The Book of Noodles - Chapter 7


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FEW folk-tales are more widely diffused than that of the man who set out in quest of as great noodles as those of his own household. The details may be varied more or less, but the fundamental outline is identical, wherever the story is found; and, whether it be an instance of the transmission of popular tales from one country to another, or one of those "primitive fictions" which are said to be the common heritage of the Aryans, its independent development by different nations and in different ages cannot be reasonably maintained.

Thus, in one Gaelic version of this diverting story--in which our old friends the Gothamites reappear on the scene to enact their unconscious drolleries--a lad marries a farmer's daughter, and one day while they are all busily engaged in peat-cutting, she is sent


to the house to fetch the dinner. On entering the house, she perceives the speckled pony's packsaddle hanging from the roof, and says to herself, "Oh, if that packsaddle were to fall and kill me, what should I do?" and here she began to cry, until her mother, wondering what could be detaining her, comes, when she tells the old woman the cause of her grief, whereupon the mother, in her turn, begins to cry, and when the old man next comes to see what is the matter with his wife and daughter, and is informed about the speckled pony's packsaddle, he, too, "mingles his tears" with theirs. At last the young husband arrives, and finding the trio of noodles thus grieving at an imaginary misfortune, he there and then leaves them, declaring his purpose not to return until he has found three as great fools as themselves. In the course of his travels he meets with some strange folks: men whose wives make them believe whatever they please--one, that he is dead; another, that he is clothed, when he is stark naked; a third, that he is not himself. He meets with the twelve fishers who always miscounted their number; the noodles who went to drown an eel in the sea; and a man trying to get his cow on the roof of his house, in order that she might eat the grass growing there. But the most wonderful incident was


a man coming with a cow in a cart: and the people had found out that the man had stolen the cow, and that a court should be held upon him, and so they did; and the justice they did was to put the horse to death for carrying the cow.[1]

In another Gaelic version a young husband had provided his house with a cradle, in natural anticipation that such an interesting piece of furniture would be required in due time. In this he was disappointed, but the cradle stood in the kitchen all the same. One day he chanced to throw something into the empty cradle, upon which his wife, his mother, and his wife's mother set up loud lamentations, exclaiming, "Oh, if he had been there, he had been killed!" alluding to a potential son. The man was so much shocked at such an exhibition of folly that he left the country in search of three greater noodles. Among other adventures, he goes into a house and plays tricks on some people there, telling

[1] Campbell's Popular Tales of the West Highlands, vol. ii., pp. 373-381. In a note to these adventures Campbell gives a story of some women who, as judges, doomed a horse to be hanged: the thief who stole the horse got off, because it was his first offence; the horse went back to the house of the thief, because he was the better master, and was condemned for stealing himself!


them his name is "Saw ye ever my like?" When the old man of the house comes home he finds his people tied upon tables, and asks, "What's the reason of this?" "Saw ye ever my like?" says the first. Then going to a second man, he asks, "What's the reason of this?" "Saw ye ever my like?" says the second. "I saw thy like in the kitchen," replies the old man, and then he goes to the third: "What's the reason of this?" "Saw ye ever my like?" says the third. "I have seen plenty of thy like," quoth the old man; "but never before this day," and then he understood that some one had been playing tricks on his people.[1]

[1] Campbell's Popular Tales of the West Highlands, vol. ii., pp. 385--387.

In a Northumberland popular tale a child in bed sees a little fairy come down the chimney, and the child tells the creature that his name is My-ainsel. They play together, and the little fairy is burnt with a cinder, and on its mother appearing when it cries, and asking it who had hurt it, the imp answers, "It was My-ainsel."-- There is a somewhat similar story current in Finland: A man is moulding lead buttons, when the Devil appears, and asks him what he is doing. "Making eyes." "Could you make me new ones?" "Yes." So he ties the Devil to a bench, and, in reply to the fiend, tells him that his name is Myself (Issi),and then pours lead into his eyes. The Devil starts up with the bench on his back, and runs off howling. Some people workîng in a field ask him who did it. Quoth the fiend, "Myself did it" (Issi teggi).

