Part 2 out of 3
life in none. A broken fortune may be repaired; a cut throat can never
be joined again. But why should I preach to you thus? Here is a remedy
for your misfortunes. This leather bag will give you abundant wealth.
I have used it for assisting the deserving; but now I am old and
infirm, and am not long for this world. I give it to you.
"'Go home; if you possess anything wrongfully acquired, restore it to
the right owner, and give away the rest of your property to brahmans
and the poor. When this has been done, put away the purse carefully;
and in the morning it will be found full of gold. Remember that
whoever possesses it must comply with these conditions, and that it
will yield its treasures only to a merchant like yourself, or to an
"With these words, he handed me the purse, and immediately
"I have now brought the purse to your majesty, to know your pleasure
The king, though much astonished, believing the story, told him to
keep and enjoy it; and in answer to his entreaty, promised that any
one attempting to steal it should be severely punished.
After this, Dhanamittra, making no secret of his acquisition of the
purse, disposed of all his property somewhat ostentatiously, leaving
himself absolutely nothing but the clothes which he wore; and in the
morning, having filled the purse with gold--the proceeds of the
robbery--he showed it to his neighbours, who were fully convinced of
its magic powers.
The fame of the purse was thus spread abroad; and we were able to
account for our newly-acquired wealth, without incurring any suspicion
as to the manner of obtaining it.
At this time; for reasons which will presently appear, I induced
Vimardaka to enter the service of Arthapati; and directed him to use
all possible means to excite his master against Dhanamittra. In this
he had no difficulty; for the father of Kulapalika, hearing of his
sudden acquisition of wealth, did not even wait to be asked, but of
his own accord renewed the former engagement, and rejected Arthapati.
About that time it was publicly announced that a younger sister of
Kamamanjari--Ragamanjari by name--would make her first appearance as a
dancer and singer. Great expectations having been raised, a large
number of spectators, including myself and my friend Dhanamittra, were
present at the performance.
I was struck by her beauty the instant she appeared on the stage; but
when I heard her sweet voice, and saw her graceful movements, I was
perfectly enchanted, and unable to take my eyes off her for a moment.
The performance being ended, she withdrew, followed by the longing
eyes and loud applause of the spectators; and giving, as I fancied, a
significant look at me.
The next day I was anxious, restless, and unable to eat; and could do
nothing but roam about listlessly, or lie on the couch, thinking of
her, and making the excuse of a bad headache.
My friend, seeing me in this state, easily guessed the reason of it,
and said to me in private: "I know the cause of your uneasiness, and
can give you good hopes. That girl is virtuous, whatever her mother
and sister may be; and having watched her closely at the performance,
I am convinced that she was much struck with you; therefore, if you
are willing to make her your wife, there will be no great difficulties
to overcome as far as she is concerned; for, resisting all seductions
and the persuasions of her wicked mother and sister, she has declared:
'No man shall have me except as a wife; and I must be won by merit,
not by money.'
"On the other hand, her mother and sister, fearing lest she should be
withdrawn from the stage, have gone to the king, and obtained, through
many tears and entreaties, a decree that if any man shall take the
girl, either in marriage or not, without her mother's consent, he
shall be put to death like a robber. Therefore, when you have gained
her love, you must also obtain the mother's consent; and that can only
be done by means of a large bribe; she will not listen to any other
"I am equal to all this," I answered; "I will win the young lady, and
find means to satisfy the old one." And I lost no time in
accomplishing my purpose. It was first necessary to make acquaintance
with Kamamanjari, and to this end I found out a woman often employed
by her as a messenger, and having gained her over by bribes, sent,
through her, a number of small presents, till at last Kamamanjari was
disposed in my favour, and received me at her house. Meanwhile I
contrived to have secret interviews with her beautiful sister, who
consented to be my wife. As soon as this was settled, I said to
Kamamanjari, "I am desirous of obtaining your mother's consent to my
marriage with your sister, who has accepted me. I know that if she
ceases to perform, you will lose a large income; and, therefore, offer
you in return something better and more certain. Procure for me the
desired permission, and you shall have Dhanamittra's magic purse,
which I will safely steal for you."
Delighted at the thought of possessing inexhaustible wealth, she
agreed to this; the mother's consent was formally given; and on the
day of my marriage I secretly handed over the promised purse.
Very soon after, Vimardaka, by my directions, in a large assembly,
began to abuse and insult Dhanamittra, who, as if much astonished,
said: "What does all this mean? Why should you annoy me? I am not
aware that I have ever given you offence."
He answered furiously: "You purse-proud wretch, do you think I will
not take my master's part? Have you not robbed him of his intended
wife, by bribing her father? Do you think he has no cause for anger
against you? His interests are mine; I am ready to risk my life for
him, and I will pay you off. Some day you shall miss that purse, the
source of the riches with which you are so puffed up." Saying this, he
rushed out of the place in a rage; and though nothing was done at the
time, his words were not forgotten.
Then Dhanamittra went to the king, and declaring that he had lost the
purse, mentioned his suspicion of Arthapati, and the reason for it.
He, having heard nothing of what his servant had said, when summoned
and asked "Have you a confidential servant named Vimardaka?" answered
without hesitation, "Certainly; he is a very trustworthy man, entirely
devoted to my interest."
"Bring him here to me."
Thus commanded, he searched everywhere for his servant, but was unable
to find him; and for a good reason, for I had furnished the man with
money, and sent him to Oujein, to look for you.
The supposed thief having disappeared, his master was put in prison
till further evidence could be procured, for no one but those in the
secret doubted that he was the instigator of the theft.
Meanwhile Kamamanjari, anxious to make use of the magic purse,
proceeded to fulfil the conditions attached to its use. She went
secretly to Virupaka, and restored the money of which she had robbed
him, and then gave away all her furniture, clothes, and ornaments.
This, however, she did so incautiously, that attention was drawn to
it; upon which Dhanamittra went again to the king, saying: "I suspect
that the actress, Kamamanjari, has got my purse; for though
notoriously avaricious, she is giving away everything she possesses,
and there must be some strong reason for such a proceeding."
In consequence of this information, she was summoned to appear the
next day, together with her mother; and the two women came in great
alarm to consult me.
I said to Kamamanjari: "No doubt you are suspected of having the
purse. This suspicion has arisen from your own imprudence, in giving
away your property so openly. I much fear that you will have to give
it up, and you will be fortunate if you escape without worse
consequences. But you must on no account implicate me; for then I
should be put to death, all my property would be confiscated, your
sister would die of grief, and you would be utterly ruined."
She answered, with many tears: "It is indeed my own fault, but you
shall be safe. That niggardly wretch, Arthapati, is known to be
intimate with me. I will say that I received it from him; and, as he
is already suspected of stealing it, I shall probably be believed."
To this I agreed, and the next day, when questioned, she at first
denied all knowledge of the purse, then admitted having received it,
but refused to say from whom, and at last, when threatened with
torture, confessed, apparently with great reluctance, that Arthapati
was the giver; and this being considered sufficient evidence against
him, he was condemned to death.
Then Dhanamittra interceded for him, saying. "A decree was formerly
made by one of your ancestors, that no merchant or trader should be
put to death for theft. I humbly entreat, therefore, that his life may
To this the king consented, the poor wretch was banished, and all his
property confiscated, a portion of it being given to Kamamanjari, at
the earnest entreaty of Dhanamittra, who got back his purse, and
shortly afterwards married Kulapalika.
Having thus performed the promise to my friend, I increased my own
wealth, and kept up the reputation of the purse by going on with my
robberies, and so impoverished the rich misers, that some of them were
glad to receive a morsel of food from the beggars to whom they had
formerly refused help, and who were now enriched by my liberality.
Still no suspicion fell on me; but fate is all-powerful, and it was
decreed that I should be caught at last.
One night, sitting with my charming wife, intoxicated, partly with
wine and partly with her sweet caresses, I was seized with madness,
and started up, saying: "All the wealth in the city is not too much
for you; I will fill the house with jewels for your sake." Then, like
a furious elephant who has broken his chain, I rushed out, in spite of
her remonstrances, with a drawn sword, and attacked a body of police,
who happened to be passing. Shouting out, "This is the robber!" they
soon overpowered me, and I fell to the ground.
The shock sobered me at once, and all the horror of the situation into
which I had brought myself by my folly came into my mind. I thought to
myself, my intimacy with Dhanamittra is well known; suspicion will
fall on him; and unless I can turn it off, he, as well as my wife,
will be arrested to-morrow; and I quickly formed a plan by which they,
and perhaps I myself, might be saved. But no time was to be lost; and
as they were about to take me away, I called out to my wife's nurse,
Sringalika, who had followed me, "Begone, old wretch! and tell that
vile harlot your mistress, and her paramour, Dhanamittra, that she
will never see her ornaments, nor he his magic purse again. I care not
for life, if I am revenged on those two wretches."
The old woman being remarkably quick-witted, at once understood my
object in speaking thus, and very humbly accosting the police said:
"Worthy sir, I entreat you to wait a moment, while I ask your prisoner
where he has hid the ornaments of my mistress."
To, this they assented, and coming to me, she said: "O, sir, your
jealousy is without cause; whatever attentions that man may have paid
my mistress, she is not to blame. Now that you are taken from her, she
will have no means of support, and must go on the stage again. How
can she do this without her ornaments? Take compassion on her, and say
where you have hid them."
Then, as if my anger were appeased, I answered: "Why should I, who am
about to die, harbour resentment? Come close, and I will whisper where
I have put them." In this manner I managed to give her a few hurried
instructions. She went away, with many blessings on me, and thanks to
the men for their kindness; and I was taken to the king's prison.
At that time the governor of the prison was a very conceited young
man, named Kantaka, who had lately succeeded to the office by the
death of his father. When I was brought in, looking at me in a very
contemptuous manner, he said: "So you are the thief who has committed
so many robberies. If you do not give up the stolen property, and
especially the magic purse, you shall suffer every possible variety of
torture before you are put to death."
I answered, smiling, "Even though I should give up all the other
stolen property, I will never let the purse go back to that wretch
Dhanamittra, my greatest enemy. You may try all your tortures; you
will never get this secret out of me."
Finding the fear of torture to have no effect, the next day he tried
promises; and so went on from day to day, with alternate soothing and
Meanwhile, my wounds were attended to, and I was well fed; so that I
had regained my strength when, one day, Sringalika made her
appearance, well dressed, and with cheerful countenance.
