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 ...

Chapter XVIII

[M] (Main story line continued) SO on the next day the King of Vatsa set out from Lāvāṇaka for Kauśāmbī, accompanied by his wives and his ministers, and as he advanced shouts broke forth from his forces, that filled the plains like the waters of the ocean overflowing out of due time. An image would be furnished of that king advancing on his mighty elephant, if the sun were to journey in the heaven accompanied by the eastern mountain. That king, shaded with his white umbrella,[1] showed as if waited upon by the moon, delighted at having outdone the splendour of the sun. While he towered resplendent above them all, the chiefs circled around him, like the planets[2] in their orbits around the polar star. And those queens, mounted on a female elephant that followed his, shone like the Earth Goddess and the Goddess of Fortune accompanying him out of affection in visible shape. The earth, that lay in his path, dinted with the edges of the hoofs of the troops of his prancing steeds, seemed to bear the prints of loving nails,[3] as if it had been enjoyed by the king.

In this style progressing, the King of Vatsa, being continually praised by his minstrels, reached in a few days the city of Kauśāmbī, in which the people kept holiday. The city was resplendent on that occasion, her lord[4] having returned from sojourning abroad. She was clothed in the red silk of banners, round windows were her expanded eyes, the full pitchers in the space in front of the gates were her two swelling breasts, the joyous shouts of the crowd were her cheerful conversation, and white palaces her smile.[5] So, accompanied by his two wives, the king entered the city, and the ladies of the town were much delighted at beholding him. The heaven was filled with hundreds of faces of fair ones standing on charming palaces, as if with the soldiers of the moon[6] that was surpassed in beauty by the faces of the queens, having come to pay their respects. And other women, established at the windows, looking with unwinking eyes,[7] seemed like heavenly nymphs in aerial chariots, that had come there out of curiosity. Other women, with their long-lashed eyes closely applied to the lattice of the windows, made, so to speak, cages of arrows to confine love. The eager eye of one woman, expanded with desire to behold the king, came, so to speak, to the side of her ear,[8] that did not perceive him, in order to inform it. The rapidly heaving breasts of another, who had run up hastily, seemed to want to leap out of her bodice[9] with ardour to behold him. The necklace of another lady was broken with her excitement, and the pearl beads seemed like teardrops of joy falling from her heart.

Some women, beholding Vāsavadattā and remembering the former report of her having been burned, said as if with anxiety:

“If the fire were to do her an injury at Lāvāṇaka, then the sun might as well diffuse over the world darkness, which is alien to his nature.”

Another lady, beholding Padmāvatī, said to her companions:

“I am glad to see that the queen is not put to shame by her fellow-wife, who seems like her friend.”

And others beholding those two queens, and throwing over them garlands of eyes expanded with joy so as to resemble blue lotuses, said to one another:

“Surely Śiva and Viṣṇu have not beheld the beauty of these two, otherwise how could they regard with much respect their consorts Umā and Śrī?”

In this way feasting the eyes of the population, the King of Vatsa with the queens entered his own palace, after performing auspicious ceremonies. Such as is the splendour of a lotus-pool in windy weather,[10] or of the sea when the moon is rising, such was at that period the wonderful splendour of the king’s palace. And in a moment it was filled with the presents which the feudatories offered to procure good luck, and which foreshadowed the coming in of offerings from innumerable kings. And so the King of Vatsa, after honouring the chiefs, entered with great festivity the inner apartments, at the same time finding his way to the heart of everyone present. And there he remained between the two queens, like the God of Love between Rati and Prīti,[11] and spent the rest of the day in drinking and other enjoyments.

The next day, when he was sitting in the hall of assembly accompanied by his ministers, a certain Brāhman came and cried out at the door:

“Protection for the Brāhmans, O King! Certain wicked herdsmen have cut off my son’s foot in the forest without any reason.”

When he heard that, the king immediately had two or three herdsmen seized and brought before him, and proceeded to question them. Then they gave the following answer:—

“O King, being herdsmen we roam in the wilderness, and there we have among us a herdsman named Devasena, and he sits in a certain place in the forest on a stone seat, and says to us, ‘I am your king,’ and gives us orders. And not a man among us disobeys his orders. Thus, O King, that herdsman rules supreme in the wood. Now to-day the son of this Brāhman came that way, and did not do obeisance to the herdsman king, and when we, by the order of the king, said to him, ‘Depart not without doing thy reverence,’ the young fellow pushed us aside, and went off laughing, in spite of the admonition. Then the herdsman king commanded us to punish the contumacious boy by cutting off his foot. So we, O King, ran after him, and cut off his foot; what man of our humble degree is able to disobey the command of a ruler?”

When the herdsmen had made this representation to the king, the wise Yaugandharāyaṇa, after thinking it over, said to him in private:

“Certainly that place must contain treasure, on the strength of which a mere herdsman has such influence.[12] So let us go there.”

When his minister had said this to him, the king made those herdsmen show him the way, and went to that place in the forest with his soldiers and his attendants.

And while, after the ground had been examined, peasants were digging there, a Yakṣa, in stature like a mountain, rose up from beneath it, and said:

“O King, this treasure, which I have so long guarded, belongs to thee, as having been buried by thy forefathers, therefore take possession of it.”

After he had said this to the king, and accepted his worship, the Yakṣa disappeared, and a great treasure was displayed in the excavation. And from it was extracted a valuable throne studded with jewels,[13] for in the time of prosperity a long series of happy and fortunate events takes place. The lord of Vatsa took away the whole treasure from the spot in high glee, and after chastising those herdsmen returned to his own city. There the people saw that golden throne brought by the king, which seemed, with the streams of rays issuing from its blood-red jewels, to foretell[14] the king’s forceful conquest of all the regions, and which, with its pearls fixed on the end of projecting silver spikes, seemed to show its teeth as if laughing again and again when it considered the astonishing intellect of the king’s ministers[15]; and they expressed their joy in a charming manner, by striking drums of rejoicing, so that they sent forth their glad sounds. The ministers too rejoiced exceedingly, making certain of the king’s triumph; for prosperous events happening at the very commencement of an enterprise portend its final success. Then the sky was filled with flags resembling flashes of lightning, and the king like a cloud rained gold on his dependents.

And this day having been spent in feasting, on the morrow Yaugandharāyaṇa, wishing to know the mind of the king of Vatsa, said to him:

“O King, ascend and adorn that great throne, which thou hast obtained by inheritance from thy ancestors.”

But the king said:

“Surely it is only after conquering all the regions that I can gain glory by ascending that throne, which those famous ancestors of mine mounted after conquering the earth. Not till I have subdued this widely gemmed earth, bounded by the main, will I ascend the great jewelled throne of my ancestors.”[16]

Saying this, the king did not mount the throne as yet. For men of high birth possess genuine loftiness of spirit.

Thereupon Yaugandharāyaṇa being delighted said to him in private:

“Bravo, my King! So make first an attempt to conquer the eastern region.”

When he heard that, the king eagerly asked his minister:

“When there are other cardinal points, why do kings first march towards the East?”

When Yaugandharāyaṇa heard this, he said to him again:

“The North, O King, though rich, is defiled by intercourse with barbarians; and the West is not honoured as being the cause of the setting of the sun and other heavenly bodies; and the South is seen to be neighboured by Rākṣasas and inhabited by the God of Death; but in the eastern quarter the sun rises, over the East presides Indra, and towards the East flows the Ganges, therefore the East is preferred.[17] Moreover among the countries situated between the Vindhya and Himālaya mountains, the country laved by the waters of the Ganges is considered most excellent. Therefore monarchs who desire success march first towards the East, and dwell, moreover, in the land visited by the river of the gods.[18] For your ancestors also conquered the regions by beginning with the East, and made their dwelling in Hastināpura on the banks of the Ganges; but Śatānīka repaired to Kauśāmbī on account of its delightful situation, seeing that empire depended upon valour, and situation had nothing to do with it.”

