101.A POUND OF FLOUR
WHEN Yudhishthira was crowned and installed as king after the Kurukshetra battle, he performed an aswamedha yajna. As was the custom on occasions of this great horse sacrifice, all the princes of the land gathered on invitation and the yajna was completed in great splendor. The brahmanas and the poor and the destitute people, who had come in great numbers from all parts of the country, received bounteous gifts. Everything was done in magnificent style and in conformity With the injunctions relating to the sacrifice. From somewhere unseen, a weasel suddenly appeared right in the middle of the assembled guests and priests in the great pavilion and, after rolling on the ground laughed a loud human laugh as if in derision. The priests were alarmed at this strange and unnatural occurrence and wondered whether it was some evil spirit that had come to pollute and disturb the sacred rites. The weasel's body was on one side all shining gold. This remarkable creature turned round and took a good view of the assembly of princes and learned brahmanas that had come from various countries and gathered in that great pavilion and began to speak: "Princes assembled and priests, listen to me. You no doubt believe that you have completed your yajna in splendid style. Once upon a time, a poor brahmana who lived in Kurukshetra made a gift of a pound of maize flour. Your great horse sacrifice and all the gifts made in that connection are less than that small gift of the Kurukshetra brahmana. You seem to think too much of your yajna. Pray, be not so vain about it." The gathering was amazed at this strange and impertinent speech of the golden weasel. The brahmana priests, who had performed the sacrificial rites, went up to the weasel and spoke to it: "Wherefrom and why have you come to this yajna, performed by good and worthy men? Who are you? Why do you utter words of scorn about our sacrifice? This aswamedha has been duly completed in every detail in accordance with sastraic injunctions. It is not proper that you should speak derisively of our great sacrifice. Everyone that has come to this yajna has been duly attended to and has been accorded suitable honors and gifts. Everyone is pleased with the gifts and returns happy and contented. The mantras have been chanted perfectly and the oblations duly offered. The four castes are pleased. Why do you speak as you do? Do explain yourself."