The Charitable Raja





There was once a Raja who was very charitable; he used to give a new

cloth and a good meal to every one who came and begged of him. But

one day a Jogi came and refused to take what was offered to him: he

demanded that the Raja should give him his kingdom and everything

that he had. The Raja thought it wrong to refuse the request, and

went out into the world with his wife and his two young children,

a beggar. For a long time they wandered about living on charity,

till their clothes were worn to rags, and then they chanced to hear

of a rich merchant who gave a cloth to any beggar who asked it of him;

so they resolved to go to him for help. When they reached the village

where the merchant lived, the Rani left the Raja with the two children

to cook some dinner and went to the merchant's house to beg for some

clothes; but when the merchant saw her he fell in love with her and

shut her up and would not let her go. To be saved from the merchant's

designs the Rani prayed that she might be smitten with disease and

at once she became very ill.



After waiting in vain for her return the Raja set off with his two sons

to look for her and presently came to a flooded river. He carried one

child across first but, as he was returning for the other, he was swept

away by the current and the children were left alone. A Goala woman,

going to the river for water, found them, and as she was childless

took them home with her and brought them up.



Meanwhile the Raja was carried down stream by the flood and was washed

ashore, bruised and wounded, a long way down. At the place where he

landed a large crowd was collected; for the Raja of the country had

lately died leaving no heir, and the widow had ordered all the people

to assemble in order that two elephants, belonging to the late Raja,

might choose his successor. The half-drowned Raja joined the crowd and

as he sat looking on, one elephant, passing by all its own people,

came to him and put the golden necklace on his neck and the other

elephant lifted him on to its back and carried him off and seated him

on the Raja's throne; and as he sat on the throne all his wounds and

bruises were healed. Years passed and the Raja's two sons grew up,

and as the Goala woman who had adopted them was very poor, they went

out into the world to earn their living. As it chanced, they took

service as sipahis with the Raja their father, whom of course they

did not recognise. Just after their arrival the Raja arranged a great

festival at which people from all parts assembled; and among others

the merchant went there with the Raja's wife, in hopes that among

the crowd he might find some physician able to cure the woman. When

he arrived, he went to the Raja and asked that two sipahis might be

deputed to keep watch over the woman he had brought. The Raja sent

his two newly enlisted sipahis, and thus the sons were set to guard

their own mother, and it was not long before they found out their

relationship. The Rani was delighted to recover her long lost children,

but when she heard that her husband had been washed away by the river

and drowned, she began to weep and wail. The merchant went to the Raja

and complained that the sipahis who had been sent, had thrown the woman

into great distress and the Raja thereupon sent for all the parties

in order that he might enquire into the matter. When he heard their

story, he at once recognised that it was his own wife and sons who

stood before him and thus the whole family was happily united. Then

his wife prayed to Thakur that if she were really the wife he had

lost and had been faithful to him, she might be restored to health;

water was poured over her and she was at once cured of her disease,

and they all lived happily ever afterwards.





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