Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

The Little Clay Cart, by Shudraka, tr. Arthur William Ryder, [1905], at

p. 132



[Enter a beadle.]


THE magistrates said to me "Come, beadle, go to the courtroom, and make ready the seats." So now I am on my way to set the court-room in order. [He walks about and looks around him.] Here is the court-room. I will enter. [He enters, sweeps, and puts a seat in its place.] There! I have tidied up the court-room and put the seats in readiness, and now I will go and tell the magistrates. [He walks about and looks around him.] But see! Here comes that arrant knave, the king's brother-in-law. I will go away without attracting his attention. [He stands apart. Enter Sansthānaka, in gorgeous raiment.]

Sansth. I bathed where water runs and flows and purls;

I shat within a garden, park, and grove
With women, and with females, and with girls,
Whose lovely limbs with grace angelic move.1

My hair is shometimes done up tight, you shee;
In locks, or curls, it hangs my forehead o’er;
Shometimes ’tis matted, shometimes hanging free;

And then again, I wear a pompadour.
I am a wonder, I'm a wondrous thing,
And the husband of my shishter is the king.2

And beshides, I've found a big hole, like a worm that has crawled into the knot of a lotush-root, and is looking for a hole to creep out at. Now who was I going to accuse of thish wicked deed? [He recalls something.] Oh, yesh! I remember. I was going to accuse poor Chārudatta of thish wicked deed. Beshides, he's poor. They'll believe anything about him. Good! I'll go to the court-room and lodge a public complaint against Chārudatta, how he shtrangled

p. 133

Vasantasenā and murdered her. Sho now I'm on my way to the court-room. [He walks about and looks around him.] Here is the court-room. I'll go in. [He enters and looks about.] Well, here are the sheats, all arranged. While I'm waiting for the magishtrates, I'll jusht sit down a minute on the grass. [He does so.]

Beadle. [Walks about in another direction, and looks before him.] Here come the magistrates. I will go to them. [He does so.]

[Enter the judge, accompanied by a gild-warden, a clerk, and others.]

Judge. Gild-warden and clerk!

Gild-warden and Clerk. We await your bidding.

Judge. A trial depends to such an extent upon others that the task of the magistrates—the reading of another's thoughts—is most difficult.

Men often speak of deeds that no man saw,
Matters beyond the province of the law;
Passion so rules the parties that their lies
Hide their offenses from judicial eyes;
This side and that exaggerate a thing,
Until at last it implicates the king;
To sum it up: false blame is easy won,
A true judge little praised, or praised by none.3

And again:

Men often point to sins that no man saw,
And in their anger scorn the patient law;
In court-rooms even the righteous with their lies
Hide their offenses from judicial eyes;
And those who did the deed are lost to view,
Who sinned with plaintiff and defendant too;
To sum it up: false blame is easy won,
A true judge little praised, or praised by none.4

For the judge must be

Learnèd, and skilled in tracing fraud's sly path,
And eloquent, insensible to wrath; p. 134
To friend, foe, kinsman showing equal grace,
Reserving judgment till he know the case;
Untouched by avarice, in virtue sound,
The weak he must defend, the knave confound;
An open door to truth, his heart must cling
To others' interests, yet shun each thing
That might awake the anger of the king.5

Gild-warden and Clerk. And do men speak of defects in your virtue? If so, then they speak of darkness in the moonlight.

Judge. My good beadle, conduct me to the court-room.

Beadle. Follow me, Your Honor. [They walk about.] Here is the court-room. May the magistrates be pleased to enter. [All enter.] Judge. My good beadle, do you go outside and learn who desires to present a case.

Beadle. Yes, sir. [He goes out.] Gentlemen, the magistrates ask if there is any here who desires to present a case.

Sansthānaka. [Gleefully.] The magishtrates are here. [He struts about.] I desire to present a cashe, I, an arishtocrat, a man, a Vāsudeva, the royal brother-in-law, the brother-in-law of the king.

