44. VIRTUE VINDICATED
Did any one there come forward
to help you? Virata is only king in name
of this Matsya country. But I, the
commander-in-chief, am the real
sovereign. Now, do not be a fool, but
come and enjoy life with me, with all
royal honors. I shall be your devoted
servant." And he begged and bullied and
cringed, devouring her the while with lustreddened
pretended to yield and said:
"Kichaka, believe me, I can no longer
resist your solicitations. But none of your
companions or brothers should know of
our relations. If you swear that you will
faithfully keep the secret from others, I
shall yield to your wish."
Kichaka delightedly agreed to the
condition and he promised to go alone to a
place of assignation that very night.
She said: "The women have their dancing
lessons during daytime in the dancing hall
and return to their own quarters at
nightfall. None will be in the dancing hall
at night. Come there tonight. I shall be
waiting for you there. You can have your
will of me."
Kichaka reveled in happiness. That night,
Kichaka took his bath, perfumed and
decked himself, went to the dancing hall
and finding with joy that the doors were
open, gently entered the place.
In the very dim light, he saw someone
lying there on a couch, no doubt
Sairandhri. He groped his way in the dark,
and gently laid his hands on the person of
Alas! It was not the soft form of
Sairandhri that he touched but the iron
frame of Bhima who lept forth on him like
a lion on its prey and hurled him to the
ground. But surprised as he was, Kichaka
was no coward, and he was now fighting
for dear life.
Grimly they wrestled, Kichaka no doubt
thinking he had to do with one of the
Gandharva husbands. They were not ill
matched, for at that time Bhima, Balarama
and Kichaka were reputed to be in the
same class in strength and wrestling skill.
The struggle between Bhima and Kichaka
was like that between Vali and Sugriva. In
the end Bhima killed Kichaka, pounding
and kneading his body into a shapeless
lump of flesh.
Then he gave the glad news of Kichaka's
punishment to Draupadi and went in haste
to his kitchen, bathed, rubbed sandal paste
over his body and slept with satisfaction.
Draupadi awoke the guards of the court
and said to them: "Kichaka came to
molest me, but as I had warned him, the
Gandharvas, my husbands, made short
work of him. Your commander-in-chief,
who fell a prey to lust, has been killed.
Look at him." And she showed them the
corpse of Kichaka, which had been
reduced to such a shapeless mass that it
had no human semblance.