Sunday, February 22, 2009

Truth and Falsehood

One day Truth started for the city to find some work. On his
way he overtook Falsehood, who was going to the city for the same
purpose. Falsehood asked permission to ride on the horse with Truth,
and his request was granted.

On the way they questioned each other as to the sort of work they
wanted. Truth stated that he intended to be a secretary, so that he
might always be clean and white. Falsehood declared that he would be
a cook, because then he would always have plenty of fine things to eat.

As they were riding along, they met a man carrying a corpse to the
cemetery. He had no one to help him, and Truth, in his great pity for
the man, jumped off his horse and helped him. After the corpse was
buried, Truth asked: "Did you pray for the repose of the soul of the
dead?" "No," was the reply, "I do not know how to pray, and I have
no money to pay the priest for candles." Then Truth gave the man all
the money he had, that he might have prayers said for the dead man,
and went back to his companion.

When dinner time came, Falsehood was very angry at finding out that
Truth had given all his money away, but finally proposed that they
should go to the river and catch some fish for dinner. When they
arrived at the river, they found some fish which had been caught
in a shallow pool near the bank, and caught all they wanted. But
Truth was very sorry for the fish, and threw his half back into the
river. Falsehood murmured at him and said: "It would have been better
for you to give them to me. If I had known that you would throw them
into the river, I would not have given you any of them." Then they
rode on. As they were going through a thick wood in the heart of the
mountain they heard a noise as of crying, far away. Truth went forward
to find what it was, but Falsehood, trembling with fear, hid himself
close behind his comrade. At last they saw seven little eagles in a
nest high in a tree. They were crying with hunger, and their mother was
nowhere to be seen. Truth was sorry for them, and killed his horse,
giving some of the meat to the young eagles, and spreading the rest
on the ground beneath the tree, so that the mother-bird might find it.

Falsehood hated his comrade for having killed the horse, because now
they were obliged to travel on foot. They went down the mountain,
and entering the city, presented themselves before the king, desiring
to be taken into his service, the one as secretary and the other as
cook. The king granted both requests.

When Falsehood saw that his former companion sat at the table with
the king and was always clean and dressed in good clothes, while he
himself was dirty and had to eat in the kitchen, he was very angry
and determined to do something to ruin the one whom now he hated
so bitterly.

One day the king and queen went to sail on the sea. As they were far
from land, the queen dropped her ring overboard. When Falsehood heard
of the accident, he went to the king and said: "My Lord, the King,
my friend--your secretary--has told me that he was endowed with magic
powers and is able to find the queen's ring. He says if he does not
find it he is willing for you to hang him."

The king immediately sent for Truth, and said to him: "Find the queen's
ring without delay, or I will have you hanged early to-morrow morning."

Truth went down to the shore, but seeing how impossible it would be
to find the ring, began to weep. A fish came near, and floating on
top of the water, asked, "Why are you weeping?"

"I weep," Truth replied, "because the king will hang me early to-morrow
morning unless I find the queen's ring, which has fallen into the sea."

The fish swam out and got the ring and gave it to Truth. Then he said:
"I am one of the fishes which you found on the bank of the river and
threw back into the water. As you helped me when I was in trouble,
I am very glad that I have been able to help you now."

On another day, Falsehood went to the king and said: "My Lord King,
do you remember what I told you the other day?"

"Yes," replied the king, "and I believe you told me the truth, as
the ring has been found."

"Well," replied Falsehood, "my friend told me last night that he is
a great magician and that he is willing for you to hang him in the
sight of all the people, since it will not hurt him."

The king sent for Truth and told him: "I know what you have said to
your friend. To-morrow I will have you hanged in the sight of all
the people, and we will see whether you are the great magician you
claim to be."

That night Truth could not sleep. About midnight, as he was in great
distress, a spirit suddenly appeared to him and asked what was the
cause of his grief. Truth related his trouble, and the spirit said:
"Do not weep. To-morrow morning I will take your form and wear your
clothes, and let them hang me."

The next morning, just at dawn, the spirit put on Truth's clothes and
went out to be hanged. Many people came to see the hanging, and after
it was over, returned to their homes. What was the astonishment of
the king and those with him when, upon their return to the palace,
they found Truth there before them, alive and well!

That night the spirit appeared to Truth and said: "I am the spirit
of the dead man for whom you gave your money that prayers might be
said for the repose of his soul." Then it disappeared.

On another day Falsehood appeared before the king and said: "My Lord
the King, my friend the secretary told me last night that if you would
let him marry your daughter, in one night his wife should bring forth
three children." The king sent for Truth and said: "I will give you
my daughter to be your wife and if to-night she does not bear three
children, I will have you buried alive to-morrow morning."

So they were married. But at midnight, as Truth lay awake thinking
of the fate that was in store for him in the morning, an eagle
flew through the window, and asked the cause of his sorrow. Truth
related his tale, and the eagle said: "Do not worry; I will take
care of that." Then he flew away, but just before the break of day
three eagles came, each bearing a new-born babe. Truth awakened the
princess and said to her: "My dear wife, these are our children. We
must love them and take good care of them."

Then the king, who had been awakened by the noise of children crying,
sent to ask what it was all about. When he heard the news he came
into the tower where the princess was, and when he saw the children
he was overcome with joy; for he had no sons, and greatly desired to
have an heir to his throne. So the king made a great feast and gave
over his crown and sceptre to his son-in-law, to be king in his stead.

Thus we see that those who help others when in trouble shall themselves
be aided when they are in difficulty.

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