Swahili Tales/Sultan Majnun

SULTAN MAJNÚN.

Sultan Majnún married a wife, the daughter of his uncle, and she bare him her first child, a boy; and she bare him a second child, a boy; and she bare him a third child, a boy; and she bare him a fourth child, a boy; and she bare him a fifth child, a boy; and she bare him a sixth child, a boy; and a seventh child was born, the last she bare, a boy. And the sultan was exceedingly glad at getting those lions.

And the sultan lived on, and made a great garden, and planted all the fruits of the world that he knew, and those that he knew not he inquired of people, and got them and planted them. And he planted one date-tree. And he planted all kinds of vegetables. Every day he went three times into his garden: he went there at seven, he went there at three, and he went there at half-past five.

And the sultan dwelt with his children, and put them to school, and they read, and their education was finished, and they were taught to write letters, and learnt.

Now amongst those children his father disliked the seventh. What this child did was, that he did not go out of the kitchen from among the women, he did not go out from under the mortar for cleaning corn among the women. And his father was much vexed because he stayed amongst the women. And he had talked to him a good deal and he paid no heed, and he had beaten him and he paid no heed, and he had tied him up and he paid no heed. So at last the sultan was tired of his business, and let him go out of the way.

And the sultan lived on till his date-tree threw up a pointed shoot, and after a month had passed, he found signs that the sultan's date-tree would bear, and he was very glad, and called the vizir, and told the vizir, "My date-tree is bearing;" and he told the officers "My date-tree is bearing;" and he told the judges, "My date-tree is bearing." And he told all the rich gentlemen that were in the town.

And he waited till after some days had passed, the dates were preparing to ripen upon the date-tree. And he called his sons, all the six, and he said, "That one child is not amongst you, he has stayed behind like a woman. Now give me your advice, my sons." And they asked, "On what, father?" And he said, "I want one son amongst you to watch the date-tree till the dates are ripe, that I may get to eat those dates. I cannot leave the date-tree by itself, I fear the slaves will eat them, or some bird will come and eat them. So I want you [that one] to go and watch the date-tree." And he said, "All right," and went off.

There was a good house built, and he sat there till the night. And he gathered all the slaves of the plantation and they beat the drums under the date-tree. The youth feared, and said, "If I sleep inside, perhaps a slave will come in the night, and climb up the date-tree, and steal the dates; or, perhaps, some great bird will come in the night and eat the dates, and besides, the dates are ripe. Let us dance then here under the date-tree till the morning."

And they beat the drums till, when half the night was over, they felt it very cold, so that they could not endure that cold. They danced till four o'clock was passed, and they all fell asleep under the date-tree. The lad was sitting down, and a slave of his got up and said to him, "Master, go to sleep, I say." And he said, "How shall I go to sleep, when I was sent to watch the date-tree?" And he said, "Now it is four o'clock, and the cocks are crowing. What is it then that will come now near the date-tree? neither man nor bird dare, nor could come." The lad said, "I cannot go and sleep." And he said, "Go and sleep, it is getting light, too." And he said, "You are right, I will go and sleep." And he went and slept.

When a little space had passed, a bird came down and ate the dates, without leaving even one. And it flew off and went away. And when it was light, one of their chief servants looked at the date-tree—there were no dates. And he went running to his master's son, and found him asleep. And he woke him, "Young master! young master!" And he woke up, and said, "What do you want?" And he said, "Your father sent you to watch the date-tree, and you have not watched it, and the dates have been all eaten by some bird." And he said, "Speak the truth." And he said, "These words are the truth; get up yourself and look." The lad got up; and when he arrived near the date-tree he saw there were no dates. And he stood staring. "When I go and tell my father, am I to tell him, 'The dates have been eaten by people?' am I to say, 'The dates have been eaten by birds?' or am I to say, 'A great rain fell yesterday in the night and a great storm blew?' am I to tell him, 'The dates have all fallen off?' He will say to me, 'Go and gather them up and bring me that I may see what have been beaten off by the storm and the rain,' and there on the ground there are none. 'His words have become lies.' Ah! what plan am I to make? Shall I go to my father and tell him, 'Bedouins came and drove me away, and when I went back and looked at the date-tree there were no dates?' He will say to me, 'All those slaves were there, and you did not fight with them. His words are become lies.' The old man will not accept these words. I will go to-morrow to my father, and tell him, 'I watched the date-tree till the time of early prayers, and when it was getting light I went to lie down a little, and when I had passed a little space it dawned, and I saw a slave coming to me to wake me, and telling me, "Master, the date-tree has no dates on it, not even one." And I arose and went, and when I arrived near the date-tree, and looked at the date-tree, it was true there were no dates. And so, father, I am come to you; you are the knife and I am the animal, do with me everything you will.' This is the best to say. Better tell the truth than tell a lie."

And he went away to his father's; and he found his father sitting on his baraza with his five sons. And when he came he saluted his father. And he said, "Give me the news from the garden." And he said, "There is good news and bad." "What sort of good and what sort of bad?" And he said, "The bad is that, as to the date-tree, the dates have been all eaten by some bird, there is not so much as one left." And he said, "Where were you that my date-tree was eaten by a bird?" And he said, "I watched the date-tree till the time of early prayers, and the cocks were crowing, it was getting light too, and I arose and went to lie down a little. Immediately the second head-man came and roused me. And I awoke and asked him, 'What do you want?' And he said, 'Did you come to watch the date-tree?' And I said, I did. And he said, 'Well, there is not one date on the tree.' And I got up and went to the date-tree, and looked and saw it was true, there was not so much as one date there. So then, this is the news from the garden, and I have no more."

And he said, "I asked you the news from the garden, and you told me two sorts of news; you told me there was good news and bad. I have seen already the bad news, that my dates have been eaten by some bird, so tell me the good." And he said, "And the good, is it not that I your son have come back safe?" And he said, "Not my son, I don't want you." And he said, "A son like you only to eat and to sleep, when it shall happen that any one shall say to you, 'Here father take some of this dust and put in my eyes,' you will refuse [for laziness]. What sort of a son are you then? I don't want you, go your way, father."

And he said to them, "This time when my date-tree bears I will send another son, perhaps he will watch, and perhaps I shall get some dates to taste the crop."

And he waited many months, and the date-tree bore so well as was never the like, and he waited till near the ripening. I suppose there remained but one day before the ripening. And he took a son, and sent him, and he said, "My son, I send you to the garden, I long for those dates that I may taste them this year." And he said, "My father, I am going now, and in the morning when the sun has past seven o'clock, send me some one to come and take the dates." And he said, "Very good, my son, I should like to taste the dates to-morrow."

And the son arose and went his way. When he reached the garden he slept soundly till it was, I suppose, one o'clock in the morning, and he arose and went to the date-tree, and saw the dates were fine and the bunches swinging. And he saw the date-tree was very flourishing, and he said, "Ah! these dates, my father shall eat them to-morrow, I will stay, though that fool came lying down asleep for nothing, and now his father hates him. Well, I will stay and look at this bird that comes eating these dates, that I may see it this day." And he sat down and read much [in his Koran]. And he heard the cocks crowing, and he looked at the date-tree, and he saw the dates were there. And he said, "Oh! to-morrow my father shall eat dates, he thinks me like that fool." And it began to dawn a little, and drowsiness came upon him. And he said, "Ah! let me lean a little here against the trunk of the tree;" and sleep took him, and as sleep took him the bird came down upon the date-tree, and ate till there was not one left; and he was there under the tree, sleeping with his Koran under his arm.

