The Lost Book

: Folk-tales Of The Khasis

After mankind began to multiply on the earth and had become numerous,

and scattered into many regions, they lost much of their knowledge of

the laws of God, and in their ignorance they committed many mistakes

in their mode of worship, each one worshipping in his own way after

his own fancy, without regard to what was proper and acceptable in

the sight of God.

In order to restore their knowledge and to ref
rm their mode of

worship, the Great God commanded a Khasi man and a foreigner to appear

before Him on a certain day, upon a certain mountain, the name of

which is not known, that they might learn His laws and statutes.

So the Khasi and the foreigner went into the mountain and appeared

before God. They remained with Him three days and three nights,

and He revealed unto them the mode of worship.

The Great God wrote His laws in books, and at the end of the third

day He gave unto each man a book of the holy law, and said unto them:

"This is sufficient unto you; return unto your own people; behold,

I have written all that is needful for you to know in this book. Take

it, and read it, and teach it to your kindred that they may learn

how to be wise and holy and happy for ever." The two men took their

books and departed as they were commanded.

Between the mountain and their homeland there lay a wide river. On

their way thither they had waded through it without any difficulty,

for the water was low, but on their return journey they found the river

in flood and the water so deep that they had to swim across. They

were sorely perplexed how to keep their sacred books safe and dry;

being devoid of clothing, the men found it difficult to protect them

or to cover them safely. The foreigner had long hair, and he took his

book and wrapped it in his long hair, which he twisted firmly on the

top of his head; but the hair of the Khasi was short, so he could

not follow the example of the foreigner, and, not able to think of

a better plan, he took the book between his teeth.

The foreigner swam across safely, with his book undamaged, and he

went home to his kindred joyfully and taught them wisdom and the mode

of worship.

The Khasi, after swimming part of the way, began to flounder, for

the current was strong, and his breathing was impeded by the book in

his mouth. His head went under water, and the book was reduced to a

worthless pulp. He was in great trouble when he saw that the book

was destroyed. He determined to return to the mountain to ask the

Great God for a new book, so he swam back across the wide river and

climbed again to the mountain; but when he reached the place where

he had before met God, he found that He had ascended into heaven,

and he had to return empty-handed.

When he reached his own country, he summoned together all his kindred

and told them all that had happened. They were very sad when they heard

that the book was lost, and bewildered because they had no means of

enlightenment. They resolved to call a Durbar of all the Khasis to

consider how they could carry on their worship in a becoming way and

with some uniformity, so as to secure for themselves the three great

blessings of humanity--health, wealth, and families.

Since that day the Khasis have depended for their knowledge of sacred

worship on the traditions that have come down from one generation

to the other from their ancestors who sat in the great Durbar after

the sacred book was lost, while the foreigners learn how to worship

from books.