The Kipling Reader eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 185 pages of information about The Kipling Reader.

’So the mendicant returned to the money-lender, and would not sell.  Then that wicked man sat all day before him offering more and more for those, three days’ earnings.  First, ten, fifty, and a hundred rupees; and then, for he did not know when the Gods would pour down their gifts, rupees by the thousand, till he had offered half a lakh of rupees.  Upon this sum the mendicant’s wife shifted her counsel, and the mendicant signed the bond, and the money was paid in silver; great white bullocks bringing it by the cartload.  But saving only all that money, the mendicant received nothing from the Gods at all, and the heart of the money-lender was uneasy on account of expectation.  Therefore at noon of the third day the money-lender went into the temple to spy upon the councils of the Gods, and to learn in what manner that gift might arrive.  Even as he was making his prayers, a crack between the stones of the floor gaped, and, closing, caught him by the heel.  Then he heard the Gods walking in the temple in the darkness of the columns, and Shiv called to his son Ganesh, saying “Son, what hast thou done in regard to the lakh of rupees for the mendicant?” And Ganesh woke, for the moneylender heard the dry rustle of his trunk uncoiling, and he answered, “Father, one-half of the money has been paid, and the debtor for the other half I hold here fast by the heel."’

The child bubbled with laughter.  ’And the moneylender paid the mendicant?’ it said.

’Surely, for he whom the Gods hold by the heel must pay to the uttermost.  The money was paid at evening, all silver, in great carts, and thus Ganesh did his work.’

‘Nathu!  Oh^e Nathu!’

A woman was calling in the dusk by the door of the courtyard.

The child began to wriggle.  ‘That is my mother,’ it said.

‘Go then, littlest,’ answered Gobind; ‘but stay a moment.’

He ripped a generous yard from his patchwork-quilt, put it over the child’s shoulders, and the child ran away.

MOTI GUJ—­MUTINEER

Once upon a time there was a coffee-planter in India who wished to clear some forest land for coffee-planting.  When he had cut down all the trees and burned the under-wood the stumps still remained.  Dynamite is expensive and slow-fire slow.  The happy medium for stump-clearing is the lord of all beasts, who is the elephant.  He will either push the stump out of the ground with his tusks, if he has any, or drag it out with ropes.  The planter, therefore, hired elephants by ones and twos and threes, and fell to work.  The very best of all the elephants belonged to the very worst of all the drivers or mahouts; and the superior beast’s name was Moti Guj.  He was the absolute property of his mahout, which would never have been the case under native rule, for Moti Guj was a creature to be desired by kings; and his name, being translated, meant the Pearl Elephant.  Because the British Government was in the land, Deesa,

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The Kipling Reader from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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