II.The Adventures of the Beggar's Son
When the Son of the Chan arrived as before at the cold Forest of Death, he exclaimed with threatening gestures at the foot of the amiri-tree, “Thou dead one, descend, or I will hew down the tree.” Ssidi descended. The son of Chan placed him in the sack, bound the sack fast with the rope, ate of his provender, and journeyed forth with his burden. Then spake the dead one these words, “Since we have a long journey before us, do you relate a pleasant story by the way, or I will do so.” But the Son of the Chan merely shook his head without speaking a word. Whereupon Ssidi commenced the following tale:—
“A long time ago there was a mighty Chan who was ruler over a country full of market-places. At the source of the river which ran through it there was an immense marsh, and in this marsh there dwelt two crocodile-frogs, who would not allow the water to run out of the marsh. And because there came no water over their fields, every year did both the good and the bad have cause to mourn, until such times as a man had been given to the frogs for the pests to devour. And at length the lot fell upon the Chan himself to be an offering to them, and needful as he was to the welfare of the kingdom, denial availed him not; therefore father and son communed sorrowfully together, saying, ‘Which of us two shall go?’
“‘I am an old man,’ said the father, ‘and shall leave no one to lament me. I will go, therefore. Do you remain here, my son, and reign according as it is appointed.’
“‘O Tângâri,’ exclaimed the son, ‘verily this is not as it should be! Thou hast brought me up with care, O my father! If the Chan and the wife of the Chan remain, what need is there of their son? I then will go, and be as a feast for the frogs.’
“Thus spake he, and the people walked sorrowfully round about him, and then betook themselves back again. Now the son of the Chan had for his companion the son of a poor man, and he went to him and said, ‘Walk ye according to the will of your parents, and remain at home in peace and safety.