THE FIVE WISE WORDS OF THE GURU 173
about the walls, and made him seem even more terrible than he really was.
' What think you, 0 mortal,' said the giant, ' of my fair and lovely wife ?' And he held the light towards the bones in his arms and looked lovingly at them.
Now I must tell you that this poor giant had had a very beautiful wife, whom he had loved dearly ; but, when she died, her husband refused to believe in her death, and always carried her about long after she had become nothing but bones. Earn Singh of course did not know of this, but there came to his mind the second wise saying of the guru, which forbade him to speak harshly or inconsiderately to others ; so he replied :
' Truly, sir, I am sure you could find nowhere such another.'
' Ah, what eyes you have !' cried the delighted giant, ' you at least can see ! I do not know how often I have slain those who insulted her by saying she was but dried bones! You are a fine young man, and I will help you.'
So saying, he laid down the bones with great tenderness, and snatching up the huge brass vessels, carried them up again, and replaced them with such ease that it was all done by the time that Earn Singh had reached the open air with the smaller ones.
' Now,' said the giant, ' you have pleased me, and you may ask of me one favour, and wrhatever you wish I will do it for you. Perhaps you would like me to show you where lies buried the treasure of dead kings ?' he added eagerly.
But Earn Singh shook his head at the mention of buried wealth.
' The favour that I would ask,' said he, ' is that you will leave off haunting this well, so that men may go in and out and obtain water.'
Perhaps the giant expected some favour more difficult to grant, for his face brightened, and he promised to depart at once; and as Earn Singh went off through the