Home Stories Poems Site Reviews Writing Tips Charlie Fish
FICTION on the WEB short stories by Charlie Fish

The Tailor As Vishnu
by Avanti Kumar

View or add comments on this story

Long, long ago, in the country of the Gandas in a city named Pundravardanam, a young tailor and a carpenter, dressed in their best clothes, wandered through the crowd, celebrating a great festival.

They walked beside the Palace, marvelling at the majestic spires gleaming in the warm fragrant Sunlight.

The tailor looked up and there he beheld a wondrous girl dressed in ravishing white silks. Her matchless beauty transfixed his heart. His friend tugged at his sleeve, "Come away, my friend, you cannot hope to win the Princess."

But as the days passed it became apparent to Hariswami that the tailor had become so distraught for love he could not continue to live. He came upon Ajay sitting outside his house on the river bank in silent gloom. "My friend, it pains me much to see you in this sorrowful state."

Ajay said, "I cannot help it. I must go to her. I must win her. Help me, Hariswami; you were always the bright one. Conceive a plan that I may win her - for I desire naught but her... Ahhh! She is as lovely as a thousand stars, with a form so gracious -"

"Be silent, Ajay! I am trying to think..."

Three weeks later, Ajay received a messenger. A little boy in rags had come upon him. Ajay was so much in trance he did not hear him. So the boy took hold of Ajay's hair and pulled him off his seat.

From the dust, the tailor said angrily, "What do you want, you scragamuffin!"

The boy retreated some distance and said, "Your friend the carpenter wants you to go to him - straightaway!"

A few minutes later, Hariswami welcomed him into the house. "Come into my work-building - I have a surprise for you."

Ajay followed him and then stopped in amazement at the door.

In the middle of the building, on the floor, was a large bird, made of wood and painted in glowing gold, silver and white.

"What is it?"

"It's a wonderful aerial car whereby you can fly to the Rajkumari. It will impress her into loving you - I am sure of it. It is painted like Lord Vishnu's flying chariot - the great bird from Heaven: Garuda!" Hariswami said.

"But you know it is forbidden for any citizen to make a vimana without Royal Permission. Are you forgetting the old days? Skies filled with battling flying machines!"

But Hariswami calmed him, "Who will know? It does not look like the old machines. It is disguised... looking from the ground would you say it looks round and silver? Also remember it will be dark - and... the Princess is the loveliest girl in the land..."

The Rajkumari slept alone on her balcony under the warm sparkling night sky. As was her custom, she gazed into the heavens, sighing at the Moon. And then, she watched with growing disbelief as a shining huge bird came out of the sky and rested beside her. From out of it stepped a beautiful youth dressed in fine attire, surrounded by clouds of fresh incense.

The Princess knelt at his feet.

"I am Vishnu the God!"

The maiden did not dare look up. In unaccustomed timidity, she asked, "What does the King of Heaven and the Lord of the Sun want with me?"

"You were my wife in former incarnations," and he knelt in front of her bowed figure. "I have come for you, mere Saajni, my dear one." And he embraced her.

And they stood beside each other and looked upwards. "At this moment," he said, "we are being wed under the stars. The devas of the air and the water are singing. See how the stars wink and glow at our reunion!"

And then nightly he visited the Rajkumari and as each Sunrise illumined their lovemaking, he said a fond farewell and ascended to the heavens.

"Doesn't our dear princess look so bright and happy nowadays," said the Queen to her husband at their morning meal. "I do believe she has consented to marry King Vikramasena."

"What! That tyrant, the barbaric -"

"But, my Lord, it is surely a match in everyone's best interests? I hear the King Vikramasena has threatened to invade if we do not approve of the union."

"Hmm... I do not approve of his style of courtship. What does the Princess say?"

The Princess said, "I do not want to marry anyone - for I am already united." And she smiled, her thoughts far away...

The King and Queen looked at each other thoughtfully.

That night the King concealed himself to watch his daughter. And in the morning, he said, "Your lover must die!"

