The Project Gutenberg eBook of Oral Tradition from the Indus

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: Oral Tradition from the Indus

Author: John Frederick Adolphus McNair

Thomas Lambert Barlow

Illustrator: L. Fenn

Release date: May 1, 2019 [eBook #59401]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Fritz Ohrenschall, Barry Abrahamsen, and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.


Scale 1 In: = 24 Miles.


MAJOR J. F. A. McNAIR, R.A., C.M.G.,
Author ofPerak and the Malays,” “Prisoners their own Warders,” &c., &c.,
Late Superintendent, Chief Salt-range, India.
Revised and Corrected,


  Introduction ix.
I. The Guru and his Greedy Disciple 1
II. The Donkey-man and the Precious Stone 10
III. The Fakir and the Bhânds 17
IV. The Miserly Moslem Priest and his Wife 22
V. The King’s Son, his Friend, and the Fakir 35
VI. Secundur Zulf-Kur-Nain 43
VII. The Farmer, the Crocodile, and the Jackal 54
VIII. Faith Opposed to Magic 61
IX. The Fakir and his Quarrelsome Wife 70
X. The Farmer and the Revenue Sowar 76
XI. Mūltān as Hot as Fire 79
XII. Shāitān and his Savage Wife 84
XIII. Sakhi, the Generous Moslem 91
XIV. The Priest, the Washerman, and the Ass 104
XV. Akbar and his Minister 112
XVI. The Rajah, his Minister, and the Shepherd 121
XVII. The Banjāra, his Dog, and the Banker 128
XVIII. How an Evil Spirit was Exorcised 138
XIX. Bahadūr Singh and the Blind Beggar 144


Map of the Indus Map
Frontispiece iv
The Guru and his Greedy Disciple 2
The Miserly Moslem Priest and his Wife 22
A Monkey Temple in India (copied) 40
Secundur Zulf-Kur-Nain 44
The Farmer, the Crocodile, and the Jackal 54
The Farmer, the Crocodile, and the Jackal 57
Faith Opposed to Magic 62
Shāitān and his Savage Wife 84
Sakhi, the Generous Moslem 92
Sakhi, the Generous Moslem 94
Akbar and his Minister 112
The Banjāra, his Dog, and the Banker 128
Bahadūr Singh and the Blind Beggar 158



It was in the remote and little known village of “Ghazi,” situated on the left bank of the stately and classical Indus, and at the distance of about thirty miles from the ancient city of “Attock” (Atak) that most of this Folk-lore was collected.

Ghazi in itself is not what would be called a picturesque village in those parts. Its straggling huts and houses are built on a rocky, unkind sort of soil, so that fine forest trees which would make a pleasing picture of the place will not grow there; indeed the vegetation is almost entirely restricted to scrub and brushwood. There are, however, here and there, thickets of the “Phoolai” and “Vahekur” plants, and a stunted variety of the Plum tree, known by the natives as “Jhâr Bayri.”

At some little distance inland, however, the soil improves; and the farmers are able there to cultivate both wheat and barley, and to plant the oil and cotton seeds from which they obtain very fair crops.

The view, however, looking from the village has a distinct charm of its own, owing to the wild, mountainous, and well-wooded country which encircles it. Within a few xmiles to its rear are the Hills of “Gundghur,” the highest peak of which is by the natives of the place called “Pir Than,” and is the scene of many of their local legends.

Far away towards the north and west are lofty ranges of mountains, running, as it were, in graduated succession to join the distant line, which is in point of fact but an extreme western extension of the Himalayas.

Immediately at the foot of the village, runs as I have already said, the river Indus, and as its banks are somewhat narrowed at this point the stream becomes more rapid, but the river broadens out again a little further down, until it reaches the city of Attock, where its volume is increased by the waters of the Kabul River.

The natives who dwell in the village are of that mixture of races usually to be found in most of the towns and villages in the “Hazara” district in which Ghazi is situated.

The Head men are Pathans of the “Thar” tribe, commonly called “Thar Kheyles.” They are believed to be the descendants of Afghan soldiers who came into India with the armies of Timur Baber and Nadir Shah.

Then there are two or three divisions of the farmer class known as “Awans,” good soldiers and no better people in all India, and “Ghurkās”—fine, tough men. xiAlso the barber class, or “Naies,” also called “Napit”; the shoemakers, or “Mochīs”; the potters, or “Koobhars”; the weavers, or “Powlees”; the blacksmiths, or “Lohars;” and so on, with a sprinkling of “Merasis,” or “Dooms,” who fill the post of Genealogists and Bards to the community, and who are the reciters of warlike poetry.

These last are for the most part the receptacles and custodians of the old village folk-lore, though sometimes amongst the farmers living as they do a simple and rustic life, many tales of the remote past have been retained, and the barbers, too, have been occasionally known to relate them.

Above Ghazi, and at a distance of about twelve miles on the same side of the river, are the villages known by the general name of “Thorbela.” The word locally means “Black Island,” after an island which was situated in front of them, but was washed away in the floods of 1842. Since that date many of the huts have been erected at some distance from the banks. The village is an important one, and contains a thriving and industrious community. To get to “Thorbela” the traveller has to pass through the small village of “Mohat,” between which and Ghazi is the ferry across the Indus to the populous town of “Topi.” This town contains the same admixture of races as at Ghazi, but in addition a larger xiiproportion of the “Juddoon” tribe who speak the “Pushtu” language, which has some similarity to the Semitic.

The whole of this district will well repay a visit at any time, and the interest is greatly enhanced when one calls to mind the many historical events that have taken place, in and around it, in years long gone by.

It was at Attock (Atak) that Alexander the Great is believed to have crossed the Indus B.C. 326. The ancient name of this city was said to be “Taxila,” so named after a petty king who joined his forces with those of Alexander in the attack and defeat of King Porus, and it was here that Alexander rested his army for three days, and was royally entertained by its reigning Sovereign.

It is, however, quite foreign to my purpose here, to dwell at any length on the ancient history of this part of India and the Punjâb generally, called by the Greeks the “Pente Potamia.” I will not either touch upon the supposed route taken by Alexander across the “Paropamisus” Mountains (Hindu Kush), which is still a very disputed point.

My purpose in referring to this old history, is to draw attention to the fact that in the traditions that these non-recording Ghazi folk have handed down of their gods, their heroes, and preternatural beings, they appear to have kept ever in their memories this visit of xiiiAlexander to India, in the legend of “Secundur Zulf Kurnain,” which forms one of the tales of this series.

It was at this little village of Ghazi, and in the districts adjoining it, remote at the time from all European influence, that Mr. Thomas Lambert Barlow resided for over thirty years. He was employed by our Government in the Salt Revenue Department, and in the execution of these arduous duties, he was as a matter of course thrown into almost daily contact with all classes of the natives. He found it necessary to acquaint himself with their various dialects, and it was not long before he was able to communicate freely with every caste and tribe.

No European could have had a better opportunity of getting at the thoughts and feelings of the people than he had, and being on friendly terms with most of them, they would talk to him, and before him, with perfect freedom, and altogether with an absence of that kind of restraint, which I can say from my own knowledge, is felt more or less by most natives of India when in the presence of a European.

It has been said, and perhaps with some justice, that many folk tales have to be received with a certain amount of misgiving; and doubtless also each narrative as it descends in successive generations loses some of the force of the original. It is also very clear that the Folk-lore of xiva long-established and independent community such as that of Ghazi, or other out-of-the-way village of India, is not to be got at all of a sudden, for it lies deep down in the memories of only a certain few of the people, and these not always willing to impart it unto strangers to their country.

It was not surprising therefore that it was only by degrees, and by very slow degrees, that Mr. Barlow, though always a welcome guest at their village “Hûjrâs” or meeting places, was able to collect the lore of this interesting, this semi-religious, and warlike people. Many of their tales he repeated to the Rev. Mr. Swynnerton, F.S.A., who in 1892 published them in his popular work entitled the “Indian Nights,” and again with others in a later volume.

Mr. Barlow had not, however, exhausted all his store, and he has been good enough to place these few more at my disposal, and to permit me to send them to the Press in our joint names.

He has given them to me both orally and from notes, and it has been my task to throw them into a readable form, avoiding as far as possible all modification or undue colouring. In making together the translation into English we were conscious sometimes of missing the native expression or idiom. When any such difficulty arose we found help in transposing the original words into the xv“Hindustani” language, a native tongue familiar to us both. By this means, and with general care we were able to get pretty near to the thought and combination of thought of the native narrators, and the homeliness of their style.

It is perhaps matter for regret that in publishing these rural tales, I am not in a position to add the names of those people in Ghazi from whom Mr. Barlow heard them, nor, of course, can I give their antecedents. It might perhaps have afforded some clue to the source from whence the tales had been received, and it would certainly have been an additional evidence of their authenticity.

Mr. Barlow, however, made no note of these particulars at the time, and he cannot even now trust his memory on these points. He gathered the tales more to obtain a better insight into the character of the people, and to strengthen his knowledge of the language, and with no ulterior view to their publication. He, however, can say with all truth, that most of them were related in his presence by the farmers and “Merasis” or bards of the people, and that they are from the original stock transmitted to them by their forefathers.

I have thought it better not to encumber this volume with any elaborate analysis of the Tales. They are very simple and descriptive, and folk-lorists more able than xvimyself, can readily arrange an analysis according to their own system.

It has been necessary, however, with these Indian Folk-tales to attach a few explanatory notes, chiefly to elucidate the text, but also with the view of bringing our readers more into touch with the people of the district.

The Tales gain a great advantage from the drawings of Miss L. Fenn, which will be found to be full of expression and spirit, and are at the same time faithful representations of the general characteristics of the people of this part of Northern India.

I am indebted also to the late Mr. John W. N. Barlow for much assistance to us in describing the native costumes, and for other information connected with the Ghazi community.

These Tales under a different form and style, were re-printed in 1902, from the “Indian Antiquary,” by the Education Society’s Press, Bombay; and later were kindly edited by W. Crooke, of the Bengal Civil Service (retired), the author of the “N.W. Provinces of India,” and other valuable works.

They are now re-produced by the Original Writers, with some corrections and emendations, together with the illustrations to the text referred to above.

J. F. A. McNair, Major R.A., C.M.G.

Belgrave House,

Preston Park, Brighton.



In former years there lived a very learned old “Guru,” or spiritual teacher, and he had five very earnest disciples who had become so imbued with his knowledge, and so attached to his person that they agreed to follow him wherever he led the way, even if it were to travel all the country round.

“Well,” he replied, “if I do leave this enamoured spot where I have spent most of my life, we shall all have to undergo many privations, and perhaps hardships, but I confess I have now a thirst for seeing more of the world: so will you go with me under the prospect of such circumstances?”

“Yes,” they said, “we certainly will, and no matter what frowns of fortune come upon us we shall at least gain knowledge every hour that we are in your company.”

He then proposed that they should visit the various Hindu shrines and the places that had been hallowed by old associations connected with the founders of their Faith.

To this they readily consented, and having sought for a propitious day, they set forth on their travels.

They had visited many holy places consecrated by age and sanctity, and as they were everywhere made welcome 2by devotees of their religion, they had few deprivations to encounter.

One day they were approaching a very populous city where a devout Hindu King resided, and the “Guru” said to his disciples, “I am much fatigued by the journey; go you all into the city and buy bread, and return to me here,” for he had determined to rest under a large clump of trees just outside the city walls.

It was not long before they all returned to the “Guru” with a wonderful account of the city, “For,” said they, “we have never known so remarkable a place, for, strange to relate, every article of merchandise is of the same price. In every shop and market all the goods are of one and the same value: gold, silver, precious stones, wheat, fruit, vegetables, and, indeed, everything that man can wish for and want, can be had for the same sum.”

The “Guru” said, “You much surprise me; and although I am very tempted to see for myself such a wonderful place, yet I am convinced that such a state of things must bring about great laxity and vice, and that justice there must be at a very low ebb, for that too I suppose is classed with the other commodities. No! let us at once quit this city and make the best of our way to some other more inviting place.” Whereupon they all agreed to accompany the “Guru”; but one disciple, a tall strapping fellow, and fond of the good things of this life, said that on second thoughts he would like to spend two or three days in that city, and that he would join them some marches off if they would only promise to go by easy stages.



It was in vain that the “Guru” tried to dissuade him from his purpose; he had made up his mind, so he parted company with his fellows, and went off alone into the city.

He had not been there more than two or three days when a burglary, attended with murder, was committed in the city, and the “Kotwal,” or chief Police officer, began to set on foot enquiries as to the whereabouts of the perpetrators of the crime. He came across this disciple of the “Guru,” and finding that he was a strong powerful fellow, and a stranger to boot, he was at once taken up on suspicion, and very soon witnesses were found who had seen him loafing about the place, and he was there and then tried for the crime, condemned and sentenced to death and the sentence was confirmed by the King in due course.

This avaricious, this greedy disciple, was then cast into prison to await his execution, and bitterly did he repent that he had not followed the advice of his “Guru.” Thus mourning over his fate, he aroused the sympathy of his gaoler, who good-naturedly offered to send a messenger to tell his “Guru” what had happened to him, and to bid him return.

This messenger went off in great haste, and managed to come up with the “Guru” and his party at no very great distance from the city. He gave them a full and distinct account of all that had passed, and how that his disciple had been tried and sentenced to death; “But,” he added, “the day of execution was not fixed when I left the city.” He told the “Guru” moreover, that the 4King always made it his business to be present at all times when there was capital punishment to be carried out.

The “Guru” and his disciples then hurriedly returned with the messenger to the city, and when they entered the walls they ascertained that the execution had been arranged for the day following.

When the morning broke they hastened to the place of execution, and all the city turned out to witness it. The “Guru” shortly after saw his disciple, surrounded by a number of police, being brought from the prison. He at once accosted the Chief Officer and asked his permission to say just a word or two to the prisoner before his death. It was not usual to allow this, but as he was a “Guru” and a spiritual teacher and held in great reverence by all Hindus, leave was granted him to do so.

He had only just time to say to his disciple, “See what you have brought on yourself by your greediness and avarice; and now do as I tell you. When you see me prostrate myself before the King, call out at the top of your voice, ‘No, I will not suffer my holy “Guru” to die for me; I must and will die, so go on with the execution.’ Mind you do this, for I intend as I prostrate myself to offer my life in exchange for yours.”

He had scarcely spoken the words when there was a stir amongst the people, for the King was approaching; and now the King had reached the spot prepared for him, and with him was a large concourse of nobles and courtiers, indeed a goodly retinue, accompanied with all the pomp and display so essential to all Oriental potentates 5when they move from their Palaces in State and on Public occasions. As soon as the tumult had ceased the “Guru” approached as near the Presence as he dared, the people making way for him as he was a “Guru.” He then bowed in submission and made the usual obeisance, and asked leave to speak.

When the Prisoner saw his “Guru” prostrating himself before the King, he called out in a loud voice the very identical words that he had been instructed by his “Guru” to pronounce. The King was beyond all measure astonished, for he heard the Prisoner’s words distinctly, and motioning to the “Guru” to come nearer, His Majesty said, “This is a most remarkable thing; I have never known anything before like this to take place at an execution. You, a learned “Guru” of our Faith, offer your life as a substitute for the Prisoner’s, and the Prisoner asks to die at once, and seeks no mercy! It is usual rather for one condemned to death to solicit pardon at my hands. Can anyone solve this mystery?” And turning to his nobles and courtiers he sought for a reply, but none was then given. Then, appealing to the “Guru,” His Majesty said, “Can you interpret this wonderful procedure, for it passes man’s understanding?” Whereupon the “Guru” said, “Yes, oh King! I can; for is not this the very day, and almost the very hour of the day, when, by our ancient Sanscrit “Vedas” it has been foretold that whosoever on this day and hour shall suffer death, or die in a public place, shall in very truth be transported to endless happiness and bliss?”

“Is it so?” responded the King, and then summoning 6to his side his own learned “Gurus,” who in his belief could work miracles and forgive sins, he demanded of them if such had been predicted. Quite oblivious as to what was passing in the King’s mind at the time, they one and all replied, “True, oh King! such is the record.”

Then turning to his Vizier he commanded that the Prisoner should at once be set free, “For,” said His Majesty, “I now see that fate has reserved for me this propitious opportunity, that I myself should obtain the spiritual rewards promised in our sacred writings. Behold me then, all of you, the substitute, and not the “Guru.” Whereupon he drew his “Kuttan,” or dagger, from his belt, and plunged it into his breast.

So died the devout King of this wonderful City, and was gathered to his fathers, to the unutterable grief of all his Court and people.


Guru.”—A Hindu spiritual director or guide. It is a Sanscrit word and was originally applied to a saint or holy man. The disciples of a “Guru” are termed “Chelah,” also a Sanscrit word, and meaning pupil, servant, slave.

Amongst the Mahomedans a “Guru” would be termed a “Pir,” a Persian word, and in some parts “Murshud,” from the Arabic, and their disciples “Mureed,” also from the Arabic.

All communities, either Hindu or Mahomedan, have their “Gurus” or “Pirs.” The disciples usually attend 7their “Gurus” to the Shrines in the case of Hindus, and to the Mosques and Shrines in the case of Moslems.

Clump of Trees.”—It is usual round good sized towns to build walls, and outside the walls to plant groups of trees, and to cultivate gardens, and to provide wells for general use.

Kotwal.”—An important Officer, holding in native towns authority under the Rajah; and the idea conveyed by the name is that of an official appointed to look after others and to see that they obey the laws. It is a Persian word, and the office is of ancient date, but owing to British intercourse is now almost superseded by the term Chief of Police.

Police.”—In days long gone by it was customary for native kings and princes to attend executions, and the word translated Police here was in the original “Burkundaz,” literally, a match-lock man, because these men had charge of prisoners in native States.

Kuttan.”—This is a Sanskrit word, and literally means a dagger with a protected handle. Another name, from the Persian, is “Peshkubz,” but the handle is different.

The sacrifice of human life to the gods prevailed amongst the early Aryans of India, and there is evidence of expiatory sacrifices to “Chandika” to save the life of a king. In this Folk Tale it is the King who gives his life, in hope of reward from the gods.

Temple, Frere, Crooke.

The number Five.”—Amongst the Ghazi folk there is no actual popular superstition as to this number being lucky or unlucky; but they glory in the fact that they were 8born in the country of the Five Rivers, or Punjab, these rivers descending from the Himalayas and on into their parent river, the Indus. Some Mahomedans set rather a special value on the number Seven, possibly from the number of points that the body touches the ground in prostration in prayer, viz., the forehead, the elbows, the knees, and the feet.

In China both the figures Five and Seven are in everything felicitous. They say that all the forces and phenomena of Nature are based upon the number Five (their primitive idea).

Hence, Five active organs of the body: the stomach, the lungs, the liver, the heart, and the kidneys. Five primary colours: red, yellow, green, black, and white. Five varieties of taste: sweet, acrid, sour, bitter, salt. Five elements: earth, metal, wood, fire, and water. Five primary planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Five regions of the heavens: Centre, North, South, East, and West.

Similarly, as sounds belong to the phenomena of Nature, they must invariably resolve themselves into Five.

Dennys’ Folk-Lore.

Note.—In the sacred poetical writings in the Sanskrit tongue (“Purana,” literally old) “Siva” as the third person in the Hindu Triad is the “Destroyer,” as “Brahma” was the “Creator,” and “Vishnu” the “Preserver.” Siva is always represented with a third Eye, and the number “Five” is a mystical and powerful number with him.

Note.—Again, all initiated Sikhs who have taken the 9oath, or pahal, have Five Kukkahs, or conventional marks of distinction, viz.—

Kukkah Kase The long hair.
Kukkah Kurd The small iron knife kept in the hair.
Kukkah Kurrah The iron bangle.
Kukkah Kunghah The comb kept in the hair.
Kukkah Kachah The loose drawers to the knee.

Note.—Also the native jury of Hindu communities is confined to Five, and is called a “Punchayet.” Indeed, the number is very generally met with in India as of special significance, both with Mahomedans and Hindus.

Note.—In dealing with these numbers our thoughts will naturally recur to the well-known sayings in the Scriptures:

“Five of them were wise, and Five of them were foolish.” And again, in the religion of the Jews, how the number Seven is used as a number of perfection; and again, the number Five in the appeal of Abraham, “Wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five?”

Note.—Sectarian marks are usual amongst Hindus: It indicates difference of religious sects, not of castes. These are daily renewed on the forehead after the bath. The worshippers of Siva are known by the horizontal position of the mark, the worshippers of Vishnu by the vertical. The customary substances used are earths or white ashes from a sacred fire, saffron, sandal-wood, and white clay. Circlets are also used to distinguish sects as alluded to in Ezekiel ix. 4. Rosaries are universally used in India and elsewhere among Hindus and Moslems, and are composed of various kinds of wild seeds as “rudrakhs,” or of glass and amber, and with the Hindus pictures of Vishnu and Siva are often held in the hand with the beads to be counted.



The sun had gone down one day in the Mahomedan village of “Huzro,” in the Hazara district, and it had become too late to work and too early for sleep, when the young men and others in the village congregated together to while away the time by narrating tales of the past.

Though really a Mahomedan village, there were several Hindu shops there, and some of the Hindus joined the company.

It was not long before one of the number was encouraged to tell a tale, and he began by saying “Yek vella: Once upon a time,” and then he stopped; then there was a general laugh, and he made bold to begin again, and then said:

Many years ago there was a Donkey-man, a poor man, who used to carry grain from place to place somewhere in the Punjab. One day as he was crossing a small river he picked up a stone of a reddish colour, and as it looked pretty and out of the common he thought he would keep it; and so to preserve it he tied it on to the neck of his best donkey, and there it hung as a sort of ornament. He did not know it was a gem, you see, but only thought it was a nice-looking stone, and that he had never seen one like it before.

11As he journeyed on with his donkeys he had to cross the “Chenâb” river, and went down to the ferry, where he got into conversation with the Ferryman while they were all waiting for sufficient passengers and goods to cross the stream. Looking at the donkeys the Ferryman came at last to the donkey with the ornament on his neck, and he said to the grain-carrier, “Where did you find this pretty stone?” He told him that he was crossing the bed of a little river and saw it. The Ferryman looked at it again, but he did not know that it was a precious stone, yet he wanted it to decorate one of his oars; so he said to the Donkey-man, “You do not seem to care much for the stone; give it to me, and I will take you and your donkeys across for nothing.” So the Donkey-man agreed, and the Ferryman tied it on to his oar, and kept looking at it as he went on with his work, singing his usual song, “Chiko bhâyo, Chiko bhâyo, Chik!” and beating time with his feet.

Some days after this a Jeweller, or “Johari,” was crossing by the ferry, and his eye at once caught sight of the stone on the Ferryman’s oar, and taking a look at it (for the Ferryman was rather proud to exhibit it), he in a moment became convinced that it was a ruby of a very large and unusual size, and he made up his mind that before he left the ferry he would get it into his possession in some way or another. He was, in fact, quite excited about it, and feared that at any moment it might drop into the water and be lost; but he was a cunning man and did not show his feelings, but said quietly to the Ferryman, “That is a very pretty sort of a stone you have on your 12oar; are you not afraid to lose it? Will you sell it to me?” Now, the Ferryman was not quite sure that he was a jeweller, or he might have been on his guard, but thought him to be only an ordinary traveller, and he too was almost as ignorant as the Donkey-man. The Jeweller said to him, “You might turn it into rupees!” “Well, some day I shall, perhaps, when I want money,” said the Ferryman, “but it is not worth very much, and I got it from an old Donkey-man for taking him across the stream one day.” When they got to the opposite shore the Jeweller said before leaving, “I will give you five rupees for that stone.” “No!” said the Ferryman, “I don’t want money now,” “But,” said the Jeweller, “If I give you ten rupees? and I am not coming this way again, you had better take it.” To this the Ferryman agreed, and the Jeweller obtained possession of this precious and valuable ruby for so small a sum as ten rupees, and he went away very rejoiced at his bargain.

