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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 139 pages of information about Sakoontala or the Lost Ring.

ANASUYA.

The hermits, then, and all the members of our religious society, have now a guardian.

[[S’]AKOONTALA gazes bashfully at the KING.

PRIYAMVADA AND ANASUYA.

[Perceiving the state of her feelings, and of the KING’S.
Aside to [S’]AKOONTALA.

Dear [S’]akoontala, if father Kanwa were but at home to-day—­

[S’]AKOONTALA. [Angrily.

What if he were?

PRIYAMVADA AND ANASUYA.

He would honour this our distinguished guest with an offering of the most precious of his possessions.

[S’]AKOONTALA.

Go to! you have some silly idea in your minds, I will not listen to such remarks.

KING.

May I be allowed, in my turn, to ask you maidens a few
particulars respecting your friend?

PRIYAMVADA AND ANASUYA.

Your request, Sir, is an honour.

KING.

The sage Kanwa lives in the constant practice of austerities. 
How, then, can this friend of yours be called his daughter?

ANASUYA.

I will explain to you.  Sir.  You have heard of an illustrious sage of regal caste, Vi[s’]wamitra, whose family name is Kau[S’]ika[27].

KING.

I have.

ANASUYA.

Know that he is the real father of our friend.  The venerable Kanwa is only her reputed father.  He it was who brought her up, when she was deserted by her mother.

KING.

‘Deserted by her mother!’ My curiosity is excited; pray let me hear the story from the beginning.

ANASUYA.

You shall hear it, Sir.  Some time since, this sage of regal caste, while performing a most severe penance on the banks of the river Godavari, excited the jealousy and alarm of the gods; insomuch that they despatched a lovely nymph named Menaka to interrupt his devotions.

KING.

The inferior gods, I am aware, are jealous[28] of the power which the practice of excessive devotion confers on mortals.

ANASUYA.

Well, then, it happened that Vi[s’]wamitra, gazing on the bewitching beauty of that nymph at a season when, spring being in its glory—­

[Stops short, and appears confused.

KING.

The rest may be easily divined. [S’]akoontala, then, is the offspring of the nymph.

ANASUYA.

Just so.

KING.

It is quite intelligible.

How would a mortal to such charms give birth? 
The lightning’s radiance flashes not from earth.

[[S’]AKOONTALA remains modestly seated with downcast eyes.
Aside.]

And so my desire has really scope for its indulgence.  Yet I am still distracted by doubts, remembering the pleasantry of her female companions respecting her wish for a husband.

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