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Vaitaal Stories-2

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3-A High Minded Family

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Vikram and Vaitaal Stories-2 - Story 3 (Keral Version)
"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]

3-A High Minded Family-Story of Roopsen and Beerbal

Vaitaal again started a story - "O king, There lived a great warrior Raajeshwar in the city of Bardavaan in the kingdom of Roopsen. He was a very distinguished warrior. Instead of following Braahman, Shaastra etc he used his own judgments and experience. He acted upon the spur of the moment. He also paid attention to the handles of sword which were in use for 1,800 years and were considered perfect for use. I relate you his one judgment in this regard - he noticed that his master had employed armies from Northern India. They were old and could not fight properly so Raajeshwar gave them pension and retired them.

Once Raajeshwar was sitting in a room that he heard some noise outside the door, he asked - "Who is at the door and what is this noise?" The gatekeeper replied - "Some people have come to the rich man's door and asking for livelihood and wealth. When they gather, they talk on different topics, that is why this noise is." Raajeshwar got silent, but in the meantime a soldier named Beerbal came to him for the livelihood. Raajeshwar asked him to come in.

Beerbal said - "Sir, I am a very distinguished person for the use of weapons, that my fame goes to the other end of Bharat-Khand." Raajeshwar was used to such introductions, so he asked him to show him some sample. Beerbal at once drew his sword, put forth his left hand extending his forefinger, waved the blade, and with a stroke he cut the nail and not a drop of blood appeared on the finger. He knew that he was not an ordinary sword user, so he employed him. He appointed him near the palace of King Roopsen and asked him to resume his duty immediately.

He asked him his salary, so Beerbal said - "Give me 1,000 ounces of gold daily." Raajeshwar asked astonishingly - "Do you have an army with you?"  "No Sir, I have only four people - a wife, a son, a daughter and myself." All the people sitting in the court laughed. Beerbal was dismissed.

So if you set your price high, people will think that you must be having something in you. Tell everyone that you are brave, handsome, or clever and they will begin to believe you, after that it will be difficult to un-convince them. Roopsen thought "why did he ask so much money, what is his specialty?" Next he thought, "when we are giving him so much money, some day it will give him its return."

Now, Beerbal used to divide his money in two portions every morning, one of which went to Braahman and Purohit; and the remaining money was again divided into two parts, one of them went to pilgrims, Vishnu's Bhakt and Sanyaasee etc; and the remaining fourth he used to prepare food for poor. He ate only what remained. All night he used to watch, if Roopsen woke in the night and called "Is there anybody?", he replied "Beerbal is there." Often times Roopsen gave him unusual commands and he used to carry out at once.

Once, in night time, the king woke up hearing a loud sound of wailing a woman and asked as usual, "Is there anybody?" and as usual got the reply, "Beerbal is there, Sir." He asked him to go and find out about the woman. Beerbal immediately went away. The king also followed him unseen quietly in black dress just to see what does he do.

Beerbal arrived at the scene and saw a woman crying. He was holding a horn in one hand and a necklace in another. There was not a tear in her eyes, but she was wailing. Beerbal asked him - "Who are you, why are you wailing like this?" She said, "I am Raaj Lakshmee. Low class actions (Shoodra) are done in king's palace, hence some misfortune will certainly fall on him. He will die in a month time. I have brought much happiness to him, that is why I weep. Unfortunately my words are not untrue." Beerbal asked - "Is there a way so that king can live for hundred years to come?" "Yes, There is. You will find a temple of my sister Devee about eight miles away from here. If you sacrifice your son with your own hand to her, then only this calamity can be removed." and that woman disappeared.

Beerbal didn't wait for a moment and immediately set off to his house. King also who had heard all this secretly, followed him. He told everything to his wife. Wise say that wife is the same who receives her husband with affectionate and submissive words. Beerbal woke his son and daughter and all proceeded towards the temple. On the way he said to his wife, "If you give your son willingly, I will sacrifice my son to Devee for our master's sake."

She said - "I have no relation except you. Wife is not made only by gifts to priests, nor by performing religious rites, her virtue is in waiting upon her husband, in obeying him, in loving him; though he be lame, dumb, deaf. blind, one eyed, leprous, or humpbacked. It is a true saying that a son under one's authority, a body free from sickness, a desire to acquire knowledge, an intelligent friend, and an obedient wife - whoever holds these five is lucky. While an unwilling servant, a parsimonious king, an insincere friend, and a wife not under control give troubles."

Then she said to her son - "By giving you as a gift to God, the king may live long and the kingdom unshaken." The boy replied - "First I must obey your command, second it saves the life of master, and third this body will be of use to God. There is nothing better than this, so make haste." His sister said - "If a father sells his son, mother gives poison to her child, and king seizes all the property, where one should look for protection?"

Thus talking they came to the temple. There was a large black idol of Devee in the temple. Beerbal prayed Devee, wished for the long life of the king, and struck his sword on the neck of his son. He then threw the sword down, that his daughter took it up and struck it on her neck that it separated her head from her body. Seeing this their mother also cut her neck, and seeing all his family dead, Beerbal also killed himself thinking "now what for I will earn the money?"

The king was watching all this. He said to himself, "This whole family is dead just because of me. Such king is a curse on his people for whom a whole family has to be sacrificed." He took up the sword, and was about to slay himself, that Devee appeared and held his hand. She then asked him to ask for any Var. The king asked her that his faithful servant and his family should be brought to life. Devee immediately brought the Amrit and sprinkled on their bodies and raised them all as before. All went away. In due course of time Roopsen divided his throne between Beerbal and himself."

After telling this much, Vaitaal further spoke - "Happy are the servants who do not care for themselves in comparison to their masters; and three times happier are the master of such servants. I ask you a question, "Who was the greatest fool among all the five?"

Vikram said - "If you mean that who was the greatest fool of the noblest mind, then it was Roopsen." "Why?" "Because a servant was bound to give his life for his master; and the son could not disobey his father; and the women instinctively killed themselves; but Roopsen killed himself for his retainer which was not his duty. That is why I think Roopsen was the most meritorious."

"Surely, Vikram." And Vaitaal disappeared from the bundle, even though it was placed upon the ground. But he was again bundled into the cloth was carried away by Vikram, so he again started telling another story. 



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 06/05/13