So when it was light the head-man came and looked at the date-tree, and there were no dates. And when he cast his eyes below, he saw his master asleep under the date-tree. And he said, "Master! Master!" And he answered, "Yes." And he said, "You have been asleep, and all the dates have been eaten by the bird." "Is it true?" And he said, "Cast your eyes up and look." And he cast his eyes up, and saw there were no dates. And he stared, and his wits forsook him, and his ears were stopped, and his legs trembled, and his tongue was heavy, and he was all bewildered.

And his slave went and said to him, "Hullo! Master, what is the matter with you?" And he said, "I am a very sick man to-day." And he said, "I am nearer dying than getting well."

And he said, "What is your complaint, master?" And he said, "I have no pain in my head, and no pain in my stomach, and no pain in my side, and no pain in my back, and no pain in my loins, and no pain in my legs, and no pain in my arms; my whole body is well, and my whole body is sick."

"What kind of complaint can this be, master?"

And he said, "The cause of this complaint is because this day I fear my father. Seven o'clock has struck, and he will send some one here to take the dates; and I told my father, and to-morrow at seven o'clock you shall taste the dates. What then, am I not become a liar? am I not become a fool? and my father will drive me away as he drove away my brother, because he missed eating the dates."

And he said, "Well, master, what will you do, and the thing is done?"

"Ah! then, what shall I do more." I will go myself before he has sent any one here."

And he set out and went his way. And when he was on the road he met with a man carrying a large dish, and a white napkin to cover the dates with, and a sharp knife to cut the bunches of dates with. And he said, "Hullo, where are you going?" And he said, "I am sent by your father to come to you. Your father sent me to cut one quite ripe bunch from the date-tree, and you to put it in the dish for me, and I am to take it." And he said, "My father wants those that are ripe, the dates there are not ripe yet, go back, let us be going." And he said, "All right!"

And when he arrived at their door he saw his father sitting, he and his four brothers. And he said, "Master, Sabalkheir!" [good morning]. And he said, "Come near." And he said, "Have you seen the man I sent?" And he said, "I have, master." "I told him you would cut him a bunch of dates that was ripe." And he said, "Not to speak of ripe ones, is there an unripe one there?"

"Ah! What did you go to do? People have said, to get children is health. How is it that my getting children is death? Two young men of you have gone to the garden, and not one son has given me a date to taste. With this getting children then, how is it that people say, he that gets children gets health? Is this health? Don't say, you children, that you will give me life; my health is to want a thing and get it, and my soul to be glad, this is my health; it is to see a man wanting to strike me and you fight with him, and you strive for me your father, this is my health; if I send you anywhere and you go, and know how to speak with people, and know how to converse with people, and know great from small, and know rich from poor, this is my health. And so my sons, this second year I have not succeeded in eating a date; as for my dates I hear of them with my ears without seeing them with my eyes. Get away from me then, and go about your business." And he went and departed.

And he said, "You my sons, you four that are left. When the date-tree bears, he that shall go and watch it till I get the dates and taste them, I will make him a wedding feast of three months."

Each one of those youths who were there said, "Father, I will go;" and another said, "Father, I will go;" and another said, "Father,I will go;" and another said, "Father, I will go." And he said, "Very good, every one that wishes, let him go, but I want you to go one by one." And they said, "Very good, father."

And he waited for many months, and the date-tree bore, and it bore much, and left off bearing, and swayed down. And he said to his children, "The date-tree has borne, and its bearing this year is the greatest of any year." And the eldest of them said, "I will go, father." And he said, "Wait a bit, let them get their full growth." So he waited till news was brought, "Sultan, the dates are beginning to ripen." And he said, "Now then, my son, go to the garden to-morrow; my son, you shall give me some dates to eat." And he said, "Father, to-morrow when seven o'clock strikes you will feel the dates in your mouth, eating them." And he said, "I pray my son that to-morrow I may eat these dates." And he said, "You shall eat them then, father, and, for myself, I am starting; good-bye."

And he arose and set out. When he came into the garden he told the people who were there, "Let every one sleep in his own house, let him not come out." "How shall we leave you, master, by yourself?" And he said, "It does not matter, leave me, it is my own wish." The slaves went and slept. And he ate, and after that lay down and slept soundly, and when he awoke it was twelve o'clock, and he sat under the date-tree playing at cards, he by himself, till when it was near the time of early prayers, a pleasant breeze struck him, and he made as though to sleep, and sleep took him. Immediately the bird came and ate all the dates, without leaving so much as one, and he was asleep under the tree with his cards in his hand.

Then when it was light, the head-man came and found his master asleep, and he cast his eyes up and sees there are no dates. And he called him, "Master! Master!" And he answered, "Yes." And he said, "You are asleep, master, and there are no dates on the tree, not even one. If you do not believe, cast your eyes up and look."

And when the lad cast his eyes up, he fell down. The slave was astounded when he saw his master fallen down. And he took hold of him, and asked him, "Master, what is the matter with you?" And he said, "I am a dead man." "What sort of death is yours, master?" "On my coming here to the plantation I told my father, when seven o'clock strikes you shall feel the dates in your mouth, and you eating them. And now if he waits till the evening, he will not feel a date in his mouth, not to say till the evening, for five months he will not get a date in his mouth to eat."

"And what will you do then, master?" And he said, "I am not going to my father. I shall run away." And he said, "What will you run away for, master? You had better go. If you run away, how long will you run away for?" And he said, "I shall run away till the soul of my father is appeased." And he said, "Master, it is not well for a gentleman to run away. You had better go."

And he went to his father's, and he found him not yet awake, and he waited for him till he awoke. "Well! give me the news from the garden, my son." And he said, "I have no further news; the news that I have is one, my news of the dates is they have been eaten by some bird. This is the news I have, I have no further news. Do with me what you will. You are the knife, I am the animal."

And he said, "Get away from before my face, I hate to see you." And he arose and went away. And he said, "Ah! I have not got children, they are a disease. It is a disease when a son proceeds from the bowels, who is of no use to a man in this world, will he be of any use to him afterwards? Now these sons. What sort of sons are they, who cannot even put dust into a man's eyes? If this is getting children, I have done with it."

Well, he waited till another year the date-tree bore, and it bore every year more and more. And he said, "He who is manly, I shall see him in the garden, and I shall see him again with his hand to my mouth feeding me with dates, then I shall know that he is my son." And he said, "He who shall feed me with dates, I will marry that young man to a beautiful wife, with a marriage feast of four months." And they said, "Very good, father, you shall eat dates this year."

And they waited till when ten days were past, the dates had become full grown, and he was told, the dates are full grown. And he said, "Very good, when you see them ripening here and there one, come and tell me." And he waited for the space of five days, and the head-man came, and told his master. "The dates are ripening, and the abortive ones are falling." And he waited three days, and said, "Go."

And the youth arose gladly and vigorously, and went till he reached the garden. And he said, "I shall not sleep, I will mount a horse and ride round and round in here to-day all the night through." And he took his gun, and his powder, and his shot, and his caps. And he got upon a horse, and rode round in the garden. And he rode round and round till when one o'clock was past, he heard a guinea-fowl crying at the back of the garden, and he said, "Now it is half-past one, I will set out and follow this guinea-fowl which is crying in the garden." And he set out and followed the guinea-fowl where it was crying. And the guinea-fowl was a long way off, but in the night he heard it as if it were near. And he went half the way, and the bird behind had come to the date-tree eating the dates, without leaving so much as one, and he had not yet come back. And he turned back without getting the guinea-fowl, and came.