When he had said this, Yaugandharāyaṇa stopped speaking; and the king out of his great regard for heroic exploits said:

“It is true that dwelling in any prescribed country is not the cause of empire in this world, for to men of brave disposition their own valour is the only cause of success. For a brave man by himself without any support obtains prosperity. Have you never heard, àpropos of this, the tale of the brave man?”

Having said this, the lord of Vatsa, on the entreaty of his ministers, again began to speak, and related in the presence of the queens the following wonderful story:—


22. Story of Vidūṣaka

In the city of Ujjayinī, which is celebrated throughout the earth, there was in former days a king named Ādityasena. He was a treasure-house of valour, and on account of his sole supremacy his war chariot, like that of the sun,[19] was not impeded anywhere. When his lofty umbrella,[20] gleaming white like snow, illuminated the firmament, other kings free from heat depressed theirs. He was the receptacle of the jewels produced over the surface of the whole earth, as the sea is the receptacle of waters. Once on a time he was encamped with his army on the banks of the Ganges, where he had come for some reason or other.

There a certain rich merchant of the country, named Guṇavartman, came to the king, bringing a gem of maidens as a present, and sent this message by the mouth of the warder:

“This maiden, though the gem of the three worlds, has been born in my house, and I cannot give her to anyone else; only your Highness is fit to be the husband of such a girl.”

Then Guṇavartman entered and showed his daughter to the king. The king, when he beheld that maiden, Tejasvatī by name, illuminating with her brightness the quarters of the heavens, like the flame of the rays from the jewels in the temple of the God of Love, was all enveloped with the radiance of her beauty and fell in love with her, and, as if heated with the fire of passion, began to dissolve in drops of sweat. So he at once accepted her, who was fit for the rank of head queen, and, being highly delighted, made Guṇavartman equal to himself in honour.

Then, having married his dear Tejasvatī, the king thought all his objects in life accomplished, and went with her to Ujjayinī. There the king fixed his gaze so exclusively on her face that he could not see the affairs of his kingdom, though they were of great importance. And his ear being, so to speak, riveted on her musical discourse, could not be attracted by the cries of his distressed subjects. The king entered into his harem for a long time and never left it, but the fever of fear left the hearts of his enemies. And after some time there was born to the king, by the Queen Tejasvatī, a girl, welcomed by all. And there arose in his heart the desire of conquest, which was equally welcome to his subjects. That girl of exceeding beauty, who made the three worlds seem worthless as stubble, excited him in joy, and desire of conquest excited his valour. Then that King Ādityasena set out one day from Ujjayinī to attack a certain contumacious chieftain; and he made that Queen Tejasvatī go with him mounted on an elephant, as if she were the protecting goddess of the host. And he mounted an admirable horse, that in spirit and fury resembled a torrent,[21] tall like a moving mountain, with a curl on its breast, and a girth. It seemed to imitate, with its feet raised as high as its mouth, the going of Garuḍa,[22] which it had seen in the heaven, rivalling its own swiftness; and it lifted up its head and seemed with fearless eye to measure the earth, as if thinking: “What shall be the limit of my speed?”

And after the king had gone a little way he came to a level piece of ground, and put his horse to its utmost speed to show it off to Tejasvatī. That horse, on being struck with his heel, went off rapidly, like an arrow impelled from a catapult, in some unknown direction, so that it became invisible to the eyes of men. The soldiers, when they saw that take place, were bewildered, and horsemen galloped in a thousand directions after the king, who was run away with by his horse, but could not overtake him. Thereupon the ministers with the soldiers, fearing some calamity, in their anxiety took with them the weeping queen and returned to Ujjayinī; there they remained with gates closed and ramparts guarded, seeking for news of the king, having cheered up the citizens.

In the meanwhile the king was carried by the horse in an instant to the impassable forest of the Vindhya hills, haunted by horrible lions.[23] Then the horse happened to stand still, and the king was immediately distracted with bewilderment, as the great forest made it impossible for him to know whereabouts he was. Seeing no other way out of his difficulties, who knew what the horse had been in a former birth, he got down from his saddle and, prostrating himself before the excellent horse, said to him:

“Thou art a god; a creature like thee should not commit treason against his lord; so I look upon thee as my protector; take me by a pleasant path.”

When the horse heard that, he was full of regret, remembering his former birth, and mentally acceded to the king’s request; for excellent horses are divine beings. [also see notes on intelligent horses] Then the king mounted again, and the horse set out by a road bordered with clear cool lakes, that took away the fatigue of the journey; and by evening the splendid horse had taken the king another hundred yojanas[24] and brought him near Ujjayinī.

As the Sun, beholding his horses, though seven in number, excelled by this courser’s speed, had sunk, as it were through shame, into the ravines of the western mountain, and as the darkness was diffused abroad, the wise horse, seeing that the gates of Ujjayinī were closed, and that the burning-place outside the gates was terrible at that time, carried the king for shelter to a concealed monastery of Brāhmans, that was situated in a lonely place outside the walls. And the King Ādityasena, seeing that that monastery was a fit place to spend the night in, as his horse was tired, attempted to enter it. But the Brāhmans who dwelt there opposed his entrance, saying that he must be some keeper of a cemetery[25] or some thief. And out they poured in quarrelsome mood, with savage gestures, for Brāhmans who live by chanting the Sāma Veda are the home of timidity, boorishness and ill temper. While they were clamouring, a virtuous Brāhman named Vidūṣaka, the bravest of the brave, came out from that monastery. He was a young man distinguished for strength of arm, who had propitiated the Fire by his austerities, and obtained a splendid sword from that divinity, which he had only to think of and it came to him.[26] That resolute youth Vidūṣaka, seeing that king of distinguished bearing, who had arrived by night, thought to himself that he was some god in disguise. And the well-disposed youth pushed away all those other Brāhmans, and bowing humbly before the king, caused him to enter the monastery. And when he had rested, and had the dust of the journey washed off by female slaves, Vidūṣaka prepared for him suitable food. And he took the saddle off that excellent horse of his, and relieved its fatigue by giving it grass and other fodder.

And after he had made a bed for the wearied king, he said to him:

“My lord, I will guard your person, so sleep in peace.”

And while the king slept that Brāhman kept watch the whole night at the door with the sword of the Fire God in his hand, that came to him on his thinking of it.

And on the morrow early Vidūṣaka, without receiving any orders, of his own accord saddled the horse for the king as soon as he awoke. The king for his part took leave of him, and mounting his horse entered the city of Ujjayinī, beheld afar off by the people bewildered with joy. And the moment he entered, his subjects approached him with a confused hum of delight at his return. The king accompanied by his ministers entered the palace, and great anxiety left the breast of the Queen Tejasvatī. Immediately grief seemed to be swept away from the city by the rows of silken flags displayed out of joy, which waved in the wind; and the queen made high festival until the end of the day, until such time as the people of the city and the sun were red as vermilion.[27] And the next day the King Ādityasena had Vidūṣaka summoned from the monastery, with all the other Brāhmans. And as soon as he had made known what took place in the night, he gave his benefactor Vidūṣaka a thousand villages. And the grateful king also gave that Brāhman an umbrella[28] and an elephant and appointed him his domestic chaplain, so that he was beheld with great interest by the people. So Vidūṣaka then became equal to a chieftain; for how can a benefit conferred on great persons fail of bearing fruit?

