The Three Suitors
Once more. Vikram grabbed Betal, slung him across his shoulder and started walking out of the forest. To pass the time, Betal related another story.
There once lived a very rich man who had a beautiful daughter, Manushree. When Manushree was old enough to get married, her father started looking for a suitable husband for her.
He finally narrowed doun his choice to three good suitors.
Then, he asked Manushree to choose one suitor. The tension of choosing was quiet a strain on her. As a result of thinking too much, she fell into a trance and died. When the news reached the three suitors, they were heartbroken. Thev decided to devote the rest of their lives to her memory.
One of the suitors took some of her ashes and immersed them in the Ganga.
He then started living on the banks of that river. The second suitor decided to lie down on her ashes, at the same place where she was cremated. The third bacame a nomad. He roamed from one place to another.
During the course of his journey, a holy couple gave him sheer. While staying with them, he witnessed a strange sight. The lady, while cooking, fell into fire nad died. The old man calmly collected her ashes, said a prayer, sprinkled some holy water, and behold, she came back to life!
The young man was at once reminded of the beautiful Manushree. He thought that he too, could bring her back to life by reciting the same prayer
After leaning the prayer from the old man, he returned to the exact place where Manushree was cremated. Here, he met the other suitor who lived with her ashes.
After reciting the prayer, the suitor who lived on the banks of the River Ganga sprinkled some holy water on the ashes, and behold, there stood the beautiful Manushee!
All of them were thrilled to see Manushree again. But soon enough a dispute broke out amongst them as to who would be the ideal husbarnd for her. Each one of them thought that he was the most deserving candidate.
Ending the story thus, Betal asked Vikram, “Now tell me, which youmg man was the ideal suitor for the girl? If you keep quiet irrespective of knowing the answer, I will burst your head into a thousand pieces.”
Without hesitation, Vikram replied, “To begin with, the suitor who gave Manushree life by reciting a prayer was like her father. The suitor who immersed her ashes the river was like her mother. But the suitor who slept on her ashes, after sacricing everything in life, is rightfully her husband.”
“You are right!” cried Betal. “But you have spoken. so here I go.”