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In Search of the Magic Lake

Trembling, she peaked through the feathers. The swarm of deadly army ants silently lay around her, dead.

Ampata kept the fan in front of her face while she hurried to the Magic Lake and, with her other hand, dipped the jar into the magic waters. As soon as the jar was filled and sealed shut, she gripped the fan and said, "Right away please, take me to the castle of the Sun King."

The next moment, she was facing the Sun King's castle and its walls of huge interlocking cut stone.

When she announced she had brought water from the Magic Lake, the girl was ushered upstairs to the sick prince's room. Ampata gave her jar to the court magician, a looming man who regarded her suspiciously. But when he poured the water from her jar into his magic flask and it did not sizzle or disappear, he smiled and glanced at her with excitement. He dipped his finger into the flask and let a few droplets fall onto the lips of the pale-faced young prince. The sick man's lips parted, his tongue flicked out for a moment to taste the water, and then his eyes opened. Everyone in the royal bedroom cheered, and the prince smiled.

"Drink this, Your Highness," said the court magician, handing him the flask with Ampata's water from the Magic Lake. The prince took one long gulp and sat up. "I feel better," he said, and color rushed back to his cheeks.

The Sun King was overjoyed. "You did it!" he exclaimed to Ampata. "You brought back water from the Magic Lake." She relayed her adventures and the Sun King was impressed. "You may live here and join the royal family," said he.

"If you please, sir," said Ampata, "may I ask three favors instead?"

"Of course - whatever you want."

"First, would you release my two brothers from prison? I'm sure they are sorry for their mistake and would like nothing better than a second chance to serve you again.

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