« The spring myth of the kesar saga »

FRANCKE A. H. « The Spring Myth of the Kesar Saga ». Indian Antiquary. 1901. n°30, p. 329-341.

Francke, August Hermann. “The Spring Myth of the Kesar Saga.” Indian Antiquary, no. 31, 1902, pp. 32-40 ; 147–57. FRA 1902 a6.

The Spring Myth of the Kesar Saga

August, 1901.]                        THE SPRING MYTH OF THE KESAR SAGA.                                      329

 

 

 

THE SPRING MYTH OF THE KESAR SAGA

BY A. H. FRANCKE.

Translated from the Mémoires de la Société Finno-Ougrienne, No. XV., 1900,

by George R. Heath[1]

 

 

Preface.

In the following pages one of the Kesar Sagas, which are commonly related by the people throughout Western Tibet, is introduced to the public, and a service thereby rendered to science, which will perhaps be of no insignificant worth. Various travellers and Tibetan explorers have


 

330                                                  THE INDIAN ANTIQUARY                                    [August, 1901.

often reported that so-called Kesar Sagas enjoy great popularity among the Tibetan people ; but no one, as far as I know, has told us what the subject of these Sagas is. Even Waddell, who mentions a mythical King Kesar several times in his epoch-making book, The Buddhism of Tibet, can give no satisfactory information about his person and significance.

These pages will, I hope, prove the high scientific value of the Kesar Sagas, by shewing that they are one of the chief sources from which knowledge of the pre-Buddhistic religion of Tibet may be drawn.[2]

An attempt has often been made to learn something about Kesar by setting about the translation of the long famous epics which bear this title. But up to the present no one has produced a complete translation. Such a work might well occupy a whole lifetime. If a translation of the whole should in. the end be made, it would be of infinite value. Partial translations are not necessarily so, as the Buddhistic east, which may be clearly discerned in the epic, renders the recognition of the mythological features unusually difficult. From a complete translation of the epic, a confirmation of the mythological ideas contained in the popular sagas may be expected. Until we have one, we are dependent on the sagas alone. That is not, however, to be regretted at the commencement; for the popular sagas are short, clear and free from Buddhistic influences.

The study of the Spring Myth leads quite naturally to the desire of becoming acquainted with the corresponding Winter Myth. I have now succeeded in discovering this also, and I hope soon to submit it in a German translation.

It has been already mentioned by others that the sagas treated here exist among the people in oral form. In this case, however, the question is not one of a free narration, which runs the risk of being altered in passing from mouth to mouth; but rather of matter learnt by heart, at the recitation of which (according to the respective versions) scarcely a word is altered. A girl of about sixteen years of age, in whose family the stories of Kesar are held in high esteem, related the following sagas slowly, so that the master of the Mission School she attended was enabled, under my supervision, to take them down word for word. This First Manuscript is the foundation of the accompanying Tibetan text almost throughout. In the comparison and confirmation of the text, as well as in the addition of some new features, a Second Manuscript has also been of great service. This was prepared for me by another Ladakhi who is able to write, and who went to the Bedas (a caste of musicians and popular entertainers), and wrote down literally what they related. The two manuscripts deviate a little from one another both in the form of the narrative and in the wording of the songs, but agree perfectly in everything essential.

Something remains to be said on the poetical form of the songs, which are interpersed in the narrative. We find in them different kinds of rhythm as well as of rhyme. The rhythms are almost always formed of trochees, which corresponds to the monosyllabic character of the language. Dactyls, however, also occur, especially when a suffix is added to a dissyllabic compound. The sentence-rhyme peculiar to Tibet is the one which occurs in almost all the songs (i.e., two or three sentences are formed in exactly the same manner, hut different words

August, 1901.]                        THE SPRING MYTH OF THE KESAR SAGA.                                      331

are placed in the corresponding positions). I have tried in the translation to imitate the sentence-rhyme as far as possible. With regard to the rhythms I have allowed myself greater freedom.[3]

Finally it should be pointed out that the language of the Tibetan text is not the classical, but the Ladakhi, dialect.

 

An Abridged Episode from the Kesar Saga.[4]

Translation.

 

I.

The first Tale is the Tale of the Agus (heroes).

