The Bráhman's Wife and the Mungús—p. 211.

This story is of world-wide popularity, and the preceding tale of the Hunter and his Faithful Dog must be considered as an off­shoot from it. In this country the form in which it is generally known is the legend of Llewellyn and his hound Gellert, which has been so finely versified by Spencer. I have adduced many variants of the story in the Appendix to my Book of Sindibád, and have treated it still more fully in my Popular Tales and Fictions, vol. ii. pp. 166-186, where, besides versions found in the Sindibád cycle (including, of course, the European Seven Wise Masters),* are given several Indian forms of the story, and lastly the oldest known version, from the Vinaya Pitaka of the Chinese collection of Buddhist books, which, according to Dr. S. Beal—one of the greatest living authorities on Chinese Bud­dhist literature—probably dates from the time of Asoka's Council, B.C. 230. But indeed the story may be many thousands of years old, for there is no reason to suppose it to be of Buddhist inven­tion; and we need not be surprised should it be discovered some day in an Egyptian papyrus.

This Tamil version is one of three known to me in which it is the mother, not the father, who kills the faithful animal, the others being one current in Ceylon, and one from the North-West Provinces, cited in a very entertaining work entitled Past Days in India, and also in the small collection of Indian tales appended by Vermieux to his Hermit of Mottee Jhurna, second edition, p. 101; it is, moreover, singular in representing the woman as destroying herself and her husband then killing his little son and afterwards himself—tragic incidents added by the author probably to enable the supposed narrator to more forcibly impress on the king's mind the terrible consequences of acting in affairs of moment with inconsiderateness and precipitation.

Among the Malays the story is told in this manner: A man left a tame bear in charge of his house and of his sleeping child while he was absent from home. On his return he missed the child and found the house in great disorder, as if some desperate struggle had taken place, and the floor was smeared with blood. Hastily concluding that the bear had killed his child, the enraged father slew the animal with his spear, but almost immediately afterwards found the carcase of a tiger, which the faithful bear had defeated and killed, and the child emerged unharmed from the jangal, where it had taken refuge.