The Locust Becomes a Baby

When Beautiful-Rich came to the village,
     her thousand men went to gather firewood,
          to roast the locust and give it to her to eat.
When the firewood had come,
     they lit all of it at once, in one hearth,
          and roasted the locust there.
The locust burned fiercely there in the fire.
     The fire blazed high as if to overcome it.

Then she sent for Great Echo. (28)
But even before her messengers reached him,
     Great Echo had a vision. He said,
     "Now then, Clever Slave-Girl, what is that in the east?
     "The ‘line for two' is not made by my foot,
     The ‘line for four' is not made by my hand.
What will happen next year I see this year,
     what will happen tomorrow I see today.
The girl went to look and said, "See!
     Seven men are coming from the east.
          They are hurrying with their spears,
               Their muskets are bobbing up and down."
                         "Ah," said Great Echo,
     "they are from Young-Woman-with-Disaster-Child."
When the messengers reached his place, he said:
     "I understand the unsignified,
     I know the unsaid.
          How many men have blown the conch?
          How many men have fired muskets?
          How many men have beaten drums?
          How many men have gone for firewood?
          How many men have fought bulls round the house?
          How many men have killed bulls?
                         And they said,
"None of that has been done, Grandfather."

                         Then Great Echo said to them,
"First, go bring together a thousand fighting bulls,
     a thousand muskets to shoot,
     a thousand conches to blow,
     Seventy drummers,
     thrice seven bulls for slaughter.
As for me, I wait until the Friday of the new year, (29)
     until the end of the month of Alahamady,
          a bad month for the king.
Then the new king is enthroned,
     predictions come true in the capital, and
     no one is unjustly killed.
For that child has a potent fate.
     I will not be surprised by the day,
     I will not offend the year, lest I be reproached.
     Go you now back to Beautiful-Rich."

When the messengers returned to Beautiful-Rich,
     they told her those words
so that she could gather all those things
     before Great Echo arrived.
On that Friday, Great Echo set out for Beautiful-Rich.
When he was at her door, he said,
"Fire the cannon around the village.
     On the east slope of the hill, put up The Only Uplifter
          and The-One-with-Many-Victims [idols]
                              and the golden musket."
The cannon was fired around the village.
     A thousand bulls were fought around the town.
There was shouting and rejoicing.
Then were killed the hundred rams
                    and the thrice seven bulls.
(The two idols were placed east of the village because the
     rival of the child was in that direction.) (30)
Only then did Great Echo enter the house of Beautiful-Rich
     to approach the locust.

When he stepped over her threshold,
     the locust broke away from the hearth,
          and went to the ridgepole of the house.
     Fire spread before Great Echo and the locust.
Then Great Echo gave orders, saying,
"I see that child is calamity,
I see that child is adversity,
I see a hard man on the earth, a Barbed Obstacle --
for I am the one who gave him to Beautiful-Rich of Long-Standing.
     If you will not come to perfection,
          then go south or north,
          and do not throw yourself into the fire.
     But if you are going to become solid,
          to be an unstoppable animal,
          to be a unique ruler --
                         then throw yourself into the fire." (31)
And the locust dropped into the fire and was cooked.
                              No one took him out.

He jumped out of the fire
     and perched on the head of Beautiful-Rich,
     then pierced her head, settled in her womb,
     took shape, and became a child.
And when the baby was formed in Beautiful-Rich's womb,
     then the ten bulls and the hundred rams were killed.
Beautiful-Rich ate them all herself.
     From then on she ate no more:
          she put only wind to her mouth until her baby's birth. (32)
                         Ten years was the baby in her womb.

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