oilman drove her off out of the house. The queen
left the town and walked along until she came to a
river with abundant water in it. But directly
her eyes fell on the water, it all flowed away and
left the water-bed quite dry. She then journeyed
on until she came to a beautiful lake, but when her
glance rested on the lake, it became full of worms,
and the water began to stink. And, when the cowherds
came as usual to water their cattle, the cattle would
not drink the stinking water, and they had to go home
thirsty. By chance a Gosavi, or holy man, came
that way and saw the queen, and she told him her story.
The holy man took her to his house and treated her
as his own daughter, and she did her best to serve
him faithfully. But, at whatever thing she looked,
it would either disappear or become full of worms and
maggots. At last the holy man searched for the
cause of this by means of his inner knowledge.
And thus he learnt that she had incurred the sin of
spoiling the worship of Shiva, which the Apsaras had
first taught the priest. Unless that sin were
atoned for, her evil glance would never be purified.
So the holy man prayed to the god Shiva, and the god
was pleased with him; and when the holy man interceded
with him on the queen’s behalf, the god said
that he would forgive her if she began and completed
properly the rites which she had spoiled when her
husband was performing them. The queen did so,
and the god’s anger vanished. Suddenly
there rose in the heart of her husband, the king,
a wish to see his queen, and he sent out messengers
on every side to look for her. At last one of
the messengers saw the queen in the holy man’s
hermitage and went back and told the king. The
king was overjoyed, and, taking his chief minister
with him, he journeyed to the hermitage. He threw
himself at the holy man’s feet and then loaded
him with presents. And the holy man was pleased
and said, “O King, I have treated your wife
exactly as if she had been my own daughter. She
has lived here just as if she had been in her father’s
house. Now take her with you back again and once
more go through the marriage ceremony with her.”
The king consented, and both he and the queen prostrated
themselves before the holy man, and then they both
returned to Atpat. And they celebrated their home-coming
with the greatest splendour. And the rest of
the king’s reign was as happy as possible.
And we shall be just as happy if we honour Shiva like
the King of Atpat did.
The Rishi and the Brahman
Once upon a time there was a town called Atpat.
In it there lived a Brahman. For many years he
lived happily and cultivated his fields of rice and
grain. But one day his wife gave up the observances
imposed on her, and, as a result, the whole house
was stained by her conduct, and pollution hung like
a black cloud over it. Her husband should have
driven her out, but he had not the heart to do so.
So he, too, incurred the blame of his wife’s
sin. In course of time they died, and, as a punishment
for their wickedness, the husband became in his next
life a bullock, and the wife became a dog. But
the gods so far relented as to find them a home in
the house of their only son.