To my surprise, she was allowed to speak to me in private. She said to
me, joyfully "Your plan has succeeded. As you directed, I went to
Dhanamittra and told him, from you: 'You must go to the king, and say,
"The magic purse so lately restored has again been stolen by one whom
I regarded as a friend--a certain gambler, the husband of the actress
Ragamanjari. He has taken it from spite, being jealous of his wife, to
whom, from kindness, I often made presents. He is now in prison for
other offences; and if, he is put to death immediately, as he
deserves, I fear that I shall never recover my purse. I pray,
therefore, that he may not be executed before he has confessed where
it is concealed. For he admits having taken it; but declares that he
will not give it up, unless his life is spared." Your friend,
admiring your ingenuity, and having full confidence in your resources,
immediately went to the king and obtained his request, so that your
life is safe for the present.'
"Meanwhile, with the help of gifts furnished by my mistress, I have
formed an intimacy with the nurse of the Princess Ambalika, and have
been introduced by her to the princess, whose favour I have gained by
telling her amusing stories, and whom I have induced to feel an
interest in the misfortune of my mistress.
"One day, when I was standing near her in the gallery round the
court-yard of the palace, Kantaka, having some business or other,
passed through below us. Picking up a flower which the princess had
dropped, I let it fall on his head; and when he looked up to see from
whose hand it came, I managed to make the princess laugh at something
which I said; and the conceited fool, thinking that it was she who had
dropped it to attract his attention, went away looking quite pleased
"That same evening I received a present for my mistress, a small
basket marked with the signet of the princess, and containing articles
of no great value. This I took to Kantaka; and begging him to observe
the strictest secrecy, made him believe that the princess had sent it
to him. He was even delighted when, another day, I brought him a dirty
dress, telling him that she had worn it.
"Finding him quite ready to believe this, and convinced that she was
in love with him, I kept up an imaginary correspondence, bringing
very loving messages from her, which I invented, and receiving many
from him in return, which I took care not to deliver. His presents, of
course, I kept for myself.
"In this manner I have raised his hopes very high; and to encourage
him still further, I said: 'I have heard from a learned astrologer,
with whom I am acquainted, that you have certain marks upon you which
indicate that you will one day be a king. This love on the part of the
princess tends to the fulfilment of the prediction. You are therefore
on the high road to fortune. If you have spirit enough to pursue it,
all you have to do now is to obtain a secret interview with the lady;
the rest will follow in due time.'
"'But how can I manage this?' he asked. 'The wall of the garden,' I
replied, 'communicating with the princess's apartments, is separated
from those of the gaol by a space of a few yards only. You could not
get over these walls; but you might make an underground passage, and
slip in unobserved; and I will take care that there shall be some one
to receive and conduct you to the princess. When once with her, you
are safe; for all her attendants are attached to her; not one would
betray the secret.'
"'But how can I make this underground passage?' he asked. 'I cannot
dig it myself, or employ workmen.'
"'Have you no clever thief here,' I replied, 'accustomed to such
"'Well suggested,' he answered. 'I have just the right man.'
"'Who is he?' I said.
"'That man who has stolen the magic purse,' said he. 'If he will set
to work with a good will he will soon dig his way through.'
"'Very good,' I answered. 'You must persuade him by promising to let
him go when the work is done. But it would never do for him to be in
the secret; therefore, when he has finished, put on his fetters again,
and report to the king that he is exceedingly obstinate; that you have
tried all other means to make him confess, and that nothing remains
but to put him to torture. No doubt the king will give orders
accordingly; and you can easily manage so to inflict it that he shall
die under it. When he is dead, your secret will be safe; you can visit
the princess as often as you like; and, doubtless, in the end the
king, rather than disgrace his daughter, will consent to your
marriage; and as he has no other child, will make you his successor.'
"With this proposal he was quite delighted; and has been treating you
well, that you may have strength for the work. He intends to ask you
to begin to-night; and has sent me to persuade you, believing me to be
devoted to his interests, and looking forward to some great reward
when he has got his wish."
Having heard this from the old woman, I gave her great praise, and
said: "Lose no time. Tell him I am quite ready to do the work."
After this, Kantaka came to me, told me what he wanted, and swore a
solemn oath that I should be liberated when the work was done; and I,
in return, swore to keep his secret.
Then he took off my fetters; I got a bath and a good dinner, and
presently set to work in a dark corner, under the wall. Soon after
midnight the work was done, and an opening made into the courtyard of
the women's apartments.
Before returning, I thought to myself "This man has sworn an oath
which he intends to break: for the preservation of my own life,
therefore, I shall be justified in killing him."
Having formed this resolution, I went back to the prison, where
Kantaka was waiting for me. He told me it was necessary to replace my
fetters for the present; and I appeared to acquiesce. But as he was
stooping to fasten them, I gave him a violent kick; and before he
could recover himself, I had snatched a short sword which he wore, and
cut off his head.
I then returned to Sringalika, who had remained in the prison, and
said to her: "I am not disposed to have had all this toil for nothing.
Tell me the way into the ladies' rooms. I will go there and steal
something before I make my escape."
Having received her directions, I passed again through the tunnel
which I had made, came up into the court-yard; and from thence entered
a large, lofty room lighted by jewelled lamps, where a number of women
There, on a couch ornamented with beautifully carved flowers and
resting on lions' feet, I saw the princess, covered only by a thin
silken petticoat, half sunk into a soft white feather-bed, like
lightning on an autumn cloud.
Fast asleep, as if wearied by much play, she lay in a very graceful
attitude, with her delicate ancles crossed, her knees slightly drawn
up; one lovely hand laid loosely on her side, the other beneath her
head; her full bosom, slowly heaved by gentle breathing, illuminated
by the ruby necklace strung on burnished gold; the top-knot of her
loosened hair hanging down like some graceful flower; her lips so
bright that the opening of the mouth could hardly be distinguished;
her features in calm repose, shaded by her lovely ringlets.
I had entered so softly that no one was disturbed; and I stood gazing
for some time lost in admiration of her beauty, quite forgetting the
purpose for which I had come.
I thought, she is, after all, the lady of my heart. If I do not obtain
her, Kama will not suffer me to live; but how can I make known my love
to her? Were I now to wake her, she would start up with a cry of
alarm, and I should probably lose my life. I must think of some other
way of letting her know my love.
Then, looking round, I saw laid on a shelf a thin board prepared for
painting, and a box of paints and brushes. With these I made a hasty
sketch of the princess as she lay, and of myself kneeling at her feet,
and underneath it I wrote this verse:--
"Of thee thy slave in humble attitude thus prays:
Sleep on, not worn like me by pervading love."
I then painted on the wall near her a pair of chakravakas in loving
attitude, gently took off her ring, replacing it with mine, and
slipped out without disturbing any of the sleepers.
There was at that time among the prisoners a man named Sinhaghosha,
formerly a chief officer of police, but now imprisoned through a
false accusation made by Kantaka.
With this man I had already made acquaintance, and I now went to him
and told him how I had killed Kantaka. With his consent I went forth
from the prison, and walked away with Sringalika. We had not gone far
when we fell in with a patrol. I thought to myself I could easily run
away from them; but what would become of the poor old woman? she would
certainly be caught. Hastily determining, therefore, on what was best
to be done, I walked right up to them with unsteady gait and idiotic
look, and said: "Sirs, if I am a thief kill me, but you have no right
to touch this old woman."
She, perceiving my intention, came up, and very humbly said: "Honoured
sirs, this young man is my son. He has been for some time confined as
a lunatic; but was supposed to be cured, and I brought him home
yesterday. In the middle of the night, however, he started up, and
calling out: 'I will kill Kantaka and make love to the king's
daughter,' rushed out into the street. I have at last overtaken him,
and am trying to take him home. Will you be so good as to help me, and
tie his hands behind him that he may not get away again?"
As she said this, I called out: "O old woman, who ever bound a god or
the wind, Shall these crows catch an eagle?" and started off at full
speed. She, renewing her entreaties, begged them to pursue me; but
they only laughed at her, and said: "Do you think we have nothing to
do but to run after madmen? You must be as mad as he is to have taken
him out;" and so they went on their way.
I stopped when I found I was not pursued. She soon overtook me, and
we went to my house, to the great joy of my wife, who had scarcely
hoped for my deliverance.
In the morning I saw Dhanamittra, told him all that had happened, and
thanked him for following my directions so punctually.
After this I went to the forest, to see Marichi. I found him restored
to his former condition, and able to give me the desired information.
From him I learnt that you would be here about this time.
In the morning after my escape, Sinhaghosha informed the king of what
had happened, and how Kantaka had been killed when about to enter the
princess's apartments. Being found to be innocent of the crime of
which he was accused, he was appointed governor of the prison in
Before the underground passage was filled up, he permitted me to pass
through it more than once to the princess, who was favourably disposed
towards me through the picture and verse, and still more by all that
Sringalika had said in my favour.
No great search was made after me, and by keeping quiet and going out
only at night I escaped further arrest.
You know how Chandavarma besieged Champa, and how Sinhavarma was
defeated and taken prisoner. When I heard this, and how the conqueror
intended to force the princess to marry him, I went to Dhanamittra and
said: "Do you go about among the ministers and officers of the
imprisoned king and the principal citizens, and tell them to be ready
to attack the enemy as soon as they hear of the death of Chandavarma.
I will engage to kill him to-morrow."
How Dhanamittra has performed his part you have just seen. As to
myself, I put on a dress suitable for the occasion, and, as many
persons were going in and out of the palace, managed to slip in
unobserved and get very near the intending bridegroom. Suddenly
stretching out my arm as he was about to take the hand of the
princess, I gave him a mortal wound with a sword; then saying a few
hasty words of encouragement to her, I defended myself against those
who endeavoured to seize me, till I heard your welcome voice, deep as
the sound of thunder, and had the happiness of embracing you.
Rajavahana, having heard this story, said "You have indeed shown
wonderful ingenuity and courage;" then he turned to Upaharavarma, and
said: "It is now your turn;" and he, having made due salutation, thus
* * * * *
ADVENTURES OF UPAHARAVARMA.
While wandering about like the others, I cams one day into the country
of Videha. Before entering into Mithila, the capital, I stopped to
rest at a small temple, and found there an old woman, who gave me
water for my feet.
Observing that she looked at me very hard, and that tears came into
her eyes, I asked her: "O, mother, what is the cause of your grief?"
"You bring to my mind," she answered, the remembrance of my lost
foster-child, who, if he lives, is just about your age. But I will
tell you how he was lost.
"Praharavarma was formerly king of this country. His queen was a very
dear friend of Vasumati; wife of Rajahansa, King of Magadha, and he
went with her and his twin sons to visit that king. How he was
conquered and driven from his dominions by the King of Malwa you have
doubtless heard. It was shortly before that invasion that the visit
was made. In the battle which was fought, Praharavarma assisted his
friend, and was taken prisoner, but was subsequently liberated.
