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

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The Story of Da Jang. From Amundsen

In life there are just two things--happiness and misery. One you say and the other you think.
                                      Tibetan Proverb.

IN a large city in a distant land called Nyen Yo lived a man, Da Jang, who was a very skillful juggler. He had a friend named Pelzang, who had a wife and daughter. One day Da Jang said to Pelzang, "You should learn to be a juggler; it might be of use to you some time." Pelzang answered, "What is the use of that, a horse would mean much more to me." Da Jang, displeased with the reply, went away muttering that some day he would prove to his friend that juggling was useful.

A few days later, after Pelzang had eaten breakfast and was outside the cottage spinning yarn, while his wife was washing up the wooden bowls on the inside of the house, Da Jang arrived riding on a phantom horse.

"Friend Pelzang," he said, "buy this horse." Pelzang replied, "I have nothing to buy it with, I do not want it."

But Da Jang said, "It is a fine horse with a fine trot, and if you will buy it I will let it go cheaply. Mount and try it," he urged.

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"Well," Pelzang said, "if you will let it go cheap enough I will take it," and he got on the horse, which set off in a wild gallop beyond control. By sunset he had arrived in an unknown place, and he looked all around and finally saw a house from which smoke was rising, and went to the door and knocked. An old lady came out. She might be a demon, thought the man, but there was no place else to go. He asked for lodging and bed from the old lady. "Come in," she said. He entered and found she had three daughters. Having given him delicious food and drink, the old lady inquired, "Who brought you here?" He explained that his horse had run away and landed him in this strange place. She then proceeded to say, "Now, you have nowhere to go, and more-over, this is a small place without a ruler, so say no more, stay with me and be husband to one of the girls and landlord to this place. Even if you leave here you will not get anywhere." He thought there was nothing else to do, as his horse had entirely disappeared, so he decided to remain, and took one of the daughters for his wife, and in a few years had two sons and one daughter.

One day, the mother having gone to get some wood, the children were playing by the river. It was evening and the moon shone into the water. One boy, trying to catch it, fell in and was carried off by the current. As the father tried to rescue him, the other boy fell into the river in his excitement, and both slipped away and were gone. While thus fruitlessly occupied a tiger came and

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carried off the girl from the bank. The father uttered a cry and fell down almost dead with terror and grief. His wife, in the meantime, finding out what had happened, jumped into the river also.

"What an unfortunate creature I am." Tearing out the hair of his head, behold, it had turned white. He thought it would be better for him to die too, so he sprang into the water. He could not sink, but, strange to say, seemed to be lying on the ground, and as he looked up, behold he was back at his own house door. He went in and heard his wife singing, and then he told her what had happened to him and she said, "Are you demented or bewitched? Something has happened to you; I have just finished washing the bowls."

He went outside and, sure enough, there was the yarn in its place just as he had had it, and looking at his wife she was no older in appearance nor was the baby any bigger, and looking at himself in the mirror, his hair was as black as before. As nothing was changed he understood that the juggler had played a trick on him.


Moral: The affairs of this world are like the delusions of the juggler.

Next: Forty-Eight: Like unto Solomon. From Jaschke