Posted by: khananwar786 | मई 4, 2011

The Eightfold Path

The eightfold path, although referred to as steps on a path, is not meant as a sequential learning process, but as eight aspects of life, all of which are to be integrated in every day life. Thus the environment is created to move closer to the Buddhist path.

The eightfold path is at the heart of the middle way, which turns from extremes, and encourages us to seek the simple approach.

The eightfold path is Right Understanding, Right Intent, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.

No doubt all of you are aware of the moral codes in other religious groups such as Christianity, the Jews, and Muslims. While there is a degree of correspondence across these groups, the interpretation of the code in each philosophy is different. In the example of the Ten Commandments, there is an authoritarian feeling of decree, of a direct order that these be fulfilled.

In Buddhism, the eightfold path is meant as a guideline, to be considered, to be contemplated, and to be taken on when, and only when each step is fully accepted as part of the life you seek. Buddhism never asks for blind faith, it seeks to promote learning and a process of self-discovery.

The meaning of Right has several aspects, and includes an ethical, and a balanced, or middle way. When things go “right”, we often experience a special feeling inside which confirms that this is the correct decision or action.
Right Understanding:

The first step of the eightfold path is Right Understanding or Right View.

This is a significant step on the path as it relates to seeing the world and everything in it as it really is, not as we believe it to be or want it to be. Just as you may read the directions on a map, and then make the journey, studying, reading and examining the information is important, but only the preparation for the journey. At a deeper level, direct personal experience will then lead us to Right Understanding.

In his book “Old Path, White Clouds” , Thich Nhat Hanh tells the story of the Buddha. The Buddha says “my teaching is not a dogma or a doctrine, but no doubt some people will take it as such.” The Buddha goes on to say “I must state clearly that my teaching is a method to experience reality and not reality itself, just as a finger pointing at the moon is not the moon itself. A thinking person makes use of the finger to see the moon. A person who only looks at the finger and mistakes it for the moon will never see the real moon.”

Knowing reality is of very little value if we don’t put it to personal use in our lives.

Right Intent:

The second step on the Eightfold Path is Right Intent. This is the step where we become committed to the path. Right Understanding shows us what life really is and what life’s problems are composed of, Right Intent urges us to decide what our heart wants.

Right Intent must come from the heart and involves recognising the equality of all life and compassion for all that life, beginning with yourself.

Right Intent means persistence and a passion for the journey. Setting out to climb a high mountain means you must understand the lay of the land and the pitfalls, the other team members, and the equipment you need. This is similar to Right Understanding. But you will only climb the mountain if you really want to and have a passion for the climb. This is Right Intent. The mountain we climb here is our journey though life.

To summarise, Right Understanding will eliminate ignorance. With Right Intent and correct understanding, we then remove desire, which in turn causes the suffering defined in the Four Noble Truths.

Right Speech:

Right Speech is the next step of the Path. We tend to underestimate the power of the spoken word, and often regret words said in haste. Each of us has experienced the disappointment associated with harsh criticism, whether justified or not, and we also are likely to have felt good when kind words encouraged us.

Right speech involves recognition of the truth, and also an awareness of the impact of idle gossip and of repeating rumours. Communicating thoughtfully helps to unite others, and can heal dissention. By resolving never to speak unkindly, or in anger, a spirit of consideration evolves which moves us closer to everyday compassionate living.

Right Action:

Right Action recognises the need to take the ethical approach in life, to consider others and the world we live in. This includes not taking what is not given to us, and having respect for the agreements we make both in our private and business lives.

Right Action also encompasses the five precepts which were given by the Buddha, not to kill, steal, lie, to avoid sexual misconduct, and not to take drugs or other intoxicants.

This step on the path also includes a whole approach to the environment, with Right Action being taken whenever possible to safeguard the world for future generations.

Right Livelihood:

The next on the Eightfold Path follows on from Right Action, and this is Right Livelihood. If your work has a lack of respect for life, then it will be a barrier to progress on the spiritual path. Buddhism promotes the principle of equality of all living beings and respect for all life.

