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The Story of the Merchant's Son

(Story found in:  Franklin Edgerton's reconstruction Durgasimha's Kannada translation Purnabhadra's recension Hitopadesha by Narayana )

Sagardatta was a merchant who had a handsome young son.
 
One day, he saw that his young son and bought a costly book. But the book contained only one verse, "You get what is destined for you!"
 
When the merchant realized that his son was a fool to buy a book with so much cost, but only one verse, he grew very angry. He said, "How can you do well in business, when you can buy a book which contains only one verse! Get out of my house, and never show me your face again!"
 
The young man was utterly dejected for being driven out by his father; he started travelling with only his book along with him. He learnt the verse well, and kept repeating it, all the way.
 
On his way, he arrived in a village. The villagers asked him his name and he replied from the book, "You get what is destined for you"
 
Thus, the young man became known as 'You-get-what-is-destined-for-you'.
 
One day, the princess of the country visited a festival and saw a handsome prince, who was also attending the festival. She fell in love immediately and asked her attendant to find a way to send a message to the handsome prince.
 
She wrote a note, and gave it to her attendant. The attendant gave the note to the young merchant's son by mistake. He read that she wrote, "I have fallen in love with you, the very moment I have set my eyes on you. Please meet me in the castle. You will find a hope hanging from one of the windows, which will lead you to my room."
 
He thought, "I will honour the wishes of the princess to meet me in person."
 
When he climbed up the rope, and entered the princess's room, it was very dark. The princess thought he was the prince at the festival, and received him warmly. She served him food and drink, and entertained him in every manner.
 
She said, "I have deeply fallen in love with you. I shall have no other man as my husband, except for you. Please tell me what you have in your mind."
 
The merchant's son replied, "You get what is destined for you"
 
She was surprised to hear the prince speak so, and immediately enlightened her room. She got furious when she realized he was not the handsome prince, she thought him to be, and ordered him out of her room.
 
The young man was sad on treated in such manner without being at fault, and walked to a nearby temple. He decided to spend the night there, and fell asleep.
 
The temple remained un-inhabitated and the night watchman carried out tasks of ill repute during the night. He wanted the young man to leave and said, "This temple is old and broken. You may sleep in my home."
 
Thus, the young man went to his house. But he made a mistake and got into the wrong room, where the watchman's daughter was waiting for her lover to arrive during his father's absence.
 
In the darkness of the night, the watchman's daughter mistook him for his lover and exchanged garlands in front of the picture of God. Thus, according to traditions they got married.
 
The young man said, "You get what is destined for you". When she heard this, she realized she had done a mistake, and thought, "Such mistake is bound to happen, when you rush into doing something without thinking sufficiently about it!" She cursed him and threw him out of the house.
 
Saddened by being treated in such manner without being at fault, he was walking slowly, when he saw a marriage procession approaching.
 
They had magnificent clothes, and wore precious jewels. He followed the groom's procession, which was going to the bride's home, where a lavish ceremony was arranged.
 
All of a sudden, a mad elephant rushed towards the procession, and everybody ran helter-skelter. The bride stood there in the middle of the turmoil, too afraid to run.
 
When he saw this, the young man got hold of a huge nail, and jabbed it into the elephant. The elephant got frightened and ran away.
 
After a while, when the bride's friends and relatives returned, she said, "At the moment when my life was in danger, there was none to help me except for this courageous stranger. I will marry none other than him. This is my firm resolution."
 
The groom's friends and relatives were offended by these words, and there was a heated argument.
 
When the words reached around, the king had to come himself to pacify everybody and stop the argument. Everyone including the princess and the watchman's daughter came to the place.
 
The king asked the young man, "You were present in the ceremony. You saved the would-be bride and everybody from the elephant, it is said. I ask you to explain the whole thing to me!"
 
All the young man said was, "You get what is destined for you". The princess and the watchman's daughter were embarrassed to hear the words.
 
When the king heard this and saw the princess and the watchman's daughter blushing, he demanded to know the truth.
 
The night watchman's daughter confessed of marrying him by mistake, and said, "It was my destiny, and I do not repent it!"
 
The princess explained to the king that she had spent time with him by mistake, and said, "It was my destiny, and I do not regret it!"
 
On hearing them, the bride confronted the king and said, "O King, what destiny has given to me, none can take away from me!"
 
After hearing everybody and consulting his ministers, the king arranged for a ceremony. He gifted the young merchant's son with a thousand villages, apart from ornaments and golds. He married the young man with his young princess, and made him his heir to the throne.
 
The bride-in-waiting, and the watchman's daughter were also married to him, by their respective parents, in the same ceremony.
 
When he built his own castle, he arranged for his parents and relatives to be brought to his place, and they all lived happily ever after.
 
The wise indeed say:
Do your best but leave it to destiny.
 
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