"When returning to his own kingdom, he heard that a rebellion had
broken out, headed by his brother's son, Vikatavarma. He therefore
turned aside through a forest road, in the direction of Suhma, hoping
to obtain assistance from his sister's son, the king of that country.
On the march, he was attacked and plundered by Bheels; and I, having
charge of one of his children, was separated from the party, and left
behind in the forest.
"There I was attacked, by a tiger, and dropped the child. The tiger
was killed by an arrow; but I fainted away, and when I recovered, the
child was gone, taken away, I suppose, by the Bheels. Having been
found and taken care of by a compassionate cowherd, I stayed at his
cottage till my wounds were healed.
"Longing to get back to my friends, and to hear some tidings of my
mistress, I was surprised one day by the appearance of my daughter,
who had been, with me, in charge of the other child.
"After mutual congratulations and embraces, she told me her story as
follows: 'After we were parted, I was wounded by the robbers, lost
the child, and was found wandering about by one of the foresters, who
took care of me, and afterwards wished to make me his wife. I was too
much disgusted with him and his way of life to consent; and, after
many threats, he would at last have killed me, but for the opportune
arrival of a young man who happened to be passing, and rescued me from
his hands. That young man has since become my husband. We have been
searching for you, and have now happily found you.'
"I asked who the man was. He answered: 'I am a servant of the King of
Mithila, to whom I am now going.' Then we all three went to Mithila,
and told the king and queen the sad news of the loss of their
"The war was still going on, and at last the king was overcome and
imprisoned, together with his queen, by his wicked nephew.
"Since then I have been living as a mendicant. My daughter, whose
husband was killed in the war, being destitute like myself, has
entered the service of Kalpasundari, queen of the usurper. Ah! if
those princes had lived, they would have rescued their father from
She began then to weep and lament; but I comforted her, and said: "Do
you not remember speaking to a certain muni, and telling him of the
loss of the child? That boy was found by him. I am he, and I will
contrive some means for killing that wicked usurper, and setting my
parents free. No one can recognise me here, not even my own mother,
were she to see me; therefore I shall be able at my leisure to
consider what is best to be done."
Exceedingly delighted at hearing this, she kissed me again and again,
and said, with tears of joy: "O, darling! a glorious fortune is before
you. Now you are here, all will be well; you will soon lift up your
parents from the sea of sorrow which has engulfed them. Happy is Queen
Priyamvada in having such a son!"
Then she gave me such food as she had, and I stayed with her, and
passed the night in that temple.
As I lay awake, I turned over in my mind every plan that suggested
itself to me for the accomplishment of my purpose. Knowing how
ready-witted women are in general, and their fondness for tricks and
intrigues, it occurred to me that my foster-sister, from her position
near the queen, might be able to give me material assistance.
In the morning, after worshipping the gods, I began to question the
old woman as to her knowledge of the interior of the palace, and asked
whether she had frequent opportunities of seeing her daughter.
Scarcely had she begun to answer my questions when I saw some one
coming towards us, and she exclaimed: "O, Pushkarika, behold our
master's son; that dear child whom I so carelessly lost in the forest
was found and preserved, and is now restored to us."
Great was the daughter's delight at seeing me; and, when her agitation
had subsided, her mother said to her: "I was just beginning to tell my
dear son something of the arrangement of the palace, and the habits of
the inmates; but you can give him the required information much better
than I can."
In answer to this she told me all the arrangements of the palace, and
added: "The Queen Kalpasundari, the daughter of the sovereign of
Kumara, is exceedingly beautiful and accomplished. She despises her
husband, who is exceedingly ugly; but though unkindly treated, and
neglected, she has hitherto been faithful to him."
Hearing this, I said to her: "Whenever you have an opportunity, dwell
on the king's licentiousness; find out, if possible, his scandalous
amours; make much of them; tell her how other women have behaved in
similar circumstances; in short, do everything to stir up her
indignation and jealousy against him; and, as soon as possible, let me
know what she says. You may help me greatly in this affair; therefore
be diligent and observant, and be as much as possible with your
Then I said to the old woman: "You must also play your part. You can
be introduced to the queen as a woman skilled in charms and
fortune-telling. When you get her to listen to you, make the most of
the opportunity, and second your daughter's endeavours."
They both promised to do their utmost. After they were gone I took a
small house, close to the wall of the royal gardens, and waited
patiently for the result.
After some days the old woman came to me, and said: "Darling, we have
done exactly as you wished. The queen has taken a great fancy to me,
is very indignant with her husband, and thinks herself greatly to be
pitied. What is now to be done?"
I then painted a portrait of myself, and said: "Show this to the
queen; she will no doubt admire it, and say: 'Is this a portrait or a
fancy picture?' Then do you answer: 'Suppose it should be a portrait
of some living person; what then?' And whatever she says in reply let
me know as soon as possible."
The next day she came to me again, and said: "When I showed your
portrait to the queen, she gazed at it a long time, and seemed lost in
admiration; then she exclaimed, 'Who can have painted this? Is it
possible that such a handsome man can exist in the world? Surely there
is no one here like this!' I answered, 'O lady, your admiration is
quite natural, such a handsome man is very rarely to be found, but
still there might be such a one; and if this should be really the
portrait of a young man, longing to see you--not only thus handsome,
but of good birth, very learned, accomplished, and good-tempered
--what would you say then?' 'What would I say? I say, that if he will
be mine, all that I can give him in return, myself, my heart, my body,
my life, will be all too little. But surely you are only deceiving me;
there never can be such a charming person as this picture represents.'
"In answer to this, I said: 'I am not deceiving you. There is really
such a person, a young prince, who is staying here in disguise; he saw
you when you were walking in the public park, at the feast of Spring,
and immediately became a mark for the arrows of Kama. Moved by his
entreaties, and seeing how suited you are to each other, I have
ventured to take this means of making his passion known to you. If you
will but consent to see him, however difficult access to you may be,
his courage, prudence, and ingenuity are so great, that he will
certainly effect it; only say what your pleasure is.' Then, finding
her quite disposed to see you, I told her your real name and birth.
After reflecting some time, she said, 'Mother, I will not conceal from
you a circumstance which his name brings to my memory. My father was a
great friend of the deposed king, and their queens were very much
attached to each other. It was settled between them, that if the one
had a son, and the other a daughter, the two children should be
engaged for marriage; but when the Queen Priyamvada had lost her sons,
my father gave me in marriage to Vikatavarma. This young prince was
really destined to be my husband, and I ought to have had him, instead
of that ugly wretch, who is stupid, ignorant of all the arts of
pleasing, brutal, rebellious, cruel, boastful, false, and, above all,
most insulting in his behaviour to me; only yesterday he ill-treated
my favourite attendant, Pushkarika, and gathered flowers from a plant
which I had especially cherished, to give to one of his paramours, a
low vulgar woman, who is trying to put herself on an equality with me.
He is in every way unsuited to me, and my misery is so great, that I
am ready to catch at any means of escape from it. It was wretched
enough while I thought on no one else, but now that I have heard of
this charming young man, and seen his portrait, I will endure it no
longer, whatever the consequences may be. Therefore, let him come
to-morrow evening to the Madhavi bower in the garden. I am impatient
to see him; even the hearing of him has filled my heart with love.'"
When the old nurse had given me this account, I determined to risk the
adventure, and obtained from her a minute description of the garden,
the direction of the road and paths, the exact situation of the
summerhouse where I was to meet the queen, and where the guards were
Having carefully impressed all these details on my memory, I waited
impatiently for the following night, and lay down to rest. As I lay I
thought on the difficulty of the enterprise, of the sin of seducing
the wife of another, and of what Rajavahana and my other friends would
say to such conduct. On the other hand, I seemed to be justified by
the object I had in view; the liberation of my parents.
Perplexed with these conflicting thoughts I fell asleep, and dreamed
that Vishnu appeared to me, and said: "Go on boldly, without
hesitation; what you are about to do, though it may seem sinful, is
approved of by me." Encouraged by this vision, I rose in the morning,
fully confirmed in my purpose. The tedious day came at last to an end,
and darkness set in.
When the proper time arrived, I put on a close-fitting dark dress,
girded on my sword, and set out on the dangerous enterprise.
Concealed at the edge of the ditch, I found a long bamboo, which the
old woman had procured for me. This I laid across, and so got to the
bottom of the wall. Then, cautiously raising it, I climbed to the top,
just where a large heap of bricks had been piled up inside. Using
these as steps, I got safely to the ground, and walked northward,
through an avenue of champaka trees, where, as a favourable omen, I
heard the low murmuring cry of a pair of chakravakas. Taking an
almost opposite direction, I saw before me what appeared to be a great
building, and it was only by touching it that I found it to be a clump
of trees. Going eastward, and turning once more to the south, I passed
through some mango trees, and saw the light of a lantern shining among
the leaves. I then knew that I was right, and went straight up to the
bower, inside of which was a summer-house, with steps leading up to
it, and spread with soft twigs and flowers for a carpet. The room was
furnished with a handsome couch, a golden water-jar, trays of flowers,
fans, &c. After I had been seated a short time, I heard the tinkling
of ornaments and smelt a powerful perfume. Rising up hastily, I
slipped out, and stood concealed by the shrubs outside. Presently I
saw the lady enter; she looked about her, and not seeing me, was
evidently disappointed and distressed. I heard her say, with a sad low
voice, "Alas! I am deceived, he is not coming; O my heart, how can
this be borne? O adorable Kama, what have I done to offend thee, that
thou thus burnest me and dost not reduce me to ashes?"
Having heard this, I made my appearance, and said: "O lovely lady, do
you ask how you have offended Kama? You have given him great offence,
since you disparage his beloved Rati by your form, his bow by your
arched eyebrows, his arrows by your glances, his great friend, the
perfumed wind of Malaya, by your sweet breath, the notes of his
favourite bird by your voice. For all this Kama justly torments you.
But I have done nothing to offend him; why should he so distress me?
Have pity on me, and cure the wound inflicted by the serpent of love,
with the life-giving antidote of an affectionate look."
Delighted at seeing me, she required no entreaty on my part, and
readily yielded to my embrace; and, sitting down on the couch, we
conversed as though we had been long acquainted.
At last the time for separation arrived, and I rose up to go; but she
with tears detained me, saying: "When you depart, my life seems to
follow. If you go, let me go with you."
I answered: "O my beloved, that is impossible. If you love me, be
guided by me, and we shall soon meet again, not to be parted."
This she readily promised, and I told her exactly what was to be done.
Then quitting her with reluctance, I returned safely by the way I had
come, and she went back to the palace.