1. In the land of gLing there were once the wild Agus dPalle and Khromo and dGani. Because there was no king in the land of gLing, deep sorrow came over Agu dPalle. Agu Khromo was a bad man; he rejoiced at the unhappiness of the land. One day the wild Agus went to tend goats. 2. Then dBangpo-rgyab-bzhin also came from the upper kingdom of the gods to tend goats. All at once the black devil-bird appeared, and wanted to carry off the goats. 3. dBangpo-rgyab-bzhin changed himself into the white god-bird, and both fought. 4. The thought occurred to all the Agus: — “The blackbird seems to be the devil-bird !” 5. Then Agu dPalle seized the sling, and sang this song: —

6.   Oh Sling, thou many-coloured sling,

7.   [My] mother spun thee in her time,

8.   [My] mother plaited thee in her time,

9.   When her child, myself, she carried.

10. Oh come, oh come thou oblong stone,

11. Hit sure, be there no escape !

12. So singing, he slung [the stone], and hit the black devil-bird on the wing, so that he died. 13. At this dBangpo-rgyab-bzhin rejoiced greatly, and in order to shew love to the Agus, he sang: —

14. Men of gLing, kindly are ye come,

15. dPalle, dGani, kindly are ye come,

16. A cow and a calf will I give you a hundredfold,

17. Foal and horse will I give you a hundredfold,

18. A laden pack-sheep will I give you a hundredfold,

19. Goat and kid will I give you a hundredfold,

20. A saddled horse will I give you a hundredfold,

21. A yak with the nose-ring will I give you a hundredfold !

22. When he had sung this song, the Agus said: — “All that is not necessary.” 23. To Agu dPalle this thought occurred “The King of Heaven dBangpo-rgyab-bzhin has three sons ; it would be good if he sent one son to the land of gLing as king.” Therefore he asked: — 24. “O give a child as chief to the chiefless land.” When dBangpo-rgyab-bzhin heard that, he went back quickly to the upper kingdom of the gods.

 

II.

The second Tale is the Tale of dBangpo-rgyab-bzhin’s three sons.

1. The king of the gods, dBangpo-rgyab-bzhin, had three sons, Donldan, Donyod and Dongrub. Because their father loved them very much, he did not like to send even one

332                                                  THE INDIAN ANTIQUARY                                    [August, 1901.

to the land of gLing. 2. When therefore he came back to the upper kingdom of the gods, he ate nothing and sat there in anger. 3. Then his son Donldan brought his tea and his food, but the father ate nothing. Donldan said: —

“Father !

4.   Has the wolf got at the sheep ?

5.   Has the crow got at the breakfast ?

6.   Was the sling lost at the hunt ?”

The father said: —

7.   “The wolf has not got at the sheep,

8.   The crow has not got at the breakfast,

9.   The sling was not lost at the hunt,

10. But thou, my son, wilt thou go as chief to the chiefless land of gLing ? If thou goest, I will take the tea and the food !” 11.The son said: — “I shall not go !

12. If the dog is angry, the soup is left [uneaten],

13. If the king is full of wrath, the roast is left [uneaten] ! ”

14. Then came the son Donyod and said: — 15. “Father, eat the food and drink the tea!” 16. The father said: — “Thou, my son, wilt thou go as chief to the chiefless land of gLing ?” 17. The son said: — “I shall not go !

18. If the dog is angry, the soup is left [uneaten],

19. If the king is full of wrath, the roast is left [uneaten] ! ”

20. Then came Dongrub, the smallest of all, and asked: —

“Father !

21. Has the wolf got at the sheep ?

22. Has the crow got at the breakfast ?

23. Was the sling lost at the hunt ? ”

The father said: —

24. “The wolf has not got at the sheep,

25. The crow has not got at the breakfast.

26. The sling was not lost at the hunt !

27. My son, wilt thou go as chief to the chiefless land of gLing ?”

28. The son said: “If I do not listen to the word of father and mother, to whose word shall I listen ? I shall go !” 29. Then the father took the tea and the food. Again great sadness came over the father, and he sang: —

30. [My] son Donldan, he is the heart of my thinking;

31. It is not right to tear out one’s heart and to give it to another !

32. [My] son Donyod, he is the tongue of my speaking;

33. It is not right to tear out one’s tongue and to give it to another !

34. [My] son Dongrub, he is the eye of my seeing ;

35. It is not right to tear out one’s eye and to give it to another ! ”

36. Then spake the father: — “Before Dongrub goes to the land of gLing, all you [my] sons must have a race on horseback one day in the morning, 37. at midday play at dice,

August, 1901.]                        THE SPRING MYTH OF THE KESAR SAGA.                                      333

38. and in the evening shoot arrows.” 39. So they all had a horse-race in the morning, and the youngest son Dongrub won it. 40. At midday they played at dice, and the youngest son Dongrub won. 41. In the evening they shot arrows, and the youngest son Dongrub won. 42. Then came the time when the son Dongrub was to go to the land of g Ling.

 

III.

The third Tale is the Tale of Dongrub, who is fitted out for the land of gLing.

