Concerning a Kashmiri Tale…

A recent submission to Notes and Queries from a correspondent in Uttar Pradesh who is an amateur historian of the Order, and an aficionado of its ways:

“Dear Sirs and Madams: What most excellent happiness I am feeling in this day, for coming upon — MOST unexpectedly, I am telling you! — a remarkable moment for a reader who is knowledgable about the Birds and Birding and all Bird matters. To wit: In the reading of Reverend J. Hinton Knowles, F.R.G.S., M.R.A.S., et&, and more specifically FOLK TALES OF KASHMIR (London: Trübner & Co., Ludgate Hill, 1888 — picture included), I find myself lately discovering a story of tremendous and very new surprising excitement. More specifically I am now referring to the “Story of the Three Birds” that finds itself within the tale “Saiyid and Said,” at page 90 of the aforementioned Book to which I have referred (also picture being included here).  If I am not very woefully in error on this occasion, this is unmistakably a story relating to the work of the Order in the KUSH region most definitely of India in older times! I am currently in need to do further researches, but the THIRD BIRD here has the POWER by his ministrations to make the human being of a non-human type of creature — and this will surely be most familiar to many who are greatly dedicated to the ORDER, as a metaphor or allegory of the humanizing effects of the Practice, it is certain.”

Both images follow — the title page, and the story in question, which comes to the Editorial Committee as a real discovery of great interest.  More work is certainly needed, as it is not clear if this is an interpolation by Knowles (as a little “easter egg” for his metropolitan readers familiar with the Order), or points to residue of Central Asian Practices of greater antiquity — perhaps associated lineally with the texts discussed in the recent work on the Rülek Scrolls.  More work is needed.


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