The next day she showed the picture to the king, who greatly admired
it, and asked her where she had got it. She told him: "I have lately
made acquaintance with a very wonderful old woman, who has travelled
over many countries and seen many strange things; she is very skilful
in charms, and has brought me this picture, saying: 'It has very great
magical powers, and so confident am I in their efficacy that I ask for
no payment or reward until you have fully proved them.' She tells me
that if certain ceremonies are performed, and mantras which she has
taught me, are recited in a retired spot at midnight, I shall be
changed to a person exactly resembling the portrait, and shall have
the power of transferring that form to you while I regain my own
shape. I have thought it right to tell you this; but do not act
hastily: show the picture to your ministers and consult them."
The king, greatly astonished, but very desirous of obtaining such a
handsome body, asked the opinion of his counsellors and younger
brothers, and they saw no reason why the experiment should not be
The hour of midnight on the day of full moon was therefore appointed
for the ceremony, and there was much talk in the city about it.
"O the wonderful power of magic! Through the skill of the queen, the
king will obtain a new body fit for a god."
"But is there no danger?"
"How can there be danger when the ceremony is to be performed by his
own queen, in his own private gardens, where no stranger can enter?
Besides, have not the learned and clever ministers and counsellors
approved of it, and is it likely that they would be deceived?"
The city was full of such talk as this, and the people awaited with
impatience the night appointed for the working of the miracle.
When the time arrived a great heap was made in a part of the garden
where four roads met, not far from the summer-house, with large
quantities of sandal-wood, lignaloes, and other sweet-smelling woods,
camphor, silk dresses, sesamum, saffron, and various spices; and
several animals, duly slaughtered by the priests, were laid upon it;
and the fire having been lighted, every one withdrew except the king
and queen. She then said to him: "You know how faithless you have been
to me, and with this handsome body you will be a much greater
attraction to other women. I know the fickleness of your disposition.
Can you expect that I will confer on you this beauty for the sake of
Then he threw himself at her feet, and said "O my darling, forgive my
transgressions. I swear by everything solemn that in future I will
keep to you only, and not even think of any other woman."
After these and many other protestations, she appeared to be
satisfied, and said: "Now withdraw to that clump of trees, and stay
there till I ring the bell; then you may come again to the fire and
see the wonderful change in me."
Meanwhile, under cover of the thick smoke arising from the burning of
all those substances, I had climbed the wall as before, and was
standing in the summer-house when the queen came in. She said:
"Everything is ready. I regard myself now as entirely yours; nothing
shall part us any more;" and, throwing her arms round my neck, she
kissed me again and again.
Saying to her, "Stay here concealed while I finish the work," I
quitted her, went to the place of sacrifice, and rang a bell hanging
on a neighbouring tree; and the sound summoned the king, like a
messenger of death.
He found me standing by the fire, throwing on it more sandal-wood,
lignaloes, and other precious things; and as he stood gazing in fear
and astonishment, and hardly believing his eyes, I said to him:
"Remember what you have promised, and now swear to me again, taking
this sacred fire as a witness, that you will renounce all other women,
and keep to me only."
He answered: "O queen, there is no deceit in me. I will do all that I
have promised," and he repeated his former oaths.
But as if not satisfied with this, I said: "I must have some other
proof of your sincerity. Tell me some of your state secrets."
Then he told me: "My father's brother, Praharavarma, has been for a
long time in prison; with the consent of my ministers, I intend to
poison him, and give out that he has died of old age and infirmities.
"I am preparing an army, to be commanded by my brother, for the
invasion of Pundra without any declaration of war.
"There is a merchant here possessed of a diamond of immense value. I
'am contriving a plan by which I shall get it from him at a tenth of
"There is a man of wealth and influence very displeasing to me. I have
engaged a certain person, named Satahali, the governor of the
district, to bring a false accusation against him, and by that means
to stir up the people, and so cause his death in a popular tumult,
which will take away all blame or suspicion from me."
When I had heard all these things, saying, "Die the death which your
wicked deeds deserve," I suddenly seized him by the throat, stabbed
him in a moment to the heart, and threw the body into the great fire,
where it was quickly consumed; after which I went back to the queen,
who was anxiously awaiting me. Though much agitated, she was more
relieved at having got rid of that wretch than shocked at the manner
of his death; and having quieted and consoled her without much
difficulty, I went at once with her to her apartments.
On seeing him, whom they believed to be the king, so changed, the
women and attendants who met us were evidently much astonished, but so
much had been said beforehand about the wonderful transformation to be
expected, that no one seemed to doubt that I was really the king with
a new body; and having said a few words of encouragement to them, I
was received with great respect.
The rest of the night was passed in hearing from the queen as much as
possible about the court, the ministers, &c., so that I might not
appear to be ignorant of what the king must have known, when I should
meet them on the morrow.
In the morning, after the performance of due worship of the gods, I
met the ministers in council, and they also were so convinced of the
power of magic that they did not hesitate to acknowledge me as their
master, expressing their delight at the happy change.
Then I said to them: "With this new body I have new feelings and
purposes. I repent of my cruelty to my uncle, and instead of getting
rid of him as I had intended, it is my pleasure that he shall be taken
from prison and treated with all proper respect.
"That diamond, of which I had intended to get possession, must not be
obtained by fraudulent means. If I should decide on having it, I will
pay the full price."
To the brother who had been appointed to command the army, I said:
"Dear brother, our purpose is changed with regard to that invasion.
You will only watch the frontier; and if there is any beginning of war
on the part of the Pundras, attack them vigorously; but not
I sent also for Satahali, and said: "You know that I wished to get
rid of Anantasira, because he was suspected of being a partisan of the
deposed king. Now that I am reconciled to my uncle, there is no
occasion for anything to be done to him; you will therefore take no
further steps in that affair."
When the ministers heard all this, and perceived me to be acquainted
with secrets known only to the king and themselves, they were quite
confirmed in their first impression; and while congratulating me and
the queen, were loud in their praise of the power of magic.
My parents were immediately liberated from prison; and having been
informed by the old nurse of what had been done by me, were quite
prepared when I went to them in public; and afterwards, when we met
in private, were able to give way to their feelings of affection and
delight at seeing me again.
After a short time, with the consent of my wife, I resigned the crown,
and reinstated my parents in their former position; retaining for
myself the dignity of heir-apparent.
Soon afterwards, a letter arrived from Sinhavarma, an old friend of my
father's, congratulating him on his restoration, and asking for help
against Chandavarma, who was marching to attack him. Upon which I
hastily equipped an army, and marched to his assistance; and have now
had the great happiness of meeting with you, as well as of helping to
defeat the enemy.
Rajavahana having heard this story, smiled, and said: "Truly, our
friend here has committed great sins; but how can I blame him when
his motives were so good, and he had the praiseworthy object of
liberating from a long imprisonment those who are so dear to him, and
of punishing the usurper and oppressor? His courage and ingenuity have
been great; and I congratulate him on his success."
Then turning to Arthapala, he said: "Do you relate your adventures."
And he immediately began his story in the following manner:--
* * * * *
ADVENTURES OF ARTHAPALA.
My Lord, having the same object as your other friends, I wandered
about over various countries in search of you. In the course of my
travels, I arrived one day at the sacred city of Benares. There I
bathed in the pure crystal water of the river; and duly worshipped the
mighty god, the slayer of Andhaka, at his temple outside the city.
After finishing my devotions, I was going on my way, when I saw a
tall, stout man, carrying an iron club, with his eyes red and swelled
from weeping, and engaged in making a noose with his sash.
I thought to myself: "This man has fallen into some great calamity.
He is thinking of doing violence to himself or to others. I will see
if I can assist him." I therefore went up to him, and said: "This
conduct of yours seems to indicate some rash purpose. May I know the
cause of your grief? Perhaps I may be able to help you."
He hesitated for a moment, and looked very hard at me; but at last he
said: "What harm can there be in telling you? You shall know my
troubles, if you wish to learn them."
Then we sat down together under a shady tree, and he began his tale as
follows: "O, fortunate sir, I was once as happy as you appear to be.
My father was in good circumstances, and brought me up carefully; but
I preferred a wild, dissipated life, and at last became a robber. One
night I broke into the house of a rich man in this city, was caught
in the act, and condemned to death.
"My hands were fettered by being passed through holes in a heavy piece
of wood; and in this state I was led out for execution into a public
square, where a furious elephant was brought forward to trample me to
death. When he came near me, I shouted as loudly as possible, in order
to frighten him; and lifting up my arms, gave him a violent blow on
the trunk. Upon this, he turned away; and as I continued to shout out
and abuse him, all the efforts of the driver to make him attack me
were in vain.
"Again and again, with much difficulty, the driver brought him in
front of me; but each time, instead of attacking me, he turned back,
alarmed by my menacing appearance and loud shouts; and at last ran
right away, leaving me uninjured.
"The courage which I had shown was observed by the king's chief
minister, Kamapala, who was looking on from one of the towers of the
palace; and he sent for me, and said: 'You seem to be a very strong,
brave man. I did not think that elephant could have been so cowed by
any one. It is a pity that such qualities should not be better
employed. Are you willing, if you are pardoned, to forsake your evil
ways, and lead an honest life? If you will give me a promise to this
effect, I will take you into my service.'
"I gladly gave the promise which he required; and he obtained my
pardon, and became my protector and master; and I have served him
faithfully ever since. After some years, seeing my devotion to him, he
placed great confidence in me, and one day told me his own history.
"'There was,' said he, 'formerly at Pushpapuri a very learned and
pious man, named Dharmapala, one of the king's ministers. His eldest
son was like him; but I, the youngest, was of a very different
disposition. I had no inclination for work or study; but thought only
of amusement, and spent my time among gamblers and disreputable
characters. My father and brother did all they could to restrain me;
but, impatient of their control, I left my home and friends, and
wandered about the world. One day I came to this city, Benares, and
not long after my arrival, I made acquaintance with the king's
daughter, who, with her female friends, was playing at ball in a park
outside the town. We fell in love with each other; and I contrived, by
disguising myself as a woman, to enter her private apartments and to
have many secret meetings with her; the result of which was the birth
of a child.
"'The devoted attendants kept the whole affair secret, removed the
infant as soon as it was born, and telling the mother it was dead,
gave it to a savari woman, who carried it to the public cemetery and
left it there.
"'As she was returning; she was stopped by the watchmen, and in her
fright told them what she had done. Information was given to the king,
and further inquiry being made, my offence was discovered, and one
night I was arrested, while quietly sleeping unsuspicious of danger.
