Story of the Bráhman's Wife and the Mungús.

ON the banks of the Ganges, which also flows by the most holy city of Benáres, there is a town named Mithila, where dwelt a very poor Bráhman called Vidyadhara. He had no children, and to compensate for this want, he and his wife tenderly nourished in their house a mungús.* It was their all in all—their younger son, their elder daughter—their elder son, their younger daughter, so fondly did they regard that little creature. The deity Visvesvara* and his spouse Visalakshi observed this, and had pity for the un­happy pair; so by their divine power they blessed them with a son.* This most welcome addition to their family did not alienate the affections of the Bráhman and his wife from the mungús; on the contrary, their attachment to it increased, for they believed that it was because of their having adopted the pet that a son had been born to them. So the child and the mungús were brought up together, as twin brothers, in the same cradle.

It happened one day, when the Bráhman had gone out to beg alms of the pious and charitable, that his wife went into the garden to cull some pot-herbs, leaving the child asleep in his cradle and by his side the mungús kept guard. An old snake, which was living in the well in the garden, crept into the house and under the cradle, and was beginning to climb into it to bite the child when the mungús fiercely attacked it and tore it into several pieces, thus saving the life of the Bráhman's little son, and the venomous snake, that came to slay, itself lay dead beneath the cradle. Pleased at having performed such an exploit, the mungús ran into the garden to show the Bráhman's wife its blood-smeared mouth, but she rashly mistook the deliverer of her child for his destroyer, and with one stroke of the knife in her hand, with which she was cutting herbs, she killed the faithful creature, and then hastened into the house to see her dead son. But there she found the child in his cradle alive and well, only crying at the absence of his little com­panion the mungús, and under the cradle lay the great serpent cut in pieces. The real state of affairs was now evident, and the Bráhman presently returning home, his wife told him of her rash act and then put an end to her life. The Bráhman, in his turn, disconsolate at the death of the mungús and his wife, slew his child and then killed himself.

“And thus,” added the Third Minister, “by one rash act four creatures perished, so true is it that precipitation results in a series of calamities. Do not, then, condemn Bodhaditya before his guilt is clearly proved.” Alakésa having then given Bodhavyapaka the signal to retire, he quitted the presence and went home.

When the watch of the Fourth Minister, Bodha-vibhishana, was terminated, he visited the private apartments of the king (who had been meanwhile pondering the stories he had heard), and was called into the sleeping chamber by Alakésa, and informed of his colleague's unpardonable offence. The Minister, after due prostration, thus addressed his royal master: “Great King, I can scarcely bring myself to believe that Bodhaditya could ever be guilty of such a crime, and I would respectfully remind your majesty that it would not be consistent with your world-wide reputa­tion for wisdom and justice were you to pronounce judgment in this case without having inquired into all the circumstances. Evil and injustice result from hasty decisions and actions, of which a striking illustration is furnished in the