In the great city of Bhogavati dwelt, once upon a time, a young prince, concerning whom I may say that he strikingly resembled this amiable son of your majesty.
Raja Vikram was silent, nor did he acknowledge the Baital’s indirect compliment. He hated flattery, but he liked, when flattered, to be flattered in his own person; a feature in their royal patron’s character which the Nine Gems of Science had turned to their own account.
Now the young prince Raja Ram (continued the tale teller) had an old father, concerning whom I may say that he was exceedingly unlike your Rajaship, both as a man and as a parent. He was fond of hunting, dicing, sleeping by day, drinking at night, and eating perpetual tonics, while he delighted in the idleness of watching nautch girls, and the vanity of falling in love. But he was adored by his children because he took the trouble to win their hearts. He did not lay it down as a law of heaven that his offspring would assuredly go to Patala if they neglected the duty of bestowing upon him without cause all their affections, as your moral, virtuous, and highly respectable fathers are only too apt ——. Aie! Aie!
These sounds issued from the Vampire’s lips as the warrior king, speechless with wrath, passed his hand behind his back, and viciously twisted up a piece of the speaker’s skin. This caused the Vampire to cry aloud, more however, it would appear, in derision than in real suffering, for he presently proceeded with the same subject.
Fathers, great king, may be divided into three kinds; and be it said aside, that mothers are the same. Firstly, we have the parent of many ideas, amusing, pleasant, of course poor, and the idol of his children. Secondly, there is the parent with one idea and a half. This sort of man would, in your place, say to himself, “That demon fellow speaks a manner of truth. I am not above learning from him, despite his position in life. I will carry out his theory, just to see how far it goes;” and so saying, he wends his way home, and treats his young ones with prodigious kindness for a time, but it is not lasting. Thirdly, there is the real one-idea’d type of parent-yourself, O warrior king Vikram, an admirable example. You learn in youth what you are taught: for instance, the blessed precept that the green stick is of the trees of Paradise; and in age you practice what you have learned.
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