Kesar Chapter 7: A Request
In the epic’s Prologue, a magical child, named Green-One, Three-Faced-Man [Dong-gsum-mi-la-sngon-mo] is born to a childless old couple. He in turn fathers the eighteen heroes of the land of Ling. The heroes decide to raid Pachi-Paldong Castle, seize its treasures, and divide the riches among themselves. One of them, Pal-le, Prudent Nobleman [A-gu-dpal-le-rgod-po], outwits his brothers, and takes for himself all the castle’s treasures with the help of an old woman who fortells the lineage and birth of Kesar. Pal-le returns home with his loot.
Now Pal-le, Prudent Nobleman, stayed in Ling as the principal goatherd. One day, when he went with some goats up into the mountains, a white bird emerged from the inside of a white mountain and a black bird emerged from the inside of a black mountain. As he sat watching them, the two birds began to fight. In the morning, as he watched them intently, the black bird was winning. At midday they were both equal, and in the evening the white bird appeared to be victorious. Satisfied that the white bird seemed to have won the fight, he went home happy, driving his goats before him.
The next day he took the goats back to the same place, to have a look. This time a white yak emerged from the white mountain and a black yak emerged from the black mountain and, as before, the two animals fought one another. In the morning, the white yak was winning. At midday they were both equal, and in the evening it appeared that the black yak was about to be victorious. Pal-le thought to himself, “This black yak appears to be an evil spirit. I think I shall slay the black yak.” Thinking thus, he climbed to the top of a high mountain and sang this song:
“From a white mountain came forth a white yak!
From a black mountain came forth a black yak!
In our eyes the white yak appears to be a protective deity!
In our eyes the black yak appears to be a devouring Fiend!
I think I will kill the black yak.
The wool for my sling was sheared in the time of my grandfather.
It was braided in the time of my father.
It was used during my time, the time of the son!
I have all three types of sling:
The larger stones that I fling will be the size of horse-bellies.
The middle-sized stones that I fling will be the size of yak-bellies.
The smaller stones that I fling will be the size of goat-bellies.
As for the even smaller stones that I fling, they shall be ones that sting.
I shall cast a stone at the right horn of the black yak.
I shall render the right horn into eighteen pieces.
I shall offer one piece to Gyab-zhin, the Lord of the Gods.
I shall offer a piece to the Mother of the King of the Middle World.
I shall offer a piece to the Serpent King of the Netherworld.
I shall offer a piece to the Father Deity.
I shall offer a piece to the Mother Goddess.
I shall offer a piece to all of us, the eighteen heroes of Ling.
I shall offer a piece to the Chief of Ling Castle.
I shall offer a piece to the Yellow Mountains of the Yellow Ones.
I shall offer a piece to the Turquoise Mountain of the Blue Ones.
I shall offer a piece to the spring Tsang-ya.
I shall place a piece before the Plain of Delicate Mushrooms [Gro-ma-thang].
I shall offer a piece to Palmoi-stag [Dpal-mo’i-a-stag].
I shall offer a piece to the Ford of Fords.
I shall place a piece in the hunting grounds of Soaring Inner Delight
I shall offer a piece to father Thon-pa and mother Ngon-mo.
I shall offer a piece to crystal consort Digu-ma.
I shall offer a piece to the Dem Castle of Dem-Dem.
And I shall keep a piece for myself, Pale-le, Prudent Nobleman!”
Thus he spoke, and cast his slingshot, and the black yak died.
Now the black yak happened to be the demon Curu-lugu, and the white yak happened to be Gyab-zhin, the Lord of the Gods. If Pal-le had not killed the black yak on that day, the demon Curu-lugu would have successfully killed Gyab-zhin, the Lord of the Gods.
Then a child about two-feet tall emerged from the white mountain and came up to Pal-le and said, “Prudent Nobleman, you have become my benefactor. Had you not been here today, I would have been killed by the demon. I shall give you a great reward. I shall give you half of my palace, half of my kingdom, whatever riches you desire!”
Pal-le said, “I do not want a reward. I did not kill the black yak for a reward. I did not know that you were Gyab-zhin. Nevertheless, good has come of it. They say that you have three sons, Don-yod, Don-dan, and Don-dub. If you will grant us, the leaderless people of Ling, one of your sons to be our Chief of Ling, then I shall be happy.” Thus he spoke.
Then the Lord of the Gods, Gyab-zhin, said: “Alas, one son is my right eye to me. The other is my left eye. The last is my very heart. Nevertheless, you, Prudent Nobleman, have saved me, and I cannot say no. I shall go and speak to my children in the Heavens, in the Land of the Gods. In seven days I shall give you good news. Thus spoke the Lord of the Gods, and then fell silent.
Then the Lord of the Gods, Gyab-zhin, went off into the Heavens, and Pal-le returned home, driving his goats.
"The Epic of King Gesar." Kurtis Schaffer, Gray Tuttle, and Matthew Kapstein, eds. Sources of Tibetan Tradition (Columbia University Press, forthcoming).