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V.The History of Sunshine and his Brother

Thither led we our cattle to drink, and we saw him.’

[2] Among the Calmucs every year has its peculiar name, and persons born in any year are called the children of that year.

“When he heard this, the Chan said, ‘Go and fetch him.’

“Accordingly the messengers were despatched for him, and when they arrived at the entrance of the cave, the Arschi himself came forth. ‘What is it that ye seek here?’ inquired the aged Arschi. ‘The Chan,’ replied they, ‘speaketh to thee thus: Thou hast a Son of the Tiger-year. My kingdom hath need of him: send him unto me.’ But the Arschi said, ‘Who could have told you so? who, indeed, would dwell with an old Arschi?’

“Thus speaking he retired into his cave, closed the door after him, and concealed the youth in a stone chest, placed the lid on him, and cemented up the crevices with clay, as if it was from the distillation of arrack. But the messengers having broken down the door, thrust themselves into the cave, searched it, and then said, ‘Since he whom we sought is not here, we are determined that nothing shall be left in the cave.’ Thus speaking, they drew their swords; and the youth said, out of fear for the Arschi, ‘Hurt not my father; I am here.’

“And when the youth was come forth, the messengers took him with them; but the Arschi they left behind them weeping and sorrowing. When the youth entered into the palace of the Chan, the daughter of the Chan beheld him and loved him, and encircled his neck with her arms. But the attendants addressed the Chan, saying, ‘To-day is the day appointed for the casting of the Son of the Tiger-year into the waters.’ Upon this the Chan said, ‘Let him then be cast into the waters!’ But when they would have led him forth for that purpose, the daughter of the Chan spake and said, ‘Cast him not into the waters, or cast me into the waters with him.’

“And when the Chan heard these words, he was angered, and said, ‘Because this maiden careth so little for the welfare of the kingdom, over which I am Chan, let her be bound fast unto the Son of the Tiger-year, and let them be cast together into the waters.

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