Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Divine Archer by F.J. Gould


Published on

Published in: Spiritual
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Divine Archer by F.J. Gould

  1. 1. J^IJ
  2. 2. Digitized by tine Internet Arcliivein 2007 witli funding fromIVIicrosoft Corporationlittp://
  4. 4. WNiV. OF GALIF. LWRARY. LOi ANr,Wv»^
  6. 6. All rights reserved
  7. 7. CONTENTSPAGEThe Divine Archer 3From the RamayanaThe Five Princes 81From the MahabharataWhat Love can do 91From the Mahabharatavu21 20f:,00
  8. 8. INDIAAYODHYA(oude)OCEANOCEANLANKA(ceylon)Map Illustrating these Stories
  9. 9. PREFATORY NOTESpeaking of the memories of Rama and Sita,so cherished by the Hindu people, Miss Mar-garet Noble {Web of Indian Life) says:—We ask in vain what can have been the life of Indiabefore she found refuge and direction in such dreams asthese. For to-day it has become so one with them thatall trace of the dawn before they were is lost. They pene-trate to every part of the country, every class of society,every grade of education. Journeying in the mountainsat nightfall, one came upon the small, open hut of thegrain-dealer, and saw, round a tiny lamp, a boy readingthe Ramayana in the vernacular to a circle of his elders.At the end of each stanza they bowed their heads to theearth, with the chant, " To dear Sitas bridegroom, greatRama, all hail! " The shopkeeper in the city counts outhis wares to the customer, saying:" One (Ram), two (Ram), three (Ram)," and so on, re-lapsing into a dream of worship when the measuring isdone. Nay, once at least it is told how at the " Four(Ram)," the blessed name was enough to touch theinmost soul of him who uttered it, and he rose up thenand there and left the world behind him.The women, terrified at thunder, call on " Sita Ram! "and the bearers of the dead keep time to the cry of " NamaRama Sattva hai." (" The name of the Lord alone isreal.")
  10. 10. THE DIVINE ARCHERFlowers were falling from the sky, for theshining gods were happy. And happy alsowere the folk of the city of Oude, or Ayodhya.Banners waved. Wreaths were hung at everypoint. Women carried gold and silver dishesladen with gifts to the new-born son of theking. Players of musical instruments marchedthrough the streets. None could tread with-out stepping on sweet musk and sandal-wood and saffron that had been flung uponthe ground.King Dasa-ratha, in his joy, gave presentsto the holy priests, the Brahmans—presentsof gold and plate, and sacred cows.The people everywhere brought out richjewels to adorn the walls of the houses, andthe city was all ablaze with gold, silver, redrubies, green emeralds, blue sapphires, andgleaming pearls.For four weeks the sun forgot to set, and hebeamed on the city where the four babes—four sons of the king—were born.3
  11. 11. 4 THE DIVINE ARCHEROne was son of Queen Kausalya, namely,Rama the Delight; and he was dark.One was son of Queen Kaikeyi, namely,Bharat; and he was also dark.The third and fourth were sons of QueenSamitra, namely, Lakshman and Satrughna;and both were fair.Now, Rama (Rah-ma) was the noblest. Onthe soles of his feet were the magic signs—the thunderbolt, the flag, and the goadwhich drivers use to urge elephants. Ankletstinkled on his ankles. A row of tigers clawswere hung across his breast, and a necklaceof gems with a charm fastened to it enrichedhis neck. Curls adorned his head. Clad inwee yellow drawers, the little Indian princecrawled and played; and his mother caughthim up, and kissed him, and put him in thecradle, and took him out, and called him thedarling of darlings.But one day, as she and the babe were alone,she saw him change, and he grew, and he grew,and he grew, until he seemed to fill the wholeworld; ay, and more than that; for not onlywere hills and woods and streams and seasall about his body, but even suns and moons
  12. 12. THE DIVINE ARCHER 5and stars shone; and yet, in this wide skyand earth, she could still see her baby Rama.Thus for a while he was so great that he couldnot be greater; and then he changed to thesmall child again.Such eyes have mothers; they see into theyears to come, and say to themselves, " Mychild will be noble."Rama could play and jest, and, while theking and the queen sat at table, he wouldsnatch up a handful of cream and curds andrun away, thrusting the dainty into his mouth,and laughing. And all the royal court laughed.Rama could work. When he and his brethrenwere grown lads they became twice-born, andsacred threads were placed on each — thethread passing over one shoulder and lying onthe breast. Then they went to the Guru,or teacher, to be taught in the book of hymnsto the shining gods; and Rama learned theVedas in a very short time — even all thefour books of hymns. The four brothers alsotook lessons in shooting arrows from the bow,and other lessons in something far better,namely, the right behaviour towards men,women, and children. The manners of Prince
  13. 13. 6 THE DIVINE ARCHERRama were so gentle and so courteous that allthe city loved him, and the eyes of the folkfollowed him as he went along the highway.Now, in the forest, near the city, there livedan aged hermit, Visva-mitra; and this goodold man was sore beset by ugly Furies orDemons, who would not let him rest." I will go to the king," he said to himself," and ask him for the help of his brave son,Rama."When the hermit stood at the royal gate, theking made haste, and he set the old man onthe throne, and brought water to wash hisfeet, and bowing before him, he said:" It is a blessed day for me because you havecome to my house. Tell me, O holy one, whyyou come to see me."" King," he answered, " a troop of furiesannoy^me in my house in the jungle, and Ibeg for the aid of your noble son Rama, indriving them away, and let Lakshman theFortunate come with him."Then was the face of the king downcast,and he sighed:" Oh, sir, ask anything but that—cattle,jewels, even myself, but I cannot let my sweet
  14. 14. THE DIVINE ARCHER 7son go. What would his strength availagainst the demons of the wood?"But the wise man of the court, even Vasishta,bade the king send his sons, and so Dasa-ratha gave way; and having said good-byeto their mothers, they went forth. Eachyouth was bright of eye, broad of chest;and each had a quiver slung from a yellowsash, and each bore a bow.A scream was heard on the road, and thehermit pointed to a horrid figure that flutteredin the air.The Divine Archer, Rama, aimed and shot;and the demon fell, pierced by an arrow.That night the two princes supped on rootsand fruit and water in the hermits hut, andthere also they slept.At daybreak the hermits of the forest werestanding about the fire of sacrifice, whendark shapes floated about their heads, andraised a dreadful yell.The Divine Archer and his brother raisedtheir bows. Arrows flew; and ere long allthe band of demons were slain.After a few days the hermit, Visva-mitra, saidto the young men:
  15. 15. 8 THE DIVINE ARCHER" My lords, would it not gladden your heartsto see the holy stream of Ganges, and to seethe city of Videha, where lies the bow thatno man on earth can bend?"" We do, indeed, desire to behold thesethings," they replied.So the old man and the two youths faredforth.They saluted the waters of the Ganges, andbathed in the sacred river.They journeyed onward and saw the mightywaUs and towers of the city of Videha, andround the city were beautiful gardens; andin the city the bazaars were fiUed with richgoods; and horses, elephants, and chariotscrowded the streets; and fountains gUtteredin the sunshine.The king of that place was Janak, and heheard of the coming of the hermit, and wentto see him as he sat in a grove of mango-trees near the gate, and he kneeled before himin deep respect, and offered him and his com-panions a fair lodging in the town. So theytook up their abode in the rooms which theking placed at their service, and they atesupper.
  16. 16. THE DIVINE ARCHER 9The sun had not yet set, and Rama saw thathis brother Lakshman had a keen longing toview the wonders of the city, so he asked leaveof Visva-mitra, and, with the hermits consent,they walked out into the streets.As they crossed the market-place, crowds ofpeople, young and old, watched them withwondering looks; for the princes were hand-some; they were clothed in yellow coats;their breasts were shining with big pearls;curly hair peeped out from under their caps;they carried bows and arrows in their hands.And Indian girls, peeping from latticedwindows, whispered to one another that theseprinces were goodly youths, and surely thedark one was fit for wedding with the kingsdaughter, Sita (Seeta).Thus they rambled from street to street tillthey arrived at the meadow of sports—a vastplace marked out in a ring; and aU roundit were, first, a row of seats for princes andnobles; then behind that, higher up, a rowof seats for the citizens ; and a grand gallery,painted in many colours, was the Place ofLadies. All was quiet, and after giving ahasty look at this tournament field, the
  17. 17. lo THE DIVINE ARCHERbrothers hurried to their lodging, and weresoon asleep.At the rising of the sun Rama and Laksh-man bathed in a stream, and asked the hermitif they might pluck flowers, and he cheerfullygave leave.Now, as they roved, they saw the splendidgarden of the king, and they entered andadmired the fruit trees and the flowers, andthe peacocks, which spread their glorioustails; and they came to a lake like a looking-glass, around which were steps of smoothstone; and water-hens plashed in the pool,and thousands of lilies—which the Hindus namethe lotus—spread their lovely petals to thesun. And the gardeners allowed the princesto cut flowers. And it came to pass that thePrincess Sita was walking in the garden withher maids. One of the maids had gone infront of the others, and she suddenly saw thetwo youths. She paused one moment, andthen ran back."What have you seen?" asked her com-panions," I have seen two most noble youths,"
  18. 18. THE DIVINE ARCHER iiIIAt that instant, Rama heard the jingle of thebangles on the lady Sitas feet, and he said:" I know of a surety that there comes hithera lady whom I shall love beyond all thingselse in the world."Lifting his eyes he saw Sita, the kingsdaughter, and they loved each other then andfor ever.The princess said not a word."It is time to go," said one of the maids." Let us return to the palace, Lady Sita."" It is time to go," echoed the princess; andpresently she and her companions had passedfrom view of the brothers.On the way to the palace, she stopped at thehouse of the goddess Bhavani, and, enteringthe temple, she knelt before the image andprayed—" Great mother, bright as the lightning; andgiver of gifts to gods and men, thou knowest, asI bend before thy lotus feet, what is the wishof my heart."Then a garland of flowers dropped from the
  19. 19. 12 THE DIVINE ARCHERhand of the image, and Sita picked it up withjoy, and felt a throb in her left side, and wassure, by these tokens, that her prayer washeard.With flowers in hand, the princes returnedto the guru, and told him of the meetingin the kings garden. The sage recited holylegends during the day, and at night Ramalifted his eyes to the moon and said:" The queen of night is not so fair as Sita."Next day vast crowds flocked to the greenspace where the trial of the bow was to beheld. Murmurs arose from the people whenthe two princes of Ayodhya took their seats.Kings were there who had come to bend thebow of the god Siva, and they looked withjealous eyes at the brothers; but Sita gazedat Rama with a look of delight. Folkwhispered:" The dark youth is the right husband forSita."Heralds cried aloud:" Here is the great bow of the god, and hewho shall bend it wiU have fame in earth andheaven and hell, and take the kings daughterto wife."
