1. Pansy a.k.a. Isabella Macdonald Alden: A Very Sly Fellow
2. Pilpai: The Anvar-I Suhaili; or, The Lights of Canopus
3. Pilpai: The Monkey and the Tortoise
4. Tarzan poem By Keith Preston
Right here, at the start, I must tell you that this story is true. It all really happened in a city whose name commences with B, and it is not Boston.
A Very Sly Fellow
It was a clear, wintry afternoon when it happened, and the children of the street were playing over in the sunshine.
There was a long row of houses on either side of this street, which is one rather sad thing ahuut cities, and in one of the houses Morris Beal and his friend Jack were having a royal good time together, and quite by themselves, too, for Morris's mamma had gone down town, and the servants were busy ironing in the kitchen.
"I think it's splendid to he left all alone," said Jack, as they roamed through the house.
"I think so, too," replied Morris. "I wouldn't have a nurse for anything" which was rather hard upon Jack, who was still in kilts, and did have a nurse, only this was her "afternoon out" as well its his. Morris showed Jack all his Uncle Will's neckties, and a great many other things as well, and both of them tried their hand on his new banjo, but one of the strings broke, with a very loud noise, and frightened them out of his room and back to the nursery. When it began to grow dark, Morris dragged the pillows from his mother's bed, and placing one at either end, on the rockers of his hobby-horse, he and Jack sat down for a very comfortable see-saw. Bridget put her head in at the door just then. "Ah! Morris, but you're going to get it," she said in an angry voice; then she slammed the door, and the boys heard her run down the stairs. Jack held on to the tail of the hobby-horse and looked around at Morris; Morris held on to the mane of the hobby-horse and looked around at Jack. Perhaps they were thinking of the banjo string. At any rate, Morris said "he didn't care," and Jack said "he didn't." Once in a while they would stand up to shake the pillows, which kept sinking through in bags between the rockers, and then go rocking away again. Meantime Morris's mamma came home. "Where are the boys?" she asked, as Bridget shut the front door.
"Oh I they're in the nursery now, Mrs. Bell, but there isn't a place in the house where they haven't been, even into our bonnet boxes, May's and mine, mum."
Morris's mamma gave a troubled little sigh as she patiently followed Bridget from room to room. Oh! such mischievous work as met her on every side. Pincushions ripped open; bottles emptied, and bottles with their corks pulled out, burnt matches strewed about the floors; the broken banjo string, and in the servants' room, wisps of straw, and draggled bits of flowers and feathers, and ribbons -- all that was left of the poor girls' bonnets.
The boys were in the midst of one of their grand shakings of the pillows when Mrs. Bell came into the room. "Why Morris! Why, Jack!" she said very gravely.
Morris hung his head very low.
"I must go home now," said Jack.
"Indeed you must not do anything of the kind," said Mrs. Bell, and she made the boys sit down, one on either side of her on the sofa
"I did not mean to do it," said Morris.
"And I did not touch it at all," added Jack.
"Did not mean to do it, Morris! Did not mean to do all that! And what is it, Jack, which you say you did not touch?"
"Why, the banjo!" answered Jack.
The string breaked of itself, mamma," Morns explained, "and I was afraid to lift it back into the case. I thought Uncle Will would rather we wouldn't bother with it "
"But the banjo is the least part of the mischief, Morris, as you know very well. I never heard of such naughty, naughty boys in all my life." Morris was crying now, and Jack was kicking the side of the sofa very hard with the heels of his boots.
"Why did you go into the girls' room at all, Morris? You know they do not like it."
"I only wanted to show Jack the pigeons on the Jones' roof," sobbed Morris.
"And who was the one to take the bonnets out of the boxes?"
"Neither of us did that, Mrs. Bell," answered Jack.
"So neither of you did that, Jack, and I suppose neither of you burnt all those matches, nor upset the bottles, nor indeed did any of the other very naughty things!"
"No, Mamma, we didn't," Morris answered stoutly. Mrs. Bell looked very much surprised.
"Boys," she said, "it is very, very wrong to tell a lie about it; yes, a lie!" for neither Jack or Morris would own up to any misbehaviour beyond the meddling with the banjo.
"You may go now, Jack," Mrs. Bell said at last, "but, remember: I must come in to morrow and tell your mother, unless you come back before then and confess to your share of this mischief."
"I do not think I will ever come in this house again," said Jack, indigna[n]tly, as he strode out of the room, with his rubber boots tucked under his arm, and the belt of his little ulster flying out behind him.