And the noble-minded Vidūṣaka shared all those villages which he had received from the king with the Brāhmans who lived in the monastery. And he remained in the court of the king in attendance upon him, enjoying, together with the other Brāhmans, the income of those villages. But as time went on those other Brāhmans began striving each of them to be chief, and made no account of Vidūṣaka, being intoxicated with the pride of wealth. Dwelling in separate parties, seven in one place, with their mutual rivalries they oppressed the villages like malignant planets. Vidūṣaka regarded their excesses with scornful indifference; for men of firm mind rightly treat with contempt men of little soul.

Once upon a time a Brāhman of the name of Cakradhara, who was naturally stern, seeing them engaged in wrangling, came up to them. Cakradhara, though he was one-eyed, was keen-sighted enough in deciding what was right in other men’s affairs, and though a hunchback, was straightforward enough in speech.

He said to them:

“While you were living by begging you obtained this windfall, you rascals; then why do you ruin the villages with your mutual intolerance? It is all the fault of Vidūṣaka, who has permitted you to act thus; so you may be certain that in a short time you will again have to roam about begging. For a situation in which there is no head, and everyone has to shift for himself by his own wits as chance directs,[29] is better than one of disunion under many heads, in which all affairs go to rack and ruin. So take my advice and appoint one firm man as your head, if you desire unshaken prosperity, which can only be ensured by a capable governor.”

On hearing that, every one of them desired the headship for himself; thereupon Cakradhara after reflection again said to those fools:

“As you are so addicted to mutual rivalry I propose to you a basis of agreement. In the neighbouring cemetery three robbers have been executed by impalement; whoever is daring enough to cut off the noses of those three by night, and to bring them here, he shall be your head; for courage merits command.”[30]

When Cakradhara made this proposal to the Brāhmans, Vidūṣaka, who was standing near, said to them:

“Do this; what is there to be afraid of?”

Then the Brāhmans said to him:

“We are not bold enough to do it; let whoever is able do it, and we will abide by the agreement.”

Then Vidūṣaka said:

“Well, I will do it. I will cut off the noses of those robbers by night and bring them from the cemetery.”

Then those fools, thinking the task a difficult one, said to him:

“If you do this you shall be our lord; we make this agreement.”[31]

When they had pronounced this agreement, and night had set in, Vidūṣaka took leave of those Brāhmans and went to the cemetery. So the hero entered the cemetery, awful as his own undertaking, with the sword of the Fire God, that came with a thought, as his only companion. And in the middle of that cemetery, where the cries of vultures and jackals were swelled by the screams of witches and the flames of the funeral pyres were reinforced by the fires in the mouths of the fire-breathing demons, he beheld those impaled men with their faces turned up, as if through fear of having their noses cut off. And when he approached them those three, being tenanted by demons, struck him with their fists [see notes on vampires]; and he for his part slashed them in return with his sword, for Fear has not learned to bestir herself in the breast of the resolute. Accordingly the corpses ceased to be convulsed with demons, and then the successful hero cut off their noses and brought them away, binding them up in his garment.

And as he was returning he beheld in that cemetery a religious mendicant sitting on a corpse muttering charms, and through curiosity to have the amusement of seeing what he was doing he stood concealed behind that mendicant. In a moment the corpse under the mendicant gave forth a hissing sound, and flames issued from its mouth, and from its navel mustard-seeds. And then the mendicant took the mustard-seeds, and rising up struck the corpse with the flat of his hand, and the corpse, which was tenanted by a mighty demon, stood up, and then that mendicant mounted[32] on its shoulder and began to depart at a rapid rate, and Vidūṣaka silently followed him unobserved, and after he had gone a short distance Vidūṣaka saw an empty temple with an image of Durgā in it. Then the mendicant got down from the shoulder of the demon, and entered the inner shrine of the temple, while the demon fell flat on the earth. But Vidūṣaka was present also, contriving to watch the mendicant, unperceived by him.

The mendicant worshipped the goddess there and offered the following prayer:—

“If thou art pleased with me, O Goddess, grant me the desired boon. If not, I will propitiate thee with the sacrifice of myself.”

When the mendicant, intoxicated with the success of his powerful spells, said this, a voice coming from the inner shrine thus addressed the mendicant:

“Bring here the maiden daughter of King Ādityasena, and offer her as a sacrifice, then thou shalt obtain thy desire.”

When the mendicant heard this he went out, and striking once more with his hand the demon,[33] who hissed at the blow, made him stand upright. And, mounting on the shoulder of the demon, from whose mouth issued flames of fire, he flew away through the air to bring the princess.

Vidūṣaka seeing all this from his place of concealment thought to himself:

“What! shall he slay the king’s daughter while I am alive? I will remain here until the scoundrel returns.”

Having formed this resolve, Vidūṣaka remained there in concealment. But the mendicant entered the female apartments of the palace through the window, and found the king’s daughter asleep, as it was night. And he returned, all clothed in darkness, through the air, bringing with him the princess, who illuminated with her beauty the region, as Rāhu[34] carries off a digit of the moon. And bearing along with him that princess, who exclaimed in her grief, “Alas! my father! Alas! my mother!” he descended from the sky into that very temple of the goddess. And then, dismissing the demon, he entered with that pearl of maidens into the inner shrine of the goddess, and while he was preparing to slay the princess there Vidūṣaka came in with his sword drawn.

He said to the mendicant:

“Villain! Do you wish to smite a jasmine flower with a thunderbolt, in that you desire to employ a weapon against this tender form?”

And then he seized the trembling mendicant by the hair, and cut off his head. And he consoled the princess, distracted by fear, who clung to him closely as she began to recognise him.

And then the hero thought:

“How can I manage during the night to convey this princess from this place to the harem?”

Then a voice from the air addressed him:

“Hear this, O Vidūṣaka! The mendicant whom thou hast slain had in his power a great demon and some grains of mustard-seed. Thence arose his desire to be ruler of the earth and marry the daughters of kings, and so the fool has this day been baffled. Therefore, thou hero, take those mustard-seeds, in order that for this night only thou mayest be enabled to travel through the air.”

Thus the aerial voice addressed the delighted Vidūṣaka; for even the gods often take such a hero under their protection. Then he took in his hand those grains of mustard-seed from the corner of the mendicant’s robe, and the princess in his arms.

And while he was setting out from that temple of the goddess another voice sounded in the air:

“Thou must return to this very temple of the goddess at the end of a month; thou must not forget this, O hero!”

When he heard this, Vidūṣaka said: “I will do so”—and by the favour of the goddess he immediately flew up into the air,[35] bearing with him the princess.

And flying through the air he quickly placed that princess in her private apartments, and said to her after she had recovered her spirits:

“Tomorrow morning I shall not be able to fly through the air, and so all men will see me going out, so I must depart now.”

When he said this to her, the maiden, being alarmed, answered him:

“When you are gone, this breath of mine will leave my body, overcome with fear. Therefore do not depart, great-souled hero; once more save my life; for the good make it their business from their birth to carry out every task they have undertaken.”

When the brave Vidūṣaka heard that he reflected:

“If I go and leave this maiden she may possibly die of fear; and then what kind of loyalty to my sovereign shall I have exhibited?”

Thinking thus he remained all night in those female apartments, and he gradually dropped off to sleep, wearied with toil and watching. But the princess in her terror passed the night without sleeping; and even when the morning came she did not wake up the sleeping Vidūṣaka,[36] as her mind was made tender by love, and she said to herself: “Let him rest a little longer.” Then the servants of the harem came in and saw him, and in a state of consternation they went and told the king. The king for his part sent the warder to discover the truth, and he entering beheld Vidūṣaka there. And he heard the whole story from the mouth of the princess, and went and repeated it all to the king. And the king, knowing the excellent character of Vidūṣaka, was immediately bewildered, wondering what it could mean. And he had Vidūṣaka brought from his daughter’s apartment, escorted all the way by her soul, which followed him out of affection.