Beadle. [In alarm.] Goodness! The king's brother-in-law is the first who desires to present a case. Well! Wait a moment, sir. I will inform the magistrates at once. [He approaches the magistrates.] Gentlemen, here is the king's brother-in-law who has come to court, desiring to present a case.

Judge. What! the king's brother-in-law is the first who desires to present a case? Like an eclipse at sunrise, this betokens the ruin of some great man. Beadle, the court will doubtless be very busy to-day. Go forth, my good man, and say "Leave us for to-day. Your suit cannot be considered."

Beadle. Yes, Your Honor. [He goes out, and approaches Sansthānaka.] Sir, the magistrates send word that you are to leave them for to-day; that your suit cannot be considered.

p. 135

Sansthānaka. [Wrathfully.] Confound it! Why can't my shuit be conshidered? If it isn't conshidered, then I'll tell my brother-in-law, King Pālaka, my shishter's husband, and I'll tell my shishter and my mother too, and I'll have thish judge removed, and another judge appointed. [He starts to go away.]

Beadle. Oh, sir! Brother-in-law of the king! Wait a moment. I will inform the magistrates at once. [He returns to the judge.] The brother-in-law of the king is angry, and says—[He repeats Sansthānaka's words.]

Judge. This fool might do anything. My good man, tell him to come hither, that his suit will be considered.

Beadle. [Approaching Sansthānaka.] Sir, the magistrates send word that you are to come in, that your suit will be considered. Pray enter, sir.

Sansthānaka. Firsht they shay it won't be conshidered, then they shay it will be conshidered. The magishtrates are sheared. Whatever I shay, I'll make ’em believe it. Good! I'll enter. [He enters and approaches the magistrates.] I am feeling very well, thank you. Whether you feel well or not—that depends on me.

Judge. [Aside.] Well, well! We seem to have a highly cultivated plaintiff. [Aloud.] Pray be seated.

Sansthānaka. Well! Thish floor belongs to me. I'll sit down wherever I like. [To the gild-warden.] I'll sit here. [To the beadle.] Why shouldn't I sit here? [He lays his hand on the judge's head.] I'll sit here. [He sits down on the floor.]

Judge. You desire to present a case?

Sansthānaka. Of courshe.

Judge. Then state the case.

Sansthānaka. I'll whishper it. I was born in the great family of a man as glorioush as a wine-glass.

My father's father of the king—in law;
The king, he is my daddy's son-in-law; p. 136
And I am brother to the king—in law;
And the husband of my shishter is the king.6

Judge. All this we know.

Why should you boast of this your noble birth?
’Tis character that makes the man of worth;
But thorns and weeds grow rank in fertile earth.7

State your case.

Sansthānaka. I will, but even if I was guilty, he wouldn't do anything to me. Well, my shishter's husband liked me, and gave me the besht garden there is, the old garden Pushpakaranda, to play in and look after. And there I go every day to look at it, to keep it dry, to keep it clean, to keep it blosshoming, to keep it trimmed. But fate decreed that I shaw—or rather, I didn't shee —the proshtrate body of a woman.

Judge. Do you know who the unfortunate woman was?

Sansthānaka. Hello, magishtrates! Why shouldn't I know? A woman like that! the pearl of the city! adorned with a hundred golden ornaments! Shombody's unworthy shon enticed her into the old garden Pushpakaranda when it was empty, and for a mere trifle—for her money!—shtrangled Vasantasenā and killed her. But I didn't—[He breaks off, and puts his hand over his mouth.]

Judge. What carelessness on the part of the city police! Gild-warden and clerk, write down the words "I didn't," as the first article in the case.

Clerk. Yes, sir. [He does so.] Sir, it is written.