After a supper of bread and milk, with never a taste of cake or jam, Morris was put to bed a whole hour earlier than his bedtime. At first he thought he would lie awake all night; but he must have changed his mind about that, for he fell asleep in two minutes, and he found affairs in a much happier state when he woke. It chanced the next morning that Morris's sister, Lou, stood braiding her hair in front of the window, instead of the looking glass, so, instead of seeing another blue-eyed Lou gazing back at her, she looked right through it and saw -- what do you think? a live monkey sitting astride the fence in the yard below, and staring about in the queerest fashion. Lou ran to her mother's door. "O mamma!" she cried, "look out the back window, quick, quick!"
"Mrs. Bell stepped to the window, and then ran straight into Morris's room.
"O Morris!" she cried, "mamma knows now that her little boy didn't do it," waking him up from the soundest little nap.
"Didn't do what?" said Morris, rubbing his sleepy eyes.
"Why, all the mischief; a monkey did it Morris, a monkey."
"A monkey?" cried Morris, for that was enough to wake him right up. Then Mrs. Bell bundled him up in an afghan and carried him to have a look at the sly fellow. The monkey looked up at Morris and grinned, as much as to say, "Well, didn't I get you in a pretty fix?"
"I suppose he belongs to some one and has run away," said Lou. "I'll run down and open the door of the back porch, then perhaps he'll come in and we'll keep him."
"O no! don't keep him," urged Morris, pathetically, "because mamma could never tell what things the monkey did, and what things Jack and me did, and it's very hard to have nothing but bread and milk for your supper, when you've only breaked a banjo string."
"Morris," said Mrs. Bell, "mamma will never doubt your word again. But Lou only means to keep him till we find his owner."
So they opened the door of the back porch, and after awhile in walked Mr. Monkey. Then Bridget ran up from outside and shut him in. At first he jumped around as if he did not know what to make of it, but suddenly, spying the children's hammock, he swung himself into it and lay very still for a long time.
"Perhaps he's sleepy," said Morris, who stood watching him through the glass door at the back of tho hall.
"Of course he is," answered Lou. "I guess you'd be sleepy too, if you had been out all night." Just then some one gave the bell a good strong pull. Morris ran and opened the door, and there stood a foreign-looking little gentleman.
"Can you tell me, my leetle fellow, it my monkey has been in this house?" he asked in broken English.
"O yes! he's been here, and he's here now," Morris replied, leading the way to the hammock.
"I hope he has not done much mischief," said the gentleman.
"O yes! he has," Morris answered frankly, "he did so much mischief they thought it must be me, and put me to bed very early, with only bread and milk for my supper.
They found the monkey fast asleep. His owner gave him too or three pokes with his cane, and he opened his round black eyes. He knew his master at once, and with the funniest grin,leaped on to his shoulder, fastening his hairy little paws tightly round his neck, as though he never meant to let go.
"I vill look to it that he runs away not soon again," said the gentleman as he left the house.
"Then you had better tie him up very tight, sir, with a very strong chain," advised Morris, closing the door with an honest little sigh of relief.
Pilpai's Anvar-I Suhaili -- Chap. IV, Story XI.
He said, 'They have related that a troop of monkeys had their abode in an island where were fruits fresh and dry in abundance, and the climate agreed with them perfectly. One day a party of the elders of the tribe were sitting under the shade of a tree, and were talking on all sorts of subjects. At one time, with laughing lip like a pistachio, they discoursed of the impervious nut, and at another they would not open their eyes, which resembled fresh almonds, save to gaze on the beauty of the dry fig. On a sudden, a bear passed by them, and was excessively chagrined at their composure. He said to himself, 'Is it to be borne that I should pass my time in the midst of stony mountains, with saddened heart; and with a hundred thousand efforts get possession of a thorn-top or a root of grass, while these monkeys in this pleasant spot and agreeable station, feast on fresh and juicy fruits and make their repasts on herbage softer than green silk.
From a 15th century manuscript of Pilpai's fables
(not the stories presented here)
My rivals, rose-like, flourishing in the fair spring of converse, see!
Why should, in autumnal absence, I, all leafless, withered be?'
He then resolved to enter among that crowd and overthrow with the axe of cruelty, the pedestal of their tranquillity. The monkeys, accepting battle, assembled to the number of nearly a thousand, and making a rush, overthrewand wounded the bear with their blows. The unhappy bear of vain schemes, had not as yet tasted the fruit of his wishes from the plant of desire, when he found the tree of his enjoyment withered, and the cell of his nature not being illuminated by the radiance of the taper of repose, the lamp of his strength went out
Before I from the bowl of gladness one short draught of joy could sip,
Cruel fate dashed down the goblet ere it yet had reached my lip.
