The Eyes of Prince Câu-Na-La
THE EYES OF PRINCE CÂU NA LA
|Thái tử Câu Na La |
Once upon a time in India, there was a King named Asoka (A Dục). He was a good ruler and everyone lived in harmony. His wife, Queen Liên Hoa, was also a very nice person. Together they had one son whose eyes were beautiful and kind like the Câu Na La bird; therefore, they named him Prince Câu Na la. Not very long after prince Câu Na La's marriage to Ma Đa Vi, Queen Liên Hoa passed away.
The King then remarried to Xích Di who was mean and evil. She was always jealous of the Prince. Her hatred towards the Prince escalated after she had a son because she wanted her son to be the one to succeed the throne.
One day the king became extremely ill. When no medicine man in the country could cure him, Xích Di found the cure and King Asoka regained his health. The king was very grateful for her action. When asked how he could express his gratitude, Queen Xích Di replied, "I want to be the successor to the crown." King Asoka pondered on this request. It was impossible for him to grant it to Xích Di because he promised Queen Liên Hoa before she died to pass the crown to their first born - Prince Câu Na La. He told Xích Di of his promise and said, "I can forsake my royal seat but I cannot go back on my promise." She realized that her scheme was not working. With bad intentions, she asked the King to let her be the ruler of the country just for one day and have all the power. King Asoka still had uneasy feelings, but he granted her the wish anyway.
At that time, in ĐắC Xô Thi La City, the corrupt, local government officials were taxing people very high. Not being able to withhold their dissatisfaction any longer, the people of that city stood up to protest against the government. Immediately, a messenger informed the King of this situation. All of this occurred on the day Queen Xích Di was the ruler. She suggested to the King to send Prince Câu Na La to handle the situation. King Asoka hesitated to send the Prince for fear of the danger there, but Prince Câu Na La volunteered to go anyway. Therefore, King Asoka could not interfere. Both King Asoka and Prince Câu Na La did not realize that this was part of Queen Xích Di's scheme to get rid of the prince. She had set everything up from the beginning.
The next morning, Prince Câu Na La said good-bye to his father and wife. He then proceeded on his journey to Đắc Xô Thi La City with his horse Măng Đa La. He did not realize that on the way to the city he was being followed by an unidentified horseman who was on a deadly mission given by Queen Xích Di. When the Prince arrived at Đắc Lô Thi La City, the people were on their knees along the roadside asking forgiveness from the King. After a few days of investigation, Prince Câu Na La changed the tax laws and appointed new local government officials who would work for the people. Relieved and happy, the people celebrated their improved living condition. While everyone was still celebrating, the horseman arrived and delivered a message to the local government which stated: "Must blind the Prince because he is the enemy of the King and has shamed the country. This must be accomplished immediately and no one is allowed to help the Prince nor could his name be repeated from this time forward."
The local government officials were still in a state of shock when the prince asked for the content of the message. After reading the message, only Prince Câu Na La knew it was not from his father but it was Queen Xích Di's scheme. The mission had to be carried out but no one wanted to do it. Finally, one person stepped forward and used a hot metal rod to stab the Prince in the eyes. The people were still crying and grieving for him when Prince Câu Na La reminded them of the last part of the message. They all stopped and left reluctantly. The Prince crawled to a big tree where his horse Măng Đa La stood and said, "Măng Đa La, you heard the message, now go." The horse hesitated at first but then headed toward the palace with a sad expression on its face.
Since the Prince left the palace, his wife Ma Đa Vi waited night and day for his return. She sensed that something had gone wrong but did not know exactly what it was. One day his horse, Măng Đa La, came back without the Prince. Ma Đa Vi fainted for she knew something had gone wrong. After giving it some thought, she left quietly the next morning dressed in plain clothing.
King Asoka, like Ma Đa Vi, had waited also for the Prince to come back. After hearing about how the horse had returned alone and that his daughter-in-law had left, he sent a messenger to Đắc Lô Thi La City to investigate. The local officials realized that it was not the King who ordered blinding the Prince's eyes.
Therefore, they lied that Prince Câu Na La was on his way back to the palace. The messenger was suspicious but the story was the same from the other villagers. He had to go back and tell the King what he heard.
Meanwhile, after he was reunited with his wife, Prince Câu Na La and Ma Đa Vi had to beg for food on the way back to the palace. When they got there, they were not allowed to enter because of their appearance.
Instead, they were given lodgings in the horse stable. The next morning, after awakening, they were singing to one another. At that time, King Asoka, who was missing his children, was in his room facing the direction of Đắc Lô Thi La City when he heard singing coming from the stable. He sent people out to check. They brought in two beggars. The King did not recognize at first that they were his son and daughter-in-law until after checking them out. After he realized who they were, they all cried in joy. Neither wanted to tell him the truth, but after insistence, Ma Đa Vi finally told the King of what had happened and how everything was Queen Xích Di's doings.
Since giving out her orders, Queen Xích Di had been worrying the King would find out. When she had learned that Prince Câu Na La had come back and King Asoka wanted to see her, Queen Xích Di knew of the trouble she was in. Therefore, she went to the King quietly awaiting her punishment; she was to be beheaded.
Prince Câu Na La asked for mercy and told the King he had been thinking about what he had done to deserve such consequence. He realized that in his past life he had done many bad actions: "Long time ago, there was a hunter who trapped fifty mountain goats. Realizing he could not sell or eat all of them at once, he blinded all fifty goats. Now he has to face the consequence," he said. The King, moved by his son's love and understanding, still refused to believe the story. To convince his father, Prince Câu Na La sat down and prayed, "If what I had just told was the truth, let Buddha be my witness and let me have my eyes back." Immediately, he regained his eyesight. The King and Ma Đa Vi were joyous. King Asoka agreed not to behead Queen Xích Di. Instead, he commanded her to go find a peaceful place to think about her actions and repent.
Later, Prince Câu Na La succeeded the throne and his wife Ma Đa Vi became the Queen.
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