Read the previous part here…
When she said this, and burst into tears, the king, being distressed, summoned her attendants, who ran there in trepidation and alarm. And he had made for her a bed of lotus leaves, sprinkled wdth water, and sandalwood lotion applied to her body.
तावद् बुद्ध्वा तृतीयास्य सा मृगाङ्कवती प्रिया ।
तत्पार्श्वम् आगन्तुमना निर्ययौ निजमन्दिरात् ॥ १२,१८.२२ ॥
निर्गता साशृणोत् क्वापि गृहे धान्यावघातजम् ।
निःशब्दायां निशि व्यक्तं विदूरे मुसलध्वनिम् ॥ १२,१८.२३ ॥
श्रुत्वैव हा मृतास्मीति ब्रुवाणा धुन्वती करौ ।
उपाविशद् व्यथाक्रान्ता मार्गे सा मृगलोचना ॥ १२,१८.२४ ॥
ततः प्रतिनिवृत्यैव नीत्वा परिजनेन सा ।
स्वम् एवान्तःपुरं बाला रुदती शयने ऽपतत् ॥ १२,१८.२५ ॥
ददर्श तत्र तस्याश् च चिन्वन् साश्रुः परिच्छदः ।
आलीनभ्रमरौ पद्माव् इव हस्तौ किणाङ्कितौ ॥ १२,१८.२६ ॥
गत्वा च सो ऽब्रवीद् राज्ञे राजाप्य् आगत्य विह्वलः ।
किम् एतद् इति पप्रच्छ सो ऽथ धर्मध्वजः प्रियाम् ॥ १२,१८.२७ ॥
सापि प्रदर्श्य हस्तौ तम् इत्य् उवाच रुजान्विता ।
श्रुते मुसलशब्दे मे जताव् एतौ किणाङ्कितौ ॥ १२,१८.२८ ॥
ततः स दाहशमनं दापयामास हस्तयोः ।
तस्याश् चन्दनलेपादि राजाद्भुतविषादवान् ॥ १२,१८.२९ ॥
एकस्या उत्पलेनापि पतता क्षतम् आहितम् ।
द्वितीयस्याः पुनर् दग्धम् अङ्गं शशिकरैर् अपि ॥ १२,१८.३० ॥
एकस्यास् तु तृतीयस्याः श्रुतेनापि विनिर्गताः ।
कष्टं मुसलशब्देन हस्तयोर् ईदृशाः किणाः ॥ १२,१८.३१ ॥
अहो युगपद् एतासां प्रेयसीनां ममाधुना ।
गुणो ऽप्य् अत्यभिजातत्वं जातो दोषाय दैवतः ॥ १२,१८.३२ ॥
इति चिन्तयतस् तस्य भ्रमतो ऽन्तःपुरेषु च ।
त्रियामा शतयामेव कृच्छ्रात् सा नृपतेर् ययौ ॥ १२,१८.३३ ॥
प्रातश् च स भिषक्शल्यहर्तृभिः सह संव्यधात् ।
तथा यथाभूद् अचिरात् स्वस्थान्तःपुरनिर्वृतः ॥ १२,१८.३४ ॥
In the meanwhile his third wife Mṛgāṅkavatī heard of what had happened, and left her chambers to visit the second queen. The night was still, and there was no rustle of the breeze. A pin drop could be heard, it was so quiet.
As she neared the room, she heard the sound of a motar and pestle – someone was pounding rice in a house nearby.
“Oh no! I cannot stand this!” she cried out, and sat down right there, screaming in agony. Her attendants quickly rushed to her, picked her up, and took her back to her chambers, where she fell on the bed, groaning in pain.
And when her attendants looked down on her hands, they found her palms covered with bruises, like lotuses covered by stinging black bees.
Alarmed, they informed the king, who now rushed to be with her, wondering how this had all happened.
Mṛgāṅkavatī showed him her palms and said “I heard the sound of the pestle, and my palms got covered in bruises.”
The king immediately called for the physicians and had them prepare special sandalwood paste and herbs to apply to the bruised areas. He then instructed the attendants to ensure that the queen rested for the rest of the night.
As he walked out of her chambers, the king reflected on the happenings of the day and thought to himself…
“The first one was wounded by the fall of a mere lotus, the second one was burnt by moonlight and the third was bruised by the sounds of a pestle!”
“The very quality of delicateness, that was an attraction, now has become a problem!”
And so King Dharmadhvaja spent the rest of the night walking to and fro from the chambers of his three queens, a long and torturous night. By the morning however, the royal physicians had cured the three of them, and the king was able to heave a sigh of relief.
एवम् एतां कथाम् उक्त्वा वेतालो ऽत्यद्भुतां तदा ।
स त्रिविक्रमसेनं तं पप्रच्छांसस्थितो नृपम् ॥ १२,१८.३५ ॥
अभिजाततरैतासु राजन् राज्ञीषु का वद ।
पूर्वोक्तः सो ऽस्तु शापस् ते जानन् यदि न जल्पसि ॥ १२,१८.३६ ॥
The Vetāla finished his story, and then addressed King Vikram and said…
Now I have a question for you. Who among the three – Indulekhā, Tārāvalī or Mṛgāṅkavatī, was the most delicate? Remember, if you know the answer, and don’t tell me the truth, your head will burst into a hundred pieces!
King Vikram replied…
to be continued…