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.