Cf. the Odyssey, Book ix., where Ulysses informs the Cyclops that his name is No-man, and when the monster, after having had his eye put out in his sleep, awakes in agony, he roars to his comrades for help:

"Friends, No-man kills me, No-man, in the hour
Of sleep, oppresses me with fraudful power!"
"If no man hurt thee, but the hand divine
Inflict disease, it fits thee to resign;--
To Jove, or to thy father, Neptune, pray,"
The brethren cried, and instant strode away.


In Russian variants the old parents of a youth named Lutonya weep over the supposititious death of a potential grandchild, thinking how sad it would have been if a log which the old woman had dropped had killed that hypothetical infant. The parents' grief appears to Lutonya so uncalled for that he leaves the house, declaring he will not return until he has met with people more foolish than they. He travels long and far, and sees several foolish doings. In one place a horse is being inserted into its collar by sheer force; in another, a woman is fetching milk from the cellar a spoonful at a time; and in a third place some carpenters are attempting to stretch a beam which is not long enough, and Lutonya earns their gratitude by showing them how to join a piece to it.[1]

[1] Ralston's Russian Folk-Tales.


A well-known English version is to this effect: There was a young man who courted, a farmer's daughter, and one evening when he came to the house she was sent to the cellar for beer. Seeing an axe stuck in a beam above her head, she thought to herself, "Suppose I were married and had a son, and he were to grow up, and be sent to this cellar for beer, and this axe were to fall and kill him--oh dear! oh dear!" and there she sat crying and crying, while the beer flowed all over the cellar-floor, until her old father and mother come in succession and blubber along with her about the hypothetical death of her imaginary grown-up son. The young man goes off in quest of three bigger fools, and sees a woman hoisting a cow on to the roof of her cottage to eat the grass that grew among the thatch, and to keep the animal from falling off, she ties a rope round its neck, then goes into the kitchen, secures at her waist the rope, which she had dropped down the chimney, and presently the cow stumbles over the roof, and the woman is pulled up the flue till she sticks half-way. In an inn he sees a man attempting to jump into his trousers--a favourite incident in this class of stories; and farther along he meets with a party raking the moon out of a pond.

Another English variant relates that a young


girl having been left alone in the house, her mother finds her in tears when she comes home, and asks the cause of her distress. "Oh," says the girl, "while you were away, a brick fell down the chimney, and I thought, if it had fallen on me I might have been killed!" The only novel adventure which the girl's betrothed meets with, in his quest of three bigger fools, is an old woman trying to drag an oven with a rope to the table where the dough lay.

Several versions are current in Italy and Sicily, which present a close analogy to those of other European countries. The following is a translation of one in Bernoni's Venetian collection:

Once upon a time there were a husband and a wife who had a son. This son grew up, and said one day to his mother, "Do you know, mother, I would like to marry?" "Very well, marry! Whom do you want to take?' He answered, "I want the gardener's daughter." "She is a good girl--take her; I am willing." So he went, and asked for the girl, and her parents gave her to him. They were married, and when they were in the midst of their dinner, the wine gave out. The husband said, "There is no more wine!'' The bride, to show that she was a good


housekeeper, said, "I will go and get some." She took the bottles and went to the cellar, turned the cock, and began to think, "Suppose I should have a son, and we should call him Bastianelo, and he should die! Oh, how grieved I should be! oh, how grieved I should be!" And thereupon she began to weep and weep; and meanwhile the wine was running all over the cellar.

When they saw that the bride did not return, the mother said, "I will go and see what the matter is." So she went into the cellar, and saw the bride, with the bottle in her hand, and weeping. "What is the matter with you that you are weeping?" "Ah, my mother, I was thinking that if I had a son, and should name him Bastianelo, and he should die, oh, how I should grieve! oh, how I should grieve! " The mother, too, began to weep, and weep, and weep; and meanwhile the wine was running over the cellar.

When the people at the table saw that no one brought the wine, the groom's father said, "I will go and see what is the matter. Certainly something wrong has happened to the bride." He went and saw the whole cellar full of wine, and the mother and bride weeping. "What is the matter?" he said; "has anything wrong happened to you?"