Certain types of work were discouraged by the Buddha, in particular those where you deal in harmful drugs and intoxicants, those dealing in weapons, and those harmful to animal or human life. So a dedicated Buddhist would not be recommended to have a liquor store, own a gun shop, or be a butcher. In his time, he also discouraged the slave trade, which dealt in human workers. And he was also against the practice of fortune telling as this made assumptions about a fixed future, where his teaching stresses that the future is created by what we do today.

Right Livelihood also implies that a Buddhist who is able, will undertake some work, either as part of a Buddhist community, or in the workplace, or, alternatively, do home based or community service. Many communities of monks ensure that each member has daily chores, which remind him of this step on the Eightfold Path.

Right Effort:

Right Effort means cultivating an enthusiasm, a positive attitude in a balanced way. Like the strings of a musical instrument, the amount of effort should not be too tense or too impatient, as well as not too slack or too laid back. Right Effort should produce an attitude of steady and cheerful determination.

In order to produce Right Effort, clear and honest thoughts should be welcomed, and feelings of jealousy and anger left behind. Right Effort equates to positive thinking, followed by focused action.

The Buddha was well ahead of his time on this one, and many books have been written about the power of the right attitude.

Right Mindfulness:

While Right Effort is a very easy concept for most of us, Right Mindfulness is somewhat trickier to grasp, and may involve quite a change of thinking.

I suggest that you take a short break, stand up and walk (or cruise if you are mobile) around the room or house, and then come back here before reading on.

Right Mindfulness means being aware of the moment, and being focused in that moment. When we travel somewhere, we are hearing noises, seeing buildings, trees, advertising, feeling the movement, thinking of those we left behind, thinking of our destination. So it is with most moments of our lives.

Right Mindfulness asks us to be aware of the journey at that moment, and to be clear and undistracted at that moment. Right Mindfulness is closely linked with meditation and forms the basis of meditation.

Right Mindfulness is not an attempt to exclude the world, in fact, the opposite. Right Mindfulness asks us to be aware of the moment, and of our actions at that moment. By being aware, we are able to see how old patterns and habits control us. In this awareness, we may see how fears of possible futures limit our present actions.

Now, having read this, try the same walk as before but with a focused mind, which now concentrates only on the action of the walking. Observe your thoughts before reading on.

Sometimes you may be absorbed in what you are doing. Music, art, sport can trigger these moments. Have you ever done anything where your mind is only with that activity. At that moment, you are mindful, and the Buddha showed how to integrate that awareness into our everyday lives.

Right Concentration:

Once the mind is uncluttered, it may then be concentrated to achieve whatever is desired. Right Concentration is turning the mind to focus on an object, such as a flower, or a lit candle, or a concept such as loving compassion. This forms the next part of the meditation process.

Right concentration implies that we select worthy directions for the concentration of the mind, although everything in nature, beautiful and ugly, may be useful for concentration. At deeper levels, no object or concept may be necessary for further development.

The benefits of Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration are significant as they teach the mind to see things, not as we are conditioned to seeing them, but as they really are. At the same time, they also lead to a feeling of calm and peace with the world. By being in the moment and being able to concentrate effectively, a sense of joy is the moment is felt. Release from the control of past pains and future mind games takes us closer to freedom from suffering.

Posted by: khananwar786 | मई 4, 2011

Dependant Origination

The topic of Dependant Origination sounds complex, and it is one of the most important concepts of the Buddhist teaching. However, in essence, it is quite simple.

The Buddha said that to become enlightened, you need only to understand The Four Noble Truths and Dependant Origination.

Dependant Origination is also called the law of causality and was the other main revelation which came to Buddha at his enlightenment. In this teaching, he says that nothing exists on its own, but always has come from earlier circumstances.

A piece of paper does not come into existence spontaneously. It is made from wood pulp and water. The wood comes from trees, which comes from seeds from earlier trees. If you burn paper, it becomes smoke and ash, so it has not disappeared but transformed. The essential components of that piece of paper were always there, and will always be there. A pot is made because once a potter took clay and formed it on a wheel and then fired the pot. Many circumstances and components were needed for the process.

