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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/303

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295
Balochi Tales.

possessed great abundance of cattle, yet he was childless. He daily asked for the prayers of mendicants, that God might give him a son. One day a faqīr came along and begged from him, saying, "O prophet Drīs! in God's name give me something!" But Drīs replied, "Here have I been giving and giving day by day, in God's name, and yet I have no son. I will give you nothing." The faqīr said, " I will pronounce a blessing on you, and God will give you a son." Then he blessed him, and said, "I have presented you with forty sons in one day."

The prophet's wife conceived, and bore forty sons at a birth. Then the prophet consulted with his wife, and said, "We cannot keep forty sons. This is what we must do : keep one, and take the other nine-and-thirty out into the wilderness and leave them there." So the mother kept one, and the nine-and-thirty he took out and left in the wilderness.

After a year had passed, a goatherd happened to drive out his flock to graze to the spot where the prophet had cast away his offspring, and what should he see but forty children, save one, all playing there together! The goatherd was frightened, for, he thought, "This place is waste and deserted, who can those children be? Are they jinns, or some other of God's mysteries?" In the evening he told his master that he had seen forty children in the wilderness, and knew not what they were. The news of this spread among the people, and at last came to the ears of Drīs the prophet. He said, "I will ask the goatherd about it," but in his own heart he knew they were his children. He went and inquired of the goatherd, who said, "I will send away my flock, and go myself with you, and show you the place." So Drīs set out with the goatherd, and he showed him the place ; but now there was no one there, though their tracks could be seen. Drīs sat down there, and the goatherd drove away his flock. Drīs hid himself and waited, hoping for them to come. Then he saw the children coming towards him, and perceived