the woods of Kamyaka. And in that secluded place,
he found the beautiful Draupadi, the beloved and celebrated
wife of the Pandavas, standing at the threshold of
the hermitage. And she looked grand in the superb
beauty of her form, and seemed to shed a lustre on
the woodland around, like lightning illuminating masses
of dark clouds. And they who saw her asked themselves,
’Is this an Apsara, or a daughter of the gods,
or a celestial phantom?’ And with this thought,
their hands also joined together. They stood
gazing on the perfect and faultless beauty of her form.
And Jayadratha, the king of Sindhu, and the son of
Vriddhakshatra, struck with amazement at the sight
of that lady of faultless beauty, was seized with
an evil intention. And inflamed with desire, he
said to the prince named Kotika, ’Whose is this
lady of faultless form? Is she of the human kind?
I have no need to marry if I can secure this exquisitely
beautiful creature. Taking her with me, I shall
go back to my abode, Oh sir, and enquire who she is
and whence she has come and why also that delicate
being hath come into this forest beset with thorns.
Will this ornament of womankind, this slender-waisted
lady of so much beauty, endued with handsome teeth
and large eyes, accept me as her lord? I shall
certainly regard myself successful, if I obtain the
hand of this excellent lady. Go, Kotika, and
enquire who her husband may be.’ Thus asked,
Kotika, wearing a kundala, jumped out of his chariot
and came near her, as a jackal approacheth a tigress,
and spake unto her these words.’”
Kotika said, “Excellent lady, who art thou that
standest alone, leaning on a branch of the Kadamva
tree at this hermitage and looking grand like a flame
of fire blazing at night time, and fanned by the wind?
Exquisitely beautiful as thou art, how is it that thou
feelest not any fear in these forests? Methinks
thou art a goddess, or a Yakshi, or a Danavi, or an
excellent Apsara, or the wife of a Daitya, or a daughter
of the Naga king, or a Rakshasi or the wife of Varuna,
or of Yama, or of Soma, or of Kuvera, who, having
assumed a human form, wanderest in these forests.
Or, hast thou come from the mansions of Dhatri, or
of Vidhatri, or of Savitri, or of Vibhu, or of Sakra?
Thou dost not ask us who we are, nor do we know who
protects thee here! Respectfully do we ask thee,
good lady, who is thy powerful father, and, O, do
tell us truly the names of thy husband, thy relatives,
and thy race, and tell us also what thou dost here.
As for us, I am king Suratha’s son whom people
know by the name of Kotika, and that man with eyes
large as the petals of the lotus, sitting on a chariot
of gold, like the sacrificial fire on the altar, is
the warrior known by the name of Kshemankara, king
of Trigarta. And behind him is the famous son
of the king of Pulinda, who is even now gazing on
thee. Armed with a mighty bow and endued with