When the Jeweller got home he handled it over and over again and felt sure that he had got a great prize; so he folded it in several rags, folds of rag, as the custom of lapidaries, or jewellers is, as you know, and put it very carefully by in a little box where he kept his best jewels.

It happened a year or two after this that the Rajah of the country not far from where the Jeweller lived, wanted some precious stones for a new Chair of State, or “Takht,” and he sent his trusted messengers to all the jewellers round about the neighbourhood to make enquiries for gems, and especially for rubies.

The messengers came to the Jeweller who had the 13stone I have been telling you about, and they asked him whether he had any fine stones to sell. At first the Jeweller said, “No, my friends,” for he feared that the Rajah might take his jewels by force; but when they told him not to be afraid, for the Rajah was very rich but was in need of precious stones for his Chair of State, the Jeweller went to his little box, and bringing to them the stone that he had set such value upon, he proceeded to untie and unwind the soiled rags one by one, in the presence of the messengers.

When he had untied the last rag, what was his grief and agony of soul to find that the precious ruby was in two distinct pieces!

He gazed in amazement for a little, when suddenly, in the hearing of them all, a voice came from the broken ruby, saying, “Now, behold! I have on purpose made myself of no value or service to you! When I was on the donkey’s neck I was in the hands and charge of one who knew not my real value; when, again, I was on the Ferryman’s oar, he was just as ignorant of his treasure; when I came into your hands, who knew well my worth, you estimated my price at five to ten rupees only! Learn, therefore, not to undervalue what is good for a mean and selfish object; nor to disparage your best friend, or you will live to rue the day, and repent as bitterly as you now do and will do, for the remainder of your life.”



Once upon a time.”—The original words are “Tek vella,” and this is the best, almost the only interpretation.

Carry Grain.”—The carriers of grain are generally called in the district “Bunniâs” or corn chandlers, The word “Bunniâ” is of Sanscrit derivation. Usually they are very intelligent Hindus. The Donkey-man in this tale would more probably be one of the Farmer class, and a Mahomedan. Other grain carriers are Farmers and Banjāras.

Their best oxen or donkeys are held in high esteem, and they decorate them with all kinds of ornaments, such as shells, tassels of silk or wool of different colours, and frequently with bells.

The sacks used for carrying grain are usually made from goats’ hair, “Jutt,” and are woven by the Barber class, or “Nais.” Two are united over the back of the animal, and fitted so that when full the weight shall be balanced and carried with ease. A good donkey will carry from two to three “maunds,” after the Arabic word “mun.” A “maund” is equal to about 80 lbs.

You see.”—The original word is “Velcho,” really “Dekho,” the “V” being used instead of the “D” by some dwellers in this district.

Oar.”—The native word is “Chuppa,” “Chuppū” in Hindustani, requiring two or three men to use it.

Chiko bhâyo.”—“Chiko” is a corruption from the Hindustani word “Kheincho,” pull.

Jeweller.”—The translation would be perhaps better 15rendered by “lapidary.” A jeweller would be more correctly construed by the Sanscrit word “Sonar.”

In days gone by, though in some parts of India it is still the custom for lapidaries to wrap up their stones in bits of soiled rag, the more warily to secrete them from the agents of Rajahs and others, who might wish to despoil them.

Takht.”—The Persian word for a Throne, which it is usual with Rajahs to adorn with precious stones.

Note.—In the Punjab, Hindu Farmers worship their oxen and plough, Shepherds their sheep, Bankers and Clerks their books, Grain-sellers their weights, at certain stated festivals.—Crooke.

Chenâb.”—One of the five great rivers of the Punjaub. In the basins of the Chenâb and Jhelum are four distinct races. The Dogra, Pahari, Kashmiri, and Chaibati.

Nai.”—This class of Barber combines also Surgical practice, and in some places Priestly offices are assigned to them.

Ruby.”—The best rubies come from India, Burmah, and Ceylon; and the sapphire, topaz, and the emerald, though different in appearance, are chemically the same substance, or “Corundum.” A rose-red stone is distinguished as Balas-ruby. (See Balfour and Chambers.) The largest Oriental ruby is now a jewel in the Imperial Crown of Russia.

Note.—Precious stones have mystic virtues, and the belief of the narrator was so much hurt at its value being appraised so low, that it could not contain itself, and broke into two pieces.

16Note.—In the district there are the usual jokes amongst the people on the “Nais,” or Barbers, who, as it is said above, weave the sacks for the donkeys.

Naie nay sunâh
Sorray graunt nay sunâh.

The Barber has heard the news, so no fear but that all the village has heard it too.



Many years ago there lived in a village on the banks of the Indus River an old Fakir, by the name of Shah Bilâwal. Like most of his class he was living a life of mortification, frequently torturing himself; and the few garments that he wore were rotten and dirty. This old Fakir was one day crossing the River Chenâb in a boat with a number of other persons who were also bound for the other side.

After the boatmen had pushed off and had got well into the stream, they all fixed their eyes on the Fakir, who they thought was a mad man; for his appearance made him look like one.

Some of the company in the boat belonged to a class called “Bhânds,” and the boatman said to them “Cannot some one of you perform some act that will please the Spirit of the River “Kwaja Khizr,” so that we may reach the opposite shore in safety?”

Upon this, some of the Bhânds began to snigger and laugh at the Fakir, and tried to ridicule him in every possible way; but Shah Bilâwal, who was a devout man after his class, passed all their sneers away and took no notice of them.

Mockery, however, in Oriental philosophy, and in the traditions of all people, we know is looked upon with contempt.

18A voice came to the Fakir, “Are these mockers to be destroyed?” and he replied audibly, “No! make them sensible people to respect their Allah,” the Almighty.

Before they had arrived at the opposite shore they desisted from their fun and frolic, and paid all due respect to the Fakir, and became his followers ever afterwards.

In the course of time they all died, and their graves are to be seen in the village of “Lalliân,” in the district of Jang.


Fakir.”—So often described that little new can be really said. There are both Mahomedan and Hindu Fakirs. They are indeed ascetics and recluses, or monks who have retired from the world in all its temporal concerns, and have devoted themselves to a religious life.

Ordinarily they are poor men, and so they are mostly represented to be; but some of them are known to possess great wealth, and many are even landed proprietors. Some live in solitude, others in communities under a leader or ruler, and the house they congregate in is called a “Guddi,” literally, a seat or cushion, on which the head of the community sits.

The Mahomedan Fakirs in the district may be divided into, say four leading sects, viz., the Chishti, Nuksh-Bhudee, Kadria, and Malang. There is also a sub-division denominated “Majzub,” from the Arabic word 19“juzb,” which means absorbed. These latter, however, do not keep to the strict rules of Mahomed, and are known to take intoxicants to a great degree, and are called by the natives, “Ghair Sherrah,” or outside the pale. In the case of the Malang it was customary for them to go about in a state of nudity, but this has been prohibited for some time, and they now go about with hair loose and uncombed.

The Hindu Fakirs may be said to be sub-divided into three prominent sects, viz., the Sunyāsīs, the Byrâgis, and the Jogis. These three classes, and other sub-divisions also, have much in common, being all ascetics, and striving to attain a command over all elementary matter, while also endeavouring to effect a junction between the spirit in the body and the spirit pervading all Nature. The Sunyāsīs are followers of Siva, and the Byrâgis of Vishnu, while the Jogis, who also worship Siva, are close followers of the “Yoga” school of philosophy, which was introduced into India about the eighth century, under the name of the “Palanjula” school.

There is a peculiarity about the garments of the latter class, which are dyed with red ochre (geyrū). Their body is smeared with the ashes of burnt cow-dung, as are indeed the bodies of most of the other two classes.

There is a sub-division of the Jogis named “Kānpathay,” or “ear-torn,” from the fact of their ears being pierced at their initiation, in which they place sometimes a ring made from rhinoceros horn, or at other times a prickly seed, called a “Moodma.” Those who do not bore the ear are often called “Ongur.”

20The Byrâgis, or more correctly Virāgis, use a short stick, on which they lean to support themselves when reclining on the ground. The stick is mostly crooked, and they place it beneath the arm-pits. It is called a Byrâga, by some a “Zafr-tukeea.”[1]

Many of the Jogis bury their dead in a sitting posture, and place rock salt round the body. Some of these Hindu Fakirs carry medicines, and others again, water from the Ganges for sale. One may meet with many also with a dry gourd slung over their shoulders, with the upper part cut to act as a sort of handle. These gourds are frequently covered with the ashes of cow-dung when in growth, and are allowed to remain until they are ripe with seed, so that they may be as hard as possible in the rind.

The “Gosains” are also a numerous sect of Hindu mendicants. The etymology of the word is from the Sanskrit, and means “Master of the senses and passions.” They are to be found mostly in Southern India. A complete Gosain is a celibate, and will only eat with a Brahman or Rajpoot. Some of them have considerable property, and keep elephants and horses.

Bhând.”—Literally a clown or buffoon, employed often to make sport at festivals and other assemblages of the people.

Spirit of the River.”—River worship is common amongst most Aryan tribes, and nearly every river has its tutelary divinity who presides over it. The voice would, in the belief of the Fakir, have come from this Spirit.

1.  Literally a Pillar of Victory. See “Qanoon Islam” for tribes of Fakirs.

21The practice of religious veneration for rivers by these races no doubt preceded that given to them by the ancient Greeks and Romans. We read of Xerxes of Persia offering sacrifices to the River Strymon, on his way to Greece.

Kwaja Khizr, a Mahomedan Saint, is acknowledged to be the special god of water, with whom it is well to keep on the best of terms. In one of their trite sayings they express themselves thus:

Khuddhee thay vusnah
Thay Khawja hat baiyr!

“What! live on the River bank, and be at enmity with Kwaja!”

Opposite to Rohri, on the Indus, is the Island of Khawja Khizr, and there is now a Mosque on it, with an inscription dated 952 A.D.

—(See Crooke, Murray, and Balfour).

The Mahomedans, on Thursdays in the month “Bhādon,” float little lamps on rafts called Bērah, as an offering to this Saint. Sometimes they have the face of a female, and the crest and breast of a peacock at the prow.

Kwaja Khizr is thought by Moslems to be immortal, and to perambulate the earth in a green garment, and to appear to different people. By some he is supposed to be St. George of England, and they term him Khizr Elias.



In a village situated on the banks of the Indus, the “Abaseine,” or Father of Rivers as it is called, there dwelt many years ago, an Imam, or “Mullah,” a President of the Mosque, who had come to be much respected by the people for the constant and regular manner in which he officiated, and walked closely in the ways of the Prophet. In his time many used to go to Mosque who never went before. This Imam had his fees of course, for the performance of Nikahs, or marriages, and other rites of the Mahomedan faith, some of which he bestowed on the sick and poor. On festival days, besides an increase of fees, he generally received clothes and other articles from the faithful, so that in point of fact he made a rich harvest.

Towards the latter end of his days, however, this Imam contracted habits of stinginess, yet he never failed to preach liberality to others, and above all, the giving of alms to the sick and poor.


He would tell the faithful, “You must always give what you can, and if you have no money, give them of the food you prepare for yourselves, and ever remember” he said, “that those who do this the most exactly will obtain the best blessings, and if you give them dishes 23of a savoury nature, so much the greater merit, and so much the better for you.”

This Imam had but one wife, devoted to his interests in every way, and with the strongest belief in her husband’s sanctity and sincerity, and she looked up to him as her spiritual guide and teacher.

She had noticed for some time, however, how niggardly he was becoming, and her neighbours had also remarked this to her, “But,” they said, “he never ceases to preach to us to give dainty dishes to the poor.”

All this distressed the wife, so she made up her mind that she would try one day to hear what the Imam actually did preach to the people.

Now, the Mosque was situated on the road-side, and there was an open window to that side, and as his wife knew that she could not be admitted to the Mosque, she made up her mind to listen at the window.

One day when she got there quite unperceived, she saw the Imam with his face toward Mecca, and he was telling the people just as the neighbours had told her, viz., “That whatever you do, give alms to the poor, and nice dishes when you can, for this will bring you a blessing at the last.”

When she heard this she said to herself, “If this is so, and I believe it, I make a vow from this day forward to send nice dishes to the poor, for I am not going to be behind others in this duty.” Whereupon she at once prepared and cooked daily such dishes as she could, and then sent them to the poor living round about her; and sometimes she would spend a good deal of money in the 24purchases she made for the cooking of “Pulāo” and “Parātha” (sweet pudding and cake).

This she had continued to do for some time, when one day her husband returned from the Mosque a little earlier than usual, and she was herself a little late, and coming into the house and seeing the dishes ready and on a tray, he thought that they had been sent as a gift. Opening the covers he exclaimed, “Oh! Mother of Mahomed! we are indeed in luck’s way. Who, in the name of fortune, can be the blessed of the faithful who has sent us such a savoury meal? Why! here is Pulāo! and cakes! and I do not know what beside! What a delicious feast!”

“No one, sir,” replied the wife, “has sent this, but I have prepared it for the poor!”

“What!” said he, “of our money? And what have you spent, pray?” He became very angry, and she could only wait till he was quiet; then she said, “Did you not preach to the people, and I dare say do so still, that those who give dainty dishes to the poor shall be blessed hereafter? Did you not say that prayer carries us halfway to Allah, fasting to His palace gates; but only alms-giving gets us in? Yes, I have heard you say so myself!” He replied, “You wretched woman, how and when did you hear this? And if you did hear it, my advice was for others, not for ourselves; I never meant that we were to send to others, but that others were to send to us, and you must stop this waste at once; do you hear me?” “Yes, I hear you, but I cannot stop it now, for I have made a solemn promise and vow that I will continue this 25to my dying day. You have said, and I always believe what you say, that the best blessings attend those who give dainty dishes to the poor; and you don’t want me to be blessed, eh?”

The Imam then said, “If you go on in this way, and spend my money, I shall be ill.” And sure enough, he did not rise the next morning in time to go to the Mosque, a duty he had not failed in for years. His wife went to rouse him, but he would not get up. At last she said, “All the people will be waiting for you.” “I cannot help that,” he replied, “but if you will break your wicked vow, I will at once get up and go to the Mosque.” “No,” she said, “I have already told you I will on no account break my vow, and all your talking will never shake my purpose,” “Well, then,” said the Imam, “I shall certainly take to my bed and die.” “Then die you must,” said she, “but remember that if you do not go to the Mosque, they will put in some other man instead of you, and you will be the loser.”

This, however, had no effect upon him, and when she went again to see him he once more asked her to break her vow, and she as steadily refused. She then left him for the night, and the next morning when she went to see him he was to all appearances dead, and failing to get any response, she called in her friends and neighbours, who pronounced that he had truly passed away; and then they sent up the usual cries and lamentations in such cases. The day following, according to custom, the body was washed (ghussal), covered with a shroud, and laid ready on a bier, and shortly after carried to the Cemetery, or 26“Kaburistān,” under a chorus of mournful voices, saying, “There is no Deity but Allah, and Mahomed is his prophet,” or in their own words, viz., La-il-la-ha. Illul-la-ho. Mahommadoor Rassool-oolahe.

The wife contrived to secrete herself in the procession, for she well knew that no woman could go to the graveside, and when the bier was waiting after the funeral prayers of “takbir” and “dua” had been said, she came to the front, and asked to have one more look at her husband. The funeral service contains four Tukbeers (creeds) and the Dua (blessing). (See Funeral Obsequies in Jaffur Shurreef’s “Qanoon-e-Islam.”) Those round about the body were for moving her away, but others cried, “Let her be! Let her be!” Going near the bier she whispered, “You are just going into the grave; you had better think better of it.” “So I will,” he replied softly, “if you will break your vow.” Drawing her lips tightly together, she gave a final “No!” and then called out at the top of her voice, “Friends and neighbours, this is the time for charity; you see my husband is dead; now go to my house, and take away what things you like. I shall not want them any more, and they are of no further use to your old Imam.”

She had scarcely uttered these words when the Imam rose from the bier like a ghost, scaring away many of the sorrowing mourners near by. “Wait!” he cried out; “release me; I am not dead, but only in a trance. Hear ye! all of you, what this wretched woman says, and mark well her extravagance and waste. When I lived with her she squandered my money, and now, when I was on the 27point of being buried, she gives away my possessions. She shall not, however, have her way now with what I possess at my death, do what she will with the money-bag while I am alive.”

It was some time before the people could be reconciled to the belief that their old Imam had come to life again, but when they were, he was taken back amid much wonder and rejoicing. He appeared again at Mosque, and lived for some time afterwards, determined to defy his wife as to the disposal of his goods after death, while she gained her wicked will in regard to his property while alive, and continued to send her savoury dishes to the poor.

So you see, my friends, it was the woman, after all, who won the day.


Aba-seine.”—The river Indus is so termed in the Pushtu language, and the word comes from the Arabic: Aba, father, and Seine, a river. Pushtu is spoken in the region of Kandahar Kafiristan, and round about Attock, and is said to bear a similarity to the Semitic and Iranian languages.

Imam.”—From the Arabic, a leader in religious affairs; a priest of the Mahomedan faith; answers to “Mullah,” or “Mulwanah.” In the district round about Ghazi, and in other parts of India, the “Imam,” or “Mullah,” performs many religious offices. He often calls 28to prayer as a “Muezzin,” from the Arabic word “Izn,” and generally this is done from a minaret of the Mosque. After prayers, where with his face to Mecca he leads the worshippers, he collects the boys of the village and teaches them the Koran. He also bathes and washes the deceased male members of the faith, and prepares the body for burial, and puts on the “Kuffun,” or shroud. This Kuffun or shroud consists of three pieces of cloth if for a man, and five if for a woman, and must be white. After shrouding the body, they tie one band above the head, a second below the feet, and a third about the chest. He is present at all marriages, or “Nikahs.”

Pulāo.”—From a Persian word, and means a kind of sweet pudding of meat with flour, ghee, and sugar, and sometimes raisins mixed with it.

Parata.”—Or “Parātha,” a kind of bread or cake made from wheaten flour mixed with butter or ghee, and of several layers like pie-crust, and put on a griddle over a slow fire.

Moslem Grave.”—This is dug down for about five feet or so, north and south. For a woman the depth should be to the height of a man’s chest, if for a man to the height of the waist. At the base a recess is cut out from the soil for the reception of the body, which is laid on its back, and the head is so turned as to be facing Mecca. In ordinary soils after the body has been put in the recess, slates or stones are placed to prevent the filled-in soil from coming in contact with the body. If the soil is sandy it is kept up by the use of chatties, or earthenware vessels, in lieu of slates or stones. There 29is always a stone placed on the surface at head and foot, to indicate the position of the body. These are called “Moonee.” The grave of a female is indicated by a third stone, placed between the others.

In the Ghazi district some of these head-stones are very high, often of five or six feet in height, and of slate, which is readily obtained in the neighbourhood.

On some of these slates used as tombstones it is customary to delineate over the graves of important Mahomedan personages, and known to have been devout men, sketches of the Rosary, or “Thusbee,” the goblet, or “Kooza,” and the tooth-stick, or “Miswak.” This stick, used as a dentifrice, is made here from the root of the “Pilvo” tree. In the village of “Kazeepur,” the names of the deceased are sometimes painted on the slates.[2]

2.  Some people make various kinds of niches for lamps near the head of the grave called Churagdān.

Generally the graveyards of the Mussulmen are near the road-side, that the deceased may receive the benefit of the “Dua Khair,” or solemn prayers of devout passers-by.

Note.—Kazeepur has its local sayings also. Once a very devout man, and a born poet, visited this village and also that of Ghazi; his name was “Peeloh,” and it is currently said that before he quitted the district he ascended the Gundghur Hills, opposite to Harripur, and left the following lines with one of the bards of the village.

Peeloh! cheriya Gundgurh thay
Kias kureh khalo
Agê vagê Sinde Rani
Pichê vagê Haro.
30Chach binah Summundur dhay
Jo gudhê soho
Dhunnie gurray Rungaree
Bhummy baithê ro.
Peeloh ascended the Hills of Gundgurh
Was wrapped in deepest thought.
Before him was the Indus,
Behind him the Haro.
The plains of Chach like a sea are there
Where to plant ’tis sure to sprout,
But to sow your field in the soil of Dhunnie
You may well sit by its side and weep.

Another of their poets, a Pathan, and a man of “Huzro,” beholding Cashmere from the Mountains and the vale of the country stretched out before him, burst, it is said, into the following stanzas:

Kashmere to ajub ja hai
Juthay âp Khudâ râza hai
Kea kishtee! kea howa hai
Yek seir hai Huzrut “Bul” key
Vo tâkht-l-Suleemâni
Kashmere ka thanda pâni.
Cashmere is a wonderful place
Where even God finds pleasure.
Behold the boats! and how sublime is the air!
One excursion is to the Shrine of Huzrut “Bul,”
Another to the Mountain, the “Throne of Solomon.”
Cashmere too! how cool and refreshing is your water!

Musjid.”—The word is Arabic and from the root Sijdah, to bow; musjid, place of bowing; in the original a corrupted pronounciation is used, as “musseeth.”

Note (see “Imam”).—The natives of the district have 31a rather pithy saying when referring to an incompetent Imam, or Mullah.

Neem Mullâhn Kuthray iman,
Neem Hakeem Kuthray ijan.
Half a Priest endangers your salvation;
Half a Doctor imperils your life.

Miserly.”—-The word for miser is in the original “Shūm,” an Arabic word. Misers are held in great detestation by the people, and they have many sayings about them. One is the soliloquy of a stingy man to a copper coin which he had held tightly in his hand on a hot day until a drop of perspiration fell from it.

Paisa ne rô
Merah pallay buddhay rô
Mungee, pinnee, Khansâhn
Thookee, na kurchay sânh.
Weep not! my beloved Pice!
You shall not leave the hem of my garment.
I will ask, I will beg, and thus maintain my lot,
And never suffer you to be paid away.

Stories of misers are to be found in every country, and in Chinese Folk-lore it is told of a mean and stingy king that in peace time he caused his cavalry to dismount, that their horses might be used in the Government mills. War came; the horses were returned to the men, but they kept to their habit, and still persisted in going in a circle.—Dennys.

There is a saying also amongst the Punjabis that all misers are wretched, and collect money only for others to 32enjoy. They tell a tale of a miser who was once visited by some friends, and he advanced to meet them, and said:

“Aoo bow sujjeenâh
Ghur bar Toomhâhrâ
Khur. Peeoh apnâh
Burthun Khumbiarrâh
Rul mil Charreeay ‘Kicheree,’
Purr ‘Ghee’ Toomhâhrâ
Heeahn juggâh tung hai
Bâhair Thakur Dhivarrâh.”
“Come in; pray sit down, my friends,
The house and all its contents are yours.
You must, however, provide your own meats and drinks,
and perhaps we’ll share in making some ‘Kicheree,’
though you must contribute the Ghee.
See how narrow, too, my home is, so let us adjourn
outside to the enclosure of the Idol house, where
you can do all the cooking for me.”

Note.—The Rosary[3] is, as has been said, (remarked under “Moslem grave,”) called a “Thusbee” by the Mahomedans; it is also called “Mâllânh” by the Hindus. The aimless counting and turning over of the beads by some is thus denounced by the people of the district:

3.  The name comes from the Latin word “Rosarium,” a garden or chaplet of roses.

Dhil dhâ minkâh aik nâh sattaynn
Thay gyn sattaynn panj Veeânh.
You turn not one of the beads of your heart, though you
repeat Five score of them on your rosary.