  20. 20. THE DIVINE ARCHER 13One king after another mounted the platformand girded up his loins, and pulled, tugged,strained. . . .All in vain." Well," said King Janak, with a sneer, " ifI had known there were no men in the world, Iwould not have come to this spot to be laughedat for offering what no one will take."" No men in the world! " said Lakshman tohis brother, " we must not let this wretchedold bow mock us."The hermit spoke a word in Ramas ear:" Up, Rama, and break the bow!"Rama bowed at the feet of the sage, and wentup on the platform.Lakshman muttered a prayer:" O ye elephants that hold up the fourquarters of the world, and O tortoise, uponwhom the elephants stand, hold the earthfirm when the bow breaks, for mighty will bethe shock."The people stood still and silent. A teartrembled in the eye of Sita.Flashing with hght, the bow gleamed inRamas hand. When he bent it, lo ! it seemedto bend over all the sky.
  21. 21. 14 THE DIVINE ARCHERIt snapped with a crash.The crash shook the earth, the elephants,the tortoise, and even the shining gods puttheir hands to their ears, so loud was therumbling!People shouted. Angels danced in the sky.The gods rained down gay flowers, and thekettle-drums rolled in heaven; and on earththe citizens made noises with cymbals, drums,conch-shells, clarions, and sackbuts; andwomen sang songs.Some of the kings growled like surly tigers,and grasped their weapons, as if they woulddo harm to Rama.But just then a strange and weird figuresprang upon the scene. It was a tall, bull-like man who had a bow in one hand, and hadtilted an axe over his shoulder. His bodywas bare except for a deerskin cloth abouthis loins. On his brow were marked threewhite lines that showed he worshipped thegod Siva. His hair was twisted in a knot.Flushed with rage, this hermit of the woodshad come to see who had broken the gods bow.The whole crowd bowed to him, for his namewas a name of terror to all the land.
  22. 22. THE DIVINE ARCHER 15" Who has broken the bow? " he thundered." Twas an old bow," repHed Lakshman," which my brother snapped. Why beangry?""Wretch!" shrieked the hermit, "do youtalk thus of the sacred bow? Know you notthat with my axe I cut off the thousand armsof a fiend?"" Holy sir," said Lakshman, " do not blowat me as if I could be puffed away."" The madman who dares thus to speak shallbe swallowed by the jaws of death!"The hermit would have smitten the youthwith his terrible axe, but Rama steppedbetween, put his hands together in sign ofrespect, and sought by soft words to turnaway the sages wrath." If," said the hermit at last, " you are ahero indeed, draw this bow of Vishnu."So saying, he handed to Rama his bow, thestring hanging loose. No sooner had Ramatouched it than the string fastened itselftight, ready for shooting a shaft!At this token of magic the hermit of the woodsclasped his hands in homage:" Glory to the mighty Rama! "
  23. 23. i6 THE DIVINE ARCHERAnd he went his way, and the kings alsodeparted. Then was the city made gloriouswith ornaments—arches set up in the streets,and pillars of gold crusted with green emeralds,and wreaths of lilies made out of pearls,turquoises, and diamonds, and golden birdsand golden bees that were hung amid theleaves of trees. For Rama was to marry Sita,and nothing could be too splendid to expressthe peoples gladness.Messengers sped to the city of Ayodhya totell the old King Dasa-ratha of the break-ing of the bow and of the coming marriage,and to bid him travel in all haste to thebridal.Amid the joyful cheers of the citizens, KingDasa-ratha set forth in procession—soldiers ongrand horses, nobles on the backs of elephants,and over the heads of the nobles were spreadcanopies; and the elephants bells jangled,and the drums beat ; and three million porterscarried the baggage of the royal party; andthe sky rained flowers, and the gods beattheir kettle-drums.A blue-necked jay pecked seed on the road.It was a token of good fortune!
  24. 24. THE DIVINE ARCHER 17A woman passed with a child and a pitcher.Another good omen!A man carried fish and curds of milk ! Anotherhappy token.Two Brahmans met the procession, and eachheld a book. Another pleasing presage!As the procession arrived at the gates ofthe city of Videha, out came an army ofservants with gifts —clothes, jewels, birds,deer, horses, elephants, chariots, spices, per-fumes; and cakes on silver trays and daintieson golden dishes. And they all marched intogether; and the sky rained flowers, and thekettle-drums of the gods rattled.Blissful was the meeting of King Dasa-rathawith his two noble sons and the good hermitof the jungle, Visva-mitra.On the bridal-day, Rama, clad in dazzUngraiment, rode on horseback, and the saddleglittered with pearls and rubies, and theharness glowed like the sun ; and so, amid themusic of bells and trumpets and voices, Ramaentered the great pavilion. And when allthe nobles were in their places the bride camein with her maids, and the sweet bells ontheir ankles tinkled. Prayers were said, the
  25. 25. i8 THE DIVINE ARCHERflame of the altar burned heavenwards; thebride and bridegroom walked, hand-in-hand,round the altar three times.Nay, I should have said the brides and bride-grooms, for on that same day, in that sameplace, the three brothers of Rama weremarried to three lovely ladies, and thus thewedding was four-fold.Walking over the beautiful carpets, the guestsproceeded to the banquet, and all were merryat the tables, and music clashed, and laughterrose to the roof.Many days the gaiety lasted, and when theKing of Ayodhya and his four sons and theirfour brides must needs go home, vast werethe gifts given them by King Janak—100,000horses, 25,000 chariots, 10,000 elephants;waggons of gold and jewels; buffaloes andcows without number.The sky rained flowers.The sacred kettle-drums rolled.
  26. 26. THE DIVINE ARCHER 19IIIOne day, King Dasa-ratha, looking in apolished mirror in order to set his crownstraight, saw a white hair.The white hair whispered:" O King, old age comes on. Make Ramaregent, and you will be happy in seeing thenoble way in which he acts the part ofmonarch."First he spoke his thought to the guru—theteacher; and the guru said:" Yes, O King, let this thing be done withoutdelay; yes, this very morrow."Tidings were sent round the city of Ayodhyathat on the next day the Prince Rama wouldbe made king, and the people, who all lovedRama, every man, every woman, every child,prepared banners and canopies, and imitationfruit-trees sparkling with jewels to adorn thestreets; and all night the busy hands were atthe work.Now, at this time two of the four princes—Bharat and Satrughna—were in the region ofthe West.
  27. 27. 20 THE DIVINE ARCHERYou may remember that Bharat had notthe same mother as Rama. His mother wasQueen Kaikeyi.On the night when the citizens were puttingup the shining jewel-trees in the streets, andthe strains of music were heard in everyquarter of Ayodhya, a dark and ugly facepeered forth from a window in that part ofthe palace where hved Queen Kaikeyi. Theface was that of the hump-backed waiting-woman, Manthara. Leaning out of the lattice,she said to some folk that passed:" What mean the songs and the sparklinglights?"" Have you not heard ? The glorious Rama,breaker of the bow of the god, is to be madeking in his fathers stead to-morrow."Manthara drew in her head quickly, and shestood still and thought a long time.Oh! the evil thoughts that swarmed inMantharas brain! Alas, for the sorrow thatwas to come upon Rama, and Sita, and Laksh-man, and Bharat, and the old king, and thecity, and upon hosts and hosts of the folkof India! Woe to Rama! Years must passbefore joy shines again upon the city, and
  28. 28. THE DIVINE ARCHER 21before the festal music is heard in the streetsand the jewel-trees grow in the highways.The waiting-woman lifted the curtain ofQueen Kaikeyis door, and tottered in cryingand wringing her hands." What is the matter? " asked the queen.She still cried." Is Rama ill, or my Bharat?"" Do not speak tenderly of Rama! Whyshould he be made king to-morrow? For soall the city says he will. And look from thelattice, queen, and see the people preparingfor the festival. Why did the king send j^ourbeloved son, Bharat, away? Was it not atthe wish of the vile Queen Kausalya, motherof Rama, in order that her own child shouldbe raised to honour? What will happen toyou and your son? You will be caughtlike a fly in a bowl of milk. You will bebondslaves to this proud Rama."" Now I understand," said the queen with afrown, " why my right eye keeps throbbing,and I have bad dreams at night. What shallI do, dear and trusted friend?"" Go, mistress, to the dark chamber, where,as the king knows, his ladies retire when they
  29. 29. 22 THE DIVINE ARCHERare smit with sorrow. Let Dasa-ratha findyou lying on the floor."Joyous citizens came and went in and outof the palace. On aU sides shouts of mirthresounded. The king was as happy as thelove-god. With light foot he approachedQueen Kaikeyis room." She is in the sulking chamber, sir," said thehump-backed waiting-woman.With a mind sore disturbed, Dasa-rathahastened to the dark room. By a dim lamp,he saw his queen lying on the floor, her dressbeing old and coarse, and her hair all wild." Why are you angry, joy of my soul? " heasked.She glared at him like a snake, and put outher arms to bid him keep away." Rise, my dear, this is no time for ill-temper,for on the morrow I give the throne to mynoble son Rama. Come and rejoice withus."" I cannot. Once you promised me twoboons, and you have never given me them.To Rama you give all; to me, naught."" Nay, queen, I will keep my word like aking. Deck yourself in comely robes, and I
  30. 30. THE DIVINE ARCHER 23will grant you the two favours, whatsoeverthey are."She changed her dress, and put on her glint-ing gems, and said with a smile :" Dasa-ratha, make our son Bharat king;that is one boon. Send Rama into a far landfor fourteen years; that is the other boon.You have pledged your word as a king."He put his hands to his forehead and trembled,even as a partridge that is pounced upon bya falcon in the forest." Now," he moaned, " now has my wife laidwaste the city of Oude, and brought woeupon my paradise. How can I live withoutRama? "" If," she shrieked, "if at daybreak to-morrow, Rama does not leave the city,clad in the hermits coarse robe, know, ODasa-ratha, it wiU be the death of me, andeverlasting disgrace will come upon yourhead."And though he knelt and prayed at her feet,she would not change her will.So passed his night in grief, and the musicstiU rang in the streets, but there was nomusic in the kings heart.
