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Vetāla 1: The Prince who was helped to a Wife by his Father’s Minister

(pp. 168-177)

Click the link to jump directly to the english translation of the first Vetāla. This page only contains the notes.

This story is a combination of two distinct tales, or rather it consists of a well-known motif prefixed to a tale which in other collections has stood alone and really has no need of the motif to introduce it. It will be best to consider these two separately.

 

1. The “Language of Signs” Motif

This has always been a most useful motif in the hands of the story-teller, and is used chiefly to bring together lovers who would not otherwise have the chance of meeting. It is, of course, impossible to say at what period the motif became connected with the “Supposed Witch” story, but it was certainly unconnected in the fifth or sixth century in Daṇḍin’s Dasá-kumāra-charita (see infra). This fact, however, proves nothing, for Daṇḍin might well have taken his story from an early version of the Vetālapañcaviṃśati now unknown to us.

Once the two did become connected they remained so, and Somadeva, finding them thus in the Vetāla section of the Kashmirian recension of the Bṛhat-kathā, followed his usual rule, and left them as he found them. The “language of signs” is already familiar to us. In Vol. I, p. 78 et seq., we read the story of Puṣpadanta (No. 3), in which Devadatta falls in love with a princess whom he sees at a window. She conveys a message to him by signs, which he fails to understand, until later they are interpreted for him by his preceptor. When questioned by the princess, Devadatta owns that it was not he who had guessed the meaning of the signs; whereupon she leaves him in disgust. At this point Śiva takes a hand in affairs, and, by disguising himself as a woman, Devadatta attains the object of his desires. By a further trick the king is led to give his daughter to Devadatta in marriage.

This is a typical example of the way in which the “language of signs” motif is used in Hindu fiction.

It will be seen that in the story under discussion the sequence of events is quite similar, except that the princess is prepared to let nothing stand in the way of herself and the object of her affections. Hence the introduction of the attempt at poisoning the minister’s son. As I have already shown (Vol. I, pp. 80 n 1-82 n), the “language of signs” is a favourite motif in the East. It occurs in a story in Arji-Borji Khan, the Mongolian version of the Siṅhāsanadvātriṅśikā, or Thirty-Two Tales of a Lion-Seat (i.e. throne). It was translated into German by Jülg (Mongolische Märchensammlung, Innsbrück, 1868, p. 240 et seq.), and into English by Busk (Sagas from the Far East, pp. 315-323) and Coxwell (Siberian Tales, pp. 227-231).

In the story in question Naran Gerel (“sunshine”), the strictly guarded princess, espies the minister Ssaran on a balcony. On seeing him Naran holds one of her fingers upwards and circles it with her other hand, then she clasps her hands together and separates them. Next she lays two fingers together and points with them towards the palace.

The minister becomes alarmed, and tells his wife he has been threatened by the princess. On hearing details his wife says:

“She has not threatened you at all. The signs which you describe have this significance: the lifting up of one finger tells you that near her house there rises a tree; when she made a circle with her hand round the finger she meant to convey to you the idea of a wall; when she clasped and unclasped her hands she implied: ‘Come into the flower garden’; the laying of the two fingers together said: ‘I would receive a visit from you.’”

It would be superfluous to give further examples here. We might note in passing that the story-teller naturally wants to give the meaning of the signs, and the simplest way of doing this is for the hero not to understand them, thus necessitating the full explanation from a third party. If he did interpret them, it would be necessary for someone to ask how he managed to guess the meaning. We have already had an example of this in the very first story of our collection (Vol. I, pp. 45-46), where Vararuci answers the five-finger sign by showing two fingers. Śakatāla immediately asks for an explanation. (See Chauvin, op. cit., viii, p. 126.)

I have come across one instance where the sign-language was satisfactorily answered, although misunderstood. This occurs in a sub-story to the “Lady’s Ninth Story” of The Forty Vezirs (E. J. W. Gibb, p. 116 et seq.).

A monk is trying to avoid the paying of tribute for himself and his people by asking the king a sign-question which he cannot answer.

The monk first opened the five fingers of his hand and held the palm opposite the folk, then he let the five fingers droop downward, and said:

“What means that? Know ye?”

And all the doctors were silent and began to ponder; and they reflected, saying:

“What riddles can these riddles be? There is no such thing in the Commentaries or the Traditions.”

Now there was there a learned wanderer, and forthwith he came forward and asked leave of the king that he might answer. The king gladly gave leave. Then that wanderer came forward and said to the monk:

“What is thy question? What need for the doctors? Poor I can answer.”

