Perfection of Charity

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Prince Vetsondon was born with the virtue of generosity, as a child even giving away the ornaments from his cradle. When as a young man, he is approached by a delegation of Brahmins from a drought stricken region, which beg for the kingdoms white elephant that has the magic power to cause rain to fall. He gladly gives it to them, pouring water over their hands to symbolize the gift.

The gift, however, angers the kingdoms citizens who ask the King to exile the prince. The Prince’s wife Madsi, his son Jaali and his daughter Kanhaa, insists on joining him in exile.

Prince Vetsondon and his family leave the city in a richly decorated chariot drawn by fine horses. He gives the horses away to a group of poor Brahmins. The gods, changing themselves into deer, pull the chariot themselves until he gives the chariot away too. They continue on foot, carrying the children, the Prince carrying the boy because he is heavier. They pass by a town that invites them to stay as King and Queen but Vetsandon refuses.

Residing in a nearby village lives a Brahmin named Chichi who has a young wife who married him to pay off her family’s debts. She is teased and humiliated by the woman at the village well and refuses to fetch water any more, telling Chuchok to hire servants instead. Chuchok decides to play up to Prince Vetsandon’s reputation for generosity and after finding the prince at his hermitage, asks for his children. Vetsandon is furious but agrees to make this most personal sacrifice. The children are protected by the gods, and escape once, but Vetsandon returns them to Chuchok. The God Indra, disguised as an old Brahmin, asks Vetsandon for his wife, the Prince agrees, but Indra later reveals himself, returning Madsi so that the sacrifice is completed and cannot be made again.

The children eventually escape Chuchok and return to the house of their grandparents, the King and Queen. The King agrees to pay the ransom to Chuchok, who later dies from his gluttonous indulgence through his sudden wealth. The King and his court set out to locate Vetsandon and Madsi, to bring them back from their exile.