Part 1 out of 3
Produced by Delphine Lettau, Jayam Subramanian and PG Distributed
_OR, THE ADVENTURES OF TEN PRINCES_
FREELY TRANSLATED FROM THE SANSCRIT OF THE DASAKUMARACHARITAM
BY P. W. JACOB
STRAHAN & CO. 56 LUDGATE HILL, LONDON
The Sanscrit work entitled "Dasakumaracharitam, or the Adventures of
Ten Princes," though printed more than twenty-five years ago, has not,
as far as I can ascertain, been translated into any European language.
Many parts of it are written in such a turgid "Oriental" style, that a
close translation would be quite unsuitable to the English reader.
Such passages have therefore been much condensed; others, which are
hardly decent--or, as in the speech of the parasite in the last story,
tedious and uninteresting, have been omitted; but in general the
original has been pretty closely adhered to, and nothing has been
added to it.
The exact date of the composition of the "Dasakumaracharitam" is not
known. It is supposed to have been written about the end of the
eleventh century, and was left unfinished by the author; but as the
story of the last narrator is almost finished, not much could have
been wanting to complete the work, and the reader may easily imagine
what the conclusion would have been.
Some of the incidents correspond with those of the "Arabian Nights,"
but the stories on the whole are quite different from anything found
there, and give a lively picture of Hindoo manners and morals.
Unscrupulous deception, ready invention, extreme credulity and
superstition, and disregard of human life, are strongly illustrated.
The belief in the power of penance, which was supposed to confer on
the person practising it not merely personal sanctity, but even great
supernatural powers, was very generally entertained among the Hindoos,
and is often alluded to here; as is also transmigration, or the birth
of the soul after death in a new body, human or brute. Sufferings or
misfortunes are attributed to sins committed in a former existence,
and in more than one story two persons are supposed to recollect
having many years before lived together as husband and wife.
Much use also is made of the agency of supernatural beings; for
besides numerous gods, the Hindoos believe, or at least believed, in
the existence of innumerable beings, in some degree immortal, but
liable to be killed even by men, swarming in the air, generally
invisible, but sometimes assuming a human or a more terrible form;
occasionally beneficent, but more commonly injurious to human beings.
At the time when the original work was written, India appears to have
been divided into a large number of small kingdoms or principalities,
the rulers of which are here termed "Raja," a word almost adopted into
our language, but which. I have rendered by the equivalent and more
familiar term "King."
The numerous uncouth names, which cannot well be shortened or
translated, will, it is feared, cause some annoyance to the reader. As
many as possible have been omitted, and of those which occur a list is
given in the Appendix, together with a few terms which seemed to
require explanation. This will save the reader the trouble of,
referring, when a name recurs, to the place where it is first
mentioned in order to find out to whom it belongs.
The Appendix also contains a few pages of a very close literal
translation, which will enable the reader to form some idea of the
nature and style of the original, and to see how far it has been
departed from in the preceding pages.
P. W. J.
GUILDFORD, _December_, 1872.
PRONUNCIATION OF PROPER NAMES.
The vowel _a_, is always to be pronounced as in father.
The vowel _a_, as in America, or as u in dull, i in bird, &c.
The vowel _e_, always as a in cake.
The vowel _i_, as e in cede, or ee in reed.
The vowel _i_, as in pin.
The vowel _u_, as in flute.
The vowel _u_, as in bull.
Pati is therefore pronounced putty, &c.
ADVENTURES OF SOMADATTA.
ADVENTURES OF PUSHPODBHAVA.
MARRIAGE OF AVANTISUNDARI.
FURTHER ADVENTURES OF RAJAVAHANA.
ADVENTURES OF APAHARAVARMA.
ADVENTURES OF UPAHARAVARMA.
ADVENTURES OF ARTHAPALA.
ADVENTURES OF PRAMATI.
ADVENTURES OF MITRAGUPTA.
ADVENTURES OF MANTRAGUPTA.
ADVENTURES OF VISRUTA.
PROPER NAMES OCCURRING IN THE TALES.
There was formerly, in the most fertile part of India, a city called
Pushpapuri, the capital of Magadha, magnificent as a mine of jewels,
abounding in every kind of wealth, surpassing all other cities in
splendour and prosperity.
The sovereign of this city and country was Rajahansa, whose armies
were formidable with countless elephants and horses, whose glory was
unsullied as the moon in a cloudless sky, or the plumage of the swan,
and whose fame was sung even by celestial minstrels. Though a terror
to his enemies, he was beloved by all his subjects, and especially by
the learned and pious brahmans, who were continually employed in
prayers and sacrifices to the gods, for the welfare of the king and
The queen Vasumati was worthy of such a husband. She was of high birth
and of a sweet temper, and so great was her beauty that it seemed as
if the god of love had formed her for his own special delight, by
uniting in her single person everything that is most beautiful in the
Among the king's counsellors were three appointed to the highest
offices of state, men of great probity and intelligence, who had been
long in his father's service and enjoyed his entire confidence. Their
names were, Dharmapala, Padmodbhava, and Sitavarma.
The first of these had three sons, Sumantra, Sumittra, and Kamapala;
the second, two, Susruta and Ratnodbhava; and the last had also two,
Sumati and Satyavarma.
Of these sons the last-mentioned renounced worldly cares and
employments, devoted himself to religious meditation, and leaving home
as a pilgrim, travelled into many countries in order to visit the holy
places which they contained.
Kamapala was of an opposite character; he thought only of present
pleasure, frequented the company of gamblers and harlots, and roamed
about the world seeking amusement and dissipation.
Ratnodbhava became a merchant, and in the way of traffic made many
long journeys by land and sea. The other sons, after their fathers'
death, succeeded to their offices, according to the custom of the
country. When Rajahansa had reigned some years, war broke out between
him and the king of the adjoining country of Malwa, the haughty and
ambitious Manasara, whom he marched to encounter with a numerous army,
making the earth tremble with the tread of his elephants, and
disturbing even the dwellers in the sky with the clang of kettledrums
louder than the roar of the stormy ocean.
Both armies were animated by equal rage, and terrible was the battle;
the ground where they met was first turned to dust by the wheels of
the chariots and the trampling of men and beasts, and then into mud
through the streams of blood which flowed from the slain and wounded.
At last Rajahansa was victorious, the enemy was completely defeated,
their king taken prisoner, and all Malwa lay open to the conqueror.
He, however, having no wish to enlarge his dominions, released his
prisoner on very easy terms, and returning to Pushpapuri, thought only
of governing his own kingdom in peace, not expecting after such
generous treatment any further trouble from his ambitious neighbour.
Though prosperous and happy in every other respect, the King of
Magadha had one great cause of sorrow and anxiety--he had no son to
succeed him. Therefore, at this time he made many prayers and
offerings to Narayana the Creator of the World, who, having been thus
propitiated, signified to the queen in a dream that she would bear a
son; and not long afterwards her husband was gratified by the news of
When the proper time arrived the king celebrated the ceremony called
Simanta with great magnificence, and invited several of the
neighbouring kings to be present on the occasion; among them was the
King of Mithila, with his queen, a great friend of Vasumati--to
congratulate whom she had accompanied her husband.
One day after this, when the king was sitting in council with his
ministers, he was informed that a certain venerable Yati was desirous
to see him. On his admission the king perceived that he was one of his
secret emissaries; dismissing, therefore, the rest of the counsellors,
he withdrew to a private apartment, followed by one or two of his most
confidential ministers and the supposed Yati. He, bowing down to the
ground, said in answer to the king's inquiry, "In order the better to
perform your Majesty's commands, I have adopted this safe disguise,
and have resided for some time in the capital of Malwa, from whence I
now bring very important news. The haughty Manasara, brooding over his
defeat, unmindful of your generous forbearance, and only anxious to
wipe off his disgrace, has been for a long time endeavouring to
propitiate with very severe penance the mighty Siva, whose temple is
at Mahakala, and he has so far succeeded that the god has given him a
magic club, very destructive of life and conducive to victory."
"Through this weapon, and the favour of Siva, he now thinks himself a
match for you. He has for some time been strengthening his army, and
will probably very soon invade this country. Your Majesty having
received this information, will decide what ought to be done."
On hearing this report the ministers consulted together and said to
the king, "This enemy is coming against us favoured by the gods, and
you cannot hope to resist him; we therefore advise that you should
avoid fighting, and retire with your family and treasure to a strong
Although they urged this advice with many reasons, it was not
acceptable to the king, who determined to march at the head of his
army against the invaders. When, however, the enemy had actually
entered the country, the ministers succeeded in persuading their
master to send away the queen and her attendants, and a part of the
treasure, to a strong fortress in the forest of Vindhya, guarded by
Presently the two armies met, the battle raged furiously, and
Manasara, eagerly seeking out his former conqueror, at last
encountered his chariot. Wielding the magic club, with one blow he
slew the charioteer and caused the king to fall down senseless.
The horses being freed from control, suddenly turned round, dashed off
at full speed from the field, and never stopped till, utterly
exhausted, they had dragged the chariot with the still insensible king
very near to the fortress to which the queen had retreated.
Meanwhile, some of the fugitives from the battle, having reached the
fortress, told the queen what had happened, and she, overwhelmed by
grief at the death of her husband, determined not to survive him.
Perceiving her purpose, the old brahmans and faithful counsellors, who
had accompanied her, endeavoured, to dissuade her, saying, "O
glorious lady, we have no certain information of the king's death:
moreover, learned astrologers have declared that the child to be born
of you is destined to become a mighty sovereign, therefore do not act
rashly or end so precious a life while the least hope remains."
Apparently influenced by these reasons, eloquently urged, the queen
remained silent, and seemed to renounce her purpose, but at midnight,
unable to sleep, and oppressed by intolerable grief, she rose up, and
evading her sleeping attendants and the guards outside, went into the
forest, and there, after many passionate lamentations and prayers that
she might rejoin her beloved husband, she formed a rope by twisting a
part of her dress, and was preparing to hang herself with it from the
branch of a tree, very near to the place where the chariot was
standing concealed by the thick foliage.
