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Richard F. Burton

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The Baital-Pachisi, or Twenty-five Tales of a Baital is the history of a huge Bat, Vampire, or Evil Spirit which inhabited and animated dead bodies. It is an old, and thoroughly Hindu, Legend composed in Sanskrit, and is the germ which culminated in the Arabian Nights, and which inspired the "Golden Ass" of Apuleius, Boccacio's "Decamerone," the "Pentamerone," and all that class of facetious fictitious literature. The story turns chiefly on a great king named Vikram, the King Arthur of the East, who in pursuance of his promise to a Jogi or Magician, brings to him the Baital (Vampire), who is hanging on a tree. The difficulties King Vikram and his son have in bringing the Vampire into the presence of the Jogi are truly laughable; and on this thread is strung a series of Hindu fairy stories, which contain much interesting information on Indian customs and manners. It also alludes to that state, which induces Hindu devotees to allow themselves to be buried alive, and to appear dead for weeks or months, and then to return to life again; a curious state of mesmeric catalepsy, into which they work themselves by concentrating the mind and abstaining from food

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Vikram and the Vampire

Vikram and the VampirePREFACEPREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.INTRODUCTIONTHE VAMPIRE'S FIRST STORY — In which a man deceives a woman.THE VAMPIRE'S SECOND STORY — Of the Relative Villany of Men and Women.THE VAMPIRE'S THIRD STORY — Of a High-minded Family.THE VAMPIRE'S FOURTH STORY — Of A Woman Who Told The Truth.THE VAMPIRE'S FIFTH STORY — Of the Thief Who Laughed and Wept.THE VAMPIRE'S SIXTH STORY — In Which Three Men Dispute about a Woman.THE VAMPIRE'S SEVENTH STORY — Showing the Exceeding Folly of Many Wise Fools.THE VAMPIRE'S EIGHTH STORY — Of the Use and Misuse of Magic Pills.THE VAMPIRE'S NINTH STORY — Showing That a Man's Wife Belongs Not to His Body but to His Head.THE VAMPIRE'S TENTH STORY [168] — Of the Marvellous Delicacy of Three Queens.THE VAMPIRE'S ELEVENTH STORY — Which Puzzles Raja Vikram.FOOTNOTESNotesCopyright

Vikram and the Vampire

Richard F. Burton

PREFACE

The Baital-Pachisi, or Twenty-five Tales of a Baital is the history of a huge Bat, Vampire, or Evil Spirit which inhabited and animated dead bodies. It is an old, and thoroughly Hindu, Legend composed in Sanskrit, and is the germ which culminated in the Arabian Nights, and which inspired the "Golden Ass" of Apuleius, Boccacio's "Decamerone," the "Pentamerone," and all that class of facetious fictitious literature.The story turns chiefly on a great king named Vikram, the King Arthur of the East, who in pursuance of his promise to a Jogi or Magician, brings to him the Baital (Vampire), who is hanging on a tree. The difficulties King Vikram and his son have in bringing the Vampire into the presence of the Jogi are truly laughable; and on this thread is strung a series of Hindu fairy stories, which contain much interesting information on Indian customs and manners. It also alludes to that state, which induces Hindu devotees to allow themselves to be buried alive, and to appear dead for weeks or months, and then to return to life again; a curious state of mesmeric catalepsy, into which they work themselves by concentrating the mind and abstaining from food—a specimen of which I have given a practical illustration in the Life of Sir Richard Burton.The following translation is rendered peculiarly; valuable and interesting by Sir Richard Burton's intimate knowledge of the language. To all who understand the ways of the East, it is as witty, and as full of what is popularly called "chaff" as it is possible to be. There is not a dull page in it, and it will especially please those who delight in the weird and supernatural, the grotesque, and the wild life.My husband only gives eleven of the best tales, as it was thought the translation would prove more interesting in its abbreviated form.

