The Head And The Torso – Vikram & Betal Story

Bharat was a young, handsome prince. He was a youth with all virtues and had been trained in warfare too. And, he was kind and caring enough to take care of people. He was the only son of king Swaroop. The loyal couple had no children for nearly 15 years after their marriage. King Swaroop was worried about who will rule the kingdom after his time.

Hence, the king and queen prayed to all gods and finally, they are blessed with a male child. That was prince Bharat. The prince moved with all people irrespective of their status and education. So, everyone liked him very much.

He had a good and caring friend. His name was Balu. His father was the palace launderer. Yet, Bharat who never minded one’s status took Balu as his best friend.

Once Bharat spotted a beautiful girl washing cloths in river side. He told Balu about his desire of marrying the washerwoman. Balu said, “Her name is Jyoti, my extended relative. Don’t worry, let me talk to that girl’s parents and do my best.”

Bharat became so crazy about that girl. On day, he went to the Goddess Kali temple and prayed, “I wanted to marry Jyoti. If you grant me this favor, I will sacrifice myself on the first new moon night after our marriage! I don’t mind dying, even if I live with her just for a week’s time!”

Meanwhile, Balu spoke to the girl’s parents and convinced them for the marriage. He then met Bharat and said, “I have persuaded the girl’s parents and now you should get permission from your parents.”

Since the king and queen want Bharat to be happy, they agreed and fixed a day for the marriage. Bharat and Jyoti started living a happy life after their marriage. Days rolled and the new moon night had arrived.

Bharat remembered his promise to Goddess Kali. On that night, he took Jyoti and Balu to the temple. “Please wait outside, I have to offer my prayer in private!” he told them and went inside the sanctum. There he pulled out his sword and chopped off his own head.

The Head And The Torso

Outside, the two waited impatiently. Balu told Jyoti to hang on and went inside. On seeing his dear friend Bharat’s head and torso lying on the ground; Balu took the sword and killed himself in the same fashion.

Finally, Jyoti came in seeing her husband and Balu lying dead, she killed herself too. Goddess Kali saw all these and revived all of them back to life. But while doing so, the Goddess swapped the body and torso of Bharat and Balu.

At this point, the betal paused and asked Vikram, “Bharat and Balu heads were swapped. Now tell me, who should Jyoti take as her husband?” Vikram thought a while and answered, “It’s the head that controls one’e body. So, the body having the head of Bharat is her husband!”

Wow! exclaimed the betal, “Excellent answer king! But, since you have opened your mouth and spoke up, I have to depart!” It took off back to the Peepul tree and Vikram went after it.