 
strange fakirs was soon hinted abroad, and many of the 
poor came to solicit their prayers. But the wazir's son 
was wont ever to send them in to visit the Prince, saying, 
" I am only a servant, but the great saint, my master, 
dwells within." One by one he sent them in, nor would he 
allow more than one to enter at a time. And the Prince, 
in his character as a holy man, was for ever seen devoutly 
telling his beads and mumbling his prayers. And as he 
always kept under the corner of his robe a store of money 
which he distributed freely, his fame and his sanctity were 
soon the talk of the town. At last the Princess heard of 
him, and she said to her attendants, " I, too, must go and 
salaam those two holy men." So she set out with her three 
hundred and sixty damsels, half of whom walked before her 
and half of them behind her, and thus in grand procession 
they came to the gateway. But the wazir's son said, " Only 
one at a time can be permitted to visit the holy fakir, 
for that is the custom of his order." So the ladies filed in 
and out one by one, until at last the Princess rose and said, 
" Now I will enter also, but do you, my maidens, await my 
coming." 

Now, in the courtyard there always stood, saddled and 
bridled and ready for the start, two swift coursers. When, 
therefore, the Princess entered the house, the wazir's son 
instantly closed the door. At the same moment the Prince 
sprang to his saddle, and when the Princess had been thrown 
into his arms, he set spurs to his steed, and issuing from 
the opposite gate, he galloped away with his prize. In- 
stantly also his friend mounted and followed, and they rode 
and rode until they arrived in all safety at their own palace, 
where the Prince and Princess were married in great state 
and ceremony, after which they spent many a happy hour 
together in mutual happiness and delight. 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 335 



THE STORY OF THE PRINCE AND THE 
WAZIR'S SON (continued) 

PART III 

Now, in course of time the King of that country waxed 
very old and resigned his kingdom to his son, who thus 
became King in his stead. There was a certain servant then 
living at court who possessed a flower of remarkable beauty, 
growing in an earthen jar, and every morning he used to 
come and gaze at it. This circumstance was reported to 
the young King, who, hearing that the flower was such as 
no one else in the world possessed, sent for his servant, 
and said to him, " Let me see the flower which you gaze 
at every morning." No sooner had he seen it and examined 
it, than he said, " I admire this flower of yours, therefore 
let me have it." 

" I cannot part with my flower," answered the servant. 
" You may take my life and welcome, but not the flower." 

" But why not?" returned the King. " I offer you a 
price for it, which will be useful to you, and what can you 
want with a flower which is fit only for a king's palace?" 

" Yet my flower I cannot give," replied the man. 

" But why cannot you give it ?" asked the King. " You 
surely must have some secret reason for answering me 
thus." 

" This flower," said the servant, " was given to me by 
my wife the night before I left her. ' Keep this flower by 
you,' said she : ' when it is blooming thus, know that I am 
true to you ; if it droops, then you may be sure that I am 
false.' " 

;< But has it ever bloomed thus?" asked the King. 

;< It has," answered the guard. 

" If you possess such a treasure," said the King, " why 
do you not return home?" 

" I did a foolish thing," replied he, " on account of which 
I had to leave my home. But now I begin to think I must 
go back again." 

' What foolish act was it?" said the King. 

"What can I say?" answered the servant: "I am 
ashamed to speak of it. When I was in my father's house, 



336 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

and well off, my father was a merchant, and he used to 
trade. And when I grew up he chose a match for me, but 
I said I did not wish to marry." 

"But what objection had you against marrying?" 
inquired the King. 

" I will tell you," said he, "the whole story from the 
beginning. When I was a boy my father kept a servant 
who used always to be with me, and of whom I became 
very fond. One day it happened that the King of that 
country heard that a famous dancing girl had arrived in 
the town, and he said, ' Let her come and dance before 
me.' So she went as she was ordered, and my servant and 
I also went there to see her. Numbers of people were stand- 
ing and looking, and we stood and looked too. When the 
dancing girl approached us, she glanced at my servant and 
at once fell to the ground. Then said the King, ' Why 
have you fallen ?' and she answered, ' I have a pain in my 
chest.' And the King said, ' Had you ever this pain be- 
fore?' Then the woman pointed her ringer at my servant, 
and said, ' If you have that man killed my pain will go.' 

" The King at once ordered his arrest, and he was seized 
by the guards, but my servant said, ' It is not the custom 
of kings to kill the innocent.' The King answered, ' Even 
now you know well you have committed something amiss. 
Owing to some fault of yours this dancing girl has fallen, 
and who knows but that she may die?' The servant 
replied, ' O King, tell this dancing girl to give up to me 
that which belongs to me, and then you may do w r ith me 
even as you please.' The King turned to the girl, and 
said, ' This man is to die ; nevertheless, get up and speak 
to him.' When she arose, she said to my servant, ' What 
do you want to say to me ? 

' Give me up,' answered he, ' what you have of mine.' 
' I have not anything of yours,' said she. 

" ' Very well,' replied my man, ' with words say to me, if 
you can, that you have restored to me that which you had 
of me.' And the woman said, ' Whatever I took from you 
I have given you back.' The moment she uttered these 
words she fell back dead. Then cried the King, ' I'll hang 
you, you villain ! unless you tell me what that was which 
you gave to her, and which she has given you back again 
the whole story.' Then my servant told the King, and 
I sat down by his side, and he said, ' Once we were all 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 337 

merchants well-to-do, and I was married to this woman, 
who has since become a dancing girl. We both loved each 
other dearly, and one day she said to me, " If I died, how 
much would you sorrow for me ?" I replied, " If you died 
I should be wretched, but if I died what would your sorrow 
be for me?" " If you died," cried she, " I would make 
me a little cabin at your grave and never, never leave it." 
Then said I, " And I would do the same by you." 

" ' After a time it so happened that my wife died. When 
she was buried, I ran up a little hut by her grave, gave 
away all my goods to the poor, and lived by her grave. I, 
in short, turned fakir, begging my bread, and spending 
my nights and days at her sepulchre. 

" ' One day a wandering fakir chanced that way, and 
as he passed the hut he said, " Why have you come to live 
in the wilds among the graves?" I told him the whole 
story, and when the fakir heard it, he said, " As you 
have done this thing out of pure love, I tell you that, if 
you consent to give up to her half the remaining years of 
your life, this woman will rise again, and the day of your 
death will also be the day of hers." 

" ' " Very well," I answered. " I give up to her one 
half my remaining life." 

" 'Then the fakir by a miracle brought back my dead 
wife to life, and there she stood before me. To meet again 
like that I was glad, and so also was she ; but as I had given 
away all my substance in charity, we set out for another 
town. After travelling for some davs, we came to a certain 
river, and there on the bank, when I had taken some bread 
and water, I began to feel sleepy. As my head happened 
to be low, my wife sat up and laid my head in her lap, and 
I slept. I can just remember that action of hers before I 
dropped off, but afterwards she abandoned me, and when 
I awoke I looked for her in vain. Seeing no one there, I 
continued travelling, and at last I arrived at this city, and 
I obtained some employment from the father of this youth 
now sitting by my side. This morning the lad said to me, 
" Come along; a new dancing girl is to dance before the 
King : let us go there !" And so I came with him ; but as 
soon as I came I recognized my lost wife; and when she 
looked at me, from disgrace and shame of mind she fell, 
and so she asked for my death, being afraid of me. You, 
O King, then gave the order for my death; but every one 
22 



338 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

loves life, and therefore I asked her if she would give me 
back that which she had taken from me, and she answered, 
" I have taken nothing." So I said, " Only say with your 
mouth these words, / have given you back what I took from 
you, and I am satisfied." And she said it, and died once 
more.' 

" When the King heard this story he was amazed, and 
gave my servant his life, and let him go. But as for me, 
having also heard these dismal things, I felt that it would 
be far better not to be married than to be married ; and so, 
when my father wished me to marry, I refused. My father, 
however, was not to be gainsaid, and he said, ' If I do not 
have you marry, the world will reproach me, saying, " See 
that merchant, who is not able to find a wife for his son !" 
Tell me then,' continued he, 'what is the matter with 
you ?' So I told my father I was well enough in both mind 
and body, but that I could only marry a woman who would 
allow me every morning to strike her five times with a shoe, 
and this I said in order that no one might consent to have 
anything to do with me. My father, however, undertook 
to find such a girl, but he did not succeed, because all his 
endeavours were rendered futile by my absurd condition. 

"Time passed, and at last my father went to a certain 
merchant, and told him he was anxious to marry his son. 

"'I have a daughter,' answered. the merchant, 'who 
would suit your son ; but she declares she must have a look 
at him first with her own eyes.' 

" ' But, my son,' said my father, 'will only marry the 
woman who will patiently allow him to smite her five 
times every morning with a shoe.' 

" ' I cannot assure myself of that,' replied the merchant; 
' but I will speak to my daughter and let you know.' 

' When he went home he described the proposed match 
to the girl, who at once said, ' Yes, I consent. Marry me 
to that merchant's son;' and so the message was sent that, 
after twenty days, I might come and marry his daughter. 
There was a grand wedding, with much spent, and on the 
day of the wedding my father gave me a separate house 
and servants, and in the morning I said to my wife, ' I 
must now be allowed my stipulation, namely, to beat you 
five times with a shoe.' 

" But she begged off, saying, ' To-day do not beat me, 
and to-morrow you may strike me ten times instead.' 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 339 

" The next day I said to her, ' You said I might give you 
ten blows, but let me have my will and give you five.' 

" ' Hush !' cried she, ' or the guests in the house will 
hear you. Let me off again to-day, and to-morrow you can 
give me fifteen.' 

" The next day I spoke to her again, saying, ' To-day I 
must really give you the five blows.' 

" My wife then turned on me, and said, ' When we were 
married, whose money was spent, yours or mine?' 

" ' No money of yours,' answered I, ' nor yet money of 
mine. Your father paid your expenses, and my father paid 
mine.' 

" ' And our expenses now,' said she, ' by whom are they 
paid?' 

" ' They certainly don't come from my earnings,' replied 
I, ' but from my father's. As for me, I have earned 
nothing as yet.' 

" ' If that be so,' cried she, ' what right have you to beat 
me at all, since you do not contribute a farthing to my 
maintenance ? When you begin to earn wages to keep the 
house, then you may beat me, but you mustn't beat me 
before.' 

" I got so angry that I left the house that minute, and set 
off to my father's and told him all. 

" ' Give me four thousand rupees,' said I, ' that I may go 
out and trade and make a living for myself !' 

" So I hired servants, and loaded a ship with merchan- 
dise and sailed to a far country and steered up a river, 
and there I came to a wild desolate place, but still there 
was a garden in the midst of it, though no village or town 
could be seen. Then I ordered my men to moor the ship 
to the bank, but I myself sprang ashore and hastened to 
the garden to look at it. As soon as I entered I saw a tree 
covered with fine mangoes, one of which fell to the ground. 
It was so ripe and so tempting that I took it, and having 
eaten it, I threw the stone away. Then down came another 
mango, and as I was eating that the stone which I had 
thrown away took root and sprang up, a goodly tree, covered 
also with fruit, which ripened as I stood eating, and 
presently from this tree too fell down a beautiful mango. 
So I thought to myself, ' This mango I will not eat, but 
I will take it to the nearest city, and with this wonder I 
shall make money and grow rich.' So I went on, and 



340 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

coming to a large walled town, I entered the market-place 
and made a bet. 

" ' Look at this mango,' cried I; ' I will eat it and let 
the stone fall. If it grows and bears fruit at once, you will 
give me four thousand rupees, but if not, then I will pay 
four thousand rupees to you.' 

" ' Agreed !' cried they, gathering around me. 

" So I sucked the mango clean, and threw down the stone 
before them, and at once it grew up and up into a big tree, 
but, alas ! it bore no fruit at all, and I lost my bet and 
my money. To save myself from arrest, all my remaining 
servants and all my goods were sold by auction, and, like a 
beggar unable to move, I sojourned alone in that strange 
place. Poor and hungry, I grew sorrowful, stupid, sick, 
and even senseless, for I thought to myself, ' I do not know 
how to beg, and for work I am not fit. How am I to get 
my bread?' In this distress I went to a fakir's place, and 
there I remained. After five or six days the fakir spoke 
to me, and said 

" ' It is time that you should do something for yourself.' 

" Now, with that fakir there was then living another 
wayfarer like myself, who every day used to bring in grass 
and sell it. This man, having pity on me, took me, and 
said 

" ' Come out with me, and I will show you where grass 
is to be found, and how to cut it. As for me, I cut grass 
every day, and sell it in the bazaar, and cook my food 
here.' 

"This, then, I did, and every day I brought in my 
bundle, and with my scanty earnings I bought flour and I 
lodged with the fakir. 

" Now, it happened that my wife, after waiting for some 
time, determined to seek me. So she dressed herself as a 
man, turned merchant, freighted a ship, and set sail. 
Coming up the same river, she at last arrived at the same 
garden. And having moored alongside, she entered and 
tarried there just as I did. And when a ripe mango fell 
at her feet, she took it up and sucked it and threw away 
the stone; and as she sucked another, up sprang the new 
mango and bore fruit, ripe and full, and even as she gazed 
it dropped one of its mangoes before her eyes. But she 
was wise where I was not, for she not only took with her 
the new mango, but also some of the garden earth, and 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 341 

returning to the ship, she at last arrived at the town in 
which I was living. But me she never saw, nor did she 
know I was there ; but she made a bet with the same people 
for four thousand rupees, who, having won before, were 
eager to win again. Having, therefore, challenged them, 
she ate the fruit and threw the stone on to the earth, which 
she had first put down, and at once it shot forth a leaf, then 
grew into a mighty tree, and bore abundance of fruit, and 
the fruit began to fall. Thus my wife won the four thou- 
sand rupees. Then she came into the bazaar just as I 
arrived there with my bundle of grass on my head, and, 
looking at me, she said 

" ' How much do you want for that bundle of grass?' 
" ' Two annas,' answered I. 

" 'Take three,' said she, 'and carry the grass to my 
camp at the river-side.' 

" So I followed her to the river, and she paid me the 
three annas. As I was going away, she said 

' If any one offered you work, would you take service ?* 
"'Yes,' answered I, 'why not? I do not like the 
drudgery of grass-cutting.' 

" ' If you will come to me,' said she, ' I will give you the 
management of my servants.' 

" I accepted her offer, and she furnished me with all I 
needed, but she took from me my old clothes, my net and 
my sickle, and kept them by her. 

" Then she issued her orders to all her attendants, 
' Whatsoever this servant orders you will do. He is my 
steward, and manager of all my property. Absent or 
present, I am still represented by him.' Then came she to 
me, and said, ' You will remain here with the ship. As 
for me, I must make a short voyage to-morrow to see a 
friend, but only for a day, but, whether for a day or more, 
manage everything in my absence.' 

" So she started, taking with her my old clothes, my net, 
and my sickle ; but I saw her no more that day, nor yet the 
next. 

' When ten days had passed and still she returned not, I 
said to myself, ' My master must be dead. He will come 
no more. I had better sail.' 

" The next day, therefore, I hoisted sail and made down 
the river, and in due time arrived at my own city. There, 
in a certain house of mine, the servants stored all the 



342 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

goods, and I went home to my wife. When I saw her, I 
said, ' I am rich ; I come laden with my own earnings ; 
submit, therefore, to our bargain, and let me have my five 
blows.' 

" ' Certainly,' answered she, ' I will let you, but first 
sit down a bit.' 

" ' No, no,' replied I; ' I'll dismount from my horse only 
when you promise submission.' 

. " ' Nay,' said she, ' get off and have some food, and then 
we can talk it over.' 

" ' You may talk for ever,' said I ; ' your excuses will not 
avail. Submit, and I will dismount.' 

"Then said she, 'Wait a little;' and going into the 
house, she brought out my old grass-cutter's clothes, my 
net, and my sickle, and held them up before me, and cried, 
' Have your own way ! The horse you are riding is mine ; 
the clothes you are wearing are mine. Give up my horse 
and my clothes, and put on your own things, and take your 
sickle and your net in your hand, and then come, give me 
five blows with your shoe.' 

" When I looked at everything, I was covered with con- 
fusion, nor did I remain a moment, but, getting down, I 
handed the bridle to a servant, and went at once to my 
father's house, where, in very shame and sorrow, I remained 
in the dumps for days. At last I considered, ' Why do 
I continue here ? Let me go away ! ' 

" One day, just as I was preparing to leave, my father 
surprised me, and, forbidding my departure, took me to my 
own house where my wife was, and there left me. 

" ' If you like to live here,' said she, ' do so if not, go. 
But if you go, take this flower with you and keep it. 
When it is fresh and blooming, as it is now, know that I 
am true to you; but if it droop, then be sure that I have 
ceased to remember you.' 

" So I took the flower and left my home once more, and 
came here and took service with the King your father. 
Therefore it is that I do not like to return, because I said I 
would have my own way. That is the disgrace which 
hinders me from going home to my wife." 

When the King had heard the whole story, he was 
pleased, and doubled his servant's salary, and determined 
to retain him. Then he spoke to his ministers, and said, 
" You see that flower, how beautiful it is ! The lady her- 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 343 

self must be beautiful, too. So spare no pains to bring 
her here." 

"Some women," answered the wazir, "are wiser than 
men." 

" True," said the King; " but old women, gossips and 
go-betweens, are equal to any enterprise;" and he ordered 
his ministers to collect some of these women and to bring 
them to the court to prove their skill in cunning, deceit and 
guile. 

Numbers of women accordingly assembled, each anxious 
to surpass the others. Out of these the King chose four, 
and dividing them into two sets, two and two, he called 
the first and said, " Now what can you do?" 

"We have such power," answered they, "that if we 
went into the sky we could bore holes through it." 

Then to the other he said, " And what can you do?" 
""So great is our craft," answered they, "that, if we 
went into the sky, we could not only bore holes through it, 
but so patch it up again that you would never know that a 
single hole had been in it at all." 

Thus the two last were chosen, and the rest dismissed, 
and then the King and his ministers sent and brought those 
two old women before them, and said, " Go to a certain 
town. There you will find a merchant's wife living alone. 
Can you entice her and bring her here?" 

" Is she not a woman ?" answered they. " Women are 
so simple that they can be led to do anything. We could 
make even a dumb animal follow us." 

" Bring her to me, and I will reward you," said the King. 
The old crones delighted him, and having given them 
money for their journey, he sent them away. So they dis- 
guised themselves as Mecca pilgrims, and put on rosaries ; 
and coming to the town, they inquired for the house, which 
was pointed out to them, and they entered and found the 
lady sitting at her needle. Then they caught hold of her 
and embraced her, and began crying over her. 

" My good women," said she, " who are you, and why 
are you crying?" 

' Why, dear me!" answered they, " we knew you as a 
child. You do not remember us, but your mother was our 
own sister, and you are our niece. You were quite an 
infant when we two went to Mecca, and there we have 
been ever since; and now that we have at last come back, 



344 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

hearing that you were here, we have called to see 
you." 

Then thought she to herself, "It is late, and I must get 
my aunts some food." So she told her slave-girl to go to 
the bazaar and buy a pound of flour, a pound of sugar, a 
pound of melted butter, and some bhang. 1 With these 
ingredients she made the women a nice dish, and they all 
partook of it, and began to tell the truth, until at last they 
sank into a deep stupor. With the same food she fed them 
day by day, and there they remained overcome with slumber 
and forgetfulness. 

Meanwhile, the King was growing impatient, waiting in 
vain as the days passed and the women never returned. 
So he called his ministers, and said, " Those women have 
been detained in that country, send, therefore, some cun- 
ning rogues to look for them, and see if they are at the 
lady's house, or where they are." 

Two great villains were accordingly sought for and 
found, and when they had approved themselves they were 
at once despatched. " Not only," said they, " shall we 
bring back the two women in a twinkling, but we shall bring 
back the lady as well !" So they set out, being disguised 
as respectable fakirs; and finding the house, they went 
there and began praising, saying, "Ah, child, behold in 
us your uncles. We have not seen you for many years, 
because we have been travelling over many lands. And 
now at last we have come to see you." 

" You did well," said she, " to come and see me." 

So she made them welcome, and the same food .which she 
gave the women she ordered her slave-girl to set before 
the men, until they also sank into the same condition ; and 
thus they remained, for every four days she repeated the 
course, and so rendered them helpless and stupid. Not 
only that, but she shaved the heads of all the four impostors 
as well, and the beards and moustaches of the men, and 
covered their faces with lamp-black. 

When many days had now passed away, the King called 
his minister, and said, " Even those villains have failed 
to serve us, therefore let us go ourselves." So to the town 
they came, and when they knocked at the door the lady sent 
her slave-girl to ask them who they were. 

" I am a wazir," said the minister, " and this is a king." 

1 Indian hemp extremely stupefying. 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 345 

And the girl told her mistress, who made ready a grand 
feast of seven courses, and waited on her guests herself, 
bidding the slave-girl to stand by. With each dish, as 
she brought it in, she appeared in a fresh suit, very rich 
and beautiful, and with different sets of jewellery to match. 
When the seventh course came in, the King whispered to 
his minister, " I heard there was only one merchant's wife, 
but it seems there are seven, and all alike." 

Overhearing the remark, the lady said, " O King, what 
is this you are talking about?" 

" What I have said," answered he, " it would not be 
proper for you to hear." 

" Keep nothing secret from me," said she; " but speak 
out frankly, and let me know your thoughts." 

" I said," replied the King, " there was but one woman 
here, yet now there are seven, and all alike." 

' You said well," returned she. " There is but one." 

" What !" cried the King, " I have seen seven, and you 
say there is only one !" 

" Among the seven you have seen," said she, " you have 
not seen the merchant's wife at all she never comes out." 

" Then who are you," asked the King " the merchant's 
wife or a slave-girl?" 

" I am a slave-girl," said she. 

"If you are her slave-girl," said the King, "and we 
give you a message for her, do you think she will attend 
to it?" 

" I think she will," answered she. 

Then the minister put into her hand a large bribe, arid 
said to her, " Go and persuade your mistress to accompany 
us back to my palace, and your fortune's made." 

" If you will agree to something which I propose," said 
she, " I think my mistress will go with you very easily. 
You must pass the night here; but first one of you must 
go to the bazaar and hire a strong doolie and eight stout 
bearers for the journey, and bring them here. If you will 
do this, early in the morning, when the merchant's wife 
rises, we can catch hold of her and force her into the doolie, 
and you can carry her off." 

To this both King and minister agreed, and so the doolie 
and the bearers were brought and introduced into the house. 

In the morning the merchant's wife got up, and when 
she had administered a double dose of bhang to the two 



346 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

men and the two women, and blackened their heads and 
their faces afresh, she dressed them up in women's gar- 
ments, pulled their chuddas well over their faces, and put 
them all four, drowsy and stupid as they were, into the 
doolie. She then drew down the curtains, closed them up, 
and over all she spread a handsome cover, while she warned 
the bearers that if they uttered a word about the weight 
they would be well thrashed, but that if, on the contrary, 
they bore their burden without a murmur their reward 
would be fourfold. 

Thus, then, it was arranged, and the King, mounting his 
horse, ordered the doolie to be carried away. After a day's 
march they arrived at his capital, where, by the King's 
direction, the doolie was carried to an empty wing of the 
palace and taken inside the enclosure, while a slave-girl 
was sent to attend to the King's new capture. 

Now, as all four were dressed as women and their faces 
hidden, the slave-girl, when she lifted up the curtains, 
cried, " Not one queen has come, but four !" Dismissing 
the bearers, she went to the King and reported to him the 
arrival of four ranis where only one was expected. So 
the King went himself to see, and found all four sitting 
in the position in which they had been left. Lifting the 
chuddas of two of them, he fell back in a fright, crying, 
' What evil things are these that have come to my house ?" 
and without waiting to examine the others, he dropped 
their coverings and ran to his minister, to whom he said, 
' That merchant's wife has taken us all in dreadfully !" 

' Why, what in the name of God," cried the minister, 
" has she done?" 

" She has filled the doolie with four evil beasts," said 
the King. " Come and see!" 

When the wazir cast an eye on them, he was quite con- 
founded, and, seizing one of them by the ear, he roared, 
'Who are you?" 

Their stupor was then passing off, and their senses 
returning, and the creature replied, " I am that very woman 
who boasted of her skill." 

Then the minister called for a mirror and showed the hag 
her own face, and said, " If you are that very woman, what 
do you call this?" And in like manner he showed up 
the whole of them, until one of the women mumbled, " Of 
course we are the two Princesses, and these men are the 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 347 

two thieves !" 1 upon which the King had them all soundly 
thrashed and sent about their business. 

But the King was more in love than ever, and he now 
said, " What a wise woman she is ! Not only my mes- 
sengers, but myself and my wazir as well, she outwitted !" 

" You will try in vain to entrap her," said the minister. 
"Only one way remains: you must make her husband 
a councillor, and let him then understand that, if he 
continues to live apart from his wife, it will be most 
unbecoming, since the reproach will lie on the King 
himself." 

So the merchant became a King's councillor, but when 
his wife was mentioned he demurred. " My pay is but 
small," said he, "and she is accustomed to luxury." 

But his pay was raised, and when a handsome home had 
been prepared for him he went to his own city, and said 
to his wife, " If you will heed me, I have something to 
tell you. The wisdom of my father was never mine, and I 
cannot trade as he can. The King, my master, has given 
me a good appointment and a fine house, but he orders me 
to bring you home. So come with me." 

" I am your wife," answered she. " You are my master. 
Whenever you wish me to go I am ready." 

So she went back with her husband, and he and she 
lodged at the same house. Leaving her there, he went to 
the King, who was overjoyed. " You are now one of my 
ministers," said he. But to his wazir he said, " Contrive 
something. So manage this affair that my man may be 
despatched on some distant expedition." 

" But even then," replied the wazir, " he will still be 
alive, and able at any time to return. Let him be 
despatched, therefore, to procure something which has no 
existence, and ordered not to return until he has found it." 

As they were thinking this over, both the King and the 
wazir began to laugh. At first they were whispering, but 
when the King laughed and the wazir laughed, the new 
minister began to laugh too. 

'Why are you laughing?" asked the King of him. 
" What have you seen or heard that you should laugh?" 

" I have seen nothing," answered he, " and I have heard 
nothing, and I laughed." 

Said the old wazir, " Laugh at nothing? Since the day 
1 Referring to a popular tale. 



348 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

I was born I have never seen what nothing is. Be good 
enough to show me what nothing is." 

"How can I show you nothing?" asked the man. 
" Neither have I, since the day of my birth, seen nothing." 

" Nevertheless, nothing you must set out for and find, 
since the King commands it," said the wazir. 

Evening now came on, and they all went home. And 
when the wazir saw the King again, he said to him, 
" This new minister will never discover nothing he has 
entrapped himself, so let us send him to seek it." 

But when he reached his home his wife noticed his down- 
cast looks, and asked the reason. So he told her the 
story, and said, " They have ordered me to go forth into 
the wilds and bring them nothing, and to show it to 
them." 

" Never mind," answered his wife. " Leave the affair 
in my hands, and I will manage it." And her husband 
grew cheerful. " Now," said she, " give immediate orders 
that all those who go out shooting game shall bring to 
me the feathers of all the birds they kill, and promise 
that you will reward them with the weight in money." 
Then she directed her husband to send for two masons, 
who, when they came, constructed two vats in the floors 
of adjoining chambers. One of these vats she filled with 
liquid glue, and the other with the quantities of feathers 
which the hunters and sportsmen had brought in to 
her. 

Meanwhile the husband was attending the court, but 
his wife had warned him, " If the King should ask you if 
you have found nothing, say, ' I am not yet sure. I shall 
learn more about it when I go home.' ' Scarcely had 
he entered the presence when both King and minister at 
once spoke to him, and he answered, " To-day I have not 
found it, but I shall make a further report to-morrow." 

" That woman," said the King aside to his wazir, " is 
sure to outwit us with some cunning answer." 

So in the evening he again went home, and his wife 
counselled him, so that when morning came, and he was 
once more before the King and was asked for nothing, he 
answered, " Give me a year's leave, and I'll go and bring 
you nothing, but if I return within a month with nothing, 
let me still have my year's leave and also my full pay." 

"If in eight days," said the King, "you bring me 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 349 

nothing, you shall still have your year's leave." But the 
wazir whispered, " Give him all the leave he may wish, 
for never will he be able to find nothing." 

So the merchant, promising that he would set out the 
next day, once more turned his steps towards his home. 
" Now," said his wife, " have made at once a pair of large 
brass tongs, with a ring at the end of them, and two sets 
of bells for the ankles, and in the morning go to the King, 
and say, 'Now I am going;' but go not far, only at 
midnight be sure to come back to the house, and knock 
at the door." 

These things, therefore, he did, and at night the King 
considered within himself, " Hitherto I have followed the 
advice of my wazir. Now I shall act for myself. By 
this time the lady is alone. I will go and visit her." 
When he came to the house he found the door bolted, so 
he knocked, and the lady within cried 

"Who are you?" 

" I am the King," answered he. " Open the door." 

So she opened it, and the King entered, and she closed 
the door once more. As they were sitting together on the 
couch, the husband came, and loudly knocked, and she 
cried 

'Who's there?" 

" Your husband," answered he. 

"You went to look for nothing," said she. "How 
have you returned so soon?" 

" I forgot my arms, and I have come back to fetch 
them," replied he. 

Then the King was in a fright, and he said 

" Hide me somewhere, or he will kill me. Not a soul 
knows I am here." 

' There is no hiding-place for you," protested she. 

" For the love of God," pleaded he, " put me anywhere, 
and save my life;" and he began to beseech her. 

"There is a closet here," said she, "with a vat in it, 
but it is full of size." 

The King rushed to the closet; and as he was in haste, 
he fell at once into the vat, and the glue was in such a 
state that he was unable, with all his struggles, to get out 
again. 

" For mercy's sake, pull me out !" cried he. 

" But where can I put you?" said she. 



350 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" I will never forget your goodness," groaned he, " if 
you will but take me out of this mess." 

So she had pity on him, and took him out, and hid him 
in the room full of feathers, and, as he entered, down he 
fell, and all the feathers stuck to him like pegs in a 
caldron. Then she opened the door to her husband, and 
told him 

"Come along," said she, "I have found nothing for 
you; it is even now in the house. See here ! It is neither 
bird nor man. It is nothing. Tie the bells to its ankles, 
and put a rope round its neck, and take a torch and the 
tongs and lead it to the palace of the King, and as you go, 
give it a good crack with the tongs occasionally, and so 
take it to the King's very footstool." 

All this the husband did, never suspecting that the 
object before him was the King himself. So he led him 
to the court, and when he arrived there he cried, " Wazir, 
wazir, summon the King; I have brought him nothing!" 

The wazir looked out from a balcony, and said 

" Such a thing as this I have never seen since the day 
I was born ! What is it?" 

"And do you not remember," answered the merchant, 
" how you said that from the day you were born you had 
never seen nothing? Look at it now, then. This thing 
is nothing." 

" I am afraid of this nothing which you have brought," 
said the wazir. " In the morning, when the King attends 
court, bring it again, and then we shall look at it." 

"Nay, you are the wazir," answered he, "and must 
take charge of it now, as I have had so much trouble in 
capturing it, and, besides, it must not escape. If you 
do not consent, it will be my duty to report the matter to 
the King." 

So the old wazir called a servant, and had a tent-peg 
driven into the ground, to which he tied the King by the 
rope. 

After this the merchant returned home, and his wife 
said to him 

" Did you see the King?" 

" The King was not there," answered he; " but I gave 
the thing to the minister." 

"You have obeyed orders," said she, "and now keep 
quiet." 



OF THE PRINCE AND THE WAZIR'S SON 351 

When the King was left alone with his wazir, he called 
to him, and said, " Come near to me, and hear what I 
have to say." But in a fright the wazir edged further 
away. " I am the King," continued the unhappy being. 
" That woman has turned me into nothing." The wazir 
would hear no more, but, taking up two stones, he cast 
them at the evil thing, and went to his house. Seated in 
his chamber, he began to reflect, "What thing is this? 
It speaks like a human being, but has feathers like a 
bird. It may escape, and do me a mischief." So he 
bolted his doors, and w r ent to bed. 

The next morning he repaired to the court to report to 
the King the adventures of the night. But no King could 
be found, nor could his officers give the slightest tidings 
of him. Then went the wazir to the place where the King 
was tied to the peg, and the King cried, " For God's 
sake, wazir, help me, and restore me to my condition ! 
Even you have forsaken me." 

" But I am afraid of you," said the wazir, " for to me 
you seem to be some evil spirit. In the name of Heaven, 
how came you into such a misfortune?" 

Then the King disclosed the whole story, and the wazir 
said, " This must indeed be the King, and no one else, 
because the King was always keen to go to that woman's 
house, and she is deep, and will not permit liberties." 
So he went to some attendants, and said, " Prepare a hot 
bath, then take this thing and cleanse it." At first they 
were afraid, but, nevertheless, they obeyed. The glue 
was of such a nature that the King lost both his hair and 
his beard. However, when he was cleaned, the wazir had 
him dressed in his robes and brought to a mirror, and the 
King was filled with shame at the sight of his beardless 
face and bald head. But his wazir advised him to put on 
his turban and to wear a false beard, and so, when he 
had eaten food and rested, the King appeared once more 
in his court. 

Meanwhile, the woman said to her husband, " Go now 
to your duty, and find out whether the King has seen 
nothing or not." So he went, and when he saw the 
King's false beard he said, " Why, O King, have you 
put that beard on your face? Last night I brought 
you nothing, even as you commanded me. Have you 
seen it?" 



