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Story of the Honest but Rash Hunter and His Faithful Dog


WHEN the Second Minister's watch was over, he went to inspect the guard at the royal bedchamber, and Alakesa hearing his footsteps inquired who was there.

               "Your servant, Bodhachandra, most royal lord," was the reply.

               "Enter, Bodhachandra," said the king; "I have somewhat to communicate to you."

               Then Alakesa, almost choking with rage, told him of the gross offence of which his colleague the First Minister had been guilty, and demanded to know whether any punishment could be too severe. Bodhachandra humbled himself before the king, and thus replied--

               "My lord, such a crime merits a heavy requital. Can one tie up fire in one's cloth and think that as it is but a small spark it will do us no harm? How, then, can we excuse even slight deviations from the rules of propriety? Therefore, if Bodhaditya be really guilty, he must be signally punished. But permit me to represent to your Majesty the advisability of carefully inquiring into this matter before proceeding to judgment. We ought to ascertain what reasons he had for such a breach of the harem rules; for should we, carried away by anger, act rashly in this affair, we may repent when repentance is of no avail. As an example, I shall, with your Majesty's permission relate a story." The king having at once given his consent, the Second Minister began to relate the


THERE dwelt in a certain forest a hunter named Ugravira, who was lord of the woods, and as such, had to pay a fixed sum of money to the king of the country. It happened once that the king unexpectedly demanded of him one thousand five hundred pons. [1] The hunter sold all his property and realised only a thousand pons, and was perplexed how to procure the rest of the required amount. At length he bethought him of his dog, which was of the best kind, and was beloved by him more than anything else in the whole world. He took his dog to an adjacent city, where he pledged him to a merchant named Kubera for five hundred pons, at the same time giving the merchant his bond for the loan. Before going away, the hunter with tears in his eyes, thus addressed the intelligent animal:--

               "Mrigasimha, [i.e., lion among beasts] O my faithful friend, do not leave thy new master until I have paid him back the money I have borrowed of him. Obey and serve him, even as thou hast ever obeyed and served me."

               Some time after this, the merchant Kubera had to leave home and proceed with his merchandise to foreign countries: so he called the hunter's dog to his side, and bade him watch at his doors and prevent the intrusion of robbers and other evil-disposed persons. The dog indicated, both by his eyes and his tail, that he perfectly understood his instructions. Then the merchant, having enjoined his wife to feed the dog three times every day with rice and milk, set out on his travels. The dog kept his watch outside the house, and for a few days the merchant's wife fed him regularly three times a day. But this kind treatment was not to continue. She had for her paramour a wicked youth of the Setti caste, who, soon after the departure of Kubera, became a constant visitor at the merchant's house. The faithful dog instinctively surmised that his new master would not approve of such conduct; so one night, when the youth was leaving the house, Mrigasimha sprang upon him like an enraged lion, and seizing him by the throat, sent the evildoer to the other world. The merchant's wife hearing the scuffle, ran to the spot to save her lover, but found him dead.

               Though extremely grieved at the loss of her paramour, she had the presence of mind to immediately carry the body to the garden at the back of the house, where she concealed it in a great pit, and covered it with earth and leaves, vainly thinking that she had thus concealed her own shame. All this was not done, however, without being observed by the watchful dog; and, henceforward, the merchant's wife hated him with a deadly hatred. She no longer gave him food, and the poor creature was fain to eat such grains of rice as he found adhering to the leaves thrown out of the house after meals, still keeping guard at the door.

               After an absence of two months the merchant returned, and the dog, the moment he saw him, ran up to him and rolled himself on the ground at his feet; then seizing the merchant's cloth he dragged him to the very spot in the garden where the youth's body was hidden, and began to scratch the ground, at the same time looking into the merchant's face and howling dismally, from which Kubera concluded that the dog wished him to examine the place. Accordingly he dug up the spot and discovered the body of the youth, whom, indeed, he had suspected of being his wife's paramour. In a great fury he rushed into the house and commanded his wife, on pain of instant death, to relate the particulars of this affair without concealing anything. The wretched woman, seeing that her sin was discovered, confessed all, upon which her husband exclaimed!--

               "Disgrace of womankind! you have not a fraction of the virtue possessed by this faithful brute, which you have, out of revenge, allowed to starve. But why should I waste words on thee? Happy am I in having no children by thee! Depart, and let me see thy face no more." So saying, he thrust her out of the house. Then the merchant fed the dog with milk, rice and sugar, after which he said to that lion of beasts (Mrigasimha, as he was called)--

               "Thou trusty friend, language fails to express my gratitude to thee. The five hundred pons which I lent thy old master the hunter are as nothing compared with thy services to me, by which I consider the debt as more than paid. What must be the feelings of the hunter without thy companionship? I now give thee leave to return to him."

               The merchant took the hunter's bond, and tearing it slightly at the top as a token that it was cancelled, he placed it in the dog's mouth and sent him back to his former master, and he at once set off towards the forest.

