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A few years after this, however, great numbers of Danes from the northern part of England came pouring into the Saxon lands. Alfred himself was obliged to flee for his life. For many months he wandered through forests and over hills to avoid being taken by the Danes. He sometimes made his home in caves and in the huts of shepherds and cowherds.

This is done and Krishna and Balarama are given the customary sacred threads. They are now no longer cowherds but true Yadavas. At the same time they are given a spiritual preceptor who instructs them in the sacred texts and manuals of learning. When they have finished the course, they express their gratitude by restoring to him his dead son who has been drowned in the sea.

In fact, the cowherds and shepherds had driven their beasts thus far, and these lowed from time to time, while with their tongues they tore down some scrap of foliage that hung above their mouths. Rodolphe had drawn nearer to Emma, and said to her in a low voice, speaking rapidly: "Does not this conspiracy of the world revolt you? Is there a single sentiment it does not condemn?

But there is nothing they can say and when the festival is over, Krishna and the Yadavas return to Dwarka, while Nanda with the cowherds and cowgirls go back to Brindaban. This is the last time Krishna sees them. This dismissal reveals how final is Krishna's severance from his former life, yet provided the cowherds are not involved, he is quick to honour earlier relationships.

In strength Bess was a match for any man, and assistance from her cowherds for she was a farmer as well as hostess was at hand if required.

Akrura assures Kunti of Krishna's abiding concern and returns to Mathura. Krishna and Balarama are perturbed to hear his news, deliberate on whether to intervene, but decide for the moment to do nothing. The second adjustment which Krishna has now to make is to reconcile the cowherds to his permanent departure from them and to wean them from their passionate adherence to his presence.

This is translated thus: 'When the shell is breaking kill the crow, and the wild cat at its birth. A Kayasth, writer, or putwarrie, may be allowed to live till he is twelve years old, at which time he is sure to have learned rascality. Then kill him; but kill gwars or cowherds any time, for they are invariably rascals.

Vaisampayana continued, "When all the Kauravas utterly routed and vanquished, set out in a dejected mood for Hastinapura, Falguna, on his way back, addressed Uttara, saying, 'O prince, O hero of mighty arms, seeing the kine escorted in advance of us by the cowherds, we shall enter Virata's metropolis in the afternoon, having tended the steeds with drink and a bath.

He then leaves the river, but the exhaustion of the cowherds and cowgirls is so great that they decide to stay in the forest for the night and return to Brindaban next morning. Their trials, however, are far from over. At midnight there is a heavy storm and a huge conflagration. Scarlet flames leap up, dense smoke engulfs the forest and many cattle are burnt alive.

And having received very great hospitality from them, he asked them, saying, 'To whom, O cowherds, do ye belong? Then they all came up to him and said, 'All this wealth hath been provided for thy son. At different places he was thus honoured by that best of men, and saw his son who looked like the god Indra in heaven.

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