Being condemned to death, I was led to execution outside the city. By
a fortunate chance I got my hands free, and snatching the sword from
the executioner, laid about me so vigorously that all the men fell
back, and I made my escape to the forest. There I wandered about for
some time, subsisting on wild fruits and roots, and sleeping in the
"'While living this precarious life, I was one day astonished at
meeting a young lady, with many female attendants. She addressed me by
my name, and desired me to sit down with her, under a large tree.
"'When, with much surprise, I asked who she was, and how she came to
be in that wild forest, with such a retinue, and why I was so favoured
by her, she told me the reason of her coming, saying: My name is
Taravali. I am the daughter of a chief Yaksha. A short time ago I
went to visit a friend, living on the Malaya Mountains, and while
flying through the air on my return, as I passed over the cemetery of
Benares, I heard the cry of a child.
"'Moved with compassion, I alighted on the ground, took it up and
carried it to my father. He took it to our master, the god Kuvera, who
sent for me, and asked, "What induced you to bring this child?" "A
strong feeling of compassion," I answered, as if it had been my own.
"'You are right,' he replied; 'there is good reason for what you have
done;' and he showed me how, in a former existence, when you were
Sudraka and I Aryadasi, the child, now born of the Princess Kantimati,
was ours; therefore, I am really your wife, and it was indeed a
maternal instinct which prompted me to save the infant. Kuvera,
however, would not allow me to keep the boy, but ordered me to take
him to the Queen Vasumati, that he might be brought up together with
her son, who will one day become a great monarch.
"Having performed the command of the god, I am permitted by him to
find you out, and relieve you from your present distress."
"So saying, she embraced me, and afterwards took me to a fairy palace
in the forest, furnished with all comforts and luxuries, where I
passed some time with her in great happiness.
"One day, when she was expressing her great love for me, I said: 'I
have a strong desire to take some vengeance on the king who would have
put me to death.' Upon which, with a smile, she said, 'Ah! you wish
to see Kantimati; I am not jealous, I will take you to her.'
"Then lifting me up, she bore me through the air to the palace, and
without disturbing the guards, placed me at the bedside of the king.
"Grasping a sword lying near him, I awakened him, and said: 'I am,
your son-in-law; I took your daughter without your consent, and am now
come to make submission and atone for my fault."
"Seeing the drawn sword held over him he was much alarmed, and said:
'I must have been mad to act as I did and reject such a son-in-law; I
will now acknowledge you, and you shall duly marry my daughter.'
"He kept his word, the next day announced the intended marriage to all
the court, and shortly afterwards publicly gave me his daughter.
"Taravali remained with me, became great friends with her fellow-wife,
told her the story which she had related to me, and how her son had
been preserved and was taken care of by Queen Vasumati.
"Thus I have for some years lived happily, holding, as you know, a
very important office."
[End of the story of Kamapala as told to his servant.]
* * * * *
"Some time after this, the death of the old king occurred, and as the
eldest son had died during his father's lifetime, of consumption
brought on by dissipation and debauchery; my master, together with the
other ministers, placed Sinhaghosha, a boy about five years old, on
the throne, and had him carefully educated.
"As the young king grew older, he was surrounded by companions nearer
his own age, and they not liking the restraint put upon them by the
wise and prudent Kamapala, endeavoured secretly to excite a prejudice
against him, saying, 'This fellow, who sets himself up to be so wise
and virtuous, is a wicked wretch, who first seduced the princess, and
then, having escaped the death he so well deserved, managed to get to
the bedside of the sleeping king, and to frighten him into compliance
with his demands. This Kamapala intends to make himself king; he
poisoned your eldest brother, and only spared you in order to obtain
the support of the people, knowing that the real power would remain in
his own hands. Depend on it you will not be suffered to live when you
are old enough to shake off his authority. If you wish to be safe you
should get rid of him at once.'
"With these, and other similar speeches, they so prejudiced the young
king against his guardian and minister, that he would gladly have got
rid of him at once, but was deterred by fear of the power of his
"One day the queen, seeing the Princess Kantimati very sad, asked her
the reason of her sadness, saying, 'Tell me the truth; you cannot
deceive me; what is the cause of this depression?' 'Did I ever deceive
you?' she answered; 'my friend and fellow-wife, Taravali, has taken
offence at something done or said by our husband, and though we tried
to soothe her, she went away, and has not returned; this is the cause
of my distress.'
"The queen hearing this, immediately told her husband, 'Kamapala has
quarrelled with his fairy wife, and she has left him. There is nothing
now to prevent your proceeding against him as you please.'
"Sinhaghosha, longing to be freed from restraint, caused his minister
to be arrested, when he came the next day to the palace, as usual,
unsuspicious of danger. This very day he will be led round the city,
be proclaimed a traitor, and have his eyes put out.
"I, having lost my only friend and protector, have no wish to live,
and was fastening my sash to hang myself, when you interrupted me."
When Purnabhadra had finished this story, I said to him, "I am that
child who was exposed in the cemetery, and saved by the fairy. My
coming here is indeed opportune, and with your assistance I will
engage to deliver my father. I would boldly attack the guards as they
lead him round the city, but fear, lest in the confusion he might be
killed, when all my exertions would have been in vain; some other plan
must therefore be thought of."
While I was thus speaking to him a serpent put out his head from a
hole near me, and, knowing how to charm serpents, I made it come
forth, and secured it.
Then I said to Purnabhadra: "O friend, this is just what I wanted. I
will mix with the crowd when my father is led round, let this serpent
fall on him as if by chance, and then run up to him and say that I am
skilled in charms, and can save his life. No doubt they will allow me
to try, and I will stop the effect of the poison in such a manner that
he will not die, and yet remain insensible, as if dead. Meanwhile, do
you go to my mother, ask to see her in private, and tell her that the
son whom she had lost is now here. Explain to her my plan for saving
my father, and say that when she hears of the death of her husband,
she must go to the king as if in the greatest grief, and ask for
permission to burn herself together with the dead body. When this
request is granted, as no doubt it will be, she must prepare the
funeral pile, and make ready for self-immolation, laying the
apparently dead body on a couch in a private room till I come, when I
will tell her what is further to be done."
Purnabhadra, delighted with the plan which I proposed, no longer
wished to destroy himself. He set out at once to do as I had directed
him, and I went immediately into the city. There I saw great crowds
already collected, and ascertained where the executioner would stand
when the proclamation was made.
Overhanging the place, there happened to be a large tree, with thick
foliage. Into this I climbed, and waited patiently, listening to the
talk of the people collected underneath.
Presently the executioner and his men came, bringing the prisoner, and
the proclamation was made three times.
"Know all men that this traitor, Kamapala, has not only poisoned the
late king and his eldest son, but has been convicted of plotting
against the life of his present majesty; he endeavoured to persuade
two of the king's faithful attendants to administer poison, but they
have given information, and his life is justly forfeited; the king,
however, in consideration of his being a brahman, and nearly
connected with himself, has spared his life, and only sentenced him to
have his eyes put out. Let all evil-doers take warning by his
While this proclamation was being read, I climbed to a branch of the
tree just over my father, and dropped on him the poisonous serpent,
which immediately bit him. In the confusion which ensued, I slipped
down from the tree, and, having mixed with the crowd, managed, while
shouting out "This is a just punishment from heaven; so may all
traitors perish," to get close to my father, and quickly applied a
charm in such a manner that, though he fell down apparently dead, the
effect of the poison was stopped. The executioner being also bitten;
and his assistants, as well as the crowd of spectators, being alarmed
and dispersed from dread of the poisonous serpent; this act of mine
was not noticed.
Meanwhile, my mother, who had been prepared by Purnabhadra to hear of
her husband's death, went immediately to the king, attended by a large
number of friends, and said; "The gods know if my husband was your
enemy or not; I will not now attempt to defend him; but, whether he
was innocent or guilty, your anger should cease now he is dead. I pray
you to allow me to burn his body, and according to the custom of
widows of my rank, to ascend the funeral pile together with him. Were
I not to perform this duty, disgrace would fall on you and on the
whole family, as well as on myself."
The king, well pleased to have got rid of the obnoxious minister,
without incurring the sin of killing him, exclaimed: "This death is
indeed the act of fate!" And, immediately granting her request,
permitted the body of Kamapala to be taken to his own house, where I
had by that time arrived, and was ready to receive it.
Meanwhile, my mother prepared for death, and, resisting all the
entreaties of her friends and servants, expressed her determination to
be burnt together with her husband.
When everything for the funeral was arranged, she came into the
private room, where the body had been laid, and there saw her husband
fully recovered, and me sitting by him. Great was her delight and
astonishment at this wonderful and sudden change; and having first
embraced her husband, she threw her arms round me, and, with a voice
broken by sobs of joy, said: "O, my darling son, how can I deserve
such happiness?--I, who so cruelly abandoned you at your birth, and
suffered you to be taken away, as if dead? but your father was not to
blame for that; he, indeed, deserves to have been restored to life by
you, and to have the happiness of seeing you. Cruel, indeed, was
Taravali, who, when she had received you again from Kuvera, did not
bring you at once to me; but what could I expect from her? It is
through her unkindness in leaving us that all this misfortune has
happened; but I must not complain; I was not worthy, without previous
suffering, to enjoy such great happiness. Come and embrace me."
Saying this, she again threw her arms round me, and kissed me
repeatedly, trembling with emotion, and shedding many tears of joy.
My father's feelings were scarcely less excited. He seemed to have
risen from the lowest depth of misery to the summit of felicity, and
esteemed himself more fortunate than even Indra the King of the Gods.
When we were all somewhat calmed, and I had explained to my father all
that had occurred, I said: "There is much yet to be done; the king
will soon find out the deception which has been practised, and send to
arrest you again; so we must consider how we can defend ourselves."
My father answered: "This house is a very large one; the walls are
strong; there are many secret passages; I have a great store of
weapons; my servants are brave and faithful, so that we could hold out
for several days. Besides this I have many friends in the city; most
of the authorities will favour me; many of the soldiers will be on my
side, and there are many persons discontented and ready to rebel
against the king. Therefore, if we act prudently, we shall have much
assistance, and be able to cut off that tyrant."
With this I entirely agreed, and we prepared for defence. As I had
expected, the king, finding how he had been deceived, sent soldiers to
take us; but, though they made many attempts, we drove them back day
after day, with very small loss to ourselves.
Meanwhile, fearing lest we should at last be overpowered, if something
more were not done, I determined, if possible, to seize the person of
the king; and, as my father's house was not far from the palace, I
began to make an underground passage inside, in order to reach his
sleeping-room, the exact position of which I had learnt from my
father. After digging for some distance, I came, to my great
astonishment, into a large, lofty, well-lighted room, occupied by a
number of women, among whom was a young lady of surpassing beauty,
resembling the wife of Kama, or the tutelary goddess of the city, who
had hidden herself here to avoid the sight of so much wickedness
The women were equally astonished at seeing me, and ran away, alarmed,
into other adjoining rooms. One old woman, however, remained behind,
and, falling at my feet, said "Have pity on us poor helpless women;
surely thou art a god, for no mortal could have thus found his way
hither. O tell us why thou art come."