Then the monk came forward and opened his hand and held it so before the dervish; straightway the dervish closed his fist and held it opposite the monk. Then the monk let his five fingers droop downward; the dervish opened his fist and held his five fingers upward.

When the monk saw these signs of the dervish, he said, “That is the answer,” and gave up the money he had brought. But the king knew not what these riddles meant, and he took the dervish apart and asked him.

The dervish replied:

“When he opened his fingers and held his hand so to me it meant, ‘Now I strike thee so on the face’; so I showed him my fist, which meant, ‘I strike thy throat with my fist’; he turned and let his fingers droop downward, which meant, ‘Thou dost so, then I strike lower and seize thy throat with my hand’; and my raising my fingers upward meant, ‘If thou seekest to seize my throat, I too shall grasp thy throat from underneath’; so we fought with one another by signs.”

Then the king called the monk and said:

“Thou madest signs with the dervish, but what meant those signs?”

The monk replied:

“I held my five fingers opposite him; that meant: ‘The five times ye do worship, is it right?’ The dervish presented his fist, which meant: ‘It is right.’ Then I held my fingers downward, which meant: ‘Why does the rain come down from heaven?’ The dervish held his fingers upward, which meant: ‘The rain falls down from heaven that the grass may spring up from the earth.’ Now such are the answers to those questions in our books.”

Then he returned to his own country. And the king knew that the dervish had not understood the monk’s riddles. But the king was well pleased for that he had done what was suitable, and he bestowed on the dervish a portion of the money which the monk had left.

It will thus be seen that in some cases the sign has to be answered by another sign, while in others there is only one which is a call for immediate action.

The story in our present text has passed in its entirety, via the Baitāl Pachīsī, to the repertoire of the ayah, and in the middle of the nineteenth century was told by a very old ayah to Miss Stokes’ mother. It forms the twenty-seventh story of her collection (Indian Fairy Tales, 1880, pp. 208-215) and is called “Pānwpattī Rānī.” Although told some eight hundred years after Somadevá, it has undergone but comparatively few alterations.

The Rānī puts a rose to her teeth, sticks it behind her ear, and then lays it at her feet. The prince’s friend, the son of the Rājā’s kotwāl (chief police officer in the town), interprets this as follows:—

“When she put the rose to her teeth, she meant to tell you her father’s name was Rājā Dānt [Rājā Tooth]; when she put it behind her ear she meant you to know her country’s name was Karnātak [on the ear]; and when she laid the rose at her feet, she meant that her name was Pānwpattī [Foot-leaf]. . . .”

The second part of this story will be detailed when we consider the final trick of Buddhiśarīra, to which we now proceed.


2. The Trick of the Supposed Witch

As already mentioned, this second part of our story has really no need of the “language of signs” motif as a prefix. It contains quite sufficient incident to stand alone, and must surely have done so in its original form. Apart from its occurrence in the Vetālapañcaviṃśati, it appears in Daṇḍin’s Daśa-kumāra-charita as an independent story. It is an interesting version, although it differs only in detail from that in the Ocean.

The first English translation was made by Wilson, Oriental Quarterly Magazine, vol. vii, Calcutta, 1827, pp. 291-293. It was reprinted in his Works, vol. iv, and Essays, vol. ii, pp. 256-260. The translation was, however, very free besides being incomplete. I therefore use the recent German rendering by Hertel, Die zehn Prinzen, Leipzig, 1922, Indische Erzähler, Band ii, pp. 118-125. The translation is a literal one.

 

Nitambavatī

In the country of Śūrasena there is a town called Mathurā. In it there lived a young man of distinguished family who found more pleasure in social life and courtesans than he ought to; and as he merely by the strength of his arm had fought many a fight for his friends, the rowdies had given him the nickname of “Fighting-thorn,”{GL_NOTE::} under which he was generally known.

One day “Fighting-thorn” saw a picture in the hands of a foreign painter, which represented a young woman; and looking at the picture was enough to set his heart on fire. He said to the painter:

“This lady, dear master, whom you have painted here, seems to combine the most obvious contrasts. For her body is of a beauty that is hardly seen in ladies of good family, and yet her modest bearing clearly indicates her noble origin. The colour of her face is pale, the charm of her body has not suffered from excessive caresses, and what a depth of longing for love her eyes have! And yet her husband cannot be far from her, because neither a plait of her hair nor anything else points to that. Besides, she wears a pearl on her right side.{GL_NOTE::} And yet I think you have painted her with extraordinary skill and quite life-like. She obviously is the wife of an old merchant, who no longer possesses much manly vitality, so that she suffers from lack of embracing, which rightly was due to her.”