In short, the bear escaped with the greatest trouble from among the monkeys, and haying conveyed himself to the mountains, raised loud cries and a vast uproar. A great number of his species came round him, and seeing him in that state, asked him as to the circumstances of the battle and the manner of the contumely and blows inflicted on him. The bear recounted the affair as it had happened, and said, 'Bravo, dishonor! that a powerful-framed bear should endure this disgrace from feeble monkeys! never in by-gone days did such a thing befall our ancestors and progenitors, and until the day of resurrection, this infamy will adhere to our race. Our advisable course is that we should join together, and by one united night-attack, change the day of existence for them into the night of extinction, and blind the eye of their hopes with the dust of battle.
Let us but be by fate unharassed,
We'll wreak our vengeance on the hated foe;
And in the battle we'll so crush his head,
To the last day our glory down shall go.'
The bears' feeling of pride was roused, and kindling the flame of implacability, and loosing the tongue of boasting and vain-glory, they raised to heaven their fierce and martial shouts.
'Ants are our foes, -- a giant serpent we,
How can they scape the clutches of the strife?
Tis ours to shake the flag of battle free,
Theirs to relinquish sovereignty and life.'
They then agreed that that night they would engage in kindling the flames of slaughter, and in the heat of battle and the fire of war, would cast an igneous shower into the harvest of the life of the monkeys; and at the time when the golden-clawed lion of the sun turned from the waste of heaven to that place of fountains [as it is written] 'in a spring of black mud,' and the Greater and Lesser Bear began to stalk towards the confines of the Northern Pole,
When the bright sun had turned his back,
Earth darkened, and the air grew black,
at once, the bears of that mountainous region set out for the island of the monkeys. It happened that the monkey-king with a number of his nobles and grandees, had made a party to hunt, and that night they remained in the waste, and the other monkeys, unprepared for the attack of their foes, were reposing each in his own place, when all at once,
Like ants and locusts, countless warriors swarm,
And spread through earth war's world-convulsing storm.
Before the monkeys were aware, many of them were slain, and a few, crushed and wounded, escaped with life from that sanguinary struggle. When the bears saw that flourishing plain and populous island cleared of the enemy, they drew the foot of continuance under the skirt of residence in that yery place, and made the bear that had been maltreated and injured, their commander; and stretching forth the hand of tyranny, they brought within the range of their own possession, every good thing which the monkeys in the lapse of time had stored up for themselves.
Who wasted, O my God! and who amassed?
The next day, when the dark-hearted world became brilliant as the cheek of the beautiful, and the Jamshid of the sun came forth upon the throne of the sky,
When morning's host upraised its banner, then
The world drew through the word of night its pen,
the king of the monkeys, unaware of what had happened, was returning to the island, and in the middle of his journey a number of fugitives who had brought themselves semi-animate from the whirlpool of calamity to the shore, came up, and began to call for redress. The king, when he had been informed of the nature of those events, began to bite the finger of amazement with the tooth of regret, and said, 'Alas! for my hereditary kingdom, which has been torn from the grasp of my possession, and alack! for those rich treasures which have fallen into the hands of the enemy. At last, fortune has changed, and has rained down the dirt of adversity on my head, and, at length, she, fickle that she is, has averted her countenance.
Ne'er in this world's flower-garden did one verdure constant see,
Nor upon the cheek of fortune can we trace a changeless hue.
Earth is but a house of cheating, credit there can never be,
Because than it a place of mischief more disastrous none e'er knew.
The others, too, who attended in the cavalcade of the king, beginning to be disquieted, raised lamentations each for his own property and possessions, and wife, and family, and among them was one named Maimun, adorned with an excellent understanding, and distinguished from the rest by the abundance of his sagacity; and on this account they used to hold him in supreme honor, and king and people were in the habit of availing themselves of the benefits of his advice.
So bright of heart, so dear in wisdom he,
That by one counsel he could climes enslave;
Zubal his pupil was in subtlety,
And to 'Atarid' he pen-lessons gave.
When Maimun beheld the king amazed and his subjects distressed, he loosed the tongue of advice and said,
Be not contentious in disaster, thou!
'Tis doubly faulty; for, to me attend,
First, it will gild with joy thy foeman's brow;
And next cast down and stupify thy friend.
To be stiff-necked in misfortunes excludes a creature from the rewards of eternity, and makes him notorious for impatience and levity, and in occurrences of this nature, there are but two things of any avail. The first is, to endure and to increase in patience and fortitude; for the tree of patience produces the fruit of desire, and in accordance with the saying, 'Patience is the key of joy,' to make choice of patience is the key of the portals of salvation.
Patience, the key that opes the treasury
Of wished-for things, unlocks each closed-up way;
And clears the breast from pangs of tyranny,
As from a glass the dust that thereon lay.
The second is to make use of just judgment and right counsel; for when the lightning of the bright mind of the possessor of sagacity flashes in the night of incident, it can completely efface the darkness of cruelty from the page of the condition of the tyrannously oppressed; and in one night of thought accomplish things which have occupied a thousand years.