"Calm yourself," I answered, "You have nothing to fear from me. I am
Arthapala, the son of the minister Kamapala and the Princess
Kantimati, and have come thus unexpectedly on you while making an
underground passage from my father's house to the palace; but tell me
who you all are, and how you come to be living here."
"O prince," she answered, "I had heard of your birth, but not of your
preservation, and happy am I now to see you. Know that the young lady
whom you have just seen is the granddaughter of your maternal
grandfather, Chandasinha. The eldest son of that king died before his
father, leaving his wife pregnant, and she lost her life in giving
birth to this daughter, who was committed to my care. One day the king
sent for me, and said: 'I intend this child when grown up to be given
in marriage to Darpasara, son of the King of Malwa; and, remembering
the misconduct of her aunt, I am determined that nothing of the kind
shall happen with her. I have therefore caused a spacious palace to be
made underground, and have furnished it with provisions and all other
necessaries for even a hundred years. I have great confidence in you;
you will therefore go down into this subterranean dwelling, taking
with you the princess and such attendants as you may think desirable,
and will remain there until she is grown up, when I shall fetch you
from below, and give her in marriage as I have intended.' So saying,
he lifted up a small trap-door in the court-yard close to his own
apartment, and showed me the steps leading to this place. The next day
we all came down, and have remained here ever since. Twelve years have
now passed, and the king seems to have forgotten us. I must tell you
also that the princess, though destined by her grandfather for
Darpasara, was originally intended for you; for her mother, while the
child was as yet unborn, promised that her daughter should become the
wife of the son of Kantimati if he should ever return. Look on her,
therefore, as your intended, and do what is best for us."
Having received this account from the old woman, I told her to have no
fear on the princess's account, but to trust entirely in me, and that
I would soon liberate them from their long and tedious imprisonment.
She then took a lamp and showed me the steps leading to the trap-door,
which I forced open, and soon found my way into the king's bed-room.
There, before he was sufficiently awake to call for help, I seized,
gagged, and bound him, and dragging him along, as an ichneumon drags a
serpent, past the astonished women and through the tunnel which I had
made, I brought him, trembling with fear and bowed down by shame, to
my father's house, and showed him to my parents, telling them how I
had captured him, and how I had discovered the princess in the
When the seizure of the king was known, those who were previously
well-disposed to my father immediately joined us, and all opposition
Soon afterwards I married the princess, who looked on me as her
deliverer from the dungeon; Sinhaghosha was deposed; and I, having
double claim to the throne, was acknowledged king in his stead.
Hearing that the King of Anga, a devoted friend of your father, was at
war, and attacked by a strong enemy, we have marched hither with an
army to his assistance, and I have had the pleasure of helping to
deliver him from his enemies, and the still greater happiness of
meeting with you. I now beg of you to decide what shall be done with
the deposed king, our prisoner, whom we have brought with us. My
mother is very anxious to liberate him, but hitherto it has not been
thought safe to do so.
The prince answered: "Let that unworthy young man be freed, on
condition of giving up all claim to the throne and leading a private
life; and let him devote himself to pious meditation, which is the
purifier of evil deeds." Then turning with a kind look to Pramati, he
said: "Do you now relate your adventures," with which request he at
* * * * *
ADVENTURES OF PRAMATI.
My lord, while wandering like the rest of your friends in search of
you, I found myself one evening in a large forest, far from any
habitation. Thinking it useless to attempt to go further in an unknown
country and in darkness, I prepared to sleep there. Having bathed in
the water of a small lake, and made myself a bed of leaves, I lay down
under a large tree, commending myself to the deities presiding over
the place, and was very soon asleep.
Presently a strange and delightful feeling came over me, gladdening my
inmost soul; and I awoke, hardly knowing whether what I saw was a
reality or a dream, for on looking round me I saw that I was no longer
in the forest, but in a very large and lofty room, lying on a soft
couch with white muslin curtains; all around me were a number of
sleeping women. Among them my eyes were especially attracted towards a
young lady of exceeding beauty, lying in a very graceful attitude,
covered only by a silken petticoat, her bosom slowly rising and
falling, and her bud-like lower lip quivering with the soft movement
of the breath in quiet sleep.
Lost in astonishment, I said to myself; "What has become of that great
forest wrapt in darkness? How is my bed of leaves exchanged for this
soft couch? Whence is this dome above me, lofty as the great temple of
Siva? Who are all these lovely women, like a troop of Apsaras lying
down wearied with play? And who can this beautiful lady be? She
cannot be a goddess, for the gods do not sleep thus, nor do they
perspire, and I see the drops breaking forth on her forehead. She must
then be a mortal; but O how lovely! how peacefully she sleeps, as if
she had never known the anxieties of love! My heart is drawn towards
With these thoughts I rose up and approached the bed where she lay,
and stood looking at her as if entranced, becoming every moment more
enamoured, longing to touch her, but held back by the fear of
While I was thus gazing, she gradually awoke, and raising herself into
a sitting posture, looked at me attentively with eyes more than half
closed. At first her lips were opened, as if she were about to cry
out; but, apparently restrained by some secret power, she remained
silent, trembling all over, and showing in her countenance the signs
of mingled doubt, fear, astonishment, bashfulness, and love; till at
last, overcome again by sleep, she slowly sank down again on the bed.
Almost at the same time I felt myself irresistibly overcome by
drowsiness, and was very soon fast asleep.
When I awoke, I found myself on the bed of leaves once more, alone in
the gloomy forest, and day was beginning to appear.
When I was quite awake I had some difficulty in collecting my
thoughts, and I said to myself: "Can all this of which I have such a
vivid impression be other than a reality, or was it only a dream, a
magical delusion? Whatever it may be, I will not quit this place till
I find out the truth, and I will place myself under the protection of
the deity who sent the vision."
Having formed this resolution, I was waiting where I had slept, when I
saw approaching me a female form faded like a flower scorched by the
sun, with eyes red from weeping, lips parched by the hot breath of
sighs, wearing a scanty black dress, without ornaments, and with her
hair in a single braid, like an affectionate wife mourning for the
absence of her husband; and with all this having an air of divine
dignity, which made me regard her with reverence, and think that she
might be the tutelary goddess of the place, to whom I had commended
myself; and I prostrated myself before her. But she raised me up with
her arms, and after kissing me again and again, said, with a voice
broken by tears and sobs, "O, my darling, surely you have heard from
the Queen Vasumati how one night a fairy appeared to her, and placing
the child Arthapala in her arms, told her husband's name and her
own; and how the child was brought by order of Kuvera; and then
disappeared. I am that fairy--your mother. Bewildered by unreasonable
jealousy and anger, I abandoned my husband, your father, Kamapala; and
for that sin I was cursed by Durga, who condemned me to be possessed
by an evil spirit for a year. That year, which seemed to me like a
thousand years, is ended; and I am now come from the great festival
of Siva, where I have met my relations, who had assembled there, and
have received full pardon from the goddess.
"In my way thither, I passed by this place, saw you about to lie down,
and heard your prayer to the local deity.
"Being still partly under the influence of the curse, I did not
recognise you as my son. Yet even as a stranger I felt an interest in
you, and could not bear the thought of leaving you exposed to danger
in such a wild place. I therefore waited till you were fast asleep;
and having considered where I could deposit you while I was gone to
meet the goddess, since I could not take you with me, it occurred to
me to carry you to the palace of the King of Sravasti, and leave you
to sleep there till my return. I therefore carried you through the
air, and placed you in the sleeping apartment of the Princess
Navamalika, feeling sure that no one would disturb you there. I then
went to the temple; and after paying due worship to Siva, and
receiving the congratulations of my assembled friends, I was dismissed
by the goddess, who said: 'You are forgiven; the curse is ended; go
and be happy with your husband.' After which I returned to the palace;
and taking you up, brought you to this place, and laid you, still
sleeping, on your bed of leaves. Since then, I have been watching for
your awaking; for as soon as the curse was removed, I knew you to be
"I must now leave you, and go to your father. I know what passed in
the palace; how you have fallen in love with the princess, and her
feelings towards you. Do not despond; before long you will see her
She then warmly embraced me; and saying: "I go with reluctance,
farewell for the present," she departed.
Having thus found the supposed dream to be a reality, and that the
lady whom I had seen was the Princess Navamalika, I was confirmed in
my love, and set out for Sravasti, determined, if possible, to see her
On the road, I came to a village where there was a large fair and a
great concourse of traders. Various amusements were going on; among
others, a cock-fight, which I stopped to look at, and sat down near an
old brahman, who was watching the fight with great interest. On seeing
me smile, he asked the reason; and I answered: "What simpletons some
of the breeders here must be to pit a Balaka cock against one of the
Narikela breed, which is sure to win."
With a knowing look, he whispered to me: "Hush! these blockheads know
no better. I see you are a sharp fellow; sit quiet and say nothing."
Then he offered me betel and pawn from his box; and we got into
Meanwhile, the birds fought furiously; and there was much vociferation
on both sides; but, as I had predicted, the Balaka cock was beaten.
The old man was delighted at the victory of the other, which was his
own. He seemed to have taken a great liking to me, though our ages
were so different, and invited me to his house, where I was very
hospitably treated, and passed the night.
The next morning he accompanied me some distance on the way to
Sravasti; and said, at parting: "Remember, I am your friend; do not
hesitate to apply to me if there is anything in which I can help you."
After he had left me, I continued my journey; and arriving late and
very tired at Sravasti, I lay down to sleep in an arbour in one part
of the park outside the city. There I slept soundly till awakened by
the noise of the swans and other birds in a lake not far off.
Soon after I had risen, I heard the tinkling of anklets, and saw a
young lady walking towards me, with a painted canvas in her hand. When
she came near, she looked first at me, and then at the painting. This
she did several times, and was evidently surprised and pleased at the
comparison On casting an eye on the picture, I also was much
surprised, finding it to be a portrait of myself.
Feeling sure that the likeness could not be accidental, and that there
must be some reason for her making the comparison and seeming so
pleased at the result, I would not at first make any inquiry of her,
but merely said: "This is a public place; we need not stand on
ceremony; pray sit down with me." This she did; and we got into
conversation about the news of the town.
At last she said to me: "You seem to be quite a stranger here, and
look as if you were travel-tired. Will you be offended if I ask you to
come and rest at my house?"
