Read the previous part here…
“Oh mighty king! ShāliHotra (the expert in horses) has recommended a cure for this. कपीनां मेदसा दोषो वह्निदाहसमुद्भवःअश्वानां नाशमभ्येति तमः सूर्योदये यथा – by applying the marrow of the bones of monkeys, the burn wounds of the horses will disappear, like darkness disappears when the sun rises. You will have to act fast, o king, before the horses die of pain.”
“Kill all those monkeys, and bring the marrow of their bones for the treatment of my horses”, thundered King Chandra.
The monkeys were caught, and slaughtered, and the marrow of their bones was used to treat the horses. Old, young, male, female…no monkey was spared.
PrāptaBuddhi heard about the death of his family, his tribe…his own kith and kin. He cried for many days, wandered around the forest aimlessly, unable to eat or drink. The only thought that came to his head was…revenge.
“How do I avenge my family…how do I teach that evil king a lesson?” he pondered. “It is said…”
मर्षयेद् धर्षणां यो ऽत्र वंशजां पर-निर्मिताम् ।
भयाद् वा यदि वा कामात् स ज्ञेयः पुरुषाधमः ॥ ७६ ॥
marṣayed dharṣaṇāṃ yo ‘tra vaṃśajāṃ para-nirmitām |
bhayād vā yadi vā kāmāt sa jñeyaḥ puruṣādhamaḥ || 76 ||
He is considered to be the worst of men, who, just because of fear or greed, bears insult or injury inflicted upon his family.
As PrāptaBuddhi wandered aimlessly, he came across a beautiful lake filled with lotuses. At first, he started to walk towards it, since he was very thirsty, but then, he stopped in his tracks. He had a keen sense of observation, and so noticed that there were a lot of footprints around the lake. These footprints were of animals and humans too, but with one eerie coincidence. All the prints led towards the lake…there were no prints in the opposite direction.
“There is surely an evil spirit that haunts this lake”, thought PrāptaBuddhi. “This is why there are no footprints coming back…whatever went close to the lake, never returned.” And so he carefully selected a long stem of a reed that was fallen nearby, and used it to drink the water of the lake, from a distance.
As he sipped the water, a huge Rākshasa appeared from the center of the lake. He was frightening, but PrāptaBuddhi also noticed a glittering necklace of diamonds that the Rākshasa wore around his neck.
“Whoever enters this lake, becomes food. I eat them!”, he thundered. “But you are cunning – you are sucking the water in a way that you don’t come too close to me…I am impressed by your presence of mind! Ask me anything that you wish, I will grant it.”
“How many can you eat”, asked PrāptaBuddhi.
“There is no limit – hundreds, thousands, even more!” the Rākshasa replied. “Only if they enter the water though. On land, even a weak fox can defeat me.”
PrāptaBuddhi thought for a moment, and then said ” I have a deep personal enmity with the king. If you lend me that necklace of yours, I will return with the king, his family, and his whole army, so that you can have your fill.”
“Here, take it”, said the Rākshasa as he took off his necklace. “I trust you, and I am sure that you will return. May you be victorious.”
PrāptaBuddhi wandered into the palace grounds. He was wearing the necklace around his neck, and he jumped around the trees in the palace, and dangled from the roof, the diamonds glittering in the midday sun. Soon, the guards noticed him and called out “Hey there! Where have you been? And where did you get that necklace? It shines more than the sun!”
PrāptaBuddhi replied “I have been traveling. On one such journey, I came across a lake, that was built by Kuberā (the god of wealth). It is a magical lake! Anyone who bathes there during sunrise, comes out wearing a necklace just like this…all by the grace of Kuberā!”
The soldiers were amazed. They took PrāptaBuddhi to the king, who couldn’t believe it. “Tell me PrāptaBuddhi, is this really true? Is there a lake that actually contains diamond necklaces?”
“Isn’t this proof enough?”, replied PrāptaBuddhi as he ran his fingers around the dazzling ornament. “If you know anyone who needs such necklaces, send him with me. I will show him the way.”
King Chandra sported a broad smile. “Now now, why would anyone not want such a necklace? In fact, I want to witness this magic myself, and take the blessings of Lord Kuberā. I will accompany you in person, along with my whole family, servants and people, so that we all can get his blessings…by the way, are you sure that there will be so many necklaces?”, he said, as if in afterthought.
“Millions”, replied PrāptaBuddhi. “Don’t tell anybody, but I saw the neighboring king reach there with his entire army, and they all got necklaces. And by the way, his army is much bigger than yours.”
“Ok ok”, said the king, a bit ruffled. “we will set out tomorrow.”
to be continued…