With the salve of happy counsel, and of schemes that aim aright,
Be the heart in fragments shivered, there is healing for its plight'
The king of the monkeys was comforted by the words of Maimun, and asked 'How can this be remedied?' Maimun requested a private audience and said, 'O renowned king! my children and kinsmen have perished by the hands of this remorseless band; and, deprived of the sight of these dear ones life will afford me no delight, and existence no happiness.
Without thy face I might survive, -- yes, I might linger so;
But yet a thousand deaths, methinks, were lighter than that woe.
And since in the end the goods of life must fall into the whirlpool of annihilation, I desire with all possible speed to transport myself from the narrow strait of worldly things to the expanse of the blissful regions of eternity; and, sacrificing my life, to avenge my friends and beloved ones on those blind and savage monsters.' The King said, 'O Maimun! the flavor of revenge appears sweet to the palate of existence, and the relish of triumphing over one's enemy is necessary for the repose of life, but if thou art no more, [I care not] whether the world be populated or desolate. And wherever the heart is set, it matters not whether the place be tranquil or disturbed.
Once from this garden be thy transit made,
I care not if the roses bloom or fade.'
Maimun replied, 'O king! in my present circumstances the preference may be given to death over life, and one might choose to perish rather than exist. For the light of the eyes is in gazing on the beauty of one's children, and they have drawn over their countenances the veil of the earth; and the joy of the bosom is bound up in beholding one's domestics and kinsfolk, and the harvest of their peace has been dispersed by the tempest of fate; and the chief pillar of one's maintenance is wealth and property, and the hoardings of one's whole life have been dissipated by the plundering of the enemy. I now wish to show my gratitude for the favors of the king, and to aid, with the ointment of cheerfulness, my brethren, whose hearts are sorrowful and whose minds are wounded; and having offered up the coin of life, to leave my name on the page of Time.
My heart's wish is to perish gloriously:
Earth yields one object, -- 'tis with fame to die.
And the king must not mourn for my death, and when he sits with his friends at the mirthful banquet let him call to mind my faithful service.
With the hand of hope, when gathering the enjoyment of thy bliss,
Call to mind our social converse, and bethink thee still of this.'
The king said, 'How wilt thou prosecute this undertaking, and by which of the doors of stratagem will thou enter upon it?' Maimun answered, 'I have thought of a plan by which I may consume them with the flame of the Samum in the desert of Mard-azmai; and it is most probably to be expected that my prognostications will not deviate from the line of truth. The advisable course is, that thou command them to tear out my ears with their teeth, and fracture my hands and feet, and cast me at night in a corner of that waste which was our former abode. And let the king, with his attendants and the party of fugitives, wander at will through all parts and directions of this desert until two days have passed, and on the morning of the third day let them come and settle, free from care, in their own home. For there will be no trace of their enemies, nor afterwards will any injury accrue from that race.' The king, in accordance with the wishes of Maimun, commanded them to tear out his ears, and, after breaking his limbs, to cast him in a corner of that region. He then dispersed his forces, and sate awaiting the appointed time. Maimun, through the whole night, uttered plaintive wailings after a fashion that would have dissolved, in sympathy, a heart of stone. The mountains re-echoed the piteous sound of his cries; and the king of the bears going out for a circuit early in the morning, heard those lamentations; and following the sound, beheld Maimun in that plight. Although he was hard-hearted, he had compassion upon him, and in spite of his ferocity, pity arose in his heart.Busying himself with inquiry into his circumstances, and examining into his condition, he demanded of him a detailed explanation of what had happened. Maimun sagaciously discerned that he was the king of that race, and entered upon eulogiums of him; and after acquitting himself of the usual duties of panegyric, which is due to the position of kings, he said,
'This earthly frame, soul and shape the same, in naming fire and water lies;
Look with thine eyes and sympathize, for cruel are these agonies.
O king! I am the vazir of the monkey-king, and went out with him to hunt. On the night of the attack I was not present in the field of battle. The next day the fugitives reached us, and I received intelligence of the descent of your majesty in this place. The king of the monkeys, from the confidence which he had in my judgment, required of me an expedient to remedy this. I, from sincere regard to him, pointed out the service of your majesty, and said, 'The recommendable course is, that we gird up the waist of attendance, and pass the rest of our lives in waiting on the king; and, under the shade of his good-fortune, in security from the reverses of fate, content ourselves with a corner and a crust.
He that is wise, will ever guide his way
To pious shelter, such as thou art, who,
Oft as thy feet amid the garden stray,
Bear'st off the roses and the spikenard too.'
