A Tale of Love; the Prince and the Flower Girl
Close to the Himalayas was a small Indian state ruled by a maharajah. The ruler had a handsome 22-year-old prince named Rana. As he was the only son the queen maharani was very keen that the prince should get married. Both the king and the queen talked together and the king promised to bring up the subject with the Prince immediately. He called the prince to his study and told him," look son you are a 22. You had your education in England and have come back but now the time has come that you must select a princess as your partner because in due course she would be the Queen of the state."
The prince heard his father and replied," I do not feel like getting married at the moment because I have not come across a girl who can fit into my life."
"How do you say that?"
"Father, I am looking for a girl who should be what I want and what I desire."
"But son there are so many princesses and girls from good families around. We have the daughter of the neighboring king and of course, you should not forget that our Prime Minister Ahmed Shah has a lovely daughter as well, who is also an excellent horse rider."
"Father you don't think about her. Do you know that once when I was out riding with her she mercilessly whipped the horse?"
"What's wrong with this? if a horse is not performing he has to be given a dose."
The prince replied, "are you are not understanding. I do not like anybody to beat a dumb animal for nothing and I cannot think of her as my mate and the Queen of this kingdom."
Saying this the prince abruptly got up and left the room. When he was moving outside he was greeted by the Vizier, (prime minister) Ahmad Shah. He told him, "your highness where are you going?"
"I am going for a horse ride"
"Wonderful, your highness I shall ask my daughter Revathi to accompany you on her horse. I'm sure you will like her company and you can ride to the foothills of the Himalayas and see the beautiful scenery there."
"Ahmad Shah, I should be pleased if you do not make any such suggestion because at the moment I shall be riding alone."
The prince walked towards the stables. As he neared the stables, he heard a soft sound and looked back. He saw Revathi standing there."Your highness, she said I think you're going for a spin on your horse. If you permit, I would like to come with you."
The prince saw Revathi holding the riding crop in her hand and she looked very determined. All at once the image of Revathi mercilessly beating the horse came before him and he decided he did not want to go for a ride with her.
He abruptly stopped in his tracks and turned around and said, "Revathi, I am not going for a ride, I was only just walking around. I'm going back to the palace." He about turned and went back to the palace. He went to his apartment and sat down thinking about what to do. Suddenly he had an idea. He threw off his royal clothes and dressed up as an ordinary citizen. Hd came out of his room and saw nobody was about. He walked to the wall of the palace and jumped over the wall. He wanted to move in the city like an ordinary citizen and mingle with the crowd and see life as an ordinary man. He was getting a little bored with the vizier's daughter.
Nobody saw the Prince leave the palace. He was delighted with his escape and headed into the Bazar. He moved around the city, delighted with the hustle-bustle of the city and the teeming millions all around. Nobody noticed him and he began to enjoy himself. After some time he reached a corner of the market. He saw a lovely girl sitting with flowers to sell. Prince Rana was taken in by the beauty of the girl. He could make out she was exceptionally fair, slim with large almond-shaped eyes. He also observed that she was very young and looked a little forlorn. Prince Rana kept watching her. After five sometime he saw that she stood up and raised her arms overhead. This simple act accentuated her beauty and he was witness to her lovely bare belly. She wore a low skirt, a Ghagra and a sleeveless blouse. It was all cheap material but that did not distract from her allure and beauty.
They were other admirers of her beauty also but they were not good persons. Two men kept looking at her and the prince could make out that they were up to no good. One of the men went up to the girl and tried to catch her hand and said, "hey flower girl why not come for a cup of tea with me.?"
"Leave my hand," the girl said, "and be away."
The men made no attempt to go away and that is the time when Prince Rana decided that he must do something. He walked towards the man with a firm step and nearing caught the arm of the man. It was a vice-like grip and before the man could do anything he received a slap on his cheek. The second man moved forward to help his comrade but he had not bargained for a powerful jab into his belly that took the wind out of him. The prince was after all a rugby and boxing champion.He just crumpled to the earth.The girl looked at the Prince with admiration and said, " thank you so much for saving me but who are you?"
Falling in Love
The Prince looked at the girl and said, "beautiful girl, my name is Ashoka and I am a trader visiting this city. What is your name ?"
" My name is Rosie and I normally don't come down here alone as my father comes and sells the flowers but today my father is not well and so I came and these men accosted me."
"Have you sold any flowers today"
"No, but I must sell some, otherwise all of us including Hector will not get anything to eat."
"Who is Hector?"
"He is our horse and he's my great friend and I ride him often"
"Okay don't worry, I need flowers and I'm going to buy all your flowers for rupees 500, that means your entire product is sold today and you can go home."
"You are too generous it will be very bad if I don't invite you to accompany me to our house."
"I was hoping you will be calling me home."
The prince got the flowers packed and left them with a girl nearby as he accompanied Rosie to her house. He left after meeting the father and a cup of tea.
He went back to the Palace climbed over the wall to his room but he was restless as the image of the beautiful girl came like a vision before him. The way she had raised her arms and her bust had risen and midriff revealed intoxicated him. The next day he again scaled the Palace wall and softly landed on the Earth outside. He made a quick passage to the cottage of the girl.
