Once upon a time, in Kashmir lived a youth called Pravara. Once, he set out on a journey to see the world. On the way, he got robbed. The robbers took away everything including his clothes. He had to wear a robber’s dress which he had left behind after wearing Pravara’s clothes. He started walking, and reached a place after many days. He did not have food or even sleep for so many days. He lied down near the stable of the palace of the king of that place and because he was tired ....

Once upon a time, in Kashmir lived a youth called Pravara.

Once, he set out on a journey to see the world.

On the way, he got robbed.

The robbers took away everything including his clothes.

He had to wear a robber’s dress which he had left behind after wearing Pravara’s clothes.

He started walking, and reached a place after many days.

He did not have food or even sleep for so many days.

He lied down near the stable of the palace of the king of that place and because he was tired went off to sleep immediately.

The princess of that kingdom was Kanchanavalli.

She was very intelligent and beautiful.

She studied Shastras and fine arts with a lot of interest.

When she attained age, the king asked her to stop her studies and get married.

Her marriage was fixed with the prince of a neighbouring kingdom.

She was against this marriage.

She wanted to study more, see the world and choose her own groom.

So she decided to run away.

The minister’s son was her friend.

She sought his help.

She asked him to come near the stable at night and keep two horses ready.

He was to escort her until she crossed the border and was safe.

Then, she would continue on her own.

She chose a night when there was a dance program in the palace for her running away.

With the help of a rope, she climbed over the high walls of the palace and landed near the stable outside.

But unfortunately, at the last minute, the minister insisted that his son should go for the dance program and so he couldn’t turn up to help the princess.

It was pitch dark.

The princess saw someone lying down near the stable and sleeping.

She thought it was the minister’s son.

She woke him up and said: what are you doing, is this time to sleep?

Rush to the stable and get two horses.

Pravara was shocked and puzzled.

He didn’t know what was happening.

Still, he ran to the stable and came back with two horses.

The princess said: now mount this horse and follow me.

She herself mounted one horse and rode off fast with Pravara following her.

They kept on riding throughout the night and in the morning crossed the border and found a river.

It was only then that the princess realized that she was being accompanied by a stranger.

She just kept silent and did not even speak to him.

They had to cross the river and approached the ferry.

There, they found an old woman pleading with the ferryman to take her across the river.

She didn’t have any money with her.

Kanchanavalli had brought enough gold coins with her when she left the palace.

She handed over a coin to the ferryman and all three crossed the river.

The old woman requested her to take her also with them and offered to cook food for them as their help.

She thought they were husband and wife.

But strangely, they did not speak one word to each other.

All three reached the capital of another kingdom.

They took up a small house on rent and started living there.

Everyone thought that they were husband and wife, and the old woman was their mother.

Pravara had good business acumen.

He started visiting the nearby market and advise traders what to buy and stock and when to clear stock.

They found his advice very useful and started paying him for this.

Pravara also had knowledge about diamonds.

When a local diamond trader came to know about this, he employed Pravara on a permanent basis.

Once, someone came to the king’s court with a big diamond and demanded one crore gold coins as its price.

The king was really impressed by the diamond and wanted to have it for himself.

Still, he thought it was too expensive and called the local diamond traders for valuation.

Everyone valued it between 75 lacs and 2 crores.

Pravara surprised everyone and said that it was worth one gold coin and that too is the value of the labour that has gone in cutting and polishing it.

He said that it was not even a real diamond.

He took the diamond in his hand and dropped it on the floor.

It broke into a thousand pieces.

A real diamond would never break like that.

The king was really impressed and appointed him as his adviser.

Soon, when the minister passed away.

Pravara himself became the minister.

As he became the minister, his private life also became visible.

Someone told the royal family that the minister’s wife was very beautiful.

The king became curious.

Till the time he was appointed in the court, he was an ordinary man.

How did he get such a beautiful wife?

In those days, values and social etiquette were observed a lot.

Even if he was the king, he can’t ask his minister: where did you get such a beautiful wife from?

The king and the queen decided to call him over for dinner and in that dinner the queen cooked and served with her own hands.

After the dinner was over, Pravara was really in trouble.

Now he will have to reciprocate.

Invite the king to his home for dinner.

And in that dinner, the princess will have to appear before him.

At night, he couldn’t sleep.

Over the next few days, the worry made him to lose appetite.

Kanchanvalli and Pravara were still not talking to each other.

She through the old woman inquired what was wrong.

Pravara narrated what happened.

The princess said: don’t worry, I am here to help you.

You can invite the king for dinner.

During dinner, Kanchanavalli cooked herself and in between went inside, changed her dress and hairstyle and came again.

King thought the minister had two wives.

He didn’t speak anything.

But the curiosity grew more and more.

He went and told what happened to the queen.

The queen said: anyway Ardhodaya is coming.

We will ask them to accompany us to the beach to take the holy dip.

Ardhodaya is a holy occasion like Makara Sankranthi in which taking dip at holy rivers and sea is considered to be very auspicious.

As the invite came, Pravara became worried again.

Now his bluff will be out.

Kanchanvalli, through the old woman, asked him what happened.

He told her everything.

She said: tell him not to worry, I will help him out.

Just tell the king to send seven palanquins and make seven separate tents at the beach.

On the day of the festival, seven palanquins arrived.

Kanchanavalli sat in one of them and the rest were filled with stuff to appear heavy.

The palanquins were asked to be kept very close to the entrance of each tent.

No one could see what was going on.

When the auspicious time came, Kanchanvalli came out from one of the tents and took a dip in the sea with Pravara.

Then she went back, got into the next tent from behind, wore another set of clothes, changed her appearance and went again with Pravara and took bath again.

Like this, she did seven times.

The king and queen were more perplexed.

Earlier it was two wives, now there are seven.

What is happening?

The queen sent seven sets of gifts through a maid and told her to find out the names of each of them.

When Kanchanavalli came to know about this, she told the old woman to tell her that the minister, in fact, had eight wives.

One of them was unwell, that is why she didn’t come.

So ideally, there should be eight sets of gifts so that the one wife back home will not get hurt.

When the maid ran back to get one more gift, the princess started making arrangements.

She came out from each tent wearing a different dress and makeup, spoke in different accents and gave seven different names.

The king and queen were convinced.

After they came back home, one day, the princess sent excess food for Pravara for dinner through the old woman.

Pravara asked: why have you given me so much?

This is unusual.

The princess again replied through her that there is someone willing to take the food after him.

That’s why.

That was the princess’s way of proposing indirectly.

In the olden days, wives used to take food only after husbands had eaten.

By this time, the princess had realized that Pravara was indeed a gentleman and was capable of living up to situations.

Pravara got the hint and readily agreed to marry her and they lived happily ever after.

They also told the king about all that had happened and everyone had a hearty laugh.

There are a few points we can learn from this nice, interesting story.

A small dishonesty, they didn’t reveal the real nature of their relationship even to the old woman but see what all they had to do to cover it up, it became really complex and difficult.

It is only the intelligence princess that saved the situation.

So, wise people always are honest.

They never lie or cover up the truth.

This story is just an example of how complex it can become if you try to cover up the truth.

Then look at Kanchanvalli.

She evaluated Pravara properly and assured that he was indeed a nice person before committing to get married to him.

Marriage is a life long relationship.

You should never take it casually.

Impulsive decisions based on looks and first impressions should never be taken in the case of marriage.


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