And when he arrived, the king asked him what had taken place, and Vidūṣaka told him the whole story from the beginning, and showed him the noses of the robbers fastened up in the end of his garment, and the mustard-seeds which had been in the possession of the mendicant, different from those found on earth. The high-minded monarch suspected that Vidūṣaka’s story was true from these circumstances, so he had all the Brāhmans of the monastery brought before him, together with Cakradhara, and asked about the original cause of the whole matter. And he went in person to the cemetery and saw those men with their noses cut off, and that base mendicant with his neck severed, and then he reposed complete confidence in, and was much pleased with, the skilful and successful Vidūṣaka, who had saved his daughter’s life. And he gave him his own daughter on the spot. What do generous men withhold when pleased with their benefactors? Surely the Goddess of Prosperity,[37] out of love for the lotus, dwelt in the hand of the princess, since Vidūṣaka obtained great good fortune after he had received it in the marriage ceremony.

Then Vidūṣaka, enjoying a distinguished reputation, and engaged in attending upon the sovereign, lived with that beloved wife in the palace of King Ādityasena. Then as the days went on, once upon a time the princess, impelled by some supernatural power, said at night to Vidūṣaka:

“My lord, you remember that when you were in the temple of the goddess a divine voice said to you: ‘Come here at the end of a month.’ To-day is the last day of the month and you have forgotten it.”

When his beloved said this to him, Vidūṣaka was delighted, and recalled it to mind, and said to his wife:

“Well remembered on thy part, fair one! But I had forgotten it.”

And then he embraced her by way of reward.

And then, while she was asleep, he left the women’s apartments by night, and in high spirits he went armed with his sword to the temple of the goddess; then he exclaimed outside:

“I, Vidūṣaka, am arrived.”

And he heard this speech uttered by someone inside: “Come in, Vidūṣaka.” Thereupon he entered and beheld a heavenly palace, and inside it a lady of heavenly beauty with a heavenly retinue, dispelling with her brightness the darkness, like a night set on fire, looking as if she were the medicine to restore to life the God of Love consumed with the fire of the wrath of Śiva. He, wondering what it could all mean, was joyfully received by her in person, with a welcome full of affection and great respect.

And when he had sat down and had gained confidence from seeing her affection, he became eager to understand the real nature of the adventure, and she said to him:

“I am a maiden of the Vidyādhara race, of high descent, and my name is Bhadrā, and as I was roaming about at my will I saw you here on that occasion. And as my mind was attracted by your virtues, I uttered at that time that voice which seemed to come from someone invisible, in order that you might return. And to-day I bewildered the princess by employing my magic skill, so that under my impulse she revived your remembrance of this matter, and for your sake I am here, and so, handsome hero, I surrender myself to you; marry me.”

The noble Vidūṣaka, when the Vidyādharī Bhadrā addressed him in this style, agreed that moment, and married her by the gāndharva ceremony. Then he remained in that very place, having obtained celestial joys, the fruits of his own valour, living with that beloved wife.

Meanwhile the princess woke up when the night came to an end, and not seeing her husband, was immediately plunged in despair. So she got up and went with tottering steps to her mother, all trembling, with her eyes flooded with gushing tears. And she told her mother that her husband had gone away somewhere in the night, and was full of self-reproach, fearing that she had been guilty of some fault. Then her mother was distracted owing to her love for her daughter, and so in course of time the king heard of it, and came there, and fell into a state of the utmost anxiety.

When his daughter said to him,

“I know my husband has gone to the temple of the goddess outside the cemetery,”

the king went there in person. But he was not able to find Vidūṣaka there, in spite of all his searching, for he was concealed by virtue of the magic science of the Vidyādharī. Then the king returned, and his daughter in despair determined to leave the body, but while she was thus minded some wise man came to her and said this to her:

“Do not fear any misfortune, for that husband of thine is living in the enjoyment of heavenly felicity, and will return to thee shortly.”

When she heard that, the princess retained her life, which was kept in her by the hope of her husband’s return, that had taken deep root in her heart.

Then, while Vidūṣaka was living there, a certain friend of his beloved, named Yogeśvarī, came to Bhadrā, and said to her in secret:

“My friend, the Vidyādharas are angry with you because you live with a man, and they seek to do you an injury; therefore leave this place. There is a city called Kārkoṭaka on the shore of the eastern sea, and beyond that there is a sanctifying stream named Śītodā, and after you cross that, there is a great mountain named Udaya,[38] the land of the Siddhas,[39] which the Vidyādharas may not invade; go there immediately, and do not be anxious about the beloved mortal whom you leave here, for before you start you can tell all this to him, so that he shall be able afterwards to journey there with speed.”

When her friend said this to her, Bhadrā was overcome with fear, and though attached to Vidūṣaka, she consented to do as her friend advised. So she told her scheme to Vidūṣaka, and providently gave him her ring, and then disappeared at the close of the night. And Vidūṣaka immediately found himself in the empty temple of the goddess, in which he had been before, and no Bhadrā and no palace. Remembering the delusion produced by Bhadrā’s magic skill, and beholding the ring, Vidūṣaka was overpowered by a paroxysm of despair and wonder.

And remembering her speech as if it were a dream, he reflected:

“Before she left, she assigned as a place of meeting the mountain of the sun-rising; so I must quickly go there to find her; but if I am seen by the people in this state, the king will not let me go: so I will employ a stratagem in this matter, in order that I may accomplish my object.”

So reflecting, the wise man assumed another appearance, and went out from that temple with tattered clothes, begrimed with dust, exclaiming: “Ah, Bhadrā! Ah, Bhadrā!” And immediately the people who lived in that place, beholding him, raised a shout: “Here is Vidūṣaka found!” And the king hearing of it came out from his palace in person, and seeing Vidūṣaka in such a state, conducting himself like a madman, he laid hold on him and took him back to his palace. When he was there, whatever his servants and connections, who were full of affection, said to him he answered only by exclaiming: “Ah, Bhadrā! Ah, Bhadrā !” And when he was anointed with unguents prescribed by the physicians, he immediately defiled his body with much cinder-dust; and the food which the princess out of love offered to him with her own hands he instantly threw down and trampled underfoot. And in this condition Vidūṣaka remained there some days, without taking interest in anything, tearing his own clothes, and playing the madman.

And Ādityasena thought to himself:

“His condition is past cure, so what is the use of torturing him? He may perhaps die, and then I shall be guilty of the death of a Brāhman, whereas if he roams about at his will he may possibly recover in course of time.”

So he let him go.

Then the hero Vidūṣaka, being allowed to roam where he liked, set out the next day at his leisure to find Bhadrā, taking with him the ring. And as he journeyed on day by day towards the East, he at last reached a city named Pauṇḍravardhana,[40] which lay in his way as he travelled on; there he entered the house of a certain aged Brāhman woman, saying to her:

“Mother, I wish to stop here one night.”

And she gave him a lodging and entertained him, and shortly after she approached him, full of inward sorrow, and said to him:

“My son, I hereby give thee all this house, therefore receive it, since I cannot now live any longer.”

He, astonished, said to her:

“Why do you speak thus?”

Then she said:

“Listen, I will tell you the whole story,”

and so continued as follows: —

“My son, in this city there is a king named Devasena, and to him there was born a daughter, the ornament of the earth.