The painter praised his appreciation of art and said:

“You have hit it! The lady is Nitambavatī,{GL_NOTE::} and rightly she bears this name. She lives in Ujjayinī, the capital of Avanti, and is married to the caravan-owner Anantakīrti. Her beauty filled me with amazing admiration, so I have painted her as you see her here.”

“Fighting-thorn” was no longer master of his senses. He must see Nitambavatī himself, and therefore he set out at once for Ujjayinī. Passing himself off as an astrologer,{GL_NOTE::} he entered her house under the pretence of asking for food, and caught a glimpse of her.

Her appearance intensified his longing for her still more. He went to the elders of the town, asked for the post of watcher over the place where the corpses were burned, and obtained it. The shroud and other things with which the mourners rewarded him for his services he gave to a nun Arhantika,{GL_NOTE::} and induced her to go to Nitambavatī and by her words secretly ingratiate her in his favour. But Nitamavatī dismissed the procuress with indignation.

From the nun’s report he understood that his beloved behaved in a way proper for a lady of good family, and that it was impossible to seduce her.

Therefore he secretly gave the procuress the following instructions:—

“Once more go and see the merchant’s wife; and when you get her alone, say to her:

‘How could you seriously believe that a woman like me can really mean to tempt ladies of good families to unchastity! Just because I have realised the wickedness of worldly life, I have dedicated myself to mortification, and all I strive for is redemption. I only wanted to test you, and see if even you, with your great wealth, your supernatural charm, and your extreme youth, have been infected with levity, to which other women so quickly succumb. I rejoice now that you are so totally uncorrupted, and from my heart I wish you the happiness of motherhood. Unfortunately your husband is in the clutches of a demon, so that he is seized with jaundice and is weakened and unable to embrace you. If you do not succeed in opposing the hindering influence of this demon, you must abandon every hope of obtaining a child by your husband. Do me, therefore, the favour and come out to your garden quite alone. I will bring there a man versed in magic. On his hand you must place your foot; nobody will see it! He will pronounce a charm over it. Then you must pretend to be angry with your husband and kick him on his chest with your foot; thereby he will be able to beget perfect, healthy and vigorous descendants, and he will do you homage as he would to a goddess. There is nothing indelicate in the matter.’

“If you speak to her in that way, she will certainly come. You lead me into the garden first, after nightfall, and then bring her out there too. This is the only service that I beg of you.”

The nun declared herself ready to do this service. Then he was beside himself with joy, and the following night he went into the garden. The nun succeeded, but not without trouble, in persuading Nitambavatī to go. And when this was done, “Fighting-thorn” took the lady’s foot in his hand, and while he pretended to stroke it gently, quickly deprived her of a golden anklet, wounded her slightly with a knife on the upper part of the thigh, and then made his escape.

Nitambavatī was frightened to death. She reproached herself for her improper behaviour, and felt she wanted to kill the nun. Then she washed the wound in a pond adjoining the house, dressed it, and removed the corresponding ring from the ankle of her other foot, and stayed in bed for three or four days, on the plea of indisposition, without allowing anybody to visit her.

But the rascal took the stolen anklet, went to Anantakīrti, and offered to sell him the piece of jewellery. Hardly had he seen it than he said to “Fighting-thorn”:

“This anklet is the property of my wife. How has it come into your possession?”

The more “Fighting-thorn” hesitated to answer the more the merchant plied him with questions. At last he said:

“I shall render you an account of it, but only before the assembled body of merchants.”

This was his final word. Now the merchant went to his wife, and requested her to send him her two anklets.

Beside herself with anxiety and shame she sent him the only anklet she had, with the message:

“I lost one anklet, the clasp of which was very loose, last night in the garden, where I had gone out to get some fresh air. In spite of all my searching, I have not been able to find it yet. Here is the other.”

