The Head and The Torso :
Bharat was a young, handsome prince. He was a well learned youth with all virtues and had been trained in warfare too. And he was kind and caring.
He was the only son of king, Swaroop. The royal couple had no children for nearly 15 years after their marriage. King Swaroop was worried. His worries were reasonable, because after his time who will rule the kingdom?
Hence the king and queen prayed and performed several yajnas. Finally they
were blessed with a male child. And that was prince Bharat. Bharat moved with all the people irrespective of one’s status, education, caste and other things. So, he was liked by all.
He had a good and caring friend. His name was Balu. His father was the palace launderer. Yet, Bharat who never minded one’s status took Balu as his best friend.
If anyone asked him how a prince like him could move with one who had got not a high status value, Bharat would say, “It is one’s good heart that I like and nothing else!”
One day, Bharat spotted a beautiful girl. She was washing a bundle of clothes in the river. He understood that she was a washerwoman. Yet, she was so beautiful that he developed a liking for her. He told Balu about his desire of marrying her.
For a brief moment Balu looked shocked, because he was planning to
propose to that girl. But brushing aside his feelings, he said, “Her name is Jyoti. She is an extended relative of mine. Don’t worry. Let me speak to that girl’s parents and do my best, Bharat.”
Bharat became so crazy about that girl. One day, he went to the Goddess Kali temple and prayed, “I want to marry Jyoti. If only you grant me this favor, I will sacrifice myself on the first new moon night after our marriage! I don’t mind dying, even if I live with her for a week’s time!”
As assured, Balu spoke to her parents and convinced them. “If the king does not agree to it, then his only son, I mean Prince Bharat will not be alive. So, the king would not want to lose his son. He will surely agree to this marriage!” Balu said and left.
He then met Bharat. “I have persuaded her parents. It is up to you to get permission from your parents,” he pointed out.
The king and queen did not protest. All that they wanted was Bharat’s happiness. A day was fixed for the marriage. The entire country attended the grand wedding which was held for ten days!
Bharat and Jyoti led a happy married life. Thus, days rolled over quickly. The newly wedded couple spent hardly two weeks of their married life. Meanwhile, the new moon night had arrived.
Bharat remembered his promise to Goddess Kali. On that night, he took
Jyoti and Balu to the temple. “Please wait outside, will you? I have to offer my prayer in private!” he told them and went inside the sanctum. There he stood praying for a while before pulling out his sword and chopping off his own head!
Outside, the two waited impatiently. Then Balu told Jyoti to hang on and went inside. On seeing his dear friend Bharat dead, his head and torso lying in a pool of blood, Balu took the sword and killed himself in the same fashion!
Finally, Jyoti marched in. After seeing his husband and Balu lying dead, she killed herself too. In a short time, three people had sacrificed their lives! It moved Goddesss Kali. She revived all of them back to life. But while doing so, the Goddess swapped the body and torso of Bharat and Balu and
they came alive!
At this, the betal paused and asked Vikram. “Now after the swapping, Bharat’s head was fitted with the body of Balu. And Balu’s head was joined to Bharat’s body! Now tell me, Vikram who should Jyoti take as her husband?”
Vikram answered casually, “It is the head that controls one’s body. So, the
body having the head of Bharat is her husband!”
Wow! exclaimed the betal, “Excellent judgement, O’ great king! But, since you opened your mouth and spoke up, I have to depart!” it took off back to the Peepul tree.
And Vikram went after it.
The Head and The Torso
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