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less grace, and took his place near the object of his desires. She then commenced her riddles (which in number amounted to a thousand); but Veera-māran, so fast as she proposed them, gave the most complete explanation. The princess became greatly agitated, as she thought she must now give her hand to this young stranger. They sprinkled her with rose-water; all the courtiers were much excited; and one thing only remained to be done before this wonderful transaction should come to its crisis. The prince had to give her a riddle, which, if she failed to explain, she became his own; but if she succeeded, his life was the forfeit. Veera-māran boldly gave his riddle, and retired for the night. In the course of the evening, a beautiful female, in elegant attire, came to his lodgings, and said, “O you who have beautiful arms, I have come to touch your majestic feet, and gain your favour.” He enquired who she was, when she replied, “I am the daughter of the prime minister to the princess Sinthāmanni, to whom, I am told, you have proposed a riddle, which she cannot explain. Now I wish you to unfold it to me, that I may tell the meaning in the morning.” The prince then said, “ Give me the jewels and ornaments which you now have on as a pledge, and I will unfold the riddle.” This being done, she expressed a wish to retire for a moment, but did not return. The morning came, and there was the princess, with great pomp, seated on her throne. In her hand was a large sword, and near her were the executioners, ready to drag off the body of Veera-māran. She then, with great triumph, explained the riddle he had proposed the day before, and was about to order him for execution, when he begged to be allowed to relate a dream he had during the night. This being granted, he said, “A young female, disguised like a parrot of the groves, came and pledged her jewels to get the meaning of my riddle. I will show them to you.” He then began to take them from his waist-cloth, when the princess waved her hand for him to desist, and said, “I was your visiter-I am conquered. Come, sit on my throne.” She then made obeisance to him ; the courtiers worshipped him; and Vera-māran became the husband of the beautiful Sinthā-manni.
By this account we gain a clearer view of the importance attached to the riddle proposed at the marriage of Sampson; of the Psalmist, who said, “I will open my dark sayings;" of the riddle “put forth” by the prophet Ezekiel at the divine command; of the skill and industry of the queen of Sheba ; and of the adroitness of Solomon, who gave an answer “to all her questions.'
XII. 32.-“ Sacrificing unto the calves that he had
made." There does not appear to be much reason to doubt that these calves were in imitation of those made by Aaron, which were copied from the Mnevis and Apis of the Egyptians. That animal is still sacred in India. The festival of Jeroboam was held in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month.
XIII. 2.—“ Men's bones shall be burnt upon thee.” These words were uttered in consequence of the profanation of the altar, and the wickedness of those concerned. Has
* Most of the riddles of the princess allude to Eastern subjects, and consequently can only be solved by the people who live there. Some also contain words which can be explained two or three ways, and therefore cannot easily be rendered into English. The following are, perhaps, exceptions :
There is one who, though she has only one breast, is exceedingly interesting; she walks up and down the country, and is an inheritance to the kitchen. She is of great value; and so noble that the highest castes + follow her; and so happy that she sometimes dances in the streets.
The next, perhaps, is still more easy:- There is one who is courageous in battle, but he is not a king; he is adorned with red, and is so wise as to speak correctly of the past and future.
+ Inferiors always walk behind their superiors.
a man brought or purchased a kid for a sacrifice to his deity, and should it have been stolen, he goes to his god to tell his story, and then says, “O Swamy! may the bones and the body of him who stole the kid, intended for you, be offered up to you as a sacrifice.”
Whoever walks upon the place where men's bones have been burnt becomes impure.
6.—“ Entreat now the face of the Lord thy God, and
pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me
again.” This is said in reference to the hand of Jeroboam, which had become stiff in consequence of the violence he had offered to the prophet.
The face of the Lord was to be entreated. Has a man injured another, he says, “ Ah ! my lord, forgive me for the sake of the face of your son.” Or, does he wish another to intercede for him, he says, “ Ah ! go, and beseech his face for me.”
