KATHA SMUT SAGARA, the Ocean of the Streams of Narrative, or the Watery Ocean of Stories, reconstructed by Somarleva Bhatta of Kashmir, about the beginning of the 12th century. The lost Vrihat-Katha, 'the large or extended narrative,' was the great collection of Indian tales supposed to have been written in prose by Gunadhya as early as the Gth century. A Sanskrit poem based upon that work, and bearing the same name, was written by Kshemendra in Kashmir towards the end of the 11th century ; but the original has disappeared. Its contents, however, have been to a certain extent made known by the compendium of the Vrihat-Katha, made in Sans krit verse by Sri Somadeva Bhatta of Kashmir in the 12th century. This extensive poem is divided into eighteen books. It is a work abounding with pictures of national manners and feeling, and as offering the oldest extant form of many of the tales which were once popular in Europe, many of them throw a light on some of the ob scurest portions of popular literature. Of such a nature is the account of how king Chandamaha sena followed underground an enormous and terrible wild boar, which was a demon, vulnerable only in one spot ; and how the king, aided by the demon's daughter, slew the demon and made the daughter his wife. The tale of how Saktideva, after an imprisonment in the belly of a fish, and an escape from a whirlpool into the branches of an overhanging banyan tree, discovered the Golden City, and found three apparently dead maidens in a part of its palace, which he, like Bluebeard's wife, was forbidden to enter. How Sringabhuja wounded a demon-king under the form of a crane, and carried off his charming daughter, and by her aid escaped from his demoniacal father-in-law's pursuit. The tragic story of Sakatala, an Indian Ugolino, who was confined in a dungeon with his sons, food for one only being supplied to the whole party. The Trojan horse stratagem, adopted by a king, who made a large artificial elephant, filled it with warriors, and by its aid overcame a rival monarch. How Jimutavahana gave himself up to be devoured by the bird Garuda, the enemy of Nagas, or gigantic semi-divine snakes, who inter rupted his meal to remark, 'Although I am eating him, he is not at all miserable ; on the contrary, the resolute one rejoices.' And, above all, it contains some of the most horrible stories about corpse - eating Rakshasas, Vitalas, and other ghoul-like monsters that the most morbid appetite could possibly demand. Namuchi was as devoted to almsgiving as the hero of the Vressantara Jataka, the generous prince who gave away not only all his property, but also his wife and two small children. Having practised asceticism as a drinker of smoke for ten thousand years, and having been rendered by Brahma proof against all ordinary weapons, this charitable Titan made himself extremely annoying to the gods, especially after he had acquired a horse which had the power of restoring to life by a single sniff any of the Titanic brood whom a god had killed. At
last Indra.appealed to his generosity, and asked for the horse as a gift. Namuchi surrendered it, and India killed him with the foam of the Ganges, in which he had placed a thunderbolt. Being born again as a Titan composed of jewels, he gave the gods more trouble than before. Then the gods took counsel together, and came to him and said to him, ' By all means give us your body fur a human sacrifice.' When he heard 'that, he gave them his own body, although they were his enemies. Also, the account of the loyal sentinel who was ready to sacrifice everything in order to save his lord from death. Viravara, with that aim, cut off the head of his youthful son, who had cheerfully consented. The daughter_of Viravara, who was a mere came up to the head of her slain brother and embraced it and kissed it, and crying out, ` Alas ! my brother !' died of a broken heart. Whereupon their mother asked for permission to be burnt along with the bodies of her two children, and when her husband had given his consent, and constructed a pyre, she leapt into that burning pyre, with its hair of flame, as gladly as into a cool lake. After which Viravara resolved to cut off his own head, and would have done so if the goddess Durga had not interfered. The widely-spread tale of the un grateful wife, who attempted to kill the self sacrificing husband, who had kept her alive when she was suffering from hunger and thirst in a wilderness, by giving her his own flesh and blood. Somadeva's version of the story is very like that which is contained in the Tibetan Kah-gyur. The tenth book contains a number of the fables of Pilpai or Bidpai. The stories and the order in which they succeed agree better with the tales and arrangement of the Kalila-wa-Damna than even the Pancha Tantra ; and it would appear, therefore, that we have in the Katha Sarit Sagara an earlier representative of the original collection than even the Pancha Tantra, at least as it is now met with. The Twenty-five Tales of a Vitala have been made well known by the numerous translations of the Baital Pachisi and other eastern recensions of the same story-book. The ninth book contains the legend of Rama and Sits, in which the sus pected wife proves her purity by with some friendly hermits to a certain lake, and exclaiming, Mother Earth, if my mind was never fixed, even in a dream, on any one besides my husband, may I reach the other side of the lake ! ' Having thus spoken, she entered the lake, and the goddess Earth appeared, and, taking her in her lap, carried her to the other side.