Of wasted efforts…

Read the previous part here...

“So tell me, o King, why did the minister die of a broken heart? That too, on the day when the king had succeeded in his quest?”

“Was he disappointed that he did not win Mṛgāṅkavatī himself?”

“Or was it that he wanted to rule over the kingdom himself, and would not be able to do that once the king returned?”

Remember, if you know the answer, and don’t tell me the truth, your head will burst into a hundred pieces!

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

श्रुत्वेति तु त्रिविक्रमसेनो राजा जगाद वेतालम् ।
नैतत् तस्मिन् द्वयम् अपि शुभचरिते युज्यते हि मन्त्रिवरे ॥ १२,१९.१६८ ॥

किं तु स्त्रीमात्ररसाद् उपेक्षितं येन भूभुजा राज्यम् ।
तस्याधुना तु दिव्यस्त्रीरक्तस्यात्र का वार्ता ॥ १२,१९.१६९ ॥

तन् मे कष्टे ऽपि कृते प्रत्युत दोषो बताधिकीभूतः ।
इति तस्य विभावयतो हृदयं तन्मन्त्रिणः स्फुटितम् ॥ १२,१९.१७० ॥

इत्य् उक्ते नरपतिना पुनः स मायी वेतालो निजपदम् एव तज् जगाम ।
राजापि प्रसभम् अवाप्तुम् अन्वधावद् भूयो ऽपि द्रुतम् अथ तं स धीरचेताः ॥ १२,१९.१७१ ॥

King Vikram replied…

“The minister was virtuous, and of noble character, and so none of the reasons that you spoke about caused his death.”

“That the king neglected the kingdom while in the company of females who were mere mortals was bad enough. Now that he had obtained a celestial maiden, what would be the state of the affairs of the kingdom?…this thought would have surely crossed Dīrghadarśin’s mind.”

“He went through so much suffering – traveling to faraway lands, staying away from his home for so long, just to ensure that he could bring the king on the right path. Unfortunately for him, all that effort not only went in vain, but it had the opposite effect.”

“And Dīrghadarśin blamed himself for it, since he was the one who had spoken about Mṛgāṅkavatī to king Yaśaḥketu.”

“And this is why his heart broke, and he could not take it anymore.”

As the king uttered these words, the Vetāla flew off his shoulder, laughing. And King Vikram once more started to walk towards the banyan tree, determined to fetch him. 

Well, we have finished 12 stories, and so are halfway (nearly) through the 25 stories of Vikram and the Vetāla.

I know that some of these stories may sound incredulous to you, given the scenarios that are mostly fairy-tale like. The questions may puzzle you, and some of the answers as well.

Is there a deeper meaning to these stories? Or are they meant to be for pure entertainment purposes only?

Let me know what you think. I will, after this series, tell you what I think. But for now, we move on to Story 13 tomorrow!

to be continued…