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The Soothsayer's Son

They met and recognised each other, even at a distance. They flew into each other’s arms. Both remained still for a time almost unconscious with joy. The emotion of pleasure (ânanda) was so great, especially in Gaṅgâdhara, that it proved dangerous to his life. In a word, he died of joy.

The sorrow of the elder brother could better be imagined than described. He saw again his lost brother, after having given up, as it were, all hopes of meeting him. He had not even asked him his adventures. That he should be snatched away by the cruel hand of death seemed unbearable to him. He wept and wailed, took the corpse on his lap, sat under a tree, and wetted it with tears. But there was no hope of his dead brother coming to life again.

The elder brother was a devout worshipper of Gaṇapati(The eldest son of Śiva commonly known as the belly god).That was a Friday, a day very sacred to that god. The elder brother took the corpse to the nearest Gaṇêśa(Another name of Gaṇapati) temple and called upon him. The god came, and asked him what he wanted. “My poor brother is dead and gone; and this is his corpse. Kindly keep it in your charge till I finish worshipping you. If I leave it anywhere else the devils may snatch it away when I am absent worshipping you; after finishing your pûjâ(Worship) I shall burn him.” Thus said the elder brother, and, giving the corpse to the god Gaṇêśa, he went to prepare himself for that deity’s ceremonials. Gaṇêśa made over the corpse to his Gaṇas(Attendants of Gaṇêśa.), asking them to watch over it carefully.

So a spoiled child receives a fruit from its father, who, when he gives it the fruit asks the child to keep it safe. The child thinks within itself, “My father will forgive me if I eat a portion of it.” So saying it eats a portion, and when it finds it so sweet, it eats the whole, saying, “Come what will, what can father do, after all, if I eat it? Perhaps give me a stroke or two on the back. Perhaps he may forgive me.” In the same way these Gaṇas of Gaṇapati first ate a portion of the corpse, and when they found it sweet, for we know it was crammed up with the sweetmeats of the kind rats, devoured the whole, and began consulting about the best excuse possible to offer to their master.

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