No. VIII—p. 56.

IT is somewhat strange that this story should be omitted in the Seven Vazīrs, and yet form one of the four tales of the Seven Sages which are common to all the Eastern texts of the Book of Sindibād. The story is thus related in a black-letter copy (pre­served in the Glasgow University Library) of the Seven Wise Masters, the old English prose translation, by Copland, of the Septem Sapientum Romæ, or of a French rendering of it; where it is told by the First Master:

The Knight and the Greyhound.

There was a valiant knight which had one only son, the which he loved so much, that he ordained for his keepers three nowr-ishers. The first should give him suck, and feed him. The second should wash him, and keep him clean: and the third should bring him to his sleep and rest. The knight had also a greyhound and a falcon, which he also loved right well. The greyhound was so good, that he never run at any game, but he took it, and held it till his master came. And if his master disposed him to go into any battel, if he should not speed therein, anone as he should mount upon his horse, the greyhound would take the horse-tail in his mouth, and draw backward, and would also cry and howl marvelouslie loud. By these signs, and the due observation thereof, the knight did always under­stand that his journey should have very ill success. The falcon was so gentle and hardy, that he was never cast off to his prey but he took it.

The same knight had much pleasure in justing and tourney, so that upon a time under his castle he proclaimed a tourna­ment, to the which came many great lords and knights. The knight entered into the tourney, and his ladie went with her maidens to see it: and as they went out, after went the nowr-ishers, and left the child lying alone there in the cradle, in the hall: where the greyhound lay near the wall, and the hawk or falcon standing upon a perch. In this hall there was a serpent lurking, or hid in a hole, to all them of the castle unknown, the which when he perceived that they were all absent, he put his head out of his hole, and when he saw none but the child lying in the cradle, he went out of his hole towards the cradle, for to have slain the child. The noble falcon perceiving that, and he beholding the greyhound that was sleeping, made such a noise and rustling with her wings presently, that the greyhound awoke, and rose up: and when he saw the serpent nigh the child, anone against him he leapt, and they both fought so long together, until that the serpent had grievously hurt and wounded the greyhound, that he bled so sore, that the earth about the cradle was all bloody. The greyhound, when that he felt himself grievously wounded and hurt, start fiercely upon the serpent, and fought so sore together, and so eagerly, that between them the cradle was overcast with the child, the bottome upward. And because that the cradle had four pomels like feet, falling towards the earth, they saved the childs life and his visage from any hurt. What can be more exprest to make good the wonder in the preservation of the child? Incontinently hereafter, with great pain the greyhound overcame and slew the serpent, and laid him down again in his place, and licked his wounds.

And anon after the justs and tourney was done, the nowrishers came first into the castle, and as they saw the cradle turned the up side down upon the earth, compassed round about with blood: and that the greyhound was also bloody, they thought and said amongst themselves, that the greyhound had slain the child: and were not so wise as to turn up the cradle again with the child, for to have seen what was thereof befallen. But they said, Let us run away, lest that our master should put or lay the blame upon us, and so slay us. As they were thus running away, they met the knight's wife, and she said unto them, Wherefore make ye this sorrow, and whither will ye run? Then said they, O lady, wo and sorrow be to us, and to you. Why, said she, what is there happened? show me. The greyhound, they said, that our lord and master loved so well, hath devoured and slain your son, and lyeth by the wall all full of blood. As the lady heard this, she presently fell to the earth, and began to weep and cry piteouslie, and said, Alace, O my dear son, are ye slain and dead? What shall I now do, that I have mine only son thus lost? Wherewithal came in the knight from the tourney, beholding his lady thus crying and making sorrow, he demanded of her wherefore she made so great sorrow and lamentation. She answered him, O my lord, that greyhound that you have loved so much hath slain your only son, and lyeth by the wall, satiated with the blood of the child. The knight, very exceeding angry, went into the hall, and the grey­hound went to meet him, and did fawn upon him, as he was wont to do, and the knight drew out his sword, and with one stroke smote off the greyhound's head, and then he went to the cradle where the child lay, and found his son all whole, and by the cradle the serpent slain; and then by diverse signs he per­ceived that the greyhound had killed the serpent for the defence of the child. Then with great sorrow and weeping he tare his hair, and said, Wo be to me, that for the words of my wife, I have slain my good and best greyhound, the which hath saved my child's life, and hath slain the serpent: therefore I will put myself to penance: and so he brake his sword in three pieces, and went towards the Holy Land, and abode there all the days of his life.

