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(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Mandapala then addressed his children, saying, 'I had spoken unto Agni for the safety of you all. The illustrious deity had

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assured me that he would grant my wish. At those words of Agni, and knowing the virtuous disposition of your mother, as also the great energy that is in yourselves, I came not here earlier. Therefore, ye sons, do not harbour in your hearts any resentment towards me. Ye are all Rishis acquainted with the Vedas. Even Agni knoweth you well.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having given such assurances unto his sons, the Brahmana Mandapala took with him his wife and sons, and leaving that region, went away to some other country.

"It was thus that the illustrious god of fierce rays, having grown in strength consumed the forest of Khandava with the help of Krishna and Arjuna, for the good of the world. And Agni having drunk several rivers of fat and marrow, became highly gratified, and showed himself to Arjuna. Then Purandara, surrounded by the Maruts, descended from the firmament and addressing Partha and Kesava said, 'Ye have achieved a feat that a celestial even could not. Ask ye each a boon that is not obtainable by any man. I have been gratified with you.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Partha asked from Indra all his weapons. At this Sakra of great splendour, having fixed the time for giving them, said, 'When the illustrious Madhava becomes pleased with thee, then, O son of Pandu, I will give thee all my weapons! O prince of Kuru's race, I shall know when the time cometh. Even for thy austere asceticism I will give thee all my weapons of fire and all my Vayavya weapons, and thou also wilt accept them all of me.' Then Vasudeva asked that his friendship with Arjuna might be eternal. The chief of the celestials granted unto the intelligent Krishna the boon he desired. And having granted these boons unto Krishna and Arjuna, the lord of the Maruts, accompanied by the celestials, ascended to heaven, having also spoken to Hutasana (one whose food is sacrificial butter). Agni also, having burnt that forest with its animals and birds for five and ten days, became gratified and ceased to burn. Having eaten flesh in abundance and drunk fat and blood, he became highly gratified, and addressing Achyuta and Arjuna said, 'I have been gratified by you two tigers among men. At my command, ye heroes, ye shall be competent to go wheresoever ye choose!' Thus addressed by the illustrious Agni, Arjuna and Vasudeva and the Danava Maya also--these three,--having wandered a little at last sat themselves down on the delightful banks of a river.'"