Just then the king, revived by the cool night wind, recovered
consciousness, and hearing his wife's voice, softly called her by
name. She, hardly believing her senses for joy, cried out loudly for
help, and soon brought to her assistance some of the attendants, who
carried him gently into the fort, where his wounds were dressed and
found not to be dangerous.
After a short time, more of those who had escaped joined the king; and
when he was sufficiently recovered, the charming Vasumati, instructed
by the ministers, said to him, "All your dominions are lost except
this fortress; but such is the power of fate; prosperity, like a
bubble on the water, or a flash of lightning, appears and disappears
in a moment. Former kings, Ramachandra and others, at least as great
as yourself, were deprived of their kingdoms, and suffered for a long
time the hardships of adversity; yet, through patience and
perseverance and the will of fate, they were at last restored to all
their former splendour. Do you therefore imitate them, and, laying
aside all anxiety, devote yourself to prayer and meditation."
To this advice the king gave ear, and went to consult a very
celebrated rishi, Vamadeva, intending, under his directions, to engage
in such penance as might lead to the accomplishment of his wishes.
Having been well received by the holy man, he said to him: "O father,
having heard of your great piety and wisdom, I have come hither for
guidance and help in a great calamity. Manasara, King of Malwa, has
overcome me, and now holds the kingdom which ought to be mine. I will
shrink from no penance which you shall advise, if by such means I may
obtain the favour of the gods, and be restored to my former power."
Vamadeva, well acquainted with all past, present, and future events,
thus answered him: "O friend, there is no need of penance in your
case; only wait patiently; a son will certainly be born to you who
will crush all your enemies and restore your fortunes." Then a voice
was heard in the air, saying, "This is true."
The king, fully believing the prophecy of the muni, thus miraculously
confirmed, returned to the forest, resolved to await patiently the
fulfilment of the promise; and shortly afterwards the queen brought
forth a son possessing all good marks, to whom his father gave the
name of Rajavahana.
About the same time also sons were born to his four ministers. They
were named severally Pramati, Mitragupta, Mantragupta, and Visruta,
and were brought up together with the young prince.
Some time after the birth of these children, a certain muni brought a
very beautiful boy to the king, and said: "Having gone lately into the
forest to collect kusa-grass and fuel, I met a woman, evidently in
great distress. When I questioned her, she wiped away her tears, and
told me, with a voice broken by sobs, that she was a servant of
Praharavarma, King of Mithila--that he, with his family, had gone to
Pushpapuri, to be present at the Simanta festival of the queen, and
had stayed there some time after the departure of the other guests;
that at that time the King of Malwa, furnished with a magic weapon,
had invaded the country; that in the battle which ensued, Praharavarma
had assisted his friend with the few soldiers who accompanied him, and
had been taken prisoner, but had been liberated by the conqueror; that
on his return he had been attacked in the forest by Bheels, and had
repulsed them with difficulty. 'I and my daughter,' she continued,
'who had charge of the king's twin children, were separated from the
rest in the confusion, and lost our way in the forest. There we
suddenly came upon a tiger. In my fright, I stumbled and fell, and
dropped the child, which I was carrying, on the carcase of a cow with
which the tiger had been engaged. At that moment an arrow struck and
killed the tiger. I fainted away, and when I recovered, I found myself
quite alone; my daughter had disappeared, and the child, as I suppose,
was carried off by the Bheels, who shot the beast. After a time I was
found by a compassionate cowherd, who took care of me till my wounds
were healed; and I am now wandering about in the hope of finding the
boy, and of hearing some tidings of my daughter and the other child.'
After giving me this account, she went on her way again, and I,
distressed that the son of your majesty's friend should be in such
hands, determined to set out in search of him.
"After some days I came to a small temple of Durga, where a party of
Bheels were about to make the child an offering to the goddess, in
the hope of obtaining success through her favour; and they were then
deliberating in what manner they should kill him, whether by hanging
him on the branch of a tree and cutting him to pieces with swords, or
by partly burying him in the ground and shooting at him with arrows,
or by worrying him with young dogs.
"Then I went up to them very humbly, and said: 'O Kiratas, I am an old
brahman; having lost my way in the forest, I laid down my child whom I
was carrying, while I went away for a moment to try to find an opening
out of the dense thicket; when I came back he was gone. I have been
searching for him ever since; have you seen him?' 'Is this your
child?' said they. 'O yes!' I exclaimed. 'Take him, then,' they
replied; 'we respect a brahman.' Thus I got possession of the boy,
and, blessing them for their kindness, took him away as quickly as
possible, and have now brought him here, thinking he will be best
under your majesty's protection."
The king, though grieved at the calamity of his friend, rejoiced that
the child was saved from such a death; and giving him the name of
Upaharavarma, had him brought up as his own son.
Not long after this, Rajahansa went to bathe at a holy place, and in
returning, as he passed by a group of Chandalas, he observed a woman
carrying a very beautiful boy. Being struck by the appearance of the
child, he said "Where did you get this beautiful boy, who is like a
king's son? Surely he is not your own child! pray tell me."
She answered: "When the Bheels attacked and plundered the King of
Mithila near our village, this child was picked up and brought to me
by my husband, and I have taken care of him ever since."
The king being convinced that this was the other child of his friend,
the King of Mithila, by fair words and gifts induced the woman to give
him up, and took him to the queen, giving him the name of
Apaharavarma, and begging her to bring him up with her own son.
Soon afterwards, a disciple of Vamadeva brought a beautiful boy to the
king, and said "As I was returning from a pilgrimage to Ramatirtha, I
saw an old woman carrying this child, and asked her how she came to be
wandering there. In answer to my questions, she told me her story,
saying, 'I was the servant of a rich man, named Kalagupta, living in
the island of Kalayavana, and I waited on his daughter Suvritta. One
day a young merchant, named Ratnodbhava, son of a minister of the
King of Magadha, arrived in the island, and having become acquainted
with my master, he married his beautiful daughter.
"'After some time, he was desirous of visiting his family, and being
unwilling to leave behind his young wife, who was then not far from
childbirth, he took her with him, and me as her nurse.
"'We embarked on board a ship, and had at first a favourable voyage;
but when approaching the land, we were overtaken by a storm, and a
great wave broke over the ship, which went down almost immediately. I
found myself in the water near my young mistress, and managed to
support her till we got hold of a plank, by means of which we at last
reached the shore. Whether my master was saved or not I do not know,
but I fear that he perished with the rest of those on board, whom we
never saw again.
"'The coast where we landed appeared to be uninhabited, and the poor
lady, being unable to walk far, after much suffering of mind and body,
gave birth to this child under a tree in the forest. I have just left
her, in the hope of finding some village where I may obtain
assistance; and by her wish I have brought the child with me, since
she is incapable of taking care of it.'
"The woman had hardly finished speaking when a wild elephant, breaking
through the bushes, came suddenly upon us, and she was so frightened
that she let the child fall, and ran away.
"I hid myself behind a tree, and saw the elephant take up the child
with his trunk, as if about to put it into its mouth. At that moment
he was attacked by a lion, and let the child fall. When the two beasts
had moved from the spot, I came from my hiding-place just in time to
see the child taken up by a monkey, who ran up a high tree. Presently
the beast let the child drop, and as it fell on a leafy branch, I took
it up uninjured by the fall, or the other rough treatment which it had
"After searching for the woman some time in vain, I took the child to
my master, the great muni Vamadeva, and I have now brought it to you
by his command."
The king, astonished at the preservation of the child under such
adverse circumstances, and hoping that Ratnodbhava might have escaped
from the shipwreck, sent for Susruta to take charge of his brother's
child, to whom he gave the name of Pushpodbhava.
Some days after this the queen went up to her husband with a child in
her arms, and told him, when he expressed his surprise "Last night I
was suddenly awakened from sleep and saw a beautiful lady standing
before me, holding this child. She said to me: 'O queen, I am a
Yaksha, daughter of Manibhadra, and wife of Kamapala, the son of your
husband's late minister, Dharmapala; by command of Kuvera, I have
brought this my child to you, that he may enter the service of your
son, who is destined to become a mighty monarch.'
"I was too much astonished to ask her any question, and she, having
laid down the child near me, disappeared."
The king, greatly surprised, especially that Kamapala should have
married a Yaksha, sent for the child's uncle, Sumittra, and committed
the boy to his care, giving him the name of Arthapala.
Not long after this another disciple of Vamadeva brought a very
beautiful child to the king, and said: "My lord, I have lately been on
a pilgrimage to several holy places, and on my way back, happening to
be on the bank of the river Kavari, I saw a woman carrying this child,
and evidently in great distress. On being questioned by me, she wiped
away her tears, and with difficulty told me her story, saying, 'O
brahman, Satyavarma, the youngest son of Sitavarma, a minister of the
King of Magadha, after travelling about a long time, visiting all holy
places as a pilgrim, came to this country, and here married a
Brahman's daughter, named Kali. Having no children by her, he took as
his second wife her sister Gauri, and by her he had one son, this
"'Then the first wife, envious of her sister, determined to destroy
the child; and having, with some false pretence, enticed me, when I
was carrying the child, to the bank of the river, she pushed us in. I
contrived to hold my charge with one hand, and to swim with the other
till I met with an uprooted tree carried down by the rapid current. To
this I clung, and after floating a long distance, was able at last to
land at this place; but in getting away from the tree I disturbed a
black serpent which had taken refuge there, and having been bitten by
it, I now feel that I am dying.' As she spoke, the poison began to
take greater effect, and she fell on the ground.
"After trying in vain the power of charms, I went to look for some
herb which might serve as an antidote; but when I returned the poor
creature was dead.
"I was much perplexed at this occurrence, especially as she had not
told me the name of the village from which she came, nor could I
conjecture how far off it might be, so that I was unable to take the
child to its father.
"Therefore, after collecting wood and burning the body, I have brought
the child to you, thinking that he will be best taken care of under
The king, astonished that so many children should have been brought in
such a wonderful manner, and distressed at not knowing where to find
Satyavarma, gave the child the name of Somadatta, and committed him to
the care of his uncle, Sumati, who received him with great affection.
These nine boys, thus wonderfully collected together, became the
associates and play-fellows of the young prince, and were educated
together with him.