The king was displeased at my words, and vented many unseemly reproaches on the parties who had become occupants of this region; and when a second time I rebuked him, he commanded that they should inflict all this contumely upon me; and he gave orders, saying, 'Since he is one of the fautors of that monarch, and belongs to his army, the best thing is to cast him down near the island, so that I may see how they will protect him.' Thus they brought me hither, and requited my former loyal services with these subsequent distresses.' He said this, and wept so piteously that the tear-drops began to fall from the pitiless eyes of the king of the bears.
My groans would make a stone dissolve in blood;
And from my weeping eyes pours Jaihun's flood.'
The king said, 'Where are the monkeys now?' He replied, 'There is a forest, which they call Mard-azmai, where they have taken refuge, and are collecting forces from all sides, and every hour they may be expected to come with a fierce and numerous army to make a night-attack.' The king of the bears started and said, 'O Maimun! what is thy advice? and Heaven forfend! that a calamity fall upon us from them.' Maimun replied, 'Let the king be tranquil as to this, and had I but feet, I would conduct a force unexpectedly against them, and bring destruction on those perfidious ingrates.' The king replied, 'I know that thou hast complete acquaintance with their position, and if thou canst conduct us to them, thou wilt cast a chain of obligation on the neck of the condition of this people; and inasmuch, too, as they have wronged thee, thou wilt obtain thy own wish of revenge.' Maimun said, 'How can I do it? for it is impossible for me to go, and for me to move with such hands and feet presents insuperable difficulties.' The king replied, 'I know an expedient for this, and can convey thee by a contrivance.' He then called aloud, so that the leaders of his army and the courtiers presented themselves; and having stated to them how matters stood, he said, 'Be ready, for to-night we will march against the enemy.' All agreed in this plan, and made ready the weapons of war, and, having tied Maimun on the back of a bear, they set off. Maimun guided them by signs, until they arrived at the waste Mard-azmai, which was a desert full of fierce heat and devoid of water, such that the spring-cloud was burnt up, in its expanse, from excess of heat; and the swift messenger of the moon, from the dread nature of that waste, lost its way in the heaven; and the world-measuring intellect was unable to emerge from its difficulties, and the creation-circling imagination knew not the way forth from its stages. A Samun used to blow in that waste, such that every one who was reached by its effects, melted away; and it made the sand and soil burn like the furnace of iron-smiths; and on account of this fiery wind, no living thing abode in that desert, and no herbage sprang up in that salt and man-devouring wilderness.
A desert vast and full of horror, where,
At every step, a hundred risks arose;
Its air was flame, its fire igneous air,
Magnets its stones, and stones its earth compose.
Maimun said, 'Make haste; and, before the white dawn lifts away the veil from the face of the transactions of the world, let us tear away the curtain of their tranquillity from the area of enjoyment; and, ere the king of the Turkish vestment can lift up his gold-embroidered flag, let us subvert the banner of the puissance of those wretches forsaken by fortune.' The bears, with the utmost alacrity, pressed on into that waste, and with their own feet entered into the plain of death and space of destruction. The sun rose, and no trace of the monkeys was to be found; and Maimun still urged them on with speed, and with plausible inventions beguiled them, until the time when the sun rose high, and, with the warmth of his rays, lit up the quarters and districts of that region. The flame of his taper was then kindled to that degree, that whoever looked into the air was consumed like a moth, and whoever set foot on earth was melted like wax.
The frame was heated by the warmth intense,
Till, taper-like, the lip did radiate;
And such the fiery blast, that Providence,
Thou wouldst suppose, had thought good to create
A fiercer hell in this, man's earthly state.
The rays of the sun, exerting their influence, smote the bears with destruction, and the fiery Samun, beginning to blow, appeared like a smokeless flame. Then the king of the bears turned to Maimun [and said], 'Here is a desert such that our hearts are consumed with the dread of it, and our livers are dried up; and what is this which, like a flame of fire, comes, fierce and hot, towards us?' Maimun replied, 'O cruel tyrant! this is the wilderness of death, and that which comes towards thee is the messenger of fate. Be at ease, for didst thou possess a hundred thousand lives, thou wouldst not save one. And now, soon as the Samum reaches you, it will consume all to ashes, and thou wilt be burned in the fire of that injustice which thou didst inflict on the persons of the monkeys.' They were talking thus, when the flame of the Samum reached them, and consumed on the spot Maimun, together with all the retinue and soldiers of the bear-king, and not one of them emerged from that wilderness. On the third day, as had been agreed upon, the king of the monkeys, together with his army, came to the island, and found the region unoccupied, and beheld his dominions cleared of the gloomy presence of his foes.
Disaster night has rolled away, the morn of triumph comes at last;
The spring -- the joyful spring -- is here, the autumn of our grief is past.
