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be carefully stopped with wax. Saw Kay was captured
What were his pleas, and how he tried to escape his fate is unknown, as, owing to the governor's precaution, no one could hear a word he said.
Saw Kay was sentenced to death, and every Karen in the district was brought in to attend the execution, that hereafter no “dog of a Karen” should ever dare to take such liberties with their
That each of the seven merchants might have a share in his death, Saw Kay was put into a long cylindrical basket with stones at each end to sink it, and the basket was laid on the brink of a steep bank which overhangs a deep pool in the river. At the word of command each merchant was to give a kick to the basket, and thus roll it into the river.
A grand breakfast was given by the merchants to all the assembled crowds in honour of the final victory over their cunning foe, which they now felt was secure. During breakfast Saw Kay was left alone in his basket, his guards deeming him securely fastened. They feared lest in the scramble for breakfast they might lose their share.
While everybody was away, an up-country boatman, with a cargo of silk patsoes and much jewellry,
was attracted by the sight of the crowd, and, thinking it might be a capital chance to sell his wares, he landed just where Saw Kay's basket lay.
“ Hi ! you fellow in the basket,” he asked, “what are you doing there?”
Saw Kay replied, “The king at Ava is dead, and the astrologers have pronounced that I am the only one who can succeed him. I refused the crown, and as the astrologers have decided that in my lifetime no one else can peaceably ascend the throne, I am now to be drowned.”
“Fool!” replied the boatman; “to avoid what any one would risk his life for, you give up your life.”
Saw Kay piously talked of the many temptations of a kingly life, and the many deaths a king must cause, and said he had deliberately weighed temporal against eternal riches, and had chosen death rather than the throne.
“Ah!” said the boatman, “don't I wish I had your chance."
“ What will you give for it? ” said Saw Kay. “My boat and its cargo,” replied the boatman.
“Agreed," was Saw Kay's reply. “Hurry and take my place before any one comes to notice our proceedings."
The boatman set the Karen at liberty, took his place, and was firmly tied in by Saw Kay, who quietly took his seat in his new boat to watch the execution.
When breakfast was over, the drums beat to assemble the crowds, the bands began to play, and the dancers to celebrate the victory of the royal Burman over the despised Karen. As the merchants advanced to roll their enemy into the river, the poor boatman shouted from the basket with all his might, “I will be king, I will be king."
"A great king you'll be," was the reply, as the merchants rolled him into the pool. The rest of the day was spent in feasting and dancing to celebrate the victory over the Karens. Next morning, as the merchants were packing their carts for their return, Saw Kay walked into camp with sublime impudence, with jewellery all over his person, and silk patsoes hanging over his arms and shoulders, the spoils of the up-country boatman.
Every jaw fell, and stammeringly they asked him how he came there.
Didn't I say yesterday that I would be a king ? Now I am one. It happened that the road to heaven leads right into that pool, and you rolled me exactly into the road that leads to the abodes of the blest. There I saw all your deceased relatives and ancestors, who expressed great wonder that none of you ever visited them. They have sent you these gifts to show you the marvellous riches of that glorious country.
I could not bear to return, but your friends begged me so hard to return and show you the way that I could not refuse." “How can we go ?” asked the merchants.
Easily," replied Saw Kay.' “Make me eight baskets, and I will tie you into seven of them and follow you in the eighth."
The baskets were made, Saw Kay rolled the merchants into the pool, and returned with all their wealth to Mya-yah-doung.
SOME OF THEIR FIRESIDE STORIES.
A TIGER and a hare once made a friendship by drinking together the mingled blood of both (a Karen custom to this day). The tigers then were pure yellow without stripes. They went off to cut thatch for their houses.
The tiger took his breakfast done up in a parcel. The hare made up a bundle of cow-dung to resemble the tiger's breakfast parcel. Both cut busily away at the thatch till breakfast-time, when the hare went to the tree under which their parcels had been placed, and called the tiger to breakfast.
The tiger said he could not come just then, for he wanted to cut more thatch before the sun became too hot to work.
The hare replied, “Don't you know when you are late to breakfast your food changes to cowdung ?”