Shiv And The Grasshopper

<p><p>(The song that Toomai’s mother sang to the baby)<br><br>Shiv, who poured the harvest and made the winds to blow,<br>Sitting at the doorways of a day of long ago,<br>Gave to each his portion, food and toil and fate,<br>From the King upon the guddee to the Beggar at the gate.<br> All things made he–Shiva the Preserver.<br> Mahadeo! Mahadeo! He made all,–<br> Thorn for the camel, fodder for the kine,<br> And mother’s heart for sleepy head, O little son of mine!<br><br>Wheat he gave to rich folk, millet to the poor,<br>Broken scraps for holy men that beg from door to door;<br>Battle to the tiger, carrion to the kite,<br>And rags and bones to wicked wolves without the wall at night.<br>Naught he found too lofty, none he saw too low–<br>Parbati beside him watched them come and go;<br>Thought to cheat her husband, turning Shiv to jest–<br>Stole the little grasshopper and hid it in her breast.<br> So she tricked him, Shiva the Preserver.<br> Mahadeo! Mahadeo! Turn and see.<br> Tall are the camels, heavy are the kine,<br> But this was Least of Little Things, O little son of mine!<br><br>When the dole was ended, laughingly she said,<br>Master, of a million mouths, is not one unfed?”<br>Laughing, Shiv made answer, “All have had their part,<br>Even he, the little one, hidden ‘neath thy heart.”<br>From her breast she plucked it, Parbati the thief,<br>Saw the Least of Little Things gnawed a new-grown leaf!<br>Saw and feared and wondered, making prayer to Shiv,<br>Who hath surely given meat to all that live.<br> All things made he–Shiva the Preserver.<br> Mahadeo! Mahadeo! He made all,–<br> Thorn for the camel, fodder for the kine,<br> And mother’s heart for sleepy head, O little son of mine!