A Job Interview with Jahangir (and his lion)

The East India Company agent, Sir William Hawkins, recalls the case of the man said he who would not work for Jahangir or his son for less than 100 pounds a day. This was a lot – the equivalent of some 12 thousand pounds in today’s money.

Likewise in my time it happened that a Paltan, a man of good stature, came to one of the Kings sonnes, named Sultan Pervis, to intreat him to bestow somewhat on him, by petition delivered to one of the Princes chiefe men ; at the delivery whereof the Prince caused him to come neere ; and demanding of him whether hee would serve him, he answered no, for he thought that the Prince would not grant him so much as he would aske. The Prince, seeing him to be a pretty fellow and meanely apparelled, smiled, demanding what would content him. Hee told him plainly that hee would neither serve his father nor him under a thousand rupias a day, which is 100 pound sterling. The Prince asked what was in him that he demanded so much. He replyed : make tryall of me with all sorts of weapons, either on horsebacke or on foote ; and for my sufficient command in the warres, if I do not performe as much as I speake, let mee dye for it. The houre being come for the Prince to go to his father, he gave over his talk, commanding the man to be forth comming. At night the Kings custome being to drinke, the Prince, perceiving his father to be merry, told him of this man. So the King commaunded him to be brought before him. Now while he was sent for, a wilde lyon was brought in, a very great one, strongly chained, and led by a dozen men and keepers ; and while the King was viewing this lyon, the Pattan came in, at whose sight the Prince presently remembred his father. The King demanding of this Pattan whence he was, and of what parentage, and what valour was in him that he should demand so much wages, his answer was that the King should make tryal of him. That I will, saith the King ; goe wrastle and buffet with this lyon. The Pattans answere was that this was a wild beast, and to goe barely upon him without weapon would be no triall of his manhood. The King, not regarding his speech, commanded him to buckle with the lion ; who did so, wrastling and buffeting with the lyon a pretty while ; and then the lyon, being loose from his keepers, but not from his ehaines, got the poore man within his clawes and tore his body in many parts, and with his pawes tore the one halfe of his face so that this valiant man was killed by this wilde beast. The King, not yet contented, but desirous to see more sport, sent for ten men that were of his horse-men in pay, being that night on the watch ; for it is the custome of all those that receive pay or living from the King to watch once a weeke, none excepted, if they be well and in the citie. These men, one after another, were to buffet with the lyon ; who were all grievously wounded, and it cost three of them their lives. The King continued three moneths in this vaine when he was in his humors, for whose pleasure sake many men lost their lives and many were grievously wounded. So that ever after, untill my comming away, some fifteene young lyons were made tame and played with another before the King, frisking betweene mens legs and no man hurt in a long time.

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