Kopal-Kundala/In One's Native Country

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Chapter V.

In One's Native Country.

Nobokumar arrived with Kopal-Kundala in his own country. His father was dead, and his widow-mother and two sisters were in the house. The elder was a widow; the reader will see nothing of her. The second, Shamasoondri, was a widow, though married—in a word, she was a Kulin's wife; we shall now and then see something of her.

If under any other circumstances Nobokumar had married and brought home a young devotee of unknown family and temperament, I cannot say how far his relatives and friends would have been pleased. But, as a matter of fact, he had no trouble on this score. All had despaired of his return. His comrades had returned and given out that Nobokumar had been killed by tigers. The reader will think that these truth-tellers spoke to what they considered certain; but to admit this would be to insult their powers of imagination. Many of the returned pilgrims had positively declared that with their own eyes they had seen Nobokumar fall into a tiger's jaws; sometimes there would be a discussion as to the size of the tiger. Some said it must be eight cubits in length, while others swore it was nearly fourteen cubits. The old pilgrim, to whom we have been introduced above, said, "However that may be, I had a very narrow escape. The tiger had made for me, when I fled; Nobokumar is not so bold a man, and couldn't run away."

On all these rumours reaching the ears of Nobokumar's relatives, such a crying and weeping arose in the house, that for several days it did not cease. On hearing the news of the death of her only son, Nobokumar's mother became like one quite dead. Such being the juncture at which Nobokumar arrived at home with his wife, who was likely to ask him what caste or whose daughter his bride was? All were blind with joy. Nobokumar's mother received her daughter-in-law with great respect and affection.

When Nobokumar saw that Kopal-Kundala was affectionately received in his house, the sea of his joy overflowed. Though he had won Kopal-Kundala, he had hitherto manifested no signs of joy or love through fear of her being ill-received; still the sky of his heart was overspread with the image of Kopal-Kundala. It was owing to this uncertainty that he had not at once consented to the proposal to marry Kopal-Kundala; and for the same reason on the way home he had had no loving conversation with Kopal-Kundala, though he was her husband. He did not allow the waves to be tossed about in a sea of love about to overflow. But that uncertainty vanished; just as a heap of water rushes with terrific force on the removal of some boulder that has held it back, with such force did the sea of Nobokumar's love overflow.

This uprising of love did not always manifest itself in words, but it could be seen in the moist eyes with which Nobokumar used to gaze at Kopal-Kundala; it could be seen in the way in which he would feign some necessity, though there was really none, for coming to Kopal-Kundala's side; it could be seen in the manner in which he would abruptly turn the conversation on Kopal-Kundala; it even showed itself in his absent walk; it could be seen in his eagerness day and night to study Kopal-Kundala's happiness. His whole nature seemed to change. Gravity took the place of flippancy, and sadness gave way to cheerfulness. Nobokumar's face was always cheerful. As his heart was a receptacle for love, his love for all others increased; his annoyance with those who vexed him was less; everybody became the object of his love. It appeared to him that the world had been created for good deeds only, and the whole earth appeared beautiful. Such is love! Love softens the harsh, makes the wicked good, the unholy holy, darkness light.

And Kopal-Kundala? What were her feelings? Come, reader, we will take a look at her.