In ancient India, there were two Kingdoms, the Northern Abode of Prosperity ruled by the Buddhist King Norchen and his son Norsang, and the Southern Abode of Racial Purity ruled by the despotic Shakya Shony. When Shakpa Shony strayed from the righteous path of Buddhism to consult with demons and imps, his kingdom was so plagued with drought and disease that even the Nagas (water spirits) fled to the Northern Abode of Prosperity.
Hoping to avert further catastrophe and convince the Nagas to return, Shakpa Shony sought the help of the great sorcerer, “Holder of the Black Serpent in the Mouth,” who then went to Great Lotus Life Force Lake to bring the Nagas back. The Naga Queen entreated a fisherman to help the Nagas. The brave man agreed and the Queen gave him a magical whetstone to sharpen his sword. Aided by this magic, he slayed the sorcerer.
To express their gratitude, the Nagas gave the fisherman a “wish-fulfilling gem.” Mystified about what to do with so precious a gift, he sought the advice of the old Brahmin couple who lived with him. They said to take it to the holy hermit of Happy Mountain Cave who had lived more than five hundred years. When the fisherman asked how such immortality was possible, the hermit confided that he regularly swam in the “Brahma Bathing Pool” where even goddesses bathed occasionally.
The fisherman begged the hermit to lead him to the pool and, on an auspicious day, they went together. There he saw the most beautiful goddess, Yidrok Lhamo. With the Naga’s help, he captured her with a magical lasso. The hermit sagely advised the fisherman to make an offering of the goddess to young Prince Norsang. The royal family and ministers were amazed at the wisdom and bravery of the humble fisherman. Norsang and Yidrok married and lived blissfully for a while. But Norsang’s five hundred other wives were jealous. With the help of the evil priest, Black Hari, they invented a story of impending war, and Norsang set off with his army, leaving the goddess queen vulnerable.
The jealous queens then conspired to kill Yidrok. Black Hari sent a dream to the mind of the sleeping King Norchen. Asked for his interpretation, Black Hari said the dream meant his kingdom was threatened by a great evil that could be subdued only by a magic rite whose ingredients included the heart of a celestial being. When the jealous queens marched to the palace screaming for the goddess’s heart, Yidrok begged the Queen Mother for her crown and flew away to the Happy Mountain Cave. She told her sad story to the hermit, gave him a ring that was a gift from the Prince, asking him to return it to Norsang, and left for her heavenly home.
Norsang was filled with grief and anger when he returned home to find his beloved gone. With help from the gods, Norsang found the hermit’s cave. The hermit gave him the ring and Yidrok’s instructions. Norsang endured many hardships before he arrived at Yidrok’s heavenly home, only to find her father reluctant to let her return to earth. Her father devised a series of tests to determine if Norsang was worthy of such a heavenly prize. He triumphed in all the competitions and Yidrok was allowed to return with him to their earthly kingdom. Black Hari and the jealous wives were punished and a joyful King Norchen relinquished his throne to Norsang. The Dharma King (Choegyal in Tibetan) Norsang ruled the kingdom wisely and he and his celestial queen lived happily ever after.
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