When they were all nearly seventeen, their education was regarded as
complete, for they had not only been taught the vedas and the
commentaries on them, several languages, grammar, logic, philosophy,
&c., but were well acquainted with poetry, plays, and all sorts of
tales and stories; were accomplished in drawing and music, skilled in
games, sleight of hand and various tricks, and practised in the use of
weapons. They were also bold riders and drivers of horses and
elephants; and even clever thieves, able to steal without detection;
so that Rajahansa was exceedingly delighted at seeing his son
surrounded by a band of such brave, active, clever companions and
faithful followers. One day about this time Vamadeva came to visit
the king, by whom he was received with great respect and reverence.
Seeing the prince perfect in beauty, strength, and accomplishments,
and surrounded by such companions, he said to Rajahansa: "Your wish
for a son has indeed been fully gratified, since you have one who is
all that you could desire. It is now time for him to go out into the
world and prepare himself for the career of conquest to which he is
The king listened respectfully to the advice of the muni, and
determined to be guided by it; having therefore given his son good
advice, he sent him forth at a propitious hour, to travel about in
search of adventure, accompanied by his nine friends.
After travelling for some days, they entered the forest of Vindhya,
and when halting there for the night they saw a rough-looking man,
having all the appearance of a Bheel, but wearing the sacred cord
which is the characteristic of a brahman.
The prince, surprised at such an incongruity, asked him who he was,
how he came to be living in such a wild place, and how, with all the
appearance of a forester, he was wearing the brahminical cord.
The man, seeming to be aware that his questioner was a person of
importance, answered respectfully, "O prince, there are in this forest
certain nominal brahmans, who, having abandoned the study of the
vedas, religious obligations, and family duties, are devoted to all
sorts of sinful practices, and act as leaders of robber bands,
associating with their followers and living as they live.
"I, Matanga by name, am the son of one of these, and was brought up
to be a robber like them. Since I have been grown up I have often
assisted in plundering expeditions, when they would fall suddenly on
some defenceless village, and carry away not only all the property on
which they could lay their hands, but several of the richest of the
inhabitants, whom they would keep prisoners till a ransom had been
paid, or till, compelled by torture, they confessed where their money
"On one of these occasions, when my companions were ill-treating a
brahman, I was seized by a sudden feeling of compassion and
remonstrated with them. Finding words of no avail, I stood before him,
and was killed by my own men while fighting on his behalf.
"After death I went down to the regions below, and was taken before
Yama, the judge of the dead, sitting on a great throne inlaid with
"When the god saw me prostrate before him he called one of his
attendants and said: 'The time for this man's death is not arrived,
and moreover, he was killed in defending a brahman; therefore, after
showing him the tortures of the wicked, let him return to his former
body, in which he will in future lead a holy life.'
"By him I was shown some sinners tied to red-hot iron bars, some
thrown into great tubs of boiling oil, some beaten with clubs, some
cut to pieces with swords; after which my spirit re-entered the body,
and I awoke to consciousness, lying alone, grievously wounded, in the
"In this state I was found by some of my relations, who carried me
home and took care of me till my wounds were healed.
"Shortly after this I met with the brahman whom I had rescued, and he,
grateful for the service which I had rendered him, read to me some
religious books, and taught me the due performance of religious rites,
especially the proper way of worshipping Siva.
"When he considered me sufficiently instructed, he quitted me, giving
me his blessing, and receiving many thanks from me for his kindness.
"Since then I have separated myself from all my former associates, and
have lived a life of penance and meditation in this forest,
endeavouring to atone for my past sins, and especially seeking, to
propitiate the mighty deity who has the half-moon for his crest; and
now, having told you my history, I have something to communicate
which concerns you alone, and beg you to withdraw with me to hear it
The two then went aside from the rest of the party, and the stranger
said, "O prince, last night, during sleep, Siva appeared to me and
addressed me thus: 'Matanga, I am pleased with your devotions; they
shall now have their reward. North of this place, on the bank of the
river which flows through the Dandaka forest, there is a remarkable
rock, glittering with crystal and marked with the footsteps of Gauri.
Go thither; in the side of the rock you will see a yawning chasm,
enter it and search till you find a copper plate with letters engraved
on it; follow the directions therein contained, and you will become
King of Patala. That you may know this not to be a mere dream, a
king's son will come to this place to-morrow, and he will be your
companion in the journey.'
"I have in consequence anxiously awaited your coming, and now entreat
you to go with me to the place pointed out in the vision."
The curiosity of the prince was much excited by Matanga's story, and
he readily promised to be his companion; fearing, however, that his
friends would be opposed to his purpose, he did not on his return tell
them anything of what he had heard, and at midnight, when they were
all fast asleep, he slipped away without disturbing them, and went to
join Matanga, who was waiting for him at a place which had been agreed
on, and the two walked on till they came to the rock indicated by Siva
in the vision.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party, uneasy at the disappearance of the
prince, sought for him all over the forest, and not finding him,
determined to disperse, and continue the search in different
countries; and having arranged where to meet again, took leave of each
other, and set out separately in different directions.
Matanga, entirely believing the vision, and rendered still more
confident by the companionship of the prince, fearlessly entered the
cavern, found the copper plate and read the words engraved on it.
Following the directions therein contained, they went on in darkness,
groping their way through long passages, till at last they saw light
before them and arrived at the subterranean country of Patala.
After walking some distance further, they came to a small lake,
surrounded by trees, with a city in view.
Here they stopped, and Matanga begging the prince to watch and guard
against interruption, collected a quantity of wood and lighted a large
fire, into which he threw himself with many charms and incantations,
and presently came forth with a new body full of youth, beauty, and
vigour, to the great astonishment of his companion.
Hardly was this change effected, when they saw coming towards them
from the city a procession, headed by a beautiful young lady
splendidly dressed, and adorned with very costly jewels. Approaching
Matanga, she made a low obeisance, and, without speaking, put a very
precious gem into his hand. Being questioned by him, she answered,
with tears in her eyes and in a soft musical voice, "O excellent
brahman, I am the daughter of a chief of Asuras, and my name is
Kalindi; my father, the ruler of this subterranean world, was slain
by Vishnu whom he had offended, and as he had no son, I was left his
heir and successor, and suffered great distress and perplexity.
"Some time ago I consulted a very holy Siddha, who had compassion on
me, and told me, 'After a time, a certain mortal, having a heavenly
body, will come down here from the upper world; he will become your
husband, and reign prosperously with you over all Patala'.
"Trusting to this prophecy, I have waited impatiently, longing for
your coming as a Chataka longs for rain, and am now come, with the
consent of my ministers and people, to offer you my hand and kingdom."
Matanga, delighted at such a speedy fulfilment of the promise given in
the vision, gladly accepted her offer, and with the approbation of
his companion, was soon afterwards married to her amid great
Rajavahana was treated with great respect and kindness by Matanga and
his bride; but after seeing all the wonders of the place, his
curiosity was satisfied, and he was desirous of returning to the upper
At his departure, a magic jewel was given him by Kalindi, which had
the power of keeping off from the possessor of it hunger, thirst,
fatigue, and other discomforts; and Matanga accompanied him for a part
of the way. Walking through darkness as before, the prince at last
reached the mouth of the cavern and came forth into the open air.
Having missed all his companions, he was uncertain where to direct his
steps, and wandered on till he came to a large park, outside a city,
where a great concourse of people was assembled, and he there sat down
As he sat watching the various groups, he saw a young man enter the
park, accompanied by a lady and followed by a numerous retinue, and
they both got into one of the swings placed there for the amusement of
the festal crowd.
Presently the eye of the new-comer rested on the prince; with signs of
great joy he jumped down, exclaiming, "O what happiness! That is my
lord Rajavahana," and, running to him, bowed down to his feet, saying
"Great is my good fortune in meeting you again." Rajavahana, affected
by equal pleasure, warmly embraced him, saying, "O my dear friend
Somadatta, how happy I am to see you once more!"
Then they sat down together under a shady tree, and the prince
inquired: "What have you been doing all this time? Where have you
been? Who is this lady? And how did you get all these attendants?"
Somadatta, thus questioned, began the recital of what he had done and
* * * * *
ADVENTURES OF SOMADATTA.
My lord, having great anxiety on your account, I wandered about in
various countries. One day, when stooping to drink from a cool, clear
stream, near a forest, I saw something bright under the water, and
having taken it up, found it to be a ruby of very great value.
Exhausted by fatigue and the scorching heat of the sun, I went into a
small temple to rest, and saw there a brahman with a number of
children, all looking wretched and half-starved. He seemed to regard
me as a possible benefactor, and when questioned, readily told me his
story; how his wife had died, leaving him with the care of all these
children, and how, having no means of subsistence, he had wandered
about in the hope of obtaining some employment; but had got nothing
better than the charge of this small temple, where the offerings were
not sufficient to support him and his family.
I asked him--"What is that camp which I see at some distance?"
He answered--"The Lord of Lata, Mattakala by name, hearing again and
again of the great beauty of Vamalochana, daughter of Viraketu,
sovereign of this country, asked her in marriage, and was refused.
Being determined to obtain her, he raised an army and besieged Patali,
the capital city. Viraketu finding himself unable to resist the enemy,
purchased peace by giving up his daughter, and Mattakala, thinking
that the marriage can be celebrated with greater magnificence in his
own country, has deferred it till his return. He is now on his way
home with a small part of his army, the rest having been dismissed;
and he is staying at present near this forest to enjoy the pleasures
of the chase. The princess is not with her intended husband, but under
the care of Manapala, one of her father's officers, who is said to be
very indignant at the surrender of the lady; you may see his camp at
no great distance from the other."
While thanking the poor man for his information, a thought came into
my mind--here is a very poor and deserving man, I will give him the
jewel which I have found; and I did so.
He received the gift with profuse thanks, and set out immediately to
try to dispose of it; while I lay down there to sleep.
After a time I was awakened by a great clamour, and saw the brahman
coming towards me with his hands tied behind him, driven along, with
blows of a whip and much abuse, by a party of soldiers.
On seeing me, he called out, "There is the thief; that is the man who
gave me the jewel."
