The Lilac Fairy Book HTML version
The Jogi's Punishment
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- day?'
'I have nothing to say that you would care to hear,' answered the jogi.