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The Blessing Of The Mendicant






Source: Folk-tales Of The Khasis

PART I

Once there lived a very poor family, consisting of a father, mother,
an only son, and his wife. They were poorer than any of their
neighbours, and were never free from want; they seldom got a full
meal, and sometimes they had to go without food for a whole day,
while their clothes but barely covered their bodies. No matter how
hard they worked, or where they went to cultivate, their crops never
succeeded like the crops of their fellow-cultivators in the same
locality. But they were good people, and never grumbled or blamed
the gods, neither did they ask alms of any one, but continued to
work season after season, contented with their poor fare and their
half-empty cooking-pots.

One day an aged mendicant belonging to a foreign tribe wandered into
their village, begging for food at every house and for a night's
shelter. But nobody pitied him or gave him food. Last of all, he
came to the dwelling of the poor family, where, as usual, they had
not enough food to satisfy their own need, yet when they saw the
aged beggar standing outside in the cold, their hearts were filled
with pity. They invited him to enter, and they shared their scanty
meal with him. "Come," they said, "we have but little to give you,
it is true, but it is not right to leave a fellow-man outside to
starve to death." So he lodged with them that night.

It happened that the daughter-in-law was absent that night, so that
the stranger saw only the parents and their son.

Next morning, when he was preparing to depart, the mendicant spoke many
words of peace and goodwill to the family, and blessed them solemnly,
expressing his sympathy with them in their poverty and privation. "You
have good hearts," he said, "and have not hesitated to entertain a
stranger, and have shared with the poor what you yourselves stood
in need of. If you wish, I will show you a way by which you may grow
rich and prosperous."

They were very glad to hear this, for their long struggle with poverty
was becoming harder and harder to bear, and they responded eagerly,
saying, "Show us the way."

Upon this the mendicant opened a small sack which he carried, and took
from it a small live coney, which he handed tenderly to the housewife,
saying, "This little animal was given to me years ago by a holy man,
who told me that if I killed it and cooked its meat for my food I
should grow rich. But by keeping the animal alive for many days I
became so fond of it that I could not kill it. Now I am old and weak,
the day of my death cannot be far off; at my death perhaps the coney
may fall into the hands of unscrupulous persons, so I give it to you
who are worthy. Do not keep it alive as I did, otherwise you will not
be able to kill it and so will never reap the fruits of the virtue it
possesses. When wealth comes to you, beware of its many temptations
and continue to live virtuously as at present."

He also warned them not to divulge the secret to any one outside the
family, or to let any outsiders taste of the magic meat.

When they were alone, the family began to discuss with wonder the
words spoken by the mysterious stranger about the strange animal
that had been left in their possession. They determined to act on the
advice of their late guest, and to kill the coney on that very day,
and that the mother should stay at home from her work in the fields
to cook the meat against the return of the men in the evening.

Left to herself, the housewife began to paint glowing pictures of the
future, when the family would cease to be in want, and would have
no need to labour for their food, but would possess abundance of
luxuries, and be the envy of all their neighbours. As she abandoned
herself to these idle dreams, the evil spirit of avarice entered her
heart unknown to her, and changed her into a hard and pitiless woman,
destroying all the generous impulses which had sustained her in all
their years of poverty and made her a contented and amiable neighbour.

Some time in the afternoon the daughter-in-law returned home, and,
noticing a very savoury smell coming from the cooking-pot, she asked
her mother-in-law pleasantly what good luck had befallen them, that
she had such a good dinner in preparation. To her surprise, instead
of a kind and gentle answer such as she had always received from her
mother-in-law, she was answered by a torrent of abuse and told that
she was not to consider herself a member of the family, or to expect
a share of the dinner, which a holy man had provided for them.