  31. 31. 24 THE DIVINE ARCHERRama rose very early and saw his fatherlying as in a swoon on the ground."What ails him?" he asked of queenKaikeyi.With cruel looks in her eyes, she told him,and waited to see him act like a raging mad-man.But Rama said in a clear, steady voice:"It is well, O queen. Often have I longedto dwell in the peaceful forest, and thither willI go."" Father," he said, as the king revived at thesound of his sons voice, "I go to bid mymother farewell."When Rama appeared before Kausalya, shebeamed with joy." My darling," she cried, " this is the happyday."Gently, he broke in :—" Mother, my father has given me a king-dom."" Yes, my son, the kingdom of Ayodhya."" No, mother, the kingdom of the wild woods,where I am to dwell for fourteen years, whileBharat reigns as king."Then was the queens soul torn sharp with
  32. 32. THE DIVINE ARCHER 25grief, and she clung to his feet—his lotus-feet—and wept much; and as she wept, therecame in the lady Sita, to hear the mournfulnews. And Sita, for a time, shed tears, andwas silent." But do not take Sita," begged the mother." Dear Sita," said Rama, " for my motherssake, you will stay here."" No," she answered, " as a river withoutwater, so is a wife without her husband. Thebirds and the deer shall be my comrades, theforest my dwelling, the bark of the trees mydress. The hut we live in together will beeven as a mansion of the gods, and theroad that we two walk will not make meweary."And as Sita said, so also said Lakshman, forhe declared that he would share the longbanishment with his brother, just as he hadshared his joys.These three then went to say good-bye to theking; and the kings heart was like to break.And as they talked together, the QueenKaikeyi entered with a box, and, setting iton the ground, she opened it, and there layin it the coarse dark coat of a hermit.c
  33. 33. 26 THE DIVINE ARCHER*I have brought you your raiment," she said,with a dreadful smile.Rama put it on and bowed to his father andto Kaikeyi, and left the palace, and the peoplesaw him go forth.The jewel-trees were hid away; the bannersall torn down; hushed were all songs; forthe tidings had gone about the city that Ramawas to live in an exile of fourteen years." Sir," said Rama to his guru, " be kind toall my servants while I am away."So saying, he went out with Sita and Laksh-man, and many people of the city ran at theirside and in front and behind—old and young,and children; and the sobs of the folk weresad to hear.IVNot only did the folk mourn. The verytrees withered, and the horses, elephants, andbirds seemed to feel the loss of a prince whohad been the friend of every citizen and everydumb creature in Ayodhya. Rama, Laksh-man, Sita, and the people travelled all the day.
  34. 34. THE DIVINE ARCHER 27and at night all except the three exiles sleptsoundly under the trees.The three exiles mounted their chariot in thedarkness, lest the people should follow again,and be worn out.On coming to the holy Ganges in the morning,they saluted the noble flood which all Indiaworships, and bathed in its refreshing waters.A crowd of people approached with gifts offruit, for they had heard of the journey ofthe princes." Pray," invited the leader, " lodge in myhouse to-night."" For fourteen years," replied Rama, " mustwe abide in the open air, nor enter any village."The good man then spread a mat of grass andsoft leaves under a sinsapa tree, and this wasthe couch of the wanderers that second night.At break of day, Rama sent away the chariot,though the charioteer begged them to rideto the city, for he was sure the old kingwished it.The horses loved Rama, and whinneyed andturned their heads towards him as theydeparted.Now they must cross the Ganges. An old
  35. 35. 28 THE DIVINE ARCHERferryman took them over the roUing stream,and would not take for fee the ring whichSita drew from her finger." No," he said, " pay me when you comeback—in fourteen years from now."Sita spoke to the sacred Ganges." O river, may I return with my husbandand his brother and again adore you."" Lady," said the great river, " you will allreturn in safety and again cross my waves."They came to the mighty forest. Here andthere they passed a hermits hut, shelteredunder tall trees. Rama walked first, thenSita, then Lakshman. Birds and deer lookedupon them as they threaded their way throughthe jungle. At night they rested under afig-tree.Next day they reached the hut of the hermitValmiki. It was built near a spring of clearwater, which formed a pool, and lotuses madethe water pretty. The forest trees werebright with blossoms, and bees hummed in asweet murmur.Old Valmiki sat with them in his hut, andheard the story of their exile from Ayodhya.Then he pointed to a hill.
  36. 36. THE DIVINE ARCHER 29" On yonder hill of Chitra-Kuta," he said," you should make your abode. A riverwinds about its slope. There, amid thewoods, dwell in a green shelter, and elephants,tigers, lions, monkeys, boars, deer, and birdswill be your friends and companions."So in the green cot on Chitra-Kuta theylodged; and the flowers bloomed gaily, andthe wild beasts were pleasant comrades, andjays, cuckoos, parrots, and many otherfeathered friends made good company.Meanwhile, the charioteer had gone back tothe city, and told the King Dasa-ratha allthat had happened.Death of the KingThe king lay on a sick-bed, his wife, Kausalya,at his side. When he had heard the charioteersreport, he sent him away and said to his wife:" Now, dear wife, I call to mind the curse ofthe blind hermit, for he told me I shouldweep for a beloved son, even as I caused himto weep."" How did you give him cause to weep?"asked the queen.
  37. 37. 30 THE DIVINE ARCHER" In this way did it come to pass," said theking. " When I was a young hunter, sokeen was my sense of hearing that I couldaim at a beast in the dark and kill it, simplyby hearing the sound of its tread, and judgingin what spot it was to be found. People calledme the Shooter in the Dark, and proud wasI of the title. One night, before I ever metyou, dear Kausalya, I rode out in my chariotto the woods where beasts were wont to drinkat the woodland pool, and I lay in wait. Atlast I heard a rustle and a splash. I felt sureit was an elephant on the bank of the lake.So I fitted an arrow to my bow, and shot.Alas! The cry of some one hurt—a humancry—smote on my ear. What had I done?I made haste through the shrubs and trees,and by the dim star-light I saw on the bankof the water a youth who was bleeding, and apitcher lay at his side. He asked me whatill deed he had done that I should take hislife. His parents were old folk, both blind.They lived in yonder humble shed. He felthe was d5nng, but, with his last breath, bademe go and tell his mother and father what hadhappened. So I left him dead, and, with a
  38. 38. THE DIVINE ARCHER 31heavy heart, made my way to the hut. Theold folks heard my steps. The father calledout to ask why I had been so long, for hethought his son had returned. So I told themthe tale of sorrow and death, and prayed fortheir pardon, because I had slain their sonunknowingly. They bade me lead them tothe place of the dead, and, with tremblinghands poured funeral water over the body,crooned a holy song of farewell, and droppedmany a tear. Then the old hermit said that,for a punishment, I, too, should suffer as hehad suffered. I should bewail the loss of adearly loved son."At midnight the king blessed his wife, Kau-salya, and blessed his wife, Samitra, motherof Lakshman (but he did not bless Kaikeyi),and he died.In the Western land, word came to . PrinceBharat that the guru bade him repair to thecity. At once he leaped into a chariot." O that I had wings to fly," he cried.Horses tore; wheels rattled.Queen Kaikeyi met her son." Is my father well?"
  39. 39. 32 THE DIVINE ARCHER" He is dead, my son.""Alas! my father, my father. How camehe to die so soon?"She told him all about the exiles; that he—Bharat—was now king; thanks to the faithfulhumpback, Manthara." Wretched woman !" he shouted. " Why didthe king—^good sire that he was—give way toyou? And you, base creature, what led youto this vile plot? I loved Rama as I lovedmyself."So crying, and half-mad with grief, he pushedManthara till she reeled, and then he fled fromthe room to the chamber of Kausalya. Hisbrother, Satrughna, went with him; and allwept together.A vast pile of sandal-wood and aloes andspices was heaped up beside the river, andthe royal body was laid thereon, and the fireleaped to heaven.After the funeral, Bharat, the noble prince,announced his will. He would go to the woods,and bring Rama back, and all who pleasedmight go with him on his errand. Deep wasthe joy in every house, and folk went forthon horses and elephants, in carts and chariots
  40. 40. THE DIVINE ARCHER 33—high and low, rich and poor—in one greateager stream. Point by point they trackedthe pilgrims—to the sinsapa tree; to theGanges; to the jungle; to the hut of oldwhite-haired Valmiki, until at last, the pro-cession of citizens halted at the holy hill ofChitra-Kuta, and looked with wondering eyesupon the scene.Rocks rose high, and splendid trees clothedthem with their shade. Wild animals lay ormoved about or ate together in peace—hares, elephants, lions, tigers, boars, buffaloes,wolves; and bees hummed; and parrotschattered, and peacocks spread their glorioustails. And in the midst stood Rama, Sita,and Lakshman.Happy were the moments of meeting, butgrief followed. For neither to the pleading ofBharat, nor the tears of his mother, Kausalya,would the noble Rama yield. His father, hesaid, had commanded him into exile, and inexile he would stay; and Bharat must rulethe kingdom.And so, after many words said on each side,Bharat and the citizens and the Queen Kau-salya returned to Ayodhya. But Bharat
  41. 41. 34 THE DIVINE ARCHERtook with him as a keepsake a pair of sandalswhich Rama had worn; and he put theseshoes on the golden throne in the palace,to wait there until his brother came home.One day the glorious Rama, thinking thepeople of Ayodhya would never let him restin the green shades of the hill of Chitra-Kuta,set forth again on his wanderings with thelady Sita and the loyal Lakshman, andplunged into the depths of the forest, TaUwere the trees; glowing the hues of theflowers; fair the lotuses on the pools; andwhen there was a space among the boughs,and the suns rays fell through, beautiful werethe spots of light in the glades of the wood.And save for the call of the birds, or the rustleof beasts amid the foliage, or the ripple ofbrooks, very quiet was the forest. Now andthen the pilgrims halted at the hut of somesaintly hermit, and talked with him of loveand mercy and justice and the service of thegods.
  42. 42. THE DIVINE ARCHER 35Such a hermit was Saint Agastya, a braveman who had come from the north of Indiato seek out the wild tribes of the Deccan, thatso he might speak to them words of grace andtruth, and teach them to be more humane andgentle in their dealings. As he greeted thewanderers, he had comrades at his right handand his left—holy hermits who helped himin his work, and fed the flames on altars inhonour of the god Brahm, and fiery Agni, andshining Vishnu, and Yama, Lord of Death,and Dharma, the god of well-doing. AndSaint Agastya looked upon Rama and lovedhim, and he gave him rare gifts. He gavehim the magic bow of the lord Vishnu, and theglittering dart of Brahma, and the quiver ofIndra that never lacked arrows, no matterhow often shafts were shot, and, last of all,a sabre with a hilt of gold. Well armed wasnow the Divine Archer." Rama," he said in words deep in meaning," you will have need of these weapons."" I thank you with all my heart, great sage,and much would I like to stay in this charm-ing spot. But the fate of exile rests upon us,and we must go still further."
