Vikram Betal Stories In English - Self , And Self Alone 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 howls of jackals could be heard the eerie laughter of spirits. Flashes of lightning showed up fearsome faces here and there.

But King Vikramaditya did not swerve a bit. He climbed the old tree once again and brought the corpse down. 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! Your valour is to be highly admired. I’ve no idea what your goal is. But for achieving it, you’ve forgotten your kingly comforts: you’ve even willing to risk your life. Very few can do this. But are you sure you can keep up your spirit forever ? May be if you hear the story of Bhoopalan you may change your attitude."

The vampire began the story: "Bhoopalan was a village officer. His duties necessitated official visits even to nearby kingdoms. Everywhere he would be received with honours befitting an official and was always sent back with gifts. Once he had to visit Alakapuri, a kingdom as beautiful as its name, wished to go at least once in his lifetime. So, four of his rich acquaintances went to him as soon as they heard the news of his impending journey. Now, his being a purely official visit, Bhoopalan was naturally in a dilemma. Apologetically he told them," "Look here, I’m going on an official visit, and you can’t expect that the same facilities for boarding and lodging would be available to you."

"No certainly not; we don’t expect any such thing and we would try not to cause any inconvenience to you. Just allow us to travel with you that’s all what we ask for," they assured him.

On reaching Alakapuri they were greeted by a representative of the king. He was at his wit’s end when he saw that Bhoopalan was not alone."Sir," he said falteringly," we had made arrangements for your stay only; if we take your honoured companions, they may be put to inconvenience. Let me, therefore, go and see how they too can be accommodated."

The four friends knew that they were getting a red carpet treatment only because of Bhoopalan. They expressed their gratitude and were all praise for him. During their stay in Alskapuri, one day they accompanied Bhoopalan to a diamond merchant’s shop. He made some purchases and the merchant was so happy that he presented him with a diamond ring. His friends were not left out and they, too were given two precious stones each.

Another day a leading merchant of the place who had heard of Bhoopalan’s interest in music, arranged a concert in his honour. No sooner had the artistes concluded their recital than the four friends went up the stage to compliment the artistes . "Oh, your kingdom seems to abound in music- lovers!" commented the host to Bhoopalan.

Prior to their departure from Alakapuri, Bhoopalan and his friends visited the Durga temple there. Unfortunately, the king’s representative was unable to go with them and had sent someone else to escort them. As they came out after offering their prayers, it began to rain. The attendant, Rengan, had only one umbrella with him and so he could take care of only Bhoopalan. The others were drenched to their bones.

As Bhoopalan bid farewell, the people of Alakapuri showered him with gifts. They did not forget his friends. The four of them were mightily pleased and disclosed to him that they had brought some valuable mementoes with them, but did not know whom they should honour in their turn.

Bhoopalan was not very happy with the situation. "It is not proper for us to offer gifts to officials and merchants. You may, therefore, give something to the attendant, Rengan."

As they were nearing home, the youngest of the four friends turned to Bhoopalan. "Sir, may we look forward to more opportunities like this, to go with you?"

Bhoopalan was irritated, but controlled his anger. Before he could react, the seniormost among the four checked the youngster. "Be satisfied with what you’ve achieved," he said. "It’s not proper for an officer to take his friends along with him whenever and wherever he goes--- especially for official work. Let’s be grateful to him now and see that we don’t bother him again."

The vampire ended the narration and asked Vikram: "What made the elder to comment like that ? Wasn’t that remark particularly aimed to my satisfaction, be sure that your head will blow up into pieces!"

King Vikramaditya took some time to answer the vampire. "Right from the beginning , Bhoopalan wanted to be left to himself. But he had no other option except to take the friends along. He was upset when he saw that they were being honoured because of his presence with them. That’s why he belittled their desire to reciprocate and suggested that the gifts they had brought with them be given to the attendant who after all, was only a servant. The seniormost among the four friends could see through Bhoopalan’s game. People like him are selfish and do not wish to be of any help even to their friends. Such people may even try to dissuade their friends from going to the help of others. They would want to corner all honour and not wish to share them with others. It is narrow- minded" said Vikram recalling what had happened to someone who observed penance for long. "The lord appeared to him and asked him what boon he wanted. Without batting an eyelid, he expressed to have everything he desired. The lord agreed, but on one condition: whatever he asked for, his neighbour would get the same in double quantity! The greedy one was in a dilemma. Suppose, instead of receiving something he were to wish for losing something? he queried to the lord, who replied in the case the neighbour would lose twice that much, then the greedy person said he would like to lose one eye! So that his neighbour would lose both the eyes! Wasn’t Bhoopalan such a person?" asked king Vikramaditya to the vampire.

The vampire realised that he had been outwitted and gave the slip to king once again taking with him the corpse lying on Vikram’s shoulders.