Folk-Lore/Volume 4/Balochi Tales, 3

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Folk-Lore/Volume 4
Number 3 (September)

Balochi Tales, III. M. Longworth Dames

BALOCHI TALES.




XIII.

The Prince, the Goatherd, and Naina Bai.

A CERTAIN king, who had no son, went and turned his bedstead upside down, and laid himself down on it by the gate of his fort. A faqīr passing by said to him, "How is it that thou, the king of this land, art lying here in this way?" He replied, "Faqīr, if I tell you, what can you do?" The Faqīr said, "Tell me." The king said, "The reason is that I have no son," The Faqīr then said, "To-morrow morning I will tell you what to do." Next morning the king went to the Faqīr, who handed him two kunar-fruits,[1] saying, "Eat one yourself and give one to your wife." The king took away the two kunars and ate one, and gave one to his wife. His wife conceived, and in the tenth month she gave birth to a son.

Then the king made a proclamation as follows: "If a son has to-day been born to anyone let him bring him to me, to be brought up with my own son." There was a Baloch goatherd in whose house a son had been born that day. He brought his son to the king, and the king brought up the two boys together. After four or five years had passed, the Baloch came to the king, saying, "My lord, let my son go; let me take away my own." The king said, "I will let him go, and mine with him; take them both, and let them stay with you for a year." So the Baloch took the prince and his own son away to his house, and sent them out to graze the kids. After two or three years the king sent one of his servants to fetch his son, but the prince sent back a reply that he would not come. On this, the king sent the wazir to fetch his son; but when the wazir came, the prince said, "I will not leave my brother, I am a Baloch, I will not go." When the wazir came back with this answer, the king was much grieved, thinking, "Have I a son or not?" So he made a proclamation, promising such and such lands rent free to anyone who should get his son back for him. An old woman then came forward, saying, "I'll bring him back for you." The old woman then went to the place where the boys were grazing the kids, and began to pick up the goat's dung and put it in a basket. Then she called out, "One of you boys come here, and help me to collect the goat's dung; I have something to whisper to you." The prince said to his brother, "Go and ask what it is, and help her to gather the dung." The goatherd boy came and helped her, and then said, "Tell me what it is." She put her mouth to his ear and whispered, "I'll tell you a fine thing to-morrow morning." He went back to the prince, his brother, who said, "What did she tell you?" The lad said, "She told me nothing, but said she would tell me to-morrow." This made the prince suspicious; and next day, when the old woman came back and began to gather dung as before, and said, "One of you come and help me," he said to the Baloch, "Go again; perhaps she will tell you to-day." So he went; but the old woman again put him off to the next day. When he came back to the flock of kids, the prince asked what she had told him, and he said, "She told me nothing." The prince's suspicions were strengthened, and he thought the goatherd was concealing something from him. The third day the old woman came again as before, and the Baloch said to the prince, "You go this time." As soon as the prince came up, the old woman said to him, "That Baloch, whom you have made your brother, keeps urging me to arrange a meeting with your sister for him, as he wishes to be her lover." On this the prince fell into a violent rage, and rode off to his father's town, and when he got there he sat down, and was very sad. The king asked him what made him so sad. He said, "I shall never be happy until you kill that goatherd boy, and pull out his eyes, and put them in a cup, and bring them and show them to me." The king guessed this was the result of the old woman's trickery, so he sent his wazir to warn the goatherd to hide his son, and told him to kill a kid and take out its eyes, and bring them in a cup. The wazir went to the Baloch, who did as he was told; he killed a kid, and put its eyes in a cup, and took away his son and hid him. The wazir brought the eyes and showed them to the prince, and told him they were the eyes of the goatherd boy; and the prince rejoiced greatly.

