Kopal-Kundala/In a Dream

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Chapter IV.

In a Dream.

Kopal-Kundala quietly shut the door. Quietly she came to her bed-chamber, and quietly she lay down on her bed. Man's heart is an endless sea; when the winds rush and battle over it, who can count its waves? Who could count the waves surging up in the sea of Kopal-Kundala's heart?

That night Nobokumar's heart was pained, and he did not come to the female apartments. Kopal-Kundala lay alone in her bed-chamber, but she did not sleep. Even in the darkness she saw everywhere that face encircled with matted hair, blown by the strong winds, and moist with streams of water. Kopal-Kundala began to think of the past events of her life; she remembered the way in which she had left the Kapálik; she remembered the devilish rites the Kapálik used to perform in the dense forest; the worship of Bhoirobi performed by him; the imprisonment of Nobokumar—all this she thought of. Kopal-Kundala shuddered. She thought too of the events of that night—Shama's desire for the medicine, Nobukumar's prohibition, her rebuking him, then the moonlight beauty of the forest, the darkness in the midst of it, the splendid and terrible beauty of the companion she had found in the forest—all came before her.

The east was marked with the crowning light of dawn. Then Kopal-Kundala got a little sleep, but a light restless sleep, in which she had dreams. It seemed to her that she was going along in a boat on the bosom of the ocean she had seen before. The boat was beautifully adorned, and a green flag was flying from it; the oarsmen were rowing with garlands of flowers on their necks, and singing the endless loves of Radha and Sham. From the western sky the sun was raining streams of gold; the sea, receiving them, was laughing; in the sky the clouds were running to and fro, and bathing themselves in that golden shower. Suddenly it became night, and the sun disappeared. The golden clouds, too, disappeared, and a dense black cloud came and overspread the sky. The direction could no longer be ascertained. The oarsmen turned the boat, and were uncertain in what direction to row. They stopped her, and tore the garlands from their necks; the green flag slipped down and fell into the water. The wind arose; waves as large as trees began to rise; from the midst of a wave a man of terrible appearance, wearing matted hair, came, and, lifting up Kopal-Kundala's boat with his left hand, was about to send it to the bottom, when that terribly beautiful one, dressed as a Brahman, came and seized the boat, and said to Kopal-Kundala, "Shall I preserve you or drown you?" Suddenly the words "Drown me" issued from Kopal-Kundala's mouth. The Brahman let go of the boat. Then the boat too was endued with sound, and spoke, and said, "I cannot carry this burden any longer; I will enter hell." So saying the boat flung her into the waters and entered hell.

Kopal-Kundala woke from her dream, covered with heavy perspiration, and opened her eyes. She saw that it was morning. The window of the room was open, and the current of the spring breeze was blowing through it; the birds were singing on the branches of the trees, softly swaying to and fro; over the window some charming jungle-creepers were swinging with their fragrant flowers. Kopal-Kundala, woman as she was, began to pluck the creepers, and, as she was arranging them, a letter dropped out. Kopal-Kundala was an Adhikari's pupil, and could read. She read something like the following:—

"To-day after evening come and meet the young Brahman you saw yesterday night. You shall hear that something of great importance which you wished to hear. This is from the person who wears a Brahman's garb."