Upon this the soldiers let him go, and, seizing me, refused to listen
to my remonstrances, or to my account of the manner in which I had
found the ruby. They dragged me along with them, and having put
fetters on my feet, thrust me into a dungeon, saying, "There are your
companions," pointing at the same time to some other prisoners
confined in that place.
When I recovered my senses--for I was half stunned by the violence
with which I had been pushed in--I said to my fellow-prisoners, "Who
are you, and what did the soldiers mean by calling you my companions?
for you are quite strangers to me."
Those prisoners then told me the story of the King of Lata, which I
had already heard from the brahman, and further said, "We were sent by
Manapala to assassinate that king, and broke into the place where we
supposed him to be. Not finding him, we were unwilling to come away
empty-handed; we therefore carried off everything of value within our
reach and made our escape to the forest. The next morning there was an
active pursuit, our hiding-place was discovered, we were all captured,
and the stolen property taken from us, with the exception of one ruby
of great value, which had disappeared. The king is exceedingly angry
that this cannot be found; our assertion that we have lost it is
disbelieved, and we are threatened with torture to-morrow, unless we
say where it is hidden."
Having heard the robbers' story, I was convinced that the ruby in
question was the one which I had found and given to the brahman, and I
now understood why these men were supposed to be my accomplices.
I told them who I was, how I had found the jewel, and had been
unjustly arrested on account of it, and exhorted them to take courage
and join me in an attempt to escape that night. To this they agreed,
and at midnight we managed to overpower the jailors and knock off our
fetters; and having armed ourselves with weapons which we found in the
prison, we cut our way through the guards, and reached Manapala's camp
in safety. The next day, men sent by the King of Lata came to
Manapala, and said--"Some robbers, who were caught after breaking into
the king's dwelling, have made their escape, and are known to have
come here; give them up immediately, or it will be the worse for you."
Manapala, who only wanted an excuse for a quarrel, having heard this
insulting message, his eyes red with anger, answered,--"Who is the
King of Lata, that I should bow down to him? What have I to do with
that low fellow? Begone!"
When the men returned to their master and told him the reception they
had met with, he was in a furious rage, and, disregarding the
smallness of the force which was with him, marched out at once to
attack Manapala, who was quite prepared to meet him.
When I entered the camp, after my escape, Manapala, who received from
his servants an exaggerated account of my coolness, dexterity, and
courage, had treated me with great honour, and now I offered my
services in the approaching fight. They were gladly accepted, and I
was furnished with an excellent chariot and horses guided by a skilful
charioteer, a strong coat of mail, a bow and two quivers full of
arrows, as well as with other weapons.
Thus equipped, I went forth to meet the enemy, and seeking out the
leader, soon found myself near him. First confusing him with arrows
poured upon him in rapid succession, I brought my chariot close to
his, and suddenly springing into it, cut off his head at a blow.
Seeing the king fall, his soldiers were discouraged, and fled; the
camp was taken, much booty gained, and the princess led back, to her
father. He having received an account of the victory, and of my share
in it, through a messenger sent from Manapala, came forth to meet us
when we entered the city, and received me with great honour. After a
time, as I continued daily to increase in favour with him, he bestowed
on me the hand of his daughter, and declared me his successor.
Being thus arrived at the height of prosperity and happiness, I had
but one cause of sorrow--my absence from you. I am on my way to
Mahakala, to worship Siva there. I have stopped at this place, hoping,
at a festival so much frequented, I might at least hear some tidings
of you, and now the god has favoured his worshipper, and through this
happy meeting all my wishes are fulfilled.
Rajavahana, who delighted in valour, having heard Somadatta's story,
while expressing his sorrow for his undeserved imprisonment,
congratulated him on the happy result of it, and told him his own
He had scarcely finished the relation of them when a third person came
up, and the prince, warmly greeting him, exclaimed, "O, Somadatta,
here is Pushpodbhava." Then there were mutual embracings and
rejoicings, after which they all three sat down again, and Rajavahana
said: "Somadatta has told me his adventures, but I know nothing of the
rest of my friends. What did you do when you missed me that morning in
the forest?" Then Pushpodbhava respectfully spoke as follows:--
* * * * *
ADVENTURES OF PUSHPODBHAVA.
My lord, your friends being convinced that you had gone on some
expedition with the brahman, and knowing nothing of the direction
which you had taken, were greatly perplexed. At last we agreed to
separate, each going a different way, and I, like the rest, set out by
myself. One day, being unable to bear the heat of the noonday sun, I
sat down in the shade of a tree at the bottom of a mountain. Happening
to look up, I saw a man falling from the rock above, and he came to
the ground very near me.
On going up to him, I found that he was still alive, and having
revived him by throwing cold water over him, and by other means, I
found that he had no bone broken, and did not appear to have received
any serious injury.
When he was sufficiently recovered, I asked him who he was and how he
came to fall from the precipice. With tears in his eyes, and a feeble
voice, he said: "My name is Ratnodbhava; I am the son of a minister of
the King of Magadha; travelling about as a merchant, I came, many
years ago, to the island of Kalayavana. There I married a merchant's
daughter, and going with her by sea to visit my relations, was
overtaken by a violent storm, during which the ship sank, and I was
the only person saved.
"After reaching the shore, I wandered about for some time in a strange
country, and, unable to bear my misery, was about to put an end to my
life, when I was stopped by a Siddha, who assured me that after
sixteen years I should find my wife. Trusting to this promise, I have
endured life through all these years; but the appointed time having
passed without any sign of the fulfilment of the prophecy, I could
hold out no longer, and threw myself from the top of this precipice."
At that moment the voice of a woman in distress was heard not far off,
and saying to him whom I recognised as my father, "Take courage, I
have good news for you; only wait a moment," I ran off in the
direction of the place whence the voice had proceeded, and soon came
in sight of a large fire and two women near it, the one trying to
throw herself into the flames, the other struggling to prevent her.
Going to the help of the latter, I soon got the lady away, and
brought her and her companion to the place where my father was lying.
I then said to the old woman, "Pray tell me what all this means? How
came you to be in such a place, and why did the lady wish to destroy
With a voice broken by sobs, she answered me: "This lady, whose name
is Suvritta, is the daughter of a merchant in the island of
Kalayavana, and the wife of Ratnodbhava. While crossing the sea with
her husband, there was a great storm, the ship sank, and this lady and
I, her nurse, were the only persons saved. A few days afterwards she
gave birth to a son in the forest; but through my ill-fortune the
child was lost, having been seized by a wild elephant. Afterwards we
two wandered about in great misery, and she would have put an end to
her life had we not met with a holy man, who comforted her with the
assurance that after sixteen years she would be reunited with her
husband and son. Relying on this prophecy, she consented to wait, and
we have spent all these years living near his hermitage; but the
sixteen years were ended some time ago, and having lost all hope, she
was about to end her wretched life by throwing herself into a fire
which she had made, when you so opportunely came to my assistance."
Hearing this story, my father was unable to speak from astonishment. I
made him known to my mother, and myself to both of them, to their very
great joy; and my mother seemed as if she would never weary of kissing
and embracing me.
After a time, when we were all more composed, my father began to
inquire about the king and his own relations, for during all these
years he had heard nothing of them. I told him everything--how the
king had been defeated, and had been living in the forest; your birth,
and the wonderful preservation of myself and my companions; how we had
all set out together; how we had lost you, and how I was now searching
As soon as my father was able to walk, I placed him and my mother
under the care of a certain muni, not very far off, and set out again
on my travels. Just at this time I had heard that under the ruins of
an ancient city, overgrown by trees, a great treasure was supposed to
be concealed; and as I possessed a magic ointment which, when applied
to the eyes, enabled me to see through the ground, I determined to
try to dig it up. I therefore got together some strong young men with
the promise of good pay, went to the place, and succeeded in finding a
large quantity of gold and silver coin. While I was thus engaged, a
caravan of merchants came to that neighbourhood, and halted there for
a day or two. Taking advantage of this opportunity, I purchased of
them sacks for holding the coin, and some strong oxen to carry them. I
then dismissed my men, well satisfied with their share, and joined the
caravan, where I soon made friends with the leader, the son of a
merchant at Oujein, to which place he was then going.
On our arrival at the city, he introduced me to his father,
Bandhupala, by whose means I obtained permission from the King of
Malwa to reside there. When I had taken a house, safely deposited the
money, and established my parents in it, I was anxious to set out
again in search of you.
Bandhupala, seeing this, said to me: "You have already spent much time
in searching for your friend, and may spend much more in the same
manner to no purpose, if you have no clue to guide you. Now I am
skilled in augury and the language of birds; it is probable that I may
obtain some indications for you; wait, therefore, patiently for the
present. Meanwhile, my house is always open to you."
To this I agreed, and having great pleasure in his society, was much
with him, and soon had other attractions there, for I fell in love
with his beautiful daughter, Balachandrika.
Though I had not declared my passion, I was convinced, from her looks
and from many things which I observed, that she was equally in love
with me, and therefore anxiously sought an opportunity of speaking to
her in private.
One day, Bandhupala, wishing to obtain information about you by
listening to the voices of birds, went with me into a park near the
city, and while he waited under the trees, hearing the birds, I walked
on, and had the good fortune to see my beloved alone, in another part
of the park.
Although she was evidently pleased at seeing me, and did not reject my
suit, I observed that she was distressed and dispirited, and inquired
She told me, "Some time ago the old king abdicated in favour of his
son Darpasara, who is now gone on a pilgrimage to the Himalaya
Mountains, having first appointed as joint regents the two sons of his
father's sister, Charmavarma and Daruvarma.
"The former of these two alone has the management of affairs; for the
latter, given up to evil deeds, makes use of his power only for the
indulgence of his licentious passions.
"He has seen me during my attendance on the Princess Avantisundari,
has endeavoured to seduce me, and I am in constant fear of his
violence, for he hesitates at nothing in the indulgence of his wicked
She told me this reluctantly, and with much agitation; but I comforted
her with the assurance of my love, and the promise of finding some
means to free her from his annoyance.
