Sakoontala or the Lost Ring eBook

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

BOTH THE CONSTABLES. [Striking the prisoner.

Take that for a rascally thief that you are; and now tell us, sirrah, where you found this ring—­aye, the King’s own signet-ring.  See, here is the royal name engraved on the setting of the jewel.

FISHERMAN. [With a gesture of alarm.

Mercy! kind sirs, mercy!  I did not steal it; indeed I did not.

FIRST CONSTABLE.

Oh! then I suppose the King took you for some fine Brahman, and made you a present of it?

FISHERMAN.

Only hear me.  I am but a poor fisherman, living at Sakravatara—­

SECOND CONSTABLE.

Scoundrel, who ever asked you, pray, for a history of your birth and parentage?

SUPERINTENDENT. [To one of the CONSTABLES.

Suchaka, let the fellow tell his own story from the beginning. 
Don’t interrupt him.

BOTH CONSTABLES.

As you please, master.  Go on, then, sirrah, and say what you’ve got to say.

FISHERMAN.

You see in me a poor man, who supports his family by catching fish with nets, hooks, and the like.

SUPERINTENDENT. [Laughing.

A most refined occupation, certainly[85]!

FISHERMAN.

Blame me not for it, master,

  The father’s occupation, though despised
  By others, casts no shame upon the son,
  And he should not forsake it[86].  Is the priest
  Who kills the animal for sacrifice
  Therefore deemed cruel?  Sure a low-born man
  May, though a fisherman, be tender-hearted.

SUPERINTENDENT.

Well, well; go on with your story.

FISHERMAN.

One day I was cutting open a large carp[87] I had just hooked, when the sparkle of a jewel caught my eye, and what should I find in the fish’s maw but that ring!  Soon afterwards, when I was offering it for sale, I was seized by your honours.  Now you know everything.  Whether you kill me, or whether you let me go, this is the true account of how the ring came into my possession.

SUPERINTENDENT. [To one of the CONSTABLES.

Well, Januka, the rascal emits such a fishy odour that I have no doubt of his being a fisherman; but we must inquire a little more closely into this queer story about the finding of the ring.  Come, we’ll take him before the King’s household.

BOTH CONSTABLES.

Very good, master.  Get on with you, you cutpurse.

[All move on.

SUPERINTENDENT.

Now attend, Suchaka; keep your guard here at the gate; and hark ye, sirrahs, take good care your prisoner does not escape, while I go in and lay the whole story of the discovery of this ring before the King in person.  I will soon return and let you know his commands.

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Sakoontala or the Lost Ring from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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