Sansthānaka. [Aside.] Goodnessh! Now I've ruined myshelf, like a man that shwallows a cake of rice and milk in a hurry. Well, I'll get out of it thish way. [Aloud.] Well, well, magishtrates! I was jusht remarking that I didn't shee it happen. What are you making thish hullabaloo about? [He wipes out the written words with his foot.]

p. 137

Judge. How do you know that she was strangled—and for her money?

Sansthānaka. Hello! Why shouldn't I think sho, when her neck was shwollen and bare, and the places where you wear jewels didn't have any gold on them?

Gild-warden and Clerk. That seems plausible.

Sansthānaka. [Aside.] Thank heaven! I breathe again. Hooray!

Gild-warden and Clerk. Upon whom does the conduct of this case depend?

Judge. The case has a twofold aspect.

Gild-warden and Clerk. How so?

Judge. We have to consider the allegations, then the facts. Now the investigation of the allegations depends upon plaintiff and defendant. But the investigation of the facts must be carried out by the wisdom of the judge.

Gild-warden and Clerk. Then the conduct of the case depends upon the presence of Vasantasenā's mother?

Judge. Precisely. My good beadle, summon Vasantasenā's mother, without, however, giving her cause for anxiety.

Beadle. Yes, Your Honor. [He goes out, and returns with the mother of the courtezan.] Follow me, madam.

Mother. My daughter went to the house of a friend to enjoy her youth. But now comes this gentleman—long life to him!—and says "Come! The judge summons you." I find myself quite bewildered. My heart is palpitating. Sir, will you conduct me to the court-room?

Beadle. Follow me, madam. [They walk about.] Here is the courtroom. Pray enter, madam. [They enter.]

Mother. [Approaching.] Happiness be yours, most worthy gentlemen.

Judge. My good woman, you are very welcome. Pray be seated.

p. 138

Mother. Thank you. [She seats herself.]

Sansthānaka. [Abusively.] You're here, are you, you old bawd?

Judge. Tell me. Are you Vasantasenā's mother?

Mother. I am.

Judge. Whither has Vasantasenā gone at this moment?

Mother. To the house of a friend.

Judge. What is the name of her friend?

Mother. [Aside.] Dear me! Really, this is very embarrassing. [Aloud.] Any one else might ask me this, but not a judge.

Judge. Pray do not be embarrassed. The conduct of the case puts the question.

Gild-warden and Clerk. The conduct of the case puts the question. You incur no fault. Speak.

Mother. What! the conduct of the case? If that is so, then listen, worthy gentlemen. There lives in the merchants’ quarter the grandson of the merchant Vinayadatta, the son of Sāgaradatta, a man whose name is a good omen in itself—that name is Chārudatta. In his house my daughter enjoys her youth.

Sansthānaka. Did you hear that? Write those words down. My contention is with Chārudatta.

Gild-warden and Clerk. It is no sin for Chārudatta to be her friend.

Judge. The conduct of this case demands the presence of Chārudatta.

Gild-warden and Clerk. Exactly.

Judge. Dhanadatta, write as the first article in the case "Vasantasenā went to the house of Chārudatta." But must we summon the worthy Chārudatta also? No, the conduct of the case summons him. Go, my good beadle, summon Chārudatta,—but gently, without haste, without giving him cause for anxiety, respectfully, as it were incidentally,—with the words "The judge wishes to see you."

p. 139

Beadle. Yes, Your Honor. [He goes out, then returns with Chārudatta.] Follow me, sir.

Chārudatta. [Thoughtfully.]

My character and kin are known
  Unto the king who rules our state;
And in this summons there is shown
  A doubt begotten of my wretched fate.8

[Reflectively. Aside.]

Ah! Were there those, the man to recognize
  Who met me on the road, from bondage freed?
Or did the king, who sees through cunning spies,
  Learn that my cart was lent him in his need?
Why should I else be forced to tread the street,
Like one accused of crime, my judge to meet?9

But why consider thus? I must go to the court-room. My good beadle, conduct me to the court.

Beadle. Follow me, sir. [They walk about.]

