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DECCAN NURSERY TALES

services are useless." Now the son happened to be passing by the stable and heard this conversation. He at once fetched the bullock some grass and the dog some food, and he brought them both water to drink; and then he went to bed very sad at heart. Next morning he got up early and went into a dark forest until at last he came to the hermitage of a rishi. He prostrated himself before the rishi, who asked him why he was so sad. The Brahman's son said, "I am sad because my father has been born again as a bullock and my mother as a dog. Pray tell me how I can get their release." The rishi said, "There is only one way to help them. You must worship the seven sages who have their home in the Great Bear." [1] And he told the Brahman's son the ceremonies which he should observe, and how he should worship the seven sages continually every month of Bhadrapad, or September, for seven years. The Brahman's son obeyed the rishi, and at the end of the seven years a fiery

  1. The Indians do not associate the Great Bear constellation with a bear, but they believe it to be the habitation of seven rishis. The seven rishis vary in different works. In the Mahabharat the names given are Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulatya, and Vashista.

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