38 The Voice of the Stone of Destiny.
horse and sword. In the course of her wanderings she draws nigh to a city-gate, where she finds the emirs and nobles with the troops drawn up and waiting, as Conaire found the three kings waiting on the way to Tara. The soldiery, on seeing her, dash forward. They dismount and prostrate themselves before her, saluting her as lord and sultan. On enquiry she learns that the sultan of the city is dead ; and on such occasions it is the custom that the troops sally forth to the suburbs, there to sojourn for three days. Whoever comes during that time from the quarter whence she has come is made king. Being a lady of resource, she accepts the position, administers the kingdom with efficiency, and ultimately finds means to avenge herself on her enemies and to be reunited with her master, Ali Shar.^ An Indian folktale relates that in a certain city " it was the custom that when the raja died the nobles of the kingdom used to take their seats at the gate of the city, and the first man who appeared before them they made their raja."-
The same tale is told by the Taranchi Tartars, an agri- cultural people who are now settled in the valley of the Hi, a large river flowing into Lake Balkash, in Central Asia. But it is told with this difference. When the hero draws nigh to the gate of the city, all the people cry out " Cuckoo, cuckoo ! " On enquiring why they do this, they reply : " Our ruler has been dead for three days. He had a magical bird, which has been let fly, and on whosesoever head the bird settles, him we raise to be our prince." Here the augury is drawn from a bird.'^
In another Tartar ?narchen, this time from the west of
' Burton, iv. Arabian Nights, 210 , Lane, ii. Arabian Nights (London, 1SS3), 406.
^ North Indian Notes and Queries, vol. iv,, p. 66. Similarly in a story from Mirzapur, the first man met in the forest is made king. Ibid., vol. ii., p. 81. In another story from Mirzapur a trained elephant is let loose to choose the king's bride. Ibid,, vol. iii., p. 103.
' Radloff, Proben der Volkslitteratur der Nordlichen Tiirkischen Stiiinvie, vol. vi. (St. Petersburg, 1886), p. 157.