Note.—It may not be generally known that the “Thusbee” or Rosary consists of 100 beads separated by a long bead called “Shumshah” (from the Arabic, 33meaning “tassels” on a rosary) over which there are ten beads called “Shummâr” (from the Persian, meaning “counting”). When one round of prayers is completed a special short prayer is often added, or the name of Allah is repeated on it one thousand times.

At the completion of the 100 beads, one bead is separated on the Shummâr, and so on each time, in order to count the 1,000 epithets of Allah if it should be so desired. To comprehend the mystic sound of the beads are matters of “Marifat,” or knowledge of Allah!

The beads are made mostly from the “Kaoo” wood, or wild olive, which in some places is called “Zythoon.” Walking sticks are often made of it. There are, however, beads made from the sacred clay found near Mecca and called “Khaka sharreef”; some are also made of glass or agates. Some prefer to have coloured glass beads after every 33 of the wooden beads. In early times frequently almonds and nuts were used for counting.

The Mâllânh of the Hindus consists of 108 beads, independent of one at the top called “Sumer.” As in the Hindu Ghastra there are 108 special letters, 54 of which are written upright and 54 downward, so this number has been fixed for the Mâllânh. The top bead is to indicate the completion of the 108. The special worshippers of “Krishna” (the eighth incarnation of Vishnu) have rosaries made from the “Tulsi” wood (O’cymum Sanctum or Holy Basil). Tulsi was a nymph beloved by Krishna, and by him metamorphosed into this plant. The wood is held in high veneration by all Hindus. Much of this wood comes from Mathra, India. The large bead in a Hindu 34rosary called a “Sumeru” after a high mountain, on the summit of which is supposed to reside the Hindu deities of Vishnu, Siva, and several others of lesser note. This bead remains fixed in the hand, and is not turned over in counting.

The Brahmins, when they repeat their prayers on a rosary, designate them under the term “Gayathri,” the mother of the Vedas, and of which there are five, according to the number of the principal deities. Gayathri is a form of metre, and is repeated inaudibly in the daily morning worship of the Brahmins.

Nikah.”—This is the name given to marriages amongst Moslems, as “Nikah namah” is the marriage certificate.

The Nikah is the form of words used by the Kazi or Priest, and the Shadi or rejoicings are additional at the will of the relatives. Nikah is the binding ceremony, and Shadi is considered a more respectable form, and is attended with rejoicings,

Nikah is an Arabic word, and Shadi a Persian, meaning pleasure and delight.



In another Hûjra in the village of “Thuvee,” on the left bank of the Indus, the young men of the place had collected one day, as was their custom, when one of their number called for a tale, and very shortly the well-known narrator of the village began by saying: There was once a great King, a very great King, an earthly King, for this great King has gone to his dust long ago, but the greatest King of all is above. The King I am going to tell you about lived in ancient times, and he looked after his country very well, and had about him some clever Ministers, but he was not happy in his home. He had two sons, the younger being very fair and good-looking, and the King had them trained in all manner of learning that they might succeed him in the kingdom.

Unfortunately, this younger son became at times very riotous, and offended his father on many occasions, and though only a youth he became so disobedient and troublesome that his father decided on banishing him from his Palace. One morning when the son arose he found that his shoes were “apoota,” or turned the wrong way, so he knew from that, that he was to be turned away from home.

36At a loss to know what to do, he went to his best friend and told him what had happened, and after consulting together they said, “We must at once fly this country, and seek our fortune in another country.” So providing themselves with money and horses and provisions for a few days, they mounted their horses and set off on their journey, not knowing where to go. They took the high road for some miles, and then, lest they might be pursued, they struck off into the jungles, and night coming on they picketed their horses under a tree and slept up the tree themselves for fear of wild beasts. This they continued to do for several nights, wandering through the jungles in the daytime. One evening they noticed at some little distance what they thought to be smoke, so they pushed on in the hope of finding some assistance and welcome in the dreary woods of the forest.

All of a sudden they came upon a hut surrounded with trees and brushwood, and hearing no sound they thought that it had been deserted, but listening very attentively they overheard the groans of a man as if in pain. Dismounting, they opened the little door of the hut, and there they saw a very old Fakir, bent almost double, and like to a bundle of rags, and lying on a sort of raised place in the corner. “Arrah! Kaun hai?” he called out, which means “Who is there?” They then told him that they were benighted in the jungles, had consumed all their food for themselves and their horses, and were about to seek their fortune in the King’s country which was somewhere here-about, they thought. “Can you please give us first 37some food, and then point us out the way to the King’s country?” Upon this the old Fakir scrambled off his bed place, and by the light of the small fire he looked at them very narrowly, and at last he said to the King’s son, “Bucha (son), I will see what I can do for you.” Presently he went a little distance outside his hut and blew a sort of whistle, and in less than no time a whole troop of Lungoors (large monkeys) came hurriedly down from the trees, chattering amongst themselves, and looking up into his face. “Go! ten of you, at once,” he said, “to the nearest village, loot it, and bring food for these travellers and corn for their horses.” Without more ado, off went a party of them in great haste, and in a very short space of time back they came with food and corn, and put it down at the feet of the Fakir, who seemed to speak a word of encouragement, and they departed.

After feeding their horses and refreshing themselves with a little food the travellers were about to take their leave of the old Fakir, and trust themselves again to their wanderings, when the Fakir said “No! you must not go without protection.” So saying, he gave another whistle, and more “Lungoors” came, and detaching about twenty of them he told them to go before the travellers and to put them on the high road leading to the King’s country, and then slightly raising his voice he said, “And mind you do not go beyond your boundary.”

Taking a kindly leave of the Fakir, the travellers left the hut, guarded with this escort of “Lungoors,” who, first on the ground, and then on the trees in front, seemed to point out to them a way through the jungles. After 38they had threaded their way for a considerable distance, until it was about the dawn of the morning, the “Lungoors” began to pause, and then all of a sudden they came to a dead stop, so the travellers knew that they must have come as far as their boundary.

Shortly afterwards they heard a great stampede amongst the trees, and all their “Lungoors” dispersed in an instant; then there seemed to be a great fight going on amongst them everywhere about, and screams of the most unearthly nature, such as they had never heard in their lives before. Morning then coming on, they pressed their steeds towards an opening in the jungle, and soon reached the high road. And so, on they went at an easy pace until they saw in the distance the walls and smoke of a great city, and the towers of a great palace. Arriving at the gates they went in, and proceeded at once to the Palace, and asked to be taken into the Royal presence. Ere long they were ushered before the King, and narrated their adventures, which both interested and amused him very much.

The King was pleased to give them service under him, and they remained at his Court for some years. Not receiving any news of their own country, they obtained leave from the King to visit it.

Upon their return thither, they went at once in some fear to the Palace, expecting that the anger of the King might still be poured out upon them; but when they told their story the King received them back into favour, and gave to his son an office in the State, and promoted the friend who had been his companion through their travels.

The son then bethought him of doing something in 39return to the kind old Fakir who had befriended them in the jungles, and he sent a party to persuade him to come to the Palace to live near him. The Fakir declined to leave his hut, so the party returned. At last the King’s son went himself, and took with him a Palkee, or covered carriage, and brought off the Fakir to his Palace. He gave him a beautiful room, with Persian carpets on the floor, and all other luxuries, and hoped that he might spend the few more years he might have to live, in every possible comfort. But the old Fakir felt everything very distasteful to him, and the more the King’s son tried to make him at his ease, the more distressed the old man became, so that in the end the Prince had to allow him to return to his hut in the jungle where he had spent nearly all his life, with the “Lungoors” as his friends.

In course of time the news was brought to the King’s son that the old Fakir was dead, so he and his friend had him conveyed to the city, where he was buried in great pomp; and afterwards a noble Shrine was erected to his memory, and a yearly visit was ever afterwards paid to it by the King’s son and his devoted friend.


Apoota.”—Possibly from the Hindustani word “poot,” meaning upside down, inverted, or from the Sanscrit word “Apoot,” meaning an undutiful son. The son’s shoes, which he left the night before as he withdrew his feet from them, 40were found by him the next morning turned round, an understood custom to indicate dismissal, or banishment.

Bucha.”—A Persian word, signifying son, or child, and often used as a term of affection from old to young.


Lungoor.”—The word is Sanscrit and means baboon, but baboons generally inhabit Africa, but there is a Bengal Langūr (Presbitis entellus) and to these large monkeys the tale would no doubt refer. Monkeys play an important part in many folk-tales, and naturally so, for they are held in high respect by all Hindus, and indeed are objects of worship by most of that faith. “Hanuman” is the name of the “monkey god” of the Ramayana, who assisted Rama in his campaign against the giant Ravana to recover Sita. (See Crooke’s “Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India.”) It is a belief with many that they were once human beings, and that they refrain from using the voice of man lest they should be compelled to work. In Northern India these “Lungoors” are called “Ghunee.” The story is told of a “Gujuri,” or milk seller, that she got married and left her own village. After some time, by an adroit habit of adding half water to her milk, she put together a good sum of money. The husband died, so she determined to return to her village, and she put her rupees in a bag, or what is called a “humyāni” (made of cloth or netting, and arranged to tie round the waist). Passing through the town of Ajudhya, where is a great Shrine to the monkey god Hanuman, and where many monkeys live in the trees that overhang the tank near the Shrine, she made up her mind to bathe in the holy water. Divesting herself of her clothes, she placed them on the 41bank, and the “humyani” she hid beneath them. Occupied with her bathing and praying, she did not perceive that the monkeys had come down, and were overhauling her garments. At last to her surprise and regret, she saw her “humyani” in the hands of a big monkey, and that he was off up the trees with it. “Oh Hanuman! Oh Hanuman!” she besought him, “restore to me my money.” But there he was, opening the bag, and soon he threw down one rupee to her on the bank, and the next rupee into the water, and thus he continued to do until he had emptied the bag. Then he called out, “See! I have given you the half for your milk, and the other half has gone to the water, to which it rightly belongs, and not to you.”

Hanuman is a Hindu deity, and said to be a son of Siva. He is set up in temples, and supplicated on birth-days to obtain longevity.

Note.—Monkeys, we know, chatter and gibber, and are celebrated for tricks. A voice is produced by most mammals, birds, and reptiles, by which they make known their wants and feelings; but to speak with the human voice by imitation merely, is given only to birds, and to very few of those. The power of the lower creation to speak and to understand the human language passes, however, through the folk-tales of every country. On the hill Jako, near Simla, it is well known that the Monkeys are fed by a Fakir, who has taken up his abode amongst them, and they come down in troops at his well known call. (See page 114, Royal Natural History, edited by Richard Lydekker, F.G.S., F.Z.S., etc., etc.

42Shrines.”—In many towns and villages there are shrines of celebrated Saints which are called “Chillas” and in some places “Astanas.” They are also termed “Karbala,” after the place where Hussain, the son of Ali, was killed and buried. Throughout the whole of India the common belief is that the spirit of their ancestors is, in some form or another, in many animals and birds, and that when they choose they can speak to man and understand what he says.



Secundur (Alexander the Great) of curly locks like horns and fiery eyes, for such is the translation of Zulf-kur-nain, came to India, you know, a great many years ago.

He came to conquer, but his principal reason for leaving his country was in order that he might drink of the Ab-Hyātt, or Water of Life, which he had been told was to be found in the hills of India.

For a very long time he wandered about in Northern India, but could not discover any tidings about this Water of Life, till one day after conquering a special tribe of people, he demanded of them where the spring could be found.

They replied that they had heard about it as somewhere in the hills above where they resided, but that they had never been there, and they added that no one could get there, for that the spring could only be approached through a number of winding passages in the jungle, and there was the fear of never getting back, if even you could succeed in reaching it.

Secundur said to them, “Well then, cannot you tell me what I can do, for I have come all this way to drink of this water?” They replied they could only suggest to him that if he could procure a mare that had recently 44foaled, and could picket the foal at the entrance to the winding paths, he might ride the mare to the spring, and that she would be sure, from the love for her foal, to bring him safely back to the entrance.

This plan Secundur adopted, and eventually reached the spring from whence was bubbling up the Water of Life. He stooped down, and had taken up some of the water in his two hands joining them together like a cup, and was about to raise the water to his lips, when he heard a noise like kurr! kurr! several times repeated, and looking up he saw a large Raven perched on a rock and shaking its head and crying out in a human voice, “Don’t drink! Don’t drink! Look at my piteous plight! See what a state I have come to by drinking this water; only a mass of skin and bone and not a feather left, and so I have been for many years, and shall never die!”

Upon hearing this Secundur threw back the water into the spring and cried out, “Ya! Nuseeb! Ya! Nuseeb! Oh, my fate! and so I am not to drink the Water of Life after all my efforts to do so. What shall I do? and I must believe this Raven, the bird of fate and omen.”

Secundur then remounted the mare and retraced his steps, and as the villagers said, true enough she had no difficulty in wandering in and out amongst the paths till she came again to her foal.

He then returned to his camp, very sorrowful, and in order to relieve his mind he used to take long walks alone, and always dressed in the plainest garb.


He had gone a long distance from the camp when one day he met some villagers, and found out from them 45that there were two wonderful “Trees” near their village which had the magic power to answer questions put to them, and that their replies were always quite correct. They said, “But we must get old men to go with you, for they do not understand young men, nor do young men understand them,”

This they did, and when Secundur was approaching the “Trees” there was a voice heard, “Here comes Secundur! the great king Secundur!” Whereupon the villagers fell down at his feet to ask his pardon, for they had thought him all along as a common traveller.

Secundur at once allayed their fears and said, “Never mind! put to the ‘Trees’ the questions I ask you.” And he said, “Ask how long I have to live.” And the reply came, “Seven years!” “Ask again, How long it will take me to return to my country.” And the reply came again, “Seven years!” “Oh sorrow upon sorrow!” said Secundur: “It was not my “Kismut” (fate) to drink the Water of Life, and now it is not my “Kismut” to see again my mother, for I am sure to be delayed on my way back to my native land.”

Upon return to his camp he ordered that it should be moved the next day, and march in the direction of his own country. He had not made many marches when he came to a town, and the people came out to meet him, asking him to deliver them out of the hands of “Freebooters” who were continually raiding upon them.

Secundur remained with them for some time, and taught them how to build a wall round the town, but all this delayed him on his way back, as he thought it would.

46Being still very sorrowful, he sent one day for two or three of his Ministers and said to them, “My home is yet a long way off, and who can tell whether I shall live to return to it? so I am going to give you a command, and you are to write down what I say; and should I die suddenly the letter which you shall write at my dictation, and which I will sign, and which you will keep, shall be at my death sent to my mother and delivered into her hands. Now write as follows:

“From your son Secundur:

“I am near dying, and have had this letter written to you and have signed it myself. It is the custom of this country that when a person dies in a family, cooked bread is always given away in charity to the poor, for it is supposed to do good to the deceased. Now, I am going to ask you when you hear of my death, only to give cooked bread in charity to those who have never lost a relation. Again, should you ever come to the place of my burial and call out, ‘Secundur, Zulf-kur-Nain,’ I will reply to you from my grave.”

Now the first request was so designed because Alexander knew that his mother could not find a family that had not to mourn some loss or other; and she would thus come to see that she was not alone in her grief, and that all human beings were afflicted with the death of relatives.

As the tale goes, said the narrator, Secundur did die, and was buried, and the letter was sent to his mother.

Just prior to his death, however, he called before him all his Ministers and said, “When you are carrying my corpse to the grave let all my troops of every arm of the 47force follow me, and outside of my shroud let one of my hands be placed with the palm uppermost.”

Of course in those days Ministers never said “No” to the commands of the King, so they all exclaimed, “Your commands, Sire, shall be obeyed!”

When they had come out from the Presence, however, they said one to another, “That is a singular command of the King! Whoever heard of troops following a dead General? We must really again go and enquire if these are his precise instructions.” But they feared to go all together, so deputed the favourite Minister to go into the Presence, who made his salaam, and repeating the King’s commands, asked if these were to be carried out.

“Send for them again,” said the King, “Send for all these ignorant Ministers!” When they came he taxed them with their want of sense and said, “Do you not see that by ordering all my troops to follow me to the grave I wanted to show to you and to all the world that ‘Secundur’ though he conquered with such troops, they could not save him from death; and by placing my hand out of the shroud, that you and all else might know that empty were my hands when I came into the world, and empty are they when I go out of it.” “Oh King!” said they all, “now we truly comprehend the meaning.”

This all happened just before he died, and everything was done as the King commanded; and the letter was given into the hands of a Minister to convey to the mother, as I told you.

Upon receiving the letter the mother, though borne down with her great sorrow, did not long delay before 48she set out to visit the grave of her son. Now there were many graves and many tombs in the graveyard, and she wandered up and down for a long time, calling out, “Secundur! Oh my Secundur! my beloved Secundur!” but no reply came from any of the tombs.

Then the thought crossed her mind that the letter had said that she was to call out, “Secundur Zulf-kur-Nain.” So this she did, and was at once replied to by her son who said, “Did I not tell you to call out” Secundur Zulf-kur-Nain’ for there are many Secundurs here?” “Yes, alas!” she replied, and the voice then ceased to speak, and though she waited it never spoke again.

Now the design of Secundur by this, was also to give his mother another reason for pacifying her grief in knowing that there were many “Secundurs” who had died and had been buried, and that she was not the only mother in the world who had lost a Secundur.


Zulf-kur-Nain.”—A compound of the two words “Zulf” and “Kernain.” The first in Persian represents a curl, and the latter is from the Arabic word “Kernai,” a horn. It is supposed that “Secundur” or Alexander the Great had two curls on his forehead like horns, so he was given the surname of “He of the two Horns.” (See Hughes.)

Ab-Hyātt.”—-Ab, Persian for water; Hyātt, Arabic for life. The incident of Alexander’s search for the Water 49of Life is referred to by Crooke in these words: “According to the ‘Sikandar-Nama’ (written A.D. 1200 by Abu-Mahomed) Kwaja Khizr was a saint of Islam who presided over the well of immortality, and directed Alexander of Macedon in his vain search for the blessed waters. The fish is his vehicle, and hence its image is painted over the doors of both Hindus and Mahomedans, while it became the family crest of the late Royal House of Oudh.” As to Alexander, it is generally the result of a great name to be enshrined in fables, and as it has been said, to become the basis of mythopœic fiction as in this tale.

Raven.”—The word used for this bird by the narrator was Dhur-Kōwa; Kōwa, literally meaning a crow, answering to the word Kawwâ in Hindustani.

The natives of the district draw a great contrast between the raven and the crow. With them the former is an emblem of greed and rapacity; the latter, of quickness and cunning. They hold the raven to be a bird of ill omen, and are not singular in their belief. In some of our own country-sides they are said to forbode death.

“The boding raven on her cottage sat
And with hoarse croakings warned us of our fate,”—Gay.

The raven is often, in the legends of other countries, referred to as a bird which causes disappointment. Apollo sent a raven on a message, but he perched on a fig-tree and there waited until the fruit was ripe. There is also the memorable instance recorded in Holy Writ of the Raven sent out from the Ark. There are traditions too, about other birds, but that which is considered the most 50ominous is the “Ghoo Ghoo” owl, Ghoo Ghoo being the Hindustani word for this peculiar owl, whose sound is dreaded as a devil-bird. Of the smaller owls they have no such fear.

Note.—There is a native saying in the district in regard to the habits of the crow, which may appear to be asleep, but is ever on the alert.

Kânh kirrar khutâh dhâh
Vyssâh nah karreeay sathrydhâh
Put little trust in a sleeping crow, a bunniah, or a dog; their eyes
are open though they appear to sleep.

It is as well to add here under this tale of “Secundur” the words they apply to the uncertainty of his great life.

Saddhânh nâh Baghay “Bulbul” bolaynh
Saddhânh nâh Bâgh Baharânh
Saddhânh nâh Raj khusheedhâ hondhâh
Saddhânh nâh Mujlio Tarrânh.
For ever the Bulbul in the garden warbles not;
For ever the garden is not green and flourishing;
For ever kings do not reign in unalloyed happiness;
For ever friends each other’s society enjoy not.

Note as to owl omens.—Certain physical infirmities in man are reckoned inauspicious, and forbode evil, such as to be blind of one eye. It is very unlucky to look at a one-eyed man, and even if he should be in a high position, as was the case a long while ago with a celebrated chieftain in the North of India, he does not escape a sneer.

When he put an increased tax on the weavers, it is said they taunted him in the following rhyme:

51Jowahur Singh kanah
Thray rupeea khuddee. Panj rupeea tana
Jowahur Singh, the one-eyed man,
Fixes a tax of three rupees on the hole we sit in, and five rupees on the warp besides.

Again, they have a saying as to those to be avoided:

Kurria Brâhman
Gorâ Soodh
Kotay gurduniah
Kunjah Rajpoot.
A black Brahmin,
A fair-coloured Soodh (Soodhra, or low caste)
A short-necked person
A blue or grey-eyed Rajpoot.

There are many other evil omens too numerous to mention; such as, meeting a corpse being carried to burial; an oil seller; or a woman with an empty water-pot; a crow sitting on a dry tree with no water near. The reverse of the picture is lucky; so it would be a piece of good fortune to see a crow sitting on a tree near where there was water.

With some Hindus it is unfortunate when setting out on a journey for one of the party to sneeze, and they generally get down for a while until the evil spell, supposed to be from an evil bird is believed to be over. Men of the sweeper caste are often called “Kal-jibha,” or black-tongued, and whose curses always prevail.

Trees.”—There is a universal belief amongst Hindus that in most trees certain spirits take up their abode, and that to destroy a tree is to disturb the spirits, who have 52to be appeased by offerings of grain and oil to keep off evil consequences to the village.

There are certain special trees in addition to the two oracular trees of Alexander, called by the natives Mather and Emaüsae, notably the Ficus religiosa, or “Pepul” tree, towards which their veneration shews itself in devotional acts which may be termed “Tree worship.” In the Hazara and other districts it is not an uncommon thing to see small hollow shrines placed beneath this particular class of tree, containing a small lamp, and sprinkled over with yellow ochre and oil, while the tree itself is encircled by a white thread.

One such tree was planted years ago in the jail for Indian transports at Singapore; the charge of which was for years under Major McNair, one of the authors of this volume. It was called by the Hindus “Aswatha,” and it was currently believed that it spoke and sang through the points of its heart-shaped leaves. They looked upon it as the abode of their principal deities.

The “Tulsi” shrub, or “Holy basil,” as before said, is also held in great veneration, and has over and over again formed the subject of verse. Here is one example:

Tulsi birwa bagh men
Seencht hay komlahay
Rahê bhurlosa Ram kay
Purbuth pur hurriayi.
The Tulsi tree that grows in the garden
Droops even when well watered;
But where it grows dependent only on God,
There, even on mountain tops, it is green and fresh.

53The famous fabulous tree, “Pari Jatamu,” which one reads of in the Puranas, (old Sanscrit records,) a sort of jasmine; and the Vata fig-tree of “Orissa,” were said to be endowed with knowledge and speech like the oak of Dodona. By approaching them in a respectful manner you obtain from them knowledge, riches, and everything you can wish for, but they are difficult of access.—Wilford.

Note.—In many parts of India it is well known that to make an offering to a deity offended, and to pacify his wrath, five twigs of the following sacred trees are put into a jar of water and invoked.

1. Aswatha (Ficus religiosa).
2. Vata (Ficus Indica).
3. Adumbar (Ficus glomerata).
4. Sami (Mimosa albida).
5. Amra (Mango) (Spondias Mangifera).



