Kathasaritsagara (the Ocean of Story)

by Somadeva | 1924 | 1,023,469 words | ISBN-13: 9789350501351

This is the English translation of the Kathasaritsagara written by Somadeva around 1070. The principle story line revolves around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the Vidhyādharas (‘celestial beings’). The work is one of the adoptations of the now lost Bṛhatkathā, a great Indian epic tale said to have been composed by ...

Chapter LXIII

[M] (Main story line continued) THE next morning Naravāhanadatta woke up, and thinking on his beloved Śaktiyaśas, became distracted. And thinking that the rest of the month, until he married her, was as long as an age, he could not find pleasure in anything, as his mind was longing for a new wife. When the king, his father, heard that from the mouth of Gomukha, out of love for him, he sent him his ministers, and Vasantaka was among them. Then, out of respect for them, the Prince of Vatsa managed to recover his composure.

And the discreet minister Gomukha said to Vasantaka:

“Noble Vasantaka, tell some new and romantic tale to delight the mind of the Crown Prince.”

Then the wise Vasantaka began to tell this tale:


132. Story of Yaśodhara and Lakṣmīdhara and the Two Wives of the Water-Spirit

There was a famous Brāhman in Mālava, named Śrīdhara, and twin sons, of like feature, were born to him. The elder was named Yaśodhara, and his younger brother was Lakṣmīdhara. And when they grew up, the two brothers set out together for a foreign country to study, with the approval of their father. And as they were travelling along, they reached a great wilderness, without water, without the shade of trees, full of burning sand; and being fatigued with passing through it, and exhausted with heat and thirst, they reached in the evening a shady tree laden with fruit. And they saw, at a little distance from its foot, a lake with cold and clear water, perfumed with the fragrance of lotuses. They bathed in it, and refreshed themselves with drinking the cold water, and sitting down on a slab of rock, rested for a time. And when the sun set, they said their evening prayers, and through fear of wild beasts they climbed up the tree, to spend the night there.

And in the beginning of the night, many men rose out of the water of that tank below them, before their eyes. And one of them swept the ground, another painted it, and another strewed on it flowers of five colours. And another brought a golden couch, and placed it there, and another spread on it a mattress with a coverlet. Another brought, and placed in a certain spot, under the tree, delicious food and drink, flowers and unguents. Then there arose from the surface of that lake a man wearing a sword, and adorned with heavenly ornaments, surpassing in beauty the God of Love.[1] When he had sat down on the couch, his attendants threw garlands round his neck and anointed him with unguents, and then they all plunged again into the lake. Then he brought out of his mouth[2] a lady of noble form and modest appearance, wearing auspicious garlands, and ornaments, and a second, rich in celestial beauty, resplendent with magnificent robes and ornaments. These were both his wives, but the second was the favourite. Then the first and good wife placed jewelled plates on the table, and handed food in two plates to her husband and her rival. When they had eaten, she also ate; and then her husband reclined on the couch with the rival wife, and went to sleep. And the first wife shampooed his feet, and the second remained awake on the couch.

When the Brāhman’s sons, who were in the tree, saw this, they said to one another:

“Who can this be? Let us go down and ask the lady who is shampooing his feet, for all these are immortal beings.”

Then they got down and approached the first wife, and then the second saw Yaśodhara: then she rose up from the couch in her inordinate passion, while her husband was asleep, and approaching that handsome youth, said:

“Be my lover.”

He answered:

“Wicked woman, you are to me the wife of another, and I am to you a strange man. Then why do you speak thus?”

She answered:

“I have had a hundred lovers. Why are you afraid? If you do not believe it, look at these hundred rings,[3] for I have taken one ring from each of them.”

With these words she took the rings out of the corner of her garment, and showed them to him. Then Yaśodhara said:

“I do not care whether you have a hundred or a hundred thousand lovers; to me you are as a mother; I am not that kind of a man.”

