A weaver had fallen in love with a princess. His friend, a carpenter, built him a mechanical eagle. Posing as Lord Vishnu on Garuda, the weaver married the Princess. The young husband and wife loved each other dearly. No one knew about their marriage. But all that was about to change.
Princess Srimati’s father, the King of Vishalanagar, was sitting in the royal court. The neighbouring king had sent a messenger, demanding a tribute. If the King did not pay the tribute, it would mean war. The King was a worried. The neighbouring king was very powerful. The armies of Vishalnagar would be no match for them.
Just then, a soldier rushed into court. Bowing to the king, he said, “My Lord, sorry for the intrusion. But this is an urgent matter. Can we speak in private?”
This soldier was in charge of Princess Srimati’s security. The King immediately agreed. When the two were alone, the soldier spoke, “My Lord. I have troubling news. It has come to my attention that a stranger visits Princess Srimati’s room every night.”
“But how does this man enter her room? Don’t we have soldiers at every door?” the King asked angrily.
“We do. But this man flies in on a bird.”
The king was shocked. “Let’s catch him tonight. As soon as this man flies in on this bird, we will enter the room and nab him.”
That night, the weaver entered Srimati’s room as usual. As soon as he stepped in, the King and Queen, followed by the soldiers, rushed in. Srimati and the weaver shivered with fright.
“Who is this man Srimati?” the king thundered.
Slowly, the Princess told her parents everything, including how she had ended up marrying Lord Vishnu.
When the King and Queen heard that their son-in-law was none other than Lord Vishnu, they fell at his feet. The weaver felt awkward, but he no choice but to pretend that he was Lord Vishnu.
The next day the King summoned the neighbouring king’s messenger. “Tell your king that Vishalnagar will not pay him any tribute. He can come with an army if he wants!”
Everyone in the court was shocked. The Queen turned to the King, “Can our army win this battle?”
The King smiled and spoke loudly for everyone to hear. “We can defeat all our enemies when Lord Vishnu himself is our son-in-law.”
Soon, the neighbouring king arrived at Vishalnagar’s gates eager to fight. He did not believe that Lord Vishnu was on earth. Soon he would crush Vishalnagar’s army.
Within the city gates, the King and Queen were dressing the weaver for battle. The weaver felt trapped. His friend, the carpenter, came to visit him.
“A weaver can fight no battles. It is better that you fly away on the bird with Princess Srimati,” the carpenter said.
“No, my friend. I would die of shame. If I go to the battlefield, at least I can die a hero,” the weaver replied.
Meanwhile, the real Garuda flew to Lord Vishnu’s home in Vaikuntha. He told him about the weaver who was pretending to be Lord Vishnu and how he was riding to battle on a fake bird.
“My Lord, if this weaver is killed, everyone will think that the king has defeated Lord Vishnu himself. We cannot let that happen.”
Lord Vishnu laughed. “So, you’re worried we look weak? Don’t worry my friend. Everything will be alright.”
The next morning, dressed in armour, the weaver climbed onto the mechanical bird. No one in Vishalnagar was worried. Everyone felt that the battle was as good as won.
The weaver flew over the city walls towards the army. He closed his eyes and started praying to Lord Vishnu keep the people of Vishalnagar safe. He prayed that the neighbouring king would be sensible. He prayed for strength in the battle.
As soon as he opened his eyes, the weaver was filled with a strange strength. The wind was in his hair. He had nothing to lose. He let out a huge roar.
Hearing the roar, the opposing army got scared. But they were scared of their king even more. They stood grimly as the bird came near.
The weaver wanted to fly over the army far away from their arrows and swords. Suddenly the bird jerked. Something was wrong. A gear was stuck. The wings were no longer flapping. The bird was crashing. And it was heading straight for the opposing armies.
The soldiers panicked watching the mechanical Garuda come straight at them. They started running helter-skelter as the mechanical Garuda crashed to the ground.
Dust was flying everywhere when the weaver got up from the ground. When the dust settled, the army was nowhere to be seen. The weaver walked back to city and was given a hero’s welcome.
He touched the King’s feet and confessed everything. The King was shocked to learn the weaver’s true identity. But he was grateful to him for driving away the enemy. He blessed the weaver and his daughter and the two were married once again with great pomp.