Sagas from the Far East; or, Kalmouk and Mongolian Traditionary Tales | Annotated Tale

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Pig’s-Head Soothsayer, The


Then, when he saw he had again missed the end and object of his journey, the Well-and-wise-walking Khan again set out as at the first, till with toil and terror he reached the cool grove where lay the dead. At his approach the Siddhî-kür clambered up into the mango-tree, but rather than let the tree be destroyed he came down at the word of the Khan threatening to fell it. Then the Khan bound him in his bag and bore him away to offer to the Master and Teacher Nâgârg'una.

               But when they had proceeded many days the Siddhî-kür said, "Tell, now, a tale, seeing the way is long and weary, and we are like to die of weariness if we go on thus speaking never a word between us." But the Khan, mindful of the monition of his Master and Teacher Nâgârg'una, answered him nothing. Then said the Siddhî-kür, "If thou wilt not tell a tale, at least give me the token by which I may know that thou willest I should tell one."

               So the Well-and-wise-walking Khan nodded his head backwards towards him, and the Siddhî-kür told this tale, saying,--


LONG ages ago a man and his wife were living on the borders of a flourishing kingdom. The wife was a good housewife, who occupied herself with looking after the land and the herds; but the husband was a dull, idle man, who did nothing but eat, drink, and sleep from morning to night and from night to morning. One day, when his wife could no longer endure to see him going on thus indolently, she cried out to him, "Leave off thus idling thyself; get up and gird thyself like a man, and seek employment. Behold, thy father's inheritance is well nigh spent; the time is come that thou find the means to eke it out."

               And when he weakly asked her in return, "Wherein shall I seek to eke it out?" she answered him, "How should I be able to tell this thing, but at least get thee up and make some endeavour; get thee up and look round the place and see what thou canst find," and with that she went out to her work in the field.

               When she had repeated these words many days, he at last went out one day, and, not taking the trouble to bethink him what he should do, he did just what his wife had said, and went to look round the place to see what he could find. As he wandered about, he came to a spot on which a tribe of cattle-herds had lately been encamped (1), and a fox, a dog, and a bird were there fighting about something. Approaching to see for what they contended, they all escaped in fear, and he was left in possession of their booty, which was a sheep's paunch full of butter (2). This he brought home and laid up in store. When his wife came home and asked him whence it was, he told her he had found it left on the camping-place of a family of herdsmen who had passed that way seeking pasturage.

               "Well it is to be a man!" exclaimed his wife. "I may toil all day without making so much; but you go but out one day of your whole life for one moment of time, and straightway you find all this wealth."

               When the man heard these words, he took courage and thought he should be fit to find better fortune still; so he said to his wife, "Give me now only a good horse and clothes meet, and a dog, and a bow and arrows, and you shall see what I can do."

               The woman was glad to hear him show so much resolution, so she made haste and gave him all the things that he required, and added a thick felt cloak to keep out the rain, and a cap for his head, and helped him to get on his horse, and slung his bow over his shoulder.

               Thus he rode out over many a broad plain, but without purpose or knowledge of whither he went, nor did he fall in with any living creature whatever for many days. At last, riding over a vast steppe, he espied at some distance a fox.

               "Ha!" he exclaimed, "there is one of my friends of last time. To be sure, there is no sheep's paunch of butter this time, but if I could only kill him his skin would make a nice warm cap."

               As he had never learnt to draw a bow, his arrows were of no service, so he set his horse trotting after the fox; but the fox got away faster than he could follow, and took refuge in the hole of a marmot (3).

               "Now I have you!" he cried, and, dismounting from his horse, he took off all his clothes to have freer use of his limbs and bound them on his saddle; the dog he tied to the bridle of the horse, and stopped the mouth of the hole with his cap; then he took a great stone and endeavoured with heavy blows on the earth to crush the fox.

               But the fox, taking fright at the noise, rushed out with such impetus that it carried off the cap on its head. The dog, seeing it run, gave chase, and the horse was forced to follow the dog, as they were both tied together; so off he galloped, carrying on his saddle every thing the man had in the world, and leaving him stretched on the ground without a thread of covering.

               Getting up, he wandered on to the banks of a river which formed the boundary of the kingdom of a rich and powerful Khan. Going into this Khan's stable, he laid himself down under the straw and covered himself completely, so that no one could see him. Here he was warmed and well rested.

