It was a dark, moonless night. Only occasional flashes of lightning lit up the sombre scene and caused an eerie dance of jerky and frightening shadows in the cremation ground. Occasionally the silence was broken by the unearthly howling of jackals and laughter of evil spirits. But nothing could daunt the intrepid King Vikram. Once again he made his way to the ancient gnarled tree where the corpse was hanging. A skull crunched under his feet and a screeching ghost rose from the dust in shuddering frenzy. Unperturbed, he reached the tree and brought down the corpse. Slinging it across his shoulder, he had just begun his return journey when the vampire that possessed the corpse said, "O King! Your dedication and commitment to your purpose are indeed amazing. I wish all are like you. But I fear you may meet with failure. Haven't you heard the story of Dharmangada, who gave up a prized triumph just when it was within his grasp after much toil?" The vampire then narrated the story.
Dharmangada and Vishwadutta were close friends right from childhood. But their friendship received a severe jolt, thanks to the machinations of the village moneylender, Bhushan.
Bhushan was a wicked man who specialised in forging promissory notes to suit his ends. He prepared some fake records to the effect that Dharmangada had borrowed three thousand gold coins from him, pledging his farmland. Then he approached Dharmangada and ordered him to repay the loan, failing which, he threatened, he would seize his farmland!
Aghast over this blatant falsehood, Dharmangada promptly approached the court for justice. He was informed that for the trial to start, he would have to first deposit a thousand gold coins with the court as surety.