When the merchant heard that, he ordered “Fighting-thorn” to precede him, and went with him before the assembled guild of merchants.{GL_NOTE::} The rogue was examined, assumed a very submissive air, and made his statement:

“You gentlemen are aware that I have been entrusted with guarding the ‘grove of ancestors,’{GL_NOTE::} that I live there and get my livelihood from the post entrusted to me. Even at night when I sleep I remain on the burning-ground; for I must take into consideration the fact that my mere appearance frightens niggardly people, and that they therefore try to burn their dead at night.{GL_NOTE::}

“So recently I saw in the night a black female figure approaching a funeral pyre and forcibly trying to drag out of it a half-burnt corpse.{GL_NOTE::} Greed made me conquer my fear of the witch. I interfered and laid hold of her. It so happened that by accident I scratched her slightly with my knife on the upper part of her thigh{GL_NOTE::}; I managed, however, to pull this bangle from her ankle. Then she ran off as fast as she could.

“In this way I got hold of the anklet. The verdict, gentlemen, is in your hands.”

The assembly of merchants deliberated together, and the result of the council was the unanimous decision of the guild of citizens{GL_NOTE::} that Nitambavatī was a witch.

Her husband repudiated her. So the following night she went weeping to the same “grove of ancestors” to hang herself there.

The rogue, however, detained her and managed to soothe her.

“My beautiful child,” he said,

“your charm drove me mad, so that I tried to win you for myself. All my suggestions which should have led to it, and which I sent you through the mouth of the nun, failed to attain the object of my desire. Then I had recourse to this means which would lead to the happiness of owning you all my life. Now grant me your affection. Behold, I am your slave, and the happiness of my whole life lies in your hands!”

In this way he tried to persuade her; he repeatedly fell at her feet, and proved himself inexhaustible in finding means to propitiate her, and as there was nothing else for her but to gratify him,{GL_NOTE::} she became his.

Therefore I say: “By artifice the most difficult things are accomplished.”

 

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The story travelled westwards and found its way into the Arabic version of the Book of Sindibād, known as the Seven Vazīrs. It was subsequently included in the Nights, where it appears with little alteration in the various texts. The Arabic version was first made known to us by J. Scott, who translated it as the “Story of the Painter” in Tales, Anecdotes and Letters, translated from the Arabic and Persian, Shrewsbury, 1800, pp. 108-115. (Reprinted with slight alterations by Clouston, Book of Sindibād, pp. 166-170.) The hero of the story, however, is usually a goldsmith, and, following the Macnaghten text, Burton (vol. vi, p. 156 et seq.) calls it “The Goldsmith and the Cashmere Singing-girl.” The title is important because of the mention of Kashmir. In some texts, including that used by Scott, the locality has been altered to Isfahān. See further Chauvin, op. cit., viii, p. 47, under “Maḥmoûd (La sorcière).”

As translated by Burton the Arabic version is as follows:—

There lived once, in a city of Persia, a goldsmith who delighted in women and in drinking wine. One day, being in the house of one of his intimates, he saw painted on the wall the figure of a lutanist, a beautiful damsel; beholder never beheld a fairer or a more pleasant. He looked at the picture again and again, marvelling at its beauty, and fell so desperately in love with it that he sickened for passion and came near to die. It chanced that one of his friends came to visit him, and sitting down by his side, asked how he did and what ailed him; whereto the goldsmith answered:

“O my brother, that which ails me is love, and it befell on this wise. I saw the figure of a woman painted on the house-wall of my brother such an one, and became enamoured of it.”

Hereupon the other fell to blaming him, and said:

“This was of thy lack of wit: how couldst thou fall in love with a painted figure on a wall, that can neither harm nor profit, that seeth not, neither heareth, that neither taketh nor withholdeth?”

Said the sick man:

“He who painted yonder picture never could have limned it save after the likeness of some beautiful woman.”

“Haply,” rejoined his friend, “he painted it from imagination.”

“In any case,” replied the goldsmith,

“here am I dying for love of the picture, and if there live the original thereof in the world, I pray Allah Most High to protect my life till I see her.”

When those who were present went out, they asked for the painter of the picture and, finding that he had travelled to another town, wrote him a letter complaining of their comrade’s case, and inquiring whether he had drawn the figure of his own inventive talents or copied it from a living model. To which he replied:

“I have painted it after a certain singing-girl belonging to one of the wazirs in the city of Cashmere in the land of Hind.”

When the goldsmith heard this, he left Persia for Cashmere city, where he arrived after much travail. He tarried awhile there till one day he went and clapped up an acquaintance with a certain of the citizens who was a druggist, a fellow of sharp wit, keen, crafty; and, being one eventide in company with him, asked him of their king and his polity.

To which the other answered, saying:

“Well, our king is just and righteous in his governance, equitable to his lieges and beneficent to his commons, and abhorreth nothing in the world save sorcerers; but whenever a sorcerer or sorceress falls into his hands, he casteth them into a pit without the city and there leaveth them in hunger to die.”

