THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 137
' Who are you that are crying " Open " ?'
And the gazelle said, ' It is I, great mistress, your grandchild.'
' If you are my grandchild,' returned the voice, ' go back whence you came. Don't come and die here, and bring me to my death as well.'
' Open, mistress, I entreat, I have something to say to you.'
' Grandchild,' replied she, ' I fear to put your life in danger, and my own too.'
' Oh, mistress, my life will not be lost, nor yours either; open, I pray you.' So she opened the door.
' What is the news where you come from, my grandson ?' asked she.
' Great lady, where I come from it is well, and with you it is well.'
'Ah, my son, here it is not well at all. If you seek a way to die, or if you have not yet seen death, then is to-day the day for you to know what dying is.'
' If I am to know it, I shall know it,' replied the gazelle; ' but tell me, who is the lord of this house?'
And she said, 'Ah, father! in this house is much wealth, and much people, and much food, and many horses. And the lord of it all is an exceeding great and wonderful snake.'
' Oh ! ' cried the gazelle when he heard this; ' tell me how I can get at the snake to kill him ?'
' My son,' returned the old woman, ' do not say words like these ; you risk both our lives. He has put me here all by myself, and I have to cook his food. When the great snake is coming there springs up a wind, and blows the dust about, and this goes on till the great snake glides into the courtyard and calls for his dinner, which must always be ready for him in those big pots. He eats till he has had enough, and then drinks a whole tankful of water. After that he goes away. Every second day he comes, when the sun is over the house. And he has