There was once a wily old Crocodile who dwelt in a tank hard by a village, and he was sometimes so ferocious that he would seize children who used to go for water there, then drown and eat them. He had become, in fact, the terror of the place.

One year there was a very great drought, and the tank by degrees began to dry up, and at last it got quite dry, and the Crocodile was to be seen grilling and roasting in the sun.

He used to call out to the passers-by, “Oh! pray take pity upon me and shew me where I can go for water, for I am dying in this heat.” “No, indeed!” they all said; “we are glad to see you suffering, for have you not often made us suffer by taking our goats, and sometimes even our children? We shall not help you in any way.”


At last an old man passed by, and the Crocodile appealed to him, and at first he replied as the others did, but afterwards he relented and said, “Well, if you will follow me I will take you to a tank which is never dry.” So the Crocodile followed him, and he shewed him a tank no great distance off, which was filled with water.

55The old man went first into the tank himself, and calling to the Crocodile, he said, “See here, how deep it is!” No sooner had the Crocodile had a good drink, than he made a grab at the old man’s leg. “Ah-ho! Ah-ho!” said the old man; “What are you doing? What are you doing?” “Well,” replied the Crocodile, “I have had a good drink, thanks to you, and as I have had no food for many days I am going to make a meal of you. That is what I am going to do.” “You wretched and ungrateful brute!” said the old man; “is this the way you reward me?”

At that moment a Jackal hove in sight, coming for a drink (the Jackals we know are the most cunning of all animals), and the old man said, “I will put my case before him, and if he says you are to eat me, very good, so you shall.”

The old man then beckoned to the Jackal to come close up to the tank, and telling him all the facts of the case, the Jackal said, “You know I am always a just judge, and if you want me to decide, you must shew me the place from whence you brought the Crocodile.”

So they all three wended their way back to the tank near the village, and the Jackal said, “Shew me the exact spot where you first found the Crocodile;” and when they got there the Jackal said, “Now I am going to give you my judgment, so prepare to listen.” Then turning to the old man, he said quietly, “You silly old idiot! What made you ever help a Crocodile? Now, you run one way, and I will run the other.”

The Jackal gave a skip, and was soon off out of sight, 56and the old man took to his heels also, and soon got away. The wily old Crocodile, now baulked of his prey, said to himself, “I know my way back to that water tank, and I will some day have my revenge on that Jackal, for he is sure to come there to lap water.”

So back he went, and as there were many trees near the tank, some of whose roots went beneath the water, the Crocodile lay in ambush there. By-and-by the Jackal came to drink water, and the Crocodile made a sudden snap at his leg, and held it. “Oh, you foolish Crocodile!” the Jackal said; “You think you have got hold of my leg, do you? but it is only the root of a tree.” So saying, the Crocodile released his hold, and the Jackal jumped off in high glee out of his reach.

The Crocodile then determined that he would try some other plan of entrapping him; so, as there were great numbers of a small fruit falling from one of the trees, which he knew the Jackal came to eat, he one night piled up a heap and hid himself beneath it, leaving only his eyes uncovered.

Presently the Jackal came prowling along, and noticing the pile of fruit he felt inclined to partake of some, but he drew near very cautiously, and in a moment he caught sight of the two eyes of the Crocodile glistening in the moon-light, when he called out, “Oh, I see you!” and scampered off.


After this, the Crocodile saw that it was no use to try himself to catch the Jackal, “for,” said he, “he is too cunning for me; I must employ someone who comes to get water here.” So one day he saw a Farmer, and said 57to him, “If you will catch a Jackal for me, I will make you a rich man, for I will give you several jewels which people have dropped in this tank for years and years, and they are lying here at the bottom.”

“Oh!” replied the Farmer, “that is easily done;” so that very night he went into the jungle and lay down as if dead. Presently the Jackal made his appearance, and smelling along he came close up to the body. Then he hesitated and said, “I wonder if this is really a dead body or not.” He then called out audibly, “If it is really dead it will shake its leg, and if it is alive it won’t do so.” This he said so quickly and so artfully that the Farmer was taken aback, and to make him believe he was dead he at once stupidly shook his leg, and off skipped the Jackal, saying, “I caught you there,” and was lost to view in an instant.

The Farmer, who was very avaricious, and wanted the jewels badly, made up his mind that he would by hook or by crook make sure of the Jackal on the next occasion; so this time he prepared of the softest wax a doll of the size of a child, and digging a small grave and covering it over with leaves and mud, he waited in hiding to see the result.

Shortly after sunset the Jackal began to prowl about as usual, and coming on the new grave he said to himself, “Ah! this is someone lately buried; I will try my luck here.” He then began to scratch with his paw, and presently one paw got caught in the wax, and in trying to get that away, all four became stuck with the wax, when in a moment out came the Farmer from his hiding-place 58and said, “Ah! at last I have got you, and you are my prisoner!” The Jackal yelled and howled, and endeavoured to escape, but was hindered by the wax on his feet; so then he took to frightening the Farmer, and said, “If you do not get me out of this scrape I will call all the Jackals in a moment of time, and they will destroy you for ever, for do you not know that I am the ‘king’ of the Jackals?”

“What am I to do?” asked the Farmer. “Go!” he said; “go and get some oil, and rub it all over me; then get a fowl, and tie it about fifty yards away, and bring two men with hatchets to stand over me, so that if I attempt to get away they may chop me to pieces!”

This being done by the Farmer, the Jackal while being held in his hands sought his opportunity, and being well greased all over, he made a violent spring and so got clear of the Farmer; then he dashed between the legs of the men with hatchets, when they made a plunge at him, but they only succeeded in hurting their own legs, so the Jackal got finally off, and picking up the fowl he was soon lost to view, and so won the day.


Crocodile.”—The word used in the original Punjabi was “Sainsar,” literally the “Gavial,” or rather “gharial.” This animal is called “Timsah” in Arabic, but as this class 59of the Crocodiles lives usually on fish, the saurian in the tale must have been unusually ferocious. The seizure of the leg of the Jackal by the Crocodile is common to many folk-tales throughout India, and is an indication of the general groundwork of many Aryan tales.

Jackal.”—So often described, it is not necessary to do more here than to refer to the fact that they usually hunt in packs. When a jackal is heard to cry without a response, the natives know that he is a lone animal and what they call “Yekaria,” and by some “yeklota,” meaning in Sanscrit “single.” This, with them, is an evil omen, and thugs and thieves give up their thoughts of plunder and pillage in the district where he is known to be.

Some of the people believe that in packs of jackals the one who gives the first cry is possessed of a small horn in his forehead, and this is termed by them “Seeâr Singhi,” (possibly from the Persian word “Seah” black, and “Singh” a Hindu title,) or the jackal’s horn. This so-called horn is much prized by the people, and is often mounted by them in silver and placed as a charm round the necks of their children. This forehead projection of the jackal is generally hawked about for sale by a low-caste set of people who are sellers also of certain oils, such as the porpoise, or “Sūs” oil, the pelican, or “Rak-ham” oil, which is in the Sanscrit language called “Gagun-bhir.” Crooke thinks that the “Seeâr Singhi” is a jungle plant which resembles a horn; others think it is really the velvety prominence from the deer, but is sold to the credulous as from the jackal.

Our saying of the “grapes are sour” is rendered by 60the people as the “grapes are bitter,” and the expression is used in connection with the jackal and not of the fox.

Dahkânh hâth nâh up ree
Thooay kouree.
The grapes do not come within my reach,
So spit them out; they are bitter,

Tanks.”—In the Persian the word is “Talâb,” and in the original in Punjabi it is “Surr,” a Sanscrit word signifying a large pond or tank. A small tank in Punjabi is called a “Bunni.”

There is hardly a tank in India that is not more or less associated in the minds of the people with some legend, and many are held sacred to one or other of their titulary gods and goddesses.

Some tanks are supposed to contain treasure which is reserved under the custody of a Yaksha, or sprite.


In Hindu mythology “Yaksha” is an attendant upon “Kuvēra,” the god of wealth. The name is said to be derived from “Yaksha” to worship. As with the Brownies in Scotland they are called “Punya-jana” or good people, but they are sometimes imps of evil.

Williams’ “Nala”; also Dowson.



There is a hill in the Hazara district of the Punjab known to all by the name of “Gundghur,” which in days gone by was a stronghold of Banditti. It was well elevated above the plain, and on its crest there were several projecting rocks, and there were caves among the rocks. In one of these caves dwelt a Hindu Fakir of the begging mendicant class, who had for a long time established himself there, and used to come out and sit on a large rock called “Pīr Thân.”

This Fakir had the reputation of being able to produce wonderful effects by the aid of his magic and enchantments, could cure serious diseases, and when he liked he would say his Ram! Ram! song; for Rama was among the avatara of Vishnu, and he would then ascend into the skies, and go completely out of sight.

Such a Fakir was in consequence much feared by the people of the place, and indeed in many villages round about. Most of the people living near the Hill were “Gujors,” or Mahomedan keepers of Cattle, and from whom the province of Gujerat was named, and it sometimes happened that their milk did not set properly; so they used to go to the Fakir who soon made everything right, and though he was a Hindu and they Mahomedans, yet they went to consult him.

62It so happened that one day another Fakir, a Mahomedan, who was on his round visiting various shrines and the relics of departed Saints, came to this “Ghazi” village, which was situated at the foot of the hill.

It was not long before he was told by the people of the wonderful doings of the Hindu Fakir who dwelt on the “Pīr Thân”; how that he could cure all diseases, and above all, that he could by his magic go up into the air and depart out of sight.

“He is very good too,” they said, “to us, for when our milk refuses to set, he soon makes matters right for us, and so we are going to him to-morrow morning about this very thing.”

“You are! are you?” said the Mahomedan Fakir; and he was very angry with them and said, “Now you wait, and you will see that this very night your milk will be all as it should be.” True enough, when the morning broke the milk was properly set.

“Now,” said the Fakir, “why do you put your faith in this “pagan” and “idolater” who does not believe in Allah? And as for the stories you tell me, they are not to be credited, and what he does is by trickery and deceit.” With many other words he exhorted his followers not to be imposed upon. Turning to the Hindus he said, “If you choose to ruin yourselves that is your affair and not mine.”


His followers, however, besought him just for once to come and see if what they said was not true. He replied, “Well! you may all go, and if I come at all, it will be later on.”

63So all the people from the village, and from the villages round about, went up to the Gundghur Hill, to see the wonders that this Hindu Fakir could do. There was a large concourse of people, so the Mahomedan Fakir thought that he might slip in unperceived; and overcome too with curiosity, he had determined to see what sort of a man the Hindu Fakir was who had carried off so many people as his followers.

They had all gone to the Gundghur Hill, and the Mahomedan Fakir thought, “I will go now and see what is to be seen.” On arrival there he noticed that there was a vast assemblage of people. Looking round he saw a knot of his own followers seated together, so he joined himself to them, and waited to see what would take place.

He was not, however, unobserved by the Hindu Fakir, who, after receiving an ovation from all his adherents, addressed himself in a loud voice to the multitude around, and pointing to the Mahomedan Fakir he said, “I see here a Mahomedan Fakir of a false and wicked faith, and I tell him, as I tell you all, that as two swords cannot go into one scabbard, so neither can two Fakirs live in one and the same spot, and he that proves himself to be master, let him hold the hill.”

The enthusiasm was very great when he had uttered these words, and his own people called out, “Ascend, oh! Fakir, and put this new man to shame.” He replied, “I will; and if he can surpass me in that, I will give place to him and go away and leave you.”

Whereupon, divesting himself before them all of his garments, with the exception of his waist-cloth, and repeating 64audibly his “Junthur Munthur” (two Sanscrit words meaning “incantation,”) and some other words of enchantment, and then kindling a small fire he made some passes over it, and in the smoke that it made he gradually rose and vanished out of sight.

“Ah! there goes our wonderful Fakir!” said all the Hindus; “and as for this other wretched man, he does not look as if he could do anything wonderful.”

In a measure they were right, for the Mahomedan Fakir when he witnessed his ascent, was at his wits’ end to know how to prevail against such a rival. Collecting, however, a few of his own followers around him, he drew out his “Qoran” from its case. Then opening it with great caution and solemnity, he took off the shoe from his right foot, and threw it into the air with all his might. To the bewilderment of all, the shoe did not return, but seemed to go also into the skies whither the Hindu Fakir had gone. The Hindus then raised a cry: “What is a shoe compared to a man! Go up yourself, and we will believe in you!” In patience did the Mahomedan Fakir bear their reproaches, when suddenly there was a sound heard in the air as if someone was beating a door with the palm of his hand, and very shortly afterwards the body of the Hindu Fakir came in sight, and as it descended, there was seen over his head the shoe of the Mahomedan Fakir, which in some unaccountable way was slapping the head of the Hindu Fakir, and beating him down to the earth, and when he came to the ground he fell at the feet of the Mahomedan. Stunned and confused the Hindu made a rush for his cave, and holding up his hands he 65repeated audibly some words of enchantment, and then fled precipitately into the jungle, and left that country-side for ever.

This story is told by the Mussulmen in their Hûzrâhs, as a proof that faith will always in the long run crush and destroy the power of myth and magic; and the moral is that Allah is pure and spotless, and there is none righteous as He, or, as they have it in their own language:

Khudâ pâk sub sê bhullâh.
God is pure and righteous above all.


Fakir.”—It might be added here that the word itself is derived from the Arabic “Fūkhr,” really three Arabic letters, F, K, and R.

From the F is Fâkâh, fasting.
From the K is Kanāat, contentment.
From the R is Rizzāat, devotion.

Three qualities that all Fakirs should possess; and the formidable nature of the pursuit is somewhat tersely told in the following Punjabi lines:

Fakira. Fakiri dur hai
Jitna lumba Kujoor hai
Chur jai tho piay
Prami. Rus
Girjai tochuk nā choorhai.
It is as difficult to become a true Fakir as it is to ascend a date
66palm. When you reach the summit it is there only that you
drink the love juice, but if you are timid as you rise you are
sure to fall and be dashed to atoms.

In Akbar’s reign the followers of a seceder from the strict tenets of Islam, one Pir Roshan, when given to austere devotion, had, it is said, to pass through the several gradations of the external ordinances, or “Sheriat,” viz., reality, or “Hakikat,” true knowledge, or “Marifat,” proximity, or “Kurbut,” union, or “Wasalut,” the Arabic for mediation, and the indwelling in God, or “Sakūnut,” the Arabic for tranquility. These terms were peculiar to that sect.

Gujur.”—Originally a brave people of pastoral habits, inhabiting Afghanistan. A term also applied to a low class of Hindus, from Gujerat. Now used here to designate cattle owners and sellers of milk, many of whom are also Mahomedans.

In regard to a low caste of cow-herd, called “Ahīr,” the natives have a saying:

Jummay oouth ke Seengh
Têl reth sê nikklay
Gudhâ purhay Korân
Gungâ lout Poorub sê.
Puchhim by hay
Toh Aheer say Kooch
Goon nikklay.
If horns grew on a camel,
If oil could be extracted from sand,
If a donkey could read the Korân,
If the Ganges would flow from east to west,
Then some good might be expected from an “Ahīr,”

67And another saying yet:

Aheer zuduryâ Pâsee
Teenon Satyâ Nâsee.
An Ahīr, a shepherd, and a Pâsee (low caste);
If these three get together, mischief is sure to come.

Ahīr is a general term for a pastoral race noticed by Ptolemy. They are distinguished as three tribes, viz., the Nand bansa, Yadu bansa, and Goala bansa. (See Wilson and Elliott.)

Two Swords in one scabbard.”—Appeals to the sword are very common with natives of Northern India, indeed many of the warlike tribes worship their weapons.

When sharpened for service by a “Sikligur,” a man who makes it his business to give a keen edge to swords, he applies two tests. One is that the edge shall be sharp enough to cut through a ball of teazed cotton, balanced on the blade, and the other that it shall, with a light touch, lift a copper coin off a table.

A Punjabi Sipahi, referring to this, was overheard to say,

Wudday Uar thay
Nam Talwar dhâ
Birreh Sipahi thây
Nam Sirdar dhâ
The edge of the sword cuts, and the sword gets the credit; so
the soldier fights, but his officer gets the fame.

Junthur Munthur.”—Sanscrit words, literally meaning enchanting by figures and incantations.

68Ram Ram Song.”—The appeal of Hindus is invariably to “Ram,” as the god ready to help in difficulties, and probably an incarnation of Vishnu.

The Fakir’s song would likely be:

Ram jerôka bait-kur
Sabka mujra lay
Jaisa jiski chakri
Taiko Thysa dhay.
Ram was sitting at his window, beholding before him a vast
multitude and waiting to render to each according to the
amount of work in his cause.

Faith opposed to Magic.”—The occult sciences have no doubt found a congenial soil in India and the far East; but is a belief in them restricted to the East? or rather, are not these relics of the middle ages still found to be lurking amongst the most enlightened of Western nations?

According to “Holwell’s Mythology,” magic and its accompaniments were first taken to the Indus by the Cuseans, descendants of Cush, the son of Ham, who is credited with being the first inventor of the black art. He quotes Eusebius as his authority.

Up to this day on the Indus there is no doubt that many believe in the power of some specially devout Fakirs to ascend into the air by the aid of an invisible rope. The laws of gravity forbid, of course, our belief in the capability of any man so to control and overcome them; but the wonder is that some of these Fakirs are still able to surprise and deceive so many, and that the riddle is as yet unsolved.

69In China also the power to ascend is not unknown. Conjurors from amongst the Taoist priests ascend to a height of twenty or thirty feet. Of this class are those who in Manchuria call down fire from the sky.—Dr. Denny’s “China Folk-lore.”

The wandering jugglers and conjurors on the Indus and other parts of India have a singular refrain used as an invocation before exhibiting their skill. The burden of their song seems to be:

Ya! Allimas! Ya! Kulloowar Pir! Ya! Malim da Bir!
Oh! Elymas![4] Oh! black hero! Oh! powerful demi-god!

Note.—Asked to explain a meteor, or shooting-star, the natives say, “You see! Shāitān ever since he has been expelled from Heaven is trying to get back, and these balls of fire, or ‘Chawathas’ which some call “Shâb” from the Arabic, are hurled at him to keep him off, and so they do, and he never succeeds.”

4.  Acts xiii. 8.



In a somewhat out-of-the-way village in the Punjâb there dwelt for many years an old Fakir who was renowned for his wonderful self-denial and abstemious habits. He was not one, you know, who assumed their garb merely, but he preached to others of truth and morality, and his character bore out all he taught. He did not wander about, but took up his residence in this village, and so, being always there, he came to be well known, and was often visited by many people from distant parts.

One day another Fakir of the same branch and order as himself, and who was journeying north, came and claimed friendship with him, and finding him in a special place where he usually spent his day, sat down near to him, and talked of the things that concerned them both.

It being near night-fall the old Fakir asked his brother of the same faith to come as his guest for the night, and to pursue his journey on the morrow. So they trudged together until they arrived at his hut; but when the wife saw the guest, and knew that he was going to stay the night, she grew much displeased with her husband, and very abusive. It was in vain for the old Fakir to say that his friend was a traveller, and of his own avocation; the wife refused to be appeased. The guest finding himself 71in an awkward position, asked his host whether he had not better go on his journey at once, or find a refuge somewhere else in the village for the night, for it gave him great pain to listen to the angry words of a woman.

“Oh, no!” said the host, “I know she is very ill-tempered and cross, and frequently gets put out, but I have a great respect for her all the same, and I must tell you the reason.

“Do you not know that I am widely known as a good man? and in consequence of this, and of the advice I give, I am visited by people far and near, and they all flatter and praise me to the skies. Sometimes I have thought to myself that if this were to continue, I should be in danger of being proud and puffed up, and so be ruined not only here, but hereafter. Now this wife of mine, when she fans herself into a passion, does me real good, and I become quite subdued; and the more turbulent she becomes the more I control myself and am quiet. So you see there is a balance established between us, and the effect on me is that it softens my nature, and I am made more and more what we Fakirs aim to be; so what I lose in one way, I gain in another and a better way.”

The guest remained the night, and went away the next day deeply impressed with the wisdom of his friend and brother.


Fakir.”—Much has been previously said under this 72heading, but it is well to give here a few of the sayings of the noted Fakir known by the name generally of “Baba Farīd,” whose shrine is still to be seen in the town of “Pak Pattan” in the Montgomery district, not far from Mūltān. He was one of the “Chisti class” and a Shiah, belonging to a tribe of Arab descent. The Shiahs differ from the Sunnis in the belief that Ali ought to have succeeded the Prophet, instead of Abubakr, Omar, and Osman.

The shrine is an extensive one, but in order to enter it, it is necessary to pass in by a small doorway about four feet high and two feet broad, closed by a door made of sandal wood, to which three locks are attached, and the key of each is in the custody of a responsible person. On festival days, however, which happen once a year, the locks by some magic power fall off of themselves into a cloth held to catch them.

The devout worshippers enter by the door, and pay each one rupee for the privilege, and as it is calculated that over 100,000 visit the shrine each year, the gain to some one class must be enormous. So infatuated do the devotees become, that it is commonly believed by them that the parrots cry out “Farīd! Farīd!” as they fly over the shrine.

There are piles of stones near “Ajmere,” arranged in a line, and the story is that a string of camels carrying bags of sugar were going into the city, and “Baba Farīd” meeting them enquired of the drivers what the camels were burdened with. The drivers turned upon him with a sneer and said, “Stones! Stones!” “Is it so?” replied Farīd, 73“then let it be stones!” and lo, and behold, when they came to unload their beasts they found that the sugar had been really turned into stones, and emptying all their bags, they left the stones by the road-side, which are to be seen to this day.

Several verses, or quatrains, have been ascribed to Baba Farīd, and here are two or three:

Oot! Farīda suthia
Mumm ka deva bââl
Sahib jinnadhay jagthay
Nufferan keah sona nââl
Rise, Farīda, from your sleep,
Light the candle of your soul;
Thy God who is ever wakeful
His servants should not slumber.

Again, when seeing a woman grinding at a mill (one well known):

Chukki phirtay veyk kay
Farīda dhitar ro
Do purrân vitch
Akay khan na chulley koh
Seeing the mill going round
Farīda began to cry.
Between two stones he saw
The grain that comes is crushed.

And further, thinking on the mill, Farīda added:

Jo loor eveng salaam thêê
kol kili dhâ ho.
To be in safety keep close to the centre peg, which is God, where
some grains escape the mill, we know.

74Again, and this shall be the last:

Oot Farīda suthia
Darhi Ayah boor
Agê Ayah nairay
Piche saha dûr.
Farīda aisa ho-raho
Jaisa kukh musseeth
Luthee pyree latharia
Tera Sahib nââl purreeth.
Arise, Farīda, from your sleep;
Your beard is getting grey.
That which is to come is near;
That which has passed is far away.
Strive, oh, Farīda! to be
As the Musjid trodden grass,
Humble and self-abased,
Yet in friendship with your God.

Crooke says of Baba Farīd, that he was called also, Shakkarganj, or Fountain of Sweets. Shakkar being the Persian for sugar; but more probably from the Arabic word “Shookur,” thanksgiving. He was a disciple of Qutub-ud-din, who lived near Delhi, who again sat at the feet of Imam-ud-din of Ajmere, also a great name to swear by. Baba Farīd is said to have had the “Hidden hand” (dast-i-ghaib), a sort of magic bag which gave him anything he wished.

Every devotee who contrives to get through the door of his mausoleum is assured of a free entrance into Paradise, and the crowds are immense.

Pak Pattan was called the “Ferry of the Pure One,” and the latter days of Farīd-ud-Din were spent at Adjudhan, 75a very ancient city in the Punjâb. This Fakir was instrumental in the conversion of the whole of the Southern Punjâb to the faith of Islam.

