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The Upright King
by [?]

Told by Dunkní.





1. The Boar is an avatár of Vishṇu.

2. A ḍom (the d is lingual) is a Hindú of a very low caste.

3. Possibly this king is the same as the king Harichand in the last story but one in the collection, p. 224, and he may also be the Hari�chandra of the following letter from Mr. C. H. Tawney:–

“I have been looking up the story of ‘Hari�chandra.’ It is to be found in Muir, vol. I. He gives a summary of it from the Markaṇḍeya Puráṇa. It is also found in the ‘Chanda Kau�ikam,’ and in Mutu Coomara Swamy’s ‘Martyr of Truth.’ The following is Muir’s summary summarized. Hari�chandra was a king who lived in the Tretá age, and was renowned for his virtue, and for the universal prosperity, moral and physical, which prevailed during his reign. One day he heard a sound of female lamentation which proceeded from the Sciences who were becoming mastered by the austere Sage, Vi�vamitra, in a way they had never been before. He rushed to their assistance as a Kshatriya bound to succour the oppressed. By a haughty speech he provoked Vi�vamitra, and in consequence of his wrath the Sciences instantly perished. (In the ‘Chanda Kau�ikam,’ as far as I remember, we are told that the anger of Vi�vamitra interfered with the success of his austerity.) The king says he had only done his duty as a king, which involves the bestowal of gifts on Bráhmans and the succour of the weak. Vi�vamitra thereupon demands from the king as a gift the whole earth, everything but himself, his son, and his wife. The king gives it him. Then Vi�vamitra demands his sacrificial fee; the king goes to Benares, followed by the relentless Sage, the ruler of �iva, and is compelled to sell his wife. She is bought by a rich old Bráhman. The son cries and the Bráhman buys him too. But Hari�chandra has not enough, even now, to satisfy Vi�vamitra, so he sells himself to a Cháṇḍála, who is really Dharma, the god of righteousness. The Cháṇḍála (man of the lowest caste), carries off the king, bound, beaten, and confused. The Cháṇḍála sends him to steal clothes in a cemetery. There he lives twelve months. His wife comes to the cemetery to perform the obsequies of her son, who had died from the bite of a serpent. The two determine to burn themselves with the corpse of their son. When Hari�chandra, after placing his son on the funeral pyre, is meditating on the Supreme Spirit, the lord Hari Náráyaṇa Krishṇa, all the gods arrive headed by Dharma (righteousness) and accompanied by Vi�vamitra. Dharma entreats the king to desist from his rash enterprise, and Indra announces to him that he, his wife, and his son have gained heaven by their good works. Ambrosia and flowers are rained by the god from the sky, and the king’s son is restored to the bloom of youth. The king, adorned with celestial clothing and garments, and the queen, embrace their son. Hari�chandra, however, declares that he cannot go to heaven till he has received his master the Cháṇḍála’s permission, and paid him a ransom. Dharma, the god of righteousness, then says that he had miraculously assumed the form of a Cháṇḍála. The king requests that his subjects may accompany him to heaven, at least for one day. This request is granted by Indra; and after Vi�vamitra has inaugurated the king’s son, Rohita�va, as his successor, Hari�chandra, his friends and followers, all ascend to heaven.”


Bél, a fruit; Ægle marmelos.

Bulbul, a kind of nightingale.

Chaprásí, a messenger wearing a badge ( chaprás ).

Cooly (Tamil kúli ), a labourer in the fields; also a porter.

Dál, a kind of pulse; Phaseolus aureus, according to Wilson; Paspalum frumentaceum, according to Forbes.

Dom (the d is lingual), a low-caste Hindú.

Fakír, a Muhammadan religious mendicant.

Ghee ( ghí ), butter boiled and then set to cool.

Kází, a Muhammadan Judge.

Kotwál, the chief police officer in a town.

Líchí, a fruit; Scytalia litchi, Roxb.

Mahárájá (properly Maháráj), literally great king.

Mahárání, literally great queen.

Mainá, a kind of starling.

Maund ( man ), a measure of weight, about 87 lb.

Mohur ( muhar ), a gold coin worth 16 rupees.

Nautch ( nátya ), a union of song, dance, and instrumental music.

Pálkí, a palanquin.

Pice ( paisa ), a small copper coin.

Pilau, a dish made of either chicken or mutton, and rice.

Rájá, a king.

Rakshas, a kind of demon that eats men and beasts.

Rání, a queen.

Rohú, a kind of big fish.

Rupee ( rúpíya ), a silver coin, now worth about twenty pence.

Ryot ( ràíyat ), a cultivator.

Sarai, a walled enclosure containing small houses for the use of travellers.

Sárí, a long piece of stuff which Hindú women wind round the body as a petticoat, passing one end over the head.

Sepoy ( sipáhí ), a soldier.

Wazír, prime minister.

Yogí, a Hindú religious mendicant.