There was a good and great king whom everybody loved. The King had a son whom the subjects also loved. One day the King had a dream that his son was killed in a battle. So he said, “Because of my dream, I will never allow my son to fight. I shall keep him in the palace. He is now of age. Let me get the most beautiful girl in my kingdom for him to marry.”
So the King found the most beautiful girl in his kingdom and asked her to marry the prince. She was so delighted and proud to be asked to marry the prince and she happily agreed.
She and her husband lived in the palace and were very happy together. One day, a subject came to the King very disturbed. “O King,” he said, “our village is on the verge of destruction. Everybody is frightened to death. There is a wild boar that is chasing everybody. We cannot go to work, we cannot eat, we cannot do anything because this boar is so destructive. It destroys everything in its way. Please send your son; our prince can kill that boar.”
The King said, “Oh no, I can’t send my son. I will send the commander of my army to kill the boar.”
The commander immediately agreed, but the prince said, “No, father, I am ashamed of myself. Everybody thinks that I am useless. All the subjects see that I do not fight, but spend all my time with my wife. I want to prove that I know archery. I can easily kill the boar.”
The father said, “No, I had a dream that you were killed in battle. I cannot let you go.”
“It is all your mental hallucination,” said the prince. “I was not killed. And anyway, this is not a battle. It is just a wild boar. Easily I can kill it.”
But the King would not agree.
“Father, if you don’t allow me to go, then I will leave the palace for good.”
The King became alarmed, “Son, don’t do that. Go and kill the boar then.”
The prince was about to go when the King stopped him. He said, “Wait for a few minutes. You know, your friend is here visiting. He is the son of another king who is a good friend of mine. I will be happy if this prince goes with you.”
“I don’t need any help,” insisted the prince. “Everybody knows he is a great fighter, but this time I want to prove that I am also a great fighter.”
“Since he is your friend,” said the King, “you should take him.”
“All right,” said the prince. “I will take him so that he can see my capacity. I have never proven my capacity.”
“Yes, yes, son,” said the King. “You show your capacity.”
So the other prince went with him. When they saw the boar, the prince aimed at it from a distance and shot his arrow, and immediately the boar fell down. The prince ran up to the beast, delighted that he had killed it.
His friend, who was watching from far away, was so thrilled that the prince had been successful. But suddenly the friend saw that the boar was moving a little. He said, “O my God, that means the boar is still alive. At any moment it may get up and kill my friend.”
“Everybody thinks that my friend has killed it, and he has already received all the credit. So if I shoot it again, people will think that I am only fooling around, shooting a dead boar.”
So the other prince aimed at the boar from where he was standing.
Alas, instead of hitting the boar, the arrow went into his friend and killed him.
The prince was horrified. “I am always such a great aim. What have I done?” he cried.
Many people in the village had observed all this, and they brought the dead prince and the other prince back to the palace. The father began weeping bitterly. “I wanted to avoid this, but I failed. I knew my son was destined to be killed. This prince should go free. I am suffering from the loss of my own son. It will serve no purpose to punish the son of my dear friend. My friend’s son is also dear to me. It is I who requested him to go, knowing that my own son was not a good fighter and didn’t have good aim.”
They made a funeral pyre for the dead prince. The father, mother, friends and relatives were crying and weeping, creating a great scene. In a few hours’ time the Queen, who had been so beautiful, had become ugly — pale with anxieties, worries and frustrations about what had happened. She was miserable and everybody in the whole place was miserable.
Just when the burning flames reached their height, all of a sudden the other prince jumped into the pyre and was quickly burned to death.
“What am I going to tell his father?” the King lamented.
The Queen said, “What will he say? His son killed our son.”
“But it was I who sent my friend’s son with my son to kill the boar.”
The King was silent for a moment. Then he said, “My dream, my dream. Always believe in dreams. I told my son, ‘Whenever you have a dream, believe it.’ The dream warned me, but I did not pay attention to my dream. That is why today I have lost my only son and also my friend’s son, who were dearer than the dearest to me. The dream warned me that I should be careful, but my son did not believe in it and I did not heed it. O dream, dream, you have opened my eyes, but broken my heart.”
GIM 107. 27 January 1979↩