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In the Great God's Hair, by F. W. Bain, [1905], at

IX. The Two Kings

Then said Indra: O low-voiced lady, when did a woman's tongue ever lack excuses for her behaviour with her lover? and thy ingenuity is not inferior to that of any of thy sex. And yet, say what thou wilt, thou knowest that thy father will not share thy own opinion in this matter: and thou and thy husband are likely to come to a speedy and miserable end, as soon as he discovers where you are.

Then said Wanawallarí: Brahman, thou art partly in the right, for it is possible that sudden anger may cause my father to act rashly. And yet even here, time may show that thou art mistaken, for policy is the first consideration with my father, and he may see reason to forgive us. But let him do as he pleases, he cannot harm me. For whether he lets my husband live, or kill him, he cannot now divide us, nor deprive me of my right to follow him alive or dead, for a wife belongs not to her father but to her husband. So if we live, we live, and if we die, we die together. And death

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is no evil, but only an inevitable change: and often for the better, if the life to which it puts an end be one of works deserving a reward. For once there were two kings of the desert, called Haya and Gaja s: and they were deadly enemies. And Gaja set upon Haya, and killed his son and captured his wives and his capital and drove him away. So being reduced to extremity, Haya entered the service of Gaja, who did not know him by sight, as a personal retainer. And while he waited for an opportunity to revenge himself, Gaja was attacked and his army destroyed by a third king, and he fled into the desert, badly wounded, with only Haya for his companion, hoping to cross over the desert and get back to his own capital and be safe, So they two went together over the desert. And having but one skin of water, they could give none to their horses, which died: and they went on on foot.

Then Gaja said to Haya: There is hardly water in this skin to carry one man across the desert; much less two: and now our fate is sure. And they went on, and day by day the water shrank.

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[paragraph continues] And Haya carried the skin. And one night, as Gaja slept upon the sand, Haya remained awake. And he looked at the skin of water, and said: One man could cross the desert on this water, but not two. And now my enemy lies there before me. So he sat in silence, with his naked sword in his hand, alone in the desert with the twinkling stars, watching Gaja as he slept, all night long. And in the morning they went on. And as the sun grew hotter, Gaja grew fainter, for he was weakened by his wound, And he said to Haya: Let us drink, even if we die. So they drank. But Haya put shut lips to the water, and took none into his mouth. And so they went on day by day, and Gaja drank the water, But Haya only put it to his mouth, and looked at it with glittering eyes, and lips closed like the door of death.

And at last there came a day, when Gaja said: My wound has robbed me of my strength, and now I can go no further. Moreover, the water is done. Then Haya said: Be strong: it is but one day more. But Gaja said: Go thou on and save thyself, and leave me here to die. And he fell upon the sand, and lay in a half-swoon.

And then Haya stooped, and took him in his arms, and staggered on. And as he went, he grew giddy,

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and his senses wandered, and the desert danced before his eyes. And he heard in his ears the plash of water, and the drums of the desert rang in his head, and behind him the spirits of the region of death called to one another across the sand, and laughed and mocked him as he went like one going in a dream. So he struggled on in the loneliness, while his life ebbed away, withering like a flower in the burning fire of that angry sun. And suddenly he heard in his dream the voice of Gaja, crying above his head: Lo! yonder is the city away before us, and now we are saved. Then Haya set him down. And he said: O King, I am Haya, and now I have brought thee over the dusty death. And he fell with his face upon the sand, and went to the other world. But Yama saw that action and remembered it: and Haya rose in the next birth out of mortality and became a spirit of the air.


44:s 'Horse' and 'elephant,' (Pronounce Gaj- to rhyme with -trudge)

Next: X. A Pariah Dog