The affectionate king said,

‘I have with difficulty obtained this one daughter,’

so he gave her the name of Duḥkhalabdhikā. In course of time, when she had grown up, the king gave her in marriage to the King of Kacchapa, whom he had brought to his own palace.[41] The King of Kacchapa entered at night the private apartments of his bride, and died the very first time he entered them.

Then the king, much distressed, again gave his daughter in marriage to another king; he also perished in the same way[42]: and when through fear of the same fate other kings did not wish to marry her, the king gave this order to his general:

‘You must bring a man in turn from every single house in this country, so that one shall be supplied every day, and he must be a Brāhman or a Kṣatriya. And after you have brought the man, you must cause him to enter by night into the apartment of my daughter; let us see how many will perish in this way, and how long it will go on. Whoever escapes shall afterwards[43] become her husband; for it is im possible to bar the course of Fate, whose dispensations are mysterious.’

The general having received this order from the king, brings a man every day in turn from every house in this city, and in this way hundreds of men have met their death in the apartment of the princess.[44] Now I, whose merits in a former life must have been deficient, have one son here; his turn has to-day arrived to go to the palace to meet his death; and I being deprived of him must to-morrow enter the fire. Therefore, while I am still alive, I give to you, a worthy object, all my house with my own hand, in order that my lot may not again be unfortunate in my next birth.”

When she had said this, the resolute Vidūṣaka answered:

“If this is the whole matter, do not be despondent, mother. I will go there to-day: let your only son live. And do not feel any commiseration with regard to me, so as to say to yourself,

‘Why should I be the cause of this man’s death?’

for owing to the magical power which I possess I run no risk by going there.”

When Vidūṣaka had said this, that Brāhman woman said to him:

“Then you must be some god come here as a reward for my virtue, so cause me, my son, to recover life, and yourself to gain felicity.”

When she had expressed her approval of his project in these words, he went in the evening to the apartment of the princess, together with a servant appointed by the general to conduct him. There he beheld the princess flushed with the pride of youth, like a creeper weighed down with the burden of its abundant flowers that had not yet been gathered.

Accordingly, when night came, the princess went to her bed, and Vidūṣaka remained awake in her apartment, holding in his hand the sword of the Fire God, which came to him with a thought, saying to himself:

“I will find out who it is that slays men here.”

And when people were all asleep, he saw a terrible Rākṣasa coming from the side of the apartment where the entrance was, having first opened the door; and the Rākṣasa, standing at the entrance, stretched forward into the room an arm, which had been the swift wand of Death to hundreds of men. But Vidūṣaka, in wrath springing forward, cut off suddenly the arm of the Rākṣasa with one stroke of his sword.[45] And the Rākṣasa immediately fled away through fear of his exceeding valour, with the loss of one arm, never again to return. When the princess awoke, she saw the severed arm lying there, and she was terrified, delighted, and astonished at the same time. And in the morning the King Devasena saw the arm of the Rākṣasa, which had fallen down after it was cut off, lying at the door of his daughter’s apartments; in this way Vidūṣaka—as if to say, “Henceforth no other men must enter here”—fastened the door as it were with a long bar.[46] Accordingly the delighted king gave to Vidūṣaka, who possessed this divine power, his daughter and much wealth; and Vidūṣaka dwelt there some days with this fair one, as if with prosperity incarnate in bodily form.

But one day he left the princess while asleep, and set out at night in haste to find his Bhadrā. And the princess in the morning was afflicted at not seeing him, but she was comforted by her father with the hope of his return. Vidūṣaka, journeying on day by day, at last reached the city of Tāmraliptā, not far from the eastern sea. There he joined himself to a certain merchant, named Skandhadāsa,[47] who desired to cross the sea. In his company, embarking on a ship laden with much wealth belonging to the merchant, he set out on the ocean path. Then that ship was stopped suddenly when it had reached the middle of the ocean, as if it were held by something.

And when it did not move, though the sea was propitiated with jewels,[48] that merchant Skandhadāsa being grieved, said this:

“Whosoever releases this ship of mine which is detained, to him I will give half my own wealth and my daughter.”

The resolute-souled Vidūṣaka, when he heard that, said:

“I will descend into the water of the sea and search it, and I will set free in a moment this ship of yours which is stopped: but you must support me by ropes fastened round my body. And the moment the ship is set free, you must draw me up out of the midst of the sea by the supporting ropes.”

The merchant welcomed this speech with a promise to do what he asked, and the steersmen bound ropes under his armpits. Supported in that way, Vidūṣaka descended in the sea; a brave man never desponds when the moment for action has arrived. So taking in his hand the sword of the Fire God, that came to him with a thought, the hero descended into the midst of the sea under the ship. And there he saw a giant asleep, and he saw that the ship was stopped by his leg. So he immediately cut off his leg with his sword, and at once the ship moved on freed from its impediment.[49] When the wicked merchant saw that, he cut the ropes by which Vidūṣaka was supported, through desire to save the wealth he had promised him, and went swiftly to the other shore of the ocean, vast as his own avarice, in the ship which had thus been set free.

Vidūṣaka for his part, being in the midst of the sea with the supporting ropes cut, rose to the surface, and seeing how matters stood he calmly reflected for a moment:

“Why did the merchant do this? Surely in this case the proverb is applicable:

‘Ungrateful men blinded by desire of gain cannot see a benefit.’

Well, it is now high time for me to display intrepidity, for if courage fails, even a small calamity cannot be overcome.”

Thus he reflected on that occasion, and then he got astride on the leg which he had cut off from the giant sleeping in the water, and by its help he crossed the sea, as if with a boat, paddling with his hands; for even destiny takes the part of men of distinguished valour.

Then a voice from heaven addressed that mighty hero who had come across the ocean, as Hanumān did for the sake of Rāma[50]:

“Bravo, Vidūṣaka! Bravo! Who except thee is a man of valour? I am pleased with this courage of thine: therefore hear this. Thou hast reached a desolate coast here, but from this thou shalt arrive in seven days at the city of Kārkoṭaka; then thou shalt pluck up fresh spirits, and journeying quickly from that place, thou shalt obtain thy desire. But I am the Fire, the consumer of the oblations to gods and the spirits of deceased ancestors, whom thou didst before propitiate: and owing to my favour thou shalt feel neither hunger nor thirst —therefore go prosperously and confidently.”

Having thus spoken, the voice ceased.

And Vidūṣaka, when he heard that, bowed, adoring the Fire God, and set forth in high spirits, and on the seventh day he reached the city of Kārkoṭaka. And there he entered a monastery, inhabited by many noble Brāhmans from various lands, who were noted for hospitality. It was a wealthy foundation of the king of that place, Āryavarman, and had annexed to it beautiful temples all made of gold. There all of the Brāhmans welcomed him, and one Brāhman took the guest to his chamber, and provided him with a bath, with food and with clothing.

And while he was living in the monastery, he heard this proclamation being made by beat of drum[51] in the evening:

“Whatever Brāhman or Kṣatriya wishes to-morrow morning to marry the king’s daughter, let him spend a night in her chamber.”

When he heard that, he suspected the real reason, and being always fond of daring adventures, he desired immediately to go to the apartment of the princess.

Thereupon the Brāhmans of the monastery said to him:

“Brāhman, do not be guilty of rashness. The apartment of the princess is not rightly so called, rather is it the open mouth of death,[52] for whoever enters it at night does not escape alive, and many daring men have thus met their death there.”

In spite of what these Brāhmans told him, Vidūṣaka would not take their advice,[53] but went to the palace of the king with his servants.