One day, by chance, the prince went out to hunt on the river bank, and he saw a boat go by. In that boat a most beautiful woman was sitting. Her eyes met the prince's eyes, and they fell in love from that moment. For a little while the boat was quite close to the prince, and they continued gazing at each other. Then the river-way led away from that bank towards the other side, and the fair one placed her hand on her head; then again she put her hand on her eyes; a third time she put her hand on her other arm; thus she signalled to him. The prince returned home and was very sorrowful; and when the king asked him what was the matter, he said, "I have seen a woman in a boat, so beautiful that my heart is set on her. If I can get her, well; if not, I will kill myself" The king asked the wazir to explain the meaning of the signs which the woman had made to his son, but the wazir said he knew nothing of their meaning. The prince then cried out, "If that Baloch, my brother, were well again, I would forgive him everything; bring him to me!" The wazir brought the boy, who came to the prince, and said, "Are you ill; tell me what it is?" The prince told him how he had seen a woman passing in a boat, and described the signs she had made. Then the lad said, "I'll bring about a meeting between you; by those signs she told you everything. Thus, when she put her hand on her head, she meant, ' I live in the town of Choti';[2] and when she put her hand on her eyes, she meant, 'My name is Naina Bai';[3] and when she put her hand on her arm, she meant, 'I am by caste a Chūrīgar.'[4] Come, let us start, and I will arrange matters between you." So they filled two saddlebags, and mounted their mares, and came to Choti town, inquiring as they went along. There they made themselves out to be merchants, and alighted at an old woman's house, and unloaded their baggage, and went into the town in the guise of Khojas.[5] They got some silk and women's goods, and began selling them in the town; and, seeking as they went, they arrived at last at the Chūrīgars' ward, and there made this proclamation: "We deal in silk, and in beads, and in thread; who'll buy?" The women-folk gathered to buy, and when any of them brought a rupee's worth of goods, they gave her two rupees' worth; everyone got double value. Naina Bai heard of this, and she, too, came out to buy. As soon as she saw the prince she recognised him, and at once went home and put back her money, and came back again with her skirt full of corn, and asked for some silk. In payment she gave him three measures full of corn, and the fourth only three-quarters full. The goat-herd saw who it was, and immediately gave her all the goods they had, and said to the prince, "Let us rise and go home." When they got outside the town he asked the prince whether he had recognised anyone. The prince said he had not. Then the goatherd said, "That was Naina Bai, who brought the corn to barter for goods, and not only that, but, by giving you three measures full, and the last three-quarters full, she meant to tell you of a domed tomb outside the town, which has three minarets whole, and the fourth broken, and that she will come there to meet you in the evening." In the evening they went to the tomb, and sat there till after midnight, when Naina Bai came, and went in. The goatherd came out, leaving the prince and Naina Bai together. Now, in front of that tomb there dwelt a faqlr. The goatherd went to him and gave him three or four rupees, and said, "Do this for me; if you see anyone coming towards the tomb, call out thus: 'O owner of the dun bull, if you have understood, 'tis well, and if not, in the morning the bull will become public property,' and then I shall know, but do not call out if there is no need." Now, the king of that town was in love with Naina Bai, and had consulted a soothsayer, and asked him to tell by augury what Naina Bai was doing at that moment, whether she was asleep, or awake, or what; and the soothsayer, after examining the omens, said, "O king! Naina Bai, at this moment, is sitting with a strange man, in such-and-such a tomb." On this the king ordered his army to go out and surround that tomb, and let no one pass in or out, and said he would come himself in the morning and open the door, and see for himself who was there. The army came and surrounded the tomb on all four sides. On this, the faqīr called out as he had been instructed by the goatherd. As soon as the goatherd heard the call, he went up to the top of the house, and, looking round, he saw a merchant's wife spinning thread, and said to her, "Lend me your jewellery and clothes, and I'll leave a thousand rupees with you as security. If I bring them back I'll give you a hundred rupees as your profit on the business, and if I don't come, you can keep the thousand." She agreed, and he put on her clothes and jewels, and left his own clothes there. He then went off to the bazaar and bought some sweetmeats, and an intoxicating drug which he mixed up with the sweetmeats. Then he placed the sweetmeats on a tray, and lit a lamp and put it on the tray,[6] and went towards the tomb. The king's army was drawn up in front of it, and the soldiers asked who he was. He replied, "I am a certain merchant's wife; my husband went away on a journey, and I made a vow on this tomb, that if God brought my husband back safe I would have no intercourse with him until I had paid my devotions to the Saint of the Tomb, and had made a distribution of sweetmeats. Now, after many years my man has come back, allow me to fulfil my vow, and pay my devotions according to my faith as a Hindu, and then I can go and meet my husband."