After some reflection, I said to her, "This is the plan which I
propose. Your friends must give out in public that a certain Siddha
has declared--'Balachandrika is guarded by a demon, who will allow no
man to have intercourse with her without his consent. Whoever,
therefore, wishes to marry her, must first pass one night in company
with her and one female friend, and if he comes out uninjured, or is
able to overcome the demon, he may then safely marry her.'
"If Daruvarma, on hearing this, shall be alarmed, and abstain from
further annoyance, so much the better; if, on the other hand, he
persists in his wicked purpose, do you appear to consent, and say, 'If
you think you can overcome the demon, I am willing to meet you, but it
must be openly, in your own house; and then, whatever happens, no
blame can fall on my family.'
"To this proposal he will be sure to agree, and you may go to his
house without fear, for I will accompany you, disguised as a woman,
and will manage to kill that wretch, without danger to you or myself,
after which there will be no obstacle to our marriage; for, when I ask
your father, he will certainly consent, seeing the great love between
us, for he has shown great regard for me, and knows my property and
connections. But you must tell him now what has been arranged between
us, that he may be induced to spread abroad the report about the
demon, and to consent to your going to Daruvarma's house."
Balachandrika was delighted with my plan, and promised to do her best
to carry it out. She had full confidence in my courage and skill, and
felt sure that I should succeed in what I had undertaken. Then,
reluctantly leaving me, and looking back again and again, she walked
After quitting her I returned to her father, who was well satisfied
with the result of his observations, and told me that he had
ascertained that after thirty days I should meet you; and we walked
together to his house, talking over the matter.
After a few days, Balachandrika informed me that Daruvarma, undeterred
by the report which was now spread about the city, that she was
haunted by a demon, had continued his importunities, and that she had
consented to go to his house that evening.
Meanwhile I had secretly made my preparations, and concealed in a
lonely place everything required for my disguise. At the proper time,
when it was quite dark, I went there, changed my dress, met the lady,
and accompanied her to the house of the prince, who received us with
great respect; and not having the slightest suspicion of my being
other than what I seemed to be, sent away all his attendants, and
conducted us to a room in a small detached building. There he seated
her on a beautiful soft couch, inlaid with jewels, and expressing his
great delight at seeing her, brought forth and offered to us both very
handsome presents of dresses, ornaments, perfumes, &c. After some
conversation--as if no longer able to restrain himself--he sat down
beside her, and, regardless of my presence, threw his arms round her,
and kissed her again and again.
This was more than I could bear; suddenly seizing him by the throat, I
threw him on the ground, and despatched him with blows of hand, foot,
and knee, before he could call out or give an alarm.
Then we both screamed out loudly, and I rushed forth, as if in a
great fright, calling out, "Help! help! the horrible demon is killing
Hearing this, and seeing my apparent agitation, the attendants and
guards hastened in great confusion to the room, where they found the
prince dead, and the lady so agitated that she was unable to give an
account of what had happened; the demon had of course disappeared.
Some police were in attendance, suspicious of fraud, but even they did
not imagine two women to be capable of such an act of violence, and
the general opinion was that the story of the demon was founded on
truth, and that the prince well deserved the fate he had met with.
Balachandrika was therefore suffered to leave: I had already escaped
in the first alarm and confusion, had changed my dress, and reached
home in safety.
No further inquiry was made, and no suspicion fell on me; I duly
married my beloved, and as no harm happened to me, the demon was
supposed to have been propitiated.
The day indicated by my wife's father having arrived, I came here,
fully expecting to see you, and now my happiness is complete.
When Rajavahana had heard this story, he again related his own
adventures; after which he took leave of Somadatta, saying, "Come to
me as soon as possible, when you have paid your devotions at Mahakala,
and have taken your wife and her attendants home;" and he then
accompanied Pushpodbhava into the city of Avanti.
There he was hospitably received in the house of his friend, who
introduced him by his real name to Bandhupala, but gave out in the
city that he was a young brahman, worthy of all honour for his
learning and ability; and the prince remained for some time in that
city, treated with great respect and consideration by all who became
acquainted with him.
* * * * *
MARRIAGE OF AVANTISUNDARI.
During the stay of Rajavahana at Avanti, the season of spring arrived,
when the great festival of Kama is celebrated. The trees, breaking
into flower, were filled with the song of birds and the hum of bees,
and their branches were waved by the soft south wind, blowing, loaded
with perfume, from the sandal groves of Malaya. The lakes and pools
were thickly covered with lotus blossoms, among which innumerable
water-birds were sporting, and the feelings of all were influenced by
the charms of the season, and prepared for the worship of the god of
On the day of the festival, the parks and gardens were crowded with
people, some engaged in various sports, some walking about or sitting
under the trees, looking at the players.
Among them was the Princess Avantisundari, who was sitting on a sandy
spot, under a large tree, attended by her women, especially by her
dear friend Balachandrika, and making offerings to the god of various
perfumes and flowers.
The prince also walked in the park with his friend Pushpodbhava; and
wishing to see the princess, of whose grace and beauty he had already
heard, contrived to approach; and being encouraged by Balachandrika
with a gesture of the hand, came and stood very near her.
Then, indeed, having an opportunity of observing her, he was struck by
her exceeding beauty. She seemed to him as if formed by the god of
love with everything most beautiful in the world; and, as he gazed, he
felt more and more entranced, till almost unconsciously he was deeply
She, indeed, seeing him beautiful as Kama himself, was almost equally
affected, and, pervaded by strong feeling, trembled like the branch of
a creeping plant agitated by a gentle wind.
Then he thought, "Never have I seen anything so lovely. She must have
been formed by some singular accident, for there is no one like her in
She, indeed, ashamed to look openly at him, and half concealing
herself among her attendants, looked at him stealthily from time to
time, and while he had all his thoughts fixed on her, was saying to
herself, "Who can he be? Where does he come from? Happy the maidens
whose eyes are delighted with such beauty! happy the mother who has
such a son! What can I do? how can I find out who he is?"
Meanwhile Balachandrika, quick in discrimination, perceived the
impression they had made on each other; and not thinking it desirable
to declare his name and rank before the other attendants, or in such a
public place, introduced him to the princess, saying, "This is a very
learned and clever young brahman, a friend of my husband, worthy of
your notice. Allow me to recommend him to your favourable
The princess, delighted at heart, but concealing her feelings,
motioned to the prince to sit down near her, and gave him betel,
flowers, perfumes, &c., through one of her attendants.
Then Rajavahana, more deeply in love even than the princess, thought
to himself, "There surely must be some reason for this very sudden
attraction which I feel towards her. She must have been my beloved
wife in a former existence. Perhaps a curse was laid upon us; and now
that is removed. If so, the recognition ought to be mutual; at all
events I will try what I can do to produce the same feeling in her
which exists in my mind."
While he was considering how this might be accomplished, a swan
approached the princess, as if expecting to be fed or caressed; and in
sport, she desired Balachandrika to catch it.
Inspired by this circumstance with a happy thought, Rajavahana said to
the princess, "Will you allow me to tell you a short story? There was
formerly a king called Samba. When walking one day together with his
beloved wife at the side of a small lake in the pleasure-grounds, he
saw a swan asleep, just under the bank. Having caught it, he tied its
legs together, put it down again on the ground, and saying to his
wife, 'This bird sits as quiet as a muni; let him go where he likes,'
amused himself with laughing at its awkward attempts to walk. Then the
swan suddenly spoke: 'O king, though in the form of a swan, I am a
devout brahman; and since you have thus, without cause, ill-treated me
while sitting quiet here, engaged in meditation, I lay my curse upon
you, and you shall endure the pain of separation from your beloved
"Hearing this, the king, alarmed and distressed, bowed respectfully to
the ground, and said, 'O mighty sage, forgive an act done through
"Then that holy person, having his anger appeased, answered, 'My words
cannot be made of no effect. I will, however, so far modify the curse
that it will not take place during your present existence; but in a
future birth, when you are united to the same lady in another body,
you must endure the misery of separation from her for two months,
though you will afterwards enjoy very great happiness with her; and I
will also confer on you both the power of recognising each other in
your next existence,'--I beg of you therefore not to tie this bird
which you were wishing to catch."
The princess, hearing this story, was quite ready to believe it; and
from her own feelings was convinced that it really referred to a
previous existence of herself, now brought to her recollection; and
that the love which she felt springing up in her heart was directed
towards one who had formerly been her husband. With a sweet smile, she
answered: "Doubtless Samba tied the bird in that way on purpose to
obtain the power of recognition in another birth; and it was very
cleverly managed by him."
From that moment they seemed perfectly to understand each other, and
sat without speaking, their hearts full of happiness.
Presently the mother of the princess--the queen of the ex-king
Manasara, who had also come with her attendants into the park, joined
her daughter; and Balachandrika having seen her approaching, made a
sign to the prince, upon which he and his friend slipped on one side,
and hid themselves behind some leafy bushes.
After the queen had stayed a short time talking to her daughter and
looking at the games, she set out to return, and the princess
Before going, she turned round, as if addressing the swan, but
intending the speech for the prince, who was anxiously watching her
from his hiding-place, "Though you came near me so lovingly just now,
I may not stay longer with you: I must leave you and follow my mother:
do not forget me or imagine that I neglect you, for I am still fond of
With these words she walked slowly away, looking with longing eyes in
the direction of her lover.
On their return to the palace, the princess heard from Balachandrika a
full account of Rajavahana and his adventures, through which she was
even more in love than before; and having no opportunity of seeing him
again, became listless and indifferent to her usual occupations, lost
her appetite, wasted away, and at last lay on her bed, burning with
In vain did her devoted attendants use all their efforts to diminish
the heat by means of cold water, fanning, and other remedies; and she,
seeing their distress, said to her faithful Balachandrika: "Ah, dear
friend, all you can do is to no purpose; they call Kama the god with
five arrows; but surely this is a wrong name, for I feel as if pierced
by him with hundreds of arrows. They call the wind from Malaya
cooling; but to me it only increases the fever, as if blowing up the
fire which consumes me: my own necklace, the contact of which was
formerly agreeable, now feels as if smeared with the poison of
serpents. Give up your exertions; the prince is the only physician who
can cure me; and how can he come to me here?"
