King Shantanu let out a sigh of frustration. He was exhausted from hunting all day and he had nothing to show for it. Normally King Shantanu is a great shot when it comes to hunting deer but today something was different…
He was walking to a river to cool off when he noticed something. It was a woman. She had long dark hair that was tinted blue in the sun. The beautiful woman sat up on the bank with her legs in the water and was humming a sweet melody to herself.
“Maybe my luck is beginning to turn around,” King Shantanu thought to himself. From that moment the King knew that he would never encounter a more beautiful creature no matter where he ventured. Before she finished humming the last stanza in her melody the King had fallen in love. After professing his love to the beautiful woman with her legs still adrift in the river she had agreed to marry him on one condition.
“It would be an honor to marry you and I will do so full heartedly, however I can only be wed to you if you promise me one thing,” said the beautiful woman whose name was Ganga.
“Anything you ask you shall have,” replied the King.
(Image of Shantanu and Ganga meeting from Wikipedia.)
“If you promise to never question me on any of my actions, I will be your bride,” she told him and The King quickly complied.
A small part of King Shantanu’s mind told him this was a bit odd and that this could perhaps be a bad omen. He shook the thought away and reasoned that he now had his whole life to get to know Ganga. “Why should I ever question her about her actions when she will be spend an eternity living and confiding with me. I shall soon know her beautiful mind and will never have to question her because I will understand her completely.”
Their wedding was one that would rival Rama and Sita’s. The kingdom embraced their new Queen and applauded the King on choosing a woman who encompassed such a benevolent presence. It was not long until the Queen announced that she was pregnant with their first child.
After nine short months Queen Ganga gave birth to a baby boy. The King was overjoyed. His mind went back to the first time he gazed upon his beloved wife at the river. He could never imagine his life without her. And to think that when he went to cool down from the water he thought he was having an unlucky day…
Author’s Note: I chose this story because I thought what Ganga what was doing to her sons was a completely reasonable thing for the King to question. I wanted to show that Ganga was one with the water and decided to portray her very mermaid esque. This part of the story is not very detailed in our reading, so I wanted to show what King Shantanu might be thinking. Him not having a good day out hunting could even be a bad omen. I decided to title this story "And So It Began" because I feel that these events catapult the rest of the stories in The Mahabharata.
Narayan, R.K. (1978). The Mahabharata.