And I have adduced this story in order that the king may understand that resentful persons, for the sake of vengeance, will relinquish their own lives, and, to gratify their friends, attach no weight to the sacrifice. And I understand the baseness of Karshinas from his deceitful speeches, and I know the whole train of the story which has been related. And I have had experience of the crows before, and know the extent of their foresight and sagacity, and the greatness of their deceit and artfulness; and as soon as I beheld Karshinas in this state, I felt convinced that their cleverness and prudence were allied to some useful end, and that their wisdom and penetration is beyond what were supposed.
Yes! I had heard thy charms, but see, indeed,
Fact does the tale a thousand times exceed.
The advisable course is, that before he can give us supper we should supply him with breakfast; and ere he can spill our blood, we should give the signal for his execution.' When the king of the owls heard this speech he frowned and said, 'What harshness and merciless procedure is this! that when a poor wretch has undergone a variety of sufferings and torments from his attachment to us, we should stand forth as his tormentors and destroyers, and melt again in the crucible of trial one who has already been wofully stricken. But, perhaps, thou hast not heard that they have said,
'Make glad the mourner's bosom, and recall
The night of mourning, which may thee befall'
He then commanded, and they took Karshinas with the utmost reverence respect, and bore him along with the owl-king. The vazir said, 'O king! since thou hast not heeded my counsel, and hast averted the face of acceptance from my directions, which were essentially wise and purely beneficial; at least live with him as with thy foes, and be not off thy guard for the twinkling of an eye as to his artifices and treason, For his coming can have no other object save injury to the affairs of the owls and the promotion of the ends useful to the crows. The king refused to attend to this advice, and despised the words of that incomparable friend; and the Crow continued to live in his service with the utmost honor, and he omitted no particular of the homage due, nor of the respectful manners suited to the service of princes, and by conciliating each of the favorites and ministers of the king in some way or other, he attached them to himself. Hence his rank was every day advanced, and each day he made greater progress in the affections of the king and his subjects, until he became the depositary of the confidence, and the confidant of the secrets of the king. And when his thorough sincerity and complete probity had been noticed, he rose to be the State-referee and pivot of public affairs of that country. One day, in the public assembly and general meeting, be said to high and low, 'The king of the crows has causelessly injured me, and tortured me, though I an innocent. Until, then, I wreak my vengeance on him, and get the better of him like a man, how can I find rest or repose? and how relish sleep or food? And I have reflected long, and spent much time in meditating and considering how to obtain this object and compass this end. At last I have come to the firm conclusion that so long as I am in the guise of a crow, and retain their appearance, I cannot arrive at this my wish, nor attain my object. And I have heard from the wise, that when an oppressed and unfortunate person has suffered wrong from an unjust oppressor, and met with persecution from a haughty tyrant, and seeks death and consumes himself with fire, every prayer that he utters in that state meets with acceptance. If the king's wisdom thinks it right, let him command them to burn me. Perhaps, at the moment when the heat reaches me, if I pray to God (may His name be magnified!) to make me an owl, I may, by that means get the advantage over the tyrant, and wreak my vengeance on him?' Now, the owl that had been so urgent for the laceration of Karahinas was present in that assembly, and said,
Art thou not bold as the narcissus? like the tulip, dark of heart?
Then ten-tongued and double-faced, too, cease to play the lily's part'
The king asked, 'What sayest thou to this speech?' The vazir replied, 'This again is another artifice which is put forth, and a pretence colored with hypocrisy.
From hand to foot he's nought but juggleries;
At his deceit astonished stand the wise.
And should they burn again and again his foul person and impure body, and moisten the ashes with the water of the fountain of Salsabil and the wine of purification, his unclean nature and base qualities would not be altered; and the malignity of his mind and obliquity of his moral principles cannot be cleansed by water or burnt out with fire.
Hope not that evil natures good will shew;
For rust, through washing, white will never grow.
And if (this impossible supposition being admitted), his impure person should put on the appearance of the peacock; or, for example, his unclean limbs should be arrayed in the garments of the Simurgh, he would remain just as before, attached to the society of the crows, and friendly with them. Like that Mouse, which, although it had obtained a human form, relapsed into the inclinations suited to its former state, and did not attach itself to the world-illuminating sun, and the bounteous cloud, and the exhilarating breeze, and the firm mountain.' The king asked, 'How was that?'
When the former story was finished, king Dabschelim commanded Bidpai to relate the history of the man, the success of whose pursuit in the fulfilment of his wishes is immediately followed by the loss of what he had obtained. The philosopher replied, that the acquisition of a desired good is often attended with less difficulty than the means of preserving it, and whoever cannot secure the possession of what he has got into his power, may be compared to the tortoise in the following fable.