In the same way, we did not spontaneously come into existence at birth, we are the result of our parents, of the circumstances of their meeting, and of all that happened before. You are alive today because you were once born, as a result of your parents meeting at an earlier time. Every thing is always a consequence of something before, that is, the origin of everything is not unique, it is dependent on a particular set of circumstances having happened.

Dependant origination is similar to cause and effect, and closely links to the Four Noble Truths. Desire causes suffering, one is dependent on the other. Following the path causes desire to reduce and so causes suffering to be reduced.

If you begin to see everything as dependant on everything else, then you will need to look to the larger picture where everything we think and do affects the future. As in the writing of Thich Nhat Hanh “the world is woven of interconnected threads”.

In essence, the Buddha did not see a separate and benevolent creator who could act on our behalf. He saw the interdependence of all life and the cause and effect of actions which create their own future.

This is why Buddhism, at its inception, was more of a way of life than a religion. Certainly, now it is accepted as a religion by many followers who seek divine guidance from the Buddha nature.

Posted by: khananwar786 | मई 4, 2011

After the Enlightenment, the Buddha walked over one hundred miles to India’s holy city of Benares. In a deer park near the city, he preached his first sermon to the five followers who had previously renounced him. This sermon formed the basis of his teaching from then on. He spoke about The Four Noble Truths.

The Four Noble Truths which came to the Buddha at the enlightenment, revolves around the logical process of seeing life, seeing all actions, not as we wish to see them, but as they really are.

The first truth is that life always incorporates suffering or Dukkha as it was called then. Dukkha has a broader meaning than suffering. It can be the feeling you experience when you encounter pain, old age, sickness, loss, or separation from loved ones, but it can also represent a general unsatisfied feeling. If you feel that your life is like pushing a supermarket trolley which always wants to go in a different direction, then that’s dukkha.

In “The Vision of the Buddha” by Tom Lowenstein , the Buddha says:

“What, monks, is the truth of suffering? Birth is suffering, decay, sickness and death are suffering. To be separated from what you like is suffering. To want something and not get it is suffering. In short, the human personality, liable as it is to clinging and attachment brings suffering.”

The second noble truth is that suffering in its broad sense, comes from desire, and specifically, desire for meeting our expectations and for self fulfilment as we see it. By desiring for ourselves rather than the whole, we will always have suffering.

In the same way that a child wants a new toy and then, having achieved that, will long for yet another, we seek fulfilment of our desire, to then move on to another. All the time, our lives are only temporarily satisfied.

So far, that’s the bad news. In the language of many teenagers “Life Sucks”.

But Buddhism is a positive philosophy, and the next two noble truths give us an optimistic message.

The third noble truth tells us that if our attachment to desire ends, so too will the suffering. Specifically, if we change our perception and reduce our attachment to desire, suffering will also reduce. This is not intended to lead to a cancellation of the zest for life, but to an understanding of the nature of life and to controlling those desires which come from that lack of understanding.

The fourth noble truth shows the way to the ending of suffering. The Buddha said that the way to cease suffering is to follow the middle way, the Noble Eightfold path. This provides the guidelines for day to day living. There is some analogy here with the Ten Commandments in Christianity, but the eightfold path is meant as a guideline rather than a strict rule.

The Buddha reached this middle way after himself living the extremes of life. In his early years, he was surrounded by luxury, given access to all pleasures available at that time. In his search, he lived the opposite life, one where he deprived himself of even the essentials, and faced death. The Noble Eightfold path leads to a way, which embraces life and is neither indulgent nor austere.

The Noble Eightfold path is Right Understanding, Right Intent, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. These guidelines are covered in a different section.

When the Buddha gave this first sermon to the world, he is said to have set in motion the Wheel of the Law. And the wheel as a Buddhist symbol appears over and over again in Buddhist art, symbolising the cyclic nature of existence.

