temples and shrines were all adorned with flowers.
And Rituparna heard that Vahuka had already been united
with Damayanti. And the king was glad to hear
of all this. And calling unto him king Nala,
he asked his forgiveness. And the intelligent
Nala also asked Rituparna’s forgiveness, showing
diverse reasons. And that foremost of speakers
versed in the truth, king Rituparna, after being thus
honoured by Nala, said, with a countenance expressive
of wonder, these words unto the ruler of the Nishadhas.
“By good fortune it is that regaining the company
of thy own wife, thou hast obtained happiness.
O Naishadha, while dwelling in disguise at my house,
I hope I did not wrong thee in any way, O lord of
the earth! If knowingly I have done thee any
wrong, it behoveth thee to forgive me.”
Hearing this, Nala replied, “Thou hast not,
O monarch, done me ever so little an injury.
And if thou hast, it hath not awakened my ire, for
surely thou shouldst be forgiven by me. Thou
wert formerly my friend, and, O ruler of men, thou
art also related to me. Henceforth I shall find
greater delight in thee. O king, with all my
desires gratified, I lived happily in thy abode, in
fact more happily there than in my own house.
This thy horse-lore is in my keeping. If thou
wishest, O king, I will make it over to thee.”
Saying this, Naishadha gave unto Rituparna that science
and the latter took it with the ordained rites.
And, O monarch, the royal son of Bhangasura, having
obtained the mysteries of equestrian science and having
given unto the ruler of the Naishadhas the mysteries
of dice, went to his own city, employing another person
for his charioteer. And, O king, after Rituparna
had gone, king Nala did not stay long in the city
“Vrihadaswa said, ’O son of Kunti, the
ruler of the Nishadhas having dwelt there for a month,
set out from that city with Bhima’s permission
and accompanied by only a few (followers) for the country
of the Nishadhas. With a single car white in
hue, sixteen elephants, fifty horses, and six hundred
infantry, that illustrious king, causing the earth
itself to tremble, entered (the country of the Nishadhas)
without loss of a moment and swelling with rage.
And the mighty son of Virasena, approaching his brother
Pushkara said unto him, “We will play again,
for I have earned vast wealth. Let Damayanti
and all else that I have be my stake, let, O Pushkara,
thy kingdom be thy stake. Let the play begin
again. This is my certain determination.
Blessed be thou, let us stake all we have along with
our lives. Having won over and acquired another’s
wealth or kingdom, it is a high duty, says the ordinance,
to stake it when the owner demands. Or, if thou
dost not relish play with dice, let the play with
weapons begin. O king, let me or thyself have
peace by a single combat. That this ancestral
kingdom should, under all circumstances and by any