One of them said, "She is but a Hindu trader's wife, let her go." So she took her sweetmeats, and distributed them to the troops, and they ate them, and immediately became stupefied by the drug.

The goatherd went into the tomb, and he gave Naina Bai the clothes and the jewels and the tray, and said, "Get out at once and go to your home." Naina Bai went home, and the two brothers lay down together in the tomb. When day broke the king mounted his horse and came to explore the tomb, but when he explored it he saw nothing but two youths lying asleep! Then he called his soothsayer, and said, "You made a false charge against Naina Bai last night; I'll have you ripped up." Then the soothsayer said: "Dig a trench, and try her by the fire ordeal. Bring Naina Bai and make her walk through the trench (filled with live charcoal), and then, if she is false, do not blame me, and if she is cleared, you are king to do what you please."

So they dug a trench, and filled it with charcoal,[7] and lit it, and the king summoned Naina Bai. All the people crowded together to see the sight of Naina Bai undergoing the ordeal by fire.

The goatherd perceived that Naina Bai, being false, would have to be protected from the effects of the fire by some trick. So he dressed his brother the prince in the dress of a faqīr, he made him like a half-witted beggar, and stationed him in the crowd, and instructed him, when Naina Bai came to the end of the trench, to rush up like a madman and throw his arms round her, and cry out, "King, why are you going to throw such a beauty into the fire?"

When all was ready Naina Bai came up to the fire, and a faqir ran up and threw his arms round her neck, and called out to the king in the words taught him by the goatherd. Then Naina Bai turned towards the king and said: "I have never been embraced by any other than my husband, and by this faqīr whom God has sent me, and by the king my lover. No other has touched me, and if I speak falsely may the fire burn me!" Then she entered into the trench, and as she spoke true she was cleared.[8]

The king gave Naina Bai leave to depart, and she went to her home. The king returned to his palace and sent for the soothsayer, and told him to beware against making false charges against Naina Bai again, but pardoned him that time.

What was the goatherd's next trick, but to dress up his own prince as a woman! He made him into a beautiful woman, and took him to the house of Naina Bai's fatherin-law, and said to him: "I have come to this town from outside, and everyone tells me that yours is the most respectable ward of the town. This woman is my brother's wife, and I want you to take charge of her, and keep her in your ward, and look after her until I come back with my brother to take her away." The father-in-law agreed, and took her by the hand, and led her to Naina Bai, and said, "Take care of her till her husband and her brother-in-law come back." That day they spent at the house.

Then Naina Bai's husband came home, and seeing this beautiful woman, he said to Naina Bai, "You must arrange for me to get possession of her, and if you don't I'll carry her off to another country." Naina Bai went to her father-in-law and said, "Your son is in love with this woman; you should know this."

Twenty days passed, and one day Naina Bai's husband began to make advances to the disguised prince; and the prince gave him a kick. This killed him, and the prince dug a hole and buried him inside his house, and then went off and joined his brother the goatherd. Naina Bai went to her father-in-law, and said, "Last night your son ran off with that woman." Her father-in-law begged her to tell no one of it. For eight or nine days he hunted for his son and the woman, but found nothing. Then the two brothers, the prince and the goatherd, mounted their mares and came to the father-in-law, and the goatherd said, "I have seen my brother and returned; now bring out the woman, and we will return to our own country."

The father-in-law saw that he was in a difficult situation, so he drew the goatherd aside, and said: "My son has carried off the woman, and has gone off to some other country. I know not where he has gone. Attend to me for God's sake, and do not tell anyone else. The king of this place is a dreadful tyrant, and if he hears of it he will destroy me. There is my son's wife, Naina Bai her name is; I'll give her to you, take her instead of the other."