Posted by: khananwar786 | मई 1, 2011

JATAK TALES THE BANYAN DEER

THERE was once a Deer the color of gold. His eyes were like round jewels, his horns were white as silver, his mouth was red like a flower, his hoofs were bright and hard. He had a large body and a fine tail.

He lived in a forest and was king of a herd of five hundred Banyan Deer. Near by lived another herd of Deer, called the Monkey Deer. They, too, had a king.

The king of that country was fond of hunting the Deer and eating deer meat. He did not like to go alone so he called the people of his town to go with him, day after day.

The townspeople did not like this for while they were gone no one did their work. So they decided to make a park and drive the Deer into it. Then the king could go into the park and hunt and they could go on with their daily work.

They made a park, planted grass in it and provided water for the Deer, built a fence all around it and drove the Deer into it.

Then they shut the gate and went to the king to tell him that in the park near by he could find all the Deer he wanted.

The king went at once to look at the Deer. First he saw there the two Deer kings, and granted them their lives. Then he looked at their great herds.

Some days the king would go to hunt the Deer, sometimes his cook would go. As soon as any of the Deer saw them they would shake with fear and run. But when they had been hit once or twice they would drop down dead.

The King of the Banyan Deer sent for the King of the Monkey Deer and said, “Friend, many of the Deer are being killed. Many are wounded besides those who are killed. After this suppose one from my herd goes up to be killed one day, and the next day let one from your herd go up. Fewer Deer will be lost this way.”

The Monkey Deer agreed. Each day the Deer whose turn it was would go and lie down, placing its head on the block. The cook would come and carry off the one he found lying there.

One day the lot fell to a mother Deer who had a young baby. She went to her king and said, “O King of the Monkey Deer, let the turn pass me by until my baby is old enough to get along without me. Then I will go and put my head on the block.”

But the king did not help her. He told her that if the lot had fallen to her she must die.

Then she went to the King of the Banyan Deer and asked him to save her.

“Go back to your herd. I will go in your place,” said he.

The next day the cook found the King of the Banyan Deer lying with his head on the block. The cook went to the king, who came himself to find out about this.

“King of the Banyan Deer! did I not grant you your life? Why are you lying here?”

“O great King!” said the King of the Banyan Deer, “a mother came with her young baby and told me that the lot had fallen to her. I could not ask any one else to take her place, so I came myself.”

“King of the Banyan Deer! I never saw such kindness and mercy. Rise up. I grant your life and hers. Nor will I hunt any more the Deer in either park or forest.”

Posted by: khananwar786 | अप्रैल 30, 2011

JATAK TALES WHY THE OWL IS NOT KING OF THE BIRDS

WHY is it that Crows torment the Owls as they sleep in the daytime? For the same reason that the Owls try to kill the Crows while they sleep at night.

Listen to a tale of long ago and then you will see why.

Once upon a time, the people who lived together when the world was young took a certain man for their king. The four-footed animals also took one of their number for their king. The fish in the ocean chose a king to rule over them. Then the birds gathered together on a great flat rock, crying:

“Among men there is a king, and among the beasts, and the fish have one, too; but we birds have none. We ought to have a king. Let us choose one now.”

And so the birds talked the matter over and at last they all said, “Let us have the Owl for our king.”

No, not all, for one old Crow rose up and said, “For my part, I don’t want the Owl to be our king. Look at him now while you are all crying that you want him for your king. See how sour he looks right now. If that’s the cross look he wears when he is happy, how will he look when he is angry? I, for one, want no such sour-looking king!”

Then the Crow flew up into the air crying, “I don’t like it! I don’t like it!” The Owl rose and followed him. From that time on the Crows and the Owls have been enemies. The birds chose a Turtle Dove to be their king, and then flew to their homes.

Posted by: khananwar786 | अप्रैल 30, 2011

JATAK TALES THE CRAB AND THE CRANE

IN the Long Ago there was a summer when very little rain fell.

All the Animals suffered for want of water, but the Fishes suffered most of all.

In one pond full of Fishes, the water was very low indeed.

A Crane sat on the bank watching the Fishes.

“What are you doing?” asked a little Fish.