And when he arrived in the garden and cast up his eyes, there were no dates. And he got off the horse, and sat under the date-tree crying bitterly till his slaves came. "Eh! master, what are you weeping about?" And he said, "I am not weeping because I fear my father, I weep because of losing the gifts that my father wished to present me with." And he said, "What sort of gifts are they which make you weep so excessively?" And he said, "Father told me he would marry me to a beautiful wife, that he would make me a marriage-feast of four months, and he told me that he should know that I was his son; now of all these three, I have not got one, now can I help but weep at missing these? Well then, I will go and give him my answer."

It was afternoon when he went to his father, and says to him, "Father, Masalkheir!" [good afternoon], without his father's answering him. And he was silent. And he said, "Where are the dates?" And he said, "The dates father? The dates are already eaten by the bird." And he said, "Go and tell your mother inside to give you a headkerchief, and put it on, to give you a mask, and put it on, to give you kanzu and trousers, and put them on, to give you a veil to cover yourself with, and then let her look out for a husband, and marry you. Go away from before my face, I hate to see you."

And his wife arose, and said to him, "These youths do not go to look at the date-tree, they go to play, and to sleep. However, what are we to do? Let us wait till this time of its bearing."

And the sultan waited while many months passed. And the date-tree bore; and news was brought to him from the plantation by his headman, "Master, the date-tree has borne." "Has it borne like last year, or this year more?" He says, "Master, when a thing is young a man is not sure about it; so far as man can be sure about what is young, I should say, master, the dates this year are more than last, but they are things that get shed, let us see when they are grown." He says, "Very good, when you see the abortive ones beginning to drop, come and tell me." And he said, "Please God, master."

The sultan had a cat and loved it much, and the cat was very handsome, and growing fast, and what that cat caught for its beginning was a hen's little chicks. And the sultan was told, the cat is catching chickens, and he said, "The cat is mine, and the chickens are mine, let it be, then."

The dates ripened at the plantation, and news was brought by his head-man, and he said, "Master, the dates are ripening fast. I think if we delay till to-morrow, they will be the worse, because they are ripe, and this year not many abortive ones have fallen; in a whole day, eight, or nine, so much have they grown. So send me a son, that he may come and watch the date-tree." And the sultan told the two that remained, and he said to them, "To-day go both of you that are left." And they said, "All right, father." And they girded themselves and went on till they reached the garden.

And they told the slaves who were at the plantation. And they said to them, "We lions are come, we are come to look at this bird, which comes and eats these dates, so to-day is its fate sealed, and its fate is in our hands." And they said, "Perhaps we shall be here, and a gun may miss fire." And they said, "Very good, masters." And they sat till night. And they said to them, "Light bonfires in the garden." And they lit bonfires. And the fire blazed bravely there in the garden. If a needle were to fall, you would see it, because of the brightness of the fire. And they waited till one o'clock struck. And a great rain-cloud lowered, and there was a great storm, and when half-past two o'clock was passed, the rain fell heavily, with much wind, and perfect darkness. Any one in one place could not see who was in that place; perhaps, if they listened for one another's voices, and went feeling for their companions, they might know that this is my companion, and it was as when you are joking, and put your fingers on one another's eyes, so great was the darkness. And all the slaves ran away and went and got into their huts, and those youths got up, and went and lay down. And the bird came down and ate the dates, and flew and went away.

And they were not yet awake, and the rain had not yet held up, and the storm was not yet gone, and they were sleeping when six o'clock struck, and they knew nothing of its dawning, and the rain would have been falling, and the darkness the same, and the storm the same blowing hard. And they slept till seven o'clock struck, and at eight o'clock a man was sent out of the town by their father, "Take this umbrella, and go to the plantation. How is it with these sons? We have no news of them yet, whether they are well or ill, or we shall get dates, or there are no dates. Ask their news, and come and tell us."

And he went in the rain to the plantation. And he went and got to the head-man's, and they were not up, he had fastened the door, and was asleep. And he cried, Hodi! Hodi!! Hodi!!! The head-man answered him, "Who are you?" And he said, "I am Hueduni," "Ah!" he said, "what have you been doing all night in this rain?" And he said, "You country people, mark you, you are simpletons, you have your clocks about your houses." And he said, "Eh! Hueduni, you are making game of us; how should we get a clock, we country people?" And he said, "You have clocks and more, not one, nor two." And he said, "Even to knowing what such a clock is, I don't." And he said, "Are there no cocks? they are the country clocks, mind you! When you hear the cock crowing you know it's dawn, or early morning; are not they your clocks, then?"

And the head-man came out, and they greeted one another. "Well! give me the news of the town." And he said, "The town news is good; I am sent to see the lads; up to this time he has no news of them, whether they are alive or dead, or sick, whether the sultan will get any dates to taste, or not, that's all." And he said, "Let us go, I will take you where the lads are." And he went and found them both on their backs, drawn up together, and shivering with the cold that had got hold of them.

And they said to him, "Hullo, Hueduni, what news from the town?" And he said, "Good, my young masters; your father's compliments, and after the compliments, he has heard nothing, till now the sun is at ten o'clock." "Ah! Is it true?" And he said "It is true, ten o'clock, master." And he said, "Weren't we saying perhaps it is getting to be morning?" And he said, "Not at all, masters; I left the town at eight o'clock, when I was sent into the country here. Then he asks, my young masters, shall he eat dates this year, or not?" And one of them got up and said, "Tell him, he shall eat dates this year, while it is this year, while it is this time present. Wait and let me cut for you, and give you to take to him."

His brother said, "Are you talking with your wits about you, or are you mad?" And he said, "How so?" And he said, "I ask you, did you speak with your wits about you, that I may know what to answer." And he said, "I speak with my wits about me, and I am not mad." And he said, "You are downright mad; you are mad enough to be fettered with a post between your legs, and a chain; that's the way to give you medicine to cure you." And he said, "If you were not mad, you wouldn't have talked in such a way, going and telling father!" And he said, "How so?"

"Every day and every year here, the date-tree is watched, and our brothers only slept a moment, and they were ruined by their sleep. And when in a moment they woke up, the dates were eaten. Now we came away from the date-tree as long ago as one o'clock, and came here and slept, till now it is ten, are those dates to wait for us? Every day people sleep under the date-tree, and the bird comes and eats the dates, and goes away. Eh! We have slept here in the house, would the bird wait for us?"

"Oh! perhaps we are lucky, through the rain, and the darkness, and the storm, perhaps the bird did not come." And he said, "The rain, and the darkness, and the storm would not hinder the bird from coming and eating the dates." "Well, I am going to look." "Go you and look, I am not going anywhere, I know there are no dates; what should I go for? to be put out of my way for nothing, to get rain, and wind, and mist for nothing; and I know there are no dates on the tree, they have all been eaten by the bird. However, he is a fool that is going, he wants to deceive his soul; if you don't believe it, wait till he comes back."

He went as far as the date-tree, and he saw there were no dates, not even one, and the withered ones that had fallen down were not there. And he returned, and came to his brother. "Well, are there any dates?" And he said, "Oh, master, I say, any one who looked at that date-tree would say, if he was told that the date-tree bore this year, and even yesterday there were dates on it, he would not believe it, so destroyed are the dates: even the signs to tell that the date-tree has borne are not there."

