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iii.
85
A PARABLE.

60. Hyenas also perish there, in the act of eating one another. The excrements burn, and a loathsome stench spreads in all directions.

61. The centipedes, trying to fly, are devoured by the urchins. The ghosts, with burning hair, hover about, equally vexed with hunger and heat.

62. In such a state is that awful house, where thousands of flames are breaking out on every side. But the man who is the master of the house looks on from without.

63. And he hears his own children, whose minds are engaged in playing with their toys, in their fondness of which they amuse themselves, as fools do in their ignorance.

64. And as he hears them he quickly steps in[1] to save his children, lest his ignorant children might perish in the flames.

65. He tells them the defect of the house, and says: This, young man[2] of good family, is a miserable house, a dreadful one; the various creatures in it, and this fire to boot, form a series of evils.

66. In it are snakes, mischievous goblins, urchins, and ghosts in great number; hyenas, troops of dogs and jackals, as well as vultures, seeking their prey.

67. Such beings live in this house, which, apart


  1. This trait is wanting in the prose relation. The explanation, I fancy, is this: If the description of the glowing house refers to morning twilight, the father (Pitâmaha, or Day-god) will needs step in afterwards; if, on the other hand, the evening twilight is meant, he will already have left the house. In the former case he calls his children to activity, to their daily work; in the latter he admonishes them to take their rest, exhorts them to think of the end of life.
  2. In addressing more persons it is not uncommon that only one is addressed as representing the whole company.