The Prince Who Would Not Marry
: Part I.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas
There was once a Raja who in spite of having many wives was childless;
and his great desire was to have a son. He made many vows and performed
every ceremony that was recommended to him, but in vain. At last a
Jogi came to his kingdom and hearing of his case told him that if he
would pray to Thakur and give away to the poor one-fourth of all his
wealth, he should have a son.
The Raja followed the Jogi's a
vice, and in due time his youngest wife
bore him a son; a son so fair and so beautiful that there was no one
on earth to match him. When the boy grew up, they began to think about
his marriage and the Raja said that he would only marry him to a bride
as fair and as beautiful as himself. It did not matter whether she were
poor or rich, all that was needful was that she should be a match for
his son in looks. So messengers were sent out to all the surrounding
kingdoms to look for such a bride. They searched for years; nine years,
ten years passed and still no bride was found to match in looks the
Prince. After ten years had passed the Prince heard of this search and
he went to his father and announced that he did not wish to marry; and
that if he ever should wish to do so, he would find a wife for himself.
The Raja was very angry at this and said that the Prince wished to
bring him to shame; every one would say that the Raja was too mean
to arrange a marriage for his only son. But the Prince was obstinate
and persisted that he did not wish the Raja to take any steps in the
matter. At this the Raja grew more and more angry, until at last he
ordered the Prince to be taken to prison and kept there, until he
promised to marry any one whom his father chose.
Every day the warders asked whether he would yield and every day he
refused; and it is impossible to say how long he would have languished
in prison, had not the wife of the Parganna of the Bongas come one
night to the prison with two other bongas. They began to talk about
the Prince's hard case. The warders heard them talking, but could see
no one. The Bonga Parganna's wife proposed that they should provide
a bonga bride for the Prince, for it was certain that no human
bride could be his match for beauty. The two bongas agreed that it
was a good idea but the Prince had declared that he would not marry
and that was a difficulty. "Let him see the bride I offer him and see
what happens" answered the old Bonga's wife. So the next night when
the Prince was asleep a beautiful bonga maiden was brought to the
prison and when he awoke he saw her sitting by his side. He fell in
love with her at first sight and exchanging rings with her promised
that she should be his wife.
Then the warders, who had been watching, ran to the Raja and told him
that the Prince had agreed to marry. The Raja came and took the Prince
and his bride out of the prison, and the wedding was celebrated with
great rejoicings throughout the kingdom.