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Phra Abhai Mani

Part Seven : The Love Match


A FTER the shamefaced retreat of Usren, it was the wish of Phra Abhai Mani and Sri Suvarna to pay a visit to their aged parents, whom they had not seen for many long years. This information was conveyed by Sin Samudr to Suvarnamali, who however implored him to go first to Paleuk, where her mother was left all alone without news. She feared that Usren in his anger might wreak vengeance upon the defenceless city. Sin Samudr had no difficulty in persuading his father and uncle to adopt this plan, although Phra Abhai Mani entertained a shrewd suspicion that it was an attempt on the part of Suvarnamali to put him off.

So Sin Samudr's ship set course for Paleuk, in an effort to overtake Usren and thus forestall any mischief that the latter might cause there. Suvarnamali now felt happier than she had been for a long while, and, after instructing Sin Samudr not to let his father interfere with her, she called the young maid whom she had brought from Romachakra and told them to play music for her.

The strains of song reached the ears of Phra Abhai Mani as he paced up and down the cabin where he and his brother were drawing up plans. This made him think of Suvarnamali and his heart swelled with passionate desire. Although she was now virtually in his power and could hardly escape him in the end, he thought, the question was how he should approach her and win back her love. He would have liked to consult his brother, but was too ashamed to do so. He therefore wrestled with his problem alone, throwing himself prone on his bed and putting his hand to his brow.

Sri Suvarna observed his brother's behaviour and recognised the symptoms. He could hardly refrain from smiling. He might have offered advice, but feared that Phra Abhai Mani would be offended. So he left his brother to his thoughts and went up on deck.

After a while, Phra Abhai Mani rose and went out of the cabin. He intended to go in search of Suvarnamali, and walked up and down the length of the ship. But he soon thought better of it and returned to his cabin, where he stretched himself on the bed and, for want of a better, cuddled his pillow. "0 Suvarnamali," he murmured, full of sighs. "Why can you not see that I adore you? Why do you avoid me and scorn me? Is it because you have ceased to love me that you act in this way? If you cast me off and leave me, having no further affection for me, how shall I live?" Tears rolled down his cheeks, and he sobbed as if his heart would break.

The following morning, he wrote on a piece of parchment and sealed it. When his son came in to see him, he told him to take it to Suvarnamali and give it to her discreetly.

When she saw the parchment, Suvarnamali pretended to be angry. "I do not want any love letters," she exclaimed indignantly. Sin Samudr put on his most innocent air and pleaded, "Read it for me then." Suvarnamali could not help smiling. She took the missive and held it in her hand. Sin Samudr said, "Please read it aloud, Mother." Suvarnamali broke the seal and read.

The message was written in verse. It explained how, ever since the writer and she whom he loved became separated after the shipwreck, he had made every effort to follow her and had never for a moment ceased to think of her. Even if he had died and never met her again in this life, he would have prayed that they might meet each other in heaven. But now that fortune favoured them and they were able to meet again, why did she not pity him? Or had she forgotten him, and so walked away whenever she saw his face, as if she had been offended to the extent of not wishing to have anything to do with him any more, although he had given no such offence. Why did she not find out the true facts, instead of being angry? He asked her forgiveness and begged her not to give way to anger. He had no intention of deceiving her in the least. Whenever she was angry, he was full of sorrow and was wasting away. He was pining away morning and night. He wished to visit her but feared her anger. If he had committed a fault, she must tell him so, and let him know what was truly in her heart. Such was Phra Abhai Mani's message.

Suvarnamali pretended to be angry. "How absured of him to write such a thing!" Then turning to Sin Samudr, she said: "And you must not bring such things to me. I have no use for poetry."

Sin Samudr took the parchment and read for himself. Then he observed: "What is there to be angry about in this? It is very prettily written. If I were you, Mother, I would answer him in the same style." Suvarnamali replied, "I do not want to, I am too lazy to do it. Do not be so annoying or I will pinch you."

Sin Samudr said, "But you have opened it and read it, Mother. It would be wrong not to reply to it."

"Very well," agreed Suvarnamali, "I will reply to it so that I shall not be blamed for having bad manners."

So she wrote a reply and sealed the parchment, which in due course Sin Samudr took to his father.

Phra Abhai Mani, delighted, broke the seal and read Suvarnamali's verses.