There the King Āryavarman, when he saw him, welcomed him in person, and at night he entered the apartment of the king’s daughter, looking like the sun entering the fire. And he beheld that princess, who seemed by her appearance to be attached to him, for she looked at him with tearful eye, and a sad look expressive of the grief produced by utter despair. And he remained awake there all night gazing intently, holding in his hand the sword of the Fire God, that came to him with a thought. And suddenly he beheld at the entrance a very terrible Rākṣasa, extending his left hand because his right had been cut off.

And when he saw him, he said to himself:

“Here is that very Rākṣasa whose arm I cut off in the city of Pauṇḍravardhana. So I will not strike at his arm again, lest he should escape me and depart as before, and for this reason it is better for me to kill him.”

Thus reflecting, Vidūṣaka ran forward and seized his hair, and was preparing to cut off his head when suddenly the Rākṣasa in extreme terror said to him.

“Do not slay me; you are brave, therefore show mercy.”

Vidūṣaka let him go, and said:

“Who are you, and what are you about here?”

Then the Rākṣasa, being thus questioned by the hero, continued:

“My name is Yamadaṃṣṭra, and I had two daughters—this is one, and she who lives in Pauṇḍravardhana is another.

And Śiva favoured me by laying on me this command:

‘Thou must save the two princesses from marrying anyone who is not a hero.’

While thus engaged I first had an arm cut off at Pauṇḍravardhana, and now I have been conquered by you here, so this duty of mine is accomplished.”

When Vidūṣaka heard this he laughed, and said to him in reply:

“It was I that cut off your arm in Pauṇḍravardhana.”

The Rākṣasa answered:

“Then you must be a portion of some divinity, not a mere man. I think it was for your sake that Śiva did me the honour of laying that command upon me. So henceforth I consider you my friend, and when you call me to mind I will appear to you to ensure your success even in difficulties.”

In these words the Rākṣasa Yamadaṃṣṭra out of friendship chose him as a sworn brother, and when Vidūṣaka accepted his proposal, disappeared. Vidūṣaka, for his part, was commended for his valour by the princess, and spent the night there in high spirits; and in the morning the king, hearing of the incident and highly pleased, gave him his daughter as the conspicuous banner of his valour, together with much wealth. Vidūṣaka lived there some nights with her, as if with the Goddess of Prosperity, bound so firmly by his virtue[54] that she could not move a step. But one night he went off of his own accord from that place, longing for his beloved Bhadrā; for who that has tasted heavenly joys can take pleasure in any other?

And after he had left the town he called to mind that Rākṣasa, and said to him, who appeared the moment he called him to mind, and made him a bow:

“My friend, I must go to the land of the Siddhas on the eastern mountain for the sake of the Vidyādharī named Bhadrā, so do you take me there.”

The Rākṣasa said: “Very good.” So he ascended his shoulder, and travelled in that night over sixty yojanas of difficult country[55]; and in the morning he crossed the Śītodā, a river that cannot be crossed by mortals, and without effort reached the border of the land of the Siddhas.[56]

The Rākṣasa said to him:

“Here is the blessed mountain, called the mountain of the rising sun, in front of you, but I cannot set foot upon it, as it is the home of the Siddhas.”

Then the Rākṣasa, being dismissed by him, departed, and there Vidūṣaka beheld a delightful lake; and he sat down on the bank of that lake, beautiful with the faces of fullblown lotuses, which, as it were, uttered a welcome to him with the hum of roaming bees.

And there he saw unmistakable footsteps as of women, seeming to say to him:

“This is the path to the house of your beloved.”

While he was thinking to himself,

“Mortals cannot set foot on this mountain, therefore I had better stop here a moment and see whose footsteps these are,”

there came to the lake to draw water many beautiful women with golden pitchers in their hands. So he asked the women, after they had filled their pitchers with water, in a courteous manner.

“For whom are you taking this water?”

And those women said to him:

“Excellent sir, a Vidyādharī of the name of Bhadrā is dwelling on this mountain; this water is for her to bathe in.”

Wonderful to say, Providence, seeming to be pleased with resolute men who attempt mighty enterprises, makes all things subserve their ends.

For one of these women suddenly said to Vidūṣaka:

“Noble sir, please lift this pitcher on to my shoulder.”

He consented, and when he lifted the pitcher on to her shoulder the discreet man put into it the jewelled ring he had before received from Bhadrā,[57] and then he sat down again on the bank of that lake, while those women went with the water to the house of Bhadrā. And while they were pouring over Bhadrā the water of ablution, her ring fell into her lap. When Bhadrā saw it she recognised it, and asked those friends of hers whether they had seen any stranger about.

And they gave her this answer:

“We saw a young mortal on the banks of the lake, and he lifted this pitcher for us.”

Then Bhadrā said: “Go and make him bathe and adorn himself, and quickly bring him here, for he is my husband, who has arrived in this country.”

When Bhadrā had said this, her companions went and told Vidūṣaka the state of the case, and after he had bathed, brought him into her presence. And when he arrived he saw, after long separation, Bhadrā, who was eagerly expecting him, like the ripe blooming fruit of the tree of his own valour in visible form: she for her part rose up when she saw him, and offering him the argha,[58] so to speak, by sprinkling him with her tears of joy, she fastened her twining arms round his neck like a garland. When they embraced one another the long-accumulated affection[59] seemed to ooze from their limbs in the form of sweat, owing to excessive pressure.

Then they sat down, and never satisfied with gazing at one another, they both, as it were, endured the agony of longing multiplied a hundredfold. Bhadrā then said to Vidūṣaka:

“How did you come to this land?”

And he thereupon gave her this answer:

“Supported by affection for thee, I came here enduring many risks to my life; what else can I say, fair one?”

When she heard that, seeing that his love was excessive, as it caused him to disregard his own life, Bhadrā said to him who through affection had endured the utmost[60]:

“My husband, I care not for my friends, nor my magic powers; you are my life, and I am your slave, my lord, bought by you with your virtues.”

Then Vidūṣaka said:

“Then come with me to live in Ujjayinī, my beloved, leaving all this heavenly joy.”

Bhadrā immediately accepted his proposal, and gave up all her magic gifts (which departed from her the moment she formed that resolution) with no more regret than if they had been straw. Then Vidūṣaka rested with her there during that night, being waited on by her friend Yogeśvarī, and in the morning the successful hero descended with her from the mountain of the sunrise, and again called to mind the Rākṣasa Yamadaṃṣṭra; the Rākṣasa came the moment he was thought of, and Vidūṣaka told him the direction of the journey he had to take, and then ascended his shoulder, having previously placed Bhadrā there. She too endured patiently to be placed on the shoulder of a very loathsome Rākṣasa. What will not women do when mastered by affection?

So Vidūṣaka, mounted on the Rākṣasa, set out with his beloved, and again reached the city of Kārkoṭaka; and there men beheld him with fear, inspired by the sight of the Rākṣasa; and when he saw King Āryavarman he demanded from him his daughter; and after receiving that princess surrendered by her father, whom he had won with his arm, he set forth from that city in the same style, mounted on the Rākṣasa. And after he had gone some distance he found that wicked merchant on the shore of the sea who long ago cut the ropes when he had been thrown into the sea. And he took, together with his wealth, his daughter, whom he had before won as a reward for setting free the ship in the sea. And he considered the depriving that villain of his wealth as equivalent to putting him to death; for grovelling souls often value their hoards more than their life. Then mounted on the Rākṣasa as on a chariot, taking with him that daughter of the merchant, he flew up into the heaven with the princess and Bhadrā, and journeying through the air he crossed the ocean, which like his valour was full of boisterous impetuosity, exhibiting it to his fair ones.[61] And he again reached the city of Pauṇḍravardhana, beheld with astonishment by all as he rode on a Rākṣasa. There he greeted his wife, the daughter of Devasena, who had long desired his arrival, whom he had won by the defeat of the Rākṣasa; and though her father tried to detain him, yet longing for his native land, he took her also with him and set out for Ujjayinī. And owing to the speed of the Rākṣasa he soon reached that city, which appeared like his satisfaction at beholding his home, exhibited in visible form. There Vidūṣaka was seen by the people, perched on the top of that huge Rākṣasa, whose vast frame was illuminated by the beauty of his wives seated on his shoulder, as the moon[62] rising over the eastern mountain with gleaming herbs on its summit. The people being astonished and terrified, his father-in-law the King Ādityasena came to hear of it, and went out from the city. But Vidūṣaka, when he saw him, quickly descended from the Rākṣasa, and after prostrating himself approached the king; the king too welcomed him. Then Vidūṣaka caused all his wives to come down from the shoulder of the Rākṣasa, and released him to wander where he would. And after that Rākṣasa had departed, Vidūṣaka, accompanied by his wives, entered the king’s palace together with the king his father-in-law. There he delighted by his arrival that first wife of his, the daughter of that king, who suffered a long regret for his absence.

