Short Story - The Two Bachelors
Narada, the celestial sage, was a confirmed bachelor, but one day he saw Princess Shrimati and fell in love with her. To his dismay another sage, Tumburu, was also smitten by her and wanted to marry her.
Both were devotees of Lord Vishnu and both sought his help. Narada asked that Tumburu’s face should change into a bear’s at the Swayamvar at which the princess would select her husband.
Tumburu, not knowing that his rival had already approached Vishnu, made a similar request. He asked that Narada should appear to have a monkey’s face.
At the Swayamvar, the princess trooped down the long line of suitors with her garland. Narada and Tumburu stood out among the others, but when she went closer, Narada’s face suddenly seemed to change and take on a simian look. She hastily turned to Tumburu, but to her horror he now looked like a bear. As she stood there in confusion, she suddenly saw another man standing between Narada and Tumburu. It was Lord Vishnu himself. He had come to find out how his devotees were faring. The princess, however, did not care who he was and why he had come. She was so relieved to see a normal human face that she immediately put the garland round his neck.
Narada and Tumburu did not mind losing to Lord Vishnu, but each was secretly glad that the other had not got the princess.