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In the Great God's Hair, by F. W. Bain, [1905], at

XI. A Red Lotus

Then said Indra: O ripe red fruit-lipped lady, for all that thou canst say, thou canst not persuade me that thou hast not done very ill in forsaking thy father's house for the arms of this stranger.

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[paragraph continues] Wilt thou find reasons to prove that it is the duty of all kings’ daughters to run away with robbers that break into their palaces by night?

Then said Wanawallarí: O Brahman, my case is an exception and not a rule, for all rules have exceptions. Moreover, though maybe thou wilt disbelieve it, know, that even I would not have acted as I did, but for just this husband and no other. For though I may appear to have acted in this matter with indiscretion and frivolity, yet it has been not in accordance with my nature, but against it; and therefore it furnishes no rules, either for any other person, or even for myself. For once in a way a coward may be brave, and a miser generous, and a wise man foolish, or even a sane man mad: and so may a woman give herself away without reserve to that one man who wakens the sleeping adoration in her heart, and lights in her soul the everlasting fire, without forfeiting her claim to be enrolled among the pure women of the world. And this I know to be my case, for my conscience is at ease, and does not blame me. And she who has her own soul on her side requires no other witness to her purity. As once there was a king with many wives, who were all unfaithful and untrue to him, but one. So having to go

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upon a warlike expedition, he gave each of them a lotus, and said: Keep this red lotus, and show it to me when I come again; and its colour shall be a proof of thy fidelity. For I received it from the deity, and it will never wither, so long as thou art true to me alone. And then he went away. And as soon as he was gone, all those wives with one exception amused themselves with other men. And very soon they all looked to see their lotuses, and found them withered away and dead. And they all became afraid, being conscious of their guilt, except the one. Then presently news arrived that the king was coming back. And when he arrived, all his wives appeared to meet him, rejoicing and adorned, with protestations of affection. And the king said: Show me all your lotuses. And they showed them, each her own: and to! they were all fresh and red as when he gave them. Only that one good wife gave him a withered lotus. And she said: O my lord, I know not how it is, that all these lotuses are fresh. For here is my lotus dead and withered, contrary to thy word: and yet my heart has never thought of any man but thee. Then all those other wives exclaimed against her, for they hated her: and they said: O king, she is corrupt, and we all know it: and now

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here is the proof. But the king looked at them, and he laughed. And he said: O ye fools, how could a lotus remain fresh for so many months? Now are you all condemned by your own endeavours to conceal your guilt. But she alone was acquitted by her heart, and did not fear the withering of her lotus: and she alone is pure, and worthy to be my queen. For the lotus that did not wither was the lotus of her heart.

Next: XII. The Wind and the Leaves