The end drew nigh. Forspent with battle's rage,
His wife and brothers gone, he scarce knew how,
Judisthra took his final pilgrimage,
One faithful dog his sole retainer now;
When, rainbow-hued with gems, before them rolled
The car of Indra, whence the god confessed
In music spoke: "Thou Rajah, mighty-souled,
Ascend with me to Soorg where dwell the blest."
"Great Lord, we come," Judisthra said, and turned
To call the dog; but Indra's word forbade:
"Nay, Rajah. Place in Soorg may not be earned
By such as this; but loftier spirits, clad
In nobler forms like thine, alone may know
The star-bright road." Judisthra spoke again:
"This dog hath served me well through weal and woe
For many years; and now, though sons of men
Desert his lord, he goes where'er I tread,
Demanding naught and giving all he may
In selfless love. And shall it then be said
That I, Judisthra, framed of nobler clay,
Could show a meaner faith than this, my friend--
Yea, friend, though dog? Nay, Lord, that must not be.
My road his road, with him I wait the end;
Then go thy way, nor trouble him and me."
Great Indra smiled in grander, kindlier wise,
And bade them both ascend. The chariot flew
With dog and god and man beyond the skies
To that unclouded realm where all are true.