is part of a continuing series on the 'Mahavamsa,' the recorded
chronicle of Sri Lankan history
The demise of King Kitsirimegha
1. The mother and the son were engaged in a pleasant conversation for a while. Then his mother, the queen called the prince to go to the palace. As the prince could not say no to her, he went with his mother towards the palace. When King Kitsirimegha noticed the mother and son arriving, his anger abated. With his head bent, he remained quiet. The prince went up to King Kitsirimegha, his step-father, fell at his feet and worshipped him.
2. The king felt sorry for the prince. Even though he was not the father of this prince, he was his step-father. So he stroked the prince's head and pardoned him. From that day, the prince decided to be extra good. He did not loiter about. He was not up to any unnecessary mischief. He spent his days quietly, respecting the elders. It was during this time that King Kitsirimegha fell ill. By this time, he was old and quite feeble. He was ailing for some time and before long, succumbed to this illness.
3. Although we cannot be very exact about the definite year, it is estimated that the king passed away in 1148 AD. This is a king, who loved his line, the generation, more than anything else. Because he did not have children of his own, he treated his brother's children as his own. He was a father to Prince Parakramabahu, who had lost his own father.
4. This king took a special interest in educating the prince. Very often, he tolerated his mischief with a smile. Kitsirimegha is well known as a kind-hearted and good ruler, who was involved in many religious activities too. After the king's death, Prince Parakramabahu became the Yuvaraja of Ruhuna. His first task was to convene a meeting of all the ministers.
5. He addressed them thus. "It is not my intention to be the ruler of this limited land area here. My ambition is to unite all the parts of the country that have been disintegrated and become the sole ruler of the entire country. I have more than the necessary qualifications to be the ruler. I have the strength and the will-power to do it. To realize this ambition, I need your support. Dear Ministers, I call upon all of you to show your response now. It can be a positive or a negative response."
6. All the ministers who were gathered there showed their approval quite happily. In one voice, they shouted, "Even at the expense of our lives, we will support the king to achieve this end." Thus they exhibited their unstinted support. Then the prince spoke. "Good. Let us begin work from now on. First and foremost, let us make Ruhuna self-sufficient in food. We can repair all the tanks and canals that are in a dilapidated condition."
7. They commenced work immediately. All the countrymen liked the prince's plan of work. They all worked hard. In addition, the prince organized a huge army and gave them a very good training. Time passed and there were signs of their efforts bearing fruit. The entire Ruhuna was green with all the crops cultivated. The barns of the villagers were stocked fully and there were no scarcities any more.
8. The people were happy. The Yuvaraja tried to win them over more. When awarding ranks and positions he made it a point to go on merit and only those who deserved recognition were rewarded. By this time, the entire country was talking about the prosperity of the southern province.