One year after another passed. The doubt about losing the prince disappeared from everyone’s mind. The king ruled, looked after his subjects;happiness abounded.

One day, the kingdom was still flourishing; the royal court thronging; people prattling –all on a sudden prince Madankumar got up. His stick slipped from his hand. He said, “I am the prince –son of a king – my life has been wasted till date.Father! Please permit some people to accompany me – I will go hunting.”

All the noise in the court stopped at once. The King fainted. He fell down from his throne that was placed on the top of fourteen steps –

 “I cannot live without seeing you for moments

 Don’t go hunting, Madan, flame of my lineage!

 Flag bearer of family, apple of my eyes

Don’t go leaving us dear, ruining our lives.”

Courtiers and attendants pursued the prince for long against hunting. But Madankumar had made up his mind. He said, “What is the purpose of life if I don’t go hunting?How to prove my hands are strong enough to hold the club of judgment if I don’t shoot arrows using these? Let me leave, father! Being a prince, I don’t want to live a worthless life.”

The king jumped in panic hearing Madan’s commitment, “Don’t tell that, my dear son!Better go wherever you want. Let astrologers find an auspicious day. I will arrange people to accompany you.”

Madan agreed,“Good!”

In an auspicious moment of an auspicious day, touching his parent’s feet, Madan set off. The disheveled queen touched his head with blessings collected from one temple, dust from another. Tears welled up in the kings eyes – his heart did cry in pain. He sent elephants, horses, palanquins and carriages, wooden poles and tents, and as many people as possible together to accompany his son. Finally he called a minister’s son to request, “My son, take care of my Madan –make sure that the evening-drumbeat of my life returns safe at the lion-gate of the palace.”

Madankumar went hunting as if taking the daylight away from parent’s life and moonlight away from the courtier’s life with him.  

(to be cont.)