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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "The Soothsayer's Son"

The Soothsayer's Son

After it he closed his lips as if in deep meditation, which commanded more respect than ever.

Cart-loads of corpses of men and cattle began to come in every minute. Even graves, it is said, were broken open, and corpses buried a day or two before were taken out and sent for the revival. As soon as all were ready, Gaṅgâdhara took a vessel full of water and sprinkled it over them all, thinking only of his Nâgarâja and Vyâghrarâja(King of tigers).All rose up as if from deep slumber, and went to their respective homes. The princess, too, was restored to life. The joy of the king knew no bounds. He cursed the day on which he imprisoned him, blamed himself for having believed the word of a goldsmith, and offered him the hand of his daughter and the whole kingdom, instead of half as he promised. Gaṅgâdhara would not accept anything. The king requested him to put a stop for ever to these calamities. He agreed to do so, and asked the king to assemble all his subjects in a wood near the town. “I shall there call in all the tigers and serpents and give them a general order.” So said Gaṅgâdhara, and the king accordingly gave the order. In a couple of ghaṭikâs(An Indian hour = 24 min.) the wood near Ujjaini was full of people, who assembled to witness the authority of man over such enemies of human beings as tigers and serpents. “He is no man; be sure of that. How could he have managed to live for ten years without food and drink? He is surely a god.” Thus speculated the mob.

When the whole town was assembled, just at the dusk of evening, Gaṅgâdhara sat dumb for a moment, and thought upon the Vyâghrarâja and Nâgarâja, who came running with all their armies. People began to take to their heels at the sight of tigers. Gaṅgâdhara assured them of safety, and stopped them.

The grey light of the evening, the pumpkin colour of Gaṅgâdhara, the holy ashes scattered lavishly over his body, the tigers and snakes humbling themselves at his feet, gave him the true majesty of the god Gaṅgâdhara(Śiva).

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