Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/537

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

Reviezvs. 499

it and become intoxicated ; the cats drink and fall asleep, while the rats bite off their ears, noses, teeth, and tails. The new discovery ruins the people, and their destruction is checked only when the Master appears and orders the king to abstain.

In Jataka, No. 513 (p. 11), we have one of the two cannibal stories which are perhaps the best in this volume. In the first, a female Yaksha carries off a royal infant, rears the boy as her own, and teaches him to eat human flesh. In course of time the man-eater captures his brother, the reigning prince, but releases him on condition that he returns and surrenders him- self as soon as he redeems his promise to reward a Brahman who had recited some verses in his honour. When this duty is discharged, the son of the prince offers himself as a victim in lieu of his father, on which the man-eater, who is now recognised as the king's brother, is converted and becomes an ascetic. Incidentally we are told (p. 18) that "the eyes of ogres are red and do not wink ; they cast no shadow." It is also noted by the editor (p. 248) that the only cases of cannibalism in the Jatakas are those of men who have been reared by a Yaksha, or who have been Yakshas in a former birth, and he refers to Dr. Grierson's interesting paper on Indian cannibalism {R.A.S/., 1905). In the second and more elaborate cannibal tale (No. 537, p. 246), the king, who had been a Yaksha or ogre in a previous birth, develops a taste for human flesh, and causes his subjects to be murdered to supply him with his favourite food. When the crime is brought home to him he refuses to abandon his evil ways and is driven out of his kingdom. He takes up his abode in a forest and kills all travellers who pass that way. At length he captures a king who had once been his friend, but as in the former tale, releases him on condition that he performs a promise which he had made to a Brahman. When he sur- renders, the man-eater sees the error of his ways and is restored to his kingdom.

No. 514 (p. 201) is the famous Chaddanta or "Six-toothed" Jataka, so graphically represented in one of the frescoes of the Ajanta Caves, which can be studied in Mr. Griffith's splendid album of pictures. Here a royal elephant has two wives, one