This unmerited unkindness hurt and vexed the younger woman, but,
as it is not right to contradict a mother-in-law, she refrained from
making any reply, and sat meekly by the fire, and in silence watched
the process of cooking going on. She was very hungry, having come from
a long journey, and, knowing that there was no other food in the house
except that which her mother-in-law was cooking, she determined to try
and obtain a little of it unobserved. When the elder woman left the
house for a moment she snatched a handful of meat from the pan and ate
it quickly, but her mother-in-law caught her chewing, and charged her
with having eaten the meat. As she did not deny it, her mother-in-law
began to beat her unmercifully, and turned her out of doors in anger.

The ill-treated woman crawled along the path by which her husband
was expected to arrive, and sat on the ground, weeping, to await his
coming. When he arrived he marvelled to see his wife crying on the
roadside, and asked her the reason for it. She was too upset to answer
him for a long time, but when at last she was able to make herself
articulate, she told him all that his mother had done to her. He became
very wroth, and said, "If my mother thinks more of gaining wealth than
of respecting my wife, I will leave my mother's house for ever," and he
strode away, taking only a brass lota (water vessel) for his journey.



PART II

The husband and wife wandered about in the jungle for many days,
living on any wild herbs or roots that they could pick up on their
way, but all those days they did not see a village or a sign of a
human habitation.

One day they happened to come to a very dry and barren hill, where they
could get no water, and they began to suffer from thirst. In this arid
place a son was born to them, and the young mother seemed likely to
die for want of water. The husband roamed in every direction, but saw
no water anywhere, until he climbed to the top of a tall tree in order
to survey the country, and to his joy saw in the distance a pool of
clear water. He hastened down and fetched his lota, and proceeded in
the direction of the pool. The jungle was so dense that he was afraid
of losing his way, so in order to improvise some sort of landmark,
he tore his dottie (loin-cloth) into narrow strips which he hung on
the bushes as he went.

After a long time he reached the pool, where he quenched his thirst
and was refreshed. Then he filled his lota to return to his languishing
wife, but was tempted to take a plunge in the cool water of the pool,
for he was hot and dusty from his toilsome walk. Putting his lota on
the ground and laying his clothes beside it, he plunged into the water,
intending to stay only a few minutes.

Now it happened that a great dragon, called U Yak Jakor, lived in
the pool, and he rose to the surface upon seeing the man, dragged
him down to the bottom, and devoured him.

The anxious wife, parched with thirst, waited expectantly for the
return of her husband, but, seeing no sign of him, she determined to
go in search of him. So, folding her babe in a cloth, which she tied
on her back, she began to trace the path along which she had seen her
husband going, and by the help of the strips of cloth on the bushes,
she came at last to the spot where her husband's lota and his clothes
had been left.

At sight of these she was filled with misgivings, and, failing to
see her husband anywhere, she began to call out his name, searching
for him in all directions. There were no more strips of cloth, so
she knew that he had not gone farther.

When U Yak Jakor heard the woman calling, he came up to the surface
of the pool, and seeing she was a woman, and alone, he drew near,
intending to force her into the water, for the dragon who was the
most powerful of all the dragons inside the pool lost his strength
whenever he stood on dry land, and could then do no harm to any one.

In her confusion and fear on account of her husband, the woman did not
take much notice of U Yak Jakor when he came, but shouted to him to
ask if he had not seen a man passing that way; to which he replied
that a man had come, who had been taken to the palace of the king
beneath the pool. When she heard this she knew that they had come to
the pool of U Yak Jakor, and, looking more closely at the being that
had approached her, she saw that he was a dragon. She knew also that
U Yak Jakor had no strength on dry land, and she lifted her arm with
a threatening gesture, upon which he dived into the pool.

By these tokens the woman understood that her husband had been killed
by the dragon. Taking up the lota and his clothes, she hurried from
the fatal spot and beyond the precincts of the dragon's pool, and,
after coming to a safe and distant part of the jungle, she threw
herself down on the ground in an abandonment of grief. She cried
so loud and so bitterly that her babe awoke and cried in sympathy;
to her astonishment she saw that his tears turned into lumps of gold
as they fell. She knew this to be a token that the blessing of the
mendicant, of which her husband had spoken, had rested upon her boy
by virtue of the meat she had eaten.