Note.—The self-inflicted penances of both Hindu and Mahomedan Fakirs are well known, but perhaps the “Measurement Affliction,” or “Kusht,” from the Persian word “Kusht,” meaning “killing,” will be new to some. It consists in making an approach to the shrine from a considerable distance, and measuring that distance by so many lengths of the body, foot after head, until the shrine is reached. But few can go through this extreme torture in the sun, and then only with the assistance of relatives and friends, who supply sherbet and drinks to the devotee, and keep his body cool with fans.

Note.—In relation to this Folk-tale, it is said in the district:

Burri jungul ki wassar
Burri khullachnee nââr
Burri moorick ki hassa

There are three things that are bad:

Perpetual seclusion in the jungle;
A quarrelsome and peevish wife;
The rough horse-play of a boor.



You all know that in certain parts of our country the farmers are in the habit of shifting their hamlets from time to time, according to the seasons.

In winter time they go to live in the big villages, and in the summer they dwell in the fields near to their crops.

One summer-day a Farmer was ploughing his ground, which was situated not far from a “kuburistan” or burial ground, and a Revenue Sowar came up and accosted him, and asked if the Farmer would direct him to a village where the people were altogether, in order that the rents might be collected. “The only place that I know of,” said the Farmer, “where they keep together, is in that place,” pointing to the burial ground. “This,” said the Sowar, “is no answer, sir, to my question. What do you mean?” and roundly abused the Farmer, and struck him with his “chabūk” or whip.

“Well,” said the Farmer, “it is quite true; whenever anyone goes to that place he never moves again, but we farmers always move from place to place, according to the seasons.” The Revenue Sowar was a little impressed by his attempt at wit, and was about to ride off, but 77overhearing the Farmer saying something audibly, he listened, and these were his words:

Hurri thi mun bhurri thi
Motian se jhuri thi
Rajah ji ke bâgh men
Dushalla orêe khurri thi.
It was green and full
And set with pearls.
In the Rajah’s garden
She stood, and was covered with a shawl.

The Sowar said to the Farmer, “I overheard what you were repeating, but what can possibly be the meaning of it, for it is a riddle surely, so please enlighten me.”

The Farmer replied, “I gave you one piece of knowledge, and you became angry and violent; however, I will return you no ill-will, so here is the answer to take away with you.

“Don’t you see that it refers to the ‘Bhūtta’ or ear of the ‘Indian corn’? Its stem is green, its grain like pearls, and its covering sheath like a beautiful shawl.”

Farmers, you see, have their bits of wit; and then he added to the Sowar:

“Sow gullân thay hait hullânh.”

“I may tell you one hundred tales, but all are inferior to the ‘plough,’ for by it the State gets its revenue, and the people are supplied with food.”

The Sowar left him, and went away impressed with his quickness and mother-wit.



Sowar.”—In former days it was usual in Native States for those responsible for the Land Revenue to send round “Sowars” or horsemen, to prepare the farmers for the arrival of the tax-gatherers.

Note.—The Mahomedan Sowar of that day was presumed to be very scrupulous in adhering to the truth, and to say everything in exact accordance with that which is, has been, or shall be. “How can I do otherwise?” said one Sowar, “when my Prophet sets me the example?” Asked to explain, he replied:

“Once Mahomed was riding on his ass, and was accosted by a ‘perdêsi,’ or stranger, who asked him how many legs his donkey had. Mahomed dismounted, counted, and replied, ‘Four.’ ‘Could you not have told me,’ said he, ‘without dismounting?’ ‘No,’ replied Mahomed. ‘Who was to know whether, while I was talking to you, Allah might not have given him either one leg more or less?’”

Chabūk.”—A Persian word for a whip, hence “Chabūk-Sowar,” a jockey, literally a whip rider.

Bhūtta.”—This is from the Hindustani language, and means the Maize, or Indian corn (the Zea Mays). It is one of the noblest of Grasses, of which perhaps the Japanese variety is the most handsome.



There was once a Fakir of the name of Shams-i-Tabriz, his first name being that for “Sun” in the language of the Persians, and his second being that of a great city.

This Fakir was a very noted man, and wherever he went to reside the people flocked to see him, and he collected in every place a large number of followers and disciples.

His fame was spread abroad far and wide, and he lived so long ago that it was about the time of Shah Jehan, the Emperor of Delhi.

His custom was to visit the Shrines and sacred places of various countries, and one day he made up his mind to go to Mūltān. Now, when the Fakirs of Mūltān heard that he was approaching their city they became much alarmed, and concerted together to keep him out of the place, for fear that many of their disciples should run after him, and forsake them.

They arranged, therefore, to send a messenger to meet “Shams,” and when the envoy came to greet him just outside the city walls, he filled to the very brim, with milk, a brass cup that he had in his hand, and then, addressing himself to “Shams,” he said, “As is this cup full to the brim with milk, so is Mūltān choke-full with Fakirs, and there is no room for you there, and I am deputed by all the Fakirs so to tell you.”

80“Shams” then turned about him, and noticing a jasmine flower growing on a bush hard by, he plucked it, and using great care he managed to balance it on the top of the milk without spilling a drop out of the vessel. “Now go,” he said to the messenger, “and tell all the Fakirs that as the flower was above the milk, so will “Shams” be over all the Fakirs of the city; yet he will not disturb them, even as you see the flower has not upset the milk.”

So off went the messenger and gave the message to the Fakirs, and they then hastily called a meeting of their disciples, and gave command that no one should give “Shams” aught to eat, nor prepare or cook any food that he might bring with him.

On reaching the city “Shams” found to his dismay that he could obtain no sustenance of any kind from the people, and though he besought many of them, for pity’s sake, to save him from starvation, the reply was always the same, “We would do so ourselves, but are in fear of the Fakirs.”

At last when almost perishing with hunger, “Shams” went to a butcher, who so far relented that he gave “Shams” a piece of meat, but refused to cook it for him.

“Shams” in despair then turned his eyes to the skies and made a bitter appeal to the Sun, saying, “You are ‘Shams,’ and I am ‘Shams’; we are both called the Sun, so I beseech you to come to my aid and cook for me this piece of meat, that I perish not with hunger.”

In a moment the Sun heard his request; and lo! and behold! he approached nearer to Mūltān by a spear and a half’s length, and the meat was cooked by the greater heat, and the hunger of the Fakir appeased.

81Owing to this remarkable heat, the occurrence of which the Fakirs and people attributed to “Shams,” they all came and asked his pardon, which he readily granted, but declined to alter the position of the Sun over the city; so Mūltān has remained, from that day to this, the notoriously hot place that it is known to be.

It is celebrated, said the narrator, for four things: its heat, its dust, its beggars, and its graveyards; and this Mūltān has had three names already, viz., Huss-pur, Bhag-pur, and Mūltān, and will eventually, before the end of the world, be called Trah-pur Sultān.

“Shams” continued to remain in the city, gathering together numbers of disciples, and eventually died there. A magnificent tomb was erected to his memory, which may be seen to this day.


Shams-i-Tabriz.”—To this day the Shrine of this saint is to be seen in Mūltān. He lived in the time of the Emperor Shah Jehan, who had a passion for building tombs and palaces. The well-known “Taj Mahal” was erected in his reign, A.D. 1627 to 1657.

This tale can hardly be classed as “Folk-lore,” but it was given as tradition, and it is interesting as indicating the element of superstition which has come to be embodied with what is actual matter of fact.

Shams-i-Tabriz was a Sufi philosopher, and the leader 82of Jalal-ud-din, and tradition says that he was flayed alive at Mūltān.

The Sufi doctrines are well known both in India and Turkey, and are followed to this day, and they rest all their system of morality upon the practice of Divine love, and the Fakirs are their exponents.

Sufis have laid down the following rules for their disciples:

Hear, attend, but speak little.

Never answer a question not addressed to you, but if asked answer promptly, and never be ashamed to say “I know not.”

Do not dispute for disputation’s sake.

Never boast before your elders.

Never seek the highest place, nor even accept it if offered to you.

Do not be over ceremonious.

Observe in all cases the etiquette appropriate to the time, place, and persons present.

In indifferent matters conform to the practice and wishes of those with whom you are associating.

Do not make a practice of anything which is not either a duty or calculated to increase the comfort of your associates, otherwise it will become an “idol” to you, and it is incumbent on everyone to break his “idols,” and renounce his habits.

(See Hughes’ “Dictionary of Islam.”)

It has been said by Major Osborne in his “Islam under the Khalifs of Baghdad,” that the spread of this Pan-theistic spirit has done harm to the Mahomedans; and that the true function of religion is to vivify and illuminate all the ordinary relations of life with light from a Higher world. The weakness to which religious minds are peculiarly prone is to suppose that this world of working life is an atmosphere too gross and impure for them to live in. They attempt to fashion a world for themselves 83where nothing shall soil the purity of the soul, or disturb the serenity of their thoughts.

Tabriz.”—Is the chief town of the Persian province of Azerbijān, or as some call it Adebaijan, the ancient city “Media Atropotene,” so called from Atropates who after the death of Alexander made himself independent. Mount Ararat rises on the N.W. border, or as the Persians call it “Koh-e-Nuh,” or Noah’s Mountain.

Bhāgpūr.”—Bhāg is the Sanscrit for “destiny,” and Pūr is the Sanscrit for a City, as also is Pūra.

Sultān.”—This is the Arabic title for a King or Emperor, but sometimes is applied to saints and martyrs, as for instance, Sultān Surwar, an eminent Mahomedan Saint whose shrine is at Baluch, not far from Mūltān, and who was distinguished for his purity of manners. At his tomb it is narrated several miracles were performed. (See “Araesh-e-Muhfil.”)

It may be added here that several sayings are attributed to Shams-i-Tabriz such as the following:

Badshâh noonh bheek mangâwânh
Mangla noonh takht Bahâwânh
Pul vich “oolut pullut” kurr sathân
Dhun Hookum merah sirdahi dhâh
Kings I can bring to beggary;
Beggars I can place upon a throne.
In a moment I can dissolve all things;
For mine are the orders of supremacy.

Burton says that the people of Mūltān slew him in order to keep his body with them, but we can trace no local tradition as to this.



Once upon a time “Shāitān,” or the Devil, who, as we dwellers in India know, has the power to transform himself into man or animal whenever it pleases him, one day took it into his head that he would go round the world in the garb and appearance of an ordinary traveller; and so admirably disguised was he, that one day he visited one of the villages in the Punjâb, and finding two men seated at one of their places of meeting, or “Hûzrâhs,” talking and smoking their “hookah,” he approached them as if to speak.

Believing him to be some traveller wearied by his journey, the two young men asked him to sit down, and then they offered him a smoke and a drink of water.

As they were talking and chatting, they heard a great noise in the village, and suddenly they saw a farmer who was being pursued and beaten by his wife. The young men recognised the woman, and at once said to the stranger, “We know the character of that wretched woman; she is worse than ‘Shāitān’ himself.” Whereupon “Shāitān” said, “No! there I cannot agree with you, for how can any woman be more hateful than ‘Shāitān,’ who is the accursed one, and wears on his neck the necklace of evil?”



The young men said, “Well my friend, if ever you get married, and have a wife like that woman; you will remember what we have said, and you will then think her not merely as wicked as ‘Shāitān,’ but a thousand times worse.”

After taking some refreshment he pondered over these words, and bidding them “salaam” “Shāitān” went on his way.

It was some little time after this when “Shāitān” did take unto himself a wife, and as it happened, she turned out to be a most violent woman, and used to abuse and maltreat him on every occasion, and would even go so far as to kick and beat him and torture him in a variety of ways.

Their youngest and best child was a son, and she would even chastise him, and if the father remonstrated or interfered with her, he would always come in for a large share of her ire and abuse. When “Shāitān” had pondered over the sad plight he was in, his thoughts reverted to the saying of the young men in the village, and he said to himself, “Tobâh! Tobâh! Oh tush! fie! why certainly this wife of mine is worse than the woman in the village, yes a thousand times worse.”

Now this son began to grow up a bit of a demon in nature, and as time wore on, it was necessary that he should be given something to do, so his father one day called him aside and said, “I want you to hear some advice from me,” but the son replied, “I know you are my father, but I could never be advised by you, for you are ‘Shāitān,’ and you never did give good advice to 86anyone.” “That is true,” said the father, “but though I know it is my way to give bad advice to all, I could not do so to my son: come to me at all events, and hear what I have got to say,” “Say on!” replied the son, “and I will listen.”

“You know,” “Shāitān” said, “how you and I are maltreated by your mother, so that life is wellnigh unbearable to both of us: now, my advice to you is that you go on earth as a ‘Hakīm,’ or doctor.”

The son replied, “I know nothing of medicine, and how could I be a physician?” “That is of no consequence,” said his father; “you do as I tell you, and all will go right. When, for instance, you are called to see a patient, as soon as you enter the room, the first thing you do should be to look at the head of the bed or ‘charpai,’ (literally a sleeping place with four legs, ‘char’ meaning four and ‘pai” legs, in Persian). Should you see my shadow there, you should at once say to the people of the house, ‘Do not I pray you spend any more money on the patient, for he is sure to die.’ The people will then say, ‘What a marvellous doctor is this, for he tells us before-hand that he knows the patient will die, and will not receive any fees!’ By this means your fame will become great all over the country.

“But if you should not see my shadow at the head of any patient’s bed, then you should prescribe any simple thing which is known to the common people round about, and of course you will know from the absence of my shadow that the patient will get well, and your renown will go on increasing in this way.”

87The son listened to this counsel, and, thinking for a little, he said, “Very good! I agree,” and it was not long ere he began to practise his profession amongst men. True enough, in an incredibly short space of time his fame became noised abroad, and he found himself in an extensive practice.

One day it happened that the Nawab of the country where he was, had a near relation very ill, and hearing of the skill of this doctor, he sent off servants and horses and carriages to bring the doctor in great pomp to the Palace.

Thither he went without delay, and he was received by the Nawab at the door of the Palace, and after they had partaken of sherbet and had smoked a “hookah,” the Nawab showed the way to the room where the sick relative was.

The Hakīm, or doctor, followed very thoughtfully and anxiously, and he kept cogitating to himself, “I sincerely hope that my father’s shadow will not appear to-day over the bed-head of this most important patient, for it is everything to me that it should not, and that the patient should recover.” He was taken along passages and corridors, and at last they reached the room where the sick man lay, and to his horror there was the shadow and no mistake, and he almost collapsed on the spot.

After sitting a while near the patient, feeling his pulse and asking questions in the usual way, he requested all persons to quit the room, in order that he might be alone with the patient for a little while.

All this time he was thinking to himself how he 88could possibly expel and get rid of the shadow, this father’s “shadow” which now stood between him and his fortune; when all of a sudden the thought rushed in upon him, “I know what I will do!” So raising his voice to its highest pitch he shrieked out, “Father! Father! Mother is coming!” Whereupon the “shadow” vanished with one rapid jump, and never again returned.

As the tale runs, the patient got quite well very shortly after this, and the Hakīm was advanced to high honour and position in the dominions of the Nawab.


Shāitān.”—From the Hebrew word “Shuttun,” to be hostile; hence the Arabic “Shāitān,” opposition. According to Mahomedan tradition, he has four lieutenants, viz., Muleeqa, Hamoos, Nabloot, and Yoosoof.

By some he is known as “Iblis” from the Arabic word “despair,” and the wife of a “Shāitān” would be termed “Bhutnī” in Sanscrit. In Persian the leader of evil is called “Ahurmun,” (Burhān-i-kāti), or the evil principle.

Crooke classes “Shāitān” with Jinn, or Genii. Divided into the Janii, who are the least powerful of all, the Jinn, the “Shāitān” or devils, the “Ifrit” and the “Marīd,” or rebellious ones, the last of whom rule the rest, Jan is sometimes identified with the Serpent, and sometimes with “Iblis,” which has been imported direct from the Greek 89“Diābolos.” Some have wings and fly; others move like snakes and dogs; others again like men. (Vide “Folk-lore of Northern India.”)

Dennys, in his “Folk-lore of China,” says that the belief in the existence of demon monsters is in full force in China. One of the Emperors who flourished about A.D. 700, having been taken ill, dreamt he saw a blue half-naked demon coming into his Palace.

He stole the Empress’s perfume bag, and also the Emperor’s flute inlaid with precious stones, and flew off with them to the Palace roof. Suddenly there appeared another blue devil, but of giant stature, wearing a black leathern high boot on one foot, the other being bare, and he had on a blue gown. One arm was like his foot bare, with which he wielded a massive sword. His mouth was like that of a bull. This fierce-looking monster seized the little one, and with a blow made an end of him. The Emperor asked this monster demon what his name was. He said his name was “Tsung Kivei,” and that he was a Colonel Commandant over all imps, ogres, wraiths, hobgoblins, and the like, under heaven. The Emperor was greatly flattered at the visit, and awoke to find his illness gone. He called a painter to paint for him what he had seen, and it was so faithfully executed that he ordered two hundred ounces of gold to be given to him, and that copies of the painting should be distributed through the Empire, so that all the people might know and respect this blue bull-headed demon. To this day he holds a conspicuous place in the temples of the people. According to other tradition the name of the wife of “Shāitān” 90was Aw-wa, and she bore him nine sons, and their names are given in Burton’s “Arabian Nights,” but as Crooke says, which of these was the worthy of the text does not appear.

Tobâh! Tobâh!”—From the Arabic, meaning penitence; when coupled together it carries the signification of “Oh fie! I promise to sin no more.”

Sick room.”—It is usual in the native palaces when anyone is sick to have men waving a fan and a “chauri” over the head, to drive away evil spirits who may be fluttering in the air, as well as to act as a preventive to further disease. They are often seen in the hands of attendants upon the gods. “Chauri” is the Hindustani for a whisk or fly-flapper of hair.

Hookâh.”—The Hookâh as shewn in the illustration is the Indian pipe and apparatus for smoking. The tobacco, or in the Hindustani language, the “gurakoo” is put into the tobacco holder or “chillum,” and the smoke is passed through the water in the Hookah and becomes cold and purified. The flexible tube which conveys it to the mouth is called the “naicha,” and the mouth-piece is of silver or amber. Hookhâs were much improved in the reign of Akbar.



In a certain village in the Punjâb there lived a long while ago, a very charitable old Mahomedan of the name of “Sakhi,” which being interpreted from the Arabic tongue means “liberal.” This faithful and patient old Mussulman was famed through all the country round for his repeated deeds of charity, and he was visited by many mendicant folk, who profited not a little from his kindness and hospitality.

The result of all this almsgiving was that in the end, he himself became very poor, or as the native translation more nearly renders it, he “became as dry as a fish baked in the sun.”

One day, as the tale goes, two Fakirs, “Kallundars,” or begging monks as they are sometimes called, were on their way to Mecca to perform that pilgrimage which is obligatory on every devout Moslem once in his life, and on their way thither they had to pass through the village in which “Sakhi” resided, so they made up their minds to pay him a visit, and obtain his blessing on their journey.

As they entered the village they accosted the first man they met, and asked him to direct them to the house of the famous “Sakhi.” This man, who was no other than “Sakhi” himself, replied, “The name of names is 92the name of Allah, and I am named ‘Sakhi.’” Whereupon, according to his custom, he invited them to his abode, and when they entered it they were at once struck with the signs of poverty that were to be seen on every side; the hut, for such it literally was, was almost devoid of furniture, and the place was quite comfortless.

“Sakhi’s” wife rose at their entrance, and he then told her, under a breath, to set food before the travellers, but she replied “You have given all your substance away and nothing is left. ‘Kyâ Kuren!’ she said, or what is to be done?” “Sakhi” replied, “These are holy men and must be entertained, so pray borrow of our neighbours.” “Sakhi” then followed his wife for a brief period, which gave time for the travellers to say one to another, “How poor he is; and though we are hungry let us eat sparingly, and leave some on the dish for him and his family.”

Meanwhile the wife had procured some “ātā,” or flour, and in a short time placed before them some “chapāties,” or thin cakes, and they all began to eat, and “Sakhi’s” daughter had a portion taken to her.

After they had all eaten, the travellers rose to go, and with many salaams, and wishing peace and safety to the house, they were just on the point of starting when “Sakhi” said, “I must go with you a little way to put you on the right road, for there are many cattle tracks about the village, and you might miss your way.” So saying he accompanied them very nearly to the main road, when they finally bid him “adieu,” wondering most of all that though he was so very poor he seemed to be so happy and contented.


93“Sakhi” now turned to go back, when to his astonishment he saw a column of smoke ascending from the village, and he quickened his pace, when he met a man running to tell him that his hut had been burnt down, and that both his wife and daughter had perished in the flames.

“Sakhi” on reaching the spot, found this to be only too true, and when he could safely venture near, he saw to his horror, only their charred remains, and at once cried out “It is the will of Allah; he is One, and Mahomed is his prophet. I shall leave this place and go into the City, and seek service under the King.” So off he went on his journey feeling much distressed, but confident that something good would turn up. His way lay through a rather dense jungle where there were in some parts of it, patches of very high grass. In one of these he thought he would rest himself, and as it was time for the mid-day prayer, he performed his regular devotions, and holding out his hands as usual to receive the blessing, he spoke out rather more audibly than he was wont to do, when to his utter amazement he heard a voice calling out, “Rescue us, save us from this misery!” He then groped about in the long grass, and discovered that the sound came from a deep, dry well, and looking down he saw a man in great trouble, who must have fallen in by accident he thought, and then peering closer he descried also a jackal and a snake.

The jackal roared out, “Take me out of this place, and take out the snake, but do not take out this bad man.” “Sakhi” replied with the usual generosity of his nature, 94“No, if I take out one I shall take you all out.” So saying, he undid his “kummerbund,” or waistband, and finding that it was not long enough to reach to the bottom of the well, he bent his turban on to it, and lowered it down, telling the man to tie his turban on to it also. By this little contrivance he managed to get them all up to the surface in safety. The snake to evince its gratitude, vomited from its mouth a small lump of gold, which Indian snake-charmers quite believe that certain snakes can do; and asking “Sakhi” to follow him, he shewed him some wonderful herbs that would cure most of the ills that flesh is heir to, and which no man was yet acquainted with.


On his return to the well, the jackal expressed his thanks for his deliverance by saying that whenever “Sakhi” was in trouble, if he thought of him, he would come to his relief; “but beware,” he said, “of the man, for he will get you into distress.” The man was not much concerned about thanking “Sakhi,” but as he was very weak and faint “Sakhi” felt for him, and they journeyed on together very leisurely. “Sakhi” found out that he was going to the same city that he had set out for, and that he was in very truth the son of the King. When they neared the city, the Prince said, for such he was of course, “Give me that piece of gold I entrusted to your charge.” “Sakhi” replied, “You never gave me any gold, and how can I return to you what I never received?” “We will see about that,” said the Prince, and they had no sooner entered the streets than the Prince, who was at once recognised by the people, called out to one of the “Burkandâzis” 95or armed Police, “Seize this man and search him for a piece of gold he has robbed from me.” This they did, the gold was found upon him, and “Sakhi” was taken before the executive, found guilty, and sentenced to the torture peculiar to that country.

This punishment consisted in stripping the body, and placing over it the skin of a newly killed heifer, the head only of the victim being exposed. The prisoner was then put into the hot sun so that the skin might dry upon his flesh and gradually eat into it. “Sakhi” was so treated, and bore all his pains with patience, and recited to himself for his comfort, portions of the Koran which he had committed to memory. He was daily under the charge of a guard, whose duty it was to take him to and from his prison-house, and to watch over him during the day. One day “Sakhi” observed that the sentry was muttering to himself, and apparently in grief, so “Sakhi” asked him what was the matter, and he replied, “Our King is very ill, and none of the doctors can cure him.” “Oh,” said “Sakhi,” “I am a medicine man, and I can cure the King, I do not doubt.” This news soon reached the ears of the people about the Court, and “Sakhi” was taken before the Vizier, and there repeated what he had said to the sentry.