In neatly written lines, she paid her respects to him, who had treated her with kindness. She declared that she would never cease to be grateful to him and would serve him faithfully to the end of her life. If she committed any wrong he was free to punish her. But she wished him to look upon her as a daughter. She had made up her mind that she would not accept any man as her husband in this existence. What had been said in the past was over and done with. However persuasive he might be, she would not and could not comply with his wishes. In conclusion, she wrote. "I have made a vow that in this life I shall have no husband. All I wish for is to be allowed to live alone with my adopted son. This is the whole truth which comes from my heart."

Phra Abhai Mani loved Suvarnamali more than ever after reading these protestations. "So she wishes to be my daughter!" he mused. "How shall I answer her, so that she may be appeased?"

He lay down on his bed and studied Suvarnamali's reply carefully once again.

He decided to send her another missive. When this was written, he called his son, gave it to him and told him to return in the evening. Once more, Sin Samudr played the part of messenger and handed his father's message to his adopted mother.

This second message was short and touching. It read: "0 my adored one, you should not doubt me. I have already begged your forgiveness and yet you have not forgiven me. In that case, I would beg a meeting with you, so that I may explain everything to you. If then, you are still unsatisfied, I would be willing to comply with your terms and do as you wish."

Suvarnamali read the message and thought to herself: how cunningly he turns my words to suit his own purpose. I ask one thing of him, and instead of granting it, he asks me to go and meet him, and at the same time taking this advantage to mock me. I am too afraid to let him come near me, for I shall only become a victim of his wiles.

So she wrote another message in reply, and told Sin Samudr to deliver it to Phra Abhai Mani and to come back immediately. Sin Samudr was thus placed in a quandary. Both his father and his adopted mother wanted him, and he did not know whom to obey.

As Sin Samudr was leaving on his new errand, Suvarnamali repeated: "Do not stay too long. Just give him the letter and come quickly."

The boy turned and asked, "Why are you afraid of him, Mother? What can Father do to anybody? What harm is there in meeting Father and having a talk with him?"

"Oh, what a little nuisance you are!" replied Suvarnamali. "Can you not understand that your father is like all widowers? There is no trusting them! They await their opportunity and seize upon defenceless women."

Sin Samudr laughed. "You are not so defenceless as all that, Mother, and Father is not so very fierce or strong. Besides, he would not attack any woman. Why, the very sight of Pisua Samudr frightened him. Or are you afraid of having a husband?"

Suvarnamali pinched him. "But I do not look like Pisua Samudr, so he would not be afraid of me." she said. "He would merely try to make love to me. I want you to be with me all the time in case he comes."

Sin Samudr promised to return immediately. He went along to his father's cabin, handed him the letter and was about to step out again. Phra Abhai Mani caught hold of his arm.

"Where are you going in such a hurry?" he asked his son. Sin Samudr told him that Suvarnamali had bade him to return at once. "Why?" asked Phra Abhai Mani, "is she afraid of ghosts or something?"

"No, she is not afraid of anything," answered the boy, "only that she does not trust you, Father."

Phra Abhai Mani was greatly amused, and asked more about Suvarnamali. His son told him all he wished to know, but implored him not to tell his adopted mother that he had done so. Phra Abhai Mani embraced him and persuaded him to remain a little longer. He then opened Suvarnamali's missive and read it.

In it, Suvarnamali expressed herself as willing to meet him, on condition that the meeting should take place the next day in the presence of Sri Suvarna and others. If he agreed to this, she would wait upon him every day and render him any service he desired.

Phra Abhai Mani could not help admiring her wit and ingenuity. But he was determined to take her at her word, and see as much of her as he possibly could. He did not fancy the idea of having to wait until the following morning, and wished to accomplish his purpose that very evening. But Sin Samudr must first be got out of the way. So, patting his son on the back, he told him that his uncle Sri Suvarna wanted to see him.

Sin Samudr, unsuspecting, went straight to his uncle's quarters. There, Arun Rasmi tried to engage him in conversation, but he excused himself saying that it was getting late and he had to go to look after his mother. Sri Suvarna jokingly asked him, "Why do you have to look after her? Is any one trying to run off with her?"

Sin Samudr enjoyed the joke. "Oh, no, uncle," he replied in childish simplicity, "But I am afraid that Father will try to go and visit Mother, and I must be there to see that everything is all right."

Sri Suvarna chuckled to himself and said, "Look here, nephew, what business is it of yours to interfere between husband and wife? (;)n the contrary, you should let them meet, and later you may have a nice little brother to play with."

