« PředchozíPokračovat »
the mark, shall wait for thee here, trusting in the power of this ring on my finger, and pray that, if unhappily the spell comes to nought and thou fallest, male blood-relations may be near to wash thy corpse, and female blood-relations to strew flowers on thy grave."
Then she steps out into the night, while the faqir again falls to praying:
“On the hearts of His followers that are slain in the holy war, the most Exalted sits extended as on His throne. ...
Raïssa, full of anguish, has not gone far in the utter darkness which precedes dawn, when she is terrified by an apparition. Phantomlike, it stands upright near a projecting rock beside the road, shrouded in white, awe-inspiring, an image of the angel of death. She holds her breath in terror, but soon recognizes in that spectre Roostam's mammak, Haji Yusoof. Having left his house to pass the night in watching the trail which leads to the place where his nephew lies in hiding, he has donned for this occasion the white dress used by him and other fervent Moslemin i'n praying, the dress come down to them from the "white time" so called, the time of the Padri, whose uprising was an outcome of the doings of the Wahhabites, the purifiers of the faith. It seems but proper that Haji Yusoof should have chosen those garments for his watch has been a continuous communion with the Invisible Great Watcher in the Night. At the approach of day, between the dawn of the elephants and the dawn of man, he has composed himself to the regulation early morning prayer with its necessary gestures. So it is that Raïssa sees him standing, ghostlike, in her path. Drawing near, she hears him, raising his voice to curse the infidels, the strivers against the behests of the Most Gracious, whom he invokes, for Roostam's sake, the true-believer being nearest to God when he treads down God's enemies. And, confusing the articles of Moslim faith with the traditions of Menangkabau, he prays on, imploring assistance and mercy for those who seek shelter with the Lord and refuge in the hadat, calling down destruction on the heads of the usurpers, who darken the lustre of the purified through consecration, of the elect of earth and heaven, set apart for highest honor by anointment and the sprinkling of water, all the fragrance of all flowers not equalling the fragrance of King Adityawarnan. .
From the holy Qurân he has wandered to the holy inscriptions on the stones of the holy graves at Batu Beragoong and Pagar Ruyong where the old Hindu rulers of the land lie buried.
Raïssa listens, glad to have a friend near her in the jungle, which is peopled at night with shetans, jinn and all kinds of evil sprites. It is
almost an hour now, the space of time required for the cooking of three allowances of rice, since she has left Roostam in the company of his mother and his wicked counsellors; and the dawn of man, the dawn proper, has already streaked the eastern sky with its delicate hues when Haji Yusoof notices her. He makes a movement which gives her courage to address him:
Roostam wants to fight the Company," she says. “Young men should do what old men think." “But... "Now leave me, for prayer is better than idle talk.”
Behind her, in a cattle-pen, Raïssa hears the little bells of the oxen that are getting up to their work and, alone with her grief, she turns away and takes the path to Matoor, to her mother's house.
BY J. F. SCHELTEMA.
ONCE upon a time there was a man, named Kyahy Taboos, who lived in a village near the mouth of a river that flowed from the blue mountains in the interior of one of the Sunda Islands toward the sea. He had four sons: Bagal, a wood-carver; Sompoq, a merchant; Paning, a jeweller; and Mashmool who, being the last-born and favorite, was allowed to follow his natural bent toward music and poetry instead of learning a more useful and profitable trade than that of a merry-andrew as the elder brothers contemptuously called him when discussing his gifts of entertainment. Though brought up in a very religious way and considering themselves of the elect and knowing that the teachings of Batara Guru, the great god, urged man to good-will and kindliness in his dealings with all his fellow-creatures, and especially to love and charity in his relations with his kindred, envy had taken possession of their hearts because their father indulged Mashmool upon whom therefore they looked with eyes of hatred.
So when Kyahy Taboos had been summoned by the gods to receive the amount of his due, Bagal, speaking also for Sompoq and Paning even on the day of their father's burial, said to Mashmool with a lying tongue:
“How dost thou purpose to provide thy share in our means of subsistence? Our father has left us little more than this house in which we live. Thy brother Sompoq buys and sells merchandise at a profit; thy brother Paning is a worker in gold and silver, and a dealer in precious stones, and whatever passes through his hands leaves also substantial gain behind; I am thoroughly acquainted with the nature and qualities of the different kinds of wood and proficient, for the good of our common household, in turning kayu mahar into shafts for lances and spears, and into sheaths for krisses, using kayu kamuning for the upper parts where the steel touches first in sending the weapon home, improving by skilful carving the design of kayu pelèt to enhance the mysterious play of its black and red-brown spots on its luminous grain, a premonition of deeds of darkness and blood, — but thou, what canst thou do to earn thy rice and salt?"