1. Before the son Dongrub went to the laud of men, the high mother gave him a lesson, the high father gave him a lesson. Both said thus: — “Thou needest

2.   A horse that always knows the way back,

3.   A horse that knows how to fly high,

4.   A knife to stab the wicked people,

5.   A knife to stab Buddha,

6.   An arrow that always knows the way back !’’

7. Then said the mother: — “O yes, it is hard for Dongrub to go to the land of men !

8.   rKyangbyung-dbyerpa is certainly

9.   A horse that always knows the way back,

10. A horse that knows how to fly high.

11. The knife ‘Three-fingers-long ’ is certainly

12. A knife to stab the wicked people,

13. A knife to stab Buddha.

14. The blue SrinƔzhu is certainly

15. A bow whose arrow flies back again.” This is the lesson of the high mother: —

16. “rKyangbyung-dbyerpa, the high horse,

17. And moreover SrinƔzhu, the blue bow,

18. Thou wilt find at the house of Uncle brTandzin the Red.

19. Tsetse-ngangdmar is on the pass ;

20. Upon her, O Dongrub, thou wilt spring well

21. And of that, O Dongrub, thou wilt die.”

So then the son went to fetch the horse, the knife, and the bow, and arrived before the house of brTandzin the Red. 23. There he saw the horse, whose four legs were fastened with chains. When the horse heard a man coming he sprang up. 24. Dongrub spake: — “Uncle, all hail ! Give me the horse rKyangbyung-dbyerpa and the blue bow SrinƔzhu ! I, the son Dongrub, am going to the land of men. I have come here to greet my uncle !” 25. The uncle said: — “The horse rKyangbyung-dbyerpa is here; lead him away ! the blue bow SrinƔzhu is not here, but in Agu Za’s hand !” 26. When he heard that, he went to Agu Za’s house, leading the horse. 27. In the middle of the way was a white and a black pool. 28. As he was washing his hands in the black pool, another hand came out of the water, seized Dongrub’s hand and held it fast. 29. Then said Dongrub: — “Who is it that seizes my hand ?” 30. Out of the water a voice answered: — “Why art thou washing thy hands in our water ?” When he heard that, Dongrub spake: — “Please, please let my hand go ! I am in haste. I am going in order to become the chief of the chiefless gLing-Land and want to fetch the blue bow SrinƔzhu from Agu Za.” 32. Then it was said out of the water: — “As soon as thou cryest, saying, ‘Agu

334                                                  THE INDIAN ANTIQUARY                                   [August, 1901.

Za,’ [the giant] will swallow thee. Therefore I tell thee this: In Agu Za’s body is the knife and the how. So take the knife in the right hand and his heart in the left. Then if thou stab his heart, he will cry, ‘Come out !’” 33. Then [he, she, it ?] let Dongrub’s hand go, and vanished in the water.

34. When Dongrub arrived at Agn Za’s house, the Agu put his hand out at the window, seized Dongrub and ate him up. 35. So Dongrub sat in the body [of the Agu], and seized the knife with the right hand. In the left he took the heart, and stabbed. 36. Then Agu Za cried: — “Who is in my body ? Come out!” 37. Dongrub said: — “My good Agu, am I not the son of the king of heaven, rGyabbzhin ? When I am going as chief to the chiefless land of gLing and want to greet the Agu and ask him for the blue bow SrinƔzhu, the Agu seizes me and swallows me.” 38. Then spake the Agu: — “O my heart, all hail ! I feel ill ! Come out!” Dongrub answered: — 39. “My good Agu, wilt thou listen to my word ? If thou listen to it, I will give thee sun and moon to eat for a year. Is that enough ?” 40. The Agu said: — “It is enough, O my eye !” 41. Dongrub spake: — “Then I will come out through the Agu’s pineal gland, and bring the whole brain out on to the head !” 42. The Agu requested: — “O my eye, please come out by the way thou wentest in !” 43. “Then I will come out at the Agu’s sole.” 44. “O my eye, rather than that come out by the way thou wentest in !” 45. Then Dongrub came out at the pit of the neck, and had the bow and the knife in his hand. He gave sun and moon to the Agu to eat for a year.

46. While he was going to the chiefless land of gLing, he arrived at the foot of a mountain, and saw the goat Tsetse-ngangdmar lying there. Ho sprang on to it. 47. The goat was frightened, and carried him on to the summit of three mountains. There it threw him down, and Dongrub died.

 

IV.

The fourth Tale is the Tale of Dongrub’s birth on the earth.