This knowledge cheered and comforted her greatly, for she felt
less defenceless and lonely in the dreary forest. After refreshing
herself with water from the lota, she set out in search of some
human habitation, and after a weary search she came at last to a
large village, where the Siem (Chief) of that region lived, who,
seeing that she possessed much gold, permitted her to dwell there.



PART III

The boy was named U Babam Doh, because of the meat which his mother
had eaten. The two lived very happily in this village, the mother
leading an industrious life, for she did not wish to depend for their
living on the gold gained at the expense of her son's tears. Neither
did she desire it to become known that he possessed the magic power
to convert his tears into gold, so she instructed her boy never to
weep in public, and on every occasion when he might be driven to
cry, she told him to go into some secret place where nobody could
witness the golden tears. And so anxious was she not to give him any
avoidable cause of grief that she concealed from him the story of her
past sufferings and his father's tragic fate, and hid from sight the
brass lota and the clothes she had found by the dragon's pool.

U Babam Doh grew up a fine and comely boy, in whom his mother's
heart delighted; he was strong of body and quick of intellect,
so that none of the village lads could compete with him, either
at work or at play. Among his companions was the Heir-apparent of
the State, a young lad about his own age, who, by reason of the
many accomplishments of U Babam Doh, showed him great friendliness
and favour, so that the widow's son was frequently invited to the
Siem's house, and was privileged to attend many of the great State
functions and Durbars. Thus he unconsciously became familiar with
State questions, and gleaned much knowledge and wisdom, so that he
grew up enlightened and discreet beyond many of his comrades.

One day, during the Duali (Hindu gambling festival), his friend the
Heir-apparent teased him to join in the game. He had no desire to
indulge in any games of luck, and he was ignorant of the rules of
all such games, but he did not like to offend his friend by refusing,
so he went with him to the gambling field and joined in the play.

At first the Heir-apparent, who was initiating him into the game,
played for very small stakes, but, to their mutual surprise, U Babam
Doh the novice won at every turn. The Heir-apparent was annoyed at the
continual success of his friend, for he himself had been looked upon
as the champion player at previous festivals, so, thinking to daunt
the spirit of U Babam Doh, he challenged him to risk higher stakes,
which, contrary to his expectation, were accepted, and again U Babam
Doh won. They played on until at last the Heir-apparent had staked
and lost all his possessions; he grew so reckless that in the end he
staked his own right of succession to the throne, and lost.

There was great excitement and commotion when it became known that
the Heir-apparent had gambled away his birthright; people left their
own games, and from all parts of the field they flocked to where the
two young men stood. When the Heir-apparent saw that the people were
unanimous in blaming him for so recklessly throwing away what they
considered his divine endowment, he tried to retrieve his character by
abusing his opponent, taunting him with being ignorant of his father's
name, and calling him the unlawful son of U Yak Jakor, saying that
it was by the dragon's aid he had won all the bets on that day.

This was a cruel and terrible charge from which U Babam Doh recoiled,
but as his mother had never revealed to him her history, he was
helpless in face of the taunt, to which he had no answer to give. He
stood mute and stunned before the crowd, who, when they saw his
dismay, at once concluded that the Heir-apparent's charges were well
founded. They dragged U Babam Doh before the Durbar, and accused him
of witchcraft before the Siem and his ministers.

U Babam Doh, being naturally courageous and resourceful, soon
recovered himself, and having absolute confidence in the justice of
his cause, he appealed to the Durbar for time to procure proofs,
saying that he would give himself up to die at their hands if he
failed to substantiate his claim to honour and respectability, and
stating that this charge was fabricated by his opponent, who hoped
to recover by perfidy what he had lost in fair game.