               As he lay there the Khan's beautiful daughter came out to take the air, and before she went in again she dropped the Khan's talisman and passed on without perceiving her loss. Though the bauble was precious in itself for the jewels which adorned it, and precious also to the Khan for its powers in preserving his life (4), and worthy therefore to claim a reward, the man was too indolent to get up out of the straw to pick it up, so he let it lie.

               After sunset the Khan's herds came in from grazing, and the cow-wench, when she had shut them into the stable, swept up the yard without heeding the talisman, which thus got thrown on to a dung-heap. This the man saw, but still bestirred him not to recover it.

               The next day there was great stir and noise in the place; the Khan sent out messengers into every district far and near to say that the Khan's beautiful daughter had lost his talisman, and promising rewards to whoso should restore it.

               After this too, he ordered the great trumpet, which was only blown on occasion of promulgating the laws of the kingdom, to be sounded and proclamation to be made, calling on all the wise men and soothsayers of the kingdom to exercise their cunning art, and divine the place where the talisman should lay concealed.

               All this the man heard as he lay under the straw, but yet he bestirred him not. Early in the morning, however, men came to litter the place for the kine with fresh straw; and these men, finding him, bid him turn out. Now that it became a necessity to stir himself, he bethought him of the talisman; and when the men asked him whence he was, he answered "I am a soothsayer come to divine the place where lies the Khan's talisman."

               Hearing that, they told him to come along to the Khan. "But I have no clothes," replied the man. So they went and told the Khan, saying, "Here is a soothsayer lying in the straw of the stable, who is come to divine where the Khan's talisman lies hid, but he cannot appear before the Khan because he has no clothes."

               "Take this apparel to him," said the Khan, "and bring him hither to me."

               When he came before the Khan, the Khan asked him what he required to perform his divination.

               "Let there be given me," answered the man, "a pig's head, a piece of silk stuff woven of five colours, (5) and a large Baling (6); these are the things which I require for the divination."

               All these things being given him, he set up the pig's head on a pedestal of wood, and adorned it with the silk stuff woven of five colours, and put the Baling-cake in its mouth. Then he sat down over against it, as if sunk in earnest contemplation. Then on the day which had been named in the Khan's proclamation for the day of divination, which was the third day, all the people being assembled, assuming the air of a diviner of dreams, he wrapped himself in a long mantle, and made as though he was questioning the pig's head. As all the people passed, he seemed to gain the answer from the pig's head,--

               "The talisman is not with this one," and "The talisman is not with that one," so that he had many people on his side glad to be thus pronounced free from all charge of harbouring the Khan's talisman.

               At last he made a sign that this kind of divination was ended; and pronounced that the Khan's talisman was not in possession of any man.

               "And now," said he, "let us try the divination of the earth." With that, he set out to make a circuit of the Khan's dwelling. Stepping on and on from place to place, he continued to seem consulting the pig's head, till he came to the place in the yard where the dung-heap was; and here, assuming an imposing attitude, he turned round, and said mysteriously, "Here somewhere must be found the Khan's talisman." But when he had turned the heap over, and brought the talisman itself to light, the people knew not how to contain themselves for wonderment, and went about crying,--

               "The Pig's head diviner hath divined wonderful things! The Pig's head diviner hath divined wonderful things!"

               But the Khan called to him, and said,--

               "Tell me how I shall reward thee for that thou hast restored my talisman to me."

               But he, who did not exert himself to think of any thing but just of what was most present to his mind, answered,--

               "Let there be given me, O Khan, the raiment, and the horse, the fox, the dog, and the bow and arrows which I have lost."

               When the Khan heard him ask for nothing save his horse and dog, and raiment, and a fox, and bows and arrows, he said,--

               "Of a truth this is a singular soothsayer. Nevertheless, let there be given him over and above the things that he hath required of us two elephants laden with meal and butter."

               So they gave him all the things he had required and two elephants laden with meal and butter to boot. Thus they brought him back unto his own home.

               Seeing him yet afar, his wife came out to meet him, carrying brandy. She opened her eyes when she saw the two elephants laden with butter and meal; but knowing that he loved to be left at ease, forbore to question him that night. The next morning she made him tell her the whole story before they got up; but when she heard what little demands he had made after rendering the Khan so great a service as restoring his talisman, she exclaimed,--

               "If a man would be called a man, he ought to know better how to use his opportunities."

               And with that she sat to work to write a letter in her husband's name to the Khan.