“I am thinking about you Fishes there in the pond. It is so nearly dry,” answered the Crane.

“Yes,” the Crane went on, “I was wishing I might do something for you. I know of a pond in the deep woods where there is plenty of water.”

“I declare,” said the little Fish, “you are the first Crane that ever offered to help a Fish.”

“That may be,” said the Crane, “but the water is so low in your pond. I could easily carry you one by one on my back to that other pond where there is plenty of water and food and cool shade.”

“I don’t believe there is any such pond,” said the little Fish. “What you wish to do is to eat us, one by one.”

“If you don’t believe me,” said the Crane, “send with me one of the Fishes whom you can believe. I’ll show him the pond and bring him back to tell you all about it.”

A big Fish heard the Crane and said, “I will go with you to see the pond–I may as well be eaten by the Crane as to die here.”

So the Crane put the big Fish on his back and started for the deep woods.

Soon the Crane showed the big Fish the pool of water. “See how cool and shady it is here,” he said, “and how much larger the pond is, and how full it is!”

“Yes!” said the big Fish, “take me back to the little pond and I’ll tell the other Fishes all about it.” So back they went.

The Fishes all wanted to go when they heard the big Fish talk about the fine pond which he had seen.

Then the Crane picked up another Fish and carried it away. Not to the pool, but into the woods where the other Fishes could not see them.

Then the Crane put the Fish down and ate it. The Crane went back for another Fish. He carried it to the same place in the woods and ate it, too.

This he did until he had eaten all the Fishes in the pond.

The next day the Crane went to the pond to see if he had left a Fish. There was not one left, but there was a Crab on the sand.

“Little Crab,” said the Crane, “would you let me take you to the fine pond in the deep woods where I took the Fishes?”

“But how could you carry me?” asked the Crab.

“Oh, easily,” answered the Crane. “I’ll take you on my back as I did the Fishes.”

“No, I thank you,” said the Crab, “I can’t go that way. I am afraid you might drop me. If I could take hold of your neck with my claws, I would go. You know we Crabs have a tight grip.”

The Crane knew about the tight grip of the Crabs, and he did not like to have the Crab hold on with his claws. But he was hungry, so he said:

“Very well, hold tight.”

And off went the Crane with the Crab.

When they reached the place where the Crane had eaten the Fishes, the Crane said:

“I think you can walk the rest of the way. Let go of my neck.”

“I see no pond,” said the Crab. “All I can see is a pile of Fish bones. Is that all that is left of the Fishes?”

“Yes,” said the Crane, “and if you will let go of my neck, your shell will be all that will be left of you.”

And the Crane put his head down near the ground so that the Crab could get off easily.

But the Crab pinched the Crane’s neck so that his head fell off.

“Not my shell, but your bones are left to dry with the bones of the Fishes,” said the Crab.

Posted by: khananwar786 | अप्रैल 30, 2011

JATAK TALES GRANNY’S BLACKIE

ONCE upon a time a rich man gave a baby Elephant to a woman.

She took the best of care of this great baby and soon became very fond of him.

The children in the village called her Granny, and they called the Elephant “Granny’s Blackie.”

The Elephant carried the children on his back all over the village. They shared their goodies with him and he played with them.

“Please, Blackie, give us a swing,” they said to him almost every day.

“Come on! Who is first?” Blackie answered and picked them up with his trunk, swung them high in the air, and then put them down again, carefully.

But Blackie never did any work.

He ate and slept, played with the children, and visited with Granny.

One day Blackie wanted Granny to go off to the woods with him.

“I can’t go, Blackie, dear. I have too much work to do.”

Then Blackie looked at her and saw that she was growing old and feeble.

“I am young and strong,” he thought. “I’ll see if I cannot find some work to do. If I could bring some money home to her, she would not have to work so hard.”

So next morning, bright and early, he started down to the river bank.

There he found a man who was in great trouble. There was a long line of wagons so heavily loaded that the oxen could not draw them through the shallow water.