352 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Then thought the King to himself, " This fellow must 
be an owl. He put bells on my ankles, and a halter round 
my neck, and now he wants to know why I have a false 
beard; and sometimes he gave me a crack with his tongs, 
and made me dance and set the bells jingling, and cried 
out, ' See how pretty she is; see how pretty she is !' And 
after all this he wants to know if I have seen nothing !" 

Then the man said to the wazir, " Did you show the 
King that nothing I brought in last night?" 

" Yes," answered the wazir; " the King has seen it, and 
I have seen it." 

So the man claimed his discharge, which the King 
gave him, and he and his wife went to their own place. 

" And will you, O King," said the old wazir, " visit that 
lady again ?" 

" God forbid !" answered he, holding his ear. " Never 
shall I approach her house again. Whoever made that 
woman, never in the world made any woman like her." 

But, as for the merchant and his wife, those two lived 
in peace for the rest of their days. 

Told by the bard Sharaf at Torbela, December 1880. 



LIX 
OF THE FAMINE AND THE WEAVER 

A GREAT famine was once raging in the land, and the 
.villagers died in hundreds. A certain weaver was riding 
along, and he, seeing the numbers of unburied corpses, 
and hearing the cries of the survivors, who besought him 
for a morsel of bread, addressed himself to Heaven, and 
exclaimed, " O God, if you have not food enough to give 
your children, why are you so simple as to bring so many 
of them into the world?" 



OF PATHAN GREEDINESS 353 

LX 

OF THE TWO WEAVERS AND THE GRASSHOPPERS 

Two weavers took guns, and went out for a day's sport. 
As they passed through the fields, one of them espied an 
immense grasshopper sitting on a madar plant, which, as 
they approached, flew on to the shoulder of his com- 
panion. " See, see, there he is !" cried he, and, levelling 
his piece, he shot his friend through the heart. 



LXI 
OF PATHAN GREEDINESS 

THERE is a certain small black plum grown in the 
Hazara district called the amlok, which, when dried, looks 
like a species of black beetle. One day a Pathan stopped 
in a bazaar and bought some of them, laying them in a 
corner of his lunghi (turban). As he went along he took 
out a handful, in which there chanced to be one of these 
beetles alive, and the little creature, feeling the pressure 
of the man's hand, began buzzing and squealing. But 
the Pathan, determined to be deprived of no portion of 
his money's worth, said, " Friend, you may buzz, or, 
friend, you may squeal, but in the measure you came, and 
in the measure you'll go." 

Saying which, he clapped the whole handful, plums and 
beetle together, into his mouth and devoured them. 



2 3 



354 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANjAB 

LXII 
STORY OF SHISHAT KHAN OF LAHORE 

IN the time of the Great Moguls of Delhi, whose Indian 
Empire included so many vast possessions, there lived a 
governor at the city of Lahore whose name was Shishat 
Khan. His reputation was by no means good, for he 
oppressed the poor people under his rule, and exacted from 
all classes heavy taxes, while his private life of luxury and 
pride was a notorious disgrace to his name and to his high 
office . 

Now in Lahore there also lived at that time a certain 
couple who though poor were respectable. They earned 
a scanty living by the sale of glass bangles which they 
hawked about to the houses of the rich. One day they 
found themselves below the palace of the governor. 
" Bangles for sale ! Bangles for sale ! Who'll buy glass 
bangles?" cried they. These words were heard by a lady 
who was sitting at a closed lattice belonging to the apart- 
ments of the zenana, and she sent her slave-girl to bid 
the w-oman come up and exhibit her wares. The poor 
woman, who was both young and beautiful, followed the 
messenger, and presently she was ushered into the presence 
of the lady herself. But it happened that Shishat Khan 
at that very time was sitting tjiere with his three wives, 
of whom the lady at the lattice was one. He, when the 
bangle woman had salaamed and sat down on the ground 
to unfold her bangles, having looked on her beauty with 
admiring eyes, said to her, " Is there any one else with 
you, or are you alone?" 

" My husband is with me," answered she. " He is 
standing in the street below." 

" Call him hither !" said the governor. 

" God forbid," exclaimed the poor woman, putting up 
her hands, " that my husband should set foot in the King's 
zenana !" 

" Call the man up!" then said the governor in a voice 
of authority to the slave-girl, who instantly left the room 
for the purpose of obeying his orders. 

Descending to the gates, the girl summoned the husband 



STORY OF SHISHAT KHAN OF LAHORE 355 

to the presence of the governor, and led him through many 
apartments richly and luxuriously furnished, until at last 
they came to the door of the principal apartment of all. 
There the man hesitated. 

" So far I have come," said he, " but farther I dare not 
intrude." 

The slave-girl, finding persuasions in vain, passed 
through the door, and made her report. 

"Come in!" cried the governor to the man. "Come 
in instantly !" 

The poor bangle man then entered into the presence of 
the governor and of the five assembled women. 

' What relation is this woman to you?" asked the 
governor. 

' My lord, she is my wife," said he. 

"Look you," said Shishat Khan; "here are my three 
wives. Choose one of them which you please and 
hand over your wife to me." This, however, he said, not 
that he really meant it, but to find an excuse if possible 
for doing away with the husband of the poor woman on 
whom he had fixed his fancy. But the bangle seller, put- 
ting up his hands together, said, " O my lord, my wife 
is poor, and has to work hard for her living, but these 
three are great ladies!" Then the governor pretended to 
fly into a great rage, and, hunting the man out of the 
palace, took possession of his wife, who, as she loved 
her husband dearly, was in not less distress than himself. 

So the poor man went away bemoaning his fate, but still 
quite determined to leave no stone unturned to recover his 
lost wife. He betook himself to the camp outside the city, 
and told his story to certain of the soldiers. " This gover- 
nor," said he, " has seized my wife by force and wrong. 
Can you not rescue her?" 

" We cannot help you at present," said one of the 
soldiers, "but go you to the King of Delhi and tell your 
story to him, or if you are afraid to do that, go to Rawal 
Pindi, to the house of the great saint Shah Chamchirrag, 
and see what he can do for you." 

The bangle seller listened to this advice, but considering 
that Delhi was too distant, and that he might never be 
permitted to approach the person of the King, he said, 
" I will go to Rawal Pindi," and that evening he started 
on the journey. It was not many days before he arrived, 



356 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

and going straight to the squalid hut of the saint, he 
found him sitting over a little fire, for the weather was 
cold. The bangle seller put up his hands and began his 
petition, telling the whole of his story, how that he was a 
poor man, and that the wicked governor of Lahore had 
seized his wife, and kept her in his palace. When he had 
ended, the old man answered roughly, " Do you think I 
have troops at my command to march against a governor? 
You should have taken your petition to the King of 
Delhi," and he turned his back and went into his hut. 

The bangle man, repelled and disappointed, was turning 
away, and, indeed, had gone some paces, when the fakir 
suddenly cried, " Wait, wait ! Don't go away just yet !" 
Then the fakir took out a scrap of paper, and upon it he 
wrote the following words 

LETTER WRITTEN BY SHAH CHAMCHIRRAG TO SHISHAT KHAN. 

Let us eat and let us drink, 

Yet of God let us think, 
The swing in the end must sever ! 

What is it though we rise 

At a bound to the skies? 
We cannot swing on for ever ! 

Do we glory in our pride ? 

It must all be laid aside, 
The Guest of the Grave enjoys it never. 

" Take this letter," said the saint, " to the governor of 
Lahore, and your wife will be restored to you." 

Joyfully the poor man received it, and his haste was 
such that he would scarcely stop for food. When he 
reached Lahore he heard that the governor had gone out 
for a day's hawking, but he went to the palace, and giving 
the letter into the .hands of one of the chief officers, he 
ran as quickly as he could to his own house, fearing lest 
he should be seized and instantly thrown into prison. 

When the governor returned home in the evening, he 
retired as usual to his zenana to enjoy the company of 
his wives. As the moon w r as shining and the night was fair 
he was sitting with them on the roof of his house listen- 
ing to the strains of one hundred hidden musicians, and 
the wife of the bangle seller, who had never ceased to pine 
for her husband, was sitting disconsolate at his feet. Just 
then one of the palace slave-girls entered, and said, " Here 



OF THE PHILOSOPHIC BANERWAL 357 

is a letter for your Highness, brought from Rawal Pindi 
by Karim the bangle seller." 

"Read it aloud!" said the governor. So the woman 
(who was very accomplished, as people of her class usually 
are) read out the letter of Shah Chamchirrag. When the 
governor heard it, and as soon as he understood that he 
was listening to the words of Shah Chamchirrag, the great 
prophet of his time, a sudden trembling came upon him, 
his face changed, his eyes started, and, before any help 
could reach him, he fell backwards from the terrace into 
the courtyard below and broke his neck. 

So died Shishat Khan, by the judgment of God, and in 
the confusion which instantly followed, the bangle woman 
made her escape from the palace, and, joining her husband, 
she and he both set out that night for another town, where 
they dwelt for the rest of their lives safe and happy. 



LXIII 
OK THE PHILOSOPHIC BANERWAL 

A BANERWAL said to his wife one night, " Man is but a 
bird, without wings!" 

" How is that?" asked the woman. 

"Do you not see?" answered he. "Yesterday you 
were squatting on this side of the oven, and I was crouch- 
ing on the other. And this is the state of man : one day 
perched here, another day perched there, always on the 
hop, never abiding in the one place. Truly, man is only 
a bird without wings." 



358 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

LXIV 
OF GOD AND THE NOBLEMAN 

A CERTAIN poor weaver, naked and hungry, was sitting 
shivering by the roadside, when a great man passed by, 
followed by a large retinue of servants, who were well 
mounted, well clothed, and well fed. 

" O God !" exclaimed the beggar, " if you would know 
how to treat your servants properly, you should come here 
and learn it from this noble gentleman !" 



LXV 

STORY OF THE NINE-KILLING KHAN 

IN a certain village there once lived a poor weaver, who 
one day said to his wife, " I work long and hard, and 
you feed me with dry bread. Why do you not bake my 
bread sometimes with a little butter?" 

His wife, thus reminded, set to work, and baked her 
husband some cakes with abundance of melted butter and 
sugar, and the weaver rested for an hour to enjoy the feast 
with her. 

When he had satisfied his appetite, he wiped his greasy 
hands on his bare arms and resumed his work ; but the 
sun being warm, and his hands and arms covered with 
butter, swarms of flies began to gather about him. Irritated 
by their attacks, he suddenly ran his right hand along 
his left arm, and killed nine of them at a stroke. " See," 
said he to his wife, " what havoc I have made at a stroke ! 
From this day forward you must call me Nomar Khan " 
(i. e. the. nine-killing^ prince). 

" What is the good," answered his wife, " of my calling 
you Nomar Khan here ? Here you are only the village- 



STORY OF THE NINE-KILLING KHAN 359 

weaver, and every one knows it. Nay, let us set out for 
some other country, where you will not be known at all, 
and then I will call you Nomar Khan." 

So the two put together a few trifles for their journey, 
and left their native village to seek their fortune. After 
travelling many a league, they at last came to a strange 
town, where the husband said to the people, " I have 
come here to look for employment." 

" And what are you called?" asked they. 

" My name," answered he, " is Nomar Khan, the nine- 
killing prince." 

The news of the arrival of so redoubtable a warrior was 
at once carried to the King, who was beyond measure 
glad, saying to his ministers, " Bring this man before me. 
It will be an excellent thing to have such a hero in our 
service. He will command our armies, and he will slay 
the man-eating tiger, which is ravaging the country." 

So the weaver was brought into the royal presence, 
and the King showed him honour and kindness. But the 
ministers, who were jealous of favour lavished on a 
stranger, said, " Your Majesty pays this man so much 
respect that his bravery and worth must indeed be great. 
Send him, therefore, to attack the band of robbers whom 
no man has yet captured." 

This advice pleased the King, who at once ordered the 
weaver to set out on the adventure. 

Then the weaver, by no means perplexed, returned to 
his wife, and said to her, "I have a grand name, but what 
will that avail me against those ferocious robbers, who are 
seven in number? Make me, therefore, some poisoned 
cakes, and let me capture them by guile." 

The poisoned cakes, seven in all, were accordingly made, 
and the weaver took them and started for the mountains; 
but he took with him no arms of any description. 

As he was going along the road the thieves met him in 
a body, and they said to each other, " This fellow has only 
a bundle. Let us set on him and see what is in it." 

When the bundle was opened, it was found to contain 
exactly seven cakes, which tallied with their own number, 
so each of them took one, and sitting down among the 
rocks, they began to eat them. Having eaten, they drank 
of some water, which was flowing close by, and then they 
all lay down and died. 



360 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

After a bit the weaver got down from the mountain- 
path on which he had been seized, and came to see what 
the fellows were about. Finding them dead, he stripped 
them of their arms and accoutrements and took them into 
the city and laid them at the feet of the King. 

His master, when he saw the valiant weaver laden with 
the spoils of war, was astonished, and said, " But where 
are your own arms?" 

" I heard," answered the weaver, " that there were only 
seven of these rascals. I had, therefore, no necessity to 
arm at all. If they had numbered ten or twelve, I might 
possibly have girded on my sword, or, perhaps, have pro- 
vided myself with a stout stick; but for seven never!" 

The King now showed greater kindness than ever to his 
new ally, and made him commander-in-chief of all his 
forces, which angered his ministers greatly. 

After a time tidings were brought in that the king of 
another country was advancing with a vast army to be- 
siege and capture the city. Troops were at once levied 
to resist the invader, and the weaver was ordered to lead 
them forth to battle. Unfortunately he was no rider, 
having never bestridden a horse in his life. But he was 
quite equal to the occasion, for, having arrived in front 
of the enemy, he said to his attendants, " When I mount 
my charger, tie my legs down with a stout rope." 

" But, sir," said the soldiers, " this is a thing which is 
never done either in peace or in war. We never tie the 
legs of our riders." 

"Oh, but I am the Nine-killing Khan!" cried he. 

' Whenever I see the enemy, I am perfectly mad to rend 

them yea, to devour them ; and no horse in the world can 

charge fast enough for me ! Therefore, tie down my legs." 

So his legs were bound under his horse's girths, and 
when the troops charged, he galloped furiously with loose 
rein towards the ranks of the enemy. Coming to a tree, 
he laid hold of one of its branches, but so great was his 
impetus that the whole tree came up by the roots, and the 
enemy, perceiving it aloft over his head, imagined that he 
was a giant, or some being of supernatural power; and 
being seized with a panic, they all threw away their arms 
and fled dismayed from the field. 

The brave Nomar Khan now returned, and when he had 
ordered his legs to be untied, he dismounted in the midst 



STORY OF THE NINE-KILLING KHAN 361 

of the acclamations of the army. The King was en- 
chanted, and, sending for an elephant, he had him carried 
back to the city in state; but the jealousy of the ministers 
increased ever more and more. 

News was now brought in that the man-eating tiger had 
visited a neighbouring village and carried off some of the 
inhabitants, and the ministers advised that Nomar Khan 
should be sent forth to bring in the animal's head. 

"Nomar," said the King, "go forth now and capture 
the tiger !" 

The weaver, nothing daunted, first returned to his own 
house to consult his wife, but as he entered his door he 
saw the tiger lurking outside. 

"Wife!" bellowed he with a loud voice, "I am now 
going to kill the tiger!" 

"Nay," said she; "stay at home. The night is cold 
and wet." 

" What do I care for the cold or the wet?" cried he. 
" I don't care for the wet, and I don't care for the tiger, 
but I do care for the drip, drip, dripping of the rain from 
the roof of my house. Tigers? Fiddlesticks!" 

The tiger's spirit was so cowed by the valiant words of 
this famous hero that he stood stock-still with fright, and 
then slunk away with his tail between his legs and hid 
himself in an outhouse. Instantly the valiant weaver, who 
was on the watch, pulled the door to, put up the chain, 
and secured it with a padlock, after which his wife and 
himself went to bed and slept profoundly. 

Next day he waited on the King his master, ancl made 
his report. 

' What arms had you?" inquired the King. 

" No arms needed, your Highness," answered Nomar 
Khan. " I merely laid hold of the savage beast by the 
two ears, threw him over my shoulder, and clapped him 
into one of my sheds. Therefore let your troops now go 
down and capture him alive." 

So the King sent his ministers and a regiment of soldiers 
all armed to the teeth, who fought the tiger, having burned 
him out, and thus at last the beast was taken, paraded and 
caged. 

The fortunate weaver, invested with more honours than 
ever, now became the King's favourite companion, and 
lived in happiness, prosperity and renown all his days, 



362 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

LXVI 
OF THE SILVERSMITH AND HIS MOTHER'S BANGLE 

(SILVERSMITHS as a class bear a bad reputation for mix- 
ing up an undue quantity of alloy in the silver of their 
customers.) There was once a silversmith who, in a 
moment of disinterestedness, promised his mother that he 
would give her a bangle which should contain nothing 
but pure silver. 

"You are my mother," said he, "and I, as your son, 
who owe you so much, cannot do less." 

So he cast a bangle for his mother out of unmixed 
silver, and when it was finished he stored it up for her 
and went to bed. But he was quite unable to get a wink 
of sleep. He turned from side to side, and moaned and 
fretted in torment, frequently exclaiming, " Ah, that 
wretched bangle ! What a simpleton was I to make a 
bangle without alloy!" 

At last he could stand it no longer, so he got up, lighted 
his lamp, and did not rest until, having melted down the 
silver once .more, he had recast it with a considerable 
admixture of base metal. Then, with a conscience purged 
of offence, he returned to his deserted couch, and in an 
instant he was asleep, while a fat smile of pleasure and 
contentment betokened the satisfaction of his mind. 



LXVII 
HOW A WOMAN COULD NOT KEEP A SECRET 

ONCE upon a time there was a certain weaver who be- 
came so indigent and poor that he went to a grain-seller 
and borrowed forty rupees. "If I do not return within a 
year," said he, "take my house and all it contains they 
are yours," 



HOW A WOMAN COULD NOT KEEP A SECRET 363 

So the weaver wandered off over the hills, and in a 
lonely place he saw a light, and going to it, he found there 
a man sitting on the ground. He sat by his side, but the 
man spoke never a word. At last the weaver said, " Why, 
man, can't you speak? Say something, at least. Do you 
not see I am a stranger?" 

" My fee," answered the man, " is twenty rupees. 
Hand me twenty rupees, and I will speak." 

The weaver counted out twenty rupees and gave them 
to him, eagerly waiting to see the result. But all the man 
said was, " Friend, when four men give you advice, take 
it." 

Said the weaver to himself, " I have only twenty rupees 
left, and if I venture on another question I shall lose that, 
too!" But a weaver's curiosity is very great, so he 
counted out his balance, handed it to the man, and said, 
" Speak again." 

Then the man spoke a second time, and what he said 
was this, " Whatever happens to you even if you rob, 
steal, or murder never breathe a word of it to your wife." 

Soon after the weaver took up his wallet and trudged 
along until he came to another desolate place, and there 
he saw four men sitting on the ground round a corpse. 

" Whither away?" said they. 

" I am going to that village across the river," answered 
he. 

" Do an act of charity," said they. " We were carrying 
this body to the river. Take it up, as you are going that 
way, and throw it in for us." 

Immediately they laid the corpse on his bare back and 
started him off. But as he went along he felt the most 
horrid pricking across his loins. " In the name of God," 
he cried, "what is this corpse doing? Are these knives 
or needles?" He could not stop to lay the corpse down, 
because it was a fat corpse, and he would never have been 
able to get it up again. So he went on groaning to the 
river, dropped it on the bank, and began to examine it. 
What was his surprise to find fastened round the waist of 
the corpse numbers of little bags filled with diamonds ! 
He at once pounced on them, threw the corpse into the 
river, and started for home. Arriving in all safety, he 
paid off the grain-seller, presenting him as well with five 
gold mohurs, bought a handsome mare and a nice saddle, 



364 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

hired servants and took to fine clothes, and lived on roast 
fowl and rice-pudding every day. 

In the same village the lambardar was a man well-to-do 
in the world, and he, noticing the style in which his humble 
friend lived, sent his wife to gossip with the weaver's 
wife. 

" Not long ago," she began, " I used to give you cotton 
to spin for me, and now what a lady you are ! However, 
I am now your friend. Your husband, I see, has bought 
a mare and a handsome saddle, and he has a servant to 
follow him. Where did he get all the money? You 
might tell me." 

" Indeed I don't know-," answered the woman. 

That night the wretched weaver had no rest. " Tell 
me," said his wife again and again, " where you went to, 
and how you got all that money." 

" No, no," answered he, " I can't tell you. The best 
thing you can do is not to tease me, as, once you know 
the secret, it will be told everywhere, for women are like 
sieves." 

The next morning he went out half dead with worry, 
and when he returned for his food, he found his wife still 
asleep, and nothing ready. "Get up, wife," cried he; 
" get up, I want my breakfast." 

"Why should I get up?" said she. "What kind of 
husband are you, and what kind of wife do you take me 
for? You treat me like a child, and tell me nothing." 

" Best for you not to know," replied he. 

" Yes, but tell me," said she. " Not a word shall pass 
my lips." 

" Well," said he, "I was told on my travels that if I 
drank half-a-pint of mustard-oil in the morning, when 1 
got up, I should see treasure everywhere." 

In the course of the day in came her friend, and the 
woman laughs and says, " Oh, I have found out every- 
thing, I have found out everything!" 

"What is it? quick, tell me!" said the lambardar's 
wife. 

" My husband says," answered she, " that when he 
drinks half-a-pint of mustard-oil he sees all the treasures 
buried by the old kings, so I advise you to give your 
husband and your six children half-a-pint each, and drink 
some yourself, and you will see treasure, too," 



ALI THE MERCHANT AND THE BRAHMIN 365 

The woman at once ran home, bought some mustard-oil, 
and at night persuades her whole family to drink it, 
though she took none herself. In the morning she rushes 
into their rooms and cries, " Get up, get up, and look for 
treasure!" but, alack! she finds them all lying dead and 
stiff. 

Now, when the King heard of this, he called for her, 
and all she could say was, " The weaver's wife deceived 
me, and told me to do it." But the weaver's wife denied 
it, saying, " I never told her. I expect she is carrying on 
with some low fellow, and, not to be interfered with, she 
got rid of her husband and children." So the lambardar's 
wife was hanged, and so ends the story, all the trouble 
having been caused by a woman who could not keep a 
secret. 



LXVIII 

THE STORY OF ALI THE MERCHANT AND THE 
BRAHMIN 

THERE was once a Brahmin who had two sons. But the 
Brahmin was very old, and his sons were unlettered and 
ignorant. So the old man began to think, " My sons 
are so ignorant that they cannot even recite the creeds 
and the prayers on which we beggars depend for our daily 
food. How will they live ? Who will give them a morsel 
of food when I am taken away?" The thought of this 
preyed on his mind, and gradually rendered him silent 
and desponding. 

One day he was sitting at a shop in the bazaar, brooding 
over his troubles, when a fakir came up, and, seeing him 
so sad and wobegone, he began to ask him the reason. 

" Why are you so deep in thought?" said he. 

" For no reason," said the Brahmin; " there is nothing 
the matter." 

" Nay, but there is," replied the fakir. 



366 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

"-But even if I were to tell you," said the Brahmin, 
"you could not divide my sorrows with me." 

" You are mistaken," returned the fakir. " I am a 
fakir. Therefore tell me your trouble." 

" Well," said the Brahmin, " my only trouble is this : 
I am old and not likely to live. My sons are untaught and 
ignorant. They cannot say even a creed, and when I die 
they must both starve." 

" Nay," said the fakir, " not so bad as that, not so bad 
as that. Listen to me, and I will make you an offer. You 
say you have two sons who want training. Hand them 
over to me for a year and I will be their tutor, if only at 
the end of the year you will agree to give me one of the 
boys, keeping the other for yourself." 

This proposal seemed so reasonable to the Brahmin that 
he joyfully accepted it, and, rising up, he led the way to 
his home. There he introduced the boys to their future 
master, and the fakir took them away to his own village. 
But both the Brahmin and the fakir had quite omitted to 
specify which of the sons was to be the property of the 
fakir at the end of the year. 

It was the habit of the fakir to sit at the door of his 
miserable hut, where he had two hookahs for all passers 
who chose to stop and smoke hubble-bubble. Very few 
thought of passing without giving him alms, and by this 
means he was able to provide food for himself and the 
two boys, and he had ample time as well for teaching them 
their letters. Very soon it became apparent to him that 
of his two pupils the younger developed far greater intel- 
ligence than his elder brother, so to him the fakir deter- 
mined to communicate all the secrets and the arts of 
fakirs, such as witchcraft, magic, and soothsaying, while 
he taught the elder only such ordinary knowledge as was 
suitable to poor Brahmins. 

When the year was up the fakir said to the boys, " Now- 
come along with me. Let us go and visit your father." 
So they set out together, and came and put up in the town 
where the children's father and mother were living. The 
next morning the younger boy asked the fakir's permis- 
sion to go and see his parents, to which the fakir agreed, 
and both brothers took their way to their old home. When 
the younger son had greeted his father, who was over- 
joyed to see them both, he whispered to him, " Remember, 



ALl THE MERCHANT AND THE BRAHMIN 367 

father, when you choose between us, you are to choose 
me." 

In a few minutes the fakir himself arrived, and said, 
" Brahmin, you see I have fulfilled my side of the bargain. 
Now let me choose which of the two I shall have." 

" Nay," said the Brahmin, " 1 will choose for you. 
Take the elder; the younger is mine." 

But the fakir would not have this on any account. 
"Nay, master," said he, "the younger boy I love; let 
me have him." So there arose a dispute between the two 
men, the father and the teacher, until at last, after much 
argument, they agreed to call in arbitrators to settle their 
differences. 

When the arbitrators had entered the room, the Brahmin 
addressed them, explained to them all the circumstances 
of the case, and concluded by saying, " I have decided to 
retain my younger son for myself, but do you judge 
between us." 

Upon this the neighbours turned to the fakir and said, 
"It is evident that both the boys are the sons of the 
Brahmin; therefore, do you take the elder and be satis- 
fied." But the fakir flew into a rage, and cried, " The 
younger is mine ; I will have him or none ! I will have 
"him or none !" Saying this, he instantly left the Brahmin's 
house, muttering a dreadful revenge. 

After a day or two, said the father to his younger son, 
" You advised me to choose you, and you I have chosen. 
But know w r e are poor and destitute, and you must help 
us to live." 

" Father," answered the lad, " I know something of 
magic. If you will trust to me, we shall have no lack of 
money. This very night I will enter the empty house on 
the opposite side of the street. You shall see me enter, 
but you must not follow me till the morning, and then you 
will find there a bullock tied. Him you must lead out, 
and sell him for not less than a hundred rupees; but 
remember, you are not to part with the headstall, and, 
above all, beware of the fakir." 

In the evening the boy entered the empty hut, as he 
had said, and the next morning it was found that a fine 
bullock had been brought into the world by his magic. 

When the Brahmin had examined him, he untied him 
and led him by the rope into the market-place for sale. 



368 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" What is the price of your bullock ?" cried half-a-dozen 
voices at once. 

" One hundred rupees without the headstall," answered 
the Brahmin. 

After some discussion a farmer counted out one hundred 
rupees, and bought the bullock. " But you must give up 
the headstall as well," said the people. The Brahmin, 
however, refused to part with it, and the purchaser then 
agreed to buy another. 

Then the Brahmin, taking off the headstall, laid it on 
his shoulder, and turned himself homewards. After a time 
he missed the headstall from his shoulder. He supposed 
it to have fallen, but as it was useless to search for it then, 
he continued his way. Arriving at his house, he said, 
" Son, I have sold the bullock, and, see, here are the 
hundred rupees. But, alas ! by some misadventure I have 
lost the headstall." 

"Don't be distressed, father," answered the son; "I 
was myself the headstall, and you see I have found my 
way back all right." 

The Brahmin, who had been wretchedly poor, was now 
rich enough to pay off his debts, and to live in less dis- 
comfort. But as the money was not inexhaustible it was 
soon spent, and then he had to apply to his son once more. 

"Always depend on my power," said the boy, "and 
you will never need." 

In a few days he took his father aside, and revealed to 
him another scheme. " To-night I shall again go into 
the empty hut and shut the door. In the morning you will 
find there a handsome horse. Take him and sell him for 
not less than one hundred rupees, but remember you are 
not to part with the bridle, and, above all, beware of the 
fakir, who is still lurking somewhere in the village. He 
is the master of magic, but I am only the pupil." 

Early before sunrise the Brahmin opened the door of the 
house, and saw before him a beautiful riding-horse bridled. 
Leading him forth, he mounted on his back, and rode him 
into the market-place to sell him. 

: ' How much?" cried the people. 

" One hundred rupees without the bridle," said he. 

Now, the fakir himself happened to be one of the crowd 
assembled about the horse. Laying aside his bag, and 
retaining his staff, he began to walk round the animal as 



ALI THE MERCHANT AND THE BRAHMIN 369 

if to observe its points ; and as soon as he saw that the 
Brahmin was absorbed in making terms with the dealers, 
he suddenly lifted his staff and struck the horse a violent 
blow on the back. The horse sprang several feet into the 
air, unhorsed the Brahmin, and instantly galloped away, 
while the fakir ran after him at the top of his speed. As 
he ran in pursuit, he kept crying out, " My young fellow, 
I was the making of you. You know it. It seldom 
happens that the moustaches grow longer than the beard. 
How far do you intend to make me run two miles, three 
miles? Because in the end you simply cannot escape 
me. I am the master." 

Hearing these words, the lad in the shape of the bridle 
began to consider that escape was impossible under these 
conditions, and compelled the horse to stop short. Then, 
by the power of his magic art, the horse suddenly vanished, 
and the boy himself became a dove. 

"Ho! ho!" said the fakir. "You turned yourself 
into a bridle, and you are now a pigeon. But do you not 
know that I can become a hawk?" And the fakir, in the 
form of a hawk, gave instant chase. The poor dove wheeled, 
and turned now here, now there sometimes in the open, 
sometimes in the tangled wood, until at last he found that 
it was all of no avail. He would have been struck down 
by his pursuer if he had not happened to arrive at a lake, 
when, changing the form of a dove, he became a fish and 
dropped into the water. 

"Ha! ha!" laughed the fakir. "A horse, a pigeon, 
and now a fish! But what is the use? I shall now- 
become an alligator, and you cannot possibly escape, for 
I will devour every fish in the lake." 

So the fakir then changed himself from a hawk into an 
alligator, and in that shape he raged through the waters 
of the placid lake, eating voraciously every fish he could 
find. At last he came to the dark creek where his pupil 
was hiding, and peering in he made a hideous dart at him. 
But in extremity of despair his intended victim made one 
final effort, and succeeded in leaping on to the bank, 
whence, perceiving that the corpse of a man was hanging 
from the branch of a tree, he transformed himself into a 
mosquito, and hid himself in the dead man's nostrils. Out 
now came the alligator, having observed the whole pro- 
ceeding, and resuming his original form of a man, he took 
24 



370 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

up a small piece of soft clay, and with it he stopped up 
the nostrils of the corpse, being determined that this time 
there should be no escape. He then slid down from the 
tree, and squatted on the ground beneath to consider how 
he should next proceed. Just then there passed by a 
respectable countryman riding on a horse, to whom the 
fakir cried out, " O beloved of God, give me, I pray you, 
a little cloth." 

" I can give you but little," answered the traveller. 
" Why do you not go into the town, where AH the mer- 
chant lives ? He is rich, and gives away freely of every- 
thing." 

" So I shall," said the fakir; "but, meanwhile, I am 
begging from you." The man, thus appealed to, handed 
to the fakir a piece of linen, and continued his journey. 
This linen the fakir tore into three slips, and climbing the 
tree once more, he tied up the corpse's head, binding it 
round over the nostrils with the linen slips, so that the 
mosquito could not possibly force his way out. Having 
done this he came down. " Now I shall visit Ali," said 
he. And without more delay to Ali's house he went, and 
took up a position with other beggars outside the door. 
By-and-by Ali the merchant came out and sat down to 
his prayers. As soon as he appeared the fakir approached 
him and put up his joined hands, as beggars always do. 
"O Ali," said he, "your name and your liberality are 
spoken of everywhere. From a distant land I have 
travelled to see you, but just now I want your help, for 
God's sake, in a matter of importance." 

When Ali had looked at him, and perceived that he was 
a fakir, he answered, " My goods are your goods. If 
you want a horse, speak; I will give it you, or money or 
clothes." 

" I want neither horse, nor money, nor yet clothes," 
replied the fakir. " I only want you to do me a small 
favour. For God's sake, promise me that you will do it." 

" Of course," said Ali, " I will oblige you, and it is not 
necessary for you to invoke the name of God so much. 
Why do you do it, when you see I do not refuse?" 

"Never mind," said the fakir, "come aside and hear 
my story." 

So the fakir took simple Ali the merchant apart and 
said, " For God's sake, my friend, perform this favour for 



ALI THE MERCHANT AND THE BRAHMIN 371 

me. You are a Hindoo, I am a Mussalman. In a certain 
spot there is a body hanging from a tree. Go yourself, cut 
it down, and bring it here to me." 

"O what a difficult task you have set me!" cried the 
merchant. " I certainly cannot do this thing in the day- 
time ; \vhat would the people say ? Still, for your sake, 
and as I have passed my word, and because you are a 
fakir, I will go at night and bring the body in to you." 

