The Expedition to Paradise (p. 183 ff.)

has its close parallel in the Kalmuk Relations of Siddhí Kúr,* which form the first part of Miss Busk's Sagas from the Far East, a work chiefly derived from Jülg's German translation. In Miss Busk's book, the story is No. VIII and entitled “How Ananda the Woodcarver and Ananda the Painter strove to­gether,” and, pruned of some redundancies of language, this is how it goes:

Long ago there lived two men, a wood-carver and a painter, both named Ananda. While they appeared to be on very friendly terms, in reality jealousy reigned in their hearts. One day the painter presented himself before the Khán, and told him that his father of blessed memory had been re-born in the kingdom of the gods, in proof of which he handed the Khán a letter, forged by himself, which stated such to be the fact, and directed the Khán to send forthwith Ananda the Woodcarver to the kingdom of the gods, to adorn with his cunning a temple which he was building—“the way and means of his coming shall be explained by Ananda the Painter.” The Khán, believing all this to be true, at once sent for the Woodcarver, informed him of his father the late Khán's message, and commanded him to prepare forth­with to depart for the kingdom of the gods. The Woodcarver knew that this was the device of the Painter, and resolved to meet craft with craft, but, dissembling his feelings, asked by what means he was to win thither. Hereupon the Khán sent for the Painter, and ordered him to declare the way and manner of the journey to the kingdom of the gods. The Painter replied, addressing the Woodcarver: “When thou hast collected all the materials and instruments appertaining to thy calling, and hast gathered them at thy feet, thou shalt order a pile of beams of wood well steeped in spirit distilled from sesame grain to be heaped around thee. Then, to the accompaniment of every solemn-sounding instrument, kindle the pile, and rise to the gods' kingdom, borne on the obedient clouds of smoke as on a swift charger.”

The Woodcarver durst not refuse the Khán's behest, but ob­tained an interval of seven days in order to collect the materials and implements of his calling, and also to devise some plan of avenging himself upon the Painter. Returning home he con­sulted with his wife, who proposed a means of evading while seeming to obey the Khán's command. In a field belonging to her husband, not far from the house, she caused a large flat stone to be laid, on which the sacrifice was to be consummated, and, at night, beneath it she had an underground passage made communicating with the house. And when the eighth day came, the Khán and all the people were assembled round the pile of wood steeped in spirit distilled from sesame grain in the Wood­carver's field, and in the midst of it stood the Woodcarver, calm and impassable, while all kinds of musical instruments sent forth their solemn-sounding tones. And when the smoke began to rise in concealing density, the Woodcarver pushed aside the stone with his feet and returned to his house by the underground passage. The Painter, never doubting but that he must have fallen a prey to the flames, rubbed his hands, and, pointing to the curling smoke, cried to the people: “Behold the spirit of Ananda the Woodcarver ascending to the kingdom of the gods!” And all the people, believing him, echoed his words.

For the space of a whole month the Woodcarver remained secluded in his house, daily washing his face with milk and keeping out of the sunshine. Then his wife brought him a garment of white gauze, with which he covered himself, and, taking with him a letter which he had forged, he went into the presence of the Khán, who when he saw him said: “Thou art returned from the kingdom of the gods—how didst thou leave my father?” Then he gave the forged letter to the Khán, who caused it to be read aloud to the people. The letter stated that the Woodcarver had executed the sculptures well, but it was necessary that they should send thither Ananda the Painter, in order that they should be suitably decorated. When the Khán heard this letter read he was overjoyed, and he loaded the Wood­carver with rich presents. And then he sent for Ananda the Painter, and told him how his father in the kingdom of the gods required his services. On hearing this the Painter was seized with great fear, but when he looked at the Woodcarver, all white and radiant from the milk-washing, and clad in celestial raiment, as if the light of the gods' kingdom yet clove to him, and that the fire had not burnt him, neither should it burn him­self: moreover, if he refused to go, death must be his portion, while if he went he should, like the Woodcarver, also receive great wealth on his return. So he consented to have his gear in readiness in seven days. And when the prescribed day arrived, the Khán, in his robes of state, and attended by his ministers and officers, and all the people assembled in the Painter's field, where was a great pile of wood steeped as be­fore in spirit, and in the midst of it they placed the Painter; and, amidst the sound of all sorts of musical instruments, they set fire to the pile. At first the Painter bore the torture, expect­ing to rise on the clouds of smoke, but soon the extreme pain caused him to shout to the people to come and release him. But the sound of the music—his own device to drown the cries of the Woodcarver—prevailed against him: no one could hear his cries, and he perished miserably in the flames.

This story is doubtless of Buddhist extraction; but it is not very probable that our author was indebted to any Mongolian version such as the foregoing for the materials of the tale he has told so well, in which he represents the vile complotters against the life of Farrukhrúz as crying out for mercy when they saw the awful doom they had brought upon themselves, and the silly King of Yaman as still firm in the belief that they should really go to Paradise and return in safety with his beatified ancestors' grand presents.

As a pendant, I may reproduce, from Professor Basil Hall Chamberlain's interesting collection of Aino Folk-Tales, privately printed for the Folk-Lore Society, 1888, the story of “The Wicked Wizard Punished” (No. XXV):

One day a wizard told a man whom he knew that if any one were to climb a certain mountain-peak and jump off on to the belt of clouds below, he would be able to ride about on them as on a horse and see the whole world. Trusting in this, the man did as the wizard had told him, and in very truth was enabled to ride about on the clouds. He visited the whole world in this manner, and brought back a map which he had drawn of the whole world, both of men and gods. On arriving back at the mountain-peak in Aino-land, he stepped off the cloud on to the mountain, and, descending to the valley, told the wizard how successful and delightful the journey had been, and thanked him for the opportunity kindly granted him of seeing sights so numerous and so strange. The wizard was overcome with astonishment. For what he had told the other man was a lie— a wicked lie, invented with the sole intention of causing his death, for he hated him. Nevertheless, seeing that what he had simply meant for an idle tale was apparently an actual fact, he decided to see the world himself in this easy fashion. So, ascending the mountain-peak, and seeing a belt of clouds a short way below, he jumped off on to it, but was instantly dashed to pieces in the valley below. That night the god of the mountain appeared to the good man in a dream, and said: “The wizard has met with the death which his fraud and folly deserved. You I kept from hurt, because you are a good man. So when, obedient to the wizard's advice, you leapt off on to the cloud I bore you up, and showed you the world to make you a wiser man. Let all men learn from this how wickedness leads to condign punishment!”

Such a tale as this is not at all likely to have been invented by a race so low in the scale of humanity as the Ainos; and we must, I think, consider it as one of the tales and legends which they derived from the Japanese. As it is, the story presents a remarkable general resemblance to the Mongolian tale of the Woodcarver and the Painter, of which one might almost say it is a reflection or an adaptation.