Sin Samudr answered, "Oh, no, I would never think of interfering between husband and wife. But I am afraid they will beat and pinch each other. Mother has always had her own way and will never give in. I must be there to see that nothing goes wrong."

Sri Suvarna was amused at his nephew's innocence. He questioned him further and discovered that it was Phra Abhai Mani who had sent him to his uncle. Then it dawned on him that Phra Abhai Mani wished to keep the boy out of the way, because he had made a rendezvous with Suvarnamali. So he replied Sin Samudr with questions and got him so engrossed in conversation that the latter forgot the time and did not even hear the ship's bell striking six.

Meanwhile, Suvarnamali waited for Sin Samudr, but he did not return, and now it was dark. She feared that this was Phra Abhai Mani's trick to keep him out of the way. She guessed that now was the time when Phra Abhai Mani would attempt to take advantage of her. Therefore she called together her maids and told them to make up the bed so that it would look as if she were there sleeping on it, then draw the curtain and sit around with their musical instruments. She herself put on the very effective male disguise she had assumed once before during the battle, and went out on to the deck.

Sure enough, Phra Abhai Mani came not long afterwards, beautifully groomed and dressed. He glanced into Suvarnamali's cabin, and saw only the maids. He asked them, and they shyly informed him that she was asleep in bed. Phra Abhai Mani approached the bed and drew back the curtain. It was half dark, and he could only see the shape and outline on the bed. Very gently, he stretched out his hand and touched the blanket. But he felt only a soft mass. He lifted the blanket and found nothing but pillows. He was bitterly disappointed and aggrieved. "Have I lived so long to be fooled by a woman?" he cried.

He turned to ask the maids, but the latter merely began playing their instruments. He knew that they were making fun of him. He withdrew from Suvarnamali's cabin in confusion, and searched the deck for her, but never a woman did he see.

As for Suvarnamali, she could hardly restrain herself from laughing. Once he actually brushed past her, but did not realise that it was she.

Eventually, Phra Abhai Mani looked in at his brother's cabin and called out to Sin Samudr, "Your mother has disappeared! Why do you not go to find her?"

Sin Samudr rose to his feet in apprehension. He felt that he had been guilty in leaving his adopted mother for so long. So he ran to Suvarnamali's cabin, followed by Arun Rasmi, who was determined not

to be left out of the excitement. They found only the maids, who refused to tell them anything. They searched everywhere for her, but met with as little success as Phra Abhai Mani. Arun Rasmi remarked, "Dear cousin, somebody has surely stolen my aunt away."

"And I know who that somebody is," said Sin Samudr grimly. There is no doubt that Father has taken her."

They both ran to Phra Abhai Mani's cabin, but found no trace of Suvarnamali, Sin Samudr confronted his father, saying, "Father, where have you hidden Mother? Please tell me."

"I do not know where she is myself. Now, do not disturb me!"

The two children returned to Suvarnamali's cabin. They turned it inside out but still could not find her. Arun Rasmi burst into tears. Phra Abhai Mani followed them into the cabin and picked up a scarf which was lying on the bed. It was still scented with perfume. He took it away with him as a keepsake.

Once Phra Abhai Mani had returned to his cabin, Suvarnamali went back to her own room. It was some time before Sin Samudr saw through her disguise and welcomed her with open arms. "I have been looking for you all over the ship until I am worn out," he exclaimed.

Suvarnamali doffed her disguise and embraced the two children. She told them both to lie on the bed with her. It was then that she missed the scarf which she had left on the bed. Sin Samudr promptly told her that his father had taken it away with him. Suvarnamali knew why and feigned annoyance. "See, my children, he failed to find me and has therefore stolen my scarf!"

At that very moment, Phra Abhai Mani was lying prone on his bed with the scarf spread out across his breast. "What a woman!" he sighed. "How she has made a fool of me! But anyhow, I have her scarf." He inhaled its delicate perfume and was comforted. But he could not help wondering, "Where has she gone at this hour of night? When I come to think of it, I should be jealous. Yet I cannot believe that a swan would deign to swim in muddy water." Thus Phra Abhai Mani thought of Suvarnamali all night long until the sun rose on another day.

