As the work progressed, Vreese sent many intricate queries for Stein’s explanation and for seeking the necessary help.
“I still regret very much that during your latest visit to Holland, I could not find any occasion to come to Leyden. As it is perhaps known to you, a three-fold cause, the death of my father-in- law, the illness of my father and of my wife did not leave any time to me to do so. I hope that, when you come again to Holland there will be no hindrances for me to make your honouring acquaintance.
“From Professor Vogel, I heard some days ago that you are staying in Kashmir again and that you kindly offered to me your assistance for my translation and commentary of the Nilamata. Being aware of the fact that this is a unique opportunity of obtaining learned and useful information, I take the liberty to make use of your kind offer.
“In the first place, I beg to ask to your permission again of consulting the Oxford manuscripts which you so kindly placed at my disposal when I was constituting the text for edition. But apart from this I would endeavour to get still other copies for collation.
“As known to you, Professor Buhler tried to show in his Report of 1877 that the text of the complete copies of the Nilamata goes back to the recension of Pandit Sahib Ram “who prepared the text for edition under orders of the late Maharaja Ranbir Singh and thought it his duty to fill up all lacunae” while editing the text. I have adopted this view though I must avow it I begin now to doubt the justness of it. As Pandit Sahib Ram died about 1870, it would be for me of the greatest importance to have the copies( Sarada or Nagari) from the time before Pandit Sahib Ram, e.g 1820, which do not show the lacunae of the old Sarada copies.
“In the preface of the Lahore edition of the Nilamata( The Punjab Sanskrit Series No 5) I read that Pandit Srikanth Rajanaka, a Sanskrit Teacher in one of the schools of Kashmir State and Pandit Ram Chandra Kak B. A., Superintendent of the Archaeology Department, Kashmir State are in possession of such a copy. Would it not be possible for me to obtain these manuscripts, either by loan or by purchasing them from the possessors or their family. In this connection I should ask you also if it is perhaps known to you where the copies purchased by Buhler and mentioned in his Report of 1877 have been deposited after his death. I have still been unable to discover this. In the second place the translation of the text shows many difficulties which I have not yet been able to solve. I would be very obliged to you if you could procure for me some explanations on the following passages. (List omitted here)
“I would demand too much from your kindness by asking information about all problems connected with them. But I trust you will take it in good part when I trouble you with that is of the greatest importance to me. So I should like to know it and if so in which respects the old festivals as described in the Nilamata are still surviving in Kashmir. (List omitted here)
“I am conscious of the fact that it is not little what I am asking you but the kindness and the interest with which you always followed my work and with which you now offered again to me your highly esteemed help, gives me courage to ask all this information. I sincerely thank you in advance for the pains you will kindly take to render me your indispensable assistance, which will no doubt increase in no small degree the value of both my translation and commentary.” - K. de. Vreese.
(in a letter dated August 8, 1938, by K. de. Vreese to Sir Aurel Stein.) Stein Mss 111, Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Aurel Stein responded back quickly.
“This brief note is meant merely to thank you for your letter of August 8 th which reached me in my mountain camp and to assure you that the matters mentioned in it are having my best attention. It will be indeed a satisfaction to me if I can be of some use to you in connection with your important task concerning the Nilamata. I am at present on a mountain top far away from Srinagar and hope to remain so until the close of September. The work on a detailed report of my fourth Persian expedition and in connection with the proposed explorations in Iraq keep me very busy.It is hence impossible for me to go myself into your queries especially your fine edition had to be left at Oxford, but I have requested my old friend Pandit Nityanand, the only Sanskrit scholar left among my Pandit friends of Srinagar to do his best towards answering your questions. He is old and in weak health but I know he will do all he can to help you. Professor Vogel knew him when in Kashmir. He rendered great services also to Sir George Grierson. I am also enquiring about the two manuscripts which you mention and shall let you know the result. It is quite possible some more complete copy of the Nilamata may have found its way down to India before the archetype owned by me was written, something of the same sort had occurred in the case of Rajatarangini as you probably know from the preface of my text edition.” - Sir Aurel Stein.
(in a letter dated August 16, 1938, by Sir Aurel Stein to Dr. K. de. Vreese.) Stein Mss 111, Bodleian Library, Oxford.