II.—MORAL TALES.

xxi.—The Kind Giver and the Grudging Giver.

   A certain man had laid his net across the river; having laid his net, he killed a quantity of fish. Meanwhile there came a raven, and perched beside him. It seemed to be greatly hungering after the fish. It was much to be pitied. So the fisherman washed one of the fish, and threw it to the raven. The raven ate the fish with great joy. Afterwards the raven came again. Though it was a raven, it spoke thus, just like a human being: "I am very grateful for having been fed on fish by you. If you will come with me to my old father, he too will thank you, So you had better come."

   The man went with the raven. Being a raven, it flew through the air. The man followed it on foot. After they had gone a long way, they came to a large house. When they got there, the raven went into the house. The man went in also. When he looked, it appeared like a human being in form, though it was a raven. There were also a divine old man and a divine old woman besides the divine girl. This girl was she who had led the man hither. The divine old man spoke thus: "I am very grateful to you. As I am very grateful to you for feeding my daughter with good fish, I have had you brought here in order to reward you." Thus spoke the divine old man.

   Then there were a gold puppy and a silver puppy. Both these puppies were given to the man. The divine old man spoke thus: p. 24 "Though I should give you treasures, it would be useless. But if I give you these puppies, you will be greatly benefited. As for the excrements of these two puppies, the gold puppy excretes gold and the silver puppy excretes silver. This being so, you will be greatly enriched if you sell these excrements to the officials. Understand this!" Then the man, with respectful salutations, went away, carrying with him the two puppies, and came to his own house. Then he gave the puppies a little food at a time. When the gold puppy excreted, it excreted gold for him. When the silver puppy excreted, it exereted silver for him. The man greatly enriched himself by selling the metal.

   Thereupon another man, for the sake of imitation, set his net in the river. He killed a quantity of fish. Then the raven came. The man smeared a fish with mud, and then threw it to the raven. The raven flew away with it. The man went after it, and at last, after going a long way, reached a large house. He went in there. The divine old man was very angry. He spoke thus: "You man are a man with a very bad heart. When you gave my daughter a fish, you gave it smeared all over with mud. I am very angry. Still, though I am angry, I will give you some puppies, as you have come to my house. If you treat them properly, you will be benefited." Thus spoke the divine old man, and gave a gold puppy and a silver puppy to the man. With a bow, the man went home with them.

   The man thought thus: "If I feed the puppies plentifully, they will excrete plenty of metal. It would be foolish to have them excreting only a little at a time. So I will do that, and become very rich." Thinking thus, he fed the puppies plentifully on anything, even on dirty things. Then they excreted no metal for him. They only excreted dirty dung. The man's house was full of nothing but dirty dung. As for the former man, who had received puppies from the divine old man, he fed his on nothing but good food, a little at a time. Gradually they excreted metal for him. He was greatly enriched.

   Thus in ancient times, with regard to men who wished to grow rich, they could grow rich if their hearts were as good as possible. As for bad-hearted men, the gods became angry at all their various * misdeeds. It was for this reason that, on account of their anger, even a gold puppy excreted nothing but dung. As for the house of that bad-hearted man, it grew so full of dung as to be too dirty for other people to enter. This being so, oh! men, do not be bad-hearted. That is the story which I have heard.—(Translated literally. Told by Ishanashte, 20th July, 1886.)

 

xxii.—The Man who was changed into a Fox.

   A certain man's conduct was as follows: he went to every place, making it his business to do nothing but tell lies and extort things from people. Then, after a time, when wanting to extort again, he went on to another place. While walking along he used to think of what lies he could tell. Afterwards he heard a voice. It was not human language. He walked saying—"Pau! pau!"* When he looked at his own body, it was a fox's. Then he thought that, whether he might return to his own village, or go to another place, the dogs would kill him. So, with tears, he went away from the road into the mountains. There he found a large, leafy oak-tree. He lay down crying beneath it.

   Then he fell asleep. He dreamt that there was a large house. He was outside of that house. A divine woman came out of it, and spoke thus: "Oh! what a bad man! what a villain! You have become a bad god, a devil, as a divine punishment for your misdeeds. Being thus made into a devil, why do you come and stand near my house? I should like to leave you alone. But as I am this tree, which is made the chief of trees by heaven, and as it would defile me to have you die beside my house, I will turn you into a man again and send you home. Do not misbehave yourself henceforth!" Thus spoke the divine woman.

