Read the previous part here…
One night, he murdered his wife in her sleep, took away all her ornaments and money, and fled back to his city.
That is why I say that men are wicked and ungrateful”, concluded Somikā…
ततो जगाद स शुको देव दुःसहसाहसाः ।
स्त्रियो दुश्चरिताः पापास् तथा च श्रूयतां कथा ॥ १२,१०.४७ ॥
अस्ति हर्षवती नाम नगरी तत्र चाभवत् ।
अग्रणीर् धर्मदत्ताख्यो बहुकोटीश्वरो वणिक् ॥ १२,१०.४८ ॥
वसुदत्ताभिधाना च रूपे ऽनन्यसमा सुता ।
बभूव तस्य वणिजः प्राणेभ्यो ऽप्य् अधिकप्रिया ॥ १२,१०.४९ ॥
सा च तेन समानाय रूपयौवनशालिने ।
दत्ता वराङ्गनानेत्रचकोरामृतरश्मये ॥ १२,१०.५० ॥
नाम्ना समुद्रदत्ताय वणिक्पुत्राय साधवे ।
नगर्याम् आर्यजुष्टायां ताम्रलिप्त्यां निवासिने ॥ १२,१०.५१ ॥
कदाचित् सा स्वदेशस्थे पत्यौ स्वस्य पितुर् गृहे ।
स्थिता वणिक्सुता दूरात् कंचित् पुरुषम् ऐक्षत ॥ १२,१०.५२ ॥
तं युवानं सुकान्तं सा चपला मारमोहिता ।
गुप्तं सखीमुखानीतं भेजे प्रच्छन्नकामुकम् ॥ १२,१०.५३ ॥
ततःप्रभृति तेनैव सह तत्र सदा रहः ।
रात्रौ रात्राव् अरंस्तासौ तदेकासक्तमानसा ॥ १२,१०.५४ ॥
The maina concluded her story, so the prince turned to the parrot. “And what do you have to say?”
The parrot said “O prince, women are audacious, immoral and wicked. Listen carefully to this story that I will tell you to prove my point…”
There is a city named Harṣavatī, which was home to a very rich and prosperous merchant named Dharmadatta. He had a daughter named Vasudattā, who was the most beautiful woman of her time. Dharmadatta loved her a lot and as a result, had pampered her from childhood.
When she grew up, Dharmadatta gave his daughter in marriage to Samudradatta, who hailed from the reputed city of Tāmraliptī. The groom was handsome, well-educated and a very well cultured gentleman.
It so happened that Vasudattā went to visit her family and stayed for a few days in Harṣavatī. While she was there, she chanced upon a young handsome man who lived in her neighbourhood. That fickle-minded woman invited him home in secret, helped by one of her maids, and started to have an affair with him. Every night, she spent in his arms, and her affections were for him only.
एकदा च स कौमारः पतिस् तस्याः स्वदेशतः ।
आजगामात्र तत्पित्रोः प्रमोद इव मूर्तिमान् ॥ १२,१०.५५ ॥
सोत्सवे च दिने तस्मिन् सा नक्तं कृतमण्डना ।
मात्रानुप्रेषिता भेजे शय्यास्थापि न तं पतिम् ॥ १२,१०.५६ ॥
प्रार्थिता तेन चालीकसुप्तं चक्रे ऽन्यमानसा ।
पानमत्तो ऽध्वखिन्नश् च सो ऽपि जह्रे ऽथ निद्रया ॥ १२,१०.५७ ॥
ततश् च सुप्ते सर्वस्मिन् भुक्तपीते जने शनैः ।
संधिं भित्त्वा विवेशात्र चौरो वासगृहान्तरे ॥ १२,१०.५८ ॥
तत्कालं तम् अपश्यन्ती साप्य् उत्थाय वणिक्सुता ।
स्वजारकृतसंकेता निरगान् निभृतं ततः ॥ १२,१०.५९ ॥
तदालोक्य स चौरो ऽत्र विघ्नितेच्छो व्यचिन्तयत् ।
येषाम् अर्थे प्रविष्टो ऽहं तैर् एवाभरणैर् वृता ॥ १२,१०.६० ॥
निशीथे निर्गतैषा तद् वीक्षे ऽहं सा क्व गच्छति ।
इत्य् आकलय्य निर्गत्य स चौरस् तां वणिक्सुताम् ॥ १२,१०.६१ ॥
Finally one day, her husband, who had been missing her from long, came to visit her at her parent’s house. Her parents were overjoyed, and Vasudattā was decked up in bridal finery, and a feast was laid out for friends and family.
Vasudattā however, seemed disinterested in the proceedings, and in spite of repeated pleadings from her mother, pretended to be drowsy and went into her room to sleep.
Her husband was also tired due to the long journey, and the effect of the food and the wine that he had been served, and so went into deep sleep soon after.
In the meantime, seeing the large gathering and festivities, a thief managed to make a hole in the wall and enter the house. He saw Vasudattā sleeping on the bed in an adjacent room, decked up with gold ornaments, and felt happy that he would have a large haul that night. Unfortunately for him, at that very moment, she rose up, looked around and slowly crept out of the room, so that she could go and meet her lover.
The frustrated thief thought to himself “What bad luck! She is setting out now, in the dead of the night, with all those ornaments that I wanted to steal! Let me follow her, I may still get a good opportunity to rob them…”
And so the thief followed Vasudattā, keeping an eye on her, but himself being unobserved.
to be continued…