Shishu Sansaar | Vaitaal Stories-2
"Captain Sir Richard R Burton's Vikram and the Vampire: classic Hindu tales of adventure, magic and romance" / edited by his wife Isabel Burton. [etext Conversion Project, Nalanda Digital Library, NIT Calicut, Kerala State, India]
The first edition of this book was published in 1870. This book lists 11 stories including the last story which puzzled the King Vikramaaditya. He has given a good introduction to the stories of Vikram and Vaitaal. A short description of that introduction is given here --
Vikramaaditya Meets the Yogee
When Vikram returned from the forest, it was spring - Holee season. After the pleasures were over he started working on to reform and extend the borders of his kingdom.
It so happened one day that Vikram was sitting in his court, that a young merchant Maal Dev who recently came in Ujjayinee, entered the court. He gave a fruit in king's hands. He spread a prayer carpet, sat on it for about 15 minutes and then rose and went away. After he had left the court, Vikram thought, "Maybe this was the man that giant was talking about." and thinking this he did not eat the fruit and gave it to the master of the household to keep it safely. The young merchant continued to come daily to the court and give similar fruit to the King.
One day he went to see his stables. At the same time, the same young merchant also came there and presented a similar fruit to him. Vikram just started it tossing in a playful mood. By chance the fruit fell down and a monkey took it and tore it to pieces. A ruby came out of that fruit. The King got astonished to see that gem and asked him - "Why did you give so much wealth to us?"
Maal Dev said - "Sir, It is written in the scriptures that one should not go empty handed to see the following persons - a king, spiritual teachers, judges, young maidens, old women whose daughter we may marry. But why do you speak only about one ruby, I have given you so many fruits, and in fact all of them contain similar gem in them."
Hearing this the king asked the master of the household to bring all those fruits to him. As he brought them to the King and the King split them, he found a similar ruby in each and every fruit. He was very happy to see such treasure. He immediately called a jeweler and asked him to evaluate each of them. He evaluated each of them as 10 trillion gold pieces worth. Hearing this, he led the merchant to his court and said to him - "My kingdom is not worth for even one of these rubies, tell me why you who buy and sell things, have given me such treasure?"
Maal Dev said - "These things cannot be talked in public - prayers, spells, drugs, good qualities, household affairs, the eating of forbidden fruit, and the evil we may have heard of our neighbor. I can tell you everything in private." So the King took him to a private place and asked him - "You have given me so many rubies, and you have not eaten food with me even for one day, tell me what do you want?"
He said - "O King, I am not Maal Dev, I am Shaantaa-Shil, a devotee. I am about to perform some spells, incantations, and magical rites in a large cemetery on the banks of Godaavaree, after which I will attain all the eight Siddhi. I am asking you this in alms that you and your son Dharmdhwaj should stay with me for one night. By this my worship will be complete." Vikram got startled hearing the name of cemetery, but gathered himself and asked him when he had to be there. The devotee said - "You will come to me armed but without followers, on the Monday evening - the 14th of the dark fortnight of Bhaadrapad month." The king agreed and the devotee went away.
The d-day arrived and Vikram, along with his son went to the cemetery armed with his shiny sword. As they arrived there, he saw many bad omens in that cemetery. Wild animals were crying and disputing on their preys, Subtle bodies of people were wandering there, skeletons were scattered around, witches were crawling on the earth, and in the midst of these Shaantaa-Shil was sitting near fire.
When Vikram came nearer to the devotee, he saw that he was playing with a skull and two bones. Although he was scared of all these but he was ready to remove this curse from his family for ever. Although he could kill that man in an instant but he preferred to keep his word, otherwise also the time for action was yet to come. Vikram asked him - "Tell me what can I do for you?" The devotee said - "Just bring a corpse which is hanging from a Mimosa tree about two Kos far from here in southern direction."
Vikramaaditya Meets Vaitaal
Vikram held the hand of his son, as he did not want to leave his son in such a bad company and proceeded towards the said direction. Now he was sure that this man was the same man who wanted his destruction. Rain had started, darkness was increasing as the time was passing by and it was almost impossible to walk through the forest.
At last he had arrived at the place where he saw a tree whose every branch and leaf was on fire. As he neared the tree, he heard voices shouting, "Catch them, kill them, don't let them go" and he felt that the fire was burning them. He took some rest under that tree. He saw that the eyes of the corpse were wide open and not even a twinkling in his eyes. The king touched him, he was icy cold. From this he knew that he was a Vaitaal - a vampire. He imagined him as the oilman's son as the giant told him.
Fearlessly the King climbed up the tree and felled the body with only one blow. The body cried in pain. Vikram got very happy to hear its voice, he thought "so this devil is alive". He held him in his hand and asked - "Who are you?" The body slipped through his hands, made a loud laughter and hung with another branch. He instructed his son to catch him instantly as he fell him from there again. He climbed again and felled him again, the son promptly held him, but as the king came down, he slipped again and hung on some other branch.
Vikram got very angry at him on slipping twice from his hands. "Who are you?" Vaitaal again laughed loudly. Vikram did this five times, but seventh time Vaitaal let him seize himself. Then he asked Vikram - "Who are you?" "I am the King Vikram, the king of Ujjayinee, and I am taking you to a man who is playing with a skull and two bones."
Vaitaal said - "I am ready to go with you The way to the place where you want me to take is one hour far from here. I would like to distract my attention by telling you some stories. Sages and wise men spend their time telling stories, whereas fools spend their time sleeping and in idleness. I will ask you several questions concerning the story as convenient to me. Whenever you will answer them either by fate, or entrapped by my cunningness, I will leave you and return to my place; and if you will remain silent, confused or at a loss to reply, either because of humility or confessing your ignorance, then I will allow you, at my own will, to place me before that Yogee."
Vikram being a king was not used to such words, so he looked here and there and was happy to see that his son was not near. Then Vikram made a convenient way to carry that Vaitaal from his waistcloth, lifted him, put him on his shoulder and set off to the cemetery.
Rain had stopped, weather had become nice, as told by Vaitaal, he had started talking something about wind, rain , mud etc, but Vikram didn't reply. Vaitaal felt uncomfortable. Then he said - "Vikram, Now I tell you a true story, listen to it carefully.
Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 05/27/12