Chārudatta. [Apprehensively.] And what means this?

Hear how the gloomy raven hoarsely croaks;
  The slaves of justice summon me again;
My left eye twitches; these repeated strokes
  Of threatened evil frighten me and pain.10

Beadle. Follow me, sir, gently and without haste.

Chārudatta. [Walks about and looks before him.]

Upon the withered tree, a crow
    Turns to the sun;
His left eye falls on me. Ah, woe!
    My doubt is done.11

[He looks in another direction.] But see! a snake!

His eye is fixed upon me; and his back
Flashes like antimony's lustrous black; p. 140
His long tongue quivers; four white fangs appear;
His belly swells and coils. He slumbered here,
This prince of serpents, till I crossed his path,
And now he darts upon me in his wrath.12

And more than this:

I slip, although the ground has felt no rain;
My left eye, and my left arm throb again;
Another bird is screaming overhead;
All bodes a cruel death, and hope is fled.13

Surely, the gods will grant that all may yet be well.

Beadle. Follow me, sir. Here is the court-room. Pray enter.

Chārudatta. [Enters and looks about.] How wonderfully splendid is the court-room. For it seems an ocean,

Whose waters are the king's advisers, deep
In thought; as waves and shells it seems to keep
The attorneys; and as sharks and crocodiles
It has its spies that stand in waiting files;
Its elephants and horses 1 represent
The cruel ocean-fish on murder bent;
As if with herons of the sea, it shines
With screaming pettifoggers’ numerous lines;
While in the guise of serpents, scribes are creeping
  Upon its statecraft-trodden shore: the court
The likeness of an ocean still is keeping,
  To which all harmful-cruel beasts resort.14

Come! [As he enters, he strikes his head against the door. Reflectively.] Alas! This also?

My left eye throbs; a raven cries;
A serpent coils athwart my path.
My safety now with heaven lies.15

But I must enter. [He does so.]

p. 141

Judge. This is Chārudatta.

A countenance like his, with clear-cut nose,
Whose great, wide-opened eye frank candor shows,
Is not the home of wantonness;
With elephants, with horses, and with kine,
The outer form is inner habit's sign;
With men no less.16

Chārudatta. My greetings to the officers of justice. Officials, I salute you.

Judge. [Betraying his agitation.] You are very welcome, sir. My good beadle, give the gentleman a seat.

Beadle. [Brings a seat.] Here is a seat. Pray be seated, sir. [Chārudatta seats himself.]

Sansthānaka. [Angrily.] You're here, are you, you woman-murderer? Well! Thish is a fine trial, thish is a jusht trial, where they give a sheat to thish woman-murderer. [Haughtily.] But it's all right. They can give it to him.

Judge. Chārudatta, have you any attachment, or affection, or friendship, with this lady's daughter?

Chārudatta. What lady?

Judge. This lady. [He indicates Vasantasenā's mother.]

Chārudatta. [Rising.] Madam, I salute you.

Mother. Long life to you, my son! [Aside.] So this is Chārudatta. My daughter's youth is in good hands.

Judge. Sir, is the courtezan your friend? [Chārudatta betrays his embarrassment.]

Sansthānaka. He tries to hide the deed he did;

He lies, from shame or fear;
  He murdered her, of her got rid
For gold, and thinks the deed is hid;
  Not sho his mashter here.17

p. 142

Gild-warden and Clerk. Speak, Chārudatta. Do not be ashamed. This is a lawsuit.

Chārudatta. [In embarrassment.] Officials, how can I testify that a courtezan is my friend? But at worst, it is youth that bears the blame, not character.

Judge. The case is hard; then banish shame,

  Though it oppress your heart;
Speak truth with fortitude, and aim
  To set deceit apart.18

Do not be embarrassed. The conduct of the case puts the question.

Chārudatta. Officer, with whom have I a lawsuit?

Sansthānaka. [Arrogantly.] With me!