"No," said the bride; "but I was thinking that if I had a son, and should call him Bastianelo, and he should die, oh, how I should grieve! oh, how I should grieve!" Then he, too, began to weep, and all three wept; and meanwhile the wine was running over the cellar.

When the groom saw that neither the bride, nor the mother, nor the father came back, he said, "Now I will go and see what the matter is that no one returns." He went into the cellar and saw all the wine running over the cellar. He hastened and stopped the cask, and then asked, "What is the matter that you are all weeping, and have let the wine run all over the cellar?" Then the bride said, "I was thinking that if I had a son and called him Bastianelo, and he should die, oh, how I should grieve! oh, how I should grieve!" Then the groom said, "You stupid fools! Are you weeping at this and letting all the wine run into the cellar? Have you nothing else to think of? It shall never be said that I remained with you. I will roam about the world, and until I find three fools greater than you, I will not return home."

He had a bread-cake made, took a bottle of wine, a sausage, and some linen, and made a bundle, which he put on a stick and carried


over his shoulder. He journeyed and journeyed, but found no fool. At last he said, worn out, "I must turn back, for I see I cannot find a greater fool than my wife." He did not know what to do, whether to go on or turn back. "Oh," said he, "it is better to try and go a little farther." So he went on, and shortly saw a man in his shirt-sleeves at a well, all wet with perspiration, and water. "What are you doing, sir, that you are so covered with water and in such a sweat?" "Oh, let me alone," the man answered; "for I have been here a long time drawing water to fill this pail, and I cannot fill it." "What are you drawing the water in?" he asked him. "In this sieve," he said. "What are you thinking about, to draw water in that sieve? Just wait!" He went to a house near by and borrowed a bucket, with which he returned to the well and filled the pail. "Thank you, good man. God knows how long I should have had to remain here!"--"Here," thought he, "is one who is a greater fool than my wife."

He continued his journey, and after a time he saw at a distance a man in his shirt, who was jumping down from a tree. He drew near, and saw a woman under the same tree, holding a pair of breeches. He asked them what they were doing, and they said


that they had been there a long time, and that the man was trying on those breeches and did not know how to get into them. "I have jumped and jumped," said the man, "until I am tired out, and I cannot imagine how to get into those breeches." "Oh," said the traveller, "you might stay here as long as you wished, for you would never get into them this way. Come down and lean against the tree." Then he took his legs and put them in the breeches, and after he had put them on, he said, "Is that right?" "Very good; bless you; for if it had not been for you, God knows how long I should have had to jump." Then the traveller said to himself, "I have seen two greater fools than my wife."

Then he went his way, and as he approached a city, he heard a great noise. When he drew near he asked what it was, and was told it was a marriage, and that it was the custom in that city for the brides to enter the city gate on horseback, and that there was a great discussion on this occasion between the groom and the owner of the horse, for the bride was tall and the horse high, and they could not get through the gate; so that they must either cut off the bride's head or the horse's legs. The groom did not wish his bride's head cut off, and the owner of the


horse did not wish his horse's legs cut off, and hence this disturbance. Then the traveller said, "Just wait," and came up to the bride and gave her a slap that made her lower her head, and then he gave the horse a kick, and so they passed through the gate and entered the city. The groom and the owner of the horse asked the traveller what he wanted, for he had saved the groom his bride and the owner of the horse his horse. He answered that he did not wish anything, and said to himself, "Two and one make three! that is enough. Now I will go home." He did so, and said to his wife, "Here I am, my wife; I have seen three greater fools than you;--now let us remain in peace, and think of nothing else." They renewed the wedding, and always remained in peace. After a time the wife had a son, whom they named Bastianelo, and Bastianelo did not die, but still lives with his father and mother.[1]

There is (Professor Crane remarks) a Sicilian version in Pitré's collection, called "The Peasant of Larcŕra," in which the bride's mother imagines that her daughter has a son who falls into the cistern. The groom

[1] Crane's Italian Popular Tales, pp. 279--282.