When darkness had set in, Ali mounted his horse and 
rode out of the town, and when he had arrived at the spot 
indicated he dismounted and began, in spite of his un- 
wieldy bulk, to climb up the tree. When he got within 
reach he cut the rope with a knife which he had been 
holding between his teeth, and down fell the corpse with 
a thud. He then descended, thinking to take up the body 
in order to set it on his horse, and so to carry it back to 
the town. But, lo ! when he got to the ground he was 
astounded to perceive that the corpse was once more hang- 
ing from the same branch. Believing that he had made 
some mistake, he again swarmed up the tree, and again 
cut down the body. But precisely the same thing was 
repeated, for as soon as he had reached the ground the 
corpse was seen to be still dangling from the bough. A 
third time he essayed his difficult task, and the third time 
this extraordinary corpse resumed his position in the tree. 
Ali now began to feel seriously alarmed. " There is some- 
thing wrong here!" cried he. And getting on his horse, 
he rode swiftly back to the town. 

When the fakir, who had been looking out for him, saw 
that he had not brought in the body, he began to reproach 
him. 

" What !" said he, " you could not do for a poor fakir 
such a trifling service as that?" 

"The blame is not mine," said the merchant. "The 
corpse is bewitched. Every time I cut it down it jumped 
up again into the tree, and there it is hanging now !" 

" Ali !" replied the fakir, " if this had been so easy a 
thing, I should have brought in the corpse myself. But, 
as you say, there is magic in it ! O Ali ! to me you are 
a king, though only a merchant; and a king you shall 
really be if you will only bring in that body ! And now 
remember my directions. First, do not dismount from 
your horse, and next, for God's sake, contrive so to 



372 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

manage as that the corpse shall fall on the horse and not 
on the ground." 

With these instructions, AH set out again ; and coming 
to the tree, he called upon God, and cut the string. He 
had so stationed himself that the corpse fell in front of him 
on the horse's withers. So he settled it evenly, with his 
stirrup-leathers, and then, uttering a sigh of relief, he 
started once more for the town. 

As he went along, Ali cast his eye over this singular 
corpse, and began to address it with playful humour : 
"Now, here you are," said he, "a dead body, though 
how long dead I don't know. Pretty tricks, indeed ! I 
wonder how you managed to get up into that tree again 
and again !" 

Hardly had he spoken the words, when the dead body 
began to quiver and shake and wriggle as if it had ague. 
Seeing this, Ali seized it, and held on to it with all his 
strength. But he held on in vain, for the body easily 
shook itself off the horse, and in another second it was 
suspended once more from the branch of the tree. 

"The devil!" muttered Ali. But he was in no mood 
to turn back that night, for the sky was dark and murky, 
and his mind misgave him. So he made the best of his 
way back to his home. 

When the fakir saw that he had returned a second time 
without the body, he began to reproach him once more. 

" O Ali !" said he, " what, no body yet ? How is this ? 
For God's sake, tell me !" 

" Why are vou perpetually calling on the name of 
God?" said Ali peevishly. "Listen, and judge if I am 
to blame." 

Then Ali related to the fakir the whole of his adventure. 

" I see how it is," said the fakir; " the body is certainly 
bewitched. I knew that before; but, Ali, the next time 
you are not to open your mouth to speak a single word to 
it on any account whatever." 

The night following Ali again saddled his horse, and 
rode out to the fatal tree. He acted precisely as on the 
last occasion, and, with the body balanced in front of him, 
he began his journey to the town. As he rode along, the 
bo'dy began to mutter and to appeal to soft-hearted Ali's 
feelings. 

" O Ali !" moaned he. " we all know you to be a great 



ALI THE MERCHANT AND THE BRAHMIN 373 

man, wise and prudent, and of excellent judgment. For 
God's sake, then, halt a moment until I ask you a 
question !" 

So AH pulled up his horse in the moonlight, for the 
night was fair, and then the corpse resumed his speech 
" Listen," said the corpse; " I'll tell you a story of a 
frightful tyranny, a piece of consummate cruelty, which 
has been witnessed in this very country. There is a certain 
Brahmin. The Brahmin's family consists of four persons : 
himself, his wife, his son, and his daughter. What the 
mother orders, the daughter does not obey, and what the 
father orders, the son does not obey. In the midst of all 
this domestic disunion, the daughter grows up and be- 
comes marriageable. Without consulting with his wife, 
the father goes out to the house of a neighbour, betroths 
his daughter to a certain youth, and receives for her a 
hundred rupees. The marriage is fixed for the fifteenth 
day after the betrothal. Having done this, he returns 
home ; but he keeps the business secret from every member 
of his family. 

" About the same time the mother also goes out, and 
betroths her daughter to some one else, and she also 
receives one hundred rupees for her. Then she comes 
home ; but she also keeps her deed a secret from the rest 
of her family. 

" After a day or two, the son thinks to himself, ' It is 
time now for my sister to be married. I had better go and 
get her betrothed somewhere.' So he goes to the house of 
one of his friends, and betroths her to an acquaintance, 
receiving a hundred rupees for her, and fixing the same 
day for the wedding as his father and mother had chosen. 
Then he, too, comes home ; but he takes care not to breathe 
a word of the matter to any one. 

" On the morning of the wedding-day the father gets 
up, and, going to the bazaar, he buys five rupees' worth 
of rice and curry-stuffs, which he brings back with him to 
the house. When his wife sees him entering with such 
a quantity of food, she asks, ' What is all this rice for?' 

" ' This is our daughter's wedding-day,' answers the 
Brahmin. ' The guests will all assemble here this even- 
ing, and this rice is for their entertainment.' 

"'Alas!' exclaims the wife; 'something dreadful has 
happened. I also have betrothed our daughter, and this is 



374 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

the day fixed for the wedding. My friends will also be 
here this evening.' 

" She has no sooner spoken these words than the son 
enters the door, and says, ' Why, father, why are all these 
preparations ?' 

" ' It is your sister's wedding-day,' answers his father. 
' I have betrothed her, and the guests will be here 
to-night.' 

" ' Sir,' replies the son, ' I also fixed this day as the 
day of my sister's wedding, and the guests whom I have 
invited \vill also be here immediately.' 

" After hearing these heavy tidings they all sit down in 
silence and await the issue of events. By-and-by the 
three grooms and the whole of the three parties of invited 
guests arrive at the house, and begin to ask for explan- 
ations. 

" Now, the poor young girl herself knows nothing of 
these arrangements. She is playing innocently with some 
of her companions in the court, when one of them who 
has overheard the angry expostulations of the guests runs 
to her and says, ' Your father and your mother and your 
brother have engaged you to three different persons : to- 
day is your wedding-day, and all those people are the 
guests.' 

" The daughter now thinks to herself, ' Can this be so? 
But if I go with the man of my father's choice, my mother 
and brother will be angry. Neither can I consent to 
marry any of the others. Let me go and see whether this 
can be true.' 

" So she goes to her mother, and learns what fatal mis- 
takes have been made. Beginning to weep, the poor girl 
says to herself, ' What's to be done now ? Better die than 
survive this disgrace. If I leap from the house-top it will 
be all over, and my troubles will end.' And she mounts 
the outer steps and throws herself down, but life is extinct 
before her body reaches the ground. Her playmates, see- 
ing this catastrophe, cry out, ' Alas, alas ! help ! your 
daughter has killed herself!' And the whole assembly 
comes rushing to the spot. But it is too late. The child 
lies upon the ground with her eyes open, but her spirit 
has gone for ever. Such is the mournful end of an 
innocent girl ! 

" This," continued the corpse, " is the tyranny to which 



ALI THE MERCHANT AND THE BRAHMIN 375 

I referred as going on in this country. And now, O 
merchant, answer, what have you to say to it?" 

As Ali had been adjured in the name of God, he felt 
bound to answ : er. Besides, in his indignation, he had 
utterly forgotten all about the fakir. 

" My opinion is this," said he. " The unhappy girl 
saved her whole family from well-merited disgrace. That 
is my reply." 

As soon as the merchant had finished speaking, the 
corpse began to shake as before, and in another minute 
it fell, glided rapidly over the earth, and once more it 
hung itself up in the tree. 

By this time it was close upon dawn, and the astonished 
Ali, not willing to be seen near so unlucky a spot in the 
light of day, hastened away home. As soon as he ap- 
peared, the fakir again began to upbraid him. " Such a 
trifle it is, O Ali," said he, " which I ask of you, and all 
in the name of God ! Have you not accomplished it yet?" 

" O fakir, do not be hard on me," answered Ali. 
" Have I not passed my word? If it cost me my head, 
that wretched corpse I am determined to bring to you." 

At the close of day, Ali the merchant once more rode 
forth to try his luck on the bewitched corpse. He arrived 
at the tree, cut down the body, settled it on the horse, and 
set off for the town once more. He had not gone half-a- 
mile when the corpse began to wheedle and coax him again. 
"O merchant," said the body, "you are a great man 
who can deny it ? Listen to me, for I have something more 
to tell you of what is going on in this country. 

" In the morning her friends bathe the poor girl's dead 
body, and, laying it on a stretcher, carry it away to the 
place of burning. The three wedding parties now separate 
and betake themselves to their homes. Not so the three 
young men. ' Let us all perish with her,' cries one, and 
sadly they join in the funeral procession. When the 
mourners arrive at the pile, the same youth, he to whom 
the brother had betrothed her, exclaims, ' For me life is 
over. I will ascend too.' 

"'Nay,' answer the people, 'do not be foolish. A 
woman might indeed make this sacrifice for a man, but a 
man should know better.' 

" Yet when the body is laid on the top of the pile he 
springs up, and sits him down beside it, wringing his 



37.6 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

hands. Then the faggots are lighted, and in an hour this 
devoted couple are burnt to ashes. 

" When this is all over, the youth to whom the girl had 
been betrothed by the mother collects all the charred bones 
together and buries them on the spot. Then he turns 
fakir, and, taking up his station there, watches by the 
bones day after day, and never leaves them, excepting on 
those rare occasions when he goes into the village to beg 
for his food. 

" When the third youth, he to whom the father betrothed 
the child, witnesses all these things, he goes up to the one 
who is sitting over the bones, and he says to him, ' Friend, 
we all loved the girl; we all had a share in her, for each 
gave his hundred rupees. The bones of one of us are 
mingling with her own. You are now the guardian of her 
dear remains. As for me, I shall also turn fakir, and for 
the sake of that bright one I will travel over the whole 
world.' 

" So he dons the garb of a fakir, and with a wallet on 
his back and a staff in his hand, he starts on his travels. 
After travelling many a weary mile, at last, one day towards 
evening, he arrives at a village, and sees a woman spin- 
ning at the door of a house. To her he goes forward, 
and says, ' O mother, I have here a little flour, bake me 
some bread !' 

" The woman merely answers, ' O yes,' and goes on 
with her spinning. 

" The fakir, being tired, sits down and waits patiently. 
At last he speaks again. ' Mother,' says he, ' the sun is 
now setting. By this time I could have walked on some 
three or four miles. Bake me, I pray you, a little bread.' 

" The woman, who w r as a witch, answered, ' Don't be 
in a hurry. Your bread shall be baked, and you shall 
have it immediately.' 

" Saying this, she rises from her spindle, takes a hand- 
ful of dry grass, puts it in the stove, and on it she drops 
a little fire. Then she catches up her little girl, who was 
sleeping on a couch hard by, and puts the child's feet 
into the fire, and they begin to burn and burn like dry 
wood, nor does the child once awake, though the whole of 
her feet, almost to the knees, consume slowly away. The 
fakir looks on with speechless horror, watching the woman 
baking his bread over that horrible fire. 



ALI THE MERCHANT AND THE BRAHMIN 377 

" When the bread is quite ready, the woman enters the 
house and brings out a little vase. Pouring some coloured 
liquid from it into a large vessel, she fills it up with water, 
and, lifting her child, she puts both her legs into the 
mixture. Then, snatching her up once more, she lays her 
as before in the bed, and covers her over with a sheet. 

" 'O fakir,' she cries, 'come and eat. Your bread is 
ready.' 

"'Nay, woman,' answered he; 'I eat not, I am a 
fakir. As for you, you are worse than a cannibal. Such 
tyranny as this is outrageous ! ' 

"'Your eyes beguile you,' says she; 'this is true 
bread, fit for fakirs. Come and eat it.' 

" As they are arguing and disputing, the husband with 
his two sons approaches the spot, and cries in angry 
tones, 'Woman, will you never be quiet? Whenever I 
come home I find you quarrelling with fakirs. You must 
be worse than human. You are a devil, and no woman 
at all!' 

" He then turns to the fakir and says, ' Eat the bread; 
eat the bread !' 

" ' No, no !' replies the fakir. ' Never shall I eat bread 
which has been baked with the feet of a poor child.' 

" ' What nonsense, man !' exclaims the husband. ' Was 
it ever heard of that a child's feet could be burnt like that? 
It is quite impossible.' 

" ' But what if I saw it with my own eyes?' says the 
fakir. ' And what would you say if I prove it to you ?' 

" With this the fakir steps forward to the couch and lifts 
up the sheet \vhich covers the sleeping child. But he starts 
back astonished still more than before, for the child's feet 
are whole and well, and there is not a sign of fire upon 
them. 

" Meanwhile the mother comes and rouses the child, who 
wakes up crying. 

" ' Come and eat bread, child,' says the mother; ' come 
and eat bread.' 

" 'Don't give me any bread, mother,' says she; ' O, 
no, I don't want bread, mother. Give me some ddl.' l 

" But the fakir, sitting apart upon the ground, loses 
himself in reflection, thinking of the wonderful power of 
the witch. ' If I only knew her secret,' says he to himself, 

1 Dal is a vetch largely used for food in India. 



378 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

' I might throw some enchanted water on the bones of 
my betrothed, and we might marry and be happy still.' 

" So the fakir feigns a complaisance which he does not 
feel, and eats a little bread. He then says, ' O mother, 
have you any old bedstead you can lend me ? If so, let 
me have it, as I am tired and would like to sleep.' 

" Early in the morning the fakir rises, takes up his wallet 
and goes out to beg. On his return in the evening, he 
hands over all his alms to the woman. In short, he takes 
up his abode with her, and each day he walks as many as 
ten or fifteen miles to all the villages round, but he never 
fails on his return to give the woman everything he collects. 
At last she says to him, ' O fakir, once you scorned to 
touch my very bread. But now there is nothing which you 
do not give to me. What is it you really want of me ?' 

" ' All I want,' answers he, ' is some of your skill in the 
art of magic. Teach me a little of your knowledge.' 

" So the woman imparts to him all the knowledge she 
possesses herself, and he soon acquires it, after which he 
leaves that country and hastens back to visit his own. 

" Four days is the length of the journey from the one 
country to the other, but his eagerness to visit the grave of 
his betrothed is such that he accomplishes it in a single 
day. It happens that when he arrives at the spot the other 
fakir is in the village begging. So he digs up the whole 
of the bones and lays them reverently on the ground, after 
which he throws over them a sheet, and, sitting down, he 
keeps reading his magic words, and sprinkling the remains 
with his enchanted water. Presently he removes the sheet, 
and sees lying under it the living forms of his betrothed 
and of the other youth who was burnt with her on the funeral 
pile. At this moment comes back also the other fakir. 
And so it happens that they all find themselves sitting side 
by side at the tomb, the three suitors and the young girl, 
all four living and breathing face to face, as they lived 
on the earth before. 

"And now, O merchant," concludes the corpse, "this 
is the question which in God's name I implore you to 
answer. Of all these three, whom is the girl to marry?" 

In spite of his promise the forgetful merchant hastened 
to give his opinion. 

" My judgment is this," said he. " The two who were 
burnt together, the youth and the maiden, having been 



ALT THE MERCHANT AND THE BRAHMIN 379 

the same dust, must be regarded as brother and sister now 
that they are restored to life. Therefore they cannot 
marry. The suitor who raised the pair from the dead must 
be viewed as their father, since he was the author of their 
second birth. Therefore the maiden cannot be married to 
him. But the third suitor, who merely watched by the 
bones, must be considered differently. He bears no 
relationship whatever to these children of resurrection, and 
to him therefore the girl belongs, and him she must 
marry." 

Having so delivered himself, AH the merchant looked 
for the corpse, but it had slipped down from the horse, 
and was moving with surprising swiftness over the fields 
towards the tree, from which in a few minutes it was once 
more swinging in the wind. 

Again the merchant rode on to encounter the disap- 
pointed greeting of the fakir, who met him at the city 
gates, and cried, " O AH, AH, lacs and crores of rupees in 
charity you squander abroad, yet for poor me you will not 
do this trifling favour." 

" I was beguiled again into speaking," pleaded AH. 
" Let me try my hand once more." 

" For the love of God," urged the fakir, " speak not a 
word to the body on any account." 

That night away rode Ali again, and acted precisely as 
on former occasions, cutting down the corpse and bringing 
it away on the neck of his horse. And as on former occa- 
sions so now, the corpse endeavoured to impose on Ali's 
simplicity. " For God's sake," he implores, " hear me 
but this once; listen to the rest of my story, and I promise 
to go whithersoever you please. All the former part of 
the adventure I have reported exactly, and you cannot 
accuse me of perverting the truth. Yet once more will 1 
speak. Only, as the night is w<arm, undo these bandages, 
and take from my nostrils the clay which closes them up." 

Ali felt glad when he heard the promise of the corpse, 
and he had no hesitation in complying with his request. 
He first untied the bands of linen, and then removed the 
clay. In a moment the mosquito escaped with a buzz, 
and, flying to the earth, turned at once into the son of 
the Brahmin, who walked rapidly away in the direction 
of the town, to the intense amazement of the bewildered 
Ali. 



380 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" Hullo !" cried he, " who are you ? Hi ! stop and say 
who you are and whence you have come." 

But the boy answered him never a word. 

Meanwhile the corpse had fallen heavily to the ground, 
where it lay perfectly still. Then the merchant dis- 
mounted, and having replaced it once more, he continued 
his journey, and arrived with it safely at the town. 

The fakir was overjoyed. He advanced to meet the 
merchant, and helped him to lift down the corpse; but 
when he missed the bandages and the clay with which he 
had secured the mosquito, he turned away and set up a 
howl. "Ah, miserable Ali!" cried he. "What have 
you done ? You have let my enemy escape me ! ' ' 

He was not a man, however, to lose time in useless 
repinings, so he made his way at once to the house of the 
Brahmin, and, peeping in through a hole in the door, he 
saw, as he expected, his runaway pupil. He therefore 
decided to remain in that town a little while longer. When 
a day or two had elapsed, he sent a request to the boy to 
come and see him. The boy knew well that all this time he 
had been withstanding his master, and, as the old influence 
was still upon him, he said to his father, " I have been 
called by my master; do you also come along with me." 
He went, therefore, to the house at which the fakir was 
lodging and made his salaams to him. " Bravo!" cried 
the fakir, "you have done your old master credit. The 
world used to say that moustaches never grew longer than 
the beard, but you have proved the old saw to be false. 
Come, sit down." 

The boy, with a smile of triumph, sat down by his master, 
who then said, " All this time you have outwitted me by 
mere tricks. If you trick me this time, I promise you 
something which will be the death of you outright." 

" O master," answered the boy, " let me give you a 
friendly challenge, and so let us decide who is the better 
man, you or I. I propose that you turn yourself into a 
tiger, while I shall turn myself into a goat. If the goat 
eat the tiger, then the world will see that the pupil has 
surpassed his master. But if the tiger devour the goat, 
it will acknowledge the master to be still paramount." 

The fakir at once agreed to this proposal, but in the 
boy's mind there existed treachery unsuspected by his 
master. It was arranged between them that the boy in 



OF THE TWO MISERS 381 

the form of a goat should be tied outside the town, and 
that at a certain hour in the evening the tiger should 
approach the spot and endeavour to carry him off. 

Leaving the house of the fakir, the boy and his father, 
the Brahmin, went round to a certain number of the 
inhabitants and revealed to them that the next evening a 
large tiger would be prowling about outside a certain part 
of the town, and that, in order to capture it effectually, it 
would be necessary for marksmen to be stationed in ambush 
behind the neighbouring walls. So every one was on the 
alert, armed, some with guns, and some with bows and 
arrows. Then the boy turned himself, as agreed upon, 
into a goat, and was tied by the Brahmin to a stake near 
one of the entrances of the town. Presently a large, full- 
grown tiger \vas seen issuing from the jungle and creeping 
cautiously up the slope in the direction of his prey. Just 
then one of the concealed marksmen fired, but missed his 
aim, and the next moment the tiger had leaped upon the 
goat and had seized it by the neck. An indiscriminate 
volley was now poured in from all sides, and tiger and 
goat, both pierced in a score of places, rolled over and 
over dead upon the ground. And so ends the Story of 
Ali the Merchant and the Brahmin, or, as it might be 
named with greater exactness, the Story of the Fakir and 
the Brahmin's Son. 



LXIX 
OF THE TWO MISERS 

ONCE upon a time, two misers hobnobbed together to 
eat their food. One of them had a small vessel of ghee, 
into which he sparingly and grudgingly dipped his morsels 
of bread. The other miser, observing this, protested 
vehemently against such wasteful extravagance. ' Why 
waste so much ghee?" sand he; "and why do you risk 



382 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

the waste of so much more, seeing that your bread might 
slip from your fingers, and become totally immersed? 
Think better of it, and imitate me. I take my vessel of 
ghee, and hang it just out of reach to a nail in the wall. 
Then I point at the ghee my scraps of bread, one by one, 
as I eat, and I assure you I not only enjoy my ghee just 
as well, but I make no waste." 1 



LXX 

OF THE KING AND THE ROBBERS 

IN former days it was the delight of kings and princes 
to disguise themselves and to visit the streets of their 
cities, both to seek adventures and to learn the habits and 
opinions of their subjects. One night the famous Sultan 
Mahmud of Ghazni dressed himself up, and, assuming 
the character of a thief, went into the streets. He there 
fell in with a gang of notorious robbers, and, joining him- 
self to their company, he gave himself out as a desperate 
villain, saying 

" If you are thieves, I am a thief too; so let us go and 
try our good fortune together." 

They all agreed. "Be it so," said they; " but before 
we set out let us compare notes, and see who possesses 
the strongest point for the business in hand, and let him 
be our captain." 

1 This anecdote is an instance of the truth of the saying- of 
Solomon: "There is no new thing- under the sun." Many readers 
will be reminded of the Irish dish, " Potatoes and point," consisting 
of a large supply of potatoes and of a very limited supply of meat, 
bacon, or even fish. The potatoes are eaten, but the more solid food 
is merely pointed at. The following passage from Carlyle's " Count 
Cagliostro " refers to this singular custom : " And so the catastrophe 
ends by bathing- our poor half-dead Recipiendary first in blood, then 
after some g-enuflexions in water; and 'serving him a repast com- 
posed of roots,' we grieve to say, mere potatoes and point!" 



OF THE KING AND THE ROBBERS 383 

" My strongest point," said one, " is my hearing. I 
can distinguish and understand the speech of dogs and 
of wolves." 

" Mine," said the next, " is my hands, with which I 
am so practised that I can jerk a rope to the tops of the 
highest houses." 

" And mine," said another, " is my strength of arm. I 
can force my way through any wall, however stoutly 
built." 

" My chief point," said the fourth, " is my sense of 
smell. Show me a house, and I will reveal to you whether 
it is rich or poor, whether it is full or empty." 

"And mine," said the fifth robber, "is my keenness 
of eyesight. If I meet a man on the darkest night I can 
detect him and point him out in the daytime." 

The King now spoke and said, " My strong point is my 
beard. I have only to wag my beard, and a man sentenced 
to be hanged is released immediately." 

" Then you shall be our captain !" cried all the robbers 
at once, "since hanging is the only thing of which we 
are afraid." 

So the King was unanimously chosen as leader, and 
away the six confederates started. The house which they 
agreed to rob that night was the King's palace. When 
they arrived under the walls a dog suddenly sprang out 
and began to bark. 

" What is he saying?" asked one. 

" The dog is saying," said the robber with the fine ear, 
" that the King himself is one of our company." 

"Then the dog lies," answered the other, "for that 
cannot be." 

The robber who was so dexterous with his hands now 
threw up a rope-ladder, which attached itself to a lofty 
balcony, and enabled the party to mount to the top of one 
of the houses. 

" Do you smell any money here?" said one to the robber 
whose scent was his principal boast. 

The man went smelling about all over the roof, and at 
last said, " This must be some poor widow's quarters, for 
there is neither gold nor silver in the place. Let us go 
on." 

The robbers now crept cautiously along the flat tops of 
the houses until they came to a towering wall, richly 



384 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

carved and painted, and the robber of the keen scent began 
smelling again. "Ah!" exclaimed he, "here we are! 
This is the King's treasure-house. Ho, Strong-arm, do 
you break open a way through !" 

The robber of the strong arm now proceeded to dislodge 
the woodwork and the stones, until at last he had pierced 
the wall, and effected an entrance into the house. The 
rest of the gang speedily followed, and their search was 
rewarded by the coffers full of gold which they found 
there, and which they passed out through the aperture, and 
carried away. Well laden, they all by common consent 
hastened to one of their favourite haunts, where the spoil 
was divided, the King also receiving his share with the 
rest, \vhile at the same time he informed himself of the 
robbers' names and learnt their places of abode. After 
this, as the night was far advanced, they separated, and 
the King returned alone to his palace. 

The next morning the robbery was discovered and the 
city cried by the officers of justice. But the King, without 
a word, went into his audience-chamber, where he took 
his seat as usual. He then addressed his minister, and 
told him to send and arrest the robbers. " Go to such 
and such a street," said he, " in the lower quarter of the 
city, and there you will find the house. Here are the names 
of the criminals. Let them be taken before the judge and 
sentenced, and then produce them here." 

The minister at once left the presence, and taking with 
him some attendants, he proceeded with all despatch to 
the street in question, found and arrested the robbers, and 
took them before the judge. As the evidence of their 
guilt was conclusive, they made a full confession and 
implored mercy, but the judge condemned them all to be 
hanged, and sent them before the King. As soon as they 
appeared the King looked sternly at them, and demanded 
what they had to allege in extenuation that their sentence 
should not be carried out. Then they all began to make 
excuses, excepting the one whose special gift it was to 
recognize in the day those whom he had met at night. 
He, looking fixedly at the King, cried out, to the surprise 
of his comrades, "The moment has arrived for the wagging 
of the beard." 

The King, hearing his words, gravely wagged his beard 
as a signal that the executioners should retire, and having 



OF THE PAINTED JACKAL 385 

enjoyed a hearty laugh with his chance acquaintances of 
the preceding night, he feasted them well, gave them some 
good advice, and restored them to their liberty. 

"The moral of this story," continued the story-teller, 
" is this : The whole world is in darkness. At the last day 
no faculty, however strong, will avail a man but that which 
will enable him to discern the face of God Himself." 



LXXI 

OF THE PAINTED JACKAL 

A PROWLING jackal once fell into a large vessel full of 
dye. When he returned home all his astonished friends 
said, "What has befallen you ?" He answered, with a curl 
of his tail, " Was there ever anything in the world so fine 
as I am ? Look at me ! Let no one ever presume to call 
me ' jackal ' again." 

" What, then, are you to be called?" asked they. 

" ' Peacock,' you will henceforth call me ' Peacock,' ' 
replied the jackal, strutting up and down in all the glory of 
sky-blue. 

" But," said his friends, " a peacock can spread his tail 
magnificently. Can you spread your tail?" 

" Well, no, I cannot quite do that," replied the jackal. 

"And a peacock," continued they, "can make a fine 
melodious cry. Can you make a fine melodious cry?" 

" It must be admitted," said the pretender, " that 1 
cannot do that either." 

"Then," retorted they, " it is quite evident that if you 
are not a jackal, neither are you a peacock." And they 
drove him out of their company. 



386 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

LXXII 

OF THE JACKAL AND THE EWE-SHEEP 

ONCE upon a time a certain jackal made a dash at a ewe- 
sheep, hoping to catch her. The sheep rushed into a half- 
dry tank, where she stuck in the mud. The jackal, attempt- 
ing to follow her, stuck in the mud too. Then said the 
jackal, " O aunt, this is a bad business !" 

" O nephew," answered she, "it is by no means so bad 
as it will be soon, when my master appears. On his 
shoulder he will carry a sdngal (forked stick), and behind 
him will follow his two dogs, Dabbu and Bholu. 1 One 
blow with his stick will hit you in two places, and his dogs 
will drag you out by the haunches. Then, dear nephew, 
you will know this business is not so bad now as it will be 
then." 



LXXIII 
A STORY OF GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON MALIK 

"THIS STORY is OF AN EARTHLY KING: THE TRUE KING 
is GOD." 

GHOLAM BADSHAH had four principal ministers, of whom 
three were Hindus and one a Muhammadan. But his son 
Malik loved only the son of the Muhammadan minister, 
whose name was Mirza, whom he made his young w r azfr, 
and with whom he was constantly seen. The three 
Hindus, noticing the friendship existing between Prince 
Malik and the boy Mirza, became envious and plotted 
their separation. So they went one day to the King and 
said, " O King, your son is always consorting with Mirza 
Khan, the son of your Muhammadan minister, an un- 
1 "Spot" and "Speak." 



GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON MALIK 387 

principled young ruffian, and if you should die what 
would become of your kingdom ? Before more mischief 
ensues let Mirza be banished." Hearing this, the King 
sent for his Muhammadan minister, and ordered him 
under penalty of death to send his son into banishment. 

Arriving at his house, the Muhammadan minister began 
to ponder, " How shall I do this thing?" and his sadness 
was such that his son, perceiving it, went to him and 
with uplifted hands inquired the reason of his grief. 

" O son," said the father, " I cannot disclose the reason. 
If I tell you, I am disgraced before you ; and if I do not 
the King's anger will fall on me." 

" I would not wish," said Mirza, " that you should be 
distressed for me. Tell me, therefore, what it is." 

So the father told his son of the enmity of the Hindu 
ministers, of the King's anger, and of the King's decree. 

"O father," said Mirza, "this surely is no such great 
matter ! Let me go and serve some other king." 

So the son, taking costly gifts and servants, left his 
home. He passed through two kingdoms without stop- 
ping, and coming to a third, he rested in a certain town, 
where he was met by a man who asked him, " Who are 
you?" It was one of the officers of the King's body- 
guard who thus accosted him, and Mirza told him the 
story of his misfortunes, ending with the words, " Give 
me service with the King." The officer went at once to 
the King and made his report, upon which Mirza was 
summoned to the presence, and going there he took a 
handsome present and paid his respects. When the King 
saw his beauty and his stature, he said, " I have already 
three viziers, and this handsome youth shall be the 
fourth." So Mirza was advanced to great honour, and 
the King trusted him in everything. 

Meanwhile, Prince Malik dreamed a dream. In his 
sleep he saw a lovely garden, and in the garden walked 
graceful as a guinea-fowl a beautiful princess in the midst 
of flowers only less lovely than herself. When he awoke 
he thought of Mirza, and said, "Now I have no longer a 
friend to confide in." He became melancholy, and from 
over-thinking and from longing for the lady of the garden 
of flowers, he went out of his mind. His father sent every- 
where for the best physicians, who physicked him to no 
purpose. What good was medicine, when all the time he 



was sick of love and of pining for his friend ? The more 
the doctors wagged their heads over him the worse the 
patient became. At last he rent his clothes and wandered 
away into the wilds, where, in a foreign country, he turned 
fakir, begging for a morsel of bread, and suffering so 
much misery that his very appearance became changed. 

Four or five years went by, and Mirza, the absent son 
of the Muhammadan minister, bethought him of his 
parents, and sent them a letter in which he said, " What 
news have you about my friend, Prince Malik ? Does he 
sometimes think of me?" The letter was duly received, 
but the father hesitated to disclose to his son the sad story 
of the Prince. On second thoughts, however, he wrote 
and told him all that had happened. Mirza, on reading 
the doleful news, cried, "Alas! with him I was brought 
up. He is my foster-brother. I must set out and look 
for him." So he went to the King and made his petition, 
and the King gave him leave for three months; "but," 
said he, "promise to return to me, lest Gholam Badshah 
take you again into favour, and you never come back to 
me more." 

After taking leave Mirza reflected that he must go in 
disguise, fearing that his former master should discover 
him and visit him with punishment. So, leaving his at- 
tendants to follow with bales of goods and to figure accord- 
ingly, he disguised himself as a merchant, mounted a 
horse, and rode to his own home. Meeting his father and 
mother, he cautioned them to secrecy, and then inquired 
for the whereabouts of the Prince. His mother was about 
to tell him, but his father stopped her, told her to keep 
quiet, and said, " The King's son is well." After two or 
three days, however, Mirza becoming impatient, his 
mother let out the secret, and he began to take on, saying, 
" This is dreadful ! From a child I was reared with him. If 
I am indeed faithful I must go forth and find him." Then 
he spoke to his parents, saying, " My servants are coming 
on behind. I have told them that I am a merchant; but 
they are strangers to this country. Take, therefore, my 
likeness and seal, and when they come give them as tokens 
to my overseer and receive the goods, after which send 
him and my retinue back." Saying this, he got on his 
horse, and with a few articles and some money he started 
off to seek his friend. 



GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON MALIK 389 

As he passed out of the city he met a countryman, who 
asked, " O horseman, where are you going?" 

" The King's son," answered he, " was a great friend of 
mine. He is out of his mind, and I go to look for him. 
Who knows where I may have to go, and where not?" 

" You are going," said the countryman ; " but do you 
know what manner of man he is?" 

" Yes," replied Mirza. " He may have changed, but 
once I look on his face and figure I shall know him among 
a thousand." 

Leaving the countryman, and travelling on, he came to 
a village, and meeting a villager, he questioned him. 
" The man for a time was here," answered he, " wander- 
ing about, and sleeping in the fields, but he has gone, nor 
has any one found him or seen him since." 

