He! said Chihun. No. Not a woman of our village would look at him. Theyd sooner marry the elephant. Chihun snorted. Deesa wept and bellowed.
You will get into a difficulty in a minute, said the planter. Go back to your work!
Now I will speak Heavens truth, gulped Deesa, with an inspiration. I havent been drunk for two months. I desire to depart in order to get properly drunk afar off and distant from this heavenly plantation. Thus I shall cause no trouble.
A flickering smile crossed the planters face. Deesa, said he, youve spoken the truth, and Id give you leave on the spot if anything could be done with Moti Guj while youre away. You know that he will only obey your orders.
May the Light of the Heavens live forty thousand years. I shall be absent but ten little days. After that, upon my faith and honour and soul, I return. As to the inconsiderable interval, have I the gracious permission of the Heaven-born to call up Moti Guj?
Permission was granted, and, in answer to Deesas shrill yell, the lordly tusker swung out of the shade of a clump of trees where he had been squirting dust over himself till his master should return.
Light of my heart, Protector of the Drunken, Mountain of Might, give ear, said Deesa, standing in front of him.
Moti Guj gave ear, and saluted with his trunk. I am going away, said Deesa.
Moti Gujs eyes twinkled. He liked jaunts as well as his master. One could snatch all manner of nice things from the roadside then.
But you, you fubsy old pig, must stay behind and work.
The twinkle died out as Moti Guj tried to look delighted. He hated stump-hauling on the plantation. It hurt his teeth.
I shall be gone for ten days, oh Delectable One. Hold up your near forefoot and Ill impress the fact upon it, warty toad of a dried mud-puddle. Deesa took a tent-peg and banged Moti Guj ten times on the nails. Moti Guj grunted and shuffled from foot to foot.
Ten days, said Deesa, you must work and haul and root trees as Chihun here shall order you. Take up Chihun and set him on your neck! Moti Guj curled the tip of his trunk, Chihun put his foot there and was swung on to the neck. Deesa handed Chihun the heavy ankus, the iron elephant-goad.
Chihun thumped Moti Gujs bald head as a paviour thumps a kerbstone.
Moti Guj trumpeted.
Be still, hog of the backwoods. Chihuns your mahout for ten days. And now bid me good-bye, beast after mine own heart. Oh, my lord, my king! Jewel of all created elephants, lily of the herd, preserve your honoured health; be virtuous. Adieu!
Moti Guj lapped his trunk round Deesa and swung him into the air twice. That was his way of bidding the man good-bye.
Hell work now, said Deesa to the planter. Have I leave to go?
The planter nodded, and Deesa dived into the woods. Moti Guj went back to haul stumps.