Then he questioned him of the king’s wazirs, and the druggist told him of each minister, his fashion and condition, till the talk came round to the singing-girl, and he told him:

“She belongeth to such a wazir.”

The goldsmith took note of the minister’s abiding-place, and waited some days till he had devised a device to his desire; and one night of rain and thunder and stormy winds he provided himself with thieves’ tackle and repaired to the house of the wazir who owned the damsel. Here he hanged a rope-ladder with grappling-irons to the battlements and climbed up to the terrace-roof of the palace. Thence he descended to the inner court and, making his way into the Harim, found all the slave-girls lying asleep, each on her own couch; and amongst them, reclining on a couch of alabaster and covered with a coverlet of cloth-of-gold, a damsel, as she were the moon rising on a fourteenth night. At her head stood a candle of ambergris, and at her feet another, each in a candlestick of glittering gold, her brilliancy dimming them both; and under her pillow lay a casket of silver, wherein were her jewels. [Scott has: “a rich veil, embroidered with pearls and precious stones.”] He raised the coverlet and, drawing near her, considered her straitly, and behold! it was the lutanist whom he desired and of whom he was come in quest. So he took out a knife and wounded her in the back parts, a palpable outer wound, whereupon she awoke in terror; but when she saw him, she was afraid to cry out, thinking he came to steal her goods.

So she said to him:

“Take the box and what is therein [Scott: “Take this embroidered veil”], but slay me not, for I am in thy protection and under thy safeguard, and my death will profit thee nothing.”

Accordingly he took the box and went away. [Night 587.] And when morning morrowed he donned clothes after the fashion of men of learning and doctors of the law and, taking the jewel-case, went in therewith to the king of the city, before whom he kissed the ground, and said to him:

“O King, I am a devout man, withal a loyal well-wisher to thee, and come hither a pilgrim to thy court from the land of Khorasan, attracted by the report of thy just governance and righteous dealing with thy subjects and minded to be under thy standard. I reached this city at the last of the day and, finding the gate locked and barred, threw me down to sleep without the walls; but, as I lay betwixt sleep and wake, behold, I saw four women come up: one riding on a broomstick, another on a wine-jar, a third on an oven-peel, and a fourth on a black bitch [as Burton says, these vehicles suggest derivation from European witchery, but Scott reads: “One mounted upon an hyæna, another upon a ram, a third upon a black bitch, and the fourth upon a leopard”], and I knew that they were witches making for thy city.

One of them came up to me and kicked me with her foot and beat me with a fox’s tail [Scott: “with a whip, which appeared like a flame of fire”] she had in her hand, hurting me grievously, whereat I was wroth and smote her with a knife I had with me, wounding her in the back parts as she turned to flee from me.

When she felt the wound she fled before me, and in her flight let drop this casket [Scott: “veil”], which I picked up, and opening, found these costly jewels therein. So do thou take it, for I have no need thereof, being a wanderer in the mountains who hath rejected the world from my heart and renounced it and all that is in it, seeking only the face of Allah the Most High.”

Then he set the casket before the king and fared forth. The king opened the box, and, emptying out all the trinkets it contained, fell to turning them over with his hand, till he chanced upon a necklace whereof he had made gift to the wazir to whom the girl belonged. Seeing this, he called the minister in question and said to him:

“This is the necklace I gave thee?”

He knew it at first sight, and answered:

“It is; and I gave it to a singing-girl of mine.”

Quoth the king:

“Fetch that girl to me forthwith.”

So he fetched her to him, and he said:

“Uncover her back parts and see if there be a wound therein or no.”

The wazir accordingly bared her backside, and finding a knife-wound there, said:

“Yes, O my lord, there is a wound.”

Then said the king, “This is the witch of whom the devotee told me, and there can be no doubt of it,” and bade cast her into the witches’ well. So they carried her thither at once.

As soon as it was night, and the goldsmith knew that his plot had succeeded, he repaired to the pit, taking with him a purse of a thousand dīnārs, and entering into converse with the warder, sat talking with him till a third part of the night was passed, when he broached the matter to him, saying:

“Know, O my brother, that this girl is innocent of that they lay to her charge, and that it was I who brought this calamity upon her.”

Then he told him the whole story, first and last, adding:

“Take, O my brother, this purse of a thousand dīnārs and give me the damsel, that I may carry her to my own land, for these gold pieces will profit thee more than keeping her in prison; moreover Allah will requite thee for us, and we too will both offer up prayers for thy prosperity and safety.”