Mirza searched the place in vain, and he thought to 
himself, " Now, where shall I look?" So he went on and 
on, seeking high and low, until he came to a second vil- 
lage, but no one there knew anything about the matter. 
Soon after he passed a Hindu fakir, seated in front of his 
tiny shrine. "Some fakirs," said he to himself, "are 
hard-hearted and some are soft-hearted." The fakir, 
noticing Mirza's anxious looks, wondered, and asked the 
reason. " I am looking for a friend," answered he, " who 
has gone distraught." 

" O," answered the fakir, " he stayed with me ten days. 
Go on to the next town and inquire." 

On he went and inquired at the next town, but he was 
directed to go still further. So he followed, and came nigh 
to a large city, and there at the meeting of two roads his 
friend was lying on the ground. At first he rode by, but 
turning to ask for tidings, he dismounted. Gazing on his 
face, he at once recognized him as the son of Gholam 
Badshah. Then the sleeping man awoke, leaped up and 
embraced him. 

The vizier's son now put up his hands, and asked the 
reason of his grief, and Prince Malik told him his dream. 
" In my dream," said he, " I saw a beautiful Princess, 
and I awoke; but I had no friend to speak to, and I went 
mad." 

" Oh," answered Mirza, " I know the Princess. I know 
where she is." 

But he lied to the Prince, in order to comfort his mind 



390 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

and render him happy. He then got him a bath and pro- 
cured him suitable clothing, and set him on his own horse, 
he himself walking on foot before him. So they entered 
the city, and there they rented a fine house, and bought a 
second horse. Every morning the two friends rode out 
into the country, examining everything, and every evening 
they came back to the house. After some days they took 
a longer journey than usual, Mirza growing more and 
more anxious on account of his deceit. After a ride of 
eighty miles they arrived at another city, where again they 
rented a handsome house, and there also they made daily 
expeditions into the country. But Prince Malik was per- 
petually urging him to go to the Princess, while Mirza 
perpetually excused himself, holding out false hopes. 
Having journeyed again, they at last came to the capital 
city of that kingdom, and there, as before, they hired a 
house. 

The next morning the two friends rode out as usual, and 
by chance they came to a royal garden, in which at that 
very moment the Princess was walking with sixty attend- 
ant maidens. " This," cried the Prince, " is the place of 
my dream, this is the garden of flowers!" By the time 
they arrived at the door the Princess had left, and as they 
were about to enter they were met by the gardener's wife, 
who threatened them with a club, saying, " No man has 
ever dared to enter this garden, and how dare you ?" But 
Mirza gave her twenty-five rupees and calmed her down, 
and she admitted them. "Only," said she, "sit not in 
the Princess's seat, nor touch the Princess's favourite 
flowers. Sit on this side, and you may pluck the flowers 
which grow there." 

After sitting still for some time, Mirza began to ask 
the gardener's wife all particulars concerning the Princess, 
her times of visiting and departing, her age, her looks, 
her disposition. 

"O she is sweet," cried she; "but for some years 
she has been in trouble. She frets and sighs, and speaks 
of a king's son named Malik, whom she saw in a dream, 
and so she does not give me her accustomed presents, nor 
think of me at all." 

The Prince and his friend were delighted, and said to 
her, "We shall tarry some time in this city. Let us 
remain here, and we will pay you well." 



GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON MALIK 391 

" Outside the walls," answered the woman, " there is a 
pavilion, of which we reserve only a small part. Take 
your servants and horses and stay there." 

So they gave up their house in the city and lived in the 
garden pavilion, and to the gardener and his wife they 
gave from their table day by day. 

One morning the woman brought a number of flowers 
and began to make garlands of them. 

" What are you doing?" asked Mirza. 

" I take them to the Princess, whose heart is broken," 
answered she, " and she takes comfort from their 
sweetness." 

" This is your doing," said Mirza to the Prince. .Then 
to the w : oman, " Bring me a needle and thread, and let me 
make a necklet, which you can also give to the Princess." 

So next day she brought flowers and needles and thread, 
and put them before him, and from the flowers he made a 
lady's dress most curiously. 

" Does your Princess," said Mirza, " choose for herself 
the top flowers of the basket, or those which are beneath ?" 

"Her maidens," answered she, "first take the upper 
flowers and then the Princess keeps those which are 
beneath." 

Then Mirza wrote a letter on scented gold paper, in 
which he recounted Prince Malik's misfortunes, and when 
he had finished it he concealed it in the dress of white 
roses, and, handing it to the woman, bade her go and 
deliver her basket to her mistress. This then she did, and, 
as usual, the maidens took the upper necklets for them- 
selves; but when the Princess Hasan Bano lifted the dress 
she was delighted, and said to the gardener's wife, 
" O what work is this ! What a dainty hand ! Who 
made it?" 

The gardener's wife began to feel embarrassed, and so 
she answered, " My niece, who is in the service of another 
queen, came yesterday to see me, and it was she who made 
this coat of roses." 

Now, as the Princess was examining the dress, the letter 
fell on the floor. Instantly snatching it up, she hid it in 
her bosom, and going into another room, she read it. All 
her pain vanished, and she became radiant with delight. 
Then returning, she rubbed her finger on the dark colour 
of the wall and marked the gardener's wife's face with it. 



392 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

The woman, who expected money, was angry, and said, 
" What a reward for all this trouble!" 

"Keep quiet," said the Princess, "and tell me did 
your niece bring horses and baggage with her?" 

"Yes," answered she, "baggage plenty, and two 
horses." 

" Bring me the basket," said the Princess. 

And when the basket was laid before her, she went and 
half filled it with gold mohurs, which she covered over 
with grain, and giving it to the woman, she said, " Go; 
this is for your niece, who made my coat of roses." So 
the gardener's wife put the basket on her head and went 
away, muttering to herself, " ISJo present for me only 
a smutched face!" 

Arriving at the pavilion, she began to complain, " Re- 
ward I have had none, and the Princess is angry. All she 
gave me was this wretched grain. Here, take it and feed 
your horses with it." Then she put down her load and 
began to fume w : ith anger. But Mirza took off the grain, 
and finding the gold, he gave the old thing a handful 
which mollified her. As he handed her the money he 
noticed the black mark on the woman's face. " In this," 
thought he, "the Princess has sent us a riddle to guess, 
and the meaning is this, ' At present the nights are moon- 
light; I cannot meet you until the nights become dark.' " 

The same evening a slave-girl came in to say, " When 
the nights are dark, expect to see me in my place in the 
garden. Then come and make merry." Several days 
passed, and when the moon had waned the same messen- 
ger came to say, "Expect me to-night!" True to her 
word, the Princess came to the garden, and Prince Malik 
met her, and the two lovers plotted an escape. Every- 
thing was entrusted to Mirza. " So contrive," said she 
to him, " that I may go with the Prince, and that yet no 
disgrace shall attach to my name. Anything rather than 
that people should say I have gone away with a strange 
man unwed." 

The next day the same slave-girl came again with the 
message, " I have confided in my maidens, and they are 
eager to see the King's son. So send the Prince to the 
palace and forget not a disguise." Therefore, Mirza 
clothed the Prince as became his rank, and over all he 
put a red sheet that he might pass as a woman. When 



GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON MALIK 393 

all was ready he advised him thus, " Attend," said he, 
"and follow my counsel in all things, that you be not 
arrested and hanged. Enjoy yourself with the Princess 
Hasan Bano, but do not drink all the wine she offers. 
One drop of this liquid will secure her to you for ever. 
Pledge each other, therefore, changing cups, and when 
she has succumbed to insensibility take off all her jewels 
and with your nail make three deep scratches behind her 
right ear remember, her right ear and so come away.*' 

The Prince started, and at the door he was met by the 
trusty slave-girl bearing a purdah, or disguise, but when 
she saw him already disguised she did not use it. So the 
Prince entered the zenana, and all the girls came about 
him clapping their hands with joy, and they began to dance 
and be merry. After a time Prince Malik rose to go, but 
the girls said to their mistress, " Keep him still with you, 
the night is long; and as for us, we will retire and rest a 
little." 

Then the Prince asked the Princess to pledge him, and 
she sent for wine, and when the goblets were filled he 
said, " Give me a cup with your own hands and accept a 
cup from me." But he only sipped, remembering his 
friend's caution, while she, overjoyed, drank deeply, until 
at last she sank into insensibility, overcome by the drowsy 
liquid. As she lay on her cushions the Prince took off the 
whole of her jewels and hid them in his clothing, and 
then he scratched her to bleeding in three places behind 
her right ear. This done, he summoned the slave-girl, and 
said, "Lead forth!" And having been guided in safety 
past all the guards, he arrived at the garden-house, where 
Mirza inquired, " Is all done correctly?" and he answered, 
"All." 

Then said his friend, "So far, so well; now for more. 
To-night we must dress in saffron robes and turn fakirs. 
You are my pupil ; I am your priest and master. Let us 
take tongs in our hands and go and sit in the place where 
the Hindus are accustomed to burn their dead, and in the 
morning I will place in your hand one of the Princess's 
jewels, which you will take to the bazaar and offer in 
sale." So to the burning-place they went, and in the 
morning Mirza gave Prince Malik the jewel and sent him 
off, saying, " Go, sell it in the bazaar. And remember in 
the King's palace there will be a great outcry, for it will 



394 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

be said a thief has entered and robbed the Princess. You 
with this jewel will of course be arrested and arraigned 
before the King, but say, ' I know nothing whatever. 
My master-priest sits in the place where the bodies burn. 
Send and inquire from him.' ' 

Thus the Prince did. When he reached the bazaar the 
sun was risen and he heard a great commotion. Men 
were beating tom-toms, and criers proclaiming the theft 
everywhere. The Prince, disguised as a fakir, took the 
jewel to the very jeweller who had himself supplied it. 
The moment he saw it, knowing his own work, he seized 
the supposed thief and conducted him to the King, and 
the King questioned him. " Ho, you fakir," said he, 
"where did you find this jewel?" 

" I know nothing," answered Prince Malik; " my guru 
gave it to me this morning. He sits in the place where 
Hindus burn their dead. Send, O King, to him and 
inquire." 

Now kings fear fakirs, so this King turned to his 
ministers and said, " Kings have their ways, and fakirs 
have theirs. Instead of sending to him, I will go myself." 

So the King, followed by his nobles, started to see the 
priest. When he arrived at the spot the pretended fakir, 
standing in the midst of fakirs, with hands clasped and 
with a staff under his chin to keep up his head, was gazing 
fixedly at the sun. The King salaamed him, but the fakir 
did not deign to notice him even with a wink of his eye. 
The King remained standing there for an hour, but still 
the fakir gazed as if no King existed. 

Now, Prince Malik had sat down near the priest, and 
by-and-by, when the hour had elapsed, he took down the 
support from the chin of his master, who then, gazing 
round, said to the King, " And who are you?" 

" I am the King," answered he. 

" Nay," said the fakir, pointing to the heavens, " the 
King is up there. Then what King are you ?" 

" I am an earthly King," replied he. 

" Ah," said Mirza, " say not, as you said at first, ' I 
am the King,' but say rather, ' I am an earthly King.' ' 

Then said the King, " O fakir-master, that jewel of my 
daughter's, where did you get it?" 

" Listen, O misguided one," answered he. " Last even- 
ing, before dark, I came and sat here. My pupil sat with 



GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON MALIK 395 

me and slept, but I rose to pray. While praying, I per- 
ceived fifty or sixty evil spirits in the forms of beautiful 
young women who assembled together and began to devour 
the bones of the dead. Enraged, I picked up my three- 
pronged fork and ran after them. They fled. One of 
them caught her foot in the folds of her dress and fell, and 
I struck her with my trident behind the right ear and ren- 
dered her insensible. Then I took off her jewels. You 
have one. Behold the rest!" 

Then was the King confused, horrified, and astounded. 
Instantly he sends his vizier to the palace to see, and the 
vizier goes, examines, comes back, and reports to the 
King, " Your daughter is lying insensible, and behind 
her ear are the three bloody marks of the trident." 

Then, turning to the fakir, the King salaamed and 
said, " I came not here to disgrace you, but merely to 
discover the truth. Now I send my guards to take my 
daughter away to a desert place and to disperse her guilty 
maidens." 

So the order was given and carried out. But the two 
pretended fakirs hastened home, assumed their proper 
dress, mounted their horses, and rode with loose rein after 
the Princess. She, poor thing, had been abandoned in 
the midst of the wilderness, and when she awoke from her 
stupor she looked up and cried, " Where in the world am 
I now among all this jungle?" The first persons she saw 
were Prince Malik and Mirza, for as to her sixty attend- 
ants, they had all run away for their lives excepting two. 
So the Prince dismounted and set the Princess on his 
own horse, while he sat behind Mirza and the two slave- 
girls walked. At last they reached a town, and there they 
bought doolies for the Princess and her maidens, and 
started once more for the kingdom of Gholam Badshah. 

But the Princess said to Mirza, " I am as your sister. 
We are now only a few. Let us enter my husband's 
country with full retinue. In your hands I leave it." Thus 
admonished, Mirza promised to manage, and some marches 
further on he sold the jewels, and with the money hired 
an escort of horsemen to accompany them. 

When within two marches of the kingdom Prince 
Malik wrote a letter to his father, saying, " The cause of 
all my madness I have now with me, and in two days I 
shall arrive home safe and welt." This letter changed 



396 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

sorrow into joy, and the King mounted at the head of a 
guard of honour and set out to meet his son. But Mirza 
became troubled. " Your father," said he to Prince Malik, 
" now approaches. It is my duty to pay my homage to 
him ; but if I do, and his anger revive at sight of me, what 
then?" 

"If my father," answered the Prince, "so much as 
frown on you I will give my head for you." 

At last the King arrived, and the Prince dismounted to 
kiss his hand. But the King dismounted also, and they 
fell on each other's necks. But the King did not recognize 
Mirza, nor did he notice him until the camp had been 
pitched under his direction, and he was sitting exchanging 
confidences with his son. Then it was that Prince Malik 
told him the story of his friend's devotion, which affected 
the King to tears, so that he sent for him and embraced 
him as a son, saying, " My anger exists no more. You 
are now as dear to me as my own." 

Next day they arrived at the capital, and all the troops 
and the people turned out to welcome them, and when 
everything was settled the King called for Mirza and 
seated him by his side. Then he sent for the three false 
Hindus who had plotted against him, and said, " What 
now shall be done with these men?" 

" Spare my life," besought Mirza, " and I will tell you." 

" Speak on," said the King. 

" We have been always taught," answered Mirza, " that 
when a man .has wronged us we should try to do him 
good." 

" But," said the King, "what if he do wrong again?" 

" Try to do him good," replied Mirza. 

" But he might do wrong a third time," protested the 
King. 

" Still try to do him good," again replied Mirza. " By 
that time, if he persist, God Himself will punish him." 

After some time Mirza took leave of absence and jour- 
neyed to the court of the King who had befriended him 
in his exile. On his way he met a messenger coming to 
inquire the reason of his long absence, and with him he 
continued his march, while his servants brought up the 
rear with handsome gifts. Arriving at the end of his 
journey, he waited on the King, who said, " Why have 
you been so long away?" 



OF THE QUEEN AND THE GOLDSMITH 397 

" Kings," answered Mirza, " have troubles too. My 
King sent me into exile, and I came to you. But now my 
King is kind once more, and I have come all this way 
back to show that I am grateful to you and to ask for 
leave for ever." 

So he returned to his old King, Gholam, and having 
recounted his adventures, he said, " O King, you banished 
me. But I was innocent, as you now see. For the future 
do not go by hearsay. See for yourself. Use your ears, 
but not your ears only; use your eyes also." 



LXXIV 
STORY OF THE QUEEN AND THE GOLDSMITH 

WHEN the kings of the Sassanian line ruled over the 
East, many hundreds of years ago, there lived a Queen who 
was in love with her goldsmith. It happened one day 
when the goldsmith was in the Queen's apartments that 
the attendant who was on the watch at the casement cried 
out, "Alas! here comes the King!" This news threw 
the Queen into the greatest possible confusion, as it was 
then too late for her lover to escape unobserved. " What's 
to be done?" cried she; " there is not a single outlet for 
this man to escape, and he will be detected and slain." 
Her slave-girl, who was clever and judicious, thought of 
a trick which promised success. Taking one of the long 
handsome mats with which the floor was covered, she 
rolled up the terrified goldsmith in it, and set it up in a 
corner of the chamber against the wall. She had scarcely 
completed her task and resumed her place at the window, 
when the King entered and began to converse with his 
consort. But the goldsmith was in such a fright that he 
could not restrain his trembling, and as he trembled the 



398 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

mat trembled too. Then the slave-girl, to give him con- 
fidence and to obviate any dire mishap, sang out aloud 

" O happy bee, inhaling love's sweet breath, 
Within the flower, 
Love's own enchanted bower, 
O why art thou afraid of death?" 

The King, startled both by the words and by the unex- 
pected manner in which they were sung, turned and said, 
" What does the girl mean?" 

Then answered the slave-girl, " O King, a little time 
ago I went into the garden, and I saw a bee enter a flower; 
but the flower closed upon it and imprisoned it in its sweet 
embrace. I see from this casement that the bee is still 
there, and that its foolish fluttering causes the blossom to 
tremble on its stem, so I sing 

" O foolish bee, bewitched with love's sweet breath, 
Within the flower, 
Love's own delightful bower, 
Ah, why art thou afraid of death?" 

The King, marvelling at the girl's ingenuity, resumed 
his conversation with the Queen. But at that very moment 
the wife of the wretched goldsmith was seen by the slave- 
girl to be approaching the palace. She had heard of the 
unexpected return of the King, and being in great alarm 
for her husband's safety, she had come to inquire con- 
cerning his fate. As soon as the girl saw her beneath the 
window, foreseeing a new danger, she sang once more 

" O bee, no need to mourn thy partner's fate ! 
When shadows fall 
He'll burst his amorous thrall, 
And join again his lawful mate!" 

Once more the King, being surprised, turned round and 
said, " And what now is the meaning of this?" And the 
slave-girl, ever ready, answered him, " O King, the bee 
flutters in alarm within the closed doors of the flower. 
Round and round flies the female bee, but she does not 
know that when the dews begin to fall the petals will relax, 
and that her loved one will escape. And so, to allay her 
anxiety and to send her comforted away, I sang, as I sing 
again 



OF THE QUEEN AND THE GOLDSMITH 399 

" O murmuring bee, why quake with vain alarms? 

At sunset hour 

Thy spouse shall quit the bower, 
And seek once more thy faithful arms!" 

" This wisdom," said the King, " is wonderful. Where 
did you learn it?" 

" My wisdom," replied the girl, "was got by constant 
intercourse with people of all classes. But you, O King, 
spend your whole life between your palace and your court 
of justice. You meet your ministers for a brief moment 
day by day, and then you return to your zenana. How 
can your Highness expect to learn wisdom, or to under- 
stand the ways of men, still less the minds of women?" 

When the King had reflected on these words of the 
slave-girl, he found that she had spoken only too truly. 
So, determined to pursue a different policy, he sought 
counsel with his ministers, to whom he told all that had 
occurred in the apartments of the Queen, and whose advice 
he required. One of his ministers perceived the true 
explanation of the case, and said, " O King, there comes 
a thief to your house." 

" I cannot believe in so dire a calamity," answered 
the bewildered monarch. " But, at least, I am determined 
not to return to my palace until the mystery has been 
solved." 

Then answered the chief vizier, who was by no means 
anxious that the King should take any more active part 
in public affairs, " O King, the slave-girl's statement was 
probably true, and there is no mystery in the matter. But 
even if it be otherwise, need the heart of the King be 
troubled ? Have not women from the time of Adam played 
similar tricks? And has there ever lived a man who could 
fathom the depths of their cunning? Therefore, O King, 
be comforted, and live happily and unconcernedly as 
before." 

To this advice the King assented, deeming it the best, 
and knowing his vizier to be the most sagacious man in 
his kingdom. 

Meanwhile, as the goldsmith was being unrolled from 
his narrow enclosure, the Queen said to the slave-girl, 
" The King my husband is certainly a mere bullock." 1 

1 As we apply the term " donkey " to a stupid man, so the Panjabis 
name him a " bullock." 



400 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

"If he were a bullock," answered the girl, " he would 
have horns." 

" And do you not know," returned her mistress, "that 
there are bullocks without horns?" 

And with these words she dismissed the goldsmith in 
safety to his home, laughing herself at the strangeness of 
the adventure. 



LXXV 

OF THE WILD DOG OF PfHUR 

A TRUE STORY 

ON Mount Pihur, on the banks of the Indus, there lived 
a wild dog. This dog, whenever he heard the sound of 
funeral drums, used to say to himself, "Ha! there's a 
funeral, and to-night there will be feasting!" Nor did 
he ever fail to attend, and he always carried off some spoil. 
At last the people on either side of the river determined 
to compass his destruction. So at a given signal one 
party stationed themselves on the eastern bank, and 
another party on the western bank, just as night was 
closing in. Then those who were on the eastern bank 
struck up their drums, and the wild dog, leaving his lair, 
made his way to the water and began swimming across. 
When he was nearly over the drums ceased, and as he 
was hesitating in doubt, the drums from the other side 
began to beat and he turned back. But scarcely had he 
reached mid-stream again when he sank exhausted and was 
carried away. 



STORY OF THE WEAVER AND THE PRIEST 401 

LXXVI 

STORY OF THE WEAVER AND THE PRIEST 1 

ONCE upon a time the friends of a young weaver be- 
trothed him to a girl of a distant village. After a few days 
his mother said to him, "It is time to pay your future 
father-in-law a visit, but do not go alone, take your best 
man with you, and, above all things, remember, you are 
not to grab at the food like some hungry farmer's son, 
but eat delicately, choosing the smaller bits, and then your 
new friends will say, ' What a well-bred lad you are !' ' 

Accordingly the youth set out with his friend, and paid 
his call, but the food with which he was entertained w r as 
not bread, but vermicelli. Bearing in mind his mother's 
advice, he picked up the vermicelli bit by bit, but as fast 
as he did so the morsels slipped from his fingers again, 
and he ended the meal as hungry as a tiger, while his 
friend, deterred by no such scruples, fed himself by 
handfuls, and fared well. 

It was a summer's night, and the sleeping-place reserved 
for the two guests was the housetop, while the members 
of the family slept, in accordance with their custom, in 
the court-yard. After they had all retired to rest, the 
weaver said to his friend, " I am starving with hunger." 

"It is night now," answered his friend. " What are 
we to do? I think if you could get down into the house 
by this chimney-hole you might find something below." 

Now, the hole was very narrow, and they were compelled 
to enlarge it a bit. Then the best man tied a rope to both 
his friend's legs, and lowered him like a bucket, head first, 
down the chimney-hole, nor did he release him when he 
felt that he had reached the bottom, but held stoutly on. 
The weaver, with his feet elevated in mid-air, and his elbows 
on the floor, now began groping about in the dark, and at 
last he found a large earthen jar containing flour, into 
which he thrust his head, and he began to eat. When, 
however, he desired to withdraw his head, he found himself 
unable with all his struggles to do so, owing to the narrow- 
ness of the neck. So, half suffocated, he was compelled 

1 For a variant of this story see " The Four Weavers," 
26 



402 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

to cry out to his friend \vith might and main, " Chick, 
chick!" (Pull, pull!) 

His friend, hearing his sepulchral cries, began to tug 
at the rope, but found the \veight so increased that he 
pulled in vain. "One man only I let down," said he, 
"but now there must be two or three;" and he sat down 
in amazement. 

Meanwhile the repeated cries of " Chick, chick !" roused 
the whole household without, and all the members of the 
family began to say to each other, " Certainly some devil 
must have entered our house, and his name is Chick." In 
the greatest alarm the women cried to the master, " Go at 
once to the village and call for help!" 

In a short time several of their neighbours came running 
to the spot, but not a man had the courage to enter the 
house, while the cries of " Chick, chick !" with increasing 
violence continued to assail their ears. At last some one 
said, "Send for the priest," and straightway the priest 
was summoned. 

When the good man heard the mysterious cries of 
"Chick, chick!" he turned to the people, and said, 
" What have you in there?" 

" The house is haunted," answered they, " by some evil 
demon named Chick, and we want you to drive him out." 

" Very well," answered the priest. " I will enter the 
house, but do you arm yourselves with sticks, and stand 
by the door. If the evil spirit escape me, and if he make 
for the door, set on him with your sticks and knock him 
down." 

All this time the best man was still pulling away at the 
rope, but he had only succeeded in raising his friend a few 
feet from the floor, while the poor man's cries grew more 
and more desperate, as he embraced the vessel with his 
arms to prevent its weight from breaking his neck. 

The priest, going into the room, and perceiving some 
dark object moving up and down, struck at it with a club 
with which he had armed himself, and his blow, lighting 
on the jar, smashed it into numerous pieces, which fell to 
the ground with a horrible clatter, while the clouds of 
rising flour covered him all over and filled the whole apart- 
ment. Then, while the weaver flew up the chimney, the 
bewildered man cried, " Alas, what devil's dust is this, 
which threatens to choke me?" and in a fright he made a 



OF THE JACKAL AND THE FLEAS 403 

rush for the door. The people, who were on the alert, 
perceiving a strange figure, its head, face, and hands of a 
ghastly white, in the act of escaping, laid on it with their 
sticks and knocked it over. 

" Hold, hold!" cried the unfortunate man. " I am the 
priest! I am the priest!" 

" No, no," said the neighbours. " None of your palaver 
with us. You are a devil, and you know it. Our priest 
went in one colour, but you come out another;" and they 
trounced him more heartily than ever, until they had 
bruised him all over, nor would he have escaped with his 
life if some of his own friends had not appeared on the spot 
and rescued him. 

"It is the priest indeed," said they; "and as for the 
white colour, it is merely flour. You have half killed him, 
and you must suffer the consequence." 

The people, who were unfeignedly sorry for their mis- 
take, now explained that they had only followed the orders 
of the priest himself, and peace being restored, the poor 
victim of their misapplied zeal was carried off to his house 
and put to bed. 

Meanwhile the weaver and his companion, in fits of sup- 
pressed laughter, settled their clothing about them, and 
without a word to their friends below composed themselves 
to sleep. 



LXXVII 
OF THE JACKAL AND THE FLEAS 

THERE was once a jackal so infested with fleas that life 
was a burden to him. Determined to be rid of them, he 
sought for a pool of water, and snatching up a small piece 
of dry wood in his mouth, he began to enter the water with 
" measured steps and slow." Gradually, as he advanced, 
the astonished fleas rushed up his legs and took refuge on 
his back. The rising water again drove them in multi- 



404 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

tudes from his back to his head, and from his head to his 
nose, whence they escaped on to the piece of wood, which 
became perfectly black with them. When the sly jackal 
perceived the situation of his foes, he suddenly bobbed his 
head into the water, relinquished the wood, and with a 
chuckle swam back to the shore, leaving the fleas to their 
fate. 



LXXVIII 
OF A SILLY JACKASS 

A JUNGLE TALE 

A CERTAIN man possessed a donkey which, as it was in 
extremely bad condition, he sent into the jungle to graze. 
It happened that close to the spot to which the donkey 
strayed there was a tiger whose leg had been broken by 
an elephant, and in attendance on the tiger there was a 
jackal. " I am helpless and unable to move," remarked 
the tiger to his friend; " go out and forage, and bring me 
home some meat." 

Then the jackal went to the donkey, and, addressing 
him as an old acquaintance, said, " The grass here is 
poor and scanty. Follow me, and I will show you good 
pasturage." 

Now, when the tiger saw the donkey following close on 
the heels of the jackal, he forgot all about his maimed 
leg, and attempted a spring, but he fell short, and the 
donkey galloped away to his old grazing ground. 

After a day or two the tiger again said to the jackal, 
" Here am I dying of hunger; go forth again, and forage 
for food." 

" It is entirely your own fault," retorted the jackal. " I 
brought you a donkey, and you foolishly scared him 
away." And the two friends came to hard words. 

At last the tiger said, " Well, try once more!" 



OF A SILLY JACKASS 405 

So the jackal went again to the donkey, but the latter 
abused and reviled him. 

"You cheat," said he, "you wretched impostor; like 
all your tribe, you are cunning and deceitful." 

" Nay, nay," protested the jackal, with an innocent air, 
" you entirely mistake me. What you saw was not really 
a tiger at all, but merely the appearance of one a mere 
shadow. Look at me, how fat I am ! If it was really a 
tiger, why has he not eaten me? However, if you will not 
come to the good grass, never mind; it is no business of 
mine, and certainly I don't care; so farewell !" 

Then the jackal went off. But he had not gone many 
yards before the foolish donkey began to follow, and this 
time he was seized by the hungry tiger and killed. 

After eating a part of the carcase, the tiger, oppressed 
with thirst, drew himself along the ground, and went to a 
spring to drink water. In his absence the jackal pulled 
out the donkey's heart, and ate it up. The first thing 
the tiger did on his return was to search for the heart, but 
he searched for it in vain. Scowling at the jackal, he 
cried, " How dared you eat the heart, which I wanted 
myself?" 

" This donkey," coolly answered the jackal, " never had 
any heart." 

" And how will you prove that?" asked the tiger. 

"The proof is this," said the jackal. "The donkey 
escaped you once, and yet he came within reach of you 
again. How could a simpleton like that have had any 
heart to think at all ? He who has once escaped death and 
risks his life again deserves his fate, and why ? Because 
he has no heart." 1 

1 The heart among the Panjabis being the seat of reason. 



406 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

LXXIX 

OF THE FRIENDLY RAT 

A RAT met a camel in the forest, and said to him, " O 
camel, you ought to make a friend of some one. Make a 
friend of me, and it will go well with you." 

" Pooh, pooh !" answered the camel. " What possible 
use can you be to one like me?" And he raised his head 
aloft, and began eating the leaves of a thorny plum-tree. 

When he desired to pass on, he found that his nose- 
string had caught in a branch, and that no effort of his 
could detach it. Seeing this, the rat exclaimed to him, 
" O camel, you should have listened to good advice and 
accepted my offer. Behold the proof!" And running 
nimbly up the tree, he nibbled the string asunder, and 
relieved the camel from his difficulty. " And now," said 
the rat, " remember, I am your friend. If you are ever 
in trouble, appeal to me." 

Some time after this the King with his army was pass- 
ing through those parts, and the camel was seized by 
some of his attendants. 

"Whose camel are you?" said they. 

" I belong to a rat," answered he. 

" Nonsense!" said they; " rats don't own camels;" and 
they led him away. Then the rat went to the King and 
complained, but the King laughed at him and bade him 
begone. Upon this the whole of the rats of the jungle 
assembled together, and, having visited the camp of the 
King by night, they gnawed to pieces the saddle-girths 
of all his horses and cattle, so that on the morrow when he 
met his enemies in battle he sustained a severe defeat and 
was taken prisoner, while the camel, making his escape in 
the confusion, returned with his old friend to the jungle. 



A STORY OF A BARBER 407 

LXXX 

ON THE STUBBORN NATURE OF THE AFGHANS 

A PATHAN was one day sitting in a ferry boat which 
was moored to the bank of the Indus. His tulwar, or 
sword, lay by his side. Presently down came a country- 
man driving a donkey, and requesting to be ferried across 
the river. The donkey, however, having come to the boat, 
refused to enter, utterly regardless of entreaties, threats, 
and blows. Suddenly the Pathan sprang from his seat, 
seized his tulwar, and at a blow smote off the donkey's 
head. 'To a Pathan," cried he, "this stubborn pride 
is permissible; but to a jackass never!" 



LXXXI 

A STORY OF A BARBER 

ONCE upon a time a barber and a farmer found them- 
selves in company, travelling together to visit a common 
acquaintance who lived at a distant village. The barber 
was moon-blind; his sight during the day was perfect, but 
at night he was quite unable to see anything. It hap- 
pened that his companion, the farmer, suffered from exactly 
the same defect of vision, but neither of them knew of the 
other's infirmity. They were both welcomed by their 
friend, who, after the custom of the country, brought out 
a low bed for them to sit upon in the enclosed space in 
front of his house. " Rest here," said he, " I will go in 
and bake some bread, and call you when it is ready." 

As they were waiting darkness came on, and the farmer, 
lifting a hookah from the ground, began to say to him- 



408 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

self, " I should like to have a smoke, but I am moon-blind, 
and cannot find my way to a light. If the barber now 
were to ask me to bring fire, and I refused, he would 
think me a funny, churlish sort of fellow. I had better 
ask him to go." 

So he filled the bowl, and, handing it to the barber, 
said, " Here, take the hookah, and fetch a little fire in it." 

Now, the barber was also ashamed to confess that he 
was moon-blind too. He therefore took the hookah, and 
rose to look for some fire. It happened that, instead of 
going in the direction of his friend's house, he passed 
through a doorway into an adjoining yard, and, not see- 
ing where he was going, he fell over a bullock which was 
lying on the ground quietly chewing the cud. The owner 
at once cried out, "Hi, sir! what are you rolling over 
my bullock for? Are you blind?" 

" No," answered the ready barber, " I am not blind, 
but I have been having an argument with a friend of mine 
as to the age of your bullock, and as we could not agree, 
I said I would go and find out the bullock's age by a 
touch." 

" What opinion did you give?" inquired the owner. 

" I," replied the barber, " said your bullock was young, 
but he said no, your bullock was old." 

"You are right," said the owner; "the bullock is 
young." 

