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

XVII. Nectar

And then with a cry of joy, she ran towards him, while the colour leaped into her face. And he came towards her very quickly, and said: See, here is food, and wine, and a cup out of which we will drink together, and a lute for thee to play. But O! how beautiful thou art; and I am faint

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and hungry, but only for the nectar of thy arms and thy lips. And she put her arms round him, and they stood together for an instant, while their souls met rapturously after separation, hovering in agitation at the door a of their thirsty lips. And then, after a while, she said: Come, thou art here, and thou art hungry, and so am I. Let us eat first, and then it may be, thou shalt kiss me again. But Ranga put his burden down, and took her in his arms. And he kissed her, till her lips turned pale, as if for fear lest her breath should abandon her. And then they sat together by the well, and eat and drank, kissing each other between every mouthful, and smiling with tears in their eyes, utterly forgetting their own names.

Then when they had finished eating, they got up and wandered about in each other's arms, like a human symbol of myself b and thee, watching the parrots screaming in the fig trees, and the monkeys climbing over the roofs of the deserted houses, and sighing by reason of excess of happiness, and laughing without a cause, while the day passed away like a flash of lightning, and the sun went to his rest in the mountain of his setting, and the

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moon rose. And then Wanawallarí said: Come let us go back, and find the wine, and we will have a drinking bout: thou shalt drink for both of us, and I will sing and play to thee on the lute, and dance with my shadow to attend me, to show thee my accomplishments c and give thee pleasure in the light of the moon. So they did. And Ranga sat under the tree, with the cup of red wine in his hand, while she danced d and played and sang to him, looking in the moonlight like a feminine incarnation of the camphor-essence and beauty of the moon come down to earth to entrance his soul and wean it from all care for earthly things. And he watched her with intoxicated eyes, and said to himself: Surely she is a portion of the celestial delight of heaven that has somehow assumed the form of a woman; or a piece of sky-crystal tumbled by accident to earth, laughing in its purity at the grossness of the materials by which she is surrounded!

So they two delighted each other in that ruined

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city, bathed in the moonlight, and the ecstasy of the mutual infatuation of first love. But in the meanwhile, the jeweller, to whom Ranga had taken Wanawallarí's bracelet, was filled with amazement when he saw it. And he said to himself: Where did this Rajpoot get such a jewel, which could not be matched in the city? So after buying it for a very low price, he followed Ranga without his knowledge, and saw him making purchases in the bazaar: and finally he dogged his footsteps at a distance, when he returned to the empty city. And when those lovers met, that curious jeweller looked round the corner of the street, and saw them. But they never noticed him, for they were lost in oblivion of everything in the world except themselves. Then still more astonished than before, the jeweller said to himself: The beauty of this woman exceeds that of all others as much as does that bracelet, which is doubtless hers, all other jewels of its kind: and now there must be a story in this matter. So after wafting a while, and watching them, he returned slowly and reluctantly to his own house. And when he got there he found the whole city in uproar. And when he enquired the reason, the people said: Somebody or other has come by night and carried away the King's daughter. And

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there is a great reward for the man who can find out who took her, and where she is.

And instantly the jeweller took his bracelet, and ran at full speed to the King's palace. And being admitted, he told his story and showed the bracelet. And the King recognised it as his daughter's; and sent, without a moment's delay, guards, who led by the jeweller, went as quickly as possible to the empty city. And while those lovers, forgetful of everything, were intoxicating each other's eyes in the moonlight, suddenly they heard a shout, and the King's guards rushed in and seized them, and carried them away prisoners to the King.

But Water-lily saw them go. And she tossed her pretty head, and yawned. And she said: Now I have kept my promise to the gods, and caused the King to discover the hiding - place of these foolish lovers. And I have done enough for this fellow, and I am beginning to be tired of him. Strange! how soon these mortals pall on me! they have nothing permanently interesting about them, and any fancy that I have for them passes off like a shadow almost as soon as it arrives. But still, he is the best looking man that I ever saw. And so, I will do him one more good turn, and then leave him to shift for himself.


65:a Dantachada: precisely the Homeric ἕρκος ὁδόντων.

65:b Maheshwara loquitur.

66:c There is a pun here: she compares herself to a digit of the moon.

66:d Dancing is associated by the modern Hindoos with lax morality: but this cannot always have been the case, for in most Hindoo romances the heroine is accomplished in that art.

Next: XVIII. The Favour of Fortune