Kamanita And Vasitthi
[[Translated ~By KARL GJELLERUP]
UNDER THE CONSTELLATION OF THE ROBBERS
WHEN I AGAIN REACHED the village in which my followers had taken up their quarters for the night,I did not hesitate to waken them; and at least a couple of hours before sunrise the caravan was on its way.
On the twelfth day, about the hour of noon, we reached a charming valley in the wooded region of the
Vedisas. A small river, clear as crystal, wound slowly through the green meadows; the gentle slopes were tim‐
bered with blossoming underwood which spread a lovely fragrance all around. Somewhere about the middle of the
extended valley bottom and not far from the little river, there stood a Nigrodha banyan tree, whose impenetrable
leafy dome cast a black shadow on the emerald grasses beneath, and which, supported by its thousand secondary
trunks, formed a grove wherein ten caravans like mine could easily have found shelter.
A great outcry brought me abruptly back to rude reality. As though an evil magician had caused them to grow up out of the soil, armed men swarmed about us, and the neighbouring thickets added constantly to their
numbers. They were already at the wagons, which I had ordered to be drawn up into a circle round the tree, and
had begun to fight with my people, who were practised in the handling of arms and defended themselves bravely. I
was soon in the thick of the fight.
Several robbers fell by my hand. Suddenly I saw before me a tall, bearded man of terrifying appearance:
the upper part of his body was naked and about his neck he wore a triple garland of human fingers. Like a flash the knowledge came to me: “This is Angulimāla, the cruel,bloodthirsty bandit‐chief, who does away with innocent people and hangs their fingers about his neck.” And I believed my last hour had come. As a matter of fact this ogre‐like being at once struck my sword out of my hand — a feat which I would have credited no creature of flesh and blood with the ability to perform.
Soon I lay on the ground, fettered hand and foot. Round about me all my people were killed except one old servant of my father, like myself, had been made prisoner without a wound.
It should be mentioned that Angulimāla’s band belonged to the clan of robbers known as The Senders, so‐called because it was one of their rules that, of two prisoners, one should be sent to raise the money required for the ransom they demanded for the other.
He was now freed from his fetters and sent away that same evening, after I had given him a confidential message to my parents from which they would be able to see that there was no deception about the matter.
I could not say this comfort uplifted me greatly, and so I was very relieved when, a full week before the
expiry of the allotted time, our faithful old servant arrived with the sum demanded. I bade farewell to my horrible host.
THE JOURNEY HOME http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvGvmsLQaHA" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
We reached Ujjenī without further adventure,the joy of my parents at seeing me was indescribable. But all the more was it impossible wring from them the permission to undertake another journey to Kosambī very soon. My father had lost all the goods and all the people in my caravan in addition to my ransom, and he was not in a position to fit out a new one at once. Nor was there just then the slightest possibility of getting a message through to Kosambī — the roads were so dangerous that no courier could be paid enough to make the journey — so I
was obliged to content myself with memories and, confidently relying upon the fidelity of my adored Vāsitthī, to
comfort myself with the hope of better times.
RUMOUR OF ANGULIMALA'S EXECUTION
Months Later, a rumour flew like wild‐fire through the town that the frightful Angulimāla had been utterly defeated by Sātāgira, the son of the Minister in Kosambī, his band had been cut down or dispersed and he himself with many of his most notorious followers had been taken prisoner and executed.
My parents were now no longer able to resist my passionate entreaties. People had very good reason to believe that, the roads would be free, and my father was not disinclined to try his luck again.Then, at last, nothing further stood in my way. With many admonitions to be prudent, my parents bade me farewell and I was once more on the road — at the head of a well‐stocked caravan of thirty ox‐wagons, with a heart full of joy and courage, and urged forward by consuming desire.
*******************To be continued*******************
Edited by yawares
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