The Jogi's Punishment

: The Lilac Fairy Book

Once upon a time there came to the ancient city of Rahmatabad a

jogi[FN#1: A Hindu holy man.] of holy appearance, who took up

his abode under a tree outside the city, where he would sit for

days at a time fasting from food and drink, motionless except for

the fingers that turned restlessly his string of beads. The fame

of such holiness as this soon spread, and daily the citizens

would flock to see him, eager to get his
blessing, to watch his

devotions, or to hear his teaching, if he were in the mood to

speak. Very soon the rajah himself heard of the jogi, and began

regularly to visit him to seek his counsel and to ask his prayers

that a son might be vouchsafed to him. Days passed by, and at

last the rajah became so possessed with the thought of the holy

man that he determined if possible to get him all to himself. So

he built in the neighbourhood a little shrine, with a room or two

added to it, and a small courtyard closely walled up; and, when

all was ready, besought the jogi to occupy it, and to receive no

other visitors except himself and his queen and such pupils as

the jogi might choose, who would hand down his teaching. To this

the jogi consented; and thus he lived for some time upon the

king's bounty, whilst the fame of his godliness grew day by day.

Now, although the rajah of Rahmatabad had no son, he possessed a

daughter, who as she grew up became the most beautiful creature

that eye ever rested upon. Her father had long before betrothed

her to the son of the neighbouring rajah of Dilaram, but as yet

she had not been married to him, and lived the quiet life proper

to a maiden of her beauty and position. The princess had of

course heard of the holy man and of his miracles and his fasting,

and she was filled with curiosity to see and to speak to him; but

this was difficult, since she was not allowed to go out except

into the palace grounds, and then was always closely guarded.

However, at length she found an opportunity, and made her way one

evening alone to the hermit's shrine.

Unhappily, the hermit was not really as holy as he seemed; for no

sooner did he see the princess than he fell in love with her

wonderful beauty, and began to plot in his heart how he could win

her for his wife. But the maiden was not only beautiful, she was

also shrewd; and as soon as she read in the glance of the jogi

the love that filled his soul, she sprang to her feet, and,

gathering her veil about her, ran from the place as fast as she

could. The jogi tried to follow, but he was no match for her; so,

beside himself with rage at finding that he could not overtake

her, he flung at her a lance, which wounded her in the leg. The

brave princess stooped for a second to pluck the lance out of the

wound, and then ran on until she found herself safe at home

again. There she bathed and bound up the wound secretly, and told

no one how naughty she had been, for she knew that her father

would punish her severely.

Next day, when the king went to visit the jogi, the holy man

would neither speak to nor look at him.

'What is the matter?' asked the king. 'Won't you speak to me to-


'I have nothing to say that you would care to hear,' answered the


'Why?' said the king. 'Surely you know that I value all that you

say, whatever it may be.'

But still the jogi sat with his face turned away, and the more

the king pressed him the more silent and mysterious he became. At

last, after much persuasion, he said:

'Let me tell you, then, that there is in this city a creature

which, if you do not put an end to it, will kill every single

person in the place.'

The king, who was easily frightened, grew pale.

'What?' he gasped--'what is this dreadful thing? How am I to know

it and to catch it? Only counsel me and help me, and I will do

all that you advise.'

'Ah!' replied the jogi, 'it is indeed dreadful. It is in the

shape of a beautiful girl, but it is really an evil spirit. Last

evening it came to visit me, and when I looked upon it its beauty

faded into hideousness, its teeth became horrible fangs, its eyes

glared like coals of fire, great claws sprang from its slender

fingers, and were I not what I am it might have consumed me.'

The king could hardly speak from alarm, but at last he said:

'How am I to distinguish this awful thing when I see it?'

'Search,' said the jogi, 'for a lovely girl with a lance wound in

her leg, and when she is found secure her safely and come and

tell me, and I will advise you what to do next.'

Away hurried the king, and soon set all his soldiers scouring the

country for a girl with a lance wound in her left. For two days

the search went on, and then it was somehow discovered that the

only person with a lance wound in the leg was the princess

herself. The king, greatly agitated, went off to tell the jogi,

and to assure him that there must be some mistake. But of course

the jogi was prepared for this, and had his answer ready.