Chārudatta. A lawsuit with you is unendurable!

Sansthānaka. Well, well, woman-murderer! You murder a woman like Vasantasenā who used to wear a hundred gems, and now you try deceitful deceivings to hide it!

Chārudatta. You are a fool.

Judge. Enough of him, good Chārudatta. Speak the truth. Is the courtezan your friend?

Chārudatta. She is.

Judge. Sir, where is Vasantasenā?

Chārudatta. She has gone home.

Gild-warden and Clerk. How did she go? When did she go? Who accompanied her?

Chārudatta. [Aside.] Shall I say that she went unobserved?

Gild-warden and Clerk. Speak, sir.

Chārudatta. She went home. What more shall I say?

Sansthānaka. She was enticed into my old garden Pushpakaranda, and was shtrangled for her money. Now will you shay that she went home?

Chārudatta. Man, you are crazy.

p. 143

The very clouds of heaven wet not you;
  Your lips are like the blue jay's wing-tip worn,
Yes, full as fickle with their speech untrue,
  And like the winter lotus lustre-lorn.19

Judge. [Aside.]

Take the Himalayan hills within your hand,
And swim from ocean strand to ocean strand,
And hold within your grasp the fleeting wind:
Then may you think that Chārudatta sinned.20

[Aloud.] This is the noble Chārudatta. How could he commit this crime? [He repeats the verse "A countenance like his:" page 141.]

Sansthānaka. Why thish partiality in a lawshuit?

Judge. Away, you fool!

Illiterate, you gloss the Sacred Law,
  And still your tongue uninjured find?
The midday sun with steadfast eye you saw,
  And are not straightway stricken blind?
You thrust your hand into the blazing fire,
  And draw it forth, unscathed and sound?
Drag Chārudatta's virtue in the mire,
  Nor sink beneath this yawning ground?21

How could the noble Chārudatta commit a crime?

Of all the riches of the mighty sea
Only the swelling waters now are left,
Because, without consideration, he
For others' good—himself of all has reft.
And should this high-souled man, this store-house where
All gems of virtue gather and unite,
For lucre's sake, so foul a trespass dare
That in it even his foe could not delight?22

Mother. You scoundrel! When the golden casket that was left

p. 144

with him as a pledge was stolen by thieves at night, he gave in place of it a pearl necklace that was the pride of the four seas. And he should now, for a mere trifle—for her money!—do this sin? Oh, my child, come back to me, my daughter! [She weeps.]

Judge. Noble Chārudatta, did she go on foot, or in a bullock-cart?

Chārudatta. I did not see her when she went. Therefore I do not know whether she went on foot, or in a bullock-cart.

[Enter Vīraka, in anger.]

Vīraka. My anger was so prodded to the quick

By that dishonoring, insulting kick,
And so I brooded, till at last the night
Unwilling yielded to the dawning light.23

So now I will go to the court-room. [He enters.] May happiness be the lot of these honorable gentlemen.

Judge. Ah, it is Vīraka, the captain of the guard. Vīraka, what is the purpose of your coming?

Vīraka. Well! I was looking for Aryaka, in all the excitement about his escape from prison. I had my suspicions about a covered bullock-cart that was coming, and wanted to look in. "You've made one inspection, man, I must make another," said I, and then I was kicked by the highly respectable Chandanaka. You have heard the matter, gentlemen. The rest is your affair.

Judge. My good man, do you know to whom the bullock-cart belonged?

Vīraka. To this gentleman here, Chārudatta. And the driver said that Vasantasenā was in it, and was on her way to have a good time in the old garden Pushpakaranda.

Sansthānaka. Lishten to that, too!

Judge. This moon, alas, though spotless-bright,

Is now eclipsed, and robbed of light; p. 145
The bank is fallen; the waves appear
Befouled, that once were bright and clear.24

Vīraka, we will investigate your case here later. Mount the horse that stands before the court-room door, go to the garden Pushpakaranda, and see whether a woman has perished there or not.

