Kathasaritsagara (the Ocean of Story)

by Somadeva | 1924 | 1,023,469 words | ISBN-13: 9789350501351

This is the English translation of the Kathasaritsagara written by Somadeva around 1070. The principle story line revolves around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the Vidhyādharas (‘celestial beings’). The work is one of the adoptations of the now lost Bṛhatkathā, a great Indian epic tale said to have been composed by ...

Vetāla 24: The Father that married the Daughter and the Son that married the Mother

(pp. 116-121)

Click the link to jump directly to the english translation of the twenty-fourth Vetāla. This page only contains the notes.

In Somadeva’s version of the Vetālapañcaviṃśati the story of the mixed relations forms No. 24, at the end of which the Vetāla, getting no answer from the king, warns him of the evil intentions of the mendicant. This is the last story of the collection, but there is still another one left to form the complete twenty-five. However, Somadeva, or rather the Kashmirian compilers, merely relate Vikrama’s adventures with the mendicant, and call it Vetāla 25. Now, in the Hindi version[1] the same predicament presented itself, but a different plan was adopted. The “Laugh and Cry” story is repeated, with hardly any difference, as No. 24, while our No. 24 becomes the Hindi Ṅo. 25. The conclusion is abbreviated, and follows on at the end of the story. In the Tamil[2] no attempt is made to get over the difficulty, and our Nos. 24 and 25 form the Tamil No. 24, with which that version ends.

The Hindi version of the story of the mixed relationships follows that of Somadeva, although much abbreviated. The Tamil begins differently:

King Senāpati, having determined on travelling round the world, left his wife and his daughter and set out on his tour. Without his knowledge his wife and daughter followed him, and as they were travelling along missed their way; so, not knowing which way he had gone, they took that which lay straight before them. As they proceeded on their journey it began to rain, and they therefore put up in a choultry. They then pursued their journey on beyond it, when two Brāhmans, a father and son, who were travelling along that road, observing their footsteps, said to each other:

“These appear like the footsteps of some females or other; let us therefore follow them...

The tale then agrees with our version. The advice of the Vetāla given to the king is wisely taken, and forms, as stated above, the last story.

Footnotes and references:


Barker, op. cit., p. 357 et seq.


Babington, op. cit., pp. 87-90.

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