close
Wisdom Library Logo

Story 25 - The Wicked King

[Page 191] IN a certain country there are a King and a Queen, it is said. The Queen has no children. During the time while she was rearing another (adopted) Prince, a child was born to the Queen.

After it was born, the King and Queen having spoken together,

“Let us kill the Prince whom we have brought up,”

said to the King’s Minister,

“Take this Prince and put him down in a clump of bamboos.”

The Minister having taken the Prince, and put him down in a clump of bamboos, returned. The Prince was seven years old.

After that, a man having gone to the bamboo clump to cut bamboos, and having seen, when he looked, that this Prince was there, without stopping to cut bamboos took away this Prince.

On the following day the King said to the Minister,

“Look if the Prince is in the bamboo bush, and come back.”

Afterwards he went, and when he looked, the Prince was not there. So he came to the King, and said,

“The Prince is not there.”

Then the King said,

“The man who went away after cutting bamboos will have taken him. Give these thousand masuran, and bring him.”

Having said this, he gave him a thousand masuran. The Minister, having taken the thousand masuran, and given them to the man who took away the Prince, brought him and gave him to the King.

Afterwards the King said to the Minister,

“ Take this one and put him down in the middle of the path to a cattle fold in which five hundred cattle are collected, and return, [Page 192] so that, having been trampled on as the cattle are going along the path, he may die.”

So the Minister having taken that Prince, and put him down in the middle of the path to a cattle fold in which five hundred cattle were collected, came away.

After that, as the five hundred cattle were setting off to go into the cattle fold, when the great chief bull which went first was about to go in, having seen this Prince he placed him under his body, and allowing the other cattle to go in, this bull went afterwards. Subsequently, as the herdsman who drove the cattle was going along he saw this Prince, and taking the Prince the herdsman went away.

On the following day the King said to the Minister,

“Look if the Prince is at the cattle fold, and come back.”

The Minister went, and when he looked the Prince was not there. So the Minister came and said to the King,

“He is not there.”

Then the King having given a thousand masuran into the Minister’s hand said,

“ The herdsman who drove the cattle will have taken him. Give these thousand masuran and bring him.”

So the Minister having taken the thousand masuran, and given them to the herdsman, brought the Prince and gave him to the King.

After that, the King said,

“Take this one and put him down in the road on which five hundred carts are coming.”

So the Minister having taken the Prince, and put him down in the road on which five hundred carts were coming, returned.

Then the carters, having seen from afar that the Prince was there, took the Prince, and placed him in a cart, and went home with him.

On the following day the King said to the Minister,

“Go and look if the Prince is in the road on which the five hundred carts come, and return.”

The Minister went, and when he looked the Prince was not there. So the Mini ster came and told the King,

“ The Prince is not there.”

Then the King gave the Minister a thousand masuran, and said,

“The carters will have taken him. Give these thousand masuran and bring him.”

The Minister having [Page 193] given the thousand masuran to the carters, brought the Prince and gave him to the King.

After that, the King said to the Minister,

“Speak to the potter and come back. There is no other means of killing this one but surrounding him with pottery in the pottery kiln, and burning him.”

So the Minister went and spoke to the potter,

“Our King tried thus and thus to kilL this Prince; he could not. Because of that, how if you should surround him even in the pottery kiln ?”

The potter said,

“Should you bring him I will surround him.”

So the Minister came and said to the King,

“The potter told me to take the Prince.”

After that, the King wrote a letter:

“Immediately on seeing the Prince who brings this letter, surround him in the pottery kiln, and kill him.”

Having written that in the letter, and given the letter to the Prince who had been adopted, he said,

“Take this letter to such and such a potter, and having given it come back.”

Afterwards, as the Prince was going along taking the letter, the King’s Prince having played at “Disks,” [1] and the counters having been driven out, was dragging along the hop counters.

Then, having seen this Prince, the King’s Prince asked,

“Where, elder brother, are you going ?”

The Prince said,

“Father gave me this letter, and told me to give it to such and such a potter. Having given it I am going to return.”

