There sprang up a friendship between a blind man and a hunchback. And one day they said to one another "We shall get more if we beg in some other village than our own." The hunchback made the blind man hold his stick, and so dragged him along. And as they went, the blind man trod upon an old elephant rope which lay upon the road, and said to his friend "Ah! Friend, what is this thing like a long snake which I am treading upon?" The hunchback said "Why, it is only an old elephant-rope." But the blind man said "Take it, my friend, take it." But, as the hunchback refused, the blind man bid his friend hand it to him, and so they went their ways thence.
And presently they came to a river; and as they were wading across it, the blind man trod upon a tortoise and told his friend that he had trod upon something living; but the hunchback said it was only a stone, and asked what was the use of standing there talking. But the blind man begged him to feel and see. And when the hunchback announced that it was a tortoise, the blind man begged his friend to take that, too; and on the hunchback declaring that it was too heavy, he finally carried it himself.
Then they went their ways and came to a meadow, and heard a drum being beaten. And the blind man asked what that was, and where the drumming was going on. On which the hunchback said it was only cowherds drumming. On which the blind man was for sending the hunchback to fetch the drum.
But the hunchback said "How shall I fetch it? They will be too strong for me, for they are many." Then the blind man devised a plan, and bade the hunchback crawl through the jungle and roar like a tiger. Which the hunchback did; and the cowherd boys, on hearing his roaring, ran away headlong and left the drum, which the hunchback gave, as before, to the blind man to carry.
Then the friends went through the forest, until they came to some houses. On which the hunchback said "My friend, the sun has set, and evening has come. How much further are we to go? Here are houses, let's stop here." But the blind man said he did not think very well of houses in the jungle, and sent his friend to have a good look at them.
Presently the hunchback returned and said "There are two or three houses and a granary." On this, the blind man decided that they would stay in the granary, and so was dragged into the granary, where they carefully fastened the doors and prepared to stay for the night. And while they were there, Rakshashas came and said--
"Fine rice, fine rice, I can smell;
"And better things to eat as well."
And while they were gliding round the house, the blind man shouted loudly "Here am I!" "Who are you?" said the Rakshashas. "Who are you?" shouted the blind man. "I am a Rakshasha," said one of them. "And I am a Zakshasha!" said the blind man. Whereupon they all got very angry. Then the blind man said "You need not get angry and you need not get noisy. I can't see you and you can't see me. Let us make an expedient by which you can be satisfied." So saying, the blind man bade the Rakshasha show him a lock of his hair. On this a Rakshasha tore out a bunch of hair and showed it to him. On which the blind man said "Now see mine!" And so saying, thrust out of a chink the elephant rope. And on seeing it, the Rakshasha became very afraid. Then the blind man demanded to see a flea (from his body). And when the Rakshasha had shown him one, the blind man put forth his tortoise. Then the Rakshasha thought "This must indeed be a Zakshasha," and was greatly afraid. Then the blind man bade him beat his breast. And, on his doing so, cried "Well done, well done! I have heard you. Now hear me!" and straightway began to beat his drum "rub-a-dub-dub." On which the Rakshashas were greatly frightened and ran right away.
Then the blind man said to his friend "Take any good things that there are, and tie them up. You take some and give me some, and let us go;" and, so saying, they went away together. And when they were come to a far place, the hunchback began dividing the spoil. And, when that was done, he bade his friend take which share he would. But the blind man groped about and found that the share nearest to the hunchback was the biggest. So the hunchback said "How did you, without seeing, find that out? Now I have got to divide it all over again!" So he made a fresh division.
And the same thing happened again, and the blind man turned everything topsy-turvy. And, when this had occurred four or five times, the hunchback became angry, and taking sand in his hand rubbed it into the blind man's eyes, saying "Now we shall see if you are really blind or not;" whereby the blind man recovered his sight. But he, too, was angry and said "What a hideous thing you are, and hateful to look upon." And he jumped on the hunchback's back and belaboured his hump till he made him straight and well. And when the two were hale and well, they divided their spoil fairly and went home happily. And that's all!