And he said, "Did I not tell you in this very place that there was nothing? Now, give me advice: is there any plan now? Are we to go to our father, and go and tell him, the dates are eaten by the bird, we have not got even one, and we are come, you are the knife, and we are the animals, whatever you will, do it to us?" And he said, "Very good, let us go."

And they went to their father, and they found him sitting in the inner porch. And they saluted him, without his replying. And his wife arose and said, "Master, when your children salute you, reply to them, for your anger is deadly poison to them, and your joy is the beauty of their countenances; so, when you do thus to them, you grieve your children, with whom you can do anything. Now, you have no need to hurt them or to be angry with them, and do not be bitter against them." "Well, then, my wife, cut them a kisuto, and give them a kisuto and a head-cloth, for these young men are become women, they are no good to a man in this world while he is alive, and will they be any good to him in the next? But as for myself, I have nothing more to do with them."

And they waited while months passed, and the date-tree bore, and when it left bearing it swayed down. Anyone who saw the little dates while they were very young, if the man saw them at a distance, he would say they were full grown, so plump were the dates, so flourishing was the date-tree, and so vigorous the dates, and every bunch was well filled.

And the head-man walked over to his master's, and met with his mistress. And said to her, "Mistress, where is the master?" And she said, "He is inside, wait." In no time he came out from within, and said, "Well! Head-man, what news from the plantation?" And he said, "At the plantation it is beautiful, at the plantation it is good; and the news of the plantation, master, is that the date-tree has borne vastly, and then the dates are plump; if you see them there, while they are very young, a man would say they were full grown, and if he was told they were very young, he would not believe it. And every bunch says to its neighbour, 'get on one side here, and let me through, that I may hang.'"

And he said, "I am grieved, I, a man with seven sons, and five years my date-tree has been devoured by a bird; I have not had so much as a stone to taste, and this year just the same, it will be devoured by the bird."

The lad who sat in the kitchen heard those words which Sultan Majnún said. And the youth arose and said to his father, "This year you shall eat dates." And he said, "My father, if this year I have not fed you with dates with my hand, and all the rich men that are in the town, and all the Europeans that are in the town, and all the Banyans that are in it, and all the Hindees that are in it, and the poor that are in our town, for these are the five bunches that are on the date-tree." And he said, "So each bunch I will give to a several nation, and the nations that are in the town are five. There are we Arabs, there are Europeans, there are Banyans also, there are Hindees also, there are, too, all the poor that are in it." And he said, "So I, father, am going this year to watch the date-tree."

His father and his mother laughed heartily, and thought his words idle talk. Neither his father nor his mother accepted his words; they thought, our son is amusing himself, let us leave him to his amusement, till his liking for this amusement is over.

At last news was brought to the sultan that the dates were ripe. And the sultan gave out word to look for a man to go and watch the date-tree. His son, he who was left of the seven, heard it, and said "How is it, father, that you have given out word to look for a man to watch the date-tree, and I your one son am still left?" And he said, "Ah! six were of no use; will you alone be of any good? My soul is afraid, for I hear that the date-tree has borne well, and the dates are fine, so I am afraid of sending you and missing eating the dates." And he said, "Have patience to-day, and let me go, father, and see my luck, whether you will eat dates, or miss them."

His wife said, "Master, let the child go, and let us try, perhaps we shall get dates and eat them—or we shall miss them—let the child go, then." And he said, "My wife, I do not refuse the child's going, but my heart distrusts him." And she said, "Never mind, master, let the child go." And he said, "Father, to-morrow if you, and I, and mother be alive, to-morrow you shall eat dates, father." And he said, "Your brothers said just the same, 'Father, you shall eat dates,' and I have eaten none." And he said, "Come, be off to the plantation."

When he reached the garden, he told all the slaves of the plantation, "Go and sleep." And they said, "Ah, master, shall we leave you by yourself?" And he said, "The night will not eat me, that I should fear it." And they said, "Very well, master, good-bye." And he said, "Good-bye to you."

And that youth went inside and slept, and slept soundly till one o'clock struck, and he arose and came to the date-tree. And he sat chewing parched Indian corn, and with the corn there was some sandy grit; and he chewed the corn, and when he was inclined to dose, he chewed the grit with it, and woke himself up, and thus he employed himself till the bird came, and he saw it.

The bird said, "There is no one here," for he was sitting some distance from the date-tree. And when it alighted where the date-tree was, the youth arose; and when it was going to stretch out its beak to eat the dates, he caught hold of its wing.

The bird flew away from where the date-tree was, and flew with the youth, till it reached a great height with him. And the bird said, "O son of Adam, have you followed me even here, where I am arrived? If you fall here, you will be dead long before you reach the ground. So leave me to go my way, I will leave you to go yours." The youth said, "I shall not leave you here to-day; wherever you go I will go with you." And it said, "I have not eaten your dates, leave me to go my way." And he said, "I shall not leave you this day, I shall be to you to-day like a tick to a cow's tail." And it said, "Leave me to go my way, it is dawning." And he said, "Do you not not hear what I told you of myself to-day? I will not leave you here; possibly you may kill me." And he said, "My six brothers are hateful to my father because of you, coming and eating the dates; why, then, should I leave you to-day? To-day my father shall see you, and my six brothers shall see you, and my mother shall see you, and all the people who are in our town shall see you, great and small, slaves and free, women and men; they shall all see you to-day, that is what will rejoice my father's soul this day."

And it said, "Leave me, it is dawning, and I have not eaten your dates to-day; so you will be gracious and will leave me to go my way, and you go yours." And he said, "To-day I shall not leave you, perhaps you may kill me." And it said, "Well, you will not leave me, I will throw you off, and now I will take you far away."

And it flew with him very high, till when the lad looked on the earth he saw it like a star. And it said, "Well, do you see your home?" And he said, "I see it like a star." "If I throw you from here, will any of you be left?" And he said, "I had rather you let me go and I die, than leave you to-day. I will not leave you at all, even if you fly till you reach heaven, I will not leave you this day."

And it said, "It is dawning, I want to go my way; suffer me, child, I beg of you, to go my way." And he said, "I will not leave you at all this day; where you pass I will pass with you; where you stay I will stay with you; where you die I will die with you; but this day I will not leave you."

And the bird descended to the earth and said, "Now you have reached home here, give me permission to go my way." And he said, "I will not leave you." And it said, "I beg of you, child, let me." And he said, "My brothers, he who was given a head-cloth, has been given it; he who was given a kisuto, has been given it; he who was clothed in a kanzu and mask, has been clothed in them; and none of these things would have happened except for your coming and eating the dates."

And it said, "I beg of you—it is dawning now, master—leave go of me. To-day is the finish, I will not come here again; I will not eat those dates again; I will not pass through this quarter again; I beg of you, young man, let me go my way."

And it said, "If you will not let me go, let you and me make a covenant." And he said, "What covenant?" And it said, "I will give you a promise; save me from sun, I will save you from rain." And he said, "How? I don't trust you." And it said, "Take what I say, and where you may go—wherever it may be—you will have me." "Eh! How shall I get you?" And it said, "If you take this feather, when you put it in the fire, I shall perceive the smell in whatever place I shall be, and I will come." And it said, "Now then, it is dawning, I pray you do not let people see me; leave me to go my way." And he said, "Well, good-bye; go your way." And it said, "My friend, fare you very well." And it said to him, "When you call me, if it shall be in the sea, I will come." And he said, "Very good." And it flew, and went its way.