The Durbar were perplexed by these conflicting charges, but they were
impressed by the temperate and respectful demeanour of the young
stranger, in comparison with the flustered and rash conduct of the
descendant of their own royal house, so they granted a number of days
during which U Babam Doh must procure proofs of his innocence or die.

U Babam Doh left the place of Durbar, burning with shame and
humiliation for the stigma that had been cast upon him and upon his
mother, and came sadly to his house. When his mother saw his livid
face she knew that some great calamity had befallen him, and pressed
him to tell her about it, but the only reply he would give to all
her questions was, "Give me a mat, oh my mother, give me a mat to lie
upon"; whereupon she spread a mat for him on the floor, on which he
threw himself down in an abandonment of grief. He wept like one that
could never be consoled, and as he wept his tears turned into gold,
till the mat on which he lay was covered with lumps of gold, such as
could not be counted for their number.

Although the mother saw this inexhaustible wealth at her feet she
could feel no pleasure in it, owing to her anxiety for her son,
who seemed likely to die of grief. After a time she succeeded in
calming him, and gradually she drew forth from him the tale of the
attack made upon their honour by the Heir-apparent. She began to
upbraid herself bitterly for withholding from him their history,
and hastily she went to fetch her husband's clothes and the brass
lota which she had concealed for so many years, and, bringing them to
her son, she told him all that had happened to her and to his father,
from the day on which the foreign mendicant visited their hut to the
time of their coming to their present abode.

U Babam Doh listened with wonder and pity for the mother who had so
bravely borne so many sorrows, concealing all her woes in order to
spare him all unnecessary pangs. When the mother finished her tale
U Babam Doh stood up and shook himself, and, taking his bow and his
quiver, he said, "I must go and kill U Yak Jakor, and so avenge my
father's death, and vindicate my mother's honour."

The mother's heart was heavy when she saw him depart, but she knew that
the day had arrived for him to fulfil his duty to his father's memory,
so she made no attempt to detain him, but gave him minute directions
about the locality, and the path leading to the dragon's haunts.



PART IV

After a long journey U Babam Doh arrived at the pool, on the shores
of which he found a large wooden chest, which he rightly guessed had
belonged to some unfortunate traveller who had fallen a victim to
the dragon. Upon opening the chest he found it full of fine clothes
and precious stones, such as are worn only by great princes; these
he took and made into a bundle to bring home.

Remembering his mother's instructions not to venture into the pool,
he did not leave the dry land, although he was hot and tired and
longed to bathe in order to refresh himself. He began to call out
with a loud voice as if hallooing to some lost companions, and this
immediately attracted to the surface U Yak Jakor, who, after waiting
a while to see if the man would not come to bathe in the pool, came
ashore, thinking to lure his prey into the water. But U Babam Doh was
on his guard, and did not stir from his place, and when the dragon
came within reach he attacked him suddenly and captured him alive. He
then bound him with rattan and confined him in the wooden chest.

Fortified by his success, and rejoicing in his victory, U Babam
Doh took the chest on his shoulders and brought the dragon home
alive. Being wishful to enhance the sensation, when the day came for
him to make his revelations public in the Durbar, he did not inform
his mother that he had U Yak Jakor confined in the wooden chest, and
when she questioned him about the contents of the chest he was silent,
promising to let her see it some day. In the meantime he forbade her
to open it, on pain of offending him, but he showed her the bundle
of silken clothes.

The news soon spread through the village that U Babam Doh had come
back, and when the people saw him walking with lifted head and
steadfast look, the rumour got abroad that he had been successful
in his quest for proofs. This rumour caused the Heir-apparent to
tremble for his own safety, and hoping to baulk U Babam Doh once more,
he persuaded the Siem to postpone the date of the Durbar time after
time. Thus U Yak Jakor remained for many days undiscovered, confined
in the chest.

