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

XVI. A God abashed

Then said Indra: O lady of swelling bosom and lofty soul, though thy husband has found in thee a jewel through no merit of his own, still thou canst not deny that he is a scorner of the gods, and therefore doomed to bring himself and thee also into disaster arising from their anger.

Then Wanawallarí rose up and stood before him. And she crossed her hands over her bosom, and lowered her long dark lashes over her eyes. And she said: Brahman, now I am a wife, and it may be shall soon be a mother, and many things I know now that yesterday were unknown to me. And now, let me ask thee a question. If I should have a son, and if, when he grew to be a man, in a moment of forgetfulness and anger due to evil fortune he should curse me as the author of his

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misery: tell me, what would be my duty? Should I abandon and forsake him; or should I not rather forgive and condone his offence, considering it rather as the outcome of a moment of passion than the deliberate act of a hardened ill-doer?

And she raised her lashes, and looked at him with clear irrefutable eyes that penetrated his soul, and waited for him to reply. And Indra was abashed before her, and could not meet her glance. And he struck his hands together, and exclaimed: O woman and wife, subtle-witted and silver-tongued, whose incomparable beauty is rendered irresistible by the soft love-light in thy young bride's eyes, I am conquered by thee, and thy husband is blest in thee: and well is it said, that a virtuous woman is higher than the gods. Know, that I came to punish thy husband, but thou hast redeemed him, and stood between him and the wrath of heaven. Take thy husband and lead him into the good path, which is thy own, and save him, if thou canst, from thy father's vengeance, as now from mine.

And instantly he vanished from before her eyes, and flew up into the sky. And Water-lily saw him go: and she looked after him with triumph in her almond eyes, and laughter on her vermilion

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lips. But Wanawallarí started, when she saw that illusive Brahman disappear. And she drew her breath, and stood, like a startled fawn, with wondering eyes and moving breast, while the colour came and went upon her cheek. And then she said to herself: It was as I thought, and that old Brahman was some deity, descending in a mortal form to try me. For his eyelids never moved z, and his body cast no shadow, and he knew all that had occurred to us as no mortal could have known it. But now, let me remember his words, and stand, if I can, between my husband and my father's anger. And as she spoke, she looked, and saw her husband coming quickly towards her along the street.


64:z A peculiarity of gods, denoted by fixed epithets: as animisha, stabdha-lochana, one 'whose eyes are fixed,' 'who does not wink.'

Next: XVII. Nectar