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King Durmal decided to retire and pass on the kingdom to his elder son, Prince Suvir. He smiled as he imagined how people would dance when they came to know. They all loved the prince! Suvir’s manners were mild, his temperament sanguine and he talked to and laughed with even the poorest men on the street. He was also the best soldier of the land. Recently, the king’s archrival—the king of Aundh—had declared war upon him. The unexpected attack had shaken king Durmal. But Suvir had taken control of the situation with amazing sangfroid. The king had thought it impossible, but his underprepared army had won the war, all thanks to Suvir’s leadership. It had made the king realize that Suvir was ready to be crowned.


Suvir was currently on an inspection tour to one of the states. The king decided that as soon as the prince came back, he would hand over the diadem to him.


He summoned his younger son, Rudir, gave him the happy news and asked him to prepare for the occasion. Rudir was excited too. “Don’t worry father,” he said. “This is my brother’s coronation. I will make such arrangements that people will talk about the day years later.”

Early next morning, Rudir went to the king’s suite, bowed before him and handed a packet to him. The surprised king opened it and found white clothes dappled with blood. “This packet came just now, father dear,” Rudir gently said, as the king gaped at the ensanguined clothes.

“W-what does this mean?” The king suddenly felt uneasy.


“This is the blood of my dear brother, your dear son, our would-have-been king, the great Prince Suvir.” Rudir spoke louder with each other.

“Suvir!!! What has happened to him? Tell me! Now!”

“Your Majesty, I have killed your darling son. And, from this moment, you are under house arrest. And I am the new king of this land.”

“How dare you? I’ll have you arrested! I’ll call the…”

“No, father dear,” Rudir interrupted. “It’s too late. I’ve already talked to all the ministers. They know that Suvir is dead—by the way, your son was assassinated last night in a heavily crowded public function in the city of Dwer; he was the chief guest there; and yes, the soldiers lost the assassin in the pell-mell. Your ministers themselves requested me to wear the diadem immediately. They know that Your Majesty has become senile, and now with the news of his son’s death, would make a joker of a king. So, Your Majesty, I am sad to inform you that your majesty is over. Now, enjoy this room of yours for the rest of your life. Live here and die here. I will rule.”

The king was heartbroken.

“He was your brother!” he said with great pain. “You killed your own brother!”

Rudir laughed. “Kings do not bother about consanguinity, my dear father. I learnt that from you. Didn’t you kill your brother when he started becoming too powerful? I loved Uncle Kurmal, you know. More than I have ever loved you. Anyways, let’s not get into all that. The fact is that a king fights sanguinary battles all his life and what better than my brother’s blood to start my career with. Don’t you agree, father dear? Goodbye!”


Coronation: (n) the ceremony of crowning a new ruler and, thus, symbolically transferring the rule to him.

Origin: L corona, crown

Dappled: (adj) marked with round spots of colour.

Ensanguined: (adj) covered with blood.

Origin: L en-, in + sanguis, blood => ‘soaked in blood’

Assassinate: (v) to kill, usually a prominent person, according to a pre-decided plan. The man who does that is called an assassin.

Majesty: (n) a ruler; a ruler’s power; dignity befitting a king; grandness; (adj) majestic.

Origin: L magnus, great.

  • The prince gathered together sumptuous presents befitting the majesty of his elder brother- the king- and set out towards the capital. The brothers were reuniting after a whole year! The child was awed by the majestic body of the tiger.
  • The Taj Mahal is a majestic mausoleum built by an emperor in the memory of his wife.

Consanguinity: (n) blood relationship.

Origin: (n) L con-, together + sanguis => ‘together in blood’

  • Consanguineous marriages are common in South India. This is illustrated by the fact that the Tamil word for husband is ‘athan’ which also means ‘father’s sister’s son’ and the word for mother-in-law is ‘mamiyar’ which is also what mother’s brother’s wife is called.

However, North Indians have traditionally looked down upon consanguineous marriages. A North Indian Hindu family will make

sure that there is no consanguinity between the bride and the groom upto seven generations from the father’s side and five generations

from the mother’s.

: (adj) bloody, bloodthirsty

Origin: L sanguis

  • The stage design in sanguinary red looked awesome.
  • The taantrik had told the woman that she would be blessed with a son only if she first performed a sanguinary sacrifice. She obediently sacrificed a goat. When her wish still did not come true after a whole year, the taantrik said that her stars were angrier than he thought, and that only a male child’s blood could appease them.

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