1. When Dongrub had died, he changed himself into hail, and came down to the land of gLing. 2. There he was born to Gogzalhamo. 3, Although he was the high king of the land of gLing, he was born in lowly form. 4. His month was as large as a well, and [his] eyes black and ugly. 5. On the pillow of [his] mother there was some bad meal. The child suddenly got up, [and] went and ate some of the meal. 6. The mother said: — “He does not give himself time to grow, but eats meal [already] !” She clothed it with a piece of ass’s sackcloth, tied a goat’s-hair string around it, and put a stone upon it. 7. For the mother was ashamed of the child’s lowly form, 8. At the same time the spouse bKur dmanmo from the kingdom of the gods changed herself into the mother dKar thigmo and went to prepare some soup for Gogzalhamo. 9, Mother dKar thigmo said: — “Well, Gogzalhamo, what has been born to you ?” Gogzalhamo spake: — 10. “Of all that which was or was not born to me there is nothing left. It was born with ugly black eyes and a month like a well, and it ate meal without giving itself time to grow. I have clothed it with a piece of ass’s sackcloth, and put a stone on it. There it is, under the stone !” Mother dKar thigmo took the child from under the stone, and the child said: —

12. “Kinder art thou than water, O Lady dKar thigmo, now listen !

13. Kinder than even [my] mother, O Lady dKar thigmo, now listen !

14. After the manner of men, a bowl should be filled with butter;

15. Gogzalhamo, however, threw to me buckwheat.

16. After the manner of men, the child should be put in the child-sack ;

17. Gogzall amo, however, put sackcloth around me.

August, 1901.]                        THE SPRING MYTH OF THE KESAR SAGA.                                      335

18. A son is born to the mother ! says he,

19. A son is born to Gogza ! says he,

20. And he blows white bands up to the sky.

21. A son is born to the mother ! says he,

22. A son is born to Gogza ! says he,

23. And he blows red bands across the earth,

24. A son is born to the mother ! says he,

25. A son is born to Gogza ! says he,

26. And he blows blue bands down to the waters.”

 

V

The fifth Tale is the Tale of Khromo, who sought to harm Kesar, the King of the Gods.

1. While this was going on, Agu Khromo heard that Kesar, the king of the gods, had been born to Gogzalhamo. 2. Therefore he said to seven priests from the east: — “In that cottage there is a child. If you can kill the child, I will give you half of [my] castle and land.” 3. Then the priests from the east disguised themselves as beggars and went to Gogzalhamo’s cottage. 4. Gogzalhamo thought: — “These seven men are beggars ;” filled a golden and a silver plate for them, and brought it out. 5. The seven spiritual beggars said: — “We need neither a golden nor a silver plate. Give us the child ! We want to teach it religion.” Then Gogzalhamo gave them the child. 6. Then came Mother dKar thigmo, and cried: — “Gog-zalhamo, to whom have you given the child away ?” 7. Gogzalhamo answered ! — “Seven priests, who said, ‘We want to teach it religion,’ have carried it off.” 8. Then spake Mother dKar thig-mo: — “How could you give the child away !” and Gogzalhamo ran to get back the child, till she met the seven beggars. 9. The beggars had bound the child’s arms and legs with chains, had laid fire on his heart, and were pouring boiling water into his mouth. 10. When the mother saw that, she came before the seven beggars, and cried: — “Give me my child !” The child said: —

11. Fourfold I lie here not bound:

12. It is a sign: four enemies will fall.

13. On my heart I feel no flame:

14. It is a sign of flaming happiness.

15. Hot water I do not feel on my head:

16. It is a sign of tea, beer [and] milk to come.”

As he sang this, the child said: — “Hung one, hung two !” broke the chains and ran to his mother. Then Gogzalhamo carried the child home. 18. But the seven priests from the east changed themselves into beetles and devoured the ashes of the fire. 19. So when Agu Khromo knew that the child was not yet conquered, he said: — “I will go myself ;” [and] came and asked Gogzalhamo: — “Where is the child ? Has he grown big ?” 20. The child said: — “My good Agu, I am here !” Whereupon Khromo took the child out of the bed and carried him off. 21. There was a rock of poison there. Upon it he wanted to throw the child. But although Agu Khromo was able to whirl him round, he could not throw him on to the rock. 22. The child said: — “Swing me round, good Agu, do ! Throw me off, do !” 23. The Agu said: — “I am tired, I cannot any longer !” 24. Whereupon the child cried: “Now the Agu’s time for whirling [me] round is past; now it is my turn !” [and]

336                                                  THE INDIAN ANTIQUARY                                   [August, 1901.

saying this, he threw the Agu on to the poisonous rock. 25. As the rock was of fiery poison one side of Khromo body got burnt.