The barber now ventured to ask for a little fire, which 
the man brought out for him, and placed in the bowl of 
his hookah. His next difficulty, however, was how to 
find his way back, as he had no idea on which side of 
him the doorway lay. Not to be outdone, he cried out 
to the farmer, " Well, friend, is the bullock young or 
old?" The farmer, who on the other side of the wall had 
been a puzzled listener to the conversation, answered in 
as loud a tone, " The bullock is young. As you are a 
barber, you, of course, were right." And so the barber, 
guided by the direction of the voice, made his way success- 
fully to the doorway, and passed back without further 
mishap. 

Meanwhile, however, the farmer had been considering, 
" Surely the barber must be moon-blind too, to have gone 
headlong over a bullock!" So, as the barber was hand- 
ing him the lighted hookah, he remarked, " I suffer from 



A STORY OF A BARBER 409 

the moon-blindness. Do you too? If so, why did you 
not say so, and we might have sent some one else for the 
fire?" But before the barber could answer, their friend 
came and called them to their food, and having all three 
eaten their supper, they went to sleep. 

The next morning a certain woman, hearing that the 
barber had arrived, brought to him her sick child and said, 
" My child has boils." 

" I will bleed him for you," answered the barber. But 
he used his lancet so clumsily that he pierced the child's 
body, and the child died. Seeing this, the mother 
began to cry, and the people seized the barber and charged 
him before the King with murder. " This is unfortu- 
nate," thought the barber. " I must see if I cannot get 
off." Meanwhile he was ushered into the King's presence. 

" How came you to kill this child?" asked the King. 

"Spare my life," answered he, "and I will tell you." 

"Be it so," replied the King. 

The barber then said, " It was the fault of the woman 
herself for having borne a thin-skinned child. If she had 
borne a child with a proper skin the knife would never 
have pierced it and the child would never have died." 

Hearing this, the King laughed and let the man off, and 
so he returned in safety to his own home. 



4io ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 



LXXXII 

THE ADVENTURES OF RUP AND BUSSANT, THE TWO 
SONS OF RAjA BANS 

ONCE upon a time two swallows built their nest in the 
rafters of a veranda in one of the palaces of Raja Bans. 
This veranda was a cool and pleasant place, with an agree- 
able prospect of plain and river, and Raja Bans came often 
there to rest. One day he noticed two swallows which 
flew into the veranda several times, bringing food for 
their young ones. Being curious to learn their habits, 
he continued to watch them day after day. One evening 
he noticed that though both birds had flown forth for food, 
only the male bird returned. The next day he looked 
again, hoping to see both the birds, but the young ones 
were again fed by the male bird only. Surprised at this, 
he issued an order, " If any one in the city has caught a 
swallow he is to let it go immediately." In a short time 
a falconer came and reported that he had caught a hen- 
swallow. " Then let it go," said the King. 

" But, sir," answered the falconer, " I gave the bird to 
my hawk." 

" Ah, cruel one !" said the King, " you have killed the 
mother of a brood of poor young birds." 

The falconer excused himself, saying, " I was not aware 
she had young," and the King sent him away. 

For several days after this the King was pleased to 
notice that the male bird, though deprived of his mate, 
was unremitting in his care of his offspring, and he hoped 
that all would yet be well with them. On a certain morn- 
ing, however, when the swallow flew back with food as 
usual, he came accompanied by another mate, which 
seemed so strange a thing that it set the King think- 
ing. "Is this the real mother," thought he, "or is it 
another? Perhaps it is the very one herself." Then 
the King's heart felt glad, and he continued to watch. 
The next morning the two birds came in together again, 
but instead of coming and going many times, as before, 

1 The accent in " Bussant " is on the second syllable (pronounce 
BussCint). 



THE ADVENTURES OF RUP AND BUSSANT 411 

they visited the nest only once during the whole day. 
Another day passed, and the King found that the hen-bird 
came alone, but that the cock-bird never appeared at all. 
" Can anything have happened to the cock-bird ?" then said 
he to himself. " Has he been caught too?" So he 
issued a second order, " Whosoever has caught a swallow, 
be it male or female, he is to let it escape." But his vizier 
brought answer back, " No one has caught any swallow 
whatever." Then King Bans returned to his palace 
veranda and began to consider this, " Both birds brought 
in food yesterday, and to-day the hen-bird only appeared. 
How is this? Where could the cock-bird have been?" 
Looking up towards the nest, he was surprised to notice 
an unusual silence. " Can the young ones be sleeping?" 
said he to himself. So he called for a ladder, and mount- 
ing, he put his hand into the nest, and found that all the 
four young birds were dead. " Ah," said the King, 
" some snake must have come and drawn their breath 
away!" But when he began to examine them he found 
a little thorn sticking in the throat of every one of them, 
which had deprived them of life. He now concluded that 
the second hen-bird was a stepmother, and that she had 
purposely given the young ones thorns instead of worms 
in order to destroy them. 

Now, Raja Bans had two sons named Rup and Bus- 
sant, and as he considered the fate of the poor fledglings 
he thought to himself, " If my Queen were to die and I 
were to marry again, my new wife would treat my sons 
cruelly too. If a silly bird can be so wicked, what might 
not be expected from a designing woman?" 

As fate would have it, it happened after some time that 
the Queen, the mother of the two boys, died and was 
buried. The King mourned for her, and the whole of 
his court mourned for her too, both because she was young 
and beautiful and on account of all her endearing quali- 
ties. Many months elapsed, and as the affairs of the king- 
dom were suffering neglect owing to the King's con- 
tinued sorrow, his ministers all assembled together and 
advised him to marry again. 

"No," answered the King. "I have learnt a lesson 
from the birds of the air; I have seen what atrocities even 
the stepmothers of swallows can commit." 

Again and again his vizier and his other ministers 



412 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

begged him to marry again, and their words prevailed, so 
that at last, as it is easier to gratify men than to please 
God, he gave his consent. So proposals of marriage were 
made to the daughter of a neighbouring king, and in due 
course of time the bride was brought home, and lodged in 
a splendid palace of her own. 

Time passed, and the two boys went to school together, 
and learnt their lessons day by day in the classes of 
learned pundits, where many others used to come too, to 
win wisdom and knowledge out of ancient books. This 
was the golden period of their lives, and they were happy 
in the innocence of their boyhood and in the full measure 
of their father's love. 

The Queen, however, entertained for these two young 
princes sentiments of a far different description. She was 
their stepmother, and she possessed all a stepmother's 
feelings towards the children of her predecessor. One 
day, when the two brothers had returned from school as 
usual, they were amusing themselves with some tumbler- 
pigeons in the court of the palace. The younger brother 
threw his pigeon high into the air, and it alighted on the 
terrace of the Queen's apartments, on which she was then 
pacing backwards and forwards. Seizing the bird, she at 
once put it under a basket and hid it, and sat and looked 
as if nothing had happened. The boy, who was strong 
and active, climbed up the terrace, and seeing his step- 
mother, he said, "Mother, have you seen my pigeon?" 
The Queen answered, " No." The boy looked doubtfully 
at her, and just then an old nurse, who had tended both 
the Princes in their infancy, and who was a favourite of 
the former Queen, made signs to him that the pigeon was 
hidden under the basket. He reached the basket at a 
bound and rescued the pigeon, which he took away with 
him, while the discomfited Queen retired in anger to her 
chamber. Coming down again to the court, he told his 
brother, " My pigeon flew on to the terrace, and the Queen 
hid it, and but for the nurse I should never have recovered 
it." 

A few days passed, and the same accident occurred 
again. The pigeon lighted on the terrace and was hidden 
by the Queen. Then said the younger brother to the 
elder, " It is your turn now. Do you go up and bring the 
pigeon back." 



THE ADVENTURES OF RUP AND BUSSANT 413 

Up climbed the elder brother as quickly as possible, and 
when he arrived at the top he looked all round for the 
pigeon, but it was nowhere to be seen. Feeling certain 
that the Queen, who was sitting by her chamber-door, had 
hidden it, he went towards the basket, but as he approached 
the Queen caught hold of him, saying, " You are not to go 
there." As his strength far surpassed hers, he released 
himself from her hold, and rescued his pigeon. But the 
Queen set up a cry of distress, and began to weep loudly 
and bitterly. All her maidens came running about her, 
wondering what had occurred, and then came the King 
himself, to whom the Queen said, " Either your sons must 
quit the kingdom, or I must." 

"What have the Princes done?" inquired the King. 
" And how have they annoyed you ?" 

"Yesterday," answered she, "the younger, Prince 
Bussant, and to-day Prince Riip, the elder, scaled the 
palace-wall, and having insulted me, they would have 
treated me with violence, but I cried out and they escaped." 

Then was the King filled with sorrow. " Ah !" thought 
he, " that which I feared has befallen me at last." Going 
to his vizier, he said, " Do you not see? From the first 
I foresaw this trouble, my mind misgave me, and as I 
expected, so has it come to pass, and now either the Queen 
or the Princes must leave the palace. I can no longer 
keep both wife and sons. What am I to do?" 

Some of his ministers counselled the King to have pity 
on the youth of the two Princes, and to forgive their 
offence, but the King, swayed by his wicked wife, was 
so convinced of their guilt, that no arguments were strong 
enough to induce him to regard them again with a favour- 
able eye. Then said his vizier, "O King, if you banish 
your children the scandal will not be so great. But if you 
dismiss your wife evil tongues will remark it, and a bad 
report w r ill spread abroad in the kingdom." 

Led, therefore, by the advice of his vizier, the King 
determined on the banishment of Rup and his brother 
Bussant. Now, in those days, it was the custom with 
kings, whenever one of the royal household was to be 
disgraced and banished, either to place a pair of wooden 
shoes turned upside down at the door of him who was 
sentenced to exile, or to order his rooms to be swept out 
backwards instead of being cleaned in the usual way. 



4 i4 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

The next day the two boys came home from school, 
and the elder was chasing the younger, and they were 
racing towards the court. On reaching the palace, Bus- 
sant, the younger, caught sight of the upturned shoes at 
the door of their rooms, and he said to his brother, " See, 
brother, the King's signal ! It is our sentence of banish- 
ment, and we must leave the country." 

They were brave boys, both of them, and when they 
entered the house they sat down and conferred together 
and made their plans. "Yes," said the elder, "let us 
go to the stables and choose out a couple of swift horses, 
and let us see the treasurer and provide ourselves with 
money, and let us be gone, otherwise the Queen will 
compass our death." 

As they agreed, so they acted, and having provided 
themselves with everything necessary for a long journey, 
and having armed themselves with their good swords, they 
set out from the palace without bidding farewell to any 
one. On and on they rode over mountain and plain ; day 
succeeded day, and they found themselves astray in a 
gloomy forest. " God is in heaven," said the elder; " but 
where are we?" Just then they met a wayfarer, and in- 
quired of him, " Is there any town or village hereabouts?" 

" Yes," answered the man; " there is a village close at 
hand." 

So they continued their journey, but instead of arriving 
at human abodes they appeared to plunge deeper and 
deeper into the forest, and evening coming on, they sat 
down to rest under a great tali tree, both wide-spreading 
and high. 

" Either we were misled," said Bussant, " or we have 
mistaken the traveller's directions." 

; ' Here let us rest," answered the elder brother, "for 
there is abundance of grass and water. Let us tie up our 
horses, and watch through the night by turns." 

' True," said the younger, " this spot is cool and delici- 
ous, and though our food is exhausted, and we are hungry, 
we can at least lie down and sleep by turns. Let the first 
watch be mine." 

" Nay," said the elder, "you are more fatigued than I 
am. Brother, you shall rest first." 

11 Not so," returned Bussant. " You are the elder, and 
to rest before me is your right. Therefore, if you really 



THE ADVENTURES OF RUP AND BUSSANT 415 

love me, suffer me to mount guard for the first few hours. 
O let me watch while you sleep and dream of happier 
days to come !" 

Then the two boys picketed their horses, and having 
washed, they commended themselves to the protection of 
God in the usual prayers, and while Rup, the elder brother, 
lay down and slept, the younger watched. 

The place was lonely and wild, and the silence of 
night was broken at times by the cries of wild animals on 
the quest for prey. To scare them away, Bussant collected 
some dry leaves and sticks, and having struck out a spark 
from his sword-blade, he lighted a fire, and having blown 
up the glowing embers into a bright blaze, and heaped on 
more wood, he sat down and began to warm himself, be- 
cause the air, though still, was cold. He had been think- 
ing over all their misfortunes, longing for his home, and 
guessing at the uncertain future, when he suddenly heard 
a strange fluttering of wings in the tali tree. Looking up, 
he could dimly discern two pearl-eating flamingoes l 
struggling together among the branches. 

"What!" said one of them to the other. "You, a 
female, presuming to contend with me ! Let me tell you 
that, if any one were this moment to kill me and eat me, 
to-morrow morning he would be a crowned King." 

" And hear what I have to say, also," answered the 
other. " If you are great, I am great also, for if any one 
were to kill and eat me he would become a king's 
counsellor." 

When Bussant heard what the birds had to say he 
wondered greatly, and he thought to himself,." If now I 
could so manage as to kill both these birds, I would give 
the male bird to my brother, and the female I would eat 
myself." 

He then thought of his God, and, putting two arrows 
to his bow, he drew it with a steady aim and shot them 
both. Down fell the two flamingoes at his feet, and pick- 
ing them up, he plucked them and laid them on the 
red ashes. Then he turned to his brother and roused 
him, saying, " Brother, wake up, God has sent us some 
food." " 

When Rup saw the two birds roasting on the embers, 
he said, " One of these fowls is smaller than the other. 
1 In Panjabi Hdns. 



416 

Let me have the smaller one, since I can bear hunger 
better than you." 

" No, no," answered Bussant. " You are my big 
brother, and yours is the larger bird. The smaller one is 
mine." And, to prevent mistakes, he took the smaller 
bird and began to eat it. 

When the two Princes had finished their supper, the 
elder said, " It is your turn now to lie down. Brother, 
it is midnight; rest, and I will keep watch." 

In the morning they were about betimes, and, having 
again washed in the stream, they saddled their horses, 
mounted, and rode on their way. 

After going some little distance, the younger brother said, 
" Ah, brother, how unfortunate I am ! I have forgotten 
my whip under the tali tree, and I shall have now to ride 
back to fetch it." 

Then said the elder, " If you will return, I will go on 
slowly. Make haste, and overtake me." And the 
brothers separated, but little did they suspect how long a 
separation their parting was to prove. 

Let us first see what happened to the elder brother. 

He rode on, and presently he fell into a reverie, and 
quite forgot all about Bussant. Before he was aware of it 
he found himself approaching the gates of a large well- 
walled city, where he was surrounded by crowds of eager 
people all vociferating loudly, and hailing him as their 
King. " What means this greeting?" asked Prince Rup 
of one standing by his bridle, who by his appearance 
seemed to be a person of consequence. 

" Our King," answered the vizier, for that was his rank, 
" died last night, and it is an unalterable law of this realm 
that when the reigning sovereign dies his successor shall 
be the first strange horseman who comes riding into the 
town." 

So Rup was escorted by guards of honour to the public 
place, and thence to a palace of exceeding beauty, where, 
in the midst of applauding multitudes, he was throned a 
crowned King. But, as if some strange spell had fallen 
upon his mind, he never once remembered his younger 
brother, but forgot him as completely as if he had never 
existed. 

But where was Prince Bussant? 

After parting from Rup, he rode back to the spot where 



THE ADVENTURES OF RUP AND BUSSANT 417 

they had spent the night ; but as he approached the tree he 
observed that a deadly snake was lying across his whip, 
which still remained on the ground where he had left it. 
" If I spur my horse into a gallop," said Bussant, " I 
shall be able to stoop down and pick up the whip as I 
ride by." So Prince Bussant urged his horse forward at 
a gallop, but it so happened that the snake was on the 
alert, and just as the lad stooped over to grasp his whip 
the venomous reptile drew away his breath and he fell from 
his horse in a swoon, while his horse also, arrested by the 
poisonous influence, stood still by his master's side. Then 
the snake glided rapidly away, and disappeared in the 
depths of the forest. 

For several days Prince Bussant remained lying uncon- 
scious under the tali tree. To all appearance he was dead, 
for he neither breathed nor moved. At last an old beggar- 
man and his wife happened to pass that way in their 
journeyings from one country to another. And when they 
came to the place and saw a handsome boy lying, as they 
imagined, cold and stiff upon the ground, they began to 
feel alarmed, and the old man said to his wife, " Come 
away, come away, we shall both be hanged ; his death will 
be fastened on us !" 

" Stay for one moment," answered the woman; " let us 
see what is the matter." 

"Nay, nay," said he, "we shall get into trouble; let 
us go." 

The woman, however, had her own way, and, having 
carefully felt and examined the boy, she said, " No one 
has shot him, and no one has cut him down, nor is he 
really dead, but his breath has been drawn out of his body 
by a snake. If you will not come here and try to restore 
the lad to life, you and I must now separate. You are a 
fakir and a snake-charmer, and all the snakes know you 
and fear you. Come nigh, therefore, and let us not 
abandon this beautiful youth to perish in the wilderness." 

Thus entreated, the old beggar-man approached, saying, 
" I will do my best. If it is the will of God that he shall 
live, doubtless he will live." 

Then the old man drew upon the ground his magic lines, 

and, kneeling down, he began to recite and to pray with 

intense energy. As he proceeded with his incantations, all 

the snakes of the forest began to crowd around him, some 

27 



4 i8 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

of them centuries old, others small and young, until he 
was surrounded by them on all sides. But the snake 
which had wrought the mischief came not. Then the old 
beggar-man took four cowrie shells, and, having repeated 
certain words over them, he sent them flying to the four 
winds, to the north, to the south, to the east, and to the 
west, to search for and to bring back the missing snake. 
Three of the shells failed in their quest, but the fourth 
succeeded, and, rinding the snake, it compelled him to 
return. And when the snake appeared, he was seen rid- 
ing as a king on the back of another snake; but he was 
proud and disdainful, and when all the other snakes bent 
their heads to the earth and touched the magic lines, he 
alone refused to do so. 

When the beggar-man saw this, he prayed and prayed 
and prayed again, until he had subdued the power of the 
snake, and then he spoke roughly to him and said, " What 
tyranny of yours is this? By what right have you stolen 
the breath of this beautiful boy, and left him to be devoured 
in the forest?" 

" No tyrant am I," answered the snake; "but this boy 
is himself the tyrant, for with his bow and arrows he 
shot my two flamingoes." 

Then the beggar-man added entreaties to his spells, and 
prevailed on the snake to relent and to restore the boy to 
life. And when the snake had breathed into his mouth, 
Prince Bussant opened his eyes, and, looking round, he 
said, "O what a beautiful sleep I have had! Why have 
you wakened me?" But the fakir answered, " O boy, the 
sleep which you have had, may God in His mercy never 
grant you again!" By degrees the Prince remembered 
all the circumstances which he had forgotten, and the 
beggar-man explained to him how he had been, restored 
to life. Very grateful he felt when he understood how 
truly he had been served, and he said, " O fakir, my 
brother is now lost; let me therefore go with you." But 
the old man answered, " It cannot be; you are a king's 
son, and we are only poor folk. We should be taken up 
and hanged on account of you. Therefore, wherever you 
go, we shall not go. We'll have nothing more to do with 
you." And the old couple salaamed the Prince and went 
off. 

Left to himself, Bussant determined to mount his horse 



THE ADVENTURES OF RUP AND BUSSANT 419 

and to ride on through the forest in the hope that fortune 
might lead him to his brother, or at least to some village 
or town. One evening, after the sun had set, he found 
himself before the walls of the very city in which his 
brother Rup reigned as king. But the gates were closed 
and fast barred, and the watchman on the battlements 
refused to open them. In vain Bussant pleaded hunger 
and fatigue. 

"Too late," said the watchman; "a man-eating tiger 
infests this neighbourhood, and the King's order is that 
the gates shall not be opened after sundown. No one can 
enter now before the morrow." 

Finding entreaties unavailing, Bussant retired to some 
ruined huts close by, and, dismounting from his horse, 
he tied him to a tree, and determined there to spend the 
night. Scarcely had he closed his weary eyes when he 
heard the growl of the tiger, and looking out, he saw the 
beast, close to the door, about to make a spring upon his 
horse. Said Bussant to himself, " You may roar, my 
friend, but with luck I hope to have your head." 

He had his good sword drawn in his hand, and as the 
tiger, in the act of springing, flew past the doorway, he 
smote him with might and main and nearly cut him in 
two. 

This tiger had been the terror of the town for many a 
year, and one of the decrees made by the late King pro- 
claimed that whoever should bring in his head should 
marry his daughter and be made governor of the fourth 
part of the kingdom. It might seem that Bussant's 
troubles w T ere now about to end, and that a life of happi- 
ness in the enjoyment of his former rank was about to 
open to him. But this was far from being the case, be- 
cause it so happened that the watchman, from his tower, 
had observed the whole of his proceedings and noted the 
death of the famous man-eating tiger. " Ah," exclaimed 
this villain to himself, " to-night my star is in the ascend- 
ant, and if I can only get rid of this stranger, and secure 
the tiger's head, my fortune is made." 

For an hour he remained at his post, but when he felt 
assured that the Prince was fast asleep he stole down from 
the tower, and cautiously approaching the hut, he entered, 
sword in hand, and hewed at the unfortunate boy without 
mercy. Having thus, as he supposed, killed him outright, 



420 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

he took up the unconscious body and, carrying it to a 
lonely place, threw it among some reeds by the river's 
side. Then, returning, he hid the horse, and cut off the 
tiger's head, which he took back with him to his w r atch- 
tower, and in the morning, presenting himself at the 
palace, he displayed his prize and claimed the promised 
reward. Every one belauded the courage "of the watch- 
man, who suddenly became famous and was regarded by 
the whole city as a hero. Nor were his supposed merits 
unrequited, for he was raised to the position of a coun- 
cillor of state, he was made governor of a province, and 
the hand of a lovely princess was bestowed on him in 
marriage. 

Early on the next day a poor washerman loaded his 
donkey with the clothes of his customers, and, driving 
him before him through the city gate, went to his usual 
washing-ground by the river's side. There he heard a 
most lamentable groaning. 

" What can this be?" said he. " Perhaps the tiger has 
mauled some wayfarer." Having searched among the 
reeds, he found the wounded Bussant, whose face seemed 
to him so beautiful that he exclaimed, " This boy looks 
like a rose. But O," continued he, "how he has been 
cut to pieces !" 

Finding that life still breathed in him, he raised him 
gently and placed him on his donkey, and so led him back 
to the city and took him to his own home. 

When his wife saw her husband returning so soon with 
a strange youth on the donkey's back, she assailed him 
with five hundred curses. " I sent you out to wash 
the clothes," said she, "and here you are back again 
already." 

" Hush !" answered he. " Keep still, keep still ! God 
has sent us good fortune." 

And as soon as she saw the state of affairs, and looked 
at the boy's handsome face and deadly wounds, she also 
pitied him, and she received him kindly, and took him in, 
and laid him down, and dressed his wounds, and she 
tended him so carefully that in a short time he recovered 
and became quite well again. 

But these good people were very poor, and they could 
not afford to keep a young man in the house idle, nor 
had he any hope of ever meeting his brother again, for 



THE ADVENTURES OF RUP AND BUSSANT 421 

he knew not what had become of him. But as he felt 
grateful to the worthy couple for all that they had done 
for him, he offered to serve them in any way they pleased. 
So the woman taught him sewing and embroidery, and 
he became so expert with his needle that the King and 
all the nobles heard of his fame and sent him orders for 
their robes of state. Little did he think when he was busy 
toiling as a tailor on some royal garment that he was 
working at the clothing of his own brother. 

So time went on, until at last, as his evil genius would 
have it, his old enemy, the city watchman, now a gover- 
nor, came that way and recognized him as he sat over 
his needle in the washerman's doorway. 

" Ah," said the villain, "can this be true? I thought 
I had despatched him, but it seems I was mistaken. I 
am undone if I do not find means of destroying him. 1 
had better have him stolen and killed without delay." 

Now, it happened at that season that a merchant vessel, 
which had arrived at the harbour, had become stranded, 
and though every device was tried to float her again, she 
still remained embedded in the sand. Despairing of suc- 
cess, the sailors consulted a certain sorcerer, who said, 
" The vessel will never move until you offer in sacrifice 
an only son, who must be slain, and whose blood must be 
caught and sprinkled on the deck." 

Having received this answer, the sailors went to the 
King and stated the whole case, at the same time begging 
that an only son should be surrendered to them for 
slaughter. As it was the custom of that country to per- 
form these hideous rites on occasions of emergency, an 
order was made out for them, and it was entrusted for 
execution to the wretch who had been promoted from 
obscurity to honour. 

Overjoyed at his good fortune, he hastened to the house 
of the washerman, and with his own hands dragged forth 
the unfortunate Bussant and led him away to the ship, 
saying, " This is my day of revenge." In vain followed 
the washerman and his wife, weeping and lamenting. The 
youth was handed over to the sorcerer, and the merchants 
prepared to sacrifice him to the sea. 

" What are you going to do with me?" asked the boy. 

" We are going," answered they, " to sprinkle your 
life-blood on the deck of the ship, and then she will float 



422 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

and we shall be able to sail. So prepare, for in two 
minutes off comes your head." 

Now, Prince Bussant had himself learnt something of 
magic and charms from his wicked stepmother, and at 
the same time he was also wise and intelligent. So, 
addressing the merchants, he said to them, " Sirs, what is 
it you really desire? Do you wish to take off my head, or 
only to float your ship?" 

They all answered, " What we really want is to set sail 
as soon as possible." 

Then Bussant took out his knife, and, opening a vein in 
his arm, he sprinkled the deck with his blood. At the 
same time the sailors and the people all pushed with a 
will, and in a moment the ship slid from the bank into 
deep water, where, having quickly righted herself, she was 
soon riding at anchor. 

The merchants and the sailors were all delighted, nor 
did they desire anything more, but the villainous watch- 
man conspired with their chief, and said, " By the King's 
gift this boy is yours. Your ship may ground somewhere 
else; therefore, be prudent and take your prisoner with 
you." So Bussant was immediately seized and carried on 
board. 

No time was wasted in weighing the anchor and in 
unfurling and raising the sails, and in less than an hour 
the disconsolate washerman and his wife saw the vessel 
ploughing the river to the neighbouring sea before a 
favourable wind. 

Long was the voyage, but Bussant commended himself 
to all by his gentle manners and willing obedience, and 
the principal merchant, to whom the ship belonged, began 
to regard him with favour. 

At last they reached their destination, and the ship was 
moored to one of the wharfs of a great seaport. Then the 
merchants and the sailors carried their bales and boxes of 
merchandise on shore, and betook them to the bazaars, 
leaving Bussant to keep guard on the deck. 

Now, it happened that quite close to the wharf at which 
the vessel was moored rose the walls and turrets of the 
King's palace. This King had a most lovely daughter, 
who often came and sat at a lattice overlooking the sea, 
and as she was young and romantic, she loved to lean her 
cheek upon her hand and gaze over the moonlit waters. 



THE ADVENTURES OF RUP AND BUSSANT 423 

Once when she was thus engaged she heard the sound 
of weeping rising from the deck of the strange ship, but it 
was so dark that she could not see who it was that thus 
bemoaned his fate. In the morning, however, she looked 
out again and saw Prince Bussant sitting in the stern with 
a book in his hand, from which he was reading aloud. 
As she gazed at his face, she thought to herself, " Surely 
never was any one so handsome !" and as she listened to 
his voice she thought, " Was ever voice more beautiful 
than his?" That night she watched and heard him weep- 
ing again, and soon she discovered that thus he spent most 
of his time, reading aloud while the daylight lasted and 
crying over his troubles in the dark hours of the night. 

Resolved to become acquainted with this mysterious 
visitor to her father's kingdom, she told her slave-girl 
to go down and find out who he was. So the slave-girl 
went as she was ordered, and, entering the ship, she 
approached the spot where at that time Bussant was lying 
asleep in the moonlight. Looking closely at him, she 
came away again, and returned quickly to her young mis- 
tress, to whom she said, " I have just seen a youth more 
beautiful than the moon." 

Then said the Princess, " Come along with me. I must 
go and see him too." And, disguising herself, she 
descended to the wharf, ran across it, and went on to the 
deck, where she felt as she gazed that her whole soul was 
ravished with love. And so she returned weeping and 
sighing to her chamber. 

While she was sitting sadly at her window the Prince 
awoke and said, " Have I been dreaming, or did some 
beautiful lady really visit me in my sleep?" He then 
looked up, and in the full moonlight he saw the lady of his 
dreams gazing at him from the lattice, and as his eyes met 
hers his soul escaped from his body, and he fell hope- 
lessly in love with her. Then the Princess called the 
slave-girl and bade her go down quickly to the ship and 
tell Bussant how much she loved him, and that if so he 
pleased she was ready to marry him, since her father's 
affection for his daughter was such that he had given her 
liberty to choose her own mate and to marry the man of 
her heart. 

A happy time they had together, these two young 
people, day after day and night after night exchanging 



4 2 4 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

signs and tokens of mutual love. For the sake of the 
Princess the King accepted Bussant as a son-in-law, and 
believing him to be the son of the principal merchant of 
the ship, he loaded him with favours and bestowed on 
him ample wealth. Nor were the merchants themselves 
less kind and friendly on account of his fortune, though in 
secret they were always plotting how they might ruin him 
and enrich themselves at his expense. 

In due time the wedding was celebrated and the Prince 
lodged in the palace, but the next day the merchants came 
and said, " The ship is laden, the breeze is fair, and we 
must set sail. Come, boy, it is time to be off." The 
Prince at once went and informed the King. " Our 
vessel," said he, "sails to-day. What am I to do?" 

"Take ample gold," answered the King, "and take 
your wife on board with you, and when you have both 
travelled all the world over come back and see me again." 

So they went on board the vessel, the Prince, the 
Princess, and the company of merchants, and to pass away 
the idle time the Prince began from that very day to tell 
his wife the story of his life. 

When she had heard the whole of his adventures she 
was grieved, and cried, " O why did you not tell me 
of this before ? Both my father and I believed you to 
be the son of the merchant. But you are a Prince, and 
none of his, and his past treatment of you augurs ill for 
the future. We are now in this man's hands, and Heaven 
knows what he may do to us !" 

From that day she watched and guarded her husband 
with the most assiduous care, expecting she knew not 
what, but fearing the worst. Nor was her dread destitute 
of foundation, for the merchants had conspired together, 
saying, " Let us wait our opportunity, and throw the lad 
overboard, and then we can divide his money amongst 
us, while, as for the Princess, we can take her to the 
King's palace and sell her at a fabulous price as a slave." 

With all their malice, however, they found no oppor- 
tunity of carrying their schemes into practice, until they 
had fairly entered the river and had arrived within a few 
miles of the city which was governed by Prince Rup. 
Then, as the weary Princess rested apart, they approached 
Bussant, who was sleeping on a carpet on the deck, and, 
tying the four corners of the carpet hastily together, they 



THE ADVENTURES OF RUP AND BUSSANT 425 

lifted him up and threw him overboard into the river, 
which was running fast astern. 

But the ship continued her course, and when they 
arrived at the city the merchants took the weeping girl to 
the palace and sold her for an immense sum in gold. 
Prince Rup as soon as he saw her thought she surpassed 
in beauty every other lady whom he had ever beheld. And 
he had a mind to marry her at once; but the Princess said 
to him, " I am married already." 

" That can hardly be," answered he. " Are you not a 
slave?" 

" I am married," repeated she. " Grant me, therefore, 
just three years to mourn and to inquire for my husband. 
If in that time he does not come for me, you are free to 
marry me; but if you attempt to wed me by violence, 
know that I am a Princess, and that I will kill both you 
and myself." 

The King heard these words without anger, assigned 
to her a separate palace, and gave her a bevy of maidens 
to attend upon her. 

Meanwhile Fortune had not altogether abandoned the 
younger Prince. Finding himself in the rushing water, 
he struggled with all his might, and, having freed him- 
self from the carpet, he struck out manfully for the neigh- 
bouring banks. But the current was set in strong to- 
wards the sea, and it was with the utmost difficulty that 
he made the shore before it was too late. 

[In that ardent region of the earth's surface, where the 
rays of the sun are very powerful, in order to secure the 
fruits of their fields farmers have to depend on artificial 
irrigation. On the alluvial lands which stretch along the 
borders of the rivers they are accustomed to sink down 
shafts in the perpendicular banks to the flowing water. 
These shafts are open all the way down on the river-side, 
being semi-cylindrical, and the water is drawn up by 
means of Persian wheels turned by bullocks.] 

Into one of these singular wells Prince Bussant was 
driven by the force of the current, and, seizing the sus- 
pended ropes to which the numerous pitchers were 
attached, he held firmly on. 

It happened that the gardener who owned the land above 
was just then watering his fields, and perceiving that 
some accident had stopped the wheels from working, he 



426 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

went to the well and looked down, when to his surprise he 
saw Bussant, half drowned, clinging to the ropes. Call- 
ing for help, he succeeded in rescuing the lad from his 
woeful plight, and in restoring him once more to solid 
ground. 

Prince Bussant was so exhausted that he fainted away, 
and the gardener and his wife had to carry him home. 
There he was seized with a violent fever, which lasted for 
weeks, and which left him so feeble that he was unable to 
walk for several weeks more. All hope of ever recovering 
his lost Princess had now vanished from his mind, for 
he knew well that if she had not been shut up in the house 
of the merchant she had been sold into slavery. When 
therefore he was well enough, he offered his services to 
his benefactors, who gladly accepted them, and the King's 
son became a gardener. 