When the wicked woman was repelled by him in this way, she woke up her husband in her wrath, and, pointing to Yaśodhara, said with tears:

“This scoundrel, while you were asleep, used violence to me.”

When her husband heard this, he rose up and drew his sword. Then the first and virtuous wife embraced his feet, and said:

“Do not commit a crime on false evidence. Hear what I have to say. This wicked woman, when she saw him, rose up from your side, and eagerly importuned him, and the virtuous man did not consent to her proposal. When he repelled her, saying, ‘You are to me as a mother,’ being unable to endure that, in her anger she woke you up, to make you kill him. And she has already before my eyes had a hundred lovers here on various nights, travellers who were reposing in this tree, and taken their rings from them. But I never told you, not wishing to give rise to unpleasantness. However, to-day, I am necessarily compelled to reveal this secret, lest you should be guilty of a crime. Just look at the rings in the comer of her garment, if you do not believe it. And my wifely virtue is of such a kind that I cannot tell my husband what is untrue. In order that you may be convinced of my faithfulness, see this proof of my power.”

After saying this, she reduced that tree to ashes with an angry look, and restored it more magnificent than it was before with a look of kindness. When her husband saw that, he was at last satisfied, and embraced her. And he sent that second wife, the adulteress, about her business, after cutting off her nose, and taking the rings from the comer of her garment.

He restrained his anger, when he beheld that student of the scripture, Yaśodhara, with his brother, and he said to him despondingly:

“Out of jealousy I always keep these wives of mine in my heart. But still I have not been able to keep safe this wicked woman. Who can arrest the lightning? Who can guard a disloyal woman? As for a chaste woman, she is guarded by her modesty alone, and being guarded by it, she guards[4] her husband in both worlds, as I have to-day been guarded by this woman, whose patience is more admirable even than her power of cursing. By her kindness I have got rid of an unfaithful wife, and avoided the awful crime of killing a virtuous Brāhman.”

When he had said this, he made Yaśodhara sit down, and said to him:

“Tell me whence you come and whither you are going.”

Then Yaśodhara told him his history, and having gained his confidence, said out of curiosity:

“Noble sir, if it is not a secret, tell me now who you are, and why, though you possess such luxury, you dwell in the water.”

When the man who lived in the water heard this, he said:

“Hear! I will tell you.”

And he began to tell his history in the following words:—


132a. The Water-Spirit in his Previous Birth

There is a region in the south of the Himālaya, called Kāśmīra; which Providence seems to have created in order to prevent mortals from hankering after Heaven; where Śiva and Viṣṇu, as self-existent deities, inhabit a hundred




roaming about in foreign countries?”

When he had said this, he bestowed on them the sciences, and by his power they immediately possessed them.

Then the Yakṣa said to them:

“Now I entreat you to give me a fee as your instructor. You must perform, on my behalf, this upoṣaṇa vow, which involves the speaking of the truth, the observing of strict chastity, the circumambulating the images of the gods with the right side turned towards them,[5] the eating only at the time when Buddhist mendicants do, restraint of the mind, and patience. You must perform this for one night, and bestow the fruit of it on me in order that I may obtain that divinity, which is the proper fruit of my vow, when completely performed.”

When the Yakṣa said this, they bowed before him and granted his request, and he disappeared in that very same tree.

And the two brothers, delighted at having accomplished their object without any toil, after they had passed the night, returned to their own home. There they told their adventures and delighted their parents, and performed that vow of fasting for the benefit of the Yakṣa.

Then that Yakṣa, who taught them, appeared in a sky-chariot, and said to them:

“Through your kindness I have ceased to be a Yakṣa and have become a god. So you must now perform this vow for your own advantage, in order that at your death you may attain divinity. And in the meanwhile I give you a boon, by which you will have inexhaustible wealth.”

When the deity, who roamed about at will, had said this, he went to heaven in his chariot. Then the two brothers, Yāsodhara and Lakṣmīdhara, lived happily, having performed that vow, and having obtained wealth and knowledge.