26. One day Agu dPalle, Agu dGani and Agu Khromo went hunting together, and killed a wild yak. To the place where they killed it the child came also. 27. The Agus said: — “Go, carry a whole leg at once to thy mother !” The child bit his teeth into a tendon of the leg, carried it off, gave it to his mother, and came back. 28. Then the Agus said: — “Take all the intestines and the inwards also to [thy] mother!” and sent him away. The child wrapped it all up in his hip-cloth, bit with [his] teeth into the upper end of the intestines, and carried it home to [his] mother. Then he returned. Agu Khromo became angry, threw the wooden poker [at him], and hit the child on the mole at the back of the neck, so that he fainted and fell to the ground. 30. Then said Agu dPalle to Khromo: — “He is also a member of our father’s brothers. They will avenge him on thee !” Then Agu Khromo was frightened, and spake to the child: — 31. “Listen, Street-boy ; get up, please ! I will give thee the chief ford of a hundred fords.” 32. The child asked: — “Wilt thou give it [to me], my good Agu ?” and got up. 33. When the Street-child had received the chief ford of a hundred fords, it allowed no one to cross it. 34. One day as Agu Khromo was coming through the water at that chief ford, the Street-child cried: — 35. “Who is coming through the water there ?” and threw a stone at Khromo. 36. Agu Khromo said: — “Ow, it is I !” and the child cried smilingly: — “Why didst thou not say that before, my good Agu ? ” 37. The Street-boy became very powerful. If no part of the mourning-feast was given to him, he let no funeral procession pass ; and if no part of the marriage-feast was given to him, he let no marriage procession cross. All that he carried away, and gave it to Gogzalhamo.

VI.

The Sixth Tale is the Tale of Maiden ’aBruguma, whom the Street-child met.

1. Now at that time the Street-child went to the upper Groma-field to gather groma[5] roots, and met there the maiden ’aBruguma and her handmaid Darlhagochodma. 2. The Street-child found as many roots as a horse’s head or yak’s head is great, and made a loaf for himself out of them. 3. Maiden aBruguma and Darlhagochodma found only one dry root each. 4. As they found no more, the handmaid said to the Street-child: — “Give our Lady ’aBruguma a piece of root-bread too !” 5. The Street-child answered: — “No, little sister, I must nourish my mother !” 6. Then he ate some of the root-bread before the two girls, and spake, “Sindiremalag !” While he said that, the loaf grew whole again, and he began to eat once more. 7. Then spake he: — “Now Maiden ’aBruguma shall also eat some. But as much as she eats must be brought back again. There, eat some !” 8. Maiden ’aBruguma ate half of the loaf and said, “Sindiremalag.” But although she said that, nothing came back. The mark of the teeth remained. 9. Then spake, the Street-child: — “O thou daughter of Father brTanpa, O thou daughter of Mother Chorol ! Give me back my bread ! If I see a dog, the dog shall hear of it ; if I see a man, the man shall hear of it !” 10. When Maiden ’aBruguma heard that, she thought he was angry, and spake to the Street-boy: — “To-morrow we are going to have a feast, and thou shalt take part in it!” 11. The Street-child, asked: — “Shall I take part, little sister ?” and ’aBruguma said: — “Yes thou shalt be there.” 12. On the next day the Street-child went earlier than all [the rest] to ’aBrugnma’s house, and hid himself behind the upper door-beam. 13. So when all the people had come together to the feast, ’aBruguma said “Are we all here ? Shut the door before the Street-child comes !” 14. Then the Street-child called out from the beam: — “I have already arrived, little sister!” 15. ’aBruguma spake: — “And I had just said that he had not come yet !” 16. He called out laughing: — “So I just heard [my] little sister say ! If I see a dog, the dog shall hear of it ; if I see a man, the man shall hear of it !” 17. Then spake ’aBruguma: — “Listen, Street-child, to-morrow we are going to give a friendly beer-banquet. All the Agus are going to come to it. Wilt thou also be there ?”

August, 1901.]                        THE SPRING MYTH OF THE KESAR SAGA.                                      337

18. He spake “Little sister, wilt thou listen to my word ?” The maiden said: — “I will listen to it.” 19. He spake “Then thou must say this to Agu dPalle and the others

20. Who takes a drink of the beer of life, let him have children beyond measure !

21. Who takes a drink of the beer of blessing, let his life be like that of the gods !

22. Drink without touching the ten finger-tips,

23. And without wetting the silk of the tongue,[6]

24. Nor may’st thou knock the pearls of the teeth ;[7]

25. Drink with the soul,

26. Yea, drink with the heart !”

27. So the next morning, when all the Agus had come together, ’aBruguma brought the beer of friendship, came before Agu dGani and said: —

28. “Hail, on [thy] golden throne, O Agu dGani, now listen !

29. See this vessel, filled with thoughts and nine-fold buttered.[8]

30. Who takes a drink of the beer   of life, let him be blessed with many children !

31. Who takes a drink of the beer   of blessing, let his life be like that of the gods !

32. Drink without touching the ten finger-tips,

33. And without wetting the silk of the tongue,

34. Nor may’st thou knock the pearls of the teeth ;

35. Drink with the soul,

36. Yea, drink with the heart !”

Then spake Agu dGani: —

37. “Not wetting the tongue,

38. Not filling the stomach,

39. Not touching the hands,

40. How then shall I drink it ? Away with the bowl !”

41. Because he spoke so, the girl carried the vessel to Agu dPalle: —

42. “Hail on [thy] throne of shell, O Agu dPalle, now listen !