The goatherd was angry, and said: "How is it that people said you were a trustworthy man? You have done me great injustice, and made away with the woman entrusted to you. I shall report it to the king." The father-in-law took off his turban and threw it at the goatherd's feet, saying, "My son has disgraced me; take Naina Bai, and put any fine you like on me as well, but do not let news of it get about."

So Naina Bai's father-in-law gave him a fine of two thousand rupees, as well as Naina Bai herself, and the goatherd accepted it.

They set out from the town, taking Naina Bai with them, and at night they made a halt. In the night the goatherd had a dream, and in the dream he saw that a snake would bite his brother the prince, and he would die; and if he escaped that, then he would drink some curds and would die, for the curds were poisoned; and if he escaped the poison, and arrived at his home, he would die there, for a snake would bite him the first night; and if he was saved from that, the man who saved him would become a stone for a year. And he might be restored to life in this way: a son would be born to the prince and Naina Bai; if they were to bring their son and slay him on the stone, and sprinkle the stone with his blood, it would become a living man.

Next morning they started on their way, and saw a leather thong (used as a whip) lying on the ground. The goatherd told the prince to go on while he picked it up. He got down and saw it was a snake, and killed it. They went on, and a woman came up bearing a bowl of curds, and the prince bought it and said he would drink it; but the goatherd said, "My lord, let me carry it; let us go a little further, and then drink it." He took up the bowl, and then threw it down and broke it. The prince said, "Why did you break it?" But he said, "It slipped out of my hands," Riding on, they came to the prince's town, and in the evening he arrived at his home, and the goatherd said, "I made a vow that when we arrived at the town, I myself would keep watch over you the first night." So the prince and Naina Bai lay down to sleep, and the goatherd mounted guard over them. Towards midnight he saw a black snake come crawling along towards the prince; he struck it with his sword and killed it. A drop of its blood spurting out, it fell on Naina Bai's face. The goatherd thought that if the prince were to awake and kiss Naina Bai's face, he would die from the poison in the snake's blood, so he wound some cotton round his ramrod, and tried to wipe the blood off her face with it. On this Naina Bai woke and roused the prince, and said, "This brother of yours was standing here in front of me, touching me with his hand; he has become false to you." The prince arose and was very angry, and accused him of being in love with Naina Bai. Then the goatherd told him the whole story of his dream, and showed him the snake lying dead, and, said he, "Now I have told you all, and I shall become a stone for a year. A son will be born to you, and if you kill him and sprinkle his blood over me I shall be restored; and if not, I shall remain a stone," Having said this he became a stone.

After this the prince and Naina Bai never ate any food till they had first sprinkled some on the stone. After a year a son was born to them, and they took him out and slew him, and sprinkled his blood over the stone, and the goatherd rose up alive, and all was well again.

Now choose which did the most, the prince or the goatherd?


XIV.

The Prophet Drīs and his Forty Children.

[The name Drīs, given to the hero of this story, is a shortened form of Idrīs, a prophet of the Muhammadans often identified with the Enoch of the Old Testament. The only resemblance here traceable is in the conclusion of the narrative, where it is related in what manner Dris left the earth. The legend of the exposure of the thirty-nine children is related also of Hazrat Ghaus, and localised on Mount Chihl-tan, near Quelta. See Masson's Travels in Balochistan, ii, 85.]

There was once a prophet named Drīs, and though he possessed great abundance of cattle, yet he was childless. He daily asked for the prayers of mendicants, that God might give him a son. One day a faqīr came along and begged from him, saying, "O prophet Drīs! in God's name give me something!" But Drīs replied, "Here have I been giving and giving day by day, in God's name, and yet I have no son. I will give you nothing." The faqīr said, " I will pronounce a blessing on you, and God will give you a son." Then he blessed him, and said, "I have presented you with forty sons in one day."

