Read the previous part here…
“Here”, said Madanasenā, as she began to remove her bangles. “Take all my ornaments, and let me go.”
“Why would I care for gold, o fair one?”, he sneered. “You are priceless – your face as beautiful as the moon, your hair as black as night, your beautiful body…I am not a fool to let you go!”
Madanasenā, now scared for her life, replied…
इत्य् उक्ता तेन चौरेण विवशा सा वणिक्सुता ।
आख्याय निजवृत्तान्तम् एवं प्रार्थयते स्म तम् ॥ १२,१७.४९ ॥
क्षमस्व मे क्षणं यावत् कृत्वा सत्यानुपालनम् ।
इहस्थस्यैव ते पार्श्वम् आगमिष्यामि सत्वरम् ॥ १२,१७.५० ॥
नाहम् उल्लङ्घयिष्यामि भद्र सत्याम् इमां गिरम् ।
श्रुत्वैतत् सत्यसंधां तां मत्वा चौरो मुमोच सः ॥ १२,१७.५१ ॥
तस्थौ प्रतीक्षमानश् च तत्रैव स तदागमम् ।
सापि तस्यान्तिकं धर्मदत्तस्य वणिजो ययौ ॥ १२,१७.५२ ॥
स चाभीष्टाम् अपि प्राप्तां तथा तां विजने स्थिताम् ।
दृष्ट्वा पृष्ट्वा यथावृत्तं विचिन्त्य क्षणम् अब्रवीत् ॥ १२,१७.५३ ॥
सत्येन तव तुष्टो ऽस्मि किं त्वया मे परस्त्रिया ।
यावत् त्वां नेक्षते कश्चित् तावद् गच्छ यथागतम् ॥ १२,१७.५४ ॥
इति तेन परित्यक्ता सा तथेत्य् आययौ ततः ।
चौरस्य निकटं तस्य प्रतिपालयतः पथि ॥ १२,१७.५५ ॥
“Please let me go for a while, so that I may keep my promise. I will return to you soon, if you remain here. Do believe me, I never break my promises!”
The thief looked at her for a second, and then let her go. “She sounds like someone who will keep her word”, he thought to himself, and went and sat under a tree by the roadside, waiting for her return.
Madanasenā reached Dharmadatta’s house after an hour. When Dharmadatta say her emerging from the woods and walking towards his gate, he rushed up to the door, and asked her how she had got there. And then a thought crossed his mind, and he said…
“I am happy that you came to me – you fulfilled your promise. But now you belong to another man, and so I would not want to be with you anymore. You can go back, and fast, before anyone else sees you here.”
Madanasenā thanked him, and quickly turned around to go back. She reached the spot where the thief was waiting for her on the road.
ब्रूहि कस् ते ऽत्र वृत्तान्तो गताया इति पृच्छते ।
तस्मै सा तेन वणिजा यथा मुक्ता तथाब्रवीत् ॥ १२,१७.५६ ॥
ततः स चौरो ऽवादीत् तां यद्य् एवं तन् मयाप्य् असि ।
विमुक्ता सत्यतुष्टेन गृहं साभरणा व्रज ॥ १२,१७.५७ ॥
एवं तेनापि सा त्यक्ता रक्षिता चानुयायिना ।
अलुप्तशीला मुदिता पत्युर् एवाययौ गृहम् ॥ १२,१७.५८ ॥
तत्र गुप्तं प्रविष्टा सा प्रहृष्टोपागता सती ।
दृष्ट्वा पृष्टवते तस्मै पत्ये सर्वम् अवर्णयत् ॥ १२,१७.५९ ॥
सो ऽप्य् अलुप्तमुखच्छायां ताम् असंभोगलक्षणाम् ।
संभाव्याभग्नचारित्रां सत्यलाभरतां सतीम् ॥ १२,१७.६० ॥
अदृष्टमनसं भार्याम् अभिनन्द्य कुलोचितम् ।
तस्थौ समुद्रदत्तो ऽथ तया सह यथासुखम् ॥ १२,१७.६१ ॥
“So tell me, how back you are back so soon?”
Madanasenā told him all about her conversation with Dharmadatta and how he had let her go.
The thief said…
“If this is the case, then even I will let you go. I am pleased with your truthfulness and sincerity – you could have not returned, but you did, just to keep your promise. I don’t want you or your jewellery. You can return home…”
Madanasenā thanked him, and the thief accompanied her on the way back, to ensure her safety.
When she reached home, she entered silently, and happy at the turn of events, eagerly woke up Samudradatta and told him all that had transpired. Samudradatta was relieved and delighted, and praised her virtuous character and her devotion to truthfulness. The newly married couple then lived happily ever after.
इति तत्र कथाम् उक्त्वा पितृवनभूमौ तदा स वेतालः ।
वदति स्म तं त्रिविक्रमसेनं वसुधाधिपं भूयः ॥ १२,१७.६२ ॥
तद् ब्रूहि चौरवणिजाम् एषां मध्यान् नरेन्द्र कस् त्यागी ।
जानन् यदि न वदिष्यसि विदलिष्यति ते शिरः शतधा ॥ १२,१७.६३ ॥
The Vetāla finished his story, and then addressed King Vikram and said…
Now I have a question for you. Who among the three – Samudradatta,Dharmadatta or the thief, was the most generous? Whose was the most genuine sacrifice? Remember, if you know the answer, and don’t tell me the truth, your head will burst into a hundred pieces!
King Vikram replied…
to be continued…