The Vizier ordered that the skin should be taken off “Sakhi” which caused him much physical pain, and indeed could only partially be removed. “Sakhi” was then put into clothes again, and leave was given him to prepare his remedies. “Sakhi” then went at once into the jungle, procured the herbs pointed out to him by the snake, 96and made from them a draught which he gave to the King. The King believed in his skill, continued to follow the treatment, and in a very short time he became quite cured of the disease from which he was suffering. “Now,” said the King to “Sakhi,” “you have been the means of restoring me to health, and as I made an oath at the point of death, that whoever cured me should have my daughter in marriage, and be possessor of half of my kingdom, so now I shall proceed to keep my word.” The King accordingly commanded that the proper document should be made out, and upon a fortunate day being fixed by the astrologers, the royal marriage was celebrated with every pomp and display. So the poor and patient “Sakhi” was thus greatly rewarded and enriched.

But he was not spoilt by splendour, for he never neglected as the proper hours came round, to say his prayers five times a day, as the custom is of every devout Mahomedan.

The morning prayer was said at the river side, near the Palace, where he prostrated himself in worship on an open green sward.

One morning, the jackal whom he had rescued from the well came to him with a beautiful flower in its mouth, and he said to “Sakhi,” “Take this flower; I found it on this green bank after five Fakirs, or ‘Panj Pir,’ had been worshipping here. It has a most fragrant smell, but one thing I must tell you: let no one know you possess it.” So “Sakhi” thanked the jackal, tied the flower in his waistcloth, and went home.

The perfume of the flower was so strong that his 97wife at once perceived it, and asked what he had about him that smelt so sweet. “Sakhi” for a long time evaded the question, for he had in his mind the warning of the jackal, but at last, in a weak moment, he drew it from his waistbelt and handed it to his wife, saying, “I have yielded to your entreaties, but you must tell no one else about it.” One day her mother came to visit her, as she often did, and by some accident “Sakhi’s” wife dropped the flower on the floor, which her mother picked up unperceived, and took away with her, when it at once dried up. The wife had no sooner lost the flower than she became depressed and like a mad thing, and at last told “Sakhi” that she should die unless it could be recovered; so distressed indeed was she, that she quite worried him out of his life. “Sakhi,” one morning when he was at his usual place of prayer by the riverside, thought of the jackal, and he was not long before he made his appearance. He then told him all about the flower, and what misery and suffering it had brought upon his wife since the day she had lost it. The jackal remonstrated, and said he could not get another, for it was left on the bank by the five holy men who had never been seen again, but he felt sure that there was some talisman about it. “Sakhi” said, “Oh! If you could only tell me whither they went, so that I might follow them and get them to take the spell off my wife!” The jackal replied, “They dived into that deep pit in the river, that I am sure of, and never rose again.”

Then “Sakhi” bethought him that he would also 98dive in there at the same spot, and see what fate and fortune might have in store for him.

Thereupon he made a plunge from the bank, and oh! wonder of wonders! He found himself in a glorious place, and mid bowers of bliss, and precious stones shining in every direction, so that he was quite bewildered. This was indeed to him rapture and enjoyment, and while he was trying to collect himself, he felt a touch from someone near, and he recognized the voice of the daughter he had lost in the fire, who welcomed him with all affection, saying, “Mother also is here; I will go and call her.”

So “Sakhi” felt that this was true happiness indeed, to be in such a place with his first wife and daughter, and he decided to remain where he was, and which he now knew must in very truth be the Paradise of Mahomed. Never more did he wish to return to earth again, to be worried by his second wife who was under the spell of that enchanted flower.

And so ends the Story of “Sakhi the Generous,” and may we all learn to bear our troubles with the same patience and resignation that “Sakhi” did.


This is one of the tales, says Crooke, of the grateful Animal cycle, for which see Köhler and Crooke.

Sakhi.”—From the Arabic word, “sakhi,” meaning liberal, generous.

Kallundar.”—From the Arabic word, “kallundar,” 99a kind of monk who deserts the world, wife, and friends, and travels about with a shaven head and beard. They belonged to a sect of the Kadiri Fakirs, akin to the Sufis, and do not refuse to take “murids” or followers; but the Sufis only tolerate them.

Ātā.”—A Hindustani word, meaning flour, or meal.

Chāpāti.”—Also a Hindustani word, meaning thin cakes of unleavened bread.

Snake and small lump of gold.”—“Old Folk-lore.” See Crooke’s reference to Pipa the Brahmin, who gave offerings of milk to a serpent on the banks of the Sampu, or “Snake Lake,” and was rewarded daily by the serpent with two pieces of gold. In “Chinese Folk-lore” (Dennys) the Emperor Hoti found a wounded serpent in his path, and having cured and released it, was rewarded by a carbuncle of exceeding brightness which the snake brought to him. The belief is, however, common to many races, and the superstition has been extended to toads and fish, and even to horses. Serpent worship is akin to this, but this subject is too elaborate to refer to here.

Panj Pir.”—“Panj” is the Persian for Five, as the five fingers, and with the Shiah Mahomedans it is a standard, and the extended hand is carried on a pole during the Mahomedan Mohurrum Festival. As also the Panjutun which are the five holy persons amongst Moslems, viz., Mahomed, Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Hussain. Sentences from the Qorān are repeated at this festival, and the Fakirs and others call out in chorus, “Yahoo! Yahoo!” the Arabic for “Jehovah,” He who is; He who exists. (See Qanoon-i-Islam.)

100Dwelling beneath the River.”—This prevails widely through the folk-lore of many countries. Moore in his “Manx Folk-lore” has a long article upon “Dwellings under the Sea,” splendid cities, towers, gilded minarets, and so forth.

Wells.”—In the original it is “Kooh,” in Sanscrit “Kooā,” in Persian “Chāh.” These are wells from whence the water has to be obtained by lowering a cord or rope. A well into which people descend by steps to get water is termed “Bāolī,” from the Hindustani language.

In some of the “Koohs” it is a practice to place during winter, frozen snow, and when this melts in the summer months, it is drawn out and sold as “Aseah” water, and is much appreciated.

It is considered by the people to be a good action to build a well for the general use of travellers, and a still further work of merit to build a tank, for then both animals and birds can also enjoy the benefit.

There are many witty sayings in regard to wells, but one or two must suffice from this district.

In giving advice to another about to take an important step, the saying is:

Têk thrup nâl kooh deh vitch viso
Hazah thrup nal na asô.
One jump will take you into a well, but a thousand will not take
you out of it.

If one wishes to say that another has laid a trap and got caught himself, the saying is:

Châ Khundah, Châ derpesh.
If you dig a well for another, you will fall into it yourself.

Note.—In the 12th century there actually lived a saint called “Sakhi Sarwar,” whose real name was Sayyid Ahmad. His father is said to have been a native of Baghdad. In another legend he is represented as a disciple of the celebrated Pir Dastagir of Baghdad. Close to the tomb of this saint is a shrine to Baba Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, and a temple to Vishnu.—Crooke.

It may be that the “Sakhi” of this tale refers to this saint.

“'Sakhi’s’ grief under torture.”—A common saying amongst the people to express the fact that no one is without suffering is thus given in part Persian:

Darin duneâh kussay bê ghrun nebashad Agar barhad, to bunsie
Adam nabashad.
In this world no living mortal is without grief; if such an one
perchance there should be, then he is not of the sons of

Further Note as to Snakes.—There are several kinds of snakes known in the district by snake-charmers, but some of the most important are as follows. First and foremost is the well-known Cobra; one is called Kooruj; another Mushkee, of a black colour; a third Chujlup, or hooded, from the hood being like Chuj, or a winnowing basket; a fourth is termed Kukkur, also a hooded snake, but of a light colour.

Of miscellaneous snakes there are Batung, Bhullard, and the Theer-Maâr, a small snake found in the roofs of houses. Another has a spotted body, is small, and 102has a broad head; this is called Phissee, or Kurnndâwah. Another is the Sangchūr, a snake of most rapid movement, having a dark body, very glossy skin, with white spots here and there. Of this snake the charmers stand in great dread, for it is instant death to be bitten by it.

To show how deadly this is, they say that the snake calls out, “Get out of my way, for fall you must at once, and I don’t want you to fall on me.”

Snakes, as has been already said, are worshipped by Hindus, and the Cobra is a special object of worship, as being intimately connected with many of their idols and deities, especially by the worshippers of the Lingam, the form under which Siva is worshipped, the most bigoted perhaps of all Hindu sects.

When the child of a Hindu is suffering from a disease called Sokrâh, or Sūkh-Chari (atrophy), or wasting away, it is usual to have it washed under a Cobra, and the water thus falling over the snake on to the child is believed to have healing properties.

The well-known “Bezoar” stone (from the Persian words “zahr,” poison, and “pād” against, a concretion found in the stomachs of goats or antelopes), for the cure of snake poison, and is called in the district “Zahr Muhra”; and again to cure dogs of distemper it is a common practice to wash them with the cast skins of snakes, called Khainchillee. It may be added here that snakes, it is said, can be killed with snuff thrown into their eyes and mouth.

Some have doubted whether it could be possible for snakes to be charmed, especially as many naturalists have 103asserted that the greater part of them are deaf. The Authors can, however, certify to the fact that hooded snakes can be brought under the spell of a shrill musical pipe even when in concealment. The pipe the Indian snake-charmers use is called a “Tunbi;” or by some a “Banshī” or flute is used.

However, to continue this subject might as we have before said, lead us into Ophiolatry, which is outside the scope of these Explanatory Notes; but we may say this, that the change of skin by the Serpent has no doubt been easily associated by some minds, with the springing up of a fresh life, or an endless existence; and so has been one of the means towards the worship of this Reptile.



There lived, many years ago, in the city of Azimgurh, in the north-west of India, a Moslem Priest, or “Moola,” who, as is usual with that class, added to his income by teaching the Mahomedan youths of the place.

By chance an old Washerman, or “Dhobī,” and his wife while travelling homewards came to the city, and put up under a tree adjoining the Mosque where the Priest lived, and tied their ass to the tree. The old couple were rich, but were unfortunately childless.

Some time during the day of their arrival, they caught a glimpse of a man who was gesticulating before the Priest in a tone of violent complaint, and they could not help hearing all that he said: “You are the Priest,” he called out, “and I have paid you all the fees you asked, but you have taught my son nothing at all, and every day he is either idling or playing about in the dusty roads with other worthless urchins.” Upon this the Priest became greatly enraged, and retorted, “Not taught him anything! It is false; he has been educated like the rest.”

“Yah Yah ka kulma partraya
Gudhê sê admi bunaya.”

105Which means, “I have taught him the creed of Yah Yah, or of the righteous ones, and though he came to me an Ass I have made him into a man. You ungrateful wretch! I will have nothing further to say to him, and you may take him out of the school.” Upon this the man left the Priest and went away down the road.

The ignorant old Washerman and his equally old and ignorant wife having been silent listeners of all this conversation, put their heads together, and began to talk of what they had heard. The Washerman said to his wife, “Did you not hear the Priest say that he had changed an ‘ass’ into ‘a man,’ and you know Priests can do wonderful things! I am just thinking that if he could work a change in our ‘ass’ and make out of him a ‘son’ for us, what a blessing it would be! For we have only this one thing short of being completely happy.” The old wife eagerly caught at the idea, and replied, “Yes! Allah has given us much wealth, but what good will it be to us when we die; strangers will get it; but if we had a son he would inherit it, and our cup of joy on earth would be full to the brim. Let us go to the Priest, and make a bargain with him, that the curse of having no son may no longer rest upon us.”

Whereupon they both sought an audience of the Priest, and approaching him, said, “Oh Sir! we are both very old, as you see, but we have plenty of money; but Sir, saddest of all things to tell you is that we are childless. Now Sir, we overheard you say that you had transformed an ass into a man. We have an ass, but we have not a son; would you be so good as to change 106him for us, and we will give you any sum that you like to name.”

The Priest was struck all of a heap with surprise and astonishment at this preposterous request, he said nothing for some minutes, but simply stared at the aged old couple while he collected his thoughts. “These people must clearly have heard me speaking angrily to the father of the worthless scholar, and have taken my words altogether in a literal sense, but here is evidently a run of luck for me which must not be thrown away.” Thus he soliloquised, and the old couplet fixed itself in his thoughts,

Gân kê pooreh-get muth ki heenay
Khuda tujhê deta-mai leta keunnahin.
These are rich in purse but weak in intellect;
Allah gives you the chance, why should you not take it?

Then after this little pause he turned to them and said, “I have been considering what is best to be done for you. To comply with your request is indeed a difficult task, though not impossible. If you will tie your ass to that tree, and come to me a year hence, you shall have a son, for it will take all that time to make so complete a transformation. Give me now therefore one thousand rupees, and go back to your home, and be sure you return to me punctually in a year’s time.”

The old people were only too pleased to close with the Priest, so they paid him the money, tied the ass to the tree, wished him a hearty farewell, and went on their journey homewards.

107When a year had elapsed the old Washerman and his wife, with their hearts bounding with delight at the prospect of welcoming a son and heir, started on their travels again to meet the Priest, and in due time arrived at the Mosque.

“We have come, Sir,” they said, “according to promise, to claim our son.” The Priest replied, “You are indeed a couple of old fools; if you had been true to your time and had come a week ago you would have seen him; but now, owing to his great learning, he has been appointed the “Kazi” (Doctor of Mahomedan Law) at Jaunpūr.”

The Priest had hit upon this ruse, and had determined to play off a joke on this Kazi of whom he was extremely jealous.

“But,” replied the old couple, getting alarmed, “how is it possible that he will recognise us unless you accompany us?” “Don’t distress yourselves; I cannot go, but if you will take this rope with which you always tethered your ass, and the ‘Tobrâ’ or nose-bag in which the ass had his grain, and go to Jaunpūr all your difficulties will vanish. Time your arrival in the city on a Friday at the hour of prayer in the Mosque. You will see a large concourse of people being addressed by your son, who was, you know, your ‘ass.’ Put yourselves in a position where the Kazi can plainly see you, then keep shaking the rope and the nose-bag, and he will soon discover who you are, and come and claim you as his father and mother.

So off they went to the city of Jaunpūr, reached 108it on a Friday, and went straight to the Mosque, placed themselves in a conspicuous part of the outer building within sight of the Kazi, and began, with a vengeance, to whisk before him the nose-bag and the rope.

In a very short time the Kazi noticed this strange proceeding, and sent one of the congregation to find out the cause, but they told him to tell the Kazi that they had a profound secret which could only be told to the Kazi himself and to no other mortal.

The Kazi, impelled by curiosity, asked permission of his audience for a few moments of leave, and then taking the old couple aside, he begged of them to tell him the reason of their strange behaviour. With bated breath, and with the deepest earnestness did the old Washerman and his wife pour into the Kazi’s ears the whole of the strange story of his having once been their ass: how for years they had overloaded him with kindness, and never spared the cudgel when he had been obstinate; how they deeply regretted their conduct towards one now so exalted as they saw their son to be; how, but for the wonderful power of the Priest of Azimgurh such a blessing would never have come to them; and how their cup of happiness was now complete.

The Kazi at once took in the situation, and saw the plot that his arch enemy had so cleverly planned against him, and being a wise man he thought to himself, “If I repudiate this absurd story, in the belief of which these ignorant people have bound up their lives, it will be sure to be published abroad, to my own annoyance, and from being respected I shall be mocked and turned into ridicule, 109and in fact be the laughingstock of the place. I am resolved what to do; I will quietly acquiesce in what they say, and so get rid of them.” Turning to the old couple he said, “Yes; it is all too true, and from henceforth your interests are my interests, your good name is identical with mine, and I will carry it on. But let me bind you by all that you hold sacred that you never breathe a word of this marvellous change that has taken place in my being and existence. If you never reveal this secret, I will be a dutiful son to you all my life.”

This the old Washerman and his wife agreed to abide by in every iota, only stipulating that when they died, which in the course of nature was not far off, he would be present to see them interred according to Mahomedan rites. This the Kazi on his part faithfully promised to do, and the old couple took their departure to their own home with every expression of joy and delight, and left all their money to him when they died.


Azimgurh.”—“Azim” is the Arabic for great, and is used wherever Moslems have spread, in names of towns and in titles, such as Azimgurh, Azimpur, or Azim-us-Shan, meaning splendid.—Balfour.

Kazi.”—From the Arabic, and means a judge or justice—one who determines and decrees in Mahomedan law.

110In days long gone by the ruling of the Kazi was thought more absolute than it is now, and there was then no appeal from his judgment. As a class they were greatly respected, though some were believed to be able to read the law pretty much as it suited them.

The natives tell a story of one of these old Kazis who had two favourite sons, named Juttoo and Juttal, and during a severe famine these lads were seen to be eating the flesh of an animal that had died a natural death, which is strictly contrary to the Mahomedan law. The complaint was made to the Kazi of the evil example they had set to the people, but he, willing to screen them, enquired of the deputation what the animal was. They replied, “Kotha” (an ass). “And what colour might it have been?” he further asked. They replied, “Chitta” (white). Then making a pretence of hunting up several of his law books, he said, “I find an exception here in the case of a white ass, and I therefore thus decree:

Julloo and Jullal
Chitta kotha Hullal.
To Julloo and Jullal
The white ass is judged lawful.”

From the earliest times, the White Ass (Albino) has been reserved for the use of those who might be highly honoured. In Hindustani the Ass is termed a Gudhā and is of the same breed as those domesticated from the original African Ass. They are used in India mostly by Dhobī's, and a homeless race called the “Yerkala,” and it is said they cripple their hind legs to prevent them 111straying. Most of these Asses have one disposition, that they are averse to crossing a stream of water.

For the transformation of men into animals and vice-versâ, see Crooke’s “Popular Folk Lore of Northern India.” This metamorphosis is common throughout the whole range of Folk-lore: thus, in one of Somadeva’s tales, a man is turned into an Ox, in another his wife transforms him into a Buffalo, in a third the angry hermit turns the King into an Elephant.



In the great and glorious days of the Badshah Akbar (Emperor), he had a very favourite minister of the name of Bīrbal. This minister was without doubt the ablest statesman at the Court, and no State question was decided without reference to him.

Some say he was also a general in the army, and that by his skill he greatly assisted Akbar to extend his dominions. Bīrbal was, however, a Hindu, a Brāhman of the tribe of Bhât, and his real name was Mahes Dās, but so tolerant was “Akbar Badshah” to all religious sects that if a man were wise and skilful he cared not of what faith he might happen to be. Bīrbal was also full of wit and humour, and had such a pleasing way of putting things, that he could talk to the Badshah in a manner that other ministers would not dare to do.

It so happened, however, that one day he unwittingly gave offence to the Badshah, and so enraged did Akbar become that Bīrbal, fearing his wrath, fled the country. Disguising himself as a Fakir, he begged his way from village to village, and at last settled down on the extreme frontier of the Badshah’s empire.


Days and months passed by, and the Badshah began to feel more and more the loss of his once favourite 113minister, and though himself searching in the villages near at hand, and making diligent enquiries everywhere, he failed to discover the slightest trace of him.

Crushed by grief and broken-hearted, he at last called a council of his ministers, and stated to them how much he missed the presence about him of his old attached friend Bīrbal. They, perhaps somewhat jealous of his pre-eminence in the mind of the Badshah, seemed to be callous and indifferent as to his fate. Whereupon the Badshah became as enraged with them as he had before been with Bīrbal, and threatened to decapitate them if his hiding-place were not soon discovered, and the runaway brought back to him.

The ministers and nobles in their alarm, at last hit upon an expedient which they submissively laid before the Badshah.

They said, “Oh Badshah! If an order is given throughout the Empire of so senseless and foolish a nature that it will be impossible for any of your Majesty’s subjects to comply with it, there is just a chance that we may be able to find out the place of concealment of the ever terse and humorous Bīrbal.”

The Badshah listened to their suggestion, told them to act up to it, but under any circumstances, and at the cost of their heads if they failed, Bīrbal must be brought ere long into the Presence.

Accordingly an edict went forth calling upon the “Headman” of every village in the Dominions, on pain of death, to bring the principal “well” of the village to do obeisance to the King’s “well” at the Palace. The 114edict was entrusted to horsemen who conveyed it to every village in the Empire.

The whole country was filled with lamentation and distress, for it was seen to be impossible to conform to the order of the Badshah.

When the proclamation reached the village where Bīrbal was in hiding, he shared in the sorrow around him, and bethought him of a way of escape for the people, but he was known to them only as a Fakir.

At last he said to the Headman of his village, “Take with you some of your principal tenants, and go to the outside of the Badshah’s Palace; then send a messenger within the Palace, to say that in obedience to the order of the Badshah you have brought your ‘well’ without the walls, and that it is ready to do obeisance to the King’s ‘well.’ Say also that as it is the custom of the country for the elder brother to advance to meet the younger, that as soon as your ‘well’ sees the King’s ‘well’ approaching to it through the gates of the city, it will without delay rise to pay its respect, and accompany it back to the Palace.”

This they did exactly as the disguised Fakir, Bīrbal, had told them. Arriving at the outside of the city walls they deputed the most intelligent man of their party to present himself before the Emperor.

The Emperor was seated on his “Peacock Throne,” or “Takht-e-Taoos,” having on the right of the Throne a courtier carrying the “Golden Hand” to keep off the Evil Eye, and known as “Punjah,” from its having five fingers extended; and upon the left another courtier, 115bearing the emblem of the Fish, termed in Arabic the “Mahee-Moorâtib,” the badge of dignity and success.

The Messenger advanced to the Throne and stated his mission to the Emperor, and ended by saying that the “well” of his village was without the city walls, waiting to receive the King’s “well.”

The Emperor was baffled for the time, and then turning to one of his ministers, he directed him to visit the delegates beyond the walls. The minister went, and at once returned, saying that the reply to the Badshah’s order and to the proclamation, given with such sagacity and wit, could come, he thought, from no other than the absent minister. This the Emperor was ready to credit, and a clue being thus obtained, the ministers formed a party and proceeded to the village, where after some little time, they succeeded in discovering Bīrbal in the austere garb of a mendicant Fakir.

Surprised and powerless, he was conveyed back to the city, and to the Royal Presence, and the Emperor came forward to receive him; and then after a few formal greetings the Emperor ordered a robe of honour to be brought and put upon him, and he was again promoted to his position and rank at the Court.

It was not long after this that the country was at war again with the Pathans and tribes in the “Bunēr” Mountains. Bīrbal was given the chief command, and here in one of the first engagements he was unfortunately killed, but his name still lives amongst us as the most able and witty minister that the Badshah Akbar had ever called to his councils.



Akbar and Bīrbal.”—Both Akbar and Bīrbal have their place in history, about A.D. 1586, and doubtless this tale is told amongst many others current in India in order to keep in memory the wit and humour of Akbar’s most favourite minister. It is not old folk-lore, but finds a place here as oral tradition on the Indus, in the valley of which river Akbar was born.

Bīrbal.”—Another tale is told of the same minister who when tauntingly asked by the Emperor Akbar why he did not make an effort to turn all Moslems into Hindus, replied, “Oh King! that is too serious a question to answer off-hand, but give me time and I will tell you why.”