The prophet's wife conceived, and bore forty sons at a birth. Then the prophet consulted with his wife, and said, "We cannot keep forty sons. This is what we must do : keep one, and take the other nine-and-thirty out into the wilderness and leave them there." So the mother kept one, and the nine-and-thirty he took out and left in the wilderness.

After a year had passed, a goatherd happened to drive out his flock to graze to the spot where the prophet had cast away his offspring, and what should he see but forty children, save one, all playing there together! The goatherd was frightened, for, he thought, "This place is waste and deserted, who can those children be? Are they jinns, or some other of God's mysteries?" In the evening he told his master that he had seen forty children in the wilderness, and knew not what they were. The news of this spread among the people, and at last came to the ears of Drīs the prophet. He said, "I will ask the goatherd about it," but in his own heart he knew they were his children. He went and inquired of the goatherd, who said, "I will send away my flock, and go myself with you, and show you the place." So Drīs set out with the goatherd, and he showed him the place ; but now there was no one there, though their tracks could be seen. Drīs sat down there, and the goatherd drove away his flock. Drīs hid himself and waited, hoping for them to come. Then he saw the children coming towards him, and perceived that they were indeed his children, and were all one like the other. He came out and showed himself, and said, "I am your father, you are my children," but the children took to flight. He called after them, "Do not go! come back!" but they would not stop, and ran off. Drīs waited there a night and a day, hoping they would come back, but they did not again come to play in that place. Drīs then returned to his home, and went to a mulla and told him the whole story, and asked how he could get possession of the children. The mulla said, "The only way you can get them is this : let their mother take out their brother, the one you have with you, and go to the spot where they play, and put him down there and hide herself. When the children come to play they will see their brother, and perhaps they may be attracted by him and stay there. If she sees that they are staying, let her show herself but say nothing ; and if they run away, let her speak thus, 'For ten months I bore you in my womb, now give me my rights.' They can be secured in no other way."

The mother then took her son, and carried him out to the playing-spot, and put him down and hid herself. The children appeared, and began to play with their brother. Then she came out of her hiding-place, and they all ran away, and she cried out, "I bore you in my womb for ten months, do not go, but give me my rights." Then the children came back, and she petted them and gave them some sweetmeats she had brought with her, and made them accustomed to her. When they had got to know her, she took them away with her and brought them home. The prophet Drīs was very glad, and gave away much in charity in God's name. He taught all the forty to read the Kurān, and say their prayers in the mosque. But the angel Arzāīl (Izrāīl) received an order from God to take the breath of all the forty at the same time ; and a few days after their breath left them, and they died, and they carried them out and buried them. Then the prophet Drīs said to his wife, "I can no longer stay in this country; come with me if you like, or if not, I am going myself." His wife said, "I will stay here by my children's graves ; I will not go with you."

Drīs thereupon set out, and when night fell he slept in the desert, and in the morning he again went forward. Coming to a field, he saw that there was a crop of water-melons there. He plucked one and took it with him, intending to eat it further on, and just then he noticed a body of horsemen coming up behind him. Coming up to the prophet Drīs, they salaamed to him, and asked him if he had seen anything of the king's son, who was missing. Drīs said he had seen nothing. He had tied up the water-melon in a knot of his scarf, and seeing it, the horsemen asked him what was tied up in the knot. He said, "It is a water-melon"; and they said, "Untie it and let us see it." When he untied it, they saw the king's son's head ! On this they seized Drīs, and said, "You have killed the prince ; you have his head with you !" They carried him before the king, and by the king's order they cut off his hands and they cut off his feet, and they put out his eyes, and cast him forth and left him.

A certain potter saw him, and said, "I am childless, and if the king gives me permission, I will take this man home with me and heal him, and look after him, for God's sake." The king said, "Take him, and look after him." So the potter took him home and healed him, and attended to him. Then Drīs said, "You have cured me, and now seat me on the well-board, that I may drive the oxen and work the well."[9] So they took him and seated him there. Now this well was close to the king's palace, and the king's daughter used to rise early in the morning and read the Kuran. The prophet Drīs used to listen to her voice, and he too, as he worked the well, would repeat passages from . the Kurān. The king's daughter then laid down her own Kurān, and fixed the ears of her heart on him, for his voice sounded sweet to her. Every morning she did this.

