How King Valagamba was found | Sunday Observer

How King Valagamba was found

12 September, 2021

King Saddhatissa was a Sinhala king who ruled this country hundreds of years ago. His Prime Minister murdered him to gain the throne.

King Saddhatissa’s Queen fled the palace to the forest. She took her baby son, the prince and rightful heir to the throne with her. The Queen and the baby prince spent the night in the forest.

At daybreak the next day, the Queen took of her Royal garments and dressed like an ordinary woman. She then wrapped the prince in the royal clothes she had taken off and hid him in a cave. Then, the Queen made her way to a village nearby.

When she reached the village the Queen went to the village headman’s house and asked for shelter and work. The headman realised that she was no ordinary woman but was a woman of high birth. He discussed the Queen’s request with his wife. The couple decided to employ her..

As she went about her work the Queen kept remembering her son and she could not help but cry. The headman and his wife saw that their helper was constantly weeping and asked her why.

She said that she had left her baby son in a cave in the forest and pleaded with them to let her bring him to the house. The headman and his wife was reluctant to do so at first but finally they agreed to the request.

The Queen rushed to the forest and brought the baby prince to the headman’s house. The headman and his wife were curious about the baby’s father but the Queen never told them the truth.

The little prince grew to be handsome and strong. He was also very clever. His guru or teacher was always praising him and not the headman’s children. The headman and his wife became jealous of the prince. As he grew older the prince became curious as to who his father was. He kept asking his mother, the Queen about his father but she would not tell him. She kept saying that she will tell him once he is older.

One day the prince pleaded with the Queen to tell him who his father was. Some children had laughed at him for not having a father. But the Queen only cried and said that she will tell him the truth when he was older. This made the prince angry and he set off for a long walk through the forest.

During this time the custom of finding a new king was to let the Royal elephant seek him out. On the day the prince went on his long, lonely walk the Royal elephant was on his mission of finding the new king.

The prince was totally unaware of this. Tired after his long walk the prince decided to rest under a tree. He fell into a long and deep sleep. He was woken by the sound of an elephant coming his way. He tried to run away but fear rooted him to the spot. He thought the elephant would kill him. He thought of his mother and felt sad that he may not see her again.

Then, a very surprising thing happened. The elephant instead of attacking him knelt before him and with its trunk gently lifted him on to his back. It was the Royal elephant come to seek the new king. The crowd of people who were following the King promptly cried “the King1 the king”. The prince could not understand any of this as he did not know his true identity. He was overcome by surprise.

The Royal elephant then went to the headman’s house and everyone rushed out to see what was happening. When they realised that it was the Royal elephant carrying the new King they knelt and worshipped him. The Queen stood smiling proudly. She then told her son that he was the slain King Saddhatissa’s son and the rightful heir to the throne.

The headman and his wife was amazed to find that they had sheltered the Queen and the prince and quickly asked for forgiveness for any wrong they had done to them. They were forgiven.

The Queen then joined the Prince on the Royal elephant and set off for the palace.

The Prince was crowned and he reigned as King Valagamba.

Source: Folklore