Now, this old man and his wife were accustomed to make 
a little money by selling their vegetables; and so one day 
they said to Bussant, " You are now strong and well 
enough to earn something for yourself. Fill up a basket 
with cucumbers, and carry them into the market for sale." 

" If," answered Bussant, " you would have me go in 
and out of the town without fear of violence, give me the 
clothing of a girl, because in that place lives a certain man 
who has twice attempted my life." 

So the Prince was dressed up as a girl, and in that dis- 
guise he accompanied the gardener's wife day by day, 
whenever she went to the town to sell her vegetables and 
to buy food. 

One day, as they were passing through the bazaar, they 
met the town-crier beating a drum and crying aloud, " Ho 
people, by order of the King, if any one was ever ship- 
wrecked or lost at sea let him come with me to the court 
and tell the story, and his reward shall be great !" 

"Mother," said Bussant, "my chance has come to 
reward you as you have befriended me. Let me go to the 
palace and tell the story of my adventures." 

" But who will believe you?" said the gardener's wife. 
" You are no longer a boy, but a girl." 

" Still, give me leave," pleaded he, " and let us trust to 
chance." 

So the woman went to the crier and said, " Here is this 
daughter of mine who knows a story of the sea." 



THE ADVENTURES OF RUP AND BUSSANT 427 

And the crier took Bussant disguised as he was, and he 
was brought to the palace, and seated before the Princess, 
who bade him tell his adventures at sea. Bussant, there- 
fore, sat down and began the story of his life from the very 
beginning, about his father and his stepmother and his 
exile from home ; but when he came to tell of himself and 
his brother sleeping at night under the tali tree, he there 
stopped short, and said, " Of that story I can remember 
no more to-day." 

Then the Princess turned to a slave-girl and said, " This 
is the very person I want. She will remember perhaps 
to-morrow. Give her money, therefore, and tell her to 
come again." And to the watchman or crier she sent \vord 
that he should watch for the girl's return, and that when 
she came again to the town with her basket of vegetables 
he should bring her before her. 

The next day the old woman and Bussant, laden with 
vegetables, again came to the town, and again they heard 
the crier beating his drum and proclaiming the will of the 
Princess, and again the Prince said, " Mother, if you will 
allow me, I will go and tell the rest of the story to-day." 

And the old woman answered as before, " Go, son, go." 
So to the Princess he went, and he continued the story of 
his life from the point at which he left off the day before. 
But when he came to the account of the manner in which 
he had been tied up in his sleeping-carpet on the deck of 
the ship, he again stopped and said, " The rest I do not 
know, I cannot tell, but I will come again some other time 
and finish the story." So the Princess ordered him splen- 
did presents and dismissed him. All this money he faith- 
fully took to the gardener and his wife, who were both 
overjoyed. 

The next day came the old woman and Bussant to the 
town as usual, and again the town-crier was seen beating 
his drum and delivering his message. The woman went 
up to him and said, " Take my daughter to the palace only 
once more, and she will finish her story of the sea." 

So Prince Bussant again sat before the Princess and 
took up his story, but when he got to the tale of the well, 
and how he had escaped, and how the gardener and his wife 
had nursed him back to life, the Princess rose from her 
seat and ran to him and embraced him, crying, " My 
husband, my husband!" 



428 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" Nay," said he, " I am only a poor gardener's 
daughter." 

Then she wept over him and kissed him, and he revealed 
himself to her, and when he had bathed and dressed in 
princely robes he returned to the chamber again. So the 
Princess sat down and wrote to the King, saying, " My 
lost husband is found again, but if you do not believe, 
come yourself and see him." 

As soon as they met, the younger brother at once recog- 
nized the elder, but the elder did not recognize the younger, 
and he said to him, " What is your history, that you come 
here to claim the Princess?" Then Bussant began to tell 
his direful story again. The King sat down and listened 
with interest growing deeper and deeper, and when the 
story was ended he hailed his younger brother with joy, 
there was full recognition, and the palace resounded with 
the welcome news. 

The next day the King took his brother and his wife 
and gave them quarters in his own palace. And the 
younger said, "Is that wicked watchman here still?" 

" He is," answered Rup, the elder. " The order of the 
late King was that whoever killed the man-eating tiger 
should be advanced to honour, and the watchman is now 
the governor of a province. But I have sent to have him 
seized and produced before me." 

" Alas !" answered Bussant, " it was my fate, and one's 
fate who can avoid? Therefore spare the man's life and 
let him live for my sake." 

Nor did he forget the old gardener and his wife, who 
received promotion and lived in comfort all their days. 

So Bussant became his elder brother's chief counsellor, 
and at his brother's court he lived for many months. But 
the time came when he longed to return to his father's 
house to see if the old man was yet alive. So, taking his 
wife, he set out and journeyed towards his own country, 
and when he arrived within the borders of the kingdom 
he sent forward a message to report his approach. But 
his father was now old and blind, and every one had long 
given him up for dead, and his story was not believed. So 
he called for a cunning artist to paint his picture, and this 
picture he sent to the court by the hand of a friend. And 
when the vizier saw the picture he at once knew it to be 
the likeness of the lost Prince Bussant, and he sent out a 



THE ADVENTURES OF RUP AND BUSSANT 429 

guard of honour to conduct him to the capital, where he 
was received with joy. 

The old King was so glad to meet his son once more 
that he placed his crown upon his head, and said, " Now 
you shall be King in my stead;" and having done this he 
turned fakir, and soon after died happy and content. 

Meanwhile the Prince had taken his wife to see his step- 
mother. But she hated the Prince more than ever, especi- 
ally now that he was King; but she dissembled he'r hatred, 
and said to him, " I am now your friend, and 1 wish also 
to be considered your brother's friend as well. Give me, 
therefore, an escort, and let me go and visit him." 

The Prince gladly agreed, and she started for the king- 
dom of Prince Rup ; but evil thoughts were burning in her 
heart as in an oven, and she had determined to set the 
brothers one against the other. 

Arriving at the elder brother's court, she began her 
wicked schemes. " Your younger brother," said she, " is 
a tyrant. He deposed his blind father and cast him into 
a dungeon, where he perished miserably. Me also he 
w r ould have served in like manner, but I escaped, and he 
has seized your inheritance and rules the land." 

Unfortunately, the elder brother believed this cruel 
woman, and he gathered his armies and prepared to make 
war. In vain Bussant sent messenger after messenger to 
explain the true story. He was compelled to arm and 
advance too, and when the two armies met there was a 
great battle, in which the elder brother, Prince Rup, was 
defeated and slain. Then for her life fled the wicked 
Queen, and never halted until she had put herself far 
beyond the reach of pursuit. As for Prince Bussant, he 
mourned for his brother all his days ; sorrow like a shadow 
dogged his steps, and never was he seen to make merry 
again. 

Told at Ghdzi by a villager, May 1880. 



430 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

LXXXIII 
OF THE BANEYRWAL AND HIS MOTHER 

A BANEYRWAL went out coursing on the hills, and he 
took his mother with him to assist him in the sport. The 
woman had charge of the hound, but instead of simply 
holding the leash in her hand, she tied it in a fast knot 
round her wrist. When the game was put up, the dog 
made a sudden bound, by reason of which the unfortunate 
woman was jerked forward, and, as she came into violent 
contact with a sharp rock some distance in advance of the 
hound, she was unluckily killed. The dutiful son, with 
mingled feelings of admiration and sorrow, carried his 
mother home and buried her, and never afterwards did he 
cease to honour her, saying to his friends, " My poor 
mother was such an excellent courser that she outstripped 
the very dogs and left them far behind her." 



LXXXIV 

STORY OF FAZL NUR AND THE DEMON 

ONCE upon a time there were two men, Wais by caste, 
named Muhammad Bax and Amir Khan, who by chance 
became friends. Muhammad Bax used to visit Amir Khan 
pretty regularly, and Amir Khan and his wife always 
received him with respect. One day Amir Khan thought 
that he also would go to his friend's house, and so he did. 
But Muhammad Bax's wife was a decided termagant; and 
the poor man, when he saw his guest approaching, got 
into a terrible way. So he went to his wife and spoke 
softly to her. " Dear wife," said he, " Amir Khan is 



STORY OF FAZL NUR AND THE DEMON 431 

coming. You are the daughter of a noble family, and 
I hope you will treat him kindly. Whenever I went to 
his house, his wife came and washed my feet with warm 
water, and has always treated me very civilly; so I wish 
you to do the same." 

"All right," said she; "don't worry yourself. I shall 
not put you to disgrace before your company. But if you 
are wise, you will also be careful not to vex me, but to 
remain quiet at table and keep a civil tongue in your 
head." 

The meal was prepared accordingly, and the table spread 
in a room adorned with all kinds of nice furniture. The 
lady of the house, Fazl Nur by name, served up delicious 
food, but, as there were four at table, the host and his 
friend and his two grown sons, there was by no means 
enough for all. When therefore they began to eat, the 
food fell short; seeing which, Muhammad Bax became 
anxious, but at the same time he was in mortal fear of 
his wife. At last he ordered his servant to go and ask her 
for something more. So the servant went and brought 
in a fresh mess, but neither was that enough for four 
hungry men, and Muhammad Bax, trembling with fright, 
sent her out again. But this time, no sooner had the 
servant gone into the room and given her message, than 
Fazl Nur flew into a rage, seized the earthen pot, and, 
coming into the guest-room herself, she smashed the pot 
on her husband's head, and while the pieces w r ere scattered 
on the floor, the rim of the pot remained round his neck 
intact like a horse-collar. On seeing this, Amir Khan was 
transfixed w r ith astonishment, but he tried to satisfy his 
host by saying, " Dear friend, every woman suffers from 
temper, and these things often happen in my house also. 
Let us go out for a little walk." 

So the two friends went out, and Muhammad Bax 
appealed to his companion and begged him to get rid of 
his wife for him. " As to myself," answered Amir Khan, 
" I do not like to do such things, but I will see my son 
and we'll do our best for you." 

Amir Khan then left for his own home, and, arriving 
there, he called his son, Akbar Khan, and said to him, 
" Son, go to Muhammad Bax's, and entice his wife to 
come here with you under pretence of coming to a mar- 
riage-feast; but on the way, when you get to a lonely 



432 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

place, do away with her, that my friend may be rid of 
her." 

So the son went to the house of Muhammad Bax, and 
stayed the night there. In the morning he said to Fazl 
Nur, " Dear aunt, will you accompany me to my father's? 
We have a marriage-feast going on, and your attendance 
is most urgently required." At first she refused, because 
she had a lively recollection of the reception she had given 
the young man's father the day before. But afterwards, 
when her husband also urged her, she got ready, and, 
having dressed in her best and put on all her ornaments, 
she set out with her husband and Akbar Khan. For many 
miles they took her through a wild forest, when, towards 
noon, they came to a well. There they halted, and in their 
usual manner told her to go to the well and fetch water. 
No sooner had she got to the edge of the well than Akbar 
Khan with the greatest violence pushed her in. Fortun- 
ately for her the well was dry, but she fell on to the back 
of a demon w r ho had his abode in that place, and there, not 
a bit the worse, she sat. The demon trembled excessively, 
not knowing what gruesome thing it was that had come 
and sat on his back. " Who are you," cried he, " that so 
fearlessly have come on to my back?" 

" As for you," answered she, " you are merely a wretched 
demon, while I am own sister to the devil. Still, I saw you 
once and fell in love with you, and I have been looking for 
you everywhere oh, ever so long ! To-day some people 
told me you lived here; so I came, and in this well sure 
enough I have found you." 

" Will you then be my wife?" asked the demon, fairly 
taken in. 

" With all my heart," answered she, " but only on one 
condition." 

"What is the condition?" inquired he. "Quick, let 
me know it soon !" 

" It is not a hard one," replied she. " It is merely that I 
administer every morning a hundred strokes on your head 
with a slipper." 

At first the demon was surprised to hear this. But after- 
wards, when he considered her beauty, he gave in. So he 
married her, and for a long time he continued to live w r ith 
her, but by and by he began to get tired of his perpetual 
beatings, because there was a great wound in his head; 



STORY OF FAZL NUR AND THE DEMON 433 

and one day, when he went outside, some flies settled on it 
and laid their eggs there, and he was tormented with pain. 
Moreover, whenever he went to see his relations, they 
despised him and railed at him as a poor demon, a miser- 
able demon, on account of his sores. So he began to 
droop. He got very mournful, and he longed to get rid 
of his bargain. With this object in view, he made off, 
transformed himself into a man, and hid himself from 
her in a mosque, where women never come and mustn't 
come. 

Now, it so happened that Muhammad Bax, the woman's 
former husband, had turned fakir, or dervish, and was 
then living with some other dervishes in the same mosque. 
The demon, never suspecting who he really was, met 
him, and taking him aside, said, " My brother, all the 
work which you do shall be done in future by me. I will 
fetch the water for ablutions, and I will sweep the mosque 
and keep it in good order, but in return you and your 
friends shall go to the villages, collect bread, and give me 
also a share." 

So Muhammad Bax and the other dervishes took out 
their begging bowls day by day, and in the evening re- 
turned with bread. But, at supper-time, the moment they 
squatted down, the demon invariably clutched all the food 
with both hands, swallowed it up, and left nothing for 
them. At last one morning Muhammad Bax went to the 
demon privately, and said, " Brother, I think you are not 
a man at all. You look very stout, and you eat like some 
evil spirit. Tell me the truth what are you?" 

"Tut, tut!" answered the demon, "I am a man, of 
course !" 

" You are not," said Muhammad Bax; " I don't believe 
you. I can guess from your mode of eating that you are 
not a man." 

" My friend," then said the demon, " you are right. I 
am really a demon, but be kind enough not to betray me. 
I have escaped to this place, fleeing from my wife." And 
then the demon went on to tell him the whole story : how 
he was living in a dry well, and how a certain woman, 
own sister to the devil, calling herself Fazl Nur, had come 
there and married him, and what a terrible life he had led 
with her. All this reminded Muhammad Bax of his own 
wife, and he guessed that she was the same person. " My 
28 



434 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

friend," said he to the demon, "I also have been ruined 
by Fazl Nur; but now that you have betrayed yourself, 
perhaps she will be coming round here to look for 
you." 

" O friend," cried the demon, " for God's sake keep my 
secret. Do not betray me for the world. Let her not 
cross my path again. Promise me this, and in return I 
will marry you to the daughter of the King." 

So at once the demon disappeared, made his way to the 
palace, and entered into the body of the Princess. Upon 
this, the most beautiful damsel in the whole world became 
mad, and the King sent for all the wisest men in his 
kingdom to cure her, but none of them could. The demon 
caused her to put every doctor and physician who came 
near her to the greatest disgrace. She tore off their tur- 
bans and threw them down ; she tweaked their noses, and 
pulled their beards; and sometimes she threw dust in their 
faces : so that all the most learned pundits, astrologers, 
doctors, and magicians became wearied out and indeed 
quite sick of her. 

All this soon came to the ears of Muhammad Bax, who 
then, as previously agreed upon with the demon, went to 
the King, and said, " I will drive out the evil spirit from 
your daughter; but first promise that, if I do, you will 
give her to me in marriage." The King gladly consented, 
and the pretended dervish went into the sick-chamber. As 
soon as he appeared the raving Princess rose up from the 
floor, and fell at his feet, to the great astonishment of all 
her attendants. The King also was much moved, seeing 
the respect which she paid to so common a man, but he 
thought to himself, " Perhaps he is some saint." Then 
Muhammad Bax raised the Princess, and said, " Demon, 
within, I know you well; even your relations I know. Set 
this innocent Princess free and go away, otherwise I shall 
clap you into prison." But the demon, having acquired 
such comfortable quarters, was no longer minded to stand 
to his bargain. Therefore Muhammad Bax bent nearer, 
and whispered in the lady's ear, " Brother, that old 
virago, Fazl Nur, your wife, has come!" Scarcely had 
he spoken the words, when the Princess began to tremble 
and the scared demon left her at once. The King kept his 
word, gave Muhammad Bax his daughter in marriage, and 
conferred upon him one half of his kingdom. 



STORY OF FAZL NUR AND THE DEMON 435 

But the demon still hovered near the city, and one day 
he came to Muhammad Bax, saying, " Friend, I have 
given you a kingdom, but now be careful and attend. I 
am in love with the daughter of the King's vizier, and I 
am going to her. I shall enter into her, and stay there ; 
but if this time you come and interfere with me, I will tear 
you limb from limb and crush you into pieces." So the 
demon went to the house of the vizier, and entered into 
the body of his favourite daughter, and there he lodged 
and the girl went frantic. To see his daughter thus 
afflicted, the vizier was overwhelmed with sorrow, and he 
sent for all the physicians and learned men to cure her, 
but they tried in vain. Then he besought the King to 
send him his son-in-law; "I shall go mad myself," said 
he, " if you do not send him." And the King ordered 
him to go. But the young man refused, saying, " My 
lord, I am quite powerless in this matter. It was by the 
favour of God that I cured your daughter." But the King 
insisted, and afterwards said, " Look here, sir, if you obey 
my order, you will gain respect and honour more and 
more every day ; but if you do not, you will come to 
grief." 

So Muhammad Bax consented and went to the house of 
the vizier. As soon as the demon saw him, he raged with 
fury and began to cry out. But his friend said, " Demon, 
I have not come here to interfere or to drive you out I 
shall keep my promise to the last but I have come to 
inform you of something which concerns you deeply. Let 
me, therefore, have just one word in your ear." 

The demon consented, and Muhammad Bax came near 
and spoke in the girl's ear thus, " My dear friend, that 
day at the palace I was merely joking when I told you 
Fazl Nur had come. But to-day I tell you seriously that 
she is now at the door of this house waiting for you, and 
no doubt she will find you out. Hark ! I hear her coming 
up the stairs !" 

The demon fell into such a state of fright that he cried, 
" For God's sake, friend, get the vizier to send her away, 
and I promise never to come back any more." 

So Muhammad Bax spoke a few words to the vizier, 
and the demon, when he thought the coast was clear and 
the woman driven off, said, "Now I am going," and off 
he went. 



436 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Then the girl fell a-trembling and was straightway 
cured, while the demon fled away into the wilds, and was 
never heard of again. 

Told at Ghazi by bard Sharaf, July 1880 



LXXXV 

CONCERNING THE SEVEN WISE MEN OF BUNEYR 

SEVEN men of Buneyr once left their native wilds for 
the purpose of seeking their fortunes. When evening 
came they all sat down under a tree to rest, when one of 
them said, " Let us count to see if we are all here." So 
he counted, " One, two, three, four, five, six," but, quite 
omitting to reckon himself, he exclaimed, " There's one 
of us missing we are only six !" 

" Nonsense!" cried the others, and the whole company 
of seven began counting with uplifted forefingers, but they 
all forgot to count themselves. 

Fearing some evil, they now rose up, and at once set 
out in search after their missing comrade. Presently they 
met a shepherd, who greeted them civilly and said, 
" Friends, why are you in such low spirits?" 

" We have lost one of our party," answered they; " we 
started this morning seven in number, and now we are 
only six. Have you seen any one of us hereabouts?" 

" But," said the shepherd, " seven you are, for I have 
found your lost companion ; behold one, two, three, four, 
five, six, seven!" 

"Ah," answered the wise men of Buneyr, "you have 
indeed found our missing brother. We owe you a debt of 
gratitude. Because you have done us this service, we 
insist on doing a month's free labour for you." 

So the shepherd, overjoyed with his good fortune, took 
the men home with him. 

Now, the shepherd's mother was a very old woman, in 



THE SEVEN WISE MEN OF BUNEYR 437 

her dotage, utterly feeble and unable to help herself. 
When the morning came he placed her under the care of 
one of the Buneyris, saying to him, " You will stay here 
and take care of my old mother." 

To another Buneyri he said, " You take out my goats, 
graze them on the hills by day, and watch over them by 
night." 

To the other five he said, " As for you, I shall have 
work for you to-morrow." 

The man who was left in charge of the old crippled 
mother found that his time was fully occupied in the 
constant endeavour to drive off the innumerable flies which 
in that hot season kept her in a state of continual ex- 
citement and irritation. When, however, he saw that all 
his efforts were fruitless, and that he flapped the wretches 
away in vain, he became desperate, and, lifting up a 
large stone, he aimed it deliberately at a certain fly which 
had settled on the woman's face. Hurling it with all his 
might, he of course missed the fly, but, alas ! he knocked 
the woman prone on her back. When the shepherd saw 
this he wrang his hands in despair. " Ah," cried he, 
"what has your stupidity done for me? The fly has 
escaped, but as for my poor old mother, you have killed 
her dead." 

Meanwhile, the second Buneyri led his flock of goats up 
and down among the hills, and when mid-day came he 
rested to eat his bread, while many of the assembled goats 
lay down beside him. As he was eating he began to 
observe how the goats were chewing the cud and occa- 
sionally looking at him. So he foolishly imagined that 
they were mocking him, and waxed wroth. " So," cried 
he, " because I am taking my food, you must needs crowd 
round and make game of me, must you?" And, seizing 
his hatchet, he made a sudden rush at the poor animals, 
and he had already struck off the heads of several of them, 
when the shepherd came running to the spot, bemoaning 
his bad luck and crying to the fellow to desist from 
slaughter. 

That night was a sorrowful one for the trustful shep- 
herd, and bitterly he repented his rashness. In the morn- 
ing the remaining five wise men of Buneyr came to him, 
and said, " It is now our turn. Give us some work to do, 
too!" 



438 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" No, no, my friends," answered he; "you have amply 
repaid me for the trifling favour I did for you in finding 
your missing companion ; and now, for God's sake, go 
your way and let me see you no more." 

Hearing these words, the wise men of Buneyr resumed 
their journey. 

Told, with the five following, at Ghazi, February 1878. 



LXXXVI 

OF THE FOOLISH QUACK 

ONE evening, as the sun was setting, some travellers 
stayed to rest under a clump of trees, and, loosing their 
camels, set them to graze. It happened that one of the 
animals entered a melon-field, and that a melon stuck in 
its throat. The owner, seeing this and fearing to lose the 
beast, tied a blanket round its throat, and then struck the 
place with the greatest violence. Instantly the melon 
broke in the throat of the camel, and it was then easily 
swallowed. 

A certain man w ; ho had just come up, looking on and 
observing this proceeding, shouldered his bundle, and, 
going to the next village, pretended that he was a doctor. 

;< But what can you cure?" asked the villagers. 

" 1 can cure the goitre," answered the quack. 

An old woman, whose throat was swollen to a frightful 
size, exclaimed, " O my son, if you would only cure my 
goitre, I would bless you for evermore!" 

"Certainly," answered the man; "here, bring me a 
blanket and a good-sized mallet." 

As soon as they were brought, he tied up the woman's 
throat, and struck the swollen part with so much force 
that the poor old creature instantly expired. 

" Ah," cried the people, " this fellow is a villain !" 

So they seized him, being minded to carry him before 
the King. One of them, however, said, " She was a very 
old woman, who must have died shortly in any case. Let 



OF THE FOOLISH, QUACK 439 

us therefore compel the wretch to dig her grave, and then 
we can beat him and let him go." So they took him and 
set him to work, but the ground was so stiff and hard 
that he made but slow progress. 

"If you do not dig it," said they, "before the King 
you shall go, and then you will be hanged." 

Thus exhorted, the unfortunate man, in the greatest 
fear, laboured away with all his might; and at last, when 
the villagers saw that he had finished his task and buried 
the victim of his mistaken treatment, they beat him well 
and let him go. 

Uninfluenced by the severity of his punishment, the 
man mounted his camel and went on to the next village, 
and again gave himself out as a great doctor. 

" And what can you cure?" said some. 

:< I can cure goitre," answered he. 

This time it wa's an old man who offered himself for 
treatment. But the pretended doctor said, " Look here, 
good people. I shall do my best to cure this case; but 
remember, if I am so unfortunate as to kill him, I am not 
to be compelled to dig the man's grave." 

"A pretty sort of doctor you must be!" cried they. 
" Before you begin your treatment, you are talking of 
digging the patient's grave ! Away with you ; we shall 
have nothing to do with you." 

Hearing this, the pretended doctor began to say to him- 
self, "What an extraordinary thing this is! My best 
plan surely is to return to the camel-men, and tell them 
they have not shown me the right way to cure this disease. 
Perhaps they will advise me." 

When he had overtaken them, he cried, " What foolish 
men you must be ! I met an old woman who suffered from 
goitre just like your camel ; and I tied a blanket round her 
neck and struck her with a mallet, but, instead of recover- 
ing like your camel, she died, and instead of getting a 
fee I was compelled to dig her grave !" 

"It is not we who are stupid," answered the camel- 
men, " but you. We are not stupid at all. These animals 
are camels of prodigious size and strength. How was a 
feeble old woman to stand the blow of a mallet? No; it 
is you, and you only, who are stupid." 

One of the men now stepped forward, saying to his 
friends, " You remain quiet, and leave this fellow to me." 



440 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Then, addressing himself to the newcomer, he cried, 
" Hear you, sir, these men do not understand the matter 
at all. I can set it all right for you in a minute." Saying 
this, he lifted a heavy stick, bound with iron rings, and 
struck a camel which was feeding off the leaves of a wild 
plum tree. The stolid creature, scarcely feeling the blow, 
merely moved a step or two forward. " You observe," 
said the man, "the effect of this treatment on the camel. 
Now observe its effect on a human being!" He then 
struck the man himself a similar blow, which felled him 
to the earth like a log. When consciousness returned, his 
bewildered victim inquired, " Why, sir, this cruel usage?" 

" Do you not perceive?" answered the camel-man. " I 
wished to show you that what is good for camels is not 
therefore good for poor old men and women." 

" Ah," said the wretched man, " I now begin to see my 
error. Never, never again shall I set myself up for a 
doctor!" 



LXXXVII 

OF THE CAMEL AND THE RAT 

A CERTAIN camel, having strayed from his owner, 
walking in unfrequented ways with his nose-string trailing 
upon the ground. As he went slowly along, a rat picked 
up the end of the string in his mouth, and trotted on in 
front of the huge animal, thinking all the time to himself, 
"What strength I must have to be leading a camel!" 
After a little time they came to a bank of a river which 
crossed the path, and there the rat stopped short. 

Said the camel, " Pray, sir, go on." 

"Nay," answered his companion, "the water is too 
deep for me." 

" Not at all," said the camel; " let me try the depth for 
you." 

Halting in the middle of the stream, the camel looked 



OF THE CROW AND ITS YOUNG 441 

round and cried, " You see, I was right the water is only 
knee-deep, so come along !" 

"Ah!" said the rat, "but there is a trifling difference 
between your knees and mine, don't you see ! Pray carry 
me over." 

"Confess your fault," replied the camel; "consent to 
acknowledge your pride, and promise to be humble-minded 
for the future, and I will carry you over in safety." 

To this request the rat gladly agreed, and so the two 
passed over. 



LXXXVIII 

OF THE CROW AND ITS YOUNG 

AN old mother-crow was once engaged in giving sound 
advice to her newly-fledged young ones. 

" Remember," said she, " your principal enemy will be 
man. Whenever you detect a man in the act of even 
stooping towards the ground as if for a stone, at once take 
wing and fly." 

" Very good," answered one of her precocious young- 
sters, " but what if the man happens to have a stone 
already in his hand ? Can you advise us as to how we 
shall proceed then?" 



442 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 




ONE Banerwal asked another, " If the Indus were set on 
fire where would the fishes go?" 

" They would get on the trees," said the other. 

Then said the first, "Are fishes like buffaloes, then, to 
climb up trees?" 



XC 

OF THE BANEYR MAN AND THE BOAT 

A COUNTRYMAN who had spent the whole of his life in 
the fastnesses of Baneyr, and had never seen the Indus, 
determined to perform a journey. Descending to the 
Yusafzai plains, he made his way to Attock, and, when he 
saw one of the large six-oared ferry-boats crossing with 
the flood to the opposite bank of the river, he cried, 
" What long legs that great creature has !" 



XCI 

THE STORY OF GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON 

GHtJL 

THERE was once a King by name Gholam who had an 
only son named Ghul. From his early years this young 
Prince was passionately devoted to the pleasures of the 



GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON GHUL 443 

field, and though now grown to manhood, his whole time 
was spent in hunting. The King, his father, could not 
behold such a condition of things as this without con- 
cern, and one day he called his ministers together and 
said to them, "It is time for my son to marry. Choose 
out a wife for him and let him settle." 

The ministers, however, chose in vain. The Prince 
continued to hunt, and though the King remonstrated 
with him every evening on his return from the chase, his 
remonstrances were all disregarded. " If you do not 
marry," said the King, " every one will say it is because 
no one will have you, and you will suffer in reputation 
accordingly." 

" But I do not want to marry," the Prince would 
answer, and so the matter would remain until the next 
day. 

One evening in the hot weather the young Prince, weary 
with hunting, was returning home, when he stopped to 
rest by a well. " Let me drink from your vessel," said he 
to one of the damsels who were drawing water. 

" O," answered saucily the young girl, "you are the 
Prince whom no one will marry!" 

Prince Ghiil was so angry when he heard this speech 
that he refused to accept the water which was offered to 
him, and, rising, he walked away. " When I get home," 
said he to himself, " I shall announce my intention to 
marry, but my wife shall be the girl who taunted me." 

Meeting an old woman, he asked of her, " Whose 
daughter is that?" 

" She is the daughter of Alim the blacksmith," 
answered the woman. 

" Whether a blacksmith's daughter or a king's," 
thought he, " it is she whom I shall marry." 

That evening his father again addressed him on the 
subject of marriage, and joyfully learnt that his son 
was willing to abide by his counsel and to marry. So he 
summoned his ministers once more, and bade them 
arrange for the marriage and to choose out some suitable 
lady. The ministers answered, " Name the King with 
whose house you desire an alliance, and we will set out 
for his court forthwith, and the Prince shall bring the 
bride home." 

But the Prince answered, " Nay, there is no need for 



444 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

you to look abroad. I have made my choice. I will 
marry Alim the blacksmith's daughter." 

Then was the old King filled with anger. " What," 
cried he, " is my nobility to be mated with people of low 
degree?" 

But the ministers craftily answered him, " What harm 
will it do? This is merely a young man's fancy. Let 
him have the girl, and meanwhile we will look out for 
another lady worthy of his rank." 

The King now consented to the match, and ordered his 
ministers to procure the blacksmith's daughter in marriage 
for Prince Ghul. When they went to the house the poor 
man held up his hands in dismay and said, " Why does 
the King ask where he can command? But, indeed, as 
he asks for her, I am by no means willing to part with 
her." 

This answer was reported to the King, \vho would 
brook no denial in the matter, and ordered that the black- 
smith should surrender his daughter within two months. 
But the daughter herself, who felt that she was not fitted 
for such a destiny, implored her father to petition the 
King to grant her relief for the space of one year. The 
petition was granted, and the King finally agreed that 
the girl should enjoy her freedom for one year more. 

"Alas," said she, "I am only a poor blacksmith's 
daughter ! What shall I do in order that people may feel 
respect for me when I am the wife of the Prince ? Let me 
see if I cannot test the wisdom of the King's counsellors 
themselves." Addressing her father, she said, " The water- 
melons in our little garden are as yet small. I shall make 
some large unburnt jars, and these I shall paint and 
enamel, and I will lay a water-melon in each, and when 
the fruit is full-grown I will challenge the King's minis- 
ters to take out the fruit without breaking the jars. And 
then we shall see whether kings and their ministers are 
better or wiser than poor folk." 

So the girl did as she proposed, and having made the 
earthen jars of unburnt clay, she painted them, and in 
each she laid a growing melon. When the melons were 
full-grown so as to fill the empty space, she sent two of 
the jars containing the melons to the King, and wrote a 
letter requesting that the ministers should be ordered to 
free the melons without breaking the vessels. This letter 



GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON GHUL 445 

the King read to his ministers, and commanded that they 
should display their wisdom accordingly. But the minis- 
ters tried in vain. For two or three days they felt the 
melons through the narrow necks of the vessels, and 
examined them carefully, but they had not the sense to 
perceive that the jars were formed of unbaked clay, which 
they could easily have discovered by sounding them. At 
last the King sent back the jars to the daughter of the 
blacksmith, saying, " There are no such wise people in 
the whole of my kingdom." 

The girl was delighted beyond measure when she re- 
ceived this news, and when she had taken the jars into her 
hands she said, " I now begin to understand what kings' 
courtiers are, and what kings are also." Sending to the 
palace, she requested permission to attend, and when she 
entered the presence of the King, she took a wet cloth and 
wrapped it round the jars until the clay was quite soft. 
She then stretched the necks and drew forth the melons, 
after which she restored the jars to their former shape. 
Handing them to the abashed ministers, she said, " A man 
is known by his words, and a vessel is known by its sound. 
As by sounding a vessel of clay you find out its true 
nature, so I have sounded you, and I find you wanting in 
sense, and now, when the year is over, the King's com- 
mands shall be obeyed." 

When the term of probation was nearly over, the black- 
smith wrote to the King a petition praying that, as his 
means were small, the guests to be entertained in his 
house should be few. The King answered, " Four hun- 
dred will attend from the court, and for these only I 
will myself be chargeable," and he sent him a sum of 
money. 

At last the day arrived and the guests assembled, but the 
blacksmith, finding the sum insufficient, said, " There is a 
great number of people here;" and he went to a certain 
nobleman and stated his difficulty. The nobleman advised 
him to keep the money as dower for his daughter, and to 
send it back with her to the King, and meanwhile he spoke 
to the court party, who all promised their assistance in 
entertaining the rest of the guests, and the feast passed 
off very well. 

