Of thieves and maids…

Read the previous part here…

The figure often turned around and was on the lookout. “This is surely the thief that everyone has been searching for”, thought the king to himself, as he approached the figure, his hand on his sword, ready to strike at any moment.

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

ततः स चौरो दृष्ट्वा तं नृपं को ऽसीत्य् अभाषत ।
चौरो ऽहम् इति राजा तं चौरं प्रत्यब्रवीत् स तम् ॥ १२,२१.१८ ॥

सो ऽथ चौरो ऽभ्यधाद् दृष्ट्वा तर्हि तुल्यो ऽसि मे सुहृत् ।
तद् एहि मद्गृहं तावन् मित्राचारं करोमि ते ॥ १२,२१.१९ ॥

तच् छ्रुत्वा स तथेत्य् उक्त्वा तेनैव सह भूपतिः ।
ययौ वनान्तर्धरणीखातान्तर्वर्ति तद्गृहम् ॥ १२,२१.२० ॥

अशेषभोगभोगाढ्यं भास्वद्दीपप्रकाशितम् ।
नवीनम् इव पातालं बलिराजानधिष्ठितम् ॥ १२,२१.२१ ॥

तत्र प्रविष्टे तस्मिंश् च कृतासनपरिग्रहे ।
राज्ञि सो ऽभ्यन्तरगृहं प्रविवेशाथ तस्करः ॥ १२,२१.२२ ॥

तत् क्षणं च तम् एत्यैका दासी तत्रावदन् नृपम् ।
महाभाग प्रविष्टस् त्वम् इह मृत्युमुखे कथम् ॥ १२,२१.२३ ॥

एकचौरो ह्य् असौ पापं निर्गत्यातः करिष्यति ।
ध्रुवं विस्वासघातीति तद् इतस् त्वरितं व्रज ॥ १२,२१.२४ ॥

इत्य् उक्तः स तया राजा निर्गत्यैव ततो द्रुतम् ।
गत्वा स्वराजधानीं च निशि सैन्यान्य् असज्जयत् ॥ १२,२१.२५ ॥

Suddenly, the thief turned around and spotted the king standing right in front of him.

“Who are you” he said.

“I am a thief”, answered the king.

The thief smiled and replied…

“Aha! In that case, you are my friend, since you belong to the same profession as me. Come to my house, let me entertain you like one friend does to another!”

The king consented, and accompanied the thief to his house.

And what a house it was!

Located in an underground cavern, in the middle of the forest, the ‘house’ was nothing short of a palace.

It was luxurious, well appointed, and looked like the palace of King Bali, the ruler of Pātāla!

The thief seated the king in the hall and asked him to wait while he changes his clothes inside. As soon as the thief went into his bedroom, a maid servant, who was hiding behind the curtains in the hall, approached the king and said…

“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.

to be continued…