--they are not yet married--is disgusted, and sets out on his travels with no fixed purpose of returning if he finds some fools greater than his mother-in-law, as in the Venetian tale. The first fool he meets is a mother, whose child, in playing the game called nocciole,[1] tries to get his hand out of the hole whilst his fist is full of stones. He cannot, of course, and the mother thinks they will have to cut off his hand. The traveller tells the child to drop the stones, and then he draws out his hand easily enough. Next he finds a bride who cannot enter the church because she is very tall and wears a high comb. The difficulty is settled as in the former story. After a while he comes to a woman who is spinning and drops her spindle. She calls out to the pig, whose name is Tony, to pick it up for her. The pig does nothing but grunt, and the woman in anger cries, "Well, you won't pick it up? May your mother die!" The traveller, who had overheard all this, takes a piece of paper, which he folds up like a letter, and then knocks at the door. "Who is there?" "Open the door, for I have a letter for you from Tony's mother, who is ill and wishes

[1] A game played with peach-pits, which are thrown into holes made in the ground, and to which certain numbers are attached.


to see her son before she dies." The woman wonders that her imprecation has taken effect so soon, and readily consents to Tony's visit. Not only this, but she loads a mule with everything necessary for the comfort of the body and soul of the dying pig. The traveller leads away the mule with Tony, and returns home so pleased with having found that the outside world contains so many fools that he marries as he had first intended.[1]

In other Italian versions, a man is trying to jump into his stockings; another endeavours to put walnuts into a sack with a fork; and a woman dips a knotted rope into a deep well, and then having drawn it up, squeezes the water out of the knots into a pail. The final adventure of the traveller in quest of the greatest noodles is thus related in Miss Busk's Folk-lore of Rome:

Towards nightfall he arrived at a lone cottage, where he knocked, and asked for a night's lodging. "I can't give you that, said a voice from the inside; "for I am a lone widow. I can't take a man in to sleep here." "But I am a pilgrim," replied he; "let me in at least to cook a bit of supper."

[1] Crane's Italian Popular Tales, pp. 282-3.


"That I don't mind doing," said the good wife, and she opened the door. "Thanks, good friend," said the pilgrim, as he sat down by the stove. "Now add to your charity a couple of eggs in a pan." So she gave him a pan and two eggs, and a bit of butter to cook them in; but he took the six eggs out of his staff and broke them into the pan too. Presently, when the good wife turned her head his way again, and saw eight eggs swimming in the pan instead of two, she said, "Lack-a-day! you must surely be some strange being from the other world. Do you know So-and-so?" naming her husband. "Oh yes," said he, enjoying the joke; "I know him very well: he lives just next to me." "Only to think of that!" replied the poor woman. "And, do tell me, how do you get on in the other world? What sort of a life is it?" "Oh, not so very bad; it depends what sort of a place you get. The part where we are is pretty good, except that we get very little to eat. Your husband, for instance, is nearly starved." "No, really?" cried the good wife, clasping her hands. "Only fancy, my good husband starving out there, so fond as he was of a good dinner, too!" Then she added, coaxingly, "As you know him so well, perhaps you wouldn't mind doing him the charity of taking him


a little somewhat, to give him a treat. There are such lots of things I could easily send him." "Oh dear, no, not at all. I'll do so with pleasure," answered he. "But I'm not going back till to-morrow, and if I don't sleep here I must go on farther, and then I shan't come by this way." "That's true," replied the widow. "Ah, well, I mustn't mind what the folks say; for such an opportunity as this may never occur again. You must sleep in my bed, and I must sleep on the hearth; and in the morning I'll load a donkey with provisions for my poor husband." "Oh, no," replied the pilgrim, "you shan't be disturbed in your bed. Only let me sleep on the hearth--that will do for me; and as I am an early riser, I can be gone before any one's astir, so folks won't have anything to say."

