Glorified Nangasuna Garbi! thou art radiant within and without; the holy vessel of sublimity, the fathomer of concealed thoughts, the second of instructors, I bow before thee. What wonderful adventures fell to the lot of Nangasuna, and to the peaceful wandering Chan, and how instructive and learned the Ssidi will be found, all this is developed in thirteen pleasing narratives.
And I will first relate the origin of these tales:—
In the central kingdom of India there once lived seven brothers, who were magicians; and one berren (a measure of distance) further dwelt two brothers, who were sons of a Chan. Now the eldest of these sons of the Chan betook himself to the magicians, that he might learn their art; but although he studied under them for seven years, yet the magicians taught him not the true key to magic.
And once upon a time it happened that the youngest brother, going to bring food to the elder, peeped through the opening of the door, and obtained the key to magic. Thereupon, without delivering to the elder the food which he had brought for him, he returned home to the palace. Then said the younger son of the Chan to his brother, “That we have learned magic, let us keep to ourselves. We have in the stable a beautiful horse; take this horse, and ride not with him near the dwelling-place of the magicians, but sell the horse in their country, and bring back merchandise.”
And when he had said thus, he changed himself into a horse. But the elder son of the Chan heeded not the words of his brother, but said unto himself: “Full seven years have I studied magic, and as yet have learned nothing. Where, then, has my young brother found so beautiful a horse? and how can I refuse to ride thereon?”
With these words he mounted, but the horse being impelled by the power of magic was not to be restrained, galloped away to the dwelling-place of the magicians, and could not be got from the door. “Well, then, I will sell the horse to the magicians.” Thus thinking to himself, the elder called out to the magicians, “Saw ye ever a horse like unto this? My younger brother it was who found him.” At these words the magicians communed with one another. “This is a magic horse; if magic grow at all common, there will be no wonderful art remaining. Let us, therefore, take this horse and slay him.”
The magicians paid the price demanded for the horse, and tied him in a stall; and that he might not escape out of their hands, they fastened him, ready for slaughter, by the head, by the tail, and by the feet. “Ah!” thought the horse to himself, “my elder brother hearkened not unto me, and therefore am I fallen into such hands. What form shall I assume?” While the horse was thus considering, he saw a fish swim by him in the water, and immediately he changed himself into a fish.
But the seven magicians became seven herons, and pursued the fish, and were on the point of catching it, when it looked up and beheld a dove in the sky, and thereupon transformed itself into a dove. The seven magicians now became seven hawks, and followed the dove over mountains and rivers, and would certainly have seized upon it, but the dove, flying eastwards to the peaceful cave in the rock Gulumtschi, concealed itself in the bosom of Nangasuna Baktschi (the Instructor).
Then the seven hawks became seven beggars, and drew nigh unto the rock Gulumtschi. “What may this import?” bethought the Baktschi to himself, “that this dove has fled hither pursued by seven hawks?” Thus thinking, the Baktschi said, “Wherefore, O dove, fliest thou hither in such alarm?” Then the dove related to him the cause of its flight, and spake afterwards as follows:—“At the entrance to the rock Gulumtschi stand seven beggars, and they will come to the Baktschi and say, ‘We pray thee give us the rosary of the Baktschi?’ Then will I transform myself into the Bumba of the rosary; let the Baktschi then vouchsafe to take this Bumba into his mouth and to cast the rosary from him.”
Hereupon the seven beggars drew nigh, and the Baktschi took the first bead into his mouth and the rest he cast from him. The beads which were cast away then became worms, and the seven beggars became fowls and ate up the worms. Then the Baktschi let the first bead fall from his mouth, and thereupon the first bead was transformed into a man with a sword in his hand. When the seven fowls were slain and become human corses, the Baktschi was troubled in his soul, and said these words, “Through my having preserved one single man have seven been slain. Of a verity this is not good.”