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

"THE genius of Eastern nations," says an established and respectable authority, "was, from the earliest times, much turned towards invention and the love of fiction. The Indians, the Persians, and the Arabians, were all famous for their fables. Amongst the ancient Greeks we hear of the Ionian and Milesian tales, but they have now perished, and, from every account we hear of them, appear to have been loose and indelicate." Similarly, the classical dictionaries define "Milesiae fabulae" to be "licentious themes," "stories of an amatory or mirthful nature," or "ludicrous and indecent plays." M. Deriege seems indeed to confound them with the "Moeurs du Temps" illustrated with artistic gouaches, when he says, "une de ces fables milesiennes, rehaussees de peintures, que la corruption romaine recherchait alors avec une folle ardeur."My friend, Mr. Richard Charnock, F.A.S.L., more correctly defines Milesian fables to have been originally "certain tales or novels, composed by Aristides of Miletus "; gay in matter and graceful in manner. "They were translated into Latin by the historian Sisenna, the friend of Atticus, and they had a great success at Rome. Plutarch, in his life of Crassus, tells us that after the defeat of Carhes (Carrhae?) some Milesiacs were found in the baggage of the Roman prisoners. The Greek text; and the Latin translation have long been lost. The only surviving fable is the tale of Cupid and Psyche,[1]which Apuleius calls 'Milesius sermo,' and it makes us deeply regret the disappearance of the others." Besides this there are the remains of Apollodorus and Conon, and a few traces to be found in Pausanias, Athenaeus, and the scholiasts.I do not, therefore, agree with Blair, with the dictionaries, or with M. Deriege. Miletus, the great maritime city of Asiatic Ionia, was of old the meeting-place of the East and the West. Here the Phoenician trader from the Baltic would meet the Hindu wandering to Intra, from Extra, Gangem; and the Hyperborean would step on shore side by side with the Nubian and the Aethiop. Here was produced and published for the use of the then civilized world, the genuine Oriental apologue, myth and tale combined, which, by amusing narrative and romantic adventure, insinuates a lesson in morals or in humanity, of which we often in our days must fail to perceive the drift. The book of Apuleius, before quoted, is subject to as many discoveries of recondite meaning as is Rabelais. As regards the licentiousness of the Milesian fables, this sign of semi-civilization is still inherent in most Eastern books of the description which we call "light literature," and the ancestral tale-teller never collects a larger purse of coppers than when he relates the worst of his "aurei." But this looseness, resulting from the separation of the sexes, is accidental, not necessary. The following collection will show that it can be dispensed with, and that there is such a thing as comparative purity in Hindu literature. The author, indeed, almost always takes the trouble to marry his hero and his heroine, and if he cannot find a priest, he generally adopts an exceedingly left-hand and Caledonian but legal rite called "gandharbavivaha.[2]"The work of Apuleius, as ample internal evidence shows, is borrowed from the East. The groundwork of the tale is the metamorphosis of Lucius of Corinth into an ass, and the strange accidents which precede his recovering the human form.Another old Hindu story-book relates, in the popular fairy-book style, the wondrous adventures of the hero and demigod, the great Gandharba-Sena. That son of Indra, who was also the father of Vikramajit, the subject of this and another collection, offended the ruler of the firmament by his fondness for a certain nymph, and was doomed to wander over earth under the form of a donkey. Through the interposition of the gods, however, he was permitted to become a man during the hours of darkness, thus comparing with the English legend—Amundeville is lord by day,           But the monk is lord by night.Whilst labouring under this curse, Gandharba-Sena persuaded the King of Dhara to give him a daughter in marriage, but it unfortunately so happened that at the wedding hour he was unable to show himself in any but asinine shape. After bathing, however, he proceeded to the assembly, and, hearing songs and music, he resolved to give them a specimen of his voice.The guests were filled with sorrow that so beautiful a virgin should be married to a donkey. They were afraid to express their feelings to the king, but they could not refrain from smiling, covering their mouths with their garments. At length some one interrupted the general silence and said:"O king, is this the son of Indra? You have found a fine bridegroom; you are indeed happy; don't delay the marriage; delay is improper in doing good; we never saw so glorious a wedding! It is true that we once heard of a camel being married to a jenny-ass; when the ass, looking up to the camel, said, 'Bless me, what a bridegroom!' and the camel, hearing the voice of the ass, exclaimed, 'Bless me, what a musical voice!' In that wedding, however, the bride and the bridegroom were equal; but in this marriage, that such a bride should have such a bridegroom is truly wonderful."Other Brahmans then present said:"O king, at the marriage hour, in sign of joy the sacred shell is blown, but thou hast no need of that" (alluding to the donkey's braying).The women all cried out:"O my mother![3]what is this? at the time of marriage to have an ass! What a miserable thing! What! will he give that angelic girl in wedlock to a donkey?"At length Gandharba-Sena, addressing the king in Sanskrit, urged him to perform his promise. He reminded his future father-in-law that there is no act more meritorious than speaking truth; that the mortal frame is a mere dress, and that wise men never estimate the value of a person by his clothes. He added that he was in that shape from the curse of his sire, and that during the night he had the body of a man. Of his being the son of Indra there could be no doubt.Hearing the donkey thus speak Sanskrit, for it was never known that an ass could discourse in that classical tongue, the minds of the people were changed, and they confessed that, although he had an asinine form he was unquestionably the son of Indra. The king, therefore, gave him his daughter in marriage.