43. See this vessel, filled with thoughts and nine-fold buttered !

44. Who takes a drink of the beer of life, let him be blessed with many children !

45. Who takes a drink of the beer of blessing, may he live as long as the gods !

46. Drink without touching the ten finger-tips,

47. And without wetting the silk of the tongue,

48. Nor may’st thou knock the pearls of the teeth ;

49. Drink with the soul,

50. Yea, drink with the heart ! ”

338                                                  THE INDIAN ANTIQUARY                                   [August, 1901.

Then spake Agu dPalle

51. “Not wetting the tongue,

52. Not filling the stomach,

53. Not touching the hands,

54. How then shall I drink it ? Away with the bowl !”

55. Then ’aBruguma said to the Agus: — “Shall I ask the Street-child also ?” 56. The Agus spake: — “He is also a member of our father’s brothers’ [clan]. Ask him also, do !” 57. And ’aBruguma addressed him: — “Yes, listen, Street-child, give me thy bowl !” 58. The Street-child spake: — ‘‘Yes, certainly, little sister, just as thou hast said to the Agus, speak also to me !” So ’aBruguma sang: —

59. “Thou on [thy] wooden chair, thou Street-boy there, now listen:

60. See this vessel, filled with thoughts and nine-fold buttered !

61. Who takes a drink of the beer of life, let him be blessed with many children !

62. Who takes a drink of the beer of blessing, may he live as long as the gods!

63. Drink without touching the ten finger-tips,

64. And without wetting the silk of the tongue,

65. Nor may’st thou knock the pearls of the teeth !

66. Drink with the soul,

67. Yea, drink with the heart ! ”

68. Thereupon the Street-child said: — “Little sister, wait a little !” Then lie threw the vessel towards the sky with his stick studded with dog’s teeth, and drank the beer out of the sky. 69. While he drank it, he said: — “I feel how the Lord of Heaven, rGryabbzhin, is giving me a drink ot the beer of friendship!” Then all the street-folk shouted: — “Now our Street-boy has got Lady ’aBruguma as bride ! Hurrah for Love ! ”

 

VII.

The Seventh Tale is the Tale of ’aBruguma, who becomes Kesar’s bride.

1. The Sovereign of Heaven had heard the shouting of the Street-child, and he came with the whole retinue of heaven and the retinue of the water-spirits, and held a horse-race with all the Agus.

2.   The handmaid Darlhagochodma took Lady ’aBruguma to the race-course, and put her on a rock.

3.   The handmaid said: — “To-day listen to my word: Upon whose horse thou canst jump at the race, his bride thou wilt be !

4.   Listen to-day to the word of the servant,

5.   Listen to Darlhagochodma’s word !

6.   To-day will the skin be pulled over thy ears ; [9]

7.   Father brTanpa’s daughter will receive blows !

8. Then the king of Heaven, rGyabbzhin, came riding along, and ’aBruguma spake –

9.   “I know neither the man that is riding,

10. Nor even the swift horse underneath. ”

August, 1901.]                        THE SPRING MYTH OF THE KESAR SAGA.                                      339

Thereupon the handmaid said: —

11. “If thou knowest not the man that is riding,

12. Know, that is the King of Heaven ;

13. And the swift steed underneath

14. Is the god’s horse, called the Bay.

15. Man and horse touch not, let them go ! If thou jumpest now, then thou committest a great sin against the gods ! ”

So ’aBruguma did not jump.

16. Then the Earth-Mother, sKyab sbdun came riding along. Lady ’aBruguma spake: —

17. “I know neither the man that is riding,

18. Nor even the swift horse underneath.”

The handmaid said: —

19. “If thou knowest not yet the man that is riding,

20. See, it is sKyabs bdun, the Earth-Mother ;

21. And the swift horse underneath,

22. That is the red earth-horse.

23. Rider and horse touch not, let them go ! If thou jumpest now, then thou committest a great sin against the earth ! ”

So ’aBruguma did not jump.

24. Then lCogpo, the King of the water-spirits, came riding along, and ’aBruguma spake: —

25. “I know neither the man that is riding,

26. Nor even the swift horse underneath.”

The servant said: —

27. “If thou knowest not yet the man that is riding,

28. See, it is lCogpo, the Water-king;

29. And the swift steed underneath,

30. That is the blue water-horse.

31. Rider and horse touch not, let them go ! If thou jumpest now, thou committest a great sin against the water-spirits ! ”

So ’aBruguma did not jump.

32. Then all the Agus of the land of gLing came riding past, and ’aBruguma did not jump. 33. Last of all the Street-child came riding along. He had put off his humble form. He had a reddish-violet crown,[10] and [his] horse a short, reddish-violet mane. On the man’s right shoulder the sun was rising, [and] on left the moon. ‘aBruguma spake .