"Offended!" I answered. "You do me a very great favour; I shall be
most delighted to accept your invitation." Upon this, she rose, and I
followed her to her house, where I was most kindly entertained. When I
was refreshed with bathing and food, she said to me: "You have been
travelling about in various countries. Have you, in your travels, met
with any very extraordinary adventure?"
On hearing this question, I thought: "I have now good ground for hope.
The picture represents that very room which I saw, with its lofty
ceiling and white canopies--even the bed where the princess was lying.
Instigated by love, she has doubtless painted my portrait from
recollection; and, in the hope that I may be discovered through the
likeness, has entrusted it to this lady who has now invited me to her
house. She evidently thinks that I am the person; but hesitates to
put a direct question to me. If I am right, I will soon remove her
I asked her, therefore: "Will you allow me to examine that picture?"
She put it into my hand; and I drew on it the princess lying as I had
seen her; and giving it back, said: "One night, while sleeping in a
forest, I had a very wonderful dream. I found myself lying in just
such a room as that which is represented in this painting; and saw
there a very beautiful young lady, such as I have painted here; could
that have been anything more than a dream?"
When she heard this, her face lighted up, and she answered: "That was
no dream, but a reality; and you are indeed the person I was looking
for." Then she told me the whole story; how the princess had seen and
fallen in love with me; and how she had painted that picture and
given it to her friend, that it might be the means of discovering me;
and how delighted she would now be to hear that I was found at last.
I begged her to assure the princess that I was even more anxious to
see her, and had come to Sravasti solely from the hope of finding her.
"If your friend is disposed to favour me," I continued, "beg her to
wait patiently a few days; I will arrange a plan which will enable us
to be together in her apartments, without danger to either of us." To
this she agreed, and having taken leave of her, I went back to the
village where the old brahman lived, whom I had met at the cock-fight.
I found him at home, and delighted to see me. After I was rested and
refreshed, he asked me, "What has brought you back so soon? is there
anything in which you require my assistance?"
"There is,"' I answered, "a very important affair, in which you can
materially assist me. The King of the Sravastans, Dharmavardhana,
whose character corresponds with his name, has a very beautiful
daughter. By an extraordinary chance, I have seen and fallen in love
with her. I have reason to believe that she was equally struck by me,
but know not how to contrive a meeting between us without your help;
will you therefore assist me?"
"What is your plan?" he asked, "and how can I be of service in
carrying it out?"
"My plan is this," I replied. "I will dress as a woman, and pass for
your daughter; and you are so clever and ready-witted, that I think
you will be able to get me into the palace as a companion to the
princess, and even to manage so that she shall become my wife." Then I
told him how I thought this might be accomplished; and he quite
approved of what I proposed, entered into it with great spirit, and
promised his ready co-operation.
Accordingly, the first day that the king was sitting in public to
administer justice, the old man approached, followed by me dressed as
a woman, walking modestly behind him, and bowing down to the king, he
said: "My lord, I have heard of your great beneficence, and how you
are the father of all your subjects, the protector and friend of the
helpless; I am therefore come to ask a great favour. This girl is my
only daughter. Her mother died soon after her birth. I have brought
her up, and she has never left me; but I am desirous now to be
relieved of this charge and to see her well married. A long time ago,
she was engaged to a young brahman, who went to Oujein, to study
there, and acquire the means of supporting a wife and family. I have
been expecting his return for some time, but have heard nothing of
him; I am, therefore, very uneasy on my daughter's account, and
purpose to go to Oujein, and find out whether he is alive or dead. I
cannot leave my daughter alone, and have no friend or near relation
with whom I can place her. Will your majesty deign to allow her to
remain under your protection until my return?"
To this the king graciously assented, and I was received into the
palace, where I soon found means of letting the princess know of my
disguise, and was taken into her apartments as one of her immediate
Thus our wishes were gratified, and we enjoyed uninterrupted
intercourse with each other. But more was yet to be done, and when the
time was nearly arrived at which it had been arranged between me and
the old brahman that he was to come to fetch me, I said to my darling:
"To-morrow, as you know, there will be a procession to a certain holy
place near the river; you and your attendants will join in it and have
an opportunity of bathing there. While we are in the water, I will
scream out, as if drowning, and, diving underneath the surface, will
come up among the bushes a long way off, without being seen. Do you
appear greatly distressed at my death; but fear nothing, I shall soon
come to you again."
Accordingly, the next day, while bathing in the Ganges, I made it
appear as if I were accidentally carried out of my depth and drawn in
by one of the eddies of the river, and screamed out loudly for help.
My cries and screams and subsequent disappearance caused a great
commotion, and long search was made for my body; but of course in
vain, for I had dived under, and come to the surface unobserved among
the thick bushes at the place which had been agreed upon. There,
having gone on shore, I soon found the old brahman, who was waiting
for me with a suit of men's clothes, and, putting them on, I walked
quietly with him into the town.
The next day, as if he had heard nothing of the loss of his pretended
daughter, he went to the king, accompanied by me, and said "My lord, I
have returned from Oujein, and have brought with me this young man,
the intended husband of my daughter, with whom I am much pleased, and
whom I can confidently recommend to your favour, for I have heard an
exceedingly good report of him there. He is not only very learned in
the vedas and commentaries, advanced in science and arts, well
instructed in politics and history, clever in reciting stories and
poetry, but is a bold and skilful rider, a good archer and swordsman.
There is scarcely anything that a young man should know, with which he
is not familiar; and, with all this, he is free from conceit,
good-tempered, gentle, and kind; in short, he seems to me almost
perfect, and more fit to marry a princess than the daughter of such a
man as I am. When I have seen my child happily married to him, I shall
not trouble them with my society, but withdraw from the world, and
end my days in a hermitage. I have now come to take back my daughter,
with the most humble and heartfelt gratitude for the gracious
protection which you have so kindly afforded her." With these words he
bowed himself to the ground in humble obeisance.
On hearing this the king was greatly perplexed, and obliged to admit
that the girl had been drowned while bathing, and that her body had
not been found.
Then the old man began to tear his hair, beat his breast, and show
signs of the most extravagant grief, calling on the king to restore
his dear daughter, and reproaching him with having caused her death.
In vain did the king make him large offers of compensation; he refused
them all, declaring it to be his firm intention to put himself to
death at the gate of the palace, and so cause the sin to fall on the
He, despairing of finding any other way of appeasing the old man,
after some consideration and consultation with his ministers, said to
him: "You have told me that your intended son-in-law is a young man of
rare abilities, and more fit to be the husband of a princess than of
your daughter, and his appearance is very prepossessing; I offer him
then my daughter in the place of yours. Will this satisfy you?" Then
at last the old man professed to be contented; I was treated with much
honour, in due time became the husband of the princess, and reached
the summit of my wishes.
After a time, an army was sent by my father-in-law to the assistance
of the King of Anga, and, thinking of the possibility of meeting you
here, I solicited and obtained the command of it, and my hopes have
been fulfilled, since I have now the great pleasure of seeing you.
Having heard this story, the prince remarked: "You have done no deeds
of blood, but have gained your ends by gentleness and ingenuity. This
is the way approved of by the wise." Then turning to Mitragupta, he
said "It is now your turn," and he immediately began his story thus:--
* * * * *
ADVENTURES OF MITRAGUPTA.
My lord, I set out on my travels in search of you, like the rest, and
arriving one day at Damalipta, I saw a great crowd collected in a
large park outside the city. While looking about me to find some one
of whom I might inquire what this festival was, I espied a young man,
sitting alone in an arbour, amusing himself with playing on a lute.
Going up to him, I asked "What is this concourse of people? Why do you
sit here alone, away from the others?"
He answered: "A long time ago, the king of this country, having no
children, made many prayers and offerings to the goddess Durga, in
the hope of propitiating her. At last she appeared to him in a dream,
and said: 'Your prayer is granted; your wife shall bear twins--a
daughter who must be your successor, and a son who must be subject to
her and to her husband when she marries. Further, it is my will and
pleasure that, beginning from her seventh year, you shall make, every
month when the moon is in the constellation Krittika (or the
Pleiades), a great festival, to be called the Festival of the Ball
Dance, at which she shall publicly exhibit her skill before the
people. I also will, that in reference to a husband, she shall have
free choice without any pressure on your part, and that he whom she
marries shall have equal power with her, and reign after your death.'
"The promise given in the dream was fulfilled. The queen bore
twins--a son and a daughter. The king has duly obeyed the commands of
the goddess, and to-day the princess, whose name is Kandukavati, will
again perform the ball dance for the propitiation of Durga in the
sight of the people here assembled.
"You asked me also why I am sitting here alone. I will tell you. The
Princess Kandukavati has a dear friend and foster-sister, who is
engaged to me.
"Of late, Bhimadhanwa, the brother of the princess, has cast his eyes
on her, and persecuted her with his importunities. Knowing his
character, I have great fear lest some day he should use violence
towards her. This is why I am so anxious and uneasy, and have no
inclination to join in the festivities."
Just then I heard the tinkling of anklets, and a young lady came to
the place where we were sitting.
On seeing her, my companion started up with great delight, and, taking
her by the hand, introduced her to me, saying: "This is the lady whom
I have told you of, dearer to me than life, the thought of separation
from whom, through the wickedness of that wretch, burns me like fire,
and causes me to suffer misery greater than death. I have no loyalty
or respect towards him, and will lose my life rather than suffer him
to accomplish his wicked purpose."
But she, with tears in her eyes, said: "O my beloved, do not on my
account engage in any act of violence; whatever might be the result,
your own life would, certainly be forfeited. You have continually
professed your great love for me; be guided now by my advice. I am
ready to follow you wherever you go; let us then fly from this
country, and go where we shall be safe from my persecutor."
My new acquaintance then turned to me, and said: "You seem to have
been a great traveller; tell us in what country we may be most in
safety and best able to live."
I smiled at this, and answered: "The world is wide, and there are
plenty of countries pleasant to live in; but, after all, one's own
country is the best; why should you banish yourselves? I think I can
contrive some means by which you will be enabled to remain here in
safety and comfort. Wait then a while, and if I cannot do this I will
tell you where it will be best for you to go."
Before we had time to say more, the young girl started up, saying: "I
dare not stay a moment longer. I have stopped away from my mistress
to see you, and now I hear her coming, and must join her directly. Any
one may see the princess at this festival; I hope you will have a good
view of her." Saying this to me, she ran off, and we both followed her
to the place where the princess was to perform--an open stage which
had been erected in the park.
Presently she made her appearance, followed by a train of female
attendants, and the moment I saw her my heart was drawn towards her. I
almost doubted whether she were a goddess or a mortal; but when she
began to play, I was even more captivated by her graceful movements
than I had been by her beauty.