He reached the cottage and saw the horse outside. He assumed the girl was inside and knocked on the door. The girl opens the door and was delighted to see him.
"Come in," she said "I have prepared a cake. Have a bite and then I will also give it to Hector and then if you like we can go for a romp on the horse. By the way, do you know how to ride?"
"No, I do not know how to ride or how to climb on a horse, I hope you will teach me"
"Of course, I will"
She guided the horse to a small stand, climbed on it and sat down on the horse. As she was wearing a Ghagra and her legs were divorced, the Ghagra went up over her thighs and the prince was witness to a most beautiful pair of legs. She motioned the prince to climb the stand and then sit on the horse behind her and then she told the horse " Hector let's go for a ride."
They rode out towards the Himalayas and Hector though not a racehorse covered the distance in fairly good time. As they rode forward the Prince enveloped Rosie with his arms. He was thrilled with the touch of her soft flesh. He murmured, "I have to catch you because I am scared of falling off the horse."
She pulled the horse after reaching a small Himalayan lake. She dismounted with alacrity and helped the prince dismount petting Hector all the time."Come", she said, " this is my favorite place, I come here very often and I like to dream."
"What do you dream?"
" I dream that a handsome prince will come and take me away to a very big Palace and I have lots of children and live happily ever after."
"Your dream will come true"
"Of course not, it's only a dream but you will not understand because you are after all only a trader though you are a handsome trader."
"Have you heard about Prince Rana?"
"Yes, I have, all the people like him very much and I am told he's looking for a bride but the Prime Minister's daughter has set her eyes on him and will marry him."
"You are sure?"
"Yes absolutely because the vizier is in league with the English resident Major David and both of them have planned that the visier's daughter will marry the prince and she will become the Queen and then the vizier will be all-powerful."
'Hey Rose, I didn't know all this."
"Okay," she said, " We should be getting back but where is Hector? He never goes away far from me."
We looked around but couldn't see Hector and Rana began to wonder about the sixth sense of a horse. Was the horse in his own way trying to bring him and Rosie together. She told the prince that such a thing has never happened and Hector never used to loiter but today she wondered where he had gone.
The Himalayas have their own laws of nature and dark clouds began to collect and soon it began to rain."Heavens" Rosie said, "I don't know what to do because Hector is not here and there is heavy rain falling."
With the rain falling heavily Prince Rana immediately picked up Rosie in his arms and cradled her trying to save her from the rain. He took her under a tree but both of them still got terribly wet. Her cheap cotton skirt and blouse were drenched and stuck to her body revealing to Prince Rana her ethereal beauty.
He said, "Rosie tell me why are you so beautiful. I have a feeling that you were in the court of the Lord Indra and there you are playing the sitar."
"Don't be silly," she said," but all the same I like what you're saying and I like you very much. I will never forget how you helped me yesterday. I also will not forget that you bought all my flowers but I suspect you are not just a simple trader but someone else."
"Do you think I could be a prince?"
"Of course not, a real prince will be in the palace and for all you know he may be having the viziers daughter in his arms."
"Would you like to be in the arms of the prince?"
She laughed, "if wishes were horses beggars would ride but I am happy with you. I don't know who you are. You say you are a trader but I have a doubt you are not but all the same, I know you are not a prince though you have all the qualities of a prince."
Thunder now boomed again and again and then lightning struck an adjacent tree and the earth shook. This was the time when the God of Thunder took over and an overpowering emotion overtook Prince Rana. Despite himself, he found him kissing Rosie. They were huddled under a tree but it was not much protection and the rain still beat squarely on them. Rana's lips imprisoned Rosie. He drank rainwater from her mouth. It was a delight which he had never experienced and at the back of his mind was a voice saying to him 'Rana don't get carried away.'
Carried away he was and with thunder and lightning all around and Rosie's ghagra and skirt wet and almost diaphanous, he was beckoned to the land of love. That time he took a decision that he would make Rosie his queen. He had an inkling that the vizier will oppose it and maybe his father too but he was sure his mother after she saw Rosie would say nothing but 'yes'.
They kissed and kissed and Rana paid homage to every inch of her body, it was as if they were caught in a tornado which spiraled them up into the sky and high up in the mountains he could see the Himalayas and the snow-covered peaks. He had a feeling he saw Mt Kanchenjunga and also Lord Shiva sitting on Mount Kailash.
It was a period of hedonistic delight. He realized Rosie has possessed his soul. Another massive crash of thunder and a half shriek from Rosie conveyed to him the transformation of the girl to a woman. He had half a regret but now he was on an unending flight and there was nothing that he could do.
The rain was still continuing and he cradled Rosie in his arms and kissed her repeatedly whispering, " I'm sorry". After it was over as if on cue they saw Hector heading towards them.
She whistled and Hector came and this time the prince lifted Rosie in his arms and put her on the horse. She was struck by his prodigious strength and looked in awe as with one leap he mounted the horse behind her.