[4]The metamorphosis brings with it many misfortunes and strange occurrences, and it lasts till Fate in the author's hand restores the hero to his former shape and honours.Gandharba-Sena is a quasi-historical personage, who lived in the century preceding the Christian era. The story had, therefore, ample time to reach the ears of the learned African Apuleius, who was born A.D. 130.The Baital-Pachisi, or Twenty-five (tales of a) Baital[5]—a Vampire or evil spirit which animates dead bodies—is an old and thoroughly Hindu repertory. It is the rude beginning of that fictitious history which ripened to the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, and which, fostered by the genius of Boccaccio, produced the romance of the chivalrous days, and its last development, the novel—that prose-epic of modern Europe.Composed in Sanskrit, "the language of the gods," alias the Latin of India, it has been translated into all the Prakrit or vernacular and modern dialects of the great peninsula. The reason why it has not found favour with the Moslems is doubtless the highly polytheistic spirit which pervades it; moreover, the Faithful had already a specimen of that style of composition. This was the Hitopadesa, or Advice of a Friend, which, as a line in its introduction informs us, was borrowed from an older book, the Panchatantra, or Five Chapters. It is a collection of apologues recited by a learned Brahman, Vishnu Sharma by name, for the edification of his pupils, the sons of an Indian Raja. They have been adapted to or translated into a number of languages, notably into Pehlvi and Persian, Syriac and Turkish, Greek and Latin, Hebrew and Arabic. And as the Fables of Pilpay,[6]are generally known, by name at least, to European litterateurs.. Voltaire remarks,[7]"Quand on fait reflexion que presque toute la terre a ete infatuee de pareils comes, et qu'ils ont fait l'education du genre humain, on trouve les fables de Pilpay, Lokman, d'Esope bien raisonnables." These tales, detached, but strung together by artificial means—pearls with a thread drawn through them—are manifest precursors of the Decamerone, or Ten Days. A modern Italian critic describes the now classical fiction as a collection of one hundred of those novels which Boccaccio is believed to have read out at the court of Queen Joanna of Naples, and which later in life were by him assorted together by a most simple and ingenious contrivance. But the great Florentine invented neither his stories nor his "plot," if we may so call it. He wrote in the middle of the fourteenth century (1344-8) when the West had borrowed many things from the East, rhymes[8]and romance, lutes and drums, alchemy and knight-errantry. Many of the "Novelle" are, as Orientalists well know, to this day sung and recited almost textually by the wandering tale-tellers, bards, and rhapsodists of Persia and Central Asia.The great kshatriya,(soldier) king Vikramaditya,[9]or Vikramarka, meaning the "Sun of Heroism," plays in India the part of King Arthur, and of Harun al-Rashid further West. He is a semi-historical personage. The son of Gandharba-Sena the donkey and the daughter of the King of Dhara, he was promised by his father the strength of a thousand male elephants. When his sire died, his grandfather, the deity Indra, resolved that the babe should not be born, upon which his mother stabbed herself. But the tragic event duly happening during the ninth month, Vikram came into the world by himself, and was carried to Indra, who pitied and adopted him, and gave him a good education.The circumstances of his accession to the throne, as will presently appear, are differently told. Once, however, made King of Malaya, the modern Malwa, a province of Western Upper India, he so distinguished himself that the Hindu fabulists, with their usual brave kind of speaking, have made him "bring the whole earth under the shadow of one umbrella."The last ruler of the race of Mayura, which reigned 318 years, was Raja-pal. He reigned 25 years, but giving himself up to effeminacy, his country was invaded by Shakaditya, a king from the highlands of Kumaon. Vikramaditya, in the fourteenth year of his reign, pretended to espouse the cause of Raja-pal, attacked and destroyed Shakaditya, and ascended the throne of Delhi. His capital was Avanti, or Ujjayani, the modern Ujjain. It was 13 kos (26 miles) long by 18 miles wide, an area of 468 square miles, but a trifle in Indian History. He obtained the title of Shakari, "foe of the Shakas," the Sacae or Scythians, by his victories over that redoubtable race. In the Kali Yug, or Iron Age, he stands highest amongst the Hindu kings as the patron of learning. Nine persons under his patronage, popularly known as the "Nine Gems of Science," hold in India the honourable position of the Seven Wise Men of Greece.These learned persons wrote works in the eighteen original dialects from which, say the Hindus, all the languages of the earth have been derived.[10]Dhanwantari enlightened the world upon the subjects of medicine and of incantations. Kshapanaka treated the primary elements. Amara-Singha compiled a Sanskrit dictionary and a philosophical treatise. Shankubetalabhatta composed comments, and Ghatakarpara a poetical work of no great merit. The books of Mihira are not mentioned. Varaha produced two works on astrology and one on arithmetic. And Bararuchi introduced certain improvements in grammar, commented upon the incantations, and wrote a poem in praise of King Madhava.But the most celebrated of all the patronized ones was Kalidasa. His two dramas, Sakuntala,[11]and Vikram and Urvasi,[12]have descended to our day; besides which he produced a poem on the seasons, a work on astronomy, a poetical history of the gods, and many other books.[13]Vikramaditya established the Sambat era, dating from A.C. 56. After a long, happy, and glorious reign, he lost his life in a war with Shalivahana, King of Pratisthana. That monarch also left behind him an era called the "Shaka," beginning with A.D. 78. It is employed, even now, by the Hindus in recording their births, marriages, and similar occasions.King Vikramaditya was succeeded by his infant son Vikrama-Sena, and father and son reigned over a period of 93 years. At last the latter was supplanted by a devotee named Samudra-pala, who entered into his body by miraculous means. The usurper reigned 24 years and 2 months, and the throne of Delhi continued in the hands of his sixteen successors, who reigned 641 years and 3 months. Vikrama-pala, the last, was slain in battle by Tilaka-chandra, King of Vaharannah[14].It is not pretended that the words of these Hindu tales are preserved to the letter. The question about the metamorphosis of cats into tigers, for instance, proceeded from a Gem of Learning in a university much nearer home than Gaur. Similarly the learned and still living Mgr. Gaume (Traite du Saint-Esprit, p.. 81) joins Camerarius in the belief that serpents bite women rather than men. And he quotes (p.. 192) Cornelius a Lapide, who informs us that the leopard is the produce of a lioness with a hyena or a bard..The merit of the old stories lies in their suggestiveness and in their general applicability. I have ventured to remedy the conciseness of their language, and to clothe the skeleton with flesh and blood.

