Chandralêkhâ and the Eight Robbers
There was an ancient city named Kaivalyam, in the Pânḍiya country, and in that city there lived a dancing girl named Muttumôhanâ. She was an excellent gem of womankind, for though born of the dancing-girls’ caste, she was a very learned and pious woman, and never would she taste her food without first going and worshipping in the temple of Śiva. She moved in the society of kings, ministers, and Brâhmiṇs, and never mingled with low people, however rich they might be. She had a daughter named Chandralêkhâ, whom she put to school with the sons of kings, ministers and Brâhmiṇs. Chandralêkhâ showed signs of very great intelligence, even when she was beginning her alphabet, so that the master took the greatest care with her tuition, and in less than four years she began her lessons and became a great paṇḍitâ(learned woman). However, as she was only a dancing-girl by birth, there was no objection to her attending to her studies in open school till she attained to maturity, and, accordingly, up to that age she attended the school and mastered the four Vêdas and Śâstras and the sixty-four varieties of knowledge.
She then ceased to attend the school, and Muttumôhanâ said to her:—
“My darling daughter, for the last seven or eight years you have been taking lessons under the Brâhmiṇ, your master, in the various departments of knowledge, and you must now pay a large fee to remunerate your master’s labours in having taught you so much. You are at liberty to take as much money as you please from my hoard.”
So saying she handed over the key to her daughter, and Chandralêkhâ, delighted at her mother’s sound advice, filled up five baskets with five thousand mohars in each, and setting them on the heads of five maid-servants, went to her master’s house with betel leaves, areca nut, flowers and cocoanuts in a platter in her hand, to be presented along with the money. The servants placed the baskets before the master and stood outside the house, while Chandralêkhâ took the dish of betel leaves, nuts, &c.