When the warder heard this story, he marvelled with exceeding marvel at that device and its success; then, taking the money, he delivered the girl to the goldsmith, conditioning that he should not abide one hour with her in the city. Thereupon the goldsmith took the girl and fared on with her, without ceasing, till he reached his own country, and so he won his wish.

When we compare these three versions of the same tale we notice that the chief incidents (namely, the wounding of the girl, the stealing of her jewels, and selling or giving them to the person who would cause her to be banished from the town) occur in every case.

It is only the less important incidents which have changed. In Somadeva’s version the use of the “language of signs” motif has necessitated the minister playing the chief part throughout, while in the other versions the man (not a prince) relies entirely on his own cleverness. It is interesting to note that the variant in the Nights seems to have borrowed from both Somadeva and Daṇḍin, for from the former it has borrowed the incident of the rope (although it is the goldsmith who puts up the rope, not the girl who hangs it down), and from the latter the incident of falling in love with the painting. Other minor differences will be apparent on comparison. It is necessary to mention only one other point. In Daṇḍin the object of the young man’s affection is a respectable married woman. After stealing the anklet he goes straight to her husband and offers to sell it to him. Her guilt is apparently proved and the wife is immediately divorced. Now, this part of the story bears some resemblance to a series of tales known by the generic name of the “Concealed Robe” or “Burnt Veil.” The former title is taken from the version in the Book of Sindibād,{GL_NOTE::} while the latter is derived from the Arabic variants found in the Seven Vazīrs and the Nights.{GL_NOTE::}

In both cases the plot centres round an amorous youth who enjoys the love of a woman through the scheming of a third party who deceives the husband into leaving or divorcing his wife. Thus far the connection with our story is clear. The incriminating article is a robe or veil instead of a piece of jewellery and mark on the thigh. It should, however, be noticed that in Scott’s “Story of the Painter” it actually is a veil which is stolen as evidence.

The following is a brief résumé of the Arabic version:—

A youth takes a house in Baghdad at a very low rental, and later learns the reason. It is because if the owner but looks through a certain window in the upper part of the house he would see a girl so fair that he would die of longing for her. Curiosity makes him see for himself. He falls madly in love, and secures the help of a go-between to bring about their union. She explains that the girl is the wife of a rich merchant. The would-be lover is to buy a veil from him and give it her. This done, she gets into the beauty’s house by a ruse and hides the veil, which she has purposely burnt in three places, under the merchant’s pillow. He finds it and divorces his wife. The old woman arranges a liaison, and the pair remain together for a week. The wrong is then righted by the lover blaming the old woman for not having his veil mended after it had been burnt. She confesses to having left it by mistake in the merchant’s house. This conversation is specially held before the wronged husband, and all ends in forgiveness and reconciliation.

Reference might also be made to another cycle of stories similar to that of the Seven Vazīrs, known under the title of “King Shah Bakht and his Wazir-Rahwan.” Here we find the above story appearing again, but this time the incriminating object is a turban. Burton, following the Breslau text (Supp., vol. i, p. 309), calls it “The Story of the Crone and the Draper’s Wife.” See also Chauvin, op. cit., viii, p. 109, under “Le turban brûlé.”

In conclusion I would briefly refer to the second part of Miss Stokes’ story of Pānwpattī Rānī (see p. 250). Here we notice the changes that our story has undergone in the hands of the ayahs through the centuries, although the main incidents of Somadeva’s version remain. In the first place the couple get properly married. The prince goes to visit his friend, the kotwāl’s son, and Pānwpattī becomes jealous. The poisoned sweets are sent on the prince’s next visit, but are given to some crows and then to a dog. In the final episode the kotwāl’s son seizes the jewels while the princess is asleep, and wounds her in the leg. Later, the Rājā’s servants arrest the pretended Yogī, but are not nearly so courteous as in Somadeva’s version. When relating his story he says he was sitting by a river, and that at midnight one woman arrived and pulled a dead body out of the river, and began to eat it. In anger he had taken her jewels and wounded her in the leg. The girl is cast out into the jungle and there rescued by the prince and his friend. There is, of course, no mention of her parents dying. This last incident was introduced by Somadeva in order that the Vetāla could ask his question about who was the guilty party.

In the Tamil version the girl is wounded between the breasts, and gives a pearl necklace as a bribe to prevent her secret love of eating corpses being divulged. Both parents die here as in Somadeva.

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