The rest of the voyage was uneventful. Finally, the good ship arrived at Paluek where she dropped anchor. The townspeople of Paleuk were greatly excited when they heard that their long-missing Princess was on board. Word soon reached the palace, and Suvarnamali's mother Mondha made haste to come to the quayside. The ladies of the court, thinking that the king had returned, powdered themselves and put on their fineries with hopeful expectation that they would be noticed. They accompanied the queen to the quay.

On board the ship, Suvarnamali bathed and dressed herself up in her finest apparel and told Sin Samudr and Arun Rasmi to do the same. Then they went on to the deck where Phra Abhai Mani and Sri Suvarna had taken their places. When she saw the spires of the palace in the distance, she could not help thinking of her father and tears rolled down her cheeks. Then, turning to the two brothers, she bowed low to take her leave. "I am going to meet my mother," she said, "soon I will return to invite Your Highnesses to land on our soil. Since you have both been to me as a father and have taken the trouble to accompany me all this distance, I beg that you will remain with us at least a month."

Sri Suvarna could hardly refrain from smiling. "As for myself," said he, "I must beg leave to return to my country."

Suvarnamali blushingly understood the implication of his words, but did not answer him. Instead, she addressed Phra Abhai Mani. "Sin Samudr and Arun Rasmi wish to accompany me. Do they have your permission?"

Phra Abhai Mani took note of her shyness. "Who would wish to deny it to them," he replied. "Even if you do not want their fathers to accompany you, we are quite willing to let the young ones go with you. I personally shall remain on watch here, or do you prefer to dismiss me altogether?"

Suvarnamali suppressed a smile and said, "I did not intend to give offense by avoiding you during our journey on the high seas. I did not know your intentions and I was much afraid. As for your resolve to remain here, please think it over carefully. You are a friend of Prince Usren. Should there be a war, may we depend on Your Highness?"

With that parting shot Suvarnamali took leave and, her young charges on either side, boarde'd a small boat which took them to the shore. Immediately upon landing, she ran to her mother, fell at her feet and sobbed. The shock of this extraordinary return of her daughter was too much for the queen. She fell into a swoon.

When she had been revived by her maid-in-waiting, she began to ply Suvarnamali with questions, asking where she had been and where father was. Suvarnamali told the whole story of her adventures The disappearance of the king filled the old woman with sorrow, and this confirmed her fears for his safety ever since she dreamed that disaster had befallen him.

After bemoaning his fate for a long while, Sin Samudr and Arun Rasmi were presented to her. Mondha embraced them lovingly, and invited them to go with her to the palace. She then gave instructions to the assembled officials Since the king was presumably dead, she told them, another ruler had to be found. In default of male issue, she decided that the best course was to invite Phra Abhai Mani to take over the reins of government. The officials were therefore to prepare the royal barge together with escort vessels.

When all was ready, Mondha, Suvarnamali, Sin Samudr and Arun Rasmi, accompanied by a considerable number of retainers, boarded the vessels which took them to the ship anchored offshore. They were welcomed by the two brothers, who had put on their regal attire. After an exchange of greetings, in the course of which Mondha was more than ever impressed by the appearance and bearing of Ph r a Abhai Mani, the latter was ceremoniously invited to become ruler of Paleuk.

Phra Abhai Mani smilingly replied, "You are too generous, 0 Mother! I have done nothing to deserve this great honour. I am merely a passenger on board this ship which belongs to Suvarnamali and her adopted son, who also happens to be my son. Even when the ship was attacked by the Prince of Lanka, I did not help to defend her, so Suvarnamali has been angry with me from that day to this. If you do not believe me, you may ask her yourself. Therefore I am unworthy to rule this country and beg leave to depart in due course."

The old queen said, "If Suvarnamali has behaved rudely or improperly towards you, pray forgive her and teach her to know her place, and she will owe you allegiance. I am old now and shall not live much longer. If you remain, I will leave all I have to you, including my dead body which you must cremate. I have come all this way to invite you to rule over Paleuk. Do not refuse. Come with me now to the palace." She turned to her daughter and told her to join in pleading with Phra Abhai Mani.

Suvarnamali could not disobey her mother, so she remarked:

"Perhaps His Highness does not accept our invitation because he is going to rule over one of the lesser heavens. Even so, I hope he will refrain from discrediting me any further. As a woman, I may be temperamental, but not to an extent that is comparable with His Highness!" Then, turning to Sin Samudr and Arun Rasmi, she added, "Now you help to beg your fa~her and your uncle to stay. I am unable to persuade him."