INTRODUCTION

The sage Bhavabhuti—Eastern teller of these tales—after making his initiatory and propitiatory conge to Ganesha, Lord of Incepts, informs the reader that this book is a string of fine pearls to be hung round the neck of human intelligence; a fragrant flower to be borne on the turband of mental wisdom; a jewel of pure gold, which becomes the brow of all supreme minds; and a handful of powdered rubies, whose tonic effects will appear palpably upon the mental digestion of every patient. Finally, that by aid of the lessons inculcated in the following pages, man will pass happily through this world into the state of absorption, where fables will be no longer required.He then teaches us how Vikramaditya the Brave became King of Ujjayani.Some nineteen centuries ago, the renowned city of Ujjayani witnessed the birth of a prince to whom was given the gigantic name Vikramaditya. Even the Sanskrit-speaking people, who are not usually pressed for time, shortened it to "Vikram", and a little further West it would infallibly have been docked down to "Vik".Vikram was the second son of an old king Gandharba-Sena, concerning whom little favourable has reached posterity, except that he became an ass, married four queens, and had by them six sons, each of whom was more learned and powerful than the other. It so happened that in course of time the father died. Thereupon his eldest heir, who was known as Shank, succeeded to the carpet of Rajaship, and was instantly murdered by Vikram, his "scorpion", the hero of the following pages.[15]By this act of vigour and manly decision, which all younger-brother princes should devoutly imitate, Vikram having obtained the title of Bir, or the Brave, made himself Raja. He began to rule well, and the gods so favoured him that day by day his dominions increased. At length he became lord of all India, and having firmly established his government, he instituted an era—an uncommon feat for a mere monarch, especially when hereditary.The steps,[16]says the historian, which he took to arrive at that pinnacle of grandeur, were these:The old King calling his two grandsons Bhartari-hari and Vikramaditya, gave them good counsel respecting their future learning. They were told to master everything, a certain way not to succeed in anything. They were diligently to learn grammar, the Scriptures, and all the religious sciences. They were to become familiar with military tactics, international law, and music, the riding of horses and elephants—especially the latter—the driving of chariots, and the use of the broadsword, the bow, and the mogdars or Indian clubs. They were ordered to be skilful in all kinds of games, in leaping and running, in besieging forts, in forming and breaking bodies of troops; they were to endeavour to excel in every princely quality, to be cunning in ascertaining the power of an enemy, how to make war, to perform journeys, to sit in the presence of the nobles, to separate the different sides of a question, to form alliances, to distinguish between the innocent and the guilty, to assign proper punishments to the wicked, to exercise authority with perfect justice, and to be liberal. The boys were then sent to school, and were placed under the care of excellent teachers, where they became truly famous. Whilst under pupilage, the eldest was allowed all the power necessary to obtain a knowledge of royal affairs, and he was not invested with the regal office till in these preparatory steps he had given full satisfaction to his subjects, who expressed high approval of his conduct.The two brothers often conversed on the duties of kings, when the great Vikramaditya gave the great Bhartari-hari the following valuable advice[17]:"As Indra, during the four rainy months, fills the earth with water, so a king should replenish his treasury with money. As Surya the sun, in warming the earth eight months, does not scorch it, so a king, in drawing revenues from his people, ought not to oppress them. As Vayu, the wind, surrounds and fills everything, so the king by his officers and spies should become acquainted with the affairs and circumstances of his whole people. As Yama judges men without partiality or prejudice, and punishes the guilty, so should a king chastise, without favour, all offenders. As Varuna, the regent of water, binds with his pasha or divine noose his enemies, so let a king bind every malefactor safely in prison. As Chandra,[18]the moon, by his cheering light gives pleasure to all, thus should a king, by gifts and generosity, make his people happy. And as Prithwi, the earth, sustains all alike, so should a king feel an equal affection and forbearance towards every one."Become a monarch, Vikram meditated deeply upon what is said of monarchs:—"A king is fire and air; he is both sun and moon; he is the god of criminal justice; he is the genius of wealth; he is the regent of water; he is the lord of the firmament; he is a powerful divinity who appears in human shape." He reflected with some satisfaction that the scriptures had made him absolute, had left the lives and properties of all his subjects to his arbitrary will, had pronounced him to be an incarnate deity, and had threatened to punish with death even ideas derogatory to his honour.He punctually observed all the ordinances laid down by the author of the Niti, or institutes of government. His night and day were divided into sixteen pahars or portions, each one hour and a half, and they were disposed of as follows:—Before dawn Vikram was awakened by a servant appointed to this special duty. He swallowed—a thing allowed only to a khshatriya or warrior—Mithridatic every morning on the saliva[19], and he made the cooks taste every dish before he ate of it. As soon as he had risen, the pages in waiting repeated his splendid qualities, and as he left his sleeping-room in full dress, several Brahmans rehearsed the praises of the gods. Presently