viii STUDIES IN BROWN HUMANITY
no matter how light its nature, that falls to his share in this workaday world.
Leh was a man of many accomplishments. He played^ the fiddle, in most excruciating wise, to the huge delight of all the Malays who heard him ; he was genuinely funny, when he had put his hideous red mask, with its dirty sheepskin top, which stood for the hair of his head, over his handsome, clever face, and roars of laughter greeted him at every turn \ he had a keen eye for a topical joke, a form of satire much appreciated by his Malay audiences \ he had a happy knack of imitating the notes of birds, and the cry of any animal ; and above all he was a skilled Rhapsodist, and with that melodious voice of his would sing the wonderful story of wang Ltong, the Monkey Prince, which is a bastard, local version of the Ramayana, until the cocks were crowing to a yellow dawn. He travelled with me, on one occasion, for a fortnight, and I had the whole of the Folk-Tale written down, and when completed it covered the best part of sixty folios, yet Leh knew every word of it by rote, and could be turned on at any point, continuing the story every time in precisely the same words. He had learned it from an old man in Klantan, and he was reputed to be the only surviving bard to whom the whole of the tale was known. In due course I sent the manuscript, with a translation, and elaborate notes to a Learned Society, where it was lost with the usual promptitude and despatch.
It was always a marvel to me that Leh escaped having some angry man's knife thrust deftly between his fourth and fifth ribs, for the natives of Pahang areIt was always a marvel to me that Leh escaped having some angry man's knife thrust deftly between his fourth and fifth ribs, for the natives of Pahang are