warm afternoon, pleasantly tired with sporting in the woods Devayani and the daughters of
Vrishaparva, king of the asuras, went to bathe in the cool waters of a sylvan pool,
depositing their garlands on the bank before they entered its waters.
A strong breeze blew their clothestogether into
a huddled heap-and when they came to take them up again, some mistakes naturally occurred.
It so happened that princess Sarmishtha, the daughter of the king, clad herself in
Devayani's clothes. The latter was vexed and exclaimed half in jest at the impropriety of
the daughter of a disciple wearing the clothes of themaster's daughter.
These words were spoken half in jest, but the
princess Sarmishtha became very angry and said arrogantly: "Do you not know that your
father humbly bows in reverence to my royal father every day? Are you not the daughter of
a beggar who lives on my father's bounty? You forget I am of the royal race which proudly
gives- while you come of a race which begs and receives-and you dare to speak thus to
Sarmishtha went on, getting angrier and angrier
as she spoke till, working herself up into a fit of anger, she finally slapped Devayani on
the cheek and pushed her into a dry well. The asura maidens thought that Devayani had lost
her life and returned to the palace.
Devayani had not been killed by the fall into
the well but was in a sad plight because she could not climb up the steep sides. Emperor
Yayati of the Bharata race who was hunting in the forest by a happy chance came to this
spot in search of water to slake his thirst. When he glanced into the well, he saw
something bright, and looking closer, be was surprised to find a beautiful maiden lying in