Then Balachandrika thought to herself: "Something must be done, and
that without delay, or this violent passion of love will surely cause
her death. I will at least see the prince, and try if it is possible
to bring about a meeting."
Having thus resolved, she begged the princess to write a few lines to
her lover; and committing her to the care of the other attendants, she
went to the house of her husband. There she found Rajavahana almost in
the same state as the princess, burning with fever, throwing himself
about restlessly on his couch, and bemoaning his hard fate to his
On seeing Balachandrika, he started up, saying, "Oh, how welcome is
the sight of you! I am sure you must be the bearer of good news. Sit
down here and tell me about my darling."
She answered: "The princess is suffering like yourself, longing to see
you; and has now sent me with this letter."
Eagerly opening it, he read--
"Beloved--Having seen your beauty, delicate as a flower, faultless,
unrivalled in the world, my heart is full of longing. Do you likewise
make your heart soft."
Having read this, he said: "Your coming here is refreshing to me as
water to a withered plant; you are the wife of my very dear friend,
Pushpodbhava, and I know how attached you are to my darling, therefore
I can speak freely to you. Tell her that when she left the grove that
day she carried off my heart with her, and that I long to see her even
more than she longs for me; tell her only not to despond; the entrance
to her apartments is indeed difficult, but I will contrive to see her
by some means or other. Come back soon, and, having thought over the
matter, I will tell you what is to be done." With this message,
Balachandrika went to rejoice her friend; and the prince, though much
comforted, could not remain quiet, but walked to the park, to have the
pleasure of seeing at least the place where he had first met his
charmer. There he stayed a long time together with his friend, looking
at her footsteps in the sand, the withered flowers which she had
gathered and thrown down, the place where she had sat, and the shrubs
from which he had watched her, and listening to the murmur of the wind
among the leaves, the hum of the bees and the song of the birds.
Presently, they saw approaching them a brahman, splendidly dressed,
followed by a servant. He, coming up to the prince, saluted him; and
the prince, returning the salute, asked who he was. He answered "My
name is Vidyeswara. I am a famous conjurer, and travel about
exhibiting my skill for the amusement of kings and nobles. I have now
come to Oujein, to show off my skill before the king." Then, with a
knowing smile, he added, "But what makes you look so pale?"
Pushpodbhava, thinking to himself this is just the man to help us,
answered, "There is something in your appearance which induces me to
look on you as a friend, and you know how sometimes intimate
friendship arises from a very short acquaintance; I will therefore
tell you why my friend is thus sad. Not long ago, he, the son of a
king, met the Princess Avantisundari on this very spot, and they fell
in love with each other. From the impossibility of meeting, both are
suffering, and the prince is brought into this condition which you
Vidyeswara, in reply, looking at the prince, said, with a smile, "To
such as you, with me for an ally, nothing is impossible. I will,
through my skill, contrive that you shall marry the princess in the
presence of her father and his court; but you must follow my
directions exactly, and she must be informed of her part in the affair
through some trusty female friend."
Then, having given the necessary directions, the conjurer went his
way. Rajavahana also returned to the house, and when he had given
Balachandrika, who came again in the evening, the directions received
from the conjurer, and a loving message of encouragement for the
princess, he anxiously awaited the morrow, unable to sleep from the
thought of the expected happiness, and fluctuating between alternate
hopes and fears. In the morning, Vidyeswara, having collected a large
troop of followers, went to the palace and announced himself to the
doorkeeper, saying, "Tell the king the great conjurer is arrived."
Manasara, who had heard of his great skill, and was desirous of seeing
it, ordered him to be immediately admitted, and, after the usual
salutations, the performance began.
First, while the band was playing, peacocks' tails were waving, and
singers imitating the plaintive notes of birds, to excite the feelings
and distract the attention of the hearers, the conjurer turned round
violently several times, with his eyes half-closed, and caused great
hooded serpents to appear and vultures to come down from the sky to
After this, he represented the scene of Vishnu killing Hiranyakasipu,
chief of the Asuras, to the great astonishment of the spectators;
then, turning to the king, he said, "It is desirable that the
performance should end with something auspicious; I propose,
therefore, to represent a royal marriage, and one of my people will
act as your daughter, another as a prince, endowed with all good
qualities. But first I must apply to your eyes this ointment, which
will give you preternatural clearness of vision." To all this the king
Meanwhile, the princess had contrived to slip out unobserved, and
stood among the conjurer's people. Rajavahana also stood ready, and
the performance began. Thus, under the disguise of a piece of acting,
the conjurer, being a brahman, was able to complete the marriage with
all proper rites and ceremonies without any suspicion on the part of
the king that it was his own daughter whom he saw before him; and the
others, also unsuspecting, only admired the skill of the conjurer in
making the actress so like the lady whom she represented. When the
performance was ended, the conjurer, having been liberally rewarded by
the king, dismissed his hired attendants and departed.
In the confusion and excitement caused by the conjurer's performance,
Rajavahana and the princess slipped unnoticed into her apartments,
where he was safe, for the present at least, her attendants being all
devoted to her, and careful to keep the secret.
He was thus able to enjoy the society of his bride without
interruption; to give her a full account of his life and adventures,
and to teach her many things of which she was ignorant; so that she
became more and more attached to him, and admired his knowledge and
eloquence as much as she had before admired his beauty.
* * * * *
FURTHER ADVENTURES OF RAJAVAHANA.
Thus the princess, listening with delight and astonishment to the
sweet and eloquent words of her husband, and he never tired of
contemplating her beauty and enjoying her caresses, lived for some
time in the greatest happiness, without care or anxiety for the
One night, when both were sleeping, the prince had a remarkable dream.
He seemed to see an old swan, whose legs were tied together with lotus
fibre, approach the bedside; at that moment he awoke with a feeling of
pressure on his feet, and found himself bound with a slender silver
chain, bright as the rays of the moon. The princess awoke at the same
time, and seeing her husband thus fettered, screamed out loudly in her
fright. The attendants in the adjoining apartments, hearing the
scream, thought something dreadful must have happened. They rushed
into the room, added their cries to hers, and forgetting all their
former precautions, left the doors open, so that the guards outside,
hearing the clamour, entered and saw the prince.
When about to seize him, they were awed by his dignity, and contented
themselves with giving information to the regent, Chandavarma, who, on
receiving it, came immediately to the place.
Looking at the prince with eyes burning with the fire of anger, he
began to recollect him, and said, "So! this is that conceited brahman
who has been deceiving the people; making them believe that he is
wonderfully clever; the friend of that fellow the husband of the
wicked Balachandrika, the cause of my brother's death. How is it
possible that the princess should have fallen in love with such a
paltry wretch, overlooking a man like me? She is a disgrace to her
family, and shall soon see her husband impaled on a stake."
Then, with his forehead disfigured by a fearful frown, he continued to
abuse the prince; and having tied his hands behind him, dragged him
from the room.
Rajavahana, naturally brave, and encouraged by belief in that former
existence the remembrance of which had so wonderfully arisen in his
mind, bore all the insults with firmness, and saying to the princess,
"Remember that speech of the swan, have patience for two months, and
all will be well," submitted quietly to the imprisonment.
When the ex-king and queen were informed of what had happened, they
were greatly distressed on their daughter's account, and exerted
themselves to save the life of their son-in-law; but the regent, in
whom all authority was vested, resisted their entreaties; and only on
condition of their resigning some of the few privileges which still
remained to them did he consent to defer the execution till he had
communicated with Darpasara, and learned his pleasure on the subject.
He confiscated the property of Pushpodbhava, and threw him and his
family into prison; and being about to march against the King of Anga,
and unwilling to leave the prince behind, lest he should be liberated
by the old king, he caused a wooden cage to be made, in which his
prisoner was shut up and carried with the army.
Treated thus like some wild beast, roughly shaken and neglected,
Rajavahana would have suffered greatly had he not been protected by
the magic jewel given to him in Patala, and which he had contrived to
conceal in his hair.
Chandavarma had some time before this asked in marriage Ambalika, the
daughter of Sinhavarma, King of Anga, and, indignant at a refusal, was
now marching against him, to take vengeance for the insult, and get
possession of the princess. Advancing therefore with a large army, he
prepared to besiege Champa, the capital city.
Sinhavarma, being of a very impatient and impetuous disposition, would
not wait for the arrival of the allies who had been summoned to his
assistance, and were then on the march; but throwing open the gates,
went forth to meet the enemy.
A terrible battle ensued, in which both kings performed prodigies of
valour. At last Sinhavarma was taken prisoner, and his army so
completely defeated, that the conqueror entered and took possession of
the city without opposition.
Chandavarma, having now the princess in his power, determined to make
her his wife at once: he therefore treated her father with more
consideration than he would otherwise have done, though he put him in
confinement, and caused it to be proclaimed throughout the city that
the wedding would be celebrated with much splendour the next morning.
Just then a messenger arrived from Kailasa, bringing a letter from
Darpasara, in which he had written, "O fool! should there be any pity
for the violator of the harem? If the old king, my father, now in his
dotage, was foolish enough to favour the criminal for the sake of his
worthless daughter, you had no need of his permission, and ought not
to have been influenced by him. Let that vile seducer be immediately
put to death by torture, and his paramour be shut up in prison till I
Chandavarma, who had intended to march against the allies advancing
for the assistance of his captive, on receiving these commands, gave
orders to his attendants, saying, "To-morrow morning take that vile
wretch from his cage, and set him at the palace gate. Have ready,
also, a fierce elephant, suitably equipped, which I shall mount
immediately after the wedding, to overtake my army in march against
the enemy; and as I set out, I will make the elephant trample the
life out of that criminal."
Accordingly, the next morning, the prince was brought by the guards to
the gate of the palace, and the elephant placed near him.
While he stood there, calmly awaiting death, which now seemed
inevitable, he suddenly felt his feet free, and a beautiful lady
appeared before him.
She humbly bowing down said: "Let my lord pardon his servant for the
injury which she has unconsciously caused. I am an Apsaras, born from
the rays of the moon. One day, as I was flying through the air,
wearing a white dress, a swan, mistaking me for a lotus flower,
attacked me. While struggling to keep off the bird, the string of my
necklace broke, and the pearls fell on the grey head of a very holy
rishi, bathing, in the clear water of a Himalayan lake.
