The Story of Devadatta

Somadeva (Flourished about 1070 A.D.)

Somadeva (Soma with the Brahminical suffix deva) was a poet of Kashmir. His celebrated collection, the Ocean of Streams of Stories, based upon Buddhist stories, traditions, and an earlier collection of tales, is one of the’ most voluminous and interesting of its kind in Sanskrit literature.

The present story, translated by C. H. Tawney, appeared in The Ocean of Story, Vol. I, Book IV, Chap. 21, of the complete edition in ten volumes edited by N. M. Penzer, and published in 1924—25 by Chas. J. Sawyer, Ltd., by whose permission it is here included.

The Story of Devadatta

From the Katha-Sarit-Sagara

In old time there was a certain petty monarch of the name of Jayadatta, and there was born to him a son, named Devadatta. And that wise king, wishing to marry his son, who was grown up, thus reflected: “The prosperity of kings is very unstable, being like a courtesan to be enjoyed by force;

The Shipwreck of Simonides

Phaedrus (15 B.C.?—55 A.D.?)

It was the chief distinction of this writer to have collected the Fables of Jesop (or whoever it was who wrote Alsop’s works) and rewritten them for the Romans. His collection is the earliest of its kind which has survived. Not all his Fables, however, are based upon Tsop. The Shipwreck of Simonides is either an original composition or was taken from another source. Phaedrus was a Thracian slave, and later a freedman, in the service of the Emperor Augustus. He once declared that the fable was invented as a “device whereby slavery could find a voice,” a definition which throws considerable light on Phaedrus’ life, even if it fails to explain the origin of the Fable form.

The present text was first published in the Bohn edition of Phaedrus in 1848.

The Shipwreck of Simonides

A lerned man has always a fund of riches in himself.

Simonides, who wrote such excellent lyric poems, the more easily to

The History of Susanna

The History of Susanna (From The Apocrypha)

Susanna was originally a part of the Book of Daniel, but was set apart as apocryphal, because it “was not in Hebrew.” It is none the less a story of remarkable vividness, told with skill and dramatic power.

The text used here is that printed in Volume IV of Ancient Hebrew Literature, in Everyman’s Library, published in 1907 by J. M. Dent and Sons, by whose permission it is here included.

The History of Susanna

There dwelt a man in Babylon, called Joakim: and he took a wife, whose name was Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, a very fair woman, and one that feared the Lord. Her parents also were righteous, and taught their daughter according to the law of Moses. Now Joakim was a great rich man, and had a fair garden joining unto his house: and to him resorted the Jews; because he was more honorable than all others. The same year were appointed two of the ancients of the people to be judges, su

The Ass in the Lion’s Skin

Ancient India

Sanskrit is the classical language of the Hindus of ancient India. Practically the whole of that extraordinary literature which began with the Vedas and culminated some time before the close of the Middle Ages, was written in Sanskrit.

Our knowledge of the earliest period is vague. The Vedas were composed perhaps before the days of Homer. Beginning perhaps about 500 B.C. and extending to about the time of Christ, is the period of the epics, during which the Mahabharata and Ramayana were probably written. Both these monumental poems are full of episodes containing at least the material for short stories.

But for the purpose of this volume, the outstanding contribution of the ancient Hindus were the fables and tales, most of which are found in large collections. The earliest of these is doubtless the Jataka, or Buddhist “birth-stories,” which were in existence at least as early as the Fourth Century B.C. The Panchatantra may be as old

The Country Mouse and the Town Mouse

Jesop (6th Century, B.C.?)

Jesop was “not a poet,” says Gilbert Murray, “but the legendary author of a particular type of story.” This type is known as the Beast Fable, a brief incident related in order to point a simple moral. According to tradition Jesop was a foreign slave of the Sixth Century B.C. Whether the fables of ancient India, such as those in the Hitopadesa, influenced the ancient Greeks and Romans is a question still debated by scholars. At any rate there is a striking similarity, both in treatment and subject-matter, between the Fables of Jesop, Phaedrus and Avianus, and those which delighted the Indians.

