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The Prince with Six Toes

2006-07-14 00:11

  King Sudharmik was blessed with a son who had six toes on his left foot. The court astrologers told the king, “This is an omen of Poverty. The boy is born under evil stars and you'll die early.” Soon after, a powerful enemy invaded the kingdom and killed Sudharmik. His wife also died.

  The prince's maid brought the boy secretly to another city. She took up a job and fed him for three years till her death. Then the orphan boy grew to the age of five on alms and with the help of the women of the town who loved him because of his devotion to God.

  One day on his usual round of begging and singing Bhajans, he went to the king of that city. Hundreds of Brahmins were being feasted at that time.

  When the Brahmins saw the singing boy they told the minister, “This boy will become king one day and will own your wealth.”

  The minister was enraged. He thought, 'this boy will take away my kingdom and rob me of all my wealth. It is best to get rid of him now.'

  So he ordered two men to take the boy to the forest and kill him. When they drew their swords, he asked them to wait till he finished his prayers. They were so charmed by his smile and innocence that they could not carry out the evil deed. Instead, they cut off his sixth toe, showed it to the minister and collected their reward.

  With his sixth toe now gone, the curse of poverty was lifted. While wandering alone in the forest, he met King Kulinda who had come for hunting. The king felt pity for the boy, took him to his capital and gave him to his queen who looked after him with love. She named him Chandrahasa.

  When Chandrahasa was eight, he was taught the Vedas and other branches of learning, and training as an expert archer.

  When he was fifteen he said to the king, “I want to conquer the world.”

  “You are so young,” said the king. “How can you at such a young age face the mighty kings?”

  “I will prove it by my deeds,” said the young prince.

  The king said to Chandrahasa, “The enemies of Kuntalpur are harassing the king. so you destroy them first.”

  The Young prince succeeded in defeating and collecting wealth. The king was proud of this achievement. he sent a portion of the wealth as tribute to the King of Kuntalpur with the message, “My son Chandrahasa has returned after defeating all our enemies.”

  Greatly overjoyed, the king of Kuntalpur then sent his minister Dhrishta to see the great prince. When the minister met King Kulinda, he asked, “How is it that you never informed us that you had a son?”

  The King Kulinda told him what Chandrahasa ahd said him. The minister was upset when he saw the prince. From the cut sixth toe of his left foot, he recognized him at once. He thought a plan. He sent him with a letter to his son Madan.

  On his way to Kuntalpur Chandrahasa made a halt for some rest in a garden on the bank of a lake. As he was tired he fell asleep.

  It so happened that princess Champak had come for a picnic in the garden with her friends, with them was Vishaya, the daughter of Dhrishta.

  While strolling in the garden by herself, vishya came to the place where Chandrashasa was sleeping. When she went nearer, she instantly fell in love with the handsome sleeping prince. She then saw a letter peeping out of his ppocket. She quietly took the letter and was surprised to find that it was for her brother. she opened it and read: “Give 'Visha' (poison) to the bearer of this letter.”

  Now Vishaya was puzzled. She could not understand why her father should wish to give poison to such a handsome prince. There must be some mistake.

  “Is it that my father wants to give me-'Vishaya'- and not Visha to the prince?” thought Vishaya.

  So with some charcoal she added the letter 'ya' and Visha (poison) became 'Vishaya'. She slipped the letter back in the pocket and quietly left to join her friends.

  After his rest in the garden, Chandrahasa went straight to Madan who welcomed the idea of his sister Vishaya marrying such a handsome and brave prince. Their marriage was celebrated grandly.

  Meanwhile after Chandrahasa had left for Kuntalpur, Dhrishta imprisoned King Kulinda, grabbing all the wealth he had.

  When he came near to his palace, he was surprised at the activity going on there. There were many people moving about gaily and he also heard music.

  He asked the people there, “What is all this bustle about?”

  “Didn't you know? This is in honor of Vishaya's marriage.”

  “Vishaya's marriage? With whom?”

  “With Prince Chandrahasa of Chandanawati.”

  Dhrishta cursed his fate. He had expected Chandrahasa to have been killed. Instead he had become his son-in-law.

  On a hill outside the town there was a temple of Goddess Chandika. He ordered two men to hide themselves in the temple and kill the person who would come to worship the goddess in the evening.

  After arranging this, he said to his son-in-law Chandrahasa, “It is a custom in our family to offer worship to Goddess Chandika after every ceremony. So, go to the temple this evening to offer your prayers.”

  On his way to the temple, Chandrahasa met Madam with an urgent message from the king of Kuntalpur.

  Madan said, “The king has called you immediately. He has decided to retire from life. He is marrying his daughter Champak to you and making you king in his place.”

  Chandrahasa immediately left for he palace, while Madan took from him the tray containing the articles and went straight to the temple.

  Next day when Dhrishta heared that Chandrahasa had become king, he was very angry. He knew something had gone wrong. When he rushed to the temple, he found Madan's dead body. He at last realized that one couldn't harm a person whom God protects. He repented for his evil deeds and killed himself.

  A hermit who saw the dead bodies told Chandrahasa, the new king about them. He at once rushed to the temple, sat in penance in front of the goddess, making an offering of his own body in the sacred fire. The goddess, pleased at his devotion, directed him to ask for a boon. He requested her to restore the two dead persons to life, which she did. He then bought Madan and Dhrista in procession to the palace.

  Chandrahasa then decided to go to Chandanawati to see his father Kulinda. When he reached the palace he found that the king and his wife Meghawati, fed up with their ill treatment, were about to kill themselves. He rescued them and told them all that had happened.

  With his father's help, he ruled happily over his kingdom for many years.

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