Hearing some days afterwards that the Emperor was going down to the riverside Bīrbal contrived to have a man vigorously washing and lathering a donkey with soap. “See here,” said the Emperor, “here is a novel sight!” “Yes,” replied Bīrbal, “and a very good reply too to the question your Majesty put to me the other day. We believe that Hindus are to Mahomedans as horses are to jackasses, and you see, your Majesty, that all the washing and lathering in the world will not make the donkey into a horse, neither can I by any power that I possess transform a Moslem into a Hindu.”

Yet another tale is current on the Indus, intended to perpetuate the wit and wisdom of Bīrbal.

One day the Emperor begged of his minister to solve the problem of there being so many religious sects in the 117Kingdom, such as the “Roshan.”[5] Bīrbal, it is said, took the Emperor to a large hall, supported by many pillars all similar, but one of which only was of fine gold. There was but a dim light in the hall, and without it, was a large concourse of people. Bīrbal addressed them and said, “You know that all the pillars are much of a shape, but one is of gold; who shall discover this? Let me see.”

5.  A Heresy under “Bayazid,” who set aside the Qorān, and the many divisions amongst the Hindus.

In an instant there was a rush for the hall, and in a little time when light was thrown on the scene, each pillar had its man clutching it in strong embrace, but only Bīrbal knew that which was of gold.

“Behold, oh King!” he said “the scramble for the prize; so it is in the world around us: all rush and divide off into sects to lay hold of the prop and support of immortal happiness, each in the firm belief of exclusive possession. It will only be when the true Light shines, that the Deity who alone has the secret shall pronounce the reward.”

There is a class of Hindu boatmen of Attock who keep themselves entirely apart from the other boatmen who are Mahomedans.

They are called Mullâhs, from the Arabic and meaning boatmen, and their tradition is that their ancestors were brought up to Attock by Akbar from further south, as being skilful oarsmen.

Another local legend at Attock is that the native engineer who made the plans for the old fort had his hands cut off by the native Rajah, lest he should design 118another for an enemy; and this is current in Ghazi to this day.

With reference to the extended hand to keep off the Evil Eye, and carried as an emblem on the right of Akbar’s throne, it should be stated here also that it is often carried on a pole by Mahomedans of the Shiah sect during the Maharram. It is often imprinted too on huts and houses for the same purpose.

The standard of the fish, or in the Persian, “Mahee-Moorâtib,” conveys special honours to princes and nobles. “Mahee” in Persian means Fish; the Fish on which the earth is supposed to rest. The word “Moorâtib” is from the Arabic “Martibah” and means Dignity and Honour.

“The Fish is the vehicle of “Kwâja Khizr,” the water god, and hence has become a sort of totem of Shiah Mahomedans, and the crest of the late Royal Family of Oudh.”—Crooke.

Pictures of fish are often drawn on houses as a charm against demoniacal influence, and we know, that the “Matse Avatar,” represents the incarnation of Vishnu in the form of a Fish; and emblematic also of the Deluge.

There are many expedients resorted to, to keep off the Evil Eye, amongst others, iron rings, precious stones, colours (particularly red and yellow), the triangle of equal sides, and pots and chattis, or earthenware pots, smeared with lime. The triangle might possibly be traced to the three Genii, or Hindu Triad, seated in a triangle, or “Tricuta.”[6]

6.  In the abode of the departed, said to have been seen by Thespesius of Soli.—Purânâs. When the apex of the triangle points downwards Kishnu is symbolized, if upwards it is the symbol of Siva.

119Armlets to the same intent, and called “Tawiz,” from the Arabic word, Auz, “fleeing to God for protection,” are in constant use, as a charm, and it would seem that the Jews recognized the same practice, possibly from the command in Deuteronomy xi. 18.

To speak in praise of a child to its face before the parent is to call up the Evil Eye, and is a cause of much alarm. If unwittingly done by a friend, the parent will ask him to spit in his hand in order to take off the spell.

A particular woodpecker, called the Babeeâh, has an evil spell and is dreaded on account of its bringing heavy rains, to the injury of agriculture, and in a village called Vasnal the farmers and villagers all turned out and drove it from the district, and the rain, they say, at once stopped.

Very often, in a large melon field there are placed one or two black chattis, so that the eye of passers-by may rest on these first, before they see the melons, and so take off any evil spell.

We may add here what is not generally known, that the Emperor Akbar, who gave the greatest encouragement to literary accomplishments, appointed Bīrbal to be the Royal poet under the name of “Katrāe.” None of the poems he wrote have, as far as we know, been preserved by Abul-Fazl or others, but we presume that they would have been of the usual figurative type of those days, as for instance the comparing of the narcissus flower to the eye, and the feeble stem of that plant bending over with the weight of the flower, to the languor of the eyes. Pearls again signifying tears or teeth, and 120the lips to carnations or rubies, while the gums are said to be as the flower of the pomegranate tree, and the dark foliage of the myrtle, is thought to be like the dark hair of the one beloved; or again the eye is said to be like a sword, and the eyelids scabbards, the white complexion to be like crystals of camphor, while the musk plant is said to betoken a beauty spot on the face. (See Hughes.)

Peacock Throne.”—This was studded with valuable diamonds and precious stones, and was considered to be worth seven millions of money.



There lived many years ago a great Rajah in a country far away from our village; and he was a very enlightened and clever man, and used to travel about to add to his information and knowledge.

On one of his journeys he met a man who told him that there was at no very great distance off, a city where everyone was wise, from the King on the throne to the poorest beggar in the street.

“That is impossible,” said the Rajah, but the man persisted in the truth of his statement, and said, “If you do not believe me go and see for yourself.” This the Rajah had determined in his own mind to do, but for the present he returned to his own Palace.

Calling for his favourite minister he told him of what he had heard, and said, “I should much like to visit that city, and acquire some further experience and wisdom; for knowledge, I find, can only come from what one sees; and you must accompany me on my travels;” to which the minister readily assented.

Conversing again together some few days afterwards, they began to arrange about the time and manner of going. “It will not do, oh King!” said the minister, “for your rank and title to be known, nor indeed for me to appear 122as your Vizier. We must throw a veil over all this, and go in disguise, or we shall never succeed in getting to know the wisdom of this wonderful people and city. Let us go as respectable travellers only; then we shall be able to go in and out of the streets without anyone molesting us.”

This idea pleased the Rajah, so they had some dresses secretly prepared, and on a propitious day they took their departure from the Palace. The Rajah knew the road, and in a few days they reached the spot where he had met the man who gave him this piece of news. “From hence,” he said to his Vizier, “the city cannot be far, for the man assured me it was at no great distance from where we are now standing.”

They pushed on, and in two or three days a city, surrounded by a high wall, was in full view before them. “This,” said the Rajah, “is sure to be the place, for it has an air of solidity about it. See! there are gates to go in and out of it!”

Before, however, venturing into the city, the travellers sat down to rest on a little mound of grass just outside the walls. They got into conversation together, and observed a shepherd, or “Ajuree,” who was grazing his goats and sheep very close to where they had sat down. The Rajah said to his minister, or Vizier, “I should like to put to you four questions, just to sharpen our wits a bit.”

The narrator of the tale then turned, and said to his hearers, “You know that the shepherd is of all classes the most stupid and ignorant; he takes his goats and sheep each morning into the jungles, tends and feeds 123and guards them, and before night-fall he returns with them to the city; so he hears no information, and has no means of picking up knowledge of any kind.”

The Rajah then, within hearing of the Shepherd, of whom he took no apparent concern, propounded his questions as follows to the minister:

“My first question is: Of all lights, which, say you, is the best light?” “Well,” replied the minister, “that is not difficult to answer, for there is no light equal to that of the sun which is indeed the centre of all light.” “Now for my second question,” said the Rajah. “Of all waters, which is the best water?” “That again is of simple solution, for what water can be compared to that from the Ganges? for in life we Hindus worship it, and at death, when put into our mouths, it insures to us mercy at the last.” “Very good: now I come to my third question. Of all sleep, which is the best sleep?” to which the minister replied, “What sleep can be more refreshing than to recline on a soft couch after a fatiguing day?” “Now,” said the Rajah, “for my fourth and last question. Of all flowers, which is the best flower?” “This,” replied the minister, “requires little thought, for the “Gul,” or rose, has been the favourite flower from all ages; it is beautiful to look at, and has the sweetest of all perfumes.”

After the Rajah had finished his interrogations he overheard the Shepherd laughing aloud, and he thought he caught the word “fool,” so he turned to him and asked, “What was that you said?” To which the Shepherd replied, “I was talking to my goats, and not to you.” 124“But you did say something referring to us; what was it?”

“Well,” returned the Shepherd, “I do not mind telling you that I heard the questions you put to that man, whoever he is, and the silly replies he gave you. You asked him which was the best light, and he said the Sun. No, sir; the best light is that of your eyes, for what use is the Sun to you if you are blind? Again, you asked him which was the best water, and he replied, that from the Ganges, the beloved Ganges; but he should have said, the little store of water in a dry and thirsty land when the far-off Ganges would be of no avail. Then you asked him of the best sleep, and how foolish his reply! He should have said, the sleep of health, which will come to refresh you on whatever you may recline; and as to the last question, of the flower, he praised the “Gul” as the best of all, whereas he should have said, the flower of the cotton plant, for the rose fades and leaves no useful trace behind, but with the cotton plant we have both a beautiful and fragrant flower, and when that falls off, there succeeds a pod which supplies a substance from which we weave our cloth, to provide us and our descendants after us with necessary garments.”

As soon as the Shepherd had concluded this little speech the Rajah turned and thanked him; and then looking at his minister he said quietly, “What think you of that for an ignorant shepherd caught hap-hazzard near the place? And if he can make such fools of us both, who knows what may happen to us when we enter the city? What think you? Have we not had evidence 125enough of the wisdom of this people? So my advice is that we retrace our steps to our own country, and try and educate and improve our people, even as they have done.” To this the Vizier at once consented, and they journeyed homewards, wiser men than when they set out upon their expedition.


Vizier.”—From the Arabic word, “Wuzir,” literally, a bearer of a burden. A Grand Vizier is the highest temporal dignitary in Mahomedan States. The title of “Wuzir” dates from the 8th Century and was conferred on the Chief Minister of the first Abbaside Califs, a dynasty which reigned at Baghdad from about A.D. 740 to 1,250, and they derived their name and descent from a paternal uncle of Mahomed.

Shepherd.”—The Hindustani word, and that in frequent use, is “Gadryā,” from “Gādar,” a sheep, but in the original the local word is “Ajuree,” Ajur being the term for flocks and herds, and “Ajuree” the caretaker.

The shepherds of this and many other districts are a simple-hearted set of men, owing not a little to the rustic kind of life they lead. In this district they possess some few sheep and goats of their own, but more frequently they graze the flocks of the neighbouring farmers. The dogs they have, usually two or three to each shepherd, are bred and trained in the district.

126They are fierce and savage to strangers, but docile and obedient to their own masters, clever in protecting the flocks from wild animals, and in controlling their movements from place to place. They do not come at the call of a whistle, but at the shrill cry of “Toh! Toh!” several times repeated. The names they give them are generally after the colour of their hair. A black dog would be called “Kaldo” or “Kulwa.” A spotted dog would be “Dubboo.” A yellowish grey dog would be called “Gaindar,” and a reddish coated dog “Loha.” For dogs of a dark grey the term would be “Sauah,” and a white dog “Bugla,” after a crane of that colour. It is not an uncommon thing for a dog to be called “Motee,” a pearl. Some fine dogs, and standing over three feet in height, shaggy in coat, bushy tail, small ears and eyes, not fleet but powerful, are bred in the hills in the Kangra district. They are called “Gudhi” dogs, after a Hindu shepherd tribe.

These dogs will not live long in the plains. There is another fine hill dog bred in the country round about Chitral, as large as a good-sized Newfoundland, with a head like a mastiff, and long hair.

These Gudhi shepherds in the extreme winter come down to the lower ranges of hills, together with all their sheep and goats. The farmers are glad to let them pen their flocks on their fallow land for a few nights, the shepherd and his dogs being fed by the farmer, who receives more than his equivalent in the manure afforded by the flocks.

The shepherds for the most part carry a staff, with 127or without a crook, and by way of a solace they have a wind instrument, of music called an “Alghūza.” It is something in the shape of a piccolo, and usually to obtain the double notes they put two in the mouth at the same time. They also have sometimes a fife, called a “Bānsli” These are all made out of a hard wood, and sometimes from bamboo.

If you ask a shepherd why he grazes goats and sheep together, he replies that but for the nimble goats he would never get the sheep along. When a murrain breaks out amongst the goats, which it sometimes does, there is a class of men called “Unga” who inoculate the healthy goats behind the ear with a portion of the caul of the liver of one diseased, and this has the effect generally of stopping the spread of the disease.

To protect the flocks and herds at nights from the depredation of wild animals, the shepherds in the summer time raise a high ring fence of thorny bushes; in the winter they are housed at nights in the closed sheds.

The Indian Shepherds have a custom which is purely Asiatic, of preceding their flocks to pasture, as in the words of the Psalmist “He shall lead me beside the waters of comfort.” Most of the Nomad races in India are shepherds, and in Asia generally they were so. Moses herded the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, and David tended his father’s sheep.



Once upon a time there was a Banker, or “Sait,” who lived in a large city in Northern India, and being a man of great wealth was held in high repute by the Rajah and people of the place.

He had all the cunning of his class, and had amassed the most of his fortune by lending money at a high rate of interest, and by giving credit to men engaged in commerce.


One of his debtors was a “Banjāra,” or grain merchant who had owed him some money for a considerable time, and had paid neither interest nor any portion of that which he had borrowed. These Banjāras are well-known people all over India, where they are scattered in large and small communities. They are the possessors, you know, of herds of cattle, which they employ as pack animals to convey their goods and grain from place to place. It is interesting to meet them as they wend their way from one camping ground to another, headed by the leading bullock, which is called the “Guru Bail,” or “Sainted Bullock.” This bullock is ornamented in every direction; the horns and pack-saddle with cowry shells, bits of scarlet cloth, peacock’s feathers, and tassels 129of various colours, while its neck is encircled by a band of leather carrying tinkling bells of different sounds.

The Banjāra of this story was one day again obliged, on matters of business, to go to the city where his creditor, the banker, lived; so, to avoid meeting him, he encamped some distance off and then went singly and alone to the city, in the hope that he might not come across him; still he was haunted with the old native saying, oft repeated, “If you have not seen a tiger, then look at a cat, and if you do not want to see the Angel of death, then keep out of the way of your creditor.”

As ill luck would have it, however, he had no sooner got into the streets of the town than upon turning a corner he came face to face with the Banker, who instantly recognised him, and carried him off to his house, and demanded that immediate payment should be made. It was quite in vain for the poor Banjāra to sue for pity and forbearance, for the debt was an old one, and the Banker was both hard and unmerciful.

At last the Banjāra bethought him of an expedient and said, “Permit me to go to my encampment, and I will beg and borrow from my friends, and return to you with the money without fail in three days’ time.” “No, no,” said the Banker; “I cannot trust you again out of my sight, and by my influence here I could, you know, get you thrown into prison. If indeed I were merciful enough to let you go to your encampment for the money, I should require the very best security.” “I know no one in the city,” replied the Banjāra; “What can I do? Oh dear! what can I do? But wait a moment. Here 130is my best friend, my faithful dog, “Kaloo” (Kala is “black” in Sanscrit); “take him as my pledge and security that I will return and pay you all I owe.”

Now a Banjāra’s dog is of a breed well known in India; he is ready of resource and of wonderful sagacity, and obedient to the voice and gesture of his master in a very marked degree.

After some considerable demur the Banker at last consented to take the dog as security, and bringing a collar and chain to the Banjāra, he bid him tie up the dog in the yard of his house.

This the Banjāra did; then patting and caressing his dog he said, “Now, ‘Kaloo,’ remember you are not to leave this house until I come back to fetch you; if you run away you will disgrace my name, and I will never forgive you.”

After thus addressing his dog he made a hasty “salaam” to the Banker, and took his departure.

When the Banjāra had returned to his encampment he found the packs as he had left them, still under their awning of blankets, and as it was sun-down the cattle were being picketed in a circle round the packs, and the fires were ready for the night, while the dogs were roaming about outside on their usual guard over the camp.

Saluting his friends he said, “Now give me, please, a draught of water to drink,—not like the sweet water of the Sāgar Lake, my friends, where you know the firstborn of our race was sacrificed to the goddess ‘Devi,’ to appease her wrath for drying up the lake,—but the pure crystal stream from the hills.”

131He had soon refreshed himself with a draught, and then went round the encampment in order to collect the money due to the Banker, and by early the next morning he had got together enough to liquidate the debt.

In the meantime strange things were happening at the Banker’s house, for on the night of the very day when the Banjāra had gone for the money the house was attacked by some “badmāshes,” or thieves, who carried off several bags of rupees.

“Kaloo” gave tongue, and barked loudly, but he failed to rouse the inmates, and the thieves made off with their booty. At last “Kaloo” succeeded in breaking his chain, and he followed the thieves along the road, who finding that the dawn of day was rapidly coming on, hastily deposited the money bags in a tank, intending at some future time to come again and remove them.

“Kaloo” noticed all this, gave up all further chase, and returned to the Banker’s house. When the household rose in the morning it was soon found out what had happened during the night, and in very quick time a large concourse of friends and neighbours came round about the house, and condoled with the Banker and his family at the loss they had incurred. There were offers of help on every hand, the police were sent in pursuit, and all that could be done was done to help the great Banker of the city.

While all this stir was going on some of the friends noticed that the dog was much agitated, and was every now and then pulling at their garments. Many drove him off, and even the Banker said, “As if I had not 132worry enough without being annoyed by a dog which does not belong to me!”

Then the Banker told all his friends how he came to be possessed of the dog which belonged to a Banjāra. Shortly afterwards an old man of the party, who knew the quick intelligence of these Banjāra dogs, said, “I think the dog knows more than you give him credit for; look! he has come to me, and I shall go where he leads me.” Soon others followed in the train, and the dog went knowingly along the road until he came to a dead stop near a tank, and went in. The old man said, “There is something here, depend upon it; let some young man go into the tank and make a search.”

This was done, and lo and behold! one bag of rupees was brought up out of the tank, and then another, and another, until all had been recovered that the Banker had lost.

Then came shoutings and congratulations from all the people upon this wonderful discovery, and loud praises were lavished on the Banjāra’s dog who had found out the hiding-place of the thieves. The Banker himself was so overcome with delight that he gave presents to his friends all round, and then looking at “Kaloo” he said, “You faithful dog! you most blessed of all securities! I shall now write out a receipt in full for the money your master owes me, and tell him all that you have done, and you yourself shall be the bearer of the good news to him.”

This he at once did, and tied the receipt and the letter on to the collar of the dog, and giving him a good 133feed he dismissed him to his master with many smiles and blessings.

“Kaloo,” thus released by authority, and proud of having done his duty, ran off with great joy to seek his master.

It was not long ere he saw his master hurriedly returning to the city, and running up to him he began to play round about him, and to show every sign of interest and affection. To “Kaloo’s” dismay, however, his master did not respond, but on the contrary, was in great anger, and much disappointed that his hitherto faithful dog had, as he thought, broken his chain and run away from the Banker’s house, where he had lodged him as security. In a loud voice he said, “Kaloo,’ you are a ‘Namak Harram’ (traitor to your salt); did I not tell you to wait till I released you? But instead of that you have disobeyed me, disgraced my name, and I can no longer have any confidence in you, and you are not fit to live.” Whereupon he at once drew his “talwār” (sword) from its scabbard, and at one cut severed poor “Kaloo’s” head from his body. “Wretched dog!” he said, “This is the first time I have known you to deceive me, and you richly deserve your fate.” Stooping down, his eye suddenly caught sight of a piece of paper tied to the dog’s collar, and hastily opening it he discovered to his utmost dismay that it was the Banker’s receipt in full for all the money that he owed him, and with the receipt was a letter, yes! a letter, describing how that the faithful dog had been the means of his recovering all the property 134that some thieves had stolen from his house on the same night of his departure from the city.

Plunged at once into the direst horror and grief at what he had done, and alone on the road with his faithful friend dead before his eyes, he could not resist the impulse, and seizing the open talwār he thrust it into his own body, and so perished by the side of his favourite. In this state were they found, and the story of the Banjāra and his dog, and the spot where they died, have ever since been treasured up in the memories of the people.

Moral, or “Nasihut”: Keep always a steel-plate upon your temper, and a “Rothâs” bridle on your tongue, which you know is the strongest of all, and never give way to rash and impulsive acts.


Sait.”—This is a Sanscrit word for a banker, and is pronounced “Seth.” The word “Chetty” is derived from this, as applied to “Tamil” traders in Burmah and the Straits Settlements. Those who take up purely financial matters are astute men of business; lending money at exhorbitant rates of interest they get many of the farmers into complete subjection to them. They are wise enough to keep in with the people generally, and often build masonry tanks and dig wells for general use. Sometimes in the very hot weather they will employ a high caste Brahmin to provide drinking water to passing travellers, and will keep them in their pay for a whole hot season.

135The natives of the district have their saying about this, as they have about every class, and it runs as a proverb from mouth to mouth:

Paisah ourrâh cheez
Sub noo kurdhâh yar uzeez.
Money is a great and rare article, and quite a marvel,
For it makes everyone claim for you the strongest friendship.

Banjāra.”—Derived either from the Sanscrit word “Banj,” meaning Trade, or from the Persian word “Brinj,” Rice, and “Ar,” Carrying.

The Banjāras are wandering tribes, leading a sort of gipsy life. They possess many valuable pack animals, and carry their own grain, and that also of farmers, from one part of the country to another. As a rule they are well-to-do.

They are divided into several “Gôts,” or original races, some of them children of the stock of “Thurkee,” “Baidh,” and “Subanna,” and many claim “Gour Brahman” as their ancestor. Nearly every community has a Chief, or “Naik,” or “Tanda,” who lives a life of asceticism, and to whom they yield implicit obedience. Some Banjāras are known to engage in gang robberies, but this is rare with most of the tribes.

They are to be found both amongst the Mahomedans and Hindus. Amongst a particular class of them “bull worship” is said to exist. When sickness occurs the sick man is led to the feet of the bullock “Hatadiya,” devoted to the god “Balaji,” a Hindu deity of Gujerat. On this animal no burden is ever laid, but he moves steadily at 136the head of the convoy, and the place he lies down on when tired, that they make their halting-place for the day.

At his feet they make their vows when difficulties overtake them; and in illness, whether of themselves or cattle, they trust to his worship for a cure.—Crooke.

They are believed to have been originally the grain-carriers for the old Moghul armies, and had many privileges given to them in consequence. Distance and climate do not stand in the way of their conveying grain from one part of the country to the other, and being held in fear by other natives, they are never molested or interfered with. They are gradually dying out, as the traffic in grain is being carried on by other means.

Faithful Dog.”—Dogs play a prominent part in the Folk-tales of most countries, and in India they have ever been the cherished companions of many tribes. With the Banjāras they are the sentinels of their encampment; as it is so well known they are equally so to the Bedouins in the desert. It is believed by many that they are in touch with the spirits of their dead, and a sure protection from evil influences.

There are many legends and omens about them in the district, too numerous to mention here.

It is not lucky for a dog to lie on its back.
It is not lucky for a dog to be given to howl.
It is lucky for a strange dog to follow one home.

And so on.

When the natives see the wild dog in the jungles, (and they are still existing there) they marvel at the triumph 137that man has had over them, to bring them from such a fierce and savage state to be so close a friend and companion.

Crooke says there is an old bit of folk-lore from the Mirzapoor district, where the merchant kills his faithful dog near a tank.