So it was done, and an hour before sunrise the woman was up, loading the donkey with the best of her stores--ham, macaroni, flour, cheese, and wine. All this she committed to the pilgrim, saying, "You'll send the donkey back, won't you?" "Of course I would send him back," he replied; "he'd be of no use to me out there. But I shan't get out again myself for another hundred years or so, and I fear he won't find his way back alone, for it's no easy way to find." "To be sure not; I ought to have thought of that," replied


the widow. "Ah, well, so as my poor husband gets a good meal, never mind the donkey." So the pretended pilgrim from the other world went his way. He hadn't gone a hundred yards before the widow called him back. "Ah, she's beginning to think better of it," said he to himself, and he continued his way, pretending not to hear. "Good pilgrim," shouted the widow, "I forgot one thing: would money be of any use to my poor husband?" "Oh dear, yes," said he, "all the use in the world. You can always get anything for money anywhere." "Oh, do come back, then, and I'll trouble you with a hundred scudi for him." He went back, willingly, for the hundred scudi, which the widow counted out to him. "There's no help for it," said he to himself as he went his way: "I must go back to those at home."

From sunny Italy to bleak Norway is certainly a "far cry," yet the adventure of the "Pilgrim from Paradise" is also known to the Norse peasants, in connection with the quest of the greatest noodles: A goody goes to market, with a cow and a hen for sale. She wants five shillings for the cow and ten pounds for the hen. A butcher buys the cow, but doesn't want the hen. As she can-


not find a buyer for the hen, she goes back to the butcher, who treats her to so much brandy that she gets dead-drunk, and in this condition the butcher tars and feathers her. When she awakes, she fancies that she must be some strange bird, and cries out, "Is this me, or is it not me? I'll go home, and if our dog barks, then it is not me.'' Thus far we have a variant of our favourite nursery rhyme:

There was an old woman, as I've heard tell,
She went to market her eggs for to sell;
She went to market, all on a market-day,
And she fell asleep on the king's highway.

There came a pedlar, whose name was Stout,
He cut her petticoats all round about;
He cut her petticoats up to the knees,
Which made the old woman to shiver and

When the little woman first did wake,
She began to shiver and she began to shake;
She began to wonder, and she began to cry,
"Lauk-a-mercy on me, this is none of I!"

"But if this be I, as I do hope it be,
I've a little dog at home, and he'll know me;
If it be I, he'll wag his little tail,
And if it be not I, he loudly bark and wail."

Home went the little woman all in the dark,
Up got the little dog, and began to bark;
He began to bark, and she began to cry,
"Lauk-a-mercy on me, this can't be I!"


To return to the Norse tale. As in our nursery rhyme, when the goody reaches home, the dog barks at her; then she goes to the calves' house, but the calves, having sniffed the tar with which she was smeared, turn away from her in disgust. She is now fully convinced that she has been transformed into some outlandish bird, so she climbs on to the roof of a shed, and begins to flap her arms as if she were about to fly, when out comes her goodman, and seeing a suspicious-looking creature on the roof of the shed, he fetches his gun and is going to shoot at his goody, when he recognises her voice. Amazed at such a piece of folly, he resolves to leave her and not come back till he has found three goodies as silly. He meets with a female descendant of the Schildburgers, evidently, carrying into her cottage sunshine in a sieve, there being no window in the house: he cuts out a window for her and is well paid for his trouble. He next comes to a house where an old woman is thumping her goodman on the head with a beetle, in order to force over him a shirt without a slit for the neck, which she had drawn over his head: he cuts a slit in the shirt with a pair of scissors, and is amply rewarded for his ingenuity. His third adventure is similar to that of the "pilgrim" in the Italian version:


At another house he informs the goody that he came from Paradise Place--which was the name of his own farm--and she asks him if he knew her second husband in paradise. (She had been married twice before she took her present husband, who was an old curmudgeon, and she liked her second husband best--she was sure he had gone to heaven.) He replies that he knew him very intimately, but, poor man, he was far from well off, having to go about begging from house to house. The goody gives him a cart-load of clothes and a box of shining dollars, for her dear second husband; for why should he go about begging in paradise when there was so much of everything in their house? So the stranger jumps into the cart and drives off, as fast as possible. But Peter, the goody's third husband, sees him on the road, and recognising his own horse and cart, hastens home to his wife, and asks why a stranger has gone off with his property. She explains the whole affair, upon which he mounts a horse and gallops away after the rogue who had thus taken advantage of his wife's simplicity. The stranger, perceiving him approach, hides the horse and cart behind a high hedge, takes part of the horse's tail and hangs it on the branches of a birch-tree, and then lays himself down on his back and gazes up into the


