HAPPY VASSA DAY to all members,
Kamanita And Vasitthi
[By KARL GJELLERUP]
THE CHAIN WITH THE TIGER‐EYE
WHEN YOU, MY FRIEND, were gone from Kosambī,
I dragged myself miserably through the days and
nights, as a woman does who is devoured by a fever
of longing. I did not even know whether you still breathed
the air of this world with me, for I had often heard of the
dangers of such journeys. I was to blame for your not having
made the return journey in perfect safety under the protection
of the embassy. Yet, with all this, I was not really able to
repent of my thoughtlessness, because I owed to it all those
precious memories which were now my whole treasure.
Even Medinī's cheering and comforting words
were seldom able to dissipate for any length of time the
cloud of melancholy which hung over me. My best and
truest friend was the Asoka under which we stood on that
glorious moonlit night, the tree that you, my sweetheart,
have assuredly not forgotten.
It was in this way that it came about: Sātāgira, the
son of the Minister, pursued me ever more assiduously
now with tokens of his love, and I could no longer show
myself in a public pleasure‐garden with my companions
without his being there and making me the object of his
Unfortunately the fact that I didn't respond to these
had not the slightest deterrent effect upon him. Soon, however,
my parents began to plead his cause, first with all kinds of hints
and then with less and less reserve, and when he finally came
forward to press his suit openly, they demanded that I
should give him my hand. I assured them, with bitter
tears, that I could never love Sātāgira. That, however,
made little impression upon them. But I was similarly as
little affected by their representations, their prayers and
their reproaches, and remained insensible alike to both
the pleading of my mother and to the threats of my father.
Driven to bay, I finally told them straight out that I had
promised myself to you — of whom they had already
heard from Sātāgira — and that no power on earth could
either force me to break my word, which had been sac‐
redly given to you, or to belong to another. And I added
that, if the worst should come to the worst, I would kill
myself by persistently refusing all nourishment.
About this time people had many terrible tales to
tell of the robber Angulimāla who, with his band, had laid
waste whole districts, burnt villages and made the roads so
unsafe that eventually almost no‐one ventured to travel to
Kosambī. I became a prey, as a consequence, to horrible
fears for I naturally dreaded that you might at last be
coming to me and be unfortunate enough to fall into his
hands on the way.
Things stood thus when news arrived that Sātāgira
had received the supreme command of a large body of
troops with which to sweep the whole neighbourhood of
Kosambī and if possible to capture Angulimāla himself, as
well as the other members of the band. Sātāgira had, so
the story ran, sworn to accomplish this or to fall fighting in
About a week later I was in the garden with
Medinī, when we heard loud cries from the street. Medinī
rushed there at once to learn what had happened, pres‐
ently she announced that Sātāgira was returning to the city
in triumph, having either cut down the robbers or taken
Angulimāla himself had fallen into his hands alive.
On the following morning my father entered my
room. He handed me a crystal chain bearing a tiger‐eye
amulet, and asked me if I, by any possibility, recognised it.
I felt as though I should drop, but I summoned up
all my strength and answered that the chain resembled
one which you had always worn round your neck.
"It isn't like it," said my father with brutal calmness,
"it is it. When Angulimāla was made prisoner he was
wearing the chain and Sātāgira at once recognised it.
And then Angulimāla, when closely questioned, confessed that two
years ago he had attacked Kāmanīta's caravan on its return to Ujjenī,
he had taken Kāmanīta prisoner, along with a servant. The ser‐
vant he sent to Ujjenī for ransom. As this was not forthcoming
for some reason, he had put Kāmanīta to death,
according to the custom of the robbers."
However, I ended the matter by saying that I would not allow myself
to be convinced by this mere chain that my Kāmanīta was not
My father left me in great anger and then, in solitude,
I was able to give myself wholly up to my despair.
********to be continued************
Edited by yawares
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