Vīraka. Yes, sir. [He goes out, then returns.] I have been there. And I saw the body of a woman, torn by wild beasts.

Gild-warden and Clerk. How do you know that it was the body of a woman?

Vīraka. That I perceived from the traces of hair and arms and hands and feet.

Judge. Alas for the difficulties which are caused by the actions of men!

The more one may apply his skill,
The harder is the matter still;
Plain are indeed the law's demands,
Yet judgment insecurely stands
As some poor cow on shifting sands.25

Chārudatta. [Aside.]

As bees, when flowers begin to blow,
Gather to sip the honey, so
When man is marked by adverse fate,
Misfortunes enter every gate.26

Judge. Noble Chārudatta, speak truth!

Chārudatta. A mean and jealous creature, passion-blind,

Sets all his soul, some fatal means to find
To slay the man he envies; shall his lies
By evil nature prompted, win the prize?
No! he is unregarded by the wise.27

And more than this:

The creeper's beauty would I never blight,
Nor pluck its flowers; should I not be afraid p. 146
To seize her hair so lovely-long, and bright
  As wings of bees, and slay a weeping maid?28

Sansthānaka. Hello, magishtrates! How can you inveshtigate the cashe with such partiality? Why, even now you let thish shcoundrel Chārudatta shtay on his sheat.

Judge. My good beadle, so be it. [The beadle follows Sansthānaka's suggestion.]

Chārudatta. Consider, magistrates, consider what you are doing! [He leaves his seat, and sits on the floor.]

Sansthānaka. [Dancing about gleefully. Aside.] Fine! The shin that I did falls on another man's head. Sho I'll sit where Chārudatta was. [He does so.] Look at me, Chārudatta, and confessh that you murdered her.

Chārudatta. Magistrates!

A mean and jealous creature, passion-blind,
Sets all his soul, some fatal means to find
To slay the man he envies; shall his lies,
By evil nature prompted, win the prize?
No! he is unregarded by the wise.(27)

[Sighing. Aside.]

My friend Maitreya! Oh, this cruel blow!
  My wife, thou issue of a spotless strain!
My Rohasena! Here am I, laid low
By sternest fate; and thou, thou dost not know
  That all thy childish games are played in vain.
  Thou playest, heedless of another's pain!29

But Maitreya I sent to Vasantasenā, that he might bring me tidings of her, and might restore the jewels which she gave my child, to buy him a toy cart. Why then does he linger?


[Enter Maitreya with the gems.]

Maitreya. Chārudatta bade me go to Vasantasenā, to return her

p. 147

jewels, and he said to me: "Maitreya, Vasantasenā adorned my dear Rohasena with her own jewels, and sent him thus to his mother. It was fitting that she should give him the jewels, but not that we should receive them. Therefore restore them to her." So now I will go to Vasantasenā's house. [He walks about and looks around, then speaks to a person behind the scenes.] Ah, it is Master Rebhila. Oh, Master Rebhila, why do you seem so exceedingly troubled? [He listens.] What! do you mean to say that my dear friend Chārudatta has been summoned to court? That can hardly be an insignificant matter. [He reflects.] I will go to Vasantasenā's house later, but now I will go to the court-room. [He walks about and looks around.] Here is the court-room. I will go in at once. [He enters.] May happiness be the lot of the magistrates. Where is my friend?

Judge. Here.

Maitreya. My friend, I wish you happiness.

Chārudatta. It will be mine.

Maitreya. And peace.

Chārudatta. That too will be mine.

Maitreya. My friend, why do you seem so exceedingly troubled? And why were you summoned?

Chārudatta. My friend,

A scoundrel I, who bear the blame,
  Nor seek in heaven to be blest;
A maid—or goddess—’tis the same
  But he will say the rest.30

Maitreya. What? what?

Chārudatta. [Whispers.] That is it.