This story occurs in all the Western texts of the Seven Wise Masters, also in the Anglican Gesta Romanorum;—see Madden's old English versions, edited for the Roxburghe Club [xxvi], p. 86. A wolf takes the place of the snake in the well-known Welsh legend, which Edward Jones, in his Musical Relics of the Welsh Bards, vol. i, gives as follows: “There is a general tradition in North Wales that a wolf had entered the house of Prince Llywelyn. Soon after, the prince returned home, and going into the nursery, he met his dog Killhart all bloody and wagging his tail at him. Prince Llywelyn, on entering the room, found the cradle where his child lay overturned and the floor flowing with blood: imagining that the greyhound had killed the child, he immediately drew his sword and stabbed it; then turning up the cradle found under it the child alive and the wolf dead. This so grieved the prince that he erected a tomb over his faithful dog's grave, where afterwards the parish church was built, and goes by the name Bedd Gelhart (the grave of Killhart), in Caernar-vonshire. From this incident is derived a very common Welsh proverb: ‘I repent as much as the man who slew his greyhound.’ Prince Llywelyn ab Jowerth,” adds Jones, “married Joan, a daughter of King John by Agatha, daughter of Robert Ferrers Earl of Derby, and this dog was a present to the prince from his father-in-law, about the year 1205.”—A curious instance, surely, of the transformation of an ancient Indian tale!

The Dog and Snake version reappears in the Italian novels of Sansovino (Day ix, N. 1), in Dolopathos and Erasto, and also in the Facétieuses fournées, and its oldest form is perhaps found in the Pancha Tantra, section v, fable 2:

The Snake and the Ichneumon.

There was a Bráhman, named Déva Sarmá, whose wife had one son; she had also a favourite ichneumon that she brought up with the infant, and cherished like another child. At the same time, she was afraid that the animal would, some time or other, do the child a mischief, knowing its treacherous nature, as it is said: “A son, though ill-tempered, ugly, stupid, and wicked, is still the source of delight to a father's heart.” One day the mother, going forth to fetch water, placed the child in the bed, and desired her husband to guard the infant, especially from the ichneumon. She then departed, and after a while the Bráhman himself was obliged to go forth to collect alms. When the house was thus deserted, a black snake came out of a hole, and crawled towards the bed where the infant lay; the ichneumon, who saw him, impelled by his natural animosity, and by regard for his foster-brother, instantly attacked him, and, after a furious encounter, tore him to pieces. Pleased with his prowess and the service he had rendered, he ran to meet his mistress on her return home, his jaws and face besmeared with blood. As soon as the Bráh-man's wife beheld him, she was convinced that he had killed her child, and in her rage and agitation she threw the water-jar at the ichneumon with all her force, and killed him on the spot. She then rushed into the house, where she found the child still asleep, and the body of a venomous snake torn in pieces at the foot of the bed. She then perceived the error she had com­mitted, and beat her breast and face with grief for the unmerited fate of her faithful little favourite. In this state her husband found her on his return. When he had told her the cause of his absenting himself, she reproached him bitterly for that greedy desire of profit, which had caused all the mischief.

In the Hitopadesa, the woman goes to make her ablutions after childbirth, and while she is absent the rája sends for the Bráhman to perform for him a certain religious rite. The version in the Pancha Tantra is the only one in which the woman slays the faithful animal, and the Persian version is peculiar in repre­senting the infant's mother as having died in giving it birth. The story as found in Calila and Dimna agrees with that in the Hitopadesa.