  43. 43. 36 THE DIVINE ARCHER" I will tell you a place where you may bequite alone, except for the roving deer. Walkthrough that thick wood until you see an oldnyagrodha tree, then climb a steep path, andso you will come to a stand in the forest ofPanchavati, where the Godaveri stream rushesalong the dark glen."Near the glen, Lakshman built a house forthe winter that was coming. The walls wereof soft earth, the posts of bamboo, thatch ofjungle leaves and grass; and the floor wasstamped upon and pressed till it was quitelevel. And here they dwelt in peace whileautumn glided by, and when the winter nightair was cold ; berries their food and water theirdrink. Oft they talked of home and thepeople of Ayodhya, and of times that seemedfar back in mists, when Rama broke the bowof Siva, and the thunders of the cheers shookthe city of Videha. In the woods how stillwas the scene, how lonely the paths; and yetthe three hearts were good and tender comradesto each other, and they worshipped the redsun at dawn and at eve, and so the winterwent by in peace.One day a wild-looking woman met the lord
  44. 44. THE DIVINE ARCHER 37Rama in the wood of Panchavati; her facetanned by air and sun; her hair loose; hermouth ape-Hke and cruel.She was a Raksha—a demon maid; and sheadmired the noble form of Rama." Who are you that wander in the forestthat belongs to us Rakshas, to me, and tomy brothers Khara and Dushan?"Rama told her the tale of the exile." Wander no more," she said; " make yourhome with us demons of the jungle. You shallbe my husband, and our food shall be theflesh of men."" My dear wife is Sita," he answered, " andnot for me is the horrid food that pleasesRakshas, But my brother has no wife."This he said with a smile.To Lakshman then she went, and said likewords, and when he said No in a very angryvoice, she took on a terrible shape, and hereyes glared, and Lakshman, in swift swingof his sword, slashed the Rakshas nose andears, and she fled shrieking to her brothers.Presently Rama shouted to Lakshman:" Take Sita to the nearest cave and shield herthere. The Raksha army is flying this way."
  45. 45. 38 THE DIVINE ARCHERBlack figures were gathering in the air,thousands upon thousands; and the yell ofthe Rakshas was like the noise of a stormat sea. But when the two demon captainsfirst beheld the shining body and steady eyesof Rama, they paused in dread, for in themoment of battle, Rama shone even as thesun.They sent messengers who said:" Prince, give up your wife as prisoner, andyou and your brother may go free."Rama gave back words of scorn; and then,with a howl, and waving clubs, spikes, spears,scimitars, maces, axes, and bows, the Rakshasadvanced. As arrows fell towards Rama heswung his sabre — the gold-hilted sabre —insuch wise as to cut them all in twain thoughthey rained in countless swarms. Then hebent the bow of Vishnu, and took arrowsfrom the quiver that never was empty, and heshot and shot and shot and shot, and the airwas filled with arrows, and the Rakshas felland sprang up again, and rushed upon himand fled, and vultures flew down to eat theslain, and lo! the battle came to a suddenend. Rama stood over the dead army, and
  46. 46. THE DIVINE ARCHER 39he was calm in hand and eye; and the godsdropped flowers from the sky, and sweetmusic rang in the air.And the souls of the Rakshas went up to thehouse of the gods; for such was the way inthe old Indian days, and when a foe was beatenby a noble prince, his death was thought tobe enough, and the great-hearted conquerorslet the souls of the conquered go to the placeof peace ; even the souls of the bad.Sita came out of the cave and embraced herprince.But the Raksha woman sped from the forestof Panchavati, and it was woe to poor Sitathat she went that journey. For the Rakshawoman crossed the water on the south shoreof India, and hastened to the palace of hergreat brother, Ravan, King of the Rakshasof Lanka. Now Lanka was the island ofCeylon. And Ravan was the most gruesomemonster on earth, for he had ten heads andtwenty hands." Who can this archer be? " Ravan mutteredto himself. " I must measure my strengthwith his, and see who is the better warrior,and deeper in wit."
  47. 47. 40 THE DIVINE ARCHERHe sought out his cunning friend Maricha," Comrade, I want your help. You musttake the shape of a beautiful deer, and showyourself to my enemy, and lure him awayfrom his lady, Sita ; and I will seize her andbring her to this island of the Rakshas."Little did Maricha care for the task, for heknew the power of Rama; but he also knewthe power of Ravan the Ten-headed, and so heconsented, and the two demons made theirway in easy flight to the far-off forest by thesilver stream of Godaveri.Sita suddenly called to Rama:"See, my prince! What a lovely creaturecomes towards us."It was a deer with a skin like burnished gold,and on its branching antlers it bore bluesapphires." I beg you," cried Sita, " to get me thisanimals skin, and some day, when we gohome, it shall adorn our palace in Ayodhya."So Rama, willing to please his wife, gavechase to the deer, while Lakshman stayed ather side. The deer (which was the cunningMaricha) flew this way and that, and slippedinto dark nooks, and away into crooked glades,
  48. 48. THE DIVINE ARCHER 41and into dells, and up cliffs, and Rama hadmuch work to come at it, and far off was hewhen it fell by his deadly shaft." Hark !" said Sita. " What was that ?"It was a sound as of Ramas voice." I am hurt, Lakshman. Come to my aid!"" Quick! " she cried to Lakshman.VILakshman stood still." I ought not," he said, " to leave you alonein this jungle. Do not fear for Rama. He hasno equal in the world for strength and wit."" Crafty man," burst out Sita, " do you wishRama to die in order that you may have hiswife?"Cruel was the word. In all her life Sitascarce said a word that hurt a human soul, ormade the heart of a dumb animal quail. Butthis word was indeed harsh.And ah! bitter, bitter, thrice bitter was thefate that fell on Sita for her fault.Lakshman turned and went; and many along day passed ere he saw her face again.
  49. 49. 42 THE DIVINE ARCHERAn old hermit of the forest stood amid thetrees, and he bowed to Sita.An old hermit, did I say ? It was the DemonKing of Lanka, Ravan, the Ten-headed andTwenty-handed, in a guise that the ladyknew not," Fair stranger," he said humbly, " are youa nymph of the woodland? Whatever youare—you with your ruddy lips, your pearlyteeth, your dark, shiny tresses—you are moremeet for a royal mansion than this weirdhaunt of wild beasts, and of horrid Rakshas."" I am Sita, the daughter of King Janak,"she answered, " and through the working of anevil woman, my husband, Rama, and I havebeen sent into exile. And who, sir, are you?"" No guru am I," he replied, with a wickedlaugh. " I am the lord of the Rakshas ofCeylon, and much do I want a queen like you.Splendid is my island, and five thousanddamsels will wait upon you, Sita, if you willshare my throne."Sparkled the eyes of Sita." I—I—I share a demons throne? I, thewedded wife of the hero Rama—Rama, hketo the glorious moon—Rama, the matchless
  50. 50. THE DIVINE ARCHER 43warrior! Tear up yonder mountain, Raksha;you will do that sooner than you will winRamas spouse!"Sita shrieked. Ravan had seized her, liftedher into his chariot, and his demon horses fledthrough the air; and now she saw that Ravanhad ten heads and twenty hands —twentyhands to hold the reins of the terrible steeds.A shrill, rough cry was heard, and a big, old,grey vulture flapped his wings and swoopeddown towards the flying car." Fear not, Sita; fear not, my daughter!"called the king of the vultures, Jatayu.The giant bird clutched Ravans hair in histalons, and hurled him like a stone out of thechariot, and he fell with a thud to the ground.Leaping up, the demon struck with his sabre,and slashed off the vultures wings, and thepoor, faithful bird lay helpless while Ravanrode off in triumph." Rama! Rama! " cried Sita." Rama! Rama! " cried the croaking voiceof the vulture." Where have you left Sita? " asked Rama»
  51. 51. 44 THE DIVINE ARCHERas he stood by the dead golden deer, and sawLakshman at his side." She would insist that I should come,brother."Rama sprang up like lightning, and ran, ran,ran to the hut.Sita was gone." O ye deer! O bees that hum! " he calledaloud in the jungle. " O gliding serpent androaring lion! O trees and flowers, tell me,where is Sita?"The brothers rushed from point to point, tillthey saw a wingless vulture, and they kneltbeside him, for they knew him again as oldJatayu." Master," moaned the grey bird, " now Iam ready to die, for I have seen your lotusface. Alas! Ravan has carried off your lady,and he has slain your servant—even me."" Noble bird," said Rama, with falteringvoice, " you die; but in dying you fly higherthan ever you soared over the Vindhya hills,for you shall go up to the land of the shininggods."When the old Jatayu had breathed his last,Rama made a funeral pile of wood, and buried
  52. 52. THE DIVINE ARCHER 45the body as if it had been the body of a justman. Unclean and vile as the creature wasto the eye, his heart was loyal, and Ramarendered him honour as to a true knight thatdid his duty.Wandering onwards, the Divine Archer andhis brother, Lakshman, peered eagerly intoevery corner of the forest that seemed likelyto be a hiding-place for the demon-king andhis prisoner. Herds of elephants trotted byand trumpeted, and seemed to say—" She is not here."And dappled deer scudded by on hght feet,and tossed their antlers and seemed to say—" She is not here."At the lake of Pampa they stopped. Lovelywere the lotuses on the gleaming water, andswans and water-fowl swam from side to side,and geese and cranes flew in great flights over-head. Hermits lived in this charming spot,but none could tell where Sita was.Now came the ^sad brothers to the Nilghirimountains, and not far now was the point ofIndia that runs southward into the broadocean.Two singular persons met the two princes of
  53. 53. 46 THE DIVINE ARCHERAyodhya in the wilderness of these mountains,and wild was their aspect. They were tall,strong monkeys; yet were they as men, withthe voices of men, and the speech of men, andthe ways of men—not gentle, indeed, as theways of the citizens of Ayodhya, but still,they were human in their roughness.Perhaps (to tell the likely truth) thesecreatures whom the old Indian poet callsmonkeys were the uncouth and rude-lookingnatives of the south land. Monkeys andbears, he says, were the folk of this southernregion; and monkeys and bears we will caUthem in our tale; and yet, all the time, wewill try to think of them as brave and honesthuman beings, who, in spite of their wildmanners, were most faithful friends to gloriousRama and his brother.The two singular persons, then, were Sugriva,king of the monkeys, and Hanuman, hiscomrade. Now Sugriva had been drivenfrom his kingdom by his brother Bali.Hanuman pointed to the handsome brothers." See," he said, " these can be none othersthan the exiled sons of King Dasa-ratha.They search for the lady Sita. They are in
  54. 54. THE DIVINE ARCHER 47grief, as you are. Let us make compact withthem, and offer them our aid."At the lotus-feet of Rama bowed Sugriva,the monkey-king; and Hanuman, good soul,bowed also, even more lowly than his friend." We know your trouble, lord Rama," saidthe king. " And we beg you to accept ourhelp. It may be that we shall find yourvife, for we, wild creatures as we are, under-stand the ways and wiles of the demons ofLanka."So Rama grasped the hands of Sugriva, andHanuman made an altar of earth, and lit afire on it for the gods to see, and the fourfriends walked round it in token of the bondof faithfulness." Do you know this scarf? " said the chief ofthe monkeys, as he held a bright ribbon toRama.Rama gave a shout of surprise." It is my Sitas scarf," he cried. " How gotyou this?"" One day, when I was on these hiUs with myattendants, we heard a rushing in the air, andsaw a chariot fly by, and heard a voice callRama, and this scarf dropped at my feet,"
  55. 55. 48 THE DIVINE ARCHER" Sita, Sita," sobbed Rama, as he kissed thescarf.Soon he dried his tears." Now," said Rama, " we must seek the lostone. But first, my friend, I must do you aservice, and restore your kingdom to you.Let us go and do battle with Bali."So they marched to the city where Bali wasin power as tyrant. And when news came tohim that Rama approached, he took hisweapons. His wife clung to him, and imploredhim not to pit himself against the might ofRama. He took no heed, and boldly salliedforth from the city gates.VIIBali and Sugriva fought first, their eyesglowing like red-hot copper. They strovelike mad eagles. With claws like tigers theytore up trees and rocks and flung them ateach other. Ill would have it fared withSugriva, however, had not the Divine Archer,Rama, fitted an arrow to his wondrous bow,and shot the tyrant dead.