Maitreya. Who says that?

Chārudatta. [Indicating Sansthānaka.] This poor fellow is the instrument that fate uses to accuse me.

p. 148

Maitreya. [Aside to Chārudatta.] Why don't you simply say that she went home?

Chārudatta. Though I say it, it is not believed, so unfortunate is my condition.

Maitreya. But gentlemen! He adorned the city of Ujjayinī with mansions, cloisters, parks, temples, pools, and fountains, and he should be mad enough to commit such a crime—and for a mere trifle? [Wrathfully.] You offspring of a loose wench, you brother-in-law of the king, Sansthānaka, you libertine, you slanderer, you buffoon, you gilded monkey, say it before me! This friend of mine doesn't even draw a flowering jasmine creeper to himself, to gather the blossoms, for fear that a twig might perhaps be injured. How should he commit a crime like this, which heaven and earth call accursèd? Just wait, you son of a bawd! Wait till I split your head into a hundred pieces with this staff of mine, as crooked as your heart.

Sansthānaka. [Angrily.] Lishten to that, gentlemen! I have a quarrel, or a lawshuit, with Chārudatta. What right has a man with a pate that looks like a caret, to shplit my head into a hundred pieces? Not much! You confounded rashcal! [Maitreya raises his staff repeats his words. Sansthānaka rises angrily and strikes him. Maitreya strikes back. During the scuffle  the jewels fall from Maitreya's girdle.]

Sansthānaka. [Picks up the jewels and examines them. Excitedly.] Look, gentlemen, look! These are the poor girl's jewels! [Pointing to Chārudatta.] For a trifle like thish he murdered her, and killed her too. [The magistrates all bow their heads.]

Chārudatta. [Aside to Maitreya.]

’Tis thus my fate would vent its gall,
That at this moment they should fall,
  These gems—and with them, I.31

Maitreya. But why don't you simply tell the truth?

p. 149

Chārudatta. My friend,

The king perceives with blinded eye,
  Nor on the truth that eye will bend;
Though telling all, I cannot fly
  A wretched and inglorious end.32

Judge. Alas! Alas!

With Mars strives Jupiter, and dies;
Beside them both there seems to rise
A comet-planet 1 in the skies.33

Gild-warden and Clerk. [Looking at the casket. To Vasantasenā's mother.] Madam, pray examine this golden casket attentively, to see whether it be the same or not.

Mother. [Examining the casket.] It is similar, but not the same.

Sansthānaka. Oh, you old bawd! You confessh it with your eyes, and deny it with your lips.

Mother. Away, you scoundrel!

Gild-warden and Clerk. Speak carefully. Is it the same or not?

Mother. Sir, the craftsman's skill captivates the eye. But it is not the same.

Judge. My good woman, do you know these jewels?

Mother. No, I said. No! I don't recognize them; but perhaps they were made by the same craftsman.

Judge. Gild-warden, see!

Gems often seem alike in many ways,
When the artist's mind on form and beauty plays;
For craftsmen imitate what they have seen,
And skilful hands remake what once has been.34

Gild-warden and Clerk. Do these jewels belong to Chārudatta?

Chārudatta. Never!

Gild-warden and Clerk. To whom then?

p. 150

Chārudatta. To this lady's daughter.

Gild-warden and Clerk. How did she lose them?

Chārudatta. She lost them. Yes, so much is true.

Gild-warden and Clerk. Chārudatta, speak the truth in this matter. For you must remember,

Truth brings well-being in its train;
Through speaking truth, no evils rise;
Truth, precious syllable!—Refrain
From hiding truth in lies.35

Chārudatta. The jewels, the jewels! I do not know. But I do know that they were taken from my house.

Sansthānaka. Firsht you take her into the garden and murder her. And now you hide it by tricky trickinessh.

Judge. Noble Chārudatta, speak the truth!