And when the king said to him,

“How did you obtain these wives, and who is that Rākṣasa?”

he told him the whole story.

Then that king, pleased with his son-in-law’s valour, and knowing what it was expedient to do, gave him half his kingdom; and immediately Vidūṣaka, though a Brāhman, became a monarch, with a lofty white umbrella and chowries waving on both sides of him. And then the city of Ujjayinī was joyful, full of the sound of festive drums and music, uttering shouts of delight. Thus he obtained the mighty rank of a king, and gradually conquered the whole earth, so that his foot was worshipped by all kings, and with Bhadrā for his consort he long lived in happiness with those wives of his, who were content, having abandoned jealousy. Thus resolute men, when Fortune favours them, find their own valour a great and successful stupefying charm that forcibly draws towards them prosperity.


[M] (Main story line continued) When they heard from the mouth of the King of Vatsa this varied tale[63] full of marvellous incident, all his ministers sitting by his side and his two wives experienced excessive delight.

[Additional note: Rāhu and eclipses]

Footnotes and references:


For full details of the history and significance of the umbrella see Appendix II, pp. 263-272 —n.m.p.


Cf. Schiller’s Gedichte, “Der Graf von Habsburg,” lines 8, 9.


Vātsyāyana devotes a whole chapter in his Kāma Sūtra (Book II, ch. iv) to love-scratching with the finger-nails. He describes eight distinct varieties of scratches, and lists the desirable qualities in finger-nails. As this work is hard to obtain I shall give certain extracts in a note to the “Story of King Sinhākṣa” in Book X, Chapter LXVI.— n.m.p.


The word pati here means king and husband.


A smile is always white according to the Hindu poetic canons.


The countenances of the fair ones were like moons.


There should be a mark of elision before nimishekṣaṇāh.


The eyes of Hindu ladies are said to reach to their ears. I read tadākhyātum for ladākhyātim with a MS. in the Sanskrit College, kindly lent me by the Librarian with the consent of the Principal.-See the introductory part of Appendix II (“Collyrium and Koḥl”) to the Ocean of Story, Vol. I, p. 211 et seq. —n.m.p.


This is the angia or aṅgiyā worn by the Hindu and Mohammedan women of the north. It is really nothing more than a breast-cloth, being short, tight and usually sleeveless. It is tied behind with strings or ribbons. In Western India it is known as a cholī, and differs from the aṅgiyā in that it buttons up in front. In Kashmir the kūrtā, a kind of blouse open at the front, is worn instead of the aṅgiyā. Young married women sometimes wear both the kūrtā and aṅgiyā. The Pathān women have two varieties of kurtās: a coloured and decorated one worn by unmarried girls, and a more sombre one adopted by married women.

Other terms for this bodice are maḥram and sinaband (breast-cover).—n.m.p.


The Durgāprasād text (in future this will be referred to as the D. text) reads prabhāte, “at daybreak,” instead of pravāte, “in windy weather.”— n.m.p.


Love and Affection, the wives of Kāmadeva, the Hindu Cupid.


So the mouse in the Pañcatantra possesses power by means of a treasure (Benfey’s Pañcatantra, vol. i, p. 320; vol. ii, p. 178). The story is found also in Chapter LXI of this work. Cf. also Sagas from the Far East, pp. 257, 263. The same idea is found in Jātaka, No. 39, p. 322, of Rhys Davids’ translation, and in Jātaka, No. 257, vol. ii, p. 297, of Fausböll’s edition.


Cf. Sagas from the Far East, p. 263.


I read darśayat.


Sati is a misprint for mati —Böhtlingk and Roth, s.v.


In the D. text the dialogue of śl. 52-54 is divided somewhat differently. See Speyer, op. cit., p. 99. —n.m.p.


For a good general article on orientation see T. D. Atkinson, “Points of the Compass,” Hastings’ Ency. Rel. Eth., vol. x, pp. 73-88. For the extent to which the subject enters into the life of a Brāhman see Mrs Stevenson’s The Rites of the Twice-born, Oxford, 1920 .—n.m.p.


I.e. the Ganges.


In Sanskrit pratāpa the word translated “valour” also means “heat,” and cakra may refer to the wheels of the chariot and the orb of the sun, so that there is a pun all through.


See Appendix II, pp. 263-272.— n.m.p.


More literally, “a torrent of pride and kicking.”—The D. text differs, and can be translated, “sweating from (ardour and) pride.”—n.m.p.


See note in Ocean of Story, Vol. I, pp. 103-105.— n.m.p.


See Ocean of Story, Vol. I, p. 67n.— n.m.p.


See Ocean of Story, Vol. I, p. 3n1. — n.m.p.


The keeper of a burning or burial ground would be impure.


This summoning by thought is found many times in the Ocean of Story. It is, however, a supernatural being who is usually thus summoned. Readers will remember that Vararuci had made a friend of a Rākṣasa who appeared on thought (Vol. I, p. 50). In the Nights the jinn is summoned by the rubbing of a magic article, such as a lamp, ring, etc., or less frequently by burning hair (contagious magic). See Chauvin, Bibliographic des Outrages Arabes, v, 5.— n.m.p.


Probably the people sprinkled one another with red powder, as at the Holī festival.-For a description of this see Crooke, “The Holī: A Vernal Festival of the Hindus,” Folk-Lore, vol. xxv, 1914, pp. 55-83.— n.m.p.


See Appendix II, pp. 263-272.— n.m.p.


The D. text perhaps makes better sense:

“better, indeed, is a state without a ruler, so that their prosperity merely depends on Fate, than one with many discordant rulers, which entails the scattering of all their wealth.”

See Speyer, op. cit., p. 100.—n.m.p.


So in Grimm’s Märchen, “Von einem der auszog das Fiirchten zu lernen,” the youth is recommended to sit under the gallows where seven men have been executed. Cf also the story of “The Shroud” in Ralston’s Rtissian Folk-Tales, p. 307.- Cf. also the extraordinary tale of Bellephoron in Apuleius’ Golden Ass, ch. xi. —n.m.p.


Literally, “we consider ourselves bound by this word.” See speyer, op. cit., p. 100.—n.m.p.


Cf. the way in which the witch treats the corpse of her son in the sixth book of the Æthiopica of Heliodorus, ch. xiv, and Lucan’s Pharsalia, Book VI, 11. 754.-757.


I.e. the corpse tenanted by the Vetāla or demon.—See Ocean of Story, Appendix I, Vol. I, p. 206; and Sir Richard Temple’s Foreword to Vol. I, p. xxv.— N.M.P.


