“You seem to be a good man, then how did you come here? This man is a thief, and he will surely rob you. Not only that, he may injure you as well!”
“I haven’t seen anyone as treacherous as him, so please leave when you still can!”
The king thanked her and left at once. He reached his palace, called his commander-in-chief, and started to get his army ready to attack the thief in his underground home.
संनद्धसैन्यश् चागत्य दस्योस् तस्य रुरोध तत् ।
भूगृहद्वारविवरं रसत्तूर्याकुलैर् बलैः ॥ १२,२१.२६ ॥
ततो रुद्धे गृहे वृत्तं प्रतिभेदम् अवेत्य सः ।
मरणे निश्चितश् चौरः शूरो युद्धाय निर्ययौ ॥ १२,२१.२७ ॥
निर्गतश् च रणे चक्रे पराक्रमम् अमानुषम् ।
करांश् चकर्त करिणां जङ्घाश् चिच्छेद वाजिनाम् ॥ १२,२१.२८ ॥
जहार च शिरांस्य् एको भटानां खड्गचर्मभृत् ।
ततस् तं क्षपितानीकम् अभ्यधावत् स्वयं नृपः ॥ १२,२१.२९ ॥
स तस्य खड्गविद्याज्ञो राजा करणयुक्तितः ।
हस्ताज् जहार निस्त्रिंशम् अथ तां क्षुरिकाम् अपि ॥ १२,२१.३० ॥
अशस्त्रं मुक्तशस्त्रो ऽथ बाहुयुद्धेन तं नृपः ।
चौरं निहत्य धरणौ सजीवग्राहम् अग्रहीत् ॥ १२,२१.३१ ॥
निनाय तं च संयम्य सधनं नगरीं निजाम् ।
प्रातश् चाज्ञापयत् तस्य शूलारोपणनिग्रहम् ॥ १२,२१.३२ ॥
And when the army was ready for battle, the king led the way to the thief’s house, and soon the army had surrounded the cave. They sounded their bugles and drums, and the thief realized what had happened.
Not one to give up without a fight, the brave thief rushed out to battle them, determined to fight to the death.
And what a fight he put up! Armed with just a sword and a shield, he cut off the trunks of elephants, slashed the legs of horses and sliced the heads of soldiers who attacked him.
Seeing him fight this way, the king, who was himself a highly-skilled warrior and swordsman, launched an attack. After a prolonged battle, he managed to wrest the sword off the thief’s hand. and then the dagger that the thief drew to compensate.
Having disarmed him this way, the king wrestled the thief to the ground, and captured him alive.
After having bound him with ropes, the king’s soldiers marched the thief back to the capital, also carrying with them all the stolen wealth and precious stones.
The king issued orders that the thief be put to death the next morning.
नीयमानं च तं वध्यभूमिं चौरं सडिण्डिमम् ।
ददर्श सा रत्नवती वणिक्कन्यात्र हर्म्यतः ॥ १२,२१.३३ ॥
व्रणितं धूलिलिप्ताङ्गम् अप्य् एतं मारमोहिता ।
दृष्ट्वैव गत्वा पितरं रत्नदत्तम् उवाच सा ॥ १२,२१.३४ ॥
वधाय नीयते यो ऽयम् एष भर्ता वृतो मया ।
तन् नृपाद् रक्ष तातैनं न चेद् एनम् अनु म्रिये ॥ १२,२१.३५ ॥
तच् छ्रुत्वा तां पितावादीत् किम् इदं पुत्रि भाषसे ।
या त्वं नेच्छसि भूपालाम् अपि भर्तॄन् अभीप्सतः ॥ १२,२१.३६ ॥
सा पापं तस्करम् इमं वाञ्छस्य् आपद्गतं कथम् ।
इत्य् आदि पित्रा प्रोक्तापि निश्चयान् न चचाल सा ॥ १२,२१.३७ ॥
ततः स तत्पिता गत्वा तस्य चौरस्य सत्वरम् ।
सर्वस्वेनापि राजानं वधान् मोक्षम् अयाचत ॥ १२,२१.३८ ॥
राजा तु तं न तत्याज हेमकोटिशतैर् अपि ।
स्वशरीरपणानीतं चौरं सर्वापहारिणम् ॥ १२,२१.३९ ॥
As the thief was being led through the city streets, followed by messengers who announced his imminent hanging accompanied by the beats of their drums, Ratnavatī happened to see him from her mansion, which lay on the way of the procession.
He was wounded, his attire dusty and bloodied, but Ratnavatī fell in love as soon as she laid her eyes on him.
And so she went to her father Ratnadatta and said…
“Father, I select as my husband that man there, who is being led to his death. Please arrange for him to be released, and married to me, whatever amount of wealth it takes. Else, I will follow him when he dies tomorrow…”
Ratnadatta was shocked beyond belief.
“Ratnavatī! What are you saying! I brought you the best of the best of men, merchants and kings, who ruled over kingdoms and hearts…you refused all of them, only to fall in love with an infamous thief?”
However, no matter how much he threatened and cajoled her, Ratnavatī refused to relent. She had made up her mind, and at the end her father gave up and reluctantly accepted.
He then went to meet the king, and offered him all his wealth, and more, if only he would pardon the thief.
But the king did not agree. “Not for all your wealth, not for all the wealth in the world”, he thundered.
“This thief plundered my kingdom, and I caught him with my own hands, at the risk of my own life. And so, he shall die for his sins, first thing tomorrow!”
The next morning…
to be continued…