Now U Babam Don's mother, being a woman, was burning with curiosity
to know the secret of that wooden chest which her son had brought
home and around which there appeared so much mystery. One day, when
her son was absent, she determined to peep into it to see what was
hidden there. U Yak Jakor had overheard all that the mother and son
had said to one another, and he knew that the woman was not aware
of his identity. As soon as he heard her approaching the chest he
quickly transformed himself into the likeness of her dead husband,
though he was powerless to break the rattan.

The woman was startled beyond speech when she saw (as she thought)
her husband alive and almost unchanged, whom she had mourned as
dead for so many long years. When she could control her joy she
requested him to come out, to partake of food and betel nut, but he
replied that although he had by the help of their son escaped from the
dragon's stronghold, he was under certain vows which would have to be
fulfilled before he could come out, for if he left the chest before the
fulfilment of his vow he would fall again into the power of the dragon.

The mother began to find fault with her son for having concealed the
fact of her husband's rescue from her, but the dragon said that if
the son had disclosed the fact to anybody before the fulfilment of
the vows it would have committed him into U Yak Jakor's hands. She
must beware of letting U Babam Doh know that she had discovered the
secret, or both her son and her husband would be lost to her for ever,
while by judicious help she might bring about his release.

Upon hearing this the woman implored him to show her in what way she
could assist, and so quicken his release. The wily dragon hoped in this
way to bring about the death of U Babam Doh, so he replied that his
vow involved drinking a seer of tigress' milk, and that he who obtained
the milk must not know for whom or for what purpose it was obtained.

This was sad news for the woman, for it seemed to her quite impossible
to procure tigress' milk on any condition. She was even less likely
to find any one willing to risk his life to get it, without knowing
for whom and for what purpose, and she wept bitterly. After a time
she called to mind the many exploits of her son as a hunter, and she
conceived a sudden plan by which she hoped to obtain tigress' milk.

By and by she heard the footsteps of her son outside, and she
hurriedly closed the lid of the chest, and lay on the ground, and
feigned sickness, writhing as if in great agony. U Babam Doh was
much concerned when he saw his mother, and bent over her with great
solicitude. He tried many remedies, but she seemed to grow worse
and worse, and he cried out in sorrow, saying, "Tell me, my mother,
what remedy will cure you, and I will get it or die."

"It is written in my nusip (book of fate) that I shall die of this
sickness, unless I drink a seer of tigress' milk," said the mother.

"I will obtain for you some tigress' milk," said the youth, "or die";
and, taking his bow and quiver and his father's lota, he went into
the forest, asking some neighbours to come and sit with his mother
during his absence.

When he had been gone some time his mother said she felt better, and
requested the neighbours to return to their homes, as she wished to
sleep; but as soon as they were out of earshot she got up and prepared
a savoury meal for him whom she thought her husband.



PART V

U Babam Doh, eager to see his mother healed, walked without halting
till he came to a dense and uninhabited part of the forest which
he thought might be the haunt of wild beasts, but he could see no
trail of tigers. He was about to return home after a fruitless hunt,
as he feared to be absent too long from his mother, when he heard
loud moans from behind a near thicket. He immediately directed his
steps towards the sound, prepared to render what assistance he could
to whoever was suffering. To his surprise he found some young tiger
cubs, one of whom had swallowed a bone, which had stuck in his throat,
and was choking him. U Babam Doh quickly made a pair of pincers from
a piece of bamboo, and soon had the bone removed. The cubs were very
thankful for the recovery of their brother, and showed their gratitude
by purring and licking U Babam Doh's hand, while the cub from whose
throat the bone was extracted crouched at his feet, declaring that
he would be his attendant for ever.

U Babam Doh took up his lota and his bow and prepared to depart, but
the cubs entreated him to stay until their mother returned, so as to
get her permission for the young tiger to follow him. So U Babam Doh
stayed with the cubs to await the return of the tigress.

