Well, you were supposed to get this one yesterday, of course. But looks as if I beeped up the scheduling. Thus – have it today. A Tibetan folktale.
The Magician’s Pupil
In long past times, King Brahmadatta lived in Varanasi. There also a Chandala* lived, who was versed in spells and magic lore, and who, employing the Gandhara-Mantra, was wont to obtain by spells from the Gandhamadana mountain** such fruits and flowers as were not in season, and to present them to king Brahmadatta. The King who was highly pleased thereby, made him presents.
Now there was a Brahman youth who longed after a knowledge of spells. And in his search after them, in accordance with what he heard spoken thereof, he came from his own country to Varanasi. After he had recovered from the fatigues of his journey, he betook himself to the Brahman who was versed in spells and magic lore. And when he came before him, he said:
“I wish to serve the Pandit.”
“For the sake of learning magic.”
The Chandala replied in verse: “Magic lore is communicated to no man. It dies with its possessor. Or it is vouchsafed to him who has knowledge and means and renders service.”
The youth said: “O Pandit, if such is the case, and I have to render service, I ask for how long a time must that he.”
“When you have served twelve years,” was the reply, “it will be seen whether I shall communicate it to you or not.”
As the youth had a great craving after magic lore, he agreed to this, and after he had with the greatest joy testified his respect, he entered upon his service.
It happened once that the Chandala came home drunk, and the Brahman youth said to himself: “As the master has drunk so much more than is befitting, I will lie down to sleep beside him.” The Chandala took to tossing about on his bed, and as he did so one side of the bed gave way. The noise this made awoke the Brahman youth, who said to himself: “As the master is so restless in his sleep, I will support the bed with my back.” Accordingly he propped up the bed with his back, and patiently held out all night – in spite of much discomfort – thinking that if he moved his body, or uttered a word, the teacher would hear the noise he made, and would awake, and be unable to go to sleep again.
When the Chandala awoke of his own accord, and saw the youth, he asked who was there. The youth replied: “O teacher, it is I, the companion of your fortunes,” and he told him all that had occurred. The Chandala was greatly delighted, and said, “O son, as I am exceedingly pleased, I will teach you the art of magic.”
As Brahmans are of a conceited nature, the youth could not restrain himself, but must needs immediately make a trial of his magic art on the spot, and then depart. So he employed his magic power, and soared into the sky. When he came to Gandhamadana mountain, he there plucked fruits and flowers which were out of season on earth, and gave them to the king’s purohita, who gave them to King Brahmadatra. The king asked where he had got them. The purohita replied:
“There is a Brahman youth here from a distant country. He it is who gave them to me. As he is extremely well versed in spells and magic lore, and as the Brahman is of a better nature than the Chandala, who is despised by the whole world, the question arises of what is to be done with the Chandala. Be pleased to take away his employment from the Chandala, and to confer it upon the Brahman youth.”
The king replied: “Do so.”
Accordingly the Chandala was deprived of his employment by the purohita, who conferred it upon the Brahman youth. But in consequence of the youth’s ingratitude his magic power deserted him.
*Chandala (also Candala) is, according to , “the generic name for the lowest and despised of the mixed tribes, born from Sudra father and Brahman mother.”
**Gandhamadana mountain means “intoxicating with flavor” and it’s the name of a mountain forming the barrier between Ila-vrita and Bhadrasva and is known for its fragrant forests.
Text source: Tibetan tales, derived from Indian sources. Transl. from the Tibetan of the Kha-gyur by F. Anton von Schiefner. Done into English from the German, with an introduction by William Ralston Shedden Ralston. Boston: Osgood, 1882.
This seems much more Indian than Tibetan which means that people in Tibet told essentially Indian tales when asked to give examples for their folklore. Or that Mr. Schiefner sprinkled a few other things into his collection. 😉