When the man saw Blackie standing on the bank he asked, “Who owns this Elephant? I want to hire him to help my Oxen pull these wagons across the river.”

A child standing near by said, “That is Granny’s Blackie.”

“Very well,” said the man, “I’ll pay two pieces of silver for each wagon this Elephant draws across the river.”

Blackie was glad to hear this promise. He went into the river, and drew one wagon after another across to the other side.

Then he went up to the man for the money.

The man counted out one piece of silver for each wagon.

When Blackie saw that the man had counted out but one piece of silver for each wagon, instead of two, he would not touch the money at all. He stood in the road and would not let the wagons pass him.

The man tried to get Blackie out of the way, but not one step would he move.

Then the man went back and counted out another piece of silver for each of the wagons and put the silver in a bag tied around Blackie’s neck.

Then Blackie started for home, proud to think that he had a present for Granny.

The children had missed Blackie and had asked Granny where he was, but she said she did not know where he had gone.

They all looked for him but it was nearly night before they heard him coming.

“Where have you been, Blackie? And what is that around your neck?” the children cried, running to meet their playmate.

But Blackie would not stop to talk with his playmates. He ran straight home to Granny.

“Oh, Blackie!” she said, “Where have you been? What is in that bag?” And she took the bag off his neck.

Blackie told her that he had earned some money for her.

“Oh, Blackie, Blackie,” said Granny, “how hard you must have worked to earn these pieces of silver! What a good Blackie you are!”

And after that Blackie did all the hard work and Granny rested, and they were both very happy.

Posted by: khananwar786 | अप्रैल 30, 2011

JATAK TALES THE OX WHO ENVIED THE PIG

ONCE upon a time there was an Ox named Big Red. He had a younger brother named Little Red. These two brothers did all the carting on a large farm.

Now the farmer had an only daughter and she was soon to be married. Her mother gave orders that the Pig should be fattened for the wedding feast.

Little Red noticed that the Pig was fed on choice food. He said to his brother, “How is it, Big Red, that you and I are given only straw and grass to eat, while we do all the hard work on the farm? That lazy Pig does nothing but eat the choice food the farmer gives him.”

Said his brother, “My dear Little Red, envy him not. That little Pig is eating the food of death! He is being fattened for the wedding feast. Eat your straw and grass and be content and live long.”

Not long afterwards the fattened Pig was killed and cooked for the wedding feast.

Then Big Red said, “Did you see, Little Red, what became of the Pig after all his fine feeding?”

“Yes,” said the little brother, “we can go on eating plain food for years, but the poor little Pig ate the food of death and now he is dead. His feed was good while it lasted, but it did not last long.”

Posted by: khananwar786 | अप्रैल 30, 2011

JATAK TALES THE KING’S WHITE ELEPHANT

ONCE upon a time a number of carpenters lived on a river bank near a large forest. Every day the carpenters went in boats to the forest to cut down the trees and make them into lumber.

One day while they were at work an Elephant came limping on three feet to them. He held up one foot and the carpenters saw that it was swollen and sore. Then the Elephant lay down and the men saw that there was a great splinter in the sore foot. They pulled it out and washed the sore carefully so that in a short time it would be well again.

Thankful for the cure, the Elephant thought: “These carpenters have done so much for me, I must be useful to them.”

So after that the Elephant used to pull up trees for the carpenters. Sometimes when the trees were chopped down he would roll the logs down to the river. Other times he brought their tools for them. And the carpenters used to feed him well morning, noon and night.

Now this Elephant had a son who was white all over–a beautiful, strong young one. Said the old Elephant to himself, “I will take my son to the place in the forest where I go to work each day so that he may learn to help the carpenters, for I am no longer young and strong.”

So the old Elephant told his son how the carpenters had taken good care of him when he was badly hurt and took him to them. The white Elephant did as his father told him to do and helped the carpenters and they fed him well.

When the work was done at night the young Elephant went to play in the river. The carpenters’ children played with him, in the water and on the bank. He liked to pick them up in his trunk and set them on the high branches of the trees and then let them climb down on his back.