  56. 56. THE DIVINE ARCHER 49Sugriva, the monkey-king, could now againtake the throne from which his tyrant brotherhad ousted him; and he begged Rama theDeHght to rest a while in his home." No," said Rama, " I may not enter a cityfor fourteen years. But I shall need yourfriendship soon. Meanwhile, for a few daysI will breathe the air of the hills, and preparefor the perilous days that are coming."In a cave in the Nilghiri mountains the twoprinces lodged. Coming forth one day uponthe hillside, Rama spoke to Lakshman:" The rains come and go. Dark clouds rollover the blue, and the clap of thunder signalsthe storm, and the waters of heaven descend,and the streamlets of the hills are swollen.Grass springs up afresh. Frogs croak. Pea-cocks strut in glory. Bees murmur. Lotusesbloom. The fire-flies glow at dusk. And allthe scene is happy, Lakshman; but how canmy heart partake of the general joy whenmy Sita, even now, pines a captive in the denof a Raksha?"As soon as the days of rain were past, Ramabade King Sugriva come before him with hisbright-eyed, tree-climbing monkey folk. In a
  57. 57. so THE DIVINE ARCHERgreat army, rank upon rank, legion upon legion,the sprightly monkeys stood —small, stout,short, tall, brown, black. When Rama hadtold his desire that they should search the landfor the lost lady, they started at once, to thenorth, the south, the east, the west, to forest,to rock, to sea-shore, to cave, to hill, to plain.The last to leave was brave Hanuman." Take this ring," said Rama to the faithfulape, as he drew a bright circlet of gold fromhis finger, " and if you find my Sita, give herthis in token that I never lose the thought ofher, and that I will surely come to saveher."Far and wide had the monkeys gone in theirquest, and none had found the wife of Rama.A party of searchers—Hanuman among them—at length stood on the shore of the sea thatrippled in purple waves between India andthe Island of Ceylon.A huge vulture flapped its wings, and itspoke to Hanuman:" The vultures, O Hanuman, are lovingfriends of Rama, and I will tell you what I,with a vultures keen vision, can see. As Ilook across the water from here, I can see
  58. 58. THE DIVINE ARCHER 51Sita weeping in a grove of asoka trees in Lanka.Whoever can leap over the water will findher in the garden of the demon-king."Hanuman told his companions he wouldmake the venture. Between India and Lankathe passage is more than thirty miles wide,and in the water He rocks that make a sortof bridge—Adams bridge, folk caU it to-day.The monkey resolved to leap from rock torock, or rather fly; for he had more than acommon monkeys strength; he had powersof magic.An enormous serpent rose up against himjust as he was about to depart, its mouthyawning hke a cave. Hanumans bodyswelled larger than the serpents jaws. Thereptiles mouth doubled its size. Hanumanssize also doubled! Presently, the monkeymocked his foe by making himself small anddarting right into the serpents mouth, andout again!" Hanuman," said the serpent, " the godsonly sent me to try your courage. You havestood the test. Proceed on your errand ofmercy."In vast jumps, Hanuman leaped from rock
  59. 59. 52 THE DIVINE ARCHERto rock, the air whistling round his head, thewaters of the ocean rolhng below.The monkey alighted on a tall peak, whencehe saw the splendid city of the demon chief.The walls were of glistening gold, inside whichwere streets, bazaars, elephants, horses, mules,chariots, gardens, groves, lawns, and ponds.Demons crowded the ways and spaces—demonswith the heads of men, buffaloes, oxen, asses,and goats.Hanuman made himself as tiny as a gnat, flewinto the city, unseen by the guards, and rovedfrom one scene to another, admiring the richesand the greatness of it all. At length his eyecaught the name of Rama on the wall of afine building. He entered (now being in hisproper shape), and met a grave, noble-lookingman, very different from the demons ofLanka." I rejoice," said the monkey chief, " tofind some one here who loves the name of Rama.Who, sir, may you be?"" I am Vibishan, brother to the ten-headedking. But I have no care for the things hecares for, and my heart is not in Lanka at all,and often I wish I were afar off in Ayodhya,
  60. 60. THE DIVINE ARCHER 53where I should be comrade to the noble Rama.And who are you?"Hanuman told all the tale of Rama and Sitaand the search." Friend," said Vibishan, pointing, " inyonder grove of asoka trees is a mansion.There Sita is kept a prisoner."The faithful monkey rushed off at once, andhalted under the shade of the asoka trees, justas the lady Sita came out into the garden,pale and sad; and her dark hair was twistedin one braid and knotted, as a sign of mourningfor her absent lord.A noise was heard. Ravan, the ten-headedand twenty-handed king, entered the grounds,with a troop of demon waiting-women." Once again, lady," he said harshly, " Iask you if you will become my queen."" Never."" You shall be queen above all my otherqueens."" Never. My lord Rama will come and saveme."" He will not, for you shall die."He raised his blue-steel scimitar." Yes, Ravan, kill me, and rid me of mysorrow."
  61. 61. 54 THE DIVINE ARCHERBut there was a power in her eyes that heldhis hand. He lowered his weapon, and wentaway muttering.No sooner had he turned his back than oneof the demon-women spoke hoarsely to hercompanions:" Listen to my dream, women of Lanka. Isaw a monkey set fire to the city, and setRavan on an ass to mock him, and Ravansheads and arms were hewn off; and Vibishanwas made king; and in four days shall thisdream come true."In fear, they bowed to Sita, and hurried fromthe grove.Just then, a ring flew through the air, andfell shining at Sitas feet. She picked it up,knew it as Ramas ring, and gave a scream ofjoy-"Lady!"She looked about, and beheld the monkey.She stepped backwards in fear.Be not afraid, lady Sita. I am but amonkey, but the noble Rama allows me to callmyself his friend. From him I brought thering, and from him I bring also a message."He told her all the story.
  62. 62. THE DIVINE ARCHER 55" In but a few days, lady," he said in closing," the arrows of Rama will vanquish the demon-king and all his followers, and you will bedelivered."So saying, he left her presence. As he wasleaving the grove, he pulled down the branchesof an asoka tree, and plucked the fruit and ate.The crackling sound caught the ears of theguards, and they ran to attack the stranger,Hanuman tore up a tree, and swung it round,sweeping the demon soldiers away as a broommight sweep shavings. At length, however,he was seized, and carried away to the courtof Ravan, the king. Giant demons and horridspectres stood in the palace hall, and theyfeared the very look of the ten-headed lord.But Hanuman had no fear. Ravan burst intoa loud laugh when he beheld the monkey." Who are you? " he said." In me, O King, monkey as I am, you seethe messenger of that glorious hero, Rama,who bent and broke the bow of Siva, andwhose wife Sita you carried away by brutalforce. Be warned, Ravan! I put my handstogether, and beg you, be warned ere it is toolate, and give back Sita to her Rama."
