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SHREE SHOOKDEO, the sage, said,--Raja! listen with attention, and I will relate to you, how Shree Krishnù Jee released a celestial dancer, and destroyed Sunkhchoor. Nund Jee one day called all the cowherds, and said to them, "Brothers! when Krishnù was born, I made a vow to my family Dewee and Unbika, that I would go in musical procession with all the city, and perform poojah on his twelfth birth-day. As, through the mercy of Dewee, I have lived to see his twelfth birth-day, which is to-day, we must go and perform the poojah."

All the cowherds arose, on hearing these words of Nund Jee, and immediately brought forth from their houses all things necessary for the poojah. Nund Rae did the same, and loaded carts and bhangees with milk, curds and butter; and accompanied them with all his relations, and arrived at the abode of Unbika. Having gone and bathed in the river Suruswutee, Nund Jee sent for a family priest, and went, accompanied by all his retinue, to the temple of Dewee, and performed poojah. And having placed before her all the different articles they had brought to offer, and having performed the act of going round to the right by way of adoration, they exclaimed with joined hands and in a supplicating manner, "O mother! through

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your beneficence, Krishnù has attained the age of twelve years."

Having thus spoken, and bowing their heads, they quitted the temple, and fed a thousand Brahmins. In consequence of the delay which this caused, Nund Jee remained there with all the inhabitants of Bruj, and they fasted, as they would at a place of holy pilgrimage. As they were sleeping at night, a boâ came and seized Nund Rae's foot, and began swallowing it. He was alarmed at seeing this, and called out, "Krishnù! Krishnù! take thought of me quickly: otherwise the snake will swallow me up." On hearing his voice, all the inhabitants of Bruj, both men and women, started from sleep, and came to where Nund was. Having struck a light, they saw a boa lying on the ground, having hold of his foot. In the meantime, Shree Krishnù Chund Jee having arrived, placed his foot upon its back in sight of them all. On which the snake, immediately abandoning its former body, was transformed into a handsome man; and having made an obeisance, stood before them with joined hands. Then Shree Krishnù enquired, "Who art thou, and explain for what crime thou wast transformed into a snake?" He, bowing his head, said in a supplicating voice, "O thou who knowest the secrets of the heart! all the circumstances of my origin are known to thee. I am a celestial dancer, named Soodursun, and dwelt in the region of the gods; and through pride thought myself superior to all others in beauty and excellence of mind; I went forth one day, seated in my chariot, to the place where Angira, the saint, was sitting, engaged in religious devotion. And I went backwards and forwards a hundred times over him. Once on seeing the shadow of my chariot, he looked up, and being angry pronounced a curse upon me, saying, 'O presumptuous: be thou changed into a boâ.' As he uttered these words, I fell to the earth, in the form of a boâ.

"The saint told me at the time that my release would be accomplished by Shree Krishnù Chund. For this reason, I

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came and seized the foot of Nund Rae Jee, in order that you might come and grant me release. O lord of compassion! you have come, and mercifully released me." Thus having spoken, the celestial dancer circled to the right by way of adoration; and having obtained Krishnù's permission to depart, ascended his chariot, and went to the region of the gods.

On beholding this wonderful act, all the inhabitants of Bruj were astonished. In the morning, having gone to see Dewee, they all returned together to Brindabun.

Having recited thus much of the history, Shree Shookdeo, the sage, said,--O lord of the earth! Huldhur and Gobind one moonlight night were singing in the forest with the cowherdesses, and enjoying themselves, when a demi-god, attendant of Kooverù, named Sunkhchoor, who had a jewel on his head, and was very powerful, came forth amongst them. He saw the cowherdesses engaged in sports on one side, and in another direction Shree Krishnù and Buldeo intoxicated, and singing in a state of great delight. A thought having occurred to him, he collected all the women of Bruj together, and drove them before him. The women were frightened, and called out to Krishnù and Bulram to protect them. The brothers having heard the cries of the women, uprooted a tree, and seizing it in their hands, rushed forth as drunken elephants rush upon lions, and told the cowherdesses not to be at all alarmed, as they had arrived. The demi-god, looking upon them as the agents of his destruction, was filled with fear; and ran off for his life, leaving the cowherdesses. Nund Lal left Buldeo with them, and went after Sunkhchoor himself, and seizing him by the hair behind, brought him to the ground. After this, lowering his hand, he cut off his head, and taking possession of his jewel, gave it to Bulram.

Next: Chapter XXXVI