he bathed, worshipped his guardian deity, again heard hymns, drank a little water, and saw alms distributed to the poor. He ended this watch by auditing his accounts.Next entering his court, he placed himself amidst the assembly. He was always armed when he received strangers, and he caused even women to be searched for concealed weapons. He was surrounded by so many spies and so artful, that of a thousand, no two ever told the same tale. At the levee, on his right sat his relations, the Brahmans, and men of distinguished birth. The other castes were on the left, and close to him stood the ministers and those whom he delighted to consult. Afar in front gathered the bards chanting the praises of the gods and of the king; also the charioteers, elephanteers, horsemen, and soldiers of valour. Amongst the learned men in those assemblies there were ever some who were well instructed in all the scriptures, and others who had studied in one particular school of philosophy, and were acquainted only with the works on divine wisdom, or with those on justice, civil and criminal, on the arts, mineralogy or the practice of physic; also persons cunning in all kinds of customs; riding-masters, dancing-masters, teachers of good behaviour, examiners, tasters, mimics, mountebanks, and others, who all attended the court and awaited the king's commands. He here pronounced judgment in suits of appeal. His poets wrote about him:The lord of lone splendour an instant suspends                His course at mid-noon, ere he westward descends;                And brief are the moments our young monarch knows,                Devoted to pleasure or paid to repose!Before the second sandhya,[20]or noon, about the beginning of the third watch, he recited the names of the gods, bathed, and broke his fast in his private room; then rising from food, he was amused by singers and dancing girls. The labours of the day now became lighter. After eating he retired, repeating the name of his guardian deity, visited the temples, saluted the gods conversed with the priests, and proceeded to receive and to distribute presents. Fifthly, he discussed political questions with his ministers and councillors.On the announcement of the herald that it was the sixth watch—about 2 or 3 P.M.—Vikram allowed himself to follow his own inclinations, to regulate his family, and to transact business of a private and personal nature.After gaining strength by rest, he proceeded to review his troops, examining the men, saluting the officers, and holding military councils. At sunset he bathed a third time and performed the five sacraments of listening to a prelection of the Veda; making oblations to the manes; sacrificing to Fire in honour of the deities; giving rice to dumb creatures; and receiving guests with due ceremonies. He spent the evening amidst a select company of wise, learned, and pious men, conversing on different subjects, and reviewing the business of the day.The night was distributed with equal care. During the first portion Vikram received the reports which his spies and envoys, dressed in every disguise, brought to him about his enemies. Against the latter he ceased not to use the five arts, namely—dividing the kingdom, bribes, mischief-making, negotiations, and brute-force—especially preferring the first two and the last. His forethought and prudence taught him to regard all his nearest neighbours and their allies as hostile. The powers beyond those natural enemies he considered friendly because they were the foes of his foes. And all the remoter nations he looked upon as neutrals, in a transitional or provisional state as it were, till they became either his neighbours' neighbours, or his own neighbours, that is to say, his friends or his foes.This important duty finished he supped, and at the end of the third watch he retired to sleep, which was not allowed to last beyond three hours. In the sixth watch he arose and purified himself. The seventh was devoted to holding private consultations with his ministers, and to furnishing the officers of government with requisite instructions. The eighth or last watch was spent with the Purohita or priest, and with Brahmans, hailing the dawn with its appropriate rites; he then bathed, made the customary offerings, and prayed in some unfrequented place near pure water.And throughout these occupations he bore in mind the duty of kings, namely—to pursue every object till it be accomplished; to succour all dependents, and hospitably to receive guests, however numerous. He was generous to his subjects respecting taxes, and kind of speech; yet he was inexorable as death in the punishment of offenses. He rarely hunted, and he visited his pleasure gardens only on stated days. He acted in his own dominions with justice; he chastised foreign foes with rigour; he behaved generously to Brahmans, and he avoided favouritism amongst his friends. In war he never slew a suppliant, a spectator, a person asleep or undressed, or anyone that showed fear. Whatever country he conquered, offerings were presented to its gods, and effects and money were given to the reverends. But what benefited him most was his attention to the creature comforts of the nine Gems of Science: those eminent men ate and drank themselves into fits of enthusiasm, and ended by immortalizing their patron's name.Become Vikram the Great he established his court at a delightful and beautiful location rich in the best of water. The country was difficult of access, and artificially made incapable of supporting a host of invaders, but four great roads met near the city. The capital was surrounded with durable ramparts, having gates of defence, and near it was a mountain fortress, under the especial charge of a great captain.The metropolis was well garrisoned and provisioned, and it surrounded the royal palace, a noble building without as well as within. Grandeur seemed embodied there, and Prosperity