The Greatest Sacrifice

In far away Bhavanipur lived Jayadev, a wealthy merchant with three sons named Jayapal, Vijaya and Jaya. These three sons were great personalities in looks and intelligence and were admired and respected by ‘everyone.

Every evening, the three brothers went horse riding and always saw that they passed the King’s palace, hoping to catch sight of the beautiful Princess to whom all three had lost their hearts.

Jayadev sent for his sons one day and told them that for generations, it had been the unwritten rule in the family that every son, on reaching manhood, should go out in the world for one whole year. And on returning, each son had to bring something unique.

The sons touched their father’s feet in reverence and said they would embark on their journey the following day.

The next morning, they rode off, and towards the end of the day, they came to a small town. Here they decided to stay the night and agreed that at daybreak, each would go in a different direction, then meet again in this very town after a lapse of one year,

Well, the year passed, and the brothers met as promised, and each was eager to tell the others of his adventures and what he had purchased.

“I have brought a magic mirror,” said Jayapal, the eldest, “You have only to think of a person, and immediately that person is reflected in the mirror.”

The other brothers immediately cried,” Then let us see our Princess.”

So they gathered round the mirror, and when the Princess was reflected, they received a sickening blow, for their Princess lay on a bed looking desperately ill. At her side sat the King and queen, both aged with sadness.

The brothers were filled with despair. Then Vijaya explained, “We must go to the Princess at once. I have brought a magic carpet. We have only to sit on it and say a few magic words, and the carpet will soar through the air, to wherever we want to go, with the speed of a thousand horses.”

They were soon on their way, and as they passed over towns and villages, their thoughts were on the problem of bringing their Princess back to health.

“Listen, brothers,” said Jaya, “I have the answer. For from a holy man, I obtained a fruit, and the juice of this one fruit will cure any illness, even bring a person back to life.”

They were taken to her bedside when they reached the palace and told the King they could cure the Princess of her illness. Jaya immediately squeezed the juice of his precious fruit into a goblet and held it to the Princess’s lips.

When she drank the juice, a miracle occurred. The colour returned to her cheeks, and the Princess sat up and said how lovely it was to feel well again.

The three brothers left the palace, happy that they had been able to save the Princess from death.

Later, a high official from the court called Jayadev’s house and said that by a proclamation made by the King when the Princess was first taken ill, the King had offered her hand in marriage to anyone who restored her to health.

As the three brothers were all in love with the Princess, they were eager to state their claims. Jayapal said that without his mirror, they would not have known the Princess was ill. Vijaya protested that without his magic carpet, they could not have reached her bedside in time: But Jaya said it was the juice of his fruit that restored her health.

The King could not decide which of the three brothers had given the most significant aid. His ministers were not much help either, so it was left to the Princess to decide.,

The Princess pondered for a while, then said, “All the brothers love me, and each helped towards my recovery. But whereas Jayapal and Vijaya still have their mirror and carpet, Jaya willingly gave his solitary fruit to me. So he made the greatest sacrifice, and I will marry him.

In due course, Jaya and the Princess were married and spent their lives in perfect happiness.

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