Book 1 | Chapter 15 | Why, Vaanathi?
To understand this a little further, we need to go back in time again, and see what happened when the Princess and Vaanathi left the other girls in the boat, and left by chariot to meet the astrologer.
“I do not know why the Princess has such an unfair love to this Vaanathi. What is there so special in her? said one of the girls.
“It is nothing special. Vaanathi has not been feeling so well these days. She seems to be very detached and dejected. Sometimes she even goes to the extent of fainting. Our Princess wants to find out if there is anything wrong with her stars, and when she will become OK.”
“Sometimes, I feel, Vaanathi is faking all of this. Remember the time, when she dropped the aarthi plate, in front of Prince Arulmozhi. I think that was a ploy, to make the Prince notice her.”
The others laughed, but acknowledged the probable truth in the statement.
“That is probably true. Remember, when the Prince came back after the first journey, he did come and enquire about Vaanathi and her health.”
The girls giggled for a little more time, making silly jokes about Vaanathi.
“Hey girls, let us not forget the task that the Princess asked us to do. We have to finish that before they return.”
They went down to the galley of the river boat, and brought out a dead crocodile. The crocodile was stuffed with hay and mud, to make it look like a real crocodile. They took the decoy crocodile to the nearby tree and tied it to the nearby roots of a tree.
“By the way, why does Princess Kundavai want us to do this?”
“The Princess wants to cure Vaanathi of her fears.”
“It all seems like the Princess has made up her mind to marry off Vaanathi to her brother.”
“If that only happens, I will poison Vaanathi with these very hands”, cried another jealous girl.
“I doubt it. There are kings from all over India, queuing up to give their daughters for marriage to the young prince. Compared to all of them, where does this Kodumbalur Vaanathi stand?”
“Those emperors may stand in line, but in the end, isn’t it the wish of the Prince? Apparently he has been saying that he would marry only a Tamizh girl.”
“Then, let us all weave our nets that we can cast on the Prince.”