“I am a musician,” answered Mashmool, dignified and self-conscious for all his modesty: "I can recite in fitting language what has
1 All rights reserved by author.
been preserved in our chronicles of ancient wisdom and what they record of high mettle and tender devotion, of virtue and purity in mortals emulating the gods."
“And who cares?" asked Sompoq.
"No one sufficiently to untie his purse-string for accomplishments of the sort," remarked Paning.
"Nor is it incumbent on us to encourage idlers,” continued Bagal.
These words were hard to hear and since his brothers persisted in their abusive speech, finding fault with everything he did or left undone, Mashmool resolved to part from them. When he made known his intention to travel and see the wide world and seek his fortune in distant lands, they laid their heads together, discussing how to defraud him of his portion of their father's inheritance, at least how to put him off with a most inadequate payment in cash. But the generous Mashmool, whose mind was not set on worldly considerations, never thought of a settlement; trustful because upright himself, he deemed it quite regular that his brothers should remain in undivided possession of their father's patrimony until his return, an arrangement perfectly agreeable to them. And so, at his departure, with his suling under his arm to try his luck as a wandering minstrel, his brothers' farewell with ostentatious wishes for his success in crossing the seven seas and roaming the seven empires, was of the most affectionate description, — touching enough, in fact, to make him search his innocent heart when under way, as to whether perhaps he had done the sons of his father an injustice by doubting their brotherly love. But he walked on.
After Mashmool had gone, the trade of the wicked brothers in their respective occupations began to fall off. It seemed that with him prosperity had turned its back on them. At first they thought that Mashmool, incensed by his treatment at their hands, had sought the assistance of some wizard to obtain revenge through the agency of malevolent spirits, ever prone to mischief and rancorous tricks. To foil these demons they attached strips of white cloth to the roofcorners and other conspicuous parts of their dwelling, a potent means to draw the attention of well-disposed deities to the sinister work of the servants of Evil in the abode of godly men, for so the trio considered themselves, being scrupulously strict in the observance of the ceremonial duties prescribed by their creed, — very godly indeed, provided that godliness did not interfere with their greed.
Their astonishment knew no bounds at noticing, when the pieces of white cloth had been fluttering in the wind for a while, that the host of malignant fiends who had chased off their customers, persisted in pursuing them with ill luck. The men with well-tempered lance and
" A flute made of bamboo, with four or sometimes six holes.
spear points to be mounted on strong, flexible shafts, and with beautifully damascened krisses to be further embellished with sheaths of a correct pattern and artistically carved hafts, still passed their door with averted heads to intrust the delicate work to one of Bagal's competitors. The women going to market still avoided the booths of Sompoq and Paning whatever pains they took to attract both matrons and virgins by a cunning display of silk and gold brocade, of ear-rings and bangles and necklaces, jewelry fit for princesses and queens, beyond price yet dirt-cheap if the fair ones only would venture a bid. Putting the blame on the minor deities who neglected to protect Batara Guru's own, Mashmool's brothers never suspected the real cause of the adverse circumstances they had to struggle against, namely, their hardness in their dealings, their rapacity which did not even stop short at cheating and turned people away from them.
One night, after having spent the evening with Sompoq and Paning in their habitual grumbling at the incomprehensible attitude of the rulers of the universe inflicting hardships on the deserving, Bagal had a dream. He fancied himself carving out of wood, and he took special note that it was kayu nagasary, the image of an apsara, one of the hand-maidens of Indra, that amuse the god by dancing before his throne on Mount Mandara; and when the image was ready, it took life and showered gold on its maker. Marvelling at his vision and not being able to make out its meaning, Bagal told Sompoq and Paning, who did not understand any better than he. They resolved therefore to refer the matter to a saintly hermit with a great reputation for the interpretation of dreams. Charging his usual price for the accustomed offerings to the divine guardians of the secrets of the past, present and future, and keeping them moreover in long suspense while engaged in pressing those lords of the recondite for precise information, the saintly hermit made at last known as Batara Guru's, the upper god's manifest will, revealed by the aforesaid sapient beings after the completion of the sacrifice, that Bagal should do, consciously in his waking state, that which his soul had been made to do without the co-operation of the body. Rich reward would be the result.
So Bagal carved a life-sized image of an apsara and it was a fine piece of sculpture and he called it Sry Nagasary after the name of the wood suggested by his dream. Sompoq and Paning, desirous of participating in the promised rich reward, which they construed to mean abundant wealth, clothed the puppet with silk and brocade, and adorned it with jewelry. Bagal, loath to share his good fortune, told them repeatedly that this was not in the dream but as they insisted and were two to his one, he had to acquiesce, pretending with a sour face that he conferred the solicited favor upon them out of the fulness of his brotherly affection. And this display of fraternal disinterestedness be