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SHREE SHOOKDEO said,--O great king! when Shree Krishnù was eight years of age, he one day said to Jusodha, "Mother! I will go and take the cows to feed; do you prevail on my father to send me with the cowherds." Hearing this, Jusodha spoke to Nund Jee on the subject. He having fixed upon a lucky division of time, equal to forty-eight minutes, sent for the cowherds' children; and on the eighth of the light part of the month Kartik, having caused Krishnù to perform poojah to a cowshed, he said in a supplicating mariner to the cowherds, "Brothers! from to-day, take Ram Krishnù with you, when you take the cows to pasture: but stay near him, and do not leave him alone in the jungle." Having thus said, and given them food, and marked Krishnù and Bulram on the forehead with coagulated milk, he dismissed them in company with all the rest. They were delighted, and went to the jungle with the cowherds' children and the cows. There, on beholding the beauty of the jungle, Shree Krishnù began to say to Buldeo, "Buldeo! this is a very pleasant, agreeable place; see, how the trees are bending under the weight of their branches, and beasts and birds of various kinds, sporting in every direction!"

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When he had thus spoken, they ascended a high hillock, and began waiving white cloths over their heads, to call out to the cows of different colours, viz. black, white, yellow, purple, brown, blue. On hearing their voices, they all came running up, lowing and panting. At this time there was an appearance of such beauty, that it seemed as if clouds of different colours had been collected from the four quarters. After this, Shree Krishnù Chund having driven away the cows to feed, and having eaten his meal with his brother, went to sleep under the shade of a kudum tree, placing, his head on the thigh of a companion. Having awoke after some time, he said to Bulram, "Let us play this game: let us fight together, each arranging a separate army in battle order." When he had thus spoken, they divided the cows and cowherds' children into two equal portions; then gathering fruits and flowers from the jungle and filling wallets with them, they began to play upon different kinds of martial instruments, and engaging with each other, to call out. They fought in this manner for some time, and then having taken their divisions apart, they began to tend upon the cows (that is, take them to pasture.)

At this time, one of his companions said to Buldeo Jee, "O great king! at a short distance from this, there is a palm jungle, in which there are fruits, equal in flavour to nectar; an evil spirit in the shape of an ass keeps guard there." On hearing this, Bulram Jee went into that jungle with the cowherds' children and began knocking down the fruits by throwing bricks, stones, clods and sticks. Having heard the noise, the ass, whose name was Dhenook, came braying to the spot; and on coming up, he turned round and kicked Buldeo Jee twice on the chest: upon which, having taken him up, Buldeo dashed him on the ground. After roiling about, the ass again got up; and pawing the ground, and putting his ears down, he began to go back, and continue kicking with both hind legs. He continued fighting in this manner for some time. On a sudden Bulram Jee having seized both

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his hind legs, and twisting them round, threw him upon a high tree, from which he fell down dead: and with him the tree fell also, broken in pieces. There was a very loud noise in consequence of the fall of both, and all the trees of the forest were shaken. Having beheld from a distance, Krishnù said, "The trees have been shaken, and there has been a great noise." A friend of Buldeo's came, (and said) "Come quickly Krishnù, Buldeo has sent for you: A demon has been killed, and is lying on the ground." On hearing this, Shree Krishnù went also to Bulram. Then all the demons, who were companions of Dhenook, came and attacked him. Shree Krishnù Chund easily destroyed them all. Then the cowherds' children being delighted and plucking the fruit without fear, filled as many baskets as they wished; and having brought all the cows together, they said to Shree Krishnù and Buldeo Jee, "O great kings! it is very long since we calve here, let us now go home." On hearing this, both brothers, taking the cows with them, came home laughing and playing with the cowherds' children in the evening, and distributed the fruits they brought throughout the whole of Brindabun. Having dismissed all their friends and companions they went to sleep. In the morning they rose very early, and Krishnù having called the cowherds' children, and giving them breakfast, taking the cows with him, went to the jungle; and whilst feeding the cows, they came to the whirlpool where the serpent Kalee lived--there the cowherds watered the cows in the Jumna, and drank some water themselves. When they got up after having drank the water, they, as well as the cows, began rolling on the ground, in consequence of the poison. Upon this, Shree Krishnù having looked at them with an immortal glance, (a glance like nectar,) restored them all to life.

Next: Chapter XVII