Page images

“And now, Udâyi ! you should know, that at this time, the king was myself — the queen was Yasốdharâ, and by this one transgression in those days long gone by, I entailed on myself this perpetual result, that no gift of mine or precious offering can ever cause joy to Yasốdharâ.


At this time, then, of all the Sâkya princes, the three who excelled in the arts and martial exercises were Siddartha first, then Nanda, and then Devadatta. Now it happened that just at this time there was a certain nobleman in Kapilavastu, a chief minister of the family of Dandi, whose name was Pani. He was very rich in every kind of property, both in cattle and grain, money and slaves, with jewels and precious gems of every sort in vast abundance, so that there was nothing for his heart to desire more, and his palace was like that of Vaisravana.

He had an only daughter called Gôtami; she was very beautiful, and unequaled for grace. Not too tall or too short, not too stout or too thin, not too white or too dark. She was young and in the prime of her beauty. Then Suddhôdana, hearing of her fame, having selected a favorable day, sent a messenger, a Brahman, to the house of the minister Pani, who spake thus: “I hear you have a daughter called Götami, we ask you to give her to the Prince Siddartha in marriage.” At the same time, the father of Nanda sent a similar message on behalf of his son, and so also Devadatta, having heard that Suddhodana was seeking Gôtami for Siddartha, sent a message to Dandi, and said, “I require you to give me your daughter in marriage, if you do not I will bring great loss to you.” Then Dandi was in much distress of mind, and he reflected thus: “These three powerful families have sons unequaled in skill and prowess, and I have only one daughter, and they each demand her in marriage; so that if I give her to Siddartha, I make the others my mortal foes, and so likewise if I give her to Nanda or Devadatta-I know not what to do." Being thus exceedingly perplexed, he became pensive and sad and could do nothing but sit still and think over the matter, trying to contrive some expedient by which to escape from the dilemma.

[ocr errors]

Then Götami, seeing her father thus silent and sad as he sat still, came to his presence and said, “Honored father! why are you so sorrowful and pensive as you sit here in silence?To this her father replied, “Dear Gotamî ! ask me not, nor inquire further -- these matters are not for you to know.” Yet she asked him a second time, and notwithstanding a similar reply, she pressed him a third time to tell her the reason of his grief. Even then he refused to tell her; but when a fourth time she said, “Dear father, you ought to let me know the cause of all this, nor try to conceal it from me;" — then he answered her and said, “Dear Gôtamî! since you insist upon it, listen to my words and weigh them well! You must know then that Suddhôdana Raja has sent to me demanding you in marriage for the Prince Siddartha; but at the same time both Nanda and Devadatta are making similar overtures, and threaten me with their anger if I do not consent, and therefore, because I do not know how to adjust this matter so as to avoid trouble, I am in perplexity and sit here in grief.” Then Gôtamî answered her father and said, “Dear father! don't be distressed ! I will arrange this matter mysef. I will give my father no further trouble than to ask for a man to follow my directions and make my intention known, and then I will select the husband of my choice.”

At this time Dandapani, having attended to Gôtami's directions, immediately sent to the Raja, and begged him to proclaim throughout the city of Kapilavastu that after seven days, Gôtami, the Sakya princess, would select a husband: “Whatever youths therefore desire to obtain her hand let them, after six days, assemble together (at the Palace) for her to choose one of their number.” Then after six days all the Sâkya youths, with Siddartha at their head, were assembled at the Palace gate. Then Suddhôdana, taking with him all the old and reverend Sakya ministers, and surrounded by countless multitudes of men and women, came all together to the place of assembly. Then Siddartha with the Sakya youths around him, waited to see on whom the choice of Gotami would fall. At this time the maiden GOtâmî, the six days having expired, very early on the morning of the seventh, arose, and bathing her person she proceeded to decorate herself with the choicest jewels and the most costly robes; around her head she wore a chaplet of the loveliest flowers, and, surrounded by a suite of maidens and accompanied by her mother, she proceeded to the place of assembly. Gradually she drew near, and having come she entered the Palace.