had made it her own. The nearer ground, viewed from the terraces and pleasure pavilions, was a lovely mingling of rock and mountain, plain and valley, field and fallow, crystal lake and glittering stream. The banks of the winding Lavana were fringed with meads whose herbage, pearly with morning dew, afforded choicest grazing for the sacred cow, and were dotted with perfumed clumps of Bo-trees, tamarinds, and holy figs: in one place Vikram planted 100,000 in a single orchard and gave them to his spiritual advisers. The river valley separated the stream from a belt of forest growth which extended to a hill range, dark with impervious jungle, and cleared here and there for the cultivator's village. Behind it, rose another sub-range, wooded with a lower bush and already blue with air, whilst in the background towered range upon range, here rising abruptly into points and peaks, there ramp-shaped or wall-formed, with sheer descents, and all of light azure hue adorned with glories of silver and gold.After reigning for some years, Vikram the Brave found himself at the age of thirty, a staid and sober middle-aged man, He had several sons—daughters are naught in India—by his several wives, and he had some paternal affection for nearly all—except of course, for his eldest son, a youth who seemed to conduct himself as though he had a claim to the succession. In fact, the king seemed to have taken up his abode for life at Ujjayani, when suddenly he bethought himself, "I must visit those countries of whose names I am ever hearing." The fact is, he had determined to spy out in disguise the lands of all his foes, and to find the best means of bringing against them his formidable army.We now learn how Bhartari Raja becomes Regent of Ujjayani.Having thus resolved, Vikram the Brave gave the government into the charge of a younger brother, Bhartari Raja, and in the garb of a religious mendicant, accompanied by Dharma Dhwaj, his second son, a youth bordering on the age of puberty, he began to travel from city to city, and from forest to forest.The Regent was of a settled melancholic turn of mind, having lost in early youth a very peculiar wife. One day, whilst out hunting, he happened to pass a funeral pyre, upon which a Brahman's widow had just become Sati (a holy woman) with the greatest fortitude. On his return home he related the adventure to Sita Rani, his spouse, and she at once made reply that virtuous women die with their husbands, killed by the fire of grief, not by the flames of the pile. To prove her truth the prince, after an affectionate farewell, rode forth to the chase, and presently sent back the suite with his robes torn and stained, to report his accidental death. Sita perished upon the spot, and the widower remained inconsolable—for a time.He led the dullest of lives, and took to himself sundry spouses, all equally distinguished for birth, beauty, and modesty. Like his brother, he performed all the proper devoirs of a Raja, rising before the day to finish his ablutions, to worship the gods, and to do due obeisance to the Brahmans. He then ascended the throne, to judge his people according to the Shastra, carefully keeping in subjection lust, anger, avarice, folly, drunkenness, and pride; preserving himself from being seduced by the love of gaming and of the chase; restraining his desire for dancing, singing, and playing on musical instruments, and refraining from sleep during daytime, from wine, from molesting men of worth, from dice, from putting human beings to death by artful means, from useless travelling, and from holding any one guilty without the commission of a crime. His levees were in a hall decently splendid, and he was distinguished only by an umbrella of peacock's feathers; he received all complainants, petitioners, and presenters of offenses with kind looks and soft words. He united to himself the seven or eight wise councillors, and the sober and virtuous secretary that formed the high cabinet of his royal brother, and they met in some secret lonely spot, as a mountain, a terrace, a bower or a forest, whence women, parrots, and other talkative birds were carefully excluded.And at the end of this useful and somewhat laborious day, he retired to his private apartments, and, after listening to spiritual songs and to soft music, he fell asleep. Sometimes he would summon his brother's "Nine Gems of Science," and give ear to their learned discourses. But it was observed that the viceroy reserved this exercise for nights when he was troubled with insomnia—the words of wisdom being to him an infallible remedy for that disorder.Thus passed onwards his youth, doing nothing that it could desire, forbidden all pleasures because they were unprincely, and working in the palace harder than in the pauper's hut. Having, however, fortunately for himself, few predilections and no imagination, he began to pride himself upon being a philosopher. Much business from an early age had dulled his wits, which were never of the most brilliant; and in the steadily increasing torpidity of his spirit, he traced the germs of that quietude which forms the highest happiness of man in this storm of matter called the world. He therefore allowed himself but one friend of his soul. He retained, I have said, his brother's seven or eight ministers; he was constant in attendance upon the Brahman priests who officiated at the palace, and who kept the impious from touching sacred property; and he was courteous to the commander-in-chief who directed his warriors, to the officers of justice who inflicted punishment upon offenders, and to the lords of towns, varying in number from one to a thousand. But he placed an intimate of his own in the high position of confidential councillor, the ambassador to regulate war and peace.Mahi-pala was a person of noble birth, endowed with shining abilities, popular, dexterous in business, acquainted with foreign parts, famed for eloquence and intrepidity, and as Menu the Lawgiver advises, remarkably handsome.Bhartari Raja, as I have said, became a quietist and a philosopher. But Kama,[21]the bright god who exerts his sway over the three worlds, heaven and earth and grewsome Hades,[22]had marked out the prince once more as the victim of his blossom-tipped shafts and his flowery bow. How, indeed, could he hope to escape the doom which has fallen equally upon Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and dreadful Shiva the Three-eyed Destroyer[23]?By reason of her exceeding beauty, her face was a full moon shining in the clearest sky; her hair was the purple cloud of autumn when, gravid with rain, it hangs low over earth; and her complexion mocked the pale waxen hue of the large-flowered jasmine. Her eyes were those of the timid antelope; her lips were as red as those of the pomegranate's bud, and when they opened, from them distilled a fountain of ambrosia. Her neck was like a pigeon's; her hand the pink lining of the conch-shell; her waist a leopard's; her feet the softest lotuses. In a word, a model of grace and loveliness was Dangalah Rani, Raja Bhartari's last and youngest wife.The warrior laid down his arms before her; the politician spoke out every secret in her presence. The religious prince would have slaughtered a cow—that sole unforgivable sin—to save one of her eyelashes: the absolute king would not drink a cup of water without her permission; the staid philosopher, the sober quietist, to win from her the shadow of a smile, would have danced before her like a singing-girl. So desperately enamoured became Bhartari Raja.It is written, however, that love, alas! breeds not love; and so it happened to the Regent. The warmth of his affection, instead of animating his wife, annoyed her; his protestations wearied her; his vows gave her the headache; and his caresses were a colic that made her blood run cold. Of course, the prince perceived nothing, being lost in wonder and admiration of the beauty's coyness and coquetry. And as women must give away their hearts, whether asked or not, so the lovely Dangalah Rani lost no time in lavishing all the passion of her idle soul upon Mahi-pala, the handsome ambassador of peace and war. By this means the three were happy and were contented; their felicity, however, being built on a rotten foundation, could not long endure. It soon ended in the following extraordinary way.In the city of Ujjayani,[24]within sight of the palace, dwelt a Brahman and his wife, who, being old and poor, and having nothing else to do, had applied themselves to the practice of austere devotion.[25]They fasted and refrained from drink, they stood on their heads and held their arms for weeks in the air; they prayed till their knees were like pads; they disciplined themselves with scourges of wire; and they walked about unclad in the cold season, and in summer they sat within a circle of flaming wood, till they became the envy and admiration of all the plebeian gods that inhabit the lower heavens. In fine, as a reward for their exceeding piety, the venerable pair received at the hands of a celestial messenger an apple of the tree Kalpavriksha—a fruit which has the virtue of conferring eternal life upon him that tastes it.Scarcely had the god disappeared, when the Brahman, opening his toothless mouth, prepared to eat the fruit of immortality. Then his wife addressed him in these words, shedding copious tears the while:"To die, O man, is a passing pain; to be poor is an interminable anguish. Surely our present lot is the penalty of some great crime committed by us in a past state of being.[26]Callest thou this state life? Better we die at once, and so escape the woes of the world!"Hearing these words, the Brahman sat undecided, with open jaws and eyes fixed upon the apple. Presently he found tongue: "I have accepted the fruit, and have brought it here; but having heard thy speech, my intellect hath wasted away; now I will do whatever thou pointest out."The wife resumed her discourse, which had been interrupted by a more than usually copious flow of tears. "Moreover, O husband, we are old, and what are the enjoyments of the stricken in years? Truly quoth the poet—Die loved in youth, not hated in age.If that fruit could have restored thy dimmed eyes, and deaf ears, and blunted taste, and warmth of love, I had not spoken to thee thus."After which the Brahman threw away the apple, to the great joy of his wife, who felt a natural indignation at the prospect of seeing her goodman become immortal, whilst she still remained subject to the laws of death; but she concealed this motive in the depths of her thought, enlarging, as women are apt to do, upon everything but the truth. And she spoke with such success, that the priest was about to toss in his rage the heavenly fruit into the fire, reproaching the gods as if by sending it they had done him an injury. Then the wife snatched it out of his hand, and telling him it was too precious to be wasted, bade him arise and gird his loins and wend him to the Regent's palace, and offer him the fruit—as King Vikram was absent—with a right reverend brahmanical benediction. She concluded with impressing upon her unworldly husband the necessity of requiring a large sum of money as a return for his inestimable gift. "By this means," she said, "thou mayst promote thy present and future welfare.[27]"Then the Brahman went forth, and standing in the presence of the Raja, told him all things touching the fruit, concluding with "O, mighty prince! vouchsafe to accept this tribute, and bestow wealth upon me. I shall be happy in your living long!"Bhartari Raja led the supplicant into an inner strongroom, where stood heaps of the finest gold-dust, and bade him carry away all that he could; this the priest did, not forgetting to fill even his eloquent and toothless mouth with the precious metal. Having dismissed the devotee groaning under the burden, the Regent entered the apartments of his wives, and having summoned the beautiful Queen Dangalah Rani, gave her the fruit, and said, "Eat this, light of my eyes! This fruit—joy of my heart!