THE STORY OF HASSEBU 265
said, ' Let us leave him there inside the pit, and take his share of the money, and we will tell his mother, " Your son was caught by a lion and carried off into the forest, and we tried to follow him, but could not."
Then they arose and went into the town and told his mother as they had agreed, and she wept much and made her mourning for many months. And when the men were dividing the money, one said, ' Let us send a little to our friend's mother,' and they sent some to her; and every day one took her rice, and one oil; one took her meat, and one took her cloth, every day.
It did not take long for Hassebu to find out that his companions had left him to die in the pit, but he had a brave heart, and hoped that he might be able to find a way out for himself. So he at once began to explore the pit and found it ran back a long way underground. And by night he slept, and by day he took a little of the honey he had gathered and ate it; and so many days passed by.
One morning, while he was sitting on a rock having his breakfast, a large scorpion dropped down at his feet, and he took a stone and killed it, fearing it would sting him. Then suddenly the thought darted into his head, ' This scorpion must have come from somewhere ! Perhaps there is a hole. I will go and look for it,' and he felt all round the walls of the pit till he found a very little hole in the roof of the pit, with a tiny glimmer of light at the far end of it. Then his heart felt glad, and he took out his knife and dug and dug, till the little hole became a big one, and he could wriggle himself through. And when he had got outside, he saw a large open space in front of him, and a path leading out of it.
He went along the path, on and on, till he reached a large house, with a golden door standing open. Inside was a great hall, and in the middle of the hall a throne set with precious stones and a sofa spread with the