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"Vaisampayana said, 'Rejected thus by the princess, Kichaka, afflicted with maddening lust and forgetting all sense of propriety, addressed Sudeshna saying, 'Do thou, Kekaya's daughter, so act that thy Sairindhri may come into my arms. Do thou, O Sudeshna, adopt the means by which the damsel of the gait of an elephant may accept me; I am dying of absorbing desire.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing his profuse lamentations, that gentle lady, the intelligent queen of Virata, was touched with pity. And having taken counsel with her own self and reflected on Kichaka's purpose and on the anxiety of Krishna, Sudeshna addressed the Suta's son in these words, 'Do thou, on the occasion of some festival, procure viands and wines for me. I shall then send my Sairindhri to thee on the pretence of bringing wine. And when she will repair thither do thou in solitude, free from interruption, humour her as thou likest. Thus soothed, she may incline her mind to thee.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, he went out of his sister's apartments. And he soon procured wines well-filtered and worthy of a king. And employing skilled cooks, he prepared many and various kinds of choice viands and delicious drinks and many and various kinds of meat of different degrees of excellence. And when all this had been done, that gentle lady Sudeshna, as previously counselled by Kichaka, desired her Sairindhri to repair to Kichaka's abode, saying, 'Get up, O Sairindhri and repair to Kichaka's abode to bring wine, for, O beauteous lady, I am afflicted with thirst.' Thereupon the Sairindhri replied, 'O princess, I shall not be able to repair to Kichaka's apartments. Thou thyself knowest, O queen, how shameless he is. O thou of faultless limbs, O beauteous lady, in thy palace I shall not be able to lead a lustful life, becoming faithless to my husbands. Thou rememberest, O gentle lady, O beautiful one, the conditions I had set down before entering thy house. O thou of tresses ending in graceful curls, the foolish Kichaka

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afflicted by the god of desire, will, on seeing me, offer me insult. Therefore, I will not go to his quarters. Thou hast, O princess, many maids under thee. Do thou, good betide thee, send one of them. For, surely, Kichaka will insult me.' Sudeshna said, 'Sent by me, from my abode, surely he will not harm thee.' And having said this, she handed over a golden vessel furnished with a cover. And filled with apprehension, and weeping, Draupadi mentally prayed for the protection of the gods, and set out for Kichaka's abode for fetching wine. And she said, 'As I do not know another person save my husbands, by virtue of that Truth let Kichaka not be able to overpower me although I may approach his presence.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'And that helpless damsel then adored Surya for a moment. And Surya, having considered all that she urged, commanded a Rakshasa to protect her invisibly. And from that time the Rakshasa began to attend upon that blameless lady under any circumstances. And beholding Krishna in his presence like a frightened doe, the Suta rose up from his seat, and felt the joy that is felt by a person wishing to cross to the other shore, when he obtains a boat.'"

Next: Section XVI