  63. 63. 56 THE DIVINE ARCHERVIII"Wretch!" shouted Ravan. "Dare youaddress such words to a king?"Turning to his courtiers, he said:" Kill the beast."" Sir," cried Vibishan, his brother, steppingforward and bowing. " That would not be akingly act. This monkey is a messenger fromRama. He speaks as an ambassador. Kingsdo not slay ambassadors."" True," sneered Ravan, the Ten-headed, " butthey may take off the ambassadors tails,"Then Ravan gave the order:" Tie rags to the creatures tail; steep therags in oil; set light to them; and when thetail is consumed, let Ramas noble messengergo free,"Hanuman smiled.Rags were tied on, but there were not enough.More were fetched, and yet more were needed.The fact was, Hanumans tail was growing bymagic. More rags, more oil, more tail ! Not arag was left in the city; every drop of oil wasused up! But the demons took no warning
  64. 64. THE DIVINE ARCHER 57from this wonder. Drums were beat and handswere clapped as the tail was set light to.Suddenly, making his body smaller (but nothis tail!) Hanuman slipped out of the graspof the guards, who held him, and leaped on tothe palace roof, his immense tail all in flames.The palace caught fire. Hanuman leaped toanother house, another, another, and so aUover the city. A large part of Lanka was ina blaze, but not the house of the good Vibi-shan, the brother of the king, nor the mansionwhere Sita was sheltered in the grove of asokatrees. The flames roared.Springing into the Indian Ocean, the monkeyquenched the fiery tail, shortened it by magicto its right length, and hastened to the asokagrove." Lady," he said humbly to Sita, " give mea token to carry back to your husband."She unfastened a shining jewel from her hairand handed it to the loyal messenger." Say to my lord," she said, " that he hasnever yet failed to keep his word, and I waitfor him to save me."He bowed and departed.Leaping again over the watery channel, he
  65. 65. 58 THE DIVINE ARCHERsprang into the midst of the host of monkeyswho awaited him, and they received him withshouts of joy. Again they cheered as theyheard the news that Sita was fomid. The armymarched to the Nilghiri mountains, and soonHanuman was placing the jewel in Ramashand and telUng him the tale of his adventuresin Ceylon.When Rama, his eyes fiUed with tears ofgratitude, put his royal hand on Hanumanshead in blessing, the good soul felt happierthan he had ever felt since he was bom in thejungle." And now," said Rama, "it is the hour forthe advance. Call the bears and muster thetroops."Oh! who could count the number of thesoldiers in this strange host? In vast regi-ments they marched—monkeys of many kinds,and bears of many kinds, shaggy and sharp-clawed. Rama, Lakshman, Sugriva, andHanuman gazed with pride at the mightyhost. And so, like a giant river, the livingstream of monkeys and bears flowed to thesea.Meanwhile, fear fell on the breasts of the
  66. 66. THE DIVINE ARCHER 59demons of Lanka, and they murmured to eachother, saying:" If Ramas messenger who burned ourhouses is so mighty, what must Rama himselfbe?"And word came unto the Queen Mandodarithat the people were sore afraid, and she wentand fell at the feet of her lord, and said—" Husband, make no more fight against theDivine Archer, for he will destroy us all, evenas the frost destroys a bed of lotuses,"The Raksha laughed with aU his ten mouths,and then summoned his council and askedthem what he should do.A dark-faced demon rose and made a speech,and advised war.Another fierce Raksha said likewise.Another, with iron teeth, shrieked the samedefiance.Vibishan, the kings brother, spoke in adifferent tone." Pardon my boldness, brother; I beg you torender back Sita to her consort, for the shaftsof Rama kill, even as the rays of the sun bumup the grass of the earth."" Wretch! " howled Ravan, and he rushed
  67. 67. 6o THE DIVINE ARCHERupon Vibishan, and threw him out of the hallof audience.Then up stood Kumbha-Karna, the kingssecond brother," Ravan," be said solemnly, " you oughtnever to have taken Sita away. But you aremy brother; you are my king. I know myduty, and I will fight at your side till Ramais laid low and Sita his widow becomes yourbride,"Vibishan had sprung in one tremendous leapover Adams bridge and the trembling sea,and jumped down among the astonished bearsand monkeys on the shore. He told them whohe was, and was led at once to the presence ofRama and Lakshman, and Rama embracedhim, and received him as a friend and ally.Ravan sent spies to spy in the camp ofHanuman, and they were seen and caught.But when their noses and ears were about tobe cut off, Rama and Lakshman ran in andspared the captives, and sent them back toLanka to tell the king aU they had seen." My lord," said the chief spy, as he knelt atRavans feet, " never before was seen such ahost of terrible monkeys and bears. I have
  68. 68. THE DIVINE ARCHER 6iheard that the number of them is eighteenthousand bilHons."A cry of horror went round the court, butRavan only smiled and sneered." Rama is trying to grasp the sky and he willfall with empty hands."Now was the time come for the army to cross.Rama shot an arrow into the sea, and at thissignal a strange figure emerged from the water.It was old Ocean, all shaggy with seaweedand with shells that clung to his body." I wish to cross over your realm, sir," saidRama." Then, heroic prince, I advise you to giveorder to the clever monkeys Nala and Nila toconstruct a causeway over my waves, and Iwill take care that it shall not be disturbedin any way while you and your followersmarch to Lanka."Ocean bowed and retired to his watery palace.At a word from Rama, Nala and Nila pre-pared their plan, for they were magicalengineers. At another word from Rama thearmy of bears and monkeys brought thematerial for the giant bridge, more than thirtymiles long. They tore up trees, rocks, and
  69. 69. 62 THE DIVINE ARCHEReven mountains, and carried them to themaster monkeys Nala and Nila.Soon the work was done, A broad roadspanned the sea." March," cried the deep voice of Rama.With a sound as of thunder the troops pro-ceeded across the bridge, and the Divine Archer,seated on a hill, watched the advance of hismighty host. Last of all, Rama and Lakshmanrode in their chariot, and ere long they pitchedtheir tent on the shore of Ceylon.The news of their landing reached the ears ofthe demon king. But he bade the servantsprepare a banquet; and after supper he saton the throne, his queen at his side, and aroyal umbrella over his head, and the dancersdanced before him, and the minstrels playedthe cymbals, drums, and lutes.It was dusk, and Rama, looking from histent, saw a flash on the top of the hill of Lanka." It lightens," he cried." No, sire," observed Vibishan, " that flashwas the flash of the crown on Ravans head,and of the earring in his queens ear. Theyare sitting on the thrones and the dancersdance before them."
  70. 70. THE DIVINE ARCHER 63Rama smiled, and took up his bow, and fittedan arrow, and aimed at the city on the hill,and shot.The arrow crashed through the umbrella,knocked off the crown, and whisked the goldring out of the queens ear ! Having done that,the arrow turned in the air and flew back toRamas quiver.At this strange event Ravans ten faces turnedpale. He dismissed the players and dancersand courtiers to their homes, and spent thelong night arguing with his tearful wife.Over and over again she besought him to yieldto Rama.IXThe hour had dawned for the assault. Ramashost was divided into four parts for the attackon the four gates of the city of the ten-headedmonster.Roaring and growling, the monkeys and bears,carrying huge masses of rock and timber, andwith the war-cry of " Glory to Rama! " rushedupon the fortress.
  71. 71. 64 THE DIVINE ARCHERDemon drums and clarions sounded thealarm, and on the walls appeared swarms ofRakshas flourishing javelins, clubs, maces,axes, picks, swords, bludgeons, bows, arrows,slings, rocks. Horses galloped, elephantscharged, chariots rolled. Masses of stoneflew through the air. Ravans palace wasreduced to ruins. Night fell, and the twoarmies rested.Next day Lakshman headed the attack, andhe was met by Meghnad, son of the demonking. Vast masses of earth were flung fromside to side, and clouds of dust darkened theair, and in the midst of the hurly-burly Laksh-man was engaged in combat with the Lankaprince. Meghnad threw his spear with fullforce against Lakshmans breast, and thebrother of Rama fell in a swoon and was bornefrom the field. And night fell again. Ramaleaned over his beloved brothers form andsaw his danger, and sent Hanuman to a far-off mountain where precious herbs of healinggrew. In the blackness of the night the faith-ful monkey hurried to the place of magicplants, culled the herbs, and was back by thebedside of Lakshman before the break of day.
  72. 72. THE DIVINE ARCHER 63Rama prepared a potion, gave it to his brother,and soon Lakshman arose, gay and refreshed,ready once more for the fray.Next day the valiant Kumbha-Karna,brother of Ravan, having drunk many jars ofwine and eaten many buffaloes, sallied forthto the combat. Showers of rock fell uponhim, but he was no more hurt than an elephantby a shower of seeds. Advancing like a movinghill, he caused the bears and monkeys to flyin panic.And now was the moment for Rama to enterthe conflict. He raised his bow, and hisarrows rained up, down, right, left, over, under,forwards, straight, slanting, in every possibledirection, and at length the terrible Kumbha-Kama lay like a log, and his soul went up tothe shining gods, because he was slain by theDivine Archer.Then flowers fell from the skies, and thekettle-drums rumbled in the clouds, and nightfell once more.Days passed in this tremendous war of Lanka,and time would fail to tell of the deeds of thevaliant on either side. Meghnad and manyanother proud Raksha had faUen, and the last
  73. 73. €(i THE DIVINE ARCHERgreat contest was a duel between the ten-headedking and Rama the glorious.Each leader stood in his chariot. Now thegod Indra had sent down to Rama his goldencar, drawn by four flying horses, and also asuit of gleaming armour, and a heavenly sword,and a bow and quiver." To-day," shouted Ravan, " I will give youin charge to death, for now you are to meetthe all-powerful Ravan."" Boast not," replied Rama, " but act."What words can rightly tell of the terror ofthis battle? Earth and ocean shook as thechampions waged their last fight, and the sunturned a dull grey, and the winds ceased tobreathe, and the army of Lanka and the hostof bears and monkeys stood still and watched,as the darts of Rama flashed, and the twentyhands of the demon wielded awful weapons.And then the arrows were shot from the bowof Indra, and all the world seemed a mass offire and smoke as the giant form of Ravanfell, and the spirit of the fallen king soaredup to the house of Indra and the wondrousgods.Flowers dropped; kettle-dnims rattled in the
  74. 74. THE DIVINE ARCHER 6]upper air; the sun shone golden; and voicesfrom heaven cried:" Well done, hero, noble and true!"Queen Mandodari came with her women andmade sore lament over the body of the king:" So thou hast fallen, dear lord, but not bythe hand of man; for Ramas strength wasdivine, and the arrow that slew thee leapedfrom the bow of Indra. Oh that thou hadstnever touched the lady Sita! Oh that thouhadst given ear to my prayer and let herreturn to her Rama ! I remember, beloved one,how, in the days far gone, thou and I werehappy in our wedded youth; but the heartof Mandodari will never again know joy."Rama, the great-souled, showed respect tothe fallen foe, and bade that grand funeralrites should be performed. The body ofRavan, richly robed, was laid upon a highpile of sweet-scented wood and covered withmany garlands, and the flames flared upwards,and the queen and her women wept, and priestschanted a low and solemn chant for the dead.Meanwhile Hanuman, the faithful ape, hadhastened to the mansion in the grove of asokatrees, and Vibishan went with him; and soon
  75. 75. 68 THE DIVINE ARCHERthey returned, bearing the fair Princess Sitain a splendid palanquin, and a multitude ofguards, staves in hand, marched on eitherside.But Rama hurried not to meet her.And the people wondered." Brother," he said to Lakshman, "it is notfitting that my queen should come back tome till, in the sight of all folk, she is provedtrue to me, her husband. Long time has shedwelt in the home of Ravan, and if her lovehas wandered from Rama, she cannot standthe test of fire. But if she has always been myfaithful spouse, flame will not hurt one lockof her hair. Lakshman, build up the pile."Lakshman heaped up a stack of wood and setit on fire, and all the people stood by in silence.Then Sita climbed the pile, and for a fewmoments naught was seen of her form amidthe smoke and glow; and the people wept.But the red flames parted, and lo! out of theordeal of fire, without singe or hurt, the ladySita stepped down, and the shouts of the armywere loud and long as she was clasped in thearms of Rama.Heavenly flowers fell, and music was heard in
  76. 76. THE DIVINE ARCHER 69the high air, and the nymphs of cloud-landdanced in gay rings.From the enormous treasure-houses of thedemons of Lanka rewards were bestowed uponthe army of bears and monkeys, and thesesturdy and loyal friends of Rama went home-wards, rejoicing that their work was so happilyended.The good Vibishan took Mandodari to wife,and these two reigned over the beautiful isleof Lanka.Rama and Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman thefaithful monkey, and other comrades in joyand grief, mounted an air chariot drawn byflying swans and soared upwards on thejourney to Ayodhya city. And as they sailedpeacefully through the air they looked downupon the scenes of earth.They saw the isle of Ceylon as a gem in theocean—the bridge of Rama that joined theisland to the shore of India—the land of themonkeys and the bears and Sugriva theirking—the rocky Nilghiri hills—the wood wherethe golden deer was slain and Ravan snatchedSita from her husbands care—the stream ofGodaveri in the jungle where Lakshman built
  77. 77. 70 THE DIVINE ARCHERthe bamboo hut—the forest-home of SaintAgastya—the hill of Chitra-Kuta—the retreatof the white-haired hermit Valmiki—the sacredriver of Ganges. Had not the holy riverpromised Sita that she should safely cross hiswaves again? And the word had come true.A winged genie had carried the news of Ramascoming to the Prince Bharat in Ayodhya.Crowds filled the streets and gardens, andspread along the city walls. Flags waved.Festoons were gay. Troops marched to music.Priests chanted. Heralds shouted proclama-tions. Dancers leaped. Elephants trumpeted.Drums roUed.The swan-car descended.Prince Bharat bowed before his brother, andlaid at his feet the pair of sandals which hadrested on the throne ever since Rama hadleft the palace fourteen years before; andthe brothers embraced. And Ramas mother,Kausalya, clasped his neck and shed tears ofgladness.The whole city shook with cheers.Flowers floated from the skies.The kettle-drums of the gods rumbled.
