Vikram Betal Stories in English - A Word Not Kept Story


May 1, 2019
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Dark was the night and weird the atmosphere. It rained from time to time : gusts of wind shook the trees. Between thunderclaps and the moaning of jackals could be heard the eerie laughter of spirits. Flashes of lightning revealed fearsome faces.

But king Vikramaditya did not swerve a bit. He climbed the ancient tree once again and brought down the corps. However, as soon as he began crossing the desolate cremation ground, with the corpse lying on his shoulder, the vampire that possessed the corpse spoke: "O King , you seem to be making untiring efforts and without respite as if you wish to achieve something. I pity you. Instead of enjoying a comfortable sleep on a cozy bed, you’re still coming after me. You seem to be quite adamant. Such arrogance may not help you keep your promise if you had given one to anybody. You’ll realise the futility of the whole thing if only you listen to my story." The vampire then narrated this story.

The ruler of Jayanagar, Jayasimha, was extremely strong and courageous. But he would not do anything unjust. His subjects were happy and contented. They had no problems. His queen, Chandravati, gave birth to a daughter. Being an only child, Indumati enjoyed a lot of freedom and was brought up like a boy. She grew up clever not only in studies but in the use of the bow and arrow and sword. She learnt the art of self-defence. When she reached marriageable age, her parents began searching for a suitable husband for her.

Indumati had some definite ideas and views. "My husband should be one who is an adept in fighting. Suppose our kingdom is driven to facing an enemy in the future, he should be able to meet them and defeat them in war. I shall only marry such a prince who is able to overpower ,me in fight. You may make an announcement about this condition," she told her parents.

The announcement was made in Jayanagar as well as in the neighbouring kingdoms. Many suitors came forward to accept her challenge. Of course, they knew that being the only heir they would have complete sway over the kingdom once they married her. Besides, she was only a girl, and it should not be difficult to win a fight with her.

Indumati was surprised that so many came forward to accept her challenge, wishing to take a chance and try their luck. Secretly, she was hoping that at least one of them would overpower her to claim her hand. However, it was only when they really met her face to face that these princes realised it was not that easy to defeat her. Everyone of them was routed by Indumati, and they had to go back disappointed.

She was taking on the suitors one after another. among them was Madanasen, the prince of Maratakapur. He watched the fight every day , by joining the crowd incognito. He carefully watched how Princess Indumati fought and the different strategies she adopted to meet the method of fighting followed by each prince. One day, he could not control himself when he saw a particular way she used the sword. "Bravo!" he shouted in appreciation and encouragement. Indumati turned to look at him, wondering who he might be who could understand the intricacies of each and every stance and step during the fight.

When he thought he had learnt all her strategies, Madanasen presented himself to fight with her. The two fought cleverly and fiercely. Neither of them was prepared to surrender to the other. Indumati knew that he was of a different mettle and that she would not be able to subdue him so

easily. She tried every trick in her repertoire, but Madanasen was able to meet every one of them. Before Indumati knew what was happening, he had succeeded in knocking her sword off her hand. She stopped the fight and joined her parents. Cheers rose from the multitude watching the proceedings. The King and queen eagerly awaited the prince to come forward to present himself to them.

It was than that Indumati recognised him as the one who had cheered her in encouragement. "Weren’t you among the crowd that day cheering in appreciation? You shouted to compliment me on a particular stance I took. Am I right ?"

"yes I Was among the audience," Madanasen confessed. "And I did shout in appreciation." Now Indumati knew how he had succeeded in overpowering her. "My condition was that I would marry anyone who would defeat me in the contest. Now I’ve to go back on that condition Though you’ve defeated me, I can’t marry you. You can yourself find out the reason."

Madanasen thought for a while. "Yes what you say is right, O Princess. I should not marry you." He bowed to her and left the place.

The king and queen were surprised over their daughter’s decision. They had agreed to hold these contests only at her instance. She insisted that she would marry only whoever defeated her. Madanasen achieved that, but she was not ready to marry him. And he, too, had meekly accepted her decision, saying he could not possibly claim her hand. How strange! They were unable to guess what really was the cause.

The vampire concluded the story and asked King Vikramaditya: "O king ! I’ve some doubts. Indumati was proud that she was an expert in warfare. That’s why she announced that she would marry only whoever defeated her, didn’t she? As she scored a victory over one prince after another, she was becoming more and more arrogant. Then came Madanasen who succeeded in overpowering her. Again it was her from keeping her word. Why did she say he did not deserve her hand in marriage in spite of his victory over her? It was all because of her arrogance, wasn’t it? If you know the answers to my questions and still refuse to revel them, you may well be forewarned: your head will be blown to pieces!"

King Vikramaditya did not take much time to answer the vampire. " I don’t think Indumati was arrogant. Though she had stipulated that condition when Madanasen defeated her in sword-fight, she didn’t keep her word. True. If we were to think deep, we would find out what had prompted her to take such a stand. She certainly was one who would keep her word. Unlike other princes, Madanasen did not go for a fight with her straight away. He mingled himself among the crowd to watch her fighting and to study the strategies she adopted while fighting. He learnt all that, just as a disciple would learn from his teacher. And a teacher cannot marry his or her student. It’s universally accepted that one’s father, mother and teacher are all like a god. Indumati realised that Madanasen was first her student and then only a suitor. She was not willing to accept that relationship for the purpose of marriage. Madanasen too thought on the same lines and realised that he could not marry Indumati, because she was like his teacher. So he respected the wishes of his teacher in reverence, and did not attitude her attitude to any arrogance. That’s why he decided not to press his claim to her hand. The relationship between a teacher and his student is more sacred than that between others. That’s why Indumati went back on the condition she herself had stipulated. That’s the truth."

The vampire knew that the king had outwitted him once again. He flew back to the ancient tree carrying the corpse along with him. Vikramaditya drew his sword and went after the vampire.