[M] (Main story line continued)

“So you see that, if men are addicted to righteousness, and do not, even in emergencies, desert their principles, even the gods protect them, and cause them to attain their objects.”

Naravāhanadatta, while longing for his beloved Śaktiyaśas, was much delighted with this marvellous story told by Vasantaka; but having been summoned by his father at the dinner hour, he went to his palace with his ministers. There he took the requisite refreshment, and returned to his palace, with Gomukha and his other ministers.

Then Gomukha, in order to amuse him, again said:

“Listen, Prince, I will tell you another string of tales.


133. Story of the Monkey and the Porpoise

[also see notes on the story of The Monkey and the Porpoise]

There lived in a forest of uḍumbaras, on the shore of the sea, a king of monkeys, named Valīmukha, who had strayed from his troop. While he was eating an uḍumbara fruit, it fell from his hand, and was devoured by a porpoise that lived in the water of the sea. The porpoise, delighted at the taste of the fruit, uttered a melodious sound, which pleased the monkey so much that he threw him many more fruits. And so the monkey went on throwing fruits[6] and the porpoise went on making a melodious sound, until a friendship sprang up between them. So every day the porpoise spent the day in the water near the monkey, who remained on the bank, and in the evening he went home.

Then the wife of the porpoise came to learn the facts, and as she did not approve of the friendship between the monkey and her husband, which caused the latter to be absent all day, she pretended to be ill. Then the porpoise was afflicted, and asked his wife again and again what was the nature of her sickness, and what would cure it.

Though he importuned her persistently, she would give no answer, but at last a female confidante of hers said to him:

“Although you will not do it, and she does not wish you to do it, still I must speak. How can a wise person conceal sorrow from friends? A violent disease has seized your wife, of such a kind that it cannot be cured without soup made of the lotus-like heart of a monkey.”[7]

When the porpoise heard this from his wife’s confidante, he reflected:

“Alas! how shall I obtain the lotus-like heart of a monkey? Is it right for me to plot treachery against the monkey, who is my friend? On the other hand, how else can I cure my wife,[8] whom I love more than my life?”

When the porpoise had thus reflected, he said to his wife:

“I will bring you a whole monkey, my dear; do not be unhappy.”

When he had said this, he went to his friend the monkey, and said to him, after he had got into conversation:

“Up to this day you have never seen my home and my wife; so come, let us go and rest there one day. Friendship is but hollow when friends do not go without ceremony and eat at one another’s houses, and introduce their wives to one another.”

With these words the porpoise beguiled the monkey, and induced him to come down into the water, and took him on his back and set out. And as he was going along, the monkey saw that he was troubled and confused, and said:

“My friend, you seem to be altered to-day.”

And when he went on persistently inquiring the reason, the stupid porpoise, thinking that the ape was in his power, said to him:

“The fact is, my wife is ill, and she has been asking me for the heart of a monkey, to be used as a remedy; that is why I am in low spirits to-day.”

When the wise monkey heard this speech of his, he reflected:

“Ah! This is why the villain has brought me here! Alas! this fellow is overpowered by infatuation for a female, and is ready to plot treachery against his friend. Will not a person possessed by a demon eat his own flesh with his teeth?”

After the monkey had thus reflected, he said to the porpoise:

“If this is the case, why did you not inform me of this before, my friend? I will go and get my heart for your wife. For I have at present left it on the uḍumbara tree on which I live.”

When the silly porpoise heard this, he was sorry, and he said:

“Then bring it, my friend, from the uḍumbara tree.”

And thereupon the porpoise took him back to the shore of the sea. When he got there, he bounded up the bank, as if he had just escaped from the grasp of death, and climbing up to the top of the tree, said to that porpoise:

“Off with you, you fool! Does any animal keep his heart outside his body? However, by this artifice I have saved my life, and I will not return to you. Have you not heard, my friend, the story of the ass?