See note at the end of this chapter.— n.m.p.


This art has always been regarded in Hindu mythology as the mark of dignity and a necessary adjunct to kingship. See A. M. Hocart, “Flying through the Air,” Ind. Ant., vol. lii, 1923, pp. 80-82.— n.m.p.


Cf. Simrock’s Deutsche Volksbücher, vol. iii, p. 399.


Lakṣmī or Śrī, the Goddess of Prosperity, appeared after the Churning of the Ocean with a lotus in her hand. According to another story she is said to have appeared at the Creation floating on the expanded leaves of a lotus-flower. The hand of a lady is often compared to a lotus.


Udaya is a Sanskrit word meaning “rising” “appearance,” and then as the eastern mountain behind which the sun was supposed to rise. Writing to me on the subject the Rev. A. S. Geden says that in this sense compounded words like udayagiri, udayaparvata, “eastern mountain,” were probably more common than the simple term udaya, and he does not remember the word being found with this meaning in the Vedas. It does not play a conspicuous part in Hindu classical mythology, and is, of course, distinct from Meru, the world mountain, and Mandara, the mountain used at the Churning of the Ocean. The myth would seem to have arisen in the Himālayan country, or behind the Hindu Kush, where the sun did actually appear behind a mountain in the east. It could hardly have suggested itself on a dead plain like that of the Ganges. See Böhtlingk and Roth. —n.m.p.


I.e. semi-divine beings supposed to be of great purity and holiness.—See Vol. I, Appendix 1, p. 204. —n.m.p.


General Cunningham identifies Pauṇḍravardhana with the modern Pubna.


There is a curious parallel to this story in Tārānātha’s History of Buddhism, translated into German by Schiefner, p. 203. Here a Rākṣasī assumes the form of a former king’s wife, and kills all the subjects, one after another, as fast as they are elected to the royal dignity.


Compare the apocryphal Book of Tobit. See p. 30 of Lenormant’s Chaldæan Magic and Sorcery, English translation.


As the word bhavusyati is future, the addition of paścāt (afterwards) seems unnecessary. It is, moreover, not found in the D. text, which is rendered by Speyer: “who survives in this (trial) shall become her husband.”—N.M.P.


For reference to such tales of the Perseus and Andromeda type see Frazer, Pausanias, vol. ix, 26, 27; I. V. Zingerle, Kinder- und Hausmärchen aus Tirol, Nos. 8, 21, 35, pp. 35 et seq., 100 et seq., and 178 et seq.; G. F. Abbott, Macedonian Folk-I^ore, p. 270 et seq.; and especially E. S. Hartland, The Legend of Perseus, 1 8.94- 1 896. — n . m . p .


Ralston in his Russian Folk-Tales, p. 270, compares this incident with one in a Polish story, and in the Russian story of “The Witch Girl.” In both the arm of the destroyer is cut off.


I read iva; the arm was the long bar, and the whole passage is an instance of the rhetorical figure called utprekṣā.


A better reading is Skandadāsa, with the D. text.— n.m.p.



Cf. the freeing of Argo by Hercules cutting off Pallair’s arm in the Togail Trot, ed. Stokes, p. 67.


There is probably a pun here. Rāmārtham may mean “for the sake of a fair one.”


See the note on the uses of the drum, Vol. I, p. 118n2.—n.m.p.


I read rin fad for tatra with a MS. in the Sanskrit College.


Here there is a pun on Anaṅga, a name of Kama, the Hindu Cupid.


Here there is a pun. The word guṇa also means “rope.”


For stories of transportation through the air see Wirt Sikes, British Goblins, p. 157 et seq.


See Vol. I, Appendix I, p. 204.— n.m.p.


Cf. the way in which Torello informs his wife of his presence in Boccaccio’s Decameron, tenth day, nov. ix. The novels of the tenth day must be derived from Indian, and probably Buddhistic, sources. There is a Buddhistic vein in all of them. A striking parallel to the fifth novel of the tenth day will be found farther on in this work. Cf. also for the incident of the ring Thorpe’s Yule-tide Stories, p. 167. See also the story of “Heinrich der Löwe,” Simrock’s Deutsche Volksbücher, vol. i, pp. 21, 22; Waldau’s Biihmuiche Märchen, pp. 365, 432; Coelho’s Contos Populates Portugtiezes, p. 76; Prym and Socin’s Stjrische Märchen, p. 72, and Ralston’s Tibetan Tales, Introduction, pp. xlix and 1.—

In his Decameron, its Sources and Analogues, p. 343 et set]., A. C. Lee gives several examples of recognition by a ring or portion of a ring in folk-tales. It is usually dropped in a cup of wine, as in the old French poem, “Horn and Rimenhild,” and the old English version, “ Geste of King Horn.” For full bibliographical details see H. Schofield, “The Story of Horn and Rimenhild,” Mod. Lang. Ass. Amer., vol. xviii, No. 1, 1903. A similar tale occurs in the French romance of “Pontus and the Fair Sidone,” for which see E. J. Matter, Mod. Lang. Ass. Amer., vol. xii (N.S., vol. v), 1895. In many European collections of poems and ballads we read of parting couples breaking a ring in half for future recognition. For full particulars see Child, English and Scotch Popular Ballads, 10 parts, Boston, 1882 [1898]. Cf. also W. E. A. Axon, Lancashire Gleanings, 1883, p. 343; Trans. Roy Soc. Lit., 2nd series, vol. ix, p. 440, and Antiquary, vol. xxxviii, 1902, p. 24.

This “declaring presence” motif, as it might be called, is sometimes mixed up with other motifs; thus it appears in the well-known cycle of tales where the hero is given various tasks to perform before he can gain his bride, and must pick out the girl from a number exactly alike. It is sometimes an animal that helps, or the girl herself makes some sign. Readers will remember the well-known story of “Nala and Damayantī” in the Mahābhārata; but of this more later. —n.m.p.


An oblation to gods, or venerable men, of rice, dūrva grass, flowers, etc., with water, or of water only in a small boat-shaped vessel.


Sneha means “oil,” and also “affection.”


The D. text edits kāṣṭhāgalasnehāt, thus meaning “at hearing this, her affection came to its highest pitch.” —n.m.p.


Sattva when applied to the ocean probably means “monsters.” So the whole compound would mean “in which was conspicuous the fury of gambling monsters.” The pun defies translation.


I read auṣadheḥ. The Rākṣasa is compared to the mountain, Vidūṣaka to the moon, his wives to the gleaming herbs.


Thorpe in his Yule-tide Stories remarks that the story of Vidūṣaka somewhat resembles in its ground-plot the tale of the “Beautiful Palace East of the Sun and North of the Earth.” With the latter he also compares the story of Śaktivega in the fifth book of the Kathā Sarit Sāgara. (See the Table of Contents of Thorpe’s Yule-tide Stories, p. xi.) Cf. also Sicilianische Märchen, vol. ii, p. 1, and for the cutting off of the giant’s arm, p. 50.—Numerous stories from all parts of Europe bearing a certain similarity to that in our text will be found in G. H. Gerould’s The Grateful Dead, Folk-Lore Society, 1908, pp. 44-75.

For some inexplicable reason Gerould heads the chapter “The Grateful Dend and the Poison Maiden,” when not one of the stories have anything to do with poison maidens. The women in question merely have snakes, dragons, etc. (which have caused the death of many husbands), extracted by magic or divine aid. He should have called this sub-inotif“ Possessed Women,” as he originally did on page 26 of the same volume, or else some such title as “The Fatal Bride,” “The Wedding of Death.”

For the connection of snakes and poisoned women, see Appendix III, pp. 306, 307 of this volume.— n.m.p.

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