Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/433

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and lost her sight; indeed, she became delirious, and the king in great distress called the physicians, who applied all manner of drugs, but only made the princess worse. Then the king in despair summoned the astrologers, who, after consulting her horoscope, said, "Unless you can get milk from a tiger which has newly had young, and wash the eyes of the princess with it, she will not get better."[1]

Then the king made a proclamation that whosoever should get this milk and cure the Princess Ratnasari should have her to wife. Indra Bangsāwan (in the guise of a country lad) when he heard this, took his goats out to pasture and milked them, and taking some of the milk he put it into a joint[2] of bamboo and hung it up on a branch of a large tree, and taking off his magic dress he resumed his own shape and sat down to watch the milk.

The nine rajas' sons, each one wishing to obtain the hand of the princess, started to seek for tiger's milk, and after long and fruitless search in the jungle, they emerged into the plain where Indra Bangsāwan was, and seeing him sitting watching the bamboo containing the milk, and supposing him to be a common person, they demanded cavalierly what he had got there. He said carelessly that the bamboo contained tiger's milk. Then they, casting glances at one another, offered to buy it, but he replied that he was not at liberty to sell it, for the owner, his master, had said that the only condition on which he would part with it, was that the person who wished to acquire it, should be branded on the thigh with a red-hot iron. After anxious consultation they reluctantly consented, and being branded each one by Indra Bangsāwan, they received the joint of bamboo and limped away.

When they came to the king they presented the milk saying that it was tiger's milk which they had brought. Then the king

  1. Susu harimau, or "Tigress's milk." This expression also signifies the sclerotium, or resting-stage, of a fungus, Lentinus sp. (Tuber regium) of Rumphius—Herb. Amboin VI., which is believed to have sprung from some drops of milk shed by a tigress in suckling her young. This fungus growth is greatly prized, and regarded by the Malays as a valuable medicine. It should be noted that the Malays of the Peninsula with few exceptions do not drink milk at all, either medicinally or otherwise.
  2. i.e., the internode, or hollow part of the bamboo between the joints, frequently used as a receptacle by the Malays both for liquids and solids (water, cooked rice, tobacco, drugs, darts, &c.). These bamboos are stoppered with sections of wood, bunches of leaves, &c.