133a. The Sick Lion, the Jackal and the Ass [9]

There lived in a certain forest a lion, who had a jackal for a minister. A certain king, who had gone to hunt, once found him, and wounded him so sorely with his weapons that he with difficulty escaped to his den alive. When the king was gone, the lion still remained in the den, and his minister, the jackal, who had lived on his leavings, being exhausted for want of food, said to him: “My lord, why do you not go out and seek for food to the best of your ability, for your own body is being famished as well as your attendants’?”

When the jackal said this to the lion, he answered:

“My friend, I am exhausted with wounds, and I cannot roam about outside my den. If I could get the heart and ears of a donkey to eat, my wounds would heal, and I should recover my former health. So go and bring me a donkey quickly from somewhere or other.”

The jackal agreed to do so, and sallied out. As he was wandering about, he found a washerman’s ass in a solitary place, and said in a friendly way:

“Why are you so exhausted?”

The donkey answered:

“I am reduced by perpetually carrying this washerman’s load.”

The jackal said:

“Why do you endure all this toil? Come with me, and I will take you to a forest as delightful as heaven, where you may grow fat in the society of she-asses.”

When the donkey, who was longing for enjoyment, heard this, he went to the forest, in which that lion ranged, in the company of that jackal. And when the lion saw him, being weak from impaired vitality, he only gave him a blow with his paw behind, and the donkey, being wounded by the blow, was terrified and fled immediately, and did not come near the lion again, and the lion fell down confused and bewildered. And then the lion, not having accomplished his object, hastily returned to his den.

Then the jackal, his minister, said to him reproachfully:

“My lord, if you could not kill this miserable donkey, what chance is there of your killing deer and other animals?”

Then the lion said to him:

“If you know how, bring that donkey again. I will be ready and kill him.”

When the Hon had dispatched the jackal with these words, he went to the donkey and said:

“Why did you run away, sir?”

And the donkey answered:

“I received a blow from some creature.”

Then the jackal laughed and said:

“You must have experienced a delusion. There is no such creature there, for I, weak as I am, dwell there, in safety. So come along with me to that forest, where pleasure is without restraint.”[10]

When he said this, the donkey was deluded, and returned to the forest. And as soon as the lion saw him, he came out of his den, and springing on him from behind, tore him with his claws and killed him. And the lion, after he had divided the donkey, placed the jackal to guard it, and being fatigued, went away to bathe. And in the meanwhile the deceitful jackal devoured the heart and ears of that donkey, to gratify his appetite. The lion, after bathing, came back, and perceiving the donkey in this condition, asked the jackal where its ears and heart were.

The jackal answered him:

“The creature never possessed ears or a heart, otherwise how could he have returned when he had once escaped?”

When the lion heard that, he believed it, and ate his flesh, and the jackal devoured what remained over.


133. Story of the Monkey and the Porpoise

When the ape had told this tale, he said again to the porpoise:

“I will not come again. Why should I behave like the jackass?”

When the porpoise heard this from the monkey, he returned home, grieving that he had through his folly failed to execute his wife’s commission, while he had lost a friend. But his wife recovered her former tranquillity, on account of the termination of her husband’s friendship with the ape. And the ape lived happily on the shore of the sea.[11]


[M] (Main story line continued)

“So a wise person should place no confidence in a wicked person. How can he, who confides in a wicked person or a black cobra, enjoy prosperity?”

When Gomukha had told this story, he again said to Naravāhanadatta, to amuse him:

“Now hear in succession about the following ridiculous fools. Hear first about the fool who rewarded the minstrel.


134. Story of the Fool who gave a Verbal Reward to the Musician [12]

A certain musician once gave great pleasure to a rich man, by singing and playing before him. He thereupon called his treasurer, and said in the hearing of the musician:

“Give this man two thousand paṇas.”

The treasurer said: “I will do so,” and went out. Then the minstrel went and asked him for those paṇas. But the treasurer, who had an understanding with his master, refused to give them.