The King’s Prince said,

“If so, elder brother, I will give that letter and come back. You drag these hop counters.”

[Page 194] Then this Prince having said “Hā,” and given the letter into the hands of the King’s Prince, dragged the hop counters.

While the King’s Prince was taking the letter, the potter was making ready the pottery kiln. After the Prince had given the letter to the potter, when the potter looked at it there was in the letter,

“After you have seen this letter, surround in the pottery kiln the Prince who brings this letter, and set fire to it.”

So the potter taking the Prince surrounded him in the pottery kiln, and set fire to it. While it was burning in the pottery kiln the King’s Prince died.

After the adopted Prince finished dragging the hop counters, and came to the palace, the King asked,

“Did you give the letter to the potter ?”

The Prince said,

“As I was going there, younger brother having played at ‘Disks,’ and the counters being driven out, was dragging the hop counters.

Having seen me going, younger brother asked,

‘Where, elder brother, are you going ?’

I said,

‘Father gave me this letter to give to such and such a potter; having given it I am going to return.’

Then younger brother said,

‘Elder brother, I will give that letter and come; you draw these hop counters.’

So I gave the letter into the hand of younger brother, and I myself having drawn the hop counters came back.”

Then the King quickly said to the Ministers,

“Go to the potter, and look if the Prince is there, and return.”

The Ministers went and asked the potter,

“Is the Prince here ?”

The potter said,

“I killed the Prince.”

So the Ministers came and told the King that the Prince was dead.

The King immediately wrote a letter to the King of another city, that when he saw the Prince who brought the letter he was to kill him ; and having given the letter into the hand of this adopted Prince, he said,

“Give this letter to the King of such and such a city, and come back.”

The Prince having taken the letter went to the palace of the King of the city. At that time the King was not in the palace ; the King’s Princess was there. This Prince having grown up was beautiful to look at; the Princess [Page 195] thought of marrying him. Asking for the letter in the hand of the Prince, when she looked at it there was written that on seeing the Prince they were to kill him.

Then the Princess having tom up and thrown away the letter, wrote a letter that on seeing the Prince they were to marry him to the Princess.

Having written it and given it into the hand of the Prince, she said,

“After our father the King has come give him this letter.”

After that, while the Prince, having taken the letter, was there, the King came. The Prince gave him the letter. When the King looked at the letter he learnt that on seeing the Prince he was to marry the King’s Princess to him. So the King married the King’s Princess to the Prince.

Having married her, while the Prince was there, illness seized the King who brought up the Prince, and they sent letters for this Prince to come. The Prince would not.

Afterwards they sent a letter:

“Even now the King cannot be trusted [to live]; he is going to die even to-day. You must come.”

To that also the Prince replied,

“I will not.”

The Princess said,

“Having said ' I will liot,’ how will it be ? Let us two go to-day.”

So the Prince and Princess came. When they arrived, the King was about to die, and breathing with difficulty. The Prince came and sat near the King’s feet; the Princess sat near the King’s head. The King told the Prince to come near in order to give him an oath [to repeat], in such a manner that he would be unable to seize any article of the King’s.

Well then, as the King was coming to mention the King’s treasure houses and all other things, while he was opening his mouth to say the truth-oath to the Prince, the Princess, the King’s daughter-in-law, being aware of it, stroked the King’s neck, saying,

“If so, father, for whom are they if not for us ?”

Then that which the King was about to say he had no opportunity of saying; while she was holding his neck he died.

After that, the Prince having obtained the sovereignty, and the treasure houses, and the other different houses [Page 196] that were there, the Prince and Princess stayed at that very palace.

Anun nahanḍa yanakoṭa tamumma nahinawā.
While they are going to kill others they die themselves.

North-western Province.

first previous index next last

- Footnotes:

1.

Sillu, “Hopscotch," a game omitted from my account of village games in Ancient Ceylon. I have seen boys playing a form of Hopscotch which may be this one. I do not understand the reference to “ dragging” the counters home after it, unless the meaning is " carrying.” The Sinhalese verb used is adinawā, which is sometimes employed with this other meaning.

first previous index next last