340                                                  THE INDIAN ANTIQUARY                                   [August, 1901.

34. “I know neither the man that is riding,

35. Nor even the swift horse underneath.”

Then said Darlhagochodma: —

36. If thou knowest not yet the man that is riding,

37. See, it is Kesar, of gLing the King ;

38. And the swift steed underneath,

39. It is the noble rKyangbyung dbyerpa.

40. Now if everything is well carried out, then all people will call me Gochodma [that is: She that fulfils]. If it is not carried out well, then I shall call myself Gomichod [that is: Unfulfilled], Man and horse let not pass; seize them.” 41. So when Kesar came riding on, Maiden ’aBruguma suddenly jumped on to the horse. 42. As the maiden jumped, Kesar put on his humble form again, caused a strong smell of lice, and changed the horse into a female Dzo with broken horns. 43. Then all the street-folk shouted: — “Hurrah for love! Lady ’aBruguma is our Street-boy’s bride ! Then ’aBruguma made the Street-child her bridegroom, and took him home.

 

VIII.

The Eighth Tale is the Tale of Kesar, who teases ’aBruguma.

1. One day ’aBruguma’s mother spread the carpet out the wrong way round, so that it had the front edge towards the wall. 2. The Street-boy said: — “Where the front edge of the carpet is, there the face of the guest must also be,” and sat down with his face turned to the wall. 3. Then spake Faher brTanpa to ’aBruguma: — “The boy is nine times too clever ; he will run away yet.” 4. Therefore the maiden covered the Street-boy with a pot, turning it upside down.[11] 5. Now although the handmaid and the maiden herself sat before it keeping watch, the Street-child escaped without letting either hear anything. 6. Before the door he tore his upper garment in pieces near the place where the dogs were kept, killed a goat and poured its blood out. The entrails of the goat he wrapped round the teeth of the dogs. Then he fled into the innermost part of the valley. 7. When Father baTanpa saw that [before the door], he said to ’aBruguma: — “My daughter, go and look for him ! The dogs have surely not eaten him !” Then ’aBruguma went to look for him all around on a hundred, [yea] a thousand mountains, and did not find him. 8. The maiden’s dress tore right up to the collar. [Her] shoes tore from the sole right up to the top. 9. As she did not find him yet, she went to Agu dPalle and Agu dGani, and spake: —

10. “Thou on [thy] golden throne, Agu dGani, now listen!

11. Early in the morning I began to climb, and came on to the golden hill ;

12. In the evening I descended, and came to the copper-field.

13. Did he then come for copper ? I would now like to ask the Agu !”

Agu dGani spake: —

14. “If the dogs have devoured the Street-child,

15. Then will the skin be pulled over thy ears,

16. Then indeed will blows be laid on brTanpa’s daughter !”

So ’aBruguma went to Agu dPalle, and spake: —

17. Thou on [thy] throne of shell there, Agu dPalle, then listen!

18. In the morning I began to climb, and came on to the silver hill;

19. In the evening I descended, and came to the lead-fields.

20. Did he then come for lead ? I would like to ask the Agu ! ”

August, 1901.]                        THE SPRING MYTH OF THE KESAR SAGA.                                      341

Agu dPalle said: —

21. “If the dogs have devoured the Street-child,

22. Then will the skin be pulled over thy ears,

23. Then indeed will blows be laid on brTanpa’s daughter !”

24. Then spake ’aBruguma: — “Everybody says that !” and went to look for him again. Then she took a stone which had a hole [in it], looked through [it], [to see] whether she could see him, and caught sight of him in the innermost corner of the valley. 25. And he had the reddish-violet crown on, and [his] horse [had] the reddish-violet mane; he had put off his humble form, and was dancing around merrily. 26. Then the maiden ran as fast as ever she could, and reached the place where he was. 27. He said: — “Well, girl, from where hast thou come ?” and gave her, in a piece of a broken cup, a loathsome lump of bad meal, which he had kneaded together. 28. He spake: — “If thou eatest this, I will run off again !” ’aBruguma ate it and said: — “Then go, good King, do!” He spake: — 29. “And thou, the rich daughter of a rich man, hast eaten up the whole bad dough. 30. If I meet a dog, the dog shall hear of it. 31. If I meet a man, the man shall hear of it !” 32. Then they both went back to Mother Gogzalhamo.

