Read the previous part here…
Though well-disguised, seemingly frightful and clad in tiger-skin, the donkey got killed because of his voice.
KarālaMukha said “How did that happen?”
The story of the talkative donkey
In a village not very far away from here, lived a washerman named ShuddhaPata (the clean cloth). He had a donkey, which was very weak, since not much grass grew in that village.
One day, as the washerman was walking through the forest, he saw a dead tiger.
“How lucky I am!”, he thought to himself. “I can skin this dead tiger, and use the skin to disguise my donkey. If I then leave it in the fields, farmers won’t dare to come near it, thinking it’s a tiger, and my donkey can have his fill of nutritious food.”
And so, it was done. The donkey started anxiously, but when it noticed that the farmers kept their distance, he got the courage to go to the fields every night. He would eat, and eat, until the farmer arrived early morning to take him back.
In the course of time, the donkey put on a lot of weight and became very fat, and it became increasingly difficult for the farmer to drag it back home.
One day, when the donkey was in heat, and munching in the paddy fields, he heard the braying of a female donkey from afar. Nature took it’s course, and from instinct, the donkey started to bray back.
“A braying tiger?”, exclaimed the villagers who came out due to the commotion. “This is a donkey, in tiger’s skin!”, exclaimed another. They understood that the ‘tiger’ that had ravaged their fields for months was actually just a donkey, and enraged at this deception, they tore the hapless donkey apart. He died on the spot.
“That is why I said”, concluded RaktaMukha. Though well-disguised, seemingly frightful and clad in tiger-skin, the donkey got killed because of his voice.
As they were conversing, a family-friend of the crocodile swam up and said “O KarālaMukha! Your wife who was fasting all this while and waiting for you, thought that you will never return, and so died of grief.”
KarālaMukha felt the earth shake and the heavens tear up. He was heartbroken and started to weep loudly. “Oh what a life this is!”, he cried out. “Just one misfortune after another…it is true…”
माता यस्य गृहे नास्ति भार्या च प्रिय-वादिनी ।
अरण्यं तेन गन्तव्यं यथारण्यं तथा गृहम् ॥ ६० ॥
mātā yasya gṛhe nāsti bhāryā ca priya-vādinī |
araṇyaṃ tena gantavyaṃ yathāraṇyaṃ tathā gṛham || 60 ||
He who lives in a house without his mother, and whose wife doesn’t speak pleasantly, should go and live in the forest, for his house would be worse than a forest.
“So please forgive me for my sins”, KarālaMukha said to RaktaMukha. “I have nothing more to live for. And so I will enter the holy fire and give up my life.”
RaktaMukha laughed and said “I had just joked earlier, when I called you hen-pecked. But you have just proved me right! Why grieve when you should celebrate? Such a woman didn’t deserve to be your wife!”
KarālaMukha replied “My friend, I know what you say is true. But what can I do? I have caused two misfortunes already – my married life has come to an end, and I also caused a misunderstanding with you, my best friend. All this must be because of destiny, and my bad fate…It is said…”
यादृशं मम पाण्डित्यं तादृशं द्विगुणं तव ।
नाभूज् जारो न भर्ता च किं निरीक्षसि नग्निके ॥ ६९ ॥
yādṛśaṃ mama pāṇḍityaṃ tādṛśaṃ dviguṇaṃ tava |
nābhūj jāro na bhartā ca kiṃ nirīkṣasi nagnike || 69 ||
You have double the intelligence that I have. Your lover is gone. You lost your husband as well. Oh naked lady, what are you waiting for?
RaktaMukha said “How did that happen?”
to be continued…