Then the musician came and asked the rich man for the paṇas, but he said:

“What did you give me, that I should make you a return? You gave a short-lived pleasure to my ears by playing on the lyre, and I gave a short-lived pleasure to your ears by promising you money.”

When the musician heard that, he despaired of his payment, laughed, and went home.


[M] (Main story line continued)

“Would not that speech of the miser’s make even a stone laugh? And now, Prince, hear the story of the two foolish pupils.


135. Story of the Teacher and his Two Jealous Pupils [13]

A certain teacher had two pupils who were jealous of one another. And one of those pupils washed and anointed every day the right foot of his instructor, and the other did the same to the left foot. Now it happened that one day the pupil whose business it was to anoint the right foot had been sent to the village, so the teacher said to the second pupil, whose business it was to anoint the left foot:

“To-day you must wash and anoint my right foot also.”

When the foolish pupil received this order, he coolly said to his teacher:

“I cannot anoint this foot that belongs to my rival.”

When he said this, the teacher insisted. Then that pupil, who was the very opposite of a good pupil, took hold of his teacher’s foot in a passion, and exerting great force, broke it.[14] Then the teacher uttered a cry of pain, and the other pupils came in and beat that wicked pupil, but he was rescued from them by that teacher, who felt sorry for him.

The next day the other pupil came back from the village, and when he saw the injury that had been done to his teacher’s foot, he asked the history of it, and then he was inflamed with rage, and he said:

“Why should I not break the foot that belongs to that enemy of mine?”

So he laid hold of the teacher’s second leg and broke it. Then the others began to beat that wicked pupil, but the teacher, both of whose legs were broken, in compassion begged him off too. Then those two pupils departed, laughed to scorn by the whole country, but their teacher, who deserved so much credit for his patient temper, gradually got well.


[M] (Main story line continued)

“Thus foolish attendants, by quarrelling with one another, ruin their master’s interests, and do not reap any advantage for themselves. Hear the story of the two-headed serpent.


136. Story of the Snake with Two Heads [15]

A certain snake had two heads, one in the usual place and one in his tail. But the head that he had in his tail was blind; the head that was in the usual place was furnished with eyes. And there was a quarrel between them, each saying that it was the principal head. Now the serpent usually roamed about with his real head foremost. But once on a time the head in the tail caught hold of a piece of wood, and fastening firmly round it, prevented that snake from going on. The consequence was that the snake considered this head very powerful, as it had vanquished the head in front. And so the snake roamed about with his blind head foremost, and in a hole he fell into fire, owing to his not being able to see the way, and so he was burnt.[16]


[M] (Main story line continued)

“So those foolish people, many in number, who are quite at home in a small accomplishment, through their attachment to this unimportant accomplishment, are brought to ruin. Hear now about the fool who ate the grains of rice.


137. Story of the Fool who was nearly choked with Rice

A certain foolish person came for the first time to his father-in-law’s house, and there he saw some white grains of rice, which his mother-in-law had put down to be cooked, and he put a handful of them into his mouth, meaning to eat them. And his mother-in-law came in that very moment. Then the foolish man was so ashamed that he could not swallow the grains of rice, nor bring them up. And his mother-in-law seeing that his throat[17] was swollen and distended, and that he was speechless, was afraid that he was ill, and summoned her husband. And he, when he saw his state, quickly brought the physician, and the physician, fearing that there was an internal tumour, seized the head of that fool and opened his jaw.[18] Then the grains of rice came out, and all those present laughed.


[M] (Main story line continued)

“Thus a fool does an unseemly act, and does not know how to conceal it.


188. Story of the Boys that milked the Donkey [19]

Certain foolish boys, having observed the process of milking in the case of cows, got a donkey, and having surrounded it, proceeded to milk it vigorously. One milked and another held the milk-pail, and there was great emulation among them as to who should first drink the milk. And yet they did not obtain milk, though they laboured hard.


[M] (Main story line continued)

“The fact is, Prince, a fool who spends his labour on a chimera makes himself ridiculous.