sky. When Peter comes up to him, he exclaims, still looking at the sky, "What a wonder! there is a man going straight to heaven on a black horse!" Peter can see no such thing. "Can you not?" says the stranger. "See, there is his tail, still on the birch-tree. You must lie down in this very spot, and look straight up, and don't for a moment take your eyes off the sky, and then you'll see--what you'll see." So Peter lies down and gazes up at the sky very intently, looking for the man going straight to heaven on a black horse. Meanwhile the traveller escapes, with the cart-load of clothes and the box of shining dollars, and the second horse besides. Peter, when he reaches home, tells his wife that he had given the man from paradise the other horse for her second husband to ride about on, for he was ashamed to confess that he had been cheated as well as herself.[1] As to our traveller, having found three goodies as great fools as his own, he returned home, and saw that all his fields had been ploughed and sown; so he asked his wife where she had got the seed from. "Oh," says she, "I have always heard that what a man sows he shall also reap, so I sowed the salt that our friends the north-countrymen laid up with us, and if we

[1] The same story is told in Brittany, with no important variations.


only have rain, I fancy it will come up nicely."[1] "Silly you are," said her husband, "and silly you will be as long as you live. But that is all one now, for the rest are not a bit wiser than you;--there is not a pin to choose between you!"[2]

Now, if it be "a far cry" from Italy to Norway, it is still farther from Norway to India; and yet it is in the southern provinces of our great Asiatic empire that a story is current among the-people, which, strange as it may seem, is almost the exact counterpart of the Norse version of the pretended pilgrim from paradise, of which the above is an abstract. It is found in Pandit S. M. Natésa Sástrí's Folk-lore in Southern India, now in course of publication at Bombay; a work which, when completed, will be of very great value, to students of comparative folk-tales,

[1] Quite as literally did the rustic understand the priest's assurance, that whatsoever one gave in charity, for the love of God, should be repaid him twofold: next day he takes his cow to the priest, who accepts it as sent by Heaven--and the poor man did not get two cows in return. The story is known in various forms all over Europe; it was a special favourite in medićval times. See Le Grand's Fabliaux, tome iii., 376: " La Vache du Curé," by the trouvčre Jean de Boves; Wright's Latin Stories; Icelandic Legends, etc.

[2] Dasent's Popular Tales from the Norse.


as well as prove an entertaining story-book for general readers. After condensation in some parts, this story--which the Pandit entitles "The Good Wife and the Bad Husband"-- runs thus:

In a secluded village there lived a rich man, who was very miserly, and his wife, who was very kind-hearted and charitable, but a stupid little woman that believed everything she heard. And there lived in the same village a clever rogue, who had for some time watched for an opportunity forgetting something from this simple woman during her husband's absence. So one day, when he had seen the old miser ride out to inspect his lands, this rogue of the first water came to the house, and fell down at the threshold as if overcome by fatigue. The woman ran up to him at once and inquired whence he came. "I am come from Kailasa,"[1] said he; "having been sent down by an old couple living there, for news of their son and his wife." "Who are those fortunate dwellers in Siva's mountain?" she asked. And the rogue gave the names of her husband's deceased parents, which he had taken good care, of course, to learn from the neighbours. "Do you really come from them?" said the simple woman. "Are they doing well there? Dear old people! How glad

[1] See note, p. 49.


