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Stories By Grandpa

The Story Of Yama Kumar

Narrated by: Kanai L Mukherjee (Grandpa)
Edited by: Arundhati khanwalkar

Courtesy: Association of Grandparents of Indian Immigrants (AGII)



Once upon a time Yama, the god of death, fell in love with a mortal woman. He disguised himself as a mortal man and won her hand. As she was mortal, he lived with her on earth rather than taking her to his underworld kingdom, Yamapuri. But it was not long before he discovered that the wife he had chosen was shrewish and quarrelsome.

She became even worse after she bore him a son. The son was named Yama Kumar. Yama frequently disagreed with his mortal wife over Yama Kumar’s upbringing, but she argued so violently with him that in the end Yama agreed to whatever she said.

Finally, Yama couldn't bear her bad temper any more and returned to his kingdom. From there he kept an eye on his son whom he loved very much. Unfortunately, his wife was unable to raise the boy properly and he grew up without learning anything to make a living for himself.

One night Yama appeared before his son and promised him the gift of healing if Yama Kumar work very hard and learn about medicinal herbs and plants. The young man gratefully accepted his father’s gift. After some time, the young man became a qualified doctor.

"I am proud of you, my son," Yama said, "Now any time you approach a patient, if you see me sitting at the patient’s head, that means the patient will die. Then you should refuse to treat that patient."

The boy followed his father’s instructions and soon became widely known for his excellent diagnosis and treatment.

Some years later, the princess became very ill. Royal physicians came from far and near to cure her but they were all unsuccessful. The princess grew weaker and weaker. The king’s courtiers then told the king about Yama Kumar. The king decided to let Yama Kumar try to cure the princess.

Yama Kumar was thrilled at the opportunity to compete with the royal physicians. But as he approached the princess’ bed he was dismayed to see his father sitting there.

"Oh father!" Yama pleaded, "Please spare her life! She is so young and beautiful. Must you take her life away now?" Yama loved his son very much and wanted to let the princess live, but he was also duty bound to take her. Finally he agreed to let her live for just three more days.

Thanking his father, Yama turned to the king and queen who could not see or hear the conversation between father and son.

"Your majesties, your daughter is very ill" Yama Kumar told them. "I think she may have only three days of life left. However, if she outlives these, she will live to a ripe old age." Saying this he sat down beside her and thought hard of a plan to save her life. Yama Kumar never left the princess’ bedside

Finally, on the third day, he saw his father approaching from a distance. Before Yama could reach the princess, Yama Kumar slyly called out, "Oh mother! How nice of you to come to see father!"

Upon hearing his son’s words, Yama immediately fled before he could even reach the princess’ bedside. Yama’s sense of duty could not overcome his fear of his shrewish wife! Yama Kumar’s trick had worked!

As soon as Yama left, the color began to return miraculously to the princess’ cheeks. After a week had passed, Yama Kumar announced to the king that his daughter was cured.

So happy were the king and the queen that they married the young man to their daughter and the couple lived happily to a ripe old age.






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