Our thoughts will also take us to the old Welsh tradition of Prince Llewellyn’s hound, still kept in memory in the name of the village, Beddgelert, or grave of “Gelert.”

These are but further instances of the common groundwork of all folk-lore.

There are two breeds of the Banjāra dogs known in the district. They are not unlike the “Gudhi” dogs bred in the Kangra district, but devoid of their woolly and shaggy coat. The ears with one of the breeds are carried erect, and they stand over two feet in height. They are devoted to their individual master, and remain attached to him till death. They seem to anticipate his every wish and thought, and almost to assume a certain likeness to him.

An unfaithful dog is spoken of as:

Khandhâh peendhâh saeent-dha ghur
Vungh Bhonkdhâh kassâe dha ghur.
He eats and drinks at his master’s house,
But he barks for and protects the butcher’s shop.



Once upon a time there lived in the city of Peshawar, not very long ago, an old Priest who had obtained a reputation for the power he possessed over malignant spirits. This Priest usually had under his tuition two or three boys who were “Jinns,” and to whom as it pleased him from time to time he communicated the knowledge he possessed of the black art.

This old Priest came to dwell in the village of Haji Shah, and took up his abode near to the Mahomedan mosque there. This mosque was in close proximity to the quarters of the “Chuprassies,” who you know, are employed by the Sirkar or Government in the suppression of salt smuggling.

The Chief of these “Chuprassies” had in his household a man of the name of Gopee, whose brother Shivedas was one of the “Chuprassies,” and lived with the others in the quarters provided for them.

Shivedas was occasionally seized with violent fits, and when under their influence would rave like a maniac. All kinds of medicine had been tried to relieve him of the disorder, but it was all in vain; so at last his friends left him to himself, and only sought to prevent his doing any injury to himself when the fits came upon him.

139One day when Shivedas was returning to his quarters he was again attacked by his old malady, and so violent was he on this occasion that it took four men to hold him down on his “charpai,” or bed. His brother Gopee was at once sent for, and he found him in one of the severest fits he had ever had. On reaching his bedside, Shivedas cried out, “Save me, Gopee; save me!”

Those round the bed, and the four holding him, said, “Why do you not do something for your brother?” He replied, “I have done all I can, but there is no cure for his disease.” They said, “Then why do you not send for the Priest here, who would soon expel this evil spirit, which comes now and again to torment him?” Now Gopee did not believe in the power of the Priest. At last one of the “Chuprassies” went to their European Chief’s house, and begged him to come up to the quarters to see what could be done. When he arrived there and saw the state that Shivedas was in, and Gopee, his brother, in such great distress, he said, “What can be done to relieve this man?” They all said, “Send for the Priest, the old Peshawar man, and he will soon put him right.” The Chief said, “Well, do so if you like.” They replied, “He will not come for us, for he is a grumpy old man; but he will come for you.” So the Chief, to relieve the sufferer, and perhaps to satisfy his own curiosity, sent to ask the Priest to come.

In a short time he made his appearance, just when Shivedas was in one of his worse struggles, and looking at him for some time, he all of a sudden seemed to make up his mind, and drawing his “Qorân” from his pocket 140went close to the bedside and called out, “Are you going to leave this man, or not?” And a voice came from Shivedas, “No! I will not.” Now, many present heard the voice, but it was not the voice of Shivedas.

The Priest then asked for some rag, and many ran to get a piece of an old “Chudder,” or cloth, but he said, “No! this will not do; it must be blue rag.” And in very quick time someone ran and brought a piece from the Bazaar.

When the Priest took it into his hand he called for a light, and then proceeded to burn it in the flame. Then, again advancing to the bedside, with the burning rag in one hand and the open Qorân in the other, he called out in a louder tone than before, “Are you going to leave this man, or are you not? If not I will burn you out and all your generation.” The same voice then uttered the words, “I will not leave him; and who are you?”

The old Priest then placed the smouldering rag to the nose of Shivedas, and again threatened the evil spirit; and then, to the astonishment of all, the voice said, “I will go away this time if you will not trouble nor worry me.”

After this Shivedas became still and tranquil, and went off into a profound sleep.

Some hours afterwards, when he awoke, and was questioned as to what had occurred, he could call nothing to his remembrance.

The “Chuprassies” believed that the evil spirit had been exorcised by the Priest, and it is certainly true that 141Shivedas had no return of his fits; and I tell you this tale, for it is believed by many of us to this day.


Jinns.”—Before referred to, and meaning that which is internal, and cannot be seen. The word is spelt sometimes Djinns, or Ginns. They are supposed by some to be deities of the ancient pagans. By the Greeks believed to be spirits never engaged in matter, nor ever joined to bodies, subdivided into good and bad, every man having one of each to attend him at all times.

The Mahomedans believe in several divisions of them, and that they inhabited the world many thousands of years before Adam. Falling into corruption, they were consigned to the Mountains of Kâf; the mountains which in Moslem legends surround the world. They still believe that they interest themselves in the affairs of men; that, if assuming human shape their eyes are placed longitudinally in their face. In Arab mythology Solomon is supposed to have possessed special power over them. There are forty troops of them, it is stated, with 600,000 in a troop. Crooke, in referring to them, says, they are believed to have been resplendently handsome, and sometimes horribly hideous.

They are not confined to any part of the earth in which we live, but are to be found in every region.

In Hungary, it is said that many years ago the miners 142were visited by them in the shape of little negro boys who did no mischief, merely on occasion blowing out their lamps.

The Malays, who are Mahomedans, have the same beliefs as their co-religionists in India, their beneficent spirits being styled Dawā, with supernatural powers.

The Chinese idea of Jinns and Genii, as given by one of their writers, is that they will live upon air, or even give up breathing the outer air, and carry on the process of breathing inwardly, as they say, for days together as in a catalepsy (like an Indian Fakir). They will become invisible; they will take the form of any bird, beast, fish or insect; they will mount up above the clouds; dive into the deepest sea; or burrow into the centre of the earth.

The chief Jinn will command spirits and demons of all sorts and sizes and hold them at his beck and call. Finally, after living in the world for perhaps several hundred years, he does not die (for a Jinn or Genii is immortal, though a spirit may not be so), but he rides up to heaven on the back of a dragon, where he becomes a ruler of spirits.

The strict “Confucians” deny their existence. One of the most celebrated of Genii is in Chinese history named “Chang Kwoh,” who possessed a white mule which could transport him thousands of miles in a single day, and which when he halted he folded up and hid away in his wallet.

The Isles of the Genii San Shên Shan were supposed to be pretty much where “Formosa” actually now exists; vide Deny’s exhaustive work on the Folk-lore of China.

143Chuprassies.”—From the Hindustani word “Chuprās,” a buckle or badge worn to show authority, and generally on a belt over the shoulder.

Exorcism.”—The so-called art of Divination, or the foretelling of events, past and future by other than human means, together with the conjuring of spirits both good and evil, and the wearing of charms and amulets as a preservative against evils and witchcraft, have all been in habitual use from remote ages, and are still resorted to in many parts of the world.

India is full of it, where the evil spirits are called “Bhût,” and so is Persia, where necromancers examine for marks and signs the blade bone of a newly killed sheep, very much as is done in the art of Palmistry which by marks and signs professes to discover the character of any person from the palm of his hand.

Exorcism soon followed in the train of most of these superstitions, and a class of people supposed to be possessed of devils, and called “energumens,” sought out those who professed to drive them away with a magical form of words. The Moslems term all these systems of belief “Kahānah,” or a “causing to tell,” and deem them such as to call for disapproval, as indeed also do most Christians in these days.



There lived once in the Punjaub many years ago an old Seikh soldier who had gained much renown amongst his fellow-countrymen for the many acts of bravery he had shown in the tribal wars that in those days used often to take place between the chieftains of the various independent states thereabout. We all know that the Seikhs belong to a sect whose founder was one “Nanak,” who lived in the beginning of the sixteenth century, and that the word Seikh means in the Sanscrit language a “disciple.”

This old soldier had for his first name the distinguished appellation of “Bahadūr,” which in the Persian language means “brave,” so he was brave by name as well as by nature.

At the time the incident occurred which I am now about to relate to you all, he had retired from active service and had settled down on a small competence for a native, in the village of Shumshabad.

In this village, as indeed may be found in many towns and villages of Upper India, there was a little colony of blind men who subsisted on the alms of the benevolent, and they were generally to be found near the markets or bazaars, or along the thoroughfares leading to them. 145They had moreover, a little settlement of their own situated on the confines of the town.

One of these blind men at Shumshabad, a wizen-faced, attenuated, old fellow, clad in poor garments, and wearing a “Kummul,” or native blanket, thrown about him, used to sit daily by the wayside begging, and ever in the same spot. This old blind man had the habit of calling out in a piteous tone, “Friends have pity on the blind, and let him only feel and handle a hundred gold mohurs and he will be made happy for ever.”

Now, as few people who passed that way had even one coin of that value, his wish never seemed likely to be gratified, but he made a pile of money for all that, as the sequel of the story will show.

Bahadūr Singh used to hear this plaintive cry almost daily when he went to the Bazaar, and being kind as well as brave, he often thought to himself, I should much like to satisfy that old blind man’s wish, but I suppose I shall never be able to do so, for the little I have scarce supplies my own daily wants; so he contented himself, with others round him, in casting a pice into the blind man’s wallet.

Months, nay years had passed by, when Bahadūr Singh had occasion to visit a sister who resided at some little distance from Shumshabad, on the high road to Jhelum.

Upon his return he stopped to rest near a Tank, as natives often do, and upon the bank his eye caught sight of a small dark object, and when he had picked it up he found it was very heavy. His curiosity was now greatly 146aroused, and what was his surprise on opening it, but to discover that it was full of gold mohurs, and when he had counted them over, lo, and behold! there were exactly one hundred.

He was in quite a whirl of delight, and one might have thought that he would have kept the money and not have disclosed the secret to anyone, but as there were just the very one hundred gold mohurs that by their feeling and handling might make the old blind man of his village happy for ever, the first idea that entered his head was to go straight to the spot where he knew he always asked for alms, to let him run his fingers over them.

So without any further ado off he went, and upon reaching the old blind man who was calling out in his usual strain; Bahadūr Singh said, “Here, good old man, this is a lucky day for you, for I have brought you one hundred gold mohurs to feel, and to handle, and to be happy for ever.”

Whereupon Bahadūr Singh handed the gold mohurs one by one into the old blind man’s hand, and he handled them and put them one by one into his wallet, repeating after every one, “Oh! you blessed and good man.” By the time the whole hundred had been counted out a very considerable crowd began to collect, so that Bahadūr Singh thought it better to recover his money and be off. He then asked the old blind man to give it back to him, but who would have thought it? the old villain set up quite another cry, howling, and saying at the top of his voice, “Friends, help me; help the poor blind man 147who is being robbed of his little all!” And laying fast hold of Bahadūr Singh’s “dhotee” or cloth, he made it appear as if some of his money had already been robbed from him.

Of course the crowd took the side of the blind man, so it was all in vain for Bahadūr Singh to try to get a hearing, and more than that, the crowd set upon him, and would have thrashed him unmercifully had he not made his escape, so he hurriedly left the scene and his money too.

But he was in a fearful rage, and vowed he would have his revenge, and going by a back way to his hut (for he found he was being pursued), he reached it unperceived.

Taking down his sword from the wall, he said to himself, “I know the place where the blind men live, and I know too that the old blind villain will be going home about dusk; I will lie in wait for him and cut him down.”

Bahadūr Singh’s heart, however, began to fail him, “for,” said he, “Is he not a blind man?” Yet the feelings of revenge had so worked him up, that he was furious at being so cunningly deceived and robbed.

In partial hiding he took up his post by the road-side, and he had not long to wait, for very soon the old blind villain hove in sight, tottering along and leaning on his staff. Bahadūr Singh drew his sword from its scabbard and looked first at it, and then at the old blind villain who was drawing nearer and nearer to him.

In an instant the brave feelings of his nature rose uppermost, for was he not Bahadūr? and addressing his 148sword, as the custom of Orientals often is, he said, “Oh! sword! thou hast been with me in many an honourable fight, and shall I now tarnish thy fair fame by using thee thus? No. I ask pardon, and return you to your scabbard without a stain.” And so saying he let the blind man pass.

But he determined upon following him, and if possible, to recover his money; whereupon he crept stealthily behind him and close upon his heels, and when the old blind villain arrived at his hut, Bahadūr Singh saw him open the door, and before he had time to close and fasten it from the inside, the brave soldier had managed to slip in too, and quite unheard. Keeping very silent, he watched the old villain take off his “kummul” and his wallet, and then make his way to a corner of the hut. He there took up a tile flush with the floor, and removed from a hole beneath it a “chattie,” or earthenware vessel, in which he was proceeding to put in from his wallet the money he had collected during the day. Bahadūr Singh saw his own hundred gold mohurs going in one by one, and then overheard the old blind villain say, “I have done well to day. I have here four hundred gold mohurs, and with this further one hundred, I shall have five hundred gold mohurs, and who so rich as I?” And then he carefully returned the “chattie” and put back the tile, feeling it over and over again to be sure that it was in its right place. He then returned to his “charpai,” or cot, and sat down, apparently to think a bit.


It was now Bahadūr Singh’s turn to try his luck at recovering his money; so moving very noiselessly, he crept 149to the money corner, lifted the tile, took out the “chattie,” and was getting back to a spot he had selected behind the “charpai,” when as ill-luck would have it, he struck against a shelf projecting from the wall, and the noise at once aroused the old blind villain, who rushed to the money corner, only to find that his store had vanished. He howled, he shouted at the top of his voice, he brandished about him his staff, smashing the water-pots, and deluging the hut with water, and it was only by great dexterity that Bahadūr Singh could keep behind him, and so avoid coming in contact either with him or his staff.

In a very short time, however, there came a knock at the door, and the old blind villain let in a stranger, who, to Bahadūr Singh’s relief, was, he noticed, also a blind man. The stranger called out, “What is all this noise about?” “Hai, Hai! Booh, Booh!” said the old blind villain; all my money is gone, and I am ruined for ever.” “Your money gone” he replied, “How can that be? Where did you put it?” “Here, here,” he said, pulling the stranger to the money corner. “But what a fool you were to keep it there! Why didn’t you do as I always do? When I get enough together to make up a gold mohur I sew it up into my turban.”

Bahadūr Singh, hearing this, at once by a quick and quiet movement reached forward and took off the turban of the stranger and put it aside, whereupon the stranger rushed at the old blind villain and said, “Why did you take my turban off and where is it?” “I didn’t,” he replied. “But you must have done so, for there is 150no one else here, and you want to take my money now, do you?” So saying, he went for the old blind villain, knocked him down on to the slushy floor, and pummelled him until he cried hard for mercy.

Bahadūr Singh, with something like a smile at seeing his enemy punished, then quitted the hut, leaving them to fight it out. He took with him the “chattie” and the gold mohurs, and left the turban behind.

He went straight to the village police, told the story, claimed only his own one hundred gold mohurs, and left with them the four hundred belonging to the old blind villain, which were there and then confiscated to the State.

So this old blind villain not only lost his money, but got a terrible thrashing into the bargain, and this tale is often told in the “Hûjrâhs,” or places of meeting of the village story-tellers, as a capital instance of how best to retaliate, and how cleverly the biter was bit.


Nanak.”—This founder of the religious and warlike commonwealth of the Sikhs is so fully referred to by the able historians, “Hunter” and “Elphinstone,” that there is little new to tell of him beyond the folk-lore of the district to which these tales refer.

He flourished about the end of the fifteenth century, was a disciple of “Kabir,” and was a sort of Hindu deist, with universal toleration to all sects.

151He is said to have ridiculed the religious washings and ablutions of the Brahmins by telling his hearers that if water will take you to Heaven, then what holy creatures the fish and frogs must be who are for ever in the water.

The religious divisions of the Sikhs are many, the principal being the Oodhāssee, Baydhee, Thayun, Bhullay, Sodhee, Akālis, Nahung, Giannee, Soothra, Ghoee, Bhaie, Nirmale, Naga, Mujbee, or Rung, Raytay, Guru ki bētah. In the time of their Gurus, Har Govind and Govind Singh Govind, the Sikhs assumed the title of “Singh,” signifying a champion or lion.

A tale is told in the Hazara district that “Nanak” once went in disguise to Mecca. Absorbed in his reflections, he lay down to rest for the night, and quite forgot that his feet were turned towards the “kaaba,” which is an insult to the Moslems.

He was aroused by a devout follower of the Prophet, and at once taxed with his breach of reverence and respect, and asked who and what he was.

“Nanak” replied,

Hindu kahen to marianh
Mussulman bhi na
Panj tutt ka pûthlâ
“Nanak” mera nâm.
Which translated will read,
If I say I am a Hindu you will kill me straight,
Though Mahomedan I cannot call myself;
I am rather a personation of the Five elements,
And my name is “Nanak.”

Another anecdote is given, viz., that when he visited the Chenāab on his way to Mūltān, he very much enraged 152some “Jogis,” a description of recluse penitents, who by means of mental and corporeal mortifications acquire the command over the powers of nature, as stated in previous notes.

These men did all they could by their powers of enchantments to terrify him. They assumed the shape of wild beasts and snakes, fell from Heaven in a shower of fire, and tore away the stars.

“Nanak” remained tranquil, and said, “A holy man needs no defence from such things; his defence is in the purity of his doctrine, and though the world may change, the Creator of it is immutable.”

These words brought them to his feet, and caused their miracles and enchantments to cease as if by magic.

Blind beggar.”—Many of the blind amongst the Mahomedans are styled “Hafiz,” which literally signifies in Arabic those of retentive memory, and who know the Qorân, or Furkān, by heart: “Furkān” meaning the book which distinguishes truth from falsehood.

These men live upon the alms of the faithful, and on festival days are employed to repeat the Qorân, being fed from day to day, and at the conclusion of the festival they are presented with a whole suit of clothes, from head to foot.

Occasionally they are known to earn money by lacing “charpais” with string or tape, which is quite an industry with them.

A blind man from the village of “Sheerka” used to be able to wander about in the jungle, and find his way 153back to his hut. He was familiar with the cries of many beasts and birds, and would imitate them most correctly.

If asked to thread a needle this man would place the needle and cotton beneath his tongue, and in a very short time pass the thread through the eye of the needle.

Kummul.”—From the Sanscrit word “Kammal,” meaning literally a blanket. It is made of coarse wool, loosely woven and soft in texture; the word in its second signification meaning “soft.” A small blanket is called a “Kumli.” In the winter, farmers and others in the district, wear them over their other clothes.

In days long gone by, when the district was under a native yoke, anyone found wearing a blanket, or as it was then locally called, a “Bhūra,” was liable to be pressed to labour for the State; so the farmers had a saying amongst themselves which ran thus:

Vassay meenh thay Bhoorah sheenh
Pavay Pallâh thay Bhoorah Shâllah
Yekho gul Bhoorah dhee marree
Thruth nappoundhâ Veegaree
In the rains the blanket is as tough as a tiger;
In the cold the blanket has the place of a shawl;
It has, alas, but one reproach:
Seen on, whether far or near, ’tis the signal to be seized for work.

Wallet.”—In the original, the word is “Jhūli,” from the Hindustani language. It is carried over the arm by Fakirs and others.

Sword.”—In the original, “Tulwar,” from the Sanscrit, and sometimes as “Turwar,” a scimitar or sword. 154It is said that excellent swords used to be made at a place called Bunnū. To be wounded by one of them was thus expressed:

Lage Bunnoo Thaypah kanoo Bunnoo.
“Cut with a Bunnoo sword, of what use then to strap the wound?”

Note.—The natives of the East often worship their swords and weapons, and it is known especially to be common in the Northern districts of India, and also among the Mahomedans in the Malay Peninsula (vide Crooke, and McNair’s “Perak and the Malays”, page 247). It is indeed a sort of fetish, and a belief that some mysterious power lurks within them.

In a village in the Jhelum district, there lived a noted ironsmith of the name of Aruf, who was famed for his sword blades, and the blades were termed Arfi, after his name.

Before anyone purchased a sword from him he would take a ramrod from a matchlock, and by a particular cut he would sever it in two, saying, “If it will cut iron, surely it will kill any man.”

He was so proud of his power that his daughter thought to humble him, so she asked if he would demonstrate to her how he made the wonderful cut. He agreed, and she, secreting behind her a small cane sought occasion to balk him. Just as he was making the cut she reached forth the cane, and he missed the correct angle of the cut and failed, “See,” she said, “it is easy to be proud of your sword-blades and to say that they will 155kill anyone, but how if an enemy should balk you as I have done? Then behold the result!”

In the district they have many kinds of swords, but some of the principal are the “Foulâdee,” the “Taygâ,” the “Sirôhhee,” and the “Sikaylâh.” These are all curved in the blade. They have a straight sword which they call a “Saif.”

The “Sirôhhee” is of polished steel, and rather brittle.

Note.—There is a story told in the district that when “thuggism” was at its height, young men used to be decoyed to a retired spot in the jungles, where a most fascinating and beautiful “Thugin” resided. She had a native sort of seat, placed over a deep dry well; and though to all outward appearance it was firm and reliable, yet when any weight was put upon it, it suddenly gave way, and the unfortunate victim was sent to the bottom, where he was afterwards killed and robbed. Part of the proceeds went to the goddess “Kali,” and the remainder was divided amongst the gang.

Once a young Sipahi succeeded in evading the trap, and recovering himself he was attacked on all sides by thugs. Drawing his “Sirôhhee” he made a cut or two at them, but it suddenly snapped in his hand. He was, however, fleet of foot, and managed to escape.

Telling his friends of his adventures, he said, by way of caution,

Bandh Sirôhhee Bandho do
Bandh Sikaylâh to phir akela.
If you carry a Sirôhhee, carry two;
If you carry a Sikaylâh, you may venture fearlessly alone.

156The scabbards are made from thin wood, and covered with black or green leather. The woods used are sometimes the “Baid,” or willow, and the “Bakāyun,” one of the Meliaceæ of botanists. The hilts are frequently inlaid with gold and silver.

Bahadūr in a rage.”—He was ordinarily a quiet man, and when enraged his anger was relentless, according to their saying:

Murdhâ boleh nahin
Boleh thay kuffun paray.
A corpse certainly cannot utter a word,
But if it should, it would cast away its shroud.

Gold Mohur.”—Also called “Ashrufee”—a gold coin worth about fifteen rupees.

Dhotee.”—Is a Sanscrit word, and is a cloth worn round the waist, and fastened by being tucked in behind, and the appearance becomes that of wide or narrow trousers. One of yellow silk, and made chiefly at Benares, is called a “Pīt-ambar,” also from the Sanscrit.

Kāāba.”—This is referred to under “Nanak” in these Notes, but it should be added, that it is the square building in Mecca, about 35 feet in height, and 40 feet square, making almost a “cube,” which “kābāh” means in Arabic. At the S.E. corner of this building is the famous black stone, or “Hajr-as-Saih” set in silver, which has to be touched with the right hand of the pilgrim, but Captain Burton said it was often kissed.

Kabir.”—Under this same heading also of “Nanak” in these Notes is a reference to this Fakir “Kabir.” The 157“Kabir-panthī” are a sect of Hindus numerous in Upper and Central India. They have quite a Quaker-like spirit, and have an abhorrence of all violence. Their commandments are limited to Five:

I.—Life must not be violated, for it is the gift of God.

II.—The blood of man or beast must not be shed.

III.—Man must never lie.

IV.—Man must practise asceticism, and do the duties of piety and devotion.

V.—Man must obey the spiritual guide, the great “Kabir,” and sing hymns in his praise.

“Kabir” died at Gorakhpūr, and both Moslems and Hindus claimed the right to bury him.