The lad returned to the date-tree. And he saw the date-tree, and he saw the dates, and he felt his soul glad; and his heart felt itself as if one had come and said to him, "Come, rise up and go into Paradise;" he felt such beauty in his soul—he felt so joyous—he felt his body so strong—he felt his eyes so bright. And the youth laughed loud, and said, "This is my luck, mine, Sit-in-the-kitchen's." And he said, "Six lions came here, every man with sword and shield, and his dagger at his waist, and his stick in hand, and each youth said to his companion, 'Make room here that I may pass.' In the first place strong youths, in the second handsome youths, in the third, well-known in the town, more than I, Sit-in-the-kitchen. But this my luck, God has given it me. What is laid up by God, no son of Adam can take away, save he for whom it is laid up."

And the youth arose, and said, "Farewell, date-tree, I am going to lie down; what ate you, now will eat you no more. To-day there is a sleep like that which puts an end to child-bearing." And he arose, and went and lay down.

And when the night had turned to daylight, he came there by the date-tree, and covered himself with a sheet, and slept. At last his head-man awoke. "Let us look at the date-tree to-day, whether we are to get the bird's scraps that are left, for as to this date-tree, no one will see its dates." The head-man came, till when half the way was past, and he cast his eyes towards where the date-tree was; he saw that the tree had remained in good condition.

He ran back to his house, and beat the large drum, and all his fellow-slaves came, women and men, and even the children were carried along. "Hullo! head-man! give us the news which you have for us." And he said, "What have I got for you?" And they said, "Tell us, head-man of ours." And he said, "The master has not had a son born, he has a lion." And he said, "Look how Sit-in-the-kitchen has uncovered his face to-day before his father." "What is it, head-man?" And he said, "To-day is the day for people to eat dates." "Is it true, head-man?" And he said, "Yes, indeed."

And he said, "Don't go and wake him before we go and make him presents. He who has fowls, let him take fowls; he who has a goat, let him take a goat; he who has cleaned rice, let him take rice; he who has rice in the husk, let him take rice in the husk; he who has wheat, let him take wheat; he who has money, let him take money; but millet and maize, don't take those things.

The people went to their houses, and came; and he who had fowls to bring, brought them; and he who had a goat to bring brought it; and he who had cleaned rice to bring brought it; and he who had rice in the husk to bring brought it; and he who had wheat to bring brought it; and he who had money to bring brought it. And they brought the drum, and found him asleep under the date-tree.

And they went there and carried him away, with horns, and with clarionets and drums, with clapping of hands and shrieks of joy, even to his father's house.

When his father heard the noise coming along the road—and the bunches of dates were carried in baskets made of fresh leaves—when he saw the plantation slaves coming with rejoicing—when he saw his child, too, carried higher than all, Sultan Majnún knew, "To-day I shall eat dates." And he called, "My wife!" And she answered, "Here, master." And he said, "The master of the kitchen will give us dates to eat to-day." When she heard those words, the woman left her cooking and ran up-stairs. And she said, "What is it, master?" And he said, "Look through the window." And when she looked, she saw her son coming with rejoicing, and the slaves, who were come rejoicing.

And his father ordered the soldiers, "Go after him and take the boy." And the soldiers went and ran and carried him, till they reached his father.

"Well! the news, my son?" And he said, "I have no news; my news is to open your mouth and I give you a taste of the dates." And he said, "Yes, this is having children, for my son to give me to taste." And he plucked a date, and put it in his father's mouth. And he plucked a date, and put it in his mother's mouth.

And he said, "This, my son, is having children; not like those fools, not like those good-for-nothings." And he said, "Well, my son, what did you do with the bird—you, and who else watched for the bird?" And he said, "As to the bird, I watched for it by myself; and I saw it, too, and it will not come again for its life, nor for your life, nor for the lives of those who are to come besides."

And he said, "My son, there is no single thing that has pleased me about you like this, that you have given me a taste of the dates, for I have waited five years and have not got a taste of the dates. And I have six sons, and yet I have not one. You, whom I called a fool, are the one who gave me a taste of the dates. As for them I want none of them."

And his mother arose and went to her husband, and said, "Do not reject them; he who rejects a son, rejects an unlawful son; and you, Sultan Majnún, if you reject these children, people will say they are not lawful children, and I, your wife, shall have no face before people. Whenever I go in the porches of people's houses, I shall not be able to lift up my face to look at anybody, women or men, free or slave, little or great; they will say of me that I have borne unlawfully. Now you, master, do you wish me to be spoken to by people in such words as these? And he said, "Far be it. I do not wish evil words to be uttered to you by people; neither these nor any other evil words do I wish to be uttered to you by people. I wish to give you good words myself, and all people who shall hear of us in this land, or any other, shall be told that Sultan Majnún gives sweet words to his wife; he does not vex his wife; what his wife wishes, that he does to her, and other people will act towards you in like manner." And she said, "Thanks, my master, that is the very thing I wanted of you, and I have obtained it. And let the youths stay quiet."

So that youth, the last born, was loved much by his father, and his grandmother loved him much, and his aunt loved him much, and his uncle loved him much, more than his brothers, though there were six of them. Those six were loved much by their mother, more than the last born. The woman told her husband, "I shall not give up plenty for fewness, I shall not give up six sons and love one."

So they lived quietly, till the Sultan's cat went and caught a calf. And the Sultan was told, "The cat has caught a calf." And he said, "The cat is mine, and the calf mine." And they said, "Very good, master."

And they stayed two or three days, and it caught a breeding-goat. And they told him, "Master, the cat has caught a breeding-goat to-day." And he said, "The goat was mine, and the cat mine."

And they stayed, till after two days it caught a cow. And he was told, "Master, the cat has caught a cow." And he said, "It was my cow and my cat."

And it waited, till after the second day it caught a donkey. And he was told, "Sultan, the cat has caught a donkey." And he said, "My donkey and my cat." And it waited, till after one day it caught a horse." And the Sultan was told, "Master, the cat has caught a horse." And he said, "My cat and my horse." And it waited, and caught for itself a camel. And the Sultan was told, "To-day the cat has caught a camel." And he said, "What do you want with it? It is my cat and my camel; you don't like this cat, and want me to kill it; every day bringing me mere tales. And I shall not kill it; let it eat the camel, and let it eat even a man."

And it waited till the next day, and caught some one's child. And the Sultan was told, "The cat has caught some one's child." And he said, "The cat is mine and the child mine." And it waited till the next day, and caught a full-grown person. And he was told, "The cat has caught a full-grown person, master." And he said, "The cat is mine and the person mine."

And the cat removed from the town, and lived as it were on Mnazimoja, among the undergrowth. So if any one passed, going for water, it devoured him. If it saw a cow passing, going to be pastured, it seized it and ate it. If it saw a goat, it ate it. Everything it saw, which passed on that road, it caught and ate it.

The people went and said to the Sultan, "How is this, master? It is you who are our Sultan, it is you who are our master, it is you who are our shield. You have left that cat, master, to itself; it is gone to live on Mnazimoja; if a man passes, it eats him, if a cow passes, it eats it, if a donkey passes, it eats it, if a goat passes, it eats it, whatever thing it is which passes by that road of Mnazimoja, it catches and eats it; and at night it comes down into the town: whatever it finds in the town, it catches and eats it. So then, master, what are we to do, things being in this state?"