One day the king's daughter said to her father, "It is now time for me to have a husband ; let me marry. Get the people together, and let me choose a husband for myself." The king called all the people together, and they assembled there. The prophet Drīs asked the potter to take him also to the assembly. The potter carried him to the place in an open basket, and put him down there. The king's daughter filled a cup full of water, and gave it to her handmaiden, saying, "Take this and sprinkle it over that maimed man." The maidservant took it and sprinkled it as ordered. The king was not pleased, and he said, "To-day's assembly has turned out a failure. Let everyone come again to-morrow." The next day, again, the king's daughter sent her handmaiden with orders to sprinkle water over the maimed man, and she sprinkled it. Then the king perceived in his mind that his daughter had set her heart on this man, and said, "Let her take him." So he married them, and took Drīs into the palace, and made him an allowance for his maintenance.

One day three men appeared before the king and demanded a judgment from him on a certain case. The king said, "Wait here while I wash my face and hands. I will then decide your case." Then they said one to the other, "This king will not settle our case ; let us go to the prophet Drīs, and he will settle it for us." The king overheard what they said. They at once started off, and the king sent a man after them to watch where they went to see the prophet Drīs. They went straight to the king's son-in-law and salaamed to him, saying, "O prophet Drīs ! do us justice !" He said, "Who are you, that I should do you justice?" The first said, "My name is Health"; and the second said, "My name is Fortune"; and the third said, "My name is Wisdom." Then Drīs said, "I have been hungering after you ; now I am happy." Then they embraced Dris, and he became whole at that very moment, and with that the three men vanished away.

People came to offer their congratulations to the king, saying, "Your son-in-law is well again." The king was much pleased, and came to see the prophet Drīs. Drīs related to him all that had happened to him, and said, "Now dig up that head which you had buried." So they went and dug it up, and lo ! it was a water-melon ! Then the king was very sad, thinking, "I have done a very unjust deed." But Drīs said, "Do not be sad ; what was done to me was done by God ; now pray yourself, and I will pray that God may restore your son to you." They both prayed, and after a day or two congratulations came to the king, because his son was coming home again, bringing his bride with him. Then the king was very joyful, and he prayed that the sons of the prophet Drīs might be restored to life again.

Drīs then declared his intention of starting for his own country; and the king said, "Go ! and my daughter will go with you, and I will send a band of horsemen for your protection." Drīs set out and came to his own land ; and, on arriving, he found his forty sons all alive and saying their prayers in the mosque. And he was very happy. God made a promise to the prophet Drīs, as follows : "One day I will show thee my face, but thou must also promise that having seen me once thou wilt then depart and go forth." Then Drīs went to pay his devotions to God, and he sat with God. And then God said to him, "Now depart !" He went outside, saying, "I go," but he was not able to leave God's presence, and having gone outside, he came back again. Then God said, "Why hast thou returned ?" Drīs said, "I forgot my shoes here," but he lied. He came and sat down. Then God said, "Didst thou not promise thou wouldst depart ? now, why dost thou not go?" Then Drīs said, "I made one promise that I would depart and go forth, and I have kept that promise. I did go out, and I am come back again. Now I will not depart." Thenceforward he sat there in God's presence, and did not return to the earth.


XV.

The King and the Four Thieves.

[This story, with slight variations, will be found in the collection of Pashto stories known as the Kilīd-i-Afghānī, Story 40, p. 96. The king in the Pashto version is Mahmud Ghaznawl.]

