40 The Voice of the Stone of Destiny.
While there he rescued from the river a wretch whose hands and feet had been cut off^ and who had been thrown by his enemies into the stream to die. His wife, probably sick of austerities, falls in love with the cripple thus rescued, and plots her husband's death. She succeeds in precipi- tating him into the river ; but instead of being drowned he is thrown on the bank near a city. " Now it happened that at that time the king of that city had just died, and in that country there was an immemorial custom, that an auspicious elephant was driven about by the citizens, and any man that he took up with his trunk and placed on his back,, was anointed king." The hero of the story, who is " an incarnation of a portion of a Bodhisattva," is of course chosen ; and when he gets the chance he inflicts condign punishment on his wife.^ The elephant is here described as " an auspicious elephant." Sometimes he is called the " crown-elephant," the special property and symbol of royalty. So in a Tamil story we learn that the king of a certain city dying childless, on his death bed called his ministers together and directed them " to send his crown- elephant with a flower-wreath in his trunk, and to choose him on whom the elephant throws the garland, as his suc- cessor." "-^ In a folk-tale from the far north of India it is " the sacred elephant " before whom all the inhabitants are required to pass in file, and the animal is expected to elect one of them to the vacant throne " by kneeling down and saluting the favoured individual as he passed by, for in this manner kings were elected in that country."^ In a story which appears to come from Gujerat, the king dies without an heir, and the astrologers prophesy that his heir would be
' Kathi Sarit Sagara (Calcutta, 1884), vol. ii., p. I02.
- The Dravidian Nights Entertainments, being a tra>islation of Madana- Mniany'ankadai. By Pandit S. M. Natesa Sastri, Madras, 1886, p. 126.
' Wide-Awake Stories. A collection of tales told by little children, between sunset and sunrise, in the Punjab and Kashmir. By F. A. Steel and R. C. Temple, Bombay, 1884, p. 140. In other stories from Kashmir, it is " an elephant." Knowles, Folk-tales o/" A rtJ-/i!w;V( London, 1888), pp. 169, 309.