And he said, "I think in your souls you hate this cat; you want me to kill it, and I shall not kill it; the cat is mine, and these things it eats are mine."

So the people were astounded; there was no one who dared to kill it, and people had been already eaten by the cat. And it stayed on the road by Mnazimoja. And then, people not passing that way, the cat removed to another road, preying in the same way.

And they went and told the Sultan, "The cat is injuring the people." And he said to them, "I hate your messages; your words are little with me. I will neither listen to such messages, nor will I kill the cat."

The people removed from that road and did not pass along it. And it removed to another road and did as before. And the Sultan was told, "The cat has got worse, master; it is become perfectly savage, not a thing passes before it but it has seized it." And he said, "The cat is mine, and this which it takes is mine." And the people removed and did not pass along that road.

The Sultan found that the messages from the people were become many, and he placed a man at the door. "Every one who shall come here with accusations against the cat, tell him the master is not to be seen." And he said, "All right, master."

Well then at night the cat used to come into the town, seizing everything it could get hold of, and in the morning used to return and go away into the outskirts. Till there in the suburbs there were no people. Those who ran away had run away, and those who were caught had been caught. And the cat moved on a little further into the country, catching there people and animals; and at night it used to come into the town, and caught what it could get, and in the morning went into the country. And every party of people who went to the Sultan to give him information about the business of the cat could not get to him.

And the cat went on moving forward into the country, catching what it could get; and it got fowls, and it got dogs, and it got goats, and it got cattle, and it got people; whatsoever passed before it it caught, and when it found nothing to catch it exerted itself seeking for something; and the night was the town's, and in the morning it went into the country. The business went on just in the same way, the cat preying, and the Sultan not to be got at.

Till one day the Sultan said, "To-day I am going to look at the country; let us go, children, and look." And the six sons accompanied the Sultan. And they went on until in the road there was a thicket; the six sons were behind and their father in front. The cat came out of the forest and killed three of the sons. The people started, "The cat! the cat! the cat! the cat!" And the soldiers said to him, "Master, let us look for it and kill it." And he said, "Seek for it and kill it." And they said, "All right, master."

And he said, "This is no longer a cat, its name is Nunda, which came and caught from me even my sons." And they said to him, "Master, the cat will not make a selection, this is the master's son let me leave him alone; or, this is the master's wife, let me leave her; or, this is the master's relative, let me leave him; the cat has nothing like this in it to make selections. We fear for you, master, its eating even you." And he said, "True, it will eat even me." "Did we not tell you, master, how the cat was finishing people, and you said, 'My cat and my people.'" And he said, "True, I said it."

The soldiers, when they went to strike that cat, some
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of them were killed and some of them ran away. The Sultan returned with his sons, and came and buried them.

The seventh son, who was in the house, when he learnt the news of his brothers who were killed by the cat, said to his mother, "I too will go, that the cat may kill me as it has killed my brothers." And she said, "How will you go, son; by yourself?" And he said, "I shall go in anger for my brothers; for a man to lose out of the world three people in one day, should not such a one feel anger? So then I shall wander about and look for that cat who killed my brothers." And she said, "Very good, my son, but I do not like you to go." And she said, "These have died, and that you should go and die, is not that one wound upon another?" And he said, "I cannot help going, mother, on such a business, and do not tell my father."

The cat had run off to a great distance. And he had cakes made for him by his mother, and was given people to carry food for him. And he was given a great spear as sharp as a razor, and his sword. And he said, "Mother, a last farewell." And he went out and went away.

When he had passed the suburbs he saw a huge dog, and smote it, and tied it, and dragged it, and came singing,

"O mother, I have killed

The Nunda, eater of people."

When he arrived near the town his mother was up-stairs, and saw him, and heard him singing,

"O mother, I have killed

The Nunda, eater of people." (Four times.)

And his mother answered him and said,

"My son, this is not he,

The Nunda, eater of people."
And the lad sang there louder and louder,

"O mother, I have killed

The Nunda, eater of people." (Five times.)

And his mother answered him,

"My son, this is not he,

The Nunda, eater of people." (Twice.)

And he left the great dog.

And she said, "O, this is not it, the nunda is larger; leave it, my son, and stay at home." And he said, "Mother, it is not a thing to be obtained that I should stay at home." And he set out and went away into the forest.

And he went further than the first day, with the slaves who carried food for him. And he went and found a civet cat, and killed it, and bound it, and dragged it, and came with it, till when he had ended half the way he sang,

"O mother, I have killed

The Nunda, eater of people." (Six times.)

"My son, this is not he,

The Nunda, eater of people." (Three times.)

And he threw it away.

And she said, "My son, will you not leave it and stay at home? You will be sorely troubled; see, in these two days you are sunburnt." And he said, "Mother, I cannot help going to avenge my brothers." And she said, "Go."

And he went into the forest further than two days before. And he went and saw a larger kind of civet cat, and he killed it, and bound it, and dragged it. And when he was come, and had ended half the way, he sang,

"O mother, I have killed

The Nunda, eater of people." (Seven times.)

"My son, this is not he,

The Nunda, eater of people." (Four times.)

And he threw it away.

And she said, "Where will you find this nunda. It is far off, and you do not know where; you will be sorely troubled, boy; your face is changed by these three days, I beg of you stay at home." And he said, "Mother, I cannot help going." And he said, "Mother, of three things, I shall obtain one of God." And she said, "The first, my son?" And he said, "The first is, I shall die." And she said, "The second, my son?" "Or else I shall find the nunda and kill it." And she said, "The third, my son?" "Or else I shall miss the nunda and come back. So of these three, mother, I shall not miss one from God." And she said, "For myself, my son, I should like for you to get this nunda and come with it, and for my soul to see it, that it may be clear." And he said, "Good-bye, then, mother, I am going."

And he went further than the other day, and met with a zebra, and he killed it, and bound it, and dragged it, and came home half the way, and sang,

"O mother, I have killed

The Nunda, eater of people." (Eight times.)

"My son, this is not he,

The Nunda, eater of people." (Five times.)

And he left it.

And she said, "I beg of you, my son, stay at home; my soul is afraid, my son." And he said, "What are you afraid of, mother?" And he said, "If, mother, your fear is of my dying, how long shall I remain? I cannot help dying." And he said, "I am going." And she said, "Good-bye."

And he went and entered into the forest and wilderness, and went and caught a giraffe. And he killed it, and his soul was very glad, and he said, "This is in very deed the nunda." And he bound it, and dragged it, till as he came and ended half the way, he sang,

"O mother, I have killed

The Nunda, eater of people." (Nine times.)

"My son, this is not he,

The Nunda, eater of people." (Six times.)

And he took and left it.

And she said, "My son, the trouble you have to bear alone, and you have three brothers here; there is not one who says, 'Let us, too, follow our youngest brother, and go with him into the forest, and look for this nunda,' there is none. They all stay at home about their own affairs, and you alone are harassed, my son." And she said, "The womb you came from was the same that bore them, and you have one father, Sultan Majnún. It is not as though you had two fathers, and you alone are harassed, but you all have this one father." And he said, "Mother, every one has his own spirit, and though we be born from one womb, each one has his own spirit." And she said, "Do not go then, my son; these days that you have gone, let them suffice." And he said, "Mother, this is a matter that cannot be helped, I cannot help going." And his mother wept much, and his father wept much, because they feared that, "Our son will die, and this, the best son we have. But what shall we do? He will not consent to stay."

