You are here

Canto XXXVIII. Sítá's Gem.

Again the Vánar chief replied,
With her wise answer satisfied:
"Well hast thou said: thou canst not brave
The rushing wind, the roaring wave.
Thy woman's heart would sink with fear
Before the ocean shore were near.
And for thy dread lest limb of thine
Should for a while be touched by mine,
The modest fear is worthy one
Whose cherished lord is Raghu's son.
Yet when I sought to bear thee hence
I spoke the words of innocence,
Impelled to set the captive free
By friendship for thy lord and thee.
But if with me thou wilt not try
The passage of the windy sky,
Give me a gem that I may show,
Some token which thy lord may know."

Again the Maithil lady spoke,
While tears and sobs her utterance broke:
"The surest of all signs is this,
To tell the tale of vanished bliss.
Thus in my name to Ráma speak:
"Remember Chitrakúta's peak
And the green margin of the rill(867)
That flows beside that pleasant hill,
Where thou and I together strayed
Delighting in the tangled shade.
There on the grass I sat with thee
And laid my head upon thy knee.
There came a greedy crow and pecked
The meat I waited to protect
And, heedless of the clods I threw,
About my head in circles flew,
Until by darling hunger pressed
He boldly pecked me on the breast.
I ran to thee in rage and grief
And prayed for vengeance on the thief.
Then Ráma(868) from his slumber rose
And smiled with pity at my woes.
Upon my bleeding breast he saw
The scratches made by beak and claw.
He laid an arrow on his bow,
And launched it at the shameless crow.
That shaft, with magic power endued,
The bird, where'er he flew, pursued,
Till back to Raghu's son he fled
And bent at Ráma's feet his head.(869)
Couldst thou for me with anger stirred
Launch that dire shaft upon a bird,
And yet canst pardon him who stole
The darling of thy heart and soul?
Rise up, O bravest of the brave,
And come in all thy might to save.
Come with the thunders of thy bow,
And smite to earth the Rákshas foe."

She ceased; and from her glorious hair
She took a gem that sparkled there
A token which her husband's eyes
With eager love would recognize.
His head the Vánar envoy bent
In low obeisance reverent.
And on his finger bound the gem
She loosened from her diadem.

[I omit two Cantos of dialogue. Sítá tells Hanumán again to convey her
message to Ráma and bid him hasten to rescue her. Hanumán replies as
before that there is no one on earth equal to Ráma, who will soon come and
destroy Rávan. There is not a new idea in the two Cantos: all is