               The letter was conceived in these words:--

               "During the brief moment that thy life-talisman was in my hands, I well recognized that thou hast a bodily infirmity. It was in order that I might conjure it from thee that I required at thy hands the dog and the fox. What reward the Khan is pleased to bestow, this shall be according to the mind of the Khan."

               This letter she took with her own hands to the Khan.

               When the Khan had read the letter, he was pleased to think the soothsayer had undertaken to free him of a malady against which he could never have made provision himself, as he had no knowledge of its existence; so he ordered two elephant's-loads of treasure to be given to the woman, who went back to her husband, and they had therewith enough to live in ease and plenty.

               Now this Khan had had six brethren, and it happened that once they had gone out to divert themselves, and in a thick wood they saw a most beautiful maiden playing with a he-goat, whom they stood looking at till they were tired of standing, for of looking at one so beautiful they could never be weary.

               At last one of them said to her,--

               "Whence comest thou, beautiful maiden?"

               And she answered him,--

               "By following after this he-goat, thus I came hither."

               "Will you come with us seven brethren, and be our wife," rejoined the brother, who had spoken first; and when she willingly agreed they took her home with them.

               But they both were evil Râkshasas (7), who had only come out to find men whose lives to devour; the male Manggus (8), had taken the form of a he-goat, and the female Manggus that of a beautiful maiden, the better to deceive.

               When therefore the seven took her home and the goat with her, the two Manggus had ample scope to carry out their design, and every year they devoured the life of one of the brothers, till now there was only the Khan left, and they began to consume the life of him also.

               When the ministers saw that all the brothers were dead, and only the Khan left, they held a council, and they said, "Behold, all the other Khans are dead, notwithstanding all the means we have at our command, and despite the arts of all the physicians of this country." Now there remains no other means for us but to send for the Pig's head soothsayer who found the Khan's talisman, and get him to restore the Khan to health." This counsel was found good, and they all said, "Let us send for the Pig's head soothsayer."

               Four men were sent off on horseback to call the Pig's head soothsayer, who laid all the case before him.

               When he heard it he was greatly embarrassed, and knew not what to answer, but his vacancy passed, with them, for his being immersed in deep contemplation, and they reverenced him the more. Meantime his wife bid them put up their horses and stay the night.

               In the night-time she asked of him what the men had come about, and he told her all his embarrassment.

               "True, last time you exerted yourself a little and had good luck," she replied, "but now that you have been sitting here doing nothing, and looking so stupid all this time, whether you will cut as good a figure, who shall say? But go you must, seeing the Khan has sent for you."

               The next morning he said to the messengers, "In the visions of the night I have learned even how I may help the Khan, and presently I will come with you."

               Then he enveloped himself in a mantle, laid his hair over the crown of his head, took a large string of beads in his left hand, bound the silk stuff woven of five colours round his right arm, and carrying the pigs' head set out with them.

               When he arrived with this strange aspect at the Khan's dwelling both the Manggus were much alarmed. They thought he must be some cunning soothsayer who knew all about them; they had heard, too, of his success in finding the Khan's talisman.

               But the man continuing to support his character of soothsayer, ordered a Baling as big as a man to be brought to the head of the Khan's bed, and placed the pig's head on top of it, and then sat himself down over against it, murmuring words of incantation (9).

               The Manggus, thinking all these preparations showed that he was a cunning soothsayer, went away to take counsel together, and the Khan being thus delivered for the time from their evil arts, his pains began to yield and he fell into a tranquil sleep. Seeing this his attendants thought favourably of the cure, and trusting therefore the more in the soothsayer's powers they left him in entire charge of the patient. Being thus freed from observation he ventured to leave his position of apparent absorption in contemplation, and to take a stolen glance at the Khan. When he saw him in such a deep sleep a great fear took him, thinking he must be very bad indeed, and he did all he could to wake him, crying aloud,--

               "O great Khan! O mighty Khan!"

               Finding that the Khan remained speechless he thought he must be dead, and resolved that his best part was to run away. This was not so easy, for the first open door he found to take refuge in was that of the Treasury, and the guard called out "Stop thief!" and when from thence he tried to bestow himself in the store-chamber, the guard sang out "Stop thief!" At last he went into the stable, to hide himself there, but close by the door-way stood the he-goat, whom he feared to pass, lest he should goad him with his horns. However, summoning up all his courage, he got behind him, and sprang on his back, and gave him three blows on his head; but instantly, even as the blue smoke column is carried in a straight direction by the wind, so sped the he-goat straight off to the Khanin leaving his rider stretched upon the ground. As soon as he had got up again he ran after the he-goat, to see whither he went so fast; following him, he came to the door of the Khanin's apartment, and heard the he-goat talking to her within. The two Manggus spoke thus:--

               "The Pig's head soothsayer is a soothsayer indeed," said the he-goat; "he divined that I was in the stable, and he came there after me, and sprang upon my back, giving me three mighty blows, by which I know the weight of his arm. The best thing we can do is to make good our escape."

