The Reward Of Life
Vikram and Betal First Story
Betal narrated his first story: (Vikram Betal -First story)
King Chandradeep ruled kanchan Nagar long long ago . His only child was his daughter Indumati. The princess was brought up like a boy, and given training in the use of arms and warfare. It was decided that whosoever wed her would also become the ruler of Kanchannagar. The princes of neighbouring kingdoms always wanted to marry Indumati, who was, besides everything else, extremely beautiful.
Indumati had a special condition for her marriage,“Whoever marries me must be strong and brave . And he must succeed in the tests that I give.” The king consulted his ministers about the tests . The royal announcement about the tests and marriage was made in all the neighbouring kingdoms, including Jayanagar, where a young man named Kurupshana heard it.
Kurupshana was born with both hands stunted. His mother died soon after his birth , and his father married again to another girl. The boy was named Kurupshana, the ugly looking boy . His stepmother illtreated him very much. She never gave him a full meal. She knew that the boy, with stunted hands , would not be of much use to her.
Kurupshana did not protest . But he lamented within himself,’They feel that I’m no good , I must take this as a challenge and show them that I too, can face life.’
He decided to go to Kanchannagar to watch the royal test . Quite a few princes and some young men, too, reached there. They all kept guessing what kind of tests the princess would put them through. Some of them thought it could be wrestling while others thought it could be archery.
The time came to announce the details of the tests. The Prime Minister got up from his seat and faced the princely suitors, In this test, You have to climb the wall and jump downinto the three rings of sharp knives. And while doing so, you should not injure yourself. There should not be a single cut on your body from the knives. Whoever is willing to participate inthe test may step forward!”
Many princes rose from their seats, and went back to their seats. The wall was too high for them, the cage was placed deep down below, and the space between the knives was very less .
It seemed no suitor was willing to take the test. Kurupshana was watching all this from his seat very keenly . suddenly a thought struck him. He left his seat and walked up to King Chandradeep ,”Your Majesty, can I have your permission to take the test?”
The king was shocked to see this ugly- looking handicapped youth? Suppose he were to succeed in the test? His daughter would have to marry himand , she would have to spend the rest of her life with a handicapped husband!Princess Indumati, too, was in a similar dilemma.
King Chandradeep waited for a moment to know his daughter’s reaction, and then gave the permission to Kurupshana. Kurupshana went near the wall and asked the soldiers to take him to the top of the wall. He then took a good look at the knives cage and jumped down. He landed between the knives unscratched! A loud cheer arose from the audience.
The cage was raised,and the young man came out. He then walked near to the king and the princess, bowed down and said, “O King! Please don’t worry. I don’t wish to marry the princess. I had only wanted to pass the test . That itself is a big reward of my life and I can now face life.” The king felt relieved.
The Betal ended his narration there and turned to King Vikramaditya. ” O King! Didn’t Kurupshana behave like a foolish by not marrying the princess ? What reward did he get when he said he didn’t aspire anything more? If you know the answer and still decide not to speak , beware, your head will be blown to pieces!
The King replied, “Kurupshana was a handicapped young man. He was fully aware of his handicap that bothered his stepmother. He wished that she changed her opinion about him. By passing the test he proved to be better than those princes.That, for him, was the biggest reward he could aspire for.
He decided to undergo the lethal test not with the hope of marrying the princess. If he would marry her, he would one day be called to rule the kingdom. But as a king , he wouldn’t be able even to hold sword. If that was the case, it wouldn’t be proper for him to marry her. That was why he gave up his claim to her hand. It was not his foolishness. On the contrary, it was the decision of an intelligentand wise person.”
Betaal knew that king will definitely speak out the answer , as soon as king finished his answer, he flew back to the ancient tree carrying the corpse along with him.