Arun Rasmi at once spoke up in her innocent way, "You will stay, will you not, uncle?" The maids-in-waiting tittered at the simplicity of the child.

Phra Abhai Mani replied, "In that case, you must tell your aunt Suvarnamali to stop being angry with your uncle. Then your uncle will go with you to the palace."

Arun Rasmi immediately turned to Suvarnamali and chirped, "Please do not be angry with him, dear aunt!"

Suvarnamali blushed, put her hand over the girl's mouth and whispered, "Do not say such things, you make me feel ashamed!"

"Let us go at once," said Mondha.

They all came together to the palace, and the old queen handed over everything to Phra Abhai Mani, including some very choice young maids-in-waiting to attend upon him. Phra Abhai Mani and Sri Suvarna took up residence in the golden pavilion, while Sin Samudr and Arun Rasmi stayed with Suvarnamali in the queen's apartments.

Phra Abhai Mani did not cease to long for Suvarnamali. Although the loveliest maidens in the land were presented to him, he thought continually of the Princess whose destiny he considered to be bound up with his own. He lost no opportunity of reminding the old queen of the fact.

As for Suvarnamali, she realised only too well that if she took no decisive action, she would fall easy prey to Phra Abhai Mani's advances. She therefore told her mother that she wished to become a nun and lead a solitary existence in the hills, so that through her piety, merit might accrue to her father in heaven. Mondha understood her daughter's pretext and said to her, "And what will you do with your betrothed? I have arranged for your marriage to Phra Abhai Mani next month."

"But I have no wish to marry him," protested Suvarnamali.

"If I desired a husband, I could have given myself to him on board the ship when he was so importunate. As it was, I carefully avoided meeting him for almost the entire journey. Now he has many attractive women to wait upon him, and has probably forgotten all about me. So please grant my request, dear mother."

"I have already promised to give you to Phra Abhai Mani," said Mondha. "So if you really wish to defer your marriage, you must go and obtain his perrnission. If he raises no objection, I will grant your request."

Accordingly, with hope in her heart, she went to call on Phra Abhai Mani, taking Sin Samudr and Arun Rasmi with her. Ushered into his presence, she bowed to him obsequiously and explained the purpose of her visit. "I made a vow while on board the ship," she told him, "that I would take orders as a nun to pray for my father's soul. I must therefore beg leave to fulfil my vow."

This declaration came as a stunning blow to Phra Abhai Mani. However, he did not see how he could very well stand in the way of her vow. "It seems that I am the most unfortunate of men," he told her. "I had thought that my troubles were over and that I would now attain my desire. But now you wish to run away from me. What shall I do while you are away beyond my reach?"

Suvarnamali smiled and replied, "You have many to wait upon your pleasure here, and you will not miss me. Besides, I shall not be far away and I shall not be a nun always. When I have completed the term of my vow, I will return. If by then you still desire me, I will be ready to serve at your feet."

"I grant your request," said Phra Abhai Mani, "but you must tell me how long you intend to remain a nun and when you will return to me, so that I may bear record of it in tny heart."

When all was ready, Suvarnamali took leave of her mother and journeyed to the mountain hermitage which had been prepared for such a purpose. Sin Samudr and Arun Rasmi insisted on accompanying her and sharing the life of frugal piety. They were followed by several ladies of the court who looked upon it as a kind of adventure. On arrival, Suvarnamali, Sin Samudr and Arun Rasmi claimed possession of the bare, uninviting cells that had never known such young and charming

hermits. Suvarnamali took her acolytes into the chapel, and there they dedicated themselves, vowing to spend their days in piety and purity.

Almost immediately, the newly-installed nuns had visitors-Phra Abhai Mani and Sri Suvarna. The two brothers made every attempt to convince them to give up their self-imposed regime of austerity. But Suvarnamali was adamant. Finally, Phra Abhai Mani had to admit defeat, and returned to the city to hold his soul in patience.

After a few weeks, Phra Abhai Mani came to the conclusion that he had adopted the wrong policy in weakening to Suvarnamali's will. He decided that it was time to be firm, and that Suvarnamali must be brought back to her senses. He made up his mind to call on her again and compel her to return to the city. So he put on his finest robes and had an equally fine set of apparel fit for a queen placed on a golden tray, covered up in such a way that none could tell what was there. Then he called Sri Suvarna, and the two brothers went together once more to Suvarnamali's hermitage.

