Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/399

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INDO-BURMESE FOLKLORE. 311

3rd Sudhammacari Story. The Man and his Three Wives.

In those days there was a certain vaicya, who was married at the age of twenty, and he constantly said to his wife, " If 1 die from the bite of a snake, do not burn my body, but set it afloat in the river on a raft."

One day he was bitten by a snake and died ; so his wife called his friends and relations together, and, in accordance with his instructions, they placed his body on a raft and set it afloat.

After a time it reached a town where dwelt a snake-charmer who had three daughters, and it so happened that they were bathing. The eldest girl saw the raft first, and drew the attention of her sisters to it. The second at once swam out and brought it in, whilst the youngest called her father. When the father arrived, he administered drugs and charms to the supposed dead man, and brought him to life. The three sisters at first disputed as to which of them ought to have him as a husband, but the elder sister brought them to themselves by saying, " My sisters, let us restrain our desires with wisdom and let him depart." The younger sisters agreed, and having put a charmed thread round his neck turned him into a parrot.* The parrot flew into the king's garden and fed on the fruit and flowers. The king asked the gardener how it was that the fruit and flowers were injured, and, on being informed, ordered the bird-catchers to catch the parrot. They caught it and took it to the king, who gave it to his daughter. After a time she discovered the thread and took it off, thereupon the parrot turned into a young man. When she put on the thread again he became a parrot. In course of time the princess lost her shape, and the king ordered the chief justice to hold an inquiry; when they came into the princess's apartment the parrot was so frightened it flew out at the window; but, as it did so, the string caught in the window frame and came off. The chief justice's

  • There is a small Indian parrot that has a mark round its neck like a

thread.