—will make thee everlastingly young and beautiful."The pretty queen, placing both hands upon her husband's bosom, kissed his eyes and lips, and sweetly smiling on his face—for great is the guile of women—whispered, "Eat it thyself, dear one, or at least share it with me; for what is life and what is youth without the presence of those we love?" But the Raja, whose heart was melted by these unusual words, put her away tenderly, and, having explained that the fruit would serve for only one person, departed.Whereupon the pretty queen, sweetly smiling as before, slipped the precious present into her pocket. When the Regent was transacting business in the hall of audience she sent for the ambassador who regulated war and peace, and presented him with the apple in a manner at least as tender as that with which it had been offered to her.Then the ambassador, after slipping the fruit into his pocket also, retired from the presence of the pretty queen, and meeting Lakha, one of the maids of honour, explained to her its wonderful power, and gave it to her as a token of his love. But the maid of honour, being an ambitious girl, determined that the fruit was a fit present to set before the Regent in the absence of the King. Bhartari Raja accepted it, bestowed on her great wealth, and dismissed her with many thanks.He then took up the apple and looked at it with eyes brimful of tears, for he knew the whole extent of his misfortune. His heart ached, he felt a loathing for the world, and he said with sighs and groans[28]:"Of what value are these delusions of wealth and affection, whose sweetness endures for a moment and becomes eternal bitterness? Love is like the drunkard's cup: delicious is the first drink, palling are the draughts that succeed it, and most distasteful are the dregs. What is life but a restless vision of imaginary pleasures and of real pains, from which the only waking is the terrible day of death? The affection of this world is of no use, since, in consequence of it, we fall at last into hell. For which reason it is best to practice the austerities of religion, that the Deity may bestow upon us hereafter that happiness which he refuses to us here!"Thus did Bhartari Raja determine to abandon the world. But before setting out for the forest, he could not refrain from seeing the queen once more, so hot was the flame which Kama had kindled in his heart. He therefore went to the apartments of his women, and having caused Dangalah Rani to be summoned, he asked her what had become of the fruit which he had given to her. She answered that, according to his command, she had eaten it. Upon which the Regent showed her the apple, and she beholding it stood aghast, unable to make any reply. The Raja gave careful orders for her beheading; he then went out, and having had the fruit washed, ate it. He quitted the throne to be a jogi, or religious mendicant, and without communicating with any one departed into the jungle. There he became such a devotee that death had no power over him, and he is wandering still. But some say that he was duly absorbed into the essence of the Deity.We are next told how the valiant Vikram returned to his own country.Thus Vikram's throne remained empty. When the news reached King Indra, Regent of the Lower Firmament and Protector of Earthly Monarchs, he sent Prithwi Pala, a fierce giant,[29]to defend the city of Ujjayani till such time as its lawful master might reappear, and the guardian used to keep watch and ward night and day over his trust.In less than a year the valorous Raja Vikram became thoroughly tired of wandering about the woods half dressed: now suffering from famine, then exposed to the attacks of wild beasts, and at all times very ill at ease. He reflected also that he was not doing his duty to his wives and children; that the heir-apparent would probably make the worst use of the parental absence; and finally, that his subjects, deprived of his fatherly care, had been left in the hands of a man who, for ought he could say, was not worthy of the high trust. He had also spied out all the weak points of friend and foe. Whilst these and other equally weighty considerations were hanging about the Raja's mind, he heard a rumour of the state of things spread abroad; that Bhartari, the regent, having abdicated his throne, had gone away into the forest. Then quoth Vikram to his son, "We have ended our wayfarings, now let us turn our steps homewards!"The gong was striking the mysterious hour of midnight as the king and the young prince approached the principal gate. And they were pushing through it when a monstrous figure rose up before them and called out with a fearful voice, "Who are ye, and where are ye going? Stand and deliver your names!""I am Raja Vikram," rejoined the king, half choked with rage, "and I am come to mine own city. Who art thou that darest to stop or stay me?""That question is easily answered," cried Prithwi Pala the giant, in his roaring voice; "the gods have sent me to protect Ujjayani. If thou be really Raja Vikram, prove thyself a man: first fight with me, and then return to thine own."The warrior king cried "Sadhu!" wanting nothing better. He girt his girdle tight round his loins, summoned his opponent into the empty space beyond the gate, told him to stand on guard, and presently began to devise some means of closing with or running in upon him. The giant's fists were large as watermelons, and his knotted arms whistled through the air like falling trees, threatening fatal blows. Besides which the Raja's head scarcely reached the giant's stomach, and the latter, each time he struck out, whooped so abominably loud, that no human nerves could remain unshaken.