Reading Guide. This part of the story may remind you of a fairy tale! King Janaka has set a challenge for any man who wants to marry his daughter, Sita: the successful suitor must bend the bow of the god Shiva, the Shiva Dhanush.
Image: The illustration shows Rama and his brother Lakshmana, both with bows and arrows. Rama, as usual, is blue.
Source. Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913). [200 words]
Janaka, King of Mithila, welcomed Vishwamitra and said, “Who are these courageous young men with the majesty of elephants and the fearlessness of tigers? Comely are they as the twin Ashwins.”
Said the sage, “These are sons of Dasharatha; they are slayers of rakshasas and desire greatly to behold Shiva's mighty bow.”
Then the monarch spake to the nobles and warriors and said, “Bring forth the bow.”
His command was immediately obeyed. From an inner hall many stalwart men hauled the stupendous bow on an eight-wheeled iron chariot into the presence of the monarch of Mithila.
“Behold the bow of Shiva!” cried the warriors.
Said Janaka, “Behold the mighty bow which has been treasured by generations of kings. Many rajahs and warriors have endeavored in vain to bend it; even rakshasas and asuras have failed; the gods themselves quail before it. To the rajah who can bend this mighty weapon I will give in marriage my daughter, the beauteous Sita.”