189. Story of the Foolish Boy who went to the Village for Nothing

There was a certain foolish son of a Brāhman, and his father said to him one evening:

“My son, you must go to the village early to-morrow.”

Having heard this, he set out in the morning, without asking his father what he was to do, and went to the village without any object, and came back in the evening fatigued.

He said to his father: “I have been to the village.”

“Yes, but you have not done any good by it,” answered his father.


[M] (Main story line continued)

“So a fool, who acts without an object, becomes the laughing-stock of people generally; he suffers fatigue, but does not do any good.”

When the son of the King of Vatsa had heard from Gomukha, his chief minister, this series of tales, rich in instruction, and had declared that he was longing to obtain Śaktiyaśas, and had perceived that the night was far spent, he closed his eyes in sleep, and reposed surrounded by his ministers.

Footnotes and references:


For the superstition of water-spirits see Tylor’s Primitive Culture, p. 191 et seq.


Does this throw any light upon the expression in Swift’s Polite Conversation: “She is as like her husband as if she were spit out of his mouth” (Liebrecht, Zur Volkskunde, p. 495)?


This story found its way into the frame-story of the Nights (see Burton, vol. i, p. 10 et seq.). Here the rings are 570 in number (i.e. in the Macnaughton text), while in others the number is reduced to 90. Burton considers the larger figure more in accordance with Oriental exaggeration. (See his note, vol. i, p. 12.) The story is repeated again in the Nights, as “The King’s Son and the Ifrit’s Mistress” (Burton, vol. vi, p. 199 et seq.). The chief differences in the Arabic versions are that the dénouement is much less moral, as the wishes of the damsel (there is only one) are complied with and the jinni does not wake up. The tale is also found in some Arabic texts of the Seven Vazīrs (see Clouston, Book of Sindibād, p. 255). For parallels to “La Femme dans le Coffre de Verre” see Chauvin, op. cit., v, pp. 190, 191.—N.M.P.


I follow the Sanskrit College MS., which reads rakṣatyubhayalokataḥ.


See Vol. I, pp. 190 - 193, and Crooke, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 80.—n.m.p.


The Sanskrit College MS. reads cākṣipan for B.’s ca kṣipan.


In Bernhard Schmidt’s Griechische Märchen, No. 5, the Lamnissa pretends that she is ill and can only be cured by eating a goldfish into which a bone of her rival has been turned. Perhaps we ought to read sādyā for sādhyā in śl. 108.


The D. text reads sakhyā instead of sādhyā, and the whole line can be translated: “What matters my friend to me? It is my wife, forsooth, whom I love more than my life.” See Speyer, op. cit., p. 127.—n.m.p.


Benfey does not seem to have been aware of the existence of this story in Somadeva’s work. For details as to variants see Benfey, op. cit., vol. i, p. 430 et seq. See also Weber’s article in Indische Studien, vol. iii, p. 338. He considers that the fable came to India from Greece. Cf. also De Gubernatis, Zoological Mythology, vol. i, p. 377. An ass is deceived in the same way in Prym and Socin, Syrische Märchen, p. 279- In Waldau’s Böhmische Märchen, p. 92, one of the boys proposes to say that the Glücksvogel had no heart. Rutherford in the introduction to his edition of Babrius, p. xxvii, considers that the fable is alluded to by Solon in the following words:—

ὑμὲων δ’ εἇ μὲν ἕκαστος ἀλώπεκος ἴχνεσι
ξύμπασιν δ’ ὑμῖν κοῦθος ἔνεστι νόος·
εἰς γὰρ γλῶσσαν ὁρᾶτε καὶ εἰς αἰόλον ἀνδρός,
εἰς ἒργον δ’ ουδὲν γιγνόμενον βλέπετε.

But all turns upon the interpretation of the first line, which Schneidewin renders: “Singuli sapitis, cuncti desipitis.Cf. Hertel, op. cit., pt. i, p. 140; pt. ii, p. 145 et seq.—n.m.p.