First she made a low obeisance in honour of the goddess; then taking
up the bright red ball with her slender fingers, she let it drop as
if accidentally, and striking it as it rebounded, caught it on the
back of her hand and sent it high into the air; then she made it rise
and fall, at first slowly, then faster, and then very rapidly, keeping
time to it by graceful movements of the feet. Sometimes it seemed to
stand still, sometimes to fly up like a bird; at one time she would
strike it alternately with her right hand and left hand; at another
send it high into the air, dancing meanwhile to her own singing; then
the ball would go quite away, and come back as if of itself. Thus she
went on a long time amidst the applause of the surrounding spectators,
performing various graceful movements, striking the ball with feet as
well as hands, and even making it whirl round and round her so rapidly
that she seemed to be enclosed in a fiery red cage; now with one hand
holding up her dress or replacing her hair which had fallen down, and
keeping the ball in motion with the other; now taking several balls
and keeping them all in the air at once.
At last the performance was ended; and, after again making a low
obeisance in honour of the goddess, she walked slowly round the stage,
leaning on the arm of her foster-sister Chandrasena, and followed by
her maidens, casting several significant glances at me, and especially
giving me one long lingering look as she withdrew.
My new friend, Kosadasa, who had stood near me all the time, invited
me to his house, where I was most hospitably entertained.
In the evening, Chandrasena, the lady to whom he had introduced me,
came to see him. I said to her: "I promised to find some means of
freeing you from the importunities of the prince; this is what I have
thought of. I have a magic ointment, a small quantity of which applied
to your face will make you look like a monkey in the eyes of all who
see you. Your persecutor will certainly then be disgusted, and give
you no more annoyance."
"Truly I am exceedingly obliged to you," she answered, "for such a
charming proposal. But whatever I may be in a future birth, I have no
inclination to be turned into a monkey now. If you have nothing better
than this to propose, we shall not esteem your wisdom very highly.
Happily, I have thought of something much better. You have heard that,
according to the word of Durga, the princess is to be allowed free
choice of a husband. You are greatly in love with her, and she is
favourably disposed towards you, from your appearance. My mother, of
whom she is very fond, will do everything in her power to promote your
interests; and no doubt she will choose you. The king and queen will
of course give their consent; and the marriage once completed, there
will be no further danger, since Bhimadhanwa will be subject to you,
and you will be able easily to protect me. Wait, therefore, a few
days, and I and my mother will do our best on your behalf. But I must
not stay longer; my mistress will be waiting for me."
After she was gone, Kosadasa and I got into conversation about that
which so greatly concerned us both; and so much interested were we,
that we never thought of going to bed, but sat up talking all the
night. In the morning, I went to the park, and stood for some time
near the stage on which I had seen the princess; and in imagination
saw her there again, in some of those graceful attitudes which she had
displayed. While I was thus deep in thought, I was accosted by
Bhimadhanwa, who introduced himself to me, appeared very friendly, sat
down with me, and, after some conversation, invited me to his house.
Having no suspicion of treachery, I accompanied him to the palace,
where I was most hospitably entertained. After dinner, not having
slept the night before, I lay down, and was soon fast asleep, and
dreaming of my beloved princess. Presently, I was suddenly awakened,
and found my arms bound with an iron chain, and Bhimadhanwa, with
angry countenance, standing near me. "Vile wretch!" he said. "You
fancied you could plot in safety; and little thought that all which
that girl said was overheard, and brought to me by one of my spies,
who heard it through the open window. My silly sister, forsooth, is in
love with you! You are to marry her, and make me your subject; and you
will order me to give up Chandrasena, that she may marry her lover!
You are much mistaken. I am not so easily managed as that. We shall
soon see how all your fine projects will end." Then calling two strong
men, his servants, at his command they lifted me up, carried me down
to the sea, and threw me in as I was.
Notwithstanding the chain which confined my arms, I managed to keep
afloat, till by a lucky chance I fell in with a piece of wood, and by
throwing myself across it, managed to hold on, and was carried out to
sea. After floating all night, in the morning I was seen from a ship
sailing that way, and taken on board.
The captain, however, who was a foreigner, had not much compassion on
me; and only thought, as I was young and strong, how much he could get
by selling me as a slave; and did not even release my hands. I had not
been long on board, however, when the ship was attacked by pirates,
who surrounded it with their boats, and poured in a shower of arrows
and other missiles.
Seeing that the crew of the merchant-ship were being defeated, I
called out to the captain: "Take off my chain; set me free; and I will
soon drive away the enemy."
He did as I asked; and furnished me with a good bow and arrows, which
I used so effectually, that a large number of the enemy were killed
or wounded; and the boats began to draw off.
Meanwhile, our ship had drifted close to the pirates' galley. I leapt
on board, and most of the crew being disabled, took prisoner the
captain, who turned out to be Bhimadhanwa, the very man who had so
treacherously ill-used me. He was utterly astonished at seeing, me;
and hung down his head ashamed, unable to answer a word, when I said
to him: "Where are all your threats and boastings? You are now as
completely in my power as I was in yours."
Then the sailors, shouting for joy at the victory, bound him with the
chain with which I had been confined; and after taking possession of
the pirate ship, we continued the voyage; but being driven out of our
course by a contrary wind, landed on an uninhabited island, to get
water and wild fruits, and attend to the wounded.
The merchant-captain and crew, delighted at my bravery, and the timely
assistance I had rendered them, treated me with the greatest respect.
While they were engaged, I walked about to explore the island; and
came to a large quantity of stones which had fallen from a high rock.
These I crossed over, and going round to the other side, found a
gentle slope, covered with trees and flowers. Walking slowly among
them, admiring the beautiful scenery and enjoying the cool shade, I
arrived, almost imperceptibly and without fatigue, at the summit,
where I found a small lake, surrounded with ruby-coloured, variegated
rocks, and partly covered with bright lotuses. In this I bathed, and
pulled up some of the lotus-plants, the young shoots of which were
unusually sweet and good.
As I came out of the water, carrying a large root on my shoulder, I
saw standing on the bank a terrible Rakshas in human form, who called
out, in an angry tone "Who are you? Where do you come from? What are
you doing here, destroying my flowers?"
Without showing any sign of fear, I walked boldly up to him, and said:
"I am a brahman, who has just escaped many dangers. I was
treacherously thrown into the sea, rescued by a merchant-ship, then
attacked by pirates; and now, after conquering them, we have put into
this island for water. I have much enjoyed my bathe, and wish you good
"Stop!" said he. "You will not get off so easily. You seem a bold
fellow, however, and I will give you a chance for life. I shall ask
you four questions. If you can answer them, you are free; if not, I
shall devour you immediately."
"Very good," I answered; "I am ready to hear them." Then he began:
"What is cruel?"
"A wicked woman's heart."
"What is most to the advantage of a householder?"
"Good qualities in a wife."
"What is love?"
"What best accomplishes difficult things?"
"Cunning. Dhumini, Gomini, Ratnavati, and Nitambavati," I added, "are
examples of what I have said."
"Tell me," said he, "who they were, and how they prove the truth of
"Certainly," I replied; "you shall judge for yourself.
"There were formerly in the country of Trigarta three brothers, all
wealthy, having several wives, many servants and slaves, and numerous
flocks and herds. In their time it happened that there was a great
drought; no rain fell for several years; the streams and fountains
ceased to flow; the pools and lakes were turned to mud, the beds of
rivers almost dry, plants burned up, trees withered; all mirth and
festivity were at an end; bands of thieves roamed about; the dead lay
unburied or unburnt, and their bodies were scattered over the fields.
At last the famine was so great that men began to devour each other.
The three brothers, from their great wealth, were able to hold out a
long time; but when their stores of corn and rice were all consumed,
and their cattle all slaughtered, they, like the rest, were driven to
cannibalism. First they killed and ate their slaves; then, even their
wives and children, till all were gone but themselves and their three
favourite wives. The famine still continuing, they were driven to eat
them also, and drew lots which should be killed first. The lot fell on
Dhumini, the wife of the youngest brother, who, unable to bear the
thought of devouring her, escaped with her in the night. After walking
a long way, till they were quite exhausted, they came to a large
forest, where they found a well of water, and many fruits and roots,
besides deer and other animals, on which they were able to live
without difficulty; and they built a hut there.
"One day when the husband of Dhumini was going about in search of
game, he found a man who had been cruelly treated by robbers; they had
cut off his hands, feet, and nose, and left him to perish. Having
compassion on the poor wretch, he bound up his wounds as well as he
was able, and carried him with much difficulty to his hut. There he
and his wife nursed him till his wounds were healed, and took care of
"Now such is the depravity of women, that Dhumini fell in love with
this poor mutilated wretch, and determined to have him whether he
would or no.
"One day her husband came home from hunting, tired and thirsty, and
asked her for water. She answered: 'I have a very bad headache, you
must go and draw for yourself.' Then walking softly behind him as he
went, she waited till he stooped down over the well, and pushed him
"Having thus, as she thought, got rid of her husband, she took the
maimed man on her back and carried him till she reached an inhabited
country, where there was no famine, telling those who asked her, that
this man was her husband, and had been mutilated in that manner by a
"She thus became the object of much compassion, and praise, for
devotion to her husband, and the king of the country bestowed on her a
small pension on which she lived in the city of Avanti. Meanwhile her
real husband had managed to climb up from the well, and wandered about
a long time, not knowing where his wife was gone. At last he came to
Avanti in great distress, and was begging for food when she chanced to
see him. Going at once to the king, she said, 'That wicked wretch who
mutilated my husband is now here; I have seen him going about as a
"Upon this he was immediately seized, and, notwithstanding his
protestations of innocence, condemned to death, and led away to
"On the way, with but faint hopes of saving his life, he said to the
executioner, 'I have been condemned on the evidence of one witness
only; let that man whom I am accused of injuring be questioned; if he
says I am guilty, then indeed I deserve to die.'
"The executioner saying, 'Perhaps he may be innocent--a few minutes'
delay can do no harm,' took him at once to the house of his wife, and
there the poor mutilated wretch, with many tears, declared the
kindness with which he had been treated by the supposed criminal, and
the wickedness of the woman who had forced him to live with her as her
"Thereupon the execution was stayed, and the king, having been made
acquainted with the whole affair, ordered her to be cut in pieces and
given to the dogs, and showed much favour and kindness to her husband.
"I say, therefore, there is nothing so cruel as the heart of a wicked
The Rakshas appeared to be satisfied with this story, and said: "Go
on, tell me about Gomini." I continued therefore:
"There was formerly in the country of the Dravidas a young brahman of
great wealth. Somehow he was not married when a mere boy, as is often
the case, and when he grew up he thought to himself: 'Those who have