joy the king received to his heart and his kingdom the resplendent and youthful prince
Devavrata and crowned him as the yuvaraja, the heir apparent.
Four years went by. One day as the king was
wandering on the banks of the Yamuna, the air was suddenly filled with a fragrance so
divinely sweet that the king sought for its cause, and he traced it to a maiden so lovely
that she seemed a goddess. A sage had conferred on her the boon that a divine perfume
should emanate from her, and this was now pervading the whole forest.
From the moment the goddess Ganga left him, the
king had kept his senses under control, but the sight of this divinely beauti- ful maiden
burst the bonds of restraint and filled him with an overmastering desire. He asked her to
be his wife.
The maiden said: "I am a fisherwoman, the
daughter of the chief of the fishermen. Mail it please you to ask him and get his
consent." Her voice was sweet as her form.
The father was an astute man.
He said: "O king, there is no doubt that
this maiden, like every other, has to be married to someone and you are indeed worthy of
her. Still you have to make a promise tome before you can have her."
Santanu replied: "If it is a just promise
I shall make it."
The chief of the fisherfolk said: "The
child born of this maiden should be the king after you."
Though almost mad with passion, the king could
not make this promise, as it meant setting aside the godlike Devavrata, the son of Ganga,
who was entitled to the crown.