A certain king had four watchmen, who kept watch at night. One night a burglary took place in the town, and the man who had been robbed came and complained to the king. The king summoned his watchmen, and said, "Have you seen any thief about while you were keeping watch?" They replied, "My lord! we have seen none." Then the king ordered that all four should be taken out and hanged; so they took them out and hanged them. Then the king thought to himself, "To-night I will keep watch in the town myself." He changed his clothes and went out, and at night he patrolled the town, and while doing so he saw four men coming towards him. The king challenged them, "Who are you?" They said, "We are thieves. Who are you?" The king said, "I am a thief too." Then they agreed together to break into a house. The king said, "Has any of you committed a burglary in this town before?" They said, "Yes, once before." "Did anyone see you?" "No one saw us." "Didn't the watchmen see you?" They said, "We have a secret, by means of which they did not see us." Then the king said, "What are your secrets?" One of them said, "If I approach a watchman and cough, the watchman becomes blind." The second said, "I have this gift: if I lay my hand on a door, the door will open." The third said, "I have this gift: if a jackal howls, or if a dog barks, I can understand their meaning." And the fourth said, "I have this gift: if I ever see a man in the darkest night, I can recognise that man again, if I see him by day amongst a hundred others." Then the thieves said, "Now tell us what gift you have, for we have become comrades." The king said, "If anyone seizes my comrades, I will escape, though they may be taken, and if the king captures them, and they are taken away to be hanged, if I shake my head no one will hang them, and they, too, will go free." Then the five of them set out in company to commit a burglary. The king said, "I know where the money is kept in the king's palace; let us carry off that money." When they came near the palace they said to the first thief, "Now the watchmen are near us, give a cough." He coughed, and the watchmen became blind. Then they said to the second, "Now show your accomplishment, and open the door." He laid his hand on the door, and said, "Bismillah," and the door opened. Then a jackal howled and a dog barked, and one of them said to the third, "What did the jackal and dog say?" He said, "The jackal said to the dog, 'Thieves are breaking into the king's palace, why do you keep silent?' and the dog answered, 'What can I do, when the king is breaking into his own palace?'" They all said to him, "Your power is only pretence; you understand nothing; how could the king break into his own house?" Then they took two boxes full of treasure out of the palace, and carried them out and hid them. Then the king said, "It is now morning, go to such and such a faqīr's house, I will go to my own house, which is in the town, and next night we will come and take out the money and divide it." They concealed the money, and the four thieves went to the faqīr's house. The king went to his home, and made a proclamation that his palace had been broken into, and summoned his men to arrest the thieves. When the people had assembled, the king said, "My thieves are not here; go and arrest four men who are at such and such a faqīr's house." They arrested the four men, and brought them before the king. The king said, "Take them away and hang them ; but if you hear them say anything to one another, bring them back again to me." They sent them off to be hanged, and then one of them said to another, "You said that if you saw a man on a dark night you would recognize him again anywhere by day." The other replied, "I have recognized him ; our companion was the king." They brought them back again to the king, and he asked them what they had been saying to one another. That man said, "I recognized our companion as the king, but now before the king I can say nothing." Then the king said, "I promised my companions that if I shook my head the king would not hang them, and now I have done what I promised." He presented them with one box of treasure, and took back the other, and made them promise never to commit theft again, and then let them go.

M. Longworth Dames.

  1. The kunar is the Zizyphus Jujuba, well known in Northern India as the Ber.
  2. The word Choti in Balochi means "hair", and is also the name of a town in the district of Dera Ghazi Khan.
  3. Another punning allusion; the word Nain meaning "eye" in several Indian dialects.
  4. The Chūrīgar is a maker of bangles of lac or metal, which are worn by women on the forearm. Naina Bai conveys this information by placing her hand on her arm.
  5. A Khoja is a Muhammadan merchant.
  6. The usual practice of sweetmeat sellers.
  7. I have met with a case of the ordeal by fire in the present day among the Bozdars, a Baloch tribe of the Sulaiman Mountains. The condition was that the man should walk from end to end of the trench without getting out on either side. He was not expected to escape being burnt.—M. L. D.
  8. As long as the words used were literally true, her actual guilt or innocence did not matter.
  9. The allusion is to the Persian wheel for raising water from a well. It is worked by oxen, which go round in a circle, and are yoked to a board on which the driver sits. This work could be done by a blind and lame man.