I have followed the Sanskrit College MS. in reading nirbādhasukhaṃ.


This finishes Book IV of the Pañcatantra. — n.m.p.


For parallels to this story compare Liebrecht, Ziir Volkskunde, p. 33, where he treats of the Avadānas, and the Japanese story in the Nachträge. In this a gentleman who had much enjoyed the smell of fried eels pays for them by exhibiting his money to the owner of the cook-shop. See also page 112 of the same work. M. Lévêque shows that Rabelais’ story of Le Facquin et ie Rostisseur exactly resembles this as told in the Avadānas. He thinks that La Fontaine, in his fable of L’Huitre et les Plaideurs, is indebted to the story as told in Rabelais (Let Mythes et Légendes de l’Inde et de la Perse, pp. 547, 548). See also Rohde, Der Griechische Roman, p. 870 (note). Gosson in his School of Abuse, Arber's reprint, pp. 68, 69, tells the story of Dionysius. A similar idea is found in the Hermotimus of Lucian, chaps, lxxx and lxxxi. A philosopher is indignant with his pupil on account of his fees being many days in arrear.

The uncle of the young man, who is standing by, being a rude and uncultured person, says to the philosopher:

“My good man, pray let us hear no more complaints about the great injustice with which you conceive yourself to have been treated, for all it amounts to is, that we have bought words from you, and have up to the present time paid you in the same coin.”

——See the numerous references given by Chauvin, op. cit., viii., p. 158.—n.m.p.


There is a certain resemblance between this story and a joke in Philogelos, p. 16 (ed. Eberhard, Berlin 1869). Scholasticus tells his boots not to creak, or he will break their legs.


Here the B. reading is wrong. For vipakṣaḥ sacchiṣyāt read vipakṣatacchiṣya, and for balād gāḍhāt read balād grāvṇā, thus the passage should read:

“Then this pupil, in a fit of anger at the (other) pupil, his rival, took hold of that foot of his master and broke it violently with a stone.”

See Speyer, op. cit., p. 128.—n.m.p.


This corresponds to the fourteenth story in the fifth book of the Pañcatantra, Benfey, vol. ii, p. 360. At any rate the leading idea is the same. See Benfey, vol. i, pp. 537, 538. It has a certain resemblance to the fable of Menenius. There is a snake in Bengal with a knob at the end of his tail. Probably this gave rise to the legend of the double-headed serpent. Sir Thomas Browne devotes to the Amphisbæna, chap. xv of the third book of his Vulgar Errors, and craves leave to “doubt of this double-headed serpent, until he has “the advantage to behold, or iterated ocular testimony.” See also Liebrecht, Zur Volkskunde, p. 120, where he treats of the Avadānas. The story is identical with that in our text. M. Lévêque shows that this story, as found in the Avadānas, forms the basis of one of La Fontaine’s fables, vii, 17. La Fontaine took it from Plutarch’s Life of Agis.


This story is No. 59 in Sir G. Cornewall Lewis’ edition of the Fables of Babrius, pt. ii. The only difference is that the tail, when in difficulties, entreats the head to deliver it.


It wouldn’t be his throat. The rending is gala in B., but in the D. text it is galla, “cheek,” which is undoubtedly correct.— n.m.p.


I read hanum, the conjecture of Dr Kern.


This story appears to have been known to Lucian. In his Demonax (28) he compares the two unskilful disputants to a couple, one of whom is milking a goat, the other holding a sieve. So Aristophanes speaks of ὄνου πόκαι and ὀρνίθων γάλα. It must be admitted that some critics doubt Lucian’s authorship of the Demonax. Professor Aufrecht in his Beiträge zur Kenntniss Indischer Dichter quotes a strophe of Amarasiṃha in which the following line occurs:—

Dugdhā seyam achetanena jaratī dugdhāśayāt sūkarī.”

Professor Aufrecht proposes to read gardabhī for sūkari.

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