Vikram And The Vampire – 5
Your majesty (quoth the demon, with unusual politeness), there is a country called Malaya, on the western coast of the land of Bharat—you see that I am particular in specifying the place—and in it was a city known as Chandrodaya, whose king was named Randhir.
This Raja, like most others of his semideified order, had been in youth what is called a Sarva-rasi ; that is, he ate and drank and listened to music, and looked at dancers much more than he studied, reflected, prayed, or conversed with the wise. After the age of thirty he began to reform, and he brought such zeal to the good cause, that in an incredibly short space of time he came to be accounted and quoted as the paragon of correct Rajas.
This was very praiseworthy. Many of Brahma’s viceregents on earth, be it observed, have loved food and drink, and music and dancing, and the worship of Kama, to the end of their days.
Amongst his officers was Gunshankar, a magistrate of police, who, curious to say, was as honest as he was just. He administered equity with as much care before as after dinner; he took no bribes even in the matter of advancing his family; he was rather merciful than otherwise to the poor, and he never punished the rich ostentatiously, in order to display his and his law’s disrespect for persons.
Besides which, when sitting on the carpet of justice, he did not, as some Kotwals do, use rough or angry language to those who cannot reply; nor did he take offence when none was intended.
All the people of the city Chandrodaya, in the province of Malaya, on the western coast of Bharatland, loved and esteemed this excellent magistrate; which did not, however, prevent thefts being committed so frequently and so regularly, that no one felt his property secure.
At last the merchants who had suffered most from these depredations went in a body before Gunshankar, and said to him:
“O flower of the law! Robbers have exercised great tyranny upon us, so great indeed that we can no longer stay in this city.”
Then the magistrate replied, “What has happened, has happened. But in future you shall be free from annoyance. I will make due preparation for these thieves.”
Thus saying, Gunshankar called together his various delegates, and directed them to increase the number of their people. He pointed out to them how they should keep watch by night; besides which he ordered them to open registers of all arrivals and departures, to make themselves acquainted by means of spies with the movements of every suspected person in the city, and to raise a body of paggis (trackers), who could follow the footprints of thieves even when they wore thieving shoes, till they came up with and arrested them.
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