The present translation was made by James and published first in 1848.

The Country Mouse and the Town Mouse

Once upon a time a Country Mouse who had a friend in town invited him, for old acquaintance’ sake, to pay him a visit in the country. The invitation being accepted in due form, the Country Mouse, though plain

The Fury part 12

She laid the handkerchief in the basket, and also the cross, and closed the lid. But when he looked into her face, he started. Great heavy drops were rolling down her cheeks; she let them flow unheeded.
“Maria Santissima!” he cried. “Are you ill? You are trembling from head to foot!”

“It is nothing,” she said; “I must go home”; and with unsteady steps she was moving to the door, when suddenly she leaned her brow against the wall, and gave way to a fit of bitter sobbing. Before he could go to her she turned upon him suddenly, and fell upon his neck.

“I cannot bear it!” she cried, clinging to him as a dying thing to life—“I cannot bear it! I cannot let you speak so kindly, and bid me go, with all this on my conscience. Beat me! trample on me! curse me! Or if it can be that you love me still, after all I have done to you, take me and keep me, and do with me as you please; only do not send me away so!” She could say no more for sobbing.

The Fury part 11

She took his hand, that was not able to prevent her, and unbound the linen. When she saw the swelling, she shuddered, and gave a cry: “Jesus Maria!” “It is a little swollen,” he said; “it will be over in four and twenty hours.” “She shook her head. “It will certainly be a week before…Read More

The Fury part 10

It is only this confounded ready blood of mine, that always makes a thing look worse than it is.”

“Let me come and bind it up, comparello. Stop one moment; I will go and fetch the herbs, and come to you directly.”

“Never trouble yourself, compare. It has been dressed already; tomorrow morning it will be all over and forgotten. I have a healthy skin, that heals directly.”

“Addio!” said Laurella, turning to the path that goes winding up the cliffs. “Goodnight!” he answered, without looking at her; and then taking his oars and baskets from the boat, and climbing up the small stone stairs, he went into his own hut.

He was alone in his two little rooms, and began to pace them up and down. Cooler than upon the dead calm sea, the breeze blew fresh through the small unglazed windows, which could only be closed with wooden shutters. The solitude was soothing to him. He stooped before the little image of the Virgin, devoutly gazing upo

The Fury part 9

She could not repress a start, but her eyes flashed bravely on him. “You may kill me if you dare,” she said slowly.

“I do nothing by halves,” he said, and his voice sounded choked and hoarse. “There is room for us both in the sea. I cannot help thee, child”—he spoke the last words dreamily, almost pitifully—“but we must both go down together—both at once—and now!” he shouted, and snatched her in his arms. But at the same moment he drew back his right hand; the blood gushed out; she had bitten him fiercely.

“Ha! can I be made to do your bidding?” she cried, and thrust him from her, with one sudden movement. “Am I here in your power?” and she leaped into the sea, and sank.

She rose again directly; her scanty skirts clung close; her long hair, loosened by the waves, hung heavy about her neck. She struck out valiantly, and, without uttering a sound, she began to swim steadily from the boat toward the shore.

With sen

The Fury part 8

And now they sat together in this boat, like two most deadly enemies, while their hearts were beating fit to kill them. Antonio’s usually so good humored face was heated to scarlet; he struck the oars so sharply that the foam flew over to where Laurella sat, while his lips moved as if muttering angry words.

She pretended not to notice, wearing her most unconscious look, bending over the edge of the boat, and letting I lie cool water pass between her fingers. Then she threw off” her handkerchief again, and began to smooth her hair, as though she had been alone. Only her eyebrows twitched, and she held up her wet hands in vain attempts to cool her burning cheeks.

Now they were well out in the open sea. The island was far behind, mid the coast before them lay yet distant in the hot haze. Not a sail was within sight, far or near—not even a passing gull to break the stillness. Antonio looked all round, evidently ripening some hasty resolution. The color fade