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Who is worst?

Betaal again started a Story.

There is a city named Pataliputra. There lived a  king named Vikramakesarin, possess a parrot and its name was Vidagdhachudamani.

The prince married as a wife, by the advice of the parrot, a princess of equal birth, of the royal family of Magadha, named Chandraprabha. That princess also possessed  female parrot’ of the name of Somika. And the two, the parrot, remained there in the same cage.

One day the parrot became enamoured of the starling and said to her: “Marry me, fair one, as we sleep, perch and feed in the same cage.

She answered him : “I do not desire intimate union with a male, for all males are wicked and ungrateful.”

The parrot retorted this: “It is not true that males are wicked but females are wicked” Thus dispute arose between them.

The two birds then made a bargain that if the parrot won, he should have her as his wife, and if she won, the parrot should be her slave.

They came before the prince to get a true judgment. The prince, who was in his father’s judgment-hall, heard the point at issue between them, and then said to the starling. “Tell me, how are males ungrateful ?“ On this she said: “Listen”; and, in order to establish her contention, proceeded to relate this story illustrating the kinds of males.

There is on the earth a famous city of the name of Knmandaki. In it there was a rich merchant of the name of Arthadattaa. He had a son born to him of the name of Dhanadatta. When his father died, the young man became dissipated. Rogues got round him and plunged him in the love of gambling and other vices. In truth the society of the wicked is the root of all the evils.

In a short time his wealth was exhausted by dissipation, and being ashamed of his poverty, he left his own country, and went to foreign lands.

In the course of his travels he reached a place named Chandanapur and desiring food, he entered the house of a certain merchant. As fate would have it, the merchant, seeing that he was a handsome youth, asked him his descent and other things, and finding out that he was of good birth, entertained him, and adopted him as his son. He gave him his daughter Ratnavati and thenceforth Dhanadatta lived in his father-in-law’s house.

In the course of some days he forgot in his present happiness his former misery, and having acquired wealth and longing for fresh dissipation, he wished to go back to his own land.

With difficulty wrung a permission from his unwilling father-in-law, whose daughter was his only child, and taking with him his wife, covered with ornaments, accompanied by an old woman, set out from that place. In course of time they reached a distant place, and on the plea that there was danger of robbers he took those ornament’s from his wife and got them into his own possession.
Then, being determined to kill his wife, for the sake of her wealth, threw her and the old woman into a ravine. After he had thrown them there he went away.

The old woman was killed, but his wife was caught in a mass of creepers and did not die. She slowly climbed up Out of the chasm, weeping bitterly, supporting herself by clinging to grass and creepers, for the appointed end of her life had not yet come.

Step by step, she arrived, by the road by which she came, at the house of her father, with difficulty, for her limbs were sorely bruised.

When she arrived there suddenly in this state, her mother and father questioned her eagerly. Weeping deeply she told. “We were robbed on the way by bandits, and my husband was dragged away bound. The old woman died, but I survived, though I fell into a ravine. Then I was dragged out of the ravine by a certain benevolent traveler who came that way, and I have arrived here.”

Her husband Dhanadatta, who had gone back to his own country, and wasted that wealth in gambling, said to himself  “I will go and fetch more wealth.”

Thinking thus in his heart, he set out for that house of his father-in-law, and when he drew near, his wife beheld him from a distance. She ran and fell at his feet.

He was frightened, but she told him all the fictitious story she had previously told her parents about the robbery, her fall, and so on. Thus he entered fearlessly with her the house of his father-in-law; and his father-in-law and mother-in-law, when they saw him, welcomed him joyfully.

His father-in-law called his friends together and made a great feast on the occasion. Then Dhanadatta lived happily with his wife Ratnavali, enjoying the wealth of his father-in-law.

One night, he killed his wife when asleep in his bosom, and took away all her ornaments, and then went away unobserved to his own country. So wicked are males!

When the starling had said this, king said to the parrot : “Now say your say.”