"In his anger, he cursed me, saying: 'O wicked one, for this offence
you are condemned to be changed into a piece of unconscious metal.'
"When, however, I entreated forgiveness, he was so far appeased, that
he modified the curse, and granted that I should still retain
consciousness, and remain as a fetter on your feet for two months
"The change took place immediately, and I fell to the ground, turned
into a silver chain.
"About this time, Virasekhara, a Vidyadhara, partly of human descent,
had become acquainted with Darpasara, then performing penance on the
great mountain; and thinking he might get assistance from him in a
feud in which he was involved, had made an alliance with him, and
engaged to marry his sister, the Princess Avantisundari.
"Being desirous of visiting his intended bride, he flew through the
air to Avanti. On his way he saw the silver fetter, descended to the
ground, picked it up, and continued his flight.
"Having made himself invisible, he entered without difficulty the
apartment of the princess, and was astonished and enraged on finding
her lying in your arms. His first impulse was to kill you; but some
irresistible influence restrained him, so that he contented himself
with putting the silver fetter on your feet, and departed without
otherwise disturbing you.
"You have, in consequence, suffered all this misery. Now my
transformation is ended, and you are so far free; tell me what I can
do for you in atonement for the suffering which I have caused?"
The prince, not thinking of himself, said only, "Go at once to her who
is dearer to me than life, and comfort her with news of me."
At that moment a great clamour was heard, and some persons, rushing
from the interior of the palace, called out, loudly, "Help! help!
Chandavarma is murdered! killed by an assassin, who stabbed him as he
was about to take the hand of the princess; and that man is now moving
about the palace, cutting down all who attempt to seize him."
Rajavahana, when he heard this, without losing a moment, and before
the guards had perceived his feet to be unfettered, with a sudden
spring leapt on the elephant intended for his destruction; and having
thrust off the driver, urged the beast at a rapid pace, pushing aside
the crowd right and left as he went.
Having got into the courtyard, he shouted with a loud voice, "Who is
the brave man that has done this great deed, hardly to be accomplished
by a mere mortal? Let him come forth and join me; we two united are a
match for a whole army."
The slayer of Chandavarma hearing this, came out of the palace, and
quickly mounting the elephant, who held down his trunk to receive him,
placed himself behind the prince.
Great was their mutual astonishment and joy when they recognised each
other, the prince exclaiming, "Is it possible? Is it really you, my
dear friend Apaharavarma, who have done this deed?" and the other
saying, "Do I indeed see my Lord Rajavahana?" Having thus recognised
and embraced each other, they turned the elephant round, and passing
through the crowd in the courtyard, went into the main street, now
thronged by soldiers. Through these they forced their way, employing
with good effect the weapons placed on the elephant for the use of
Before, however, they had gone far, they heard the noise of battle at
a distance, and saw the soldiers in front of them scattered in all
Soon they saw coming towards them a very well-dressed, handsome man,
riding on a swift elephant. On reaching them, he made obeisance to the
prince, saying, "I am sure this is my Lord Rajavahana;" and then
turning to Apaharavarma, said, "I have followed your directions
exactly, and hastened on the advancing allies. We have just now
encountered and utterly defeated the enemy, so that there is no fear
of any further resistance."
Then Apaharavarma introduced the stranger to the prince, saying, "This
is my dear friend Dhanamittra, well worthy of your respect and
consideration; for he is as brave and clever as he is handsome. With
your permission, he will liberate the King of Anga, and re-establish
the former authorities; meanwhile, we will go on to a quiet place, and
wait there for him and the princes who have come so opportunely to our
Rajavahana agreed to this. They went a little further, and dismounted
at a pleasant cool bank, shaded by a large banian tree, and close to
When they had been for some time seated there, Dhanamittra returned,
accompanied by Upaharavarma, Pramati, Mitragupta, Mantragupta,
Visruta, Praharavarma King of Mithila, Kamapala lord of Benares, and
Sinhavarma King of Anga.
The prince, astonished and delighted at such an unexpected meeting,
warmly embraced his young friends, and very respectfully saluted, as a
son, the elder men introduced by them. Many questions were asked on
both sides. After some conversation, Rajavahana told them his own
adventures, and those of Somadatta and Pushpodbhava, and then begged
his friends to relate theirs.
Apaharavarma spoke first.
* * * * *
ADVENTURES OF APAHARAVARMA.
My Lord, when you had gone away with the brahman, and we were unable
to find you, I wandered about searching for you like the rest of your
One day I heard by chance of a very famous muni, living in a forest on
the banks of the Ganges, not far from Champa, who was said to have
supernatural knowledge of past and future events.
Hoping to obtain some information about you, I determined to seek him
out, and accordingly came here for that purpose. Having found the way
to his dwelling, I saw there a miserable-looking man, very unlike the
holy devotee whom I had pictured to myself. Sitting down, however,
beside this person, I said, "I have come a long way to consult the
celebrated rishi Marichi, having heard that he is possessed of very
wonderful knowledge. Can you tell me where to find him?"
Deeply sighing, he answered: "There was, not long ago, such a person
in this place; but he is changed--he is no longer what he was."
"How can that be?" I asked.
"One day," he replied, "while that muni was engaged in prayer and
meditation, he was interrupted by the sudden arrival of a famous
actress and dancer, called Kamamanjari, who, with dishevelled hair and
eyes full of tears, threw herself at his feet.
"Before he had time to ask the meaning of this, a confused crowd of
her companions came up, headed by an old woman, the mother of
Kamamanjari, apparently in great agitation and distress.
"When they were all a little quieted, he asked the girl the meaning of
her tears, and for what purpose she had come to him.
"She answered, apparently with great respect and bashfulness, 'O
reverend sir, I have heard of your great wisdom, and your kindness to
those who are willing to give up the pleasures of this world for the
sake of the next. I am tired of the disgraceful life I am leading, and
wish to renounce it.' Upon this, her mother, with her loose grey hairs
touching the ground, interrupted her, and said, 'Worthy sir, this
daughter of mine would make it appear that I am to blame, but indeed I
have done my duty, and have carefully prepared her for that profession
for which, by birth, she was intended. From earliest childhood I have
bestowed the greatest care upon her, doing everything in my power to
promote her health and beauty. As soon as she was old enough, I had
her carefully instructed in the arts of dancing, acting, playing on
musical instruments, singing, painting, preparing perfumes and
flowers, in writing and conversation, and even to some extent in
grammar, logic, and philosophy. She was taught to play various games
with skill and dexterity, and how to dress well, and show herself off
to the greatest advantage in public; I hired persons to go about
praising her skill and beauty, and to applaud her when she performed
in public, and I did many other things to promote her success, and to
secure for her liberal remuneration; yet, after all the time, trouble,
and money which I have spent upon her, just when I was beginning to
reap the fruit of my labours, the ungrateful girl has fallen in love
with a stranger, a young brahman, without property, and wishes to
marry him and give up her profession, notwithstanding all my
entreaties, and representations of the poverty and distress to which
all her family will be reduced if she persists in her purpose; and
because I oppose this marriage, she declares that she will renounce
the world, and become a devotee.'
"The muni compassionately said to the girl: 'You will never be able to
endure the hardships of such a life as you propose to lead--a life so
different from that to which you have been accustomed. Heaven may be
attained by all who duly perform the duties of their station; take my
advice then, give up all thoughts of an undertaking which you will
never accomplish, comply with your mother's wishes, return with her,
and be content with that way of life in which you have been brought
"With many tears, she replied: 'If you will not receive me I will put
an end to my wretched life.'
"Finding her so determined, the muni, after some reflection, said to
the mother and her companions: 'Go away for the present; come back
after a few days; I will give her good advice, and you will no doubt
find her tired of living here, and quite ready to return.'
"Thereupon they all went away, and she was left alone with the muni.
At first she kept at a distance from him, taking care not to interrupt
him in his meditations, but waiting on him unobtrusively, rendering
him many little services, watering his favourite trees, and gathering
sacred grass, and flowers for offerings to the gods. Then, as he
became more accustomed to her, she would amuse him with songs and
dances, and at last began to sit near him and talk of the pleasures of
"One day, as if in all simplicity, she said 'Surely people are very
wrong in reckoning virtue, wealth and pleasure as the three great
objects of life?'
"'Tell me,' he answered, 'how far do you regard virtue as superior to
the other two?'
"'A very wise man like you,' she replied, 'can hardly learn anything
from an ignorant woman like me; but since you ask, I will tell you
what I think. There is no real acquisition of happiness or wealth
without virtue; but the latter is quite independent of the other two.
Without it, a man is nothing; but if he fully possesses it, he is so
purified by it that he may indulge in pleasures occasionally, and any
sin connected with them will no more adhere to him than dust to a
cloud. Look at all the stories of the amours of the gods. Are they the
less worshipped on that account? I think, therefore, that virtue is a
hundred times superior to the other two.' With many such specious
arguments as these, and by her winning ways, she contrived to make him
madly in love; so that, forgetting all his religious duties and former
austerities, he thought only how to please her.
"When she perceived this, she said to him 'Let us stay no longer in
the forest, but go to my house in the town, where we can have many
more enjoyments.' Utterly infatuated, he was ready to do her
bidding; and she, having procured a covered carriage, took him in the
evening to her own house.
"The next day there was a great festival, at which the king was
accustomed to appear in public and converse familiarly with his
subjects. On such occasions he would often be surrounded by actresses
and dancing girls.
"On that day Kamamanjari persuaded the muni to put on a gay dress and
accompany her to the park where the festival was held; and he,
thinking only of her, and miserable if she were away from him even for
a short time, consented to go. On their arrival there, she walked with
him towards the king, who, seeing her, said, with a smile: 'Sit down
here with that reverend man.' And all eyes were directed towards him.
"Presently one of the ladies rose up, and, making a low obeisance to
the king, said: 'My lord; I must confess myself beaten by that lady; I
have lost my wager and must now pay the penalty.'
"Then a great shout of laughter arose; the king congratulated
Kamamanjari, and presented her with handsome ornaments.
