Read the previous part here…
After they all had finished their dinner, the three brothers retired to the guest quarters in the royal palace. He then sent across the the room of the second brother, the most beautiful dancer in his royal court. She had been dressed particularly well, and her ornaments accentuated her beautiful face, that shone like the full moon at midnight. Two of the king’s servants escorted her, as she walked in to the room, filling it with her fragrant presence, as the moonlight fills a dark night.
नारीचङ्गो ऽब्रवीद् राजभृत्यान् निष्कास्यताम् इति ।
न चेन् मृतो ऽहं निर्याति गन्धो ऽस्याश् छागलो यतः ॥ १२,१५.३१ ॥
इत्य् उक्तास् तेन निन्युस् ते विग्नां तां राजपूरुषाः ।
राज्ञो ऽन्तिकं वारवधूं वृत्तान्तं जगदुश् च तम् ॥ १२,१५.३२ ॥
राजाप्य् आनाय्य तत्कालं नारीचङ्गम् उवाच तम् ।
येयं श्रीखण्डकर्पूरकालागुरुमदोत्तमैः ॥ १२,१५.३३ ॥
कृतप्रसाधना दिक्षु प्रसरच्चारुसौरभा ।
तस्या वारविलासिन्या गन्धः स्याच् छागलः कुतः ॥ १२,१५.३४ ॥
इत्य् उक्तो ऽपि स राज्ञा तन् नारीचङ्गस् तदा न यत् ।
प्रतिपेदे तदा राजा विचारपतितो ऽभवत् ॥ १२,१५.३५ ॥
पृच्छंश् च युक्त्या बुबुधे ताम् अजक्षीरवर्धिताम् ।
तन्मुखाद् एव बालत्वे मातृधात्रीवियोगतः ॥ १२,१५.३६ ॥
ततो ऽतिविस्मितस् तस्य नारीचङ्गस्य चङ्गताम् ।
प्रशंसन् नृपतिस् तस्मै तृतीयाय द्विजन्मने ॥ १२,१५.३७ ॥
तद्रसात् तूलिकाचङ्गायाशु शय्याम् अदापयत् ।
पर्यङ्कोपरि विन्यस्तसप्तसंख्याकतूलिकाम् ॥ १२,१५.३८ ॥
तस्यां च तूलिकाचङ्गो महार्हे वासवेस्मनि ।
सुष्वाप धौतसुश्लक्ष्णपटप्रच्छदवाससि ॥ १२,१५.३९ ॥
यामार्ध एव च गते स रात्रौ शयनात् ततः ।
उत्तस्थौ पाण्यवष्टब्धपार्श्वः क्रन्दन् व्यथार्दितः ॥ १२,१५.४० ॥
ददृशे तस्य पार्श्वे च तत्रत्यै राजपूरुषैः ।
गाढलग्नस्य बालस्य मुद्रेव कुटिलारुणा ॥ १२,१५.४१ ॥
गत्वा च तैस् तदाख्यातं राज्ञे राजाप्य् उवाच तान् ।
तूलिकानां तले किंचिन् मा स्यात् तद् वीक्ष्यताम् इति ॥ १२,१५.४२ ॥
But as soon as she entered, lighting up the chambers with her bright presence, the second brother stood up, felt faint, and covering his nose with his hand, said to the king’s servants…
“Take her away at once! I cannot bear this smell, I will die…she smells like a goat!”
The king’s servants, not knowing what to do, took back the as bewildered maiden to the king, and told him what had happened.
The king was amused, and sent for the Brahmin at once.
“How can this lovely woman, who has applied on her person the best perfumes known to man, and whose mere presence fills every room in the palace with a lovely fragrance…how can she smell like a goat?” he said, laughing.
But the Brahmin stuck to his point. And so the king decided to take this seriously, and, after a series of probing questions to the lovely maiden, gathered from her that she had been separated from her mother in her childhood, and hence brought up on goat’s milk.
“Sadhu Sadhu!”, exclaimed the king once again. “You are truly sensitive to a lady’s presence!”
It was nighttime, and so the king sent the youngest brother to the guest chambers to sleep. In accordance with his tastes, a bed comprising seven mattresses was placed on a bedstead, with smooth white sheets covering the whole arrangement.
The Brahmin retired to bed early, but rose in the middle of the night, screaming in agony. The worried guards rushed in, only to see him sitting upright on the bed, his right hand pressed to his cheek. When he removed his hand, they saw a red scar on that side of his face, as if a thick strand of hair had been pressed deep into it.
They rushed up to the king and reported what they had seen.
“Go search the mattresses, and look if there is something underneath them”, replied the king.
गत्वेक्षन्ते च ते यावद् एकैकं तूलिकातलम् ।
तावत् सर्वतलाद् आपुर् वालं पर्यङ्कपृष्टतः ॥ १२,१५.४३ ॥
नीत्वा चादर्शयन् राज्ञे सो ऽप्य् आनीतस्य वीक्ष्य तत् ।
तद्रूपं तूलिकाचङ्गस्याङ्गं राजा विसिस्मिये ॥ १२,१५.४४ ॥
सप्तभ्यस् तूलिकाभ्यो ऽस्य वालो लग्नस् तनौ खतम् ।
इति चित्रीयमाणस् तां राजा रात्रिं निनाय सः ॥ १२,१५.४५ ॥
प्रातश् चाद्भुतवैदग्ध्यसौकुमार्या अमी इति ।
तेभ्यस् त्रिभ्यो ऽपि चङ्गेभ्यो हेमलक्षत्रयं ददौ ॥ १२,१५.४६ ॥
ततस् ते सुखितास् तत्र तस्थुर् विस्मृतकच्छपाः ।
पितुर् विघ्नितयज्ञार्थफलोपार्जितपातकाः ॥ १२,१५.४७ ॥
And so they went and searched the mattresses thoroughly, and they finally reached the bottom of the seven mattresses, where they found a single strand of hair. The guards took this to the king who took the strand of hair in his hand, looked at the Brahmin’s scar, and nearly fell off his throne. In fact, he spent the whole night wondering how that strand of hair could affect a person sleeping seven mattresses above it!
The next morning, the king called the three brothers and gave them a three hundred thousand gold pieces, acknowledging their discernment and refinement of taste.
And so the brothers stayed back at the king’s court, enjoying the comforts that were presented to them, and conveniently forgetting all about the turtle, and the sin that they had incurred by leaving their father’s task incomplete.
इत्य् आख्याय कथाद्भुतम् अंसनिषण्णः पुनः स वेतालः ।
पप्रच्छ तं त्रिविक्रमसेनं पृथ्वीपतिं प्रश्नम् ॥ १२,१५.४८ ॥
राजन् विचिन्त्य शापं पूर्वोक्तं ब्रूहि मे त्वम् एतेषाम् ।
भोजननारीशय्याचङ्गानां को ऽधिकश् चङ्गः ॥ १२,१५.४९ ॥
The Vetāla finished his story, and then addressed King Vikram and said…
Now I have a question for you. Which of the three brothers was the most sensitive? 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…