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In the Great God's Hair, by F. W. Bain, [1905], at

XII. The Wind and the Leaves

Then said Indra: O lady with a smile like the opening of a bakula t blossom, even if thou wert thyself deserving of excuse for falling victim to the innocence and tenderness of thy own maiden and unsophisticated heart, yet canst thou not exculpate thy husband, for coming like a thief at night and stealing thee away. Well didst thou say thyself, that like a moth thou hast flown into the fire, and burned away thy gauzy wings.

Then said Wanawallarí: Brahman, how can a weak woman hope to avoid a fate that overtakes

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even the greatest gods? Was not the god of love himself shrivelled like a butterfly in the fire of the Great God's eye? And how then could I escape from the fire in the eyes of him who is to me in place of God? Come now, shall I prove to thee that my husband has done no harm but rather good? Dost thou not know that women are like leaves, and love is like the wind, that blows hither and thither among the trees at its own sweet wayward will. And to every tree it comes and shakes the leaves. And some fall on the instant, while others remain fixed for a little time upon the bough: but sooner or later all are doomed to fall, save only those which unkind fate keeps unnaturally fastened to wither and decay upon the tree. For whether they fall or do not fall, they cannot escape the common inevitable end. So what is gained by the leaf that remains upon the tree? Were it not best to yield and fall, when wooed by a breeze loaded with the fragrance of sandal from the mount of Malaya, than wait to be torn, willy-nilly, from the bough by an overbearing ungentlemanly blast? Now show me if thou canst a man more worthy to be my own or any other woman's husband than is he who stole me from my tree: for I have seen innumerable men as I looked from my window,

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and never any one to be compared with him. For he is strong and I am weak: and he is brave and I am timid: and a king was his father, and so is mine: and he is beautiful, and I can read in all men's eyes as well as thine that I am too, For beauty shakes the heart of whosoever sees it, whether man or woman, and uproots it, and if it is very powerful snaps like cotton threads all the fibres that fixed it to its ancient soil, and carries it away, as his did mine. And so the heart of a woman is blown about and carried along by her husband, wherever he may choose to take her. And they who would have it otherwise are not pundits in the mystery of life. For my heart lay buried in utter darkness, like the earth at night: and there came in my husband at the window, like the sun at dawn: and in a moment I was full of the red delight of love. And now my soul is his by right, for all that now it is, is due to him: and its colour and its gladness are only the reflection and the consequence of him. Take him away, and all would disappear. And wilt thou blame the sun, for turning black night to rosy dawn?


51:t Mimusops Elengi: a very fragrant flower celebrated in Hindoo stories. Bakuli being a favourite name for a princess or heroine.

Next: XIII. A King and Queen