When all was over, and the Prince and the girl were 
united in wedlock, the King's party returned to the palace, 



446 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

and the bride and her dower were taken home and she 
was lodged in the apartments reserved for her. 

When two or three days had passed by, Prince Ghul 
rose up early one morning, and, taking a whip, he lashed 
his new wife unmercifully. " This is what I owe you," 
said he, "for your taunt to me at the well." The girl 
bore the beating in silence. Every two or three days the 
same scene was enacted, the Prince with his own hands 
baring the shoulders of his unhappy wife and ill-using 
her. 

One morning, when he got up as usual to beat her, 
she said to him, " What glory do you gain by beating a 
poor working man's child? If you are a man, you will 
go and marry a king's daughter. Win her if you can, 
and beat her if you dare : but I am only the daughter of 
a blacksmith." 

On hearing this taunt, the Prince was so incensed that 
he dropped the whip and vowed never to enter the house 
again until he had married the daughter of a king. 

Now, there was a certain Princess, the daughter of a 
neighbouring King, whose beauty was justly celebrated, 
though she was said to be dumb, and she it was whom the 
Prince determined to marry. So he chose out a trusty 
slave and his best horse, and, having loaded several mules 
with jewels and presents of inestimable value, he set out 
one morning for the court of the King her father. March 
by march he travelled along, until at last he reached the 
kingdom, but in answer to his inquiries all he could learn 
from the inhabitants was that the Princess could not speak, 
and that every prince who came before her as a suitor had 
to consent to play chess with her, and that the penalties 
which she inflicted on his presumption when he lost the 
game were of the severest description. Nevertheless, 
Prince Ghul had so much vain confidence in his own 
powers that, nothing daunted, he sent forward his slave 
to announce his arrival to the Princess, and to request the 
honour of her hand in marriage. 

"It is necessary," answered the Princess, " that your 
master should understand the conditions. He must try 
his skill with me in three games of chess. If he lose the 
first, he forfeits his horse; if the second, his head is to be 
at my mercy; and if he loses the third, it shall be my 
right, if I choose, to make him a groom in my stables." 



GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON GHUL 447 

The Prince at once accepted these proposals, and the 
event was made known in the city by the sounding of a 
great drum. " Ah," said the people, when they heard the 
familiar sound, "another prince endowed with 'blind 
wisdom ' has come to play with the Princess, and he will 
lose, as all others have lost before him !" 

When the Prince arrived at the palace, he was admitted, 
and there he found the Princess seated on a rich carpet, 
while the chess-bo'ard lay on the carpet in front of her. 
The first game he lost, and the second, and the third. 
" Begone, presumptuous pretender," cried she, " and take 
your place with your predecessors; you are only fitted to 
groom my horses!" So the unfortunate claimant for her 
hand was led away and set to mind one of her horses. 

Some time had elapsed, when the blacksmith's daughter 
began to wonder at the continued absence of her lord, and 
she determined to follow him in order to learn his fate. 
So she disguised herself as a young nobleman, and very 
handsome she looked in her new attire when riding her 
beautiful steed. After a journey of many miles, she came 
to a river broad and deep, and, as she stood on the bank 
waiting for the ferry-boat, she observed a rat being carried 
down by the stream. " For God's sake," cried the drown- 
ing rat, " save me ! Help me, and I will help you !" 

The blacksmith's daughter said to herself, " No rat can 
possibly help me, yet I will certainly save you;" and she 
lowered the point of her lance to the water, and the rat, 
seizing it, climbed up to her and was saved. Taking the 
dripping creature in her hand, she placed it in safety on 
her saddle-bow. 

" Where are you going?" asked the rat. 

" I am going to the kingdom of the dumb Princess," 
answered she. 

" What is the use of your going there?" said the rat. 
" What will you gain? The Princess possesses a magic 
cat, and on the head of the magic cat there stands a 
magic light which renders her invisible, and enables her 
to mix up all the chessmen unperceived, so that the 
Princess's suitors invariably lose the game and are 
ruined." 

Hearing this, the blacksmith's daughter began to fondle 
and pet the rat, and to say to it, " Assist me, for I also 
would try my fortune with the Princess," while at the 



448 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

same time she felt that her husband had tried his fortune 
and had lost. 

Then the rat looked at her, and said, " Your hands and 
your feet are those of a woman, though your dress is that 
of a man. First, tell me truly, are you really a man, or 
am I lacking in wisdom?" 

Then she began to tell the creature all her history from 
beginning to end, and how she had set out in search of 
her husband, Prince Ghul. "And now," said she, "I 
want your assistance to recover my husband's liberty and 
to restore him to his rank and position." 

This was a rat which never forgot a kindness, but, on 
the contrary, always endeavoured to repay a benefactor 
tenfold. " You must take me with you," said he, " hidden 
in your clothing, and if you will follow my advice you 
will beat the Princess and you will attain your utmost 
desires." The rat then instructed her in the means of 
achieving a victory, and so at last in conversation of a 
pleasing description they approached the capital and there 
rested. 

The next day, when the blacksmith's daughter was 
admitted to the Princess's reception-room, she began by 
requesting that she might change places with her at the 
chess-board; and, as her request was granted, she secured 
the side on which the magic cat invariably entered the 
room. Then the game began ; but soon she perceived that 
the board was becoming confused, and that she was gradu- 
ally losing ground. Seeing this, she produced the rat, 
holding it the while firmly in her hand. Immediately she 
felt a sudden rush as of some animal, which, in fact, was 
the cat herself, which had that moment entered, and which 
in her eagerness to pounce on the rat had forgotten all 
about the game and her mistress's interests. The black- 
smith's daughter, though she could not see the cat, still 
struck at her with her hand, and the magic light fell to 
the floor. Poor pussy was now rendered perfectly visible, 
and, having been scared by the unexpected blow, she ran 
with hair erect out of the room. 

When the Princess perceived these untoward occur- 
rences, she trembled and lost heart, so that she was easily 
beaten, not only in the first game, but in the succeeding 
ones as well. 

At that moment the sound of the great drum was heard 



GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON GHUL 449 

reverberating through the city, and the inhabitants knew 
by that signal the result of the game. 

Now, there was one more condition attached to the 
wooing of this Princess, which she had the privilege of 
insisting upon before she could be compelled to surrender 
her hand. It was that her suitor should prevail upon 
her to speak three times before sunrise ; and it was ordained 
by a decree that each time she spoke the great drum should 
be sounded by an attendant slave, for the information of 
all the King's subjects. 

" You see," said the rat to the blacksmith's daughter, 
" the assistance I have rendered you has not been in vain. 
And now let us see if we cannot make this obstinate Prin- 
cess speak. Your sleeping places will not be divided even 
by a curtain. Keep me with you, and when you are both 
in bed, set me loose, and I will get on the Princess's bed, 
while you must coax her to speak." 

When they had retired and had lain down each on her 
own side of the apartment, the blacksmith's daughter in 
her feigned voice began, " Charming Princess, light and 
glory of my eyes, will you not speak to me?" 

The Princess vouchsafed not a word. But the rat, 
which was sitting by one of the legs of her bed, imitating 
the Princess's voice, exclaimed with the utmost tender- 
ness, " Dear Prince, sweet Prince, at your request I could 
speak on for ever ! ' ' 

When the Princess heard these dreadful words, she 
thought to herself, " This Prince is such a master of 
magic that he makes the very leg of my bed imitate my 
voice and answer for me." Then, shaking with rage, 
she cried to the inanimate wood, " To-morrow morning 
you shall be hacked off and burnt in the fire for disgracing 
your mistress." 

The instant these words were uttered by her, the atten- 
dant slave ran to the tower and sounded the drum, and all 
the people heard and wondered. At the same time the 
blacksmith's daughter cried joyfully, "Salaam Alaikim, 
to the leg of my charmer's bed !" to which the concealed 
rat replied, "To you also, my King, Alaikim salaam!" 

After a minute or two the blacksmith's daughter, again 

addressing the angry Princess, said in coaxing tones, 

" As I have to lodge under your roof to-night, O sweet 

Princess, pray tell me a story to send me to sleep !" The 

29 



450 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

rat, having moved away to another leg of the bed, imme- 
diately answered, " Shall I tell you what I have witnessed 
with my own eyes, or merely something which has hap- 
pened to me?" 

" The best story," replied the blacksmith's daughter, 
" would comprise both what you have seen and what has 
happened to you." 

" Very well," said the rat, " I will tell you what I have 
seen, heard, and encountered myself : In a certain city 
there lived a robber who used to rob on a large scale. 
Once upon a time, in order to carry on his tricks, he left 
his own country and went into another country, leaving 
his wife behind him. During his absence the woman was 
visited by a thief : now listen to me well, and do not fall 
asleep. This thief came and practised such deceit on her 
that she took him for her husband and admitted him to 
her house, her true husband having been a very long time 
away. At last the robber returned, and, finding the thief 
established in his home, he was astonished, saying to him- 
self, ' Has any kinsman of my wife's come to see her?' 
However, he salaamed and entered the door, when the 
thief exclaimed to him roughly, ' Sir, who are you ?' 

" ' This house is mine,' answered the robber; ' my wife 
lives here.' 

" ' Nay,' said the thief, 'the woman is not your wife, 
but mine. You must be some bad character, and I shall 
send at once for the police and have you well thrashed.' 

" The robber was astounded. ' Wife,' said he, ' do you 
not know me? I am your husband !' 

"'Nonsense, man,' replied the woman, 'this is my 
husband I never saw you before.' 

" ' This is a pretty thing !' cried the robber, and he was 
fain to sleep elsewhere. 

" In the morning all the neighbours assembled and 
welcomed the robber as an old friend; and to the wife 
they said, ' You have made a slight mistake; this is your 
real husband, the other fellow is not.' A regular fight 
ensued between the rival claimants, and they were carried 
off to the judge, when the woman settled the difficulty by 
saying, ' I am the wife of him who brings me home the 
most money.' 

t: Then said the thief to the robber, ' Who and what 
are you ?' 



GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON GHUL 451 

" ' I am a robber,' answered he; ' who are you?' 

" ' I am a thief,' said the other. 

" The thief, who would by no means relinquish the 
woman, now said, ' Listen to me. Let us make trial of 
our skill. First, show me what you can do, or, if you 
please, I will begin. I am a thief and a cheat. If 
you can do more in robbery than I can perform in 
deceit, the woman is yours; but if otherwise, she is 
mine.' 

"The thief then hired some fine clothing, got into a 
palanquin, and, going to a city, gave himself out to be a 
rich merchant. As he passed through the streets, he 
stopped at the door of a jeweller, who considered himself 
so honoured by a visit from one whose great fame had 
preceded him, that he rose up and made him a humble 
obeisance. 

" The pretended merchant, with a lordly air, now asked, 
' Have you any pearls for sale?' 

" ' Yes,' answered the jeweller. 

" ' Let me see the best you have,' said the thief. 

" The jeweller immediately produced a beautiful casket, 
which the thief opened, and found therein several strings 
of pearls, which he proceeded to examine. After a pause 
he gave back the casket, saying, ' These are not what ] 
require. I want pearls of a better quality than these. 
Have you no more ?' 

" The jeweller then brought out three or four other 
caskets, one of which the thief opened, and, while pretend- 
ing to examine the worth of the contents, he adroitly cut 
oft two strings of pearls, and, unseen by the owner, hid 
them in his sleeve. He then said, ' How many boxes of 
pearls do you possess of this description ?' 

" ' Altogether I have seven,' answered the jeweller. 

" ' You shall hear from me again,' replied the thief, 
and, getting up, he went at once to the King, who was 
sitting in court, and paid his respects. 

" ' Well, merchant,' said the King, 'how has it fared 
with you since coming to my capital ?' 

" ' O King,' answered the thief, ' I have been robbed of 
seven boxes of pearls of the greatest value, and, according 
to information which I have received, they are in the hands 
of a certain jeweller.' 

" Immediately the King gave the thief a guard, and 



452 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

ordered that the jeweller's shop should be at once closed 
and the unfortunate man arrested. 

" On their arrival at the shop, the thief pointed out the 
box out of which he himself had stolen the pearls, and 
said to the guard, ' All my caskets were like that one.' 
The soldiers hereupon took the box and the jeweller back 
to the King, to whom the thief said, ' O King, this casket 
is mine.' But the jeweller protested, ' Nay, your High- 
ness, this casket is not his property, but mine.' 

"' If it is yours,' replied the thief, ' tell the King how 
many strings of pearls it contains.' 

" ' It contains one hundred,' at once said the jeweller. 

" ' No, no,' said the thief, ' not one hundred, but ninety- 
eight.' 

" ' Let the strings be counted,' commanded the King. 

" This order was accordingly obeyed, when it was found, 
to the satisfaction of the court, that the thief had spoken 
truly. ' The whole of my pearl-caskets,' said the thief, 
1 have been stolen from me, and are now unlawfully held 
by this jeweller. If this casket had not been mine, how 
could I have known the number of strings contained in 
it?' 

" ' True,' said the King, ' the casket is evidently yours.' 
And he ordered the other caskets also to be delivered to 
him, but the jeweller was beaten with rods and cast into a 
prison. 

" The robber, who had witnessed the whole of this 
knavery on the part of the thief, was amazed, and how to 
overreach such matchless impudence he was puzzled to 
say. However, he now joined him, and both the rogues 
went together to the woman's house and related the story. 

"Now," cried the rat, "you must understand that the 
father of wisdom, who handed over these pearls to a 
common swindler and cheat, is also the father of this 
adorable Princess. That is what I saw and what I heard, 
and so I have told you." 

The Princess was so enraged at hearing these conclud- 
ing words that, being quite unable to restrain herself, she 
cried out to the leg of the bed, " When the morning comes 
you shall be cut off too, and thrown into the fire with your 
lying brother !" 

Hardly had she spoken when the great drum was heard 
to resound for the second time, and all the people remarked 



GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON GHUL 453 

it. " Salaam Alaikim !" cried the blacksmith's daughter, 
laughing. "Alaikim salaam!" answered the rat. 

Some little time now passed by, when the blacksmith's 
daughter again broke silence. 

" Delightful creature and most charming Princess," said 
she, "you have regaled me with an excellent story. But 
the night is long and tedious. Pray tell me another." 

The rat, who had moved his position to the third leg of 
the bed, answered, " Good, I will tell you what I saw with 
my eyes and heard with my ears. My former story was 
all about the thief. You shall now hear the adventure of 
the robber. 

" It was the next day that the robber said to the thief, 
' It is now my turn. It is necessary, however, that you 
promise not to open your mouth to say a single word, since 
I kept strict silence with you. Otherwise you lose the 
prize.' 

" To this condition the thief agreed, and both started 
once more and travelled to the same town. For some time 
the robber cudgelled his brains to no purpose for some 
device by which to surpass the thief. ' I must contrive 
some scheme,' thought he, ' to have the thief imprisoned 
and his gains transferred to myself.' On inquiry he learnt 
that the King was in the habit of sleeping on the roof 
of his palace, which was built in a pleasant place by the 
river-side. Said he to the thief, ' You must of course 
attend me as I attended you, and be a silent witness of my 
work.' 

" Taking some iron pegs with him, the robber went to 
the palace, and, by fixing the pegs in the joints of the 
masonry one by one, he managed to climb to the roof. 
When he got to the top he perceived that the King was 
asleep, and that he was attended by a single guard who 
was pacing up and down. Watching his opportunity, he 
cut down the guard and threw his body into the river. 
Then taking up the musket, he assumed the sentry's func- 
tions, and begun pacing backwards and forwards, while 
the thief sat down at a distance and looked on. 

" After a short time the King stirred, and cried, 
'Sentry!' 

' Here I am, sir,' answered the robber. 

" ' Come near to me,' said the King, ' and sit down, and 
tell me a story, that my soul may rejoice.' 



454 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" So the robber approached the monarch, and, sitting 
down as he was directed, he told him the story of the 
jeweller, the thief, and the pearls. As the story progressed 
the thief began to tremble with fright, and made repeated 
signs to the robber to change the subject, or at least not 
to divulge his name or to betray him ; but the robber pre- 
tended not to notice him, and went on with his tale. Then 
suddenly breaking off, he began to tell the King his own 
story, and how by means of iron pegs he had scaled the 
palace roof and killed his sentry. 

"'Good heavens!' cried the King, looking round in 
consternation. ' Who are you? Tell me this instant!' 

" ' Sire,' answered the robber, ' be not alarmed I am 
the robber.' 

"'And where is my sentry?' asked the perplexed 
monarch. 

" ' I have just thrown his lifeless body into the river,' 
said the robber. 

" The King was greatly alarmed. ' And yet,' thought 
he, ' this scoundrel might also have cut me down and 
disposed of me in the same w r ay, and he didn't ! He must 
be a good sort of fellow.' This consideration relieved the 
King's mind. ' Come near to me,' then said he aloud. 

" ' But,' replied the robber, ' I was telling your majesty 
the story of a thief. This person, you must know, now 
standing behind you, is the very thief in question, and the 
jeweller is innocent of any crime.' Saying these words, 
he led the thief forward by the ear. 

" Morning now dawning, some attendants appeared, the 
thief was seized, and in due time the jeweller was released 
out of prison. Then the King, sitting on his judgment 
seat, gave orders that the pearls should be divided equally 
between the robber and the jeweller, and that the thief 
should be blown away from a gun. After this the robber 
joyfully returned home to his wife and took possession of 
his house. 

" And now," continued the rat, " all I have to add is that 
the father of wisdom who rewards robbers with the property 
of other people is also the father of this charming lady." 

Hearing these words, the Princess became more angry 
than ever, and cried, " O lying spirit, when morning 
comes I will burn you too !" 

Then sounded the drum for the third and last time, and 



GHOLAM BADSHAH AND HIS SON GHUL 455 

the people of the city heard it, and, turning in their beds, 
said to their children, "To-morrow the Princess will be 
married." 

"Salaam Alaikim!" said the blacksmith's daughter. 

" Alaikim salaam!" answered the rat, after which the 
two friends parted, the rat going his own way, while his 
benefactress closed her eyes and slept. 

The next morning the whole city was astir, eager for 
news of the Princess's wedding, and by common consent 
there was universal holiday. The blacksmith's daughter 
rose betimes, and, dressing herself with the utmost care, 
she went out to the stables, and there she saw her husband, 
Prince Ghul, in the costume of a groom, rubbing down a 
horse with curry-comb and brush. She gazed at him very 
tenderly for a moment, while a tear came into her eye, but 
she hastily recovered herself, and returned to the palace. 
The whole day was devoted to feastings, games, and rejoic- 
ings; and by-and-by the priest came, and in the midst of 
the assembled dignitaries of the court the blacksmith's 
daughter and the Princess were united in marriage accord- 
ing to the forms in vogue among Muhammadans. When 
the ceremony was over the sham bridegroom addressed her 
bride and said, " I have fairly won you in spite of every 
difficulty, and now it is my will that for six months you 
are not to enter my chamber." 

The wisdom of the pretended Prince was so great that 
her father-in-law paid her the greatest possible respect and 
consulted her in all affairs of state, and her manners and 
speech were so charming that she won all hearts. One of 
her earliest acts of grace was to petition the King to release 
all the unfortunate Princes who were engaged in menial 
attendance on her wife's horses, and to permit them to 
return to their homes. Her request was granted; but as 
she herself bore the order, she was careful while dismiss- 
ing all the rest to except her own husband, and on him 
she laid her commands to bring to her his horse every 
morning saddled and bridled, and to attend her on her 
expeditions. Prince Ghul, noticing all his companions 
restored to their liberty, could scarcely on these occasions 
forbear crying with vexation and disappointment as he said 
to himself, " I alone am left in slavery!" 

After many days the blacksmith's daughter went to the 
King, and said, "O King, a favour! Give me leave to 



456 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

visit my own country and my own kindred." Her prayer 
was granted, and she was provided with an escort of 
horsemen, and with every comfort for the journey both 
for herself and for the Princess. Then she ordered Prince 
Ghul never to leave her horse's side, and over him she set 
guards lest he should attempt to escape. 

After several marches had been accomplished the Prince 
said to himself, " I perceive that we are going to my own 
country. Alas ! what would the blacksmith's daughter say 
if she saw me in such a plight as this?" 

When the cavalcade came within two or three marches 
of the capital, and had halted for the night, the black- 
smith's daughter sent for her husband, and said to him, 
" I have now urgent business on hand, the nature of which 
I cannot communicate. It is enough that I require a dis- 
guise. Do you give me your groom's clothing, and, 
accepting some of mine in its place, represent me in my 
absence. Halt here for a month. In a short time I shall 
see you again." 

The Prince, wondering at her request, obeyed, and 
assumed the dress of his supposed master. But she, hav- 
ing received his groom's clothing from a trusty attendant, 
together with his curry-comb and brush, locked them all 
up in a box, and, taking them with her, stole off in the 
darkness to her father's house. 

A day or two having elapsed, and the blacksmith's 
daughter not returning, Prince Ghul said, " This Prince 
bade me to remain here for a month with the Princess and 
her retinue. My father is a powerful King, and his capital 
is near. Why should I not carry off the Princess to my 
own home and swear that I won her?" So that night he 
gave order accordingly, and on the third day he arrived at 
his father's palace. He entered in triumph, and proclama- 
tion was made everywhere that Prince Ghul had returned, 
and that he had won the famous dumb Princess; and when 
the people saw him riding through the street by the side 
of his father, who had gone forth with troops to escort 
him in, every house resounded with acclamations. 

The next day Prince Ghul sent a message to the house 
of the blacksmith, and ordered him to send his daughter 
to the palace. As soon as she appeared, he said to her, 
" Oh, you taunted me about this Princess, did you ? Now 
what have you to say? Have I not won her?" 



LAL BADSHAH AND THE TWO PRINCESSES 457 

" Did you win her," quietly answered she, " or did I ?" 

" I did," protested he. 

" Nay, I did," replied the girl. 

She then stamped her little foot, and a servant brought 
in a box. When the company had been ordered to retire 
she unlocked the box, and took from it the old curry-comb, 
the brush, and the old suit of groom's clothes. Holding 
them up before the Prince, she asked, " Whose are these 
yours or mine?" 

The Prince was confounded, and for a moment he could 
not speak. He then stammered, " They are mine !" 

" Did you, then, win the Princess," demanded she, " or 
did I?" 

"You did," answered he. 

" Ah," said the blacksmith's daughter, " if you with 
your father's ministers were not able even to tell the secret 
of the earthen jars, how could you possibly have won the 
dumb Princess? But now take her, and marry her, and 
let us all be happy at last." 

Told at Hdji Shah, November 1879. 



XCII 

THE STORY OF LAL BADSHAH AND THE TWO LITTLE 

PRINCESSES 

THERE was once a king, not Lai Badshah, but another, 
whose wife died, leaving him with two beautiful little 
daughters. 

After a time, as he had no son to be his heir, his vizier 
said to him, " O King, it is right that you should marry 
again, so that your people may not be left without a 
Prince to rule over them hereafter." With this advice 
the King complied, and he brought to his palace a second 
wife. But she was of a morose and cruel disposition. She 
hated the two little Princesses, and starved them, and, in 
short, she acted the stepmother to the life. 

These little girls, in their unhappiness, used to go out 



458 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

hand-in-hand, and sit and pray by their dead mother's 
grave; and to their simple minds it did not seem at all 
strange that, when they had said their prayers, they should 
find by the grave a dish of food, which they always partook 
of. Day by day at their mother's grave they found a 
meal, and they said that God had sent it to them. 

But the stepmother had a cat, and this cat took it into 
her head to follow the Princesses whenever they went to 
the grave, and the Princesses took notice of her and fed 
her with scraps. 

One day the Queen was eyeing the children, and think- 
ing to herself, " I give them only bran bread, and very 
little of that; how is it they are so fat?" Then the cat, 
who divined her thoughts, said, " The Princesses visit 
their mother's grave every day, and their mother feeds 
them. That is the reason they look so plump." 

When the Queen heard this, she turned so sick with 
spite and vexation that in a day or two she had to take 
to her bed. But she pretended to be worse than she was, 
and at last she persuaded the King that she was at the 
point of death. 

The King was greatly concerned, and said to her, " Can 
nothing be done for you ?" This was just what the wicked 
woman wanted ; so she answered, ' ' I shall never recover 
until you have dug up the bones of your former wife and 
scattered them over the earth." 

The King was very sorry, but to save her life he con- 
sented to do it, and his first wife's bones were taken up 
and scattered, and the stepmother then became quite w : ell 
again all at once. 

The two little girls now conferred together as to what 
they should do next. " What now?" asked the little one 
of the elder. Her sister answered, " We must trust in 
God. What is to be is to be, and our destiny must be 
fulfilled." 

Now, though their mother's bones had been taken away, 
these two children continued their visits to the grave as 
before. Soon they observed a beautiful tree growing out 
of it, which bore delicious fruit; and, as they constantly 
ate of it, they were never hungry. One day, however, the 
cat followed them again, and when they saw her coming, 
the elder said, " Hide your fruit !" 

" Nay," said the younger; " let me give her one plum." 



LAL BADSHAH AND THE TWO PRINCESSES 459 

" If you do," said the other, " she will know, and will 
tell the Queen." 

So they hid their fruit, but one plum fell to the ground 
by accident; and when the cat saw it, she pounced upon 
it, and, putting it in her ear, took it away to show it to the 
Queen. 

Then this wretched Queen fell sick again, and, going 
through the same pretence as before, she said to the foolish 
King, " I shall never be well until you cut down the tree 
which grows out of your first wife's grave and throw it into 
the fire." 

The King therefore gave his orders, and the tree was 
removed root and branch, and they made a fire and burnt 
it up. 

The Queen, however, was not satisfied even then. Her 
hatred of the Princesses increased, and she could no longer 
bear the sight of them : so, with first one reason and then 
another, she persuaded her husband to take them far away 
into the desert or into the forest, and to abandon them to 
their fate. 

Early in the morning the King set out with his two little 
girls, and when he came to a lonely spot, he said to them, 
" Children, gather the pretty flowers and play and amuse 
yourselves, while I go down to that brook and wash my 
turban." Even kings were not above doing for them- 
selves in those days, but this time the King only spoke to 
deceive. 

Going to the brook, he set up an empty jar on the top 
of a long stick, and put a cloth over it, and the blowing 
of the wind made the side of the jar knock and knock 
against the stick, so that the children, when at intervals 
they heard the sound of the jar, believed it was their father 
who was washing his turban on the stones, after the 
manner of the country. At last, however, the day wore 
away, and it began to get late. Then they sought the 
brook to rejoin their father, but he, alas, was nowhere to 
be seen, and they called and called his name in vain. 

The little girls were so distressed to find themselves for- 
saken and alone in the middle of the wilderness that they 
sat down and cried for a good hour. " O what now 
shall we do?" cried the younger one. Looking up, they 
saw a lofty rock towering over the trees, and they climbed 
to the top of it, and gazed all round. Then they saw some 



460 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

smoke rising up far in the distance, and, descending, they 
set out in the twilight to seek for it. 

Before very long they arrived in front of a gloomy 
castle, where they found an old woman of great stature 
sitting before the door and blinking at the stars. She was 
an ogress, but she had the heart of a human being; and 
when she saw the children, she, being a woman, felt pity 
for them, and said, "Poor things! my son is a man- 
eater, and when he comes home he will eat you both 
up!" 

" O hide us somewhere !" cried they. 

Then the ogress took them up and turned them both into 
flies, and, when she had stuck pins into them, she fastened 
them to the wall. 

Hardly had she done so, when, with a great roar, the 
ogre returned from the jungle. " O, O," cried he 

" ' I smell man's flesh, 
I smell man's blood ! ' " 

"My son," said his mother, "there is no man here. 
There is no one but you and me only." 

Then he sat down to his hog's flesh and his wine, and 
fell fast asleep. 

In the morning early, after the ogre had gone out as 
usual, the old ogress pulled out the pins, and turned the 
children into their proper shapes. " Get away," said she, 
"as fast as you can; you will be getting me into trouble, 
too." 

Right glad were the children to escape from that dread- 
ful place, and they hastened away as fast as they could 
run. At last they came, towards evening, to a most 
pleasant spot, where there was an immense tree full of 
shade. In this tree they both passed the night, feeling 
thankful that they were safe from wild beasts and ogres. 

The next day the elder sister remained in the tree sewing 
with silk, but the younger got down and went into the 
forest and collected some deer, which willingly followed 
her everywhere. So the two sisters lived on deer's milk 
and berries, and, as each had her own occupation, they 
passed a pleasant time. 

One day the elder gave the younger sister a flower, and 
said to her, " Sister, you go out every day, and while you 
are away something might happen. When this flower 



LAL BADSHAH AND THE TWO PRINCESSES 461 

fades you will know that I am in trouble, and when I drop 
my needle I shall know that you are in trouble." 

Some time after this it happened that a King, named 
Lai Badshah, with all his retinue, came out hunting in that 
very forest, out after a long day's chase he succeeded in 
shooting only a single partridge. As he was hungry, he 
said to his minister, " Vizier, go see, there is smoke! 
cook this partridge for me, and bring it back." 

So the vizier took the partridge and began to cook it 
over the fire, to which he was easily guided by the smoke. 
But it was the fire of the two Princesses, the younger of 
whom was still in the forest. As the vizier was cooking 
the partridge he happened to look up, and he saw the elder 
sister in the tree. The sight of her so astonished him 
that, instead of attending to his duty, he kept staring at 
her, wondering who and what she could be, and so the 
partridge got burnt. 

When the vizier perceived that the bird was spoilt, he 
began to mutter in great distress, being quite in despair, 
fearing the King's anger. Then the Princess said to him, 
"Why are you crying?" 

" Because," answered he, "I have burnt the King's 
partridge." 

" If you will make a solemn promise of secrecy," said 
she, " I will help you." 

The vizier faithfully promised, and the Princess, 
descending, made up a delicious dish of partridge and 
deer's milk, and sent it to the King. 

The King was quite delighted, and he said to his 
minister, "Vizier, who cooked this partridge?" 

" I cooked it," answered he. 
4 Who cooked this partridge?" repeated the King. 

" I cooked it," repeated the vizier. 
'Who cooked this partridge?" once more cried the 
King. 

' I cooked it," once more replied the vizier. 

"Bury him alive!" screamed the King. 

Some of the guard came forward, and, digging a great 
hole, they thrust in the unlucky vizier, and began to throw 
the earth over him. When he was buried as high as the 
neck, the King asked him once more, " Who cooked this 
partridge?" and still the vizier answered, "I cooked 
it." 



462 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" This is a very obstinate fellow," said the King. "In 
with the earth !"" 

When he was buried to the mouth, the King for the last 
time asked him, " Who cooked this partridge?" 

' Take me out, take me out," cried the vizier, "and I 
will confess." 

So he was released from his grave, and then he told the 
King the whole story. 

Lai Badshah was astonished beyond measure when he 
heard that a beautiful young Princess was living in a tree. 
Nor was it long before he visited her, when he was so 
struck with her great beauty and refined manners that he 
married her there and then, and carried her off on his 
horse. 

The poor girl would have been better pleased if she had 
been allowed to remain in the tree, and, as she thought of 
her absent sister, she became very sorrowful. Fortunately, 
she had a bag of mustard-seed, which she took with her, 
and as she rode along she dropped the seed on the ground 
to mark the way. 

The younger sister was some distance off, when she 
suddenly observed that her flower began to fade. So she 
hastened back as fast as she could ; but she was too late : 
her sister had gone. " Alas !" cried she, " what new mis- 
fortune is this? Where can my sister be?" She then 
noticed the mustard-seed, and perceived that it was a track 
leading into the forest. Instantly -she decided to follow 
it, and, with her deer gambolling about her, she at once 
set out. 

The track led her to a fine city, where she heard that her 
sister was now the most favoured Queen in the King's 
palace. Resolving to remain in that place, in the hope 
that she might some day be able to communicate with her, 
the younger sister made herself a little wicker cabin on an 
ancient mound, past which flowed a brook, just outside of 
the city gates. Here she dwelt, by day taking out her deer 
to graze, and by night sleeping with them in the cabin. 

The elder sister, however, though she was so beloved by 
the King, was hated by all her rivals. They were jealous 
of her power and of her superior beauty. And when, in 
the course of time, the poor Queen had a baby, they stole 
it and threw it out of the city, close to the old mound, and 
instead of it they placed by her bed a basket of charcoal. 



LAL BADSHAH AND THE TWO PRINCESSES 463 

Having done this, they went to the King, and said, " This 
new Queen of yours has been brought to bed. But, in- 
stead of a baby, she has given birth to a basket of char- 
coal." Naturally, the King was very angry, and he 
ordered his young wife to be cast into a dungeon. 

It so happened that the poor little outcast infant was 
rescued by its aunt, the younger sister, and as the story of 
the Queen's disgrace was soon bruited abroad, she easily 
recognized the child as the King's. So she took to it, 
showering on it the greatest affection, and nursing it with 
deer's milk. 

Some time elapsed, and the child had grown into a hand- 
some little lad of four or five years, when the aunt observed 
that the King frequently rode out past the mound, and that 
he sometimes stopped to water his horse at the brook. So 
she made for the little Prince a wooden horse as a play- 
thing, and she told him to look out for the King. 
" Y/henever," said she, " the King stops to water his 
horse, do you water your horse, too, and say, ' Drink, O 
horse!' " 

The child was quite charmed with his new toy, and 
already imagined himself a gallant knight charging his 
enemies. When the King came to the brook, as usual he 
stopped to give his horse some water, and the Prince, 
seeing him, pranced down to the brook, too, and cried, 
"Drink, O horse!" 

"Silly boy," said the King to him, "can a wooden 
horse drink?" 