And he went into the forest and wilderness, till he went and met with a rhinoceros, asleep under a great tree. And he said to his slaves, "To-day we have seen the nunda." "Where, master?" "That under the tree." "Eh! what are we to do, master?" And he said, "Now let us eat our fill, that we may go and smite it, we have found it well; if it kills us, so it must be." And they said, "Come on, master." And they took out their bumundas, and ate till they were satisfied. And he said, "Let every one take two guns; let one lie on the ground and one in his hand." And they said, "All right, master." And he said, "Let us fire all these at once." And they said, "All right, master." And they went gently in the midst of the thorns, till they got in by the tree, and came out upon it at its back; and they drew on till they were near it, and fired, and the bullets went hard into it. And the rhinoceros rushed out, running from where it had been struck, and fell down a little way off. And they followed it, till they saw it fallen down dead. And they bound it, and dragged it for the space of two days on the road, till when they reached half the way they sang,

"O mother, I have killed

The Nunda, eater of people." (Ten times.)

"My son, this is not he,

The Nunda, eater of people." (Seven times.)

And many people came to look at the rhinoceros, and were very sorry about the youth.

And his father and his mother wept much. And they said to him, "Father stay at home." And he said to his father, "What I have told you cannot be drawn back. If it is my death to go as I am going every day, I am dead already, but I know it not; let me go then."

His father said to him, "I will give you what property you please; I will give you, too, my royalty, that you may be Sultan, and I descend and be your man; you giving me only food and clothing; and do not go into the forest, my son." And he said to them, "Good-bye, father, I go; what you say I hear not."

And he went into the forest and wilderness, and he went and met with an elephant, asleep at noon in a shady place. And he said to his slaves, "To-day we have found the nunda." And they said, "Very good, master, where is it?" And he said, "In the shade yonder, look well at it." And they said, "Well, master, shall we not approach where it is?" And he said, "If we approach its face, if it is looking this way as we are coming, will it not come against us? And if it comes against us, it will kill us all. But now let us take counsel, and send one man, and let him see which way its face is turned, and come and tell us." And they said, "Very good; it is a good plan, master; and for the rest of us, let our guns be ready."

And one of his slaves went on, whose name was Kiroboto [a flea], and crept on his knees through the forest, until he reached where it was; and he found it asleep, and its face was turned in another direction.

And he returned on his knees in the same way, till he reached where his master was. "Well, give us the news." And he said, "Good news, master." And he said, "Is it the nunda?" And he said, "I, for myself, do not know it, master; but that this is the nunda, master, there is no doubt. It is broad, with a great head; and, master, I saw its ears very large." And he said, "This is the nunda, master."

"Come then, let us eat, that we may go after it." And they took out their bumundas, and they took out their ladus, and they took out their cakes and ate, and ate much, till they were filled.

And he said to them, "Little fathers." And he said, "To-day is perhaps the last we shall have need of, so to-day people would take a last leave of one another. He that will escape, will escape, and he that will die, will die; but he that shall escape, if I die, let him tell my mother and father not to grieve." And they said, "Come, master, let us go; we shall escape please God."

And they went on their knees till they arrived there in the shade where it was. And they said, "Give us a plan, master." And he said, "There is no plan, only let us fire all at once." And they fired all at once. And the elephant charged at them, and they threw away every man his gun which he had with him, even the clothes which they had on they thought heavy, and threw them away to run the better, and each man got to a tree and climbed it. The elephant went away and fell down some distance off.

And they remained every one on his tree from three o'clock until six in the morning; they had no food, they had no clothes, they sat as they were the day they were born.

The youth in his tree wept much, and he said, "I do not know death, but this is death to-day." And no one of them could see his companion. The youth wished to get down from the tree, but he feared and said, "Perhaps the nunda is there below, and will eat me." And his slaves, just in the same way, feared to get down, and said, "Perhaps the nunda is there below, and will eat us." And they were in a thick forest—there was no clear space.

Kiroboto had seen where the beast fell, but he was afraid to get down by himself. He said, "Perhaps there where it is fallen, it is alive still, and not yet dead; till he saw a dog come and smell it, and he knew that it was true it was dead.

And he got down from the tree with all his might, and he made a signal-cry, and was answered; and he made a second signal-cry, and held his ear thus on one side, to hear when his signal was answered, and go to that place. And his signal was answered twice, and he went on till he met with two of his fellow-servants on a tree. And he said to them, "Come along, get down, the nunda is dead." And they got down quickly, and came along till they found their master. And he said, "Hullo, Shindano!" And he said, "We have come with Kiroboto, the nunda is quite dead, come down, master." And he came down and reached the bottom, and there they all met. And each man looked for his clothes, and put them on. And they looked for their guns, and they looked for the baskets, in which their bumundas were, and they came [with them], and the young men had got weak through that day.

And they rested there, and ate their food and drank water also, and went to where the nunda had fallen down. When the youth saw it, he said, "This is the nunda, this is it, this is it." "Ah! true master, this is it."

And they dragged it three days along the road. Till when they came out from the forest, his soul was glad that it was the nunda, and he sang—

"O mother, this is he,

The Nunda, eater of people." (Eleven times.)

"My son, this is not he,

The Nunda, eater of people." (Eight times.)

"Ah! What trouble my son you have taken! And the people of the town wonder at your youth, and your understanding, it is so great." And his father said, "Here where you are, let that suffice. Do not go any further." And he said, "Father, I cannot help going. Perhaps Almighty God has laid out my death for me there in the forest." And he said, "My son, what I tell you, obey me in." And he said, "All well, my master, I will obey you in all matters, my master, but in this one excuse me." And he said, "Go; but if you return from this journey you will go no more." And he said, "And I, father, if I am alive to return, my soul informs me that I shall go no more." And he said, "Very good, my son."

And he went into the forest and the wilderness, till he passed a great forest, and saw a very great hill, and there on the top of the hill a very large peak. And he saw a path going along till it came down to the bottom of the hill. And he said, "Well, my slaves, what is your advice?" And they said, "As what, master?" And he said, "The first advice now here where we are, I want for us to climb the great mountain until we reach the top of the peak, that we may see how the town lies, [whether] we have room to go forward. And they said, "Master, why we cannot climb up the mountain." And he said, "If you are afraid, the sun is set, let us sleep here until to-morrow." And they said, "Very good, master."

And they took their bumundas, and their cakes, and ate, and they took their ladus, and ate, and were filled, and they drank water and slept, and got a very good sleep. Not one remembered till in the morning the sun was getting hot, and they woke one another. "Come, get up, it is daylight. Let us make our plan while it is yet early."

And they said, "Come, master, we are awake, give us your plan." And he said to them, "The first plan is, let us cook some rice and eat." And he said, "Take and rub the stick to get fire, and cook some rice, and let us eat quickly." And they cooked some rice there, and when they had finished, they said to him, "Master, the rice is done." And he said, "If it is done, serve up."

And he said, "To-day my soul feels that it will get three things in the world in the course of to-day. And they asked him, "The first, master?" And he said, "The first, to-day I feel in my soul, I shall die." "The second, master?" "I think to-day I shall strike the nunda." "The third, master?" And he said, "I think I shall meet my mother, I shall meet my father, I shall meet my uncle, I shall meet my aunt, I shall meet my brothers, I shall meet all my friends." And they said, "Good luck, master."