               The Khanin made answer, "I, also, am of the same mind. I saw when he first came in that he recognized us for what we are. We have had good fortune hitherto, but it has forsaken us now; it were better we got away. I know what he will do; in a day or two, when he has cured the Khan by not letting us approach him to devour his life, he will assemble together all the men of the place with their arms, and all the women, telling them to bring each a faggot of wood for burning. When all are assembled he will say, 'Let that he-goat be brought to me,' so they will bind thee and take thee before him. Then will he say to thee, 'Lay aside thine assumed form,' and it will be impossible for thee not to obey. When he has shown thee thus in thine own shape they will all fall upon thee, and put thee to death with swords and arrows, and burn thee in the fire. And afterwards with me will he deal after the same manner. Now, therefore, to-morrow or the next day we will be beforehand with him, and will go where we shall be safe from his designs."

               When the man heard all this, he left off from following the goat, and went back with good courage, to take up his place again over against the pig's head by the side of the Khan's couch.

               In the morning the Khan woke, refreshed with his slumber; and when they inquired how he felt, the Khan replied that the soothsayer's power had diminished the force of the malady.

               "If this be even so," here interposed the soothsayer, "and if the Khan has confidence in the word of his servant, command now thy ministers that they call together all thy subjects--the men with their arms, and the women each with a faggot of wood for burning." Then the Khan ordered that it should be done according to his word. When they were all assembled, the pretended soothsayer, having set up his pig's head, commanded further that they should bring the he-goat out of the stable before him; and when they had bound him and brought him, that they should put his saddle on him. Then he sprang on to his back, and gave him three blows with all his strength, and dismounted. Then with all the power of voice he could command, he cried out to him, "Lay aside thine assumed form!"

               At these words the he-goat was changed before the eyes of all present into a horrible Manggus, deformed and hideous to behold. With swords and sticks, lances and stones, the whole people fell upon him, and disabled him, and then burnt him with fire till he was dead.

               Then said the soothsayer, "Now, bring hither the Khanin." So they went and dragged down the Khanin to the place where he stood, with yelling and cries of contempt.

               With one hand on the pig's head, as if taking his authority from it, the soothsayer cried out to her, in a commanding voice,--

               "Resume thine own form!"

               Then she too became a frightful Manggus, and they put her to death like the other.

               The soothsayer now rode back to the Khan's palace, all the people making obeisance to him as he went along--some crying, "Hail!" some strewing the way with barley, and some bringing him rich offerings. It took him nearly the space of a day to make his way through such a throng.

               When at last he arrived, the Khan received him with a grateful welcome, and asked him what present he desired of him. The soothsayer answered, with his usual simplicity, "In our part of the country we have none of those pieces of wood which I see you put here into the noses of the oxen: let there be given me a quantity of them to take back with me." The Khan then ordered there should be given him three sacks of the pieces of wood for the oxen, and seven elephants laden with meal and butter to boot.

               When he arrived home, his wife came out to meet him with brandy, and when she saw the seven elephants with their loads, she extolled him highly; but when she came to learn how great was the deliverance he had rendered to the Khan, she was indignant that he had not asked for higher reward, and determined to go the next day herself to the Khan.

               The next day she went accordingly, disguised, and sent in a letter of the following purport to the Khan:--

               "Although I, the Pig's head soothsayer, brought the Khan round from his malady, yet some remains of it still hang about him. It was in order to remove these that I asked for the pieces of wood for the oxen; what guerdon has been earned by this further service it is for the Khan to decide."

               Such a letter she sent in to the Khan.

               "The man has spoken the truth," said the Khan, on reading the letter. "For his reward, let him and his wife, his parents and friends, all come over hither and dwell with me."

               When they arrived, the Khan said, "When one has to show his gratitude, and dismisses him to whom he is indebted with presents, that does not make an end of the matter. That I was not put to death by the Manggus is thy doing; that the kingdom was not given over to destruction was thy doing; that the ministers were not eaten up by the Manggus was thy doing: it is meet, therefore, that we share between us the inheritance, even between us two, and reign in perfect equality." With such words he gave him half his authority over the kingdom, and to all his family he gave rich fortunes and appointments of state. And thus his wife became Khanin; so that while he could indulge himself in the same idle life as before, she also enjoyed rest from her household and pastoral cares (10).