"You cannot kill my husband. He is more powerful than any upon the Earth."

"Every man bleeds when he is cut by my mighty sword!"

"Yes, but you cannot harm a God!"

"A God?"

"He comes to me every night from Sani - the Sun!"

"Aah... she is mad!" cried the Queen and fainted.

But the King and Queen were delighted at Vishnu making love to their daughter.

At Court, the King pronounced: "With Vishnu as my Son-in-law I will conquer the Three Worlds." And he refused to pay further tribute to King Vikramasena.

Vikramasena, after he had led his armies into the Gandas and surrounded the city walls, declared war and delivered an ultimatum.

"Your Majesty, a soldier comes under a flag of truce!"

"We will receive him," said the King, who had refused to recruit an army, informing the people, "with Blessed Vishnu on our side who needs soldiers?"

"The Great King, His Mightiness, the Vikramasena, Lord of the North, Brave Warrior of -"

"You can cut all that out," said the King. "What's the message?"

"...In his great Mercy, my Mighty King will give you one final chance. Send to him your Gracious Daughter, the lovely princess, heir of -"

"Are you a soldier or a poet? I've heard enough! We hereby challenge your Vikramasena to hand-to-hand combat with my Son-in-law. At dawn tomorrow. Outside the North Gates."

The Princess was prevailed upon to ask the God to honour the challenge.

And as Vishnu stepped onto his flying machine, he answered, "I... er... yes..." And the gold and silver bird flew off so quickly that the Princess's hair flew back in the wind.

Hariswami watched the craft land some minutes later and helped Ajay to push the machine into his work-building.

"It is time to stop. Have you not had enough?"

"No," Ajay said. "Never! The princess is mine for always even as in past incarnations. Life without my Rajkumari will be death."

"Perhaps the Warrior King will imagine you to be the real Vishnu and flee," said Hariswami half-heartedly, for he knew Vikramasena was a Master of the black arts and had boasted his strength equal to that of any Son of Heaven.

"I will have to fight. I promised her. And I have never broken a promise to her. Lied to her - yes, but never broken a promise..."

From above, the real Vishnu had watched the tailor's impersonation and He decided to take an active part in the forthcoming fray. So that dawn when Ajay, with heavy heart, left his Rajkumari to go to battle, Vishnu Himself entered his body in a flash of golden light.

As the Sun rose it illuminated the city and the surrounding Indian forests. Thousands of invaders lined up to watch. The city walls took the weight of city-dwellers.

Nobles, including the Princess, watched from flying craft hovering above. She watched the familiar flashing gold and silver bird-chariot descend to the ground.

Out stepped Vishnu.

Vikramasena formed himself into a bat and hid in the crevice of a large rock. Vishnu levitated into the air and became a silver-white sphere and moved in circles around the area - very quickly.

Vikramasena resumed his form and took up his ray projector and fired one-two-three black beams of power.

In a flash, Vishnu adopted humanoid form, threw himself away from the black beams. He fell onto the ground as if wounded.

Vikramasena levitated and flew towards the body.

Vishnu suddenly shot into the air and formulated from his right hand a white disc of light. The discus spun around in a wide arc, approached his adversary from behind, cut Vikramasena in half and returned to Vishnu's body.

The invaders fled in confusion as the two halves of Vikramasena's body disintegrated into dust.

Vishnu flew down to the ground and with lightning speed left Ajay's body; and, invisible to the crowd, sped through the clouds to another world that required His help and attention.

Ajay breathed a silent prayer of gratitude to Vishnu and was covered in clouds of red, white and blue flowers. Cheers rang out, drums, trumpets and conches sounded throughout the land. And the Rajkumari embraced him in the Sunlight.

And so Ajay the tailor claimed the vast wealth of the defeated enemy and married his Rajkumari and, I do believe, lived happily and peacefully ever after.

View or add comments on this story

Back to top
Back to list of stories

Web www.fictionontheweb.co.uk


Home Stories Poems Site Reviews Writing Tips Charlie Fish