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Tibetan Folk Tales, by A.L. Shelton, [1925], at

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The Story of the Bald-Headed Man

Eating much of sweetness you do not know if it be sweet any more. But the evil in a man shows and you know it very well.
                                             Tibetan Proverb.

ONE time, when the world was young and men and women were ill because an evil spirit possessed them, there lived a man and his wife who were very poor. A devil came and took possession of each of them and made them both sick. As they were not rich they couldn't invite a holy lama to read prayers for them, so invited a lay-brother in his stead. After a while this man who was reading began to get very hungry. It was the custom to give the priests the best of food, but this man and his wife had no butter nor meat nor fine things to eat. They had no horses, nor yak and only one goat. So the reader began to think to himself that if they would kill this goat he'd have plenty to eat, as it was really pretty fat. The man who owned the house was bald-headed and now he came up and sat on the roof near where the man was reading. He really sat down in front of him and heard the man mumbling his prayers, "Om mani padme hum, Om mani padme hum;" he was reading, and read right on in the

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same tone, "The god says if a man is bald-headed and will take the skin of a goat and put it on his head he will have hair." The old man sat and heard him read this over several times and finally decided it was there in the book of prayers; so he killed the goat. They all had some good eating for a while and the old man put the skin on his head, wore it and wore it for days and days and kept feeling his head, but not a single hair would come. He finally concluded that the man had lied to him out of the book, and besides, he thought, "If I wear this too long, I fear all the skin will be worn off my head and there will be nothing but bone." So he asked the man about it, whether he hadn't lied to him, and he said, "Oh, no, but if a man would have what the gods say come true, he must pray a great deal himself." Thus he got around his lies and had goat to eat as well.

Next: Twenty-Eight: The Man with Five Friends with Different Colored Eyes (A Black Tent Story)