'She is not really your daughter, who was stolen away at her

birth, but an evil spirit that has taken her form,' said he

solemnly. 'You can do what you like, but if you don't take my

advice she will kill you all.' And so solemn he appeared, and so

unshaken in his confidence, that the king's wisdom was blinded,

and he declared that he would do whatever the jogi advised, and

believe whatever he said. So the jogi directed him to send him

secretly two carpenters; and when they arrived he set them to

make a great chest, so cunningly jointed and put together that

neither air nor water could penetrate it. There and then the

chest was made, and, when it was ready, the jogi bade the king to

bring the princess by night; and they two thrust the poor little

maiden into the chest and fastened it down with long nails, and

between them carried it to the river and pushed it out into the


As soon as the jogi got back from this deed he called two of his

pupils, and pretended that it had been revealed to him that there

should be found floating on the river a chest with something of

great price within it; and he bade them go and watch for it at

such a place far down the stream, and when the chest came slowly

along, bobbing and turning in the tide, they were to seize it and

secretly and swiftly bring it to him, for he was now determined

to put the princess to death himself. The pupils set off at once,

wondering at the strangeness of their errand, and still more at

the holiness of the jogi to whom such secrets were revealed.

It happened that, as the next morning was dawning, the gallant

young prince of Dilaram was hunting by the banks of the river,

with a great following of wazirs, attendants, and huntsmen, and

as he rode he saw floating on the river a large chest, which came

slowly along, bobbing and turning in the tide. Raising himself in

his saddle, he gave an order, and half a dozen men plunged into

the water and drew the chest out on to the river bank, where

every one crowded around to see what it could contain. The prince

was certainly not the least curious among them; but he was a

cautious young man, and, as he prepared to open the chest

himself, he bade all but a few stand back, and these few to draw

their swords, so as to be prepared in case the chest should hold

some evil beast, or djinn, or giant. When all were ready and

expectant, the prince with his dagger forced open the lid and

flung it back, and there lay, living and breathing, the most

lovely maiden he had ever seen in his life.

Although she was half stifled from her confinement in the chest,

the princess speedily revived, and, when she was able to sit up,

the prince began to question her as to who she was and how she

came to be shut up in the chest and set afloat upon the water;

and she, blushing and trembling to find herself in the presence

of so many strangers, told him that she was the princess of

Rahmatabad, and that she had been put into the chest by her own

father. When he on his part told her that he was the prince of

Dilaram, the astonishment of the young people was unbounded to

find that they, who had been betrothed without ever having seen

one another, should have actually met for the first time in such

strange circumstances. In fact, the prince was so moved by her

beauty and modest ways that he called up his wazirs and demanded

to be married at once to this lovely lady who had so completely

won his heart. And married they were then and there upon the

river bank, and went home to the prince's palace, where, when the

story was told, they were welcomed by the old rajah, the prince's

father, and the remainder of the day was given over to feasting

and rejoicing. But when the banquet was over, the bride told her

husband that now, on the threshold of their married life, she had

more to relate of her adventures than he had given her the

opportunity to tell as yet; and then, without hiding anything,

she informed him of all that happened to her from the time she

had stolen out to visit the wicked jogi.

In the morning the prince called his chief wazir and ordered him

to shut up in the chest in which the princess had been found a

great monkey that lived chained up in the palace, and to take the

chest back to the river and set it afloat once more and watch

what became of it. So the monkey was caught and put into the

chest, and some of the prince's servants took it down to the

river and pushed it off into the water. Then they followed

secretly a long way off to see what became of it.

Meanwhile the jogi's two pupils watched and watched for the chest

until they were nearly tired of watching, and were beginning to

wonder whether the jogi was right after all, when on the second

day they spied the great chest coming floating on the river,

slowly bobbing and turning in the tide; and instantly a great joy

and exultation seized them, for they thought that here indeed was

further proof of the wonderful wisdom of their master. With some

difficulty they secured the chest, and carried it back as swiftly

and secretly as possible to the jogi's house. As soon as they

brought in the chest, the jogi, who had been getting very cross

and impatient, told them to put it down, and to go outside whilst

he opened the magic chest.

'And even if you hear cries and sounds, however alarming, you

must on no account enter,' said the jogi, walking over to a

closet where lay the silken cord that was to strangle the


And the two pupils did as they were told, and went outside and

shut close all the doors. Presently they heard a great outcry

within and the jogi's voice crying aloud for help; but they dared

not enter, for had they not been told that whatever the noise,

they must not come in? So they sat outside, waiting and

wondering; and at last all grew still and quiet, and remained so

for such a long time that they determined to enter and see if all

was well. No sooner had they opened the door leading into the

courtyard than they were nearly upset by a huge monkey that came

leaping straight to the doorway and escaped past them into the

open fields. Then they stepped into the room, and there they saw

the jogi's body lying torn to pieces on the threshold of his


Very soon the story spread, as stories will, and reached the ears

of the princess and her husband, and when she knew that her enemy

was dead she made her peace with her father.

From Major Campbell, Feroshepore.