"What is this?" she said, "you are such a good rider, why didn't you tell me, are you a trader?"
As the horse moved forward Prince Rana put his arms around her and nibbled her ear "don't worry," he said, " something good is going to happen and who knows your dreams may come true. Wait for a few days and I can tell you a miracle will happen."
But something strange happened as she realized that her lover was going to do something extraordinary. She shuddered as on the gallop the god of love again enveloped them. It was an act almost sophomoric and somniferous.
The Vizier Plots
The vizier was getting worried. He had not seen the prince for two days and his daughter had come and told him that she was worried as he was not in the palace. The vizier called to office two of his followers and told them," I have a feeling the Prince is not in the palace. I want to find out where he is and also find out if he is seeing another girl."
These two men were the most dreaded followers named Billa and Tilla and they nodded their heads, "Hazoor don't worry, we will get you the information very soon."
After another day Billa and Tilla again came to the vizier, " Huzoor we have been able to add two and two and adds up to four. We have learned that one man went to the village and beat up two thugs who were harassing a girl and then he went with that girl, we do not know where. I have a feeling your Excellency that this man who beat up the thugs was tall and handsome and muscular and could be none other than Prince Rana."
"Who is the girl?"
"Your Excellency, she's a very beautiful girl but she sells flowers and they stay in a small house outside the city and have a horse. I have carried out all the research."
The vizier smiled grimly, "Billa and Tilla you have justified my faith in you, now I want you to kidnap this girl. Remember the stakes are very high and if you are successful I will see to it that you get a huge sum of money and a passage to Calcutta to live a good life."
You can rest assured that the job will be done.
The Flowering of Romance
The prince went to his mother's chamber and told her the entire story. She listened to her son and then kissed him on the forehead. "what is done is done. now as an honorable man I want you to bring the girl to me. I will dress her as a bride and take her to the King. But son, be on your guard because the Vizier Ahmad Shah can do anything and my heart tells me that this girl could be in grave danger."
Prince straightaway decided to act. He got into his car and drove to the gate of the Royal Palace. He stopped at the gate and asked who all had left the gates. The guards told him, " Your highness, two men, who are close confidants of the Vizier, Billa and Tilla left five minutes back."
A sixth sense warned the prince that both these men were up to no good and they could be heading for the cottage of the girl. He immediately put his Rolls-Royce into gear and drove along the dusty road. He reached the cottage and honked the horn. Rosie came out and saw the Rolls-Royce. She looked closer and saw it was the same man who claimed he was a trader.
"You?" she said, "you told me you are a trader but now you have got a Rolls-Royce."
"Yes," the prince said," I am Prince Rana and I now claim you as my wife the new Queen of this country."
Rosie looked bewildered and her father came out. He was a wise man and quickly took stock of the situation. "Rana," he said, "take my daughter and look after her, I fear the worst for her."
She got into the front seat of the car and the Prince kissed her and said," my darling your life is in danger and we must leave immediately get back." He could see a small Fiat coming with two men inside. He was sure they were Billa and Tilla. He had to confront them for the woman he loved.
The small Fiat pulled up adjacent to the Rolls and both the men got out. "Prince Rana," they said, "we are here to help you give the girl to us."
"Sure," Rana replied. As he got out of the car, he landed a powerful uppercut to the man. it was a powerful blow the like of which Billa had never felt in his life. He fell to the earth unconscious. Tilla saw the powerful Billa fall and his legs became rubbery. The prince pulled out his small pistol and aimed it at Tilla. "Tell me who sent you otherwise I am going to send you to God."
Tilla spilled the beans."Your highness the vizier wants his daughter to get married to you but at the same time, I assure you, your highness, that we were not going to harm the girl at all. We were only going to take her away and leave her at some other place for some time till the marriage between you and the vizier's daughter took place. Please believe us."
Prince Rana looked at both the men and realized they were telling the truth. "it's okay" he said "I'm going to forgive you because that is the hallmark of my life. Now you both go away from here and never come back to the state. in the meantime, I am taking Rosie to the castle." Rosie was bewildered at what was happening and her heartbeat feverishly. Some dreams come true.
The prince took Rosie to his mother and marriage preparations were on. She liked Rosie immensely more for her beauty and simplicity. She knew she was pure almost like an angel. The King also accepted the marriage and celebrations commenced. The Vizier Ahmad Shah decided to go away but he had not yet played his last card. He contacted the dreaded Khan, the Mongol from Central Asia. He telephoned him to come. He said, "you have to do a job for me. I do not lose the war though I may lose the battle."
After the wedding, the prince carried his bride to the nuptial bed. As he kissed her eyelids, he realized she was a flower gifted to him by Lord Indra, the king of Gods. How else could Hector run away if not at the instruction of the Lord himself? It was a tryst that was ordained by the almighty. As he lay with her he thought matters are settled but they were not.
The Vizier was still looking for a way to take revenge and marry his daughter to the prince. Did the Vizier, who had called Khan the Mongol to kill Rosie succeed or he got killed? perhaps the Prince will be successful but then that is another story.