Before long the muffled sound of her tread was heard approaching. As
she drew near, she sniffed the air suspiciously, and soon detected
the presence of a man in her lair. Putting herself in a fighting
attitude, she began to growl loudly, saying, "Human flesh, human
flesh"; but the cubs ran to meet her, and told her how a kind man had
saved their brother from death. Whereupon she stopped her growling,
and, like her cubs, she showed her gratitude to U Babam Doh by purring
and licking his hands.

The tigress asked him many questions, for it was a rare occurrence
for a man to wander so far into the jungle alone. On being told that
he had come in search of tigress' milk to save his mother's life, she
exclaimed eagerly that she knew of a way to give him what he wanted,
by which she could in some measure repay him for saving her cub, and
she bade him bring his lota and fill it with milk from her dugs. U
Babam Doh did as she told him, and obtained abundance of tigress'
milk, with which he hastened home to his mother, accompanied by the
tiger cub.



PART VI

U Babam Doh found his mother, on his return, in just the same condition
as when he left her; so as soon as he arrived he put the lota of milk
into her hand, and said, "Drink, oh my mother. I have obtained for you
some tigress' milk, drink and live." She made a pretence of drinking,
but as soon as her son left the house she hurried to the wooden chest,
and, handing in the lota, she said, "Drink, oh my husband. Our son hath
obtained the tigress' milk, drink and be free from the dragon's power."

U Yak Jakor was vexed to find that U Babam Doh had returned unharmed,
and began to think how he could send him on another perilous venture,
and he answered the woman plaintively, "To drink tigress' milk is only
a part of my vow; before I can be released from the dragon's power I
must anoint my body with fresh bear's grease, and he who obtains it
for me must not know for whom or for what purpose it is obtained."

The woman was very troubled to hear this, for she feared to send her
son into yet another danger, but, believing that there was no other
way to secure her husband's release, she again feigned sickness, and
when her son asked her why the tigress' milk had not effected a cure,
she replied:

"It is written in my nusip that I must die of this sickness unless
I anoint my body with fresh bear's grease."

"I will obtain the fresh bear's grease for you, oh my mother, or die,"
answered the youth impetuously; and once more he started to the forest,
taking his bow and quiver, and his father's lota, which he had filled
with honey.

As he was starting off, the tiger cub began to follow him, but U Babam
Doh commanded him to stop at home to guard the house, and went alone
to the forest. After travelling far he saw the footprints of bears,
whereupon he cut some green plaintain leaves and spread them on
the ground and poured the honey upon them, and went to hide in the
thicket. Soon a big bear came and began to eat the honey greedily,
and while it was busy feasting, U Babam Doh, from behind the thicket,
threw a thong round its throat and captured it alive. Upon this
a fierce struggle began; but the bear, finding that the more he
struggled the tighter the grip on his throat became, was soon subdued,
and was led a safe, though unwilling captive by U Babam Doh out of
the jungle. Thus once again the son brought to his mother the remedy
which was supposed to be written in her nusip.

When he came in sight of his home, leading the bear by the thong,
the tiger cub, on seeing his master, ran to meet him, with the good
news that his mother had recovered and had been cooking savoury meals
for a guest who was staying in the house. This news cheered U Babam
Doh greatly, and, fastening the bear to a tree, he hastened to the
house to greet his mother, but to his disappointment he found her ill
and seemingly in as much pain as ever. Without delay he took a knife
and went out to kill the bear, and, filling the lota with grease,
he brought it to his mother, saying:

"Anoint yourself, oh my mother, I have obtained for you the bear's
grease; anoint yourself and live."

He then went out to seek the tiger cub and punish him for deceiving
him about his mother's condition, but the cub declared on oath that
he had spoken only the truth, and that his mother had really been
entertaining a guest during her son's absence, and seemed to have
been in good health, going about her work, and cooking savoury meals.