"After this she walked away with the astonished muni, followed by a
great crowd, shouting applause.
"Before reaching her own house, she turned round to him with a low
obeisance, and said: 'Reverend sir, you have favoured me with your
company a long time; it will be well for you to attend now to your own
"Not having his eyes yet opened, he started as if thunderstruck, and
said: 'My dear, what does all this mean? What has become of the great
love which you professed for me?'
"She smilingly answered: 'I will explain it all.'
"'One day, that lady whom you saw in the park had a dispute with me as
to which was the most attractive. At last she said: "You boast of your
powers, forsooth; go and try them on Marichi. If you can persuade him
to accompany you here, then indeed you may triumph; I will acknowledge
myself your inferior."
"'This was the reason of my coming to you; the trick has been
successful; I have won my wager, and have now no further occasion for
"Bowed down by shame and remorse, the unhappy man slunk back to his
hermitage, miserable and degraded, bitterly lamenting his folly and
infatuation, but resolved to atone for it by deep repentance and
"I am that wretched man; you see, therefore, that I am now quite
unable to assist you. But do not go away; remain in Champa. After a
time I shall recover my former power."
While he was telling me this sad story, the sun set, and I remained
with him that night. The next morning, at sunrise, I took leave of
him, and walked towards the city. On my way thither, as I passed a
Buddhist monastery, I was struck by the appearance of a man sitting at
the side of the road near it. He was extraordinarily ugly; his body
naked, with the exception of a rag round his waist; and his face so
covered with dirt, that the tears he was shedding left furrows as
they rolled down his cheeks.
Moved by compassion, I sat down near him, and inquired the reason of
his distress, at the same time adding, "If it is a secret, I do not
wish to intrude upon you."
"'My misfortunes are well known,' he answered; 'I can have no
objection to telling you if you wish to hear them.' Then he began:
"My name is Vasupalika; but from my ugliness I am generally known as
Virupaka,--the deformed. I am the son of a man of some importance
here, who left me a large fortune.
"Among my acquaintance there was a person called Sundaraka, remarkably
handsome, but poor. Between us two some mischievous persons strove to
excite a rivalry, pitting my money against his beauty and
"One day, in a large assembly, having got up a dispute between us,
they said: 'It is not beauty or wealth, but the approbation of the
ladies, which stamps the worth of a man; therefore, let the famous
actress, Kamamanjari, decide between you, and agree that she shall say
who is the best man.' To this we both assented, and she, having been
previously prepared for the part which she was to perform, was brought
into the room, and passing by my rival with scorn, sat down by my
side, and, taking a garland from her own head, placed it on mine.
"Greatly flattered and delighted by this preference, and blinded by a
mad love for her, which I had not ventured to express, I most readily
gave myself up to her seductions, and in a very short time she
obtained such an influence over me that everything I possessed was at
her disposal. Before long, she had so plundered me, and led me into
such extravagance, that I was reduced to the most abject poverty, and
had nothing I could call my own but this miserable rag which you now
see me wear.
"Cast off by her, blamed and reproached by the elder men, laughed at
and despised by those who had been my companions in prosperity, I knew
not where to turn; and as a last resource I entered this Buddhist
monastery, where I obtain a bare subsistence.
"Distressed by the cutting off of my long hair, and by numerous
restrictions as to eating, drinking, and sleeping, like a newly-caught
elephant; and hearing every day abuse of those gods whom I used to
worship; filled with remorse for my departure from the religion of my
ancestors; I am utterly miserable and only wish for death."
Having heard this pitiable story, I did what I could to comfort him,
and said, "Do not despair; I have heard already of that wicked woman,
and think I shall be able to find some means of making her restore to
you a part at least of your property."
After leaving him, I went into the city, and finding, from popular
report, that it was full of rich misers, I resolved to bring them to
their proper condition by taking away their useless wealth.
Occupied by this thought, I went into a gaming-house, where I was much
interested and amused by watching the players and observing their
tricks, their sleight-of-hand, their bullying or cringing behaviour to
each other; the reckless profusion of the winners, the muttering
despair of those who had lost.
While overlooking a game of chess, I smiled and made some remark about
a bad move of one of the players, upon which his opponent, turning to
me with a sneer, said "No doubt you think yourself very clever, but
wait till I have finished off this stupid fellow, and I will play you
for any stake you like."
When the game was over, accepting his challenge, I sat down to play,
and won altogether sixteen thousand dinars. Half of this sum I kept
for myself, and half I divided between the gaming-house keeper and the
players who were present. The latter were loud in praise of my
generosity, and of the skill which I had shown in beating that
boaster; the former asked me to dine with him, and I often went to
his house and became very intimate with him, and obtained from him
much information, especially such as had reference to my purpose.
One very dark night, fully directed by him, I set out, determined on
robbery, equipped with a dark dress, a short sword, a spade, a
crowbar, a pair of pincers, a wooden man's head, a magic candle, a
rope and grappling-iron, a box with a bee in it, and some other
Selecting a house where I knew there was much money, I made a hole in
the wall, and finding all quiet, enlarged it, entered boldly, and
carried off much booty.
As I was returning, looking cautiously about me, I came suddenly upon
a young woman, who was much alarmed at seeing me. Perceiving her
agitation, I spoke to her kindly, and assured her that I would much
rather assist than injure her.
Encouraged by my words, she told me her story: "My name is Kulapalika;
I am the daughter of a rich merchant in this city, and was from
childhood engaged to the son of another rich man, named Dhanamittra:
he, however, being of a very generous disposition, when he had
succeeded to his father's property was preyed on by pretended friends
and reduced to comparative poverty. Seeing this, my father refused his
consent to our marriage, and, in spite of my reluctance, is determined
to give me to a rich man, called Arthapati. To escape this marriage, I
have slipped out from home by a secret passage, rarely used, and am
going to the house of my lover, who is expecting me and will take me
away to some other country; pray do not detain me, but accept this."
So saying, she put one of her ornaments into my hand. I did not refuse
it, but walked by her side, intending to escort her to her
We had, however, only gone a few steps, when I saw coming towards us,
at no great distance, a large body of the citizen guard. Without
losing a moment, I said to the trembling girl, "Don't be alarmed; say
that I have been bitten by a serpent, and I will manage the rest."
By the time they reached us I had thrown myself on the ground, and lay
as if insensible, and she stood over me, crying. On being questioned,
she answered, with many tears, and in evident distress: "My husband
and I, coming from the country, lost our way, and have only lately
entered the city. Just now he was bitten by a serpent, and is all but
dead. Is there any one among you skilled in charms who can recover
Among the guard there chanced to be a very conceited man, who had
often boasted of his skill, and was now delighted to have an
opportunity of displaying it. He stood over me while the others
waited, and, with many gesticulations, muttered various charms
supposed to be efficacious in such a case; but finding all of no
avail, said at last, "Ah! it is too late; the poor man is past all
remedies: what a pity I did not see him sooner!" Then, joining his
companions, who were impatient to be off, he turned to the sobbing
girl and said: "He was evidently fated to die; who can prevail over
fate? It is useless to lament; nothing more can be done now; wait a
little while, and when we come back we will remove the body."
As soon as they were out of sight I rose up, took her to the house of
Dhanamittra, and said to him: "I met this lady just now; I have
brought her safely here, and now restore the ornament which she gave
me in her fright; for, though I am a robber, I would not steal from
one like her."
Delighted at seeing her, he answered: "O, sir, you have indeed
rendered me a great service in bringing this dear one in safety here;
such conduct is very extraordinary in a man of your way of life, and I
am quite unable to understand your motives for acting thus. At all
events, I am under very great obligation to you; command my services
After some further talk, I asked him: "Friend, what do you now intend
"It will be impossible," he answered, "for me to live here if I marry
her without her father's consent; I propose, therefore, to leave the
town with her this very night."
"A clever man," I replied, "is at home in any place. Wherever he goes
he may say this is my country. But, in travelling, many hardships must
be endured--hunger, thirst, fatigue, and dangers from men and wild
beasts;--how will this tender girl be able to bear them?
"You seem to be wanting in wisdom and forethought in thus abandoning
home and country. Take courage! be guided by me, and you shall marry
her and live comfortably here. But first we must take her back to her
To this he consented without hesitation, and we set out at once.
Guided by her, we entered through the secret passage, carried off
everything of value, and got away without exciting alarm.
Having hidden our booty in some old ruins, we were going home, when we
fell in with some of the city guard. Fortunately, there chanced to be
an elephant tied up at the side of the road. We quickly, therefore,
unfastened the rope, mounted him, and urged him at full speed; and
before the watchmen could recover from their confusion, were out of
sight. Halting the elephant close to the wall of a deserted garden, we
got over it with the help of the trees growing there, escaped on the
other side, and reached home undetected, where we bathed and went to
The next day we walked out carefully dressed, and were amused at
hearing an exaggerated account of our adventures of the preceding
night, which had caused much alarm and excitement in the city.
I had hoped, by robbing the old man, to prevent the marriage of his
daughter with Arthapati. But this hope was frustrated; for the latter
was not only willing to take Kulapalika without a dowry, but even made
presents to her father; and it was settled that the marriage should
take place at the end of a month.
Finding this to be the case, I felt that something more must be done;
and having hit upon a plan which I thought would be effectual, I gave
Dhanamittra directions how to act.
Accordingly, a few days afterwards, he went to the king, to whom he
was previously known, and having asked for a private audience, said:
"A very wonderful thing has happened to me, of which it seems right
that your majesty should be informed. You have known me as
Dhanamittra, the son of a very rich man. During my prosperity, I was
engaged to the daughter of a wealthy merchant; but when I was reduced
to poverty, he refused his consent to our marriage, and is now about
to give her to another.
"Driven to despair by the double loss of fortune and wife, I went into
a wood near the city, intending to put an end to my wretched life.
"There, when in the act of cutting my throat, I was stopped by a very
aged devotee, who asked the cause of the rash act.
"'Poverty, and contempt,' I answered.
"'There is nothing more foolish and sinful than suicide,' he replied.
'A man of sense will endure adversity rather than escape from it in
such a manner. Wealth, when lost, may be regained in many ways; but