In the evening the child reported all this to his aunt 
how the King had come, and what he had said. " To- 
morrow," said she, " you must do exactly the same thing, 
and to the King's question you are to answer, ' But, O 
King, did a, woman ever give birth to a basket of 
charcoal ?' ' 

The next day Lai Badshah was again watering his 
horse at the brook, and by his side the little Prince was 
watering his, saying, " Drink, O horse!" 

" Foolish boy," said the King, " how can a wooden 
horse drink water?" 

" And, O King," answered the child, " how can a 
woman bring forth a basket of charcoal?" 

This answer quite startled the King. " Now, what can 
be the meaning of this?" he said; and, noticing that the 



464 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

little boy entered the wicker cabin, he approached it, and, 
dismounting, went behind it to listen. He then heard 
the aunt saying, " Did you repeat to the King what I 
told you?" And the boy answered, "Yes," and related 
all that had happened. Then said the aunt, " Lai Bad- 
shah can by no means be a wise King, or else from your 
answer he would have guessed the truth." 

On hearing these words, the King approached the door, 
and the aunt at once rose up to pay him respect. " This 
boy of yours," said he, " has just given me a most 
mysterious answer. What does it mean?" 

So the aunt told him the whole history of her life and 
of her sister's life, and revealed to him the secret of the 
boy's birth. Never was the King so pleased in the whole 
course of his life. He acknowledged his son as heir to 
his empire, he restored his injured Queen to her position 
and rank, and he amply provided for her younger sister. 
And so, after many misfortunes, the two sisters, who loved 
each other so truly, were united once more, and lived 
happily ever after. 

Told at Torbela, July 1880. 



XCIII 
STORY OF PRINCE BAIRAM AND THE FAIRY BRIDE 

ONCE upon a time the king of the giants from the moun- 
tains of Koh Kaf came to visit the kingdoms of men. His 
name was Safeyd. As he was wandering over the earth 
he entered a forest, and there he saw a merry company 
of huntsmen chasing the deer. Their leader was a young 
prince named Bairam, and the beauty of this youth was 
so striking and so unusual that the giant Safeyd felt that 
he loved him, and that he would never again know happi- 
ness or contentment unless he became possessed of him. 
So he turned himself into a fine horse, with a skin like 
snow and a neigh like thunder, and in that form repeatedly 
crossed the path of the Prince to attract his attention. 



PRINCE BAIRAM AND THE FAIRY BRIDE 465 

The Prince was enchanted when he saw so noble a steed, 
and gave orders that he should be caught. Safeyd was 
only too glad to permit himself to be saddled and bridled, 
and to suffer the Prince of whom he was enamoured to 
vault on to his back. No sooner did he feel him safely 
seated, however, than he galloped away, and never stopped 
until he had arrived at his own palace in the mountains 
which girdle the earth. There he heaped on him every 
favour, loaded him with gold and precious stones, gave 
him splendid steeds and hundreds of attendants, clothed 
him in the richest apparel, and lodged him in a magnificent 
palace. 

After eight days the giant Safeyd came to Bairam and 
said, " I shall now leave you for eight days. I must go to 
my brother's wedding. You, however, will remain here; 
but take this key, which will admit you into an inner 
garden, which hitherto no one has entered but myself. 
When you go, go alone, and remember to lock the door 
again when you return." So the giant gave the Prince 
the key, and at once set off for the kingdom of his brother. 

That very evening Bairam went to the garden, which 
surpassed all he had ever imagined. There stood within 
it a wonderful pavilion of jasper, set with precious stones ; 
fountains played on all sides, and the trees, instead of 
fruit, were laden with rubies, emeralds and sapphires. 
Sitting down, he watched the fountains throwing up 
golden spray, and the reflections mirrored in the beautiful 
pools. Just then four milk-white doves flew on to a tree, 
and then settled in the shape of four fairies by the edge 
of a tank of clear crystal water. Their beauty seemed to 
dazzle his eyes. Having unrobed, they entered the water 
and began to bathe; and as they were bathing one of them 
said to the others, " I have had a dream, and by my 
dream I can tell that one of us shall be parted from the 
rest." They then stepped one by one out of the water 
and began to dress; but the most beautiful fairy of all 
could not find her clothes. Meanwhile, the others, having 
finished dressing, turned once more into milk-white doves 
and flew away, the fourth fairy, whose name was Ghulab 
Bano, exclaiming as she bade them farewell, "It is my 
kismet. Some different destiny awaits me here, and we 
shall never meet again." She then looked towards the 
steps and saw the Prince. At once her heart escaped 
30 



466 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

from her body, and she fell in love with him. Now, it 
was the Prince himself who had stolen the fairy's clothes 
and hidden them, and, as he knew that if she recovered 
them she would change into a milk-white dove again, he 
now brought out another suit, and she clothed herself, and 
the two lovers remained in the garden. 

When eight days had passed the giant Safeyd returned 
once more to his house. And when Bairam saw the huge 
chains which encircled his waist he began to tremble with 
fear; but the giant reassured him, saying, "Fear not; 
are you not master of all I possess ?" and he ordered music 
to play and dancing girls to assemble in numbers to 
beguile and cheer his spirits, but they were all invisible. 

" Do you see them?" asked the giant. 

"No," answered the Prince; "I see nothing, but I 
hear the music and the tinkling of anklets." 

" I will give you some of King Solomon's antimony," 
said the giant. " Touch your eyes with it." 

And when Prince Bairam had touched his eyes with 
King Solomon's antimony he saw the whole place filled 
with troops of exquisite damsels, dancing to the music of 
viol and drum. 

Now, the beautiful fairy whom the Prince had captured 
in the garden was one of the wives of the giant, and the 
giant knew all that had passed. But his love for Bairam 
was so great that he said to him, " Take not only Ghulab 
Bano, but all I possess you can take as well." 

One day the fairy grew sad and said, " Give me leave 
to visit my father and mother and to return." So the 
Prince brought out her fairy clothes, and she changed 
into a milk-white dove and away she flew. But her 
parents, when they heard the news, were angry that she 
had married a mortal, arid they imprisoned her in a gloomy 
subterranean city. Therefore she did not return ; and 
as time went on and still she came not, Prince Bairam 
began to pine and droop from sorrow, and for his sake, 
too, the giant grew sad and melancholy. At last the 
Prince cried, " I must follow her, and never come back 
till I find her." 

"Are you quite resolved to go?" asked the giant. 

" I can no longer live," said he, "without her." 

Then the giant gave him three things; his invisible cap, 
some of King Solomon's antimony, and one of his own 



PRINCE BAIRAM AND THE FAIRY BRIDE 467 

hairs. So the Prince set out, and after many days he 
came to the subterranean city. But because it was all 
in darkness, and he could not see his way, he rubbed hi*s 
eyes with the antimony, which made everything plain and 
clear before him. Then he inquired, and found that the 
fairy Ghulab Bano was imprisoned in a lofty tower of one 
hundred iron doors. And when he found himself before 
the tower he put on his magic cap, which rendered him 
invisible, and which also compelled all the doors to fly 
wide open. He then entered, and when he saw the fairy 
Princess he took off his cap and rushed into her arms, and 
with her he remained for many days. 

A woman can never keep a secret. 1 It was not long 
before Ghulab Bano began to whisper to some of her 
favourite maids, and to tell her intimate friends the good 
fortune which had smiled on her in the midst of her banish- 
ment. Then the news spread until it reached the ears 
of her father. He collected his giants together, and, going 
to the tower, they found the Prince with the Princess. 
They were horrified, and cried, " Come, let us kill him !" 
Immediately the Prince awoke, and, seeing his peril, he 
put on his magic cap, which made him invisible. Then 
he took the giant Safeyd's hair, and held it in the flame 
of the lamp ; and as the smoke rose a thousand squadrons 
of giants at once assembled. There was a great battle, 
the enemy was routed, and the enraged father compelled 
to surrender his daughter to Prince Bairam. After this 
Safeyd and the Prince and the fairy returned in triumph 
to their beautiful home. 

By-and-by, when some years had now elapsed, the 
Prince began to long for his own kingdom, and his long- 
ing grew so great that at last he determined to go. The 
giant became very sad, but on account of his love for him 
he allowed him leave. Then Ghulab Bano changed her- 
self into an enormous bird, and the Prince mounted 
between her wings, and in a moment they alighted close 
to the capital. There the Prince disguised himself as a 
poor fakir, while his wife became a milk-white dove. Then 
he entered the city and called on his old nurse, who at 
once recognized him, and told him that his vizier had seized 
the kingdom and was reigning in his stead. 

1 This sentence rs literally translated, and reflects the views of the 
Panjabis. 



468 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

" And where are my wives?" asked Bairam. 

" Three of your wives," answered she, " he took to be 
His wives; but the fourth defied him, and because of her 
fidelity he imprisoned her in a pit. There a son was 
born, and there the mother and the babe still remain, and 
he feeds them with the leavings of his hounds." 

For a time the Prince lodged with his nurse, the fairy 
having resumed her own shape, but one day when he was 
out news was taken to the false King that a woman sur- 
passing in beauty all the women of the earth had been 
seen at the house of the old woman. So the false King 
rushed to the spot, seized Ghulab Bano by the arm, and 
cried, "Come along with me!" 

"O King," answered she, "let me first go in and 
change my clothes." 

So she left him waiting at the door, but having entered 
her chamber, she put on her fairy suit, and, at once 
changing into a milk-white dove, flew out of the window, 
and sped far away, but the false King went back to the 
palace vexed and defeated. 

When Bairam returned, the first thing he said was, 
" Where is my wife?" 

" She has gone to the vizier's," said the woman. " He 
came and carried her off." 

So the Prince took out the giant's hair and held it again 
in the flame, when instantly there rushed to his help 
thousands of giants with clubs and swords, and the city 
was taken, the vizier and the three false wives were 
slaughtered, while the faithful wife was delivered from 
the pit and restored to the palace as queen once more. 
With her Prince Bairam lived for some time, being always 
kind and good to her; but he sighed for the fairy Prin- 
cess, who had flown back to her father's house and had 
never returned. By degrees his melancholy increased more 
and more, until, becoming mad, he wandered about the 
city and the palace and the forest, seeking in vain for 
his lost love. 

Meanwhile the giant Safeyd grew melancholy also, and 
at last he could bear his grief no longer. So he set out 
for the kingdom of his friend Bairam, and, having found 
him, he carried him away and restored him again to his 
fairy queen. With her he recovered his health, and his 
whole after-life was spent in happiness and delight, some- 



OF THE SILLY WEAVER-GIRL 469 

times with Ghulab Bano among the mountains of Koh 
Kaf, and sometimes with his faithful wife in the capital 
of his own kingdom. But at last he left his wife for good 
and never returned again. 



XCIV 

OF THE SILLY WEAVER-GIRL 

A CERTAIN quarter of a village was inhabited only by 
weavers. One day a fine young weaver-girl was sweep- 
ing out the house, and as she swept she said to herself, 
" My father and mother, and all my relations, belong to 
this village. It would be a good thing if I married in this 
village, and settled here too, so that we should always 
be together. But," continued she, " if I did marry here, 
and had a son, and if my son were to sicken and die, 
oh, how my aunts, my sisters, and my friends would 
come, and how they would all bewail him !" Thinking 
of this, she laid her broom against the wall, and began to 
cry. In came her aunts and her friends, and, seeing 
her in such distress, they all began to cry too. Then 
came her father and her uncles and her brothers, and they 
also began to cry most bitterly; but not one of them had 
the wit to say, " What is the matter? for whom is this 
wailing?" At last, when the noise and the weeping had 
continued for some time, a neighbour said 

" What bad news have you had? Who is dead here?" 
" I don't know," answered one of the howling uncles. 
" These women know; ask one of them." 

At this point the head-man arrived at the spot, and 
cried, " Stop, stop this hubbub, good people, and let us 
find out what is the matter." Addressing himself to an 
old woman, he said 

" What is all this disturbance in the village for?" 
"How can I tell?" blubbered she. "When I came 
here, I found this weaver-girl crying about something." 



470 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

Then the weaver-girl, on being questioned, said, " I 
was weeping because I could not help thinking how, if I 
married in this village, and had a son, and if my poor 
son were to sicken and die, all my aunts, my sisters, and 
my friends would come round me, and how we should 
all bewail him. The very thought of it made me cry." 

On hearing her answer, the head-man and his followers 
began to laugh, and the crowd dispersed. 



xcv 

OF THE TIGER AND THE CAT 

TIGERS at first were ignorant, until the king of the 
tigers once came to the cat and begged him for lessons. 
The cat, consenting, taught the tiger to watch, to crouch, 
to spring, and all the other accomplishments so familiar 
to the race. At last, when he thought he had learnt every- 
thing the cat had to impart, the tiger made a spring at his 
teacher, intending to tear him and eat him. Instantly the 
cat ran nimbly up a tree, whither the tiger was unable to 
follow. 

"Come down !" cried the tiger, "come down instantly !" 
"No, no!" replied the cat. "How fortunate for me 
that I did not teach you more ! Otherwise you would 
have been able to pursue me even here." 



STORY OF THE PRINCESS AND THE OGRES 471 

XCVI 
THE STORY OF THE PRINCESS AND THE OGRES 

" MY STORY IS ABOUT EARTHLY KINGS, BUT THE TRUE KING 

IS GOD." 

ONCE upon a time a certain king went out hunting in 
the forest. After chasing his game the whole day, he 
found a wild, fierce woman sitting alone, who, as soon 
as he came near, sprang to her feet and caught hold of 
his bridle. 

" Who are you?" cried the startled King. " Are you 
a woman or a demon ? Let my horse go !" 

" My name is What-will-be-will-be," replied the woman, 
" and one day I shall make you feel my power." 

The King asked her, " But when will this thing be?" 

"Choose, O King," answered she, "whether I shall 
bring it upon you now or at some distant period!" 

" Let me not answer you now," said the King; " let me 
first go and consult my Queen, and I will return and tell 
you." 

"Go," said the fierce old hag; "I shall await you 
here." 

So the King rode home, and as he entered his palace 
his looks were distressed. Said the Queen to him, " Your 
looks betoken trouble; what is the matter?" 

" Oh, do not ask me what is the matter !" answered he. 
" I met in the forest an old witch named What-will-be- 
will-be, and she has bidden me choose whether adversity 
shall fall upon us now or hereafter. What shall I tell 
her?" 

"You and I," replied the Queen, "are both of us 
young and strong. Choose, then, that the trouble may 
visit us soon, while we are well able to meet and to bear it." 

Then the King returned to the forest, and to the old 
woman, whom he found in the same spot, he said, " What- 
ever is to befall us, let it come now, and not hereafter." 

"Be it so," answered the woman. " You have your 
wish." 

Scarcely had the King arrived at his capital when a 
mounted messenger met him and informed him that the 



472 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

king of another country was at hand with a vast army to 
make war upon him. In the battle which ensued this 
unfortunate monarch was totally routed, and his kingdom 
fell into the hands of his enemy. But he himself, with 
his Queen and two Princes his sons, and his sons' two 
wives, having all armed themselves, and having mounted 
upon swift horses, fled away from the city and escaped. 

On and on they went, as strangers in strange lands, until 
at last the whole of their money was expended, and poverty 
and want began to stare them in the face. Then the 
King said to himself, " If we could only leave my sons' 
wives somewhere, and steal away from them unperceived, 
our troubles would diminish, for we should have fewer 
mouths to provide for." 

Having formed this cruel design, he soon carried it into 
practice, and one night, when the two young Princesses 
were wrapt in slumber, the rest of the party, leaving the 
unfortunate girls a couple of horses and some arms, 
abandoned them in the wilderness. 

When the two Princesses awoke, they looked about 
them, and found themselves alone ; and having cried for 
their friends in vain, they began to say to each other, 
"What shall we do now?" 

" If we both travel in these wild places as women," said 
the elder and wiser sister, " we shall be robbed and cruelly 
treated." 

So she set to work, and in a short time she had altered 
her feminine robes into a man's attire, and having assumed 
her arms, she mounted her horse, and she then looked a 
noble young prince, both valiant and strong, while her 
beautiful sister, in her own raiment, rode beside her. 

The two Princesses now set out again to search for their 
friends, but they rode and searched in vain. No signs 
of them were to be discovered or seen, neither could they 
hear any tidings of them. 

One day they came to a certain city where there was a 
king, and in this city the elder sister determined to tarry. 
So she took a small house for herself and her sister, and 
every day in her masculine disguise, mounted, and armed 
with sword and lance, she attended the court of the King, 
until at last the King observed her, and said to his vizier, 
" Who is that stranger who comes every day to court?" 

Then the minister approached the Princess, and asked 



STORY OF THE PRINCESS AND THE OGRES 473 

her, " Who are you? Are you a king's son or a mer- 
chant's son? What are you, and whence came you?" 

" I am in need of nothing," answered the Princess. " I 
am merely looking for a lost brother." 

Then the King called for her, and said to her, " If 
honourable service were offered to you, would you accept 
it?" 

" Yes," answered the girl, " but only to become one of 
your own body-guard." 

The King, who had taken a fancy to this handsome 
youth, as he supposed the Princess to be, immediately 
made out an order for her, and she was enrolled as a 
member of his body-guard. 

Her duties were light and her payment liberal. She was 
most assiduous to please, watching the King with careful 
fidelity whenever she w r as on guard, ever active and alert, 
but never forgetting that her chief concern was to scan 
the faces of all new-comers, if by any chance her own 
friends should be among them. 

Now, it was a custom in that country that if a criminal 
were sentenced to death he should be conducted by the 
executioners to a wild place and hanged on a tree or a 
gallows, and there at once abandoned, either to escape if 
he could, or to be the prey of the vultures. One evening, 
when the Princess was on sentry over the King, a notorious 
robber was thus taken out and hanged. In the middle of 
the night the Princess heard a dismal howling and wailing, 
and fearing that some danger was approaching, she boldly 
entered the forest to find out the cause of the disturbance. 
In a few minutes she came to the gallows-tree, on which 
the dead robber was swaying in the wand, and under the 
tree she noticed what appeared to be a miserable gaunt 
woman, who from time to time set up the dismal howling 
which had so greatly alarmed her. In reality, however, 
the creature was not a woman, but a female ghoul that is, 
a demon in human form, who, like the vampire, wanders 
about at night and feeds upon corpses. 

' Who are you?" demanded the Princess. 

' This man who has been hanged is my son," answered 
the monster. ; ' He hangs too high for me to reach him, 
for I am old and feeble. If you would lift me up, O strong 
young sir, I might perhaps kiss him once more, as I 
shall never see his face again." 



474 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

The Princess, who did not suspect her true character, 
raised her up to the body ; but the ghoul, instead of kissing 
it, seized it by the neck with her teeth, and began to suck 
the blood. Perceiving this horror, the Princess instantly 
dropped her, and, drawing her sword, she struck at her; 
but the ghoul evaded the stroke and fled. Nevertheless, 
the Princess had severed a piece of her clothing, which she 
picked up, and, examining it, she found it was composed 
of the very richest material, worked in strange and fantastic 
figures, with threads of gold. 

Returning at once to the palace, the Princess found the 
King sitting up awake. " You are posted here," said 
he, "to guard me from intrusion. Where have you 
been?" 

Then the Princess related to the King the whole story, 
telling him of the dismal wailings and of the female ghoul 
who had sucked the blood of the robber. The King was 
incredulous, and said to her, " Have you any proof of the 
truth of this extraordinary adventure?" 

Then she showed him the piece of cloth, which the King 
inspected with astonishment and admiration. " This 
cloth," said he, "is of the rarest quality and most 
precious." 

He was so pleased that he gave the Princess a bag of 
gold, and sent the cloth as a present to the Queen his wife, 
who, as soon as she had seen and examined it, longed for 
more of it, and so she sent word to the King, "Such 
beautiful cloth has never before been seen in the kingdom. 
I would have a whole suit of it." 

The King now said to the Princess, " Wherever it was 
you obtained this wonderful cloth, you must depart 
instantly and fetch me more of the same pattern." 

The Princess was amazed at such an order, and an- 
swered, " Who knows whence the ghoul came or whither 
she has gone? Where am I to look for her?" 

This objection the King merely waved aside. " If you 
bring the cloth it will be well with you," said he, "but 
if not, your head shall answer for it!" 

" Be it so," said the Princess, with confidence. " But, 
O King, grant me time." 

To this request the King assented, and, giving her both 
time and abundance of money, ordered her to set out 
forthwith. 



STORY OF THE PRINCESS AND THE OGRES 475 

The next morning she bade her sister farewell, and 
started on her quest of the ghoul's coat. Many a day she 
journeyed, until at last she found herself in the territories 
of another king. In the midst of this kingdom she arrived 
at a half-abandoned city, where grass was growing in the 
streets, and w : here the few inhabitants wore a melancholy 
and woe-begone aspect. Here she perceived an old woman 
surrounded by one or two others, all of whom were knead- 
ing huge quantities of dough. As she gazed in wonder, 
she noticed that the old woman was crying and lamenting. 

" O mother," said the Princess, "you are both baking 
bread and crying! What is the matter?" 

" Every eighth day a ghoul comes here," answered she 
"a monster from the mountains; and the tribute he 
receives by the King's order is a human being, a buck 
goat, and two hundred pounds of bread. The reason I 
am crying is that to-day it is my turn, and that I have to 
give the ghoul my only son." 

Then said the Princess to the old woman, " Mother, do 
not cry. When you have the bread ready, let it be taken 
with the goat to the usual place, and thither I also will go 
instead of your son." 

"But who in the world," said the woman, "would give 
his life for another?" 

Now, the King of that country had made an order that 
whosoever should kill or drive away the ghoul should be 
rewarded with riches and honoured with the hand of one 
of his daughters. And the Princess, having heard of this 
order, turned to the old woman, and said, " But is no one 
able to kill the ghoul?" 

" No one whatever," answered she. 

" Well," said the Princess, " at least come and show me 
the place where he is accustomed to feed." 

When the bread was all ready, the old woman and her 
son, and the buck goat, proceeded with the Princess to the 
spot. In that dismal place, which lay without the city- 
walls, there stood an old hut, and there the whole tribute 
used to be put for the ghoul, who always came at night and 
devoured it all before the morning. Going into the hut, 
the Princess first dug a great hole. Then she placed the 
goat and the heap of bread on one side, and on the other 
she set up a log of wood dressed up to look in the darkness 
like a boy. Having completed these arrangements, she 



476 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

dismissed the old woman and her friends, and descended 
herself into the pit, where, with her sword ready drawn 
in her hand, she crouched down and hid herself. In the 
middle of the night she heard a roar, and the ghoul, in the 
form of a gigantic man, rushed into the hut and began 
to devour. When he had eaten the bread and the buck 
goat, he went to the log and seized it ravenously. At that 
moment the Princess rose from her pit, and smote and 
cut off one of his legs, which so startled the brute that he 
instantly fled from the hut on his other leg, and made his 
escape to the hills with the utmost despatch. 

In the morning the Princess returned to the city, and 
said to the old woman, " I had an encounter with the ghoul 
last night, and he has been punished so handsomely that 
he will never trouble you or your neighbours again." 

Every one was astonished, and some cried " Nonsense !" 
but the most hopeless were convinced when the Princess 
displayed to them the monster's horrid leg. Then the 
old woman gave away both money and food in charity for 
the sake of their glorious deliverer, and because of herself 
and her son, whom he had delivered from destruction. 

When the King, who dwelt in the citadel, heard the 
news of this exploit he also was surprised beyond measure, 
and he sent for the Princess and treated her with the utmost 
honour. 

" How did you manage to accomplish this great achieve- 
ment?" asked he. 

Then the Princess told him the history of her adventure 
without adding to or diminishing aught from the simple 
truth. The King listened with gratified interest, and 
rewarded the heroine by saying to her, " It is a decree of 
mine that whoso shall kill the ghoul or drive him out of 
my dominions shall receive the hand of my daughter in 
marriage. The lady is ready, and, therefore, if you are 
willing to marry her, pray do so." 

The Princess was more than grateful for this proof of 
the King's generosity and goodwill, yet she answered 
him, " O King, I have still another enterprise on hand, 
but when that is safely accomplished I shall again return 
to your court." 

The King then suffered her to depart, and so, mounting 
her horse, she travelled on and on again for weeks and 
months. At last, in the midst of craggy mountains and 



STORY OF THE PRINCESS AND THE OGRES 477 

gloomy defiles belonging to a third kingdom, she came 
to a lonely fortress with frowning walls and forbidding 
appearance. Entering the open gateway, she found her- 
self in a courtyard, and there she saw a gentle maiden 
sitting spinning, but no one else was visible anywhere. 
When the girl saw the Princess, she first laughed, and then 
she cried. The Princess was amazed, and, going up to 
her, she said, " Why do you both laugh and cry?" 

" Never since the day of my birth," answered the girl, 
" have I seen a man, and when I saw you, therefore, I 
laughed. But I cried because the ghouls who live in this 
castle will certainly eat you up." 

"How many ghouls are there?" asked the Princess. 

" There are two of them," answered the girl, " and one 
of them is the husband of the other." 

" But is there no way of escape for me?" inquired the 
Princess. 

" For this one night," said the girl, " I may be able to 
save you from them, but not for more." 

She then rose, and wdth looks of love conducted the 
Princess to a lonely chamber, and having left some food 
and some water with her, she fastened the door and came 
away. 

As the shadows began to fall, the two ghouls returned to 
their gloomy castle, bringing with them some buck goats 
and the remains of a human being. Having made their 
horrid evening meal, they poured out quantities of wine 
into golden goblets and began to quaff and to make merry. 
Then, looking at the girl, one of them said to the other, 
"About this girl of ours, whom we stole as a baby: it 
is time that we should find a husband for her. If now 
we could capture a brave man, we might marry them 
together." 

" I could recognize the man who cut off the skirt of my 
coat," answered the female ghoul. "If we could find 
him, we might marry her to him, for a braver man never 
lived." 

"Ah," replied the male ghoul, "but he was a braver 
man a great deal who cut off my leg." 

The two ghouls now began to dispute and to fall out as 
to which of the two men was the braver, the male ghoul 
asserting that the girl should be married to the man who 
cut off his leg, and the female protesting that she should 



478 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

be the wife of the man who cut off the end of her 
embroidered coat. And so they fell asleep. 

In the morning the two ghouls went away as usual to 
hunt for man's flesh, and the girl, going to the secret 
chamber, released the Princess from her lonely tower, and 
brought her forth, telling her as she did so all that had 
passed between the two ghouls the night before. 

" But," continued she, " I would rather marry you, dear 
Prince, if the ghouls would allow me." 

Then the Princess inquired further into their history, 
and the girl told her the story of the ghouls' misfortunes : 
how one lost part of her garment, and the other his leg. 

" But," said the Princess, " it was I who deprived them 
of both ; I cut off the leg of the one, and I cut off some 
of the cloak of the other. Would they, then, give you 
to me?" 

"They would be most willing to do so," replied the 
girl, astonished and pleased. 

That day passed in visiting the rooms of the castle and 
in wondering at its vast treasures and stores of all manner 
of rarities, and in the evening the Princess was again 
hidden in the secret chamber. 

When the ghouls returned, they feasted and caroused 
as before, and when warmed with wine they again began 
to dispute as to who should marry the girl, each, without 
knowing it, extolling the bravery of the same hero. Then 
said the girl, " But perhaps it was the one man who 
achieved both those wonderful exploits. If so, would you 
allow him to marry me?" 

"Marry you?" cried they. "Of course he should 
marry you, and take you wherever he pleased." 

"Then," said the girl, "give me your most solemn 
assurance that, if he can be found, you will not kill him." 

" We make the promise, of course," said they. 

Then, going to the secret chamber, the girl brought 
forth the Princess, and took her in before them, and both 
the savages, at once recognizing her, gazed at her with 
wonder, admiration, and astonishment. 

"How did you contrive so well to cut off my leg?" 
asked the male ghoul. 

" I dug a hole in the floor of the hut," answered the 
undaunted Princess, " and in that I hid myself, and the 
goat and the bread I put on one side, and a dressed-up 



STORY OF THE PRINCESS AND THE OGRES 479 

log on the other; and when you passed by me to seize 
the log, I raised my sword and at a blow off came your 
leg." 

'Wonderful!" cried the male ghoul, in tones of 
awe. 

" And how did you cut off the skirt of my coat?" asked 
the female ghoul. 

" When I saw what a monster you were," answered the 
Princess, "and when I heard you sucking the blood of 
the dead robber, I dropped you on the ground, and, draw- 
ing my sword, I made a stroke at you, and thus it was 
that I cut off the skirt of your coat." 

"O most wonderful Prince!" cried the female ghoul, 
equally amazed. 

Then said they, " Now take away this girl with you. 
You have won her; she is yours. Take her to your own 
country, and marry her." 

When the Princess and her bride were all ready for the 
journey, the ghouls loaded them with heaps of money and 
presents. 

"One thing only I care for," said the Princess, "and 
that is the coat of embroidered gold of which I have already 
a piece." 

Her wish was no sooner expressed than it was gratified, 
and for the sake of the girl the ghouls presented her with 
much more of the same material as well. After this they 
accompanied the pair to the borders of their own territory, 
and there they left them. 

Journeying on, the Princess and her young bride arrived 
at the city which had formerly suffered so greatly from the 
exactions of the male ghoul. The King was enchanted 
to welcome her back, and gave her his daughter in mar- 
riage in accordance with his promise, together with riches 
in abundance, after which she continued her journey to 
the country of her own King; and having arrived at the 
capital she committed her two wives to the custody of 
her younger sister, and at once rode on to the palace. 
There she presented the whole of the wonderful cloth which 
she had brought from the castle of the ghouls; and the 
King was so delighted that he instantly said to her, " Now 
you shall be my prime minister, and you shall live in a 
palace of your own." 

"Very well," answered the Princess, and at once the 



480 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

order was made out, the decree published, and she was 
promoted to the head of affairs. 

The Princess was now both powerful and wealthy, but 
she never for a moment forgot the one object of her life, 
which was to find her lost friends. With this thought ever 
present in her mind, she one day said to the King, " If 
you will allow me, I would make a large garden to contain 
trees and plants of every kind." 

The King approved of her plan, and gave her an im- 
mense tract of land for the purpose. Her design was that 
her garden should be the wonder of the whole world, and 
so there was not a country to which she did not send her 
messengers to make known that whosoever would bring 
her a plant for her garden should receive two gold mohurs. 
But all the time she was thinking of her dear friends, and 
hoping that in their poverty and obscurity, wherever they 
were, they might hear tidings of her wonderful garden, 
and be induced to bring her some plants for the sake of 
the reward. 

For months this good Princess was doomed to disap- 
pointment, for, though thousands came with plants of 
the rarest varieties, her own relations came not. At last 
the King, her first father-in-law T , in his distant exile, heard 
the proclamation, and, as he was very poor, he and the 
Queen his wife, and their two sons, searched for the rarest 
plants, and carried them to the famous garden. There, 
notwithstanding their altered condition, their ragged cloth- 
ing, and their attenuated frames, they were immediately 
recognized by the Princess. But she refrained herself, and 
ordered them to be confined in a certain house, over which 
she placed a guard, while at the same time she herself 
occupied a room in which she could overhear all they 
spoke about. 

The first thing the King said was, " Strange ! all others 
receive rewards and are allowed to depart, but we only 
are placed here under restraint." 

" I suppose," said the Queen, " we are being punished 
by God for having so cruelly abandoned those two poor 
girls in the desert." 

No longer able to restrain herself, the Princess left the 
house and at once ordered her friends to be conducted into 
sumptuous chambers, and to be supplied with baths and 
rich clothing, and with food and wine of the best. Then 



STORY OF THE PRINCESS AND THE OGRES 481 

she had them all brought into her own palace, and, in her 
character and disguise of prime minister of the kingdom, 
she received them as if for the purpose of a mere audience, 
nor had any of them any suspicion of her real identity. 
Having seated them on chairs, she gazed on them, and 
said, " What is your history?" 

" We were once a royal family," answered the aged 
King, " but misfortune befell us, and we were driven 
from our kingdom. Then, in our need and distress, we 
abandoned the young wives of my two sons in a lonely 
place, and ever since we have lived poor, unblest and 
unknown." 

" Yes," said the Princess, " I suppose you left the 
Princesses because of your necessity. Notwithstanding, 
every child of man has to eat his own kismet." 

Then she left the room, and for the first time for years 
she assumed her own proper habit, and taking her sister 
by the hand, she led her into the apartment, and looking 
at the young Princes, their husbands, she said, " You left 
behind in the desert your two wives, but now God has 
restored them to you once more." 

Then she turned to the King and Queen, and there 
followed many a fond embrace, with tears and words of 
surprise and of love, and they were all reunited in a lasting 
reconciliation. 

The next morning the Princess went to the King, and 
said to him, " The time has come when I must reveal to 
you the secret of my life. No longer a man, I now assume 
my proper character, for I am really the wife of a prince of 
ancient lineage, and my husband is here." 

Then she related the story of her life, and said, " And 
now assist us with a suitable army, that we may take the 
field and recover our own lost inheritance. But if not, 
then permit me to remain here, and give my friends 
positions near your own person." 

"Choose," said the King, "which you will have." 

"Let us, then, have the troops," answered she, "and 
the treasure to wage a campaign." 

To this proposal the King joyfully agreed, and the 
Princess, with all her friends, set out at the head of an 
invincible army, and having routed the usurper in a signal 
battle, they recovered their lost dominion, and the old 
King ascended his throne and reigned once more. Then, 



482 ROMANTIC TALES FROM THE PANJAB 

having provided splendid matches for the two beautiful 
girls whom the Princess had married i