33. One day as the “Street-boy was preparing a feast, he slaughtered many sheep and goats. 34. One skinned animal he hid in ’aBruguma’s cloak, and said: — 35. “One skinned animal is missing ! Who is the thief ? Mother, thou hast surely not stolen it ?” 36. The mother answered: — “Would I then take anything besides what thou hast given me?” 37. He spake: — “Handmaid, thou hast surely not stolen it ?” 38. The handmaid answered: — “Would I then take anything besides what the king has given me ?” 39. Then he spake to ’aBruguma: — “And thou wilt surely steal nothing, thou rich child of a rich man ? Stand up now, and shake [yourself] !” 40. ’aBruguma said: — “Would I then take anything besides what the king has given me ?” All at once she stood up, and as she shook [herself], it dropped out of her cloak. 41. The Street-child said: — “And thou hast stolen it, thou rich child of a rich man ! I will not go with thee !” In this way he teased her.

 

IX.

The Ninth Tale is the Tale of the Wedding.

Mother Gogzalhamo spread out three carpets, one blue, one red and one white. Then she hung up three ribbons, one white, one red and one blue. 2. She spake to ’aBruguma: — “Shut [thy] eyes tight, take one out of all these ribbons, and go and sit down on one of the carpets ! I shall wait for a dream.” 3. So ’aBruguma shut [her] eyes tight, took a ribbon and went on to a carpet. 4. She took a blue ribbon, and came on to the blue carpet. 5. [Her] mother said: — “Now is Kesar, the King of the gods, thy portion. Later on the white tents of Yarkand will be thy portion!” This she spake prophesying. 6. In the same moment the Street-child had put on [his] lowly form again, 7. ’aBruguma spake to [her] mother: — “.Give me back the man who was just here !” 8. [Her] mother said: — “I will go [and look for him] with thee.” 9. The Street-child had been brought to the glorious castle, and been stripped of [his] humble body by [his] father’s brothers. 10. Maiden ’aBruguma arrived before the castle and saw the horse rKyangbyung dbyerpa. 11. The horse spake: — “Lady ’aBrugu, enter !” ’aBruguma said: — “I have lost my former husband.” 12. Then the horse took the maiden up with his teeth and threw her into the glorious castle, 13. Then King Kesar, got a golden throne, and ’aBruguma a throne of turquoise. 14. Now they were happy, and became stout. Three nights long they celebrated their wedding, and three days long they gave feasts. The tale and the story is at an end.

 

(To be continued.)


 

Notes



[1] All the numbers are in accordance with those of the Tibetan original. The latter may be obtained at the Dépôt de la Société Finno-Ougrienne, Helsingfors, Finland.

[2] There are sources of a very different character, from which Dr. Lanfer is drawing his knowledge of the Pre-Buddhistic Religion of Tibet. I have had great pleasure in studying the following of his writings: Klu ‘abum bsduspevi snyingpo, Mémoires de la Société Finno-Ougrienne, No. XI. 1898. — Über ein tibetisches Geschichts-werk der Bonpo, T’oung-Pao, Série II., Vol. II., No. 1. — Denkschriften der kais, Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien, Phil. Hist. Classe, Band XLVI., No. VII., Ein Sühngedicht der Bonpo. All these publications show a very far advanced type of the Pre-Buddhist Religion ; they shew especially in the long lists of klu’s or nâgas, what a body of priests has been able to make of it. From the Kesar Myths we may learn, on the other hand, what this religion has been to the ordinary man. It would certainly not be right to consider the Kesar Sagas as mere fairy-tales, told for the amusement of the people. This is shown most plainly by a comparison with the Ladakhi Wedding Ritual and the popular Bonpa Hymnal (gling glu), which run on the same lines as the Kesar Sagas and are both of a distinctly religious cast.

[3] This sentence-rhyme is the same type of parallelism as has become known from Chinese popular poetry.

[4] The division into nine parts is my own.

[5] Groma is a species of potentilla.

[6] Literally:— And without tasting with the silken knots of the tongue.

[7] Lit.:— Not Knocking the teeth like milk, like a rosary, like pearls.

[8] See explanation of the custom, under Yar. Dr. Lanfer asks for an analysis of this sentence. The Tibetan text is properly bungpa bsampas don sgrubla mis brgyabs dgu brgyabs shig yod. This means literally: ‘A vessel furnished with thoughts according to the meaning (don), smeared by men, smeared ninefold, such it is ; brgyabs is said instead of yar brgyabs, it is smeared with butter.

[9] Dr. Lanfer asks for an analysis of this nsetence (sic.). The Tibetan has: rkyal rlon ni bumola rkyal shus btang yin. The literal translation is: ‘ To the girl who is like a wet leather-bag, will be given a peeling off of the skiu’ In my translation I made use of the corresponding German idiom.

[10] Tuft of hair (according to Dr. Lanfer and Jäschke’s Dictionary).

[11] Dr. Lanfer’s translation, ‘ she put him in a pot with his face underneath,’ is impossible ; kha is the opening of the pot.

   Envoyer l'article en PDF   

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse de messagerie ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *

Ce site utilise Akismet pour réduire les indésirables. En savoir plus sur comment les données de vos commentaires sont utilisées.