I have a question for you…

Read the previous part here

“They have a speciality – you can find anything that your heart desires in these cities, and old age and death have no place in them. I, along with these cities, now belong to you…”

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

इदानीं च पिता त्वं मे सपुराहं वशे तव ।
इत्य् अर्पितात्मसर्वस्वां ताम् उवाच स भूपतिः ॥ १२,१४.१०२ ॥

यद्य् एवं तत् सुते ह्य् अस्मै मया दत्तास्य् अनिन्दिते ।
सत्त्वशीलाय वीराय सुहृदे बान्धवाय च ॥ १२,१४.१०३ ॥

एवं देवीप्रसादेन मूर्तेनेव नृपेण सा ।
उक्ता गुणज्ञा विनता तत् तथेत्य् अन्वमन्यत ॥ १२,१४.१०४ ॥

ततः कृतार्थं तं तस्याः कृतपाणिग्रहं नृपः ।
दत्तासुरपुरैश्वर्यं सत्त्वशीलम् उवाच सः ॥ १२,१४.१०५ ॥

बुक्तयोर् आमलकयोस् तयोर् एकं मया तव ।
संशोधितम् असंशुद्धाद् ऋणी ते ऽहं द्वितीयतः ॥ १२,१४.१०६ ॥

इति प्रणतम् उक्त्वा तं दैत्यपुत्रीं जगाद ताम् ।
मार्गो मे दर्श्यतां येन स्वपुरीं प्राप्नुयाम् इति ॥ १२,१४.१०७ ॥

ततो ऽपराजितं नाम खड्गं भक्ष्यं फलं च सा ।
एकं जरामृत्युहरं तस्मै दैत्यसुता ददौ ॥ १२,१४.१०८ ॥

ताभ्यां युक्तस् तयोक्तायां वाप्यं मग्नः स्वदेशतः ।
उत्थाय सर्वसंसिद्धकामो ऽभूत् स क्रमान् नृपः ॥ १२,१४.१०९ ॥

सत्त्वशीलो ऽपि दैत्यस्त्रीपुरराज्यं शशास सः ।
तद् ब्रूहि को ऽब्धिपतने द्वयोः सत्त्वाधिको ऽनयोः ॥ १२,१४.११० ॥

इति श्रुत्वा तथा प्रश्नं वेतालाच् छपभीतितः ।
स त्रिविक्रमसेनस् तं भूपतिः प्रत्यभाषत ॥ १२,१४.१११ ॥

She said these words and surrendered to the king, who said…

If this is the case, then you are now my daughter. And I give you in marriage to Sattvaśīla, my friend, confidant and one of the bravest I have met.”

The maiden realised that this was possibly what the Devi had granted her as a boon, and so she readily accepted.

And so Sattvaśīla was married to the Asura maiden, and the king ensured that he was made the sovereign of the two splendid cities as well.

Having settled him thus, the king spoke to Sattvaśīla and said…

“My dear friend, I have now repaid you for one of the āmalakas that I ate from you, but I still owe you for the second…”

He then turned to the Asura maiden and said…

“Now show me the way back to my kingdom. My work here is done!”

The Daitya maiden bowed to him and gifted him a sword named Aparājita (invincible) and a fruit that would free him from the bounds of old age.

She then accompanied him to a tank into which he plunged, and reappeared in the gardens of his own palace. The experience left him richer and wiser, and he ruled over his kingdom for many many years to come…

As for Sattvaśīla, he stayed back and ruled as the king of the Asura kingdom, with the beautiful maiden by his side.

The Vetāla finished his story, and then addressed King Vikram and said…

Now I have a question for you. Which of the two – Caṇḍasiṃha or Sattvaśīla, was braver? Who showed the most courage by plunging into the ocean? Tell me, o wise king. 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…