Pilpai's The Monkey and the Tortoise
It is told of a certain king of the monkeys, whose name was Mahir, that being very old and infirm through age, he was attacked by a young competitor for his crown, and was overcome and obliged to take flight; so he retired to the river-side, and discovered a fig-tree, and climbed up into it, and determined to make it his home; and as he was one day eating of the fruit, a fig fell down, and the noise which it occasioned by falling into the water delighted him so much, that he never ate without repeating the experiment; and a tortoise, who was below, as often as a fig fell down, devoured: and receiving during some days a regular supply, considered it as an attention towards him on the part of the monkey; therefore he desired to become acquainted with him; and in a short time they grew so intimate, that they often conversed familiarly together.<./p>
Now it happened, that the tortoise stayed a longtime away from his wife, who grew impatient at his absence, and complained of it to one of her neighbours, saying, "I fear something has happened unexpectedly to my husband."
Her friend replied, that if her husband was on the river side, he would probably have made acquaintance with the monkey, and have been hospitably entertained by him.
Then after some days the tortoise returned to his home, and found his wife in a bad state of health, and apparently suffering very much, and he could not conceal the uneasiness which the sight of her occasioned; and expressing aloud his distress, he was interrupted by her friend, who said to him, "Your wife is very dangerously ill, and the physicians have prescribed for her the heart of a monkey."
The tortoise replied, "This is no easy matter, for living as we do in the water, how can we possibly procure the heart of a monkey? however I will consult my friend about it.
And he went to the shore of the river, and the monkey asked in terms of great affection what had detained him so long; and he answered, "The reluctance which I felt to repeat my visits, was owing to my being at a loss how to make you any suitable return for the kindness you have shewn me; but I beg of you to add to the obligations under which you have laid me, by coming and passing some days with me; and as I live upon an island, which moreover abounds in fruit, I will take you upon my back, and swim over the water with you."
The monkey accepted the invitation, and came down from the tree, and got upon the back of the tortoise, who, as he was swimming along with him, began to reflect on the crime which he harboured in his breast, and from shame and remorse hung down his head.
"What is the occasion," said the monkey, "of the sudden fit of sadness which is come upon you?"
"It occurs to me," answered the tortoise, "that my wife is very ill, and that I shall not therefore have it in my power to do the honours of my house in the manner I could wish."
"The intimations," replied the monkey, "which your friendly behaviour has conveyed to me of your kind intentions, will supply the place of all unnecessary parade and ostentation."
Then the tortoise felt more at his ease, and continued his course: but on a sudden he stopped a second time; upon which the monkey, who was at a loss to account for this hesitation of the tortoise, began to suspect that something more was intended by it than he was able to discover; but as suddenly repressing every thought that was injurious to the sincerity of his friend, he said to himself, "I cannot believe that his heart has changed, that his sentiments towards me have undergone an alteration, and that he intends to do me any mischief, however frequent such appearances may be in the world; and it is the voice of experience which directs the sensible man to look narrowly into the soul of those, with whom he is connected by ties of affinity or friendship, by attending closely to every thing that passes without them; for a wink of the eye, an expression which falls from the tongue, and even the motions of the body, are all evidences of what is going on in the heart; and wise men have laid it down as a rule, that when any one doubts the sincerity of his friend, he should, by unremittingly observing every part of his conduct, guard against the possibility of being deceived by him; for if his suspicions are founded, he is repaid for the violence which they may have offered to his feelings; by the safety which they have procured him; and if they have been entertained without good grounds, he may at least congratulate himself on the measure of foresight which he possesses, which in no instance can be otherwise than serviceable to him."
After having indulged himself in these reflections, he said to the tortoise, ":Why do you stop a second time, and appear as if you were anxiously debating some question with yourself?"
"I am tormented," answered the tortoise, "by the idea, that you will find my house in disorder owing to the illness of my wife."
"Do not," said the monkey, "be uneasy on this account, for your anxiety will be of no use to you, but rather look out for some medicine, and food, which may be of service to your wife; for a person possessed of riches cannot employ them in a better manner, than either in works of charity during a time of want, or in the service of women."
"Your observation, answered the tortoise, "is just, but the physician has declared that nothing will cure her except the heart of a monkey."
Then the monkey reasoned with himself thus; "Fool that I am! immoderate desires, which are not suited to my age, threaten me with destruction, and I now discover too late how true it is that the contented man passes his life in peace and security, whilst the covetous and ambitious live in trouble and difficulty; and I have occasion at this moment for all the resources of my understanding, to devise a means of escaping from the snare into which I have fallen." Then he said to the tortoise, "Why did you not inform me of this sooner, and I would have brought my heart with me; for it is the practice of the monkeys, when any one goes out on a visit to a friend, to leave his heart at home, or in the custody of his family, that he may be able to look at the wife of him who has received him under his roof, and be at the same time without his heart."
