A Feast in the Palace (Chapter 2.)
Finally they arrived at Takkasila. The she-devil made her ‘son’ disappear and followed alone.
At the city gate the prince stopped and went into a rest house. Because of the magic power of the charmed sand and string he had gotten from the Silent Buddhas, the she-devil was not able to follow him inside. She stayed outside and made herself look as beautiful as a goddess.
The King of Takkasila happened to see her as he was going to his pleasure garden. Overwhelmed by her beauty, he decided he must have her. He sent a servant to ask if she was married. When he did so, she replied, “Yes, my husband is inside this rest house.”
Hearing this, the prince called out from within, “She. is not my wife. She is a devil. She killed the five men who followed me and ate them while their blood was still hot!” And once again she said, “See how it is, sir, anger can make husbands call their own wives devils and hungry ghosts! Such is the way of the world.”
The servant returned to the king and told him what both had said. To which the king replied, ‘Unowned goods belong to the king.” So he sent for the she-devil and seated her on a royal elephant. After the procession returned to the palace, he made her his number one queen.
That evening the king had a shampoo and bath, ate his supper, and went to bed. The demon had her supper, made herself look even more beautiful than before and followed the king to his bed. After pleasing him, she turned on her side and began to weep.
The king asked, “Why are you crying, my sweetheart?” “My lord,” said she, “you picked me up from the roadside. In this palace there are many jealous women. They will say, ‘She has no mother or father, no family or country. She was found on the side of the road.’ Don’t let them make fun of me like that, my lord. Give me power over the whole kingdom so none will dare challenge me.”
“My lovely,” replied the king, “I have no such power over the whole kingdom. My authority is only over those who revolt or break the law.” But since he was so pleased by her physical charms, the king continued, “My sweetheart, I will grant you complete authority over all who dwell within my palace.”
Satisfied with this, the new queen waited until the king was asleep. Then she secretly ran off to her home in the city of devils. She gathered together the she-devils, he-devils, and even the hungry little children-devils. Then she took them all back to the palace. She killed her new husband, the king, and gobbled him up – all except his bones! The other devils ate all the rest who lived in the palace – even the dogs and chickens! Only bones were left behind.
The next morning the people found the palace doors locked. Worried, they broke through the windows with axes, went inside, and found human and animal bones scattered around. Only then did they realize that the man in the rest house was right, that the king’s new queen was a flesh-eating devil.
Meanwhile, the Enlightenment Being had protected himself from the murderous she-devil during the night. He had spread the charmed sand on the roof of the rest house and wound the charmed string around the outside walls. At dawn he was still awake inside, standing alertly with sword in hand.
After cleaning up the mess in the palace the citizens discussed the situation among themselves. They said, “The man in the rest house must be master of his senses, since he did not even look at the she-devil’s dangerous beauty. If such a noble, determined and wise man were ruling our country, we all would prosper. Let us make him our new king.”
In unanimous agreement they went to the rest house and invited the prince to be their king. When he accepted, they escorted him to the palace, seated him on a pile of jewels, and crowned him king.
He ruled righteously, following the ten rules of good government. He avoided the four ways of going astray prejudice, anger, fearfulness and foolishness. And he always remembered the advice of the Silent Buddhas, that had led him to the kingship. Unlike his five unfortunate followers, he had resisted the blind desire for the pleasures of the five senses. Only then could he benefit all his subjects with his wise rule.