Merciless lashes wait to smite
  This moment on thy tender flesh;
And we—we can but think it right.36

Chārudatta. Of sinless sires I boast my birth,

  And sin in me was never found;
Yet if suspicion taints my worth,
  What boots it though my heart be sound?37

[Aside.] And yet I know not what to do with life, so I be robbed of Vasantasenā. [Aloud.] Ah, why waste words?

A scoundrel I, who bear the blame,
  Nor think of earth, nor heaven blest;
That sweetest maid, in passion's flame
  But he will say the rest.38

Sansthānaka. Killed her! Come, you shay it too. "I killed her."

Chārudatta. You have said it.

Sansthānaka. Lishten, my mashters, lishten! He murdered her! No one but him! Doubt is over. Let punishment be inflicted on the body of thish poor Chārudatta.

p. 151

Judge. Beadle, we must do as the king's brother-in-law says.

Guardsmen, lay hold on this Chārudatta. [The guardsmen do so.]

Mother. Be merciful, good gentlemen, be merciful! [She repeats what she had said before, beginning "When the golden casket:" page 143.] If my daughter is killed, she is killed. Let him live for me—bless him! And besides, a lawsuit is a matter between plaintiff and defendant. I am the real plaintiff. So let him go free!

Sansthānaka. You shlave, get out of the way! What have you got to shay about him?

Judge. Go, madam. Guardsmen, conduct her forth.

Mother. Oh, my child, my son!

[Exit weeping.

Sansthānaka. [Aside.] I've done shomething worthy of myshelf. Now I'll go.


Judge. Noble Chārudatta, the decision lies with us, but the rest depends on the king. And yet, beadle, let King Pālaka be reminded of this:

The Brahman who has sinned, our laws declare,
  May not be slain, but banished from the realm,
And with his wealth entire abroad may fare.39

Beadle. Yes, Your Honor. [He goes out, then reenters in tears.] Oh, sirs, I was with the king. And King Pālaka says: "Inasmuch as he killed Vasantasenā for such a trifle, these same jewels shall be hung about his neck, the drum shall be beaten, he shall be conducted to the southern burying-ground, and there impaled." And whoever else shall commit such a crime, shall be punished with the like dreadful doom.

Chārudatta. Oh, how wanton is this act of King Pālaka! Nevertheless,

Although his counsellors may plunge a king
  Into injustice’ dangers great,
Yet he will reap the woe and suffering;
  And ’tis a righteous fate.40

And more than this:

p. 152

They who pervert the king's true bent,
  The white crow's part who play,
Have slain their thousands innocent,
  And slay, and slay, and slay.41

My friend Maitreya, go, greet the mother of my son in my name for the last time. And keep my son Rohasena free from harm.

Maitreya. When the root is cut away, how can the tree be saved?

Chārudatta. No, not so.

When man departs to worlds above,
  In living son yet liveth he;
Bestow on Rohasena love
  No less than that thou gayest me.42

Maitreya. Oh, my friend! I will prove myself your friend by continuing the life that you leave unfinished.

Chārudatta. And let me see Rohasena for a single moment.

Maitreya. I will. It is but fitting.

Judge. My good beadle, remove this man. [The beadle does so.] Who is there? Let the headsmen receive their orders. [The guardsmen loose their hold on Chārudatta, and all of them go out.]

Beadle. Come with me, sir.

Chārudatta. [Mournfully repeats the verse, page 146, beginning "My friend Maitreya!" Then, as if speaking to one not present.]

If you had proved my conduct by the fire,
  By water, poison, scales, and thus had known
  That I deserved that saws should bite my bone,
My Brahman's frame, more could I not desire.
  You trust a foeman, slay me thus? ’Tis well.
  With sons, and sons’ sons, now you plunge to hell!43

I come! I come!

[Exeunt omnes.


140:1 Elephants were employed as executioners; and, according to Lallādīkshita, the horses served the same purpose.

149:1 This refers to the fallen jewels.

Next: Act the Tenth: The End