Sunday, July 16, 2017

0063. The Sun's Gifts

From Indian Fables and Folklore by Shovona Devi, online at: Hathi Trust.

Notes. You can read more about the sage Jamadagni and the sun god, Surya, at Wikipedia. You can read an ancient version of this story in the Mahabharata.

Summary: A powerful sage challenges the Sun when the Sun's heat bothers the sage's wife.

Read the story below:


Once upon a time there was a mighty Sage of the name of Jamadagni, dreaded alike of Gods and mortals. "Let us take the bow and spend an hour in archery, O Reunka," said Jamadagni to his wife one morning. The Brahmani gladly consented, for it always gave her pleasure to fall in with the wishes of her husband.

Jamadagni tucked up the sleeves of his garment of bark (the material worn by all Sages before the art of weaving was invented), and fetched a bow and an arrow. "Get ready, my dear wife," said the Sage, fixing the arrow to the bow. "Yonder tree shall be our target. Let us shoot the arrow at the tree by turns."

Jamadagni shot at the tree, and Reunka ran to the tree, picked up the arrow, and brought it back to her husband. This she went on doing for a time, while the Sun rose higher and the heat increased.

"O my dear husband," cried Reunka, "the sand is burning my feet, and the Sun is burning my head, and I have not the strength to bring back the arrow again."

Jamadagni had by this time grown interested in the game, and did not relish the idea of having to give it up so soon. He went up to the tree himself, picked up the arrow, and then, fixing it to the bow, pointed it skywards, crying aloud, "How dare you, O Sun, molest my wife in her pastime? Moderate your rays so as to make them bearable to her, or this arrow flies at you and brings you down."

The Sun was frightened, but he mustered up sufficient courage to say to the irate Sage, "O Jamadagni, restrain thy wrath! I cannot control my fiery horses before eventide; but I have that which will protect the head and feet of thy spouse. Here is a parasol and a dainty pair of slippers for her."

Reunka put on the slippers, and the sand no longer burnt her feet. She spread out the parasol over her head, and the Sun no longer burnt her head; and merrily she went on with her sport.

Such is the myth of the origin of parasols and shoes, the gifts of the Sun.

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