U Babam Doh was greatly mystified; he was loth to believe his mother
could be capable of any duplicity, and yet the tiger cub seemed to
speak the truth. He determined not to say anything to his mother
about the matter, but to keep a watch on her movements for a few days.

When her son left the house after giving her the bear's grease,
the woman rose quickly, and lifting the lid of the chest, she said:

"Anoint yourself, oh my husband. Our son hath obtained the bear's
grease; anoint yourself and be free from the dragon's power."

As before, the dragon was again very chagrined to find that U Babam
Doh had come back alive and uninjured, so he thought of yet another
plan by which he could send him into a still greater danger, and he
answered the woman: "Anointing my body with bear's grease is only a
part of my vow; before I can be released from the dragon's power I
must be covered for one whole night with the undried skin of a python,
and he who obtains the skin for me must not know for what purpose or
for whom it is obtained."

The woman wept bitterly when she heard of this vow, for she feared to
send her son among the reptiles. U Yak Jakor, seeing her hesitation,
began to coax her, and to persuade her to feign sickness once
again, and she, longing to see her husband released, yielded to his
coaxing. When her son came in he found her seemingly worse than he
had seen her before, and once more he knelt by her side and begged
of her to tell him what he could do for her that would ease her pain.

She replied, "It is written in my nusip that I must die of this
sickness unless I am covered for a whole night with the undried skin
of a python"; and as before U Babam Doh answered and said that he
would obtain for her whatever was written in her nusip; but he did
not say that he would bring a python skin.

Taking his bow and quiver, he left the house, as on former occasions,
and walked in the direction of the jungle, but this time he did not
proceed far. He returned home unobserved, and, climbing to the roof
of the house, he quietly removed some of the thatch, which enabled
him to see all that was going on inside the house, while he himself
was unseen.

Very soon he saw his mother getting up, as if in her usual health,
and preparing to cook a savoury meal, which, to his amazement, when
it had been cooked, she took to the wooden chest where he knew the
dragon to be confined. As he looked, he saw the figure of a man lying
in the chest, and he knew then that U Yak Jakor had transformed himself
into another likeness in order to dupe his mother. He listened, and
soon he understood from their conversation that the dragon had taken
the form of his own dead father, and by that means had succeeded in
making his mother a tool against her own son. He now blamed himself
for not having confided to his mother the secret of the chest, and
determined to undeceive her without further delay.

He entered the house quickly, before his mother had time to close
the lid of the chest. She stood before him flustered and confused,
thinking that by her indiscretion she had irrevocably committed her
husband to the power of the dragon; but when U Babam Doh informed her
of the deception played upon her by U Yak Jakor she was overwhelmed
with terror, to think how she had been duped into sending her brave
son into such grave perils, and abetting the dragon in his evil
designs on his life.

When U Yak Jakor saw that there was no further advantage to be
gained by keeping the man's form he assumed his own shape, and,
thinking to prevent them from approaching near enough to harm him,
he emitted the most foul stench from his scaly body. But U Babam Doh,
who had borne so much, was not to be thwarted, and without any more
lingering he took the chest on his shoulders and carried it to the
place of Durbar. There, before the Siem and his ministers and the
whole populace, he recounted the strange story of his own adventures
and his parents' history. At the end of the tale he opened the wooden
chest and exhibited the great monster, who had been such a terror to
travellers for many generations, and in the presence of the Durbar,
amid loud cheers, he slew U Yak Jakor, and so avenged his father's
death and vindicated his mother's honour.

The Siem and the Durbar unanimously appointed him the Heir-apparent,
and when in the course of time he succeeded to the throne he proved
himself a wise and much-loved ruler, who befriended the poor and the
down-trodden and gave shelter to the stranger and the homeless. He
always maintained that his own high estate was bestowed upon him
in consequence of his family's generosity to a lonely and unknown
mendicant, whose blessing descended upon them and raised them from
a state of want and poverty to the highest position in the land.






Previous: The Lost Book



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