A man, whose name was Veatha-Veyāthar, was once asked, by some prophet, “Who is the greatest god, Siva or Vish
The man then stretched forth his hand towards a temple of Vishnoo, and said, “He is the greatest.” Immediately his arm became stiff and withered. The prophet, seeing this, then prayed to Siva, and his hand was restored.
31.—“When I am dead then bury me in the sepulchre
wherein the man of God is buried ; lay my bones
beside his bones.” His object in making this request, was no doubt a selfish one; he believed the deceased was a good man, and felt a hope, that if his body were to rest near him it would be protected from insult, and that with him he would share the blessings of the resurrection.
Wherever the body or the bones of Hindoo or Mahometan saints are buried, there will others also wish to be interred.
Often, when men think themselves near death they say, “ Take
you bury me near the holy man. Ah ! remember you are to put me near to the sacred place.”+ The idea seems to be, that the spot being thus sanctified, neither devils nor evil spirits can injure them. Numbers are carried to a great distance to be thus interred.
XIV. 6.—" Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam.” This woman had disguised herself in order to deceive the prophet, and therefore he addressed her by name, to show that she was known to him. Married women are generally spoken to as the wife of such a person. Supposing a married female to be in a crowd, and a man on the outside wishes to speak to her; he will say, “Come hither, wife of Chinne Tamby;" literally, Chinne Tamby's wife, hither come. “O! Muttoo's wife, where are you?” Should a person have to speak to a female who is walking before him, he will not call her by name, but address her, “ Such an one's wife, I wish to speak to you."
XV. 13.—“She had made an idol in a grove.” (2 Chron.
xv. 16.) The temples of the Hindoos are nearly always connected with a grove, or sacred tree, and some of them are built under the branches of a single tree. Thus, may be seen the noble banyan (Ficus Indica) † with his giant arms, and self-planted
Some of those who are reputed to be very holy are buried in salt, and in a sitting posture, so that they are considered to be still at their devotions. Thus Koona-kai-tambarān, of Jaffna, was buried.
+ Lieut. Col. Johnson, C. B., in his Journey from India to England, through Persia, Georgia, &c., says of the tomb of a holy man he saw in Ispahan, that “ Imaum Zada Ishmael ordered that his remains should be buried in an adjoining apartment, in consideration of the acknowledged sanctity of the place.” “ Around this there are many other tombs, and such is the reputed sanctity of the place, that the bodies of three or four Sirdars recently deceased were deposited here, until they could be removed to the sacred receptacles.
| Temples are also built and altars are erected under the Ficus Religiosa. supporters, overshadowing the temple of superstition. The Vulgate, according to Dr. A. Clarke, makes this grove sacred to Priapus. The courtesans of the Hindoo temples are called parrots of the groves. (See on Isa. lxvi. 17.)
XVII. 4.-“I have commanded the ravens to feed
thee.” Some suppose ravens to be a mistranslation, and that the promise referred to a people who were to feed the prophet.
The following quotation from the Scanda Purāna does not negative the opinion, but it shows in a remote period that birds were supposed on some special occasions to depart from their usual habits. In the relation of the events of great antiquity amongst the heathen, much of fable must be expected, but there is often a glimmering ray of light in the obscurity, pointing to circumstances which assist the mind in its attainment of truth.
In the town of Kanche (Conjeveram) it is said, “ Of the birds, there is a sāthaka bird which takes food to the gods, a swan which gives precious stones, a parrot which repeats science, and a cock which crows not in time of trouble.”
12.-“I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and
dress it.” So said the widow of Zarephath to the prophet Elijah. How often do we see females, just before the time of boiling their rice, strolling about in search of a few sticks to make it ready. All their fires are made of wood (or dried cows' dung) and in a country where there is so much jungle, and so little rain, they seldom trouble themselves before the moment they require it.
But the widow said that she was gathering two sticks; and it is not a little singular to find that the Hindoos often use the same number when it refers to many things.