AND all night, he slept with the Kadamba flower on his bed of leaves: and in the morning he went out, and watched the fire-flies on the pool hastening to hide their lamps before they should be shamed by the coming of the Great Lamp of day. And presently the chétí came towards him, holding in her hand an amaranth s. And she looked like an incarnation of the essence of timidity, blushing at the recollection of the adventure of the day before. And she came up to the King, and said: O King, my mistress sends her lord, by these unworthy hands, a flower, and if his slumber has been peaceful, it is well with her.
Then the King said: Dear chétí, he sleeps well,
who has not to reproach himself with withholding succour from the suppliant. Then she dropped her eyes upon the ground. And the King looked at her with affection, and he said: Dear chétí, do not be ashamed: for thy case was perilous. Moreover, I took no advantage of thee in thy distress. But nevertheless, could I discover that bee, I would intoxicate him with nectar, till he could not fly. Then she said: And what, if he had stung me? Then the King said: Chétí, had the villain stung thee, I would have bound him with cobwebs, and thrown him before an elephant. Then she laughed, and said: Poor bee! the punishment would have exceeded his crime. But enough of him! Let me rather continue to enlighten thee as to the virtues of my mistress. Then the King said hastily: O thou tormenter, wilt thou never cease to remind me of thy mistress? O that I were not a King, to endure by reason of policy queens that I do not want! Or why art thou not thy mistress, and she the maid? For as it is, I see before me nothing but despair. Then she said: O King, despair is unavailing. And even greater obstacles than these have been surmounted by others, by the favour of Ganesha and their own determination. Did not Wishwamitra by resolution long ago become a
[paragraph continues] Brahman? Then the King said with a sigh: O my dear chétí, I am in misery, and instead of consoling me, thou mockest me with old legends that are not to the point. And she said: O King, some surmount obstacles, and some faint and die before shadows, which seem to be but are not really obstacles at all. For once there was a full moon. And looking for lotuses to love, he peered curiously into a forest pool. Now in that pool there was a pure white lotus, growing in the black mud. But that day there had come down to the pool two male elephants; and they fought in the pool, and struck their tusks into each other's sides, and their red blood streamed into the pool, and fell upon the lotus, and turned its petals red. So when the moon looked down into the pool, he exclaimed: Alas! it is only a red lotus, and not a bride for me t. So he pined away in sorrow, and night after night he grew thinner and thinner, and at last his emaciation became such that he vanished altogether, and ceased to exist. And then on the dark night that precedes the new moon, the clouds assembled in masses; and there fell a furious rain into the
pool, and it washed the lotus clean. And when the new moon stole into the pool, lo! he saw to his delight a pure white lotus, with a rain-drop shining on its leaf, like a tear of joy at his approach u.
Then the King said: O, that I were that moon, and thou my lotus: then would my nights pass like an instant of delight, and not hang over me, as now they do, black with the hours of separation. But she laid the amaranth at his feet, and went away: and turned, before she vanished in the trees, and then became invisible. And the King stooped, and picked up the flower. And he said: Amaranth, gladly would I stain thee, as those mad elephants did the lotus, with my blood, could it avail: yet even so, I could not make thy colour redder than it is. And he went back to the temple, with the amaranth in his hand, sad at heart, fore-seeing the conflict of his honour with his love.
49:s Kurabaka: it has a crimson flower.
51:t The white lotus (kumuda) is the proper moon lotus, the others are apparently all devoted to the sun.
52:u The King did not understand her, for love is blind.