THEN he dreamed of Madhupamanjarí, all night long, and in the morning he rose before the sun, and went out. And as he stood listening to the joyous cries of the chakrawáka and his mate, meeting in the morning after a night of separation, the chétí came towards him through the trees, holding in her hand berries of the shríphala. And she said: My mistress sends her lord, by these unworthy
hands, berries, and if he has enjoyed sweet sleep, it is well with her.
Then the King said: Dear chétí, I cannot tell whether I slept last night or lay awake: this only I know, that all night I listened to thy voice and gazed at thee: but whether it was a dream or not, I cannot tell. Then she looked at him with mock gravity; and said: These are symptoms very dangerous and alarming to the physician. Thy case is parlous, and very similar to that of the madman who was enamoured of a stone. Then he said: Pretty chétí, I see no resemblance whatever between a stone and thee. And she said: I can be to thee no more than a stone was to him. And the King said: Tell me his story, for I care not whether it be like my own, or not: and in the meantime I will watch thee, and listen to thy voice. Then she said: Know that there was a king, who hunting in the forest came to an ancient temple, and on its wall was a stone image of the goddess of beauty. And the instant his eye fell on it, he fell in love with it so violently, that he could not tear himself away from it. Then sending for workmen, he caused them to extract the image from the wall; and carrying it away with him, he had it set up in a room in his palace. And night and day he lived before it,
never taking his eyes off it: and he used to kiss it, and caress it, and upbraid it for not returning his caresses. And one night, as he lay asleep, he thought he saw the goddess come down to him out of the wall, no longer made of stone, but warm and living flesh and blood. But just as he was going to clasp her in his arms, almost beside himself for joy, suddenly a watchman in the street shouted and awoke him. Then in his fury, the king instantly put the watchman to death, and banished every watchman in the city. And he spent the remainder of his life vainly trying to recover in his dreams the conclusion of his meeting with the goddess, and yet he never could succeed: and he was filled with contempt for everything that happened when he was awake, saying to himself: This whole world is like the stone, a mere lifeless copy of that real original which I found that time, by the favour of the deity, in my dream. And surely he is mad, who pursues all his life a thing inaccessible to him even in a dream: and such am I to thee; and thou will surely resemble him, if forgetting my mistress, thou allowest thy fancy to fix on an object forbidden to thee. O King, is it not true, and is not the comparison exact?
Then the King said: I do not know: I have not heard thy tale; for I was wholly occupied in watching thy lips, and I marvel, that I never noticed them before. Tell me again, and I will shut my eyes; so that thy beauty shall not interfere, and keep me from comprehending the meaning of thy words. And she laughed, and said: Surely I am right, and thy wits are deserting thee. And she laid the berries at his feet, and went away, without looking back, and was lost among the trees. But the King stooped, and picked up the berries. And he said: Berries, ye are well named p. Did ye acquire merit in a former birth, that ye were privileged to be plucked from the tree and carried in her hand, while your brothers and sisters were left disconsolate and unhappy on the tree? And he went back to the temple, holding them in his hand, haunted by the memory of her lips, whose colour they resembled, to wait for another dawn.
41:p Shríphala; i.e. the fruit of the goddess of beauty and good fortune.