my husband would be to see you, were he here! Sit down, please, and rest until he returns. How do they live there? Have they enough to eat and dress themselves withal?" These and a hundred other questions she put to the rogue, who, for his part, wished to get away as soon as possible, knowing full well how he would be treated if the miser should return while he was there. So he replied, "Mother, language has no words to describe the miseries they are undergoing in the other world. They have not a rag of clothing, and for the last six days they have eaten nothing, and have lived on water only. It would break your heart to see them." The rogue's pathetic words deceived the good woman, who firmly believed that he had come down from Kailasa, a messenger from the old couple to herself. "Why should they so suffer," said she, "when their son has plenty to eat and clothe himself withal, and when their daughter-in-law wears all sorts of costly garments?" So saying, she went into the house, and soon came out again with two boxes containing all her own and her husband's clothes, which she handed to the rogue, desiring him to deliver them to the poor old couple in Kailasa. She also gave him her jewel-box, to be presented to her mother-in-law. "But dress and jewels will not fill their


hungry stomachs," said the rogue. "Very true; I had forgot: wait a moment," said the simple woman, going into the house once more. Presently returning with her husband's cash chest, she emptied its glittering contents into the rogue's skirt, who now took his leave in haste, promising to give everything to the good old couple in Kailasa ; and having secured all the booty in his upper garment, he made off at the top of his speed as soon as the silly woman had gone indoors. Shortly after this the husband returned home, and his wife's pleasure at what she had done was so great that she ran to meet him at the door, and told him all about the arrival of the messenger from Kailasa, how his parents were without clothes and food, and how she had sent them clothes and jewels and store of money. On hearing this, the anger of the husband was great; but he checked himself, and inquired which road the messenger from Kailasa had taken, saying that he wished to follow him with a further message for his parents. So she very readily pointed out the direction in which the rogue had gone. With rage in his heart at the trick played upon his stupid wife, he rode off in hot haste, and after having proceeded a considerable distance, he caught sight of the flying rogue, who, finding escape hopeless, climbed up into a pípal tree.


The husband soon reached the foot of the tree, when he shouted to the rogue to come down. "No, I cannot," said he; "this is the way to Kailása," and then climbed to the very top of the tree. Seeing there was no chance of the rogue coming down, and there being no one near to whom he could call for help, the old miser tied his horse to a neighbouring tree, and began to climb up the pípal himself. When the rogue observed this, he thanked all his gods most fervently, and having waited until his enemy had climbed nearly up to him, he threw down his bundle of booty, and then leapt nimbly from branch to branch till he reached the ground in safety, when he mounted the miser's horse and with his bundle rode into a thick forest, where he was not likely to be discovered. Being thus balked the miser came down the pípal tree slowly cursing his own stupidity in having risked his horse to recover the things which his wife had given the rogue, and returned home at leisure. His wife, who was waiting his return, welcomed him with a joyous countenance, and cried, "I thought as much: you have sent away your horse to Kailasa, to be used by your old father." Vexed at his wife's words, as he was, he replied in the affirmative, to conceal his own folly.


Through the Tamils it is probable this story reached Ceylon, where it exists in a slightly different form: A young girl, named Kaluhámi, had lately died, when a beggar came to the parents' house, and on being asked by the mother where he had come from, he said that he had just come from the other world to this world, meaning that he had only just recovered from severe illness. "Then," said the woman, "since you have come from the other world, you must have seen my daughter Kaluhámi there, who died but a few days ago. Pray tell me how she is." The beggar, seeing how simple she was, replied, "She is my wife, and lives with me at present, and she has sent me to you for her dowry." The woman at once gave him all the money and jewels that were in the house, and sent him away delighted with his unexpected good luck. Soon after, the woman's husband returned, and learning how silly she had been, mounted his horse and rode after the beggar. The rest of the story corresponds to the Tamil version, as above, with the exception that when the husband saw the beggar slide down the tree, get on his horse, and ride off, he cried out to him, "Hey, son-in-law, you may tell Kaluhámi that the money and jewels are from her mother, and that the horse is from me;" which is altogether in-


consistent, since he is represented as the reverse of a simpleton in pursuing the beggar, on hearing what his wife had done. It is curious, also, to observe that in the Tamil version the man goes to the house with the deliberate purpose of deceiving the simple woman, while in the Sinhalese the beggar is evidently tempted by her mistaking the meaning of his words. But both present very close points of resemblance to the Norwegian story of the pretended pilgrim from paradise. There are indeed few instances of a story having travelled so far and lost so little of its original details, allowing for the inevitable local colouring.

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