The Talking Beasts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 288 pages of information about The Talking Beasts.

This difference was prolonged between them, and at last the words of both came to wrangling.  The thief was so annoyed that he called out to the recluse:  “There is a demon here who wants to kill thee.”  The demon, too, shouted:  “Here is a thief, who wants to steal thy buffalo.”

The hermit was roused by the uproar, and raised a cry, whereupon the neighbours came, and both the thief and the demon ran way; and the life and property of the Holy Man remained safe and secure through the quarrel of his enemies.

  When the two hostile armies fall to strife,
  Then from its sheath what need to draw the knife?

The King and the Hawk

It is related that in ancient times there was a King fond of hunting.  He was ever giving reins to the courser of his desire in the pursuit of game, and was always casting the lasso of gladness over the neck of sport.  Now this King had a Hawk, who at a single flight could bring down a pebble from the peak of the Caucasus, and in terror of whose claws the constellation Aquila kept himself in the green nest of the sky; and the King had a prodigious fondness for this Hawk and always cared for it with his own hands.

It happened one day that the Monarch, holding the Hawk on his hand, had gone to the chase.  A stag leapt up before him and he galloped after it with the utmost eagerness.  But he did not succeed in coming up with it, and became separated from his retinue and servants; and though some of them followed him, the King rode so hotly that the morning breeze could not have reached the dust he raised.

Meantime the fire of his thirst was kindled, and the intense desire to drink overcame the King.  He galloped his steed in every direction in search of water until he reached the skirt of a mountain, and beheld that from its summit limpid water was trickling.  The King drew forth a cup which he had in his quiver, and riding under the mountain filled the cup with that water, which fell drop by drop, and was about to take a draught, when the Hawk made a blow with his wing, and spilled all the water in the goblet.  The King was vexed at this action, but held the cup a second time under the rock, until it was brimful.  He then raised it to his lips again, and again the Hawk made a movement and overthrew the cup.  The King rendered impatient by thirst, dashed the Hawk on the ground and killed it.

Shortly after a stirrup-holder of the King came up and saw the Hawk dead, and the Monarch athirst.  He then undid a water-vessel from his saddle-cord and washed the cup clean, and was about to give the King a drink.  The latter bade him ascend the mountain, as he had an inclination for the pure water which trickled from the rock; and could not wait to collect it in the cup, drop by drop.  The stirrup-holder ascended the mountain and beheld a spring giving out a drop at a time with a hundred stintings; and a huge serpent lay dead on the margin of the fountain; and as the heat of the sun had taken effect upon it, the poisonous saliva mixed with the water of that mountain, and it trickled drop by drop down the rock.

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The Talking Beasts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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