Sinhala story Blog

ජූනි 20, 2010

Glorious Days of King Parakramabahu (Historical Fiction)

Filed under: Uncategorized — sinhalashortstories @ 6:01 පෙ.ව.

Mithila was summoned before the king. After his majesty’s sisters were married, she often wondered if he even remembered her existence. Now the summons to appear before him. She donned her prettiest redde. It came to the island of Lanka in the trousseau with the Pandyan princess. Queen Leelawati gave it to her long ago having never liked the peacock blue herself. It was the best garment Mithila had. She loved the bright blue, it lifted her spirits.

She was in Vejayantha Pasada, the royal palace of King Parakramabahu I. She walked along the corridors towards the private quarters of the king. She knew her way around. She grew up here. Mithila had no recollection of her life before living in this majestic palace. It is known as the splendor of the whole nation. Palace guards recognizing Mithila bowed their heads and let her pass through. South side, where the king’s private chambers were, had been added with more rooms and assembly halls, Mithila noted. It has been a few months since she had visited this part of the palace.

Chief Minister walked out of the visitor’s sitting room. He beamed at her, nodding his head in acceptance of her presence, appreciating her good looks, well behaved manner and the charm that Mithila extended to all at the palace. No one ever complained about Mithila. Especially when Mitta, king’s youngest sister was around. Mitta was as troublesome as a Nila Messa, a big blue shoe fly. Mitta was irritating and annoying the Chief Minister with her never ending silly questions. Running around so unlike a princess and creating mischief. The Chief Minister was partially responsible in hastening the marriage discussions to Manabharana of Ruhuna. Manabharana ended up marrying both sisters, Mitta and Pabhavati.

“Go in, my child.” Chief Minister held the heavy curtain to one side and let her pass. Mithila entered the visitor’s sitting rooms. Through these rooms she walked to the private chambers of the royalty where even the Chief Minister was not allowed to enter.

Exquisite clay vases filled to the brim with water had Samanpicha flowers resting on the surface for good luck. Mithila stood to a side, hesitating. The great king sat cross legged on a velour carpet. His Majesty was studying some maps. His Queen sat beside him, also looking at the maps. They were the plans for the completion of Parakrama Samudra, the sea of Parakrama. King and his Queen both lifted their heads up in unison.

“Ah! Our dear child Mithila!” King said in a soft whisper. Queen Leelawati nodded her head beckoning her to come forward. Mithila was a distant cousin of the royalty. She was not the royal’s daughter. Yet they always treated her as one. She grew up at the Citadel in the glorious days of Parakramabahu’s truimph over conquering all of Lanka.

“You look well and fashionably dressed.” King observed. Mithila bowed her head once more. The King and his Queen have always treated her kindly. When she lifted her head, King’s piercing dark eyes bore into hers.

“Have you been well?”
“Yes, my Lord.”
“Strong enough to travel, my dear?”
“Travel my Lord?”
“It is time for you to leave us. To seek your destiny. We have arranged your marriage to a Pandyan prince, Crown Prince of Pandyan kingdom. You shall be related to our Queen’s folks then.”

Mithila stared at the King’s face. As was the custom before the King, she dared not look away how ever much she wanted to hide her confusion. She knew she had to marry someday. But to leave Lanka! She never anticipated that. King Parakramabahu was the Maha-Raja, King of kings in this resplendent land. No one doubted his wisdom, definitely not when it comes to arranging a marriage for an orphan royal maiden.

Mithila bowed her head in acceptance of the king’s decision. She observed the strange look that had come to Queen Leelawati’s face. Mithila with her head bowed low couldn’t gaze openly at the Queen. Queen was probably reminiscing about her own adolescence. Growing up in the Pandyan royal court, getting ready for a similar voyage. A voyage to uncertainty. To a strange land with strange people and their customs. All for the sake of peace. King’s own sisters were married off for the same cause. Baddhavati to Gajabahu II to keep the central kingdom of Rajarata quiet. Mitta and Phabavati to Manabharana of Ruhuna, in the southern kingdom.

“Ships leave from Gokanna on the day after next Poya, Full Moon, before the monsoon rains begin. Be ready. We will have your dowry, a generous one I may say, for you to take to the Pandyan prince.” Saying this King dismissed Mithila, bending his head once more into the maps of the giant tank.

Mithila has seen the digging and as had everyone else at Polonnaruva, she was also excited about the King’s pet project, the sea of Parakrama. Now she will never see its completion. Mithila walked out of the royal room. She walked through the covered colonnade. She was not aware of the stone carvings of the elephants, symbolic of triumph. She went down the two flights of steps walking over the moonstones without remembering that they were there.

She will use the Lotus bath more often now. A royal privilege. Amid the lustrous flowering bushes and fruit trees lay the royal bath. Irrigation engineers have made possible the running water in the Lotus bath to flow through from one of the nearby tanks. She will be treated as a woman from now on. Before she realized where she was, she had arrived at The Quadrangle. She went to pay respects to Buddha’s Tooth Relic at the Terrace. She prayed for strength and courage.

After the King’s pronouncement, every morning a maid entered Mithila’s private chamber with a smoking pot. Agil, deva dara, sudu hadun and savandara roots would blaze on the hot coconut shells, spreading the smoky aroma of the herbs. The maid walked to all four corners of the room holding the pot to keep every contagious disease out. This would be repeated once again in the evening, every day until her departure.

Not only were the chambers cleansed. Mithila was administered to a kashaya, herbal tonic by the royal physician. The horrible smell of the tonic had a matching taste. Pinching her nose she would swallow the deep brown liquid every morning. “It makes your skin golden and will improve your appetite.” The royal physician said kindly. He stood next to the attendant who held the tray until Mithila finished every drop.

Queen Leelawati visited Mithila the morning after the Full Moon. Yesterday was the last Poya day that Mithila would observe the noble eight percepts with her people. Today she would board a ship and travel across the seas.

“Come sit next to us, my child.” Queen Leelawati invited Mithila to sit beside her.

“We always appreciated the companionship you extended to my King’s sisters. We regard you as one of our family. You will begin to love and cherish Pandyan kingdom with the same love you have for us.”

“Does it worry you, about your family?…. I mean,…. never being able to see them again?..” Mithila questioned timidly. She did not expect the Queen to answer.

“I knew not to question my destiny. To marry your king I was sent here. It is my good fortune to come to Lanka and be wedded to my king. Chola kingdom can never win if Lanka and Pandyans keep peace with each other. As women we must do our part. You and I have great importance. We shall not fight with helle or kaduwa; the javelin or the sword. We are emissaries of goodwill. Bring two kingdoms closer with our customs. May be your son or daughter will come to Lanka. Teach them your heritage and keep your faith.” Queen’s soft voice in Pandyan accent gave Mithila courage and hope. She has a duty to her country, to Lanka, that she must fulfill.

Published in the Sunday Observer, February 10, 2008 with the titles -Voyage to uncertainty

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  1. This is a fantastic blog you have here. I visit here every week. I have already subscribed to your rss feed to help me stay update with your publication. Are you on twitter so that I can follow you?

    ප්‍රතිචාර විසින් waltenire — ජූනි 21, 2010 @ 10:24 පෙ.ව.

  2. Sounds awesome! Where I can read the rest?

    ප්‍රතිචාර විසින් Thushantha — සැප්තැම්බර් 21, 2014 @ 8:10 ප.ව.


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