               "Though the woman despised her husband's understanding," exclaimed the Khan, "yet was it always his doings which brought them wealth after all!"

               And as he let these words escape him, the Siddhî-kür replied, "Forgetting his health, the Well-and-wise-walking Khan hath opened his lips. "And with the cry, "To escape out of this world is good!" he sped him through the air, swift out of sight.


(1) Here is one of the numerous instances where the Mongolian tale-repeater introduces into the Indian story details drawn to the life from the manners and customs around him of his own people. Compare with it the following sketch from personal observation in Mongolia, given in Abbé Huc's "Travels:"--"You sometimes come upon a plain covered with animation; tents and herds dotted all over it.... It is a place whither the greater supply of water and the choicer pastures have attracted for a time a number of nomadic families; you see rising in all directions tents of various dimensions, looking like balloons newly inflated and just about to take flight; children with a sort of hod upon their backs run about collecting argols (dried dung for fuel), which they pile up in heaps round their respective tents. The women look after the calves, make tea in the open air, or prepare milk in various ways; the men, mounted on fiery horses, armed with a long pole, gallop about, guiding to the best pastures the great herds of cattle which undulate over the surrounding country like waves of the sea. All of a sudden these pictures, anon so full of animation, disappear. Men, tents, herds, all have vanished in the twinkling of an eye. You see nothing left behind but deserted heaps of embers, half-extinguished fires, and a few bones of which birds of prey are disputing the possession. Such are the sole vestiges that a Mongol tribe has just passed that way. The animals having devoured all the grass around, the chief gives the signal for departure, and all the herdsmen, folding their tents, drive their herds before them, no matter whither, in search of fresh pastures."

               This nomadic life, characteristic of the Mongols, would seem never at any time to have entered into Indian manners and customs. Though in early times pastoral occupations so engrossed them that they have left deep traces in their language (e. g. gotra, meaning originally a breed of cows, came to stand for a family lineage; and gôpa, gôpala, originally a cowherd, for a prince), and the hymns of the Rig-Vêda are full of invocations of blessings on the herds (Rig V. 1. 42, 8. 67, 3. 118, 2); yet wherever they came they occupied themselves with agriculture also, and settled themselves down with social habits which early led to the foundation of cities. Consult Lassen, i. 494, 685, 815, &c.

(2) Abbé Huc incidentally mentions also this practice of carrying the produce of the flocks and herds stored in sheep's paunches, as the present common usage of the Mongolians, and adopted by himself among the provisions for his journeyings among them (vol. ii. chap. iii., and other places).

(3) Marmot. The sandy plains of Tibet are frequently inhabited by marmots, who live together in holes, and whose fur is at the present day an important article of the Tibetian trade both with India and China. It is now generally allowed that it must be these beasts which were intended in the marvellous accounts of the old Greek writers of the gold-digging ants. Though the Indians themselves gave them the name of ants, pipîlika (e. g. Mahâ Bhârata, i. p. 375, v. 1860), the description of them would pass exactly for that of this little animal--in size somewhat smaller than a fox, covered with fur, in habits social, living in holes underground in the winter.

(4) See note 3 to "The False Friend."

(5) The number five is a favourite number in Buddhistic teaching, ritual and ceremonies. (Wassiljew, quoted by Jülg.) To Bodhidsarma, the last Indian patriarch, on his removal to China, is ascribed this sentence: "I came to this country to make known the law and to free men from their passions. Every blossom that brings forth fruit hath five petals, and thus have I fulfilled my undertaking." (Abel Remusat, Mel. As. p. 125.) One of Buddha, or at least, Âdi-Buddha's titles, particularly in Tibet, is Pankagnânâtmaka, or "him possessed of five kinds of gnâna" or knowledge (Notices of the Religion of the Bouddhas, by B. Hodgson), and this formed the basis of the complicated system of the later Buddhists.

               The Brahmans, too, had five sacred observances which they aimed at exercising; the study of their sacred books, to offer sacrifice to the manes, the gods and all creatures, hospitality, and thereby increase as well their own virtue and renown as that of their fathers and mothers. The five necessary things are clothes, food, drink, coverlets for sleeping, and medicine.