               Now by this time the hunter had contrived to save up the five hundred pons, and with the money and the interest due thereon, he was going to the merchant to redeem his bond and reclaim his dog. To his great surprise he met Mrigasimha on the way, and as soon as the dog perceived him he ran up to him to receive his caresses. But the hunter immediately concluded that the poor brute, in his eagerness to rejoin him, had run away from the merchant, and determined to put him to death. Accordingly he plucked a creeper, and fastening it round the dog's neck tied him to a branch of a tree, and the faithful creature, who was expecting nothing but kindness from his old master, was by him most cruelly strangled. The hunter then continued his journey, and, on reaching the merchant's house, he laid down the money before him.

               "My dear friend," said Kubera, "the important service your dog rendered me in killing my wife's paramour, has amply repaid your debt, so I gave him permission to return to you, with your bond in his mouth. Did you not meet him on your way? But why do you look so horrified? What have you done to the dog?"

               The hunter, to whom everything was now only too clear, threw himself on the ground, like a huge tree cut at the root, and, after telling Kubera how he had inconsiderately slain the faithful dog, stabbed himself with his dagger. The merchant grieved at the death both of the dog and the hunter, which would not have occurred had he waited until Ugravira came to redeem his bond, snatched the weapon out of the hunter's breast and also stabbed himself. The news of this tragedy soon reached the forest, and the wife of the hunter, not wishing to survive her lord, threw herself into a well and was drowned. Lastly, even the wife of the merchant, finding that so many fatalities were due to her own misconduct, and that she was despised by the very children in the streets, put an end to her wretched life.

               "Thus," added the Second Minister, "five lives were lost in consequence of the hunter's rashness. Wherefore I would respectfully beseech your Majesty to investigate the case of Bodhaditya, and to refrain from acting merely under the influence of anger."

               Having thus spoken, Bodhachandra obtained leave to retire to his own house.


The Hunter and his Faithful Dog.—A variety of this story is cited from a Cawnpore newspaper, in the “Asiatic Journal,” Vol. XV. (new series), Part II. October, 1834, p. 78, which is to the following effect:—A Bunjarrah named Dabee had a dog called Bhyro, the faithful companion of his travels, who guarded his goods from robbers while he slept. He wished to go to a distant part of the country to trade in grain, but had not sufficient funds for the purpose. After much cogitation, he at length resolved to pledge his dog for 1,000 rupees, and when he applied to several persons was laughed at for his folly; but a wealthy merchant named Dyaram gave the money, on condition that it should be paid back within twelve months, taking the dog Bhyro in pledge. When eleven months had passed, the merchant began to bewail the stupidity which had induced him to lend so large a sum on so precarious a security. His relentings were, however, premature. One dark and dreary night he was aroused from his slumbers by a great noise, occasioned by the clashing of swords and the barking of Bhyro. A band of armed men had entered the house with intent to plunder, but before they could effect their purpose they had been observed by the faithful Bhyro, who commenced an attack upon them. Before Dyaram could render any assistance, Bhyro had laid two of the robbers dead at his feet; a third, on the approach of Dyaram, aimed a blow at his head, which was prevented from taking effect by Bhyro seizing the ruffian by the throat and laying him prostrate on the ground. After peace was restored, Dyaram congratulated himself on having received Bhyro in pledge for the Bunjarrah, by which act he not only escaped being plundered, but in all probably murdered. Next morning Dyaram called Bhyro, and after caressing him, said:—“The service you rendered me last night is more than an equivalent for the 1,000 rupees I lent your master; go, faithful creature. I give you a free discharge from your obligation as security for him.” Bhyro shook his head in token that it was impossible for him to go until his master returned; but Dyaram, comprehending his meaning, soon arranged matters by writing a statement of the circumstances, and giving a voucher for the 1,000 rupees. This document he tied round Bhyro’s neck, which done, Bhyro expressed his delight by leaping about in every direction, and, after licking the hands of Dyaram, darted out of the house and set off in quest of his master. While these scenes were transpiring in Dyaram’s house, Dabee was not unmindful of the pledge he had left behind him, and, having succeeded in his speculation, was returning with all haste to redeem it. At his last stage homewards he was surprised to see Bhyro approaching him with every demonstration of joy, but at sight of him Dabee’s rage was kindled, and repulsing Bhyro as he fawned upon him he thus addressed him:—“O, ungrateful wretch! is this the return you have made for my kindness to you? and is this the manner in which you have established my character for veracity? You remained faithful to your trust during eleven months—could you not have held out for thirty short days? You have, by your desertion from your post, entailed dishonour upon me, and for this you shall die.” And, so saying, he drew his sword and slew him. After having committed this deed, he observed a paper tied round Bhyro’s neck; having read it, his grief was indescribable. To atone in some measure for his rash act, caused poor Bhyro to be buried on the spot where he fell, and a superb monument to be erected over his remains. To the grave of Bhyro, even at the present day, resort natives who have been bitten by dogs, they believing that the dust collected there, when applied to the wounds, is an antidote for hydrophobia.


[1]: A sum of money varying in different localities of the South of India. In the Chola grants “pon” also occurs.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Story of the Honest but Rash Hunter and His Faithful Dog
Tale Author/Editor: Kingscote, Georgiana
Book Title: Tales of the Sun; or, Folklore of Southern India
Book Author/Editor: Kingscote, Georgiana & Sastri, Pandit Natesa
Publisher: W. H. Allen & Co.
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1890
Country of Origin: India
Classification: unclassified

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