Why weep, and then laugh?

Read the previous part here

Ratnavatī folded her hands again, and said, tearfully…

“O revered one! If you are truly pleased with me, then let this man, who I have already considered as my husband, rise up and be alive, and from now on, live a life of noble character!”

The voice from the skies replied…

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

एवम् अस्त्व् अक्षतो जीवन्न् उत्तिष्ठत्व् एष ते पतिः ।
धार्मिकश् चास्तु राजास्य वीरकेतुश् च तुष्यतु ॥ १२,२१.५१ ॥

इत्य् उक्तवत्य् अनालक्ष्यमूर्तौ शर्वे नभःस्थिते ।
उत्तस्थाव् अक्षताङ्गो ऽत्र चौरो जीवंस् तदैव सः ॥ १२,२१.५२ ॥

ततो विस्मितहृष्टः सन् रत्नदत्तः सुतां वणिक् ।
आदाय तां रत्नवतीं चौरं जामातरं च तम् ॥ १२,२१.५३ ॥

प्रहृष्टैर् बान्धवैः साकं प्रविश्य निजमन्दिरम् ।
लब्धपुत्रवरश् चक्रे स्वानन्दोचितम् उत्सवम् ॥ १२,२१.५४ ॥

ज्ञातवृत्तान्ततुष्टश् च तदैवानाय्य तं नृपः ।
एकवीरं वीरकेतुश् चौरं सेनापतिं व्यधात् ॥ १२,२१.५५ ॥

चौर्यान् निवृत्तो ऽथ स तां परिणीय वणिक्सुताम् ।
एकवीरः सुखं तस्थौ मार्गस्थो राजसंमतः ॥ १२,२१.५६ ॥

“Tathāstu! Let your husband rise up, alive, and from now on, lead a life of Dharmā, and King Vīraketu also forgive him!”

As soon as Śiva spoke these words, the thief rose from the cremation pyre, his wounds all healed.

Ratnadatta was delighted, and so were all his relatives. Ratnavatī was overjoyed, and they all went back to Ratnadatta’s mansion and celebrated all night.

And when King Vīraketu heard what had taken place, he was pleased, and he summoned the thief to his palace.

“I admire your bravery and courage” he said, and added “Now that you have given up your bad ways, I make you a commander in my army. You can now lead a respectable life!”

The thief thanked him profusely.

In a few days, he and Ratnavatī were married, and they led a happy life for many many years to come.

इति कथयित्वा स कथां वेतालो दत्तपूर्वशापभयम् ।
अंसस्थितस् त्रिविक्रमसेनं पप्रच्छ तं क्षितिपम् ॥ १२,२१.५७ ॥

राजन् ब्रूहि सपितृकाम् उपस्थितां तां वणिक्सुतां दृष्ट्वा ।
चौरेण शूलपृष्टे रुदितं हसितं च किं तेन ॥ १२,२१.५८ ॥

The Vetāla finished his story, and then addressed King Vikram and said…

“So tell me, o King, when the thief was impaled, and nearing death, and when he saw Ratnavatī coming there with her father, why did he weep first, and then why did he laugh? What was on his mind?

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…