[Original caption] Damayanti is creeping stealthily to catch the golden Hansa. [end]
In the Mahabharata Hansa, the swan, extolls the virtues of King Nala to her and says "If the peerless wed the peerless—blessed must the union be," in one of the earliest re-telling of the stories, in Milman's Nala and Damayanti (1835), which continues: "The maiden entrusted a message of consent to the bird, who flew to Nishada, “and to Nala told it all.”
Damayanti, ever after—she the swan's sweet speech had heard-
With herself she dwelt no longer—all herself with Nala dwelt.
Lost in thought she sate dejected—pale her melancholy cheek,
Damayanti sate and yielded—all her soul to sighs of grief.
Upward gazing, meditative—with a wild distracted look,
Wan was all her soft complexion—and with passion heart-possessed,"
Nor in sleep nor gentle converse—nor in banquets found she joy;
Night nor day she could not slumber–Woe! oh woe she wept and said.
Her no longer her own mistress—from her looks, her gesture, knew
Damayanti's virgin handmaids—to Vidarbha's monarch they
Told how pined his gentle daughter—for the sovereign of men.