The parrot said: “Females are of intolerable audacity, immoral and wicked ; hear a tale in proof of it.

There is a city of the name of Harshavati. A leading merchant named Dharmadatta, was living there. He had a daughter named Vasudatta, matchless in beauty, whom he loved more than his life.

She was given to an excellent young merchant named Samudradatta and who dwelt in the city of Tamralipti, which is inhabited by honourable men.

Once on a time the merchant’s daughter, while she was living in her father’s house, and her husband was in his own country, saw at a distance a certain young and good-looking man. She invited him by means of a confidante, and made him her secret paramour. From that time forth she spent every night with him.

One day the husband of her returned from his own land. On that day of rejoicing she was adorned. But she would have nothing to say to her husband, in spite of her mother’s injunctions; and when he spoke to her she pretended to be asleep, as her heart was fixed on her paramour.

In the meanwhile, as all the people of the house, having eaten and drunk, were fast asleep, a thief entered their apartment. At that very moment the merchant’s daughter rose up, without seeing the thief, and went out secretly, having made an assignation with her lover.

When the thief saw that, his object being frustrated, he said to himself: “She has gone out in the dead of night adorned with those very ornaments which I came here to steal ; so I will watch her.” He went out and followed that merchant’s daughter Vasudatta. keeping an eye on her.

She, with flowers and other things of the kind in her hands, went out, and entered a garden. In it she saw her lover, who had come there to meet her, hanging dead on a tree, with a halter round his neck; for the city-guards had caught him there at night and hanged him, on the supposition that he was a thief. She was distracted and beside herself, and exclaiming, “I am ruined,” she fell on the ground and lamented with plaintive cries.

She took down her dead paramour from the tree, and placing him in a sitting position she adorned him with unguents and flowers, and, although he was senseless, embraced him, with mind blinded by passion and grief. In her sorrow she raised up his mouth and kissed it, her dead paramour, being animated by a Ghost, suddenly bit off her nose. Then she left him in confusion and agony; but still the unfortunate woman came back once more, and looked at him to see if he was still alive. And when she saw that the Ghost had left his body, and that he was dead and motionless, she departed slowly.
The thief, who was hidden there, saw all, and said to himself: “What is this that this wicked woman has done? I wonder what she will do now.”

The thief again followed her at a distance, out of curiosity.

She went on and entered her chamber, where her husband was asleep, and cried out, weeping: “Help! This wicked enemy, calling himself a husband, has cut off my nose, though I have done nothing wrong.”
Her husband, and her father, and the servants, hearing her repeated cries, woke up and arose in a state of excitement. Her father, seeing that her nose had been recently taken off, was angry, and had her husband bound, as having injured his wife. But even while he was being bound he remained speechless, like a dumb man, and said nothing.

The thief had seen all this, he slipped away. The merchant’s son was taken by his father-in-law to the king, together with his wife who had been deprived of her nose. And the king, after he had been informed by them of the circumstances, ordered the execution of the young merchant, on the ground that he had maimed his own wife, rejecting with contempt his version of the story. As he was being led to the place of execution, with drums beating, the thief came up to the king’s officers and said to them: “You ought not to put this man to death without cause; I know the circumstances. Take me to the king, that I may tell him the whole story.”  The thief said this. They took him to the king, and after he had received a promise of pardon, he told him the whole history of the night from the beginning, and said: “If your Majesty does not believe my words, look at once at the woman’s nose, which is in the mouth of that corpse.”

When the king heard that, he sent servants to look, and finding that the statement was true, and gave orders merchant should not be punished. He banished his wife from the country, after cutting off her ears also.

When the parrot had told this tale, their dispute remained undecided.

Betaal  again asked to the king: “Tell me which are the worst, males or females.”

The king replied : “Women are the worst. For it is possible that once in a way a man may be so wicked, but females are, as a rule, always such everywhere. Sometimes male are worst and sometimes female are worst. All it depends on circumstances So we can’t blame particularly any one of these.”

Hearing this reply the ghost again fly away.

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