  78. 78. THE DIVINE ARCHER 71XBut alas! it was not many days ere eviltongues set going a murmur in the streets andthe busy bazaars."Is it right," the murmuring voices said," that queen Sita, having lived in the house ofRavan, the Demon King of Lanka, should nowagain take her place at the side of her royallord Rama? "" It is not right," answered other voices.Rama gave way to the will of the people.He sent his wife Sita out of his palace, to dweUin the forest in a new exile. Oh that he hadshut his ears to false words! Oh that he hadheld fast to his faith in Sita, and let no evilshadow come between them.Rama was a good and noble prince, and heruled justly over the city and land of Ayodhya;but he was alone, and his spirit was often weary.Where was Sita ?She found shelter in the hut of the agedSaint Valmiki. Under that shelter she becamethe mother of twin boys. She named themLava and Kusa. Years would pass before
  79. 79. 72 THE DIVINE ARCHERthese children would look upon the face of theirfather Rama.But that day came in this wise.Rama said to his brother Lakshman:"It is time to prove my power over all thechiefs and kings of this region. Take a blackhorse, therefore, and let it roam where it will,from place to place; and if any king dares tolay hands upon it, make war upon him in myname. And so make a circuit of all the landsround about, and when all is finished the horseshall be sacrificed to the gods, and there shallbe a feast."And it came to pass that after this was done,and no king had stood up against the powerof Rama, the black steed was slain by theknives of Brahmans, and its flesh was burned,and word was carried far and near to all folk,high and low, prince and peasant and priest,to attend the feast and the giving of gifts.So people came as flies to the honey, andcountless was the host of nobles and knights,beggars and widows and orphans, that gatheredat the sacrifice of the horse, and receivedpresents of all kinds from the bounty of Rama.Now, among the guests that came to the feast
  80. 80. THE DIVINE ARCHER 73was the old hermit Valmiki, and he broughtwith him two dark-eyed, handsome lads. Hehad reared them in the way of the simple life,water from the forest spring for their drink,and berries and fruits for food. Much learn-ing had he taught these sons of Sita—for theywere Lava and Kusa—and they could recitethousands of verses that told the tale of Ramaslife and deeds.To the assembled princes and people the ladsspoke from memory the Ramayana—the poemof Rama; and the ears of the folk werecharmed by the music of the harps and thesweet verses of the song.Rama wished to give them a fee of many goldpieces, but they would take naught." Who taught you this poem? " he asked." Saint Valmiki taught us; and if it be yourpleasure, sir, we will come again and singmore."That evening they returned to their motherand the aged hermit in the forest.Next day the crowds sat and listened withdelight to more of the song. And so, day byday, the grand chant of the Ramayana waschanted by the young harpers of the woods.
  81. 81. 74 THE DIVINE ARCHERAnd day by day the people noticed thewondrous Ukeness between the lads and theKing of Ayodhya; and day by day Ramahimself felt the sense of kinship grow withinhis breast, till at last he asked old Valmikimany questions concerning the birth of theboys, and then at length learned that theywere his own sons, and he pressed them to hisbreast and bade them stay with him in hishouse. . , .But where was Sita ?Ramas heart was sore smit with remorse.He was ashamed to think how he had yieldedto the murmurs of the city. Had not Sitapassed through the fire in Lanka, and had nothundreds of thousands of his followers beheldhow she came out of the flames, unhurt, andhad he not taken her to himself in peace andtrust and love ?Was Sita yet alive ?Yes; so the hermit said.And where did she hide her sorrows ?In the hut of old Valmiki in the jungle." Father," said Rama, " does Sita stillcherish affection for me after all I havedone?"
  82. 82. THE DIVINE ARCHER 75*She holds you in her remembrance as dearas ever," answered Valmiki." And will you tell her I repent me of myfolly, and that I long—oh, ever so much—tosee her and have her in my home again?"" I will bring her to you to-morrow morning,"said the saint.A great concourse of people were got togetherthe next day, and they and Rama and hissons. Lava and Kusa, waited for the comingof the lady Sita.She came.Pale her face, and thin her frame, after themuch suffering of her life of exile.The light of the old love was in her eyes asshe approached the royal house.But she never more entered it.She saw her husband on the throne. Shesaw the multitudes of citizens. She saw thesplendid crowd of princes and nobles that hadcome to the feast of the sacrifice of the horse.And above all these she saw the faces of angels,and nymphs of the sky, and the shining gods.Then Sita cast down her eyes to the ground,and said:" O mother earth, am I not thy daughter?
  83. 83. ^e THE DIVINE ARCHERDost thou not know me and all that I haveever done in my life ? Thou knowest, mother,that I have been a good and true wife to Rama.Thou knowest how I have laboured for himand for our children. Thou knowest the painof my soul all these many years. And now,mother, let my sorrows have an end. Takeme to thy rest!"And when she had said these words, behold!the earth opened, and there rose out of it athrone of gold, and the throne was surroundedby glorious spirits that shone with brightjewels. And the lady Sita cast one look oflove at her husband and her sons, and all thefolk around, and she sat upon the throne,and she and her earth-spirits sank from view,and the ground closed over her head, and Sitawas gone for ever to the great mother in theunder-world.And Rama was in his house alone.Note.—The foregoing tale is based on two versions of thenational Indian legend—(i) The Ramayana of Tulsi Das,translated from the Hindi by F. S. Growse, published atCawnpore in 1891; (2) Ramayana, the Epic of Rama,Prince of India, condensed into English verse by RomeshDutt, published by Messrs. Dent, and obtainable in cheapform. Mr. Dutts work is founded on the oldest version.
  84. 84. THE DIVINE ARCHER -jjnamely, the Sanskrit; and this differs in various parti-culars from that of Tulsi Das.Speaking of the influence of this story on the popularmind, Mr. Dutt says: "The Ramayana is still a hvingtradition and a living faith. It forms the basis of themoral instruction of a nation, and it is a part of the livesof two hundred millions of people."The original poem is of very great length, and is inter-spersed with moral and religious reflections, which havebeen omitted in the preceding story of " The DivineArcher." In the belief of the mass of the Indian people,Rama is a god in human shape.
  86. 86. THE FIVE PRINCESFive princes, brothers, wandered in a forest.They were the sons of an Indian king. Nowthis king had two wives, Koontee and Madree,and the young men were sons to one or the otherof the queens. The two sons of Madree werethus half-brothers to the three sons of Koontee.A hard fate drove them from their home-land.For thirteen years they must not see theircountry. For thirteen years they must beexiles. They must hide from their foes.A dread place was the wood where they hid.Tall trees put out their great arms and madea black shade. The thin-legged deer ran toand fro in the glades. Bears stole in and outof the bushes. Snakes lurked in nooks.Wild bees hummed. Birds of strange shapeflew from tree to tree.The five princes, two sons of Madree, threesons of Koontee, felt a deep thirst, and nowherecould they see the sweet shine of water.Then Yudhisthira, who was more than a8i
  87. 87. 82 THE FIVE PRINCESprince—he was a king—said to his half-brotherNakula:" O Nakula, son of Madree, climb yondertree and look all ways, and see if water isnear; look if any plants that grow in moistsoil are in this jungle, for they will be a signof water."Then Nakula, who was the twin-brother toSahadev, went up the tree as he was bid, andhe looked this way and that, and he madea shout:" Yes, I can see plants and leaves that livein the damp. And hark ! I can hear the sharpcall of the cranes."Said the king:" Make haste down, Nakula. Take yourarrow-case with you and fill it with waterat the pool or spring where the cranes are, andbring your brothers a precious draught!"So Nakula came down with speed, and he ranwith his quiver in hand to the place wherehe had caught sight of the green plants. Asmooth, clear pool was there, and on the edgeof it he beheld cranes, birds with long legs andlong necks; their tails feathery, their eyeseager and watchful; and a red tuft was on
  88. 88. THE FIVE PRINCES 83each head. The cranes snapped at worms, atsmall snakes, at frogs, at fish, and now andthen tore up a weed from the pool.But the prince had no care for cranes. He wasall but mad with thirst. Down on his kneeshe fell. He leaned his head to the clear pool." Stay! " cried a voice. " Stay, young man!Drink naught till you have done as the lawof this pool bids. None may drink here tillhe has made answer to the questions I ask.Answer first, and then fill your quiver."Nakula paid no heed. He drank. The nextmoment he fell dead among the reeds thatgrew at the brink of the water.The cranes waded in the pool. Wild beeshummed. Deer trotted through the jungle.The dead prince held the quiver in his hand;and his four brothers waited.Finding that he did not return, the king said:" Sahadev, we will not wait longer. I knownot why your brother delays. Go and fetchwater for us, for we are faint, and can scarcemove. Follow the track your brother went."When Sahadev reached the water he saw thedead youth, and his heart was sore troubled;yet was his thirst so great that he had no will
  89. 89. 84 THE FIVE PRINCESto stay and weep over his lost one, and heknelt to drink." Halt," cried a loud voice. " Do not takeone drop of this water until you have madereply to my questions; else it will mean death !"The prince said not a word. He bent overthe pool, and then rolled upon the earth dead.Side by side lay the brothers—the twin sonsbf.Madree the queen. And the bear of thewoods crept among the bushes in search ofberries, and the gleam of the tigers eyes wasbright in the jungle.Two brothers dead; three brothers living;and dry were the mouths of the three.Said the king:" Have you strength, Arjuna, brother ofmine, to go to the pool and fetch water?Your brother and I are weak with thirst.Oh, haste, Arjuna, haste!"When Arjuna saw his two dead brothers heput his arrow to the bow and looked aboutfor the foe that had slain them, so that hemight slay the slayer. But he saw no livingman. Then the thirst came so strong uponhim that he must drink; so he stooped down." Beware," cried a voice. " Drink not until
  90. 90. THE FIVE PRINCES 85you have answered my questions. To drinknow wiU be your doom,"" Who are you, vile man?" shouted Arjuna;and he shot one arrow this way among thereeds, and another among the trees; and hepulled out darts from his bundle, and flungthem up, and north and south, and east andwest ; but he saw no man." Ha, ha, ha," laughed the voice. " You can-not strike me, prince. Answer, if you wish tolive."Arjuna knelt and was about to drink. Healso fell dead."Alas!" sighed the king, "they come notback. What can have happened? Perhapsthey are all too faint to walk. Will you, dearBhima, go for drink?"Then Bhima rose slowly and crept to the pool,and he was in great sorrow when he saw thethree dead youths ; but he was so parched thathe could not stay to mourn." Drink not," said the voice. " Let notwater touch your lips till you have givenanswer to my questions; else you will breatheyour last!"And Bhima also died.
