Vikram Betal Stories In English - The Final Choice 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 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 corpse. However, as soon as he began crossing the desolate cremation grounds 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 cosy bed, you’re still coming after me. Do you think what you’re aiming to do is within your capacity? One must know one’s limits and limitations before aspiring anything. Maybe you’ll understand this better if you listen to this story. It’s about a beautiful woman called Sona Roopa." The vampire then began his narration.

Girishwar was a well-to-do farmer of Indragiri. His wife Pramila, spent quite a few years, visiting holy places and making offerings to be blessed with a child. When the baby was born, everyone was struck by her beauty. There was a golden glitter about her and the parents named her Sona(gold) Roopa. As she grew up, she turned a lovely maiden capable of drawing anybody’s attention. Her friends, relations and neighbours, all had only one remark to make : "Sona, you look like a princess. You’ll certainly be coveted by none else than a prince. Take care!"

Sona was carried away by such comments and praise. Heart of hearts she, too, wished that she become a princess and married a prince. This ambition made her arrogant.

Sureshchand was a close friend of Girishwar. One day he proposed to Girish, "Would you give your daughter’s hand to my son Ramesh?"

"Why not?" responded Girishwar. "But, why hurry? Let the time come, and we’ll see then.."

It so happened Ramesh ran into Sona one day as she was watering plants in her garden. He stopped her and said, "Sona, I like you very much. Would you marry me?" Ramesh was a well behaved young man and clever, too. But somehow Sona had not yet been drawn to him. Arrogant as she was, she curtly said, "I don’t like you a wee bit!"

"I know what’s in your mind. Anyway, take it from me, Sona," said Ramesh, "if ever I marry anyone, it will be only you, and none else."

Sona remained silent, without giving him any reply. She was only imagining of a Prince Charming who would ask for her hand. She decided that she should prepare herself to be a princess - in dress and behaviour. And the only way she could get that kind of training would be to spend some days in a palace with a queen. One of her friends managed to get her introduced to the queen of the land and Sona became her maid-in-waiting.

One day, an artist called on the queen. "Your highness! I’ve brought one of my best paintings for you. Would you graciously accept it?"

The queen asked Sona to open the covering and show her the painting. The artist had captured the sunset in all its glory. The queen liked the work very much and was all praise for the artist and gave him a gift of a hundred gold coins. After the artist went away, the queen asked Sona."What do you think of the painting?"

"There’s nothing extraordinary about it, your highness," replied Sona. "After all, we see sunset every day; he could have painted something else. I feel, it does not deserve a hundred coins."

The queen was not hurt by Sona’s comments. She merely smiled and said, "Sona, you’re blessed with so much of beauty, that’s why you’re not able to appreciate beauty in other things. Mind you, if I had given him anything less, it wouldn’t have been behoving of a queen. Probably you didn’t realise that aspect." Sona listened to the queen in silence.

One evening, she was in attendance when the queen and the king were engaged in conversation. A soldier rushed in. "Your majesty, word has just been received that our neighbour is approaching us with his army!"

Sona suddenly dropped the fan she was holding, and began trembling from head to foot. The queen fell into deep thought. "I was apprehending this attack. Don’t worry. Our army is well prepared to meet any eventualities," said the king. he then turned to Sona. "Why are you afraid like this? If you people, confined to the palace, cannot take such threats, what about the others? These are all every day happenings. You should be able to face them bravely. If you can’t then we don’t want your service."

One day, the queen left on a picnic to the nearby forest. She was accompanied by an entourage, but Sona did not go with them, feigning indisposition. Actually, there was nothing wrong with her. She had been waiting for an opportunity to try out the queen’s ornaments. She thought, now was the time to carry out her wish. That was why she decided to excuse herself from the picnic.

Sona did not lose any time before she sneaked into the queen’s room, opened her wardrobe and pulled out whatever items she needed. After adorning herself to her satisfaction, she stood before the mirror, turning this way and that, and admiring herself and her beauty.

She suddenly saw a shadow in the mirror and turned to face a handsome young man. he stood enraptured at the sight of Sona Roopa. "Who are you?" he asked her. "You look like a princess.Which kingdom are you from"

"I am Mandakini the princess of Mangalapuri," Sona responded without any hesitation. "And who are you, by the way?"

"I’m Prince Udayavarma. I’ve just come back from the gurukul (ashram) after completing my studies. I’m really struck by your beauty. I wish to marry you, and shall formally make a proposal to your parents."

Sona Roopa realised that the prince had believed every word of her lie; if she were to reveal the truth, he might decide not to marry her. "O Prince! Please forgive me. What I told you was not the truth. I’m just a maid myself in the queen’s clothes and ornaments. I’m sorry I told you a lie without knowing, who you are."

Prince Udayavarma, surprisingly, was not cross with her. "Oh! Don’t worry. I’m not one to discard a diamond even if I were to pick it from garbage. You may be a maid here, but I’m willing to marry you," he told Sona smilingly.

"May I ask a question, O Prince?" Sona evidently was not prepared to take him at his word. "Suppose I don’t accept your proposal. What’ll you do?"

"Do you think a maid will reject a proposal from a prince?" asked Udayavarma. "If she is not willing to marry me, why should I care? I shall find someone else, equally beautiful, and marry her!"

"Kindly bear with me, O Prince!" responded Sona Roopa "I’m already engaged to someone else. You were a bit late in asking for my hand!"

Sona Roopa soon afterwards left the palace, went back home, married Ramesh, and lived happily with him.

The vampire concluded the narration there and asked King Vikramaditya, "O King! Right from the beginning, Sona Roopa had wanted to marry only a prince. When she got an opportunity, why didn’t she make use of it? Prince Udayavarma was willing to marry her even though she was only a maid and not a princess. Why did she then decide to marry Ramesh? If you don’t answer me to my satisfaction, beware your head will be blown to pieces!"

Vikramaditya had a ready answer. "It’s true Sona very much desired to marry a prince. That’s why she curtly dismissed Ramesh when he proposed to her. She did get a chance to marry a prince. But she decided to test him and asked that question to Udayavarma. His answer prompted her to reject his proposal, too. He was prepared to search for someone else if Sona would not marry him. She knew that he was not sincere and might do as he suggested. She remembered what Ramesh had told her, that he would not marry anyone other than Sona Roopa. Ramesh was more sincere and would, therefore, be a better husband."

The vampire realised that King Vikramaditya had outsmarted him once again. He flew back to the ancient tree taking the corpse with him. The king drew his sword and went after the vampire.