   Such was his dream. Meanwhile the branches at the top of the tree broke, and came crashing down, and he was greatly frightened. But when he started up, he was a man again. Then he worshipped the tree. Then he returned home. Then afterwards he did not p. 26 misbehave. So also must you not misbehave, you men who live now!—(Translated literally. Told by Penri, 19th July, 1886.)

 

xxiii.—The Rat Boy.

   In a certain village there lived a very rich couple; but they were childless. They were very anxious for a child. But one day, as the wife went to the mountains to fetch wood, she found a little boy crying beside a tree. Rejoiced at this, she took him down with her to the village. Thenceforth they kept the boy with them. It was a place where there was plenty of deer and also of fish; it was a place provided with all the things which people like to eat. But though they hunted the deer, they could not catch them; though they angled for the fish, they could not catch them. They were very hungry. Hearing that great quantities both of fish and of deer were killed in the village next to theirs, towards the mountains, the wife went off to buy food there, taking the child with her. She went to the village next to theirs, towards the mountains. She went to the house of the chief. The woman looked and saw fish hanging on poles, and flesh hanging on poles. With tears she longed for some. She went in, she went in to the chief's house. Then she stayed there. She was feasted on the best bits of the fish and on the best bits of the flesh. After that, as she lay down with her little boy, he rose quietly in the middle of the night. Then there was the sound of a rat nibbling at the fish and flesh on the poles. The woman thought it very strange. So at dawn the boy came quietly back, lay down by the woman's side, and slept there till the day was bright. The people of the house rose, and the chief went out and mumbled thus to himself: "Never were there such rats as this. There have been rats nibbling my good fish and my good flesh."

   So the woman bought a quantity of fish and flesh and went off with it. She wanted the little boy to walk in front of her; but he disliked to do so. He would only walk after her. Then there was the sound of a rat nibbling at her load. When she looked back, the little boy was grinning. So they went on; they went home. Then she put both the fish and the flesh into the store-house. Then she whispered p. 27 to her husband. Then her husband went into the next room, and made a trap. Then the trap was set in the store-house. Then they went to bed. The little boy lay between the woman and her husband; but after awhile he quietly rose and went out. He stayed away, without coming back. Daylight came. On the man of the house going into the store-house, there was a large rat in the trap. So he brought it down, beat it to death, and swept it on to the dust-heap. That night he had a dream. A person of divine aspect spoke to him thus; "You were childless, and wanting to have a child. The most wicked of the rats, seeing this, took the shape of a little boy, and dwelt in your house. For this reason, your village has been polluted. But as you have now killed the rat, all will now be right. I am sorry for you, so you shall have a child." Thus did he dream that the god spoke to him. As it was true, they got a child, though they had been childless.

   For this reason, whether it be on the shore or in the mountains or anywhere else that one finds either a child or a puppy, one should not let it dwell in one's house without knowing its origin.—(Translated literally. Told by Penri, 20th July 1886.)

 

xxiv.—Don't throw Useful Things away.

   A certain man had a little boy. A divine little boy and a divine little girl used to come and play with him every day. But the little boy alone could see them. His parents couId not see them, but believed their child to be alone.

   Now one day he fell ill, and during his illness his two playmates did not come to see him. Only at the very last did they come, when he seemed to be on the point of death. Then they came, and the little girl said: "We know the cause of your illness. Your grandfather possessed a beautiful axe. I myself am a small tray which he fashioned with that axe, and the little boy who comes with me is a pestle which was also fashioned with it. So the axe was our chieftain, and we are its children. But your father has been bad. He has thrown away the axe, which is now rusting under the floor. For this reason are you ill, in order to punish your father, because our chieftain p. 28 the axe is angry. Therefore, as we were your playmates, we have come to warn you that, if you wish to live, you must tell your father to search for the axe, to polish it, to make a new handle for it, and to set up the divine symbols in its honour. Then may you be cured, and the axe too will pay you a visit in human shape."

   So the boy told his father of this. The father thought that his son had been instructed in a dream. He searched under the floor of the house, and found the axe, and polished it, and made a new handle for it, and set up the divine symbols in its honour. Then his son was immediately healed.

   After that, the axe (who appeared as a very handsome man), the tray, and the pestle all came, and became the little boy's brothers and sisters. The axe, being a god, knew all that went on and the causes of everything; and it and the tray and the pestle used always to tell the boy everything. Thus, if any one was sick, he knew why the sickness had come, and how it should be treated. He was looked upon as a great soothsayer and wizard, who could turn death into life. This was because other people only saw him. They did not see his divine informants, the axe, the tray, and the pestle.

