A peculiar event occurred in Jaisalmer during the reign of Rawal Prithvi Singh. During his rule, the kingdom was very prosperous and wealthy. He had built great many forts in his capital, adorning them with latticed windows, which oozed richness and magnificence. He also expanded his kingdom by conquering the neighboring states. However, his achievements turned him into a haughty, foolish and unreasonable despot.
One day, a merchant from the South came to Rawal Prithvi Singh and his family to sell them jewels. The colorful jewels were truly fitting of the royal family of Jaisalmer. Rawal Prithvi Singh saw this as an opportunity to show off his wealth to the merchant. He bought the entire lot from the merchant and then dumped those jewels into a ditch.
This mindless display of arrogance immensely angered goddess Lakshmi. She decided to teach the foolish king a lesson. She made Rawal Prithvi Singh take up gambling. As a result, he not only lost his entire wealth but also his kingdom. Grief-stricken, he and his wife, Rohini, left the kingdom and decided to live on the outskirts of Patan.
Now, Rohini was a beautiful and pious woman. She knew their misery was because of a divine curse. She was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu and so she embarked on a series of fasts and worship. One day, when she returned to the hut after rounding off her routine, she came across a dead snake. Soon an eagle swooped in and flew away with the snake, but dropped a necklace. For Rohini, it was nothing less than a miracle; a divine blessing.
Meanwhile, back in the Royal Palace of Patan, an eagle had flown away with the Queen’s necklace while she was taking a bath. As a result, the King had announced a hefty reward for whoever found and returned the priceless necklace. This declaration had caused a huge commotion in the marketplace. Rawal Prithvi Singh also came to know about this the same day.
Rohini was overjoyed when he narrated to her the events at the Royal Palace and the subsequent announcement. For her part, she told her husband what had transpired while he was away.
The very next day, Rohini herself went to the Royal Palace to return the necklace. The Queen’s joy knew no bounds, as the necklace was her deceased mother’s keepsake. When asked about the reward, Rohini replied that she did not want any gold or wealth in return. What she wanted instead was a promise from the King: the promise that, on the night of Diwali, Rohini’s house will be the only one lit with diyas. The puzzled King acceded to her request and made an announcement in this regard.
On the night of Diwali, when goddess Lakshmi came to Patan, she was surprised to find darkness all around. She then stumbled upon Rohini’s house, which was the only illuminated place in town. Outside the door stood Rohini, armed with a stick. When goddess Lakshmi tried to walk in, Rohini stood in her path, saying that she would be allowed inside only when she returned their wealth and kingdom. Seeing no other option, goddess Lakshmi agreed to Rohini’s condition and then spent the entire night at her radiant and resplendent dwelling.
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Ananya loves to both read and reinterpret folk tales from different parts of the country. Shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know more about her.