Suvarnamali, chastely dressed in the white garment of a nun, was sitting outside her cell with Sin Samudr and Arun Rasmi, admiring the beauty of nature-birds mating in the hoary banyan trees, bees rolling in the pollen of blossoms, and fragrant flowers giving forth their sweet and refreshing odours. As soon as she saw Phra Abhai Mani and Sri Suvarna coming up the slope of the hill, she sent her adopted son and niece to meet them. Phra Abhai Mani, after greeting her in the customary way, said "I have been thinking of you all this while. Even though I have been living in the palace, my heart was here. It was as though I could see you near me morning and evening. 0, it is impossible to say how much I have missed you. Have you never thought at all of me? Or are you so firm in your faith that you have rejected me altogether?"

These words thrilled Suvarnamali through and through. But recollecting her present circumstances, she answered demurely, her eyes fixed to the ground, "I have prayed for Your Highness continually in my waking hours. I have also heard that a very clever woman has found favour in your eyes." She was referring to Valee, a misshapened wench who aspired to be Phra Abhai Mani's consort and had offered him her services.

Phra Abhai Mani smiled at the thought of Suvarnamali's resourcefulness and perception. "Yes," he admitted, ~Valee comes of a good family and is highly intelligent. I thought she would make a useful attendant for you when you return to the palace. I have come to implore you to come back with me to the city and live among your people. As for your pious devotion, you can leave that for the time when you are well advanced in years, and then we will both retire together and lead a secluded existence here to the end of our days."

"People will say that the Ruler of Paleuk forces nuns to leave their devotions," protested Suvarnamali.

"Those who love will always praise, those who hate will always censure. One cannot escape praise or censure. Why need we fear what they say of us? Today is a propitious day for leaving your hermitage. Please do not delay any longer. I may lose my patience and carry you off, I warn you!"

Suvarnamali flushed with dismay and shame. "I beg you not to take such a drastic step! Please be patient and wait. Give me time, and I will obey you."

Phra Abhai Mani turned to his brother. Sri Suvarna said, "Well, do we have to spend the night here?"

Arun Rasmi spoke up, "What do you say, dear aunt? Let us hurry and return to the city."

Suvarnamali glanced at her in surprise. "So you are another one of them!" she exclaimed, smiling.

Phra Abhai Mani looked as if he were going to burst into tears. "What a hard-hearted little hermit you are!" he cried. "I will allow you three more days, but no longer."

Then, feigning anger, and without saying another word, he beckoned to his brother and they both went back to the city.

Three days passed, and Suvarnamali still did not come. Phra Abhai Mani was disconsolate. He could neither eat nor sleep. He did not even take notice of the women who attended him.

It was Valee who came to the rescue. She knew what was in Phra Abhai Mani's troubled heart. One evening, as she sat in attendance on him, she sang a song in which she hinted at a solution. His curiosity aroused, Phra Abhai Mani asked her to tell him of any means whereby Suvarnamali might be brought to reason. Valee told him that she had conceived a plan, which could not fail to bring Suvarnamali back to the palace without trouble and without delay; he had only to leave it to her to accomplish this. Phra Abhai Mani asked how this might be done. But Valee refused to tell him, and merely promised that if she failed, he could have her executed.

Valee's ruse was simplicity itself. She asked that preparations be made for a seven-day festival to celebrate Phra Abhai Mani's nuptials. Phra Abhai Mani told Sri Suvarna, who gave the necessary orders for such preparations. The palace officials lost no time in obeying these instructions. Special pavilions and theatres were hastily constructed, while the palace women busied themselves with the decorations and provisions for the feast. When all was complete, an invitation was extended to the populace to join in the festivities. So there was great rejoicing throughout the city.

The old queen was at a loss to understand the meaning of such celebration. She feared the worst and hurried to her daughter's hermitage.

On learning the news, Suvarnamali was apprehensive and grieved. Thinking that Phra Abhai Mani had given her up and was about to make Valee his queen, a wave of resentment and jealousy swept through her. She promptly discarded her nun's clothing and donned the queenly robes Phra Abhai Mani had brought her on the previous occasion. Then, with her mother, she descended from her hermitage and hurried to the palace. Phra Abhai Mani, who was expecting her as promised by Valee, saw her from afar. He immediately took off his diamond-studded sash and bestowed it on the delighted and triumphant Valee.

On the following day, Phra Abhai Mani married Suvarnamali in great state, to the immense joy of their people.


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