Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/60

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48 The Voice of the Stone of Destiny.

means. When Jauhari heard all this, she bowed her head and played her trunk, and then set forth in the direction of the East, followed and attendedby from three to four hundred men, having banners and flags streaming in the wind, and being supplied with all necessaries, and armed with various kinds of spears, held in hand." It is needless to say that the expedition thus pompously described was successful in discovering the boy. The elephant caught him up in her trunk, and placing him on her back in the howdah, carried him off in triumph to the palace, where he was forthwith clad in royal robes and crowned. ^

In Indian belief it is not only super-intelligent elephants which can discover the future occupant of a throne. The elephant is the possession and symbol of royalty. But in the stories, other royal properties are also instruments of divination for that purpose. That these stories were founded on current superstitions is shown by the fact that among the ornaments of the throne of the famous Tippoo, conquered by the British at the end of the eighteenth century, was a bird of paradise made of gold and covered with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, and represented in the act of fluttering. Of this bird it was believed that every head it overshadowed would, in time, wear a crown. When Tippoo was defeated and slain, the Marquis Wellesley, at that time governor-general, sent it home to the Court of Directors of the East India Company.- It is now, I believe, at Windsor.

Coming back to Europe, we find the succession to the throne of one of the Scythian tribes determined by the possession of a certain stone. The author of the work on the names of rivers and mountains attributed to Plutarch relates that in the river Tanais a stone like a crystal grows. It resembles in shape a man wearing a crown. When the king dies, whosoever finds it, and can produce it in the

' Journal of the Indian Archipelago, vol. iii., p. 316.

' Oriental Memoirs, by James Forbes, F.R.S. (Londun, 1813), vol. iv.,p. 191.