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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 107 pages of information about Tales from the Hindu Dramatists.

To crown the king’s happiness, a messenger, sent by the General of His Majesty’s forces, now arrives from the camp with the news that the allied armies of Kernata, Simhala, Pandya, Murala, Andhra, and Konkana have been defeated, and Virapala, king of Kuntala, the ally of Vidyadhara Malla, reseated on a throne, from which his kinsman, supported by those troops, had formerly expelled him.  The authority of Vidyadhara Malla as paramount sovereign is now declared to extend from the mouths of the Ganges to the sea, and from the Narbada to the Tamraperni in the Deccan.

RATNAVALI OR THE NECKLACE.

A holy seer announces to Yaugandharayana, the chief minister of Vatsa, the king of Kausambi, that whoever shall wed Ratnavali, the fair daughter of Vikramabahu, the king of Sinhala or Ceylon and maternal uncle of Vasavadatta, the queen of Vatsa, should become the emperor of the world.  The faithful minister, desirous of securing paramount sovereignty for his master, sends, without his knowledge and consent, an envoy to the court of Vikramabahu to negotiate the match.  Vikramabahu declines to inflict the curse of co-wifeship upon his daughter and niece.  The disappointed envoy returns home.

The premier is sorry, but does not lose hope.  After much deliberation, he hits upon an ingenious device.  He proclaims in Ceylon by agents that queen Vasavadatta is dead, being burnt by chance and that the king, though much grieved, has at last consented, at the request of friends and relatives, to marry again.  The intelligence reaches the ears of Vikramabahu who believes it.

The premier now sends Babhravya as envoy to the Court of Ceylon to reopen the question of Ratnavali’s marriage with Vatsa.  Vikramabahu, after consulting his queen, consents to the proposal.  He has Ratnavali decked in all ornaments including a single-stringed necklace round her neck and sends her away on board a ship, in company with his own ambassador Vasubhuti and Babhravya.  He waits on the shore till the ship is out of sight and then returns home sorry at parting with his daughter.

A terrible tempest wrecks the ship.  A merchant of Kausambi finds Ratnavali floating in mid-sea, saves her life and brings her to the minister who thanks him heartily for the favour and offers a reward.  The merchant thus expresses his unwillingness to accept it, “Sir, under the rule of our gracious king, the weak do not fear the strong; the rich cannot oppress the poor; the word “robber” has become obsolete; the sick and the orphans are being treated by the best of physicians and are free from any want of food and clothing; children are being properly educated; drought is never heard of; the highways are wide, clean, and well-guarded; communications are safe.  If any loyal subject can be of any service to such a king, he does only his bare duty and should not accept any reward.”  He at last accepts the reward at the repeated requests of the minister and goes home.

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