Meantime the Sakya youths, of whom Nanda and Devadatta were foremost, had in the early morn anointed themselves with every kind of unguent and perfume, and decorated their persons with gems and costly robes, all except Siddârtha, who had taken no pains to ornament his person, and was dressed in his usual attire, simply wearing his ear-rings, and having three small golden flowers in his hair as ornaments. Then Götami, accompanied by her mother, entered the assembly, and her mother spoke to her thus: “Whom will you select of all these as a husband ?” Then Gôtamî, looking on one after the other till she had observed the whole of the five hundred youths, answered her mother thus—“Dear mother! it seems to me that all these youths are very much decorated with ornaments. As to their persons they appear to me more like women than men. I, indeed, as a woman, cannot think of selecting one of these as a husband, for I cannot suppose that any youth possessing manly qualities, fit for a woman to respect in a husband, would dress himself out as these have. But I observe that Siddartha, the Prince, is not so bedizened with jewels about his person, there is no love of false appearances in his presence, I do not think that he is of the effeminate disposition that these are — my heart is well affected to him. I will take Siddartha as the husband of my choice.” Then Götami in her right hand holding a beautiful wreath of Sumana flowers (jasmin), advancing past all the youths in succession went straight up to Siddartha, and having reached him she stopped, and then taking the jasmin wreath, having fastened it around the neck of Siddartha, she gently put her arm upon the back of his head and said, "Siddartha! my Prince! I take you to be my lord and husband !” Then Siddartha replied, “So let it be — so let it be, even as you say. ,

" At this time Siddartha in return took a jasmin wreath and fastened it round the neck of the maiden Gotams, and spoke thus: “I take you to be my wife; you are now my own wife.”

[ocr errors]


THOMAS HODGKIN. Born at Tottenham, England, in 1831. Author of "Italy and her Invaders,” and of several monographs upon historical topics.

Born a Quaker, educated as a lawyer, and by profession a banker, he has also been a brilliant historical student during thirty-five years.


(As seen by a Roman Embassy, 428 A.D.)

We follow honest Maximin and his friend as they journey northwards into the recesses of Hungary. For a certain distance they traveled in the train of the barbarian; then they received orders to turn off into another road. Attila was about to visit a certain village, and there add to his numerous harem another wife, the daughter of one Escam; and apparently he did not choose that the courtly Byzantines should look on the rude wedding festivities of a Hunnish polygamist. The ambassadors had to cross three large rivers in the course of their journey. The names of these rivers are not easy to recognize, but they may possibly be represented by the Drave, the Temes, and the Theiss. They crossed them, as before, in tree-trunk boats; while, for the smaller streams and the marshes, they availed themselves of the convenient rafts which the Huns always carried about with them on their wagons in all their journeys through that often inundated country. They were kindly entertained in the Hunnish villages, and received such provisions as the inhabitants had to offer; no wheat, indeed, but millet, for food, and for drink medus and camus, two beverages which seem to correspond to our mead and beer.

One night, after a long day's march, they pitched their tent beside a lake which offered them the advantage of good and sweet water. "Suddenly,” said Priscus, "there arose a great storm of wind, accompanied by thunderings and frequent flashes of lightning and torrents of rain. Our tent was blown down, and all our traveling furniture was rolled over and over into the waters of the lake. Terrified by this accident and by the din of

[ocr errors]

the storm which filled all the air, we left the spot and soon wandered away from each other, every one taking what he supposed to be the right road. At length, by different paths, we all reached the neighboring village, and turned in to the huts for shelter. Then, with loud outcry, we began inquiring into our losses. Roused by our clamor, the Scythians started up, kindled the long reeds which serve them for candles, and which threw a good light upon the scene, and then asked us what on earth we wanted that we were making such an uproar. The barbarians who were with us explained how we had been thrown into confusion by the storm, whereupon they kindly called us into their houses, and by lighting a very great number of torches did something to warm us.

“The chieftainess of the village, who was one of the wives of Bleda [Attila's brother), sent us a supply of food, of which we gladly partook. Next morning, at daybreak, we set about searching for our camp furniture, and were fortunate enough to find it all, some in the place where we pitched our tents, some on the shore, and some in the lake itself, from which we succeeded in fishing it up. The whole of that day we spent in the village, drying our things, for the storm had now ceased and the sun was shining brightly. After attending to our beasts, we visited the queen, saluted her respectfully, and repaid her for her hospitality with presents. These were three silver bowls, some red skins, Indian pepper, dates, and other articles of food, which the barbarians prize as foreign to their climate. Then we wished her health and happiness in return for her hospitality to us, and so we departed."

At length, after seven days' journey, they reached a village, where they were ordered to stop. · Their road here joined that by which the royal bridegroom would be approaching, and they were not to presume to proceed till Attila should have gone before them. In the little village where they were thus detained they met some unexpected companions. Primutus, the Roman governor of Noricum, Count Romulus of Passau, the father-in-law of Orestes, and Romanus, a general of legionaries, with probably a long train of attendants, were already testing, perhaps somewhat severely, the resources and accommodation of the Hunnish village. They, too, had come on an embassy; they represented

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »