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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "Raṇavîrasiṅg"


Sundara thought it dangerous to pass through the streets, and wished to hide himself in a safe place. Fortune conducted him to one. It was a ruined old choultry, where food, during the days of his father, was distributed in charity to the beggars of the town, and which was now only resorted to by them to sleep, and not to receive rice. The prince entered it, and laid himself down in the midst of them, fortunately unobserved. He could hear from where he was the noise of the persons searching outside. In the garden the minister searched in vain, and accusing the female for her wrong interpretation as he thought, retired to bed.

Outside the north gate, at a distance of three ghaṭikâs’ walk, lived a robber. He used to start out on a plundering expedition once in seven years. In the houses and mansions he used to rob he took only jewels of various kinds, Gômêda,(Cinnamon-stone) pushparûga, (topaz) vajra,(Diamond) vaiḍûrya, &c.; gold and silver he rejected as being too mean for his dignity. As he was(a precious stone) a high-caste robber, he used to take a coolie with him on his way to carry his booty. Of course, that coolie never returned from the cave. He was put to death after his services were over, lest he should disclose the secret of the robber.

Unfortunately, that new-moon night happened to be the night of that cruel robber’s plundering expedition. He came out, and when he saw people in search of the prince, thinking that he was not in his palace, he wanted to plunder it. Wishing for a coolie, he entered the ruined choultry, to pick out one among the beggars there. Passing over the others he came to the prince. He found him stout and strong. “This beggar will do me good service to-day. I shall break my custom, and amply reward this man for his services.” So thinking to himself, the gentleman robber tapped Sundara with his cane on the back. The prince had just closed his eyes. In the short sleep that ensued he dreamt that the minister’s servants were pursuing him, and that one had caught him.

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