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X. Separation

And he reeled about like a drunken man, this way and that way, jostling the people, who marvelled and mocked at him: See, see, the ragged Rajpoot, the suitor of the King's daughter, whose very sight has killed her! But he heard nothing but the words of Shrí, and saw nothing but her eyes. And he staggered on, like a woo en doll, on feet that moved of their own accord, till as before he reached the tank, and sank down upon the ground, knowing neither where he was nor what

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he did, puzzled about the quarters of the world p. And like a man, out of whose universe the sun and moon and the five elements with their compounds have withdrawn, leaving him alone in the centre of empty space, he lay motionless, plunged in stupor, with dry eyes. Then all at once memory returned to him, and he began to weep. And he wept, as if he contained within him the very fountains of the salt sea, till at last from weariness and grief he fell asleep on the edge of the tank. And in his dreams Shrí stood beside him, and revived his parched soul with the nectar of her kindly glance, as a hermit's daughter refreshes with water the plants of the hermitage committed to her charge.

And after drinking deep draughts from those two fountains of pity and love, he awoke, and found that it was now night, and again he was alone at the moonlit tank. And he said to himself: Alas! alas! I found my bride, and lost her again at the same instant, through the terrible operation of sins committed in a former birth. Now indeed I am alone, for this time she is gone I know not where, and how am I to look for her? And yet she told me we should meet again, to keep me from despair.

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[paragraph continues] Therefore now I will wander away over the wide world, and spend my life in seeking her: for but this, nothing is left in life, and the hope of reunion is like the back of the Great Tortoise, my solitary refuge in the wreck of the three worlds.

So he rose up, and went out of the city, and wandered about, hither and thither, like a bubble on the waves of time. And he went from village to village, and from city to city, asking everywhere of all whom he met: Have you seen Shrí, my wife? you will know her by her eyes, for they are full of the colour of heaven. But however much he asked, he found no answer: nor could anyone tell him anything about her. On the contrary, all wondered at him and turned him to ridicule. And one would say: Who is this moon-struck vagabond who roams about looking for a blue-eyed beauty? And another: What wonder that Shrí has deserted such a ragged mendicant, who forsakes even the well-to-do! And others said: This distracted Rajpoot wants the moon, but he needs medicines q. And at last he abandoned altogether the dwellings of

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men, and wandered continually in the jungle, with no companions but his shadow and his sword, looking in vain for the path by which he had gone on his former journey to the Land of the Lotus, and gazing by day at the pools of blue lotuses, and by night at the heaven with its stars, for they were like mirrors and images of the hues and shadows of the eyes of Shrí.


78:p dinmohita = desorienté.

79:q The point of these gibes depends on the various meanings of the word Shrí: which may mean his wife, or the goddess of fortune, or the moon: out of which come herbs or medicines.

Next: XI. The Lord of the Beasts