               The five colours are blue, white, green, yellow, and red. (Köppen, ii. 307, note 3.)

(6) Baling-cakes are figures made of dough or rice paste, generally pyramidal in form, covered with cotton wool or some inflammable material smeared over with brown colour and then set fire to. (Jülg.)

(7) Râkschasas, Bopp (note to his translation of the Ramajana) calls them giants. In the mythology they are evil demons inimical to man; vampires in human form, generally of hideous aspect, but capable of assuming beautiful appearances in order to tempt and deceive.

               There is no doubt, however, it was the Raxasas, the wild people inhabiting the country south of the Vindhja range at the time of the immigration of the Aryan Indians, whose fierce disposition, and cruel treatment of the Brahmans gave rise to the above conception of the word. Consult Lassen, Ind. Altert. i. 535, where passages giving them this character are quoted; also pp. 582, 583.

(8) Manggus, Mongolian name for Râkschasas. (Jülg.)

(9) The present mode of treating the sick in Mongolia would seem much the same. Abbé Huc thus describes what he himself witnessed:--"Medicine is exclusively practised by the Lamas. When any one is ill the friends run for a Lama, whose first proceeding is to run his fingers over the pulse of both wrists simultaneously.... All illness is owing to the visitation of a tchatgour or demon, but its expulsion is a matter of medicine.... He next prescribes a specific ... the medical assault being applied, the Lama next proceeds to spiritual artillery. If the patient be poor the tchatgour visiting him can only be an inferior spirit, to be dislodged by an interjectional exorcism ... and the patient may get better or die according to the decree of Hormoustha.... But a devil who presumes to visit an eminent personage must be a potent devil and cannot be expected to travel away like a mere sprite; the family are accordingly directed to prepare for him a handsome suit of clothes, a pair of rich boots, a fine horse, sometimes also a number of attendants.... The aunt of Toukuna was seized one evening with an intermittent fever.... The Lama pronounced that a demon of considerable rank was present. Eight other Lamas were called in, who set about the construction of a great puppet (baling) which they entitled 'Demon of Intermittent Fevers,' and which they placed erect by means of a stick in the patient's tent. The Lamas then ranged themselves in a circle with cymbals, shells, bells, tambourines, and other noisy instruments, the family squatting on the ground opposite the puppet. The chief Lama had before him a large copper basin, filled with millet and some more little puppets.... A diabolical discordant concert then commenced, the chief Lama now and then scattering grains of millet towards the four quarters of the compass ... ultimately he rose and set the puppet on fire. As soon as the flames rose he uttered a great cry, repeated with interest by the rest, who then also rose, seized the burning figure, carried it away to the plain, and consumed it.... The patient was then removed to another tent.... The probability is that the Lamas having ascertained the time at which the fever-fit would recur meet it by a counter excitement."

(10) The respective occupations of men and women seem to remain at the present pretty much the same in Mongolia as here introduced by the tale-repeater. Abbé Huc writes: "Household and family cares rest entirely upon the women; it is she who milks the cows and prepares the butter, cheese, &c.; who goes no matter how far to draw water; who collects the argols (dried dung for fuel), dries it and piles it round the tent. The tanning skins, fulling cloth, making clothes, all appertains to her.... Mongol women are perfect mistresses of the needle; it is quite unintelligible how, with implements so rude, they can manufacture articles so durable; they excel, too, in embroidery, which for taste and variety of design and excellence of manipulation excited our astonishment. The occupations of the men are of very limited range; they consist wholly in conducting flocks and herds to pasture. This to men accustomed from infancy to the saddle is a mere amusement. The nearest approach to fatigue they ever incur is in pursuing cattle which escape. They sometimes hunt; when they go after roebucks, deer, or pheasants, as presents for their chiefs, they take their bow and matchlock. Foxes they always course. They squat all day in their tents, drinking tea and smoking. When the fancy takes them they take down their whip, mount their horse, always ready saddled at the door, and dash off across the broad plains, no matter whither. When one sees another horseman he rides up to him; when he sees a tent he puts up at it, the only object being to have a gossip with a new person."

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Pig’s-Head Soothsayer, The
Tale Author/Editor: Busk, Rachel Harriette
Book Title: Sagas from the Far East; or, Kalmouk and Mongolian Traditionary Tales
Book Author/Editor: Busk, Rachel Harriette
Publisher: Griffith and Farran
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1873
Country of Origin: Mongolia & Russia
Classification: unclassified

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