One day the king came down the river and saw this beautiful white Elephant working for the carpenters. The king at once wanted the Elephant for his own and paid the carpenters a great price for him. Then with a last look at his playmates, the children, the beautiful white Elephant went on with the king.

The king was proud of his new Elephant and took the best care of him as long as he lived.

Posted by: khananwar786 | अप्रैल 30, 2011

JATAK TALES THE PRINCES AND THE WATER-SPRITE

ONCE upon a time a king had three sons. The first was called Prince of the Stars. The next was called the Moon Prince and the third was called the Sun Prince. The king was so very happy when the third son was born that he promised to give the queen any boon she might ask.

The queen kept the promise in mind, waiting until the third son was grown before asking the king to give her the boon.

On the twenty-first birthday of the Sun Prince she said to the king, “Great King, when our youngest child was born you said you would give me a boon. Now I ask you to give the kingdom to Sun Prince.”

But the king refused, saying that the kingdom must go to the oldest son, for it belonged by right to him. Next it would belong by right to the second son, and not until they were both dead could the kingdom go to the third son.

The queen went away, but the king saw that she was not pleased with his answer. He feared that she would do harm to the older princes to get them out of the way of the Sun Prince.

So he called his elder sons and told them that they must go and live in the forest until his death. “Then come back and reign in the city that is yours by right,” he said. And with tears he kissed them on the foreheads and sent them away.

As they were going down out of the palace, after saying good-by to their father, the Sun Prince called to them, “Where are you going?”

And when he heard where they were going and why, he said, “I will go with you, my brothers.”

So off they started. They went on and on and by and by they reached the forest. There they sat down to rest in the shade of a pond. Then the eldest brother said to Sun Prince, “Go down to the pond and bathe and drink. Then bring us a drink while we rest here.”

Now the King of the Fairies had given this pond to a water-sprite. The Fairy King had said to the water-sprite, “You are to have in your power all who go down into the water except those who give the right answer to one question. Those who give the right answer will not be in your power. The question is, ‘What are the Good Fairies like?'”

When the Sun Prince went into the pond the water–sprite saw him and asked him the question, “What are the Good Fairies like?”

“They are like the Sun and the Moon,” said the Sun Prince.

“You don’t know what the Good Fairies are like,” cried the water-sprite, and he carried the poor boy down into her cave.

By and by the eldest brother said, “Moon Prince, go down and see why our brother stays so long in the pond!”

As soon as the Moon Prince reached the water’s edge the water-sprite called to him and said, “Tell me what the Good Fairies are like!”

“Like the sky above us,” replied the Moon Prince.

“You don’t know, either,” said the water-sprite, and dragged the Moon Prince down into the cave where the Sun Prince sat.

“Something must have happened to those two brothers of mine,” thought the eldest. So he went to the pond and saw the marks of the footsteps where his brothers had gone down into the water. Then he knew that a water-sprite must live in that pond. He girded on his sword, and stood with his bow in his hand.

The water-sprite soon came along in the form of a woodsman.

“You seem tired, Friend,” he said to the prince. “Why don’t you bathe in the lake and then lie on the bank and rest?”

But the prince knew that it was a water-sprite and he said, “You have carried off my brothers!”

“Yes,” said the water-sprite.

“Why did you carry them off?”

“Because they did not answer my question,” said the water-sprite, “and I have power over all who go down into the water except those who do give the right answer.”

“I will answer your question,” said the eldest brother. And he did. “The Good Fairies are like

The pure in heart who fear to sin,

The good, kindly in word and deed.”

“O Wise Prince, I will bring back to you one of your brothers. Which shall I bring?” said the water-sprite.

“Bring me the younger one,” said the prince. “It was on his account that our father sent us away. I could never go away with Moon Prince and leave poor Sun Prince here.”

“O Wise Prince, you know what the good should do and you are kind. I will bring back both your brothers,” said the water-sprite.

After that the three princes lived together in the forest until the king died. Then they went back to the palace. The eldest brother was made king and he had his brothers rule with him. He also built a home for the water-sprite in the palace grounds.

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