"Where is your heart now?"said the tortoise.
"I have left it in the tree," answered the monkey, "and if you will return with me thither, I will bring it away."
The proposal was accepted, and the tortoise swam back with the monkey, who, as soon as he was near enough, sprung upon the shore, and immediately climbed up into the tree; and when the tortoise had waited for him some time, he grew impatient, and called out to him, to take his heart and come down, and not detain him any longer.
"What," said the monkey, "do you think I am like the ass, of whom the jackal declared that he had neither heart nor ears?"
"How was this?" the tortoise asked.
"It is told," said the monkey, "that a lion in a forest was waited upon by a jackal, who lived upon the food which he left, and it happened that the lion was attacked by a violent disease, which brought on such a state of weakness, that he was unable to hunt for his prey; upon which the jackal asked him the reason of the change which he observed in his manner and appearance, and was told that it was owing to the illness with which he was afflicted, and for which there was no remedy, except the heart and the ears of an ass. The jackal replied, that there would be no difficulty in procuring them, for that he was acquainted with an ass, who was in the service of a fuller, and was employed in carrying his cloths; and he immediately set out, and went to the ass, and as soon as he saw him he addressed him, and told him how distressed he was to find him so thin and emaciated; which the ass accounted for by saying, that his master gave him scarcely any thing to eat.
Jackal. "Why do you remain any longer with him, and submit to this treatment?"
Ass. "What can I do, or whither can I go? wherever I am, it is my fate to be ill used and starved."
Jackal. "If you will follow me, I will conduct you to a place uninhabited by men, who you say are your foes, and abounding in food, and where you will find a female ass, whose equal in beauty and fatness was never seen, and who is desirous of a male companion. "
"Let us not lose a moment in going to her," said the ass, "and I beg of you to shew me the way."
Then the jackal led him to where the lion was, but entered alone into the forest, to inform the lion of the spot where the ass was waiting; and the lion went out, and immediately made an attempt to rush upon him, but was unable through weakness; upon which the ass being frightened ran away. Then the jackal observed to the lion, that he did not suppose he was so weak as to be unable to master the ass.
"Bring him to me a second time," said the lion, "and I promise you he shall not escape again."
So the jackal went to the ass, and said, "What was the reason of your sudden fright? a she ass, owing to the violence of her passion, gave you, to be sure, rather rude demonstrations of her affection; but you have only to remain quiet and undismayed, and she will become gentle and submissive."
As soon as the ass heard her name mentioned, his desire became uncontroulable, and he brayed through impatience, and suffered himself to be conducted again to the lion; and the jackal preceded him as before, and told the lion where he was, and cautioned him to be well upon his guard, for that if he escaped a second time, he would never return.
The eagerness of the lion not to be disappointed a second time of his prey was very great, and he went to the spot where the ass was, and no sooner saw him, than, without leaving him time to prepare for his defence, he rushed upon him, and killed him: then recollecting that the physicians had forbidden his flesh to be eaten before it had been washed and purified, he desired the jackal to take care that every thing which was necessary was done, and that he would shortly come back and eat the heart and ears, and leave him the rest.
Now as soon as the lion was gone, the jackal ate the heart and ears of the ass, hoping by this stratagem to deter the lion from eating any part of the remainder of the animal, and that he should thereby have the whole for himself. Then the lion returned, and asked for the heart and ears of the ass; and the jackal said to him, "Do you think if he had had a heart and ears, that he would ever have suffered himself to be brought back, after he had once escaped from destruction?"
"Now do not imagine," said the monkey in continuation to the tortoise, "that I am going to be guilty of the same folly as the ass in this fable. You have been endeavouring to deceive me by trick and contrivance; and I have therefore been obliged to practise, and with complete success, the same means in my defence, thereby shewing that knowledge and talents can make good the error of a too easy and thoughtless compliance."
"You are right," said the tortoise, "and an honest man will confess his crime; and if he has committed a fault, he does not refuse instruction, that he may profit by the lesson which has been taught him, if on any future occasion he should be entangled in difficulties; like the man, who when he has made a false step and fallen, supports himself on the ground, against which he has stumbled, to raise himself again upon his feet."
By Keith Preston
Heroes of Fiction - 1919. Types of Pan. Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin, p. 33
How many thousand readers greet
Tarzan, half ape, but incomplete,
And wait, with interest never stale,
For sequels to complete his tail!
If sales a trusty index be,
Of vogue and popularity --
A fact you simply can't escape --
The apex goes to this ex-ape.
BACK TO INDEX
Comments/report typos to
Visit our thousands of other sites at:
BILL & SUE-ON HILLMAN ECLECTIC STUDIO
ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
All other Original Work ©1996-2007 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.