Vikram And The Vampire – 4
“Listen, great king!” again began the Baital.
An unimportant Baniya (trader), Hiranyadatt, had a daughter, whose name was Madansena Sundari, the beautiful army of Cupid. Her face was like the moon; her hair like the clouds; her eyes like those of a muskrat; her eyebrows like a bent bow; her nose like a parrot’s bill; her neck like that of a dove; her teeth like pomegranate grains; the red colour of her lips like that of a gourd; her waist lithe and bending like the pards: her hands and feet like softest blossoms; her complexion like the jasmine- in fact, day by day the splendour of her youth increased.
When she had arrived at maturity, her father and mother began often to resolve in their minds the subject of her marriage. And the people of all that country side ruled by Birbar king of Madanpur bruited it abroad that in the house of Hiranyadatt had been born a daughter by whose beauty gods, men, and munis (sages) were fascinated.
Thereupon many, causing their portraits to be painted, sent them by messengers to Hiranyadatt the Baniya, who showed them all to his daughter. But she was capricious, as beauties sometimes are, and when her father said, “Make choice of a husband thyself,” she told him that none pleased her, and moreover she begged of him to find her a husband who possessed good looks, good qualities, and good sense.
At length, when some days had passed, four suitors came from four different countries. The father told them that he must have from each some indication that he possessed the required qualities; that he was pleased with their looks, but that they must satisfy him about their knowledge.
“I have,” the first said, “a perfect acquaintance with the Shastras (or Scriptures); in science there is none to rival me. As for my handsome mien, it may plainly be seen by you.”
The second exclaimed, “My attainments are unique in the knowledge of archery. I am acquainted with the art of discharging arrows and killing anything which though not seen is heard, and my fine proportions are plainly visible to you.” The third continued, “I understand the language of land and water animals, of birds and of beasts, and I have no equal in strength. Of my comeliness you yourself may judge.”
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