The Soothsayer’s Son
A soothsayer, when on his deathbed, wrote out the horoscope of his second son, whose name was Gangazara, and bequeathed it to him as his only property, leaving the whole of his estate to his eldest son. The second son thought over the horoscope, and said to himself,
“Alas! am I born to this only in the world? The sayings of my father never failed. I have seen them prove true to the last word while he was living; and how has he fixed my horoscope! ‘FROM MY BIRTH POVERTY!’ Nor is that my only fate. ‘FOR TEN YEARS, IMPRISONMENT’–a fate harder than poverty; and what comes next? ‘DEATH ON THE SEA-SHORE;’ which means that I must die away from home, far from friends and relatives on a sea-coast. Now comes the most curious part of the horoscope, that I am to ‘HAVE SOME HAPPINESS AFTERWARDS!’ What this happiness is, is an enigma to me.”
Thus thought he, and after all the funeral obsequies of his father were over, took leave of his elder brother, and started for Benares. He went by the middle of the Deccan, avoiding both the coasts, and went on journeying and journeying for weeks and months, till at last he reached the Vindhya mountains. While passing that desert he had to journey for a couple of days through a sandy plain, with no signs of life or vegetation. The little store of provision with which he was provided for a couple of days, at last was exhausted. The chombu, which he carried always full, filling it with the sweet water from the flowing rivulet or plenteous tank, he had exhausted in the heat of the desert. There was not a morsel in his hand to eat; nor a drop of water to drink. Turn his eyes wherever he might, he found a vast desert, out of which he saw no means of escape. Still he thought within himself, “Surely my father’s prophecy never proved untrue. I must survive this calamity to find my death on some sea-coast.” So thought he, and this thought gave him strength of mind to walk fast and try to find a drop of water somewhere to slake his dry throat.
At last he succeeded; heaven threw in his way a ruined well. He thought he could collect some water if he let down his chombu with the string that he always carried noosed to the neck of it.
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