Story of Ashwapati who was capable to understand the language of the birds

Ashwapati was king of Kekeya Kingdom the land of fine horses. He was father of a daughter Kaikeyi (a queen of King Dasharatha) and seven sons. One of the important sons was Yudhajeet, who played important role in Ramayana. Due to a boon, Ashwapati was able to understand the language of the birds. However, this was accompanied by a caveat that if he ever revealed the content of bird speak to anyone, even his own mother, that he would forthwith lose his life. One day, the King and his Queen were strolling through the palace gardens when Ashwapati happened to overhear the conversation of a pair of mated swans. The conversation so amused him that he laughed heartily, instigating his wife’s curiosity. Despite being aware of the fact that Ashwapati could not divulge the content of the conversation to her without losing his life, Kaikeyi’s mother insisted on knowing the cause of the King’s mirth. When Ashwapati realized that his wife cared little for his life or well-being, he had her banished to her parents’ home.

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