The thief’s proposal…

Read the previous part here…

As she ran along in the darkness, as fate would have it, her shoulder brushed hard against a thief who had been impaled on a stake.

He was still alive, and his pain being aggravated by the blow he received, he cried out in pain..

“Oh no! I am hurting, and now it hurts even more…who has rubbed salt in my wounds!”

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

स सजीवस् तदंसाग्रघट्टनाधिकपीडितः ।
आः क्षते क्षारम् एतन् मे क्षिप्तं केनेत्य् अभाषत ॥ १२,२६.१४ ॥

ततस् तत्रैव सा को ऽसीत्य् अपृच्छत् तं वणिग्वधूः ।
प्रत्युवाच ततश् चौरश् चौरो ऽहम् इह सूचितः ॥ १२,२६.१५ ॥

शूले पापस्य चाद्यापि नोत्क्रामन्ति ममासवः ।
तद् आर्ये त्वं मम ब्रूहि कासिक्वैवं प्रयासि च ॥ १२,२६.१६ ॥

तच् छ्रुत्वा तं वणिग्भार्या यावत् स्वोदन्तम् आह सा ।
तावत् तिलकितं प्राच्या मुखम् उद्भासितेन्दुना ॥ १२,२६.१७ ॥

ततो दिक्षु प्रकाशासु स चौरस् तां वणिक्सुताम् ।
दृष्ट्वा धनवतीं कन्यां तन्मातरम् उवाच ताम् ॥ १२,२६.१८ ॥

शृणु मे प्रार्थनाम् एकां सहस्रं काञ्चनस्य ते ।
ददामि तद् इमां मह्यं स्वसुतां देहि कन्यकाम् ॥ १२,२६.१९ ॥

Startled, Hiraṇyavatī said to him…”But who are you?”

The thief answered…

“I am a thief. I am now impaled here on the stake, as a punishment for my sins.”

“But my breath has not yet left me, the wicked man that I am…”

“That is my story, but tell me yours. Who are you, and where are you off to in the dead of the night?”

Hiraṇyavatī told him what had happened, and how her relatives had cheated her. As she was telling him this, the sun started to rise over the eastern horizon…

And as the first rays of the sun lit up the surroundings, the thief saw Dhanavatī, who was standing there, holding her mother’s hand…

The thief looked back at Hiraṇyavatī and said…

“Oh good lady. Please heed this request of mine. I will give you a thousand pieces of gold, and in return, give me your daughter’s hand in marriage.”

किम् एतया तवेत्य् उक्तो हसन्त्याथ तयात्र सः ।
पुनश् चौरो ऽब्रवीन् नास्ति पुत्रो मम गतायुषः ॥ १२,२६.२० ॥

न चापुत्रो ऽश्नते लोकांस् तद् एषा यं मदाज्ञया ।
कुत्रचिज् जनयेत् पुत्रं क्षेत्रजः स भवेन् मम ॥ १२,२६.२१ ॥

इत्य् एतां प्रार्थये त्वं तु तद् विधत्स्व ममेप्सितम् ।
तच् छ्रुत्वा सा वणिग्योषिल् लोभात् तत् प्रत्यपद्यत ॥ १२,२६.२२ ॥

Hiraṇyavatī laughed aloud. “And what will you gain by that?”, she asked sarcastically. “You are impaled on a stake, and nearly dead. Why would you want to marry my daughter now, and give me a thousand gold coins?”

The thief replied…

“You are right, o good lady. I am as good as dead. But I have no sons, and as you are aware, having progeny is an important samskara in Sanātana Dharma.”

“I may have done a lot of bad deeds in my life, but I want to make up for at least a part of it by doing this…once I get married to your daughter, I will give her permission to have a son from any other man, and whosoever be the father, I will be the father as well.”

“And that is why I ask her hand in marriage, and I beseech you to heed this request and last wish of mine.”

Hiraṇyavatī thought for a while and then replied…

to be continued…