And they sat there and served up the rice, and ate, and ate freely, and were filled. And they arose. And he said to them, "Let us now climb up the mountain. And they said, "All right, master." And he went on in front with his slaves, Shindano and Kiroboto. And they climbed and went on, till when they cast their eyes half way up the mountain, they saw that it was a very long way down, and they saw it was a long way up. And he said, "Don't be afraid, let us go on." They said to him, "Let us go on till we get to the top of the mountain without climbing up the peak."

And they went on till they reached the top of the mountain, and their eyes saw to a great distance. And he said to them, "Let us rest here on the top. Here is plenty of space. This will do for to-day, let us sleep just here till to-morrow, and make our plans." And they said, "Very good, master."

And one of his slaves got up and walked all about on the top of the mountain. And when he cast his eyes down, he saw a great beast, but it was indistinct there below, because of the trees, he did not see it clearly. And he called, "Master! master!" And he answered, "Yes." And he said, "Come and look, master." And he went till he reached the place where Shindano was standing. And he said to him, "Cast your eyes down far." The lad looked, and his soul told him that it was the nunda.

And the youth went down with his gun in his hand, and his spear, till he got half way down the mountain, and looked. "It must be that this is the nunda. My mother told me its ears were small, and this one's are small; she told me the nunda is broad and not long, and this is broad and not long; she told me it had two blotches like a civet-cat, and this has two blotches like a civet-cat; she told me its tail was thick, and this one's tail is thick; all those characters that my mother told me, are all these which are here." And he went back to where his slaves were.

When he got to his slaves he said to them, "Let us eat plentifully to-day." And they said, "Come, master, let us eat." And they ate plentifully, and they ate cakes, and bumundas, and cakes of batter, and ladus, and were filled. And they drank water. And he said, "Have you done?" And they said, "Master, we have done, we are only waiting for you." And he said, "I am ready, too."

And he said, "But to-day, little fathers, let us not carry our things as in the former journey. Let us put away our things, and our food, and our water, just here, and let us go to fight yonder. That if we conquer, we may come and eat and sleep, and to-morrow go home; or if we are beaten, we may run away hither, that we may get our food and be off quickly "

And by the sun it was about the middle of the afternoon. And he said, "Come, let us get down, and go our way." And as they went down, when they had finished half the mountain, those two slaves were afraid. And he said to them, "Let us go, do not be afraid; there are two things in the world—living and dying. What then are you frightened about?" And they said, "Very good, let us go on, master." And they went on till they reached the bottom.

And he said to them, "Let every one that has two cloths, take off one of them." And they said, "What for, master?" And he said, "Here we are in the wood, and the wood is not a little one. Perhaps we shall be caught by the thorns, or perhaps as we are getting through the thorns, or if we are chased, our second cloth may cause us trouble, and we shall not be able to go fast. It is better for these cloths to be one apiece, and that one we must tuck up between our legs." And they said, "Very good, master." And they all tucked up their cloths between their legs. And he said, "Come along, let us be going." And they went on their knees till they saw the nunda there where the shade was, and it was asleep.

The master said, "This is the nunda." And the slaves said, "It is it, master." And he said, "Now the sun is setting, shall we fire at it, or shall we let it be?" And they said, "Master, let us fire at it, that we may know if we hit it, or we may know if we have missed." And he said, "Very good." And he said, "Hold your guns ready." And he said, "When I order, let your guns go off at once." And they said, "Please God, master."

And they crept on their knees till they approached where it was. And they saw it clearly. And he said to them, "Come, now let us fire at it." And when the master fired his gun, all those of his slaves went off. The nunda did not raise itself, those guns sufficed it. And they ran away, and climbed up the mountain.

The sun was setting when they reached the top of the mountain, and they sat down, and took out cakes, and bumundas, and ladus, and stiff cakes, and they ate, and ate freely, and were filled, and they drank water, and sat down. And they asked one another, "Well! have we hit the beast?" And each man said, "We have hit it, master." "Let us lie down then, and in the morning let us look."

And they slept till the morning, and cooked rice and ate, and drank water. And they went, and went round to the back of the mountain, and found the nunda dead. And they went down, and when they reached the bottom they saw it was dead. The lad rejoiced much, and his slaves rejoiced. And he said to them, "I am hungry, cook again and let us eat." And they took out some cleaned rice and cooked it. And they cooked plenty of rice, and ate rice till what was left they threw away.

And he said, "Tie it up and let us drag it." And they dragged it the first day through forest and wilderness, and the second day, forest and wilderness, and the third day, forest and wilderness, and the fourth day, the beast is stinking. His slave said to him, "It stinks, let us leave it." And he said, "We will drag it as long as a single bone shall remain, and take it home with us." And when half the way was ended the lad sang—

"Mother, I have killed

The Nunda, eater of people." (Twelve times.)

And they went on, till as he drew near the town—

"Mother, mother, mother,
I come from the evil spirits, to sing.
Mother, mother, mother,
I come from the evil spirits, to sing,
From the evil spirits, to sing,
Mother, I have killed

The Nunda, eater of people." (Many times.)

"My son, this is he,

The Nunda, eater of people." (Many times, as if answering one another.)
All the people of the town hastened one another to go, and they found the youth singing—

"Mother, I come from the evil spirits,
That I may sing, mother.
I come from the evil spirits, that I may sing,
Mother, I have killed

The Nunda, eater of people."

"My son, this is he.

The Nunda, eater of people."

When his father heard that his son was come, and had killed the nunda, he felt that there was not a son at his gate greater than this one. And all the people who were in the town, free and slave, women and men, small and great, went to make presents to him. And he got much wealth, and he was in great favour in the town, and his father loved him much.

When the third day came, his father descended from his dignity, and gave it to his son. And he said, "As for me and your mother, give us only our food and clothing; we want no more, for we have seen of you that you are a youth of understanding. The trouble that came upon you, and all the difficulties, your sun, and your rain, and your darkness in the forest, and people told you you would die. But you have come back, my son. Now for my gift and your mother's: we have given you this your country, this is your gift, my son, and do not say that I jest with you; consent to me, my son."

And he gave orders about the nunda, and it was carried and put into a pit, and it was filled in well. And he built a house over the pit of the nunda, and placed a soldier, and told him, "Every one that passes here by this road let him give the usual present, and lay it up; and if he gives nothing, kill him." So every one that passed gave the usual present, and the youth dwelt with his mother a long while, and with his father a long while.

And his father was seized by necessity, and died. His mother became anxious that, "I may not die before I have married my son." And she sought out a wife for her son with diligence, a wife of his own family, beautiful and young. And he married and went into his house, and dwelt long with his wife, and dwelt long with the people of the town, and the people loved him.

And his mother was taken by necessity and died. And he sat mourning for his mother till he went forth. And when they had gone forth from the mourning, he called his three brothers, and said to them, "My brothers, give me advice. Father is dead, and mother is dead, and this dignity father gave me before his death."

And they said, "Our father gave you the dignity, our father's giving to you was final, it returns not." And they said to him, "So now, you are our brother, get us, your brothers, food and clothes to wear, we want nothing more, and we are under you, what you tell us, that is what we will do."

And he said, "My eldest brother being the one to be vizir; you, the middle one, be my chief officer; and the last is the one to be my secretary."

And they dwelt, he and his brothers, in good counsel. He married each one to a wife, and they dwelt with their wives, and they dwelt with their town. And each one had children, and they agreed in their counsels as people do agree.

And this is the story that Chuma made, making it about Sultan Majnún, and this is the end of the story. If it be good, the goodness belongs to us all, and if it be bad, the badness belongs to me alone who made it.