  91. 91. S6 THE FIVE PRINCESSilent was the forest, except for the murmurof bees and the sounds of bird and beast;and the king sat in pain of thirst. At lasthe arose, and with slow steps he wended hisway to the pool.Loud was his wail when he saw the four deadmen, and he glanced all round to see who it wasthat smote them, but he could discover noenemy. And then he bent towards the waterwhere grew the lilies."Stay!" cried the voice, "Unless youanswer my questions ere you drink, death willfall upon you; such is the law of this place.I, the old crane with the red crest, rule overthe pool, and I dare you to drink."" No crane," replied the king, " would havesuch power. You must be some bad genie.Show yourself!"He saw the crane amid the reeds." King," said the bird, " I am indeed a genie.But hearken unto my warning. Drink not yet."" Repeat your questions,"" How can a man become wise?"" By learning the sacred texts of the hymns—the blessed Vedas."" Who is he that is not rich, though he lookswell and fair?"
  92. 92. THE FIVE PRINCES 87" The man who has much and gives naught."" What is heavier than the world and higherthan the clouds?"" The love of father and mother."" Whose eyes never close?"" The fishs eyes."" Which is the way to be happy?"" To say truth and be kind."" How may a man be a true Brahman? "" Not by saying texts from the holy scriptures;not by praying many prayers; but by justdeeds and right life."These and other questions did the king answer.Then said the spirit of the pool:" Well have you spoken. Drink."Then said the spirit of the pool again:" Well pleased am I with your speech, andnow I give you a boon. You may name whichyou will of these dead men, and he whom youchoose shall live."There was silence. Said the king:" I will choose Nakula, son of Madree."" But he is only your half-brother. Will younot choose your own brother, Bhima, or yourown brother, Arjuna? Did you not lovethem?"
  93. 93. 88 THE FIVE PRINCES" Yea, I loved them," said the king. " ButI wish that Nakula should come back to life.""Why?"" Because he is the son of Madree, and I amthe son of Koontee. Now, after the thirteenyears of wandering, we shall return to ourhome, and the two queens will come forth tosee us. Two only of the five brethren willthey see. And if Madree sees that both arethe sons of Koontee, and she learns that hertwin sons are dead, then will her heart faintand be like to break. Therefore, O spirit, letus be just to the mothers heart, and let one sonof each mother bring gladness to their eyes."The crane was no more seen. But as it fledaway its voice was heard saying softly:" Noble-hearted prince! You have chosenNakula before your own dearest brothers, andyou wished to be just rather than snatch atwhat would best please your own soul. There-fore they all shall live!"And the four brothers rose up.Note. —The story is adapted from the beautiful version,entitled " The Enchanted Lake," in Sir Edwin ArnoldsIndian Idylls. The original tale is in the Indian epic.The Mahabharata.
  94. 94. WHAT LOVE CAN DO
  95. 95. WHAT LOVE CAN DO" The love that moves the sun and all the stars."—Dante.Now, there was a king in India whose namewas Aswapati (As-wa-pah-tee) , and the folkloved him, and he gave help to all in need,and he served the shining gods in prayer andsacrifice.But he had no son or daughter in whom hisname and line could live on, when the timecame for him to die, and his heart was grieved,and he fasted oft, and said hymns to theshining gods, and burned offerings on theirholy altar, and hoped they would grant himthe gift he asked. When sixteen years hadthus passed, his prayer was heard. In thered fire of the altar he beheld a lady of fairlook and ways, and she said to him:" Thy faith hath pleased me, O Raja, and ifthou wilt say thy desire, it shall be giventhee."" Goddess," replied the king, " my wish is tohave a child to live after me."91
  96. 96. 92 WHAT LOVE CAN DO" The Lord of heaven," she said, " willgrant thee what thou hast prayed."She was gone, and the Raja saw only the redflame.A babe was bom—a girl, with bright eyes,bright like the lotus hly, as the Indian peoplesay—and she was the glory of her motherand father. She grew to be so sweet a maidthat her father made sure that kings wouldcome from far and near to seek her as a wife.But none came, for she—the lotus-eyed—hada soul that seemed too great for even kings,and her serious ways and speech kept menin awe.Now, one day, this maid of grace—Savitri(Sah-vee-tree) by name—had knelt at the altarof Agni, god of the red flame, and had laidthere an offering of cakes and drink. Thenshe took up a bunch of flowers in the holyplace, and came and gave them to her sire,Aswapati. He gazed upon her with tendereyes and said:" Daughter, it is time you should be wedafter the manner of high-born ladies, lest folkshould think that I am at fault in not choosinga husband for you. And since no man comes
  97. 97. WHAT LOVE CAN DO 93to pay suit to you, I pray you go where youwill and choose for yourself."So she bowed herself before her sire, andtook her leave, and rode in a splendid caralong with elders and wise men, whom theking had told to go with her up and downthe land. The car passed through forestsand along the streets of great towns, and amongthe hamlets of the hills, and wherever she wentthe princess gave alms to the poor andgreetings to high and low, and the peopleblessed her.At last she came back and the Raja was onhis throne, and the wise man, Narad, sat athis side." Father," she said, " I have done as youbade, and I have found my choice. It is thePrince Satyavan. Prince he is, yet he dwellsnot in a royal house."" Wherefore? " asked the Raja." He has no kingdom, and lives in a cottagein the woods with his father and mother. Anoble pair are they, but sad is their lot. Theold man is blind, and he and his queen havehad their home many years, ever since theirson was a babe, in this jungle, for enemies drove
  98. 98. 94 WHAT LOVE CAN DOthem from their kingdom, and took from theking his rightful throne. My prince is noble,and his name shows what he is, for at hisbirth the Brahmans called him Truth-lover.Gay and strong is he, and a rider of horses,and his hand has a gift for painting horsesin pictures that are a wonder to see."" What think you? " asked the king of Narad,the wise." Alas! " answered Narad, " 111 has shechosen. The old king indeed is a just man,and the Prince Satyavan is a noble youth,but there is a dark fate that waits for him,for it has been shown to me by the shininggods that in a year from this very day he shalldie."" Hear you that, my daughter? " cried theking. " O choose some other, choose someother, for the Lord of Death, even Yama, willcome in a year and claim your husband forhis own. Choose some other."" I can choose none other, father dear,"said the maid. " To Satyavan alone is myheart given, and though Death will take himin a year, yet him only will I wed."" Let it be so, child," sighed the Raja.
  99. 99. WHAT LOVE CAN DO 95" Strange will your bridal be. You will haveyour home in the wilderness, and in twelvemonths be left a mourner."The king and his courtiers and priests setforth to the woods, carrying with themmuch treasure, and they found the blindold king seated on a grass mat beneath asal tree." Be seated, sir! " said the blind Raja, whenhe knew that a king had come to see him.So Aswapati sat on the grass mat, and theblind king offered him water from a jar, forhe was poor, and had neither wine nor silvercups. And the two kings agreed upon themarriage, and soon the prince and the maidwere wed in the forest, and when she was madelady of the little cot among the trees of thejungle, her sire kissed her with many tears,and her friends said farewells, and theydeparted. As soon as they were gone, shetook off her jewels and sparkling dress, andshe put on a plain robe made of bark of trees,and a cloak of yellow cloth. Her queenhoodwas not in her jewels or her dress, but inher kind soul and the sweet service she didto the blind old king and his wife, and in
  100. 100. 96 WHAT LOVE CAN DOthe love she bore to the prince of herchoice.So passed the happy year, and only four daysmore would go by ere the Shadow of Deathwould glide into the forest kingdom of herlord, and take him from her arms. For threedays she fasted and she had no sleep, and herheart was in pain at the dread of that whichwas to come. But Satyavan, the noble prince,knew naught of the fate that waited for hisHfe.On the morning of the last day rose Satyavan,in blithe mood, and he took his woodmansaxe for felling trees, and said, smiling:" Dear wife, I go forth to hew down trees,and at set of sun, I shall be home again."Her heart smote her at the words, for sheknew that the black-robed Yama would layhis thin hand upon her love and take himhence." I will go with you this day," she said." Nay," he cried, " the ground is rough foryour feet, and the way will be long, and youwill be faint."" Let me go, Satyavan," begged the princessin the robe of bark.
  101. 101. WHAT LOVE CAN DO 97He said her nay no more, and they walked tothe distant spot where grew the trees he meantto fell, and the wild fruit that she wouldgather in her basket.The hour of noon had passed, and the duskwas creeping upon the great forest. Thesound of the axe echoed in the grove. Basketin hand, Savitri plucked ripe berries from theshrubs, but often and often she paused andshe looked at the wood-cutter, and she lookedagain. , . ." Oh, wife," he called.She ran to his side, and set her basketdown." My head, my head! A pang shoots sharpthrough my brain. Hot is my blood. I mustlie down."She sat beneath a tree and laid his headupon her lap, and fanned his face. His eyeswere closed, his pulse was slow, and now itwas still.The year had flown.Before her stood a tall shadow that had theshape of a man, and its robe was black, and ared light was in its eyes, and a crown wason its head.