   For this reason never throw away anything that has belonged to your ancestors. You will be punished by the gods if you do so.

   [In a variant of this tale, the death of child after child borne by a certain wornan was owing to the fact that the doll with which she herself had played as a child (a piece of wood shaped like a bird) had been thrown away in the grass, and had thus had its anger aroused. A conversation on the subject between the spoon, the cup, and the iron chain whereby the kettle is hung over the fire from a hook in the ceiling, is overheard by a half-burnt piece of firewood, who warns the woman's husband in a dream. The doll is then looked for; and, when found, the divine symbols are set up in its honour. Thereupon the woman bears again. This time the child survives, to the delight of both its parents.]—(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 2nd December, 1886.)

p. 29

 

xxv.—The Wicked Wizard punished.

   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 fashion, and brought back a map which he had drawn of the whole world both of men and of 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 deserve. 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 in order to make you a wiser man. Let all men learn from this how wickedness leads to condign punishment!"—(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 21st July, 1886.)

 

xxvi.—The Angry Crow.

   A man came to a certain village—whence was not known,—dressed only in fine black robes. While he was there, some rice-beer was brewed. On being given some of it to drink, he was very joyful, and p. 30 then danced. Then, as he went out-of-doors, he re-entered the house with a piece of hard dung in his mouth, and put it in the alcove. As the master of the house became angry and beat him, he, being a large crow, flew out of the window, making the sound "Kā! kā!" For this reason, even crows are creatures to be dreaded. Be very careful!—(Translated literally. Told by Penri, 11th July, 1886.)

   [In another version of this story, communicated to me by Mr. John Batchelor, the crow, enraged at not having received an invitation to a feast given by some of the more handsome birds, flies high into the air with a piece of hard dung in its mouth, and lets it drop into the middle of the party, to the great confusion of the guests. Some of the smaller birds take counsel together as to the advisability of interfering to restore the harmony of the occasion, but finally decide that it is not for them, who were also omitted from the list of invitations, to mix themselves up with such a matter. Moral: If you give a feast, ask all your friends to it. If any are left out, they are sure to feel hurt.]

 

xxvii.—Okikurumi, Samayunguru, and the Shark.

   Okikurumi and his henchman Samayunguru went out one day to sea, and speared a large shark, which ran away, up and down the sea, with the line and the boat. The two men grew very tired of pulling at him, and could not prevent the boat from being pulled about in all directions. Their hands were bloody and blistered both on the backs and on the palms, till at last Samayunguru sank dead in the bottom of the boat. At last Okikurumi could hold on no longer, and he cursed the shark, saying: "You bad shark! I will cut the rope. But the tip of the harpoons, made half of iron and half of bone, shall remain sticking in your flesh; and you shall feel in your body the reverberation of the iron and the scraping of the bone; and on your skin shall grow the rasupa-tree and the shiuri-tree of which the spear-handle is made, and the hai-grass by which the tip of the harpoon is tied to the body of it, and the nipesh-tree of which the rope tying the harpoon itself is made, so that, though you are such a mighty fish, you shall not be able to swim in the water; and you shall die, and at ** last be washed ashore at the river-mouth of Saru; and even the carrier-crows and the dogs and foxes will not eat you, but will only void their fœces upon you, and you shall at last rot away to earth."

   The shark laughed, thinking this was merely a human being telling a falsehood. Okikurumi cut the rope, and, after a long time, managed to reach the land. Then he revived Samayunguru, who had been dead. And afterwards the shark died and was washed ashore at the river-mouth of Saru; and the tip of the harpoon made half of iron and half of bone had stuck in its flesh; and it had felt in its body the reverberation of the hammering of the iron and the scraping of the bone; and in its skin were growing the rasupa-tree and the shiuri-tree of which the spear-handle used by Okikurumi was made, and the hai-grass by which the tip of the harpoon was tied to the body of it, and the nipesh-tree of which the rope tying the harpoon itself was made; and even the carrion-crows and the dogs and foxes would not eat the bad shark, but only voided their fœces upon him; and at last he rotted away to earth.

   Therefore take warning, oh! sharks of the present day, lest you die as this shark died!—(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 24th November, 1886.)

 

 

 


Footnotes

* An onomatopœia for the bark of the fox.

** Panaumbe means "the person on the lower course of the stream." Penaumbe means "the person on the upper course of the stream." Conf. Aino "Memoir,"

 

 

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