“And on an auspicious day their fathers gladly married them with due rites. And the couple passed their days, devoted to each other. And Ruru having obtained such a wife, as is hard to be found, beautiful and bright as the filaments of the lotus, made a vow for the destruction of the serpent-race. And whenever he saw a serpent he became filled with great wrath and always killed it with a weapon.
“One day, O Brahmana, Ruru entered an extensive forest. And there he saw an old serpent of the Dundubha species lying stretched on the ground. And Ruru thereupon lifted up in anger his staff, even like to the staff of Death, for the purpose of killing it. Then the Dundubha, addressing Ruru, said, ’I have done thee no harm, O Brahmana! Then wherefore wilt thou slay me in anger?’”
So ends the ninth section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva of the blessed Mahabharata.
(Pauloma Parva continued)
Sauti said, ’And Ruru, on hearing those words, replied, ’My wife, dear to me as life, was bit by a snake; upon which, I took, O snake, a dreadful vow, viz., that I would kill every snake that I might come across. Therefore shall I smite thee and thou shalt be deprived of life.’
“And the Dundubha replied, ’O Brahmana, the snakes that bite man are quite different in type. It behoveth thee not to slay Dundubhas who are serpents only in name. Subject like other serpents to the same calamities but not sharing their good fortune, in woe the same but in joy different, the Dundubhas should not be slain by thee under any misconception.’
“Sauti continued, ’And the Rishi Ruru hearing these words of the serpent, and seeing that it was bewildered with fear, albeit a snake of the Dundubha species, killed it not. And Ruru, the possessor of the six attributes, comforting the snake addressed it, saying, ’Tell me fully, O snake, who art thou thus metamorphosed?’ And the Dundubha replied, ’O Ruru! I was formerly a Rishi by name Sahasrapat. And it is by the curse of a Brahmana that I have been transformed into a snake. And Ruru asked, ’O thou best of snakes, for what wast thou cursed by a Brahmana in wrath? And how long also will thy form continue so?’”
And so ends the tenth section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Pauloma Parva continued)
“Sauti continued ’The Dundubha then said, ’In former times, I had a friend Khagama by name. He was impetuous in his speech and possessed of spiritual power by virtue of his austerities. And one day when he was engaged in the Agni-hotra (Fire-sacrifice), I made a mock snake of blades of grass, and in a frolic attempted to frighten him with it. And anon he fell into a swoon. On recovering his senses, that truth-telling and vow-observing ascetic, burning with wrath, exclaimed, ’Since thou hast